While working as an intern in DC, I had copious amounts of time where I needed to appear productive but didn’t actually have anything to do. Could I have asked my supervisor for more work assignments? Probably. But the office was already impressed and satisfied with my work level. Why would I want them to know I was capable of more?
Thus began the summer of blog reading. I had never read any blogs consistently before. But now I can’t stop.
One of my favorites is Raptitude. I don’t even remember how I stumbled upon it, but week after week I look forward to David Cain’s unique perspective on life.
Here’s a roundup of concepts that I dig.
When people discuss the life they want to lead, they often ask themselves, “Do I like what I am doing?” This is fine, except I like pigging out on ice cream, staying up late watching Netflix, and skipping class. And while I might enjoy doing those things in the moment, they don’t exactly make me feel good about myself. The much better question to ask is, “Do I like who I am when I am doing this?” Try it. Suddenly you’re measuring your life to a standard of meaning and fulfillment rather than just enjoyment.
Life is about relationships, but sometimes I don’t act like it. I am guilty of being a social freeloader. Instead of initiating social gatherings myself, I wait for someone else to extend the invitation. Most everyone I know is guilty of this. The problem arises when the initiator stops initiating. Perhaps they move away. All of a sudden, I’m waiting and waiting for my friends that are still around to reach out to me, but they’re waiting and waiting for me to reach out to them. If I’m serious about actively maintaining relationships, then I need to be serious about actively initiating social activities.
I make snap judgments about strangers all the time, even though I know nothing of their personality, character, or circumstances. Maybe they were walking too slowly or they cut me off on the freeway. The things is, all of these snap judgments have an underlying tone: I think that I am better than those strangers. These thoughts are really just petty reactions to being inconvenienced. I’m introducing a lot of negativity into my day that doesn’t need to be there. Instead I want to be a good stranger, willing to suppress my tendency to judge people I don’t even know. They’ll never know, but I will.