Top ten best things about you

What are your top ten best attributes outside of work?  Make a list right now.  Think about it.  It’s tough, but you can come up with a list of ten.

What makes you interesting, awesome, or cool?

Thinking about this list will help you at work.  It’ll help you remember that you’re an interesting person regardless of the work you do.

If you’re like me, you don’t really get all that excited about office work.  So get excited about something else.  The more you think about these attributes, the better.

Also, make sure you’re not just writing down a list of things you like to consume.  Being a fan of watching Basketball and reading romance novels isn’t what I’m talking about here.  Think of things that you do and create.  Not what you consume.

How long did it take you to write a list?  Paste it in the comments for the world to see.  Be proud of who you are outside of work.

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5 challenges for the weekend

This weekend, you are going to accomplish these 5 things:

  1.  Spend all night Friday out and about in your town.  You don’t have to do anything specific, just don’t go home until the sun comes up.  Bring a small notepad and write down what you see.  Talk to people and see where the night leads.
  2. Donate one bag of clothes to good will.  You know you can come up with at least one bag of old unused clothes to donate.  Bonus points if you have more than one bag.
  3. Don’t drive anywhere all weekend.  Bike or walk or public transit.  Don’t even start the car.
  4. Ask 5 strangers for the time.  Bonus points if you lead it to a conversation.  Even more bonus points if it’s between 3-6 am on Saturday morning.
  5. Saturday morning, go out for breakfast.  Leave a $20 tip.  This will just make you feel good and generous.

So there’s your homework.  Have fun.

Care

 

What does it take to truly care about something?  How can someone become passionate about something?  Sometimes you start to realize that nothing is exciting to you anymore.  How do you get past that?

You may be sick of your job, but what if you don’t know what you’d rather do?  Maybe we should all just keep trying new things until something sticks.  Maybe we should all just learn to stop worrying about it and pass the days as if everything is alright.

I don’t really think that is the way to do it though.  Someone has to do something.  Someone has to care enough to get things moving in the right direction.  I wonder how many people feel this way.  What do you do when you realize that you can’t even think of things that you are passionate about?

This is a weird thought to me.  I’ve always just done the next thing in life because that’s how you do it.  Graduate high school, go to college, get a job, get a girlfriend.  When does it actually become a career?  When do you start to get excited about something?

Or is it really all about just finding what you can tolerate and going with it?  This just seems crazy to me.  Why would you want to just pass the time?  That seems like such a waste.

There has to be an interesting idea out there.  Remember when you were a kid and people asked you what you wanted to be when you grew up?  I don’t remember saying what it is, but I know it wasn’t that I wanted to sit in a cubicle all day.  I realize now though that I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.  It seems like I should have gotten there by now or at least started on that path.

I know there have to be more people out there like this.  It’s weird when you wonder this.  What if everybody else knows exactly what they want to do with their lives?  What if you just forgot to decide that when you were a kid and will always be confused as to what that answer is?

Why do people think so much?  Sometimes it would be great to just shut off the mind and see what happens.  Over thinking is a major problem for a lot of people.  I think it is especially a problem with young people in my generation.  Everybody thinks of the greatest answers to everything, but so few people are actually working to make those things come true.

I’ve had a billion ideas for inventions and businesses, but never acted upon any of them.  Maybe I’m passionate about coming up with ideas and not doing anything with them.  Who knows.  Is everybody else out there this confused about things?

How does one go about becoming passionate about something?  How does one go about deciding what they want to do with their life?  Or do you just go with what you’re doing and figure out how to stop yourself from thinking about this stuff?

 

Acceptance vs. Rejection

If you want to be happy in life, you will eventually have to choose between rejection and acceptance.

Many people are unhappy in their lives.  They don’t like their jobs, spouses, friends, cars, homes, clothes, incomes, etc.  Most of us just live with it.  We are usually always pining for something more.  We spend half of our day thinking about the future and how we can make things better.  Then we spend the other half wishing it would just get better because we don’t really know what to do about it.

I say you eventually will have to make a decision.  Accept it or reject it.

Rejection

Rejection is simple.  Quit your job, get a divorce, start a home business, make new friends, sell your car, etc.  Rejection is also hard.  It takes a huge leap to do something like this.  There are some things that are way easier to change than others.  If you’re overweight, you can throw out the junk food and start eating healthy.  That’s a pretty easy one.  If you hate your job, you can quit and move to Thailand.  That’s a pretty hard one.  It’s doable, but it takes commitment.

Rejection is important though.  You have to learn to fight back and do things for yourself.  It doesn’t matter if it’s as simple as wearing purple socks on Wednesdays or as complex as becoming a traveling shoe salesman.  The point is consciously doing it.  You have to make the decision for yourself in order to be happy.

Rejection is deciding that the way you have been doing things and the way your life is going is unsatisfactory and you are going to change it. Rejection is not fighting against people and quitting things just because.  That is being a rebel.  You can be a rebel and enjoy that lifestyle, but then you are just accepting the rebel lifestyle.

It would be rare to find a person who is completely happy with their entire life and doesn’t have anything he or she would like to change.  At least not until they have rejected some things and accepted others.

