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Episode 5 – Humble Pie

Episode 5 – Humble Pie

Aug 9, 2013

The reason for  the intensive training and testing process (as outline in Episode 2) is to help new mercenaries learn how to deal with difficult runs so that they’ll be more confident when real problems present themselves. Confidence is a great quality in a team member, and it’s essential for effective leadership.  However, confidence alone, without being tempered by other traits, can be quite damaging to both the team and those we help.

Far more important than giving more confidence, the test runs also build humility.  By the time we’ve gone through training, we tend to have an abundance of confidence.  Test runs are a great way to teach us that we are human. Things can go wrong and that is ok. We will make mistakes, and when we do, we need to own up to them and do our best to correct them. It’s important to learn not only how to do things, but how to react when things go wrong (and help others do the same).

Confidence without humility becomes arrogance, and arrogance is INCREDIBLY DESTRUCTIVE both to those who ask us for help, and to the team. An arrogant mercenary:

  • makes everyone else uncomfortable on a run, because who can have fun with a person who thinks they’re better than others?
  • doesn’t teach “You can do it, let me show you how” but instead wants others to believe “You can do this because I am here and I am awesome.”
  • eventually creates division on the team by being unable to accept criticism to give other’s opinions fair consideration.
  • is unable to admit mistakes (and therefore unable to learn from them).
  • is more interested in promoting themselves than in doing what is good for the team and the community as a whole.
  • reflects badly on the Mercenary team as a whole.

For all these reasons and more, we are extremely cautious when looking for potential members. When we are considering adding a new member, one of the most important questions we ask ourselves is, “Does this person want to join the team to help and teach, or because they want to feel better than others?” It’s important that a mercenary have confidence in their ability to lead a team, but that confidence should be rooted in practice and experience, not from a belief that they are superior to other players.

No one wants to spend an hour in a dungeon with people like that.

No one wants to spend an hour in a dungeon with people like this.

 Admittedly, we all (mercenaries or otherwise) have our failings in this area. All of us sometimes want to think that we’re plain old awesome at something. The problems sneak in when that goes from being “Hey, I’m actually kind of good at this!” to “Wow, I’m way better than them!” We’re aware that when put ourselves forward in the community as an “elite fighting force”, this will likely be a problem… and we try our best to curb it right from the beginning (See Episode 2 on crushing your ego…. I mean, test runs).

Now these people are a whole lot more fun to hang around with.

Now these people are a whole lot more fun to hang around with.

To keep this sort of attitude in check, we as a team often discuss our mistakes, things that have gone wrong, what we could have done better… and we openly hold each other accountable when our attitude shifts over the line from confidence to arrogance. It’s a tough subject to be open and honest about, and especially to try to notice objectively in yourself. But the rewards for the team, and for all of us as individuals, have been tremendous.


Click here to read our previous episode, Episode 4: Another Day in the Office.

Coming up soon in Diary of a Wimpy Merc, Episode 6 – PUNK’D!

  • Nesogra

    I can’t wait for the next ep 😀