Tuesday, July 31, 2012

On Being Unapproachable


Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to read this post all the way to the end, because woven within my prose, I have a question for you…a question I would genuinely like your answer to. Because that question is all about YOU.

For years, I was told that I was “unapproachable.” I have an intense look on my face all the time. I have no problem meeting someone’s gaze, right in the eye. I carry myself with confidence. Apparently, if you add these things together, it makes me “intimidating.”

Which, with my standing at a measly 5 feet 6 inches high, I find almost comical. I would never classify little old me as intimidating.

Yet, I digress.

Years ago, the idea that I was intimidating and unapproachable bothered me to no end. However, nowadays, I actually see my unapproachability as plus, for 3 distinctly different reasons.

1.   I don’t have to deal with social drivel
My “unapproachability” is my own unique brand of psychological velvet rope. While other people put up with nonsense galore from the human race, the simple fact that I’m “unapproachable” frees up my time to do what I love: write, spend time with my family and enjoy each day to its fullest potential.

2.   People leave me alone
I got burnt out on having to constantly deal with people many years ago. Perhaps it was because I spent so much time observing people on their worst behavior; perhaps I just like being an introvert. Perhaps the words, “alcoholic recluse” held particular appeal to me. I don’t really know. (That last bit was a joke, by the way.)

Thanks to this, I avoid meaningless, shallow conversations that I (frankly), don’t have time for. Killing small talk lets me turn my energy toward (what I feel are) worthwhile pursuits, growth and personal awakening. I like that.

3.   I have more time to forge meaningful relationships
I admit, I am a control freak. I have been a control freak all of my life, and I don’t plan on changing anytime soon.

Thing is, my being “unapproachable” means that I get to pick and choose who I want to approach; who I want to get to know better. As cold as it may seem, it is a far more efficient use of my time. And since we all have a limited time on this giant blue marble as it is, I like to spend my time in the wisest ways possible.

So how does my speech about being unapproachable correlate to you?  

Everyone has aspects of their personality that they (and others) perceive as positive. Equally, everyone also has a few negative aspects of their personality. However, just because someone tells you something is a negative, doesn’t always make it so. What matters is whether or not you are comfortable in your own skin, whether or not you like you, and whether or not you genuinely believe that aspect of “you” is a negative at all.

Here is the thing: I’m not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but I can candidly say that being unapproachable is undoubtedly crossed off my “Personality Flaws To Work On” list.

Yes, I have a list for that. In fact, I think everyone should. (But that is another post.)

So my question to you is this:
Is there an aspect of you other folks might perceive as negative but just happens to be something you love?

I want to hear about it. Honest.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

I Believe


I think you can tell a lot about a person by their ideology. In fact, I think what you believe in says a lot about you as a human being. Naturally, as I read and ponder about everything from what other people believe in to why I don’t, it got me to thinking about what I do (believe in that is) -- especially since I am a card-carrying Atheist. And even though I don’t believe in <insert your deity of choice here>, that doesn’t mean I don’t believe in anything. Indeed, quite the contrary.

As part of my iHappy project, I began jotting down a few things that I believe. So, without further ado, here they are. Who knows, you might even believe some of the same things…

I believe…

1.   That everyone has the capability of being good and evil, and that they choose which one they are going to be.
2.   In choosing not to acknowledge people who do evil to me or to others.
3.   That happiness, success and joy all come in different forms, and with different definitions for different people.
4.   In living and letting live.
5.   That I don’t know everything.
6.   That I don’t have all the answers.
7.   That you don’t have all the answers either.
8.   In the beauty of making just one someone laugh. Every day.
9.   That not everyone has to like me.
10. That my past doesn’t define me, but my future will.
11. That focusing on the little stuff, only leads to little solutions.
12. In trying to be a better person than I was yesterday.
13. That people deserve to be treated the same way they treat me. Good and bad.
14.That assumptions say a lot about you. Yes, just you.
15.That ignorance runs deep.
16.That the reasons you say you can’t are just excuses in disguise.
17.That life is really what you make it.
18.That I am not perfect, and I never will be.
19.That you aren’t perfect either.
20.That I can give you room to be imperfect.
21. That doing the right thing isn’t always easy, but it is always right.
22. That having people I love surround me is worth more than a million haters.
23. In true love.
24. In happiness.
25. In hope.
26. In my country, but not in my leaders.
27. In changing the world, one person at a time.
28. That everything starts at home, both good and bad.
29. That I am my own best friend, and worst enemy.
30. That you are too.

