Tag Archives: Life

Risk and Regret

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Taking risks is scary but leaving yourself with regrets is much worse.  And more often than not we regret the risk not taken.  So in an effort to curb our regrets, we become quick to act when we see something we want or when we believe a golden opportunity has graced our lives with its presence.  We’ll say to fate, “not again, I’m not going to let this pass me by like the last time” and we’ll go for it, whatever it may be.  In doing so, we hope to claim the reward we’ve let slip through our fingers time and time again while growing a little more as individuals.

But at the same time one shouldn’t fear regret because it may make you risk unnecessarily.  It may make you feel urgency where there should be none, causing you to rush and misstep, thereby forfeiting your chances and finding yourself regretting your choices once again.  It seems that caring too much AND caring too little are equally detrimental and lead you down the same road you were trying to avoid.  And they do.  It’s because they are both overcorrections, and just like driving, overcorrecting yourself will cause you to swerve and fishtail when approaching an important junction in life…giving you no real control over which road you end up taking.

So what do you do?  Do you just move along somewhere in the middle, accepting everything as it comes without making a decision to care too much or too little?  Or do you only act on the risks that seem good for you–when the juice is worth the squeeze? Because it can be hard to tell what is actually good for you and by the time you can tell, it may be too late to make a decision:  either you get locked into the risk or you get locked into the regret.  While accepting everything as it comes leaves you susceptible to the whims of chance and circumstance with no real power over the direction things go…and the second you decide to take power over the situation you are showing you care AND you are taking a risk, so once again you may misstep and wind up falling flat on your face.

The reality is life is a balancing act and there is no right or wrong way to approach this.  Sometimes you risk and win, sometimes you risk and lose, while regrets are just a fact of life.  Take it all in stride.  You’ll learn from your decisions and balance yourself out over time.  If you feel something is good for you and see an opportunity then go for it…you may end up failing but don’t be discouraged because one day you will win big.  And then you’ll learn to appreciate your risks and regrets because they guided you straight to that jackpot that has eluded you for so long.  Or at least you’ll know that jackpot is on the horizon and is just waiting for you to do the right combination of things to win it.

You just have to keep going and remain strong, never losing faith in yourself or your decisions.  Do your best not to overcorrect when the road forks and you have no idea which way to go.  But above all, make sure you stay focused on your goals and desires while appreciating what you do have in life.  Sometimes we risk for things that will lead us from our paths and other times we regret things that may not have been the best for us anyways…guessing is the essence of the human condition for we can’t know everything and some would even say we can’t know *anything* for certain.  But that’s the beauty of it–the mystery and the suspense.  Yeah, there may be pain involved but as someone once told me, pain is life’s admission.  And while that may be true, I believe new experiences are the reward.  We can’t grow if we don’t risk and what is the purpose of a life without growth?

The uncertainty of life is certain but that should be more liberating than restricting because it means the possibilities are endless.  You can wind up anywhere with anyone doing anything.  So don’t shy away from risk and don’t fear regret.  Just accept them for what they are and continue down the path that seems the best for you.  There’s no way to tell if you missed out on a better path or not but as long as you are happy with things there can really be nothing better.  And if you aren’t happy then you have all the power in the world to change that.  The power comes from your mindset and your mindset comes from your attitude.  Change your attitude, change your mindset, change your life, change the world.

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Manifest Destiny–Literally

How many of you noticed how things seem to fall into place in your life when you’re feeling good about yourself?  Or conversely, how everything seems to fall apart when you aren’t feeling good about yourself or where your life is at right now?  It always seems like a crazy coincidence, but there’s something about coincidences a lot of people don’t realize.

They don’t actually exist.

Well, not the way we normally think about them.

You welcome into your world what you think the most about, and “coincidences” are simply validations that your inner world and outer world are interacting.  We simply can’t notice all the subconscious interactions and connections we make each day and how they all weave together to influence our lives at a larger level.  Thus, if you hold negativity you’ll encounter negative outcomes, circumstances and coincidences and the same is true for holding positivity.

For example, if you think you’re better than everyone else you will spend all your time finding people’s flaws and attracting other people who think the same way, which you will interpret as flawed thinking and take it as evidence you are better than everyone.  On the other hand, if you are self-content you won’t see a need to judge or compare yourself with others which will help you see not only the good in you, but the good in the people around you who are often your biggest supporters.  We see what we want to see and hear what we want to hear.

Think about it.

