2020 | Unskippable - Marketing Keynote Speaker - Jim Kukral

Yearly Archives: 2020

This Sucks So Much Right Now

This Sucks So Much Right Now

If we could sum up this entire COVID-19 mess in one sentence and put it on a mug that would be it, right?

I'm not going to try and inspire you today.

I'm not going to try and give you some lesson today.

I'm not going to lecture you today.

What I am going to do is just ask you how you are today?

What's it like where you live?

How is your family doing?

Are you staying busy?

Mentally, how are you coping with this?

I just wanna know that you're ok, and that if you want to chat about it and even vent about how much this sucks, I'm here for you.

Did I mention this sucks so much right now? Ha!

Text me now. (216) 236-8294

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How You Choose To Use Your Time In A Crisis Says A Lot About How Successful & Happy You Are

How You Choose To Use Your Time In A Crisis Says A Lot About How Successful & Happy You Are

During the years 1665-67, the time of the Great Plague of London, Isaac Newton unleashed his genius on the world. The Great Plague killed an estimated 100,000 people—almost a quarter of London's population—in 18 months. Scary shit. 

Newton, if you don’t know, created the basic principles of modern physics, which resulted in the formulation of the law of universal gravitation. Pretty important science stuff.

And he did it when he was “working from home.”

An earlier plague, in 1606, allowed Shakespeare to get a lot of dramatic writing done while the theaters were shut down. During this “down time” he churned out King Lear, Macbeth, and Antony and Cleopatra.

So what’s your excuse? 

There are two types of people during a crisis. Which one are you?

Person #1: Netflix and Chill

This person is going to shut down. They’re going to watch Netflix a lot. They’re going to organize their closet. They’re going to entertain themselves to “get away” from the news of the world crashing down around them. 

Listen, I get it. I’m certainly going to do some of that. But there are limits to that for me.

Person #2: Make Shit Happen

This person is going to kick some serious arse. They’re going to improve themselves, personally, and professionally. They’re going to learn something new. They’re going to hunker down and do something productive that changes their life.

Again, which one are you?

One of your competitors is going to innovate and dominate doing something to fix the situation. But maybe it’s more important you catch up on Narcos.

You can stare out the window for a month, or you could start a podcast, or start writing a book. Or you could argue with people on Facebook/Twitter.

You could just feel sorry for yourself and do absolutely nothing. What message does that send to your kids? 

Again, which person are you going to be?

Text me, tell me what you’re going to do. If you don’t know yet, fine, come up with a plan. But do something productive, or not. It’s your choice.

Text me now. (216) 236-8294

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Why Do 15 Percent Of The People On This Planet Believe The World Is Going To End?

Why Do 15 Percent Of The People On This Planet Believe The World Is Going To End?

Quick programming notes. 

1. If you’re trying to text me and you’re an international number, I can’t text back for some reason. So just email me back, cool? 

2. If you’re not texting me at all then I’m 100% cool with you unsubscribing from this weekly thing, just click that link at the bottom. Remember, I want to have a conversation with you. I hope you want to have one with me.

3. I’m coming up to close to 500 personal communications with y’all. Wow! Actual, real conversations (even if it’s only texting). You guys are bearing your souls to me and it is amazing and I’m learning a lot and we’re actually getting to know one another. That’s what this is all about. So f-ing text me, k?

***

Panic attacks are real shit. I know, I’ve had them. The first one I had was the worst, and I’ve since learned how to control them though my own mind. They’re not physical. It’s all in your head. If you’ve had one, you know that now. If you haven’t, yet, it’s gonna be a terrible, but also powerful experience in how to train your brain to let shit go. Easier said than done, but you CAN do it.

Heard enough about the CoronaVirus? Me too. But is what you’ve heard or read true? Or is it media hype? It’s quite the conundrum isn’t it? What to believe? 

In an age where we know more than we ever knew before, but also are more confused than ever before.

That’s quite a paradox.

