I Couldn’t Give Two F**ks.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck is worth reading. I have learned many things so far, one, to choose what you will care about. You control your happiness.

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While I generally limit the amount of cursing and vulgarity on my blog, the use of the F word in this posting is purposeful. I am reading “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k” by Mark Manson and I am really enjoying it. I will admit it did take me about a chapter to adjust to his use of the F-word and other vulgarity, (because there is a bit), but I am trying to appreciate this in terms of his message. I choose to write about this today because where I am today, at this point in my life, it really is speaking to me.

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So, let’s paint the picture, I am sitting in Panera Bread working on my freelance assignment, stressing over my interview later today with a company that didn’t pick me the first time, happy I finally got a job, (a part-time retail), but knowing it isn’t enough to live on and has no benefits, worrying about finances, bombarded by emails from every retailer I shop at about sales, new fall styles, markdowns, and everything else, and just wanting to give into consumerism and go crazy but understanding that doing that will leave me in a worse financial situation and more stressed out! Oh it’s a cruel world we live in! So, as all of this (and more) is weighing me down, I am also trying to remember what I read from Manson last night.

To this point in the text, I have been faced to think about how I am always wishing I had something that I don’t have. for instance, more money, more work, more clothes, a certain car, a different dwelling somewhere nicer, etc. All of these wants and wishes subconsciously tell us that we are not good enough, we have not achieved enough, and that we are failing. We train our brains to think this way, we come to believe this and we are unhappy, overworked, stressed out, and we suffer, EVERY SINGLE DAY. Manson implores us to turn that on its head and only “give a f**k” about certain things. We are constantly bombarded with these trigger things and generally we simply react, but he says we decide whether or not to let it bother us. He talks about how when we are having a bad day, we go to social media and we see all these pictures from people who have f’ing perfect/amazing lives and we are pushed even further into our bad mood because we are convinced that we are having a worse off day than we actually are. Instead of just having a bad day and looking forward to tomorrow, we look at other people’s lives today and are convinced that we can never have a life like that and therefore, all of our days are bad days in comparison.

Damn, I don’t know about you, but that is a depressing concept to me. Lately I have been trying to remind myself how blessed I am despite all of the crap I am dealing with. In reality, I am not in danger of starving or being homeless. Worse case, I can break my lease and move back home or to my grandparent’s house. But I don’t have to do that because my parents are able to help and provide what I can’t come up with right now. I had the ability to go to an amazing university despite FAFSA not covering much. I have a car to get around, I can walk, talk and see. My family loves me and isn’t abusive. They are generally supportive. I have a great number of friends through Junior League, I am able to attend Junior League Southwest Conference next month, and I am in good health. There are many more things to be thankful for that I could list, but I think you get the point. So why do I still worry about what I don’t have?

Manson says that not giving a f**k, as he encourages us to do, is not actually being indifferent about everything, it is about being indifferent to the things that don’t matter. Those new fall arrivals at LOFT that I am not buying, they don’t matter. The new markdowns at Kendra Scott, those won’t help me be happy with myself. These are difficult concepts for me because shopping and buying makes me happy. But when you can’t do that, but you do anyways, remorse hits you hard. It’s a self-depreciating cycle.

My goal for today is to just give a f**k about what actually matters. I give a f**k about my freelance assignment, my interview this evening, and my safety on the road. Otherwise, I will ignore the emails that aren’t from a specific person, commercials that want me to buy something, and other’s actions that are infuriating, (like the a-hole who will inevitably cut me off sometime today :D). I encourage you to do something similar. Even if all you can do is choose two things today to ignore, to not give a f**k about. Life can be an amazing experience, so let’s focus on our own lives and figure out how we can be content so we can spread that contented feeling!

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Ah, the elusive confidence

You can create your own confidence. It does not have to scary or elusive. You have the tools, you are your best you and you can have the faith in yourself!

Confidence, what is it? Where does it come from? Who is to say whether I really have it, or I don’t really have it? It is an internal concept that people can see from the outside. Or they think they can. I had a conversation with a friend today and it made me think about confidence. I want to share these thoughts so they may help you.

