Sometimes Life Just Wants to Test You

It was not a good morning today. As per usual, I woke up with just enough time to get myself dressed and do my basic hygiene routine before shooting out the door to work. It started out pretty well, but it didn’t last very long. For personal reasons, my morning routine has been somewhat altered for the next couple of months, and while that by itself isn’t that big of a deal, this morning simply seemed to be conspiring against me.

The problems didn’t actually start until after I had completed the additional part of my commute into work. I got caught by a light I normally don’t spend much time at, and then traffic was just extra slow this morning. Impatience is one of the more powerful personality traits in my makeup, so I was already starting to get annoyed. Then as I was exiting the freeway to the surface streets outside my job, someone decided that I didn’t deserve any space to drive on the road and thought it was fine to try to occupy the portion of the road where my car was situated. That’s just a fancy way of saying that they tried to run me off the road.

I was so livid, and then of course I get caught by the light where I turn left to go into my job. Everyone at work agrees that the light is probably the most ridiculous light in the city because it has a ridiculous traffic pattern that breaks things up into more steps than your standard intersection. As usual, I got caught at the beginning of the cycle, so instead of only being five minutes late I ended up being ten. If you’ve read my blog in the past, you’ll understand why being late is something that really doesn’t sit well with me, and every second sitting at the light fuming over being late just made the morning all the more infuriating.

One of my basic tasks when coming in on the first day of the week is to complete a basic cleanup of the office. In the top five of the most irritating things about my job is definitely that we have one bathroom to service not only the people in the office, but also the field workers that come and go throughout the day. This causes a lot of angst amongst the staff in general, but it is worse for me because I have a physical condition that forces me to be in the bathroom a lot. It’s incredibly frustrating when you need to use the restroom but have to wait on two or three people.

The reason I bring this up is that one of the things I try to beat in the morning is getting into the bathroom for cleaning before other people decide they want to get into it. As you might expect from a morning like this, as I was getting into work and getting ready to start cleaning, someone was in the bathroom. This wouldn’t normally be a problem except that the supplies I needed were in the bathroom, which meant I couldn’t get started at all. So in the end it was multiple delays and a near miss accident that comprised a morning full of frustration.

My natural reaction to things like this is to lose my temper and start shouting and screaming. Of course, in my private time I go ahead and do this because it releases the tension and allows me to vent my frustrations. Unfortunately, when it happens on my way in to work I’m not really able to deal with it in the way that is best for me. I end up having to bottle it up inside and just hold it in until it dissipates over time. This isn’t particularly good for me as it prolongs the amount of time that I’m stressed out.

As a professional and former Marine, I have the discipline to do this, but I prefer to be able to just get it all out as soon as possible. Perhaps that’s part of my impatience, but it’s just the way I work. Part of this post is getting it out in some kind of way since I don’t have the ability to put it out into the world the way I’d like to. Writing isn’t nearly as satisfying as shouting, but it is what it is. At least I have some way of getting myself back to a better frame of mind.

What do you think about dealing with problems? Do you get frustrated, or are you able to take it calmly? Is your life made more difficult by an inability to respond well to unfolding events, or are you “cool as a cucumber”? We all have things we end up dealing with, and the way we respond to them is unique to each of us. There is no wrong way to handle these kinds of things so long as it doesn’t adversely affect those around you. Never be afraid to be you.

One-Time
Monthly
Yearly

Make a one-time donation

Make a monthly donation

Make a yearly donation

Choose an amount

$5.00
$15.00
$100.00
$5.00
$15.00
$100.00
$5.00
$15.00
$100.00

Or enter a custom amount

$

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

DonateDonate monthlyDonate yearly

Personal Post: An Inability to Focus

I’ve spent most of my life struggling to figure out what to do with it. I’ve had a lot of dreams and aspirations for things I might have done along the way, and I’ve been lucky enough to have some unique experiences that most people never get an opportunity to have. From riding on a nuclear ballistic missile submarine with my father as a kid to flying airplanes to performing in front of tens of thousands of people as part of a military band in several different professional sports stadiums, the first part of my life was much more of a wild ride than I tend to give it credit for.

