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There’s more to friendship than hanging out on the weekends

It took me 7 years to graduate college.

In my first two years, I was academically dismissed on two separate occasions for failing to maintain a 2.0 Grade Point Average.

I spent half of my college career on academic probation.

The worst part about those facts is that I am a nerd who loves to study and learn.

I actually enjoy school.

How, then, did I manage to struggle so much at a task that I’m naturally suited for?

Two words: peer pressure.

My friends constantly teased me for wanting to spend all my time studying in libraries and coffee shops. They told me, “you can study anytime.” They told me to relax and have fun. They even accused me of loving my books more than them.

So I oriented my life around fitting in, pleasing my friends, partying hard, and proving that I loved them as much I as love my work.

And for three consecutive years I watched all those friends graduate on time as I was forced to stay back and repeat classes I had failed.

My friends weren’t around to help me when I had to have uncomfortable conversations with my parents about why I failed to meet my responsibilities.

My friends weren’t around to help me when I had to explain to so many people why I was still in college in spite of my start date.

I was labeled by many people as lazy, irresponsible, and immature. None of my friends were around to help me tell the full story.

Those friends were busy living their lives and I had to sort through my embarrassment and financial loss all by myself.

I have no regrets because I learned a valuable lesson that will never leave me:

Any friend who refuses to consider your values and responsibilities is not a friend.

Sometimes, the people in our lives need to be taught what our boundaries are. But once those boundaries have been taught, those friends need to respect them or get out of the way.

Love isn’t just about demanding someone’s time; it’s also about encouraging the people we care for to do what’s right even if it conflicts with our own selfish agendas.

Today, I have just as many friends as I did back in college. But none of those friends are people who make me feel guilty or apologetic for orienting my life around the values and responsibilities that reflect my true self.

I suggest you find similar kinds of friends.

Cheers,

T.K. Coleman

Remember your damn dreams!

Most people don’t suffer from a lack of dreams; they suffer from an addiction to forgetting about their nightmares.

Many people spend the majority of their week hating their jobs, hating their problems, hating the people they have to be around, and at the first moment when free time arises, they instantly throw themselves into any activity that will help them forget all the pain and disappointment that characterizes their day-to-day lives. Then when Monday morning comes along, they gear up for another long week of Hell until the next day off.

I understand, and empathize with, this phenomenon. I was its poster boy for many years.

We all need time to unplug. And if we’re not here to have fun, then what’s the point of being here at all?

BUT there’s more to life than using leisure activity as a means for medicating our pain and temporarily forgetting our existential woes.

We are creators. And a certain measure of what Thoreau called “quiet desperation” will always haunt us until we take our creativity seriously. Moreover, our most important creative project is the task of cultivating a flourishing life.

And our greatest asset towards this end is time.

How do you see your time?

Do you see your time as a brief period of intermission in which you get to enjoy the rest, relaxation, and recreation that your routine obligations prevent you from experiencing?

OR

Do you see your time as a window of opportunity to create plans, goals, and commitments that will increase your sense of personal freedom, inner peace, and psychological abundance?

I suggest you consider the value of both.

When discretionary time arises, however small of an amount it may be, have as much fun as you can, but don’t forget about your dreams.

You have the power to learn new ways of thinking. You have the power to master new skills. You have the power to develop new habits. You have the power to forge new connections. You have the power to redefine your life. Take advantage of every opportunity to tap into that power.

I don’t know why YOU, specifically, are here. But I have a hard time believing that your life was meant to be nothing more than a long drawn out process in which you trade in most of your time for the right to survive while you struggle to squeeze in a smile or two with whatever few fleeting hours of joy you’re lucky to have.

Screw that!

Create a life worth living!

Remember your damn dreams!

Are you okay with being a “dweeb”?

I just overheard the following discussion:

Guy #1: If you believe that, then you’re a dweeb.

Guy #2: Well, I’m quite happy with who I am. But if my beliefs make me a dweeb in your eyes, then I will have to learn to live with that.

Well played

Here’s today’s two cents:

There are confident and intelligent people on all sides of every debate.

No matter what you believe, there will be detractors who label you a “dweeb.”

Learn to live with that.

Cheers,

T.K. Coleman

Lost cause or not, I’m in it to win it

My belief in humanity isn’t based on something I wish were true; it’s based on empirical facts that have been demonstrated in every civilization without exception.

Many of our world’s greatest optimists and revolutionaries were not the pampered children of prosperity, but they were people who experienced some of the most agonizing hardships of all-time.

History is replete with inspiring examples of people who “shouldn’t” have been able to make it out of their impoverished and disadvantaged position, but who went on to change the world for good.

We’re not doing anybody any favors by counting them out or giving up on them because of the harsh realities they face.

The greatest gift we can give to those who are disadvantaged (and, truthfully, all of us are disadvantaged in some way) is the gift of compassionately believing in their possibilities even when conditions reflect the contrary.

I’ve been blessed to have people in my life who dreamt great things for me even when I couldn’t imagine such things for myself.

My commitment to the world is to do the same for others.

We don’t have to deny the reality of hardship.

Let’s be honest about the following: life absolutely stinks for a lot of people out there.

But once we come to grips with that fact, we have two choices: we can throw in the towel because we don’t want to get our hearts broken by dreaming big dreams on behalf of suffering people, or we can fight like hell and do everything in our power to make it possible for everyone to dream bigger and live better.

I’ve already had my heartbroken a thousand times by believing in people. And I’ll gladly take the chance of getting it broken a thousand more times in the name of fighting for people’s possibilities.

Even if it’s a lost cause, I’ll devote myself to that before I ever accept the status quo as the final reality.

The Value of History

To be ignorant of history is not to be free of its influence.

History is not merely the study of the past; it is an investigation into the very substance out of which the present has been fashioned.

To know history is to know not only where we have come from, but to also understand what we are made of.

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