Posted by Nicole Behnam
People often joke that a New Year’s resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other.
If you type “most popular new year’s resolutions” into the Google search engine, you will notice that most resolution lists stay relatively static from year to year.
Are we convinced that only a small handful of the same determinations will transform our level of happiness? Or are we just becoming less creative?
The most popular resolutions include, but are not limited to:
Drink Less Alcohol
Get a Better Education
Get a Better Job
Manage Debt & Save Money
These resolutions sound mundane and cliché. In fact, they don’t even sound like resolutions. They sound like goals that almost everybody strives to reach every single day, or at some point in their lives.
If you really want to make positive changes in your life, change the way you think by implementing the following, more unique resolutions:
1. Reevaluate your relationships. Accept only what you DESERVE. Take a look around you. Which friends do you interact with on a consistent basis? Are they supportive, generous, and understanding, or do they often make statements characterized by comparison, jealousy, or doubt. Like I said previously, people can be supportive and loving, but they can also be cruel and condescending. The moment you develop self-respect, you will begin to eliminate the people who disrespect or doubt you. Friendship is a two-way street, and people should be as selective about their friendships as they are about their spouses. In 2012, uplift yourself with the spirited people who inspire you to succeed and persist.
2. Motivate yourself. DAILY. Have you ever sat through a commencement speech, mesmerized by the speaker who you were convinced would change your life forever? Or have you ever read a book and paused because the last sentence you just read completely redefined your mindset? Just for a moment, you think “wow, I’m going to start thinking this way from now on!” and you envision a better version of yourself in 5 years that you will grow into. The thoughts can get grandiose. Within weeks, every goal you set for yourself seems unattainable. You tell yourself that eventually, you will have it all figured out. And eventually gets closer and closer every day, and you’re still standing in the same spot, wondering why your motivation has dwindled so drastically.
The answer, once again, is to motivate yourself daily. Read books, watch movies—watch the news. Interact with positive people and learn from their stories. If they say something you admire, write it down. Allow positive words and affirmations to play a pivotal role in your success. In 2012, be constantly inspired.
3. Practice being a skeptic, not a cynic. I stole this concept from Pulitzer Prize-Winner Thomas Friedman, who wrote:
Skepticism is about asking questions, being dubious, being wary, not being gullible but always being open to being convinced of a new fact or angle. Cynicism is about already having the answers—or thinking you do—answers about a person or an event. The skeptic says, “I don’t think that’s true; I’m going to check it out.” The cynic says, “I know that’s not true. It couldn’t be. I’m going to slam him.”
Cynics say no to the world. They not only doubt, but completely close themselves off from people. Skepticism fuels creativity. It fuels you to inquire, to constantly seek knowledge. And that way, you will always be ahead of the game, because you will always be learning. In 2012, be a curious skeptic.
4. Nurture your negative feelings, then MOVE ON. Face it, you’re not always in a good mood. You have good days, you have bad days. Your life, like anyone else’s, will be like a roller-coaster forever. In fact, it always has been. You’ve experienced highs and lows—feelings of elation and feelings of despair. But are you brushing off the negative feelings or are you nurturing them? If you feel guilt, for example do you brush it off, or question and nurture it? This is an important distinction.
Treat your negative feelings like wounds that need healing. If you scrape and pick at your scab, it will start bleeding again, but if you nurture the wound and take care of it well, you will experience minimal scarring. Negative feelings are like wounds. Don’t let them bleed through tomorrow’s joys. Address them at the brink, and move on. You can’t continue driving if you keep looking at a car-crash in your rear-view mirror. In 2012, identify and nurture your negative feelings before they consume you.
5. Reach out to someone who could use you as a Role Model. Most people are reluctant to seek help when they’re down. In much the same way, they are reluctant to ask for advice when things are going well. But everyone needs a role model to look up to and seek advice from, and at some point, everyone needs to be a role model to someone else. Knowing that somebody looks up to you and wants to follow in your footsteps will encourage you to always be your best self—to develop an impeccable character and set a standard that you will always strive to live up to. In 2012, set an example for someone else, in order to bring out the best in yourself.
And if your number one goal this year is to be successful, always remember the wise words of Bob Dylan: “A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do.”
