When I was in my divorce years (the 2 years leading up to it) I remember how tentative my wife was in what she would say. She would say something like ‘Just because I am thinking about it, doesn’t mean I am going to act on it’. Then a few weeks or months later that thing she was just casually considering became real. Then it happened again and then again. Pretty soon I realized something. Some things are too radical for one to consider until they get used to the idea.
Little by Little
‘I will never get divorced’ becomes the mantra because getting a divorce is just too radical. Then after a series of mental and verbal negotiations with oneself it becomes “Divorce is ok if…”. Then more negotiations and “Divorce is what needs to happen.” It takes time but eventually people get there. But not at first. They talk themselves into it. I am not saying it’s wrong to talk yourself into it, sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t. But it is how the process works because words and thoughts matter.
That is the dangerous power of continually thinking negatively in one direction. You become what you think and say. If you fight back blindly against any slight without thinking about if there is validity or something to learn from that slight, then eventually you do it automatically with minimal choice in the matter. Like a dog trained to fight, that becomes your natural and unthinking reaction.
It’s sometimes called being stupid.
Drawing and commentary © 2018 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com
“The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.” – Albert Einstein
For Sale – Original Drawing | Print
Who do you know with a great reputation primarily from their own bragging about their reputation? I suspect not many. And if you do know anyone who is always trying to prop their reputation up through their own bragging I also suspect you think they are somewhat pathetic and sad to see them do so.
In sports there are some who are known as ‘hot dogs’. They brag about themselves constantly. And there is one determining factor as to whether we will stand for that type of behavior; do they back it up with action? If they do, then we may not like the bragging but we will say, at least he or she backs it up, right? But if they don’t? Then there is a no more pathetic person than that one. He or she becomes an embarrassment.
If I was talking to The Orange Man I would tell him that a person’s reputation isn’t what they say it is, it’s what other people say it is. The more you tell people how great you are, the less likely it is they will believe you or like you, because you haven’t proved it to them, you’ve just shouted it at them. And eventually, they will take great satisfaction in seeing your self-blown bubble burst.
Drawing and commentary © Marty Coleman | napkindad.com
“Reputation is a bubble a person bursts when they try to blow it up for themselves.” – Emma Carleton (1850-1925) American Journalist.
The worst way to make or take a selfie is to use filters that distort your reality so much that you don’t really see your true self when you look at the picture. Almost everyone uses some level of filtering, even if they say they don’t. For example, they take #nomakeup #nofilter pics and post them. But how many pictures did they take before they got the right one? Even if they only took two that still shows they are interested in how the appear to others. They want it to be a good ‘nofilter’ picture, not a bad one, right? And that is ok if you ask me. I don’t have a problem wanting the best version of myself to be presented.
But there are people who aren’t interested in any sort of real version of themselves being shown. They want to create a myth about themselves that isn’t based in reality, but is based on their own need for adoration or acceptance. These people tend to be braggarts. They extol their supposed virtues, not because the actually have attained those virtues but because they think the rest of the world will like them if they have those virtues. These are the people who pad their resume, make up professional experiences, lie about their schooling or grades, and hide examples of their weaknesses.
Job applicants and candidates for office are often tempted to do these sorts of things. Most don’t succumb to it in any flagrant sort of way. They might stretch the truth a bit, but they are still in the realm of reality in what they say.
But the orange man is beyond any of this. He is not tethered to a reality of who he is. His creation myth of self is built on his desperate need for adoration to make up for a crippling void of character and soul. He does not have an identity apart from what others think of him so he constantly needs to be built up from outside. He is a facade created so others will think there is substance inside. But there is not.
Don’t be like the Orange Man.
Drawing and commentary © 2017 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com
“He is a self-made man and worships his creator.” – anonymous
Available for purchase | Print | Original |
The author of this quote, David Brooks, is one of my favorite authors and commentators on modern life. He is contemporary and current in politics but can also take a longer view of society and civilization. He wrote a great book called ‘The Social Animal – A Story of How Success Happens’. It was an examination of both the definition and course of success in American life. He told the story using two fictional characters as seen at various moments in their life. But the essence of the book was the philosophical evaluation of success itself, and how the understanding of success changes over the course of one’s life.
One of the take aways of the book was that to be successful you need to grow and learn from your experiences. This will make you adjust, adapt, mature and become wiser about gaining and maintaining success.
It’s what I find grossly missing in the world of the Orange Man.
“The incompetent person is too incompetent to understand their own incompetence.” – David Brooks
Drawing and commentary © 2017 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com