Comparison.

One thing I’m great at that I wish I wasn’t is comparing myself to others around me. I tend to look at the variety of things they are accomplishing then reflect on the things I am accomplishing myself. This is an extremely strange loop of life to be in as I know that it is good to a certain extent to evaluate where you are at so that you can decide where you want to go, but it is extremely dangerous to dwell on what others are doing insomuch that you fail to recognize what you can be doing yourself. 

I know that I am not alone in spending a little too much time comparing myself, my job, and my life overall with the lives of others I know. I know this because there is a term that is used to describe people who use others as a benchmark of success; this term is known as “Keeping up with the Joneses”. Who are the Joneses you might be asking yourself? They are someone you hope to emulate and become like almost with a feeling of resentment. 

The resentment comes when you fail to match what others have been able to do with their time, skillset, and money. As I stated before it is not bad to compare yourself to others so long as it is done in a healthy way that enables you to grow and progress. I know that for me I do best when I see what others are doing, aspire to do great things too and set off on my own journey to greatness. Is it an easy journey? Not at all, you are usually alone in your desire and pursuit as others have their own quests they are on. If you are smart you can utilize others along the way and collaborate and build partnerships that can benefit you both along the way. 

So remember it’s not bad to compare yourself to others, just do it in a healthy way then set your goals and move forward.

mediocre.

Mediocre is defined as, of only moderate quality; not very good.

This is something I feel about myself more often than I’d like to admit when it comes to my ability to follow through with some projects. This project in particular is something I have felt the most mediocre about in a very long time. I kind of just put the project in park in my garage and haven’t taken it for a spin all summer. 

Is that something that I had intended to do? Not exactly, I started two podcasts this summer, interviewed a few dozen people, attended the eBay open, and read a few cookbooks all while spending time with my wife and dog. I thought I was keeping busy enough the thought of this project would fade away until life slowed down and I was ready to start writing a little bit more again. I was completely mistaken about the possibility to let this project slide. 

I had created an instagram page as a way to promote my project and each time I signed onto my personal instagram account I was met with a reminder of a personal promise I was failing to keep to myself. To put it simply just the social media account on it’s own could have driven me to feel guilty, but that wasn’t all I had created as a commitment to myself that I would write three hundred words a day. I had set reminders on my calendar to go off weekly as a reminder to see if my grammar was improving and to check the weekly analytics to see if people were reading my thoughts. It has been a constant reminder that I have been letting myself slip away from my goal, to become a better writer this year. 

I’ve said this before on this project and blog that I want to do better. For the rest of the year I want to be a little less mediocre in completing a simple task that should take me fifteen minutes or less to complete. 

So here’s to starting this project back up, and to being a little mess mediocre at following through on my promises to myself.

Perception of a hard day.

Each of us perceives the world slightly different from the other, this is what causes our realities to be different. The good things some see in the world could be seen as just okay or not noteworthy by others. Stressful situations for some might be someone else’s comfort zone and so on. The way each of us perceive the world is what makes life unknown in ways because we never know what someone might do or say when experiencing a situation.

We can all admit that there are days when we struggle to see the good in anything. When work sucks, our car sucks, our relationships are bad, or life just isn’t great at that moment. These days happen to everyone and can happen anytime. Sometimes life is just unpredictable. There are a few ways to combat these days when our perception of the world around us is abnormally harsh.

Take a little personal time and write down everything that is poisoning your day. Just write it down, get those terrible feelings out of you as quickly as you can. Writing these things down can be difficult because you may not agree with what you are writing, you might feel torn between how you feel in the moment and how you feel in general. Feeling this way okay, its the process of writing the rough moments on paper that help you think through the reality of life at the time and move forward. Give it a try.

Another great option to help adjust your perspective on a challenging day is to talk it out with a friend while doing some type of activity. Perhaps a walk around your office just to vent, working on a puzzle, playing laser tag, hiking, throwing axes, or boxing could be the best way to talk it out and work the challenges out. I have tried all of the ideas I wrote above and they’ve helped me personally, just tailor your activity to you and see how that works for you.

Thank you, Mom.

