Happy Holidays!

I know it’s been a HOT MINUTE. I’m sorry, I took the week off to celebrate Thanksgiving with the family and thus, have been on a little hiatus. But, that doesn’t mean I haven’t been thinking about you beautiful little gems. In fact, I took my time to think about what I would talk about when I did return.

And I figured it out.

Help you think about what you should be thankful for.

I don’t mean to put this out because I was late in posting it, but because being thankful can be tied to both Thanksgiving and Christmas alike. And I wanted to plant the seed of this thought right now, and let you think about it 22 days in advance before the holiday does arrive.

So, what can you be thankful for? 

Well, yes. Always be thankful for your family, the house you have, and the food on your plate. But you already know that. What I am talking about is a little more personal than that and I want you to dig a little deeper. Don’t worry, you won’t have to hold my hand and close your eyes so that you can say grace about it. Rather, I do want you to be thinking about this more than just while you read this.

So much has happened in your life, no doubt about that. You’ve been through some shit, and you have certainly gone through more than your fair share of problems, isn’t that why you’re here? More than just to reflect on your problems, I bring this up to maybe shift your perspective and stop looking at them as mistakes, or problems. You’ve heard the speech where “everything happens for a reason” but honestly…. that’s a bull shit expression used as an excuse for those who don’t really know how to help you through a tough situation. Though I may have referenced this expression before in my earlier posts, I have always expanded upon it to help give you a little more to hold on to rather than just that expression, bare bones.

Everything you encountered in your life, starting from the small ones to the bigger ones, have helped you become the very person you are right now. And I urge you to be proud of that person that you have become. Be thankful for the hardships that you went through because without them, you wouldn’t be as strong of a person. You wouldn’t be as determined, you wouldn’t be as strong-minded, you wouldn’t be as confident, you wouldn’t be as smart, you wouldn’t be as amazing as you are right now.

So please, when you look back at your past, don’t shun in disgust or embarrassment. Rather stand up strong and be confident in yourself. What you went through helped make you who you are right now, and let me tell you, that person is incredible.

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Your Ideal Schedule

Alright, so as I explained and told you in my last blog post, I would try to help you set up the ideal schedule. First, I’m going to use the analogy of a workout plan. Though a workout plan has to do with your schedule, let’s just try and focus on the fact that you should set up daily and weekly goals. For example, Mondays and Tuesdays are chest days, and Wednesday is my cardio day and so on. By the end of 5 weeks I expect to lose/gain this much weight, and so forth. You get the point now. Not sure if you know this, but in order to get the most out of your workout plan, you should set up mini-rewards or goals. That way you keep yourself motivated to keep going, and this reigns true for your schedule as well.

Like the time you designate to do homework, look at the week you have ahead of you and try to rationalize. Line up your tasks and objectives all in a row and try to sort them out. Like we do with homework, try to push all the bigger things in the earlier parts of your week and then you should finish off with your lighter, maybe even more enjoyable work. Don’t force yourself to go to bed after just finishing a huge assignment where you’re still thinking about it, trust me it’s just awful. If you’re anything like me, when you know that you have to really get your crank on, you need to think about this subject as if it’s your 24/7/365. Even when I’m done, I still have those feelings and thoughts remaining as it takes me a little bit to try to recover from that.

However, I want to stress that I am one who believes you should only focus on working and working alone. I am a firm advocate in setting up little relievers along the road to make the torment a little less awful. Let’s be real with one another, it’s work. Work isn’t really designed to be fun, unless you’re in your made to be profession that you’ve always wanted to do. Work will tire us and stress us out. I can’t cure it, and I sure as hell know that the world can’t either no matter how much substances they provide you. I just want to try to lessen the blow.

I urge you try to make it so that once you finish the bigger tasks and duties that are lined up in your week, you spend a little time for yourself. I’m not saying you do this for very long but maybe watch an episode of your favorite show, cook a little dish if you consider cooking relaxing and soothing (which it is don’t you dare argue with me), or anything else you would consider pleasure. I’m only saying 30-45 minutes, which in reality terms, doesn’t really affect your day and your schedule.

