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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Modern Passivity and the Power of Enthusiasm

A: Want to go to the movies later?
B: Sure
A: Ok.
      Modern Technology has allowed us to be concise and short with communication void of intimacy and emotion. We all want to say yes, but settle with passive, short and ambiguous texts and messages. We intentionally and subconsciously hide ourselves from the our true emotions. We are bored, desensitized and disconnected while being connected to everything at the same time. I am using "we" as a generality. It has been to my observation that most of us have become hidden and passive with no sense of joy or enthusiasm. We trade exclamation marks for periods. We seldom walk with conviction and mostly have dull and small interactions based on small talk and social obligations.

      We reduce our language to "text speak", acronyms and vernacular ambiguities. Emotive expression and personality markers are limited in the sphere of text messaging. Intimate questions are transmuted to non personal and non confrontational transactions eliciting short and apathetic answers.

       A good chunk of us wake up with fatigue and lack of motivation. Some of us wake up hungover and zombified resisting every inch of what we have to do in the day. The tasks of the day are done with a sense of obligation and disdain. Our heads swim in another place as we blindly drive ourselves to our jobs. Hours run into hours and days run into days. We all drift in a collective haze. Our energy is drained and our attitudes dwindle. Our exhausted minds and bodies trudge through each minute like an old ungreased wheel. Our drained energy transforms us into subservient, apathetic and passive beings drifting from one point to another without paying "attention" to what is in between.

        We abuse the word "OK", "Sure", "Alright" and even the dreaded "K" with an occasional ".". We have become great masters of assumption. We take what we can from short quick texts and project what we think the other person is feeling. " Why is he being so short with me?" " Is something wrong?". We stare at our phone or constantly check it expecting the other person to reply immediately. The expectation creates tension. We assume that everyone should have their phones on them at all times. You must always be "on call". "Why is he taking so long to get back to me?" God forbid you leave the phone on top of the kitchen table or even leave it in another room when you are taking a shower! Our reward centers love it when we get a text and anxiety creeps in when a response does not happen in a timely manner. We constantly check on our phones awaiting dimwitted replies and sterile confirmations. We are rats pressing the button for the cheese and when we don't get it we suffer.

         Can we stand up straight and puff up our chests and communicate with conviction? Can we be patient by listening and not simply waiting anxiously to respond? Focusing on Affirmative Communication and being Assertive are two great life enhancers and changers. Being mindful of what kind of space you create when you communicate is essential in creating a healthy and productive atmosphere. We have the power to turn a simple and drony "OK" to an enlightening and refreshing " Absolutely". We have the transformative power through self knowledge and growth to turn a dull "Ok" or a "sure" to a resounding, assertive and proactive YES full of vigor and confidence. We have potential to bring care, enthusiasm and compassion to each social interaction in real life and through technology.

Listen to your gut instinct. Take a chance and ask yourself if you are being passive or ambiguous.

1. Check in with yourself.
2. How are you feeling?
3. Am I going to choose to use this aggression, disdain or indifference to initiate and/or respond to a person or group?
4. Will I transform my mood or reaction with the power of self awareness and create a healthy and exciting atmosphere for dialogue?

Enthusiasm is contagious. Assertiveness is courageous.
Uncertainty breeds insecurity. Passivity perpetuates passivity.

Friend A: Where should we go?
Friend B: I don't know what do you feel like?
Friend A: I don't know.
Friend B: Ok hmm...

oh those dreaded dots of anxiety and anticipation.
Here is a possibility...

Friend A: Where should we go?
Friend B: I know a great new Italian restaurant that we could go to! I've heard great things!
Friend A: Oh Great that sounds delicious!
Friend B: Excellent! I'll go ahead and pick you up!

When you take control and volunteer yourself as an assertive and competent individual, you are creating an environment of cooperation and proactivity. It's not all about you. Putting yourself in control allows you to be pay more attention to the needs and desires of others. Take chances or pay attention to past cues that your friends might have suggested in the past. You can base your decisions to cater to your friend's needs by simply being present. What's their body language like? How are they talking? What kind of vibe are they giving off?

Break out your comfort zone. Listen to the first thing your mind tells you when making decisions. Be very wary about being impulsive, but don't be too critical of your intuitions.

Don't wait for people to make decisions for you all the time.
Put your foot down and be assertive and honest. Always consider the feelings of others.


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