You'll Always Get What You've Always Got
There aren't many things that get me really upset in this world. Rest assured, I'll talk about every single one of them before this site runs dry. I'm not talking about things that you see and get mad about and then forget; you see those every day. Without those, I wouldn't have anything to talk about. I mean things that eat up inside you and grow to an everlasting ball of unadulterated rage. Of those, there are only a few for me.
As few things as there are that really piss me off, there are only two that instantly lower my opinion of someone. The second is a matter for another time. The one I'm going to talk about here comes in many shapes and guises, and is a drain on your mind, your optimism, your self-confidence, and often your bank account. I fucking hate people who recognize a problem in their lives, yet actively refuse to do something about it.
Have you ever heard any of these from someone you know?
I'm too fat
I don't have any money
Why does nobody like me
I'm always so tired
I wish I had three testicles
Those, believe it or not, are healthy sentences. In most cases, they indicate the realization and acceptance of a problem (or in the case of the last sentence, a twisted fetish desire). The problem isn't that your friends feel the need to burden you with their problems; consider yourself lucky that they trust you enough to tell you. The problem is that 99% of the time, that's where it ends.
Actually, the real problem is when people say those things, and then go seemingly out of their way to exacerbate the problem. How often does your friend with no money go out and buy shit they don't need? If you're worried you're too fat, why the fuck are you eating an entire tub of ice cream? When are you going to stop bitching and moaning and go see someone about grafting on a third nut?
For the first time on this site, I am going to knowingly quote a pop culture source. It's scary, I know. The quote comes from last week's episode of NCIS, which is basically a Navy version of CSI with more interesting characters, and it sums up the entire theme of this article:
If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got.
There you have it: simple, intuitive, and easily within the realm of common sense. The problem is that common sense isn't as common as the name would have you believe. Think about it for a second: if you got fat by eating too much and not exercising (which is how everyone gets fat), then how is continuing to not exercise and eat too much going to make you thin? If you have no money, how is going shopping going to pad your wallet? If you don't have any friends, how is not improving yourself going to earn you any? If you want a third testicle, why don't I come over there and make you feel happy you still have two?
If you want different results, you need to take different actions. Do you want to improve your life right now, as you sit there reading this? Think about something in your life that you are unhappy about. Your weight, your finances, your love life, your appearance, I don't care what it is. Just pick something.
...Got it? Write it down. Now, think of three things you can do (or stop doing) to fix it, and write those down. Number them in order of the least painful to do. Take the easiest one and think about how you can implement it in your life. Come up with some steps that make sense to you, and write them down. If your problem is that you can't write, you probably haven't made it this far, so I hope you have a good memory. Now, take the steps that lead up to that first change, and apply them to you daily routine.
Of course, it's a lot easier to tell people to better themselves than it is to actually do it. So how do I know it's worth doing? Because I've done it twice in the last month. About a month ago my teeth not being quite straight became a problem because they were digging in to the inside of my lip. What did I do? I bit the bullet and got some braces tossed on. They'll be with me for a few months, and then not only will my teeth no longer irritate me, but they'll be straight and I'll have a slightly nicer smile.
More recently... tonight, in fact... I realized my priorities were all fucked up. I was coming home, turning on the television until 10 or 11 or 12, then staying on the computer until 2, waking up at 6:30 and wondering why I was always so tired. I have countless things I want to do with my life, and sitting in front of the television for the time I don't spend working is not inducive to them.
So what am I going to do about it? I'm going to cut down my television watching to just a few hours a week, and spend my free time doing things that actually make me feel free. Find the problems, and fix them: that's how you improve yourself. If you're not willing to do that, then you fucking suck.