Positivity Ripple

Sexting, Snooping, and Swiping Our Way to a Soulmate

      81IWfWiI1vL

On airplanes, I’m one of those guys that listens to rap and plays flappy bird until he passes out in a back-breaking position.  But for some reason, everytime I travel I find myself in the airport bookstore pretending to act interested in a book.  I know I should be more productive with my time; it’s just so hard for me to stay awake on planes.  Recently, I found myself picking up and putting down the same book, Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari.  I’d pick it up thinking, ‘damn this guy is so funny’, and then put it down thinking it would be all jokes and I’d rather listen to his stand-up comedy.  A few weeks ago I picked it up again, except this time I read a few pages (until a few pages became 20) and then put it down.  When I got to my gate I overheard two girls discussing what books they were reading, or recently read, and they both mentioned Modern Romance.  That was it, I needed it; I pulled out my iPhone and bought it to read on the plane. I got through a fourth of the book on my flight from Madison to Dallas; not because it’s a long flight, but because the book is hard to put down.

Modern Romance perfectly captures all of my feelings regarding dating, meeting people, and our tendencies once we do find someone, and I KNOW I’m not alone.  Every point in this book will have you grimacing, thinking ‘yea, I’ve done that’, or ‘yea, I’ve been there’. The first chapter dives into our need for a soulmate and how we try tirelessly to find the perfect person; what we don’t realize is that finding a soulmate (or even being allowed to search for them) is a new luxury our parents and grandparents didn’t have.  For instance, my grandpa met grandma through one of his cousins that knew her and her family.  Aziz points out in the book (and references other studies and works of literature) that this was very typical back in the 30’s, 40’s, 5o’s, and a touch of the 60’s.  Grandma and Grandpa didn’t have Tinder to search their entire area code for potential mates, or Facebook to go home and creep on the hottie they saw at the speakeasy.  No, Grandpa heard about Grandma from a cousin, took her out on a few dates and decided that she’d be able to make him happy, and give him kids.  Grandma (at this point when I say Grandma, I’m referring to women of the era) saw Grandpa (again men of the era) as a good enough candidate for marriage and a way to move out of Mom and Dad’s house.  This was one of the most eye-opening themes of the book; how much not only dating has changed, but the motives behind dating.  Our grandparents, and their parents weren’t looking for a soulmate, they were looking for someone that was good enough, which is why they were getting married so young.  Now, we spend the better part of our twenties dating, sleeping around, and experimenting hoping we’ll find that special someone that is absolutely perfect.

Sexting, Snooping, and Swiping.

We’ve all done it, all three, don’t lie to yourself.  During the project, Aziz put together focus groups and posted on subreddits to poll people for information regarding a variety of topics, including sexting, snooping, and swiping.  Now as an offender of all three, it was nice to know that I wasn’t alone (not that I really believed I was).  Not only did people confess to partaking in the above activities, they also explained why; this is where it got interesting, because everybody had different reasons.

One woman might send a sexual picture or message to her man because it makes her feel sexy, and she feels empowered by her ability to turn her man on and keep his attention; but another woman might send a similar picture or message because she’s worried her man is out looking at other women.  Same crime, different motive.  The woman in the first scenario seems to have a stronger relationship, more certain, stable and comfortable.

Snooping is no different, strong couples don’t snoop.  There are testimonies of people saying they snooped around  (with no good reason other than suspicion) in their partner’s e-mail, texts, and so on just to admit they wished they didn’t.  Finding something as small as a guy you do not know saying ‘hey’ to your girlfriend in a text or Facebook message and your head spins out of control; who is he, are they banging, is she cheating, does she love him, do I know him, is he better than me? Maybe the answer to all of those irrational questions is yes, or maybe he’s a friend from work, or a cousin.  Aziz’s work with the focus groups shows how detrimental snooping can be to a relationship.  If you feel the need to snoop, you should probably just end things as you clearly don’t trust your partner.  That’s a quote from me, not Aziz.  Snooping is deadly and poisonous.

