As I’m getting old, I recognize my friends fall into two camps: filtered and unfiltered.
For example, my friend Bradley is a filtered guy. Before retirement, he was a dean in the University of Wisconsin System and respected by all his colleagues. Everyone counted on Bradley. He gained a reputation for his consistency, fairness and clarity of communication.
In the 1980s, I was a loose cannon in the university system. I had spontaneous, creative solutions for everything. I came unfiltered, like a Camel cigarette, at times providing instant gratification for the moment while often creating long-term problems.
Bradley told me recently I was part of his most memorable and joyous moments. I hugged him and let him know all the good he had produced over an impeccable career.
Life is grand. I have a hunch that the key to fulfilling our potential is to recognize which filtration system works best for us and to support and appreciate the contrasting systems of others.