The Grass Is Not Always Greener

The weather in Los Angeles may be a lot nicer than in Cleveland, but LeBron James is cleaning out his locker right now. Which reminds me of one of the most important lessons in life- the grass is not always greener. That dream job, that beautiful woman, that new side project you are contemplating changing everything for, may not work out. And that’s okay.

I’m not saying don’t try and I’m not saying take the easy path. Indeed, in America it is truly okay to fail and start over. But be smart about it. Prepare yourself as much as possible (without killing the dream) and learn everything you can while you’re in a stable situation. This will make it easier. Faith and confidence are crucial, but they will not succeed without preparation.

5 Reasons You Should NOT Telework

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Telework sounds like a lovely idea. It’s not! It’s just another way the Cultural Marxists are undermining norms in the western world. Okay, maybe it’s not quite that, but here are #5Reasons I suggest that you NOT telework if you have an office to go into or if you are debating about whether to rent one of those co-working spaces:

  1. Screws up your daily routine. Switching up your routine is great from time to time, but when you’re going into the office on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays it really messes up how you prepare for each day.
  2. Destroys the workplace esprit de corps. My office is now a ghost town every day except for Wednesdays. It’s a shame. It used to be a fun place to work.
  3. If you struggle with self-control, working from home can very easily worsen some already-bad tendencies like drinking during the day, smoking weed, and gambling online.
  4. Destroys the “specialness” of the weekend. If every day is kind of like Friday or Saturday, how do you really know the difference. This is also true for people who work unusual schedules. Someone’s got to do it, but there is a wisdom in the routine of Monday through Friday followed by the weekend.
  5. Overall, just undermines the discipline that humans need to flourish. With 1 day off out every 7, including a day filled with family activities, a person can recharge to be productive once again. Spend 1 day per week at home, maybe 2, but not 5 or 6. We need balance, but not that much work-life balance.

In fact, a much better way to telework is to do a few extra bits of work from your home office occasionally, like when you need to “work late” or take care of a sick kid. Not for full days and definitely not every day if you can avoid it.

5 Reasons You Should Get a Dog

My recently-adopted dog, Harper.

Dogs require a lot of work. You have to take them for walks daily, usually 3 times at a minimum (this post is primarily for urban dogs). They’ve got to be fed 1-2 times daily, groomed occasionally, trained if they act out. They can be a huge pain. Make sure you are up for it, but in most cases adding a dog to your life is a win-win for everyone. Below are 5 reasons you should get yourself a dog :

  1. You’ll never experience such unconditional love from anyone else. Your spouse might visit you if you went to prison but you can be sure your dog would.
  2. Humans, especially men, need a safe, comfortable outlet for showing affection for others. It’s not always easy to show affection when you’re a man. We all know this. It doesn’t turn us into incels or serial killers, it’s just more complicated than sobbing at a moment’s notice.
  3. Having a dog adds structure and discipline to your life. Discipline is the key to success in the future. 
  4. It’s the BEST protection for a home. I live in the city in a good, but formerly somewhat crappy neighborhood and I leave my doors unlocked all the time. Even at night.
  5. Connects you with neighbors. It builds community, gives you something to talk about with your neighbors and fellow dog owners, and helps you truly get to know your neighborhood. I remember living in downtown DC in my early 30s and not knowing ANY of my neighbors, until I got a dog. Suddenly everyone became so much friendlier.

There are all kinds of benefits. Go for it!

7 Tips to Shut Down That Negative Inner Voice

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A negative inner voice can prevent you from reaching your potential. It can talk you out of starting a business or talking to an attractive woman or otherwise just make you miserable. Here are 5 things you can do to tame that negative self-talk:

