High Infidelity

More people cheat than don't. There are no hard and fast figures on this subject because people are prone to lie. But of the people who are willing to tell the truth, most of them report being unfaithful. 60 to 70% of married men and 50 to 60% of married women admit to cheating on their spouses. These are underreported figures. It is a dismal picture.

The reality of human nature is that human beings are not monogamous. People love to fuck, and they seem to do it as often as they can. I admit to having more than one sex partner in my life, and I am not ashamed of it. But I can also say that I have never cheated on a single one of my girlfriends. I don't even mean technical faithfulness either. I haven't even so much as kissed another woman.

I am a serial monogamist. I have tried to be a dog, but I don't have that shit in me. I have loved my girlfriends too much to hurt them in this way. I also like retaining my self-respect. I am proud of my fidelity.

I don't understand why men cheat. Women think that maybe it is simply a result of horniness and that if they keep their men satisfied they won't stray. But this isn't true at all. I find that most men simply want the thrill and the ego boost that a fling will bring. Women are trophies. I know because they brag to me about their conquests. These women think these pigs actually give a fuck about them. Yet, they describe to me in graphic detail how they have penetrated every hole the chick had.

Women cheat for emotional reasons. Like men, women want to feel special. They want to be adored, and an affair helps women to feel this way. Women want to be loved and appreciated. The result is that they are suckers who get used and abused. What these women fail to see is the contempt most men hold them in. I almost feel sorry for them except they have a tendency to walk all over the men who really love them.

All of these facts combined with my own experiences with cheating women have hardened me inside. I still love, but it is not with the same love. I am not jealous as much as paranoid. Experts will tell you to look for the signs of infidelity. They can be things like loss of intimacy, more time spent at work, unexplained charges to credit cards, etc. But sometimes loss of intimacy occurs because of stress at work. Sometimes, more time spent at work really is time spent at work. These clues can go both ways.

The significant other is usually the last one to know. That is because cheaters cover their tracks and even the cheater's friends say nothing to the S.O. because they want to stay out of the drama. I know that this is what I do. Finally, the person being cheated on often doesn't want to know, or they feel guilty for being suspicious.

I really don't know what to say about this. Basically, here are your choices. You can be a paranoid retard. You can be a complete sucker. Or, you can throw up your hands in despair and walk away from relationships altogether. Sad to say, I have been in all three of these states.

I am in a relationship now, and I feel sorry for her because I don't think she is aware of the damaged goods she has gotten. She thinks I am a great guy, but she has no idea that I keep my love in check. I adore her, but I wake up from paranoid nightmares of hurt and betrayal. The result is that she will almost certainly dump me for being such a fuckhead.

All I can say is that I have never cheated, and I never will. This commitment predates her and will continue after she is done with me. I cannot and will not inflict the hurt that has been inflicted on me. I don't use people in this way. The thought of it nauseates me.

I do not cheat because of my compassion. It is this compassion that attractes women to me, gives them the greenlight to use me, and then makes them stalk me to either expiate their guilt, gain back what they threw away, or make me into a bastard so they don't feel so bad for fucking me over.

I am an utterly fucked up person. I am still trying to pull off being neither victimizer nor victim. I feel that I am failing. At the end of the day, I love someone, and I would never hurt her. I can only hope she would never hurt me.

I know that I am in the last relationship I will ever be in no matter how it turns out. If she isn't the right one, there is no right one. And if there is a right one, I could never tell.

A Few Recent Insights Concerning Time, Money, and Energy

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I spend a lot of time talking about time, money, and energy. I call them the limiting factors because I never seem to have enough of all three. I believe that if I could ever get those three things straight in my life, a whole lot of good things would happen for me.

One of the things I have noticed is how all three are related in some way. A shortage of energy increases the time it takes to do things. A shortage of time increases the amount of money you spend such as the amount you will drop for the "convenience" of a convenience store. Or you might cut back on sleep which lowers your energy levels and also your immunity. The result is that you get sick more often.

The reality is that time, money, and energy are not limiting factors but resources. The only limitation with them is that they are finite. But if you make the correct choices with those resources, they will add to themselves and grow. I must admit that I have been making the wrong choices. Here are some things I have figured out about time, money, and energy.

