Posted in know better do better, mental health, mindset, podcasts, socializing

Podcast quote: negative people

I started listening to the Work Life podcast, by Adam Grant. I love it! Super-interesting.

Since they’re relatively close to the beginning of the podcast, I started at the beginning.

Season 1, Episode 3 was “The Problem with All Stars,” and while it was interesting to listen to, the piece that was most striking to me was not about the main topic at all.

From the transcript:

“Emotional contagion is something that I became interested in many, many years ago when I was working with a colleague, ‘Meg’ as a pseudonym, and I wasn’t even reporting to her, she was just working in my environment. I knew she was negative but I didn’t think much of it. And then one week Meg went on vacation. And it was amazing. Like suddenly the team, me, everybody — our shoulders lowered, we were more relaxed and happy. And then she came back and everything went back to the way it was and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, how amazing that this person, who I didn’t even report to could have such a tremendous influence on not only my mood, but the mood of everybody else.”

This isn’t surprising, but it brought to mind a lot of scenarios from the past few years. Times when I’ve been frustrated to be consistently in the presence of constant negativity. Times when I’m sure I was the one bringing the group dynamic down. Scenarios from longer ago, also from both sides of the fence. Which brings me to…

The concept applies to family dynamics, of course. When one person in the house is always (or even just often) miserable or angry or high-strung, it takes a toll on everyone in the house. And because this typically develops over time, it follows the boiling-a-frog fable. (In that case, the person who points it out is more likely to be ostracized than the person causing the problem … but that’s a tangent I’m not going to ride out today.)

And socializing.

Really, it applies to anywhere with people you’re in proximity to. At the grocery store and someone ahead of you is chewing out the cashier? Changes your environment. Someone unpleasant on the train? Next table over at dinner is full of crankiness or anger or vitriol? These change your experience, even if they’re not chronic, like a coworker or housemate would be.

Obviously we don’t have control over all of these situations, but it’s worth the time and effort to see where we can eliminate or reduce contact with negative people … and also to be introspective enough to know when it is us. (Not self-deprecating and assuming it’s always us … introspective and having a solid guess as to when it’s us.)

Posted in mindset, socializing

Be diligent or be a victim

I’m tired of needing to “be vigilant or be a victim” (who will subsequently be blamed for not knowing better).

What triggered this?

The advice that’s going around to sign documents using a four-digit date instead of a two-digit date, so that two additional digits can’t be added to backdate or postdate the document.

I understand the advice. I’m not putting down the advice.

But I’m tired of it all.

How I dress, what time of day I go out alone, whether or not everything I own is locked up, where I leave my purse or backpack or phone — these all need to be on the radar all the time, because if I get attacked or someone breaks into my car or someone steals my wallet out of my purse and I haven’t taken all of the recommended precautions: What did you expect?

I expect that people can be decent and not attack each other or steal each other’s shit.

(There are so many social, political, and economic layers to all that, and I’m not unpacking it right now. But on a tangent, I heard someone years ago blame people in a low-income neighborhood for letting drug dealers and gang members live and work there. As if it’s somehow residents’ fault? I can’t think of a single thing I’ve done in any neighborhood I’ve lived in that has prevented unsavory people from also living there.)

I’m tired of blaming the victim for everything. We have enough research to know how to fix a lot of the underlying problems, but we’re too selfish (collectively) to do it. Can we make everything utopian and hearts and rainbows and butterflies and unicorns? No, of course not. But it can be substantially better.

There are places I go regularly where I can leave my phone in a bag on the floor and not worry about it. And it’s lovely. Everyone manages to just go to The Place to do The Thing and on we go.

Can we have more of that, please?

Posted in mindset, podcasts

Podcast quote: internal conflict

When the weather is nice, I don’t listen to as many podcasts. Most of my listening is in the car, and when the weather is nice, the windows are down, and when the windows are down, I can’t hear podcasts (or music), so I just enjoy the air.

But the weather hasn’t been nice lately, so I’ve been getting caught up with some of my backlog of podcasts.

One I recently finished was another episode of Armchair Expert.

Adam Grant was the expert they interviewed. I wasn’t familiar with him (which is true of the majority of their guests), but the interview was very enjoyable to listen to. Because it was a great interview? Maybe. Because I love psychology? For sure.

There was a lot of takeaway from what Adam was talking about, and there’s a clip that I’m planning to play for my classes (that, thankfully, has no swearing, or I wouldn’t have the option), and I have another podcast on my playlist and two books on my wishlist.

Besides all of that, there was this one little sound bite that was interesting to me:

“Sometimes I have to be false to my personality to be true to my values.”

In other words, sometimes introverts need to speak up or extraverts need to button up in order to act in a way that is in line with their value system.

It got me to thinking.

I’m still thinking.

Does it give your brain something to chew on?

Posted in mindset

My photography journey 24Nov19

Well… I only took one photo this week. Or, rather, I took a bunch of photos at once and got one that was decent.

I was playing the silly photo game, but there was one where the top 10 got gift cards. I don’t usually play to win those things, but that would have been pretty cool. (If you didn’t read into that last statement, I didn’t get in the top 10.)

The theme was pets. Our pets aren’t super-photogenic, but Tommy was out so I took a few shots.

While it’s cool to see him feeding on whatever’s growing on the glass, that didn’t make good photos.

The only one that was decent to look at was this one, once he got back down onto the gravel.

(His shell isn’t in great shape. But he’s a cool dude.)

Posted in know better do better, mindset, thoughtfulness

Your car is a death machine

From my Facebook archives. I wrote a bunch to go with it, then decided it speaks for itself.

Some students from my school were crossing a 6-lane street. They were half way across, and traffic stopped in order for them to complete their crossing. There were cars in only two of the three lanes. Someone was in a hurry and gunned it in the remaining lane, hitting the youngest of the group just a step or two from the curb. He died earlier this week. I teach two of his siblings.

Please be careful when you are driving. Whatever the hurry was was not more important than this boy’s life. Neither is a text, a phone call, your makeup, or your meal.