So now that you know what I believe in, what is it that you believe in? 



Monday, July 23, 2012

On Getting what You “Deserve”



On my seemingly never-ending quest to find truly inspirational television, last Sunday I clicked on ABC’s “Secret Millionaire.” The premise of this show is for a sole self-made millionaire to go and live in an underprivileged area for a few days, seeking out people in those areas who are actually making a difference for others. They are tasked with finding the givers, the helpers and those with hearts of teachers.

During the exercise, the millionaire never reveals who he or she is. In fact, said millionaires literally become fellow “paupers”, armed only with a passion to help. These folks spend time volunteering and getting to know the needs of their community by walking the walk. By the end of the hour-long show, the millionaire selects a few deserving organizations and makes a donation -- and, yes, the donations are on the hefty side.

The show stuck a chord in me; several chords if you want to get technical.

Awhile back, I posted about what I do to “pay it forward” in life. And while my “giving back” is not on quite the same fiscal scale as what you see on TV, it is something I feel strongly about doing.

My Not-So-Dirty-Little Secret
I choose a cause, a person, an event or a charity that I feel are “deserving” of my help, and I take action to help them. I do not do this because I want accolades, a pat on the back or a wellspring of “Wow, that’s awesome,” Facebook comments or Twitter messages. In fact, I do not talk about it at all. I just do it.

Because if there is one thing I cannot stand, it is when hoi polloi announce virtuous deeds. Truth be told, that kind of bragging makes me sick to my stomach.

Saying, “I did this or that,” or listing out your daily good deeds cheapens the act itself. It shows that you are only out there to gain attention and adulation from the masses. You might be doing the right thing, but you are doing them for all the wrong reasons.

It is the righteous deeds done in secret that truly seek no reward. And those are my personal specialty.

Yet, I digress. The entire point of my post is about being deserving. Let me get back to that.

What does deserving mean anyway?
I believe that not everyone “deserves” help. I think there are people who would take that help, suck it up like a parasite and turn it into poison. I believe these people poison themselves, and I believe that they poison others.

It is for this reason that I blatantly reject the notion of socialism. I don’t believe in all of our money going into a community pot to be split equally amongst the masses. Why? Quite simply because not all of the masses are “deserving”.

I believe that giving without strings robs someone of the power they need to alter their life course. I believe in accountability for monetary gifts. I believe in education. I believe, if you will, that it is far more productive to teach a man to fish than it will ever be to hand deliver him fish until the end of his days (naturally there are exceptions for the elderly and the legitimately disabled here, but the point should be clear enough).

I believe in teaching people to be self-sufficient, not in handing out money like participation ribbons like an elementary school. Just because someone thinks they “need” something, doesn’t always make them “deserving” of it. Sometimes, what you really need is a struggle in place of a handout, and you need that struggle so that you can grow and become a better person from the experience.

Hand ups, not handouts.

Sometimes, you don’t get what you deserve, you get what you need. And sometimes that “need” comes in the form of a lesson. How you learn that lesson is up to you. But life will continue to present you with the same lesson until you finally learn it.

So don’t mind me, I’m just trying to focus on being a faster learner.

YOUR TURN: How do you define deserving?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

On Social Darwinism




I’m going to get crucified for this one, but here goes.

I have no problem with Social Darwinism.

But wait! Before you troll my blog and blast me for this, hear me out.

What is ‘Social Darwinism’?
Essentially, it’s Darwinism, but in the social realm. In essence, only the strong survive and the weak are left by the wayside. Now, when I say “weak”, I’m not talking about folks who are legitimately disabled, the elderly or toddlers with medical conditions. In fact, I’m taking a difference stance on Social Darwinism: I’m taking on the weak minded.  

You know the ones…
No doubt you have met people who are never happy, no matter what happens to them or what they do. Nothing is ever “enough”; nothing ever “pleases” them. Indeed, they believe that they are ‘owed’ something either because of their social status, socio-economic status, color of their skin or background. The truth is, they aren’t. These folks are the weak minded among us. And they need to go.

Cold, hard truth: No one is owed anything, other than a chance to work to become a better human with each passing day -- until your time is up. And the fact is, you owe THAT to yourself.

Weak minded people have no place here.

I believe that life hands you lemons. With those lemons, don’t just make lemonade, turn that lemonade into a lemonade stand and own it. Turn your failure into triumph, however you can. Be strong of mind, be hearty in spirit and never quit.

