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  1. #1
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    Default Selfish, Scared & Stupid. A commentary on human society and personal motivations

    Selfish, Scared and Stupid: Stop Fighting Human Nature And Increase Your Performance, Engagement And Influence: Kieran Flanagan, Dan Gregory: 9780730312789: Amazon.com: Books

    I bought this yesterday and have read about 1/3 of it. Very interesting commentary on how society and people really work. Why motivational and conventional success literature is unlikely to work in the real world. Very funny read, but cutting and straight to the point as well. I'm enjoying it immensely.

    Basic Premise - Don't try and work against human nature by lauding some lofty premise of noble sacrifice, bravery etc. Instead plan for and take account most people's basic motivations, your own realistic performance, and plan for success within the confines of that. It's much more workable in the real world.

    I'll add more when I've finished the book. But so far one of the most workable success literature pieces I've come across.

    Read the 2/3's of it now. Very entertaining and insightful. One of the more fun suppositions being that being brave, fearless and selfless in evolutionary terms means you probably won't be passing your gene's on. Odds are likely others will take you out before long. Happiness is a delusion others will not thank you for ruining. People act in accordance with who they want others to believe they are, rather than who they really are. People are selfish but don't like to look selfish so the way to motivate them is to help them look good socially by being selfish. I like this book. It's not just fun, it's also the result of years of research across many countries and companies.
    Last edited by Chthonic; 11-01-2014 at 06:51 AM.
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  2. #2
    Wake, See, Sing, Dance Cellmold's Avatar
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    Certainly punctures the irrelevancy that is idealism.
    'One of (Lucas) Cranach's masterpieces, discussed by (Joseph) Koerner, is in it's self-referentiality the perfect expression of left-hemisphere emptiness and a precursor of post-modernism. There is no longer anything to point to beyond, nothing Other, so it points pointlessly to itself.' - Iain McGilChrist

    Suppose a tree fell down, Pooh, when we were underneath it?"
    "Suppose it didn't," said Pooh, after careful thought.
    Piglet was comforted by this.
    - A.A. Milne.

  3. #3
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    Can you make an infographic of the basics?
    I've had this ice cream bar, since I was a child!

    Each thought's completely warped
    I'm like a walkin', talkin', ouija board.

  4. #4
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    No. But here's an article that runs in parallel, its also full of lolz.

    5 Ways You're Accidentally Making Everyone Hate You | Cracked.com
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    Quote Originally Posted by cracked article
    For those of us who aren't great with people, we figure that silence is always the safest bet. If you're an introvert, you spend so much of your time wishing that other people would just shut the hell up that you figure you're doing everyone a favor
    This is certainly something I've assumed, although I tend to think "I would be bothering them", not that talk from humans bothers them in general. It's specifically that people don't want to hear from me. This ties-in to my "confidence for women" thread.

    And here is the damned if you do, damned if you don't aspect of engaging people socially:

    "I'm important and busy, you are just one of the lesser peasants begging for my attention."
    You never know if you will get this reaction if you do talk to them or if they will hate you for NOT talking to them.

    The thing is that people deep-down are looking for those who can give to them - so your attention is welcome when they feel they can gain from you, and not have to give to you. At the very least, the exchange must be even.

    If you're the "lesser" person, then your giving has to amount to a major ego boost to balance the time and attention they so generously bestow upon you, ie, you have to make them look and feel good. "Good" amounts to however it is they want to be seen and whoever they want to feel like.

    I know all this, but it's revolting to the point of wanting to bow out of the whole mess.

    The trouble with us less-than-social types is that we assume we're never the person in power, in any situation. That's why it's so easy for us to fall into this -- if you were never one of the cool kids, you assume that everyone is confident but you, that they don't have these open wounds you can accidentally touch.
    This touches on a recent thread that is about when INFPs are on the receiving end of jealousy and how we react to it... First, there tends to be disbelief, and then there's a guilt, and then an anger at being made to feel guilty, or not being allowed to have any strengths in order to make others feel better about themselves. Some just get stuck on guilt.

    Honestly, this talking oneself down as a social game is very annoying to me. I'll do self-deprecation in person all the time, being careful not to claim I have "real problems" either, because that's it's own kind of one-upping. The deprecation is honest, but knowing the line between it and complaining is important. Hearing perfectly smart or good-looking people act as if they are not those things can too easily turn into "my life is actually enviably awesome, but my problems are still worse than yours", which is its own kind of power play. This is why people cannot get past "I'm good, how are you?" in conversation, because then, uh oh, you might fall into power play territory by revealing anything personal about yourself.

    I think the solution is to find healthier people with egos that are not so easily threatened? But good luck with that...
    Often a star was waiting for you to notice it. A wave rolled toward you out of the distant past, or as you walked under an open window, a violin yielded itself to your hearing. All this was mission. But could you accomplish it? (Rilke)

    INFP | 4w5 sp/sx | RLUEI - Primary Inquisitive | Tritype is tripe
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  6. #6
    nee andante bechimo's Avatar
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    Rather than view it as everyone else being selfish where you're exempt (which you're not since calling others selfish is saying 'but what about me' which is selfish too), instead, view human nature as inherently self-interested where if interests align, people will align. If interests don't align, people will butt heads.

