6.12.10

Only What I Can Carry.

As I wait to board my plane to Texas, memories of who I was a few years ago pop up in my mind.  See, this is the first time I've been in the DFW area in over a year... an area I spent living on my own for over 4 years.  And though I look forward to seeing a lot of the friends I had made during that time, I can't help but wonder if never leaving would have satisfied me. 

I can understand why many people yearn to firmly plant themselves.  There's a feeling of relief.  The tiresome explorer getting to his destination and, with what energy he has left, impaling the ground with his flag to claim his plot of land.  There's a sense of control.  My territory... my rules.  There's a semblance of stability and certainty.  I know what to expect in my own little world, and it changes only at my will.

18.10.10

Being Open.

I went on a date yesterday.  The usual... conversation over coffee.  The unusual... I met her online.

Although many of us would be lost without the Internet, the idea of finding a potential mate via website still meets slow reception.  Typical responses:
  • Isn't it awkward?
  • Can't they lie?
  • What if they end up being crazy, creepy, weird, etc.?
My response - Welcome to the dating scene.

30.9.10

Awareness.

The word conjures up thoughts of guilt-ridden charitable donations and drawn-out workplace seminars.  We become aware of some disease or safety concern for a day / week / month, and then we forget about it until it is brought to light again the following year. 

The reason "awareness" gets such a bad rap is that throwing the word into most conversations implies that one was ignorant in the first place. Now I, and I'm sure many others, do not like to be called stupid.  And if you're ever called dumb, stupid, etc., you tend to fight that perception by reacting immediately.  I mean technically we should be "aware" of all these things all the time, right?

Enter guilt, stage left.

15.9.10

I'm Still Alive. And May Be Better Than Ever.

It's been a while.  I know.  Busy times.  Schedule changes, visits from family and friends, explorations, other random excuses, etc.  The break was nice.

I updated the About page today, due to a forum post that ended up being a soapbox speech of self-promotion.  I sometimes think I come off as a little arrogant in my writing, although it's more a reassurance thing for my own personal development rather than an "I'm better than you, look at how I live my life"... um... thing.  Oh well.  Maybe it would be more important if my writing was for money.  You'll never see ads or sponsors here though.

Updates will be less frequent, but when they do happen, I'm bringing the goods.  Quality instead of quantity is the new philosophy.  Writing became an obligation before I took a breather, and that's just not my style.  When inspiration hits, I'll milk it for all I can...

Because sharing... is caring.

13.7.10

Imprisonment.

And now... a haiku:

The search for freedom
cannot start without knowing
of imprisonment.

Myers-Briggs says I'm INFP.

I was coaxed by a friend yesterday into taking the Myers-Briggs.  She finds that this test is the best in determining personality, and though I think it is a little too general for my tastes (leading to error), I can't argue with how correct it can be when taken properly.  I have taken this test a few times before, with varying results.  My time in California has been very introspective however, and figured I would be able to give fair, honest-to-me answers to the questions posed in this test.

It turns out I am an INFP, which a few sites have labeled as The Idealist.  Here's a brief description from PersonalityPage.com:

8.7.10

Watch Documentaries for Free! (Link Love)

I'm kind of a learning junkie.  So when I came across this gem today, I went nuts.  The site has quite a collection of documentaries available for free.  I won't say that all of these films are completely unbiased, but some of the perspectives are quite interesting.

7.7.10

Ah... Upgrading.

I could probably tell you all the cool features of the new iPhone 4 if you asked me.  It's not because I own one... A friend and new owner of this magical wonderbox proceeded to let me know how amazing it was.  Multiple times.  For the first 4 hours of his acquisition, he basically read me the specification sheet.  He also has it decked out with a guard protector, a ridiculous amount of memory he'll never use, and a battery that could probably power a third world country for a couple of days.

If you told me about all of that when I was 10 years younger, I would have gone nuts with envy.  I can see myself in early teen fashion saying "Sweet!" or "How cool!" and the like.  But now, I'm unimpressed.  The cost of the phone, insurance, and getting tied up in a 2 year contract would take a heavy chunk out of my budget.  I can't wrap my head around carrying that thing, knowing how much money it's pulling away from me every month.

5.7.10

Are We Truly Independent?

I hope everyone had a safe and fun Independence Day weekend.  I spent some time thinking about what we were celebrating.  This day is remembered for the tipping point of the formation of America, where we declared our separation from the bounds of Great Britain's rule.

Are we truly independent though?  Yes, we are protected from tyranny, and we've been given many rights and freedoms.  But many of us aren't free.  We're bound by our jobs... our responsibilities... our own vices.

Be mindful of what things hold you back from becoming who you are.  Then you might start to understand what it takes to be free.

24.6.10

Maturity... Simplified.

This series is dedicated to showing how ridiculously simple life can be.  A direct opposing response to our desire to complicate things when it's completely unnecessary...
To be mature:
  1. Hold yourself accountable for your actions, accepting all consequences.
  2. Repeat. 
Simple.

20.6.10

Happy Father's Day.

My dad is one of my biggest inspirations.  He's been able to keep his business going for decades, putting in the time and effort necessary to make it successful.  Failure was never an option for him... and this devotion helped keep our family fed and sheltered.

He and I would butt heads all the time when I was growing up.  It's where I get my stubbornness from.  He taught me independence, self-reliance, and responsibility.  He provided guidance when I asked for it, and some structure even when I didn't.

Being Without.

And now... a haiku:

What is enjoyment
without the experience
of being without?

19.6.10

The Warrior Diet.

I like to get out of my routines.  I'll usually switch things up for a month so I can challenge myself and see if any drastic changes occurred.  This month... The Warrior Diet.  Don't worry, I'm not looking to lose weight... just changing up the way I eat.

