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greg dahlen

Alumnus, academy of achievement


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Are you repressed/inhibited in some way?

I feel pretty free to do and say what I want. I can ask an unusual question, state my political views, dance on a street corner. How about you, do you say and do what you want, are you repressed, is it your own inhibitions, fear of what people will think, fear of your government?


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    Jun 30 2013: Let's all be a little bit BRAVER!!

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      Jul 1 2013: The guy in the office is awesome.

      This stuff can be great for a video or to make a message. And there is places and times for this kind of stuff. I can behave like that on a dance floor - I have no problem. But imagine EVERYONE behaving like this every day. Wouldn't this be a bit chaotic and overwhelming?

      To function, society needs agreements and mutual expectations. When we say "Hi", we expect to hear "Hi" in return, not a dance and kissing our feet. I'm not sure if following social protocols is an inhibition. We send messages to other people continuously - with the way we look, the way we behave - messages about who we are and what to expect from us. These messages are continuously interpreted by others. The message in the video - "let''s be braver" justifies this behavior. But we need to be clear in our communication. When our messages misunderstood or misinterpreted, consequences may also be unintended and unforeseen. Refraining from certain behaviors may not be about inhibitions.
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        Jul 1 2013: You make a very valid point Arkady.
        The video was meant to be lighthearted......more towards the comments of the inhibitions which we have, based on nothing in particular, other than we are a bit shy.

        That is why in my comment belowI state in the last sentence:

        "some people have serious conditions which go beyond the norm, and we need to respect these."

        There are individuals that refrain from doing certain things, or saying certain things in public due to valid reasons.

        I totally agree with you..........."refraining from certain behaviors may not be about inhibitions".

        When I first started to participate in TED, I remember someone posted a video.
        Here, look at it:


        Arkady, a lack of love in humanity has many consequences.
        We all need hugs.........and love.

        Perhaps if all humans received and gave love, we would not have oppression, or repression.
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        Jul 2 2013: I hope you read LaMars (Not Here) comment.

        You make a valid point Arkady.

        Don't you think, though, that if one has hate, the inhition of it over a long period of time is damaging to one's emotional well-being?
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          Jul 2 2013: Not "inhibition" - letting it go. It works differently for different people. Some people cannot "let it go" - they have to redirect the energy. Some people cannot do that either. "Letting it go" for me means consciously driving my thoughts away from negative things. It's possible to do it with thoughts only, without actively doing something (punching bags or walking a dog). But, again, everyone uses different techniques. What works for me may not work for someone else.
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        Jul 6 2013: Well, Arkady, what if I met you and I was so excited to meet you that I started dancing instead of just saying "hi." Would this really hurt anyone?
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          Jul 6 2013: That would be cool. My kids do that once in a while.

          It's a message. I read it as an expression of excitement and joy from meeting someone. It can be appropriate or not depending on circumstances. Doing that with an old friend or a family member is normal. Doing that when meeting your boss at work might not be that appropriate.

          By the way, there is a biblical passage on this topic - 2 Samuel 6:14 where king David danced from joy in his undergarments in public when the Ark was brought to Jerusalem and his wife Michal rebuked him for doing it in front of the slave girls and David replied:

          “It was before the Lord, who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house when he appointed me ruler over the Lord’s people Israel—I will celebrate before the Lord. 22I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes. But by these slave girls you spoke of, I will be held in honor.”

          I guess, the point is that when there is a good reason for celebration, withholding joy or judging behavior of those who celebrate is inappropriate.
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        Jul 22 2013: well, Arkady, I thought all your posts on this topic were quite wonderful. What I wonder is, if someone always does what is common, acts reserved when that is common, acts looser when that is common, is that a form of inhibition? You seem to be advocating for conformity.

        What did you think of my idea that while you stand on the street corner waiting for the light to change to green you can dance? I started doing this for exercise, I thought why not use those three or four minutes to get a little exercise instead of just standing there? But someone driving past might think I was just an exhibitionist and trying to get attention.
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          Jul 22 2013: I wouldn't say I'm advocating for conformity. I simply believe, we need to consider consequences of our actions before we do something.

          When we are in public, we interact with other people - intentionally or not. We send signals with the way we look and with our behavior. To me, it's OK to send any signals. I would make sure, however, that my signals are interpreted correctly, in a way that I would like them to be interpreted. Otherwise, I can get unexpected results - get arrested, attacked, or whatever else. Sometimes, getting attacked or arrested may be one of the accepted consequences - depending on the message you want to send (like Rosa Parks refusing to give up her seat in a bus).

          If others don't interpret my behavior as dangerous or offensive, I don't care what they think or whether my behavior conforms to any standards. So, dancing in the street is unusual, but OK. I wouldn't however, run naked in public waving a gun. You may call it "conformity" or "inhibition". I'd say, it's simply considering consequences. There is no doubt in my mind that if I do it, police will be called and I will get arrested.

