Enough

Imagine if you felt that what you had was…enough.

Imagine if everyone you knew and loved felt that what they had in life was…enough.

Imagine if teenagers were content with the clothes their parents/guardians bought them. Imagine if they were content with the dwelling the family could afford. Imagine if they were ok with whatever vehicles their parents/guardians drove. Imagine teenagers that didn’t compare material possessions. Wouldn’t they be healthier, happier teenagers? Teenagers who were more likely to get involved in volunteering, in their community, in social or environmental causes, in starting their own business.

Imagine neighbours not comparing houses, cars, grass, lawn ornaments. Yes, seriously, lawn ornaments. Instead imagine happy, content neighbours who actually befriend each other. Entire neighbourhoods of people who help each other out, who actually care about each other. Just imagine….

Clothes

clothes

What we Need are clothes to keep our bodies covered and warm. What we’re Told we need are stylish clothes, any old clothes just won’t do! And of Course those styles change every year. Last year’s stylish clothes just won’t do this year. They just won’t do! What we Need are clothes that do the job that clothes are supposed to do and that are acceptable for our chosen career and industry. That should be enough.

P.S. clothes are marked up like 400%. You might want to consider used or outlet stores.

Cars (this one REALLY gets me!)

The Aston Martin V12 Vanquish as seen in the film Die Another Day.

What we Need is go get from point A to point B. Since public transportation tends to suck when compared to a car… we get a car. But we’re told any old car just won’t do! (Starting to see a pattern here?) It should be shiny. Rusty spots just won’t do! Does Joe Blow have rusty spots? Noooo. You don’t want Joe Blow to have a nicer car than you…do you? (Marketers just make you feel all warm and fuzzy, don’t they?) So to compete with Joe Blow you need a clean car (Oh dear God, don’t let your car get dirty! Anything but that!!), that’s shiny (because his is), that drives fast (because his does), that has pretty rims (because his does), that…… Jeez Louise! None of that actually matters. What’s going on under the hood is all that matters. If the engine works then the car moves, end of story. A moving car is better than public transit and that should be enough.

P.S. cars depreciate the second you drive them off the lot. They are nothing but a money suck, choose your money suck wisely.

Why this one “REALLY gets me“: What Should make a car is what’s under the hood. Since that’s meaningless to most people we’re impressed by the body. This car, an Aston Martin, has a different body shape from any other brand. But it’s just a brand! It’s just the body of the car! Why does it matter that much? Because the ‘brand’ of car lets us know how much someone spent on the car and hence how much $ they have (or how in debt they are) and how we should judge them. The fact that people are impressed by anyone’s NONRENEWABLE fossil fuel vehicle is beyond me. Electric cars have been around since the 1800’s http://energy.gov/articles/history-electric-car. Oil companies made them disappear for a century but they’re BACK, thank God. VERY LITTLE has changed about cars since Henry Ford started building them on his factory line. They really haven’t. That is not even remotely impressive. PLEASE stop being impressed by vehicles.

Dwelling

House-Design-100

Having protection from the elements and heat in the winter is what we Need. What we’re told we need is Big! Pretty! Modern! Filled with expensive furniture! Because Joe Blow’s house is big, pretty, modern and filled with expensive furniture. A dwelling that protects us from the elements and that provides heat in the winter should be enough. (My foster-father bought a picnic table for our living room when we moved into an apartment. It did the job and looked kinda cool. And was much cheaper than a regular dinning table. But main point; It. Did. The. Job.) Many people are moving into tiny houses, even building the houses themselves for fairly cheap, and really enjoy the minimalist living.

Vacations

Seychelles Stunning Beach

We Need time off of work – in North America we spend ENTIRELY too much time working – to relax, recharge, get refreshed and reboot. What we’re Told to do is buy prepackaged trips to resorts in exotic locales. And then maybe go on prepackaged excursions, basically with the same people who are staying at the resort. We’re told not to experience the land we’re visiting, the people who live there (like those who service the resorts and operate the excursions) or learn about their unique ways of life, cultures, customs, beliefs or language. You know…the stuff that makes us grow as a person, that we’re Supposed to get from travelling. We’re told Nooooo it’s too dangerous. Joe Blow isn’t dumb enough to risk his life exposing himself to all the crime and violence just awaiting him if he explores on his own. You’re not that dumb either…are you? (Again, making us feel all warm and fuzzy. God bless those marketers’ hearts.) To reiterate what we Need is to relax, recharge, get refreshed and reboot. It’s up to us to determine where in the world, and How, we are able to accomplish those vacation goals. Maybe it’s inexpensive camping, backpacking or voluntourism. Figure out what mode of vacation is enough for you. And do lots of it!! One thing you can never have enough of is travel.