The premise is simple.  I eat one big meal at the end of the day to satisfy all my food needs.  That's all.  It's pretty much fasting during the day, but I'm not starving myself since all my calories are being taken in at one time.

I'm on Day 2 right now... I'll keep you updated.

16.6.10

Turning 23.

I learned quite a few things this past year of my life.  To commemorate the occasion, I've decided to share 23 things for the 23 years I've survived.
  1. Moving to a new location only changes the scenery... but it won't change who you are.
  2. That being said... moving will give you new perspective and can open you up to things you weren't aware of before.
  3. A degree is not a guarantee you will succeed, but a degree will give you the tools to succeed.
  4. Money is not an end, but a means.
  5. Owning a car is a luxury, not a necessity.
  6. Spending less than you earn is essential to building wealth.
  7. Investing in yourself doesn't always have to involve money.
  8. The more you learn, the more you realize that there's not a lot you really know.
  9. You can't lead without knowing how to follow.
  10. You can't convince people through force.
  11. You can't please everybody.
  12. Giving yourself a chance to succeed can lead to good things.
  13. You determine your own happiness.
  14. Continual preparation and practice gives you the ability to handle things at the most pivotal moments.
  15. Being a better listener makes you a better communicator.
  16. Fulfilling your potential doesn't have to be defined by your career.
  17. Developing hobbies is important in making you a more balanced person.
  18. Maximize on your strengths.
  19. Know your limits.
  20. Creating your own path can be a struggle.
  21. You can't have everything... but you don't need everything.
  22. People will surprise you sometimes... for better or worse.
  23. You can do all the planning you want... but you truly live through doing.

14.6.10

How Rich are You? (Link Love)

Do you want to know how rich you are in comparison to the rest of the world population?  Just type in your annual income at this page...

11.6.10

Reactions to the World Cup Opening Day

I was able to catch the first couple games this morning of the World Cup hosted in South Africa.  A couple observations:
  1. South Africa is definitely an underdog.  I'm glad they scored the first official goal of the tournament (which was a terrific shot), but Mexico should have won that game.
  2. Speaking of that game, the refs made a horrible offsides call on Mexico, taking away an easy goal that should have counted.  Momentum shifted... South Africa scores the first goal of the World Cup.
  3. Uruguay put some heavy D up today.  Shutting out France shouldn't be an easy effort, but even down a player due to red card they played like they had more than 11 out there.
  4. France looks unimpressive.  Seems like Nike may want its money back.  And bringing in Thierry Henry, your top player, off the bench... in the second half?  Wow.
  5. Two games... two ties.  I watched the scoreless second game with a friend of mine who doesn't follow soccer.  I don't think these 2 games won over any new American fans.
US vs England tomorrow... hoping for a solid effort!

Accomplishing... Simplified.

This series is dedicated to showing how ridiculously simple life can be.  A direct opposing response to our desire to complicate things when it's completely unnecessary...
To accomplish anything:
  1. Make what you want a priority.
  2. Commit to doing what needs to be done. 
Simple.

9.6.10

Back to Nature...

Today was quite an experience.  I spent the day at a lake, renting out kayaks with a few friends.  It had been quite a few years since I had been to a lake... and I must say it was worth the trip.  A few faint clouds in the sky.... the sun providing a gentle warmth while the breeze guided us along the cool water...

There's a few things you can learn from paddling a two person kayak...
  1. It's not how many strokes you can make... but the quality of each stroke.
  2. Working together can be the difference between heading in the proper direction or spinning in circles.
  3. A little sun and some fresh air on occasion is good for the soul.
  4. Involvement in your environment is way more rewarding than observing it.

5.6.10

...Than This.

And now... a haiku:

There is more to it
than just a simple mundane
routine lifestyle.

4.6.10

There's More to It...

This past week I've had the privilege of home-sitting for a friend of mine.  He has everything that my parents' house has... big TV with a ton of cable channels and a home theater system, the latest video game systems and movie players, super-fast internet, a whole bunch of comfort food, etc.  Watching his stuff brought me back to the old life I lived growing up.

I was lucky to live in a middle class lifestyle, which I thought was normal.  What I learned was that if you work enough hours and make enough money, you can have these luxuries.  I strove to have this life when I became an adult, because it was the only one I knew.

1.6.10

Unstoppable (Link Love)

Came across this post a while back.  Very inspiring... Watch as Will Smith talks about his work ethic.

27.5.10

The Hair of My Chinny-Chin-Chin.

While on my trip... I stopped by a shop that sells men's grooming products.  My main reason was to change up my normal shaving routine... I'm putting a razor to my face every day, so it's worth thinking about.  Luckily, this place not only had a wide range of disposable and multi-blade razors, but also held an impressive collection of straight and safety razors.  Some of my older audience may be more familiar with those, but I'll break it down for the younger guys and gals...

Straight razors look like knives.  You apply it straight to the face and go at it.  Reminds me of old westerns and adventure movies.

Safety razors are double sided and require single blade inserts.  The only things you ever have to replace are the inserts themselves.  The safety guards themselves last a lifetime.  Reminds me of that "simpler time" your grandpappy keeps talking about.

18.5.10

I've Got Some Exploring To Do.

No worries people... but I'll be taking a break from posting for about a week. My plans for a "vacation" with a good friend of mine are finally coming into fruition, as I will be busy relaxing and enjoying the sights and sounds of the San Francisco Bay Area for a few days. Next week I'll be coming back full force though, as I just finished a couple books that I'd like to react to and expand on.

Thanks everyone for the support!

Baby We Were Born to Run...

