Friday 25 December 2009

Stuff amidst fluff

Caught up once in a bout of arbit enthu, I added a bunch of "business"-related feeds to my Google Reader subscriptions. Roughly a month after that, I into a routine of diligently reading the webcomics, the occasional update by an XLer or two, items shared by my Google Reader buddies and promptly "Mark As Read"-ing everything else.

Earlier today though, a post titled "Are You Programmed to Fail" from a blog called "Sales Machine" (I know, I know...) caught my eye. This is one of those hardcore "everything you do is a sales pitch" blogs, so one has to click through to the actual website to read the post, which usually annoys me enough that I avoid doing so, barring one or two intriguing Freakonomics posts. But then again, I really did want to If I Was Programmed to Fail.

Wonder of wonders, amidst the most patently ridiculous premise, was actually something interesting!
Everybody has a set of arbitrary rules defining the meaning of events in their life. Most people don’t set these rules consciously; instead, they just “grow” into them based on their temperament and upbringing. Because of this, many people have rules that tend to make them miserable.

I’ve known people who, in order to consider themselves really happy, must be on a wonderful vacation, win the lottery, fall in love, eats some rare delicacy, or some other unusual or even once-in-a-lifetime event.

In almost every case, these same people can find virtually any excuse to be miserable. If they miss a stop light, they get upset. If they can’t get a jelly donut in the morning, they’re upset. If they can’t watch their favorite TV show, it ruins their day, etc., etc., etc. They have an endless list of tiny things that steal away their happiness.

People who have those rules about life, are programmed to be miserable, because they’ll encounter dozens of things each day that irritate them, and very few events that will make them happy. And being unhappy or irritated most of the day is the ULTIMATE expression of failure in life.


The solution, of course, is to get off your emotional duff and start doing the hard work of changing your rules. Because here’s the exciting thing: if you switch the two sets around, you’re re-programming yourself to be happy, and therefore to win.

Want to be successful? Here’s how:
  • Decide to have rules that make it easy to be happy. Let little things that happen every day be cause for celebration. Find every excuse possible to take a little pleasure out of life.
  • Decide to have rules that make it difficult to be miserable. Save your misery for truly awful things, like the death of a close relative, financial disaster, or a major, debilitating illness.
Well played, sir. But. B-U-T but! Seeing as I have no other way of paying for the "content I consume", I urge you, dear readers, to trundle on over to the Sales Machine blog to see what the real point of that post is.

Linky to consume and pay for.


Geoffrey James said...

Not sure that you really got the point of the post. In fact, it was a mea culpa for letting such a trivial issue get to me. Also, if you think that Sales Machine is all about sales pitches, you must not have read many posts.

Unknown said...

I *did* get the point of the post. My pre- and post-blockquote grumblings are orthogonal to it.

And honestly, while I don't READ all the posts, I do at least look at their titles in my feed-reader, and I know they're not all sales pitch lessons :)