Comfort: The Biggest Killer of Productivity

Rodin's Thinker

Being comfortable is the biggest killer of productivity.

When you have something to prove, or are hungry to better yourself, you work for it. You bust your ass. Once you attain a certain level of success, whether it’s in your job, your housing situation, your car, your weight, fitness level, whatever, it becomes a lot harder to keep your eye on the prize. Your goals change. It’s easier to coast a bit and just do enough to maintain your  comfort level. Maybe you slip (which I’ve done with my fitness and weight in particular), maybe you don’t. But it’s sure as hell a lot harder to remember to work for what you want once you sort of reach your goals.

This applies to my writing, fitness, weight, work, just about everything. I’ve recently had good reason to look at where I’m at and realize that I have been coasting for a long time. I haven’t been writing enough, for one thing. But I’m back in the swing of things now and am making progress on pretty much all fronts.

What about you? Do you need a wake-up call? Get out there and do something to better your life.

P.S. I got off my ass and did 1.5 miles on the treadmill this afternoon. It’s not much, but it’s a start.

First, Be Happy.

Many people want to force you to be who they want you to be. They want you to agree with their politics, their religion, their life choices, whatever.

Don’t worry about that stuff.

First, be happy.

Before you worry about what other people think, look out for yourself. Look out for your own happiness.

Then consider your family and friends. I’m not saying you should do reckless things just to be happy. I’m not advocating hedonism. I’m saying that you shouldn’t let other people’s desires make you unhappy by trying to project their desires onto you.

You should pursue happiness without hurting other people. Take a stand against people who want you to conform to their standards or beliefs.

Be yourself!

The Great Divide: Smugness, Stupidity, and Villains.

The Great Divide

This is for all the arrogant, self-righteous Americans among us.

Stop being smug, get down off your high horses, and think about improving the world. People who disagree with you are not fascist followers of Adolf Hitler (if they’re conservatives) or socialist Josef Stalin (if they’re liberals). Disagreeing with you doesn’t make someone evil, or stupid, or un-American. Stop clamping your hands over your ears and ignoring people who don’t agree with everything you stand for. I’m talking to everyone here–right wing whackos, left wing loonies, and the idiots in the middle.

We all have enemies out there, maybe politically, maybe religiously, whatever. But not every atheist, Christian, Muslim, liberal, or conservative is an evil bastard, whether we’d like to pretend they were or not. Some people are bad. Some ARE anti-American. But it’s not because they’re pro-life or pro-choice or worship God 5 times/day (or never) or go to mass or whatever.

I’m a critical, judgemental person. I love to argue, and I love to debate. Like most people, I know I’m right and you idiots are wrong. But over time, as I’ve been exposed to more people with different viewpoints, I’ve learned to be more open to other people’s ideas. Even I’m tired of being part of widening the Great Divide between the right and the left.

I’m tired of being part of the problem.

As the election draws near, we’re becoming even nastier. The Opposition has morphed into the Dark Lord Sauron. They’re even more un-American, evil, and stupid than before. They don’t understand us, they hate us, they want to destroy our way of life, enslave our children, and make us just like them. Of course we’re smug, self-righteous, paragons of society, and since we’re always right, we clamp our hands over our ears and ignore everything they say (while screaming in their faces).

Actually, we would scream in their faces, except for the fact that most of us don’t usually spend much time with the Enemy. We do see them on Facebook, though, so we attack the hell out of them, troll them, smear them, call them stupid, etc.

After all, they want to destroy America.

So stop being so smug. Stop calling anyone who disagrees with you “stupid.” Your opponents aren’t all nasty villains bent on ruining your country.

Talk to people who don’t agree with you. Be objective. Stop widening the Great Divide. Have discussions. Figure out why other people think differently than you. Let’s figure out how the hell to improve the world instead of just tearing it down.

Above all, stop being smug.

*End of Rant*

Instead of Fighting Against Gay Marriage, Go Do Something Useful.

Rodin's Thinker

Last night, I saw an argument against gay marriage that was predicated upon the idea that marriage is inherently a religious thing.

