Wednesday, December 31, 2014

This Is How We Date Now

We don’t commit now. We don’t see the point. They’ve always said there are so many fish in the sea, but never before has that sea of fish been right at our fingertips on OkCupid, Tinder, Grindr, Dattch, take your pick. We can order up a human being in the same way we can order up pad thai on Seamless. We think intimacy lies in a perfectly-executed string of emoji. We think effort is a “good morning” text. We say romance is dead, because maybe it is, but maybe we just need to reinvent it. Maybe romance in our modern age is putting the phone down long enough to look in each other’s eyes at dinner. Maybe romance is deleting Tinder off your phone after an incredible first date with someone. Maybe romance is still there, we just don’t know what it looks like now.

 When we choose—if we COMMIT—we are still one eye wandering at the options. We want the beautiful cut of filet mignon, but we’re too busy eyeing the mediocre buffet, because choice. Because choice. Our choices are killing us. We think choice means something. We think opportunity is good. We think the more chances we have, the better. But, it makes everything watered-down. Never mind actually feeling satisfied, we don’t even understand what satisfaction looks like, sounds like, feels like. We’re one foot out the door, because outside that door is more, more, more. We don’t see who’s right in front of our eyes asking to be loved, because no one is asking to be loved. We long for something that we still want to believe exists. Yet, we are looking for the next thrill, the next jolt of excitement, the next instant gratification.

 We soothe ourselves and distract ourselves and, if we can’t even face the demons inside our own brain, how can we be expected to stick something out, to love someone even when it’s not easy to love them? We bail. We leave. We see a limitless world in a way that no generation before us has seen. We can open up a new tab, look at pictures of Portugal, pull out a Visa, and book a plane ticket. We don’t do this, but we can. The point is that we know we can, even if we don’t have the resources to do so. There are always other tantalizing options. Open up Instagram and see the lives of others, the life we could have. See the places we’re not traveling to. See the lives we’re not living. See the people we’re not dating. We bombard ourselves with STIMULI, input, input, input, and we wonder why we’re miserable. We wonder why we’re dissatisfied. We wonder why nothing lasts and everything feels a little hopeless. Because, we have no idea how to see our lives for what they are, instead of what they aren’t.

 And, even if we find it. Say we find that person we love who loves us. Commitment. Intimacy. “I love you.” We do it. We find it. Then, quickly, we live it for others. We tell people we’re in a relationship on Facebook. We throw our pictures up on Instagram. We become a “we.” We make it seem shiny and perfect because what we choose to share is the highlight reel. We don’t share the 3am fights, the reddened eyes, the tear-stained bedsheets. We don’t write status updates about how their love for us shines a light on where we don’t love ourselves. We don’t tweet 140 characters of sadness when we’re having the kinds of conversations that can make or break the future of our love. This is not what we share. Shiny picture. Happy couple. Love is perfect.

 Then, we see these other happy, shiny couples and we compare. We are The Emoji Generation. Choice Culture. The Comparison Generation. Measuring up. Good enough. The best. Never before have we had such an incredible cornucopia of markers for what it looks like to live the Best Life Possible. We input, input, input and soon find ourselves in despair. We’ll never be good enough, because what we’re trying to measure up to just does not even exist. These lives do not exist. These relationships do not exist. Yet, we can’t believe it. We see it with our own eyes. And, we want it. And, we will make ourselves miserable until we get it.

 So, we break up. We break up because we’re not good enough, our lives aren’t good enough, our relationship isn’t good enough. We swipe, swipe, swipe, just a bit more on Tinder. We order someone up to our door just like a pizza. And, the cycle starts again. Emoji. “Good morning” text. Intimacy. Put down the phone. Couple selfie. Shiny, happy couple. Compare. Compare. Compare. The inevitable creeping in of latent, subtle dissatisfaction. The fights. “Something is wrong, but I don’t know what it is.” “This isn’t working.” “I need something more.” And, we break up. Another love lost. Another graveyard of shiny, happy couple selfies.

 On to the next. Searching for the elusive more. The next fix. The next gratification. The next quick hit. Living our lives in 140 characters, 5 second snaps, frozen filtered images, four minute movies, attention here, attention there. More as an illusion. We worry about settling, all the while making ourselves suffer thinking that anything less than the shiny, happy filtered life we’ve been accustomed to is settling. What is settling? We don’t know, but we don’t want it. If it’s not perfect, it’s settling. If it’s not glittery filtered love, settling. If it’s not Pinterest-worthy, settling.

 We realize that this more we want is a lie.

 We want phone calls. We want to see a face we love absent of the blue dim of a phone screen. We want slowness. We want simplicity. We want a life that does not need the validation of likes, favorites, comments, upvotes. We may not know yet that we want this, but we do. We want connection, true connection. We want a love that builds, not a love that gets discarded for the next hit. We want to come home to people. We want to lay down our heads at the end of our lives and know we lived well, we lived our lives. This is what we want even if we don’t know it yet. We want to unplug so we can reconnect. We want the perfection found in the imperfection. We want the feeling of love but we want it to look a certain way so that other will approve of it too. We want to pick and choose because we want love without the risk and pain of loss.

 Yet, that is not how it works. This is not how we date now. This is not how we love now.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Organizational Change

College is an interesting creature. Sometimes it beats you up and leaves you for dead and other times it is invigorating and can push you to become something more. This last semester I had moments of both sides of this animal. There were a few classes that I simply did not care about and it was clearly apparent and there were other classes that I absolutely loved. Part of the reason why I loved my classes were they helped me gain that real world experience I needed and they were heavy on strategy.

I loved my strategy classes, including one class were we worked with an organization to help them in a turnaround situation. It was fascinating and loved the tools and assignments we used in our class lectures. As a wrap-up for the end of the semester, our professor divided the class into three groups and told us to illustrate what we had learned on the whiteboards at the front of the room. She did her best to help us out a bit after we presented our initial thoughts by giving us a short list of some principles she wanted to make sure we included:


Some of us took the basic business diagram approach with a very professional-style and format:

Others decided to be slightly more creative and made more of a flow path illustration:

With my group I saw this as an opportunity to use some creative freedom and do my best to illustrate the turnaround process in a RSA whiteboard animation style:

It couldn't be quite as sophisticated as RSA animation because I only had 20 minutes to plan out our process and design the board but in the end, I think it came out half-way decent.

The idea is that there is a struggle between maintaining the status quo and allowing for change. In a turnaround situation, change has to win out but when it does, the markers or red flags show up in a few different places that we can look at. If we see the need to change, we have to assess the cost of fixing the company or whether it would be better to liquidate and let it die. If we are going to fix it, we need to look at the strengths and core competencies of the company. Do we want to focus on a financial fix with cutting costs or is this more behavioral and cultural? Once we have a general idea of our approach then we can follow Kotter's Model while we watch where our company is on the change curve. If successfully implemented, a company should be able to recover and get back to growth and prosperity down the road.

