Monday, February 1, 2010

Expecting Good Results

Why do people, myself included, do the wrong thing and expect good results? Have we become so good at justifying our poor choices that we blind ourselves to the consequences? From managing debt to managing relationships we continually fail, and it seems our natural gut reaction is to ask "Why me?"

You ever talk to a friend who has made a sequence of terrible decisions and finds themselves in a "pickle," for lack of a more severe term? They play the victim, asking why can't they be happy, don't they deserve to be? They act like someone else did this to them... If you're like me you have to resist the urge to reach out and slap them and say, "You did this!" "You made the decision to complicate your relationship, to ignore your convictions, to spend money you didn't have, to sleep through your alarm, to put off your obligations or go back on your word... You did this."

We all do this, and yet we sit here expecting good results.

We all make poor choices and expect to be fulfilled. Even the little things, like watching too much TV, or letting the clutter build up, buying things we don't need or putting off paying a bill. Then when it all comes to a head, we freak out like someone dropped a bomb on our lives. We become stressed out and unravelled that the only rational response seems to be to blame anyone or anything rather than ourselves.

In my last post I wrote about our natural inclination to do the wrong thing because it provides a temporary benefit, as opposed to the right thing, which is usually difficult temporarily but pays off down the road. Perhaps there are parallels here. Our natural forgetfulness and lack of foresight seems to blind us to the idea of consequence. No matter how much trouble we get in for things we did, we rarely learn enough to cease from getting into trouble in the future. We tend to value things based on their instant gratification rather than their long term results. The right thing is so tedious in the present that we just cannot be motivated enough to invest in it.

So what do you have to do to get good results in your relationships, your business, your life? I know I've said this before, but I always feel like honesty is a great place to start whenever you want to grow as a human being. Be honest about your shortfalls, where you've ignored better judgement, and be open to confessing those things. Sometimes the best way to get past something is to speak it, name it, and share it with someone else. Someone who can hold you accountable. We are faced with choices every day, and if we want good results in life, we've got to pick the narrow road, the more difficult path, because in the end it's the one that pays off.

When I was in high school things came pretty easy. My good grades came natural and people valued my work ethic, but I sacrificed very little. I gave of myself only enough to get by and to maintain an image. When good results stopped coming in the temporary I had to learn what it took to sacrifice for the long term. I had to learn what it took to build a valuable future.

One thing I've learned in my mid-twenties is that nothing good comes easy, and there is no replacement for hard work. If you take that mentality to your relationships, to your school or your workplace, you can truly expect good results. Give of yourself fully and sacrifice for the right reasons and good things will follow. Don't get tossed by the wind or follow cheap thrills, because if you do that not only will you lose the respect of your peers, you'll end up hating yourself as well. Dig deep and challenge yourself, stay true to the right things, the hard things, and you will be fulfilled.


  1. Why do people do wrong things and expect good resultus? Because they, we, all feel so entitled. No one thinks that what "is given to them" they've often simply given themselves. No one thinks that what happens to them can be either good or bad, there's normal and bad, or bad and worse. To the human perspective, just about everything's relative. Particularly at a young age, when "good" has been "normal" as long as one's lived, as it has for many, one feels like something weird, exceptional, or unfair is happening when they come across something other than normality... but it's none of those things. It's natural consequence. Normally, the natural path towards self-destruction. And as you said, this natural path leads right into a pit both outwardly and inwardly; once you've gotten trapped in the latter situation, it affects everything you do, and normally takes a whole lot of pain and time to get back out.


  2. I agree completely man. Speaking as a junior in High School, I took the first half of this year way too easily, and felt the burn right around Christmas time. It's so easy to just sit around and play Call of Duty and fall behind in school. I wanna say that I've learned my lesson, but only time will tell. At least I'm doing better now

  3. Thomas i have a similar problem of yours, though my grades are fine i have fallen under the "Call Of Duty" addiction also. it resulted in my weekends being wasted and my lack of social activity with friends and also kept me from trying out for our soccer team. I made excuses that i would not be able to make the team anyways, but really i knew that inside i was just unwilling to try. track season is coming around and i am contempt on joining the team. unfortunatly there is still that piece of laxiness that is telling me that i don't want to go to track practice every day for 2 and a half hours. There is also the fear of failure that i have. its what has kept me from working hard also i see big opportunities but then i see the big falls if i am not to succeed. I have seemed to type a little bit more than i expected...i'm sorry

  4. Matt, Yeah actually that was the funny thing, my grades stayed up, but I got really behind in math and ended up doing a ton of school on Christmas Eve. I agree, it's hard to stop playing it. I guess I'd say just go out and do it, but I'm not one to talk, haha but anyways, good luck man I'll be praying for you