Giveaway Junkie, Kvetching

GIVEAWAY CONTEST! Can You Stop Being A Miserable Bastard?

Recently, as part of a huge work conference I coordinated (okay, helped coordinate), we booked an external guest speaker. A guy named Shawn Achor.

I may have geeked out a little.
I may have geeked out a little.

Apart from having a viral TedTalk, Shawn is a New York Times bestselling author who’s even caught God’s Oprah’s attention. (If you do one thing today besides pretending to work, I hope it’s clicking that link.)

Why’s he so popular? Well, he’s super cute he studies happiness, for starters. And who isn’t obsessed with happiness but the most stressed out, miserable population since 1936 (I may have made that last part up)?


Shawn grew up in Texas, all set to become a firefighter, when he got accepted into Harvard on a full scholarship. As he tells it, no one was more surprised than him. He got to campus in awe, but eventually depression snuck up and bit him in the smart, adorable tuckus. Though he struggled, Shawn ultimately succeeded, and was even invited to stay on board as a resident adviser after graduation.

Over time, he noticed a glaring trend: He wasn’t alone. Every year, within a couple of short months, a huge percentage of freshman went from exulting in their good fortune to lamenting their overwhelming workloads. Gone was the excitement and gratitude they felt when they first got to Harvard; in swooped a laser-focus on stress and perfection.


What was happening to these kids? And why? And most importantly, could it be helped?

Through some truly fascinating and entertaining research, Shawn discovered -and forgive the cliche as I oversimplify- that happiness comes from within.

Or you could just wait for your friend to give you a lucky bamboo. (DUDE. THIS THING WORKS.)
Or you could just wait for your friend to give you a lucky bamboo. (DUDE. THIS THING WORKS.)

How many of us tell ourselves, “When I get that promotion, I’ll be happy”? Or, “When I lose 10 pounds, I’ll be happy”? Or my personal favorite, “When bacon goes on sale again, I’ll be happy”? When we constantly define success as a goal that lies ahead of us, we never feel truly satisfied.

The good news is: There’s something we can do about it. And we can do it now. In The Happiness Advantage, Shawn outlines simple Happiness Habits we can all adopt to reverse our negative thought patterns. By putting some of these practices to use, in 21 short days, you’ll report improved levels of happiness in just about every aspect of your life.

If that’s not convincing? Wait’ll you read about how companies embracing positivity are hiring. They’re not wasting their money. They have proof: Optimism yields results, and staggering ones at that.

It isn't the world that'll change - it's you.
Shawn does not like this book cover. I know this because we’re best friends.

Want to win a copy of Shawn’s bestselling book, “The Happiness Advantage”? Simply leave a comment below describing a funny (or otherwise noteworthy) run-in with a miserable bastard!

(…What? That’s positive! That’s funny! I totally get what this book is about!)

I’ll [entirely subjectively] pick an entrant to receive of a copy of the book and announce the winner next week! Contest ends MIDNIGHT EST on Sunday, March 15, 2015. Open to awesome people worldwide.

Disclaimer: I was not given any incentive, monetary or otherwise, to write this. I am just bored waiting for Shawn Achor to accept a second wife. I seriously love Shawn Achor, and this book. 


60 thoughts on “GIVEAWAY CONTEST! Can You Stop Being A Miserable Bastard?”

  1. I want the book, but I need to think up a good miserable bastard recollection to share!

    1. I kind of want to say all of the examples in today’s post qualify (I read it earlier, and was thinking the same, but didn’t get a chance to comment!)!

  2. Just this week, I was posting (okay, gloating a little, but with reason… I was VERY happy – like ecstatic) that an Amazon promotion of my novel resulted in getting (very temporarily) listed on the bestsellers’ list as #5 in the category of Humorous Literary Fiction. And a “friend” commented: “Humorous?”

    1. Oh! (Said with a thick Jersey accent.) No he/she didn’t!

      More importantly – YOU HAVE A BOOK! I can’t believe I missed your book debut! This is amazing, Nancy!!!