4.22.13 at 8:29 pm | As for the bouncers and promoters whose only form. . .
4.12.13 at 5:40 pm | We weren’t built to sit at our desks or scroll. . .
2.5.13 at 2:33 am | He tried to cut himself off immediately. He even. . .
1.15.13 at 2:18 am | Are antidepressants being prescribed too often. . .
12.15.12 at 1:45 pm |
12.3.12 at 12:23 am | Leah passed away due to a sudden stroke. I. . .
9.25.12 at 12:26 am | “. . . the best hope of humankind is to. . . (218)
2.5.13 at 2:33 am | He tried to cut himself off immediately. He even. . . (51)
4.22.13 at 8:29 pm | As for the bouncers and promoters whose only form. . . (20)
December 17, 2011 | 8:02 pm
Posted by Nicole Behnam
Issues regarding the privacy of old posts are becoming a primary concern on Facebook for users who log in and post statuses or pictures frequently. Now that Facebook is introducing a new feature, people are becoming frantic.
Facebook began with a simple mission: to connect friends. Seven years after its launch, the social network enjoys over 800 million users who communicate, share, and interact through the site.
No, there’s nothing new about the Facebook Login or Sign Up process, as usual. But pay attention to a new breed of Facebook Profiles.
The Facebook Wall is being replaced with a Timeline—a virtual scrapbook of your Facebook life (activity, photos, comments, et al.) since its inception.
Mark Zuckerberg says the Timeline creates a new way to share life experiences, but marketers see this as a way to gain brand exposure and loyalty through “likes” and shares.
So what does this mean for you? And what’s different? Your Facebook profile in its entirety.
Here are some helpful tips to help you adapt to this new, unwanted (or perhaps wanted) change:
Utilize your 7-Day Review Period. Click here to learn about and switch over to the new timeline. Once you upgrade your Facebook profile, you will have seven days to get accustomed to the new feature. Facebook, for the first time, is allowing users to “test” a feature before they launch it for everyone on the site. Use this opportunity to your advantage. If you don’t want people to skim through your old public photos, here’s your chance to change your individual privacy setting for each old and embarrassing picture or status.
Choose a “cool” cover photo. I suppose this is the new “Profile Picture.” A cover photo is the new photo that stretches across your page’s width. This doesn’t have to be a picture of you. It could be a picture of anything—your favorite band, your favorite painting, your grandmother, or something completely random and unique. Your “profile pic” will formulate itself into a square-like approximation on the left-hand side of your cover photo soon.
Edit through The Activity Log. Yes, Timeline is bringing back lots of old posts. But before, a friend would have had to click the “older” button several times to travel back to 2007. Now, users can just click on 2007 to see what was going on back then. Use the new “Activity Log” to hide certain stories or posts. If you don’t want to be associated with someone who wrote on your wall in 2007, feel free to delete that person’s post or click on the “Only Me” feature under “Who can see this post?”
Choose what you want to expand. Timeline already tries to guess which of your posts will be shared frequently through the amount of likes or comments it will, or already has, earned. If there is a post that you want to highlight or expand, click on the star at the top right of the post.
Switch over to Timeline NOW. Don’t wait. Trust me. You’re going to get annoyed when your profile abruptly switches over to the new look without your virtual “permission.” And better to get annoyed now than later. Learn about the Timeline BEFORE it launches. I switched over two days ago, and I’m still learning something new about my profile every day.
This isn’t a small adjustment. Prepare yourself for the best and the worst of this seemingly Myspace-like restructure. The change will affect each person’s public persona differently.
“For some, this will be a nostalgic trip through a social network that has captured much of who we are. For others, it will be a bit terrifying to see posts from the early days of Facebook, when it was limited to college students who often shared way too much,” said USA Today’s Mark W. Smith.
December 16, 2011 | 9:58 pm
Posted by Nicole Behnam
“I have never heard more anger and dismay than when we announced that the [Kardashians] were on our list.”
Celebrities are an integral part of our culture. The more we know about their personal lives, the more intrigued we become. The more they spend, the more we pay attention. The prettier they are, the more envious we grow. And the more they break fundamental moral boundaries, the more we talk about them.
