Perfect. You must continue to believe and feel this way if you are serious about being one of life’s failures.
The “Chicken of Doom”* has a lot to answer for but the sense of overwhelming despair and uncertainty it has created is, I was going to say unprecedented, except I’m sick to the back teeth of that word.
I wonder what the future holds for you? Well, I’d suggest it all depends on how you’ve been spending your time in lockdown.
There are, I believe, five building blocks to lasting failure that, combined, guarantee you’ll lead a meaningless life then die.
They are all important but a great place to begin is to never consider what is most important to you and why. F**k ups don’t know what they value in life. Or if they do, they often lose sight of it.
In the first Superman movie, Lois Lane asks Superman what he stands for and, quick as a flash, he replies: “Truth, Justice and the American Way”. We might not agree with his values but boy was he clear about what he stood for and what mattered most to him (besides, of course, the right to wear your underpants on the outside). Do you know your core values? Do you know what you stand for? Do you know what matters most in your relationships? Do you know what will matter most in your future job or career?
Happy, fulfilled, successful people don’t use an alarm clock to leap out of bed in the morning (remember the days of alarms and getting out of bed – most of you reading this are probably still tucked up in yours). Instead, they have a compass. A core element of that compass is understanding what gives them satisfaction, what motivates them, and how they want to feel. Imagine if you get to live a life where how you behave, what you do and just as importantly you don’t do, every decision you make is based on your values. You must, of course, continue to believe that’s not possible for you.
What if you were daft enough to switch off Netflix for a moment and spend a moment thinking about this. Where do you start? Well, it’s not a case of writing a list of things you’d like to have as values. For instance, “I’m kind, caring and modest”. Rather you need to uncover them. They’ve been there the whole time you’ve just not been conscious of them. They are part of your inherent make-up as a person. Just stop and think about your life to date. When have you felt most alive, most joy and most fulfilment? Conversely, when have you felt stuck, bored and unfulfilled?
The way to think about your values is as those emotions, moods or states you enjoy being in, most of the time. It stands to reason, if you are to enjoy maximum job dissatisfaction and the worst possible relationships, you’d better remain unclear about what’s most important to you and why.
Thinking about the future, which I know you are too scared to do, what would be the perfect job for you? If you were working for someone else, it would be that their organisational values come close or match your personal ones.
I know you’re saying “Ha! I don’t get to choose. I just need a job, any job after I’ve finished my studies”. That may or may not be true right now. Will that always be the case? The best-ever question you can ask in any future interview or indeed on a first date is: “What’s most important to you?” followed by “…and why is that important?”
Be careful to explore their answers because lots of companies and individuals claim to be values-driven but, in their behaviour, often do the exact opposite of what they said they stood for.
During these uncertain times, don’t ever take a moment to think about the endless set of rules of what needs to happen for you to feel a certain way.
For instance, if I said to someone: “What would need to happen for you to feel happy?” they might reply: “When I’m earning £200,000 a year . . . when I can go through a week or longer with everyone being nice to me . . . when I buy something expensive like a car . . . when I win something unexpected like the lottery . . . when everybody returns my phone calls on time . . . and when the Chicken of Doom f**ks right off.”
Can you see how this person has set up the rules of life so they can rarely, if ever, win? Whereas contented, happy people have consciously set up the game with rules that make it as easy as possible for them to enjoy desirable emotions and rules that make it as difficult as possible for them to experience undesirable emotions.
When I run a marathon, my only rule is “Smile every mile”. That means, even if I only manage just one mile, I still have a good time. A client of mine, David, had a heart attack at a very young age. If you ask him what it now takes for him to feel happy, he says just one thing – waking up above ground. Still, unless you’ve had a health scare, you can’t live by this one simple rule for happiness, can you?
Action not to take
Don’t decide what your core values in life and work are. Don’t specify the rules or conditions you’ve determined that will easily allow you to feel each of these emotions. Don’t make all your decisions based on your values.
*My personal term for Coronavirus
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