Tag Archives: values

Unconditional Confidence

One of the things I love most about reading is there’s always a chance I will have an epiphany or maybe even a more run-of-the-mill moment of clarity. It’s part of the adventure of reading a book, magazine, blog,cereal box or one of those uber-cool ancient scrolls from ages long past. Not that I stumble across many scrolls… or any. Point still stands.

One of my current reads is the book "Zen Golf" by Dr. Joseph Parent.  Dr. Parent is a PGA instructor who is also a Ph.D.in psychology and a student of Buddhism to boot. That’s a pretty full resume for anyone you can name.  The book, as its title so aptly suggests, is about using the fundamental teachings of Shambhala warriorship (a spiritual companion to Buddhism) to become a better golfer and also improve your own life in the process.

Zen Golf

I’m digging this book. No, seriously…

One section in particular has piqued my interest – it’s entitled "unconditional confidence"… and yes, it is in all lower-case ’cause that’s how those who are one with the Zen roll. Or e.e. cummings. Either, or.  Anyhoo, Dr. Parent writes:

Unconditional confidence arises from connecting with our basic goodness.  We believe in ourselves as decent people and in our golfing skills for our level of play.  This doesn’t mean we expect to hit every shot perfectly.  It does mean we can handle whatever the result is.  With unconditional confidence, our self-worth as a human being doesn’t depend on how well or poorly we strike a golf ball.  We see our nature and our abilities as basically good and the difficulties we encounter as temporary experiences.

As soon as I read that, I couldn’t help but expand it well beyond the boundaries of the game of golf.  How can you not expand it? It’s so apparent to hundreds of activities we undertake each day.

It’s all-too-often the case if we doing something wrong, mess something up, miss our exit on the highway, or hit a truly poor golf shoot, it becomes so much more than just a moment of error that should slide gently by without much thought.  Instead, we often lapse into something like “Oh my God… I’m such a moron… how could I be so freaking STUPID?!?!?”  We go beyond it being a simple event and it instead becomes a referendum on our worth as a person.

What’s so troubling about this is how easily it happens.  Right there… blink of an eye… BOOM!  Event happens and our instantaneous reaction (or at least mine, more often than I care to think about sometimes) is to judge ourselves on a far more serious and permanent basis than could possibly be merited.

This is, of course, utterly ridiculous and Dr. Parent nails it.  If we molded ourselves more into the form of a person exercising unconditional confidence, we recognize that we are good at our core, momentary errors are just that and we always can move beyond them to a better state.  Notice that unconditional confidence DOES NOT equal irrational confidence.  The former is how you bounce back because you believe in yourself… the latter is an artificial construct where we are only looking to kid ourselves into belief.  That’s sort of like the prizefighter who talks a gigantic amount prior to a huge fight to psyche himself into belief.  I think that’s a fool’s errand, at best.

So perhaps we can all take a lesson from a book on golf to be a little bit more about life.  We are good at our base core and the less we become clouded with temporary passing moments and believe in a larger sense of our intrinsic value as a person, the better we will be… and we might even end up as better golfers in the process.  Or so I am hoping for me.

Authenticity: The Fine Art of Just Being Yourself

Authentic. The genuine article. The real McCoy. The real deal like Holyfield.

The notion of “To thine own self, be true” is one that’s resonated with people for a very long time. Like, easily longer than The Simpsons has been on TV. For real… THAT long. Despite the seeming impossibility, it’s true.

I am fortunate enough to have two similar, but distinct forums from which to speak in the most authentic way I can: a blog I do at work and the humble blog you read this very moment. The topics of the two are different. My work blog is about business ethics and is targeted to thousands of colleagues I am fortunate to have in my company. This blog is about… hmm… truth be told, it’s sometimes a little tricky to describe this blog succinctly. If I were pressed, I would say this blog is about my own journey to make myself a little better daily and share that story with you I hopes you can do the same. How’s that sound? Copacetic?

The handsome kid himself

While the exact topic of any given blog post I do on either blog can vary, the most critical goal I have… besides writing something worth reading… is for the message to be completely authentic to who I am if you just walked up to me to have a chat. I cannot stress enough how important I think this is because I think those who lack authenticity lack any staying power with their message. Plus, it just comes across as disingenuous and maybe even flat out dishonest.

I think that’s a huge reason why I have such a disdain for most Internet forums or the comments that follow many Web articles: they tend to be places where people lob verbal grenades from the safety of hiding behind their monitors. Ugh. Or why I don’t just blindly follow anyone who follows me on Twitter. If all you have to “say” is a solely links to the content of others without even a single personal observation or shred of insight, then consider me uninterested.

