What You Think is None of My Business

“How can we know what other people think about us?”
I gave an answer to this question asked on Quora.

TL;DR: If I focus on actionable behaviors that reflect my values, what other people think about me is really none of my business unless I need to correct something about what I am doing.

A friend gave me wise council about a problem I had about what other people thought about me. In this instance, my specific problem was in the context of my new position with a software company in role that required working with people who, frankly, were my superior in every way with regards to programming, industry knowledge and architectural mastery. I was intimidated and afraid of failing.

I had almost convinced myself that I would probably be summarily dismissed and thought incompetent by virtue of simply not having the  ‘pedigree’  the people working in this engineering group had. As hires go, I was atypical to the group as far as demographics.

So, struggling against my own doubt and insecurity, I sought the advice of my friend and he asked me to think about the following and then apply what it informed me as to this concern of mine.

His advice was something like this:

There are, if you will, four kinds of people that you will meet.

People who will like you for the wrong reasons;People who will like you for the right reasons;
People who will dislike you for the wrong reasons; andPeople who will dislike you for the right reasons.

Of these groups, there is only one that you should be rightly concerned about what they think of you.

What the other groups of people think are either beyond the scope of your influence or otherwise not any of your business.

People who like you, like you for reasons, right or wrong, but because they have determined to like you, what they think about you takes care of itself.

People who dislike you for reasons that are wrong (i.e. arbitrary, irrational, prejudicial)  do not share similar values with you, and therefore whatever they think about you will always be colored by those values and thus, will not have any worth in your knowing what they are. In other words, knowing what they think doesn’t add any value to your benefit.

However, the last group of people, those that dislike you for the right reasons, are those whose thinking should legitimately concern you.

Because of all of these people, those that dislike you for reasons that you believe are justified are the only people who provide you the opportunity to recognize and change what it is you actually should change.

What anyone thinks about us, in general, is only our business when we are invited to know because they are shared with us directly, or we become a stakeholder in someone else’s thoughts about us as a result of our being accountable to what is valued.

For what it’s worth, I did learn something that I would apply to the concerns I had.
In effect, it established the general attitude I take to new work projects and people.

This includes foremost a respect for the role each person contributes, the humility to recognize what I do and do not know and the courage to admit and correct my own limitations and errors.

How this translates personally from my own values is most evident as principles I apply about the value of a person’s time and one that considers how my decisions affect those working downstream of what I am doing.

I also learned from working with brilliant and expertly skilled people, that often the best contribution I will make is making it incumbent upon myself to be cognizant of not impeding other’s progress by inefficient use of time or being a source of obstacles in other people’s path.

No one should have to trip over what I am doing in order get shit done. I think this was why my colleagues at the new job liked me, despite whatever they thought about my proletarian education, MENSA member status, or taste in shoes.

And, this is, pretty much, the best I can hope to achieve with regards to what others may think.

Focus on addressing operant behaviors with regards to how I engage with others and if it’s any of my business, consider the subjective things (like personal opinions, constructs and preferences) if it adds value.

Feminist Entitlement to Male Spaces

Why are feminist women so fucking pathetic? – http://wp.me/p63zGP-2qX

JB doesn’t spare any words when she calls out the women crying foul for being excluded from a male-only space.

The bottom line is all about control. Women who make the hypocritical, fallacious arguments such as those made by Laura Bates are operating from a belief that they are entitled to be involved with whatever men are doing anywhere it’s being done to either show how “equal” they are or to monitor the activity for behavior that isn’t feminist-approved.

And every single time a golf club or an institution panders to these demands and gives over their spaces to intruding feminist bullies, they weaken the fabric of our society.

Please, please stop giving in to these demands. We recognize you may be attempting to compromise in good faith, but you are admitting lunacy, not rational adults, into your space.
They intend to dismantle all that was built, ridicule all tradition, demonize it, even.

You will be left standing emasculated wondering what happened to your balls. Well, when you open the waters to piranhas and sharks, expect to lose a few pounds of flesh.

These women have a taste for devouring what defines you.
You would be well warned to fight them as if you were defending your life..because, ultimately, you are.

I, too, will enthusiastically volunteer to stand outside and defend your space against these mutants.

Just say the word.

Hit Me in the Nose, See How it Goes

I want to make a few comments in response to JBs post, and the first is the general disagreement I have that physical assault is a deserved response for the contexts given.

But, before going into the rationale, I want to make clear that I agree 1000% that women are responsible in almost every case (excepting when in the grip of a pathologically violent or substance disordered person) of provocation when a man resorts to violence.

Even for women that are conscious of their susceptibility to defend and attack by verbal and/or emotional manipulation, when under enough strain, all people, no matter the sex, will fall back into a default mode that is familiar to them. This tends to be what we observed and internalized while developing from child to adult in the family of origin. We do, in times of stress. what we know , and it is what’s most familiar the overwhelmed mind will switch on cruise control.

As a personal example, last week I wanted to spend more time with the man I’ve been dating after we had already had dinner and spent a few hours having fun in the city.

He drove me home to drop me off but I was disappointed. Instead of recognizing that my disappointment was something that would resolve itself as soon as I stopped feeding it, I chose that opportunity to attempt manipulating my friend into spending more time with me by attempting to appeal to his emotions.

To his credit, he didn’t bite and went home. The next day I apologized for my inconsideration. It was a work night. He had to get up at 5 or 6 the next morning. He had already made a heroic gesture by asking me out after having spent the day working construction in the hot sun. I’m sure he was tired. His feet probably hurt. But, he likes me enough to think spending that time with me is worth the sacrifice.

And I was selfish and wanted my way. And I KNOW BETTER..but, I was under another kind of pressure and when stressed, I can return to a state that knows but doesn’t care. No one is perfect about any part of this relationship dynamic we each have with rest of the world.

When it comes up in my own life, the best I can do is recognize what I’m doing and take responsibility for it. I’m probably never going to be ‘cured’ of my human ‘underbelly’ but I can manage it.

And, then, of course there exists those creatures  that take pleasure and great pride in their ability to create as much turbulence and drama possible. With women, it is invariably with the words they choose.

There are women, like my mother, who will provoke a man every way possible, even striking him first or mocking him openly and publicly, in order to ensure herself a chance to milk the rewards of victim hood once he responds physically. She’ll accuse him of doing so if he doesn’t physically respond that is how much she desires control. I’ll stop short of mentioning the contrived sexual thrill seeking this provocation serves, but its safe to assume this is as probable as it is inflammatory.

But does anyone, even a provocateur such as this, deserve to be physically harmed? I think that answer is “no”. I agree it would be valid to feel enraged enough to do it, but it is not useful and is basically feeding the troll, as it were. Baiting someone into losing their composure so as to respond with a physical assault is clearly a victory for the one who is baiting. It brings the other person down to the level of making decisions based solely on how they feel. Emotionally charged behavior is not usually the best choice of those we can make. Rage is especially dangerous because our ability to reason while actively enraged is physiologically impaired if not disabled, altogether, for a period of time.

The only defensible and deserved cause of a physical assault is one that is made because it is the most effective means of protecting one’s self from imminent harm or when protecting another person from imminent harm when a better alternative isn’t available.

Even the use of corporal punishment as it applies to children, is meaningless when done by an enraged adult. Why? Because the adult is reduced to behaving in the same emotional realm as a child.

It feels good to imagine it, but, again, there is that pesky feeling concept, again. Feelings are not facts. They aren’t accurate maps of reality. They indicate what direction the winds of emotion are blowing and the direction the ship may be heading if left with no one at the helm to steer her.