By The Seat Of My Pants...
OK - today's topic took some thought. As a matter of fact, I'm still thinking of it now, so this will definitely be a seat-of-the-pants type of writing. Perhaps even a "stream of consciousness writing?" We shall see.
What I'm referring to is the tendency for people in general to look for an immediate short-term reward or self-satisfaction, better known as instant gratification. So many of us (myself included) have fallen prey to impulse buys, seductive ways, and the like. In that moment, we feel great, and that everything is just fine. Unfortunately, we don't stop to see what an impact it could have on us. Here are some examples.
Take for instance that fling you had last night - was it really worth all that? Imagine this - you wake up the next morning and feeling a shooting pain (guess where?) Yes, it hurts when you urinate! This happened to a good friend of mine. His exact words were: "Why does it hurt when I pee?" I told him, "because you were playing with fire, and you got burnt." Plain and simple. Think about that the next time YOU take someone home from the bar.
I'll admit that I do have a weakness for impulse buys. It's too easy to fall prey to them. A great example of this would be at the checkout counter in a gas station. Ever notice how they ALWAYS put the King Size candy bars right in FRONT of you, and make you look for the regular size? On impulse, we end up buying the king size one - even though it costs thirty to forty cents more than its counterpart!
Why Does This Work?
We fell for it - hook, line, and sinker. Why? Because of our tendency to gratify ourselves instantly - we want it NOW! Merchants realize this, and capitalize on it. I do have mixed emotions about it. On one hand, I feel that I've been taken advantage of and that it is simply a low-down dirty trick. On the other, I have to give them credit for seizing the opportunity! Ahh, the power of capitalism!
Everything's On Sale...
OK - I KNOW that we ALL have fallen prey to this - the "blah-blah-blah" sale." The prices are so incredibly low that we feel we have to act upon them NOW! We suddenly have an overwhelming urge to buy that special item that caught our eye - it's our desire that drives us to do this. Back in the day, salespeople were needed to help items get off the shelves - nowadays, things pretty much sell themselves! The price is attractive enough to get our attention - or is it?
Watch The Ads...
Just do this once - especially during the holidays. Watch the price trends on a few items that are in high demand. Take note and watch how just around the holidays, the price starts to climb higher and higher. Surely this is to stave off excessive demand...or is it? Once again, capitalism is at work. Again, take notice of the prices after the holidays - you know, the big "end-of-year clearance" sales? I'll bet, if you compared those discount prices to ones prior to the holidays, you probably wouldn't see much of a discount if you really got down to it. I got to notice this trend very quickly, having worked in retail previously.
You know these guys too - if you buy more, you save more money. The next time you are at the store, take a good look and do the math. You may be in for a surprise! Here's an example - carburetor cleaner - it normally costs $2.29 a can. The store has a great sale going on, hawking that X carburetor cleaner is "on sale," 2 cans for $5.00 (which amounts to $2.49 a can!) Most people won't think twice, and will pick them up off the shelves, thinking that they are actually saving money! And you know what the sad thing is? The "regular" price is RIGHT THERE ON THE TAG! Of course, it's in small print, so that you won't notice it, but that's a given, right? Why? Because people don't take the time to read it - they are in such a hurry, living their lives at 900 miles an hour and never stopping to take notice of anything. If they only knew what they were missing...sigh.
What Am I Getting At?
The point is simply this - if we want to lead a more productive, profitable, and enjoyable life, we need to ask ourselves some serious questions, such as the following:
"Do I really need this right now?"
"Are there any possible repercussions as a result of my choice?"
"How will this affect others and myself?"
"What do I stand to gain from this?"
"Will this allow me to achieve a long-term goal, or is this just for the short term?"
"Can I afford this?" or "Can WE afford this?"
These are just a few of the questions that you can ask yourself before you make a decision. Now, don't get me wrong - don't let these questions induce a state of panic or anxiety within you. They are only meant to test your values "on the fly," to capitalize on your morals and standards. Don't think you have to play it safe all the time. No - enjoy your life, but be very aware of certain situations that may come into play.
