Monday, February 2, 2009

Who benefits from your mistakes?

Who benefits from your mistakes? Who benefits from your laziness? Who benefits from your ignorance?

This question popped into my head the other day. I had been thinking about the concept of "providing value" to others as being the correct method of creating wealth. Many online gurus say to people like us, whoever we might be, that the only way to get a following, to sell a product, is to create something that provides value.

But that sounded so "goody-goody" to me. Yes, it makes sense. Sure, we're supposed to be so wonderful and cherry that all we want to do is provide value to others.

However, I'm going through my social-climbing, "give it to me" phase right now. I wanted to think on the dark, yet legal, side. I thought "What little chump is benefiting from me sitting on my ass, not doing anything, watching this stupid television commercial?"

When I was at the office, and lunch time rolled around, and I hadn't brought any nutritious food with me, I had to go to Subway. Sure, it's "healthy," with all those unhappy, negative sandwich artists doing their best to serve the lunchtime rush. But who benefited from my laziness and lack of planning? Subway, I guess. The people who slaughter the poor chicken I ate [they really overcook and then remicrowave that poor chicken 'til it's barely recognizable].

But do you see what I mean? I know this blog post is very sloppy and is going to end up unedited [I'm just trying to get into the habit of blogging daily], but isn't it interesting to think about?

Who benefits when you're too lazy to go to the gym? The gym owners do, because they don't have to maintain the equipment as much because you didn't go that day.
Who benefits when you have a craving for chocolate and can't resist? The candy company. The gym membership you end up signing up for, but really never end up using.

Who benefits when you didn't give yourself enough time to study for that test and you end up getting a B instead of the A you could've gotten? That annoying student who studied harder, gets the better grade, goes to the better school, gets a better job, and then brags about their success by showing pictures of their fancy digs on Facebook.

Who benefits when you're too lazy to think for yourself, to trust your own instinct, so you go consult outside sources? All those self-help bloggers benefit from getting ad revenue, book deals, etc. Do you REALLY think someone like that knows what's going on?

Who benefits when you wake up late, don't have time to get ready sufficiently for work, and then forget to put on deoderant? Some cute person who you're attracted to could walk by, think "wow, they look like a mess" and not even consider fliritng with you. Later on, when you realize you've forgotten to wear deoderant, you have to go to the drug store, buy deoderant you really dont' need, and then buy 5 other miscallaneous items you don't need so other people don't think you're just there to buy deoderant.

Who benefits when you focus on the negative, ruminating over negative past events, people who make your stomach burn, desires for revenge, etc.? The person who benefits is the one that is more positive, who out-performs you in other areas of life, like work, blogging, etc., because they don't waste their time thinking about things they can't control anymore. Instead, their life just gets better and better, as they are able to buy a house with their blogging money, buy fancy clothes, and save for the future. You, on the other hand, sit in your bedroom's shitty "home office," your brow twisted in a furrow as mental images of people you disliked from high school float through your mind, you somehow able to find a way to blame them for at least PART of your current situation.

Instead of always thinking about providing value to others, can we also be equally motivated by trying to ensure that others do NOT benefit from our faults? Essentially, it is the same concept, only reversed.

Before you do something you know you could do better, think -- "Who is going to benefit from me doing this sloppily?" Who knows, it might be that bitchy girl from high school snickering at you when she sees you 20 years later driving a beat up mini-van. She benefits by then telling all her friends what she saw. You can pretend that it doesn't bother you, use that "I don't care what people think about me!" line. But let's face it -- it hurts, it's embarresing, and YOU could have prevented it.

You need to realize you're nothing so you can become everything.

We have to start from where we are right now.  So many gurus coax us to imagine ourselves already being rich, already possessing whatever trait or item we desire.  It should be easy, wonderful, they tell us -- you already have what you desire, you just don't know it yet.  Jesus said "Ask and you shall receive."  What He failed to mention was what happens between the asking and the receiving part!  

Modern internet spirituality gurus tell us that we're sons of God, which I agree with.  But I don't think God wants us to be bored.  God wants us to be engaged, excited.  

Do we desire to live like kings, having everything handed to us, with mystical spirits in the ethers arranging everything "just so" so we can live a life of complete pleasure and bliss?  I used to think I did.  Now I realize that this is all a game, and you have to play if you want a chance at winning.  

Imagine if your life is a video game.  I remember playing those Japanese RPGS back when I was younger at friend's houses, games like Zelda, Secret of Mana, and so on.  I was never good at them, but they were thrilling for me to watch.  The stories, however simple, usually started with a young man with nothing.  Through his journeys, he makes friends, defeats enemies, accumulates fame and fortune.

Would you want to play a video game where you are a king and you just get whatever you want?  Shuffling to your bed chamber to your throne in your kingly robe and heavy crown so you can have people bow down and respect you?  Isn't it more fun to start from nothing and work your way up, fighting, and struggling?

How much more motivated would you be if you said to yourself "I'm nothing - I've accomplished nothing, I've made nothing of myself so far." Thinking that thought makes me want to fight, to prove it isn't true, to throw myself into something I feel passionate about. Being nothing is liberating because it gives you the chance to be whatever you want!  Saying you're nothing gives you a clean slate!

So say this -- say, "I'm nothing.  I haven't any talents.  I have no history.  I am a blank slate.  I have no negative emotions."  It makes you want to fill the void, huh?  It makes you want to take action.

Realize you're nothing so you can become everything.  We have to work our way up.  We have to start at the bottom if we want to get to the top.  We have to be realistic -- not about how others view reality, but we have to be honest with how we view OURSELVES if we want to progress.