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.

The Unknown.

What do you feel when you think of the unknown?

Are you fearful? Needing to have a plan of what is going to happen next? Do you feel hopeful that everything will play out without any real problems? Do you even worry about it? If you were to ask ten people about their thoughts on the unknown everyone’s answers would vary, and you would find some who feel similar to you but others who’s take on the unknown are vastly different than yours.

When thinking about the unknown we need to accept that failure as an option for us. If we are able to accept the unknown we need to be prepared to fail at least once as we go forward. Accepting this frees us from the fear of failure as we start out new ventures with old or new friends.  Don’t be afraid to fail, know that you probably will.

As your wading through life allow the unknown to enrich your experiences every day. We never know what is coming our way every hour is different and we never know what might happen to us. It’s best to accept that enjoying life and its unknowns will be the happiest route to go. I’ve been on both sides of the fence with accepting and fearing the unknown, I can confidently recommend that you embrace the unknown and let it enrich all that you do.

When I first left the USA in 2007 I traveled to Peru and soaked up every moment of this experience. I jumped at the opportunity to try new foods, babble in poorly conjugated Spanish, and interact with all the locals I could. My time in Peru was a life changer that put me on common ground with the world, and a desire to see everyone as equals. I was fearless in a new place and recognized that the unknown was creating an unforgettable experience.

I’ve used the same mentality with every new culture and country I’ve visited since. Have I always been accepting of a new culture and the unknowns that come with it? No, but the more I jump in and immerse myself into the local culture the better my experience is and the more genuine the conversations become with the locals.

Having apprehension about the unknown is okay, just don’t let it spoil a good time nor hold you back from living a full life of genuine happiness.

Why.

What is your why? Why do you do things that way you do them? Why are you willing to face adversity to reach your desired destination in life. These are thoughts I’ve had before when I hear about someone with a big dream that seems to be a bit more than they probably can bite, chew, and swallow. Meaning I’m not sure why they really are doing things the way they are doing, I’m probably not alone in wondering about these things.

As a youth in central Utah, I used to sell corn on the side of the road next to the high school every fall for a few summers. My Father, Grandfather, and I would go pick the corn then we’d park the truck on the side of the street and I’d sit there till the sun went down or I’d sold all my corn for the day. I learned a few interpersonal skills with people and how to sell products to folks which is a benefit to me to this day. One of the most memorable experiences for me was trying to sell a bag of corn to a man carrying a giant cross across the USA who stopped through our little town on his way to California.

I asked him about his cross and why it had a wheel on the bottom. Man, “It’s designed to make the walk easier as I carry it.” Me, “Why are you carrying that thing? Don’t you think it would be faster to leave it behind?” Man, “Yes, it would be easier, but I want to show everyone that I can carry this heavy cross from New York to California.”  Me, “Ummm, okay, but why?” Man, “I told myself if I could do this, I could do anything.” Eight or Nine year old me didn’t get it then but have never forgotten it to this day. This man had a purpose to walk across America with a heavy wooden object, and I hope it helped him see he could do anything. I did, however, sell him some corn to fuel his trek.

To this day I see and hear about people who are setting out for challenging journeys as adventurers, entrepreneurs, athletes, and scholars. I can’t always relate to nor understand their vision for choosing the challenges they have decided to claim. I can confirm that choosing a challenge that people don’t understand can be a catalyst to the greatest adventures of one’s life.

Share your why with others, and enlighten them on your vision. If they doubt you or don’t understand that is okay. They might catch a vision similar to yours one day, and take off on their own journey fueled by nothing more than why.

Speak up.

Speaking up can be a challenge no matter who you are in a uncomfortable situation. The ability to say what you need to when it’s needed to be said is a tactful gift that few have. A few thoughts on sharing the hard truth.

First off, use your words wisely. Say what needs to be said, don’t beat around the bush when delivering the message but be tactful with the way you say it. People may not appreciate you speaking up and saying what needs to be said at first but will respect you for having the gumption to say it.

Second, keep your message simple and filled with the truth. Allowing the discussion to be built around fluff and misinformation can deteriorate the trust you share with the person you are conversing with. Keep the message as lengthy as it needs to be but not too long. Use clear words that communicate the message effectively without question, use strong statements that effectively relay your message without belittling the person you are talking to

Thirdly, be mindful not to back your communication partner into a corner. When giving a hard message it’s essential to deliver a clean message with the intent to help not harm the other person. Giving others clear options will be a safe bet to avoid emotional defense and rebuttal from another. Although you clearly know where you want or need the conversation to go have options for another than can effectively lead them through the desert to the oasis that is your desired resolution.

