Friday 5 December 2014

Thought Picnic: Jumping down from Mount Ego

Ego and aura
Mystique is a strange thing, it is one thing to create it around yourself, and it is entirely another thing to have it created around you.
In the first instance, it is the surfeit of ego, in the other, it tends towards the cult of personality where sycophants and those who fawn around you expect that to be the attitude of others as they become the gatekeepers of access to you.
Now, I do respect people and authority, but I was never brought up to fawn. If you do not have two heads, six arms and ten legs, it is unlikely that I will view you as anything other than a human-being who probably has achieved something of note, but that is where it ends.
Where I stand
You can expect courtesy from me, but not subservience, however, I will not be treated with disrespect as I use one simple barometer for this. What I have not had my parents demand of me, will not be demanded of me by others.
My parents are quite level-headed with their faults, no doubt, but they never addressed me with four-letter words, even when they were angry, they never cursed or ‘cussed’, they were clear in their intentions and acted like they knew best, though at the time, it may not have been the best for me.
Yet, there was a time in my working life when an activity that was my core responsibility impacted negatively on a very senior executive. At which point, everyone around him was running around like headless chickens, looking for other heads to roll and eventually I was to call the man and explain myself.
Give much to this
As an information technology consultant, I have always believed in the need to communicate, I have no problems in letting people know what I am about to do, what it entails, how it would affect them and what they need to do when the activity does not produce the intended result.
Having heard an earful from my boss, his boss and the executive’s secretary, I called the man and we had the most pleasant conversation as he acknowledged that he was well informed of my activities and that what had happened to his computer was one of those quirks of technology, ending with the comforting advice to take my time in resolving the issue.
Here was a man who had position and authority to project his ego and to a person at my level probably ask for my sacking without consequence, yet was reasonable enough to realise that things happen and things were in place to mitigate such circumstances enough not to make a big deal of it.
Everyone else however had created this mystique about him as if he was unapproachable and full of terror, a Medusa to anyone who dared cast a gaze at him and he was nothing of the sort.
Meeting the people
The many people we meet who having had a reputation of ‘diva’ or more built around them only for us to realise on meeting them that they are down-to-earth, humble, easy-going, full of good humour and more; all because people around them have created and encouraged the mystique and elevated that to a cult of personality, much of which does not really impress me, one bit.
That is not to say that some have not bought into this mystique, either by reason of their position or worse still by reason of their proximity to power.
Rightly putting them down
We see a lot of that in Nigeria, where mere assistants suddenly think because they are bag-fetchers they are everything, untouchable, unreachable, steeped in pomposity and projecting delusions of grandeur that some foolishly subscribe to, these personifications of odium exciting violent emesis are so up themselves, they have become doughnuts twice over in narcissism, they cannot be helped further than having a comeuppance.
Such was it that I am concluding this blog with a put-down I read on Twitter that sadly, they person it was address to might never have understood it, put downs must never be wasted on some people and Reno Omokri, Special Assistant to the Nigerian President on New Media is one such person.
There are many references to this tweet on the web and it might not have been the original posting, but it is one to note when Olusegun Dada said to Reno Omokri, “If I wanted to kill myself, I'd climb to the top of your ego and jump down to your IQ.
Very few of my followers on Twitter will argue Mr Omokri deserved anything less, that is a riposte worthy of stripping away the bloated mystique of arrogant and self-important people.

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