CHAPTER 11Don't Lose Perspective, and Never Let Your Ego (Or Title) Write Checks Your Ass Can't Cash

Social media has made too many of you comfortable with disrespecting people and not getting punched in the mouth for it.

—Maria Higgins

There is a great scene in the Frank Miller comic book series 300, which was made well before the Zach Snyder movie (just in case you were only familiar with the movie and the many Spartan thongs therein). At the beginning of the story, a messenger from the Persian army rides into the Greek capital and presents King Leonidas with the heads of previously conquered rulers. The messenger then takes it upon himself to dictate the terms of King Leonidas's compliance with Xerxes, the Persian king. “Earth and water is all we require,” he says smugly. King Leonidas takes a few seconds to consider this offer and promptly kicks the messenger into the nearest bottomless pit. The movie makes this scene fun to watch and incredibly dramatic, and you get the point: the messenger would not be delivering any more messages, ever.

In this scenario, there is something we should learn. The messenger was proud of his king and overly confident in his positional authority. He thought he could ride into the Greek capital with brashness and threaten the king of the Spartans, who were known far and wide to be the pinnacle of warriors at the time. The messenger relied on his experience with lesser men rather than being cautious, thoughtful, and respectful when confronting ...

Get How NOT to Lead now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience books, live events, courses curated by job role, and more from O’Reilly and nearly 200 top publishers.