As for swiping, well that’s still too new to fully understand.  Aziz speaks with people from a variety of a dating sites and apps, and they share statistics with him for the book that are really quite eye-opening.  Apparently, the most right-swiped pictures of dudes are pictures where they’re are facing slightly away from the camera. Hmm, I was told that is douchey, but okay.  Anyway, there is a science to the new swipe dating and it’s really freaking scary.  What do I open with? What should my picture be? How long do I wait to respond? The list goes on …

I’m not saying I’m going to find my soulmate tomorrow, or next month, or even next year. Nor am I promising that you will, but I do promise that you will feel relieved if you give this book a chance. Aziz and his team make sense of all of our annoying dating tendencies, and I really believe that every single person in their 20’s and 30’s (maybe even 40’s) can relate to this book.  For those that read this far, Here is a link to a preview of the book.

Share your comments if you’ve already read it!

Posted in Life Lessons Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Is the Statue of Liberty Black?

My friend Danny recommended that I listened to Pusha T’s new album today, and that I did. Looking for decent rap suggestions in 2016 isn’t an easy feat by any means, and all of the suggestions given will be a let down if you have ever binged a month of the origins of hip hop and rap from the likes of Doug E. Fresh and Afrika Bambaataa. Pusha T started in a rap group by the name of Clipse, and co founded his own record label “Re-Up Records” with the other half of the group, his brother. With songs featuring artists from Birdman to Pharrell, the group went on to sign with Kanye’s GOOD music imprint of Def Jam Recordings. Quite impressive. In November of 2015, Pusha T took over as president of GOOD Music in place of Kanye. No matter what status you rise to in the rap industry, many modern rappers tend to use music as an expression of America’s blatant ignorance of racial issues taking place. Listening to Pusha T’s newest album, “Darkest Before Dawn: The Prelude,” Terrence Thornton throws his own flavor on racial issues and liberty in today’s society. One solid quote struck me with the curiosity to look further. The verse is as follows:

 

“They’ll never rewrite this, 

like they rewrote history.

The fact that the Statue of Liberty was black

is a goddamn mystery.

And so it goes,

every truth don’t get told.”

After hearing this, how could you not start to think about if the Statue of Liberty was originated for the major role that black soldiers played in the Civil War, or that the original model was a black woman that signified African American liberty? 45% of listeners today won’t recognize or put any thought into the poeticism of these lyrics, instead just becoming fixated on the beat of the song, while 50% would jump to social media and post about “how the government has lied to us once again” without once considering fact-checking the information. I tell myself that I am in the remaining 5% to make myself feel good. So here goes:

 

A Brief History of the Statue of Liberty

-The originators for the idea of the statue of liberty were Edouard de Laboulaye and Auguste Bartholdi. Laboulaye was a French abolitionist who believed that the end of slavery marked the realization of the American democratic ideal embodied in the Declaration of Independence. Bartholdi, on the opposite end of the spectrum, was an apolitical artist who achieved any race-related mindset through the impressions of his friends in America.

-Bartholdi had an earlier concept for a colossal lighthouse in Egypt that was modeled after an ancient Egyptian women who was a peasant. This concept was the main influence for the Statue of Liberty that stands today, with the broken shackles and chains in her left swapped for the tablet engraved with “July IV, MDCCLXXVI” to represent the adoption of American independence. This came at the request of Laboulaye, who wanted the statue to emphasize a broader vision of liberty for all mankind.

-Both men, being abolitionists, realized that slavery was the cause of the Civil War, and the Statue of Liberty was built to signify the ideal of liberty; not solely the end of slavery. The project was meant to broaden the reach of these ideas, hopefully encouraging France to take part in similar activities.

All in all, the Statue of Liberty may have had some sort of Egyptian influences and African Americans also played a role in the history of the monument. The monument has quite an interesting background if you have the chance to look into it, and putting race aside, the ingenious and creative design that went into the statue does a great job of representing the broad category of liberty, along with holding underlying meanings that were important for all parties involved in its creation.