I believe that every man, woman and child on this planet is given the opportunity to make changes, to do “big things” and to be (in their own definition) “successful.” And I believe they have it within them to do so. Yet, despite this truth, there are others who choose to do nothing with this wonderful opportunity they are given. The weak minded among us. They are poisonous.

For weak minded folks, I don’t think a social safety net should be an option. I don’t think that it is society’s responsibility to take up the mantle of care and loving kindness to foster them. I believe care and love and benevolence is wasted on people like this. They are the users, the leeches, the cancers of our lives. Helping people with this mindset isn’t helping, it’s enabling.

Less warm fuzzy, more tough love
I believe that weak minded people need to fall flat on their faces and learn how to pick themselves up. That’s their lesson.

Rinse and repeat until they “get it”. I hope that one day they do. If they can’t…well, then that’s just too bad. It sucks to be you.

Life is an exercise in learning experiences, and what you take from these experiences is your grade.

Wanna compare report cards?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

On Adaptability



This last week, the theme on (one of my favorite shows ever) “The Glee Project” was adaptability. And, like you already knew it would, it got the hamster who lives in the wheel in my head running so hard that he just about keeled over from heart failure.

Yet, I digress…

Are you adaptable? I am. In fact, over the years, I have learned to adapt to situations, people and moments with chameleon like accuracy. In large part, I think my sales background has something to do with that. I had to learn (sink or swim) to adapt on a dime. Like it or not, sales is the epitome of social Darwinism: adapt or die.

So where have all my adapters gone?

Today, I run into (what feels like) more and more folks who expect the world to adapt to them. Because they don’t “want” something in their lives, they justify turning a blind eye, a silent ear or a passing gaze to whatever the offending item of choice might be. Because it’s “too much for them”. Personally? I’d rather just jump right on in the middle of something and be wrong, than wait on the sidelines and say that I “should have done something,” regretting my inaction later.

In my book, it’s better to do something than nothing. I never want to be seduced into apathy or convenience. I’d rather be wrong, adapt and correct my course than be still. Because for me, life is simple: adapt or die.

How adaptable are you?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

On Assumptions…Because You’re an Idiot

There are few people in this world that I find completely and utterly distasteful. But for those who I do…I have no problem letting them know that.

I’m not “mean” by any stretch of the imagination. Not really anyway. Will I call someone out when they are behaving like an ass? You bet I will. The thing is, I’ll call myself out on it too. I don’t need someone to put me in my place. In fact, 99.95% of the time, I do it of my own accord.

Can you say the same?

By and large, one of the biggest problems I have with humanity (in general) is the assumption gig. Someone assumes they know someone based only on a body of knowledge that you could fit in an eyedropper. Sometimes they are enamored with someone who is a douche nozzle. Other times, they assume someone is a bitch, a hard ass or a pansy. When the truth is, they know nothing about them.

How is this productive, useful or informed?
Where have my critical thinkers gone?

I try (and sometimes I fail) not to make assumptions about people. I sit back and I watch, at length. I read comments, I absorb body language and I take into account overall behavior before I render a decision on whether or not I want to pursue a relationship with said person.

With that said, just because I don’t “agree” with someone 100% of the time, doesn’t mean I don’t dub them worthy. I love diversity. I thrive on it. And just because I don’t like a few things that fall out of your mouth, doesn’t mean it invalidates every other thing you think. I believe that if you look a little harder, you can find common ground with just about anyone.

With that said, on a not-so-rare occasion, I come to the conclusion that someone is a complete, utter and total idiot. Why? Because they usually are.

Say what you will, but I am usually an excellent judge of character. I have been a student of the human race (thanks to my sales background) for most of my life. Sure, I’ve had my faux paus in judgment along the way, but today, at 33 years of age, I can say that (normally) when I am so bold to pass judgment on another human being, I am usually 100 percent right. And it’s really hard to snow me.

So should you come across me one day, and I say something to the effect that you are an idiot, I’d take that seriously if I were you. Because not only am I right, I’m just saying what everyone else is too chicken shit to give voice to anyway. So fix it.

And that’s no assumption, it’s fact.

How do you make your decisions about people?Idiots need not respond.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Open the Box and Use What You Have



If knock-you-on-your-tail truths were easy to swallow, they wouldn’t be called hard truths, now would they?

I oftentimes compare our current presidential administration to the “Wizard of Oz”. Nay, not because I'm altogether positive that Nancy Pelosi has a horde of winged monkeys in her employ, but rather, because this administration is skilled at the “Hey, look at the shining thing over there,” maneuver.
 
