Category: Being Amazing Page 2 of 3

learn language

Looking for a challenge? Consider Trying This!

I’m taking a Japanese language class and by god is it difficult. Every week I think I’m making progress, but then the class puts me back in my place. Japanese may be extra difficult, but picking up any new language is a serious challenge.

Learning a new language messes with your brain. For most people learning something new is the only challenge they get in their daily lives. That said, as you get older and more into your ‘life’ the types of challenges you experience decrease.

Usually, we only see challenges within the domain of work. Which although challenging, usually needs the type of thinking common for work. But that type of thinking is what you use all year long so it is nothing new.

It is About Learning New Things

When you learn a new language, you are faced with the challenge of everything being new. You learn a new grammar, a bunch of words and some idioms. You also may discover new words that mean something different from what you’d expect.

These challenges go to the core of you being and affect the way your brain works. Language is one of the first things you learn as a child. So it is the basis for everything else you learn afterward. In this sense learning a new language means digging deep into the core of everything else you know.

Being forced to learn something new keeps you on your feet. The challenge is exhausting and time-consuming. You end up having to spend all your free time focused on the language. But in the end, you get something great.

You learn something fundamental, that you can build on top of. With this you have access to new ideas, thoughts and mental processes. You can also consume a whole new set of entertainment, like books and movies. Greatest of all, you gain the opportunity to talk to new people.

Learning a new language is a lifetime challenge, that you never seem to finish. But you always learn more and are making new accomplishments. At some point, you can have a conversation, then understand a TV show, then read a book. At each step, you have an accomplishment, while still having something to work towards.

It is fascinating to hear someone speak two different languages. But if they can speak two languages that means they have gone through a challenge. A challenge that you will also need to go through to succeed.

At the same time, their success encourages your success, as it proves that it is possible. If you follow their lead, you have a greater potential for success yourself. This is because you have seen it happen with your own eyes.

Hearing someone speak another language makes me think it would be amazing if I could do the same thing. That serves as a motivation for creating a goal. And as a goal, it is way better than watching YouTube videos.

The Greatest Lesson of All

There is another lesson you learn when learning a new language. You get to re-learn persistence and sticking with something. And that lesson could be one of the greatest lessons you can ever learn.

The key is that this is a challenge, and challenges make you great. Especially this type of challenge as it could take years to complete. But in the end, the rewards will be greater than anything else.

Getting great at something feels good and is important for your self-esteem. Your sense of self improves when you do something amazing. It also makes it easier to do other things later.

Consider learning a new language when you are looking for a serious challenge.

fitting in

Finding Our Place Within The System

All my friends complain about their jobs, but what the hell are we suppose to do?  We live in a time where we expect to live lives that don’t matter, for a system that doesn’t care about us.

It is easy to blame capitalism, but the simple truth is that the problem is our choices. Work and the consumerist lifestyle exist for the benefit of the system. We are lead to do what is right for the system at the expense of what is right for us.

Capitalism is a system that has won us over because it suits our desires and needs. It also works to encourage a lifestyle that will lead to our collective betterment or destruction.

But still, most morning, we rush out after eating a convenient but unhealthy breakfast. We jaywalk busy streets because we can’t wait for the light to change.

Going To Work

Soon after, we cram into a crowded train filled with people in the same situation. We pass through the city in tin cans, breathing recycled air, so close together that we can feel each other’s heat.

Some mornings there are emergencies on the subway, we wait for emergency services to remove the person. The saddest part is that emergency rarely happens outside of rush-hour. You could argue that this happens because fewer people ride during these times, but I’d say it happens because life is much more stressful during rush-hour.’

Do a google search, and you will find that stress is one of the leading cause of sickness and death. The leading causes of stress come down to work and money, though they are the same thing. Our lives under these circumstances are worse because of the need for money.

