Posted by: Don Linnen | 31 July 2012

The Charm Offensive

Or is it offensive charm?

We are rarely offended by charm. By someone telling us how smart we are; how good we look; how funny we are; how much they admire: our home, our car, our child, our company, our mission, our ________ – fill in the blank.

Len Sweet recently tweeted: “Reading Susan Cain’s “Quiet” detailing our move from a Culture of Character (discipline, truth) to Culture of Personality (entertain, charm).”

This is an accelerating cultural trend. People have always put a priority on entertainment, no matter how hard their lives are. In our ultra-connected, uber-hyped, over-sensationalized world, the fun stuff (entertainment and charm) easily distracts us from the tough stuff (discipline and truth).

We flock to the opening ceremonies of the summer olympics. We wait with bated breath for our team to announce the starting quarterback.

We choose our leaders based on who is the best debater – who thinks the best on her feet. Voting for the guy who is a dork but is honest and disciplined just isn’t cool. We all want a cool leader. We all want to be cool.

Can quiet people be cool? Can you be cool when one notices you?

Quiet people get lost in the shouting or in the smoothly presented arguments of the day that steadily shift our culture. There are growing numbers of no-compromise arguments over government spending, taxation, immigration, health care, social programs, theology…the list goes on.

Not everyone is right. Not even me. But everyone has an idea. Some are really good. They all need to be heard. Maybe Susan Cain can help the quiet ones be heard.

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