So just relax, there are ways you can make things a little less stressful and hard on yourself. I am confident that if you can do this, you’ll realize how much more efficiently you are doing your work when you aren’t as stressed or overloaded with work.

Take a Chill Pill

Much like an earlier post of mine said, it’s okay to let go of those people in your life who have transitioned from being a positive influence to a negative one. And by negative influence I don’t mean that friend who invites you to smoke with him/her, or to drink excessive amounts of shots with them so that you two can enjoy the night. I simply mean, that person who started making you happy, then came to be the person who started to a cause of your stress, maybe even your pain that you would have to endure.

In a similar sense, people – myself included – hold on to the things that can cause them stress and pain, separate from people of course. For the post today, I want to highlight on these things and really try to help you understand what you’re doing and how you could possibly stop yourself from doing it.

Nowadays, especially in school, we are expected to perform under conditions of intense stress. Though we will never achieve a point where we can have a life where we don’t experience any stress. It is important to try your best to achieve a life where you can experience the least amount of stress possible. I could list all the number of reasons stress is harmful for you but that’s just useless banter you could ignore in your health class.

Though the world expects that much out of you, you cannot perform at your best under stress. (Not unless you’re some kind of prodigy that has the whole world in the palm of your hand and can perform miracles). No, it’s ridiculous to think such of yourself and I recommend you understand that as soon as possible. Now that isn’t to say the moment you get stressed, you should back out of your work and take a break. Rather, I challenge you to manage your stress and workload. Like a workout routine for the week, you should manage both your time and your body so that you can get the most out of your schedule. Have you ever seen those performers who take an empty jar and constantly fill it with stuff piece by piece making you think “okay it’s full there’s no way anything else fits in it now”. And on cue, the next object fits. Yeah, your schedule is the very same. If you can manage each and every aspect of it properly, you’re going to find that you have a lot more time in your day.

In my next post, I’ll be sure to go into greater detail as to what I recommend you do to your schedule so that I can maybe help you feel less stressed and better prepared for the day.

Not-Being Okay Should Not Be A Competition

Typically, I start off my blogs with a pretty shiny “one-liner” approach but I don’t think that’d be necessary as of right now considering how confused you are of that title. So this time, I’m just going to dive right into it, and explain what I mean.

“A competition? How could you possibly make some kind of game out of my stress? How dare you belittle my problems!”

Alright, alright. Not what I meant, just let me explain.

The title is not meant to make you feel like I’m attacking your problems and your stress at all whatsoever. I can certainly understand life has shit, and because of that fact, we have shit. I get that, I do. In fact because I get that, I made this blog. So put your pitchforks down and give me a second here to explain. I am not attacking your problems and your emotions, rather, I am pointing out something that a lot of us participate in. Without even really knowing it is the scary part.

Let me throw you a hypothetical. You’re with your friend, your mate, your bestie, your homie, your mortal enemy.. I don’t care who, that’s up to you. You’re talking to this person and they cannot stop talking about how incredibly stressed they are about finals. “I have two finals coming up, while having to write three papers all due by this Monday!” Typical conversation, whether you’re going through it now, or have gone through it before, I can say with 100% certainly everyone has been here. Now, here is where the topic of this post comes in. Your response has a good to fair chance that it will be along the lines of “Oh I’m so sorry to hear that, good luck.” However, there is also a good to fair chance that you will respond with, “Oh that sucks! Well I have to write THREE papers all due by SUNDAY and study for THREE finals all by SATURDAY while still studying for my SAT ON SUNDAY TOO.” (The caps are there for a reason because let’s face it, I was spot on where you add your little emphasis on things. It’s okay, I know how you talk).

