What a difference a year can make. About a year ago, I decided to write a blog post daily. While it has not always been easy to think up topics, I have definitely learned and expanded my interests during this exercise. I am not sure if I will continue this blog next year or start a new one, but I will definitely continue writing. Often times people wonder about tomorrow, but they never actually think about how long it takes to actually get to tomorrow. Our days can be broken down into hours, minutes, and seconds, and with each second we have a chance to make a change that we want to see for tomorrow. In order to make the future we want to see tomorrow, we must take a minute to begin working on the hour that will become the day of tomorrow. Each day of this year, as short as they seemed, added up to make the year that we are currently ending. As I look back on this year, I can see plans that blossomed well and others that fizzled out, and I have realized that the only difference between the two is the time that was put into preparation and execution. The plans that turned out well were well prepared and the others were thrown together foolishly. In the year 2016, I am going to make sure that I use the time that I have much more wisely, every second counts and I will treat every second like a fraction of my day rather than time to be wasted. This year went by quickly, as does every year, but that is no reason to let another second pass on working towards your goals and dreams. I am excited for this new year, not because it is new, but because I get another year to grow and improve the world that I live in. Happy New Year everyone! Thanks for reading along throughout the year.
The NFL is split into eight divisions, and every year each of these divisions is required to crown a champion. It is a given that the best team in the division will have earned the right to host a playoff game, but with the state of the NFC East, it is not only difficult, but also absurd to label any of the four teams a champion. The NFC East currently has three teams tied for first place, and the forth team is only one game back, that seems reasonable until you realize that all four of these teams have more losses than wins this season. The NFC East has been plagued with poor play and damaging injuries, and while some teams have managed to play relatively solid football, huge mistakes have cost this division many crucial games. I personally have a stake in the outcome of this division because my favorite team, the Giants, happens to be mired in the mess of “contenders” for the title. The Giants are quite possibly the most frustrating team in the NFL, as they have lost five games this season while holding a lead within the last 72 seconds. I understand that anything is possible when it comes to sports, but the NFC East has given football fans all over America a reason to shut off their televisions in disgust. The football season is winding down, and as this awful division fights feebly to decide a champion, all of the other NFL teams and fans will be left with the realization that a team with a losing record will be awarded with home field advantage for at least one game in the playoffs.
It is important to surround yourself with people who have a higher expectations of you than you are willing to realize. Often times in life, people form impressions and expectations about others, and these expectations will generally drive all of their future interactions with an individual. A bad first impression and low expectations of an individual can damage a relationship before it even begins, but it also has to be said that having high expectations of a person can also have adverse effects on a relationship. I wouldn’t say thinking too highly of someone is as bad as having low expectations of them, but I would say that having high expectations leads to a higher chance of disappointment. In the case of surrounding yourself with people who expect much from you, it is extremely beneficial to growth and success. If you respect an individual and they hold you to a high standard, you are much more willing to try to live up to that standard in order to avoid disappointing the individual. A valued person has the ability to push their loved ones to better themselves by merely holding them to a high standard. On the other hand, if you are given low expectations by a respected individual, the respect won’t last long. Low expectations are not always a matter of malice, since some project their low expectations of themselves onto others, but whenever a person is faced with external low expectations it almost always seems disrespectful. Even though it is not always intentional, low expectations should be avoided like the plague. It is important to make and keep friends that will hold you in high esteem, and desire for you to continue growing. It is not easy to break friendships, but if a friend expects little of you, and doesn’t understand why that is a problem, then they most likely don’t deserve to be your friend.
