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Showing Your Neck

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“There is no weakness talking about failure.”

Man, I love this quote by Jon Favreau. He caught my attention at first last year while reading an article about Obama the day before I was on CBC’s Test the Nation.

You know when you see these scenes in movies– almost every movie has one– where you see someone in a weak moment, either doing something they’d never do in public, or in a moment of weakness or loneliness, something like that.

Those moments make you feel closer to the character and understand them more, don’t they? So why don’t we learn from that? Why can’t we be weak in real life?

We’ve all had those moments where we’ve broken down and told someone something we’d been keeping to ourselves, something we felt embarrassed about. We’ve also all been in a place where someone has confessed something to us. The same thing always happens– it breaks down barriers and brings people closer to each other.

You know, showing weakness in a public setting (like a blog, or on television) also displays strength. It means you’re confident enough that you can handle it, and shows people that you’re big enough to talk about your mistakes. Strong people man up to their failures. Weak people don’t.

So when and how should you admit things? Should it be strategic? I don’t know that it can be.

It can’t be planned. As I say regularly, human beings have sophisticated bullshit filters, so we can see when something is genuine. We feel it. And we also feel it when it’s fake.

So exposing your neck has to be spontaneous. But it can’t be stupid. Don’t become a train wreck, just realize that there’s a goodness in people that comes out when they see the human frailty in all of us.

Just do it. It’ll be ok.

* Filed by at 12:57 pm under random


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4 Responses to “Showing Your Neck”

  1. Brandon Sutton Says:

    Interesting post Julien. It reminds me of a sort of fundamental rule about being real and authentic – i.e. ‘just be yourself.’

    Trying to project infallibility doesn’t resonate, regardless of whether it’s a person or a business. We all have flaws and by owning up to them publicly, we become more approachable. At least, I think so.

    Oh, and I love the bullshit filter quote – I imagined that was Chris’s quote when I read it in Trust Agents. It was hands down one of my favorite lines in the book. Nice!

    • Julien Says:

      Hehe, thanks Brandon. I’m pretty sure I wrote that. So true right?

      I was really big into trying to project infallibility for a long time. It took me a while to figure out it doesn’t work. Because of that I’m amazingly familiar with almost any excuse anyone ever gives me. 😉

  2. Nancy Says:

    Well written! The b.s quote is quite accurate. No one likes to encounter weakness, and that’s why there is so much anger and aggression, as well as many other emotions that take place instead. These emotions are much easier to display instead of weakness of any sort. This stems from what society thinks of weakness, a no-no.

  3. Jennifer Iannolo Says:

    Julien, I love that you wrote this post. I used to be the same as you re: infallibility, but guess what? I had the most audience interaction ever when I recorded myself making a recipe and forgot the eggs. Suddenly everyone realized I was human after all.

    Made me rethink a lot of things. 🙂

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