Apathy Vs. Acceptance

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It was a surreal time.  Last year, mid election, mid terror attacks, mid everything in the world…  Transgender bathrooms became a hotly debated topic.  Really?

You know who really didn’t care?  Trans genders.  They didn’t want the attention, they didn’t want the spotlight.  For the most part they wanted to be left alone.  They wanted apathy.

Do you know what holds back social progress?  Acceptance.

When someone, probably angrily, tells everyone they need accept this new idea.

You know what?  They fucking don’t.  They really don’t.  And so the battle begins.

 

Change!

No!

Change!

No!

 

You know who suffers?  The people waiting for acceptance, when all they really want (for most part) is to be left alone.  Let’s be clear.  This isn’t the Civil Rights movement.  Ok?

 

We are not talking about Voting Rights.

We are not talking about diner counters, water fountains, and bus seats.

We are not talking about integrating schools.

 

We are talking about bathrooms.  For fuck’s sake most schools even have LGBTQ clubs.  At an age when schools used to tell kids “Wait to have sex.”  they now say “Try having sex with, try it all out…”

Honestly, Anyone who compares the Gay Rights struggle in the 2000’s with the Civil Rights struggle in the 1950’s and 1960’s owes black people an apology and free (gentle) knock upside the head.

 

If real “rights” were being denied, they we need acceptance.  What we are talking about is social perception.  (Side note: The Government is not designed to changed social perception with law, that’s just stupid)  When you want to change Social Perception you want apathy not acceptance.

 

What’s the difference?

 

Acceptance – A dramatic, long fought, court battle ends with a transgender person walking into a Target bathroom surrounded by applause.  The crowd goes silent… then a flushing sound…  Applause!  All ages and races approve and high five each other.

 

Apathy – A transgender person goes into a bathroom.  Uses the stall.  No one cares.  No one notices.  Life goes on.

 

See.  You can have apathy today!

 

Here’s the problem with acceptance…

 

  • You can’t, and shouldn’t, demand it. You don’t have the right.
  • It requires attention, or “awareness” in popular tongue, and it forces that attention on those who maybe don’t want it.

 

You don’t have that problem with apathy.  Apathy is also fair.  Your religion is yours to decide, your lifestyle is yours to decide, your political beliefs… on and on.  Your life is yours to live.

 

Think this through…

 

Acceptance

 

You go to buy a cake with two grooms on it.  The baker doesn’t want to do it.  You go to a government bureaucracy and say you were discriminated against.  Spend dozens of hours “fighting the good fight”.  Lawyers are involved.  The baker is fined out of existence.  A national dialogue is started.  Some people side with you.  Some people don’t.  Your wedding becomes a political flashpoint.

 

 

Apathy

 

You go to buy a cake with two grooms on it.  The baker doesn’t want to do it.  Find a baker who does.  The baker who refused doesn’t make money, the baker who does want to makes money.

No one cares.  You move on.  You get a cake.

 

 

Think about what the world would be like if more people, the government especially, stopped trying to affect social perception and just embraced apathy.

Again, I’m not talking about harm being done to people, I’m not talking about “real” rights being denied.  I’m talking about bathrooms and cakes.

Apathy beats Acceptance every time.

So go forth… don’t be an asshole… don’t demand people accept you… be happy if they just don’t care.

 

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Can a Study of Axiology Save us?

 

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Lately things have been “bad”.  Why the quotations marks you ask?  Well, it’s hard to say if things are really bad.  The news would have you believe the world has “no hope”.  People are cruel and we’ve lost our way.

Others would tell you that things are not bad, in fact things are getting better, great even.

Why the difference?  Well, that’s easy.

 

Those who says things are bad do not have the same values as those that think things are getting better.

 

That’s it.  Good night.

 

Oh… you want more.  Ok.  Let’s unpack this a bit.

 

Let me introduce you to Axiology.  Axiology is a school of philosophy that came about oddly enough when the government fell and left people to govern themselves (Ancient Greece to be more precise).  Axiology is a disciplined way that we determine what we value.  Inherent in the study of Axiology is the study that the value of things is on a scale or spectrum.  Simply put…

Certain things are good.  Certain things are better.  Certain things are bad.

We should be discussing things along this spectrum:  Bad, Good, Better…

However, we more often fail to do so.  It is easier, and more pleasurable to see things along a much simpler spectrum:  Good or Bad.

