Sunday, February 22, 2009

Going where you're not supposed to go.

This is a hint to those climbers out there, who want to get to the top, but since we've got no one to instruct us, we have to figure it all out ourselves.

Go to places where they go...the rich, the powerful. Usually, when you walk by a place like this, like an expensive, exclusive restaurant or a lounge where they are known to frequent, you feel a scary, intimidated feeling like you know you are supposed to be there.

At least that's how I felt! Now I'm over it -- I can go wherever, whenever I want.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Want to be amazed?

I read this piece of writing today. Here is the link:

Basically, this Harvard professor is telling us that it's our turn, the people who have saved their money, to spend as much as possible to "save" the nation.

That makes me want to take my lunch to work everyday, walk or bicycle to work [had a horrible experience on the overcrowded yet inconvenient subway today], wear out all my ratty clothes, unplug every single electrical device I have from the wall when I'm not using it, etc. Basically, I want to save as much money as I possibly can.

What is this that enrages me so much? Read the comments -- the readers are enraged too -- and since they're New York Times readers, they're pretty intelligent and have insightful things to say.

But I think what bothers me is that I don't like some Harvard-tenured, pseudo-authority figure [He probably wished he could have gotten some appointment in the Obama admin.] telling me to spend as much money as possible just because I have some.

Please, I beg you, tell me what you think. I would love to read your responses to the NY times post.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

How to be rich and out of touch.

I always found the term "out of touch" to be so delicious. To be "out of touch" seemed like the ultimate destination -- going shopping, relaxing in your gorgeous condo, reading books in a foreign language, because you're just so "out of touch." What people think, do, or achieve doesn't bother you, because you're in your own little cocoon of untouchableness.

When I hear that term being tossed around nowadays, it's been in regard to people who aren't bothered by what's going on economically, because even though they probably studied economics at some highly-ranked institution, it doesn't bother them in the least. While newscasters [who are still wearing designer suits, with perfect hair and makeup] are telling us what horrible downturn just happened and how many people were just fired in some plant town, the "out of touch" person is lost in their own world, probably dreaming up some screenplay they want to write, some story idea they want to make into a novel, or planning how they can sell their arts and crafts so they can buy a new condo with higher ceilings.

Maybe we're offended by those that are "out of touch" because they refuse to let even the worst news into their little life. And what bothers us even more is that nothing bad really ever happens to them. We never hear about their setbacks because they either refuse to acknowledge them as bad or just don't discuss them. Or they pretend to be bothered by them, because popular sentiment obligates them to a little public shame, but in reality they aren't phased in the least.

Being "out of touch" is simply being out of touch with the lesser elements of life -- poverty, disease, self-hate and self-pity. When you're "out of touch" with those things, you're able to be in touch with that which is wonderful on Planet Earth -- sexy people, amazing coincidences, money, jet-set, spending when there's a depression.

What's wrong with that? Why do we feel like we have an obligation to take part in all these tragedies? I hear sob stories about people losing their jobs, begging, "It's all because of the recession," we want our factory jobs back, please, anyone, bail us out! But instead, the rich "out of touch" bankers get paid for failing miserably. Yes, it's completely unfair. No, it doesn't make sense.

But if we're "out of touch," will people yield to our demands because they know there's no way they can convert us to their way of thinking? If we demand millions of dollars for bonuses from the Federal Government, and are so "out of touch" that we think we're obligated to be paid it, will we get it?

Do you want to be "out of touch"? What do you gain from being "in touch" with thoughts of scarcity, of limits, of sacrifice, of struggle, bad news, loss, and so on?

I'd rather be that person vacationing in a tropical place, staying in a gorgeous condo, laying on the sofa typing up my next screenplay while the breeze circulates around the chic, clutter-free room, totally oblivious to what's going on in the outside world.

Does that make me a bad person? Probably.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Am I too old to be a ... ??

Am I too old to be a [fill in the blank]? I am a young person, but even I sometimes ponder this horrendously inappropriate question. The concept that anyone could be too "old" to be something is a form of thinking that has sadly been passed down, generation after generation. This sad, limited form of thinking where we don't act on our dreams because we just might be a little too old.

How sad. How very, very sad.

I am here to tell you that you are never too old to do anything. You, the 12 year old who wants to become a doctor but you think you can't because you got a D on that stupid 6th grade math test. Yes, you can be a doctor!