The Kardashians were featured among moguls like Donald Trump and Steve Jobs on Barbara Walters’ 10 Most Fascinating People of 2011 special, which aired Wednesday on ABC. And everyone is wondering: Why?
People are more distracted than ever before from serious news stories regarding current events, politics, and society that are much more significant than shows like “Keeping up with the Kardashians,” which many would argue is a testament to the American culture’s degeneration.
Surely, we would never question why Trump made it onto Walters’ list, or why Amanda Knox, recently acquitted of false charges for murdering her roommate in Italy, is a fascinating candidate, but four women whose lifestyles and values are questionable at best—What was Barbara Walters thinking?
She described their appeal as “a strange mix of trashy sex, upscale excess, tabloid melodrama, and suburban family life.” But this allure goes beyond sex and excess. What makes them fascinating? Our culture’s obsession with their reality roller-coaster ride. They win, they lose. They laugh, they cry. They fall apart, and they fall together.
Perhaps what we really love about the Kardashians is knowing that behind all the glamour and fame and lavish spending are human beings who experience downfalls we would never dream of. I don’t personally know anybody whose marriage lasted less than 72 days, do you? Or someone whose sex tape leaked, for that matter. And Kim still kept moving.
What makes them fascinating is that beyond all the fame, they’re still human.
After all, this wasn’t a special honoring the most influential people—just the most fascinating.
December 14, 2011 | 8:47 am
Posted by Nicole Behnam
Judy Greer (“The Descendants”) and Regina King (“Southland”) were greeted with a mixture of anticipation and excitement when they approached the podium to announce the nominees for the 2012 Screen Actors Guild Awards.
“The Help” dominated as the #1 feature film nominee, with four nominations, while “The Artist” came in second with three nominations.
In TV, “Modern Family” emerged with an Ensemble nomination, and separate nominations for its actors: Sofia Vergara, Julie Bowen, Ty Burrell and Eric Stonestreet.
The SAGs are held in very high esteem because the nominees are honored by their fellow peers. In other words, actors are nominated by actors.
Two nominating panels—one for television shows and one for films—each consisting of 2100 randomly-chosen Guild members from across the U.S.—selected this year’s actor and stunt ensemble nominees.
The nominees for each category are:
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
DEMIÁN BICHIR / Carlos Galindo - “A BETTER LIFE”
GEORGE CLOONEY / Matt King - “THE DESCENDANTS”
LEONARDO DiCAPRIO / J. Edgar Hoover - “J. EDGAR”
JEAN DUJARDIN / George - “THE ARTIST”
BRAD PITT / Billy Beane - “MONEYBALL”
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
GLENN CLOSE / Albert Nobbs - “ALBERT NOBBS”
VIOLA DAVIS / Aibileen Clark - “THE HELP”
MERYL STREEP / Margaret Thatcher - “THE IRON LADY”
TILDA SWINTON / Eva - “WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN”
MICHELLE WILLIAMS / Marilyn Monroe - “MY WEEK WITH MARILYN”
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
KENNETH BRANAGH / Sir Laurence Olivier - “MY WEEK WITH MARILYN”
ARMIE HAMMER / Clyde Tolson - “J. EDGAR”
JONAH HILL / Peter Brand - “MONEYBALL”
NICK NOLTE / Paddy Conlon - “WARRIOR”
CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER / Hal - “BEGINNERS”
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
BÉRÉNICE BEJO / Peppy - “THE ARTIST”
JESSICA CHASTAIN / Celia Foote - “THE HELP”
MELISSA McCARTHY / Megan - “BRIDESMAIDS”
JANET McTEER / Hubert Page - “ALBERT NOBBS”
OCTAVIA SPENCER / Minny Jackson - “THE HELP”
Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
MIDNIGHT IN PARIS
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
LAURENCE FISHBURNE / Thurgood Marshall - “THURGOOD”
PAUL GIAMATTI / Ben Bernanke - “TOO BIG TO FAIL”
GREG KINNEAR / Jack Kennedy - “THE KENNEDYS”
GUY PEARCE / Monty Beragon - “MILDRED PIERCE“
JAMES WOODS / Richard Fuld - “TOO BIG TO FAIL”
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
DIANE LANE / Pat Loud - “CINEMA VERITE”
MAGGIE SMITH / Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham - “DOWNTON ABBEY”
