RIP Robin Williams

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I am, to say the least, very sad as I read the news about Robin Williams passing away.

I’m not sure if he’s an INFP or not. But one thing’s for sure, he was himself.

And as INFPs, we struggle to be ourselves, yet fit in.

This man took what was given to him and made millions of people happy over the course of his 63 years on Earth. Isn’t that what INFPs were put here to do?

Unfortunately, being unique does seem to come with a price. He had his dark side, his drug abuse, alcoholism and depression. Ugh, I know them well.

I watched his most recent comedy, The Crazy Ones. I could tell he put a lot of his heart into it. I could tell he put a lot of him into it. And when it was cancelled I could just think about how much it must have sucked to have it cancelled.

Alas, my friends. We put ourselves out there. We wear our hearts on our sleeves, almost literally. We must nurture our hearts and be careful not to let toxic thoughts into our minds.

Surround yourself with positivity. Be a good person. Entertain your friends and the world with your true, goofy nature. And don’t let bad things like this stop you from living. Please stay strong and safe.

I love you INFPs!

Teach English Abroad

One of my regular readers, Eomer sent me a link to this TEFL Taster which is a short tutorial on what Teaching Abroad is all about.

This is probably something suited toward recent college grads or soon-to-be grads.

This is a great idea for INFPs because you’d be helping people, you’d be the expert so they’d come to you for help and you’d get to travel, which is something everyone should do more of, especially after graduating college.

Check it out!

 

Introducing my new Blog, Smash Perception

If you’ve been obsessed with success and money as much as I have been, you’ll know it’s a bit elusive. You hit a ceiling and things start slowing down.

Many times, it’s purely your own thoughts, fears and anxieties that hold you back.

I’ve started a new blog to examine the various roadblocks that keep us from achieving success and I hope you’ll join me by visiting and signing up for my mailing list.

Click Here to visit SmashPerception.com

 

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“It Beats Working in an Office”

We had a friend doing construction on our house this weekend. She used to work at a design firm but quit to become a contractor. I asked if she likes the company she works for and she said “it beats the office.” Yeah.

I want to be somewhere, doing something too. I want to use my body instead of having my muscles atrophying. I want to swing a hammer and lift things. I want to let my body do what it was used for.

It reminded me of Office Space:

Remember how Peter felt when he was finally free?

It also reminded me of some Macklemore lyrics from the song Jimmy Iovine. It’s a fictional account of sneaking into a record label where he’s going to demand a contract at gun-point. He gets upstairs and can’t believe the reality of what is essentially office life, even at an “artistic business” (paradox?):

“But it’s weird,
It’s like this room I walked into is unusual
Thought it would be shining and beautiful
Thought it would be alive and like musical
But it feels like someone died, it’s got the vibe of a funeral
There’s numbers on a chalkboard
CDs boxed in cardboard
Artists that flopped, that got dropped and never got to be sophomores
Graphic designers are sitting around
Waiting for albums that never come out
Complainin’ that they have nobody in house
Wonderin’ what they make art for”

At the end of the song, he ends up turning down the contract because he realizes record labels rip off the artists. The last line of the song is

“I’d rather be a starving artist than succeed at getting fucked.”

If only I knew then what I know now :)

What do you think of office life? How would you describe it to someone who’s never had an office job?

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How to Make Better Decisions

In my 20′s, I found myself making really bad decisions with my life. My emotions were ruling me and I couldn’t figure out why everything sucked so much.

I was drinking heavily, getting together with insane women and going to work 3 hours late. I found myself eating chocolate and drinking tons of coffee to stay awake. Then I bought a car that I couldn’t afford.

Suddenly I found myself unable to sleep and having heart palpitations at night. I went to the doctor and he put me on anti-anxiety medication. Things were pretty much… “a shit.”

So I decided I needed to examine the decisions I was making in my life. I did a very simple exercise that helped me get clear about what I was deciding to do and why I was making the decision. That gave me the insight to make better decisions in the future.

Here’s what I did. First, I started by writing down every big decision I had made in recent months. I then wrote why I made the decision and what the outcome was.

Then, I told myself

“NO DECISION MAKING UNTIL I WRITE IT DOWN!

I would write the options I had and why I was choosing a particular option.
I would then allow myself to actually make the decision and not beat myself up over the outcome.

We MUST make decisions! We cannot let ourselves get paralyzed by too many options or fear of the unknown.

The final step of this process was putting time on my schedule every month to revisit decisions and evaluate how they worked out in retrospect. I would see my bad decisions and why I chose to make them. I would see my good decisions and I would see why I chose to make them.

Eventually this gave me a great deal of clarity about what kind of thinking got me into trouble and which types of decisions I needed help with.

If you’re having trouble deciding on a career, try to strengthen your decision making skills using this method.

Whatever you do, make a decision. If you never make a decision, you will be stuck forever and unable to move forward. Break free from your fear!

