Manti Te'o and Inspiration Stories

The fact is, this story exists because sports media wanted it to exist: It’s exactly the sort of easy, “inspiration” narrative that Notre Dame has specialized in for decades. But this isn’t a Notre Dame story; this is what happens when you report on sports as if they are some sort of metaphor for life, or that athletes are somehow more “inspirational” than regular people.

via The media scrambles to backtrack on Manti Te’o. | : Will Leitch Article.

Two days, two posts that build off Will Leitch quotes? Yes!

Even though I am a sports fan, I still get frustrated with most of the stuff beyond the playing field. Whether it’s the athletes-as-role-models-by-default mentality, or how quickly we lift them up even further (or tear them down with relentless speed) when they do the smallest things, or how easily they get off (comparatively) when they do really horrendous things.

For me, it takes away from the game and competition… and at its simplest it comes down to the same concept as yesterday’s post: money, popularity, and “shininess” distract us from what’s truly important. We then feel obligated to pay attention, in some way or another, simply because of those factors.

How about we treat everyone with the same basic level of respect, reverence, forgiveness, empathy (etc, etc) to start and then adjust, versus automatically assigning them roles and importance? (For good or bad.) Seems simpler and a lot less dramatic, at least.

Shittiness and Expectations

Over on (if you have the time, I highly recommend reading the first 9 paragraphs), Will Leitch took a deeper look into a recent New York Times food review of Guy Fieri’s new restaurant in Times Square, particularly the response to the review. The response, summed up, basically went like this: ‘Well, what did you expect? Of course it’s horrible.’

He takes this example and expands on it to the world in general:

I bring all this up because I think we’re starting to care more about popularity and financial success than legitimate quality. All right, so that’s hardly news; that’s always been the case, as a general rule, for most of humanity’s reign. But now the smart people are doing it: People who should know better. I’m talking about you, dear reader: You, me, all of us.

Will Leitch via It’s Not OK To Be Shitty: Guy Fieri, BuzzFeed, And The Tyranny Of Stupid Popular Things.

In this phenomena he includes everything from shallow viral content (ala BuzzFeed) and Tim Tebow to dumb Facebook games. I know you have fallen prey to this crap (I sure have), whether it’s watching Gangnam Style or clicking on and scrolling through some dumb slideshow of internet memes. Our interconnectedness makes it so easy to share this crap and our “boredom” (aka wasting so much time on sites like Facebook and Twitter) gives us the excuse to click through.

He even hits the nail on the head why it’s so bad now:

We have become a culture that, because we can quantify things in a way we’ve never been able to before, are acting as if those numbers are all that matter

Because so much of our world has become niche, when something appeals to a large number of people, we just assume it’s worthy of our attention.

1,000,000 video views… 250,000 Facebook likes… 33,000,000 Twitter followers… 1,000,000 page views. You know, the numbers you see every day online. (And yeah, I just disabled all of the sharing count BS on my site!)

We’re lowering the bar. We’re being distracted by shiny objects. We need to stop it.

Yes, exactly. I feel like we have a little better oversight with our money, but it’s not that much better than the other two aspects we “spend”: our time and attention.

We need to expect more of ourselves, the people we interact with on a daily basis, AND the places (stores, web sites, restaurants, etc.) we frequent. If you think a place sucks, don’t go there. No more, “it’s McDonald’s, of course it’s shitty and a horrible experience.” Don’t go. Demand more and back it up with your decisions. Anything else is either pure laziness or poor habit. There are plenty of places that will gladly take your money and give you better service/food.

If a site like Facebook feels like a waste of time and you don’t find value in the stuff you see there, don’t go! (Or how about a compromise? Only visit once per day!) Don’t do it to waste time or because you think “maybe I’ll miss something!” (Pro tip: you won’t. If it’s worth anything it will find you or be there next time you check.) Why not “waste” your time by starting a project, doing that thing you’ve been putting off, or making something worthwhile? Seems like a better choice, right?

I know. It’s easier said than done. So why not try it out with your next “where to spend my time, attention, or money” decision and see where it goes? I do know that maybe eliminating all of those “Damn You Autocorrect!” slideshows from your life may be detrimental (after all, laughing is an important aspect of happiness too), but I’d argue you’d probably find lots of funny stuff to laugh at if you spent your time and attention elsewhere too.

Just saying.

The Cult of Done Manifesto


The Cult of Done Manifesto

  1. There are three states of being. Not knowing, action and completion.
  2. Accept that everything is a draft. It helps to get it done.
  3. There is no editing stage.
  4. Pretending you know what you’re doing is almost the same as knowing what you are doing, so just accept that you know what you’re doing even if you don’t and do it.
  5. Banish procrastination. If you wait more than a week to get an idea done, abandon it.
  6. The point of being done is not to finish but to get other things done.
  7. Once you’re done you can throw it away.
  8. Laugh at perfection. It’s boring and keeps you from being done.
  9. People without dirty hands are wrong. Doing something makes you right.
  10. Failure counts as done. So do mistakes.
  11. Destruction is a variant of done.
  12. If you have an idea and publish it on the internet, that counts as a ghost of done.
  13. Done is the engine of more.

Via: Bre Pettis | I Make Things – Bre Pettis Blog – The Cult of Done Manifesto.

