Together.

We are better together, we do better together, we work better together. I don’t know how else to say it, we need to do a better job at being united together to help each other to become better people. It’s something we all see every day the stories designed to divide and weaken us.

We see this no matter where we turn, the idea that we need to look down on others and unite against them because we do not see the world as others see it. That because some believe in one truth and we believe in another that there isn’t a common ground that we share. Are there bad people out there? Yes, many but overall we can agree that people are good and can surprise us if we give them the chance.

What are we? We are the human race, all struggling everyday with challenges that involve money, relationships, mental and physical health, food, borders, education, and work. We all breathe our way through another day and hope that our days can be happy, each one hopefully better than the last.

Together we can contribute to a better world for everyone if we are a little nicer, at little more patient, a little better to listen, and a little better at understanding each other. Is this the easy road to take? Once again no, but this is the best road to being more people together.

Love.

As today is Valentines day I figured I could write a short segment about love. Whether you have a special someone, or are spending the day / evening surrounded by a group of those you care about you know the feeling of love, and being loved. Love can be many things, its different for everyone and is shared differently from person to person a look into the different ways we experience love.

Love is many things, shared differently from each of us. We can show love through actions, the little things we do everyday for those we care about. It could be making the bed after your partner has left it, sharing a meal with friends at a favorite restaurant or making cheese quesadillas at home while playing games, watching a movie, or just talking. Love can be listening when someone needs it most, or having ears to listen when you need them. Love can be silence, time spent in an embrace after another’s world has been shattered. When the weight of life buries words so that just being there makes everything better.

Love can be forgiveness, forgiveness for poor behavior, dangerous words, and failure. We can forgive those we love and keep them close and continue to grow, we can forgive those we love and let them go and continue to grow too. Just because you can forgive those you love for their many wrongdoings doesn’t mean you need to stay close with them. Remember loving others is important, but being able to love and forgive yourself is the most important thing you should do first before you do the same for others. If there are people you love who cause you to question the love you have for yourself don’t allow them to lead you to doubting your self image, love, and value.

Today, love those you spend time with. Love your family, love your friends and above all love yourself. Happy Valentines day.

Passion.

I know that I’ve referred to Anthony Bourdain a few times over the past weeks as someone who lived a life that inspired me to get out there and be a better human. To get out there and find what connects us by sharing a meal, and talking about real issues that have impacts on the way each of us lives daily around the world. I recently started reading his book Kitchen Confidential and have learned about the experience that jumpstarted his passion for food and culture.

He talks about a summer spent visiting France visiting family, sampling new foods, and immersing his young self in a culture other than his own. He talked about his youthful attitude for testing the rules and his parent’s patience as they traveled around the country as a young family. The defining moment that eventually steered him towards a career in the culinary world, eating an oyster fresh from the ocean on a Frenchmans boat. That was the moment he knew that food was his future and he would eat near anything anywhere in the world. From here he became a chef, writer, and travel documentary maker each of his different professional ventures around food showed the world the flavors that connected us.

In my humble opinion, he lived a life that the “most interesting man in the world” could envy. He taught us how to be less afraid of what we don’t know, to live with others, to live with passion. That is something few of us can say they do well, living each day with a genuine passion for life and its twists and turns. Why are we afraid to follow our passions? Are we afraid of the unknown? Are we afraid to take the route that’s a little more exciting but a little less safe?

Living life with a passion for what we do daily sounds like a challenge for us common folk who work 9-5 jobs that we use to pay the bills just to get by. These jobs may not be our ideal / dream careers but they are a segue to bigger and better things ahead as long as you play your cards right and be invested in what you are doing at that time. Have passion in the little things so as you work to bigger things your passion shines through in full.

Procrastination.

I am a great procrastinator; perhaps you relate. Since I started writing this tonight I have gone out for some food, played with my dog, watched a few clips on the internet and attempted to write. Procrastination has been something I’ve been good at my entire life, I have been great at holding off doing my daily chores, my school work, and many other things. I don’t think I do this out of complete avoidance of accomplishing the tasks at hand, I think I do it because I’m interested in going in so many different directions at once.

We are fortunate to live in a time where there is open access to almost everything. Curious about a current event, sports statistic, video on how to _____? Just google it right? Endless information that is fighting for our attention that divides our abilities to focus on the tasks that need to be done leading to more procrastination, rushed efforts, and often sloppy unfinished tasks. As a procrastinator, I have joked many times that I’ll get my act together, tomorrow.

This mindset hurts no one but myself and can harm the opportunities that come my way in the future. I’ve had to learn that while working on projects I have to remain focused on the task at hand, not multitasking trying to do everything at once. A previous employer once told me that I was good at doing everything and needed to learn how to better manage my time to accomplish everything that was required of me. That hurt, so I started working with a list that has helped me accomplish more, and not waste time doing things that don’t matter.

Finding a way to accomplish your needs to the day with a schedule that fits your daily routine best can be a challenge working through all the fluff we let ourselves get sucked into. Try and find your most productive hours and schedule the tasks that need to be completed the quickest during those hours. During those hours put down your distractions and try and exercise a little self-control until the tasks are completed. Find your rhythm and let your efforts show through the quality of the tasks you complete during this time.

