I'm really thrilled to bring you a guest post by Dan Andrews. He runs a product development company in San Diego, runs the Tropical MBA blog, and the Lifestyle Business Podcast. Some really good insights on there, and he's a really solid guy too. Here's Dan -
Try Losing Some Moral Battles and Winning Some Real Ones
When you are bemoaning the success or victory of others, you are generally seeking to achieve a sort of victory yourself. Let's call this a moral victory. Moral victories are addicting. You can achieve them at will. They magically appear whenever you need a boost.
Moral victories do one thing: they make losers feel like they’ve gotten some victory.
Moral victories are popular with people when they feel like they have no real power to make changes in the world. This makes some sense to me-- building power, wealth, and influence is generally difficult.
I think it's a good strategy to put off moral victories and operate as somebody who has the potential to make a real impact. If you act like someone with real power, you are more likely to achieve it. Try the following strategies.
● You decide to stop complaining completely (as best you can) Read Tim Ferriss’ “Real Mind Control: 21 Day No Complaint Experiment.”
● When you feel jealousy you instead stop and focus on appreciating the principles that led to some sort of success in the world, even if those principles were carried out in a way, or by a person you find intolerable.
● You cultivate a small identity and inspire critical feedback about your person and projects. Read Paul Graham’s article on “Keep Your Identity Small.”
The more success I achieve, and the better I get at building the things I'd like to see in the world, the less I bemoan the success of others. I give less and less a shit about what other people, governments, and organizations who are irrelevant to my projects have to say or do.
This is a big change for me. My development years were spent trying to intelligently criticize those things going on in my sphere of thinking.
I don’t mind intelligent criticism at all, I probably love it too much.
That’s why I remind myself that my beloved criticism loves to masquerade in victory’s attire.
"Moral victories are addicting." This is very true. I have read a lot of articles about this and they have the same view as yours.
See, I've been told this, but frankly I just don't think I'm ever going to win. I'm not even sure I want to. Who says I have to be powerful? Power sucks when you've got it. My dad was powerful. My grandfather was powerful. It wasn't worth it.
Who the fuck says we all have to succeed?
If you don't mind me asking, how old is Dan? His points are appear to be from someone who has had alot of "life experience". I'll be turning 40 next week and have been going through a lot of 'self analysis' as of late. His points are basically what I'm going to try and live by for the rest of my days. Thanks for sharing.
I was just listening to the Lifestyle Business Podcast, "Episode 51 - 5 Signs You Might be a Loser" - great podcast. It's an aggressive title, but it's actual a super helpful episode that's not aggressive at all.
One of the topics on there was criticism - Dan and Ian were talking about how it's a sure path to loserdom if you can't take constructive criticism.
I think that's true, but I still try to almost never give negative criticism to anyone, ever.
"As a general rule...people ask for advice only in order not to follow it; or if they do follow it, in order to have someone to blame for giving it." — From Alexandre Dumas's "The Three Musketeers"
I've found the vast majority of people will never take any criticism you give them, will be upset at you for criticizing them, and will dislike you even more if you were right.
A philosophy class discussion the other day brought up a good point. One of the values of religion is an organized, premade value system.
You deal with a lot less ambiguity and trying to figure out moral principles and responses to things. They're already laid out for you, and all you have to do is follow them. That puts a lot less stress on you, mentally and emotionally.
I've been trying to lay out my own principles and moral framework, but it's tougher than having one already built for you.
If you're struggling with doing this as well, I suggest taking a look at some religious examples. Maybe even adopting a religion. I say 'maybe', because I'm hesitant to suggest something that I probably won't end up doing myself, but it might be a good step for other people. Having a solid, defined rock to cling to is most definitely helpful. The religious friends that I've had are usually pretty positive about how it's affected their lives.
Otherwise, if you're going to want to develop your personal framework, I recommend other things. An intro to philosophy course is useful for getting broad exposure to some major arguments and for refining your thinking about it. I'm not saying to lock yourself up in an ivory tower, but a class is helpful for broadening your viewpoint and helping you to refine your arguments and support.