How To Cut Through The Bullshit & Get What You Want

Nov 20

How To Cut Through The Bullshit & Get What You Want

This is a guest post by Ludvig Sunström of Start Gaining Momentum.

Have you ever felt forced to comply with the demands of others?

It’s easy to forget we actually have a choice.

Ultimately we can choose to do something radically different.

We just have to be willing to face the consequences and pay the price for choosing to do so.

Are you playing by anyone else’s rules rather than your own?

Are you living life to someone else’s standards?

You probably are to a certain extent.

This post is about doing less of that.

Who’s to Blame?

Maybe you’re in college because your parents thought it was a good thing for you and you didn’t want to disappoint them by saying no, but in doing so you placed their happiness above your own.

And now you’re the one who’s paying the price for it.

We only have ourselves to blame when we allow others to manipulate or coerce us into doing their bidding.

It’s common for us to forget that we actually do have a choice in any given moment.

It’s just that we block it out due to fear, laziness, or ignorance.

I want to give you a few practical tips for how you can return to that place of calm centeredness and remember that ultimately YOU are responsible for the things that happen to you, and not someone else.

It’s time to cut the damn excuses and take some responsibility for getting what you want.

Don’t Ask for Permission

A few years back I was part of a large team project and my immediate boss was a real manipulative prick.

The same could be said about two of the girls in the team. These three would always make you feel guilty if you didn’t do what they wanted you to do.

They had no respect or consideration for your time.

They expected you to do things for them and to prioritize their demands over everything else, including leisure or sleep.

Eventually I learned to avoid them because any conversation would lead to them trying to get you to do their work for them so that they could have more leisure at the benefit of yours.

And if you didn’t comply they would throw tantrums or try to freeze you out in subtle ways.

Another thing I learnt from that period was to not ask for permission to do anything from them as well.

Which leads me to my second  example…

Avoid Giving People more Power over you than what is Necessary

Not so long ago there was a group project in school.

My team mates were stupid enough to ask for permission from a power-hungry professor rather than to go along with the idea we had initially chosen for the project.

By asking for his permission in the choice of the project idea they gave the professor more power over them than what was necessary in that situation.

It opened up the opportunity for him to scrap our idea so that he could pawn off research work on us that he didn’t have the time himself to pursue.

In short, he “talked us into” taking his idea instead of our original one.

It is very unlikely that this would have happened if my team mates had not asked for permission but just went ahead with the idea and carried on with business as usual.

When they asked for his permission they implicitly suggested that his expertise and opinion mattered greatly in the subject.

He took full advantage of this and framed the situation as if he had our best interest in mind and that if we were to disagree with his suggestion we would basically have to imply that we didn’t trust his expertise and would offend him.

After the meeting my team mates were very upset and astonished at the turn of events.  But what were they expecting?

That a power-hungry person would forgo a chance to exert authority over others when given such a fine invitation?

Well, I told them what had just happened.

I then said that I was fine with going along with the project on the professor’s terms, but if they weren’t and if they didn’t want to accept his idea then we must tell him that as soon as possible.

But they blocked my words out. They were too emotional at that time.

They unconsciously felt they did NOT have a choice any longer – and now they were angry at him for “forcing us” to go along with his idea.

They then resorted to various excuses and told some other students what an asshole the professor was.

But the fact remains that they were the ones who gave their consent and allowed it to happen.

So, how can you make use of this?

Practical Takeaways

1. Never give people more power over you than what is necessary. Do not ask for permission to do things. Just do it and apologize afterwards if it goes badly. Your sense of initiative will usually outshine any negative spillover, at least in the long-term.

 2. Acknowledge that you are never being completely forced. It may be a challenging thought to face, but ultimately you do have a choice; it’s just a matter of overcoming the fear that blocks you from rationally seeing that choice.

When your lack of acceptance to a circumstance distorts the situation you tend to feel forced to commit to a certain course of action.

Then you have to consider whether you will accept or reject the frame of reality that you’re being confronted with.

If you decide to reject it, are you willing to pay the price that may come along with doing so, or will you whine like a baby?

Will you think about it and evaluate what the consequences of rejecting the decision may be?

