Log in

No account? Create an account


Posted on 2011.05.25 at 12:00
Current Location: 75070
Current Music: ehowton's W U X I A
Tags: , , , , , ,

The little things. Sweat them not. Broad strokes are ideal for general feelings of well-being. We can always control broad strokes, even when using the Butterfly Effect of Chaos Theory - changing one very tiny thing to see how it unfolds. Less simple is attempting to control the outcome of many threads simultaneously. So don't. That path leads only to frustration. Learn instead to appreciate the outcomes you can control. In a word, yourself. You are the single-most important variable to any of your scenarios. You're also the easiest thing for you to manipulate. When you are finding it exceedingly difficult to change a situation you're unhappy with, change your perspective by changing yourself. Suddenly, its no longer an obstacle. Its an assist. Wow!

No, its not magic. And sure its difficult - anything worth doing is. But only its unfamiliarity makes it so. Start small. Try it with little things. Try it on for size. See how it feels. Don't go too far outside your comfort zone, but go far enough. What do I mean? Its like this: What you're doing now is obviously not working, so you really have nothing to lose, despite the initial discomfort of uncertainty. Once you've had a few small successes - and failures, don't forget the importance of failure - you can branch out even further. Utilize your newfound power on even larger issues to tackle. Bam!

Case in point: Recently I came up against a real prick of a Project Manager. While its true that it takes a certain personality type to excel in that role, its not a prerequisite to be a dick. Nonetheless, there are those who enjoy flexing muscles they're disallowed from flexing elsewhere in their lives. Regardless, I found myself stuck with him. My first reaction I'm now embarrassed to say was overt disdain. Mind you, I also had my reasons - very good reasons. But that doesn't make how I reacted any more honorable. As things were coming to a head, I decided on an alternate strategy. I would kill him with kindness!

Respect is earned. Nonetheless, I chose to pretend to respect this man, his position, and his authority. I thought that by pretending to respect him, at some point I might trick myself into *actually* respecting him. Guess what? It was easier than I anticipated. The more respectful I became, the less of a dick he was. I also found that he was good at what he did, and a strong contender to have in my corner when things on the project temporarily turned South. The best part? My life was now much, much easier. The conflict was gone and I greatly multiplied the effectiveness, and joy, in my daily activities. All these wonderful things because I chose to not be a dick back.

Its not magic. It just seems like it because its such a foreign concept. We all wonder from time to time how so-and-so manages to always seem so content at everything life is throwing at them. Now you know. The best part? This is one of those experiments you CAN try at home!


michelle1963 at 2011-05-26 21:47 (UTC) (Link)
Some people mistakenly believe that the expression of negative emotion, even if seemingly justified, will lead to a feeling of satisfaction. Rarely is this true. Retaliation, whether blatant or passive-aggressive, just leads to more aggravation. Why is this the default reaction then?

Your solution was brilliant.

Today, a young man in my workplace was expressing dissatisfaction over "BS politics". An older co-worker was explaining to him that this occurs everywhere, and although he didn't have to like it, he needed to learn to deal with it. I added, "I go in with a good attitude because it makes me happy. I can't control the rest." I don't think the kid got it, but his co-worker did.
ehowton at 2011-05-31 00:04 (UTC) (Link)
I don't mind people having those reactions you've outlined every now and again - hell, I have them myself. But you hit the nail on the head with the qualifier, "default." Such reactions should be first quantified, then timed for maximum effectiveness. What wears me out are those poor souls who come up against something they've never experienced before and their first reaction is to pick up a rock and bash it in the head. Did you guys ever watch the show???

Clearly these are thinkers we're dealing with. Nonetheless, in playing the odds of randomness, how come I never run across anyone who's "default" reaction isn't anger/frustration? And even if they don't exist, should a handful of these reactionists at some point figure out (i.e. learn) that how they handle things isn't working?

Scratch that - dentin covered that here. I've got nothing.
codekitten at 2011-11-21 13:18 (UTC) (Link)
i just watched this movie again last night. never fails to make me laugh!

i completely agree, and live, all of the things you've outlined above. it makes life so much easier.

i have a neighbor that hates my husband and i for some reason. either because we are young (everyone else on the street was the original crew that had bought their houses there) or because we are a mixed couple (or because he's an asshole).

anyway, after stewing for months trying to figure out what to do or how to interact with him i just decided to kill him with kindness.

when i see him on the street i would wave and say hello. he promptly ignored me...for years. eventually he would nod his head. the other day, he walked over and said hello and made a joke. i about fell over. it's only taken 8 years.

but whatever, i'm glad i didn't tear him a new one when he left a note on my car that i was making the neighborhood look trashy (by parking on the street) or when we first moved in and he blasted country music at us (to which we blasted country music back) or so on and so forth.

"You are the single-most important variable to any of your scenarios." yes yes yes!