Friday, December 26, 2014

100 National Geographic Personality Facts

  1. Your personality at 3 years old predicts your personality at age 26.
  2. Opposites don't attract: In general, people prefer mates with similar personality traits.
  3. Happy people are more likely to help people in need.
  4. Machiavellianism, a manipulative personality style, is measured in units of Machs.
  5. Studies show that people with high self-esteem believe they are more popular than they actually are.
  6. When they are depressed, women are more likely to cry; men are more likely to become aggressive.
  7. People can accurately judge a stranger's personality based on a Facebook profile.
  8. Animals ranging from chimpanzees to fishing spiders demonstrate distinct personalitites.
  9. In an experiment on a college campus, zero women agreed to have sex with a stranger who approached them; 75 percent of men agreed.
  10. More than 500 different words describe emotional states.
  11. In one study, people who were emotionally stable (low in neuroticism) had the strongest immune responses to hepatitis B vaccine.
  12. People high in neuroticism have difficulty telling positive stories about themselves.
  13. Babies begin to exhibit a self-concept, as measured by recognizing themselves in a mirror, at 18 months on average.
  14. Extraverts tend to seek out songs with heavy bass lines.
  15. Close to 20,000 adjectives in the English language describe personality traits.
  16. In one experiment, people who score high and low in extraversion were shown pictures of puppies while receiving magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). High-scoring people showed more brain activity than low scorers.
  17. People who score high on openness measures have more vivid dreams than others, and they are more likely to remember their dreams.
  18. A study of U.S. regional variations in personality traits identified the most conscientious state as Florida.
  19. People who do volunteer work typically score high on measures of both agreeableness and extraversion.
  20. Scoring high on neuroticism scales is not the same as being neurotic. To psychologists, neurosis is an old-fashioned term for a mental disorder such as obsessive-compulsive disorder.
  21. Upbringing does affect religious and political beliefs as well as health habits. Children are likely to reflect their parents' attitudes, as well as their smoking and drinking habits.
  22. Studies indicate that success among top executives at for-profit companies is most strongly linked to honest and integrity.
  23. Strengths are genetically linked, particularly between father and son and mother and daughter. Parenting also affects some strengths such as love of learning.
  24. After 9/11, American respondents showed increased strengths of hope, faith, and love.
  25. Northern Europeans born in cold months score higher on sensation seeking than those born in warm months.
  26. In men, but not in women, extraversion increases with physical size.
  27. Children as young as five make firm moral judgments.
  28. The propensity to marry or to stay single is strongly heritable.
  29. From adolescence to young adulthood, men's self-esteem increases and women's decreases.
  30. Studies show that birth order has little effect on personality, although it does affect family dynamics.
  31. North Dakota has more extraverts than any other state.
  32. Forgiveness is more characteristic of people who score high on the agreeableness and emotional stability scales.
  33. Men are more likely to be distressed by sexual infidelity; women by emotional infidelity.
  34. Brain scans of people contemplating the trolley problem show that the "fat man" scenario evokes activity in a part of the brain that governs emotional conflict resolution.
  35. During the two World Wars, hard-pressed Germans ate dog meat. Their name for it translates as "blockade mutton."
  36. The belief that you can definitely do what you set out to do is known as self-efficacy.
  37. Psychologist Abraham Maslow theorized that needs form a hierarchy, from most to least basic: physiological (such as the need for food), safety, belongingness, esteem, and self-actualization.
  38. Power-motivated people experience higher blood pressure and increased muscle tone when they are challenged for dominance.
  39. U.S. presidents with a high need for affiliation were more likely to be involved in scandals.
  40. People who receive supportive responses from their partners send out more positive e-mails afterward.
  41. Women who are more motivated by power tend to have more children.
  42. People who score high in the need for affiliation have stronger immune systems than others do.
  43. Bosses with a high need for power are more susceptible to flattery from underlings.
  44. A study showed that bowlers who rarely smile while facing the pins, despite results, often smile when facing their companions.
  45. People who have internal conflicts between the goals they truly want and those that are imposed upon them are more likely to have stress-related illnesses.
  46. Farmers with a high need to achieve are more productive than other farmers are.
  47. Many people suffering from Huntington's disease cannot recognize an expression of disgust.
  48. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, U.S.-Soviet communications contained strong power imagery in the early stages and more affiliation imagery in the later stages.
  49. Employees who use for or more of their strengths at work report greater job satisfaction than those who use fewer strengths.
  50. People who score high on neuroticism scales are more likely to say that the process of reaching their goals is stressful and usually ends in failure.
  51. Promotion-oriented people approach new relationships by looking for matches; prevention-oriented folks try to avoid mismatches.
  52. When shown a vague object in a phone, promotion-oriented people come up with more explanations for what it might be than prevention-oriented people do.
  53. Women who had positive emotional expressions in their college yearbook photos reported greater well-being and more satisfying marriages 30 years later.
  54. The simple perception that you have people to turn to in times of trouble provides some protection against the harmful effects of stress.
  55. Children who are blind from birth have the same facial expressions as those who can see.
  56. Eyewitness memories are notoriously inaccurate. In a study of guilty verdicts overturned by DNA evidence, one-third of the convictions were based on two or more mistaken eyewitnesses.
  57. People with strong power motives create narratives with themes of agency, such as mastery and status.
  58. Famous events leading to flashbulb memories include the Lincoln, Kennedy, and Olof Palme assassinations; the explosion of the shuttle Challenger; and the O.J. Simpson trial verdict.
  59. Parents who elaborate about emotions, causes, and explanations in stories develop stronger storytelling skills in their children.
  60. Psychologists find that narrators typically portray themselves as one of two kinds of protagonists in a traumatic event: John Wayne (brave) or Florence Nightingale (caring).
  61. People with depression have vaguer memories than other people. They often merge similar events into one generic occurrence.
  62. People tend to recall the most events from the period between the ages of 10 and 30.
  63. Religiosity seems to enhance positive emotions, particularly hope and optimism.
  64. Studies of children between the ages of 3 and 12 show that they have an intuitive theism that spurs them to see the hand of supernatural agency in the natural world.
  65. Grit and talent are slightly negatively correlated-perhaps because gritty people work a little harder in order to succeed.
  66. Self-regulation is closely linked to the personality trait of conscientiousness.
  67. When their willpower is depleted, people with low self-esteem become even more negative about themselves than usual.
  68. People whose mothers valued academic success, and who were later primed with the concept of mother before a test, performed better on that test.
  69. Terror management theory is a study of the basic conflict between our desire to live and our awareness of death.
  70. Money is a poor predictor of well-being. Above the poverty level, income does not correlate with happiness.
  71. There are more male psychopaths than female psychopaths.
  72. About 40 million American adults have an anxiety disorder.
  73. Self-regulation is a uniquely human trait.
  74. Workers who trained in mindfulness meditation reported feeling less anxious and more involved with their work.
  75. The values of benevolence, self-direction, and universalism are most highly valued across most cultures.
  76. Losing control of drinking leads to guilt, which leads to poorer self-regulation, which leads to more drinking.
  77. People with poor self-control learn better from rewards than they do from punishments.
  78. Self-compassion is distinct from self-pity. Self-pitying people focus on themselves, while self-compassionate people focus on their connection to others.
  79. Spellers who scored high in the personality trait of openness to experience performed worse than others at the spelling bee.
  80. In a group of adults with similar educational levels, grit steadily increased with age and was particularly noticeable in people over 65.
  81. Gritty people are less likely to change their careers frequently.
  82. Self-compassionate people are high in the traits of extraversion, agreeableness, and conscientiousness.
  83. People who are self-compassionate find compassionate images soothing; those who are self-critical find them alarming.
  84. Some studies show that women have slightly lower levels of self-compassion than men do.
  85. Personality disorders are often marked by poor social judgment, such as misinterpreting how other people behave.
  86. Age may be the best treatment for psychopathy. Antisocial behavior decreases dramatically after age 40.
  87. Men consistently value power, achievement, hedonism, stimulation, and self-direction more than women do.
  88. Having similar values is more predictive of a satisfying romantic relationship than having similar personalities.
  89. In general, people believe that their own futures are brighter than those of their peers.
  90. Nineteenth-century phrenologists believed that a bulging area at the top of the skull indicated benevolence.
  91. Hostility-one component of a "type A" personality-is a strong predictor of cardiovascular disease.
  92. The most common source of stress in daily life is concerns about weight.
  93. Great apes, dogs, and baboons perform well on tests of self-control.
  94. Women experience affection and joy much more often than men do.
  95. Hypermasculinity-excessive shows of strength or bragging about accomplishments-is a symptom of histrionic personality disorder.
  96. Seventy percent of Hindu Indians, but only 13 percent of American women, agree with this statement: "It is immoral for adults to disobey their parents."
  97. Inspection time-the time it takes to discriminate between lines of different lengths-is related to general intelligence.
  98. Up to 13 percent of people in Western countries experience extreme shyness during their lifetime.
  99. Surveys show that narcissistic disorders are the least common personality disorder-but this may be because narcissistic people don't acknowledge the problem.
  100. Researchers have identified 11 tactics of manipulation, ranging from charm to regression.

