Stay the course, resist your vices.

Life has a lot of distractions especially in modernity, it can be difficult to stay focused on what is important.  Computers may have worsened our attention spans but they are not going away, so we have to become more disciplined with ourselves regarding how we manage our time amidst all of this technology.  Create a long-term goal for yourself and remind yourself of that goal every day; resist the temptation of your vices and avoid instant gratification.  The best things in life require effort so work for them.

5:00 AM thinking

 

I think I’m slowly becoming a morning person.  These early morning hours can provide one with some much needed personal time for self-reflection and internal preparation for the day ahead; early mornings also provide opportune moments for journaling.

Working two jobs is surprisingly doable, it’s all about the people with whom you’re working.  If you work with tolerable people that actually get shit done, you’ll find it satisfying to work alongside them.  I recommend communicating your boundaries with your boss immediately – DO NOT sacrifice your personal time to cover anyone’s shift.  Other shifts are not your responsibility and your personal time is sacred for your own mental health.

What Is Creativity? — The Art of Blogging

What is creativity?  It’s one of those deceptively simple questions.  What does it mean to be creative?  Well . . . create is a verb.  Creative thinking without execution is not creativity.  Also, I personally feel that true creativity results in something useful to others.  Something that either solves a problem, entertains, or helps us connect . . .

via “What Is Creativity? — The Art of Blogging.”

 

Change is the Only Constant

By Dylan R.N. Crabb

change-ahead
Image Source: <https://ocdalecarnegie.com/8-be-attitudes-to-embrace-change-and-increase-adaptability/>.

The key to survival is adaptability, using the tools from multiple situations to improve your own standing on the world.  “Survive and take what is offered,” as one of my favorite sci-fi dramas words it.

Adaptability can be difficulty in our modern world because most of the changes that fall upon us are less perceptible in the short-term.  Our pre-historic ancestors had to adapt to immediate changes like alterations in the weather, a new predator on the horizon, and a plague-stricken tribe.  Today, we deal with more subtle changes like the possibility of a new job, market fluctuations for commodities, and the need to update our personal skill sets.  Most people may not place a lot of value on the little decisions made in a day but these little decisions can (unfortunately) add up to a lifetime of regret.  Seizing opportunities in youth can help set up decisions for the rest of your life and ensure a meaningful existence as well as commonplace happiness.

I’m not saying that we should stress over every repetitive decision we make in a day like what you have for breakfast one morning or should you drive or ride public transit, excess stress is never productive.  I’m simply saying that we should always be reminding ourselves to try new things because it’s easy to get stuck in a routine.  Humans are creatures of habit by nature and that can be both an advantage and a disadvantage.  To get trapped in a status quo (or an echo chamber) for the sake of security can lead to unfulfillment later in life.  Be open to change and actively seek it out.

 

What are your goals?

 

There is an old metaphor about human potential: if you are a military general leading an army with the goal of conquering an island, the easiest way is to burn your own boats because then there is only one option.  It’s amazing what a person can accomplish when there is no way to go back – when there is no way out – when your goals become necessities.

You don’t have to be a “jack of all trades” to be successfull in life.  I think it’s much more beneficial if you go all in on your strengths doing work for which you are best equipped naturally.  Do not wait to pursue your passions, seize opportunities today.

What is your goal for today – this week – this month – this year?

 

 

 

 

 

A Confession from an Autistic

By Dylan R.N. Crabb

I usually have two companions beside me: my shadow and my beating heart (and that’s not just a Green Day reference).  Solitude is in my individual nature and that can come with loneliness.  There are times when I want to make an attempt to connect with another person but I never know how to present myself in an introduction.

I’m not talking about starting a romance here (that’s a whole different game and one I’m not equipped to play).  I’m just talking about meeting new people and initiating friendships.  Simply talking to other people is difficult for me, approaching another person and starting a conversation is nerve-racking.  I’ve always felt disconnected from other humans as if everyone else was privy to a fantastic secret that I could not figure out and of which no one would inform me.  Then I retreat to my video games where I can play a hero (or an anti-hero depending on my mood).

I’m only just now (at age 28) beginning to come out of my shell and make stronger efforts to communicate with my peers.  I still feel like I’m wandering aimlessly but hopefully I can find some people just as lost as I am and we can be lost together.

 

New Mexico – a lot of potential with an old mindset.

By Dylan R.N. Crabb

 

Living in New Mexico is like living in a trailer park that’s been granted statehood.  Our infrastructure is barely up to twentieth century standards, our politicians are unprofessional (technically), and most people don’t know how to drive.

 

School bus on Indian Service Route 5010 near Sanostee, New Mexico
Image Source: <http://www.newmexiconewsport.com/>.

 

New Mexico does have potential for growth if only the public would ditch this lingering old West, Libertarian mindset.  “Live free or die,” as they say – oh, wait, wrong state!  New Mexico’s motto is a question: “red or green?”  That’s also a good way to figure out if someone was born/raised in New Mexico, just ask the person if they like smothering their food in chili peppers to the point where you can’t even taste the main part of the dish.  Mexican-style food is delicious when it’s not smothered with one thing like chili peppers or cheese but I’ve digresed.

Perhaps I’m fixating on some things that don’t matter.  Perhaps I’m judging New Mexico a little too harshly.  New Mexican communities are heavily family-oriented which make for very cohesive communities, albeit communities that are not very well coordinated as one over-arching community throughout the entire state.  We’re more like a lot of isolated communties amidst an incredibly wide expanse of geography.  Maybe if we had some decent public transportation that was more widespread to more population centers, we could be operating as a more cohesive statewide community.

