Don’t Be Greedy

One of the hardest things to resist in this modern culture is indulging the desire that we all have to attain that glamorous lifestyle we see on social media and television. There are so many examples of people who figured out how to make millions of dollars, and our natural reaction is to envy those people and start looking for ways to make that happen for ourselves. However unrealistic it truly is, we find a way to hope for this massive change in our lives.

Unfortunately, we tend to forget that these cases are extreme outliers. Many of these people were either incredibly lucky or extremely driven to find the success they have today. Most of us will never be that lucky, just as we will never have the kind of obsessive nature required to put in the work required to build something up to that level of value. You either have to be in the right place at the right time, or be willing to sacrifice your entire life to a single goal that prevents you from every really enjoying what you accomplished.

Despite what I see in the world every day, I have learned the value of not being greedy. My goals in life aren’t to make millions of dollars, or even a six figure salary, though that would certainly be nice. I would find happiness in any situation where I’m able to do something I love while still making enough to provide a comfortable life for myself and my family. Anything more than that is just wasted effort, and I can’t stand waste.

There are so many people in the world who struggle with this idea. Our biology drives us to push forward, moving onward to the next thing that needs to get done. The idea of finding a place of peace and staying there is unnatural to instinctive beings with a need to survive. We are always in fear of losing what we have, so we continue fighting even after we have what we need so we can store up extra for that disaster on the horizon. Does it still need to be this way? With the social safety nets we have today, I just don’t think so.

The funny thing about human beings is that our society tends to change much faster than our biology can keep up with. You look at things in our modern culture like social media and it’s easy to understand how this new way of interacting is just too different from the way we are wired for us to truly keep up with. Just like social media, finding that place where you are content with what you have is something that is just too new for our primal instincts to deal with. Everything in our DNA is screaming to continue pushing.

We can’t find peace in such a system. As long as we allow our biology to rule us, the push to continue acquiring more will constantly tread on the contentment that so many of us desire. We can certainly think about such things as status or money or material possessions and imagine that they would be nice things to have, but our society today pushes these things on us as absolutely necessary, and it works because it caters to what our biology is telling us. Learning to ignore these messages is key to living your best life, whatever that may be.

For myself, one of the reasons I started this blog is partly to share my thoughts with others, but also partly in the hopes that I can figure out a way to monetize it to the point that I can live that comfortable life. Not the social media life with big mansions and fancy cars, but the average person comfortable life of having just enough money to be content with what I have. I don’t need status or excess riches or the adulation of others. Give me the simple life. If I can provide a simple service to others in my writing and make it valuable enough for people to support me in continuing to do it, I will have found that place of peace in my life. Who really needs more than that?

How do you feel about greed? Is it a big part of your life, or do you see it as an impediment to your happiness? Are your goals reasonable, or do they require something that is unlikely to happen for you? Learning to adjust our expectations to remove greed from the equation is a huge step toward finding happiness in our lives. The more you can figure out how to do this, the faster you will reach that place of balance and find peace.

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There’s a Reason It’s Called “The Bare Minimum”

At some point in the progression of our evolution, we lost the ability to view survival as a goal in and of itself.  For most of our history, the desire for most human beings was to scrape out a living for oneself and find as much safety and security as possible while maintaining as close to the kind of life we wanted to live as possible.  In this modern era, however, the attitude of “just getting by” has been replaced by unbridled ambition, and this ideology of maximal effort has pervaded the viewpoints of all those who are in positions to make decisions.

When did it become not acceptable to simply do the bare minimum?  The very phrase itself has come to take a negative connotation, indicating that a person is lazy and unreliable and should be regarded with disdain.  It doesn’t matter whether the person does the job they were hired to do, or even if they do it well.  If the person isn’t “showing initiative” or “taking on more responsibilities”, we tend to see them as a drain rather than an asset.

