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Connecting to People

September 29, 2015 3 comments

One of the Starbucks baristas commented that I seem to still be working on weekends.  She made that comment because there I was again with my laptop, ready to spend the weekend afternoon just typing away.  I told her that this wasn’t work; I write as my coping mechanism to handle the stress of work.  In particular, I write about killing the people in the office I don’t like, which is obviously better than actually doing it for real (if only I could make it look like an accident!).  My barista friends learn something new about me once in a while, though in this case I think it was something disturbing; I could tell this from the gasps of shock I received.

I hang out at Starbucks so often that these baristas are literally the closest thing I have to a barkada (group of friends) these days.  I know just by observing them do their work and their interactions with each other and their clients that they seem to have so much fun; I feel envious with what they have the more I think about it.  Perhaps in another lifetime it would actually be nice to be part of their world.  But for now, I’d like to think my interactions with them as a loyal client, the laughs (and in this case the shock of horror) I give them as I share my insanity with them, is something that I have with them that makes their day a little less routine and dull, if it ever felt that way.  In other words my quiet (or not) presence adds to the fun in their day.

There’s another world out there.  Life is bigger than the small bubble that I call my comfort zone, my home.  It’s populated by people who have their own life stories to share.  And I can only begin to imagine the interesting stories these acquaintances, as well as others that have yet to cross my path in my journey in this life, will likely have, and how richer my life would be as a result of spending time with them, if only I had the strength to stop thinking of myself too much for a change, and if only I had all the time in the world to sit down and listen to them.  I miss the chance to hear those stories while I’m in the comfort of my cocoon.

Relationship Rule - You have a story

Life is not all about comfort, though – obviously.  There will be days when things will be bad, and then there will be days when it just gets worse.  And when you think it can’t get any worse, sometimes it just does.

I have dealt with different kinds of personality whether in business or in the academe. From the wealthy and the powerful to the lowly and the humble and here is my finding: Everybody is vulnerable to hurt and pains. Some cope with it well, others disguise it better but every person hurts. This is why we need to be kind to everyone no matter what their social status is. A small act of kindness leaves a big impact and may heal a hurting soul. – Francis Kong

Inevitably part of everyone’s life story will involve some measure of sorrow every now and then.  Nobody wants to suffer, and I include myself in that count.

I’ve come to realize, though, that suffering is a necessary evil if only to be fully immersed in the experience of being human.  It’s true that misery loves company, but the hidden blessing from this is that you learn to be more sympathetic, more empathetic, more compassionate, and ultimately more loving to everyone else who’s also suffering in their own special way.  When I suffer, I am one with everyone else because I can relate to the human condition, too.  I also grow to be a better human being, one way or another.  And in the end, I’d rather suffer with my fellowman, than live a life free of stress but lonely.

Being lonely more painful than getting hurt

Like what has been said before, life is like a piano.  The white keys represent times of joy while the black keys represent times of sadness.  In the end, both keys contribute to making beautiful music.  For what it’s worth, life wouldn’t be as exciting and as colorful in the absence of angst and struggle, for such gives us a reason, even an inspiration, to do something to make things in our lives, and consequently in our world, better.

We are all meant to be with and for each other as members in the family of man.  We are all connected in the common hopes, dreams, and joys, as well as in the suffering, pain, and trials we all share.  Let’s all try to be a little kinder, gentler, merciful, patient, and generous to each other, as we’re all in this together.

God grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change; courage to change the people that I can; and wisdom to know that this person is me.” – Anonymous

Speaking for myself, I hope I never let the opportunity pass to connect to the people that come into my life, whether they stay for a while and then leave when their time has come to do so after they have accomplished what they were meant to do in my life, or they stay and live in my heart forever.

Categories: Ideas and Philosophy

Attractive People and Its Bias

September 29, 2015 2 comments

We have the tendency to see what we want to see, hear what we want to hear, and think what we want to think despite evidence that shows otherwise or the lack of such that supports our position.  The biases and assumptions that we have are based on our perception of life and our understanding of the world.  And these biases and assumptions can influence the way we perceive people.

“Good Looking People Bias” is that tendency to favor someone who looks good compared to someone who doesn’t.  It’s a bias that everybody suffers from whether we realize it or not.  Those who are genetically blessed with good looks can use this bias to their advantage to get their way and even get away with things.