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I was bullied throughout school. In elementary school it was because I was more physically mature than the other girls my age. In middle school, I am not sure why, but this girl decided she did not like me and she did everything she could to be cruel, including trying to have me jumped. She went to my high school as well and I feel like she was constantly trying to show she could do whatever I could. So, in middle school, I decided if people weren’t going to like me for no reason, I was going to give them many reasons to not like me. In high school, I began umpiring and I spent my money (pretty good money too) on clothes. I wore new stuff all the time. I drove, I snuck off campus for lunch, and I did my best at the sports I played. I was in ASB and I was an IB student. I tried to look like I had it all together and not a care in the world. I wanted to appear “Confident as F**k” (as the saying goes), so they might back off. I thought if they didn’t have the satisfaction of seeing me upset they would just go away. Obviously, that is never the case. Bullies are bullies because they dislike themselves, not you. But I didn’t know that.

Through doing all of this, I actually pushed nice people away and ended up with almost no friends and a really rough high school experience. And I ended up with a shopping addiction to cope with all that junk in my mind that I masked with this “super confident” facade. This was so bad that I couldn’t even tell people I would be going to a community college after high school. I was too ashamed that I couldn’t get into a 4-year university, (due to a bad counsellor and a lack of fine-arts units), and even worse, that I might not be ready for a four-year university.

So, last night I had an in-home jewelry party. While I was setting up, I kept telling myself that I need to social, I can’t be shy, I need to talk and mingle, I can’t be shy about my jewelry, the brand, why I love it, second guess the pricing, etc. My friend said he didn’t understand my lack of confidence because time and time again I have proven that I thrive in these social environments, that I am capable of selling in a conversational form and that I know my product, the brand and the reason why it is worth it. And he is right, the party was a tremendous success and the ladies were super excited to place orders. Once I started socializing, the rest just happened naturally. And I knew this would be the case, so why was I nervous? Did I really lack the confidence?

Confidence is defined as “the state of feeling certain about the truth of something.” By this definition, I suppose I wasn’t truly confident in the possible outcome of the party. I knew there were many different factors at play and that many different outcomes were possible. All I could do is be me, be knowledgeable and be friendly! But I did not feel truly certain. I think there are many things that we face on a daily basis that we are not truly confident about. We can have complete faith in ourselves, but lack it in others and that will affect our confidence in a situation depending on others.

In high school, I seemed like I had this confidence in myself, but I was constantly doubting myself because I was bullied. It is really hard to believe you are beautiful and awesome and smart and successful when people are telling you that you aren’t. But, ultimately, that confidence does have to come from inside of you. If I had portrayed an uncertain persona yesterday, been shy and not knowledgeable and helpful, I doubt the evening would have been a success. It was a success because I was these things. I started the night faking it but it quickly became the truth as the others believed that I was confident. And I was quickly able to truly feel that confidence as well.

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I encourage you to think about things you know about yourself to be true. What about you gives you faith in yourself? That is your source of confidence. It doesn’t hurt to surround yourself with things that lead you to feel confident either. I wore a necklace yesterday that I got a couple of compliments on before the party while I was going through my day. That helped me feel great. A great blouse, feeling 5lbs. lighter, a great hair day, or a new pair of power pumps can help us feel great about ourselves. When we feel great about ourselves, we walk straighter, we smile more, and people believe we are confident. In turn, we feel confident. This feeling isn’t built overnight, but it is inspired daily. So, what do you feel confident about? What faith do you have in yourself? Channel that, wear your favorite dress, and go kick some butt!

 

Emotional Intelligence

Travis Bradbury, author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0 discusses the importance of EQ and how to improve upon it. Studies show that those with higher EQ’s are more successful than those who score lower.

Emotional Intelligence is something I have heard about and knew enough about to seek out a test to see how I stacked up. I did this a little while ago simply because I like tests and I like to know what my “number” is in relation to others. Call it a method of self-measurement. Luckily, I score high in both IQ and EQ, so knowing my numbers means I get to stick a metaphorical feather in my cap and feel good about myself. I know, sounds terrible, but don’t lie, you do it too.

Anyways, at the TEDxUCIrvine conference I went to this past weekend, a gentleman I follow on LinkedIn was one of the speakers. Travis Bradbury quoted Luc de Clapiers, Marquis de Vauvenargues in the beginning of his talk, “Emotions have taught mankind to reason.” He used this quote to frame his talk, so let’s analyze it.

