Growth, Life

You Are Super!

You have super powers and I can prove it!

Photo Found: http://www.dailydot.com/culture/hawkeye-initiative-superhero-poses-tumblr/

Um… well… there that is.

Life has gotten unimaginably hectic lately. I work full-time (and a lot of overtime), I film, I write, I exercise, I’m going to grad school, I have friends, I have family, I have a girlfriend, I’m helping to edit an awesome anthology, I’m participating in nanowrimo, I’m inexplicably going to a Rihanna concert tomorrow that I do NOT have time for but I was inspired by this post and though I feel like I’m wearing myself very thin- I’m loving my life.

Photo Found Here: http://www.mycelebrityfashion.co.uk/2013/04/queen-bey-a-right-royal-diva-beyonce-bans-press-photographers-from-mrs-carter-tour-due-to-unflattering-shots/

Rihanna is also shocked by my hectic schedule.

Part of the reason I can love my life is that I’m starting… keyword STARTING to use my super powers!

Photo Found: http://timesync.gmu.edu/libnews/?p=1076

Finally found a way to get enough experience points, yo!

I think we’re all born with some kind of super power. It’s just up to us to figure out what that power is and to use it to its full potential. Unfortunately, our super powers seem boring, so we don’t tend to see them immediately. We have to have others see them and on top of that, we have to acknowledge that this thing is something peculiar about ourselves.

My peculiarities are: being able to wake up early (even though I’m actually more of a night owl when given the opportunity), having an especially high amount of energy and endurance (traits you probably share if anyone has ever called you a spaz) and an intense desire to see improvement in the world (I’m driven).

These traits are meaningless if I don’t use them, however. I wasn’t for the longest time. I got to work early and got off work earlier than most to just spend my time napping or watching cartoons. Adventure Time and Regular Show are some shameful SHAMEFUL addictions of mine. Yes, yes I am in fact an adult… you can shove it.

Photo Found: http://www.gamepodunk.com/uploads/5239fa7b36ce8d83ce1335668bd80172.png

Ohhhh!!!!

Anyway, I have only started to recently use my superpowers; but, the results have been tremendous. I’ve found myself getting much more done and still having time to do the things I love; like writing in this blog! I’ve used my ability to get up early to take care of e-mails and clutter at work. I’ve used my time more wisely when getting home which has given me the ability to exercise more, which makes me feel 100 percent better about myself and my general state of being. On the flip side of that, I’ve used my innate energy to focus more on my writing right before bed instead of just mindlessly scrolling through web pages when my body is tired but my mind is not.

Photo Found: http://media1.fashionfreax.net/outfits/4f674f7381504_f528764d624db129b32c21fbca0cb8d6

Seriously… if she had some extra fingers she could add Reddit and StumbleUpon and have good documentation of my productivity killers.

So seriously, give it some thought. What are some things that your friends or colleagues have complimented you on or even been annoyed by? (Remember having a lot of energy makes me a spaz, but I can still use my spaz-powers for good!) Use those things to your advantage! They’re things your naturally good at. Instead of wasting them on mindless pursuits, use them to further your career or to pursue your passions! I did and though I still struggle- it has truly made a big difference in my life; and hopefully, by extension, the lives of others.

I hope this post helps you in some way and as always…

Much Love,

-Brandon Holly-

Standard
Growth, Idealism, Life

Pain

A lot of things have happened to me as of late that have caused me discomfort. I personally felt a LOT of pain, but I understand that pain is relative and I refuse to try to quantify it as a lot or a little.

Problems...

Problems…

This is one of the things that have caused me pain as of late. I can’t say a LOT of pain because let’s face it., there are people all over the world who would KILL to have a car to wreck in the first place! My life is not bad. I have nothing to complain about. However, I have always said that emotions are valid.

One look at the twitter @celebscomplain_ and we’re all laughing at how petty and simple the problems of the other half are.

The Miracle of Flight, Apple Products, and Rumors?!? ... Tell me again how hard your life must be...

