No I'm not talking about those little "like" boxes you see on Facebook and showing up everywhere else now. Not yet anyway. I'm talking about things we want. If your thinking food, sex, booze, drugs...no, none of those.
The one thing all of us humans want and I never hear anyone talking about is approval. Yep, approval. And it is certainly not the same for people. I would go so far as to say there are not any two people in this world whose approval needs are the same. Oops, I said needs, didn't I? The thing is, theoretically we don't need approval. We need food, shelter and clothing. The trouble is, in our society how we get those three needful things, is approval. That's the rub. That's where we have to do a lot of things we really don't want to do. And most of the time we have to try to get liked before we get approval. And getting liked is tricky because it is really easy to convince ourselves we like something just because we don't hate it. And it is even easier if someone says, please!
You are probably thinking I'm putting way too much importance on this like thing. Oh yeah? Given a choice between two candidates, how many employers hire the guy they like the least?
This approval thing begins early in life. Because once we get big enough to realize there is something more to living than our belly and our butt, whether we are too cold or too hot, we want entertainment. It is not hard to imagine us parents thinking this, "okay kid you can have that toy if you're good and maybe, just maybe you can have it anyway just because I like you."
Al Capone said, "You can get some of what you want with a kind word but you can get more of what you want with a kind word and a gun." I'm going to paraphrase and apply it this way, "You can get some approval by doing only what you want to do, but you can get a lot more by doing things you don't want to do." And it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure this out, little kids figure it out. It is just not conscious in our minds, at least it wasn't in mine until I began thinking about this blog.
Now the question becomes so what? We have to do things we don't want to do. That's not news. Maybe it kind of is. How many of us have done things we regretted later? And often it begins with something trivial. It starts out by clicking like on Facebook or Google+ to some stranger because you don't want to hurt her feelings. First thing you know you are in a conversation with this person you really don't want to talk to and she is online every time you log in! And she has friends! Oh jeez.
But all kinds of things happen. I decided to begin blogging and thought I would spend maybe an hour or two each day on it. So I began and nothing happened. No one read it. I told myself that didn't matter. I had begun the blog for several reasons and approval had nothing to do with it. But it did. Because why was I looking at those stats? We can't get away from that damn approval. We seek it in about everything we do.
I've spent a couple days working on this thing and at least 50% of the time I thought I would never publish it. Mainly I kept writing to get a handle on what I was doing as a new blogger. How had it gotten out of control? Because it had. I was spending much more time on it than I had intended and a lot of that time was reading other blogs. And the reason, honestly, get those stats up! Of course I did find blogs that I really liked but I found a lot that didn't exactly crank my tractor. And then I realized that sometimes, approval, as much as we like it, isn't worth the cost and it doesn't matter if it is blogging or some other endeavor. So how many "like" boxes are checked or how many followers I have is a whole lot like money. I will never know when I have enough but I will know the cost is too much if I get to thinking like me, please.