The dream I put up earlier points at a reality, this is that without a recent track record, status and kudos, many will consider you a timewaster. It is not possible that you have anything to offer if you lack these. I am certain that on numerous occasions this thinking has prevailed, in regard of me. Important people only like to deal with other important people. This is a way of the world.

Last year when I was looking into this kind of funding thing, I had a lot of clarity in this respect. In these start-up circles there are many “networking” events perhaps beloved of extroverts and ENTP types. I fucking hate these things with a passion. They are a complete waste of time, for me. If I went on one and had a few shandies, there is a non-zero chance that I might get into trouble. If someone kept talking at me and would not go away I might feel the need to head-butt them, to shut them up. So, it is best for all that I never go to events such as these. Joking aside, what is a good use of time for some is a complete waste of time for others.

Having to chase people up is one of my least favourite things. I have made a mental note never to do this again. It is such a waste of time nagging, persuading, cajoling and harassing people to do something. This “chase me” game is a part of the VC funding landscape. Those in possession of capital will of course get many suitors and there is a power game from the get-go. Prove to me that my money will be used well, and I will get rich. Beg me for the money and if I deem fit, maybe I will let you have a few quid for half your company. This is loosely the script behind Dragons’ Den. There is a power imbalance.

Here is the flaw. Those things, those people, which you might seriously want to invest in may not ever come knocking at the door, or down the business plan pipeline, because they have become or are already disinclined. Which means that the investment portfolios might lack “the one”. I’ll suggest that a good founder might have a “bad attitude” so to speak.

I digress slightly. If you spend all your time kissing frogs hoping for a prince maybe it is time you moved away from the pond. Unless you are kinky for frogs, it can be a waste of time.

Having cued this up:

Do I waste time, if so why?

Do I know myself well enough to know what does not work for me?

What are my disinclinations and where do they come from?

Is time an infinite commodity?

It’s Always the Quiet Ones….

Last night I was watching a George Carlin sketch on You Tube, it was about all the stupid things we say without thinking about them. One of his targets was; “It’s always the quiet ones that you have got to watch”. Obviously, we are all proto-axe-wielding-maniac-mass-killers who are not popular with the neighbours. It is always reported thus on the news. Many popular people have done heinous things, though somehow this isn’t mentioned, their popularity. Believe it or not on a number of occasions people have actually said this shit to me, “it’s always the quiet ones that you have got to watch”, with a wink implied or actual, where I am “the quiet one”. Apart from thinking “what a wanker”, what can one do? Well one can remain silent. On rugby tour I stayed up late in the bar on the ferry chatting to some young ladies with my poor French. We were still talking when the others surfaced. They imagined many things, when nothing had in fact happened. “It’s always the quiet ones that you have got to watch”, wink wink, nudge nudge, one said to me. As it happens, I got invited to a Christian group in France as a result of our philosophical discussions. Later on that tour, I escorted the not-so-quiet-ones out of a possible stabbing by a pimp, away from the gendarmes and back to the hotel. It wasn’t me the proto-axe-wielding-maniac-mass-killer who was in danger of causing trouble.

There is a thing whereby people assume that silence is agreement. Now we proto-axe-wielding-maniac-mass-killers do not always feel the need to argue the toss. We may disagree and never voice our disagreement, we are definitely not “on board”, most often we are waiting for the noise to stop. I can think of many times where people have gone away convinced that I was “on board” when I have been anything but. All I have done is increased their Trip Advisor wanker star rating in my mind. They are on their own trip and good luck to them. I do not wish to travel with them. In fact, this has led to a number of misconceptions down the years, some of which have caused big problems.

I am getting around to the subject of control. People like to control certain situations and people. I am not quite sure why, but this is my observation. So, they try to get everyone “on board” or some such thing. They may talk at you, about you and all that kind of shit. They may assume that they have you under control and have your agreement. The may think that they have the situation under control and that they have a grip on what is going on. Way back when I did a start-up, the VCs insisted on various control clauses in the legal documentation. Right then their Trip Advisor star rating started going up and I was losing interest from the get go. I was offended, back then. It was a de-motivating thing for me. They could watch me all they liked, but I can be poker faced. Unimpressed, I was.

