My friend Tommaso and I after eating fresh pasta
Since much of the world is still partially closed or weird, I’ve taken a lot of comfort over the last year in the “simple things.” By that I mean everyday common things that are perpetually satisfying.
For example, here are 10 in particular that are paramount to me: Continue reading…
Michelle Obama and all others courtesy Platon
Since the turn of the century, Platon has made a name for himself (a single one at that!) for his telling portraits of celebrities, especially politicians. As a fan of his work, these are my favorites: Continue reading…
I was jogging last week and ran past a parked patrol car. A cop was in it.
I make it a habit to wave to everyone I encounter, so I cut the air with my hand and smiled. He waved back and flashed a big grin, as if I had just made his day—as if he rarely gets acknowledged by civilians.
Surprised by the effect it had, I started thinking of other people that might benefit from extra kindness. This is what I came up with: Continue reading…
Last week while eating lunch with my family, my playful wife invented a new game called “Clap for [insert person’s name here].” It works like this. You prompt everyone to applaud someone for several moments. Then watch their face, eyes, and smile light it while you do it.
Even though the act is forced, the game works every time. At least it does on my family, my wife and I very much included.
The only way I can explain why it works is that recognition matters. Just hearing your name, being complimented, or even just having your presence recognized as the above game so deftly accomplishes is enough to make people feel elated and special. When that happens, we want to become better people. That’s powerful.
As silly as it sounds, I invite all reading this to play this game and report your findings. Like Dale Carnegie taught, praise people, even the slightest. Recognize their contributions.
But more importantly, acknowledge people by remembering their name, take a genuine interest in what interests them, and applaud them for being who they are.
It’s magic, I tell ya.
“What do you do?” is a question humans often hear. It’s a new acquaintance’s favorite ice breaker because it’s socially acceptable, easy to answer, and easy to process. Doctor. Carpenter. Businessman. Homemaker. Forget and move on.
Problem is, we are so much more than our occupation, even workaholics (although they might not realize it if wholly absorbed by their trade). The better question to ask when meeting new people is this: “What do you like to do?” Asking that will give you a truer glimpse of who someone is, because what we think about and do under no obligation is a better indicator of who we really are.
The problem with social media is that most of what is said falls on deaf ears. You need celebrity, novelty, or credibility, to be heard.
Furthermore, we tend to congregate with like-minded individuals, making it difficult to be exposed to truly new ideas and perspectives.
All of which makes Listserve an interesting social experiment. It’ll probably end up just being spam or generalized thoughts. But if not, I’ll stay subscribed as long as it keeps on giving.
At least according to a few sample surveys by Google (below). For the record, I tip 18% on average (more or less depending on service and pity, but rarely for carry out), have a family friend take our yearly family portrait, exercise regularly because I value my health more than getting ahead, and I call it “Coke.”
I had a bit of a moment connecting with humanity last week. After taking in popular YouTube videos on Flip Board, I was impressed by all the random talent on display.
Not a cat video in sight.
For example, amateur acrobats eschewing the laws of gravity (shown). Surfers hitching a ride on mother nature’s back. Engineers constructing 100 year old dams in Washington,then blowing them up. An elite basketball star mingling with the hoi polloi of Stillwater, Oklahoma, where I lived for half my adolescence (and even used to buy Air Jordans at DuPrees, the small sporting goodies store where Durrant got his impromptu flag football jersey).
The list goes on.
Like RÃ©my from my favorite Pixar movie says, “Humans don’t just survive, they discover, they create.”
Since quitting Facebook in May, I periodically visit My Life Is Average for a good chuckle. Here are some of my favorite recent stories:
- Today, my brownie got detained in airport security. MLIA.
- Today, I discovered you can reuse calendars every eleven years. Guess who is using their 1999 calendar this year? MLIA.
- Today, I pushed a door that said pull. It opened. MLIA
- About a week ago, I went to the optometrist. While the doctor was looking at my eye, he told me to “open wide.” He was talking about my eye, but I automatically opened my mouth as wide as I could. MLIA.
- Today, I decided to make a grilled cheese sandwich in the toaster. Tomorrow, I’m getting a new toaster. MLIA
- Today I found a book called “How to Read a Book.” MLIA
- Today I was walking across the park and there were a bunch of teenagers. First kid smoking. Second kid smoking. Third kid smoking. Fourth kid was eating a apple. I think we know who the biggest rebel is. MLIA
- Tomorrow, my school has a spirit day. The theme is “Gender-Bender,” where boys wear girls clothes and vice versa. My father, knowing nothing of this, comes downstairs to find me in a jean miniskirt, gray tank top, black leggings, trying to put my hair in a suitable girly fashion. We stare at each other awkwardly, and without saying a word, he turns and walks back upstairs, shaking his head. MLIA.
- Today, I read last year 4,153,237 ppl got married. I don’t want to start any trouble, but shouldn’t that be an even number? MLIA
- Today, my shoe laces came untied. I tied them back up and carried on. MLIA
- Four years ago, when i was 18, i noticed at night that my front window is very reflective, so i was pretending to dive in slow motion and shoot, dual pistol style. Suddenly a really hot girl walked past and i was startled and fell over. Embarrassed i waited for a bit and then stood up. As i stoop up i saw her slowly shooting an imaginary rifle from behind a car. We then proceeded to do this for 10 minutes until she did an extremely dramatic death. She wasn’t getting up so i went outside to meet her. Once i got to where she was, there was nothing but a piece of paper with a mobile number on it. Today, we are getting married. MLIA
BBC recently cited a study that found the more friends you have, the more you earn. After observing 10,000 U.S. students over a period of 35 years, the study showed that the wealthiest people were those that had the most friends at school. Each extra school friend added 2% to the salary.
The take away: The more people you talk to (i.e. network with), the more chances you have to sell yourself as a likable person. The more likable you are in the eyes of others, the higher chance you have of being retained for professional help. That goes for “in school” and in life.
So don’t be an introvert. Talk to people. Take an interest. It takes a village.
PC World has compiled a list of whom they believe to be the 50 most important individuals on the internet. The Google boys take the top spot with all that power they yield, Steve Jobs takes the number 2 spot with all that influence he yields (however warranted), and BitTorrent founder Bram Cohen rounds out the top three. A slew of A-list bloggers also made the list. Check it.