Desertion

This land of sanded desert
Brings me such misery
I cannot stand the weather
I bake beneath the heat
I come upon a town of few
With morsels scattered on the ground
They’re bitter when I try to chew
Can’t force them to go down
I find a solitary well
Its foul liquid makes me choke
I feel I’m being dragged through hell
My grip it slips from hope
I crawl my way up one steep dune
And look on the horizon
Like magic came to give me proof
I walk towards a little island
Lush greens stud the oasis
I bend and dip my head in
A cool stream and drink to taste it
Like mana sent from heaven
I lay back after taking my fill
I wonder what if I missed it
If I hadn’t had thought to climb that hill
I wouldn’t have known that this existed

 

Don’t dismiss something you didn’t expect.

The most profound things we come across are those which we had no idea existed. If you give up on someone or something before you’ve fully experienced it, you may miss out on elements that surprise you. Often, this requires a thick skin. You need to be able to weather the offensive, the disgusting, the boring, the disappointing. If you are actually searching for these things, you must tolerate the opposite. If you habitually abandon that which you do not like, you will develop an aversion to more and more, causing your field of vision and experience to narrow. Painting anything with a general brush causes you to miss out on its hidden dimensions. Diamonds in the rough are not visibly out in the open, deep beneath is where the magic resides.

Aside from sitting back and absorbing an experience as a spectator, there is also the notion of intimately working together with someone to achieve an end. Desertion at this level can be devastating. In normal spontaneous conversation, a delicate dance ensues whereby alarm systems are up and topics do not venture into the uncomfortable. However, when someone is receiving instruction or feedback to maximize their performance, they must nakedly expose who they are, and a trust must be cultivated without any judgment. They are putting themselves on the line as they attempt something to the best of their ability. The smallest details of that interaction are registered, things you may normally not pay attention to. Any sense of superiority that emanates from you will cause them to shut down. Even silence is deadly: positive and constructive feedback should be instantly given. Furthermore, what you want needs to be communicated in such a way that they understand. If your goal is to bring out the best in this individual, it is incumbent upon you to translate your instructions to whatever is most aptly received by them.

The discussion above describes a temporary interaction, of which a positive outcome is desired by both individuals. One might also extend this pattern of desertion to a more permanent relationship, like having someone join a team for the long term. In your search for such a person, do not let your preconceived notions of what they should have already accomplished, or how they should act, cloud your judgment. If you solely look for a prototypical person that checks off the boxes on your list, you are limiting the number of people that can be of benefit to you. Furthermore, those prototypical people will have an erroneous assumption that who they are is more important than what they can accomplish when given the opportunity. When a wider net is cast, individuals will not take the opportunity for granted. Theorizing about what someone is capable of is no good. Allowing them to prove what they are capable of is better for both parties. Deserting those who do not fit the mold is counterproductive. Believing in someone and giving them a chance not only infuses them with confidence, but in the end can give you an asset that teaches you something you didn’t know.

Every person has the potential in them to achieve greatness. If capitulation describes you giving up on yourself, desertion describes you giving up on someone else.

 

Situational Questions

  • Have you conducted an interview in which someone didn’t answer something the exact way you wanted? Did you dig deeper and try to figure out the substance of what they were trying to say, or did you give up on them immediately? In such a situation, are you more interested in asserting your own dominance, or exploring someone else’s potential for growth? How far will you go to adapt your own viewpoint to discover the best in someone else?
  • When attempting to teach something to someone, do you get frustrated if they are not on the same page as you? If they are having difficulty, is it a reflection of their inability to understand or your inability to present the information in a way that best serves them? As the master of such knowledge, is it not your responsibility, instead of the student’s, to adapt?
  • Is there a particular genre or form of entertainment that you scoff at? Have you taken the time to listen to a fan of it explain why they like it? Have you tried honestly experiencing it for yourself, all the way through, and giving it an unbiased chance?

 

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