Are You Winning?

To win in life, you must be winning in your head first. Charlie Sheen was right!

A year ago, I worked for a company that handled accounts for several non-profit organizations. Pretty much, we were their second or third level fundraising branch. First level is pretty much the grassroots arm – people who get you started from on-street petitions, cold-calls (ie you’re not already a member), or events where you walk up and join. After that, we take over renewing your membership or getting you involved with on-going drives. When you get to the point where you’re giving in the thousands per year, you typically are handed off to the next level.

Anyway, I could be pretty good at my job. There were days where I had awesome stats, and days when I was just average. I knew the key to awesome stats, I just couldn’t keep it up. The key was energy. If you approached every call with high energy and enthusiasm, you tend to do pretty well. But going to work after spending a day at school tends to lower your available energy. The times I couldn’t break myself out of treating it as merely a job and getting invested in the mission of the non-profit were days that I didn’t do as well. And it showed, especially since I did so nicely the other times.

I bring this up because my face is apparently very expressive. And unguarded, I give away exactly how I feel. Over the years, I’ve learned a neutral mask that conveys very little, but from time to time it slips, especially when I’m not paying attention to it and my mind starts wandering. And it wanders most when I’m bored. And then people see that boredom and respond. My mind can also wander leaving my face in place. I can seem to be looking at something, but really my attention is elsewhere. This has gotten me in trouble a few times – I came across as either rude or a jerk. Of course, if you’re that boring that I actually forget to not look bored, then I suppose I don’t really care about your impression of me.

Anyway, last night, I was out at Tiki and pretty bored. I’d already been to Elixir and Lava, thinking since they’re purveyors of the most expensive drinks in the Southside, I should at least be able to get what seems to be an obscure cocktail in Pittsburgh. Having failed at both places, I went to Tiki only to be further bored. But for a while I was chilling on the dance floor and at some point the mask slipped. And suddenly, this girl who had been with her friends near me for about 10 minutes prior, decides that I seem lonely or bored enough that she must intervene and find out if I’m ok.

When this happened in the past, it used to really bother me, partially because I was unaware of just how much I gave away in those moments. The building of the mask of neutrality was something unconscious. Just happened over a long period of time as a way to maintain a polite exterior, regardless of what was going on or how I felt about it. But maintaining the masks requires me to be engaged in what’s going on at some level. When I went from dancing and checking out what was going on to looking up something online and texting on my phone, my focus switched to the phone and since it doesn’t care about how I feel, there was no need to hide it. I was engrossed enough in what I was doing to not care about what was going on around me and the mask dropped.

So, that was my night. Nothing really that fun or impressive. I weighed in at 212.4lbs this morning. Though based on the body fat percentage, it would appear this is mostly water.h

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