Monday, October 27, 2008


So I'm hitting rock bottom in desperation. I'm trying to meet girls on these damn online services. I found one girl I actually liked and sent her a message. She does swing dancing on Monday nights, so I was going to try and meet up with her tonight.

I drove all the way up to Baltimore to this Can Company center where the swing dancing is suppose to be. Once there, I forgot where it was suppose to be, so I asked at the Outback. They laughed at me and told me they don't do swing dancing there and maybe it was the "kiss cafe" next door that just recently closed. (It was actually a little worse than that as they told me I could dance in the corner and entertain their diners, thanks a lot jerks) So, with my tail between my legs, I headed back home.

Once I got home, I realized it was actually at the Austin Grill, which I walked past twice, completely oblivious. So now I'm a little bummed.

Maybe I'm just too willing to accept these things not working out, like I expect for it not to. It was hard going into Baltimore because it triggered some repressed memories of my ex and the different fun activities that we use to do (the actual good times of the relationship). Honestly, I don't miss her at all, I just miss being in a relationship and that feeling like you have someone to love and someone who loves you.

I think I'm too obsessed with the perfect, hoping that I'll meet some ideal women that doesn't really exist. I just feel like I've put so much effort into becoming the type of person who deserves someone great that I don't understand why I can't find someone great. I get this feeling like everyone else is surrounded by people their age and have all these friends to go places with and do things and I'm missing out or some kind of outcast because I always seem stuck by myself. It's so much harder alone as well because you feel like an outcast, like you weren't even good enough for someone to want to hang out with you, so why would anyone new want to talk to you?

I just don't know what I don't know, and unfortunately that seems to be what I'm doing wrong or not doing. I need help but I don't even know where to start or who to go to. People have recommended dating sites and stuff like speed dating and I'm trying it, but I get little to no results.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


So everything is going very well. My job is picking up and changing into new areas that I'm more interested in pursuing. There always seems to be some social event to go to and I feel comfortable with just calling people up and seeing what they are up to (before I always thought I would be interrupting something or bothering them). My extracurricular activities are teaching me new skills and opening up some new opportunities (running, speaking, coaching).

The only thing is that I feel like I'm missing a guiding direction. Like some true passion or calling that should keep me directed in the right direction, doing the right things to accomplish some great big goal for what I want out of life. I'm still not sure what that is or what kind of thing it even should be. It's like I'm playing an open world videogame, and I've been doing all the side quests, but now I want to keep going with the main quest but I don't know what it is.

My only current theory goes along with what I was saying to the kids on my team at our first basketball practice last night. We started with the basics, just shooting, passing, defense. And once you have a good feel for the basics, then you start building on them, give-and-go, back door, trapping, different elements that are more complex, but have greater results. That's my only theory right now as to what to aim for next. Now that I have all the basics, now it's time to build on them. You've got to keep the basics fresh and strong, otherwise the new layers will collapse the whole thing, but that is the best idea for the next direction that I've had as of yet.

What I've been mainly trying to add is a dip into the dating scene. I'm trying to get more comfortable with just meeting new people and talking to them. Forget trying to put together dates, forget deciding if this person is marriage material, I just want to meet someone new and talk to them. I did that on Friday night and it was a good time. I didn't feel like there was anyone new that I should really start trying to see again, but I had fun just chatting with new people. Previously I had a lot of inhibition about doing this because everyone else drank and I didn't and I'd go out by myself and feel like a lonely loser. But I've recently discovered the miracle that is beer and it's made everything a lot more fun with a lot less stress.

Next week I'm flying out to Maine and then I'm flying out to IL for Halloween with my brother. He's a social guy and can have a good time without me feeling like I have to babysit him like some of the people I've been hanging out with. Really, he completes this element I'm missing, which is just having someone else who knows how to have fun to go out and do stuff with. It's funny because he's always kinda been the Ying to my Yang in a sense, so I should have really thought about this before, but he's been out in IL so that's been the limiting factor. It should be a great time so I'm really looking forward to it.

Friday, October 24, 2008


Today is going to be tough. I haven't gotten ample amounts of sleep the last couple of days so I'm dragging. But that's not that important.

