A funny way to understand #HashtagYourLife

Let’s do this a little differently! I’m going to tell you three jokes, each of which makes a point, and where they overlap … that is what the #HashtagYourLife system is 🙂 .

Joke 1 (The car mechanic): A man takes his car to a mechanic because the engine has been making strange noises and keeps stalling. The mechanic investigates for a few minutes and then whispers “Aha!” to himself. He fetches a large hammer, reaches to the back of the engine, and whacks it hard. Then he starts the engine up, and it’s purring beautifully. Problem solved. He gives the customer a bill for $300, and the customer gets upset. “How can you charge me $300 just for hitting the engine once?” “You’re right,” says the mechanic after a pause. “Let me adjust that invoice for you.” He scribbles a bit on the paper and hands it back to the customer. On it he has now written: “Hitting the engine with a hammer: $10. Knowing exactly where to hit: $290.”

Joke 2 (Paint by numbers): A woman is walking through a building when she hears laughter coming out of one of the rooms, so she looks in. “73!” someone shouts, and the room erupts with laughter. “21!” another calls and they all start laughing again. There’s a pause until “86!”, which again produces peels of laughter. This is very curious, so she goes in to ask. One person explains, “We meet regularly to tell each other jokes. But we found it can be slow to tell the whole story, and since we know so many of the same jokes, we just numbered them. So now we don’t waste time, we just shout out the number, and everyone knows which joke we’re referring to.” The woman thinks this is great, and asks “Do you mind if I try?” She randomly picks a number, of course not knowing what joke it refers to. “17!” she exclaims, but her effort is met with silence, everyone just stares at her. “Did I say something wrong? Why is no one laughing?” A voice near the front replies, “It’s because I already told that joke just a few minutes ago.”

Joke 3 (The hunters): Two hunters are out in the woods when one of them collapses. He doesn’t seem to be breathing and his eyes are glazed over. The other guy takes out his phone and calls the emergency services. He gasps, “My friend is dead! What can I do?” The operator says, “Calm down, I can help. First, let’s make sure he’s dead.” There is silence for a moment, then a gunshot is heard. Back on the phone, the friend says: “OK, now what?”

Lessons (this kills the joke)

The first joke (OK, they’re probably more like ‘slightly amusing anecdotes’) is all about identifying the real problem, and how essential that is in finding a solution. The second joke is about being able to take a complex concept and to reduce it to a mere label, in this case replacing an entire joke by just a number while still being able to convey the humor. And the third joke reminds us that failure to communicate clearly can have severe consequences.

What happens when we can’t (or even just don’t) correctly identify the problem?

  • People get into a relationship with the wrong person, because they don’t notice the major personality mismatch and red flags
  • We get stuck in analysis-paralysis, trying to make the right decision, without getting anywhere
  • We see something strange, then embarrass ourselves when we comment on it, when actually it’s quite sensible
  • We blame someone for something, later only to realise you hadn’t had your coffee (lunch? nap? sex?) yet? And actually the problem was your being grumpy, it wasn’t them

What’s the value of using labels?

  • You can tell your friend that she’s experiencing ‘impostor syndrome’ without a 5 minute explanation about what belief structure and rationalisation she has created in her mind
  • We can refer to a ‘recession’ without having to go into the details about what each economic indicator needs to be to qualify as a recession, and people still know what we mean
  • Even if you’ve not read “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus”, it’s still possible to be able to say to your partner “Sometimes you’re too Mars when I need Venus”, and he can still understand

And what if we can’t communicate clearly?

  • Have you ever spent an hour trying to communicate to your partner why the relationship is failing, and they are even more unclear afterwards than before?
  • Have you ever tried to give someone good news, and they miss the point and get upset, thinking it’s bad news?
  • Have you ever taken what someone said to you at face value, only later to realise they meant something quite different?
  • Has anyone ever got annoyed at you because you didn’t understand their directions, when actually you think their directions were rubbish?

These are exactly the problems that #HashtagYourLife seeks to solve!

How to Massively Improve your Life with #HashtagYourLife

This website is designed to bring together the above three components, in a way which is fun, effective, and memorable.

The steps to improving your life are simple …

  • Read one of the #hashtag-stories on this site – the first one, the latest one, one who’s title catches you, or even a random one. Read any one
  • Understand the fundamental concept that the #hashtag represents
  • Take some time to consider where this situation played out (or is currently playing out) in your life. Some instances might only concern you, others might be you in relation to others
  • Sometimes just correctly identifying the nature of the issue, without all the emotional baggage and ‘real world’ complications, is freeing. Sometimes, it is in identifying what the essence of the issue is that you are able to see through the bullshit, and take the actions that are most effective in resolving the issue
  • Continue to use the #hashtag to label these situations to yourself to create sense in future; Or use relevant #hashtags with your partner, friends, team members, to the extent that it adds clarity to your communication and highlights the nature of the situation or the actions to be taken, better than before
  • Build up a library of #hashtags that are most relevant to you and your relationships, understand your world better, take appropriate and effective actions.

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