Winners and Losers

The common complaints of the losers in our system, almost always point blame at the winners. It seems obvious to blame the rich, and they are benefiting the most and cheer on the current system. Unfortunately, people are only doing what they know to do in the situation they find themselves.

We could blame the rich, by saying they are winning at the expense of everyone else. But by that logic, we must also blame the poor, as they are losing for the benefit of others.

The winners and the losers are in the game for the same reason, and they do not have a choice. Everyone takes the cards they’re dealt and plays by the rules they know. People do what they should do, or at least what they think they should.

It Is Up To Us

The system sets the rules and deals the circumstances. We move forward from our starting points, doing what is best. But we shouldn’t blame people for doing what they think they’re supposed to do. We need to change ourselves so that we do what we are supposed to do, fulfilling our purpose. By this deed, we make the world a better rather than worse place.

By learning and accepting that the system exists, it is up to us to discover for ourselves what we must do. Finding our purpose is a good start, but figuring out how to put it in place within the system is more difficult. Still, this is what we must do, and this is what we must strive to accomplish.

Ups And Downs Of Millennial

The Ups And Downs Of Millennial Life

Since I was a child, I’ve felt there was something significant I was meant to do, something beyond what I was doing. At times the feeling would take over, and I’d split between despair and hope that one day I’d discover my dreams.

Flash forward, I’m 35 and still working towards the expectations of my childhood self. I’ve since graduated high school, university, and college. All this happened despite what my middle school principal told my parents. In his defence, he was working within a broken model of public education. 
Over the years, my parents spent a small fortune sending me to a private school, but that was also a turning point. At 12 I couldn’t read or spell, but the private school had different methodologies that worked for me, I was lucky. Onward to high school, I was able to succeed based on my expectations. I got good marks and was admitted to all the universities I applied for. 

Everyone told me the first semester at university would be stressful, and I would suffer but come out stronger. Those words affected me. My first semester wasn’t too hard, and I did all my work and got decent marks. Unfortunately, due to these false expectations school wasn’t as scary as I expected. Afterwards, I didn’t have as much of a will to try so hard.

Schooling is Over, What Is Next

At this point, life became a more difficult because there was no longer a defined path. It was a matter of my choices, and I didn’t care very much. At some point, I got a job at a call centre and stayed longer than anyone would’ve expected, myself included. My brother got mad at me and told my parents I was wasting my life, he was right.

So I got the idea to teach English in another country, I quit my job and went to Korea. Life was exciting again, and I was forced to find myself. Through that, I overcame my shyness and became more outgoing. Afterwards, I took a trip to India, and my brother warned me ‘Be careful, you can be a too fearless.’
On my return, I went to college and learned something interesting and useful: how to make websites. I was an excellent student and got superb marks with relative ease and little effort. But I wanted something more, my childhood dream was back, begging for more.
College leads to a mediocre job, and after a few months, I get laid off. I find myself looking for another job thinking I could do some amazing if given a chance.
On to another job, five years in, I’m still waiting for a chance to show my real potential and take a great leap. Life seems to teach us to wait, but instead, we should leap into new things and make a better life for ourselves.

Now Is The Time To Do Something

A few months back, I decided to take my childhood dreams serious. Since then I’ve dedicated myself to writing. I’ve written a short book and have been writing articles for my website and medium.

I’ve also gone about learning the business side of writing and tried to do some marketing.
The point is, that life is a series of ups and downs. There are times when we are doing all that we can, so we are continually improving and moving forward. Then there are down times, where we feel we have lost our way.
During these downtimes, we get time to redefine our direction and figure out what we need to do. These times give us a chance to see where we need to go next. It also gives us a chance to refind some of our momenta again.
The challenge is to realize that when you are down, it means you can only go up. Also, when you are up, there is a chance that you could go down. But both directions are a necessary part of life, and something you must go through.
The most significant thing you can do is be ready for what comes next. With this knowledge, you can prepare for the next phase, whatever it may be.
If you are up, you need to be sure your motivations are in the right place. You need to build savings and be ready for a crash. If you are down, you need to figure out how to get back up again. That could mean learning new skills, changing jobs or starting a business.

