More than Ten Habits of Highly Dysfunctional People

The gears in our heads

The gears in our heads

“Do or do not, there is no try,” Yoda in Star Wars

HOLLYWOOD, CA (GoshRobin) 2022/7/17 – I’ve been thinking a lot on this topic lately because I’m leading two mentoring cohorts this summer, one for animators/programmers with the Academy Summer Learning Program and one for LGBT+ startup founders with StartOut Mentors.

As human beings, we all suffer to some degree the faults I’m about to list. I’m not here to criticize anyone, but to contemplate how to mentor those who suffer from our personal flaws. I set out to make a list of 10 self-destructive habits I’ve observed in students or colleagues (and myself sometimes), but keep thinking of more…

1. We think we have time, that opportunities are not fleeting

2. We do not understand that abstaining from a decision with “I don’t know” or “I’m not sure” is the same as “Pass”

3. We think passion is external, something we should find, not bring

4. We expect to fail, so will not try

5. We lack formative experiences, cathartic events in which we made life-changing decisions and experienced living with the results

6. We perpetually prepare in order to avoid doing anything real upon which we may be judged, even try to stay in school forever to put off real life

7. Having done nothing except study and sit at the feet of our teachers, we have no useful skills

8. We suffer Imposter Syndrome because we know we lack skills

9. We present ourselves as victims, beg for help to continue our pathetic course, like a compulsive gambler who “needs money”

10. We have hubris, may cover up our incompetence through self-praise, claiming how great we are

11.  We suffer self-loathing, and to avoid the shame of discussing our “secret” will ghost or attack anyone trying to help us change for the better

12. We are insecure and jealous, may try to drag others down with us

13. We resist change for the better because we mistakenly equate change with risk, and our self-sabotage has become a deeply ingrained habit

14. We are a chicken standing in the middle of the road, and will not move because we expect doing nothing is the safest course

15. We are living in pain, and falsely expect pain is inevitable, so why change

16. We have been programmed to resist saying yes to anything by advertising hype and trending media catastrophe stories, that we automatically say no without knowing what it is

In literature, an amusing example of a character suffering the effects of the hubris self-praise flaw is Professor Gilderoy Lockhart, O.M. (Third Class) of Harry Potter fame. As Fandom notes, “He did have above-average abilities, and he was cleverer than most of his classmates, but he had a bad flaw in that he would not try unless he was confident that he was the best of whichever particular team, group, or class he happened to be with at the time.”

In addition to suffering from the above personal flaws, we may have medical or substance issues as well, that we aren’t physically or mentally healthy. We may seek out other sufferers to be friends, as they will “understand” and enable us. Addicts, alcoholics and compulsive gamblers may be living in a bubble that has normalized self-destructive behavior. That may include the self-defeating philosophy always saying no, instead of saying yes to negotiate.

That we do something, anything, in order to experience failure or success is vital. Otherwise, we have no learning from our failures and successes. Babe Ruth famously said, “Never let the fear of striking out, keep you from playing the game.”

I wonder if a key to healthy recovery may be creating formative experiences. Korn Ferry, the executive headhunter firm, says that formative experiences are key to making a good CEO. Seven categories of formative experiences were rated by executives in a study:

1. Heavy strategic demands: change management strategy, divestiture, mergers and acquisitions
2. Significant people demands: developing people, building cross-unit teams, interacting with a variety of people
3. Fix-its and turnaround operations
4. Cross moves
5. Scale assignments
6. Scope assignments
7. International assignments

Of the seven categories of formative experiences, Korn Ferry said the first two are the most significant to forming a strong CEO.

About Robin Rowe

Robin Rowe

I’m Robin Rowe. People call me Robin or Rob. I founded my first start-up, a car company, when I was 16. My family is in real estate and agriculture, owns the largest organic farm in Illinois. Not wishing to run the family business, I went another way. I have 30 years experience in product design and financial systems. And, with trading stocks and now crypto on my own account, I’ve made high ROI year over year.

As a student, I studied math and dance, then joined NBC-TV as a technical director. As a professor, I taught computer science at the University of Washington and the Naval Postgraduate School. As a navy research scientist, I produced a VR war game to train NATO Special Forces and a flight simulator to test naval aviators. At multi-billion dollar defense company SAIC, I advanced from program manager to enterprise manager and chief technologist, launching two profitable divisions and their AI research lab.

Recently, I led a 1-year project with the UN WHO as Augmented Reality Group Manager and Game Producer. Designed a 3D hospital simulation for the WHO to train doctors to save lives. I’ve led technology collaborations with Meta, Intel, Oracle, Universal and the Department of Defense. As an innovator, I’ve been hired by Capgemini Financial Services, Lenovo, AT&T, GoPro and DreamWorks Animation. My current focus is on developing the metaverse.