Positivity Ripple

A Podcast? What the heck is that?

podcast logo

Before the Christmas holiday, my girlfriend and I were discussing travel plans and what we would listen to on our travel to see our families together. She brought up the idea of listening to a podcast about the Bowe Bergdahl, prisoner of war story. I questioned the idea of a podcast at first, but I ultimately gave in. The title of the podcast was called Serial. Come to find out, the Prisoner of War story was Season 2 of the series. Season 1 is about a murder that happened in the late 90’s. I’m from Baltimore, so anything about that city or surrounding areas really intrigues me.  Needless to say, we listened to the entire first season on our travels.

Let’s back up a second. A podcast? What’s that? Have you listened to one before? Prior to this experience, I had tried delving into the world of podcasts briefly, but it never went anywhere. It seemed like no one was producing them, or I couldn’t find any that were interesting to me. After listening to Serial, I was amazed and have really tuned out music unless I’m working out.

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Is Success Defined by Society?

peace of mind - society

From the time that we are born, the world around us stimulates our brain in a way that shapes who we grow up to be. Each experience holds a different weight than another, and those experiences that we can recall into a conscious level on a random day and in a random place are some that hold true value to your inner personality. One great thing about the world that we live in is the diversity that comes along with it. You have the ability to buy into any trend that is in the present, past, and/or future. Girls and guys can longboard together, business is on its way to becoming a gender neutral zone, and equality is spread through every political campaign you see while catching a glimpse of Fox News in the local coffee shop. Although Fox News most likely isn’t being aired there.

Although this is the positive truth that many of us see in society and look forward to progressing, the word “success” being paired with a gender neutral workplace appeals to very few people (once you exclude the city of Boston). From a young age, media, family, friends, schools, and agnag have raised the majority of Americans to believe that the true feeling of success comes from a career that provides job security, 40-80 hours of work per week, and more importantly, a steady source of income. Money is tied to success, and in return, you get to free yourself of the work week and job security you have created for yourself to spend time with the family that you love. As our most favorite split-personality, alter-egoed character that Brad Pitt has ever played once said:


But the truth is: Is money and a love for material possessions what truly defines success? Many people, usually depending on which stage of life they are at, tend to answer this question with a simple “Yes” or a simple “No.” It’s not that simple.

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When it Comes to Paying For Dinner…. Don’t Be That Friend.

dinner bill

“A happy meal is when your friend picks up the tab.”

Going out is the social minimum for an extrovert, anxiety in a bottle for an introvert, and a great experience for all parties involved. 99% of the time. Coming together with friends, family, and strangers is best done over a fully attentive dinner, lunch, breakfast, or cocktail. As age progresses, we learn that these experiences are fully enjoyed and engaged in when money isn’t the main focus of the event, and 8 people at the table aren’t telling the server right off the bat to keep all tabs separate and to remind them of the cost of each drink.

 Growing up in a large family who loved nothing more than to spend their discretionary income on joy filled experiences involving family, friends, alcohol, and food, I learned quickly that everybody didn’t have a similar experience earlier in life. Grateful for this, the recurring scenario that would intrigue my thought process every single time we went out was when the check came to the table. With my family and close friends, all of the men would jump for the bill and argue back and forth about who would be paying the tab. Every single time. This was 99% of the time out of respect for each other, friendship, and the experience that was just enjoyed, and after 12 minutes of arguing like an Italian wedding party (although most were majority Irish), the bill would be split among the men at the table and everybody would be content with the experience.

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Posted in Self Improvement Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,

Personal Challenge: 30 Days, 30 New People

New People - Interaction

Items Needed: Ability to listen, possibly some creativity, $0

Challenge: Meet 1 new person per day for a full month and reflect on each person/conversation

Comfort zones. We all have them. And usually these are something that we don’t realize we are in until we take the time to reflect on where we are at in life. I have talked to many people who, after college, struggle meeting people with similar interests, career aspirations, religious views, or general hobbies. Some people find ways around this such as traveling to meet established friends in places around the world. But many people may not have this luxury. Moving to a new place and trying to meet new people is a daunting task. It requires an extroverted personality or the ability to get out of your comfort zone that you have had with some of your closest friends over the past 4-5 years. If you are stuck in this position, or if you just want a new perspective on how diversity plays a role in the area you are currently living in, dedicate the next thirty days to meeting somebody new on a daily basis.