The thing is that the last decade or so of my life has been a stark contrast to what my life was before. Rather than being involved in things that put me in crazy places with lifelong memories, I’ve retreated into myself to exist in a world of isolation. I’ve always been a very private person and being social is just not something I have any desire for. I never have. What changed was that I transitioned from being in a position to be provided with opportunities to participate in fantastic events to a very long dry spell where nothing interesting ever happens in my life anymore.

One could look at my habit of extensive use of video games and movies as distractions to identify the culprit of my most recent spat of boredom, and I’m sure that’s true to some extent. However, the real problem is like many other things in life in that it lies on a lower level that isn’t easily identifiable. For most things in life, the only way we can bring ourselves to push ourselves to do something is if it is a passion, and that’s where I struggle. I’ve never really been passionate about anything.

To be able to make a sustained effort toward anything in life, there must be passion. It is the internal drive to keep doing something you love that gives us the ability to keep coming back to it over and over until we polish it into something we can be proud of and that other people admire. It is only when we have something that makes us valuable to others that we start to see various opportunities being presented to us, and those are the times when interesting things begin to happen.

The longest thing I ever really participated in outside of video games or watching movies was music, but it wasn’t because I was passionate about it. It was simply something that came easily to me that turned out to be a great way to make a living. Sure, it was the military and that was a different animal than what most people think about when they imagine the music industry, but it paid the bills and gave me some pretty amazing experiences. Part of me misses that time of my life because of the things I got to see and do, but I haven’t really picked up an instrument since I left and that is a solid indication that music isn’t really a passion. In the end, it was just a thing I did that happened to result in something fantastic.

This is where I’m really struggling in this phase of my life. I’ve never really been passionate about anything except maybe flying, but the door for that as a career has pretty much closed on me. I’ve only got a couple of decades left before most pilot jobs would force me into mandatory retirement, so getting into loads of debt for half a career just doesn’t make sense. Aside from that, I just can’t think of anything I’d like to do strongly enough to really pursue it, which has resulted in nearly a decade of wandering about with no direction.

It is difficult to exist this way, having no real purpose or path forward. I have some idea of things I’d like to do with my life overall, such as travelling around to see things be it in my travel trailer or on a sailboat, but those aren’t really anything productive that I can do. They are simply an end state I’d like to achieve. Even if I can somehow figure out a way to make it happen, I struggle to see how I can be content with it if I don’t have some sort of purpose for my life that makes me feel like a man should feel; like I’m getting something meaningful accomplished.

The problem with me is that I’m one of those people who becomes very bored with things very quickly. It doesn’t take long for something new and interesting to become boring and repetitive to me. After the initial infatuation with something wears off, it turns into a grind and that’s just not something I deal with very well. I crave something interesting and exciting. I can’t just sit still and do nothing. My mind needs something to engage it, to keep things moving, to save me from the urge to scream out of boredom.

It certainly doesn’t help that my career has been comprised of boring office jobs, and also that these jobs have been mostly sitting around with nothing much to do except wait for someone to need something. I’ve passed the last eight years or so of my working life watching YouTube, partially because my employers can’t seem to figure out how to use me, but also because I can’t summon the will to engage in this kind of work with any serious enthusiasm. It all just feels so trivial. What does it accomplish? How does it make me valuable?

I’ve had ideas of things I’d like to do that I imagine would be interesting. Obviously I’ve done a lot of writing, including the first book of a fantasy trilogy that I never got around to finishing. I’ve always loved role playing games, as well as watching movies, so acting has always been something I thought would be a cool career. With all the movies I’ve watched over the course of my life, I think I could actually be a fairly decent director. The thing is that with all of these ideas of things I could do, I can’t motivate myself to do them because the effort involved to get anywhere with any of them is monumental and I can’t help but imagine wasting my time doing all that only to get bored with it just as I’m starting to get somewhere.

It’s the same thing with my job right now. I’ve been wanting to look for something different, partially because I don’t like many of the things I’m asked to do here, but also because I want to find work that I can do remotely so I can start moving around unrestricted, not being tied to one particular location. The problem is that looking for work requires effort, and I just can’t summon the focus to do that until I absolutely have to. Even though I imagine it would be better for me to find another job, I just can’t focus on it enough because looking for work is tedious and boring and I just can’t be bothered. Maybe for the five minutes or so that I’m angry about something at work, but once that evaporates it’s back to just living with it.

