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Archive for November, 2010

It’s Official: I’m An Idiot

November 13th, 2010 No comments

There’s no denying it, my head is not large enough to carry around my giant ego.

Let me explain:

Every time I feel like the world has treated me unfairly, I go on a tirade as to why I am so great, how smart I am, and how no one can possibly fathom what I experience. What a joke, laughable really.

Let me explain again:

I needed groceries. My head was in a snit. I was talking to myself, spewing not niceties under my breath. Cursing until my face was a ripe-vine tomato red as my heart skipped a beat – intermittently palpitating. I made my way over to the grocery store and entered it. I had my tastes fixated on some variation of a rice salad. I moved up toward the ordering counter and placed my order. The gentleman providing on-hand food service clearly heard the order and proceeded to make 3 successive mistakes with the order. He saw that I looked somewhat perplexed and his voice trembled as he apologized. I looked at him plum in the eyes and said “don’t worry about it, I make mistakes all of the time”.

                In a flash he replied “I am so sorry, my 10 year old daughter is at Sick Kids hospital and I have to work”. I quickly felt a sinking feeling plunge to the depths of my stomach. I was speechless. I apologized to him 3 times without a second thought. His voice continued to shake as his arms and hands operated unsteadily. I felt like such a dweeb placing my silly order. I wanted to kick myself in my own arse.

                I walked out of the grocery store thanking my lucky stars while thanking him for breathing life and reality back into me. And just like that, the life experience of another man can completely extinguish the ego, rendering me humbled and grounded.

                What quick lessons did I learn from this encounter?

Let me explain one more time:

1 – The social injustices I perceive to be committed against me really aren’t that bad.

2 – A lot of people face far greater challenges than I currently do.

3 – When we are very concerned about our loved ones, our emotions get rattled and we see a sharp increase in the amount of performed human errors.

4 – As a society we quickly forget about the personal anguishes of others (even during the holidays).

5 – It’s official, I’m an idiot and I have an unjustifiably huge ego.

This sentiment probably won’t last as long as it should, but I needed to share it.

Matthew Polkinghorne

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The Day I Walked Into Your Soul

November 12th, 2010 No comments

Today was the day that I walked into your soul. I walked in because there was a window. I looked inside and I immediately saw your momentary glance of disdain. It was only for an instant, yet it was there. Maybe it was my appearance. Maybe it was the manner in which I carried myself. Whatever it was, I felt the piercing beam of energy from your eyes.

                In an instant, I forgave you. I didn’t give it a second thought. I have seen that piercing beam of energy for the better part of my life. For the most part, nothing changes. The steady faltering of our mammalian brains trips us up every time. What delightful creatures we would be if rationality reigned supreme. How delightful indeed.

                You see, I speak the words said in private 24 hours ago. I know what you are thinking before you said it and I know what you thinking after you said it. I said it because you said it. You said it because I said it. We said it together and felt an awkward moment. We have been timing the pauses and breaks between each other’s sentences for too long. You see a word, you like its sound, and you overlap in your work as a spiritual compliment. Just as I do with you. It is a mutual understanding – a kinship in some distorted and memorable sense of reality.

                I also saw that look you gave in the library. You thought I had checked-out of the engagement. I walked away and proceeded up the stairs. In the corner of my eye I saw your nasty glare. Drive your Porsche into a post – you want my dreams to go up in smoke.

                Yes, you want my dreams, terrifying as they may be – pick me up and kick me onto the street. There is a joy in snipping sequential words out of sentences – it is the light that reveals the emotional state of human psyche. And, psyches…psyches (sigh-keys) are for analysts.

Matthew Polkinghorne

Disclaimer: I gingerly sipped on vile scotch while creating this literary monstrosity. It was blended scotch (half iron and half lead). Not my favorite, but you get the idea.

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Be Careful Of How Much You Say ‘Yes’ During Interaction: It’s A Brainwashing Technique

November 4th, 2010 No comments

Many organizational management and leadership writers – the ones who are fresh out of ideas (i.e. – regurgitating the same old boring ideas over and over again), will tell you that saying ‘yes’ too frequently will result in over-commitment, occupational burnout, and reduce feelings of individual positivity toward relationships and the task at hand. If you want to talk about that kind of ‘yes’ behavior, go visit some futile website that may or may not be associated with an Ivy League School.

                If you want to read about new ideas (ones laced with originality) and fresh perspectives stick around for here for awhile, read on and breathe in a bouquet of originality.

                So, what kind of ‘yes’ behavior are we talking about here? To get those big ears perked up out there, we need to focus on a conversation between two people.  Basically it goes like this; one person asks a thoughtful question and the other person responds politely ‘yes’. The same person asks another thoughtful question and the other person calmly replies – ‘yes’. One more time, the same person asks a thoughtful question and the other person smoothly and without emotion responds – ‘yes’. Each time the yes response is uttered to the question, the tone is unwavering, crisp, and perfectly clear.

                Sounds like a positive interactive exchange, right? In a sense, yes. It feels good to have someone say ‘yes’ to you all the time. Yes means yes. It’s an affirmative  and it indicates acceptance, not rejection. At the same time, when said too many times during conversation, it can also easily be chalked up as a cleverly contrived interactive brainwashing technique – one that is designed to lull you into a dreamy and hallucinogenic state of mind where there are no no’s and the whole world welcomes you with wide and open arms (i.e. – the individual wants you to feel accepted all the time as if there will never be any problems and nothing will ever go wrong). Yes, that’s backwards and hilarious, is it not?

                The point is this: be mindful of a person who keeps on saying yes to you all the time. And, be very aware of ‘how’ the person delivers the ‘yes’. If it always sounds calm, soothing, and unconditionally positive, you got a manipulator on your hands. In other words, you got a person who is trying to access a clinical part of your mind (i.e. – the individual perceives that you have been said ‘no’ to a lot or been rejected a lot in an intimate relationship (s) or by your parents). If you are O.K. with such a person burrowing into the depths of your psyche with ‘yes’s’, by all means, let them burrow and shower you with yes’s. If, however, you become severely agitated by this kind of patronizing mind-warping technique, politely ask the person to stop massaging your brain with an entourage of yes’s – it’s just boils down to bad business anyway.

                Can I fly a commercial plane? No. Will I fly to the moon and pick up moon rocks in my lifetime? No. Am I good at advanced calculus? Heck no. Do parts of this writing sound arrogant? Heck yes. Did I have the intention of sounding arrogant as I wrote? Yes and no.

                 Do you ever feel like one person in particular always says ‘yes’ to you? How did it make you feel? Have you already considered this reality?

Matthew Polkinghorne

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