How To Ruin Your Life (Without Even Noticing That You Are)

“You ruin your life by tolerating it. At the end of the day you should be excited to be alive. When you settle for anything less than what you innately desire, you destroy the possibility that lives inside of you, and in that way you cheat both yourself and the world of your potential. “

Thought Catalog

Erin KellyErin Kelly

Understand that life is not a straight line. Life is not a set timeline of milestones. It is okay if you don’t finish school, get married, find a job that supports you, have a family, make money, and live comfortably all by this age, or that age. It’s okay if you do, as long as you understand that if you’re not married by 25, or a Vice President by 30 — or even happy, for that matter — the world isn’t going to condemn you. You are allowed to backtrack. You are allowed to figure out what inspires you. You are allowed time, and I think we often forget that. We choose a program right out of high school because the proper thing to do is to go straight to University. We choose a job right out of University, even if we didn’t love our program, because we just…

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You Need To Go After The Things You Want

This was posted a year ago today, and I still love everything about it.

When did we become so afraid to love someone with vulnerability? When did we become so fearful of spilling our guts and being who we are? It sounds corny but it’s true.

Let’s go after the things we want, let’s love each other brutally and honestly, and not worry about the consequences. Let’s release the feelings inside of us and let them land somewhere special. Otherwise, we might have a lifetime of longing in front of us.

My very pragmatic side annoyingly reminds me that I can’t spout off about everything I’m feeling. There are repercussions. What good will it do? I’m an adult after all, and adults can’t successfully function unfiltered …right?

I don’t know, but I know that I’m happier being genuine with my heart upon my sleeve, regardless of the discomfort, self-doubt, and general anxiety it may cause me.

(But if I’ve caused you any discomfort or anxiety, I really am sorry!)

Wisdom From a Harvard Cognitive Psychologist

Courtesy of a brilliant man on Reddit in response to the question, “Do you find your understanding of the mind negatively affects your own happiness? I mean does your deterministic outlook sometimes make life seem arbitrary and pointless to you, and elation just some chemical reaction.”

Quite the opposite — I find a naturalistic understanding of human nature to be indispensable to leading a wise and mature life, and it is often exhilarating. Wisdom consists in appreciating the preciousness and finiteness of our own existence, and therefore not squandering it; of being cognizant of what makes people everywhere tick, and therefore enhancing happiness and minimizing suffering; of being alert to limitations and flaws in our own judgments and decisions and passions, and thereby doing our best to circumvent them. The exhilaration comes from understanding that we are a part of natural world; that deep mysteries can be explained; and that the world — including our own mental lives — can be intelligible, rather than a source of superstition and ignorance. Yes, mortality sucks, but given that it exists, I’d rather know that than be kept in a childlike state of delusion.

It’s Not Shit.

A friend shared this post by Julie Zhuo today and I love it. My favorite portions (which I know is most of her already short post):

Where is the empathy? That meeting was not scheduled for the sole purpose of wasting your time. Executives do not sit at their desks stroking hairless cats, murmuring Yes, Percival, yes… We’ll stun them with a decision so bad, so unfathomably awful they won’t know what hit them!

Now, clearly, some things are a better use of your time than others. Some people’s opinions you’ll weigh more heavily. You won’t always agree with all the feedback you get, and progress won’t always be like a puck sailing over smooth ice.

Take a deep breath. It’s not Shit. It’s the energy and chaos and spirit of People Doing what they Honestly Believe is the Best Thing They Could Be Doing. It’s trying and sometimes failing and learning in the process. It’s not perfect but what person or job or life is? Close your eyes and trust.

And if you find you can’t, if it’s simply impossible to muster the belief that you’re not surrounded by shit, then maybe it’s time to seek greener pastures. Because why on earth would you insist on staying somewhere that rains feces all the time?

Who hasn’t been on both the giving and receiving end of perceived shit at one time or another? Given the nature of my work, I often feel like I’m on the giving end of  it. Those in the legal/policy/safety space often have a bad rap, and I get it. However, while it might suck to have to spend a bit more time than intended hammering out the details of a feature, I promise it’s for good reason. If it didn’t matter, we wouldn’t bother. Usually we’re looking out for the product and its users (preventing abuse) as well as the company (mitigating risk). Bottom line: it’s important to remember that we’re all part of the same team with the shared goal of kicking ass!