EMILY WATSON / Janet Leach - “APPROPRIATE ADULT”
BETTY WHITE / Caroline Thomas - “HALLMARK HALL OF FAME: THE LOST VALENTINE”
KATE WINSLET / Mildred Pierce - “MILDRED PIERCE”
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series
PATRICK J. ADAMS / Mike Ross - “SUITS”
STEVE BUSCEMI / Enoch “Nucky” Thomson - “BOARDWALK EMPIRE”
KYLE CHANDLER / Eric Taylor - “FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS”
BRYAN CRANSTON / Walter White - “BREAKING BAD”
MICHAEL C. HALL / Dexter Morgan - “DEXTER”
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series
KATHY BATES / Harriet Korn - “HARRY’S LAW”
GLENN CLOSE / Patty Hewes - “DAMAGES”
JESSICA LANGE / Constance - “AMERICAN HORROR STORY”
JULIANNA MARGULIES / Alicia Florrick - “THE GOOD WIFE”
KYRA SEDGWICK / Dept. Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson - “THE CLOSER”
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series
ALEC BALDWIN / Jack Donaghy - “30 ROCK”
TY BURRELL / Phil Dunphy - “MODERN FAMILY”
STEVE CARELL / Michael Scott - “THE OFFICE”
JON CRYER / Alan Harper - “TWO AND A HALF MEN”
ERIC STONESTREET / Cameron Tucker - “MODERN FAMILY”
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series
JULIE BOWEN / Claire Dunphy - “MODERN FAMILY”
EDIE FALCO / Jackie Peyton - “NURSE JACKIE”
TINA FEY / Liz Lemon - “30 ROCK”
SOFIA VERGARA / Gloria Delgado-Pritchett - “MODERN FAMILY”
BETTY WHITE / Elka Ostrovsky - “HOT IN CLEVELAND”
Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
GAME OF THRONES
THE GOOD WIFE
Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series
THE BIG BANG THEORY
The SAG nominations announcement is particularly significant this year because it precedes the Golden Globe nominations, which will be announced Thursday. In previous years, The SAG nominations followed the Globes by two days.
The 18th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards will be simulcast live nationally on TNT and TBS on Sunday, Jan. 29 at 5 p.m. (PT) from the Los Angeles Shrine Exposition Center.
December 12, 2011 | 4:24 am
Posted by Nicole Behnam
“Greatness is not found in possessions, power, position, or prestige. It is discovered in goodness, humility, service, and character.”
-William Arthur Ward
Let’s be real here. You belong to a community. In fact, you probably belong to many communities that have formulated through several social interactions with the same people. If you are a parent, for example, you maintain social ties with other parents whose children attend the same school as your own kids—and then you have separate sets of friends; friends from work, from high school, from childhood, from temple, et al.
You maintain fervent opinions about each and every person, but refer to them in terms of what is most commonly acknowledged. Daniel is an oncologist, Janet is a pediatrician, Marcy is an entertainment lawyer, Simon is a friendly person, and Steve, along with his wife Jennifer, have two beautiful children.
Because most of the conversations we have with friends are superficial and “on the surface”—meaning they don’t penetrate into the depths of our lives—we have been trained, as a society, to talk about who we are in terms of what we do and what we have achieved.
The frequency of family parties, religious celebrations, dinners, and other functions coupled with a tangled web of business associations, leads to an imbedded desire to prove ourselves as worthy of belonging to the upper echelons of society—to always and forever be relevant in the eyes of others. In fact, this seems like a necessity for some people.
I have seen the woman who anxiously tries to win the approval of everyone she congregates with. She wears the latest Prada handbag one day, and the latest Fendi handbag the next. Her children do fairly well in school, but she scrutinizes them when they don’t win awards or competitions.
Her temper is out of control but she ensures that her husband donates over $5000 to her local temple, because her family name has to be on the Donor’s List plaque, not because she genuinely cares. Social encounters are a den of comparison during which she is actively evaluating people. When friends arrive, her smile always masks the sense of inferiority she feels. She denies any shortcomings. How is she? Each time, “great thanks, and you?” She wants to be perfect. She is obsessed with prestige.
