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Misfortune

 


 

The value of identity is that so often with it comes purpose. – Richard R. Grant

 

I, with utter shock and amazement, recently read the story of Daniel Kish (The Blind Man Who Taught Himself To See). Daniel was diagnosed with Retinoblastoma, a brutal form of cancer, which as you can tell from what it's called, attacks the retinas. To save his life, he had only one option; to remove both of his eyes. The screwed up part of this was that when this happened, he was only 13 months young!


Fear has its use but cowardice has none. – Mahatma Gandhi


Becoming blind pretty much sums up my biggest fear in life. I find it hard to even begin to imagine what going through life without vision must be like. Closing your eyes for a few minutes and trying to get around in a room or two isn't quite the same (because you know that you can open up your eyes at any moment to prevent accidents, and resume your normal life by looking around), but the idea is the same. Imagine that once you close your eyes, the lights go out permanently, and life as you were familiar with it, instantly ends.


There are many ways of going forward, but only one way of standing still. – Franklin D. Roosevelt


Cowardice didn't seem to play a role in Daniel Kish's life. Instead, he’s giving hope to blind people all around the world that although blindness may be considered a disability, he now has to modify his abilities to serve him. With action, he's saying that there may be a way in which blind people can blend into normal life that does not make them dependent on those around them for many things.


One thing that stood out to me in the article I linked above is how unbelievably proud this man is to live his life with what he has to work with. He responds strongly to the fact that people will still see him differently, as an outsider. Yeah, right. As if you need to ride a fancy car, cook fancy meals, and look at eye-candy to make you special. Special isn't what you have, it's about how you react to what you're given in life. We, the people who see him as different, are a big part of the problem. Not his blindness. It grinds my gears that people often see people who or blind (or people with any sort of 'disability') and assume immediately that they are feeble beings with nothing left to offer this world.


People are changed in many ways by adversity. Pain and suffering build our character. Some people give up in the name of their crucible, some people become indifferent. And others will become giants; success stories that inspire the world to embrace your reality such as it is so as to help others face their own. These "success stories" or "Giants" are people I consider to be the most valuable to the human condition. They literally prove to us that our only limitation is the mindset we have, ones we have absolute control over, the ones we set for ourselves.


Truth may sometimes hurt, but delusion harms. – Vanna Bonta


I always say that being "normal" sucks. It's boarding, it's fake, and a lot of what society claims to be "normal" is the biggest crock of shit you could ever buy into.


People like Daniel really show you what success really means. It's not comparing, it's embracing and making the most of your situation. It's being proactive, not reactive. Yes, a situation might suck, but there's always a way to turn things around. It's the delusion that keeps you in the dark. So, thank you, Daniel! For showing that there really is nothing you can't do, if you put your heart, mind and soul into it.

Finding & Maintaining Customers: Sales & Customer Service - Lessons

Finding and keeping customers is hard. The problem with describing this part of running any type of business is that every company, whether it is new or well-established, is different in this respect. Customers will establish your reputation, which will bring other customers in. One customer always leads to another, if the experience created for them was something that brought value to them.


Something To Remember


It becomes a lot easier once you realize that all people want the same thing. They want to be re-inforced in the belief that they're right, and that the values they hold are acknowledged as true and good. The point, then, for a sales representative isn't to push the latest and greatest product. It is to help them make the best, most well-informed decision. It's like love, really. I never believed that love was about changing a person. It's about finding someone who's already the right fit, someone who would never ask you to change. It's the same in sales. Help them build a relationship with you and the products you have, and they'll keep coming back to find the right fit for the right cause.


Some basic sales guidelines


Question: If a customer brought in a competitor's ad with a lower price on an item already marked down, how would you address their concerns?


Now, before I attempt to answer this question, let me start out by saying that in most cases, the most problematic clients for me have been the cheap ones. I don't use cheap as an insult in any way. Something I learned as a result of unwilling clients was that your cheapest customers will be your most expensive ones.


Translation: You'll spend more time trying to please the cheaper customers for less profit, and if you aren't careful, it sets a precedent for future customer interactions.


Customer: Forget it, I can just get it for cheaper somewhere else.


Sales Rep: That very well could be true, sir. And, honestly, I get it; in today’s economy, we all want the most for our money. We're not living in the easiest time right now. But if I can help you find a better-suited product for cheaper, is that something you may want? We have other things that may very well suit your needs. Why don't you tell me more in detail about your use-cases?


Point A: "That very well could be true, sir. And honestly, I get it." You're establishing an understanding of what your customer is feeling here.


Point B: "But if I can help you find a better-suited product for cheaper..." Now, what you're doing is you're keeping the customer from leaving. He may not want the $600 laptop, but maybe you can find a similar product in specs for $530.


Fun Fact: Sometimes, a competitor may have a better price for Product X, but when you look at the fine print, you'll notice that they may be selling an outdated/older model for the price. In such a case, inform the customer that they're actually getting the best deal for the price.


The point is to not write-off the customer and to try to understand their pain and offer them something so that they don't at all walk out of the store empty-handed. If they don't walk out of the store with the product they had in mind for Cause A, talk to them and maybe they'll buy something they've been thinking about for Cause B. Either way, you're solving a problem that needs to be addressed, even if you can't offer them what they were initially looking for.


