Today saw the posting of my latest self-improvement piece for Real Clear Life. The idea came to me after another roller coaster ride at the game of golf (or tennis, I forget which). Why is it, I wondered, that when your game’s not on and you try everything to fix it, it just gets worse, but when you finally give up and say “To hell with it, I don’t care anymore,” suddenly you start playing better?
Then from deep in the memory bank I remembered the catchphrase “Sometimes you just gotta say what the f**k,” from the movie “Risky Business.” Tom Cruise, in his breakout role, plays a suburban ’80s kid in boat shoes and buttondowns who wants to get into Princeton and is all but having a nervous breakdown over it.
Here’s a teaser:
In “Risky Business,” Tom Cruise’s character learns he can trust his wits and get through harrowing situations by taking action in the moment rather than brooding over possible negative outcomes. When you invoke the mantra “sometimes you just gotta say what the F,” you give up the demand that things must turn out a certain way, what Albert Ellis, one of the founders of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, called “must-erbation,” according to Dr. Elliot D. Cohen, who studied under Ellis. “Some people are approval junkies who must do well,” says Cohen, who is executive director of the National Philosophical Counseling Association. “It’s almost like they don’t care about what they’re doing, only what somebody is going to think of them.” In therapy sessions, Dr. Cohen has clients activate this suboptimal state of mind and then practice letting it go, “because, in the end, you don’t have to think that way. Then you can just be you, focus on what you want to, and not feel like you’re on display.
“And once you start cultivating such virtues,” he continues, “they become self-proliferating. You feel better about yourself, which makes you more likely to perform better. As soon as you’re on the right track, you find other benefits opening up.”
Check out the piece here. And if you’re the kind of guy who only wears white buttondowns, hey, cut loose and try a blue one. — CC