When to Go With the Flow (and When Not To) In Order to Grow

Imagine you are planning to go canoeing, alone, with a friend, family, or with several friends (or maybe you’re recommending a canoeing trip to a friend-something along those lines).  And yes, people still go canoeing.  At least I think so.  I mean, I did at summer camp.  Definitely still happening in Europe.

Anyways…You were dropped off by a taxi, Uber, helicopter, you were skydiving, someone else driving in a plane, car, or train, whatever, so basically wherever you ended up on the river trail, that’s where you have to start.  Maybe you walk a little bit further down the river, but ultimately, you have to carry the canoe, so you probably don’t want to travel far, even if you’re Arnold Schwarzenegger, and you’re screaming “GET TO THE RIVER!”  (it’s ok, I change quotes from movies frequently in this blog for emphasis-see here)

So, you set up shop so to speak, and it just so happens you start at the perfect place:  the water is shallow by the riverbed, and the current is still-easy to get in-either by yourself, with your friends, family, even your dog that tagged along.

For the first twenty minutes it’s a really smooth ride-maybe a few baby rapids here and there, but everything is, well, smooth sailing (canoeing).  But then the water starts to get a bit choppier.  At first, it’s actually kind of exciting to have the challenge and you feel more professional, but soon the choppiness starts to make things a bit more precarious for you-you find it more difficult to keep your oar steady to send you in the right direction, or avoid the fallen trees and boulders that lay in your path.  You may even run off course and straight into the riverbed itself!  Or some pesky trout get caught in your oars!  Or maybe a log!  In order to compensate, you’ve got to put in more energy that you did when you started off in that smooth, easy flowing current.  If you’re with your friends, family, and dog, you might have an easier time maneuvering yourself around the various animate and inanimate obstacles, but even then, a lot of that depends on their ability and focus to do so.  It’s possible you yourself actually can keep your canoe on track pretty well.

You also start to notice that when you’ve got a clear path ahead in the river, it’s much easy to go with the current, or the flow, to guide you, than to fight against it.  Sure, maybe you might crave adventure and want to feel the power and peril of the rapids, or race the trout, or impress the Grizzly bear staring at you from the shore, but ultimately, the safest and most reliable path is going with the flow.  Sure, you end up running into some more rapids and misplaced landmasses along your way, but you start to learn the course and some patterns, and soon you literally become, “the captain of [your] ship” and ultimately “the master of [your] soul.”-William Ernest Henley- (from his renowned poem, Invictus.)

canoekitandtinny
Mandatory Metaphorical Image for Going with the Flow (credit kittatinny.com)

 

I think this river analogy is a great metaphor for our lives.  Just as I outlined at the beginning of the journey, we often do not have a choice of where we start our life journey so to speak.  Ideally, as I imagined above, we start in a place where it is easy to get comfortable in our proverbial life-canoes and start rowing along.  But for many people, they don’t always get this choice, and may start off in the most treacherous of conditions.  The thing is, unless you are rowing in a controlled environment where the water is perfectly still, I think inevitably you are going to run into some kind of “life rapid” at some point.  But even in the most perilous and stressful of moments, you have choice at times to “go with the flow”-just like the canoe on the river.  This can help you ease into whatever life is throwing at you-and to just go with it.  Sometimes, though, maybe you need to do what you can to “fight against the flow,” such as when you are working and have the goal of gaining more muscle, getting faster, slimmer, etc.  In that case, you have to initially fight hard against what the ordinary flow of your life was.  That was definitely the case for me when I decided a few years ago to make fitness and personal health a priority in my life.  At first, the “rapids” of really going at an exercise regimen on a consistent basis was hard, even grueling at times (And I thought two years of high school cross-country running and varsity baseball would have prepared me…I thought wrong!  Well…the college lifestyle did get in the way too…anyways, back to this post!)  Oftentimes, rowing against that tide that was uncomfortable for you to start will build something in you, whether it be strength, stamina, or improvement in form.  Inevitably, some type of change will replace your previous experience of rowing in easier water with better stamina, more strength and speed, or, at least a new experience that you can learn from.  This applies to everything you do in life as well.  There is no wrong or right or right or wrong-simply just doing something will change something.  So if you are looking to change something, staying in your comfort zone likely won’t reap results right away, unless you want to depend on luck and if you believe in it, fate.  However, if you do something, anything, you will reap some sort of reward, and oftentimes habits tend to pay off over time.  (remember the bike analogy from my first post?)