I write what I would say if you were standing in front of me. The weird and quirky (to put it mildly) sense of humor? Yeah, that’s me. The yearning to press myself to do a little more and be a little better, but without feeling like I’m somehow incomplete? That’s this handsome kid right here.

In the end, I may not be perfect… but at least I’m me at all times.

Proactive Simplicity

Think of some of the best teachers you’ve ever had in your life.  Go ahead… I’ve got loads of time to wait… umm… especially since by the time you read this post, I’ll be all done with it and not literally sitting around waiting for your pondering self.  Win-win for everyone!  But in thinking about those people, what were some of their most notable qualities that made them such good teachers?  For me, I find it tends to boil down to two critical traits: a passion for teaching the subject and the ability to make the complicated simple.  Boom – there ya have it.

With that in mind, I found it interesting as I read some of the negative Amazon.com reviews for the book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey to see what exactly people were complaining about.  The most common gripes were “It’s just common sense!” or “Typical self-help tripe!” and things of that nature.  To me, these can almost be a form of an endorsement for a book of this nature (i.e. self-help or a new way of viewing your own world).  Why?  Because it gets back a little bit to about what makes a good teacher – are you taking a concept and making it simpler or more accessible?  It’s certainly possible that the reviews could be spot on and you read the book only to find out that every page is full of regurgitated platitudes about doing good to others and being a better person.  That’s just an annoying read.

But guess what?  Not the case with this book (at least not for me).  In fact, the gripes people had I found fairly amusing because they focused on the high level themes of each section “Put first things first” and “Think win/win” without delving into the author’s thought process behind those notions. That’s just flat out missing the point, my friends.

For me, I found a nugget that hit very close to home and gave me more than a few minutes pause as I read the book last night in bed.  The first theme/habit of the book is “Be proactive.”  Pretty simple right?  If someone just told you that you needed to “be more proactive” and that was the extent of their advice, you might smile at them, give them a nod of acknowledgment and then walking away thinking “Thanks for that inspired pearl of wisdom, Plato.  No idea how I could have continued life as I know it without that one!”  Ahh, but there is much more to it than that in how Covey talks about it.  Covey’s all about values being one of the true shaping forces for being a better person and a more effective one.

So that’s why this passage I read last night struck me:

The ability to subordinate an impulse to a value is the essence of the proactive person. Reactive people are driven by feelings, by circumstances, by conditions, by their environment. Proactive people are driven by values – carefully thought about, selected and internalized values.

Huh… never quite thought of it that way.  If you are a values/principles-driven person (and I try like heck to be exactly that), being proactive is not just a matter of going out and doing things without being asked to or having the circumstances thrust upon you forcing you to act.  It’s much more than that – it’s acting upon your values as opposed to being driven by your feelings and impulses and the circumstances around you since that is just reacting.

This strikes such a chord for me because it puts such great importance on not being reactive… because being reactive means I would be letting circumstances dictate what I do as opposed to my own set of carefully considered values.  When you look at being proactive in that light, it goes well beyond the rather banal notion of just telling someone “You know… you really should be proactive.”  It gets more to the heart of the WHY and the why is always the more powerful piece of the equation.  What would be the sense of taking the time to carefully construct where you find meaning in life only to ignore all of that and let the world dictate to you?  It’s the kind of thing that makes me re-check myself a bit because the cost to pay for wanting a values-driven life is eternal vigilence… and yes, I totally stole that Barry Goldwater line and tweaked it for myself.  I make no apologies.

So dismiss not the simple… especially if it is backed up by a depth that may not be readily apparent at a casual glance.  Those darn casual glances… always leaving the wrong impression.

Toby

Unlike this handsome fella – always leaves a good impression. (Not mine – just a houseguest until tomorrow).

Things I Don’t Have Time For

I was having a pretty interesting exchange of FB messages back and forth last night with an old friend of mine.  The exact nature of the topic is not terribly relevant, but she raised a few concepts in a fashion I never previously considered… and THAT is the stuff of blog posts my friends.  Pure blogging gold.

So my old friend (herein after “OF” for the sake of expediency) is the same age as me and was talking about things she has noticed at this point in her life.  The biggest thing she noticed was that she’s begun to take very firm, passionate positions on certain topics and that results in one of two divergent reactions when those topics come up: she is either fiery and combative or just lets it roll on by as if it never happened.

