Complicating thing.(s)

I got into an argument with my girlfriend the other day.

I enjoy a good argument.

I enjoy pitting ideas against each other to see what/whose ideas are more “true”

During said argument, she mentioned that smart people have a tendency to over-complicate things. And, she noted wryly “you’re very smart”.

I thought (quietly and to myself) that perhaps she tried to make things a bit too simple.

The argument passed like a spring storm in the tropics.

The next day, however, I pondered her accusation. I thought about the immense amount of reading I did before I took action. I thought about the pages of to-do lists that I create just to knock out a couple of things on them. I thought about the year-end/beginning goal list that I create and what my percentage of completion is for them.

She might be on to something.

The day after this realization was a bit clearer and less stressful.

I was less focused on the future and creating plans for the next 12 months. Instead I focused on what I could accomplish this week. I felt a significant change in my stress levels. Instead of trying to conquer the world, I just needed to conquer my week.

And none of the tasks on my weekly to-do list required superhuman levels of discipline. Just a bit more follow-through.

The other thing that happened is I started to think about how many goals I’ve added to my to-do list because I felt like I should. How I “felt” I should be making more money, but I wondered if I actually wanted to work harder, or was it just what everyone tells me I should be doing.

More money would be nice.

But so would more time to think, write, and exercise.

In fact, I think that more thinking, writing, and exercising would make me significantly happier than another 5-10k.

Today was a calm day. Not a elon-musk-level-productive day. But a conscious day. A happy day. A introspective but relaxed day.

I look forward to more thinking and less over-complicating.

To just being,

OFO

 

 

 

 

Control.

One of the recurring themes of my life has been remembering to let go.

I’m a planner by nurture. A childhood where so much was out of my control + learning that I could have an effect on outcomes by being assertive means I like to be able to be in control a majority of the time.

This is great for workplace goals; terrible for deep lasting relationships.

A boon for financial planning; Not so useful when you’re trying to learn to trust God and create abundance.

There is this paradox in life where the primary skills for entry into the game require control and careful planning but in order to really flourish you must practice things that are almost diametrically opposed.

I see this most clearly in romantic relationships.

In order to attract a partner you must present well – be well groomed, have social capital and understand social norms, have a job that promises financial stability, etc. Most of these skills require discipline, planning, long-term focus, and exercising control.

However, In order to be able to grow into a good partner/spouse – you must also be able to vulnerable, trust your person to be willing to make decisions that have your best interest, in mind, learn how be hurt and forgive, and be willing to take large leaps of faith, etc.

Most of the latter skills seem to me to be somewhat in opposition to the primary skills. Maybe this is the way that life is set up to ensure that we are constantly growing.

Regardless, I wrote today.

Fly or fall.

OFO

 

 

Consistent.

I turn 35 this year.

The past 34 years have been mostly- blessed. Statistically and qualitatively I’d say I’ve probably won the lottery in at least a couple different realms. However, one thing that I’ve never been really great at – and possibly as a consequence one reason I’ve never been really GREAT is consistency. As the seconds gather behind me, I can’t help but notice  the importance of perseverance, grit, and stick-to-it-ness.

I’m sure I can’t renovate my whole life in 30 days. But I’m going to try to start with one habit that hopefully will spread to other areas of my life.

I’m going to try to be consistent in writing.

I enjoy writing.

I enjoy thinking and looking for new ways to look at the world and how I’m moving through it.

I know I need to improve my consistency. I’m hoping this will be the vehicle. My posts may not make sense, they may be random, and repetitive, but I’m hoping they will teach me and keep me accountable as I journey toward a better self.

Hopefully this bleed into ..my fitness, my finances, and my relationships.

For now, these words will have to do.

OFO

Relationships & Responsibility

 

Being in a relationship can sometimes be an eye-opening experience.

At it’s base level there is  a element of two realities clashing. The way one person see’s the world is interacting on a day-to-day level with the way the other person sees the world.

Toothpaste squeezed from the top is neither good or bad.

