“He who is without sin, let him cast the first stone.”
-Jesus Christ before a woman caught in the very act
If you are like most of us, you get deeply embarrassed when you do something totally stupid and everyone finds out. This issue came to the public’s attention with the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. Christine Blasey Ford, a Northern Californian college professor, accused him of sexual assault when they were just teenagers.
Whether true or not, this is a very serious allegation for someone being considered for the highest office in the land. When Judge Kavanaugh got defensive, it made us think that he might be guilty as charged. Today, no one can run for high office without being a target of any number of aspersions.
You are utterly void of social intelligence if you haven’t been totally embarrassed at least once in your life. It can be something as simple as unwittingly calling a prospective client twice in a row, or as serious as a quarterback blowing the game in the last second of the Super Bowl.
You Are Never the Only One
At the moment you goof up, it is tempting to feel that you are the only one to do such a stupid thing. Perhaps you call a well-known friend by the wrong name. The prevailing assumption people operate from is that they can do no wrong. If they stop looking good, it must certainly be their bad.
If you have ever gone to an intense workshop where everyone gets underneath their skin and reveals the skeletons in their closet, you will be amazed how nobody actually lives the proper storyline. Nobody comes up to the legendary “Ozzie and Harriet” in the early days of television. People get fired, divorced and have painful operations. They flunk out of their finals. Once I got an “F” when the whole test was simply “True” and “False” questions. I would have gotten a higher score by simply guessing!
Nobody consistently looks good, because we are all human. We can scarcely be conscious five minutes at a time, let alone every single minute. Nobody on Facebook or LinkedIn celebrates their failures. They give us the best possible impression. Don’t think they never made a big blunder in their past!
Related Topic >>> Social Awareness: How You Act Around Others
Most People Hardly Even Notice
A deeper realization you get from attending any growth seminar is that everyone is too immersed in their own melodrama to give undivided attention to anyone else. Psychologists reveal that after 24 hours, people have forgotten 90% of a sales presentation.
Sure, a few characters in your outer circle may occasionally take cheap shots at you. But the wiser among them won’t be anxious to cast the first stone. They have a long string of mistakes they hope no one else scrutinizes.
A relationship guru once disclosed that no matter how much you might love a woman, and she loves you, no woman can think of any man more than 50% of the time. We all have our own lives to live. The miracle, as the late Psychiatrist Fritz Perls pointed out, is that when we find each other, it’s beautiful!
Why Take Yourself So Seriously?
A fatal assumption is that the world revolves around you. Your Big Self IS the world. Your tiny self doesn’t even have a chance. Your body, itself, is your token in the Game of Life. It is your point of view that lets you play the game. Yet, the whole point of this game is to take delight in everyone and everything else.
Related Topic >>> Self Criticism Works Against You
A wonderful psych instructor of mine at Cal Berkeley, Stephen Levine, advised his students to do something every day that makes you burst out laughing at yourself. Go ahead, be embarrassed. Come alive!
People love screwball comedy because it is cathartic. We can all be low-grade morons when we let our patterns run us. We more fully love people who have gone beyond looking good. When President Trump played the villain, millions identified him as real. On the other hand, Hillary Clinton, who may have an unimpeachable character, wasn’t transparent enough to win those crucial electoral votes.
You Are Fully Alive Only When On the Edge
Embarrassment is a sign that you are pushing yourself forward. If you are never embarrassed, then you are definitely not taking enough risks. Life is all about growth. We never stop learning. To be a top performer requires a massive amount of practice. World-class experts require over 10,000 hours of it. They make mistakes all along the way…and learn from them!
Creative people are happy experimenting with their lives. They never want to get too settled in any one thing. A master like Picasso had at least half-a-dozen discrete periods, such as the Blue Period, the Rose Period and Cubism. Each time, Picasso had to reinvent himself. This may be why he is widely considered the greatest painter of the 20th Century.
When I was in elementary school, I tried out drumming in my school’s marching band. I had no talent for it. Even worse, I chose the wrong drum for the parade. I stood out as a sore thumb. Years later, while in an ad agency, one of my colleagues told me that I was “one of a kind.” He actually meant is as a kind of compliment.
True Leaders Are in Touch with Their Humanity
When we think of the greatest people who ever lived, we can see unmistakable marks of their humanity. We all think of Jesus Christ’s glorious Sermon on the Mount. We never think of His exasperation with His flesh-and-blood disciples, who seemed never to get it. Neither do we think of the rope whip He used to drive the money changers out of the temple.
A close study of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King will disclose serious mistakes. Gandhi alienated his entire family in his attempt to practice egalitarianism. Fortunately, his wife stuck with him to the end. King has been accused of cheating on a paper at Boston University. This didn’t any less endear him to the adoring public. It made him seem all the more human!
The greatest achievement of any leader is to lead from behind, to lead more by influence than dictum. The Zen tradition focuses on ordinary mind and nothing special. Like an infinite fractal pattern, the perfection of life lies in its endless repetition, all the jagged curves which, when seen in totality, are deeply satisfying.
The next time someone singles you out as not thin enough, or smart enough or handsome enough, invite them to take the long view...
Please be patient. God is not finished with me yet