And I was There
by Dwayne Phillips
We tend to inflate events when we participate in them. We do this at our peril in professional as well as personal situations.
- The 2020 election was one of the most important in history. And I voted in it.
- The pandemic was one of the biggest events in the history of mankind. And I lived through it.
- The experimental results last week were more important than anything preceding them. And I conducted the experiments.
Hmmm. See a pattern? The truly big and important and wonderful things all have one thing in common: and I was there.
The Presidential election of 1900 — the first of the century — a pittance. McKinley and Bryan? Really? Nothing there. It ushered in the American century: the Wright brothers, Coca Cola, Elvis, Disney, Hollywood. Small stuff, huh? And I didn’t vote in it.
Well, maybe we exaggerate our presence in some of these things. But that isn’t important.
Go back to item #3 in the list above. This “And I was There” concept applies to professional situations. Conferences I attended, experiments I conducted, books I read, books I wrote, conversations involving me: do these professional events overshadow ones where I wasn’t present? Do all significant ideas involve me? Does someone else’s idea pale in comparison?
Ego. Self. All that psychological stuff. Meaningless. I mean sure, those folks are nice, but they aren’t, I mean they don’t, oh, and I wasn’t there. I wasn’t one of T H E M so their ideas aren’t. Hmmm. Maybe there is something to this.
And it must be important because I was there.