The interesting thing about this is that the word “minimum” in the context of business means the lowest acceptable effort or quality for a given result.  It is ironic then that when an employee comes in to work every day, does what they are asked, and then goes home when the day is done that employers tend to look at them not as reliable employees who get the job done, but as lazy leeches who are doing just enough to get paid.  Rather than valuing the fact that they are getting what they asked for, they resent that the person isn’t putting forth any more effort than what was agreed to.

This is the problem with the business world today.  Just as we as consumers are trying to find the best deals on the products we want to buy, employers are trying to find the best deals on labor.  They aren’t interested in a truly fair deal; what they really want is to be able to pay an employee for a job with less responsibilities while at the same time expecting them to volunteer to do the tasks associated with a higher paying position.  The excuse is that they want the employee to prove they can handle the job, but in reality the deeper issue is a desire to get discounted labor while avoiding the risk of hiring them at the full pay rate.  We know this to be true because we understand that if the employee doesn’t ask for a promotion, we expect that most employers aren’t going to just offer up more money on their own.  They are happy to pay less for the same product.

For myself, I resigned myself to a bare minimum mindset when it came to my career many years ago.  I came to realize that those people who are in charge never truly have my best interests at heart, and I could put a great deal of effort into a job where I end up giving away my labor for the benefit of a company whose primary goal is making money for itself.  Why should I slave away for a company to enrich them while I languish at the bottom hoping they notice me enough to move me up the ladder?  You can slave away for years waiting for an opportunity that might never come.

In the end, many people who choose a bare minimum career mindset aren’t bad or lazy people.  We all have different priorities, and for some of us it is more important to have our free time than it is to spend our entire life working for something that just ends up making us more miserable.  My goal has always been to make just enough so that I have the things that I want and no more.  The more money you make, the more effort you must put into things you likely have no passion for.  Is the money really worth all that, or can you find better ways to spend your time?

The unfortunate truth, however, is that the business world works a certain way, and this attitude will never be something that becomes accepted by employers.  They want you to work hard for them so they can get their money’s worth out of you, regardless of whether or not you agree with where they set that bar.  Just like you, they want a fair deal, just one that is fair in their view rather than yours.  Never forget that earning money is a war between you and those whom you want to give it to you.  Great care is required to make sure you’re getting what you want out of the relationship and to avoid submitting to theirs.

How do you feel about minimal effort?  Does it make you feel bad, or are other things more important than making money?  Do you regard people who do just enough to get by as a negative or positive?  If we can understand that not everyone has a desire to be what society calls successful, we can stop treating people who don’t live up to our own personal metric of acceptable effort with disdain and understand that some people just want to do their job and go home.  Is there really anything wrong with that?

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Fair Business Practices

I tend to lean right on most issues, though I can’t bring myself to be a Republican. There are things from the left I agree with as well as things from the right, so I tend to think of myself as more of an independent Libertarian. However, some of the things from the left are things I agree with very seriously, and one of those things is related to fair treatment of employees with regard to duties and responsibilites.

One of the most frustrating things about the business world is the hypocrisy of employers. One minute, they are haggling with a customer about not wanting to provide a service they didn’t agree to, then the next they walk into your office and add a task to your list of responsibilities with no discussion of extra pay or other compensation. It boggles the mind that they demand something from their employees that they would never put up with from their customers.

It is very difficult to get our minds around the fact that just because we are employees does not mean that we have no agency in our work. We sign an employment agreement and immediately resign ourselves to being slaves to our boss. This is justified in our minds as being unavoidable because we have no alternatives. If we quit and can’t find another job, we’re going to be broke and out on the street.

The truth is that we as employees are the same as our employers. We are our own little businesses with services to offer for hire. Our employer pays us to perform a service that is agreed to from the hire date until the agreement comes to an end. Employers have no power that we don’t give them, and if they wish to place additional responsibilities on our shoulders it is our duty to demand additional compensation or to refuse to participate in those activities.

Too often we become slaves to our bosses. We are fearful of being unable to make it if this job doesn’t work out, so we come in day after day to jobs we hate because we are too afraid to stand up for ourselves and risk losing what we have. The idea that we have rights is buried under the mountain of oppression that is the employee/employer relationship. They have the power and we just have to do what they tell us.