The biggest torpedo to your time is the agenda of other people. It pains me to say that, but I had that epiphany while talking to my girlfriend. She is frustrated because she can't get anything done at work because people are interrupting her all day long. The result is that she is working Saturday while those people are out enjoying their weekends.

People eat time. They co-opt your time and make it theirs. They may not even realize they are doing it. But they are doing it. I am always aware of this. I don't like to waste other people's time. Time is life, so when you waste time, you are wasting life.

What defines a productive use of time is person relative. For instance, writing on this blog is a waste of time to just about anyone else except me. One of the things that pisses me off is when people ask me what I am doing before asking me to do something. The use of my time is not up for their appraisal. It is my time even if I want to spend it watching Saturday morning cartoons in my underwear and eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Ask me if I would like to do something, but don't ask me what I am doing. That's my business.

It is easy to say no to fucktard coworkers, cocksucker salesmen, and utter strangers especially the ones cluthing a copy of The Watchtower in their hands. It is hard to say no to the people you love. What adds to the stress level is when multiple people you love all want you at the same time. This is why your parents end up hating the people you date and marry. "He never visits anymore since marrying that woman. . ."

You are never going to win on this shit. What is funny is how these same people never take the time out for you. They will low rate the shit out of you for not catering to their agendas, but they never take a moment to help you with your agenda except maybe to criticize you for not getting more shit done. And the reason it doesn't get done? You guessed it. Those same people who eat up your time.

You have to be selfish with your time and not feel guilty about it. That is the secret of time management. You have to feel free to turn off the cellphone or not answer your email for awhile or tell people if they want some time with you they are going to have to make the effort once in awhile to see you. What you will find to your utter amazement is how people can get along just fine without you especially when it is going to cost them something.

There are certain people you can't ignore. This is also person relative. Your list will differ from mine. You can ignore your coworkers but not your boss. You can ignore a nagging mother but never a nagging girlfriend. People learn their importance to you, and it is not always pleasant. But it is unavoidable. I'm just going to quit feeling guilty when I tell someone I don't have the time to spend with them.

The other thing I have noticed is how people who waste their time don't think anything of wasting your time. These people have nothing to do, so they want you to do nothing with them. Fucking annoying as hell. My old man would do this. He would piddle his time away in the garage. I never had a problem with this until he asked me to come help him piddle. Fuck that. I hated him for that shit. I still do.

My time is mine. I'm not letting other people steal it and waste it.

It never fails that no matter how much money I make it is never enough. I don't have any trouble paying my bills. I live within my means. Most people don't. They spend rather than save. They don't budget. They are always borrowing and conveniently forgetting to repay.

I learned a long time ago that the key to building wealth was to build savings through spending less than what you earn and investing it appropriately. This will always be true. People who are bad with money can't stand this truth. They abhor it. They ignore it to their own demise. This is because saving requires delaying gratification. It means working longer hours and doing without. It means buying cheaper goods and services and ignoring social pressures and class expectations to have more and better.

I haven't really learned anything new when it comes to money. I just know that it is the repeated small purchases that add up to big monthly expenses. I think cable TV is a great deal all things considered. I think buying cigarettes is a lousy deal. I think having a Lexus is a great deal. I think a Harley-Davidson is a waste of money. And don't get me started on boats and Jet Skis. They are all lousy deals.

It is hard to have energy when you are sleep deprived, out of shape, and sick. You are better off sleeping than skipping sleep. I've done the Zombie Dance, and it isn't more productive. It is less.

I have learned a few things about energy. You have to sleep at least 6 hours to be worth a damn. People who say they are getting by on 3 to 4 hours a night for nights on end are lying. I've tried it, and you will be shutdown by the end of the week. These people are crashing on the weekends and wiping the fuck out. I know because this is what I do.

In terms of energy, it is better to work more days than more hours. This means getting things done on the weekend instead of during the week and getting adequate rest. Skipping sleep doesn't work. It results in more errors and less getting done. But you can still work 12 hours a day and get your rest. You just can't do much of anything else.

