A lot of stuff going on in the news lately. Some of it has been baked into the pie for years. For example, BofA, not a favorite of mine for several reasons, has decided to add a $5.00 monthly fee for checking accounts with debit card usage. I talked about the probability of this happening almost three years ago to the date, HERE. In a nutshell, Walmart and other large companies were being charged $.44 for the ability to accept card-based payment. This ability benefitted them greatly, but they didn’t like the fee that they had to pay the banks for these benefits. They lobbied a liberal Congress and appealed to the growing hatred of all things banking to make this fee go away. Elizabeth Warren, Senate candidate and populist firebrand also believed that these fees were wrong, and targeted them in her Consumer “Protection” …thing that has less to do with protection of consumers and more to do with screwing business. But this post isn’t about that—totally.
The BofA thing is enough to piss people off all by itself. Maybe enough for some youthful ne’er-do-well to say, “Screw this, I’m gonna make my voice heard and attack the people responsible!” I might be with you on that. I might take a trip with you to Illinois to pound on the office door of Mr. Durbin. I would easily back your play to go to your local Senator and give them a piece of your mind. Hell, I might go to Harvard or wherever Mz. Warren is housing her Senatorial bid from. Any and all of these would be wise choices, as would (obviously) protesting against Walmart, 7-11, and BofA. But you know where it doesn’t make sense to protest? Wall St. Any of the other number of places holding “Occupy _____” protests (every time I see the word “occupy”, I always think of a port-a-potty or other public restroom, but that’s beside the point). The young people are definitely hitting a target, but the target they are hitting isn’t the one that caused the damage.
This is a large-scale version of hitting the wrong target, but people do it in their everyday lives as well. It’s the fat guy who decides to cut out eating green food. Easy target, nobody likes green food, but it won’t help him (as a side note, I eat a decent salad every weekday, and twice on Tuesdays). It’s the young person with the femur sticking through their nose getting pissed off that there aren’t enough good jobs for young people. These are all funny enough, but sometimes it isn’t funny or even that out of the ordinary.
I know people who do the “extreme couponing” thing, and they save money on items they will either genuinely use or are planning on donating for a good cause. I got no problem with them, as long as I’m not sitting behind them in line at the grocery store. If you are doing something healthy and beneficial for you and your family, bless you for it. But some people go overboard. On the show, “Extreme Couponing” there are people who really have a sickness. Many of the people on this show will talk about how they are doing it for financial reasons. Many will talk about past events where they were deep in debt or facing foreclosure or bankruptcy. They found that they were able to significantly reduce their grocery bills. Their stories are no different than many others who aren’t on TV. So what do these people do next? Of course, they join collectives, buy tons of newspapers for the circular inserts, some even resort to dumpster diving or worse, outright theft. They are able to get a lot of groceries for a little money, but at what cost? How much time is spent saving cents instead of making sense?
Whenever you face a problem where you need to find a target to hit, look critically at it.
1. Will hitting this target solve a problem, or will it make me feel better about myself? Both are valid goals. Sometimes we need to take the “W” because we haven’t had one in a while. You need to be honest with yourself if this is the case. Eventually, if you keep aiming for the wrong targets, regardless of whether or not you hit them, your problems start becoming bigger than they were.
2. Is the target that I need to hit within reach? Sometimes problems are too big and too far away to deal with directly. Sometimes, you have to attack them in a progression from other directions.
3. Am I even able to see the target I need to hit? We all do it. Nobody is an expert on all things. We see a problem and we attack it like we are supposed to, but what if we can’t even see a problem? Every once in a while, you need to step back and decide if you are missing a problem that you shouldn’t. Maybe this means having a deep conversation with a loved one. Maybe it means going into a temporary isolation from people who tell you how great you are all the time. I mean, really! If you were as awesome as everybody says you are, you wouldn’t need to read F4Y! And you DO need to read F4Y.
4. Why am I aiming for THIS target now? Again, we all do it. We know something is wrong, but we don’t want to deal with that PARTICULAR issue right now. So we find something else that IS a problem that needs to be dealt with. Take caution here, because eventually you will run out of other problems to target.
Sometimes just hitting any target takes a lot of talent and skill. When you hit those targets, you deserve for someone to tell you, “Nice shot, man”. I prefer to hear it from Filter. Enjoy!