Depending on what you believe you either think this panic is justified and real, or it’s a media concoction. Doesn’t matter what you believe. What matters is understanding why people panic. If that’s you, maybe this will help. I talked about this recently in a previous SYCS thought.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, panic disorders, “If left untreated, can lower your quality of life because it may lead to other fears and mental health disorders, problems at work or school, and social isolation.”

In other words, ruin your fucking life. It can debilitate you to the point that you can’t leave your house, or function on a normal human being level in social circumstances. 

Everyone panics. But some more than others. But why?

According to Reuters, nearly 15 percent of people worldwide believe the world will end during their lifetime. Also, about one in 10 people globally also said they were experiencing fear or anxiety about the impending end of the world. This was a study conducted in 2012! Can you imagine what those numbers are today?

Let’s unpack this. 15 percent of humans believe the world is going to end in their lifetime. There are 7.7 BILLION people on Earth. I can’t do the math and I’m not going to try. What’s 15 percent of that?

I’ll tell you what that is, a shit ton of people.

The reasons why they think that way are unimportant. Could be religious. Could be mental illness. The point is they believe it.

People have always had these fears, but it’s worse now, probably. Why? Because the Internet and social media have taken those fears and poured gasoline on them and set them on fire, now broadcast to the palm of your hand through your iPhone 24/7. KABOOM!

But let’s take this deeper.

Why do people find comfort in the apocalypse?

We LOVE movies and books about the end of the world. It’s a billion dollar industry. But why?

University of Minnesota neuroscientist Shmuel Lissek, who studies the fear system, suspects that some apocalyptic believers find the idea that the end is nigh to be validating. 

Enter your text here...Individuals with a history of traumatic experiences, for example, may be fatalistic. For these people, finding a group of like-minded fatalists is reassuring. There may also be comfort in being able to attribute doom to some larger cosmic order—such as an ancient Mayan prophecy. This kind of mythology removes any sense of individual responsibility. There’s an even broader allure to knowing the precise end date. "Apocalyptic beliefs make existential threats—the fear of our mortality—predictable," Lissek says. Lissek, in collaboration with National Institute of Mental Health neuroscientist Christian Grillon and colleagues, has found that when an unpleasant or painful experience, such as an electric shock, is predictable, we relax. The anxiety produced by uncertainty is gone. Knowing when the end will come doesn't appeal equally to everyone, of course—but for many of us it's paradoxically a reason to stop worrying.

And there you have it. We find comfort in the world ending because it means we can stop worrying about shit. We lose our responsibilities.

Worrying about car payments. Worrying about our kids. Worrying about pain. Worrying about not being good enough. Worrying about what we look like. Worrying about everything.

Worry drives us. It hangs over our every waking moment. It makes us what we are. Without it, we wouldn’t be human.

And without worry, well, shit that would be pretty great wouldn’t it?

So think this through. If you knew the world was going to end in a month, or a year, or five-years, how would you live your life? 

You’d do all the things you wanted to do. You’d make that call to the family member you haven’t spoken to for years. You’d get that tattoo you’ve always wanted but were too scared to get. You’d learn how to surf. You’d travel to places you’ve always wanted to go.

You would live, fully. Without worry. Without responsibility.

Again, that would be pretty fucking awesome wouldn’t it?

So text me now. Because I’ve got news for you, you’re going to die. It probably isn’t going to be from the CoronaVirus, but you will die eventually unless you’re Keith Richards. 

So are you going to spend the rest of your time worrying about it, or are you going to live your life, right now?

Note: This virus is real. You should of course take all recommended precautions. You’re not an idiot. You know what I’m trying to say. Be safe, be smart. But don’t let the worry about it ruin your life. If I’m wrong, we’ll all be dead anyway so problem solved.

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Why People Make Decisions & How Understanding Them Will Make You Happier & More Successful In Life & Business

?Why People Make Decisions & How Understanding Them Will Make You Happier & More Successful In Life & Business

Let’s switch gears a bit this week and talk about something else entirely, sort of. Today I want to talk about why people make decisions. You know, like why they vote, and why they buy/choose. 

Because this is important stuff to know as you navigate your life. 

