Buckley Blog Bits – May 18, 2017

I’m going to cover a little bit of psychology and a little bit of MMA in today’s edition.  I’ll start with the psychology part first.

Work/Life Balance

I prefer to keep my work life separate from my home life, so I enjoy having a quality work/life balance.  So much so that whenever I’ve received a promotion at work, I’ve always made it clear to my employer that having time away from the office is a must for me.  This isn’t because of a lack of love for my job, but rather it’s because I recognize that I need adequate time to recharge my mental batteries to ensure that I’m able to perform my best on a daily basis.  Plus…I tend to be a bit of a workaholic if given the opportunity, so I like to make it clear that once I leave the office every night that I’m turning work “off” until I come back the next morning.

Whether you’re a segmenter (someone who sets clear boundaries between work and home) or an integrator (someone who combines the two), it’s important to find the style that works best for you.  While there’s no “right” way to be, I prefer segmentation for the reasons stated above.  But I do happily integrate the two when the situation calls for it, but I try to keep that to a minimum.

Bellator 179

The winner of tomorrow night’s Rory MacDonald/Paul Daley fight is slated to take on the winner of Douglas Lima/Lorenz Larkin later this year.  Personally, I’d really rather see Rory MacDonald versus Douglas Lima at some point rather than some combination of a rematch of Douglas Lima/Paul Daley, Lorenz Larkin/Rory MacDonald, or Lorenz Larkin/Paul Daley.  Sometimes it’s hard to decipher how good a non-UFC fighter really is, but I think that a matchup between Lima and MacDonald would give great insight to how good Lima really is.  Even with his UFC departure, MacDonald is viewed as a top five welterweight, and Larkin is viewed at least as a top 15.  A win over Larkin for Lima, and then a showdown with MacDonald would really allow the MMA community to get a better idea of how talented Bellator’s welterweight division is in relation to the UFC’s welterweight division.

So ultimately, I’m cheering for Rory MacDonald to beat Paul Daley.  Not only for the reasons I stated above, but also because I’m a fan of MacDonald’s and I’m eager to see how he does for Bellator.

In the co-main event of Liam McGeary/Linton Vassell, I’m hoping to see Vassell win.  I’ve never been completely sold on McGeary, even if he did have a title reign as Bellator’s light heavyweight champion, so I think Vassell pulls off the win here.  I’m unsure of what’s next for the winner of this fight, whether it’s facing the winner of Phil Davis/Ryan Bader for the light heavyweight title at a later date or facing King Mo Lawal in a number one contender matchup, but I’d like to see Vassell win here.

I think Cheick Kongo defeats Augusto Sakai to continue his “reign” as the unofficial Bellator heavyweight champion (or at least in my mind he is, since Bellator took the title away from Vitaly Minakov last year due to a lack of title defenses).  I’d really like to see Kongo fight for the vacant title at some point, possibly against the winner of Fedor Emelianenko/Matt Mitrione, because I think it’s a tad ridiculous that Bellator hasn’t crowned a new heavyweight champion after stripping Minakov of the title after not defending the title since April 2014.

Finally, I hate how Bellator puts some of these international cards on tape delay.  I would much rather have the option of seeing this card live as it happens, even if that means I’d have to possibly duck out of work early to catch it live.  I know that I can avoid the internet and social media to avoid spoilers before I watch, but I’d just rather know that I’m watching the fight unfold live and spontaneously in front of me.

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Buckley Blog Bits – March 15, 2017

Today’s articles that I read on Psychology Today pertained to humor in the workplace, and why we shouldn’t fear failure.  I’ll start with the article that discussed humor in the workplace (link: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/ulterior-motives/201703/cracking-joke-work-can-have-surprising-payoff ).

I hadn’t really given much thought to humor in the workplace before reading this article, nor had I thought about how it can help to elevate your status within the organization.  I once had a supervisor several years ago comment on how he appreciated my ability to “bust his chops” on occasion and that it brought positive energy to the department, so I suppose that I shouldn’t be surprised that it doesn’t hurt to bring some humor to the workplace.

Personally, while I wouldn’t exactly promote or retain someone at my organization simply because of their ability to be humorous, I might be more likely to retain or promote them if they can demonstrate an ability to bring a positive energy to the workplace in addition to their quality skillset.

In my own work experiences, I’m only sarcastic or humorous with co-workers who have previously established that sort of communication style or relationship with me.  Personally, I think that humor in the workplace is just like humor anywhere else in life: there’s a time and place for it, so just exercise good caution when engaging in it.

In the second article (link: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/contemporary-psychoanalysis-in-action/201703/why-we-shouldn-t-fear-failure ), the author describes failure as “just bumps on the road to success.”  I recently accepted a promotion at work, and before I started my new boss told me “I expect you to fail at some point, but I won’t let you drown.”  There was a point in time where his remark would’ve pissed me off because I wouldn’t have understood why he expected me to fail, nor would I have understood why he would have promoted me if he felt that way.  But now I understand more how failure really is just a bump on the road to success.  It’s normal to “fail” or simply not be as successful as you want or expected to be the first time you try something.

