Why My Father Casts a Large Shadow

Why My Father Casts a Large Shadow (SBP)

For most of my life, my Father has cast a rather large shadow.

Strongman who may have competed in the Olympics, had he not blown out his shoulder over-training [correction coming soon – I know my memory’s tenuous on this one]

0-X in the navy. Stellar career.

CEO of this or that company. Took the company from millions of dollars in debt, months behind schedule, with little stockholder confidence left to under-budget, ahead of schedule, and confidence in the company restored. One such company was going to be broken into a bunch of smaller different companies on government order until he fixed it!

Four kids, a doting wife, and the respect of everyone who encounters him.

Not long ago – he told me his secret.

“Son, to get ahead, you’ve got to get good at doing things you don’t want to do when you don’t want to do them.”

Often times, if you don’t, you’ll find yourself doing more things you don’t want to do than before, at an even worse time.

~Wald

My Father On Communication

My Father On Communication

I credit my Father with my advanced (for my age) ability to articulate my thoughts and ideas effectively.

He taught me early on the value of good communication and himself gives it credit, for a large part of his success in life. As he tends to cast a very large shadow, with little apparent effort, I believe him.

One of the core ideas that he told me early on, was the idea of reverse-engineering. Similar to reverse psychology, it involves taking a sentence that one speaks, pretending one is now the listening, and discerning all the ways such a sentence could be understood. Supposedly, if someone is a level 10 communicator, what they say could be taken 10 different ways*. If someone is a level 50 communicator, what they say could be taken 5 different ways. If someone is a level 90 communicator, what they say could be taken 2 different ways. At level 100, if you follow the analogy, what you say could be taken but one way: the way you meant it.

And if you think about it – this concept is not a new one. Rather it’s one that’s not often reflected upon, at least not directly, When someone tells you to “consider your audience”, as is common advice for writing a speech, they’re telling you figure out where someone comes from. That way, knowing a certain few particulars about an audience, you can narrow down the ways they might interpret things you say. Knowing your audience can raise you anywhere from 5 to 10 to even 20 points on the 100-point communicator level scale**.

Politicians and public personalities, be they government, military, or private, all are dearly acquainted with this concept. Should one person let the wrong thing slip or say something slightly wrong – and boom – they’re under fire. At least, only metaphorically, unless you don’t live in a ‘free’ country. Nowadays, however, with the advent of political incorrectness, the average person is becoming familiar with this idea whether they like it or not, lest they draw the ire of the politically crowd SJW mob.

Finally – the most important point is that the responsibility always lies on the speaker, the writer, not the listener, or reader, for comprehension. No one can know the speaker’s mind, so it is up to the speaker to articulate himself as clearly and concisely as possible. Should the listener not understand the speaker in the manner desired, it’s the speaker’s responsibility to correct that. Rightly, or wrongly, that’s just the way things are.

~Wald

*This applies to actions too.

**Fictional scale that my Father made up to explain his point.

My Father

The biggest inspiration in my life has always been and always will be my own father. He’s my first and last role model and the lynch-pin of my family.

I remember at an early age, sitting at the dinner table at a family friend’s home, catching myself imitating his mannerisms, without even thinking about it. When he crossed his arms, I’d cross my arms. When he sighed, I sighed. When he laughed I laughed.

I’ve watched, slowly, as I’ve become him more each year. I have his habit of over-explaining things, usually because the average person I talk to requires it. I’ve watched as I’ve sought to minimize risk, and eliminate it, when prudent, as he does and has advised me. I’ve slowly picked up on his values and bit by bit am adopting them as my own. Loyalty and honesty are what my Father values above all else, save his own family.

Hell, even my mentors share my Father’s values and one in particular, who’s like a Father to me, even shares an eerily similar backstory.

Should I grow up to become even half the man he is, my life will probably be a success close to my wildest dreams.

In honor of him, I’ll post about him this week, if not every day, at least today, Wednesday, and Friday.

~Wald