We should all be like Larry David.
First, I’m talking more about his Curb Your Enthusiasm tv personality than his real life personality, since I have never had the pleasure of meeting him, but I suspect there is a great overlap between the two.
Second, let me back up for moment.
At Iron Horse Brewery one of our core operating principles is
Direct, Kind & Honest Communication.
We generally try not to prescribe how a cousin should behave, but this is the exception and expectation for every single employee that works at Iron Horse. If there is a conflict or an issue or problem, this is how we are expected to deal with it.
Being direct is honest.
Being honest is kind.
Be kind when being direct.
Also, never confuse nice with kind. (that’s a me thing, not an ihb thing)
As I was reflecting on this the other day, it occurred to me that Larry David takes this approach in almost every interaction he has. One could argue that perhaps he lacks kindness, or is too narcissistic, but if you really think about his various – yes, scripted – conversations, he exudes authenticity and honesty like no other, especially if you believe being honest IS kind. We’re going to have be willing to look past all of the yelling that happens in the show.
Let’s look at an example:
I originally borrowed from the YouTube clip 10 Times That Larry David Was Right which has since been removed, so instead, here is 10 hours of the Curb Your Enthusiasm theme song.
In Season 1, Episode 5, Larry, when realizing that his scheduled appointment was usurped by another, who checked in before he did, but had a scheduled appointment after his – immediately, directly, and honestly challenged the notion. The scripted reaction by the nurse actually escalated the scenario by asking him to calm down – getting reactionary/defensive vs hearing. It makes for good comedy. In real life, imagine that scenario playing out. What if she said “I hear you. I can’t fix it right now, but I will see what I can do.” And then Larry just says “Thank you. That’s all I ask.” Both sides would have communicated their truth; both sides would have been heard, and there would have been no second guessing or “man, I should have said something back there.”
This is one of hundreds of examples of Larry authentically speaking directly and honestly when faced with whatever scenario surfaces. He does so innately and organically. It isn’t manifested or willed, but is based on having a clear and concise moral compass. He can’t help it.
You could argue that his moral compass or his “why”, might be incongruous with reality, that he is rooted in selfishness, but that is for another day. Don’t try to shred my thesis. At the heart of it, all he ever does is engage truthfully. (I’m overlooking the clever, albeit selfish and deceitful use of the “accidentally texting on purpose” method)
Larry David doesn’t wait to address an issue. It’s immediate. He is so deeply connected to his core beliefs and is compelled to act on them when things don’t align. He’s not combative for the sake of it; he’s not looking to fight because it’s fun or he wants to make someone feel bad, no, when he sees an injustice, he must speak – “you shouldn’t have to wait in line for seconds, damnit”. It’s beautiful. He doesn’t let his feelings fester like an open wound in the hot sun.
Imagine a world, where we can freely articulate our truth, directly and kindly AND more importantly we can receive that honesty and directness without becoming defensive or worse – building resentment. Imagine being more like Larry David.
I don’t want to use the term “get a thicker skin”, but principally, I think that’s what I’m suggesting is required for the next level of humanity.
We have to be more willing to hear truth and take direct, honest feedback about whatever, without taking offense. This is easier said than done. Yes,I’m really talking about myself here – thanks for being my counselor, internet. If we all operated on the same premise that direct honest interactions have little to do with our personal value and more to do with living an intentional life, we would all be…I hate this cliche….happier. (feel free to ask me why I believe the pursuit of happiness is a waste of time)
Perhaps, I’m writing this as a cathartic attempt to justify those times when I do get defensive. Or maybe I’m pontificating because I have a man crush on Larry David’s world view and I’m not fully capable of this ideal state of being.
By the way, I am in no way advocating that we all just walk around unfiltered, saying whatever stuff comes to the top of our mind; I don’t want us to ALL to be President for goodness sake. I’m saying that it should be okay to intentionally vocalize our truth and honesty, without fear of offending or being offended.
If we really think about it, Larry David does what most people do after an hour so of imbibing..
So if we can’t be like Larry David, we can certainly get closer through a pint of Irish Death. (I had to tie this back to our beer somehow, right?)
Also, rumor has it Season 10 of Curb Your Enthusiasm is being worked on as we speak.