Tag Archives: thoughts

Are some people better than others?

My brother and I had a friendly discussion the other day. The discussion revolved around the question of, ‘are some people better than others?’

What does your gut instinct tell you right now? Can you admit that someone is better than someone else? Or, do you believe that we’re all equal?

My brother’s position was that no one is better than anyone else. We are all equals in his eyes. This seems very reasonable, I’ll admit. It feels like the right belief to have. In a way, I agree with this statement.

The neighbor is equal to the CEO of that big business, and the panhandler is equal to the friendly grocery bagging lady. No one is better than anyone else, and we all have the potential to do great (whatever your definition of great is) things with our lives.

On the other hand, I couldn’t help but feel that something was wrong with this statement of everyone being equal. I wasn’t comfortable admitting that Elon Musk was equal to me. I didn’t believe that Aristotle and Plato were equal to me. How could Albert Einstein, Voltaire and Ernest Hemingway be equal to me? It didn’t sit correctly. So, I ended up arguing for the side that some people are better than others.

I was okay admitting that Aristotle was a better person with me. I was perfectly comfortable saying that the other great minds of human history were better than me too. What’s wrong with that? I felt comfortable with the idea. Some people have done more for humanity than others.

As much as we want to believe that we’re all equal, I can’t help but think that we’re definitely not equal. Some people are better than others. Are you okay saying that? Does your ego allow you to think that?

Where do you stand?

School doesn’t teach you anything (or does it?)

Lately, I’ve noticed an influx of people making statements like, ‘school doesn’t teach you anything.’

Or, ‘anything school teaches you, you can learn on the internet or in books.’

I know those people don’t mean any harm and, for the most part, I agree with them. Especially, when it comes to high school, but a little less so when it comes to college.

I think there are some key things that school (high school and college) teaches us that some people are simply skipping over. Statements like those are very black and white. Like most things in life there’s a lot of gray area to be discussed.

Here are a few things that school teaches us, or at least tries to, that would be difficult to learn anywhere else.

Social skills. In high school and college you’re forced to be around people all day long. You’re forced to be around your peers and others much older than you. You have to learn how to interact with the smart people, peers, authority figures and trouble makers. Skills like this transfer over to the work environment where you have to be, at the very least, on good terms with your co-workers and know how to navigate the waters successfully with authority figures. You need to know how to stay away from the ‘trouble makers’ at work. There are always employees that are slacking off. You don’t want to get stuck associating with them, and get labeled a slacker yourself.

Where else would you learn valuable skills like those? Where else would you learn the consequences of befriending the trouble makers, and getting on bad terms with the authority figures? High school and college is the answer. Learning those skills for the first time at your company could prove to be very costly (you might get fired).

Does high school always teach us these skills perfectly? Of course not. But it’s the best place to learn them at. Can you learn these valuable skills by simply chilling at home? No way. Come on. Social skills are one thing that school can teach us.

Learning how to make friends. When out in the real world you have to learn how to make friends. That’s how you get mentors, connections, romantic partners and live a happy life. People with no friends are usually people who aren’t happy. You have to know how to be friendly with your coworkers and bosses. You have to know how to get along with others. If you can’t make friends don’t expect to get invited anywhere on Friday or Saturday nights..forever.

In high school and college we are forced to be around people all day. We have to learn how to make friends if we don’t want to spend break time and lunch time alone wandering the hallways. Those people who could never make friends in high school or college probably struggled outside of school too. Did they eventually learn? Yes, probably. But, that doesn’t mean it was the preferred way of learning how to make friends. I’m sure they wished they had figured it out in their teen years (and most people do).

School forces us to work together. Remember those group projects and dreaded presentations? Those stressful assignments were teaching us how to collaborate with others. Collaborating with others is important in most work environments. Were you going to learn how to collaborate with total strangers at home? Nope. School taught you that.

School teaches us how to follow rules and work within the rules. I can, already, imagine some of you going crazy and threatening to close your web browser after reading that.

Wait, let me explain.

I know following the rules isn’t something that’s popular right now and I agree that we shouldn’t follow all rules. But, there are some basic rules that we need to follow to survive in society. We quickly learn about those rules at our school environment.

Even the mega entrepreneurs know how to work within the rules and follow rules (when they need to). Guys like Richard Branson and Elon Musk certainly know how to break the rules. But first, you need to master the rules before you can break them. These guys aren’t just breaking all the rules that they find, and get their hands on. They know every single rule, and they strategically break the ones that they know they can break.

If Elon Musk was all about breaking rules, then how did he secure government funding for some of his projects? He knows how to follow rules as well.

What happens to the people who don’t know the rules, or can’t follow rules? They end up in jail, mental institutions or other places where I’m sure you rather not be. Following rules isn’t cool at the moment, but we do have rules we need to adhere by to stay in society, and school teaches us those. Unless, you prefer to spend your days in jail?