Another insight that I have come across is caffeine doesn't work. It peps you up for a short bit, but sleep deprivation always wins. In addition, coffee and sodas all day dehydrate you which compromises your immunity. I noticed I am sick more often and longer than people who drink water regularly.

When it comes to energy, you have to take care of your body. It is unavoidable. You have to rest. You have to exercise. You have to eat right. And you have to hydrate.

I am sick and sleep deprived almost all the time. This is because I have become deficient in taking care of myself. But I am eating right which is resulting in pretty good things for me these days. I think cutting out the caffeine and getting to bed can only benefit me.

When it comes to time, money, and energy, you have to learn to accept your limits and live within them. The product of this common sense should actually result in greater productivity over the long term. We'll see what happens.

Shit on Christmas

It is Christmas Day. I have spent the last four days fighting traffic and shitheaded shoppers while waiting for countless hours in lines to pay for shit I can't afford for the people I love or who at least love me enough to buy me a gift all for the celebration of the birth of a savior I do not believe in. All I can say is, BAH, HUMBUG!

I realize that Christmas was based on a pagan festival and was merely coopted by the christian church and relabeled "Christmas." One way or another, this day was going to happen. But I still think the world would have been a better place if King Herod had succeeded in getting his hands on the infant Jesus and strangling the fucker in his manger. The Roman soldier who raped Mary should have pulled out.

Now, don't get me wrong. I love buying gifts. I love birthdays and Valentine's Day. That is because I only have to buy for one person, and the lines are not nearly as long on those days. Plus, I can buy them something substantial. As it stands, I have to budget on Christmas to make sure everybody gets a gift.

Picking gifts for people also sucks. I am easy to buy for. I like clocks, coffee cups, and books. The answer for most people is the gift card which I think is a suck ass gift, but it saves you the trouble of trying to buy something for someone. Another upside is that you can knock out all your gift buying in one shot by getting everybody a gift card to the same place. Next year, all the women on my list will get a Wal-Mart card while all the men will get a Lowe's card. Give the gift of shopping! Let other people spend your money. The gift card ensures that it won't be spent at the liquor store.

The other thing about Christmas I hate is the food. I've been eating healthy, but it never fails. You go to some social function, and there's nothing but sugar and lipids. I decline, but there's always someone who tries to push the shit on you. This is when I get pissed. Fuck your goddamn fatty ass Christmas food. I don't want it. Force it on me again, and you will be wearing it. My days of being a fat ass are coming to an end.

I just want the bullshit to end. I dread the season from Black Friday all the way to December 25th. I used to like it as a kid, but my enthusiasm for the holiday ended around the time I realized Santa wasn't real.

Shit on Christmas. Bring on the New Year.

More on Corporate Stupidity

Ever since my previous post on Corporate Stupidity, I have received a lot of questions concerning why such stupidity comes about in large organizations. I will now explain.

The purpose of any capitalist enterprise is to make money. A company will cease to exist if it does not ultimately turn a profit. Period. A lot of people will decry the "greed" of a company and say such stupid things as "they only care about money." Exactly. Saying a company only cares about making money is the same as saying that a bird only cares about flying. This is what companies do.

This purpose is what Aristotle would call the telos or end. Every human endeavor has some end with the ultimate end being human happiness. The end or purpose of a company is to make money. Companies do this by providing products and services to customers. Customers are people who choose to achieve their ends through the use of your products or services. Companies help customers meet their end, and customers help companies meet their end. It is mutual exploitation for mutual advantage. Both sides benefit in the exchange. If they didn't, they would not agree to the exchange. Simple economics.

In order to provide products and services to customers, companies must use employees. It may consist of one employee or several. Each employee is a company in and of themselves. They each have the same purpose which is to make money. The employer is the customer, and the employee is the "company" providing a product or service to the employer or "customer." Most of the time, this will be labor.

All of economics is comprised of these discrete units called exchanges. These exchanges occur when both parties consider them to be mutually advantageous. They cease when they no longer find them mutually advantageous.

The flip side of these exchanges is theft. These mutually beneficial exchanges become strained and even break when deception, force, and theft come into the picture. If you have ever been conned out of something, you know what I am talking about. There are always people who seek to avoid mutual advantage in economics, and we call these people criminals. This can also include companies.

