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How do you keep cool all the time? 
How do you never really seem stressed?  
How do you deal with all the bull shi*t and not get pissed off?

People ask me these questions all the time, and for the most part I just give the same answer.  “I don’t know, what am I gonna do… get mad or depressed?  What does that really do?  No one wants to be around you when you’re like that and it’s really not a solution to what’s getting me down.  The key is to just Be Cool, and figure out a solution.”

Chili Palma – Get Shorty

But I didn’t always think like that.

In my life I’ve been through a lot of stuff many people would categorize as tough: Divorce, dad’s suicide, abusive step father, divorce again, house burned down, a host of other family problems, robbed/cheated by best friend out of 30k, and bad relationships, worse breakups, and found and lost the girl of my dreams.  Oh yea, ummm I also had a fat period (yea yea, you got jokes? Ha).  Life’s not easy, and yea I had some problems, but it wasn’t until my early 20’s that I really figured out how to handle it all.

It wasn’t therapy (been in and out of it since I was 7).  It wasn’t meds (been on variety of them throughout my teens).  It wasn’t religion (even though I went to solomon shechter till I was 12).  To be honest, it wasn’t even my friends (event though I’ve got awesome friends).  While for some people these are all legitimate fixes (and I don’t discount them at all), there’s no personal responsibility in any of those solutions.  I needed something more.  I needed to know that I played some role; that I had some control.

That’s when it hit me… You have got to just focus on the things you can control, and let go of everything else. You have to take a step back from every situation and see what small part you can control and just go from there.  You’ve got to be calm, and rational and accept the fact that we all play a small role in the things that affect us.  There’s a saying… life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.  Two John Travolta flix can explain everything I’m getting at here.  

The Wolf – Pulp Fiction

In Get Shorty – John Travolta plays a bad ass loan shark named Chili Palma.  Throughout the movie, Chili is trying to break into the movie biz, but everyone thinks they can back stab him or take advantage of him.  Instead of losing it or making rash decisions.  But Chili never loses his cool.  Always calm, always in control, he focuses not on the things that happen but how he responds.

In Pulp Fiction, John Travolta actually finds himself in the opposite situation.  In a moment of catastrophe (he accidentally shoots someone in the head in the back of his car), John (Vincent Vega) starts to lose control.  He can’t focus on anything because he’s so pissed/panicked over the situation.  So they bring in one of the coolest and underrated characters in movie history… The Wolf.  The Wolf comes, and without hesitation accepts the situation they are in for what it is, and starts focusing on the only thing they can do… fixing it.  Clean the car, change your clothes, dispose of the body, etc. 

OK, so no one is dealing with accidental murder or loan sharking, but the point is you get no where by sitting and wallowing in what’s already happened.  You have to figure out what you can do to fix it.

My stepfather’s abusive… What can I do?  Blame myself, try and please him (impossible) or I can remove myself from the situation, cut him out of my life.  If I stay being abused, emotionally or physically THAT is my fault, because I have the option of walking away.  On top of it, I can be a better father because of it all.

I got fat and got rejected by a couple girls?  I can wallow in depression and pretend like I don’t know why they rejected me.  OR, I can work hard and lose the weight.  If I don’t lose the weight, I can’t sit around and be depressed because I DO have a solution.  
It’s that simple.  Bad things are going to happen.  At times, you are going to be hurt, unhappy, and even angry.  But if you let it consume you, you’ll never get over it all.  You have to focus on how you are going to react to those situations.  It’s definitely not the easy way to deal with things, but it is the best way in the long run.

So whether you choose to Be Cool or Be the Wolf…. just remember 1 thing… figure out what you can control and don’t lose your shit.

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