I bet you want some examples, huh? That's a good thing. I have three.   
1. Had our current administration corrected the economic course of our country to fix the jobs problem rather than creating a housing stimulus plan, the housing stimulus would have been a moot point -- because people would have had jobs that paid them enough money for them to buy houses, to make up their mortgages and to fend off foreclosure.

2. Had the current administration concentrated on getting our hoi polloi jobs with employee sponsored healthcare plans, they could have focused energy on reforming esoteric healthcare, debased insurers and gluttonous pharmaceutical corporations, contrary to  blueprinting a surely-so-big-it-will-fail liberal medicine political machine -- a formula already demonstrated to be a revolting failure around the world.

3. Had this presidency created legislation in favor of the (get prepared to heave progressives) gravid, abominable corporations, the administration would have (in effect) produced a platform for hiring rather than furloughs. 

Essentially if our D.C. brain trust had figured out the simple answer to the jobs problem, we wouldn't be in the fiscal pickle that we find ourselves in today.
 
Smashing advice doesn’t have to be Byzantine to be bang-up.

And the same goes for you
Do you feel as if you aren’t bringing in adequate income? Are you unhappy with your life? Does it seem like you are karma's punching bag? It’s in your power to fix that.

Take a new look
One TV show that gets encore performances during my tranquil Friday eves at home is none other than “Shark Tank”. How come? Because it conveys hope -- if you watch it with the right mindset. The show illustrates a simple, undeniable fact: everyone possesses the inherent power to be born into nothing and make something of themselves in this country -- thanks to Capitalism. But even more than that, I love this show because it exemplifies distinctly that all it takes is one bang-up idea to alter your biography.

Money is to your mentality as peanut butter is to jelly. If you have an icky mind-set, if you anticipate someone else being required to take care of you from cradle to tomb and if you anticipate there to always be a safety net when you fall, you will never learn anything. Effectively, you are permitting yourself to be plucked of the keys you need to change your life.

Over complicating your life is ludicrous. Over intellectualizing your lifestyle based on another persons life is a permissive waste of time and exertion.

It’s simple. Whenever you don’t like something in your life…fix it. You have the tools, you simply refuse to open the box and use them.

So? Open the box.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Miss Adventures Takes On Double Standards


Don’t lie. We all have double standards -- of sorts. We are all, in effect, our own worst hypocrites. This week, however, I have given the blog a theme, and that theme is sexuality. Today, as part of that theme, I am going to tackle double standards.

No doubt, you’ve all seen this photo floating around the internet in your travels.


Make a mental note of it, because we are going to come back to that later.

This last Saturday, I went to the movies with what was dubbed the “Whore Caravan” -- by one of my fellow moviegoer’s significant others. Our goal was to take in a feast for the eyes (among other things). Yes, I too joined the fest of horney middle-aged women who went to go see the likes of Channing Tatum, Matthew McConaughey and Joe Maganiello take it all off in the below-the-waist strip-tacular film, “Magic Mike.”

And based on what you see here, ladies, can you really blame us? 



I’m not going to dissect the plot. In fact, I don’t care about the plot. I didn’t pay $8 to watch people talk, cavort or work out relationship issues. In fact, had the flick been 110 minutes of the above-mentioned sexually charged grinding, smooth moving and men with the bodies of Adonis shaking some rather raunchy groove things, I would have been perfectly content. But alas, there was a plot. And yes, the plot sucked. I still don’t care.  

Aside from learning to have never-ending gratitude for the men involved in making this film, and developing a need to pen Steven Soderbergh a hand written, perfume scented thank you note on pink stationary engraved with gold calligraphy every day for the rest of my life, going to this movie taught me one thing:

MEN HAVE THE WORST DOUBLE STANDARDS EVER

It’s perfectly okay for men to go and ogle women. Even more than that, it’s perfectly okay for “bros” to go scouting, hunting and have wing men so that they can land their “prey”. Yet, if women do the same thing? We’re whores. We’re just horney old women ogling strangers.

To you “men”, all I have to say is, “So what?

And I say "so what" because you are all the same men who are posting the photo kvetching about “fake” women with plastic boobs and Botox wanting a real man on your Facebook (like it’s a bad thing), while you are jerking it to the Playmate of the week. -- Double standard much?

Fellas: Just because you aren’t comfortable with our sexuality, doesn’t mean that we aren’t.

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