Edited at 2011-11-21 02:33 pm (UTC)
ehowton at 2011-11-21 15:09 (UTC) (Link)
The movie is on my "annual watch list." That is to say, there are a handful of movies I must watch at least once a year, else I start to take myself too seriously - and this on is the Top 5 of my all-time favorites; it never disappoints!

Eight...years? Wow. That's a lot of work. I used to think I was the most patient person I knew, but I think even I have my limits. Are you a god? That's amazing. I'm really impressed!
codekitten at 2011-11-21 15:20 (UTC) (Link)
well, if i'm being completely honest, i would say that i derived a little bit of sick pleasure in making him uncomfortable with my friendliness. the more friendly i was, the more uncomfortable he was. ;)

but when he finally came around in the past couple of months, i did feel good about all of the effort...i feel like i'm educating him that black people are ok, or young people aren't all irresponsible or whatever his issue is. not that i think i should have to represent "x" whatever that population is...
codekitten at 2011-11-21 15:23 (UTC) (Link)
but i started out with good intentions...it just became funny after awhile seeing him squirm every time i said hello :P
ehowton at 2011-11-21 15:25 (UTC) (Link)
You don't have to explain anything to me!
codekitten at 2011-11-21 15:28 (UTC) (Link)
whew! i should've known i could reveal this side of myself to you without judgement :)
ehowton at 2011-11-21 15:24 (UTC) (Link)
i derived a little bit of sick pleasure in making him uncomfortable with my friendliness

NOW you're speaking my language. Yes, I understand this in its complex entirety. THIS is why I am so adept at making people feel good - because if it doesn't work, at least I'm still tickled! (But we'll keep that little secret to ourselves...)

*whew* for a second there it was like I didn't know you at all!
codekitten at 2011-11-21 15:31 (UTC) (Link)
right! shhhh* don't tell anyone. people have no idea what goes on in my head :P
michelle1963 at 2011-11-22 04:55 (UTC) (Link)
Hey a win-win! Over time, you did change his behavior, and in the meantime you enjoyed the... hilarity of his unncessary discomfort. But that discomfort was manufactured by him; not you. Totally self-inflicted. I, too, would have found his reaction entertaining. But I find much of human behavior falls into that category for me. ;-)
codekitten at 2011-11-22 13:48 (UTC) (Link)
me too! i laugh and/or enjoy all the complexities of human behavior...even the awful stuff has something to teach us.

one of my favorite things to do is sit on the sidelines and watch at parties or gatherings...i have a party all by myself...it's usually more fun than the one i'm at!
michelle1963 at 2011-11-22 14:45 (UTC) (Link)
I can soooo relate to that!
jobu121 at 2011-05-30 23:17 (UTC) (Link)



I am soooo going to miss your great mind. And of course the interesting conversations. I am going to try this at home :)

ehowton at 2011-05-30 23:46 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Dude

The lengthy exile you endured was a cushion to the impact of your departure. That which is not seen...

Nonetheless, the knowledge that you are permanently unavailable saddens me just as much as it makes me giggle at the thought that she actually believes her grumpy indifference will be able to absorb your absence.

Someone is going to take it up the ass, and its not going to be me, and its not going to be you :)
(Anonymous) at 2011-05-31 00:05 (UTC) (Link)

I've seen this so many times. I can't tell ya how happy you've made me by posting this, E. I cringe when I encounter a friend that looks at the dark side of everything and becomes a victim of their own choices. When I would encounter adversity in the past, I would say something like, "I should have known, 'cuz nothing ever goes the way I planned it," or "If I didn't have bad luck - I wouldn't have any luck at all." I then had an Ah-Ha moment that I was, in fact, ASSURING that nothing would go my way by believing in those statements. I had to change the way I thought. I had to change that little voice in my mind that would say negative things before I even had a chance to start a project or deal with a difficult person. It is not something you change overnight, since you probably learned these initial negative reactions at an early age. All I can say is:

BE a work in PROGRESS!

And, E, do you realize that you made that man's life better at the same time you were improving your situation? He became less of a "dick", because he no longer felt the negative force others were projecting at him. He broke down walls. He absorbed your positive energy -- and was a happier, more balanced person. You helped make that happen!

pingback_bot at 2011-11-22 02:06 (UTC) (Link)

<A HREF="http://ehowton.livejournal.com/405658.html">"The Zen of Living"</A> Revisited Scientifcally

User michelle1963 referenced to your post from "The Zen of Living" Revisited Scientifcally saying: [...] p; Within this post, he references an earlier post, Minutia [...]
ehowton at 2011-12-06 14:58 (UTC) (Link)

Re: <A HREF="http://ehowton.livejournal.com/405658.html">"The Zen of Living"</A> Revisited Scientifc

Thanks for letting me know, pingback_bot! You're the best!
pingback_bot at 2011-12-12 16:19 (UTC) (Link)

Happiness: A Learned Skill

User michelle1963 referenced to your post from Happiness: A Learned Skill saying: [...] to be happy.  True, it is work, but well worth the effort [...]
Previous Entry  Next Entry