On Awesomeness and Being Awesome

My birthday was yesterday. Birthdays are a big deal for me, because I don’t make New Years resolutions. Instead, I make birthday resolutions.

I guess this started in 2008, when I turned 24 and realized how dangerously close I was to weighing 300 pounds. I said “Okay, Self, it’s time to lose weight”. I found a simple workout guide, cut caloric beverages completely from my diet, and started working out five days a week. Sure, I didn’t keep the absolute diligence up constantly… I slipped up a few times, or went through spells where I backslid. But ultimately, from March 2008 to December 2011, I went from this:

To this:

And I did it without specialized diets (paleo-, Atkins, etc.), major lifestyle changes (I didn’t even quit smoking), or bullshit fad workout cults (I’m not going to say its name but it rhymes with “schmossfit”).  Am I bragging? Well, yeah, a little bit. Do I care? No. Being thinner didn’t solve all my problems. Being awesome did. Unfortunately, that was a different journey.

I was having a conversation a few months back with a friend concerning relationships. My friend said “I just want someone who thinks I’m awesome”. I agreed, that was what I wanted as well. And then it hit me. The easiest way to find someone who thinks you’re awesome… is to BE. AWESOME.

Now, granted, awesome is a matter of perspective. But the most important perspective of your own awesomeness is you. Trust me, I know this is hard. Personally, as a rationalist/skeptic, I have to take things on evidence, rather than presupposition — my mind won’t let me work any other way. But since I’m judging something so completely subjective, I can presuppose all I want. It’s “awesomeness”, something so vaguely defined and up in the air that there’s really no perspective that matters more than mine. So, I’m going to give a simple guide, based on my own awesomeness experience.

[DISCLAIMER: I am in no way qualified to give you advice on anything, at all, ever, and under NO circumstances should you pay any attention to my advice, or even read it if you are ever influenced by things you read on the Internet]

So, step one was to find my starting point. Just a small piece of evidence pointing to my own awesomeness. I chose to look at the weight loss (which is why I started with that story) because from a creative standpoint, I had been through something of a dry spell. Your starting point can be as simple as you want it to be. You have accomplished something. If you think you haven’t, you’re wrong. You may have had a kid, graduated high school, graduated an equivalency program, even made an old person’s day by carrying their groceries half a block. It doesn’t matter. You find your starting point, and you say “I am awsome“.

“But some people don’t think I’m awesome! What about those people?”

Fuck those people.

Seriously. You’ve already established that you are awesome. So if something doesn’t agree with you, they are obviously wrong. You might want to spend some time trying to prove your awesomeness to them… Personally I’d say don’t bother. Awesomeness is self-evident. Anyone who doesn’t see your awesomeness isn’t worth your time.

Exceptions are in the cases of teachers or inspirations. If someone is an expert in a field, you should probably listen to their advice.

So how am I so awesome?

Well, I chose a few months ago to live by a short list of guidelines. I was going to list them here, but they really all boil down into one simple principle:

OWN WHAT YOU DO

Example #1:  Bob eats lot of junk food. But he also keep track of his calories, fat, cholesterol, etc. and he works out a lot. He has to eat way more than most people because of the number of calories he burns. He goes to a restaurant with his friend Jim, and orders a super-sized combo.

Jim, on the other hand, only orders a burger, and loudly weighs the option of whether or not to eat fries. Not because he doesn’t know if he wants them, not even because he’s concerned about his health, but because he’s concerned about what Bob or others might think of him for eating fries. He finally decides “okay, I guess I’ll have fries”. They both eat. Within 5 minutes, Jim is complaining “oh I shouldn’t have had that order of small fries, I’m going to get so fat, etc.”

Here’s the deal: Bob ordered a hell of a lot more food than Jim did. But Jim is so concerned with what other people think of his order that he can’t own up to the fact that he happened to want some fries. What if Bob wasn’t in great shape, and still decided to order a large combo? It still wouldn’t be anybody else’s goddamn business. Jim is concerned with appearances and pleasing others, to the point where he loudly tries to make himself what he thinks they want him to be, when ultimately nobody cares what Jim ordered except for Jim.

Example #2: Bob is dating Janice, whom Jim doesn’t like. So Bob keeps the relationship a secret from Jim. To the point of even lying to Jim about the relationship. This is even more of a dick move than before, because rather than not showing confidence in his diet, he’s actually keeping a relationship secret. So he’s being a dick to both Jim and to Janice. (And Janice should kick his ass to the curb for being kept a secret). Bob is not being awesome here. The way an awesome person would handle it would be to say “Yes, I’m dating Janice, and it’s none of your business, so what up!”

The point is, you don’t have to apologize for anything you do, unless you legitimately hurt someone else. And you don’t have to lie to someone because you know they wouldn’t like the truth. You just have to live your life.

Sidebar on being proven “wrong”:

You also can’t be afraid to be wrong. If someone can show you evidence for one of your opinions being incorrect, you can boldly retract that opinion just as boldly as you presented it. But if all they do is claim “oh well logic is a belief” or some bullshit non-answer, then they’re obviously an idiot. Fuck ‘em.