The hundred dollar idea

As an American, you are part of the global 1%. You have your basic necessities of food, water, shelter, warmth, and then some. When you see the world through that perspective, you realize that you have it good, though you may consider yourself “broke”. “Broke” mentality prevents many of us from giving back to those in need or treating your friends or getting your parents gifts. How long do we have to wait until we can start giving back? What income bracket do we have to reach? Or can we start doing it right now?

My father has this lesson I like to call “The Hundred Dollar Idea”. He encourages me to be generous to our loved ones when we can, especially when they have treated us well. He says,

When people treat you right, treat them right. Don’t worry too much about the money. A hundred dollars won’t make you richer or poorer.

Of course there are situations when a hundred dollars do make a significant difference and one hundred is an arbitrary number. However, this idea makes an important point when it comes to maintaining relationships and contributing to society.

Buy a bagel for a homeless person. Volunteer a few hours to a local non-profit. Surprise your friends and pay for the bill. Send a card or letter back home.

Being generous does not require large amounts of money, as giving time, thought, and energy are other ways of providing value.

There is more good than bad in this world

Many parents teach their kids never to speak to strangers. That strangers are dangerous. That there are many people that can hurt you. Even that most men want to assault women. These parents may teach this due to fears created by their past experiences or from a skewed worldview fostered by the sensationalization of negative news. Regardless of our parents intentions, we begin to learn the truth about the world when we become independent. As we grow older and begin our careers, we realize that not all strangers are threats.  That there are more good people than bad people. That most strangers are surprisingly kind and generous. That maybe our parents were wrong.

In my experiences moving to a new city, I have been overwhelmed with love and generosity from the community. When I tell people I had just recently moved to the Bay Area, they light up and are excited to tell me their favorite things about it. People willingly give me advice about how to navigate in the city, my job search, and the marketing field. I have encountered and reached out to countless strangers, only to realize that they can be a crucial resource in your time of need.

Though it is essential to continue to be cautious and aware of your surroundings, there are great advantages in being open to new people from all walks of life.

Strike a conversation with the person sitting next to you in the coffee shop, grocery store, or a local event. You might be surprised as to where it will lead you.

Start with clarity

With any goal you pursue, it is necessary that you establish clarity of that goal.

By “clarity”, I referring to your Why.

Why do you want to achieve goal X? 

You have to dig deep to understand your true motives and how goal X links up to your ultimate goal and the life style you want to achieve. Analyze your current habits and actions and how they compare to the habits and actions needed to reach your goal.

The deeper you think, the more crystalized your thoughts become, and the more clarity you have in reaching your goals.

Dr. Viktor Frankl, a Holocaust survivor, psychologist, and author of the world-renowned book Man’s Search for Meaning says,

Those who have a Why to live for can bear almost any How.

Your Why is your true North. It is what will guide you in how you prioritize, make decisions, and execute. When overwhelmed with information, refer back to your Why, determine which initiatives align with it, and eliminate what is irrelevant and unnecessary.

Establishing clarity in my career path has helped me create results in my job search. For months, I applied to any job that sounded suitable to my job criteria. These jobs ranged from sales to human resources to marketing. When I realized this strategy was futile, I stepped back to recalibrate. I took a honest look at my core skills and thought deeply of fields I was genuinely curious about but also matched my past experiences.

I chose marketing and shifted my efforts accordingly. In a matter of two days, I revamped my resume, LinkedIn, and the story that I was telling recruiters. After sharing this new vision with friends and sending out a few applications, I am now in the third round of a marketing role that deeply interests me. Despite my lack of expertise in the field, I was able to convince the recruiter of my story and clearly express how my past work relates to my future in marketing.

If you are not clear about your goals, how is anyone supposed to help you achieve those goals?

Clarity gives you the lens you need to filter out the noise and focus on what matters most.

