Over a year ago the director of my team read us a book called “I Moved Your Cheese.” by Deepak Malhotra.
I can’t remember all the details, but what I do remember was the main point of it all. To put simply:
YOU MAKE THE CHANGE (you move the cheese).
In other words, instead of adapting to the world, create something yourself, make something better, invent something new.
The money makes and leaders of the world are the ones who are proponents and promoters of change.
YOU lead society when you learn to create changes rather than allowing change to happen to you.
Now, you can also resist change…
Those who resist change are doomed to the ultimate failure:
For instance, I know of a few, much older parents who cannot, for the life of them, take advice and guidance from others. Things that have been tried and tested to be true are outright ignored. Instead, they are “set in their ways” and became bitter, angry people at their older years when anything new comes around.
Their ideas of these subjects may have gotten them by, but they didn’t benefit from the happiness, joy, and growth of change.
Their habits of resisting the ability to change never allowed them to develop that inner peace. Instead, change is chaos. It’s like using your muscles. If you never allow them discomfort, they don’t develop, they just dwindle and die.
Their habits of resisting the ability to change never allowed them to develop that inner peace.
In contrast, those who become leaders, mentors, and overall lively people, are those who continually understand that change and growth are what keeps us humble and alive.
Think about moving your “cheese” in your company, club, or community in every way possible. Don’t allow a setback to keep you where you are and don’t allow the “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it” mentality to be the driving force of your reality.
You are so much better than that. Once again, instead of adapting to the world, create something yourself, make something better, try stuff, test stuff, and invent something new.
Will you allow life to happen to you, or will you make things happen for your life?
Now, go out lead a life of growth and prosperity, because you created it.
Why Am I Awkward? How to Cultivate Confidence in Conversation With Three Simple Characteristics of People
My co-worker asks me a question I thought I knew and as she follows up with a question stumped my train of thought. I couldn’t recover.
Think Jon, think.
Heart pounding, voice trembling, and sweat dripping down my forehead on a chilly mid-afternoon day in February.
Instead of relaxing and saying “I’m not sure” or, “I don’t know” with confidence, I figured I could foster up a clever answer only to be met with and yet another awkward standstill.
It’s like my brain had a flat tire, and I needed to fix it before moving on with the conversation.
“Hi, how may I help you today?”
Thank you Starbucks barista, thank you for saving me.
I’ve been there. We’ve all been there.
One thing to understand is that being awkward isn’t entirely your fault. A lot of factors like the way you grew up and how family treated you tends to dictate your interactions with people.
For instance, I grew up with desires to please my parents as I brought home report cards filled with B’s and A’s only to face indifference.
After that, I grew up trying to please people to ensure that I gain their approval. It felt like subconsciously, I was still trying to please my parents through other people.
'To this day, I get weird feelings when I know someone doesn’t like me the way I want them to, a weakness that I have to fight against each day.
Pleasing people with the right things to say makes us awkward. We want to fit in somehow and say the right things at every moment, but we’re too ashamed or afraid to say what we want to say in fear of something that holds us back.
Maybe you’re familiar with these thoughts:
“No, this question is stupid. I can’t ask this right now.” (then someone else asks the question, and the host says, “good question”).
“I can’t say that they’ll think I’m dumb.” (even when they mentioned that there are no “dumb” questions).
“I don’t want to talk right now, but I can’t say I’m busy with something.” (as people are constantly talking to you and you can’t get any work done because you’re too afraid to make others feel “rejected”).
Conversation is an art, but confidence is a skill.
To set things in motion for your ability to handle a conversation with confidence, here are three foundational characteristics of PEOPLE you can abide by.
1) People Are More Forgiving Than You Think
There are no perfect people in this world and therefore, no perfect conversations.
Television is scripted, interviews are prepared, and YouTube is edited. Have you ever hated the sound of your voice? Well, you might hate it, but others don’t.
Likewise, people aren’t going to dwell on your faults. They don’t stay up all night thinking about how much you suck with conversations. If anything, they’ll forget what you say.
Next time you’re in a conversation, don’t sweat it, literally, don’t sweat it, we’re all people.
2) People Want to Be Heard
We are inherently selfish, egotistical, narcissist. We love ourselves far more than we love anyone else. I know it sounds harsh, but hey that’s the reality of it.
Thus, we’ll talk about ourselves with excitement or passion, or both. Your ears are gold to others as they eagerly wait to say their opinion or talk about their cool rock collection at home.
The human ego is an essential insight into human nature because it allows you to capitalize on others in a conversation rather than figuring out what to say about yourself.
To add onto this, ask questions about what you don’t know about them. It may seem strange at first, but as I mentioned, people want to talk about themselves when they get the chance.
More importantly, get others to talk about what they like and enjoy, and their passions will shine through. Plus, it’s always fun to get to know those around you.
Having a connection is critical here.
3) People Love Stories
Perhaps the most challenging step in your journey as a conversationalist is to become a better storyteller.
When you learn to tell a good story, people’s ears perk up and become intrigued by what you have to say to them. A story captivates an audience and helps them remember things far more than merely stating facts.
Develop your storytelling skills, and people will enjoy talking to you.
People remember how you made them feel more so than what you told them.
With that said, as you speak to someone, don’t make it boring. Be different but be confident in the way you say it!
Remember, no one is inherently better than you.
As soon as you believe someone has more value in this world than you, then all is lost. Go out there with confidence as an individual knowing that we’re all in this together and nobody truly knows what they’re doing in life anyways.
"I'm addicted to you. Don't you know that you're toxic?"
- From "Toxic" by Britney Spears
Something that I didn't know growing up was that our American society has a disheartening surplus of unintentional toxic people.
Yes, even you can be a toxic person.
Defining a toxic person can be tricky because most people think a toxic person as someone who brings others down in some way with their venomous words and actions.
Perhaps someone who talks bad about others or who brings down your emotional morale.
Let's take a more significant step back and look at this from a bigger picture.
Toxic people encompass everyone on the emotional spectrum from mentally optimistic to severely depressed.
When I was in college, my depression got the best of me. Luckily I had someone to talk to during those dark years. Unfortunately, each night became a one-sided rant fest with my roommate about how much I hated everything in life and all the people in it.
My friend, bless his heart, took it all in without judgment for several semesters, only to later feel a little resentful of the things I resented as well as time went on.
Intentionally, unintentionally, I put negative thoughts and ideas into his head that subconsciously motivated his thoughts and ideas about his own life and the people he was around.
I gave him a poison I didn't intend to give him, and he sipped it down each night without noticing the effects.
I find that the most toxic people are those who think that they are stagnant in their ability to change. These people define themselves to a particular character and have no attempts to stray away from it for the betterment of themselves.
"I'm a badass bitch, so I take orders from no one. I want to be a boss and control others."
"I'm a quiet, shy person. I can never meet anyone or talk to anybody."
"It's hopeless. I can't do it."
What I find in toxic people versus people willing to change are the following:
Growth Mind: Have positive outlooks in the midst of struggle
Toxic Mind: Stay negative in all circumstances
Growth Mind: Stays away from gossip
Toxic Mind: Starts gossip or looks for it
Growth Mind: Has dreams, vision, goals in all areas of life
Toxic Mind: Lets life happen to them and complains when it's not going the way they want it to
Growth Mind: Takes action
Toxic Mind: Takes no action
Growth Mind: Thinks about others before themselves
Toxic Mind: Thinks about him/herself
Growth Mind: Try to give before they take
Toxic Mind: Takes before they give
Growth Mind: Finds ways to make it work
Toxic Mind: Dwells on the ways it doesn't work
There's much more of course.
The basis of a toxic person roots him or herself in their own self-loathing and self-pity. They are solely thinking about themselves and their issues without any regards about others.
The overly confident and pretentious person doesn't care for other's well-being. Their world seems to revolve around them, and because of this, they make others feel uncomfortable and resentful towards them.
The shy and timid person wants to remain comfortable in their shell so that they don't need to associate with people. Then, they start to believe that hating people is valid and complain about others in a much more quiet way.
I mentioned earlier that even the overly optimistic person could be toxic as well. This is because ignoring the reality isn't going to allow for internal growth. Often suffering is what will enable us to grow and become better.
What's worse, of course, is the negative people in life. Negativity brings about a subjective dwelling on what is, versus what could be, thus never allowing room to grow. Those who are negative, are never happy and will bring more unhappiness upon others.
What's the secret cure to your toxicity? It's simple.
Think about others before yourself.
Think deeply about how, when, and what you say around someone for their benefit. What value do you bring to the table for them?
If you're depressed, are you looking for actual help? Or are you merely trying to bring them down with you subconsciously? Are you a self-righteous jerk who thinks they're better than others? Change.
Remember, you're only toxic because you want your self-made "reality" to be other people's reality as well. "Misery loves company" as they say and the key to happiness is to look beyond yourself and look towards the betterment and well-being of those around you.
That's when you not only learn to help others; you end up helping yourself along the way.
"Computer science is all about solving problems."
Something my college instructor once said during a slow afternoon in class as I started nodding off to a deep post-lunch slumber.
Surprisingly, that statement was one that I would never forget.
In all my previous years of working, “problem solving” are the words that could essentially sum up the moments that I felt at my best.
I’m relatively new to my career in computer science, and I never went into it believing that I could improve anything. All I wanted to do was to be told what to build and to build it.
So I built it. And then I got bored.
My first job as a “web content manager” for a small marketing startup initially got me started updating content for small websites.
Aka, copy and paste.
It was great within the first month because I had a somewhat steady income.
Eventually, boredom set in, eventually leading me to a small sense of crisis.
“Did I go through six long grueling years of mid-terms, late nights, and finals only to be a professional ‘copy-paste’ worker?”
But things changed in the latter portion of my time last that job. I had remembered another one of my friends who spoke about “scripts” and automation. That’s when it clicked.
“Computer Science is all about problem-solving.”
I get it now. I know what I need to do.
So I asked myself the age-old question that EVERY self-respecting programmer should ask themselves,
“How can I make this better?”