 

Reference: http://www.nps.gov/stli/learn/historyculture/black-statue-of-liberty.htm

 

 

Posted in Life Lessons Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

10 Tips for Traveling Solo in your 20’s

Garden of the Gods

Garden of the Gods Colorado Springs, CO

Your 20’s are the time that you get to go out and do a bit of traveling before settling down and starting a family. The experience may be fun and exciting with your family and your closest friends, but you can really learn a lot about yourself and the world around you by making these trips alone. Here are some tips to get you started on traveling solo.

1. Budget – Let’s be honest, traveling is/can be expensive. Before you go anywhere, keep a budget in mind of how much you want to spend. This is completely up to you. If you’re the spontaneous type, make sure you can afford to go on the trip. If you like to plan ahead, set a date and save until then. This way you can make the most of the trip without worrying about the expense.

2. Start Small- Traveling can be overwhelming. If you’ve never traveled by yourself before, start small and take a day trip somewhere 10-20 miles from your home that you have never been. This will get you used to the idea of traveling by yourself. If you forget to bring something you can always pop home, but try to plan ahead on things you will need. This will vary on where you are going, so you will have to decide that for yourself. This will also help prepare you for when you go on longer travels and don’t have the luxury of turning around to grab something.

3. Be AdventurousTraveling alone is the time to do things outside of your comfort zone. Take that random silly picture you always make fun of others for doing. Do the things you normally wouldn’t do if you were in a group with others with the fear of being judged. If you want to get a large ice cream with an extra scoop, do it! This is your time to be yourself!

4. Go Bigger- If you’ve been traveling for years, or you already took the advice on number 2, it’s time to go bigger. Bigger is arbitrary here, so this could mean taking a bus trip to the next city over or hopping on a flight to a city you’ve never been to before. Whatever “bigger” means to you, do it. You will be surprised what is out there in the world. There is so much to see!

5. Do Good Deeds – There is a sense of importance when you help others out. The request made most often is, “Can you take a picture?” Taking a picture is a small gesture and can really make someones day. Not only that, but you can have fun with it and step into the shoes of being a photographer. Sure, the people getting their picture taken may be given a laugh, but that’s the point, right? Your arm can only reach so far and carrying a “selfie stick” around can look a little ridiculous. A “selfie stick” should not be on your list of things to bring!

6. Make Friends – Yes, you are traveling alone, but that doesn’t mean you have to be anti-social. On your travels, be sure to engage in conversation with the locals. They can teach you a lot more about the area than some tour guide or guide book. After all, you’re traveling to learn new things, why not get some real authenticity rather than something in a book. This is not to say avoid looking at guide books. They can give you some inspiration on where to start venturing to, but don’t let that be the end all be all of your trip. Grab a dictionary of the local language and attempt to interact in a secondary language. You will be surprised at how many of the local people appreciate this.

7. Business – If you have the luxury of traveling for business, make the most of the trip if possible. If you have some time between meetings or have the night to yourself, use this time to go see the area. If you travel there often for work, you may even be inspired to move there for a short period of time. Also, this travel is on the company dime, so why not make the most of it?

8. People Watch– The world is full of interesting places, but it is  also full of interesting people. The people in your town or city are the same people you see everyday. Because you are from the same area, everyone tends to have some similar behaviors. In other towns and cities, these behaviors can be different. On your travel take some time out just to watch the people in your surroundings to see how they behave. This can be interesting and enlightening. You never know what you may see. Somethings you may wish to unsee.

9. Take Pictures! –  Taking the adventure is fun and exciting in and of itself. Be sure to take pictures to document your trip. These pictures should be for you to remember the trip, but you could also plaster them all over Facebook and Instagram if you’d like. Taking pictures when you travel solo should be more about you and your experience rather than the number of likes you think you’re going to get for posting a selfie with a mountain in the background. Ultimately, they are there to remind you of the experience, so make sure to take a few, even if you aren’t the picture taking type.

10. Make the Most of It – Traveling is fun and exciting. Doing it alone, even more so. Make sure you don’t sell yourself short. One day you may even be inspired to write a traveling solo blog. In the meantime, if you need some additional inspiration, check out the Solo Traveler Blog.