Think for a moment now, it makes sense doesn’t it. You don’t really have to think about it, it’s just natural instinct to just make it seem like you’re actually the one who is in more peril, who needs more help, who needs more attention, etc. Okay now you can cue the “oh damn” music. It’s not even like you want to create a sort of sport out your suffering, you just do. You’re right, it doesn’t make sense and it shouldn’t happen. Yet, why do all us do that? I certainly do, no shame admitting it either. I can be talking to you but the moment you think you have the right to say you’re more stressed about school than I am… Game on buddy. I’ll start making up super ridiculous things if I have to, just to prove my point.

Jokes aside though, it’s a pretty serious problem and it happens a little too frequently, if you really give it a thought. You shouldn’t have to feel like your stress, your problems and your obstacles in life make your identity. Yes, they absolutely help shape your character but in no way do they associate themselves with your identity. That’s something separate, unique. So I urge you to try and make a conscious effort to get out of those bad habits and focus on other things, rather than trying to one up that other person who is going through something. It’s okay, to feel okay.

Learning to Walk Away

Throughout your entire life you’re going to meet a lot of people. You’re going to talk to, become friends with, have a relationship with, laugh with, love with, a lot of people in this world. However, the hardest part about meeting someone, is understanding that you may have to let them go. Odd statement, but it makes sense. Out of everyone you’re going to meet, the actual percentage of those who you’re going to actually “keep” in your life is pretty small. Leaving an old acquaintance, friend or lover is arguably one of the hardest things in life, at least, for most people; including me.

The point that I’m trying to push forth in this post is, well, to try to give you some insight on what I’ve learned and have been told and maybe I can put it in a way you can understand and apply to your own lives.

You don’t really get a taste of this until lovely high school, thanks to hormones and something called “growing up” but that isn’t to say it only happens in high school. In high school you will get a real taste of what a “toxic friendship” is going to be. You may even get a real taste of what a toxic relationship is. For those of you that have experienced this, it sucks. It sucks a lot. It always starts out so well, why would it go any other way? You get so attached and close to someone, like you two were meant to find one another and be the best of friends/lovers. Then after maybe a few months of this honeymoon phase, our good ‘ol friend reality knocks on the door. Then things go wrong, to put it very simply.

Okay, stepping away from everything that goes wrong, let me share with you some of my own insight.

First and foremost, it’s okay to let people go.

Granted, I’m sure you know enough about this but some of us really struggle with this concept. You convince yourself constantly that “things are just rough right now, but it’ll get better from here. I’m sure of it.” And you know, sometimes that actually does happen. You hit a rough patch, but you get up and move on. Our problem is trying to differentiate what a “rough patch” is versus a “bad relationship”. Whether you think of a partner, or a friend, it happens. I want you to know that it’s all okay to get up and walk away from something that hurts, that’s toxic to be around, that’s stressful just to think about.

Secondly, and lastly, read the signs.

You are NOT meant to be best friends with everyone you meet no matter how social you are. It doesn’t matter and life does not care. You are going to make “enemies” and you are going to meet someone who will change and ultimately leave you in wondering “what happened?”. It’s wonderful that you two started off so well, but that is not an explanation nor an excuse for how they are treating you right now, it’s not okay and it should not be tolerated. You can’t continue hurting yourself, and pile all this stress on you, when all it’s doing is killing you inside. You’ll know in your heart if something is meant to be, but you will also know in your head if it’s killing you too. Your heart is built to love, and your head is built to think. That’s why you don’t feel it in your heart when you think “should I leave this person?”. Rather, that’s when your head tells you to move on.

Please, look after yourself and focus on what really matters to you. I’m sure you two had the greatest memories, and if that is the case listen: Don’t taint those amazing memories of your past with ruined nights of your present. If you want to remember them for how they made you feel, then it’s best to drop it and move on, trust me.

 

 

 

Remembering What Really Matters

I am not going to waste your time and mine by telling you “humans aren’t perfect, so don’t be upset if you fail!” because let’s be honest, it’s bullshit. It’s a stupid line that no one really believes and that makes absolutely no one feel better. What I can tell you is that failing is important. Failing is growing, maturing, and learning.

Failing is essential, and failing is necessary. Sure, Steve can pick up a trumpet and learn it instantly whereas it takes you longer to understand how to actually play the cursed thing, however, does that make you inferior to Steve in any way?