I guess the point of this post is to articulate the idea that some of us really struggle with living in a way that prevents us from moving anywhere, not because we don’t have valuable skills and abilities, but because we just can’t maintain our focus on any one thing long enough to really get anywhere with it. It’s unclear to me how to escape from this choking loop of self-sabotage, but I really wish I could find something I can be passionate enough to center my life around.

Until then, if it ever happens, I will continue to struggle with simply working to make a living. Most of the people in the world do it and many of them are just fine with it, and one of the things I’ve learned is that I can do what I have to do to get by. I simply imagine that I suffer through it more than most because it’s all just so boring, and I can’t stand to be bored. All I can do is hope that things change for me someday, and try to patiently wait for it.

One-Time
Monthly
Yearly

Make a one-time donation

Make a monthly donation

Make a yearly donation

Choose an amount

$5.00
$15.00
$100.00
$5.00
$15.00
$100.00
$5.00
$15.00
$100.00

Or enter a custom amount

$

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

DonateDonate monthlyDonate yearly

Working Outside Your Comfort Zone

I’ve mentioned in a recent article that I’m a 90’s kid. This means that I grew up when the computer revolution was really hitting it’s peak. I can remember back to my early days with things like five inch floppy disks and big, heavy CRT monitors. My favorite games were Doom and Heretic and Master of Magic. It was a different time and things worked very differently back then.

The reason this is important for the purposes of this article is that over the years I’ve become very accustomed to certain ways of doing things. My career since leaving military service has been primarily administrative in nature, utilizing the skills I gained through the years growing up with computers. I did quite a lot of typing in chat rooms in my younger days and that gave me the ability to type more than 90 words per minute on a traditional keyboard.

I remember when the first iPhone came out and how excited I was for a device that didn’t require any accessories to control. Simply touch the screen and get started. It was revolutionary for the time and I can remember the lines of people clamoring to get the first of them. My life changed the day I got my first smart phone.

Still, one of the things that didn’t really appeal to me about touch screen phones was typing. I just could never get anywhere near as fast on my phone as I could on my PC. Part of it was the inefficient nature of keyboards at the time, but mostly it was just that I was already set in my ways using hardware for typing. Things got much better when Swype came out not all that long ago, but for a while I really didn’t like typing on the phone.

Even with new technologies like Swype, I tend to avoid using my phone for anything text related. It just feels so cumbersome. I’m used to being able to type without looking at my hands and just watching the screen for errors, most of which I can feel long before my eyes notice. It’s all just muscle memory at this point.

However, sometimes you just need to get over your discomfort to get things done, and this article is a perfect example. The one time I have today to write for my blog is a time where I don’t have access to a traditional keyboard. This entire article has been written on my phone using the touch screen keyboard. I’ve had to step outside my comfort zone to get done what needs to be done.

There are many things in life that require that we set aside our personal preferences in the name of getting things done. Some of them are small like typing on a phone, while others are huge issues that require massive leaps of faith and courage. Regardless of what it is, being willing to grow outside of the little boxes that define us is a critical part of developing as human beings. Never be afraid to do something different, because the worst that can happen is you fail and learn. No one can really ask for more than that.

One-Time
Monthly
Yearly

Make a one-time donation

Make a monthly donation

Make a yearly donation

Choose an amount

$5.00
$15.00
$100.00
$5.00
$15.00
$100.00
$5.00
$15.00
$100.00

Or enter a custom amount

$

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

DonateDonate monthlyDonate yearly

Punctuality is a Pillar of Success

Time is very much like an enemy. It is ever present and ever dangerous. A constant sense of pressure weighs down on us any time we really think about it. There is never a point in our lives in which time is on our side. It is always working against us, whether biologically or socially or in our careers. It is cold, unfeeling and has no patience for the variables that might crop up in our lives. It must be dealt with each and every time or things come crashing down around us.

Most people understand the importance of time in our lives, especially if they have any plans to make a success of themselves. Keeping track of and adhering to the important times in our lives is critical to just about anything we participate in. Without paying attention to when and where we have to be, there would be no way of accomplishing anything meaningful because to get most things done in life requires some form of coordination with others. This is where punctuality becomes key.