Think about it.  That’s how we got this point in our political world.  Think of it like this…

 

Mr. X believes in 3 things

  1. Item A is good
  2. Item B is bad
  3. Item C is good

Ms. Y believes in 3 things

  1. Item A is good
  2. Item B is good
  3. Item C is bad

 

Well, both sides agree item A is good but disagree on the nature of Item B and C.  No matter how divided we get there is usually something we can agree on.  Normally Item A would be agreed on and move on.  The two sides would then try to reconcile their differences.  It would look something like this.

Mr. X

  1. Item A is good
  2. Item B is bad, Item B-2.0 would be better
  3. Item C is better, Item C-2.0 would be good

 

Ms. Y

  1. Item A is good
  2. Item B is better, Item B-2.0 would be good
  3. Item C is good, Item C-2.0 would be better

 

While this is oversimplified, the compromise is obvious.  That is what “Better” gets us.  As we’ve lost the ability to study what we value, we’ve lost the ability to see “Good” and “Better”.  That leaves us with “Good” and “Bad”.  This means that two opposing sides must forever oppose each other… driving each other further and further from compromise.

Let’s take an example…

  • Party X wants to stop illegal immigrants from coming into the country. It is a drain on resources, it’s dangerous to have an undocumented population inside your borders, and it can lead to security risks.
  • Party Y wants to allow illegal immigrants into the country. It provides a workforce that our country needs, diversifies our culture, and shows we have compassion for the less fortunate.

 

Now, the typical responses would be.

  • Party X is a xenophobic. They hate people different from them.  They are liars and are going to force people into camps.
  • Party Y hates this country. They have no respect for the rule of law.  They are trying to fix elections with a built in near slave class beholden to them.

 

What we should try to is something like this…  First we need to establish the Good.

 

Illegal Immigration is against the law (Good)

Illegal Immigrants use the nation’s resources (Good) and they contribute with their cheap labor (Good)

Illegal immigration can be dangerous for both the immigrant and the native population (Good)

Diversity in thought and experience is beneficial (Good)

 

 

If we can agree on this then we begin to develop the Better.

 

Legitimize all immigrants so we can destigmatize, identify, quantify and address the issue (Better)

 

We can also identify the Bad.

Xenophobia, the irrational hatred of people groups different from your own, is bad.

Breaking the law, or living in a society without regard for the law, is bad.

Harming another person is bad.

 

It seems simple, but it requires us to acknowledge that our opponents may have a good idea, even if we still believe we have a better idea.  In that world there is a space for compromise, growth, and understanding.

However, without that spectrum debate breaks down.

  • Everything, must either be good or bad. I want to be good so you must be bad.
  • We lose the ability to establish what is better since the threshold is lowered to Good = Not Bad
  • There is a massive divide. There is not ability to agree to with parts of both sides, so you must choose a side.

 

If you look for the devil everywhere you will find him.

Examine yourself and your thinking and see if you have abandoned the Good and the Better for the not Bad.

Accepting the Worst…

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Anyone who knows me knows a few things about me.

  • I am worrier; the compulsive type.
  • I am a man of action, I have to be doing something.

These two things seem contrary and they are.  That’s kind of the point.  I worry about a great many things.

When I was a little kid I would worry about my older brothers wandering off in the store and getting taken.  I had nightmares about my family being in danger.  This was like when I was four.

I became paralyzed with worry for the first time when I learned my Dad was going to die.  I was seven and my mom told us that he’s sick and he’s not going to be getting better.  I went to the backyard of my grandmother’s house and sat in a tree and cried.

I was worried.

I remembering telling myself, “This is it.  This is how people become homeless.  No one is born homeless, this is how it happens.”  I was also obsessed with the fact that I now would only have one parent.  If anything happened to my mom I would have to live with my aunt who I did not get along with.  It would mean moving away too.

My life was over.  In that moment our house was gone and my mother was dead along with my dad.  The worst case scenario played out in my head.

I remember feel like I couldn’t do anything.  I felt compelled to try but couldn’t.  I racked my brain for hours, days, weeks, and months.  I had to do something.  I accepted the worst circumstances as realty and decided to prepare myself for them.  I started to discipline myself, read more, and become more self-reliant.

As a result, to this day I am more self-reliant than any of my brothers.  I know how to fix things, reason things out, take care of myself, improve myself and be self-reliant.

Do I worry less?  No.  Not even a little.  Possibly more.

