Category Archives: Perspective and Life Wisdom

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Title : The Boss Baby
Director : Tom McGrath.
Release : 2017-03-23
Language : English.
Runtime : 73 min.
Genre : Animation, Comedy, Family.
Stars : Alec Baldwin, Steve Buscemi, Lisa Kudrow, Jimmy Kimmel, Tobey Maguire, Vivi Ann Yee.

‘The Boss Baby’ is a movie genre Animation, was released in March 23, 2017. Tom McGrath was directed this movie and starring by Alec Baldwin. This movie tell story about A story about how a new baby’s arrival impacts a family, told from the point of view of a delightfully unreliable narrator, a wildly imaginative 7 year old named Tim.

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Watch Movie Online Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016) subtitle english

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Director : Taika Waititi.
Producer : Carthew Neal, Matt Noonan, Leanne Saunders, Taika Waititi.
Release : March 31, 2016
Country : New Zealand.
Production Company : Defender Films, Piki Films, Curious Film.
Language : English.
Runtime : 101 min.
Genre : Drama, Adventure, Comedy.

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‘Hunt for the Wilderpeople’ is a movie genre Drama, was released in March 31, 2016. Taika Waititi was directed this movie and starring by Sam Neill. This movie tell story about Ricky is a defiant young city kid who finds himself on the run with his cantankerous foster uncle in the wild New Zealand bush. A national manhunt ensues, and the two are forced to put aside their differences and work together to survive.

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Can’t get no (lasting) satisfaction? Here’s why

I wrote an article on medium not too long ago titled “The Real Root Cause Behind ‘I’m Bored'”, where I basically (spoiler alert) said that humans crave a goal or purpose to fulfill (this is not a new idea, I admit). Perhaps part of the reason why some people keep working even after they’ve won the lottery is because no one really wants to just sit around watching TV in their underwear all the time. It might seem pretty awesome at first, but I think eventually they would get bored and want something more meaningful.

Then there are people like me who are so obsessed with goals and creating meaning, that I try to do too many things at once and just get frustrated that I can’t clone myself or grow a second pair of arms, or never need sleep.

Well, Psychology Today has a good article titled “Why You May Never Be Truly Satisfied, and Why That’s Okay”, which also touches on this issue. With actual science to support it, rather than my attempt which was mostly just personal experience.

Have you ever set a goal, achieved it, became content, and then went looking for the next thing? It’s fascinating how quickly our lives adjust to reaching a goal: We get our dream job and, soon enough, start wondering when the next promotion will come. We move into a new house and then, a few years later, start dreaming of the next dream house. We quickly adjust our realities, constantly creating “new normals.” And then we want more.

That has been my experience lately. For me though, it’s more a constant question of “can I do this thing?”. Like, can I, as an individual, physically and/or mentally step up and get through it? And once I’ve answered that, I test the next thing. There are some things I don’t particularly care to know if I can do or not, but asking myself “what can I learn from this?” has done me very well since I started focusing on that question.

We all have different goals—different mountains to climb. One person’s climb may be about sobriety; another’s may be about diet; and someone else may be trying to find a passion. And we often think we’ve reached the top of the mountain, only to realize it was really just the base of another, larger one. And so we start out again. Generally, this works: If we had to reach the zenith all at once, we might be too intimidated to begin.

Popular inspirational speaker Iyanla Vanzant puts it another way, positing that there are curves in the road because if you were shown how long a stretch you actually have left, you’d never drive yourself there. These curves that only show a little bit of the road at a time so you can just focus on that piece. The lesson? Today, focus on the piece that’s in front of you. The better you manage that stretch, the better you’ll be set for the next leg, whatever it is.

I’m feeling this right now. I’ve figured out I have been pretty successful in doing a lot of incremental learning/goal tackling. Currently, I have several ambitious goals, they’re all larger, and I’m battling my brain because I want to do them all at the same time, but not all the little steps (feels too unproductive), so I’ve actually been procrastinating somewhat.

Those goals (in case you’re curious)
-finish learning how to program so I can make an app (this will take months of learning to code bit by bit, and I don’t really want to deal with that right now)
-re-learn website coding so I can built a website idea I have
-finish the curated book I’m working on (probably the most nebulous)
-finish developing the card game ideas I conceived recently (need to playtest)
-finish recording/producing an album I started 6 years ago (only a few things left to be recorded, then lots of editing/mixing which I am not in the mood to do)

The question, then, becomes how we balance being content—and grateful—where we are, while also being okay striving for something still greater. It’s not easy: Oprah Winfrey once said, “I got so focused on the difficulty of the climb that I lost sight of being grateful for simply having a mountain to climb.”

