Cynical Naïvete


Photo courtesy of Jerome Loving,

I am terminally naïve, in a cynical sort of way.

I believe that if someone is nice to my face, they will be so behind my back.  I believe that if I am kind and genuine to others, that they will return the favor. And, I trust in the abundance of the universe to protect me from the rest.

I recognize that this makes me seem incredibly naïve.

I can also spot inconsistencies in someone’s story in a second and a half. I’ve been all over the world and met with people of every culture and learned that in everyone is a liar and saint – and rather than tear myself up over which is which, I strike at the average and look to the intentions behind the information shared.

In the telling of any story,  there are some people who like to embellish the truth, adjust the retelling of facts to suit the reputation they’re trying to build, or who play loosely with the details in pursuit of a cadence.

This leaves me in a strange limbo.  I discount everything anyone says a little, taking into account hubris, humility, posturing, and self-defense and don’t hold the gap against them … I recognize that my generosity could be wrong, and in honesty I don’t much care, so long as I find their stories entertaining and their presence in my life useful.

But, when someone’s “truth” is turned malicious and directed to intentionally harm, my generosity ends.

Mark Twain said, An injurious truth has no merit over an injurious lie. Neither should ever be uttered.”  

I agree with that principle.  So, while I could share injurious truths about those who are gossiping about me, to attempt to discredit their lies, those damaging truths will only lessen me.  Instead, I’ll take it on the chin. Keep my head down, and follow the words of Mark Zuckerberg: stay focused and keep shipping.

And, I’ll trust in the abundance of the universe to handle the rest.

Related Blog Posts:



She Who Gossips

I hate the phrase catty. I find it insulting, genderist, and diminishing to all women. But, sometimes a bitch and a cat have to get into a little scrape – and rare is the cat who comes out the winner in that battle.

Growing up, my mother always said, “He who gossips with you will gossip of you.” And, this week I was reminded again how true that is – when malicious gossip was aimed my way.

I’ve known this new career position I took would make me a target. It’s high profile with some very sexy perks. But, I didn’t realize how much of a target I’d become, or how closely I’d be watched.

I expected the standards for me would be higher. I expected the workload would be more demanding, and the stress level palpable at times. I knew I would be expected to keep an international schedule: twenty-four seven, three sixty five (with 15 days of PTO tucked in).

What I forgot, in moving from a field where I worked with all men to a universe where I am surrounded by almost all women, was that I needed to relearn the tricks of navigating the high school bullshit that comes from working in a leadership role while surrounded by “girls” just beginning their careers.

I wasn’t particularly good at navigating feminine nuance when I was seventeen. I dealt with the drama by deciding to pretend to be impervious to gossip.

I squared my shoulders, put on my sluttiest three inch “leave-on boots” and did whatever the hell I wanted – while staying firmly on the honor role.

Professionally, that isn’t quite so easy. I am required to “make nice” and I now have to repair the branding damage that some loose-lipped water cooler talk has generated.

Gossip is the behavior of the weak.

My newest career challenge: Playing an adult game with childish “girls” who haven’t learned that real power comes not from whispering in dark corners, but in keeping one’s counsel, and biting one’s tongue.

Powerful people say what they have to say boldly, directly, and openly – and the rest can lick my stiletto as I climb over them on my way up the ladder.