Tuesday, October 12, 2010

How to Live

As a sort of extended train of thought from yesterday's musings on speeding vs. being a mellow driver, I should also point out that it's all part of a general attitude which can best be summed up this way:

If you think you're a big-shot because you're always busy, always on the phone, always speeding in a hurry to get somewhere, you're actually not.

I see poseurs all the time at places like Starbucks, gabbing loudly on the phone while waiting in line, in a voice two shades too loud, "okay, look, John, I'm behind schedule already, and you know we've got that thing at 3, and I want you to put Steve on that, because I gotta go to the bank but I'm starting to stress out about this power-point presentation, and Kendra called in sick just before the deadline so we're really screwed on this deal", blah blah blah. There's a self-congratulatory smugness apparent with their theatrically fake pose of being a harried exec, and the real punchline is, anyone whose day goes like that is not an exec, they're actually middle management at best.

Execs don't worry or stress about such things. They don't have to. That's why they're execs. Execs hire lackeys to stress about the day-to-day details; they're your problem, not his. So if you really want to act like a big-shot, what you need to do is present yourself as not having a care in the world.

There's a guy here in Louisville I admire very much, he's a millionaire many times over - maybe even a billionaire. He owns skyscrapers, hotels, and office property around the world. If anyone on Earth should be a type-A-personality, stressed-out, cranky, super-swamped-with-responsibilities wreck, it would be him, you'd think, right? Wrong. He's one of the calmest, mellowest, friendliest down-to-Earth guys you could ever meet, and he always takes lots of time to talk to me when our paths cross. Definitely the kinda guy Pete Townshend spoke of in "A Man is a Man". He doesn't pace around with a furrowed brow lugging around a briefcase full of "important papers" while endlessly dit-dot-ditting into an iPhone. He doesn't even wear a suit and tie. He doesn't have to. He's neither haughty nor pompous nor too good to talk to the likes of you and I. And he gets stuff done without actually looking busy.

Meditate on that, ye salarymen with inflated notions of your stations.

- - JSH

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