P.S. meeting people around the globe, being exposed to different cultures, beliefs and ways of thinking is PRICELESS. Travelling will never be a waste of money. Travel, self-development and personal learning reap the most rewards for money spent.

Education

Smiling Graduate Holding up Diploma

After all of my years of being a student (I’ve taken much more than I mention in my about page) I’ve seen that formal education  is just a very expensive hoop to jump through to get a job. There is very little that we actually learn that we can’t learn on the job, and learn much faster. The problem becomes Getting the job. Our resumes get sorted into piles and we want our resume to be sorted into the good pile. Joe Blow got accepted into (insert your opinion of a top school) and whether you have his financial resources or not you feel the need to get into a similar school. Because it’s not about the level of education you’ll get but about the prestige of having a certain school on your resume. Of being an alumni of said Institution. Because you’re Told you’re competing with all the Joe Blow’s out there. That you don’t stand a Chance if you don’t attend the right school, if you don’t get the right education. Fact: Big name schools mean big name contacts in someone’s network, that’s all. Fact: People will pay a lot of money for an MBA purely for the contacts they make. It has been found (a study I read a couple of years ago) that an MBA really only benefits someone in getting that initial post-MBA job,  it doesn’t really benefit the jobs after that. Fact: You can get just about any job you want if you put the work into making good contacts. You can sell yourself better than any resume can. You are much more than a few bullet points. Let people meet YOU before they meet your resume, that’s the secret to getting great jobs and having a great career, not going to an expensive school. Many successful, well known people are university drop-outs (Harvard, Yale, MIT, etc).

Once you determine where you want to go in life the brain between your ears can decide what school is enough, what program is enough, what length of time to stay in school is enough. If you’re not sure what you want to do then you’re better off working and making money and gaining experience (the biggest hurdle to finding work) and skill, than spending money and not necessarily gaining any more insight. In many professions there are short certifications and workshops that are considered equivalent to courses offered at college and university, you’ll be able to learn what you need when you need it.

Once working many people get hired or promoted, based on their individual abilities, into roles that may have nothing to do with their education. People can go Very far based on Themselves, not based on where they went to school or what education they have. It’s all about getting your foot in the door, making a name for yourself and making contacts. The enough route will give you more time for this and less time wasted on chasing unnecessary paper. I actually created a Facebook page years ago due to classmates not knowing good job search tactics (the co-op department will teach you just enough to keep themselves in a job): https://www.facebook.com/JobSearchSkills/

Money

money

This one is the kicker. How much someone makes is no indication of how rich they are or how well they manage their own funds. If you compete with the Joe Blows you’ll never save enough. If you work too hard and too long to make partner, CEO or to get that corner office because Joe Blow has a corner office then you’ll likely lose your health. And then lose all your money trying to get your health back. Money is the absolute WORST enough. Having enough money actually has nothing to do with money. Money is a tool. Money is used to buy goods and services. We are taught we need more goods and services to be happy. We taught we can’t possibly be happy with what we have now, with where we are in life now. Joe Blow has more. Joe Blow gets more. And don’t we want to be more like Joe Blow?

Joe Blow

No! Here’s the thing about Joe Blow. Poor old Joe has serious health issues. His company isn’t doing so well. His job is unsteady. His marriage is rocky. His kids hate him. His family hates him. Even the dog hates him. He’s stressed. His hair is falling out. He’s growing pudgy from poor health, poor diet and all the stress. He’s in so much debt he’s one missed payment away from needing to declare bankruptcy. Again.

You do NOT want to be like Joe Blow.

We don’t need the goods and services we think we do. We don’t need anywhere as much as we think we do. (And ladies, we don’t need as much in our ever growing purses as we think we do.) There are a lot of things we can do ourselves. And a lot of things we can do without. What we have, right now, IS enough. What we make, right now, IS enough. What we drive IS enough (Though I don’t even drive, its public transit for me, which is enough), what we wear IS enough (Except for me, I walk the fashion faux-pas fine line. I need to up my game. So exception for me.), where we live IS enough (Though renting a room….I’d like to up that game too. So exception for everyone renting a room.)