30-60-90: Sales & More Fun - Actionable Goals


It's pretty straightforward. The 30-60-90 concept allows your employer to gauge how you'll be contributing over time. What are your intentions, and how are you going to accomplish them? Set actionable goals.


For example, your goal may be "to grow into your position and become better day by day." Admirable goal overall, but there's nothing I can actually take from that.


Here's an example for this goal, broken down.


30 Days


  • Read available company guides.
  • Meet your team. Introduce yourself and maybe drum up a conversation during lunch. Get a feel for what it's like to work there, and read any books or follow specific rules that your team adheres to. Ask questions.
  • Shadow an employee. By doing this, you'll get a feel for the types of customers you'll be dealing with and you'll see first-hand how to best interact with them. Try to observe and don't engage right away. Learn from your customers and from who you're shadowing.
  • Review and practice any sales pitches.

    Basic Pieces of Advice for Sales Geeks 🤓


    • Build relationships with everyone you can. You never know who is one call or e-mail away from a great referral or opportunity.
    • Be okay with 'failing' a lot. Take notes and adjust based on what you've learned from those failures.
    • People have better experiences when they buy a product over pleasure rather than pain.
    • Be assertive, not aggressive.
    • Respect getting a "no" sometimes. No "no" is forever, and you can't focus on one "maybe" customer at the expense of other eager customers.
    • Thank people and smile more often than not.
    • Link your offer to emotion, money, or logic, depending on the customer.
    • Don't ever bring customers a problem or "sorry!" Bring them solutions to the problems at hand.
    • Listen more than you speak.
    • Don't think like an employee. Think like the owner of the business you're employed by and protect the company image.
    • Sell by value, not price.

    If you're feeling anxious, that's totally justified. In fact, more often than not, it's a good sign. It means you care, and that you want to do well. Channel your anxiety and use it to your advantage.


    Expect the best. Prepare for the worst. Capitalize on what comes. ~ Zig Ziglar.


    The truth is that new salespeople have it hard. They have no contacts, no experience (in that organization) and they're going to make a lot of mistakes. Capitalize on it. Bend to your experiences. Be okay with falling 7 times, if only you're strong enough to get up an 8th. You might be ignored a lot, so if you want to change the world, the way you work, you'll have to make your voice count for something. Eyes on the prize. Don't put much stock in augury. Focus on the present and completing the tasks. Only once you're done should you go back and analyze how things went.


    The most important thing, though, is to be as authentic as possible. You've got to believe in the product you're selling. In some cases, it won't happen, but you should always strive to focus on selling what you believe the customer wants, not what number ($) looks best on paper.


    Keep asking until you find the answers. In sales, there are usually four or five no's to before you get a yes. ~ Jack Canfield


    Do you want to know who your number one enemy will be, as a salesperson? Your knowledge. The moment you tell a customer what product to buy because it's what's "latest" on the market or because "you know it's great", you have failed. Talk to the customer. Their needs are all that matter. Make an informed thought as if you were in their shoes. Then sell to them. Sales is about solving problems, not selling a product outright.


    Keep Yourself Positive, Cheerful And Goal-Oriented. Sales Success Is 80% Attitude And Only 20% Aptitude.     


    ... and last but not least, you never close a sale. You open the door to your newfound relationship. Make it clear that you're always available and at their service the next time they need you.


    Love


    There are only four questions of value in life, Don Octavio. What is sacred? Of what is the spirit made? What is worth living for, and what is worth dying for? The answer to each is the same: only love.


    Many people try to hunt for the nameless ghost they see in their dreams. Some build that ghost up to be a beautiful smiling woman. Others build the nameless ghost up to be stories untold for the world to hear. Not for social token, but for the child within, waiting for your permission to be outspoken. They want to be woken, from the dreary night you're eventually going to want to be broken, so why not just let their soul be unbroken by letting slip the things left unspoken?


    There you have it, one of the worst poems you've ever read, in the history of the universe.


    Moral: 'To be alive is to have scars.' It is not about enclosing, but about disclosing. Never be afraid to shamelessly be you, and live for both you and the inner-child. Your experiences build character and no matter what you go through, you are worthy of love. There is no failure, and there is no "bottom." Your only bottom is when you choose to stop digging until you've reached your dreams. Be authentically you, and fuck everyone else who judges you.

    Deepin Linux: A Beautiful Distro... To Avoid?

     



    Deepin Linux is one of the most beautifully-designed Linux distributions that I've ever used. It's also one of the most 'functional' and well-thought-out Linux-based OSes that I've ever used.


    For reference, here are some screenshots:






    There are a lot of people who avoid using Deepin OS, though, and that's primarily because it was made in China.


    I get it. China's government is a dictatorship, and no company or OS can exist without approval from the government, in addition to implementing a backdoor. The labor conditions are also horrendous, what with suicide nets being placed outside of windows because people are pushed past their limits. One of the most horrifying videos I've ever seen was titled: "Chinese Workers accidentally touched High Voltage Electricity Wire, and Catch Fire."


