Hot Air

When someone brags about accomplishing something before he/she has had the chance to do it, you give them the benefit of the doubt. You smile and nod, then hope that they will eventually make good on their word someday, somehow. Not that it’s any of your damn business, really.

Blame it on my amazing ability to listen intently to what other people say. I especially latch on when people talk about their grandiose plans for their lives and their future, or whatever else they’re involved with. I listen with the rapt attention of an eight-year old who naively believes anything an adult says. And I actually believe them. It seems that my take on these matters is: consider them true unless proven otherwise.

I don’t know why I should really pay any attention to the details, but I guess that’s the way I am. If I say something, I commit myself to it. But if I feel that it is beyond my capacity to achieve, then there’s no need to say it. For instance I remember this person who shared (bragged?) about producing x number of publications in y number of years. There is really no exceptional reason why I should remember what that person said years later, but I do. It bothered me so much that I checked on that person’s publication list a few years after, and guess what, not a single ISI-indexed paper. Nada. I sort of felt let down! All that talk was just a lot of hot air. Another was a person who boasted about having x amount of money in y number of years. I checked back on the person after a number of years, and there was no change in the person’s financial status. Still owing money, still full of debt. Again, a lot of hot air.

Don’t get me wrong; there is absolutely nothing wrong about setting lofty goals. But once you let the word out, others can and will expect you to actually substantiate your words. Isn’t that the way it goes? So wouldn’t it be much better to keep those plans to yourself and then work towards the fulfillment of those goals? Then when you talk to people, you have something of substance to share. People can learn from your success.

Of course, this shouldn’t be of concern to anybody who knows exactly what they’re talking about, and who have the power and means to fulfill their lofty goals. My hats off to them. They should be emulated by everyone.

Now why the heck should I care?!! It’s really baffling, yes? Maybe because I am somewhat of an overachiever myself (ok not just somewhat; admittedly I am!) and I have unusually high expectations of people, especially those whom I barely know. I am also always on the lookout for role models, so when people I look up to turn out to be just full of hot air, it bothers me a lot. (As a rule I don’t discuss my plans – personal or otherwise – with anyone outside the family. I feel like I am unnecessarily committing myself and invariably subjecting myself to unwanted evaluation later.)

Unfortunately, not everyone thinks the same way. Some people are content to blabber away, without paying attention to what they’re actually saying!

As it is with real life, so it is in the virtual world of the internet. It bothers me to find a lot of hot air coming from so-called bloggers online. All that self-promotion! Beware the profile writeup, which usually drips with so much exaggeration and blown out of proportion to the point of being ludicrous. People will do anything just to make themselves look good. Some people are content to blog away, without paying attention to what they write! I shuddered when I read someone’s blog recently – sounding like a superstar and all that. Like the whole world should care about every single thing they blog about. The online world is populated by narcissistic people. As it is in real life.

Still, life is too short to be annoyed by bursts of hot air. The best I can do – indeed what anyone should do – is to let hot air do what it does best: float away to oblivion. :)

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