Posted on December 5, 2013
Have you ever woke up from a few hours of sleep, struggling to motivate yourself to get out of bed? Have you ever wondered if you could do more, be more, or live better? Have you walked in your shoes, out of your house/apartment, and felt under appreciated, over worked, and honestly angry at the life you have created?
I have, and here is a story about that journey. In short, I learned that I needed a break.
In February of 2013 I look myself in the mirror and thought “Self, What the heck are you doing?”. I then continued to shave my face, shower, and prepare for the morning hustle known in the DC area as “Traffic”. I walked into the office, looked around to see faces, much much older than myself, contorted in many ways, showing passive reluctance to work. I looked to my left and right and saw a few young faces (Very very few), with the life being sucked out of them. I looked up at florescent lights that blinded me, and kept me in an alert stupor. I decided I didn’t want to be there, so I walked outside after I grabbed a coffee from downstairs. After walking outside I was hit in the face by a few raindrops, and my skin was immediately chilled to the bone in barely above freezing temperatures. I realized then, just at that moment, that I was not living up to my potential. I was tired. I was worn out. I was pissed off. I was in my own created hell, dealing with people who also were in hell, whether they knew it or not.
I am quite certain that all of you have felt the dread that I felt for the life that you live. I had all the material things that a 28 year old man could have, yet I was not satisfied. I had a motorcycle, 4 cars, a house, a great girlfriend, a wonderful family, and money in the bank. That was not enough, and my career was not challenging or interesting.
I knew then, that morning, that I would not wait to make life worth while. I decided to make an exit from it. That exit date was set for September 1, 2013.
After selling the house, conducting my last few training and exercises in the position that I held, and saying a short term good bye to my friends and family, I set off on a journey to San Diego, California. On September 1, I arrived in San Diego for a week, which was the apartment hunt week, and finalization of my plans. Things were in good order. On September 13th, I arrived in San Diego, drove to the new apartment and took a few long walks around the neighborhood. September 13th is where the 4 months of Joblessness began for certain.
The first month of Joblessness was amazing. See, for me work was a thing of habit. I have never been without some type of employment. Growing up a Galloway in the 90s meant that I had to work, from the age of 13, in order to pay for anything that I wanted or needed. Now for the first time I woke up knowing that I did not HAVE to wake up and rush out the door. For the first time I work up in the morning without having to sit in traffic, deal with the heat or humidity of DC summers, or cold of the winters, nor did I have to look complacency in the face at an office of 20-40 year veterans of government employment. For the first time I felt FREE, and that was all a very very new emotion to experience. Everyday that passed was a new one. Every day I woke up, I didn’t need to know the day of the week, the date, nor did I have to mentally navigate through my mental to do list. All I had to do was coordinate the delivery of my Truck, and all my home effects, as well as the delivery of my pup. I had so much to work on, that was not work, that my mind was completely busy doing “life” things.
The second month all the household things I wanted and needed were in place. The weather was refreshing, ranging from 70-75 degrees daily, with no chance of rain and very little grey in the sky. I kept in touch with my family and I worked out consistently. I felt alive. I had no interests in working, or the job hunt. I had no interest in very much at all really. I didn’t hang out with friends very much, but when I did it was without worry about the next day. I didn’t watch very much TV, but when I did I stayed up as long as I felt like it, because I had no work curfew to hold me to someone else’s standard. Money was still plentiful, and there was no worry of purchasing needs or wants, however I didn’t have very many of them because I was at peace and content with sleeping in and just walking around places.