Obviously our work lives are centered around being on time. We have to show up for work at the designated start time and then we have a finite amount of time to get our responsibilities completed for the day. No employer wants to pay overtime, so urgency is key in many jobs. Taking too long to get things done is bad for business. And of course showing up late for work, or not showing up at all, creates a seriously bad impression on those you work with. Punctuality when it comes to work is universally understood, if not necessarily adhered to by everyone.

Where most people start to dismiss the importance of being on time for things is in their personal lives. We begin to feel that the stakes aren’t nearly as high as when dealing with our source of income, so a lower priority is placed on making sure we show up for things when we’re supposed to. We might make plans with friends and then show up an hour late because we didn’t account for getting ready or traffic or any other number of variables that cause us to become delayed.

The issue with this is that punctuality is a sign of respect for the time of the people around you, and when we fail to respect the time of others then we are showing disrespect for the people themselves. It may be that it doesn’t particularly bother them, and that’s really a personal decision for each person to make on their own. However, if we are to try to be the best friend, relative, spouse or otherwise that we can be, a foundation of respect is key. Showing up when we say we’re going to displays that we care about the time of others and that we have a fundamental respect for the important people in our lives.

One of the main takeaways that we should bring with us from any discussion about how to interact with other people is that the way we behave should be in a way that strives to do the right thing regardless of whether the person notices or not. We do it because it’s the right thing to do, not to get some reward out of it. Being punctual isn’t just for the other people involved; it’s for us as well. Doing something the right way builds us up regardless of how others perceive it.

Some readers might be thinking that they are very punctual individuals, or perhaps they might be thinking that this particular topic is a waste of time. I would challenge you to analyze your past and think about the various times where being on time was important and whether you met the expectation or not. When dealing with either business or personal appointments, it is a good idea to live by the rule that “early is on time; on time is late”. I have spent my life living by this philosophy and it has never failed me. If you missed the mark, or even just cut it close, you may be damaging your reputation with the people who matter. It’s up to you to make it happen.

What do you think about being on time? Are you chronically late, or do you make an effort to be where you’re supposed to be when you’re supposed to be there? Is there anyone in your life that causes you problems with their tardiness? We occasionally lose track of time and might miss a thing or two; no one is perfect. However, placing an importance on the time of others in addition to our own is a great step toward earning not only the respect of others, but also setting ourselves up for success in everything.


One-Time
Monthly
Yearly

Make a one-time donation

Make a monthly donation

Make a yearly donation

Choose an amount

$5.00
$15.00
$100.00
$5.00
$15.00
$100.00
$5.00
$15.00
$100.00

Or enter a custom amount

$

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

DonateDonate monthlyDonate yearly

Understanding Your Habits

Those readers who follow and read my blog on a regular basis might have noticed that I don’t post quite as regularly as I did in the very beginning. There are a few reasons for this, most of which are rationalizations for the primary reason. I could say that I prefer this or it would be better if I did that, but the honest truth is that the biggest reason for my reduction in writing is that I am one of those people for whom being in the habit of doing things a certain way makes me consistent.

Like just about everyone else who writes a blog, I have a day job. It it quite unfulfilling and leaves me with a lot of spare time because they simply don’t have enough work to keep me busy most days. I sit at my desk idly passing the time and waiting for the day to be over so I can go home and actually find something interesting to do. You might wonder why I don’t try to find ways to make myself useful, and I used to have that desire, but after four years of my talents being wasted I’m not particularly eager to put any extra effort in. I could leave, but the job ends soon and the pay is pretty good, so I do what they ask and cash my check.

The reason this is important is because my daily writing schedule is integrally meshed with my work schedule. For me to maintain any level of consistent work, I have to have a daily habit that works in all the various things I need to get done. This includes writing for my blog. Over the last few months, it has become a habit for me to come into work, complete whatever menial work related tasks I have on my plate, and then switch over to my writing platform to put words down to digital paper. It makes it much easier to remember and actually be motivated to do something when I have a plan to follow.

All that said, I used to have a goal of publishing one article every day, which included weekends. The problem with this is that because my weekend days are vastly different from my work days, I never remember to check up on the blog or sit down to write something. It’s almost muscle memory on weekdays, but for my days off it just doesn’t pop into my mind. I started noticing that I would get most of the way through Sunday before it even occurred to me that I hadn’t written anything for the weekend.