You may not own a business, or you may not be running for office, but you do influence people every single day. Could be your kids, or a co-worker or a family member or friend. Could be your boss or a person you’re on a job interview with. 

We persuade, or attempt to, every single day of our lives.

It’s also very important in life to know WHY people make decisions, because it can not only help you understand people who disagree with you (and keep you sane), but it can help you persuade people when you need to do that.

Let’s start with a political example to make my point. This is NOT a political argument. I don’t care if you’re left/right/middle. Doesn’t matter. If you follow the United States political scene, you’ll know right now the Democratic party is in the middle of trying to decide who will get the nomination to run for president in the fall. 

Super Tuesday happened and everyone thought that Bernie Sanders was going to win big. But, Joe Biden came out of nowhere really and won the day. Why?

Well, if you look at Bernie’s supporters, a lot of them are younger. They have passion for a cause. They are driven to want change. But, guess what? They didn’t show up to vote. Again, why? Because younger generations don’t like the voting process. It’s antiquated. It’s “too hard”. It means they have to go to a polling location and deal with people. 

So they didn’t show up. And they won’t show up, ever, in greater numbers because they don’t like the system we’ve given them. They want it their way, which is, if we allowed them to vote by their phones, it would be a landslide “show up” rate for them.

Meanwhile, older voters who are indoctrinated into the current archaic voting methods DID show up, and those people are for Biden.

So what have we learned? We’ve learned that if you want to persuade a certain group of people, or one person, to do something, you have to make it easy for them to do so, and you have to allow them to do it the way THEY want to do it.

This is the world we’ve created. A world where the consumer is in control. 

Trying anything else, in any other way, means you lose. Period.

But you might say, “this is how we do it and this is how it’s always been done and we’re sticking with it!” 

Ok, terrible plan, but ok. Watch as you keep losing, over and over, in business, and in life. Losing arguments with your kids/spouse. Losing a job you wanted. Whatever.

So the first step for you today is to start understanding WHY people make decisions. Then figure out HOW they’d like to make the decision. 

Then give them the easiest path to make that decision. THEIR WAY!

This will work well for you in not just business, but in life. Ask yourself…

WHY does my Uncle love “insert politician here”?

WHY do my kids never listen to me when I ask them to take out the garbage?

WHY did my customer choose to buy from my competitor over me?

Until you know that, you’re lost. 

Understanding WHY people make decisions also will keep you sane. Because you’re spending your life wondering why everyone doesn’t think like you, and that is maddening, and will only bring you strife.

So text me now and let me know how you’re going to try to understand WHY people make decisions. Give me an example if you wish. 

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The Planned Obsolescence Of Our Own Lives

The Planned Obsolescence

Of Our Own Lives

In the 1930s, a single light bulb could last for up to 25,000 hours, but the Phoebus cartel changed all that, and all of our lives forever. 

In short, the cartel forced all companies to produce bulbs limited to a maximum life of 1,000 hours in order to increase demand. How? Essentially, the cartel prevented technological advances that would produce longer-lasting light bulbs, for the sole purpose of generating repeated sales and maximizing profit.

This marked the dawn of planned obsolescence.

If you are unfamiliar, planned obsolescence is a production technique that compels people to buy more and more stuff unnecessarily, by providing people with products of short lifespan. Just like the light bulbs scam.

Think about it. Your toaster breaks after a year. You don’t think twice about buying another. Your furniture only lasts ten years when the old school, well-built stuff lasted generations. This sucks!

Technological advances in the early 20th century, you know, the industrial revolution, resulted in the production of higher quality goods at a quick pace. That was great! But because the stuff we made was good quality, we didn’t need to buy as much stuff (because it lasted longer, duh).

You see, our economic system is really based on consumption which means that the more we buy stuff, the more of our hard earned money moves back into the economy, which keeps it growing. Pretty easy formula.

Look at it the other way. If we stop buying so much stuff, then the economy collapses. That’s bad. Really bad. And the people who run the world aren’t going to let that happen.

So, the “solution” given in the 1930s was to make it legally mandatory for all industries to produce goods of lower lifespan, which was believed to help reduce unemployment and increase consumption.

