Doing Things You Don’t Want To Do

What do you consider to be a true sign of success in life?

Is it money?

Is it fame?

Is it power?

Is it love?

Is it getting lots of Follows and Likes on Social Media?

Is it being able to eat pizza, bacon, cake and chocolate while sitting on a comfy sofa playing video games all day, and not only lose weight on the diet but also gain muscle definition because your video game character walked for miles across the desert while carrying the equivalent fo 20 grand pianos in weaponry and random loot?

There are lots of people out there in the world who like to tell us what success is…

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excerpt from: Why Some People (Maybe Even Us) Think They’re So Special | Psychology Today

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they’re usually also the same people who like to tell us that if we hand over X amount of money to them, they’ll make us successful…

using the same tricks which are available for free, those tricks we all know about already, which we have probably already tried, parrot-fashion, and maybe found didn’t work for us because everyone knows about them and when you use them everybody knows what you’re doing (and thinks you’re being a wanker, maybe), and everybody does not liked to be tricked, especially not using the obvious tricks…

and everyone else is doing it too and…

we’re all rather bored of those tricks.

We want something different… but what?

Have you ever noticed how those who like to tell others what success is, and who may also be selling you a success for you package once you hand over your money and your life to them, don’t seem to be all that successful.

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The above blurb came partially from reading a wonderfully clever post – How I got 54 blog followers in 10 years. The title alone is worthy of a blog Oscar for awesome and hilarious titles which hit a brutal and beautiful nail on the head without smashing a thumb because you got distracted while bringing down the hammer!

It also came from clicking on a link in that post which led to the sort of site which likes to tell people what success is and how to get it. It was an interesting site to explore… not necessarily for the reasons they think they’re an interesting site to explore.

It also came from finding myself recently being faced with having to do some things which I really don’t want to do.

I’m weird, like most people… except I’m sort of weirder than most people (or at least most people I’ve met both offline and online keep making me aware that I might be weirder than most people… in a good way?)

The point of saying that is… the sort of things I don’t want to do are the sort of things which other people might think – I’d love to do that!

While the sort of things I do want to do are the sort of things which other people might say – Oh, hell no! – about.

I do agree that money and power are useful to have… and they’re pretty good signs of a certain kind of success… and if you have money you have power, but you don’t necessarily have money if you have power… power is an odd concept. Money is just money… unless you enter the world of finance and then money is almost everything except money in paper and coins but everything can be turned into paper and coins kind of money… but you may have to wait a while for that to happen and it all depends upon wars and shit working in your favour.

Fame…. not so sure about that since it sometimes seems to be a punishment, a pedestal you’re put on so that others can play Jenga with the pedestal’s foundations.

Love… love is abstract and like all abstract things one minute you have it and the next minute you have it but it’s changed form and you might wish you didn’t have it in that form.

But what do I consider a true sign of success in life?

When I truly want to know what I think of something… I usually check out what my child self thought it was, because she was less brainwashed by society and the media and adult thinking than grown up me is.

One story popped into my mind.

When I was about 8 or 9, I was asked if I wanted to learn how to water ski. I said: Yeah, whatever. It looked like great fun, but I had to be careful about how much enthusiasm I showed because the adults around me regularly set traps for me to fall into. Asking you if you wanted to do something – always a trap!

So, I was given the gift of a series of lessons – I had one week to learn how to do it.

I excelled at it – or so my water skiing teacher told my paying the teacher X amount for the lessons to make their kid a genius parent. I have no idea if I was really good at it or not because adults are such fantasists and liars, but I stayed on the skis more than I fell in the water.

The learning skis were tied together and when I was given the not-tied-together skis because I had advanced to the next level… let’s just say I ended up being a mono-skiing whiz because one ski flew off and the only way not to fall in the water (and get eaten by the great white shark which I was certain was there waiting to be served its child canape) was to stay on one ski and make do with it.

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Just before the end of my week of lessons something happened (no idea what it was, but it changed the experience for child me – I think it may have had something to do with there being too much pressure which eventually wiped out all the fun. This was a common occurrence in my life as a child, after a few days of learning anything my parents expected me to be a professional, if I wasn’t that would be the end of that), and I suddenly refused to take my last two lessons. I did not want to water ski anymore – I did (just not around the people I had to do it around) – and I said as much very firmly, and had to stick with my decision to not do it.

My parent and the ski teacher bullied me relentlessly… adults… they never learn… bullying child me was a guarantee that I would never do whatever it was that the adults wanted me to do. My parent ended up taking my penultimate lesson for me… that was probably one of the funniest and most agonising things I’ve ever seen… the very last lesson was written off (but I did have to hear about for the next few years).

