The New Yorker | if you make it there, can you make it anywhere?

 

NYC- The city of opportunity, ambition and cold, hard reality. The place where people tell it like it is, are honest (maybe to a fault) and will shove you in the subway if you’re walking too slow. So, is it true that if you can make it in NY you can make it anywhere?

I don’t know. But the more I travel and encounter people all over the world the more I realize that 99% of the population is made of 0% hustle. Literally people have no sense of urgency. Almost every situation I am in, whether it’s boarding a plane or the checkout lane at the supermarket- I’m working at my max capacity to move as quickly and efficiently as possible. I am hyper aware of how my presence is affecting someone’s day. Is my “let me take my sweet time” attitude making someone late for an important meeting? I want to be thoughtful!

When I look around, I’m the only one that seems to be acting this way. I’m constantly surrounded by people who seem to be moving at their slowest possible pace. I like to keep it moving and I believe that’s the New Yorker in me. Other people seem so content to just move as slowly and inefficiently as possible- even in high pressure situations people look sleepy and aloof. I had to board my last flight behind a man who could easily have been part of the cast of the Walking Dead– I wanted to shake him and scream “come on man theres 100 people behind you- WALK, load your luggage and sit the hell down”… Of course I didn’t. But it was hard to resist. Is that rude? Maybe… but isn’t it also rude to not take into account a time sensitive situation and focus on doing things quickly so the other 100 passengers don’t have to stand on the jetway in misery and have their flight delayed because you can’t put your luggage into the bin and sit down in a timely manner? I think so.
A lot of people see this “hustle” as a problem with New Yorkers. Always saying things like ” everyone’s always in such a rush” ” you don’t enjoy the moment” blah blah blah. I would argue that this hustle is an asset and it’s the asset that’s kept me ahead of the curve thus far in my life. I have a desire to get things done- to do them quickly and efficiently. The harder I work, the faster I work- the better I get. I compare it to a physical activity like running- if you just jog, the same speed and distance every day, you’ll never advance to running or make it to a marathon. It’s fine to be content to be a jogger- but if you want to get better you need to run faster and farther each time you run… That’s the New Yorker.

Aside from moving at a glacial pace, a lot of people are just detached- not connected to their surroundings- not aware. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to pick something up and return to someone who dropped it without noticing. People don’t seem to notice when they are being rude and getting dirty looks from those around them… This is important. You should know the impression you’re making. The guy on airplane next to me as we speak is yelling like he’s at a football match. On an airplane, when you are trapped in a closed capsule with strangers, USE YOUR INSIDE VOICE. I should NOT be able to hear you talking to the person next to you. He has not once noticed the 3000+ leering looks I’ve shot him in the past 2 hours. This is not trivial- it’s likely he doesn’t realize how he makes people feel in general in his life- and that’s a nasty quality.

I think NYC (and maybe this can be argued for most major cities, but NYC is the roughest I’ve ever been to) can teach you to do things in a way that doesn’t waste time, and that time is precious. If you move slowly, you’ll be the last one to arrive at an opportunity and that’s never a good thing. I am very grateful to my School Of Hard Knocks training from growing up in Brooklyn. I learned to take tough criticism and still love myself, to not miss a train (be on time), to keep it moving and look for the opportunities in life- not always expect them to be handed to me. Sometimes people paint New Yorkers as people who would run an old lady over on the sidewalk just to make a dime.. but thats not true.

Any New Yorker can tell you that as cut throat as we are we are kind of like a large pack of animals- and we don’t like when people bully our own. There’s a difference between expecting a young, able bodied person to be able to take their head up from their phone and act quickly in a  crowded, tense situation and expecting an elderly person to.  I think by and large New Yorkers are the most empathetic people I’ve ever met. We are tough to a point, but if an old lady needs help crossing the street we got her back. There’s almost a sense of camaraderie even though its a no BS, tell-it-like-it-is kinda town.

I think we should stop and smell the roses, definitely. But I also think we should hurry up and mow the lawn. I highly recommend that you spend some time in NYC and get a feel for the rhythm of it, see the way people with huge dreams and tight schedules juggle everything in the greatest city on earth. I think it will help to inspire you, motivate you and maybe help you realize that you are capable of more than you think and at least every once in a while, you should hurry up.

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Perpetual State of Education: The Key to a Conscious Life

As I see it, it is a basic human desire to “know more.” We always want more information and find ourselves asking questions like: “what should I eat to be healthy?” “where is that foreign city I’ve never heard of?” “What’s the meaning of life?” “What is my purpose or destiny?”

Oftentimes, since the human condition seems to perpetuate a state of impatience as well as of curiosity, we “google” it and if the answer to our question isn’t in the first 3 lines we give up.

I think the amount of knowledge waiting just a mouse click away on the internet can be great, however, it also can discourage us from going out and seeking the answers to life’s bigger and more complex questions on our own through experience. It also encourages us to take whatever is posted on our favorite website as “truth” without doing further research, and on life’s biggest questions about culture, religion and the meaning of life- I think we do ourselves a disservice to “bing” it.

