Chatting with a friend last night, I realized how much I’ve accomplished this year. While there was some time wasted in ways I should have known better, all in all, I got a lot done. Even better, I’ve seen how strong, supportive and beautiful my friends are. My students were as amazing and inspiring as ever, and I’m floored by the majority’s willingness to stand up for what’s right, and stand up for each other. Talking to Bij last week about which neighbor would sell you out if the Germans came knocking, we agreed one should never be surprised. Yet this fall, I’ve been impressed by people’s willingness to come together and protect each other.
While there are a few bad eggs only out for their own interests (1%), they’re easy to spot, and easy to avoid. The miserable little man who claims everyone else is an idiot, whose idea of conversation is talking at people who can’t escape, the disingenuous woman with painted-on smile and seething eyes, scratching madly at everyone, terrified her incompetence will be caught out—they deserve our sympathy, if not our time. There are so many amazing, loving people out there, it’s quite easy not to dwell on these creatures. Don’t.
Just as I started to write, M sent me a link to a Friedman column. Though I think Friedman’s a wanker (“Where does a guy whose family bulldozed 2.1 million square feet of pristine Hawaiian wilderness to put a Gap, an Old Navy, a Sears, an Abercrombie and even a motherfucking Foot Locker in paradise get off preaching to the rest of us about the need for a ‘Green Revolution’?”—Matt Taibii), I did like this line:
“The days of leading countries or companies via a one-way conversation are over,” says Dov Seidman, the CEO of LRN and author of the book How. “The old system of ‘command and control’ – using carrots and sticks – to exert power over people is fast being replaced by ‘connect and collaborate’ – to generate power through people.” Leaders and managers cannot just impose their will, adds Seidman. “Now you have to have a two-way conversation that connects deeply with your citizens or customers or employees.”
Oh, I guess it’s all a Dov Seidman quote. That’s why. Yes, connect and collaborate. Finally, it’s happening.
Something else I’ve always known but truly learned this year: Avoid people who put you down, want to keep you down, take you for granted, treat you poorly, or are generally negative or selfish. Even if they are funny. Even if you’re crazy attached. You know, deeply, that it will affect you. It rubs off and the end result is never pretty. Stand up for yourself, your friends, and your beliefs. Value yourself, your talents, your work, your community, and others will, too. It’s cliche and we hear it often, but live it. You’ll be in good company.