You Can’t Please Everyone, But That Shouldn’t Stop You From Trying

By Jimmy Warden

There’s a saying out there that simply states, “you can’t please everyone”.  I am sure a lot of people have heard this at some point in their life, no matter their age.  This saying definitely holds true in a lot of instances, considering a lot of people have felt the weight of that quote when they’ve disappointed someone.  We’ve all done it.  Never intentionally (in most cases), but it has happened nonetheless.  Even though these disappointments are inevitable at some point, it shouldn’t stop us from trying to be good people.  Despite the fact that we’ll end up disappointing people while trying to serve and please them, that shouldn’t stop us from at least trying.

As a teacher and basketball coach, there have been many time where I’ve disappointed people in my life.  Whether it be students, players, parents, colleagues, or anyone in between, it has happened more than I would like to admit.  However, I have started to try to accept the notion that for every egg that gets spoiled, that doesn’t make a spoiled dozen.  In essence, even if I disappoint one person out of twelve, that doesn’t mean that I didn’t provide excellent service to those other eleven people. 

As a person that literally lives to serve people through my occupations, I need to remind myself constantly that I am doing good work because of how loud that negativity can end up ringing through my brain.  We often get caught up in the negative chatter from others even after we receive compliments, praise, and gratitude from others.  In these cases, our purpose for service takes a hit.  We question our abilities to provide service for others based on the minimal negative feedback that we’re getting.  These cases of disappointment make us question whether it’s worth our while to keep trying to help others as much as we can.  We tend to exacerbate the situation by thinking, “Well this person (or group) is disgruntled, are there any more that are?  Am I really doing as well as others say I am?”.  It can be challenging, it can be upsetting, and it can make us reflect, but it should not stop us from doing our best for others.

One reason why we shouldn’t stop what we’re doing despite disappointing people is that when we do stop, everyone who was already happy with our work becomes disappointed.  If we decide to stop trying to help and please people, those who were grateful and appreciative of what we did will ask us, “Why?”.  These are the people that truly saw us for who we are and understood part of the behind the scenes work that goes into helping others.  They are the people that value those that are providing them and the people they love service.  Another reason why we shouldn’t stop trying to doing our best to please others is that service is a numbers game.  Whether it be in the classroom, on the playing field, in a restaurant, in a hospital, or anywhere in between, the goal is to satisfy as many people as possible.  When we are pleasing upwards of 90-95% of those that we are trying to please, we are doing a damn good job at making those people happy.  We need to play to the numbers in these situations.  Yes, the negative voices are often louder than the positive ones, but we can’t lose sight of the fact we’re doing a lot of good.  Lastly, we need to also think about what is our service doing for us.  Is it serving our needs?  Are we satisfied with the large impact we’re making?  Are we enjoying helping the 90-95% of people that are enjoying the help we’re giving them?  If we are answering yes to these questions, we need to keep doing what we’re doing despite the few sour personalities because there will be a lot more that is lost if we decide to stop.

In sum, if we are in a position to help others in any of the ways that have been mentioned in this post, or any other way for that matter, we should try our best to follow through.  It provides us purpose for our actions.  It allows others to become better versions of themselves.  It is often appreciated by those that are receiving the services.  Not only that, but that positive feedback we are getting from the vast majority is the proof that’s needed to show that we’re doing a great job.  Sure there will be people along the way that will not be satisfied with what we do for them or those that they love, but just because we can’t please those people doesn’t mean that should get in our way from pleasing others.  Just know who values your service and work with those people.  Then, everyone departs happily, knowing a lot of good has been done.

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