Information SuperJunkie

This site is about me and everything in between

100 Happy Days

I like to think of myself as an overall positive person. Sure, I hate most people, and sure I find most people to lack any sort of intelligence or common sense to navigate this world effectively and properly.

However, I am all for helping those in need, regardless of their circumstance (or my level of frustration), because you should help people when you can. Even the littlest of action can cause a massive ripple in someone’s day, week, month or even their life.

And we should try to do those things with everyone we come in contact on this beautiful, pale blue dot we call Home.

So, interestingly enough, I was proposed with a challenge from my girlfriend.

“Let’s do the 100 Happy Day challenge! And let’s do 100 consecutive days of physical activity.”

A negotiation process ensued. Contracts were signed to avoid litigation in the future. However, we came to a conclusion, being mindful, appreciative and loving all the time is an insanely difficult task. We get caught up in our day-to-day. We get made at traffic. We worry about money. We yell at the TV or get upset at family.

What we miss is the amazing sunset view from the car. We forget about all the food we have, because we do have money. We forget real, honest conversations don’t come from The Real Housewives. And we forget some of the most amazing people in our lives have been there since day one.

So, this challenge is to not forget the day-to-day activities. But take time to look around and find something beautiful in this world. It isn’t a difficult task to take. I am on day 5 of this challenge. Only 95 more days to go. The exercise component doesn’t concern me too much, as part of the agreement is sometimes “activity” constitutes a long walk through the neighborhood, which is relaxing and coincides with the idea of this challenge.

I am going to try and write more about the days too, as part of the challenge. Below are some of the images from these first five days. I am taking pictures every day of something I find to make to make me happy in this life. I am hoping I don’t miss a day during this whole thing, but we shall see how we do. Cheers everyone.

Shaking Up a Ritual

We all have rituals we follow. From which shoe we put on first to the route we take to work.

It is difficult to shake up a routine, ritual or habit for that matter. Yes, I comprehend these words have different definitions and that even ritual may not best fit into this category in its standard definition.

In previous generations, those that went to church, woke up at 5 a.m. every day, worked until 5 p.m. then came home to a house taken care of by the wife, who also worked all day keeping the home in order, ritual was engrained in them as much as their DNA was.

Now, move forward a couple of generations, and you have people who wake up at noon to work the evening shift of a bar, then the next day they have to wake up early to work the day shift.

Being on time is a thing of the past in some professions. Ritual doesn’t have an influence on this generation, seemingly as much as it did for generations previously.

This could be because of pervasive concepts such as a lack of religion, an influx of individuality and an increased idea of “whatever happens, happens.”

Having rituals, habits or routine indicates some sense of knowing you have an influence on the world.

“Today has been a bad day, I knew I should have put my left shoe on before my right shoe, like I always do.”

But without a routine, a habit or ritual, what does the day look like to you?

Does it look cloudy? Unfocused? Maybe a little scary?

Or, does it look open? Unfocused (and that’s cool)? And not scary?

Flip it around, if you don’t have a ritual, what would it be like to start one, even a minor one?

Think about your rituals, habits and routines today. These things can help us get through the day, and even when we think we are just “free birds flying through the air,” we all have something we feel inclined to do, just to make the day go by a little easier.

Marketing Yourself for a Job

One of the greater concepts in conversation I have had recently is the idea of selling yourself.

No, not like on a street corner, but in the professional sense. I am helping a friend with her resume. And her one massive question was, “How do I get my stuff out in front of people?” This is someone I have worked with before, and it is perfect timing because I have been assisting my girlfriend in this same arena. 

In this day and age, having a fresh new piece of pretty stock paper to print a resume on is nice and can be important. But now, resumes are found through SEO, metatags and various other forms of online searching by employers. You post your resume on this job site and that job site. You go through this company’s career page and that company’s. It can take a week to find work, or almost a year.

The Internet has made submitting for a job easy for potential employees, and sifting through the submissions the proverbial pain in the ass for employers. So, instead of being a diamond in the rough, marketing yourself needs to be a mountain made out of diamonds.

Marketing yourself is a never ending project. Previous generations had to be skilled with one to several areas to be successful. They were good with numbers. They were good with words. They were good with tools or welding. Rarely were they good at every single thing pertaining to their department, let alone their company. Which is ok, that is the way it was. You were skilled at negotiating, or finances. That is the way it was.

Now, a young professional has to write well, speak well, know technology (because our generation is expected to know the ins and outs of every computer ever. And yes, this is because you know how to use a hashtag on your Twitter account. The correlation is far-reaching.).

You need to know some HTML (according to many websites this is a “helpful requirement”) and you need 3-5 years experience for an entry level position. Makes perfect sense.

This is what I have run into with my field of work. Certainly, other industries don’t have this line of logic, but it is one I see throughout several industry sectors similar to mine.

So, what do you do?

Well, bucko, the trick is to never stop. Never stop learning. Never stop making mistakes. Never stop succeeding and never stop failing. Never stop feeling overwhelmed. Never stop feeling in control. Never stop pushing through. Never stop giving up. Never stop starting something back up again. Never stop reading. Never stop writing. Never stop coding. Never stop editing videos or photos or copy.

I don’t know the things I know because of a mistake. I didn’t read something once and not touch it again. Likewise, I never stop putting it out there that I know a whole hell of a lot about nothing, something and everything.