Is being a procrastinator the worst thing? Not at all. Is understanding how procrastination can hurt your opportunities to grow on a personal and professional level a necessary realization? Yes, understanding this can allow you to find a way to best utilize your skillset and focus your energy on the most important tasks and showcase your talent to those who are watching for it.

To those who are prone to procrastination, I say start today.

Direction.

What is your passion?
What direction does your passion pull you towards?
How have your passions guided you to where you are today?

These questions are perfect to answer when you are looking at where you want to go next. We live our lives in different phases that spn from a few years to a few decades. Perhaps you stick with one hobby or job for five years then decide that it no longer drives you like it used to. You begin to look for change and find yourself doing something new and life pivots.

As you pivot into that something new your daily routine changes, your workplace or surroundings change, the people you interact with are different, and you change. This change can be seen little by little, or dramatically depending on how quickly you immerse yourself in the new direction you are moving in. As we adapt to our new lifestyles we might not only shift our day to day routines but also our behavior and outlook towards different opinions, ways of life, and activities might change too. This is a strange natural part of the process.

A few summers ago I became friends with a guy named Kevin, he was a person who lived a life filled with adventure, hard work, and was one of those people who could lift you when you were down. He was an adventurer and lived life a day at a time and explored the far reached of the earth any way he could. He lived by a motto that I think on almost daily, “I follow my own trail, not worrying about its odd twists and turns because I have faith in my own sense of direction.”.

He always knew that no matter what everything would turn out for the best, that he could make the best out of any situation. I believe he did and it’s something that we all can take a lesson from. To have faith in our own sense of direction, and move forward knowing that you can make the best of the next steps, being a kind person along the way.

Reading.

Last year I challenged myself to read as many books as possible by reading at least thirty minutes a day. I made it my mission to read those thirty minutes anywhere I could which led me to read on the train, airplanes, early in the morning, late in the night, and once on the side of the road. Reading helped keep my mind active, and my interest in personal development consistent. I learned to enjoy reading different types of books, with different outcomes. Some were business related with life hacks on optimizing my time. Others were stories that helped me escape the day to day stress that I was living with but taught me life lessons through the fictitious works designed to make readers think about situations in a different light.

All the reading that I did last year inspired me to continue reading this year, but to start writing more to share what I was learning and my take on the life lessons I was reading about.  Mankind has been writing for about ten thousand years now, meaning that reading has been around roughly the same amount of time. Early on reading and writing was a skill held by religious leaders, the wealthy, and often self-taught intellectuals who kept the skill hidden from said leaders to avoid punishment. We have progressed from times where few had the opportunities to learn how to read and write to today where we do our best to teach each other how to read and write daily. What a world to live in where we have printed and digital copies of written works by many who wrote publically and secretly for the benefit of mankind.

I wrote that small thought on reading and writing as a reminder of how fortunate we are to have the ability to read and write today. That nearly anyone who wants to learn these skills has the opportunity to do so no matter their race or gender due to the progress we have made in society. There are those who try and hold back these opportunities from others but the desire to learn can outsmart the ability to withhold said information.

Today, be grateful that you can read this. Remember that reading for fun or pleasure isn’t a waste of time but an investment in your mind.I’m not saying read thirty minutes a day as I did for a year but I am encouraging you to find time to learn, read an article, full out a crossword, and find a way to engage your mind daily in the learning process.

Together.

Tonight I finished watching the Netflix series, Russian Doll. Warning, possible spoilers ahead if you haven’t finished the series. The lead character in the series Nadia begins a series of loops where she struggles to find a safe way to navigate life, eventually finding herself cautious yet still struggling to move forward in life. She eventually meets Alan on an elevator and shares a unique moment that leads to a friendship of shorts leading to an understanding that they need to work together to help the other move forward a better person.

This process takes some time as they struggle to better understand each other, find balance in their friendship, and take some time apart to realize that friendship is a challenge accepting even when the other person might demand you get lost. After an extended time, they recognize the benefit of working together to free each other from past baggage and move forward together as friends into the unknown.

Friendship comes in all shapes and sizes due to the fact that we all bring different pros and cons together at the table as friends. Our strengths and weaknesses become well known to others as we spend time together and dare to share the truest parts of ourselves as the friendship grows from the first contact to extended years of experience. We know that having true friendships can benefit us if we are willing to trust our friends and welcome them in when we need them most and vice versa we need to be ready to be a friend who can listen at times, speak at others, and just be there for brunch on an odd day when opportunity knocks,

Some are fortunate and have the ability to easily make friends and build lasting relationships in a short time. Others might struggle to find real common ground with others and hold back on trusting their friends with heavy thoughts and feelings out of fear of oversharing and scaring away friendship. There are friends who are a mixture of these two types where one party is vastly more open and another is a better listener who shares smaller pieces back that are solidifying pieces of the friendship.

We are great as individuals, we can accomplish great things on our own, and nobody should tell you otherwise. Add any number of friendships and you will be strengthened by others and aided in your day to day conquests by supporters who believe in you too. Alone we can do many things, together we can do anything.