You, the 65 year old man who totally used to rock out on the guitar with your garage band, but had to stop doing it [well, you really didn't but we don't go there] because you had to take a family. Yes, you can still be a rock god! [I would suggest going raw, meditation, and doing facercise so you are super photogenic -- looks do count, but Tina Turner is "old" and still considered a beauty icon. Tom Cruise is almost 50 and looks 25]

To the woman who wants to become a better cook and have a food blog, but think you don't have enough experience or you simply can't measure up to the other established blogs, you sure as hell can do it!

But we all have to kick butt and hustle to get things done. Dreaming only sets the stage, but you have to take action to get where you DESERVE and need to be. What if I told you that it was your OBLIGATION to succeed at whatever task you thought you were too old to perform? It would be your obligation to the universe so you could show people after you that indeed you were not too old, you were excellent at it, and they can do it too!

That would be awesome.

So that's your assignment.

February 11th

Assignment: Find one thing that you think you're too old to do, and do it. If it's a huge task, like becoming a rock star, break it into tiny increments. You have six months to do it -- hustle hard, and come back and report. The universe and the human race is depending on your success. No pressure or anything.

[point of inspiration: Grandma Moses didn't start painting until she was in her 70s. You know who Grandma Moses is, right?]

Monday, February 9, 2009

I'll tell you how to save 500 every two weeks in this recession.

In this recession, there's only one way to survive -- spend less money. But how can we do that? We need to eat, right??


I learned today about this woman, named Jasmuheen, who lives only on air. Isn't that crazy? Check out her webpage.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Is there honor in being poor?

There's been some deception going on. For the past thousands of years, we've all been tricked into thinking that money is bad, leads to jealously, misfortune, and other crazy outcomes. But at the same time, we're all told that we have to make an honest living somehow. We have to go to work, do our job, get paid so we can take care of ourselves and our family.

Have you ever met someone who is just barely getting by? I have numerous people in my live who live with that "scarcity" mentality, who nickle and dime every little purchase because they have so little money coming in. I have a relative who barely works and makes very little effort to find work, but then talks about how "this shirt cost 5.75" and they bought it 10 years ago. Or complain about how the price of some product, like rice, went up 10 cents and how horrible it is. I'm always amazed how he can remember all these prices of such stupid things. What a waste of your brain! Right now, I am not even a successful person, but am significantly younger than him and already have a huge fortune compared to him. Instead of thinking of ways to save money, I'm always thinking about ways to MAKE extra money or increase my own value. Which way do you think is better? What are you saving money for?

Saving money is so selfish -- finding ways to MAKE extra money is such a wonderful thing because it means you will be providing a good or a service that someone wants! Saving money means that you're hoarding your money so others can't take it from you. Of course, saving money in some instances is respectable and fine -- if you want to buy a house, car, or some other big purchase, you will want to save. But be creative -- think of ways to make extra money. It could just end up making the world a better, more exciting place.

Before I go to another example, I just want to point out that I am REALLY not trying to pick on anyone. I really have deep respect for everyone's personal experiences, but I'm just using this as an opportunity to look at things from my perspective. The next example is at work. The job we do does not pay very well, even though I think it is important work. But the people there are always amazed at how I go out to eat almost every day. I think they think it is a waste of money, but I think it is so necessary to be able to relax and remove my mind from the workplace. As a social climber, it is really important to always put yourself out there -- to be seen, walking around in places where you might run into rich people. You don't want to stay in the office, surfing the net while there are so many exciting things to do and people to meet!

However, people in my work place are always shocked when I go out, saying things like "Why don't you ever bring your lunch?" Then I hear them complaining about not being able to afford this or that. But then they spend all their time hanging out with poor girls and boys who they are dating. Don't you know if you just hang around poor people who are struggling, you just stay poor too? Richness is a sign of being able to use your creativity to gain wealth [unless it is inherited, which usually means they come from creative families thus are still worth hanging out with.] Poor people do not use their creativity to make money. They sit and complain and spend money on cheap stuff that breaks or wears out. Hang out with rich people -- and if you aren't able to find rich people, find ambitious people who are constantly striving to improve themselves and make money. They are the creatives that can change the world.

Poor people do not take action. Or if they take action, it is completely misguided. There was some story on the news about how some family was so poor that they had to sell all their belongings on Ebay. But the thing was, and if you do Ebay, you will know this, that they added at least 10 pictures for every item, not matter how much it was worth! Adding pictures to listings is EXTREMELY expensive! If they were creative at all, or had done any research, they would have found that there is an extremely easy way to add as many photos as you want for free. The family had to be all dramatic about not having any money, but then they spent so much trying to sell stuff and then complained about how a teapot, which is a family heirloom, only sold for six dollars. They probably didn't do any research about the best time to sell items, whether the item was even worth selling, and so on.

