Faith and confidence

Faith is believing there is light at the end of the dark tunnel. Confidence is knowing that if there’s not, you’ll be okay. Faith is a certainty of outcome. Confidence is a certainty of ability. When combined these two forces give you powers of stabilizing your environment.

There’s a caveat though. Blind confidence is dangerous. This is arrogance. Anyone can go around making decisions. For confidence to be legitimate, it must be earned. You must study. You must know your limitations.

Can you handle real friends?

The rise of social media, algorithms, and seemingly limitless options for customizability in our lives have brought with them a unique kind of comfort: the comfort of familiarity.

It’s easier than ever to stay in a worldview and ignore different perspectives. It’s almost effortless to create an echo chamber.

Perspective, in contrast, breeds uncertainty. It challenges not only our existing beliefs but, at its most extreme, our entire self-conception. This certainly is not comfortable. Changing who you are when you find out you’re not living right takes hard work.

But we must accept these challenges. We must shed our pre-conceived notions if we are to grow. If you’re not striving to learn, you’re doing everyone you interact with a disservice – and a massive disservice to your long-term quality of life. There’s genuine satisfaction knowing you fought for a well-lived, upright life that can’t be matched by the simple bliss of ignorance.

How do you get there? One main action you can take is finding those in your life who are willing to tell it like it is. Most people very much dislike conflict, so finding these people can be hard. Once you have them, though, they are priceless.

Real friends tell you when you’re being a jerk. Fake friends are there for a good time.

The question you have to ask yourself is, “Can I handle the real friends?”

 

The sacrifices we make

I strive to achieve this balance in my life, particularly to spend quality time with friends and loved ones, but my life is inundated with responsibility.

With so much time spent driving in addition to an intense school and workload, I barely find time even for self-care, let alone relationships.

I tell myself it’ll be worth it in the end. I don’t know if it will. I don’t know what I’ll do if I don’t get into a good PhD program, besides cry. There’s so much heart being poured into this process. There’s so much hope and sacrifice. There’s so much struggle.

Nothing is being handed to me. I’m proud of that, but the pressure feels extreme. I just pray for a worthy outcome.

Reaching the balance

The secret of Western life is finding a healthy balance between your work, your family, your friends, self-care, and proper diet and exercise.

If you’re waking up every day trying to be better than you were the day before, you’re probably asking yourself where you invested more energy previously that neglected something else, in addition to whether your meeting self-expectations through proper self-discipline.

I’m not sure if this ever reaches a moment where you say, “I’ve done it. I’m a complete master of myself. I’m living the perfect life.” So, life becomes a continual process of growth and self-discovery.

It’s quite amazing. The trick is to find contentment (or even joy) in the journey.

The power of confidence

It’s said of Steve Jobs that he wasn’t always right. In fact, he frequently changed his opinions about what direction to take. His secret was that he was sure. Confidence is a force that when cultivated creates a magnetism with immense power.

It doesn’t matter what you look like. It doesn’t matter what you do. Just do it confidently.

This is hard. Confidence isn’t merely a thought that you can do something. It runs deeper. It is a total body acceptance that some decision is the right decision. It is the complete belief you’re right.

This isn’t to say that confidence shouldn’t be checked. It’s a delicate balance between self-improvement and faith in oneself.

Despite your confidence you must be open to feedback. You’ll never grow without it.

I believe in this

I want you to know something that is extremely important to me:

I believe in this, and I genuinely care to do the right thing. 

Maybe that’s too forward, but I want to be clear about the fact that I am writing because I care about you.

I am not going to stop.

This isn’t a fleeting desire.

I want to earn your trust, and I’ll do that by showing up day after day after day to offer insights that are hopefully helpful.

I think you want to live a life of hope.

I think you want to live a life that is honest.

We all need more encouragement and meaningfulness in our lives.

It’s true that sometimes what I have to say won’t always be kind. I sincerely wish I didn’t feel compelled to write those posts.

I want you to know that when I write those things my intention is to remind you that you aren’t alone. Also, they won’t get better unless we talk about them.

Thank you for the privilege of your time. I look forward to evolving with you. It’s sure to be a long, awesome journey.

People suck

Sometimes people dislike you for no apparent reason.

They exclude you.

They don’t care about you.

They think you’re weird.

They cancel last minute.

They quit talking to you because they can’t get over that weird mole or your hairline or your little bit of pudge.

It’s not fair. It’s really, really, really not fair.

Not everyone is like that. These people are losers. There are good people.

It’s the cost of trying to make your own way. If you don’t go along to get along, you run the risk of getting friction.

Keep your chin up. Persist. You’ll overcome. Just be consistent.

Always ask for the order

This is a central message in Zig Ziglar’s Secrets of Closing the Sale. It doesn’t just apply to sales. It is remarkable how often we don’t get what we want simply because we don’t ask. Are you trying to get buy-in from a department head on a new employee recognition program? Ask them at the end of the meeting, “So do you agree that we should be providing gifts for work milestones and major life events?” This ensures accountability and forces them to verbally affirm they’ve been sold on the idea.

In your personal life, this is particularly important. Often the only way you can improve aspects like communication, appreciation, sharing of responsibilities, or romance is simply to ask. This isn’t just a guy thing, my female friends. It doesn’t matter who you are, it is difficult to simply pick up on another individual’s desires if they are not clearly communicated.

Ira Glass on what’s necessary to succeed at creative work

Ira Glass is the host and executive producer of the popular National Public Radio show, This American Life. Each week, This American Life is broadcast to more than 1.7 million listeners across 500 different radio stations. But it wasn’t always that way.

Success takes persistence. Almost no one starts off great.

Here’s what Glass has to say about it:

Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, and I really wish somebody had told this to me.

All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But it’s like there is this gap. For the first couple years that you’re making stuff, what you’re making isn’t so good. It’s not that great. It’s trying to be good, it has ambition to be good, but it’s not that good.

But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is good enough that you can tell that what you’re making is kind of a disappointment to you. A lot of people never get past that phase. They quit.

Everybody I know who does interesting, creative work they went through years where they had really good taste and they could tell that what they were making wasn’t as good as they wanted it to be. They knew it fell short. Everybody goes through that.

And if you are just starting out or if you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Do a huge volume of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week or every month you know you’re going to finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you’re going to catch up and close that gap. And the work you’re making will be as good as your ambitions.

I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It takes awhile. It’s gonna take you a while. It’s normal to take a while. You just have to fight your way through that.

If you prefer to listen to the words, here they are by Glass himself.