Have you ever experienced a moment, perhaps while staring out at a natural vista, when you’re struck by the thought:
“Every instinct I have ever had, in every aspect of life has been wrong!”
Did you conclude, at least for a moment, that your choices have propelled you the opposite direction of your goals?
While the absurdity of George Costanza and his quest to realize “Opposite George” may not seem like a source of profound insights, it’s important to remember “Many a true word is spoken in jest”.
From Shakespearian Fools, Heyokas, Coyote, and Anasi-- cultures around the world have used jesters, fools, and loons to underscore life-changing truths with humor and absurdity.
What If I did The Opposite?
Why do you do what you do?
What drives you?
If you listen to George’s realizations and Brene Brown’s research-- the primary motivator in most people’s decision making is FEAR.
Fear of judgment, fear of shame, fear of being seen as weak or stupid.
While there are many layers of “logic” and “decency” which substantiate our decision making-- often, these rationalizations are paper tigers constructed in a way to validate and disguise fear-based decision making.
Luckily, there is an abundance of resources for rooting out and overcoming scarcity-based fears. Try some of these books and games--you might find yourself even better off than Opposite George:
- The Comfort Zone Crusher
This Austrian psychologist promotes a program of Comfort Challenges. A collection of exercises designed to empower participants through social anxiety and self-doubt.
- Rejection Therapy
Similar to Comfort Zone Crusher, Rejection Therapy consists of a deck of cards. These cards enable users to randomly select comfort challenges. The creator designed the first deck as a way to overcome the depression and isolation he felt after a romantic breakup.
- The Four Agreements
This small book is full of deceptively simple "agreements." The introduction describes a world of social programming where we make “agreements” or “contracts” with ourselves and others. Often, these agreements are so ingrained, that we understand them as natural laws as opposed to self-constructed guidelines. Don Miguel Ruiz encourages readers to reevaluate their agreements, supplanting self-limiting agreements with The Four Agreements.
- Radical Honesty
Dr. Brad Blanton asserts that most of human stress is the result of dishonesty. Through radical honesty, Blanton believes that individuals will improve and empower themselves and those around them.
- Brene Brown
After analyzing 12 years of data, Brene Brown discovered, empirically, how the fear of judgment and shame sabotage intimacy and self-actualization. Similar to the resources above, she prescribes “vulnerability”-- a form of honesty that embraces the open disclosure of fears and weakness. “Courage is not possible without vulnerability”.
- Compassion Cards
Created by monk and author Pema Chodron, Compassion Cards provide exercises for the development of loving habits to enhance internal and external interactions.
And for some laughs and inspiration: Seinfeld and Philosophy