Racism is a belief that all people of a certain ethnicity fall into the same role, or are essentially the same. Racist people usually have negative beliefs about those who are different from them, and they allow their lives to revolve around that false belief as truth. It is sad to realize and hard to believe for some, but racism is heavily engrained into society today, it doesn’t really matter where or how but there seems to be no escape from the occasional run in with racism. I can admit that growing up as a child and even as an adult I have encountered racism, but I have never allowed it to have any type of lasting or even poignant effect on my life. In the grand scope of things racism is pretty insignificant, if someone can generalize an entire group based on a false belief, then they are not worth the time it takes to deal with their problems. Not to say that racism can’t be at times hurtful, but I have grown to treat it as the foolishness that it is, you don’t feed foolishness, you ignore it or treat it as it deserves to be treated. It is far too often often these days that people seem to take two extremely polarizing stances on racism, they either think it doesn’t exist, or they think it controls everything, but it is rare that people understand that it is there and actually take time to get around it. I understand that in some places on this planet, racism is so bad that it can be almost debilitating, but I am confident that there is always a way to free yourself from the confines of a terrible situation or belief. It is sad that in the age we live, people still hold on to such foolish beliefs about others, but I am sure that someday soon racism will be a thing of the past.
The retirement of legendary athletes, such as Kobe Bryant and Derek Jeter was inevitable, and while athletes of the past have generally faded into obscurity, these two are dead set on keeping their names in sports. Once Derek Jeter retired he created a publication that is basically an open forum for athletes to voice their opinions and beliefs directly to fans. The Player’s Tribune, gives professional athletes unlimited space to speak on whatever topic they feel is important, but as we have seen with Twitter, that is not always a great idea. So far little controversy has come from the Tribune, but since players now have their own forum to address fans, they are starting to lock out sports media. The lockout of sports writers is in effect is taking a massive toll on what we consider legitimate writing, and giving rise to sites like TMZ. What was once a case of a reporter walking up to an athlete and asking a question has now been reduced to tabloids speculating on what players do with their nightlife, and this is all due to the fact that some of these athletes have become too pompous to speak to a reporter. I am not fully on the side of reporters because they can sometimes create a story that is not there, but when athletes make a reporters job difficult, sometimes the only way to get a story is to make one up. I understand the idea behind The Player’s Tribune, and now that it is being backed by both Derek Jeter and Kobe, it will get more publicity, but I think athletes should be careful about locking out reporters. Reporters may have a reputation to uphold, but when they start losing their jobs to a player run site, they may start using some underhanded tactics to break that big story nobody should have heard about.
The day after thanksgiving is known simply as “Black Friday,” it was traditionally the day when Christmas shopping was so prevalent that retailers finally made a profit or got their finances “in the black” for the year. These days Black Friday has become a day of huge sales and major discounts, so it has led to mobs of unruly shoppers and almost unbearable holiday hours for retail employees. I believe that the holidays are a time to spend with family so I have always been against stores opening on Thanksgiving, but as a frugal shopper, I love to take advantage of some of the available deals of the day. I have never waited in a line or rushed a store for a sale, but stopping into a shop and grabbing a chance deal is always great during the day. Many retailers have been trying for years to use this day to drive revenue while ensuring the safety of their shoppers, and while lines and lotteries have helped avert tragic events of the past, people are still too violent and aggressive these days. Shopping should not be a stressful or dangerous event, and holiday shopping should be about buying something special for your loved ones and not a sale. This year’s Black Friday has already been filled with stories of fights and mobs, and since I don’t plan on ever finding myself in a situation in which I have to fight for a tv, I think I will keep my major purchases to “Cyber Monday” sales.
With modern advancements in technology, it is no longer a question of if you can do something on your mobile device, but when. In just a mere eight years, mobile phones have gone from being a luxury device to an everyday companion to over a billion people around the world. I once worked with mobile phones and I have to admit there were several things I believed would never make it to a mobile device, and today I can proudly list the top 5 things I thought would never be doable on a smartphone.
1. Order and Pay for Takeout
I am still getting used to no longer having to dial up Pete down the street when I am hungry for some pizza, but apps like Grubhub and Seamless have made ordering delivery or takeout as simple as a few taps on a screen. I have to admit I never thought my clumsy old blackberry would be able to deliver my lunch, but now we are possibly a couple of years away from it being able to control my entire kitchen.