What decisions are you delaying?

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What Would Help You Most?

I admit it, I’m sometimes clueless as to what my audience wants to see on this site. You probably stumbled upon this site while doing career research. But did you get anywhere? Have you made any real progress? Have you taken any actions toward taking charge of your life? If not, I’m not doing my job. I want you to become a person who takes action and sculpts the kind of life that you’re truly happy about; not someone who starts a hundred things and finishes none. I want you to see that you CAN be that person and that becoming that person will bring you success and happiness. So I ask you, what do you need help with? What specific issues are you having in relation to your career search or some other area of your life?

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What Would You Tell Little You About Your Career?

If I could tell younger, more naive Mike anything about working with computers for a living, it would be these things:

  1. You will not just be working with computers, you’ll be working with people.
  2. You will be annoyed by people and their demands far more than you will actually code.
  3. A summary of how I feel about my job: “Get it done yesterday.”
  4. I get paid well and that’s awesome. It’s the single perk.
  5. Learn to spend time helping people hands on, right now (there are plenty of opportunities to volunteer, even if you don’t believe it – ask mom). This will show you what you really want to do.
  6. Working for a Coporation is like a Hell unparalleled by any experience you have had to date. It is a feeling of using all of your energy to restrict and repress your emotions and potential.
  7. 99% of the jobs you can EASILY find are in Corporations, so be aware that you’ll need to work to get a good job elsewhere. By work, I mean talk to people, ask people for advice, ask questions, show people what you’re capable of. Yes, you’ll have to actually talk to people.
  8. You will someday start a business and it would be helpful to you if you a) take a business class or two and b) choose a major in which you can actually give a shit. This major can give you the basis for your business later. For instance, if I were a music major, I can start a business teaching people music or helping musicians with marketing themselves online.
  9. You might not have enough skill or the portfolio to be a musician. And that’s ok. There are a million things you can do with your ears. Like audio engineering at a recording studio or engineering for a Broadway musical.
  10. Research potential careers. That is, talk to people who do those things. What do they think about that field. Do they like it? Why? Why not? Will you like those same things? Will you dislike those same things? Find some common ground with the person so you can compare experiences and understand if their likes and dislikes will be the same for you.
  11. Money is important, yes. But it’s not the only thing. Try to be a little uncomfortable in your daily life and try surviving on less.
  12. Start a band immediately. Express yourself and see how much you love performing, despite the fear holding you back.

To my adult readers, what would you say to the younger you?

 

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What to do When You F*cking. Hate. Your. Career!

I have “f*cking hated” my job(s) more times than I care to admit. This was especially true after the birth of each of my sons, when I wanted to be home helping my wife and holding their tiny bodies.

It was also true when I had the most boring job in the world where I found myself becoming a person I didn’t actually like.

And it becomes true every time I get a new business idea and decide that the idea is far more important and fulfilling than my actual career.

Take a deep breath. No, really.
If you’re going to survive this job without an ulcer, you need to take a step back and take a deep breath. Or 20.

Unfortunately, you are dependent upon your job. You need the money and they don’t pay you to slack off and fantasize about business ideas all day long. The longer you slack off, the higher the chance they’ll notice and the better the chance you’ll get kicked to the curb.

When you start talking about “hating” things and what you “want” or supposedly “need”, that’s not you. That’s your ego and you need to deflate that fucker fast! The easiest way to do that is to take some deep breaths. Center yourself. Understand that your job needs to come first while you’re at work (if you can get your work done in half the time, I’ll give you the rest of the day to slack off).

Next, Make a Choice
What are you going to do about this shitty job you’re stuck in? You’re a smart guy (or girl), you’re educated and you don’t particularly like being miserable every day, do you? You have to make a decision here. You can start looking for a new job or you can decide to change careers.

If you’ve only been at one job in your field or you’ve been doing the same job for more than 3 years, you should consider looking for a new job. Quitting is terrifying and liberating at the same time, but it’s also easier than switching careers.

Is this the Right Career for You?
There comes a time when you realize you don’t hate your f*cking Job, you hate your f*cking CAREER! And that is a bigger problem for people who need their income and work in high-paying industries.

I went to work one day and said “I f*cking HATE I.T.(my field)!!!” And that was it. I launched this site and started searching and trying to figure out what the hell I could do with my life.

“How do you escape?”
“How can you match the salary?”
“How can you get paid well without taking on so much stress?”
“Do I really have to go back to school??”

So many questions! I went into this productivity coma while day dreaming and researching, but ultimately I felt completely trapped.

At the same time, my wife started a catering company. I saw that she struggled with the basics like web design, marketing and keeping the books so I started helping. I found myself completely consumed in it. I found a passion!

The only problem was that I wanted to control the company. I wanted to come up with the vision, optimize the way we did things and think about the long term strategies.