In the long term, theft and deception are not winning strategies. But people and companies still attempt it to their detriment. I don't know about you folks, but I cease dealing with people I don't trust. I also try to give value for the dollar in my exchanges and play fair. This is because I want people to continue to deal with me. It is pure selfishness on my part. You have to give in order to get.

This issue of trust is why we have drug screening, background checks, credit checks, security clearances, armed guards, locks, accounting controls, etc. We want to do business with people and organizations we can trust. Without trust, there is no commerce.

Companies achieve their end of profit by trusting employees to render the products and services their customers expect. Naturally, this requires people to be in charge to verify that employees are honoring their side of the deal. Slack is an almost mystical force that is a drag on any enterprise. People would rather be paid to do nothing than do something. At some point, the relationship becomes so strained that it has to end. This is why it is called "termination." The relationship has been terminated.

As you can see from these fundamentals, the most valuable economic asset you can have is trust. Character trumps talent. People would rather do business with people and companies they trust than with companies they don't trust. This is why branding is so vitally important. I'm not likely to eat at Joe's Diner in Bumfuck, South Carolina even though it may have outstanding food. This would require a risk on my part. But I will eat at a McDonald's. That is because I trust McDonald's. This is also why McDonald's takes such great pains to ensure that you have the same experience in every store you go to all over the world.

Companies become big by consistently delivering what customers have come to expect. Quality matters less than reliability. It all comes back to trust. Trust is the most valuable commodity you can ever have. This is why things such as standards, appearance, etc. matter so much.

Companies lose sight of this important aspect of trust. Trust is a two-way street. Sometimes, companies strain relationships with customers by treating them more like criminals than customers. Microsoft and Sony are two noticeable examples of this trend. Both have made it harder for customers to enjoy their products because of their efforts to combat piracy.

Likewise, companies strain relationships with employees by treating them like criminals. Honest employees feel that they are laboring in a prison camp sometimes, and the strain becomes too much. Throw in getting jerked around, and they walk. The actual bad employees are not bothered by this since they see this as normal. Good employees don't.

The fallacy in this thinking is what I call "One Size Fits All." There are always going to be dishonest people who want to abuse the trust. But these people are a minority. By their own actions, they marginalize themselves to the fringes of society. They trash their credit, lose their jobs, get evicted, and eventually end up in prison. From there, further abuses of trust result in beatdowns, anal rape, and a sharpened toothbrush in the throat.

You do not build a lasting and profitable enterprise by being dishonest. Likewise, you do not build a lasting and profitable enterprise from being a sucker either. Lastly, you do not build a lasting and profitable enterprise by treating honest people like criminals.

So, how do you resolve this? The only answer is to treat people appropriately. You should treat employees and customers with the appropriate level of respect that they deserve. This requires judgment and insight. This requires being civil and polite. This requires giving people the benefit of the doubt. But it also requires decisive action when it is needed. In short, it requires prudence.

People who lack prudence prefer the one size fits all approach. If you refuse to trust, you can never be betrayed. But how far would you make it in the world without trust? There's a reason reclusive hillbillies make their own moonshine, have few teeth, and fuck their family members. Lack of trust makes them this way.

Corporations become like these hillbillies when they employ a one size fits all approach to things. I often wonder how companies became so big with this lowest common denominator thinking until I realized that this happens as a result of becoming big. For instance, IBM became the biggest computer company in the world by having innovative people come work for it. But along the way, they became oppressive and alienated those same types of people who had made the company. Today, Apple has a larger market cap than IBM. They got there by employing the people IBM didn't trust.

So, who do you trust? That is really the bottom line. Honesty is simply fidelity to truth. What is true is what is real. Crooks learn early on that they can deceive people by telling them what they want to hear and giving the appearance of honesty and trustworthiness. And how are they able to pull this off? ONE SIZE FITS ALL.

It has been my experience that people trust the people they like, and they distrust the people they don't like. This is a generalization since not all people are like this. But confidence men con you by gaining your CONFIDENCE. This is why they are called confidence men or con men for short.

