Wednesday, September 22, 2010

paralized for life

Is a focus on the cold realities of life a less desirable state of existence than one focused on idealism and exuberance? For a life based fully on idealism will always be diced finely by the sharp knife of reality in the long run. But a life centered only on cold realities is like focusing on the shadow of a tree with such concentration as to forget that there was such a thing as the tree itself.

If neither of these extremes are desirable then what dose of each is a healthy mix so as to maximize life? Perhaps one should aspire to a 50/50 ratio, keeping idealism as a goal/social lifestyle while tending to necessary matters which reality requires. This would be in accordance with the saying "head in the clouds, feet on the ground", but is that even possible? Wouldn’t the feet walk off and leave the head in the clouds dismembering the body and leading to a medieval style torturous death?

To aspire to a 50/50 ratio is to aspire to discontent, restlessness, and unhappiness. It would be to declare war on yourself because one side of you would always be criticizing the other. For example, if you were feeling idealistic, you may go to a coffee shop, protest, or poetry slam; but you won’t be able to enjoy it because the “feet on the ground” side of you would be telling you to do something with a more practical ROI (return on investment) with your time. And the converse is true; while you are engaging in high ROI activities, the idealistic side would atrophy and groan louder each day with discontent.

So if the two cannot coexist equally, then perhaps an unequal ratio like 60/40 or 70/30 would suffice. This gives the head or feet veto power over the lesser, inferior counterpart. But, because life is a “choose your own adventure” book and the time traveler (you) are constantly at the center of an infinite intersection of crossroads (which in turn have an infinite number or crossroads branching off them), you cannot know the degree to which this decision—the head vs. feet decision—will impact your life.

It’s common for this fact to have a paralyzing affect on us time travelers. Its simple math: infinite unknown consequences of decisions + utter finality of decisions made (i.e. when you’re 40 you can’t change your mind about what you did when you were 20) = paralyzing.

I mean, how can one be expected to make informed decisions when there is no: 1) information about what will happen as a result of your actions, and 2) ability to change your mind without paying the consequences of changing your mind. No, all we have to go on is pure conjecture. But many times (and this is the worst of it) people find that the smallest, most insignificant seeming decisions of their lives have impacted their lives the most! MOST! How am I supposed to make decisions under these conditions! My decision to take out the trash seems fairly insignificant…BUT WHAT IF ITS NOT!?

How can I do anything ever again? But then maybe not doing anything ever again is exactly the kind of inconsequential seeming decision that means something crazy will happen in the future! But then if I don’t do something that I could have done, what great opportunity could I be missing? Or maybe that’s it, maybe I should stop doing significant things and focus on seemingly inconsequential activities because those are always the ones that people talk about as having the biggest impact!

I told you it was paralyzing.

So what conclusions can we draw? Maybe the lesson here is that a time traveler should buy himself a wheelchair because at this rate, I’m thinking I’ll be paralyzed for life.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

personal brand management

Everyone manages their personal "brand" to a certain degree--I will not disagree with that in the least. Personal brand management is the reason why kids don't want to be kissed by their mother in front of the class, why people don't show up at work naked, and even why people keep secrets from others--people avoid being seen negatively in the minds of their peers. Fine.

But when a business leader compares me to a retail store brand? When I am supposed to conform my external behavior specifically with the intent of portraying myself as a person I am not? Really? I have been told from leadership to follow these steps in managing my "brand":

1) I need to think about what words pop into other peoples heads when they think about me,

2) evaluate those words and ask myself, "do these words push me in the direction I want to go? What makes these people say these words?"

3) in the case that there are unwanted "brand associations" I need to readjust my "marketing strategy" in order to leave positive associations with those I come in contact with in the future. Areas of consideration include: how I dress, what I talk about, first impressions, types of words I use, the food I eat, the car I drive, the colors I wear (did you know that wearing blue buys you more subconscious credibility?), and about one thousand other completely irrelevant and shallow "perception management" items.

To my shock, the emphasis was overwhelmingly centered on displaying the external behaviors of an ideal business person instead of developing the substance of a person which is the catalyst for behavior. If there must be such a crude contrivication as a personal brand, then it can be nothing less than a consequence of who you are, and who you are should never be a consequence of your desired brand.

