January 2017 Archives

Weekly Wine Issue #04

It’s out, and I’m just as happy about this one now as I was last night when I wrote it. If you can’t tell, already, I’m a huge wine fan.

Give it a read here.

This One’s For the Guys

Gentlemen, let’s chat.

What’s important to you? Do you think you could name a few things that are both a) not generic like food or phone and b) worth talking about to a total stranger?

Have a hobby or two. No, that’s not good enough. Don’t just have a hobby or two, be passionate about it. If someone (maybe a lady?) asks you what you enjoy doing, you’re destined to fail if you tell them watching TV. Sure, I’ll bet they probably like watching TV too (unless they don’t), but that’s not what they’re looking for, and that’s not the bar you should set for yourself.

It can anything. I have my own wine club of one. I love telling folks about it because it’s something I’m passionate about and hell, I love wine. I could say I like wine, but that’s bland. Be like the wine. Be unique. Give her a reason to remember you.

Your pick up lines aren’t going to save you.

Emotional Decisions

Picking up where I left off a few days ago, I wanted to continue my stream on consciousness on emotions.

On the scale of what I find important in life, understanding emotions and how they play a part in what path your life takes is high up there. Don’t get me wrong, I act on emotion as much as the next person. I’d like to think I at least know what I’m getting myself into.

Finishing up chapter two of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck, a particular passage stood out to me. Before I mention it, I’d like to make it known that it’s not always the deepest or most powerful passages that stick with me for a long time. Sometimes it’s the simpler ones. The ones that invoke laughter or even just a simple head shake because it’s cheesy.

But then there are those people who over identify with their emotions. Everything is justified for another other reason than they felt it. … Decision-making based on emotional intuition, without the aid of reason to keep it in line, pretty much always sucks. You know who bases their entire lives on their emotions? Three-year-old kids. And dogs. You know what else three-year-olds and dogs do? Shit on the carpet.

Ain’t that the truth. Again, I’m not saying making decisions void of emotion is the right way to go. You’re not a robot, so don’t start acting like one. What differentiates alright emotion-based decisions and crazy decisions is the aid of reason.

Example A: Johnny wants to rob a bank because he’s angry that they took $2 for an ATM withdrawal fee. That’ll sure show those capitalist clowns.

That sounds like a highly emotional decision not based on any kind of reason.

Example B: Johnny met a girl. He likes her, a lot. He wants to impress her with his hobbies but showing her his rope and garbage bag collection seems like a bad idea. They stick to birdwatching, instead.

Much better.

Now that I’ve explained it to you like you’re five, let’s fire around some personal stories. I mention this being something that hits close to home. I’ve been the subject of more emotion-only-based decisions that I care to admit, and one thing I’ve learned from all this is not that they’re bad, but finding someway to stay grounded is of the utmost importance.

If you let your grounding slip away, your ability to keep your choices in check, so to speak, will slip away, too. There’s a very fine line between the best and the right decision, and usually one of those involves tossing reason out the window.

I don’t have any regrets, though. Sure it wasn’t the best decision at the time, but I also want to keep on the positive side.

I’m looking forward to Chapter 3 where we talk about how we’re not special… sounds like a doozy!

Boy Bye Bot

It’s a fake number you can give out to creeps; and when they text it, they’ll be interacting with a crazy chatbot instead of bothering you.

This is too perfect.

As someone who’s back in the dating world again, after almost six years out, I’m thoroughly amused by this.

I’m half-tempted to talk to this chatbot by texting 1–626–466–3293, though I’ll take my dose of amusement from the site, itself.

I’ll be on the look out for a female version of this. Also be right back while I go check my contacts list 😀

A Simple Coffee Shop Musing

There’s something to be said about sitting in a coffee shop with nothing in particular going on. It wasn’t one of those days but the coffee shop and sitting parts were true.

I think what I miss about little places like these are that after being so used to the grab-and-go nature of chains like Starbucks, we lose out on the opportunity to sit down and just take a moment.

When was the last time you sat down with a cup of coffee and did nothing but enjoy said coffee? I’ll admit I’m not even doing that right now. I’m sitting in a coffee shop in Seattle’s Capitol Hill, enjoying my afternoon away from the regularity of suburbia, and I’m sitting on my phone. Granted I wrote this yesterday in the coffee shop, for the purpose of scribing my thoughts about this.

Not a lot came to mind, but one thing I did realize is how much I miss not just getting out and mixing up the regularity of life even just a bit, but doing so slightly outside my geographical area of expertise.

I’ve never been here, and I might not be here again for some time.  Such is life. But for the couple hours I’m here, it’ll be a couple hours I’ll always remember.

Happiness Is a Problem

What do you think of when I say the words you’ll never really be happy without problems?

I’m probably crazy, right?

What defines happiness? Having a lot of money? A nice car? A pool? Season tickets? All of those things can aid in eliciting a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. I don’t think you’ll ever actually be happy, even if you had all of those things at once.

From the second chapter of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck, Manson talks about what life ends up being if all your goals in life are to create a world devoid of anything negative. If, throughout your entire life, everything is catered for you, solved for you, and you’re never exposed to an ounce of anything less than 100% amazeballs, what will you have left?

This is the classic story of the rich kid who had everything given to him and never a need left unfulfilled. We all know how those stories turn out, too: rich kid rebels and goes off on some life journey to explore the world and find himself.

Too bad that never works out, either. Making such a decision based on emotion is usually a recipe for disaster, because it doesn’t actually address the problem. In fact it does the opposite.

Everyone knows someone that runs away from their problems. Everyone also knows someone that looks for token-based methods of solving their problems (filling a void with things). Unfortunately, neither of these methods will ever work, as we as humans strive on the ability for genuine problem solving.

Throwing Money At the Problem

To be happy, we need something to solve. Happiness is therefore a form of action; it’s an activity, not something that s passively bestowed upon you, not something that you magically discover… happiness occurs only when you find the problems you enjoy having and enjoy solving. 

Let’s take that quote from Manson’s book and chew on it for a second or two.

We have two people that face the same general level of adversity and struggle in life. They can be any race, gender, name, whatever. It doesn’t matter. Person A throws money at the problem so to speak by buying a new car and a new house and new clothes and a trophy spouse to counteract the pain and suffering this adversity is creating in their life.

Person B does things a bit differently. Starting in the same place, they find a solution to the problem which created the diversity, thus eliminating it from their lives altogether. The next day comes and a new challenge surfaces. Lucky for them, they know how to tackle things like this and it’s just a matter of rinse and repeat.

The Key Difference

What Person A did was nothing more than paint over mold. That mold will always be there and will probably just get worse, requiring you to tear down the walls and deal with more than you ever thought was going to happen. Person B cleaned out the mold, tore down walls where needed, and took care of the problem the better way from the start.

Now Person B can go buy a nice car and house and whatever they feel like they want, but those things are there for fun, not because they have to be. At this point if we took away all the things Person A acquired for themselves, how much do you want to bet they’re still worse off than before they had them in the first place?

I’d bet a lot.

What all this comes down to is chasing to create a world around you that involves tackling life’s challenges and not only being consistent but also taking the time to create good problems for yourself. That’s a good problem to have.

For those following along, I want to talk about the second half of this chapter (making decisions based on emotion) in the next post. It’s a topic that’s pretty near and dear to my heart, as I have a load of personal experience with it, as well. In the event I end up running long, I don’t want to toss too many different bits of info out at you, at once.

Johnathan Lyman
Kenmore, WA,
United States
blogging, design, technology, software, development, gaming, photography