I'm packing in a lot of activities right now. I do Toastmasters every 1st and 3rd Monday of the month, plus the time outside to organize and write speeches. I see a chiropractor on Tuesday every two weeks, plus hit the gym to do upper body work. Wednesday is trivia night plus I try to do a 2 mile run. Thursday is usually the only free night I have, but I've been trying to do this Yoga class and I do lower body weight lifting. Fridays I usually have a shift at GameStop. So the week is pretty full, plus I now have the basketball season starting up.

So yesterday I was looking into different running groups in the area. I'm trying to find something I can join so that I know what races are coming up and I don't have to run by myself all the time. I figure, I already have a bunch of activities I like to do, why not find groups of people that enjoy them as well? There seems to be a couple of groups in the area but they have a 90/10 ratio of guys to girls. I told myself before that I wasn't going to join anymore sausage fest groups. I need a new way to find people my age, particularly females, and sadly all the stuff I have been doing doesn't seem to promote that (Toastmasters, coaching basketball, working at GameStop).

A coworker and I were brainstorming about how I could just start a running group that targets people my age. It sounds like a great idea, and in all honesty I'm a big fan. The problem is that it'll take a lot of time to setup, and frankly I don't want to take on more stuff that may or may not work. If there isn't already a demand, I don't want to spend all my time trying to create one. I did that for the last two years or so and it sucks. I want to do activities that other people actually want to do. It's really depressing to have to spend all your time badgering people and trying to get them to do something and the constant rejection makes you start to feel like you are somehow a lesser person.

Which brings me to another topic. I've found a good group of friends recently. They make me realize how crappy some of my previous friends were. If people don't want to spend time with you or never seem to have time for you, then frankly, they aren't your friends. They may say they are, they may even think they are, but they aren't. Friends are the people you call when you want to do something or you need to talk to someone and they find the time for you. If they don't want to do that, then it's time to find people who will. Also, I'm getting tired of all the cynicism and pessimists. I'm naturally an optimistic person, but other people get to me and their negative attitudes ruin things for me. So I'm just not going to deal with people like that anymore. I'm making the choice to be happy, and if they aren't, then they can be unhappy alone.

A friend of mine recommended I do some speed dating. I hadn't thought about that recently. I tried it a while back with poor results and swore off it, but I might try the actual speed dating thing since what I tried was a little different. I'll have to go into DC to do it this time, since all the people in this area seem to be older.

Another thing that's popped up recently is that I found this girl on one of the free dating sites. For some reason I felt like an intuitive connection to this girl, like I should actually put some effort out to meet her and contact her. She's into swing dancing, so I sent her a message about it. She sent me some info about it, so I'll have to try to go and maybe even meet up with her at an event. Sounds like it could be a lot of fun.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Too Human and Dead Space Review

As of late I haven't had too much time to play the games I've borrowed, so unfortunately these are incomplete reviews.

Too Human is an interesting game built on a good system of game play but it has some clear and crippling flaws. Right off the bat, the plot was entertaining, but there didn't seem to be enough background to know what the main issues are. You are some kind of god character and you are fighting a bunch of robots maybe? I didn't get far enough in to learn more and the new plot elements of the fates was just annoying rather than more interesting.

There are a lot of options for RPG like development for your character. You upgrade weapons, armor and different skills in a tree similar to Diablo. You also choose a character class much like Diablo or Mass Effect. The combat was pretty straight forward as your character would jump from bad guy to bad guy, slaughtering whatever current one you are facing.

The biggest issue I ran into was that some bad guys actually seemed to require a strategy, which was hard to do after being so use to just random button pressing. When you die, you will regenerate at the beginning of the section you were just at after a long unskippable cut scene. This seems completely pointless since you lose your experience but all the bad guys stay dead and you just end up running right back to where you were.

I ended up playing the game for about an hour, got sick of it and had no motivation to play it anymore before I had to return it.

Dead space is awesome. I only played it for about an hour and barely got into the meat of the game, but I can tell you that it is fantastic. The environment the game creates for you will creep you out. After the opening I was sitting, muscles clenched, freaked out at every turn. There is just this overwhelming sense of inability to know what is coming next.

If you are into being scared and that thrill of adventure and danger, then you won't be able to put this game down.

