Universally admired

No matter how popular you become, there will always be people at the ready to criticise. Some imagine being liked by all, but no matter how hard you try to be pleasant to everyone there will always be dissenters. This aspiration of being loved by all is soon dampened by the unexpected stream of negative comments that roll in as your notoriety radiates. It is naïve to not count on some disgruntlement given that the more people know of you, the more chance that you will be exposed to a wider set of views. If we all liked the same thing, then you could in theory be universally applauded. However, that is not the case and there will be many that are more than willing to home in on all of what they regard as your negative attributes. Popularity and respect are not the same. We can admire what people can do without joining the mob in gravitating towards them because of a hidden vogue factor.

The bond between us and other animals can replace the human connection for many at times. Pets can bring joy and happiness for sure and do form a big part of people’ lives. Many take heart in the non-judgemental companionship that exists with animals in their care. This doesn’t discount an important need of the majority to be able to fit in within society though.

For all the love of a specialised field the human element triumphs. We may seek out those that enjoy bird watching and travel around with our binoculars and cameras taking note of what we see. In principle we go for the birds, but it is discussions about what we have seen and noticed with others that has as much impact. We learn the tricks of the trade and swap notes. In so much of life it is not always the thing itself, but the human element that is the draw.

When I come across these people at the fore and see how entertaining they can be, I ask myself what is involved in being like that. I know it is a case of being accommodating, laughing at other people’s jokes, showing a reasonable degree of interest in what others are doing without prejudicial comments. It can be about providing affirmation, adding to what the other is saying rather than being frequently contrary and difficult. It is also essential to be involving to all; being inclusive to all those standing there with glances, occasional winks to acknowledge the presence of everyone. Speaking about our own circumstances with clarity, passion without over exuberance. None of which is easy to elucidate, but better understood through careful observation of those that manage it well. You may watch them and see that they are accessible to a fair degree, but will wander off and mingle to avoid over playing it and unconsciously leave people wanting more. Adaptability is key once again, it is relevant in popularity as it is in so many other areas of life. You need to be able to switch from being serious some of the time to using comical and cheerful banter depending upon the people you are with. Some people are really not interested in downbeat conversations, whereas others want more absorbing discourse.

Doing a favour for someone, does that help? It might make them feel beholden to you. Get someone to do a favour for you and they like you more, oddly. So long as it is not too much of a pain. Best when it is some help that they feel some pride in giving.

I could accept that it just isn’t going to happen, I will never get great acclaim and that there are merits in other functions. So I could resign myself to be good in other situations and that has its own virtues. Then I consider the sacrifice as the conversations that matter to me and the pleasure of what I see as deeper dialogue, does not sit well with the brevity required to hold the attention of lots of people in a group. I also like to test ideas and propositions on many people to see what objections arise. I would use this ability to mingle with the masses to hear people’s counter arguments. It would not matter who they were, not their age nor work status. To me all views were as relevant, and any idea needs some concordance with all. I saw no point either, in formulating an answer to a question that could not be understood with a bit of effort by the majority. Thought is always required though. A quick scan is inadequate. It leads to people picking up the wrong end of the stick and whacking you with it as they didn’t absorb everything that was stated. I also have reservations about coming out with the bleeding obvious, but what seem obvious to me is not always quite so for others. It is blithe to say “I could have thought of that” except you didn’t and wouldn’t unless it was fired at you. Some gems were brought to the fore by some remarkably innocent individuals who you would least expect to provide insight. Holes could be filled, and I would be re-armoured for the next victim.

I asked a taxi driver if they had ever done anything altruistic in their life. They ummed and ahhed for a while then admitted that they were not too sure what the word meant. When I explained it, they understood the concept and thought about it for a bit. The driver wasn’t able to provide an instance of altruism on their own part. The same problem arose a week later when I asked someone else the same question. They too didn’t know what it meant. Then the person who was in the taxi with me the week before piped up and said that they didn’t know what it meant either until I explained it. That got me a bit worried, so that night I asked just under thirty people if they could tell me what altruism is. One middle aged soul sat there racking their mind similar to when someone is trying to bring an answer to a quiz question to the fore. Old people, managers, bar staff even a whole table full of dinners could not provide any sort of definition. This was quite a shock to me, a revelation, and I felt that care was needed in any writing; it had to be devoid of too much jargon. Words that I presumed were pretty common were not remotely so. We can reduce it a bit and keep the eloquence.

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