Monday, April 2, 2012

What I Love About Me

You know what I love about me? There's only one thing, really, that I think is perfect about Chris Matarazzo. Just one.

Before I tell you what that thing is, it's important that you understand that just because I grew up in the American generation that heard a song that told me "the most important person in the whole wide world is you" three times every Saturday morning on TV, it doesn't mean that I bought into the pervading approach to self-evaluation...

...I don't believe people can do anything they set their minds to. I don't believe positive thinking is the answer to every problem. I don't believe "attitude is everything." I don't believe that arrogance is an acceptable way to express confidence. I believe that we should be careful when we make statements like the one I am making here.

I believe in being critical of myself and in questioning my own motives and approaches to situations. What that leads up to is this: What I love about me is one particular thing and it is the only thing I love completely and without qualification. It is the only thing about me that I know is perfect. You know what it is? It is my ability to ask myself one question, in various circumstances:

What if I am wrong about this?

It is the only thing about me that I wish the rest of the world would imitate. Imagine how things would change if people stopped to ask themselves that question before acting. This doesn't mean a lifetime of fence-sitting. It means a pause before jumping down on one side or the other. Maybe a long pause.

Think of it. Think how things would change. Conviction sometimes smells to me like the mere pushing away of other possibilities; the avoidance of other ideas. Conviction often comes before thought (or gets handed down from our elders) and, then, it becomes a wall against change, no matter how right change might be in a given circumstance.

I have been, during my career and during my lifetime, surrounded by people who are sure they are right. They have been so sure that they have been willing to ruin others. This sureness has never, as far as I can see, come from logic. It has come from only one place I can see: a sense of superiority.

What an ass I would be to think that I am so much better than you that my conviction to an idea is worth your losing a job; having your character attacked; getting killed; being ignored.

It would take a hell of a lot of thinking and soul searching for me to be that sure. It could happen, but not before I have asked myself the question above for a very long time.

What's perfect about me? The fact that I believe -- really believe and, maybe more importantly, accept -- that I am imperfect. I can't do anything I set my mind to. I am not the most important person in the world. I haven't taken the pill of competition that amps me up to prove how perfect I am at the expense of everyone around me; in fact I'm one of the few people I know who isn't strung out on it.