    In many ways we are complicit, and that is their intention; we vote for ‘cheap’ every time we can (and I’m no exception). I use products from Oukitel and BLU exclusively, and that won't ever change. In a lot of ways, I support Chinese labor because that supports their workers and they are compensated for their work, even if poorly. Me not buying it because of "moral values" would leave room for very few manufacturers in the world that don't part-take in cheap, dangerous Chinese labor. Apple is the leading expert in abusing the Chinese and not caring about suicide rates. So if you're going to jump on the "pro-Chinese labor" bandwagon, you need to get a reality check. In terms of the privacy aspect, I get not using some products, Chinese, American, etc. But in terms of supporting workers in poor conditions, you're actually helping them by purchasing the products.



    Anyway, I don't use it because I find it rather buggy even though the concepts are really functional ideas in theory. I also don't find its Chinese origin more of a concern than the American origin of other distros. Also, the argument that Deepin is not trustworthy because it's made in China is a huge generalization, and it's just stupid. Their entire code is open-source and you can view it, and there's absolutely no proof that anything shady is going on. Truth be told, if you're concerned about privacy, then the same could be applied to any and all distros. You never truly know what's going on behind closed doors.


    I like Chinese products, they're cheaper and more functional than the over-priced American trash being released, and it means food on the table for hard-working Chinese people in poor working conditions. It's as simple as that, for me. If you want true privacy, and I mean 100% of it, then get off the Internet and go back into the Stone Age, where computers didn't exist yet.

    Are You A Pickle?

    During my days being one of the few leaders in a recovery group, one of my colleagues used a commonly-known (but unfamiliar to our members) metaphor to nudge strugglers in the right direction.


    A cucumber struggles with depression and drinks alcohol to cope. It loses a thousand dollars to the habit, realizes that it's a problem, and stops. A pickle struggles with depression, drinks way too much to cope, loses a thousand dollars but still continues to drink, even if "less often." With regards to PTSD, a cucumber struggles with depression and other symptoms and copes; the cucumber goes to group and therapy and fills its day with new and random activities so as to steer their mind away from dark places and temptation that lead them to get lost in their crucible. A pickle has the same issues but lies to themselves about why they can't do this or that. A pickle doesn't try to force itself or find other solutions. Nothing worthwhile is every easy. Choose the suffering of recovery than the suffering of slow death. You must remember that a cucumber, with a few wrong moves, can turn into a pickle. But it's not like that in reverse. A pickle will remain a pickle.


    I thought this was brilliant. You've got to remember the power of self-control and that one bad choice will lead to another. Never settle or compromise when it comes to health or unhealthy habits.


    Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.  C.G. Jung


    Your life, no matter what happens in it, is your responsibility. The question should rarely be "What happened?" but more often "Okay, so what? What are you going to do about it?" There's a time to dwell and process, and there's a time to be proactive instead of reactive. Mix them up and you're going to live a very miserable life.


    Maybe it’s the choices we make? We all start from the same grain but choose different paths? I’ve always thought most of us are only a handful of key decisions from a much different life. – Ashley Williams


    Look, I get it. You're scared because you're looking ahead and maybe you're seeing a mountain (opportunity, challenge) you can't climb. Some things in life are simply challenging. They seem so unlikely as to be impossible, but they're not. Look back at the mountains you've already climbed. They were just as scary as the ones that are currently in front of you.


    The FOSS Corner: Friday in 5 #1 - Favorite Apps Selection

    For those of you who don't know, FOSS stands for Free and Open-Source Software. In Layman's terms, the principle of FOSS allows anyone to run a specific program for any purpose, but it also gives them open access to the code, allowing them to view, change or modify the piece of software behind the scenes. Users are free to contribute and re-distribute FOSS software. It encourages freedom and community contribution, as opposed to closed-source software, which is created by a company for profit and doesn't allow you to see behind the scenes.


    FOSS isn't just about desktop software, though, this extends to mobile applications. Today, I'm going to go through some of my favorite apps from F-Droid.


    1) Loop Habit Tracker

    Loop Habit Tracker is a free application that helps you track your daily routine.


    Key Features

    • Reminders
    • Habit score: In addition to showing you your current progress path, Loop has an advanced algorithm so as to calculate the strength of your habits. Every successful completion of one of your recurring tasks makes your habit stronger, and every missed day makes it weaker.
    • Graphics & Statistics of your calculated progress.


    Screenshots
    *Click/tap to enlarge










    2) Blokada

    No more using dedicated "ad-block browsers." Blokada is an open-source application that blocks ads for any app on your device universally. Blokada says: "You should be careful when using any apps that filter your traffic since they can steal your sensitive information. Blokada is open-source, which means anyone can see its source code to be certain that it's safe to use. Put your trust in a thriving community that believes an ad-free world is better!"


    3) Scarlet Notes

    Scarlet is an advanced note-taking application similar to Google Keep, but on steroids.


    Screenshots
    *Click/tap to enlarge









    4) Raise To Answer

    This app needs no further explanation. Raise the phone to your ear to automatically answer calls instead of having to swipe or click "Answer" to activate a phone call.