Is this an easy skill to learn? Not really. Is it a good way to become a better communicator? Yes, say it as it needs to be said, use your words wisely, share the simple truth of your message, and keep the trail ahead open with options that lead your communication partner to a clear understanding of your desired outcome. You’ll fumble a few times until you get the hang of delivering the hard message, but once the message is delivered and you can breathe a sigh of relief it’ll be easier to relay the next time around.

Take a walk.

How much time would you say you spend doing something “just because” you can. One thing I enjoy doing “just because” is walking, without a real destination or plan, just letting my legs take me places for the hell of it. It’s not because I have nowhere I’d want to see, it’s because walking with no particular destination allows me to spend more time in thought as I go.

Having a clear head for me is a full result of walking daily for at least thirty minutes. The days when I’m feeling down, annoyed, or upset about life are usually made clear by taking a walk to think things through. Based off my experience walking is a good avenue to seeing many things new and old, but also cleaning the weight of the world we know.

I work in a mildly high-stress environment, where anger due to misunderstanding is never far away. When I take a break I usually try and walk around the building to relax and think of simple things such as the mountains, my dog, jokes that I’ve heard, of the happiest times I have with friends and family.

Taking a walk “just because” is what I enjoy doing to reset and prepare myself for the next wave of discussions I will have with others. It prepares me to be a better listener, a more patient teacher, and a better friend to those I will be communicating with. I’d recommend this to anyone who works, period. Just taking a little personal time to breathe and reset can not only impact your day at work but can change your everyday happiness level.

We all know about and talk about happiness, we all are aware of what others have done to become happier people. How often are we happy? What are we doing for us that makes us happy? Personally, taking a walk for the hell of it makes me happy.

What makes you happy? Why don’t you think about it while you take a walk?


Smile.

The act of smiling can brighten your day, I’m not talking about that forced smile you used to show your mother when she said smile for the camera. I’m referring to a genuine smile because you are happy, something made your day, a joke resonated well with you brought out a laugh and the company you keep made the moment just right. Smiling is s simple way to possibly brighten someone’s day.

When I was younger I was teased by adults because I would smile all the time. In fact, I smiled so much that people had a hard time knowing what type of mood I was in. I could smile while being mischevious, which often led me to upset adults more than shenanigans should have. I smiled because I was happy with everything. I knew that life was good, that there was always a bright side to everything.

To this day smiling is one thing people remember about me. I’d like to think that people remember me because of the great conversation we had, and the moments we shared, and the plans we made. I have however been told many times that what someone remembered most was that I spent the entire conversation smiling. That’s a good thing right?

Some of my favorite interactions with new people have been conversations on airplanes, in Lyft rides, or random events I’ve been associated with. These little moments of introduction and sharing have been a great reminder to me there is good in the world wherever you might be, and with strangers, you will meet. What I know is that I have left more introductions with a grateful smile than I am able to count.

I think that’s the best part about traveling too, the smiles you see from the different faces and places around the world. Some of the biggest smiles I’ve seen have been in places far from home from people who live in difficult circumstances and can smile because “life is good, and you should smile even if you are missing a few teeth!”

Happiness.

Happiness

A moment in time where smiles were shown all around,
When the weight of the world didn’t seem to abound,
We looked at the sunrise knowing we could,
There we found happiness by seeing the good,
This moment in time can never be forgotten,
Because we can look back and see how far we’ve gotten.

Never would I declare myself a master of poetry, but it’s always enjoyable to write a little poem here and there. When I was younger I tried my hand at songwriting and claimed I was a great poet of sorts. As I look back on what I wrote then and what is shared by me now I can say I’m in a better place all around; as a writer things seem more put together and complete, examples seem clearer, and more genuine meaning is there.  

Learning to share a few lines of written experience each day has been a challenge for me some nights. Wondering to myself if anyone aside from me will gain anything from these prompts can be a battle as the daily goal is typed out. I’m aware that this is a selfish project designed to primarily benefit me as a person, writer, and storyteller. I just have these hopes that others will read and relate to the messages I hope to share.

Happiness is simply finding a balance in what you do, whom you spend your time with, how you treat yourself(Investing in your mental health is important.), and finding a why behind all that you do. Finding this happiness through balance is not an easy task to do, why isn’t it easy? It’s not easy because we care about so many things. We care about what others think of us, we care about not letting others down, we care about little things that don’t really matter in the long run.

I’m not saying if you stop caring that you’ll suddenly find the happiness you’ve always wanted. I am saying that if you cared a little less about the things that don’t matter that much you’ll be able to prioritize the things that matter most and that’s a step in the right direction.