Saturday, January 06, 2018

Being So Good

There is a great line by Steve Martin: "Be so good they can't ignore you."

It may be sound advice for comedians but it only works up to a point in many other endeavors. There is no law of the universe which dictates that merit will always prevail. 

"They" may not be able to ignore you but that doesn't mean they will select or promote you. Significant ability scares off many individuals who are more interested in factors which are more cozy and less threatening than leadership and insight.

Think of how close Britain came to getting Halifax as opposed to Churchill as its prime minister in 1940.


Richard (Rick) Georges said...

And, since we cannot control the actions of others, it shouldn't matter to us one way or the other. Being good and pursuing virtue is its own reward. It is a fool's errand to seek the approval of others. While we can never actually attain virtue, it is the only goal worth pursuing. He said, "stoically".

Michael Wade said...


As a fellow stoic, I can think of various cases where seeking the approval of others is necessary in order to be good and pursue virtue. A leader may seek approval of others while building political coalitions. There is a point at which such seeking should end or else the only "virtue" sought is the approval of others.


Eclecticity said...

Excellent point. I'm very familiar with a privately held enterprise that is heavy with talent and expertise that the owner, for the most part, does not listen to. It is his company and he truly may be running it over a cliff.

I once worked as a director in a relatively successful health care system. Probably about 4-5 years in I begin to think that I was pretty much just a high-paid coordinator. Call me a slow learner. Ideas, solutions, etc. could only come from the C-Suite.

Absurdity abounds. E.

Michael Wade said...


An executive I knew had a sign in his office: "We do not live in an ordered world."