Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Fool, the Smart, and the Wise -- Which One Wins in Relationships and Marriage?

There are three kinds of people, the foolish, the smart, and the wise. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to become wise, learning from the mistakes and successes of others and thereby avoid the mistakes that others have made, especially in regards to your relationship and marriage. Here’s how…

This week is almost gone! Time to buckle down and learn something useful to put to work this coming week, right? Yeah, yeah, yeah, you’ve got plenty of time for beer and sports, so give me a few minutes here to teach you something productive, albeit in one of the longer pieces I’ve given you (just a few extra paragraphs, so don’t panic), and then you can go out and play with your friends.

I had a pretty tough childhood because I was precocious and insisted on knowing everything. That in itself isn’t too tough, but I was also independent, and wanted to know everything by learning it the hard way. I learned a lot, too.

On the day my military career started, I was labeled a “mustang” or “maverick,” a guy who has a hard time getting with the program because he has a knack for finding a better way to do things and doesn’t toe the line when he should. I got through basic training, and then got into some sticky situations.

Nobody got hurt or killed because of my choices or actions, but hellfire did rain down on my head a few times, because for every few “atta-boy’s” I’d get for going above and beyond the call, there would be an “oh sh*t” to negate them in one fell stroke. My commanding officer was constantly running interference for me with the big brass, and finally everything came to a head and I was ordered to report to my CO’s CO, a two-star general who shall remain nameless for a variety of reasons, for an “operational competency review.”

After introductions and the traditional reading of my file (I still don’t know why they go through that little ritual, and I’m not sure they do), the general said to me, “Cunningham, you’re smart, too damned smart for your own good. I need you to wise up before you compromise an op and get yourself or one of my other men killed. Do you know the difference?”

Everybody in my unit, including myself, was young, full of piss and vinegar, drawing hazardous duty pay, and got off on all the gung ho ritual language; in true gung-ho form I replied, “Sir, I do not know. If the general would explain the difference I will deploy that knowledge in a swift, proficient, and distinctly military manner.” I had no idea what he meant by, “The difference,” let alone what “the difference was, so it seemed like a good time to let him to all the talking.

He got a glint in his eye and said, “Very well. There are three kinds of people in the world, the foolish, the smart, and the wise. The foolish are those grab-asstic pieces of crap who waste time and life by never learning from their mistakes. The smart do learn from their mistakes, even if they are like you and make a lot of them because they want to be smarter. The wise move through life with patience and purpose, paying attention to what’s going on around them and learning from the mistakes and successes of others so that they don’t waste time and life making the same mistakes that others have made before them.

“I need you and every man under my command to be a wise man. We have a system here that is based on the mistakes and successes of those who came before you. It is not perfect, but it does work. You may be able to improve upon it, but you will do so by following the system during operations and providing any feedback you have during the post-operation debriefing. We want anything you can offer that will help to achieve objectives and save the lives of well-trained fighting men, but the time to deviate from the program is not when you are taking fire. That is your CO’s job, and my job, not yours. Do you get me?”

I never forgot that bit about the foolish, the smart and the wise. My mission changed that minute, from trying to do it all on my own to trying to learn everything I could the most efficient way that I could, which for the most part has been to watch and learn from the behavior of others. To that end, we’re going to have an exercise right now to show you just how much you can learn from somebody else, even someone you don’t expect to have anything to teach you.

The following letter is one of the many success stories I’ve received. I chose it for this exercise because it explodes a myth and because on the surface it doesn’t even appear to be relevant to saving a stale or failing marriage or other committed relationship, yet it holds some of the best lessons you’ll ever learn. Meet Tom:

David,

I wanted to take a moment to give you some feedback. My wife and I were recently divorced after 15 years of marriage. We are both in our early 50's. I worked really hard to save my marriage using logic.

I lost her to a bad boy. He is a real bum, without a job and still lives with his mother even though he is in his 50's. What a real mooch.

For the longest time I tried to apply logic to what was happening to my marriage and I failed to understand just what was going wrong. I guess I was too ingrained into my habitual patterns. It was only after the divorce that I started to get your material and receive your newsletters. WOW. Boy, was I ever wrong in my approach to women. I did all the nice guy stuff and provided a good home, clothes, jewelry, cars etc. I worked my ass off to provide for her.

As I started to read your material I came to realize what a bad relationship I had been in and what really went wrong.

I came to realize that I had failed to create attraction in her although I had her affection. That was my fault. The dishonesty (for many years), the deceit, the cheating, the character defects, etc., are all her fault. In many ways our divorce is a blessing in disguise.

I have followed your advice and that of David DeAngelo's program of Sexual Communication. Man what a difference it has made in my life and my approach to dating. I am now not trying to be the nice guy and "win" her favors. I am more confident in myself and out to have fun. I have played with and am learning the real way to create attraction and it is working. My successes with the new me are just outstanding and I am enjoying my life and playing a lot more. I don't have to call for dates...they are calling me. Really attractive and quality women.

So I wanted to thank you for putting out the information that you do, in such a professional manner that us nice guys can see where we went wrong and how to fix it. Keep up the good work.