Posted in Life Lessons Tagged with: , , ,

5 Non-Traditional Ways to Start Investing as a Millennial, Starting Under $5

Investing Young

Millennials in today’s world are bombarded with the financial advice that many of our role models in our parent’s generation did not take. As they currently revers this and save and invest more and more, only 22% of 55+ year old workers have over $250,000 in investments and savings. Interpreting that in my own mind, that means 78% of people at this age are not set to retire comfortably, which is even more once you include the people in the $250,000+ category that have to use that entire balance to support a family for the foreseeable future. And still, as millennials, our lifestyles come into a direct path of criticism that by the age of 28, the majority of us still haven’t started a family and bought a house, living debt free.

The problem with this: student debt has risen an exponential amount, incomparable to that of our parent’s time. It is no longer feasible for the average person who wants to go to college to pay their way through education while excelling and applying all of the material learned from each course. Finding a solid career path without taking the college route is limited, forcing millennials that take this path to become overworked and underpaid, unless having the ability to spin off their own business through the knowledge they’ve learned over 10-15 years. But even with trying to balance student loan debt while enjoying what time you can in your twenties, you don’t have to go towards the extreme of living frugally and putting 80% of your income towards your debt, nor take the approach of pushing off debt and traveling the world because “now is the only time you will have to live your life.” Both of these approaches will leave you regretful at a later age, wishing that you a) had more fun while still saving a bit, or b) wondering how the hell you are going to avoid passing debt onto your kids.

The best solution here is quite simple. Of course, if the job you are currently in offers free education, tuition reimbursement, a 401(k) with or without a match, or a pension plan, these traditional options would lose you money if you weren’t to buy into them. Investing in these should be considered a necessity, and cutting your lifestyle by the negligible amount that it takes to contribute to these will cost you something as small as a night out a month. But, many millennials may not have the ability to contribute to these types of traditional investments in their current situation. Whether you are in college and on a tight budget, just getting out of college and still uncertain on where your career will land, or you are a young professional with a little bit of disposable income that you would like to put to good use, the following can help steer you in the right direction in terms of risking some money now for a solid reward in the future.

1. Stash

Ease of Use: 4/5

Knowledge Needed: 5/5 (none/beginner)

Liquidity: 4/5

Fees: 4/5

Stash is a new app on the market that allows millennials the ability to invest in a vast array of stocks through fractional shares, allowing you to own parts of companies such as Apple or Verizon Wireless. The app helps direct each user’s choice in stocks towards companies that they believe in, whether through prior knowledge, a movement that they feel strongly in, or their current portfolio and risk profile that they set early on. These categories include investments such as “Roll with Buffett,” “Robots Rising,” “Clean and Green,” and “Data Defenders.” These categories include fractional shares of multiple companies in the respective category, and by purchasing the “security” as the category is called, your stock performs against how all of these companies are performing in the stock market.

The app is highly simple to use. Upon signing up, you must provide a bank account and verify two micro-deposits that usually arrive in less than two days. This verifies that you have set up a valid bank account that may be used for depositing and withdrawing money. The app’s user interface is easy to navigate, and the homepage lays out your current portfolio, comparing your current investments, total return ($ and %), and your cash balance on hand. Discovering a new investment is as simple as browsing the I Want, I Believe, and I Like categories to find something that suits your investment strategy, whether it be short term or long term. Risk level of each security is visually shown, along with the dividend yields, expense ratios, and last price of the security you are viewing. If you do not want to bother yourself with these terms, you can easily skip right past them. At the same point, if you are a beginner and want to learn a bit about the stock market and the terms that go along with it, Stash has a useful built in glossary to help.

Stash allows you to deposit any amount of money on which you would like to into your account. A deposit takes ~3 days to reach your account when it is initiated by the user, which can be quite annoying to the instant gratification model we’re all so used to in America. Each purchase is not initiated until the end of the trading day, although a notification is sent once your purchase of each security has gone through. Withdrawing money is as simple as completing the opposite action of a deposit, and the money will be in your account in a similar time period. This money must be in your cash balance of course. One downfall with Stash is that automatic deposits cannot be set up currently (hopefully this will change in the near future), so you have to manually deposit money every time you wish to do so.