The Miracle of Flight, Apple Products, and Rumors?!? … Tell me again how hard your life must be…

But, at that moment, their life was hard. Pain is pain. Humans are extremely adaptable. Whether you’re adapting to abject poverty or garish excess, your entire world is filtered through that. Your actions are indicative of it and your life is unfathomable to those who are your other.

The two sides are at odds all of the time.

“Um.. why are you so dirty?” – Because they work in a field for 12 hours a day and the nearest water is an hour away.

“You have NOTHING to whine about!” – Well, they’re actually STILL human and humans feel pain regardless of their socio-economic status (Though I will admit that a step out of a certain limited worldview might be in order)

Now that I feel properly pre-vindicated allow me to go on…

A lot of things piled up on me at once. The accident, a few career issues, plumbing issues, housing issues in general, and the whammy is something personal, but I will say it has to do with losing something you thought you’d always have.

You wouldn't call this little guy pathetic, would you?

You wouldn’t call this little guy pathetic, would you? – THEN DON’T DO IT TO ME! 😉

Anyway, when things stop going your way you begin to feel like a failure. You feel as if you have the opposite of the Midas touch.

Midas: What you touch turns to gold - Negative Midas: What you touch turns to crap - B. Holly - What you touch turns to golden crap...

Midas: What you touch turns to gold – Negative Midas: What you touch turns to crap – B. Holly – What you touch turns to golden crap…

Failure is not an easy feeling. You feel worthless. It makes you feel as if you deserve nothing and that you are just a cancer to everyone else that you’re around. Failure is hard. But, as I said in the previous blog. Failure is necessary. Success is impossible without it. Failure makes you stronger. I wonder if we’ve forgotten that.

And failure… well, it hurts.

It’s hard because people will come after you either way.

Our society is so obsessed with non-failure, that taking risks has become taboo! What?!? Move to New York City or Los Angeles to try and make it?!? Are you out of your mind? Most people fail and come back home. This may be true, but at the same time, if you don’t try you’ll never grow. Why take an AP Algebra class when you can just take the general class and pass? Why should we even bother pushing ourselves?

At the same time, we often look at people who try to better themselves as being full of themselves or we belittle their attempts. Which, by the way, if you find yourself scoffing at someone’s diet/exercise attempts or saying things like, “Ugh, why do you always eat Salad? always Study? always Exercise? always Pray etc…” Just… stop. Why would an attempt to self-improve ever be a bad thing? I’ve done it… you’ve done it… and we all need to cut it out. Don’t try to be better than others. Just be better than you. And CERTAINLY don’t allow your road to success to be making everyone suck a little more than you.

Anyway, taking risks and failing and growing- That’s where our greatness lies! A fellow PCV and a very good friend was interviewed recently and I believe he said it best during an interview with SoCal’s Public Radio station 89.3 KPCC.

“The beauty about games is that they encourage failure. They are predicated on kids trying things and failing and trying something else and trying it again,” he said. “That’s a skill that we need to impart on our kids. This fearlessness in just doing stuff.” – Dan Thalkar

d&b

The only decent picture of us. He’s the bearded not black guy!

I think we can all take a lot from that. We need to impart the spirit of failing and trying again to our kids, yes. But, we also must lead by example. As I mentioned in the blog before this one., failure is necessary for success. However, I left out an important thing we all need to accept. Failure hurts.

Pain equals growth and I refuse to believe my trials and tribulations are anything but small road bumps on my road to self-actualization.

Dan’s Minecraft Blog!

Much Love,

– Brandon Holly –

Standard
Life, Writing

Success Is…

A lot of friends and I have our eyes unswervingly fixated on “success”. We forego hanging out with friends, watching tv, using the internet, and just having a life in general to chase after our passions and goals in life. It’s noble and good and we should ALWAYS be working our butts off because nobody should walk around life thinking anything is granted to them. You have to work for what you get.