The third month was entirely different. I realized that I could not sustain this lifestyle. Correction, I knew the whole time that I couldn’t sustain the care-free lifestyle, however I allowed myself to enjoy the lack or worry. I began doing the job searches, and building my resume, along with this website, and meeting with people that may be able to place me in wonderful opportunities. I was hopeful that I would find the perfect fit. I resented having to go to work and deal with a schedule. I resented and had heartfelt resistance to the idea that I had to work for a living, doing things that I did not want to do. I knew that I needed more time to recuperate from the non-sense of the previous job. I knew that I did not want to deal with the agony of having to listen to bad decision from bosses and colleagues alike. I knew that I did not want to be part of the machine, yet, and I certainly had a quiet rage in my heart. At the end of the month, the first weeks of November, that resentment turn to panic, and then the panic turned into anger.
I had to work myself out of the anger. Slowly I started to remember what I enjoyed about working. I remember the feeling of accomplishment that I had when a job was successfully completely, or when I saw the outcome of my efforts when someone else performed well. I love the feeling that I get when I know someone was taken care of because of something I said or did. Ultimately, I started to long the hustle and bustle of work life, but I was still content in my rest and time off. I started to wake up at 7 am and to begin my day again. I started waking up early, and reading and writing, job hunting and communicating. I would make breakfast in the morning, ironed my shirt and slacks and dressed for success. I did all of this for no reason other than because I wanted to. I wanted to. Isn’t that weird?
It wasn’t that I was tired of being “able” to do whatever I wanted and when ever I wanted to. It was that I had completed my journey at the end of the 3 months, and finally at the start of the 4th month of joblessness, I was ready to begin.
So, now I am in the fourth month of my joblessness. In one week that 4th month will be up, and hopefully I will be able to use this new found interest in working and having something else to work towards.
What have I learned?
- Working a job that you don’t like, after it has already served its purpose is more stressful and tiring than quitting.
- Vacations are terrific, even the short ones, but every professional deserves to give themselves an abundance of time in order to appreciate what it is that they do.
- Calamity is just around the corner. Instead of working in order to buy things, focus on working in ways that you enjoy in order to be able to purchase FUN. What I mean is this: Whatever it is that you enjoy doing – hobbies or not – work in order to maximize the fun that you can have.
- Never take for granted the relationships that you have made and developed over time. You never know what is going to come from it.
- Sleeping in and staying up late is fun for a short period of time. Eventually you will desire the day light, the crisp morning air, and the small individual tasks that allow you to work towards something bigger.
- Take breaks frequently. If you are at work, go outside and sit on a bench. Take a nap in a dark room after lunch. At the beginning and ends of your day, take 10 minutes to reflect on your actions.
- There are always valuable lessons to learn from reading books, watching movies and documentaries, or even talking to a homeless man on the streets.
- Love who you are around, and love what you do, or they will poison your outlook on life. If you don’t love it, you are probably not suppose to do it.
So that ends my writing on this topic. After 4 months of joblessness, I know that I needed a break. I know for certain that I like working towards goals, solving problems, and most importantly I have learned that life is what you make it, so if you want to make it enjoyable and fun, you must embrace that and appreciate the hard work that let’s you “purchase” fun and time off.
Peace, Blessings, and Thank you for reading this Article.
Written by Charles Galloway – San Diego, Ca December 5, 2013
Posted on November 25, 2013
The message of the day is brought to you by the letter F. Here is a dose of reality. Here is a post worth reading. Here is 10 things to say fuck it to, and 10 reason why saying fuck it will make your life a better one indeed.
1. Say Fuck it to Goals
Yes. Fuck Goals. Not your goals, but the goals of everyone else that has ever had influence on you. Are you a person or a puppet? That’s right, if you are reading this then you are a person and you have the power of yourself. No one owns you, but unfortunately despite your hopes, no one owes you anything either. You owe yourself to be an adult and make your life fruitful.
Say fuck it to everything that the world tells you to be, and live the life that you want. When you set your own goals, you decide what is important and what is not.
2. Say Fuck it to Money
Believe it or not, Money does grow on tree, or in field, or can be mined out of the ground. Money is an illusion that people work towards in order to be able to trade their “skills” for other products and such. When you realize that you are will be rewarded by society for what you are able to do, it makes much more sense for you to do what you like and are good at doing for the things you “need” in life.
