What do you care what other people think – Redux!

Most of us have enjoyed the antics of the Nobel prize winning physicist, Richard Feynman, and a few of us may have actually had the pleasure of learning to love Physics through his writings as well. What is interesting to think about though is how his antics would have fared in the social media age?

Most of the extraordinary people tend to be introverts based on most of the studies conducted but every once in a while certain events in ones life such as falling in love with the wrong woman, divorce, kids, death of a loved one, result in a profound change. An extraordinary person is reborn as an extrovert! But to their dismay they find that their extraordinary abilities are now more of an hindrance to adhering to the new prime directive in their lives: Taking an active interest in the lives of those around them!

The extraordinarily challenged people almost immediately resent the intrusion for reasons ranging from: “Everything is too easy for you but not for me” to “Stop being such a condescending jerk”! Instead of appreciating the insights being provided and utilizing them to address the trivial challenges (at least to the extraordinary person) in their lives they choose rather to either simply ignore the advice or in worst case they ostracize the adviser causing unwarranted misery and grief.

One of the main reasons for such a reaction is that lot of the advice given is in the form of recanting an experience in the advisers life: this is what happened to me and this is how I dealt with it. While it makes perfect sense to use some context to give advice it should be noted that in the age of social media everyone is hell bent on believing and proving that their own life experiences deserve more attention and merit than those of anyone else. Hence, any reference to personal experiences immediately puts you on a competitive footing with the very person that you are trying to befriend and help.

Thus, if Mr Feynman were blogging about his exploits in life today it is dubious that his work would be as revered by so many today. Obviously, since as a species we love iconophilia, if the same words were to come after he had already won the Nobel prize then it would be a different matter completely. Needless to say that the importance of those events to Mr Feynman did not change from the time the events occurred to the time that he won the Nobel prize.

Thus the true losers are the people who fail leverage the wisdom of those around them given that the words of those select few are washed away by the white water rapids that are the countless updates flowing through the social media channels. Hence the title of this blog! Stay tuned!

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