How to Lead a Miserable Life or NOT.
Something occurred to me the other day as I was staring at all my self-help books lying around the house.
I must have close to 100 at various stages of discovery (i.e. R.I.P. or Reading In Progress)
No sooner do I pick one up than I put it down and grab another.
I have a bunch stacked up near my treadmill.
First thing I do every morning is read for 30 minutes while walking on it.
I find it gives me both physical (walking) and mental (reading inspiring stuff) energy to start my day.
I also have a bunch of books on my coffee table. In my night stand. In my library. On My office floor, etc.
So many that I have started a database in excel to keep track of them.
I am going to have to launch a 5th service line pretty soon just to pay for them all. 🙂
Given that my business mission is to help my clients lead more fulfilling lives, I figured that it only made sense to read them all and then share the insights that I have gleaned from them.
They are all about leading healthier, happier, more fulfilling lives.
Although everyone has their own definition of what a fulfilling life means to them, I have so many books with so many topics that there has to be something for everyone.
But I tell you, trying to read all of these books and then blog about them is killing me.
Killing myself is not part of my definition of leading a fulfilling life, so luckily, I enjoy reading. 🙂
Within reason, I do have other stuff that interests me as well.
Lots of other stuff.
Anyways, a long story, short.
I just bought another book the other day.
I found the title intriguing.
“How to be miserable” by Randy J. Paterson. PHD
He has identified 40 strategies that YOU can use and that most people already use to lead a more miserable life.
I was intrigued.
At first, I thought, who wants to lead a miserable life.
Certainly, not all the people, like me, who are shelling out huge bucks for self-help books.
My second thought was that Randy J. Paterson is a PHD, a.k.a. an academic, so the book is likely quite boring and full of studies and research and statistics and other stuff that I personally don’t find all that interesting.
No offense to any of the PHD’s out there. 🙂
But as it turns out, this PHD, has a pretty good sense of humour, just a bit sarcastic, and I love sarcasm.
So, I started reading it and I am almost finished.
I am at Page 152, Lesson (a.k.a. strategy) #29: “React to their motives. Not their Messages.”
The book resonated with me from the start.
Right from lesson #1 which is to “Avoid all exercise”.
Yikes. That was me 5 years ago. 🙁
Although I still have 11 lesson to go, I have come to realize something.
This PHD has done, what I consider, a great job of compiling all of the messages from the various positive self books and summarizing them into his 40 strategies.
His strategies, as you would image from the title of his book, encourage people to do the polar opposite of what all the other books suggest.
So, my hypothesis is, that if I were to read this one book and do the exact opposite of what he is suggesting, instead of leading a miserable life, I would be leading a more fulfilling life.
And spending a whole lot less on self help books 🙂
This reminds me of a discussion I had with a very good friend of mine.
We have both gone through significant changes in our lives recently.
When discussing which strategies, we had used, both of us mentioned that we did the opposite of what we had done in the past.
The opposite of what we had done in the past that lead to us being in a nasty place in the first place.
As he pointed out, just like what George Costanza did in one of the more famous Seinfeld episodes.
George had come to the conclusion (a.k.a. become AWARE, which, by the way, is supposedly 9/10th of the battle)
As George put it; “My life is the complete opposite of everything I want it to be”.
He further stated; “That every decision that I have made in my entire life has been wrong”.
So, he decided that moving forward, he was going to do the exact opposite.
The logic being that things will move in the opposite direction which is the direction he wants to go.
That was the concept.
Quite simple if you think of it.
A bit of Genius.
He was already well trained in doing those things.
They had become a habit.
So now, all he (or ME or YOU) have to do is the opposite.
No new books to read, no new courses to take.
So, instead of ordering “tuna on toast, cold slaw and a cup of coffee”
George decided to order the opposite;
“Chicken salad on rye, untoasted, with a side of potato salad and a cup of tea”.
My favourite part of the episode was his opening line when he approached a woman that he found attractive.
“Hello My Name is George, I am unemployed and live with my parents”.
Her reaction, much to everyone’s surprise was a big smile and interest to get to know George better.
I guess it is true what I wrote in my blog on “finding my soulmate”, women do seem to appreciate honesty and authenticity 🙂
Anyways, back to helping you all lead more miserable lives.
To that end, what I am going to do is write up one of my long-winded blogs using this as my topic.
Like my other long winded-blogs it will end up with a top 5 list as viewed through my lens.
I am going to finish the “How to be miserable” book and then choose the 5 strategies that, for me, would help me become more miserable.
I will share them with you through that blog.
I am going to execute on them.
And by execute on them, I mean I am going to do the exact opposite of what the author is suggesting.
The polar opposite, the white vs, black, the day vs. night (I think that you get my drift 🙂 )
Oh, just one more.
I am going to “pull a Costanza”.
I invite you all to do the same.
And, by the way, I do so with the full blessings of the author.
Randy J. Patterson PHD, very early on in the book invites his readers to do exactly that if they want to, deep down inside it sounds like he wants them to 🙂
It is funny but sometimes I get the feeling when talking to people that they don’t mind being miserable.
Some are not aware, some are afraid to change, or they just don’t believe that they can.
They seem to be among the 98% of folks that many studies suggest settle for less.
Oh well, maybe my blogs might inspire some folks to start believing that they too can do the opposite.
If I can even plant a few seeds, then my time will have been well spent
So, look for my upcoming long winded blog sometime before Christmas.
It will be #8 of my monthly series for those of you who are counting 🙂
For those of you who are looking for a shorter read please don’t despair.
I have also decided to share what I am going to call mini-blogs.
For my first, I am going to pick one of the 40 strategies and focus on that one in particular.
For my inaugural mini-blog, I am going to go with Lesson #26: Drop your boundaries.
Should be an easy one for me, not too long ago I had none to drop, and I mean none 🙁
Well. That’s all folks
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What would that change be?
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