Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Special might be destroying you

A man should feel pride in his accomplishments, but Special is thinking oneself better for no real reason. It’s the difference between actually doing something which is measurable, and taking a position or posture on something which requires no real effort. An example would be in high school where most kids like one of the popular music genres, but a Gamma declares his love of Classical music and derides any other type of music as inferior. Liking a music genre takes zero effort and isn’t an accomplishment, but can make one feel special. Since the Gamma has no other accomplishments, his position on things becomes a substitute. The man doing this puts himself in an extremely vulnerable position emotionally. As soon as his position on something is threatened he has to defend it as his very worth is at stake. The posture is personal.

Even worse, actual successes become irrelevant or unnoticed as he’s built a bubble of attitudes and a self-concocted set of metrics for success which are unattainable since they only exist in the Gamma’s head. I’ve witnessed this first hand, multiple times, where a Gamma suffers from depression, talks of Impostor Syndrome, or feels unsuccessful regardless of having actual accomplishments.  Getting a middle-class job, successfully raising children, even getting and staying married are accomplishments, but typically the Gamma takes no pride in these things. The reason is that they aren’t special, and the Gamma must be Special.

If you are down about your life for whatever reason, take stock of yourself and situation. I’d wager you have some accomplishments already, but if you have very few then set some goals for yourself. Some ideas:

  • Clean up your finances and get out of debt.
  • Hit the gym and get in the best shape of your life.
  • Learn a new skill or expand your knowledge in your work.
  • Pick up a hobby which has some metrics for success.
  • Most importantly fail horribly at something, and try something else.

The best way to counteract Special is to accomplish something with your life with actual metrics. You won’t have to rely on obscure trivia, lame jokes, or the superiority of your favorite music genre to feel good about yourself. If you need to, set a realistic goal that by the end of this year that you will accomplish something to be proud of. In January when everyone else is setting a New Year’s resolution, you can quietly smile to yourself know you are already a step ahead, and your resolution can be even a bigger triumph.


Ron said...

Most importantly fail horribly at something, and try something else.

Should be in bold letter at the top of the list. Also this: FAIL FAST.

Laguna Beach Fogey said...

Very sensible advice.

Are you goys tired of being awesome yet?

I'm not.

The Sasquatch said...

"Most importantly fail horribly at something, and try something else"

I started a business with some friends about a decade ago. We poured EVERYTHING into that venture, working late nights, sometimes all night to get the thing up and running.

It crashed and burned in a little over a year. It was a spectacular wreck!

Going through that gave me a new perspective on taking risks (it's a lot easier, because, even if you fail, it doesn't kill you) as well as the ability to work efficiently and more productively than almost everyone around me.

I now have a good job with a good company, making good money doing fun things. I'm not changing the world or anything, but I'm doing well. I doubt I'd have made it this far if I hadn't taken the risk and gotten my face kicked in with that business.

Go out and fail. It's the best thing for you.

Also: lift some weights. That's fun, too

Undocumented Pharmacist said...

As an introvert, I've never understood the desire to be "special". I've never wanted to be rich and famous, but I would like to be the richest person no one's ever heard of in that wealth is a very useful tool to accomplish a goal. Having the respect of others is important in that they'll leave you alone to do your part and not try to boss/micro-manage you. Respect is much more important to me than approval/being liked by others or being considered special.

David The Good said...

Good advice.

dc.sunsets said...

Raising kids who automatically reject Pop Culture idiocy requires a lot of derision.
"Boys, look at those clowns with their clown hair or their clown piercings or clown tattoos. Don't they know that being different for the sake of being different is the essence of conformity?" (insert a gusty belly-laugh.)

One of my favorite parts of being a dad...good times! The behavior of today's young (including the perpetual adolescents over 30 or 40) provides an endless opportunity to ridicule stupidity in an instructive way.

dc.sunsets said...

"Getting a middle-class job, successfully raising children, even getting and staying married are accomplishments"

In my experience relatively few happy people followed the path to fame, notoriety, professional acclaim, etc. For every happy one of those, there are dozens, maybe hundreds of miserable people who were either culled as advancing levels narrowed or achieved their goals only to discover them empty. Most happy people took the marriage, family, nest, white picket fence, etc. path.

Gammas deriding this are exemplars of the life track labeled: Embrace of Stupid Herding Behaviors While Traveling Misery Path.

Tim_W_Burke said...

This post is why I read this website. Thanks!

Leo Littlebook in Shenzhen said...

Or you could just be special forces.

Brian S said...

