Please, Tell Me Your Story

June 10, 2018 Leave a comment

Learning about someone can be an eye-opening experience. It’s certainly a good reason to speak less and listen more. You’ll learn to appreciate your differences, or at least understand them a little better. It wouldn’t be surprising to realize how similar things are between you and another person, too.

We all intrinsically have this interest in each other. Thus, it’s always good to give people a chance to show you who they are. On a personal note, I find my tendency to be self-absorbed quite incredulous when there’s a world out there of people substantially more interesting than I can ever be, with better stories to tell about their lives. I have only to shut up and give them the chance to speak.

I don’t just want the short story: Tell me the long version, for I genuinely want to know. Tell me the story of your life. I want to know what lies beneath; I want to see the depth of your person by hearing the history of your life. And as you tell me about your life, I’ll also pay attention to what you’re not telling me, for such silence speaks volumes, too. In the end, I want to know you better, I want to understand you to the best that I could.

Please, tell me your story. Speak your mind freely. I’ll attentively listen. I won’t judge or mock. I’ll be patient and kind. I want to learn. I’ll have time; I have plenty of time.

I’m truly and utterly amazed at how interesting and diverse people’s lives are if you just find the time to get to know them a little better. Give people the chance to share with you their story. See what you find out. Be astounded for yourself on what you discover about another person. For all you know, in the course of finding out more about another person, you find out more about who you are, too.

Categories: Ideas and Philosophy

How to Cease Disappointing People

June 3, 2018 1 comment

Sometimes the best way to cease disappointing people is to remove one’s self from their lives. Hopefully things will get better for them when you’re no longer around. And if by then they finally realize your value, only because you’re no longer around to contribute something they never noticed or appreciated, then that’s a nice bonus. (Never noticing or appreciating your contributions is a good reason to remove yourself from their lives.)

Categories: Ideas and Philosophy

Respect My Decision

May 27, 2018 Leave a comment

If you think I’m wrong, then don’t condemn me. Instead, educate me. Convince me. Try to change my mind with strong arguments and solid evidence. Cure my ignorance by giving me knowledge and sharing your wisdom. I promise to keep an open mind; I promise to give you the chance to hear you out.

I welcome healthy debates and dissenting opinions. It’s a chance for me to learn something new. If I’m wrong, then I’ll realize it and change course accordingly. It’s also possible that such discussions would help to further validate and solidify my stand on my decisions. I’m sure it wouldn’t kill you to try and understand the story behind my opinions and decisions, too; for all you know you might also learn something new from me.

That being said please realize that you can only go so far. Realize that I’m entitled to form my opinions, even if you don’t agree with it. Respect the decisions I make for my life, even if they seem to be the “wrong” decisions – at least according to you. I’m as free as you are to walk my own path after all, even if it might actually be the wrong one, even if it’s one that leads me to Hell.

What offends me is the thought that you’d be happy if I did something you wanted me to do, on the pretext that it’s “for my own good,” but such comes at my expense. You can’t force something, even if it’s objectively good, on someone who doesn’t want it, for such just wouldn’t be truly appreciated; doing so will only breed contempt.

I know what I want to do. And even if I don’t, this is still my mistake to make, if it really is a mistake; some lessons are still best learned the hard way.

I’m sure there’s some truth in that you could do without the additional accountability of being responsible for another person’s life, especially for another person’s happiness. I’m sure you don’t want me to blame you if you insist that I do something I don’t want to do because such is supposedly what will make me happy. You don’t need that additional burden; I’m sure you have enough problems to deal with in your own life as it is. And – this might sound surprising – I know what makes me happy; I know what I need to do to make me happy. At the end of the day, I’m responsible for my own happiness, not you. Besides, God, in His love for us, respects the gift of free will that He has given to us. And you aren’t God; this doesn’t give you an excuse to interfere, and is all the more reason why you shouldn’t.

