While I normally write for people who are interested
in improving their lives, I’m aware that many are
committed to the opposite path. These people
deliberately decline steps that would lead to
measurable improvements. They prefer that
everything goes wrong — for as long as possible.
Sometimes they screw up and accidentally do
something right. They’re usually able to sabotage
these unwanted successes in short order, but they
like it best when they can prevent these positive
experiences from ever happening in the first place.
If you count yourself among this under-
acknowledged and under-appreciated group, here are
some suggestions for how you can do a better job of
staving off success and ensuring absolute failure till
Notice the paths that happy and successful people
take, and avoid those paths. Favor the popular paths
since those will help you achieve average results at
best, and average results should safely prevent
undesirable feelings of fulfillment. The best roads are
those that leave you feeling like you’re walking in
circles till you’re too tired to walk anymore and must
retire. Roads that are flat or which slope downhill are
often good choices, and they tend to satisfy the
popularity requirement as well. Avoid any paths that
lead over hills or near mountains; the elevated views
are disturbing. Head towards terrain you dislike since
it’s easier to hate your life when you hate your
surroundings. If you can manage to get lost as well,
Take stock of which habits are creating the best
results for you, and abandon them. Replace them
with habits that ensure no forward progress. Even
better are habits that cause backsliding. Watch lots
of TV. Eat fast food. Avoid exercising. Make
Facebooking the highlight of your day.
It’s important to live in a place that emanates a
going-nowhere vibe. Look for spots that attract
people with average or below average incomes, and
favor surroundings that are so ugly, even
Shakespeare would succumb to writer’s block. Live
with people who will encourage you to take paths you
clearly don’t want; living with your parents for as
long as possible can be very helpful here.
Never take action when you can justify delay. Stay on
the sidelines for as long as you can, and avoid the
field for as long as possible. Be non-punctual.
Eventually the opportunities will pass. There’s less
pressure in showing up late since no one will expect
much of you. If you act too soon, you’re risking
People are notoriously nosy, and sooner or later
they’ll inquire about your plans. There’s an unfair
assumption that everyone should be looking to
improve their lives, so you’ll need to get good at
deflecting their queries with false responses. When
they eventually take note of your seeming lack of
forward progress, put the blame on external factors
such as the economy, how unfair your boss is, how
unreasonable your ex was, etc. If you tell people the
truth, they may try to motivate you to make some
changes, and you definitely don’t want that.
Get up late if you feel best as an early riser, and drag
yourself out of bed early if you feel best sleeping in
late. Throughout the day, strive to do the opposite of
whatever makes you feel happy and productive. Most
people find it helpful to get a job doing work they
dislike. This ensures that even if they manage to
enjoy a nice morning and/or evening, the hours spent
at work will drag the whole day down, ensuring an
unpleasant overall experience.
String several wrong days in a row, and you can
create a very mediocre week — perhaps even a
downright bad week if you work at it. It’s important
not to do anything genuinely restorative on the
weekend — burn up the time with laziness, inactivity,
and pointless entertainment as much as possible.
You want to head into Monday morning feeling
disempowered from the get-go. If you can manage to
maintain feelings of stress, depression, or boredom
throughout the whole week, you’re golden. Once
you’re locked into such a pattern, don’t do anything
to upset it.
Learn from other people’s failures, and copy them.
Use methods that have proven ineffective in the past,
ensuring that you’ll get similar lousy results. Look to
your own past as well. Notice what has never worked
for you, and keep doing it. If it didn’t work back then,
it will continue not working today.
Don’t be too creative or try to innovate. Copy
someone else’s technique if you can. Fitting in with
the crowd is safer than standing out as a distinct
individual. It’s easier to stave off success if you favor
the popular techniques of the masses — don’t do
anything too fancy. Style is too close to success.
Make sure the key ingredients you’re putting into
your life don’t mix well together. Get a job that
doesn’t pay enough to cover your expenses, so you
can’t make ends meet. Get a relationship partner
who can’t get along with your friends. Stock your
kitchen with foods that keep you feeling slightly sick
much of the time. Keep yourself off balance.