One of the lasting impressions which that experience left me with, eventually merged with other lasting impressions from other experiences – like the endless ones of being regularly dragged as a child to adult events where I was expected to behave as an adult (better than the adults, since the adults were usually causing all sorts of chaos), and be as invisible as possible so as not to bother the adults (but the adults could bother me as much as they liked), and the one time I refused because I wanted to stay at home and watch a fun film for kids on TV (and be a kid for once), I was adult-tantrumed at and left on my own to stew in my wrongful wrongness to become painfully aware of how wrong I was for wronging the rule of adults who were always right.

Anyway… somewhere along the way I decided that real success in life is:

1 – being able to be yourself as is (which in my case is messy falling through a thorny hedge in slow motion)

2 – being able to do what you want to do (within reason, of course… if I want to kill someone or nuke an entire section of the human world, I’ll only do it in video games because doing it outside of video games isn’t healthy but doing it in video games gets you leveled-up)

3 – not having to do things I don’t want to do – this, to me, is the ultimate in success!

Do you know why I don’t want to do those things?

Because I’m not good at doing those things, I have tried to do them repeatedly and I am not good at them.

However I am good at doing other things – Why do people keep wanting me to do what I can’t and don’t want to do!? Why do people keep wanting me to be who I am not and don’t want to be?

I’m beginning to think that I’m not as weird as most people, and that most people are far weirder than me.

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And over to you…

What do you consider to be a true sign of success in life?

Are you weird?

Are you sure you’re the one who is weird?

12 comments

  1. I agree with yours and Francine’s #4 as well. When I was a young thing first starting my career, I used to listen to what others wanted me to do, not argue with them and then go do exactly what I wanted to do (I was no longer in the military). I thought this was a good thing. Everyone’s happy – what you don’t know doesn’t hurt you, like that. Then it dawned on me how passive-aggressive this is, underhanded really. In the course of drilling through that behaviour, I understood that it came from blocking out my mother. If I had done, or even attempted, everything she wanted me to do or was nagging me about I would gone screaming into the night. But the transference was profound. Telling me what to do equalled being ignored. So, just listening carefully and being able to disagree is an important one, especially for the children of narcissists.

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    • Thank you for sharing 🙂

      Love it!

      That’s a beautiful and concise perspective.

      I was thinking this afternoon that it’s time I started to ‘make peace’ with my mother like I did with my father – not with the person but with the part of the person which is a part of me. It may take a while… buffering… loading… 😉

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  2. I agree with most of the items you listed as success.
    I think mine are the same or similar.
    1. Being free to be Me and Not whatever the person I’m with wants/expects me to be.
    2. Saying No and meaning it.
    3. Identify and do what I like/enjoy/want rather than what the person I’m with wants.
    4. Disagreeing with someone close without fear of recrimination, etc.
    I always determined what/who the person I’m with wanted and gave no thought to me. I didn’t count!
    Now I count and I have power and strength to do what I believe is best for me. All of which is very new to me and takes some getting used to. I still have to watch myself and not automatically agree to do/go or whatever it is my husband says/asks. Fortunately he wants to know what I want unlike my narcissistic family. (Yes. I have multiple. Actually almost all of them.)
    So keep at it because I think you are doing well.

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    • Thank you for sharing 🙂

      Oh, wow, yes to #4!

      I used to have an on-going argument of sorts with my partner because he wouldn’t directly disagree with me when something I said or did or was planning was not something he agreed with. He’d go into polite disagreement mode. For instance he’d agree to do something which he didn’t want to do and then the whole time we were doing it, he’d be sending out these – I don’t want to be doing this but I’m doing it anyway and regretting it – vibes.

      It drove me nuts, partly because I do that kind of thing too and I hate myself when I do it, and partly because I really like it when people are direct with me, and I love it when I can be direct with people (which is really challenging for a child of narcs).

      Whenever I confronted him about it he’d say that he didn’t want to disagree with me directly because he didn’t want to deal with my reaction to him disagreeing with me. But he never bothered to find out what my actual reaction to him disagreeing directly would be as this was something he learned to do with people before he met me. Children of narcissists aren’t the only ones who get messed up by previous relationships and twisted dynamics. The funny thing is if he’d disagreed with me directly I’d have been okay with that, but because he took a long and complicated detour which got us stuck in traffic in frustrating city, I ended up reacting to that the way he was worried I’d react to the more direct route.

      We finally managed to get over that hurdle, and no longer need to have that sort of argument. He now tells me straight up whether he wants to do something or not, whether he agrees or disagrees. It’s so much easier that way, and so much more fun.

      I’m a much slower learner. I still agree to things with which I disagree. It’s usually due the the fact that it takes me awhile to process information, and people usually want a quick answer. And ‘yes’ is usually the quick answer they want, and if I’m not sure whether I agree or disagree, I tend to go with a ‘yes, sure, maybe why not’… and then later on my mind spits out a ‘this is why not! and you really should have said no!’.

      #4 is connected to that concept of – other people are fragile. Which is really – narcissists are fragile – and if you want to save yourself all kinds of boring exhaustion in pointless argument which you will never win then don’t disagree with narcissists.

