An Easy Way To Make Yourself Unhappy But Motivated

A consistent way to feel depressed or unhappy is to compare yourself to other people.

He has a hotter girl than me.

He has a better job than me.

He has more stylish clothing.

His apartment has a better view of the city.

His cozy neighborhood cafe has poetry readings and I love poetry. All I have is a Starbucks.

And so on.

If you were the only human on Earth, living on an island, the main source of unhappiness you’d have is loneliness, but since we live in what’s called a society it’s impossible not to compare our lot to others. And since society is large, with many millions more successful than ourselves, it’s easy to feel down on what we have, which in fact may be more than what 90% of the world has.

One way to tame this unhappiness is to think of the costs. He has more money than us, but how is his lifestyle? Turns out he’s working 12 hour days and it took four extra years of education to get there. Do you want to do the same? He has bigger muscles than you, but he spends 10 hours a week in the gym. Are you prepared to spend that amount of time in the gym to have what he has? He has a knockout on his arm, but she’s actually a cunt and didn’t put out until the eighth date. They don’t have sex often. Is it worth putting that effort in? When you think in terms of costs, it’s easier to feel more content with what you have. As long as you don’t use it as a way to rationalize your laziness, it’s a good way to remind you that most things which have value takes work and commitment.

Now if you do need an extra kick in the ass, for example if you’re in a foreign country and what to nail the hottest girls, all you have to do is compare yourself daily with other guys who have the type of girl you want. By making yourself feel inadequate, a surge of motivation will come forth to help relieve the inadequacy. You do the amount of work necessary to accomplish the goal, which you may already know is probably not worth it in the end, since goals that are worth the chase have desire that comes from within, not by comparison. If you find yourself regularly using comparison to stay motivated, then it may be time to find yourself a new mission.


  1. Krauser December 9, 2009 at 10:40 am

    Interesting thoughts.

    “but she’s actually a cunt and didn’t put out until the eighth date” – can’t help but laugh that the latter behaviour makes her the former in your mind. But then, when my game is tight I’ll probably think that way too.

    Simple thing I learned when I first joined a boxing gym aged 18:

    “There’s no shortcuts to [boxing] success. If there was, everyone would be awesome”

    I rarely look at successful people and think “he’s lucky”. More commonly I look at them and think “he must’ve worked hard for that”. Then I do a quick estimate of whether I would be prepared to do what he did to get what he’s got. Sometimes the answer is yes. Sometimes no.

    Krauser’s last blog post: FR: Boot Camp.

  2. TAllagash December 9, 2009 at 10:54 am

    i was thinking of a similar quote my first boxing coach told me, “If it was easy, everyone would be f’ing good at it, kid.”

    TAllagash’s last blog post: A Conversation with a Friend.

  3. Evan December 9, 2009 at 11:29 am

    This is a great recipe for feeling bad about yourself. It also makes you feel like the outsider/alienated. It’s easy to internalize these feelings of inadequacy as being a bad/unworthy person.

    I would not recommend comparing how you feel internally to how other people look externally, ever.

  4. GH December 9, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    I used to not like your blog, but I think you’ve become more honest and more respectful. I really liked this one. Congrats!

  5. Beebopaloo December 9, 2009 at 3:32 pm

    or you could name this story A QUICK WAY TO MAKE YOURSELF UNMOTIVATED BUT HAPPY.

    Agree with the other guys: good post!

  6. dude December 9, 2009 at 3:57 pm

    been reading up on Buddhism?

  7. dude December 9, 2009 at 6:52 pm

    Yeah, that’s a dirty little secret of bodybuilding: diet, exercise and protein shakes can only take you so far. After that, it’s either ‘roids or Buddha.

  8. URF December 9, 2009 at 9:36 pm

    GOod post…
    and thanks again for Bang.

  9. Carl Sagan December 9, 2009 at 11:36 pm

    Solid post.

    Whenever you wax philosophical you tend to end up with worthy material.

    An example from my personal life would be training. I’m in much better shape than the average male. Most guys would like to have my size and strength. They ask me for advice and I give it out freely. But in the back of my mind I know that the vast majority of guys just don’t have the determination or grit to stick with it long enough to see the results they want.

    As Ronnie Coleman (former 8 time Mr Olympia) says: “Everybody wants to be a bodybuilder, but don’t nobody want to lift no heavy ass weight.”