My Thoughts on “Basic Bitches”

You guys. I’m concerned.

I love Starbucks. I order vodka sodas all the time. I really enjoy Taylor Swift…..who LITERALLY just came on Pandora as I typed her name. (Now I’m really concerned.)

Clearly…I’m a basic bitch.

basic bitch

First off, shout to the Chicago film extras for introducing this concept to me. We were all sitting in holding one day talking about the “17 Fall Activities All Basic Girls Love.” God knows what I would have wrote about this week otherwise. At this particular moment in time, however, I was confused. As far as I knew, Buzzfeed had merely taken a group of people, picked a topic they liked, and made fun of it. After doing my homework, I realized there was a bit more to it than this. For anyone who has been living in the same box as I, feel free to catch up on “being basic” here.

While this term has been around for a while, it gained some popularity last March.  College Humor came out with a short where a doctor diagnoses a young girl with being a “basic bitch.” Shortly after, Buzzfeed posted a very popular quiz asking “How Basic Are You?” (If you’re in the mood to answer over a hundred questions on whether or not you enjoy particular drinks or celebrities, give it a shot.)

This was followed by a series of other Buzzfeed posts. Some titles include “15 Things Basic Bitches Can’t Get Enough Of,” “If Guys Acted Like Basic White Girls,” and what can only be an amazing read, “A Guide to Hong Kong Basic Bitches.”

Despite the popularity of the term, not everyone is amused. I’d go as far to say that those upset are the minority. Which brings up an interesting question: If a topic amuses more people than it offends, does that make it okay?

I used to be all about making jokes at the expense of others. It wasn’t until Bob Burg introduced a new concept to me that I decided to go in a different direction. Instead of continuing to follow the trend of making jokes about others….why don’t we just stop?

For those of you who are startled by this idea: I’m sure there were plenty of people who were confused when I stopped posting vents and sarcastic facebook statuses that made fun of others. I ended up replacing them with positive quotes, funny stories, and other ways I can add value. Wanna know something cool? I’m often told how great these are. This rarely happened with my old statuses.

Do you find that you often make jokes at the expense of others? How do you feel about introducing the Bob Burg concept of “just don’t do it?” Share below, regardless of whether you agree or disagree 🙂

Listening The Wrong Way

I’m a nice guy. You all know this by now, yes? So when I tell you that I I spent last week listening to a lot of people I didn’t like….you won’t judge me, right?

Empire

HOW can you judge that face? Note: Reggie (left) and I were sad because we had been on set for 16 hours. We were tired. But really it was a fun day.

What baffled me was that these people were all giving great advice and information. I just didn’t particularly like their delivery. I found their methods to be negative, and sometimes even condescending.

I’ve always believed that in order to be a good speaker, you have to be a good person too. Why listen to someone who is going to be condescending? That just hurts our pride. Maybe that’s true. Maybe it’s not. One thing I’ll admit is this: We should always listen to good advice, regardless of how it’s delivered. This doesn’t mean we have to be best friends with the speaker. But ignore what they’re saying and we could miss out on a lot.

What flipped the switch for me was this quote from Dani Johnson. For those of you aren’t familiar with her, Dani is a motivational speaker. She also happens to be a millionaire.

“‘She’s not educated. She doesn’t speak right. She doesn’t talk right’… You’re right. But you’re there and I’m here. And I got here because I was there and I had to lay down my pride and my ego to learn from someone that I did not like.”

I used to think that having an ego solely referred to being cocky and full of ourselves. I also thought that knowing the definition (or at least part of it) meant you didn’t have one. I learned this week this isn’t true. I have some work to do with my own. A lot of us are so focused on doing things the right way, we miss out on all the information that comes out the “wrong” way.

In Don Miguel Ruiz’s “The Four Agreements,” agreements, he tells us not to take anything personally:

“Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves. All people live in their own dream, in their own mind; they are in a completely different world from the one we live in.”

Okay. Easy enough. Don’t let the haters get to me. I hear you, Don!

….except I didn’t really hear him. He goes on to talk about how this applies to both negatives and positives.

“If people tell you how wonderful you are, they are not saying that because of you. You know you are wonderful. It is not necessary to believe other people who tell you that you are wonderful. Don’t take anything personally.”

This might be a tough one to grasp. But I honestly believe that if we can learn to incorporate both the negatives and the positives together, the concept will be easier to comprehend as a whole.

What are some areas where you can start putting your ego aside? What thoughts might you take personally that you don’t necessarily have to?

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Are You Failing Enough?

I-Have-Missed-More-Than-9000-Shots-In-My-Life-Website-Michael-Jordon

I used to read quotes from successful athletes and celebrities without really digesting their message. I was so blinded by their success that I failed to hear what they were actually saying: Without failure, there is no success. And I’m fairly certain that’s also a quote from someone important. (If and when you see them, please give them credit. And tell them to check out my blog).

Because of the way we’re taught, many of us look at failure the wrong way. We see it as something that prevents us from reaching our goals. Some of us encounter failure so many times that we confuse it for a reason to stop pursuing them altogether. What if we stopped looking at failure as a bad thing? Instead, try to see it as something that’s pushing us forward – not backward.

So how do we do this? To start, find the hidden “good” messages that are buried in each failure. What can I learn from this? What will I do differently next time? Would I have learned this lesson without failing?

Of course, this wouldn’t be a good update without sharing a failure of my own. Here’s an embarrassing one:

Three years ago, I worked as a tour guide/deckhand on one of Chicago’s sightseeing boats. On one of my days off, I thought it would be fun to take a boat ride and bring a friend. (His name is Jermaine, by the way. You should hang out with him if you’re in Chicago and buy him drinks) Being an employee, I figured we could take advantage of the bar and drink for free. While we behaved ourselves, I was completely naïve to a big rule: Tip your bartender. One of the bartenders eventually called me out. I’m still embarrassed whenever I think about this incident. But you better believe it taught me to always leave a tip. Even when things are free.