      Non-narcissists can sometimes seem to behave like narcissists when it comes to the issue of disagreeing with them, especially when they really want and need your agreement.

      You’re absolutely right, it takes time to adjust to a newer and better way of doing things for ourselves. Mistakes are going to occur but they are no longer the end of the world (ah, narcs and their endless series of ends of the world!).

      It is so weird when people actually want to know what we want, and are truly interested, and are okay with it when we’re like – Nope to that!

      In some ways we’ve learned to appreciate the simple things – the kind of simple things which aren’t so simple 🙂

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  3. Very pithy, very grand. In agreement as should we all or is this extremely opinionated. You never know the struggles of your fellow human even if he she is very hateful mean unless you can see the other side of the equation. How many times have I unfortunately inadvertently faltered to meanness unpleasantness and truly scared frightened those I love and even those I don’t know at all

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    • Thank you for sharing 🙂

      One of the adventures in life is discovering the personal stories within each person we meet. The personal stories usually explain the reason for why people are the way they are when we meet them. If we take the time to get to know them better, the impression which we have of a person can change before our very eyes. But people can be reluctant to be known due to being afraid of being rejected, not being liked, as they truly are, and yet who a person truly is is far more interesting than who they think they have to be for others to like them.

      It’s good to be aware of how we come across to others, and to make adjustments sometimes to make ourselves more comfortable for others, but we also need to respect who we are, and sometimes who we are is never going to be comfortable for certain types of others.

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      • You are right. One of the lessons that has taken longest in my life is that not everyone is going to like you. But I have learned that that is A-okay, that not everyone is going to like you. Ha, Ha. And yes, people are afraid of rejection. And that can go hand in hand with the fear of not being liked and the fact that people face not being liked by their “brethren”.

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    • Thank you for sharing 🙂

      I really enjoyed your post, it was original and truly a delight to read. The title is probably the best title for a post I’ve ever come across. And I love beards 😉

      I am so fed up with seeing those ‘How to get 10,000 followers in just 10 days’ type of articles, and the numbers in the title thing ‘5 Amazing Tips for Undoing your Zipper’ are so annoying. I once followed the WP blog for Thought Catalog and unfollowed it the next day because my reader was spammed by hundreds of numbers in the title posts and it was torture, my little grey cells were screaming MAKE IT STOP!

      I love bloggers who share their weird real selves loud and proud, and who don’t feel the need to do what those ‘How to Blog’ articles tell them to do.

      I found you through OM, just in case you wondered.

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      • Your first point of success on being free to be yourself is good but I stumbled over that idea growing up. I never knew how to be myself. I remember distinctly hearing “Just be yourself” and thinking “… But I have no idea who that self is…” or, “Do you really know what you’re asking me to do?” I didn’t want to be myself as well for deep fear of putting it all out there only to be criticized or ignored. I feel I do better at being myself now as a grown ass man but still don’t have it figured out yet. Thank you for the insight.

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        • When I was growing up I mostly heard – Just don’t be yourself – but to not be yourself you first have to figure out who yourself is, so it ends up exactly where being told – Just be yourself – puts you.

          I reckon that the first half of human life is a quest to figure out who we are, and that midlife is the point when we get to go through all the information and selves we’ve gathered from our ‘who is myself’ quest. Maybe we realise that we still don’t know who we are, but we certainly have compiled quite a list of who we are not, and who we don’t want to be, and maybe who we are is simply a process of elimination – whatever’s left after we subtract who we are not and who we don’t want to be (although we may be who we don’t want to be… so there’s that to factor in after the factoring out).

          Perhaps who we are is not something we can pin down. It’s a collection of atoms vibrating at the same frequency which can give the appearance of solidity but it’s actually fluidity.

          Maybe ‘yourself’ is in what we’re passionate about as well as what we’re passionately not passionate about. It’s in our ideals and in the smashing into smithereens of those ideals. It’s in the things which make us go Hmmmm. It’s in what makes us genuinely laugh. It’s in what makes us want to scream. It’s in the grown up who isn’t certain what being a grown up should feel like…

          I was thinking about that the other day – What is being an adult supposed to feel like? And how do you know if you’re feeling it? – and it occurred to me that my opinion of what being an adult is supposed feel like comes from a child-like perspective of – you’re no longer supposed to feel like you’re a child. But what is being a child supposed to feel like?

          Children are in some ways more certain of who they are than adults are… and then those children start to grow up and the older they get the less confident they become about who they are. Concepts like – Just be yourself – become more complex as we get older and maybe the real goal isn’t to figure out who yourself is at all. Maybe being ourselves is a moment by moment experience, and with each moment and how it affects us the atoms shift vibe to a different vibrational frequency.

          In blogging terms – the more you blog the more your blog changes because blogging and your experience of it changes you bit by bit, each post written and posted shifts the way you write posts bit by bit – if you try to stick to being who you were when you started your blog, the experience of blogging becomes static and eventually the blog and you drift apart.

          Or something like that or maybe not like that at all… 🙂

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