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Lesson 4:  Don’t Be That Guy

We all know at least one, and a time has arisen at some point in your life where you were this person yourself.  This is a broad label, but anyone that has ever encountered this individual, it is difficult to miss them. This is the person that speaks up when they should follow Lesson #2 (Learn when to shut up).  This is the person that does the one thing that everyone was told not to do. This is the person that makes you wonder how on Earth natural selection missed them.

If you don’t know this person, that is OK.  That is why you are here. A lot of the time, you can tell when it was you or when someone else is behaving like this, but it can be more difficult to identify if it is you and nobody points it out to you. This title is also not gender-specific.  It could be a guy or girl, but for the sake of simplicity, the phrase involves the word “Guy.” Please do not read too much into it. That is not what is important.

There are so many different types.  These are the violators of general rules or principles that are considered socially acceptable.  This is the person at the gym that, instead of asking someone or reading directions, or without any regard for others, uses the equipment incorrectly.  Using a leg machine for their arms. Putting more weight on something then they can clearly handle. Carrying on a conversation in the middle of the equipment.  Playing on their phone while sitting at a machine or on a bench for more than a few minutes. Having more dumbells at their feet then they have limbs to use them.  The list goes on for this one.

All of those examples are gym specific.  How about some in some scattered environments?  The person that is five minutes late to work every day, a few minutes late coming back from breaks or lunch.  No matter what, they are so frequently late that the rare instances they are on time are comparable to a solar eclipse.  Ever see someone driving down the road and you just know that as soon as you are close enough, they are going to cut you off in a way that risks the front end of your car.  You manage to get next to them within the next minutes and you see they are on their phone and oblivious to the fact that they are operating one of the most dangerous machines on the planet.  This list goes on as well, but you get the point.

No one is fully exempt from this.  We all have our moments where we have done something and then looked back and gone, “What the heck was I thinking?” or “Why on Earth didn’t anyone tell me I was acting/behaving so stupidly?”  The more you can minimize these occurrences, the better for everyone. During my time in the Air Force, there was no shortage of stupidity, nor was there a shortage of people calling it out. By calling it out, awareness was raised and that specific instance became rarer immediately.  Don’t get mad if someone points it out to you. Confrontation takes courage and they are doing you a favor. They are providing you with a heads up that what you are doing is likely not good and the odds are others feel the same way.

This isn’t about just fitting in.  It is about those social rules that are not actually written anywhere, but they should be.  It is about being a better and more productive contributor to the environment you are in. It is easy to forget that you are not the only person in the room, on the road, at the gym, etc. and it is helpful to be reminded of that from time to time.  This is about living in the moment and thinking before you act or speak and making sure that you are not negatively impacting yourself or the people around you.

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