Monday, August 6, 2012

Setting the Tone, or, I Love Mondays


I am one of those odd people -- if you hadn’t already figured that out -- who loves Mondays. Monday allows me to set the tone for my entire week. And, if I do it right, my entire week is just a little easier, just a little better and just a little smoother.

Today, I want to share with you my daily routine (and why I do what I do), so that you can see how time management/self-improvement/monetizing my life/working out and life can be better in general when you set the right tone on what is arguably most folks least favorite day of the week. 

6:00 - Rise and shine! Coffee time. Get breakfast -- usually Cream of Wheat and a Banana.
6:15 - PTC Sites (Monetizing my life). For the next 30 minutes, I visit a host of paid to click ad sites. Doing this, helps me earn an extra $100 a month. While waiting for each ad to load, I read my Facebook newsfeed.
6:45 - Walk the Dog. I take my dog for a 2-mile jaunt every morning. It’s good for her, the fresh air is great for me, and I can get in the right mood while jamming to some wicked beats on my iPod. Because, life is better when it’s set to music.
7:15 - Workout. For the next 1.5 hours, I do a P90X routine or an Insanity routine. This is non-negotiable. I schedule my workouts each day. If someone wants to schedule something for that time, I can’t do it. I already have a standing appointment…with Tony Horton.
8:45 -  Updating. This is the time of day that I update the social media pages for the blogs I run (and also when I put in my first Facebook/Twitter status for the day).
9:00 - This is when I start my workday. I work in 2-hour blocks. At the end of each block, I give myself a 15-minute break. Rinse and repeat until around 5 or 5:30 every night.
5:30 - Cooking. Cooking relaxes me. This is also important to me, because I believe in eating together as a family. For 30 to 60 minutes, I spend time preparing a meal for my family.
6:30 - Dinner time. This is non-negotiable. All family members must be in attendance, no exceptions.
7:00 - Chores. After dinner, everyone has a chore and dishes are washed. Also, a non-negotiable.
7:30 - Family time. We spend time doing something as a family. Yes, every day.
9:00 - Personal enrichment. I read, I relax, I meditate. I chat with my friends. This is what I like to call “me time”.
10:30 - Bed time. Zzzzzzzzzz.

You might think I’m nuts for having a schedule I implement and relegate myself too. Heck, I may very well be nuts. However, I can also attest to the fact that by sticking to my schedule, I stay healthy, wealthy and get a little wiser with each passing day. And it all starts on Monday, my favorite day of the week. 

How do YOU set the tone?

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Online Theatricality

Theatricality. Webster’s defines this as:
1. Of, relating to, or suitable for dramatic performance or the theater.
2. Marked by exaggerated self-display and unnatural behavior; affectedly dramatic.

Hang on, I have a point here.

I want to talk to you today about theatricality, and whether or not you develop a different persona online than who you are in real life.

Why do I want to talk to you about this?
1.   Because I don’t. What you see is what you get.
2.   Because far too many people (I think) do.

This week, as I was going through my newsfeed, I saw argument after argument, debate after “debate” (yes, I am mocking you) and people who were (generally) behaving badly.

Want an example?
I subscribe to a plethora of nutritionists, dieticians and professional trainers as part of my quest to get healthier and earn the body I want to have. And many of these folks post pictures of people they have been working with as they shed the poundage. The other day, I saw something on one of these feeds that made me so mad that I wanted to kick puppies (and I like puppies… a lot). Sadly, it wasn’t the first time.

A trainer has posted photos of her client, someone she had been working with for over a year who started out 200 lbs overweight. So far, said client has lost 100 lbs, and is working hard to lose the rest. When the trainer posted the photo, however, instead of an overwhelming virtual outpouring of positivity, inundating the young lady with things like “way to go” and “well done”, this poor woman was criticized with virulent fervor. Commenters said things like, “She is still fat,” and “She has a long way to go,” and “Good job fatty.” (And yes, there were more. And yes, they were worse.)

Online personal attacks take a unique brand of cowardice. Primarily because I know that the agitator wouldn’t say the same thing if they were sitting across the table from someone. For far too many people, the online world has become a place where they feel they can say whatever they please to (and about) whomever they please, without repercussion. And, in my not so humble opinion, this type of behavior needs to cease. Immediately.