Stop doing things because you feel you “have to”.  You don’t actually have to do anything.  You can sit on your ass for the rest of your life and do nothing, but don’t do it out of laziness, do it because that’s what you want to do.  The movie Office Space is great because the main character decides that he just doesn’t want to do anything anymore, just sit around, go fishing, and watch TV.  He doesn’t want to change the world or start a business.  He just wants to do nothing and is fine with that.

That is acceptance.  Realizing that you are absolutely happy with what you are doing, regardless of what it might be.  So quit your job if that’ll do it for you, but if you decide to keep it, you have to consciously decide that you want to.

Acceptance
Acceptance isn’t just accepting that you hate your job and will always hate it and living out your days in misery.  Acceptance is finding a balance in life and finding the small things that you like about it.  It’s realizing that no matter what you change, you have to accept life as it is and be happy.  Acceptance is realizing that your house isn’t all that great, but you like it.  It’s knowing that your job is really boring, but it allows you do to the things you enjoy.

Acceptance is the more difficult idea to understand though.  It isn’t just putting up with your crappy job and your annoying spouse.  It’s actually making the decision that the current situation you are in is the one you want to be in and enjoying it.

You have to consciously make that decision though.  Too many people are just “okay” with the way things are.  Yet, they constantly complain about how they want more money or a nicer house or a new car.  That is not acceptance.  That is just getting by.  That is suffering through something.  You don’t want to do that.

Acceptance is a great feeling.  It allows you to actually live in the moment and stop worrying about something.  When was the last time you did that?  Probably at a time that you were really busy doing something you loved.  It’s when you realize that there is nothing more important than what you are doing right this moment.

Make a decision

If you truly want to be happy you have to get to a point in your life where you can just accept things as they are and be happy.  You have to combine the two.  You must reject the things you don’t like in your life so that the only things that are left are things you choose to accept.  It’s all about the conscious decision though.

An easy way to do this is to make a list of all the things in your life that you like and all the things you dislike.  The likes are easy.  You just have to decide that you like them enough not to change them.  Then next to each of the dislikes, write down how to change it.  Those are the changes that you need to make.  Once the changes are made though, you have to enjoy yourself.

That is really the main point I’m here to make.  You just have to make the decision and run with it.  That is the key.  Nothing matters in the end, but your own state of happiness.  If you don’t like something, you have to stop doing it.  You have to stop putting up with things.  You will get nowhere in life if that is your attitude.

You have to stop worrying, complaining, and hating your life.  You have to decide that there are things you want to change and things you don’t want to change.  Then actually make the changes.

A person’s ideal life is finding a balance between the two.  The big thing is that you have to make the choice.  Accept it or reject it.  If you don’t make the choice you will always be unhappy.

Kill Your Television

There is nothing more detrimental to your life than your television.  It makes you fat, lazy, boring, and old.  The average American spends about four hours a day in front of the boob tube.  Most people have around six hours of downtime between work and sleep on any given day.  If you are spending the majority of that time parked in front of the TV, you are wasting your life.

These days, a good majority of people have jobs where they sit all day long.  For a lot of us, this is unavoidable.  That alone is making us fat and contributing to heart disease.  To add another four hours of sitting on your ass is just speeding up the process.  All of this sitting is just as bad as smoking at eating fast food every day.  It is killing you.  It is making you fat.  People complain about making it to the gym three times a week.  You don’t even need to do that.  Just stay off of your ass when you get home from work.  Keep moving.  Take a walk or do chores, it doesn’t matter, just don’t sit and watch TV.

Television makes you incredibly lazy too.  Ever notice how you can be watching a show that ends and you are too lazy to even see if there is anything else on?  You are literally too lazy to continue being lazy.  I’ve sat there watching infomercials because I was too lazy to get up and find the remote.  Try sitting around the house with the TV off.  You will barely be able to sit still.  You’ll keep getting up and looking for things to do.  With the TV on, however, you will probably not move for about four hours straight.  You might even sit there until you couldn’t possibly hold your bladder and have to run to the bathroom.

Some of the most boring people I know are people who could tell you about every TV show they watch and explain each and every plot line to you.  We all think that we are smarter than average and that we know what’s going on because we watch the news.  We are being brainwashed by advertising to buy things we don’t need.  When was the last time you bought something at the store?  Chances are you bought something that was mentioned on TV.  TV makes you incredibly dull.  Have you ever talked to someone about a TV show that they love, but you have never seen?  It’s boring.  You have no interest in what that person is saying.

Television ages you extremely fast.  Think about how many weeks have just flown by for you.  How many years have you wasted watching TV?  Every one of those days where you worked all day, then watched TV all night was a waste.  Sure occasionally there is something specific to your interests or a movie you would like to see, but that’s rare.  Too many people mindlessly watch TV every day and couldn’t even name the shows they were watching.  Your life literally flies by when you watch TV every night.  Think about the weekends you’ve spent in front of the tube.  You spend all week waiting for the weekend only to blow it all on the couch.