The best thing you can do is aim to be amazing. If you are heading in all the right direction, you can always handle what comes.

swan

You Want to Know About Potential? Ask a Parent

When I was in grade four and five my mother was an ever-present parent at the school. She was always meeting with the principal and teachers. During one of these meetings, the principal said ‘Your son won’t graduate from high school.’

My mom wasn’t going to accept this, so she kept showing up and making noise. She made sure a tutor and extra help were available for me. After two years the school hadn’t made any improvements, and there weren’t any other options.

Reading Class Sucks

One day during our reading time I skimmed through my book, looking at the pictures that were in it. I couldn’t read nor spell, but the school didn’t seem to care as they kept pushing me through the grades.

Through a connection at work, my mom heard about a school that focused on students like me. They had specialized programs and teachers experienced in dealing with students like me.

Through lots of compromise and lost opportunities, she found the money to pay the tuition. It was a burden, as she drove me to school every morning and picked me up every day.

Different Schools

The classes were small, and for the two years, I was there I never had more than five classmates. The teachers had time to focus on me, with a program built around my needs. This focus made a world of difference.

It’s amazing how much one can learn under the right circumstances. In the two years at the private school, I caught up on more than seven years of public education. At this point, I was ready for high school.

My first year was challenging, it took awhile to get used to the new teaching methods and classmates. Even here, my mom went to the school to make sure my teachers were doing their jobs. She ensured that the school was providing me with the resources I needed.

By the time I was in OAC (grade 13) I was getting straight A’s. Even in English which had been the bane of my education in the past. Like my many of my friends, I applied to University and got letters of acceptance from them all.

Two Opinions

For this story, it might be clear there were two very different ideas about my potential. The principal, who told my mother I wouldn’t graduate high school. The other, my mother who believed, pushed and compromised.

The expert was wrong, and in fact, he was way off. He figured he knew what was possible based on his experience. My mother believed but didn’t have any experience. She resolved to do what was necessary to make me succeed.

Everyone has a different view on their potential and the potential of others. But when it comes down to it, sometimes it’s a matter of definition while other times it is a matter of faith. Don’t let the past define the future and don’t let experience cloud dreams. No matter how things are, they can always change for the better.

thinking

You Don’t Choose Your Thoughts, But You Can Be Honest About Them

The other day I was thinking about how I didn’t choose to be into philosophy, it chose me. There are a lot of other interests that I didn’t choose, they were interesting from the start.

If we see ourselves as a system than this makes sense. Our body at the start (our DNA), those are our initial conditions. The system as we define it is a set of conditions a sort of logic. Something that responds to causes or is in effect cause and effect.

Our Brains Are Systems

Things are a back and forth, our brain, a human system must also follow these kinds of rules. It responds to the conditions in the way that it knows. It learns for better or worse, it plays with the world inside and outside. There is a tug of war, we learn from what we experienced and develop a framework for future situations.

As a human system adapts to the world, it finds the spots where it fits and also those that it should avoid. Ideas are like evolutionary forces. We didn’t choose to have an appendix and we don’t choose the way our minds react to the world we find ourselves in.

We Don’t Always Know What We Are Getting

Benefits and consequences can be surprises, but they are present in every thing. We don’t know why we have an appendix like we don’t know why we have our thoughts. Regardless, we should rest assured that they are there for a reason.

This is also why we should be honest with ourselves about who we are. As who we are was sort of set in the beginning, it is something we can try to understand.

With this information, and a desire to dig deeper we can learn more about ourselves. This striving, we discover what it is that drives us and makes us who we are. With deeper knowledge about ourselves, we are close to solving our problems. This awareness leads us to a more authentic self and a better future if we choose to pursue it.

internet

Internet Communities Close Your Mind

The internet is the greatest invention of all time, but it is making us stupid. It is a place where one can find their niche and stick to it with the strictest precision. The goal of the internet was to create places for open communication and the sharing of ideas. In principle, this is a great idea, but when it comes to practice, it is the opposite of what happened.

