Familiarity breeds contempt
In the previous school year I had 7 different class groups at a high school. For the oldest group I organized two parties. We had fun on those parties, and they cost me quite a bit to organise, I think all told, more than 200 euro. The funny thing is that this group later turned out to be the most passive group of all my groups. I still had an ok relationship with them, but I can safely say that those two parties damaged the atmosphere, not with every student in that group, but the general atmosphere changed after those two parties. Somehow they only expected to party after that. I’m 34 years old, you would think I know this.
This has been a recurring theme in my life. The people you treat the best, will do the least in return. People respect you more when they know very little about you, when you’re an enigma. It’s a hard lesson, but I’ve finally learned it. It’s connected to the second lesson.
Generostiy creeps people out
When I teach a group I like bring to chocolates and free books I have no use for. I’ve noticed again and again that this makes people feel uncomfortable. I would go so far as to say that kindness creeps people out more than being moody or rude. Is it because people think they owe you? Research has shown that we like people better when we do a favor FOR THEM, than when they do a favor FOR US. Isn’t that odd? Humans are so weird. If God truly created humankind, then we have to conclude that God is a charlatan. If God had any sense at all, there would be no humankind at all.
If you try to catch two rabbits, you catch neither one
We really had to narrow things down. We had to shorten our frontlines. We had to ‘reculer pour mieux sauter’, fall back to jump further.
We were overdoing, we are still overdoing. You can try to do so much that in the end nothing gets done anymore. My wife and I really had to quit a lot of things to get ahead. Life really is like a balloon, the more ballast you ditch, the higher you fly. And we have accumulated a lot of ballast over the years. We’re still ditching ballast. We’re still weeding projects that are not a priority, and we’re still being more and more selective as to the people we choose to spend time with. Simply because we only have 24 hours in a day, and we want to be in much better situation in ten years than we are now. Not that we’re in such a dismal situation right now, we just want to do better, a lot better. For this we need to be selective, selective with our time, selective with the few social slots humans can give to other humans. We are slowly learning to stop doing everything that does not help us along on our path.
The one thing
I’ve come to realize that there’s always one thing that is far more important, far more effective to pursue, than all other things. A person can have ten ways to make money, or ten ways to make friends, or ten ways to find his or her dream house, but I’ve come to believe that there’s always ONE way to get the best results, if you focus on that one way, and ignore all the other ways. The trick is of course to select that one thing and faithfully dedicate yourself to it. Try it. It’s an incredibly stress reliever. It gives you clarity. Just focus on ONE THING. I know what my one thing is, and I won’t tell you. Which brings us to the next lesson.
If you tell people about your goals you lose momentum
Maybe it’s because our brains can’t tell the difference between telling someone about our goal and actually accomplishing your goal. As the Confederate general Thomas ‘Stonewall’ Jackson famously said: ‘Always mystify, mislead and surprise the enemy’. Leave people in the dark about your goals. A lot of your so called friends won’t lift a finger to help you realize it, you might give even total strangers a bright idea, and if you’re sitting around waiting for help to realize your goal, then you’re not doing it right. Pick your goal, keep it to yourself, keep your nose to the grindstone and let your actions speak, not your tongue. Words are cheap, you pave the way to your goal with sweat.
People don’t want to see just how much the elite affects EVERYTHING
Call this my pet frustration if you like. Most people I meet refuse to see the role they play in the bigger scheme of things. They do their jobs, never questions whatever it is that they do to get money, and never consider what’s happening in the world. That’s all fine, but we will have very little to talk about if your own personal life and which color you’re going to paint the bedroom are the things you care about most. If that makes me sound arrogant, then so be it. I wouldn’t say I’m arrogant, I would say I’m disenchanted and dissapointed. And also quite tired. I don’t have the patience anymore to hang out with people and talk about what kind of beer they drink in Ireland just for the sake of connecting. What would be the value of a connection like that anyway? Less than zero, because it just eats up my time. You’re welcome to crucify me for being arrogant now. Most people I meet bore the hell out of me. Maybe I bore the hell out of them too. I always fail to describe our interior design. We don’t have any kind of interior design. We just put books against the walls.
