Monday, 4 August 2014
Idiotic Hat Life Coach
It's August, and the blog break is fast approaching, so it's time for a few words from our visiting Idiotic Guru: Lay some hard-won wisdom on us, guru!
[The Idiotic Guru speaks]
OK, listen closely now, I'm only saying this once, unless there are repeat fees, of course. People often say to me, how is it that someone as inadequate, plebeian, short, and ugly as yourself has made it to a position of such eminence that you feel able to hand out advice to the likes of me, whose many apparent advantages have taken me nowhere in life? Explain your secret, Idiotic Guru!
Behold, my secret is a list, which I found in a magazine on a park bench one afternoon, long ago in the past, where all good secrets are to be found, and which I will now share with you. Of course, strictly speaking, the real secret is to disagree as violently as possible with every item in this checklist of well-meaning, sententious twaddle: a kick in the listicles, so to speak. As William Blake said to me, the tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction. At least, that's what I heard him say. It was a very noisy pub.
Anyway, here we are, my annotated Twelve Steps To Success:
1. Stop spending time with the wrong people. Avoid anyone who makes you unhappy, wastes your time, or holds you back. People who want to drag you down to their level are not your friends.
WRONG: Seek out the "wrong" people, they will enrich your life, and at the very least make you look good. Who needs dull friends?
2. Stop lying to yourself. There's no need to pretend everything is OK if it isn’t. It's pointless to pursue goals you don't believe in, only to blame someone else for your subsequent failure.
WRONG: Self-deception is the royal road to the top. Who cares to the top of what? You can always pretend you meant to go there, should you ever get there. If not, you know who to blame!
3. Don't ignore your own needs. In particular, don't pretend to be, or try to become, someone you’re not, just to please someone else, or to be liked.
WRONG: I don't need to spell this out, do I? Do you think the secret of any successful long-term relationship is "just be yourself, and insist on having things your way"?
4. Don't cling on to the past. In particular, stop beating yourself up over old mistakes. Get over it.
WRONG: Show me a successful person who does not obsess over past mistakes, and I'll show you a trustafarian. We learn through shame and humiliation...
5. Don't be afraid to make mistakes. Avoid the urge to perfection. "The best is the enemy of the good".
WRONG: Look no further for an explanation of the wave of mediocrity that has overwhelmed us. "Good enough" is not good enough. Sure, make mistakes, but don't let them get into the final draft!
6. Stop trying to buy happiness. The best things in life are not free -- they are actually very expensive -- but they cannot be bought with money. Try investing some time.
WRONG: Oh, please... Invest as much time as you like in your Lada, it will still be a Lada.
7. Take care of the pennies. Notice and value the constant flow of small, ordinary things, otherwise one day you will realise -- too late! -- that was all there was ever going to be.
WRONG: Nobody ever became rich, actually or metaphorically, by penny-pinching. Think big, or you will shrink to fit.
8. Don't be lazy. Don't follow the path of least resistance. Don’t always take the easy way out.
WRONG: Trust John Keats: "If poetry comes not as naturally as the leaves to a tree, it had better not come at all". If you find something tough going, give it up and get out of the way. Find your own groove!
9. Don't postpone things until you feel completely ready. It will be too late. Nobody is ever really ready: successful people just get on with it.
WRONG: See 8 and 5. Stop filling the world with half-baked crap.
10. Avoid self pity and complaint. It's tough all over. Nobody wants to know how hard it was for you to do what you did, especially if moaning about it has become your substitute for doing it.
WRONG: A good moan in good company (see 1) is one of life's great pleasures. Why deny yourself?
11. If at first you don't succeed, try doing it differently, but only slightly differently. To persist in a course of action hoping for a different outcome is not the definition of neurosis, it is the definition of persistence.
WRONG: Yet another way to bury us in unwanted gifts from untalented people. Give it three or four radically different approaches, then give it up and try something else. Or better still, get back in the audience.
12. Ambition and competitiveness are easily confused. Jealousy of the achievements of others and holding grudges are poisons -- hate, anger and jealousy will hurt you, not their object. True ambition is generous to the aspirations of others.
WRONG: A little poison can be highly stimulating... "It is not enough to succeed. Others must fail".
And if that lot doesn't turn you into a happily successful yet ruthlessly driven narcissist, then I don't know what else I can do for you. Stop wasting my time! Do try not to leave a trail of pain and damage in your wake, if you can avoid it, but if you can't then read a few biographies of the people you admire, and you won't feel so bad about it. Although you may also decide that "success" isn't really your thing after all.
[The Idiotic Guru stops speaking]
OK, Idiotic Guru, thanks for that. I think we can all find a takeaway message in there somewhere! Now go and visit somebody else, please.