I’m on a war against bullshit.

Not other people’s bullshit. That war is unwinnable. Everyone lives in their own private bullshitorium and they will never leave it even to say “hello” to you.

But my own bullshit. I can’t stand when I’m thinking or saying something and then I realize, “I just lost the battle against my own bullshit, ONCE AGAIN”.

Here’s five quotes that help me win the battle, at least with myself.

bullshit quotes

“There’s always a  good reason and there’s always a real reason.” 

When people give you their bullshit reason for doing something always assume they are giving you a good reason but not the real reason.

Example: my 14 year old wants to see the movie “Jaws” tonight that’s playing outdoors by the river.

“It’s a classic and I’ve never seen it,” she says. That sounds like a good reason. The real reason is that friends will be there and she wants to hang out with friends, maybe BOYS.

Or when an employee says, “that’s not technically possible because X, Y, or Z.” That might be a very good reason. But everything is technically possible with a little bit of work. The real reason is he was just being lazy.

Or when the girl says, “I’m really tired today. Can I see you some other time?” That might be a very good reason. But the real reason is she didn’t like me. OK. Fine.

But for me, I always want to give the real reason. Not just a bullshit good reason.

Or when someone says, “I can’t hire you right now. The whole company is in a hiring freeze.”

That’s a very reasonable reasons. But they just don’t like you.

Which leads me to the next quote.

“I don’t worry about what’s in your wallet. I only worry about what’s in my wallet.”

Too many people want to know what’s in everyone else’s wallet. That’s why jobs suck.

Because you can never make more money than your boss even if you are more valuable. The master will simply refuse to free the slave.

Every time you work for someone you limit the money you could be making.

Smart people focus on what’s in their wallet because that’s how they make money. The fastest way I’ve lost all my money was when I spent too much time wondering what everyone else had.

Despairing because I thought I had so little.

Which leads me to

“Infinite patience gets you immediate results”. 

I get impatient for everything. And then I don’t sleep, and I pace, and I hunger, and I’m left empty.

When I remind myself of that quote I’m no longer empty. I have patience.

If you are going from a state of “I want it now!” to a state of patience then you will feel less anxious about getting “it”, whatever “it” is.

The second result is when you are less anxious you are more likely to focus on ways you can achieve whatever it is you are trying to get.

Or you may discover, magic of all magics, that you don’t really need whatever it is you were anxious for. You have infinite patience now. It turns out you can be happy without it.

Better to have no goals than bullshit goals. And almost all goals are bullshit goals.

This works in negotiation also. It’s Negotiations 101 if you go into a negotiation with the attitude, “I can take this or leave it” then you will get what you want out of the negotiation. No other rule of negotiating is as important.

“Steal and get Rich”

Randy introduced me to Wyclef Jean from the Fugees. Wyclef was pretty focused on all the girls around him so we weren’t able to have a deep and soulful conversation.

As we were walking away, Randy said, “Wyclef just licensed ‘Staying Alive’ and is going to do some rap around it. That will trivially make it to platinum”. Rap + Staying Alive.

It’s like Roy Lichtenstein in the 50s taking cartoon strips from “True Romance” and applying his pop style to it. “True Romance” + pop art == commercial success.

bullshit quotes

(Roy Lichtenstein stealing images from True Romance comics)

Or Daniel Kahneman taking “behavior psychology” and combining it with economics to come up with some theory that got him a Nobel Prize.

Or Mark Zuckerberg taking stalking and combining it with the Internet. Stalking + Internet = largest social network ever.

If you steal you have to be clever. Take something old and something new and put them together. Like the bestselling novel “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies”. One reviewer said it was “100  percent terrible”. Sold over 100,000 copies, was a NYT Bestseller, and a comic book, a movie, and two sequels were written. Not so bad.

Sometimes I steal from myself. I take old posts written on this blog and I completely rewrite them. My style has changed in the past three years. I like taking old style + new style to create new stories.

Finally, I like this quote:

“Criticism is futile.”

How often do we try to argue with people?

Have they ever once said, “thank you for pointing out to me that I’m inferior as a human being. I’m going to go lie down in a garbage can now.”

I bet they have never said that. I will bet you one million dollars right now.

