Hurting Others Won’t Help You.

Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash

I’ve burned a lot of bridges and hurt a lot of people. That’s going to be a part of my legacy, whether I like it or not. There are a lot of folks out there who have a legitimate reason to point and me and say there goes an asshole. I’ve spent a lot of time doing what I thought was the best thing for me, and me alone, and damn the cost to anyone else. I was ready to spill metaphorical blood to get what I want.

When you’re younger, before you’ve been tested, you don’t tend to think about the effect your actions have on others, and you don’t tend to give a shit. You’ve spent so long striving to win, that it becomes paramount, and anything else just isn’t on the radar.

I’ve seen this happen a lot with creatives and with folks in startups, music and crypto.

They try and get everything they can out of you, contacts and leads and advice and free shit and every ounce of energy you’ve got, and then they dump and burn you on their way out.

They treat you as though you just have a certain amount of usefulness, and once they’ve drained it, they don’t need shit from you anymore.

The thing is, if you act like that, you don’t know the implications of what you’re doing. You don’t know the implications of treating other people like they’re expendable, of hurting and churning the people around you in order to get what you want.

Some of those implications will be measurable, and they’ll directly affect your road ahead. You’ll be unpleasantly surprised by how frequently those you’ve burned come into each others’ orbits — and how soon you’ll need their help, as u likely as that seems, when it’s too late to get it.

But there are some things that aren’t measurable too. You can’t measure what it can do to your happiness. But bad blood is bad for business. I’ve learned that the hard way, when I could have just learned it by watching the fucking Godfather. Bad blood is bad for the soul, and the motivation, and it’s bad for your fire and your heart, and it turns people against you. It turns their trust against you, it turns opportunities into dust. It turns the best you’ve got into the worst you’ll ever see.

I believe that there’s no point in hurting people, or burning bridges, or betraying trust. It’s cruel, it’s pointless, and it rarely makes you a winner. Sometimes, it just makes you lonely.

When I look back on the past few years, I know that there’s many things that I’m just not proud of. I guess that’s a universal quality of evolving and growing as a person. The real trick is turning that into a better road ahead, and ensuring that the same mistakes aren’t just repeated. That’s tough. Tough, but necessary.

There’s always a better way, even if it’s not as easy, even if it’s a lot harder. That’s okay.

There’s an old saying, who lives by the sword will die by it. That’s a concept I’ve taken my time to wrap my head around.

And I don’t want to face my own edge again.

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Chaotic good. Award winning creative director & writer, ft. in Wired, Inc, SF Chronicle, TNW. Founder thisisstudioself.com ✨

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Joan Westenberg

Joan Westenberg

Chaotic good. Award winning creative director & writer, ft. in Wired, Inc, SF Chronicle, TNW. Founder thisisstudioself.com

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