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How to be better than MacGyver

If you’ve ever seen a few MacGyver episodes (and who hasn’t?), you almost certainly witnessed some bomb almost explode. Disarming a bomb with only 1 second left is one of MacGyver’s specialty (along with creating all sorts of devices with chewing gum and duct tape). Though defusing a difficult situation only moments before it’s too late is a great ploy to create tension and emotion in the viewer, it also happens quite often in daily life.


photo credit: psd

You have deadlines, taxes to pay, DVDs to return, meeting presentations to prepare, etc. What all these situations have in common is that they cause significant pain (financial, emotional, etc) if you don’t take care of them in time. You may push them back for a while, but the closer you are to the deadline, the more your brain is obsessed with it. At some point, you will drop everything else and take care of the hot potato. In order to deal with it, you might do it yourself, ask your friends for help or even hire a freelancer.

Whatever it takes.

What happens is that the mind doesn’t want to be bothered with it, so it tries to avoid it as much as possible, until it gets real, and realizes there’s no way to escape it.

What happens when you have to do it? You bring up the big guns. And you make it.

Being a hero

Being a hero is about having the courage to do what’s right, what has to be done, when most people wouldn’t.

But when you do what is necessary to make that deadline, you are a hero, you save the day.

I might means you called in all your favors, you dropped or put on hold what wasn’t really important, but you fought, and you won.

But who decided you had to wait until the last moment to do what heroes do?

Everyday hero

You know that when the pressure is right, when you’re close to the end, you find a way to do it.

So how come you always wait until the last moment to invoke these resources?

You don’t need the gloom of the eleventh hour to call your friends and ask for help, or to set aside time and energy to deal with your obligations. Use the resources you have.

Imagine it is the eleventh hour, give yourself an earlier deadline, and be a hero. Not only it will remove some stress from your life, it will also train you to use the best resources for the job, while keeping your mind on your passions.

Let’s say that you spend a week every month dreading some project you have to get done. If you can gather the resources and get it done before the stress comes up, you instantly gain 12 weeks a year that your mind can spend on a subject that you love instead of one that you dread.

I’m not saying it’ll clear your all schedule, but it might clear up a lot of the background processing of your brain, allowing it to be free to enjoy and be passionate instead of being tense and unhappy.

It’s simple to be better than MacGyver, gather all your knowledge and resources and deal with the bomb as soon as you have the tools to defuse it at your disposal, instead of waiting until your mind can’t simply hide it anymore.

Tell us in the comments how you are better than MacGyver.

Can God save everyone? Why would he?

God Save....
photo credit: markhillary

Do you think God can save us from evil, wars, pain, everything that’s bad or that we don’t want?

There is a number of believers who say that if we act “right”, God will save us. But if we don’t, well, I guess it’s hell and eternal damnation.

I’ve never tackled spirituality on this blog, but the human mind has a desire and a need to believe, and whether we admit it or not, religious beliefs have a huge impact, on most aspects of our lives. And unfortunately, our religious beliefs are not questioned enough.

Suggested music while reading this post: Linkin Park – The Catalyst.

God and the universe

According to most religions on this earth, God created the universe, all the planets, including our own, nature, all the animal world and finally, mankind. Never mind the number of (Earth) days it took to do that, it was a huge undertaking.

From what I understand (and I’m no expert), we are all children of God, and God loves mankind more that he loves everything else: more than the trees we destroy for plantations, more than the mosquitoes we kill when they bother us, more than the cattle we slaughter so we can have burgers everyday.

When taking a human perspective, even though we despise the thought or the accusation, it is not uncommon for a parent to have a preference for one child over the others. So, like a random parent, God loves us more than his other creations.

Wait… we’re talking about God here, the perfect one. How does it make sense than God would love one of its creation more than another to the point of letting one use, abuse, destroy, the others?

But we are worth more than plants and animals. Aren’t we?

On worthiness

If we are worth more than others because we are men and women, or because we belong to the right people, because we follow God’s wish, or are righteous (whatever that means given the society, time and religion), then it makes more sense.