Thank you, Mom, for everything you have done for me thus far in life. You taught me how to live a life filled with love and adventure. To smile when things are tough and to welcome challenges into my life with open arms. You showed me how to step up when others wouldn’t and how to find joy in serving others. You showed me that I could be myself without fear and that it was okay to make mistakes because we are human and everyone does.

Thank you for keeping me grounded in reality by teaching me about the real world, but allowing me to dream big and understand that achieving my dreams requires hard work. Thank you for sharing so much of your time with me when I needed you most. For listening to my joy, sadness, anger, and misunderstanding when you had a busy schedule that day but knew I needed a little extra time that day. Thank you for picking up the phone and talking with me every day you have five minutes, as I’ve grown older our conversations have helped me through many challenges and kept our bond strong.

I feel the same as Abraham Lincoln when he spoke this about his mother, “All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.”. I am very fortunate to have the mother I do, she accepted me as a child and gave me opportunities when others might have held me back. She inspired me to step up and become independent by facing challenges that haunted my early years, she told me no when I needed to hear it, and encouraged me to try one more time to see if I could tie my own shoes this time.

My Mom is everything to me, because of her I have a foundation in love that can never be shaken. She took in four children, gave us opportunity and love, taught us about love and guided us through life with love every step of the way. I am forever grateful to my mother, the greatest woman I have ever known.

Happy Mothers Day to all the mothers out there.

You.

After watching another episode of Queer Eye on Netflix I’ve got to say it and reiterate it, you are great. Yes you, the reader you are great as you are. Many of us are on the receiving end of criticism that is ninety percent self-given and often not uplifting. We are spending too much time breaking ourselves down and not enough time building ourselves up. We need to spend a little more time each day loving ourselves.

I’m not saying that you need to start carrying around a notepad and writing down twenty-five reasons why you are great, worthy, and deserving of your own approval and love but that is one way to do it. What I am saying is that we can talk a little less negatively of ourselves and that starts when we think/talk to ourselves. You know those little conversations that we have when something happens and we replay the scenario in our heads? It is okay to evaluate your behavior and performance but give yourself the credit that you deserve. You do better than you think you do.

A few ways that I have been able to better love and appreciate myself include:

  • Talking about the things I enjoy doing and do well.
  • Smiling at myself in the mirror from time to time.
  • A weekly recap of the things I did well at.
  • Little moments of gratitude to thank, me. (Like this)
  • Belief in my abilities
  • Investing in my personal education and growth.

The list above is just a few things that can be used to look at yourself in a better light. We all know that self-love is a challenge that we battle differently from person to person. If you know someone who needs a little more love, tell them how great they are. Then help them to see that goodness and express the good things they see about themselves. Don’t be afraid to shed a tear or two as you love yourself and help others see the good they do too.

Aspire.

Who do you aspire to be? Why do you want to be that person? And what steps are you taking to evolve into the desired person? We live in good times, times that enable us to learn almost anything and become almost anyone. We are able to snap photos and record video of said interests and progress towards our desired destination of becoming someone known for our travels, achievements, and persona.

Who do you aspire to be? When I think of the type of person I want to become I think about the role models I had growing up. I think about their principles, behavior, work ethic, and abilities. I think about my Dad and his efforts to teach others how to do their best as athletes in their sport and their best as individuals in their family and community. I think about my Grandfather and his desire to be of service when he could to whomever he could be of service to. Being involved in continually doing their best wherever they went is natural to them, I’ve always aspired to be similar to them in that way. Whoever you want to emulate, find their good and try and tune yourself to do the same, just with your own personal touch of genuine goodness.

What steps are you taking to evolve into the person you want to become? If your goal is to become a better listener are you setting yourself up to be in a place that gives you the opportunity to listen? Are you putting yourself in places that will help you grow and utilize the desired traits you want to become strengths? This might require you to put yourself a little outside your comfort zone into the headlights of a growth or learning opportunity.

If you are not sure what you aspire to be in the future take a moment and jot down and fill out a list that might look something like this:

Positive traits that I have today:

Traits I want to have:

People who have the traits I aspire to have:

Their strengths:

My strengths:

What can I do to attain desired traits?

Just a few ideas to help you on your way to see who you want to become in the years ahead. Whatever you should do, aspire to be your best self, happiest self, and most honest self.

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.