With that said, I do have socialist leanings and I believe we should help one another.

Caring about people doesn't make one a communist. Sheesh! What's that comrade? Do I want another vodka tonic? DA!

Caring about people doesn’t make one a communist. Sheesh!
What’s that comrade? Do I want another vodka tonic? DA!

Anyway, I know many people spend a lot of time reading about how to become successful and how to become better people in general. I do! I have many self-actualization books both in my cue and mental library. I’ve learned a lot! But, the question I always ask myself after reading the wisdom of those smarter or at least more tenacious than I is, “What did they read?” Also, I feel as if it’s always important to understand that things change! The formula for their success won’t necessarily be the formula for mine. For instance, your uncle and cousins could be fairly(and wildly) famous directors, actors and film producers. That’s not to say you still didn’t work hard for where you are.

Jason Schwartzman just got added to your list of things to do today...

Jason Schwartzman just got added to your list of things to do today… (Yes I know the quote is out of context)

Anyway, your formula for and path to success is going to be necessarily different from the guy who was raised by a couple of modest Jehovah’s Witnesses in a small town in Georgia. Your mother worked at a daycare and your father was a postal worker. You also had a plethora of foster children in your home. Oh, and you are now an actor, writer, comedian, musician and one of my greatest inspirations.

Black Nerds Unite!

Black Nerds Unite!

This focus on success came after I started reading this book:

I've been watching a lot of Parks and Rec, so I definitely noticed Amy Poehler in the background before anything else... No offense, Ian Roberts I like you too!  If you're interested: http://ucbstore.com/the-upright-citizens-brigade-comedy-improvisation-manual

I’ve been watching a lot of Parks and Rec, so I definitely noticed Amy Poehler in the background before anything else… No offense, Ian Roberts I like you too!
If you’re interested: http://ucbstore.com/the-upright-citizens-brigade-comedy-improvisation-manual

I was lying on my bed reading a book teaching me how to be better instead of just being better. I stared at my four wood-paneled walls and felt.. inadequate. What was I doing wrong? The answer was and will always be nothing. Never feel like you’re doing something WRONG. (Unless you are, but if you are you know it and you don’t have to ask yourself if it’s wrong. That’s the kind of thing you FEEL and you ask yourself WHY.)

You’re just living. There’s nothing wrong with surviving. Our ancient ancestors would be mad jealous of our ability to just keep on living. Be proud of life.

Naturally, I haven’t “made it” yet. So, what am I personally doing?

I’m just trying. I know for a fact that I could be doing more. I could be putting myself out there more, spending more time writing and reading, exercising more and whatnot. But, I know I am trying and trying leads to failure, but failure leads to success.

And on success:

Dictionary.com defines success as: The favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors; the accomplishment of one’s goals.

That sounds terrifying to me. The termination of attempts or endeavors?!? Yikes! I never want to reach some point in my life where I feel done. For my gamer nerds, I want to constantly Level-Up! Success seekers, it’s cliche, but remember the journey is the fun part. Enjoy being on it and don’t forget that you’re lucky to be where you are. Never. Be. Done.

And now for some quotes from the people I mentioned:

  1. I just find that the harder you work and the more effort you put into yourself, the better you’ll be. – Jason Schwartzman
  2. The secret, I don’t know… I guess you’ve just gotta find something you love to do and then… do it for the rest of your life.  – Max Fischer
  3. Writing is a very strenuous thing – it’s like banging your head against a wall. – Donald Glover
  4. I really like playing Leslie (Leslie Knope from Parks and Recreation), because it’s like the Sisyphean task of trying to get a park built is very emblematic of what’s happening anywhere someone’s just trying to make change happen while everybody tells them it’s not going to happen. – Amy Poehler

I’m so excited to fight for what I love! You should too! And never EVER be afraid of failing. Instead of being afraid of failure, think of it this way… (MAYBE, it’s not true for a select few but for the most part it’s true) you HAVE to fail to succeed. You have no other choice. If you want to become better, you have to fail. There is no other way!