By saying fuck it to Money, you allow yourself into the powerful experience of doing what you want, love, and cherish. When you love what you do, it is true that you will not work a day in your life, but it is also true that money and successes will be given to you.
Instead of working a lot to enjoy what you love a little, why not do what you enjoy a lot, so that you don’t have to work, and are surrounded by the joy of the action that makes you feel whole.
Money is a scheme to make people do a lot of what they don’t like in order to enjoy a little of what they like. When you realize that, work just simply won’t look the same. Fuck it.
3. Say Fuck it to Fake Friends
In the age of Facebook and Twitter, everyone has “friends” that they share their lives with. Fuck That.
It is better to have 5 people that you love and love you, who are there when you need them, and who agree with the “fuck it” that you have put out in the world, than to have 2 million BS phonies.
Sunsets and Beach trips are best served with warm friendships and experiences without any judgment. Writing a post about “Fucking it” should be read by friends that truly enjoy your life, not 2,500 Facebook friends that don’t seem to be able to read.
Honestly, there are only 3 rules that need to be followed between humans, which will guarantee that if followed by all of us, there would be MUCH MUCH less problems. Don’t Kill a person, Don’t Steal, and Don’t Enslave. If we were to follow these three simple rules then we would live in perfect harmony. All the rest of the rules are a bullshit way of making people do things that someone else wants them to do. FUCK THAT.
Seriously. There are rules out there that are specifically designed to control your life, spending, ability to act…etc. Fuck that shit. Live free. Follow your dreams and say Fuck it to convention. Buck Tradition, open the doors to a new reality. Open your heart to new experience. Do what you parents and grandparents forgot how to do…….. DREAM.
Look at all of the previous generations before us. Yep, all dead and all gone, but they all followed the rules that the people before them set. WE don’t have to. Time to make a change!
How in the Fuck is Marijuana illegal in most states? I don’t know, and yes it is a problem, but do you know what a bigger problem is? Yes! Prescription Drugs.
More people are hooked. Prescription Drugs are the ONLY gateway drug that I see around me, other than alcohol. Once you enter into that world, you will likely receive handful of other “medications”. Even my new puppy Mya left the Vet with a small bag of loopy-loos…. that did not make her feel better.
The drug industry is great a treating symptoms, but they are not in the business of curing anyone. That would defeat the bottom-line. The goal is to open you up, stick stuff in you, and keep you medicated and numb. You enjoy that shit if you want, but no thanks here. Fuck that.
6. Say Fuck it to Religion
I seem to be one of the only people saying this, but here goes.
Fuck Religion. Yes, believe in God if you are inclined, as do I, but seriously Fuck Religion. Yes, God is good, but no good God would prescribe a religion, led by a bunch of hypocrites, thieves, and people who manipulate for control. Religions have a hierarchy (fuck that), a set of rules (fuck that), a mythology (fuck that), a doctrine (fuck that), and someone else’s criteria for you to be a part of it (fuck that). The worse thing about religion is that instead of worshiping, or dedicating yourself to something magnanimous and worthwhile, you end up worshiping and dedicating your life to an organization of man made rules and garbage of control. Essentially, by becoming part of the religion you loose the ability of focusing on bettering yourself and the world. Instead many of the religiously minded people focus on how to grow the organization. Personally, I love God to much to follow man, and being in cult or religion doesn’t serve me because it restricts who I call “Brother” when in fact we are literally one Giant family.
Just because you have a “religion” doesn’t mean that you have a belief, and just because you have a belief doesn’t mean you have a religion. They are mutually exclusive. So don’t be stupid. Everyone thinks they are right in the “ideas” of believe, but the one’s that may be right certainly don’t play to the tune of people in fancy hats.
