People who cross at traffic signals.

If you can, at any point in life, be the person who decides when to cross at traffic signals, irrespective of their colour.

When you are on your way to work, or spending an idle day in the presence of a busy street, watch the people who wait by the traffic signals.

When the light for pedestrians is red; stand and watch. You’ll see a spattering of different humans, each categorised into a few different tropes, of which you will fall into one.

There are those who stand still, on their phone, gathering news, messaging friends, and ultimately and more truthfully, watching videos of animals being cute or humans falling over. These people have no concern for the traffic, for they know when to move, as the periphery of their eyes tell them that the bodies around them have begun to shuffle. And so too they canter to keep up.

There are those who listen to something on their headphones. Perhaps it’s a podcast, a motivational speech, an audio book, or some music. But whichever it is, they will stare blankly as possible across to the other side of the road, until perhaps at some point a smile will curl up from the edges of their mouth. It’s a song they like. Or maybe they’ve related to something said. They normally pay more attention to the traffic signals than those mentioned before.

There are the elderly, who rather consistently will not be on their phones, or listening to music. Largely they have grown without it, and unlike the younger generations can continue to do so, without trepidation, or the fear of the world passing them by.

There are the confident or perhaps flirtatious people, who can be an extension of the first two, except that these people are merely pretending to be doing what they are not doing. They instead, are thinking about how they look, and trying to appear as casual as possible, as they occasionally catch eyes with someone across the street. They smile and look at the floor, or up to the sky. Funnily enough, this casual attitude will extend as they both pass each other in the road when the lights do change. Unlike in adverts for perfume, no one ever meets in the middle of the road. Unless flattened.

There are people, who are eagerly awaiting the changing of the traffic lights, because a friend or loved one awaits them on the other side. These people have most likely forgotten all rules of social conduct, as they cheer and wave at their counterpart. Sometimes they’ll even shout words, that when taken out of context are either deathly frightening, or intolerably intriguing.

There are people who are anywhere between the age range of young to elderly, who are not on their phones, they are not listening to music, and they are not particularly looking at anything around them. These are insane people. Avoid these people.

There are a few other tropes, but as the list goes on, more so do they reach into sub-genres of the above mentioned. Regardless, the sustenance was never whom the crowd consists of; it is that they are waiting at the red light when they need not be. For there are only two options when there is a red light, either there is traffic coming, or there is not. And yet from our 50% chance, I would wager that 99% of the time, people are waiting. People are just standing… waiting.

Why? Unless jaywalking laws are particularly strict in your country… Why are you waiting? What are you waiting for? You do not need to listen to a light. If you are listening for the light, I can assure you, you will not hear it. This light is a guide, not a rule. Cross the road, if you wish to do so. Get to where you need to be, regardless of who is telling you otherwise. Regardless of who around you has chosen not to move forward, or stand still; you don’t need to listen to that whatsoever.

Take your surroundings, or advice, or rules, as a basis for caution; but do not let it hinder you. Because when you cross at a traffic signal, when the light is red, and no traffic is coming; you will notice something remarkable. Suddenly, 99% of people have begun to move. And now it all becomes silly, how such a small thing had been stopping them all along.

You can tell a lot about a person by how they act at traffic signals. Be a brighter beacon than that dim light telling you what to do.

– While this is all well and good, there is an addendum to this, which acts as an exception.

When the traffic lights turn green for pedestrians to move, and everyone starts moving; Watch for who is left behind. If someone stumbles or falters, perhaps they are unsure or need a hand – Stay. Wait. Help them. Take valuable time out your day, to make them feel valuable too.

For if you rush too far ahead, and leave all those in need of a little help behind you, perhaps you will turn around to find, that you left a better version of yourself behind also.

You can tell a lot about a person by how they act at traffic signals.

So perhaps the next time you’re beginning a new day, you’re at a crossroads, and you need to make a decision, remember this article. And reflect on how the traffic signals had nothing to do with anything.

Shorts: The Little Things

It’s the small details, that are by far the most important.

I sit in work, the room is dark for the light hurts the eyes of some other co-workers. I enjoy listening to them jokingly bicker and banter with one another, but now they leave to grab some lunch. The sounds of their voices drift into the background and beyond the door.

And so I sit, with my favourite meal for lunch. On my lap I have Of Mice And Men by John Steinbeck, and with no one but myself left in the office, I play some soft music from my Spotify.

I know this will only last for a few moments. If I’m lucky I’ll have fifteen minutes.

But what a fifteen minutes it will be. When I look back on the day, no matter what happens, I will look upon the small details, which are by far the most important. And when I look upon them and judge, I will say with a gentle sigh,

“Today has been a good day.”

PROCRASTINATION

If it takes five minutes, do it right now. You’re putting it off, and in thirty minutes you’ll put it off again, and after thirty more times of putting it off by thirty minutes, it’s time for bed and ultimately your objective is failed. But don’t worry, you’ll do it tomorrow. Procrastinate, I mean.

