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The Huberman Problem: Integrity Counts, Always

No more hall passes. Andrew Huberman must make amends and rebuild his tarnished reputation before returning to the public eye.

Behavior has consequences. Integrity matters. This was on my mind when I read the Andrew Huberman profile in NY Mag this week. My thoughts went to no more hall passes on egregious behavior; what we do in our personal lives absolutely matters with what we do in the rest of our lives. As has been said before, what we do anywhere is what we do everywhere. I am not singling out Huberman, whose behavior is atrocious by any standard, especially for someone who puts themselves out there as an expert trusted authority.

Having read comments on social media from young men wanting to repeat what he is doing was an appalling failure of leadership. This is but one example of how the bar has come down on what we as a society seem willing to accept, justify, overlook and even imitate. We count, all of us, and what we do and what we say matters, people notice, and people are impacted by us, regardless of our age or circumstance. If one has a platform and a public presence, this is massively magnified and even more problematic, but the concept remains the same: raise the bar, be the best person you can be if not for yourself, then for all the people around you.

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No More Hall Passes

It was maybe a month ago when I was out for dinner, that was frankly a disaster. I recall my mother’s voice saying something like “they mean well, they are doing the best they can”. Mom was always giving people a generous benefit of the doubt. She felt the same way about teenage sex offenders, I don’t. It was at that silly dinner, which was amusingly comedic in its failures, when I said to myself, no more hall passes, and not just at bad restaurants.  Sure, if we have a long term friendship with someone behaving badly, chances are we will come to their aid. They are most likely hurting in some way and need our support. Maybe. 

However when it comes to public figures, people who by their own design have amplified their effect, the math changes. There are no hall passes. There needs to be an admission of wrong, making amends to those impacted, and a long road towards becoming the sort of person who doesn’t do this stuff. Think of Robert Downey Jr, who, although brilliant, became too much of a liability until he did something about it. Exile is not permanent but requires more than high-priced crises PR. There is a reason most endorsement contracts have a morals clause: if you are a jerk, we can’t be associated with you.

Raising the Bar

All of us can raise the bar for ourselves. None of us is perfect, we all have bad moments, hopefully our bad moments are just occasional outbursts we can learn from. We don’t learn from our successes as much as learn from our failures. To be clear here, I am in no way giving a pass to bad behavior-what I am saying is that we need to try to be better, kinder, more helpful people, all of us. For the truly disturbed, this may require being cast out to get the needed attention to actually change. My spirit of generosity is not what my mom had. To me, although I would like to care about what your intentions were and your past history, what matters are actions. Intentions don’t affect others, it is our actions.

For the bad-behaving person, unless truly sociopathic, chances are they understand at some level what is wrong, feel some shame, and do more bad stuff to cover up the shame of the original offense. This goes both ways. Helpful, positive, and generous actions feel good and are good for those around us and for our own self-validation. People of bad character are not just bad in one area of life, they don’t have a twin good person brain- their bad stuff will effect everything they do, although they may forestall in some sector, the threat will always be there. We are, to a large extent, defined by what we do when no one is watching. Choose your role models wisely, choose friends who keep a high bar of integrity, and choose to be the person who makes you proud. We can do this.

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See medical disclaimer below. ↓

6 COMMENTS

  1. I absolutely agree with you 100%. Having forgiven extremely bad behavior more times than I should have, all it did was delay the inevitable. Do we all even know what a person with high integrity looks like anymore? Character matters. Actions matter. Honesty matters. A lot!

  2. Thanks Shelly. It would seem to be a foundational value, which we often overlook in the cause of other interests.
    All my best,
    David

    • Thanks Christine. We don’t do poitics here, but bad bahavior is bad. No matter what gender, status or credentials.
      I appreciate you taking the time to write us today,
      David

  3. Thank you for this article. I hope a lot of people will read this. Living very close to Stanford, unfortunately I hear about this type of behavior frequently and have been “conned” and subject to this “bad behavior” from someone who said they worked at Stanford. Character matters more than where you went to school.

    • Thanks Kristin. The issue of integrity and leadership is widespread, and will continue unless we call it out. We all have our issues, and as individuals we can each try to do better with our own stuff as it comes up. This is where I have a problem with so much public bad behavior- just admit, make amends and try to do better, and much is forgiven. Example: Robert Downey Jr.

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The ideas expressed here are solely the opinions of the author and are not researched or verified by AGEIST LLC, or anyone associated with AGEIST LLC. This material should not be construed as medical advice or recommendation, it is for informational use only. We encourage all readers to discuss with your qualified practitioners the relevance of the application of any of these ideas to your life. The recommendations contained herein are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. You should always consult your physician or other qualified health provider before starting any new treatment or stopping any treatment that has been prescribed for you by your physician or other qualified health provider. Please call your doctor or 911 immediately if you think you may have a medical or psychiatric emergency.

David Stewart
David is the founder and face of AGEIST. He is an expert on, and a passionate champion of the emerging global over-50 lifestyle. A dynamic speaker, he is available for panels, keynotes and informational talks at david@agei.st.

 

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