Many people play on weakness; in fact, all of us have used the weakness of others to get what we want at some point in our life. Our motives are not always bad. There are times when the intentions of persuasion are for the betterment of others, not just ourselves. However, in society- whether in business or any type of relationships- you must have leverage earned by value. If you don't, you will be a China Doll: easily breakable; delicate. China Dolls can only sustain so many falls. If you're a lucky or a well built China Doll you can be dropped and sustain the cracks, but if you're not, one fall can ruin your entire livelihood.
I think about the preparation I've put into interviews in my life; the amount of thought, practice, and planning I put myself through because I didn't want anyone to see me as weak or incompetent in my abilities. When I was 15, I wanted to work for CiCi's Pizza as a hostess; the true aspirations of a 15 year old. I was determined to prove that I had the endurance and humility to work in a place where many of my classmates went to hangout, frequently trashed tables, and order absurd combinations of "specialty" pizza they knew they wouldn't eat. I wanted to serve them and not feel a bit of shame for it, because I had a job.
It just so happens that a year before I turned 15, we lived in an apartment complex right behind CiCi's so we would go there quite often. There was a young girl, likely 16 or 17, that worked as the hostess. I thought her job was cool because she got the opportunity to deal directly with the customers, and not behind the buffet counter making pizzas. She was a intricate part of the business limelight, in my eyes. I would watch what she did closely, critique her interactions with customers. If she didn't smile enough, I noted that; if she didn't greet every customer with the same enthusiasm, I noted that; if she missed giving one kid in the room a balloon; I noted that. I was convinced that I could do her job, and not only that, I could do it better. That was just the way I thought.
The day I went to apply for the position, the managers happened to be having a meeting. One came over to check me out to the buffet, and I told him I was actually there to apply for the hostess position. He looked at me, surely thinking I looked like a 12 year old, and said, "The hostess position isn't open for hire." I told him I knew it wasn't, but I wanted to apply early in case it opened. He looked puzzled, but he asked, "Why do you want to work at CiCi's?" I still remember my response word for word, "Because, I like making people smile and meeting new people excites me." He then said, "But, people can be rude and mean sometimes; especially when you make a mistake. How are you going to handle that being so young?" I responded, "Everybody has bad days and everybody makes mistakes. I would still treat that person kindly and do my job." It may have been the most immature and naive answer in the world, but he smiled at me and told me to fill out the application. He called me the next day, and I became a hostess at CiCi's Pizza.
I think about how getting the job at CiCi's Pizza, working only 15 hours a week making $5.15 an hour, had an impact on my life. I realize I didn't have a traditional interview to get the job at CiCi's, but what I did have was a genuine moment of a first impression. I thought about what the manager saw in me, and I can think of four traits: enthusiasm, ambition, confidence, and fearlessness. I wasn't a China Doll. I wasn't intimidated by the fact the position wasn't even open, or that he was a manager, or even that I was only 15 years old- I knew what I wanted and I went for it. I wasn't going to be broken or defeated by obstacles.
It's extremely difficult to watch people advance when you know they are truly China Dolls. When you recognize their weaknesses in character and their limitations in ability, or even more so- their lack of passion. Their title is tarnished when these areas are exposed; that is a difficult aspect to recover. However, even if you are a China Doll you can re-invent or create a stronger reputation and advancement for yourself by the effort that you put into your ambition, being enthusiastic, showing genuine confidence, and being fearless in the face of disappointment; the revamping of failure lies in your passion in these traits. We all have China in our character; those delicate spots of weakness. But, the armor that you place around those delicacies is what strengthens your potential to surpass true China Dolls.
There's a sickness in self-pity. Pity is a decision to accept misfortune as an answer to failure. Failure is not necessarily a final decision; it's a part of life- a large part of growth. Misfortunes can be the death of progression if you're weak. Complaining about what's already occurred wont change the outcome, but it will dull the present.
I see China Dolls everyday. I wonder if they recognize their weaknesses as I do theirs and my own. I don't waste time dwelling on their flaws or position in life. I focus on my own China spots, and I try to strengthen my armor by gaining more knowledge in what I seek and making myself visible through the efforts of my work. If your investments are predicated on others performance, positions, or lack there of- then you've lost site of YOUR potential. If you feel you work with or for China Dolls, just remember that it's not the work you do for them or that they don't do- it's the work you do for yourself and the motivation you put into others to maximize their true potential by showing them how to grow. Build YOUR armor and don't worry yourself with China Dolls.
My China has never failed to empower me.