Albuquerque Public Schools should definitely do something about the lead in their sinks.

One area where New Mexico looks very promising is the film industry and we can hope that the state takes further advantage of of this.  With the new studio that Netflix is opening in Albuquerque, perhaps we can become the next Los Angeles in a few decades as an entertainment epicenter.

Trust me, I’m a writer.

By Dylan R.N. Crabb

 

“Journalism is not supposed to be propaganda from politicians.  Journalism is supposed to hold politicians accountable for what they say (Ana Kasparian, The Young Turks, 2019).”

How can a news organization today (particularly a new organization) gain the trust of the public given the current over-saturation of the market?  I think the key is transparency for themselves, each reporter/editor/producer must be willing to put their name in front of the public eye and stand up for their work in the face of criticism.  Make sure that any one of your readers/viewers/listeners can approach you with questions if they so desire and accept criticism with grace; do not let praise inflate your ego.  This is also just good advice in general – be honest with yourself about what you’re doing, try to be self-aware in what you do, and maintain an over-arching vision to guide your work.

It’s impossible to be completely objective simply because most humans orient themselves around their subjective feelings rather than logic and their objective surroundings but that doesn’t mean that we can not strive for objectivity for its own sake.  Every human has the capacity for logical reasoning through critical thinking and discourse, it’s what makes our species so powerful in nature – we can come together around common goals and manipulate our environment in ways other animals can not.  However; this attribute is a double-edged sword for, if we remain too long in one group with the same ideas in circulation over and over and over again, our minds become dull from ease and the group weakens with fatigue.  To maintain a competitive edge, a group of humans must always be inviting to a variety of ideas, individuals must be willing to challenge themselves to sharpen their arguments.  Echo chambers are dangerous.

This is exactly what modern media has become: an ecosystem of echo chambers.  People on the political Right-wing have their own sources, people on the political Left-wing have their own sources, and more moderately-minded people don’t know where to go for sources so they try to read multiple sources from both sides of the spectrum (if they don’t opt out of politics altogether) all the while animosity for everyone else increases and politics becomes more and more tribal.  Modernity is supposed to be more civilized than tribalism.

I think I’m digressing, let’s go back to the topic of modern news media.  I think the key to success in news media is transparency which is why I want to list what I think is important to discuss when it comes to political engagement, government functions, and such:

  • the role of a government relative to the society it presides over,
  • hearing from a variety of perspectives regardless of popularity,
  • clarifying differences between perspectives and taking care to NOT miss-represent one’s ideas.

I believe these to be important facets of news media – a result of my own beliefs in individualism, free speech, pluralism, government and corporate transparency, and democratic-republicanism.  My goal with my writing (both my personal writing and professional writing) is to promote inquiry into how our societies operate, encourage more people to ask questions that some people in positions of power may not want to answer.  I’ve written in the past about my belief in writing skills and their importance to civilization and I stand by that belief today.

NM’s HB31 Amended to Protect Tips; Understandable but Flawed

House Bill 31, the “Phased-In Minimum Wage Increase,” has been amended to protect earned tips of restaurant servers.

The amendment reads:

“From the effective date of this 2019 act until July 1, 2022, an employer may pay a lower cash minimum wage rate pursuant to Subsection D of this section only if the employer can establish that for each week that an employee who customarily and regularly receives more than thirty dollars ($30.00) a month in tips works, the sum of the employee’s tips combined with the employer’s cashwage is not less than the minimum wage rate as provided inSubsection A of this section (NM Representative Miguel Garcia, NM Legislature, 2019).”

I think it’s logical for restaurant servers to react defensively to this bill as it was originally written but I think that reaction is based in an understanding that helps their employers take advantage of them.  As I’ve stated in previous postings here, a tip from a customer in any industry is not mandatory.  Even if a server demands a tip, the customer is not legal bound to provide one.  It is simply an expression of good faith on the part of the consumer toward the business worker.  I don’t believe that any worker’s pay check should be contingent upon the potential good faith of particular consumers.  All of the responsibility of worker pay should be on the business.  A separate “serving wage” for food servers creates a minimum wage double standard between the food service industry and every other industry and it is exploited by businesses whose bottom line is higher profits.

“You have the possibility for more money through tips so I’m going to pay you less than the standard minimum for every other industry.”

^ That is the logic behind this double standard, it essentially outsources responsibility to the workers themselves forcing them to become entertainers as well as food servers, begging for tips because they get paid less than other workers.

Customers in any food establishment should not be expected to supplement the wages of the servers and they definitely should not be guilt-tripped into giving a larger tip out of sympathy.  Businesses should pay food servers the same minimum wage as every other industry as well as let servers keep all the tips they earn from customers.

Go vaccinate yourself!

I caught the flu last weekend.  I could have easily avoided it by walking a block away to my local pharmacy and paying for a seasonal flu shot but I had become complacent in my health, I was taking my health for granted as do most modern humans.  I paid the price for my complacency (and my laziness) with lungs full of mucuous and the temporary loss of two of my physical senses.

Vaccines really are a marvel of modern healthcare, an invention that has saved millions of lives from what are now preventable diseases.  Diseases that were once feared as potential plagues are now confined to history books thanks to vaccines (some of those diseases are unfortunately coming back thanks to the spreading of some mis-information but that is another topic of discussion).

Fortunately for myself, I still have a relatively strong immune system and my good health is returning but I should make more of an effort remember the new flu season every year.  I don’t want any new influenza mutations to infect my body again.

Go vaccinate yourself!