TV is a waste.  Get rid of it.  If you can’t, at least get rid of cable.  Limit yourself to a few hours a week.  Actually plan what you are going to watch and when so that you don’t mindlessly watch reruns of bad sitcoms every day.  Kill your television before it kills you.

Ten great reasons to work in a cubicle

In an effort to be a bit more positive in life, I’m writing this.  Feel the excitement flowing from my vitamin D lacking brain.

  1.  You get paid.  This is why we’re really here.  Sure there are things like job satisfaction and recognition, but if you didn’t get paid for your time, you wouldn’t be sitting in that little carpeted room right now.  Plus it’s steady.  You get a paycheck every two weeks and it’s always the same.  Heck sometimes you even get a teeny tiny raise at year end.
  2. You get to stay inside on cold and rainy days.  Sure it sucks when you look outside to see a beautiful sunny day outside, then turn back to the glow of your LCD monitor, but next time it’s 40 and raining out, take the day off and drive around.  Take a look at all of the construction workers, road crews, mail men, park rangers.  They’re all freezing, wet, and grumpy.  Yes, we miss a ton of great weather, but we miss the crap weather too.
  3. You don’t have to deal with complete idiots.  Yes, this is debatable, but really in most offices, you have to have a pretty decent IQ and level of common sense to get the job.  There are a lot of dumber people out there than your cube farm buddies.  Want proof, go to a fast food place.
  4. That leads to; you don’t work in a fast food place.  Not much is worse than it.  I did it in high school and yes, it sucks.  Sure looking back now, it was nice to have no responsibility and just make sandwiches every day, but 7 bucks an hour doesn’t get you far and fry grease is pretty gross.
  5. It’s nice to have responsibilities.  As much as you might be bored in your job, you’re most likely pretty needed.  If you didn’t show up, what would happen?  Sure the work would eventually get done, but your coworkers depend on you do get your work done.  Plus the higher up you move, the more responsible you are.
  6. And along with responsibilities, it’s pretty cool to have a reason to dress a little fancy.  Sure there are tons of days where I would love to stay in shorts and a t-shirt for work, but it really does make a difference to dress professionally.  Look around, you feel like you fit in with a bunch of “grown ups”.  Kind of weird for someone like me who feels like they are still just a kid.  That and you can get pretty lazy wearing “bumming around” clothes all the time.  When I was laid off, it got pretty easy to just sit around in gym clothes all day.  That leads to less laundry, less showers, and down from there.
  7. You don’t work at night.  Well most of you don’t.  Working at night sucks.  It messes up your social life and sleep rhythms.  Having a day job is pretty kick ass.
  8. Free stuff.  Most office jobs come with a lot of perks that we forget about.  You get reduced insurance rates.  You might get holiday parties.  Maybe pizza parties.  There really are a lot of neat little things that you get for working under the halogen lights.
  9. You probably live in a city.  Living in a city is pretty sweet.  If it weren’t for office jobs, you probably wouldn’t be able to live in a city.  Now, I know not everybody works downtown, but a good portion of you do.  Remember the only reason the cool skyline is there is to make room for those sweet cubes.
  10. You’re not homeless or unemployed.  Both suck.  Sure you could be a glamorous hobo who rides in boxcars.  But most likely, you’d just sit in a shelter and listen to the crazy bag lady scream about her herpes all night.  Be happy you don’t have to do this.

Yes, working in an office can really suck, but there are some pretty awesome things about it.  Not to mention that you get the free time to read exciting blogs about cubicles.

Focus

 Sometimes it becomes incredibly difficult for me to focus on something.  I need to shut out every other distraction and just get into something.  I think this is why working on a computer can seem to just drain your time away from you.  If you have your email, a spreadsheet, your personal email, a website, and itunes all going at once how much time do you think you’re going to focus on that spreadsheet you’re supposed to work on?  About 1/5 the time.  Probably even less.

To really get into work, you need to close out everything on your computer, but the bare minimum required for your project.  I tried this today and it seemed to work.  I realized that I was able to get a lot more done in less time than usual without the distractions.  I also realized that I was less frustrated at the thought of working on a boring project because I could not see the tabs for the distractions in the background.

I set a time limit to allow myself to take a break from work, but I was not allowed to do anything else on the computer until those set breaks.  It worked very well.  My problem now is not being able to focus on this article I’m writing.  I have the email open and keep glancing down to see the little (1) that means I have a new email.

I guess who cares right now though.  I realized that I need to focus and become really good at my job as long as I have to be here.  I might as well enjoy myself and get some work done.  If I focus on what I’m doing it isn’t all that bad.  The worst part of working is when it is slow and I lose focus because of all of the other distractions.

I feel bad if I get off of my projects to follow those distractions and it is actually stressful to think that I’m wasting my own time.  I need to focus on work and set timetables for myself.  I can set specific times to take breaks and check out those distractions, but if I have them open it is too easy to lose focus often.

Even while writing this, I have checked my email.  This makes things difficult.  I’m going to make it my plan to write up a set list of things to do during the day and follow it.  I’ll add in breaks, but other than during those specific times, I will stay focused on my work.  This will make my job easier and more efficient.

This can really work for anything.  I realize that I get distracted easily and just need to keep it in check.