At some point, this becomes problematic. At some point, society needs to draw the line between actual greatness and prestige. At some point, it is not worth it to kill ourselves in the hopes of being held to a high regard by our friends. It is worth everything in the world, though, to defy this mentality, and to achieve for the sake of achievement.
In her book, The Fountainhead, Ayn Rand writes:
Listen to what is being preached today. Look at everyone around us. You’ve wondered why they suffer, why they seek happiness and never find it. If any man stopped and asked himself whether he’s ever held a truly personal desire, he’d find the answer. He’d see that all his wishes, his efforts, his dreams, his ambitions are motivated by other men.
He’s not really struggling even for material wealth, but for the second-hander’s delusion—prestige. A stamp of approval. Not his own. He can find no joy in the struggle and no joy when he has succeeded. He can’t say about a single thing: “This is what I wanted because I wanted it, not because it made my neighbors gape at me.” Then he wonders why he’s unhappy.
Every form of happiness is private. Our greatest moments are personal, self-motivated, not to be touched. Those things which are sacred or precious to us are the things we withdraw from promiscuous sharing. But now we are taught to throw everything within us into public light and common pawing.
My belief is that we can undo what has been taught to us by society—by this particular type of society. If winning the praise and admiration of others is the only driving force behind our actions, we will never be happy. A man will never be happy, for example, if he goes to medical school merely to please his parents, to be able to say to his uncle, “I am a doctor.” If medicine is not his true passion, this achievement means nothing.
But once we recognize this fault in ourselves, we can appraise ourselves for who we are, not through society’s calculated criteria or expectations of us. We can begin to live for ourselves, to learn for the sake of learning, not for the sake of knowing, to laugh uninhibited, not just to act in accordance with social cues, and to succeed for the sake of self-esteem and advancement, not for a pat on the back.
December 4, 2011 | 6:51 pm
Posted by Nicole Behnam
“A photograph is usually looked at - seldom looked into.” -Ansel Adams
I am sure of three things: I wasn’t in Japan when the tsunami struck in March. I wasn’t blocks away from the World Trade Center when the planes crashed on 9/11. And I also wasn’t present for Hurricane Irene, among other events.
Many of us look through graphic pictures of these events on news sites when catastrophe hits, clicking through the slide-shows and later watching the video footage of each event in its entirety. I always wonder: what if I was there?
I imagine standing blocks away from the Twin Towers. The sound of a loud, buzzing jet engine streaking above me, crashing, and then exploding would propel me to look back at the view I was likely admiring 10 minutes prior.
Broken windows with flames coming out of them would explain the smell of smoke perfuming the air as people ran around frantically calling their family members, hoping for an answer. I would never forget this. And how could I?
I would physically feel the shock of terror, hear the voices of fear and loss of hope, smell the destruction, taste the smoke, and catch a glimpse of the view—my own personal video footage, and essentially, my own snapshot.
With my camera phone—or camera if I had one—I would zoom out and take a picture of history. A woman next to me would be doing the same thing. And across the street, I would watch an old man take his own snapshot; each person with a different view, a different angle, a different encounter, and thus, a different story.
A picture can tell us nothing more than what we have captured in limitation. Every picture is evidence of how little our eyes permit us to see, and exposes us to what we may have missed.
The 45 Most Powerful Images Of 2011 by Buzzfeed virtually showcases pictures that have been judged to be the most powerful images of 2011. Photographs of destruction, riots, conflicts, massacre, death, and mourning comprise a plethora of the images provided. Very few pictures of victory and success are displayed, however.
What this tells me, is that as a people, we are more moved by destruction and loss than we are by achievement or tranquility. In my mind, there are two problems we are facing: Nature against people, and people against people. We cannot fight back against the earthquakes and the tsunamis, but we are always willing to fight against each other.
In 2012, I hope to see pictures of development, innovations, achievements—pictures of developing countries blossoming. I want to see pictures of starved children being fed, of shattered cities being rebuilt, of enemies shaking hands.
I want to be uplifted by stories, not saddened by them. I want people to be empowered and inspired, not despondent and defenseless. At the very least, I want to see the clouds spread and the sun shining.