Optimism and pessimism

It turns out you are neither always one or the other.

Context matters.

You can be optimistic that your football team is going to win but pessimistic about healthcare reform.

What makes someone optimistic then?

Optimistic people believe in more possibilities. They believe the world can be a better place and that people are doing the best they can.

It’s hard to stay optimistic all the time (and to be pessimistic too). Much like the moon, you are either waxing or waning.

Impulsive

Have you ever been so mad that you wanted to quit your job on the spot or wanted to tell your child exactly what’s on your mind?

We all have.

Here is a good rule of thumb to follow: Wait 48 hours before you say anything.

Why 48 hours? Because you will feel different then from how you feel right now.

Sure, it’s possible to feel frustrated after 48 hours but this gives you the appropriate amount of time to move from reacting to responding to a situation.

The thing is, the person you are going to war against is probably not ready to hear from you either.

Don’t underestimate the importance of a cooling-off period.

I’m convinced the world and the people within it are not conspiring maliciously for your demise but rather it is incompetence and fear that gets in the way of so much of what we seek to change.

When we can shed the narrative of, “they’re wrong” a bunch of things can begin to open up.

Pastiche

Quentin Tarantino, one of the most important writers and directors of this generation, didn’t learn how to make movies at school. He was never taught how to properly make a film. In fact, he was a video store clerk and taught himself by just watching a lot of films.

One technique that Tarantino is famous for is pastiche. Pastiche is when an artist imitates and celebrates another artist from a previous generation.

Except with Tarantino, he openly admits that he is stealing ideas or scenes from every film he has ever watched.

Tarantino understands an important lesson about creating. That is:

All great artists steal from other artists. 

You will never come up with an original idea. Ever. At this point, it has all been done before. Anything you can think of has had a movie or a song or a blog written about it.

Instead, you can honor previous work by mixing and mashing ideas together while putting your own twist on how you see them.

That is what something original looks like now. You improve not create out of thin air.

Housing prices continue to climb

And if you were at the right place, at the right time, with the right combination of assets and even the right foresight, you might be reaping the rewards of acquiring an asset that has gone up in value in terms of dollars of cents.

However…

You haven’t done anything important.

Having wealth is not the same as doing something that matters.

It’s easy to fool yourself into thinking that your net worth increasing each month means you are contributing to something great.

Two places at once?

It’s hard to enjoy a movie when you’re busy checking your email.

Difficult to focus on what your spouse is saying when you’re checking Facebook messages.

It turns out that we are terrible doing two things at the same time.

That when we are at work and thinking about our family or at home thinking about work, we are not very effective at doing either.

The simple answer then is to just be present where you are. When you’re at work, be at work. At home, be at home.

We can’t half do things. Choose to be all in or all out.

There is no correlation that spending more time on something makes us more productive.

We don’t have time to do things, but somehow, we find a way to do it twice. Think about it.

Lighten the load

The problem with a full closet isn’t that you need a bigger closet.

No, the problem is the amount of time it takes to sort out your clothes.

And to do the laundry.

And the time it takes to try different outfits on.

And the mental and emotional energy to pick.

It weighs heavy on the mind to have to make these types of decisions every day.

The more decisions you make the quality of decision making goes down.

Because you don’t have unlimited capacity to make decisions.

Of course, we are still not talking about clothes and closets.

Bills, spam, text messages, pings, notifications, what to watch on Netflix…all of it takes a toll.

Why do you Steve Jobs only chose one outfit to wear?

It’s worth noting: All interruptions are urgent. But urgent isn’t always important.

The therapeutic decision

It’s easy to run a cost/benefit analysis in terms of dollars and cents.

Or by time, energy and effort…

But what about basing your decisions by a therapeutic one.

Not how long this will take or what do I get out of this.

No, by weighing in how much this decision will help someone grow.

Despite how long it will take. Despite how much it will cost.

It’s a choice: How much do you care and to matter to someone?

Who’s in charge here?

When there’s credit to go around, it is easy to pick yourself. Much harder, however, when there is blame going around.

Which is why we hesitate.

What if I get in trouble for something they did/didn’t do?

Being in charge isn’t about a title or badge or a paycheck but about accepting the responsibility of others.

Unfortunately, too many of us will happily give it away.

Decide then to take charge. Because…

Most of the time, you will be right to assume so.

It’s worth noting, the person who was in charge of inventing a ship also invented the shipwreck.

What do you want?

Most of us don’t actually know what it is we actually want.

So, we begin to look around and rely on others to tell us what it is we are supposed to want.

Status, artifacts, symbols…

Over time, we accumulate some of this stuff but learn that isn’t what makes us happy.

And because we still don’t know what we want, we haven’t committed to anything that will create the conditions that we say we want—to make our promises and commitments become a reality.

If you were to make a list of things that actually make you happy. You’ll find that the majority is spent with other people doing remarkable things and solving interesting problems.

You don’t need money to be happy.