For good looking people, double standards exist in the realm of love and lust, with one version of the standard in their favor.  We can accept and even expect that beautiful people can and will be as sexually active as they want.  The world has this certain view that it’s okay for them to indulge, and quite frankly seeing them indulge in the pleasures of physical intimacy also gives us some form of pleasure.  However if the people who are painful to look at indulge in the same, then it’s suddenly creepy and / or disgusting, as if this type of people have no right to it at all.  It’s not fair, but that’s one of life’s realities.

We also have a tendency to be more patient when dealing with their incompetence.  Sometimes they’re able to charm their way out of trouble.  The perpetually ugly would perpetually be in trouble, unfortunately.

At least speaking for myself, I don’t care if you’re pretty.  If you’re no good in doing your job, then I don’t want you on my team.  Your beauty cannot compensate for the hassle and stress that result from your incompetence.

Life can still be difficult for attractive people, though.  For one, they can be used and abused and objectified instead of loved the way they deserve to be loved; sometimes it happens without them even knowing such is happening to them.

You can be popular, beautiful, sexy and sultry; you can be admired and desired by many. However, at the end of the day, attractive people are still human, and they are as weak and fragile as the rest of humanity, in need of someone to love them, care for them, and be there for them in their time of need; to especially to love them when they least deserve it, because that’s when they really needs it the most (Swedish Proverb).

It’s not a crime to be attractive.  It’s not the fault of beautiful people being born that way.  And while they have it, they might as well use it to their advantage.  But if they’re going to use their physical assets then hopefully it’s to push for something good, or at the very least they won’t use it to abuse.  Remember that the Devil comes as everything you’ve ever wished for.  And to be lethally effective, the enemy could come with a very pleasing appearance so that you welcome rather than reject him.

Don’t be fooled by a pretty face, and don’t fool others if you have one.  If you’re not careful, then such a face could be the cause of your ruin.  And being pretty doesn’t make life any easier, though admittedly it does still help a lot; life can still be unfair, even to the beautiful.

Categories: Ideas and Philosophy

To Be Happy in Life, Be Kind and Loving

September 26, 2015 1 comment

A secret to be happy in life is to be kind and loving to everybody.

Sometimes, just being there for the people you love, with one’s mere presence and time invested to be with them, would be enough.  Never underestimate the value of companionship; many people can feel so alone despite being part of a crowd.  Sometimes, just choosing to be kind and loving to them even if it isn’t easy or convenient is one of the best ways we prove how much we really love those we claim to love.  It’s easy to love them when they’re good to us; love is tested and becomes true when it’s the opposite.  I’m sure there are many more ways of being kind and loving to others, and in particular to the people that matter in our life.  Ultimately even the simplest of things, done with much love, are usually the sweetest that we could do to show just that.

It’s an ironic fact of life that we tend to hurt the ones we love the most.  Instead of loving them as we should, we tend to take them for granted and forget their important place in our lives.  Rather than loving them, we cause them so much pain.  And as painful as it is for them, it is also rightfully painful for us because we know we’ve failed them by giving them grief instead of joy.  No matter how much we genuinely love someone our love for them remains imperfect, because we ourselves are still imperfect, and it’s the imperfect nature of our love that’s truly regrettable.  Our only hope is to remain in communion with God, constantly reminding ourselves that He loves us, and allowing Him to love us just as we are.  It’s in the course of experiencing His love that we will be transformed to love Him and the people closest and dearest to us perfectly, in time.

It’s easier said than done, but we should also be kind and loving to those who we also don’t like because it’s the right thing to do.  Even if they continue to be a jerk, still be good and kind to them, since ultimately it’s between you and God anyway.  Besides, the goal is not to convert them to be good to you.  The goal is ultimately your conversion, your transformation to become more like Jesus.  If you manage to win over the person you don’t like also then that’s a welcome bonus.

Modern-day Pharisees want to implement the letter of the law.  Jesus continues to exhort us to live the spirit of the law, and that is to love and empathize with our neighbor.  That entails being inclusive.  Being inclusive means loving even the people who are not like us, the “others” that we label as such, those who sin differently than we do (or not) per our judgmental nature and other outcasts of society, or those who we don’t like or even hate.  We ought to love them as Jesus would love them, because this is how Jesus continues to love us for the many times when we’re not lovable.  We apply true Christianity if we love and empathize with others the way Jesus would.

In summary, being there for people, in the place, time, and manner that they need us, is how we can be kind and loving to them; this is how we attain happiness in this world.  When we do this, we love the way Jesus loved, which is to love unconditionally, without expecting anything in return.  This means we love them even if they will never love us back – and even that won’t matter.