Given we share one outer world and all have our own inner worlds, the events that befall in life are the result of everything that everyone is thinking.  If you think of matter as energy and thoughts/emotions as energy and believe in conservation of energy, it could be said that a rise in global disasters, wars, disease and famine can be the result of a global-scale trend toward negative or destructive thinking.  And if you can see things that way you can see what kind of influence over the physical world our intangible thoughts have, making them akin to the influence of a God.  Which helps explain why religions emphasize the growth of self and promote self love because in having these traits one brings only positive things into their lives and the lives of others, using their “Godly” mental influence over fate and the world responsibly and compassionately.

But you don’t even have to take it that far for it to make sense.  Thoughts dictate behaviors, behaviors cause reacting and reoccurring behaviors–ebb and flow, to and fro, cause and effect, Taoism.  It all begins in our minds, and by it, I mean the flow and progression of life. The paths our lives lead are hugely influenced by our actions, habits, beliefs and attitudes–and each of those things begin as thoughts.  Simple, everyday thoughts we think about, but don’t really think about as our mental habits turn into mindsets.  Mindsets that affect perspective, motivation, self-esteem and happiness levels.

So mind your thoughts and keep them positive for best results.  We are what we repeatedly do, as Aristotle says, and this extends to what we think about.  “I think, therefore I am,” or to relate with this article, “I think, therefore I exist and I exist as my thoughts are.”  Our minds are POWERFUL BEYOND MEASURE and can act as cages or as wings.  We can be our own worst enemies or our greatest allies depending on the thoughts we keep with us in the foxhole.

Seek to empower and inspire yourself everyday and you’ll be unstoppable.  Be your greatest supporter and provide encouragement along with your constructive criticism and you’ll be well on your way to becoming the best YOU as humanly possible.

The ‘Like’ Button: More Than Meets the Eye

Out of all the features on Facebook, the “Like” button is probably the most frequently used and the least thought about.  Think about it.  We “like” statuses, comments, photos, and pages.  We like products and movies; events and groups.  We like a lot of things everyday, but we’re doing more than just clicking the Like button to express our affection for something.  It turns out we like certain things for certain reasons and not necessarily because we actually like them.  Sometimes we like things to express ourselves or open the channels of communication with people — to invite and initiate conversation.  Sometimes we like things despite not actually liking them and we just want to let our friends know we read what they had to say.  Because the Like button is so versatile, it could be considered one of the most important forms of nonverbal online communication we have (along with smileys and photo sharing).  So what all is in a Facebook like?  Read on to find out:

 

We “like” what we like

We like things, first and foremost, because we actually like them.  They make us laugh, they’re cool, they’re interesting, they’re something we agree with or enjoy, etc.  So we like these things to show the Facebook universe what we are into and to show the person/group that made the post we like what they shared.  This can include everything from pages for products and brands to pictures of kittens, sharp-witted comments, and statuses about our friends’ achievements.  We like these things, so we “like” them.  Simple enough.

 

We like to “like” our influences

We also ‘like’ things just because we like the person or page responsible for the post.  In Robert Cialdini‘s book, “Influence:  Science and Practice,” the author notes that we are more likely to be influenced — positively or negatively — when we like a person or brand.  He also observes that those who are likeable are more persuasive than those who are not as likeable and people who we perceive as bland.  We may not like what some people say — we may not even agree with their posts or find their posts particularly interesting — but if we like them (or if those people are especially likeable), we’re very likely to like what they post just because they are the ones who said it.

This can be seen very often with people who are popular in their social circles, with celebrities, and with influential brands and pages.  They may spew utter crap that is nonsensical and entirely irrelevant to you and your interests, but we transpose the likeability of their personality or social status onto the things they post and like them in return.  In effect, the like button becomes a voting booth where we cast our ballots for an online popularity contest.  And as you may have guessed, the more likes something has the more likely we are to give it another.

 

We “like” to be included

Sometimes liking is just an attempt to be included, whether it’s in the form of liking an event, liking a post on the newsfeed that has 100,000 likes already, or liking a comment that everyone else seems to like.  In these instances a Facebook like could very well be nothing more than an attempt to stand in with the crowd.  And it makes sense, we are social creatures — we did create social media.  We like to be connected with other people or with something bigger, so when we see a page that was liked by a few of our friends we’re likely to like that page as well so we can feel involved (a phenomena known as social proof – – AKA “doing as the Romans do” — which also brought up in Cialdini’s book as a “weapon of influence”).  And this isn’t a bad thing, as long as we don’t compromise our identities by liking things we don’t actually like — the social media equivalent of giving into peer pressure and social norms.