And your resume needs to exude this concept. The ink should run of confidence and excellence.

And the funny thing is, you can look at a resume and see when someone never stops. And you can see those who half-ass their life.

So, make a LinkedIn, post your resume on CareerBuilder and obnoxiously email potential employers. The only way to make people see the mountain made of diamonds is put it right in their face. And if you aren’t doing it all damn day, then you are stopping. And people and employers will keep moving.

Don’t just be waiting on someone to find you, go find them and tell them how much ass you kick every single God-damned day.

Getting Back in Shape

Ten years ago (woof), I was a fit young man. I played football, wrestled and did track. My family would routinely play basketball, tennis and soccer. We even played hockey with roller blades (bad ass, I know).

We were active. College happened and I was still active playing intramural sports and working out (sometimes). Then after-college happened, and working out became a once-in-a-while thing. I ran sometimes but I lost a lot of whatever muscle I developed from 15-18.

Too be fair, I am not Hercules, and far from it. I am not some beast who stands at 6’3″ 230 lbs. I am 5’10” and use to be 170 lbs.

That slowly crept up to 180 recently and I decided to do something about it.

Before, I had excuses. I was lonely, I worked too much, I was moving around quite a bit.

Now, I really have no excuses. Work is steady. I am definitely not lonely anymore. And while I haven’t become “fat”, I don’t like where things are going, so I am doing something about it.

The best part about trying to get in shape after being not-very-active to actually-inactive, is my mind still thinks I am 18.

So, I run for 30 minutes, expecting to get more than a couple miles in. Knees hurt, cramps happen and I muscle through the 30 minutes to see 2.75 miles is the distance I ran.

Then I lifted weights. Shoulder hurts. Elbow acts up. My shit feels broke, man.

But then the next time I went, it was difficult. And about half way through my run it got easier.

So, I recommend this to anyone listening, if you think now is the time to get in shape, now is the time. Waiting only makes it harder to actually do it because pain in joints and muscles is not fun. Unless you are in to that kind of thing.

Still, get a mile in this weekend. After all, there will be a lot of beer consumed.

The Long Form Life

Last night, Chris Hughes spoke at Elmhurst College as part of the Roland Quest lecture series at Elmhurst College. This series has brought in some big names, so it is no surprise (still surprised me) that one of the founders of Facebook would be speaking last night.

One of the intriguing takeaways for me, was Hughes’ old-school view of journalism. As seemingly someone who would be sitting on the front line of progress toward a different form of journalism, he seemed steadfast in his approach.

This approach, of course, is that long form stories will never go away (which is an easy claim to make) and that the Millenial generation will somehow return to the world of Woodward, Bernstein and Cronkite (I know he didn’t write, but he did “long form spoken-word”).

Why does a co-founder of Facebook care about long form journalism? Well, Hughes bought The New Republic about two years ago. He also helped President Obama get elected the first time (Romney helped Obama the second time…OOOOOOOOOOOOO).

So, the long form that Hughes supports so much is something, that as much as I want to agree with him and show those Baby Boomers who doubt our ability to read really, really, really, like really long stories, I just can’t really get behind.

One of the items he pointed out, as evidence to support his claim, was on stories that ran about 5,000 words (holy hell) most readers made it 2,500 before dumping out of the story.

So, 50 percent of reading a story is a success?

I don’t really understand that, but it seems to be a model his site and news outlet makes work.

The biggest thing though he described, was really…well…nothing.

Journalism is always evolving. Foundational principals exist, but even then those have completely changed as we see massive amounts of money being dumped into news organizations just so they perpetuate the views of their readership and viewership.

The “good ol’ days” of Woodward, Bernstein and Cronkite are dead and gone. Think about a story right now such as Watergate. Fuck, there are so many examples of -gate, I could spend a whole post listing out examples.

But let’s play out a long form story like Watergate.

Today’s Woodward and Bernstein post a story about the president attempting to steal information.

The Oval Office counters with it being a political hit job and lies.

The opposing party picks up the story and tells the president to resign.

Oval Office says fuck off, public doesn’t care because they only get the news from their preferred outlets to support their idea and the next news cycle hits and there is a new -gate.

The evolution of journalism has been a devolution, ever since the 24-hour cycle of news was adopted.

News online is one thing because it is still consumed when the reader wants to read it. The constant wait-for-doom-and-despair of CNN, Fox and MSNBC has crippled the concept of journalism. They fill their time with news that isn’t news, with stories that aren’t stories. Then when those real events happen, when those real issues sit right in front of their faces, they have no idea about how to handle them because they just talked about Beiber’s tattoos.

Hughes is right to claim that long form journalism will exist, I don’t disagree with that point. Write all the words you want, and someone will read them. This blog is proof of that.

The issue I have is his image of long form journalism isn’t far reaching enough. It should be in television news, written news and radio news.

Our daily lives should be filled with thought and long form.

We should take time to process information, to gather stories and facilitate truth as often as possible to each other. We should want the truth, not what we believe to be the truth.

We shouldn’t just read and listen to the things we agree with, we should be challenged and we should challenge.

But that is tough to do, and maybe Millenials can do it. Maybe my children’s generation will finally be the ones to cut through the bullshit fed to them and live a long form life.

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