Someone said this to me a few months ago and I honestly think it’s the best advice I ever got. Honestly, this is probably the best advice I’ll ever give you too.
It’s so easy to get caught up in other people’s drama. It’s almost like an interactive reality TV show. That’s right, you’re not just watching the drama unfold in front of you, you can become an active participant and actually feel the drama! What better way to waste your time and emotional energy than to get caught up in someone elses problems?
What do the following examples all have in common?
- A good friend of mine keeps asking me how she can get a six-pack. I keep telling her exactly what she needs to do. She comes back every month, frustrated that she hasn’t made any progress. I asked if she tried what I suggested. Nope.
- My mom keeps asking me how to market her art online. I keep giving her suggestions. She comes back every few months, frustrated that she hasn’t made any progress online. I ask her if she’s tried any of my suggestions. Nope. (As an aside, check out her art – it’s amazing! And feel free to share your suggestions.)
- A friend of mine is in a destructive relationship. He’s gotten her pregnant, they get in crazy fights, and you just never know when they’re going to explode. He keeps coming to me with his problems and I keep getting involved.
- Some days I get nothing done. I wake up, check my email and proceed to do that all day long. It’s amazing how many emails I get every day. Staying on top of them is a full time job. I could do it forever, and get absolutely nothing done.
All of the above examples are about dealing with other people’s shit. Sometimes dealing with other people’s shit can seem really insignificant, like giving the same advice to someone that just doesn’t listen or dealing with someone who consistently over-promises and under delivers. Sometimes it’s an all out emotional roller coaster, like dealing with a friend who’s in a chronically abusive relationship. Often the more intensely negative a person’s problem is, the more insidious its pull on you is.
Other people’s shit is all around. And often it’ll stop you from doing what you really want to do. There’s always a party, a BBQ, a birthday, an event, a task, a favor, a friend, or a situation that’ll keep you from being focused on accomplishing what you want to do. Even worse, other people’s drama will drain your energy and leave you feeling exhausted. You could spend your whole life catering to someone elses schedule. If you don’t proactively protect your time and energy, it will find ways to get consumed.
It happens to me all the time and I’m guessing it happens to you pretty often too. I’ve recently developed a few simple techniques that help me better manage my energy. I thought I’d share them with you:
- Be aware – know when you’re dealing with other people’s shit and make a conscious decision about whether or not you’re going to deal with it.
- Don’t be afraid to withdraw – Excuse yourself politely and then avoid getting involved again until the situation has died down. One of my best friends, Julie, has mastered the art of FOPS. Every time we get into a heated argument about something, she says “ok, that’s fine” and excuses herself from the conversation. Yes, it’s frustrating, but it works really well.
- Conserve your energy – If you feel yourself getting frustrated, that’s a red flag. Step back and ask yourself why you’re getting frustrated. More often than not, it’s because you’re dealing with someone else’s shit. Then go back to step 2.
- Protect your time – Ask yourself what you want to accomplish each day. Then ask yourself if constantly checking your email, answering phone calls, and dealing with other people’s issues will help you get your goals accomplished.
- Don’t feel guilty – Above all, never feel guilty for not dealing with someone else’s shit. You’ve got plenty of your own to deal with. Do other people a favor and don’t get them involved in your drama either. Remember, fuck other people’s shit!
[ photo: flickr / dougbeckers ]
Here’s one of my favorite recipes that can be made in well under 30 minutes. A lot of people aren’t too familiar with quinoa. It’s an ancient South American pseudo grain. It looks like a grain but is actually more closely related to leafy plants like beets and spinach. The Incas revered it as the “mother grain” for it’s highly nutritious nature. It’s very healthy for you, high in fiber and protein, and can be found in stores like Whole Foods.
Quinoa Mediterranean Delight
1 cup quinoa
1 cup canned sweet corn
1 cup chopped black olives
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 table spoon olive oil
1 table spoon ground pepper
1 table spoon ground salt
Combine 1 cup quinoa with 2 cups of cold water in pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover. Simmer until most of the water is evaporated – about 15 minutes.