Another news story I read a year ago when all this economic mess was starting was about this woman who said she just came home after work and worried. That was essentially the whole story -- that she was so upset because she was AFRAID she was going to lose her job, she just could not stop worrying. There was some picture of her, where she looked extremely stressed and haggard, worrying in her dilapidated kitchen. What would have happened if she utilized that energy and created a new product or service to make money? What if her interest was birds, and she spent her evenings making bird houses and bird feeders, selling them on a website she created? While at work, she can dream of new designs to make. What if she started making them out of some new material, or created a solar paneled bird feeder that prevented the seed from freezing? I mean, that's just an example I thought of, but I'm just trying to show how this woman could have used her time otherwise.

I'm beginning to think more and more that money is tied directly to success and how free you are of social conventions. Yes, money does equal success. But I also think it measures how liberated you are from ideas society is shoving down our throats at all time. To make tons of money, you've got to do things a little differently. To be rich, you've got to not give a **** about what other people are thinking about you.

For example, if you're going to write a blog that gets lots of attention and thus revenue, perhaps you spend time writing in your blog instead of going out to drink with your drinking buddies. Then, two years later, when you've really gotten your writing style down and you know what people want, you get some writing deal from a big magazine. That magazine deal lets you write articles, which leads to a book deal. That book deal leads to a movie studio buying the rights to the movie, but since you wrote the book, you get to decide "Well, since it's my story, I think I have to be the star in it because only I understand the character." Then you get 10 million dollars for staring in the movie, which only takes a few, exciting, thrilling months to film. Then you get other movie deals, all while writing more books, still getting revenue from that blog, and now writing scripts. Isn't that exciting?

You don't get rich by doing what society tells you to do. However, going back to my obsession of working within constraints, here is a scenario where you can work within society, within your place in it, to elevate yourself to the top. So say you work at some organizaton that has ties to other organizations. However, your office is very "business casual," in which people wearing misfitting chinos and wrinkled dress shirts with black sneakers [they think since the sneakers are black, people will think they are dress shoes.] Instead, you always dress immaculately, realizing that it makes you stand out in a good way. Instead of spending your money on a video game system or dvds, you save up and buy a understated by stylish Prada briefcase. Instead of going to Marshalls and trying to buy the cheapest suit to save money, you do your research, see how suits are supposed to fit, and then go to a place like Nordstroms and buy a nice one. Instead of eating Subway every day [which I don't think is really that healthy], you either go to a vegan restaurant or make an awesome healthy raw salad and eat it in a park in a very nice neighborhood where you're likely to run into like minded people who introduce you to their cool vegan friends who have excellent connections. Since you're eating such good food, you have lots of energy, are able to do your work quicker, and have better ideas.

If you're female, this means that you always look immaculate for work, wearing professional suits or dresses, always wear high heels or expensive wearing flats, and NEVER wear jeans even on casual Friday! Your boss will be so impressed that they WILL promote you because they will feel uncomfortable with you being so professional. It's true. I worked at a place that was very casual, but I would ALWAYS, without fail, try to dress my best. It was temporary work, and a lot of people at the same level as me came and went, but I was the ONLY one who was offered a full-time position. I do not think I was smarter than anyone else [I happen to believe that anyone is capable of anything and that NO ONE is more talented than anyone else, but others can work smarter and harder than others], but I do think because I created this professional persona I was able to get the job. I got sent to meetings and other professional gatherings because they knew I was professional and would not embarrass the company.

Okay, this blog post is very disorganized and sloppily written, but I just wanted to get some of these ideas that have been floating around in my head. I come from a family of hard workers who have some underlying belief that there is HONOR IN BEING POOR. That is just so unreal to me. There is absolutely no honor in being poor. There is honor in hard work, perhaps, as long as that hard work eventually pays off.

1. Always try to hang out with ambitious people or people who are rich and getting richer. They often lead creative, fulfilling lives where money is only a small part of their existence. Poor people are usually obsessed with money, but instead of thinking about how lucky they are, think about how little money they have.

2. Always present an image of wealth through your appearance.
In survival of the fittest thinking, you will be likely to draw the attention of rich people who will try to befriend you and expose you to situations where you are able to avoid being hurt/killed -- instead of going to some bar in a ghetto area of town, they take you to their Country Club in the country. In law of attraction thinking, you will "feel" rich by dressing nicely, through which you will draw rich people and situations into your daily life experience.

3. Always strive to find new ways to make money, never strive unnecessarily to find ways to save money.
Finding ways to make money expands your ability to be creative. Make life a game where your goal is to make as much money as possible.