If I could let people realize one thing, it’s that we live in a cultural hegemony. What most people think, they only think because it benefits the elite. It’s trickle down mentality. We have the values that the elite wants us to have so they can stay the elite. You can debate about how exactly this happens, but it’s true if you’re willing to connect the dots: the messages we are fed we get fed because it keeps the elite in power. That’s why I’m against Trump AND against Obama. Something one reader found impossible. It’s very possible. See point 8.
Most women are bored, horny, overworked, stressed out and lonely, yet they don’t do anything about it
They seem to keep waiting for the knight in shining armor to sweep them off their feet, so they doll up, take selfies and wait… And while they’re waiting they get stuck in relationships that are not really feeding them. In first half of 2017 I lost quite a bit of time dating women who had very orthodox expectations and reflexes, and I frankly didn’t have the patience for it. If you can’t have an interesting conversation AND there’s no great sex to be had, then why invest time in dating them? It’s no fun for them and it’s no fun for me either. It was only when I received an unorthodox Christmas card from a woman who I really vibed with years ago, before she moved to the US, that I realized I was simply going out with the wrong kind of women. I mean, the woman I’m talking about used to send me smsses with quotes from obscure punk songs and always found a way to say what she wanted to say through lyrics of songs and quotes by artists. THAT’s the kind of woman that’s fun to date. In Slovakia – apart from my wife of course – I only ever bumped into one woman who was a lot of fun to hang out with, had surprising opions, was provocative, was clever at flirting, had a great sense of humor and taught me a lot. It probably says a lot about Slovakia that this gem of a lady wanted nothing so much as to leave this country. Which she did in the summer. She lives in the Netherlands now. A much better fit for her. I don’t date women anymore, unless they are clearly unorthodox in some way. You know, if they can’t make you laugh, it’s just really not worth it. I mean, in my position it takes a lot of organizing and planning and A LOT of communication with my wife to go out on dates, so when I do, it has to be with someone like Sarah (the one in the US) or Andrea (the one in the Netherlands).
It’s just shocking how easily people are fooled by rhetoric, by tone of voice, by body language, by superficial form, and not be content, not be substance
Not many things shock me, but this still shocks me. One example of this is how many people like Obama, without being able to name even one of his policies or the exact contents of those policies. They just like him for his image, his brand, the way he talks. When they think of Obama they don’t think about the seven (!!!) countries he bombed, the wallstreet people he surrounds himself with, his bloated defense budget, none of that. Obama was mostly hollow phrases, but people liked him. This scares me, that people are so easily manipulated by style, and not by actual content.
Obama is just one example, this is an essential pattern in human behavior, we don’t run after the person with the most effective ideas, we run after the person with the most likeable style, the most resonating way of saying things.
This is one reason why I really liked the German movie ‘Er ist wieder da’, based on the book of the same name. Hitler wakes up in today’s Germany and manages to become a superstar on television.
It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it that has an effect on people.
It’s not who you are that matters to people, it’s your body language and your clothes.
Humans are incredibly poor judges of character, and shockingly poor judges of what is really being said when someone opens his or her mouth… This is partly because we are wired this way, and also because we don’t teach people about communication or psychology, let alone about manipulation. And all communication is manipulation. We all want to influence someone when we speak to them. I would quite like it for example if made Zuckerberg cry and stopped posting on facebook, for example, and instead made time to meet someone face to face.
People really do judge you based on the clothes you’re wearing and you’re haircut
You know why I’m 100 percent sure that people value this above all other things when it comes to building an emotional link with you? Because in my close evironment I have received far more remarks on my different hair cuts than on anything I put on this website. And there’s A LOT on this website. So, you have to have a real knack for self-sabotage if you want to ignore the way you look. At some point in the future I will invest more time and effort in the way I look, not because I enjoy that, I don’t enjoy all that silly grooming at all in fact, but partly as a social experiment. If it’s so easy to make a good impression on people I would be insane to neglect this. If you can’t beat them, join them. I will start using people’s superficiality against them. To all those who also invest more money in books than in clothing: I salute you!!!
