Sunday Snippet: George Costanza

George: ” It became very clear to me sitting out there today, that every decision I’ve ever made, in my entire life, has been wrong. My life is the opposite of everything I want it to be. Every instinct I have, in every of life, be it something to wear, something to eat … It’s all been wrong.”


Jerry: “If every instinct you have is wrong, then the opposite would have to be right.”

George: “Yes, I will do the opposite. I used to sit here and do nothing, and regret it for the rest of the day, so now I will do the opposite, and I will do something!”

Easily one of my favorite television programs of all time is Seinfeld. It’s amazing how a show about nothing really turned out to be about something. A lot of things, actually. Despite the show being quite cynical and tongue-in-cheek in nature, it also offered many insights into the philosophies of life.

A great example of this comes from “The Opposite” episode, which is where the quote above can be found. Most of us know George Costanza as a character who never really finds any real success. He blunders in his romantic life, bumbles in his professional life, and never really seems to attain happiness. So, with some nudging along on the part of Jerry, George decides that the opposite of all his instincts should lead him to greater happiness and greater success.

And early on, this seems to work. He moves ahead at work, he starts dating a beautiful woman, and everything seems to be fantastic. Of course, in the classic Seinfeld tradition, this good fortune is short-lived. I realize this is meant to be comedy (and it’s very funny), but there is a lesson to be learned too.

Just because things aren’t going your way doesn’t mean that you should completely abandon your instincts. It may not be the smartest move to be utterly stubborn in your ways either. Finding success is neither that easy nor that simple. There is no “one size fits all” formula.

You have to find your own way… even if it means enduring shrinkage, fatal envelopes, and your mother catching you.