On the plus side, one of my other admittedly larger goals is happening – I’m currently learning ASL (American Sign Language), and unsurprisingly, I’m really benefitting from the formal classroom environment that I’m learning in. It’s incremental, so it doesn’t feel overwhelming. I know I could just discipline myself and do these other things incrementally, and maybe that would work better if I didn’t have that many things I want to do (all right now, not one now, the rest later). Maybe it’s time for me to get an accountability coach. When I get in a groove, I’m really good at not procrastinating, but right now I honestly just can’t seem to bring myself to pick one thing to focus on (well, aside from ASL).

The reality is that our journey stretches as long as we live, and if we ever think we’ve made it to the end, we might be limiting ourselves. We just don’t realize it when we set our current goals. This is why so many of us never feel truly happy, or fully satisfied. We want to see today’s goal as a destination because that allows us to feel a sense of certainty, finality, and accomplishment when we reach it—as it should.

However, there is another piece that often gets lost, which is that we’re always in a state of change. It’s not about wanting more, but about being present for where we are, and the people we’ve become at every new stage of our journeys. It’s not specifically about the better job, home, or relationship—the truth is that wherever we are, there will always be something more to reach for.

One thing I can definitely say since I got on this persistent quest for learning, skill building, and personal growth, is that I have been exposed to some things I never expected, met some really cool people, gone to some cool events, and ultimately inspired and enriched my life quite a bit. In my “old life”, I never would have thought someone like me could have some of these experiences, all I had to do was try. I was afraid, I was unconfident, I didn’t think I deserved it in some cases. Now I just want to encourage others (which is why I started a bucket list group with some friends on facebook, so we could attempt to tackle some of these things together), and that has really helped me not feel so unlikely to accomplish some of my goals. I’m in that ASL class because of a friend of mine who I didn’t even know was interested in ASL. She’s my accountability buddy. And I’m loving it. I’ll be writing about it later, but I’m excited by the possibilities it creates, and the ability to interact and connect with people I couldn’t before.

I’ll leave you with one last quote, from Jon Bon Jovi: “Any time that you think you’ve hit the top of the mountain, the truth of the matter is you’ve just reached another mountain. And it’s there to climb all over again.”

Political perspective: Liberals and Conservatives really ARE different (but maybe not how you thought)

Most people don’t want to talk, or even think about politics. It’s too divisive, and rarely pleasant. Unfortunately, politics is a part of our lives whether we like it or not, and we’re better served to not stick our heads in the sand and hope everything just works out.

That said, I found an article recently that finally seems to bring some clarity to the age-old Liberal vs Conservative debate. I’ve been really into the idea of emotional intelligence lately – understanding someone else’s situation, point of view, why they feel the way they feel. In doing this, it’s easier to relate, empathize, and maybe even work together (compromise), rather than just saying “I don’t agree with you, you’re stupid, I’m going to make your life harder”.

From Vox.com comes “Why Democrats and Republicans don’t understand each other”, and I think it does a good job of explaining some key differences that we hear about, and we perceive ourselves, but they’re finally presented in a more “tangible” way.

First:

Democrats are more focused on making policy to appease their various interest groups and Republicans are more focused on proving their commitment to the small-government philosophy that unites their base.

As Speaker John Boehner put it when he was asked about the slow pace of lawmaking in his House, “we should not be judged on how many new laws we create. We ought to be judged on how many laws we repeal.”

As one example I can think of (though I’m sure there are better ones), I watched a documentary years ago about Ralph Nader called “An Unreasonable Man”. The title is derived from the quote “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world. The unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself, thus all progress depends on the unreasonable man”. In this documentary, it chronicled how Nader initiated several organizations and committees to protect various groups – workers, consumers, families… and he was making quite a bit of headway, until the next Replublican president was elected and quickly squashed and stagnated his efforts.

This next bit speaks to a point that Chris Rock made in one of his stand up specials, about being liberal on some issues, and conservative on others:

On its face, this presents a puzzle: how can conservatism be the more popular ideology even as the Democrats are the more popular party?

