People in groups

People in groups are notoriously stupid – not because any individual is, but because people blindly trust & follow group consensus instead of their own common sense.

This is proven by social media every second and you are not immune.

Of course – groups of people can yield amazing things. But whether the outcome/output of a group is considered positive or negative or successful (or not), it has little to do with whether group dynamics are at play or not. They are an incredibly powerful force & few are immune.

People in groups

Confusing authenticity with conformity

Too many people say they want people to be themselves while simultaneously criticizing those who are.

It should go without saying, but “being authentic” does not translate to “conform to what your idea of normal is”.

Don’t say you desire authenticity from people and then criticize them for being themselves or fault them for failing to cater to what your idea of normal is.

Confusing authenticity with conformity

Confusing authenticity with conformity

True friendship

True friendship

You’re better off with friends with whom you don’t agree with on everything than you are with friends you do.

One encourages you to see the value in other people’s perspectives while the other tends to paint the world in a way that doesn’t reflect reality.

Cherish the people in your life with whom you can be yourself or disagree with without fear of losing their friendship. This is a far more genuine form of friendship than one in which you’re afraid to express yourself because of what they may think.

The opposite of bravery

The opposite of bravery

The world runs rampant with people afraid to openly appreciate what they like, afraid to speak the truth, afraid of criticism, afraid of discomfort, afraid to voice their opinion, afraid of other people’s opinions, afraid of making mistakes, afraid of being wrong, afraid to be themselves, afraid to give a damn, afraid of change, afraid of independent thinking, afraid of being alone, afraid of going after what they want…

What’s the opposite of bravery again?

Have you ever taken the time to consider how much of your life is dictated by the actions you take to avoid the things you’re afraid of?

Be very careful of living a life spent running from your fears rather than working towards what you want.

By leading your life with less regard to your fears and more regard to what you want and the kind of person you truly want to be, you’re far more likely to be proud of the life you live than you will be by constantly catering to fear.

Be brave.

The opposite of bravery

Who are you going to be this year?

Who are you going to be this year?
I’ve seen a lot of posts on social networks this morning basically saying “Good riddance to the last year!” and how it was a “crappy” year.

A crappy year?

While the past 365 days may have been challenging in many ways [I originally wrote this in 2012 and this statement has remained true for every year since — coincidence?], I think it’s important to remember that it is our attitude that helps dictate how we feel about what’s going on in our lives. And if we’re alive, with a roof over our heads, a meal to eat, and still able to make decisions in our lives, then we actually have it pretty good. A large number of people in the world don’t even have their basic needs taken care of — and our lives, no matter how difficult they may get at times, often beat the alternatives.

Life isn’t always easy — but it helps if you remember that obstacles in your path are there to test you and to help you grow. It is by overcoming obstacles that you develop new skills and new ways of handling what the rest of your life has in store for you. If you’d never had a problem in your life, you wouldn’t be very able to deal with — well LIFE, would you?

“Smooth seas don’t make skilled sailors.” — African Proverb

I don’t know (many) adults who still cry when they drop their ice-cream cones.

“Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.” — Zig Ziglar

Every year from the year we were born, our challenges change to reflect what’s going on in our lives (and the world). And they often increase in difficulty as we continue to evolve from one year to the next. Some things are within our control to change — other things are not — but what we always have control over is our attitude.

Many of the challenges we face in our teens are often not the same as when we are in our 20’s, 30’s and beyond. And while much of this can certainly be attributed to changes in our environment, careers & social status, at least some of it can be attributed to the life skills we’ve (hopefully) picked up along the way: Confidence, communication, organization, responsibility, and the ability to weather storms. We learn how to cope.

I think the movie Stepbrothers, which involves two 39-year-old “children” still living at home, highlights an issue with not having learned the skills necessary to push forward into the next phases of life…

Warning: Profanity

If you want to be the very best you can be, then realize that challenges and contrast are a good thing and an opportunity for growth. And it is how you choose to react to those challenges that allows you to build your character and become a stronger person. Challenges are always an opportunity to reveal who you really are.

You don’t have to let the little things get you down — you don’t even have to let the big things get you down. Others may still complain about how awful or unfair or difficult life is, but you don’t have to be like that. Rather than focus on your problems, you can focus on how you’re going to overcome those problems — and have confidence that you’ll be able to do so.