4. Always look for ways in which you can improve yourself.
In all aspects of your life, try to improve yourself. Rich people are rich in ALL ways. They speak multiple languages, have many hobbies, understand art and culture, usually have many degrees [because they love learning], and also understand the management of money. I've met 20 year old rich girls that have an understanding of mortgages and other money things I really don't understand that blows my mind. They were taught these things as a survival skill. Dressed immaculately and discussing Standard and Poors. Exciting.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Who benefits from your mistakes?

Who benefits from your mistakes? Who benefits from your laziness? Who benefits from your ignorance?

This question popped into my head the other day. I had been thinking about the concept of "providing value" to others as being the correct method of creating wealth. Many online gurus say to people like us, whoever we might be, that the only way to get a following, to sell a product, is to create something that provides value.

But that sounded so "goody-goody" to me. Yes, it makes sense. Sure, we're supposed to be so wonderful and cherry that all we want to do is provide value to others.

However, I'm going through my social-climbing, "give it to me" phase right now. I wanted to think on the dark, yet legal, side. I thought "What little chump is benefiting from me sitting on my ass, not doing anything, watching this stupid television commercial?"

When I was at the office, and lunch time rolled around, and I hadn't brought any nutritious food with me, I had to go to Subway. Sure, it's "healthy," with all those unhappy, negative sandwich artists doing their best to serve the lunchtime rush. But who benefited from my laziness and lack of planning? Subway, I guess. The people who slaughter the poor chicken I ate [they really overcook and then remicrowave that poor chicken 'til it's barely recognizable].

But do you see what I mean? I know this blog post is very sloppy and is going to end up unedited [I'm just trying to get into the habit of blogging daily], but isn't it interesting to think about?

Who benefits when you're too lazy to go to the gym? The gym owners do, because they don't have to maintain the equipment as much because you didn't go that day.
Who benefits when you have a craving for chocolate and can't resist? The candy company. The gym membership you end up signing up for, but really never end up using.

Who benefits when you didn't give yourself enough time to study for that test and you end up getting a B instead of the A you could've gotten? That annoying student who studied harder, gets the better grade, goes to the better school, gets a better job, and then brags about their success by showing pictures of their fancy digs on Facebook.

Who benefits when you're too lazy to think for yourself, to trust your own instinct, so you go consult outside sources? All those self-help bloggers benefit from getting ad revenue, book deals, etc. Do you REALLY think someone like that knows what's going on?

Who benefits when you wake up late, don't have time to get ready sufficiently for work, and then forget to put on deoderant? Some cute person who you're attracted to could walk by, think "wow, they look like a mess" and not even consider fliritng with you. Later on, when you realize you've forgotten to wear deoderant, you have to go to the drug store, buy deoderant you really dont' need, and then buy 5 other miscallaneous items you don't need so other people don't think you're just there to buy deoderant.

Who benefits when you focus on the negative, ruminating over negative past events, people who make your stomach burn, desires for revenge, etc.? The person who benefits is the one that is more positive, who out-performs you in other areas of life, like work, blogging, etc., because they don't waste their time thinking about things they can't control anymore. Instead, their life just gets better and better, as they are able to buy a house with their blogging money, buy fancy clothes, and save for the future. You, on the other hand, sit in your bedroom's shitty "home office," your brow twisted in a furrow as mental images of people you disliked from high school float through your mind, you somehow able to find a way to blame them for at least PART of your current situation.

Instead of always thinking about providing value to others, can we also be equally motivated by trying to ensure that others do NOT benefit from our faults? Essentially, it is the same concept, only reversed.

Before you do something you know you could do better, think -- "Who is going to benefit from me doing this sloppily?" Who knows, it might be that bitchy girl from high school snickering at you when she sees you 20 years later driving a beat up mini-van. She benefits by then telling all her friends what she saw. You can pretend that it doesn't bother you, use that "I don't care what people think about me!" line. But let's face it -- it hurts, it's embarresing, and YOU could have prevented it.

You need to realize you're nothing so you can become everything.

We have to start from where we are right now.  So many gurus coax us to imagine ourselves already being rich, already possessing whatever trait or item we desire.  It should be easy, wonderful, they tell us -- you already have what you desire, you just don't know it yet.  Jesus said "Ask and you shall receive."  What He failed to mention was what happens between the asking and the receiving part!  

Modern internet spirituality gurus tell us that we're sons of God, which I agree with.  But I don't think God wants us to be bored.  God wants us to be engaged, excited.  

Do we desire to live like kings, having everything handed to us, with mystical spirits in the ethers arranging everything "just so" so we can live a life of complete pleasure and bliss?  I used to think I did.  Now I realize that this is all a game, and you have to play if you want a chance at winning.  