  1. Learn to meditate. Meditation is a great way to pause and remind yourself that the nasty voice in your head is not helpful and not telling the truth.
  2. Build a spiritual practice. This is crucial for EVERY HUMAN. So many men are resistant to religion preferring to be ruled by “reason and logic.” This is total nonsense, of course. A spiritual practice grounded in gratitude IS the foundation to a healthy life.
  3. Forgive yourself. We all screw up. Some of us quite badly. But no one is beyond redemption. All of us, even Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, is doing the best we can with the information we have.
  4. Tell that voice, “Go f*ck yourself. Not helpful.” Bill Burr has a great rant about depression. In short, he argues that depression is something you have to keep at bay with anger.
  5. Try to identify it or the source of it. Give it a name. Sometimes it’s a parent. Or a mean authority figure. Try to figure out whose behavior it is modeling. This may help you realize how mean and nasty you are to yourself at times.
  6. Think about the advice you might offer a friend in your shoes. Write it down and read it back to yourself. Would you berate and abuse that friend and tell him what a worthless person he is? No!
  7. Distract yourself with music or a podcast or another mood changer. Sometimes you need to shake things up and change your mood. Music, a podcast, or an audiobook can all help to focus your attention away from that hateful voice.

5 Reasons to Try Audiobooks

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A lot of us on the ADHD end of the concentrational spectrum, have a hard time with reading. I mean, we’re not illiterate, it’s just that we get so bored and space out quickly and frequently have to go back and reread what we missed. It ends up taking forever. I recently started listening to audiobooks and IT HAS CHANGED EVERYTHING! Here are #5Reasons you should try audiobooks-

  1. For some, makes it easier to focus. For whatever reason, I’m able to pay closer attention to an audiobook that I’m listening to than a book I’m reading. Hearing the words out loud makes it far more entertaining and stimulating than listening to my own internal voice.
  2. They’re perfect for driving, commuting, or flying. If you’re like a lot of us you don’t have much time to yourself. So, if you drive to work (or commute or fly regularly), rather than listen to that commercial-filled garbage on the radio, listen to an audiobook you’ve always been meaning to read. And then another and another.
  3. Increases productivity. Generally speaking, multitasking is bad for you. But listening to an audiobook while walking or driving or doing laundry is ideal for those with ADHD.
  4. You can plow through books faster. Audiobooks have various speeds at which you can listen to them. With a slow talker- not to be mixed up with a low talker- you can speed up the pace as fast as you want and absolutely plow through books!
  5. What a great learning opportunity. Think of all those classic books you avoided in high school or “read” using the Cliffs Notes version. Or countless other books you’ve always been meaning to read.

It’s not too late.

7 Tips to Enjoy Exercise

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I’m not a fan of exercising. I pretty much hate it and then I kinda hate myself for hating it. So I try to make it fun. In fact, I try to make basically everything fun. And I find I can really enjoy exercising when I incorporate it into other fun activities.

Long dog walks. When I have the time on a Saturday morning and the weather is nice, I’ll take my dog on a 3 or 4-mile walk. As the Dog Whisperer says, a tired dog is a good dog. He enjoys it, I do, and everyone is better behaved.

Biking to work. Another way I incorporate exercise into my daily life is by biking to work during the spring and summer. It’s an invigorating way to start the day and fantastic exercise if you can manage it. It requires a lot of complicated gear and clothing transfers so it’s best to join a gym near your office with lockers for storing clean clothes.

Playing pickup basketball. Hoops is one of the best ways to stay in shape. There is the chance of the odd ankle twist and finger jam, but the consistent effort works out virtually all of your body. I try to play basketball one night per week at a nearby gym. It’s one of the few remaining bastions for male bonding in my community and a hell of a good way to stay in shape.

Getting out in nature. Hiking or taking a long walk in the woods- unless you’re in a rapey urban park- will do wonders for your spirit. If you have time, get well out of the city.

Swimming. I know it sounds boring, but I try to swim weekly by viewing it as a sort of meditation practice. I find that once I’m in the water, and especially when I’m underwater, I reach a deeply meditative mental state. It’s great when you really need to work through an issue you’re grappling with.

Find a partner. It always helps to have the accountability of friends. 

Build the habit. Once it’s a habit it becomes a lot less painful. Make time for exercise in your life and make it fun.

There are ways to make exercise a lot less unpleasant. Try them.

#7BadIdeas #1- Atheism

“Religion is a bunch of b.s.” Me, 3 years ago.