          I live in Portland, OR area. People drive with bumper stickers "Keep Portland weird". One can see all kinds of stuff in the streets here. Dancing on a bus stop is totally OK.
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        Jul 25 2013: Well, I want to thank you again for your contributions to this conversation, Arkady. Each of your contributions deserved much thought, and I'm afraid this conversation is about to close so your last comment won't get much thought. Offhand, I would say you are right, for example I fear being shot as I dance at a street corner by some macho or conformist person who is somehow threatened by what I do. So I assess the risk and perhaps moderate my behavior not dance as vigorously. But there is still a little risk.

        It seems worth pointing out that people can misread any signal, for example if you're just walking down the street some crazy person may attack you because, I don't know, they misread the intent of you wearing a yellow shirt. But it is true that some actions lend themselves to being misread more than others.

        But also life is not fun if you don't take some risks, push the envelope, or at least not for me. Do you yourself take risks, do you push the envelope? Perhaps I'll have to just leave you with that question since you may not see this until after it closes.
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          Jul 25 2013: Good points, Greg.

          The recent Zimmerman process is a good illustration to your point.

          I think, making sure that the messages we send are received and interpreted correctly is extremely important for success of everything we do.

          Regarding risks - they add a thrill to our life. I'd say, my risk tolerance is different in different areas of my life. Risk assessment always depends on expectations - what we may gain vs. what we may lose. Even with dancing. When you dance in the street, you risk that the passers-by may misunderstand you or view as strange. No big deal. Who cares? So, you may go for it. But I doubt you will be as comfortable doing this during a job interview.
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        Jul 25 2013: right, exept might there be a time to do something unusual during a job interview, it might distinguish you from the other, more bland candidates?

        But also, Arkady, should one repress oneself just to, for example, get a job? If one has a real urge to dance during a job interview, perhaps one should do it, because if one is repressing oneself to get the job, one is not presenting one's real personality, and may get hired for a job one will not really be happy in. Presumably if one has an urge to dance during the interview, one may also have the urge to dance while on the job, and if one had not felt comfortable doing it during the interview, one may find that one doesn't feel comfortable doing it while on the job and is thus unhappy. But when you decide to non-conform you should be judicious, you have to weigh how badly you want to do it and what the rewards and costs might be.

        Also, this is a little silly to say, but if one were going for a dancing job, one might want to dance during the interview. But what if one only wants to dance occasionally, not all the time?
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          Jul 25 2013: Hehe... Sometimes we need to sacrifice some things for others. I often feel an urge to sleep when I'm at work, but I'm afraid I have to resist this urge if I like to get the paycheck every month. Yes, it's a bit uncomfortable to sit at my desk all day long, answer silly emails and not being able to take a nap for 8 hours in a row. It does make me somewhat unhappy. That's why the paycheck is called "compensation". No pain - no gain.

          There are ways to stand apart from the crowd. Some people dye their hair green or purple, some do tattoos in odd places or pierce odd parts of the body. All those are messages. What's interesting is not what people do but why they do it. Dancing for yourself, because you have a need to move is different than dancing to show off and attract attention to yourself.

          My philosophy is to be comfortable with myself, not being ashamed of who I am, what I look like or what I do. It's, actually, a lack of inhibition. This means doing what I feel like doing and not doing what I don't feel like doing. So, yes, if you feel like dancing - why not?

          However, often people do strange things for exactly the opposite reason - they "wear a mask" to hide their vulnerabilities or things they may be ashamed of. This may often be the case when people are forced to conform to rules and requirements.

          I'm not sure if I explain this clearly enough. In some cases, people behave in unusual way because of internal comfort, in the other case, people behave strangely because of internal conflict. I think, if we understand our own motivations, conscious and subconscious, it's a lot easier to make our messages clear to others. Avoiding internal conflicts may help to avoid conflicts and misunderstandings with others.
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        Jul 26 2013: right, Arkady, but don't you feel like most people are somewhat inhibited, conform to what others are doing and sometimes don't do things they'd like to do?
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          Jul 26 2013: Yes. I often feel that. E.g. I like to dance Argentine tango, but my wife doesn't and she is not comfortable with the idea of me dancing tango with others. So, I have not danced tango for many years now.

          At the same time, I recall one time when my wife and I were getting out for a walk and she wore a dress that I wasn't comfortable with, for some reason. She wore it nevertheless and, as we were walking down the street, we had many people coming up to her making her compliments for her dress. Since then, I trust her taste.

          I can deal with my own inhibitions. I think, it's a bigger problem when people try to impose their inhibitions onto others.

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