Keeping Your Soul Without Losing Your Edge
June 29, 2011 7:16 AM Subscribe
I have, unexpectedly, become something of a celebrity and I think it's changing my behavior for the worse. In short, I am worried I am becoming a complete pill because I now have the freedom to tell people to screw off.
Quick Summary: I'm in my mid 20s and a hard working member of the art world. I have had some public and private success recently and got lots of money and lots of social capital as a result. I get to have meetings in big rooms with really important people and so on.
I credit my success to being nice. Not just pleasant but nice. I am obnoxiously nice. I didn't grow up with people who thought very much about other people so I tried to be the perfect social butler, so to speak. I knew the name of every single person there and what they liked and how to talk to them and I was pleasant. If something came up that I disagreed with, I would volley it back into the crowd or try to draw them out, make them explain, kill them with kindness, charm them to my point of view, give them enough rope to hang themselves with, or just smother them with good natured spirit.
That worked. It was good. I liked being known as That Person. Social Graces up the wazoo. Emotional Bomb Department. But then I started to get money. And Jobs. And a reputation. And I found myself not caring anymore. I was rude. Curt. Snappy. Normally if someone would say, express an opinion I disagreed with I would try to draw them out, make them explain themselves, and so on.
Now I just say "That is the stupidest thing I have ever heard" and ignore them. I've lost whatever patience I used to have. I am finding myself going "Well they're not X" as an excuse to just blow people off. I used to make friends by the barrel and now it seems like I'm just concentrating a small pool of people who agree with me
I am sitting outside myself thinking "Wow, if you're not careful you're gonna be a horrible person surrounded by yesmen" with the other half going "No, suffering bores for a decade was horrible, now you don't have to deal with that cause you have actual clout which you worked for."
So, how can I make sure I use the new power and status and position to be happy and move through life without turning into an awful person? How do you avoid the Yesman trap?