Calvin & Hobbes, Kicking Butt, and How Not To Fail

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Ever feel like kicking some butt? Sure you do, we all do.

Calvin's idea is fun, buy you can do fsar better, profit far more
Calvin’s idea is fun, buy you can do fsar better, profit far more

Want to make $ at it? Calvin has an idea, and a fun one at that: Calvin has a knack for that, and I mourn  Calvin & Hobbes‘s passing often, until I flip through a collection a while, and feel rather better.

1) I don’t endorse selling butt kicks, of course, but I surely empathize! We all get angry, and we all met incredibly difficult people who deserve nothing more than a swift kick, a tongue-lashing, a scowl, you name it.  I strive always, with some success as practice makes not perfect but steadily better, to meet a simple goal in such encounters.

2) Goal: I try to find the response most likely to help me meet my goals for this interaction, and use that response, not the natural, instinctive

Calvin (Calvin and Hobbes)
Calvin (Photo c/o Wikipedia)

vent/rant that will feel good but set me back.  Even if the consequences are as minor as this unreasonable other’s worsened resentment & hostility, I find them well worth avoiding.  I can vent later if need be, and I certainly do, in a setting free of those consequences.  To the extent I can pull this feat off, I build coöperation, cut the opposite, and build a reputation for being unflappable, patient, disciplined, in control.  Major plusses all around, right? All far more valuable than the brief superficial joy of giving someone what they may or may not deserve.

Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln (Photo via casually_cruel)

3) Turns out we’re in the wrong sometimes, right?  Don’t lash out and build regrets and burnt bridges. Hard to know who’s right in the heat of the moment, isn’t it? The smarter people are, research has proven, the more they agree. Growth and learning come from realizing you may be wrong, accepting it and adapting.  “Being right” offers nothing but cheap & temporary satisfaction.  You can do better.

4) Even when we are right, we often don’t realize the pressures, fears, pain, and misunderstandings that drive the others’ nonsense.  Abraham Lincoln said that he eliminated an enemy every time he made them a friend.  Smart man, Lincoln.

5) If you read about Lincoln’s life story as I have,

English: I took photo with Canon camera of Ben...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

you learn that he, and Ben Franklin for that matter, were each an insufferable jerk in his youth, always criticizing and arguing and angering people. Each learned better, worked persistently to change and succeeded more than most ever do, certainly more than I have so far, and prospered tremendously as a result.  It’s not about becoming Lincoln, but instead to meet your potential and thrive as YOU.

6) Would you rather “be right,” “win” the argument, or move forward towards meeting far more lucrative goals?  It takes some persistence and practice, but there are proven techniques to make the job easier.  Anyone can master this stuff, though few ever bother.  Their loss.  How about you?

7) Unless you enjoy failure – do you?- you need to find ways to channel and control your anger/irritation and make sure your interpersonal responses serve your priorities, not just your primal instincts. A poker face, thicker skin, some diplomacy and mental gymnastics to internally distance yourself from the situation all help, and you can learn all of the above with a little training and ongoing practice. Where I work, after my ten years of steady progress on these skills, both staff and patients consistently guess I get irritated about 1/1000th as often as I actually do: self-mastery is a potent source of ethical power, and one of the topics at GRC.  I don’t need to lie: I merely self-censor & edit my negatives as much as possible.

8) Do you want more success in work and life?  Do you? What are doing about it, right now?  Life is far too precious to throw away the better you that only YOU can create.  Get to it!  I think you’re worth  it with total confidence: do you?

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