In sum, anyways, I think it is important to determine at which points in your life you either want to go with the flow or go against.  I don’t think you can always stick to one, unless you truly feel comfortable with staying the course of whatever you are doing.  However, if you are looking for growth and sustainability (without burnout,) I think it is a great idea to think about when to fight those rapids and when to go with the flow!  It’s all a balance.  Even Grizzly Bear Bob on the shore wants to go with the flow every once in awhile when he isn’t scavenging for berries or clawing at salmon, but when he’s hungry, you bet he’s going against the flow (literally and figuratively in the river-see what I did there?)

So, Keep Rowin’ and Flowin’ Along In Your Proverbial River.  #MetaphorsRule

-FFG

See this article below-applies with my whole  “going with the flow” theme in regards to preventing burnout.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/pressure-proof/201306/7-strategies-prevent-burnout

Featured photo credit:  riveroflifehamilton.com (rolhamilton.org)

Personal Forgiveness and Forgiveness to Others

#forgiveness  Today’s post is about forgiveness.  Both personal and to others.  I think forgiveness is something that is often overlooked, because it can often be interpreted as a negative emotion or action.  In reality, however, forgiveness can be one of the most life-changing and conducive things you can do for yourself and others.  It’s natural to make mistakes in life.  To say things that may have felt right in your mind, only for you to recognize later may have hurt another person, even if that was not your intent at all.  Man, that’s what’s so crazy nowadays-especially with the addition of technology.  While convenient, efficient, and fast, it is SO easy for misunderstandings when sending a text or a gram (correct terminology?), message, tweet, heck, even a letter (which, while being archaic, is sometimes an awesome treat to receive J)  But you know, that’s just the way things are.  Miscommunications have been happening since the beginning of time…at least I think this has been happening for a while.  Many important (and unfortunate) historical events were caused as a result of miscommunication, from the cause of the Korean War to the ending of the Cold War (see this link for a list of historical events and blunders caused by missed or lack of communication https://listverse.com/2014/03/02/10-tiny-miscommunications-with-massive-consequences/).  So, no need to get all hard on yourself about miscommunications.  I doubt you’ve caused any full-fledged wars {if you have}…I still think you deserve a chance at forgiveness-and even if you forgive someone and they do not reciprocate, there is still no reason to stress or hold regret, because it is very likely that the lack of communication or reciprocation has less to do with you than it does with the individual themselves.  If that is the case, you simply have to wish the best for that individual and hope they can come to terms with whatever they are dealing with themselves.

See, that’s the thing.  I think forgiveness should always be on the table.  No matter what.  I also believe that if you fail to forgive yourself or others, that you can just be causing yourself a whole lot of unnecessary stress and strife.

Once you’ve done the forgiving, that’s it.  No need to check in and see to make sure you forgave yourself or that other person “enough.”  You did the best you could and that is that.  You can always revisit whatever mistake you made to try and learn from it, but there is no need to hold on to unnecessary stress over whether or not someone has acknowledged your forgiveness.

Hold on to people that you know will be there for you, ‘cause you’ll need them.  People who are conducive to allowing you to forgive yourself.  You’ll know when you find them.  You’ll feel it.  Even better, try to make yourself your own best and trusted person to hold on to.  Love and forgive yourself, because that’s the realist love and forgiveness you are ever going to get.  However, make sure you are also a “forgiving force” for loved ones, friends, and acquaintances too.

Peace

-FFG

Oh, this felt fitting.  SIA’s “The Greatest.”  A great mood booster in my opinion, anywhere, anytime.

Oh, and here’s more of a ‘bounce back kind of jig ▼

Failure: A Love Story

Failure.  Failure.  Failure.  Sometimes writing it, typing it, saying it three times just does the trick.

I think it’s important to bring up failure every once in a while.  Heck, even every day.  You might think, “why would I want to think about failure EVERY DAY.  It’s painful.  It’s uncomfortable.  It doesn’t make you feel like your best self.  Awww, come on.  It makes you feel like…well like manure.  Excrement.  A squashed bug that no one cares about…whoa whoa whoa, calm down, calm down, no need to go that far (note to self.)

