Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Don't Take Losses for "Losers".

What I have learned about success so far is that you can’t take losses for losers. Basically, separate yourself and your ambitions from the people you choose or may not have chosen to surround yourself with. No, I have not started up my own business or invented some kind of technologically advanced light bulb. I’m still just a 23 year old college student trying to find a job in this sad excuse for an economy, so some of you may not consider me a success just yet – BUT that opinion only comes with your own personal definition of what success means to you – as we all measure it differently.

I come from a city that is supposed to be the third largest in my state and to my surprise one of the scariest cities to make an appearance in. Whenever I go to an unfamiliar city and tell people where I am from I get a lot of funny looks or many people asking me if I am afraid to walk the sidewalks alone, even during daylight. I have often found that many outsiders believe that the moment they step a toe beyond the boundary line that separates their city from mine they believe they will be mugged, or robbed - maybe even shot. This assumption is ludicrous to me yet I was born and raised in my particular city therefore everything about it is familiar to me. At the same time though, I can understand where they get their assumptions from. According to Neighborhood Scout, my city has a crime rate of 97 per one thousand residents and 90% of all communities within my state have a lower crime rate than my city. The statistics aren’t saying much for us huh? The point is most of the people I know tend to say that the city is holding them back from achieving their dreams; it’s the city’s fault that they aren’t accomplishing much with themselves. I say that’s bullshit. Besides if it’s really the city’s fault that so many people are committing crimes or choosing to accomplish absolutely nothing with their lives then why haven’t they picked up and moved? You have to start somewhere.

When I say “Don’t Take Losses for Losers” I mean exactly that – don’t dumb yourself down just because the people around you have allowed that to happen to themselves. Don’t blind yourself to opportunities just because the people around you aren’t looking into the opportunities that surround them. I know that there is this whole theory that all one has to do to become successful is eliminate the “bad eggs” from their social group, but if you don’t have the ambition and drive WITHIN YOURSELF it isn’t going to matter too much who you hang around. There are some highly successful people who come from poverty stricken homes and are the first to graduate with a four-year degree from Achieve-Your-Dream University. Believe me this comes from my own personal experience. My mother is the first person in my family to graduate from a four-year University. I don’t come from a long line of Surgeons, Lawyers, Financial Advisors, etc. I have never had too many friends who made wise decisions, in fact most of my friends make completely stupid decisions thinking that the results wont turn out as bad as we all know they will; then they blame the city or their surroundings for a decision THEY CHOOSE to make THEMSELVES – no gun held to their head. I am one of the only people I know among my group of friends who holds a job let alone has obtained two Associates Degrees as well as a Certificate while currently working on two Bachelor’s degrees without taking the summer off. I also work an internship. Tell me THAT isn’t motivation and drive?

I have taken the widely popular advice of getting rid of some of my “bad egg” friends thinking that it would get me further faster and it turns out, I’m still going the same pace I’ve been going while they were around. Mind you, my schedule is completely crammed leaving little time to hang out with my friends anyways, but that came from a choice I made for MYSELF. When I am around them, I choose NOT to fall into their peer pressure – “smoke this” “drink that” because my drive and ambition is too high; I’m at a level that no chemical substance could take me to. I’m not going to fall into the trap of a loser just because they fell into the trap of another loser and got stuck. I’ll lose everything if I MADE THAT CHOICE. I refuse to take losses for losers. I do come from the same city as every person I know who has fallen into the trap of a loser and I do get how difficult it can get to differentiate oneself from all the others and not succumb to the peer pressure of …. Lets say for example, having five babies and living on welfare for the rest of your life. Yet the way I see it, the way I have shaped my experiences, maybe my city doesn’t have the highest success rate as other cities but I feel like this is where I have to make my start. If you want to achieve something in life you have to learn to throw the excuses in the trash and face the news that unless you were born into a wealthy family, hard work and determination are the only things that are going to get you the riches you probably dream about. It doesn’t matter where you are from, it doesn’t matter who your friends are – people break the mold all the time. What are you going to do to get to that specific place in life that you dream about?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Cheer Up Busy Bee & Decrease All That Stress!