My wife just wanted to use it as a platform to getting a job cooking professionally and wouldn’t give up any control to me. But it served a purpose for both of us. It got her into a kitchen and made me realize what I want to do:

“I want to be an entrepreneur who helps people create businesses and blow past the subconscious limitations that keep them from success.”

It took me many months to fully realize that and put it into words, but once I found it, I found meaning, I found hope and I believe that I found a way out of Corporate Hell.

I’m Not a Bully

Two weeks ago I wrote this post about an ex-coworker who wasn’t responding to me. I got very frustrated with him and took to the Internet to bitch about him with what I thought was a well-written point about closing doors.

I received a lot of negative feedback about how I was being “passive-aggressive,” “narcissistic,” “unsympathetic”, “not very much like an INFP,” “a dick,” “a douche” and most of all a “bully.” This all came because I mentioned making fun of him at work.

I just wanted to take a minute to say thank you to everybody who pointed out that I was being all of those things. I wasn’t being true to myself and I wasn’t being true to who I am as a loving, caring and sensitive person.

So I wrote to my ex-coworker to apologize for making fun of him at work and just to make sure that we are cool. We are. When we were working together, we had a back-and-forth that would simply be categorized as “ball busting.” I knew this, but my post made it sound like I was simply attacking him for my own fun and he would walk off with his head down to cry in his cube.

Again, it was two people having fun making fun of each other, but I see where I went wrong in expecting others to see that.

This experience helped remind me that I need to write in a way that’s true to who I am. I was trying to write like one of those cool, snarky bloggers with big attitudes and big followings. I want to write posts with a point that have a little excitement in them. I didn’t achieve that.

The good thing is that I took some lessons out of this and decided to make sure I’m always writing in a way that is true to who I am as a naturally caring, spiritual and empathetic person.

That being said, I fully welcome anyone who is being bullied to email me or to comment on the posts of this website. We’re INFPs, which makes us naturally “different.” Society doesn’t always like and appreciate “different” and we can end up being bullied.

Many people who visit this site have been through similar things. I have been too.

So if you’re being picked on and bullied and you feel like there’s nothing you can do about it, please reach out to someone. You are a beautiful person and you need to nurture that. There’s nothing to feel shameful about and keeping it in can be very dangerous to your psyche and well being.

So thanks again for pointing out my mistakes and trying to rightsize me.

Everything made sense. My whole life.

I received this message from a 16 year old reader:

“I cried reading the blogs on this website. I am 16 and I never understood why other people never understood me and I never understood them. I always tried to be friendly towards them, almost over the top nice just so that they will like me. I recently gave up. I was so tired of trying to make one friend, when it should be part of human nature.

I took a test at school to help me figure out what careers I would be successful at – but like that madders, you should do what you enjoy – but I found I was a INFP. It didn’t tell us what that even meant! So I googled it. It came up with every career I ever considered doing! I was blown away. And then I found out we are only 1% of the population. And everything made sense. My whole life.

Knowing that I am a INFP makes me know I am special, yet I still am stuck. How am I supposed to make friends if I don’t feel a connection for them. And also if I am a introvert how can I love performing and singing?”

My response:

“Hi!
I’m so glad you’re understanding yourself more. I can say this: it’s tough being an INFP, especially when you’re young. When I was a teenager I used to come home and cry. I felt so lonely.

Are you in any art/music classes? That’s where you’re likely to find people who are more sensitive and care about deeper things. Though I remember thinking that I didn’t get the artists either lol.

Aside from that, you have to try to be patient. I know that you probably feel like you’ve been patient long enough and have had no friends your whole life, but things will get better. Especially after high school.

In the meantime, start reading on how to make friends and fit in. “Fitting in” feels so fake and uncomfortable, but discomfort shows that we’re growing. If you want to be understood, you need to understand others and what they care about.

Just try to be grateful for what you have right now. Try to be friends with your parents and talk to them. Hopefully they’ll understand. Friendship with others will come.

As for entertaining, I also love entertaining. I haven’t done it in a while and it took me a long time to just let go and put myself in front of people because I was very shy and scared. But there’s an important delineation for you. Introversion doesn’t mean shyness. Being introverted just means you prefer being at home, relaxing with a book instead of out talking to hundreds of people. You feel more energized in your inner world and drained dealing with people.

Arts and music are great for us because we are creative by nature. It helps us bringing our internal creative world out into this crazy chaotic world. And we finally feel understood. I never feel as understood as when I hear an electric guitar play. Weird, I know.

Anyway, things will get better. In fact, check this out: It Gets Better Project. Lots of artists and musicians talking about how life in highschool sucked but got a lot better later on. Mainly geared toward LGBT but still very applicable to us INFPs. Also check out Dream Teachers if you want to be inspired.

Good luck and reach out whenever you’re having trouble!

Mike”

How many of you high school students feel like no one understands you? Let me know in the comments of the blog or by responding to your email.