 

NOW GET OUT THEIR AND FAIL AND FLOP AND CRY YOUR WAY TO SUCCESS!!!

Another uplifting message from Brandon Holly,

me

 

Much Love,

– Brandon Holly –

Standard
Idealism, Life, Philosophy

Run Away…

Sometimes, it seems like our issues come from nowhere. They’re these gigantic tremors that lay in wait underneath the ground. And, at any given moment they will erupt forth and attempt to drag us down into the pits of despair. We didn’t know this was a big deal to us until something triggered our emotional response. For instance, you’ve told your Significant Other that you don’t care about material things or silly greeting card holidays. You truly believe that until.. “Hm… apparently I do care about V. Day. WHY DIDN’T YOU GET ME A CARD AT LEAST?!?”

Tremors was one of the first movies to kinda freak me out!

YOU COULDN’T SHELL OUT THE CHANGE FOR ONE ROSE?Tremors was one of the first movies to kinda freak me out! 

Sometimes, our issues are right out in the open like a big gross pimple. Whether those be mental issues, social biases, pet peeves. They’re the blighted parts of ourselves  that we can’t seem to hide very effectively.

I'm a closet racist! A raaaacyyyyyst! ;-)

I’m a closet racist! A raaaacyyyyyst! 😉

We have these problems and they manifest themselves any random way they will. Whether it be at bed late at night keeping you from getting any decent sleep or during grandma’s 80th birthday dinner. These things require attention and must be dealt with with tact and understanding. How do we reconcile the beautiful parts of ourselves with the ugly parts?

Yargh!

Um… Maybe some people just don’t. 

How can Brandon the pacifist reconcile himself with Brandon the revenge seeker? And yes, I do say reconcile because I don’t believe Brandon the revenge seeker is evil. I think the way in which he goes about things is wrong, but that is also the part of me that fights for what I believe in. The pacifist Brandon is a little too chill. I need both parts to function as a fully formed human. However, I will not be the most effective person I can be unless both sides are functioning PROPERLY. In other words, the passive pacifist needs to shake hands with the motivated menace to come up with a mutually beneficial way of solving problems.

Life is just a great balancing act.  I’m really trying to find mine. I fail a lot. But, I feel like I win a lot too! 🙂

Keep trying to find yours!

Even when some of us seem to have it all figured out...

Even when some of us seem to have it all figured out…

Much Love,

-Brandon Holly-

Standard
Idealism, Life, Philosophy

How May I Help You?

I enjoy making people happy. There is literally no better feeling in the world than doing something for someone and looking at them sincerely expressing gratitude. I don’t feel like I’m unique. I feel as if most people in the world have good intentions. We don’t typically do things for the sole purpose of upsetting others. I don’t even think that comes from an especially thoughtful place; (even though I DO feel like people are more thoughtful than we give them credit for) rather, it comes from the fact that people tend to use their energy making themselves feel good, rather than actively trying to make you feel bad. But, really think about that the next time someone does something that grinds your gears. Especially if the person is a loved one.

Harold! THIS IS THE LAST TIME I TELL YOU, "THE BEANS GO IN THE LEFT CABINET AND THE SPICES GO IN THE RIGHT!"

Harold! This is the last time I say something, “THE BEANS GO IN THE LEFT CABINET AND THE SPICES GO IN THE RIGHT!”

Before you go punch the lights out of the person who did something that you personally found inconvenient; realize, that it’s highly unlikely they did that just to spite you. We get upset about things because we feel personally wronged. But nine times out of ten, that is not the intention of the other person. And, in fact, if the person knew they could’ve avoided a (in the context of the universe) meaningless argument, they probably just would have done whatever you wanted. Yes, some people are less mindful than others. But, I believe in giving people the benefit of the doubt.

This makes me think of something C. S. Lewis wrote in Mere Christianity that I think rings true whether you’re a Christian or not.