One of the best parts about Stash is that unlike traditional investment and brokerage services, trades are free to initiate. The first three months of each user’s use of the app is fee-free, and after that, the user is charge $1 per month. Once your account reaches $5,000, Stash will charge 0.25% of your account per year. Assuming that you keep contributing money to your account and increase your investments, this is a small price to pay for introducing yourself to the investing world. Once you reach a large amount of money and are comfortable with switching services, this may be a better idea depending on how well your investments are doing and how much control of your investments you would like to have.

2. Robinhood

Ease of Use: 4/5

Knowledge Needed: 2/5 (You’re making all of your own stock picks without advice)

Liquidity: 4/5

Fees: 5/5

Robinhood started on iOS before expanding to other platforms, and the app has built quite the community around millennial and independent investing in the stock market. I reviewed the app in more detail and a basic walkthrough of how to use the app here if you are interested. One of the first companies to allow investing in the stock market with a zero-commission trading model, the app offers free stock trading for any amount of money. Not only does this blow companies like e-trade and Scottstrade out of the water with $4.99-$11.99 fees for each trade initiated, the model allows younger people the ability to start investing early on with a smaller amount of money than they used to need.

Robinhood models the same sign up model as Stash. After linking a bank account, micro-deposits must be verified, and each deposit takes ~3 days to reach your account. Although money takes this long to transfer to your account, Robinhood offers automatic deposits, allowing you to take the thought out of creating a cash balance to act on investments when you hear about them. On top of this, an “Instant Transfer” function is in the works and is supposed to come out in the near future (fingers crossed). The app offers almost instant trading, allowing you to browse stocks that you are interested in. Buying shares of companies you are interested in is as easy as entering the amount of shares that you want and swiping straight up to initiate the trade.

For people who have a little bit of knowledge about different types of trading, or for those who learn, limit orders may be easily initiated through the app as well. This is explained in my previous review of the app that is linked above. This adds to the desire of learning more about the stock market while investing at a younger age, although a fair warning: picking individual stocks on your own does require research and a lack of emotion to help the possibility of making your investments profitable. Whether you are interested in day trading or in it for the long run, Robinhood makes both of these options possible.

Robinhood’s fee model by far excels all traditional methods of investing in the stock market. Securities and international market trading costs money, as well as wire transfers and check deposits. Electronic statements cost $0 to receive, although paper copies and confirmations will cost you money. A negligible fee is in place for trading activity of $0.000119 per share. For a starter investor who wants to put a small amount of money aside to diversify their portfolio, Robinhood is a no brainer, especially if you take an interest in the business world and want to invest in certain companies that may score big in the future.

3. Betterment

Ease of Use: 5/5

Knowledge Needed: 5/5 (none, advice managed)

Liquidity: 3/5

Fees: 3/5

Betterment currently manages over $3 Billion with 125,000+ users, making it the largest automated investment service currently on the market. After providing some information about yourself, your lifestyle, and your goals, Betterment invests your money into diversified, low cost ETFs to help you reach the financial goals that you have set for the future.

Betterment is an all around investing model that allows you to not only create savings goals and investments for short, medium, or long term withdrawals, but the company easily allows you to roll over any previous 401(k) and IRA savings that you may have. The system is set up to easily start an IRA if you are interested in taking a traditional route with your savings before diversifying, and the company does a decent job of guiding your investments based on what diversification you want between stocks and bonds, as well as how long you want the money to be in the account with a monetary end goal in mind. There are both a mobile app and web-based site for ease of use, and automatic investments can be set to make saving easier than ever. Money hits your account within the next business day, and withdrawing money is as easy as requesting the funds back into your bank account. This is great if you need to retrieve your money for whatever reason, but if your returns are all negative, it can be a diminishing feeling when you withdrawal $400 of your original $500 with nothing to show for it.

Betterment allows you to adjust your portfolio of each investment as wanted, and the company uses more advanced balancing systems such as tax harvesting to help move your investments along. No previous knowledge of investing is needed, which allows ease of mind for many people. The service is more directed towards long term investing and goals, and the service boasts its ability to help customers reach their investing goals. Many services are offered with the company outside of basic stock investing, which makes the service worthwhile to look at if you want to start investing a little bit of money now to pay off in your future.

