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.
As the new year quickly approaches, I have found myself thinking about my triumphs and mistakes of the past year. It is always an interesting experience to look at your own life and make assessments on where things could have been done differently, but it is never fun to regret chances that were squandered. Looking over the past year I can honestly say that I am not dissatisfied with any of the decisions I made, however I can see areas in which more planning should have been taken into effect. The year 2015 was a year of “safety” for me, I really didn’t take as many risks as I usually do, and I found this year to be somewhat boring. I don’t necessarily think risks need to be taken to have excitement, but when things seem mundane they could represent a lack of planning. I know that most things in life cannot be planned, and that the plans of men often go awry, but when plans do go off without a hitch they usually don’t end up being boring. I have decided that while I know I can not control everything that comes my way, I will make a solid action plan for the major accomplishments I plan to see through in the year 2016. The year is nearly over and everything from the past is now firmly part of memory, the best and only thing anyone can do going forward is to make sure the mistakes of the past are not repeated and the plans of the future are well plotted out. I am eager to see the new things that 2016 will bring, hopefully my plans don’t falter and I won’t be seeing a repeat of the mistakes of yesterday in the story of tomorrow.
A pier is a disappointed bridge.
― Julian Barnes, Flaubert’s Parrot
I really enjoy this quote, it is a bit nonsensical but it gets an interesting point across if it is taken a certain way. A pier looks like an unfinished bridge, and something that is unfinished is usually a disappointment. The thing about a pier is that it was made to serve a purpose, it may not go as far as a bridge but that is because it isn’t meant to get you across the pond, it is meant to give a path to a boat. This quote can be seen in two different ways, on the one hand the pier can be a task or a goal, if you set out to complete a bridge and it ends up as a pier, then you will definitely be disappointed no mater what. On the other hand the pier can be seen as a person, we may have our aspirations to be a bridge, but if we end up as a pier we would be so disappointed that we would fail to realize that there is a greater purpose to a pier than to a bridge. A bridge has the ability to get a person or a vehicle to the other side, then its job is complete, but a pier can open up the entire world. A ship at a pier in a large enough body of water can connect to another pier that is miles away, far beyond the reaches of even the longest bridge, so even the disappointment of a pier can be much more than theof a success of a bridge. Life is full of successes and disappointments, but as long as you keep a level head and stick to the plan, even the biggest of disappointments can prove to be doorways to greater success.
Do or do not. There is no try.
This week is unofficially being known as Star Wars Week. The seventh film in the storied Star Wars franchise will be released on Thursday night, and fans have already been lining up to watch it for weeks. I plan to watch the movie this week, so I will save specific movie talk for my review later on. I want to focus today on this quote from Episode V made by Yoda. “Do or do not, there is no try,” Yoda made this phrase when Luke was asked to do something that seemed impossible, and he responded with “I’ll try.” I know this is just a movie but I have said before how much I dislike the term “at least you tried,” saying that you will try is almost acknowledging that you feel like you can’t succeed. “Do or do not,” is the best way to approach any of life’s challenges, if there is a gap to cross, do it or don’t, because trying just isn’t putting enough effort into it. When you try, you give room for failure so you make provisions for a way back to safety, not to say that planning isn’t important, but planning is part of doing. To try is a half hearted and unplanned attempt, to do is a process that is set up for completion. Nothing comes easy in life no matter how it seems, it is important to fully pursue the things that will make you happy and lead to the success you expect to receive. If you plan to get anywhere do it or don’t do it, there really can not be room for a try.
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.
Today is the first day of the last month of the year, and I have been writing this blog for over 300 days. I have learned many lessons throughout this year about myself, and though I have not really chronicled the growth I have seen in this blog, I can say that writing daily has helped me to better recognize the things that I have seen change throughout the year. I have definitely noticed that the year is much shorter than it seems, and that things can change quickly over the course of the year. If I could categorize this year into four themes for each quadrant, they would be, new beginnings, taking risks, bitter ends, and fresh starts. Not every year will go like this but as I have seen in this year, things can change rapidly so it is important to stay focused or you may find yourself stuck in a terrible season. In the beginning of the year, I decided to try a few new things, and as I went along in the year I took a few more risks here and there. The risks I took yielded varying results that at times culminated into unforeseen endings. Once I got over those “bitter ends,” I realized that life is full of endings and beginnings, and in order to continue you must always be ready to restart at something new. As I head into this final month of the year I will do what I have done all year, and that is to continue to learn, grow, and get better at whatever I am doing at the current time. Life is full of triumphs and setbacks, and the only way to make it through the setbacks is to remember the approaching triumphs and to continue moving forward.