We, being righteous, believe we are worthy because we are not murderers, or thieves, or whoever whose behavior is not approved by God.

But what about all the exceptions?

Can we kill someone who has killed? Steal someone who has stolen? Judge someone who has judged? Does that make us less worthy?

But we do that all the time.

So how come we are better? Oh yeah, we’re righteous, we follow rules.

Does it really matter?

God save us all

We want to be saved from what we don’t want, sometimes we also want to be saved from things and situations we need, that would teach us compassion and how to love unconditionally.

Do we get to choose?

Let’s take another perspective.

Why are we on Earth?

Are we here to be saved? to be righteous? to follow the rules? to reproduce so that our offspring could worship the same God?

What’s the point?

Being born to sustain the society doesn’t make sense from a higher perspective, having children so they worship a God is useless to a almighty one.

And to be saved… that’s circular. If we’re not here, we don’t need to be saved.

Besides, if we can be truly saved, it can only really happens once we’re dead, so it’s completely irrelevant in this life.

Wanting to be saved put responsibility and power into God’s hands.

If God exists, don’t you think he wants us to be responsible for our own path and destiny? For our own actions? Otherwise it would have made more sense to talk to each of us directly and whisper to our ear each action he wants his Sims to carry out.

It’d be easier. And so boring.

He’s given us the task of discovering what to do by ourselves. Isn’t that a sign?

A sign that says: you explore and learn, but you bear the responsibility.

If God loves everyone the same way, and he put us here simply to live and experience, from what are we supposed to be “saved”?

We don’t need to be saved

I don’t even want to be “saved”. I want to experience, I want to live, I want the universe (or God) to fill my path with opportunities to learn and grow.

If there is something to be done in this world, whether it’s God’s will or not doesn’t matter, you have to take responsibility to do your part. You can see a sign anytime anywhere, or disregard a thousand of them because they don’t fit your belief system.

Ultimately, every action you take, every word you say, every feeling you feel is your choice. Yes, we all have pasts and experiences and genes that influence our lives, but ultimately, we have the responsibility to attend to ourselves.

If you want to be saved from a meaningless life, be passionate about what you do and respect who you are, because it’s the only way to honor who you were designed to be.

You’re right, you’re gonna fail.

photo credit: salimfadhley

Whether you think that you can, or that you can’t, you are usually right.
Henry Ford

Have you ever heard someone complaining about an activity, a new sport, a contest, or anything that they might fail, and say “What’s the point? I’m not good enough” or any variant of “I can’t do it”?

Yeah, me too.

When that happens, I feel like I’m gonna explode, jump and grab them, then shake their poor body until they stop saying such stupid things.

We are what we think

The brain (and the universe) will do whatever it can to bring you what you expect. If you expect to fail, it will bring you failure, because this is what you wished for. If you expect success, and do whatever is necessary to make it so, it will give its best to accomplish your desire.

If you want to succeed, think like a successful person. Of course, there is never, ever, a guarantee of results, but I assure you that the journey itself is completely different.

Do you honestly believe that the people who complain all the time and never miss an opportunity to tell everyone they’re going to fail actually want to succeed?

They want comfort, and to be allowed to fail

There are basically three reasons people set themselves up for failure:

  • They want encouragement, they want to be told that they’re wrong, that they will succeed. Basically they want others to make them feel better about themselves.
  • They want to be allowed to fail. When they say they’re gonna fail, they try to remove expectations from other people, because they don’t feel like they can handle them, they don’t want the risk of disappointing their family and friends. They want to make sure it’s alright to fail.
  • They want to be comfortable, and right. They want to be able to say “yeah, well, I told you I couldn’t do it”, so they’d rather fail as a rule than own and assume responsibility for their own outcomes.

Change your outlook

In any case, you don’t know for sure whether you’re going to fail or succeed. So saying “I’m gonna succeed” is no less true than “I’m gonna fail”, and it is much more encouraging.

Besides, if someone tells you they’re no good at anything, are going to fail, who are you to question them? When we meet someone and we perceive that “failure vibe”, we trust them to.. fail. After all, they know better than we do. And then starts a vicious circle, if you complain and set for failure, you won’t get the social support and friends that could help you succeed. Whereas if you are determined to succeed, the people around you will do their best to help you.

