Positive thinking is not foolish

I piss people off all the time. I wrestled with it for quite some time trying to change things about me so that others would not be put off in some strange way by me. I explored the “advice” I would give angle. I explore the way I “communicated.” I have done a lot of introspection on why is it that I end up pissing people off in ways that seem mysterious to me. I have started to conclude that it has to do with me being a happy person.

The first thing people do when they encounter my positive attitude is to dismiss it as foolish. People think that someone that is striving to be happy all the time is more than likely faking it. They sometimes also assume that I really have not had any struggles in life to have a positive outlook. My favorite is to call it luck.

I do feel lucky because there is no other word to describe some of the opportunities that have crossed my path. That said I did take plenty leaps of faith and have failed my fair share. Probably more than my fair share… but I don’t like to keep score, my brain does.

The cliche would be to say that I get to be positive because of hard work. It does require a fair share of that, trust me. One of my biggest struggle has been fitness for quite some time, I have tried many things in the past and I am excellent at justifying being lazy when I know I should be active. It is hard to stay positive about those things as well. Over time I have made changes though, little changes, changes that stick. Those make me happy. Those move me forward. Those keep me smiling. And they are not all about staying fit.

So back to pissing people off. Someone last night in one of my social groups said something that makes a lot of sense. Overall I am not the nicest person around, but I do surround myself with nice people. The angry and mischievous me does like to hang out with people that are mellow and happy. That seems to always rub people the wrong way because in their heads I am just lucky to have what I have (friends, career, family, etc).

Public speaking is terrifying to me for example, most people think I am a “natural” at it. In small groups, sure I don’t have a problem starting conversations. A big room though it is still something that gives me pause. I do it, I work at it, I try to get better. I have been part of toast masters and loved my speech class in college. I am better now at it because I just did it. That is just one example of the many things that people think come easy to me, but I got to them through just being stubborn and saying I will do it.

I never thought of pissing people off as a good thing. I never saw it as a measurement of success in any level. It seems that in this competitive society it is just the nature of the beast. The more you accomplish the more people are going to begrudge your success. I do enjoy my accomplishments, they make me happy. I cherish the relationships I have, but it does not mean that I have not had plenty of failed ones. The key is not to be good at anything from the start, the key is to keep trying until you get good at it. So don’t get pissed at someone for enjoying their life and being positive, write your own story.

Weekend Recap Rant

Even though I had an amazing weekend with my family I am pretty sad right now. Elliot Roger made a massacre again the leading headline. Wikipedia already has a page for it, 2014 Isla Vista killings. The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, I thought would be the last straw for many… I guess I was wrong.

This makes me sad for many reasons, and I am writing this because I cannot seem to get it out of my head. So here are some of my thoughts.

Asperger’s was not the cause, it was only a contributing factor.
Could gun control or laws better prevent this? or do we need to get more serious about mental health?
Where bulling and isolation also contributing factors?

When Sandy hook happened I thought that the answer was square on mental health. I do not think that access to guns is the answer, while I do think that further scrutiny on who buys guns is required I don’t think it will be the end all when it comes to these types of crimes. People that “lose it” will find another way to cause harm in my opinion.

The problem we have here is an individual that got obsessed with a thought. He thought sex was owed to him. He thought he was entitled. And while we could sit here and argue about how we live in a patriarchal society and rape culture is rampant, I don’t think that is the answer. That individual got stock in a thought, the thought he deserved something and when he did not get it he lashed out at the people he held responsible. Careful though… he also blamed humanity… in a way, he thinks we were all at fault for his pain.

I don’t understand Asperger’s completely. What I do know is that while most people can get over a bad thought, someone with that condition can become consumed by it. I think the evidence is pretty clear. I do hold some anger towards the movements out there that radicalize people.

I’ll put it in another context. More than once I have had lunch with a group that has included a woman that has recently ended a relationship. The moment the vitriol starts spewing about not just the person that was a jerk to them (perceived or not) but against all men! I have a problem with that person from then on. Generalizations are fine, we all use them to communicate and convey ideas. I think the issue lies when we blame an entire group of people (gender, religion, color, etc) for our problems. Once someone starts thinking in those terms they lose sight of the real issue they were dealing with.

I did not know the individual but lets say a blond girl did turn him down, lets say she even ridiculed him in front of others. I am sure we have all seen that at some point in our lives. The difference is most of us get over it and try again… but there are some out there that don’t.

From what I know of this case he did have help available to him. I wish I knew the answer to this problem. Did we have a systematic failure where law enforcement should have done something about it? Could they have prevented it?

This hits home because I have personally been the victim of this type of violence in the past. Nobody died that day, but my grandpa did have a heart attack and I got to see what a bullet does to flesh when one of my family members was actually hit by a bullet… I was not even 12 at the time. I don’t hate guns, some day I will write about that day in detail. In the end it was the same story, someone becomes obsessed with a thought enough to act on it.