Absolutely not.

You need to remember that the more effort you put into something, no matter what it is, the more important it will be to you. If you never put the time into studying, then quiet obviously, studying for a test is not on your daily schedule. Not that you don’t care about what your grade is in the class, it’s just that you don’t really care for studying for hours for the test when you take notes in class. Simple. However, for someone who studies for a test when the unit is first introduced, studying is crucial. Nothing comes before studying, and the only thing that come after studying, is more studying. And that’s totally fine, in fact, both mindsets are totally fine. Studying does and doesn’t work for some people, that’s just life. But we all need to step back for a moment and really think about what actually matters.

Your every failure, slip-up and fall shapes who you are and who you will become. Every time you fall, no matter how many times you fall, you learn just a little bit more. You can walk a little bit faster, and you get up just a little bit faster. Please, please try to understand me when I say that failing at something is totally okay, and is completely normal.

Society fails us in trying to support that mindset. School fails us in trying to support that mindset. Hell, maybe even your parents and peers fail in trying to support that mindset. But here, you’re going to hear a different tune. As long as you’re willing to learn, failing is okay. You will fall, but understand why that happened, and get back up ready to tackle the problem again. You can’t “perfect” something without failing multiple times in trying to succeed (again, I’m pretty sure this is a movie quote, just unsure where from).

Stand up, crack your knuckles, stretch your neck and take a breath. Remember that every time you’re going to fall down you will get back up better than before and smarter than before. That’s what really matters. Look forward, look towards what you can succeed in doing now that you have learned more rather than looking back towards what you failed at doing.

Shut Out Your Opposition

Obviously the central theme here has a lot to deal with personality and individuality. In my opinion, that’s the first step in all of this. If you can truly get an understanding of what and who you are, and to “own it” the better off everything else will be. Focusing a little less on yourself and more on how others will react and are already acting, is what I’ll try to cover today.

We’ve already covered the topic of “You’re different, learn to get over it”. But maybe I didn’t give that statement enough attention; enough respect. I want to fix that by going a little more in-depth with it and to help you understand what I mean, if that was unclear before this.

Being different, means you challenge the “norm” and the “accepted” part of society. Challenge breeds conflict, and conflict breeds suffering, even to the slightest degree. (100000000000% positive I stole that from some action movie, just unsure of what movie that is. Oh well)

Challenging what most of the crowd has already accepted into their normal lives means something has to change. And from what I’ve gathered about society is that no one likes change. Change requires effort and time, and a lot of people really don’t appreciate giving that up. Change could mean you are a step ahead of them and the worst part is that cannot be accepted today. You either conform or get neglected. It’s as simple as that for them.

What you need to challenge yourself to do is to not back down, because you know they won’t if they go unopposed. It’s your right, no matter your origins, to stand up against your enemy. Granted, I’m not saying declare war nor am I advocating for physical violence. What I mean is, you fight back using your words and actions in life. Band together with your brothers and sisters and everyone else you identify with as a whole.  They will try to separate you and pick you apart, however it’s up to you to stand up for yourself. No one else can do it for you, I can just stand here cheering you on.

You can do it, you can fight back and you can show them that you will not be brought down. You are not one to mess with. You are not one that can be tossed aside. You are to be heard. You are to be known by all as the one who accepted change. What this world really needs right now is love sure, but even more general than that, this world needs change. And it’s not going to happen on its own. You are the resistance. You are the rebellion; band together and influence the change of the century. Don’t accept conformity, instead I challenge you to fight against it.

You are not to be ignored. If you can accept that, then you can and will go far. Just hold onto your ideals and values. Don’t let anyone take that way from you.

But How Can I Feel Significant?

Sure, I can tell you that it’s up to you all I want, but the same question will always be looping in your head. “How can I do that?” I mean, shit, if it were that easy I wouldn’t be feeling this way. That’s why I gave myself so much “room” here to tell you how I believe you can do this, how you can feel significant. So I can only hope, through all this, you can glimpse into what I’m talking about and see my perspective on how you can see yourself the way I see you. Taking a line from something I’m sure you would hear at some high school rally… You cannot say unique, without starting with you first.

