Thanks for your advice, but…

I had a interesting time at consensual trolling in the last week. A friend, Chris, I suggested he get in touch with me if he wanted a new website – implying the old one was bad! Some of his other friends joined in teasing him. I quoted some of my research which pointed out shortcomings and others, playfully, supported this. So he felt the need to change it. I praised him after, and then suggested he improve it further using my other research. He took it very well and there was no animosity.

But Chris is rare. Many are all too willing to offer their advice, but when others reject it they become offended. The thing about advice is that one should not have to accept it and not be thought less of because of it. There was this consultant I hired called Julie, who claimed to be skilled at public relations. Whilst I accepted some of her advice, such as on changing all my writing to the first person, on other things she made me feel a bit like Pink in this video below.

Julie said that I should change the way I’m not afraid to speak about my successes – she says people don’t like those who boast. Julie said I need to be nicer, as the IT people she knows on Twitter who are nice have lots of followers. And Julie said I needed to describe myself and act more modestly, such as not describing myself as a ‘polymath.’

She could be right, if my target audience was losers, who resent other’s successes if they don’t have them themselves. Losers who don’t take risk to better themselves, because they don’t want others to think they are big headed. Losers who won’t be friends with anyone, unless their treading on eggshells for them, saying how great they are, because they don’t feel they can do it themselves.

In this context, a loser is not someone who lacks accomplishments, but someone who resents others who have them, and make up reasons why it is not desirable to have them – if only because they can’t achieve them.  These losers have high expectations of what it means to be successful – which they will never meet. To them, if a member of your family won a local swimming or diving competition, then if they spoke highly of their success they would be called ‘big headed’ by these losers, and if they aspired to ‘greatness,’ such as being at the Olympic level Tom Daley is at, they would be told by losers they have ‘delusions of grandeur.’

So when presented with people like Julie who try to change us to be liked by others, we should ask ourselves some questions. “Why should we change who we are, just to please others?” “If we are good at something, why should we not be able to speak with pride about it, even if we are not as elite as others?”

In my case, I have, at present, four degrees in four different areas. That technically makes me a ‘polymath.’ But these losers seem to think one can only be a polymath if one, it seems, has been dead for centuries. Anyone who is skilled in many different areas is a polymath. Someone who collects and knows a lot about model trains, planes and auto-mobiles are polymaths. Someone who has been a company director of several different companies in several different industries is a polymath. Maybe even, someone who has had several different children from several different partners is also a polymath of sorts!

So why should modesty replace honesty? Why should pride in ones successes be overtaken by others desire for one to hide them? If we are the best ‘spade’ in town, surely we should call a spade a spade? Just because others think one can only call a spade a spade if they are on TV, in the newspaper, or otherwise popular or prominent, it doesn’t stop that spade being a spade.

So rather than playing the loser’s game, those with pride should support those with pride. I now make an effort to follow those people on Twitter whose profile page carry a boastful message. If these people are being boastful, then they must have a few things in common with me. Why would I want to associate with losers, who talk down themselves and others, when I can be around people not afraid to share in their achievements? I’m more likely to become even more successful than I am being around other people who think they’re successful. If they are being attacked by losers for a part of their personality which I share, then it will help us all know how successful we are, because if we weren’t then others would have no interest in attacking our common qualities. This is not the commonly defined ‘elitism’ in the sense of being around people who think their better than others, but being around people who value the same thing in life as others.

We can’t change our family, but we can change our friends. If  there is something about us that is meaningful to us, then we should seek out others who also value than. With the Internet this is much easier, if we stay away from open-access bulletin boards, because there are many avenues to meet like minded people who will support rather than criticise us. These people may give advice, but it is likely it will be more appropriate than others, like Julie, can give, and more likely than not, these people won’t mind you not taking it, as they will easily be able to understand why, because they will likely appreciate the many differences of people with a common interest.

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