Gratitude: Social Currency

It feels great to get a pat on the back. Everyone needs a little appreciation here and there. Dish it out to others as much as you can. Genuinely thank someone for making your life better. If you can’t find an honest way he or she makes your life better, identify a characteristic you admire and point it out as a good thing. It makes a huge difference and may win you a new friend. Express enough genuine gratitude, and you may find yourself surrounded in friends.

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Life Echoes

I sit beside this exact fire once every few years with old friends – most of whom I had not seen since the fire before it. In moments like these, everyone can catch up, let go and share in timeless togetherness again. As if the last fire occurred in the not so distant past, conversations and idiosyncrasies flashback in ways that challenge the passing of time. Reunions often cathartically reorient your core and priorities. You remember who you were, remember who your friends were and remind each other. Save for a few nostalgic campfire stories, the echo of your past happens subliminally. It feels like reverberation in your memory – like a moment worth reliving. Reunions enrich the soul. Without losing yourself to total nostalgia, I recommend assembling them as often as you can.

Scratch the Productivity Itch

All too often I find it difficult to thoroughly engage in entertainment, conversation or recreation if I jump in having left active tasks incomplete. You cannot always push plans back to make room for completing the task, but it can make a big difference in helping you enjoy yourself if you find extra time to get the job done. Better in most scenarios to show up late and fully connect with the moment than stick to the calendar with a head full of unsolved problems. Fight the habit of tardiness and never accept it as a personal trend, but forgive yourself if it means victory, understanding on the part of the people you keep waiting, and an untarnished engagement. After all, your original plans can double as a celebration if you complete the task at hand. Get it done and go have a good time.

The Collateral Damage of Making A Difference

The people who make a difference in this world aim to break rules. At whatever cost, they have something to prove. Sometimes true disruption means breaking hearts and losing friends. It’s a tough game to play and takes a thick skin. That said, you cannot change the world alone. It’s imperative to treat people well – be polite, caring and respectful. Never set out to hurt people. Make as many friends as you can. Earn as much respect as you can. Love everyone. Do not intend to break people. But you should intend to break systems. And people get attached to systems. So be prepared for collateral casualties.

The single worst thing you could do? Nothing. If you’re afraid to change the world because it means some people may not like you, you fail to understand what “changing the world” really means. I meet a lot of people who claim they want to make a difference. Very few of them have the balls to lose friends in the process. Do you?

Side By Side

As much as it pains me to quote a Quentin Tarantino film on my blog, awkward silences always make me think of Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction: “Why do we feel it’s necessary to yak about bullshit in order to be comfortable?” You don’t need to flap your gums all the time. There are other ways to communicate and experience relationships. Sometimes it’s just nice to sit there with someone. Enjoy the company. Feel the breeze. Live life – and remember you’re living it together. I will never bash good conversation. But some of the best moments in life go unspoken.

The Best Kind of Roommate

…is one you can talk to. I find little more therapeutic than coming home to a good conversation. Party friends, work friends and game buddies often make lousy roommates. Find someone with whom you can vent or philosophize. Same applies to the person you marry. Sex only lasts so long – make sure you’re with someone you’ll still be relieved to see and talk to everyday when you’re old and broken.

Excuses Are Better Than Nothing

Things don’t always work out. We all get it. No big deal. But if you’re going to flake, at least give the courtesy of an explanation. Most of the time, good excuses can cure ill will. A strong explanation may be the only thing that can win you a second chance. Even dishonest excuses are better than nothing. Any effort to empathize with the inconvenience or disappointment you impose is better than no effort at all.

If you flake all the time, excuses run their course. Nothing can help you then.