Changing My Attitude Towards What I Consume

Today I just want to highlight 3 blog posts that I read from TK Coleman's Blog. If not for future reference, I'm also doing this to cement them in my mind by spending some time writing and thinking about them.

  1. How to Get Around Bodyguards and Make It to the Top Part I
  2. How to Get Around Bodyguards and Make It to the Top Part II
  3. How to Get Around Bodyguards and Make It to the Top Part III

I feel the need to save those words because I want to remember what I think is an important lesson. And I just can't say it any better myself.

I used to waste my time looking for flaws in things rather than ignoring them or extracting the value I could get out of them. For example, I've criticized movies or shows for being "anti-capitalist propaganda," I've dismissed thinkers for having (in my opinion) the wrong conclusion on a certain issue, I've laughed off quotes for not being applicable to every situation etc.

Those little reservations were guarding valuable truths, and I have been too skeptical to get through them. 

From now on I am going to choose to see everything I consume as an opportunity to learn and become a better version of myself.  Anything that doesn't have the capacity to do that for me (I'm looking at you, politics) I will simply discard from my life. 

How To Raise Happy Children

How To Raise Happy Children

If I asked parents what is the number one thing they want for their children, I bet most of them would say happiness. Some may have a roundabout way of saying it, for example they may say they want them to have a nice career or a spouse and kids, but that's because they think those achievements will lead to happiness. Either way you can boil it down to parents want their kids to have a happy and fulfilling life.

Despite the fact that this is their goal, a lot of parents end up failing at helping their kids attain happiness. Why is that? Well I think for most cases the answer is simple: the parents aren't happy themselves. This is a classic case of the blind leading the blind.

If you can't figure out how to be happy how the hell can you figure out how to make another human happy? You know yourself better than your kid after all. 

Children can tell if you are not happy, and so they know where your guidance will lead to if they follow it - it will lead to your life. So if you don't seem happy the rational thing to do is to not listen to you. I believe this is why kids become rebellious when they grow up. You simply don't have valid authority. They know that you are bullshitting when you promise them a great life if only they do what you say, and you'd be surprised how young they catch on.

I know that true happiness is hard to attain, especially if you don't have guidance from happy people. I don't yet have an answer for how to attain it for myself except that it has a lot to do with freedom. I also know about what doesn't work and one of those things is letting myself be controlled by, let alone listen to people that aren't happy themselves, whether they be my parents, school teachers or society as a whole.

I think it is crucial for any aspiring parent to find the answer for themselves before a child shows up. That is if they want said child to be happy.

Why It’s Wrong To Lie To Kids About Santa

Why It’s Wrong To Lie To Kids About Santa

I think it's safe to say that most parents use Santa as a way to manipulate their children's behavior. It's something that is deeply embedded in the Santa mythology. As declared in the famous song, "he knows if you've been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake."

It's basically Santa lore 101 - the first thing you explain to your kid is that he brings presents ONLY to the good boys and girls.

How many parents do you think have threatened their kids by saying "do you want me to call Santa and tell him not to come this year?" I'm willing to say most parents who adopt the lie have reminded their kids of Santa's little rule to get them to do what they want.

In my case, I was told that how good I was is proportional to how great the presents will be. I stressed so much over this and it made the times when I made mistakes or failed to comply so much more painful.

This Santa lie is perpetuating the control of kids. It's even easier to control kids using this lie since the idea that this magical experience might not happen is a lot more powerful than being sent to their room. 

It also lets the parent dump the responsibility of being the person to emotionally harm their child, since they can say to the child, "It's not me who is threatening you of not bringing presents if you don't do what I say - it's Santa."

And forget about the immediate psychological stress that this made-up threat brings to the child. What's more harmful is the behaviorism that's involved. It's creating adults who seek external approval instead of internal, which is a recipe for an unhappy life. 

This post was inspired by the latest discussion from Praxis Philosophy Nights. It was an excellent discussion with great arguments for and against the practice of lying to kids about Santa.

The Dangers Of Determinism

The Dangers Of Determinism

In the world of philosophy, there is a huge debate between determinism and free will. The former says that our actions are determined by our past while the latter says that our actions can be chosen freely. 

I have nowhere near the amount of knowledge and wisdom to say which one is right. What I will say is that it would behoove us to act as if we did have full free will, even if it isn't true. 

That's because belief in determinism usually leads to inaction. Even though they may not know it, some people invoke determinism as an excuse to not improve their lives. You can see this with how they deflect personal responsibility: They may say "I was just raised this way" or "I couldn't get it done because of this other person."

That may be true - and it may actually be important to be aware of those causes - but what is more important is what you're going to do about it. 

Another problem with people that believe in determinism is that they fundamentally don't believe they can choose to change. Instead they wait for "the universe" to tell them when it's time for a change. They usually wait until they get a big health scare to start exercising or they wait until they get into a car crash to start driving more responsibly. Sometimes it may be too late.

Imagine how much better it would be if those people knew they could change their bad habit before a defining moment?

What we need to do, if we want to improve our lives, is to act as if we have full and unfettered free will.

People Love To Criticize

Just go to any comments section of any piece of work and you'll find someone saying how they don't like it. This is true of even the most beloved pieces of work that have stood the test of time. Just think of your favorite book, movie or song and I can immediately find you someone that is unimpressed by it.

I mention this because it's important to know that criticism is something no one person who wants to do great things can avoid. Anything that you will create will be bad to at least one other person, so there's no point in trying to avoid it. 

Remember that most people who criticize don't know what it's like to have created something they deeply care about. If they did, then they would empathize with the creator and refrain from writing that unproductive or mean-spirited comment. 

Those kind of people aren't the ones you want to listen to anyway, so just ignore them. And think of them as a symbol that you are putting something that matters out in the world. 