Yes, it can certainly help to have a friend to confide in, vent to, or discuss your burden(s) — but it also helps to focus on what you’re going to do to overcome those burdens.

Which would you rather listen to:

  • 1) a friend complain about how awful something in their life is or
  • 2) the same friend explain something they’re dealing with and how they’re going to overcome it.

In the case of 2, they may even admit that they don’t know what they’re going to do, but if they explain their issues and express the fact they know that they will somehow find a way through them, it changes the entire tone of the conversation.

It’s the difference between “This is hard and life sucks!” and “This is hard, but I will get through this.” is a big one.

See also: The problem with problems

Would you rather the attention you receive be from people expressing how they “feel sorry” for you or would you rather the attention you receive from people be how they respect your attitude and ability to cope with what you’re dealing with.

You can decide right now that no matter what the next year has in store for you, that you are up to the challenge of handling everything to the best of your ability — and in the most positive way possible.

“I think the thing to do is to enjoy the ride while you’re on it.” — Johnny Depp

Yes, mistakes will be made — as they almost always are anytime we encounter something new — but every mistake is also a learning experience. It is by developing the skills needed to overcome challenges that help us show who we really are.

So who are you going to be?

Originally Published on: Jan 1, 2012

Superficial vs substance

Superficial vs substance

There will always be people who see the value in your contributions to the world and who genuinely appreciate you for what you’ve done and the kind of person you are.

But by that same token, there will always be those who ignore substance and, instead, judge you based on something superficial, like what you own or how you transport yourself from one location to another.

Always keep in mind that it is not your job to convince people to see substance when all they want to look at is the superficial.

Be the best you that you can be and you will naturally attract those who see value in who you are and what you offer. Don’t waste time trying to get people who overly value superficial things to see your worth. If they ever do, it wont be because you convinced them to.

Dear Self, I am working on being a better person

Dear Self, I am working on being a better person

Dear Self,

I am working on being a better person.

Please let me be the type of person who I would respect & admire if I saw them in action. Let me greet each new day as another opportunity to get things right. Let me be open to thinking about things in ways I haven’t thought about them before. Let me find ways to make a positive difference in the world, no matter how small, and act upon them when I am able.

Let me be open to the challenge of change. Let me not shy away from things just because they are difficult. Let me face my fears and do things I would like to do even when they make me nervous. Let me be generous with what I have to give away. Let me remember to be grateful for every second that I get to make choices in my life and act upon them.

Let me make at least one person’s day brighter by having been a part of it. Let me accept my mistakes as learning experiences. Let me learn to love myself, flaws and all. Let me not care so much what others think. And let me be confident in my ability to succeed.

Thank you. — Me

Originally Published on: Jan 27, 2012

Related:

Social media slavery

Over the years, I’ve received many requests to follow people on social media — or to like their content in exchange for a return of their “favor” of liking my content or following me — and I eventually started saying no.

And this is always awkward because people’s first thought is that I am rejecting them — when, in actuality, I am doing them (and myself) a favor by keeping the motivation for liking content or following others authentic.

So, while I’m happy to help people in whatever meaningful ways that I can, I don’t exchange or negotiate social media favors or arrangements because it leads to inauthentic behavior & expectations.

This means I will not like posts or subscribe to or follow people by request or simply because someone likes my content or follows me.

Once people make arrangements to trade social media favors, they become a slave to the social media machine where actions are no longer motivated by a genuine interest in other people or what they offer, but instead become motivated by a feeling of obligation or expectation or what a person wants in return.

I’ve done it. I’ve played the game.

I’ve followed people not because I liked them (I likely didn’t know them) or what they had to offer, but because I hoped that by following them, they would follow me back. And I’ve liked other people’s posts with the hope they would like mine back. And it works. A percentage of people will return the “favor”.

But is it really a favor when the positive engagement you think you’re getting for what you post isn’t done out of a genuine appreciation for it? No.

The best followers you will ever gain are those who have a genuine interest in you and what you offer and not those who simply follow you out of a feeling of obligation or reciprocation.

Imagine how much better it will feel when you can act with authenticity and simply follow people you want to follow or like content that you actually like and not because you feel obligated to.

Please like, follow, and subscribe to whoever you wish out of genuine desire — and I will do the same.

If you don’t like my content, don’t like it. If you don’t want to follow me, don’t. And if you do, do. It’s as simple as that.

Related:

Social media slavery