The Power of Anti-Modeling

Day 3 of New Writing Habit

The power of anti-modeling

I believe most of you are familiar with the concept of modeling. This is the idea that you choose someone who has accomplished a goal, skill set, lifestyle, etc. that you want to achieve also, and so you study what they do – copying them, in order to copy their results.

Whether many of you actually apply this is another matter, but also a subject for a different post!

But there is an opposite method which I have found actually MORE helpful in my own life than modeling. And through this technique I have accomplished many things I am truly proud of, while avoiding countless pitfalls of many people around me.

That method is called anti-modeling.

The problem with the traditional method of modeling is that it can be really difficult to get access to the people you want to model.

Maybe you can find their autobiography or follow their blog, but in many cases the only access you are able to find is at best several steps removed.

But what is infinitely abundant is the number of anti-models out there.

Think about it:

How many people have accomplished already exactly what you are trying to achieve? A handful, a couple thousand, or maybe even a couple million people depending on how ambitious your goals are.

Now how many people have accomplished something you do NOT want? The answer is everyone else. All 6.99 billion of them.

How does this work in the real world?

It’s easy. Just look at your local garbage-man, that racist guy down the street, that uncle of yours who never amounted to anything, your cousin who dropped out of college and ended up in jail a few times.

Or even the uninspired masses who live day to day with no real sense of purpose.

All you have to do is observe the choices each of these people have made to achieve these outcomes.

Here are some examples that I have personally learned from:

  1. Many of those in business have accomplished great “success” but without a sense of purpose, and this ultimately leads to indulging in short-term pleasures like drugs, constantly getting wasted, or prostitutes.
  2. My mother has a fixed mindset when it comes to learning certain things, and so she is unable to do so. For example, if you say the word “math” to her she stops listening, and so she can never learn anything new about that topic due to her beliefs about it.
  3. My father is volatile and prideful, and the result is he has destroyed many (actually most) of his personal relationships, been to jail a few times for assaulting his girlfriends, and other things that are super uncool.

Now this may seem super judgmental (also might be TMI – apologies about that!). I suppose in some ways it is, but the point is not to make judgments about the person, but to observe causes and effects.

And so from these counterexamples I have learned 1) to always have a purpose instead of just hustle, 2) to have the growth mindset, and 3) the value of zenlike emotional consistency and humility, especially within the context of a relationship.

One example:

There is a common storyline that goes something like: get some kind of “normal” job out of college, get wasted and work a lame job until you are in your late 20’s, get frustrated/disenchanted with life and your work, quit your job to “find yourself” for a year or so, discover your purpose and work you enjoy in a radically different field or lifestyle.

Personally, I wanted to skip to the last part, so I took those who have lived the above as anti-models and did the opposite, going straight to the last step.

Another example:

There is a chain of causality that leads from a woman being enchanted by the idea of “chivalry” which inexorably leads in many cases to the effect of frequently dating “assholes.”

(It would take too long to illustrate here, but if you want to test it just ask any woman who mentions that she likes “chivalrous” men how many times she has dated asshole. The typical answer – a lot.)

The point then, is not that there is anything inherently wrong with being very focused on chivalry, or those who choose a corporate job out of college. But if you want a different outcome, than you can easily take control of the chain of causality which leads to assholes…or feeling like you wasted your early 20’s.

Just do the opposite of everyone who has achieved the opposite of what you want, and you will get what you want.

If you were intrigued by the idea, read more on modeling here:

Watch me make my first attempt at this new writing habit:

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