It is generally known that only ten percent of an iceberg’s total mass is viewable over water, and while icebergs can sometimes seem large at the surface, they still hold much more under water. The same thing can be said about people, most times when you meet someone new, you won’t be able to know much about them until you dig deeper, but unfortunately, some people just aren’t that deep. This week I decided to try and contact an individual that I have known for some time, but we’ve never actually had a relationship. While I did get a better picture of who they are, I don’t exactly feel as though they were far off from who I thought they were. I had some misconceptions about this individual that were debunked by conversation, and others that were reinforced. The conversation basically ended with me having a better understanding of who this individual was, but also with me having no further desire to actually know more. While I did enjoy the conversation, I realized that there is little possibility for a lasting connection based on our incompatibilities. From this interaction I learned just how similar an iceberg and a person can be, we sometimes judge people before getting to know them, and while that is always the wrong way to approach, there may not always be more to see under the surface when it comes to people you get to know.
A man is called selfish not for pursuing his own good, but for neglecting his neighbor’s.
There is far too common a misconception that it is selfish to desire things, or to work hard for anything, and often times people settle for much less due to the fact that they don’t think they deserve more. Selfishness is an unlearned trait, as children we are inherently selfish, we want all of the food, all of the toys, all of the time from others. Somewhere along the way, as we are trained away from selfishness, we lose sight of self worth. I have seen many people fail to attain a goal due to the fact that they don’t want to seem selfish, while in fact they are being selfish by withholding their talents, knowledge, and contributions from society. As I have grown, I have learned that one of the quickest ways a person can be derailed from their path is by calling them selfish. If a man is working hard to support his family, and somebody ignorantly calls him a selfish workaholic, he may get discouraged and start to question the worth of his work. This quote centralizes the true theme of the idea of selfishness, and in my opinion perfectly defines it, we are not selfish for desiring to go places or do things, true selfishness is when we decide to do all of these things merely for ourselves while disregarding the lives of others. If you are working hard towards a goal, there will be times when you can not be as personable as desired, but as long as your success will lead to the success of your family and community, you are on the right track.
The way you see people is the way you treat them, and the way you treat them is what they become.
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
How often do you think about the way you treat others, and how do you determine the worth of those you see? This quote makes a bold statement, the author seems to be saying the actions of others are defined by the way they are viewed. While I don’t fully agree with the idea that a persons portrayal defines their actions, I do believe in what is called a self fulfilling prophecy. A self fulfilling prophecy is a prediction that directly or indirectly causes itself to become true, for example constantly calling somebody a “bad person” my eventually cause them to yield the behaviors of a “bad person.” I agree that treating everyone with respect will create a happier society, but in order to treat others with respect, we must try to understand others without labels. This society is bent on individuality, and unfortunately the idea of individuality always comes with the conformity that is societal labels. I like to see each person as a unique individual, but in this time of heightened personal awareness people seem to want to be unique together, which makes very little sense. The labels people make in order to define themselves often become the confines by which others use to judge them. I don’t think we will ever come to a point in which labels are no more, but I would love to see all people treated fairly. The basic gist of this quote is to treat everyone with respect, so they can in turn become respectable people, and we would all be able to live in a respectable society.
People who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do.
I have to start by saying nobody knows everything, but this quote still holds true in certain situations. I know that when I was a youngster, I was a bit of a “know it all,” I would confidently express my opinions on an issue without even considering the errors of my statements. As I have grown and learned to taper my expression, I am learning that it is extremely annoying when a person tries to chime in and even lead in a conversation that they clearly don’t understand. The expression “ignorance is bliss” comes to mind when I think about this quote, because when I was young and made an incorrect statement without correction, I would just continue to imagine I was an expert on topics I knew very little about. Now that I am much more knowledgeable on many topics, I generally prefer to correct those who are ignorantly expressing their “knowledge” before they go too far, but must people are not too keen on correction. In my opinion, the best stance to take in a discussion is a position of humility, it is easier to wisely chime in at points of knowledge than to foolishly trumpet ignorance. Everybody has witnessed a person unwittingly broadcasting their foolishness, and while it is never fun to be the person to correct them, the correction is always beneficial to the speaker and to everyone who has to partake in a conversation with them.
Over the past few months there has been a number of news reports about a flood of refugees populating European countries. While it is clear that these refugees are leaving their countries due to the damages of war, the citizens of the occupied countries are becoming quite unwelcoming. The entire continent of Europe seems to be experiencing a case of xenophobia as many people fear the idea of a coming “Islamic influence.” The refugees who have been marching through Hungary and trying to get to other EU nations, are former citizens of war torn Syria, Egypt, and other middle eastern countries, who are trying to flee the ideology wars going on in their country. Many citizens of European Union countries who don’t want to entertain the presence of these refugees due to fear are not even realizing the type of fear that comes with fleeing from a war zone. I know that many countries have reached out and decided to take on some of the refugees, but I don’t feel as though it is enough to just take them in, people need to be accepted and truly welcomed. Many of the refugees are not willing to stay in Hungary because they are trying to find a place were they can live, work, and thrive, and it seems like in Hungary they will always just be refugees. I know that many EU countries have pledged to take on and support a number of these travelers, but until they understand that these people are looking to be accepted into a new home, the refugees will continue to move until they find a peaceful place.
