Thoughts from the Shark Tank

I’m not a big television watcher. This is largely due to the fact that I don’t really have the time and I don’t have cable. I’m not a huge fan of reality or game shows. However, the tv show, Shark Tank has really caught my eye. One thing that my parents drilled into me growing up was the importance of owning your own business. My siblings and I never got allowances because we were told that we were “allowed” to have free room and board. But I digress. Shark Tank is a great show because you get the chance to see people market themselves in order to grow their business. In fact, when you think about it, a lot of life depends on how you “market” or sell your skills to other people. One thing that is very apparent after watching the show is that that presentation is everything. Contestants on the show name their terms and how much money they need to pursue their dream and grow their business. They explain their services or products in detail and answer all the probing questions from the sharks. One thing that always amazes me is the number of people who do not know what they are talking about. It’s their business, their time to shine and they haven’t a clue. I came across a quote from Napoleon Hill this week that stated, “There is one weakness in people for which there is no remedy. It is the universal weakness of lack of ambition!” I can definitely agree with that sentiment and I think that there are many people who fit into that category. Starting your own thing takes time, dedication and ambition and I have a lot of respect for people who make that decision.

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Testing Woes

I’ll be honest, I very strongly dislike standardized tests. The source of this dislike can be credited to my mother, who also strongly opposes standardized tests. Growing up, I didn’t have many tests. The homeschooled life afforded me the luxury of learning my way. High school was challenging because I literally had to teach myself subject I knew nothing about with limited internet access and textbooks. Yet, this was not as challenging as it sounds like because all my tests were open book. When I say all, I mean ALL. Because of this experience, I am quite comfortable with open book tests. Partially because I think that it’s reassuring to know that all the answers are contained somewhere in the book and you just have to find them. Piece of cake. Consequently, when it came time in my high school career to take the tests that indicate if you’re smartĀ  and if you’ll go to a decent college, I experienced a high level of anxiety. The results of this anxiety was that I took the SAT three times (yes, three) and the ACT twice. For a grand total of…………a lot of hours spend in a cold room filling in bubbles. I prefer essay tests to filling in bubbles. Eight pages of blank paper and a one sentence question on top of each page? I’m down. I’d much rather give a speech in front of thousands of people than take a timed standardized test. Honestly, one of the things that I liked about graduate school is that I only had ONE test the entire length of my program. It was great. However, my professional goals demand that I take tests for licensure in my field. And, the time has come to start to study and prepare for this test. No, I’m not excited but I am more than ready to get this out the way so that I can move on with my life. I can’t wait.

Happy, Happy, Happy, Happy

So this song has been pretty popular the past couple of months. There’s a rumor that Pharrell tried numerous times to get this concept off the ground before the movie actually picked it up. The song is super catchy and the music video(s) involve people singing and dancing to the song at all hours of the day and night. There’s a website that plays the music video 24/7 and you can also watch it in one hour increments. While I am someone who gets easily annoyed after the first 5 minutes of a song (with the exception of classical music), I’ve actually listened to three hours of this song over and over again. We all know people who appear to be happy all the time. I don’t know anyone who actually IS happy all of the time (unless they are happily psychotic, but that really doesn’t count). While songs like this would traditionally be way too “happy” for me, it’s a song that can put you in a better mood. Despite the fact that in no way am I a poster child for being in a constant state of euphoric happiness, I’ve learned to genuinely enjoy and appreciate the moments where happiness sneaks up on me and surprises me. This song just talks about being happy without there being an apparent reason. Great concept. Good melody. Pharrell made a great song that embodies a feeling that most people want to have, and, (totally unrelated), he does NOT look 40.

No New Friends

Many of us are familiar with the lyrics to this popular song. Along with a catchy hook, the song embodies a sentiment that many people would agree with. The artist in this song repeats the three words “no new friends” over and over again. Great friendships aren’t made overnight. Have you ever met someone and within a matter of minutes they have already decided that they are your best friend? One of the most annoying experiences ever. I think that the best friendships and relationships have stood the test of time. They involve people who you have known forever–or you’ve gone through so many experiences together that it feel like forever. Many people have a “core” group of friends who they keep up with. One thing that I have learned is that many times people who have a “no new friends” mentality actually make the best friends. This is because they tend to be fiercely loyal because they don’t have many reasons not to be. People who have had good friends for long periods of time tend to be more comfortable with themselves and also more likely to refuse to be drawn into superficial and surface relationships. At least in my opinion. There’s more genuineness and authenticity when someone isn’t looking for a friend for the sheer reason that they feel they need one. Friendships have to develop and grow and sometimes people don’t want to be bothered with the process of meeting someone and building a relationship with them. In my opinion, I don’t think that having a lot of friends is necessary because quality is more important than quantity. It’s easier to be yourself and comfortable with people who know you well and who you have known for years. Having a “no new friends” mentality is somewhat of a luxury because it implies that you actually have old friends and are still close to them. Getting out of your comfort zone and doing something different often means that you have to let go of a “no new friends” mentality and just meet and get to know new people. Not the “funnest” thing ever, but definitely necessary. However, now having any new friends actually works for some people. They’re comfortable that way and they don’t want to change. I don’t blame them. If something isn’t broken, there is no reason to fix it. At least most of the time.

Car Wash

Like millions of people everywhere, I own a car. I know people who have names for their main mode of transportation. They baby their cars and have them washed and detailed on a weekly basis. I’m not one of those people. Ever since I can remember, I’ve hated car washes. I can remember my parents singing to me to keep me from crying when I was little. While I don’t cry hysterically as my car is being doused in soap in water, I do sing at the top of my lungs to distract myself from the fact that I am trapped in a moving vehicle in less than ideal conditions. And just in case you’re wondering, this post does not end with some profound thoughts or wisdom related to car washes and daily life. No, I have not figured out why I don’t like car washes. It’s probably attached to some bad experience hidden in my subconscious. I endure them when I must and consequently my car is currently in need of a good washing. Basically my point in saying all that is to say this: being comfortable and being safe are two different things. As a therapist, I’m pushing people out of their comfort zones and challenging them to change their behaviors and thought patterns. That’s uncomfortable. But simultaneously, I’m also creating a safe space for them to be themselves and to not be judged for their weaknesses while they are figuring out the next step. That’s safety. While I am extremely uncomfortable being trapped in a car with water and soap splashing everywhere, I’m still (relatively) safe. Plus, the end product is a cleaner looking car. Similar to the way that being emotionally vulnerable ( a.k.a. uncomfortable) can have good results.