I had an interesting conversation this morning with someone... my hair guy, actually. He is an artist with the sheers, and more than worth the half hour (one way) drive and hefty price. Normally on the attitude front he's a little too woo for my likes, but today he tapped on to something that got me thinking.
We were doing the catch-up chattiness and somehow we got on to the topic of my work. I did a very minor rage against one of the students and his dispute with the boss. My brilliant hair guy listened to my gripe and commented (and I'm paraphrasing for the sake of brevity, I admit), "One really does most vilify the attributes of others which they most hate in themselves, don't they?" I did originally type out the details of the issue, but I deleted them realising that what the student is or is not doing is not the point of the post, but the hair guy's read of the situation.
The comment was not directed to me or my griping at the time, but nonetheless it promptly got me thinking what is it that I most hate in other people, and what does that say about me? I loathe egotism, but if anything I backlash against it by being extra-hard on myself and almost never even recognising my accomplishments let alone inflating them. So I thought more about it and used my gripe against the student as my launching point. It wasn't disrespect (see above, I think it's related to egotism). And then I realised... in this case, and probably many others, it's laziness. The student isn't doing his work, and taking advantage of the fact that he can get away with it at the moment. It makes me mad. Not just the taking advantage part (which does burn me), but just how the student has to my eyes more of less been coasting on past accomplishments for at least a year now. I want to think that I couldn't live with myself if I had been doing that. I want to think that I'd never milk an opportunity in that way. I want to think that I work hard.
I want to think all those things, but damn am I ever concerned that it's not true.
Why, for example, am I blogging right now instead of going to the gym, or isolating DNA, or streaking plates, or mating cells, or uploading sequences into a database? I can't call it a coffeebreak for more than fifteen minutes, can I? After so many months can I really continue to blame my lousy climbing on time off and injury? Am I not a totally lazy person myself, and shouldn't I be doing more to fix that, than griping about others being lazy too?
What trait do you have that you think you avoid fixing by getting angry at others for having?