Religion, Fuck it. I love God. (This section gets no pictures)
7. Say Fuck it to Slavery
If you cannot see that you are a slave to a system that has no controllers, yet everyone plays to the same tune, then you are deluded. Religion, Money, Cultural pressures, rules, and anything else that I will cover in this blog is a part of that slavery. The worst form of slavery is the one where the slaves are ignorant of their conditions, but also where the slaves believe that they are thriving because of it. There is no exception to the Slavery we are in. We are all slaves, however, we are also all slave masters. See, we cannot conceive of true freedom, therefore we do not desire freedom. Make sense?
Say Fuck it today for at least a glimpse into this reality. Go to MTV or BET or CMT to see slaves at work. Go to the local donut shop, the gym, Starbucks to see slaves at work. Open your eyes to the loved one near you. Do you see it?
I do, and I don’t like it. I am waiting for a revolution of the mind and I expect to come very soon!
I am not picking on Soda here. Say Fuck it to all the foods in the world that are not Real. Fuck GMO. Fuck Monsanto. Fuck High fructose Corn syrup. Fuck McDonald’s. Fuck preservatives.
9. Say Fuck it to Success
No. Don’t say fuck it to Success. Say fuck it to the successes of others. Say fuck it to the pressures that you feel to succeed by someone else’s standards. Create your own reality, decide what you want for yourself.
If sitting in meditation on the floor for 3 days is an act of value to you, then do it and you are successful. If you love children and want to see them grow, then be a mentor or teacher and fuck making millions. If you love fitness and athletics, then be a trainer and be outdoors doing activities. Fuck working in the corporate world if you love something else.
Define your own successes by things that you find personal satisfaction and benefit.
10. Say Fuck it to Drama
I am going to let you in on a little secret. Drama isn’t some scary thing that lurks under your bed at night. It is something you create within your environment, within your friends circle, and with the circumstances that YOU put yourself in. There is however a way out, and go figure, that way out is YOU.
Drama can be explained many ways, but I am going to explain it as a Triangle. The Dreaded Drama Triangle, DDT, – Not unlike an organochlorine insecticide which is a colorless, crystalline solid, tasteless and almost odorless chemical compound which is poisonous – explained by Stephen Karpman, in his 1968 article “Fairy Tales and Script Drama Analysis“. The Drama triangle is created when one or more people see themselves as a victim, where they are constantly in a state of victimhood, and all the actions in their lives are actually reaction to forceful stimulus in their lives. David Emerald, in his book title “The Power of TED” gives a method of clearing the drama from your life. This method is the progression from seeing yourself as a victim into seeing yourself as an Engineer of your life (He uses the term Creator).
So, you are tired of being in Drama everyday? Good, stop dealing with the bullshit, figure out what you want in life, and go get it. When you start Creating the world that you live in, suddenly you can not blame others for what has happened to you, because you realize that the enemy the whole time was your own self loathing.
Saying Fuck it to Drama allows you to live with the most potential in your own life
Read the book, it may change your life.
Say “Fuck it” to anything and anyone that doesn’t want for you what you want for yourself. You are one of the most influential, powerful, smart, witty, and courageous people in the world. No one will know this, let alone see it, if you don’t see it in yourself. Be Better. Say Fuck it to all the negativity and shiftiness in the world. Let’s make the world a better place. Ultimately say “Fuck it” if you disagree with me, but you already know I am saying….
Written by Teddy Galloway, San Diego California – Nov. 25, 2013
Posted on November 21, 2013
Most of us claim we want to be happy—to have meaningful lives, enjoy ourselves, experience fulfillment, and share love and friendship with other people and maybe other species, like dogs, cats, birds, and whatnot. Strangely enough, however, some people act as if they just want to be miserable, and they succeed remarkably at inviting misery into their lives, even though they get little apparent benefit from it, since being miserable doesn’t help them find lovers and friends, get better jobs, make more money, or go on more interesting vacations. Why do they do this? After perusing the output of some of the finest brains in the therapy profession, I’ve come to the conclusion that misery is an art form, and the satisfaction people seem to find in it reflects the creative effort required to cultivate it. In other words, when your living conditions are stable, peaceful, and prosperous—no civil wars raging in your streets, no mass hunger, no epidemic disease, no vexation from poverty—making yourself miserable is a craft all its own, requiring imagination, vision, and ingenuity. It can even give life a distinctive meaning.
