Reading Influencer: The Power To Change Anything has changed how I see things in some places. Or, rather, has made me realize how I think about decisions on life. And there’s one that’s been really strange to have crystalize into a coherent thought. A bit ago, I mentioned some wisdom from Josh Roby about eating lunch. To take that a bit further:
I don’t need to follow my impulses. Whatever short-term regret I have for not doing so will be forgotten rather quickly.
I don’t need that third beer. I mean, sure, The Trappist has many tasty beers and I might want to try a third, but if I deny that impulse, twenty minutes later I’ll have forgotten about it. Or, to be more accurate, I won’t feel the regret.
Other things I won’t feel the regret of once the moment passes:
- Telling someone they’re wrong on the Internet. This one can be tough at times, especially when I don’t realize I just stepped into it, but in spite of the number of times people have seen me go aggro, there are quite a few times where I have been able to walk away because I thought “I’m not going to care about this argument in half on hour.”
(Related, if you haven’t checked out E Foley’s article about Twitter, you really should: No One Is Holding Your Face In The Twitter Stream.)
- Going to conventions. Missing PAX East sucked, but I was able to get through the jealousy of watching all the awesome being tweeted because I knew that a few days later, that would fade. Did I miss opportunities? Sure. But I’m playing the Long Game, and I trust there will be future opportunities, so I don’t need to chase after every one like a guy in a club desperately trying to get laid.
- Taking on that really cool project.I get approached at times for cool projects, to be an editor or writer or whatever. Or a really awesome idea for a project happens in the shower. Or I meet someone and want to jam with them. (I like working with people on projects akin to getting people together to make a single album. I have a band mentality with many of my projects these days.) But it’s okay. I can write down some quick notes in my journal, close it, and let the moment pass. If the project is grabby enough in the months to come when my bandwidth changes, it’ll happen. Or some other project will, and that’s cool too.
- Those Magic boosters will be there next week. Seriously.
- I don’t need that third taco, or that soda. I really fucking don’t.
We’re constantly bombarded with new stimuli, so it’s not as if we’ll have the mental space to dwell on such little regrets.
 Because I was asked to clarify, Influencer has made concrete thoughts I’ve had about how we decide things, particularly the example of the guy losing weight and the people dealing with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. The idea of influencing by delaying an impulse and then seeing if the impulse continues to exist is powerful mojo.