And you know what?  It makes complete and utter sense to me.

I’ve written about this before, but I’m someone who finds that it’s absolutely critical for my own personal sanity, success and well-being in life to have a set of principals to guide me.  Anytime life gets on the wooly side, I know I can rely on these principals to help steer me along a path that will be consistent with who I want to be as a person – what could be more important than that?

As OF and I were discussing, we are both realizing how much more this matters as the years begin to slip by.  What’s interesting is that events or people or situations that conflict with these principals can have one of two effects: (1) You go on the attack because something is assaulting that which you hold so dear or (2) you completely ignore it because it is out of line with your principal and, quite frankly, it’s not worth even a precious drop of your emotional energy.  Now, which things elicit which reaction are completely dependent upon each individual person… but I’ve noticed I have my own little list of things falling into that second category.

Yes, these are the things I just don’t have time for.  Enjoy.

  1. Negative, jaded, toxic people or drama queens.  I could go into this at length, but it’s something I’ve covered previously here. You suck the life out of me and you’re just not that interesting, so I just ignore you and move on.
  2. Internet forums.  My God did I ever waste some time on a bodybuilding and fitness forum at one time.  Now, I will say that I actually developed several very cool friendships through those forums and I’ve gotten the chance to hang out in person with several of those people.  That was a huge positive… but for the most part?  It’s an incredibly convenient way for people to be cowards.  Seriously.  Where else do you find so many people who can be so ugly and confrontational?  And only because they are safely squirreled away behind a keyboard and able to anonymously spew their venom without any consequences at all.  Ugh.  No thanks.
  3. Super political people.  I’m a politics major with philosophy and English minors and a law school grad to boot.  I’m more
    Heidi Watney
    The lovely Ms. Watney (courtesy of Steve Owen)

    than a little accustomed to people debating politics.  That’s cool.  I’m even good with people who are really into following politics or reading a lot on it.  You know who I just ignore?  The people who feel utterly compelled to argue relentlessly with me about political topics when they find out my views.  Dude, I hate to break it to you… but I’m just not that interested (which of course only sets them off to further heights of utter hysteria).

  4. Anyone who thinks my training/lifting program is “weird”, “strange” or “excessive”.  I really don’t have any anger on this one at all – it just doesn’t matter to me if someone feels that way… and believe me, there are quite a few people in that lil’ rowboat.  A  matter of fact, y’all are doing me a grand favor – the more people comment on what I do as being “insane”, the more I know I am doing the right thing.  Thanks for keeping me on track, my peoples.  Much appreciated.
  5. Anyone who doesn’t realize the greatest journalist of the past 50 years is Heidi Watney from NESN. I will not debate this and refuse to engage in yet another meaningless discussions about Edward R. Murrow or Walter Cronkite.  The Heidi knows all, sees all, rules all.  Obviously.

The final takeaway (to me at least) is this: Many may think people become stubborn as they age… and hell, they are probably right, but I am beginning to see this as not nearly as bad of a thing as it is often made out to be.  While some may become stubborn and close-minded, let’s not forget that sometimes we are finally hitting our stride of knowing what our true values are… and how damn important it is to protect them.

Foundations First and Pretty Stuff After

When I was growing up, there was a decent chunk of time where I really wanted to be an architect.  Building things held a real fascination for me and the genesis of this was likely my complete and utter Lego obsession (something I’m really happy to see has been taken up by my nephews).

My Saturday mornings often fit a very neat pattern in those simpler days.  I would get up, go downstairs and pull out of the family room closet a good-sized draw string denim bag that was chock full of those magical plastic bricks.  I would open the bag up and gently spread the pieces in front of me on the floor so I could build while engaging in my other favorite Saturday activity: watching cartoons (especially the Super Friends).

wallpaper_10rittpourLegos taught me an important early lesson, although I did not truly appreciate that teaching until many years later: anything of substance you wish to build first requires a strong, consistent foundation.  Without that foundation on which to rely, you’re just setting yourself up for some kind of collapse and with it all the pretty things you built upon that weak foundation.

What I love about the analogy is how well it works in several contexts.  It applies for buildings (as in this photo for a 33 story tower as it was being built in Philadelphia) or sports teams or relationships or just that little corner of the world you call your own life.  If you don’t have some goals or guiding principles or common understanding or shared values, you will find little success or what success you do achieve is only eked out through pure strenuous effort and bullheadedness.  Not exactly the best use of time or energy, methinks.