Friday, December 5, 2014

The Hopeless Romantic

My friends have told me time and again that I need to be present, to take it easy, be patient and many similar things. I feel like I am trying but apparently I have been anything but successful. I have been trying to date around lately but as usual all that means is that I really like one particular girl. And as my typical self, I failed again. She wants to be friends. Most women think this isn't the kiss of death but accompanied with the comment that I don't see you in that way... It is.

After getting some great counsel from a friend, I went to FHE on Temple Square where we planned to get some hot chocolate and look at the lights. It was a lot of fun but I did it by myself. I couldn't find anyone from my ward but I took it as an opportunity to think and to pray. So after walking around the grounds, I finally found a quiet bench on the backside of the temple. I sat down and pulled my arms inside my coat and across my chest and I began to pray. As I prayed, I began to confess to God the many frustrations and obstacles I had been facing and plead for the strength and the patience to overcome those things (whether that was feeling alone in the crowd, watching as my bank account withered away, lacking the incentive or desire to continue to apply for jobs when I kept hitting walls at every turn or facing the things out of my control when it comes to dating - basically everything).

As I sat there trying to understand the counsel and words I had heard from my friend, I couldn't help but feel so small and out of place. Here I was surrounded by hundreds of happy people, families and friends, feeling completely alone. That loneliness was the consequence of my own actions. When I really care about someone, I listen, observe, and try to understand everything that was said and left unsaid. I want to ask them questions. I want to understand. I want to help and show that I care in any way that I can. One of the things I like to do is write handwritten letters. I like to carefully think about my feelings and the words I want to say as I craft each page. I sit and think about that person. I like to think about them as they are and as they say who they want to become. I think about the memories or moments that we shared and the ones I hope to share in the future. I am the hopeless romantic.

Little do people understand or see the tears just under the surface. When I love so fully and so deeply, it is always too soon. It is too much. It is like I become an exposed nerve because I wear my heart on my sleeve. Having someone who wants to know what truly matters to you, what makes you tick and what it means to truly understand you... It scares people. It is so hard for me to stay on the surface even with surface relationships. I see when people are hurting because I can recognize certain kinds of pain... The ones I have felt before myself. I want to hold them and listen and let them know that it is going to be alright. I can see when people are excited and I want to hear their stories. I laugh as I hear them give me the play-by-play accounts. I want to hear a person's story as I try and write my own. It isn't all serious all the time. I can barely be serious for longer than a few minutes. I like to have fun and I am quick with wit, sarcasm, and all types of humor. I like to make people smile and I like to compete. Still, I have a hard time having people stick around long enough to see all of these sides of me and give me a chance to really love them and so there I was feeling and recognizing my own insignificance on a bench in the night amidst a huge crowd alone. The thought came into my mind that again it was patience. I felt like things were going to be okay even though they weren't now. I felt like although I was being comforted there were too many questions.

I got up to head back to my car to think some more before driving home and that was when I ran into her. She and her roommates had come up to the activity as well and were also lost. I tried to remember what my friend had said about being super nice and then leave. Show her what she is missing. I came up and smiled and we all talked for a minute and as we turned the corner, she and I talked a little more and both couldn't help but smile and then I apologized because I had to leave them to head back home to work on some assignments and projects. As I walked away, I just felt this huge pain in my chest start growing as it felt like I was turning my back on the one person that could fill the void that I had been feeling so much lately. It hurt as I got to my car and as I drove silently home with music playing in the background all I could think about was how much I wanted to stay.

I wanted to take photos of her and her roommates. I wanted to get to know all of them. I wanted to be friends with all of them. I wanted to hear her laughing and see her smiling at me but all I could hear in my head was her asking for more space. That smile that was once directed at me felt like a knife twisting in my chest as I imagined her and her roommates being happier with me gone. Maybe she didn't know whether or not she liked me but because she was pushing for more space said what she did. Still, she wouldn't know how much that really hurt. All I could think of mile after mile was the idiot I had been. I should have said things differently. I should have been more relaxed. I should have done this or that. I am not good enough. No one wants to love someone that they haven't had the chance to trust first. So there I was, driving home and thinking of someone that I felt drawn to while fighting back the tears as I considered that once again my actions had left me to the privacy of my own company.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Music Mayhem

It has been a while since I have done a music dump but there is a lot of interesting music out there and sometimes I happen upon it when I am studying or a friend posts some sweet lyrics online. Either way, here is just a few different songs that I lately have found to be pretty awesome when I am studying or just driving around town. The last one is pretty cool at least to me because when I went to Japan, I went and had breakfast at that fish market and it is was an experience and it was super busy:

1. I Have Made Mistakes by The Oh Hello's

2. Youth by Daughter

3. Bloom by The Paper Kites

4. Little Talks by Of Monsters and Men

5. Stay The Night by Zedd ft. Hayley Williams

6. Rather Be by Clean Bandit ft. Jess Glynne

7. Steal My Girl by One Direction


8. Shake It Off by Taylor Swift

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Rarity Among Men

I like to follow a site called Elite Daily on Facebook. The articles posted on this site deal with a bunch of random goodness in a variety of forms. The most recent article I found interesting was entitled, "They're Not All That Bad: 5 Rare Types of Men You'd Be Lucky To Meet." To my pleasant surprise, I possessed all 5 rare qualities. Let me share the list:

1. The Man Who Is Not Shallow

This man is looking for something beyond looks. This man notices a woman with depth, drive, layers and character. Of course, it's important to be attracted to someone, but a man who is not shallow is a man who won't forget all about you the moment he meets a gorgeous bombshell.

Although many men claim they place a higher importance on personality than they do looks, at the end of the day, they're choosing the woman who was the most stunning in the looks department. It's not your problem, though.

It can take several years for a man to come to terms with what is truly important in a woman, and until he comes to that realization on his own, he'll be swimming in the shallow end. Eventually, when diving into the shallow end of the pool results in nothing but bruises and scrapes, he'll test the waters of the deep end.

2. The Direct Man

This man is a rare breed. He is direct, and if he likes you, he tells you. Similarly, if he's not into you, he tells you right away instead of wasting your time by procrastinating to avoid an uncomfortable conversation.

If there is something you're doing that is bothering him, the direct man is honest instead of giving you the cold shoulder. The direct man has the strength of character required to be forthcoming instead of nonchalant.

3. The Man With Follow-Through

Follow-through is a very important character trait. Women will immediately notice whether or not a man possesses this quality.

If there is no discrepancy between his words and his actions, he possesses follow-through. For example, if he says he wants to see you and follows through with those words by planning a date with you, he is the type of man who follows through on his words with the appropriate actions.

He keeps the momentum going and does not drag his feet when it comes to asking you out on a second or third date.

4. The Man Who Wears His Heart On His Sleeve

This man is not afraid of rejection. Even if there are some risks to telling you how he feels about you (like the chance of awkwardness, embarrassment or rejection), he doesn't care. He wears his heart on his sleeve and tells you how much he likes you and why.

He doesn't play it cool in an attempt to appeal to you more, or participate in any other dating games. Just like the direct man, this man does not play games.

5. The Man Who Sees You

This man is always present when he's with you. He takes the time to get to know you; he is engaged in the conversation and appreciates all the layers that make you special.

He notices the little things that set you apart from other women, the things you thought nobody noticed. His ability to truly see you and set you apart from others is what makes him so special.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Giver

One of the things I like to do is watch movies and analyze them. Socially I do this with people too but it isn't quite as acceptable. It is part of me that I can't really turn off even though I have tried. I am always trying to understand things, see connections and parallels and find ways to learn and apply principles to my daily life and my interactions. I watched "The Giver" last night and it really helped me to understand a few things different things about relationships.

When we are first introduced to The Giver, we are told that the world has been changed. Society lives in communities with family units but the difference is that differences aren't allowed. The community has gotten rid of classifications of winners, losers, popularity and fame because people don't want to be different as much as they want to fit in. People need sameness. So in an attempt to create a sense of order and as a way to enforce this, the community created a set of rules or standards.

