Sometimes I wonder if what I’m doing is truly a good thing. If it’s good for the world, for myself, for others.
A couple of days ago, I had a fight with one of my colleagues. We’re both helping run the Berkeley Math Tournament (if you’re a high schooler in the Bay Area, you should register), and we were working on a schedule for tournament day. I didn’t like her idea — I felt it was a huge waste of time, so I told her it was stupid.
She didn’t take my criticism well and so we started fighting. I don’t like backing down in fights, and as it escalated, harsher words were said.
She stormed out of the room and didn’t come back. I felt bad. I hadn’t fought with anyone in a long time.
I email the girl a couple times, apologizing and asking her to call me so we can resolve the issue. But she doesn’t. Her friend emails me telling me to stop asking her to call, because she won’t. He says she doesn’t want anything to do with scheduling anymore. She must be really hurt. It makes me feel even worse.
I feel like she’s in the wrong for not wanting to put the conflict behind us. Professionals tells us we should do just that. But I’m also in the wrong for starting the fight.
I’m really blunt and straightforward with people so sometimes I come off as an asshole when I don’t mean to. Sometimes I just need to be more tactful. And I need to learn when to back out of fights. It’s not always productive — we didn’t get anything done after I fought with the girl.
The fight makes me question myself. Am I a good person? Am I making a positive impact? Not in that meeting.
But everyone has bad days. No one is perfect all the time. And you shouldn’t strive to be perfect. What you should strive for is limiting the bad days. You should strive to be the best that you can be. Be nice to as many people as you can; go out of your way to help as many people as you can. Help yourself. Learn from your experiences. Actively try to be a little better than you were the day before. Try to have a positive impact in whatever you do.
We can’t change the past, we can only change what we will do in the future. I’m meeting that girl again today. I don’t know how she’ll react to seeing me. I’m going to apologize to her again, and hope that the conflict gets past us. We’re both on the same side — we’re trying to run a great tournament. If she doesn’t want to move on, that’ll be on her. I would have tried my best to get over the conflict, and that’s really all I can do.
If you’re the best that you can be, then you don’t need anyone to tell you that what you’re doing is a good thing. You know it’s a good thing. You know you’re a good person. Even so, sometimes all we need is just a little validation to help motivate us to do more truly good things. For the world, for yourself, for others.