Yes, it isn’t fun.  You could say it sucks.  But here’s the thing.  What if I told you that failure was going to be the greatest teacher you would ever had.  See, here’s the thing.  Success is awesome.  Winning the lottery, achieving your fitness goals, passing the test…all that is awesome and peachy…strawberry swirls and all, and you SHOULD celebrate those things.  But here’s the thing.  You aren’t going to learn as much from those triumphs as you will from your lowest of lows.  Sure, you might learn that you finally figured out the correct way to bake red velvet cupcakes without the entire muffin tops-plural- falling off the oven (true story,) or being able to speak Spanish with accurate conjugations and in perfect past tense (una historia verdadera) link, or the classic, good ol’ riding a bike-without training wheels (see here.)  Yes, all of those things feel awesome in the moment when you’ve learned them and can finally execute them perfectly.  But you don’t learn nearly as much from when you ruined the cupcakes, garbled your Spanish, and face planted off your training-wheel-less bike.

See, when you fail…yes, it sucks once again…but it provides the impetus and opportunity to both learn how to be resilient, try again, and implement a new strategy.  This is when the magic truly happens.  If we succeeded without failing on our first try, yes, it would feel great-but there wouldn’t be anywhere to work our way up from, and even more importantly, we wouldn’t learn the crucial skill of bouncing back up again.

If we didn’t learn that skill of jumping back up, the inevitable (YES, INEVITABLE) failure that would come our way-it would destroy us.  We would have no previous failure to look back on and see how we rebounded.

This is why I think we need to think of failure differently.  We need to “Fail Forward,” as motivational speaker and best-selling author Eric Thomas says.  Trust me, when those failures come your way, as much as they hurt, they will teach you more than any incredible success you have ever had.

I can confidently say that I embrace failure.  Yes, sometimes it hurts like no other mentally and physically, but without failure, looking back, I realize I never could have done certain things.  Personally, I’ve been offered positions which I was previously denied, physically achieved goals I previously never came close to.   However, the universal importance is not in what that thing was.  It was the ability to get back up again and go after that goal again.  Every failure I now experience, I try to glean something from it, learn from it, no matter what.  Yes, the pain will be there.  It will likely suck (more than suck, suck beyond words even) and can last for a while.  But the pain will fade, as long as you don’t hold on to it.  Something else will take it’s place.  Something more powerful and helpful to you in the long run.  New lessons will be learned and the future glory will last forever.  Which still isn’t the end of your journey…but’s that’s for a future post.

I’ll finish with the wise words of playwright Samuel Beckett.  “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”

-Funny Fearful Guy

PS  Check out this awesome video below which I think gives A nice visually stimulating and supportive video for this post.  I recommend listening with high level sound, without deafening you.  And watch to then end.  You won’t regret it. Enjoy.

Credit to Warner Brothers Pictures for Featured Photo and YouTube/HedgeHog Productions for Video

2018 Resolutional/Inspirational/New Beginning Post…Or What You Will

2018.  Here we are.  After a hectic roller-coaster of a year 2017, the on-coming of 2018 was a welcome, if not renewing cleansing, arrival of a time to let go of both what may have caused us pain while also being humble about our triumphs in 2017.  In other words, the welcoming of a fresh slate, like that soft, comfortable, and fresh-out-of-the-store smelling, flex cotton tee you bought at the store or a cool, refreshing shower after venturing treacherously for hours in the crowded, lively jungle (both the literal and the concrete ones).  2018 is here.

The moment 2018 arrived I felt a rush of relief.  2017, while enjoyable at times, by December 31st felt like a nagging itch that I really just wanted to get rid of.  I welcomed the metaphor of the New Year completely renewing me and giving me a new life, a chance to embark on something new that was in front of me, where anything seemed possible and I had a peaceful feeling knowing I had a full brand new 365 and a third or whatever fraction was in front of me.  I felt a new sense of peace.  Not to mention, 18 is my lucky number and I felt thankful for being able to live in a year that had such a number, and may perhaps be the only chance I have at it in this lifetime (unless modern science makes us immortal or gives us incredible longevity, so I can see year 2118, and who knows, maybe…3018…but that’s for another post.)

