EPISODE 22 TRANSCRIPT
08 | 29 | 18
I’m not complaining, but it is a fact that YouTube is no longer a platform that genuinely cares for and supports its small creators. And that’s fine. I guess technically they don’t owe us anything. That said, I’m putting all this time and effort into making these videos and the point is for them to reach as big an audience as possible. Liking the video, sharing the video, definitely commenting on the video and of course subscribing are great ways to support this channel. But unfortunately they are no longer enough due to many changes on the YouTube platform. Even subscribing does not mean that you’ll see my videos anywhere on your homepage or even in your subscription feed. There’s two things you can do that would help me grow this channel at a more reasonable pace, and I’d be incredibly grateful for either one. The first and most important is to also hit that bell button next to the subscribe button. If you’re already a subscriber, just go ahead and hit it, and if you’re new and want to subscribe, go ahead and hit both buttons when you do. For the time being YouTube is treating that as a confirmation that you’d actually like to see my content. The second is to bookmark my page. That’s the only guaranteed way that you’re going to be able to find my future videos. I don’t want to go on and on about this and I also don’t want to have to repeat this in each video. So in future videos I’ll probably just include a title card that let’s you know to hit the bell if you want to support the channel. Alright, thanks for listening to all that and thank you guys for all the love.
I guess to go along with that I’ve been wanting to talk about my online social presence. I’m not overly active on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram as I don’t get nearly as many interactions as I do here on YouTube. I would strongly encourage you to follow me on at least one of those platforms though as it’s a great way to ask me questions or to reach out to me privately. I’d also encourage you to specifically follow me on Instagram as I’m going to be trying out something new. There are times when I’d like to share some tips or information with you but it’s not enough to warrant a full video on YouTube. So I’m going to be offering up information and advice on Instagram in-between uploads here. That way I’m not going so long without releasing content. I’m not hopping off of YouTube, just supplementing the content in-between releases.
Finally, on the blog that I put together as a companion to this channel I have a resource page for those with OCPD. I’ve included the link in the description and I’ve recently updated it to include more articles, blogs and also videos by other YouTube creators. I suggest going and checking it out. One of the new links is to a blog called The Healthy Compulsive. This has been put together by Psychotherapist Gary Trosclair and is a fascinating read. Much of the information focuses on managing the positive attributes of having a compulsive personality. So much of what’s out there on OCPD tends to be repetitive and it’s a breath of fresh air reading about the disorder from a new perspective.
There’s a few other things I wanted to touch on, but we’ll save those for another time. We’re already a ways into this video and I’d like to get to the point of it. So…you can be smart or you can be pleasant. Is that true and what does that have to do with OCPD? First off, this is one of my favorite quotes from a film I’d highly recommend called ‘Harvey’. Since seeing this film years ago it’s a philosophy that I’ve tried to incorporate into my life as much as possible, and anytime I’ve been successful in applying it, it has led to greater happiness for me. Now I’m going to be covering some pretty big ideas here in the course of just a short YouTube video, and as this isn’t a philosophy channel I would encourage you to research the assumptions I’m going to make for yourself. There isn’t time in one video to go into depth on all of these concepts, but it’s important that you understand and agree with them if you want to be able to apply this advice. I’ve done the research myself and as I believe these concepts, I’m presenting them as fact. However, you may disagree and if so you’ll take this video as my opinion and continue on your own course towards your own personal enlightenment. And that’s fine. That’s actually sort of the point.
So let’s break down the individual ideas first. What does it mean to be smart? If you look up the definition of smart you’ll find words associated with it such as bright, knowledgable, shrewd, witty, clever, intelligence and acumen. And if you look up pleasant you find delightful, congenial, friendly, pleasing and agreeable. Are these conditions at odds with each other? Well they certainly don’t have to be. A person can be knowledgeable and delightful or witty and friendly. So why are they diametrically opposed in this quote? Well, we can take pleasant at face value here. It’s smart that we need to take a closer look at. Smart in this context indicates a lack of humility. Or being ‘right’ or ‘correct’ at the expense of being kind. So to rephrase the question, is it better to to assert your truth at the risk of alienating yourself or is it better to show openness and humbleness in an attempt to be compassionate?