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    Quote Originally Posted by OrangeAppled View Post
    This is certainly something I've assumed, although I tend to think "I would be bothering them", not that talk from humans bothers them in general. It's specifically that people don't want to hear from me. This ties-in to my "confidence for women" thread.

    And here is the damned if you do, damned if you don't aspect of engaging people socially:



    You never know if you will get this reaction if you do talk to them or if they will hate you for NOT talking to them.

    The thing is that people deep-down are looking for those who can give to them - so your attention is welcome when they feel they can gain from you, and not have to give to you. At the very least, the exchange must be even.

    If you're the "lesser" person, then your giving has to amount to a major ego boost to balance the time and attention they so generously bestow upon you, ie, you have to make them look and feel good. "Good" amounts to however it is they want to be seen and whoever they want to feel like.

    I know all this, but it's revolting to the point of wanting to bow out of the whole mess.



    This touches on a recent thread that is about when INFPs are on the receiving end of jealousy and how we react to it... First, there tends to be disbelief, and then there's a guilt, and then an anger at being made to feel guilty, or not being allowed to have any strengths in order to make others feel better about themselves. Some just get stuck on guilt.

    Honestly, this talking oneself down as a social game is very annoying to me. I'll do self-deprecation in person all the time, being careful not to claim I have "real problems" either, because that's it's own kind of one-upping. The deprecation is honest, but knowing the line between it and complaining is important. Hearing perfectly smart or good-looking people act as if they are not those things can too easily turn into "my life is actually enviably awesome, but my problems are still worse than yours", which is its own kind of power play. This is why people cannot get past "I'm good, how are you?" in conversation, because then, uh oh, you might fall into power play territory by revealing anything personal about yourself.

    I think the solution is to find healthier people with egos that are not so easily threatened? But good luck with that...
    Those same points all apply to on-line message boards. Commit any number of little faux pas, and you'll get a snarky comment from the peanut gallery in a heartbeat. In fact I would say that on-line message boards can be way more difficult to maneuver and master than most IRL social environments because of the lack of the cues and the number of members who can sit back and take a shot at you for any number of self-interested, arbitrary reasons.

    People who are comfortable with on-line message boards complain about IRL social groups and vice versa. But at the end of the day it's all one and the same thing, on-line or IRL: Each new IRL social environment or on-line message board community has its own rules. There's a learning curve. You screw up, people make a few snarky comments, and eventually you get the hang of it. And then it's all good. No blood, no foul. If you master a number of such communities, eventually you can jump right in and feel comfortable pretty quickly.

    To me it's all one and the same. I'm sure someone will point out distinctions, such as the fact that one can lurk on message boards, but not in real life. Still, there's always that point where you have to start participating and make those initial screw-ups. There's always the learning curve. It's just a question of dealing with the learning curve and putting up with a few snarky comments while you're trying to find your footing. But that's temporary, and it passes quicker each time...

    Quote Originally Posted by andante View Post
    Rather than view it as everyone else being selfish where you're exempt (which you're not since calling others selfish is saying 'but what about me' which is selfish too), instead, view human nature as inherently self-interested where if interests align, people will align. If interests don't align, people will butt heads.
    ...and then once you've mastered the learning curve, it becomes about what andante said: You take it for granted that people are self-interested (and maybe a little stupid or scared, as the OP suggests), and you look for points of commonality or you argue differences (for those who like that sort of thing).

  8. #8
    Sugar Hiccup OrangeAppled's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by andante View Post
    Rather than view it as everyone else being selfish where you're exempt (which you're not since calling others selfish is saying 'but what about me' which is selfish too), instead, view human nature as inherently self-interested where if interests align, people will align. If interests don't align, people will butt heads.
    I don't think everyone operates selfishly (although I am not claiming to be of the unselfish class), but most people are operating with a very narrow ego which is very "self-interested", yes. I just don't buy that Ayn Rand-esque philosophy of there being no true altruism, which is more of a fantasy than a reality of nature, IMO. Yep, that's right, I think the notion of everyone being selfishly motivated all the time is a fantasy of some, to ease their nagging conscience perhaps.

    The truly selfless, will be hated by many of course, as their selflessness will be viewed as a power play that asserts that they are "better" than everyone. But that's usually why such people come across as extremely humble at the same times. History shows such people are often persecuted, although later they may be revered.

    Quote Originally Posted by YUI View Post
    Those same points all apply to on-line message boards. Commit any number of little faux pas, and you'll get a snarky comment from the peanut gallery in a heartbeat. In fact I would say that on-line message boards can be way more difficult to maneuver and master than most IRL social environments because of the lack of the cues and the number of members who can sit back and take a shot at you for any number of self-interested, arbitrary reasons.