I despise the idea that just because the Founding Fathers, Jesus, Little Bo Peep, or Saint So-And-So used to do something a certain way or for a certain reason, then we should just keep doing it the same way now.

Times change, people. We learn as time goes on (I hope). Slavery went away. Black people became people. Gay marriage is inevitable.

The only argument against it in the United States in 2012 comes from right wing Christians. In saying that, I’m not being biased against them. I’m merely stating a fact. The movement to marginalize gays comes from them–they’re trying to defend the “sanctity” of marriage only because they’re afraid of gays. They have an agenda, and it doesn’t include letting gays get married.
Most reasonable people I know, including my extremist Christian friends, think it’s fair for gay people to get married. They don’t support gayness, they think it’s a sin, etc, but they agree that gay people should have rights. If they didn’t we probably wouldn’t be friends. Why? Because I’m biased against stupid assholes who think they should tell everyone else how to live.
Anyone who desperately wants to deny gay rights should do some serious self-examination and try to figure out what’s wrong with them. Instead of wasting time trying to deprive other people of stuff, they should go do something useful/create something new/brighten someone’s day.
That’s it for now.

To Rant or Not to Rant: That is the Question

Camperdowny Elm

I am pretty damn opinionated.

This is well-established among people who know me, and probably among those of you who only know me from reading this blog. I

Guy With Sword Statue
I always feel like a have a sword ready to unsheathe on people. I try to control myself, especially on the blog. Sometimes I fail.

tend to dislike bullshit language that sugarcoats unpleasant things. I like to look at things in black and white, although I recognize that there are shades of grey out there. I make generalizations pretty often, and I really like to rant (which is an indulgence I am trying to control, both in person and online).

It would be so damn easy to turn this into a rant blog as opposed to a motivational little spot, but that’s not what I want to do. I don’t think that’s productive, and I don’t think it helps people, which is really what I want to do. I want to do my best to empower other people to feel better about themselves, to create things, to make themselves the best they can be.

I’m saying this today since I often talk about things that get people fired up, and I’m pretty sure I hurt some feelings now and then, whether I’m talking about politics, religion, or being fat. Even though I may discuss some things without much regard to other people’s feelings, it’s not my intention to hurt anyone.

I love to discuss our differences, which is something I didn’t really engage in until the last few years. And really, since I started this blog, I’ve become a lot more open to other viewpoints.


Question Everything

Rodin's Thinker

Don’t take things at face value.

Don’t just believe what people tell you. Especially don’t believe what advertisers tell you. Educate yourself. Honestly, most people are probably pretty genuine, but many aren’t, especially when you consider that corporations are considered “people” these days.

I got thinking about this today after reading an interesting couple articles about “Domestic” Kobe Beef (read it here) and how you can’t get Kobe Beef in the US, even though restaurants and online suppliers offer it to you all over the place. I’ve never ordered fake Kobe Beef, and I never really had any intention of doing so, but now I really never will.

Look at what motivates people or companies when they tell you things. What do they get out of the transaction they want you to make? What are they selling? What do they want from you?

People are disingenuous. Many of us are anyway, and I continue to learn that I, for one, really need to be smarter about what I take for face value. I think I’ve been extremely lucky in our 12 years of business–we have never been ripped off. Not once. And we work for new customers every week or few weeks as we finish jobs and move on to the next one. I have dealt with scumbags, of course, but nobody has ever really managed to pull one over on us (that I know of, anyway. *sigh*).

I’m thinking about this yet again in relation to the former friend of mine who stole from MisCon. It seems like every day we learn about things he has done over the past few years that never came to light, mostly because people didn’t want to disparage him or his reputation. I’m not going to go into detail, but he was fired from multiple jobs either for stealing or for Had we known about half of these things, we would have investigated MisCon’s fiances a hell of a lot sooner. This criminal wouldn’t have been able to get away with as much as he did.

More than anything, this makes me wonder what else he did to people. How far did it go? What could we have done to stop it? Who else is up to no good?

I’m not becoming jaded at all (at least I don’t think so), but I am becoming a lot more vigilant, even with good friends. No longer can I trust my instincts when it comes to things like this.