  3. Last year I wanted to buy some fireworks at the supermarket. To buy them, you had to line up at the customer service desk (which had a long line), and then the clerk walks over to the locked cabinet with you, you pick your fireworks and then she brings you back to the desk to pay. So I did this, and as I come back to the desk to pay. A miserable bastard in line starts on me…

    MISERABLE BASTARD: Hey, you can’t just push in to the front of the line!
    ME: I’m not pushing in, I’ve already lined up once.
    MISERABLE BASTARD: Well if you leave the line that’s your fault, you can’t just push in, you have to go to the back again!
    ME: No, it’s still my same turn, I lined up, we went to the firework cabinet to pick my fireworks, and now we’ve come back so I can pay for them.
    MISERABLE BASTARD: You can’t just push in when the rest of us are all here standing in line!
    SALES ASSISTANT (QUIETLY TO ME): Don’t worry about it, just ignore him.
    So I ignored him, and as I walked away and it was his turn, I heard him say “I’d like some fireworks”. I’ve been kicking myself ever since that I didn’t stay there to say “You can’t push in!” when he came back to pay for them.

    1. YES. This was the type of misery I was craving when I developed the question/prompt. Thank you! (And I’m sorry?) Store lines bring out the WORST in people, and it never ceases to astound me.

      Side note: A little jealz of the fireworks purchasing. Big no-no in Joisey.

  4. Meh, keep that book. Who wants to be happy? Being an obnoxious and miserable bastard is a big part of my irresistible charm.

  5. I recently took my dog to physical therapy, where the vet who assessed him scolded me for telling the puppy not to play-bite her (he’s a big dog, and gentle, but that behavior’s going to get him into trouble one day, so I consistently discourage it). When I booked the follow-up appointment, they were going out of their way to schedule me with her again. Without a desire to be a jerk about it, I said “actually, the chemistry there wasn’t great, and I don’t mind meeting with someone lower-ranking” they made sure to schedule me when she’s not there. Scheduling got complex enough that I said “you know, it’s not a huge deal,” and they said “no, you’re not actually the first person to have complained.”

  6. Two things:
    1) I really want to be your friend. You are awesome.
    2) Most men I meet are miserable bastards, can you expect a bastard magnet like me, to pick just one?

      1. I can tell you what happens: I’ll be your #1 stalker. Unless that position is already taken.

    1. 1) I should be so lucky.
      2) I’m with balletandboxing – you’ve just started something HUGE. (I’m thinking magnets, bumper stickers, slap bracelets and smart phone cases – to start.)

  7. Since you shared with us your tale of online dating woe, how about I share one of mine? And boy do I have a miserable bastard for you!

    I met this guy, let’s call him Dick, online and we agreed to meet up for coffee. We grabbed our drinks and sat down to get to know one another. Well, I got to know him, he barely let me get a word in. He preceded to tell me about his loser roommate, his friends with “black people problems” (I’m still trying to figure out what that means), and how he had smoked pot immediately before our date, but that it in no way affected his behavior and he was exactly the same Dick even if he hadn’t smoked. Oh goody. He had nothing nice to say about anyone and I got the distinct impression that he thought he was better than everyone else despite not having a job and living off the trust fund that mommy and daddy had set up for him. Did I mention he was over 30?

    If that weren’t enough, I then learned about all the “stupid” girls he previously dated including a special one that he was a real charmer to. He freely admitted that he was an outright asshole to her and yet she kept coming around so he kept treating her poorly. Dick told her that she dressed like a slob and he wasn’t attracted to her. He also mentioned that she wore “ratty underwear.” Apparently, she wasn’t good enough to be treated with respect, but she was ok to sleep with. What a peach.

    While he was very complimentary to me and wanted to see me again, I couldn’t get away fast enough and declined a second date. Dick was left wondering what he did wrong and I was left wondering how many more bad dates I had to go on before meeting someone halfway decent. I stopped counting at 18.

    1. Oh Jess, Jess, Jess. This is epic, in the worst/best way. I’m just re-reading it now… “ratty underwear.” Let’s add that to the list of phrases to NEVER, EVER utter on a first date, along with, “I’m between jobs,” “I have a pet scorpion,” “I’m still best friends with my ex” and… okay. I need to stop. I could go on and on. (Hey, are you thinking what I’m thinking?! BLOG POST!)

