Maybe I'm NOT the Problem

Maybe I'm NOT the Problem

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SinbadEV
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Joined: 02 May 2005, 03:56

Maybe I'm NOT the Problem

Post by SinbadEV »

So, I won't bore you with the exact details, but suffice it to say: If I were a less positive man I would think my life sucks... I personally don't think this but in the face of all the curve-balls I have been thrown throughout my life I have developed a hypothesis that I think might be accurate...

I didn't screw up, the world is just screwed up and has screwed me over.

No if you want to argue against my point I would be happy to engage in some debate, but I suck at debating so me losing said debate would do nothing to debunk my theory*.

However the obvious solution to this problem is not to simply give up or become depressed or give myself an excuse for failure (tempting as these options might be). If my life sucks because the world sucks then it stands to reason that a high percentage of people in this world have sucky lives for the same reason. As such the solution is to resolve the suckyness of the world.

So, a good approach to solving a problem is to to break it down into smaller steps until each step is manageable... seeing as there are a very large number of people with a vested interest in solving "The Big Problem"(weather they know it or not) it stands to reason that the task is not insurmountable... except for cases where "The Big Problem" itself conflicts with people being able to implement a solutions**.

My proposed first step is to define the problem... so I made a wiki:

http://thebigproblem.wikia.com/wiki/The ... oblem_Wiki


* THIS IS A VERY HELPFUL ARGUMENT TO USE WHEN TRYING TO CONVINCE YOURSELF YOU ARE RIGHT DESPITE EVIDENCE TO THE CONTRARY.
** HUMAN GREED, LAZINESS, THE TRAGEDY OF THE COMMONS, NOT HAVING ENOUGH FREE TIME, LACK OF MOTIVATION
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bobthedinosaur
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Re: Maybe I'm NOT the Problem

Post by bobthedinosaur »

+Support
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smoth
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Re: Maybe I'm NOT the Problem

Post by smoth »

this is not heaven, it is the world and there are troubles in it

people are driven by negative things like greed and laziness

You make mistakes and are not going to be perfect

You have a choice to blame other factors or work on the one you can control. That one factor being work harder to make better decisions. It does not mean everything is going to work out the way you want but at least you should be able to improve your own direction some.

Giving into the belief that you are somehow being screwed by life is not productive and it is wrong. It shrugs personal responsibility for your own poor actions or lack of action. It also puts forth the idea that your efforts in this life are pointless because there is some boogie man out to get you.
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Neddie
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Re: Maybe I'm NOT the Problem

Post by Neddie »

Well, in the end your actions are limited. There is very little in your control... but what is in your control is significant in the reproduction of misery. You have to take responsibility for what you can control, and accept what you can not.
pintle
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Re: Maybe I'm NOT the Problem

Post by pintle »

I think a greater permeation of the notion that there are failures in basic aspects of the structures of our societies, and a wider feeling of empowerment in confronting corruption (in both the state and business) could be kind of cyclical.

To acknowledge that there are problems, and we are capable, as a group, of confronting them and formulating a strategy to try and overcome them, is a pretty central mechanic to democracy.

The greatest "big" problems that I see, which are within my capability to influence, stem from the apathy and indifference of the people I encounter daily.

Smoth's sentiments are certainly true though, remaining accountable for your own situation is important.

I dunno... I just think that more people interested in politics/social issues at least leads to more dialectic debate :)

/ramble
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SinbadEV
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Re: Maybe I'm NOT the Problem

Post by SinbadEV »

While I agree with Smoth on some level, namely that we have free will and have the opportunity to improve our situation and also that it is unhealthy to blame your problems on the world as a "Boogeyman" because this breeds apathy... My preposition is that there IS a bogeyman, but he can be killed.

Also, I agree that this is not heaven and that it will never be perfect... but that attitude leads to the same kind of complacency he is suggesting my paradigm directs us to, namely that if life can't be perfect that means that it can't be improved.

If you want to look at it from a different angle you could, instead of saying "Your life sucks because the world sucks" you could say "The world sucks because YOU make other people's lives suck".

Let me give you an example of what I see as a "Problem".