The world needs more genuinely nice people. Yesterday, as I was riding the subway home I witnessed an act that is quite uncommon in The City. I know that many people think New Yorkers are all callous, inconsiderate people who are only concerned with getting from point a to point b, but that is not always the case. I have to admit, I too have had reservations about how tactless New Yorkers could be, but after seeing what I saw on the train, it reminded me that we are all just humans, briefly meeting as we head to our destinations. The uncommon sight that I witnessed last night was of a man helping a complete stranger keep his balance as he stood on the train with his hands full. The train wasn’t crowded, so it wasn’t out of sheer closeness that this gentleman held this individual up, this guy actually stuck his arm out to hold the other up as the train sped, and rocked back and forth. I know a sight like this isn’t especially noteworthy, but considering the standard train interactions that I have witnessed over my many years riding the subway, this was a very welcomed change of pace. It is not hard to be helpful, but many people make it seem like a chore. When I think about this planet and about all of its inhabitants, I realize that we are best served by working together, rather than squabbling or keeping to ourselves. It all comes down to understanding the significance of a single life. I am glad that I witness this act of kindness, and I hope to see many more like it in New York. When we, as a species, can start to look at everybody as a single significant person, and not as another annoyance, I’m sure this city, this country, and even this planet will be a much more enjoyable place to live for all.
Have you ever noticed how odd it is when a stranger starts talking to you as you ride on an elevator? I have always wondered why that method of transportation has always been the “international room of quiet,” it is as though there is an unwritten rule, that if you are in the elevator you have to wait quietly until you reach your destination. I have always noticed the silence of an elevator, and I wonder how this conditioning for silence came to be part of general social behavior. Does everyone quietly contemplate their destination, do they plan out their tasks for the day, are they hoping this elevator does not fall to their demise, or am I just standing there projecting wild notions onto the minds of those I have yet to know? The only thing that is clear in the minds of those partaking in elevator travel is that you must stay silent until you reach your destination. I find it strange that we have the ability to stand so close to strangers and not utter a single word, the same behavior can be observed on the subway, but that is a special case on its own. Every once in a while, a person I am sharing an elevator trip with makes a statement about the weather, and I courteously respond for a moment, only to return to a more awkward silence than the usual fare. For whatever reason, elevators are and will always be places of silent reflection, and any attempts to break the standard silence is often met with apprehension and deeper silence. I am sure there will come a day when people can freely speak while riding an elevator, but until that time comes, I will continue to follow the elevator’s odd rules of engagement, and just keep quiet.
Rebranding is a method by which companies and people rewrite their future by changing their name or focus, and essentially erasing sections of their history. Rebranding is a marketing tactic used generally by a person or company that has failed or done something reprehensible. Major corporations are the groups that usually rebrand as their customer base is important, and it is paramount that the customers view these brands favorably. Not all rebranding is a result of negative feedback though, some rebranding is done for simplicity or better name recognition. Many famous brands such as Google, Snickers, and Pepsi, rebranded at some point, and now it would be absurd to refer to these famous products by any other name. I like to view rebranding as a company taking steps to reconnect with their customer base in a way that leads the customer to feel as though they have actually grown with the company, since it technically has only existed for a short time to the customer. Rebranding is not only used by brands and companies, recent trends have shown that public figures often rebrand themselves to shed an image. Two famous examples of rebranding done by public figures can be seen in the case of singer, Miley Cyrus, and basketball player, Metta World Peace. Miley Cyrus decided to rebrand herself as a raunchy act, dropping the wholesome country girl role she had built for herself throughout life, while Ron Artest wanted to show he was a more amiable man as he became Metta World Peace. Both of these public figures made a change in order to rewrite their history, and while it seems to be an impossibility in the Internet age, both cases have worked out almost exactly as the individuals planned, with the public all but forgetting who they used to be. Rebranding is a vital tool in any public interaction, and while it may not save a failing business, it can effectively change a brand’s history when used wisely and strategically.
Craigslist can actually be a great place to buy things from time to time. Over the past few years I have used this website to sell old electronics and purchase random items. I have rarely had any issues with using this website. The thing about successfully purchasing anything on craigslist is knowing what you want to buy and doing your research about the product. There are hundreds of people trying to pawn off their busted cars and computers on unsuspecting buyers, but if you know where to look, you can really find hidden and affordable gems. Craigslist is a site where people can sign up to buy and sell almost anything, I have personally purchased and sold computers, games, and cell phones on this site since it is fast and easy to complete a sale, but things can be dangerous. There have been recent stories of muggings and even murders connected to Craigslist, but with a few wise safety measures, all of these cases could have been avoided. The safest way to make a transaction via Craigslist is to only meet in a safe, heavily populated area. It also helps to bring a friend or a mode of transportation so you can quickly leave if necessary. Every posting and person on Craigslist isn’t legit, so it pays to make sure you are safe and not being cheated. It takes time to find a real posting on Craigslist, but if you are looking to buy something rare or for a low price, and you know how to distinguish a real seller from a fraudster, then you will definitely be happy using this site.
I am starting a series in which I will discuss some of my favorite people in history and why they made the list. I will not be ranking these people since they could all go into different categories, and it would be too difficult to accurately place them on a “favorite” scale. I currently have about four people in mind, but the list may be as large as ten individuals and even possibly a couple of groups. The first person on my list is Sir Isaac Newton, also known as the guy with the apple falling in his head. Isaac Newton revolutionized the way we look at motion and the way we look at the universe at large. Newton’s laws of motion are one of the first things we learn in physics, and a solid explanation for why our toy cars rolled down hills when we were children. It is amazing how Newton had the boldness and intelligence to make such an assertion about gravity in the era in which he lived, and the fact that his laws are still being held up and studied today it is a testament to his persistence in proving his hypothesis. Newton is one of my favorite people mainly due to his work in mathematics and science. I would consider myself as something of a “nerd,” and I was always interested in the works of Newton. While Sir Isaac is best known for the laws of motion, he actually had quite a few other interesting ideas in science, some of which didn’t pan out as well as gravity did though. Isaac Newton was truly a trailblazer in his time, and his interesting life and his informative studies have landed him on my list of favorite people in history.