How you use it is everything. And, no, I’m not talking about penis size. Get your mind out of the gutter and while you’re there, stop by and say hello to me.
Humans are the most fascinating and amazing creatures. Sometimes I become overwhelmed thinking about the diversity, potential, and beauty of the human race. Every single human on this planet has something to offer. We all have different strengths, weaknesses, and experiences.
How we use those strengths, weaknesses, and experiences is everything.
I am a planner and when presented with a new idea or when I have an idea, my first reaction is to analyze it from all angles. What can go wrong? How will this work? How will it be implemented? Who will it affect? How will it affect them? What can I do to make sure nothing goes wrong?
These strengths will begin to emerge throughout our childhood and teenage years.
When these strengths first emerge we are prone to using them in very destructive ways, particularly in our teenage years. I’m not proud of this next story, but I believe there is a valuable lesson in it.
In the summer of 1998 I was between my junior and senior year of high school. I was 16- I turned 17 on August 31st- and I was in love for the first time. The summer was a whirlwind of emotion and fun. It all crashed down in August when I found out that my boyfriend had cheated on me.
Obviously that was the end of our relationship. But I was hell-bent on revenge.
I hatched a plot. I was going to egg his house. I knew that if I did it immediately he would know that it was me. I decided that I needed to wait at least 2-3 months to catch him off guard. I was still aware that he would suspect me, so my plan had to be infallible. This fabulous new website called Google had just gone online so I researched how to inflict the most damage possible. His house had a smallish wooden stair case to get into the front door. I learned that if I poured a ton of syrup on that staircase when the temperature was extremely low, that it would be almost impossible to get off as it would freeze immediately.
I recruited one of my gal pals and two guys that I worked with to execute the plan with me. My friend was to spray ketchup all over the siding of his house, while the two guys launched eggs on the roof, and I would dump three gallon containers of syrup on his front staircase. Clearly my ex knew my car well, so using it in this endeavor was out of the question. One of the guys offered to drive.
All I needed was the perfect evening. One very cold day in early December, four months after my ex and I split, my car broke down. My dad took it to his mechanic buddy and it needed a timing belt.
I could feel it. This was the night. The weather was optimal and it was going to be 8 below. Perfect conditions for the syrup to freeze. I bought all the supplies and gathered the crew. We scoped out his neighborhood. I made everyone wait until every house on his block had turned their lights off.
We made our move. It took no more than 3 minutes for us to do the damage and run like hell.
The boys dropped me and my friend, who was spending the night, off at my house around 1am. Around 2am my pager went off with a voicemail (yeah I completely just dated myself). A friend of my ex left me an irate message:
“Dana I know you’re the one who just fucked up Steve’s house. His neighbors were having a party and they saw your car and got your license plate. We’re going to call the police and your parents.”
Oh really? I had planned it out so well that I knew 100% that she was bluffing.
I decided to call and leave a message on Steve, my ex’s, pager. It went something like this:
“Hi Steve, this is Dana. I honestly don’t give two shits about you, so why would I bother messing up your house? You ARE a lying, cheating asshole, so I’m not exactly surprised that someone decided to fuck up your house. That’s what happens when you’re a prick. There’s absolutely no way that anyone saw my car tonight. It’s in the shop having the timing belt replaced. It’s inoperable at the moment, so your neighbors are mistaken. Feel free to call the police and my parents, who will verify that there is absolutely zero chance that my car was anywhere near your house tonight. Have a good life. “
First and foremost, I’m now a voluntaryist who believes in the non-aggression principle. What I did was wrong. I initiated force against the property of an ex boyfriend’s parents. What he did was not violent and I was the aggressor in the scenario.
However, when I look at that from a purely tactical viewpoint, I cannot believe the raw talent that I exhibited. At 17 I was patient enough to wait 4 months to egg an ex boyfriend’s house. I planned it out down to the very last detail. Not only did I not use my car, I did it on a night when my car was out of commission. That planning is what allowed me to see through the bluff. Had the police and my parents been called, there is no way they would have believed the fabrication that my car was there.
At 17, I used a talent for patience and executing a well thought out plan to do harm. Now, I’m beginning to see the value of that skill. Imagine what I could do from a business standpoint? Or to further the cause of liberty?
All I have to do is use it correctly.
I’m still learning
This didn’t come together for me until the last several weeks.
At work, I inadvertently responded to ideas that others brought to the table by saying “We can’t”, “I can’t” and “No”. I did not notice the manner in which I was phrasing my comments, until my co-worker interrupted me mid-sentence and said don’t say “We can’t”.
The lightbulb went off in my head.
I realized that my co-workers were feeling as if I was not a team player and that I was putting down their ideas completely. Because of that, they weren’t taking my insight into account and I was feeling dismissed. Tension ensued. It was unproductive all around. Now that I realize where I erred, I am working on adjusting my language. I’ve started writing things down when they pop into my head during meetings, so I can come back later with well thought out responses.
The ability of foresight and to ask all the “what if” questions is a strength of mine. However, due to HOW I was using it, it ended up being a weakness. I am now digging into other “Hidden Strengths” that I may have that I simply do not know how to use. I am also taking a harsh look into my weaknesses.
The True Beauty
The true beauty is in people and who you surround yourself with, which is what anarchy/voluntaryism is all about. We all have strengths and may just need a little push in the right direction, so we can realize our full potential. We all have weaknesses and can collaborate with those who are strong where we are weak. In the end, I see us all as sovereign individuals, who are hopelessly dependent on each other. Humanity will reach its full potential when everyone stops bickering over these differences and starts helping each other grow. The picture in my head blows my mind. I can see it so clearly.
I will do everything in my power to make that a reality, but I now know that it is vital to work with others who have the same vision.
Who is interested in collaboration?