Do you guys realize how freakin’ dumb we are as a planet? Seriously. We’ve become an idiocracy.
I’d like to propose a few ideas in the spirit of New Year’s resolutions. I’m not out to change the world overnight. I’m just asking us to make it incrementally less moronic. If we all do our part, perhaps our children will actually have a chance of living during an era where IQ scores exceed the number of days Kim Kardashian was married because that trend line is currently headed in the opposite direction.
I’d also love to read your resolutions. Please add them in the comments section. Maybe we can start a global movement (hey, a guy can dream, right?). The resolutions below aren’t extremely difficult either. I invite you to add them to your list and ask your friends and coworkers to do the same.
Some of you are asking “why 12?” Because. That’s all. It’s the number that hit me as I was writing this and then I backed into some logical B.S. to rationalize it that there are 12 months in a year so there’s one for each month. Not everything I write makes sense. Deal with it.
So here they are – 12 resolutions for a less idiotic world:
1. Don’t read comments on Yahoo! news stories. Ohmygod I get stupider every time I get sucked into reading comments on Yahoo! news stories. It’s no wonder that company is going down the toilet – the majority of the readership consists of illiterate, racist, misogynistic, rude, uneducated clowns. Don’t read the comments (let alone add your own even if it’s an attempt to “fix” the uneducated masses). Go read the news instead. It’ll make you smarter.
2. Don’t watch the news. Have you seen what passes for news these days? It has become infotainment, paid sponsorships, xenophobic, partisan pablum. Think for yourself. Think critically. Seek out multiple sources of news and form your own perspective.
3. The Kardashians, Snooki, Paris, and others – stop. Please stop paying attention to these people. I still don’t understand what socially redeeming qualities they have. Their contributions to humanity include clothing lines, Internet memes, and late night talk show fodder. Go revere people who actually make a difference in this world. Give your time, energy, and attention to folks in the arts, charity, medicine, etc.
4. Vote. You have a voice. Exercise it. If you don’t vote, don’t complain. If you do vote, think for yourself. Step outside the propaganda. Understand the issues. You’re making big decisions that will affect many generations to come. It doesn’t take much time to get educated and fill out a ballot. 2012 is an important year.
5. Cut the partisan crap. Yes, Congress, I’m talking to you. Get your job done. Look at the people you represent. Understand what they want and balance that with what’s good policy. And for all of you contributing to the partisan rancor, remember you have two ears and one mouth for a reason. Shut up with the rhetoric and listen. You might learn something and maybe we can all hate each other a little less.
6. Read. Go read a book. And try to up the game from trashy vapid novels and learn something about yourself or the world around you. I confess – I don’t read nearly as much as I should. I’m trying to get better at it. Set a goal of pages, chapters, books, etc. and just make it happen. Elevate your thinking and the discourse. If you’re looking for some good reads, look to the right of this post – there are some great suggestions in the “Books You Must Read” flashy thingy (yes, that’s the technical term for it).
7. Help someone. If someone asks you for a hand, give it to them if you’re able. Make a job search connection. Review a resume. Clean up a park. If all of us give just a little, perhaps unemployment will dip a little and a virtuous circle can begin as those who received help turn around and return the favor. If you don’t feel like helping others, stop for a second and think about all the people who have helped you at some point. Feel guilty now? Good. Go help someone.
8. Put down the Twinkies. Eat better. Obesity has more co-morbid complications than you can imagine. We’re killing ourselves. We’re overtaxing our healthcare system. Our kids are starting to look like Augustus Gloop from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Try celery. It doesn’t suck as much as you might think.
9. Use your vacation. Your employer gives you vacation for a reason. Use it. When you’re burned out, you’re worthless. You’re killing yourself (literally) and you don’t realize it. Stress is kicking your butt. Stop. Breathe. Take a day off and read a book or something.
10. Save some money for retirement. “Oh woe is me! I’ll never be able to retire!” Yeah, and that new plasma screen TV with your new Wiixboxplaystationsupermegaconsole is really helping you reach your financial goals. Get some discipline. Set up automated contributions. Max out that 401k. Contribute to your kids’ 529s. Plow some cash into your IRAs. Don’t be a financial burden for future generations because you didn’t save for your golden years.
11. Lighten up. We take ourselves too seriously. When is the last time you had some fun? A laugh? Took things with a grain of salt? We need to quit being so uptight and laugh – starting with ourselves. Stop taking yourself so seriously because nobody else does (and yes, I’m included in that comment). You’ll be amazed how much laughter can reduce your stress levels.
12. Be the solution. No matter what the problem is, instead of pointing out new and bigger problems, figure out how you can contribute to fixing them. No matter how small an effort you make, it’s better than no effort (or worse, adding to the problems). If all of us become part of the solution, I think we’ll be amazed at how many problems go away.
That’s it. 12 simple New Year’s resolutions. I’m not asking a lot of you (or me). I’ll try to do my best on these. I invite you to step up and do the same. Heck, forward this to your friends and invite them to join and invite others to join. Maybe in 2012 we can fix some things and clean the world up a little bit before the Mayan gods return and destroy everything next December.
– If you’re looking for a book to start on resolution #6 above, grab yourself a copy of One Piece of Paper: The Simple Approach to Powerful, Personal Leadership. There are plenty of suggestions in there for how you can lead your life more effectively. CLICK HERE to get your copy.