Categories: Ideas and Philosophy

Keep Your Intentions Pure

September 26, 2015 2 comments

The thought crossed my mind on why we sometimes do what we do.  A couple of examples from my own life and in observing life in general have given me some material to reflect upon.

 

The Case of the Jurassic Phone

There was a time when I almost gave up using my Jurassic phone and switched to using a smart phone.  Many people around me were pressuring me to upgrade.  I spent time and effort doing research on a model I could work with, eventually settling on the latest Windows Phone that was available at the time.

However just before I actually purchased it, I did a quick sanity check with the people close to me regarding my decision to buy, since for some reason I didn’t feel good about it.  I didn’t need to upgrade; I was just fine with the phone I was using.  Basically what the people close to me said was that I needed to upgrade for “public relations purposes;” in other words I just needed to keep up with the image that I was updated, especially for someone at my level.  It was more a matter of image than actual need, and so that they also won’t feel ashamed of being around me whenever I pulled out my dumb phone to use.  No wonder I felt bad about the whole matter of upgrading my phone: It wasn’t for an actual need that I had; it was more to please other people, essentially.  I ended up not pushing through with the purchase.

(On a side-note: I’m not using a Jurassic phone anymore.  My cell phone finally has a color screen, a 1.x camera, and it can play music.  Okay, so it’s still not a smart phone, but I don’t care.  If anyone has an issue with this then that’s their problem.)

 

Looks Get in the Way

“Good Looking People Bias” is that tendency to favor someone who looks good compared to someone who doesn’t.  It’s a bias that everybody suffers from whether we realize it or not.  Those who are genetically blessed with good looks can use this bias to their advantage to get their way and even get away with things (i.e. double standards are applied, or we tend to be more patient with their incompetence).

From what I can tell, the disadvantage of this bias is you don’t know if people genuinely want to help you, or consciously or subconsciously they just want to get something from you because you look physically pleasing to them.

When doing something for someone beautiful, it’s worth asking a few questions.  What if you find out she wants someone else, or is already in a relationship, or already married with kids, or is a single mother of some kids (potentially from different fathers), or actually finds you repulsive but is just quiet about it?  Will you still do the favor asked from you?  Will you do the favor because you genuinely want to help her, or are you doing it in the hope that she’ll eventually warm up to you as a result of your actions and thus invite you to her bedroom?  Honestly, you probably won’t even spare a thought to help out if she was painful to look at.  Deep down you want something out of the other person; if such doesn’t happen then you end up feeling taken advantage of instead of the advantage being in your favor.

 

Sincerity of Purpose

Keep your intentions pure.

Do things for the right reason.  Or at the very least, be honest about your reason for doing it.  You don’t want to take any action that you’re not comfortable doing, or that doesn’t reflect who you really are or who you want to be.

If you need someone to do something for you, then just ask it from him plainly.  Don’t resort to deception to get what you want, for no one wants to feel used and abused.  Eventually the truth of your manipulation will come out.  Exploiting someone by way of leading them on with the good you do for them or some other way is never a good thing; you don’t want that for yourself, either.

Do what’s good for someone, regardless of who they are, because it’s the right thing to do, and not because you can get something from that person.  In fact do the good you know you ought to do anyway without expecting anything in return.

And when you make a decision, be sure it’s consistent with who you are so that the sincerity of your actions will be unquestionable.

Categories: Ideas and Philosophy

The Danger of Manipulating People

September 20, 2015 6 comments

It’s dangerous to manipulate people to get what you want.  That should be obvious, but unfortunately for some people this still needs to be said.  It’s one thing to force people to do what you want them to do; this is probably relatively better and perhaps in a twisted sense even preferred, compared to deceiving them into doing something and disguising or calling such an act as “tactful.”

Manipulating people to do something that’s good for them would be like doing them the favor they never asked or wanted, and such comes at a negative emotional cost.  They could rebel by not appreciating the outcome and even outright rejecting what’s good for them – out of spite for you.  And you in turn would be offended for the same.

Whether it’s for their benefit or just your own, it might seem clever to get people to do what you want them to do through subtle manipulation and what-not.  But sooner or later people will find out you used them to achieve something, for the truth cannot be hidden.  And they will resent you for it even if they immensely benefited from the work you manipulated them to do, simply because nobody wants to feel abused and exploited even if the outcome is wonderful for them.