After basking is this new-found joy, I realized this was no better time to hone in on how to live 2018 to the best it can be.  A guidebook of thoughts seemed to come to me with ease and inspiration.  Below, these are the truths of 2018 that came to me to make this my best year ever (or at least just a REALLY GOOD –BLEEPING– YEAR.  (Note…These truths are my truths and by no means do I mean to pressure the reader into following these exactly, or at all…it is simply an opportunity for me to share, and hopefully inspire the reader to develop and follow their own truths, or realize that one or more of the truths listed below fits into their make-2018-awesome guidebook.  That said, please try to enjoy 🙂

  1.  No expectations, only invitations.  (This is inspired by my good friend Mendy Alevsky, who told this to me in the past, but I feel this rings true for me this year more than ever.
  2. Strive for personal happiness and growth, use that newfound power and bliss, and THEN, only after feeling happy yourself, see how you can apply to loved ones, friends, and everyone else you come into contact with.  (Note-Still be there for others who need it, but don’t forget about yourself!)
  3.  Love all, serve all, talk to all.  (Somewhat inspired by Hard Rock Cafe’s Slogan, but this also rings true for me more than ever.)
  4. Continue to learn-with the Wonderment of a Child (Inspired by my friend Ben Whitehair, who also preaches this truth for the year-But think about–wonderment of a child!  Everything feels new and awesome!  Like when I saw a live theatre production for the first time, or a Major League Baseball Game, the movie The Lion King! –which never gets old.
  5. Only share with others and the world what you want to be a reflection of you (Ok, so this one actually reads kinda weird and snobbish to me myself, but I think the idea after looking over it again is that, yes, first impressions can and often do count, and sometimes we have to make this a priority–It’s still ok though to have your own private time and be the self you may not want others to see–it’s actually healthy to do this!  So yes, save yelling and punching your pillow and giving yourself over the top mirror pep-talks for home, or at least a very private bathroom.)
  6. Accept what is (‘Nuff said.)
  7. The right people come to you.  (This applies for work, relationships, and the Uber-Eats guy you just ordered from)
  8. Be Happy in Your Own Skin-Be Your Own Role Model (What’s more awesome than having the dream of being the best version of you!  You are the superhero of your dreams.)
  9. Find and/or maintain true and genuine mentors that want you to succeed, no matter where you are or what’s happened to you.  (Think Yoda/Gandalf/AlbusDumbledore/OprahWinfrey-People like that always stay by your side, through thick and thin.)
  10. You must be your biggest, but hardest and most critical advocate (This was actually inspired from when I watched CREED over the holidays and Sylvester Stallone “Rocky” tells Michael B. Jordan “Adonis Creed” that Your Biggest Enemy in the Ring is Yourself-All while they both stared at their own reflections, and then Adonis spars himself…that gave me chills.)
  11. Don’t dwell on things that are out of your control.  (It’s not worth it and a waste energy.  Live peacefully FIRST before embarking on something that may be physically or mentally arduous.  Or if you are already facing tough times, try to find peace in ways you know you are able to…trust me, you’ll find a way.)
  12. Do what you would do if money were no object (Generally speaking, obviously bills have to be paid and you’ve got to save up for Coachella somehow.  But even if you don’t make money from painting or playing guitar, do it because it FEEDS YOUR SOUL)
  13. Speak your truth, expect nothing in return (Sort of a step two to number one.
  14. Not everyone is Going to Like You or Agree With You-Live in the Now, Forget the Past-It doesn’t exist.  (This came to me as one sentence.  Past not existing credited to author Eckhart Tolle and blogger Sonia Ricotti.)
  15. Finally, hold yourself accountable for your actions, desires, and dreams–but it still helps to have someone you trust to hold you accountable too.  (This can be a parent, best friend, confidante, or boss–Sometimes good if intense, but make sure they mean well–Like the roar of Samuel L. Jackson in Coach Carter with the understanding and presence of Morgan Freeman in, well, everything he’s been in, and in real life.)

