Accountability & Transparency

This blog is a blog of possibility. It has been inspired by various ongoing events in my life that force me to re-examine who I am and what I do on a daily basis.

This blog is for me, but I welcome comments throughout; not, to be honest, that I’m anticipating any. I’m gonna be completely open with you without naming any names. If you follow along, you’ll learn about me little by little as we go.

The premise is very simple: how many of us promise ourselves to wake up tomorrow and start a “new life?” We do it every New Year’s, possibly after every big breakup, and plenty along the way. I do, anyway, and I’m not afraid to own up to it. I’m pretty young – I turned 20 not too long ago – so if I’m seriously gonna change, now’s a good time. I’ve come to a point in my life where my roads are completely open. I’m not gonna say “I have nothing to lose” – because that’s completely not true – but in a sense, I stand on a very secure ground; family that loves me, relative (college) financial security, good health. So, I can make plenty of unrestricted decisions about how I treat people, how I present myself, what I’m doing with my time, and so on.

So, cutting to the chase: my short life was defined in part by a long relationship that ended about a year-and-a-half ago. In the process of getting over the relationship, I redefined myself. I used to be a “nice guy.” By that, I mean I used to be naive. Or, well, more naive than I am now. I stopped trusting people, I stopped going out of my way to be nice to people, and, in short, turned into a dick for a while.

Along came another girl, but I was too wrapped up in misery to begin something new. You might say it was a typical rebound. Yet, somewhere in the midst of our physical relationship, she became attached to me. I became attached to her too, but I wouldn’t admit that to myself. I was too busy licking my wounds.  We were essentially living a relationship without calling it that, with the option of being completely free. So, an open relationship? Yeah, we called it that for a bit. It didn’t work.

Long story short, we had to call difficult shots. I hurt her without meaning too, and in the process realized she meant more to me that I ever anticipated. I also realized that while I thought it was my past relationship that was weighing me down, it was my current mentality. The reason I couldn’t be with her wasn’t that she wasn’t good enough, it was that I wasn’t satisfied with myself.

More on that story sometime later.

The point is, I was craving freedom and now I have it. She’s made me realize and consider a lot about who I am, and in a way, she’s the impetus of this change. I’m in college. I’m twenty. I’m living the best years of my life. I’m healthy, I’m moderately attractive, I have parents that more than reasonably support me, I’m smart enough to BS my way through a double major with a good GPA.  So what’s pulling me down? I continuously feel that I’m not living up to my own standards. I know what I’m capable of, and most of the time I’m giving 60% of that, if even that.

This blog is about me trying to find possibilities in a world I’ve defined for myself. This blog is about me trying to succeed in a way that makes me feel good. I have dreams – why am I not living them? This blog is about me trying to be a good person. I have role models that are living out this combination: they see possibilities in closed rooms, they open doors for others, they are socially successful, intelligent, and they bring happiness to others’ lives. They radiate enthusiasm, happiness, possibility. Not in the “wanna-vomit-happy” kind of way, but in a genuine “I’m satisfied and I want to make others happy” kind of way.

* * *

So, the practical? There are several practical things I need to do/be to move in the right direction.

  • Physical fitness/satisfaction
  • Grades – intelligence
  • Artistic satisfaction
  • Social competence
  • Inspiration to others

January 2010

Perhaps the easiest to grasp is the physical satisfaction. I’m 5’10, 175 lb. I look fairly skinny (see?), but I don’t like what I see in the mirror when I look at my body. I’m not unhappy, but I know I can do so much better. I could care less what the scale says, but love handles and an unshaped chest/abs/shoulders are no good. I’ve been working out on/off since I was maybe… 15? I have the drive to go out and do a 2-3 mile run or drop 120 push-ups (or both.) What I have trouble with, here and in general, is consistency. I’m too on/off. It’s too easy to back down. So, what’s my goal? I don’t want to be ripped. I want to be shaped. I want to be disciplined.

