Paul Graham's essay, Mean People Fail, stirred up a debate in the tech circle and got me thinking. I always consider myself as a blunt, no nonsense person. I hate pretenses. I don't like to say things that are against my heart. Are these personalities the same as being mean to others? Steve Jobs was called a mean person million times over. Was he mean or just blunt?
There must be a difference between being mean and blunt. For the mean people, meanness itself is the goal. They want to hurt you and the act of hurting you is satisfying by itself. On the other hand, being blunt is to get things done quicker and more efficiently. You see, here getting things done is the goal. Your being hurt by blunt language is only the collateral damage.
I don't want to hurt people, even those I hate very much. I just wish them to go away. I don't want them to live a miserable life. I guess this general attitude proves that I am not a mean person. Of course, hurting other people is bad no matter what your intentions are. So I am constantly learning to deliver blunt words in a much more acceptable way.