Thursday, May 01, 2014

the 10% that voted for him won a bunch of money

"Moe" was one of the fellow students in my survival school course.  Moe lost 100 pounds in the six months prior to survival school, dropping from nearly 300 pounds into a normal weight range.

On the ride to the airport to attend survival school, Moe's roommate let slip that there was a betting pool on how long Moe would last.  Survival school is tough.  One former Air Force airman previously died on the course, from dehydration.  Moe pried out of his roommate the fact that out of 25 betters, only two bet that Moe would finish out the course.  All the other people bet that he would give up partway through.

Moe was demoralized by this.  He described how bummed he was to find out that 90% of his friends had bet against him.  

In the end, Moe did not quit.  No one in my group quit.  I think this was partly due to me.  I was by far the slowest.  I was always walking at the end, with the person doing the sweep.  And I didn't quit.  If the person struggling the most hasn't quit, why would anyone else quit?  

On the last day, as we prepared to re-enter the real world, Moe said, "My coworkers are going to be surprised.  But they won't care.  Almost all of them bet against me.  They wanted me to fail."

He turned on his phone, and posted an update that he finished.  An hour later, he checked his phone again and looked up in shock.  "Everyone wants to buy me a drink," he said.  "They all want to have lunch or dinner, and congratulate me.  I got so many congratulatory messages."


The next morning, I was talking to J, another student.  

J said, "Moe doesn't understand that guys don't encourage each other like women do.  They don't say, 'oh, you're definitely going to make it!'  Instead they say, 'You're going to fail.  You're going to fall on your face.  No way you're going to finish.'"

"Wow," I said.  "But they do congratulate each other sometimes?"

"After it's done," J said.  "Then they said, 'Good job'.  'Nice work'.'"


Recently I noticed that a good percentage of posts on PostSecret or forums I read are about people who want to take the leap and start a company or move to a new city or switch careers.  Almost all the comments are positive.  I wonder if it's true that real-world men are trash-talking?  If so, how do men manage to make life changes?  You would think women would be the ones starting all the companies, if they're the only ones with emotional support.

Also, this bodes well if you are making a big change and getting a lot of flak from guys.  When you succeed, they will all turn around to congratulate you, so there is no need to worry that the flak will go on forever.


Mike said...

This is one of those truisms that I don't know how true it is, the idea that men respond well to comments that criticize and challenge, and women respond well to comments that praise and encourage. But by these standards, trash-talking a man would count as emotional support.

Anonymous said...

I am no psychologist, but I think the online vs. in-person aspect can make a difference. In person we (males) are expected to assert and maintain alpha status among other males. In person we can let go of that because who really cares where the person is, they are not a threat to me.