Friday, June 5, 2015

A Week Recap: It's Enough, and There's Always Room to Improve

Do not complain about work. I want to achieve zero complaints in the coming week. Not by making work perfect, but by bitching less.

Does the whining ever really accomplish anything? Not really, from what I see. The words you speak become the reality-defining truth. Every sentence, every verb, every noun erects the world around you. The more you rely on vile and venom, the more poison seeps in from the ducts filling the little psychological cottage you make for yourself.

Control the narrative, first by controlling the words you give your life. If I say my work is awesome and cool, maybe, increasingly, I'll come to believe it, whole-heartedly.

I'm not going to lie, YaReally over at Rollo influenced my thoughts pretty heavily on this. His comments on Inner Game really put an easy-to-recognize veneer over the entire concept, and turn the idea of Inner Game into something any man can recognize.

Here's one of his comments:

Go out and approach girls for 6 months and tell them you work at Taco Bell. Tell them as if you hate it, tell them as if you’re passionate about it. Tell them you work as a doctor. Tell them you hate it, tell them you’re passionate about it. Go out with ugly clothes and approach them and do what Julien’s saying where you just dismiss them giving you shit about it.
They really DO accept whatever frame you set. The strongest frame always wins, especially with women. If your frame is that you don’t believe you’re low value, they’ll pick up on that and won’t believe it. If you believe that whatever you’re doing, thinking, wearing, being, etc. is awesome, they’ll pick up on that and believe it too. It’s literally how social proof and pre-selection works: women pinging off their environment for how to feel. It’s the same reason why if you say something offensive and apologize and backtrack the girl will get charged up about it and even more offended because you told her it’s something that she SHOULD be offended about, and why if you brush it off as no big deal she’ll lol and back off and it won’t be a big deal to her. This is the exact same concept.

He concerns himself with picking up girls, but there's another recurring thought process. YaReally consistently talks about society's conditioning effects on men.

You know it’s been internalized when you stop comparing your value to other men. When you’ve internalized it you’ll understand that other men are all, by default, no matter what anyone else thinks, lower value than you. This won’t make sense till you get there because you’re still caught up in society’s socially conditioned value system and figuring out where you “belong” on CH’s +/- charts and needing your value to be “justified” or based on some socially approved construct instead of just internally believing that you have high-value even if you’re penniless and 300lbs with a face like Shrek.

He's got a point on frame. A lot of people have been conditioned, and a lot of people accept a rather negative frames about their life. I'll take the conversation away from pick-up for a second and sit down at the family dinner table.

My Brother and Mother Dearest work at the same company. This meant that, during dinner time, our conversations often devolved into the two of them bitching about their colleagues, sometimes up to 40 or 45 minutes, while the rest of edged in a meek phrase or two about Game of Thrones.

Society conditions us to complain about jobs consistently. Why even Carlin agrees!

But, again, does this

Not in the least. Most complaints do not resemble constructive criticism. Employers can't take it, employees can't give it: that's 90% of the "soft skills" problem right there. Lack of criticism, or complaining just to complain, prevents real information about real problems from filtering through the organization.

Now I can't change the culture of American business, and I don't want to try. But what I do know is that my tendency to bitch about my job is a socially programmed condition. It's a venting thing that society says is acceptable, it's a least common denominator, and therefore venting becomes a habit, a sort of go-to super-weapon with every person I meet.

But that pill bears a heavy cost. Around me arises a towering mauseloum of hate, and the scarcest drops of warm sun come through.

Who wants to live like that?

I need to control frame, but I need to control frame in my own damn head first.

Some successes...
1. We're getting those missing payments reissued. See the $17,000 post.
2. We identified well over a million dollars of deductions as CMS deductions. This matters, because now we can CONTEST the deductions.
3. We're working out an offset as part of a legal settlement that mitigates our write-off.
4. We're coming up with some new mass adjustment files that should knock about 8,000 man-minutes of work out every month. What's that, like two entire weeks of work? Awesome!

Controlling frame works better with better tactics. I'm reminded of the Marshmallow Experiment. The most successful kids developed methods to handle their temptation.  Same is true for me.

What's working best for me is Barker's Labeling Method.

When the thoughts arise, label them silently before letting them go. You don’t need very many categories. You might choose labels such as “planning,” “doubting,” “judging,” “fantasizing,” obsessing,” or “criticizing.” The particular labels aren’t crucial; what matters is using them to avoid being captured by stories or repetitive tapes. Once you label a thought, gently bring your attention back to the breath. If you find that your attention is repeatedly carried away by particular stories, try making up a humorous label for them. Give these greatest hits their own names, such as your “I blew it again” tape, “I can’t get no respect” tape, “I never get what I want” tape, and so on.

Works like a charm. I imagine the label helps a mind understand the thought process, and categorize it, and then decided whether it's invalid. Such techniques can be abused, of course, as labels can be dehumanizing: "you're just a bitter insecure balding middle-aged loser man" comes to mind.

But in this case, that's a strength. A major strength. You WANT to belittle your negative thoughts. You want to weaken them, you want to delegitimaze them, you want them under control instead of them controlling you.

So far, so good.

That's helping me focus on some of the smaller joys in life. I dig the smell of rosemary chicken. The sweetness just fills my kitchen. No lie, sometimes I let the dirty cast iron sit out a day or two, just so I can catch a whiff when I come home (yes, disgusting, I know).

Coming up this weekend. There's an art festival nearby, first farmer's market of the year, too. The Blackhawks play tomorrow, tonight I dine with a few old friends and watch Entourage, and I bought some pork neck bones for $1.50 that might make some damn fine Southern Soul Food.

Looking to be a good weekend.

Good night to you and yours.


I try not to listen to Luke Bryan too much, but this makes me smile:

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