A long time ago, before I met my wife, I was dating a woman and I remember one time she made a comment about some guy being a “douchebag.” Maybe I was just out of touch with modern slang (wouldn’t be surprised), but I don’t remember having heard that word before then. But I do know that at that moment, several things became immediately clear to me: 1) being considered a douchebag afforded someone NO respect; 2) I did NOT want to be considered a douchebag by anyone; and 3) this woman did NOT consider me a douchebag (thankfully).
I think it’s important that people aim to earn the respect of those around them. This is not the same as needing their APPROVAL, needing someone else’s approval is usually a dead-end trap… I would know, that was my entire childhood. “Douchebaggery” to me connotes behaviors that give one no respect. Also, it connotes behaviors where the person loses respect for themselves . I think self-respect is the most important respect of all. And it very often cause other people to respect you as well.
On the other end of the continuum, there are behaviors where one gains self-respect. For the purposes of this post, I will call behaviors for which one respect themselves “baddasity behaviors” (much like Mr. Money Moustache‘s use of the word). The negative behaviors, due to which one hopefully fights the battle for self-respect, we will call “douchebaggery behaviors.”
Here’s my stream-of consciousness list of where I stand (feel free to post YOURS in the comments below):
My Baddasity Behaviors:
- Marrying an awesome woman who is highly compatible with me and whom I love to love
- Exercising religiously 5 days a week for 8.25 years (At almost Cal Ripken Jr. levels of consistency!*)
- Successfully running my own private piano studio
- Writing songs and music compositions which I always do my very best to make sure are top-notch and unforgettable
- Writing this blog
- Being an overall awesome keyboardist in all genres in which I have worked (rock, classical, hip hop, broadway)
- Having acquired lots of music skills I always wanted: performing, playing classical music, reading music, improvising, songwriting, rapping, freestyle rapping, playing from memory, playing by ear, singing
- Being completely professional in all work gigs to the best of my ability
- To the best of my ability, handling all my daily roles with complete integrity and commitment: husband, uncle, brother, son, provider, teacher, musician
- Reading books (I’ve finished eight books so far this year, mostly by reading early on weekday mornings)
- Being committed to my financial education and growth, including basically obsessing over my own finances (Ex: aggressively paying off debt, dividing my money so that every dollar has a clear purpose, etc)
- Being committed to life-long learning and growing
- Having given hundreds and hundreds of piano shows at retirement homes
And now for douchebaggery behaviors I have am/or have been dealing with (fortunately the list is shorter):
- Writing songs and music that I have yet to publish or release, in some cases including songs that I FINISHED recording years ago and still haven’t released
- Releasing songs and piano compositions I have failed to market effectively or consistently
- Letting myself get overwhelmed by “how to”s in my music career, such as how to market myself, how to market online, how to sell, etc… and then consequently getting discouraged and often doing nothing about it.
- Letting doubt and disappointment get to me, such that I sometimes have under-asserted myself, or under-achieved
- Withdrawing from the world, keeping the world at a distance from me**
- Letting perfectionism and worry stop me or regulate my behavior to the point of dissatisfaction, disappointment, over-caution or regret
- Getting in my own damn way!
Wow, okay, that seemed really heavy and sort of miserable to write. Shit. But how else am I going to let this go? I’m being honest here! The first three are specific to me, and the others are general weaknesses, which I’m sure many other people share. The ones that relate to my musical and creative dreams I am eager to overcome. Writing this post is basically the first time I’ve ever shared about this. By writing this I’m helping to release it. BAM! Here’s to releasing bad shit!
DELETE DELETE DELETE that crap!
Thank you Universe!
What about you? Where do you stand on “the Douchebaggery to Badassity Continuum?” As I said, let me know in the comments below…
*Cal Ripken Jr. is/was a baseball player who holds the record for most consecutive games played (2,632 – I looked it up). This is definitely a form of badassity, even though it may not be as flashy as other stats such as home runs or batting average. As for my own exercising, I’m referring to the fact that I have followed my commitment of “5 days of exercise per week” nearly 100% of the time since the beginning of 2008.
** Let me be clear that I’m not talking about having a healthy dose of solitude and privacy, which I personally treasure. I’m referring here to times in the past when I would not reach out or trust others enough to communicate myself honestly or reach for the life I wanted. Also, I’m referring to my teen years, where I mostly did what I thought my teachers/guidance counselors wanted me to do, which consequently led to all sorts of confusion and unhappiness, most notably when I made the decision to go off to college 3000 miles away at a place I didn’t want to be at and then suffered through it for a year and a half before waking up one day in a state of complete misery and finally coming home, probably the biggest turning point in my life and the one responsible ultimately for me writing this blog. More on this another time.