I can understand it if my decisions will negatively impact others and yourself – go ahead and fight me because of it. But if that’s not the case, then, please, give me the basic courtesy of respecting the decisions I make for my life.

It’s fine if, in good conscience, you don’t want to support me. But unless I’m doing something evil, get out of my way if you don’t want to help. Please shut-up, don’t interrupt, and back-off as I go about doing what I have to do.

Finally, you can try to stop me, or you can try to understand me. Ideally you can try to do both. But sometimes you only have the time and energy to do one. At the end of the day, I just want you to respect my decision – it’s my life to live, after all.

Categories: Ideas and Philosophy

Sour Grapes and Sweet Lemons

May 13, 2018 1 comment

Let’s have some working definitions, first:

  • Sour grapes: Pretending that one doesn’t want something, because one does not or cannot have it. The expression originated in “The Fox and the Grapes,” one of Aesop’s Fables.
  • Sweet lemons: An idiom that is roughly the inverse of “sour grapes,” though much rarer: insisting that something unpleasant is in fact desirable, especially if it was actively sought for earlier.

Sometimes I find it hard to enjoy something I finally get if I get it right after, and probably as a result of, ranting and complaining about not getting it. In such instances, the timing of finally getting what I want is just terrible: There’s that lingering, bitter after-taste of anger and stress that’s still very much in my mind. This, in a way, unfortunately negatively influences me to the point that I don’t fully enjoy finally getting what I want. The protracted animosity has a way of dampening the euphoric moment.

I’m sure I’m not the only one that experiences one of these moments.

In such cases, I think it best if there’s some time gap to help heal the wound of disappointment so that when I finally get what I want, I can enjoy it completely.

That being said, I also shouldn’t dismiss the possibility that, perhaps, not getting what I want could actually be what’s truly best for me. In this context, I shouldn’t feel that bad, or at least I could try not to feel bad anyway – instead I should just trust in God that what’s not meant for me isn’t. Never is sometimes better, even if it doesn’t feel that way, even if it isn’t immediately obvious.

Sometimes treating a situation like “sour grapes” and dealing with it as such is the lesser evil compared to dealing with it as a “sweet lemon.” Of course, like many things in life, this is easier said than done.

Categories: Ideas and Philosophy

Always in a Rush!

May 13, 2018 1 comment

Sometimes, the pace that life dictates is insane!

I loathe that a lot of things always seem to be in a rush for one reason or another. However, for better or worse, I understand why such is the case: “Death by a thousand cuts” is a real thing; stagnation in any form is the enemy. If things can be done immediately, then it should. The next thing I know, the deadline for whatever has sneaked up on me, and I’ll be rushing to complete stuff anyway. I might as well get things done right now so that such is done sooner rather than later.

I feel in this day and age, life is always in a rush to get things done — as in, like right NOW! Everyone is almost always busy doing something; there seems to be no time to have a life, or something to that effect. There’s no time to focus on any one priority to give justice to it, because everything is important and urgent all the time. And when everything is important and urgent, it’s just maddening. It’s no wonder that these days, anecdotally, a lot of people feel so tired.

As much as quick action attempts to mitigate a sense of death through inaction, consequently this means also being in a constant state of alertness. In my opinion this constant state of alertness – essentially a constant state of stress – is a form of death in itself.

The time will come when we’ll have a chance to slow down and take things easy. The reality is that, for a lot of us at the moment, such a time isn’t right now, and that’s that.

Categories: Ideas and Philosophy

Leadership: Mission, Vision, and Sense of Urgency

April 7, 2018 1 comment

Executive Presence” is crucial in leadership. Possessing this means you exude the following traits: Professional maturity, command responsibility of a situation, the drive to get things done, and a strong commitment to the same. People are confident that you will get things done, and thus you are sought after when the going gets tough.

“Executive Presence” is effectively felt and seen in a leader if he has a mission, vision, and sense of urgency.

An effective leader should have a mission in life. He has a sense of purpose. He knows what needs to happen and how he’s going to make it happen. He has a plan.