At the end of the day, the only thing we can do is push as far as we are willing to push. Most of us will never find the courage to simply walk out of a job when our employer tries to take a mile after we gave an inch. The work will just continue creeping further and further until we are so frustrated that our lives become miserable shells of what they could be. When your career becomes an impediment to your happiness, it is time to start looking for another option.

It is my hope that we can find the strength to push back against these people who feel entitled to whatever they ask simply because they pay us to come in for eight hours a day. You may not feel comfortable enough to outright reject a request from your employer, but never be afraid to look for other jobs. In an ideal world, you will have at least one other option in your back pocket ready to be used as ammunition when your boss tries to force you into doing something you didn’t sign up for. You only have power when you have the ability to say no.

What do you think about being an employee? Is it a position where you have no power, or are you able to leverage your strengths to exert control over your situation? Do you put up with the creeping scope of responsibilities as time moves forward, or are you able to stick to your guns and reject such tactics? The first step to improving our careers is to start believing that we are worth more than how our employers value us, and if we can find the resources to say no, we can find a job that we can be content going into every day.

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You Can Be Smart and Stupid at the Same Time

I consider myself a fairly intelligent fellow. There are many things that I’ve learned in my life that other people find very confusing. Cosmology is one of my favorite subjects, and while I am certainly nowhere close to being an expert on the subject, I can understand most of what scientists are talking about when they are describing the physics behind how the universe works. The average person would struggle just to grasp the basic concepts of many of the subjects that simply come to me with little effort.

At the same time, there are other subjects that shouldn’t be very hard to grasp that simply do not come to me very easily, if at all. I’m not very good at math, for example, not having retained any knowledge of the subject past very basic algebra despite having a college degree with courses in more advanced mathematics. I’ve taken geometry and some calculus and even accounting, but none of it stuck with me for any length of time. I just never really understood any of it.

This is the thing about we human beings: we can be smart and stupid at the same time. Certain things just click with us while others will simply never be a part of our makeup. We can look like a genius one day and the next we can feel like a complete fool. Regardless of your raw intelligence level, there are simply some things that you will struggle with because each of our brains works differently and is good at different things. We are highly specialized.

It was because of my desire to figure out how to get this blog off the ground that this subject has been floating around in my head. One of the big things that any website owner has to figure out is getting their content in front of people. Perhaps the biggest thing we can do to accomplish this is practice the best possible Search Engine Optimization (SEO) that we can. When you can figure out how to take advantage of how the algorithms work, you stand a much better chance of reaching a much wider audience.

The problem for me is that I’ve never really been able to figure out how to make this work. I can understand the basic concepts, like making sure you have keywords that the search engines are likely to put first, but more advanced concepts simply escape me. For example, many of the tutorials tell you that your content has to be optimized to be searchable. How do I do this and still make content that is me rather than a template for search engines? I want my content to be formatted in my style, not something that panders to computers.

This is where my stupidity comes in. Part of it is stubborn pride, I suppose. I want my content to stand on its own and I don’t feel I should have to modify it to accommodate an algorithm. The other part, however, is simply that despite my ability to comprehend many other things, I just don’t get the algorithm. I know there are things I should be doing to my content to make it optimized for searching, but for whatever reason I just can’t figure out what that should be.

The other side of it is the actual website design. If you regularly read my content, you may have noticed I updated the layout a few days ago to separate the blog into the different categories I discuss here. That was mostly for your convenience so you can scan back through my content and more easily find a topic you might be looking for, or so you can skip the subjects you’re not interested in. It was also following the idea that more organized content tends to be better for internet searches. We’ll see how that works out.

I previous posted an article entitled “It Takes Money to Make Money“, in which I said that you have the best chance of finding success when you make investments in yourself. This can be personal education, and that will certainly help to some degree, but sometimes there things that you just can’t do on your own and you need expert assistance. You can’t know everything and sometimes the best investment you can make is hiring someone else to do the things you struggle with.

