Archive for the Social 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!

Happy is as Happy Does : betterME_2.0

Posted in Encouragement, Fun, Happiness, Relationships, Social on November 16, 2011 by cklaslan
I apologize in advance for the random rambling of this blog, but hey blogs are meant to be random.  While it is all over the place there is one unifying theme behind all of it : Happiness.  Happiness has been on my mind the last few weeks.  If you follow me on Twitter you know that to be the case.  Also lots of things have been tying together and as a result I’ve been happier.
 
I saw a challenge today that was to identify my commandments for happiness.  The first few were easy and throughout the day I kept added to them and tweeting them as they came up.  I know there are supposed to be 10 commandments but I have 15.. for now.  I think this will be something I will add to over time.  These are not meant to be a series of rules or a to-do list.  I have a “happy list” that lists things I can do or think about to get back to a happy place.   Rather this is more the thoughts and process that guide me and direct me towards happiness.  They each could use their own detailed explanation but for now I will just list them.  Most should be self-explanatory.

  • Chances are temporary but regrets are permanent so remove the “what ifs” and live with no regrets
  • Enjoy the process
  • Be happiness, live happiness, & give happiness
  • Even though life is a journey, there is no road map, so enjoy the scenery
  • Smile, laugh uncontrollably, and have fun no matter who’s watching
  • There are no problems, just opportunities to learn, grow, & experience
  • It’s not the circumstances that matter, but how I choose to respond to them
  • Keep things in perspective and stay focused on what matters
  • Remember anything that made you smile and never, ever regret it
  • There is only love, so kiss slowly, love truly, and be passionate
  • Lighten up and enjoy the moment
  • Forgive, forget, and live as if it never happened
  • To be happier, you have to think about feeling good and feeling right in an atmosphere of growth
  • One of the best ways to make yourself happy is to make other people happy;  One of the best ways to make other people happy is to be happy yourself.
  • Happiness is not a mood, it’s a decision

Imaginary good is boring; real good is always new,
marvelous, intoxicating.
” ~ Simone Weil

All my life I’ve been an optimistic person.  I’ve always been very positive-minded, open, focused, and happy.  Those that know me, know that rare is the time when something gets me down, bothers me, or gets to me.  Does it happen? Sure!  I am human and I am an emotional person.  But it takes a lot, and even when it happens, I am usually over it very quickly.  I just don’t like being sad, or letting something negative get to me.  You see to me, it’s a choice.  Yes, bad things happen.  Yes sad things happen.  Yes things don’t go right.  But to me how I chose to respond is up to me.

Happiness and being happy is contagious.  Smiles are contagious.  I know people says it’s bad to rely on others for your happiness.  I tend to disagree with that on some levels.  I’ve found that I am happier when those around me are happy.  I’m an empathetic being.  I can sense the mood of those around me, and if it’s someone I’m close to my mood/feelings tend to match them almost immediately – it’s how I can tell something’s wrong.  So with me, I am much happier if others are happy.

I’m a caring, loving, giving, nurturing person and it just makes me happy to makes others happy, to make them laugh, and to make them smile.  I’m not saying I can’t be happy on my own.  I can.  There are plenty of times where I am quite happy and enjoyable on my own, alone, reading a book, listening to the rain, napping, thinking, planning, dreaming, etc.  However more often than not, I am most happy when I can share my happiness with others.  Yes, I know that’s a Catch-22, but hey, that’s me.

I’ve learned that happiness is shared in many ways and I adapt to my friends ways of receiving and giving happiness.  Some like a joke, others encouragement.  Some like a hug, and others just like for me to be a smart-ass with them.  A few just like to swap stories or share things/people that interest them and some just like to talk silly.  I also like my friends to share and show off their talents and creativity because that makes them happy.  Some of them like the little things I do and some just value my honesty.  All of them like a smile, and of course they like to feel important.  All my friends know that I am incredibly loyal, supportive, and always give honest advice.  I feel happy when they feel happy and they know I’ll do whatever I can to spread cheer and joy.

One of my best friends will soon be moving to NYC.  This person has been a great source of happiness for me, for he too is very much like me, very level headed, very loyal, and one of the most even tempered, calming, people I know. We had some similar life experiences that helped us bond and get along well.  While his moving is indeed a sad moment, I choose not to be sad over it as I know its a great opportunity for him so I choose to be happy and to be happy for him.  It would be incredibly easy to be selfish and bitter, but that’s just not me.  Sure, I will miss his sage advice, his calm spirit, and his knack for knowing when I want to talk and when I don’t.  But I’m happy for him and I know he’s happy.

