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Speaking Ill of Others

This is a story.

Four senior black belts, Bill, Sam, David, and Mark, were up for promotion. Only one would be promoted and their Sensei was interviewing them.

"Why should you be promoted?" he asked Bill.

"Because I am better than Sam, David, and Mark," answered Bill.

"Why should you be promoted?" he asked Sam.

"Because I am better than Bill, David, and Mark," answered Sam.

"Why should you be promoted?" he asked David.

"Because I am better than Bill, Sam, and Mark," answered David.

Finally he asked Mark, "Why should you be promoted?"

"I shouldn't," answered Mark. "Bill, Sam, and David are my seniors. I have learned a lot from them."

"What did you learn from them?" asked the Sensei.

"To respect my seniors and not to speak ill of others," answered Mark.

"And why do you think that you should not be promoted?" asked the Sensei.

"That is not up to me, Sensei. All I want to do is train and help the other students."

So who do you think the Sensei promoted?

If it were me, I would have kicked out Bill, Sam, and David. If a student is arrogant, it is my fault. If a student speaks ill of others, it is my fault. At some point, you have to correct such students or allow them to go their own way. If you keep promoting such students, then it is your own fault.

And this is very important, a student never improves by speaking ill of others. Improvement only comes from dedicated training. You can't build a house by criticizing other houses.

Speaking ill of others only shows your own weakness.


Charles C. Goodin