There are things you can change.  This whole blog is all about being your best yourselves.  Sometimes acceptance of a limitation is the first step finding your best self.

You can change how you act.  You can change how you respond.  But deep down…

I will always worry.  Again, compulsively.

BUT it doesn’t stop me.

At the next lowest part of my life I was out of shape, newly divorced, fresh out of foreclosure, deep in debt, and living in a rented room at a friend’s house.

I had plenty to worry about.

And I did.

But it didn’t stop there.  I had to act.  Act or die, literally.

I accepted the worst scenarios of circumstances as realty and started again.

 

I decided who I wanted to be.

I decided what I needed to do.

I decided who I wanted to be with.

 

A lot of people say that worry is like a weight that wears you down.  Their advice is take it off and put it down.  I wish it were so easy.  It sounds like a fairy tale to me sometimes.

You look at people drowning in debt and unable to stop.  You look at people dying from eating and can’t stop.  They constantly break down and cry (it’s all very TV/Facebook friendly).  Why can’t they just put down there worry?  Because they fucking can’t!

You can’t just stop having your problems.  You just can’t stop worrying.  It doesn’t work like that.  You need to own it.  Harder yet, accept it.  Its not going anywhere.

 

My advice, for those who find themselves like me, is learn to lift it.  Learn to be stronger.

 

It will bend you, but it won’t break you.

It’s heavy, get stronger.

Learn to rest, but only when it’s earned.

 

There is no magic formula to stop worrying.  You just learn to be stronger.  That’s it.

No pretty pictures.  No inspirational quotes.  You will fail.  Let me make that clear.

You will fail.

You will fall.

You will have bad days… weeks… months…  but you will get stronger.  Do the work and you will get stronger.  Head down, shoulder in, be savage.

It will hurt.  Listen, that’s life!

When you are worried, and you feel paralyzed, face it.  Accept the realistic worst case scenario as fact.  Acknowledge the world has not ended and do something.

You are in debt.  You will have to pay it off.  It will take years.  It is going to hurt.  Accept it.

Do your budget.  Cut deep.  Get it done.

You got dumped.  You are alone.  What was your fault and what was there?  It hurts.  It won’t kill you.  You will move on because you have to.

Decided who you want to be and who you what to be with.  Do what you need to do.  Accept what you need to accept.

You are sick and out of shape.  You can’t fucking eat like that anymore.  You have to exercise.

Find an exercise you like and do it.  No excuses.  No being tired from work.  No being stressed.

You are tired and stressed because you didn’t exercise.  Face it.  No one made you this way but you.

You don’t like your condition, where and how you live.  What are you going to do about it?

 

Finally…

 

You are not wrong for worrying.  Stop beating yourself up about it.

You are entitled to your worry as long as you earn it.  If you are a fucking dynamo of improvement, work, and self-reliance then you are entitled to worry about whatever you want.  You are entitled to your worry, your happiness, and the life you make for yourself.

Did you do something today about what you worry about?  Then you earned it.

 

Worry won’t stop you.  Keep going.  You will be stronger.

How to treat a Man… 

 

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Right now in the world there is a lot of talk against men.  The very thought of this article is probably going to be met by many with a “Fuck em… they need to learn what it’s like to be on the shit side of life for a while!”  If that is your response that so be it.  It is natural to want to attack those who have attacked you.

If you are a woman whose been “kept down” (even if it is really a creation in your mind) by men then you see all men as the enemy.  Ok, you choose that relationship with men.  You choose to make an adversary of half the population, and namely the other half of the human identity.  It’s a bold move let me know how that works out for you.

For those of you that don’t want to have an enemy in 50% of the world’s population here is a guide to helping some of the men in your life navigate the negativity in their world and to be their best selves.

 

Your father…

Forgive him.  You won’t understand his role in your life until you are him if ever.  Could he have done better, probably.  If you are a grown adult (which if you are not stop reading, this site is not for you) then accept he did what he did.  It may not have done his best but there is no changing it.  If you are angry at him you are just hurting yourself.  Distance sure… but forgive.

If none of the above apply, and you had a great time even some of the time.  Show him gratitude.  He’s been freaking out for years that you are screwed up and it’s his fault.  You can take the weight off the shoulders of someone who loves you to just let him know, “I got this.  Thank you for getting me this far.”  Gratitude is other side of forgiveness.  It sets you free.

