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Wednesday, 20 July 2022


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I don't care about what other people think of me!

Told ya it was a good book! And congrats for taking ACTION on OUTCOMES that achieve your AIMS.

Lots of great wisdom from the gang in the comments yesterday, too.

The commoon theme of "showing up" and "working hard" are bang-on.

Back when I was a younger man studying of all things, classical ballet, one of the reasons I developed some actual skill at this endeavor is I took class 4-6 days/week for...10 years. Funny how that works. ;-)

I might just extend the latter thought a bit, as well. A good way to work hard is to work...effectively, and a good way to understand how to do that is to ask, "What does success look like?"


I recognize the dangers of the negativity, but see it as a counterbalance to those people who, on being asked how work is going, always replied that it was going very well, even as they closed down their business the very next day. It felt better to admit things could always improve, and yet still be around for years ahead. Does anybody really believe all those smooth-talkin’ guys with their wonderful claims?

I kinda hated that lying stance; perhaps truth should be given a chance instead. Truth may cause doubt, of course, but is it, in the end, any worse than bare-faced fibbing?

Booze was never a problem when I was allowed to drink: my wife and I, over about a twenty-year period, killed off a bottle of whichever brand of wine we liked with lunch, and that led to some wonderful siestas, a fringe benefit of working from home - at least, once we left the UK for Spain. Now, limited to one glass per day, I find that it hits me more powerfully than did the half-bottle of the good old days. I guess the body finds its own regular equilibrium. No, I may have just been lucky, but I certainly don’t, today, crave that triple dose of vino, and if there’s regret, it’s because my lousy cooking (negativity as truth) could use all the helping disguise I could lend it.

I'm glad to read today's post, Mike, because you have been putting yourself down a lot on the blog lately, and that's not called for. It's also not interesting except when it involves an interesting story ("I don't remember faces well so I didn't realize who it was until I had been chatting with HCB for 20 minutes!").

And let's face it, anyone who can get an essay published in the New Yorker is a hard worker, not a shirker!

As for thinking of who you are in aspirational terms, it can be very powerful, and more so if you can express it in a way that would be aspirational for other people too.

Of course, it's important to distinguish between fixed identity traits ("I'm naturally disorganised") and adaptable traits ("but I can work at organising myself and create some order in my life"); otherwise you're just setting yourself up for painful failure.
Incidentally, never doubt that we all value you either way.

Americans worship positivity often to the extent of complete self-delusion. There is something to admire in self-belief it is true, but when a mass of people insist they are artists, or musicians, or entrepeneurs and show no visible signs of being any of these things, my British mind revolts. "Know thyself" is a much better way to assess how you want to live and the things that give you satisfaction. If those things turn out to be decidedly ordinary, nothing wrong with that. Join the vast majority of the world's population. No need to run yourself down, but being realistic about yourself is less likely to be emotionally damaging.

[Yeah but this piece is specifically NOT about mindless unsubstantiated positivity. It's about self-denigrating comments that no longer pertain but might have become habitual. And please, blanket generalizations about "Americans" amount to bigotry! We're people, and just as varied as you are. --Mike]

Hi, Mike
I don't see how someone who defines himself as disorganized can keep a blog running for almost 20 years, and making a living out of it no less!
There must be some hard work going on, I guess :)

Yes! An honest appraisal of our faults is the beginning of real change. Change starts with seeing our faults not as innate characteristics, but as behaviors that we adopted because they gave us a result we liked. Once we stop labeling ourselves and start comparing those results to our true desires, we can start making positive changes. It's never too late to start. Even though the road has no end, it's never too long, because we're just walking down it, seeing how far we get.

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