However, in one person’s reality – it’s a major offense. For the other partner – it’s not even noticeable.

What one partner doesn’t notice, the other partner is disturbed by and given enough occurrences this partner then potentially considers ending the whole relationship.

How do you fix the discrepancies?

“Communication” is key they say.

But what about when the differences are more than skin deep or trivial practicalities. What about when differences are cultural, or things that you were raised with?

Sometimes it’s not until your years-deep in a relationship that you realize that you and your partner have some fundamental differences in the way that you view the world.

If you can’t agree on what the world looks like, how can you navigate it together?

“Can two walk together, except they are agreed?” – Amos 3:3

Relationships can also make you question the validity of your own feelings. Are you unhappy because of a history of independence and not being used to having to compromise? In which case you should probably learn to be uncomfortable until you remember how to sacrifice.

Or is this a real red-flag that is trying to save you from hurt feelings and wasted time down the road?

When emotions are inflamed/involved, how are you supposed to know what is real and what isn’t?

Is there a person who I can’t possibly leave?

Looking back there were definitely people who it hurt me to leave.

When I’m not given enough alone time, I overwhelmingly feel relief when the opportunity to not hang out comes up.

Maybe its because of my attachment styles.

Because I’m of the avoidant attachment category, I require large amounts of free time otherwise I end up feeling smothered.

One way to reclaim responsibility for my happiness is to ask for and make space for myself. To a allow other people the opportunity to respond to my requests and sacrifice for me.

If I need alone time, communicate and take it.

Visualize and think about what you want from a relationship, week to week, day to day and what the most successful relationships in your past felt like. What do you need? What do you want? where can you not compromise?

Fly or Fall,

OFO

“The Best Thing I’ve done all Week..”

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This week I got the opportunity to volunteer at a local church during vacation bible school. This was an all week vacation bible school that allowed parents a break and was targeted at both at-risk youth and neighborhood children.

I was only able to volunteer two days out of the five day camp but a couple hours into the first day I was texting a friend and telling her that this was the “best thing I had done all week”.  I meant it. I had spent the previous part of the week working at two different hospitals,  and while I enjoyed helping patients via my day to day activities, I felt a totally different type of reward from this.

The kids ranged in age from 4 year olds to 4th graders. And I loved them all.

We had bad kids (who weren’t really bad) but who had parents who didn’t reinforce boundaries or teach discipline and it really put my life into perspective. The bad kids were the kids that I was drawn to, because often they are victims of circumstance. Their parents were not prepared – financially, emotionally, or mentally for the responsiblity of having children. As a result the children suffer. They are stuck in a situation outside of their choosing and having to learn the rules for societies and success that their parents may never have entered.

It all got me to to thinking about my current focus. A little less than a month ago I stumbled upon a discovery that will save me a good sum of money every month, with no extra work, but just by making a couple adjustments to my student loan payment plan. That one adjustment will save me near the amount of money that I was hoping to gain from buying an investment property and be able to leave my second job.

I read a bible verse today that brought me up short.

Lord, help me to realize how brief my time on earth will be. Help me to know that I am here but for a moment more. My whole lifetime is no longer than my hand! Proud man! Frail as Breath! A shadow! And all his busy rushing ends in nothing. He heaps up riches for someone else to spend. And so, Lord, my only hope is in you.” – Psalm 39: 4-7

 

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The last couple of days have had me reflecting more and more about my purpose and legacy. One of the reasons for my creating a huge board of exciting life goals for this year was the realization that saving money wasn’t going to significantly increase my happiness and in fact, too much saving was making me miserable.

Thinking about how I’m investing my time now and ways that I can invest more time into the areas of my life bring me more happiness is the overall goal. If I can invest my time into children and change the trajectory of even one child then I’m sure I’d gain more satisfaction from that than owning another property. I’m also certain that If God wants me to own another investment property he will make a way for it to happen.

So, what’s the path forward? I’m not sure.

