I once heard a marriage counselor say that the world is divided into two types of people.
Type 1 is one sort of person who likes to be right. They enjoy it. They seek it. They feel that being correct/good/valid about something means they (as a person) are correct/good/valid by proxy.Type 2 is the sort of person who does not like to be right because, if they are right, that means someone else has to be wrong. They will not seek to prove their point of view because it means someone else has to feel bad about the issue. And if the other person is feeling bad because of their actions, well, how could they let themselves feel good? Instead, they will hold back, bite their tongue, and accommodate by whatever means necessary.
Neither one is better or worse. The world relies on Type 1’s to strive for progress and innovation (after all – they need to prove their point), while Type 2’s provide empathy and compassion. Interestingly, the counselor said that most successful marriages are composed of couples that fall on opposite sides of the table, but, she was sure to point out that “most people who are successful in life fall somewhere toward the middle of the spectrum” she said, making elaborate, tai-chi esque hand gestures.
Since hearing this advice several years ago, I have come to conclude she was right – there are two types of people and the spectrum of “rightness” is wide. Very wide. And getting my own butt somewhere in the middle is a more difficult struggle than one might suspect.
I have also concluded that the only thing I like less than an Extreme Type 1 Know-It-All Asshole, is a Mealy-Mouth with a Martyr Complex Type 2. As luck would have it, I am excellent at attracting both.
Where am I going with this?
The trees! Oh yes, I was writing a caption to this photo I took of these two trees at the WarrenDunes in Michigan a couple weeks ago (it’s a fun beach, btw — you should totally go).
Thing is, you don’t usually see trees growing in the middle of the sand at the beach, do you? Yet here these two stand all on their own. Isolated. Alone. One erect as a tin solider (Type 1, obv), while the other one is half-way to a back-flip trying to accommodate (a Type 2, natch). If the one on the right stood up straight, it would steal the light from the one on the left, and then the one on the left would peter away. Eventually the one on the right would remain, but would lack the strength to stand alone to weather to wind and rain, not to mention a frequent occurrence of sand storms. Both trees would eventually fail.
Moral of the story: If you are a tree, don’t be an idiot and plant your roots in the middle of a sand dune.
Moral of the story 2: Next time you insist on asserting your opinion as what is right, look beside you and wonder if someone else is holding back so that you do not have to be wrong.
Wow. This might be the world’s longest photo caption.
I’m taking a break through the end of August and posting nothing but pictures… Details here.