May 2008

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so one week of the CRM and have to say it overall it worked well! The first day I watched my life unfold it was BORING - never thought I had such a dull life. But by day 2 as I started counting how many unique people and unique circumstances I was faced with, really made me realize that life was pretty interesting and by day 3 I really liked it. So definitely pulled me out of my funk.


I've always found self awareness to be a fine substitute for free will.


At the risk of sounding like someone who says: "Hey, that thought you just had? Someone thought it before! And better!", your post reminded me of the philosophy of Baruch Spinoza. He was very much into attaining peace of mind via seeing reality as predetermined. I recently read a biography of Spinoza, by Steven Nadler. It was very interesting. Perhaps you would enjoy reading it also.


I also get a bit "snitchy" after a few days without exercise, to the extent that my husband asks when I was at the gym last (subtle?). I don't eat pasta at lunch, or drink wine for that matter (paid corporate lunch or not!) as they make me sluggish.

Now as to the feeling of not having control, you've hit the nail on the head. As a pretty determined individual, I have managed 90 minute one-way commutes and cramped living conditions and ridiculous hours for long periods of time IF it was totally my decision, for my reasons. But being in awkward circumstances outside my control makes me very agitated, after a short time only.

My coping mechanism was, ok so I'm stuck in this situation, how can I find a reason to MAKE it my decision. eg I choose to continue my 90 minute commute so I can catch up on reading books. But I will try the curious robot maneuver next time, so thanks Scott!


Problem is, too many westerners really live as though they were in a movie, and consequently live out their fantasies of smashing heads in etc. Serial killer kids with grandiose ideas of themselves have to be in this category.


Buddhists beat you to this method by several thousand years...


Grant me the insanity to reject the things I cannot change, the cowardice to leave alone the things I can and the stupidity to not know the difference.

And a box of moist toilettes for these turtleheads would be a nice gesture too, come to think of it.


Well,I promised to report back my experiences and--hello?Hello? Is there anyone still listening? Am I posting too late?--Anyway, the morning went well with the images of the early day passing by serenely--beginning with the broken glass of the front door shattering into a thousand glistering pieces as I walked through the plate glass to start my day; the sirens whining in the distance as my neighbors calmed me while they rummaged through my pockets hurriedly before the ambulance arrived; the medic's persistent cries "Can you hear me, can you hear me" as I smiled back at him as I laid snug and warm in my own pooling blood; I obliviously observing the ER unit as they frantically worked to stitch me up all the while trying on me every known language to get me to respond--oh no, not today Drs Stitch-and-Sew, I'm just watching the wheels go round and round today... and--well--I could go on and on...But let me say this, taking a backseat to one's life can be an eye experience...


I thought I invented that. Of course, I also thought I was the only one who talked to Ben Franklin every time I'm alone in my car. I might be normal. Fuck.


I can't eat a lot of carbs at lunch without getting into an awful mood an hour or two later. If I eat any bread at lunch I make sure I have plenty of fat and protein with it, and a cup of coffee.

Pasta is out of the question before four.


I tend to live in curious robot mode. No matter what I try I take an attitude of "It'll either work or I'll have a good story to tell."


Hi Scott,

Whats interesting is you are describing something very similar to a main principle of alcoholics anonymous. Let me sum it up: First you decide "Dude, I'm totally crazy, there is no way I can handle this, I am a drunk and I'm messing up my life" Then you say "I'm really not in control, but there is something/somebody in control.... god, higher power, something" then you say "I'm gonna just GIVE UP all my control to this other being.... because I obviously cant handle it"

Look up the 12 steps if you want the actual wording, but that is pretty much what you do. So actually this is very similar to your robot idea.... and let me tell you, it is the most successful long term program for alcoholics and drug addicts. I know some people think its a cult, and who knows some people I'm sure treat it like one. If you don't believe in god, then what you are doing is training yourself to trust your subconscious mind by tricking yourself into believing that your higher power has the best intentions in mind for you and if you GIVE UP YOUR CONTROL you are really letting god/subconscious mind make the decisions to not get your own fool self into trouble. It helps give you a level of acceptance that helps you deal with things without resorting to drugs and alcohol to kill the pain/frustration/anger/whatever.