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Emotions, well, we all know what those are. Our feelings, but are they filtered by reason? Emotions are in the base of the brain. They travel from the base of the brain and move up through the limbic system. Basically, (I am not an expert here, just relaying info as I heard it), emotions hit our brain unfettered by reason or experience. Our brain gets the raw emotion, that is then transferred to the front of our brain where reason clouds the raw emotion and creates a filtered and hopefully, appropriate response to the stimulus that caused the emotion. And all of this is subconscious.We do not play an active role in this.

Next let’s look at the word taught, simple past tense in this form. It means to impart knowledge or skill. Interesting when linked with the word emotion which definitely seems to be out of our control if our brain is processing and filtering our emotions subconsciously.

Next we have reason. Reasoning is thinking about something with the experience and knowledge to lead us to make assumptions and determinations. Again, interesting how something so far outside of our conscious control can teach us to reason. It would me more apt to say that reason is taught through the accumulation of knowledge and critical thinking.

After looking at the keywords in the quote, the meaning behind it becomes complicated. This ability to reason stems from the experiences we have throughout our lives nd the knowledge we accumulate. We can therefore benefit from emotions because they exercise our brain’s ability to apply the knowledgeand experience in order to filter the emotion adequately so our response is acceptable by societal standards. But how does this develop? And how does this relate to EQ scores?

Bradbury talked about how our EQ can be improved by managing aspects of our life such as stress, sleep hygiene, and our caffeine intake. Sleep is the most important factor, as we know, because it gives our body and brain time to reenergize and clean all the gunk out that builds up throughout the day. The more tired we are, the less likely we are to filter our emotions fully and we tend to have emotional outbursts. But there is also stress levels that affect us. Again, when we are at our wits end with stress, we tend to have emotional outbursts.

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So it makes sense that EQ is our response to emotional stimulus from people and our surroundings. The most intelligent person in the world may not be able to accurately read the emotion of their coworkers and might therefore, seem out of touch with people’s emotions and ostracize themselves. If we can understand other people’s emotions, we become more caring and compassionate human beings and are often moved to positions of leadership because we can manage people. All of this requires an openness to others and a desire to understand our fellow humans. Without this, we cannot hope to be able to understand and relate to others.

Read more about Emotional Intelligence by picking up on of Travis Bradbury’s books. More information can be found on his LinkedIn.

What a Novel Idea

Change can open your eyes to the time you have wasted being unhappy. But, if you realize it, you can change it and follow your heart.

I have always dreamed of writing a novel. And making the decision to be serious about this blog and follow my love of writing to where it can lead me is apart of that. That being said, I have been dreaming of a story and have seen it all play out in my mind and today I took the first step. I began putting it on paper.

I busted out several pages and am going to continue to build this book. I am also working on my blogging skills and knowledge. I am very excited for this journey and I hope you all will continue to follow and join me as I continue to build myself.

And I also want to say, it took me leaving a job I disliked to realize that I was a heart shaped person fueled by love and curiosity trying to fit myself into a square space. However, I wasn’t willing to minimize my abilities and my desire to learn and be successful in order to fit into the square they wanted me to be.  And you shouldn’t either. I am happy to be dedicating myself to my blog, and now my book, while I look for a position that allows me to use my creativity and my love of words. You should also not be afraid to follow your heart and do what you love to do. It is never too late to change direction and try something different.

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You and Success

I had the pleasure of attending a training for Junior League of Riverside this afternoon where the illustrious Vicki Clark spoke to us about organization and how to see projects through to fruition. Although I learned a great deal that will lead to successful futures for League members, I found what she had to say about Leadership and Success to be extremely advantageous. She spoke about how to view success through alternate perspectives and touched on how media is training us to view success in certain ways – for instance, basing success on money and possessions.

So, what should we base our successes on? Is success really something that can be represented by the amount of money in a bank account? The designer labels we wear on our backs? Our shoes, purses, and what shopping bags we carry around when we are at the mall? Social media has opened up a new world for the younger generations and it has caused us to be hyper aware of our “successes.” There are countless studies about how people who post everything on social media are likely sociopaths. But, does this mean that everyone who posts on social media feels this?

Personally, I post random things on my social media. I don’t plan posts and I don’t post an overwhelming amount of selfies. However, when I have a great workout or I am spending an awesome day at Fashion Island, I like to post those things. In other words, I suppose I am saying that my social media profiles are more representative of what is contributing to my happiness or what I am doing while happy.