    A beautifully-designed local-files music player.




    Consequences

    Sooner or later everyone sits down to a banquet of consequences. – Robert Louis Stevenson


    There's a phrase my old life coach used to tell me. "Mikey, if growth by itself was a good thing, then we'd all beg for a cancer diagnosis." I believe that this was meant to be a joke, but the lesson behind it remains true to this day. We all grow. Organically, that is. Whether we like it or not, we get older. We arrive at a juncture at one point or another; a critical moment between moving on and moving forward. That choice that we have to make in that moment, it'll test us and push us past our limits. Everything we ever loved and believed in, all the progress we've made, etc. It's all on the line. We'll have to choose between faith and fear. The trouble is, the lines between faith and fear are often blurred. Which one's trying to protect you and which one's trying to trick you? That's the beauty of having faith. You don't know. If you've truly grown, you'll make the right choice. If you haven't... well then you've got more work to do. You have to make a choice sooner or later. Making the wrong one is better than no action at all. Either way, you'll face the consequences. Make sure they're good ones and be sure you're resisting regression, not progress. The resistance bands of life are a lot tougher than the ones at the gym...


    Oukitel K9 Camera Tests

    My new phone, the Oukitel K9, is a 7.12-inch Android phablet with a 1080 x 2244 IPS full HD Waterdrop display. It's a great phone, honestly, and for only $230, you can't ask for better.

    The K9 rocks a 16MP + 8MP Dual Camera and a 6,000 mAh battery.


    Below, I test my cameras (front-facing + rear) by taking some pictures as well as videos.








    The video above is available in full HD, without EIS enabled.

    Below is a full HD video with EIS enabled. (Make sure to enable HD if it's not auto-enabled by the player)!





    and below is the front-facing camera video test.






    ... and here's another picture that was taken.





    Rating & Opinions

    For a $230 Android smartphone, my honest opinion is that you can't ask for much better. It's pretty great, considering the cheap price-point. It would not be fair of me to compare it to an $800+ smartphone, so I won't go in that route. Of course, you'd get a better camera if you spend close to $1,000; but for the price of $230, it's pretty much as amazing as it can get. It's a steal, and I've seen more expensive phones with worse cameras.

    Opinion: I prefer the quality of the front-facing camera, even though theoretically the rear camera is supposed to be better.

    Front-Facing: 5/5.
    Rear Camera (with EIS): 3/5.
    Rear Camera (without EIS): 4/5.

    Is Suicide Ever An Answer?

    This is a common question among those struggling with deep depression or any sort of mental illness that has become debilitating and unbearable to live with.


    "I'm a caged bird longing to be free." "The happiness of others can only be reached by the complete and permanent absence of me." Sentences to the many notes I've written in private in the past, with previous attempts to back them up with action.


    To answer the question bluntly, I don't think that suicide is ever an answer to the question at hand, especially not when we're allowing pain and fear to dictate our thoughts and actions. 


    Matthieu Ricard said it best:


    By committing suicide, you destroy the possibility you have, in this life, of realizing the potential for transformation that you have within you. You succumb to an intense attack of discouragement which, as we’ve seen, is a weakness, a form of laziness. By saying to yourself, ‘What’s the point in living?’ you deprive yourself of the inner transformation that would have been possible. To overcome an obstacle is to transform it into an aid to your progress. People who’ve overcome a major trial in their lives often draw from it a teaching and a powerful inspiration on the spiritual path. Suicide solves nothing at all, it only shifts the problem to another state of consciousness.


    I've said it many times before and I'll say it again. It's not the victory that pleases me, it's the struggle. Life's all about the journey. It's all about our pain revealing who we've always been, as it scrapes off everything we've been holding onto that we've never truly been. Pain is not the enemy here, it's the teacher. Turning you from a delicate being into a warrior.


    The Problem Is Not Knowing How To Dis-Identify With Our Thoughts


    Every thought and emotion we have is a passing cloud that we reach out to and hold onto, for some inexplicable reason. The spiritual path teaches us that it's really about learning how to let go of the clouds. We're actors on the stage of life; and once we let go of our script and realize that we can truly be anyone and re-write it, peace is finally achievable. It's about realizing that you are water and that you must bend to whatever your truth is. If you pour yourself into your thoughts, you manifest those thoughts into reality. You become what you pour yourself into. Once you realize that you've never truly been "you" to begin with, that all of it is just attachment to thoughts, values, and beliefs, you are able to let go and be free. There is no "you", as identity is not a real thing, it's simply what you choose to let define you.


    Suffering without meaning in life deepens the ever-nagging depression.


    You can dwell on your own past and mortality with something to live for, laugh about, and love, or not. Something worth fighting for always makes the battle of life worth enduring and surviving. If you want to overcome your depression, it's not as simple as therapists make it seem. No, it's not about the coping tools. It's not about medication. It's about asking yourself why you want to live in the first place. What do you desire, what are you reaching for? Once a warrior knows his opponent, he can then figure out how to defeat the opponent. Depression is our opponent in the battle of life. If you do not choose your suffering, then your mind just inflicts some form of pain on itself. It tests how far you'll go to achieve your dreams even when it seems impossible. It's that simple. After all, it's not the fall that breaks people, but their fear of falling. What that fall may bring as a result. It's their desire that harsh things should never happen to them which is a human's greatest downfall. Once a warrior realizes that pain is inevitable but suffering is optional, he has already won.