I hope you were able to identify with at least one of my personal truths for 2018, and if not, that’s ok.  A good alternative is that it inspires you to at least think about what you want your own personal truths for 2018 to be–you can even carry over truths from 2017 and before if that makes you more comfortable.  Either way, I appreciate you reading this far, and wish you health and happiness throughout this year and the years to come.

In the Spirit of the New Year,

Funny Fearful Guy

Keep Calm and Be Real…(#FOMOME)

Forget accolades.  Forget winning the prize.  Forget the endgame.  Do what you do because you have to or it enlivens your life so much that you are not really living if you aren’t.

This is how I am planning on living my life from this point on.  It is so much more freeing and natural.  It’s just simple.  There really isn’t too much to write about this topic.  I can say that I am glad a figure such as Jim Carrey has spoken out about this as well.  Fulfilling the ego is like filling a bottomless glass:  it will never be enough.  Fill yourself instead with knowledge and experiences that light your soul on fire (not literally, of course, unless you are wearing a burn suit and are a stunt person.)  There won’t be any pit to fill or a social status to achieve.  It will just be fulfilling.  Period.

In my opinion, FOMO (the fear of missing out) is an illness.  It serves no other purpose than to simply create anxiety and a need to feel like one is ‘hip,” in the know, or popular.  That’s why I have created the acronym/hashtag #FOMOME:  the fear of missing out on meaningful experiences.  That’s what I believe we should be fearing to miss out on.

Meaningful doesn’t mean it needs to be what is popular, or is an experience shared with a hundred, a thousand, or ten-thousand people.  It simply means it’s something that makes you feel more whole.  Feeling more whole can simply mean going on a walk by yourself for an hour or even lying in bed.  If you feel tired and see to it that it will be fulfilling to lie in bed, lie in bed a bit longer.  However, if you know you can be fulfilled personally with something other than lying in bed, perhaps sleeping in past noon isn’t the answer.

All in all, I think we as human beings need to realize that what we need sometimes to make ourselves fulfilled is less of a constant rat-race of being the most seen person, showing ourselves off as the most trendy person with the latest clothes, technology, vernacular, taste in music-what is WAY more important is that we feel fulfilled how heartedly as a person being alive for the miracle of life that we are.  There is no need to impress someone as much as we need to impress ourselves with how perfect we are, regardless of our self-perceived or societally deemed “imperfections.”  The term “perfection” is inherently imperfect because perfect is a subjective term, not a factual or certain one.  It’s time we start living less “perfectly” as society may tell us to and rather more truly, honestly, and whole-heartedly.

Now, setting positive intentions is still a very positive thing to do-but we can set positive intentions without needing the approval of others.  Personally, my positive intention right now is to “live peacefully, happily, and passionately.”  While I do like the company of others, I don’t necessarily need others or the approval of others to fulfill myself.  I also think that fulfillment is not always something that needs to be sought after-it is something that happens when we free ourselves of expectation, anxiety, any oftentimes, vengeance or pay-back.

So in sum, live freely, and fulfillment will come.  #FOMEME.

-Funny Fearful Guy

 

 

Doubt and Stuff…

 

So… I’ve been plagued by doubt lately.  A lot of the doubt.  The kind of doubt that makes you stop writing a blog you’ve just started (cue laughter).

And while a lot of this doubt is tied to fear…it is also tied to laziness and oftentimes, superstition.  That everything needs to be perfect-that you need the exact impetus and catalyst that fits perfectly into the fairy-tale story you may have created in your head.  But…you know sometimes you must bite the bullet so to speak and just take the plunge and live out what you originally intended to create and represent in the first place…for it was a place where I could share some #sensitive material about what I was thinking about.  Here’s the thing.  I hate to say it, but our society can be very judgmental about what they see on the surface.  If someone is having a really bad day, to the point where they don’t want to force themselves to exercise those facial muscles, they either get judged or people automatically assume they need help in some capacity.  Maybe the way they are acting is simply just the best way for them to cope in that moment-and while I try to make this sound as palatable as possible, sometimes the dark heaviness of it all is really the best way to describe.  It’s the sort of feeling you get where you can feel like you are in the wrong place at the wrong time, often many times a day.  ‘

