Dropping Grudges Will Change Your Life. Trust Us.
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This is The Happy Scientist podcast. Each episode is designed to make you more focused, more productive, and more satisfied in the lab. You can find us online at bitesizebio.com/happyscientist. Your hosts are Kenneth Vogt, founder of the executive coaching firm, Vera Claritas, and Dr. Nick Oswald, PhD bioscientist and founder Bitesize Bio.
Nick Oswald (00:35):
Hello and welcome to this new episode where we will be talking about dropping grudges, 'How Dropping Grudges Will Change Your Life.
Kenneth Vogt (00:44):
Have, have you ever had a grudge before? Have you ever wondered if, if your, your justification for your grudge is actually the right thing to do, or is there a way out, you know, is it, can, can you let go of that stuff? Cause sometimes, you know, you're so justified you're you're you're you're so right. And it, it just seems like you should pursue that. So we're gonna talk about, about grudges and we're gonna talk about why dropping grudges is gonna improve your, your life. It's gonna make your career easier. It's just gonna be better for you. But before we jump on that, the first thing we gotta do is define it. So what actually constitutes a grudge? What do, what do you have to say about that, Nick?
Nick Oswald (01:34):
Well, it's when you think you're right and someone else's wrong and you hold it against them or someone else is wrong, you I guess.
Kenneth Vogt (01:43):
Sure. And it's yeah. It's so here's it, it, it's got this, this moral component to it. It, it's not just a matter of, you said two plus two equals five and you're wrong and now I could never trust anything you say, you know, I mean, that's just a factual inaccuracy, but grudges take it to a different place. They grudges become emotional. So it and you can, you can just, by that definition, you can look at that and go, I can see how this could cause problems in my career and how it could cause problems in my life. So one of the things you have to do is you gotta see where you're doing it. Where am I? Where am I actually doing it? Cause many people will say to you, well, I, I don't hold grudges. In fact, I was looking for quotes on this and there was just quote after quote, after quote of all these people saying I never hold grudges. And I'm like, yeah, I bet
Nick Oswald (02:46):
I guess is, is one of the tests do you feel like a victim?
Kenneth Vogt (02:50):
Right, right. So that, that is the question. How do you do a grudge? How? I mean what's what are the, what are the methods that people use to hold a grudge? So when you mentioned one is play victim, is there anything else come to mind?
Nick Oswald (03:07):
I, I guess that you must be assuming that there's you are, you're being, I don't know, you you're morally superior to the other person or
Kenneth Vogt (03:18):
Ah, yeah, yeah, yeah. And, and you know, that, that notion of moral superiority, it can be, I mean, it can be taken to a practically a religious level, but it could just be an ethical thing. It, it may just feel like, you know, I I'm so sick of this guy always showing up late for every meeting cause he thinks he's so important and we're obviously so unimportant and it's and now, now we have a project about this
Yeah. Hey, he, he was here on time today, folks. That's amazing. But, but the point is it could just be you the facts the facts may be okay, here's somebody that's late, a lot that happens. And sometimes it's disruptive. Okay. That's that hap that may be happening too. But the grudge about it is like a separate thing, you know? And, and it starts to affect how you're interacting with the, with, with people, you know, build up, you, you will find, and, and it'll, it'll affect you in two ways. And one way it'll be, you know, you might treat someone with less respect. You might trust them less, but you may also find yourself grouping up with other people so that, you know, you can have a common enemy and, and so, and you're creating that, that enemy. It's not even a, not even a real thing, you know, it's just, so you, you, you can see how you can get layers into this.
And now you can get to where, like, maybe you don't have a grudge, but you've created a, a group that has a grudge. And even if you personally are free of it, because you you've associated with the group now you're still having to play it out and it's still gonna impact your behavior and the behavior of people around you. So, so I mean, that's one of the ways that a grudge could be bad for you and that it, it can start to negatively impact your, your your social arrangements. And but is there anything else there that, that you might wanna comment on Nick about how grudges can be bad for you?