Bringing this back to the question of what is success… For me, success is the ability to do things. I feel successful when I can spend a day reading, at the mall, the beach or Disneyland. These things remind me of the quality of life I am working for. Although we all struggle from time to time, I am happy that I have generally been in a decent position for someone my age. Yes, I struggle with the repercussions of poor financial decisions in the youth,  but I have made sure that I have the means to continue to grow and become more successful.

So what is success? I suppose, I think of successes as the crossing of goals off my list. I would like to get back to Europe and see countries I have yet to visit. If I come to a place in my life where that would be feasible, that would be a success for me. Marriage, having children – those things would be successes as well. Growing in my professional career, completing my first text, publishing, making friends, all of those things would be successes for me. But keeping that in mind, I have to remember that certain success comes with time and experience. We can’t all be a Kardashian or a young pop star. Success usually comes from working hard and putting in the time to gain the experience and the knowledge that is necessary to grow within ourselves. This might even mean that our goals, and therefore, our eventual successes will adapt to our growth. And that, to me, is a success in of itself. That you can understand that you have grown and your desires have changed as well.

Yes, I wish I was rolling in money and could have everything I could possibly want and never have to think about whether I can afford to spend money. It would certainly make life easier not having to be concerned with bills and the cost of living. But, ultimately, where is the joy in that? If you can have everything you want, those things begin to lose their value. Success is ultimately a feeling. A feeling about how you are doing at this stage in your life. The people we follow on social media that help us to feel inadequate are just in a different stage of their lives, their careers, hobbies or values. We shouldn’t rely on other people, our bank accounts, cars or sneakers to determine whether or not we are successful. We should allow our personal feelings of success to guide us and help us to feel free enough to enjoy where we are currently. Focusing on how successful (or not) you will be in 5, 10, or 15 years inhibits you from enjoying any success you have attained now.

So, my advice: Be happy! Enjoy the ability to buy a latte today. The fact that you can go to dinner and a movie tonight. Not everyone has the ability to do the things we may take for granted. I can’t buy Gucci tennis shoes but I can buy Nikes. That is a success. And, if I do purchase Gucci tennis shoes someday, I will know that I worked hard and I attained many levels of success on my way to that. But the shoes won’t represent that success, the personal joy I had along the way doing the things I could do, will be representative of my success. 25_quotes_about_success_18

An Elephant in the Sky…

… Is how I feel sometimes.

Symbolically, the phrase means many things to me. Sometimes, I feel like a big bulky elephant, (but usually only after a Jack in the Box binge). Generally, however, I don’t seem to fit in with my generation. I find forty and fifty year olds to be more relatable. Yet, I still struggle with the constant fear that they only see me as a twenty somethin’ year old girl. I find forging relations and establishing connections in my life, both physical and emotional, to be extremely difficult. But by no means am I an introvert. Like an elephant, I reside on the Earth for what seems like millennia, showing the tides of time in every part of my being but remaining steadfast and unwavering. While time flies by, it also stands still, like clouds in the sky…

This Break-out Blogging Gig

I oftentimes wonder how many of these blogs are started up by feverous writers only to be left abandoned in cyber space, alone and in desperate need of a metaphorical dusting. In beginning this blog, am I destined to join those millions of writers who thought they had a thought in their head that the world would want ample access to? I wonder if I am not wasting my time sitting here, writing for the sake of it. Writing to find a way through the tangled rose bush vines that are the never ending thoughts in my mind.

I was encouraged to begin this blogging stage of my life by my parents and one very agreeable waiter on a celebratory evening in a very interesting restaurant. Despite my fears that my blog will go unnoticed by everyone and lack interest for anyone, I am beginning one anyways. My mother declared that writing a blog isn’t for the audience to read, but rather for the writer to self medicate and to truly see themselves.

There is truth to this theory. We write in journals, dictate our lives in “Dear Diary” format and dream in fictional prose brought to life by our imaginations simply to help ourselves through the sticky parts of our lives. We often lack the courage to express our feelings and to say the things we want to say to those who affect us in ways we don’t understand. Often times, I find I lack the sense of conviction needed to really accomplish anything of any value. So, here I am. I am throwing myself into this blog. As I go back to school next week, begin my Chloe and Isabel merchandising adventure, and continue with my new promotion at work, I hope I can touch at least one person. I hope someone learns something, gains the courage to say something, or sees themselves in a new way, even if that person is me.