Saturday, May 14, 2011

The politics of me (part 1 - the blowhard)

I think I talk too much in class.

(Oh, Tobias; you're such a blowhard!)

Not in the chitter-chat side conversation way, but in class discussions. Anyone who knows me will agree that I am quite opinionated and free with the sharing of said opinions. I never intend to be "that guy," but sometimes if I have a thought I can't keep myself from throwing it out there. I really have an insecurity about it; each week as I set up in class I tell myself I'm going to hang back in the discussion and not jump in too much. I can't help myself, though, and inevitably contribute a lot (contribute makes it sound so much more positive).

My cohort is great. We are a collection of very different people and I value the ideas, suggestions, and viewpoints of my peers greatly. I don't really know if they think I go on too much in class or not, but the thought of it bothers me more than I'd like to admit.

Why do I feel compelled to give my $.02 on everything? I'm not completely certain, but I have a couple thoughts. The main reason, I think, is that I was always taught by my parents that I should speak my mind and not be afraid to express my point of view. I'm sure there have been more than a few times they've regretted that lesson, but what are you going to do? My dad, in particular, always challenged me (in a good way) to prove my point and defend my stance. The other contributors come from adulthood. In college I hung with the  Poli-Sci crowd, so EVERYTHING was a debate, and I loved every second of it. I got fairly good at it too. Then, in my professional life I worked in places where it was every man for himself and winning the point meant job security (Work is the other thing I bring up too much in class...but it is the filter through which I view my educational journey and transformation and it's how I process and relate to a lot of the information, so, meh). I've not been in a collaborative environment in a long time, and I struggle to shake off the competitive, opinion-rich culture from which I came. I'm working on it, though and I think it's getting better.

What does this have to do with politics? Well, that upbringing I mentioned also formed my political perspective. I shout my beliefs and views from the mountaintops. I don't often seek out debate on political issues; I learned a long time ago it's as pointless as watering flowers in the rain. But, when it comes up, I have no problem speaking up and defending my position.

Stay tuned for part 2 - the windmill

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