Yesterday, I made the mistake of eating at a pizza buffet for lunch.  I probably ate the unhealthiest pizza I've ever come across... the grease sweat was just dripping.  So in an effort to make up for that carb and calorie infested mind-fart, I decided I'd go for a run.

And boy... did I run...

As soon as I stepped out the door, I started running down the hallway.  Then to the street.  Then I ran down the block.  One block became two blocks.  Then five blocks.  Then ten.

I ran uphill.  Downhill.  Upstairs.  Downstairs.  Wide open roads.  Narrow alleyways.  Cut around corners of buildings.  Guided around winding sidewalks. 

I couldn't stop moving. 

17.5.10

Wealth... Simplified.

This series is dedicated to showing how ridiculously simple life can be.  A direct opposing response to our desire to complicate things when it's completely unnecessary...
To become wealthy...
  1. Spend less than you earn.
  2. Repeat.
Simple.

15.5.10

Generation "Now" (Link Love)

I found a refreshing post today that highlights one of the issues us Gen Yers deal with.  Growing up with a lot of things coming our way at hyperspeed, sometimes we can be impatiently waiting for "our real life" to begin.  Here's some perspective on living the dream.

13.5.10

Thinking Through Producing and Consuming.

I've come across a lot of material lately that discusses the ideas of anti-consumerism.  Whether the motives are to leave less of a carbon footprint, be thrifty, or fight the establishment, the premise of consuming less is valid.  I can't speak on behalf of the American population, but I know that I'll continue to take steps to consume less while being more mindful of the things I do consume.

The other side of the coin is production.  There is the argument that if I'm not consuming, than I'm producing, and if I'm not producing, I'm consuming.  So the logical step would be to increase my production due to the decrease of my consumption.

12.5.10

There in the Future...

And now... a haiku:

The here and now will
determine what is left for
there in the future.

9.5.10

Happy Mother's Day Mom.

I love my mom.  There... I said it. 

She's put up with my antics all of my life (which some will say is a remarkable feat) and I'm truly grateful for that.  She also can show super-human patience at times, at levels I will probably never attain in my own lifetime.  I get my sense of hospitality, my ability to love unconditionally and put others first, and my pride in my heritage from her.  She pushes me to reach my potential and find my place in this world... yet never hesitates to let me know that I don't have to be so independent all the time...

And though I'll follow the custom of celebrating mothers for one special day out of the year, I surely do not need a holiday to remind me how amazing she has been or to show her how much I appreciate her.  I'm glad that she chose to have me and guide me through this crazy world... Hopefully I turned out to be somewhat close to what she had hoped for when she made that decision.

Thanks for being you, Mom.

8.5.10

Acting Superior to Others is an Empty Endeavor.

On the occasional weekend, I work security for a few clubs in the city.  It's nothing too fancy; you make sure drunken idiots don't harm themselves or others throughout the course of the night.  Last night was no exception.  The drunken idiots came... so we had work to do.

It is definitely an interesting job.  You meet people at their most primal form.  There are your alpha males... either showing off how much money they have (or can borrow) or how muscular they are.  And of course the females... either looking for attention via the lack of clothes being worn or "letting loose" from that stressful week of dealing with "The Man" (work or relationship).

7.5.10

Weight Loss... Simplified.

This series is dedicated to showing how ridiculously simple life can be.  A direct opposing response to our desire to complicate things when it's completely unnecessary...
To lose weight...
  1. Eat less calories than you burn.
  2. Repeat.
Simple.

6.5.10

How Live Jazz Speaks.

Tonight I type this entry from a small coffee shop hosting a jazz band.  At some moments they're a little rough... but for the most part entertaining.  I surprisingly got in some higher level reading while the music took over the background.

I have some trouble listening to jazz recordings, but I love hearing it live.  And jazz is meant to be heard in that fashion.  The music itself is in the moment.  If follows a few rules, but works around them, creating the ability to feel new and different while still maintaining a sense of familiarity.  I liken it to conversation; when recorded it personifies a time or moment where it can be it's own entity, whereas when live it demands a choice of interaction.

4.5.10

The Beauty of Benchmarks.

Today, I took a fitness test.  I get graded on how well I complete push-ups, sit-ups, and a 1.5 mile run.  For my job, it's essential that I at least hit the minimum required standards for my age group.  However, they also have a rating system if you go above that initial mark. 

I like to push myself when it comes to this kind of stuff (blame it on my history with sports), so every time the test comes around I check my scores.  And this is why I love benchmarks... Every time I test, I get to see if I have progressed, stayed about the same shape, or have faltered.  Then, I plan out what I can do to either get back on track or improve. 

3.5.10

Check Your Source.

Many of us have rules for ourselves that help determine the path we carve out during our lifetime.  These rules are formed from what we've been taught as well as what we've learned from our own experiences. 

The problem is that we are so quick to gather and store information, that sometimes we don't step back and take a valid look at the source.  For instance, there have been those who have gone through very extreme experiences that will leave a stain on anything that may resemble a similar environment.  Sometimes they don't even know the situation that they were in was an unhealthy one or a rare occurrence and accept it as the standard. 

2.5.10

Health Care Reform (Link Love)

If you are interested in information on the Health Care Reform Bill, here is a summary of the basics.

1.5.10

Sudden Winds

And now... a haiku:

Sudden winds of change
feel only of a light breeze
to the prepared few.

30.4.10

Windfalls...

Yesterday, I found out some wonderful news.  My income tax return deposited into my account, and my deposit for a contract that ended this month will now be mailed back to me via check (it was a pretty large deposit at the time since I didn't have much of a credit history).  This was money that I really didn't account for, so I'll count it as a sudden windfall.

