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Are We Becoming a Nation of George Costanzas?

George Costanza, a fictional character in Seinfeld, might be the most miserable, complaining “victim” in television history.

George is a pro at shirking responsibility, making excuses, and blaming other people. He is an amateur at adding value in the workplace. 

It has been almost 25 years since NBC first broadcast an episode of Seinfeld titled “The Revenge.” George rashly tells off his boss and quits his job. Later that day, he sits in Jerry’s apartment lamenting over his future job prospects. Jerry gently probes George about his interests. “I like sports,” George replies, and muses of being a general manager or an announcer. When Jerry points out that he has no qualifications for those jobs, George retorts, “Well, that’s really not fair.”

A Distorted View of Fairness

Starting at the top of any profession isn’t an option, but George doesn’t understand that. He schemes how to get ahead and lacks all initiative to do actual work.

Organizations succeed by delivering value to their consumers. Individuals succeed by delivering value in their organizations to satisfy the needs of their managers and colleagues, as well as the consumers and suppliers with whom they interact.

George is a pro at shirking responsibility, making excuses, and blaming other people. He is an amateur at adding value in the workplace.

His misery comes from living life outside-in. When we live outside-in, we believe circumstances and other people are responsible for how we feel and the success we achieve. Living this way, we can’t help but try to control and manipulate those circumstances and people that we believe are responsible for our well-being.

It takes a lot of energy to live life outside-in; most often, our efforts to control life are futile. Our energy is depleted; we have nothing left to invest in creating value for others. Living this way is miserable.

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