Life Lessons Jan 2014

  • Insecure about friendships.  In the past when I met friends of friends, I would think to myself: who is this enemy trying to steal my friend.  But now that I have relationship security (read How to Make Friends), I know I don’t need to worry.  I am instead happy that my friend found friends to hang out with while I was away or unable to hang out, and I’m excited to meet new people who might be potential friends and who I like because they have the social capital of being referred by a friend.
  • Organizations and clubs and activities facilitate the development of relationships because it takes the pressure off so it’s not like a head on direct judgment or interview.  Consistent interaction helps you get comfortable with a friend. (However, this alone is not enough to develop a relationship–willingness is needed).
  • You must give first to receive.  Looking back on a past social experiment, I am reminded that it took 3 months of hard work, caring about other people and thinking hard about every interaction and relationship development with them, before I started getting any returns at all from my investment: 3 months for someone to take initiative to invite me or something, ONCE.  After that, it took chance occurrences for bonding to occur, serendipitous interaction at the right moment and context.
Lessons From the Retirement of Jay Leno: We can see what is valuable from what guests thank him for.
  • Louis C.K. says Jay calls every time something good happens to Louis to congratulate him.
  • Leslie Mann thanks him for being an entertainer, someone to rely and depend on to cheer up at the end of the day. To look forward to seeing, because Jay brightens up someone’s life.
  • Personalized Gifts (Ellen does this too)
  • Promoting someone’s work, country music artist thanks Jay for doing that for him and his industry.
Responsibility in Relationships, Conversations, and Dance
I had a meeting with a mentor where we discussed this website and its goal of improving relationship health in America, and he mentioned that one of the ways he gauges whether people care about him or not is whether they ask how he’s doing.  So rarely is that simple conversation ice breaker used properly (see; if an honest answer IS given, whether follow up questions are asked is another measure of care.
This is why asking questions is recommended by many conversation and relationship guides for starting out: by asking many questions about the other person it makes the other person feel cared for.  Therefore they may open up and feel closer to you because they have revealed so much–they know you know a lot about them.
Recapping the discussion, I noticed that what he said was true: going into the meeting, my goal was the be strictly business and have my site evaluated by an experienced businessman and investor.  I spent most of my time cutting him off and trying to get in sales pitches, to speak up and say things rather than sit back and listen to him talk; whenever he would talk about something I would think about how I could add to the conversation and instead talk about myself: I didn’t give him room to add to the conversation himself, nor did I ask him to expand on many topics.  This is how you make people feel used.
One of the questions I struggled with during my entire relationship with this mentor is knowing what are the limits and the boundaries: is this relationship business only, life only, or what balance?  Well, the answer came to me when I recalled my mindset towards conversations: Just like it is your responsibility to take the conversation where you want it to go, either making it superficial or deep, it is your responsibility to make the relationship into what you want it to be.  And in both instances, be observant of indications that you have crossed a boundary and respectful of the set boundaries.
#LessonsFromPartnerDance Someone needs to take lead and direct it, you can’t have two followers or both will be confused about the other’s intentions (because there are none!) and go nowhere.
Transparency and Communication, Trust and Suspicion
I went on a retreat recently, and on this retreat I played the game Resistance, where some people are good and some people are bad, and the good players try to find out who the bad players are.  I learned from this game that people who explain their reasoning for accusations are more trustworthy than people who don’t, because we understand them and feel like we know them and what they are thinking, while people who do NOT explain themselves are suspicious because we don’t know what they are thinking and therefore have more reasons to suspect that they are up to no good.
The same thing applies to relationships: communicate your feelings! Be honest about what you are doing, vulnerable in sharing: explain yourself, reveal yourself, to have a chance at trust, one of the foundations for a strong relationship.
Life Advice
  • Just because it is Friday doesn’t mean you need to stay out late. #YoungPeopleLogic
  • Socializing requires good health. Fatigue and bad nutrition give your body a bad mix of chemicals and robs you of energy and mental health, which puts you in a bad state of mind.  Example, if I haven’t had a good nights sleep, worked hard so I’m exhausted, and am hungry, I’m probably going to be in a bad mood; vs. if I’m on vacation, well rested, enjoying life, I’ll be in a great mood.  This is why sometimes, say while driving, I will want to pick a fight till the end for any small thing other drivers do, while at other times I won’t let big things affect me.
  • Mistaking reactions for thinking and critical thinking is apparent in social media–quick answers and short phrases typically mean not well thought out.
  • If you want to do it, decide for YOURSELF whether you do it!  Experiment, try it and see what happens. People who judge you or call you stupid for trying are people who only ever obey, so they are channeling the correctional system they have internalized, they are people who never shook the box or were original.
  • Some problems DO go away if you ignore them (feeling awkward and self conscious), while some don’t (OTHER people feeling awkward and self conscious).


  • It’s easier to work hard when you can see the finish line or believe and know you’re close, than when you are just starting and months or years from the success you desire to care about the small improvements you are making.  Therefore, refocus from the long term goal to the short term ones so you aren’t discouraged by how far you are from where you want to be.
  • “I’m not doing anything” is a false statement: you are choosing to do nothing. And choosing to do nothing about doing nothing.  (recursion continues)
  • Exhaustion has nothing to do with vacation or work, and 100% to do with your own responsibility for recognizing when you need rest and getting rest.
    Recognizing is self awareness.  Getting it is ability to take action on your priorities.
  • Instead of Deadlines, think in terms of of Expiration dates.  Everything naturally expires: tasks that you don’t do and you leave for later…after several days/months, the time is not right–it’s too late, life has moved on.  You never set an expiration date, but there was one anyway, you just didn’t know it.  Doing that task 4 months late…is very very ineffective: you’re not maximizing for impact when you wait until it’s the least opportune moment.
  • You can always be more well informed, with time research and resources.  However, you can never have the time back, so it’s a balance between research and development.

To achieve productivity, here are some ingredients

  1. Desire to do the activity/goal
  2. Set a deadline, so it doesn’t go forever.
  3. A short term focus or principles during working: Long term is to make a program, short term is to make it as flexible as possible for future modification, or as fast as possible without caring about future modification; etc.

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