Reflect rather than Deflect

Deflect, verb; 1. [transitive] direct criticism or attention away from yourself; to direct criticism, attention, or blame away from yourself toward someone else.

Learning is a complicated process; to have the right answers is not always easy.  Making mistakes is part of our learning process.  Being blessed with an Instructor that is cool about making mistakes, and actually encourages accountability for them is awesome.

While rehearsing a television production of a 90 second interview, I was producing and a fellow student, male, was the timer.  His duty was to count down the time from a stop watch he starts and stops.

To shorten the story, he gave me a 30 second show. Somewhere a long the line,  he messed up and called for the show to end a minute too early.

So when this student, older than average, (a term I use for those of us over 40 years of age) feels the need to deflect his error on me, I stopped myself from becoming defensive.   As much as I wanted to pipe up and tell him, it was he that made the mistake, nothing I did or could have done influenced the error, I didn’t.  Instead, I looked at him straight in the eyes and thought in my head, “You made the mistake, not me.  Do not try to blame me.”  While his ranting was taking place, I saw a few chins drop in my peripherals, and I double checked my own facial expressions.  Mouth steady with no smile, jaw relaxed, eyebrows normal and eyes directly connected to his.  Hi voice grew in volume.  His body became animated with arms flailing and finger-pointing in my face.  His breathing became rapid, face growing flushed as he neared the end of his disciplinary deflection.  I froze.  Not from fear, but rather to maintain my composure. My silence was golden.

Our magnificently keen instructor took over and confirmed, I should not attempt to correct his (the student) mistakes or assist him in any way,”… just let the mistake happen.”  And he proceeded to ask this student why he made the mistake in the first place.  His response, the technical device (in this case a stop watch) failed to work properly.  I thought to myself, how convenient.

I agree, we should all make our own mistakes.  Everyone’s learning process is different.  However, I am willing to accept help, right or wrong, from wherever I can get it.

My happy moment today is simple.  I practiced an extreme amount of self-control in order to keep the peace.  Peace was achieved and this makes me happy.


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