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EDIT: I did not write this. A link to the article and the explanation for why I posted an abridged version has been at the top of this post from the beginning.

Article: http://www.cracked.com/blog/6-harsh-truths-that-will-make-you-better-person/

Author: David Wong

The following is an edited/abridged version because 1) the original is paginated and has a lot of extra crap 2) the full text is too long for a reddit post 3) the removed parts are basically redundant 4) posting it here makes it easier to read and more likely to be read.

6 Harsh Truths That Will Make You a Better Person (Abridged Version)

I want you to try something: Name five impressive things about yourself. Write them down or just shout them out loud to the room. But here's the catch -- you're not allowed to list anything you are (i.e., I'm a nice guy, I'm honest), but instead can only list things that you do (i.e., I just won a national chess tournament, I make the best chili in Massachusetts). If you found that difficult, well, this is for you, and you are going to fucking hate hearing it.

#6. The World Only Cares About What It Can Get from You

If you want to know why society seems to shun you, or why you seem to get no respect, it's because society is full of people who need things. They need houses built, they need food to eat, they need entertainment, they need fulfilling sexual relationships.

Either you will go about the task of seeing to those needs by learning a unique set of skills, or the world will reject you, no matter how kind, giving and polite you are. You will be poor, you will be alone, you will be left out in the cold.

#5. The Hippies Were Wrong

Here is the greatest scene in the history of movies (WARNING: NSFW LANGUAGE):

Alec Baldwin's Speech from Glegarry Glen Ross [Video]

For those of you who can't watch videos, it's the famous speech Alec Baldwin gives in the cinematic masterpiece Glengarry Glenn Ross. Baldwin's character -- whom you assume is the villain -- addresses a room full of dudes and tears them a new asshole, telling them that they're all about to be fired unless they "close" the sales they've been assigned:

"Nice guy? I don't give a shit. Good father? Fuck you! Go home and play with your kids. If you want to work here, close."

It's brutal, rude and borderline sociopathic, and also it is an honest and accurate expression of what the world is going to expect from you. The difference is that, in the real world, people consider it so wrong to talk to you that way that they've decided it's better to simply let you keep failing.

If you protest that you're not a shallow capitalist materialist and that you disagree that money is everything, I can only say: Who said anything about money? You're missing the larger point.

#4. What You Produce Does Not Have to Make Money, But It Does Have to Benefit People

Let's try a non-money example so you don't get hung up on that. The demographic that Cracked writes for is heavy on 20-something males. So on our message boards and in my many inboxes I read several dozen stories a year from miserable, lonely guys who insist that women won't come near them despite the fact that they are just the nicest guys in the world. I can explain what is wrong with this mindset, but it would probably be better if I let Alec Baldwin explain it.

In this case, Baldwin is playing the part of the attractive women in your life. They won't put it as bluntly as he does — society has trained us not to be this honest with people -- but the equation is the same. "Nice guy? Who gives a shit? If you want to work here, close."

So, what do you bring to the table? Because the Zooey Deschanel lookalike in the bookstore that you've been daydreaming about moisturizes her face for an hour every night and feels guilty when she eats anything other than salad for lunch. She's going to be a surgeon in 10 years. What do you do?

"What, so you're saying that I can't get girls like that unless I have a nice job and make lots of money?"

No, your brain jumps to that conclusion so you have an excuse to write off everyone who rejects you by thinking that they're just being shallow and selfish. I'm asking what do you offer? Are you smart? Funny? Interesting? Talented? Ambitious? Creative? OK, now what do you do to demonstrate those attributes to the world? Don't say that you're a nice guy -- that's the bare minimum. Pretty girls have guys being nice to them 36 times a day. The patient is bleeding in the street. Do you know how to operate or not?

"Well, I'm not sexist or racist or greedy or shallow or abusive! Not like those other douchebags!"

I'm sorry, I know that this is hard to hear, but if all you can do is list a bunch of faults you don't have, then back the fuck away from the patient. There's a witty, handsome guy with a promising career ready to step in and operate.