There’s a big difference between the mindset of wanting more and the mindset of feeling that something is enough…for now. There’s still the drive for improvement, for advancement, but there’s also the appreciation for what is now, for what you have now. Appreciation is a magical thing. Suddenly it will seem like you have more money and that what money you have goes further. You will be able to do more with the money that you do have. Up until this line in this post the spotlight has been on the things that money can buy us, the things that money represents to us. That is how we’re taught to see the world. But once appreciation comes into the mix we add a much bigger element into our lives; the universe. Money is Nothing. It’s words and designs printed on paper (plastic in Canada) that’s a promissory note denoted a value, to be used as tender. You can use a $5 promissory note to buy something from someone, or you can do some work for that person in exchange for that same item; a barter. Your time, your work, your skill can also be used as ‘tender’. Money is just a tool. So is your time, your ability to work, and your skill set. You can also trade the things that you don’t really need for the things that you really want. Bartering takes the power away from money and lets you see all the things you can do without it.

We never really want money anyway, we want all the things we can Do with money. Money isn’t the only way.

Enough

You clothes, car and dwelling are a ball and chain. They cost time and money, taking away resources from other areas of your life. Right now stop, clear your head and imagine you’re on your death bed. Your life is done. Over. You’re looking back. What do you want to be remembered for? What do you want to have accomplished? What experiences do you want to have had? What influence do you want to have had on others? What do you want to be known and remembered for?

From this moment on base all of your decisions on those ‘What’s. Money will never be the cause of those what’s, nor the home you lived in, the car you drove or the clothes you wore. The naked body underneath; what’s in your heart, what’s in your head, that’s what will drive and deliver your ‘What’s. At all times make the best with what you have and always appreciate What you have. The universe will smile upon you, and bestow more upon you. And everyone likes a happy, appreciative person so your tribe of acquaintances, friends and connections will grow. Also your brain will become more creative in finding solutions to your problems, with the resources available to you.

Enough can get you very, very far.

Being-happy-doesn’t-mean-you-have-it-all-it-means-being-thankful-to-the-lord-for-all-you-have.

If ‘Lord’ offends just read as “It means being thankful for all you have.”

 

 

 

 

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Success

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I’d like to write not about the North American view of success, usually rooted in money, but rather in what I perceive to be True success – within ourselves.

Even though my blogs will All be motivation-based their immediate relationship to the topic of motivation may seem a little blurred but I feel that as 3-dimensional people our lives aren’t black and white and Many things touch us. Being positive and motivated, and helping others find this in themselves, isn’t independent of life – it IS life. In my last blog about bullying I showed how I feel motivation and positivity will solve the problem. The headlining of the gun control issue after that horrible massacre of young children at Christmas baffled, saddened and frustrated me. The problem is Not gun availability but rather what happened to make that troubled soul do such a horrendous thing in the first place. A country of so many people and many of the rulers and law-makers don’t seem to care about any of them. Prevention works better than cure! We need to invest in People, not corporations! Prohibition of Anything fails – alcohol, drugs, guns.  “Taboo” is a very good movie that Morgan Freeman narrated, with very valid points on this subject.
Ozzy Osbourne said “If people don’t kill, if guns kill, then why do we send people to war? Why don’t we just send the guns?” Well said Ozzy, well said!!

One of the best tools for development and growth is to Not care what others think. It’s a hard habit to break but well worth it! My ‘nomadic’ upbringing has really helped in this regard; I didn’t really Have anyone to try to impress – not family and not anyone at school since I was always the new kid. When you’re not distracted by this you make decisions that are best for You. You don’t spend money you don’t have trying to impress. You don’t judge yourself through someone else’s eyes.

Part of my personal success has been this very long, convoluted journey of entry level jobs and a mish-mash of post-secondary education-dabbling, trying to find my happiness in others’ viewpoint of how to live or what I should be doing. I have Finally seen the light as to the latter part; my life is for Me! Only I will be living it so I may as well make sure I enjoy it.

Last semester I made some decisions that have given me leaps and bounds towards my personal success. My game plan had been to complete the 2nd year of my Automation and Robotics diploma and the 3rd year of my Mechanical Engineering Design diploma by this summer. To do this I was enrolled in 8 engineering-heavy courses. This course load Would have been doable but at the beginning of the semester I was still working 30 hours every weekend and I also decided to volunteer for a couple of ongoing things and for any school function. I also started a school club and created a Facebook page under the club name but it had a very different mandate than the club – it took a Lot of time. It’s all a blur – like the movie Rushmore. I Do remember being constantly sleep deprived and falling asleep at my desk every single night.