 

Your brother…

Understand him.  You can think things were different for him than you.  Being a guy… yeah they were.  But look, nothing is easy for anyone.  He dealt with rejection in a way you don’t understand.  He dealt with every bit of identity and personality issues you did.  Just different.  He probably didn’t arrive where he is now without some damage, just like you.  If you want to talk difference, well he can’t show it.  He might not even be able to acknowledge it.  If he didn’t have an example of what being a man is today then he may be lost, confused, angry, or all of the above.  Be patient with him and encourage him.  If nothing else be a good part of his life so he knows where the peace is when he needs it.

 

Your lover…

Help him.  Really.  Tell him you love and support him.  Show him you love and support him.  Never take him for granted.  Help him be his best self.  Above all, don’t be difficult.  Be an active partner.  It’s not just you that likes romantic gestures, flowers, and candy.  When was the last time you got him a gift?  A comic book at the grocery store… candy… a toy… anything?  So many women don’t but at the same time expect flowers and surprises.  It’s not fair.  Guys accept that, but it still sucks.  You may never know the stress of having to be leader in a relationship, it can be the source of his greatest strength and his greatest stress all at once.  Help him.  Whenever possible don’t be difficult, pick a restaurant, plan a date, do something different for him.  The biggest thing you can offer is your affection.  Simply put, guys love to chase you… if you love him be easier to catch.  Treat him like he is the best man in your life and he will rise to that occasion.

 

Everyone else…

Be at peace with them.  Trust me, I know you need to be or at least appear strong to get by in the world.  Instead of treating everyone like the enemy and letting hate into your life, live by this principle, “Make savage the body, Civilize the mind.”  Be ready for an enemy, but have your mind ready to accept dialogue and make peace.  Think over the events of the last few days.

My principle are…

To be at peace with myself and the world.

To be ready for war with myself and world.

To be my best self and help all those would want help to be their best selves.

 

I hope you share these principle with me.  The events of the last few days are not the actions of those who are at peace with themselves.  They are the actions of the scared, the hurt, and angry.  While that is understandable it is not a place of peace with one’s self and therefore is a poor place to go to war from.

Be at peace with yourselves ladies.  Work to be at peace with the world around you.  Prepare for war, but seek peace.

Planning Part 3: This Time It’s Personal

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So it comes to this.  The final requirement you need for a plan.

I’ll keep this short because it is pretty clear.

 

Progress.

 

A plan is nothing without progress.  Really think it out folks.

You can follow step 1, make a plan, write it down, and create it.

You can follow step 2, share it, be accountable, and put yourself on the line.  However, without step three what do you really have?

Nothing.  You have ideas and paper.  The world is filled with people who have ideas and paper, though now it is all Facebook posts but the idea is the same.

Without acting on those ideas you have nothing but intention and that’s not much.  Trust me.

 

So, back to step three…  Can you show me your progress?

Can you show me your work?  Only if you did the work.

Can you show me the change you made?  Only if it was successful.

 

Action and success are the blood and heartbeat of a plan.  Everything up to now has been building the bones and brains of the plan but without the blood and heartbeat of doing your plan is a corpse.

 

So why do I need show progress?  Why can’t I just have progress without showing it others?

 

Because you need to face that fire.

You need to face the criticism and your work will speak for itself.

You need to see those raised expectations and be challenged to start this whole process again.

 

Eat your failures for fuel.  Enjoy your wins and ask “If I came this far, how far could I go?”

 

So here we are… you have plan?  Great, do something!  Every day to get there.

People will tell you that you need to make the choice every day to work on your plan.  I disagree.

You only need to make the decision once.  Your heart makes the decision to beat once and then cannot stop.  Think of your plan and the call to action the same way.

 

I will work out every day.  This will get me to my goal.  This will help me be the best me.  Without this I will be stressed, I will be tired, I will be weak.  I am deciding in this moment I don’t want to be like that anymore.  I am declaring my will to be better.

 

Tomorrow…

 

I don’t feel like it…

I’m tired…

 

FUCK IT!

I’m not dead and it’s not my choice.  I’m not sick.  I’m not going to harm myself.  In fact quite the opposite.  I AM HARMING MYSELF IF I STOP!

I HAVE TO DO IT!

I made the choice in a solemn moment when I set a goal and made the choice.

I MUST DO IT.

There is no choice.  It is the heartbeat of my plan.  Without this my plan dies.  I will not let my plan die.

