Put Yourself Out There

It’s time to reconnect with your fellow man.

People rarely, if ever, get together outside of work and if so it typically is part of some other organized activity or pass time. The get together is usually ancillary to some other function and little, if any, time is spent in connecting and getting to know one another. That being said, make the most of these opportunities and make a connection with someone.

I understand time is limited because of the self-induced frenzy in which most, not all, people over commit themselves. Being torn and frayed is a badge of honor in society. Down time is a mark of a lazy person. So who actually has time to meet people and engage in meaningful conversation? Make the time.

Neighborhoods, communities and cities are always in a state of transience because of the nomadic nature of people today. Here today, gone tomorrow for a multitude of reasons; typically economic opportunity plays a big role in this trend. Build communities.

To me, at times, it seems that impersonality and lack of connection is part of some unseen program. Face to face conversation in business is rare. The phone call is similarly as rare. Businesses and business people seem drawn to the email is their preferred method of communications.

One the one hand, I get it. It is black and white and in writing. If you are a decent writer there is little room for ambiguity or misunderstanding. It is efficient in that you type and send. You wait for a response if one is needed, if not you move on to the next item on your to-do list. If you are organized, dealing with information exchange, at least enough to keep track of what is sent, what you need back, etc., you can get a lot of stuff done. It’s electronic ping pong. You can play multiple games at once.

My concern about the pace and trend of society is the lack of a reality check. If you rarely get together, hang out and shoot the shit with family and friends, how do you actually know what is going on in the world and more importantly other people’s lives and minds?

If all your information you get is from mass media and you have no one to discuss issues, topics and ideas with, how do you digest it? Pretty soon if you operate intellectually isolated, you might think the world has changed before your very eyes, that you are suddenly an outsider and you slowly move toward what you are lead to believe is main stream thinking.

Look at all the things that have changed over your life, for better or worse. Some of them, could you even have fathomed that these societal changes have taken place? I am talking about ideas regarding values, concepts of right and wrong, morality, etiquette, public behavior, work ethic, public service, etc. How did these changes manage to occur? It’s mind blowing.

I think you have a choice, feel the change or be the change.

Think about political correctness. Where and when did speaking one’s mind become the fodder for labeling people as intolerant? You can’t call bull shit on anything in today’s world or you are labeled as a dick or weirdo. You don’t spout the “generally” accepted line about any topic and you are a trouble maker. You can’t have a well researched opinion that is radically different from the “status quo”.

How did go along to get along become main stream in the United States of America?

I believe that if you spent the time and broke the rules and talked with people about their lives, their challenges, their successes, their failures, their opinions, you might just find most people actually think more like you than you would be lead to believe by the media. We all are more alike than we are being lead to believe. But how would you know, if you didn’t put yourself out there and find out?

Talk to people. When the opportunity arises engage people. Start with the small talk. Find common ground. Ask for an opinion. Make the most of chances to connect and meet people from all walks of life. Be open minded.

I love talking to people but I hate talking to people about other people. It seems as if gossip is the national pass time. Even if you don’t talk about people you know, you’re lead to talk about celebrities and sports stars. Who cares? Really? I don’t care who Tom Cruise is dating and why would you?

I like talking about events and their meaning. I like talking about ideas. I like talking about politics, society, spirituality, economics, governance, business and relationships. I like talking about things that matter in my life and in everyone’s lives. I like talking about all the stuff you aren’t supposed to talk about.

People get a charge out of me when I am engaged about something. It might be a negative charge or a positive charge, but people rarely come away neutral. That is because I don’t have a filter. I state my opinion. I don’t see which way the winds blowing before I open my big mouth. Ask me a question, I will give you an answer, but more importantly I hope we have a meaningful conversation as a result.

I have learned to preface my dialogue with softeners, such as “I’m not positive but I feel”, or “I think”, etc. But these softeners are not meant to test the winds, but to affirm that I really don’t much for sure. I have opinions; you have opinions, let’s see what together we can learn.

Other times, I open up with both barrels blazing when it’s a no brainer and my passions are aroused. That is when I earn my label of being an asshole, but at times like that I have neither the time nor patience for bullshit.

You know when people are baiting you for a reaction? Throw me the right line and I will set the hook myself; you’re in for the fight of your life. I am not going to play your game for your amusement; the pleasure is all mine. Go ahead troll me.

I think meaningful human discourse is a lost art. I imagine back to the founding of this nation. I have to believe there were some spirited debates. I doubt that Franklin, Washington, Payne or Jefferson ever suffered as many serious cases of butt hurt as today’s people. I think they relished the process and exchange of ideas. The history books of my youth told me so. I don’t know if that version of our history still exists in the text books or if it has been sanitized in the name of political correctness and esteem building.

I think the one saving grace society has going for it is the internet and social media. As disconnected as we have come to be, I think the internet is going to dramatically change the world. It has already.

You basically have all the world’s knowledge at your finger tips. Anything you need to know, want to know or learn is available to you.

Hear something on the news; read something in the paper and you want to do some research or fact checking on your own? Go to work and you can find reliable information and facts if you learn how to do a proper Google search and have discernment.

No not everything published on the World Wide Web is accurate or true, but amongst the garbage the truth resides if you’re patient and diligent enough to work for it.

Take it a step further and connect with people. I know the entire premise of Facebook is trite to begin with, but haven’t you actually formed some pretty meaningful connections with people through it? Haven’t you found like minded people that resonate with you?

I try not to be overly or deliberately controversial, but I am not shy about sharing or reposting ideas and posts that touch me. My page is public. I do this so I have nothing to hide. Having nothing to hide, I give real deliberation to what I say and share. I am opening myself up and I do so as a matter of personal growth.

My personal page, Ligonier (unpolished), Ligonier Recreational Bitterness and Complaining, Unpolished Me and this blog are ways for me to connect and engage with others. It’s a two way street. I enjoy the process of throwing something out there and seeing what happens. Will someone change my mind, will I change someone’s mind? What I am learning about myself and the world.

I think spiritual and intellectual growth is dynamic. It is an energy exchange. Talking to people and engaging with people via whatever channel is stimulating.  Give it a try and talk about something important to you with someone you know or would like to know better.

Reading the paper, watching broadcast media is passive. You are being spoon fed someone else’s perspective. It might be yours, or it might not be, but expose yourself long enough and pretty soon it is the only perspective you have.

Put yourself out there.

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