One of my super powers is that I know when it’s time to leave the barbershop. One of my weaknesses in this world is that I leave the barbershop too early.
Barbershop is a metaphor here, so let me explain.
I had a teacher many years ago that used to say, “If you hang out at the barbershop, eventually you’ll get a hair cut.”
My first understanding was that if you hang out for a long time, your hair will grow, and you’ll need to get a hair cut. That was not (totally) correct. Slowly, over a few day period, the real message dawned on me. Whatever the people around you spend their time doing will sway you to participate eventually. It’s only a matter of time before you get involved with whatever your friends and peers are doing.
There is an implicit assumption baked in here. Influence goes one direction. We are influenced by others; they are not influenced by us. The assumption we tend to make is that bad kids will influence good kids into doing bad things (same goes for adults). The direction of influence trends towards bad.
For years, I avoided spending too much time in one area. I bounced between who I spent time with, what job I had, where I hung out, etc. I did not want to end up a victim of my surroundings, so I changed them frequently. I wanted to be the one doing the influencing, not the one being influenced.
So, leaving the barbershop early always felt like a superpower. I can say no when someone says, “let’s take shots.” When the direction of influence is trending towards negative, I can spot it and walk away. I’m not so good at seeing it the other direction, though. Leaving the barbershop early is a weakness as well because I miss the good influences. I miss the chance to be an influence.
It takes time to develop deep, meaningful relationships. Leaving the barbershop too early means missing out on the good side of things as well as missing out on the bad. Hence, the superpower/ weakness duality.