Monday, March 11, 2013

Vegeta Mistake Variant: "Striking"

Ah, once again I've come upon another facet of The Vegeta Mistake, and quite an interesting one too, one that leads to deep behavioral mistakes particularly in career.

Since my last entry upon this, I've been thinking about that associate of mine and other people like him, and noticed a odd thread between their behaviors and frustrations, including a connection to my own life. One thing I've realized from that associate and others is that some or many of their complaints revolve around the past high points of their life, such as being in more prestigious and higher-paying positions, and what a lower point they've reached, and all the difficulties they have to face.

What I've noticed is that aside from the way they engage in their negative-oriented conversation, they also consciously lower the bar for what value they offer to other people, as some sort of protest, like striking a against an employer, in order to pressure people into giving them what they believe is withheld justice.


For instance, in one person I've met, he once had a very accomplished and high-paying position which he had lost by a means -- he didn't say how -- which had reduced him to poverty and to an earning potential way below his credentials. He complained about it often, and would often ask his superiors for a raise for his hard work. In not getting it, I could see that he would set the bar lower for his performance, and, in fact, to my eyes I couldn't see how his talent was worth as much as it once was.

I understand the premise: Such a person acting that way believes that visibly lowering his work ethic like that will somehow make his employers examine his character, past history, and overall worth, and be struck by the poorer performance as a point towards the need and merit for greater rewards, and will be motivated to give it for that increase of value. In other words, people like these think their poorer work will point out how much they deserve.

Yes, it's preposterous, but as I've always said people can act on extremely bizarre premises when they don't step back to examine their beliefs or to even put them into verbal form, even in the privacy of their own mind.

In fact, I shamefully admit that I have committed this irrationality as well. It's the reason why I lost my hotel job last year: I was so distressed at being a dish washer for so undeservedly long -- though that particular employer wasn't guilty of an injustice -- that I thought lowering my performance and acting as I did would show them just how much I deserve and that giving me the rewards would unleash my true potential, though, and logically, it made me lose my job.

It's easier to understand why people would want to act like this if you imagine a strike analogy. In a rational context, workers go on strike when they're being treated unfairly and not rewarded justly. The strike is a withholding of value that the workers could provide to the business until the business relents to an agreement to change its practices and rewards, whereby then the workers go back to offering what they have to offer.

Psychologically, that's what goes on in isolated individual. They go on "strike" not by abstaining from work altogether, but by at least semi-consciously lowering and lowering the amount of value they offer to the place, to make a "point" of how they're not getting their just deserts, and need the employer or whatever to reach some sort of agreement so that then they'll display their true potential.

The two things wrong with this are what the employer actually sees and the kind of psychological framework this sets up.

First, displaying negative behaviors does not bring a person's awareness to the positives. This is as classic as classic gets in the terms of the Vegeta Mistake, as I put forth in my original article. For instance, a person acting on his sadness and trying to visibly display his negativity, needs, and misery won't make people aware of how he needs affection, understanding, or to have his justices combated, but rather how unlikable the person is. The same thing applies to a work context: Withholding your ultimate productive value won't make your employer aware of your hidden potential; it'll make him aware of your bad job and the reasons why you don't deserve the rewards you want.

Secondly, this sets up a very bad framework which could alter how you respond to things, which in the worst case scenario can entirely negate a positive emotional response even if you get what you want. This is a matter of thinking habits. For instance, if you run through your mind over and over again how negative your life is, then you're going to ingrain that as an automatic response, so even if you get that raise you've been pining for somehow through this technique, then it's likely you won't be an iota happy about it; you've simply trained yourself too much to automatically respond to life in negative ways. Many a time have I seen a person regularly get the things they asked and begged for, and they were still unhappy and unsatisfied, and had their mind simply move onto the next negative matter.

In other words, if you habituate the focus on the negative then you're not going to response in positive or happy ways even as you attain your values; the negative focus and repetitions will be the norm.

All in all, the end results of these "striking" people -- including, regrettably, me -- is that employing the Vegeta Mistake in this way makes their life worse and worse, rather than have people rush out to eliminate the injustices. They lose jobs, friends, money, shifts, influence -- all of it, until they realize they have to get over it.

And like with all things having to do with the Vegeta Mistake, it's all a matter of correcting attitude, and of realizing that we must always keep our minds and actions directed upon what actually gets us the external results we want, rather than what our emotions can trick us into believing is practical.

It is all too easy to think acting upon our internal states will make people perceive our emotional states by extension and rush to our aid, which requires a heroic response from us to overcome the fallacy, as it's always hard to go against the grain of emotion, and it's the best thing we could ever do for our life.

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