 

We “like” to be “liked” in return

Another function of the Like button is to encourage reciprocity with new (and old) Facebook friends by breaking the proverbial ice.  We like their statuses and pictures to show them we’re interested in what they’re posting and to encourage them to like the things we post in return.  We do this in person by agreeing with people, disclosing things about ourselves, doing favors, showing interest in what someone is saying, and listening attentively to what they say (all in hopes they’ll do the same for us).  Reciprocation is a social convention that helps deepen interpersonal relationships, and according to Cialdini’s book, even politicians use reciprocation by exchanging favors for supportive votes.  The Like button has the same effect as those actions and is a good way to engage Facebook friends we recently added or haven’t interacted with much.  Though, that isn’t to say liking what someone has posted ensures they will like what you post in return — but it will encourage them to consider doing so.

 

We “like” to show support

Sometimes we like things to show our support, such as Facebook pages for ideologies and social movements.  When we like these things we let others know what we are involved in and what is important to us:  Our political stances, religious beliefs, and issues that inspire the activist in us all.  Liking these things allows us to quickly express ourselves without having to think of something to say (the same goes for “sharing”) or without having to upload something to our photo albums.  Additionally, liking a page or group grants us access into a like-minded community.

Similarly, we also show our support to people on our friends lists by using the Like button.  Perhaps a friend is going through something difficult, such as the loss of a loved one or a strict diet of water and vegetables.  We like their posts regarding what they’re going through not necessarily because we actually like them, but to show our friends we support them.  In effect, the Like button becomes a virtual pat on the back that tells people we care about what they’re going through and we’re offering our moral support.  This can be a handy tool for when you don’t know what to say but still want your friends to know you see what they’re going through and you’re there for them.

 

We “like” to be sarcastic and vindictive

On the other hand there’s the tongue-in-cheek or “sarcastilike” purpose of the Like button.  For instance, say you warned your friend about something but he did it anyways and now has to suffer the consequences.  Liking his status about the consequence of his actions is a quick (and vindictive) way to say “I told you so.”

“Turns out whitewashing a fence isn’t as fun as Tom said it would be.  Whole afternoon wasted!”

Mark Twain likes this.

The Like button can also be used in a related manner for showing contempt or spite, such as liking your ex’s relationship change to single after breaking it off with his/her newest fling — or liking someone’s unfortunate horoscope reading.  And because we also like things to show our support it can sometimes be hard for people to tell if you’re being spiteful or encouraging, which offers some cover if you don’t want your motives to be exposed (but on the other hand, it can make your attempt to show support seem mean-spirited).

 

We “like” to be informed

Liking a status means you’ll be notified of new comments on that status, and sometimes that’s the only reason we like what someone posts.  In a similar vein, we may like a page because we want to see its posts or stay up to date with an event.  This function of the Facebook like is more closely related with Twitter’s “Follow” option, but it still implies you actually like the thing in question even if you don’t — which can be misleading.  The person liking your status may like what you said, or may just be nosy.  So, if you find your significant other liking everything you post it could mean you found someone who is genuinely interested in you, or it could indicate he/she has a jealous personality type.  Either way, good to know.


Who would’ve thought that simple little button could be so complex?

 

Are there any other uses of the Like button this article doesn’t cover?  Share them in the comments section below!

With Uncertainty Comes Possibility

Stars and space dust
The Horsehead Nebula.

There’s no telling what life has in store and somehow, that’s more comforting than a pre-determined and mapped out future.  Perhaps it’s because of the unlimited possibility that comes with not knowing what is going to happen next, or maybe it’s because you’ll always know that nothing stays the same forever.  Oceans evaporate and mountains crumble over time, kings and queens die, stars implode upon themselves and coal turns into diamond.  Change is constant.  Every passing second is an opportunity in bloom, an opportunity that remains invisible to the unopened or preoccupied eye.  All the while chance and choice dictate the changes that spread across the world in a ripple effect that eventually find their way to your doorstep.

You hear a knock on your door and are given the key to your destiny.  There’s no telling what is on the other side until you choose to open that door.  And even then you can still decide not to step through, out into the unknown.  But should you take that step you can rest assured that you dramatically increased the amount of possibilities available to you because with uncertainty comes possibility.  And with possibility comes excitement, opportunity, and potential.  With just a single step into the unknown you are living more than the person who has walked thousands of miles down a beaten path.  Anything can (and will) happen and as you take more steps on your journey the world opens up to you and reveals countless destinations or quick stops along the way, all inhabited by new people and more possibilities.  The adventurer cannot fail when he/she is walking through the unknown.  This is because the unknown is an adventure in itself.

There’s no telling what the future holds–the uncertainty of life is certain–and you can take comfort in that.  Because not knowing what lies on the next page is what makes life worth living.  Regardless of the circumstances, every passing second brings the possibility for change and opportunity.  And with them, another door to pass through.

The possibilities are truly endless.  Every beginning has an infinite number of ways to end.

There’s no telling where tomorrow can take you if you live for today.