I believe SEO will eventually fall into this category for me, as I’m fairly sure I won’t be able to build a strong following all by myself regardless of the quality of the content. There are great creators out there with awesome blogs and podcasts and videos, but because they haven’t learned to game the system, they will never find any real level of exposure. There are simply too many of us on the internet and we get drowned out by those people who have figured out the tricks of the trade. In the end, it is only through working with others that we can build something amazing.

What do you think about the variability of human intelligence? Are there things that you excel at which make you wonder why you struggle with something else? How do you overcome the things you’re not good at? When we can identify our weaknesses, we start to realize that we can’t do it on our own and, though it may hurt our pride, we learn to reach out to others to find a way forward.

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Why Is Individual Liberty Important?

One of the biggest debates in our modern political climate is the balance between what is best for the individual versus what is best for the community. It is not usually at the forefront of our minds when we think about political issues, but the basis for most arguments from both sides revolves around which of these categories is more important. Understanding how you think about the issue of individual liberty can help solidify your point of view.

For many, the argument that anything about the individual should come first appears to be evil, because for them “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one”. This is clearly an altruistic sounding statement, and when you look at it from a cold mathematics perspective, making a decision that helps ten people at the cost of one seems like something that just makes sense. If you look at it in that very simplistic way, it becomes an easy decision to put the group before the individual.

The problem with this line of thinking is that it completely ignores the reality of human nature. There are billions of unique human beings on the planet, and while many of us share myriad viewpoints, none of us are exactly the same. Different things are important to each of us, and while we might group together to push for a cause we believe in, at our core we are individuals who want individualistic things. How do we decide which ideas to adopt and which ones to reject when we are all so different?

This is the problem with large societies. Once the population grows to a certain point, the expediency of “group think” begins to erode the emphasis on our own individuality in favor of what is best for the biggest number of people. Rather than remembering that we each have things the we like and dislike, we start focusing on what the group decides is important and begin ignoring the needs of the minority. This is an extremely dangerous way to make decisions, because it causes the kind of terrible back and forth societal shifts we are experiencing today as power shifts from one major group to another.

One of the founding principles of our American Republic was the idea that we wanted to preserve the freedoms of the individual and avoid any one group from ruling over another. To quote one of my favorite movies: “why should I trade one tyrant 3000 miles away for 3000 tyrants one mile away?”. The understanding from the very beginning of our nation was that we did not want a repeat of what had happened in the past with dictatorial rulers oppressing the people with their power.

Today’s political climate has become exactly what the founders of the nation feared and did everything they could to prevent with the Constitution: large groups of people banding together in an attempt to force other groups of people into submitting to their authority. Despite what each side tries to tell us, it is no longer about what is good, but who can win and assert their dominion over the population. It is 1775 all over again.

This is the reason why individual liberty is so important. Of all the things about us as human beings, the fact that we are each a unique individual is the one thing that is universal, regardless of nation, creed, religion, or otherwise. Understanding this fact, the logical conclusion when deciding how to run a society is to make this single factor the foundation upon which we build everything else. When we all have such differing viewpoints on how we see the world, the only fair way is to only put rules in place that preserve the ability for each of us to live our lives the way we decide is best. Forcing people to do things a certain way can never lead to lasting peace.

The crux of the issue is all about learning to understand that large groups of people aren’t just numbers to be manipulated, but real human beings who are affected by the decisions imposed by others. We rarely think about how the policies we support force unbearable restrictions to people who oppose our point of view. It doesn’t matter if living with the restriction doesn’t bother you; you have to understand and empathize with the fact that it does bother them.

The problem we have today is that we can’t put ourselves in the place of others and realize that we wouldn’t like it any better if they forced their way onto us. By believing that individuals rights come first is selfish, we become truly selfish by forcing others to bend to our way of thinking because we can only see our way as the good way. We forget that there are actual people who must radically change their lives to accommodate our personal preferences, and we become oppressors rather than fellow citizens.