So if you aspire to make yourself miserable, what are the best, most proven techniques for doing it? Let’s exclude some obvious ways, like doing drugs, committing crimes, gambling, and beating up your spouse or neighbor. Subtler strategies, ones that won’t lead anyone to suspect that you’re acting deliberately, can be highly effective. But you need to pretend that you want to be happy, like everybody else, or people won’t take your misery seriously. The real art is to behave in ways that’ll bring on misery while allowing you to claim that you’re an innocent victim, ideally of the very people from whom you’re forcibly extracting compassion and pity.
Here, I cover most areas of life, such as family, work, friends, and romantic partners. These areas will overlap nicely, since you can’t ruin your life without ruining your marriage and maybe your relationships with your children and friends. It’s inevitable that as you make yourself miserable, you’ll be making those around you miserable also, at least until they leave you—which will give you another reason to feel miserable. So it’s important to keep in mind the benefits you’re accruing in your misery.
• When you’re miserable, people feel sorry for you. Not only that, they often feel obscurely guilty, as if your misery might somehow be their fault. This is good! There’s power in making other people feel guilty. The people who love you and those who depend on you will walk on eggshells to make sure that they don’t say or do anything that will increase your misery.
• When you’re miserable, since you have no hopes and expect nothing good to happen, you can’t be disappointed or disillusioned.
• Being miserable can give the impression that you’re a wise and worldly person, especially if you’re miserable not just about your life, but about society in general. You can project an aura of someone burdened by a form of profound, tragic, existential knowledge that happy, shallow people can’t possibly appreciate.
Honing Your Misery Skills
Let’s get right to it and take a look at some effective strategies to become miserable. This list is by no means exhaustive, but engaging in four or five of these practices will help refine your talent.
1. Be afraid, be very afraid, of economic loss. In hard economic times, many people are afraid of losing their jobs or savings. The art of messing up your life consists of indulging these fears, even when there’s little risk that you’ll actually suffer such losses. Concentrate on this fear, make it a priority in your life, moan continuously that you could go broke any day now, and complain about how much everything costs, particularly if someone else is buying. Try to initiate quarrels about other people’s feckless, spendthrift ways, and suggest that the recession has resulted from irresponsible fiscal behavior like theirs.
Fearing economic loss has several advantages. First, it’ll keep you working forever at a job you hate. Second, it balances nicely with greed, an obsession with money, and a selfishness that even Ebenezer Scrooge would envy. Third, not only will you alienate your friends and family, but you’ll likely become even more anxious, depressed, and possibly even ill from your money worries. Good job!
Exercise: Sit in a comfortable chair, close your eyes, and, for 15 minutes, meditate on all the things you could lose: your job, your house, your savings, and so forth. Then brood about living in a homeless shelter.
2. Practice sustained boredom. Cultivate the feeling that everything is predictable, that life holds no excitement, no possibility for adventure, that an inherently fascinating person like yourself has been deposited into a completely tedious and pointless life through no fault of your own. Complain a lot about how bored you are. Make it the main subject of conversation with everyone you know so they’ll get the distinct feeling that you think they’re boring. Consider provoking a crisis to relieve your boredom. Have an affair (this works best if you’re already married and even better if you have an affair with someone else who’s married); go on repeated shopping sprees for clothes, cars, fancy appliances, sporting equipment (take several credit cards, in case one maxes out); start pointless fights with your spouse, boss, children, friends, neighbors; have another child; quit your job, clean out your savings account, and move to a state you know nothing about.
