HOW TO STOP YOURSELF FROM DOING SOMETHING STUPID

The other day, I was about to purchase a lot of seven vintage raccoon coats on eBay.

I’ll say that again: I WAS GONNA BUY SEVEN OLD RACCOON COATS. I seriously, seriously wanted to toss in the winning bid.

These were not marked as to size: None of them might have fit me. My thought was, “Well, maybe one of them (or more) will fit me. I can sell the rest back on eBay and make a bundle.” Or not. The seller didn’t PUT any close ups in the ad. I couldn’t tell if some might be missing things like sleeves or backs.

I was not so lost in I wanna that I couldn’t see that this was a stupid thing to do. (I’m not saying rehabbing things and reselling them on eBay is a bad thing for everyone, but for me, it definitely is.)

I have a new book coming out in two months and all sorts of publicity stuff happening. Book stores want me to speak, and the Book Expo America, the largest book fair in the country is coming up in months, close to my house. Plus, I’m writing a new book, science fiction thriller, and I’m closing in on the final chapters.

Book related activities are what I should be concentrating on. The thrust of my life is getting those books out and promoting them.

Taking on seven beat up raccoon coats in California, where winter is two weeks and consists of three days below 60 degrees, ranks in the realms of the really stupid.

IT BRINGS UP AN IMPORTANT QUESTION FOR ALL OF US:

WHY DO WE HUMANS DO IDIOTIC THINGS? MORE IMPORTANTLY, HOW CAN WE STOP OURSELVES BEFORE WE DO REAL DAMAGE TO OUR LIVES?

HOW CAN WE STOP OURSELVES? (We’ll work on WHY WE DO IT later.)

1. DON’T DO IT. The number one way to eliminate your stupid mistakes is: DON’T DO THEM. If you have any inkling that what you want to do is stupid, don’t do it. Don’t make the phone call, put in the bid, place the bet, buy the bottle, or wink back at that good looking guy/gal. WHATEVER IT IS, DON’T DO IT.

(I’m writing for everyone reading this blog as well as the person writing it. At this point, the raccoon coat deal isn’t dead. I could still shoot in a snipe. Why do you think I’m writing this? It’s writing therapy.)

If you think what you’re about to do is dumb, don’t do it.

Another way of saying this is, “Do good, not evil.” St. Thomas Aquinas said that many years ago. It remains priceless advice.

The other half of this is, “DON’T DO IT” by itself is about as effective as those drug abuse prevention programs based on “JUST SAY NO.” 🙂

Of course druggies can’t say no, they’re addicts. They live in a society based upon their saying, “Yes!” and often. Just like all of us. Our society is a maximal immersion in temptation and desire. We float in the titillation of the senses, the commandment “Do thy thing,” and “If you want it, you should have it.” Sooner is better.

Who says “Don’t do it.” I do. Others do. The trick is, “How?”

By not doing it. This requires self control and development of the will. Two spiritual attributes.

2. THINK ABOUT WHAT STUPID MEANS. There’s evil, and there’s stupid. I think they wrap nicely into each other. My book, Stepping Off the Edge, has two chapters in it on recognizing and dealing with evil. I’m not going to repeat these here. However, the crux of my arugment comes from something my meditation master said. He said something like, “Hurting other people is the greatest evil. Even thinking about hurting another is great evil.”

If you’re about to do something stupid, it undoubtedly has an element of evil. You hurt yourself or someone else. Do an analysis like the following for your I wanna.

What’s the evil with me and the coats? If I got the package at the asking price, it would cost $350 to deliver the hairy monsters to the door. That’s with no returns, and no, “Gee, seller, I really need a bigger size on at least one.”

Would my husband notice the $350 charge on our credit card? Oh, yeah. He who holds the family finances together, denies me nothing, pays the bills, and demands almost nothing for himself would take it like a fist in the gut. I would be betraying him. This is definite evil on my part.

What about me? How do I hurt myself? So I get the furs, jump into the joy of rehabbing shedding pelts? Something I know nothing about? Not only that, I don’t know the creatures’ condition. When done with this learning experience, I “get” to resell them on eBay or craigslist or my local flea market.

At the expense of working on my book Numenon, the first book of a series that I’ve been working on since 1995, which is coming out soon?

Talk about self sabotage.

4. WHAT IS YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE? Get this and saying no will be easier.

WHY AM I HERE? Keep this question before you always. Search until you find an answer. You are on this planet to ask that question until you know the answer. When you know the answer, then you are to actuate the plan.

Got it? Of course, you’ve got it. We all know this. Ever you ever caught yourself sort of ducking you head in guilt when you’re about to do something stupid. evil or off purpose? We all do that.

Only a few of us, Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, Mohatma Ghandhi and the like really live their lives the big way, being all that they were meant to be. The rest of us duck and jive and sleaze out. Me included. Those raccoon coats were the birthplace of this entry, after all.

It took me 50 years to find my life’s purpose, which is writing about those first 50 years and all the rest. Creating meaning out of chaos and mayhem. It was hard. Writing is hard. It’s easier to fritter my time away on stupid things.

5. WHAT DO YOU REALLY WANT?

Under every burning desire is what you really want and need. It’s an intangible thing that you will never get by buying fur coats, getting a new car or spouse. What emotional need are you trying to meet with whatever stupid thing you’re about to do? Examine this.

Using our furry friends, what do those coats mean to me? Well, I’m exhausted, doing all this book stuff. Worn out. I’d like do not just own a furry coat, I’d like to be a furry animal and curl up somewhere. I’m pooped, so I go for fur. I don’t want to burden my family with the cost of one coat, so I figure that I’ll make a profit with the seven coats, and then justify keeping one. That’s logical, isn’t it? Stupid logic. I’m buying seven times the work, a huge risk as to quality, all for unrecognized emotional need.

6. IF YOU’RE IN TEMPTATION, TELL SOMEONE ABOUT IT BEFORE YOU MAKE THE LEAP.

In Stepping Off the Edge, I’m pretty open in telling the truth about myself. People have asked me, “Boy, you were really taking a risk, taking about that.” Here is one of my greatest secrets:

If you want to make something disappear, tell the truth about it. 

If you’re really serious about getting the monkey off your back, take a picture of it and show everyone you know. The clearer and and more definitive you can be about whatever is holding you captive, the less power that temptation will have on you. Works for crushes on people, things you want that are stupid, all sorts of emotions like anger, resentment, jealousy. So while people are going, “Oh wow, she’s so brave,” I’m really becoming freer to be the person I was meant to be. It works. Yes, you will feel exposed and like a real idiot when you do it. Freedom is worth the cost. And the cost is cheap when it’s telling the truth. Go, and create goodness and truth. The embarrasment fades.

7. IT IS EASIER TO FILL OUR LIVES WITH STUPID, TRIVIAL, MEANINGLESS AND EVIL THINGS THAN IT IS TO LOOK INSIDE, DISCOVER OUR PURPOSE AND BECOME THE MAGNIFICENT PERSON YOU CAME HERE TO BE.

That’s the underlying “how to stop.” Get real. You’re going to die one day. Do what you came here to do.

I’m going to post this now. May add pictures and such later. As well as the why we do stupid things. I’ll also update this and let you know if I let the seven raccoon coats go with out buying them.

Sandy Nathan

PS. While the coats may sound like a dumb thing to lust after, they’re not as stupid as some things people do. I know someone who dumped his really nice, respectable wife of many years for a twenty year old he met at a swap meet. That ranks in the realm of the unbelievably stupid acts.

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