John Mann

John Mann

Life, goals, and dreams

I have written a lot recently about project management, about WordPress development, and a little about coding.  But I have not really talked about my life, and since most of the people reading this are friends and family, I thought I'd cover that and hopefully help others in the process.   My life has been a whirlwind and sitting down the other day thinking about accomplishments, experiences, and what is next... People often talk about themselves in very specific experiences, "I worked at company x, I lived in city y, I am married, I was in the military"  or they talk about things they have, "I have a house in X, I have 2 dogs, I have 3 kids, I have a degree in X from Y".  I have always wondered what would happen if someone approached every interaction as an interview, and told the truth, real truth about themselves.  "Hi, nice to meet you, so tell me about yourself?"  "Well, I am generally sad about the state of the country and the world as a whole, I hope to help our education system improve but I'm not sure exactly how to even begin there.  I am generally grateful for all the blessings I have, and I wonder if I am spoiled and feel like I should give back more than I already do.  I have a skepticism about the future of the economy and hope there is more to life than just work, a paycheck, and a weekend.  I also think most of the people I have met recently seem less intelligent than people I have met in the past, not just book smarts but common sense and I often wonder if I am that arrogant to think I am smarter than most people I encounter, or I am wrong in what I consider common sense.  So tell me about yourself?"  I would LOVE to see their reaction to a response like that.   So for those reading this and have made it this far and not put off by that response, and hopefully NOT judging me as a self-absorbed, arrogant, ass.  Thank you.  I will answer the other questions in a typical social interaction... "I have lived in several cities, New Orleans, Seattle, Atlanta to name a few.  I studied jiujitsu (traditional and Brazilian) for a while, I was in the military, I have a house, a wife, and 2 dogs.   I graduated with a degree in Computer Science from then University of New Orleans.  I have worked for Microsoft, Getty Images, SAP, ShareBuilder, and a few other companies."  All of that being said, none of that defines who I am... I could continue... " I trained with San Francisco ballet, I have done professional theater, a few commercials, and taught Hip Hop dance"... Which would shift your judgement... then I could continue... "I danced on the Ellen show, got a chance to train with some professional UFC fighters, I partied in South Beach with one of the top DJ's, am a veteran of Desert Storm and played in some national pool tournaments"  Usually by this time, someone is either questioning if all of that is true, or they wonder how I can do all of that.  Either way, it doesn't matter... Those are things that happened and I just happened to be around at the right time (or wrong time depending on the situation).  But my point is this... we judge.  We judge CONSTANTLY.  Where do I fit in this conversation, am I the leader and have the best story, or am I just bragging, or should I be quiet so they don't figure me out that I don't know what I'm doing here.   Here is my greatest lesson that I have EVER learned:

You don't have to FIT.

You don't have to enjoy every movie your friends do.  You don't have to like a sports team.  You don't have to be an engineer, doctor, or lawyer.  You have to be YOU.  I have always heard that crap growing up... You just need to be the best YOU that you can be.  Or for relationship talks, "it will happen when you least expect it".  Oh man, I hated that one.  Well, now that I'm married, I see it now.  I gave up on trying to meet people.  I was done and just started living my life.  I went to Maui, started back with Jiujitsu, and it turns out a girl from NYC (while I was in Maui) started talking to me on Facebook.  I met her in 4th grade, and haven't talked to her in decades... but God has a better plan than I will ever understand (and trust me I try to understand it all the time).   So all of that being said, I still believe that being happy is WAY more important than being popular, being rich, or being "successful".  I put that in quotes because now I believe that being successful IS being happy.   We have lost so much innovation in the U.S. because everyone has tried to fit in.  However, it is the people who haven't tried are the ones that are changing the world.  Steve Jobs got fired from his own company!  He needed that to get back on track.  Zuckerberg just wanted to meet girls in college, and now there is Facebook.  Gates is probably one of the top philanthropists in the world with his foundation.  But I will tell you, they do NOT fit in.  So, what is my next step, my next goal... I believe it is management... I want to inspire new developers to create something great, help them along their careers and help them grow.  Mentor college, high-school kids on how to approach technical problems and the ins-and-outs of corporate america.  That is where I think I am headed, but that doesn't mean it will happen, but that seems to be the next step for me and get me to help others like I want to.  I never feel as good as I do when I help someone else understand something.   Nothing else, not performing on stage, not coding, not even dancing.  It is the human connection that is lost in technology and that needs to come back.  We need to use technology for US, not have technology use us.  We text, we email, we youtube, we update facebook statuses, we tweet, we blog, we do everything except disconnect and talk.  So my common sense advice for the day, if you are out with someone, turn your phone OFF (not silent, not vibrate).  Pay attention to the person in front of you, they took the time to see you, so take the time to see them.  The advice is simple, but not easy.  "Pay attention to the person with you".

Thanks for stopping by... I hopefully will be writing more but we'll see what gets triggered.  :-)

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