Because of the way I was raised, I actually thought defensiveness was noble. My dad was a fearless fighter for human rights, and he took great pride in it. He himself had been raised by a loan shark on the wrong side of Havana, and this sort of defensive, fighting Cuban swagger was what I thought would help me in life. If I saw what I thought was an injustice, I called it out, with no regard for who was hearing me, how I sounded, or what consequences my behavior might have. I had a chip on my shoulder the size of a conga drum. I am sorry to say it has taken four decades for me to figure out how much my own blind defensiveness was ruining my life—but I’m happy to say I have figured it out, and I’m living a much better life as a result.