The other night I watched a basketball game on a major network, and I couldn’t help but notice something during the commercial breaks: One after another, every advertisement was for a product or service that I would never buy.
Each commercial targeted the cultural majority, a Scripted populous seeking an escape, an easy button, or a temporary pleasure push.
Here are the commercials I had to suffer through:
A Coors Light beer commercial.
Sorry, I don’t drink alcohol or participate in the Scripted theater that romanticizes its consumption.
An Indeed (job marketplace) commercial.
Sorry, I haven’t had a job in decades much less prepared a resume.
A Meta commercial (formerly Facebook)
Sorry, I haven’t logged into Facebook in months and I can’t tell you what the commercial was about: I immediately tuned it out.
An Arby’s commercial, aka, “We have the meats!”
Sorry, I’ve been eating plant-based for 5+ years and I don’t eat greasy factory-farmed meat or processed fast food.
A Coke commercial, a feel-good propaganda piece featuring the sugar-ladened soft drink enjoyed by an energetic lady on roller skates.
Sorry, I don’t assault my pancreas on a daily basis.
And finally, in the ultimate irony…
A pharmaceutical commercial for diabetes medications.
Now we know the rollerskating Coke-drinking lady was gliding to the pharmacy to fix all the garbage she consumed that was just advertised.
Altogether, this series of commercials highlighted the power of The Costanza Principle, inspired initially by the memorable Seinfeld character, George Costanza. In that episode, George gets tired of complying with cultural expectations and does the opposite, with meaningful results.
While this comedy skit was in jest, there is some hard truth in the idea that you can win your best life by doing the opposite of normal and what culture embraces.
The Costanza Principle challenges us to question conventional wisdom by analyzing the norms of our culture and deliberately choosing to do the opposite.
This counterintuitive approach to personal growth and decision-making can unlock new opportunities and results not enjoyed by the majority. In fact, Unscripted (my second book) could be renamed The Costanza Principle.
Get a job? No, start a business.
Start an SMMA? No, serve SMMAs.
Buy crypto like the masses? No, sell crypto.
Eat processed, junk, artificial food? No, eat natural, whole food.
Drink alcohol to take the edge off? No, how about meditation? Or exercise?
Taking a pill for your morbid obesity? No, how about changing your diet?
These commercials were a blunt-forced reminder of why I lead the dream life I do: I haven’t fallen for the cultural bullshit that keeps you hog-tied to shitty jobs, burdensome debt, diet-induced sickness, and social media depression.
Here are 4 simple ideas which frame the Costanza Principle:
- Questioning Cultural Norms: Be critical of societal norms, conventional beliefs, and expectations. By challenging the status quo, you can uncover hidden advantages, gain unique perspectives, and create innovative solutions to challenges others may overlook. You can also identify areas where you can diverge from the crowd, potentially leading to greater success and fulfillment. 1% thinking will get you 1% results.
- Embrace the Opposites: By choosing to do the opposite of what is considered “mainstream” or “expected,” you can uncover novel ways of thinking and acting. This can lead to creative solutions, unexpected opportunities, and personal growth.
- Experimentation and Adaptation: The Costanza Principle is not a one-size-fits-all formula. Instead, it is a mindset that encourages you to experiment with alternative approaches and be adaptable, using the Act Assess Adjust model from Unscripted and The Great Rat Race Escape. We must be open to learning from our experiences, refining our strategies, and adjusting our course as needed.
- Developing Personal Resilience: And finally, by deliberately choosing to do the opposite of what is expected, we may encounter resistance or skepticism from others. The Costanza Principle creates mental toughness. It teaches you to develop the resilience and confidence necessary to forge your own paths, even in the face of adversity.
How to Apply the Costanza Principle:
- Identify a situation or decision where you feel stuck or dissatisfied.
- Analyze the prevailing cultural norms, expectations, and conventional wisdom associated with that situation.
- Brainstorm alternative approaches that are the opposite of the norm.
- Experiment with these new strategies, remaining open to learning and adaptation.
- Assess the outcomes and adjust your course as needed, continuing to question and challenge the status quo.
By applying the Costanza Principle in your life, you can break free from the constraints of conventional wisdom and unlock new paths to success, happiness, and personal growth. When you challenge the boundaries of societal expectations, a 1% existence becomes possible.
Remember, 99% thinking will give you the 99% results emblematic of culture. And right now that is sickness, depression, poverty, and unhappiness.
Think different to live different.