According to the Hook Agency, in 1974 "Burger King came out with a slogan of Have It Your Way. This slogan summed up its difference with its rival McDonald’s. The slogan fits well with the emphasis in pop culture and on individuality. The line makes total sense at a time when self-expression and mass customization are critical elements of culture." Just four years later, Burger King got rid of this slogan and replaced it with "the Best Darn Burger" slogan... However after a few more changes over the years, they found that no other slogan had as high a success rate as the trusty ol' Have It Your Way slogan from the 70's. At the end of 2003, BK executives ran a new campaign to let Americans, and the rest of the world, know that they were bringing back Have It Your Way!
Sales sky-rocketed in the following years, but marketing is just psychology at work. So, what was it about the simple, yet infectious catch-phrase that seduced fast-food eaters across the world?
Well, isn't it obvious... at our base nature, we love, and even desire to have it our way. But when do we ever receive an invitation to do something absolutely our way with no one's opinion or interference? Oh, I know you remember grade school; then there's your first car; and what about in your parent's home, or anyone's home for that matter! Regardless of what your living situation or education system consisted of through adolescence and into adulthood, 99% of the time, you probably didn't get your way... But wait! What's this?... Burger King says, "come on in, and Have It Your Way!" There is no more beckoning a call than that of a restaurant or other service-based business proclaiming that it is not by their standards, management protocol, or menu structure - you can have your food, your way, end of discussion. But does this mean that we're inherently selfish? Well.. Yes and No.
LiveScience reports, "Psychological research suggests the opposite: that self-interest is far from people's primary motivation. In fact, (many studies have found that) humans are prone to act for the good of the group..." While this is a great perspective to take note of in the context of our humanity, we also must consider that between selfishness and selflessness is an expansion ever-so widening that the two characteristics are worlds apart. You cannot be inherently selfish, and also inherently selfless. Just because some social experiment observes a selfless reaction from one or more human beings does NOT conclude that we are inherently selfless. Nigel Nicholson, professor at London Business School, wrote the following regarding Evolutionary Psychology, "People today still seek those traits that made survival possible then: an instinct to fight furiously when threatened for instance, and a drive to trade information and share secrets. Human beings are, in other words, hardwired. You can take the person out of the Stone Age, evolutionary psychologists contend, but you can’t take the Stone Age out of the person..."
While my views lean far away from micro-evolution and more towards macro-evolution, disregarding most, if not all of Darwin's theories, I still believe that mankind has evolved over time from the deportment and idiosyncrasies of a more primitive, "caveman" age, otherwise known as the Stone Age. This would come complete with all of the violent, and reactive mannerisms to defend one's own property and legacy through the lineage of the same species. So, in agreeing with this conclusion by Professor Nicholson, we are "protective" of other humans, but this does not necessarily ooze selflessness. However, hardwired into the constitution of our being, we were designed to protect and preserve our race and our kind, just as most any other creature would. Ultimately, this means we are sustaining and securing a future for our own self-interests by maintaining a positive outcome for the fate of our brothers and sisters of the human race, if you will.
Again, this does not necessarily mean that we are only selfish, but from birth, we are humanly, naturally inclined to desire the things of life to flow the way we want them to. Okay, but what is the point?! Well, I am glad you asked. The point is, whether you got Covid; whether you experienced success or loss in 2020; whether you ended the year the way you wanted; whether your President got elected; or NOT... you cannot allow that to change your life. At the end of the day, your life is yours. And while this is real life and NOT Burger King, you can take the wins, the losses, and the indifference, and face life head on. Just as the famous crooner of the 20th century said, "I've loved, laughed and cried... I've had my fill, my share of losing... Regrets, I've had a few... And now, the end is near... I traveled each and every highway, but more, much more than this, I did it my way."
I believe we would be disappointed or maybe just surprised, and even possibly confounded by the unknown outcomes, unexpected hardships, and uncharted territories that materialize as a byproduct of having everything our way. Here is a list of the results of selfish motivations from proven scientific studies from Psychology Today and the Annual Review of Psychology: 1, Not meeting the needs of loved ones resulting in loneliness
2. Lower self-esteem & self-image
3. Less responsiveness with other humans
4. Low to No support or provision from others
5. Increased interpersonal conflict
6. Interpersonal issues leading to relationship avoidances
7. Substantial surge of anxiety due to added pressures and/or self-expectancy
8. Lower intelligence due to decreased learning neutrality from other probabilities
If you and I are willing to look for other ways, listen to others' opinions, and allow ideas and narratives, besides our own, to play out and give them chance to succeed, then we might actually have a chance at success. If you don't widen the playing field, the opportunities are narrow.
So, if things just aren't going your way this year (once again), then take a step back and consider the endless possibilities. Believe it or not, someone else has faced a tragedy that you cannot imagine, yet they still found success on the tail end of their journey. I have nothing against the late, great Frank Sinatra or his song, but at the end of the day, you don't want to say, "well, I was unfaithful to my family, or I was lazy, or I was drunk, and I only left a legacy of money or fame behind for my loved ones to remember me by, but Hey! At least I did it my way..."
No! Having it "my way" is not the definition of my success!
Give life a chance - leave fast-food mottos in the past - redefine your success.
If you need to overcome loss or frustration, while you strive to succeed this year, then please follow these steps to process thoughts and emotions and plan for excellence and accomplishment at Life Hack by Celestine Chua: https://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/13-helping-points-when-things-dont-your-way.html
Thank you for reading! Have a wonderful day today and everyday in 2021.
3. Annual Review of Psychology: https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/full/10.1146/annurev-psych-010416-044145
5. My Way - Frank Sinatra
6. South African College of Applied Psychology: https://www.sacap.edu.za/blog/applied-psychology/adult-temper-tantrums/#:~:text=Ultimately%2C%20an%20adult%20temper%20tantrum,unable%20to%20calm%20themselves%20down.&text=%E2%80%9CAdult%20temper%20tantrums%20are%20the,impact%20on%20those%20around%20them.
7. New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/02/opinion/harry-belafonte-donald-trump.html
8. Life Hack - Celestine Chua: https://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/13-helping-points-when-things-dont-your-way.html