We all have experienced a somewhat perverse feeling that is inherent to our human condition, that feeling of fulfillment after watching someone fail.
Whether or not we are aware of it, the main cause of why we feel good about has nothing to do with the people in question failing, it’s about us, of course, about how predicting failure make us feel better about not accomplishing what we want.
One of the main sources for that content are reality shows. Reality shows were created for that specific target audience. For all of us who consciously or unconsciously seek for that “tragedy porn” that’ll allow us to forget our undesired reality.
At the end of the day it is irrelevant if the show is 100%, 50% or 0% scripted, when we watch it we want to believe that people are failing that hard.
Once you accept that you are no better than the people you watch religiously under the microscope, you may take advantage of the mere fact that you are aware of it.
For starters, the most basic and eye opening principle:
Each time you watch someone do something you think is dubious and will eventually become a failure ask yourself, will I enjoy that failure?, why is that?, do that reflect something deep about me?
Once you answered honestly that questions you may proceed to ask you the questions that matter the most, the questions that may be able to make you crave the achievements you deeply wish for, first of all answer the question that better suit your situation:
Have I made the same mistake before?
I haven’t made that mistake however seeing someone making it makes me feel better, what am I truly trying to hide?
And here comes the transformative bit.
Why can’t I stop watching this and start doing what I think will bring me the progress I want and deserve?
What am I really afraid of?
Should I feel fulfilled by the failure of this people?
Now the generic yet demonstrative example.
I will try to make the following example as realistic as possible in the sense that the thought process will be the one of someone reluctant to change.
Situation: Rita is watching a reality show about teenage girls that become pregnant.
Generic Background and main concern:
A is the only letter that ever shows on Rita’s high school reports. She doesn’t have any true friends, and of course as the generic example she is, she has a crush on a guy in her school who doesn´t know of her existance.
- Will I enjoy the failure and complications of this teen mom? Of course I will.
- Why is that? She deserves it, she decided to act without thinking and that’s what happens to idiots like her.
Here comes the tricky question that should be answered with total calmness and honesty.
- Do that reflect something deep about me? Maybe I feel good about it because I would never make that mistake however I have other issues that I don’t take care of.
- Why can’t I stop watching this and start doing what I think will bring me the progress I want and deserve? I’m not ready to confront my situation so I try to omit my reality because watching someone else fail is not painful.
- What am I really afraid of? I’m afraid of being open with my feelings and being rejected for that.
- Should I feel fulfilled by the failure of this teen mom? In reality her decisions doesn’t impact me at all so probably I should be doing something else if I’m not taking this seriously.
Obviously this is the most positive and quick change ever made, however the point is that even though reality shows may be an addiction for some people, by looking at the TV as a mirror and not as a microscope, it will eventually make us think about what is it that we really want and expect from life.
‘All humans are innately perverse’ as said by Sigmund Freud, we may not be able to stop feeling good about other people failure all the time, however it is definitely noble and worthwhile to at least try it and see how far that conduces us, it could be very well the start of our path to greatness.