I now have some options... and since I'm in my early 20s, I'll be realistic.  I could:

29.4.10

You Are What You Repeatedly Do.

I had a chat with a friend of mine back in Dallas today.  We caught up on each others' lives and our plans for the future.  My mention of the financial benchmarks I had set for myself seemed very ambitious to him.  We proceeded to talk about how expenses change as we get older.  He suggested that I'll spend much more as I grow older;  I countered that they most likely will stay the same, and may possibly lower.

I must warn you that I am in a position very conducive to saving.  In the past few years, I've given up television, sold all of my vehicles, and have cancelled/closed most of my subscription services.  Starting this May, the only bills I will see will come from my cell phone provider (a 2 year contract which will end before I leave California) and credit cards (which are used for most of my transactions and paid off in their entirety every month).  I possess very few things, which makes upkeep minimal and insurance obsolete.  And my rent, utilities, and healthcare are covered through my work.

I believe that at the rate I am going, in coordination with the steps I'm taking, I'll be able to lessen my expenses even more so in the future.  How, you ask?  By working on attaining productive skills while being conscious of the way I spend my time and money daily.

28.4.10

Ah... Kids These Days...

Glad to be back writing posts!  I'll cut the sentimental filler and get right into the good stuff...
Being among many younger workers has given me a little insight on why I had some conflict with older workers in my own past.  Younger people (as well as I) are dumb.  Seriously.  And not in the intellectual sense, book smarts, etc.  The 18-24 year old American population (which just so happens to be the target consumer market most sought out for by American businesses) is a group that just isn't fully developed.

It's not their fault.  The elders are correct in most respects; we don't have much experience, and we play the game of life wrong. 

Dead give-aways of youth in the work environment:
  • Coming in with high expectations and a sense of entitlement
  • Overt highs and lows with emotions (freak-outs) and words (ex. use of the word awesome/amazing at least more than once)
  • Exchanging that new paycheck for the latest gadget/toys/supplies
  • Overly self-conscious about looks
  • Accepting everything without question (having no backbone)
  • Stepping over boundaries (proving to have backbone) at the most inappropriate times
  • "Throwing on the charm" instead of bringing in results
  • Getting caught up in the office drama
  • Looking for that raise without even being in a year

25.4.10

Returning this Week...

Hey supporters!  I will be returning back to posting this week after a 2 week hiatus.  Stay tuned!

12.4.10

Is Your Career Your Purpose?

It seems that people use their careers or jobs as their defining roles in this world.  It makes sense considering the amount of time we spend at our work, with 40 hours being the typical for full-time.  Add in the commute, overtime, and the time we spend thinking about our jobs, and it seems like there isn't much time for anything else...

11.4.10

Why Rocky is a Solid Movie.

While flipping through channels today, I caught myself fixed onto the first Rocky movie.  I've seen this movie maybe 20 times now, and I still always get drawn back to it.  Here are some reasons why I feel it is a prime American movie, in no particular order (if you are worried about spoilers... I feel sorry for you):

Reason #1 - It's a down-and-out story.  And not just normal down-and-out, but we're talking lowest of lows.  Rocky is a blubbering mess of a person.  And the company he keeps all have their own deep issues.  Drunkards, shut-ins, loan sharks, etc., all are trash to the common man, but they all possess one redeeming quality.  Each person tries to help in the only way they know how.

Reason #2 - It's gritty.  This movie is rough.  Rocky is shot rough, with a very low budget.  The dialogue can be grating at points.  The acting certainly isn't textbook.  Hell, Stallone had to write in some scenes due to some errors in props.  But this only gives the movie a stronger appeal.  It brings you into that dirty, uneasy, scrappy environment.

9.4.10

Why Do You Buy? (Link Love)

I've used the Five Why's technique on many occasions when making a decision.  This post expands on that principle.

The 30 Day Trial (Link Love)

This blog actually began as a 30 day challenge for me to see if I could write a post daily.  Now that I've exceeded that and found that I have enjoyed it, I continue on.  I've also been a vegetarian for a month, given up sodas for a month, ran daily for a month, and many other things.  Some changes stuck.  Others didn't.  But I learned a little more about myself with each challenge.  To get some inspiration, read this post on 30 days to success.

7.4.10

The "Yes, And" Rule.

I did improvisational theatre while I was in high school.  It was pretty much the only type of theatre I was decent at; I was horrible at memorizing lines, and my expressions were too over-the-top.  Improv came naturally to me though, and I ran with it.  In participating in it, I learned a valuable life lesson.

To be good at improv, there is one rule you have to engrain into your skull.  It's known as the "Yes, And" Rule.  The "Yes, And" Rule is simple... whenever an idea is brought into a scene, the actors must accept it as true (the yes) and commit to incorporating it throughout the scene.  This builds continuity, momentum, and integrity.

6.4.10

Putting Yourself Out There.

There are times when you will come across a person who says they are lucky to be in the situation they are in.  Whether it is in their job, their mate, their wealth, etc. they feel as though they were in the right place at the right time to receive such great things in their lives.

We can't control luck.  When we wish for it, it seems we never get it.  And when we least expect it, it makes its presence known.  So how do we become lucky people?  We put ourselves out there.

You have to take chances and extend yourself to possibilities.  The more opportunities we give ourselves to succeed, the more chances luck will strike.  We can't control being in the right place at the right time... but we can control the places we are at and the amount of time we spend at each.  Make an effort to put yourself in those positive opportune areas and give it enough time, and something positive will strike.  But it's the risk of putting yourself out there that gives you the ability to receive amazing rewards.

5.4.10

Life Isn't the Struggle You Make It Out to Be.