“But in reality we have no experience of anyone liking badness just because it is bad. The nearest we can get to it is in cruelty. But in real life people are cruel for one of two reasons – either because they are sadists, that is, because they have a sexual perversion which makes cruelty a cause of sensual pleasure to them, or else for the sake of something they are going to get out of it – money, or power, or safety. But pleasure, money, power and safety are all, as far as they go, good things. The badness consists in pursuing them by the wrong method, or in the wrong way, or too much. I do not mean, of course, that the people who do this are not desperately wicked. I do mean that wickedness, when you examine it, turns out to be the pursuit of some good in the wrong way. You can be good for the mere sake of goodness : you cannot be bad for the mere sake of badness.”

Ya Dig?

Ya Dig?

I’m writing this because I felt wronged the other day and truly upset. I fail more often than not, but when I’m upset with someone I try to ask myself why I feel so frustrated. Typically, it’s because they did something that made life SLIGHTLY more difficult. My day was a little less convenient because of whatever thing they did. Now I’m upset. But my annoyance is MY problem not theirs. I’m trying very hard to always keep in mind that nobody can make me feel any certain way. I’m also trying to keep in mind that the things that annoy me on a day to day basis are typically not a big deal.

mountain-or-molehill-350x280

Let’s say someone leaves a piece of paper on my desk at work. I could see an improper response building up. These types of things happen all of the time. We’ve all heard things like, “What? Do you think this is YOUR desk?” or “Oh? So, you’re the only one who needs to use the toaster?” or “Why didn’t you invite me out to lunch or AT LEAST ask me what I wanted?” or “How many times do I have to tell you?” etc. But typically the answers are, “No, I’m sorry I just forgot…” “No, but it’s just taking me a minute. I’m sorry…” “Sorry, I was just hungry and left…” “I don’t know, just please help remind me…” People aren’t out to get you. Yes, some of the things people do happen because they forget that the universe doesn’t revolve around them. At the same time, sometimes we get upset because we feel like WE’RE the center of the universe.

Most of the time... Sorry should cut it.

Most of the time… Sorry should cut it.

Anyway, back to making people happy. I HATE when I do the things that upset people. I am guilty of staying too long in the bathroom, or spilling water on someone’s desk, or leaving my computer cord lying around. But, my desire is just to make people happy.

At the same time, maybe my need to make others happy makes them unhappy. If you’re like me, you try desperately to make everyone feel good, but you can’t. You fail them in some way shape or form and somehow you’ve made everyone upset rather than joyful.Which, in turn, makes you unhappy. And, I guess I’m just not sure what that balance is yet.

How do I go about it? I can’t clone myself (yet), so sometimes I am going to have to sleep or drop obligations, but deciding who has to wait is hard. One of my goals in life is to reduce the amount of suffering people have to feel. I wish to reduce my own suffering of course, but I also want to make YOU joyful as well. When I try too hard to make everyone happy, I end up hurting everyone. I haven’t figured out how to be ok with just not pleasing people sometimes.

Hm… I haven’t quite figured all of this out yet. But, I hope you’re happy today. And if not, maybe this puppy can make you smile.

No Pasa Nada...

No Pasa Nada…

Much Love,

– Brandon Holly –

Standard
Life, Philosophy, Writing

All Shapes All Sizes…

I try very hard not to do this, but it seems nearly impossible. I do this on a daily basis. If you’re reading this and we have had a face-to-face conversation, I have most definitely done this to you.

I compare myself to people constantly. Am I making as much money as them? Am I as happy as them? Am I as adventurous, intelligent, healthy, attractive, strong, cool, patient, humorous, thoughtful, creative, kind, etc… as them?

The answer is always no.

Ho Hum...

Ho Hum…

Seriously, anytime I attempt to make myself  feel good by comparing myself to others, something like this happens…

Hmm... I notice that I am more physically fit than that person...