    2. P.S. – Corny to say this a third time, but I was just telling Sandy and Lorna: I wasn’t even THINKING about ‘bad date/romance’ tales when I came up with the ‘miserable bastard’ question. You gals rock.

  8. Okay. Here goes. The Reader’s Digest version of a blind date with a Miserable Bastard (MB) that ended up in a marriage proposal from hell.
    The MB in question was a pompous ass lawyer. My friend set me up with him. I immediately began questioning my judgement in friends. During our first date all he could about was talk about:
    1. himself
    2. how much he hated the town we lived in (my home town, his new town)
    3. his former girl friend who was of Nordic descent (I’ll call her Icelandic Dream Girl)

    I thought it was a “one and done” kind of an evening, but he wanted to see me again for dinner, not just drinks, explaining that he only asked women out on first date for drinks because he didn’t want to waste his time and money for a whole “dinner thing” if the woman wasn’t his type. Charming, huh?

    I accepted his dinner invitation. Why?

    Because I was:
    1. drinking heavily at the time
    2. lonely
    3. drinking heavily at the time
    4. had low self-esteem
    5. drinking heavily at the time
    6. didn’t want to spend the rest of my life alone

    We dated for several months, during which time he berated me every chance he got, which was a lot. He even forced himself on me (like in rape) and blamed me for not liking it, which I apologized for due to (see above list.

    After the rape thing, I kind of knew he wasn’t the MB for me. I tried to avoid him by making excuses not to see him. Clever MB must have figured out what I was up to. Icelandic Dream Girl must have pulled something similar.

    In a moment of weakness (see above list), I agreed to go with him on an outside adventure. I’m not the outdoorsey type. He fancied himself an Olympian in canoeing. Out we went onto an angry lake in a yellow death trap. I sat on floor of the canoe which was swamped due waves cresting over the sides, my hands were claws gripping the edges of the damn boat/likely casket. I thought his plan was to drown me. Imagine my surprise when he proposed marriage to me. I told him I had to think about it, wanting to be on terra firma when I told him to screw himself. Which I did.

    The end.

    1. I feel somewhat conflicted saying this (lest I take pleasure in your pain), but: This is one of the best things I’ve ever read.

      And why does that list look so familiar…?

      1. The full story is in my memoir. I left out some pretty funny details. But it’s all true. Oy! The life I’ve had! And don’t feel bad about laughing at my pain. That’s how I got through it myself. 🙂

  9. I’m so entirely happy you’ve returned to the blogging world.

    I have many miserable bastard stories but I’ll leave you with just one from my Bad First Dates memoir from my blog:

    After college I went on a date with Aaron K. – I was warned not to go out with him..should’ve listened. This guy was in his early 30’s but did not have his sh*t together – I had to pick him up (b/c he had no car) at his parents’ house (b/c he lived at home). We went for dinner and the fool spent the whole time talking about how great he was. He kept saying “ask your brother, he knows me.” I eventually did ask my brother, he said he met Aaron once and thought he was an idiot. So, for 2 hours I listened to this guy brag about how wonderful he was and what he had (Dude, you live at home and don’t have a car – let’s get real!). He was a jerk to our waiter, whom I was friends with and I was so embarrassed. Then he asked me what I wanted to do. Okay, you asked me out – you need to have a game plan before hand. There are rules! Eventually we decided on going to a billiards club to play pool. We grabbed a table next to some mutual friends and set out to play a few rounds. This idiot kept hounding me about how he was beating me and finally I let him have it. I then spent some time at the bar talking to some guys (friends) who offered to get me outta there w/out conflict. I declined. I then told Aaron I was leaving. He says “Okay, I’ll call you.” – Um, no, you won’t call me, but you will walk me to my car! Asshole. So, we’re outside in the parking lot and he tries to kiss me. Hell no! Then he asks to borrow money! Can you believe it? On a first date! Borrow money? No effing wonder you’re single and living with mommy and daddy. I spent the rest of the evening reliving this disaster with the girls.

