If All Else Succeeds, Be Late for Your Own Funeral

talking headsSixty-seven years ago, George Orwell observed that “[Political] prose consists more and more of phrases tacked together like the sections of a prefabricated hen house.”

Nowadays, you can’t watch cable news for 10 minutes without hearing a talking head hold forth with a “having said that,” a “game changer” a “double down” or a “walk back.” If everything is “robust,” then nothing is. Most excruciating, of course, is “at the end of the day,” which should never apply to anything but the actual end of an actual day.

When these cringe-inducing mal mots insidiously lodge themselves in our minds, is there anything we can do to ensure that we don’t unconsciously secrete them the way the mouth secretes saliva?

Turns out the nascent but burgeoning field of cliché-prevention offers hope via a variation of The Costanza Doctrine (aka “DTO” or “Do The Opposite”): “Say the opposite.”

Why not lower the bar, cast a narrower net, see the small picture, be impactless or take it to the same level? Don’t plant a seed but do rush to judgment. To put it positively, always give 10 percent. To cast things in a negative dark, if at last you do succeed, don’t try again.

Is a daunting project making you feel you’re out under your head? Ratchet it down, step it down, ramp it down. Keep it up and down. When things go north, remember that you lose some, you lose some. You can always throw the baby in with the bathwater, throw out the towel or, if need be, throw the towel over the bus.

What if you’re finding it easier done than said to “embrace your uniqueness”? Dare to be the same. When it comes to owning it, doing your own thing, being your own man and being your own boss, don’t. Think inside the box!

Recognize that you’ve got none of the time in the world. So count those chickens before they hatch, look that gift horse in the mouth, judge that book by its cover. Be unreal, get unreal and keep it unreal.

Know that however random the universe appears, some things are always true. Always say die, always say never, always look back. Happily, love means always having to say you’re sorry.

In the small scheme of things, God does not work in mysterious ways. Since nothing happens for a reason, you might as well live against the moment, or, as The Buddha didn’t say, be out of the moment. Let go of letting go, because if you wait long enough, nothing changes. This too shall not pass. In the same words, it isn’t what it isn’t.

Ignore the most important insight John Lennon never had: “Life is not what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” On the same hand, be mindful of what sages from Ram Dass to Ray LaMontagne haven’t advised: “Be there then.”

michael-sigman-12Go for the grain and against the gold. Bite the hand that feeds you but not the bullet. Don’t break a leg but do get a leg down on the competition. In terms of jobs, jobs, jobs, give up your day job but don’t do whatever it takes to get the job done.

In long, do worry, don’t be happy.

Least but not last: When the chips are up, do not take your time, slow down or “be the ball.” Rather, be afraid of your own shadow.

If all else succeeds, be late for your own funeral.

Michael Sigman

Reposted with permission from Huffington Post

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Published by the LA Progressive on June 20, 2013
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About Michael Sigman

Michael Sigman is a writer/ editor, media consultant and the president of Major Songs, a music publishing company.

Prior to his current activities, Sigman was the president and publisher of LA Weekly, the nation’s largest alternative newsweekly, from 1990-2002. He joined LA Weekly in 1983 as general manager and was named publisher the following year.

Sigman was also the founding publisher of OC Weekly, sister paper to LA Weekly, when it was launched in 1995.

Prior to joining LA Weekly, Sigman was a music journalist, and served as a reporter, then managing editor, then editor-in-chief of Record World Magazine, a leading music industry weekly, from 1971 to 1982.

Michael Sigman graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude, with a BA in Philosophy, from Bucknell University in 1971. He currently serves on several Boards, including InsightLA and Society for Singers, and is Chairman of the Board of the Wright Institute, a non-profit psychoanalytic institute which provides inexpensive long-term psychotherapy to the poor.