Tying into a farther back post, we are all different. We are different for a reason. Scientifically we are different for our survival, for evolution. Religiously, we are different to reflect our creators and approach our own special destiny. A simple thought with many varying interpretations. Some how, someone thought that being different was a bad thing. That not being in a uniform clique actually puts you at the disadvantage. Since this message surrounds us, it really wasn’t hard to subconsciously accept it either. And now we have to fight back and achieve the understanding that difference is key and what helps us advance as a society.

You may not be able to play sports like she does, you may not be able to look the way he does, and you may not be able to succeed in school the way your parents did but how does that one little facet of your life affect every other bit? You are wonderfully complex and cannot be understood. You are so much deeper than meets the eye and your story extends farther than any series of books. You are, simply, amazing. You have so much going for yourself that you don’t even know yet. Whether you haven’t been in that stage of your life yet, or, you just can’t see it, you are truly incredible. I don’t care that you can’t play guitar like a famous rock star. I don’t care that you don’t have the best grades in school. I don’t care that you can’t play a perfect game of basketball pulling up from wherever you please. And guess what, you shouldn’t either. Because guess what? While you’re focusing on what you are unable to accomplish, you are forgetting how hard you work to support your family. While you’re worried about why your grades aren’t where you want them to be you’re somehow forgetting just how much you balance on your daily schedule, whereas Joe does nothing all day long.

Point being, you are tunnel visioned on one aspect of your life you may not have figured out yet and have mistreated the other aspects.

Please, please understand your significance does not begin and end with a decimal point. Or with your shooting percentage from the 3 point line. Or from how bad ass your guitar solo is. Your significance is a reflection of your personality, your character. And let me tell you not one single person can take that away from you. Your personality or character is so much deeper than these stupid little things that may surround your life.

You are truly amazing and wonderful to be around because of what makes you, you. You are defined by what you wish to define yourself as and that power was given to you at birth and cannot be taken away.

Wake up, and look at yourself in the mirror. You are unique. Don’t lose focus of yourself.

The Battle for Significance

Here, I will be doing my very best to help shed some light on a very common value you see in all of my posts, significance. Significance taking the form of being unique, being yourself, or understanding that your different was very apparent in the last blog post however this one is essentially a further explanation and clarification on what I mean when I say “you’re unique”.

We’ve been surrounded with this message ever since we were little. You were taught by your parents, guardians, and friends what it means to “make your mark”. We walk around with our own “identities”, your own placard telling everyone “Hi my name is ____”. We’ve struggled with this concept all our lives. I wish to be the class clown, I wish to be the funny kid, I wish to be the popular one, I wish to be loved by all… You can’t even really help it, but it’s been in your life whether you have noticed it or not. I mean, think back right now, even if you were the quiet one, that was your mark in class. Be quiet, focus on school, move on. What did you do in school and who were you to everyone else? Focusing on this is key because you must understand your roots in order to grow.

Of course, as life goes on this concept becomes a much bigger issue. The scale is bigger, and there’s more at stake now or at least we convince ourselves this much. Why is it that when we’re young we have more sense of purpose and belonging? Why is this phenomenon occurring, spinning wildly out of control? Why is it that when I was in fourth grade I had it all figured it out but now in college I struggle with identity issues? Why can’t I fit in? Why can’t I be that guy? Why can’t I be her? Why can’t I make others happy? Why can’t I just change? Why do I have to be this way? Why must I struggle, and take others down with me? Why must I be in agony all the time?

Stop.

Breathe, listen to me. Please, don’t let the voices scream too loud.