Hat tip: Sean Bonner

Seth's Godin: Where does trust come from?

Hint: it never comes from the good times and from the easy projects.
We trust people because they showed up when it wasn’t convenient, because they told the truth when it was easier to lie and because they kept a promise when they could have gotten away with breaking it.

Every tough time and every pressured project is another opportunity to earn the trust of someone you care about.

via Seth’s Blog: Where does trust come from?.

(Emphasis mine.)

Wow, just wow! LOVE this and so true.

Rules to Live By

A few weeks ago I posted 10 awesome life lessons from Jack Dorsey (CEO of Square and Chairman of Twitter)… and today there’s a few more great ones courtesy of a guest post over on Leo Babauta’s Zen Habits.
Guest poster Craig Ballantyne shared these nuggets that I find really applicable to my life:

I do not engage in confrontations with anyone, in-person or online. This is a waste of time and energy. If I have caused harm, I apologize and fix the situation. However, if someone simply doesn’t like something I have done or something that I do or disagrees with me, that is fine, but I’m not going to get into an argument about it. For any confrontation-like situation, I simply take a deep breath, relax, breathe out, and re-focus my efforts back on my work and goals.

This is an aspiration for me. I’ve been in my share of Internet arguments (over politics usually, which is why I rarely post on politics any longer) and in the end, it’s a complete waste of time. Every time. Even in-person arguments can get to that point very fast. The key to this is owning up to your mistakes and fixing them… and not taking differences of opinion as a personal attack. Both are hard, but both are worth working toward.

“It will all be over soon.” – This serves me in both good times and in bad.In hard times, such as bad days, troubled times, or intense physical effort or discomfort, I know that it will all be over soon. A small amount of suffering now will be forgotten later when I will enjoy the rewards of my work. And in good times, I will remember that life is short, and I must make things count now, and no matter how good things are going I must never let myself become soft and lazy, because I have too much to accomplish in such a short time.

Impermanence, plain and simple. Bad and good things both end eventually. When I read this, I think of Jack Dorsey’s ‘Be OK with Endings’ lesson. So, so true. It’s still hard, but it’s a good reminder that life will go on and to appreciate everything good in your life.

Everything that happens to me – good and bad – is my personal responsibility. I blame no one but myself. These are the choices I’ve made – this is the life I’m living. I will accept the consequences of my actions.

Buddhism 101. For me it boils down to this: Make the best choices you can in the moment and own the mistakes you make… learn, adjust, and grow. If you aren’t failing, you aren’t taking risks and growing.

I will not be a person I don’t want to be. I will not be petty, jealous, or envious, or give in to any other of those lazy emotions. I will not gossip or speak badly of others, no matter who I am with or what environment I am in. I will not be negative when it is easier to be positive. I will not hurt others when it is possible to help. I will know the temptations, situations and environments in life that I must avoid, and I will, in fact, avoid them, even if it means loosening relationships with others who “live” in those environments. It’s my life and that matters more than what other people think of me.

Another aspiration and a very important part of Buddhist belief. And SO hard. I’ve certainly had brushes with jealousy, speaking badly of others, and other lazy emotions and cheap actions. I do try very hard to run all of my big, important choices through these basic guidelines though. And when I don’t, I own up to my mistakes.

I will laugh every day.

Laughter is key to so much, in my opinion. I am so thankful to be with such a hilarious (and beautiful) person.

How is the new year, so far, for you? What big ideas are you working on or living your life by this year?

The Mess

Patrick Rhone shares an awesome insight on the general messiness of life:

The mess is something we generally reserve for only our closest friends and trusted sources. The mess is the imperfections we know others know but would only reveal to those willing to forgive us for it.

Yet the mess is the very essence of creation. The planets and stars and life itself is born of chaos and disorder and confusion.

The mess is a crucial part of making anything good or worthwhile. If it’s not messy, if it doesn’t feel a little chaotic or not entirely planned out, it probably isn’t something you should spend a lot of time on or care about. Yes, that is really scary, but it’s also what drives passion, interest, and that feeling of being alive.

A worthwhile life is this chaos and the choices you make to navigate it, alongside those people that are closest and most meaningful to you. The people that forgive you for your mess and you theirs.

Dag Nasty reunion 2012

One of my favorite all time bands reunited recently to celebrate the upcoming Salad Days documentary on the DC music scene. Full set video above!

Justification by Dag Nasty

we have tried and failed
we have stumbled and fallen
we have tried a new taste and spit it back out
we have taken a left turn when we meant to turn right
we lost sight of our origins
but our past never lost sight of us
it’s not emulation – cause that’s not this hard
not imitation – cause that won’t take you far
not digression – cause I’m falling straight up
it is progression – I’m not afraid to stand up
I don’t know what is expected
but I expected it to be great
I said “I’m trying my hardest”
but he didn’t like the tape
take a look at what you’re doing
and tell me I’m too late
you say we’re walking backwards
well, that dead horse sure can run
the truth
I know I can
I know I will
I know -I know what I have to do
and now you’ll listen
and I hope it won’t hurt
I’ve seen your poison
you’ve done your worst
I’ve seen your better
and I can’t believe it’s true
you’ve lost the truth that used to live inside of you