The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Losing Sucks …
May 15, 2007, 12:40 pm
Filed under: Comment

sad view

So this weekend, Jill and I were huddled around our phone in Singapore listening in as our lawyer bid for a house in Balmain that we not only loved, but were assured was ‘ours to lose’.

And guess what … we lost!

We had given our lawyer the maximum amount we’d offer because …

1 He was there

2 He would be immune from the ’emotional premium’ people tend to pay when they’re at an auction for a house they love 

… however it still didn’t stop me screaming to up our offer at the last second and end up feeling absolutely and totally gutted when immediately, we were out bid by a guy who seemed to not care he was paying absolute top dollar. [Can you hear the jealousy in my voice, ha!]

Anyway, whilst I could rant about how bloody flawed the house auction process is in Australia … or how we need Estate Agents who act on the behalf of the buyer as well as the seller … the thing I realised is that I haven’t put myself in a position for such disappointment in a long, long time.

That’s not to say everything in my life has turned out as I hoped … God no … but interms of actually putting myself in a situation where I can immediately [and undeniably] judge myself as either a ‘winner’ or a ‘loser’ … well, it’s been a long, long time and I have a sneaky suspicion I am not alone in this.

This doesn’t mean I only associate/do things that guarantee success and happiness … if only … I just think many people [including me] have a ‘subliminal inner guidance system’ that exists to minimise the chance of ever experiencing extreme disappointment [which as a byproduct, means minimising the chance of also experiencing extreme joy] – which results in us living – more often than not – a life of ‘mid-level satisfaction’.

Hence the jobs we choose, the places we visit, the goals we set etc etc are often not nearly as pragmatic as we would like/hope because we don’t want to find ourselves in a situation where we have to accept the undeniable fact we’re not good enough / brave enough / rich enough / successful enough.In short, we are a generation about comfort – or if I want to be more extreme about it, denial.

Of course I could be talking total bollocks … but before you slag me off, ask yourself when was the last time you did something truly outside of your comfort zone? 

OK … now you can slag me off, ha!

Yin yang

Ironically, what I am talking about is not only prevalent throughout Asia – but celebrated.

The theory of Yin Yang [the ‘balance’ between extremes] is embraced in all aspects of life – be it personal, professional or business.

Infact, it is so entrenched within society that it is genuinely hard to find anything that offers an ‘extreme’ out here – even down to the glasses of water you are given in meetings, which are often served ‘luke warm’ rather than cold or hot.

I guess the older I get, the more conscious I have to be that I can easily slip into ‘middle ground’ achievement mode – and given I’ve always been brought up [and followed] the philosophy of chasing the things that were the most important and exciting to me, that would be a terrible shame. 

On the plus side, it does help explain why one of IBM’s most successful campaigns featured the line: “No one ever got fired for buying IBM”

Anyway, enough of my whinging and complaining … time to get back to work – especially as I am now a fully fledged Asian Resident and you know how obsessed they are with work, ha!

24 Comments so far
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“I guess the older I get, the more conscious I have to be that I can easily slip into ‘middle ground’ achievement mode – and given I’ve always been brought up [and followed] the philosophy of chasing the things that were the most important and exciting to me, that would be a terrible shame.”

Don’t make me sing ‘Young at Heart’ at you; never settle for the middle ground, if you can help it. Can’t comment about ‘ouses, because it probably won’t be until I’m your age that I can afford one (nice bed sit in Vauxhall.. boo yah).

I’m reminded of this quote (however pretentious): “When a man is young he is usually a revolutionary of some kind. So here I am speaking of my revolution”. (Wyndham Lewis)

Keep that spirit going, is what I’m trying to say.

Comment by Will

A couple of years ago I did stand up comedy. If you want to put the ol’ ego on the line, there’s nothing quite like it.

Sorry to have missed your visit, by the way.

Comment by Emily

Thank you Will – and don’t worry, my Mum, woman, friends, clients and business partners will all make sure I don’t ever slip into beige Volvo driving, zip-up cardigan wearing, Mariah listening, wine-pontificating hell. And I thank God for that … ha!

Comment by Rob

If that “thing” that we’re trying to pull off doesn’t work then I will join you in looser land.

Comment by Marcus

Hey Rob, I’m sorry about your auction.

As for pushing yourself, I am currently deciding if I will take the easy path, or take a different step which will impact my personal life and my career path.

I grew up in an extended family of entrepreneurs and free spirits. I wanted the opposite of them, I wanted a nice safe job and stability. Now I’m not so sure. Although my scary option is prob pretty lame by other people’s standards, and I have promised myself I will never go through another auction.

Comment by Jade

Hi Jade …

I know where you’re coming from – but for what it is worth, may I suggest you take the road of excitement and challenge, because at the very least it will make you feel like you have accomplished or tried something interesting and new, which is always better than mundane mediocrity, ha.

Hell, even if things don’t quite work out the way you want, you generally come away with knowledge that sometime in the future, could be [and probably will be] vital in helping you move to an even better place – both personally and professionally.