Any time our emotional state is affected, be it positive or negative, we are "thrown off our game" or caught off guard, which affects our decisions. It's during those moments that we need to pay attention to that, and start asking some of those questions that I mentioned above. Imagine these questions in a fight scene in "The Matrix," and you'll get an idea of what I mean. Put the ball in your court, and think it through. See if from all perspectives, if possible. Better yet, see another person's point-of-view if they are involved or could be complicated within the situation. Don't let that high-pressure sales pitch cajole you into purchasing something that you might regret later...or that seductive pickup line that was handed to you at the bar last night land you in bed with someone that you truly don't know. Temptation is sinfully delightful (delightfully sinful,) and instant gratification goes hand in hand with it.
Coming Down From My Podium...
Wow - for that moment, I felt almost as a minister giving a sermon in church, talking about sins in our day-to-day life! As I've said previously, I'm not a born-again Christian or anything like that, but I do see parallels within biblical scriptures and modern living.
This stuff really started making a whole lot of sense, and I'm eager to learn more. The more that I use creative imaging (more about this later) to visualize things for what they really are, the easier it is to avoid these pratfalls as I go about my daily life. To go around these obstacles is the key - knowing that they are there, and always will be there, but I can safely dodge them and go about my business.
Inspiration and Reading...
You know, I think that all that listening and reading of Dr. Norman Vincent Peale is really starting to influence my way of thinking. If you want to find out what I'm talking about, read his many books and listen to his audiobooks as well. Titles such as "You Can, If You Think, You Can," "The Power Of Positive Thinking," and "The Power Of Creative Imaging," just might change the way you feel about yourself and others.
Reflections Of Ourselves...
True that he may have devised these strategies to help himself in the beginning, but isn't that where it all begins? We have to help ourselves before we can truly help others. It takes unconditional love of ourselves before we can truly love anyone else, for everyone is a mirror of our souls. We see in others the things that we like and dislike about ourselves - the things that we'd like to change, or appreciate more than we currently do.
The Truth...Forthright and Honest...
I'll freely admit that I write here in this blog as a means of therapy - to help me realize what's really important in my life and how I can deal with it. I'm literally talking myself through the challenges of life (and yes, I do talk to myself out loud as well, especially when driving!) What appears to be a rant (such as above,) is in disguise a lesson in allowing myself to see the other person's point of view. I may not see it right away, due to emotional attachments and the convictions or beliefs that I manifest. Sooner or later I learn to leave all reservations aside and to allow myself to think within that person's shoes. Of course, we might not think exactly as they do, but we can get a general idea if we know enough about the person's character.
A good method to use is Neuro-Linguistic Programming, or better known as NLP. Upon repeated practice of the techniques described, you can literally put yourself in someone else's body, and watch yourself from their viewpoint. Using what you know about this person, you can honestly see how you appear to this person, and why they are reacting to a situation in a certain manner. This in and of itself is an amazing tool that helps you learn to deal with people - especially the ones that seem difficult or indifferent. I've used it on more than a few occasions, and I can tell you that it's made a change in the way that I think about other people, and what effects my actions, thoughts and beliefs have upon them. This ultimately wins you over with people, and you can communicate effectively with just about anyone!
Read and Listen...To The Radio?
If you're truly interested in changing your life, there is so much great material out there that can help you to do it - be it in the form of written or audiobooks, seminars, or websites. What started it all for me was a radio station! Nearly 10 years ago, there was a little station in my area that dubbed itself "Personal Achievement Radio." I found it by accident one day on the way to work. I heard someone talking, and I just kept the dial there. A few minutes later, I heard another excerpt from another motivational speaker and began to realize that this was pretty neat stuff! I was hooked. It took me a long time to implement everything that I've learned, but it was well worth the time vested. If you're looking for ways to honestly improve your life, motivational materials can do wonders for you. They may not work for everyone, but for the ones that they do, it's truly exciting!
Hmm...I Was Thinking...
Hey, you know what? I think that I'm going to get back into radio - this time working in the motiviational aspect of it! I have a few projects in the works pertaining to that, and when the time is right, I'll divulge information to those interested. AriK, if you're reading this, I'd still love to write our book together. I know that I'm not "fully recovered" from bipolar disorder and that there will be trying times, so I'll be glad to bring everything, past and present, to the table for discussion. What do you think, should we do an infomercial for the book? Nah - just kidding!
Be Well, Everyone!