On Being Tolerable


Now that’s kind of sweet.

Over the years I have received coaching and, more recently, therapy around this type of behavior which has really helped a lot with my own challenges. It has been an “imitation game” of sorts.

In fact, that is the title of a movie that’s out right now, starring one of my more favorite actors, Benedict Cumberbatch who plays Alan Turing, who is considered the father of modern computing.

I particularly love this review here which mentions how Turing would have easily been placed on the autistic-spectrum if he was alive today:

It [the movie] refers metaphorically to Turing himself, who learned to cooperate with other people and make himself tolerable by imitating their behavior.

Today, he’d be placed somewhere on the autism-Asperger’s spectrum; in the 1940s, when he collaborated with other math brainiacs to break a seemingly impregnable Nazi code, he came off as a weirdo who didn’t know how to make friends, couldn’t take or make a joke and had an ego the size of Westminster Abbey.

I particularly like the first line which resonated with me deeply: I have spent my entire life creating very complex coping mechanisms which have allowed me to be, essentially, tolerable.

I chuckle when I think of this because it has also been very much a “game” that I have played and that I have played well over the years, enough so that I could manage a marriage, be a father, and even survive corporate america for some time and into startup world which was much more forgiving of my own eccentricities.

I think there’s a massive opportunity to help those with mental disorders with technology on a scale that we could have never imagined. They don’t have to be complex solutions either, such as Color Countdown which I use consistently for daily activities.

They just need to work – and the results can be life-altering when done right. Perhaps they can help many of us become better than just tolerable.