Sunday, 7 March 2010

Its important, knowing you're being a prick!

Let me tell you a story…I’ll Americanize it a little so that some cultural references are understood.

When I was a child, I was a bit of a smart ass, I was the smartest kid in class though junior school, could read at a level several years older, collected facts and trivia like a sponge, could beat all comers at chess, cruised through school work and thought I knew everything. I was a big fish in a small pond. I could ponder the mysteries of existence, science, life and the universe, and actually make sense of it all before I was 11.

I didn't of course, know everything that is, I was a kid who was just a bit smarter than my class mates. But like most smart ass kids, I took great delight in showing others how smart I was, egged on a little by some proud if slightly misguided aunties who felt my superiority was actually genetic and should be trumpeted. I didn’t mix well with those I was demonstrating my smartness to, I would snear at them, ridicule them, point out their clear flaws in thinking and most tellingly dismiss any thought they had on any subject with my staggering intellect which could cut someone in half then leave them reeling with my sharp sarcasm for which there was little defense. I won many arguments, at least in my mind I won them, I was the centre of the known universe and incapable of being wrong. The pope had nothing on my levels of infallibility.

Of course this didn't make me very popular, the standard response of these kids, when beaten to an intellectual pulp by me, was to call me a prick and make fun of my strange surname, I didn't like that very much, but it proved to me that I was better than them because that was all they could manage. I didn’t need them, I was better than them so why should I care? I rose above it, like the colossus I was, unless of course I pissed off the bigger boys, when again my great intellect would be used to make use of my other skill, common among smart asses, groveling like a wimp to avoid a beating!

As I grew older, and went to high school, I mixed with other kids from much further afield, many were as smart or smarter than me, it was pretty crushing. My one claim to superiority went out the window, yeah I was still bright, but y’know its not the same being one of the crowd. I still had this huge chip on my shoulder, I couldn't help myself and would continue to be a prick to those I could still lord it over...and reveled in my resulting isolation, I cut myself off from the crowd (though my nicotine addiction mean I had to make some connections) sure that I was king of my own little world and didn’t need anyone.

Then of course, hormones, acne and dreaded teens hit, social acceptance became more important and I eventually learned a life changing lesson. If people are calling me a prick...then maybe I am a prick...A degree of self reflection was needed, and sure enough I wasn't just a prick I was the biggest prick you could imagine. I was worse than a prick, I was a selfish self obsessed wanker. This had to change…

It took a few years…and if I’m honest, even well in to my 20s I was a prick. But I managed to stop myself being a prick, just often enough that I learned the best way not to piss people off and invite the prick comment, was to stop, think about things from their viewpoint, to think…am I being a prick? That level of self reflection is very hard , but it gets easier with practice and age.

I am still capable of being a prick, and on occasions I lose that control and act like one (especially when drunk, flustered, stressed or depressed)…but I usually…usually, realize it and make amends. I don’t behave the way I did as a child anymore, because it would of course make me a prick, I’m a grown man, proving how smart I am to people I believe are not as smart as me is of course very prickish. I‘m not even sure I’m that smart any more, I mix with some incredible people whose smarts are just staggering. I don’t need to do this anymore. I prefer the honesty of interaction with people regardless of how smart they are, I am a people person who revels in learning from others and broadening my mind.
Of course I still think I know everything…I’m human after all (And the weakest link is just no challenge to me). But how I communicate that is what avoids the prick insults.

Why am I telling you this….well the point of this post, is probably lost on 99.99% of you, but some may read it and will almost certainly view it as a personal insult…but its not, its an observation.

If enough people tell you your being a prick, you probably are being a prick…and you need to develop that tiny amount of self reflection to look at yourself critically and decide, am I being a prick? If the answer is yes…fix it. If the answer is no….you're delusional and a prick…try the self reflection bit again.

Most of us are capable of being pricks, with the right stimulus, almost all of us are capable of self reflection and remorse for it..I’ve discovered though some people are not, which is sad, mad and a bit tragic really!
People like you more when you’re not a prick, people respect you more when you’re not a prick, and people develop closer bonds with you when you are not being a prick, in fact, apart from the satisfaction it gives a smart ass child who does not yet know any better, I can’t see any reason to be a prick

So…all of you…Stop being pricks.

Its not big and its not clever

1 comment:

Colin McNulty said...

I sooo want to send this to someone I work with!