The One Competition Where Everyone Loses

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    106 people had breakthroughs this week. Will the next one be you?

    Two things for you to think about

    People incapable of connection see relationships as competitions.

    But when you keep a scorecard, everyone loses.

    The only way to win a power struggle in a relationship is to refuse to compete.

    Reflect: Then consider sharing this thought with others.

    Three things for you to ask yourself

    Are you viewing any of your relationships as power struggles or competition? Are you keeping a scorecard? Is viewing the relationship that way actually making both of you happier?

    Recommended: Use these as journaling prompts for the week.

    One thing for you to try this week

    Stop viewing a relationship in your life as a power struggle. See what happens.

    Remember: Small changes lead to lasting breakthroughs. Reply to this email and let me know how it went for you.

    New This Week

    Life-Changing Advice for Young Men – There’s a growing audience of young men finding and discovering my work. And as someone who is now officially an “old” man, I figured I’d take some time to speak to them directly. Here are all of the things I wish I understood twenty years ago.

    Why Modern Society Makes Us More Lonely – Statistics show that despite being more connected, having more social contact and living in greater proximity, people are lonelier than ever in history. In last week’s podcast episode, I dig into why that may be, the psychological repercussions of our loneliness, and what we can do to actually feel more connected. Check it out.

    Last week’s breakthroughs

    In last week’s newsletter, I asked you to stop complaining for the week. In response to my prompt, many of you shared about the space that opens up once you stop complaining:

    My husband and I both have fucked up families that piss us off. We drive into work together, and we used to talk about them a lot! Anything that would bring them up, we began our cycle of bitching.

    This year I told my husband, ‘I want to stop talking about the family, we have exhausted who they are, and now I want to move on.’

    But we realized that if we wanted to stop talking about them we had to find something else to talk about, so we started listening to documentaries, podcasts about health, etc.

    We’re a lot happier! And we love our family (from a distance) and when we do interact with them, it’s water off a duck’s back.

    What else do we complain about if not family? Oh yeah, that’s right… work:

    With work I try to overcompensate with positivity, but it feels like the negativity is winning. I’ve become more irritable and road-rage-y, deeply unmotivated, and resentful towards college for not having taught me things that would be helpful in the real world.

    I need to cultivate deeper positive experiences rather than surface-level positivity—I try to be friendly and smiley and joke around while internally I’m feeling unmotivated, unproductive, and unempathetic. It’s like there’s a dampener on my feelings, where I’m lacking genuine excitement for other people, and I don’t have the passion that I used to.

    I’m going to spend more time learning about work topics that spark my interest, where I might be able to create new passion, as well as develop more relationships with other people in my field so that I can ask meaningful questions and nerd out together. This should provide both positive experiences as well as tackling some of the problems head-on like isolation and not feeling knowledgeable enough.

    I would also add that as an outside observer, it could simply be that you’re in the wrong line of work. Something to consider.

    To end, a reader’s honest analysis of why they complain and what it leads to:

    I complain about how snowed-under at work I am, how tired I get from parenting a toddler, and how I don’t have enough time to do things for myself such as just tidying my living space.

    I complain because I want my partner to have an accurate description of how tired I am (so that he knows How Much I Have Done, and knows not to give me more work!)

    But I notice, every time I complain, that it brings the mood down and that our entire interaction ends on a low, with him then also ending up in a lower mood than he started in, and me then trying (unsuccessfully) to bring us both back up. And I then feel even less good.

    I have a PhD and I know all about motivation, how language is powerful and affects how you feel, etc., but that hasn’t stopped me from doing it all wrong recently. There’s a self-righteous voice in my head that wants to say ‘it’s not fair! I have less freedom than I want! I should have more!’

    Your email was spookily bang on, because I have been really thinking about this over the last weekend (full of toddler meltdowns and tiredness and illness—and yet filled with things to be grateful for) and it has reconfirmed to me that I do need to practice not complaining.

    As always, send your breakthroughs by simply replying to this email. Let me know if you’d prefer to remain anonymous.

    Until next week,

    Mark Manson

    #1 New York Times Bestselling Author
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