Be A Tank: A Tribute to The Fountainhead

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Slow and steady wins the race, but the world is dominated by get rich quick-types. 

When you graduate college you will be surrounded by the latter: people who have forgotten their voice, who seek to climb the ladder and who do so by elevating themselves at the expense of others. They are often people without skills of their own besides an uncanny knack to be chummy with rich folk.

Avoid those people at all costs. 

We speak often of trust, it is the central element to any genuine relationship or brotherhood. Of Phired Up’s four pillars of social excellence, it is “vulnerability” that those I teach recruitment or the four pillars to most associate with trust. Being vulnerable, or being one others are vulnerable with, is an ultimate “tell” that trust is present, and yet is so rare that vulnerability is rewarded in the workplace.

Work and live with people you trust. 

Soon, competition will be more than which fraternity has the best intramural teams, parties, service partner or trophies. You have already experienced elements of this. You fill out annual reports which glorify the things your chapter has done as if you were rising from the dead to preach the gospel of God. Life is about to get far more petty, and so is success.

Life becomes a game of rising to the top through risk aversion. There is no “best” fraternity in 2016, there are those who did not get in trouble and did just enough PR to be considered awesome among their own kind.

Opportunities for bold progress are abundant and tragically under-exploited.

You may soon realize that being honest comes with a price. In any other reality, honesty is the only policy to build trust. But when we are focused on consistent growth, when failure is not an option, and when everyone is attempting to chum their way to a promotion, honesty’s luster fades. Your comrades aren’t/wont be bad people, just lazy and dishonest.

Whereas you may choose to be honest in the present, others will choose short-term dishonesty to avoid the pain of their failure. Every boss wants honest employees, but few, and I mean very, very few, have the courage to fail with their employees. You will be a scapegoat because you don’t play the game; you will be fired first. It’s the way trust works.

That being said. . .

Being honest is the only way not to hate yourself.

As you enter the workforce you need to learn to be honest. You need to learn that if your job should be at risk due to your honesty, that you are a tortoise in a hare’s race.

Be comfortable with slow progress. Be comfortable with failure. Be comfortable in your talents. If you lack talents, learn them. Most importantly, tell people the things that need to be told, not the things they want to hear. The latter only leads to bullying under the guise of cooperation.

If you choose the hare’s path, if you choose to skate by on “who you know” instead of “what you know,” you will get to a point where people realize they don’t need you. There is probably no greater fear to an honest working man or woman than to offer nothing desirable to the world.

But if you are honest and offer something of value, you will be too good to give up (until your honesty puts others at risk). By that point you won’t need them, and you’ll thank yourself for your slow, steady, truthful pace.

I’ll leave you with this quote from a book all about the value of honesty, integrity and skill in the workforce.

“You’re a tank – an honest weapon that goes first, out in front and mows everything down and takes every counter blow. He’s a corrosive gas, the kind that eats lungs out”

– Dominique, The Fountainhead 

Be a tank. Take pride in your strength.