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This week, we'll be talking about empathy, perspective, and how to generally be less pissed-off. I also have some good book/article recommendations to start your week.
As a brief disclaimer: any links for items, books, etc. that are available for purchase are done through an affiliate program. This means that I get paid a small pittance of money for everything you buy using my links. I don't recommend things I haven't read/used, so using these links helps me out and gets you great products!
Empathy, Perspective, and Figuring it Out
I live in a city, which apparently means that I get irritated by relatively small things and think a great deal of people I encounter are assholes. This is a rather blunt summary, but a mindset that I have had to deal with, and continue to deal with, on a daily and weekly basis. If I let these thoughts spiral out of control, I walk through my day grumpy and disgruntled. It certainly doesn't help my customer-facing job, and it doesn't help with my own mental battles or daily struggles.
To make it more personal, I find that the more critical I am of myself, the more critical I am regarding the actions of those around me. I have recently been experiencing an inner-dialogue centered around not knowing what my next steps are, or how I can make a positive impact moving forward. These are difficult feelings to wrestle with, and dealing with these things internally has made me more aware of how I project these feelings externally.
One thing that has helped me in the past when dealing with these feelings is, every time I would otherwise get frustrated with someone, I try to shift my perspective and embrace a healthy dose of empathy. If someone does something that pisses me off, the first question I always ask myself is, "Am I already agitated from battling my own demons, and am I projecting those feelings on this person?" Maybe they asked a "stupid" question, or maybe they approached me at a time I would rather be left alone. My reaction in those situations is my fault, not theirs.
If I'm in an otherwise good mood, or I can safely rule out me being a jerk from the equation, then I try to shift my perspective if I still get frustrated. If someone cuts me off in traffic, maybe they are rushing to see a loved one in the hospital; maybe they're late for their child's game. If someone is short with me or otherwise agitated, a million things could have happened during their day that would have torn me apart; maybe they are keeping it together far better than I would have under the same circumstances.
There is no handbook for life. We're all just making our way through this journey trying to figure things out for ourselves. When you realize that we're all lost and no one knows what they're doing, you start to gain more empathy for those around you. Additionally, we're almost always operating with limited information. We have no way of knowing what's going on in the lives of others, so it's always inappropriate to judge their actions through our own lens.
The next time you are quick to anger, or find yourself frustrated with those around you, take a few deep breaths and practice shifting your perspective. The old adage implores us to walk a mile in someone else's shoes, but I think we can get pretty damn close by attempting a few thoughts inside their brain.
The most interesting things I've read, heard, or encountered this week:
A book that helps with the above: Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday
Holiday is a modern-day stoic philosopher. This perspective is increasingly important these days when depression and mental hardship are more common than ever. Understanding that we ultimately have little control over what happens to us and must instead deal with life as it comes is an incredibly liberating mindset.
And speaking of: "34 Mistakes on the Way to 34 Years Old" by Ryan Holiday
Holiday recently released a list of life lessons on his birthday. While this is a common practice, some lists are worth reading more than others. This is one of those lists.
For my fellow fitness enthusiasts: An Evidence Based Guide to Stretching (video)
For those of you willing to take a deep dive and learn a bit about a very hotly debated topic, this video breaks down how static stretching can be implemented in a fitness program. The video links to a couple of studies that it highlights, but the gist is that stretches lasting 30-60 seconds and a stretching regiment that lasts 5-10 minutes a day is essentially the minimum effective dose for mobility gains. Anything longer than that has limited added benefit, which is great news for those of you trying to save time. Stretching is an age-old debate; should you or shouldn't you? Static or dynamic? At the end of the day, take all of the available information and find what works best for you!
For my investors: "Why Social Media will Continue to Influence Investing" on CNBC
Investing has become a hot topic following the increased downtime afforded by the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent global lockdowns. Younger people are turning to social media for investment advice and, while some are losing big, there are many more making large sums of money in the market. This article is an interesting discussion about how social media influences the markets and how it will continue to do so in the future.
That will do it for this week! Please let me know what you liked, didn't like, and what you want to see more of. Do you want it to be longer, shorter? Do you want specific topics covered more? Less? Have a wonderful week, and remember to please forward this to your friends -- helping get the word out and get more eyes on this newsletter is hugely helpful and greatly appreciated!
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