So I got a bike. Its been great. Besides riding as much as I can – which has been very frequent – I’ve picked up a novel book that was published in the 70′s called Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Somewhat presumptuous, it discusses philosophies not quite connected to Buddhism, but still an interesting read. Plus it’s given me an interest in actually learning how to keep my bike up.
Anyway, I’m in the throes of recruiting season and its been a blast and a stressor. Fortunately, I’ve had good luck with the first round interviews and have been called back, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned, its to be prepared and be yourself. Simple advice, but none-the-less the best advice I’ve learned through this whole process.
I struggled with whether or not to open a twitter account for awhile, but in the end it wasn’t up to me; it was required that I have an account for a class. Regardless, I was determined to use it sparingly. It seemed to me to be a vehicle for people to be heard – who necessarily shouldn’t be heard.
Don’t get me wrong, I think everyone should have a voice. But it should be something that should be earned. Pre-1994, those who wished to be heard were required to endure a gauntlet before they earned the opportunity to say their piece. If a voice wished to be published, he must research tirelessly, battle with editors over content, succumb to late nights, and fight to keep his uncompromised voice. Today, anyone who knows their email address and how to work the buttons on their mac is able to spread his all-glorious, righteous beliefs (read bullshit) on whatever their current fancy.
For example, who cares if your
On the opposite side of the spectrum live the crazies who live off the attention they gather on their online sideshow. For example, a woman increased her viewership to 750,000 after “willing to write about stabbing herself in the head, smashing herself in the head with a lamp, and having a miscarriage during a board meeting while dispensing career advice.”
Twitter exacerbates this phenomenon two-fold by both allowing us to post our feeling on-the-go, and limiting our sentiments to 140 characters. Keep it simple, keep it simple. I don’t need to know about you’re hangovers, how many people are on the bus, or if you think Rick Santorum might be an alien. (I would actually like to hear the argument on the last one.
There is a phenomenon called the availability heuristic. It basically says that we believe if we see an example of something, but will not believe if we have never experienced something else. It sounds very simple, but its the premise that all pundits exploit. When it comes down it it, any voice can leverage this to sell her point. All most people need is to see a few tweets about someone’s death before it is believed. By giving a voice to everyone, we take the chance of drowning in opinions, beliefs, and stories – struggling not to comprehend them all, but to wade through the mess to find those worth comprehending.
In the end, however, I am a hypocrite. In writing this blog post, I am merely contradicting myself. I went through no gauntlet, I have no special education, and I am no more qualified than those obese squirrels on the Indiana University campus to talk about the perils of allowing anyone to have a voice. I just want to express that it scares me. We have too many authors and not enough readers. But the prospect of having readers gives us a sense of importance that further intensifies our opinions. Its a nasty game that too many are beginning to play. I just hope we are able to become more discerning of our actions and of those we read.
There’s something to be said about responsibility. For some inane reason, a majority of people shirk it. They go out of their way to ignore, avoid, and all-around do without it. Responsibility is a severe flu that is understood to be avoided at all cost. No immunization is needed, just a cold shoulder and a hefty disregard for betterment.
I’ve never understood the need for external reinforcement and motivation. We ourselves are never inspiration enough to accomplish the things we set forth. We attempt to frame a goal, but in reality are merely appeasing our need for a perception of purpose. The goal is really a way to trick our need for purpose to believe that we are contributing to something.
Oftentimes we are. Don’t get me wrong: there is nothing wrong with external motivation. But to solely rely on something so completely separated from who we are is to dilute all purpose in the original goal.
For example, there are those who believe that an education is merely an means to a career; I can pay $40,000 (if I’m lucky) to receive a piece of paper declaring competency in a certain field. If I follow the line, the norm, the rules, I can assume I am endowed some sense of accomplishment. Again, not a bad starting point, but those who treat college as a means of betterment – as a way to better yourself through experience, taking away not a diploma but a thorough understanding of knowledge and application – these are the people with drive. These are the people who leverage a fierce internal motivation. Not for a paltry paper, but for an irreplaceable, irrefutable opportunity.
In the end, I guess there are two kinds of people; those who need an authority to instill a sense of urgency and purpose, and those who take control (read responsibility) for their current situation. Whether that be a small project, or a career, or a hobby, responsibility in one’s action is the key to being proud, being fulfilled.
This blog is truly only the ruminations of a twenty year old with too many complaints, but at least I can say I’ve said it. I don’t maintain the audacity to believe anything I say is of any profound substance, but I do like to maintain the possibility of such a burden. We’ll see.