I live my online life by one simple rule: “If I wouldn’t say it when you are sitting in front of me, I sure as hell am not going to say it to you online.”

Can you say the same? If not, you have some work to do.

Because if you don’t act like an asshole in real life, you’re not getting an Oscar for doing it online.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Are You Too Chickin’?



Tolerance. In the wake of the recent online and in person Chick-Fil-A boycott/support debacle, I got to thinking in depth about this rather exacting word. But even more than this, I got to thinking about how this word is implemented in our daily lives.

I’ve been thinking about what it means to be tolerant, what tolerance represents, and how this particular word is frequently misused; all too often thrown around like a used bar napkin. And all of my thought left me with a single question: Is the “outrage” on both sides of the political fence really legitimate outrage, or might it be its own brand of intolerance frocked in sheep’s clothing?

Chick-Fil-A’s head honcho openly supports a “traditional marriage” and a “traditional family” per the Biblical definition, to the best of his understanding. And this same head honcho said so publically, in an open forum. Yet his statements were much to the chagrin of the LBGT community. Just hours after the words came out of Cathy’s mouth, there began an uproar of fabulous proportion. There was a flurry of online chatter; an outpouring of negativity on Twitter, Facebook and throughout the dregs of the liberal media. People were pissed. Hate speak abounded. Arguments were born. Nobody won.

In an answer to the outrage from the radical left, the nation’s evangelicals and a host of first amendment supporters rallied to action, with “Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day”; probably giving Chick-Fil-A the single best fiscal day it has had in its history. And again people were pissed. Hate speak abounded. Arguments were born. Nobody won.

However, who in this “war” is being tolerant and who is being less than? That is an interesting question, with a complex answer.

Here are the facts:
Dan Cathy said he supports “traditional marriage”. He didn’t say he is “anti-gay”. He didn’t say that his company won’t hire gay people. The words, “gay people shouldn’t have rights” never crossed his lips. All he said was that he believes marriage is between a man and a woman.

And while I don’t personally agree with Dan Cathy’s stance regarding same sex unions, I will support his right to say it with my dying breath. Why? Because we live in a country were we have the right to believe in any religion we choose, to support the dogma of that religion and to announce how we feel, even if that feeling isn’t popular.

You see, it’s not my place to judge Dan Cathy for his lifestyle or his beliefs anymore than it is my place to judge the LBGT community for theirs. And guess what? It isn’t yours either. Principals only mean something if you stand by them when they are inconvenient. That includes the principal of  tolerance.

The private, charitable organizations Dan Cathy funds? These things are also not my business. Nor are they yours. What Dan Cathy does with his money is also his right. What I do with my money is my business. What you do with your money is yours. Get the picture?

To believe that Dan Cathy is a homophobe, an intolerant ass and a villain based on his statements alone, makes you the very definition of the word, intolerant.

Yet, when it comes to tolerance, when it comes to fighting for rights, I have to ask: Have we, as a people, learned nothing from history?

Hate only ever begets hate. Hate speak only begets more hate speak. And on this highly emotionally charged, socially polarizing issue, I have seen my fill of hate from both sides. It’s not productive. It’s not forward thinking. And frankly, it’s a waste of time.

Instead of hate, why not love your enemies; why not tolerate them for their faults and for their affronts to you (be they perceived or real) with loving kindness instead of hateful rants and ravings? Because, as history has taught us, that is the only way to truly create change.

Dan Cathy isn’t the enemy. Chick-Fil-A is not the poster child for hatred and bigotry. People aren’t being brainwashed to be homophobic through the strategic use of chicken sandwiches any more than they are being brainwashed to “turn gay” by watching reruns of “Will and Grace”. The problem with the world today is that we allow the fanatics to run it, to polarize the remaining few of us who remain sane, and to anger those of us who remain firmly planted in the principals of right and wrong, of justice and injustice and of what is really tolerance and what isn’t.

Maybe it’s time to think about the principal of your fight instead of the person you want to pick a fight with? Perhaps it’s time to improve your argument, as opposed to raising your voice? If you can do this, it might just be the one thing that changes the world in a time when the world desperately needs changing. Find a middle ground.

That is, of course, unless you are too Chickin’. 

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