This post has taken me literally months to write. I've been thinking about it on and off, constantly avoiding writing it and finishing it off. So today i'm going to bite the bullet, write it as best I can and ship it out the door. It's what they call writers' block, or resistance. So sorry if this isn't brilliantly written - i just need to get it done and finished.
Anyone who's seen the Simpsons movie can tell you: the meaning of life is people. For me, this means building people. Most people live lives of quiet desperation - doesn't that make you want to do something about it? I'd love to have an honest crack at it - to do my best to somehow, some way, improve the life of the people I know.
And so i've been trying for years to encourage, help, cajole, nag, and force my friends and family to better their lives, like the starry eyed idealist I sometimes can be. And all for naught. Is it because there is no point trying to change someone's life for the better, that i am attempting the impossible? Maybe. Or maybe I just haven't figured out how yet.
And lately, i think i've cracked it. I think i've figured out how!
So lets see what I tried that didn't work. I tried telling people what to do. I tried suggesting things they should be doing with their life. I tried, basically, to grab them and force them to do what they should be doing with their lives. I'd make a lovely stereotypical controlling parent if i'd kept it up, that's for sure! But at least I'm not too blind to see that this didn't work.
People don't need you to tell them what to do. They already know, most of the time!
So if i tell you what you should be doing to fix your life, and you know what to do, but don't do it, what's going on? I bet you've got some limiting belief going on. Something like an inner monologue that's saying 'I don't deserve to succeed', or 'I'll always be fat', or any negative mindset.
So, here's the first important bit: the problem is the negative mindset - you've got to defeat that.
Here's where it gets a little bit tricky. You'll never be able to beat someone's negative mindset if you attack it head on. You need to flank it - go for the surprise attack.
Ok enough gibberish talk, what does that actually mean ? Well, it means if you've got a friend who is stupidly underpaid, first of all quit trying to nag them to walk into their boss's office and demand a payrise. But, you can't simply encourage them that they're worth a bigger paycheque either - that's trying to attack things head-on, and they'll immediately flare up with a brick wall of excuses and negativity. You can bash your head against it all you like, but you'll never get through that wall! So… what next?
Well, my trick is to find an unrelated area of their life, and help them do well in that. And as that part of their life begins to flourish, it carries over as confidence into the area we're trying to improve, and the wall starts crumbling. It's like a side attack, and I've seen it work.
Don't tell someone they should ask their boss for a rise. Don't tell them how to negotiate a payrise. Don't try to convince them they're worth their weight in gold, because they'll flat out reject it. Instead, teach them how to work out and eat well, and encourage them as they begin to get fit and look good. And magically you'll start to find that 'I'm not worth a payrise' mindset start to vanish as if by magic.
Ok, enough with the pop psychology! I just had to get this blog post out of my system. I hope someone out there gets something out of it :)
Thanks for reading! And if you want to get in touch, I'd love to hear from you: chris.hulbert at gmail.
(Comp Sci, Hons - UTS)
iOS Developer in Sydney.
I have worked at places such as Google, Cochlear, News Corp, Fox Sports, NineMSN, FetchTV, Woolworths, and Westpac, among others. If you're looking for a good iOS developer, drop me a line!