Don’t you hate when you are thinking of a brilliant idea or topic, and it is struck down by a moment of inexplicable forgetfulness? It is very common for people to lose their train of thought, and it always seems to happen at the least opportune times. Maybe the thoughts we lose are actually the greatest ideas we can muster, or maybe it is just the fact that we can’t understand why we lost these thoughts, all I am sure of is that forgetting an idea at a time when it is needed is terrible and at times embarrassing. Even when writing, if you don’t outline your thoughts correctly, you can find yourself forgetting your place, and missing an important point. In my opinion forgetfulness is a product of mental mismanagement, what I mean by that is, if you are thinking about too many things at once, you will find yourself forgetting the task at hand. Forgetfulness happens when we are giving priority to so many things that we lose sight of what is first in line. There are many ways to fight forgetfulness, but none of these methods are very practical when it comes to standard social behavior. The human memory, much like the body, is a machine. If we want to get the most out of our memory, we have to train it and test it to make sure it is getting stronger. I know that the human memory can go with age, but as long as it has been well maintained, and it is being regularly trained, I’m sure it will be able to withstand the test of time, and the occasional mental mismanagement.
There is something that has always bothered me about the phrase, “at least you tried.” It is the ultimate false consolation prize for failing to reach a goal. I know that it is nearly impossible to succeed at everything you attempt, but I find it far less helpful to hear those words than to hear actual encouragement after a tough loss. The thing that bothers me about the phrase is the assumption that this obstacle that was being faced is too big to actually get over. This term basically denotes the notion that one has been utterly defeated. I guess I generally dislike this term because, to me, it means you will never try again, or ever be successful in that endeavor. I understand that there are certain obstacles that we are only given one chance to overcome, but with things like that I rarely ever hear the words, “at least you tried.” I respect anybody who is working towards a goal, and if they fail, I prefer to encourage them to keep going for it, or to continue working hard to get back on track. At least you tried, is not an encouraging phrase, it is actually quite disparaging when you think about it. I know I have used this term in the past, but I am committed to remove it from my vocabulary, since encouragement is the best way to help anyone through a moment of failure.
True character is revealed in the choices a human being makes under pressure – the greater the pressure, the deeper the revelation, the truer the choice to the character’s essential nature.
Pressure makes diamonds
-George S. Patton Jr
Pressure is a word that is misused in our vocabulary. When you start thinking of pressure, it’s because you’ve started to think of failure.
I honestly couldn’t choose a good quote so I decided to use three, since I find the pressure to succeed is such a huge topic of my generation. I like to believe that the most pressure occurs when we have lost touch with our goals, and the reasons we decided to try and reach them. It has been said that “nothing worth having comes easy,” and I have to admit, that this statement is truer now in my life than it ever was on paper. I have found myself constantly pushing for things that I wanted, without taking a step back and realizing how I have managed to get to the tip of the precipice of success. Every goal that I have ever chased has lead me up a row of steps but pressure seems to be a factor that has kept me from opening some of the doors. These quotes that I read this morning have actually reminded me of what goals I am chasing and why I am chasing them. The first two quotes, remind me that succeeding in the face of pressure helps build strength and character, and the final quote helps me keep the goals I have been chasing in perspective. In order to reach a goal the focus must be placed on the goal, and not the consequences of failing to reach it. When it comes to trying to do anything worth while, pressure is inevitable, but as long as the goal is kept in mind, success will never be far off. In order to reach goals the focus has to be on the benefits of success, failure is always a possibility, but in order to succeed you must avoid the idea of it. I am going to keep any thoughts of failure far from my mind and I will continue to fight through the challenges that come with chasing a goal.
I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.
I love this quote, I may have to use it as my new motto. It is never easy to create something great and the old saying goes “you can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs,” Thomas Edison was a great inventor who is celebrated for the things he accomplished, but there is little known about his failures. In order to reach the level of success that gained Edison his international notoriety, he had to go through thousands of setbacks. What makes Edison great is that he not only looked at his failures as just a minor issue, he looked at them as a learning experience, and built on each “failure” in order to reach his goal. I have to admit, there have been times in my life when I felt like I failed, and I ended up either moving on to something else or just putting plans on a shelf for an extended time. The message I gather from this quote is that every action towards a goal is worth something, often times we like to make setbacks bigger than they actually are, but from this quote and the life of Thomas Edison we can see that any misstep can be just brick in the building that is success, as long as one is willing to press on to their goals. Edison was quite the inventor, and I and the world at large will be forever grateful that he decided to reach his goals in spite of his many failures.