This is where I’m going to look to some of the great thinkers to decide if practicing humility leads to a happier life. I’m going to assume that the virtues extolled by some of the brightest minds to ever inhabit this planet contain a wealth of merit, and I’ll pull from a diverse group of “smart” people to drive the point home.
We’ll start with someone whose own practices I’ve been trying to incorporate into my life as of late. This would be Benjamin Franklin - ‘My list of virtues contained at first but twelve; but a Quaker friend having kindly informed me that I was generally thought proud; that my pride show’d itself frequently in conversation; that I was not content with being in the right when discussing any point, but was overbearing, and rather insolent, of which he convinced me by mentioning several instances; I determined endeavoring to cure myself, if I could, of this vice or folly among the rest, and I added Humility to my list.’
That was a long one, so we’ll go short next with Confucius and ‘humility is the solid foundation of all virtues.’ Also from the east, we get buddhism and the principle of wu-cheng or "no contention”, that requires a practitioner refrain from quarreling or contending for personal interests, INCLUDING intellectual interests. From christianity we get ‘when pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom’.
If religious thought holds no sway, we’ll go a completely different direction with Ayn Rand and her book ‘Atlas Shrugged’ - ‘Humble people are not beautiful, intelligent people who take pride in convincing themselves they’re ugly and stupid; they are people who don’t make much of their ego. Not thinking of themselves as the center of the universe, they open up more easily to others and are especially aware of the interconnection between all beings.’ This next one is new to me, but I like it. Abraham Lincoln is quoted with ‘what kills a skunk, is the publicity it gives itself’.
A few more - ‘How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these’ is from George Washington Carver. We have William Shakespeare with - ’in peace there's nothing so becomes a man As modest stillness and humility’. Of course we can’t forget the Dalai Lama with - ‘To say that humility is an essential ingredient in our pursuit of spiritual transformation may seem to be at odds with what I have said about the need for confidence. But there is clearly a distinction to be made between valid confidence or self-esteem, and conceit - which we can describe as an inflated sense of importance, grounded in a false image of self.’
And if none of those got you, how about Mr. Rogers with - ‘there are three ways to ultimate success. The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind.’
So why fill half of my video up with quotes? It’s because in order for you to work toward a life filled with more happiness, you’re going to need to understand this principle or virtue of humility. Not only understand it, but realize the importance of it. It is the backbone of all other virtues. Being smart isn’t a virtue. Applying wisdom is.
However, being kind in conversation is one of the most difficult things for someone with OCPD to put into practice. Ok, so now we’re back to OCPD..Literally everyone can benefit from this information. This isn’t just information for people with OCPD. However, as this is an area in which those with OCPD sometimes struggle the hardest, it will be the most beneficial for that part of my audience. So the deal with kindness as applied through humility is that it’s full of pitfalls. I’m not going to get political, but this is just too good of an example not to use. Virtues are practiced moral behaviors. It is basic human nature to exhibit pride for those things that we practice to become better at. So here Trump demonstrates a common trap when it come to being humble. The more often we practice humility successfully, naturally the more proud we become of our ability to be humble. Thereby negating the ‘being humble’ in the first place. If that’s not complicated and confusing enough, in our attempt to humble ourselves, we may, through empathizing, put feelings over facts. Sometimes this manifests as virtue signaling, which is basically being the most ‘right’, using feelings instead of facts as the barometer.
So to break it all down, practicing the act of being humble in conversation is both tricky and goes against our own nature. Especially if our nature is obsessive compulsive personality disorder. But, according to social psychologists and some of the greatest thinkers ever, humility is both altruistic and self loving, and leads to a more positive outlook on life, better relationships and a happier life.