From that point on, my career began to take shape for the better. I came to realize that you don’t need to sit around and wait for others to tell you what to do.
You go out and make the change. You move that cheese.
Go into each job with the mindset of problem-solving and you’ll love what you do.
You were meant to create, build, and thrive on the works that you accomplish for yourself and others.
It’s in our nature to do this, and you’ll be pleased you did.
The Mindset to Foster for All Aspects of Your Life
Improve, improve, improve
Nothing more self-explanatory than that. Being stagnant is career and company suicide.
Not literally do nothing, but actually, find ways to make your job easier on you and for everyone else!
How can this benefit you, others, and the overall company?
Solutions aren’t solutions if it only benefits you and gives more work to others.
Never Settle for Comfort
A famous book called “I Moved Your Cheese” by Deepak Malhotra illustrated that the key to success is to be the change in a world that wants to change you.
If you control how things change, you’ll never be short of success in your life because you aren’t moving at the beat of the drum, you ARE the drum that is beating.
A Few Questions to Ask Yourself
- What am I complaining about?
- How can I make this faster for everyone?
- What am I always doing that could be automated?
- What obstacles can we remove?
- What is ONE thing I can focus on to make this better?
I could go on, but the ultimate mindset to foster lies entirely with your ability to realize that you cannot settle for less.
“If it ain’t broke, how can we make it better?”
"Mom, mom! Can I have this toy!? I swear this is the last toy I'll ever ask from you again! I'll never want another toy! I PROMISE!"
- Every other kid in America
Oh, the infamous, dreaded words you hate hearing every time you walk into a store with your child am I right? Mind you, I don't have children but I can already feel the frustration.
Months leading up to Christmas, Nintendo strategically releases a game changer console, the Wii. Everyone and their mother's father's mother wanted that thing.
Do you know who wanted it more badly? Me, duh.
"I don't want anything in life ever again if we get the Wii, PLEASE!"
- me (age seven or something).
My brothers and I begged, pleaded, and anxiously waited for the morning when we could finally rip open that present and reveal what we thought would make us happy for the rest of our lives.
As absurd as it sounds, that's how narrow-minded we were as kids.
As you may already have guessed, Christmas time rolled around, and sure enough, the very last present my step-dad brought out, the Nintendo Wii. You should have seen the excitement and energy. I hugged and thanked my parents like never before (sadly enough).
A week later, we received another present that we didn't anticipate, complete, utter dissatisfaction.
My step-dad predicted this from the beginning. As life experience would reveal to him, materials could only bring so much happiness before you move on.
We wanted an object that we thought would satisfy us only to disappoint ourselves with the reality that the hype of worldly possessions is fleeting.
To many of you, this isn't surprising. You could relate. But some may be bold enough to say: "I'm not like this anymore."
I beg to differ.
I want you to reconsider and realize that you're still like this. We're all that materialistic kid who thinks something, eventually, will satisfying once we get "there." It may not be a Wii, but it's definitely something else.
"I'll be happy when I…"
You may not be that vocal about it all the time, but you know deep inside there are many ideas that pop into your head when you utter those words.
The mentality of desiring more never leaves us. As soon as we're bored, unsatisfied, or as things become difficult, we're on to the next.
When I was in college, it was,
"I'll be happy when I graduate."
- Jon's brain
Yet, I ended up going back into deep depression all over again because I couldn't find a full-time job right away.
About three months later I found a job (better than a lot of other people). I thought I'd be satisfied, I got paid a lot and I was able to work from home most days.
Nope. Within six months the hype was gone, and I was already trying to figure out what that, "next" thing was for me. I loved my job, but I was looking for satisfaction elsewhere.
Relationships get the worst of this
The "honeymoon" period in relationships are considered the height of "love" when in reality it's pure infatuation.
True love = commitment, sacrifice, humility.
When couples find ways to make it work, it's a beautiful sight to see. We congratulate people who have been married for so long like it's an accomplishment because that rarely happens.
The unfortunate reality is that our relationships are like the toys we get rid of in our lives. We love it, cherish it, but let it go when we're tired of it or when it no longer is of use.
True HappinessTrue joy and happiness come from yourself. Easy enough?
Think of it in terms of being on a journey. The struggle in growth and commitment is like Frodo and Sam from Lord of the Rings, reaching obstacle after obstacle. Setback after setbacks, side missions, and various distractions.
This windy road led them to finally reach the goal of destroying the wretched ring that started it all. The journey made them stronger with so much more internal growth and maturity.
Frodo and Sam became new people at the end of it all because of their ability to suffer and commit to the journey. This would have never had happened if they were able to destroy the ring right away.
Don't think to yourself, I'll be happy when I HAVE it. You already got everything you could ever, a chance to live!
What you want is a seemingly unmet experience. You're onto the next when you should be focusing on the abundance that you currently have and focus on the journey of your overall life VISION.
A vision that leaves a legacy for others.
Bottom line is, it takes true maturity when we learn to commit to what we have and allow it to foster and grow. You may never be happy because you're never grateful for what you currently have.
Find something that you can commit to, keep at it, and work hard.