.. is how to use the internet. Seems like any resource I’m now pointed to starts with the familar ‘www’. This includes all resources for all of my classes. And even if the text did come from a book, it’s now on the internet.
At face value, its funny. But in reality, its all about being able to find out what you need to know in as little time as possible. Someone once told me that we only retain about 10% of what we learn in school. (I never took the time to see if that was true, but I’m going with it anyway). If that’s the case, the other 90% must be how to use the internet (read Wikipedia).
Its not that school is useless – its far too expensive to be useless – its merely that at this point in my collegiate career I’m beginning to understand that in the end, I don’t need to know about the truth-functional operators of propositional calculus(which are actually very interesting), only that there is about 843,000 results when searched for on Google.
Memory is dead, replaced with a network of information that is hopelessly filled with cats and rainbows and unicorns (creepily similar to a 8 year old girl’s dreamland). But, all in all, I suppose its the proper use of the that cat-filled weapon that I learn in the prestigious halls of IU. It’s useful, yet easy to get lost in.
SO. Let’s hope I learn more internet. But with less cats, yeah?
A few days ago a special lady and I watched one of the greatest movies from my childhood; the Neverending Story. An incredible story of gaining confidence and trust in yourself, the story outlines a boy sent on a quest to find a cure for the Empress, who is being ravaged by an illness somehow linked to “the Nothing.” Despite the abundance of over-acting by 8 year-olds, the story maintained — at least in my mind — the greatness it always had (I’m not sure I can speak for the special lady though). Nonetheless, there is something to be said about confidence in childhood.
Too often we are told how special we are, yet never really given an explanation or purpose behind our greatness. To quote a fantastic song by the band Fleetfox:
“I was raised up believing I was somehow unique
Like a snowflake distinct among snowflakes, unique in each way you can see
And now after some thinking, I’d say I’d rather be
A functioning cog in some great machinery serving something beyond me”
It is this writer’s opinion that the sort of confidence our parents try so hard to instill in us can only be achieved through that oh-so-yet-no-so-very elusive cog. Greatness without contribution is nothing, and contribution with greatness is contributory. But contribution without greatness is great. Too many busy idiots focus with such intent on being great that they miss the point entirely; we are only as great as our contribution. Now, I don’t pretend to have the audacity to know how to define this contribution. I won’t limit it to a medium, motive, or means, but I know that those we call great never focused on their own greatness. And that’s a point missed by many of my peers. We like to join frivolous organizations and benefits to fatten our celebrity. Of course, nothing but the title has any importance to us. We are consumed with a gluttony of hollow greatness that eventually leads many throughout their lives. It begins with our childhood with the everyone-deserves-a-trophy phenomenon and continues through the numerous honors organization thrown at us.
So no, I am not special. Not yet. I’ve contributed nothing great to this world, nation, or community. And that’s ok. Because once we accept that we are special we can become complacent. And the worst thing you could ever be is comfortable. Luckily I’m not. Because I know someday I will be great (and that has nothing to do with the NHS). But, give me some time. Let me enjoy my discomfort and conformity. “I’ll get back to you someday, soon you will see.”
… and thus began my summer, and a busy summer it will be. I like to think I’m a project sort of person, and so far my summer plans have not let me down. I’ve been asked to return to my job last summer – Roche Diagnostics – to do some maintenance and additions on a database system I build. I’ve already put in a few hours there (and had to brush up on my SQL a little as well), but have run into some administrative hurdles — my laptop doesn’t seem to care for my login information. I guess we’ll just have to see there.
On a newer note, though, I’ve started my internship at Cummins in Columbus, Indiana, and loving it. It’s been a little slow; I’ve had to wait for a few meetings I had to schedule with some market leaders before I could start my intern projects. I’ll be developing some training module on different markets that the Cummins Engine Business Unit (EBU) participates in. Specifically, I’m working with the Construction, Emergency Vehicle, and Recreational Vehicle markets. So far, I’m learning a ton, the work seems pretty interesting, and my coworkers seem like great people. Excited for a busy summer with Cummins!
But, let’s take a break from work and talk about this group I just caught wind of; Fitz and the Tantrums. First of all, great name. Second, I love their sound. It brings me back to what I imagine the late 70s to be – presumptuous right? Anyway, I love everything about their song Moneygrabber; its upbeat, has white suits, and has a red and blue washout throughout the entire video. Great stuff. But don’t believe me, check it out for yourself…
And here it is. I’m watching the season finale of Fringe, bored, but finally done with my blog/website. And, of course, by done I mean in a very loose, for-the-time-being sense. Anyway, expect big things, and here we go.