And it worked. And it’s still working. 

And it’s destroying us little by little.

Because we’ve been conditioned that “stuff doesn’t last” and “we can just replace it.” We all accept this blindly.

Advertising says: You NEED this. You WANT this. You MUST have this.

But here’s what they leave out. 

What your buying is crap on purpose, but don’t worry, when it breaks, you can just BUY MORE of it!

Ingvar Kamprad, the founder of IKEA, the world's largest furniture retailer, is the eighth richest person in the world, with an estimated net worth of $58.7 billion. IKEA’s entire business model is built on the premise of “we’ll sell you cheap stuff that looks nice, but it’s not really of the highest quality.”

WalMart rose to the top of the food chain on a similar platform. Here’s a ton of cheap shit from China that will make you feel good for saving money. But the reality is that those socks you bought for $.99 will last about a year then you’ll be back buying another pair.

Fast food does this as well. Low quality food is cheap as hell, but try to get some healthy food and you’re going to pay out your ass for it. Counter point: Whole Foods, on the other end of the spectrum, has got this system down and is making billions selling expensive stuff to wealthy people.

Ok, ok. So what Jim? I like my cheap shit.

So do I. This isn’t really about buying stuff; this is about your life. Here’s the point I’m trying to make.

Your life doesn’t have to be driven by planned obsolescence.

In fact, it can’t be. Because you’ve only got so much time to live it.

How many years do you have left? Father Time is undefeated my friend. Ask yourself right now. How are you going to spend the rest of your life? 

Are you going to spend it focusing on fostering low quality things like bad relationships?

Are you going to keep spending your time on low quality experiences like working in a shit job you hate? 

Are you going to spend your time just wishing you were happier instead of taking some kind of action to fix that?

Because newsflash, you don’t have more time and you cannot buy more time. Very soon, you’re going to wake up and POOF, the clock will have run out.

In previous SYCS thoughts we’ve talked about how a pill can’t fix you, and just living your life carefree like Bill Murray might be the answer. We’ve even discussed how maybe taking magic mushrooms might just be the way to change your mindset.

Sensing the common theme? It’s time to fix your shit, before it’s too late.

So text me now. Tell me what you’ve been waiting to do to fix your life, and why you haven’t gotten it done yet.

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Who Gave You Permission To Be A Jerk? It’s Not Ok, Ok?

Who Gave You Permission To Be A Jerk? It’s Not Ok, Ok?

The world has changed, a lot for the better, and a lot for the worse. Our society goes through ups and downs, but change is the constant in how we think, feel and act to each other. 

Right now, in 2020, we’re at a low point in how we treat each other. 

Why? Because we’re the unhappiest generation of humans that have ever existed. We’ve changed, and not for the better. My time in politics made this crystal clear to me. Also my time coaching youth sports. The amount of disgusting, vitriolic hate coming from people these days is mind numbing, and I fear it’s going to get worse, before it gets better, if it ever does.

Blatant promotion, I’ve got a new book out. It’s $.99 cents today if you’re feeling like splurging you big spender. The book is called The Unskippable Handbook For Dealing with JERKS, IDIOTS & TERRIBLE People. I wrote it with my friend Lisa Picarille.

Disclaimers:

  1. It’s a short read. 
  2. It has swear words. 
  3. It’s super snarky, but super fun.

You probably shouldn’t read it if you don’t like fun, and you don’t like swear words, and you are easily offended. But, if you do like all those things, you will love it. Please review it after if you like it.

At the end of the book we have a chapter called, “Maybe You’re The Jerk, Idiot Or Terrible Person?” In that chapter I make this conclusion.

Stop Saying, “I’m Just Honest”?

This is quite possibly the biggest, and most jerkiest, response that all a**holes give when justifying why they act the way they act. They say…

“I’m not an asshole, I’m just being honest.”

Honestly? No, you’re just being a dick. 

Honesty is a valiant thing and should be commended. But you can be honest, and still NOT be a jerk. You don’t have to say every thought that comes out of your brain. You can filter yourself.

