Thank God for quarantine! No, I’m serious. If there’s any silver lining to this whole thing it’s that for those of us who require an additional push to do the things that matter, we finally were forced to sit down and reflect. If you’ve watched every Netflix series out there and read every book in your library you’re bound to spend a minute reflecting, hopefully more.
Sure, but what’s the point? I am glad you asked. You ever heard the saying “absence makes the heart grow fonder”? I’m sure you have. If you haven’t, the adage simply means that when something or someone you presume to love goes missing from your life for a while you develop an understanding of how much you care for them. In this reflection becomes an incredible tool. It allows you to do what you do when you miss someone; meditate on the wonderful traits that person has and how wonderful they are in your life. I, for one, have a healthier appreciation for my friends during this period because I’ve had time to think about all the wonderful conversations and activities we’ve taken part in together.
But what if I didn’t need a global pandemic to force me to think so fondly of my homies?
What if I just took time to reflect on the good even about the people I see every day? Perhaps that’s the key to living a life where the heart grows fonder for those around you – daily.
I challenge you to try it out. Will you?
Sadness Is A Feeling But Attitude Is A Choice
Look, I get it. You had high expectations. Maybe even not quite that high, so when you didn’t meet ’em you were devastated. You’re sad… and that’s alright. You’re allowed to feel sad. You wouldn’t be human if you didn’t. You’re also allowed to throw tantrums or walk around aimlessly like some kinda zombie. The thing is, that won’t help you. Not one bit. Instead, dust yourself off. Reflect on your errors and resolve not to repeat them. Set new goals and prepare yourself as best as possible to meet them.
You can be sad, just don’t let it weigh down your attitude. Let it fuel it instead.
He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harms.
I guess that statement covers it and I don’t need to re-emphasise the importance of good choice regards companions.
I’ve got a friend named Alex. He’s a master at time management. Spending time with him inevitably put me in a position where I had to look at myself and, once I saw the gulf in productivity, desire to change. In fact, when we hung out a lot I could actually see said changes in my lifestyle. The man would always be early to whatever event we were going to. That is when I noticed how lax I was when it came to being early. He had playtime of course, like any sane aspiring engineer has to have, but he didn’t give himself hits of dopamine without reason. It was all calculated, the important, everlasting things were prioritised and were allocated more time from his day; the instant, self-gratifying things were at the bottom of the list and were often saved for a few hours at the end of the day… sometimes a few minutes even. It felt like – like he could stretch out time. His minutes were what hours are to the regular Joe. Around someone who seemingly has their life together in a way most don’t, it’s easy to become enamoured and sooner or later, to be placed between a rock and a hard place. The place where you were before no longer being enough.
A word of caution: don’t run. It’s easy to see a bar a friend has raised and think it’s too high; due to laziness or the fear of failure you may start to withdraw. Don’t do that. Let positive peer pressure do its job instead. If you stick with good friends long enough – you’ll find yourself thanking God for them.
See you tomorrow.
Whoever stubbornly refuses to accept criticism will suddenly be destroyed beyond recovery.
In my opinion, we’re really overdoing this whole political correctness thing and overrating being nice to the point of elevating preserving someone’s feelings above doing what is right or speaking the truth. Can a good friend criticise me? Or should they accept me for who I am with flaws and all? Who said it has to be either or?
A good friend should 100% criticise you, when you set goals that are too small to target, when you don’t put in your all or don’t do what you said you would do. That right there is a template for a good friend; iron that sharpens iron to a point where it can achieve its intended purpose. The act of accepting is in being your friend in spite of your flaws and helping you work through them.
The fault then will never lie with the friend that tells you, “This is wrong!” but with you… if you can’t take it on the chin.
Does this come off as a tad too harsh? Perhaps this is the criticism that will help you get out of it. If this hurts, there’s a simple solution to help it burn less.
See you tomorrow!
Approx 2 min read
The “I” in friends stands for influence. No clickbait… here we get right to the point. The power of positive association cannot be overstated. I plan to illustrate this with three anecdotes.
The power of positive association cannot be overstated.
