Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Don't crash into me...

Go see the movie Crash. I watched a very poor bootleg of it the other night when I found myself unable to sleep at 3:00 AM due to the incredible humidity. I had been hoping for a movie that would put me to sleep. Instead, I was completely taken by it. After the movie, when I did fall asleep, I had dreams about it for hours. I woke up to my mind having a conversation about the movie with itself.

The premise (and I'm not really ruining anything as its virtually the first line of the movie) is that human beings have become so isolated and yearn for human contact so desperately that they violently crash into one another just to feel something. From this pain springs racism, hatred, anger, desperation, sorrow, and further isolation. Remarkably, the movie actually teeters between depressing and inspiring.

It was intriguing to me because ever since reading a book called The Celestine Prophecy in my teens, I have been fascinated with this concept of human connectivity. Isolation has consumed us. It would be so easy to tear down the walls of isolation, but no one does. We can't let go of it. So many people are hollowed out by isolation.

The guys at work will laugh at me for bringing this up, but I've always suggested ideas that might make people stop and think for a moment. I just wish more people would stop and think to themselves 'is this really the only way to do this thing called life?'.

For example, how many people do you see on your way to work? I see only school children waiting for the bus, runners, and the occasional person dragging a garbage can to the curb. Everything else is cars and buildings. A person in a car is not a person, its a car with a person isolated inside of it. A building is just a giant honeycomb with people in it. There's a reason cubicles are called cubicles... because the term cell is too synonymous with jail.

So my theory goes like this. At lunch time, instead of driving, why not walk to the mall (which is about half a mile from my office) as a whole company? Then, eat lunch at the mall. Finally, walk back. It's that simple.

Imagine the conversation. You have 15 people to talk to from all different backgrounds, and you have nothing else to do than talk to them or walk in silence. Who, when given the chance to converse, truly wants to walk in silence. (Sidenote: I never understood why people sit completely silent on airplanes... its a tremendous opportunity to connect with someone from a completely different part of the world. I talk to the guy/girl next to me every chance I get. I don't know how the conversation starts, but it inevitably does.)

Imagine the people sitting in their cars thinking we're insane. Who walks with a group of 15 people to the mall? They would think we are crazy for not driving. But then it might occur to them that maybe we're happier NOT DRIVING for this one trip out of the day. That "does-not-compute" stimulus is what I want more to people to feel. And I want to feel it as well. It forces you out of your comfort zone, where the real ideas are.

Back to blogging...

I've been exceedingly busy of late. I've completely reshaped my life and I'm trying to grab control by being proactive instead of reactive.

Some things I've accomplished as of late:

  • Altered my sleep schedule to allow for more time in the morning, including a morning run or bike (and eventually a swim if the pool was open earlier during the summer). Even my roommate is getting up with me at 6:15 to hit the pavement!

  • Made my bed every morning for weeks now. This is a major accomplishment in my book. I never used to do that.

  • Converted my diet from primarily eating out to grocery-based meals. My diet is about 85% unprocessed foods now. I rarely eat fast-food or heavily manufactured food. The cravings for those things are ending.

  • Stopped being overtly lazy at work. Actively pursuing work during idle periods.

  • Layed out a plan for managing my finances for the next 3 years. The goal is to be debt free in the shortest amount of time possible.

  • Started spending more time actually studying stocks and other investments. Actively participating in online fantasy stock markets. Currently, making on average 16-18% on my portfolios. Next step, do it for real.

  • Trying to eliminate all deconstructive negativity and mental blocks.

  • Turned off the freaking TV during the work-week. I watch The Daily Show over breakfast (via DVR) and the local news after work. That's it. Next up, turn off the TV on the weekends. Contemplating canceling cable altogether. I've grown to recognize how mind-numbingly boring the vast majority of TV really is.

Things I need to accomplish:

  • Spend more time with my friends.

  • Make new friends.

  • Take a vacation.

The sad part is that I've been told to do these things all of my life, but I never took them to heart. No one around me was actively trying to improve themselves, so I never tried to either. Fortunately, I have come across various people who not only discuss self-betterment on a frequent basis, but also act on it. This has been the catalyst for me.