People think that reaching their goals involves a lot of work.  The truth of the matter is that we get in our own way.  We want to make things complicated because we were conditioned to think that life is complicated.  There's this notion that you have to struggle to be successful or that you have to prove your worth by showing that you've scrapped.

We are born with certain advantages and disadvantages we can't control.  However, we sometimes get into this comparison war with others discussing who has more of a disadvantage like it's a badge of honor.  Some will even take it further by finding struggles to put upon themselves to show that they too know what it's like to live with disadvantages.

Tell me how it makes sense to put yourself in situations that people are trying to get themselves out of.  Yes, we all have issues that we have to get past.  We have to play with the hand we are dealt.  So accept it and move on, instead of thriving on being or becoming a victim.  Use your strengths, take advantage of those advantages, and make the most of your time while you have it.  And maybe the struggles won't be so relevant anymore.

With a Little Faith.

And now... a haiku:

With a little faith
impossibilities turn
into quite-likely's.

3.4.10

The Lost Art of Solitude (Link Love)

I came across this recent post and thought my readers would find interest in it.  There are times when I seem like a loner to some, however the importance of time for my personal self is high on my priority list.  Though the advancements of technology have given us the ability to connect with more people than ever, we must not take for granted our own greatest gift - our time.  Hence, let's take a look at regaining some solitude.

2.4.10

Did You Enjoy Your April 1st?

I hope yesterday's post didn't fool you.  I don't know how else I could have given it away that it was a joke.  If you've been following me at all, you would have noticed that mostly everything I said yesterday was the complete opposite of what I believe.

Critical thinking is necessary for a content life.
My actions help determine my outcomes.
The expectations of others have no bearing on my own pursuits.
I don't miss being chained to a desk job.
I am entitled to nothing... This world does not owe me a dime.
I should be paid for what I produce.
I will never strive to be average or normal.

Ok... maybe this blog is a little dangerous.

1.4.10

I'm Giving Up the Blog... This is Too Much Work.

This was an April Fool's Joke that caused quite a stir... Calls were coming in to find out if everything was alright.  See my response here.
I've been cranking out quite a few posts now, and frankly, I'm sick of it.  This whole thinking business is hurting my brain.  Critical thinking is overrated.  I'm ready to just settle down.  Life will take care of itself.  It doesn't matter what I do as long as I don't get in trouble right now.  Ultimately, I am here to fulfill the expectations of others, because my happiness is determined solely on how others perceive me.

I miss my suits.  I miss my car.  I miss commuting.  I miss my cubicle.  I shouldn't be creating posts... I should be stapling cover sheets on quarterly reports.  I shouldn't be wasting my time reading books... I should be maximizing my efficiency by reading memos and attending meetings.

I am entitled to many things right now.  I'm a decent person who needs things... I should be paid on that basis alone.

Achieving what the average person doesn't is something I don't want to do anymore.  I want to be normal.  Normal is safe.  Safe is good...

This blog is dangerous.  I've been a fool.

31.3.10

To Live Like You Were Dying.

I watched The Bucket List this morning.  This is the second time I've seen it.  Yes... I know it's sappy.  Yes... I'm okay with being a softy sometimes.

Anyway, the two main characters of the film embark on a journey of knocking out things they would like to do after hearing they have 6 months left to live.  Through their journey, they end up learning more about themselves and the world around them while providing joy to others in their final months.  The beauty of this story is that they took action and lived it out to the last breath, instead of just doing enough to survive.

I leave you with this...

Are you actively engaged in your own life?  Or doing just enough to survive?

On Why Being Selfish Can Be Selfless.

I finished Ayn Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged last night, which is an accomplishment in itself for me.  I have trouble finishing fiction... prefer non-fiction works.  I'll admit it; I enjoyed the book.  That is a statement that would never have come out of my mouth a decade ago.  My grade school English teachers would be proud.

One of the prominent messages I took from the book was that in order to truly benefit others, get past the idea that producing for ourselves is wrong.  In other words, being selfish is selfless.  Rand argues that it is because we have the ability to reward ourselves individually for our endeavors that produces creativity, progress, and, most importantly, action.  All three in turn reward society at large.  It is the idea that being self-serving in general is a sin that stifles us from truly achieving great things.

29.3.10

It's Not About Conformity vs. Non-Conformity...

This is about finding your own path - one you will be satisfied with.

I've seen a lot of lifestyle designer ("copyright") blogs throw around the word non-comformity liberally, and in turn receiving some backlash.  The usual argument goes like this:
"Well... you all are just forming another group... so who's the conformist now?"
Now this argument is based mostly on the view that anyone who strays from the predicated norm automatically judges those who do not share in their ideas.  I will agree that there are a few who spoil it for the rest of us, but many people who live outside of the norm could care less on how the normal live.  The question becomes motivation; am I doing this to be rebellious for its own sake, or am I doing this because I have other callings than what has been presented to me thus far?  Many would agree with the latter.

28.3.10

Why Casual Spectators Should be Ignored...

So I was able to catch a few of the fights from the UFC 111 Pay-per-view event.  Nothing too exciting (besides Frank Mir getting demolished via punches in the first round by Shane Carwin).  I noticed a few things about this event though.

First off, younger and less experienced fighters tend to put on more exciting fights.  They take a lot more risks, and therefore put themselves in dangerous but exciting situations.  Casual fans love this.  

Second, fights that involve seasoned veterans tend to be more calculated.  Thus, fights take more time due to fighters respecting their opponents strengths as well as feeling their strategy out.  The lulls in action sometimes receive boos from the crowd.

26.3.10

Walking.

And now... a haiku:

With legs in motion...
my senses are awakened.
I am in the now.