You could go to cafe where you just happen to want to order a sandwich and an ice tea, where you are the only one in the cafe that is sitting alone, and the only one who wants to write something on a Sunday afternoon and then gets told by the manager that it’s “no laptop Sundays (and won’t give you a to-go refill for an ice tea) :(.  Now, I could go on to argue about the myriad of other things I deem to be overtly superficial and lacking substance in many other aspects of our society, but I’m not going to do that.  The negativity and divide and potential denial is not worth the trouble to go into the details on this post.  The main thing I think people should understand from this post, is that, everyone has doubts.  Some doubts may be minimal–Did I wear the right outfit today? — to the serious and existential–Am I really living my life the way I want to?  Is there an overall purpose to my life?  The thing is, is that doubt is a perfectly natural, evolutionarily built in mechanism that we used primarily as early humans to stay alive when we approached that steep cliff or bear and decided, “yeah, I probably shouldn’t keep heading this direction.”  Nowadays, since survival is not something we are generally too concerned about, from a first world perspective, we place our doubts on other aspects of our lives which we have evolved to now consider–Are we in the right job?  Are we dating the right person?  Did we choose the right gym (and membership) to keep us both fit and financially at ease?

I think however, that some doubt we may have nowadays may be irrational.  We don’t always need to be overthinking everything we have done.  After a while, it can get in the way, and be counter intuitive.  It can also cause such unnecessary thinking to not only become a habit, but an overall crutch.

I think we need to release such thoughts, which only adds baggage to our lives, just like baggage off a car, or our backs.  There is no reason to sacrifice living fully in the now and being happy by continuously dwelling and doubting about why you did something or what you’re about to do.  It simply isn’t worth it.  Trust me.  It stopped my writing for a few weeks.  But I’m back and here to stay!  Don’t doubt your greatness.  Go forward!  Do it!

-Funny Fearful Guy of the Unknown

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This one goes out to…the one who doubts

Doubt has crossed my mind a lot lately.  Whether what I am doing right now are the right choices, the right things that will ultimately lead me on the path to me not only living my own best possible life, but also improving the lives of others in the process.  It is true, in a sense, that both of these intentions I have set for my life-living my own best possible life and improving the lives of authors-could be deemed as selfish, ego-driven desires on my part that I really have no reason to spout about.  However, for me, I can’t help but fall back on the things I value-that is, living authentically and creatively appropriate as possible-and therefore living my own best life and helping others serve as the cornerstones of what I stand for in my existence.

However, when I look back on my own previous experiences, or other’s experiences-doubt was always there, lurking behind.  Before I ever acted on stage before, I doubted that I had the guts to get up in front of a crowd of people and perform something where I was going to be judged-the thought terrified me and therefore I shied away from any formal type of acting training until circumstance thrust me into it.  Oddly enough, the circumstance that led me there was actually due to the removal of me caring about another activity I had super high expectations for-playing baseball on the high school team-and therefore the leap into the void of acting was one that was likely more subconsciously driven yet met little resistance because the doubt I’d experienced earlier no longer held its power-it was definitely still there, but something more important was taking it’s place-the chance for me to finally prove myself after the expectation I had for a previous activity-baseball-had not been fulfilled (still love baseball though.)

I think this lesson can be transferred to any facet of life-and it follows one of my favorite quotes that is, “sometimes it isn’t about what the task or job is, it’s just about what is needed to be done.”  I found this on a Meyers-Briggs personality website, and it resonates so much with me because it gets to the heart of the matter of motivation in terms of daily living.  There isn’t any kind of concern with what other people think, with what my parents think, or what my dog thinks,  It isn’t about what I think society expects from me, what my country thinks of me, or what the girl who works the front desk of the gym thinks of me-it’s literally about what needs to be done this very moment that is of upmost importance.

Doubt is something I’ve encountered a lot lately.  I’ve wondered if I need to see outright success right away in order to validate the path I am on.  Some signs of promise have been revealed through small, yet significant breakthroughs.

Doubt tests us in our most painful, darkest moments.  How we respond to doubt reveals our true character.  So, I challenge you to view doubt not as a detriment, but as a test to you that you really want whatever you are after in life.  Know that you’ve got a friend here to help you along your way.

Without Doubt,

Funny Fearful Guy