Con men gain confidence by telling people what they want to hear as opposed to what they need to hear. A con man always tells you what he is going to do. An honest person tells you what they have done or what they are currently doing. This is because the past can be verified. The future cannot. The future must be taken on faith, and con men love faith.

Honest people tell you things you don't want to hear. This is because reality is not always pleasant. People who punish candor and honesty surround themselves with crooks and liars. This is not their intention, but it is the only logical outcome of their policies. This is why organizations become populated by sycophants, brown nosers, ass kissers, etc. Eventually, reality must prevail because it always does. When this occurs, people wish to dodge the blame for that reality, and it is either thrust on someone else or someone is sacrificed. This is why those same sycophants are adept at backstabbing, blameshifting, or stealing the credit. Their skills are primarily political.

In any organization, you will have two camps. There are those who get it done, and there are those who get out of doing it. They are the wheat and tares of Corporate America. It is a sad situation, but it is what it is. Who are the winners?

In the long run, reality wins, and those who are in fidelity with reality will win. But this requires patience and diminished expectations and all that comes with that. This is hard. But I have seen the tares get chopped down, and I have seen the wheat prosper. Reality favors consistency and persistence.

Companies can live without the tares. They cannot live without the wheat. Good management consists in identifying the wheat and the tares and cultivating one while destroying the other. No manager embraced this more than Jack Welch at GE. Jack Welch embraced merit and candor while terminating the slackers without remorse. This is the way it ought to be. Jack Welch eschewed one size fits all. He treated people appropriately. He rewarded the good and punished the bad. Jack Welch took a great company and made it greater. Did he make mistakes? Absolutely, but the good far outweighed the bad. Welch was a winner.

Welch's methods may seem harsh, but reality is harsher. Welch only beat reality to the punch. This is what made him great.

This is the question I always get. What am I supposed to do? In short, should I be an asskisser or an asset? Think about it for a minute. All I can tell people is that there is no protection in silence. I am almost certain the captain of the Titanic did not want to hear about the hole in his boat. But not telling him was not going to change a thing.

In my own life, I have found you are always better off telling the truth, being candid, showing your ass if need be, etc. I'd rather be hated now and loved later. This means telling people what they need to hear as opposed to what they want to hear.

People will tell you that candor and honesty are not winning strategies. I beg to differ. There is a political cost to honesty. You will be hated by idiots, morons, and fucktards. This is a bad thing?

I'll have more in a third installment. Stay tuned. . .

PRINT-Ultramarathon Man by Dean Karnazes

Greta got me this book for my birthday after I had expressed an interest in reading it. I devoured it in two days. Ultramarathon Man is an outstanding book. I highly recommend it.

I have taken some flak here from ultrarunners, and I want to say that my opinion of their activities is unchanged. I think ultrarunning is stupid. It is a stunt not a sport. But this does not change the fact that Dean Karnazes, aka "Karno," has written an excellent book here. His tale is inspiring, and you can't help but like the guy.

People criticize Karnazes because he is a rockstar in an otherwise obscure sport. The man gets more press than bona fide champions like Scott Jurek and Pam Reed. Clearly, the man knows how to market himself, and you might be lead to believe that Karno is full of himself. But I didn't get that from the book. At points, you think Karno is bragging about his exploits, but he is also self-deprecating. Basically, he states the facts. He tells you about his strengths and his weaknesses. And he admits that a lot of the stuff he does is just plain nuts.

Karno begins the book talking about his early life, his family, and his involvement in high school running. After a falling out with his coach, Karno left running and did not return to it until he had a midlife crisis on his 30th birthday when he ran inebriated for 30 miles in his underwear and some crapped out tennis shoes. Wanting to do something beyond the corporate grind, Karno became a runner and then an ultrarunner.

I admire runners, and I aspire to become one myself. I do not admire ultrarunners. They are fools. When you read about people having renal failure in a race or having to weigh themselves at checkpoints so they don't die, you realize these events aren't a test of endurance but of sanity. I'm sorry, but I don't want to push myself into the realm of kidney failure and death. Maybe I'm a pussy, but I don't see this stuff as being healthy. It takes discipline and determination to train for and race in a marathon. The marathon is tough. An ultramarathon is just fucked up stupid.

