Harsh Truths

In the middle of all the New Year Resolution posts going around, someone posted a link to 6 Harsh Truths That Will Make You a Better Person by David Wong. A few warnings…

  1. If you don’t appreciate harsh language with your harsh truths, this article is definitely not for you.
  2. The article was originally posted at the end of 2012, so while new to me, it may be old news to you.
  3. The website that originally posted the article is aimed at 20-something males, so…
  4. People seem to love or hate this approach to the world. There don’t seem to be many folks in the middle.

Given that I’m devoting a blog post to this, you can probably guess that I’m in the love camp. It’s not because I particularly love harshness for the sake of harshness, but I think his overall message is right on. Wong organizes his argument into these 6 truths, but his second to last truth is the one that really summed up his whole article for me: What you are inside only matters because of what it makes you do. He explains it this way:

Being in the business I’m in, I know dozens of aspiring writers. They think of themselves as writers, they introduce themselves as writers at parties, they know that deep inside, they have the heart of a writer. The only thing they’re missing is that minor final step, where they actually f***ing write things.

But really, does that matter? Is “writing things” all that important when deciding who is and who is not truly a “writer”?

For the love of God, yes.

How many of you are walking around right now saying, “She/he would love me if she/he only knew what an interesting person I am!” Really? How do all of your interesting thoughts and ideas manifest themselves in the world? What do they cause you to do? If your dream girl or guy had a hidden camera that followed you around for a month, would they be impressed with what they saw? Remember, they can’t read your mind — they can only observe. Would they want to be a part of that life?

Wong talks earlier in his article about the world only caring what it can get from you and hippies being wrong [insert audible gasp here from many people]. But I get what he’s saying. It’s not just enough to be a nice person and think kind thoughts – it’s about how your nice comes out and what your kind thoughts drive you to do that’s noticeable to other people. The world wants your unique skills and kindness, and while perhaps unpopular with some, this call to action is just the sort of thing that resonates with me.

I’m personally wired with a bias towards action as opposed to patiently waiting, which is probably why this resonates with me so much (that said,  my bias is sometimes good and sometimes gets me in trouble, and I definitely need the people who are wired to be patient in my life. It’s taken me a long time to learn from these types of people that not responding can be a thoughtful choice, and sometimes the most powerful option, but that’s another issue for another day.). Wong ends his article with a call to action for the new year – learn a new skill and be good enough to impress people with it. But I’d take it a step further.

Don’t set out to do what you think will be impressive to others – set out to do what you want to impress others with. While it’s easy to look for the tangible creations – painting, learning to code, cooking – don’t forget the intangibles that show you’ve a nice person. Send just because cards in the mail, make time for coffee with someone you know is having a hard time, buy a copy of a book you read for a friend who would enjoy it – impress people in your own unique way and let your kindness shine. Let’s do this, 2016!

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