One Love

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 “I don’t like it when people think I’m racist because I voted for Trump,” a friend of mine said.

It’s well known that Trump is racist. Does voting for him mean that my friend is a racist as well?

Short answer: No. Yes, he’s white. Guilt by association is a fallacy. Yet he tends to find white people boring. More on this later. My friend likes a lot of the policies Trump is making and is working toward, including the wall. The problem is that he voted for a guy who skirts the line of being a white nationalist and prefers to hang out with dictators and shuns democratic leaders.

So why am I his friend?

Short answer: He’s a good dude. Though, he and I disagree on a lot of things, we can have debates without getting emotional. Not because we’re manly men. We are. I’m free to hate on his ideas: religion, political views, prejudices against whites. But I love his toilet humor, his love of motorcycles, and his compassion. Since he has no power to make policy for this country, I’m not giving someone the ability to make stupid choices like building a wall to try and stop the illegal immigration that is happening.

When someone votes a person into power, they support that person in their entirety, whether the voter disagrees with any part of their world view or not. So my friend may not be a racist, but he put his trust into someone who is. And now that person has the ability to affect policy in a way that fits his warped world view. And if it favors some people and not others—the rich, for example—then the country suffers as a whole.

Now, I’ve heard several people making the proclamation that white people are boring. I’ve definitely made that same proclamation about FOBs. We’re completely wrong. And, yes, this is about not judging a book by its cover. Even though when it comes to books, I do. I know it’s wrong, despite being an author.

I think because my upbringing was in the San Francisco Bay Area, where diversity is a key feature, I’ve met many interesting and boring people. And what they look like rarely defined that quality. My friend grew up in a predominantly Caucasian area, so somehow that might have skewed his  perception. I tend to find people interesting if we can have cool in-depth conversations. Often times I don’t find that out until I dig a little deeper, since most people live in a very politically correct mindset, and I don’t.

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I know in parties I’ve been the boring one because I might have felt insecure for some reason and wasn’t able to let my real self out. I also know that what can make a person interesting depends on the observer. So I may want to geek out about storytelling, others may find that ghastly dull. Or I may want to talk about how The Satanic Temple is doing good work in separating church and state, and people will stare at me with despair and want to run away but doesn’t for fear of being viewed as rude. So when it comes to conversation, it takes two to tango. And it’s this fact that my friend and I get along well, despite our vastly different world views. Within that friendship, we also find a lot of things in common. And I think people are all generally this way. We all want a certain level of security, connection with others, to be happy and content, and to be at peace. If we realize this, then tribalism can be minimized. Wasn’t this what Bob Marley sang about in One Love?

Throw Your Goals Out Again!

I got a lot of comments from different sources regarding my post Throw Out Your Goals.  There were a few misconceptions that I want to cover.  First let me list some of them:

  • Goals are important to accomplish what we want
  • Brad Pitt has good genes and is lucky
  • Success is defined differently for different people
  • Just because you love something doesn't mean you'll be good at it
  • Not every one can do what they love and get paid for it

 

There were plenty more.

Let's start with defining success.  My first post never defined success.  It defined certain people's level of success but never went as far as gave it a definition.  In this post, I will remain ambiguous on the definition of success.  Because who ever commented and said success is different for different people is correct.  I know a man who thinks he's successful because he's raised healthy, intelligent children.  I know fighters who've beaten great opponents who believe their own performances were below par.  Hell...Donald Trump hates being a multi-millionaire, and only considers himself a success when he has multi-billions.

Success is much like a goal.  Once you reach it, your work, the process to attain it, doesn't stop.  If a fighter won her first fight, she doesn't stop training.  She continues to train for the next fight.  If she's won the world belt in her weight class, then she still has to continue to sharpen her skills for her first title defense.  What happens when she defends it successfully?  Celebrates?  For sure!  Beware.  There are others who are hungry for her belt.  Back to the process.  What if she loses?  Back to the process.

I love this one.  Brad Pitt has good genes and is lucky.  I'm not denying his good genes and looks.  What I do deny is his luck.  To say he was lucky is to deny the hard work he'd committed, wearing a chicken suit, working odd jobs, before he got his first major role.  Look at Steve Carrell.  He was an unknown comic for twenty years until luck struck him.  Luck?  No.  Hard work and perseverance?  Most definitely.  

