Archive | October, 2012

Daily Self Reminder #1

26 Oct

Validating someone else’s happiness does not invalidate my own.

Today I hit the ground running as soon as I walked into work. The sky was still dark and I was still exhausted. 3 hours later I was running in between completing a task and find a conference room so I could take a call. I still hadn’t eaten and it was getting to me. So I pinged a teammate who was on the call with me that I had to step out for a few minutes and I went to go toast a bagel in the kitchen. To my confusion the kitchen was crowded with coffee grinders and fancy tea kettles. A group of employees who I didn’t know (my team recently moved to a new floor) were sitting around the kitchen table enjoying their freshly made brews. And so the thoughts started.

“How can they have time?”

“They should be working!”

“I’m envious of them.”

“But if I had a slower paced job would I even enjoy it?”

“Slow living…perhaps I should try it?”

And so they went, this hodgepodge of ideas and thoughts. Some critical of them. Some critical of me. Some a blend of the two. And then I started to think some more: perhaps this is how they enjoy their time and their job and their life. Taking these breaks. I have yet to figure out what I enjoy but regardless. Validating their path to happiness should not invalidate my own– even if it’s different or the opposite.

I was talking to my boyfriend about a similar topic. He thought it felt awkward now that he was in a new relationship and so happy, to talk to his friends or siblings who wanted to be in a relationship and were a little less happy. And I thought that this was both silly but understandable.

So I’d like to practice the act of not begrudging other people’s happiness better by having a little daily reminder.

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It’s Been A Long Time…

11 Oct

My friend Elaine today sent me this article about what the Experts think about Obama’s vs. Romney’s economic plan. WONDERFUL I thought– finally I can get a clear and concise answer from a reliable source. I mean I believe Obama is better, but I always want my decision and conviction to be more than a belief. And this election has not been one about numbers.

The second paragraph reveals:

Our main finding should hearten Mr Obama. By a large margin they rate his overall economic plan more highly than Mr Romney’s, credit him with a better grasp of economics, and think him more likely to appoint a good economic team (see chart). They do not hold the perpetually disappointing recovery against him; half of respondents graded his record as good or very good, compared with just 5% who said that about George Bush in our poll four years ago.

Clear= CHECK

Concise= CHECK

Reliable Source= CHECK

If only I had stopped reading there…Further reading of the article reveals the following conclusions:

  • Among these independents…Mr Obama’s platform still got a higher grade than Mr Romney’s, but by a much smaller margin
  • Interestingly, opinions of Mr Obama became less favourable as questions turned from the general to the specific…On tax reform, entitlements (Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare) and the deficit: the independents, by a clear margin, preferred Mr Romney’s approach to all these issues.
  • On two specific issues, economists—both the full sample and the independents—clearly preferred Mr Obama: by 58% to 10% they thought he would handle China better than Mr Romney, and by 63% to 15% they thought he would make wiser appointments to the Federal Reserve.
  • The independents…also believed that Mr Romney has the better grasp of economics

Uh..What?? ping pongpingpong… as so it goes. Well you look at the graphs for a while, you re-read a few of the sections, and it starts to all come together a little bit more….but whose economic plan is better isn’t the point of this post, actually. In fact it has nothing to do with politics at all.

I began to think about my frustration and the fact that not only did I nearly give up on this article I also almost didn’t even start it. My queue of emails with links to articles, blogs or Daily Show clips has been buildings and to be honest it isn’t that I’m too busy, it’s that a part of me has stopped wanting to be informed. The New York Times and Fast Company has fallen to the bottom of my list of most visited websites. I haven’t gone into complete current-events hibernation, there is just a building inertia to the the whole process where I now find myself needing a jump start to compel me to keep reading and responding and analytically questioning.

Not knowing exactly why I began to write and let my stream of conciousness float where it will and this is what I produced:

My time in Seattle has been an existential crisis turned anthropological study of corporate america and the life of the white-collared working class turned introspective study of what does adult me want from her life.

The Anthropological Findings:

  • Exhaustion= indifference to the decisions of the greater world. The last thing you want when you come away from a long day filled with roadblocks, curve-balls, and  hack problem solving is yet another complicated decision. Why can’t the problem be clearly posed, followed by a comprehensive, accurate, and concise list of the qualitative Pros and Cons paired with its quantitative impact? I want to make the decision and I want to make it according to my values. I just don’t have the energy to research yet another issue and deal with the emotional and mental journey of trying to weed through wrong or incomplete or misleading evidence from questionable sources. Help me do the right thing? How do I know if I’m doing the right thing? This entire past year I feel like I’m wandering blind…just weakly patting myself on the shoulders.

But there are some things I’m sure of. (The Anchors):

  • I’m sure of the man I’ve chosen to love. I’m sure of our ability to reinforce optimism and hope in each other.
  • I’m sure of my friends and their goodness and their honesty in life.
  • I’m sure of my parents’ unconditional love for me.
  • I’m sure of the power of influence. As people we might not be able to change or “fix” one another but we touch everyone we come across. And all of these touches add up to influence. And that influence has immense significance in shaping who we are as individuals and what kind of choices we make. This is an incredible gift.

And then there are the things that I have to be sure of. The truths that have to be so, because believing them makes them true. (The Self-fulfilling Truths):

  • I genuinely want and am compelled to make the world a better place.
  • I will find a way to marry my skills, talents and interest to this desire to service the greater humanity.
  • And I will not settle or rest until this happens.

Also there are the steadfast values. You can’t just be focused on the ends but also the means. How you get to the goal matters just as much as achieving the goal. I developed this list four summers ago when I was in Iceland. The last one is a recent addition. (The Guiding Framework):

  • Love:  Our subjective realities means that we inevitably care more for our friends or family than a stranger…but imagine if every time we came to a crossroads when there was a decision to show compassion versus not, we considered the simple philosophical truth: objectively, there is no compelling reason to love or care for one human more or less than another.
  • Joy: The innocence of children is not just reserved for childhood.
  • Humility: We must always have reverence for the unknown. We don’t know if our actions will be of significant but nor do we know that they are insignificant. Humility allows us to not take ourselves too seriously but also forbids us from being apathetic.
  • Wonder: Knowledge will always have inherent value for me.

I was going to list the unknowns (The Devilish Details) but think instead I should end on what I think is my biggest guide of all: What Do I Want from My Life? I want to live in a way that is true to myself. I want to be genuine and authentic without hesitation. I want my believe by self-fulfilling truths, have my anchors reinforce my confidence, and use my values as a the check on all of my choices. I want to ultimately act in a way that represents the truly good person I believe I am.

I think I needed this post more for myself than anything. Sometimes we get derailed, but more often I think we just “think” we get derailed. This was my attempt at giving myself a self-reminder. I don’t know if it made any sense but I have to let go of the desire of clear, concise, and reliable and sometimes go with confusing, messy, and blind trust. Also my battery is going to die 🙂