BE THE CHANGE....


I'm not suggesting you change the world, let's leave that to Gandhi and his like.  Change your own life, for the better.

I've worked with literally thousands of students, from middle school all the way up to and through retirement.  One old student keeps a blog as a sort of online journal, sharing the daily struggles with life, career and money they contend with.

I'm not going to single this person out; but let's just say for the past three years the journal has followed a typical path.

1. Finish graduate school and then face mounting student loans.
2. Apply for jobs because they are not happy in the current one-- many of these jobs in a major city which is several hours away via commute.
3. Resolutions to spend more time in the gym, and to lose that "15lbs they gained this year".
4. Detailed accounts of dinners and drinks with friends and family.
5. Stress about no money, no savings, and a desire to move to a better place.
6. Resolutions to leave the city they currently live in, because they've had enough.

The blog also links to this person's TWITTER and FOURSQUARE accounts-- by my lite observation they were in five different restaurants or bars over the course of a single weekend.  Many of the posts listed exotic drinks they were trying.

This person is in their early thirties in what seems to be a pretty stable relationship with a pretty good academic background.

What they lack is a serious ability to look at themselves like a grown up.

And this is where I'm going to get harsh.

We've created this generation-- you and me.  We gave them trophies in Soccer just for playing.  No matter if their team lost every single game, no matter if the kid didn't even show up for practice, if their name was on the roster at the end of the year they got a trophy-- YAY!  Everybody wins!

What this teaches is that you don't have to work hard to win, you just have to sign up.  You don't have to try to get better, you don't have to get serious, you just have fun and someone rewards you.

It's the mommy mentality.  You fall down and skin your knee you run to Mom, because she's going to hug you and coddle you and tell you it's going to be okay.

What's Dad going to say?  Shake it off, you're fine.  Dad teaches you to get up and stop whining about a skinned knee.

Unless of course your Dad is the milquetoast who called 911 after locking himself and his family in the bedroom because the family cat had attacked them.  The family cat.

He called 911 to come and save him.

Pretty sure he got a trophy for showing up to soccer practice.

In 2005 our pet cat developed a parasite that invaded it's brain, it caused it to become feral.  We woke in the middle of the night to the most frightening sounding screams only to find a demon cat standing at the foot of our bed ready to pounce.

And pounce it did, right for Veronica.  I reached out my hand and batted it away mid flight.  It scowled in the corner and got ready to attack again.  I looked for a baseball bat or something else to beat this thing to a pulp and instead reacted as it lunged again going straight for my wife-- I caught it mid air this time and it locked it's mouth on my left hand (I still have the scars).  I carried it through the kitchen, it still hanging off my hand and hurled it into the bathroom and slammed the door shut.

My hand was bleeding, but no worse than a shaving nick, I rinsed it off and went to bed.  The next day I went into the bathroom and trapped the cat in a box and brought it to the vet-- my hand swelled up to the size of a baseball mitt.  I still went to work but my supervisor made me go to the hospital where they explained to me that the cat has the dirtiest mouth of all earth's creatures (and here I thought it was me) and he proceeded to repair my damaged hand and give me rabies shots, just in case.

Bottom line, I didn't call 911.  I didn't get another cat either, and I likely won't ever.  The whole dirty creature thing makes me less inclined to like cats.  I got a dog.  And I'll tell you right now if the dog ever goes rogue I'm still not calling 911-- the police have real problems to deal with and I can handle myself, then again I didn't get a trophy as a kid unless my team actually won something.

Getting back to my former student.

They are unable to look at themselves critically.  

Simply eliminating the dining out portion of their lives will solve 90% of their problems, which is money based, but it's clear from the posts that they won't -- because it makes them feel better to go out with friends and spend this money.  Money, I might remind you, that they don't have.

Because it's all about doing what makes you feel good, and not about doing what's hard or right.

We did this-- we raised this generation of quitters.  When the going gets tough they don't quit because they never even signed up out of fear it MIGHT be tough.

We raised a nation of babies, and now those babies need to grow up.

If you're unhappy with your life change it.  Take a good hard look at yourself and what you're doing with it.  Make hard choices, when you begin to make progress you'll relieve that stress you're feeling, rather than temporarily making it go away doing something counter productive just because it makes you feel better for an hour.

Do it.