Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Commonality of Stoopids & Smarty-Pants

Disclaimer: The following is based on my own personal experiences; I'm not attempting to implicate anyone. If you feel implicated, my apologies, but it's not my fault :)

I was flagged as a gifted kid in 3rd grade. Gifted kids talk. Heh, we LOVE to talk, especially when we can properly pronounce and use big words like "moot", "untenable", and "bruschetta" and pretend we can solve issues like world poverty and predestination over lunch.

Besides using big words and discussing deep issues, gifted kids also complain. It's generally about the louse who made fun of them for setting the curve on the calc test, the moocher who contributed nothing except snoring to the group project, and the ignorant son of an nasty woman who keeps insisting on using the pronunciation "supossebly." How can these people be so arrogant and off-putting in their stupidity?

I went along on my merry gifted way until my study abroad in college. After several weeks of studying on the beach, one of my classmates wrote me a note that basically said I was arrogant and she wished I would stop judging everyone. This came as a bit of a surprise to me, since I had spent the last few weeks thinking she was way too arrogant & judgmental for her general lack of intelligence. We both probably pegged each other correctly.

Arrogance has nothing to do with intelligence and everything to do with entitlement and lack of social & emotional maturity. Arrogance is evidence of a heart that is either so prideful it feels the need to continually puff itself up or a heart that is so insecure that it feels the need to continually put others down. Both ends of the intelligence spectrum can succumb to either form of arrogance. It's not a selective emotion that crops up every now & then, it's an attitude that is pervasive (how's that for a gifted word!?) through every venue of a person's communication. However, most arrogant people don't know they come across as arrogant. But even worse, some arrogant people don't care they make other people feel like crap, they even take personal pleasure in doing exactly that. To me, that's the saddest of all and it's little short of being an emotional sadist (use definition 2).

It wasn't until last year that I began to discover exactly how my words, phrasing, tone of voice, and facial expressions made people feel and what my communications told people about me. Plus, a piece of my father's wisdom finally hit home- "People won't remember what you said or did, but they'll remember how you made them feel." Do I really want to be remembered as an arrogant ass who made people feel insignificant and stupid? Um, no!!!

For me, a beginning shift from arrogance came with several releases:
  • I don't have to be right 100% of the time.
  • Everyone doesn't need to know I'm right.
  • My comparative intelligence matters fairly little in the grand scheme of things.
  • I can be a responsible, useful person and still be allowed to screw things up every now & then.
  • Other people can be responsible useful people and still be allowed to screw things up every now & then.
  • Other people don't need to justify their existence.
I'm still working on it. My family & friends still get to hear my rants and raves of the extra-stupid stuff that people do, but hopefully I'm not making people feel like crap on a regular basis. It'll be a life-long process with ups & down, but hopefully I'm on the right path.

And just in case highly-intelligent people do seem more arrogant overall, here's a quote I found on an anonymous internet forum- "If people on the high end of the intelligence spectrum seem to carry [arrogance] more, possibly they've had fewer humbling experiences in their life. Either that or they're just better at rationalizing those experiences to themselves."

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Different Kind of Resume

As a follow-up to "Simplifying the Job Application," here's a different kind of resume.

Still not sure if it's absolutely ridiculous or a new kind of genius. Who wouldn't want an employee with cat-like reflexes?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

FAIL: Attempted Purse Minimalism

Last week, my purse was featured on the Everyday Minimalist's "The Minimalist Wallet Series." At first I was extremely flattered, but became a bit miffed when most of the comments are like, "Um, yeah. That's a lot of stuff to carry around, and I'm not even a minimalist."

I'm not used to my being a "self-proclaimed minimalist" being critiqued since 1.) I live in the Midwest where NO ONE is actually a minimalist and 2.) I'm fairly sure my mom, sister & friends Tiffany & Reb are the only ones who read my random thoughts about minimalism and they're supportive regardless.