The phrase; “It’s always the quiet ones that you have got to watch” is wrong. It should read, “It’s always the quiet ones that you have got to ask.”

That is unless you are a skilled empath or telepath, which most of us aren’t.

Push Over or Assertive?

I was speaking with someone recently and they claimed, “being assertive prevents conflicts”. In some cases, there is truth to this claim. However, it can also cause conflicts. There is quite a lot of cock waving in the world today. And some like to bang their cocks together, to see who is the most rigid in their thinking. It takes all sorts.

A while back, after a traumatic event, I treated myself to a course of psychotherapy. As it turned out I picked a good one, she was older than me, American and tiny. She was very adept at taking the piss in an encouraging manner and she kept saying to me that I was a “push over”. What she said had elements of truth. I also noted the technique of mild bating.

Some people like confrontations and “fights”. Now one could play that game, or not. I am a bit of an experimentalist so sometimes I like to see how things pan out. One could turn the other cheek, to see if it works. Or maybe I am simply a coward shying away from confrontations, not manning up, perhaps my cock is flaccid. Sometimes it is interesting for me to see just how far people will go. I can absorb a whole bunch of stuff, a bit like a blotting paper. I can tolerate quite a lot. People will and do take advantage.

I have a second ray soul, which is love-wisdom. I am not overly keen on growling and snarling, unlike some others. Whilst the therapist was accurate in one sense, she was maybe pointing at a lack of balance. At the time I was very much in a service role, caring for others. I can be assertive to the max. Rarely, very rarely, do I do this. If someone is bating me to be assertive, it can ramp up. If someone is playing games, it is a quirk of my character not to play.

What we are talking about here is of course give and take. I give more than I take. I probably always have. I am not a very demanding or “taking” sort of person. Where each person feels comfortable on this scale of give and take is up to them to discern. I am not at the greedy or needy end.

Having cued this up:

Have I personally got the balance right between being assertive and being a push over?

On the scale of giving and taking, where am I?

Ego Stroking

Many have this need for being buttered up or metaphorically having their arse licked. Maybe they should be in “Last Tango in Paris” or go down to Sub-station South on “Underpants” night? Joking aside this Ego stroking is an often-expected part of social interchange. If you don’t do it, people are nonplussed, they can get upset or hurt. This need for flattery is strong in some. It can stem from insecurity but also has other causes. I personally don’t get it. It is odd. It is related to the game of top trumps which some are so fond of. The problem is that if you are needy of and susceptible to flattery, you might end up shaging some pretty strange people.

The need for some preamble seems important. I have been at networking events and people have told me of their marvels and I haven’t praised them. I don’t stroke their ego or anything else for that matter. Usually I have researched well beforehand. I wonder when are we going to get to the point, the crux. But no there is this dance. I haven’t subscribed to “Strictly Come Dancing” so why must we do this ritual sniffing. I am not a lamp post, and neither are you. I don’t care which posts you may / may not have pissed on.

This is a part of the secret world of introverts. Why can’t people simply get to the point? Like Jimmy, I believe that when time is short it is best not to waste it.

Those Disconnects

When I woke up this morning, this theme of missing the point, losing the plot and otherwise getting the wrong end of the stick, was in my consciousness. This theme underpins human communication. I’ll wager that every single one of us has gotten the wrong end of the stick at least once and that each of us have been misunderstood. There can be massive disconnects between what we think is going on and what is, there is often an assumed understanding.