    1. Ohhhhh *face palm* As if I needed convincing beyond the first two sentences, but “how you treat the wait staff” is probably one of the top 5 most telling things about a person. And I feel like everyone KNOWS this, so when you don’t even try to FAKE being nice to look good? You are out to lunch (pun intended)!

      And then he asked to borrow money. That might be my favorite part. (Out of curiosity, did he pay for anything that night?)

      1. I think he paid for dinner. But that doesn’t make up for any of his obnoxious behaviour or for getting half-shitfaced. OR for thinking I was a damn taxi service.

    2. P.S. – As I just told Lorna, I wasn’t even THINKING about ‘bad date/romance’ tales when I came up with the ‘miserable bastard’ question. You guys rock.

  10. Miserable Bastards….hmmmm. Nope, everyone I meet has sunshine shooting out of their ass. My life is one big candy covered rainbow unicorn.

    Although there was this one time I was sitting on a bench in Maine, eating some Ben & Jerry’s, when this old guy sat down next to me and started complaining…. 😉

  11. I’ve cut miserable bastards out of my life. I even dated one who had deep rooted issues and was miserable in every aspect of his life. He channeled that negativity and put me down whenever he could. It was terrible. Good riddance:)

  12. FYI bacon was on sale today and it did increase my happiness. It may have been fleeting but I’m riding it until it dies out!

    My miserable “person” story is about a certain boss encounter…could be my boss could be someone else’s, who knows? No one will figure that out!

    So we win this major project interview and it is like a company game changer. The day we find out we won we are pumped and ring the office victory bell and he’s stoked. All is right with the world. The next day I come in still riding the high and turn to him and say “this is going to be awesome! I am so excited!” And he responds sullenly “well don’t get too worked up, we still have to deliver on the things we said and you are going to need several other projects to fill out your time” which doesn’t sound bad, but the delivery was totally deflating and I felt like we didn’t really win anything at all.

  13. Miserable bastard scenario: ex bf complained that a certain type of meat (as in food) made him bitchy. Incidentally this was one of my favourite meals. No honey, you’re a bitch all the time.

    I could write more but I don’t want to wake up friendless and alone tomorrow because of over sharing. That seems counterproductive to my “finding happiness within”. Or maybe the key lol.

  14. But I DO get happy when bacon goes on sale!
    Hmm… miserable bastards? Having worked in the medical field a few months last year I can say that pretty much sums up everyone in the medical field.

  15. this customer came into my work and made a big deal about paying sales tax even though he wanted an item shipped. I just stared at him and he kept going on and on about how I was being terrible for charging him sales tax.

  16. The most miserable bastard I ever met was my Chinese-American boyfriend’s dad. I got no prep from the boyfriend before I went out to dinner with his family. Had no idea that food was so important to them and conversation WAS NOT. So here I am, a polite East Coast girl, desperately trying to make pleasant conversation before and during the meal. No one at the table helps. Pretty soon I am babbling. BOOM! The Chinese patriarch slams both fists down on the table. Utensils and glasses rattle. I – and the rest of the restaurant — stare at him.

    Mr. Patriarch barks across the table at my boyfriend: “How you sleep!?”

    Boyfriend, bewildered: “In the new bed I got? Fine–”

    Patriarch interrupts. “No, no! How you sleep she talk so much!?”

  17. oh i am always these types at work ( i am a checkout chick) but its funni cos when theyve had their moment of moaning such as needing a service check (scanning some of their items that they have self scanned) karma always helps – i normally find that they have not scanned something like a bottle of milk 9otherwise they would have took it without paying) i get to find out !! its karma

  18. I know I missed the deadline for entry, but I have to say I’m rather shocked that I was unable to recall a specific harrowing miserable bastard story. I know I’ve had run-ins, but for the life of me, I can’t remember specifics.

    I hope this isn’t one of those cases of “if it’s not one of your friends/acquaintances, then it’s you.” I know I can be bitchy sometimes, but here’s hoping I’m not the miserable bastard of my tribe.

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