Fish Climbing Trees, Pt. 1

It’s not clear whether or not Einstein actually said anything about judging fish by its ability to climb a tree, but the point is there:

Don’t judge anyone’s skills (yourself most of all) based on other people’s metrics.

I know someone who recently got laid off from their job as one of the few creatives at a tech company. Big Tech Co. wanted someone who could create for universal design – someone who wouldn’t offend anyone. They wanted someone who wouldn’t give honest, constructive feedback to the terrible management chain, all of whom were too busy trying to secure or save their jobs rather than actually doing their jobs.

The ex-employee wanted to build worlds. To tell stories. To make people feel something through art. This person is a linchpin in that they fight for what they believe in, do amazing work, and isn’t afraid to speak their mind. When they are doing this work of creating they are indispensable, providing far more value than others.

However, based on the company’s metrics of compliance, un-offensive design, and a hierarchy of cronyism, this person is the exact type of person they don’t want.

Everyone is a linchpin at something, but perhaps the metrics of which you’re measuring yourself are wrong.

Maybe you’re a skilled software engineer, who can code the next revolutionary business software platform on their phone.

Maybe you’re a skilled swordsmith, who, like Hattori Hanzo from Kill Bill, can craft legendary weapons of death that cut through other swords (defying how physics really work).

But you’d look like an idiot bringing a smartphone to a sword fight.

You’d look foolish trying to melt a iPhone for enough metal to craft a blade.

Remember: you’re awesome at something. It just might not be what your client/boss/company/customer is willing to pay for.

We need to remind ourselves that our inherent value as a human being is not based on how much money we make. Our value is sharing the gift that is unique to each of us.

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