So a little criticism can't hurt? It can only push me into achieving greater levels of minimalism and thus complete zenlike personhood, right? Exactly! (enter evil, foreshadowing laughter...)

This evening, I had plans to get together with a few friends for drinks. I decided, "Yes! I am going to go WAY minimalist & not even TAKE my purse! It's pockets all the way for me people! I'm shedding this lug of a purse and taking only that which I truly need! Plus we're under a tornado watch due to the currently raging thunderstorm, so I don't want to be carrying lots of stuff." (This is also a good idea for me since in the last six months while out with friends, I have almost lost my purse once, almost lost my jacket twice, and truly lost a credit card once.) Less is OBVIOUSLY better.

Off I go! Armed only with my (replacement) credit card, driver's license, cell phone, some cash, & a single car key, I make my way downtown. I couldn't be more of a minimalist unless I became a nudist! WINNING!!!

I parked, turned to pick up my cell phone from the cupholder and, oops, dropped my single car key in that crevice next to the seat where it quickly became lodged in the seat-adjustment channel. Not good. My fingertips can gently brush the key, but there's no budging it. Ten minutes later, I contorted myself into the next Cirque du Soleil show trying to reach the key from all angles then thought, "If I hadn't pulled this key from the ring with the others, retrieving this wouldn't be wasting my time."

If only I had a pen...wait, that's in my purse. Hmm, if only I had a nail file & some gum...wait, both in my purse. Dang it, I'm very frustrated, & I need my chapstick!!! Also in my purse. Drat you, minimalist peer pressure!

At that point it was definitely raining, and my friends came to help me out. They quickly joined my Cirque du Soleil contortions, and after another five minutes, a friend with very small hands was able to retrieve the key.

My reaction- I don't like being unprepared and tonight, despite my minimalist WIN, I felt extremely unprepared. It's possible that my purse wouldn't have had the right tools to fish out that key, but at least I would have had more options to try. Good thing I have awesome friends!

I might not actually be a strict minimalist, but at least I usually have the tools I need to be prepared for certain worst-case scenarios. I might be a "preparative minimalist." And after all that time wasting, Cirque du Soleil-ing, and general frustration, a gin & tonic with friends never tasted so good :)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Chicken Cacciatore

I tried this recipe out on a few friends last weekend & it was tasty. It's from a "Cooking With Less Sodium!" feature from a magazine; however, provided you don't have blood pressure issues, this recipe is slightly improved with a sprinkle of salt.

4 oz multigrain rotini or penne pasta
2 tsp olive oil
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast tenders, cut into pieces
1 pkg (8 oz) brown mushrooms (cremini), quartered (note: I dislike mushrooms so I threw in a can of peas & it worked)
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into strips (or the whole thing?)
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper (or more?)
1 can (14.5 oz) no-salt-added basil-garlic diced tomatoes
20 lg pitted black olives
1 T chopped parsley

Prepare pasta per package procedures.

While the pasta preps, heat oil over medium-high heat in a large, nonstick frying pan then add chicken & cook until browned on all sides. Transfer to bowl.

Combine mushrooms, red pepper, onion, garlic, salt, & black pepper in pan. Reduce heat to medium, cover & cook, stirring occassionally until mushrooms exude liquid, about 3 minutes. Uncover & cook until most of the liquid evaporates, about 8 minutes.

Stir in tomatoes with juice & reserved chicken. Reduce heat to a simmer. Add drained pasta to pan. Add olives & stir gently to combine. Serve sprinkled with parsley. And perhaps a glass of red wine. Serves about 4 people.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Why I Love My Job

I've read quite a few blogs of individuals who decided to stick it to the man, quit their jobs, pursue their hobbies full-time, and write why having a job is the worst thing ever. Good for them. I am happy whenever anyone can make a change that promotes more happiness, better relationships, personal fulfillment, and peace in the world.