Grossmann and Hopkins disagree. They see this not as a puzzle about American politics but as an explanation for why it works the way it does. They note that 73 percent of Republican voters say they’re conservative but only 42 percent of Democratic voters say they’re liberal. And they note that while voters tend to agree with Republicans on the philosophical questions in American politics (should government be smaller?) they tend to agree with Democrats on the policy questions in American politics (like should Social Security be smaller?).

The Republican Party, in other words, has a very good reason to base itself around philosophical conservatism, while the Democratic Party has a very good reason to base itself around policy deliverables.

This next part is pretty interesting, and gives you an idea of the broader, longer-term implications of this:

The chart above shows the results: Democrats consistently prefer politicians who compromise and Republicans consistently prefer politicians who stick to their principles.

What’s remarkable is that held true even when Republicans controlled the White House. “Though they voiced strong disapproval of Bush, Democrats still expressed a preference for compromise in government — a tendency that has carried over to the Obama era,” write Grossmann and Hopkins. “Republicans have been consistent in their elevation of principle over moderation, regardless of which party is in power.”

That is…extraordinary. Even when a Republican president was facing a Democratic Congress, Republicans did not choose the answer that would have helped their president get more done. And even when a Republican president was facing a Democratic Congress, Democrats did not choose the answer that would have stiffened their party’s spine against passing Bush’s bills. I would have bet money against surveys showing this kind of stability between Democratic and Republican administrations. This is a difference between the two parties that runs deep.

This is something I do tend to find frustrating about more pure conservatives, some might call it “stubbornness”, and it’s important to be able to tell the difference between stubbornness (refusing to budge no matter what) and sticking to principles because you don’t feel you’ve been giving satisfactory reasoning for a change.

“Democrats and liberals are more likely to focus on policymaking because any change that occurs is much more likely to be liberal than conservative. New policies usually expand the scope of government responsibility, funding, or regulation. There are occasional conservative policy successes as well, but they are less frequent and are usually accompanied by expansion of government responsibility in other areas.”

The cleanest way to shrink the size of government is to repeal laws and regulations. But it doesn’t happen very often. In the American political system, Grossmann says, “it’s hard to pass anything, but it’s particularly hard to repeal a law that already exists.” Systematic analyses show it’s rare for laws to be repealed wholesale. “That creates perpetual disappointment among the Republican base,” Grossmann continues. “They correctly perceive that their party does not succeed in enacting their professed ideology.”

But they’re a reminder that American politics is fundamentally rational. Republicans are uncompromising because compromise tends to expand the scope of government. Democrats are willing to make deep concessions because policy moves in a generally liberal direction. Republicans have a clearer message about government because their message about government is fundamentally popular. Democrats talk more about policy because what they have to say about policy is fundamentally popular.

I think that’s a good distinction, and I think if more people were aware of it, it could help grease the gears a bit better and perhaps lead to a little more getting done. I think it suggest that partisanship is at least partially misconceived. Yes some people are truly stubborn and unwavering for personal and/or selfish reasons, but I’m sure that’s actually a minority.

This next bit feels a bit like the whole “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” idea, but applied to politics:

The data also explains why Democratic and Republicans have so much trouble understanding each other. Democrats tend to project their preference for policymaking onto the Republican Party — and then respond with anger and confusion when Republicans don’t seem interested in making a deal. Republicans tend to assume the Democratic Party is more ideological than it is, and so see various policy initiatives as part of an ideological effort to remake America along more socialistic lines.

This is really why effective communication is so important. If you make assumptions that are wrong, you obviously won’t get the results you expect. As frustrating and broken as the 2 party system often seems, perhaps there is a healthy balance hidden in there.

I’ve been “liberal” and “socialist” for a long time, and used to be much more ideological than I am now. If I was given political power in my 20s, I probably would have made a bunch of laws which were well-meaning, but not fully or properly considered/researched. Now I feel like I would think longer and more carefully before setting a policy for something.

Insightful Quote of the Day

Attempting to define yourself is like trying to bite your own teeth
-Unknown

I haven’t been able to find a source for this (heard it on a podcast), though I would at least partially beg to disagree.

The point is that you’re constantly changing and evolving, so any definition you come up with will eventually be inaccurate, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be very self-aware and know how you have changed and thus know how to redefine yourself. I’m all too familiar with that, thanks to being a Scanner.