My initial solution to this was to write extra posts during the week to cover the extra days, but I began to notice it made me feel unmotivated to write when I had to cram in extra posts to cover my days off. Writing suffers when it’s forced, and while I would love to be able to produce quality work to cover every day of the year, I understand myself enough to realize that I have to be in my groove for anything I write to be worth reading. Otherwise it’s just a bunch of words on paper that even I wouldn’t be interested in spending any time with.

In the end, I decided that the best option for me would be to simply pare my writing down to five articles per week; one for each working day. Doing it this way means that I am unlikely to succumb to the desire to skip over work I told myself I would do because I have a daily routine which is easier to follow than some esoteric schedule I came up with. I come into work, get my tasks complete, and then write an article. That makes it much easier to stick to for me.

The point of all this isn’t really a news update on my publishing schedule, but to illustrate how most of us need to manage our expectations about our own ability to get things done. We all have habits, some of which help us get things done and others that make it much more difficult to accomplish anything at all. If we can learn to understand and accept the habits that we have formed, we can make far more effective use of our time and energy. Working against our own flows just makes the things we need to get done all the more difficult. By accepting that I can’t be consistent with a post every single day, I have reduced the stress associated with getting articles published and I feel that I am more consistent with my writing. It’s all about knowing yourself.

What do you think about living with habits? Which are helpful and which make your life harder? What compromises have you been forced to make to accommodate your particular habits? There are few things worse than fighting with yourself, and if you can learn to go with your own flow, you might find that you get a lot more done at a higher level of quality. Never be afraid to be who you are.

Join 231 other followers

If you liked this post and would like to support the blog, please visit the support page!

Living With Irrational Fears

There are certain things that we all are afraid of. Physical injury or death are near the top of the list for just about everyone, and I’ve always heard that public speaking is most people’s absolute number one fear. However, some of us struggle with other fears that aren’t so normal or logical and it causes us additional anxiety that is usually unwarranted. Others might look at these fears and shake their head in confusion, not understanding that what seems like a minor deal to them is an almost earth-shatteringly terrifying thing to us.

For me, I’ve always had a strong aversion to insects. It doesn’t really matter what kind, but the idea of any of them touching me sends shudders of revulsion down my spine. If I’m sitting around and notice one even vaguely near me, I have to suppress a powerful urge to jump up and make a loud exclamation. When I happen to see one that’s actually on my person, I can’t suppress that urge and quite a show ensues.

Without a doubt the worst of these is any of the flying variety. At least with the ones on the ground you have a great deal of control over whether it is able to get close to you or not. When it comes to flying insects, however, the odds switch the other way around. They have far more mobility than we do and are able to pick and choose where they go with little difficulty.

My fear of these isn’t completely unfounded. When I was young I stayed with my father in Alabama for the summers and he owned a rather large, wooded property. We would wander around through the trees trying to find ways to entertain ourselves, and on one such day I wandered too close to a nest of angry wasps. They weren’t particularly pleased with my presence and proceeded to drive me off. It was terrifying and painful.

Knowing this, when we started hearing things about a new insect from Asia called the “murder hornet“, the details of the thing caused my heart to beat faster even while I knew that they aren’t in my area. They’re two inches long and can easily kill a person if they choose to swarm them. This isn’t really a common occurrence, even in Asia, but to a person with a fear of insects the idea of a cloud of two inch flying death machines is enough to put a lump in our throats.

It is only a matter of time before these insects make there way down here to Southern California, and I’m not looking forward to the first time I see one. If small insects scare me already, the first time I have to see a massive flying hornet buzzing around me I’m probably going to completely lose it. It doesn’t matter that it likely has no interest in me and that my fear of it is irrational at best and ridiculous at worst. It’s a flying insect that can sting me.

This is just one example of an irrational fear that many people have. For those who don’t suffer from such things, it might seem unreasonable, but if you have such a fear then you totally understand. Maybe one day we can get over it, but for now we have to just keep on going through life struggle to deal with these admittedly minor problems.

What do you think about irrational fears? Do you struggle with one or more yourself? Or do you look at people with silly fears and wonder what’s wrong with them? Sometimes we just struggle with things that don’t make sense, but knowing that doesn’t make them any easier to deal with.

Join 231 other followers

If you liked this post and would like to support the blog, please visit the support page!