Choice - Toastmasters Speech #6

A brilliant American writer, David Foster Wallace once said, "It is unimaginably hard to do this, to stay conscious and alive, day in and day out." He was recently found dead by a self inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

Madam Toastmaster, fellow toastmasters and guests.

I've read a lot of books. Books on business, books on philosophy, and even self help books. There are all kinds of ideas out there about how to live your life, what is important in life and what is the meaning of life. A lot of them are different but there does seem to be a common thread to it all.

Everyday you have a choice.
You have a choice as to the life you live.

I use to roll my eyes when I heard people say this. I'd think, "Yes, of course. I can choose to be happy. Everything is just that simple." Then I'd move on, planning out my day and what I had left to get through, drifting through it till the end. It never really registered in my reality as something more than just words. All those nuggets of wisdom are like that, just clever sayings until you have an experience that clarifies it all for you, makes it sink in, makes it click, makes it real.

That happened for me with this just recently. I decided to pick up a part time job working at GameStop in the mall. This is an odd choice, and a lot of people gave me puzzled looks when I told them I was thinking about it. The first reaction always seemed to be, why?

Before I get to that, let me tell you about this job. You spend hours alphabetizing shelves of games, just to turn around and see some kids start mixing it up right after you finish. Sometimes people come in and scream at you or at their kids right in front of you and everyone else in the store because they are having a bad day. And if you've ever worked a job where you stand on your feet for hours straight, then you know how painful it can be.

So now you’re probably thinking why as well. The answer to why and the beauty of the job is in the choice. I work there because I want to. I enjoy every shift because I want to be there. It is my choice. And I choose to work there because the environment is great, the coworkers are friendly and I love to talk to and help people.

How many times in your day are you given an opportunity to help someone?
To put a smile on their face?
To make them feel special?
At GameStop there is always a new customer coming in who you can help. A new chance to have an impact on someone else, even if it’s just that one pleasant encounter.

The other key element for me is the people. There are a lot of jobs out there that are hard labor. Sitting in a cubicle or an office all day working on a computer is not one of those jobs. It comes with its own price, but it is easy to lose sight of how nice it is when you always focus on how much better it could be. I've found that the people who do some of the hardest jobs are some of the best people I've ever met.
I have my theories about why this is. Maybe it takes a selfless person to do a thankless job. Maybe there is a Zen quality to the hard, repetitive manual labor. Maybe they're just nuts!

But the people you surround yourself with are a key part of that choice, because they are making the choice too. If you surround yourself with people who choose to find happiness even in the toughest times, then they are a beacon of inspiration to you and everyone else around them.
There are a lot of things in life that we wish we could control. Many of us have been through hard times that we had no say in – things like a divorce, a freak accident, or a loss of a loved one. These are just a few of the examples of the challenges that weigh on our spirits, that make it hard to make positive choices. They make the world look ugly and gray and feel cold and lonely. These are the hardest times to make a positive choice. Hardest, but also the most important.
In the end, remember this. Even though it is unimaginably hard to stay conscious and alive, day in and day out, you have the power to make that choice. That choice determines everything else.

Make the right one.

Madam Toastmaster.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


This is very strange. Everything is going well for me. My relationships with family members and friends is as good as it has ever been. I'm doing a good job at work, making friends, accomplishing tasks. I've even taken some risks and done some new things as of late.

But now I'm wondering, what next? I feel like there is so much I don't know but I have very little way of assessing where I am. It's not even about comparing myself to someone else, or wanting something I don't have. It's more about, am I really reaching my potential? Could I do more? Should I be looking to do more?

Maybe it's a lack of a goal that resonates with me that is the problem. I'm doing a lot of things and making steady progress, but the question is, to what end?

A good example is working out. I'm probably in the best shape I've ever been in currently. But now what? Do I just keep doing what I'm doing, maintaining what I have and maybe continuing to push it up a notch here and there? Or do I try to set some goals with deadlines? Maybe it's more about what speed to operate in.

Maybe that was always the problem before. I was unhappy with where I was, so I wanted everything else to change quicker than it should or maybe than it can. Or I expected more and more from everything, rather than just taking the time to let things develop. Now that I am happy where I am, I should probably "relax and enjoy it". Why rush a change when things are going so well?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


It always amazes me how learning small things can completely change your perspective. Maybe just reading about body language and starting to see the little clues that people give off without realizing so you can tell their feelings. Or seeing how computer graphics are made to look real or 3D from simple 2D designs. The biggest one has been seeing how sales really works.

