Living the Standard Life

Now we know to appreciate my traits as an individual and to be grateful for others’ gifts and talents. We know too that we shouldn’t compare myself with my neighbour or it will cause us unnecessary, unwanted stress. Our neighbour is our neighbour and we are ourself. Yet we’ve also learned that we can learn certain good traits from them, observe and apply what we’ve seen to add to ourself so we can be a better version of ourself according to a personal ideal. Today I want to address that concept of an ideal self – also known as a standard.

If you read all the posts I’ve written in the last week in the worst possible context you would probably come out with the conclusion that you are perfect as you are and don’t require change. As the author of the posts I’ll let you know that wasn’t my intention. You are wonderful and you should not allow yourself to be stressed out or condemn yourself for past actions or undesirable traits you possess. Instead, come to an appreciation of who you are and develop an ideal that will spur you on to achieve personal growth. If your goal was to become the world’s best assassin, look at information about assassins, compile a list of the traits that you want to attain and start planning practical methods you can practise to achieve that dream. If you check the name of this blog you’ll know I don’t advocate for such I just wanted to choose an example that you probably haven’t encountered this month.

Christians look to Jesus as an ideal. Believer or not, it makes a lot of sense as he preached and practised loving one’s neighbour as one loves oneself. That statement alone is an ideal that one can live up to for the rest of their life. If you aren’t a very loving person and decide to live by this ideal, you’ll be forced to develop loving attributes. The same applies if your ideal is an incredibly hard worker, an avid reader or a world-renowned communicator. Having an ideal that is or was a real life person is good in that you know it is achievable. It is also limiting in that person may have had traits that you would not like to associate with (they are human after all) and that may stunt your belief in the great traits they have. In comes the idea of ‘ideal agglomeration’ where you come up with a mishmash of traits from people you would consider role models in the areas of life you want to be exceptional in. This is the next level of what we have been talking about. This becomes your ‘Life Standard’ and is something you move towards all your life. It should seem almost impossible to achieve so that you keep growing. If you achieve the landmarks, well done and keep going… maybe  you too will be someone’s ideal role model for something and in that you would have impacted their life positively. That’s what this page is all about.

With that we conclude that comparison series. Tomorrow we enter into the series ‘Individuality’ starting with ‘Singleness Is Underrated’.

Doomsday: The Ultimate Role Model

In this, the penultimate post of my Comparison series I would like to address a trait sometimes replicated by popular DC Comics villain Doomsday – ‘adaptation’. It is with this trait that he killed Superman. In the last posts I talked about the adverse effects of comparison and how being grateful for the wonderful traits of others could benefit you. Once you reach the place of being grateful for the uniqueness of others and once you build up your self-esteem, (which is the upcoming series on character building titled ‘Individuality’), you can evolve an ability I like to call ‘quirk acquiring’.

I follow a Japanese comic called ‘My Hero Academia’ in which members of that world have a certain ability called a ‘quirk’ often unique to them. I believe that this is a fictitious extrapolation on real life. Upon attaining gratitude for others’ ‘quirks’ I began to observe things people around me did better than everyone else. I’ll use four of my peers as examples.

Twins Galen and Niki, though identical, display similar as well as drastically different traits. They both possess unbelievably brutal honesty, which is not always attractive in this age, but I came to realise that it was easier to trust them because you knew they  wouldn’t lie to you. In fact, they would tell you upfront when they were uncomfortable having a discussion about something and shut it down completely, a very odd but refreshing trait when I first encountered it. Individually, Galen has an intense focus in goal-setting and achieving. No matter how many times he fails to get a certain model working he’ll try again until he’s mastered it; in that he is very inspiring. Niki meanwhile has an incredible eye for detail as well as a clear view of the bigger picture. More often than not, he would console me (yea me, the perennial encourager) when I fell at a hurdle and point out how one failure did not mean my life was a dud. Alex has mastered setting priorities, therefore if you have to talk to him you have to let him know well in advance. This therefore means that no deadlines catch him by surprise. Lastly Joseph is what I term the King of Time Management. The man has about a dozen leadership roles and a million responsibilities and yet while performing these roles admirably he is simultaneously acing his engineering degree. Since I passed the point of comparison and jealousy of others’ traits and gained an appreciation of them, I’ve been able to notice them more and more… resulting in the Doomsday’s special ability, ‘quirk acquiring’. Now don’t get me wrong, I can never be Len or Niki or Alex or Joseph – that’s not my job, that is not my purpose. I’m not advocating becoming a chameleon and blend in wherever you go, mirroring every character you encounter. I am saying that in this case I can take those traits that I like from them, see how they apply them and use them for myself to meet the standard of man I want to become. In doing this I develop a much fuller character than if I lived an isolated life – a certain ideal… and with that we segue perfectly into tomorrow’s post: Living the Standard Life.

The Power Of Being Grateful

Well, if you’ve been keeping up with recent posts you’ll now know that comparison can lead to depression. It’s pretty simple really, we have access to the lives of many people now thanks to social media. Say one person is incredible at singing and you compare yourself (it’s only natural, no?) only to find that you aren’t as good. You are presented with a dilemma often leading to three pathways: acceptance (which for some reason we overcomplicate), ridicule (diminishing the person’s gift or hard work) and competition. The first, acceptance is perhaps the healthiest of the three. Now if you exhibit the other two what happens if you come into contact with more than one such person? What if you encounter a hundred people with a gift you don’t have? There is no way you can be the master of all trades, no one in the world has enough time for that. So the end result of trying on multiple hats that don’t fit you or ridiculing everyone you come into contact with? I’ll take a guess and use the B-word here – bitterness. However if you can accept that you can’t be as good as everybody else at everything else and hone your own craft, measuring up only to yourself – joy won’t be far away. Still there is another level even superior to acceptance – gratitude. Seeing the gifts of others and being grateful for them is some next level zen… stuff. It’s healthy for you on so many levels. If you can see the greatness in others and appreciate them for it, it is far easier for you to identify the things to appreciate in your own life. Also it has the potential to open doors for you since you develop the eyes to see talent. Once you adopt the mentality of:

‘I love what I see in you, I also love what I see in myself’

What can put you down? I challenge you to make an intentional decision to be grateful for the gifts of others, as well as for what has been deposited in you and see how it changes your life.