You do not have a choice.  You made the choice.  Do something!

 

Give LIFE to your plans and be your best selves.

What’s Wrong with Superman? In Defense of Lex Luthor: Libertarian…

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I recently spent some time thinking about some of my favorite heroes.  With the resurgence of my childhood heroes (Marvel Cinematic, Voltron on Netflix, etc. etc.) I have been thinking about the heroes I liked as a kid and now as an adult and how that’s changed.

I came to the hero of heroes… Superman.

As a kid I didn’t really like Superman but as an adult I did.

Why was that?  For me, when you are a kid you don’t really know pain.  You think you do but you don’t.  You don’t know paying the rent.  Disappointing someone you love.  You don’t know the first time you have a major medical scare and realize you won’t BE forever.  That’s pain.

When you are a kid you don’t need Superman.  Superman is the guy that wins.  He’s always so powerful and so good that he can’t lose (Even when he died he won!).

The mind rejects the idea of Superman losing.  Superman shows up and cleans everything up and the good guys win.  When you are a kid you reject that story because you foolishly ache to grow up so you reject the Superman that fixes it all.

When you are an adult you want the Superman to come back.  You struggle with your own mortality and your daily mounting problems.  You want to believe in the idea that an all-powerful guy is going come down and help you.

And that is why Superman is wrong, bad for us, and needs to be stopped (Or at least we need to stop depending on Superman or the Superman figures we’ve built for ourselves in real life).

So it turns out Lex Luthor was right.

Lex Luthor’s gripe against Superman has taken different forms through the years but it essentially comes down to this: Lex Luthor is a humanist.  He believes in potential of humanity, mostly because he feels he exemplifies it.  He thinks he is the real Superman.

He makes the argument that Superman holds people, humanity as a whole, back.  He is the all-powerful nanny that keeps us from growing up.  The crutch that the human race will never get off.

(Insert your big government political metaphors here!  They fit quite nicely!  I mean the guy with all the power gets make the decisions right…  And if we give anything in life all that power they’ll be just like Superman right… that’s how it’s worked out right?)

People look at Luthor as the villain but he is just playing the long game.  He believes that long term humanity needs to struggles to advance.

He is not wrong.

It’s easy to hate Luthor.  He’s not like Superman who has born with all the power and cannot fail (Like say a massive social structure that is powerful by its nature and only gets stronger).  He’s just a really smart guy who is comparatively frail, weak, let’s be honest just like us.  We want to believe in the illusion of Superman being so much better than us that Luthor becomes the dumping ground for what hate.

He’s the evil corporation (though he makes jobs, provides health care, and advancement for thousands), with his evil technology (though he must be selling something people want… L-Phones or something), and he is just wants people to suffer (by making them reach their true potential through hard work and shit).

Compare Luthor to other comic villains.  Other villains will go after other heroes, Luthor is fixated only on Superman.  He only has issues with other heroes when they get in his way of going after Superman.

Why is that?

I think he sees other humans gaining power as a good thing.

He looks at Batman and thinks “Way to go!  Wished you agreed with me on the alien holding us back.” (Which he sometimes does)

He looks at Cyborg and thinks “Alright, progress!  Shiny!”

He looks at Flash and thinks “Well that’s good, but such a waste!”  He doesn’t have the hatred for him even though he can be argued to be more powerful than Superman (I mean time travel at will… come on!)

So what’s the point?

Maybe it’s time we all grew up a bit and looked for heroes that bring out the best in us not fix our problems.  Maybe it’s time we decided to do more than we think we think we can.  Maybe it’s time we stopped waiting for Superman (Or some other all-powerful overarching nanny figure… -cough- -cough- government) to come in and…

Figure out what we should eat…

Figure out what we need to spend our money on…

Figure out who we should help in our daily lives…

Maybe it’s time we took back the power to save ourselves.

The Problem with Being the Hard Edge

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This is going to be a bit on the philosophical side so bear with me.

 

At a fundamental level all life is movement.  At the basest levels you heat exchanges and chemical reactions all the way up to body movement and social movements then onto the cosmic movements of the universe.

All life can be summed up as movement from point another.  So with everything moving you are bound to have collisions.

In these collisions the bodies in motion change, they react to collision.  They will change direction or shape.