Betterment’s fee structure starts off at charging 0.35% of your balance while it remains <$10,000. Fees are reduced above this point, and automatic deposits help lower the cost of using the service to invest your money. Your first month is free with the company, and by inviting friends to use their service, additional time is available. Using this following link gets you not only 6 months free, but also gives me 30 days free. Just a nice thought, of course. Overall, the service is almost mindless and allows you to deposit small amounts of your income with barely noticing, adding up over time with little to no effort.

4. Prosper

Ease of Use: ?

Knowledge Needed: 3/5

Liquidity: ?

Fees: ?

Prosper is a company specializing in direct, low cost access to high-yield consumer loans from creditworthy borrowers. The company allows you to invest your own, personally saved money to be offered to regular, everyday people that need a loan for whatever the reason may be. The amount of the loan is varied, and the money is loaned out to them in the form of “notes” that you buy, starting at a minimum of $25. Every single user with a minimum of 100 notes ($2,500 minimum investment) has seen a positive return from their investment.

Although I have not started using Prosper yet, this is next on my list. The site’s users see returns of 5-12% on their investments, and the user, you, has the ability to spread their loans over a range of credit rankings and risk profiles. The current 5-7 friends I have talked to that use Prosper to date have all seen positive returns that average ~7%, and as a borrower makes scheduled payments, they are deposited directly into your bank account. The company offers an ID theft guarantee, and their seasoned average return is at 8.89%. If you have a larger amount of money that you are looking for a larger and more reliable return on than investing in the stock market, the peer-to-peer investing service may be right up your alley.

5. Bitcoin

Ease of Use: 3/5

Knowledge Needed: 2/5

Liquidity: 5/5

Fees: 4/5

If you haven’t heard about Bitcoin, the digitally decentralized currency has taken the internet by storm over the past few years. The decentralized system records each transaction between users on each user’s ledger, and the digital currency is limited to a finite number of 21 million bitcoins. This number isn’t set to be “mined” completely for another 60-100 years, and the value of each bitcoin denomination fluctuates based on the demand for the currency. This ultimately boils down to trust in the system, and although people prefer to invest in the US dollar as it is backed by gold, or gold because it’s a “physical” product, let’s be honest, our world is moving digital.

Although the system of bitcoin and how it came to be is a complicated thing to explain, this wiki will help answer questions if you are interested. The currency started trading at a miniscule amount of pennies, until a spike in recent years raised the price of the Bitcoin to over $1,000. Currently sitting around $450, the currency was originally used for transactions procured on the “dark web,” mostly ranging in illegal activity. Now due to mainstream appearance, the currency is becoming more widely accepted at retailers around the globe, and the system is still nontaxable from a user perspective. The currency was ignored by larger organizations to start, and as more popularity has come up, governments are heavily investing in the currency for diversity and investment reasons. The following banks have already or are set to be invested in Bitcoin by the end of 2016:

Banks Invested In Blockchain 2016

One major issue with investing in Bitcoin if you aren’t the most tech-savvy person is that many of the terms can be confusing, deterring people from initial investments. Many websites have tried to curb the knowledge gap of using the currency, protecting your investments in Bitcoin “wallets” or “vaults” that are stored on their own servers. Veteran and tech-savvy users mostly store their bitcoin in their own encrypted files on their computers, using multiple signature keys to gain access to any of the funds. With an hour or two of research, you can have a wallet set up and automatic investment ready to go for yourself.

Coinbase.com offers the ability to link a bank account and buy any amount of Bitcoin wanted, whether manually or on an automatic basis. The price of Bitcoin will fluctuate on a daily basis, but I have grown to build a positive and trustworthy feeling around the currency as it continues to gain global adoption by worldwide organizations. The following link will

Sending bitcoin to another wallet is free, 1% to buy bitcoin or convert to your local currency. By using the following link on Coinbase to start investing in the currency, once you buy $100 in Bitcoin, we both receive $10 of free currency. Coinbase charges a 1% transaction fee for buying Bitcoin with your local currency or transferring Bitcoin into your local currency. All bitcoin transactions between users are free. Bitcoins are currently accepted by large name brands such as Microsoft, Dell, Overstock, NewEgg, and multiple other services that offer airline tickets to gift cards. Bars and hotels have adopted the currency in certain parts of the world, and if you are interested in a select few who have profited majorly from the currency, start off with the Winklevoss Twins. The creator of the currency is still unanimous and has not been found, hoping that this currency system will spread to the people in a truly decentralized system. So far it’s working.