I’m tempted to think that the path forward is to

  1. Quit the second job.
  2. Become more efficient with my mornings (stick to a miracle morning 5x week)
  3. Volunteer with student (YBM’s) at Church or other volunteer organization.

But I’m not sure. I hope the road will make itself plain going forward.

FOF, OFO

[*The Appearance of] Integrity

Integrity

A couple of years ago I think I was listening to a sermon by Andy Stanley, where he was talking about the definition of “Integrity”.

I hadn’t taken time to really ever think of Integrity and had assigned it some definition related to virtue and being a person of upstanding person hood.

That is definitely one possible definition.

However, for some reason, this definition didn’t resonate with me. Probably because I’ve run into too many examples of human frailty parading itself as the epitome of moral idealism.  For me, the most interesting (and perhaps attainable) definition was that of wholeness.

Wholeness. Being undivided. Being one.

That to me, resonates, as both achievable for the average human being and yet more  challenging than one would sometimes suspect.

This had been a particular struggle for me. When I was younger I made some decisions that I wasn’t always proud of; sometimes I still struggle with shame and feelings of not being worthy. As a result I had some puzzle pieces of my life that weren’t given quite the same amount of sunlight that I gave to other parts of my life.

How do I integrate the parts of my life that I’m not super proud of? How do I love all parts of me. Even the young, foolish parts? The parts that have burdened me with regrets or responsibilities I couldn’t quite shoulder at the time? How do I move toward a whole Me?

Answering these questions has been the work of the last couple years. I’ve made some progress but I find that there are always new challenges on the road to integration.

One of the areas that I often wonder about is Social Media. How do I use social media to face my fears of being transparent? Do I exhibit my scars, or just expose them when asked? Is social media the place for my soul baring? Isn’t it just a curated presentation of our best selves?

..Just musing..

OFO

Too much Me.

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Dominican Republic

The pursuit of Happiness. A inalienable right in America.

For most of my adult life, I’ve been on a safari for the perfect cocktail of life events, people, and places to create a life that would bolus happiness straight into my veins.

Because I started the son of immigrant parents, I tried to fix the glaring holes first. I remember the pain of wanting certain experiences and knowing that I wouldn’t even ask because my parents were already under financial pressure.

Staring at Bruce Lee and David Carradine and wishing that I could learn martial arts and be safe and able to protect the people I loved. I remember seeing the looks in my parents eyes when they had to say no to my repeated requests.

These feelings morphed into a focus on fixing my financial status and chasing financial freedom. I spent a good portion of my 20s chasing overtime, looking for investments, and saving for rainy days. Even today, I can feel the panic approaching if my bank account drops too much in too short a time period. These feelings were/are not wrong. They were survival skills. They are the fuel for my ambition. They have kept me pushing at times when I didn’t want to continue.

However, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve noticed the falling utility and joy that I’ve found in material success.  Past a certain point, each dollar saved has had less and less of an impact on my happiness. In my early thirties I started to allow myself to demand more utility from my money, and try to use my money to create the experiences and life that I dream of.

I started to realize that money in the bank is practically useless with regards to my happiness.

For a long time, I’d confused the need for safety/financial stability and happiness. It wasn’t’ until I came face to face with my unhappiness and started to ask myself “why so sad batman?” that I was able to unearth some of the issues surrounding money that were affecting me.

But you’ve heard that from me before.

What I’ve newly realized is that too much thinking about the future and the worries that come bundled with trying to plan the un-plannable can lead to unnecessary anxiety.

I’m coming to see that sometimes the best thing I can do for myself is just let go and chase the illogical. To reach for the thing that turns me on.

I’m also starting to see that focusing too much on what I want can be a recipe for disaster. Thinking too much about why “I” must have “my” way is terrible for overall happiness. I’m learning to let go of my desire to be in control and to have my way.

Too much introspection is dangerous. Too much self-focus can lead to unhappiness. Instead .. in these moments I’m learning to see if I can find a way to give some of myself away. To help someone else.

“Who can I be of service to” is the question I must remind myself to ask when I start being to navel-gazey.

FOF,

OFO