I started thinking about foundations the other day because I’ve been in a bit of a funk of late.  Nothing incredibly extreme, mind you, but not a ton of fun any way you slice that bad boy.  Part of the reason you can tell I’ve been in a funk is the utter dearth of blog postings popping up here.  I’ve not been feeling (or probably acting) all that fierce or mighty.  So, the other night I tried to settle in for a bit of thinking time without distraction… and uhh… that’s actually a bit hard.  Anyone with a Droid, iPhone or Blackberry will know the feeling – it’s like you are just so damn connected, you’ve forgotten how to disconnect yourself, even for a little while (unless you are asleep and even then you’re probably having dreams of apps and snarky text messages).

Often when life feels funky, I need to find myself something to pour my heart and efforts into.  Maybe some of that is just pure distraction from whatever is truly bothering me, but a lot of it gets back to the foundational values or principles I’ve set up for myself to live by.  If I can find one thing that is a core value for me and I can really focus my efforts on it for a while, slowly but surely the rut begins to fade and just becomes an unpleasant memory that also dissolves like morning mist in the sun’s heat.

While some who know me well may laugh at what I’m about to write, I think this is what I might do: get myself re-dedicated to my exercise and health plans.  I know… I know… I’m the guy with the gym in his basement and who posts videos of himself on YouTube of doing all sort of funky training.  I hear ya people – really I do.  The hard thing is that even that has taken a hit of late where it feels too much like a chore to get myself lifting or doing my stretching as I should or really being good much more often about what I eat or getting a good night’s rest every night.  I think if I give myself an extra push in this area, I will begin to enjoy it again as I should and get some momentum going… and that momentum?  It tends to have a positive carry over into other areas (at least that’s my sincere hope).

Today was a good start to all of this with the first outdoor soccer game of the season, a 5-2 win for Maniacs FC (the team I am the captain of).  I felt focused and in good shape all game long… but most importantly, I just had fun.  Isn’t that the point anyway?

So onward I go and the blogging will be much more consistent (as my next post will illustrate).  Here’s to getting back to the foundations on which we build our lives… because with their strength, we can build beautifully.

Got Scars?

Today I was out in the gray chilliness that is Winter in Connecticut and doing some pushes and pulls with my beloved Prowler.  I strained and struggled and fought it with all I could for a shade under 30 minutes before calling it a day.  As I completed the last push of the day, I finished and immediately dropped into a semi-kneeling position, almost like genuflecting.  However, I successfully kept my breakfast down.  But you know what I thought to myself?

“Huh… no puking yet again… maybe I’m not doing this hard enough.”

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the insanity that is my noggin.  Please keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times because I really can’t be held responsible for what may happen otherwise.

Now why on earth would I think that?  Seriously.  First of all, I really hate puking.  I know that is not a penetrating insight on par with the work of Plato or Immanuel Kant, but I mean I really hate it.  Second, how can anyone rationally think that puking could be a sign of anything remotely good or positive?  It’s like those kooky powerlifters who seem to enjoy the fact they get blood shins from doing deadlifts where the bar drags along their legs.  That can’t be sane… can it?

I’ll tell you why I think this… because I often wonder, if you don’t bear scars, have you really tried hard enough?  Or put another way, have you truly found the thing you are just so passionate about that you are willing to run the risk of skinned knees or puking or falling short in the process?  Willing to run the risk of embarrassment over not coming through as a total success because you just love the process so much that winning or losing is a distant second?

I wonder this because I believe (at least in my own personal case) that for things that truly and deeply matter to me, I am willing to risk the scars or the falling short or the skinned knees or possible ridicule of polite society.  I know if my heart was not truly in whatever this “thing” may be, I wouldn’t be willing to run the risk of any of that.  Who wants any of that for something that doesn’t stir up the passion of your soul?  Not this kid right here, I’ll tell you that much.

The physical acts of which I speak and the scars that can accompany them are just one tool or expression of what any person walking this beautiful planet can be passionate about.  As you and I well know, not all scars are physical and those that are not can certainly mark you more deeply than ones etched upon your skin.  But the fact still remains… that for those things we care most about… our families, our faith, our ideals or whatever it may be… we will put ourselves out there and run the risk of the scars.

I’m still working on this all the time… the process to find my true passions for all aspects of my life.  It’s certainly not easy because it’s rare to just wake up one day and think “By Jove!  I’ve got it!” and just know what you were meant to do or who you were meant to be.  So I keep plugging away at those things I know I love and by virtue of the struggle, sweat and scars, I hope to find it.