Yes, “blindly” aiming for success means you risk disappointment.

But not only is the path itself much more pleasant, it’s also much more satisfying in the long term to set for succes even if you fail than set for failure and meet your expectation.

Don’t you agree?

Freedom lies in responsibility

© iStockPhoto - iofoto

© iStockPhoto - iofoto

Nobody can give you freedom. Nobody can give you equality or justice or anything. If you’re a man, you take it.
Malcolm X

Freedom… This word takes you back to your last vacation, where you are reminded of the absence of constraint, the feeling of able to do whatever you want, whenever you want. Very rarely this sweet vision includes a crying toddler, a boss or client screaming for changes to be done this very day, or any other pressing commitment. At first sight, freedom is pretty antagonist to the very concept of responsibility. Maybe it’s because we think about it wrong.

Freedom lies in responsibility

The absence of freedom

Let’s say you’re a freelancer, working at home. Your kid is crying, you have to change a whole design before 5, the house is a mess, your in-laws are arriving tonight and your spouse won’t be back from work until 7 or 8. Meaning you’re stuck. You would like to get unstuck, but what’s really interesting is how you feel and why.

You don’t decide what you do, you do what you have to, the most urgent, given the situation. You don’t feel free because :

  • You are tied to constraints rooted in external circumstances
  • You believe you have no choice
  • You are unable to change the parameters of your situation
  • You wish things were different

And that’s the problem. You believe and wish things could be different, but at the same time you act like you don’t have any responsibility. Things are done and happen to you. You are a victim of circumstances, of other people, of life (or God) itself. Victims have neither responsibility nor freedom. It’s easy to be a victim, it doesn’t require an effort, you can just feel down.

On the plus side, having no freedom/responsibility has its advantages :

  • You have the sweetness of not having to do anything
  • You can complain about the situation and feel ok about not trying to change it (you can’t)
  • Your decisions don’t impact much, so hopefully no disaster will happen because of you
  • You take refuge in passive activities like TV, games, browsing the Internet, without the craving and responsibility to contribute

It is by the goodness of God that in our country we have those three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practice either of them.

Mark Twain

If you want freedom, you’ll need to take responsibility.

When you take full responsibility for your life :

  • You see the consequences of your actions
  • You feel empowered
  • You stop complaining about what could be and start making changes and going forward
  • You adopt a learning mindset and learn from your mistakes
  • You focus on what you can do to improve your life and not on what’s wrong with your life
  • You accept what comes to you, deal with it, and use it : you turn problems into opportunities
  • You take your power back
  • You can be proud of what you do

But how to do that?

First of all, you have to separate things that are out of your control from those upon which you can act. For example, you can’t change the weather, but you can take an umbrella.

Once you’ve done that, you have to consider the potential consequences of each and every action and project you undertake, and assume responsibility for them, whatever happens.

I personally don’t believe in what I call “divided responsibility“, meaning each person involved has a tiny responsibility in a given situation; I believe in shared complete responsibility, closely related to collective responsibility, each actor having full responsibility over a situation in which it could act upon, and assume its consequences. Some among you might think I’ve lost my mind putting such a burden on mine and everyone’s shoulders (that’s ok, I don’t mind), but I think it’s much better to have full responsibility than non-existent one. If you take into consideration the fact that one has a large range of possible actions (from indifference to engagement and self-sacrifice), do you still think you’re not responsible of anything?

Once you’ve clarified what you can do or not, you have the power to change the situation, or at least your perspective on the situation, which actually, for your brain, means changing the situation. You can either feel very bad because your in-laws will see how much a mess your house is, or accept the fact that you prefer to make your client and kid happy and deal with the mess later, and still feel good about your decision.

When you take responsibility for your job, your relationship, everything that goes right and everything that goes wrong in your life, something happens: you realize you have the freedom, and power, to change everything.

What are you taking responsibility for today? What can’t you take responsibility for, yet? Answer in the comments below!