It’s one of the worst, most stressful feelings to procrastinate, because you become more aware of time than ever, and most importantly the sheer lack of it. You’re not a bad person for procrastinating. We work more now than any other time in our recorded history. Even those who were of pure hard labour were given more time off to mend. We have more obligations, commitments, and deadlines than ever before. You’re consistently told you should do more, and for less. By the time you’re twenty, your job requires twenty years experience. By the time you’re forty, they’ll want someone who’s twenty. From the day you are born, you are being shaped to work, and the entry requirements now are astonishing. So you’re not a bad person for feeling like you require more time, less effort. It’s okay to feel that for a day you wish to do absolutely nothing. Time wasted, is not necessarily wasted time. As long as you need it to be.

That is why there are those who say “Work a job that you love and you’ll never ‘work’ a day in your life”, for if you can practice and hone your hobby and it is classed as working to some, then bingo. But unfortunately that process can’t be forced. You have to be one of the lucky ones and hope that your hobby does not become work for you.

See more on doing what you love in life in – WHAT IF MONEY WERE NO OBJECT?

During the great depression, Bertrand Russell proposed the idea of the four hour working day to combat this from happening. Think about it, instead of the main focus of your life being to serve your workload, your boss at work, the main focus of the day would be your hobby, the things you actually care about, rather than those things you have to pretend you care about. When you get to the end of your life, you might actually have done that one thing that you “always wanted to do”, purely because you had a reasonable time frame in which to do it in. Whether what Russell proposed would work in practice rather than theory, whether I agree with him to any degree or not, it’s an interesting thought. That we have lived our lives, since the beginning of human lives, dedicated to working. That one paradigm has never changed.

And the frustrating thing about working all of our lives, to achieve greater things, is that no matter how much we work – it will never be completed. There is no limit to us, no limit to life. There is no end goal. We will always need more food, more water, a greater thirst for knowledge, more money to trade, more deals to be made.

No wonder it gets tiring.

If you find you are procrastinating, but you are not lazy, then perhaps you are simply over working yourself and deserve a break. Maybe, the next time you convince yourself to work because you should be, and find that you can’t get anything done, you should take a break. Take time for yourself. To explore yourself, and what it is that you need to wind down.

Otherwise, ultimately you’re achieving nothing of use in your work. You would work more efficiently with a rested mind than you would with a tired one. Waste your time, in whatever way you need to. Time wasted, is not wasted time.

Just ensure that when you actively choose laziness over rest, you must ask yourself a few simple questions, “Should I be doing this?”, “Does it take a couple minutes?”, “Will I be much happier relaxing if I know that it is done?” and finally, “CAN it wait?”. If the answer to two of the first three is yes, then do it. Equally if the answer to the last question is no, just do it. Don’t be mad at yourself for procrastinating, but understand that there IS a time and a place for it.

To procrastinate means you are human, and an overworked one at that. Don’t let yourself or anyone else tell you that you can’t procrastinate every now and then. But the secret to never procrastinating again, the true secret of it all, is – … I’ll get to that tomorrow.

WHAT IF MONEY WERE NO OBJECT?

If you haven’t watched or listened to Alan Watts, I would recommend that you do.
A thought that spawned this article.

What is it that you spend all night dreaming about?  If money were no object – what would you like to do with your life?

I know people, in their early twenties, who have no idea what they want to do with their lives and assume that this means they will one day be a failure. They spend hours a night worrying about this. I know people, in their forties, who have not yet discovered what they want to do with their lives, and assume they ARE a failure. They too lose sleep.

At any age they want the big house, the gorgeous spouse, the sports cars, the money falling out of their pockets never to be picked up from the ground – they want these things assuming that this quantifies success in their life.

But there is a rude awakening for those who do not tear themselves from this kind of thinking. I would rather be a “failure” at twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, sixty and beyond, than be in a job that I don’t like, lying next to a woman I do not love, in a house that is not a home, with friends whom I do not adore.

Because at that point you are revering a kind of thought that should be cast from your mind never to be heard from again. You are reverent, of purposelessness. That idea that while your running forward as fast as you can, your staying still. You’re running on a treadmill and nothing more. You can show someone the numbers, how long and how far you’ve run and they might humour you and move on – but you can’t turn around and show them how far you’ve come.

You can point to your shrinking belly, and tell them you’ve lost an inch on your waistline, but what for? What is the point, if it doesn’t make you happy?

Let’s suppose you enjoy painting, and will lose yourself to that most wonderful state of flow, where you forget that you are hungry, or that you are tired, because these things have ceased to matter to you. They are irrelevant, because you are happy doing that you are doing. You do not need to check your waistline any more. And let’s continue this thought by saying that, you enjoy painting, yet you have found yourself working in a telemarketing company where you cold call all day and night, to the point you are exhausted, so you go home to sleep, to wake up the next day and repeat the process.

You’ve forgot your easel when you walk through the door to the bedroom.

If you change the job title from telemarketer, to investee, to banker, to CEO – what does it matter if you’re paintbrush is never touched? Your paintbrush is purposeless.

