LOSING WITH GRACE

Hey everyone,

 

I want to start off by inviting you all to read a story that I posted to the blog yesterday. It’s quite long (about 16 pages double spaced) but so far I’ve only had positive feedback. It also didn’t post properly to WordPress, so I am worried that some of my normal readers may not have seen it. On to the discussion!

Ok. Tough losses last night for the Sanders community. I feel like there are two ways that people take losing. There are two archetypes that I can think of for people who lose—those who take it with grace and those who displace the realities. I say archetypes because the reality is that anyone can be a sore loser about something if the mood hit’s them right. Heck, I’m pretty good about losing, because I’ve done it so many times, and I still get caught up occasionally. Some of the more zealous Bernie supporters epitomize this. Sure, there are definitely arguments that the system is rigged, or that the polling stations “misread” ballots, and while those errors (or “errors,” depending on your view) are unfair and unacceptable, they also are very few and far between. Excluding maybe the lines at polling places in Arizona, there really isn’t an excuse in this kind of argument.

Speaking of polling places, I had the best experience voting that I could possibly have. I mean, it was awkward that my mail-in ballot was sent to the wrong address, and I did not get it until the day before it was due, but hey, that just meant that I had to drop it off at an actual polling place. Anyways, I took it, and dropped it off with the people there. And the place was so empty. This is the real problem with the system—so few people feel the need to vote. “Good” turn out for us is 33%. I know it’s a choice to vote, but by not voting you remove the opportunity to choose a candidate.

Ok, I digress, make sure you vote in November, even if you don’t like either candidate that much. Moving on, we all know the bad losers. The guys and gals that say “my control broke” or “man if only that ref hadn’t been totally against us” every single time they lose. We get it, you’re insecure and don’t want to admit you just got out played (note that if either of these situations were true, it wouldn’t take an explanation). But the people who take a loss with grace are the kind of people we need more of in the world. The people who can bow their head and say, “yup. I lost. I’m not happy about it, but congratulations on beating me.” If you value yourself as an opponent in anything, then you should be the first to congratulate your opponent when they defeat you. Because that should mean a lot. I play a hobby fairly competitively, and I shake my opponent’s hand after every match not because I am happy that I lost, but because I am happy that they beat me. Not everybody can beat me.

Which is a good way to look at things. Not only does a person respect their opponent by taking a loss with grace, but they also respect themselves. The reality is there will always be time for a rematch later, but in that moment it is a kindness to accept being outplayed, or that someone got luckier than you. It happens. And that’s ok.

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REDEFINING SUCCESS

Hello everyone,

 

There’s all these people I know that are becoming successful individuals, and I am just sitting here like…I have a blog…which got me thinking about what success is. I know a lot of people consider success how much money they have, and there are far more people who feel like success is something that is not measurable in dollars, in spite of the fact that they only feel successful because they have a lot of money. I think the vast majority of this is due to the idea that capitalism lends itself to promoting those who have increased their net worth.

For example, I have some friends that are growing in popularity; a couple are going into acting/modeling. These, unsurprisingly, are not very close friends. But they are good people that I share the occasional conversation with. I do not think they are particularly intelligent in all areas, or a cut above everyone else, but they have been active in self promotion and what not. Which is good for them. They are doing what fulfills them.

There are two major areas that I have noticed in modern America that a person can go into in order to be “successful”—science or business and pop culture. Science, of course, get the money. Even if a doctor does not have the fame of, say, Taylor Swift, they still have made it in the bank. The same is true for a business person. And then there’s pop culture, which is essential the rough, dominant male, extremely attractive and sensitive male, physically and mental fit woman, and finally the hyper thin, exceedingly attractive woman. Those are the archetypes of pop culture (and yes, there are numerous exceptions, but they are just that—an exception outside the norm).

So how do we define success in America, if we pull from these categories? Either a person is monetarily successful, or a person is famous. Both of these often overlap. Is this how we should truly define success? Many successful people are assholes. They have no respect for the average person, they will not take the time to share a drink with a random human being, they rarely make donations to charity in more ways than their name on a check—which, by the way, is never going to be a significant enough amount to impact how they live their lifestyle, even if that money means the world to hundreds of people. Some of them even hire PR (Public Relations) assistants so that they do not have to manage any of this stuff themselves. They do not want to be a part of our world, but they want us to think we matter just as much as they do, so that we keep buying their products.

Not everyone is like this, but a vast majority of people are. It is not someone being driven crazy by power and money, they simply are able to do this kind of thing because they have power and money. Money is not the cause, but it is an enabler.

Think about the last time you took a walk with your family. Or helped an older person across the street. Or saw a child lost and helped to find their parents. Or gave a homeless person a water bottle. These are all things that everyone can do, though not everyone does. And they may not be as fancy as creating a homeless shelter out of a portion of the money made from a movie, but they often are more personal and meaningful. The world needs less pop icons, lawyers, doctors, and Wall Street businessmen, and more people willing to care about each other in a community. Don’t worry if you aren’t the biggest thing to come out of your hometown. Bring the best of the world to your hometown.

I AM THE BEST BLOGGER EVER

Hello everyone,

 

So I talked about respect recently, and I wanted to follow up that discussion with a talk about an alternate perspective on things. I’m not saying that people should not be respectful to the best extent they possibly can be, but I also realize that sometimes being respectful includes bowing at the ideas of other. For example, being respectful of transgender people is pretty upstanding. Not only are they already suffering due to the hatred that exists within society over trans people, but there is also internal struggle that they must deal with on a regular basis because they don’t conform to social norms. Not accepting your biological sex as your gender is about as far away from the socialized norms in the world.

But before I get off topic discussing why America needs to do a better job at accepting people, I need to get to the actual topic today, which is self-promotion. One of the biggest offenders of this is Kanye West, which despite his hyper dominant, shoot first aim later attitude, is vastly successful. Seriously. Look at all the awards he’s one. He went $53 million in debt according to him, and he’s still crushing the music industry. He ripped a mic out of Taylor Swift’s hand, got massacred by the media, then used that as a platform for crediting himself with making her famous in his recent song Famous. He isn’t even subtle about it. Lyrics like “I am a God” are about as forward and self-assured as it gets. But in reality this could very easily be a façade. I have no doubt that to some extent this is real, he probably is quite an asshole and very vain. But think about it, if you don’t like your own product, how could anyone else?

Would you take Apple seriously if they used Dell products in their stores? What if McDonald’s credited Jack in the Box with having the best fast food burger? Humility is great and all, and in many areas it is fine to have, but in reality winning on a personal level requires ruthlessness. It’s part of why Trump is doing so well in the political scene. He’s made it all about him, and then he has been belittling to all other candidates. And it worked—Cruz just dropped out. Trump immediately reconciled with his voters, despite calling Cruz weak and what not just a few weeks ago, by saying that he was a great competitor. What? That doesn’t make any sense.

It doesn’t matter though, because so many people live willing to accept things at face value. Additionally, any claim like “I am a God” or “I am the best rapper” or “I make the best products” requires research to break down. Most people are too lazy to do research so they just accept whatever the asserted statement was. And even those who disprove it have to go out and experience it.

Take Kanye again. Claims he’s the best rapper in the game. To properly disprove this, a person would have listen to his music and judge it. Which means he’s gotten that many more people talking about him. Same is true for Trump. So while it may not be the most kind or morally even way to promote themselves, it is a successful tool.

I hope you understand the irony of my title now.