Imagine if your life is a video game.  I remember playing those Japanese RPGS back when I was younger at friend's houses, games like Zelda, Secret of Mana, and so on.  I was never good at them, but they were thrilling for me to watch.  The stories, however simple, usually started with a young man with nothing.  Through his journeys, he makes friends, defeats enemies, accumulates fame and fortune.

Would you want to play a video game where you are a king and you just get whatever you want?  Shuffling to your bed chamber to your throne in your kingly robe and heavy crown so you can have people bow down and respect you?  Isn't it more fun to start from nothing and work your way up, fighting, and struggling?

How much more motivated would you be if you said to yourself "I'm nothing - I've accomplished nothing, I've made nothing of myself so far." Thinking that thought makes me want to fight, to prove it isn't true, to throw myself into something I feel passionate about. Being nothing is liberating because it gives you the chance to be whatever you want!  Saying you're nothing gives you a clean slate!

So say this -- say, "I'm nothing.  I haven't any talents.  I have no history.  I am a blank slate.  I have no negative emotions."  It makes you want to fill the void, huh?  It makes you want to take action.

Realize you're nothing so you can become everything.  We have to work our way up.  We have to start at the bottom if we want to get to the top.  We have to be realistic -- not about how others view reality, but we have to be honest with how we view OURSELVES if we want to progress.  

Sunday, February 1, 2009

How can you get stuff done on the weekend?

If you're like me, come Friday, you have some big goals for the weekend. You'll get to the gym, work on that screenplay, develop that website, or do whatever. However, on Saturday morning, looking at the list of things you want to accomplish, you feel overwhelmed. Maybe I'll start work on that novel after I watch a few minutes of the news, you think. Maybe my new office just for my own projects, not stuff from my weekday gig, can get set up after I take a nap.

Then, on Sunday night, you feel depressed, like a real dope. You got nothing done! Well, let's change that so next weekend you can feel like you have actually accomplished something.

1. Don't have weekend goals/duties/tasks: Now, this may seem counter intuitive, but the only way to succeed in a situation like this is to NOT have goals! Instead, just make them overarching goals. Don't push them off until the weekend -- just work on them constantly until they are complete. If you only have 15 minutes after going to the work and then the gym, use that time to work on your project. You'll build up momentum so that by the weekend, you'll have that drive going to keep going on your project.

2. Divide one task into as many sub-tasks as possible: If your goal is to "clean your new home office,' break it into as many, tiny goals as possible. In fact, write them all out. Then allocate certain amount of time to each task -- the shorter the amount of time, the better. You can usually get things done a lot quicker if you have less time to do it.

3. Think of yourself as 'cheating': This is strange logic that might work for you. Most people in contemporary Western culture view the weekend as a time for relaxation and idleness where there is no obligation to do anything meaningful -- in fact, you are supposed to tell people on Monday, what you did -- if you tell people, "Oh, I finished the first draft on my novel," "I sold 1,000 dollars of shit I didn't want on Ebay", or something else that shows you were productive, they will probably be jealous or question your sanity. They will often say something along the lines of, "I watched the first two seasons of 24 on Saturday."

That's fine, but that's not what we want to do. We are Babyfaces. We have to plot and scheme because we're on the very bottom of the social ladder, but we're not happy staying here. We've got to make the most of every minute. Sometimes, we've got to "cheat" to get ahead. In our case, cheating does not mean lying, or doing anything illegal. It means that we must be working on our off hours to become more wealthy, beautiful, and intelligent. When our work "friends" are out drinking and having fun at Outback Steakhouse, we're at home meditating, eating only raw veggies, and exercising so if we have interactions with rich, powerful people, they are more likely to want to engage us in conversation, hire us to work for their firms, etc.

We have to be exceptional because we're competing with everyone else. We've got to get ours. Does going to Outback help us get towards our goal? No, at that important meeting on Monday, you will still feel bloated and hungover, causing the CEO to question whether that raise is really a good idea. We've got to hustle, leverage very minute to get ahead, to improve ourselves so we don't have to live in poverty and un-greatness forever.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Making the most of what you've got

Make the most of what you've got. Remember, people have started with much less than you and are currently enjoying luxury and excitement far beyond what you can imagine. Let's do a little list. This is a list about macro-constraints -- huge, looming constraints that people are forced to operate in.

1. People much stupider than you have had much more success than you.
2. People uglier than you have dated/married hotter mates than you think they deserve.
3. People with worse ideas than you have become rich off their ideas, but you haven't.

Why do things work out this way? Why do people get ahead of you when they've been given far less, when you've judged them to have less than you? I'll list some reasons.

