There are two groups of reasons for a person’s situation:
This is the strongest group and has the highest impact on your life.
It is also 100% unchangeable regardless of one’s wishes or effort.
The external factors are but not limited to:
- Historical, political, and geographical context
One time I was chatting with one of those ultra-positive girls who believe that a person can become anything they want if they just try hard enough.
To play with her, I asked her: “What about people born in 1910?”
My goal was simple. To illustrate the external influences on a person’s life.
The people born in 1910 were 4 when WW1 started and 29 at the beginning of WW2.
You cannot tell those individuals with a straight face to just be positive when their entire youth has been decimated by brutal events outside of their control. You also can’t tell them to apply the “Secret” and just dream of a red Ferrari.
Obviously, the effect of the war depends on the country of residence too. This dependence illustrates the importance of one’s geographical position.
- Genes, lineage
The genes of an individual are another limiting factor. Height is a strong and simple example. Most NBA players won’t be NBA players if their height started with 5′ instead of 6′ or 7′.
The family that a man is born into matters greatly too. The son of a popular singer would have a different life than the son of a widowed construction worker.
I classify those factors as external because they’re outside of a person’s control. Trying to change them or even dreaming about that is a complete waste of time when the goal are constructive results.
2. Internal/Habitual Reasons
There’s a range of actions that we are at least seemingly free to choose from. Of course, the range of choice is highly limited by the external factors, but nonetheless, there’s some degree of seemingly free movement.
Those habits do not influence our life as much as the external effects, but they’re still very important and capable of changing one’s situation.
Most people live in perpetual stagnation. Every year is just a copy of the previous one. You do the same things, get the same results, and feel the same way.
Sticking with a routine is fine for a while because every program needs time to produce results. But many of us get stuck with a lifestyle far too long after the point of diminishing returns (I will talk about the PDR in another article because it’s a fascinating concept.)
We’ve already exhausted the usefulness of our habits, but the inertia is strong and we keep going without changing anything.
When your routine doesn’t produce the results that you want, and you’ve given it enough time to work, then it will never work.
If something works, it shows promise early on. You don’t have to do a routine for five years to know that it’s going nowhere.
There are different methods to induce change.
My favorite is called: “Doing the opposite.”
The engine of this principle is very simple: if your current habits are leading you to a sad lifestyle, then reversing their polarity should bring the opposite effect and produce some satisfaction within the limits formed by the external effects outside of your control.
For example, in most cases obesity is caused by poor eating habits. To un-fat yourself, you got to do the opposite a.k.a. stop eating so much bad food and lower your calories. Once you do that, you will get slimmer (the opposite result).
However, the opposite is often made of two parts – a superficial and a deeper layer.
The superficial layer is the most visible. In this case, this would be eating less food and of better sources. The inner layer requires a more profound change, however.
Many fat people go on a diet and lose weight but do not keep it off because they miss the second part of the equation which involves a complete restructure of one’s life. To remain slim, one has to live a different life, not just diet.
Defining The Opposite
A big obstacle that often stops this approach from working is finding the actual opposite of the habit that’s causing the problem.
For example, if one is on a high carb diet and gets fat on it, it’s logical to conclude that eliminating carbs (going the opposite way) would result in the opposite results.
However, that’s only partially true because we all know that losing weight is more about the total number of calories than the food sources.
It’s hard to be fat on an 800kcal daily diet regardless of what you eat. Conversely, if you eat 8000kcal of pristine food, you will still get fat.
Examples of Doing The Opposite
I was a pretty bad student during the early grades.
I wasn’t studying enough and was often wasting my time doing low IQ stuff with a friend of mine.
Eventually, his mother put him in another school and separated us. This was a big moment for me as a kid. With him gone, I started studying and became a top-of-the-class student.
2. Building muscle
If you’re trying to build muscle by doing Tae-Bo and playing with pink dumbbells, you have to do the opposite which is hardcore lifting + lots of eating.