    People who are comfortable with on-line message boards complain about IRL social groups and vice versa. But at the end of the day it's all one and the same thing, on-line or IRL: Each new IRL social environment or on-line message board community has its own rules. There's a learning curve. You screw up, people make a few snarky comments, and eventually you get the hang of it. And then it's all good. No blood, no foul. If you master a number of such communities, eventually you can jump right in and feel comfortable pretty quickly.

    To me it's all one and the same. I'm sure someone will point out distinctions, such as the fact that one can lurk on message boards, but not in real life. Still, there's always that point where you have to start participating and make those initial screw-ups. There's always the learning curve. It's just a question of dealing with the learning curve and putting up with a few snarky comments while you're trying to find your footing. But that's temporary, and it passes quicker each time...
    I think the idea is whether the "rules" of the particular arena jive with your natural style or preferences. Those who feel comfortable on message boards and less so in person are often coming from that perspective. Personally, the slower response time conversations online allow for make it easier for me to only engage when I am in the mood or have had time to think about what I think/feel and refine it a bit before expressing (although I don't always do that).

    There are a few differences with message boards that make a difference:
    - anonymity, which is a big one, as reputation doesn't follow you quite as easily if you don't want it to; people can more easily create personas which are different from their true nature, and it's easier to keep that facade up than it is in person
    - people can choose to skip posts or even literally block them, whereas in person, purposely ignoring someone is harder to do graciously, and it's easier to feel the slight of it if you're the one being dismissed
    Often a star was waiting for you to notice it. A wave rolled toward you out of the distant past, or as you walked under an open window, a violin yielded itself to your hearing. All this was mission. But could you accomplish it? (Rilke)

    INFP | 4w5 sp/sx | RLUEI - Primary Inquisitive | Tritype is tripe

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by OrangeAppled View Post
    I think the idea is whether the "rules" of the particular arena jive with your natural style or preferences. Those who feel comfortable on message boards and less so in person are often coming from that perspective. Personally, the slower response time conversations online allow for make it easier for me to only engage when I am in the mood or have had time to think about what I think/feel and refine it a bit before expressing (although I don't always do that).

    There are a few differences with message boards that make a difference:
    - anonymity, which is a big one, as reputation doesn't follow you quite as easily if you don't want it to; people can more easily create personas which are different from their true nature, and it's easier to keep that facade up than it is in person
    - people can choose to skip posts or even literally block them, whereas in person, purposely ignoring someone is harder to do graciously, and it's easier to feel the slight of it if you're the one being dismissed
    I agree that on-line forum interaction has some features that will make introverts more comfortable, such as response time and anonymity. Nonetheless, I just want to reiterate that all the points mentioned in the Cracked article also apply to message boards; in some respects, those problems are even magnified at message boards by lack of physical cues.

    If you're able to deal with those problems in this environment (and apparently you are able to deal with them, since you have more than 6k posts here), then they shouldn't be totally insurmountable in other environments such as IRL social groups. You just have to be a bit quicker in your responses in IRL groups.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chthonic View Post
    Selfish, Scared and Stupid: Stop Fighting Human Nature And Increase Your Performance, Engagement And Influence: Kieran Flanagan, Dan Gregory: 9780730312789: Amazon.com: Books

    I bought this yesterday and have read about 1/3 of it. Very interesting commentary on how society and people really work. Why motivational and conventional success literature is unlikely to work in the real world. Very funny read, but cutting and straight to the point as well. I'm enjoying it immensely.

    Basic Premise - Don't try and work against human nature by lauding some lofty premise of noble sacrifice, bravery etc. Instead plan for and take account most people's basic motivations, your own realistic performance, and plan for success within the confines of that. It's much more workable in the real world.

    I'll add more when I've finished the book. But so far one of the most workable success literature pieces I've come across.

    Read the 2/3's of it now. Very entertaining and insightful. One of the more fun suppositions being that being brave, fearless and selfless in evolutionary terms means you probably won't be passing your gene's on. Odds are likely others will take you out before long. Happiness is a delusion others will not thank you for ruining. People act in accordance with who they want others to believe they are, rather than who they really are. People are selfish but don't like to look selfish so the way to motivate them is to help them look good socially by being selfish. I like this book. It's not just fun, it's also the result of years of research across many countries and companies.
    Its not a new idea, Machavelli wrote about taking account of how things are rather than how they ought to be or are hoped to be a long time ago.

    I would recommend Belliotti's book on Machavelli, however, as I have read Machavelli and books about Machavelli for a while but feel Belliotti's book has the greatest insight.

    Although when I think about these subjects, as I have for some time again, I can think of other more pop cultural examples, such as Red Dwarf, would you want to be Rimmer or Arnold J Rimmer? One is the loathesome, cowardly, aspiring, grasping, ambitious and selfish character and the other is, precisely, the opposite.

    The knowledge that most people are "human, all too human" is one thing, choosing to conform to that yourself is another matter.

    Sometimes humanity is something you have to rise above.

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