A side benefit of being bored is that you inevitably become boring. Friends and relatives will avoid you. You won’t be invited anywhere; nobody will want to call you, much less actually see you. As this happens, you’ll feel lonely and even more bored and miserable.
Exercise: Force yourself to watch hours of mindless reality TV programs every day, and read only nonstimulating tabloids that leave you feeling soulless. Avoid literature, art, and keeping up with current affairs.
3. Give yourself a negative identity. Allow a perceived emotional problem to absorb all other aspects of your self-identification. If you feel depressed, become a Depressed Person; if you suffer from social anxiety or a phobia, assume the identity of a Phobic Person or a Person with Anxiety Disorder. Make your condition the focus of your life. Talk about it to everybody, and make sure to read up on the symptoms so you can speak about them knowledgeably and endlessly. Practice the behaviors most associated with that condition, particularly when it’ll interfere with regular activities and relationships. Focus on how depressed you are and become weepy, if that’s your identity of choice. Refuse to go places or try new things because they make you too anxious. Work yourself into panic attacks in places it’ll cause the most commotion. It’s important to show that you don’t enjoy these states or behaviors, but that there’s nothing you can do to prevent them.
Practice putting yourself in the physiological state that represents your negative identity. For example, if your negative identity is Depressed Person, hunch your shoulders, look at the floor, breathe shallowly. It’s important to condition your body to help you reach your negative peak as quickly as possible.
Exercise: Write down 10 situations that make you anxious, depressed, or distracted. Once a week, pick a single anxiety-provoking situation, and use it to work yourself into a panic for at least 15 minutes.
4. Pick fights. This is an excellent way of ruining a relationship with a romantic partner. Once in a while, unpredictably, pick a fight or have a crying spell over something trivial and make unwarranted accusations. The interaction should last for at least 15 minutes and ideally occur in public. During the tantrum, expect your partner to be kind and sympathetic, but should he or she mention it later, insist that you never did such a thing and that he or she must have misunderstood what you were trying to say. Act injured and hurt that your partner somehow implied you weren’t behaving well.
Another way of doing this is to say unexpectedly, “We need to talk,” and then to barrage your partner with statements about how disappointed you are with the relationship. Make sure to begin this barrage just as your partner is about to leave for some engagement or activity, and refuse to end it for at least an hour. Another variation is to text or phone your partner at work to express your issues and disappointments. Do the same if your partner is out with friends.
Exercise: Write down 20 annoying text messages you could send to a romantic partner. Keep a grudge list going, and add to it daily.
5. Attribute bad intentions. Whenever you can, attribute the worst possible intentions to your partner, friends, and coworkers. Take any innocent remark and turn it into an insult or attempt to humiliate you. For example, if someone asks, “How did you like such and such movie?” you should immediately think, He’s trying to humiliate me by proving that I didn’t understand the movie, or He’s preparing to tell me that I have poor taste in movies. The idea is to always expect the worst from people. If someone is late to meet you for dinner, while you wait for them, remind yourself of all the other times the person was late, and tell yourself that he or she is doing this deliberately to slight you. Make sure that by the time the person arrives, you’re either seething or so despondent that the evening is ruined. If the person asks what’s wrong, don’t say a word: let him or her suffer.
Exercise: List the names of five relatives or friends. For each, write down something they did or said in the recent past that proves they’re as invested in adding to your misery as you are.
6. Whatever you do, do it only for personal gain. Sometimes you’ll be tempted to help someone, contribute to a charity, or participate in a community activity. Don’t do it, unless there’s something in it for you, like the opportunity to seem like a good person or to get to know somebody you can borrow money from some day. Never fall into the trap of doing something purely because you want to help people. Remember that your primary goal is to take care of Numero Uno, even though you hate yourself.
Exercise: Think of all the things you’ve done for others in the past that haven’t been reciprocated. Think about how everyone around you is trying to take from you. Now list three things you could do that would make you appear altruistic while bringing you personal, social, or professional gain.