1. They know they're stupid, so they realize they have to work harder to get what they want
2. They feel as though they have nothing to lose, so they risk it all.
3. They're hungry for success after seeing so many people pass them by on the socio-economic ladder that they bust their butt to get where they can be comfortable.
4. They make the most of what they've got.

I know that I am one of the people that feel as though things should be "easy" for me. I stopped being hungry for success. I coasted along, going nowhere. My life hasn't turned out so wonderfully so far. I'm poor, socially disconnected, single, not unhappy but not joyful, have no hot car, don't have a house, and have a low-paying job.

The importance is to jump to the mindset of the person we've listed before. Become one of those people who started with nothing and then achieved everything. Make use of what you know -- your ability to learn, synthesize information, copy and switch things around a little. Do what you've gotta do to get what you want. Be one of the stupid people who gets smart and makes a million dollars. Be resolute and dedicated to your success. Think of yourself as one of the "little guys" whose gotta fight to be a top dog.

Make the most of what you've got. Don't expect someone will come around and tell you what to do or do it for you. They won't -- and that's not fun anyway.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Constraints: The Babyface lesson.

So, I was going to write this long post, really emotional and depressing about feeling undervalued. I felt undervalued because I was offered a job today. Now, I should consider myself lucky that in this economic climate I even received a job offer. So, yes, that's great. Go onto Craigslist, the Rants and Raves section, and see how many people are there complaining about having all this experience, multiple degrees, and not being able to find a job. But the salary they offered me is extremely low, really not to live on. I will probably have to move in with family members to get by. The area I live in is so expensive -- I had hoped that I would have enough to at least pay the mortgage on some foreclosed property.

But that was not in the cards for me. I'm thinking about how to view this in terms of my constraint perspective -- achieving more by having less to work with, or working within a confined space/modality/etc. What turns me on is the idea of having this salary and then being able to find money from other sources -- online, selling stuff, using my creativity.

However, I will have severe constraints because most of my day, at least from nine to five, will be used in the company I will be working for. So my constraints will be really strict in terms of time. Instead of "you have four hours to do so and so," it will be like "you have forty-five minutes to work on this, etc."

But I feel kind of have to see the movie "Babyface" with Barbara Stanwyk, an amazing movie from the 30s. You can get it on Netflix. It's exceptional in its gritty reality and how real the emotions are captured. Babyface is this girl whose father owned a bar that she was forced to work at, and then she ran away with her friend to New York with essentially nothing. However, she was able to leverage her intelligence, looks, sexuality, and other parts of herself to get to the very top of the social ladder. The movie is controversial because of the cold, ruthless way she went about doing this...but I know how she feels. That hunger for comfort, for success, to feel protected by money, to not have to worry about money, having your own place.

That's why this low job offer excites me. I'm going to accept it, I think. I can't be jobless. Just call me Babyface.

Here she is plotting and scheming her way to the top, her friend Chico looking on:

I feel excited. Enthralled. But I feel so hungry for it. Hungry as babyface. Take action. Make moves. Plot and scheme. What were her constraints? What constraints was she operating in? Well, she had to support herself. She had no connections, so she was operating with no social network. She used what knowledge she had to leverage her way further up the social and career ladder -- in the movie, they show her moving up the different floors of the skyscrapper she worked in. First she was in the filing department, then mortgages, then finance, then bonds, whatever. So it's about leveraging within whatever constraints you are working in.

It is fun to work yourself from the bottom to the top. It feels exciting. I want to work hard. I want to work smart. I want to use everything I've learned about meditation, diet, exercise, feng shui and cleanliness, to get where I want, to get what I need.

I'm tired of those fools that say money is bad, that we're not supposed to like money, we're only supposed to earn a certain amount within a certain context. I am sick of being poor. Yes, I'll say it. I don't want to be poor. I am like Babyface right now, right before she moves to New York, in some ways.

I am going to work within my constraints. I am going to outsmart everyone. I am going to leverage what I can to get higher up, to get there faster, to get more than those I am competing with. I can get it because I'm hungry for it.

I'm not going to fool myself anymore. I am not going to pretend that money is something that I can live without, something that is nice but not neccesary. It's too bad money just doesn't float to me through the ethers. But won't working for it, earning it, feel good? Money is what I need. Babyface needs money.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Setting constraints to succeed.

Hi everyone.

This is part two of my series on setting constraints for creativity and success. I am going to address some ideas that have to do with constraints that I experience in my everyday life -- however, I have never deliberately applied constraints to maximize some outcome. Instead, I have had constraints placed on me by external forces like teachers, bosses, the state, etc.  But I'm ready and wanting to change that!

