365 Day Challenge

365 Challenge: Day 2 – Honesty

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Honesty: free of deceit and untruthfulness; sincere

Being honest is almost always the only proper route in life. On rare occasions will I find it acceptable to be less than honest. It’s innate, at least in me, and I think in most people, that the honest response or answer is the first one (s)he thinks of; however, the degree to which they debate following through on the honesty is what differs among us.

I’m sure I was taught as a child that “honesty is the best policy,” whether it was in school or at home. I don’t exactly remember this conversation other than hearing about it in classic 1950s and 1960s TV shows and the occasional movie where someone is trying to coax a child to tell the truth. But even if I weren’t actually taught this message, it seems like the right thing to do. If not, everything would be more like a treacherous game than a way of life. Let’s all play some Game of Thrones today! Russian Roulette is the new mantra. NOT!

I can recall a few moments when I wasn’t 100% honest; told you in my 365 intro I intend to tell both the good and the bad!

  • I know I was obsessed with Legos and took a few home with me from a friend’s house one time. I claimed I didn’t know what happened to them, but I clearly remember thinking “these aren’t mine” when they “fell” into my Lego box. I’m not exactly sure why, other than Legos brought me great pleasure and offered an escape from other things in my life (no, nothing bad… I was just a very shy kid).
  • I’ve told someone (on a few occasions) I’d been dating that I wasn’t attracted to someone else when I knew I was. And yes, in the past, I did cross a line many years ago that I should not have crossed. I was bad. I admit it. But I learned from it and I eventually confessed. You can choose to dislike it or me, and I don’t blame you. But we all live in a glass house at some point, and we’ve all thrown the stones when we knew we shouldn’t.
  • I’ve made up plans when I didn’t feel like going out with someone else. I truly just needed down time… and didn’t want to offend the person or have them think I didn’t like them. They would be persistent if I just said I didn’t “want” to go out.

OK, so none of those are all that bad (e.g. murder, marital affair, bullying). But I had an opportunity to tell the truth, and I chose not to. Sometimes, I’m afraid of hurting another person’s feelings. Sometimes it would lead to a far worse situation to be honest, and it’s easier to just tell the white lie to end the immediate issue. Are these acceptable situations?

For the most part, I think they are. If the truth will hurt someone’s feelings, but the lie will avoid a problem – and it is short-term and not impactful – it may be the best course of action. Why tell a friend their new haircut looks bad when it will be fine in a few days? Perhaps if they are going on a date or a job interview, don’t let them suffer a longer-term impact. Bite the bullet, tell them it’s awful and deal with the short-term impacts.

If you’re thinking about cheating, hmm… that’s a tough one. Do you hide it until you know you want to, or do you risk saying “I thought about Person X” to the person you are dating and have them prematurely leave you? I choose not to answer that question because I think the answer lies in the strength of your relationship; you should be working towards a solidarity that can withstand admitting you find someone else attractive. It’s when you choose to act on it that the line has been crossed. Subjectivity in this level of honesty in the important message.

But on the good side, honesty is really the only way to exist. It’s an example of how to level-set the playing field. When you are dishonest, everything that happens afterwards will immediately be suspect. Take the example of someone who lies on their resume or in an interview to get a job. Perhaps the less qualified candidate will get the job due to this lie. But eventually, it’s a high probability (s)he will be found out and either lose their job or be reprimanded. That addresses the situation for the liar, but what about the person impacted by that lie? (S)he didn’t get the job, which may have been a career changer for the future. Where does that leave him or her? Note: I’m not getting into fate and sometimes it’s necessary to lose one thing to set you on the path to what you are really destined for… that’s another topic! Yikes… these challenges might be harder than I thought. Morality exists everywhere!

And so, when I look at honesty, it’s a scale heavily waited to 99% of the time, i.e. it is required. Dishonesty should only be reserved for those moments when you’ve weighed the options and the impacts of that decision are not harmful to anyone, or are less harmful than the alternative.

That said, many readers are probably thinking “he’s so wrong… you should never lie… what do we tell our children…” You tell them the truth. You provide examples, you teach them about cause and effect, you explain the impacts with either decision. Not when they are 2 or 3 or 4, but when they are mature enough to understand.

