Monday, August 13, 2012

The Policy Papers: An introduction

Because of a significant amount of recent turmoil, and because it's an election year, I think it's important to be very clear about one's policies and positions.

For me, this is important stuff. I've been thinking a lot lately about my identity. Who am I?

For a large portion of my life, I was an accomplished liar and fraud. I'd say most of the people I have ever met have been equally guilty. People put on faces. Many years ago I spent some time visiting a quack therapist. This person should have never been in a position to help people, because this Doc just wasn't very good. Sometimes a rose is not a rose.

Anyway, although this doc didn't perform the work I needed, I did learn three things that were very useful. One was that to some people in the field of psychology, the concept of falling in love is seen as a sort of temporary insanity. It's irrational; people "in love" do some crazy-ass things. The doc didn't actually come up with this argument, but pointed me to a study conducted by two clinicians. I still have several copies of this paper, which I have given to certain folks.

The second valuable thing I learned was that when it seems like the world is in chaos, and you're buffeted by the storm around you... know that if you have no control over events, your efforts will be wasted. In other words, sometimes you just have to ride that thing out. Similarly, if you are someone who tries to manipulate results, you're going to have a lot of work to do, and those results may vary. Most likely, no matter how you try and shape the behavior of others to fit into your hoped-for outcome, you're likely going to fail.

Lastly, another interesting read (why did I pay this person $110 a session, exactly?) given to me compared our daily behavior to having a closet full of faces. At work we are one person, at home we are another person, on a date we are another person, behind the wheel we are another person, etc. We wear these personas depending on the situation, and in the process, we are not our true selves. We are instead either an extreme version of one particular facet of our numerous characteristics, or we are presenting an outward image that is false compared to the totality of ourselves.

On a date, guys often will open car doors, be exceedingly polite and charming, hold in farts, be chivalrous, and so on. In other social settings, guys often do none of those things. Same guy, very different results. And so, in some ways, false. Because you're not free to be fully yourself.

It is very, very difficult to be fully yourself all the time. Societal constricts frown on going barefoot in an office environment, for example. A guy I work with now has some visible tattoos. He has to hide them before he goes to work. He has to play ball with someone else's arbitrary standard. His body art has absolutely no affect on his ability to do the job. And he's not really in a public setting where it's likely he could be seen as representing the company. But still, he has to project an image based on someone's idea of appropriate.

This seems deeply fucked up to me.

Think of the energy we waste in stifling our true selves in these various settings. What kind of a toll does that take on our mental health? Subtle though it may be, by conforming to these arbitrary rules, we are being told that there are parts of our personality, parts of our worldview, that are unacceptable.

It's dishonest.

George Carlin joked, brilliantly, that if honesty was the best policy, that made dishonesty the second-best policy.

But dishonesty is not healthy.

It took me a long, long, long, long, too long time to learn this. For years... decades... I was a manipulator... a deceiver... I was not a good person. Most of the time I felt like no one was really being hurt by this, that what I was doing was not solely in my own best interests, but also in the "big picture" best interests. I might have been right, many times. Or most of the time. But the fact is, if we all weren't so goddam busy playing these stupid mind games, we'd just shoot straight with one another, and truth would win out.

That's where I am now, and I'm fortunate that that is where I have been for some time now. I was never good at office politics because they are counter to the mission, which is to do the best job possible. I always try and do the best job possible. I want life to be like the NFL: a meritocracy. If you are good, you will have success. If you suck, you will fail. It's just business.

When I interviewed in LA in May, it was the best process I have ever been through as far as objectivity was concerned. You had to nail three parts of the process and you either did, or you didn't. No charming people. No backslap/secret handshake. Do or do not; there is no try.

I missed that shot, even though I think I did very, very well. I was bummed to not get it, but I also know that it was fair.

Honesty is fair. It's sometimes hard to accept, but it's fair.

I strive to always be honest with you, and you, and you, too. It's important to me to be truthful and transparent. I'm human so sometimes I will fail, but I will always try and do the right thing and say what I think. I will always try and provide an accurate representation of  myself, because I respect you too much to bullshit you.

My policy starts with honesty.

1 comment:

  1. Consistent honesty requires consistent courage. No easy feat, but an honorable endeavor.