Over the last couple days, I decided that I have been a little too entrenched in my own thoughts and planning, that I was not in touch with current stories in the news. Basically, I was feeling a bit detached from the world, and thought punching in to some talk radio and browsing some basic news sites while running a few errands would help me feel a bit more connected. Here is what I heard while listening in, paraphrased and summarized of course:
- Gorilla was murdered. “That gorilla was not trying to hurt that little boy” (one source)
- Never Trump. “I am conservative. I cannot support Trump for president” (one example source)
- JJ Watt. “Is J.J. a male model or a football player?” the coach texted back. “What does he want to do? Be in movies or be the best football player possible?” (source)
I may have to keep my radio and news sources turned off to make sure I do not get sucked into this nonsense, but since I am already in the muck, I will make some observations that I hope you will be useful or at least entertaining.
While none of these topics are directly related in the news, they indicate how pervasive the negative mindset has become across our country, and how acceptable it has become.
Take a minute to read the examples below:
Gorilla was murdered – Remember the little boy who fell into the gorilla cage at the zoo? It is terrible that the gorilla died because of this, but a child was at risk. A gorilla is about 10 times stronger than the strongest person you have ever met, and does not have human sensibilities. Without trying, the gorilla could easily have injured or killed the boy. If they had used a tranquilizer and the gorilla killed the boy, what would the news people be saying then? What if you were in the cage with the gorilla…would you want to hang out for 5 minutes hoping he would go to sleep soon after being shot in the butt with a dart?
Never Trump – So, you are conservative, and believe that making Hilary Clinton the next president is a truer representation of your values than supporting Trump for president… really? 8 years of Hilary appointing Supreme Court Justices who serve for life, and you think that is better for your conservative positions…really?
JJ Watt – A coach was quoted who was critical of all the TV shows JJ Watt has been doing lately and saying it was taking away from his focus on football. You are a coach who thinks that this guy is slacking off in football…wow. Look at his stats, look at his training schedule, and next go shut the hell up…JJ changed the nature of his position in football forever by working his butt off and showing complete engagement every time he plays. He also seems to be a likable fellow who is having fun with some of his fame, and doing a lot of charity work along the way. It is sad that we do not know how to react to an NFL player who is apparently not abusing people or drugs. I say rock on JJ, and keep doing what you are doing. A lot of us wish you the best and hope you keep milking life for all it is worth. Oh…and when its time to hang up the cleats, I bet JJ does it with some grace instead of becoming a drug addict or falling out of the bottom of the NFL, because he has a winning mindset.
What I take away from those examples:
I understand being angered by things that happen, being dissatisfied with our available choices, and jealous of others who are living their life the best way they know how. It is how we respond to these things that determines if we are going to improve, stagnate, or descend into pettiness or despair.
Most of these things will not have a major effect on any of our lives by the way, so that is the real issue. We spend all this energy getting amped up about these things, and most of us will never experience any of these things directly, or even be affected much by the outcome. Consider these three points:
- 99% of us will never be face to face with a gorilla without a cage separating us, and most of us know almost nothing about gorillas, so why would we hold an opinion so strongly when we have no knowledge of the topic and judge the mom, the zoo, and even the gorilla?
- Regardless of who becomes the next president, it will not ruin your life, nor will it fix your life. Fixing your life is your responsibility.
- When we see an exceptionally talented person who strives to improve themselves and also tries to experience new things and grow or have fun, many people come up with a reason to criticize that person. Mediocrity loves company.
Exceptional people are a reminder that if we passionately follow our dreams and work every day, we can bend our lives into a shape that we choose. Critics and wanna-bees just want to waste our time and keep us down with them, making excuses about why things are not working out.
I propose the following:
- Identify the areas in your life where you are struggling, or that you want to improve, and write those things down in a journal.
- For each of these items, write down 3 actions you can take today that might help improve those problems.
- Circle or highlight those tasks that support more than one of the areas you want to improve
- Enter tasks on your smart phone or calendar to prompt you to do those things every day.
- Make this plan a priority, even if it means you have to wake up earlier to do it, or have to eat a lunch you packed at home to save some some time (Packing your lunch will save you time, money, and usually be healthier for you than anything you would eat at a restaurant, so this is one of those items you could highlight because it supports multiple areas of improvement).
- Follow this plan for a week and write down how you feel at the end of the week. I suspect you will feel a lot better, so while you are high with some success, plan your next week so you are ready to roll the next week.
- Lather, rinse, repeat for a month and see if you are improving your life yet.