Archive for June, 2011

The Idiot Stab

Friday, June 24th, 2011

There are times in life where caution, premeditation, and over-consideration of consequences must be cast aside so that your goals and ideas can become realities instead of constipated brain exercises. Let’s face it, thinking something through completely before taking action could take weeks, months, or forever if you’re hung up on “perfect planning.” In many instances, therefore, I prefer to take an “idiot stab,” which means I take some form of action – ANY will do – that will start the ball rolling in the general direction of my objective.

This strategy works in those countless, annoying situations where you want to try something you’ve never attempted, or achieve some end, but there is an obstruction standing in your way. Many times, the problem is internal, and has to do with your own fears. When you think about doing something to move forward, your anxious mind starts its negative patter of what-if’s. What if I fail? What if I don’t like it? What if people laugh at me? What if I lose money? What if I’m disappointed with the result?

Unfortunately, though, your mind won’t leave you alone for choosing inactivity either. The patter in your head changes its tack, but the talk still crowds out any hope of psychic peace. What if I regret never trying this? What if I don’t try it and miss out? What if I could have been a millionaire? What if I look like a loser to my friends and family?

Yikes – by about this time, you’re headed for the nearest liquor store!

Sometimes, another person is standing between you and what you want to do. An example – the longed-for promotion you know you deserve, except that your boss hasn’t offered it and seems less and less likely to do so every day. Or the spouse who keeps promising he’ll clean the garage so you can actually park your car in it, but it’s a year later and he still hasn’t started organizing his 145-piece tool collection housed on every square foot of floor space.

Is it any wonder that I’ve been driven to the idiot stab by these frustrating quandaries? I have to say, the stab has provided me instant relief many a time. Just a week ago, for example, I noticed my boyfriend’s long pants were so worn, they were fraying at the bottom. Since he only has one or two pairs of non-jeans pants, I decided he could use a couple new pairs. However, being a guy, the last thing he cares about is shopping for pants. I got positive lip service to my proposal that we go out together to buy them, but I knew actually doing this would rank a negative on his numbered list of priorities.

So I took a stab – went to a men’s clothing store myself, and picked out two pairs of pants. Because he’s a tall man, I had them adjust the bottom hems to match the length of other pairs I had peeked at in his closet. So proud of myself, I was – I had done my research, taken action, and would now present him with two new, lovely pairs of pants!

Well, here’s the downside of the stab…it often results in calculation errors. Probably because there is basically no calculation used. Go figure! Anyway, the pants were too tight in the hips, and too short. Ugh! Why can’t these tricky manufacturers agree on the actual length of 34 inches? I wondered if my over-$150 speculative pants purchase was to go down in flames.

But here is the glory of the stab technique. Even though I blew the particulars of the project, my actions resulted in my boyfriend putting attention and effort toward making things right. We met at the store, and exchanged the non-fitting pairs for two others that fit and were even more stylish! Plus, I lost no money on the exchange. A happy ending, thanks to the stab.

I have used the stab in countless other areas that appeared too awesome to accomplish via thoroughly-planned execution: going into business for myself, writing, getting my kid admitted to and enrolled in college, going on a vacation with no particular destination in mind.

I even used the idiot stab on the example above, trying to get my husband to clean the garage. Finally, without consulting him (stab), I hired a team of maids to get the place in shape. They worked all day, organizing, dusting, mopping, and throwing away trash. Well, was my husband surprised when he came home from work! Perhaps “surprised” isn’t the word I should use. “Mortified” might work better, on second thought. He viewed this triumph of cleanliness as a conspiracy to make it so he couldn’t find his “stuff” for a year. Actually, his complaints continued for well over a year, maybe even up until the time of our divorce.

See what I mean? The idiot stab, which anyone can use (no minimum intellect required), stirs the pot and sets things in motion. More often than not, I’ve been happy with the results: I’ve either eventually reached my goal, or gotten something much better. In the case of my husband and the garage, not only did I get a clean garage, but also eventually a handsome, new boyfriend with very nice pants.