Alfred works 12 hours a day, five days a week at a crap job and earns enough money to afford a car, small apartment, food on the table, and a decent entertainment system... now he could spend his money unwisely by smoking and drinking and getting a really nice entertainment system, a cell phone and premium cable and end up in heaps of debt and bankrupt... or, on the other hand, he could scrimp and save, pick up a few shifts of overtime here and there and put him self through technical college and get the education he needs to work 8 hours 5 days a week and afford a car, small apartment, put food on the table and afford a decent entertainment system by the age of 30.

Barney's parents were both 9-5ers and managed to help put him through college, he had to work summers, but he did get an education and he ends up where Alfred was at the age of 30 at the age of 22.

Charlie's parents were rich, he got a full-ride scholarship to a prestigious university because his parents could afford to hire him tutors and when he graduated he was put in charge of a department of his fathers company... he works 10 hours a day 5 days a week but he earns enough money to have a nice house, a wife who doesn't have to work, a couple cars, a really nice entertainment system and all by the age of 25.

Now Both Charlie and Baney worked hard to get where they are in the world... but no matter how hard Alfred works, he'll never have Charlie's life... and no matter how much Charlie screwed up and wasted the chances he was given, he'll never end up with Alfred's life.

There are a number of component issues in this that can be discussed... but my point is that there has to be something we can do to mitigate this situation.

Also, another interesting issue here is that some would say Alfred will probably be a lot happier then Charlie because he has a sense of accomplishment... but I don't buy that.
Regret
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Re: Maybe I'm NOT the Problem

Post by Regret »

SinbadEV wrote:there has to be something we can do to mitigate this situation.
Card games must frustrate you to no end.
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SinbadEV
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Re: Maybe I'm NOT the Problem

Post by SinbadEV »

I figured out that candy-land was deterministic when I was 7 and refused to play it anymore. Fortunately I later leaned that games are fun if you do the best you can with the hand you are dealt weather you win or lose... I also decided that Professional sports were moronic for the same reason... if it's going to come down to who has the best team or dumb luck for evenly matched teams... what's the freaking point?
Gertkane
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Re: Maybe I'm NOT the Problem

Post by Gertkane »

Now Both Charlie and Baney worked hard to get where they are in the world... but no matter how hard Alfred works, he'll never have Charlie's life... and no matter how much Charlie screwed up and wasted the chances he was given, he'll never end up with Alfred's life.
Lots of Charlies have lost everything they have without being real life burners. Lots of Alfreds have gotten to the level of Charlies, even where i live and trust me, this is not the land of opportunities here.

While its certain that for example it will be easier for Charlie to get his education than Alfred, the more easily he got his (i.e. parents paid huge sums to keep son from falling out of school thanks to excessive partying/just not caring about studying ) education the easier it is for him to lose it all. It works the same way for Alfred, the harder it is for him to get his education the harder it is for him lose what he has (thanks to being used to always having to work for everything). Quite often by looking into the parents of those Charlies, you can find alot of Alfreds of their time.

It is our nature to always be greedy and want more, while greed isn't called a sin for no reason it is also a big motivator. Once you stop yearning for more from life you become docile, stagnant. If you don't want (want is not just saying "i would like to have billions") to go up then all you can do is stay in one place or fall down. You can't stay in one place forever (being too complacent will mean that eventually when life throws a wrench you wont be able to handle it) and you can't fall forever (eventually you will hit rock bottom).

It seems that your main concern is a persons material status in comparison to others while your others are usually very extreme cases. Something along the lines of "I will never be as rich as Bill Gates". This is thinking is perhaps forced upon you by your endured hardships, but pretty much all the people I know that have wealth and haven't lost it do not go by this mindset. Different people think about money differently. Businessmen usually just want to make more of it by/for their projects, even if little by little and even if they can't really take out the profits (by being forced to invest it into own company or others thanks to laws or the current economic situation), some want money just to have more toys and some just want to make the best of their current income source to be able to concenctrate on their real interests in the future.

Just an example: I have an old classmate and a close friend. He lost his father when we were in 3rd or 4th grade. After highschool he went straight to work. He is now 21 and through hard work he now makes on average about 3-4 times the average income of a whole household. Never got lucky on some stock, never got a fortune from a dead relative and never just screwed people over their money, just plain hard work. Gets nice things to his mother and buys himself expensive toys. His only aim is up, he doesn't think "oh fuck even at this pace ill only be able to afford myself a stable of supercars when im already 50, life is bad".

