Privileged

Last week frazzled producers at the TED Radio Hour HQ thought it wise to re-upload a 2014 podcast. The 45 minute episode discussed money and its impact on the human race, aptly named ” The Money Paradox“. During the episode, a relentlessly intrigued Guy Raz interviewed a small mob of psychologists and economists saying close to the same thing: Humans simply don’t need more money than necessary to live on (and allow for occasional time to relax). They found that poorer people tended to be comparably more generous and much more willing to help out strangers in a bind.

In reflection of the podcast, timely played during the two weeks before my new job starts, I don’t feel like climbing the “corporate ladder”. I will work hard at what I love and try to contribute as much as I can to environmental innovation and conserving our Earth, but not for the money. I am privileged to have a roof over my head and a computer to write this post on. Given this new job, it’s time to start finding ways to increase awareness of how lucky I am, and act in reflection of that.

How can you use what you’ve been given, your privilege, to help others? I’d love to hear some creative ideas!

 

 

Push Through

Today was a hard day. Just after concrete testing we had some down time before supposed rebar inspections in the frigid air outside. I decided to quickly sweep our concrete testing area, conveniently located in a parking garage just east of the construction site. After construction is completed, our portion of the parking garage will be used for premier hotel guests.

During this time my boss took a look at the sweeping and realized some excess concrete had built up next to the testing site, sticking to the garage floor. I was handed a metal scraper and told to simply separate the excess concrete from of the floor. So, I grabbed the scraper and banged it against the concrete, watching as a spec the size of a small chocolate chip flew through the air and landed a few feet away. Again, I rammed the scraper against the concrete with excessive force, only to watch as the mound remained in an unbreakable embrace with the floor. I was furious, and, after multiple further attempts, I realized this method wasn’t going to work. An eternity of using the scraper as a chisel, a bucket of sweat (and tears), some slight cursing, and most of the concrete had been removed.

Now, I didn’t tell myself to get over my self pity, and continued to curse at the damn ground for just being there. I could realistically have told myself that it would take time and to push through, but I simply became more flustered with each seemingly useless whack.

Needless to say, when you encounter difficulty, no matter how insurmountable it may seem, try to have a realistic perspective. Rather than giving up, say, “This is going to take a bit of time and will probably be hard, but I’ll get it done before long.” Then finish the job. No whining, no cursing or self pity, just get it done. Hopefully it will help the task get completed faster, and you won’t end up crying in a heap on the ground. Food for thought.

Old Friends

I just got back from snagging a bite to eat with a high school friend. We haven’t seen each other in a while and I thought it would be good to see how he was doing.

A waitress kindly seated us at a nearby burger joint and soon we began a vibrant conversation. Talk drifted from our recent endeavors to the good ol’ high school days. He and I ran on the same cross country team and afterwards spent a lot of time attempting to mash buttons in an effort to destroy each other in Call of Duty (he always won). I noticed a few rabbit trails emerge throughout the discussion, though allowing each of these to play their course was quite enjoyable.

When was the last time you saw an old friend? See if you can get in touch with someone who you haven’t seen in a while. Try to reconnect and find out how they are doing. It’s pretty fun.

Finding bliss in an average day

Today was, well, average. I woke up at 7 this morning and after wolfing down a rather large breakfast hopped in my company truck and headed to work. The day zoomed by, and I am now finding myself back at my house, writing this second blog post of the week.

We as working adults can get stuck in the humdrum of life. It’s easy and comfortable to wake up, work, and get home to simply relax before our bed entices us back to sleep.

Break the mold today. Try something new and exciting, heck, maybe even uncomfortable. I guarantee you will be more satisfied because of it.

Well, I’m off to run a in a new area of Denver with a friend. Thanks to everyone who takes time out of their day to read this!

A quick update

Monday, the 8th of January. I write this sitting at coffee shop, surrounded by the hum of steady conversation and a soft munsell yellow blanket of light. One rather stocky gentleman with small white studs in his ears seems to take up the entire room with his laugh. I’ve put in headphones.

My random goal for this week is to write one blog post each day until this next Sunday. Should be interesting, seeing as I have no planned posts and creativity is somewhat of an elusive creature in these post-holiday times.

Today I was thinking a lot about the future. I know you “shouldn’t worry about tomorrow, for you do not know what it may bring” and such, but it’s so hard not to think about what my life is going to be like in this coming year. A LOT has happened this past 365 days, to say the least. Graduation, weddings, and a new job to name a few. I’ve made New Years resolutions this year, as I usually do every year, but this year feels different. I think I actually have the drive to succeed, and have been maintaining them thus far (a whole 8 days, wow!)

Anyways, I wish you all in the blogging community motivation and perseverance in whatever goals you have for the year. The stocky dude just laughed again. That’s my cue to head home.

Continually Distracted

I’ve been driving a lot for work lately (in my white Chevy Colorado, a company vehicle that doesn’t quite suit my tastes, but hey, I’m not complaining). Sometimes I’ll find myself in a town two to five hours away, gearing up for another day of testing concrete. As the work day winds to a close, I pop in my car and start up a podcast before hitting the highway.

My internal radar is increasingly noticing the number of car crashes on Colorado’s main highways. It seems each week I pass more and more blinding blue and red lights followed by disgruntled people staring at their wrecked cars.

The main cause? That little friend resting in your pocket, middle compartment, or dashboard. Yep, your cell phone. If the majority of drivers made the choice to take their phones and put them on do not disturb while driving, I am sure the number of car crashes would decrease dramatically. The U.S. Department of Transportation states that “Drivers who are texting can be more than 20 times more likely to crash than non-distracted drivers.” (USDOT). This is pretty weighty news and recently it feels like it’s getting worse. If Elon Musk and the thinkers at Google don’t come up with some sort of “autonomous” solution fast, we could be in for increasingly dangerous situations on highways, not to mention more absurd amounts of time lost due to onlooker slowdown.

Long story short, put the phone down. Your pals can wait a little bit.

Texting and Driving
A sad car crash due to texting…

Success

When you visualize a successful person, who do you look at? The Wall Street tycoon? The Olympic athlete? The famous actor or actress?

What impresses me about the word success are the many interpretations that allow this word to achieve such a broad meaning. Definitions spring up from a plethora of opinions constructed by unique cultures and environments. Many seem to think it is defined by a level of status, wealth, fame, or comfort.

In my life, on occasion, I am drawn towards these broad definitions, and as I observe much of the media today, success may have the appearance of requiring minimal effort to obtain. “Buy this product and you’ll be a step closer to a happy life”, or “join our organization and you can reach your goals” are just some of the hooks out there vying for our attention.

Success may seem like a short and direct avenue with reward in sight, though once you actually decide to take the path towards accomplishment, the once spacious trail narrows, roots suddenly appear to obstruct the way, and success assumes an evasive nature.

As I’ve learned from my Christian perspective, the definition of success is really quite counter cultural. Success, by most standards is not easy to obtain, and without luck takes substantial effort. To climb the mountain you must train, to get that dream job you need to put in the time and effort to be competitive. To be satisfied in life, many times you need to show humility and defy our self promoting culture.

What defines success to you?

IMG_54301
My buddy Jordan deciding to take the left path on our way back from a camping trip.