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11 Speed Bumps From 2011

Photo taken from Flickr user: Wetsun

After reflecting over the past year, here is a list of things that I’ve come to realize. Some of them are pretty standard, and you might even think “You’re just now realizing that?” But yes, I’m just now willing to accept these points.

  1. You shouldn’t say “no” until you’ve tried it.
    We’ve likely said “no” to something before even giving it a fair shot to win us over. I’ve been saying “no” to sushi for the longest time because I’m not a fan of seafood. However, last year I finally tried it and loved it. This also extends to my next point: dating. Unless you’re clearly not feeling it, don’t say “no” to someone until you give them a chance. Point is: try everything once, or almost everything, because you might actually like it.
  2. Dating is not always fun.
    As a whole, dating can be enjoyable and refreshing as you get to meet and interact with different types of people. Being single and being able to date around is great, but that can only go on for so long. At some point in the dating process, the fun goes away. Specifically, when the person you are on a date with is not someone you wish to pursue further and you need to let them know. Point is: it is never fun to turn someone down or to get turned down, but it has to happen.
  3. “Let’s just be friends” is not as easy as I thought.
    Before this past year I thought you could date someone and be able to remain friends if things didn’t work out romantically. After this past year, I’ve come to realize that you can’t force a friendship that wasn’t there in the first place. Sometimes people are too hurt, too full of pride, or too emotionally invested to keep in touch and be able to offer a no strings attached friendship. Point is: it is not necessary to remain friends with everyone you date.
  4. Ask no more than twice and move on.
    A no, is a no, is a no, is a no. How many times do you need to hear “no” before you finally accept it? Hopefully, it is no more than twice. My rule is to ask two times just to make sure, but after that the answer is very unlikely to get any better. Sometimes you might bug someone enough where they finally give in, but it’s probably just to shut you up. Point is: don’t waste time asking for something that is not going to happen from a genuine place.
  5. If you don’t speak up for yourself, no one will.
    Something happened last year that made me speak up a lot more, and I’m not sure what, or why. Suddenly, I’m less likely to keep quiet about something I have in mind. Whether that something is good or not, people need to know where you stand. Point is: make your feelings, opinions, and thoughts be known.
  6. Not everything inside of you has to come out.
    This one is an extension of speaking up. While you can’t control what you think or feel, you can control what you say or do. You need to know when and where you can react, and in some instances it’s simply better not to react. And even if probed, you need to find a good approach when you’re answering. Point is: figure out when you should and shouldn’t hold things back.
  7. It’s impossible to have control over everything.
    This one is a tough one for me. Point is: you can’t have a say in everything, so let it go.
  8. Just because you don’t have it all, doesn’t mean you don’t have something.
    Very few of us have it all. Most of us still have a long wish list in life. And while being ambitious and hopeful for the future is important, it’s just as important to be thankful for what we have in the present. For every wish you make for something you don’t have, you should take a moment to reflect on something you already do have. Point is: it’s likely you have something that others wish they had.
  9. High expectations lead to high disappointments.
    It’s important to make high expectations, but even more important to know your height restrictions. Being realistic does not equate to being pessimistic. Nothing comes to mind more than the never-was-iPhone 5, aka iPhone 4S. Consumers made an opulent mental image of what they expected to see in the new phone. When they didn’t get that, they were highly frustrated and disappointed; that was their own fault. Point is: make realistic expectations.
  10. The future does not always rely on the past.
    This one is a tricky one. While I believe that it’s necessary to consider things that have occurred in the past to better navigate through the future, it’s not always necessary. Sometimes we get too stuck in the past, that it can hurt what we think is possible for the future. We need to learn from experiences but at the end of the day the circumstances are never exactly the same in two separate situations. Point is: go with the flow and tackle things as they come to you.
  11. People are not getting any younger.
    I know, this is an obvious one. But it stems from reflecting on my own family members. My parents are not as young and healthy as I remember them growing up and my brother is no longer the baby/toddler I can just pick up and carry. My problem is I tend to make a static image of people in my life from years before. But reality is, people grow old(er) and change, so the image you have of them has to constantly change as well. Point is: take time to re-figure the people in your life.

Bonus for 2012:

Speed bumps are meant to slow you down, not stop you.
Even if you don’t know where you’re going, as long as you keep moving you will eventually get somewhere. Point is: don’t pull over because your lane is going slow, simply keep going.

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Rethinking New Year’s Resolutions

It’s January, and that means people have made and are in the process of breaking their New Year’s Resolutions. Sometimes we get caught up with reaching the end of one year and wanting to get a “fresh start” in the New Year by planning changes in/to our lives that are unreasonable and unrealistic. Unfortunately, most of us, if not, all of us, are guilty of not following through with the majority of resolutions we make. I, for example, have passed on three particular resolutions year-to-year, for the last three years (1. run a marathon, 2. get a tattoo, 3. learn to drive a stick shift).

So, why do people still bother making resolutions? Who knows. At the end of the day, there’s no harm done by making resolutions and not following through with them. If anything, it’s just annoying when someone boasters about what they plan on doing (and then fail to do so), as opposed to someone who makes a plan and simply keeps it to themselves.

The way I see it, there are a few approaches you can take to follow through with your New Year’s Resolutions:

  1. Refocused approach: make a short list of reasonable and realistic resolutions. In other words, don’t take on something you are very unlikely to accomplish. Start out with baby steps, and then expand out.
  2. Rack-up approach: make a long list, a really long list of resolutions. The basis behind this approach is that the more resolutions you can accumulate on a list, the more likely you are to accomplish something on that list.
  3. Rhetorical approach: make your resolutions the opposite of what you wish to accomplish. Example: if you want to start exercising, make your resolution to not exercise. Therefore, if you don’t exercise, you have accomplished your resolution (congratulations!), but if you happen to exercise, that’s a not a bad thing (congratulations!). Win-win.

That last one is a bit of a mind game, but the other two are legit approaches. Try them out!