What you’re saying when you say, “I’m just being honest” is essentially, “I can say whatever I want regardless of anyone else’s opinion or views because that’s my view and people can shove it if they don’t like it, because that’s who I am.”

Fine, you’re right. But that is extremely arrogant, and self-serving. 

Yes, I disagree with a lot of people, just like you do. But that doesn’t mean I have to tell them. That doesn’t mean I have to be a jerk about it.

Social media is a perfect example of this. A friend or family member posts something that you disagree with, and you have a choice of either jumping in and counter pointing it, or you could just walk away. 

So here’s my challenge to you this week. Attempt to NOT get into an argument with someone about something. Then text me and tell me about something someone said or did that bothered the heck out of you, but you decided NOT to respond.

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If I Could Be Anyone Else It Would Be Bill Murray, And Here’s Why

If I Could Be Anyone Else It Would Be Bill Murray, And Here’s Why

Like a LOT of people I’m fascinated with Bill Murray, the legendary actor and all around just probably one of the most liked people on the planet. If you don’t know the legend of Bill Murray, start here. If you don’t like, or don’t know who Bill is, this entire thing is probably not going to make sense. Click that link, go read some stories, then come back.

Here’s the thing about Bill Murray. When I look at him, and read about him I think to myself, “Self, this guy is everything that you should be. Carefree, fun, adventurous. Just present in your life.” Because that’s what he is. And who doesn’t want that? You might not think you do, but be honest with yourself, it would be pretty amazing.

There’s a great book I read about these stories and his career that I highly recommend. There’s also a Netflix movie about all of this. And countless other articles and stories you can read about building his legend. Just use the Google.

My favorite is when Bill walks up to people, does something to them, and says after, “No one will ever believe you.” Like the guy who said he was eating his lunch at Wendy’s and Bill walked up, grabbed fry from him, ate it, then said that and walked away.

He’s right. Nobody is going to believe you. But it happened, and he does stuff like that all the time.

Some people might think that this is him just being a clown or putting on a show when he does things. It’s not. He lives his life this way and it’s fucking awesome. Bill just isn’t being “wacky”. He isn’t doing “stunts” or “skits”. He’s, through his carefree actions, teaching us how to really live. How to get fully engaged and be mindful of the world around us. 

To embrace the moment and just, fucking, live.

How many of us don’t enjoy life? I mean, even the smallest of things. Joining a kick ball game you come across at the park? Walking into a house party and just hanging out with some cool people? Offering your extra ticket to a World Series game to a random stranger you met on the street? These are all Bill Murray stories. Most of us don’t think that way though. We’re guarded and worried and hesitant. Social media has made it even worse. We connect with each other even less now on a real, face-to-face, human being level. 

But not Bill. He comes into people’s lives randomly, reads the room, and makes everyone feel special. We all want to be better versions of ourselves because of him.

Look at his films. A lot of the themes in most of his films are about letting go, enlightenment, and moving on. Living life at its fullest. From the famous line, “It just doesn’t matter” from the movie Meatballs. To the Razor’s Edge where he sees death and war and pain and decides to live a life the opposite of that. To Groundhog Day where he lives the same day over and over and eventually learns how to be a better person and be present every day instead of wasting your life doing the same thing, every day. Scrooged is ultimately the same story as well.

Here’s what I take away from Bill. Good things can lead to bad things. Bad things can lead to good things. If you win, or if you lose, it just doesn’t matter. Because life is going on either way. 

The question is, are you going to be present in it, through all the good and the bad, and experience it and live it, or not? 

Are you going to wake up every day like it’s Groundhog day and live the same experience over and over, and change nothing then die?

Because isn’t that what we’re all doing? Wash, rinse, repeat. Over and over and over. A friend calls and asks us if we want to go see a band we’ve never heard of. We say no because “we just don’t have time” or “never heard of them so why would I do that?” You see a flyer on a telephone pole about how to learn how to play piano but you decide you’re too old or you don’t have time to try that even though it’s been a life-long dream.

Think about that. That’s how most of us are living our lives. I’m guilty. Are you? Probably.