Does that break your heart? OK, so now what? Are you going to mope about it, or are you going to learn how to do surgery? It's up to you, but don't complain about how girls fall for jerks; they fall for those jerks because those jerks have other things they can offer. "But I'm a great listener!" Are you? Because you're willing to sit quietly in exchange for the chance to be in the proximity of a pretty girl (and spend every second imagining how soft her skin must be)? Well guess what, there's another guy in her life who also knows how to do that, and he can play the guitar. Saying that you're a nice guy is like a restaurant whose only selling point is that the food doesn't make you sick. You're like a new movie whose title is This Movie Is in English, and its tagline is "The actors are clearly visible."

I think this is why you can be a "nice guy" and still feel terrible about yourself. Specifically ...

#3. You Hate Yourself Because You Don't Do Anything

"So, what, you're saying that I should pick up a book on how to get girls?"

Only if step one in the book is "Start making yourself into the type of person girls want to be around."

Because that's the step that gets skipped -- it's always "How can I get a job?" and not "How can I become the type of person employers want?" It's "How can I get pretty girls to like me?" instead of "How can I become the type of person that pretty girls like?" See, because that second one could very well require giving up many of your favorite hobbies and paying more attention to your appearance, and God knows what else. You might even have to change your personality.

"But why can't I find someone who just likes me for me?" you ask. The answer is because humans need things. The victim is bleeding, and all you can do is look down and complain that there aren't more gunshot wounds that just fix themselves?

Because in my non-expert opinion, you don't hate yourself because you have low self-esteem, or because other people were mean to you. You hate yourself because you don't do anything. Not even you can just "love you for you" — that's why you're miserable and sending me private messages asking me what I think you should do with your life.

Do the math: How much of your time is spent consuming things other people made (TV, music, video games, websites) versus making your own? Only one of those adds to your value as a human being.

And if you hate hearing this and are responding with something you heard as a kid that sounds like "It's what's on the inside that matters!" then I can only say ...

#2. What You Are Inside Only Matters Because of What It Makes You Do

Being in the business I'm in, I know dozens of aspiring writers. They think of themselves as writers, they introduce themselves as writers at parties, they know that deep inside, they have the heart of a writer. The only thing they're missing is that minor final step, where they actually fucking write things.

But really, does that matter? Is "writing things" all that important when deciding who is and who is not truly a "writer"?

For the love of God, yes.

See, there's a common defense to everything I've said so far, and to every critical voice in your life. It's the thing your ego is saying to you in order to prevent you from having to do the hard work of improving: "I know I'm a good person on the inside." It may also be phrased as "I know who I am" or "I just have to be me."

Don't get me wrong; who you are inside is everything — the guy who built a house for his family from scratch did it because of who he was inside. Every bad thing you've ever done has started with a bad impulse, some thought ricocheting around inside your skull until you had to act on it. And every good thing you've done is the same — "who you are inside" is the metaphorical dirt from which your fruit grows.

But here's what everyone needs to know, and what many of you can't accept:

"You" are nothing but the fruit.

Nobody cares about your dirt. "Who you are inside" is meaningless aside from what it produces for other people.

#1. Everything Inside You Will Fight Improvement

Misery is comfortable. It's why so many people prefer it. Happiness takes effort.

Also, courage. It's incredibly comforting to know that as long as you don't create anything in your life, then nobody can attack the thing you created.

It's so much easier to just sit back and criticize other people's creations. This movie is stupid. That couple's kids are brats. That other couple's relationship is a mess. That rich guy is shallow. This restaurant sucks. This Internet writer is an asshole. I'd better leave a mean comment demanding that the website fire him. See, I created something.

Whatever you try to build or create — be it a poem, or a new skill, or a new relationship — you will find yourself immediately surrounded by non-creators who trash it. Maybe not to your face, but they'll do it. Your drunk friends do not want you to get sober. Your fat friends do not want you to start a fitness regimen. Your jobless friends do not want to see you embark on a career.

While other people are telling you "Let's make a New Year's resolution to lose 15 pounds this year!" I'm going to say let's pledge to do fucking anything — add any skill, any improvement to your human tool set, and get good enough at it to impress people. Don't ask me what -- hell, pick something at random if you don't know. Take a class in karate, or ballroom dancing, or pottery. Learn to bake. Build a birdhouse. Learn massage. Learn a programming language. Film a porno. Adopt a superhero persona and fight crime. Start a YouTube vlog. Write for Cracked.

