Living for the Exception

I don’t read the news. As a general rule, I can’t stomach it. To listen to the news all you would believe is that this world is a horrid and violent place. That you risk your life the moment you set foot outside your door and that the stranger beside you is plotting your demise in some way.

The truth, however, is that the world is overwhelmingly not that bad. I can’t say the world is a great place because humans are doing a bang up job of fucking it up royally, but there are still more nice people in the world than awful. There are still fewer murders than there are deaths by natural causes.

I just finished reading the Good News page at Huffington Post. It’s the only page I make a point of reading every single day. I need the boost. I need to remember that there are good people in the world. People who will put themselves out for you just because it the compassionate thing to do.

You see, I wasn’t raised that way. I was raised to be a taker. I was raised by parents who believed in their own personal entitlement at the cost of their children’s self-worth and psychological well-being. I was also raised in violent mindset. The combination of which has led me to believe the world is dangerous, violent place that is inhabited by dangerous and violent people.

Just now, however, I realized, I’ve been living to the exception event though I know better. For many years, I was on the corporate track in IT. I rose as high as Vice President before I walked away from it all. During those years, I successfully ran multi-million projects because I operated under one overarching principle … manage to the majority not the exception. The majority of people will be honest, so you put reasonable validations in place since you can’t control that small handful of people who will be dishonest. That sort of thing. Because of this, I never had a project fail.

My life on the other hand, has been a resounding death march because I live for the exception. I could only see the violence and negativity in the world and I have been a negative person as a result. Now I am wondering just how much belief truly shapes our reality.

When I was studying for my MBA, I took an economics class. One of the most startling principles I learned in that class is that the only true way to cure a recession is for people to believe in their economy. Government spending, tax breaks, these are details and cannot work if people don’t believe in their economy.

It would seem humanity no longer believes in the inherent goodness of people. And yet, for every Jeffery Dahmer there are 100s of people who show kindness on a daily basis. For every Hitler, there is a Nelson Mandela. In America’s history, I can count the number of significant, domestic terrorist acts on one one hand with fingers left over, yet we sold our freedom the moment 9/11 happened. We managed to the exception.

I for one, plan to stop.

6 thoughts on “Living for the Exception

  1. It’s hard to stop that particular habit when one has been a victim at some point in their life, or the term I prefer really is a survivor.

    But I certainly applaud you for the effort, and I love this post. I try to expect the best out of people, but I feel very paranoid… like… If I let my guard down I’ll be disappointed and it will be entirely my fault.

    xoxo

  2. Powerful post with quite a message. I’m glad I was able to stop by and read. I often reflect on the fact that the worst I imagine rarely (if ever) happens – should tell me something – right? I like the sound of manage to the majority not the exception.

  3. Well stated. It resonated many familiar chords in me. I have come to believe that I live within the exception. We choose our illusions. We have the power within us to make our illusions as real as they need to be to not only get us where we want to be, but to learn to be there during the journey. You are not alone.
    You can believe in the exception, or you can be the exception. The exception to banality. The exception to cruelty. The exception to dishonesty. There are ways to do it without always feeling like you’re swimming upstream.
    I believe that is where I meet the best and most interesting people.

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