And yet…and yet… you want to bring out the bullshit, don’t you. You want to argue with someone right now.

Why add their bullshit to my bullshit. I have enough on my plate. Why argue with them about their plate? Do you really want to eat those leftovers?

Arguing with people is like reading your email at 4 in the morning. There is absolutely no good that can come of it. It’s just like scratching an itch. Scratch and only you bleed. Nobody else.

I could throw in another quote. The other quote is: “Nobody ever takes advice.” But I’m going to leave it out. Nobody would pay attention anyway.

Related reading: How To Steal and Get Rich 

(What’s some other ways you can tell someone is BS-ing you? Let’s build our own bullshitorium to protect ourselves)

  • Schlitz

    I’m currently at home and on leave (recovering from a brain tumor removal, but all deficits will be temporary, thanks) I have loads of BS stories (pun intended?) that I want to share with you, but the specifics might get me in trouble. I know where you are coming from. This blog was spot-on, and I will be reading more. Thanks for giving a guy something to read.

  • Jon Lea

    The bullshit I hate the most is when a woman tells you that although she doesnt see you in a romantic light, she really does ‘value your friendship’ and thinks youre a great person, and reallywants to ‘know you better as a friend’. Because as soon as you hear this, you get this nasty feeling that at best, this ‘friendship’ aint gonna happen, and at worst shes gonna turn psychotic if you as much as acknowledge her in the street!

  • Heather F

    “Or you may discover, magic of all magics, that you don’t really need whatever it is you were anxious for. You have infinite patience now. It turns out you can be happy without it.”

    And then without fail, have you noticed? It shows up.

    Ironic epilogue: But it’s too late and you no longer care about whatever it was, so you walk past and forget it (or them). I want to know why life does this.

  • Jim Hutchinson

    I got this from Backstage Wall Street: if someone gives you two reasons why they don’t want to do something, neither are the real reason. They are reaching to avoid telling you the real reason.

  • Jim Hutchinson

    I got this from Backstage Wall Street: if someone gives you two reasons why they don’t want to do something, neither are the real reason. They are reaching to avoid telling you the real reason.

  • Bill Riedel

    In my opinion the major bullshit indicators are: Safe – as in we want to be safe or we will make sure you are safe – The British Med. Ass. in their “Guide, Living with risk” flatly states “Nothing in life is safe” and I add not even a condom.

    The 2nd is “evidence-based decision making” – that is perhaps an oxymoron as it is actually “decision making based on the interpretation of the evidence” and if the interpretation of the evidence is false or bullshit, so will be the decisions based on that interpretation.

  • Bill Riedel

    Take a look at the following papers:
    Former Queen’s University Norman B. Macintosh’s Accounting – Truth, Lies, or bullshit. A Philosophical

    For anyone wanting to go deeper into bullshit the book by
    Gary L. Hardcastle and George A. Reisch, 2006, Bullshit and Philosophy –
    guaranteed to get perfect results every time, Open Court, Chicago is a must
    library addition.

    While the entire book is worth reading, although some chapters
    are heavy slugging, the following chapters are highly recommended:

    Chapter 6 by University of British Columbia Professor Alan
    Richardson – Performing Bullshit and the Post-Sincere Condition, should be read by every student thinking of post graduate studies.

    Chapter 14 by Heather Douglas – Bullshit at the Interface of
    Science and Policy: Global Warming, Toxic Substances, and Other Pesky Problems, page 215, is must reading for policy wonks, politicians and bureaucrats.

  • Bill Riedel

    Perhaps the best references are:
    James Bellini & Kati St. Clair (2006) The bullshit factor – the truth about corporate disguises, lies & denial

    Joe Bennett (2012) Double happiness – how bullshit works

  • Bill Riedel

    Also look for certain patterns/phrases: I once worked with a person who would signal a lie or bullshit with – “god is good to me” – no kidding.

  • India Garcia

    IDK. who ever said Honesty was supposed to impressive/ admirable? That’s inference.

  • Fred McNaughton

    This is brilliant!

  • Sarah

    I totally agree with “critisim is futile”. People don’t hear it. Focus on fixing problems not people, let others worry about themselves.

  • Sonia Garces

    Yeah add to that is a Promise that someone you love will go back for you because you were there when he needed You most but never did