Ways to distinguish yourself #154 – Never invalidate contributions

Imagine you are walking up the stairs. When you are almost at the top, you may think that the first few steps on these stairs are no longer useful so why not knock them off and save some space. The thought seems ridiculous, yes,  but in real-life that’s what many people do. They get a ton of contribution to their growth from several people and after sometime forget who all helped them. Then repeat the cycle with a new set of people.

I touched on this briefly when I said “Never forget any help.” How difficult would it be to forget help that you received? It’s easy especially if you don’t need that kind of help anymore. What would be worse than forgetting help? It would be to invalidate that help or contribution. Take a look at some ways of invalidating contributions of the past:

a) Anybody could have done it.
   Note: May be. May be not. But the person did do it. That’s what matters.

b) It was not a big deal after all.
   Note: Yes, when the job was complete it all looks simple. A problem for which you have a solution may not be a big problem after all.

c) If they didn’t do it I would have taken it up myself. It was easy.
   Note: Yeah Right!

d) The person was not doing anything important anyway. This kept him/her occupied for sometime.
   Note: How do you know?

e) The person also benefited from this. So it was not like it was solely for our benefit
   Note: The person knew how to leverage his time better. Shouldn’t you just worry about what benefit you got rather than worrying about whether somebody’s work “exclusively” benefited you?

f) It is not directly benefiting us
   Note: Do you know how to notice value? Are you using the right criteria to judge the person?

g) He was just doing his job
   Note: But you did get the benefit from the job. So what’s the point in not acknowledging it?

If you remember using that kind of language in the recent past, that should sound a warning bell. Remember, if you move around with people who invalidate contributions of others, it is easy for you to fall into the same trap. If you are in that group, it shouldn’t surprise you if one day you end up on the recieving end. After all, if you and the group can do it someone why won’t the rest of the group do the same to you sometime?

Never invalidate contributions. That will put you right in the middle of the commodity crowd.