Even if I may have to get a little sick to do it.

Everyone Else Is Doing It

Ethics.  It’s a word that can certainly grab your attention and one that actually gets bandied about quite a bit in the news the last few years.  Ethics goes to more than just what the law requires (although it certainly encompasses that) and goes to the seemingly nebulous idea of “what is right”.  My full-time “real” job is completely comprised of handling business ethics where I work.  I know, I know… you’re thinking to yourself that it seems impossible that someone with my chiseled features and build is not making a living as an inspiration of nouveau sculptures of Greek gods, but there’s really a lot less of that kind of work than you would think.  Quite a bummer.

I believe very strongly that ethics is not just something that’s “good to do”, but in the business world, it’s also a competitive advantage.  Don’t believe me?  Think of the car mechanic your family swears by because he does great work, doesn’t overcharge and genuinely lets you know when something is wrong with your vehicle.  We will tend to gravitate much more strongly towards those who give us a square deal and we do not feel completely slimy after a business transaction with them.  Plus, a business committed to acting ethically is also going to be a place that is very well-run anyway.

If there is something in the world of ethics (whether business or just personal) that makes my gray matter light up with red flags, it would have to be someone using my all-time favorite justification for unethical conduct.  Yes, that’s right good people… “Everyone else is doing it!” *shudder*  Remember trying that one on your mom?  Remember how that went?  Yeah, me too.

This is why I was so struck by this piece over at Time Out New York from this past Summer.  There is a Broadway revival of The Fantasticks and Ben Brantley from The New York Times went to it and wrote a review.  Generally speaking, he didn’t care for it.  But he did have a little bit of positive reaction to one actor in the piece, Tom Jones:

Unlike much of the rest of this production, he feels like the real thing… [he] gives a perfectly pitched, disarmingly sincere performance that captures why The Fantasticks became the enduring favorite it did.

Mr. Brantley also went on to conclude with an observation of how he thought when he saw the original piece at age 9, he was enchanted.  So on this piece he writes:

And who knows? There may be a few 9-year-olds out there…who will conclude that The Fantasticks is the last word in theatrical sophistication.

Easy enough.  He did not care for the piece, one actor had the feel and spark of the original production and maybe some 9 year olds will think it is a sophisticated piece of theater.

Here’s the problem… the photo below is what was posted outside the theater as a quote from this reviewer:

photo-225x300

Umm… what?  That’s not even in the ZIP code of what the review was and yet, somehow this is what Broadway shows apparently do.  I have seen a bit more of this in terms of selected quotes for movie reviews, but this may be the most blatant example I have seen of cobbling together bits and piece of someone’s words to create a meaning that was simply not present.

To top it off, one of the people responding to this Time Out New York piece in the comments wrote the following:

Mr Brantley’s quote is the reason I bought a ticket to The Fantasticks last week. In a single word The Fantastciks is magical. It is a simple musical, love story, poetically played by a wonderful cast. I have seen The Fantasticks several times, and this production currently playing at The Snapple Theater Center is the best I have seen. But that isn’t why you have attacked this quote and theater is it? I would like you to show me any Broadway, or Off Broadway show that doesn’t pull words from sentences in order to bring in audiences. Why not let the public decide. When I saw the show last week, it was to a sold out house.I don’t care who wrote it, or even didn’t write it. The fact is that it is a true statement. Now really, there must be more news worthy stories out there for you.

Really?  Is there where we have come to?  That if the ends justify the means (i.e. this one woman enjoyed it based on the review so it becomes a “true statement”) so all is right with the world?  Or because other Broadway shows dissect a review done to get enough words in a proper order to create a positive review, we should shrug our shoulders?

Maybe this seems like I am blowing out of proportion something small, but it is something I believe that should matter to each of us as individuals.  Your integrity is yours and yours alone to nurture, protect and develop.  Trust is hard to develop, easy to ruin and then near impossible to build back up depending on the magnitude of the let down.  Just a lesson that if you want to work towards respect (personal or professional), it’s not a sometime thing… it’s an all the time thing.  And the world’s worst attempted shortcut when deciding how to work through a dilemma is what everyone else may be doing.

And before you demand I get off my highest of horses… it’s not about being perfect, but it is about doing your best… and this was not someone’s best or anywhere close to it.  A little effort, people!