Although I am only 23 years old, I am notorious for worrying about anything and everything that can go wrong in my life. I become paranoid at the simplest mistakes and wrong turns that we all make as human beings. I work like a maniac; sleep has become a hobby and cooking dinner has become a chore. I recently interviewed with a newly established mortgage agency and when asked “What do you like to do to unwind from life?” - I could not answer as quickly as I probably should have been able to. I can answer anything from “What motivates you to do your best” to “What kind of skills do you think you have to offer our company” quickly and efficiently, but ask me what my hobbies are and I draw a blank. I’m so stuck on my personal plan for life that I don’t take much time to unwind, to enjoy myself or the people in my life. I live on my own, I spend a lot of time in my vehicle - Alone; therefore much of my time is spent with myself. Most of my time when I am not focused on work or education is spent fighting with my inner demons. This causes me to feel quite unhappy and I begin to feel the urge to shut myself away from the world for a little while. THIS IS NOT A GOOD THING PEOPLE!
I made a personal decision today to work on my schedule more; find time to enjoy myself, enjoy my friends and family - GET A REAL HOBBY - and not cram my schedule with tasks to the last millisecond. Not having time to unwind or having to heat T.V. Dinners in the microwave every night for dinner isn’t very healthy. Worrying constantly about anything and everything that can go wrong can be stressful and unhappiness in life could be the result. I decided to also erase the negative feelings and thoughts that I harbor. As humans we tend to focus more on the negative things in life because they leave a deeper scar on our emotions than the positive things. Remember as a child feeling like you had to misbehave sometimes to get attention from your parents because your “bad” siblings were getting all the attention? Negative feelings also take time to put in line - kind of like the parent to the misbehaving child - we constantly feel like we have to tend to the issue. Tending to these negative issues take time and most certainly take all the joy out of our happy moments. I decided today to give the positive aspects of my life more credit, afterall, the positive things in my life are contributing to my happiness which ultimately contributes to every smile I allow to grace my face. Why allow the headache of life and negativity increase our stress level? Its unnecessary.

Stress can lead to many other health problems too such as Depression, Aches & Pains of any kind [hmm … maybe THAT’S what the pain in the lower back side of my neck is], Digestive Problems, Heart Disease, etc. We’re all trying to live our healthiest life as long as possible right? Take some time to unwind busy bee, you and I both deserve it!

There are plenty of ways that we can decrease the stress in our life. Simple things such as a change in our state of mind or personal expectations can really help a lot. Lets be realistic - none of us are perfect. And just as much as we ourselves aren’t perfect, we shouldn’t expect anyone around us to be perfect. Cut down on your schedule if you’re like me and you over cram it. Make some time to relax and unwind, even if it is just a moment at Starbucks enjoying a Frappuccino in between work and school. Relax, maybe do a few breathing exercises. I once took a Crime & Issues class where we had to do breathing exercises every now and then - Breathe In “I know I am breathing in”, Breathe Out “I know I am breathing out”, REPEAT. Its supposed to help you to relax and become aware of yourself and your surroundings. We are often so busy that our simplest activities become so routine we don’t even realize we are doing them. Make sure to always maintain a positive outlook on life. Optimism can most definitely make a stressful situation seem less stressful; easier to handle. Make sure to always get a good nights sleep and treat your body well. Regular exercise boosts endorphins which are sometimes considered the body’s painkillers acting as analgesics reducing the perception of pain. They make you feel better!

At the end of the day, nobody needs or wants to be a highly stressed out individual. These type of people aren’t usually too fun to be around. So how about we work together to turn our frowns upside down and do our best to live a stress free life! Let me know of your tips of how you decrease the stress in your life! Here’s my head start: