Category Archives: Attitude

Change: Brought to You by Failure

When you are caught up with mistakes in life, you never realize how much it really takes to free you from them. I failed because I haven’t been able to let go of the past. I failed because I wanted to categorize my success in ways that other people do. Lots of people fail, but many don’t completely come back to a place that enables them to succeed.

I hadn’t taken the time to step back and actually consider what makes me happy. What I want to spend the rest of my life doing. I haven’t considered on which terms I want to live my life. So I procrastinated, found projects to occupy my time, and wasted countless hours on meaningless things that will not change my life or outlook on it.

I am taking responsibility for my life right now. Hate your job? Find something you love doing , because no one but you is making you work there. Don’t know what you want to do with your life? Figure it out, because no one else is going to shape your future. Caught up in the past? Now is the perfect time to realize that it’s holding you back from leading the life you truly want, and move on. 

Last night while I was driving, I had a passing thought. I am 22 years old and just for that moment, I wanted my struggles to end. I was sick of fighting and losing, and I could think of few things that would motivate me enough to continue living. And there in two very telling words, lies my problem and solution: “continue living”. I don’t want to just continue living. I want to live a life that I look forward to living everyday. Underneath this static facade, I want to be dynamic. I want to be energetic, learn new things, and  desire new knowledge and enjoy my life. I want to meet people that change the way I think. I want the world to see the best version of me possible. Simply continuing to live won’t allow me to do that. I only hope I still have time. My failures thus far have taken me to a point where I can’t ignore myself any longer. As JK Rowling said in an epic commencement speech:

“Failure means a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me.”

My failure led me to this moment, and to this blog post.From now on, my energy will be spent on things that move me. Things that make me happy and fulfilled. Things that will bring me knowledge and joy. I am using this public blog post as a way to acknowledge that I do not live a life I am content with, and as an agent of change. I am not afraid of failing, because it is better than the static position I find myself in now. I define my success and determine my happiness, and I will define my terms to get there. Why waste the only life you have doing anything else?

“What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality.”

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Motivational Stream of Consciousness

I felt compelled to write this letter to anyone that might need a bit of encouragement during this stressful time of year. Hope this helps you get through whatever you might be going through.

Hey, you.

Empowering thought: FREE WILL. We can strive for any goal we set. And what makes this striving so noble and valiant is the fact that it is YOU pushing and towards that noble and valiant goal or aim in life. Wait – – – is all of your hard work going towards a noble goal? Or is it a bit selfish now that you think about it? Is the work you are doing everyday fulfilling? What makes you happy? What scares you? Which one of these is the motive driving you everyday?

Take a moment and think about at least one thing you like about yourself. Think hard if you need to. Is it your good intentions? Your sense of humor? Your way with words or people? It can be anything. Have you used this skill or talent or trait of yours to help anyone else lately? Have you even used it to help yourself? How can you or have you benefited from this awesome stand-out trait of yours?

Now think of every person you’ve ever interacted with. Whether for better or worse, you were a part of those other people’s lives too. Would they remember you in a positive or negative light? How do you want to be remembered?

Look at yourself in a mirror. Notice the curves of your cheekbones and the color of your eyes. Not one other person has the same facial features as you. No one else has your exact mix of genes and DNA. Flex your hand. Feel the muscles tense and watch the veins ripple as you move your fingers. Marvel at the strength you have in just ONE hand. Now feel the strength in your whole body radiating and coursing through those veins. You are strong. You are brilliant. You are more than capable. You have willpower. You can live your life any way you want to. You have the determination to make anything and everything happen for yourself. No one else is living your life for you.

You’re making memories right now, as you’re reading this post. But what do you really want memories of? What do you daydream about? What makes you smile when other people aren’t watching? What stories do you want to tell your grandchildren? You want to live your life to the fullest, so what if this next breath of air you draw was your last? Would you be satisfied with your life?

Humans are practical. We do things with the future in mind. But life will pass you by if you put all of your hopes in a future that will never come. Life is beautiful because it’s temporary. You will only live this moment once, so LIVE IN THE PRESENT. Make this moment last, right now. Look around you. Where are you? What are you doing? What are you feeling? Is this really how you would ideally want to spend this moment?

Really, what’s stopping you from doing anything you set your mind to? What’s pulling you down, away from your goals in life? Do you have some goals yet? Should you make a few?

It’s so easy to get caught up in what life throws at you and the generally accepted way of doing things. If you love to travel, travel! If you want to learn everything there is to know, who’s stopping you? If you want to be happy, DO WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY. You are entitled to complete happiness. Everyday monotonously draws to a close, you work hard, and you start losing track of days, weeks… and then it all stops. The monotony ends in those blissfully happy moments when you feel engulfed by the dark blue blanket of stars in the night sky or help another person without a thought of  anything in return. When you feel a connection with someone who knows your flaws and loves you completely, or help someone else achieve a goal of their own, or lay on the grass and feel the warm sun on your face… these are the moments you will remember. These are the moments that can define you.

Stop waiting. Stop working tirelessly without a goal. Stop living without purpose. You are in control. You decide how to spend your time. You decide physically where to put your hand after it leaves your mouse or keyboard. You decide what to wear, what to believe in, and who to love. And you can decide what to do after reading this.

My Latest CC Article: Work it Like the Military!

Check out College Candy to read this (edited) post and more of my other Body Blog posts!

I’m skeptical. If I hear Glee is a hilarious television show, I will not believe until I’ve seen the football team dancing to Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” on the field. If you tell me Special K bars will make me lose weight, I won’t believe until I read the nutrition facts for myself. So when my co-worker raved about the benefits of fitness boot camps, I obviously did not believe her until I tried it myself.

Working out is hard enough already – do you really need someone yelling in your face the entire time? If I want to workout, I can do it entirely on my own. I’m just fine pounding the treadmill alone. With my iPod. And without any camouflage, baggy pants, and whistles! After 7th grade, I resigned myself to the fact that I cannot do a pull-up, and I am more than fine with that. Plus, boot camp sounded so manly – I felt like I would get Jersey Shore style-jacked.

But my very persistent co-worker convinced me to try out a mini boot camp. Her friend, a certified instructor, was running it for free, which sealed the deal. And because I never suffer alone, I dragged two of my friends along.

We met in the gardens of a nearby private school. Yes, in the good old outdoors. The boot-campers arrived with their hands all taped up like kickboxers, dressed in serious sports bras that can double as shirts. Needless to say, I was a little intimidated.

We stretched, ran a bit, and were paired with partners for the rest of camp. Suddenly I found myself lunging, army crawling, jumping rope, and more with this partner of mine. Going from station to station kept me active and interested – and not counting down the minutes until I could stop working out. Goodbye, treadmill monotony! As the LA Times puts it, “The secret lies in the circuit-style workout that toggles between cardio and muscle building. This leaves little if any down time, and the shuffling of routines prevents boredom and exercise ruts.”

And as cheesy as this may sound, I loved having a partner cheer me on the entire time. Can you imagine having someone telling you how great you are, and how you just need to go a little bit farther, a little bit faster all the time? Let’s talk really effective motivation! The LA Times says that since “people are often paired or grouped for friendly competitions,” it can foster “a camaraderie and support not usually found in regular fitness classes. That camaraderie strengthens with time, establishing accountability, something fitness experts say is essential for sticking with a program”.

My skepticism was nowhere to be found as I punched, jumped, sprinted… and loved every minute of it. I’m not starved for attention, but I was really living up the group support. No matter who I found myself holding up, whose butt was near my face, or who I happened to be carrying up a hill (no joke), everyone believes in you and thinks you’re strong. Just working out with my girlfriends never results in that kind of motivation!

So maybe the skeptic is a believer now. And I’m not the only one. The LA Times article agrees that “for people willing to put in the work, boot camps enable exercisers to see results quickly, the better to stay motivated.”

Basically, Boot Camp Benefits include:
• being in the great outdoors
• having an always-changing workout
• constant motivation
• accountability
• feeling that you’re always challenging your body in new ways

Would you sign up for boot camp?

Pole Dancing Classes: A Change of Heart?

Pole dancing classes are growing more and more popular. These classes take place in a studio, presumably with poles (which I hope they disinfect regularly). Enter females who are there to rock their favorite pair of going out heels and perform mind-boggling stripper moves in front of other girls with similar personality qualities (or for their boyfriends after the class is over). Oh, the glory – doing what strippers do in clubs without receiving money for it! In that respect, it seems like an internship for university credit – you get the experience, but you’re paying FOR it instead of getting paid (Hello, I could use those $1 bills! Laundry’s killing me).

Let’s re-cap: You are half-naked… exercising in heels… and paying MONEY for it. Sounds like a nightmare I had last week. (This isn’t the case in all classes, but still.) The whole concept of pole dancing classes seemed a bit silly to me. This is why I never thought I’d see the day when I myself would A) watch a pole dancing routine and B) then consider the activity an art form.

Seriously, I now think pole dancing belongs in the Olympics. And some people would agree with me! Namely an association called World Pole Dance Sport & Fitness. They even have a slogan. And if you promise not to laugh, I’ll tell you what it is. PROMISE? …They are “Opening closed minds.”

But having Pole Dancing in the Olympics wouldn’t be THAT crazy. There’s already a World Pole Dancing Competition. And it’s not your average half-naked woman who takes part in it. You have to have some serious strength and flexibility. Check out the video below! I apologize for the horrible video quality, but my mouth dropped (and I’m guessing she had the same effect on all of the guys in the front row!)

How the hell is she not falling off right now? How can she hold herself on the pole with just her armpit? MAD skillz, that’s how.

And just think of the impact on at-home pole sales after pole dancing is an acceptable Olympic sport. It won’t be just your weird kinky neighbor that has one in the middle of the living room. We’ll probably see those annoying online TV advertisements for The Magic Bullet, followed by the Complete Pole Dancing Kit, and then your standard male enhancement commercial. To help you visualize this phenomenon, I FOUND one amazing pole dancing commercial!

All jokes aside, this type of pole dancing obviously requires dedication, talent, and strength. I apologize for underestimating its exercise and aesthetic value! Now the first step toward legitimacy would be to put more clothes on… then maybe people will take it seriously because they will actually be able to concentrate on the physical finesse it takes to perform those moves, rather than… other things. What do you think?

Can’t Get Enough of Excellence.

We thrive on excellence. We suck in the achievements of others. We live vicariously through their sexual conquests. It’s like drinking adrenaline through a straw. It’s like having success on tap. And I do not condone this. But it does make me consider how we measure excellence – and why our culture glorifies it so.

James Bond. Suave. Excellence.

James Bond. Suave. Excellence.

I like James Bond, because he’s suave and smooth and he’s the secret agent that everyone wants to be… or wants to kill. But either way, he has all of the answers. He always knows what to say (Um… is um, not a part of his suave vocabulary). He KNOWS what he’s doing with his life. He doesn’t get emotionally connected – he hooks up with whoever, whenever. And who cares? In the time it takes to pop in another James Bond movie, the screenwriters will have erased and rewritten all of his previous emotional attachments.

It’s also reminiscent of the characters in Ayn Rand books. I admire their excellence, impeccable morals, and untouchable values. I like that they do not apologize for anything, but rather, they have the courage and morals to stand up for what they KNOW that they are good at. They are damn good at what they do and they don’t care about what society dictates is acceptable.

Howard Roark. An Upstanding Gentlemen from the Fountainhead

Howard Roark exemplifies architectural excellence in the Fountainhead.

Why did I write an entire post on excellence and its place in our society and culture? To be honest, I had some free time. But more importantly, our ideals play a huge role in what we like. I rent James Bond movies and buy Ayn Rand books to reinforce ideals that have, but I will never become or achieve. The best in my field? Great thing to aspire towards, but I don’t even know what my future holds. I am not as clearly defined or as emotionally unattached as the characters of excellence I idealize. Our culture cultivates excellence so that we can be continually disappointed in ourselves. So that we can look at magazines and know that we will never be as perfectly airbrushed as the model so seductively posed on the cover. So that we will consume and desire more, and think about ourselves and reality less. It’s humanly impossible not to ever feel guilty. It’s impossible to avoid rejection. And who would want to? Now that I think about it, we would be nothing without the highs and lows that help to define us – the daily nuances that the characters of such “excellence” we so long for have never experienced, or probably would not appreciate.

What kind of excellence do you consume? Why?

Running on an Autumn Night

Hot sweat on my flushed face. Cheeks ruddy, limbs trembling. Jarring, slow to stop movement. A sigh escapes as I let myself into my apartment. Inexplicable. I am spent. I am exhausted, shaking, trembling. The warm air from my apartment settles over me in a daze. I massage my aching calves and lay into a yoga stretch on the living room floor. I reach. Every fiber of every muscle, yearning to be unwound. It is 2AM; some will still feel taut in the morning. I walk to loosen, to feel my body lengthen. I am elegance. I cannot feel the floor as I gracefully walk to the bedroom. My reflection in a wayward hall mirror reveals… that outward gestures never meant so little.  To smile would be a mere formality for the tranquil power radiating from within. The sun is glowing inside me.

Autumn_Night

Running on a crisp, fall night.

Image from http://www.flickr.com/photos/slava/ / CC BY 2.0