If you’ve made it this far and are still unclear as to how you can be smart and be wrong in social situations, you’re not alone. It’s a complicated subject, it goes against our nature and I myself struggle to integrate this practice into my personality. But if you’re with me on the value of humility, then how does this principle play into our day to day interactions? Let’s talk some examples. I’ll give you a few scenarios and see if you can follow me. Your significant other tells you that they feel you’ve been distant lately. You know that nothing has changed. Do you tell them that they must be imagining it? Do you accuse them of being distant? Or, you’re at a dinner with friends and there’s someone new in the group. Their political opinions differ greatly to yours. You know that they don’t have the facts on the topic you’re discussing and that they would change their mind if only they did. Do you tell them that they’re uninformed or that their political party are the ones causing all the problems? Next, you’re at a family reunion and someone is telling a story of an event you remember, as you were there, and they are muddling up all the details. Are you going to embarrass this family member and correct them? Are you going to take over the story? Finally, you have a coworker that is telling you the best way to cook a steak and you know that in reality they’re literally butchering this piece of meat. Do you stop them in the middle of their story and point out all the things they’re doing wrong?
Are we on the same page now? It’s starting to become clear how it’s completely possible to be ‘smart’ or ‘right’ and still come across as unpleasant. Now I’ll give you that with tact, maybe in some of these situations you could assert your ‘truth’. But that’s not really the point. There’s a couple of principles at play here. An important one is that truth is relative. Each of us sees the world through a combination of our lived experiences, our uniquely developed brains, our self built database of knowledge and a whole host of other influences. So in most things we are actually espousing opinion. Take the steak example. What if this person’s mother cooked them steak all throughout their childhood and it was overcooked? What if they came to love the taste of that steak? Whether it be how their taste buds adapted over time or maybe the flavor just gave them a nostalgic feeling? Would your method of producing the juiciest steak possible really be the best way for THEM to prepare a steak? Is it also possible that at the same time you’re instructing them on a method to produce a steak that they won’t even enjoy, you might embarrass them by pointing out all the things their mother did wrong?
We also have to contend with the fact that ‘people prefer to believe what they want to be true’. If you have OCPD you already understand that being right is not enough. If the goal of being ‘smart’ in this situation is to educate the person you’re talking to, you should know that you’ve already failed at your task, as evidenced by the adage ‘you catch more flies with honey’ Or you can read ‘How To Win Friends and Influence People’ if you’re not into the whole brevity thing.
So why is being humble so hard? Why is keeping your opinion to yourself almost impossible? What is a healthy ego and how humble should we be? These are big questions and we’ll have to save them for another time. But I’m not going to end the video here. There’s still two important points to touch on. And the first is the reason I put this video together in the first place. How do we put humility into practice in our daily interactions? Well there’s no shortage of ways you can do this. There’s even ongoing philosophical debate as to whether it’s better to seem humble than to actually be humble. Again, that’s for another time. But as I have OCPD and as I work on this every damn day, I’m going to tell you something surprising. It’s as simple as practice. That’s all there is to it. Now the method may be simple, but the reality is anything but, as demonstrated by this overly long video. Not to repeat myself, but it does go against everything our gut and brain is telling us to do. In practical terms though, I think about topics I feel strongly about. Topics I’ve researched thoroughly. I then take a look at an opposing view. I think about what would have to happen for me to adopt that point of view. How I would have to view the world in order to believe that which I currently believe to be untrue. I meditate on it and actively work on building empathy for those that take a stance that differs from mine. It’s incredibly rare that I ever change my mind, but I grow inside of me a tolerance for that which I disagree with and a love for those that have a different world view. I do this with politics, religion, science and feelings. Then when I engage with people I listen. I listen a lot. And do you know what happens when I do that? I learn, I make friends, I broaden my world view and most importantly I increase the amount of happiness that flows into my life.
The last point, and I kinda hope that this doesn’t need to be said, is this is a balancing act. I’m not asking you to be a doormat, to be sheepish, to never assert yourself or to be just plain dumb. We do not need to be agreeable with everyone in order to lead a happy life. And there are times when we need to stick up for ourselves or stand up for the things we believe in. Humility isn’t always being wrong or conceding facts. But my guess is that if you’re watching this video and you have OCPD you’re hoping that you can repair broken relationships or get better at forging new ones. Well this technique is a strong first step. Empathize, empathize, empathize! Practice every day being pleasant. With practice comes improvement. It is 100% possible to retrain your brain. Now go out, find someone you disagree with and just listen for a change. And as I’m still Darryl and this is still my life in debris, I’ll go out right now and do the same.