Month: August 2012

The Truth is Knocking

We all try desperately to make sense of the world. We’re frantically seeking patterns and shoving pieces together in an effort to complete the puzzle that represents our lives.

Unfortunately, almost all of us have a self-centered view of reality. It’s not that we’re selfish, sometimes. It is merely how our perception works. It’s not such a hard leap to understand why a few thousand years ago we believed we were the center of the universe.

“The truth knocks on the door and you say, “Go away, I’m looking for the truth,” and so it goes away. Puzzling.” – Robert M. Pirsig

Our consciousness is based inside our bodies looking out from our eyes and experiencing the world through our human form. It makes logical sense to think in a very self-centered style because that is how you experience the world. It takes a stronger will to expand your character beyond the confines of your vantage point.

Your friends and family members matter more to you than a perfect stranger. This is once again because of how your cone of attention works. You expand outwards through family, friends, acquaintances and strangers. There is a great difficulty in expanding beyond this bubble because our little world is so fragile in our eyes. It’s all a giant house of cards ready to fall apart because only the pieces in our world matter. It’s not true, but try convincing yourselves of that.

“Hello Darkness, my old friend, I’ve come to talk with you again.” ~ Simon and Garfunkel – Sound of Silence

We’re all part of that darkness that Simon and Garfunkel sing about. We all do our part in a failure to communicate with our fellow humans. Whether it’s racism, sexism, classism, the Internet or any of the other barriers we’ve set between ourselves. The only truth that is self-evident is that many things we separately believe are truths are in fact only beliefs.

There is a difference. You may believe in God, but it is not necessarily a truth that God exists.  You have faith, it’s great that you believe in something greater than yourself and that you will be rewarded for being good in this life. You may believe that you are going to Heaven because you’re a good Christian, but God might not agree. Once again, not necessarily a truth. I know a lot of people who refer to themselves as Christians only because they attend church on Sundays and they are in for a rude awaking if God turns out to be a truth.

Bear in mind, I’m not picking on Christians here. I’m using them as an example. Insert your deity’s name, final destination and rules for better living here. They’re all beliefs and they are all equally valid as beliefs. However, many wars began because these individual ideas are confused with truths.

So what are truths?

Truths are facts that hold their value once they have left your bubble of reality and permeate throughout human culture. Think about that for a moment. How many truths can there possibly be that circumnavigate the globe despite our many different cultures and belief systems?

So, I ask that you take a moment of humility and think about this for a while, what is really true?


Social Media and the Gladys Kravitz Syndrome

Recently, I have fallen victim to a personal belief of mine. It is has always been my belief that when it came to Social Media there was nothing wrong with being yourself and putting it out there. This is true to a certain degree. You must also accept the consequences that stem from conflicts where others may not agree with your thoughts, lifestyle or even simply misunderstand your intentions.


Gladys Kravitz Syndrome: In the sitcom, Bewitched, the Stephens lived across the street from Gladys Kratvitz. Gladys was the quintessential nosey neighbor. Gladys was sure that something was up with the Stephens and more than a few times blew situations way out of proportion. Gladys didn’t understand the Stephens and that lead to many comical exchanges.

Does a lack of understanding excuse the Gladys Kravitz’s of the world for causing trouble because they don’t understand a situation and the separation between work and personal life?

That’s part of the difficulty of generating content. What makes perfect sense to you as you write it may not make sense in the same way to the next person.  After all, they are merely deciphering your words into their understanding of their inherent meaning it stands to reason some things can get lost in translation. You can be a most careful editor and still leave some ambiguity on the table.

A Gladys Kravitz assumes the worst. Ambiguity can be dangerous. If there’s room for interpretation your social media posts can lead someone to believe something entirely untrue. Take for example a recent post I made on Facebook: I love you fortune cookie. “A good position and comfortable salary will be yours. Keep eating.” This is a stretch but this could be misconstrued as I’m not happy with the job I’m currently in or that my salary isn’t adequate.

Social media can be dangerous.  I have just over 200 people friended on Facebook. There comprise my family, friends, former professors, former and present co-workers and members of the Rotary Club of Indianapolis.  Any of these groups could spawn a Gladys Kravitz to cause trouble for me.  It could happen to anyone. If someone decides to talk to my boss about my very public commentary it could impact my relationship with my job, especially if the person is dead wrong. It’s not just jobs but reputations could be harmed if information is handled improperly.

Are you a Gladys Kravitz? If you don’t understand something that has been said or posted and you take it upon yourself to make wild assumptions about the posted items, then you could be a suffering from Gladys Kravitz Syndrome. What’s the cure?

Social media is meant to be a conversation! I’m posting things with the hope of engagement, wider discussion, growth and intelligent discourse. You’re defeating that purpose if you choose not to participate in the conversation with me to increase our collective understanding.  You should participate in the discussion, if you want to know the reasoning behind a post or you disagree please feel free to email and start the discourse. I’m always open to questions. I began writing this post in an effort to say maybe I needed to be more guarded in what I put out there but upon following this train of thought I think we all need to be better about conversation.

Don’t be a Gladys Kravitz! Converse!

You Need a To Don’t List

Those of us with an excess of things to do almost invariably end up generating a ‘To Do” list in an effort to keep things straight. I imagine there aren’t many of you that actually generate a To Don’t list. It’s great that we remind ourselves to complete our tasks. But what about those habits, tics, mistakes and general issues that prevent us from experiencing the width of life along with the length?

So how do you provide for your expenses and fulfill your passion? You first have to accept one very simple fact. It does not matter how hard you work you can never get it all done. You have to prioritize and get to the important things. Sometimes that will be your job and other times it will be your life. You can have many jobs but you only get one shot at this life.

Your To Do list and your To Don’t list should be joined at the hip.  They are the most inseparable of friends despite being enemies in their goals. If your To Do list is wild, imaginative, ambitious and driven then your To Don’t list should be responsible, practical, grounding, or perhaps a culmination of lessons learned.

Here’s why I find this idea to be compelling:

  • We find obligation in a “To Do” list and in most cases obligations become resentments.
  • We do a good job of not thinking about the changes we wish to make in ourselves.
  • We need a reminder to avoid destructive patterns.
  • Writing anything down helps commit the thought to memory.
  • Stop thinking about it and just do it.

What belongs on a To Don’t list?

That’s where you come in. This list is going to be different for every person. This list speaks to your personality, interests, values and desires. You know the items when you think about them. “I wish I wouldn’t…”, ”I wish I were…”,  “I need to stop doing…”, etc. These thoughts are the core of your list.

What about the things you’ve learned along the way? Those lessons learned the hard way. You have undoubtedly learned much in your life and many of those items make great To Don’t list items. The list can be as short or as long as you need it to be.

Sharing your list

While it’s not necessary to share your “To Don’t” list with anyone, it can certainly be helpful to have someone to hold you accountable. Especially when items on your list are the embodiment of self-imposed roadblocks you put in front of yourself.

My To Don’t List? (I expect the question sooner or later)

  • Do not be satisfied with mediocrity when you are capable of being the best.
  • Do not allow your creative ideas to carry with them doubts.
  • Do not stop short of creating because you’re afraid of how your ideas will be received.
  • Do not create for them… create for yourself the only person who matters to your creation. Without you, your creation might never exist.
  • Do not sell yourself short. You have a unique skillset that many people would love to have.
  • Do not put off doing that which is important to you.
  • Do not avoid making your own needs a priority.
  • Do not be so selfless that you lose track of self.
  • Do not go more than a week without writing.

Do you have a To Don’t list already or did you just make one?

What’s on it?