Just Prove Him Wrong

By Rachel Kaufman

Washington Post Express

February 11, 2009

HEY, DUMMY. Get over here and stop ruining your life.

Larry Winget, the Pitbull of Personal Development and star of A&E’s short-lived reality show, “Big Spender,” says in his new book that you – yes, you – are an idiot. “People Are Idiots And I Can Prove It” is no less abrasive and obnoxious than Winget’s previous books, but he may be the hard dose of reality needed by people who don’t react well to “The Power of Positive Thinking.” Winget spoke to us about personal finance, career development, and why life sucks.

EXPRESS: So, is everyone an idiot?

WINGET: Everyone is an idiot. No one is exempt. We all make mistakes. The key is to learn from it and don’t make the same mistake more than once.

The only way you learn from your mistakes is to feel the pain of your mistakes and realize you don’t want to feel [that]. Most people don’t recognize when they’re being an idiot. The last thing anyone wants to do is take responsibility.

I’m a big believer in remorse. That’s a step too many people leave out of the process. I want people to hurt. I want them to tie emotion to their stupidity.

EXPRESS: Some people would call that negative reinforcement.

WINGET: I think negativity is the most powerful thing we could use in our society. Instead, we have all those motivational gurus saying we have to think positive. Positive thinking is not a plan for success. You need to get negative about your life. You need to get negative about your situations. You need to say, “I can do better, and I’m sick of living like this.” When you get negative about your situation, you can get positive to change yourself.

EXPRESS: That’s unconventional.

WINGET: [Laughs] Well, I’m right; they’re all wrong. As long as you’re happy, you won’t take responsibility for your life. You won’t feel bad about it. You have to say, “I know I can do better.” All of those things are negative. And only then you can start to make a change.

EXPRESS: OK. Somebody says, “I want a promotion at work,” but doesn’t put in extra hours. Idiot?

WINGET: Absolute idiot. I would fire that person.

EXPRESS: And your advice for this person would be what?

WINGET: Go to work and do everything you were hired to do. Don’t complain because you don’t like the silly hat you were hired to wear. Do the job. Don’t complain, especially in this economic environment. Just do what you are paid to do.

Stop worrying about the economy. The point is, you have an opportunity right now. It’s not the economy that matters, its your economy. It doesn’t matter that someone else is out of a job; it matters that you have a job and you’d better bust your ass to keep it.

EXPRESS: You’re really into turning to personal development books for advice. How do you tell the good ones from the bad?

WINGET: My goal is to read for intent. Even the worst books have one good idea. If you get one good idea from a book and you paid $15 to $20 for it, isn’t a great idea worth $20?

EXPRESS: Can you recommend some good titles?

WINGET: I think all of [my books] are amazing. And believe it or not, I’m a big reader of Wayne Dyer. There’s a fine line between [expletive] and guru, and he walks it every day.

EXPRESS: What kind of person trademarks his or her moniker?

WINGET: A guy who has had their stuff stolen so many times that you learn quickly.

Read it at ExpressNightOut.com

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