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I’ve written a few of these types of posts over the years – which all goes to show how much of a sad bastard I was when I was younger – however I’d say it also highlights something else, something we brush over as adults, far too easily.
You see, while adults like to say kids are filled with optimism and promise, the reality is that for many children, they feel weighed down by fears and concerns.
Sure, some of these things are relatively superficial – and without doubt, we tend to get over most of them when we’re older – but I would argue that some of them have such an incredible influence on how we grow up and develop that they could be classed as evolution barrriers.
The older I get, the more I realise how blessed I was to have the parents I had/have.
Sure, they were tough and wanted/pushed me to do well, but they also instilled in me a sense of striving for personal fulfillment [not contentment] regardless what that might be or where it may lead to.
[Well, within reason. Being a criminal was certainly not an acceptable career]
It was their desire for me to live a textured and interesting life that ultimately allowed me to have the confidence to do – or not do, as the case may be – a bunch of stuff.
From deciding to not go to university .. to becoming a musician … to not smoking, drinking or doing drugs … to chasing a woman half way around the World … to starting a bunch of companies … to moving countries … to flying around just so I could meet someone I found interesting in a book or documentary to countless other things … it’s all down to the values and beliefs taught to me by my parents.
And while I know there were more than a few things that they would have preferred me not to do, they knew- that if it was something I felt compelled to do, it was ultimately the right thing to let me do, even if it meant I would fall flat – as I invariably did – on my face.
It’s important to highlight they didn’t blindly support everything I wanted to do.
They would consistently challenge my ideas/thoughts before I did them, but once they were satisfied it wasn’t ‘only child syndrome’ and something I really actually wanted to do/try/explore, they would support me and for that, I can never repay them enough.
That said, I still encountered many things that, as a child, I felt were overwhelming – things that had the power to stop me in my tracks, even if it was something I really wanted to do – which is why as an adult it’s kind of liberating to revisit those situations and try to handle them as I wished I could have handled them, if only for the sheer momentary sense of empowerment it gives me.
Of course it doesn’t always happen which highlights how growing older doesn’t always make us smarter or more confident, it just teaches us more ways to avoid the issue so with that, here are 3 things that I used to think were more dangerous than dealing with the Russian mafia and why – years later – they still have the potential to fuck me, and countless others, up.
1. Telling A Woman She Looks Nice
When I was young, giving a compliment – any compliment – to a girl was social suicide.
It wasn’t just the fact that she would probably burst into tears [or maybe that was just me], it was that your friends would either  disown you for being a pansy and/or  tease you mercilessly for liking a girl.
What this means is that for many men, approaching a woman is scarier than staring down a lion.
And it’s ridiculous.
Who the fuck is going to get upset at receiving a compliment?
Sure, it might cause some distress if you do it while masturbating furiously in front of them, but in the main, telling someone that they look nice – for no other reason, than they do – is a wonderful thing, where all parties end up feeling better for it.
Isn’t it funny that in this day and age, saying something like that still has the power to fill people with a sense of dread.
Especially clients. Haha!
2. Saying You Don’t Understand Something
One of the worst things that could happen as a child was being told a joke by an older kid and then – in front of everyone else – get asked to explain why it was funny.
The reason this was a nightmare was half the time, you didn’t know why it was funny … you were simply following the unspoken code of junior school kids, which was to “laugh” when expected to.
You might think I was a sad sod – and I probably was – however I know many people who have left meetings where they’ve said to someone, “Do you know what we have to do?”
Asking questions isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength and yet many of us still feel that need to ‘fit in’, which is why we shouldn’t sneer at people who ask for clarification, but celebrate them.
3. Being Humouress At Moments Of Seriousness
One of the worst things for a parent is when their kid acts up in front of others or in inappropriate places.
Most of the time it’s because they’re worried about how other people will perceive them rather than their kid doing something particularly bad [though apparently I did something in a Church which literally mortified my parents, ha!] which is why we are educated from a young age that at certain times and circumstances, we have to reel in our personality and sit there like a robot.
Now I am not advocating you start shouting or flashing at a funeral – but some of the most inspirational people I’ve ever been fortunate to see/work with have had an amazing ability to ensure that when discussing the most serious of subjects at the most tense of times, they’ve kept the overall mood of the room positive, optimistic and energised through their humour, outlook, experiences.
Being humouress does not mean you’re not being serious about the matter in hand and while it’s all down to ‘what you do and how you do it’, I think there’d be a lot more positive and productive meetings if that sense of childish cheek was maintained in the business environment, rather than pushed away and guarded against with an iron fist.
Being a kid is – in the main – a wonderful time and experience, but we’d all probably be a whole lot less neurotic if we took away the stigma of everyday situations and issues that, years later, still have the power to fuck society up.
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