As you improve your mindset and your life you will begin to move in a clear direction, with purpose and intent.  Some will follow or emulate your actions and follow the path you cutting through the universe.  I follow from people who have gone before and try to emulate their path when it goes in the same direction to my own.  It’s natural in the strictest sense.

Others will attempt to derail your progress as you set forth goals and standards, particularly if they fall outside of those standards.  For the most part there is a collision and you go your way and they go theirs.  But every once in a while you encounter a person that requires you to be what I call a hard edge.

You have set your standards and your plans to get to where you want to go and there will be someone in your life that wants to get there but wants to do it outside your standards and your goals.  They will not simply collide and go away they will push, they will pull, and they will cut against you.

You will need to be the hard edge they fall against as you make your way to your goals.

This is not simple, there is a problem with being the hard edge.  It hurts.  It dulls you.  It slows you down.

You will question yourself.  You will lose sight of the goal ahead and with it motivation.

As much as conflict can make you strong, it can also tear you down if you are not properly honed.

Being intellectually honest with yourself is key to staying the hard edge against the pull of other people.  To stay honed ask yourself these questions and answer them as honestly as possible.

 

  • Are you doing the right thing to the best of your ability?
  • Are you trying to accomplish something that is good /purposeful for you or others?
  • What is their motivation?

 

If you can say that you are giving your best effort to do your best work then do not worry.

If you can say that you trying to accomplish something of meaning that will help yourself and/or others then do not worry.

If you can examine their motivations and find them to be less than pure do not worry.

 

Be the hard edge.

 

 

 

Fast Ideas to Live By Pt. 1

This is a collection of ideas that may help you today.  Not 100% original but worth repeating.

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  1. You will become the people you let be around you.  You will be as good or bad as them.  You will struggle to push yourself harder than they push themselves.  Don’t weigh them down and don’t let them weigh you down.  Be neither the Ox nor the Load.    
  2. If change is needed and you are…                                                                                               surrounded by chaos…  be the order that is needed.                                                 restricted by order…  be the change that is needed.                                                         beaten down by pain…  do no harm to others.                                                           comforted by love…  be at peace with the world.                                                       Resistance breeds strength…  know when to resist your environment to become stronger.
  3. Become addicted to the truth.  Above all else value the truth.  Sacrifice everything on the altar of truth.  If it is not true then it is nothing.  Could be’s, should be’s, and feelings have their place, but they are beneath what is true.  Your strongest held ideals are but paper if built on a lie or they are unshakable if built on the truth.  There is no value without truth.
  4. Be your best yourself.  Work to be better today than you were yesterday so that everyday you are becoming your best self.  Do not put yourself with people who do not think the best of you.  Avoid systems that are set up to make you feel bad or start you from a place of apology.

Don’t * Yourself.

This is advice I try to give to myself all the time.  It is a struggle.

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Boys and girls, I want to talk about achievement.

Some would argue that achievement today is demonized.  That wealthy people didn’t earn their money, which can be true or not.  That athletes cheat and take drugs.  That leaders lie and deceive.

The thing about achievement is that it cannot be stopped.  It is a force of nature bound in the essential foundations of existence.

You will achieve something.  Whether you achieve something big or small is up to you and a topic for another time.  I want to look at two current types of achievements in my sphere today.

 

The first is Two Division Champ Champ Conor McGregor (No, that’s not a typo… that’s how he likes to refer to himself).  Conor, or Mr. McGegor as he would probably like me to call him, changed the world of Mixed Martial Arts and no matter what everyone wants to argue about when it comes to him he achieved.  His latest and greatest achievement was winning his second UFC title to be the first person to hold two belts at the same time.  Here he is in victory.

Conor Wins 2nd Belt

Doubtless you had a reaction to that.  You can call him arrogant or an asshole.  You can admire his confidence or hate him.  However, he did not do one thing.  He did not apologize.  He did not * himself.

 

The second example is every realty show that competes with men and women.  I won’t into specific details because they don’t matter but here is what does.  The shows been running for five or six seasons.  The show is about a particular skill.  The show has men and women competing to win.  In five or six season no woman has won.

Ok, got it?  This season the women are particularly talented and aggressive to win.  Chances are one of them may win the whole show.  The whole season though they have gone on and on about being the first Female Winner.

Did you catch it?  Female* Winner.

I know what they are trying to say, “I am the sixth winner!  But the FIRST Female!”  They are attempting to inflate their position in some way by declaring they are the first female, gay, paraplegic, black, white, Asian, Irish, Transgender, Handicapped, Handicapable, on and on and on…  winner.