That doubly said, I RESPECT those who ALWAYS tell the truth, no matter the impact. Perhaps they are too blunt. Perhaps they are inconsiderate. Perhaps they are rude. But they are honest and you will always know what to expect from them. And being consistent is one of those really extremely important things to be. And that will be tomorrow’s characteristic!

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365 Challenge: Day 1 – Dedication

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Dedication: an act of commitment to a goal or way of life

Dedication is an important characteristic to achieving success. I want to be successful in all that I choose to do. I have goals and I want to reach them; therefore, dedication is necessary.

In the past, I have been quite dedicated at several of my jobs. I usually worked 60+ hour weeks in order to achieve my goals. Some may say I wasn’t organizing my day properly if I couldn’t achieve everything in a normal 40 hour week. I do not agree with this statement as it is too defined; subjectivity is important to consider each of the levers being pulled that alter the course of my day. It was my choice to work more than necessary as I wanted to continue optimizing and moving towards my end goals.

Could (or should) I have called it quits at 6pm to properly balance my day? Would it have been more advantageous to have a mental break from formal work in order to be more successful the following day? Perhaps…

I lack dedication in some areas of my life. Everything is always in order, as I’m very particular and organized; however, I often find myself devoting more time to some things than others, without a fully balanced equilibrium in place. I want to be healthy, in good shape and fit. So I work out often. But I often eat an entire sleeve of cookies (Girl Scout cookies this week that a nameless someone brought home against my wishes… mmm thin mints… plus the new smores!) in one sitting followed by a bowl of ice cream and several glasses of wine. Do I interpret this as lack of dedication to achieving a goal of becoming more physically fit?

I’m more inclined to say it doesn’t really impact my level of dedication on the whole or average. If it’s important to me, and has a long-lasting impact, I follow through on the dedication. But if it’s minor and has little impact, I’m willing to let it go (unless it also conflicts with another strong belief — like not letting someone down). That said, if I let myself eat the cookies and drink the wine every night, I’d need to change my level of dedication. Or decide I’m dedicated to weight gain. No. Not for me.

So what does this mean to me? I believe in dedication. I respect dedication. I want to be emblematic of dedication unless it is something I should be dedicated to but find myself steering in the wrong direction. Then I allow myself to accept that I am not being dedicated.

Where do I go from here? Perhaps I should only allow myself to stray from dedication when it is a conscious acknowledgement of it happening. Don’t let myself eat the whole sleeve of cookies unless I’ve also worked out that day! Ah success…

Yeah, right, not that simple! 🙂

Dedication is about more than staying focused. It’s about understanding the end goal and directing (or re-directing) the path to get there.  Worry less about the individual cookies and more about the most expedient course to the completion of the goal or task. (Eat the whole box once in a single sitting… you know, so it’s done and gone and no more temptation???)

No. Apply dedication on those things that are important to you. Apply wisdom and knowledge for the rest. Balance my food intake. Allow some cheat nights. Allow some plain old-fashioned healthy nights. Enjoy my food but don’t be gluttonous.

But I should pick something I believe I am strong at when it comes to the use of the word dedication… so that when I say I am dedicated, I am clear on why I am certain (1) I am dedicated and (2) I want to improve my dedication.

My dedication:

  • 365 days of reflection and discovery by choosing characteristics I have or want to have as part of who I am:
    • Accept that on a few occasions I will miss a post, but I will make up for it the next day.
    • Acknowledge that I need to invest value in each post and not let them be trivial.
  • I’ve dedicated myself to reading 78 books this year on Goodreads.
    • I already expect to increase it to 104 (2 per week) in the near future.
    • If I increase it, I must dedicate myself to achieving the new goal.

The Challenge: 365 Days of Discovery – Who am I?

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How often do we take the time to truly understand who we are and what we want from life? Some of us more than others, but in general, we exert very little energy and patience devoted to truly touching the surface of each component of our existence.

And so… perhaps because I have a birthday this week… or maybe it’s finding a plethora of free time on my hands… or by chance it’s that my mind is more relaxed and open these days… I am putting forth a challenge to myself:

365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life. I will post a characteristic about myself and reflect on it in a blog post for the next 365 days: a full year of discovery into directing the course of my future.

I suppose some could find this indulgent. Believe I am just talking about myself for the sake of hearing myself talk. But it’s not about hearing; it’s about listening. I intend to cover the good and the bad. The areas I excel and the areas I need help.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor.

When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life.

All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man.

Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

And fair for all to comment. Let’s click to the first post.