After learning about the importance of personal brand management, I became conscious of the reason behind the stereotype of the shallow and insincere business person. You know the person; the one with the extended beauty pageant smile and the strong hand shake who touts constantly his own accomplishments, who's eyes dart about the room searching for more important people to talk to even while in conversation with you, who takes your business card and sizes up your worth by your title and connections.

Perhaps that stereotypical business person is not to blame for such conduct as much as those leaders who propagate and disseminate the most certainly corrupt idea that ungenuine conduct is a necessary requisite to success. And if I am wrong, if this most perverse idea proves to be true and is ingrained in all business culture, then my ideas of standard business culture will be exposed as high minded idealism and I will not stand long in the presence of a newly perverse environment.

But to that business person who is genuine, who does not talk insincerely and determines of equal value both the person of high title and the person of meager status, he is not necessarily the business person who will go farthest and achieve the most in the short run. However, people are not easily deluded, even the best of social actors with the best personal brand and strong first impression will, in the long run, inevitably be exposed. And when the very carefully cultivated personal brand can no longer sustain the superficially yoked marriage with the true person, there will be a divorcing of the two and only the person, not the brand, shall remain.

But there are more tragedies that befall the ungenuine business person than certain eventual exposure. From close-hand experience I have seen the performances of these people and the act devours their souls, causing depression, isolation, and intense fear--fear that perhaps someone might find out and expose their duplicity. In this way the ungenuine may reap an increased degree of short term success but at a cost certainly more significant than I would care to bear.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Corporate Ladies

Never was there so detestable a group of ladies as those who have spent their lives in a florescent office. Are you in an office with corporate ladies? No, I'm not talking about corporate hotties (the girls who walk around in high-heels, wear over sized glasses, and tend to look down at you with a look which simultaneously expresses disdain and self-righteousness...another topic for another day). But back to the original question: how do you know when the ladies in your office have achieved the status of Corporate Lady? Well, from my extensive office scouting experience I have been able to identify 4 tell-tale features by which one can effectively identify such Ladies in his office.

Does the suspected Corporate Lady in question manifest the following symptoms? Does she:

1) Incessantly cackle every 5 minutes in pitches which, in the middle ages surely would have been reason enough to determine her combustibility for fear that she may be a witch?

2) Begin every morning, Monday-Friday, speaking in overwhelming decibels about the latest great world calamity? Which (for Corporate Ladies at least) is always somehow traffic related? You'll be able to identify this symptom if, after listening to her rants, you would be forgiven to think that oil spills and wars were now surpassed in importance by new more important national crisis...the beamer.

3) Answer the phone the same exact way, every single time, in a sheer, high pitched, squirrely, and yes, witchy way? This happens multiple times per hour and they always say the same exact thing. I dream about her cell phones ring tone and sometimes find myself whistling it...

4) Have a general disdain for life? Corporate Ladies hate their lives...lets face it, if I was one of them I would too. Their skin is not bronzed by the gold of the sun, rather it sags and flabs in the rays of florescent lighting. Their hair does not lift and blow behind them in the salty air of the ocean or the dry air of the mountains, rather it hangs ratty and dull in an insulated artificial environment. They do not experience the world or have their mind expanded by education, rather, they repeat the same task over and over. And they have been doing this for 20 or 30 years! So when you make conversation with them at the water cooler what do they say? "Well, another day eh?" to which I respond, "yah, but at least its Wednesday so you're half way there", "yah, I could really use the weekend right about now though". Boo! No wonder you cackle so much, what a horrible life!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Life Anew, life anew,

Dear friend. If you are reading this, you are most strange. Since most of my friends have passed the blogging stage, I figured that I had also. But I ask you, what is the use of having a blog if it is no longer in use?! NONE! Furthermore, since it has been an astonishing 1.5 years (an all time record) since my last update, I figured that I would update my zillions of adoring fans. But since the "adoring fans" are mostly the invisible people that I hear in my head, consider this an expression of my typically millennial fascination with narcissism.

How is this life anew you may ask? In but days I will embark on a journey so great and mysterious that I myself haven't a clue how it will affect me...its much like a frozen burrito must feel in that moment between when it is placed in the microwave and when it is turned on. It is a moment wrought with both anxiety and excitement, peace and torment. Especially because my "microwave" happens to be affecting THE REST OF MY LIFE VIA THE PURSUIT OF A CAREER...not that its a big deal or anything. And yes, many of you will submit that I am a sell out to "the man" sacrificing my free and individual self to the whim of some pompous elderly snob bent on making my previously free will bend to his purposes and will. Although I find it ironic that those who accuse me the most of being a sell out are extremely discontent in their jobs or unemployed.

