Last night we rang in 2014. This article on Cracked (fair warning: strong language and not really safe for work) talked about six harsh truths that will make you a better person.
And harsh, it is. I don't necessarily agree that we are nothing more than our value to other people. But as far as learning new skills, it's spot on.
One of the video clips is Alec Baldwin's “ABC” speech in Glengarry Glen Ross. He's addressing real estate agents — in a way that, once heard, cannot be unheard — that they should ABC: Always Be Closing. They should always be getting people closer to signing on the dashed line, because nothing good happens financially until that happens. And the more often it happens, the better.
As I was reading the article, my wife came in. I was a bit embarrassed that I was reading it because of all of the language, but she ended up looking it up herself. As a creative person, it was edifying to her. She does many things well, and after reading it she realized that this allowed her to be useful and serve others in many different ways.
Just for fun, I dug up thirty more ABC's with the help of Google's auto-complete. Here they are.
- Always be calm. Being slow to anger and weathering through challenging situations with demeanor is an asset. Harsh words cannot be taken back.
- Always be careful. Especially when driving, or using power tools, or working with electricity or fire. I've learned this the hard way.
- Always be cautious. Analyze big decisions. Things are usually harder than they appear.
- Always be certified. This is the mark of some level of skill. Certifications are useful.
- Always be charging. Moving forward takes work, but it's the only way to create something of value.
- Always be charming. I've learned this the hard way, too. Social graces open more doors.
- Always be chasing. Chasing higher skill. Chasing for thing you believe in.
- Always be cheerful. “Laugh, and the world laughs with you …”
- Always be chic. A little intrigue adds spice.
- Always be civil. “Blessed are the peacemakers …”
- Always be classy. (See Always be charming.)
- Always be cleaving. A gemologist cleaves. Take something raw and make it pretty.
- Always be clean. Clean in manner, clean in mind.
- Always be coaching. Have you built someone up today?
- Always be cobbling. (This was a skit on Saturday Night Live with Alec Baldwin spoofing himself.) Stanley and Danko, authors of The Millionaire Next Door found that millionaires were more likely than non-millionaires to re-sole their shoes. What can you do to decrease your cost of ownership for your stuff?
- Always be coding. Applies to programmers, but by extension applies to anyone honing a craft.
- Always be confident. A friend told me to keep nay-sayers far away because they can erode confidence. If you think you can't do something, you'll do your best to live up to your expectations.
- Always be connecting. It's probably more who you know than what you know.
- Always be content. You can chase and charge, but also be content. Not being content leads to unhappiness.
- Always be converting. (Similar to Always be closing.)
- Always be cool. And calm. And collected.
- Always be cooking. Cooking something up. Or literally, cooking. Hey, folks have got to eat!
- Always be courteous. It's a skill to disagree without being disagreeable.
- Always be covering. Whatever (or whoever) needs to be covered.
- Always be creating. This is the one that spoke to my wife. Do you consume, or do you create?
- Always be crisping. (Hey, it showed up. I guess avoid soggy potato chips?)
- Always be curious. Asking questions helps to make new connections in your mind.
- Always be cute. For me, this is far easier said than done!
- Always be cunning. Like the fox. (What was it that he said?)
- Always be cycling. Or doing some other form of exercise.
Any others? Which ones speak to you?
Happy new year! Thanks for reading, and best wishes for a great 2014!