Date Archives June 2016

Don’t give people magical powers

Just a quick bloggity today …

There’s this pretty famous blogger I read on a semi-regular basis. Best I can tell, he’s gained and lost a bunch of impressive jobs …. he’s gained a lost a couple of fortunes … people pay him gobs of money for his consultation on various things.

This guy is magnetic. Tons of great big ideas. But his personal life seems to fall spectacularly apart every few years … the ways that he talks about interactions with other people are downright baffling sometimes. I’ve always had the feeling that if I met him in person I might be a little creeped out.

He has a few books out. I read one. It was so superchargey that at the time I felt like I was sticking my finger into an electrical socket. “YAEZZZ!!! I am full of ENERGY!!! THIS IS awesome …? Wait. I don’t actually want my finger in an electrical socket. Maybe I’ll take it out now. That was not so smart.”

Here’s the thing: This dude is a brilliant mess. Let’s equally emphasize those two words. He is BRILLIANT. He is also a MESS. He is probably not someone you want to invite to your home because he will probably hit on your daughter. He is someone you might want to take stock advice from most days … except for those few days every year when he’s out of his gourd and tells you to sell everything and practice being a hobo for a few months.

Anyway, this guy got me ruminating on some things this morning. I thought I’d share:

  • The only reason this guy — or anyone — has authority is because he took it. He stood on the soapbox and said “LISTEN TO ME!” and people did.
  • That is both very empowering — if he did this, what’s stopping you or me or anyone else? — and also scary. Are loud, unstable people more likely to stand on soapboxes in crowds? Are we more likely to listen to them? I don’t have an answer to that but it’s something I’m going to think about. (It is not lost on me that I also have a my little soapbox here on the much neglected bloggity.)
  • When people are good at one thing, it’s easy to think that they’ve got it ALL handled. We turn them into gurus — or we let them turn themselves into gurus. We soak in their words. We think about doing our stuff the way that they do their stuff. When we do that, maybe we should remember that no one has it ALL handled. And sometimes people are crazy. Good at one thing doesn’t mean good at everything.
  • Yes, this all applies to politics. See bullet above about loud, crazy people on soapboxes. Remember: No one has it all handled. No one has all the answers. But if someone is applying simple, outside-of-the-lines logic to a problem (“Need more energy? Stick your finger in an electrical socket! All the energy you need is right there! Duh!”), you might want to think about whether that’s a solution that’s in your best interest. It may be appealing because it seems to solve an immediate problem, but it’s going to cause lots of problems in the long run. You know, you can also lose weight by cutting off your leg …

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