…If you smell something, say something…

While not an avid, nightly, Daily Show with Jon Stewart watcher, I enjoyed watching him from time to time. I barely have the time to watch the few shows we do DVR, so adding a nightly show to the mix is not in the cards for us. In any case, the man is an inspiration and is hilarious. I am sad to know his show is over. In all the pleas from his fans to not end his show, I came across this quote:

“The best defense against bullshit is vigilance. So if you smell something, say something.” – Jon Stewart

Ah, well put, Jon. Well put. I love it. I am a fan of saying something — always. I am that person that 99% of the time is going to call you out on your bullshit. Why live life without being honest, transparent, and authentic? That does not mean it is always easy for me. Most of the time if I do not say something it eats away at me. While I am not yet a parent, I know all the times I have been told by my own parents, or in childcare situations, that if you let kids get away with something and you let time pass then the teaching moment is over. In most cases I agree. However, what matters most is that you say something.

Be it your spouse, your friend, a family member we so often let things sit inside and agonize over them. We get frustrated, we get angry, and often if we were just open and honest with the other person it resolves itself. They might respond by telling you how grateful they are for your transparency, they might be angry (and really that is their thing to work out), or they might even laugh at you thinking how absurd that such a thing bothered you. Whatever the result, it is good to get it off our chests and not let it fester inside.

Thank you, Jon, for your wisdom and for making us laugh for the past 16 years.

It’s not you, it’s me

We don’t always get what we want.

People come into and out of our life and sometimes we do not have a choice. At times their lives are too busy for us, or maybe we are too busy for them. Often we do not know why we no longer connect, hear from, or are a priority for others. There might not be a malicious reason, life happens, shit happens. Maybe the famous line: “It’s not you, it’s me” really is true in friendships and working relationships. I have had a few frustrating conversations over the past week and I continue to wonder, was it me, or was it them? Should I have handled things differently? Should I have been more patient, or more direct?

When we do not receive direct feedback from others, the “It’s not you, it’s me” line does not answer our questions. We might agonize over whether we have alienated someone, pissed them off, or made them feel tiny. Sometimes we will never know what we did (or did not do in a situation). Our agony is not really worth the time, especially if we never receive answers to our questions. We must move on and continue towards what is next.

There were a few individuals that I especially was looking forward to having in my life in the near future. Sometimes the roads that we think will meet are just a mirage, we dream of where they could lead, and somehow when we get closer to where we think they meet, we realize it was all just our eyes playing tricks on us. Or maybe we allowed our mind to dream and wonder where this moment in our life could take us. Whether it was not meant to be, or it was not meant to be at this moment in our life. We can be grateful for what we learned in the process. I know that sounds cliché, but really each step we take, leads us to the next opportunity that awaits us. We just might not see it clearly at first. I am having such moments. Was it me, or was it them? What I thought I would see on the other side is different from what I am seeing now. I have to clear my mind and be open for the true picture that is before me.

Definitely not easy, but maybe the true adventure is not knowing what we will see on the other side. Maybe when our imagination runs wild, we can put a picture together and even when it does not turn out like our dreams, sometimes when we wait patiently and long enough the end result is better than we can ever imagine. I am willing to wait, maybe less patiently over time, but I have seen it before and I know my imagination is sometimes not large enough for what is possible.

Keep your mind open to the possibilities.

Anticipation is worse than our fears…

I am sure each and every one of you have had a moment where you were terrified. You have that “I am going to shit my pants” nervous feeling. Somehow whatever scared you happened, the moment passed, and you went on with your life. Yet, you can remember that terrifying moment. You will never forget it. All the details might begin to fade, but the crucial time stays in your memory forever.

After reading this Fast Company article, “How to be a Success at Everything: The Art and Science of Building Confidence Under Pressure” I got to thinking about anticipation, see this excerpt from the article (bold sections are my own emphasis):

Stress builds when we are waiting for something to happen. ‘Our anticipation is so much worse than doing the thing you’re afraid of,’ she observes. Instead of procrastinating so much that you lose sleep, take apart the situation, think it over logically and get it over with as soon as possible. ‘You are going to survive this,’ Williams says. Stress can be a great thing, she says, because it signals that you are doing something challenging.”

My guess is that a large part of the time when we have a moment that we are terrified, it is the anticipation that makes us freaked out. Once we get through the heat of the moment, and we look back and say “that was not as bad as a I thought it would be.” You might even go back and decide to do it all over again, no longer afraid. Anticipation allows us to dream, ponder, and potentially agonize over what may, could, should happen so that when the moment actually happens we have processed all the woulda, shoulda, coulda responses. It makes us feel safer. Rather than go into a terrifying moment blind, anticipation makes us feel like we are slightly more prepared.

Is it all a waste of time? Are we more prepared? I think it is good to have the oh shit moments once in a while. It keeps us on our toes, and leaves us feeling more alive. What do you think?