Lack of Planning on Your Part Does Not Constitute an Emergency on My Part
Hi guys and girls. I’m back from my unintentional two week hiatus. Sometimes real life responsibilities get in the way of other things we had planned to do (like writing articles). That was the case for me recently as I’ve been dealing with mid-terms for my MBA and a wedding that happened at the speed of light. Things are good though and I’ve been jotting down notes for this article all week. I think this may be a two part article if I can find a logical place to split it up. I guess we won’t find out until we get there. Anyway, welcome back!
I was talking to a co-worker about a situation I had observed at work and he reminded me of a cute sign that we’ve both seen in various cubicles – “Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.” We both got a chuckle from it, but it got me thinking about the behaviors that people exhibit. We’ve all been there before haven’t we? Someone is in a panic over something that didn’t get done and they have the audacity to try to blame you for their lack of success because you didn’t jump in at the last second and save the day. I think this behavior is a result of the fact that everyone is the hero in their own eyes. I’ve written about it in the past. For a person to live a happy and fulfilling life it is important for them to see themselves as the good guy. For people with low self-awareness the only way to accomplish this is to siphon blame for their failures off onto nearby individuals.
Let me give an example of what I’m talking about. The example is fictional, but I think we’ll all be familiar with it. Let’s say that I’m responsible for the completion of an assignment for school and I’ve been procrastinating. I had two weeks to complete an assignment but I let the time slip by and figured I’d deal with it on the weekend before it was due. Then the weekend shows up and I realize that the instructions for the assignment required me to go to a play or a museum exhibit that was only open the previous weekend. I’m in a real bind but I do have one friend that I know went to that event. I call them up but find out he’s going to be busy all day, doing things with his kids and taking his wife out at night. All I’m asking for is a couple of hours, but he won’t break his plans. What a Jerk! Just 2 Hours! I’m going to fail the assignment without his help. How could he leave me in a lurch like this!
Do you see how easy that was? Now I’m mad at my friend for something that is completely my fault. Do you want to take a deep breath and calm down before going on? I know that probably riled some of you up. If I was the friend in that situation I would feel bad that I couldn’t help. After all, I like my friend and don’t want to see him fail, but I have my own plans, things that are very important to me. The thought that I could be responsible for my friend’s failure is ridiculous. The failure is the result of procrastination, not my unwillingness to change my plans.
Here’s another example, have you ever been faced with a friend or family member that is asking for money to pay the rent or keep the lights on? Most of us just give in and do it because of our love for the other person. But should we? I don’t know very many people who run into this circumstance if they are actively managing their income. It’s almost never the person who has a budget and lives by it that comes asking for money. And more to the point, when it is it’s because of an emergency like an unexpected car repair that did not fit into the budget. God bless those people who are living check to check and actively managing their money wisely. When an emergency strikes these people’s friends will go out of their way to help because they know that the person deserves it.
Unfortunately, most of the time that is not the case. Instead it’s the person who spends $50 a week on beer or spends money on the latest technology when they can’t really afford it. Then, when the end of the month comes they are struggling to pay the bills. How awkward is it to have somebody asking to borrow money to pay the rent who just bought a car a few months ago that is beyond their means?
This is not fair on the person that is being pressed upon. Remember, “Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.” It’s wrong to expect people to step in and save the day after you’ve screwed up. It especially wrong to expect it if you had every opportunity to succeed and instead chose to spend your time or money on something that was more fun than your responsibilities. Lastly, it’s absolutely insane to try and transfer blame to the people around you for your failures to manage your life appropriately.
Yes, I know I’m being insensitive. That because this behavior is insensitive and sometimes you have to shake a person to wake them up and help them to realize what they are doing. Nobody wants to be friends with somebody who will blame them if they don’t save the day. The fact is that most of these people need to fail a few times. Eventually a few hard failures help to teach people that the only person that they can count on to manage their life is themselves. When they’ve finally reached that point they have unknowingly laid the foundation for a successful future. But as long as friends like me and you are there to save them from themselves then they will never get to the bottom and never develop the strength of will to climb out and walk on their own.
Ok, I reached the end unexpectedly. Next week’s article is going to build off of this and talk about the importance of discipline.
Thanks for reading; I hope each of you is having a marvelous day!