Friday, April 30, 2010

The Seven Habits of Terribly Ineffective People

Following is a handful of personality traits, character flaws and other qualities I have observed in others and practiced myself throughout my adult life. This is in contrast to the list published in a hideously boring best-selling book that everyone in corporate America was forced to read at some dark moment in the recent past by an inept manager in preparation for an unnecessary and shallow event called a staff retreat. The truth is that all of the effective people I’ve met or worked with in my life were very defective in some or several significant ways. They may have been irrationally motivated, insecure, distrustful, driven by demons from the past, weirdly brilliant, humorless or incapable of human interaction. Most of us are commoners content with reaching not-so-lofty goals as we remain unimpressed with our own talents and expend little energy climbing another rung on the great ladder of success. Rather, we turn our attention and energy toward other things. Here then are The Seven Habits of Terribly Ineffective People (you know who you are.)
1. Sleeping late. Benjamin Franklin – a highly effective person – is credited with the ‘Early to bed, early to rise’ rhyme. Indeed, he may have scribbled this wisdom down somewhere along the line; however, if one does a modest bit of research we find that Mr. Franklin was a rascal and a carouser: party animal, talk-of-the-town, witty, life of the party, etc. Methinks Old Ben rolled in pretty late most nights of the week and very possibly rolled over a few times the next morning. Although I have always loved the idea of being awake to watch the sunrise (following a good night’s sleep) I have never been able to make it a habit. I sleep long and late.
2. Watching television. Ineffective people prefer being stimulated by forces outside themselves providing those forces are not challenging (like reading.) Cable television is an irreplaceable source of non-threatening stimulation. Not only can they sit in front of the tube for 6 hours every night of the week they can also discuss their theories and projections about the next episode of 24 or LOST with other ineffective people during the day at work.
3. Procrastinating. One of the most revered qualities of ineffective people is the art of ‘putting off until tomorrow what you can do today.’ This may serve as the mantra for all things inefficient. Yet in some ways it makes sense. Details to follow…
4. Whining. Every environment has its share of slackers – those who don’t do their share. An effective person, I suppose, may take that person aside and have a stern talk about working harder, chipping in and joining the team. An ineffective person prefers to talk badly about the slacker behind their back in the lunchroom, on breaks, down the hall or even at the dreaded staff retreat. Ineffective people wallow in their own crap and like it there.
5. Quitting. Pretty much everyone gets excited about something from time to time. Perhaps you’ll build a deck, plant a garden, put together a business plan, paint the bedrooms or read all of Shakespeare’s works. And so you begin but you never finish – you quit, don’t you? Everything in your life is about 75% complete and shall remain that way.
6. Drinking. This is not unique to ineffective people but I must include it here. Effective people also drink to dampen the unconscious reality of their self-loathing. But ineffective individuals take drinking to another level all together. They tend to consume more and more often than the balance of the population. Drinking fills the deep and hollow caverns burned into their psyches by the afore-mentioned habits.
7. Blogging. I have no idea how many individual blog sites exist in the universe. I know I have one and a few of my ineffective friends have them and some pretty famous, effective people have them. For the most part they are each self-serving, boring, political, inaccurate and unnecessary. For instance, no breathing human entity will be edified by these few paragraphs I am about to complete. However, rather than doing my taxes, reading a newspaper, finishing my deck renovation, preparing dinner or praying I have spent the last 20 or so minutes spewing this nonsense onto this page. That’s it. I am going to fix a drink, turn on the TV, fall asleep and finish this tomorrow.


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