Trust me … starting cynic was both a risk and a challenge [especially as a previous company, SPECIAL BRANCH, crashed and burned] … but thanks to the lessons I’d learnt and some brilliant people I’d met [George, Andy and Richard] I can say it has been one of the best things I’ve ever done and I am proud as punch that years later, we have 60 people around the World doing some of the most exciting and imaginative work for the best companies in the World.

It wouldn’t of happened if I’d taken a job at M&C I can tell you.

Good luck and if I – or anyone can help – shout. And did Brenda get intouch?

Comment by Rob

Hello Emily … please write about your stand-up experience, I’d love to hear about it if only because I can’t imagine how bloody scary it must be literally being all out on your own.

And I am gutted I missed you again in Oz – but I am back soon and DEFINITELY SEEING YOU OR WILL PAY $50!!! [There I go again, buying friends, ha!]

Comment by Rob

Bad luck.
Amusing sly dig at M+C 🙂

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Rob, I know the feeling. It pretty much drove me to write this post: . But I think the solution is quite easy: Never be satisfied with the status quo. It’s wonderful to enjoy the point when you achieved something but to stay unsatisfied is important. For me it is. Every day I walk into the office I have a smile on my face and some unsatisfaction in my head. Please, tell me if I am writing bullshit right now…ha.

Comment by Seb

Its that nature to push the boundaries that makes you lot so interesting as ad people.

We wouldnt want it any other way.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

“push the boundaries”…that’s a nice paraphrase for loitering at blogs swearing around. ha.

Comment by Seb

Its pushing the boundaries of slacking maybe? 😉

Comment by Rob Mortimer

I always seem to put myself into a binary win or loose situation, it just seems to be the way I am. I am actually quite used to “loosing” and when I do, I tend to do it by a mile and come down with a crash. I very rarely win but every now and then I do but generally things don’t work out, or I bugger it up or something.

This used to worry me a lot and looking at the way my life has gone over the last four years it would seem, from the outside, that things have gone from bad to worse; landing, eventually, were I now am, in a middle ground, not really do the things I want to do, but doing the things that simply need to be done to pay bills, support children and put food on the table.

It doesn’t worry me anymore though. It makes me angry and we all know what happens when I get angry. So I have to do something about it, and over the last 8 months I have been trying to do just that.

I am happier now than I have ever been because it feels like there is a new factor to the win or loose scenario and that is taking more time to think about the risks involved. And I have developed some rules around it.

Winning or loosing is fine – worry about neither

Winning or loosing through mediocrity isn’t fine – it means your in thinking jail

Winning or loosing through calculated craziness is just grand – no comment.

Comment by Marcus

heya rob.. you know, it’s ironic that you should write about disappointment. i did the same thing yesterday.
i was thinking about how the fear of disappointment prevents me (and others) from taking the risks we really want to take to get the things we really want. and all because i felt like i didn’t actually know how to deal with disappointment – it’s not as simple as taking vitamins or putting a band-aid on it.

perhaps being able to sell risk is equally about being able to sell disappointment and there are only a few people who know how to do that.

Comment by lauren

What’s the point of living if you only go after ‘safe bets’.

Thank God for my parents and their support, beliefs and hunger for a life rather than a lifestyle.

Good on you Marcus – lets see if you feel the same way if you-know-what happens, hahaha!

Comment by Rob

Its such an interesting topic.
Which i dont have time to write about now!

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Boundaries of slacking are still boundaries! But isn’t this R&D?

Marcus I love your post. I would see your anger as passion though & it is a great motivator.

Thanks Rob, a few things seem to be falling into place for me, and I am really enjoying the feeling of not knowing what’s around the corner – a hard place to be for a bit of a control freak. I haven’t heard from Brenda, I’ll post on her blog incase she didn’t come back to yours – not that anyone would do that though.

Comment by Jade

At the moment, I’m pushing the boundaries of slacking.

I’d like to push the boundaries in a work related field, but we shall see.

As for ambition – do you take the riskier option, or do you go for the name? Who knows….I say just do the one which will make you happiest on the whole, however simplistic that is.

Comment by Will

If “you-know-what” happens I may just wet my pants.

Comment by Marcus

We [ie: cynic] have just done some work for a venture capitalist firm [yes, I know, evil] based around this whole issue …

Basically our view is that the future of the commercial World is going to be about embracing risk potential rather than hiding behind it – which is why our core idea is to for them to be “Adventure Capitalists” rather than the usual ‘Business Investment Advisors’.

Ideas should be backed by people who understand ideas, not just figures and ROI potential – and given this mob have some of the best business developers in the World behind it, we want to acknowledge the ‘journey’ is as valuable and exciting a part of the experience as the destination.

Lets see what happens …

Comment by Rob

I think the term Adventure Capitalists is genius. Pure genius.

I am blogging on this at lunch.

Comment by Rob Mortimer


And the added bonus is that it will piss Andy off even further as I came up with it, hahaha!

Today is such a good day for me … for a change, ha!

Comment by Rob

Hi Rob. Talking of Adventure Capitalists, the ad is on the FTP for your comments. Jemma x

Comment by Jemma King


Comment by Rob Mortimer

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