Chef (****)

I have always been somewhat of a Jon Favreau fan, so when I heard that he was going to be starting on a movie he wrote I was pretty intrigued. The movie seemed to have been promoted pretty well the last couple of weeks because it stayed in my radar. I heard an interview and a review on the radio. I knew from listening that it was a movie that I could not go hungry to because it was going to be a foodie porn movie for sure.

Chef’s cast was cast was excellent. Jon Favreau as “El Jefe” or the boss of the kitchen was very believable Chef Carl Casper. He created art when he was doing the cooking and highlighted the love that goes into crafting a good meal with some soul. John Leguizamo was the comedy relief as Martin, he had a couple of lines that will make you truly laugh without making the movie into a silly road trip movie. The kid in the movie was amazing, for such a young actor Emjay Anthony as Percy truly captured what it is to be part of a broken family and also let us see how kids not understand the digital world a little more than their parents. The female characters could have been a little stronger, but both Scarlett Johansson as Molly and Sofía Vergara as Inez did a great job playing roles a little bit different than what they do in most movie; still not different enough to be remarkable but it worked.

The movie also had two villains, Dustin Hoffman as Riva the clueless restaurateur and Oliver Platt as Ramsey Michel food critic and wordsmith that takes people apart with his reviews. Even Robert Downey Jr. as a small cameo brought laughter to the movie.

The movie is about great food and it also has some great music. I think it is a foodies’ must see this summer. One thing I found interesting is its take head on the topic of internet reviews. It is not very often that you get to face your critic and let him know how you feel. That part was interesting to watch. While it was a movie about food, it was also about social media in many ways. It is worth the time to watch it on the big screen. Do not go hungry into that movie if you are hungry or you will spend the rest of the day trying to find your nearest Cuban restaurant.

Culture of Interaction

I have not talked about culture in quite some time. It used to be one of the most interesting subjects to me, in some ways it still is, but being trapped in the corporate machine for what it seems like an eternity really put culture in the back seat. Recently the whole topic has been at the very front and center of my life. A lot has changed in my life in the past couple of years and even though it has nothing to do with identity, I have become very aware of how important culture is to me. Not just my culture, but just culture in general. I read this article () about business today but it resonated with me far beyond that, in particular this part.

Why is culture so important to a business? Here is a simple way to frame it. The stronger the culture, the less corporate process a company needs. When the culture is strong, you can trust everyone to do the right thing. People can be independent and autonomous. They can be entrepreneurial. And if we have a company that is entrepreneurial in spirit, we will be able to take our next “(wo)man on the moon” leap. Ever notice how families or tribes don’t require much process? That is because there is such a strong trust and culture that it supersedes any process. In organizations (or even in a society) where culture is weak, you need an abundance of heavy, precise rules and processes.

The topic of culture, not framed in this context or even by this word has been discussed by my group of friends a lot recently. I am very close to my family, in particular to my Mom and sister, we talk often, they are aware of what steps I am taking in life. I often bounce ideas off them just to get their reaction. That is part of my culture. They don’t make decisions for me, in fact I have often gone the complete opposite way of what they think I should do, however it is a great part of how I live my life. We did not need any process created, it just grew from mutual trust and family. When I visit them or they visit me, there is not a ton of preparation or discussion about it; we all trust each other to take care of the details. Not all families are like this, not all cultures are like this either.

America struggles to find an identity at times and with it its culture. I have talked about this before, but the part that I feel is lacking is trust. When you don’t even trust your own family and friends it is pretty hard to have interactions with them. Tons of protocol and process has to be build around something that should be natural and organic in the interactions you have with them. The more I become familiar with people here in the US I am amazed by the structures that have to be built in relationships and the lack of fluidity in interactions. Nobody shows up at your house unannounced just to “visit” probably being the best example.

I like being spontaneous, picking up the phone and saying hey you want to catch a movie or dinner tonight? That can send some people into almost an anxiety attack because they are used to planning things not just days but weeks in advance. So what do you think, does your family or group of friends have a culture that makes interactions easier? or are there tons of protocols and rules that you follow on your interactions with them?

What happened to Rock?

I guess the question could even be broader than that and ask what happened to music in general. Maybe I am getting old now that I am closer to 40 than 30. I just can’t seem to find good rock anymore. The most exciting thing that has happened recently is Corey Taylor rendition of Rainbow in the dark. How sad is that? No new music has really made me go, wow this is good rock. When J-pop seems to have better guitar than actual rock I think we are either getting old or everything that is produced now is crap.

I am not a fan of the Foo Fighters. The more I get to know Dave Grohl the more I like him, but I still find their sound just ok. Not something that I can listen to over and over like I did with Guns and Roses, Velvet Revolver, The Offspring and Metallica(before Living in Michigan and Mandatory Metallica killed that for me.) Bands like Aerosmith simply don’t exist anymore. Don’t get me wrong I enjoy Disturbed and can listen to some of the pop rock and enjoy it, but it does not evoke emotion the way the rock of my youth used to.

I used to think it was simply age, but it seems that even kids today don’t have a Nirvana.

So is anyone out there listening to something that I should listen to? Or is the simple answer that rock is just dead?

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