And good looks was never a prerequisite for success in Hollywood.  With over a million good looking people in Los Angeles, it doesn't explain Jack Black.  Now, some find him hot.  But he's doesn't fit the traditional leading man look.

This next one is good.  You can't make a living doing what you love is a lot of people's excuse to settle for mundane jobs.  I'm not saying quit your day job, lose your house, die of starvation.  Keep your day job, but work on what you love during your free time.  John Grisham is a great example.  He was a lawyer for ten years before he wrote his first novel.  He got to the office two hours before he started his real job, wrote, then started on his case list.  The awesome thing is he published his first book.

If you don't think you can make a living doing what you love, then you won't.  Simple as that.

Think you'd suck being a parent?   You will.

Believe you can run a marathon?  Follow up with action, and you will.

Whether you think you can or can't, you're right.  Henry Ford said that.  He wanted to create a V-8 engine.  He surrounded himself with brilliant engineers. You know what they said?  Can't be done.  Ford pushed them forward, told them it was possible.  Through several failures, it was done.  Look it up.  True story.

The last one I want to tackle is:  just because you love it doesn't mean you can be good at it.  Crap.  In Malcolm Gladwell's book Outliers:  The Story of Success, he talks about mastery of skill.  He'd found one commonality among all world class musicians, artists, athletes, etc.  What is it?  Ten thousand hours of practice.  You want to be a world class anything?  Here it is, ten thousand hours of work.  That's why you gotta love the process, not the goal.  Love the process, the goal will come many times over.

Revolutionary Road Review

First off, I’ve never read the book.  But when I saw the trailer for Revolutionary Road, I knew what it was about.  I watched the movie and loved it.  I resonate with its message.  If you haven’t seen it, and you work in corporate America, go see it.  It’ll open your eyes.

I was talking to a coworker of mine, and all her friends who saw it or read the book said it was depressing.  I asked her why?  She said the ending was just so sad.  I agreed.  The question becomes why it ended like that?

Then I asked if she knew what the movie was about?  She thought for a moment.  I proceeded to tell her that the insane character in the story was the only sane person in the movie.  That I thought he was the voice of the author.  He used the words “Hopeless emptiness”.  What the insane person was referring to was corporate America, following the crowd, doing the safe thing.

My coworker then realized something.  The book and movie made everyone rethink their lives.  A huge smile grew on my face.  “That’s exactly right,” I said.  But not everyone wants to look at their lives and realize what they’re doing might not be what they want.  Why not?  Is it better to live a life of hopeless emptiness than to find something that is meaningful?

What’s the difference between working at a job that has no meaning, and a homeless person who begs for money?  You might answer, “Working people don’t have to beg for money.  They have a house, can buy their own food, go on vacations, blah blah blah.”

Please!

How many people out there, working in a job they have little passion in, yearn for the weekends?  Or are afraid of losing it, so they put in countless hours, toiling away at something they don’t like?  How many of us wake up and can’t wait to go to work?  I can safely say that 95% to 98% of the American population have no passion in their jobs.  It’s not a criticism on them.  It’s a criticism on the system.  Most people need their jobs to support themselves.  Have your day job.  But find your passion.  If money were of no concern, what would you love to do?  Paint?  Write?  Teach?  Be a world traveler?  Be physicist?  What?

Look at all the people we admire.  I mean truly admire.  People like Donald Trump, Oprah Winfrey, J.K. Rowling, Warren Buffet, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Cate Blanchett, Robin Williams, etc.  They all have one thing in common.  They’ve followed their passions.

The couple in Revolutionary Road had passion early in life.  Then they veered away from it and became unhappy, unsatisfied, following the crowd, molding themselves to be liked by others.  When they remembered and pursued their passion for life again, making the decision to move to Paris, they became enthusiastic.  They were energized.  But the character played by Leonardo Dicaprio had severe doubt and fell back to his limited ways of thinking.  And that is the true tragedy of the story.  Everything bad that happened afterward was the result.

Are you brave enough to look at your life?  To say I want something different?  To go for it?

Ask yourself this.  When you’re at work, what do you feel?  You don’t have to tell me, or anybody else.  Be honest.

Some people die at 25 and aren’t buried until 75.  –Benjamin Franklin.