I’m a loser, baby

If you’re like me, any thought of the 90s is immediately accompanied by a music flashback to Beck’s Loser.  I have many-a-fond memories of kicking back in high school and loving Beck more than life, itself.  Like many other teens during the dawn of teen angst, that song was my battle cry; and very likely, I was just as much a loser as the next kid.

So it should come as no surprise, then, that even hearing or reading about losers harkens me back to that song of my youth.  This morning, reading Darren Hardy’s How to Be a Loser blog post was no different.  The publisher of SUCCESS magazine, Hardy blogged with intention to look at what makes a loser from a satirical standpoint … a guide, so to speak, to becoming one of those many people walking around with the big L dangling from their forehead.

The thing about Hardy’s blog is that, while it raises some excellent points, it also is a bit too general to hit the mark on each point.  In one instance, Hardy says you can make yourself a loser by never setting goals and only taking things day by day.  Sure, this may be true in some instances, but it is so general and does not necessarily apply to everyone.  There is such a thing as getting too out of control with your goals; and for some going through major life issues (marriage, divorce, new baby, death in the family) day-by-day is the only way to survive.  Ultimately, I think the blog would have been more effective if Hardy had gone with a straight-forward approach; his backhanded way of talking about loserdome just doesn’t jive with the advise he is trying to give.

Beyond that, though, I think the idea of how to be a loser is still a good one.  This week has been all about balance:  the healthy way to live life to its fullest.  With that and Hardy’s blog post in mind, I decided to create my own list of ways to be a loser.

I’m a loser, baby #1:  

Lose sight of happiness in the name of undefinable goals

We all know someone that has done this.  Rather than let themselves live in the present, they are so far in the future and/or the past that they can’t even tell you what they are feeling right now, let alone whether or not they are happy.  And in many cases, they come to the end of the rope only to realize that everything they gave up was not worth it.  Goals and plans are important, but there is something to be said for being both emotionally and physically present in the now.  And hey:  you never know what could happen – you could leave for work tomorrow and get hit by a truck.  Laying on the concrete, dying, will you regret not having savored life now at least once in a while?

I’m a loser, baby #2:  

Always eliminate people and things from your life that deviate from the way you are

It is astonishing sometimes to hear people say that they broke up with someone because they saw things differently, or that they decided to give up certain things in their life because it got in the way with what was most important to them:  them.  Yesterday we talked about things the world doesn’t stop for... I’ve got news for you, faithful blog followers, you are included in that list of things.  Life is about both a give and a take; and the truth to the matter is there is not one person or thing on this planet that will see entirely eye-to-eye with you.  Some (myself included) might even go as far as to say that people who are much different than you are good in the sense that they offer a more well-rounded view of your otherwise closed circuit life.

I’m a loser, baby #3:  

Never take risks.  Ever.

I recently read Eric Sevareid’s “Canoeing with the Cree,” which is a true memoir about a 2250 mile canoeing trip up the Missouri River into Canada.  The trip took place in the 1930s and had never been done before, let alone by two 18 year olds, fresh out of high school.  The main focus of discussion at my book club (which the book was read for) was focused on this idea of risks:  that we do not take risks anymore, be it physical or emotional risks, like they did less than a century ago.  Life is about continual leaps of faith, and to think of anything as a safe venture is just foolish.

I’m a loser, baby #4:  

Don’t keep things in perspective

Ever talk to someone that blows everything so far out of proportion, and gets so caught up in the “what if”s and “I assume”s of the situation that it makes you want to stick a piece of dynamite in your ear and make your own head explode before they get a chance to do it with their incessant blathering?  This can go a lot of ways.  One is in the case of the overachieving idealist.  Sure, it’s great to have ideals and forward-thinking ways of living; but it’s another thing to not look at the situation realistically and pragmatically.  Another is in the case of someone that acts as though a minor event is the absolute end of the world.  It’s not, bitch.  Get some perspective.

I’m a loser, baby #5:  

Constantly blame other people for your problems

There are certainly a lot of things out of your control; just as a lot of times people around you influence you to do things you may have otherwise not done.  But enough with the blame-game, loser.  Nothing is more annoying than someone that cannot take responsibility for any of his or her actions; especially when they go as far as to suggest a change in the way things happened, or put words in people’s mouths or assign intentions in people’s minds.  Chances are, unless you are 15 years old or a complete douche, you were at least 80% responsible for the situation you are blaming others for.

Am I a loser, baby?  Some people might say I am.  I certainly try and avoid the five scenarios above, and in fact, I generally try and live by (at least most of) Hardy’s list too.  But then it takes one to know one, doesn’t it?

A Miserable Marriage

Today on Facebook, one of my friends posted a question “what is the key to a successful marriage?”  People were posting all manner of things:  honesty, communication, devotion, sex, similar interests … all of them relevant, timely remarks that logically seem to help in making a successful marriage.  But something about it didn’t really seem to hit right on the mark for me.

My comment was a little off the beaten path of the rest of the comments (big surprise, I know..).  Nonetheless, I think mine was the most accurate, which was:  reconcile yourself to misery.

This idea came to me after I thought about a popular quote about marriage:  “I can’t have what I want and be happy; you can’t have what you want and be happy; let’s compromise on misery.”  This is intended on being funny; that in a marriage neither person can have exactly the way they want things to be; each has to give a little to get a little.  The idea isn’t that we are actually going to settle on being miserable because we both can’t have exactly what we want, though.  In reality it just pokes fun at the idea that anything other than the exact way we want things to be is absolute misery.  The truth is it’s not.  Not having exactly what you want isn’t misery, it’s just not exactly what you want.  The beauty in compromise is that it is not a complete annihilation of one side in favor of the other, but rather a synthesis of the two in which there is an element of each side’s happiness present.  In reality, a compromise can be seen as the happiest of all possibilities, for it is the best of both worlds.

I think this reflects a current problem we seem to have found ourselves in, which is that we seem to think that we are going to find a life-partner that is exactly the same as we are, thus there will never even be a need to compromise.  We think that there even can be a person exactly like us out there, and that when we marry them everything will be pie in the sky and ear-to-ear smiles.  I can’t even count the number of couples I know that seem to think they will always agree on everything, and that if they don’t that may as well be the end of their civil or religious union.  This seems to be a wholly naive and childish way of viewing the world:  that there are two people who actually are so alike they will never disagree and need to find a middle-ground on which to compromise is (in reality) just plain stupid.

So what is the key to a successful marriage, you ask?  Why, it’s reconciling yourself to misery!  In other words, it is going in to a marriage realistic about the fact that no matter how compatible eHarmony said you were; no matter how much you seemed to have in common on those initial dates – there is going to come a time that you and your life-partner do not agree on something (and believe you me, it will be a big something).  Recognize that now, because it will happen.  No matter what you do; no matter how you try to avoid it – it will happen.  One day down the line, you will be asked to compromise (in most cases, many days and countless times down the line).  The key to a successful marriage is knowing that one day the need to give a little to get a little will be upon you.  Denying this is a way to make your marriage fail, because you will be destined to think that there is no way to reconcile something that you thought was supposed to be perfect.  In reality, nothing is perfect – marriage included.  Reconcile yourself to the compromise on misery, which really won’t be miserable if you just give it a try.