12 Things I Learned in 2016


  1. In blogs and articles, the text prior to the first item of a list often goes unread.

If the article is titled something along the lines of 14 reasons why…, or the top 20 …, people will often just skip right to item #1. So, from now on, when writing lists, I’m only going to include text before item #1 when it is absolutely necessary.


  1. Being yourself means being yourself even when it makes you uncomfortable.


It’s easy to show off your true personality in situations where a positive reaction is expected. Anyone with even the slightest amount of self-confidence can point to situations where they went out there and decided to “be themselves”. But, there are also plenty of situations where being true to oneself can lead to vulnerability. This is why many people claim to be themselves, but often retreat behind their masks at the prospect of discomfort. One must be willing to face criticism, disapproval, and even loss of friendships, relationships, or jobs in order to honestly be staying true to themselves in all situations.


  1. Caring about others means caring about others even when there is no benefit.



This is kind of obvious, but we often lose sight of this, especially in the adult world. A lot of relationships are formed out of some kind of mutual benefit. A good example of this is the show Arrested Development. In this show, every interaction between the characters, who are mostly family, involves some sort of tit-for-tat almost business like deal between the characters. There are even some less obvious situations, with people in our lives whose benefits (knowing the person that can invite you to the party, get you into the club, help you meet your next sexual encounter, etc.) are constantly in our subconscious. To truly care, we must distance ourselves from these considerations and consider any of these benefits as a gift rather than a prerequisite for our willingness to associate with another.


  1. People reflect their own reality.

To the people we encounter on a day-to-day basis- we are just bystanders in their reality. And, everything they do is a reflection of that reality in some way. If someone says something critical to another person, that statement is more of a reflection of him or her than the person they are criticizing.


  1. It is actually fun to be an island of calm.


When everyone around you is freaked the fuck out.


  1. Your reality begins within.

Than it is reflected outwards. It is not the other way around as so many people falsely assume. Many people assume they must wait for something external; a new opportunity, a person just coming into their lives, or some sort of out of the blue event, in order to change something or progress to the next level. But, the first wave is always internal. The reality, what we think about, what we believe, and what we consider right is reflected outward once we truly believe it. When we alter our internal reality, over time, the reality around us will slowly begin to reflect what we already believe. Then, these events, opportunities and new people will emerge.


  1. All things of value require some time and effort.

IMG_6934.jpgSometimes it is your own effort; sometimes it is the effort of others. But, things don’t just fall into place. Doing nothing or sticking with stuff that is easy and comfortable will lead to little to no, or temporary, reward. Relying only on the effort of others will put you at the mercy of said people.


  1. Three days without physical activity can feel like death.

We were not meant to be nearly as sedentary as we are.


  1. Energy is one of the most important attributes in life.

The amount of energy, as well as the type of energy, that we both project and receive has major implications for our lives. It is no accident that in the book The Happiness Project, where author Gretchen Rubin decides to take on one initiative a month for twelve months to improve life satisfaction, her first initiative is to improve her energy levels. Without the energy, we can do the things we love and be the people we love being!


  1. Our humanity is under siege and must be protected

img_8051What I am talking about is what separates us from the robots; our individuality, things like our senses of humor, emotions of all kinds, and that general spirit that makes us our human selves. This is being subtly attacked on multiple fronts at this point in time. Many of us have jobs that focus solely on performing tasks using certain procedures, or worse, focus on things like schedules and hierarchy. Our pursuits of materialism and status reduce our sense of value to what we have and what we kind of labels we can show off. And, our increasing dependence on machines and technology for more and more components of our lives farther blur the line between humanity and machines as spoken words are replaced by text, social media, and computerized algorithms.


  1. You don’t have to be the center of attention to matter

IMG_8156.jpgImagine you are at a club. You are dancing, getting a little crazy. Maybe you’re “crunk”, or even on speed or molly. Likely, you are being ridiculous and have drawn the attention of a majority of the club’s patrons. Who is the most important person at that club at that time? It’s the DJ. It’s the guy (or girl) standing off to the side with headphones over their heads. That person has the power to wreck the night in a jiffy. There are a lot of situations like that in life, where the individual who has drawn the attention of others is kind of interchangeable while someone in the background is actually making everything happen.


  1. You better learn to enjoy the journey

IMG_7986.jpgOtherwise you have two choices; stagnation and frequent misery.



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