Basically, it's all smoke and mirrors. The average customer probably has no real need for your product or service. If they never met you, they would keep going on with their daily life completely ignorant that they don't have your product. So the idea of sales is to manufacture that need. True or false, however you want to do it, you build a scenario in their mind that involves them and what you are selling that is better than their current scenario. Basically, your ability at transferring your vision to them determines how much you can sell your product for. You're matching the proposed value of your product against their proposed value of the money they have.

This was well summed up in a line from Pirates of Silicon Valley when the character playing Bill Gates says, "You have to make people need you". That's what it all comes down to. Your goal is to get the person to be shocked they were able to take that last breath without your product. It's an amazingly simple concept, but at the same time so powerful and effective.

Sales truly is in every element of life. Everywhere you go, everything you see is designed to sell you an idea or concept, to make you believe what someone else wants you to believe. If you haven't developed an eye for it, then you are at a severe disadvantage.

Previously I posted about determining when you are an expert. When is the point where you can charge someone for goods or services. I've realized now that if you are asking that question, you are never going to get to that point. It's not about asking people for money. If you give them control, if you let them determine what is valuable enough to pay for, then you will never get paid. It is about knowing, better than the person you are selling to even, that you are giving them something worth more than what they are giving you in return. Once you have developed the confidence that that is true, then you are unstoppable because all you have to do is paint the picture for them to see what you already know.


So, as I mentioned previously, yesterday was the first time I realized how much money I've actually lost in the stock market. I even met with a Financial Adviser yesterday thinking that maybe moving to an asset allocation approach would be a better solution going forward. After meeting with them, I've decided it is not. I was still pretty distraught at that point, and that's when it happened.

Sometimes I start thinking, I'm a good person, I help other people, I try to do my best, why do I never seem to get what I want? It's a dangerous path to start walking down. As of late though, I've had my eyes open enough to see the little good things that pop up and prove that these things are happening for a reason, and in the long run it will end up better for me than I see in the short term.

What happened yesterday was a random conversation I had. I walked out of the financial adviser's office with my head down. Tired, stressed and still recovering from the shock of realizing my loss, I looked like the world had beaten me up. Then the security guard for the area shouted out to me. He basically acknowledged how I looked and I agreed with him, it had been a long day. So we got to talking and he told me about the weekend he had had (he hit some bars with his nephew and from the sounds of it had a good time). He even told me a few jokes that he had learned over the years going to different bars and now remembered them because he retold them here and there.

It was a great time. His jokes were funny, he was a very friendly guy and he really brightened my day. Sometimes the pick-me-ups come from the most unexpected places.

Monday, October 13, 2008


I'm meeting with a financial adviser today. I want to setup an asset allocation rather than just this random conglomeration of mutual funds.

Part of the prep work is to write out your financial portfolio. So today is the first time I've realized how much it has gone down in the past month. I think total I'm down about $35,000. If you take out taxes, medicare, and social security, that's probably about as much money as I'd make in an entire year.

So at this point I have to leave all that money in the market and wait for it to come back. That means my assets are essentially frozen for probably 5 years.

It makes you wonder about if I had put the money all into a savings account and waited to put it into the market till right now.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Viva Pinata

This week I'm borrowing Viva Pinata for the Xbox 360.

There is a very Zen beauty to this game. Not only is the attitude of the game colorful and fun, but the simple, repetitive actions are very soothing. If you don't know much about the game, it reminds me of Harvest Moon since you are essentially creating a garden and "raising" animals.

There are numerous elements to the game. First is just general land management, breaking up dry soil, planting grass, growing trees, creating a pond, putting up fence. There are plenty of options for creating a certain look and feel to your garden area that will make it aesthetically pleasing to your tastes. Some of the pinatas are attracted to certain elements, so by creating a mix of all the options available you will slowly pull together a large ecosystem of creatures.

The second element are the pinatas themselves. They are essentially animals, just in pinata form which makes the food chain more child friendly. They visit and then will reside in your garden if you meet certain requirements. Then you can find ways to "get them in the mood" and they will breed and an egg will be delivered that will hatch a new pinata of that type. There are some mini games associated with this, one that is like operation in that you have to guide one pinata to the other without hitting any of the bad guys that line the perimeter.