People within the community are assigned clothes. There are no secrets and people are not allowed to lie. They are required to take their daily injections. They are assigned to family units. They are not allowed to touch people outside their family unit. Apologies are expected and automatic pleasantries that don't mean anything. And as you grow up you form friendships but things change when you leave childhood and you do what you are assigned to do or fulfill a role in the community. You are expected to obey these rules. However, not everyone does.

When people do not obey the rules or are not seen as if they will conform, they are released to elsewhere. Most commonly people are released when they are old and retire or when they are an uncertain and are babies that do not conform well to their family units. Again, this system creates a feeling of control, order in our lives, and work life and family life that function in consistent schedules. One of the things I have learned recently from another film, a documentary, was that happiness is 50% genetics which determines where our normal emotional state, 10% results of our situational environment and 40% choice. It is spontaneity and variety in our lives that we choose that can cause us to have feelings of happiness. In this world of sameness, the roles created a system where everyone provided value or a sense of purpose.

One of these roles was the receiver of memory. It was a role held by two individuals at a time. The more experienced receiver was to train and pass on the memories of the past to help provide wisdom that would help society to solve problems or issues that they faced without having to experience the emotional tides in our history. Society as a whole was protected from certain memories that are erased with the morning injections because they were part of a balance between good and bad. They took away things that caused pain and pleasure... Color, love, race, death, murder, and war. As the new receiver of memories, Jonas, is in his training he wants to share the memories he receives with his friends from his childhood. He also sees the wisdom in the elders choice when he first receives the memories of the pains of war. He wants to return to his childhood of scraped knees and games than to ever return to that nightmare.

I can see how we use these ideas even in real life when it comes to soldiers. War is such a painful and traumatizing experience that the only way we can train humans to kill other humans is to take out the human element. We dehumanize our enemies and turn them into an ideal or a faceless enemy. It puts them in opposition to the group and isolates them.

Once Jonas has learned about death and war and murder, he becomes more aware of the reason why the community uses precise language. He is shown a memory of the people being again released to elsewhere. Releasing people is murder by people without an understanding of death. If they can't feel it then they were capable to release the young and the old based on small metrics to death. They hadn't eliminated murder. They had brought it home. They simply called it by a different name.

Precise language was the key in limiting the way people could feel. They were allowed to be anxious, disappointed, in pain, brave, unhappy, fine, feel loss, worry, joy, pride, dissatisfaction, indignant and rebellious. But what was life if you could not feel? Why come back at the end of the day to a dwelling when you could come back to a home? The reason is that feelings are fleeting and emotions are primal and they linger. It created a disconnect so this kind of society could exist.

You would not have a name until you were accepted into a family and you lost your name once you were released. You only had a first name because that was as different as you were allowed to become. You weren't allowed a name until that point because up to that point you didn't have an identity. You weren't connected to your family unit more than what was necessary. This was the way the elders protected their community because of what they knew. They knew what emotions were but that isn't the same as knowing how that emotion feels.

Emotions are deeper than feelings. There are painful emotions like fear, envy, hate, jealousy, nervousness, resentfulness, confusion and death but the opposite exists too with beauty, curiosity, dancing, laughter, joy, music and love. Music is something that you can't see with your eyes but you feel deep inside you like faith. Faith is feeling beyond like the wind - something you can feel but cannot see. These emotions that were taken from people make life complete and the more you have the more you want. It is what gives you courage and strength to do what is right even when you have to fight for it or when you have to stand alone. The greatest emotion of all is love.

Love is something you feel for someone else that your mind can't explain and won't go away no matter how hard you try. You wish to share the good things with someone you love, you think about them all the time and you are willing to risk pain to love them. And even though love can turn into passion and contempt, if we believe and have faith and hope, love can be the most beautiful part of life and can give meaning to life. The society in this story is made up of people much like the world around us, living in fear of real intimacy and residing in the shadows and echoes of what once made us real.

 There are people who I know that want to dehumanize relationships. They want the physical feelings of love without intimately knowing their partner. They want the pleasure without the future pain when that person leaves either by choice or in death. People want friendships filled with moments of fun while refusing the potential of relationships in the future. By making these stipulations, they remove any accountability of emotions that come to the other person through mutually shared experiences. They can get the companionship they want without the responsibility of any possible pain or having to put others first.

I know that I need to live more in the moment. I need to analyze less. I need to stop trying to anticipate and push towards relationships. My relationships will only last if they grow naturally step by step. Those steps take time and we need to be patient and in those situations we often do have to wait and persuade and love people who are at all points along this path. But we also have to love unconditionally and without expectation. We need to love and we need to give. These are but a few of the reasons why the old receiver of memory is known as The Giver.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Wondering Where You Are

When I finally get a moment to myself, my first thought is of you. I am wondering if you are happy. I wonder where you are. Who are you with? Are you laughing? What would it be like if I was there with you? Would I finally meet your family? Would we hang out with some of your friends? Would you look up at me from across the room? Would our eyes meet? Would you hold my hand? When will you finally let me inside? Do you ever think of me? Will you remember when I am gone?

I wish I could tell you what you mean to me but even having a brief conversation with you in itself sometimes feels it is a success. I wish more than anything that I had the chance to show you. I would be the kind of man who would bring you flowers. I would want to protect you from the rain. I would want to lift you up when you are in pain. I would hold you day and night. I would forget time as I held you in my embrace. Will we be able to heal each other? Will you give us a chance?

Honestly, the number of times that thoughts and questions like these have gone through my head are far too many to count. A lot of my friends think I can approach and talk with just about anyone which is true to a point. There are so many other things that I wish I could have said. Still, I have learned a lot about myself and about others. Here is a great way that I have seen it described before:
"Before you can grow up, you must fall in love 3 times. 
"Once you must fall in love with your best friend, ruining your friendship forever. This will teach you who your true friends are, and the fine line between friendship and more.
"Once you must fall in love with someone you believe to be perfect. You will learn that no one is perfect, and that you should never be treated as any less than you deserve.
"And once you must fall in love with someone that is exactly like you. This will teach you about who you are, and who you want to be.
"And when you're through with all that, you will learn that the people who care about you the most are the ones that you hurt, and the ones that hurt you are the ones that you needed the most. But most of all, you learn that love is only a concept and is not something that can be defined, it is different to each person that experiences it. And you will learn to respect each and every person on this earth, knowing that everyone only wants to be loved."
 I remember when each of those experiences happened for me. I remember their names. I remember the exquisite pain and joys attributed to each relationship. Sometimes you can't help but have a memory or two slip back into your mind as you watch with great fondness and sadness as the story plays out in front of you. The hardest part of falling into love is when gravity continues to pull on you until the point that you fall out of love.

I hope that my next relationship is one that is Falling Up. I hope it grows. I know that it will take work, effort, creativity and sacrifice. I know that it will push me to places I haven't been before - they always do. But I hope that whenever and whoever it is that crosses my path treads carefully because I have laid across the ground all of my hopes and dreams.

If More People Traveled, The World Would Be A More Peaceful Place

Ever since I was a little kid, I've always dreamed about traveling to faraway places. My mind has constantly wandered to lands I've never been to. There is nothing more intoxicating than being immersed in the unfamiliar, and there is something inexplicably calming about being on the move.

It's as if the farther you go, the more in sync you are with the rhythms of the universe. Perhaps this desire to explore is simply a quality unique to those with a nomadic spirit, or maybe it's just a product of youth. Whatever it is, I know that there are others like me out there.

I've met these kindred spirits in a hodgepodge of places. Sometimes, you happen upon them in the strangest of circumstances.

Once, before beginning a 4-day hike through the Scottish highlands, a friend and I ran into a solo hiker from Italy on the way to the start of the trail. It was a serendipitous encounter.

After a five minute conversation on arbitrary topics, it became clear that we had reached a silent agreement to complete the hike together.

For the next four days we were inseparable, and shared food, supplies and shelter. Together, we marveled at the mythical beauty of the highlands, sang songs amongst the trees and drank whisky under the Scottish stars.