You really have to prep your mood in the morning, and even before you go to sleep
You have to decide how you want to feel. I know this sounds crazy, but you can decide how you’re going to feel, if you do it at a moment you’re not stressed yet. If you decide how to feel when you’re swamped with work and nasty remarks by people round noon, it’s too late, you will be caught up in the storm. But if you select a quiet moment for yourself after waking up, to really decide how you’re going to feel that day, you will be able to maintain that mood, even in a crisis. You can really tell your mind how to behave for the rest of the day, if you do it early in the morning. So don’t go to social media, don’t check your emails first thing in the morning, prep your mind first. Or don’t, because in our horribly competitive economy it’s better for me if you allow yourself to be swamped with external impulses. Because in our competitive economy a euro that doesn’t go to you, has a chance to land in my lap, and vice versa. To be honest, this is why I’m often fighting against a rotten mood myself. I hate the fact that we all have to be so competitive to fight over limited resources… I mean, I’m talking about prepping your mind, I’m not talking about ignoring reality.
The danger of making generalisations. Especially when you’re in a bad mood.
I wrote something nasty about Slovak women early in the year, when I was almost maniacally dating one after the other. I spotted a sickening (yes, sickening) pattern when I was meeting a lot of them, and at one pointed I got so fed up with this that I wrote a nasty post about Slovak women. This is one of the most popular posts on this blog. If it bleeds, it reads, and that post bleeds. I won’t link to it, because I personally don’t think it’s the thing you should be reading on this website. In my anger and frustration I completely overlooked that there are tons of nice women in Slovakia. In fact, that post says more about me than about Slovak women in general. It’s one of the painful lessons of 2017.
I am often attracted to women with huge egos who love attention
If you don’t like me, and I know some readers hate my guts, and only come here out of masochism or in the hopes of reading something bad happened to me, you will simply say: of course, you like women with big egos who love attention, you have a big ego yourself and you also love attention. First of all, I don’t have such a big ego, ask my wife, the only person who can tell you for sure. Second of all, I really don’t know where this preference of mine comes from, but it’s true, I’m attracted to what you could call arrogant bitches. Not exclusively, or I would never have married Zuzana, but yes, put a bitchy, attention loving, dolled up, egocentric woman in front of me, and there’s a good chance I will be attracted. Plus I’ve come to see that I give a lot of my power away to such women, why, I still don’t know, but it’s a destructive pattern that I’ve fought to break. And that’s one source for that post about Slovak women. Which brings us to the next lesson.
You can fall in love with someone you don’t like
The funny thing is that I heard this in a Civil War movie as a kid. The movie is called Shenandoah (a valley that was of great strategic importance during the war). You can love someone you don’t like. So rationally I’ve known this since I was a kid, but it’s only recently that it’s sunk in. Years ago I had a very passionate realtionship with somebody I simply could not stand. Can you believe that? I was in love with her, and she screamed to everyone who wanted to hear that she was in love with me, but I now realize that we didn’t like each other. We did not like each other. We fucked five times a day, rubbed our ‘love’ in everybody’s face, paraded around, and were constantly together, and yes, there was love, but at the same time I really do believe we did not like each other. Worse, we hated each other’s guts. It’s the only ex I never once talked to again. I can’t say she’s a bad person, and I’m grateful for all the sex we had (I would need intense training to keep up with the bunny like sexfests we had every day), but at the same time I have to admit: we couldn’t stand each other. Yet I also have to say our relationship was very, very important to me, essential in fact. It’s like I had demons inside of me and that relationship really unleashed them. Sort of the same thing happened to me in 2016. I fell in love with a woman that didn’t particularly like me, nor can I say that I particularly liked her, I can’t even tell you much about her, there’s so little to tell. The good thing is that I really like my wife as a person. I can honestly say I’ve never met a better person. When the hormones die you need to wake up next to someone you LIKE as a person. I don’t think anyone ever asks this at the start of a relationship: do I LIKE what this human being stands for? Which brings us to the next lesson.