Knowing What to Do and When to Do It

I don’t have a specific topic to cover today; not because I couldn’t find one but mostly because at the time of writing it’s Monday morning and I’m not particularly motivated to write. As I’ve said a few times during the course of this blog, my goal is to be honest and real and I prefer not to put a fake face on my content here. Unfortunately, that means that sometimes what I put down to digital paper isn’t going to be the most positive and uplifting thing in the world, but that’s the price of putting your true self out there for people to see.

One of the things I’ve struggled with for most of my life is knowing what I want to do for work. I’ve always had vague ideas of various things I’d like to do, but like many things in life I’m just not willing to pay the costs to get there. There have been many examples of this over the course of my years as a responsible, tax paying adult, and for each item there have been reasons I’m interested and factors that prevented me from pursuing an interesting opportunity.

Perhaps the biggest disappointment regarding my career was when I chose to give up on my dream of becoming a professional pilot. Of the many things I like to do, flying is at the very top of my list. There is nothing that makes me feel more free than being thousands of feet above the earth at the controls of an aircraft that can take me virtually anywhere. I have never been more at peace than when I am up in the air.

Unfortunately, the events of life conspired against me and I was forced to choose between flying and what I believed at the time was a more important responsibility. It turns out now that the decision was wasted from the start, but I couldn’t know that at the time. I made my choice and now it’s too late to realistically get back into flying as a profession. Perhaps one day I’ll make enough money to do it recreationally, but spending my days in the air is nearly certain to be an impossibility.

Of course, like many of my topics, this article is sparked by a feeling I have inside me about some aspect of my life. It can be good or bad, but it is something that weighs on my mind heavily at the time of writing. We face so many decisions in our lives every day; some are small and insignificant, while others can be life altering to the extent that nothing is ever the same again. Sometimes it’s impossible to know how a single decision will affect the rest of your life.

The knowledge of unforeseen consequences can make it quite difficult to make decisions about even the most basic things sometimes. You can know from a logical perspective what the right choice is, but you become afraid of what might happen if you make that choice. Other times you have no idea what to do because you can see various outcomes that are all equally good or equally bad or some mix of the two, and you don’t which result your decision will generate.

Perhaps the most difficult part of my life has been knowing what to do and when to do it. There has been so much doubt in my life about many things, from career to family to just getting up in the morning. Some people are able to deal with these things very well and live happy, productive lives. Others are more like me who struggle to put up with a world which continues to throw difficulties our way and we just can’t understand why we can’t figure out how to avoid them.

I’ve had to learn to accept that I will always struggle with many of the things that are expected of me as a man and a father and whatever else I may be. My attention is easily grabbed by various things that aren’t particularly good for me, and it’s far easier to descend into something distracting to pass the time rather than deal with the problems I’d rather not have in the first place. The responsible side of me knows I should do better, but the will just isn’t there.

Perhaps one day I’ll find the strength inside me to extract myself from whatever this is that keeps me from being more than I am. It may be that I can find a way to shed my anger and anxiety and angst about the circumstances of my life and finally learn to accept that it is what it is and there isn’t much I can do about it. The thought of that galls me, but the reality is that with billions of people in a world of limits, only a few will truly realize their full potential. It is knowing this that makes it so hard to take risks and really know what to do and when to do it.

Join 231 other followers

If you liked this post and would like to support the blog, please visit the support page!

Living in Chains

I’ve been struggling lately with a thought process that isn’t very respectable amongst certain circles of society. We are brought up to believe that rules are important and we should respect those rules and follow them. For many things, I believe this to be true, especially when it comes to doing things that might cause harm to others. On the other hand, there are certain rules that chafe at my very being and it is a struggle to live with them.

While I could probably come up with a long list of the rules I dislike and would prefer to go away, suffice it to say that it is the source of my dislike for certain rules that causes me to feel the way that I do. Deep within who I am as a person is a primal need to be free from the constraints placed on me by other people; by a society that has decided that order is more important than choice. That the illusion of safety is more important than allowing people to live their lives as they see fit.

Many of the restrictions we live with today are causing a large number of people to waste their talents away. There are so many rules and regulations regarding something as simple as just starting your own business that it creates a barrier to entry that is simply too high for many to overcome. Much of the time it isn’t money that stops a person from trying to step out on their own, but an arduous process of jumping through regulatory hoops that people can’t or won’t deal with.