My point is, going up is a mindset, going down is a mindset, accepting stagnance is a mindset. By thinking things like "its more the world's fault than mine" you are more or less excluding any real going up from your list of mindsets and just destroying perseverance, even if by a small piece.

EDIT: Sorry for the long post, internet connection has died (last speedtest indicated 0.006 Mbit for download) so im limited to forums and this looks like an interesting topic unfolding.
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MidKnight
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Re: Maybe I'm NOT the Problem

Post by MidKnight »

Work moar.
Also get aegis to recommend you to his employer.
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smoth
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Re: Maybe I'm NOT the Problem

Post by smoth »

alfred and charlie are stereotypical strawmen as such I am not even debating them.

I do not feel that acknowledging the imperfections of the world are going to lead to apathy. If anything they are a call to arms.

The world is a shit place, we humans more than any other creature have the ability to shape the world around us. Each one of us like a worker ant doing some little thing here or there to make life a little better. Sure there are many more that do bad things but I like to believe the few of us who do good do so and change the world little by little.

Some would say such a view is egotistical or perhaps others would say that I do not rate myself as very capable. I like to remind them that little bits in life make the world a better place. Stop and let that guy change lanes, hold the door open for an old lady, give time to youths. Always pay it forward and someday it will be paid back to you. Do not do so with expectation, do so because the ripples we make in life shift and move the world around us and like the butterfly, flap your wings.
Gertkane
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Re: Maybe I'm NOT the Problem

Post by Gertkane »

I do not feel that acknowledging the imperfections of the world are going to lead to apathy. If anything they are a call to arms.

I did not mean that you shouldn't acknowledge imperfections, i meant that you shouldn't aknowledge them in a manner where with every step blame is put one more feet away from you (i.e."I don't have a job" Why? "Economy is bad" Why? and so on..).
Stop and let that guy change lanes, hold the door open for an old lady, give time to youths. Always pay it forward and someday it will be paid back to you. Do not do so with expectation, do so because the ripples we make in life shift and move the world around us and like the butterfly, flap your wings.
Very spiritual and deep but still with a very valid point.
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SpliFF
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Re: Maybe I'm NOT the Problem

Post by SpliFF »

If it makes you feel any better I've discovered that some of the shittiest things that happened to me led to some non-shitty things that wouldn't have been possible without it. Here's some examples:

Problem: Was a nerd at school, everyone gave me crap.
Result: The Internet is invented and the jocks are all getting downsized and lifting bricks while I LOVE my job and people are lining up to pay me for making websites.

Problem: Got fired.
Result: Found a new boss who feeds me beer during work hours.

Problem: Unemployed.
Result: Taught myself linux and python programming, which I love. Spent rest of time playing computer games and getting stoned. Had a great time, met cool people.

Problem: Got stuck living in a shitty suburb which is cold and expensive.
Result: Met a cool chick who lives nearby and loves sex and chilling out.

Problem: Became addicted to pot, dropped out of college.
Result: Travelled, became a pot activist, met wild people, had amazing adventures.

Problem: Don't own a car.
Result: Gulf War. Petrol prices soar. Save hundreds a year dollars in fuel costs.

The trick is to recognize opportunities rather than focus on PROBLEMS. You aren't starving, you aren't being shot at, you probably live in a country where you can do whatever you want - if you knew what that was.

Here are some other tips:

* Get rid of your television. Ads are designed to make you feel unhappy and news is basically about fear. Chances are that very few news stories will actually affect you or provide you any knowledge you can use. Your chances of being killed by a terrorist are still practically nil (you still have a massively higher chance of being killed by yourself or your food than any external factor).

* If you're having trouble with drugs, alcohol or other addictions the most effective way to overcome them is to switch vices. Most addictions are based on repetition so breaking the cycle is far more important than being 'clean'.

* Try backpacking. It can be expensive but it motivates you to do things you wouldn't try at home. In your travels you may find places that are more 'you' than where you are living now. It may seem like people are all the same but certain environments empathise peoples' better natures. Stay away from cities if being around 'sheeple' bothers you.