Karno does stuff like race Badwater where he had to run the white line on the road to keep his shoes from melting or running a marathon at the South Pole where he put warmers in his shoes to keep his feet from turning into blocks of ice. I'm tempted to call these exploits horizontal mountain climbing because that is the only activity I can liken this craziness to.

I know I will catch shit from the ultranuts over this, but my criticism is based in Aristotle's Golden Mean. I think being a fat bloated couch potato is bad. Eventually, such a lifestyle leads to bad joints, diabetes, kidney failure, and blindness. But ultrarunning isn't much better. It is equally as unhealthy. Ultraunners eat garbage and push themselves to the opposite extreme resulting sometimes in kidney failure and death. Karnazes is an outstanding specimen of health and fitness, but I think we would view him very differently with brain damage, missing digits from frostbite, or spending his days on dialysis.

The people I admire are folks like my girlfriend Greta who gets up each morning and does her miles and simply wants to qualify for the Boston Marathon. I admire Karnazes for the same reasons. I admire the guy for making a change in his life and living a disciplined life. I admire people who run each day or make the proper food choices at mealtime or what have you. I admire people who want to run a fast race, but who don't push themselves into injury.

Aristotle said that excellence was not a singular act but a habit. We are what we repeatedly do. For Karnazes, glory lies in a single spectacle like running to the South Pole. But I think the real glory is living each day and every day putting in the miles rain or shine. This is what a race is about. It verifies not that you have the guts to finish an eyepopping distance, but that you had the discipline to prepare each day. A race is a test of excellence. I think Karno misses that.

Ultraunning is inherently Platonic. It denies the world. It is monastic and masochistic. Runners care for their bodies. Ultrarunners punish their bodies. Runners embrace the flesh. Ultrarunners deny it. This is why runners hate a 70 degree day on raceday while ultrarunners embrace the 120+ degree temperatures of Death Valley for the Badwater Ultramarathon.

I fall on the side of Aristotle. This is why I think ultrarunning is stupid. Basically, Plato believed in the perfect world of the Forms and the material world was just a shadow of this world of perfection. This influence lead to the world and flesh denying aspects of Roman Catholic theology and practice. This is why you have the veneration of the Virgin, the practice of celibacy, monasticism, and masochistic acts of purification involving hair shirts and self-flagellation. Ultrarunning taps into this world of Platonic dualism with an emphasis on discovering something about yourself or the world or life as you reach the outer edge of utter self-denial. Naturally, mere mortals such as myself are denied this "knowledge" because we are flesh obsessed hedonists. I'm sorry, but I think Plato, Catholicism, and ultrarunning are fucked up in their worldviews. And it is the same worldview.

My Aristotelian worldview emphasizes running as an activity that promotes health and vitality and an enjoyment of the world. It feels good to be in shape, and fitness enables you to do a lot of things you couldn't do. This is why we call it "fitness." You are fit for a certain activity. Naturally, ultrafreaks and Platonists will decry the softness of this approach, but Aristotelians are not soft. They just refuse to be stupid. And they race to put up a good time not find salvation or enligthenment or Krishna consciousness or self-discovery or what have you.

I doubt I have settled this debate, but I can tell you that Ultramarathon Man is an excellent book. Karnazes is a fascinating and very likable individual even if I think he is a bit nutty. I really enjoyed reading about him, and I'd love to meet the guy.

The Gospel of Hard Work

This question comes up at work a lot. Does hard work matter? Or does success belong to the lucky and to the political players?

Clearly, there are people who have become rich or powerful out of sheer luck. These are people who have won the lottery or were born into a famous or rich family or what have you. These people didn't lift a finger, but lady luck smiled on them. Then, there are those people who got to where they are not as a consequence of talent or diligence but merely because they were willing to debase themselves in some way. These are the ones who screwed the boss to get a promotion or lied or bribed or what have you to get to where they are. They are the asskissers and backstabbers of the world. Unlike the lucky, these people acted to make things happen for themselves even if those methods were morally compromised.

On the flip side, there are people who have worked extremely hard and have nothing to show for it. This is because lady luck frowned on them. Actions beyond their control worked to undo the fruits of their labor. Shit happens, and there's not a whole lot you can do about it. Like it or not, labor often goes unrewarded.

