It’s time to raise YOUR bar! Starting now! Get on it and stop the continual slide toward human idiocy.
How do you raise your bar? It’s not easy. If it were easy, we’d all be speaking coherently, talking about real issues, standing up straight while dressed professionally. But, like all things that need fixing, it will take more time to fix it than it has to have broken it. This is the Catch-22 inherent to the problem. People want things immediately regardless of the cost, and scoff at the effort and resources it takes to change them. Grown lazy by years of getting things when and how they wanted them, any effort required is met with resistance. So, people tended to give up and compromise in order to avoid a fight. How then, do you raise your bar?
It starts with little things. It starts with you taking charge of your life and striving for more out of it. It starts with actually talking and communicating with people, NOT texting and emailing. It’s about communicating face-to-face, listening as much as you are speaking. It’s about full sentences. And at times, using compound sentences with more than one verb and noun. It takes using proper English (or whatever language you find most comfortable). It’s about dressing better, eating better, doing EVERYTHING better and striving for that which you thought you could never attain. Elevating what you expect from yourself is the first step to raise your bar.
In the phenomenally underrated Mike Judge movie “Idiocracy,” Luke Wilson and Maya Rudolph find themselves the smartest people in the world 500 years in the future after centuries of slowly declining human intelligence. While they are sitting together in the White House (you have to see the movie to understand), Maya’s character, Rita, pontificated: “You think Einstein walked around thinkin’ everyone was a bunch of dumb shits?” To which Wilson’s character Joe answer, “Yeah, hadn’t thought of that.”
She replied, “Now you know why he built that bomb.”
It’s a valid point. Maybe Albert Einstein and Mike Judge were just ahead of the game. Maybe both will be seen as modern day prophets. They might have been on to something about how the world would slowly tumble into an abyss where the lowest common denominator is celebrated and achievement is ridiculed. We are in a world of mass entertainment. How else can you explain the fact that the audience for shows like “30 Rock” and “Community” pale in comparison to shows like “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo?” (A show, I would like to point out, that is on The Learning Channel! Yes, that’s right, THE LEARNING CHANNEL!!! I could tolerate it if they used the money from selling advertising on that show to develop learning shows. Instead development at the network continues for show like “NY Ink,” “Pete Rose and Kiana Kim Family,” and “Starter Wives.” The Learning Channel, my ass…)
You see, Americans’ bar HAS slowly been lowered. There are many possible reasons out there. It may be laziness. It could be that two successive generations now have been given what they wanted by parents who avoided conflict and didn’t want their kids to feel bad. These same generations were told that being last was just as good as first. That merely showing up was worthy of an “A.” Tell that to the group once known as the Neanderthals…
It could also be that America was “proud” of itself after winning the Cold War, and gave itself a two decade party to celebrate. Cheap houses, cheap money and cool trinkets for everyone! No hard work necessary. No down payments, pay someday…. As a society, we jumped on a train that had an endless track, only to find out that the bridge of Disaster Gorge was washed out. America now finds itself lagging behind the rest of the world in education.
Here are some ideas to help you raise your bar:
Get out, and get active: You may want to see what Kim, Kloe and Klut are doing on “Keeping up With Those Who Should Not Be Mentioned Ever Again,” but will it help you raise your bar? Why not go outside and do something active? Too cold? Raining? Pop open your computer and write a story. It doesn’t have to make sense. Have you seen some of the sh*t on TV? Besides, E! will re-air that episode of “Homemade Porno girl and her Sisters” ad nauseum throughout the week…
Meet a friend and have a conversation: WITHOUT CELL PHONES. When was the last time you and a friend or friends sat around and had a conversation that did have a phone on the table? When was the last time you actually listened to someone without forming something in your head with which to respond while they were speaking? Granted some people could be boring as hell, but listening shows that you are a polite person.
Read: whether it is a book or a paper or a magazine, reading is FUNdamental. Okay, a little lame, but reading a paper or magazine will inform you enough to be able talk about something besides the blathering idiocy of reality shows. P.S. “People” magazine is NOT a magazine, it’s a polished copy of the National Enquirer. Try “Time” magazine instead. Additionally, the “Shades of Grey” books is a horribly written series.
Dress for what you want: I’ve written on this subject before. If you’re going out in public, dressed in sweats or ripped jeans, and you’re standing next to the person dressed in casual pants and a nice shirt, chances are that the hottie on the other side of the coffee shot is going to notice the other person first. T-shirts and shorts are fine, especially if you’re writing this from your “home office.” But, even putting on a pair of jeans and a 3-button polo will project a better image if you’re going to be around people.
Beyond that, it’s about demanding the same from your leaders and those that try to entertain you. Sometimes these are the same people. If you ask your leaders, entertainers and news people to speak TO you and not AT you, you help to raise the bar for everyone. If they can’t, it’s up to you to be a leader. Don’t worry about those who can’t keep up, they’ll learn quickly or fall behind.
Which brings me to the point of why you should raise your bar: evolution. Whether you believe in the theory of evolution or that some divine being (probably more likely an alien with a sense of humor) dropped humanity on this planet, it is impossible to deny that humans have evolved over thousands of years. Humans have grown taller, gained longer life spans and grown more intelligent. Yet, were it not for our ancestors’ raising their bar, seeking out more knowledge and wisdom, you wouldn’t have those “guilty pleasure” shows on basic cable. Raise your bar and their gains won’t have been in vain.