    The master understands that the universe is forever out of control. - Lao Tzu


    Think about it like this: if you had to fight for your survival and run from predators during war, you’d literally have no time to be depressed. You must fight to survive or you die. A shark that does not swim, drowns. It's about variable acceleration, really. Fighters usually fight at the same pace. Switch it up randomly and you throw your opponent off his game. Fill your life with different things and see how your depression submerges in the flood of new things you're actively doing to distract yourself away from the nagging bully that is depression.


    We all fall. It’s about what we do with our lives to pick ourselves back up.


    The point is not even necessarily to find happiness, it's to give some sort of meaning to suffering. A common question from a therapist seems to delve into the negatives after rape and physical trauma. (Bleep) that! My question to you is "How in the holy fuck did you survive?! What went through your mind, what is it that got you through it?" Of course, you've come out of your crucible a different person! Focus on what you can control, not on the things that you can't. The problem with media and therapy is that it often avoids real-world problems and wraps them in blanket coping tools and statements that don't work for everyone. The main issue is that most therapists are not very intelligent. They are book-smart at best, but without real-world experience of problems, they cannot effectively help their clients. 


    We were designed to run and to hunt. If you don't do that, you are slowly falling apart. Physically and mentally.


    There's a reason why many people die shortly after retirement. We all thrive best when we are contributing to the world when our talents and skills are needed. Once we settle down, we stop using our bodies and brains in the same way, and we, as a result, wear out and slowly start deteriorating.


    The question isn't "Why am I depressed?" So much as "What am I going to do about it?" Again, therapy seems to avoid the real problems and it's why I'm more in favor of the self-work and becoming the Master of oneself. Hire a life coach if you need to, but therapy often adds salt to the wound and doesn't give you the same kick in the right direction. You're not going to fix your life by thinking about doing something. You'll fix your life by actually doing something.


    I've been there to experience assault and abuse of various kinds. What I learned was that those things didn't happen to me to punish me. They forged me into a warrior because sometimes our greatest lessons come from the unhappiest of places. Without the pain of loss and suffering, we cannot truly appreciate the good. I'm thankful that I went through it so much so that I don't even call it abuse or assault, but important teachings. Which of course isn't to say that I condone those actions, but that it's about changing your perception. When something bad happens, turn it around and make it a good thing. 'Successful people find an opportunity in every problem. Negative people find a problem in every opportunity.'


    You want society to make you happy? It never will. The harsh truth is, the world doesn't care about you. You have to be enough, you have to care enough about yourself to be true to who you are and become stronger for yourself. Don't be who the world wants you to be, be who you need yourself to be.


    If you find any of what I'm saying offensive, you have severely misunderstood me and depression itself. Life is pain. It's that simple. It's about making your pain work for you, not against you.


    Ironically, comfort is quite counter-productive. 'Isolation is a self-defeating dream' That is to say that your worst thoughts are born when you are away from the world. When you stop swimming, you drown in the depth of your suffering. By contributing to the world, you are "swimming." Never stop being physically active, and mentally.


    I came to the same conclusion myself when I was suicidal years ago, that the only person that could save me was myself.


    As my favorite dog, Wilfred says, "We don't worry about anything because our noses keep us in the present. We smell the roses, every god damn one of them!" Similarly, when we are too busy making our lives better, depression will not be as strong as it is when we're not moving.


    Wilfred taught me that feelings are blind spots. That's because what you do will always matter more than how you feel.


    The show has changed and saved my life, what with its depth and humor combined in one. A Redditor from a subreddit I follow writes about Wilfred and says: 


    "I think Wilfred was intended to be a metaphor for the meaning of life, or just life itself. Most of us can agree that life is defined beyond the walls of intelligence, it can't be understood by the human mind. If we were given the answer, it would be incomprehensible. The questions we asked are too complex to have answers we can understand. That's what Wilfred is. All in all, Ryan never finds out what Wilfred is exactly. Just like Ryan came up with crazy theories as to what Wilfred is, we come up with crazy theories as to what life is. We'll think ourselves to death if we keep worrying about the questions that can't be solved, just like Ryan's life falls apart when he begins to search for the answers. In the end, we have to learn to just stop trying to think about it, and just throw the ball. Because as demonstrated in the show with how Wilfred gave Ryan happiness at certain times and brought him back from depression, if we live life the way it takes us, and learn from the lessons it teaches us, that is the only way we can find true happiness."


    So, is suicide the answer? No, it's not. As Wilfred's bogus Last Will and Testament says, "Keep digging."


    Nerdy Jokes #1

     Hey folks,


    The other day, I got into a huge fight with number 1. We argued as old friends do, but then he challenged me to a fight. A week later, I show up to this fight. He brought his friends with him; numbers 3, 5, 7, and 9. I gotta tell you, I was scared. The odds were against me! But then I thought about it. "Hey, I have friends, too!" So I called 2, 4, 6, and 8 to make it an even fight.