Disempower yourself by blaming your problems on
your DNA. Let your genes serve as the ultimate
limitation. Ignore the truth that your thoughts largely
determine how your genes express themselves.
It’s hard to avoid setting goals altogether because
part of your brain will want to fill this void. Keep this
spot filled with analog pseudo-goals that will attach
to your goal receptors and effectively block real goals
from accidentally falling into place. These have been
proven to work well: make more money, get a
relationship, find a job, etc. The lack of specificity
makes procrastination go down easier.
If you ever do get sucked into working on a goal, take
the most circuitous route you can. Instead of starting
a real business that provides value and makes
money, keep yourself occupied with pointless
busywork like fussing over the design of your logo
and business cards. Switch projects frequently so
that nothing ever ships. Create the illusion of
progress without causing anything quantifiable to
Create flawed plans to reach your goals, plans that
any reasonably intelligent person would be able to
poke full of holes. Be sure that at least one crucial
step requires a horcrux.
Avoid becoming too good at anything. Skill is a recipe
for success, so keep yourself as unskilled as possible.
Avoid books, audio programs, seminars, and
educated people. Your education ended a long time
ago; don’t try to resurrect it. Let your unskilled hands
fall further behind with each passing year.
Use a perspective that disempowers you. Rule out
the angles that would make your problems look too
easily solvable. If you blow problems out of
proportion, it’s easier to stay stuck. If a problem looks
too solvable, you might be tempted to actually solve
it, and that’s only going to speed you along the path
of success — bad idea!
Set goals that others expect you to achieve, even if
you don’t really care about them. Surely everyone
else is right, and you’re wrong, so get with the
program and pretend you like it.
Ask questions that cannot possibly provide you with
helpful answers, such as Why can I never get ahead?
Why are people always mean to me? Why am I such a
‘fraidy cat all the time?
Now take those lame questions, and try to answer
them anyway. Be as disempowering as you can. I can
never get ahead because I’m stupid. People are mean
to me because I’m a loser. I’m a ‘fraidy cat because I
have no social skills, so I know I’ll embarrass myself
as soon as I open my mouth.
March to the beat of someone else’s drum, never
your own. The best advice for you to follow is that
which comes from people who seem to care about
you but who are too incompetent to know what
they’re talking about. Seek health advice from
overweight smokers. Consider money advice from
people who can barely pay their own bills. Relatives
are often great choices for this.
Hang out with disenchanted losers regularly,
elevating them to buddy status. Better yet, swear
loyalty to them as your peer group. If anyone shows
the slightest hint of ambition or brilliance, accuse
them of being crazy, and either numb them with
sufficient quantities of alcohol, or boot them out of
your tribe. Openly welcome new members who
demonstrate their adeptness at sarcasm and who
wield a video game collection that rivals your own.
Keep your vibe intentionally out of sync with
happiness, success, and fulfillment. Visualize failure
whenever you get a chance. When you feel pissed off,
amplify it into rage. When you feel sad, feed the
sadness into a mopey numbness that you can drag
out for weeks. Worry a lot. Know that things are
always going downhill for you.
Determine that you’ve consumed a sufficient number
of venti lattes that your dormant psychic abilities
must have finally awakened. Interpret every
incoming text message as a sign that you’re on the
right path, even though the only people who seem to
care that you exist are just as lost as you are.
Interpret the seeming lack of forward progress in any
quantifiable areas of your life as spiritual growth.
Inner growth is always invisible.
Be a hapless couch potato for 28 out of every 30 days
who thinks that getting up at 7am is the height of
ambition. Then follow it with a 48-hour mania spree
where you tell everyone you can about an inspired
idea you’re never going to implement. Blow your wad
with excited talk once a month; then return to the
cozy comfort of inaction.
You know you’re on track to misery when you listen
to the overall song of your life, and all you can
perceive is discordant noise where everything sounds
like it’s out of tune. If something starts working, and
you begin to hear something resembling music, then
figure out what’s creating those nasty harmonies,
and break it.
Wrong Too Long
If you’re already applying most of the above, then
you shouldn’t have to worry about success,
happiness, and fulfillment infecting your dreary
existence. You can relax and coast to the coffin from
here. Keep it up! 🙂