Decided to teach myself how to hunt a couple years ago, still learning and haven't been successful yet, but I don't regret it for a minute. It's frustrating and can be expensive, but it also a great motivator to improve my physical fitness, my knowledge and understanding of the natural world, and puts me in contact with some excellent people who are helping me on my journey.

Bard said...

I do the same thing, only I say "there is your competition."

Which is to say none. Now go and take over the world.

Aeoli Pera said...

Excellent post.

Jed Mask said...

Yes... It's good to be reminded to STAY HUMBLE in HUMILITY and not let pride of "specialness" puff us up in self-delusion.

I'd had those lapses before and this is a stern warning of caution to keep on with the "right head on my shoulders".

Great post. Amen.

~ Bro. Jed

Reinhard Lohengramm said...

The desire to be special has been very valuable to me, and I think it can be very valuable to society if perhaps not so great for the people who hold it.

I wanted to be 'special' for a very long time and it has brought me success, which I hope to turn into considerable success. In fact, for some years I considered this desire my greatest asset, as it was through this desire that I was motivated to achieve what I have. Being special was a question of make or break for me. Without it I would probably have given up on life in general and ended up on benefits playing video games. Or at best in a mediocre position. Nevertheless, I should distinguish from what is described in this post in a couple of ways.

1) Being special for me never meant being part of some hipster subculture. It meant being alone.

2) Being special for me was measured by objective standards of value. There is no single measure of value of course, but according to a standard held by a reasonable number of people I was determined to be outstanding.

3) I retained a check on reality. That is, I knew that I was not outstanding according to this measure; I know that I am not. I also know that if my plans work out even reasonably well, I will be, and the successes I have had, which have some pretty envious, give me confidence that they will.

The irony is though, that now I am at the stage of working through my ideas, I am having to give up on the desire which allowed me to birth them. My own mindset, filled with the comfort of a future in which I am amazing, has prevented me from making progress. This is partly through fear of failure, and partly because it is part of a low rank mindset that is terrified of imposing on others, and any success is by definition in some sense an imposition on others.

When people are near the bottom of the pack, it seems to me that nature implants in them the desire to be special, i.e. to try and short circuit their way to the top (or at least much higher) through some particular brilliance. In the past, if they succeeded they got laid, and if they didn't, they didn't. Or even if they didn't get laid, they significantly helped the tribe and so the genes were passed on indirectly. Regardless, to them everything depended on this attempt to upset the hierarchy. In modern society, however, where there are many interlocking tribes, this desire usually ends up with the holder simply transferring to a lower value tribe/subculture, in which they can have a higher standing.

A little open, perhaps, given that I don't normally comment, but this is something I have thought about a great deal.

Jeremy VanGelder said...

'The most extraordinary thing in the world is an ordinary man and an ordinary woman and their ordinary children.' - GK Chesterton

Jeremy VanGelder said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mountain Man said...

This article is filled with very good advice.
However, having a lack of contentment with where you are at in life is not always bad. It can act as a catalyst to drive a man to achieve his highest potential. So long as its a healthy in form and coupled with a healthy mindset.
The key is to avoid grumbling, complaining and envy.

Jordan Olson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jorxster said...

I found this pretty profound because it described me to a T, from having unusual musical preferences, to riding motorcycles, to EVEN teaching myself the keyboard layout Dvorak so I could ditch QWERTY and just be .... different.

Yet I seem to have few of the gamma downsides, maybe it's because I'm already hitting every single bullet point hard?

jacopo.saracini said...

The "special" conceit applies similarly to muh principle conservatives as well. They've formed a fragile identity out of being Republicans. As evidence, their reaction to Trump, most recently, the bold condemnations from thin-skinned Republican identitards on Twitter when Mark Levin endorsed Trump.

Ceasar said...

Reminds me of several Directors I work with. Watch them throughout the day and man do they look busy. All full of the themselves, the self righteousness dripping all over the place. They are the important ones. It gives me the most pleasure to completely shit all over their day by asking one question in conversation. "What will you do when the company finds out 90% of what you do can be written into a script(s)?" They think nobody knows that they provide very limited value to the company and others. What is valuable? Results. Always ensure your work is evaluated by the actual results and most importantly, it should be the only thing you use to evaluate your own performance.

Kona Commuter said...

Great post & replies.

Gareth said...

Thank you for this post

Zhi said...

This is what I'm talking about. I agree with Kona, great post and replies.

JP said...

We recognise a Samurai by his top-knot. But it's not the top-knot that makes him a Samurai.

Jed Mask said...

"We recognise a Samurai by his top-knot. But it's not the top-knot that makes him a Samurai."

^THIS... Amen.

Mmo Nam said...

Chào mừng bạn đến với hướng dẫn cho bạn seo thành thạo

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