However, let's brain-storm a little, flip the script a little, and see how we can take these nasty external constraints and use them to our advantage.

1. Be Your Own Teacher: In school, it is customary to be assigned tasks that have a certain due date. The teacher decides when the work product is required to be submitted to him or her. If you do not submit the work, you do not get graded, which results in a grade of F - fail. Isn't that so much like life? If we don't do something by a certain time, even if we expected a wonderful outcome, if we don't do something, we fail. We fail because we did not do anything.

Why don't we become our own teachers, and create arbitrary guidelines to work towards? A silly example comes to mind, where you take a dart and throw it at a huge desk-sized calendar. But first, choose something you want to do.  What about "go one a date with someone new and exciting," or "be able to do 200 pushups".   And then throw that dart at the calendar and that's when it has to be done by!

Now, you might think "Wow, I can't possibly get _____ done by this date.  I'll need more time!"  Talk about self-fulfilling prophecy!  Remember how in college when we were assigned 30 page essays 2 months in advance?  We would spend so much time ruminating over the task at hand, thinking "It will take so much work, I will do it later."  We didn't want to expose ourselves to the pain!  

But, by God, when we finally started working away at that paper at 2:30 AM, the night before it was due, we worked without thinking, just total focus and concentration guiding our efforts.  And we got good grades!  Yes, it was painful.  But it was finished, complete.  

What if we can do that in our own lives, being strict and requiring that a task be done at a certain time.  It doesn't have to be PERFECT!  Maybe you have to write 10 pages a day for your novel -- who cares if it is horrible.  You will get better!  Soon you'll get into the groove, knowing how to draw upon your novel-writing inspiration, but you never would have gotten there if you hadn't first set some bullshit constraint to force you to do it.  You still would be thinking about it, waiting for that "perfect" moment to come along, the muse whispering sweetly in your ear, guiding you to your computer.

No, you have to just sit down in front of the damn computer and start writing out ideas.  Don't wait for the muse.  Show that damned, yet lovable, muse that you are ready to work NOW and you will offend their refined muse-sensibilities by cranking out the worst, lowest quality writing ever until they help you out.  That will be a big enough threat for them!  

2.  Confused about what Constraints to set?  Copy from famous, successful people!  Now, a question you may be faced with is -- well, I know what activity I want completed by a certain time, but how much should I do daily, monthly hourly?

That's where Google comes in hand!  Thanks to Google, we have access to the minds of thousands of geniuses, both contemporary and classic.  So say you want to know how many pages of your novel that you should write a day, google author interviews to see what they write a day.  In terms of song writing, I know that Missy Eliot writes a song a day.  That is 365 songs a year.  That's enough for like 365/12 = approximately 30 albums.  So essentially what Missy Eliot is saying implicitly that not EVERY song she writes is going to make it onto her new album or is going to be a song she will offer another artist to sing.  But she keeps up the writing habit so she's ready for that good song.  

[ google snowflake method for writing a novel -- -- stupid safari won't let me paste the url into the browser -- this is a reminder to always use Firefox]

Anyway, yes, copy famous, successful people.  Be aware that you aren't going to copy them FOREVER.  We're just experimenting and seeing what happens.  We might realize that we work better doing one thing or method.  

I will continue this treatise tomorrow.  I will also start putting this into action.  

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Major breakthrough.

So if you have been following this blog, you have known that it has been boring, weird, and random. I never knew what to write about, simple as that. I always knew that I wanted to blog and I have always thought of myself as a generally creative person. I also have always thought of myself as being a mediocre yet earnest writer. However, I always felt at a loss when I thought about what I wanted to blog about.

However, just this morning, as luck would have it, I happened to come across a very, very important website. The message of the website was simple. When learning this secret, or any secret that you always know in the back of your mind, but kind of forget about, I was like "Oh my God! I found it! I found the secret I have been looking for!"

First, before the tears of joy start running down my cheeks in appreciation, or before I jump up and work on a goal now that I know the secret, I would like to briefly discuss how my life was before this secret. I always felt blah, uninspired, convinced of my ability to create something meaningful and of value, but unsure of how to go about doing it. Days would pass where I woke up thinking "this will be the day where I finally do X, Y, and Z", only to go to sleep at night disappointed yet hopeful that tomorrow might bring about the output I desired. But it would never happen. Maybe I would start something, like sketching out some ideas for a story or writing a few verses of a song. However, while I would not just give up, I simply would not know where to go with the project and would inevitably set it aside to be worked on at a later date.

