Tuesday, April 03, 2012


Probably one of the hardest but most valuable things to come to terms with in life is that 'we are what we do'.

This is obvious from the outside looking in. When your friend has scotch for breakfast and does so alone you are probably going to infer that they have a drinking problem despite what they tell you.

It is easy to call oneself an elite athlete, but if you sit around on your arse eating cheetos all day nobody is going to accept your self diagnosis.

It doesn't seem fair, we have a right to self expression, but not a right to be believed. Others fall back, whether consciously or unconsciously on evaluating our behaviour, because behaviour can be seen.

Think. Who is your manager at work? Seems obvious, but think about their actual authority, who does the team look to, who's ideas go ahead? You may wish to make the distinction between 'manager' and 'leader' one being a formal title and one being a recognition of one's actions (and others responses to it).

Imagine if Mark Zuckerberg rang you up to inform you you were being facebook audited, and had to provide evidence that all 700 of your friends were indeed friends. What evidence do you have?

Just about everybody can't help but see how people behave, behaviour consists of - things we do, words we say and how we say them. Behaviour is seldom random either, this is how in the evolution of our species people have gotten pretty good at evaluating us as people based on our actions.

Everyone's an armchair psychologist, what is surprising is that people are not often wrong. Except when it comes to themselves. I spent most of my life thinking that 'people know you better than you know yourself' but really when it comes to what we are generally in denial about it rings true.

Those who observe us will probably know long before we do that our marriage is loveless or that our indulgence is an addiction. But it is easy for people on the outside to accept the facts because they are spared the emotions and consequences of the revelation.

And as somebody who invited honest direct feedback on my shortcomings, it is fucking hard to take even when you are 'mentally prepared'.

Habit is powerful, that is what makes us so predictable and inference from behaviour so effective for people. But behaviour is a choice.

We always choose how to behave. Mental illness is another matter, because you lose your choice due to chemical imbalances depending on the nature of your problem. But everything else, including addictions we choose to do.

People who actually change are rare, hence the saying 'first impressions last' which always implied that people set their mind about you and also seemed unfair. But the sayings factual basis is probably in us being so reliable and consistent. That we are set in our ways before people even meet us. Thus the first impression is going to in most cases be the same as the last impression.

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