Sunday, 14 February 2010

Making the best of it

Humans are very adaptable creatures - which is both a blessing and a curse. Yes, we can cope with shit situations. But we do that instead of rebelling and demanding something better.

We adapt to awful working conditions. The boss is a tyrant, the workload is impossible, our workmates are unhelpful, the pay is a pittance, but we somehow put up with it by telling ourselves it could be worse, or it won't be for long, or it's so close to home.

What we should be doing is telling the boss everything that's wrong with this crappy job and this crappy workplace, or getting the hell out, but that seems far too risky and uncertain, so we button our lip and get through the rest of the day.

We adapt to all sorts of things we should be trashing - toxic relationships, overbearing parents, useless governments, filthy hospitals. We even pride ourselves on our adaptability, "making the best of it", "looking on the bright side", "not letting things defeat us", "not making a fuss over nothing". It shows our strength of character, our resilience. It shows our down-to-earth realism.

But how different the world would look if we all flatly refused to be poor, or hungry, or jobless, or waiting endlessly for an operation. If we all stood up en masse and said "Enough. Enough of this shit. We're not taking any more. We deserve better, we deserve decent lives."

We can all imagine a better planet. John Lennon did it brilliantly. But what if we stopped imagining and just demanded it? No more fatalism, no more accepting that some are haves and some are have-nots. No more accepting that "that's the way things are." Suppose we all got up one day and said "Everything is possible. Everything can be changed." And we went out and did it?
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This is the best account of being a control freak I've ever read. Eye-opening and hilarious in equal measures.

21 comments:

Rummuser said...

The communists did. Look where it took them!

Nick said...

Ramana - Ah, but communists are not the only ones who made demands. How about feminists, homosexuals, trade unions, Muslims, environmentalists and many others, who not only made demands but achieved many of them?

Leah said...

I love this, Nick. And I try to do it in my own life, but your idea of bravely standing up to say "everything's possible" is wonderfully enlivening.

I think this post came at a perfect time for me!

Nick said...

Leah - Glad to hear that. I know you've been a bit down recently. So much of life is a matter of how we interpret it - a pile of obstacles or a pile of possibilities.

Suburbia said...

If only we all wanted the same thing?!

Nick said...

Suburbia - Ah yes, there's the stumbling block. But if we could each get closer to what we ourselves wanted, that would be a start.

Grannymar said...

What a guy. I hope he gets what he deserves!

I am a great believer in trying to see the best in all situations, but if it interferes with your wellbeing then move on!

Nick said...

Grannymar - He's pretty weird, isn't he? But so are all of us if we start digging under the surface.

That's the difficulty, I think, accepting that a situation isn't just annoying and dissatisfying but threatens our well-being so much we have to cut loose.

e said...

I was so busy feeling for the poor sod and his former girlfriend in the Guardian that I forgot to comment...

Thanks for visiting this morning and I wish you and Jenny lots of hugs...

Tell Heather hello as well.

Baino said...

We adapt to awful working conditions. The boss is a tyrant, the workload is impossible, our workmates are unhelpful, the pay is a pittance, but we somehow put up with it by telling ourselves it could be worse, or it won't be for long, or it's so close to home!

I think you might be talking about me here Nick! At least my metaphorically scissor wielding boss has got the sack but I'm still a work whore . . .although I'm always looking it will have to do for now.

As for the control freak . . I think he'll be looking for a while!

Nick said...

e - He's certainly got a strange way of looking at things. I wonder if there's a woman out there who can handle it? Thanks for the hugs!

Baino - Yes, I was thinking of you when I wrote that! Great that your loathsome boss got dumped. Hope something better turns up soon.

Wisewebwoman said...

Oh I think that poor sod in the guardian needs help Nick, no one, absolutely no one can make the world exactly to their own specifications.
There is always a glitch. Life is founded on the principles of chaos, IMO, and chaotic it will stay, it is a very unstable place, made even more so by our crushing and evil depletion of its finite resources which is like the butterly wings, affecting everything.
I'm in a good mood, but I sound so depressing don't I?
Sorry about that.
I should add we can all create our own individual worlds for ourselves being aware that outside forces can create disharmony in it.
Nothing is perfect. Acceptance is the key to a happy life.
XO
WWW

Nick said...

www - That guy doesn't seem to have learnt yet that the more you try to control things, the more uncontrollable they get and the harder your task becomes. There comes a point when any sensible person just gives up trying too hard and lets things happen.

tattytiara said...

Very good and very important questions there, my friend.

Nick said...

Tattytiara - Indeed. But how hard it is to say enough is enough, I'm not taking this any more, and hang the consequences. Too often we think, better the devil you know than the devil you don't.

Kate said...

I think I hit a turning point when I was bullied out of my last job - I won't be bullied again - my new boss has tried but he has come to realise that I cannot work like that again!!!!!

It is a happy working relationship!!

Nick said...

Kate - Isn't it good to realise your own assertiveness and know that you don't have to succumb to a bully? Too often we under-estimate our own inner strength.

Liz said...

I heard on the radio that a think tank has recommended a 21 hour week so people get more quality time with family and doing the things that are important for a good, happy, healthy life. Needless to say, it's being laughed out of existence, but what if ...?

Nick said...

Liz - I read about that. I've been urging the same myself for a long long time. A 35 hour week (or 40 or 50 in some cases) is insanely long. As you say, it doesn't leave anything like enough time to refresh your mind and body, spend time with your family and friends and generally improve your quality of life.

Brighid said...

Why must we all be at the same level, it's like giving medals to all who participate, which makes the winning medals worthless?
I was in a uck job, and spoke my piece, and am now without a job. Change is in the wind for me, when the door slammed, a window flew open.

Nick said...

Brighid - Good for you speaking out against conditions you found intolerable. I hope something much better comes along soon.