Self absorbed

Wild creatures typically concentrate on their own little world. Trying to find enough food to survive and avoiding predators tends to narrow one’s focus. There isn’t a lot of interest in improving the neighbourhood or grander social issues.


Just checking for predators …

Of course they fiercely protect their young and often send out Christmas letters exaggerating all their offspring’s accomplish-ments, but that’s usually where it ends. I might call it a little self-absorbed … but they are not entirely alone.

Years ago I bought a good camera that far exceeded my ability. Initially I didn’t want to appear like I was bragging about the camera or my photography prowess so I avoided conversations about camera gear with other photographers. Over time I realized those concerns were misplaced.

Ask people a few questions about them or their equipment, they get so excited about the topic they rarely get distracted enough to return the questions. I went from reluctance to freely asking everyone, almost with immunity. Eventually I figured out that camera gear conversations generally weren’t that interesting anyway.


I’ve got my little issue here – no need to bother with anything else.

Once you start noticing people’s fascination with themselves, it becomes more obvious.

I have had long conversations in which the other person never asked a single question back. I don’t consider myself so needy that I would pull out a stopwatch to get equal air time, but a little passing interest now and then would have been reassuring.

The most bizarre example of self absorbed happened when I was interviewing a candidate for a position that required good judgement. The human resources person asked him to give a summary of his background – a softball question to get the process going. This candidate started talking and fell in love with himself all over again. After 15 numbing minutes I was thoroughly bored and started looking at my watch while shifting in my chair. Apparently body language was not his forte – he was undeterred. After 25 minutes I wondered what he would have to do to change my mind and hire him. At 37 minutes the monologue mercifully came to an end.

It turns out humans can imitate wildlife in the self-absorbed department … even without dodging predators.


I call this doing a human!

Latest Comments

  1. Swati Singh says:

    “often send out Christmas letters” LOL
    Nice post, really made me laugh
    Regards 🙂


  2. mflahertyphoto says:

    I think the moral of your post Lyle was that you’re just being part of nature when you feel self-absorbed from time to time. Haha, I think that’s actually true. I’ve always been of two minds about selfishness. I’ve been called selfish a few times, and it always seemed to really the person saying that their “needs” in the relationship weren’t being met. And that can seem selfish on their part. I’ve never been good at stroking people’s egos I guess. Bottom line is that unless you’re a saint you’re into taking care of #1 most of the time, right? That’s just the way it is. Not good, not bad. But when you go off for a half-hour on yourself in a job interview, you’re not only self-absorbed, you don’t want that job! Like everything it’s a continuum and most of us try to stay in the middle somewhere.


  3. melodylowes says:

    Okay – my camera just died. Talk shameless camera talk – what should I get? Really.


  4. Phil Lanoue says:

    I generally dislike talking about camera gear with other nature photographers out in the field, it usually gets quite tedious.
    Funny about animals, I like to bring them up when people start discussing New Years Resolutions. I take the animal approach which is to make no resolutions. For instance…the raccoon doesn’t resolve that ‘this year I won’t dump Phil’s trash can and spread the garbage around like I used to do all last year’.
    “Doing a Human” looks great.


    • Lyle Krahn says:

      Glad you liked the human imitation. I’m thinking you might be missing something about animal resolutions – what if their resolution was to go out dump Phil’s trash more than last year? At least it would be a measurable goal!


  5. Steve Schwartzman says:

    I like the way your parlayed your post with photographs of animals into an essay on self-absorption in people.


    • Lyle Krahn says:

      I actually started with the self-absorption stories and then had to figure out a way to tie it back to animals. By your comments, I might just have pulled it off. Thanks for the comment.


  6. Honie Briggs says:

    Some People! 🙂 Great shots here, Lyle.


  7. Gunta says:

    Never encountered a wild animal to talk my head off…. 😉


  8. Mind Margins says:

    Your post made me laugh today! Greatness! It is always somewhat shocking to come across the self-promoter types when you realize they haven’t asked you anything about yourself the entire time. I remember several dates like that, many years ago!


  9. artsifrtsy says:

    Sadly, I think that listening is becoming a lost art. I have had similar interviews, at least you saw it up front. Whew! Is that first shot a marmot? I love the cow elk – very nice.


  10. Mike Powell says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more about the tendency toward self-absorption in many people (and it gave you a good way to link together a wonderful series of shots of different creatures). The unfortunate reality is that society (or at least American society) seems to reward over-the-top self-promotion. I remember reading a self-help book a few years ago that began with the shocking words, “It’s not about you…”


    • Lyle Krahn says:

      Those are shocking words! It really is unfortunate that type of self promotion is common and I must say I am often surprised when it works because it has the opposite effect on me.


  11. Deb W. Trotter says:

    So just a guess here: you didn’t hire the guy who talked about himself for 37 minutes? 🙂


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