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Getting Rid of the SM Syndrome.

27 Apr

I decided I would take some time to write a quick post based on my experience while working in a joiners workshop where I used to make doors and windows. The subject matter isn’t about the job itself more of a person I used to work with. Well two really but the main focus is on SM.

"banging head against a brick wall"

They are his initials and I doubt he will ever see this article, I will not name him fully as I do personally get on with him and respect him however he did do something that drove me up the wall. Interestingly he did it over and over again, it got the same results each time he did it, and they were not the results he wanted.

Yet he still did it! So I have called it the SM Syndrome. In short, the syndrome is nothing more than banging your own head against a wall, being surprised that you have a head ache then blaming the wall for getting the headache.  And then… doing it all again the next day.

You see we used to work with a young lad, for this post I shall call him Bod, at the time Bod was about 19 and he was great, I really liked him, however from my understanding he was mildly Autistic. It didn’t affect him to the degree he couldn’t work, he was good at what he did, tried to do the best he could but just wasn’t as fast and flowing as the rest of us.

What I would witness at lunch breaks actually made me realise that he was in fact the more normal one of the lot.

Bod used to play bingo on a Thursday night where his mother worked. He enjoyed it and was never embarrassed to share the fact with us. He had done it for a while before I started working there, and he continued for several months after my first day.

It became a weekly occurrence that on a Friday lunch time (And other days too) SM would ask, ‘Did you go to bingo last night?’

But a time came when Bod eventually stopped going to bingo. Unfortunately SM did not stop asking, you see he wasn’t asking out of interest and niceness, he was asking as a form of teasing, ‘the daft lad is doing bingo, at 19, he is not right’ kind of attitude.

Week in and week out he would ask, this went on for months after he stopped doing bingo, the answer would always be no, the more he asked the more wound up Bod would get. To the point where he would either not answer or get stroppy, which would in turn make SM go off on one ‘I only bloody asked’ would be his final outburst.

The problem is he would never ask me the same question over and over again and if he did he knew that he ran the risk of getting ‘verbals’, if he did it to some of the other guys in the workshop they might have given him a knuckle as their answer!

He knew by constantly asking the same question week in week out he would wind people up yet appeared oblivious that the same thing would happen to Bod, he seemed genuinely surprised that he would be cheesed off.

Yet he would still ask Bod over and over again, making his lunch break a misery, and oddly enough, his own!? It would always end up in an argument and words would be said. He would make out that Bod was the ‘odd one and a strange boy’.

Now I ask you, which one is the odd one here?

I would sit back and think, why do you keep doing the same thing over and over again knowing what the answer is and what the outcome will be and still get wound up about it?

Seriously, which one is the ‘daft lad’?

You are probably wondering where I am going with this story, the reason this experience stays with me is because I still cannot get over how ‘daft’ we can be, we all can do things that will bring in results that we don’t want yet we still do it.

I have mentioned in the past that I used to have an addiction to ‘Star Trek’ and ‘Stargate’ repeats, I would see it starting, and think ‘oh this is a good one’. I would sit and watch it for an hour, unless it was a Saturday where they would show a weeks’ worth in one sitting. I’d know what is going to happen, I also knew how it would end, and I knew that after I have seen it all again, I would be annoyed with myself and disappointed that I had not got done what I had planned.

I would waste time doing the same thing again, knowing what the outcome will be, and yet I still did it. Fortunately I am a lot better now, my addiction has been quashed since understanding my behaviour and how futile the self-imposed cycle is.

It is a hard one to swallow but sometimes when we fail in business or start some online work but just never get round to finishing, it isn’t someone else’s fault, or some problem we have with some software. It can be down to nothing more than the habits we have developed and allow to run us.

We can be blinded at times to what we really do. It wasn’t lack of time or talent that prevented me from building websites or squeeze pages in the past. It was simply me ‘boldly going into the well-known’ once again with Captain Picard.