ATHEISM. Yes, it’s difficult to believe in someone or something that you cannot readily observe or touch or communicate with. I, for one, have a personality rooted in what I can see, feel, or read about from reputable sources. I don’t automatically trust what people say. I assume a lot of it is nonsense and am correct 75 percent of the time. I only like to read nonfiction books, I don’t believe in ghosts, am most influenced by cold, hard facts, and don’t even trust my mirrors when I’m driving. I’m not too lazy to turn my head. Data and information that I (or more accurately, someone whom I trust) can measure is what I usually invest my faith in. That’s why the idea of God has always been so hard for me to imagine.

Further, religion seems so quaint and old-fashioned in our hyper-informed modern world. It made sense for folks living on the prairie in the 19th century or in small towns or ethnic urban neighborhoods until the 1960s. But nowadays, we live across the country and all over the world. We have never been more disconnected from our family members geographically. “Community” is a dying phenomenon.

“Religion seems so anachronistic. It reminds me of a t-shirt I saw a college kid wearing in the 2000s that said ‘VOTING is for old people.'”

So why not just stick with atheism? Why not proudly proclaim to be ruled by reason and logic? Well, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve started to look at life from a more pragmatic perspective. And I’ve found atheism to be deeply lacking. Specifically, I’ve struggled enormously my whole life with existential angst- frequently stewing in anger and depression- and during those times, atheism had nothing to offer.

And so, the pain of struggling to understand why the world is the way it is led me on a search for meaning. The hellish battle in my head for why we’re all here has long tormented me. Specifically, for decades I’ve been trying to figure out how an atheist makes meaning out of the world. And through that search, I came right back to religion and the Catholicism of my grandparents. I concluded that, generally speaking, when a person does not center his life around a concept like God, he inevitably fills that solipsistic worldview with self-interest or what he perceives as self-interest. His moral compass inevitably gets hijacked by the ego. From a practical standpoint, I came to the conclusion that atheism, agnosticism, and generally just checking out from religion are pretty terrible ways to live. I know. I did it for 40 years.

In the absence of a religion to frame how you look at the world, a person will inevitably succumb to the influence of the ego. It’s natural. It’s normal. And it may well ruin your life. Atheism or godlessness- in other words, not recognizing something greater than oneself- is a direct path to self-worship, narcissism, nihilism, depression, and ultimately, suffering. 

I’m not saying I don’t struggle with faith. My idea of God has evolved though. It’s something akin to the spirit or impulse of love for and kindness to others. The universal connection of every human being (love your neighbor) and the sense of fellowship with other humans that says we’re all children of God and we’re all in this together (love your enemies). What an amazingly brilliant idea. How could it have come from man?

I’ve also been doing something of a 40-year study comparing the lives of a large group of Catholic men and a large group of “secular” men. The Catholic men are all doing dramatically better than most of my lifelong friends who reject religion. They are generally married with good careers and stable families. After decades of observing these men, it’s clear to me that believing in God and ordering your life around God is a beautiful way to live. Religion offers structure, motivation, focus, an identity- important things you need to live a good life.

After all, what has gotten us to where we are as a society? What traditions, values, and institutions have enabled men and women to flourish like never before? Religion, Christian values, the nuclear family, marriage before children, basic common-sense concepts like these are scorned and undermined by the left at every opportunity. So much so that many of us have internalized that scorn and have an almost knee-jerk reaction to religion, viewing it as “a bunch of bullsh#t.” Not helpful.

And if the positive case for religion, and by this I generally mean Christianity, doesn’t convince you, how about the negative one? Where has atheism and more broadly, secularism, taken us so far? Low birth rates, high divorce rates, relentless competition between men and women, contempt and scorn for Christian values, a general erosion in confidence in all of our institutions, and loneliness, suicide, misery, at shockingly high levels in the West. Enough said.

To get by in life, I say whatever works. But it’s pretty clear to me, #AtheismHasFailed.

NOTE: This is the first in a series of ‘7 Bad Ideas That Will Ruin Your Life.’