You’ll probably see a lot of “how to make 2019 your best year ever” posts over the next few days. All of them will be better than anything I could write, so I thought I’d come at it from a different perspective. Instead of thinking about how to make it my best year, I thought I’d consider the ways I’m most likely to fuck it up, big style.
If it were my intention to make a right old mess of 2019, this is how I would do it:
1. SPEND MORE TIME CARING WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK
Constantly pondering what other people will think of my actions will help eliminate any chance of me doing great things in 2019.
To REALLY make this count, and for maximum year-ruining potential, I should focus my attention on those who are particularly negative, hurtful and don’t have my best intentions at heart – those people that have been nothing but toxic towards me in the past.
I should make a determined effort to spend more time with these poisonous people in 2019. I should listen to them often and take their opinions to heart – without pausing to investigate them to see if they hold any truth.
Whenever I think of moving forward or doing something good or creative, I would do well to picture the most negative and toxic person I know and ask, “What would he/she say about this?”.
2. FOCUS ONLY ON THE RESULTS, NOT THE PROCESS
Results matter. What’s the point of doing ANYTHING if it doesn’t lead to a great result?
For 2019, forget the fact that developing great habits is what creates great lives and focus ONLY on the end result. I’ll have to be quite merciless about this because the evidence regarding habits is quite compelling.
I’m sure my family will forgive me for spending all day, week and month at the office to achieve my financial goals. Sticking my fingers down my throat to achieve a weight goal is just one more price that has to be paid. The scales don’t lie after all, and that’s all that counts.
UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD I IMAGINE THE PERSON I DREAM OF BECOMING – that’s a dangerous path leads to growth, self-confidence and contentment.
Instead, constantly focus on the end result. I don’t want to be someone who appreciates all he has and feels secure – I want money. I don’t want to become someone who serves others and has a positive impact on humanity – I want to get the top job so I can look down on everyone else.
When contemplating a possible course of action, don’t ask, “Will this help me grow into a better person, someone who can be of greater service to the world?”. Instead ask, “Will this get me closer to my end result, regardless of the cost?”.
3. COMPARE MYSELF TO OTHER PEOPLE MORE OFTEN
Standing out from the crowd is all well and good when you’re Elon Musk and have millions in the bank. He’s the exception, not the rule.
Gary Vee got 100,000 likes on his last post. I got 3 (and one of those was my mum!), therefore he’s 33,333 times better than me and I’m a worthless piece of shit.
Sure, I COULD remind myself that he has a team of 23 full-time professionals, carefully curating, editing, scheduling and posting his content across all 3,728 forms of social media for maximum impact.
I COULD do that and go easy on myself, but that will only give me hope, encouragement and the persistence to continue and that’s a rocky road to potential success.
No, if I want 2019 to really suck, I should forget that.
Constantly comparing myself to other people will ensure that I waste otherwise productive time in pointless activities.
Comparing myself to other people prevents me from doing good, creative work and making progress. If I also make sure I compare myself with other people who are well ahead of me in life, or not pursuing similar goals, not only will I be wasting my own creative time, I’ll also get the bonus of feeling emotionally deflated and demotivated by my perceived lack of progress, tapping into the maximum possible destructive force of comparison
4. ONLY SEEK HAPPINESS IN EXTERNAL THINGS
To have a totally shit 2019, I would do well to remember the Stoic idea that, to have a firm grip on happiness, I should only focus on things I have control over.
The Stoics are smart cookies. They figured out that the key to tranquillity was to only concern yourself with things you can control. If you follow this, you’re filled with a sense of peace, secure in your knowledge that you, and only you, have dominion over yourself. You’re not riddled with the stress and needless worry that comes from regularly wondering what other people think, where you stand in a ranking system or if you’ll be one of the first to get the latest gadget.
If I could somehow make ALL of my happiness completely dependent on things outside of my own control, I could guarantee that 2019 will be filled with unhappiness and anxiety.
To aid this, I could also supplement more worry and negativity into my life by looking at the things I’ve already been blessed with and asking, “how could this be better?”. “This fabulous item, which I’m lucky to be blessed with…how is my life poorer for having it?”
There’s always some cloud to be found in every silver lining. You just have to look.
Make 2019 the year I up my cloud hunting game.
Healthy and happy child? Yes, but if you look a little deeper, you can remember that she’s a little bit too clingy for her age and that she’s lagging behind in maths.
Got a satisfying job? Yes, but you didn’t get as good a company car as your mate Brian, so it means nothing until you one-up that bastard (even though he hates his job!).
Of course, there are many more things I could do to guarantee a rubbish 2019, but if I considered them all now, I’d run the risk of exhausting all of my negativity, peaking too early and having none left to keep me glum and unproductive for the rest of the year.
Without a steady stream of pessimism, I might end up feeling more creative, positive and, dare I say it, “chipper” by the end of March!
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