Business and Life Lessons Learned from the Mosh Pit

May 18 2009

I know what you are thinking ... what the heck can one learn from the mosh pit that would have any relevance in the workplace or general life. Well, you would be surprised. I was thinking about how to solve some issues recently and when I came up with the solution, I figured out how to explain it using my experiences in the mosh pit as the description. This was the best way:

For those of you that have never been in the middle of a mosh pit, a bit of background. Mosh pits are typically viewed as violent and potentially dangerous parts of a rock concert. Having spent many concerts engaged in the mosh pit, I disagree. Many times, they are the safest place in the concert - and are not about violence. Sure, the activity that takes place can be viewed as violent, but they are really just a group of people who are finding a way to experience the music - and channel their agression. You will find that people are looking out for each other, helping those that fall, and most people enjoying the controlled release of emotion set to the music. I never once was hurt by someone on purpose - but as with any physical activity - injuries to happen.

One of the biggest issues with the mosh pit is there are two archetypes that are participating for reasons other than enjoyment. You first have the bully - who is really out to hurt someone. They come in with a cast or studs on their jacket or whatever - you can tell this is not about an emotional release, but far more. Those people are usually taken care of very quickly. Getting security's attention and the pit will band together to get the person removed. Very rarely does that person have a chance to really hurt someone. The bully is pretty rare in this case - most people don't want to get thrown out of the show.

The second archetype is far more dangerous. It is the person who stands at the edge of the mosh pit. They don't enter the pit formally, but they push anyone that comes close to them back into the pit. They are the ones that want to keep the emotional chaos going, but do not want to actually participate themselves. And I do not mean someone reacting because they got run into by chance. These are people that take a step into the circle, push someone into someone else, and then back out. Or they push others on the edge into the pit who are just watching and not engaged - and they usually have some wicked grin on their face. These people cause more harm than anyone else. They will not make the personal investment of their body. They like to push others around - literally. How do you deal with these folks, that we called "Edgemen" ? Well to be honest, it takes a bit of physicality to get them to leave. What was typically done is a coordinated effort. First, one person would slingshot into them - pushing them off the ring of the pit. A second person had already exited the circle, and got behind this person. The second person would, from behind, push the first person and the edgeman into the pit - as far as possible. The rest of the pit, well, let's just say it got active. Repeat until that edgemen left the pit space entirely. They were not usually happy about this process - but they left and most often never came back. This was not someone you could ignore. They went out of their way to cause trouble - and maybe hurt others. They needed to be taught a lesson. Swiftly. That lesson might have only lasted the evening, but it was done for the greater good.

Now, I made a promise recently to Gabriella Davis that I would stop being so vague in some of my Twitter comments. I should be direct or not make statements of ambiguity. Fair enough Gab, but in this case, I think I will leave it more general. No reason to let the edgemen know who are maneuvering behind them. :-)

Lesson to be learned: live your life and focus on yourself. Most people you can just ignore. But sometimes, you have to teach someone a lesson - that they won't forget.

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