“Do what makes you happy, be with who makes you smile,
laugh as much as you breath, love as long as you live”

I am surrounded by happy, loving, good, kind, positive, open people.  Most of my friends are that way, and well, that’s why they are my friends.  However, in all my life I don’t think I’ve ever encountered someone who was as optimistic, care-free, full of hope, and well, happy, as I am.  Until recently that is.

A few months ago I met an amazing person who’s come into my life who share’s the same outlook, philosophy, and is the most like me of anyone I’ve ever met.  You don’t know how cool that is!!  Words can’t describe how it is to be around someone who emits such a positive, happy energy that you just can’t help but smile in their presence.   Have you ever thought about someone then realized you’ve been smiling the whole time?  This person has been an incredible source of happiness, joy, and positive thoughts.  That in turn has made me even happier and in turn I think I’ve shared and given more happiness in return.  You see how this works now?  This person has become incredibly valuable to me and someone I care deeply about and someone I want to get to know even more.  I don’t know what the future holds, but I’m certainly enjoying the scenery.  The holidays are always a joyous, happy time for me.  But now I know it’s going to be even better!

When I think of the last time someone made me really feel good, made me really laugh, made me really happy… I was with you”  RAWR :3

betterME Day 28 : How you durrin’ ?

Posted in Community, Relationships, Social on June 28, 2011 by cklaslan

Challenge 28 for yesterday was to catch up and connect with an old friend.  I wasn’t able to get in contact with the person I waned to yesterday so I tried again this morning.

I talked with one of my good friends, Alan, who lives in NW Arkansas.  I do consider him one of my best friends, despite having not seen him in almost 2 years.  We used to call several times a week and if not we at least kept in contact via text.  But in the last year we’ve both gotten so busy and our lives changed so much that we don’t talk nearly that often.

But as it is with good friends, despite the time and distance, once we said “hello” this morning on the phone it was just like we had seen and talked to each other last week.

I was on my way to work and he was on his way to work so we had about 20 mins to catch up.  And that’s just what we did.  It was a great and refreshing way to start my day.  It put a smile on my face and put me in a good mood to start work. 🙂

So who do you need to catch up with?  Give them a call right now !

So on to the weekly challenge to start going green.  While I’ve not put anything into place I have started researching what I can do to make my green effort a reality.

First, we already recycle at home.  We have a huge blue bin that we fill up.  So that’s at least a minor step.  But here are some other things I can start doing :

  1. Plant an herb garden : this is something I’ve wanted to do anyway
  2. Switch lights to CFL
  3. Make sure appliances are Energy Savers (most of them already are)
  4. Start using reusable grocery bags
  5. Use reusable water bottles and not plastic disposable : Easy to start doing
  6. Use reusable coffee cups : An easy switch as well
  7. Green power from utilities : Ga Power lets you purchase some of your energy from renewable sources.  I’m still getting the details on this one so an update will follow.
  8. Do a home energy audit : Done – you can actually do this through GaPower’s website
  9. Collect rain water
  10. Turn down water temp : Ok, I love hot showers and admittedly it’s turned up, but down it must go.
  11. Wash in cold water : Usually do this anyway
  12. Fix leaky faucets and toilets
  13. Use cloth napkins

I’ll continue to add to the list and make updates when I put them into place.  At least I’ve go some green initiatives going already!   What can you do to make things green?   Bet it’s a lot easier than you think !

And for today, the challenge is to call customer service after a GREAT experience.

See ya later today!

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 18 : A Stress Free day (NOT!)

Posted in Encouragement, Relationships, Social, Stress, Teamwork on June 18, 2011 by cklaslan

Sorry this post for yesterday is late, but it was a long day.  I’m at a client site for work completing a project and I was up till 3am and them back up at 9am this morning.

The goal for yesterday was to do what I could to relieve stress for someone else.  I’m not sure how to judge this one.  During the course of this project, of which there are several people are involved, many things went wrong.  Needless to say it could have easily been a panic situation for everyone, including the client.  There were hardware problems, database issues, network problems, and performance issues that deeply impacted the completion of the project (due by Monday morning).