When the hike concluded, we went our separate ways, and my friends and I have not seen our hiking Italian comrade since.

After a certain time away from home, it becomes almost effortless to recognize those who have also been bitten by the wanderlust bug. They are friends you didn't know you had - your brothers and sisters of the road.

Many of these people are often complete strangers, but immediately feel like old friends. In a world that teaches you to be wary of the unfamiliar, these individuals automatically gain your trust and companionship.

This is what travel does to people, it opens your spirit to the world. When you open yourself up at a place, it opens itself up to you. The world would be decidedly more peaceful if more people traveled.

Travel While You're Still Young And Free, One Day You Won't Be Able To

"If you're twenty-to, physically fit, hungry to learn and be better, I urge you to travel - as far and as widely as possible. Sleep on floors if you have to. Find out how other people live and eat and cook. Learn from them - wherever you go." -Anthony Bourdain
Unfortunately, traveling is not an option for many of us, as it's expensive and time-consuming. For younger people, the former is more of a problem, but there are ways to work around this. For people who are more established in the world, travel may conflict with jobs, families and other responsibilities.

There is a small gap in life where unadulterated travel is truly possible. This is a time when your only responsibility is to embrace the spontaneity of the world, and indulge everything it has to offer and teach you. Every young person has an inexplicable desire for unfettered adventure - don't ignore it.

If you have not taken the chance to explore this dynamic and exceptionally beautiful planet, and have the ability to, I urge you to leave the comforts of your current surroundings as soon as possible.

Borders Are An Illusion

In this globalized and interconnected world, the importance of traveling has become increasingly important. As a global community, our fates are more intrinsically linked than ever before. It's crucial that we find more ways to foster solidarity between the people's of the world, or we will undoubtedly be the catalyst of our own demise.

We have to realized that borders on a map are a reflection of history, and primarily a consequence of war and struggle. They may be a useful reference point, but they don't even begin to explain the complexities of humanity.

Your relationship with the globe changes with each passing year, as does your experience with traveling. A 5-year-old will likely not appreciate the history and beauty behind the Sistine Chapel for example. Yet, an adult will also not be able to marvel at the simplistic wonder of the plant quite like a child.

No matter where people are, whatever language they may speak, and however other people might perceive them, all human beings simply want to live free and happy lives.

Cultural relativism is an indispensable concept in a world dictated by borders and nationalism.

With that said, it's true that one does not necessarily have to more or travel to another country in order to gain this perspective. Yet, there is definitely something to be said for intimately understanding that there a millions of people around the world who live differently than you.

Just because your culture does something differently than another, doesn't meant that it's the right way. Perceptions of right and wrong are subjective, and largely a product of history and geography.

For people from the United States, I believe it's beyond important to understand this. Our nation has more power and influence than any other country in the world. If our people don't understand the outside world, then we risk messing it up beyond repair. In many ways, we are already guilty of this.

Travel Breeds Empathy And Tolerance

"Living is easy with eyes closed." -John Lennon
Travel opens your eyes to the way in which other people carry about their daily lives. It reveals the beautiful intricacies of other cultures, and fosters within you a deep appreciation for diversity.

Likewise, if more Americans traveled, it would help ensure that they cared more deeply about the rest of the world, which would likely lead to greater public involvement in US foreign policy. Simply put, Americans would be less likely to support stupid policies if they had a greater understanding of the globe.

It's also important that we are honest about the global image of the United States. Due to our nation's activities abroad, many people around the world are not very fond of our country. In my experience, most are insightful enough to blame it on the government rather than the people.

Travel as widely as possible, and be an ambassador of goodwill for this country. Make this world see the true nature of America - a land full of amicable and optimistic individuals. We have many flaws as do all nations, but travel can help us remedy them.

And while you are abroad, make a sincere effort to learn about other cultures. Don't just be a tourist, be a traveler. Becomes a cultural sponge. When you come back, teach others what you have learned.

Travel To Understand Where You Come From, We All Need A Little Self-Reflection

The United States faces a number of trying domestic problems at present. Due to the bipartisan nature of our political system, the nation is nearly as ideologically polarized as it was during the Civil War. We are in deep need of self-reflection in order to move beyond these dark days.

It's impossible to truly understand yourself, or your country, without something else to compare it to. Travel opens your eyes to alternative means of living.

By traveling to other countries, you are able to gather what you appreciate most about home, while also gaining a clearer picture of that which you desire to change.

With the US economy linked to the financial wellbeing of much of the world, it's imperative that we get our house in order. Much of our inability to move forward is due to obstinance on both sides of the political system.

As a consequence of history, geography, culture and upbringing, people in different regions simply see different realities. This is not only true between different nations, but also within countries.

The United States is a vast land, diverse in both people and geography. We have to learn to appreciate that people view the world in different ways, and that does not necessarily mean that our opinions and perspectives are superior to theirs.

Accordingly, progress necessitates compromise. Compromise is much easier when you can empathize with those you disagree with - travel breeds this kind of understanding.

Moreover, travel should not just occur across borders, but also within them. No Americans can truly understand their country unless they breach the boundaries of their own state, and explore all that this country has to offer. Isolating yourself only encourages misunderstanding and, in turn, hatred and fear.

I am not naïve enough to believe that if more people traveled then all of the world's problems would be solved. There will always be disputes over lands and resources, and at present, it seems nearly impossible to quell religious tensions in many places across the globe.

Yet, even if travel helps just a small portion of the global populace understand one another better, it could have a far-reaching impact on our planet. This is particularly true for Americans, given the role our nation plays in global affairs.

As the great American author Mark Twain once stated:
"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime."

MLMs and Reverse Business Models

Tonight, my roommate and I had an interesting discussion with a friend of his that was attempting to get him to join his community business model. The conversation was rather interesting and it also went on for a long time so I couldn't help but join. When I came in, the friend and her husband were being asked to identify within 10 words or less the problem that their business was attempting to solve. Her response was anything. We had either found Willy Wonka's golden ticket or the worst saleswoman I had ever met.

With such a wide response, my roommate replied by asking who their target market was to which the answer came, everyone. The product that can do anything for anyone. It must some sort of drug was my first thought. I was close. It was knowledge. Apparently, these witch doctors sold the secrets to fame, friendship, fortune, followers, fitness, and anything else that starts with the letter "f." It took a while for us to understand that this was some sort of life coaching company whose products came in the form of books, videos, DVDs, and live seminars. The reason why it took so long to understand that was because we didn't know the problem this service was supposed to solve. For the majority of the hour and half long conversation, this friend was trying to sell us on the passive income it would provide if we joined their "community."

One thing that doesn't take a brainiac to figure out is if you are going to sell something then that is what you are probably going to talk most about during your pitch. In this case, she wouldn't stop talking about residual income and passive income and how we should join their community. The whole pitch she was trying to convince us that the target market was the people using the services. No, the target market for MLMs is their communities of sales people. MLMs profit off of failure. In fact, we can use basic numbers from this company's example which are embellished at best.

The typical MLM will only have on average a 2-5% success rate for their sales people. Success being defined as someone who is generating more customers and more revenue. A business cannot be successful without customers but you have to remember that unlike traditional companies, a MLM employee is a MLM customer. This community is built in reverse. The pitch is that you are building a community where you are sharing profits with your friends and family and everyone is successful and is generating a passive income. It is fundamental truth that easy money is never good money... Easy in is easy out. Only things that have great value require a lot of work.

Here is a comparison that this friend made out of desperation: How many people drop out of your MBA program each year? Education is a business and only maybe 2 out of our class of 54 students dropped out or were kicked out. This equates to about a 4% failure rate which compared to the MLM in question is significantly less than what they shared to be a 75% failure rate. 75 of their 100 annual community members will fail within the same year. The cost of joining the community with the potential of making easy money is $100. The cost of attending our MBA program is in total $52K. The probable returns are also parallel.