I’ve known for a long time that I don’t like working for other people. Having to come into a place every day where I have little to no say about how I spend my day just rubs me the wrong way. It was extremely difficult to deal with back when I was in the military, and it hasn’t become any easier now that I’m just working a regular day job. My spirit is crushed on a daily basis when I get up in the morning and have to go into work.

My last few more personal posts have been somewhat depressing, and I realize this isn’t really something that most people want to read about. We are all mostly concerned about our own problems and don’t really want to hear about the problems of others. I do my best to keep my issues to myself, even in my personal life, but sometimes you just need to get your thoughts out of your own head and out into the world.

At the same time, it is my belief that some of my readers will identify with this feeling. There are so many people in the world who are stuck in situations no one wants to be in. Some have it worse than I do, while some are better off, but the feeling is exactly the same. We all envisioned our lives turning out differently than they did. There is no cure for a disappointing life, and in the end we are bound by the chains that brought us to where we are today.

What can we do about such things? Raging against the status quo might have some kind of positive effect, but most of the time it’s just wasted energy. The mass of society is going to progress forward the way it has for the entirety of human existence, singularly unimpressed with our desire for something more. We can try to follow the advice of some to “make your dream come true” through hard work, but realistically it also requires a bit of luck…or a bit of help. There isn’t really much you can do if you have neither.

I try to stay positive in my life and especially in this blog, but lately I’ve been struggling with these feelings I can’t seem to deal with. There needs to be a change of some kind, but I just don’t know what. Like many people who might be reading this, I’m struggling with figuring out what I can and want to do with my life. Who knows where I will end up, but I hope it will be somewhere that finally puts me in a place to do something with my life that makes me feel like my life is accomplishing something worthy.

Join 231 other followers

If you liked this post and would like to support the blog, please visit the support page!

What Do You Do When You Feel Trapped?

It is a universal fear. We all spend some portion of our lives worrying about it and trying to avoid it. One of the biggest reasons we make the decisions we make and take the actions that we do is in an effort to mitigate the chances of it happening to us. It could come in many forms, from money to career to an actual physical condition. No matter who we are or what we do or where we go, there is always a latent fear of becoming trapped in one form or another.

Unfortunately, as much as we’d like to believe we are in control of our own lives, the reality is that we will all become trapped at some point in our lives. The worst version of this is obviously some form of slavery, which has been a bane of human existence for millennia and shows no sign of being eradicated any time soon. Even if it isn’t explicitly restraining people and keeping them like animals, as long as one group of people stands to benefit from the cheap or free labor of others, it will continue to thrive.

Most of us don’t fall into this category, however, and while it is tempting to believe that we should ignore our own entrapment because it pales in comparison to such horrible conditions, it is foolish to ignore the feelings that arise when we feel like we have no options. No matter how small or insignificant our own problems feel in comparison to some of the more terrible situations that other people go through, they are important to us and deserve a significant amount of consideration, even if only from our own perspective.

As you might expect, the reason I’m writing this post is specifically because I feel trapped in my own life. For the last eight years or so, I have been stuck in a career I can’t stand performing work that is unfulfilling and waiting out the clock until the end of the day. Eight years of not building anything for my future or learning a valuable skill or doing anything meaningful with my time. The effect has been maddening and is one of the reasons I finally decided to do something like writing a blog.

Where the struggle is getting more and more difficult to deal with is the huge wall of the unknown that stands before me this year. My current job ends in the next few months and I have little hope that my next job will be any better than this one. My resume is geared toward the same kind of work I’ve been doing, and breaking into something new would reduce my income to a level that won’t support me or those who depend on me. I feel trapped in an endless cycle of useless jobs that simply pay the bills and nothing else.

Many people would be thrilled to have my problems rather than the ones they are currently struggling with, and I’m very aware that my angst could be judged as ungrateful by people going through far harder times than I am. However, I’ve said in the past that suffering is relative and even if our problems are not objectively as bad as another person it doesn’t negate the intensity of our feelings.