Real Life Relationships

People attract people like them. In the real world, we try to befriend people who share our interests. Luckily, we can’t find anyone who is exactly like us. So we tend to intermingle with people who share some of our interests but not all.

In real life, you may be a Toronto Blue Jays fan while your friend is a Yankees fan, but you both like baseball. Friends may share an interest in sports, but not the specifics of other topics. In real life, we are forced to try to find people who share some of our interests, but not all them.

Online-Relationships

Yet, when interests are on the internet, they transcend the typical geographic barriers. This allows people with similar interests from all around the world to connect. The range of people who share interests focuses to an extreme. So, anyone who has the interest can be a part of the conversation. Online groups tend to self-select members out who don’t share all the ideas, as they leave the group for another.

This means, over time groups online, tend to consist of only the most extreme members. Thus the topics of conversation become stricter, focused and more limited. This means exposure to different ideas and opinions is difficult. As those who disagree leave and new people come for the focus.

Online groups form around specific niches, thus their focus is by necessity narrow. In the real world, as a group spends more time together a greater range of topics may come up in conversation. On the internet, with so many specific groups, one must be a member of many groups to see different ideas.

Specialized group play language games where words gain specific meanings. This leads to a difficulty in understanding the claims of other groups. When the meanings of our words change, we lose the ability to understand other views.

The internet’s greatest offers were to spread information, but our tendency is to stick to people like us. As a result, our ideas become saturated and we lose touch with the information outside our bubble. In time, we become intolerant to alternative ideas and the only views we hear are the ones we already agree with.

It is easy to get caught up in this game. We usually don’t even realize we are playing until we take a step back, but even that is difficult. The internet was supposed to liberate our minds, but it created intellectual traps. Hyperconnectivity made this worse, we lost sight of the groups we aren’t part of and forgot they exist. At the same time, we become more certain of what we already believe.

What We Can Do

If we want to expand our minds we need to step back and realize the echo chambers we have become part of. With this information, we can work towards freeing ourselves.

The worst prisons are the one we don’t realize we are in. Once we become aware we will wonder how we ever got into them in the first place. From there we seek out new groups for their new ideas, and life gets a little bit better.

explosion

Despite The News It Is Not The End Of The World

We live in the greatest times ever, yet we have no idea what will happen next. Yet at the same time, we are sure that we know exactly what will happen next. That is an interesting contradiction, and it leaves us vulnerable to a surprise.

Us humans with our oversized brains and books of ideas seem to think that we know everything. We believe that if we find ourselves in a situation that needs a serious solution we will be able to solve it. Yet, all the time we prove to ourselves that that isn’t the case. We show ourselves that we are always guessing, thinking we are going in the right direction.

The Danger

A great analogy for the times is to consider a car on the highway going way over the speed limited. The driver is stone sober but thinks he is invincible. No wrong will ever come to him, he says, so he doesn’t wear a seatbelt. Humanity is that man, we are sure we know what we are doing, but one serious surprise or mistake could be deadly.

It could be true that things are bad and that they are getting worse. We hear every day about global catastrophes lingering around each corner. We hear that our planet is melting down and will extinguish us some day.

Our antibiotics are becoming useless and there is nothing we can do. There are wars around the world, and we are all responsible for them. There is a spark waiting to burn down the whole thing.

The problem is that this stuff could or could not be true. We walk around looking at the world around us but aren’t quite convinced either way. How can we really know what is happening in the world, we can only see what is happening around us.

What About What We See

We can only look at screens and pieces of paper to see what they have to say. But the screens don’t know anything. They are filled with the ideas of people who have been wrong about many things over the last few years.