All About the Fundamentals

The company for which I work frames several of its most important core values in its Code of Ethics.  It’s something I genuinely appreciate about where I work because it’s something that’s taken seriously and in my current job, it’s my role to support those values and ensure they are not compromised.

vince_lombardi As part of some training today related to all of that, I began to think a little bit about things you might consider to be the “fundamentals”.  I think to some this may conjure up thoughts of some old-school football coach yelling about the need to block and tackle or your high school history teacher discussing some dusty concept from ancient Greece.  Or possibly it makes you think about eating your broccoli because your mom tells you to.  Truthfully, there is really nothing about fundamentals that seems all that sexy.  They often are cast in terms of things you have to do because, gosh darn it… they’re good for you!  Not exactly the greatest sales proposition of all time if you ask me.

But as I got to thinking about it a little more, I started to think about the lifting session that was to come this evening and everything about it just screams fundamentals.  I would be doing military presses (standing barbell presses), dips and then pull-ups.  There’s nary a “core exercise”, stability ball or fancy piece of gym equipment in sight there… but it’s actually what I love about it.  After finishing all of that up tonight, it just felt really damn good to focus on the fundamentals?

Why?

Because there is something pure about the fundamentals.  It’s stripping away all of the extraneous extra “stuff” that is often added onto things in life.  We as humans have an amazing ability to take simple concepts and make them unduly complicated because we figure we are pretty advanced creatures, so we must prove this by making things really, really confusing.  That’s how you show you’re smart!

I find myself liking the fundamentals (or values) so much because I am the kind of person who finds comfort and strength in having a firm foundation which I can always rely on, but which also allows me to get a little creative beyond it.  So here is my list of life fundamentals which you may find handy too:

Lifting/Exercise:

  • Focus on the big, basic lifts. Bench press, squats, deadlifts, military press, pull-ups, dips, lunges and such.  There is a place for more specialized stuff too, but never lose sight of these bang-for-your buck exercises.
  • Intervals for conditioning are much more effective (and fun) than being stuck like a rodent on a treadmill.
  • Play sports or do something active (like maybe go dancing if you are into that).  They’re just fun and they are an easy way to disguise exercise.
  • In the words of Connecticut native and 800 lb. bench presser Vincent Dizenzo, people need to worry less about debating minutiae of programs and just “smash f**king weights.”  This applies to more in life than it may first appear.  Don’t get caught up in paralysis by analysis.  Sometimes the enthusiasm of execution means 100X more than the planning.  Maybe if you are a runner, it’s “run f**king miles” or a swimmer as “swim f**king laps”.  You get the idea.
  • “Eye of the Tiger” is guaranteed to add 10 lbs and 2 reps to any lift.  It’s just science.

 

Eating/Nutrition

  • Eat protein at every meal.  This just seems to work for me and honestly, I just like protein.
  • Fish oil kicks ass.  Every single study you hear about seems to find a new benefit to taking it, from brain health, heart health, lower cholesterol, improved body composition, decreased inflammation of all kinds, etc.
  • Fruits and vegetables.  They are good.  Eat them.  Nobody gets fat from eating too many fresh fruits and veggies.  My Mom would be happy to read this.
  • Green tea is good for you.  Like fish oil, they keep finding out good stuff about it.  Drink some.
  • I enjoy the occasional cheeseburger, so as long as I am sticking to the above 4 points 90% or more of the time, it’s perfectly fine.  This is the part where keeping the strong fundamentals in place allows me freedom in some other areas.

Life Rules:

  • The Golden Rule of “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is not some hokey notion. It’s probably the single most important lesson I have ever learned in my life.
  • Related to #1, kindness counts.
  • When my life eventually comes to a close, I want to be remembered as a great friend, brother, boyfriend/significant other/husband, uncle and son.  If no one really remembers what I did at my job, but remembers that first part, I will consider my life a smashing success.  I wish more people felt this way.
  • The more I read, the more I feel both more relaxed and sharper, all at the same time.
  • Reality TV might be the worst thing I have ever seen in entertainment.  I don’t mean reality shows like “Extreme Home Makeover” or even the ones that are on History Channel and such, but basically any of the genre which seems to thrive on the enjoyment of other’s peoples most base elements… i.e. any dumb MTV reality show, ever.
  • Every year I am amazed at how much more I realize my parents were right about a lot of things. At some point, I should probably admit this to them.
  • Every year I am also amazed at how much more ridiculously good-looking I get.  I feel a little bit bad for the rest of you slobs.

My advice to everyone is to figure out what your own core values or fundamentals are because when life gets hard (which it will) and you are not sure what is the right decision to make, at least you will be true to yourself if you rely on these values.