21 Peculiar Human Tendencies

“Men go to far greater lengths to avoid what they fear than to obtain what they desire.” ~Dan Brown, The Da Vinci Code.

We humans can be very peculiar doing odd things at times. Consider the following nonsense that most people have been caught doing at one time or another:

1. We insist on claiming multi-tasking abilities even though we know from experience that you can’t get very far carrying two watermelons with one hand, usually gracing the ground with both.

2. We pay college professors much more than kindergarten teachers, even though kindergarten teachers have much more influence in developing the critical skills in in life to help children succeed when they get to college, like building good character, following necessary rules and getting along with others.

3. We think dessert is the best part of a meal, so we eat it last when we are the least hungry?

4. We struggle to get more money each year during our advancing careers, ending up with the most at the end, when we need the most at the beginning to get started and need the least towards the end, when we are getting rid of all the stuff that the money bought.

5. We are quick to support a popular truth, only to find it is but a half-truth which we then have to explore its other half, to get to the whole truth. We usually get lost somewhere in between.

6. We fight wars over political and religious beliefs, which we really don’t understand that well and hide the confusion under a different disguise we don’t understand either.

7. We justify harsher punishment for convicted criminals, thinking that doing wrong intentionally is worse, even when accidental crime results in the same harmful consequences. Put another way, if a person shoots someone and is a good marksman, he gets the maximum prison sentence whereas if someone has the same intent but happens to be a poor shot, he gets off with a few years. The myth of free will is hard to swallow, but it is the only way to finally realize what freedom you really have.

8. It is common knowledge that the best opportunities in life come around twice, but most people don’t even notice the first one until after the second has already come and gone.

9. We waste the most valuable time in the present moment remembering the past or anticipating the future, even though they are not really available to experience and then wonder why we are not where we want to be.

10. We know there are no true short-cuts in life or any free lunches, but that never stops us from looking and trying, even by doing the same thing over and over again and boldly expecting different results.

11. Big dreaming combined with hard work is the only path to genuine success, but too many people dream little dreams and put forth the same level of effort, always wondering what is wrong. In other words, what starts wrong usually doesn’t end right.

12. We spend thousands of dollars on feel-good drugs and get-better therapy and quibble about over-paying $300 for a new puppy, when we know darn well 30 seconds of puppy breath does more good than a year’s worth of therapy and drugs.

13. During the first half of life we spend a great deal of our time taking things apart to analyze and understand them better, only to realize that it is probably better to put them back together where they belong, during the second half of life. Is this really progress?

14. When we do something wrong, we want to get the same punishment that others get, no matter the circumstances, but when we do something right, we want a better reward  for ourselves compared to what others are getting, even for similar good deeds.

15. A person can learn more clues how to be more successful in studying a failure than having a success, so why do we try so hard to avoid failing?

16. We claim that one half of life is better than the other half, but how would you know that without a comparison between both halves?

17. We think we know what we want from life, but we know deep down that life knows what we really need, but who do we listen to most, at least until we don’t get the results we want?

18. Life really is simple—control the few things you can control in the here and now and let go of the rest. We make it more difficult in our attempt to control more than we can, while ignoring the things we can control, over-focusing on the un-controllables and losing track along the way.

19. Instant need gratification rules today, even though we can be assured it arrives in an empty package, because it is the anticipation that provides the decoration, making it full.

20. It is smart to lean towards being positive, optimistic and hopeful. But it is also smart to have a plan b and c in your back pocket just in case. There are usually too many empty back pockets at the wrong time.

21. Reality is just fine the way it is. The only thing about reality that needs repairing is our faulty and incomplete perceptions of it, but that realization usually comes after too many wasted repair efforts.

Maybe all this nonsense happens for a reason and I am sure we will find one sooner or later.


“Human nature is potentially aggressive and destructive and potentially orderly and constructive.” ~Margaret Mead

William Cottringer, Ph.D., Certified Homeland Security (CHS) level III, is Executive Vice-president for   Employee   Relations   for   Cascade Security Corporation in Bellevue,   Washington,   sport psychologist, and adjunct professor in criminal justice at Northwest University. He is author of several business and self-development books, including You Can Have Your Cheese & Eat It Too, The Bow-Wow Secrets, Do What Matters Most, ‘P’ Point Management, Reality Repair, Reality Repair RX, Thoughts on Happiness, Pearls of Wisdom: A Smart Dog’s Tale. He can be reached at 425-652-8067 or ckuretdoc@comcast.net.