Reminds me of another Incubus lyric:

Picture the scene
Where whatever you thought would in the blink of an eye,
Manifest and become illustrated
You’d be sure man that every line drawn reflected a life that you loved
Not an existence that you hated
So, must we demonstrate that we can’t get it straight?
We’ve painted a picture, now we’re drowning in paint
Lets figure out what the hell it’s about
Before the picture we painted chews us up and spits us out

Show your contempt for the problem, and your concern for the person
-Jim Rohn

Activism is the rent I pay for living on this planet

I’m glad I found this, because there are a lot of times where being an activist feels like banging your head against a wall for absolutely no measurable reason. Some people spend their entire lives fighting and pushing, sweating and bleeding, only to make the smallest of gains for the whole.

This is what I need to help keep the effort in perspective.

Also worth reading (full article to come: “Ten Counter-Productive Behaviours of Social Justice Educators”)

activism

Sadness and the Bottle Analogy

Shortly after new of Robin Williams’ suicide broke, a friend of mine wrote a very well-crafted, thoughtful piece about what it’s like living with depression, essentially the devil you know. I meant to post it here sooner, but for various reasons I’m late to the game.

I’m going to quote most of it, but not the entire thing. I think it really hits the nail on the head and will give you something to think about, maybe both for yourself and someone (or several people) you know.

“Sadness and the Bottle Analogy” by Alex M:

Basically it works like this: imagine every person like a bottle with the cork out.
People take from each of us but people also give back. Not everyone, though. We all lose water, sometimes. That happens to everyone I think, eventually. You feel very empty.

When your body, mind, and personality are a certain way, when you hit fizzy water bottom, you put the cork in the bottle. That bottle will not be filled. You have put the cork into it and only you can take it out. It could rain fizzy water and your bottle would be empty while everyone else’s is flowing over the top and into the sea. But it’s okay, because there are ways to fill someone’s bottle even when yours is empty. It’s still possible to create it, through words and actions. It’s possible to tip an empty bottle and have something come out.

You may never take that cork out of the bottle. Every day billions of other people are thirsty because something is going wrong for them and I can help with that! I would love to help with that. Because if I’m not taking in water then there’s extra to go around. Because everyone deserves to be happy. Not me, though. All of those tiny invisible somethings happened to me because I did something to deserve them. Because I did those things and I still wound up empty, so there’s the proof. And then what happens sometimes is the bottle breaks. Empty bottles break better than full ones.

To those who are surprised that someone so happy like Mr. Williams could be so sad: hello. We’ve met. We’ve met but despite how good you are you can’t ever be inside my head. I am an empty bottle person who has empty bottle thoughts, but I have both full and empty bottle friends. Sometimes being around you and people like you I can even take the cork out! It’s hard, though. Compliments are hard. Kind words are not easy at all and sometimes make the self-doubt greater.

It’s important that you remember that depression is an illness, and it can be mediated and moderated with the help of a treatment plan. It is important that you remember that your kind words can save someone, even if they think that their cork is in, but also that sometimes you can’t. The most important thing you can do is make sure that you give when you can and take when you can’t. I and you and we are all of us alone within ourselves but sometimes when everyone is offering water you’ll let yourself dive in. Even if you just want to float for a while.

I also came across this a while ago, which will perhaps serve as further inspiration for you:

eeyore

Life without a cell phone

Tom Grotewohl did something that I’m sure many of us have nightmares about these days. He spent 16 months, not only without a smartphone, but without any phone at all. As my friend Steve has said “[as a society] we are better prepared for a zombie apocalypse than we are for 24 hours without the internet”.

So, why did Tom do it, and what did he learn? He answers those questions in his article “I Went 16 Months Without A Cell Phone And My Life Was So Much Better”.

You’re probably reacting to that line as if it read, “I’ve spent the last year and a half without breathing air.” Cell phones have become such a crucial part of our daily lives that most folks rely on them more than the majority of organs in their bodies. In fact, you can get your spleen removed and continue living a normal existence, but the same cannot be said of a cell phone.

For this last period of my life, I haven’t had those things because I’ve been traveling. I’ve been crossing borders too frequently to hold on to friends, and sleeping anywhere that offered a free bed or a bit of floorspace so I didn’t have to work. It’s what has allowed me to conduct this experiment.