I bet you didn’t realise that you suffered at times with the SM Syndrome, sit and have a think, turn all distractions off, and really think about what you do, what you want to do, what you don’t want to do and the results you get. I guarantee you will find many moments driven by your own SM Syndrome. – Andi the Minion

Related article Why WE are sometimes our own worst enemy: The story of Ibiza Bob.


Why WE are sometimes our own worst enemy: The story of Ibiza Bob.

24 Feb

A chance meeting with an old school friend inspired me to write this, I won’t name him but I shall give him a nickname and from this day forward he shall forever be known as Ibiza Bob.

It had been many years since I had last seen Ibiza Bob but last summer I bumped into him while walking through town. We got chatting, he noticed I had caught the sun and asked where I had been, I told him that I had been to Ibiza for ten days. ‘Oh larvvly’ he said while lighting up the second cigarette of our chat ‘A place I’ve always wanted to go to.’

‘Well you should, it’s a great place.’ I said. The conversation took an interesting turn. While chatting about Ibiza and holidays he explained to me that he had never been abroad, he always wanted to but couldn’t afford it. He really wanted to go to Ibiza, the Club capital of the world since our ‘clubbing days’.  

He went on to tell me how it was the Governments fault that he couldn’t afford to go. Too many taxes, (I agree) lack of proper jobs, he was under paid blah blah blah. I know times can be hard for some people but please keep reading.

‘So what do you do for fun?’ I asked, surely he hasn’t spent most of his adult life locked away in his room. He sparked up another cigarette and told me about the ‘reet boozy doos’ he has ‘down t’pub with his mates’ every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday evenings, and the full day sessions on a Saturday and Sunday. Something we did together years ago, I stopped many years back, and he has still been going strong ever since!

That is five nights including two days of drinking and smoking followed up by the must have pizza or kebab. No wonder he couldn’t afford to go abroad! The Government and their taxes didn’t stop him from going to the pub.

Now everyone has the right to enjoy what they enjoy and the point of this story is not to tell people what to do or not do but I have to ask, did he really want to go to Ibiza? The only real reason he hasn’t been is because he hasn’t pursued it or changed his habits so that he could eventually go. I wanted to go, and I have, several times.

Twenty two years have passed since I and ‘Ibiza Bob left school, so it is roughly nineteen years since we went clubbing like we did. How can he have not scraped enough money to go in nineteen years?

I didn’t ask how much he would spend each evening out, but I can tell you this, had he decided to stay in one of those nights, say Wednesday for example, if he just saved £20 an evening (a night of beer, fags and a kebab normally costs far more than that!) over the course of the year he would have saved £1040.

Enough for a trip to Ibiza perhaps? Imagine what he could have saved if he had put the money he would normally spend into a jar from one night over nineteen years!

The reason I write this post is this; the world seems to be full of people like ‘Ibiza Bob’ (maybe non Ibiza Bob is a more apt name) Complaining that their lives are somehow stunted by ‘other peoples’ actions. Like the Government with their high taxes and funding cuts, but in reality what is really often holding us back is us, plain and simple.

Who has been frustrated that they didn’t get round to doing something they really wanted to do, but somehow managed to sit in front of the TV for several hours watching the same mind numbing rubbish as the previous week?  (I am guilty of this one- Andi the Minion)

I had a terrible addiction to re watching Star Trek and Stargate re runs. Strangely they end the same way as the last ten times I watched them. I even knew what was going to happen!

We can be very short sighted, it is easier to see the faults of others but not our own.  We are creatures of habit, doing things without questioning whether it is good for us or hindering our growth and prosperity.

Just being aware and changing one or two small things can have an immense impact on the quality of our lives?  So is there something that you can change to make your life better, stop watching the tenth repeat of ‘Family Guy’ and learn some new skill? Perhaps one less evening out could save money towards that dream holiday? Or maybe you could stop smoking and use the money to fund a new part time work from home business? That one could change your life for the better!

Andi the Minion