Archive for goals

My Top Ten

Something I came up when I should have been paying attention in class:

1. Everything happens for a reason.

2. Modesty and humility will keep you grounded.

3. People are your greatest source of love, friendship, and support – make time for them.

4. Seek balance.

5. Where you are isn’t nearly as important as where you are working to be.

6. Every minute of your time can give you something.

7. Kindness and altruism gives as much to others as it gives to you.

8. Remember that those in your family are the only people in this world who have your best interests in mind, 100% of the time.

9. You are the only person who can make change in your world.

10. Details might run your life, but the bigger picture should always guide it.


Quarter-Life Crisis/Questions

This article I ran across is very timely, though its already been out since April. Really interesting and funny – read here!

The gist: it’s about the “Quarter Life Crisis,” which is a life-time phase when twenty-some year olds, generally people who are two years or so into the real world after college, start to lose track of themselves within the haziness of what they should be doing with their life, partly fueled by all the possibilities and potential out there. Apparently, it’s associated with a kind of private worry that manifests itself as this “ennui,” or “fucking around,” or “self-flagellation,” as the article calls it, haha. It’s a socially constructed, middle-class issue that only emerged as a term in 2001, but has become a pervasive problem that people at this age apparently struggle with, whether delusionally or in reality.

Some gems from the article:

“…Attempts to manage the Quarterlife Crisis might be as banal as drinking a lot, doing a bunch of drugs, sleeping with idiots and myriad other kinds of self-flagellation, but broader attempts are made to find some sense of purpose…”

“…This isolation and its private anxiety are pervasive, as is a longing for the way things were in the predictably structured eras of high school and college or university. The directionlessness and resulting immobility is made worse when twentysomethings going through the Crisis compare themselves to their peers, past and present, further convincing someone in the throes of it that they’re not only alone, but the worst kind of failure…”

“…“There is life on the other side of this, and it’s actually a pretty good one. Growing up may be hard to do, but in the end, the gains outweigh the losses.” In other words: it might just be time to grow the fuck up.”

It’s entertaining, if not slightly enlightening. I think 2010 Seniors haven’t quite gotten to this state of disillusionment yet. I think we’re more excited about the prospect of this final semester and what’s coming in post-college life, as well as, relishing in the few months and moments we have left with people here, as we should be.

While this “Quarter-life Crisis” may be something of actual concern in this population of adults, part of me discredits it as an immature and formalized expression of laziness and and unwillingness to work hard. (I’m not accusing all 25-year-olds of being lazy, I just think that is problem is partly the result of laziness…) I certainly don’t mean to discredit the fact that we all have every right to happy with what we make of our time, whether it be in grad school or at a job or in a relationship – everyone is entitled to satisfaction and fulfillment. What bothers me is when people think things are meant to be easy, or that things like happiness and a strong sense of purpose in life are supposed to come without the work.

I agree that a lot of people feel entitled, or feel that just because they are young and have the time to figure it all out, they should be out there having the time of their lives and being spontaneous and taking big chances. I obviously don’t mean that this is altogether bad; leaving your options open, being willing to try things out, and living large is important when you have the time, energy, and resources for it. But moving around from thing to thing, waiting until you find something that’s ideal or perfect, because you think your life should be ideal or perfect, is stupid.

Things are meant to be hard right? Or else doing things wouldn’t be worth it. Yes, when you’re young, life is supposed to be a little less hard than when you’re older. And by all means, don’t settle (if you can help it). But all in all, people should be realistic. Instead of looking around for things that are bigger and better, take the initiative to make the most out of things that are in your control. This is, of course, easier said than done. But it beats feeling aimless, helpless, and powerless. If anything, being at the 25-year-ish mark of your life means you actually have the ability to do something about it.

Let’s Make a Tribe

A TED talk by David Logan, from USC’s Marshall School of Business.

His presentation is on the idea of tribal leadership. People segregate into groups called “tribes” that share similar cultures and values. The 5 tribe stages, or categories, are:

1. Stage I: “Life Sucks”
2. Stage II: “My Life Sucks”
3. Stage III: “I’m Great, and You’re Not”
4. Stage IV: “We’re Great”
5. Stage V: “Life is Great”

These are not meant to sound vain or superficial – there’s actually a lot of substance behind them, so just watch the video to learn more.

This idea is really cool, especially when he talks about the transition that people make from Stage III to IV. This movement happens when people unite with other individuals who share similar values, work ethics, and motivation, but make those things go beyond individual advancement to be a part of a group or collective that is aware of its own existence.

According to him, we are all part of tribes, whether we know it or not. Part of the significance of leadership, and tribal leadership in particular, is to facilitate connections between individuals, and subsequently between tribes. Logan’s ending thoughts:

What kind of impact are the tribes you are in making? Will your tribes change the world?