Sincerely
Tom

PS: Oh and by the way. The ex has noticed and wants back into my life. NO way in hell will I ever get back into her games again. She has lost the house, cars, clothes, her reputation, is in debt up to her eyebrows, etc. I could go on and on with what she has done to herself. Life is funny sometimes, but I have the ultimate revenge and it does taste good. Thanks.


So what can you learn from this story that will make you a wise man?

For starters, Tom didn’t just automatically blame everything on somebody else and assume no responsibility for what happened that led to his divorce. He buckled down and found information that gave him answers as to what happened and what he could change to make sure it didn’t happen again.

Lesson: Take personal responsibility when things don’t go as planned, figure out what happened, and learn how to make it go the right way.

Also note I didn’t write one word of advice targeted at those who are dating in "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage," yet Tom found all kinds of advice in it that helped him to be more successful in his dating life, BECAUSE HE WAS LOOKING FOR IT. Good information isn’t always where you EXPECT to find it, but it is always WHERE YOU FIND IT, if you know what I mean.

Lesson: be ever-vigilant in looking for things that can make your life better; you may not find a pearl in every oyster, but finding a gold nugget lying in a pile of animal manure or a trash can doesn’t make it any less valuable than if it was found in a creek or a mine.

Tom also didn’t limit his options in solving his problems, and took advice to broaden his search. In "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage," I teach readers how to evaluate their relationship or marriage to determine if they should try to salvage it, because if you are grossly mismatched in areas like your personal value system or personal tastes, it’s never going to work, and your time and effort is far better applied to make a dignified and peaceful exit instead of beating a dead horse only to fail in the end and exit under fire after war is declared.

Included in the advice for those making such an exit are people to contact to help protect your assets in the event that a property settlement war does break out, and advice to seek out advice specific to succeeding in the dating game by Shelley McMurtry, F.J. Shark, John Alanis, Tiffany Taylor, David D’Angelo, etc., because jumping back into the dating game blind is one of the scariest things a person can do, and I’ve found their material to be very logical and rooted in real-world cause-and-effect relationships.

Instead of saying, “I’m tired of reading. I’ve done this before, I’m just going to jump in and it will be better this time,” Tom recognized that a recommendation from one good source of information about another source of information was likely a good call because no information seller will risk trashing his reputation by steering a customer in the wrong direction for an affiliate sale and blow any possibility of future direct sales.

Lesson: Know your limitations, and do everything you reasonably can to obtain help in overcoming them by seeking the advice of those who have succeeded before you.

And as big as they are, those are the small lessons. Look in Tom’s post script (the paragraph that follows the “P.S.,” which stands for “post script,” for those of you who skipped that class in high school). His ex has noticed the changes in him and wants back into his life! The dating gurus will often say that this can’t happen, but you must remember that in the dating world, that’s most often correct. When you meet a stranger, your window of opportunity for creating attraction can be measured in minutes, maybe even a few seconds. But…

When you’ve been together for awhile and your interest is fully vested, that window could be measured in YEARS in some cases, and months in almost all cases. Women like the protective feeling of stability, and will give you ample opportunity to make things right IF they see that you’re trying to do so.

Lesson: Even if the divorce is final, as long as she hasn’t filed for restraining orders (which indicate that all hope is indeed lost in nearly all cases in the long term, and in ALL cases in the short term), or some other man hasn’t created intense attraction within her (which usually results in a restraining order anyway) ,it’s NEVER too late to fix it as long as the compatibility is there to support it.

Also note he held her accountable for her mistakes, and that ultimately being held accountable and having to live the life that she chose was the worst punishment that could be heaped upon her.

Lesson: Justice is sweet, while revenge is a dish that simply should never be served, unless it’s “self-served.” War isn’t just “the most spectacular of all human endeavors” (General George S. Patton), it’s the most costly and utterly destructive, on any scale.

Here endeth the lessons. Right now, some of you are saying, “Geesh, that guy is long-winded. That’s annoying!” while others are thinking, “Wow! That guy must really care about this stuff, because it must have taken him a long time to put that together to share it with me.” I do, and it did, several hours in fact. Several hours that I could have spent with family and friends, building something in my beloved workshop or enjoying another hobby, cooking an elaborate gourmet dinner, or numerous other things for myself instead of for you. If you don’t need this much help from me, I’m happy for you, really, but I’m doing this to help people in crisis make their lives better just as much as I’m doing it to help other people keep their relationships from falling into crisis.

Lesson: Never look a gift horse in the mouth.

Sorry, I couldn’t resist that last one. Seriously, I have a lot to teach you and everybody else who needs it so that you can be wise and keep from making the mistakes that others have made before you. We hit the high spots here in this newsletter and in my blog posts, but dig deep into the tangled and dark nitty-gritty in "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage," and no matter what shape your relationship is in, there are many valuable lessons in there for you, lessons that will help you make your relationship better than it has ever been if you should be in it or help you get out of it with your dignity and a few dollars in your pocket and move on to find happiness elsewhere if you’re in the wrong relationship.

Your next move is to http://www.makingherhappy.com to download your copy of "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage" and get started, because life is too short to wait. Never put off until tomorrow the success and happiness you can have today!

In the meantime, live well, be well, and have a wonderful day!
David Cunningham

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