But the key is, I don't want you to focus on something great that you're going to make happen to you ("I'm going to find a girlfriend, I'm going to make lots of money ..."). I want you to purely focus on giving yourself a skill that would make you ever so slightly more interesting and valuable to other people.

[–]widec 239 points240 points  (1 child)

Saying that you're a nice guy is like a restaurant whose only selling point is that the food doesn't make you sick.

Amazing, I've never heard "nice guys" been summed up so well.

[–]haitouchi 85 points86 points  (1 child)

Misery is comfortable. It's why so many people prefer it. Happiness takes effort.

Nice one there.

[–][deleted] 42 points43 points  (1 child)

Cracked.com is 80% inconsequential and mildly amusing, 19% bullshit and 1% golden. This may be that 1%.

[–]MarkarthAlchemist 7 points8 points  (0 children)

Reading this sort of thing from Cracked of all places is a hell of a note. They must have received some real bad emails.

[–]ToTheLogicalExtreme 61 points62 points  (2 children)

I masturbated furiously to this.

[–][deleted] 12 points12 points

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[–]sk11ng 18 points19 points  (0 children)

It took effort

[–][deleted] 75 points76 points  (11 children)

Fucking fantastic.

I would add one thing that I have learned rather harshly in the last 5 or so years: Never rely on anyone else. Never. If you are in a life situation that is contingent on someone else, get out of it, get independent. your independence is arguably your greatest strength as a man. If you're living with someone, they will flake on the rent. They will bail. Whatever the situation may be. Do not rely on anyone but yourself.

[–]mcooney9790 32 points32 points [recovered]

Dude come on. You really telling people that your Roomate will inevidably screw you over? I agree not to be a parasite of course but you need to learn some degree of trust.

[–]OBJHamSandwich 37 points38 points  (4 children)

I don't think that's entirely the point he was trying to express. You can trust people, but don't make them your knight in shining armor. Always be able to fall back on your own accomplishments.

[–]DeadBabyStew 13 points13 points [recovered]

Never trust someone else to do something for you that you can't do yourself.

[–]numbers328 7 points8 points  (2 children)

O come on. Can you give yourself an appendectomy? Can you build a car? You need to trust people to behave as they have behaved in the past. Flakes gonna flake and haters gonna hate. I agree though that when it comes to things like work it is best to have a backup plan for all situations and plausible points of failure.>Never trust someone else to do something for you that you can't do yourself.

[–][deleted] 1 point2 points  (1 child)

I really wanted to ask you if you could download an appendectomy, but I stopped myself.

[–]numbers328 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I would if i could. easiest appendectomy ever.

[–]anonysaurus 2 points3 points  (0 children)

No.. but if you arent prepared when they do.. you are the one responsible for getting yourself in that mess.

After being dicked over quite a few times you learn not get involved in shit you cant handle on your own.

Independence is also not given as much credit as it should. I even sold my house because I wanted more freedom. I was dependent on my job just to live month to month.. fuck that shit. I rent cheap and have a boatload of money in the bank. Im even quitting my job in 3 months to do something fun with my life.

[–]i4mn30 2 points3 points  (0 children)


Don't wait for someone to start your business. Don't wait for others, don't rely.

[–]2 Senior Endorsed Contributorvengefully_yours 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I learned that one also. Its a bit more difficult to be independent when you are disabled, but if I can do it, a 20 or 30 year old can too. Its a long story, but I was dependent on the ex's dad after I was injured in the desert back in 04, and it took a few years to gain back my self. I felt like a loser having to rely on someone else, now I don't have to.

[–][deleted] 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Your comment about independence is a bit ironic considering the main point of the article is The World Only Cares About What It Can Get from You. I suppose you don't eat food grown by farmers?

[–][deleted] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

That wasn't my point. Of course we all live in a society.

I'm saying don't, for example, make your daily workout depend on you being a guest on someone else's gym membership. They'll probably stop going or decide to bring another guest instead of you at some point.

[–][deleted] 16 points16 points

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[–]ButterMyBiscuit 15 points16 points  (4 children)

Only if step one in the book is "Start making yourself into the type of person girls want to be around." Is the very essence of PUA.

Nah, that's the essence of TRP. There's plenty of tryhard PUA goofballs.

[–][deleted] 31 points31 points

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