* If you're bothered by stupidity and bigotry, stay off forums, facebook, myspace and youtube.
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Peet
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Re: Maybe I'm NOT the Problem

Post by Peet »

SpliFF wrote:Problem: Got fired.
Result: Found a new boss who feeds me beer during work hours.
An employer who will drink with you, on or off hours, makes nearly any job tolerable.
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CarRepairer
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Re: Maybe I'm NOT the Problem

Post by CarRepairer »

SpliFF wrote:* Get rid of your television.
But then you'll become one of those pretentious people who always have to mention in every conversation that they don't have a television.
SpliFF wrote:* Try backpacking.
Sounds great but many people have lives/jobs/families and can't go around the world.
SpliFF wrote:* If you're bothered by stupidity and bigotry, stay off forums, facebook, myspace and youtube.
Oooh this is a problem. Addendum: don't leave your house, stay in your bed, pull covers over your head.
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JohannesH
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Re: Maybe I'm NOT the Problem

Post by JohannesH »

CarRepairer wrote:
SpliFF wrote:* Try backpacking.
Sounds great but many people have lives/jobs/families and can't go around the world.
If your life sucks, leave it!


I'll also mention that i dont own a television
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SinbadEV
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Re: Maybe I'm NOT the Problem

Post by SinbadEV »

I own a very nice television... but I have never had cable so it balances out.
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maackey
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Re: Maybe I'm NOT the Problem

Post by maackey »

I've never had cable either. I don't really talk about TV much, but since car brought it up, I don't watch TV either. (adblock has ruined more than internet browsing for me :wink: )

Anyway, I don't think the world sucks. Smoth made some good points about being nice to people just because. When you're polite and friendly things just seem to work out better -- even if you don't really care for the person or are in a rush.

Whenever something bad happens, look for something good. It will always be there. This morning was a *perfect* example. Over the weekend me and my dad were working on my motorbike, trying to fix the rear blinker lights. It was a beautiful sunny Florida day, and we had some good times working together. It made the next morning all the worse.

I woke up to nothing but gray skies and it was really cold. So cold that my carberated bike didn't start up easily, and my battery died trying to start it. I used some jumper cables to start it up again and was on my way to school (20 mins late) Traffic was unusually horrible and I was stuck behind a garbage truck for a good while until i hit the highway. At which point my tachometer, speedometer, ALL lights (including break lights, engine lights, neutral, etc...) went out. Did I mention the thick fog?

Anyway, I get to school, sit through my two classes, just wanting to go home. I missed friday's class where my prof. gave back tests and hadn't posted them online yet. I was certain I bombed it.

I go up to him after class, my test was on the top of the stack - perfect score. I made some small mistakes on a couple questions, but they were made up by the extra credit (which was some diagram that i was certain i had not done right/finished) I go outside and the clouds have cleared, a soft breeze comes over me and I hop on my bike and head home. Its not scorchingly hot like on most sunny days, and I didn't run into *any* retard idiot dickwad drivers on the way home. (a *very* rare occurrence in florida) I get home and look to see where the failure in the electrical systems went wrong; it was just a bad fuse that I foolishly replaced from the day before. (if it ain't broke don't fix it)

The point is: bad things happen to you, you just need to get over them and focus on the good things that come around.
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Wolf-In-Exile
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Re: Maybe I'm NOT the Problem

Post by Wolf-In-Exile »

Think about it this way. You aren't hardcore poor living in squalor in Africa. You aren't living off humanitarian aid where your staple diet is boiled tree bark. You aren't born with disabilities like mental retardation, missing limbs, deaf or blind.

Think real hard of how life must be like for people like that. I mean really picture yourself living like that.

And think of how bloody lucky you are to have all the privliedges and blessings you have now.

Yes shit happens now and then, but if you can't control events and circumstances, focus on what you CAN control: your mentality.
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SinbadEV
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Re: Maybe I'm NOT the Problem

Post by SinbadEV »

I agree I have things very good, however, many people have it better then me, and many people have it worse... why shouldn't an effort be made to bring the worse off people up to my level or higher?
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