I asked a friend to give me their candid opinion about whether I should run for the Chair of the Ormond Middle Common Room (MCR - the graduate student body at the College). And this is their feedback:
"i think you have two significant flaws that would make you not the chair we need next year:
* you bikeshed significantly. Which is great when everything is working well and you need to fix the minor things but not when we need to rethink the big picture.
* you struggle to articulate key points with out undermining the point you are trying to make and tripping over yourself. Rufus et al and the ormond board are pretty clever people and will exploit that when "we" are asking for things"
I don't think there are insurmountable character flaws, although 2018 might not be the best time to try out the Chair position to fix them.
In regards to the first point, I have a habit of getting too stuck in the details at the wrong time and it is certainly something I need discipline and self-awareness to overcome. But I believe that I am a naturally big thinker; however, I may not express my big picture views outside of my conversations with Kat, a close friend, and mentors because I feel embarrassed or arrogant for having some of my opinions. I suppose the real value of thinking in the big picture requires having the confidence to express such opinions openly. So perhaps the solution is to actually take ownership of my "big picture" visions, express them, and then let them guide me through how I interact on a day to day basis (eg, to fight against bikeshedding.)
In regards to the second point, I think the key to solving the problem of incoherence is preparation. Bullshitting on the spot only takes you so far. If I want to be able to go toe-to-toe with a board or a political opponent in the future, I need to be prepared. This is very much a key lesson that I have had to learn over the last few weeks in the incubators for my entrepreneurial project: put time in to preparation (gathering evidence and solidifying the logic) so that you can defend your position on a topic against incisive criticism.