Adversity Shapes Us

On the way to Fort Lauderdale I was trapped watching Glee Live on my flight (the channel control was not working at my seat so short of poking my eyes out I was stuck watching until I realized that I could just turn the brightness down to black. Lucky for me as my eyes were about to start bleeding).

However, I was struck by a couple of things:

– the special presented teens from various walks of life (very cool)
– there was a stage show with lots of shiny objects and fireworks

The stage show, while eye-catching, was lame. Not sure how that happened; oh, yeah, I forgot: a stage show based on a TV show designed to generate licensing revenue for pop music license holders = a lame stage show. The producers made a lot of money convincing an incredible number of people that buying expensive tickets to watch something they can watch for free is a good investment. Good for the producers. Shame on the attendees.

Onto the second point: the whole empowerment thing is starting to get disturbing. Watching a bunch of teenagers (or adults in costumes to look like teenagers) jumping and dancing in an arena, while uplifting and very energetic, seems to present a rather interesting idea: that jumping, smiling, feeling good about yourself is enough in life.

Are they on something or did I forget to take my meds this morning?

Life sucks; make no mistake about it. Whether you are a little person (the PC term for midget), gay, stupid, smart, tall, ugly, beautiful, fat, thin, whatever, the world views you as a collection of shortcomings. Yes, even smart, beautiful and tall. All shortcomings. Don’t know any beautiful/handsome women/men who are failures? Really? Everybody knows someone who has inexplicably done nothing with their lives. You know: the smart kid, or the prom queen, or the village idiot. The usual story is that life conspired against them. In a lot of cases that is absolutely true, but so what?

But wait (I hear you say)! Doesn’t the world admire certain types of people based on things like height, race and beauty? Well, yes, there are plenty of surveys that show that white males (especially tall ones) make more money than their (shall we say) non-white counterparts. Beautiful men and women are selected for advertising because of the sub-conscious reaction our brains have: we trust what beautiful people tell us over what ugly people tell us (and, yes, those two words, as semantically charged as they are, are relative).

The world does appear to have a preference for beauty. And race. And height. And health. And wealth.

So, what is my point? There are an incredible number of people on this planet (over 7 billion as of earlier this year) and guess what? Every last one of them has failed at one time or other (including the present) and every last one of them has overcome one or more of their failures one way or another. The world, while having a preference for certain human attributes, also cares about something else: success.

Yes: success. Sometimes that means ignoring your looks or any other self-perceived “shortcomings” and working like crazy to make something of yourself in total opposition to how you view your abilities. There is nothing the world (read: society) likes better than successful people. Sometimes that means figuring out how to become rich (the easiest of the ways to get the world to like you) or getting a Nobel Prize or being a kick-ass business person or a successful performer or writer or teacher or accountant or Federal agent or whatever.

For a man being a success means having access to better mates. For women being a success means…oh, yeah, having access to better mates (unless you are a single parent. That presents a different set of challenges for women vs. men. A topic for another post so have a drink while you wait).

So remember: with the New Year comes opportunities to be great, lame or anything in between. As a famous doctor once said:

Make your story superb so everyone will want to tell it and everyone will want to hear it.

Anyway, I have to go bake some brownies. Have a Happy New Year. No matter who you are or think you are. Make your story superb.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, recruiter, psychiatrist, psychologist, therapist or anyone with professional credentials who might actually speak authoritatively on life, the universe or anything. I’ve just been around a while. The above is for informational purposes only. Make up your own damned mind.


About cvalcarcel

Any and all opinions stated here do not reflect the thoughts, opinions or anything in any way shape or form of whoever my current employer happens to be at any given time. The opinions stated here probably don't even reflect my own opinions.
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