Instead of wonking out, we all worked together as a team and divided up the problems so we could each research them.  We communicated often and effectively to let each other know what was going on, what we were about to do, and the results.  No one panicked.  By the time our minds were mush around 2:30am we had most of the problems resolved but there was a huge one we couldn’t find a solution for.  The result of that left the project limping along over night at 1/4th its capacity.  But everyone was happy with any progress.

We resumed this morning, put our heads to it, and we called in additional resources who provided us with a solution that not only worked, increased performance bu 30% over our previous tests!

So while I did help relieve someone else’s stress it wasn’t by direct actions but rather by team actions, working together, thinking level headed, not over reacting, and not panicking. So there you have it.  Those are the keys to relieving stress not only in yourself but others as well.  If you remain calm and focused, chances are others will be too 🙂

So the task for today is : to identify a weakness and seek ways to improve it.

That’s all for now.  I’ll try to post later tonight about today’s goal but it might be a day late as well.  And yup, probably a dollar short too!

Thanks for reading.  Comments please.  How about a challenge from the reading public?  I see the stats so I know you’re there.  Contributions to the challenge list are welcome.

Have a great Saturday !

betterME Day 17 : Thinking Man

Posted in Relationships, Social on June 16, 2011 by cklaslan

The mission today was a bit of an odd one : think before you speak. We all get into situations where words come out before we mean them too.  It could be in anger, due to stress, or even do to surprise or just a slip of the tongue.  When I get stressed out I tend to speak directly and bluntly.  That’s not always the best way to say things, especially since  large part of my job is dealing with clients.

So my goal today was to say what I mean and what I intended but to do it in a gentle way that still gets the point across without being abrasive.  I only had a few opportunities but I made the best of them.  Instead of letting stress get to me I slowed down and didn’t make tense situations worse by saying something I shouldn’t 🙂

My apologies for the brevity for the post, but I’m out of town for work. And speaking of tomorrow is going to be a very long, very tiring, very stressing day as a major project kicks off.  With that in mind the challenge for tomorrow is to do something to reduce/relieve/eliminate stress.

betterME Day 16 : Here’s to Blanden

Posted in Comfort Zone, Giving, Social on June 15, 2011 by cklaslan

So the challenge for the day was to say the name of people I speak to, in particular new people I meet.  This actually is a principal mentioned often by Dale Carnegie.   Have you ever noticed that when someone uses your name you pay more attention to them?  You feel happier?   Well, the same goes for everybody.  Try it out.  Find out someone’s name and use it and they will pay more attention to you.  They will make more eye contact.  Saying someone’s name also helps you remember them.

So I set out to learn the name of people I came in contact with today.  Not hard in today’s world as most everyone wears a name tag.

So here’s to Mary, the Park N Ride driver, Chevalia and Danny, the Delta agents who checked me in and to Thomas the gate agent (more on him later).  Here’s also to Laurie at the Hertz desk.   There was also Sequoia at Seattle’s Best Coffee and Sarah at the front desk of the Hilton.  And of course there was Tiffany, my server at The Swamp where I ate dinner.

And definitely here’s to Blandan, the flight attendant for my flight from ATL to GNV who made the safety speech one of the most entertaining I’ve heard in a long time.  He must have used 10 different voices and spoke really slow to blazing fast and all speeds in between.

He started by saying “Welcome aboard flight 5489 to Gainesville.  If Gainesville isn’t your final destination… it is now”.   While demonstrating the proper use of the oxygen masks he said “If you are seated next to someone who needs assistance putting their mask on, put your mask on first then watch them panic”.

When I spoke someone’s name, thanked them by name, or addressed them by name, I did notice a difference.  The did seem to pay more attention.  They smiled, and they seemed more responsive.  You like it when someone calls you by name — it makes you feel special.  So why not do the same for others?

A little update on the weekly challenge to pay-it-forward and do random acts of kindness.  At the airport gate I was asked to move seats (prior to boarding) so a family could sit together… this meant giving up my comfy aisle seat for a window seat.  But since it was a short flight (45 mins) I didn’t mind.  In the end someone else asked me to switch and I ended up getting an aisle seat anyway.  Also when I was eating there were some locals who had started a collection for the Alabama storm victims.  I had a couple of dollars that had been in my wallet for weeks so I put them in the boot.

So things are progressing nicely.  The challenge for tomorrow is :

* Think before you speak

Well that one’s going to be fun since tomorrow I’m at a client site completing a stressful project.

Keep it coming folks.  Questions? Comments!  Suggestions!!  Challenges!  Send em my way!