The one down side to getting older is I’ve noticed I’ve become a lot more cynical about everything. Coming out of my teens my vision of the world was similar to John Lennon’s in the song “Imagine”. I wanted the world to be a better place and I tried to shape my ideals around that.
I used to be so much more accepting about what was happening around me; now I try to figure out what people’s motives are for everything. I’m also much more involved in trying to dictate the result I want instead of waiting for it to come to me. I’ve learned the hard way that if you wait for things to happen, the odds are it most likely won’t.
One thing I firmly believed in my younger years was that if you put your head down and focused on doing the right thing that you would be rewarded. I thought that hard work, determination, and loyalty were traits that would help you work your way up the company ladder. Whether it was in your professional career or your private life, I mistakenly thought that good things happened to those who played the way they were supposed to.
I was one of those parents who never spoke up and defended my kids in sports and activities because I was naive enough to believe that the person running the event had the best interests of all the kids at heart. It took some tough lessons before I realized that in a lot of instances these coaches were doing what was in the best interest of their child and almost all of the other kids were secondary considerations.
Professionally it was eye opening to see a bunch of people who (in my opinion) weren’t qualified for the positions or promotions they were applying for getting jobs that seemed beyond them. It was a real eye opener for me to see that what you had achieved wasn’t always the best prerequisite for a position. What mattered more was the way you marketed or sold yourself to the decision makers.
Taking the cynicism out of the equation, I’m starting to focus on teaching my kids on how to best position themselves for anything they really want. You need to be able to toot your own horn and let people know exactly what it is you’re good at. You need to learn to be boastful about what your doing, you need to broadcast your successes to those in power.
It was a struggle for me to learn that this wasn’t arrogance or being full of yourself but rather the best way to “market” yourself to the people making decisions.
It’s not the utopian ideals that I grew up with but in looking back but I wish someone would have knocked me on my ass a lot earlier in my life to get this point across. It would have been a great aid navigating the earlier parts of my professional career and personal development.
I hope this post doesn’t come across as too negative because I tend to focus on the positive, but the purpose was to highlight how my beliefs have changed over the past 15 years.