One of the biggest changes we can make in the way we interact with our political structure is to shift ourselves away from these big groups who care only about being in charge and start voting for people who understand that it is free individuals who made our society great and who will make it great again. It is when we all freely choose come together around common goals that we find the best in ourselves and make great strides as a species. One free man who willingly joins you is worth far more than many slaves who obey only out of fear. As counterintuitive as it sounds, it is when we stop worrying about the group and provide individual people with maximum freedom that our society finds the greatest good.

What do you think about individualism? Have you traditionally regarded it as selfish, or do you believe we should try to accommodate different points of view? What can you do today to advance the cause of individual liberty? While many will never be able to understand the seeming contradiction, it is important for us to think critically about human nature and carefully insert it into our political decision making. Failing to do this inevitably results in conflict, just like we are seeing today.

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Learning to Live With Your Past

We all deal with it. Regardless of where you come from or how much money you make or who you choose to spend your life with, there is something in your past that you’re still dealing with today. It might be something minor that surfaces from time to time, or it could be something truly horrific that makes it difficult just to get up in the morning. Most of us fall somewhere in the middle. No matter who you are, you are dealing with something from your past.

It’s normal to want to forget your past and just move forward with a positive attitude. This period of my life is marked by a desire to find a bright future for myself and my family, and dwelling on the past seems counter to that. Most people understand that you can’t find happiness by dwelling in negativity, but many times we try to push ourselves so far in that direction that we simply ignore the bad things that have happened to us.

The problem is that you can never truly get rid of the demons from your past. They are a part of what makes you who you are today, and because of that they will forever be entwined with your future. Were you able to somehow rip them out, you would no longer be who you are now, but someone quite different. We are shaped by the events we live through, and every one of them is important, good or bad.

The best you can hope for is to tame those demons to the point where they no longer control you. Like most things in life, this will not be easy in the beginning. You will struggle every day to get over whatever it is that hurt you, and no matter what technique you try, it will still require a monumental effort to just get started down the path of healing. People will come along offering a “quick fix” solution, but the truth is that healing requires time. Accepting that is the first step.

One of the great things about human beings is our ability to adapt to new situations and new routines. While it will require a great deal of effort at first, once you get started it becomes easier over time to continue moving forward. The pain lessens and the memories become more and more blurry. You see the light at the end of the tunnel and it draws you forward. The initial push in the middle of the darkness is the hardest, stumbling around blindly until you can find that far away light, but it gets easier once you do.

The temptation after we exit the darkness is to never look back, but we have to remember that the tunnel we walked was inside a mountain, and that will always be there on the road behind us. We didn’t want to go through that mountain, and we never want to again, so it is important to look back occasionally and take a good look at it to make sure we can recognize it when another one appears on the horizon. Part of healing is learning from mistakes and injuries, so fixating on the path ahead can sometimes cause us more harm. Remember to look back from time to time.

At the same time, we still need to watch where we’re going. Spending too much time looking back might cause you to stumble into another mountain you didn’t see coming. Balance must be maintained between keeping your eyes ahead on the path, and occasionally glancing back to keep the obstacles from your past clear in your mind. It’s not an easy thing to do, which is why so many of us struggle to figure it out, but with a little effort you can start to control your own path and avoid repeating the same mistakes in the future.

How do you feel about your past? Did you learn anything from it, or do you continue finding yourself in the same situations? What measures are you putting in place to make your life better from today forward? These are the questions we must ask ourselves if we are to have a fighting chance of making a better life for not only ourselves, but those who choose to share our journey with us.

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It Takes Money to Make Money

It’s one of the most heard and hated clichés to newcomers in the business world. In this modern era of free video streaming and nearly unlimited access to mountains of content, we don’t want to be told that we have to spend any more money than we already do to get into something that we hope to turn into a career. Just like most of the other things in our life, we want it to just come to us with little or no effort.