People will remember if you used them; Karma is a bitch that will find its way to make you feel the consequences of your action sooner or later.

If you want people to do something then you might as well directly ask it from them.  If they will do what you ask, then that’s good for you, and for them if it’s for their benefit, too.  If they refuse what you ask, then either look for someone else that will, or you go and do it yourself.

There are many ways to get things done without the need to resort to deceptive tactics; pursuing the latter instead shows a deficiency in creativity and morals.

Categories: Ideas and Philosophy

Tactics in Life: The Right Attitude in Facing the Stresses of Life

September 20, 2015 Leave a comment

Life is stressful – no one is exempted from this!  The harsh reality of life is that everybody gets stressed out one way or another.  Framing your perspective against the various situations in life that you find yourself in that give you stress is one such way of dealing with it.  Ultimately having the right attitude is what’s crucial to confront the difficulties that life throws your way, in order to survive and even thrive in such.

It’s important to have faith when faced with insecurities. There are many things that can mentally unhinge you and cause you to lose your sense of peace.  You may not understand why things are not going your way or happening as you expected.  But you should continue to try and put things in the right perspective and believe that these disruptions are meant to bring you to a better situation in life, even if it isn’t obvious and will take a long time before you realize the benefits of the same.

It’s crucial to keep hope alive when tempted to despair.  Things might be bad now, but they will not always be bad.  No matter how bad things are now, there’s always still some good thing going for you in this world.  Nothing lasts forever – although that applies to good things, it most certainly also applies to the bad.  Things will eventually get better, in time, because with the grace of God you can make it so.

It’s essential to persevere in love when in the midst of a lot of injustice in this world.  Hate will only breed more hate, and the vicious cycle will never end until you destroy yourself and others in the process.  Responding with love is the only way you can achieve transformation in yourself and in your particular place in this world, and truly attain lasting peace.

A strong sense of faith, hope, and love is the right attitude you need to face the stresses of life.

Above all, always trust in God that everything will work out, that everything will be alright in the end, because the best is yet to come!

Categories: Ideas and Philosophy

You’re Just a Number on My Spreadsheet

September 12, 2015 Leave a comment

For some people you’re just a number on their spreadsheet.  They have a line-item called “Human Resources,” with columns for “Performing Assets” and “Non-Performing Assets.”  And of course it’s preferable to be in the former column rather than in the latter.

For these people, the only time they will care to know a little more about your welfare is if you happen to be under the “Non-Performing Assets” column, only because whatever is affecting you is enough to the point that they’re not getting what they need from you.

Being counted under the “Performing Assets” column is all that matters to them.  They don’t care who the hell you are, what you do off the clock, or what even happens to you in your personal life.  Your family life could be dysfunctional in more ways than one.  You could be suffering from depression, financial stress, and a myriad of other things that life can burden you with.  But for as long as you’re doing your job, being reliable in giving them what they want from you, they simply don’t care.  It sounds harsh, but if you distil the idea to its core, it’s actually a form of respect.

Not caring about someone’s life beyond what you need that person for is a form of respect, albeit in a twisted sort of way, because it gives the person a sense of personal space.  You want someone who is reliable in getting the job done – nothing more, nothing less, and at the end of the day that’s the essential thing that matters anyway, to be brutally honest.  Getting involved, much less sparing a thought on what a person does outside of the scope defined for him, is an invasion of that person’s privacy in a matter of speaking, and is also a waste of one’s time.

In other words these people know it’s none of their business what you do outside of what they need from you.  For as long as you deliver what they expect from you, that’s all that matters to them.  And with that you can do as you please, or continue in your suffering – whatever, they just don’t care.

That being said, there’s also something worth saying about how one treats the people who give the service needed.  Until such time that the rise and fall of organizations are determined purely by machines, it’s up to the leaders of men to humanize the experience of the people working for them.  It’s therefore imperative for those in positions of authority to look after the best interests of the people that help make them successful in the first place.  This is not done for the sake of profitability.  This is done for the sake of being human.  If an organization is kind, then it’s because the people that run it are kind.  And done the right way, the boundaries of people’s lives don’t have to be crossed for this to happen, either.

“You’re just a number on my spreadsheet.”  It sounds harsh, because it is.  Speaking for myself, I can accept that principle applied to me.  Besides, I honestly will not care about the person applying that principle to me once I get what I need from that person, too, so I think we can call it “even.”

Categories: Ideas and Philosophy