Not surprising it all blew up in my face. I never had time to study or do homework, I actually forgot about tests and I didn’t study for my exams (I was putting all of my time into the club and the Facebook page). And you know what? I wouldn’t change last semester for the world!! I learned SO much about myself! I enjoy putting on events. I love volunteering. I love working with children. I love that I fought my shyness and many people now see me as “so outgoing”, “friendly” and “bubbly”. Only a few short months ago I was preparing myself for a career and life that wasn’t going to make me happy. I was going to force my square self into a round hole. Now I’m on a VERY different path. I’m exploring my motivational side, event planning, and volunteering as a literacy tutor (I have always wanted to do this) . I will start a self-esteem and confidence-building website for youth, keep my school club and the Facebook page alive, and create a Facebook page geared towards employment/job searching/networking for college students. I will also start a support group for birth parents. The thought of doing any of this doesn’t seem like work, I’m Very excited and happy about my future. I’ve never felt this way before.

2012-03-14-09.03

Life is a journey, not a destination. When you decide to go after an ambition or goal you don’t have to wait for it to be realized to become happy, happiness is Part of the journey! Isn’t that great?? Now that I have finally seen the path for my life I have so much energy, excitement and passion! I am actively participating in the direction of my life and I feel great! Up until this point I was just a leaf floating in the wind, completely at its mercy, going wherever it blew me. Now I’m like a bird, steering and directing myself.

One thing I did right all these years was to not worry too much about the money aspect of my life (materialism) and just work on my own skills and abilities instead. I’ve always been proud of what I now call my success; who I truly am. If you were suddenly beamed elsewhere in the world how hard would it be to get to the point where you are now, with career, home, etc? To me That is success. That is what I have put all of my effort into building. I could lose every single physical thing I own and not have it change who or what I am. Materialism has always been my last priority, I was more concerned with acquiring the skills that could help me get anything I need or want. I don’t ‘hope’ or ‘wish’ that life gets better for me, I Expect it. Hoping and wishing keeps it in the ‘belief’ category – pie in the sky. Leave the pie for dessert :)

Being happy is a great thing! I’m naturally a night person and even though I wouldn’t call myself a morning person I Do now wake up with a smile on my face :) I have pep in my step, I have purpose, drive and ambition! Bob Proctor said that your goals should be so big that they scare you. They do indeed! I have Such massive goals, dreams and expectations. A beautiful thing is that I won’t have to do Any of this alone! No one successfully does anything alone, it doesn’t work that way. None of us lives in a bubble. The help I’ll need along the way will be sent to me, I know this to be true. I don’t hope or wish, I know. Once we see and believe ourselves to be a ‘success’ others will see and believe also.

Bullying

SOCIAL Bullying 1

I decided a few months ago that one of my life purposes was going to be to help in the fight against bullying, or bullycide. I spent half of my life in foster homes, and as a child was always the recipient of bullying. At least in those days it stayed at school since there was no internet, social media or texting. I have been trying to decide how this epidemic can be tackled, since the worst affected are public-school age youth. The answer seems to be in the very place it originates, in the schools.

Ellen DeGeneres stated that the education system needs to teach empathy. I agree wholeheartedly with this.

Providing support for those suffering through bullying seems to be the main platform for this issue. I feel this is putting the cart ahead of the horse. I believe we need to concentrate on tackling the bullying and heading off this problem at the source.

Today’s youth are bombarded with way more advertising and marketing than any other generation and the prime aim of marketing seems to be to make people feel they have some shortcoming that only so-and-so’s product can solve. The numbers of preteens, both male and female, concerned and unhappy with their physical appearance is both shocking and very sad. Even before they hit high school many young people have eating disorders. For my generation the death of Karen Carpenter was the shocking result of once being called fat by a heartless music reviewer. She took it to heart and this led to an eating disorder that eroded her health which eventually killed her. How many of these young people have an early death ahead of them just because of Advertising?? Or because they didn’t have effective role models or mentors who believed in them and built up their self esteem? Some designers are using real size models in their fashion shows. Some advertisers are using realistic models in their print ads and magazines. This is an absolutely Wonderful proactive action. And since the music industry has become so much about looks musicians are taking it upon themselves to be in the best shape of their lives. This can also be an inspiration for young listeners, since physical activity makes you feel good, not just look good. Wii bringing physical activity to video games was a great move. There are even a children’s show where physical activity is part of the show; the kids moving around is supposed to keep the main character energized.