    This joke was brought to you by whoever created it.



    Conscience

     

    Conscience is the dog that can’t bite, but never stops barking.


    I've learned many lessons in my life, not the least of which is that we can fear a lot of things and become stronger for pushing past it, but it's not until cowardice comes into play that we're left in the dust. After all, it's our avoidance of the little problems and inconveniences that have a ripple effect in our lives that lead to bigger, seemingly unfixable problems.


    I’m pro-education of any sort, be it scientific or otherwise. There is nothing wrong with studying history, literature, art history, film, astrology, geology, or any one of a large number of other ‘soft’ subjects. Those are great subjects that can help you expand your knowledge and perspective on life in general. Where I tend to draw the line is when people go hip-deep in debt to get a degree in one of those subjects and then later find out that it's not possible to find employment using the knowledge that they studied for. Your tuition dollars at work, right?


    One day a few years back, I saw a video on YouTube and the person speaking made a bold statement that changed my entire perspective on life and it helped me narrow down on finding the right fit for employment. "Stop beating your head against the wall in order to find out what it is that you want to offer the world, and give to it what it's actually asking for. What is the world actually asking for? Figure out what industry your talents can contribute you, get a feel for what it's like to be a consumer in that industry, and then as a leader, fix what's broken. Make your offering the better of the many alternatives. Beat your competitors that way."


    It's a simple notion, really, but it's one that hadn't come to mind until I saw the video. I was so busy trying to figure out "what I wanted" that I didn't stop to think "What is the world actually asking for, what can I contribute that they'd be happier coming to me for than what already exists?"


    Anyway, that's not what this article is actually about, but I thought I'd share a great lesson learned from my end.


    A while ago, I met an elderly woman at a local pharmacy/supermarket. She'd dropped something on the floor, and I picked it up immediately, so as to give the item back to her. "Oh my, the chivalry! Thank you, sir. You don't see a lot of kind gentlemen these days." She said, smiling. I smiled back. "I just picked something up, it's nothing." From there, a conversation was born. "I look at you see and I see strength. Someone tried to take that from you, didn't they? Don't ever let the world change you. Don't ever let any man or woman change and define you." I thanked her, but then asked her how she knew about this "someone" trying to take my power away. "I have a good sense of these things, you see. I'm a mother. I know you've been through some terrible things. You don't have to admit the truth when I know it in my bones." The conversation took a sad turn, though, when she said "When I die, and I suspect I will go soon enough, it'll be like I was never born. No friends will attend my funeral, because I let the world define me. I isolated myself. Reach out, kiddo. Take risks. Be known for something. Because there's nothing sadder than an empty funeral with no stories to tell."


    I don't know whether or not she's alive today. I hope she was wrong and that she's living a happier, healthier life. Nevertheless, that was the day I learned one of life's most precious lessons on happiness. Isn't it interesting how the act of becoming truly happy can often be achieved by taking an unhappy route? We can’t change the past, that’s a fact. If we want a better life, though, we'll have to comprise. I must do whatever I have to do to move forward with my life without the ghosts of my past at the forefront of my mind. Because if I want a life different from what I'm used to, it won’t come by doing the same things I'm used to doing. Wilfred, my favorite dog (and one of my favorite shows) says that as a dog, he feels guilt for 5 seconds and then gets on with his life. I think we can all take a page from his book. We should let go and be happy-go-lucky instead of dwell on what clearly can’t be changed.



    via GIPHY

    Choosing A Monitor For Your PC, Explained

    With some regularity, people buying desktop computers wonder what the best monitor for their PC would be. This goes for laptop buyers as well; they are curious about what screen resolution/type best fits their needs. I'm going to attempt to explain that in this article.


    But first, some history.


    Different Types of Monitors


    CRT Monitor: This is the oldest type of monitor. They were a lot bigger than the current monitors that exist. They were heavy, bulky, quite ugly, and costly, especially should they break. Even though they were very commonly used in office environments, once the LCD came into existence, the CRT slowly stopped being used. CRT monitors are no longer being sold.


    Color / Quality: The CRT had a fluorescent screen and used high energy electrons to form images. Though the last versions of these monitors were capable of decent color presentation, distortion and lack of focus of images (which were produced by an electron beam) was a huge drawback. They also produced a lot of heat, since they were gigantic and needed lots of energy. Even on the higher resolution monitors, it was hard to read text or see small details.





    LCD Monitor: This is the most common type of monitor. It's a lot smaller and lighter than a CRT, not to mention more beautiful in design


    Color / Quality: LCD monitors are flat-screen displays. Images formed by these monitors don’t get distorted and they also have little flicker. Color accuracy is achieved better. One disatvantage, though, is that the image quality is not constant when viewed at from different angles.





    LED Monitor: Recent technology uses LED. This kind of monitor is an LCD monitor that uses a LED backlight. The image is a bit better than with LCD and you'll have better contrast. The lifetime of a LED monitor is better than LCD and the power consumption is also lower. You can find a very thin monitor. The idea is the same in general, except that the backlight is formed by LEDs rather than a fluorescent light. The backlight can be selectively dimmed, which provides better intensity contrast.