So, if failure really is a good thing and pushes us forward….why not seek it out? After all, it means we’ll reach our goals faster.

One of my favorite videos on failing (because yes, there’s many out there) is this one by Dallas Travers. Perhaps you’ve seen it before. I share it a lot 🙂

Your turn: Share a time that you failed at something. How did it help you learn a valuable lesson or become a better person?

Afraid you’ll post something silly or stupid? I doubt you will. Though if you do fall victim to a stupid comment (which doesn’t exist on here, I promise), at least that means you failed 🙂

Stop Waiting To Be Happy

Let’s talk about goals again. The more we talk about them, the more quickly we’re going to achieve them. (I know, right?)

For more on goal setting, feel free to check out Mindy Wender’s #21DaystoThrive video series! I’m on Day 12 right now. Love it.

Sometimes we encounter lots of negativity before we reach our goals. What I didn’t know until recently is that we’re allowed to be happy before we reach our destination. We can (and should) enjoy the journey too.

Now let’s say you’re hearing this concept for the first time. It might sound difficult or scary. To help get you started, I want you to think about what might happen if you don’t develop this mindset. Here are some common scenarios this particularly applies to:

Weight loss: Whether you’re looking to lose ten pounds or fifty, you’re on track towards something awesome. That something awesome is going to take some time. Do you really want to wait to be happy until you’ve lost each and every pound you’re aiming for? Start with being happy that you simply want to lose weight. Keep it up and you’ll be smiling before you’re even half way there.

Booking that acting job that would change your life forever: There are a handful of gigs I’d love to get my hands on – some of which I’ve auditioned for. Had any been offered to me, my life would be quite different right now. (Let’s not even talk about the pay). Wanna know something neat though? For each opportunity I don’t get, another one shows up in its place. These are usually new opportunities that I didn’t know about prior. They’re out there. Keep your eyes open.

Dating: Humor me for a second: Picture your friend (because we all have one of them) who has met up with you for coffee. They quickly launch into how much it sucks being single and how marriage is “never gonna happen.” What if their Prince Charming was sitting tables away? I mean, I’m not a prince, but I’m willing to bet he’s not attracted to bitching and negativity.  In this scenario, waiting to be happy hurts for two reasons: 1) Again, this could be a long wait. Why hurt yourself and your happiness in the meantime? 2) The best way to attract the love of your life is by being happy, confident, and positive. Being negative isn’t going to bring your soul male towards you.

(If you know of a rare exception…..keep it to yourself. I have people to impress here)

“But Tony, this is a difficult and scary way of thinking! How am I just supposed to switch things up?”

First off, relax. You don’t have to be perfect. There’s actually a pumpkin sitting on my desk (because who doesn’t love pumpkins?) that says “#progressnotperfection” on it. Each time I see it, I’m reminded how it’s okay not to be perfect. Making progress is good enough.

#progressnotperfection

Second, how about appreciating the fact that you can enjoy yourself? Right. Now. You don’t have to wait. Let’s focus on what we get out of this – not what we have to do differently.

Now if you’ll excuse me. I need to post this. There were lots of girls at Starbucks yesterday who undoubtedly noticed my positive self and want to read this. Besides, I had a tie on. They should be calling any minute.

How To Start Being Awesome

As you’re all undoubtedly aware, I’m pretty awesome

[Guys in the back disagree loudly]

And when you’re awesome like me, you have plenty of awesome knowledge to spread onto others.

[Guys in the back disagree even louder]

Sometimes when we’re on our quest to be even more awesome, we create this big idea in our heads we feel we have to match. This tends to create stress. We think anything less would be a failure.

Luckily, I’m in a good mood today. I’m willing to tell you everything there is to know about being awesome. With my many years of awesomeness, I believe I am an expert in the field of…

[Guys in the back are outraged and start shouting obscenities.]

Oh, one more thing: You’re always going to have doubters trying to bring you and your awesomeness down. Ignore them.

While I don’t really know everything there is to know about being awesome, I do have a couple of neat tricks that can get you on track to being a better you:

-Think small: This is a GREAT trick that we often overlook. A lot of us use the “go big or go home approach.” While it’s great to have a strong work ethic, it’s perfectly acceptable to think small starting out. Our end goal is still the same: It’s big and it’s awesome. But we might need to take baby steps to get there. Think about what small, tiny steps you can take to get to your goals. (Stole this trick from Darren Hardy.)

-Surround yourself with positivity: It’s hard to accomplish our big and scary goals when we’re surrounded by negativity. A great “baby step” to take towards a more positive life is to read personal development books (Sound familiar yet?) Again, think small. No need to set aside two hours of your day. I personally start my day off reading just ten pages of a personal development book. You can also listen or CDs and audio books while driving or performing small chores around the house. Dedicate just ten minutes every day for a month.  You’ll see results.

-Follow inspiring people on social media: Some of my favorites include Jim Rohn, Darren Hardy, Les Brown, and Brian Tracy. Having positive quotes fill up your newsfeed makes logging into facebook a delight. I promise you can find another way to look at pictures of food, political rants, and the list of reasons your friends hate our country. (Though if you want my opinion, start hiding those posts from your feed…except maybe the food pictures. I enjoy a good meal.)

If reading any of this overwhelms you, think of a way you can make these tasks even smaller. The point is to think small while taking action toward becoming a better you.

awesome

Oh, and if hitting the “like” button really does overwhelm you, please see me after. This is concerning and we need talk.

Have an awesome weekend, friends.