Adding that qualifier to first (and that is what it is… it is a qualifier that changes the conditions so you can be “first”) doesn’t elevate you or your group.  At best it’s an apology at worst it’s an accusation.

Either that qualifier or * is saying that the game is rigged towards the group that has historically won and my group finally got a fair shake because I am more talented/hard working than the members of my minority that have tried to win before.

Or that qualifier or * is saying that your minority group has finally caught up to the other groups with your talent/hardwork.

 

Be humble in achievement, always shows gratitude, but apologize to no one.

Don’t * yourself.

Let your achievements be what they are.  You are not the sum total of you gender, race, nationality, on and on and on.  You are who you choose to be.  Those are factors in your choices, big ones, but they are not you.  You are the sum total of million billion unique moments.  You are not just a series of factors.

When you see the world that way then you can truly enjoy your achievements and your own, earned, and apologize to nobody for them.

How to Enjoy Something Despite Other People

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I had a recent bad experience sharing something that I love and have dedicated a large amount of time to with other people.  It was a good feeling to share with other people something we had in common and everyone had shared energy for.  People have a way of magnifying things when it comes to enjoying things.  The problem (or paradox) is that the effect works the other way as well.

I am not talking about when people don’t share something you enjoy.  If you are into an obscure genre of Japanese Anime starring chipmunks vs. octopi then you know that you are going to be in a small group of fans.  If you are a rabid fan of ancient Tibetan yak haired instrumentals then you are most likely not going to be fighting for front rows seats at the next concert (if you can find one!).  There is a small comfort that can be found in being in an elite group of people of a fandom.

I am talking about when people’s shared passion stifles you.  It affects everyone.

 

You like Batman?  You don’t know who Bill Finger is and celebrate his birthday?  Then you are not a “real” Batman fan.  Poser!

 

You like football?  Who was the most intercepted QB of 1986?  Don’t know?  Take your jersey off and throw it in the fire you ass.

 

This can be especially painful when it’s an active thing you enjoy; something that takes your time and energy like learning a sport or any kind of skill.  Its inherent in the nature of people that if you had to work for something that you want to put barriers to entry up for others.  We all want to be “elite” and the easiest way to do that is exclude others.  The hard way is to work hard and be the best, but most people are like “Fuck that!” because they may not actually be that good and it means hard work to find out.  So instead it’s easier to make up trivial shit to keep you out of their club.

 

So, what do you do?  Refuse to enjoy anything? How can you really enjoy something while at the same time defending your right to enjoy it as much or as little or any way you want to?

It’s like trying to hug a puppy while being poked with a shit covered stick.

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So do you stop hugging the puppy?

Do you learn to ignore the stick?

Both of these ideas are terrible.  No one wants to stop hugging a puppy and learning to ignore the bad acts of others is never a true solution.

So here’s my two cents boys and girls.

 

Learn to dodge the stick.

 

Upfront I will tell you this sucks as a solution.  You are going to have to putting energy into learning to handle the bad acts of others just so you can hug your puppy.  It puts the burden on victim.  It sucks.  However, that’s life.  You will never stop “bullying” or just general asshole-ry.  You need to learn to defend yourself or you will never enjoy your puppy.  Note:  thisis not the same as ignoring the stick, this is actively  engaging it and make sure it can’t hurt you.  This also doesn’t mean just toughing up so that it doesn’t hurt when it hits.  This truly not letting it hurt you because it doesn’t get into your mindset.

Change your mindset to see those people as the obsessive pricks they are.

No I don’t know the exact issue that Superman first kissed Lois Lane, but it’s because I’m awesome and spent time enjoying Superman rather than reducing him to trivia.

Dodge.

No I don’t know the leading wide receiver from 1974, but it’s because I was enjoying the game with friends and family who don’t quiz me to be their friends.

Feint.

No I can’t scale a 14” wall and then do a handstand.  But I am closer than I was yesterday and when I can I won’t be an asshat about it, I’ll help others.

Super Deluxe Dodge.

 

Most things in life come back to that first primal act, fighting.  When these super elites assholes “attack” you can go blow for blow with them but that’s not a way to fight smart.  Dodge, feint, and counter are always going to win out…  And you don’t have to put your puppy down.

Remember Life Tip #3:  You do not have to be around people you don’t like