7. Avoid gratitude. Research shows that people who express gratitude are happier than those who don’t, so never express gratitude. Counting your blessings is for idiots. What blessings? Life is suffering, and then you die. What’s there to be thankful for?
Well-meaning friends and relatives will try to sabotage your efforts to be thankless. For example, while you’re in the middle of complaining about the project you procrastinated on at work to your spouse during an unhealthy dinner, he or she might try to remind you of how grateful you should be to have a job or food at all. Such attempts to encourage gratitude and cheerfulness are common and easily deflected. Simply point out that the things you should be grateful for aren’t perfect—which frees you to find as much fault with them as you like.
Exercise: Make a list of all the things you could be grateful for. Next to each item, write down why you aren’t. Imagine the worst. When you think of the future, imagine the worst possible scenario. It’s important to be prepared for and preemptively miserable about any possible disaster or tragedy. Think of the possibilities: terrorist attacks, natural disasters, fatal disease, horrible accidents, massive crop failures, your child not getting picked for the varsity softball team.
8. Always be alert and in a state of anxiety. Optimism about the future leads only to disappointment. Therefore, you have to do your best to believe that your marriage will flounder, your children won’t love you, your business will fail, and nothing good will ever work out for you.
Exercise: Do some research on what natural or manmade disasters could occur in your area, such as earthquakes, floods, nuclear plant leaks, rabies outbreaks. Focus on these things for at least an hour a day.
9. Blame your parents. Blaming your parents for your defects, shortcomings, and failures is among the most important steps you can take. After all, your parents made you who you are today; you had nothing to do with it. If you happen to have any good qualities or successes, don’t give your parents credit. Those are flukes.
Extend the blame to other people from your past: the second-grade teacher who yelled at you in the cafeteria, the boy who bullied you when you were 9, the college professor who gave you a D on your paper, your first boyfriend, even the hick town you grew up in—the possibilities are limitless. Blame is essential in the art of being miserable.
Exercise: Call one of your parents and tell her or him that you just remembered something horrible they did when you were a child, and make sure he or she understands how terrible it made you feel and that you’re still suffering from it.
10. Don’t enjoy life’s pleasures. Taking pleasure in things like food, wine, music, and beauty is for flighty, shallow people. Tell yourself that. If you inadvertently find yourself enjoying some flavor, song, or work of art, remind yourself immediately that these are transitory pleasures, which can’t compensate for the miserable state of the world. The same applies to nature. If you accidentally find yourself enjoying a beautiful view, a walk on the beach, or a stroll through a forest, stop! Remind yourself that the world is full of poverty, illness, and devastation. The beauty of nature is a deception.
Exercise: Once a week, engage in an activity that’s supposed to be enjoyable, but do so while thinking about how pointless it is. In other words, concentrate on removing all sense of pleasure from the pleasurable activity.
11. Ruminate. Spend a great deal of time focused on yourself. Worry constantly about the causes of your behavior, analyze your defects, and chew on your problems. This will help you foster a pessimistic view of your life. Don’t allow yourself to become distracted by any positive experience or influence. The point is to ensure that even minor upsets and difficulties appear huge and portentous.
You can ruminate on the problems of others or the world, but make them about you. Your child is sick? Ruminate on what a burden it is for you to take time off from work to care for her. Your spouse is hurt by your behavior? Focus on how terrible it makes you feel when he points out how you make him feel. By ruminating not only on your own problems but also those of others, you’ll come across as a deep, sensitive thinker who holds the weight of the world on your shoulders.
Exercise: Sit in a comfortable chair and seek out negative feelings, like anger, depression, anxiety, boredom, whatever. Concentrate on these feelings for 15 minutes. During the rest of the day, keep them in the back of your mind, no matter what you’re doing.
