Live As If You’re Driving in the Rain

Chances are you’ve never been more present than when driving in a heavy rainfall on the highway. Even the dumbest of us would not text and drive under such conditions. All sense of urgency to the external falls away with the imminent reality of death if you were to look away for too long.

Walking around on a rainy day is the best way to experience true presence. We often subscribe the words, bad, unfortunate, or ugly to the sight of a cloud filled rainy due. Truth be told, these are the best of the days. These are the days that subtract you from the rest of the world and help you gain a limited perspective on your surroundings. Focusing on the now, our immediate surroundings and task, is the best way to move forward and live happily. How else can one focus on the moment any better than when the weather has forced them to keep their vision within a few hundred yards radius? As I drove through DC on a rainy day, I looked to my right where I would normally see the Washington Monument peaking above the DC Skyline and I found it nowhere in sight. I was able to live comfortably knowing it was still there, but it did not concern me. Truthfully as I drove I should have probably been much more concerned with the cars around me navigating the falling rain on slick roads.

The inability to see what was far away, helped me to focus on what was right in front of me.

It is on rainy days that we can get the most done. Look for the outside world, it’s not there, it’s taking a bath. A cleansing of replenishing of our outside world is the best time to attempt to focus on the now. It’s rainy days when we can also grasp our world. Walk around NYC on a rainy day and you may not even be able to see the tops of the tall buildings. It helps to make you appreciate the city without the distraction of a limitless sky spanning beyond our comprehension.

Attempt to keep this mindset as often as possible and live your life as if the rain will never stop falling. Continue forward in your setting as best you can at that moment and push through the rain. On a rainy day I am less tempted to get outside, more likely to read, to do laundry, or make that important call. Its within the confines of rain that we have the ability to be our most productive and present.

Don’t Lie to Yourself

The biggest thing I wish I had done years ago. Stop lying to myself. I didn’t realize I was doing it.  “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool” – Richard P Feynman

I recently asked myself, what advice would I have given to my younger self? Besides the obvious of, forget college just put all your tuition money into Google stock, I was able to come up with a very simple statement I wish I had heard. “Stop lying to yourself”. The problem is, I wouldn’t have realized I was lying to myself. This is because I was busy bullshitting everyone else and didn’t realize what that was doing to my own self-talk. Another thing impacted by you lying, is the level of truth others will give to you.

After graduating college I had to deal with the annoying question of, “So what are you going to do next?” Early in undergrad I had always expressed my interest in Law School and that set the script in everyone else’s mind as to what I was going to be doing. When you tell someone something about your plan and they don’t see you for months, it’s natural for them to assume you’re out making your plans happen. Then they see you and you’re still in the same spot, uh-oh. Unfortunately for me, I did this to myself for way too long. I didn’t always say Law School, but I had this, that or the other which I planned to do. All the while knowing inside of me that it wasn’t what I wanted to do. Also unfortunately, we live up to what we speak about everyday. I was spending too much time talking about the wrong fake-plan to even come up with a real one. No matter how terrible of a person you are, none of us like to lie to others, so what we tell them is often what we end up doing.

For this reason I sadly avoided family members and friends at every chance I got because I just didn’t want to lie to them, but I also didn’t want to tell them I had no clue. A common problem with our society is that it seems after college, your education is assumed to be done. I knew mine wasn’t. My degree to me was my back-up plan if I ever needed one, but I knew my self education would be far more valuable to me if I could just keep my head above water long enough to obtain it.

Lying to others is ultimately lying to yourself. So stop it. I got the most amazing idea one day and since sticking to it, the results have been quite astonishing. I decided that I wanted to be a comedian. The story behind this could be a matter of two or three pages to explain (I will happily do so in person) but regardless, it was a decision I came to.

It’s then that I decided the truth was the best, since lies hadn’t worked. From that point on, every new person I met was told I was a comedian, once they prompted me with the age old question of, “what do you do?” Amazingly, no one called me a liar, despite how outrageous that sounded. It became an instant conversation starter, and even more importantly, it motivated me to stay true to myself and to my new found journey. Since then the amount of people who have come out of the woodwork to help me in my pursuit is downright astonishing. It’s quite amazing how things can start happening for you once you begin to view them as happening for you instead of to you. I have found myself in ever more engaging conversations with people who want to tell me jokes, want to tell me stories, or just generally express a genuine curiosity about my journey.

A last great thing which has happened since being more honest. People have become more honest with me. Its astounding how many people want to tell you their crazy hopes and dreams when you just casually mention yours as if they are an easily obtainable reality. I’ve had lawyers tell me they wanted to do non-profit work, accountants say they wanted to run coffee shops, and an IT specialist tell me he just wanted to build houses. When you open yourself up to your own truth, you will also open yourself up to others.