Third are the towns people. They offer advice and services that will benefit you as you create your garden. One runs a general shop, one will build homes for your pinatas, one will find pinatas in the wild for you, another hosts an Inn where you can hire laborers. There are more that provide a variety of other services as you continue to progress.

The game is more addictive than you'd think and I found myself saying, "I'll just do this one more thing before I stop playing..." over and over again. It appeals to the perfectionist inside of us who always sees more potential and another thing to do, giving us a garden filled with opportunity to craft and create to our own liking.

If you're looking for something playful and fun to kill some time, this is the game for you.

Inside Out

I've done a lot of thinking recently about what exactly I want to accomplish and the best ways to go about it. But one of the key findings I've had is that you really do have to start with yourself. Only be growing strong yourself will you have the strength needed to reach out and help other people. If you build yourself up and put yourself in a position to succeed, then you become a beacon for others.

The hardest part of helping yourself is that since you see things through your eyes all the time and you are always present in what you are working on, you lose the ability to see change over a long period of time. For example, when you start working out and getting in shape, you see the gradual improvements and your mind starts to adjust to them, expecting them instead of remembering the contrast. So you don't store up that feeling of accomplishment unless you have a snapshot from farther back to compare to.

The nice thing about this is that it provides a great opportunity for other people to help. Since they pop in and out of your life at different intervals, they will be able to point out the bigger changes that you can't pick up on. They can feed you encouragement by giving you a greater range of time to contrast from.

The question I'm left with in all of this is, how do you get an even bigger perspective? How can you tell that the path you are going on it getting you to the right place, or that the place you are trying to get to is actually the right place? I have these 'epiphany' moments at times where I get this understanding and clarity about something I'm doing and then I can't remember why I thought the way I did before.

I imagine that those moments are the real value of experience. You can have all the raw talent and detailed knowledge of some subject, but until you temper them with experience you will never have that clarity of understanding.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


Watching the debate last night was a really interesting experience. First off I'm going to say that honestly, I don't know which candidate is really going to do a better job. Each campaign is well designed to exploit the weaknesses of the other and create a web of rhetoric that prevents them from actually nailing down the actions they are going to take to fix the problems we are facing.

I did like how McCain's approach to the economy is to stop the housing market's free fall, since I think that creating a stable base to build on would actually make a difference. Renegotiating your mortgage at the real value of the house would take back that easy money people thought they were getting without robbing them of everything like losing their house would. It sounds like a good middle ground. I'm not sure what Obama's plan is, all I can remember is this idea of taking money from Wall Street and giving it back to Main Street. But that doesn't make any sense since most people on Main Street have their money in 401ks, which is governed by Wall Street. I imagine he's just trying to say that he's going to take the money from the rich and give it to the poor, but that sounds pretty stupid because the poor people lost the money in the first place trying to be like the rich people, so doesn't that just create an endless cycle of having to keep robbing the rich to give back to the poor so they can keep giving to the rich? I'm less concerned about pinning down the blaim for why we are in this position and more concerned about what is actually going to be down to fix the problem and prevent it from happening again in the future.

I thought another big point that should have been emphasized is how can the government, and specifically the president, help push for more innovation towards energy independence. I don't care about off site drilling, I care about alternative energy, specifically stuff that works like nuclear and wind power. Are they going to cut the subsides for turning corn into ethanol and instead shift money into places like the National Science Foundation or consumer credit for people who install green technology in their homes (where appropriate)? Neither candidate talked about this. There was a lot of vague generalities about nuclear power and drilling, but no factual details about what real steps can, should and will be taken. I wish the debate would at least show more of the candidates thought process on these issues even if they don't actually commit themselves to one action or another.

