J. Peterman's Apartment Is Real

Wednesday, February 09, 2022

(And Other Good Tips)

Sasha Chapin presents "Some Advice Gathered From People Smarter Than Me" at his Substack blog.

Here's a list:

  • Remember What Used to Work, Then Do It Again
  • When Choosing a Life Path, Think About What Contexts It'll Place You In
  • Minor Barriers Aren't Minor
  • If You Put Behavior Into the World, You Get Behavior Out
  • Don't Blunder
  • It's Unlikely for People to Be Extreme on Many Dimensions
  • Listening Is in Your Interest, Even if You're Totally Selfish [sic]
All are good, but one stood out for me because it reminded me of the Seinfeld episode in which Elaine experiences cognitive dissonance when she discovers what a boring and run-of-the-mill home life her boss lives, despite his many swashbuckling exploits.

Since I got a good laugh out of revisiting that scene, I'll use that one as the sample.:
It's Unlikely for People to Be Extreme on Many Dimensions

When we're impressed by someone, the halo effect often leads us to think they'll be impressive in every way. But this is not what we should expect. There's no good reason to believe that someone extremely attractive would be a great conversationalist, or that someone extremely intelligent would be emotionally intelligent, etcetera [sic]. In fact, people with extreme traits can often structure their lives in such a way that they can trade on the ways they're exceptional, leaving no persistent reason to address some particular deficit they have. And, generally, people are savvy enough to hide their dysfunction. People will disappoint you, eventually, and it's your fault if you take this personally... [heading bolded in original]
A great thing about division of labor is the fact that it allows so many of us to build our lives around our strengths and work around our weaknesses. We all do this, but it can be easy to forget that even people who are exceptional in some way are fellow human beings and almost always have to do this, too.

I disagree with the author's contention that everyone will end up disappointing us: That's only if we hold them to an irrational standard of perfection, but that's what this advice helps us avoid doing.

I recommend perusing the list: There are several I wish my younger self had learned much earlier in life, and all are worth remembering.

-- CAV

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