The biggest issue I have is that these friends couldn't see how the MLM was stealing commission from right under their noses. If you are able to sell product or your community of friends sell product, then you are able to make commission. It is a pyramid structure. However when the sales pitch was about building a community, I wanted to also calculate the profits the MLM made off of failure. Let me repeat that. The MLM is making profits off of failure. Let's look at only 3 generations or levels within the community, which I am sure for how long it has been around is an extreme micro-approach to this problem.

Level No. People Description
1 100 People signed up for community
25 People that continue to sell
2 2500 People signed up for community
625 People that continue to sell
3 62500 People signed up for community
15625 People that continue to sell

So if we look at how much failure is present in only 3 levels of the community, there are 46,875 people who are not continuing to sell. And if subscription to the community is $100 for each member then that means the revenue generated for failure is $4,687,500. Each time a person signs up for the community, they share in each other's profits meaning that if they sell product then the people higher up in the level system also make commission. However, only 25% continue to sell product. The other aspect is that you don't make commission for the effort of getting a person to sign up. So what does this mean? For that revenue of $4.6M generated from the subscription itself, you make no commission. Even at a 5% commission rate, you should have made $500 on your first level alone. Say that at level 2 the commission rate decreases by 50% and so on. This would mean on subscriptions alone with a scaled commission rate, a representative should have made $500 + $6,250 + $78,125 = $84,875 in commission. Without that commission (which a good salesperson would have recognized), the MLM is profiting $4.6M off of failure.

This example only represents the effect for 3 generations from 1 successful community member.

The target market of a MLM is its own employees. MLMs will make money off of failure. MLMs sell okay products but drain money from its sales force through tiered commissions. The community is set up to fail the community on purpose. The MLM is designed for the failure of its sales force. This failure is the revenue model for the business. Easy money is not good money. This is why I feel like MLMs are ethically wrong and I would never work for one.

Why Readers, Scientifically, Are The Best People To Fall In Love With

Ever finished a book? I mean, truly finished one? Cover to cover. Closed the spine with that slow awakening that comes with reentering consciousness?

You take a breath, deep from the bottom of your lungs and sit there. Book in both hands, your head staring down at the cover, back page or wall in front of you.

You're grateful, thoughtful, pensive. You feel like a piece of you was just gained and lost. You've just experienced something deep, something intimate. (Maybe, erotic?) You just had an intense and somewhat transient metamorphosis.

Like falling love with a stranger you will never see again, you ache with the yearning and sadness of an ended affair, but at the same time, feel satisfied. Full from the experience, the connection, the richness that comes after digesting another soul. You feel fed, if only for a little while.

This type of reading, according to TIME magazine's Annie Murphy Paul, is called "deep reading," a practice that is soon to be extinct now that people are skimming more and reading less.

Readers, like voicemail leavers and card writers, are now a dying breed, their numbers decreasing with every GIF list and online tabloid.

The worst part about this looming extinction is that readers are proven to be nicer and smarter than the average human, and maybe the only people worth falling in love with on this shallow hell on earth.

According to both 2006 and 2009 studies published by Raymond Mar, a psychologist at York University in Canada, and Keith Oatley, a professor of cognitive psychology at the University of Toronto, those who read fiction are capable of the most empathy and "theory of mind," which is the ability to hold opinions, beliefs and interests apart from their own.

They can entertain other ideas, without rejecting them and still retain their own. While this is supposed to be an innate trait in all humans, it requires carrying levels of social experiences to bring into fruition and probably the reason your last partner was such a narcissist.

Did you ever see your ex with a book? Did you ever talk about books? If you didn't, maybe you should think about changing your type.

It's no surprise that readers are better people. Having experienced someone else's life through abstract eyes, they've learned what it's like to leave their bodies and see the world through other frames of reference.

They have access to hundreds of souls, and the collected wisdom of all them. They have seen things you'll never understand and have experienced deaths of people you'll never know.

They've learned what it's like to be a woman, and a man. They know what it's like to watch someone suffer. They are wise beyond their years.

Another 2010 study by Mar reinforces this idea with results that prove the more stories children have read to them, the keener their "theory of mind." So while everyone thinks their kids are the best, the ones who read have the edge as they truly are the wiser, more adaptable and understanding children.

Because reading is something that molds you and adds to your character. Each triumph, lesson and pivotal moment of the protagonist becomes your own.

Every ache, pain and harsh truth becomes yours to bear. You've traveled with authors and experienced the pain, sorrow and anguish they suffered while writing through it. You've lived a thousand lives and come back to learn from each of them.

If you're still looking for someone to complete you, to fill the void of your singly-healed heart, look for the breed that's dying out. You will find them in coffee shops, parks and subways.

You will see them with backpacks, shoulder bags and suitcases. They will be inquisitive and soulful, and you will know by the first few minutes of talking to them.

They Won't Talk To You... They'll Speak To You

They will write you letters and texts in verse. They are verbose, but not in the obnoxious way. They do not merely answer questions and give statements, but counter with deep thoughts and profound theories. They will enrapture you with their knowledge of words and ideas.

According to the study, "What Reading Does For The Mind" by Anne E. Cunningham of the University of California, Berkeley, reading provides a vocabulary lesson that children could never attain by schooling.

According to Cunningham, "the bulk of vocabulary growth during a child's lifetime occurs indirectly through language exposure rather than through direct teaching."

Do yourself a favor and date someone who really knows how to use their tongue.

They Don't Just Get You... They Understand You

You should only fall in love with someone who can see your soul. It should be someone who has reached inside you and holds those innermost parts of you no one could find before. It should be someone who doesn't just know you, but wholly and completely understand you.

According to Psychologist David Comer Kidd, at the New School for Social Research, "What great writers do is to turn you into the writer. In literary fiction, the incompleteness of the character turns your mind to trying to understand the minds of others."

This is proved over and over again, the more people take to reading. Their ability to connect with characters they haven't met makes their understanding of the people around them much easier.

They have the capacity for empathy. They may not always agree with you, but they will try to see things from your point of view.

They're Not Just Smart... They're Wise

Being overly smart is obnoxious, being wise is a turn on. There's something irresistible about someone you can learn from. The need for banter and witty conversation is more imperative than you may believe, and falling in love with a reader will enhance not just the conversation, but the level of it.

According to Cunningham, readers are more intelligent, due to their increased vocabulary and memory skills, along with their ability to spot patterns. They have higher cognitive functions than the average non-reader and can communicate more thoroughly and effectively.

Finding someone who reads is like dating a thousand souls. It's gaining the experience they've gained from everything they've ever read and the wisdom that comes with those experiences. It's like dating a professor, a romantic and an explorer.

If you date someone who reads, then you, too, will live a thousand different lives.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

7 Reasons Why You Should Never Pretend To Be Someone You're Not

We can be anything we want to be, but we can't be anyone we want to be. You can be a scientist, a chef, a dancer, an entrepreneur, a writer, an artist, an astronaut, a president, but you have no choice but to be yourself.

Rather, you have no other wise choice than to be yourself. You can try to be someone you're not - plenty of people try - but they all ultimately fail.

We all have a multitude of character and personality traits. Each trait we possess is possessed in a certain amount; the prominence of each trait varies from the next, just as the prominence of each trait varies from individual to individual.

The Big Five personality traits in psychology are openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism. Of course, these are the most basic - each trait correlates to a cluster of related and more specific traits.

I took the test myself and then I had the chance to get an interpretation from one of my professors. He is a doctor in psychology. He said that,
I interpret this as a "person builder" profile. Or someone well equipped for what is sometimes called servant leadership (an unfortunate name). The key feature here is the combination of high extroversion and high agreeableness (social and prosocial) along with the combination of high conscientiousness and high openness (creative and disciplined). It helps that you aren't crazy too. This profile suggests that you would have both the capability and intrinsic motivation to mentor and train others and would see their successes as your own (that is, you could be genuinely happy for others - not everyone can do that).
This profile is well-suited to executive management (where people are better off for your attention and you rise through the ranks based not just on your own skills and networking but on your mentorship of others) and also areas such as education, coaching, and counseling (which have rewards of different sorts).
Every person possesses these traits to some degree and the traits fluctuate in intensity throughout our lifetimes. In other words, we do have some control over how intensely each trait manifest itself.

