Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
Let's start with the disclosures.
I don't believe in some sort of permanent happiness.
But you do, so I'm always scouring the world for the secrets that will make you (believe you're) happy.
And so my sullen eyes have fallen upon the work of Luminita Saviuc.
You know she's a serious expert because some people even call her a guru.
She writes under the name Purpose Fairy. Just that name rings of pure Tinkerbellian hope.
Here, then, are her recommendations for the 15 things you have to get rid of in order to find your personal bliss.
I have placed them in my own order, because I'm like that. It should be obvious which annotations are mine, too. If you can't tell, you'll never be happy.
1. Give Up Complaining.
Oh, no. Really? Why? Complaining makes me feel better. At least, when I really put my mind to it. Saviuc, however, insists that "nobody can make you unhappy, no situation can make you sad or miserable unless you allow it to." But people keep making me complain.
2. Give Up Your Need To Impress Others.
This seems fortifyingly sane. Let people see the real you. Even if it's the occasionally complaining you. This may not work in corporate meetings, however. So quit. You know you want to.
3. Give Up On Your Fears.
I'm afraid I'm too scared to do this. But I know I must try. Yes, as Saviuc says, fear is all in the mind. Sometimes, though, my mind won't let me in. I suppose that's the true meaning of being strong-minded. At least that's what Donald Trump tells me.
4. Give Up Attachment.
How are diehard capitalists supposed to do this? Their things give them meaning. They thing, therefore they are. Saviuc, on the other hand, distinguishes between love and attachment. "Attachment comes from a place of fear," she says. "While love... well, real love is pure, kind, and self less." So if you really, really love that Tom Ford suit, buy it.
5. Give Up Labels.
Please don't worry, she doesn't mean designer labels. Instead, Saviuc is referring to the idea that we give labels to things, people and events that we know nothing about. Like grits-eating competitions and self-help book authors. It's best to admit that you don't know what you don't know and leave it at that. This is especially helpful for presidential candidates.
6. Give Up The Luxury Of Criticism.
Look, this one is so hard for a culture that's built on the adversarial everything. Court cases, sports events, even game shows are all constructed to pit one human against another. Still, Saviuc is referring more here to criticizing people and things that are different from us. Which, by definition, means pretty much everyone and every thing.
7. Give Up Your Need To Always Be Right.
Is it worth being right? My general experience is that even when I'm right, it gets me nowhere. Actually, especially when I'm right it gets me nowhere. Saviuc asks: "Is your ego really that big?" Has she been to America?
8. Give Up On Blame.
Oyoy, this one's so right. And I won't get anywhere for saying that. Saviuc says we should all take responsibility for our own lives. Surely there are limits, aren't there? I'm not going to take responsibility for those times I've begun gagging during a presidential debate. It's definitely their fault.
9. Give Up Your Limiting Beliefs.
"Spread your wings and fly," says Saviuc. I'm not sure my arms are as wide as a 747's wings. Still, I understand that this is all about not telling ourselves we can't do something, but to at least try it. On the other hand, a certain amount of realism can occasionally be useful. I think I'd make a fine president of Russia. On balance, however, I think I'd better not try to be.
10. Give Up Your Resistance To Change.
"Follow your bliss, embrace change -- don't resist it," says Saviuc. Without wishing to bathe in the luxury of criticism here, I fear that some people's bliss doesn't, in fact, involve change. The question, surely, is how much we fool ourselves into believing we're blissful when we're actually not. Change can work out wonderfully. But not for everyone.
11. Give Up On Your Excuses.
Saviuc believes that 99 percent of the excuses we use to stop ourselves from growing aren't even real. The trick, though, lies in knowing which ones are. This is very difficult. Truth is so hard to identify, mostly because it's so ephemeral. Thin is the line between an explanation and an excuse. Or am I just making excuses?
12. Give Up Living Your Life According To Other People's Expectations.
Steve Jobs was onto this one. Don't spend your life living someone else's. Again, though, this isn't so easy, given how many elements are drilled into us by parents whose emotional purpose is to keep us attached to them. No, it doesn't happen to everyone. Many people, though, spend their whole lives trying to shake that attachment. I still tell myself I'd make an excellent Catholic priest. Then I remember whose voice is the one in my head that's saying it.
13. Give Up The Past.
"Have a clear vision for the future, prepare yourself, but always be present in the now," says Saviuc. Oh, but a little nostalgia once in a while can't hurt, can it? Looking back and realizing some mistakes made in order to not to make them in the future is healthy too. Saviuc insists that the present is all you have. But the past lives inside it, doesn't it? The past is like cholesterol. We have to hope that we have more of the good past inside us than the bad.
14. Give Up Your Self-Defeating Self-Talk.
Saviuc says too many people begin with a negative mindset. "Don't believe everything that your mind is telling you, especially if it's negative and self-defeating," she says. This may be entirely wise. I'd like, though, to offer a tiny caveat: Relentlessly positive people can be frightfully intolerable too. My own experience has found that, at least sometimes, they tend to lack humor. This is because they're so darned positive about everything that they have nothing to laugh about. Not even the election.
15. Give Up Your Need For Control.
It's always tempting to control as much as we can. That way, we think things won't go wrong. We have a grip on them, after all. Yet things will go wrong. That how things work. "Allow everything and everyone to be just as they are and you will see how much better will that make you feel," says Saviuc. But I've allowed all the presidential candidates to be exactly as they are and this hasn't made me feel good at all.