Nick Oswald (05:27):
Yeah. well, I mean, it's, it's like anything, isn't it. If something builds up resentment, you it's, it's hurting you because you're holding onto that and it changes your behavior. And you, you know, you can really, it can really spiral up if you keep going and if you keep it going and if you keep building on it and looking for new evidence of why that person is all the, all that,
Kenneth Vogt (05:53):
And why that, that notion of new evidence, cause we'll do that and we will make it true. And here's the proof, you know, I've got new evidence, right? They were late again. See, and obviously that shows, they don't care about my time and they don't respect me, you know? And, and will, even if we're not saying that kind of stuff out loud, we are saying it to ourselves and it's gonna impact our relationships and relationships are gonna matter if you're gonna have a successful career.
Nick Oswald (06:25):
And then you do that. So you build that up, you make it more, you know, you wind yourself up into more of a frenzy. It has an impact on the other person. So they start reacting to that. And then off you go off, you both go, you know that or that's potentially that. Yeah.
Kenneth Vogt (06:41):
And, and it could be the, the, one of the reasons you have a grudge isn't that you started it, they started it. They have a grudge against you. Well, now you feel all righteously, indignant, how dare they, you know? Yeah. I mean, I walk in three minutes late and they act like the world ended, you know? And, and so then they start to justify and they start to develop a grudge against you. And if you're on the receiving end of that, you start to develop a new grudge, you know, so, and you can look at this and say, see, it's not my fault. They made me, but you know, it's, it's, we do have, we do get to decide how we are gonna operate in the world. We don't have to be pathed by anyone or anything. So that does bring to mind that if we're, if we're gonna, if we're gonna resolve that kind of thing, well, if you have a grudge against someone, you probably have some, something that you consider to be justification. So how do you let, let go of that with integrity? How do you do that? How do you, how do you, well, cause I had a good reason to have a grudge. Well, if I just let it go, am I not, am I not letting go of my, my own integrity? What, what do you think about that?
Nick Oswald (07:55):
Well, I guess I'm thinking that you go one step setback first and first you've got to be really honest of yourself. Is, are you holding it? You know, to what constitutes a garage in. I know that's why you've opened with talking about that, but it occurs to me. There's things where you can go, yeah, I'm holding the grudges there. It's quite obvious to you, but if you go, you know, if I think about it for myself, it's like there, the definition is much wider than I would than what I would immediately think as a grudge, the, the definition is much wider. Anything you're holding against anyone that changes the way that you think about them is, is by definition the grudge. So how do you let that go? I, I guess the first thing is for me would be not realizing that I might not be right.
Kenneth Vogt (08:43):
Nick Oswald (08:44):
What, what makes me, right?
Kenneth Vogt (08:47):
Yeah. It, it's a really powerful thing to have humility and realize I'm not always right. The another way you can look at it is is how much emotional charge is there here? Is this just a practical matter? They don't ever put their tools away. Okay. And that's a problem. And means sometimes it's hard to find things that we need or or things are messy or perhaps they're even hazardous, you know, you can have all of that, that observation with no emotional charge or you can look at it where you'll walk in and like this person dangerous, they're gonna get somebody killed around here. Why are they wrecking my lab? Why are they ruining my life? You know, and you know, now, now it's all about the emotional part. It's not even about the facts anymore. And so it, when it comes to letting go of a grudge with integrity, I I'd say the first place to start is get the emotional layer off, you know, and realize, okay, that's not the truth with a capital T that's just my reaction.
And once you scrape away that emotional error, you may find that the underlying facts aren't that hard to deal with. And, and it's not to say that you're not justified that something, something is out of kilter and maybe it's something that ought to be fixed, but maybe it's something you can't do anything about. Cause like for instance, you could have a grudge against your boss and they have the authority to do it the way they're doing it and you can't change it. So are you gonna hang onto that grudge because it's unchangeable or are you gonna recognize, well, there's a hierarchy here and the hierarchy exists for, for a certain purpose. And right now that hierarchy is not helping me out, but it is what it is, you know?
