This site has consolidated into my new blog: Econ Apps. The premise is applying economics to life. Come check it out.
Category Archives: Life
If you have read one of my past posts on “how-to” articles you know I have mixed feelings about there usefulness. The information in this how-to post though is very useful, because the trial-and-error period can be costly. The post tells those of use that want to see the world but have not a lot of dough how to get by cheap. I have heard about sites like global freeloaders and couchsurfing but was skeptical. It’s encouraging to hear a success story and see that its possible not to stay in hotels or hostels and get great tips from locals. Read this post if you are in to traveling the world and want to get the best possible value for your money.
This post comes from the blog Zen Habits. It teaches us how to be in the moment and ease stress; something everybody needs help with sometimes. I found the post particularly helpful because lately I have been living in my head, therefore missing out on what’s going on in front of me (your friends will dislike you when you are this way, I know). Check it out, it will probably give you a healthy perspective on living.
There are many posts about the benefits of blogging. From networking and bettering your career to developing writing skills and examining the world more closely. I think there is one benefit that has been overlooked: increased initative.
To be an amateur blogger takes lots of will power. To be a professional blogger not so much because it’s a job and it supports you. No body is making amateurs write. The blogger has to have the initiative to do it. It is easier to be a spectator and just read, read, read, admiring other author’s ideas and creativity. Believe me I know. It took a whole lot of strength for me to even build my blog (which is rather primitive by most standards). It was a whole other story just to get my first blog post together and with all of life’s distractions blogging remains a happy struggle for me personally. I often fall into the cycle of reading other blogs instead of writing my own. But the ones who stick with blogging and churn out great nuggets of wisdom consistently, are people I greatly respect and see as self-starters that take charge of conversation.
People who blog have more initiative than the average person. It really is that simple. And the best part is if you don’t take a lot of initiative in your own life blogging is a great way to develop that mind-set. I feel that I am an example of someone who stood in the background in many situations before I started blogging, but now take more initiative daily. That’s right, blogging can help you build initiative! For example, in group projects at school I more or less went with the other group member’s ideas. I tended to not fully engage in conversation and brainstorming. Now, in my group working on a LEED ND (leadership in energy and environmental design for neighborhood development) project, I am far more comfortable leading discussion, interacting, bringing up ideas and action items and overall taking more initiative.
But initiative is only a product of the greater confidence that blogging creates. When I write about ideas and the way I feel about life so that everybody in the world can read, I have to be confident in my views. I also have to be willing to take potential criticism from others with a different angle and with different life experience. The confidence blogging instills is a huge asset to anyone who writes. Bloggers are continuously testing their ideas, thus gaining perspective when a commentator teaches them something new, or growing their confidence when they receive positive feedback. There is no way to lose by blogging.
Are you afraid to blog? Don’t quite get it? How has blogging changed you? Tell me about it.
Choice is prevalent everywhere in America. How does one decide what to read and what not to read; what not to watch and watch not to; or which job to take and which not to? The huge amount of choice available in our society is truly a gift and a curse.
As a person who has studied economics this abundance of choice is especially highlighted in my brain. A basic concept taught in all economics courses is opportunity cost: everything you do has a cost, in that when you , let’s say, go to the gym you are not able to spend time with your family. So, whenever you are doing one thing you are unable to do another and that’s a cost. Wikipedia puts it this way: “opportunity cost is the value of the next best alternative forgone as the result of making a decision.”
So what’s the point you say? Well I think about most things this way. Example I might think about reading a book. Then I think, wait, is this the best use of my time, should I do something else that has a higher value and lower opportunity cost? Pretty annoying huh (keep this in mind if you are thinking about majoring in economics, this could happen to you to). And because there are so many choices of activities out there I spend way too much time debating whether I should do this or that.
Because I think about this concept a lot I always want to be doing the highest value thing I can. This dilemma manifests most often with books, articles and anything that can be read. I do not want to spend my scarce time reading not the best thing ever written. I want to be reading the most interesting and useful piece of information, story, idea, concept or whatever whenever I decide to read at all.
Which brings me back to choice. I have a lot of interests and with a lot of interests comes a lot of choices among them. The abundance of choice can then lead to inaction. I have a list of books that I want to read that is so long that when I’m reading an actual book I think about all the other books I’m not reading. I read book reviews on Amazon instead of reading a book, just to make sure what I’m reading really is great. Annoying, I know! I sometimes think I have so kind form of ADD or obsessive compulsive disorder, I don’t know.
But I think the solution isn’t to limit my choices. Instead of asking myself, am I doing the most beneficial thing I can do at this moment, I should continue to explore. Taking a job that ends up being not fulfilling, or reading a bad article, or watching a boring movie, just means that when the job is great, the book griping, the movie hilarious, it will that much more enjoyable and meaningful.
I have not been able post a weekly endorsement the last two weeks due to my road trip. But its back!
This week’s endorsement comes from Trent Hamm of the Simple Dollar blog. The post is titled, “What Is A ‘Good Job’?”
The meat of the post asks one question: if you have a job that pays well but essential sucks the life from you is it worth it? Trent makes the argument that being happy in what you do is more important in life than having lots of money to buy goodies.
Check it out and let me know what you think.
“The Supreme accomplishment is to blur the line between work and play.”
I recently read an article in Esquire magazine called Why Are You Working So Hard? which hits on the conversation of meaningful work, going on in the Gen Y blogging community. Blogs such as Modite, life Without Pants, Mad Grad, The Art Of Nonconformity, Small Hands Big Ideas and Penelope Trunk (See blogroll for links) have many good posts, and are a good place to get in the conversation. As a student nearing graduation day and getting closer to entering real world life, the subject of meaningful work weighs heavily on my mind. I used to think that the most salient part of a job is a high salary. Today I know a job is much more.
After an 8-week internship this summer I realize the importance of loving what you do, or at least liking it quite a bit. Spending 40 hours of your week at work is a long time. Eight plus hours everyday at work is will probable take up most your time. You will not have much time to “have a life” when the work day is through. I found myself coming home from work drained and usually spent the next hour on the couch. This was after sitting in a cubicle in front of a computer most of the day. Imagine being on your feet or doing some sort of labor!
Because of my experience this summer I am determined to not only find a job, but a career I’m proud of and enjoy spending 40 hours of my life devoted to every week. I find it encouraging that my peers feel the same way as I do as well as the Esquire article. I find the prospects of putting my heart and soul into my work only to be unfulfilled and unhappy very discomforting to say the least. For years people have put up with work that does not enrich their lives and making excuses for a crappy job and life. I for one will not and know I am not the only one.
The times where people put in their hours every week, write up their reports, and be good employees only to buy a 42-inch LCD TV are hopefully coming to an end. In the Esquire article Stephen Marche asks, why are you working so hard, is it to come home from work to sit on your ass and watch TV for the rest of the day? I hope not. Call me selfish but I want something more. I want an extraordinary life, not one filled up with stuff. I see the first part of living an extraordinary life is loving the work you do that sustains your life. Without that love every other part of your life suffers. Americans need to reevaluate what is meaningful in our lives in order to become happier, more sane people.