However, as just about everything in relation to psychology and consciousness, it's much more complicated than that. To keep things simple, each trait has a natural or comfortable resting state.

The traits do have some elasticity, but as with all things, there are limits.

Pushing certain traits further than they are naturally inclined to be affects all the other traits - supplementing some and decreasing the prominence of others.

Pushing some traits too far, literally trying to be someone you're not meant to be, is one of the worst things you could possibly do.

You will almost certainly fail.

Pushing yourself to be someone you're not set up to be is not easy. Sometimes in life, we find ourselves in situations that require us to adapt, to be someone we aren't.

At times of crises, we find sufficient reason and motivation to turn ourselves into the people necessary to get the job done. But this sort of transformation is usually unsustainable. Being someone you aren't meant to be may be possible, but opportunities for failure are endless.

If you do succeed, you certainly won't be happy.

Because we have somewhat natural levels of each individual personality trait, pushing any one outside of its limits is uncomfortable.

We are creating tension by pushing ourselves to think in ways we don't usually think, to act in ways we don't usually act, and to do things we don't usually do.

This may all be fine, as long as you stay active and too busy to slow down... but as soon as you do, your world can come crashing down on top of you.

Continuing to pretend you are someone you're really not will eventually make you crash and burn.

You may be able to push yourself to the limits and do so for years, decades even. Nevertheless, one day - even if it's your last day - you will come to realize that you have wasted too much time being a person you simply aren't.

Experiencing such a huge loss of time can push you over the edge.

To make things worse, before you crash and burn, you will likely push yourself further and further in the wrong direction - guaranteeing maximum misery before you fall apart.

It's sort of like drinking or doing drugs - the more you consume, the worse you feel... the worse you feel, the more you consume. And then one day you take a look at yourself and feel sick to the stomach.

The longer and further you managed to push yourself, the more painful the fall back onto reality.

By the time you accept defeat, you would have caused immense damage - to your mind, your body, your relationships and your whole life.

Such immense changes in personality traits usually occur in a person's 20s or 30s, when the mind is most prone to change. This means that the life we created before this changing point is one that we weren't happy with, or couldn't appreciate.

When we change our traits, we do so because we want to change our lives. Sometimes by wanting to create change so badly, we end up losing all the great things about the life we once had.

You are you and only you; you may wish you were someone else, but you aren't and will never be.

The person you are at this very moment has been built over years and years of learning and interpretation. Your experiences have hardcoded you with certain behavioral traits as well as a particular line of thinking.

All of this is arguably mutable, but whether people alone are capable of entirely rewriting their personalities themselves is almost certainly impossible. You are you. Accept it.

Pretending to be someone you're not for long enough will cause you to lose the person you really are, or that you once were.

You may have never been entirely certain of who that person was or is, but now you have pushed yourself so far in the wrong direction that the person may be lost forever.

Not everything is undoable. Not everything can be fixed or mended. Some things, once broken, will remain broken forever.

Reasoning on Atheism

"Supposing there was no intelligence behind the universe, no creative mind. In that case, nobody designed my brain for the purpose of thinking. It is merely that when the atoms inside my skull happen, for physical or chemical reasons, to arrange themselves in a certain way, this gives me, as a by-product, the sensation I call thought. But, if so, how can I trust my own thinking to be true? It's like upsetting a milk jug and hoping that the way it splashes itself will give you a map of London. But if I can't trust my own thinking, of course I can't trust the arguments leading to Atheism, and therefore have no reason to be an Atheist, or anything else. Unless I believe in God, I cannot believe in thought: so I can never use thought to disbelieve in God."
- C.S. Lewis

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

15 Things That Define The Difference Between A Man And A Boy

By Sean Donnelly

If you are a woman and you seek a man, then it's simple: Stop chasing the boys. As guys, we hear complaints from women all of the time. Women complain about juvenile, non-ambitious, promiscuous boys.

Generally, you seek people who fit your attractions; therefore, you get what you ask for. To the contrary, if you don't expect much in life, you will tend to feel comfortable and settle for less.

So ladies, if you want that accomplished, nice, successful and fun guy who has his stuff together, step up your game. It is not just age that defines the men from the boys, but character and action, too.

To make it easier for you, I developed a list of how to separate the men from the boys:
  1. A man does not live with his parents (for an extended time).
  2. A man has his finances in order.
  3. A man does not let his butt hang out of his pants.
  4. A man's language does not revolve around slang - if he swears in every sentence, proceed somewhere else.
  5. A man doesn't refer to sex with vulgarity.
  6. A man has a stable job and does not get fired constantly or live on unemployment payments.
  7. A man takes you out and understands that him paying is a discussion, not an expectation.
  8. A man defends you.
  9. When around friends, a man still acts as he would with just you and treats you with respect.
  10. A man does not check out other women in front of you.
  11. A man surprises you and helps you when you need it.
  12. A man hates when you cry and does what he can to ensure that it never happens. If he truly cares, his heart will be just as sad to see you in distress.
  13. A man will willingly watch chick flicks with you at times.
  14. A man is constantly trying to better himself via education and work. He enjoys sharing his knowledge with you.
  15. Men prefer to give than receive.
Today, men and women may seem to be on different pages when in reality, most of us want the same thing. Do not settle for less when you deserve more. Also, why waste time with boys when you know that they wouldn't last in a long-term relationship?

Furthermore, if you fight constantly, do not force something that will never work and will just cause more stress. It is essential to find someone who makes you happy and stick to what you need. These people are out there; it just takes time to find them.

To find a crappy relationship is a lot easier than to find one that's awesome; the odds are always with the majority, not the exception. If the guy you meet is all about himself and a taker rather than a giver, you should move along.

A guy who is really interested in you and who cares will be proactive and authentic with his interest in you.

To find that man, try dating outside of what you are used to. Also, don't be afraid to stick to your idea of a man and not bend your standards due to fear. It is imperative for you to know first who YOU are and what you need.

If you try to deviate from this, you will just be unhappy later in life. There is no point in starting a relationship that you know won't go anywhere.

If a guy wants you and know your standards, he won't wait to step up his game and make the shift from boy to a man.

Why We're All Still Single

I read an article lately that was truly cynical about the dating habits of my generation. I feel like lately I can sincerely relate. I may not see or have experience with all the same things he mentions but I do have experience with a few different things. I will quickly relate parts of his argument and then follow it up with a few brief questions of my own.

"According to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 50.2% of Americans 16 years and older are single.

"In a report aptly titled 'Selfies,' economist Edward Yardeni points out that there are more single Americans right now than at any other time. Yardeni noted that half of American adults are not married, compared to the 37.4% in 1976.

"He also reported that young adults, compared to their predecessors, are more likely to rent a home than own one, and never-married young adults are less likely to have children.

"We're bucking the trend and it should feel good. But sometimes it doesn't. We're constantly comparing our lives to that of our parents' at our age, and that needs to stop.

"Because as outdated as those years without internet and cell phones are, so is the dating culture of the baby boomers and their predecessors. You can't compare the technology of different times, so why do you think you can compare the social culture?

"We don't just live in another time, but on another screen. We the children of technology, the daughters and sons of the boom.

"We're worried about shattered iPhones more than ruined relationships. We don't need to go out to movies when we Netflix. We don't need anyone because we're perfectly content with ourselves.