2. Hail a Cab
Catching a cab in New York City can at times be stressful, but apps like Uber and Lyft have cut out the waiting and given customers like myself a personal car service in the palm of our hands. Now we are able to sit inside our warm offices as we wait for our ride home.
3. Pay for Purchases
There is absolutely nothing better than running out to the store with only your keys and your phone in your hand. Apple Pay has made shopping hassle free and has all but eliminated the need for a wallet.
4. Find a date
I am not big on online dating, but for those who are, smartphones have become a reliable wingman. Apps like Plenty of Fish and Tinder have become a one stop shop for singles looking to meet someone special, and they can both be used without stepping a foot out of the door. I bet you never thought your phone could help you find a wedding date.
5. Travel the World
Apps like Periscope and Meerkat have made our world closer than it has ever been. I am now able to travel to the Pyramids of Egypt without buying a plane ticket. Nothing beats the real thing, but it is amazing that our phones are able to take us to such far away locations at a moments notice.
It is very important to take risks from time to time. There is no safety in a “sure thing,” because as many people have learned throughout time, a failed sure thing can often lead to more disappointment than a risk. Taking a risk is always hard, and those who take risks are always doubted, but the success of one risk can make up for the failures of a million tries. I like to liken risk taking to a basketball game, the higher the risk of the shot the greater the reward, but a failed “easy” shot yields the same result as a failed three pointer. In my opinion, the best way to consider risk taking is to remember that the outcome of failure is no different, but the reward of success is much more splendid. To be honest, I feel as though I have taken far too few risks in my life. I know that I have not been around that long, but I have had my fair share of failures, and it seems like my failures have pushed me to “play it safe” far too often. Playing it safe can still get you where you want to be, but taking risks is what makes life a bit more colorful. I will most definitely be taking more risks in the near future. I know that it is impossible to plan out risks that will be taken, but if you try and take several “calculated risks” per year, you will find yourself extremely satisfied with the results of your successes.
Many people consider gaming to be a dead hobby these days, but with millions of dollars coming into companies such as EA and Ubisoft, the gaming market is ripe for the plucking. We are decades past the days of Frogger and Pong yet Microsoft, a relatively young player in the gaming world, has managed to make this old hobby seem new again. While companies like Nintendo and Sony have kept true to their decade long sales model, Microsoft is in the midst of doing what former CEO Bill Gates never wanted done. The company has now begun blurring the lines between the PC and the video game console. With game streaming additions to Window 10, and web browsing available on gaming consoles, it looks as though Microsoft is tuning their gaming console into a home PC. Bill Gates feared the possibility that the gaming console would replace the home PC, but with the decline of new adoption for both gaming consoles and Windows PCs, this blurring of the lines seems to be the most viable option for the financial future of the company. The Xbox One is actually making me, a heavy Apple user, consider going back to a Windows PC, at least for my home desktop in order to partake in the integration. If Microsoft wants to compete with Apple, they must continue to embrace the change that is cross platform functionality, and dive fully into it. I don’t think PCs will ever lose popularity in the corporate sector, but when it comes to personal use, the Xbox One may be the PC world’s final stand against the impending threat of Android and iOS devices.
Is it actually possible to explain how unique or creative you are in a mere 150 character statement? Many companies now ask this question in their applications and it seems to be a growing trend. I imagine these companies want to know how quickly their potential employees can think on their feet, but it could also just mean Twitter has taken over job applications now. I understand that this question could just be a test of how well potential employees deliver an elevator pitch, but it seems like recruiting teams are paying more and more attention to the answers to this blurb. I always have trouble figuring out what to write in these tiny boxes, I wonder if I should try and be funny, professional, or just plain silly, and I often come away with the idea to do an odd mix of all three. I guess the correct answer to the “what makes you unique” question depends on the company that is asking the question. I am a huge proponent of learning the culture of a company before you apply, if you understand the way a company thinks, it is easy to answer the way they would, in order to legitimately catch their eye. Limiting a unique description of yourself to 150 characters may seem like a daunting task, but if you can keep it simple, I’m sure you will be able to handle whatever tasks the job entails.