What must it be like to wake up every day and be Bill Murray? Experiencing new things and just living the life you’ve always wanted?

So what’s stopping us from living the unlived life like Bill Murray? Money for one. Bill’s rich, I get it. He doesn’t have to work. He can go anywhere, anytime and just randomly walk around and do fun stuff and experience things. We can’t. We have jobs and responsibilities. He’s also famous, so he can walk into your party and start washing your dishes and nobody is going to stop him. Or he can walk behind your bar and start bartending and they’re not going to call the cops.

But other than that, what is really stopping us? Time? Bullshit, we have time. How much time do we waste watching mindless television shows? How much time do we waste arguing with people about politics on Facebook? 

You have time; you just choose to use it the wrong way.

Bill doesn’t. And that’s why we should all aspire to be like him.

So text me now. What’s your favorite Bill Murray story, AND, what are you going to do today that is different than the same thing you do every day?

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Stop Saying You’re “Too Busy” To Connect With The People Who Mean The Most To You

Stop Saying You're "Too Busy" To Connect With The People Who Mean The Most To You

Today is a quick assignment. But first, I wanted to remind you that the entire point of this is that you text me after you read this. If you recall when you signed up, I'm trying to create true engagement with you. So... if you are reading this, please text me after, my direct number is below.

If you don't want to do that I'm 1000% cool with you unsubscribing. I won't be offended. Slightly annoyed, but not offended. :)

"Cutting people out of your life is easy, keeping them in is hard?."

- Walter Dean Myers -

So let's make this quick and easy today. I have an assignment for you.

I want you to think about the person you appreciate the most in your life who you don't connect with as much anymore. Someone who was/is always there for you but you lost touch with on a personal level. You know, before social media, when you actually talked to people, in person.

This could be a sibling, a college friend, a long lost lover, a former co-worker, a mentor, whomever. Somebody who you used to be close to. Someone who means something to you that you lost touch with for whatever reason.

Now I want you to call them, not text them, not Facebook message them... call them in the next three hours or less. And I want you to say something like, "I was thinking about you. We never talk anymore because we're both so busy. We never get together. Let's rectify that. Are you available for coffee, or a drink or lunch later or tomorrow or this weekend or tonight? Just wanted to reconnect, even if it's for ten minutes."

If they're not local and you can't meet with them, a phone call is just fine.

They're going to say they're too busy to meet, even for ten minutes. Do NOT let them off the hook. Go to them if you have to. Pick a coffee shop or restaurant close to their home or office. Make it easy for them so they can't say no.

After you make the call and set it up, I want you to text me and tell me who you contacted, and why this person means so much to you and when you're meeting.

That's it, simple, yet oh so hard to do, right? Can you do it? Will you do it? What could come out of it? A rekindled friendship? A new relationship? A new career? What "could" happen? Find out.

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Hello Newman! How To Make Peace With Your Nemesis

Hello Newman! How To Make Peace With Your Nemesis

Everyone has a nemesis. Jerry had Newman. Oscar had Felix. I’ve got a bunch of them in my own little world in Cleveland. Unless you live in yurt in the middle of nowhere, and even if you’re just the most super likeable person on the planet who gets along with everyone, then you have someone in your life who is your nemesis, probably. If you don’t, you’re perfect, congratulations!

As an angry young man I treated my nemesis with contempt. Don’t get mad, get even! That was my mantra back then. Years later, and as the grey hairs show up more and more, I tend to look at things much differently. 

In fact, I’ve got a guy who I have been feuding with for years now. We don’t like each other, at all. I won’t go into the details because who cares, but suffice it to say he is definitely the person when I see walking in my direction I used to have thoughts in my head of either punching him in the face, or a throat punch, or worse. Of course, thoughts are thoughts, I’m not a violent person at all. We all have those thoughts. The difference between people who act on them, and who don’t act on them, is jail time and the path to becoming a sociopath. 

So I’m older now. This guy, this nemesis of mine, I am softening on him. And here’s why. 

You know what? F*uck him. He’s not getting in my head anymore. He’s not taking up ANY space for negative thoughts in my brain ever again. When I see him now I smile and move on. He does not get to control my thoughts and feelings. 