You have less to worry about and handle when you’re a kid, that’s an obvious fact. As you grow up, the more you have to worry about and the more you’re responsible. That’s where the problem begins. But as the problem grows, like a cancer, we continue on with our lives. We only notice it when it grows into the tumor that ruins and runs our everyday schedule. But this does not mean that there’s nothing we can do. This does not mean there is no hope. Yes, there is medication to try to combat symptoms of your “struggle to feel or be significant” but it’s never that easy is it? I wish the mind was something that could be plugged in and changed. I wish that we had the right understanding of our brains and the dynamic of how “emotions” work so that all we have to do is pop the pill. But let’s be frank, it doesn’t work that way does it? Addiction or a sense of loss seemingly is a constant cycle to those who are emotionally dependent on these remedies. I wholeheartedly believe this isn’t a problem that medication can solve, only postpone, maybe lessen but never fix.

No, in fact, I think I know the solution. The solution is you, and you too have the power to get out of this. People are definitely there to point you in the right direction and pick you up when we stumble but listen to me, you are the only one able to walk. You are the only one who can step right, then left. Think about it, it’s your strength it’s your power. If you can really understand this, it will make my next post make a hell of a lot more sense.

You are the strongest person I know, you can do it.

 

How-To “Approach” Society

So if you are paying attention to the blog, you would have read with the last post the explanation for this one. I decided to split it up into two posts with one goal into mind “don’t text dump”. One blog post that goes in-depth so that the next blog post can just be geared to my advice regarding society and what this may help you with. So let’s go right into it.

Arguably, one can define society as the embodiment of people all working towards goals and visions. Society is not constant, rather, ever-changing and evolving. Society today is vastly different from what it used to, and everything can affect it. Society today, more often than not, holds a rather negative place in our lives. For good reason too, I mean, society is geared towards placing expectancies and behaviors on all of us as if it’s their job. In recent times, when the internet and social media became much more apparent in our lives, society assumed a very parental role. And correct me if I’m wrong, no one really asked for them to. They stand and point fingers at you, wishing to drive you into the ground. Showering you in ideals, values and cultures that you must assume is right. And a lot of times, we do, without even really knowing it. I mean how many times have you heard the expression just because everyone does it, doesn’t make it right. Wow, thanks genius, a little harder than you think. I’d like to argue the same person who came up with that came up with the expression sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me. And how valid does that sound? Social pressures are the hardest things to ignore, I mean if everyone does it, why aren’t I? Is there something wrong with me? Why can’t I be like everyone else? 

We all have had these thoughts, and if you dare tell me you haven’t, you’re lying. Alright, now to what we can do, or more importantly, what you can do.

First, and hardest step of all, stop doubting yourself. You are MEANT to be different from everyone. You were not made, whether you want to say it’s due to religious reason or scientific, to be like someone else. Religiously, you were made to fill out one purpose, and that purpose can only be fulfilled by you and only you, seriously. Scientifically, how well off would our race be if evolution wasn’t a thing? You were born with your own iterations and specific traits so that you could single-handedly be a better human than the last. Relax, I know evolution is slow, but you get the point. I don’t care if everyone does that one thing, or looks that sort of way, never at any point in time were you supposed to be like them.

Secondly, appreciate that you’re different. You are unique, you are I promise. Whatever quirk, hobby, pet peeve, trait, or “thing” about you makes you special and makes you, you. Life wouldn’t be the way it is if everyone had the same personality. You are the very reason this life has “more flavor”.

Thirdly, relax. This process takes a lifetime to master, seriously. You will back track, doubt yourself, cry, wish you were the same, or feel like you’re going nowhere. These are the very obstacles that are thrown at you by yourself and others that are meant to shape you. That’s right, it is not life’s pleasures that shape you, it’s life’s hardships that build character. How you respond to these doubts and hurdles strengthens your character each and every time. You should not care that today you made only an inch step forward. Because guess what, no matter how you spin, every step forward is progress.

Society is a judgmental creature that doesn’t withhold wrath from anyone, you are all susceptible and have been attacked before. Sure, there are those that can ignore and withstand the torment but there are plenty of others that can’t and we all need to band together to help everyone. I’m going to do all that I can to give you a voice, to give you a place where help isn’t offered, expected from me. I hope this helps you in some sort of way.