Monday, September 21, 2009

What Better Time Than Now?

At this moment you are the oldest you've ever been and the youngest you'll ever be.

You have the most knowledge, experience and wisdom than you have had at any moment in your life.

You have the most youthful energy, optimism and drive than you will ever have.

It is the perfect time to use this combination of experience and energy to do something great.

It doesn't have to be a huge, complicated task. If you want to lose weight, go for a jog. If you love writing, start a blog. If you don't know what you want to do, think about it.

The hardest part to doing anything is just getting starting.

There will never be a better time than now.

Photo: John Morgan

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Your Political Views Are Not Right

While I have not touched on politics in this blog, I work in the industry and it is a great interest of mine. Politics does not necessary fall under the self improvement category, but good public policy can improve the lives of many. (At least that is how I am justifying writing about it.)

This is not a political blog so I am not going to get into a deep conversation about the nuances of various public policy. (Whew.)

Instead I will offer a few political-related self improvement tips:
  • Your political views are not right. Your friends opposing views are not right either. My views are not right. They are all just snap shot judgments of reality from a particular view at a particular time. If the solutions to the worlds problems were that easy they probably would already be solved. Advancing public policy and voting on elected officials makes these judgments necessary, but it does not make them right. Additionally, your views will change as you get older. If they don't you probably are not thinking about this stuff enough.
  • Intolerance makes you look like an idiot. Intolerance to the views of others is one of the biggest hurdles to solving problems and collectively moving forward. I do not think people understand how ignorant they look when they know they have it right and everyone else has it wrong.
  • Be more critical of your own views. Mark Twain: "In religion and politics, people's beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second hand, and without examination." Having the same political views as your parents does not make them right or wrong. But it should make you wonder.
  • Don't be ambivalent. Being ambivalent to the whole process is the easiest way out. You do not have to think about the different problems and views and political bickering. But turning a blind eye to problems does not make them go away. It only exacerbates them if enough people do it.
An overly idealistic view that I still hold is that solving problems should transcend political parties and ideologies. Striving to understand the views of others and working with them better allows us to reach the common goal of making this world a better place. We have a lot riding on us.

Photo: woodleywonderworks

Sunday, September 6, 2009

I'm Too Busy

I'm too busy. I have way too much stuff going on. I have a job that requires long hours. I am planning a wedding. I just cannot do it all.

This is how I started letting myself think. I have been pretty busy lately and just started thinking, maybe I just do not have time to write blog posts, or work out or go on romantic dates.

How ridiculous are these thoughts? Everyone is busy. We all have a lot going on. I am 23. I have the least amount of responsibility that I am going to have until I am retired. Think about it. The least amount of responsibility for decades.

I need to take advantage of this time. I am starting to realize that if you do not have the time now you will not have the time later.

We never truly realize how well we have it until after the fact. Wait until you have a kid. Or two kids. And a job with longs hours. And t-ball. And...well you get the picture.

It may seem like you are too busy to go and conquer a goal or do something you really want. There is time, you just have to make it.

Here are a few ways to make enough time for the things you love:
  • Stop spending so much time doing things you do not care about. We all do it. Sometimes it is easy to waste a whole evening watching bad TV shows or surfing through pictures of people you do not even know on facebook.
  • Sleep a little less. This one is hard for me. I love sleeping. I love getting 8 (or more) hours of sleep. I am starting to realize that it is not necessary. Get up early in the morning and stay up. Make some time for yourself.
  • Learn to say no. This is important. You are not obligated to do something just because someone asks. (Unless its your soon-to-be-wife.)
  • Do things that are important to you. It is easy to get wrapped up in our daily routines and forget about the things that are important to us. Think about the things that are important to you and make sure you are spending enough time doing them.
  • Get to it.
Photo: Michel Filion