The Psychology of It All

Psychology has proven that a certain percent of people repeat what they know; whatever unhealthy abuse they grew up with/currently experience at home. A certain percent of young people who bully are receiving some kind of abuse or neglect at home. Any child who bullies or acts out is telling you something; either there’s an issue at home or an issue with the individual. Schools are Such an important place and teaching is Such an important job; in my view every individual who works in such a place has taken on a Huge responsibility to help direct and protect our most important resource; the future. The reality is that some parents just can’t or aren’t able to do the job of parenting at home and this falls to our teachers as well.

I’d like to counter Ellen DeGeneres’s empathy in schools idea with self-esteem and confidence-building. This would help both the bully and the bully-ee. The person acting out could be too afraid to tell a teacher about their own issues, or just doesn’t know how to ask for help and is taking their anger out on an easy target. I TRULY believe that integrating self-esteem and confidence-building into education would have a HUGE impact on eradicating bullying. I’m still figuring out what format would be most effective and least contested by current-day school boards. School visits to talk about confidence and self-esteem seem the easiest option at this point. The only drawback is that positive vibes die out quickly if not reinforced. I will also shortly also act on my idea from years ago to make a website geared towards youth to help instill self-esteem and confidence in them.

Since youth aren’t the only ones with self-esteem and confidence issues hopefully this is the start of a whole new movement, a whole new era,  where we start putting our fellow humans ahead of materialism, self-indulgence and appeasing our egos. Since reaching adults is much harder than reaching children, hopefully creating change in our youth will create change in adults; trickle-up theory?

My Anti-Motivational Rant

While looking for a picture for this post I saw some Very gruesome images: nooses, bruised, battered and bloodied faces, punches about to be thrown and kicks about to be disbursed. While writing this I was ignoring just how violent young people can be. Whenever an adult would consider an action to be assault I strongly feel that we need to treat young with the same seriousness. Even into late teens some are causing emergency room visits or even hospitalization without being punished in any way whatsoever. If they’re allowed to drive at 16, then why are they not considered to be responsible for their actions when assaulting another? I’m of the generation where belts and wooden spoons weren’t just to hold up pants or kitchen utensils. We survived those punishments. Society is now so freaking lax with any punishment for deserving behaviour, that a certain number of our young people have little or no respect for authority, their elders, themselves, or each other. The only solution I see for aggressive physical behaviour is legal action and self-esteem and empathy work while incarcerated (a group home or whatever setting the judge chooses). And I think ALL bullying incidents should result in required community service. Any infraction by anyone should result in community service. Oh, just thought of a great slogan: “If you’re going to act like an ass, you’re going to get the work of an ass.” (as in donkey) Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? ;)

Rant Done. Thank You

If you want to be part of this movement there are many ways, basically all under volunteering; Big Sisters/Big Brothers, volunteer at your local recreation center, volunteer for a homework tutor organization or the library – in Toronto many branches have homework tutor programs. Every city should have it’s own volunteer website. Toronto’s big ones are (http://www.volunteertoronto.ca) and (https://charityvillage.com/directories/volunteers/find-volunteer-listings.aspx) Charity Village is Canada wide. You’ll be surprised at all the places that use volunteers and have programs you aren’t aware of. YMCA has a lot going on that I didn’t know about until I perused their site one day. There’s a lot you can do in your own back yard as well. Perhaps there’s a single mother in your area or building who could really use some babysitting help. Or maybe just play basketball with the local kids, any exposure to another role model is a great thing for young people. I watched the movie ‘Unconditional’ about Papa Joe (Joe Bradford) who lives in Nashville. He has been a father figure to many fatherless children in his neighbourhood and also distributes food to needy families. We all have the ability to be a Papa Joe.

I wholeheartedly support volunteering. When young people partake in volunteering it helps them see a bigger picture of the world, gives them responsibility and confidence and also lets them see that some people aren’t as well off as they are. This pretty well goes for adults too. And there is no feeling comparable to helping others and giving freely of your own time. The appreciation you get back is very rewarding. To me this is a requirement to a balanced life. Keep yourself happy and ‘the small stuff’ will just disappear :)