So, does hard work matter? Absolutely. Here's why.

The first thing that must be made clear is the definition of success. For most people, being successful means being rich. But this is a flawed definition. Clearly, there are people who were rich that I would not consider successful. Kurt Cobain was one such individual. The guy was rich and famous and even revered as an icon. But he blew his brains out with a shotgun. Clearly, something was wrong.

Success must be measured against the purpose of life which is to be happy. If you are happy, you are successful. If you are not happy, you are not successful. Shitheads are unable to grasp this distinction. Somewhere along the way, money became a substitute for happiness. This is understandable since money is objective. It can be counted and measured and compared. But money and happiness are not the same thing.

Now, I'm not one of those Zen Buddhist spiritual types who derides wealth and material possessions. I can tell you that money does not buy happiness, but I can also tell you that you can't be happy without money. This is why it is always better to be rich than to be poor. Money buys the material means to achieve our ends. A musician is nothing without his instrument. A scholar is nothing without his books. Tiger Woods is nothing without a set of clubs.

Giving someone like me a set of golf clubs would be a waste. I don't golf. I don't like it. Likewise, I don't care about having a big fancy boat or a Ferrari. None of these things serves as a means to some end for me. But I would love to have a Toyota Tacoma pickup truck simply because I want to haul stuff but also fit in a parking spot. If I won the lottery, I would buy this truck. I would not buy the Ferrari.

I don't spend my time comparing myself to other people or coveting what they have or envying people. This is because I measure myself against my own goals and my own happiness. This is how I am able to pull off that neat trick of being both self-deprecating and arrogant as hell at the same time. I'm a very happy person. When you are happy, you don't give a shit what other people think about you. Insults or praise are meaningless to me. Like Woody Allen, I don't need an Oscar to tell me what I already know.

Happiness comes from hard work. This is the gospel of hard work. I don't even know why they call it hard work because I never saw it as hard. When you love what you are doing, it really isn't work. Happiness is the byproduct of constructive and rational activity. When you are happy, you love what you are doing which motivates you to do it even more. This is how Tiger Woods became what he is. The guy loves to play golf. He is praised for his work ethic on the driving range and the putting green, but folks, it is no sacrifice for him. It would be a sacrifice for me because I hate golf. But that's why I don't spend 10 to 12 hours a day hitting those balls.

If you work hard, you will be happy. People who have attained something without hard work are not happy. They are miserable. It doesn't matter if they are rich or have a privileged position. They have failed at achieving life's end which is to be happy. The result is bitterness and a search for substitutes. These people buy things for the sake of other people and are desperate to convince themselves more than anyone else that they really are successful. But they aren't.

The best example I can give of this is Paris Hilton. She is the epitome of faux happiness. She was born rich with a famous last name. But she is not particularly beautiful or talented or anything. Fate rescued her from her proper place sucking dick in a trailer park and watching Jerry Springer all day. She doesn't work. She spends money, fucks, does cocaine, and whines her way out of jail. This is success?

Compare Ms. Hilton to Madonna who approaches life quite differently. Both are rich, but you get the feeling that Madonna actually deserves what she got. I don't know if Madonna is happy these days, but I know she worked hard for what she got. I also think she enjoyed every bit of it.

I like to think that hard work always results in riches, but it doesn't. But I can say that it does result in happiness. I also believe that you stand a far better chance of being rich as a result of that hard work than if you didn't work at all.

I asked a friend once if he would rather make $50,000 per year doing something he loved or $250,000 a year doing something he hated. Without hesitation, he said he'd rather do something he hated for $250,000. I thought that was rather sad and stupid. But it made sense. People wonder how so many stupid ass people got to where they are in life devoid of talent and even common sense. There is your answer. They were willing to do what the rest of us weren't. What is even dumber is envying those people. When I told my friend he could probably make $250,000 a year doing gay porn, he suddenly found the $50,000 a year job more appealling.

As for me, I'm a whore on some things and a nun on others. I'm willing to negotiate my reputation, my status, and my salary. I am not willing to negotiate my ethics or my happiness. I'd rather advance on my merits, but I also know it pays to advertise. It is a balancing act between excess and deficiency. It is ok to sell just don't sell out.