Unfortunately, no matter how much we wish it were different, that just isn’t the way the world works, especially if we’re talking about doing something as competitive as making money in the online space. There are literally millions of people out there uploading content and competing with you, an individual, for the money that’s out there for the taking. You’ll read articles from people who tell you it’s hard but doable, but the reality is that only a small percentage of people make it in any industry because there’s only so much to go around. How do you compete against people who have already been doing this for years?

The reality is that if you want a leg up on the competition, you’ll likely have to spend some amount of money up front to have any real chance of success. Whether it’s paying for access to a premium service, hiring a marketing company to help you get your message out, or simply purchasing better equipment to increase the quality of your content, it is a near certainty that you will need to spend an uncomfortable amount of your own personal earnings to get started.

I have always struggled with this, but not because I’m too cheap to spend money. I tend to spend way more than I should, if I’m honest. My issue stems from the fact that I tend to be very skittish about risking money on an unknown. This is the reason I’ve never been comfortable with gambling, and at the most basic level an investment of any kind is a gamble. You can’t really know how it’s going to turn out.

Knowing this, I have typically stuck to regular day jobs because they felt like the safest option. A job where you go into work and get a regular paycheck sounds eminently stable, but like many things in life it’s just an illusion. You can walk into your job any day and be laid off without notice. There is no true income security in any sector of the business world, so being afraid to invest your money in yourself is pointless if there is something you want to do that might be more fulfilling than laboring for someone else.

It is because of this that I’ve started taking some small risks by investing in certain things, such as a paid subscription to this blogging service. As I continue to write and attract followers, I will be looking at more opportunities to invest money into the various outlets I’m using to try to get my content to readers and listeners, trying to find the best balance between doing things myself and hiring out work to others who can do things far better than I can. Of course, this requires that I build a following, and who knows how that will actually turn out.

I’m in a part of my life where I’m trying to cast off the old pessimistic view I had of my life and start moving toward something more meaningful, and preferably lucrative. My dreams don’t require a lot of money, but I won’t pretend that one of the motivations for starting this blog is to turn it into a career. Honesty is the best policy, and I prefer to be as real as possible with my writing so that no one ever feels like they were tricked. If they support my content, I want them to know they’re contributing to exactly what they think they are. My hope is that this attitude will be attractive to people and they will find it valuable enough to support it.

How do you feel about spending money on an unknown outcome? Do you jump right in and hope for the best, or do you hold back because you’re afraid to lose? Where do you draw the line between risk and reward? Sometimes we have to do things that are uncomfortable to get where we want to go, and the sooner we learn this, the more rich and fulfilling out lives can become.

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How Do You Shift Your Perspective?

Much like most of us, I have been through many changes in my life. After a fairly normal childhood, I joined military service as a musician, a decidedly paradoxical role in which both extreme discipline and expressive art were jarringly crammed together into a strange but interesting caricature of creativity. Since then I’ve spent most of my time in offices doing computer work, rarely stopping to think about some of the things I realize I’ve lost since not only my time as a musician, but also my childhood.

When I was young, I was far more imaginative than I am today. This can be said for most people, but I think I can say I was above average in the creativity department. Childhood games of fantasy pretending to be crazy characters from books, hours and hours spent reading adventure novels and imagining myself alongside the characters, creating and leading fantasy adventure games with family and friends; I used to have a far more interesting way of looking at the world than I do now.

Somewhere along the way I lost that spark of creativity. I feel that part of it was the discipline I was required to maintain as a Marine for what is now about half of my adult life. It is difficult to find the motivation for creative thought when your daily routine is so highly regimented by others. In order to satisfy that creative spark, I retreated more fully into things like video games than I already had by that point, and it feels like the creative side of me has atrophied due to relying on other forms of entertainment than my own imagination.

Since leaving the military, I haven’t really been able to pull myself out of that. I’ve gotten used to the routine of day by day life, looking ahead to the future but never really knowing how to get there. I’ve accepted boring office jobs because they seem to be the only kind of work I am qualified to do. Setting aside the fact that I’ve convinced myself I can’t afford it financially to start over, the truth is I don’t believe in myself enough to branch out into something else.

