People Filter

As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say. I just watch what they do.
Andrew Carnegie

I was recently reminded of the quote above — perhaps a consequence of getting old(er). I have met some people who were … impressive. But I have also met a lot of people who were … “talkers” or “dazzlers” (sound way to positive, BTW, as if that’s a skill, when it reality, it’s an obnoxious intrusion in other peoples lives), or just inconsiderate people, who are only concerned with themselves and their own advancement.

And yeah, I am biased. I have experienced how it feels to lose essentially all of ones friends in — yeah, actually — a single night (last night of a school trip that was … well, horrible, or perhaps, positively eye-opening), or (thankfully) lost faith in a (clinically) borderline friend who did expect but did not expect to return. Or how it feels to be rejected — and then, thankfully remembering that I do reject as well — for good reason.

Personal interactions are a matter of fit, after all. No matter how you are, the other side has to fit as well. Sure, some people fit a lot of people, others have a narrower range. But even if you fit in that lock-and-key combination, it is your decision whether to turn the key, or not.

And perhaps it pays to be careful regarding what you unlock. You should get something out of it as well.

And yeah, as usual, people concerned about rejection should not worry about it — for a lot of people in the normal range, it’s more that “shyness stinks” and prevents others from seeing their value (which goes well beyond what they see in themselves). But even if you are insecure, personally, I found it very valuable to just observe people for a while. Just see them in different situations, with different people under different circumstances.

Some people shine. They (at some point in your life, even when you might have gotten a bit jaded) surprise you. But then there are those only concerned with their own advancement. Those who are only reliable if they reliably expect to gain something concrete out of the immediate situation. They are not only concerned with their own advancement, they just look at the next step. They fail to see the big picture. They take a step to advance, without realized that they lose ground. Sometimes you identify them by the tasks they do or don’t do, and sometimes, by whether they share snacks with you or don’t.

As someone once said: People betray themselves. You should not look for betrayal (you will find it), but you should take it seriously if you find it. And yeah, noticing these people might take a year, but once you see it, you can’t unsee it. Thankfully.

So, yeah — your time, your contribution is valuable. I’d suggest making sure the people you deal with are worth it.

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