Nick Oswald (10:44):
Oh yeah. Yeah. It's, it's interesting. I, I was talking to someone about this recently about the grief that I used to give my boss about, you know, the way that I thought things should be. And then now I come, come to the thing where I'm running, where I'm running a business now I think can, now I can see his point of view and I was in the wrong there or at least my, and we've
Kenneth Vogt (11:09):
Had that feeling about our parents in the past. Exactly.
Nick Oswald (11:12):
It's that Mark Twain thing. I'm amazed at how much the old man has learned in the seven years since me in 16 to 20 23 or whatever
Kenneth Vogt (11:21):
Nick Oswald (11:23):
But yeah, that, I guess that's back to realizing that your perspective is limited though, isn't it?
Kenneth Vogt (11:27):
Right. And, and it's, it's a really powerful thing that if you're, if you are a experienced, educated, you know renowned scientist, you still have a limited your perspective, you still only see what you see and, and boy never lose that. I don't, I don't care how many Nobel prizes you win. Never lose that.
Nick Oswald (11:58):
I, I don't, you might argue that, that the, that the more you go, I mean, that's one of the challenges of, of, you know, get, you become more educated or you become more older and more experienced and whatnot. And the challenges is not to hold all those grub grudges and let them reinforce each other or not even grudges, but just biases and let them reinforce each other. And then it makes it easier for you to hold a grudge sort of thing. It it's, it's it's the challenge to, of, of being able to do that once you've become more and more, you you've gone further and further down a path, if you like, does that, if that makes sense, it might be more difficult to, to do it even as a, as a Nobel prize win. Exactly. As a presumably very experienced scientist, you're very far down one road you, you might have picked up viewpoints and things that make it very more difficult to see things in another, you know, from someone else's perspective compared to a 10 year old child or something like that.
Kenneth Vogt (13:01):
Sure. Well, yeah. I mean, you may look at that and think, oh, look at them. And they're very, they're very innocent eyes and of course they're questioning this cause they just don't get it, you know, um so it, it, it got me thinking about the idea of politics, you know, and I mean, I mean office politics, lab politics, not, not politics on the world scene, but that kind of grudge just really scary. Somebody really, if somebody stabbed you in the back, somebody, somebody, you know, you know, stole a sweet project away from you or, or they got funding that should have went to you in your estimation or, you know, something along those lines where you got hurt, you know, something happened and it was damaging. And I don't just mean you got your feelings hurt. Maybe it, I mean, it might have really been damaging to your career or it might have been a, at least a setback for you.
And so you could look at that and go, well, how am I supposed to let that go? Am I, am I supposed to trust this person now after they, they did me so wrong. Like, well, no, that, you know, the opposite of grudge is not trust. You don't have to replace one with the other. You can still look at them as being as dubious as they actually are. You, you know, there's no reason you have to lose your, your, your awareness that I gotta be careful. This person could do something like this again. Or, or what they've already done is may continue to cause harm. That's fine. But if you're, if you're spending all your time thinking about how you're gonna get them back, how you're gonna, how you're gonna hurt them, the way they hurt you, you're gonna waste so many cycles. So many brain cycles you're gonna, you're gonna detour your creativity to something that's just useless. That's not gonna be helping. And, and you need your brain cycles. You're doing hard work. You know, you're doing difficult work and, and you can't waste it on, on, you know, holding grudges against people and, and holding, holding mock trials in your head.
Nick Oswald (15:17):
Well, that's interesting, isn't it? You, do you want to use your Ram up to use the computer analogy on, on solving problems or on on, on being angry at someone that you think is wrong to, and because also what happens. It only generates stress for you, you know, or, and the primarily it generates stress for you and that's, you know, that must be where a lot of stress comes from, I would guess.
Kenneth Vogt (15:44):
Sure. Well it's stress that you have. Do you have control over you didn't if you didn't create it, it wouldn't be there. So now the, the one of the thing I wanted to, to cover too, is to flip this around, cause sometimes we're on the receiving end of a grudge. Somebody has a grudge against us. And so, and there's two possibilities here. One is we earned it. We deserve the grudge they have against us. We're the one that, you know, screwed something up for them. Okay. Or, but another case it's like, you know, I, I don't have this coming. They, they aren't seeing it fairly. So given, given those two circumstances, what do you do? What do you do if you've earned a grudge? What do you do? If somebody is, has a grudge against you that you don't deserve?