The final large point of emphasis was foreign relations. Again I had to agree more with McCain since he really seemed to be confident and know what he was doing. Foreign relations is like the ultimate chess game, you have to be strong and fortified, not over extending too early and leaving yourself weak, but also always holding a card up your sleeve in case things go the wrong way. McCain seemed to understand that you can't always just sit down and talk everything out, because if the person you're trying to talk to isn't meeting you at the same level then nothing good will come from it. When you're the alpha male, you have to keep a certain image, and if you lose that image then you open up ideas that you have weakness and can be overthrown. I think it was a misstep for Obama to say too much about his plans for Osama Bin Laden, esp since it made him seem like he's acting emotionally rather than rationally. If you're going to lead you need to be able to pull back enough from the raw emotion so you can focus on the bigger perspective.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


So I finally figured it out. The ups and downs, where it all comes from. It's all just about whether or not the girl I like that given week responds favorably to me or not. That's it.

It's that simple. If the girl blows me off, then I'm pissed. If the girl is nice, then I'm happy.

Now I'm going to go eat some comfort food because I'm pissed off.

Monday, October 6, 2008


My goal is to be able to write like this.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Quick Note About Sales

Here's the thing. You can read all about sales. There are specific, very well documented techniques, that can almost guarantee you a high success rate. A quick search will find them or you can go to a used car dealership and they'll give you a whole walk through as long as you're savvy enough to pick up on it.

The thing though, is your success rate will be zero until you try it. The techniques require a certain amount of practice because our inherent nature is to back down. Well, that is unless you were the bully in the school yard. :) But once you do start to practice, to get through that first no, to start having those flashes of how to counter arguments and read people's body language, then it all starts to fall in place.

Sales is a universally needed skill. Once you get it, you see it in every interaction. Every communication is one party selling the other party on a piece of information or an idea. The question in the end is how good are you at getting yours through.


You want to know how depression works? Well, I can give you the insider's picture.

It's start very slowly. It creeps up on you unexpectedly, very sneaky in order to get in under your radar. The first step is that you don't wake up feeling rested. You're always in a slight daze, almost like a fog. If you try to sleep longer, it only gets worse. It's like being dehydrated but the more water you drink, the more the thirst grows.

But then it starts to get worse. The world starts to dim. Colors start to gray. The things that use to bounce off you now start to stick and linger. Each one clings on longer than it should, adding extra weight. It starts to get harder to see things that make you happy, like they are hidden, always slightly out of view. Then the anger starts.

Why anger? Because you're drowning. You're sinking slowly below the surface and every part of you is reaching up, begging for help. But no one seems to notice. You start to feel alone, insignificant, almost non-existent. It's like you're living in the world, but a step outside, watching everyone else. They move so effortlessly, so easily, completely unaware of what you see and of you. You're dying for them to notice you, to want to help you, but they don't, almost like they can't.

So you get angry. You hate them for being different than you. For being happy. And then is all gets so much worse. Now you start looking for reasons to sever your connections. You doubt they even existed in the first place. All that's left is fear and mistrust. You pull back within even more, shouldering all the weight. The water is too high now and you start to resign to your fate. But it doesn't end. That loss of air, that moment of pain doesn't go away to any release into the next life. Instead you sit there on the edge.

You keep clinging on, why? Because that's all you can do. All that's left is numbness or pain.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Knowing Yourself

This is the third speech I wrote and gave for Toastmasters:

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”

Madam Toastmaster, fellow toastmasters and guests. These words by Ralph Waldo Emerson have always rung very true in my life. It seems like everywhere you go – school, work, home – everything you see – TV shows, movies, billboards – there is a new message of who you should be, what you should want, and how you should think. But the reality is that there is only one person you can be, and that is yourself. But you can’t be true to yourself if you don’t know who you really are. So the question is, how do you know yourself?

Everyone has some general sense of self. How could you not? You live your life through your eyes, you experience the world through your senses, and you make decisions based on your thoughts. But is this enough to really know yourself? Can you accurately depict what decision you would make in any given situation? You may think you can, but you may end up like I do, describing the person you wish you were, rather than who you really are. So then, if you can’t even trust yourself, where do you start?

You start by building a basic model. The Myers Briggs Type Indicator is an assessment test that is centered on four dichotomies. These dichotomies are assessed based on three main descriptive categories of a person: attitudes, functions and lifestyle. The targeted questions in the assessment help you to understand your preferences towards extroversion or introversion, intuition or sensing, thinking or feeling and adaption or judgment. By determining these preferences you determine which of sixteen personality types you largely fit. Once you have determined your type, you will have a stronger idea of what your natural inclinations are going to be in a variety of situations and you will have a better grasp of the elements that make you who you are, as well as your strengths and weaknesses. This knowledge of yourself can help you to see patterns of behavior that you tend to follow that you may have never noticed before.

