This is part two of a series of blogs about a thought experiment on cults. I’m laying out the rules of a non-existent cult. Read Part One to get up to speed.
In the Kazam Cult, complaining about things you have the power to change is forbidden.
I bumped into an old colleague I hadn’t seen in ages on the street a few weeks ago. I asked him how he was and he immediately responded with the following.
“Just on my lunch break here. Can you believe they still only give us 30 minutes? What a joke. I hate that place.”
You may not want to believe this, but if you constantly complain like this you are signalling your weakness to the world. It’s a short term emotional release that fixes zero problems.
In the Kazam Cult we help each other by reframing our complaints. Every time somebody complains we ask “what are you doing to change that?” This will happen to you so often you’ll mentally ask yourself the question before the complaint leaves your mouth.
Hate your job? Stop complaining and make a plan to change it.
Your Romantic Life
I have some friends who have moved to different cities and countries. This is a bold step and it takes guts. Good for them. They had many good reasons, such as job availability and exploring different cultures. Yet I worried for them when they’d complain with variations of the following:
“The women/men of Belfast/Northern Ireland are stuck up. The people in [insert place] are much nicer. I’ll have better luck there.”
What are the odds that millions of people all share a common personality trait that hampers your romantic success? Could it be more likely that the flaw is with you?
These same friends when questioned about their romantic aspirations would complain some more:
“There aren’t enough women/men who are loyal, good-looking, wealthy, funny, rich etc.” They’d continue with a long list of standards no human could fulfil.
Here’s a thought experiment all single cult members must do:
Imagine your perfect partner. Imagine all the personality traits and interests you’d want them to have. Imagine how physically attractive you’d want them to be.
Now ask yourself: “What’s in it for them?”
What would this person you are imagining date you? What do you bring to the table? If you can’t give a long and detailed answer about this you’re in no position to expect attention from anyone.
I also have friends with the opposite problem. They go too far in the other direction, focusing on one of their own perceived flaws. They use this as the sole excuse for their lack of success.
“I’m not rich enough.”
“I’m not good looking enough.”
“I’m too shy.”
The lost goes on. If you are one of these types of complainers here in the reality:
Millions of people throughout history with the same ‘flaw’ succeeded where you fail.
The only flaw is in your mindset.
Instead of complaining, divert your attention inwards. Build on your strengths. Be honest with your weaknesses and work to improve them. The Kazam Cult is an ideal place to learn about reframing your complaints to positive action.
You will face resistance by joining the Kazam Cult. Your friends and family will worry about you. Your colleagues may laugh about you. You may find that you’re passed over for promotions in your job.
The temptation to complain will grow. “How dare they! These people are so prejudiced and stupid. It’s my life, I can join this cult if I want to. The world is such a bigoted place.”
Here’s the reality: you’re joining a cult. Of course people are going to think it’s weird. Their fears are completely justified.
Here’s another reality: every belief system in the world has advocates and detractors. The Kazam Cult is no different.
Instead of complaining, we take responsibility for helping outsiders understand the cult. Seeing ourselves as victims is a seductive strategy in modern times, but not a useful one.
If people are afraid, try to communicate your beliefs to allay their fears. Don’t talk about the cult incessantly, which may justify their skepticism.
If they are mocking, persist in your mission to be a victor, not a victim. Your success will be the evidence that they are wrong.
Keep an eye on this blog for the next rule. If you’re interested in cults you should book me for a persuasion show because it might prevent you from joining one. Especially mine.
I’ll also be doing a persuasion lecture for a public audience again soon. Follow me on Twitter to find out where.