When you do that, you will see some growth. However, even in that case, you will quickly reach your limit as a natural bodybuilder. Some never leave that phase and lie to themselves that a new barbell routine will finally catapult them into growth.
Others realize that the growth that they’re after cannot happen naturally by doing heavy deadlifts and overeating. Some of those people do the opposite which includes becoming unnatural (taking drugs) and doing lots of pump exercises (the opposite of powerlifting).
The opposite can also be seen in full force in the seduction/love/flirting/dating/hormonal craziness sector.
We’ve all heard about the nice guy who finishes last. He buys her flowers, pays for trips to Disneyland, and yet in the evening she goes to bang some dude who’d just gotten out of prison.
While I’ve never been the ultimate nice guy, I’ve definitely been a bigger gentleman than necessary with some of my interactions.
Unfortunately, the women that I treated the best, hit me the hardest later on.
So, what is the opposite in this case? Become a gangster who beats women?
No. The opposite is to stop putting women on a pedestal and giving them positive qualities that they haven’t displayed yet. Treat them as if they’re on your level or even below until proven otherwise.
To illustrate this point, I will give a few examples of doing the opposite in dating:
1. If you have been the guy who thinks he needs to build “rapport” by going to “dry” dates before kissing the girl, stop. Try to kiss her on the first date…
If she doesn’t reciprocate, just leave. If a woman needs 50 dates to kiss a guy, she is not into him. That’s my personal opinion, of course, but it’s based on experience rather than imagination.
2. If you always go on dates where she wants to, stop.
Start offering venues and activities yourself. For example, if you want to play table tennis, offer her to play table tennis instead of bending to her suggestion.
3. If you’re behaving too desperately with women (e.g., texting them 40 times when they don’t reply), stop. Leave after the first rejection.
4. If you have been using online dating without success, do offline dating (approach, social circle…etc.)
5. If women treat you badly and yet you continue to give them second chances in the hope of a miracle, stop and leave. People don’t change. That’s a fact.
6. If you spend too much time texting women, wondering what philosophical thing to say, stop and switch to boring but forward texts (e.g., asking her on a date).
The mainstream law says that hard work equals money, but then you look at the working class and realize that this isn’t the case.
When I was 12, my mother had to work in a sewing factory with poor conditions because we were out of money.
I was only 12 and far from a genius, but even I realized that she wasn’t going to earn money there regardless of how hard or long she worked.
Because hard work equals money only when it’s used to fuel a mechanism that can generate money through leverage. Being a slave in a factory isn’t such a position.
Therefore, if you want to earn more money, the goal shouldn’t be to work hard for the sake of working hard, but to find a niche of some sort where your efforts can be multiplied.
The opposite, in this case, isn’t necessarily to work harder but to work smarter.
I’m naturally an introvert. That’s just who I am. I am not a social person.
If I have to change that, I have to do the opposite of what I’m comfortable with. I have to talk to people even though I just want to nod and move away.
I have to say yes to opportunities to which I’d say no before. If I don’t do that, I don’t have the right to complain that I have no friends or people to talk to.
Comfort = Fake Instincts That We Build
When you do the opposite, you might feel that you’re going against your instincts, but that’s not really true.
For example, I’ve been dealing with 2 types of addiction. I’m addicted to energy drinks and sugar (I will make a separate post on that topic.)
Sometimes, I just don’t feel right if I don’t get at least one energy drink in my body throughout the day.
When I try to quit, I feel as if I’m going against an instinct, but I’m really not. Energy drinks are *****. You don’t need them. But I’ve conditioned my body (built fake instincts) that I can’t go without them.
Real instincts are inherent. Fake instincts are an artificial comfort zone.
When doing the opposite, you’re rarely if ever going against a real instinct. Most of the time, it’s a fake comfort zone that you’ve built for yourself and called an instinct.
A fatso has the “instinct” to eat 20 hamburgers a day. Does this mean that he should?
This entire article is a fancy way of saying “just do the opposite of the activities that destroy you, and you’ll change your situation for the better within the limits imposed on you by the world and your genetic qualities”.