This post was inspired by this awesome post by T.K. Coleman.

The Importance of Clear Communication

I think nearly all of the world's problems wouldn't exist in the first place if everyone was able to perfectly communicate and interpret each other's thoughts and feelings accurately. Language barriers, misinterpretations, presupposed narratives, a lacking vocabulary, all contribute to most, if not all conflicts. Just look at almost any movie (especially romantic movies) - most of the problems in them could easily have been prevented if people just talked to each other properly. 

I think good communication skills are often the determining factor of whether a relationship is doomed to fail or not. I've seen firsthand how relationships slowly deteriorate because of a deficiency in communication skills. That includes some of my own relationships with my Spanish speaking family. Although I do speak Spanish, my vocabulary is not complex enough for me to be able to properly say what I mean. 

Not being able to speak my mind is one of my biggest fears. To me, it is a personal hell to live a life where you're never fully understood. This is why I admire authors and public speakers. They are able to express themselves the way that they want to, or at least to a better degree than the average person. Getting to that level is something I strive to do. This is a huge reason for why I'm blogging. Practice makes perfect.

Thoughts On Lady Bird (Movie Review)

Thoughts On Lady Bird (Movie Review)

Yesterday I got the chance to see the movie Lady Bird. Like pretty much everyone else, I loved it. I don't usually watch a movie twice but in this case, I'm sure I'll make an exception. I feel the need to talk about this movie because I'm sure what I got out of it is very different than what most people got out of it.

From the reviews that I saw, most people say that this movie is mainly about a struggling relationship between a mother and a daughter. From my perspective, this movie is about a young girl filled with creativity and passion who's parents, school and society in general tries to undermine her full potential. Of course, like with any great movie, it is more complex than that, but this is what I view as the main point.

Here's the trailer:

It was almost physically painful to watch all of the mistakes that her mom and her school made. Evident by the fact that she gave herself her own weird name, Lady Bird was a radical individualist. Tragically, the world around her was trying to get her to conform. 

Just imagine if this girl was unschooled. If she could pursue her passions and fully experiment with her level of creativity from the beginning without being distracted by years of compulsory schooling and parental coercion, imagine where she'd be at 18!

Lady Bird wanted to blossom and do extraordinary things with her life but she was given a lot of restrictions. Of course, one of those restrictions was lack of money, which is part of reality, but there were many more unnecessary ones. For example, her mom had a habit of imposing limiting beliefs on her by telling her she isn't good enough. That's either because she didn't believe in her daughter or because she didn't want her daughter to move far away from her. I think it was a little bit of both.

One of the more heartbreaking scenes was when her mother said "I want you to be the very best version of yourself that you could be" and she replied, "what if this is the best version?" I know this may not have been what the writer intended, but this exchange of words perfectly shows one of the biggest mistakes that the mother made: she didn't accept her daughter for who she was. She didn't love her unconditionally, something that is crucial for children to flourish. Well maybe she did but she just didn't realize that her actions didn't show it. That makes it all the more tragic.

So yeah, those are some things that I got from the movie.

Patience Really Is Everything

Patience Really Is Everything

The ability to delay gratification, or patience, is one of the most valuable qualities a person could have. Especially when it comes to endeavors that take years before seeing rewards. For example, it is needed to become a doctor, write a book, learn a new language, loose weight etc.

Patience is a prerequisite for doing anything great.

Patience is what differentiates successful business owners and not-so-successful ones. That's because if you try to get as much money as possible as soon as possible, you are not focusing on what you should be focusing on, which is to build a solid foundation that will make your company last.

Patience does not come easy to me.

I became hyper-aware of this fact ever since I started my project, which was an affiliate website. With this site, I have struggled to do the things that don't get immediate results but are crucial for the long term success of the site.

Namely, I have neglected the fact that I should fill the site with interest pieces. Those are articles that don't make money directly but make the site as a whole more interesting and trustworthy. Such value is harder to see and more delayed. But it is very important for any website to have that in order for it to survive long-term.

The reason why it's not that easy to just go for the long term benefits is because of my scarcity mindset. I think 'if I don't take the money now, I may not get any at all in the future because some sort of disruption may occur in the market.' 

While those may be legitimate fears, I shouldn't put too much weight in them. Besides, I know that the people that are most successful are the ones that are strong enough to not take the money. 

Patience is very important if I want to be successful with anything. So right now I'm doing everything I can to strengthen that muscle. 

Tip On How To Better Yourself: Hang Out With People Better Than You

You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. – Jim Rohn

This quote explains so much. It explains why I was so unambitious and unassertive in my highschool years. I only hung out with those type of people.

I can't say this was intentional but I later stopped hanging out with those friends completely. The bad thing is that I didn't spend time with new people, so I more or less stayed the same.

It wasn't until this year that I finally latched onto new people - ambitious and assertive people. I'm really starting to see a change in me as a result. This blog is proof of it, since it wouldn't exist if I didn't see those people doing it.

Another piece of evidence is how much better a runner I am as a direct result of running with people that are way better than me.

For better or for worse, attitudes are contagious, which is why it's crucial to be around the people with the attitude you want for yourself.  

Now that I've experienced it, there is no denying that you can shape who you are and what you become by changing the people you choose to spend your time with. 

You Don’t Need Permission To Get Started

Most schools and parents do a huge disservice to kids. Whether implicitly or explicitly, they tell them to look for permission from authority figures before doing what they want. Anything from going to the bathroom to studying what they really want to study. This creates young adults who wait for other people to tell them when they're ready to do something. 

As a result there are college students waiting to get a certificate before creating anything. They think they need to get an English degree before writing for the public or a Business degree before starting their own business.  

Stop waiting to be "qualified" - you can take action now. The only permission you need is from yourself. This is something I wish I knew when I was younger.