Combine the quinoa, corn, black olives, feta cheese, olive oil, salt, and pepper in a glass bowl and mix everything together with your hands. Be sure to really squish the feta with the grain to give it a particularly tasty texture. Eat it warm or cold. This makes about 5 servings. Enjoy!
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” – Confucius
- Facebook has 300 million members today. Mark Zuckerberg started it from his dorm room as a simple website for Harvard students to be able to see each other.
- Apple has a market cap north of $150 billion. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak started out by tinkering with hardware in their garage in the 70s.
- Nike is one of the biggest athletic equipment manufactures in the US. Phil Knight, founder of Nike, started selling Japanese shoes out of the back of his car at a running track.
- Walmart is the biggest retailer in the world. Sam Walton started his first discount store with $25,000 in Arkansas.
- McDonalds is the world’s largest hamburger chain. Ray Kroc started out selling milkshake machines to restaurants.
- John Paul Mitchell Systems sells $800 million worth of hair products each year. John Paul DeJoria and Paul Mitchell started as hairdressers with $750 and a vision to create high quality hair care products.
Persistence and consistency are the keys to success. Look at the things you’re good at. Why are you good at them? How much time have you spent doing the things you’re best at? Think about that the next time you get frustrated because you suck at something. It takes time to get good at new activities. In “The Outliers,” Malcom Gladwell argues that it takes 10,000 hours to truly master a new skill. But all those hours start with the first hour. The first intention. That first moment when “someday” becomes today.
I had a moment like that when I ran my first marathon. I had always put running a marathon into my someday bucket list. I started training for my first marathon with only 6 weeks to go. I barely finished my first 3 mile training run on November 2nd, 2007. For the next 6 weeks I trained every other day pushing myself to run longer and longer distances. I ran the whole Honolulu Marathon on December 9th, 2007 in 4 hours and 37 minutes.
There were lots of times when I didn’t think I could make it. Most of the time I thought I was crazy for even trying to prepare for a marathon in such a short time. I was. But that was just a self imposed mental limitation. When you want something bad enough, there’s always a way. Whether it’s weight loss, a new activity, or pursuing a career in something you’re passionate about – there’s always a way. And it always starts with the first step.
Someday is that day in the distant future when you’ll do all those things you really want to do.
Why? Because you’d rather spend most of your time doing things you don’t really care about.
Someday is easy. It’s always there and there are an unlimited number of things you can do someday. It feels good to talk about all the awesome things you’ll do someday. Someday you’ll leave your job to do what you really want to do. Someday you’ll be with a person you really want to be with. Someday you’ll start working out and get fit. Someday you’ll go to that awesome place you always wanted to visit. Man, there’s a lot of shit you can do someday.
And the beautiful thing is that someday is never today. Never. Ever. Today. As long as you live, someday will never be today. And don’t fool yourself. It won’t be tomorrow either. Someday is like storage. You put things in storage that you think you’ll need someday. Four years later you realize they’ve been boxed up this whole time and you haven’t missed them at all. Someday is like storage for things you think you want to do but don’t have the courage to do right now.
Wake up. You might die tomorrow. If you did would you be happy doing what you’re doing right now?
Time is flying by. By the time you read this, it’s already a memory. Tomorrow becomes yesterday, and each day your someday list grows bigger and bigger. Don’t let someday become an attic for your dreams.
I’ve often wondered what the big deal about organic food was. Most people are either religious about organic food or they don’t know enough to have an educated opinion. I fall in the latter category. I’ve always found it frustrating that I consider myself an above average healthy person yet I feel completely uninformed when it comes to the organic food debate. I decided to do some research and share what I found.
There are a number of angles to consider in the organic debate from environmental impact to animal cruelty to nutritional value to food toxicity. What I found was that regardless of what position you take on the ethical or environmental issues, conventional methods of farming turn your body into a chemistry lab.
Continue reading What everyone should know about organic food