It’s Hard to Be
Grams told me I had potential. She said it and I heard her. For many years I set out to ruin all chances I had of being successful. I initially didn’t do well in school. I rejected traditional thinking. I challenged everything. I was self destructive and I had no real goals. I didn’t mind the idea of being a “rolling stone” or drifting out to space and being the first person to go beyond the solar system alone in a capsule.
In my 20’s my friend Torbin sent me a book called “The Tao of Pooh” by Ben Hoff which started a chain reaction of self reflection and determination. I wasn’t sure who I was or who I would be but Hoff demystified those questions for me by helping me understand that “I am” who I am and it may not be enough but it is always enough because it is what it is. Yep, I went there.
I am not “unapologetically” me or some stupid cliche providing excuses for my flaws. I am a flawed, broken, glued together and sometimes unglued human being. In Japan, when there are cracks or breaks in a vase there is the art kintsukuroi where they fill it with gold to share the piece is more beautiful being broken. Aren’t we all?
The beauty of our breaks manifests in many ways. For some, talent through art, music, writing. For others, science, math, engineering, philosophy. Others may find themselves a polymath. Regardless, these all come through in unique and beautiful ways.
When something is a treasure or becomes perceived as a treasure, it gains perceptional or potentially relative value. With something physical like gold or silver, it is easy to understand and align on the value. Other things, like the value of who we are as people are much harder to mentally manage. When a person sees another person of value, they may become jealous of that person and create toxicity where none would have existed before.
I think this is where things become very difficult. I don’t look at myself as the smartest person. In fact, I think of myself as a very down the middle kind of person when it comes to smarts. I do realize that I may see a mark on a wall where others walk by, but my ability to do that isn’t consistent. I ask a lot of questions to understand things but I could probably ask forever on some subjects and still not figure it all out. I am still trying to get the answer to this ..
Really though, pretty simple person. Often people may come to believe that a person asking questions is tied to intelligence. They also may feel that asking questions is by design to challenge their intellect. For me, none of this is true. I ask questions to learn and if I can’t learn and understand, I ask someone who does understand to explain it to me in a way that I can understand. You know “the moon circles the earth cause the earth is holdin onto it like a baby”
It’s Still Hard
At the end of the day, you either have to have some special EQ sense, other special powers of persuasion or be famous for people to not feel some kind of threat if you are somehow perceptually better or smarter or more effective then they are. Notice that I said “perceptually” because very smart people can act stupid and be ineffective and very stupid people can drive something to fruition. (see politicians for reference) The hard part for many folks including myself is that we don’t know when people are feeling this way until we get feedback. Getting feedback normally comes from third parties or behaviors that are hard to interpret.
Why doesn’t this person like me? “Oh, it’s not you.” Their baggage and bullshit becomes your burden. Meanwhile..
When other people place their baggage on you or me for that matter, it just becomes uber complicated. Is it me? It is them? What the eff did I do to hurt this person when all I did was ask a question?
Being the Best
That was in the title but it isn’t about “being the best” at something as much as being the best at you. After years of trying to determine why some people just automatically harbor negative feelings toward me and others recognize and see me, I’ve sorta gone back to the Ben Hoff mentality. I am just a person and I am who I am. I don’t owe anything to anyone but I choose to give of myself and I recognize where people have helped me along the way.
I am still working towards my “BEST SELF” which is my “SELF” in any moment where I can incrementally improve. I suppose I am always working to be better but I am the best I can be in the moment.
I hope for you all that you do the same. Some folks will be jealous of you or feel threatened. Some will love and accept you. That’s what I’ve learned. Regardless, it ain’t about them.. it’s about you.