Archive for the Self Improvement Category

Better Late Than Never

Posted in Comfort Zone, Community, Fun, Relationships, Self Improvement, Social on August 14, 2012 by cklaslan

Ok, so it’s been a while since I posted to my blog… a long while.  I am definitely due.

Wow, it’s been 9 months and a lot has happened, so let me give you the Cliff Notes version.

1) The subject of the last blog turned out to be a liar, flake, and a complete fake who stomped all over my feelings and heart and has yet to even offer a single word of sorrow, regret, explanation, or made any attempt at anything close to an apology

2) I got a new job!

3) I moved to New York City!  Yup this Southern boy has transplanted to the Northeast.  Check back later to see how I survive winter.

I got a great job offer and moved up here in Apr and settled into Hell’s Kitchen in June.  I live on 42nd street just 3 blocks from Times Square!  NYC is an amazing city and I love it here.  My affection for coffee has increased since moving as there is obviously an abundance of Starbucks but also tons of quaint, local, coffeehouses as well.

I’ve been here only  4 months and I’ve already learned a few things :

1) There are fakes and flakes everywhere.  It’s not the city, it’s the human race, and in 4 short months I’ve already met my fair share of them!

2) NYC is very cliquish!! There are so many groups, cliques, and circles of friends that are already well established and they seem to resist new people.  Oh they will tweet you out the ass, but God forbid you actually want to meet them.  I can’t tell you how many people I’ve added and have even added me on Twitter and Facebook and will tweet me daily and/or weekly but make no effort to put a real person to it.  I absolutely do not understand that.  I’d much rather meet someone for real.  That being said in a few cases, I have managed to break through the “no new people” walls and met a couple of cool people that are “keepers”.

3) If someone does say the want or will meet you, don’t you put ounce of stock into that until you actually seem them face to face.

4) Atlanta is hotter but you feel it more in NYC because you’re out in it longer.  Yes in Atlanta it gets
90/100 in Aug/Sept but let’s face it you are only in the heat the 3 minutes it takes to walk from your air conditioned office to your air conditioned car.  NYC may only be 85 in Aug but you have a 10 minute walk to/from the train, not to mention the 10 minute wait in the train station where its 90 degrees and 85% humidity.  Bring on the Fall !!!

5) I do amazingly well on my own.  Having had roommates/partners in house for the previous 13 years I adjusted fairly quickly to being back on my own.  I fill my time exploring the city, running, working out, and taking photos.  Yes, I’ve become an Instagram whore — you can see my photos at http://statigr.am/midtowncoffee.  The TV is hardly ever on.  Oh and I got my website back up too!  It’s at http://www.keithlowry.me/

6) I have a lot to offer someone.  Being back on my own, and having to meet people on my own made me realize I’m a very trusting, caring, enthusiastic, out going, funny, sensitive, romantic, honest, fun, adventurous person!  It’s amazing how all that comes out when you have to meet people on your own merits.  When you already have a circle of friends, it’s easy to meet people thru them (by word of mouth) and not have to do that much.  But when you’re on your own you have to work harder to meet people. and at least for me, that brings out more of my personality

I guess that’s all for now.  I do hope to blog more frequently as I explore the city, learn more about myself, continue to settle into this great and awesome city.

Stay tuned!

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betterME Day 31 : Holy Crap, I did it.

Posted in Comfort Zone, Empowerment, Self Improvement, Welcome on June 30, 2011 by cklaslan

30 days, 30 posts, 30 challenges. Some were hard (letting people go), some were easy (a day of rest).  Some where very successful (decluttering my inbox, random acts of kindness), others did not have the level of results I would have wanted (social skydiving, improving weaknesses).  Others led to long term goals (learning sign language, running a half marathon).

Over the last 30 days I learned that if I stretch my limits a little at I time there are many more things I can do — talking to strangers, yoga, making a conscious effort to smile and be happy.

So what next?  I don’t wanna stop.  I’m curious to see what else I can do and make myself better (and those around me).  But how?

The daily challenges were cool.  But I’m not sure doing something for 1 day is too much of a challenge for anyone.  I will finish this week with some random daily challenges but going forward the focus will be on challenges that last for a week.  I will revisit some of the daily challenges and see if I can get the same results when doing it for an entire week.  I also have a list of new challenges that are more appropriate for a weeklong try :

  • no snooze button for a week
  • no coffee for a week
  • go vegetarian for a week
  • take the stairs everyday
  • reduce sarcasm (haha)
  • learn a new word each day

At the end of the next 4-6 challenges I’ll re-evaluate again and perhaps go to month-long challenges.  Who knows?  As long as I feel I’m making myself better I’ll keep this up.  I still may be asking some of you to join and I’d still appreciate any suggestions of your own as well as your comments.

A reminder the challenge for this week is to start going green and I am still researching all the ways thats possible, that make sense.  There are a of “green methods” that arent’ really that beneficial.  On the home front we have purchased a lot of floor fans and upped the thermostat to 73 (used to 68).

 

betterME Day 26 : That’s Outside My Boat

Posted in Comfort Zone, Control, Empowerment, Encouragement, Limits, Relationships, Self Improvement, Social, Stress on June 26, 2011 by cklaslan

Yesterday’s challenge was to list things that I could not control and start learning ways to accept that and be happy with them.

I’m not a control freak.   But I often do hold myself accountable for things beyond my limits.  Before my list, an explanation of the title of today’s blog.