In order to jump into something new, you have to have a part of you that can visualize success. Sometimes, that success depends very highly on your ability to think outside of the box, because the thing you jump into might require very different solutions and actions than you’re used to. More than a decade in the military planted me firmly inside the box, and I struggle to this day to break out of it. As part of this struggle, I keep searching for different ways to use one of my interests to break free.

Writing is something that I’ve always had an interest in. I even wrote the first book of a fantasy trilogy, though it hasn’t found success. I have made several attempts to break away from the traditional labor space into more creative endeavors, but it feels like there is just something missing from my makeup that I can’t seem to get past. The hard part is that I can’t figure out if it’s something I lost to adulthood that I can maybe get back, or if it’s something I just never really had in the first place.

Like many things in life, that question can only be answered by continuing to try and seeing what happens. Sometimes looking at the world a different way requires that you change the way you look at it. I have traditionally felt that I don’t have what it takes to move out from under the shadows of others to stand in the light on my own. The only way to get past that doubt is to simply ignore it and keep trying. It may never happen, but if I don’t even try it certainly won’t.

What do you think about your perspective on life? Are you satisfied with where you are headed? If not, have you thought about trying to break into something new? Sometimes all we can do is simply take the first step down the path and hope for the best. None of us knows the future, and many times it is a small change that ends up making the biggest difference in our lives. If we support each other in taking those steps, perhaps many more of us can live the kinds of lives we dream of.

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Government Can’t Save You

As our society moves forward into higher and higher levels of technological advancement, we are starting to exhibit some very troubling tendencies. In the past, we used to accept a lot of things about life that were simply variables outside of our control, and we adjusted our lives to cope with this reality. Whether it was protecting ourselves from wild predators or enemy tribes or even just dealing with the inconsistency of the weather for our crops, we had the capacity to understand that we couldn’t waste time fixating on things that we can’t do anything about.

In this modern era, we have a lot of free time. While this idleness has allowed us to move our focus from basic survival to more meaningful pursuits, it has also allowed us to come up with some pretty unrealistic ideas about how life should be. As life becomes easier and we are required to work less and less, our sense of entitlement is increasing at an exponential rate. Because we live in our sheltered little worlds, we have lost touch with reality and expect the world to bend to our will.

You can see this in a lot of the political ideologies that have surfaced in recent years. Their goal appears to be eliminating many of the struggles that our citizens face and bringing everyone up to the same quality of life. This is a noble sentiment, but it ignores many of the problems associated not only with the fact that the world is a harsh place to exist, but also that human nature is not conducive to this type of political structure. All of the worst qualities of humanity still exist in full force, our system of government must reflect this.

Systems like socialism or communism sound great because they are designed to implement control on the world around us. We like to feel that we can put rules or contingencies into place that will safeguard us from danger, and it becomes easy to turn to people who seem to know what they’re doing. This is foolish because it ignores the reality of the human condition. Ambitious and selfish people from every period of time have stepped up to claim the mantle of leader, and they implemented strict controls into the societies they led in order to get people into line under their power.

The problem is that any sense of control is a total fiction. Even ignoring the chaos of the natural world, human beings themselves are impossible to permanently subjugate. They yearn to live out their hopes and dreams. The longer they are forced to live in conditions they find detestable, the more angry they become and eventually revolution sparks. The control that the leadership believed they had is shattered in an instant by the very human nature that propelled them into power in the first place. It is a deadly cycle.

We see this in our society today. The reason our country is so divided is not only because of misinformation by the media or large groups of people shifting to one extreme or the other. A big part of the problem is the slow encroachment into our personal lives that our system of government has been pushing for more than a hundred years. Social programs, unjust wars, increased police states and more have begun to weigh down on the spirit of Americans both left and right. We simply can’t see that our common enemy is our own government, not each other.