Ah the pros of being car-free... Have a safe weekend!

25.3.10

"Cheerio!" to the Joneses (Link Love)

If you have been keeping up with me, you probably have figured out that I'm not one to justify my life and happiness based on others' in comparison.  Just a little more inspiration to say good-bye to the Jones family. Turns out that they also have a place in Britain.

24.3.10

Why Learning a New Language is Similar to Dating...

In the beginning... it's new, a little scary, and somewhat frustrating.

Usually you're at a loss for words.

Body language can go a long way.

It's all about confidence.

Past experiences can help/hurt your progress.

23.3.10

Why Care About Age?

I've had a couple long conversations about age in the past week, so it seems valid to address it today. 

Why do we care about age?  It's all based on perceptions of others. 
Age really doesn't matter.  But for some reason we place importance on the number because we are told to.  It is our attempt to quantify (via time) something that is qualitative (life).

Age brings about the "shoulds".  By this age, you should be at this point... you should be able to handle these responsibilities... etc.  Who says you can't take care of that stuff now?  Using specific ages is just lazy thinking.

22.3.10

Depression is a Good Thing.

No... I am not going all "emo" on you guys and gals.

I want to argue that depression should not be feared and is a healthy, normal, natural thing.  In fact, I would say that depression came to be as an evolutionary tactic;  this feeling of emptiness is actually a byproduct of growth and change.   Growth and change, my friends, are good things.

Let's look at one of the quintessential times of change for the human being... what we have come to know as the mid-life crisis.  Usually defined as a phase happening somewhere in your 30s or 40s, a person acknowledges his finite time upon this earth, and is overwhelmed with the thoughts of whether his choices for his life were right or wrong.  He comes to terms with his limits and regrets, and tries to have one last hurrah to justify or make up for all the time he feels he has wasted thus far.  This transition is accompanied with denial and/or sadness.

21.3.10

Are We Truly Free?

And now... a haiku:

Are we truly free...
or living a figment to
feel some form of safe?

Sometimes I wonder...

20.3.10

Delayed Gratification

Life takes self-control.  Seriously.  In an age where we have access to everything via a couple of keystrokes, self-discipline is more important than ever.  You have to have the fortitude to handle what life throws at you, as well as that fire to keep you passionate about what you truly desire.

One aspect of self-control is the idea of delayed gratification.  Yes, you could have pretty much everything you want now (thank you credit cards), but you'll pay for it in spades later on.  And will you appreciate what you've taken, or will the feeling be as fleeting as the whim that brought you to it in the first place?

The great things that we yearn for in life entail some type of struggle that we just can't skip or avoid.  Yet, our society has grown to be one that is impulsive in nature, and it's made many of us less content with our lives.  And that impulsivity has brought about debts to be repaid, causing an even further downward spiral.

19.3.10

Why I Stopped Working with Busy People (Link Love)

I came across this post today and it got me thinking...

Am I using the throw-away claim of being busy too often?

18.3.10

11 Things...

Today I stumbled upon a site called 11 Points.  Each posting is a list of 11 things / observations / ideas / considerations relevant to a chosen topic.  With this new found inspiration, I dare to submit my list of 11 Things that Make Me Happy (in no particular order):
  1. A late night diner trip.
  2. A flirtatious giggle and smile.
  3. Guinness on tap.
  4. Watching someone I'm rooting for succeeding.
  5. Accomplishing precisely what I set out to do.
  6. Hearing that song, to which the immediate reaction is "I haven't heard this in ages!" (bonus points if at a concert).
  7. Taking a risk and hitting big.
  8. A well-deserved high five, usually accompanied with an "Oh hell yes!".
  9. A positive, out-of-the-blue message from a friend.
  10. A well thought-out anything.  Idea.  Perspective.  Argument.  Toast.
  11. Being clutch when the pressure is on.
I'm pretty sure that would make this week one of my happiest, considering I came across everything on this list...

What a St. Patty's Day...

All I can say is... EPIC.

16.3.10

How Much Should I Save? (Link Love)

This is a great post about savings rates and their effects on your ability to quit working.  Just more proof that doing what you want is simple... but not easy.

15.3.10

On Moderation.

I've spent the past few days watching the show Man v. Food on the Travel Channel (I'm not getting paid to promote... I really should find out about that).  If you have never seen it, the host attacks food challenges established by restaurants, usually involving tear-jerking spice or epic quantities fit for King Kong.  He'll eat... eat... and eat some more.  You can see the joy from his first few bites; by the end, his pure hatred for the task at hand shines through his sweat-drenched face.  The reward usually consists of a picture on a Wall of Fame, a t-shirt, and a heart attack before the age of 40.

I can't help it... I'm addicted.  Who doesn't want to see a man chomp down 6 pounds of food within an hour?  It's the American Way.

Last night, I went out for beer and pool.  It was a great time; nothing too crazy, but enjoyable.  If you were to flash back a few years, the story would have probably included bragging about the ridiculous number of shots I tallied, followed by me being a complete mess.  Now this is not to prove that my tolerance has gotten even stronger (in fact... I'm pretty sure I'm a cheap drunk now), but to show that excess is overrated. 

14.3.10

Happy Daylight Savings!

And now... a haiku:

As we spring forward,
one cannot help but to think...
"Am I saving much?"

Enjoy losing an hour...

13.3.10

The Storyteller's Creed

I found this in a book I just so happened to come across in the library today:
I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge.
That myth is more potent than history.
That dreams are more powerful than facts.
That hope always triumphs over experience.
That laughter is the only cure for grief.
And I believe that love is stronger than death.
- Robert Fulghum
And so... I continue on.

12.3.10

What's Success to You? - Part II

This is a continuation from yesterday's post. See Part I.