Personally though, I love my job. A few things make my current job extra-specially awesome (great boss, a workable salary, strict 40 hour workweek, huge office, dual monitors, & a computer with dual quad-core processors nicknamed Arnold), but generally speaking, here's why I like working-
  • Steady income. I tend to stress about money (or stress about the potential lack-thereof). Stressing about money gives me intestinal problems. Having a guaranteed monthly income helps me to not only feel more secure about my financial security, but I know what to budget. I like having a steady income for peace of mind & gut.
  • Blocked time. People argue that not having a job is better for setting your own schedule or for more time flexibility. This could be true for some people. I, however, prefer knowing that I am completely booked from 8:00-4:30, Monday through Friday. This allows me the flexibility of saying "No, I have to work," to certain activities, and also gives me plenty of discretionary time for other endeavors. Also, having a regular activity during the week helps me appreciate my weekends more.
  • Motivation. I don't like learning things if I don't have a reason to. I won't pick up a book on C#.NET programming unless I have a specific purpose for learning it. My job regularly provides me with new projects that involve learning new ideas, software programs, interpersonal skills, and programming languages. Not only do I get to learn new things, I get to use the knowledge I have to make things more efficient & user-friendly for my coworkers.
  • Benefits. Health insurance, a retirement account, vacation leave, & sick leave make my world a better place. I have less to worry about.
  • Personal growth. I have to work with people every day, communicate effectively, figure out problem solving methods inside the constructs of someone else's rules, and not get cynical about any of it. It's turning me into a more well-rounded person (we hope). I think if I didn't work, I'd get way too self-involved and selfish.
  • A sense of accomplishment. At the end of the day, I like knowing I worked. I like knowing I was productive. I like being able to say, "This is what I did today."
Maybe I'm a sucker for structure, but I've never felt like working was a huge damper on who I am as a person. While I'm not defined by my job, I very much enjoy it and derive a large amount of personal satisfaction from what I do.

Working may not be for everyone, but I kinda like it.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

It's a Saturday of Happy Things

Today is a gorgeous day!!! Here are a few of the delightful tidbits I've seen online this week that inspired me and made me smile.

From a friend on Facebook-


"It's better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring."
-Marilyn Monroe

"Set aside a specific time to worry each day."
-High Existence

From my mom-
(It's a virtual choir, over 2,000 singers from 58 countries.)


Thursday, April 7, 2011

The 100 Pound Challenge

A few months ago, a friend gave me "The 100 Thing Challenge" by Dave Bruno. This book is arguably the minimalist Bible. For those who haven't read it, Dave decides to live with only 100 personal items for a year and this book shares his experiences living with a lot less stuff. I definitely enjoyed the book and would recommend it. I haven't decided to cut back to 100 items, but it did reinforce my "live with less" mentality.

A few months ago, I was chatting with a friend who was preparing to move to Cambodia to begin culture & language training so she can spend the next 4-5 years working with victims of the sex trade. During the course of the conversation, she mentioned she was having to get rid of a lot of her stuff since she could only take two suitcases, 50 pounds each. It's the 100 Pound Challenge!

Everybody has different reasons for deciding to de-stuff, and most of those reasons are good ones. However, I do have an extra-special respect for my friend who chose to de-stuff so she could move halfway around the world to help people in need on a daily basis.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

My Purse

Just in case you ever wondered what I carry around with me all day, my purse has been featured in The Everyday Minimalist's "The Minimalist Wallet Series." Check it out!

I Wanna Be A Billionaire...

People like to hypothesize what they would do if they suddenly got rich or won the lottery. Aside from "buy my momma a new car" and "get a big house", people usually indicate they'd donate something to charity.

That's a great thought, but I guess I tend to think that a person's financial habits are molded when they have less. Instead of thinking, "When I cross XXX financial goal, then I'll finally have enough to be generous," maybe a better thought is, "There are people in the world living with much, much less than I. What can I afford to give right now?"