I met someone recently who dreams of being a writer. His parents support his desire to write, but worry that he doesn’t understand how difficult the writing profession is. When I asked him what he planned to do after high school, he gave me the answer I know his parents wanted to hear: “I’m going to find a job to support my dream of writing.”
As a parent of a two college students, I too would be concerned if my kids had dreams that only a few are able to achieve. And yet at the same time, I don’t want them to be limited because I and society says it’s nearly impossible to achieve.
It makes me think of an interview with Neil deGrasse Tyson when he was on a panel answering questions about science. One man asked if there were more men in science because of genetics (yes… he really asked that). deGrasse Tyson took the question saying that he’d never been a woman, but he’d been black all his life. As a youngster, when he told people he wanted to be an astrophysicist, they would try to talk him out of it, presumably because he was black. His point was that until society stopped telling girls they weren’t smart enough for science, we couldn’t really know if genetics played a roll.
Society isn’t the only one telling us we can’t do things. The biggest obstacle to doing what you want is most likely you. We get bogged down in what we think we should to. We play it safe. As a result, the dreams are put aside. (more…)
Have you ever noticed that people put off being happy until…
Until they have more money.
Until they lose weight.
Until the kids are older.
Until they know more.
The problem is that there is no guarantee life will be better when “until” arrives or that “until” will arrive at all. There are things you can do today to be happier that don’t require money or any of the other things we often associate with happiness and success. Here’s how you can make your life better right now!
1) Get around positive people. Negative nellies can sap your energy and happiness. Instead strive to surround yourself with people who are positive and supportive. This can be easier said than done, but if you find yourself around negative or toxic people, offset it by being positive. Negative people will try to out do your negative, but they often will try to soften their negative if you respond positively. For example, when people tell me their kids are a problem, I often respond with, “I’m so glad my kids are well-behave and kind.” All of a sudden, the other person finds something nice about their kids.
Paul Taubman posted 25 Things About Paul over at I Need Help with WordPress and Tracy Roberts challenged members of Piggy Makes Bank to do the same. Let’s see if I can come with 25 things about Leslie. Here they are, in no particular order:
1. When I was 20, I was in Rome on Easter, but was an hour late to see the Pope. Turns out, it was daylight savings time.
2. I suffer from ideaphoria, which means I have many ideas I’m pursuing, want to pursue or are just thinking up. It makes life interesting and tiring, but never boring.
3. I failed the high school writing proficiency exam twice. Today, I make my living writing. Go figure!
4. I got pulled over by a Davis Bike Cop in front of the high school when I was in middle school. I was riding on the wrong side of the road and ran a stop sign. (I’m a better driver!)
Back in January I wrote about life lessons I’d learned from my father. Growing up with a single dad in the 1970s was unusual. So unusual, that many people thought my mom was dead or crazy. I can assure you she wasn’t.
I had the typical schedule of a child of divorce, in which I had regular every-other weekend visits with my mom and a month during summer. However, when I was about five, she moved with my step-father to Germany for three years. I saw her only once during that time, but we spoke on the phone and my father would mail her my pictures and school work (I think she still has the paperclip and contact paper necklace I made for Mother’s Day in elementary school). When I was a teenager, she moved to the other side of the country, which made regular visits more difficult. (Thank goodness I wasn’t afraid of flying back then).
Despite a lot of time apart, my mom and I are close. And like my father, I have learned many important lessons about life from her.
1) Make friends wherever you go. My mom has a knack of making friends wherever she happens to be. It could be the barista making her coffee, the young mother standing in line behind her at the grocery store or the family sitting next to her on the beach. Many in my family would argue that I have this same skill, but they’re only partially right. As a kid I had no problem talking to anyone and everyone, but as an adult, entering a group of people I didn’t know was nerve-wracking. I felt (and sometimes still feel) nervous and self-conscious. But I’ve learned from my mom that all you have to do is say hi and ask a question or make a comment. If you’re standing in line or waiting, it makes the time go faster. If you’re in a new situation, it settles the nerves.