Wednesday, February 11, 2009

IQ is not EQ, apparently....

I was completely fascinated by Mr. Stephen Fowler's performance on Wife Swap. I don't usually watch that reality show (America's Next Top Model, Survivor, and Amazing Race are more my speed), but I just had to find out what happened to stir up the rage and ill will of an entire nation. I went onto Youtube and searched on "Wife Swap Fowler" to find the highlights posted, and I was completely stunned. I started looking him up and reading all the blogs about him that I could find, and I even went on LinkedIn to look up his profile, sure that he must be in my network somewhere. Sure enough, I am only 3 connections away on LinkedIn from Mr. Fowler, so I know people who know people who know him. Small world indeed. I even posted on someone else's blog about him.

When I watched the videos, I thought, well, that just proves it. All the IQ in the world doesn't buy any EQ - emotional intelligence. Mr. Fowler has impressive credentials and pedigree, to be sure, but I think he is realizing this week that all of those outward accomplishments are useless if he is hated on sight. The sad part is, I think I used to be like him, valuing myself only by my education and achievements. And the truly sad part is, his display of superiority is only a reflection of how deeply he hates and despises himself. Can you imagine what it must be like to be so filled with bitterness and devoid of happiness that the only joy you can take in life is in the fact that you have an MBA from an elite school? I can imagine it. I've been there. So I'm not going to rag on Mr. Fowler. In fact, I have compassion for Mr. Fowler.

So that's why I'm not joining the chorus of those who are dying to send him back to England, see him suffer bankruptcy and loss, or wish him major misfortune and calamity. His life IS a disaster now, I am sure. He shared his extreme self-hatred with the nation, and it does not take a psychology major to see that this man is deeply damaged, fractured, and possibly even depressed. How did this happen? How did an apparently successful executive with so much going for him create such a mess for himself? I can guess: the void inside that causes him to strive for external accomplishments to fill that void, the deep-seated inferiority complex that causes him to want to lord his superiority over others who are less "accomplished" on paper, and the self-loathing that causes him to spew vitriol to anyone who will listen, even in front of his children, even to a guest in his home.

Mr. Fowler, I sincerely hope that you are able to find something more to love in yourself than your Cambridge and London Business School education. Those are monumental achievements, but they in themselves, do not a joyful life make. I hope you can pick up the pieces from this public relations nightmare and move on to a more healthy life with your wife and children. And lastly, I hope you are able to show your face safely sometime soon...the good news about us "horrible" Americans is that we forgive and forget....quickly. Good luck!

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