Now with a basic model, the next step is to look at who your friends are. It has been said, show me who your friends are and I will show you who you are. If you look at the six people you spend the most time with, they are a true reflection of who you are. Think about this for a second, it makes a lot of sense. When you have a question or a problem, who do you go to? When you have an idea or come across something of interest, who do you share it with? Your closest friends are the ones that you feel comfortable enough to show your true self. You chose them for a reason, maybe one that you are unaware of, but regardless, you chose them and you continue to choose them. By looking at what makes them who they are, what are their characteristics and values, you will be able to have a perspective of yourself and what really matters to you.

Now with a model and a perspective, the last major elements that make you uniquely who you are, are your beliefs and passions. Originally your beliefs may have been modeled after your parents, or from the religious teachings you follow, but there are core things that you have taken to heart and made your own. These meant more to you because they rang true or resonated with you because of the experiences you have had and the situations you have encountered. The difficult situations you have faced, the pressures and challenges you have endured and overcome have molded and shaped you into who you are. Your passion is evident through your accomplishments because it is what has fueled you to continue on during the hardest times; sticking with decisions to pursue one goal over another, succeeding against greater odds of failure.

Knowing your passions and beliefs, having a perspective of who you are, all built on a model of your preferences is a strong foundation for knowing yourself. By knowing yourself, you are equipped to stand your ground and be your unique self in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else. To be who you are and share yourself with the world is truly the greatest accomplishment.

Life Purpose

So one of the big questions everyone takes on in life at least at some point or another is, what is the purpose of my life? Or another way of putting it, why am I here?

While there are many articles out there about how to find your life purpose (, I've still not pinned mine down completely. I have taken different steps that seem to resonate better than the path I was previously taking. Before I focused more on doing something challenging that not everyone could do and would have a high potential for helping me to find a job. Now that I have a job, I have been allotted the chance to look at my life with more perspective and start looking for something that fits with who I am and what mark I want to leave on the world.

One of the key steps happened recently when I realized my personality is more INFP than ENFP. It seems like a little thing, and to some people I imagine a stupid thing, but when being more truthful about who I am it has helped me stop thinking that qualities that didn't match up were deficiencies of mine. Now that I've found what seems to be the best match, it's more of a boost than a discouragement because it's all in alignment. It also helped to clarify what other types match up with me and in what roles.

Another key step was joining Toastmasters. I love to write and give inspirational speeches, which is probably why I started coaching. Now that I have a forum where I can do that and continue to grow and refine my skills, I feel like whatever happens with my job I'll have the skills to find a new one doing something that I love. I'm not exactly sure what specifically to use it in, if I should try to become a motivational speaker or a priest or even just get into marketing and sales, but at least I have knowledge of what direction to look.

Finally, the last key step of late has been writing on this blog. I enjoy writing and openly and honestly expressing my thoughts. It helps me to clarify what I'm thinking, see the progress over time, and map out my growth. Plus I hope that it helps to inspire other people to do the same. One of the hardest things is to be truly honest with yourself because it's easy to create cognitive dissonance or let things slide when you are the only one who is suffering, but it does catch up with you eventually. Writing has helped to keep me honest with myself and force me to dig deeper into my thoughts.

So I'm not sure what my Life Purpose is yet. But I'm getting closer and I'm continuing to realign myself with each step, making the next step easier. I use to go to this chiropractor who said that when you fix the initial problems, sometimes it unveils the underline causes. That's what seems to be happening, there are all these layers I've built up with the wrong core fundamental goals. Now, with the right perspective and goals in mind, I'm starting to peel them back and find the truth underneath.

I still have this one goal that I really want to accomplish that trumps everything else. I want to write something that is quoted by lots of people and used to express some wisdom or insight to people even long after I'm gone.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Lego Batman Review

Again, one of the best perks, if not the best, of working at GameStop is that I get to take home games and try them out for free. With this privilege, I feel like it is my responsibility to also share my thoughts on the games with the world. So here goes.