My own responses to the assignment:

Success, in my own eyes, is living a life of richness in learning and experience, understanding of the world around me, and contribution to the future
  • Richness in learning and experience - I will forever be a student, constantly observing, questioning, and applying what lessons I have gained during my time. (Internal)
  • Understanding of the world around me - I've been brought up to think a specific way and am curious to see the view from perspectives completely different from my own.  I'd like to expand my ability to critically think. (Internal)
  • Contribution to the future - From what I have gained, I want to share with others.  Knowledge, inspiration, wealth... my resources of time and ability are limited, and I must be diligent in my focus to provide. (External... though some may argue Internal)

11.3.10

What's Success to You? - Part I

Homework Assignment. 
  1. I want you to ask yourself this question and write out your definition, including how you will know when you have reached it.
  2. Once finished, take a step back from your writing, and ask why you have chosen to write what you specifically have down.
  3. For those answers, write down if each is truly an external (for anyone other than yourself) or internal (selfishly yours) motivation.  You have to pick one or the other... I will not accept "both" as an answer.
Give it some thought.  There are no wrong answers. Tomorrow I will discuss my own findings.

10.3.10

What Sleep Deprivation does to a Blog.

zsfgvtr

/\

Yes that combination of consonants is a product of my all-nighter of studying and prep work.  Before I do another touch-and-go, I will leave you with a haiku:

Dreams of a coma
delicately dance within
my overtaxed brain.

Must.  Get.  Sleep.

9.3.10

Safety = Avoiding Unnecessary Risks

I sat in on a presentation today about all types of safety techniques.  You could sum up its message with the title of this post.

At the basic level, whenever you work in an inherently dangerous job, "Safety First" is always Rule Numero Uno.  This is to make sure the worker can continue to perform his/her duties for a long period of time.  Things get messy when safety isn't a consideration;  injuries cause missing workers, less work gets done, and money is lost due to medical bills and less output.

We should be applying that same idea to our own lives.  Now I'll be the first to admit that I never want you to live a "safe" life;  it brings this vision of living in a bubble with no challenges or risks so that you can be comfortable.  Being comfortable is overrated.  However, when you do live that awesome lifestyle that you've always dreamed of, I want to stress the idea of avoiding unnecessary risks.

What do I mean by avoiding unnecessary risks in this context?  Don't waste your time, energy, skills, or health on leaps that have nothing to do with what you want out of life. 

8.3.10

A Success Story... Or Why I'll Never Buy Retail Again

American Eagle Cargo Shorts
Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) = $36.50
Amount Paid = $4
How did I walk out the door with a fresh new pair of cargo shorts for about a tenth of the suggested price?  I stole them, and left some cash behind out of guilt.

Ok... that's a lie.  I got them at a thrift store.  Half price Mondays.  And you wouldn't be able to tell the difference.

Some people have problems with secondhand shops, consignments, and thrift stores.  I'll give you some common reasons, and then offer counter-arguments to each.

7.3.10

The Story of the Mexican Fisherman (Link Love)

This is the second time I've come across this tale, and it has become one of my favorites. I'd like to share it with you today. 

The Story of the Mexican Fisherman

Here's to another solid week!

6.3.10

Simplicity.

And now, a haiku:

A simple life is
knowing when to say enough
with all the nonsense.

5.3.10

How Do You Like Them Apples...

Every so often, there's a moment where everything just seems to line up on its own for you.  You make plans to go one way, something goes awry, and you end up being led to a place better than where you intially headed. 

Now, many people that know me will admit that it is hard to describe who I am.  I tend to be a planner.  A strategist.  I embrace knowing that I can control where I will go in my life.  At the same time, I come off as spontaneous.  Roll with the punches.  Drop everything on a dime and head out on a whim.  Dichotomies were never really my bag.

Last night was no exception.  With beer on my mind and no food in my belly, a buddy and I were off.  I was really craving some pub food, so the plan was to hit up a small bar that we had heard about from a co-worker.  After picking up some supplies, we went on a search for said venue.  It took us 10 minutes before we realized we were in the wrong town. 

4.3.10

There Will Be Blood.

Today I went to the hospital for 3 different appointments.  No worries... just had to do some routine maintenance work. 
  1. Learned about the importance of flossing from my dentist.  This is the umpteenth time that I have received this lesson.  It's a habit that always seems to escape me, but this may be when it will finally stick (I tell myself this every time I walk out of the dentist's office).
  2. Got updated on my immunizations.  Eat it, seasonal flu! 
  3. Went to the lab to do a little blood work.  They took what seemed like a lot of blood... 6 vials (insert random comment about vampires).  They're testing my cholesterol levels, so I had to fast for about 10 hours prior.
The reason for telling you all of this is not to bore you with mundane details about my life, but to focus on what I had to "endure" for my last appointment.  Giving up something like eating for almost half of a day sounds drastic (okay... not that drastic), but when you consider how I went about it, it was really easy to do.  My plan was simple;  I would sleep for most of the time and then spend the rest drinking water to quell hunger pangs.  It was a small "sacrifice" for a big return... in this case, a test to help assess my health.

3.3.10

Remasculation of Man: Is It Really Necessary?

It worries me that men are supposedly losing their mojo these days. I was unaware that mine went missing.

Details Magazine published an article this month called The Remasculated Man. In it, the writer talks about the need for men to not just know that they have a pair, but when, where, and how to use it. I'm glad that a men's fashion magazine (you heard me... we're talking 22 full pages of advertisements selling luxury clothing, jewelry, shoes, cologne, and undies to the masses before you even see a hint of actual content) is giving me guidance on being a true man.