I have a friend called Bomi, one you could regard as my best friend at a young age. He had this tremendous fascination with children. I hated them. To me they were a bunch of entitled nobodies that cried for the attention they didn’t deserve but inevitably got. His love and desire to associate himself with anyone significantly younger than himself sparked a curiosity in myself. So I decided to study his interaction with all manner of toddlers and babies, to see what it was that got him so high. When I saw it, I was intrigued. Being the reason one without the ability to construct full sentences smile is not yet classified as a drug but it should be. I dedicate at least on Sunday morning every month to play with kids now – and it all started by seeing a good friend enjoying kids in my presence.
I’d always grown up knowing and understanding that honesty is the best policy but I never truly lived it out. I had a “gift”, I still do but I don’t use it anymore, to be able to concoct all manner of believable excuses for not doing something I was supposed to do. I’m not joking. Whenever I was caught doing something wrong or messed up, my impromptu stats would ratchet up to the maximum (100) and for that brief period my creative skills were unparalleled. I was ok with that because it got me out of trouble. I for example have never been in a fight because my intelligent mouth preserves me from being in trouble or being picked on. Yet Niki and Len helped shape my penchant for dishonesty or, for the sake of euphemism, curb my spontaneous creative ability. They were honest to a fault. “You stink, maybe change your deo.” “Those clothes don’t match you.” “You should work harder.” “Why do you eat so much crap?” I used to think preserving someone’s feelings superior to telling them the truth. Spending time with the twins made me value honesty over being “nice”. In the long run, people are more trusting of my words now because they know I will not twist them for any agenda.
Lastly, my good friend Salman let me in on a little project he was working on which led me to pursue my own ambitions of writing a collection of short stories. If I hadn’t seen Salman work on something diligently and behind the scenes, I might not have had the impetus to do what I knew needed to be done. Unrealistically Plausible Short Stories would not be a thing. But it was, it is, all because I came into contact with someone that inspired the right ideas at the right time.
What is it that you want to achieve? Do you know someone who already has that in their locker? I challenge you to spend time with them and see what change you’ll experience in your life.
Approx 1 min read
“I hate my friends!”
Well then, you hate yourself. Birds of a feather flock together. That ain’t no smooth rhyming joke; that’s a fact, a truth, a reality. Unlike family you choose your friends. Why then would you choose someone who will antagonise you? Quick answer: you wouldn’t – at least not instinctively.
You don’t like the things your friends do? Here’s a tip, change the way you behave first. You wouldn’t have become friends if there weren’t similarities.
“No, but we’re different.”
Sure you are. We are all fearfully and wonderfully made but even then there are ideas and behaviours that we latch on to. Others who latch on to those become our friends – the people who we look for in a crowd… and unless you’re crazy, you don’t go looking for conflict in a crowd – you go looking for comfort, and one thing that makes comfort comfort is familiarity.
In short – why are you drawn to be friends with the people you are friends with? Because there is a sense of familiarity between them and yourself. A sense of… belonging. Now use that knowledge as you will.
See you tomorrow.
Approx 1 min read
In this, the final chapter of our communication series I would like to discuss something that flies under the radar but is all important. This is the spreading of rumours and the peddling of unfounded information as if it is fact.
I fell into this category for a long time. Because I was gullible (and evidently lazy to actually research and find out the real truth) I would pass on information I had heard as fact, without ever ascertaining if it was so. This came to a head when I was told by someone that the star of ‘My Wife and Kids’, Damon Wayans, had passed away. They said he had cancer, hence the bald head. I believed it – it made sense and that was enough for me. For years I would tell anyone that listened that bit of information as if it was fact. It wasn’t. In fact it was disproven by someone I had brainwashed to believe it, my little sister. She says she found out when someone from her class brought it up and when she checked on the internet – Damon Wayans was alive and well… years after I had claimed he was dead. So, whenever I said something, she would no longer believe it as readily as she used to.
This is the crux of the issue. Never communicate things you do not know to be true, lest you lose trust over spewing falsehoods, unintentionally or otherwise. Do your research – then speak.
Get excited. Tomorrow we start a new series entitled: Friends.