Excusing Failures

So if there's one thing that never changes no matter how long we live or how good we are at what we do, it's that we all fuck up.

A lot.

Especially when we're new at a particular thing, we tend not to make the smartest decisions. We might, say, launch the almighty fuck out of a product and make $8,500 in a week... then have no damn clue what to sell the customer list. Or how to talk to them. Or, indeed, whether this was even a good idea in the first place. (Guess who did that?)

Now, on this one, I'm going to encourage you to take the high road - because the easy way is kind of SHITty. The easy way to excuse someone's failures (and conveniently also confirm their suspicions) is to point your finger at... someone else!

It's those fucking gurus, dammit! Fuck them! it's the Warrior Forum! The FTC! Google! Microsoft! The judicial system! Fuck all y'all!

Well, there's this old saying from the streets of D.C. back in the late 1980s... back when white people didn't go there (unless you were fucking nuts like me), and it was the murder capital of the world, and the gang and drug violence filled all the newspapers. Back before we caught the mayor smoking crack, but he was totally doing it until that got-damn bitch set him up.

And that saying was hate the game, not the player.

There were other variations; "can't knock another man's hustle" was one of my favourites. But the real key is inĀ hate the game, not the player.

By pointing at an impersonal system or principle or cultural value, you can raise the spectre in any number of players. Let's say you point your finger at "the gurus." Well, maybe some other coach isn't a guru! He's the anti-guru! He's not like those people.

But if you point to a system... to certain practices... to the way gurus, long before they're recognised as gurus, lose touch with the common people and can't entirely fathom the restrictions you face at those early stages... even that non-guru anti-guru may display that system.

And the first time he displays that loss of touch, or even just steps outside the student's comfort zone, look where you are. You were right. You said those people lose touch, and here the anti-guru has lost touch just like the gurus. He's no different. He's no better.

And he is pointing them at failure.

What you are going at here is predictive capacity. You explain the game, and you say something along the lines of "well, when you play football, it is certain people's job to make the touchdown and it is other people's job to get assaulted by large people - so if you're not one of the people that makes the touchdown, it's not your fault you never make one." And then they go off and play football and they never make a touchdown and they say "wait, holy shit, he was right."

Or they get out there to play football and realise they're out there to get assaulted by large people, so they go "I am never going to make a touchdown."

Or they start a blog and put AdSense on it and a month later they're looking at a $2 earnings estimate and they say "shit, he's right, this is no way to make a living."

It's a little more difficult this way, because you have to dig in deeper. It's easy to say "it's not your fault, those shitty gurus sell you $2,000 products that won't work." It's harder to say "it's not your fault, those products are designed to work for people who don't think $2,000 is a lot of money."

Your appeal here is to the monkey-brain. Way back at nurturing the dreams, you appealed to the beetle-brain to keep pushing the dungball. Inhibiting the fears kept the lizard-brain focused on need and not fear. Confirming suspicions was for the dog-brain. And here, the monkey-brain is seeing you demonstrate that it is better off with you than without you. You know where the traps are. You know the tell-tale signs of impending failure.

So you're not excusing the failure by saying it's someone else's fault, but by saying it's a broken system, or an improper use of it. That jerk of a guru didn't sell you a bad product. He sold you the wrong product, because he trusted you to know better. But you didn't, which is not your fault.

On the pure SLIM Jim side, this preserves your ability to sell that guru's products as an affiliate later because the guru isn't a jerk. On the FAT Jack side, it's not very friendly to go around calling gurus jerks.

So we'll talk about the last element of NICER tomorrow... rejecting enemies.