    Screen Resolutions


    Screen resolutions made simple.


    1280×720 = 720p, HD

    1920×1080 = 1080p, HD

    3840x2160 = 4K, UHD

    7680×4320 = 8K, FUHD


    For gamers and graphic designers, the ideal monitor would be at least 27 inches with a 2560x1440 resolution. You'll want a monitor with a high refresh rate, especially if you plan on playing fast-paced games with high-res graphics. For designers, such specs just look spectacular.


    Take into consideration what you'll be most comfortable with, in terms of screen size and specs. Take into account size and resolution, refresh rate, response time, and whether you want a flat vs. curved screen type.

    (NSFW) Reclaiming A Healthy View of Sex After Sexual Trauma

    A common struggle among people who've survived sexual trauma is the difficulty with maintaining a healthy view of sex. Some of these challenges are:


    • Physical pain when engaging in sex.
    • Lack of desire for sex / avoiding sex.
    • Invasive memories or flashbacks of the sexual trauma during sex.
    • Wanting to or engaging in dangerous or emotionally harmful sexual behaviors. This can include re-enacting the "roughness" of their assault as foreplay during sex.
    • Relationships feeling invasive.


    With some regularity, people who have been sexually assaulted often think that just because they orgasmed during the assault, they must have wanted it, asked for it, or liked it. While this is understandable, the notions that the mind rationalizes as the truth are often mistaken. This reminds me of the Family Guy meme, where a woman shouts "All sex is rape!" There's actually a backstory there, in real life.


    Anyway, the point is that people who have been raped often view sex as a tool or weapon to be used for personal gain and control; that the act isn't sexual or pleasurable, but more of a way to assert one's dominance and authority over someone else in a cruel way that violates the very essence of feeling at home and safe in your own body.


    The point of reclaiming a healthy view of sex after trauma isn't to have sex just for the sake of having sex with your partner. It's about feeling safe enough to say "no" when you're not comfortable with doing something sexually.


    Survivors of assault will often rationalize the idea they are tainted, that they aren't a good person for not being strong enough to stop their assault. This is a really damaging mindset and a vicious cycle.


    I'm not an expert on "reclaiming a healthy view of sex" by any means. I believe in only having sex after marriage. However, after my experience, I did view it as "all sex is rape." I was that one person who couldn't fathom why anyone would want to voluntarily have sex when it's just allowing yourself to be dominated, abused and smacked around like a useless sex toy.


    While you could try therapy, I haven't had any luck with it. Most of my therapy experiences were as effective as talking to a cat or parrot about my problems and thoughts.


    What I did find helpful, however, was changing what sex means to me. I was patient with myself and didn't force myself to change my opinion straightaway. Spend some time with your body, and allow yourself to fall in love with who you are emotionally and physically. Explore the different aspects of your body, naked. Really. Feel yourself. Love yourself. When you find yourself disassociating while looking at yourself in the mirror, bring your thoughts back to the present moment and try to see yourself as a victory, not a victim; because you've survived.


    I can't necessarily give proper advice on what to do if you want to have sex with your partner but are scared to, but in my experience having done intern counseling in the past, it's simple. Sex or no sex, you have to figure out if your partner is genuine and patient with you. The more open and honest you are with regards to your fears about sex, the better. Eventually, you'll feel safe enough to have sex with your partner if there are no secrets about your fears or sexual traumas kept hidden. It really all comes down to honesty, patience, and giving yourself the gentle love you deserve.




    Doubt

    Doubt must be no more than vigilance, otherwise it can become dangerous. - Georg C. Lichtenberg



    With some regularity, people in the MH community are wondering if they are burnt-out. The suggestion is that they are more often suffering from doubt that then leads to unhealthy habits and eventually, burn-out.


    Typically, it’s the ‘can-do’ people that tend to burn out. That's because if your life is centered around what you consider to be fun and relaxing, you're probably not at risk for burn-out in any serious way.


    HelpGuide describes burn-out as "Feeling empty and mentally exhausted, devoid of motivation, and beyond caring. People experiencing burnout often don’t see any hope of positive change in their situations."


    Symptoms of burnout include exhaustion, cynicism, and inefficacy and eventually, major health problems may arise.


    Typical ways of dealing with burning out are completely changing the way you do things, a change of scenery, taking time to relax and meditate, and a plethora of other things.


    What I observed in myself in the last week is that I often let doubt grow too powerful for me to really tell what's going on with me in times of emotional difficulty. "Will things ever change?" "I don't know why I thought I could ever be something I've never been. Happy and normal." "I will always default to the man in the PTSD jacket." As a result, the man under the jacket came back and handed me the gift of guilt and sadness, something I thought I left behind a long time ago.


    Finding different things to derive self-value from is really important. When you rely too much on one thing, that thing is no longer a tool. It becomes a crutch, and so do traditional "coping tools."


    Acceptance is Not Complacency


    The one immutable truth about life is that it is often fairer than we give it credit for. You can’t make it equally fair for everyone right away, but you can take action to make it a little bit fairer after every experience you endure.