Final Destination: Procrastination

There, there.

Don’t beat yourself up.

You’re young, it’s fine.

There’s plenty of time.

You can do it in the evening.

Actually, I know you’re tired,

How about you do it tomorrow?

You know what, it’s not due for several days, you could just start it when they need it.

After all, you work best under pressure.

Ooops you missed the deadline?

Worry not, you’re more than capable of making up for it.

You are so smart and wise, these time constraints are for mere mortals.

Your teachers don’t know just how great you are.

What? You failed the course?

Don’t worry we can finish it off at a different university.

Don’t beat yourself up.

You’re still young, it’s fine.

There’s plenty of time.

You know what?

Let’s not stress out too much this time.

We’ll do the same thing we did last time, we’ll just be smarter about it.

We’ll sleep a bit longer, since we know exactly how long it takes to get there.

We’ll run to the classes if need be.

Why do we even need to go to classes?

Didn’t we learn all this before?

Let’s stay at home and play games.

We’ll be fine.

Why start studying now?

We can start when the exams are around the corner…

Oh… you failed… again?

Don’t beat yourself up.

There’s still lots of time,

You’ll be fine.

40 is the new 20 after all…


Wow.

I’m the first one here.

To think I’m early…

Early for your funeral.

I know I said you had plenty of time left.

I think I know now why they say I’m the father of all lies.

I’m the only one here,

But I guess I should give a eulogy:

 

Hey buddy!

 

Remember that Sunday when you decided you’d get saved soon?

Yeah?

Me too.

Best day of my life to be honest.

I’m so glad you didn’t.

See you in hell.

 

Sincerely yours,

– the Devil.

 

An excerpt from ‘Bleeding Heart’

Moral: Make the most of your time. You don’t know how much you’ve actually been allotted.

What’s Your Weight?

I’ll start off by saying I don’t know the stats so this post is mainly based conjecture, therefore perhaps a rhetorical question is in order. Has there been an increase in mental health issues with the rise of social media? I’m sure you’ve read a post or two thousand by now detailing the adverse effects that social media can have on an individual. How could you come out feeling better about the muck you are walking through right now when everywhere you look your ‘friends’ are blinging and showing off their best life? That’s all you ever see isn’t it? Only the very best is what is portrayed on social media. If you don’t believe me, have a look at the very best pictures on your gadget, then have a look at your instagram posts, is there an overlap? I rest my case. What then? Because the comparison we undergo naturally kills a piece of us every time we take a glimpse of the glory in others’ lives should we stay away completely? I’m one of those that doesn’t subscribe to that train of thought. Yes, personally I have taken a step back from Twitter and SnapChat. Yes I haven’t been on instagram in months and I’ve ditched the Facebook app for Messenger Lite – but that’s just me and I realised that’s what I wanted. But one can’t lie to self and deny how powerful a tool social media can be, if used correctly. Your business can thrive because of social media, as a student you can get recognition, opportunities and even scholarships if you use the tools correctly. Perhaps we need to come to the realisation that that is what all these apps are: tools. And like any tools, if you don’t know what they are for, you’ll abuse them and may hurt yourself in the process. My advice? Build yourself up first, get to a point where you know where you are and where you are going such that someone else’s words, someone else’s likes or someone else’s posts won’t move you. Once you’ve built up your self-esteem to a point where comparison isn’t your basic mental posture, you’re free. Otherwise maybe it’s best you stay away until then.

Pride Breaketh Back

You ever do something you look back at a couple minutes after you’ve done it, and ask yourself, “Why in the world did I do that?” No? Me neither.

Sarcasm aside today I had the privilege of teaching myself a lesson in humility and an aspect of good leadership: the ability to delegate. I was hauling a heavy load from the car full of things that… never mind about all that, the bottom line is the load was heavy, that’s all you need to know. If you know me, you’ll know I never liked weights, or the gym. As a result (shockingly) I’m never the most muscular guy in the room, heck that’s true even if I’m the only guy in the room. The thing is I’d single-handedly put this darn suitcase in the car by myself the first time around. Why would I need help bringing it back down? Unfortunately there’s already a misconception in that statement. When I was bringing it down my mind was so fixated on the high I got from putting the massive load in the car in the first place that I had forgotten how hard it was to do on my own. When offloading the monstrously large case I was in the presence of two other able young men who were waiting around to help. A leader or anyone with a sizeable amount of reason would have used the otherworldly magical ability often known as “language” to “communicate” to the young men and “ask” for “help”. Now I know I shouldn’t be so hard on myself, indeed these are extremely complex terms –  but I didn’t ask for assistance and I busted my ass trying to get said enormous shipment to its destination. Surprise surprise, when I managed it I didn’t feel the rush of accomplishment of having moved the gargantuan cargo further than I had initially (in front of a crowd no less). There was no rush of excitement; no cerebral applause accompanied my ragged panting. There was none of that – only back pain.