The important thing is this: to be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become.

Charles Du Bos

From the Best Freshman Roommate I Could Have Ever Asked For

This wonderful piece in The Harvard Crimson’s FM Magazine is written by the most awesome freshman roommate I could have ever asked for: Emily Graff. A shout out for special memories in Grays M53!

One of the best parts about about being friends with Emily – in addition to lessons in fashion (I owe my knowledge of Christian Louboutin and Tory Burch to her), decorating advice, advice in general, and the in on the best hookah bars in NYC – is that she lets me read her writing pieces. Sometimes, even before she turns them in.

This latest one is about something that everyone is familiar with. The full piece, which I highly recommend you read, Harvard people, is here; some of my favorite bits are below. It’s titled “Pass,” and is about her experience this summer as an intern for a publishing company – specifically, the part that required her to write letters of rejection.

“…I saw myself on every page. I’ve been rejected from high schools and colleges, from a capella groups and publications and summer opportunities. I know what it feels like to send a piece of yourself out into the silence. And I know what it feels like to get the thin envelope or the small package or the short email back.

And now, here I was, pairing “so I think we’re going to have to pass” and “I’m not sure how to position this on our list” with compliments about “lush descriptions” and “compelling narrative voices.” I felt powerful, at first, but that soon wore off. I was left with a dull ache—it’s a mix of guilt and heartbreak…

…On T.V. and in newspaper articles, they call us a coddled generation. Bubble-wrapped kids. We—Generation Y, Millennials, whatever—are told that we feel entitled to success. When faced with failure, we are meant to fold in upon ourselves, to give up.

And sure, I think about that sometimes. But as August rolls around and I prepare for senior year and for the real world, for a recessed economy and a shrinking job market, I prepare for the hundreds upon hundreds of rejections that lay ahead.

Because if I know anything, I know that after all the Nos, you only ever really need one Yes…”

It’s perfect. I love Emily Graff. You should too.

Things That Matter

A few items from a list of things that, according to Seth Godin, matter. Powerful words to live by:

  • When you love the work you do and the people you do it with, you matter.
  • When you are so gracious and generous and aware that you think of other people before yourself, you matter.
  • When you leave the world a better place than you found it, you matter.
  • When you continue to raise the bar on what you do and how you do it, you matter.
  • When you touch the people in your life through your actions (and your words), you matter.
  • When you see the world as it is, but insist on making it more like it could be, you matter.


Kind of an ironic topic for The Happiness Project to be discussing. Or maybe not. You can find her two most recent posts on “unhappiness” here.

Some of my favorite bits: “Feeling bad is a sign that it’s time for action. Change is often painful; unpleasant, disruptive; exhausting; scary. Unhappiness can act as the goad to get you to push through those barriers. …

I’m saying that unhappiness is a clue to a way to be happier; does it mean that I believe that the goal of life is to eliminate all happiness? No. But is it a goal to give up needless unhappiness, or foolish unhappiness, or lazy unhappiness? Yup.”

This is an excerpt from today’s post: “One consideration I forgot to take into account: …happiness doesn’t always make me feel happy. That is, the things that bring happiness also bring frustration, anxiety, boredom, fear, etc. …But although I have bad feelings, I don’t always think that’s quite the same thing as feeling unhappy.

to be happy, you need to think about feeling good, feeling bad, and feeling right, in an atmosphere of growth. Sometimes people equate “unhappiness” with “feeling bad.” But bad feelings have a different…flavor…depending on whether they’re accompanying an activity that’s fundamentally making me happy, or making me unhappy…

…So all bad feelings aren’t created equal. A bad feeling can accompany something that will, in the end, lead to happiness – or not.

When people talk about the foolishness of trying to eliminate unhappiness, I think they’re envisioning a life from which all bad feeligns had been banished. That kind of life wouldn’t make anyone hapy, and it’s not possible anyway. …The trick, I guess, is to figure out where bad feelings will turn to the good, and where they won’t – i.e., where they’re a necessary accompaniment to an activity that makes you happy, or when they’re a sign that you need to make some changes.”

I think she gets to a key point in understanding why her own project is so important – being happy isn’t necessarily a static state, or an end-all-be-all destination. She makes a case for constant introspection and inner re-evaluation. Rather than an item on a checklist, trying to “be happy” is more of a running tab/constantly morphing goal that takes into account the circumstances you encounter, the person you are, and the environment you’re in.

“Ideals are like stars; you will not succeed in touching them with your hands. But like the seafaring man on the desert of waters, you choose them as your guides, and following them you will reach your destiny. ”

Carl Shurz