But can I do better than that?

I’m trying to be a better human being. And part of that is examining the reasons why things are the way they are in my life so I reach enlightenment, if that exists. Being introspective takes work and is not easy. Is it me that caused this problem? Shit, maybe it is? Probably not, but hey, I’m open to the idea of that at least. I’ve actually gone as far as thinking about ways to repair the relationship, even though I don’t want to (just being honest with myself). 

But how? How do you let go of the hate like a Jedi? How do you make someone like you?

Maybe Ben Franklin has the answer? 200 years ago, he wrote in his autobiography…

"He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another, than he whom you yourself have obliged."

Translation? If you’re trying to make nicey nice with someone, do them a favor because they won’t expect it, then they will soften on their issues with you.

In his autobiography, Franklin explains how he dealt with the animosity of a rival legislator when he served in the Pennsylvania legislature in the 18th century:

Having heard that he had in his library a certain very scarce and curious book, I wrote a note to him, expressing my desire of pursuing that book, and requesting he would do me the favour of lending it to me for a few days. He sent it immediately, and I return'd it in about a week with another note, expressing strongly my sense of the favour. When we next met in the House, he spoke to me (which he had never done before), and with great civility; and he ever after manifested a readiness to serve me on all occasions, so that we became great friends, and our friendship continued to his death.

Boom! Now the question I have to ask myself is this. Do I have the balls to do that to my nemesis? Would you? Would you suck it up and ask them for a favor and express an interest in something they are passionate about in order to try and get them to think of you more favorably?

I’m going to try it. And this is going to suck, man. But I want to be a better person. I want to end this rivalry. It is doing me no good at all. It is a poison that only erodes my life, not enhance it, and I simply don’t have time for that any longer.

I’ll report back in the future with my results. Wish me luck.

Modern science backs up Franklin. Repeated studies have found that because the human mind hates cognitive dissonance (holding two contradictory thoughts at the same time), it will try to resolve the conflict between kind actions and unkind opinions by shifting its opinions to be more favorable. 

In essence, if you do something nice for someone, your mind concludes you must at least kind of like them, and you proceed accordingly going forward.

So would you try it? Text me and tell me about your nemesis and give me one thing that you think you could ask a favor of them to try to fix the problem?

Text me now. (216) 236-8294

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The Ultimate Wisdom of Chuck Palahniuk

The Ultimate Wisdom of Chuck Palahniuk

Fight Club, written by Chuck Palahniuk, is a wonderful, violent and meaningful story if you read between the lines and pay attention to the messages it gives. So today we’re going to examine some of the famous quotes from the movie and talk about them together. If you haven’t read the book or seen the movie, it’s ok, we can still discuss the quotes on their basic level without the story context.

But you really should read the book. The movie works too. And in my opinion, it’s one of the only movies that is actually, possibly, better than the book. My other picks that fit that bill are Dances with Wolves and Wiseguy (Goodfellas). 

Now on with the quotes from Fight Club. Remember to text me after and “fight” me. :)

“You are not your job, you're not how much money you have in the bank. You are not the car you drive. You're not the contents of your wallet. You are not your fucking khakis. The things you own end up owning you. It's only after you lose everything that you're free to do anything.”

- Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club  -

Materialism: This is an epic smack down on it. As harsh as this quote screams at us all; it’s dead on. Yet here we are, a society of people driven by our possessions. Directed like cattle through the chutes of advertising and marketing sales funnels. Our lives are more meaningful when we achieve more possessions that create not only the dopamine hit our brains require, but also give us social status and sense of self worth.

Don’t believe it? How’d you feel when you bought that iPhone 11 you’re reading this on right now? Or how’d you feel when you bought that new, fancy car and collapsed into the leather, heated seats? When you walked into the office with that Prada handbag; you’re telling me you didn’t want people to notice?

You felt good; don’t pretend you didn’t.

