Tall Poppy Diaries

Observations and musings on life as a happy high-achiever (or what the Aussie's call a "Tall Poppy" ). "Unless you choose to do great things with it, it makes no difference how much you are rewarded, or how much power you have." --Oprah Winfrey

Monday, January 03, 2005


  Tall Poppy Basics Lesson 3: Discernment

Tall Poppy...

Is always a diplomat; but never a doormat. And she knows the difference.

Makes the world feel that they are her best friends, but her closest confidences are usually shared only with other Tall Poppies.

Tall Poppy WANTS to be everyone's friend, but she has learned the difference between social harmony and social suicide. (It's a very fine line..)

Is a good listener. Is a good talker, too. She has simply learned to be judicious in choosing what to say to whom...and when.

Is well-rounded and knowledgeable enough to make intelligent, split-second decisions, under great pressure...and with a smile on her face.

George Washington once said, "Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence. True friendship is a plant of slow growth, and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity before it is entitled to the appellation".

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary clearly explains how powerful discernment is:
Dis-cern-ment n. 1 a.: the quality of being able to grasp and comprehend what is obscure: a power to see what is not evident to the average mind.

Tall Poppies can not be of average mind. If they are, they will wither. A Tall Poppy can never give Short Poppies and Weeds a viable reason to attack them (other than jealousy, of course), or they're doomed. Once someone reaches a certain level of success, others are more than willing to believe the worst about them--no matter how questionable the source of information. The Field of Life is littered with Short Poppies and Weeds who were once Tall and strong--but suffered from Verbal Diarrhea and Foot-in-Mouth Disease. You see, discernment basically keeps you from making an "a-s-s" of yourself.

There are MANY successful Weeds. They are miserable--but successful. One of their great weaknesses is their inability to discern. Yesterday, Pink Sun Drops wrote this comment on the "Observant" post:

"...Another thing about being observant is knowing when to keep what you've observed to yourself and when to share it. Most of the time it should be kept to yourself and the observation will be come into play at the appropriate time. Other times you can use it to change a person's view that otherwise might have a very negative outlook on something and they can end up being a support and help to what you've observed instead of a negative force."...

Exactly! Tall Poppies are NOT gossips. Tall Poppies gather information more fervently than other people and they know all SORTS of things that they, perhaps, should not. However, unlike some who use what they know to belittle or tear down others, Tall Poppies use what they know to quietly and unobtrusively position themselves advantageously. It's a subtle difference in strategy that usually sets them up for greater success... and happiness.

So what can we do to become more discerning in 2005? This one is REALLY tough. So I'll give you just one exercise and three short quotes to memorize:
1). Bite your tongue. Yes. Just bite it. Verbal Diarrhea and Foot-in-Mouth disease are always unfashionable. But red marks on one's tongue? Not so much.
2). Your first quote to memorize (pertaining to Exercise #1): "Just because you're thinkin' it, doesn't mean you have to say it". --Invisible Poppy
3). This one will help you DISCERN who your REAL friends are: "Everyone wants to ride with you in the limo, but what you need is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down." --Oprah Winfrey
4). "Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren't." --Lady Margaret Thatcher

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