For the past thirty days, I had set out to meet somebody new every day. These conversations and interactions happened in bars, restaurants, airports, coffee shops, the workplace, and established events. The challenge required a little bit of commitment on my end of leaving my apartment on days I didn’t feel like engaging in conversation, as well as the acceptance that I was going to spend money on drinks, coffee, food, etc. to have these interactions. This is something that can easily be steered around if you are the financially-conscious person who worries about spending $1.50 a day on coffee, but if you allow yourself to do just that, it may contribute to fully engaging and having the most positive outcome possible. Before starting, make a list of several bars and coffee shops in your area. Look around (apps such as Meetups) for new events and conventions that may peak your interest. Take 15-20 minutes every night to write down the experience you had. Remember the person’s name. Their occupation. Stories that you engaged in. At the end of thirty days you’ll look back and realize that you met a variety of people from all different backgrounds. You will also realize that it isn’t that hard to truly engage in a conversation with a random person, find common ground, and make connections for the future that you may want to leverage for a social evening, job opportunity, future wife, etc.

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Why You Shouldn’t Listen to What “They Say…”

A few weeks ago, my sister sent me a text saying, ‘OMG Bradley Cooper and Amy Schumer are engaged, WTF”.  These types of messages come through to people on a daily basis through social media, face-to-face engagement, personal conversation, and more. And what did I do with this? I did absolutely no research on the topic for two reasons: The first reason is that the fact makes sense, as they’re both beautiful. Second, I really didn’t care. Why should I care about two celebrities and their love lives? I’d like to think that most of us have more important things to give attention to in our busy lives. And then I was with some coworkers discussing celebrity gossip – like most people with nothing else in common do – and I dropped that “fact” about the two being engaged.  The first comment to my statement was, ‘That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard’, from one of the people I was with.  Their doubt led me to look into it, and it didn’t take more than five minutes to figure out that Bradley Cooper and Amy Schumer weren’t engaged. At this point I realized that I have to stop listening to what everybody says about the source of truth, in turn creating the habit of fact checking the majority of stuff that I hear.

How often do your sentences start with the words “I heard…” or “They say….?” Although your answer to this may be not very often, this probably comes from the fact that the phrases are now habitual. Listen to yourself over the next week and try to catch yourself saying these in conversation. It isn’t until I am challenged by people such as my coworkers that I realize how often I start a story with these two phrases.  Facebook is a compilation of the most famous ‘They Say…” stories from all over.  People share videos, pictures, and opinion pieces about current events as if they are fact.  If you’ve seen the image below, you know what I’m talking about.  People see (or hear) something and then repeat it as if it were fact, then X amount of people see (or hear) it from them and the information spreads.  Be cautious with what you believe from other people, especially on social media outlets.


I challenge you to stop using these awful words and cite your sources instead.  Bibliographies were always my least favorite part of a research paper, but it is easy to see why it’s such an important section.  Let us test this really quick; you’re eating breakfast with your family when your dad reaches for that fifth piece of bacon. Which of the two sentences below sounds stronger?

“They say that meat causes cancer, you shouldn’t eat that.”

“World Health Organization found that eating four strips of bacon a day can increase your risks of getting colorectal cancer by 18%”

Honestly, no one wants to hear either of these sentences. But the latter of the two is a stronger, more believable statement.  Make it a resolution if you want, but make it an effort to use the phrase “They say” less and cite your sources more.  If you’re not sure if something is true, do your research. This makes you more educated in conversation with close friends, family members, and the general public, in turn causing the entire world to be a more educated and better place.


Posted in Life Lessons