Nick Oswald (16:39):
You're asking me what I do.
Kenneth Vogt (16:41):
Nick Oswald (16:42):
Hmm. You're the guy. You're the guy that knows this stuff.
Kenneth Vogt (16:47):
Okay. So let's start with, you've earned a grudge. Yeah. The first thing is to come to come to terms with it. They have a grudge against me cause they should have a grudge against me cause I, I, I did what they have asserted. I've done. All right. Well, the first thing to do then is to try and make it right. Is there a way you can unwind any potential harm that have been done? Is there conversation sometimes it's just, you just gotta talk to people and you gotta, you gotta sit somebody down. It's like, listen, in this setting, we were in this meeting and I contradicted you right in front of all, all these people and I could see it. It bothered you and I can, and, and I see it hurt your hurt, your reputation to a certain extent. You know, and I, and I wanna acknowledge that that happened and, and I wanna make right with what was, what might have been wrong on my part. Maybe that wasn't the right time for it. Maybe it wasn't the right place. Maybe I went too far, but then again, you know, maybe I didn't maybe, you know, I, I just, I just embarrassed you and I'm sorry about that. I didn't, that was not my purpose. I'm I, I didn't didn't line up to do that. I mean, presuming it wasn't your purpose if you did, if you embarrass somebody cause you meant to embarrass them, you know, wow, you got, you gotta go back, dig a little deeper in yourself and figure that out. But, but often you do have to go back to somebody and, and do your may help. You know, you, you gotta say, yep, this is what happened. And I, I understand why you're, you're not happy about it. And, and you are fair to, you know, be, be upset about it.
And so, you know, conversation can help. Sometimes there are things you can do to make up for it. And you know, you know, when you have opportunities like that, perhaps you can praise them in front of somebody important you know, legitimately in another setting or maybe you can recommend them for something that, that where, where your say so would matter. You know, you, you can take those opportunities and try and undo the grudge they could hold against you because you don't want them to have a grudge against you. Grudges are, aren't just a problem for you that if they have a grudge against you, it'll still be a problem for you. So if you can unwind it, it's, it's still worth the cost. It's worth eating a little crow. Sometimes it's, it's worth admitting you were wrong, if you were wrong. And you know, so there's all that.
Now, if it's something where you weren't wrong, they've got a grudge, but it's like, look, they were about to launch into something and it was, it was, they were just, they were gonna burn a bunch of money. They were gonna do something dangerous. They were gonna do something that would be harmful to our cause. And I had to speak up. It was, I, I couldn't let it keep going. Well, yeah, in that setting, you might go, well, I can't, I can't back down because I'm, I'm not wrong, you know, in this setting after you've reexamined and made sure that you're coming from the right place. So in, in a situation like that, if you can have a conversation with somebody privately and clear the air that, I mean, that's optimal. Sometimes they're emotional about it and they're not gonna be able to receive it that way.
And there's nothing you can do about that. You know, you may not be able to win them over in that regard, but what, what you gotta watch for in a situation like that is if they, if they really don't have a legitimate cause to have a grudge against you, you're in a much safer position. If there's anything at all about it, that's legitimate. You gotta deal with that. You have to face it. And you gotta, you gotta work through that. But if somebody's just got a, an irrational grudge against you, they're, you know, that will show up in front of other people. Other people will realize they're not being fair. And you know, so your, your protection is to make sure that as far as it depends upon you, you've, you've been as peaceable about it as, as can be. You've done everything you could do.
You know, you, you publicly demonstrated that you tried to have dialogue with them and, and you've, and you've admitted their, their strong, you know, that they've got some strong points that, that are valid. You've not admitted maybe to the wrong word, but you've, you you've acknowledged that there, there they're strong points, but, but you're also gonna stick to your guns about their weak points. And sometimes you'll win people over that way. Sometimes, you know, there's nothing you can do. They they're gonna be vengeful. That's just so they're gonna do, and you can't, you can't beat it and you can't worry about it, you know, but I, I, I love that phrase though, "insofar as it depends upon you", you know, do the part you can do. So that's what it's like to be on the receiving end of an unfair grudge.