    Self-acceptance is not an excuse to be lazy or complaisant with your flaws. It is not accepting that nothing can be done to change your current situation in life.


    It is, however, knowing who you are; the good, the bad, and the ugly. It’s acknowledging the whole picture and working tirelessly to develop your character, improve on your strengths, build good habits, and fix your shortcomings — all without judging yourself.⁣


    When are you going to get to a place in your life when you’re finally happy with who you are? Come out and enjoy life, let’s have fun!


    Toxic words from a cancerous sect of individuals who don’t understand that one’s life is always a work in progress. The moment you decide to stop changing because “you’re finally okay” is the moment progress dies. It’s also the repetition of old habits that led you down a path that had you wanting to change in the first place.


    If you’re happy with your life, that’s fantastic, I’m glad to hear it. But don’t for one second think that your work for self-improvement is done.


    Complacency & self-love robs you of the will to take action. You’re not done changing until you’re riding in a Hearse and no longer alive.


    I cannot continue to live as half of myself simply because it’s hard for others to handle all of me. Nothing that lasts is accomplished quickly. Nobody’s entire legacy is based on a single moment, but rather the collection of one’s experiences. If you’re lucky, your legacy will be a lifetime in the making. — Rachel Hollis


    Doubt is like cancer. It starts out small and then it may metastasize. It plays you against yourself and tests you to see how strong you really are in terms of fighting against your demons. If you've made true changes, self-doubt will not win. If you've not come far enough, doubt will be strong enough to make you think that maybe what it's saying is true. Maybe you really haven't come far enough at all.


    [So maybe comparing doubt to cancer doesn't fully make sense, but you get the point!]

    You desire to know the art of living, my friend? It is contained in one phrase: make use of suffering. — Henri-Frédéric Amiel


    The trick in life is to become a magician. To direct your focus on the parts of life you can control, rather than focus on the trickery that has you stalling and making you think you don't understand. Only the student has hope of defeating their master.


    Again, "Doubt must be no more than vigilance, otherwise it can become dangerous." - Georg C. Lichtenberg


    Harold & Maude: Life Lessons

    I was in college when I first watched Harold & Maude. My professor had us watch the film and write a paper on what we’d learned. It’s now one of my all-time favorites. Not because of the film on the surface (because it’s quite quirky), but because of the messages that it conveyed to its viewers.


    Much of the dialogue tugged at my heartstrings, and the ending was such an emotional one.


    The Backstory


    Meet 20-year-old Harold. He’s obsessed with death, performs suicide acts at home (his mother used to get scared, but now she’s gotten used to his shenanigans), attends funerals of strangers, and drives a Hearse.


    At a funeral one day, he meets an unlikely companion. A 79-year-old woman. She’s full of life, she’s eccentric and doles out life advice like candy. Did I mention she stole a car? Yes — she’s a total badass!


    Live For Yourself, Embrace Who You Are


    This is my favorite dialogue between the two.


    Maude: Harold, everyone has the right to make an ass out of themselves. You just can’t let the world judge you too much.


    Maude: I should like to change into a sunflower most of all. They’re so tall and simple. What flower would you like to be?


    Harold: I don’t know. One of these, maybe.


    Maude: Why do you say that?


    Harold: Because they’re all alike.


    Maude: Ooh, but they’re not. Look. See, some are smaller, some are fatter, some grow to the left, some to the right, some even have lost some petals. All kinds of observable differences. You see, Harold, I feel that much of the world’s sorrow comes from people who are this, {she points to a daisy}. Yet allow themselves to be treated as that. {She gestures to a field of daisies}. {Cuts to a shot of a field of gravestones in a military cemetery}.


    Maude: Well, if some people get upset because they feel they have a hold on some things, I’m merely acting as a gentle reminder: here today, gone tomorrow, so don’t get attached to things now. With that in mind, I’m not against collecting stuff. A lot of people enjoy being dead. But they are not dead, really. They’re just backing away from life. Reach out. Take a chance. Get hurt even. But play as well as you can. Go team, go! Give me an “L”. Give me an “I”. Give me a “V”. Give me an “E”. L-I-V-E. LIVE! Otherwise, you got nothing to talk about in the locker room.


    Although Maude is a collector of many things, she seems to follow the Buddhist concept of non-attachment. At one point, she says: “It’s all memorabilia, but incidental and not integral, if you know what I mean.”


    "You know, at one time, I used to break into pet shops to liberate the canaries. But I decided that was an idea way before its time. Zoos are full, prisons are overflowing… oh my, how the world still dearly loves a cage."  —  Maude


    The Breakdown


    • You must take a chance on loving something or someone. Yes, you open yourself up to pain and loss, but the lessons you learn are priceless. You only have one life to live.
    • Attach yourself to nothing.
    • Find meaning in everything.



    There were many times during the movie where I’d get lost in thought just because most of what she says is just so profound.


    I can go on and on, but this post is incohesive; my braindump of thoughts. I strongly urge you to watch the movie and take in the lessons yourself. It’s like art, open to interpretation.


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