Hmm… I notice that I am more physically fit than that person…

Dang... but they are loads smarter than I am. They pick up analytical concepts at a MUCH faster rate than I... I suck...

Dang… but they are loads smarter than I am. They pick up complex concepts at a MUCH faster rate than me… I suck…

So, I’m constantly living in this world in which I am “winning” or “losing” some fake game that I’ve created in my mind. I’ve just recently come to terms with the fact I do that. No, this blog isn’t about how we shouldn’t size each other up. I believe we’re made to analyze and make adjustments accordingly. It makes sense. When we (humans) were out in the world without shelter or safe places to hide, we needed to be able to assess legitimate obstacles. This animal is bigger than me, but I’m smarter, but it’s faster. Ok, I’ll sneak up on it or hide.

That deer knows how to analyze threat assessment...

Threat Level: Human…

But, as far as sizing up other people go… I’m learning that every single person has a skill you don’t have. And, every single person lacks a skill you have. I find that beautiful. What that reveals to me is that we truly need each other. Human beings are highly mutually dependent. I’m not sure what that says about altruism, but it doesn’t matter. We don’t just help people because we want to. We help each other because we NEED to.

Anyway, I was writing this because I felt down on myself about what I’ve done so far in my life. And the thought that talked me down off of the ledge was that… I’m needed.

And I need you.

Much Love,

– Brandon Holly –

Standard
Idealism, Life, Philosophy

Ten Thousand

I think I’ve finally figured it out. I’ve come to the conclusion that we all have too much to lose to be outstanding. I’ve been listening to Macklemore lately and the song 10,000 hours came on. Coincidentally, I currently received the book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell from a good friend.

Malcolmore or... Mackle Gladwell... YOU decide!

Malcolmore or… Mackle Gladwell… YOU decide!

Malcolm’s book and Macklemore’s song reference a popular expertise theory that suggests that the greats of our world didn’t become great just because they won some kind of genetic lottery. Rather, they became great as a result of hard work, grit and diligence.

The study suggests that in order to become an expert at something, it takes 10,000 hours of practice. That’s an unusual time statement. It’s annoying. It’s like a mother saying her child is 29 months old… He’s TWO you freak!

Yep, she's only 238 months old! That's why we DIDN'T buy the Chemistry Pop-Up book this year.

Yep, she’s only 238 months old! That’s why we DIDN’T buy the Chemistry Pop-Up book this year.

Anyway, a different study suggests that as numbers become bigger they become less comprehensible. So, I like to break things down. Let’s say that I want to become a great writer. According to the 10,000 hour theory I would have to practice for a little over a year straight. And when I say straight, I mean I would literally need to be writing 24 hours a day. That’s impossible. Let’s break that down a bit more. If I were to divide that time into two years, I’ll be great by just practicing 12 hours a day. Still a bit egregious, eh? Well, let me put it in terms that I can understand.

If I consider the theory to be correct. I am saying that if I were to devote my time to picking up a new skill right this moment and I vowed to practice 2hrs everyday, I would become great after 13.7 years. That’s a long time. That’s quite a commitment. Worth it? Yes. But can most of us do that? No.

My day today: Wake up at 5am, go to work, work till 3pm, need to go to the grocery store to buy food for dinner, cook dinner, mow the yard, exercise, eat dinner, and finally relax at about 8pm when all is said and done. The last thing I want to do is hone my craft at that time. I’m exhausted! Is exhaustion just an excuse? Absolutely, but it’s a valid one.

Then, I imagine how realistically it would be for me to become great when I think of potential children. I don’t have time to become great when I’m feeding my kids. They can’t get neglected just because I have a passion.

Well, I hope someday I will become a great writer. But, until then, I’ll just keep putting my nose to the grindstone when I can and maybe after 15 years I’ll get a call.

The point of this post wasn’t to be pessimistic. Actually, quite the contrary. Knowing that greatness is within my reach makes me just want to practice more! Even if it takes forever, I have to try!

Standard