Conclusion

No matter what age you are, it is never too late to start investing. Non-traditional services such as the above are starting to curb the gap for the younger millennial that only has a minimal amount of money to invest, and by starting now, compound interest will do its job. Spare the $5 out of your paycheck that you won’t see leaving your wallet, and you will reap the rewards when you need to withdrawal money for that house in ten years, kid in fifteen, or retirement in 40. Savings accounts generate little to no return on the money that you have worked for, so do the extra research and put your money to work for you. It’s the only way to reach the lofty retirement goals you have set for yourself, your family, and your future kids.

 

Posted in Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

It’s Just Water – Reflecting on What We Can and Cannot Control in Our Lives

Alaska, being one of the two states not in the continental US, holds a mysterious vibe in the eyes of many, which is exactly why a reporter from Brooklyn went on a trip to Alaska to observe the locals. The overall goal of the trip was to see how (if at all) different the people acted in comparison to residents of the other 49 states.  He spent a few weeks observing their behavior, speaking with locals to learn more about the beautiful state, and immersing himself in the culture.  He spent one of his days in the rain, walking around with an umbrella (like a normal person would). But he was the only one. The locals were walking around in the pouring rain with no umbrellas, and a general disregard for the fact that it was raining so heavily.  As you can imagine, the reporter was astonished by this and had to ask one of them why they weren’t using an umbrella.  The man he approached had such a simple response to the question that ended up being so profound.  When asked why he wasn’t carrying an umbrella, he nonchalantly responded with the phrase, “it’s just water” and kept walking.

At this point, you’re probably wondering why you should care about his response, or why I’m saying it’s so profound.  We can’t control the rain (or the weather in general) which is why we shouldn’t worry about it. I’m not saying you can’t use an umbrella; that’s just silly, the rain would ruin our phones! But this experience helps shape the idea of not worrying about what you can’t control.  When we see that it is raining, we think any of the following: my plans are ruined, I can’t go outside anymore, it’s miserable out, and so on. But, quite literally it is just water; it will stop, and if you are caught in it, you will dry.  When sharing this story, the reporter shared his deeper interpretation of the phrase “it’s just water”.

There’s plenty we can control about our daily lives, but there’s an equal amount we cannot control; we should not worry about what we cannot control.  Those variables we cannot control are what we’re going to call ‘water’, it’s going to stop and it’s going to dry.

If you have two more minutes to spare, try completing the following exercise to find what your ‘just water’ is.
  • Take a piece of paper and fold it in half.
  • Label one side “Things I Can Control” and label the other side “Water”
  • Now think about everything that has been occupying your mind lately
    • As things come up, categorize them, and write them down accordingly.
  • Once you’re done, tear the paper along the fold you made.
    • Now crumble up the “water” half and throw it out.

Here’s how mine looked before I ripped it.

My list of what I consider my own 'It's just water'

Do yourself a favor and focus on what you can control. Don’t pay attention to the ‘water’ around you as it’ll only distract you.  I made the following image my background; it’s very simple but it’s a constant reminder to stay focused on the items that you can control in your life and not get caught up in the little things that weigh heavy on my conscience.  Save it, send it, do what you want with it, but keep it in mind.

Taking the effort from focusing on the things that you cannot change and redirecting that effort towards the items that you have capacity to change will without a doubt, affect your life in a positive way.  Not only will happiness come from this redirection, but you will most likely see the items on the water side start dwindling away, realizing that the things you cannot change need not take up so much space in your life.

It's just water background image

 

 

Posted in Health & Fitness Tagged with: , , , , , ,