Over the weekend, I borrowed the new Lego title, Lego Batman. If you've played the other Lego games (Indiana Jones and Star Wars) you know what to expect with these titles. I had not played them, so while I had some clue as to how playing with Legos was going to work, this was still new for me.

The game is broken down into 6 main Chapters. The first three have five parts each and you play through them as Batman and Robin. The second three are the flipped side where you play as the villains. Over the weekend I only finished the first three Chapters as Batman and Robin and then played one of the villain missions where you are the Riddler and Clayface. I imagine with the other missions you will rotate through the different villains as well, but didn't have the time to get through all of them.

Some of the main game dynamics are general fighting, item collection, collection of Lego "stubs" (which is basically the currency for the game) and destroying objects in order to open up Lego pieces that are then built into objects that allow you to advance or operate some new device. Along with just your normal operations, you can also change suits which gives you a new ability such as being able to glide or dive underwater. Each Chapter also has a mission where you use a vehicle, such as the Batmobile or the Batplane.

This game is not designed to be some epic revolution of game play. You're basically playing around with Legos, in Lego environments with a lot of smash and grab repetition. There is some humor and clever little environment combinations thrown into the mix to keep things fresh, but the bottom line is that there is just a lot of stuff to collect and it's going to take a while to do it. You'll have fun doing it for as long as you can keep interest, but inevitably the repetition will add up.

A few side features exist that reward you for your efforts. You can purchase information about the Batman franchise, you can buy access to new characters, you can do a mix and match to determine what you want your super hero to look like, you can wander around the "trophy room" to see what you've collected, and there seems to be some mini games scattered throughout like collecting money lying around Wayne Manor.

There weren't any real flaws with the game that I could think of as long as you understand what you are getting into. I ran into some confusion early on because it didn't do a very good job of explaining the controls to me as well as what options I had available in order to know what I could and could not do at the current time. Some of the stuff you have to come back to in the "Free Play" mode of the levels in order to collect (at least that's my assumption since I couldn't find any other way of doing it), so not knowing that produced some frustration in the beginning as I looked around trying to figure out what I was missing.

Overall, I played it more during the weekend than I thought I was going to because it was fun. There wasn't a lot of thought involved, and I imagine if you've got a buddy and want to play co-op, it can be a lot of fun to tag team the bosses and just go through the levels smashing stuff. The bottom line is that you're playing with Legos, so if you're cool with that, you'll enjoy the game.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Happy Place

So I've been powering through this big project at work, pushing to meet the final deadlines. It's been really tiring but all the work is paying off and I'm almost finished. The whole process has been draining, but today I got to go to my happy place.

So, before I continue, what is a happy place? For me, my Happy Place is a real location that I actually physically travel to. The reason it is my Happy Place is because no matter what else is going on, how tired I am, what mood I'm in when I enter, I always leave feeling refreshed. It's like a wellspring of joy and energy that I dive into and everything outside melts away. Another way to put it is its a place that I go to when my batteries are low and I can sit and charge back up.

My Happy Place is GameStop. This is the main reason I wanted to work there. The best though is when two specific coworkers are working. Something about those two, esp when they are there together, creates an awesome environment that makes you happy to be alive.

Part of it is because they are so good at what they do. At GameStop no one makes a commission, but we do like to get people to sign up for the Edge cards and reserve games coming up. A lot of people think, oh who cares about that, they just want my money. The Edge card is like $14 for a whole year, you get 12 issues of Game Informer, 10% off used games, 10% additional for any trades as well as an assortment of other little perks and bonuses. Reserves are great because they guarantee you're going to get your game, esp for hot titles that are going to fly off the shelves. If we get enough reserves for a game, we can do a midnight launch, which is an awesome experience.

Anyway, now that I've gone off on my tangent, the beauty is in how they sell. Again, they don't get any commission or anything, it's more just because they truly believe in the value to be had. But watching them talk to customers and explain the benefits, parrying different objections, and how the presentation has different pieces that they throw in a different times, it really is a work of art. Life is filled with little moments that shine forth with true beauty and one of the greatest crimes a person can commit is to rob themselves of appreciating them. Watching those two work, for me at least, is one of those moments. It is a display of true, pure beauty.

After watching them, I'm filled with inspiration. It's like because I've seen them exercise their talents and abilities so well, I too want to go out and release what I have out into the world. And that is why it's my Happy Place.