So instead of pushing off the control of these people who want us to do what they tell us, we call these same people to implement more rules in the hope that they can somehow protect us from the people we’ve been propagandized into fearing. Rather than seeing these “leaders” for what they are, we blindly follow these evil shepherds into terrifying ideas in the hope that they actually know what they’re doing. They don’t.

What do you think about government? Is it something you trust, or something you fear? Have you seen anything done by government that guaranteed you a positive result? We like to believe that most people are good and will do what is right for the betterment of society, but history has shown us over and over that this just isn’t the case. Good people become corrupted very quickly when given power, and their ideas are generally no better than yours. If we can remember that human nature will always be what it is, we can start to take responsibility for ourselves and push our future forward the right way.

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Working for Employers Who Don’t Value You

One of the hardest things for a working adult to figure out is learning to live under a boss who views you as an asset rather than a person. It is natural for someone managing so many things all at once to lose sight of the fact that the people he employs aren’t just pieces to be moved, but at the same time it is very difficult to use that understanding to avoid becoming resentful. The boss may be a good person, and he may have a true desire to treat his employees with respect, but at the end of the day his job is to get the job done and your desires are secondary.

It is one thing to be able to look at this objectively and understand how things are and why they are that way, but it is quite another to reconcile that in your own heart. We can understand why the boss needs to have that sort of attitude to some extent, but eventually we begin to become disenfranchised with our work environment when we realize that we don’t really matter past what our employer can get out of us. The longer this goes on, the harder it becomes to withstand our own angst and continue maintaining a positive attitude.

Of course, this post is being written in response to my own current employment experience. I have to be upfront and honest and say that I have a pretty good boss. He treats me with respect and has allowed me a lot of leeway with time off for childcare and other things of that nature. I can’t fault him for his character in the slightest. Most people would be very satisfied with their experience here. I certainly was for several years.

On the other hand, there is an expectation that as you continue to work for an employer, you move out of the tasks and responsibilities that you started and begin advancing further into your career. The problem with this employer is that I have nothing to offer them outside of what I already do, and to advance I would have to shift my focus from my current skillset to an entirely new one…a skillset that I’m definitely not interested in. So instead of moving forward with my career, I get stuck with all the random tasks that no one else wants to do. It is difficult to find satisfaction in that sort of position, and it makes it quite clear that I am seen as a convenience rather than a meaningful and contributing member of the team.

This is the problem with being an employee. No matter how good or nice or positive your boss might be, at the end of the day you are working for the enrichment of someone else. You are compensated for the effort you put in, but you are not adding any lasting value to yourself, aside from more job experience added to your resume. That’s nice, I suppose, but it doesn’t have the same staying power that it had in the past. The current gig economy makes it very difficult to find quality positions regardless of your experience because everyone is always looking for work.

This is the second post in which I’ve come to unload some of my issues in written form. I try to focus on the positive, but like you, reader, I have my ups and downs. For me to paint myself as a beacon of hope in a world of darkness would be hypocritical. All of the issues I’ve written about on the blog thus far are things I struggle with, not things that I’ve learned to master. I do my best to implement my own advice, but there are days like today where the circumstances of life press down on me and I want to just walk away. It’s all harder than it sounds.

Where I find a difference between myself and many other people is that I am able to objectively look at these things once I get past my initial frustration. Will I just walk away from my job because I hate it? No. I can’t afford to just walk away without somewhere to go. Will I allow my frustration to poison my life? No. It’s not worth dwelling on it. I have to keep my focus on getting to the next step in my life and not shooting myself in the foot before I get there. We all go through this at one level or another, but bringing this thought to the forefront can make all the difference in our ability to find peace and happiness.

So what do you think about working for employers? Do you have a good one or a bad one? Do they make you feel valued, or despite their kindness do you feel like a chess piece? Sharing your own experiences is one of the best things we can do to assuage our own angst and frustration, because the sharing of our experiences in a constructive way has a strong, positive effect on our psychological condition. I encourage you to share your story and get the weight off your chest.

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