Blogpost, self-reliance

Trauma or Possibility?

Marathon

I had blood all over me.  I didn’t know where I was.  It was the coldest that I’d ever been in my life.  I couldn’t see a thing.  All that I could do was scream.  Luckily help was nearby and I was able to calm down.  It had been a difficult trial but I was alive and in the hospital.  Just when things seemed as if they would be OK, a complete stranger came along and chopped off a quarter of my penis.  All of that trauma happened in the first twenty four hours of my life.  Despite that very rough beginning, I’ve done quite well for myself.

This story is at least partially true for almost all of us.  We were all thrust into this world naked, afraid and unable to speak, read or write.  It is not something that we give much thought to because it happens to everyone.  However birth (or creation) is a messy and traumatic business by all accounts.  Not just the human producing ones but also the birth of companies, relationships, art or anything else.   There is always that starting point of conception that is magical and exhilarating.  Eventually that moment is replaced by some form of hard labor in order to get the creation out into the world.  Just because it’s painful, doesn’t mean that it’s not worth it.  The narrative of the present day is about safety and comfort.  Our world has had most of its sharp edges taken off.  While I’m all for vaccinating against the next Bubonic Plague, there are some struggles that are important for people to go through.  Not all pain is trauma.

As you conceive the next dream of where you’re going or what you’re doing, do a little pre-trauma planning.  Like a person that is preparing for a marathon, it is important to understand your “quit points”.  Quitting is not shameful if it is done for the right reasons.  A broken leg is a justifiable quit inducing occurrence.  Cramps are a nuisance to be fought through.  The difference between trauma and possibility is perspective and the next few steps that are taken.  Expectation that everything will be easy is a sure fire way to turn every problem into trauma.  Traumatizing yourself with things that should be expected is recipe for disaster.  Imagine freaking out because your newborn child couldn’t walk.  It’s a process not a fully completed miracle.  Take the possibility and run with it.

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Bathroom Logic

IMG_2726To my toilet, I’m either a dick or asshole.  To my shower, I’m varying degrees of dirty.  To my mirror, I’m vain or self-obsessed.  And you can just imagine what the toilet paper thinks of me.  All of these perspectives are completely accurate but taken from a narrow view

Each day we live our lives and show particular sides of ourselves to people.  None of them is 100% accurate but also they are not 100% inaccurate.  We cannot control other people’s perception of us.  That is in their control.  What’s within our control are the actions that we take and the words that we use.

I’m completely comfortable with my toilet thinking of me as an asshole.  However that’s not the message that I want to send to everyone.  Being the person that you want people to see takes effort and forethought.  Decide to give your best to the people who matter.  That way you know they’ll be there when you’re at your worst.

Have a great day people.

Pete

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The Pepsi Challenge

pepsiLast century (specifically in the 1980s) Pepsi had commercials and other advertising with the “Pepsi Challenge”.  An “unbiased” consumer was asked to try two different colas and give their preference.  Of course the on-camera participants always chose Pepsi.  Perhaps it was what they truly liked or the entire thing was rigged in some way.  In all honesty it doesn’t matter that much to me because I preferred Pepsi to Coke without the seeing choices of others.  It does make for an interesting discussion on why we choose the things that we do.

In a given day, you have literally thousands and possibly millions of choices to make.  Some of these choices are simple and probably automatic.  For example “Am I going to wear clothes today?”  No matter whether the answer is yes or no, it is an easy choice based on your daily life.  Other choices are much more complex and require major deliberation.  Choosing to go to college or the military is life-altering and for many would demand some time and attention.  In the middle of the automatic and grandiose decisions are many moment to moment choices that need to be made by you.  There are many people who treat these mid-level choices as though they were huge.  Others put all of their choices on automatic pilot letting others decide for them.  The worst scenario is that people forget that they are choosing at all.

In each moment, you have choices and some of the most important are about how you are going to feel.  Believe it or not, it is a choice.  If you are feeling sad, it is a choice.  Perhaps there are very good reasons for you to choose that but it is your choice.  By taking the physical state of your body, your mental focus of the moment and your inner dialogue, you determined the feeling that you were going to produce.

So now I put a new “Pepsi Challenge” on to you.  Let’s call it the “Huryk Challenge”.  Can you choose to feel good in all circumstances today?  No matter what life throws at you, can you CHOOSE to feel good.  You do not need to like the circumstances but you choose your feeling despite the poor situation.  I challenge you.

Choose to have a great day!

Pete

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You Won the Lottery! Don’t Waste It!

Are you saying to yourself, “I didn’t win the lottery.  If I did, I surely wouldn’t waste it.”  YOU DID WIN THE LOTTERY but we’ll deal with that in a moment.  It’s easy to look with contempt at the people who seemed to have it and then lost it.  Examples like MC Hammer, Mike Tyson and Kim Basinger are ones that pop into my mind.  They all had millions of dollars coming in yet they went bankrupt.  How could they let this happen?  There are all kinds of reasons: mismanagement, overindulgence, lack of a defined plan or stupidity.  It seems really simple.  If I were to win the lottery, I’d be able to keep it all together.  It would be easy.

So now to the point, you did win the lottery.  You won the “Birth Lottery”.  If you’re reading this, then you have access to the internet and probably live in the US, Canada or Europe.  You weren’t born into slavery.  Through your life, you’ve probably been loved, fed and educated pretty regularly.  Although you don’t have as much as some people near the top, you’re so far ahead of the people at the bottom that it’s a joke.  Starvation, malnutrition and imminent death are probably not on your worry list for today.  So since you won the birth lottery, what are you going to do with it?

Your perspective on your life will determine heavily what you will do with it.  You can choose to see your place in life as a burden or difficult.  Or you can realize that you already won the lottery and not waste it.

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The Greatest Lie That I Was Ever Told

On December 29th 2001, I was told the greatest lie of my life.  It was told to me by one of my dearest friends.  He told it to me because he knew that it would give me the confidence to do something that I normally would not have.  I am thankful every day that he told me that lie.

The night before on December 28th, my friend and I went out like we would on any other Friday night.  We ran into his younger brother, another friend and the friend’s sister.  The sister and I talked for a long time that night.  Although I was very interested in her, I didn’t ask for her number or anything.  However the next day, I was told that she was very interested in me and wanted to do something with the group again for New Year’s Eve.  So later that evening, I called her up in order to make plans for all of us to go out again.  That’s when I found out that it was a lie.  My friend had conjured up most of the story just to get me to call her.  She was going to Philadelphia for New Year’s and had no plans to go out with us again.  However she was happy to hear from me and the rest is history.  She is now my wife and we’ve been married for 10 years.

Although it was a lie, it was more valuable to me than the truth.  It took away the fear that normally would have paralyzed me into inaction.  The lie made me act.  It made me believe with certainty that I was going to be successful.  It was a placebo of the best kind.  I had taken the drug of self-confidence and it work magic on me.

There are so few things in life that are absolute.  Perhaps the “truths” that you’ve been telling yourself haven’t helped you very much.  The divide between the truth and a lie is often completely based on perspective.  If you’re going to lie to yourself or believe the lies of other people, be sure that they serve you.