Nick Oswald (22:06):
I guess that the, what all of that requires is quite a lot of honesty on one side, quite a lot of honesty on your part, even about that might be quite painful. You know, it's easier to not look at what you've done and, and or, or is it easier to stick to your viewpoint and not, not allow the kind of the pain in that comes from realizing you were wrong on one side, but then I guess the you know, the, the downside of that as well is that, you know, that you could just go too far and just admit lie about, you know, that it was all me when it wasn't, cause it's easier way out of the argument. So how, how do you kind of balance that?
Kenneth Vogt (22:52):
Well, I, I think we have to have an adherence to the truth. So it being self denigrating when it's not accurate, isn't helping your cause. You know, people, people will respect you if you will admit when you're wrong, but they won't respect you. If you admit to wrongs, you have not committed and they know it, they know the come on. Why, why are you being such a, you know, doormat? You know, that that's, that's not a respectable place to come from. On the other hand, though, if you can maintain your self respect and your self-confidence, the, the you know, one of the easiest ways to do that is to admit to small wrongs as quickly as possible get in front of things before they get outta hand before, you know, before you just can't save face, it's so much easier to go up. You know, I draft the ball there, or I missed that, or, you know, I, I was wrong in that conclusion and that's very disarming.
Nick Oswald (24:01):
So yeah. However, there is the politician's use of that, of disarming it and then not never doing anything about it, you know? So I guess about follow up and be sincere that it's not just about it.
Kenneth Vogt (24:17):
Yeah. It's about integrity and yeah, I mean, I, I love the word integrity because of its it's physical, meaning, you know, we talk about integrity in something you know, the physical integrity of something it's that it's holding together. And it, you, if you start there from the physics definition of integrity and start to apply it into human interaction, well, now, now integrity. Isn't just, it's, it's not just a moral thing. It's a, it's a practical thing, a very practical thing. So it it's, it's worth, it's worth it. Even if you don't want to go down this philosophical road, it's, it's just, it's what works, you know, and, and that's what we want here. You know, the whole point is to have a career that that makes sense and, and where you can keep moving forward and keep building and grudges are not gonna get you there. They're just not gonna do it.
Nick Oswald (25:20):
Yeah, that, that's a, I think that's a, a good bottom line there is, is that grudges don't help you or anyone else. And and you know, to realize that when you're holding them, be really, you know, kind of the more, I, I guess the more aggressive is not the right word, but the more the looser, your definition of a grudge and the better for you, because the less kind of, you know, it's like sanding the gears, that thing with relationships,
Kenneth Vogt (25:52):
Grudges are baggage, how much baggage you carry around.
Nick Oswald (25:56):
Yeah. And the most more honest, the more you can reflect on what are you doing that's causing these things, or what can you do? What can you honestly say to other people that's causing these things, you know, to, to, you know, the other parties to help resolve, then, you know, the worst thing you could do is assume that you're right and stay in the same position all the time and keep making these things build up or keep assuming you're wrong and allow them to build up like that as well. So
Kenneth Vogt (26:29):
Worse yet saying you're wrong when you don't believe you are. Oh my, oh,
Nick Oswald (26:33):
That as well. Yeah, yeah,
Kenneth Vogt (26:35):
Nick Oswald (26:35):
Kenneth Vogt (26:36):
Well, that's, that's about all I have to say about grudges today. How about you, Nick?
Nick Oswald (26:41):
Good. No, that, I think that's I won't hold a grudge for you continually talking about me mean light, but it's fine. Everyone does. It's quite funny. I'm getting better anyway. It's good. I'm taking on both the feedback. But yeah, I think that's, that's quite useful and hopefully people can see where they can apply that in their lives. And please hit us up on our Facebook group, if you would like to do that. I guess that, that I'll let that all just left to do is to say thanks Ken for another great episode. And we'll talk to you all again, next time. All right. Thanks Nick.
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