Monday, December 12, 2011

Right and Wrong

Belief is a scary thing to people who see it in someone else. Example: terrorists. They have a belief about the way things work that allows them to do things that many people consider unthinkable.

I like to think that I have a strong belief. One of the by products of my belief is an understanding of the world in terms of right and wrong. There is gray area in life. Examples are: which college is the right one? What structure modification will make a product I work on last the longest and cost the least? What length and pace of tempo run today will make the greatest improvement? What is the difference between an 8k tempo at one pace and a 10k tempo a few seconds per mile slower, and which one is more effective for the runner today?

Not all answers are clearly right or wrong, there can be varying degrees of better or worse. However, by viewing things in terms of right and wrong many answers become clear. When deliberating over the length and pace of the temp, the question about what type of workout is the right one to do today has already been answered, a tempo run, not a recovery run or intervals or hills or a long run. I use running examples so often because it is so simple. If you do A, B and C, you are probably going to get D.

Getting back to the point, I had someone recently attempt to place gray area in a topic that I saw as right and wrong. I briefly argued my point in front of the present group, and after a very unsatisfactory response I just kept quite the rest of the session. I am reading Steve Jobs biography and he often lashed out verbally and aggressively at people that he thought were incompetent. That is not my style, but I felt like it would have been an effective way to respond. After all, because of Steve's harsh criticism, he ended up building a team at Apple of high performers. He got rid of the people that did not perform well.

The problem is, I feel I have no authority. I am the youngest, the newest, the least experienced, and I feel the least respected. How do I tell someone who has more influence over the situation, "you are wrong," when I know that saying that will almost surely draw me negative criticism and probably the response that I am wrong? As much as I may pretend to not care what other people think about me, I do care.

This is a source of conflict for me. Do I have the courage to stand up for what I think is right? Apparently not. I think about this and am appalled at my weakness! If can't stand for this one thing, can I stand for anything?

Before I stated my disagreement at the event in question my heart was thumping as loud as it has in a long time. Louder than it does before I ask a women out. I thought it was going to beat out of my chest. I didn't know if I would even be able to speak. Of course, after I got a few words out it calmed down and interestingly enough another member of the group put in a few words to back up my train of thought. Still, not continuing to argue what I know is right, is wrong. In other words, even though I poked a hole in the bubble, I didn't squash it to pieces.

I see myself excelling at upper management some day. The ability to direct a group of people to the best solution thrills me. Part of management involves saying "no" and telling people they are wrong. I can do that now, but as a lawyer friend told me, the law is not about right and wrong it is a discussion, compromise or argument that gets drawn out and changed all the time. At my stance on the totem pole, I feel I would lose every battle.

Following a tangent, I see politicians, Occupy Wall Street, the Tea Party, Europe, and others saying things and I think, "you guys are idiots! but you have a good point..." Of course we need to raise taxes on the wealthy, but not so that we can continue to retire at age 65 or even age 60. Of course we need some sort of heath care overhaul, but not so that we can give everyone diabetes and heart disease medication, but so that we can get people eating healthy and exercising so that we have preventative health care. Of course we need a better education system so that we are not paying $32,000 a year per inmate in California, but not so that we give out degrees willy nilly based on what teenagers want to do but what they can do to be employed productively after graduation. Of course we need to curb government spending, but not at the expense of the least fortunate and most challenged citizens in this country. On a super direct tangent, that I am extremely passionate about, and have not voiced publicly on the Internet before, because I care what people think about me, but I will now in the interest of being direct and honest and open, (this is really big for me, drumroll please,) abortion is wrong, but we need to address planning parenthood because we need to do something better than we do now! Seriously! I think that all babies are a gift, but I think that many of them are burdens at some point as well. It seems incredibly ignorant to me to be against contraception without providing copious education. Actions have consequences! I see your Occupy movement Wall Street executives and Congress politicians and raise you the Bolshevik Revolution.
Well, that's how my thoughts mutate. I don't like to argue unless I know I will win. Case in point, I had an argument with a biology major in college and it boiled down to the grass not being alive according to his statement.
So that's how it goes, another blog post that probably only gets me closer to being fired and having fewer friends.

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