‘Tit for tat’ relationships – the sexy, sassy women who meets the fake, chancer guy.
The double whammy – the beautiful young women who gets hit on by successful older guys seeking trophy girlfriends AND by loser older guys who’s lack of maturity means they can only relate to a women half their age.
There isn’t a more pointless and ugly battle in the World than the battle of the sexes. Or the phobia/tension between homosexuals and heterosexuals. Or the phobia/tension some people have for trans-gender people.
Put a bunch of girls together and watch the bitchiness come out. Put a bunch of boys together and watch them drag everything to the lowest, crudest level. Put a TV camera in their face or mix the girls and boys together and everyone’s trying to make an impression. Go figure!
When parents get into a divorce battle, sadly their children can become cannon fodder. And worse, the kids blame themselves for the battle.
We monitor and copy fashion, yet want to look distinctive and appealing. Companies monitor business trends, yet want to stand out from the competition.
We price-compare online, but take the things we get for free, for granted. Companies price-compare their competitor offerings, but put no value on the things they get for free.
We dress up to go out somewhere where people will judge us by our appearance, yet want to relate to those same people on a deeper level. Company employees wear business clothing to work somewhere that people will judge them by their appearance, yet need to relate to those same customers and work colleagues on a deeper level.
Are people basically divided into two broad camps – the ‘fake it til you make it’ (the marketers & promoters) and the ‘keeping it real’ camp’?
‘Fake it til you make it’ is about projecting confidence, whether real or illusionary. It’s downside is arguably in making our social groups less cohesive and less real. ‘Fake it til you make it’ can be spectacularly successful – politicians, singers/rappers and A-list movie actors being examples of this. Ironically though, politicians campaign to solve real problems, rappers rap about their gritty own life struggle to success, whilst successful actors choose to star in movies that often have themes of real strength from overcoming adversity of some kind.
Some pioneering cultures have a phrase about ‘keeping it real’. Others talk about ‘keeping your feet firmly on the ground’ (unless you work for the weather service, the airlines, the navy, NASA or Virgin Galactic).The ‘keeping it real’ camp includes support groups, social workers, therapists, counsellors, teachers, coaches, trainers and assessors of all kinds. This camp arguably advocates that ‘struggling to succeed is simply walking the journey’ is what life is about and that being honest about this struggle helps us to build important bridges with fellow human beings. In the world of entertainment, reality shows are in theory about ‘keeping it real’, although programme directors inevitably choose hyping the truth over the reality, if if means improving the viewer ratings in a competitive industry.
What about in the field of design – which camp do designers fall into? Steve jobs said ‘Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.’ In product design, great and successful designers don’t tolerate fake. They are obsessed with building amazing, perfection and excellence. In contrast, fine artists can excell at illusion in their art, folling the viewer’s eye into almost believing the two dimensional is actually the three dimensional. Or that the World shown within their art reveals a far more beautiful perspective on the World outside. Musical artists and actors generally want to create real. It’s the marketing staff of their companies that want auto-tune, edit and airbrush.
Whichever of the two camps a person falls into, perhaps real performance is still the key goal and ambition the driving force. Oscar Wilde famously said ‘all of us are in the gutter, but some of us are looking up at the stars.’ Life arguably isn’t about ‘suffer in silence’, ‘know your place’ and ‘mustn’t grumble’. It is about ‘be the best that you can be’, ‘dare to dream’, ‘give yourself a break’, ‘learn from your mistakes’, ‘recognise the perfect parent does not exist’, ‘respect yourself’ and ‘strength through adversity.’
Lastly, somewhere along the line, as we switched from selling the products of our labour to selling the services of ourselves, the ‘fake it til you make it’ mantra started to dominate, in business, in our romantic lives (as singles) and increasingly, everywhere else. How do we jolt ourselves out of that mantra?
In my experience, it’s the small tributaries of the river, the overlooked pockets, and the unexpected that offer the most value. Whether you’re a traveller, a student, an explorer, a researcher, or an investigator, what is fresh, what’s genuine and what is original, is the stuff outside the mainstream and off the beaten track. Another aid is in joining up our unexpected insights from one ‘tributary’ with those of another. And by holding two opposing ideas or concepts in your head (as a traveller, reflecting on what you see through local values and through your own cultural values is an example of this). In some ways, stating all this is blindingly obvious, but in others, it’s revealing a pathway to the sublime & subtle.
We make progress as a species, as a culture and as individuals, by pushing our buttons. By pushing our boundaries, making improvements and gathering new insights. So far, we’ve done this faster than any other species, except perhaps viruses. And it’s been high-growth-off-a-high-base too.
Is human love more advanced than the love shown in other species? It’s hard for us to see, even when as researchers and nature filmers, we’re looking hard. The love an animal mother shows for its offspring, given its mental and sensory capabilities, is probably just as valid as human love for other people, given our own mental and sensory capabilities. And arguably, we’re more prone to cruelty and indifference than other species too. Especially since our awareness of the World (and the Universe) is so much greater.
Finally, is it wrong to let our children get bored? On the list of wrongness towards children, I doubt it figures in the top ten, although you may disagree. However, given the direction the World is going, we’re going to need to maximise human creativity like never before.
Like for many things, the earlier you start, the more proficient you can become. Perhaps already, we provide:
-too much of too few types of entertainment and
-entertainment without mental challenge,
to the younger generations (and ourselves). As an aside, we arguably produce too much content that simply feeds our basic emotions and prejudices too.
Technology that encourages people:
-to screen out the complexities of life that we should not ignore,
-to screen out the information we need, to make informed decisions with, as parents, as voters and as citizens,
isn’t something to be applauded and worshipped. Instead, we should be critical of it and demand better. All of us, including our kids need to become those critics.
If you can play your part in bringing a long dead-friendship back to life, are you reconnecting with the best of your past and making for a better future too? (1) The friendship may have withered on the vine because you started bringing out the worst in each other. (2) But then you both grew up, grew older and grew wiser. (3) Time seemed to pass by incredibly fast. (4) Your lives became more crowded with demands on your time. (5) You realised that the good things and the good memories definitely outweighed the bad and that those facts cannot be denied or downplayed. (6) You realise the coolest part, is that you both still find a small fragment of time to make an old friendship work, for all the right reasons.
I’m now up to stage (6). Wish me luck.
By all means fall madly, truly and deeply in love with one person. But keep some love in reserve for the rest of the World too. They so need it.
You can spend a lifetime trying to get more people to like you. With some people, it will always be a fruitless task, for reasons you cannot understand and they can’t even explain it.
In the meantime, someone else walks into your life, sees the person you’re trying to become, sees your efforts at improving yourself and falls in love with you in the blink of an eye. Go figure!
A’s hire other A’s. B’s hire C’s, because if they hire A’s, their B level performance will be laid bare. Morale: Hire an A to lead your organisation and radiate A’ness (not anus) outwards to everyone else.
Extreme ability is rare. Extreme talent is rare. Yet common sense is anything but common. Non leaders have talent and ability. Yet they choose not to stand out. Would they rather live in a World that could be so much more beautiful with their help?
Some leaders fail. To turn followers into team members. And team members into leaders of new teams. And so it goes.