General Badassery Episode 31

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Talking about the basic human needs naturally carries some implications, and one of the more interesting ones is this.

If you want to fill your own needs in a particular category, you need to be around people who have that need filled.

It's related to that "smartest person in the room" thing that people talk about: if you're the smartest person in the room, you're in the wrong room.

Which basically means that if you can't work on the next need for some reason - like there's nobody to help you, and you actually need help - you can't meet that need.

And that carries on into this thing that a lot of people miss.

If you have time, money, and energy to spend on meeting further needs... but you can't meet them, because you are not in a position where they can be met... most people drop down to Consumption. The most basic of needs.

So you have someone who is trying to get a job, because their Survival and Safety are taken care of by welfare and food stamps. Now they want a job, so they can be in a position of Strength.

But in order to get a job, they need a car. And the car will cost them not only $500 to buy (getting some piece of shit off Craigslist), but they'll need insurance. They look at the $300 they've got left this month, and they can't get either one of those things.

So they go buy an iPhone.

Now, that was kind of a dumb decision, because if they just held onto that money they'd have $600 next month. If they could just think long-term and save the money, they'd be able to get the car and the insurance in a month or two.

Trouble is, that's farther up the chain. That's something you can do from a position of Strength, but when all you have is Safety and Survival, it doesn't feel like something you can do.

On the other side of Strength, it looks like they made a stupid decision, and they did. But it's the only decision that made any sense on their side of the line.

Some of us have never been on the other side of the line. I've been back and forth several times, so I know the difference in how you think and how you act on either side.

I know, because I've done it. I've spent the $300 I had towards a $750 rent payment because "I can't pay the rent" is the same whether you're $450 short or you just plain don't have anything.

The thing to remember is that in most cases, the decisions you see people making aren't always the decisions you would make, but you also don't know all the factors that went into the decision. And in most cases, those people are making their decisions better than you could.