Monday, 23 January 2017

''4 reasons why you should never seek revenge in business (or life)'' - Chris Myers

This is not the article that I planned on publishing today. My original piece told the story of an investment deal gone sideways, and it was written in anger. The situation was one where my team and I were deceived, strung along, and forced into a difficult position due to the actions of others.

To say that I was angry at how events unfolded would be a bit of an understatement. I was livid and wanted to do whatever I could to make the group in question suffer as they made me suffer. I wasn’t alone in this feeling; in fact, my business partners and advisors were equally as angry.

For some reason, I couldn’t go through with it. The lessons I planned to share would, of course, be valuable for my fellow entrepreneurs, but I simply didn’t feel right about calling out the guilty group.

It was a difficult decision for me because the emotions are still quite raw. However, I came to realize that vengeance would provide little consolation. Instead, I decided to do the hardest thing imaginable in that moment: to show mercy.

Revenge is self-harm
The desire to hurt those who have hurt you is only natural, reinforced by millennia of human evolution. However, in the context of modern business, it is important to fight against these desires. 
There are only two logical outcomes of revenge; it either escalates a bad situation, or it rebounds in unexpected, harmful ways.
Had I followed through with my plan for vengeance, it would have effectively amounted to self-harm. In reality, the targets of my anger would simply shrug off my harsh words after some time. My reputation, however, would never recover.
Even though I was wronged in this situation and the other party was by any reasonable estimation guilty, I would be judged by my response. The reputation and characteristics I have worked hard to build over the years would be wiped out in an instant if I proved myself to be petty, sensitive, and vindictive.

Remember, no one cares about your problems

It may sound harsh, but the truth is that no one cares about the problems you face as an entrepreneur. Potential partners, media sources, and the market as a whole have neither the desire or time to dig into the context of your anger.
Instead, entrepreneurs are judged by their actions. Behaviors that may seem perfectly justified given the benefit of context may appear to be erratic or petty to those on the outside. In business and life, fighting fire with fire is unwise, immature, and ultimately damaging.

There are always multiple sides to the story
I’ve always believed in the value of intellectual honesty. The ability to turn the mirror on yourself and explore your faults, failings, and weaknesses is invaluable.
If I’m honest with myself, I have to recognize that the group I was angry with likely believed they were only somewhat in the wrong. There are always multiple sides to any story, each with their degree of validity.
If I were to take action and seek revenge, I would be forcing absolutes upon a complex situation. That behavior would go against my belief in the value of intellectual honesty and force me to surrender the moral high ground.

Nothing is in life is constant
The final and, perhaps most important reason to embrace mercy is that life has a strange habit of coming full circle. People change, mature, and evolve over time, and someone who is an enemy today may become an ally in the future.

When you show mercy to your enemies, it makes an impression. That impression may not be immediately evident, but it can take root over time and result in amazing things.
I made the difficult choice to show mercy in a terrible situation. While I have no assurance that the decision will change anything, I know that my reputation will remain intact. In the end, you must continue to be faithful to your ideals and values, no matter what.

Source: Forbes

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