Look, you’re not an asshole because you like to buy stuff and accumulate stuff, that’s not what I’m getting at. I’m just saying, we like our stuff, but it’s owning us, and not the other way around. Our possessions, and the pursuit of more of them, keep us in bondage away from the life unlived. The life that we all deeply want to have, where we don’t have the pressures of money and the worries of every day normal life like bills and relationships.

Because that’s what we all really want; to live without pressure/worry, and too much stuff. You may not be open to hearing that, or believe it, yet, but deep down if you had the choice to forgo all the “stuff” in your life for true happiness and a pure sense of meaning, you’d take it. Probably.

Here’s a really, really obscure book I once read that I really dug. It’s called The Pots Of Gold: Memoirs Of A Modern Prospector. It has a massive 16 reviews so you know it’s super popular. One of them is mine from 2012. It’s a saga about a regular guy who did something highly irregular. He turned a two-week vacation into an eight-year adventure in the heart of Gold Rush country of Northern California. He made his own shelters, stayed in cabins, lived in caves, or slept under the stars as he prospected year-round in the High Sierras.

“Anyone who has ever dreamed of leaving the modern world behind for even a short time—no mortgage, no bills, no telemarketers, will enjoy this rousing tale of one man’s journey as he retraces the path of part of America’s history. Self-effacing, sometimes laugh-out-loud funny, and always compelling, Memoirs of a Modern Prospector will make you think seriously about loading up your backpack for an adventure of your own. For those of us who can’t take off and follow our dreams just yet, this may be the next best thing. His story is part how-to manual and part introspective, a tale that makes us envy his audacity and love of life.”

I’d do it. Would you?  

"I don't want to die without any scars.”

- Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club  -

Sometimes I look at my children and feel terrible about how much I have protected them and kept them safe from the harsh realities of the world. Now don’t get me wrong. We (my wife and I) don’t wrap them in bubble wrap, and we don’t shelter them from the news. But honestly? Yeah, they’re soft, and it’s my fault. They’re soft in a way that they have never wanted for anything, or experienced any real life challenges beyond the normal suburban, middle-class nonsense. 

So in a way, by protecting them, I’ve failed them, and I realize that. Of course, in a way my failure is also a success. It just depends on how you view it.

Heck, I’ve failed myself in this regard. I have a few scars (my time in politics), nothing big, but certainly no “witness” moment. Like me you’ve met people who have amazing stories of life. Addictions, loss of limbs, disease, etc… Those are terrible things, yes. But they also shaped their lives and gave them experiences that most of us won’t have. An argument can be made that your scars make you stronger or more experienced, and possibly then, you might have lived a more fulfilling life? Seems logical. 

"We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War’s a spiritual war… our Great Depression is our lives.” 

- Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club  -

We’re all soft. The previous generations went through some heavy shit. Yeah, we had 9/11. We had a housing crash that messed with the banks. Those were terrible, terrible things. But they weren’t anything like WWI or WWII. 

Our grandparents and those before them dealt with some serious possible world ending shit. The Great Depression had people living on the streets and on breadlines. When the housing crisis struck in 2008, sure, lots of people lost a lot of money. Lives were ruined, yes. But you probably still had a cell phone, and you ate every day, even if it was fast food.

If any of that stuff (Cuba Missile Crisis, Nazis trying to control the world…) that happened way back when happened in today’s world, we’d poop ourselves, right after we Tweeted about it.

Mental illness is at a record high. Suicide is as well. Organized religion is trending down. The American Dream is slowly draining through our fingers like sand in an hourglass. We’re depressed and frightened, more than ever. 

Spiritually, today, we’re simply just not sure what to think. At least in earlier times it was more black and white. Now we don’t know what to believe in, if anything at all.

“If you died right now, how would you feel about your life?”

- Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club  -

Obvious answer: You’re dead, you wouldn’t feel anything. But you get the point. 

My advice? Today is a new day. Take a goddam risk this week. Do something stupid, or fun, or fun and stupid that you’ve always wanted to do. Chuck Palahniuk demands it.

Now text me and let’s fight about it. Which of these quotes stood out to you? Did anything you read today make you feel better, or worse about your life and where we are all going together as a society? 

Text me now. (216) 236-8294

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