An effective leader should have a vision to work towards. He isn’t just doing things for the sake of doing things. He wants to take the organization somewhere. He has a plan to get something done because he wants to change the current situation and make it something else, essentially make it something better.

An effective leader should act on his mission to get to his vision with a sense of urgency. His mission is to achieve his vision. Ultimately all the planning and vision-building in the world is useless if there’s no immediate execution. He’s driving to get things moving along so that things get done – and it gets done now. There’s no time to wait and waste because he knows there’s no time – there always seems to be no time.

It’s said that “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” (Lao Tzu). It might take a while, but each step forward is a step in the direction to make things happen, to change things the way a leader wants to see it. Actions can’t wait – what needs to happen, needs to happen now, otherwise not making any movement now only delays achieving the end state sooner rather than later, and it risks creating an inertia that will just make things not happen at all.

A good leader has a mission, a vision, and a sense of urgency – be that kind of leader.

Categories: Ideas and Philosophy

Life by a Thousand Fixes

February 24, 2018 1 comment

There’s this idiom I heard used quite a few times this week, as an expression of exasperation of how things are progressing with work: “Death by a thousand cuts.”

The following are some descriptions of what “death by a thousand cuts” mean:

  • A failure that occurs as a result of many smaller problems. This term can also apply to a product or idea that is destroyed by too many minor changes or the failure of a plan as a result of a cumulative chain of events. [Death By A Thousand Cuts]
  • If something is suffering the death of a thousand cuts, or death by a thousand cuts, lots of small bad things are happening, none of which are fatal in themselves, but which add up to a slow and painful demise. [What does ‘Death of a thousand cuts’ mean?]
  • Creeping normality or death by a thousand cuts is the way a major change can be accepted as the normal situation if it happens slowly, in unnoticed increments, when it would be regarded as objectionable if it took place in a single step or short period. [Creeping normality]

There are bits and pieces of things that are broken here, there, and everywhere. These problems have slowly accumulated over time, and as a result are cumulatively causing a lot of stress.

In the work my team is currently doing, we’re trying to fix all of these broken pieces when and where it’s tactical to do so. Over time, we expect the cumulative effect of such fixes to make people’s lives better. Seen individually, such would be easily dismissed, just as small problems have been quietly and implicitly accepted because no one thought to immediately react and object to it. But taking things as a whole, looking at the big picture impact of such actions, one day we’ll all just be pleasantly surprised to realize that things have improved and life has gotten better. And ensuring that such stays that way is the vigilance needed to ensure we don’t ever have to go back to such “dark times.”

From suffering “death by a thousand cuts,” we’re slowly trying to move in the direction where we’ll enjoy “life by a thousand fixes.”

This concept obviously applies to life in general: Small things, whether good or bad, do add up over time.

To the extent that you can control or influence changes in your situation in life, you need to veer away from people or things that threaten and poison your emotional, mental, and physical health. You need to make the effort to cut out these people and things that infuse toxicity in your psyche. It may seem tolerable, in a manner of speaking, and you can also argue that “what doesn’t kill you will make you stronger” and so such is good to build grit and what-not – but that’s not the point. The point is you don’t deserve such in your life in the first place. Thus, if you can get rid of or at least minimize such stresses, then do so.

You need to make a conscious choice to pursue options that will be for your good, no matter how trivial it may seem. In the end the cumulative effect of such good decisions will come back for your benefit. Indeed, you reap what you sow.

One big positive change will always hugely matter, obviously. However such changes are usually difficult to do and they seldom happen for the same reason.

Small positive changes, easy to do, and done frequently, might be objectively trivial on its own. But the collective impact of these small positive changes over time sometimes end up being more truly effective and powerful in causing real, meaningful, and lasting improvements in one’s life.

This world will try to kill you in many small ways. Put such dangers in its place – out of your life. By the grace of God, take back and preserve your life by making many small fixes to make it so.

Categories: Ideas and Philosophy