Category Archives: advice

History Is an Anachronism

They say that history repeats itself. But I don’t think that’s really true. Take the War of 1812 for instance. I don’t think we are ever going to have one of those again. Or like when Alexander the Great conquered Persia back in 331 B.C., I can assure you that he will never do that again. On account of him being dead and all.

Seriously, the more I consider it, the more convinced I am that “history repeats itself” is merely propaganda forwarded by historians to drum up business for themselves!

Strangers

I don’t talk to strangers. And it’s not because they are “strange,” as Jim Morrison once sang. Nor is it because they are supposedly potentially dangerous.

No. It’s because they just seem so egotistical and self-absorbed all the time.

I mean, each morning, when I see all the strangers on their way to work, they all seem so singularly focused on that one particular task, which so clearly only benefits them. And I’m pretty sure that they have never once given a single thought regarding how I might get to work. I doubt they’d even care if it turned out that my bus was late, or if I was stuck in traffic.

Then around lunchtime, while I am running an errand at the bank, I will see all these strangers queuing up in line. And I’ll bet you that the overwhelming majority of these strangers – many of whom are here to deposit checks and/or cash – will almost certainly put that money into their own bank accounts, rather than into those of other people. Such as me.

So until that day – which will most likely never come – when I peruse my monthly bank statement and find, much to my amazement, that a stranger has deposited $109.72 into my checking and/or savings account, I will continue my policy of not talking to strangers. Because they are all so unbearably selfish and conceited. At least as far as I’m concerned.

I swear, I don’t trust strangers any farther than I can throw them. Which is not very far at all.

the benefits of unreasonably high expectations

People often cite the importance of lowering expectations. For instance, if I have just begun a writing project that I hope will one day blossom into a full-fledged novel, it might be in my best interest to lower expectations – for instance, by telling family and friends that it will likely turn out to be a lengthy writing exercise, or if I’m lucky, a short story or a self-published chapbook, when all is said and done. That way, if I do fail, no one will hold it against me.

But I have decided to take a different tack. Instead of lowering expectations, I try to raise expectations impossibly high. Like, instead of letting people know that I am trying my hand at writing a novel, I instead proclaim – both boisterously and repeatedly – that I am working on a heptalogy that will sweep the nation and make me heir to the likes of J. K. Rowling and George R. R. Martin, despite the fact that I don’t even have any initials in my pen name. I even promise my family and friends that, once I clear the 50 million books sold globally benchmark, I will take them all out to dinner, to a really really nice restaurant.

Of course, they won’t likely believe that I will reach my stated goal. So essentially, this unreasonably-high-expectation approach accomplishes the same overall effect as lowering expectations: It takes the pressure off me, and allows me wiggle room if I do fail. But on the plus side, it is way more optimistic!