12. Glorify or vilify the past. Glorifying the past is telling yourself how good, happy, fortunate, and worthwhile life was when you were a child, a young person, or a newly married person—and regretting how it’s all been downhill ever since. When you were young, for example, you were glamorous and danced the samba with handsome men on the beach at twilight; and now you’re in a so-so marriage to an insurance adjuster in Topeka. You should’ve married tall, dark Antonio. You should’ve invested in Microsoft when you had the chance. In short, focus on what you could’ve and should’ve done, instead of what you did. This will surely make you miserable.
Vilifying the past is easy, too. You were born in the wrong place at the wrong time, you never got what you needed, you felt you were discriminated against, you never got to go to summer camp. How can you possibly be happy when you had such a lousy background? It’s important to think that bad memories, serious mistakes, and traumatic events were much more influential in forming you and your future than good memories, successes, and happy events. Focus on bad times. Obsess about them. Treasure them. This will ensure that, no matter what’s happening in the present, you won’t be happy.
Exercise: Make a list of your most important bad memories and keep it where you can review it frequently. Once a week, tell someone about your horrible childhood or how much better your life was 20 years ago.
13. Find a romantic partner to reform. Make sure that you fall in love with someone with a major defect (cat hoarder, gambler, alcoholic, womanizer, sociopath), and set out to reform him or her, regardless of whether he or she wants to be reformed. Believe firmly that you can reform this person, and ignore all evidence to the contrary.
Exercise: Go to online dating sites and see how many bad choices you can find in one afternoon. Make efforts to meet these people. It’s good if the dating site charges a lot of money, since this means you’ll be emotionally starved and poor.
14. Be critical. Make sure to have an endless list of dislikes and voice them often, whether or not your opinion is solicited. For example, don’t hesitate to say, “That’s what you chose to wear this morning?” or “Why is your voice so shrill?” If someone is eating eggs, tell them you don’t like eggs. Your negativity can be applied to almost anything.
It helps if the things you criticize are well liked by most people so that your dislike of them sets you apart. Disliking traffic and mosquitos isn’t creative enough: everyone knows what it’s like to find these things annoying, and they won’t pay much attention if you find them annoying, too. But disliking the new movie that all your friends are praising? You’ll find plenty of opportunities to counter your friends’ glowing reviews with your contrarian opinion.
Exercise: Make a list of 20 things you dislike and see how many times you can insert them into a conversation over the course of the day. For best results, dislike things you’ve never given yourself a chance to like.
I’ve just listed 14 ways to make yourself miserable. You don’t have to nail every one of them, but even if you succeed with just four or five, make sure to berate yourself regularly for not enacting the entire list. If you find yourself in a therapist’s office—because someone who’s still clinging to their love for you has tricked you into going—make sure your misery seems organic. If the therapist enlightens you in any way or teaches you mind-body techniques to quiet your anxious mind, make sure to co-opt the conversation and talk about your misery-filled dreams from the night before. If the therapist is skilled in dream analysis, quickly start complaining about the cost of therapy itself. If the therapist uses your complaints as a launching pad to discuss transference issues, accuse him or her of having countertransference issues. Ultimately, the therapist is your enemy when trying to cultivate misery in your life. So get out as soon as possible. And if you happen upon a therapist who’ll sit quietly while you bring all 14 items on this list to life each week, call me. I’ll want to make an appointment, too.
Cloe Madanes is a world-renowned innovator and teacher of family and brief therapy and one of the originators of the strategic approach to family therapy. She has authored seven books that are classics in the field: Strategic Family Therapy; Behind the One-Way Mirror; Sex, Love, and Violence; The Secret Meaning of Money; The Violence of Men; The Therapist as Humanist, Social Activist, and Systemic Thinker; and Relationship Breakthrough.
Posted on November 21, 2013
While conducting my Career Search, I am also staying very busy.
Here are some things that occupy my time:
I spend no more than 4 hours, and no less than 2.5 hours a day looking for new opportunities.
I am spending at least 3 hours a day reading books or doing self evaluations through writing.
I play flag football on Tuesday nights…