Anyway I loved your blog entry.


Or you could just lean back and say to yourself:
"God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference."
Works pretty well for me.


Or you could just lean back and say to yourself:
"God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference."
Works pretty well for me.


I used to have what I could only describe as an anxiety attack. I discovered that if I sit back and enjoy the ride and watch things as they unfold, they lessoned in intensity and eventually stopped.

Essentially, I discovered that an anxiety attack is nothing more than a roller coaster ride. A roller coaster ride without any safety restraints. But where are you going to fall.

Urban Koda

Feeling of control...

I quit my job last year and did a 4 month stint as a self employed developer.

I am now back at a day job, mostly for the steady paycheck and benefits, but I know that if I got fired today, or if I chose to walk off the job, I'd be fine.

I have my current job because I choose to work... It's been the most liberating feeling, and hence the most enjoyable job I've ever had!


Best line of the post.
"I have found that many bad moods are caused by a feeling of not having control."
I experience this every day. In my job I randomly receive work. While I believe this shouldn't cause me to have a bad mood, it still does.


I was wondering who nabbed my stash of LSD! ;-)

Just me

THis post is very interesting to me as an alien from a different dimension here to observe your world. You will be happy to know we do the same thing in our dimension too.

Greg Wischnewsky

actually I've been doing something similar to this for years: Whenever I feel absolutely powerless in a bad situation (and you better than anyone know how quick this can happen in a corporate environment) I try to see the funny side of the matter. The most amzing - at least to me - fact is that there always IS a funny side. Of course this involves seeing other people as being ridiculous, but you soon learn to live with that.


thanks scott. i probably won't let you know if it helped, though.


I've found that the "curious robot maneuver" can sometimes get people even more mad at you during disagreements, even when I'm not doing it on purpose.

A while back I was at the gym and I guess I must've stood too close to some newbie older man and he got all mad and even said that I "breathed" on him. He went on this extended rant about how rude and gross it was. When he paused I simply said, "sorry." And he shot back, "No, you're not!" At this point I must've unknowingly and momentarily chortled with curiousity and amazement at the absurdity of his comment. He took this as a challenge to his manhood, "You think this is funny? Is this a joke to you?" As this point, yes, his behavior was a joke but I fought the impulse to vocalize that thought. He rambled on for a bit more with a few more vague threats and insults to my masculinity... the usual BS. After a few more words and a minor exchange with my buddy, the guy moved on.

I truly found the whole thing curious and bizarre. The guy just wanted to argue and start something. The only words that I spoke to him were "sorry." The fact that I didn't seem to want to take his bait and engage him only seemed to make him more angry.

I've never seen him again since.



I actually do this on a semi-regular basis... and it works surprisingly well. I find it's best to start with the words "When last we left our hero..."

(Note: for whatever reason, "when last we left our heroine" doesn't have the same effect. Weird.)


Tomas Liubinas

I do it sometimes. For example for me it is extremely exciting to think about what I am doing exactly in one day and trying to imagine myself in that situation. Actually it will be only partially present me. Hoo can't wait until seeing future me starting the car in the morning. Whole day that never happened before awaits me, and now it is so close as never!!

Greetings from Lithuania


ok this is one of your totally scary posts - every now and then you post something so relevant to my exact situation that it freaks me out.

I have been feeling funky due to lack of exercise for 2 weeks following some intense triathlon training. Lack of sunshine depresses me - hate the fall and winter esp rain. and as it turns out have been eating white rice in the last 4 days after days of sticking to proteins. Also severely stressing about lack of control in career. 4 out of 4.

So ok I'll give the curious robot maneuver a shot - am pretty fatalistic so I think I can definitely delude myself. Will post back next week to tell u how it worked.

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