Whatever, this is America, I can do what I want.

Sunday, May 25, 2008


Off to another great adventure in the jungles of Southern Panama. To the Darien, to the tribes, and beyond.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Lest we live no life at all

It is times like this where superhero powers would serve not only as an extra accessory on the super belt--they would serve as an ultimate means of escape. These nights spent gazing out the giant windows of a down town coffee shop lead my wandering eyes up to the towering heights of skyscrapers--why cant I fly up to them? In a moment I imagine myself standing on the highest point of the tallest building in town--I am fearlessly leaning over the edge of the 80 story building with only one arm extended holding onto a lightning tower on my precarious perch. I look down on the streets below and feel compassion for my not-so-super-powerfully-gifted companions below. They, constrained by gravity and fear will never understand the true meaning of freedom and independence. Stuck in an oppressive system where they are required to barter precious hours of their lives for green pieces of paper that they believe have value. I wonder if its too harsh to say that they sadden me--its just that they resemble a busy ant colony or rat infestation--always going to and fro living out their dirty and hustled lives. They really have nothing to live for.

Looking down on the city from above I let go of my lightning rod and fall head first toward the street below; I close my eyes and grin before spreading my arms and feeling the g-forces enacting upon my body as I invert my decent and head straight for the starry skies above. The wind rushes through my hair and makes waves on my fluttering shirt and shorts--I continue my corkscrew ascent until the city is but a speck of light far below. Then I stop for a moment in the air. Where should I go? Ah yes, to the dessert. To Saudi Arabia, haven’t been there yet. I head straight for the ocean getting lower every minute until I am one foot above it--the wind from my body creates a concavity on the ocean water and kicks up spray all about.

Yes. Times like this when I stare out of a coffee shop window at night I regret being a mere human. The fact is, the closest I have come to having super powers was that one time I went off a ski jump and got 10 feet of air...and that one time I rappelled off a cliff with a plastic rope wrapped around my hand and didn't die--not a very impressive super-human resume. But wouldn't it be nice to know that there is something so completely different about you; some galactic secret known only by yourself that makes you stand out from the billions of people on this sphere. This just to have justifiable proof that you are unique, that there is no one like you. And those times that you feel like escaping to another planet, those times when your world gets too small and cumbersome, you just jump into the sky and go wherever you want. Independence, freedom, and cosmic uniqueness. No matter what people say, you are different, and that inner belief makes you strong.

So what do you do when you are proven completely average? There is no experience unique to you that have not been experienced by a large portion of society. Then what? Do you simply ingest your fate so fed to you by society, media, and friends? Do you lower your honor to the expectations of these sources of identity? We, being common humans seek camaraderie and acceptance from like-kind, so do we submit ourselves to the expectations of those whom expect, or are we internally motivated to be unique. It is important to remember that history easily forgets those conformant to societal expectations and cultural norms; while it immortalizes those persons who's relentless battle to change the world come to fruition as a result of their efforts--for better or worse. And so, as persons without super powers we must persist to live for a cause greater than ourselves, to be unique in this world of faces and numbers. I fear that if we do not we shall be swept away in the sea of history and die as one insignificant drop in an ocean of humanity. No, to live rightly, nigh die rightly, we must live for a cause worth dying for, a purpose bigger than ourselves.

Life must be lived for a cause worth dying for-lest we live no life at all.

Monday, February 18, 2008

An autobiography in short--for a class

I was born in the Northern Island of Japan, called Sapporo. I was raised and spent most of my life in Tokyo Japan. I do not consider myself a person of permanent residence, and so I have resolved to call wheresoever I currently reside my home. Thus, I now live in CO. I am a professional student with a part time job in the Japanese tour-guiding industry. To juxtapose my name with marriage may cause involuntary gastrointestinal reflexes--please refrain from this topic in my presence. I am in this course to learn and to be prepared for whatever lies ahead. It is also a requirement to graduate...but I suppose that lies ahead as well. I expect to work quite hard in 5 weeks, I expect to become proficient in at least the basic concepts dictating lawful conduct as it relates to business activities.