Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Rant #1: Foolish optimism is nice if only for a day

Feeling alive. What exactly does that mean for each particular person? Is it feeling good? Normally it goes way beyond just feeling good. It’s a natural high, it’s a buzz. It’s feel zen-like in nature yet childlike in practice. We often hear people say they want to feel alive and if you ask me, it seems like that’s one of the most personal decisions a person can make. To feel good. To smile when things aren’t going the way you wanted. To look the problems in the eye, give it the finger and giggle like a little rascal. It’s not caring about what saps the soul out of our bodies. There’s a lot of those too. But it’s up to us to decide how we want to deal with a situation and how we wish to deal with problems which are just situations we’ve embedded with negative energy. To be quite honest, when you look at every thing in your life, there really isn’t such a thing as a problem because a problem is merely the way we perceive a situation and that’s what some people can’t get past. It’s in the way you look at a scenario that influences not only the outcome, but the whole game.

Am I saying people don’t have problems? Well we all do, but only until we want to change we look at things. Honestly you could say someone has a drinking problem but the reality is that they drink too much. It’s not a problem, it’s something that’s happening. “Yeah but that’s what he does to cope with the problems in his/her life.”

What are his problems? You might ask and the answer to that question could be a series of things. Lets say for instance Jim has a drinking problem because he has a job he hates, misses his family, got cheated on by his girlfriend and has to pay for too many things i.e. car, house, electricity, food and whatnot. Break down the scenario, you have a situation on a professional level where Jim doesn’t feel satisfied with his current employment because it sucks and pays shit. Break down further. The job sucks because of his co-workers, he gets bored with what he’s doing and he wishes he could earn more money for x or y purpose. Ok so Jim wants money to buy more porn and videogames but feels he’s stuck paying things he’s become dependant on or believes he has to pay. Here’s where perception comes in. If Jim didn’t pay for cable or internet and had the cheapest phone plan for the bare necessities he’d probably save at least $200 but lets say $100. That’s an extra $100 he’d have. “But he’d be so bored at home without Internet or TV.” Someone might answer. Why? Because he hasn’t tried anything else or because he has become so dependant on things he doesn’t really need. Then there’s the car issue which is a hassle since gas prices are soaring more and more. You can carpool or you can use public transportation. But… that sucks. You see, the problem with transportation or the biggest problem with public transportation is that most people believe themselves to be above public transportation for x or y reason so they NEED a car. What decent person doesn’t have a car? Feel free to read that last sentence and feel like a jackass for having felt that at some point in your life. So there with that decision you’ve saved about $400 a month. That’s $500 extra dollars you CHOOSE to spend. Then comes food time. Food is so expensive yada yada yada yadaaaaaa. Buy your own food, prepare your own meals and mix it up so you don’t get bored eating the same stuff over and over. Ok but what if he gets bored? If you had cable that means you have a TV and if you don’t have a DVD player you can find one for what you pay for cable in a month. Rent DVD’s when you’re in the mood. Besides, there’s a ton of things you’ve always said you wanted to learn to do. Stop being a lazy ass and do them. Language, yoga, karate, writing that great novel, reading more etc. So in a few decisions, Jim has saved money and become more productive rather than technologically sedentary like someone who for instance has a blog.

Next was the job he hated. Why does Jim hate his job? It’s boring. Here comes the tricky part, define boring and if at any point you say repetition is annoying you have to realize that most jobs have some type of routine you need to follow and if it’s scheduled work hours you hate, there are options where you can work freelance on your own time and though it’s a bit riskier, there is enough business out there to merit looking into it. Is the job a steaming pile because of the people you work with? What makes them so unbearable? When was the last time you spoke to them or even had lunch with them? Your boss is an asshole? Is he reacting to your bullshit Hate mantra or is he really a prick? Be honest with yourself because it’s ok to BS someone else but not yourself. It’s like playing hard to get when you want to whack off. Don’t be an idiot and answer life questions honestly. Do you want to work in another industry? Yes? Why haven’t you tried? Because it’s too hard? Have you tried? Exactly. The worst limitations in your life shall always be the ones you impose on yourself. Get information, become smart at what you want to do and put in the effort. There are mediocre people waiting to be fired if you seem more than worthwhile.

Then there was the girlfriend cheating on Jim issue. Again, this is a situation not a problem; a most unpleasant situation but a situation nonetheless. He has to make a decision, will he forgive and forget, forgive and remind, or forget to forgive and move along? It’s written pretty simple but the biggest thing he has to face is how much did the person mean to him and the repercussions of any decision he makes.

Finally there’s the drinking. Again, this is a rehearsed reaction Jim has adopted because it’s worked so well for people in the movies. Having a beer is ok. Having a beer every day is not super duper but it isn’t unheard of and having a six pack every day is self destructive. Whenever Jim decides to listen to the voices in his head that are telling him he has to make decisions rather than postpone them in favor of a cocktail, he will. But he has to stop kidding himself and stop thinking that nothing has a solution. Every situation has a solution, we just don’t necessarily like the answers we get.

So here’s to looking at every situation in our lives and saying, shit it could be worse, I could have REAL problems.

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