In most of the times those consequences are worth taking.

Assess the current situation then make a conscious decision and act accordingly. Don’t bitch about it.

Have you been through any similar situations recently?

About The Author

ludvig sunstromLudvig Sunström runs Start Gaining Momentum. A blog all about practical self-development, philosophy, and stepping up in life. Check out his killer e-book, Breaking Out Of Homeostasis.

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  1. What you describe here with that example from school is so damm common… In my dorm there is a girl who NEVER stops bitching and complaining about how her chemistry teacher is mean and gives the class sooo much homework..

    Lol. Perhaps a shifty example, but it just ANNOYS me so much having to listen to her in the kitchen every day.. Had to vent a bit :P

    • Hey Josh,

      Been there done that, buddy.

      I actually live in a dorm myself. Chances are I’d find myself in the same situation if I walked down to my kitchen!

      • Haha. So you can relate!
        So, anyway, good post. It got me thinking in these concepts today as I went about school, thinking
        about how people always ask the professor stupid shit that really is unnecessary, they just want his validation so that they can feel safe in what theyre doing. It is so insecure it makes me irritated.

    • Kevin Cole /

      Also been there man. It’s tough to find too many people in University that have figured this shit out.

  2. There is definitely a fine line between asking permission and giving others power to take away your initiatives. On top of that, if you’re in a situation in which you’re dealing with unreasonable people, it’s almost impossible to ask permission and expect a reasonable answer, like the situation you described.

    For me, I believe that going ahead and doing something is great, as long as the consequences are minimized and aren’t going to put others in a bad position. As an engineer, my mind automatically goes to times when I’ve wanted to make changes to equipment being used. If I ask permission, I might get some push back, but I might also get some valuable insight. So I often weigh the risk of messing up and ruining some equipment versus getting a new idea in play, and choose accordingly.

    It’s always a balancing act.

    • Yeah, some people are just very power-hungry by nature and try to control your actions as much as they can, reminiscent of a sadist who enjoys the control purely for the sake of it.

      I myself am not an engineer, but I feel the same way.

      Ultimately I think this is something that has to be practiced (my take on just about everything), most people are in my opinion a bit too willing in giving away their power to people in an authoritative position.

      You could even go way deeper into it and say that a lot of people don’t really know their rights as an employee or a citizen and therefore answer unnecessary questions despite not needing to do such a thing, or complying with excessive demands from police officers.

    • Kevin Cole /

      That’s a really awesome example Ryan. Weighing it out and seeing what the true danger is of taking that action is solid. I’m sure it allows you to safely and logically make a decision that’s beneficial for everyone involved.

  3. Hi Ludwig,

    This was a really interesting post and it made me think of the times when I was younger and was led down a path for someone who had more ‘authority’, at the expense of using my own creativity. It is better to try our way and fail (although there isn’t really any failure) than it is to be manipulated by someone else who really has their own agenda at heart.

    Thank you.

    • Kevin Cole /

      Definitely agree Hiten. Doing your own thing and learning as you go is always better than following someone else’s path.

    • Yes!
      That’s absolutely my take on it as well. It’s just takes a bit of time and effort to make sure to get away from such people and produce enough value to become independent.

  4. Don’t ask for permission to do things. I agree with that for the most part. I’m married so I sometimes have to work with my wife on things. But for the most part, you’re right – don’t ask for permission. Just do it.

    I remember someone once told me it’s easier to do something bad and get forgiveness later than it is to get permission to do it in the first place. It’s so true.

    By the way, I’ve dealt with people like the ones you had on your team project. Uggh, they annoy me so much. Eventually you either just give in to them or you ignore them and push back. I advise pushing back and standing up for yourself. I say it’s better to push back and refuse to be a doormat for people like that.

    • Kevin Cole /

      So true Steve. There are always going to be times in my life where asking permission is necessary. But it’s definitely clear that the large majority of times it’s best to err on the side of action.

      No one wants to be a doormat. That’s definitely no fun.


  1. Ray Dalio: 5 Principles for Success - […] avoid taking personal responsibility is an indicator that you’re being run by your brain’s inherent mechanism to conserve energy. …

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