So we grow cynical, what is there to do otherwise? It’s not like we can go to all these terrible places and see the destruction that is occurring. It’s not like we can look up at the sky and know what is going on with the environment. It’s almost like we can’t know any of the big things at all.

The screens and their sources, the media want us to believe that it is the end of times. Things will end and the end is right around the corner, that is what sells. At the same time, they are sure that we will have a solution to any problems, yeah capitalism.

The message seems to be from people who don’t believe. The cognitive dissonance is strong. Rather than taking their word for it, we should assume it is a lie or more of an elaborate fiction meant to amuse us. That is the industry, they entertain and create fear.

What Is Happening Around Us

Take a look at the world around you and see that it’s not so bad, in fact, it might actually be amazing. You sort of need to believe it, you need to accept it while at the same time denying what is being told to you.

The end times end when you accept that we have no idea what is going on. We can’t see ten feet in front of us, and we will be surprised at every turn. The end of the world is waiting for us, but it isn’t now, there is no end except the final one.

To be true to yourself and to embrace the world, you need to accept that it isn’t the end of times. What you see on your screens can’t be true, what is true is right in front of you.

what is your story

We Need Better Stories

“God is dead,” wrote Nietzsche. To this day we still believe that ‘god is dead’, but rather than fixing the problem we have fallen deeper into its void. This isn’t to say we should fill our lives with stories about gods or ghosts, but we need to fill them with something.

Stories Help Us

When we think of stories we often think of entertainment and for the most part that is what they are. Especially when the stories come from books, movies, TV or video games. At times these stories are great, they give us thoughts to chew on. They give us something without inundating us with too many facts, making them easier to consume. Books are often split between fiction and nonfiction, which is to say, fiction is the original form.

Stories can be helpful when they introduce us to things that we haven’t thought or seen before. Stories can inspire and motivate us, they give us guidance to help us live better lives. On the other hand, they can be cautionary, they can warn us about what to avoid and where we should not try to go.

A great story about success can help us follow our dreams, by showing us a way that has worked. A story about failure that destroyed someone’s life, can help us avoid a similar fate.

People Need Stories

We shouldn’t expect stories to be the all and end all of everything, but they should at least be a part of our lives. We need stories and we should seek them out if they are missing from our lives. For a society as a whole, good stories help us collectively live better lives, unfortunately, without them the opposite becomes true.

If we look at the world around us these days, it is easy to get caught up in all that is wrong. It’s easy to watch the news and think that things are terribly wrong and will only get worse. This may be true, but I propose that the real problem isn’t what’s happening in the world, but instead what is happening in our heads. Our minds are in disarray because we don’t have enough great stories to guide us.

Our problems have complicated roots, but if we want to work towards solutions we need to start telling better stories. We need stories to inspire, guide and help us see the light in the darkness around us. We need stories that are easy to follow, have interesting plots, and most importantly we need stories that have a point. Too many stories these days are empty or so long that the point goes missing.

Stories Can Save Us

To save the world, we need to make it a better place and to do that we need to fill in the parts that are missing. We need stories that make sense and help us see a better possible world, from there our collective actions, will follow. What is missing, and what will make us great again is better stories.

be amazing

Why is it Important to be Amazing?

We live in strange times, what is right is no longer apparent. The values of our society are misdirected and rewarding the worst rather than the best. We live in times where a crazy man on TV can rise to the highest power in the world, with empty words and subtle hate.

We Messed Up

What else can we expect, what other options are there? As a culture, we’ve lost sight of what is right. Even worse, we’ve stopped rewarding good, ensuring it doesn’t grow. The misalignment isn’t something we can blame on anyone, and we can’t point a finger and expect change. The problems of today are systematic and for everyone.

What if this is where we are supposed to be? What if, instead of this being a fluke, this is where we have been directing our arrow? There’s no crazy man with a gun, instead, it is a culture aiming at destructive goals. We wanted this to happen, we all asked to be wealthy, famous and loud. This absurdity isn’t random, in fact, it is what we have been asking for all along.