But now with my new secret I've discovered, I can bypass all that shit. The secret is not time management or setting time limits. It is not "not caring what other people think." It is not "thinking outside the box." It is not "doing other things to serve people." Let me tell you, I have picked up a lot of bullshit tips from a variety of "self-help gurus" over the years. I'm sure if I said stuff to their face, they would say 'you didn't implement my principles correctly', or 'you lack proper motivation' or something.

But I do know one thing -- applying this secret is the reason behind all of these gurus, or other successful persons, success. Perhaps they are cognizant of this secret and maybe do not spell it out or else the market demand for their information would be radically decreased as people dutifully worked on what they were passionate about instead of always rechecking their favorite guru's page to see what new tip might just give them the extra oomph they need to achieve what they desire.

Anyway, the secret is...constraints are necessary for creativity. Isn't that so liberating? Before when doing something creative, well, everything is creative, but I would just be at a total loss. I would think "Where the hell am I supposed to go with this idea?"

But yeah, create constraints for yourself. That's why you did such a good job writing those last minute papers in college. Or why you're able to clean your room in 15 minutes before your girlfriend comes over when usually it takes you weeks to even take any action.

So what type of constraints can we set to get the train rolling on creative activities? Remember, I consider everything as a creative activity -- but right here we're talking about blogging, writing books, screenplays, music, cleaning, etc.

1. Define a time limit: perhaps create a reward or punishment if you don't finish on time. Have an exact action that will be taken when the time limit is up, whether or not you are finished. For example, sending a manuscript to a publisher, posting your song on your website, publishing a blog post, etc. Perhaps visualize it in your mind for a few seconds just so you know how it is going to end up in the end.

2. Constraints of length: Creative works often have a specific volume -- 70,000 for a novel, for example. Perhaps we can set constraints in this aspect -- like, I am writing a book a month, at 13,000 words a day. Yeah, maybe initially it won't be perfect, but you are producing something!

3. Constraints of speed: Doing things as quickly as possible can sometimes yield some good stuff! This is similar to one, but to me it is a bit different -- it means not mulling things over, overthinking things. Do it from the gut, from your instincgt.

4. Constraints of options and tool: Perhaps you are writing a song. Limit yourself to five instruments, and decide before hand the title of the song, key signature, chord changes [use common ones, don't start anything new right now], etc. Shakespeare wrote in sonnet form, which I think was like 14 syllables or something. He had constraints and look how much he produced and how relevant he still is!

5. Constraints of theme: Doing something in a particular theme is kind of similar to that stupid "write for a niche" for blogging. I feel like it is different though, because theme sounds cooler and niche makes me think of electronics and boring stuff. So yeah, have the constraint of a theme.

6. Most importantly : experiment with constraints! Let's all try them out and see what happens. Maybe a good constraint would be to write 10 pages of your novel when you first wake up in the morning? Or something else. Let me know how you are experimenting with this!

I feel overwhelmed now, but I am going to put this into practice. I think procrastination is not the lack of motivation, but moreso the lack of constraints. We need constraints so we know what we are working with.


Saturday, January 3, 2009

Why adults should color frequently.

I remember a few months ago I was totally stressed out by this take home final for a subject I had trouble with in the past. I was working on completing my degree at this time, and just felt completely overwhelmed.

You know how when you are given a task to complete within a certain time period (in this case, a week), it seems to dominate your entire mind. You just keep going over in your mind -- I have this task to complete, there's so much left to be done, how am I going to do it all?

Then I decided to color -- I printed out some pages from a free internet coloring site. I took out some colored pencils I had found the week before, and just started coloring. It felt so mind like emptied. I felt that blissed out way a four year old feels. You should try it!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Yearning for authenticity.

A brand new year. I am starting this year by cleaning up my major living areas, thinking positive thoughts while I do it. I am thinking "this is a place of evolution, progress, growth, and this is just for me."

My only goal for the new year is to set smaller goals. Not huge ones that never get done.

I have people here for the holidays. I realized that one of them is NPD [narcissistic personality disorder]. It now makes so much sense. Ugh, they're not fun to be around though and are constantly craving attention. Here are the symptoms:

* grandiose sense of self-importance
* preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
* belief that he or she is "special" and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)
* need for excessive admiration
* sense of entitlement
* takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
* lack of empathy
* envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her
* arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes

They have the ability to make you feel like you are going crazy yourself because their behavior is very odd and subtle. But I think the lesson this teaches me is that you have to be really, really careful who you open up too.

My new job also taught me another thing about relationships. Sometimes the people that are easiest to be friends with are those who are you should really avoid being friends with. The people who are kind of distant and not so easy to get to know are the ones that you should really try to become close too, if you want to. Does this make sense?