"So for all of you surprised with the new, here's just 71 reasons we're all single:
  1. Because it's so much easier to go home with Netflix.
  2. Because you'd rather send 140 characters than say three words.
  3. Because we're all just another swipe.
  4. Because we can't talk without alcohol on our breath.
  5. Because we have our real face and then our Facebook.
  6. Because there's always somebody better looking on Instagram.
  7. Because nude photos.
  8. Because you'd rather not find out three dates and $500 later they actually suck.
  9. Because careers are more important right now.
  10. Because you can't commit to finish a book, let alone finishing someone else's love story.
  11. Because your Seamless account doesn't talk back.
  12. Because we love our selfies more than anyone else.
  13. Because you'd rather go out with your friends Friday night.
  14. Because we'd have to make it Facebook official.
  15. Because we'll never be Jay and Bey.
  16. Because we don't want to admit our parents were right.
  17. Because you don't want to date someone who's not gonna be your last.
  18. Because GAMES.
  19. Because he'll never look like Tom Brady.
  20. Because she'll never look like Giselle.
  21. Because you don't want anyone to know how much "Game of Thrones" you actually watch.
  22. Because we're holding out for something better.
  23. Because you like your bed the way it is... with just you in it.
  24. Because filters.
  25. Because no one's taking you to brunch.
  26. Because dates are a 2 am text.
  27. Because it's easy to hide behind a screen.
  28. Because you don't even know who you are.
  29. Because you don't have a job.
  30. Because the only self-analysis you've ever done is your "about me" section on your OKCupid profile.
  31. Because dinner is awkward.
  32. Because you won't put your cell phone down.
  33. Because you don't like to compromise.
  34. Because casual sex.
  35. Because your pride.
  36. Because there's no reason to commit to one when we can have them all.
  37. Because Snapchats have replaced real chats.
  38. Because our sex will never be like "50 Shades of Grey."
  39. Because sweatpants.
  40. Because we don't feel like shaving.
  41. Because shower sex doesn't actually work.
  42. Because our exes won't stop contacting us... on some sort of social media.
  43. Because there's never just one.
  44. Because no one likes to watch the same TV shows as you.
  45. Because we drink too much.
  46. Because we value our alone time.
  47. Because we don't like to be bothered with out problems.
  48. Because a lot of people are crazy.
  49. Because you'll never love anyone else as much as you love yourself.
  50. Because ordering for two on Seamless is more than our weekly budget allows.
  51. Because we've been hurt before.
  52. Because splitting the check is awkward.
  53. Because we're living at home.
  54. Because the thought of "getting to know someone" means asking and answering questions - and ain't nobody got time for that.
  55. Because it's harder to get into the club as a couple.
  56. Because we know it's just going to end.
  57. Because marriage makes us want to throw up.
  58. Because we're no longer scared of being alone.
  59. Because there is always something about them you don't like.
  60. Because no one is worth introducing to mom.
  61. Because it'll happen someday.
  62. Because you don't want to subject anyone to your family's version of Thanksgiving.
  63. Because you have you. (And most days, even that's too much to handle.)
  64. Because porn.
  65. Because there's always a new "Grand Theft Auto."
  66. Because no one wants to use a condom.
  67. Because no one know what they want.
  68. Because timing is never right.
  69. Because it's easier to just stop texting.
  70. Because sitting on the couch without pants while watching reruns of "Bob's Burgers" is a little awkward once you throw someone else into the mix.
  71. Because we have our lives to be committed.
Like I said before, I can't relate with most of these. In fact some of them, I have never done or have no idea what they are even talking about. So why do I post such a ridiculous list? It shows our generation's reliance on technology and how this has been a crutch and a curse to the point that we don't even know where to begin when it comes to forming a relationship or what a healthy relationship would even look like.


We dream of romance and the courtship and intimacy in communication and relationships that are now things of the past and works of modern day fiction. We can barely connect feelings to actions and speaking of them is taboo, especially with the person that we have feelings for. We want to self-reliant and not co-dependent. We have forgotten that relationships aren't about independence or dependence but interdependence. We feel like we have to change for someone and not with someone. We forget what it was that made us like someone in the first place.
"When you start to really know someone, all his physical characteristics start to disappear. You begin to dwell in his energy, recognize the scent of his skin. You see only the essence of the person, not the shell. That's why you can't fall in love with beauty. You can lust after it, be infatuated by it, want to own it. You can love it with your eyes and body but not your heart. And that's why when you really connect with a person's inner self, any physical imperfections disappear, become irrelevant." - Lisa Unger
 We have become a hang out culture and lack the confidence and the commitment to make a real connection. "Dating" has become a word we have to avoid or a smorgasbord of people who we use as play things or contestants competing for out time and attention instead. What happened to our imaginations, our creativity, our passion, and our ability to think and feel? Have we become so desensitized through entertainment and careers that we don't have time any more? Do we expect to have time once we are out of college? What comes after college? Work! Honestly, when you are in school is the perfect time to get to know people and date.

The number of people who have told me or "reminded me" that we can only hang out as friends has been far too many. I completely understand the concept of hanging out... It is non-committal and you can only do it with friends and friends with benefits. If you want to be in a relationship you ask people out on dates but everyone is too afraid of that concept to give it a chance. Facebook, Tinder, and OKCupid all kill relationships more than they create them. I don't need my friends commentary or approval. I don't need to give them a play-by-play. It is okay to date and break up with good people. It is okay to just be friends with people. But when we forget that we are talking about people and that we aren't talking about things then we will never love someone. Marriage takes work. Relationships take work. Dating takes work. If your relationships just seem to happen to fall into place or you just fell in love, when you don't put in every effort to show exactly how much your partner means to you then it is likely you or they will fall out of love as well. Relationships as well as things that require nothing, mean nothing.

Sacrifice... Letting yourself be vulnerable... Putting yourself out there... Telling someone how you really feel... I grew up being shy and quiet. I know these things require courage and a lot of effort. But as much as we love being alone, do we really love that no one is there to love us, care for us, or allows us to share and show those emotions either? The reason why we are single is we care about only one single person... Ourselves.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

It's Easy to Feel Uncared...

"It's easy to feel uncared for when people aren't able to communicate and connect with you in the way you need. And it's so hard not to internalize that silence as a reflection on your worth. But the truth is that the way other people operate is not about you. Most people are so caught up in their own responsibilities, struggles, and anxiety that the thought of asking someone else how they're doing doesn't even cross their mind. They aren't inherently bad or uncaring - they're just busy and self-focused. And that's okay. It's not evidence of some fundamental failing on your part. It doesn't make you unloveable or invisible. It just means that those people aren't very good at looking beyond their own world. But the fact that you are - that despite the darkness you feel, you have the ability to share your love and light with others - is a strength. Your work isn't to change who you are; it's to find people who are about to give you the connection you need. Because despite what you feel, you are not too much. You are not too sensitive or too needy. You are thoughtful and empathetic. You are compassionate and kind. And with or without anyone's acknowledgement or affection, you are enough."
- Daniell Koepke

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Standing Alone

One of things that I keep hearing from a variety of voices is that I shouldn't give up. Never yield. Stand strong. The biggest chink in my armor is not the courage to stand up but to stand alone for how long... Satan doesn't have me when I am forced to fight. I can stand strong against other people. I can stand up when the people around me are trying to tear me down. The times when I am weak are not when I am surrounded by friends or foes. The times when I am weakest are when I am 100% alone.
The fight within myself is apparent for everyone to see. I was asking a friend for some feedback and criticism on how I can improve. He responded with a few things about improving the way I present myself and my personal brand but he also responded with a question, "What do you want to get out of the program you are in?" I replied that I was looking to become conversant in business, proficient in the strategy and processes, expand my network, and improve my soft skills. His response was a realization that I shouldn't worry about any of those things except the last one. He said I was strong in all those areas except soft skills because I can come off double-sided.

The struggle I am facing is myself. Professionally and socially I can be overly aggressive. I can have a great sales pitch, charisma, persuasion, and confidence however, I lack patience. When I can improve my standing or there is something I really want, I become a different person that is willing to jump in, control and manipulate a situation, and race for that opportunity. It is a person that is clearly different from the person that wants to help people, enjoys a laugh, and looks to lead from within. I stop focusing on anyone but myself. I have to change this before it destroys all the different parts of my life: spiritual, social, professional, etc.

When I go to Japan next month, I am going to watch the executives that we will visit closely. It is hard for me even to know what negotiations would look like on an executive level because I am so accustomed to when both parties are aggressive in what they want. I feel like I will have A LOT to learn when I visit that country. In the meantime, I don't have to wait a month for myself to change so I am going to make small adjustments now. I don't have to feel like I am second rate or invisible any more. I have value but I have to be able to see it even when others do not.