So, there’s the why. What about the lessons learned? Well, since I don’t want to give everything away (you should actually read the article!), here are the headers:

  • Being in two places at once means you aren’t anywhere.
  • Instant communication has transformed us all into paranoid, over-protective moms.
  • Eye contact is the 21st century dodo [bird]
  • We’ve mistaken being alone for loneliness

I think he makes some good and interesting points, though I would say not everyone is as addicted to and reliant upon such technology. Personally, having GPS on my phone was a lifesaver as I was always bad with directions and getting “lost” made me extremely anxious and stressed. Even with GPS, I still get anxious sometimes.

One thing I have done, to try to manage the chaos, I’ve turned my phone ringer off completely, and turn off all notifications except email (that’s my weakness). Whether at work, at home, or out with friends, unless I’m waiting for/expecting a call or text, I do my thing and my phone just sits there quietly and doesn’t bother me. This allows me to concentrate better, and not be constantly checking my phone like a junkie looking for another fix.

In fact, when I am at work, if I’m checking my phone or my email, it’s either because I’m bored/understimulated, or because I have had an idea that I need to send to myself for later. I truly enjoy being engaged enough in an activity that I don’t feel the need to check messages. So I’m trying to be better at keeping myself productively engaged. When I started tracking my activities and time allocation with an app recently, it made me realize, on the positive, that most of the time I spend on sites like YouTube or Reddit are actually not “distracted” time, but I’m usually researching, learning, or otherwise informing myself. Not always, but more often than not. I don’t really play “games” very much, because in part, I feel like there are far more enriching things I could be using that time/technology for.

Lastly, with my plans for international travel in the not too distant future, I may have to go without a phone myself, since I do not have a plan with a larger carrier, the carrier I’m with won’t be able to give me any service where I go, so I’ll either be paying out the nose for service, or I’ll be doing what Tom did. Of course I think it would be a different thing being “home” without a phone, vs away, where you’re supposed to be exploring anyway, not tweeting or facebooking. I like to connect with people, and after a long time of doing that mostly electronically, I’ve been feeling good about connecting with people more in the flesh.

At the end of the day, it’s important and healthy to not be too dependent on anything. Technology certainly makes life more convenient, but I don’t think very many people make an effort to regulate themselves, so convenience can and does develop into an unhealthy habit that can persist for a long time and be hard to break out of.

Motion vs Action aka Planning vs Progress on goals

I just read an article on Medium called “The Mistake Smart People Make: Being In Motion vs. Taking Action”. It was one of those things where I stumbled across the article at just the right time for where my head is at.

I’ve been updating my bucket list lately, planning to try and tackle a few more things, doing research into how/where/how much. The article calls this “motion”:

Motion is when you’re busy doing something, but that task will never produce an outcome by itself. Action, on the other hand, is the type of behavior that will get you a result.

  • If I outline 20 ideas for articles I want to write, that’s motion. If I actually write and publish an article, that’s action.
  • If I email 10 new leads for my business and start conversations with them, that’s motion. If they actually buy something and turn into a customer, that’s action.
  • If I search for a better diet plan and read a few books on the topic, that’s motion. If I actually eat a healthy meal, that’s action.
  • If I go to the gym and ask about getting a personal trainer, that’s motion. If I actually step under the bar and start squatting, that’s action.
  • If I study for a test or prepare for a research project, that’s motion. If I actually take the test or write my research paper, that’s action.

Sometimes motion is good because it allows you to prepare and strategize and learn. But motion will never — by itself — lead to the result you are looking to achieve. It doesn’t matter how many times you go talk to the personal trainer, that motion will never get you in shape. Only the action of working out will get you the result you’re looking to achieve.

And this next bit takes a stab at just what is the crux of why so many of us often don’t get past motion and into action:

Sometimes we do it because we actually need to plan or learn more. But more often than not, we do it because motion allows us to feel like we’re making progress without running the risk of failure. Most of us are experts at avoiding criticism. It doesn’t feel good to fail or to be judged publicly, so we tend to avoid situations where that might happen. And that’s the biggest reason why you slip into motion rather than taking action: you want to delay failure.

What I have been doing lately is, as the article suggests, setting dates. “I plan to tackle X activity/goal on X date”. I do the research beforehand so I’m ready to go on the day of. It seems to be working fairly well so far.

It’s worth thinking about, and trying to set more specific goals, both in the actual activity itself, as well as when, where and how you’ll do it.