Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Go to Hell

Ever find yourself in a dreadful, stressed out situation?

Of course, you have.

You breath oxygen. You have family. You have to work for The Man to put food on your table. What a dumb question. But the advice given by psychiatrists, therapists, life coaches or gushy optimists who write for pop teen e-zines, is even dumber.

"Go to your Happy Place", they'll say.

Go to Hell, I say.

If I'm stuck in an endless pitch meeting that has gone south or find myself in a knock down, drag out fight with my wife, why in the world would I want to imagine myself in some place better, like at the House of the Cherished Seacoast in Kauai

That doesn't help to ameliorate the situation. In fact, it only serves to make it worse. Because I keep thinking, "that's where I want to be, but that's not where I'm at."

My approach, the more pragmatic one, is to dwell on my most Unhappy Place.

Here's how that works.

Sure this client is telling me how these concepts are off strategy. And the spots are dull. And the writing  could have been improved upon by a third grader. But at least I'm not stuck at the Long Beach Hampton Inn with my wife and two screaming toddlers, taking turns at the toilet and the bathroom sink to expel the food poisoning that has a merciless grip on the entire Siegel clan, following the reception at my sister-in-law's wedding.

Give me your worst Mr. or Mrs. Client. Unless you want to sprinkle some Staphylococcus in with that critique, I'm impervious to your unprofessional behavior.

The fact is, I collect Unhappy Places the way some people collect baseball cards, Tiki mugs, or sculptures by Alexander Calder.

My collection is robust. And my Unhappy Places are ranked. And most importantly, they are all easily accessed with the instantaneous connection of a few memory neurons.

So go ahead world, take your best shot.
Sig Alerts on the 405, pffft.
Mechanical delays on a 737, please.
Two weeks of no freelance work and no prospects or leads, pour me another mojito.

Stress will have to work a lot harder to take me down. I once spent 54 sleepless hours in Frankfurt, Germany, fueled by an unhealthy concoction of Red Bull, Xanax and Jim Beam bourbon. Further compounded by a staggering case of jet-lag, latent Nazi-phobia and severe career buyer's remorse.

You see, I've already been to Hell.
Any thing else, is a piece of cake.

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