Behave: (v) to act or conduct oneself in a specified way, especially toward others.
- Read the rules.
- Study the room.
Over the years, I’ve learned the power of these two profiles. Every situation you find yourself in has rules and also has a climate for activity.
If you enter the situation and decide to be ignorant of the rules and the climate, you will quickly break one of their commandments, and end up looking like a fool–especially if you try to defend yourself.
I have never been a great fan of rules, nor do I find trying to maintain a specific atmosphere to be fulfilling. But even more, I hate being on the outside looking in because it has been proven that I broke the rules. If I don’t like the rules, more than likely I will not be able to change the game.
I have to smile when I see idealistic younger folk who contend that they can enter the world of politics and transform it. Politics enjoys being ambiguously evil.
Likewise, the notion that you can go to a church, a corporation, a club or even a family reunion and insert your notions and have meaningful input is extraordinarily naive.
Make sure wherever you go–so that you will behave well–that you learn the rules and understand the climate.
If you’re going to vacation in Miami, Florida, in the middle of July, understand that there will be a lot of ethnic food and tons of heat, humidity and surprise rain storms. If you are prepared for that, you will not break the rules by complaining to the locals about the situation, which makes you come off as a tourist instead of a participant.
I do not participate without knowing the rules, and I do not leap into any activity without comprehending the climate in which business is conducted.
That way I behave myself and am considered a solid citizen … instead of an intruding jerk.