In the blog I have mentioned non-contending, which some might consider wimpy. It is anything but. It can cause consternation especially when someone outdoes themselves in the asshole stakes. Once someone has done this, it is difficult to save a situation, largely because of wanting to save face. It is not the intention of non-contending to cause embarrassment, it does occasionally happen as a by-product. Many are so thick-skinned that they fail to notice. If you noticed I am building a scenario where someone wants to show off and win an argument, the other is non-contending. There are two radically different attitudes. Now imagine that you have read this blog. You might have noted that I am talking about non-contending. Should we meet face to face, we might have a “discussion”. You might want to win said putative discussion. At one level you have some memory that I mentioned non-contending. But in the heat of the moment it would never occur that I might actually be practising non-contending. Here is a disconnect. As a consequence, you might behave as if I was motivated in the same manner you are {in this imaginary scenario}. What chance in hell would there be for us to communicate effectively?

These disconnects, of varying flavour, happen every day. They are all around us. We miss each other by miles like ships passing on a foggy night, we can be unaware of what has happened. There may be an assumption of communication when little or none has taken place. How we think we have come across, may be entirely inaccurate. The messages we think we are sending do not arrive. How others perceive us is down to them, and it may be the opposite of what we might wish. Others might see something we are trying to hide or something which simply isn’t there.

When I wasn’t living in my cave there was a time when I interacted with people who were overly keen to impress. About 90% of the time their efforts had the opposite effect. What works for / on others, does not necessarily work on me. I probably came across as boring and with nothing exciting to say. In these situations, both parties walked away having miscommunicated. We missed each other like ships passing in the night. There was no connection, there was a disconnect.

I have raised here this notion of assumed understanding and cued it up. You may assume by now that assumption is a favourite topic of mine, it is a root of human folly.

This Charming Man

Punctured bicycle
on a hillside desolate
will Nature make a man of me yet?

When in this charming car
this charming man

Why pamper life’s complexities
when the leather runs smooth on the passenger seat?

The Smiths

Before I get fully into the subject of Face, I want to talk a little on the fact that how we perceive ourselves does not necessarily match how others perceive us. It touches a little on what might be called the secret world of introverts, who are approximately half the population. If you are introverted yourself, then some of what I am going to say may resonate.

Many years ago, I was at a social event. I know, unbelievable. And there was a young woman there who worked for a big consultancy firm, she was smartly dressed. She then proceeded to network everyone around. I don’t know what she was thinking. She kept pressing and was totally oblivious to my then current circumstance, which might have been impressive to her. Imagining perhaps that I was interested and impressed by her networking skills, she persisted. The more she persisted the more obtuse and minimalist I became. This awful woman just would not go away. I don’t know if she thought I would be impressed with her accounts of what she had been up to, or not. I just wanted rid, for her to go away and hassle someone else. This charming woman, left me distinctly unimpressed. I thought that she must have been very insecure and highly attention seeking. Because of this she could have been vulnerable to someone of a predatory nature. I was just glad when she moved on to her next victim. She probably thought me boring and of no interest to her self-advancing networking campaign, who can say?

This kind of approach does not allow entrance into the secret world of introverts. All that noise closes the door. There is a disconnect, talking at an introvert is very unlikely to illicit anything. If someone wants so very badly to talk, then let them get on with it. They obviously have a need, so it would be rude to interrupt. Maybe after they have finished we might begin to have a proper conversation? So, I have waited on many occasions for people to talk themselves out. If time is limited, they never do and so off I trot into the sunset.

I have ever so slightly over-egged this for dramatic purposes but not a lot.

This suggests that the secret world of introverts remains largely secret, it is not secret through intrigue, simply unexpressed. Doing the math this means that ~50% of the people rarely, if ever, share what they are thinking. Because most of the time they are simply waiting for the other person to take a breath, or pause. It is an underused resource.

What is hell?

Well for me hell is a semi-formal social meeting with networking overtones. The sort of thing where you have to account for where you came from, what you are doing and then are expected to regale people with tales of your wonderfulness. Playing social top trumps is the order of the day and trying to out anecdote each other is de rigueur. Please can you let me have the address of Dignitas… Thanks…

As pointed out in the previous post not everyone thinks the same nor has the same aspirations. This simple fact can come as an epiphany for some, should it find any purchase in their mind.

It takes a very long time for this charming man, which I can be, to surface.