 

Passion gives life life

When I have free time, I spend it feasting my eyes on food. Food documentaries, food shows, food Youtube videos. Today I watched a food movie starring Bradley Cooper called Burnt (highly recommended).

The reason is, I am deeply in love with chefs.

Chefs have a passion that goes beyond the need for comfort or stability. In order to be a chef, you have to put in copious amounts of work for a glimmer of hope that you will become Someone or cook in the kitchen of a world-renowned chef. Chefs get paid minimum wage for decades, working almost double (or triple) time compared to 9-to-5 employees, standing on their feet all day, only to be abusively screamed and tormented for the tiniest mistakes.

Does this turn some away from the culinary world? Probably. That’s where the feeble or disconcerted get weeded out. Only the most resilient, most hungry, most passionate, and possibly most arrogant chefs persevere and rise to stardom. (After all, don’t you need arrogance to curse off the critics?) It’s only then, after such grueling experiences, when chefs reap the rewards, make money, earn awards, and now – thanks to Netflix – become rockstars.

The very nature of the industry is cut-throat competitive and driven by passion; and that is what makes it so alluring.

People love the eager, the enthusiastic, the fervent, and the remarkable.

Psychotherapist and relationship expert Esther Perel talks about this idea in her TED talk. For her book Mating in Captivity, she asks people, “When do you find yourself most drawn to your partner? Not attracted sexually, per se, but most drawn.”

The first group responds: “when she is away, when we are apart, when we reunite”

I’m more interested in the second group’s response:

“[…] when I see him in the studio, when she is onstage, when he is in his element, when she’s doing something she’s passionate about, when I see him at a party and other people are really drawn to him, when I see her hold court. Basically, when I look at my partner radiant and confident. Probably the biggest turn-on across the board. Radiant, as in self-sustaining.”

If you want to boost your attraction, feed your passion.

People naturally gravitate towards those who love what they do, as they are full of life.

Passion gives life life.

Work hard, work smart

If you are like me, you push yourself to be better every day. The idea of “1% better” is what you strive for when you go about our day. You think about your processes and try to learn new tactics to make sure you’re operating to your maximum potential.

Learn, refine, experiment, and refine again.

Improvement is a reiterative process in efforts to be more efficient and effective the next time around. Part of optimizing your tactics requires you to considering your limitations.

This can include your weaknesses, blind spots, and your basic human needs. Strategizing without factoring in these details is counterproductive.

“One of the greatest indicators of our own spiritual maturity is revealed in how we respond to the weaknesses, the inexperience, and the potentially offensive actions of others.” – David A. Bednar

Know yourself, know your needs and weaknesses, and plan accordingly. If you do not, your needs and weaknesses will negatively impact your process in one form or another. For example, our basic human needs include sleeping, eating, and hydrating ourselves. If you decide to advance full power into your daily routines without satisfying these core needs, you will run out of steam and add detriment your body.

Work hard, but work smart.

Change begins within

Think sad thoughts and you will become sad. Think happy thoughts and you will be happy. Smile and you will feel elated. Place your hands on your hips and you will feel powerful. Repeat to yourself that you are handsome and you will soon believe it. Tell yourself that you can do anything, and your body will mobilize to make it happen.

The mind-body connection is powerful. We can fool ourselves into becoming our ideal selves by allowing our bodies or minds to take the lead. If we can harness this connection, we can achieve our ultimate desires.

Whether you begin with the mental or somatic pathway is besides the point.

The point is, change begins within.

Feed your mind

“Miss a meal if you have to, but don’t miss a book.” – Jim Rohn

Read a book.
Watch a documentary.
Talk to a stranger.
Travel to another country in real life,
Or scour the globe via Google Earth.
Wander a new space.
Research an interesting topic.
Fall down an internet rabbit hole.
Visit a museum.
Listen to your grandparents’ stories.
Explore a new route.
Experiment with a new recipe.

Follow your curiosities.
Expand your worldview.
Invite your friends to join you.

It will make you that much more interesting.