You shouldn’t either.

Nothing is Permanent

Rodin's Thinker

Nothing stays the same.

Relationships, our bodies, our minds, the world around us, you name it–everything changes.

Everybody knows this, but you know what? Just like every other aspect of our lives, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that life is a steady stream of changes. Sometimes these changes are obvious, but sometimes they creep up on us. You go about your life, doing the normal everyday things, and you get used to the idea that everything will always be the same. You will always be skinny. The corner store will always be there. Your memory will always be perfect. You will always be sad or fat or unhealthy or gorgeous or whatever.

Things seem permanent.

But they’re not.

Some of you are probably wondering where the hell I’ve been on the blog lately. Well, I’m not going to go into it in great detail just yet, but a friend of mine recently betrayed me and MisCon, the science fiction convention that I help run, so I have been otherwise occupied.

This has caused me to do a different sort of reflecting than I usually do (which has been good).

I realized I had always approached him from an arrogant position: I knew I was smarter than him. I wasn’t a loser like him. I was competent and capable, and while I knew he was in many ways a bottom feeder, I never for a moment thought he was embezzling money from us. I made the mistake of casting him in a role then assuming he would always play it. And he did, really–that’s the beauty of his scheming–he used my own assumptions against me.

I didn’t think he was capable of such a crime, and even when faced with evidence of his embezzlement, I hardly believed it. In my arrogance, my inability to really examine the situation, I didn’t bother to step back and really look at what was happening.

Suddenly you can have your life ripped up left and right by someone you trusted. Or by disease. Or age. Or a car wreck. Whatever. Live your life to its fullest and enjoy your time. You don’t have much of it.

Be Silly!


Silliness is probably a good quality to have.

If you embrace the silly, you’re taking a step toward not caring what other people think.

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In general, I’m not a very silly person (except for when my brother and I are working–we’re both pretty silly with each other). As you can see, I’m dressing Gianna up to be a goofball a la Punky Brewster circa 1985. I think her hair lends itself to goofiness, though, so maybe that’s where it started.

I dressed her in these outfits:

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I particularly love what ended up being a wrestler sort of outfit:

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I took this last shot this morning while I went outside to see what the dogs and Gianna would do. As expected, they lined up to see what I was doing outside. Clyde had been sleeping, and since he always gnaws holes his blankets, he created a nice outfit for himself. We didn’t put it over his head–he did it himself!

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He is a true clown.

So today, try to be silly at least once. Of course choose an appropriate time for it. Being silly to your boss might not be the best idea. When you’re doing this silly thing, remember that it doesn’t matter what other people think of you.

Just be happy.

Follow Your Passion

Spanish Door Knocker

Today on “CBS This Morning,” they did a segment on a veterinarian in Texas who makes world class goat cheese.

They showed how she spends all day working with her goats, tending them from dawn till dusk, whispering sweet nothings into their ears–you get it. She LOVES these goats and loves making cheese from them.

It’s her life.

After the segment, Charlie Rose made the comment that the lady was lucky to have found the secret of life–she’s pursuing something she’s passionate about. She’s made it part of her daily life, and while she works hard, she loves every minute of it.

I’d say that’s probably the secret to happiness.

Follow your passion. Pursue it. Make it part of your life.


Put Yourself In Their Shoes

Rodin's Thinker

This week has been full of conflict for someone close to me. In our discussion of how best to deal with the situation, this simple reminder keeps coming up:

Put yourself in their shoes.

When you’re having conflict with someone, it’s easy to forget to try and look at it from their perspective, especially if you’re emotions are running high and you’re all riled up.

Why is this person disagreeing with you? Consider their motivation, goals, emotional state, etc. What have they been dealing with in their own life? What do they want from you? Do they have ulterior motives? Are they emotionally unstable? Is it an ego issue?

This isn’t to say that you should just forgive someone you’re in conflict with, but you may be able to better deal with the situation if you can try to understand your “opponent.”

So the next time you find yourself worrying about something like this, stop, step away, and focus on the situation. Put yourself in their shoes. And don’t forget to examine yourself!