I’d like to say that this post contains some wisdom within it that will help you to figure out what to do in a situation such as this, and many times I do try to provide some kind of advice to help you decide how you want to approach an issue. However, in this case I can only state a question with no answer because the word trapped implies there is little or no chance to escape, at least for the time being. Until I can find a way out, it will simply be a question that needs an answer. For now I will have to be content with sharing my discontent and hold out hope that my situation changes in a favorable way. Sometimes that’s all you can do.

Are you struggling with your situation? Do you feel trapped in one form or another? What can you do in a situation like this? Many times just sharing how you feel can relieve some of the stress we feel when things just aren’t going the way we hoped they would. It isn’t wrong to be unsatisfied with your life, and most of us are always looking for a way to move from where we are to somewhere better. Sometimes we are just trapped by our circumstances.

Join 231 other followers

If you liked this post and would like to support the blog, please visit the support page!

How to Get What You Want From Someone

Let me start with a disclaimer: the title of this article is a bit misleading. It isn’t so because I intended it to be, but there really isn’t any other way to word the sentiment of what I want to convey in this post. I want to be clear that there is a difference between manipulation and an honest effort to help someone want to do the things you’d like them to do. One is based on extracting something from someone; the other is simply learning to deal with people in a way that helps you have a more peaceful relationship with someone.

As we continue in this age of detached social media and all kinds of influences creating a barrage of pressure from all directions, it is becoming increasingly difficult to separate reality from the world we create in our own minds. While the latest push into a new era of technology has many benefits associated with it, there are also some crippling intellectual and emotional issues that we will need to learn to deal with before we can claim that we have fully adapted to the new way of doing things in the modern world. Of course, with the rapid pace of advancement, we may never catch up.

One of the big problems we have today because of this constant shift in the way our lives work is that we are becoming more and more narcissistic in the way we look at ourselves in the context of others. As it becomes more and more easy to get what we want at almost the moment we want it, we are becoming more used to a constant stream of instant gratification. In the face of this, we are rapidly losing our ability to wait for the things we want or even to learn to accept that some things just aren’t going to happen.

This isn’t that big of a problem when it comes to things like material possessions that most of the time are simply a matter of hard work and focusing on a goal. Spend enough time working and saving and you’ll probably get what you’re yearning for, assuming it isn’t a super yacht or something extravagant like that. Of course, if you’re driven enough and lucky enough, even that is within your grasp. The problem arises when we start applying this mentality to our relationships.

Unlike the inanimate objects we might like to purchase, a relationship with a person has someone on the other side who has their own desires and needs, many time in opposition to your own. If either side refuses to take a step back and look at the situation from both sides, many issues will flare up into arguments because both sides are focused on their own point of view and completely disregarding the other. It is impossible to reach any sort of agreement when neither side is willing to even listen to the other person.

This isn’t much of a problem if you aren’t particularly interested in being agreeable with someone. When you don’t care about the feelings or needs of another person, you are free to focus on yourself. However, when it comes to someone you’ve decided is important to you, it becomes critical to start setting aside your own desires so you can start focusing on what the other person wants.

Part of this effort requires putting in some time to learn about the other person. There are things about them you will come to know as you spend more time with them, and if you really pay attention you can gain a wealth of knowledge that will help you smooth over differences and make things work more smoothly. Learn their little habits, the schedule they like to keep, the way they like to have things done and anything else that can help you to make yourself more of an asset to them.

The worst thing you can do is to try to shove your own wishes down the throat of the person you want something from. The harder you push, the less likely it is that you’ll get what you want. If you get irritated because they aren’t acting the way you’d prefer, you have two options: stop interacting with them or start figuring out how you need to change the way you interact with them to get the result you want. Brute force may work for a time, but eventually they will get tired of dealing with you.

In the end, we all have things we want or need. If we allow our differences to get in the way and solely focus on what we want and how we want it, there is little chance that our relationships will get any better. The only way interactions between people can work is through compromise, and it is important to not only be willing to compromise on our end, but also to recognize when the other person has made a compromise on our behalf. It goes both ways.

What do you think about handling relationships? Do you excel at helping people to meet your desires or needs, or is it a constant struggle to get the other person to do anything for you at all? Are you constantly frustrated about the things you lack? Sometimes all it takes is a step back and a bit of attitude adjustment to get what we want from someone important to us. We just have to be willing to take the time and put in the effort.

Join 231 other followers

If you liked this post and would like to support the blog, please visit the support page!