What has this world come to? And why do we as a society continue to push men towards becoming this Alpha Male prototype?

Is the American man lacking motivation to find his true self?  Is he missing guidance?  Or are we just fooling ourselves into thinking this way?  I believe it's a mix of all three.

2.3.10

What's Holding You Back.

I came across an article in the March issue of Men's Health last night that really struck a chord with me. In summation, the writer, who interviews people who have "made it" in this world, argues that cynicism is what keeps us from being successful in our lives. To be a truly elite performer, you are required to possess a sincere belief in the cause, your ability, and the venue in which your performance happens. I most certainly agree.

We can complain about how we've been dealt a bad hand in life, how our career is going nowhere, how our relationships aren't what they should be, etc. This world has a lot of ways to break us down, and it's easy to hate her for our circumstances. And why not? The times that sting us the most are the ones where we truly put ourselves out there, completely vulnerable, and get shot down. And it is sure as hell hard to get over.

1.3.10

Multi-tasking: How to Look Busy and Get Nothing Accomplished

Pick a random job posting, and 9 times out of 10 you'll see the "ability to multi-task" as a requisite.  In America, we tend to pride ourselves on how many things we can do in a limited amount of time.  The focus is on quantity, and our validation is based on how much we produce rather than what we actually produce.

What ever happened to a quest for quality?  And I'm not talking the business definition of quality, quality control, etc. but an actual pursuit of providing a complete, wholehearted output that you can stand behind and be proud of.

I've been on both sides of customer service, and have seen my fair share of successes and failures.  The best interactions have happened because a customer service representative literally stopped everything they were doing, gave the customer their complete attention, and focused specifically on the problem at hand.  In essence, they single-tasked.

28.2.10

You Can't Stop Him! You Can Only Hope to Contain Him...

Yes folks... I have made it through one full week of posts.  To celebrate, I'm going to leave you with a haiku and some link love.

A consuming life
is a foolish endeavor.
Leave it producing.

It turns out JT knows some things about making presentations.  Check out this hilarious breakdown of one of his songs in my Link of the Week


Thanks for the support thus far!  The encouraging words mean so much...

27.2.10

Two Girls, One Offer.

This morning, I was woken up by a knock on the door.  Two striking young women stood on the other side, looking to practice their public speaking.  Here's the pitch (this isn't verbatim... I was still in a sleepy stupor):
Hi, I'm _______ and this is ________ (asks for my name).  We're two students that are looking to practice our public speaking skills (asks if I do a lot of public speaking).  To show how well we're doing, you get to decide how many points we earn.  Whoever gets the most points gets a round trip ticket (asks where I would go)!
I'm going to stop this from going any further, because it reminds me of my days as a door-to-door salesperson (it still makes me queasy...).  Instead of determining "how many points" they should earn (they get points for which magazine subscriptions I buy), I will break down their techniques, and maybe we can all learn something from today's event.

26.2.10

Seriously... Show Me Someone Who Isn't Creative.

cre·a·tive
Pronunciation: \krē-ˈā-tiv, ˈkrē-ˌ\
Function: adjective
Date: 1678
1 : marked by the ability or power to create
Definition from Merriam-Webster Dictionary
While walking over to the library today, I took a stroll down good ole Memory Lane.  Writing was by no means my strong suit in grade school (at least in the eyes of my teachers).  I hated receiving graded papers back, because of those cursed notes that they would leave.  Who hasn't received the dreaded "lacks creativity" comment on a term paper?

Projects... don't even get me started on projects!  One of the most traumatizing times of my early scholastic career was when I had to do presentations for an "Advanced" class.  I had a teacher who would literally take me out of the classroom as soon as I had finished, move me to an empty room, and yell at me (this was a continual thing).  Here I was, 10 years old, being scolded on not putting enough effort.  Chicken with its head cut off.

Now many reading this would say that some people just aren't creative.  And I think that's complete bull.

25.2.10

Why Living the Cookie Cutter Lifestyle Makes my Tummy Rumble.

Sometimes you have to step back and see what you're getting yourself into.

When I was growing up, I was taught that life proceeded as follows:

Go to school -> Get a job -> Go to college -> Get a career -> Get married -> Buy a house -> Raise a family -> Retire at 60 -> Die

Oh and get some cool toys so you don't end up miserable with the process.

24.2.10

The Only Goals I Like Seeing Are the Ones Hitting the Back of the Net.

I have been approached on many occasions to help people with their various savings plans.  Well, their lack of plans. 

See, many people who have gotten into this recent savings kick (which has become "sexy" again... only took another recession...) do so with the only motivation being that it should be done because someday we may lose it all.

"I might lose my job."
"How will I make payments on (insert random hoodad)?"
"I have bills to pay."
"I want to be secure."

Let's think about this for a minute.  Is just safety, security, peace of mind, etc. enough to keep you saving?  For some (and we're talking .001% of the population), yes.  For the bulk of us, heck no.

23.2.10

On Being Beaudacious...

Besides a catchy title involving my name, Being Beaudacious is the culmination of my life learnings and the subsequent actions that make me a better me. 

It is a statement of confidence.  Today is my day, where I control the things that I can control, choose what's best for myself and those I care about, and never worry about the things that are beyond my scope.

C'mon... Once a Year?

This is getting ridiculous...

I apologize for my lack of posts.  I've been hesitant to write because the OCD is kicking in.  Today's post is a reaction to this limiting mentality.  Thus, in haiku form:

Striving for perfect
disables wanted action
for fear of failure.

Focus... focus.  I watched The Buried Life for the first time today, and now I'm hooked.  I feel a Bucket List coming on.  Stay tuned; I'll attack this and some other thoughts in the days upcoming.