So, does hard work matter? Absolutely. It is the best way and the only way to be successful in life. Success is happiness not wealth, fame, or status. This is the gospel of hard work. Work hard, and you will be happy.

Constructive Anger

The consequences of anger are often more destructive than the causes of anger.

The Stoics were a swell bunch of guys. They have had a profound influence on my thinking, and their insights are really at the core of much of the cognitive behavior/rational emotive school of psychology of which I am a big fan. But the reason I am not a Stoic is because there is no escaping the emotions. Evolution has hard wired each of us to be feeling animals. The best a Stoic can do is fake it.

There are certain things I know to be true. You are going to get mad, and you are going to be sad. If your happiness depends on being free of these emotions, you will never be happy. The Stoics admitted that none of them had ever achieved happiness.

When it comes to happiness, I subscribe to Aristotle these days and his concept of the Golden Mean. Virtue lies in the mean between excess and deficiency. I will now apply this to the issue of anger.

If you get pissed off easily and fly off the handle and hurt people and yourself, you are being excessive in your anger. I call this destructive anger. Destructive anger is what causes road rage or domestic violence or workplace shootups or the Virginia Tech Massacre. This shit is senseless and stupid. But all of us have fallen prey to this ignorance at one point or another. I know I have. For me, it ended with a couple of bloodied lips and some bruises. For most of us, it is as innocuous as cussing somebody out. We want some vengeance. We want someone to pay.

Revenge is a waste of time. You will almost never get back what is taken, and your efforts at revenge will probably cost you more than the original transgression. You are almost always better off to let that shit go.

On the flip side, you have people who suppress their anger to an unhealthy degree. They are still angry, but they have given up. We know this anger as depression. It is also destructive. A wise person said that depression was anger without enthusiasm. Depressed people are folks who turn their anger in on themselves. They feel powerless, so they give up. But the anger is still there smoldering. This is why nutjobs are often depressed before going on a rampage. In their sick minds, they feel a surge of happiness as they turn their anger outward and unleash it on the world. Suicide turns to homicide. It makes sense to them. It is stupid and tragic for the rest of us.

For me, the proper measure of anger is what I call "constructive anger." It is ok to be pissed off. This is a natural and rational response to people or things that work against us. For instance, if a thief steals your laptop computer, what can you do but be pissed off? The only thing that remains is to determine what your response is going to be. For me, I would express that anger and lament the loss of all that quality internet porn I had downloaded. Then, I would go buy another laptop and post to my blog about the loss and call the thief a dirty cocksucker or whatever. Eventually, I will laugh about it and move on. Living well is the best revenge.

Now, I could go on a one man campaign of vigilantism and hunt down computer thieves, viz. Charlie Bronson in Death Wish. But this would result in me winding up in jail taking it up the ass from computer thieves, bike thieves, dope fiends, etc. Or I could be stupid and decide that I can never own anything ever again because somebody is just going to steal my shit. Then, I swallow a bunch of pills and end up in the hospital with a tube in my dick and more tubes in my arm.

I think a better way to go is to find ways to discourage thieves. It may result in a new product that I could patent and make money from producing. Or I might simply decide to be more careful with my stuff. This is constructive anger. This is the type of thing John Walsh did when his son Adam was senselessly murdered. The result is America's Most Wanted and other projects Walsh has pursued. John Walsh made the world a better place because he was pissed off. You can do the same thing.

It is ok to get mad. Just channel the fury into a productive channel. When Steve Jobs got fired from Apple, he founded Pixar. Not too bad. If you get fired, get another job and work harder on that one than the one you got fired from. Go work for the competition if that will make you feel better. If you get your car stolen, buy a better car than the one you had. Pretty soon, you will feel great when you get pissed off. Anger can be a great motivator. I know it is for me.

Constructive anger is the way to go. Fight for the things you want. Don't hurt other people, and don't hurt yourself. Say what you think and don't hold back on it. Anger in this constructive mode is what makes the world a better place. Somewhere in the past, a caveman got pissed off with rubbing two sticks together, so he found some flint. The rest is history. Make your anger count for something. You'll be glad you did.