If school doesn’t teach us anything, what are you suggesting we do? Are you suggesting kids skip high school and college, and instead stay at home learning material off the internet and reading books in the library/ bookstores all day?

Cool story, bro. Sounds like utopia to me.

What’s more likely to happen with kids skipping high school and college is, kids just roaming around all day. Having fun, chilling, drinking, smoking, unplanned pregnancies, and giving their neighbors headaches. A full grown adult can barely discipline themselves to read and learn all day to further their career. You think a 16 – 22 year old is going to do that?

Think about your mindset during those critical years. Did you want to voluntarily read books all day and learn stuff on the internet?

Before we throw school under the bus, we need to come up with a real alternative.

Leaders are born or are leaders made?

Leaders are born. Or, is it, leaders are made? What’s the answer? Like usual, it’s probably a mixture of both. Nothing is ever black or white. There’s always a little gray.

Seth Godin believes that leaders are made. Seth is talking about the workplace, so he’s likely correct. I would agree that leaders can be made in the workplace if properly trained.

Magic Johnson believes leaders are born. Or, more accurately, you’re either a leader or not when you come into the NBA (usually 18 – 21 years old).

Two seasons ago the Los Angeles Lakers drafted D’Angelo Russell with the #2 pick. He has the talent to become an All-Star caliber player. Tons of players are drafted during the draft, and a vast majority go nowhere, while a very small percentage go on to have successful NBA careers. An even smaller percentage become All-Stars. The Lakers, of course, were hoping that Russell would live up to his talents.

During Russell’s rookie season, you could see glimpses of his potential, but he didn’t get much playing time since Kobe Bryant was in the midst of his last season before retiring. Last season was Russell’s first full season where he saw plenty of playing time. It was also the first season where Magic Johnson (President) and Rob Pelinka (General Manager) would be in charge. They got hired to hopefully turn the Lakers around, and back into a winning team.

Magic took the job determined to bring the Lakers back to winning. Immediately, he began evaluating each player. Magic wanted to know which players would make great pieces on a championship team. Winning a championship is the ultimate goal.

Throughout last season Magic watched the games, talked to the players, attended practices, and went to workout sessions. He found out what he needed to know.

A few days before the NBA draft (Lakers again had the #2 pick) the Lakers made a stunning trade that sent Russell to the Brooklyn Nets. Many fans felt that it was a bad move (initially me too). That was their #2 pick of only a few years ago, and those are hard to come by! He still had tons of potential (only 21 years old)!

It became clear that Magic had found out what he needed to know, and that he didn’t make a terrible choice. Lonzo Ball had worked out for the Lakers twice, as a draft prospect. Lonzo plays the point guard position, like Russell. He’s big for the position, like Russell. Lonzo is 6’6″ while Russell is 6’5″. Lonzo also has incredible talent, with his passing abilities shinning bright, like Russell.

After seeing Lonzo work out for the Lakers and after hanging out with Lonzo’s family for a day, Magic saw the difference between the two talented young point guards.

Lonzo Ball was a born leader.

Lonzo Ball’s college coaches praised his leadership skills, and so did his parents (he was the oldest child).

On the other hand, Russell was questioned many times throughout the season regarding his leadership skills and locker room presence. Magic knows what it takes to win a championship. Magic knows that the point guard, on a winning team, needs to be a leader.

On draft day, Magic and the Lakers selected Lonzo Ball with their #2 pick. Both had incredible talent, but Lonzo Ball had the right mentality. Ball was a born leader. Magic Johnson found his point guard. As a Lakers fan, I hope Lonzo does well and lives up to his expectations.

Social media and validation

Last weekend, I was at the restaurant called Yard House. I was minding my own business and eating my food. Then, Dennis Rodman walks in. You know who that is, right? He is famous for a number of reasons (Chicago Bulls, too much partying & a wild sense of style).

Of course, everyone started looking his way. Two guys even went up to him and asked for a photo. He said no, twice. It got me wondering about how much those guys, actually, wanted a photo with Dennis, versus wanting a photo to post it on their Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat. I’m willing to bet they wanted the picture solely for their social media accounts. They craved the likes, and the validation of their followers. We all do.

They wanted their friends to comment, ‘Oh that’s so cool.’

And, ‘Where at!!?? You’re so lucky.’

Since I’m a huge NBA fan, I wanted a picture with Dennis too. But, I started thinking, if I never shared that photo with anyone, would I still want it? The answer was, not really. If I couldn’t show the photo to anyone, forever, then I was happy knowing I ran into him.

How many times is that not the case? Do we really need tons of pictures and short videos at Coachella? Or, do we really just want to show off to our social media followers? In reality, we want the likes, thumbs up and praise. We want the validation.

The entire point of life is to actually live it. The point of doing cool things is to be there, not to share it to the point that you’re never actually there in the moment. I’m willing to bet most people miss out on experiencing their cool moments (that they were looking forward to), because they are so busy taking the picture, ensuring the caption is perfect, and posting it.

How much social media validation do you really need?