You’re often told to put down the paintbrush by someone who points our your flaws, the things you do not have, or the ways in which they deem themselves to be better or more successful than you. But you should never concern yourself with these people. For people who are not happy for you, are most likely not happy for themselves. These people are living these lives, living and working with things and people they do not love, and will continue to do so until they die. These are not the people you want to associate with, or imitate – so it is okay that they disagree with you. In fact it is encouraging.

When you meet someone who tells you your dreams are stupid or a waste of your time, tell them it is better to have a dream than to have stopped dreaming.

If money is your barometer for success, you will always be unsuccessful, for someone will have more money than you. And you will compare to that person, and comparison is the enemy of joy. And so you will cease to be joyful.

To live your life will be a wonderful adventure, you must only commit to it that which comes natural to you. And if you do what you love, although you will face adversity and a harshness you have not yet known – the money will come. You will survive. You will continue to exist in a way that you love, rather than by a measure that you do not.

It’s isn’t difficult, existing. It isn’t rocket science.

Unless that which you are purposeful about, is rocket science.


P.s. The most interesting people I know, didn’t know in their forties what they wanted to do with their lives.


Advice on how to get into that job you love, here:
HOW TO GET A JOB IN THREE EASY STEPS

HOW TO GET A JOB IN THREE EASY STEPS

Step 1 – Hone your craft.

You don’t have to be the best at it, you just have to hone it, to know that you can do it with a relative degree of certainty. You’re certainly going to be able to improve at it over time, you just don’t want to break down with pressure on the day. Try to learn something unique or do something using a method no one else does or is hard to do.

Remember that the harder something is to do, the less people have done it also, and so it puts you in greater standing.

Step 2 – “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”

You’ve heard this used in derision, maybe the last time a job interview didn’t go so well. You heard some other candidate got the job, they were friends with interviewers late cousins friend. You come home to let people know of your disappointing day, and someone will definitely say it.

It’s not that you think you’re magnanimous, but you’re better than that guy, right? You’ll tell yourself you were way more suited for the job – but of course you weren’t.

For a long time, I thought the phrase was only to be used for consolation, but it isn’t true. It’s to be used in celebration.

What this phrase actually means, is stand out. Do something that gets you noticed. If you’re not passionate about something, you shouldn’t be doing it as your career. And so many people aren’t passionate about it so they go in blind and to a degree stand no better than mere chance at succeeding in the interview.

However, let’s say you’re passionate about cars (of which I know virtually nothing about, so great choice of example) and you want to land a job where you work with or on cars all day. Well you find there’s an opening at a car dealership, or a mechanics, and you go for the interview, it doesn’t go well for you so you sulk home and the same phrase you’ve heard a million times is uttered once more. You’ll continue with unemployment or that menial job you hate for now. NO!

If you’re passionate about cars, it’s really what you want to do? Go to a convention. A meet-up. Anything. Find out where other people are meeting with the same passions as you! How could this go wrong in any way? Take a convention for example, it would have the biggest names in cars – and sure you can try your luck there if you’re bold or have the experience  – but importantly the small guys will be there. The guys who’ve paid x amount for a booth and they only return they’re looking for is interaction. Interaction with you! To know they’re time and money isn’t being wasted.

Go up and talk to someone, anyone! Rather than awkwardly making accidental eye contact and then shying away, just look right at them, nod and go forward. They’re looking for someone to talk to, and you’re someone.

Be honest. Tell them what you want, why you’re there. Most folk with the saavy to have a business or a booth somewhere can smell bull s#%t sales patter, so come at them as a human instead. The way I see it, the interaction can only go one of so many ways:

1 – They tell you that they like you, have a job opening, and offer you an interview right on the spot! (But it isn’t a regular interview, because they already know they like you)

2 – They seem interested, and give you a business card or you give them one.
(Don’t lock it away in the drawer, show you actually bothered to remember them, email them once you’re home to thank them for their time, then contact them again when you’re going in for the kill. Or they might contact you!)

3 – They say they aren’t looking for anyone right now, but they know a friend!
(Now you’re that guy who knows a who, rather than what a what!)

4 – They say they aren’t looking for anyone, they’re new to this and don’t know anyone.
(Quite unlikely at a convention, but either way, you know them now. They’re looking to improve the same way that you are, they’ll throw help your way and you’ll reciprocate! People remember gestures like that, so if they do come into a position that’s valuable to you, they’ll come to you as one of the firsts)

Not a single one of these scenarios are hurting your chances!

And you’ll feel less alone. It’s scary to know you know how to do something and want to do it, but you’re on the outer circle. People doing a worse job are getting the position first. So embrace it, be the guy someone knows.

Because the fact of the matter is, if they knew the person at the interview, a bond goes a longer way than you think, so that other person was right for the job at the time, just as you are right for it now.

And when you finally make it to the top. Return the favour. Don’t think you’ll be the person who goes for the what’s of the world, scouring the globe for unseen talent, return the favour and be kind to the ambitious, they’re the ones who want to go far, and they’ll return the faith you put into them. Loyalty goes a long way in a career.

Step 3 – Volunteer. It’s like conventions times a million.