Living in a major metropolitan area as I do, I’m often surprised at the sharp contrasts I see between the people here and those in the more relaxed Midwestern community where I grew up. Some of these are positive:
- people here have a higher level of awareness of and respect for other countries and cultures
- there is widespread interest in physical fitness and nutrition and people take better care of themselves
- people have more motivation for success in their professional endeavors
However, one troubling thing I have noticed is the abject lack of humility in Washington, DC. Whether in a professional or social setting, I’m always floored by how quickly people will flash their business card, mention the Ivy League school they attended, or nod and smile during someone’s story and then interrupt them to talk about themselves. But I don’t think these people are hard-wired to be egomaniacs, instead I think they’ve made choices that have caused them to think single-mindedly about their own success.
Indeed, “no man is an island,” and that single-mindedness isolates the career-driven person from genuine social interaction, a phenomenon of which he is probably not even aware.
The operating assumption this sort of person is making seems clear: “in order to be a success, to achieve great things, I need to act like I’m that impressive, and make sure everyone knows it.” And of course, when you get more than a couple of these people in a room, inevitable one-ups-manship ensues, to everyone’s disadvantage…
…So what are these hard-working go-getters missing out on?