Shadi Mirza


Why be a joy vampire when you can practically sweat positivity?

Photo by Rakicevic Nenad on Unsplash

I sat in a room with more than 100 marketing professionals, and the misery was palpable, like a wet, mucousy sneeze. Don't get me wrong—not everyone in the room was a sad sack. Why would they be? We're well-paid and have great work-life balance.

Rather, the contagion was being spread by a mere three or four people. Heads down, swearing under their breaths, they took the fact that our two-hour meeting had taken a detour into a discussion about reality TV. Maybe they had better places to be. Perhaps seeing the prospect of leaving before 5PM slip away offended them on a profound level.

I don't know.

What I do know is that having to listen to their whining when I could have partaken in joyful banter was starting to affect me. As much as I pride myself on embracing the joie de vivre—a virtue in which I often fall short—their attitude was contagious. In other words: I found it hard not to give a fuck when these people were tossing them about with reckless abandon.

Normally, I'd put in headphones, or go somewhere, anywhere, else to avoid letting negativity get the better of me. But from this there was no escape.

People, partying is the only path. Before you think I've been listening to too much Andrew W.K., let me assure you that I'm not that into his music. I admire the man and what he stands for more than his brand of pop-metal. It's the musical equivalent of a breath mint: it tastes great going down and leaves a nice impression that fades all too quickly.

You have every right to be negative—this is America, after all. The stars and stripes were sewn in the thread of freedom. But don't be a joy vacuum, especially when no one in your immediate vicinity can escape your toxicity.

It sucks for us. It's unhealthy for you. Be the party, even when there's no music or booze to be seen. Because those things are party, but you don't need them to throw one. The party's all up here.

(You can't see me, so just pretend I'm pointing to the old noggin'.)

#Self #Work #Inspiration

Why Jordan Peele’s story is universal

Nathan McBride on Unsplash

In case you missed it —which you probably did, as the ratings were pretty low—Jordan Peele won the Oscar for “Best Original Screenplay.” The movie he wrote, Get Out, is a nuanced and intelligent take on racism in the 21st century.

And it almost didn’t get made. In his acceptance speech, Peele said:

“I stopped writing this movie about 20 times because I thought it was impossible. I thought it wasn’t going to work.”

Think about that for a minute. Academy Award-winner Jordan Peele (we can say that now, and we should) attempted to write the screenplay that would earn him widespread critical acclaim nearly two dozen times. He failed at doing one thing more than many of us ever will.

But, still, there he stood at the podium last night. Why? Because he persisted.

Think about that next time you hit the snooze button instead of going for a run, delete the Word document containing your novel rather than write another chapter or puff on a cigarette because tossing the whole pack in the trash is too hard. There’s always, always another day. You can try again.

Hell, I’m motivated. I woke up at 4:30 this morning to do bodyweight exercises and go for a run. It helped that my black Labrador, Bailey, took a dump on the carpet in our bedroom. But Peele’s speech helped, too.

The tricky part for me—and for you—is to keep going long after the wave has crashed. The Oscar buzz will die down. Twitter will move on to something else. But you and I have work to do.

Keep going—even when you’ve failed for what seems like the hundredth time. Because your next attempt might not net you an Oscar, but it could be the start of something big.

#Movies #Oscars #LifeLessons #Inspiration #Wisdom

You have eternity to lay in a box. Move around a little.

Jerry Kiesewetter on Unsplash

Yo, bros—it’s me, Death. You might know me as the guy who swoops in after someone wraps their car around a tree. It’s a messy job, but I’m used to it.

More often, I’m the one who creeps up to someone’s hospital bed while their loved ones are saying goodbyes. Dying people look scared because, well, I have no corporeal form. You’d be terrified, too, if some empty-looking black cloak and scythe came floating toward you. Sorry. I can’t help it.

When you die—we all, eventually, shuffle off this mortal coil— you’re going to spend eternity rotting in a box. Worms are going to eat you, and that’s totally gross. Yeah, yeah, I’m told it’s some “circle of life” shit, but I’m Death. I stay in my lane. Let the Other Guy worry about what happens when worms poop.

Anyway, at some point in the future—I don’t do spoiler alerts, so I’m not going to tell you when—your body is going to give out on you.

Why not, I don’t know, enjoy it a little?

Take the stairs. Marvel at how your knees are able to propel you up multiple flights without sounding like a rusty door. They will sound like that when you’re older, and you may end up needing a walker, which is gonna suck.

Run a marathon. Bask in the sense of accomplishment you feel at being able to go 26.2 miles without sputtering like a lawnmower motor. Then, eat a breakfast greasy enough to stop your heart. 

See the world. Do you know how small and cramped a pine box is? It’s like a Hong Kong apartment, but for your dead body. Only you don’t pay the rent—your loved ones do. Suckers. There’s so much cool stuff to do and see in places that aren’t your hometown.

So get out there, big boy, and live each day to the fullest because you never know when you’re going to see me.

#Inspiration #Life #Self #Motivation

Why dish out emotion like some spoiled rich kid when you can ration it like a miser?

Did you wake up this morning in your heated house, eat breakfast in your cushy flannel pajamas and think to yourself, Damn, my life is really freaking amazing?

Nah, you probably grumbled about the cold, cursed about how high up the cereal is in the cupboard and pined for the days when food scientists will be able to engineer corn flakes that stay crisp in milk.

That homeless dude begging for change near the freeway on-ramp during your morning commute? You didn’t touch the void for a moment and imagine an alternate reality where you were in his shoes. The thought didn’t even cross your mind. What really ground your gears was the car that cut in front of you without signaling.

Totally not a pyramid scheme If you spent even a month in college, you’ve probably heard of Mazlo’s hierarchy of needs.

Basically, Mazlo theorized that a person had to take care of their physiological needs (food, clothing and shelter) before they could worry about safety (a steady job, among other things). If you believe Lazlo, a romantic relationship is nigh impossible without first addressing the bottom two tiers of the pyramid. But it’s not hard to imagine a homeless person having a low sense of self-worth.

In essence, you can’t magically get to the top. You have to work your way up.

When the bottom drops out For many of us, the most essential of human needs — the bottom of Lazlo’s pyramid — are little more than an afterthought. All our emotional energy is expended on stuff that matters less:

  • The barista who made you repeat your order at the drive-thru
  • Shitty drivers
  • The fact that Hulu’s servers are down, again

Be like Scrooge Pretend your fucks are a massive vault filled with gold coins. Yeah, you could build a diving board and jump right into that filthy lucre, but life isn’t like the cartoons. That shit would hurt.

No, you should stand there and admire those riches. Be a miser. Ration your emotional energy and spend it on the things that actually matter — like being a great parent, creating killer art or running a marathon —the long-term pursuits that make life worth living.

Also, appreciate what you have. Life’s too short to worry about soggy cereal, the patch of dirt on your lawn where grass refuses to grow or how boring the latest season of Grace & Frankie was. None of that crap is worth getting emotional over.

Maybe it’s the wine talking Or perhaps I’m just more woke than I’ve ever been in my entire life, or something. But I’m tired of being apathetic when I should be empathetic, and vice versa.

Maybe you’re in the same boat. If so, I challenge you to prioritize what you give a fuck about. Because who honestly cares if the dude at Sonic forgot to put the cherry in your Cherry Limeade, again.

No, I’m not bitter. This is the start of a new chapter for me.

#Psychology #Life #SelfImprovement #Inspiration #LifeLessons