This past weekend I was boarding a flight from Portland, Oregon to New York having slept just two hours after a night of partying, dancing and celebrating a successful WinterRecess with the Nomading Film Festival and celebrating the premiere of my film, One Foot, which documented my trek to Everest Base Camp (click on that link to watch it).
Needless to say, I was a bit irritable that morning due to the lack of sleep, and the beer in my system. In that state of mind, it was so easy for me to be annoyed with anything and anyone who didn’t do exactly what my over-taxed body desired. I felt like I was the only sane person on the planet.
Is it possible that I and only I was the smartest guy in the room? I’m going to venture a guess and say, no.
But it happens to all of us, right? “That guy is an idiot” or “Are these people crazy?” are common proclamations in any kind of office. Can idiocy, insanity or incomprehension be devoid in my office and only exist outside of my all-knowledgeable walls? It’s the bubble problem. When we’re in the bubble we can’t imagine what we look like from outside it, and vice versa.
Like Finds Like
We side with the people who share our beliefs, naturally. Thus, people outside of your company (and therefore, those who aren’t there to defend themselves when you throw them to the wolves) are idiots, and everyone within your office is the smart, logical, crystal clear, unambiguous, never forgetful one.
When you’re biking, everyone walking or in a car is an imbecile, but when you are walking or driving a car, the other two modes of transportation are being carried out by people who are – you guessed it – a bunch of idiots.
Whose Lens Are You Using?
- Why is someone else ignoring you when if you do it, you say you were just waiting for an answer before you got back to them?
- Why is someone else a bitch, if when you do it you say you are tired and stressed?
- Why is someone else an idiot, if when you do it you simply say you misunderstood the question?
- Why is someone else an idiot when they simply might be lost and from out of town?
- Why is someone else an idiot or stupid if they don’t care about something as much as you do?
If there weren’t two sides to every coin, life wouldn’t be very dynamic.
We don’t exist outside of everyone else. Our lens isn’t the “correct” lens purely because it is our lens. People aren’t slaves to our every thought or intent solely because we want it so.
Maybe your email wasn’t as clear as you thought. Maybe that person in front of you is having the worst day of her life and that is why she’s walking a little slow. Maybe someone simply forgot to write you back because he was busy or his wife was pregnant or his loan application on a house got denied.
Let’s Pump Our Brakes
Taking a deep breath and putting ourselves in someone else’s shoes doesn’t mean we are being soft or letting someone off the hook, it means that we are being human. Taking six deep breaths before you react to anything that annoys you will change your life, I promise.
We’re all trying to coexist. We won’t all get it right the first time and we aren’t going to agree on everything, but if we can just take a moment and realize that our prism isn’t the only prism refracting the light of the world, we’d be more understanding to everyone around us.
And to the lovely folks who work for TSA at PDX, my apologies for the looks and huffs I gave early on Sunday morning. I’m an idiot.