You can’t expect people to know why you do what you do
What I’ve come to notice time and time again, people simply don’t know what you’re about. Even so called good friends don’t know what I try to do through this website. I’ve come to see how frustratingly hard it is to explain to people what you stand for, what you believe in, how you see the world, and why you’re doing what you’re doing. It can be easy to believe you’re being clear about what you’re doing, but it will surprise you how little people understand about you. Do you know that some people thought that a lot of personal blog posts on this website were part of a novel? Hiuh? Say what? I’m describing my every day life and you think I’m telling a fictional story? I do try to write novels, but not on this website. Unless you scroll all the way down, all the way, way, way down, you will find nothing fictional on this website.
Less really is more
I have some friends who try to do more, they’re not satisfied with just doing their job, and they try to do more. They have this drive to do more. Sadly, they don’t accomplish much if I’m honest. And you can count myself among these people. It wasn’t until I really limited myself to ‘just’ writing a blog post a day that I saw any results. This website has 20 times more visitors this year than it had last year. Before that I tried my hand at all kinds of things, usually with very little ‘impact’. I notice some of friends struggling with the same thing. They try to be coaches, they try to do videos, they want to start a discussion group, they have plans to start a tourist agency, and so on and so on and so on, all this on top of having a full time job and several hobbies and other activities that take time. What I want to tell them is: DO LESS. It fits with ‘the one thing’ and don’t try to catch more than one rabbit at a time. Do you want that impact you crave so much? DO LESS, DO LESS, DO LESS!!!!!!! PRIORITIZE. Just ask yourself what the ONE thing is you can do that will have the most impact.
Facebook is dead
Facebook is still ‘free’, but it really isn’t. Facebook has truly morphed into an advertizing agency. If you want the right people to see your stuff, you gotta pay. Facebook is also dead, because we are all working for facebook. You and I make facebook, every time we post, every time we like something. We are facebook’s unpaid employees. Not only do they sell our data to companies, they also make it more and more enticing to spend money to try and get our posts in front of the right people’s eyes. The traffic for this website doesn’t come through facebook anymore. It used to be practically the only way people landed on this website, through facebook, but that’s over, they come from all over the place, and the site gets very little ‘referrals’ through facebook. I haven’t checked my own newsfeed in months, perhaps years. The only time I see a bit of my newsfeed is when I open facebook to check my messages. Do you know I have a separate facebook profile with no friends, where I only follow news sites? Yes, that’s the facebook profile I use. More like a news reader. In Slovakia facebook is testing the explore feed, which gives you a newsfeed without friends, just pages you liked, but I still prefer to use my friendless profile to check the news. And I’m doing that less and less. I’ve really come to use rt.com as a source for foreign news. Yes, what they write about Russia is of course propaganda, but their foreign news is a lot better than that of any mainstream newspaper, so I don’t even need facebook to see all sorts of posts by various newspapers.
Only two kinds of people should ever move to Slovakia
Entrepreneurs and devout catholics. Possibly someone who wants to start a modeling agency, but that’s just an other example of an entrepreneur. Why? Because you will a work force here made up of young people who will bend over backwards for very little money. So that’s great for entrepreneurs who need employees. Don’t expect initiative, but they will do what you tell them to do. As for catholics, well, Slovakia is paradise if you are a catholic. You can be against gays, abortion, euthanasia, polyamory as much as you want, and on Sunday you won’t be alone in church, surrounded by old people. The two go hand in hand by the way. The catholic spirit really helps if you want a population that is meek, lacks initiative, will do anything for a little money and will always think that whatever happens to them is God’s will. People who are happy with getting drunk and overeating should also be looking to find a cosy spot here. If you’re a foreigner you can come and get a job position they would never give you in your home country, because these people somehow think foreigners are magicians. You see that a lot around here, foreigners who could never do what they do here in their home country. If you’re incompetent, but ambitious, well, come on over, Slovakia has a job for you.
BONUS: In therapy the relationship between the therapist and the client IS the therapy.
I won’t go into any details, but I’ve really come to believe that the interaction between the therapist and the client, what happens between them, is the real healing factor in therapy, if the therapist knows how to manage transference and counter-transference. But this has been such a specific lesson that I’d rather pour it into a separate blog post, some time in the future.