Academic satisfaction is a little harder. I’m at a pretty good school, but all of my friends are at Ivy Leagues. I have a good GPA, but I aspire to be the best, so I need to be better. I have the mentality of a perfectionist, but not the drive of one. This summer, I’m gonna be applying to one of the most prestigious business programs in the world.  To say it’s a dream is an understatement. I have absolutely no previous ground to think I’ll make it, but I think enough is in my control over this semester, to make a significant difference. I can BS my way through my classes well enough to get a GPA above most others’. That’s not good enough. I want to understand what I’m learning. I want to develop the patience to work consistently, day after day, to have a solid ground to stand on. Half the time, I feel like the Wizard of Oz. I can lie just convincingly enough. My classes this semester are hard. I need to pull it together, because as much as I can swim and possibly prove myself, I’m on the path to sinking and taking my chances down with me.

Artistic satisfaction. I compose music. I also play viola. Music is one of the biggest passions in my life. It lights me up. I know a lot more about music than anything else.  I also know I have the talent. I need the patience to write consistently. My dreams lie in film scoring and my background is orchestral, but I’ve been trying to expand into writing all the different styles. Lately, I’ve been working on a lot of chillout/ambient electronica. I want to release an album on iTunes by April, as (in part) support to that business school application. This requires writing consistently – every day. The biggest misconception talented people have is that things will be handed to them on a silver platter. Talent is worth nothing if I keep giving less than what I have. And, of course, like everything else in my life, I’ve been BSing my way through music – handing in composition assignments last-minute, writing in a hurry, sub-par work that is far below what I’m capable of. Once again, consistency is the goal.

Social competence. I want to feel at ease with myself. I’m gonna need to acquire a pretty large skill-set. I want to be able to go out to parties and feel in control of myself. Obviously, this where girls fit in. I’ve been reading a lot about pick-up. Pick-up gets a really bad rep (more on that later,) because it’s misinterpreted as trying to lie your way into a girl’s pants, and because there are guys out there (successfully) doing just that. Again, more on this later, but that’s not what I’m in it for. Pick up is ultimately about social competence, about knowing what makes people tick (in a good way), about understanding psychology, social cues, about being at ease with oneself, about presenting oneself in the best light. I need to learn how to dance. That’s a must. There’s a lot more to that, but more on that later. Most freshmen start out college by getting completely wasted at frat parties. I, being in a relationship my freshman year of college, did nothing of the sort. I’m a junior now, and I’ve only started to (really) go out this year. I’ve definitely drank before, and I’ve been to parties, but I’ve never really had that “typical” frat party experience – the “everybody gets wasted and hooks up” thing.  I want to feel at ease. I want to stand up above the guys hanging out by the walls eyeing all the pretty girls. In a lot of ways,  I have a lot to offer: I deserve to be able to show that. Anyway, this is complicated. More on that later.

Inspiration… This is a tough one. I want to be a good person. I want to share the best of me. I want to do good in others’ lives. After my first relationship broke down, I shut in and did nothing for people. Now I’ve come to a point where I can hold on to the self-appreciation and confidence and respect I’ve gained, and still give people the best of me, like I used to. This is tough. I’ve been reading a few books on the topic, one of which – The Art of Possibility, Rosamund & Benjamin Zander – is the inspiration for this blog. These aren’t self-help books, and if they are, so be it. I’ll be quoting Zander a lot. I’m just about done with the book, and when I finish I’m gonna go back and re-read to make sure I really understand. What little practices of his I’ve taken up so far have made my life significantly better, and (hopefully) helped me positively impact lives of others.

I am at just about 1700 words, and I have to run to rehearsal. This blog is about accountability. I plan to record my progress – and my sure numerous failures – as close as I can to every day. I’m gonna be open with you, and by beng transparent, I make myself accountable.  There is no going back. I’m tired of settling for immediate comfort. I’m better than this.

Let’s start the journey.

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