Schadenfreude…a word you may not be familiar with, but nonetheless something you experience every day. It refers to those people “who take joy in the misfortune of others.” Imagine. Anyone come to mind? Sadly, it is what I refer to as the inhuman condition. Now let me suggest that every now and then all of us find ourselves thinking negative thoughts, engaging in petty jealousies and fighting off envy. What a waste of energy! If we took that time and energy and re-channeled it, there is no telling how much we could accomplish.
While it is most prevalent in personal relationships, don’t think for a minute it doesn’t exist in business. I have been there myself. You pitch an account against five other agencies…you win.
Immediately your thoughts go to how painful it must be for the losers. Oh Yeah! It is not enough that you won…it is the joy of imagining their disappointment. You say “Oh, that’s not me”…not so fast Sparky.
So, let’s make sure that we don’t engage in schadenfreudism. Don’t underestimate the power of karma. If it is true that what goes around comes around, wouldn’t you rather have positive energy coming around?
Here are some exercises you might want to try. If you come across a piece of news where someone you know has landed an account or closed a big deal, drop them a congratulatory note…and mean it. If someone has a chance to land a major piece of business, offer your help…at no cost to him or her…and mean it. If someone has had a setback, call him or her and offer support…and mean it. We never seem to have the time to do these simple niceties. But we should find the time…and mean it.
Funny how business imitates life.