Have you ever rented a movie that comes with the extras at the end? You know, like interviews with the actors and directors, deleted scenes, behind the scenes, etc. Well that’s usually where I start. Before I even watch the movie I’ll watch the extras first.

Now I know what you’re probably thinking…

Jay, that’s a good way to see a bunch of spoilers.

I know! But the thing is, I’ve always been this way. I do everything backwards. That’s just what has kind of worked for me in my backwards way of life. I watch the extras first, I read books from the back to the front. I’m a bottom line kind of person. I like to just cut through the BS and get straight to the point, because otherwise I’m probably going to lose interest.

And while this has worked for me from a business and productivity standpoint…it has a tendency to really piss people off…

See, I don’t glaze over or get distracted because I’m a dick or a prick or an asshole. I mean, yes, I’ve been called all these things for being rude and impolite, but it’s not always the case.

I’ve had people in my life that were very close to me, personal relationships that ended up crumbling, like a Valentine’s Day dinner gone wrong because I wasn’t making eye contact, which meant I wasn’t listening to that person, and that was disrespectful.

So the WAKEUP call for me came when I realized that I don’t really like people not liking me or thinking ill of me or thinking that I’m being rude when really I’m just feeling misunderstood.

Have you ever felt that way? Misunderstood?

There’s no worse feeling to me than for someone to take something I’ve said or done out of context and to take it the wrong way.

I’ll give you an example…

In 2014, when I was single, I was swiping through a dating app and one of these connections turned into a few dates. This person came into my life and right away I could tell there was no chemistry but we actually kind of hit it off as friends. In a way, she became a motherly sort of a person. One night we went to a Super Bowl party and apparently the way I was acting, being anti-social, sitting on the couch with my arms crossed, not talking to anybody, not really engaging and just being myself. Truth be told, I was actually just watching the game, but that’s not how it appeared.

How it appeared was that this woman brought this guy over for a party and he’s acting like this arrogant prick who is not even talking to anybody. He’s just sitting over there.

So she pulled me aside and said, “Snap out of it. You’re being rude.”

And I tell you, it was as if her words were like a cast iron skillet that she smacked me across the head with…

It dawned on me that, yes, my actions, or lack thereof, could be misconstrued as rudeness.

But, now what?

I know that I’m very socially awkward, or I can be. I’m very introverted. I have extreme anxiety in public places and big rooms with lots of people. And public speaking? I’d rather die…

So great, being self aware is awesome and all that but knowing these things about myself doesn’t make me feel any better.

The point is…

Perception is reality and somewhere along the line, my reality and people’s perception of me weren’t lining up. The dots weren’t connecting and this is where I had to start doing some serious self-reflection. I had to go back and peel off another another fucking layer of the onion that is my life.

Now here I am thinking to myself, “Haven’t I done enough work?”

I mean, all I’ve been doing the last 15 years is growing and peeling one layer of the onion away to find the next, and yeah, the next one is a little bit brighter and fresher and crispier and sexier, but shit, these layers never seem to end.

And that’s the point. THAT is the WAKEUP Call…

The more you grow, the more you realize there is room to grow.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve been growing for 1 year, 5 years, 15 years, 50 years. A tree that’s 50 years old doesn’t get to just coast the rest of its life, does it? A tree is either healthy and growing or it’s dying. If it’s not growing and not healthy, if the conditions aren’t right, it stops bearing fruit. Then before you know it there are entire dead limbs and branches on this tree. And sure, a dead tree makes great firewood, but it doesn’t produce apples that can be taken to market.

So that’s the WAKEUP Call. If you’re not growing, you’re dying and the next time you’re feeling misunderstood, just look within.

And if I could leave you with any bit of advice it would be this…

The whole process of discovering yourself and embracing yourself and your weaknesses and turning them into your strengths is what is going to help you create the life that you love…

That and…

If you ever find yourself at a Super Bowl party, try to be a little bit social. Even if it kills you…

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