EP 42: Real Confidence- The Joy of Cutting Others Down with Special Guest Doug Garland

You wouldn’t think so, but that bit of pleasure we experience when we knock someone down a few pegs? It’s a confidence sweet spot.

And it doesn’t matter if we do it in an obvious way or a passive aggressive way, the underlying reason is the same: part of us is envious of the other person’s success and believes if we can bring them down to our level, we’ll feel better about ourselves.

While this behavior can go by any number of names, my guest on this episode of the podcast was introduced to it firsthand when he was working in Australia and it happened to him. Colleagues who saw him as “tall poppy” cut him down in stature as their way of limiting his – and equalizing the group’s – success.

My guest was so fascinated by this, that ultimately, he wrote an entire book about it. Listen as Dr. Doug Garland and I talk about the inspiration for The Tall Poppy Syndrome: The Joy of Cutting Others Down.

Highlights from our conversation include:

  • The two kinds of envy we experience when see someone we think has more, is more or is better than we do or are
  • How our obsession in the US with celebrities and cancel culture is a macro expression of what happens in our every day lives at home and at work
  • The paradox of “bigger, better, faster, more” US culture that encourages us to be Tall Poppies and rewards us for cutting them down
  • Why it’s not the end of the world if you’ve been “tall poppied”
  • The role tall poppies play in the world and why, even if someone might try to cut you down, you still want to grow and flourish

Douglas Garland, M.D. and author of The Tall Poppy Syndrome: The Joy of Cutting Others Down, practiced orthopedic surgery for 37 years in Southern California. In addition to serving as Medical Director of their total joint service at his local hospital for five years, he served as chief of four service units including spinal cord injury and traumatic brain injury. Doug was also a Clinical Professor of Orthopedics at the University of Southern California. You can learn more about Doug and his book at douggarland.com.