Cunning and Clever or Honourable and Impeccable?

With which pairing do you associate?

How might others see you?

It seems to me that many aspire to being cunning and clever, that way one can find some “advantage” in every situation, spot some short-cuts, make bogus benefits and insurance claims, practise gamesmanship, beat the system and be “smart”, perhaps in the know. It speaks a little about politics in a socio-political context. Maybe in times of need it is the cunning and clever who acquire where the honourable and impeccable go hungry.

But, which of these pairings lifts the spirit? Which is open and free?

It is for each to decide how they wish to orient their lives and you can decide for yourself if the pairings overlap or are to a large extent mutually exclusive. Personally, it seems to me that there is little overlap between cunning and impeccability. Cunning has an air of subterfuge about, it is a shadow quality. It does not smack of being fair. One could say that cleverness is a step on the way to wisdom, but it has the sense of “clever” and not yet wise, to it. We might say someone is clever at school which means good at exams. They are not yet sage, though they might become.

So, cunning is a shadow word, clever is on the fence, honour and impeccability are light words. Perfidy and plotting are shadow words, inclusion and openness are light.

Having cued this up:

Do I prefer shadow words or light words?

Do I aspire to be cunning?

Do I aspire to be clever?

Do I aspire to be honourable?

Do I aspire to be impeccable?

Shabby and Off

Earlier today I wrote about justifications and how we use them to excuse behaviours which are shabby and off. What constitutes shabby or off behaviour? I guess that is to an extent in the eye of the beholder. But I also reckon we all know when we are doing something a little shabby and off. We might Facebook stalk someone we know, an ex or a “friend”, perhaps. This is shabby and off, but somehow, we simply cannot resist. We might think “everybody is doing it”, so it is OK and normal. We do not have very high personal standards if this kind of “I was only following orders” excuse suffices.

Waving your cock at an actress is now seen as shabby and off, the social definition of shabby and off is time variable.

Unless we are very far gone, there is always a faint hint of being ashamed, if we do something shabby and off. Maybe our toes might curl with embarrassment at the idea of being found out. And so, we might hide and get a bit more furtive about our peccadilloes. They may then grow in the darkness. The problem is that once one drops standards and behaves in a shabby fashion, it is easier the next time. We might lack courage to do something right and so we shirk. Maybe we feel a little upset. Next time it is easier. Behaving in a shabby and off manner becomes habitual. Before long we have low standards. Soon we accept shabby and off behaviours both in ourselves, our colleagues and others. Moral standards nose dive.

The only antidote to this is to try to garner a sense of integrity, impeccability even. If we have lost our backbone, maybe we need to find it again. Although compromise can be a good thing, it can often be bad, a slippery slope even.

Having cued this up:

Have I ever done anything shabby and off?

How did it make me feel?

Did it lift my spirits or make my heart sink?

Maybe I need to review the standards by which I live?

Cajole and Flatter

“If you behave like a good boy, mummy will buy you a sweetie / Xbox / Play station.”

” If you don’t behave like I say, you can’t watch the football match.”

“Mummy likes it when you are good, see she has bought you some chocolates and let you stay up late.”

“If you meet your targets you will get a promotion.”

“If you don’t do this, I will have to circulate a public email to name and shame you into doing it.”

This mixture of cajoling, bribery, punishment and flattery, is not uncommon. It underlies much. Anyone at mid-level in an organisation might recognise this. For whatever reason people seem to need to be cajoled, persuaded or forced into doing their jobs and this includes “bosses”. The sense of personal responsibility, or impeccability even, is rare. Without a carrot or a stick, many simply will not budge.

This need to nag people, to hassle them or threaten them, into doing their jobs was a major factor in why I quit university all those years ago. I made a decision back then, I was not going to get drawn into a situation where I had to beg or nag self-important people to do their jobs, nor was I going to clean up after them like toddlers. In my world people need to be responsible / proactive. If someone does not get back to you quickly then it is a clear indicator that working with them is going to be an ongoing hassle. Life is way too short for hassle. This response time is one of the “tests” which I have remaining.

As part of my inquiry into why I seemed to offend people I got myself tested for Asperger’s and the psychologist was pretty sure that I did not have this.  {I can be too frank for the liking of some.} She thought that I might have an unrelenting standards schema. {I was recommended a book “Reinventing Your Life”, which is well worth a read.} So, I looked into this. If you put this schema in conjunction with entitlement / grandiosity schema in others there is an explanation for the frustration I felt. She commented that she could possibly help me with this putative schema of mine. I am happy with my standards and do not wish to change them. So that was the end of that.

If this need to be cajoled and persuaded is sourced in childhood conditioning as hinted at above, it runs deep. There are also and lot of “little emperors” and “princesses” out there. Because of it, people miss out on a whole lot. And with some people unless you flatter them or otherwise butter them up, they won’t listen to you. In boarding school this was called brown nosing, elsewhere arse licking. It is a strange old world.

Here are some questions pertaining:

Do I have to be flattered, nagged, cajoled or otherwise persuaded before I will do anything?

Do I have to be threatened in order to move?

Have I ever simply done something because it was impeccable so to do?