In my opinion, on the complex issues like: “How can I be a happier person?” or a “healthier person?” it is best not to go with the top answer on Google and call it a day, but rather to explore life on your own. Look deeply into the things and questions that interest you and emblazon passion in your heart. Remember that the world is full of many conflicting ideas all around the same issue (i.e: you should be an omnivore, vegetarian, carnivore, vegan, raw foodist….)  To properly make a decision on what feels good to you in  your own life you have to be educated on what each side has to say on a particular issue. That often requires using multiple resources (as most periodicals, websites and research papers are written from one point of view.) You will also, in some cases, need to try certain things on for size to see what works with your lifestyle and contributes best to your overall happiness and well being.

Too many people are living an unconscious and compromised life now a days. Doing things they don’t really love, counting calories and ALWAYS feeling restricted in their diet, living how others think they should live and not how they want to live. Many people wake up, get dressed, go to work, go to gym, go to bed and wake up and do it all over again like they are on a conveyor belt… hardly alive, but only just surviving. In my opinion, this is not the way, and I believe there are solutions to this “epidemic of unconscious living.”

Here are some things that  I do to be sure that my life is in a constant positive state- always moving forward and never stagnant and how I have found some peace on the complex issues that I have struggled with.

1. Reading Books:

I started reading at a very young age with some of my first words being “remarkable” and “impossible.” It’s funny, because ever since then I have believed that everything is remarkable and nothing is impossible (poetic huh?) I was a 90’s kid (complete with MC hammer pants and a side pony) and immediately my parents, teachers and friends began to call me “Belle,” because just like the main Character in Beauty and a Beast I had brown hair and eyes and always had my nose buried in a book.

Today, I am still an avid reader and read 2-3 books a month (little known fact lol). These days I primarily read “self-help” books- and no- i’m not ashamed to say it. We can’t help others until we help ourselves. I know that aisle bears a “pathetic” stigma in movies, but its the best aisle in the bookstore dammit! I read them on everything from how to be healthier, more successful, more balanced, more understanding and so on. Go out and pick up a book today on a subject that interests you and that you want to improve in your life- swap out one hour of “Toddlers and Tiaras” for an hour with a good book and I promise you will begin to feel renewed, relaxed and enlightened in NO time.

Some Books that have changed my life are:

“Eat to Live” “The Secret” “Proof of Heaven” “Skinny Bitch” “The Beauty Detox Solution” and “Blink”

Life should be a journey towards higher knowledge and books can be an amazing resource. If you aren’t interested in my suggestions your good friend “Google” can help you find the most popular and critically acclaimed books on just about any subject from gardening to gyrokinesis.

2. TRAVELING! TRAVELING! TRAVELING! oh, and did I mention, traveling?

Don’t start in right away with “I don’t have time for that” and “I don’t have money for that” and blah blah blah. First of all, if you’ve read my previous posts you already know that kind of attitude sucks and certainly won’t get you anywhere. Traveling is the only thing we buy that makes us richer and it is something we should all do. Don’t have money? Give up Starbucks for 6 months and every time you want a cup put that $5 in a jar. At the end of six months you’ll have kicked a crappy caffeine addiction AND you’ll have enough money for at the VERY least, a train ticket. No excuses.

When I say travel, this does not mean you need to travel to far away lands. It just means you need to travel outside your comfort zone. Go 5 blocks or two states over, go somewhere where things and people are unfamiliar.

I’m currently on a flight returning to LA from my first trip to Washington state. What I found in the city of Spokane (where I stayed) was fresh air, people who are genuinely happy in their lives and marriages, people who wait for the “walk” sign to cross the street even when there are no cars coming, and people who call 3 cars making a left hand turn “rush hour.” Tell me thats not priceless.

I was on set for a commercial and my MUA (make-up artist for the non entertainment folk 😉 said something I had NEVER heard before. She said, ” After 19 years of marriage and three children I am still in the happiest most supportive and loving relationship with my husband. Marriage is an awesome thing.” I have genuinely never heard anyone say anything like that… especially not directly to me before. Unfortunately, now a days most of what we see on TV and movies is relationships essentially being painful and miserable for the most part. Relationships, especially long term relationships, are made to look like eye roll filled obligations a la “Everybody Loves Raymond.” Who would have known that I would have sat down for eyeshadow and come out with hope and enlightenment about love and relationships from a perfect stranger? It is best to be open and to meet new people and travel to new places because you never know where the answers to your questions might lie. The answers to mine are usually where I least expect to find them.

I am always enlightened after a trip to just about anywhere. I learn about others and I learn about myself. The world is full of beauty and mystery and it is all right there for you, you just have to get out there and find it.

I have traveled to 18 countries across 5 continents and have seen 35 of our 50 US states all before my 27th birthday. How did I travel this much? I simply asked the universe for the opportunity to travel, I “prayed” on it, so to speak. I consistently am grateful for the opportunities I have had to travel and as a result, more of them arrive. Of all the trips I have taken and all the cities I have seen I have never paid for a single plane ticket. I encourage you and assure you, when it comes to personal growth, there is no greater catalyst than travel.

So happy travels and don’t forget to pack some reading for the road!