Thursday, August 23, 2012

Nah

I was feeling cantankerous this morning, and during my AM walk was thinking about stuff that lots of people think is true that I just think is false. So here goes.

Loving yourself is the greatest love of all. Anyone who has watched “Jersey Shore” should know that the last thing most Americans need is more self-esteem. Snooki and The Situation think they are just jim-dandy, thank you very much. Forget self-esteem; try a little self-confidence, which allows you to admit when you’re acting the fool and enables you to try to be better than you are.

I don’t care what people think of me. News flash: if people generally regard you as a smarmy, self-absorbed asshole, you probably are. I don’t recommend dedicating your life to pleasing others, but every one of us should occasionally check our internal compass against the reactions we elicit from others. We live in a world of human beings, and disregarding the way you impact them is arrogant and selfish. So care a bit, would you?

Each of us is a unique snowflake. So what? Each actual snowflake is a unique snowflake, but in the end they are just the crap we marvel over for five minutes and then complain about as we shovel it off our steps. Your uniqueness does not make you worthwhile – there are about six billion unique individuals on the planet and I don’t care to know most of them – your behavior does.

If I work hard and believe in myself, I will succeed. Uh-huh. That’s why every record is in the Top 40, every novel is a bestseller, and every dress ever sewn is worn on the red carpet. First you might want some talent, and then there’s this little thing called “luck” that can’t be induced or manufactured, but which often counts as much as hard work and self-confidence and, yes, even talent. De-couple your ego from any expectation that your work will be a commercial success and you really will succeed.

We should respect the beliefs of others. To quote the inimitable Lieutenant Worf: “Respect is earned, not given away.” People have all manner of foolish notions – Todd Akins, I am looking in your direction – but that doesn’t mean I need to assign them any credibility. Hell, I don’t respect every single human being I meet, so why the hell would I treat their beliefs any better? I grant people basic courtesy, but I reserve respect for those who have earned it.

The goal of life is to be happy. Happiness is an emotional state, and as such it comes and goes based on the way your hair looks today, or the condition of the weather, or the severity of traffic you faced on the way to work. Making a specific emotional state a life goal is just not going to work out for you. Concentrate instead on being the person you want to be; when you’re doing that, you’ll be happy more often than not.

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