Charlie Jones is a sportscaster who has covered several Olympic games in his long career. At the 1996 games in Atlanta, he was assigned to announce the rowing, canoeing, and kayaking events — a situation that left him less than thrilled, since it was broadcast at 7am and the venue was an hour’s drive from Atlanta. What Jones discovered, however, was that it ended up being one the most memorable sports events in his career, because he gained a chance to understand the mental workings of these Olympic athletes.

Preparing for the broadcast, Jones interviewed the rowers and asked them about conditions such as rain, strong winds, or breaking an oar. Each time the response was the same: “That’s outside my boat.” After hearing the same answer again and again, Jones realized that these Olympic athletes had a remarkable focus. In their attempt to win an Olympic medal, he writes, “They were interested only in what they could control… and that was what was going on inside their boat.” Everything else was beyond their control, and not worth the expense of mental energy that would distract them from their ultimate goal.

So, whats outside my boat? For the most part this is a fairly easy thing for me to do.  Those of you that know me know I am an incredible optimist and I am forever saying “stop worrying about things that aren’t in your control”.  And if it is something in control you shouldn’t worry about it either you should do something about it.

On the other hand, accepting that you can’t control something can be a different story.  One big thing popped into my mind immediately : I can’t control how other people react or treat me.  You see, I consider myself a good person.  I put other people first, I treat everyone well and I give my all for those I know.  At times I naively expect the same thing back and am often frustrated when that doesn’t happen.  For a reference point see the day 2 blog entry.

So in those situations I shouldn’t waste time wondering what I did, why they react negatively and what I could have done differently.  What I should do is realize I can’t control what and how they feel.  All I can do is be me and if they don’t like it then so be it.  Time to move on.  As a friend of mine says : “NEXT”.

So when you find yourself in situations where you can’t control the outcome, find a positive way to focus your energy and thoughts.  This is also a great way to keep stress down in your life.  It will put you in a better mood and those around you as well (yes most everyone can tell when someone else is stressed out).

Here are some other things I came up with that I can’t control and have to learn to deal with :

* Physical limitations : I can’t play basketball.  I just don’t have the skills or the height. And I’m ok with that. But what I can do I’m gonna do the best I can.

* Criticism/Rejection : Kind of like above, I can’t control when some likes or doesn’t like me or doesn’t like what I do or say, or even my body of work.  Again all I can do is the best I can and be happy with that.  However I will choose to surround myself with people that believe in me and will encourage me.  If someone doesn’t like you, accept it and NEXT them. 🙂

* Someone else’s choices : Not everyone has the same upbringing, morals, experience, and background.  Some people will make mistakes, over and over again, even when they ask for advice.  All you can do is be there for them and support them when you can.  If that doesn’t work then sometimes hard choices have to be made and it may be time to move on.

* As silly as it sounds, I can’t control traffic.  It’s part of living in Atlanta.  Sometimes a 15 minute trip turns into a 30 minute or 45 minute or even longer trip.  Getting stressed and complaining about it won’t make the traffic go away.

So what’s the purpose of this?  By realizing what I can’t control means I can focus my energy on things I CAN control and where I can make a difference.  That, my friend, is called EMPOWERMENT.  And that is what betterME is about — getting myself into a position where I make choices and put myself in places instead of relying on others.

So what’s on your list?  What can’t you control that you have to learn to deal with?  I wanna hear from ya !!  I challenge you to reply right now.  It takes less than a minute.  DO IT!  🙂

And for today the challenge is to have a day of rest!

And the weekly challenge for the coming week starting tomorrow is to Go Green where possible.

OK folks, heading into the last week and I feel good.  Thoughts?  Comments?  Other suggestions/challenges?


BTW, if you liked that “What’s in your boat” story check out the whole book.  It’s called “That’s Outside My Boat : Letting Go of What You Can’t Control” by Charles Jones.  You can get it at amazon.com – http://www.amazon.com/Thats-Outside-My-Boat-Letting/dp/0740711628

betterME Day 19 : One Weakness isn’t Enough

Posted in Self Improvement, Weakness on June 18, 2011 by cklaslan

“Sometimes our greatest strength come from our weakness”

The challenge for me was to identify a weakness and then seek solutions to improve it.  To be honest I haven’t had a lot of time today to work on this.  As I mentioned earlier I’n out of town on business and work has kept me quite busy and I’ve only had a little bit of downtown.

But when the challenge came up in the Random Number Generator a few things did come to mind.  They were obvious things that I already knew before the challenge.. probably things I knew entering betterME.

First there are so many ways to go so which area do I pick a weakness in? Personal? Social? Professional? I think I’m going to have to come back to this challenge when I have more time to think about it.  I won’t mark it completed but I will at least start a list of things I feel I could improve on.  To keep my commitment to work on betterME every day I did at least identify a few things but I didn’t get into details or work on ways to improve.  But here they are.  Socially I tend to stick to the people I know and not venture outside the group.  Personally I can take my joking and sarcasm too far, and professionally I tend to get caught up in the process and forget the people needed to make the process happen.

So at least thats a start.  I’m sure there’s more so I’ll work on the list and to make up for the shortcoming today, I’ll pick two to work on and make an update later in the betterME challenge.  Sorry folks, but I guess this one is mostly a bust 😦

but betterME continues.  The challenge for tomorrow is do something nice and unexpected for someone you don’t know.

Well that kind of sounds like the weeks challenge to do random acts of kindness/pay-it-forward which I have badly neglected since the airport on Wednesday – granted I haven’t had much time or interaction with others for a good opportunity.  But I will definitely be on the lookout for chances to work on both of these tomorrow.

I’m incredibly tired so I’m gonna call this a wrap and catch ya tomorrow.