STAND UP STRAIGHT!
When I was young, I was tall for my age. But I always slumped my shoulders (more on this later). So adults were always saying “stand up straight; throw your shoulders back.” Aside from the fact that it was painful to do (Reason one), I had a greater concern.
No one tall has ever told me to stand up straight. That made me suspicious. It’s always been short-people-who-WANT-to-be-tall who told me to straighten up.
Like my company commander in boot camp. He was 4′ 1” and always bounced on his toes trying to be 4’4″, yelling at the top of his lungs for us to stand up straight when we stood at attention (here we go again). Then he’d come to you, nose to belly-button and looking straight up at me ask, “Are you looking DOWN ON ME maggot?.” Believe me, it’s nothing but pure hell to tell the truth in that situation.
But worse yet, standing straight causes you to be attentive. When you’re more attentive and you’re tall, you increase your “command presence.” This is very dangerous because . . . When you increase your command presence, you’re usually asked to LEAD something. Once you’re asked to lead something you have only two choices:
Make believe you can lead. We all know what that looks like (except for those trying to make believe they can lead). When you make believe you can lead, people catch on to you really quickly. And you either get promoted or you are disliked. In either place you’re always waiting for the shoe to drop. Knowing that you’ll soon be out of a job.
Make believe you can’t lead. When you make believe you can’t lead, you’re always hoping that the shoe will drop and you’ll escape from that job. In either situation, you’re not likely to have gained anything by standing up straight for the short people.
DANGERS OF GOING VIRAL
Inevitably, you will be encouraged by tall friends to write a blog post of your experiences as a tall leader that will go viral. If you write a blog post that goes viral you will be asked to speak places. Once you’re asked to speak places, you’ll have to write a book. Your book will open doors for you to speak more places and then you’ll be expected to be an “expert” on the topic. Unfortunately, the only thing you’re an expert on is resisting the temptation to stand up straight only you’ve already failed at that by now. Plus nobody likes a tall expert. Now that nobody likes you . . .
You’ll be asked to join a panel on FOX business news and your new writing, speaking, and interviewing schedule will have you totally stressed out. So Dr. Phil hears about you and invites you to tell the world the answer to the question “How’s that working for you?”
You go around now telling tall kids not to stand up straight and their parents are ripping mad. So they contact Bill O’Reilly. He sends Jesse Waters out to interview you. Wait till you get on O’Reilly’s show and see how tall he is. He won’t be happy with the example you’re living for America’s youth and you’ll be persona-non-grata at Fox. Now you’ll be embraced by the left. If you’re left, that’s good. If you’re right, then you’ll be wrong.
BACK WHERE YOU STARTED
Oh, another reason not to lead is that you delegate. And when you delegate it’s easy to avoid. And when you avoid, you’re considered conceited. Then you lose more friends. You become distracted from your focus as a leader. Then you start to digress in thought and conversations. People notice your digression and you’re no longer invited to speak anywhere. So you slump over in discouragement. Now you’re right back where you started with your short mother telling you “stand up straight.”
Unfortunately, you’ve long ago resigned from your day job to pursue your career of being a viral blogger, speaker, and expert. And who knows where that will end up.
You get my point . . .
© 2015 by David C Alves
iStock photo used by permission