From this perspective, as a cultural phenomenon of bad goals and poor judgment, the only solution is to change. We can’t expect our leaders to do it, they’ve already proven that they are unable or unwilling to do what is right. No change can come from them, they’re fixed in their ways.

Being Amazing Is Easy

Being amazing is doing right, making wise choices and doing what is necessary for a better life. By shopping local and making better food choices you are creating a better environment. With smart purchases, you help yourself and the economy by avoiding debt. When you skip the things you don’t need, you create less waste. When you read books, you learn about the world and can make better choices.

The best part about being amazing is that it is contagious. When people see you setting a good example, they follow your lead. Your goal is to help the people around you be more astonishing. By doing the right thing, you reward doing the right thing. When we work to make ourselves better, people follow, and they set an example for everyone else around them.

Then It All Changed

We are at a tipping point, the world is tipping, and it is ready to slip onto the other side. When things are ‘bad’ people prepare for things to get better. Sometimes we need nudging or inspiration from those around us. The more amazing people we see, the more willing we are to be amazing ourselves.

Don’t be tricked, there isn’t a quick fix. It is a slow process, one that starts with you. Change isn’t something our world leaders will make happen, that isn’t how they operate. Instead, they follow our lead, so we must be the change we want to see.

To make the world more amazing, you need to start with yourself, then the world will follow.

fast foot vs homemade

Skip the Soylent, Make a Meal Instead

Modern technologies try to make our lives easier. We can order liquid meal replacements online, or log on to services that connect us with a restaurant and delivery person to bring food to our doorstep. On the surface, these seem like noble causes, solutions to our time limitation problems and a way to make our lives easier and less complicated.

These technologies intend to make things easier, but is that the case? Are our lives getting easier if we become dependent on someone or something for our most basic food requirements? There is value in occasional convenience, and you don’t want to make every meal, you don’t have the time. But how often is too often? How much does it take before it becomes a problem?

Making Food Is Scary

The alternative is taking responsibility for yourself and preparing your meals. This means you need to know how to make food, but that is something you can learn. It also means you need to go to the grocery store and buy ingredients, which might be scary. You are going to need time to make your meals at first, it will be slow, but with practice, it gets easier. All in all, time is the most significant challenge, you need to be willing to use that limited resource.

But think about the benefits, when you make your meals you are saving money, rather than paying a chief, tip, delivery fee and markup, you only pay for the ingredients. Next, rather than being in a black box relationship with food, not knowing what you are eating, you know exactly what you are consuming. Further, you may have already formed a negative relationship with food, in that you are accustomed to mediocre junk food.

But The Rewards

On the other hand, as you learn to cook you gain a valuable skill, you gain independence, and you get the satisfaction of an accomplishment – learning to cook and being self-sufficient. Also, you will always know what you are eating because you made it yourself. The quality at first, at least in the sense of taste might not match, but in time will improve and may become better than what you buy. Likewise, by seeing what you are eating, you become inspired to make better choices about your diet going forward. Finally, think about the money, how much would you save in a year, if every meal costs a fraction of what it used to?

This is the alternative, and you can save money, know what you are eating, learn a skill, find some purpose and be more connected to what you eat. But to do this, you need to be willing to do the more difficult thing, and you need to be ready to accept the responsibility for your consumption. Is it any worse, it indeed doesn’t seem that way, if anything it is magnitudes better. Your health, wallet, habits, and sense of self-worth will all benefit from this choice.

It Is Not All Bad

Don’t take this the wrong way, and there are probably times to go out for dinner, spend time with friends and build relationships. But for all the other times, which is most of the time, making your meals will be the better more healthy option. Next time you get tempted to order delivery or drink a meal, consider the alternative, consider the possibility of making your food. Sure it will be a little inconvenient, but in the long term, it will be worth it in so many ways.

Go forward and make life more difficult, we are here to help you along the way, and we will talk about more things like this.

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