But you can’t let the negative consequences of failure, such as losing the desire to try new things, to weigh you down.  The fear of failure can be pretty paralyzing, so that’s why it’s important to have the mindset that failure often leads to success because it allows you to learn what you need to learn along the way.

As Duke Roufus, the renowned MMA coach said on an episode of The Evolution of Punk, “if you’re not winning, you’re learning.”  In the end, it’s your resiliency and ability to persevere that determines how successful you’ll ultimately be.

Buckley Blog Bits – March 10, 2017

I was reading about how social media usage can make us perceive that we’re socially isolated, and that we’re disconnected from the world around us while I was perusing Psychology Today earlier this week.

Earlier this week I touched how I think that social media usage can lead you to feel an increased sense of boredom because you’re constantly exposing yourself to human highlight reels.  I also feel as though increased social media usage can lead to less authentic social interactions, or at the very least it can lead to a decrease in the quality of your social interactions.  Personally, I can tell you that I much prefer receiving texts and phone calls from friends rather than tweets or Twitter DMs.

Sometimes we get so caught up in our own social circle that we miss out on the world around us.  In particular, the author discussed the time that world-renowned violinist Joshua Bell performed in an metro station in Washington, D.C. and that only 7 of the 1,097 people who passed by him stopped to listen to him over the course of his hour long performance.  It reminded me of when I took a recent day trip to Toronto last month, and I encountered a man playing the cello in the lobby of Brookfield Place on a late Friday afternoon.  Without my phone in hand, I stopped and took in the performance that I randomly stumbled upon and enjoyed the unexpected moment.

I do think that we need to be able to unitask as the author calls it.  I can’t tell you the last time that I drove to or from work without focusing on the upcoming work day, or just wishing that I’d just get to my destination already when I’d really prefer to just focus on the task at hand of driving, and enjoy the present moment fully.

Over the past several months, I’ve curtailed my social media usage and I feel a greater sense of life quality as a result than I did when I was using social media regularly and consistently.  That’s not to say that there’s anything wrong with enjoying a lot of social media usage.  But there’s a lot of days where when I get home from work, I set my phone on my nightstand and don’t even look at it until just before I go to bed.  Social media is a great asset to have, don’t get me wrong, but for me I like to use it certain doses and for certain uses.  At this point, I really like to use Twitter for breaking news updates rather than for interacting with close friends of mine when I can just call or text them directly.

My main takeaways for you are as follows:

  • Enjoy your surroundings and the present moment
  • Be able to unitask instead of multitask
  • Use social media in appropriate dosages
  • Better understand your feelings and perceptions of boredom, social isolation, and disconnect
  • Put your phone away sometimes

 

In case you’re curious, here are links to the articles that I read about social media on Psychology Today.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-athletes-way/201703/3-ways-social-media-exacerbates-perceived-social-isolation

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-right-balance/201703/are-we-growing-disconnected-in-age-connectivity

Narcissism and Leadership

I read an article on Psychology Today entitled “Do Narcissists Make Better Leaders?” (link: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/what-mentally-strong-people-dont-do/201610/do-narcissists-make-better-leaders), and while I don’t necessarily feel that narcissists do make better leaders, I wasn’t surprised by a few of the key points that I read in the article.

Your income and your ability to get promoted at work often come as a result of your self-promotional skills.  In my opinion, that’s why a narcissist would be promoted to a higher ranking position and/or makes more money than the average employee because of their ability to promote themselves (While it’s great to have quality self-promotional skills, I don’t recommend exaggerating your skillset, but rather I’d suggest putting your skillset in a valuable and positive light that highlights your strengths and value to the company).

One thing that I was happy to see was that the author pointed out that there’s no such thing as someone being a “complete narcissist” or a total “non-narcissist” and that there’s a narcissist continuum of sorts that exists.  It was nice to find this in writing somewhere, because I’ve felt that there’s a continuum for a lot of things in life, not just in regards to narcissism but for all sorts of personality traits.  Furthermore, someone’s personality is all based on your own individual perception.  For example, I’m sure that for the most part most those close to me would tell you I’m not narcissistic at all, but I’m sure I could find a handful of people out there who’ve taken my sarcasm out of context and think I’m actually a massive narcissist.

In the end, narcissists do have some traits that leaders should have, such as being sure of themselves and being persuasive (I use this term ambiguously…I don’t suggest having to persuade people into following your lead, but rather I suggest being able to properly sell them on your vision and ideas).  But where narcissists go wrong is that often times they’re not genuine, and their arrogance and lack of true confidence gets exposed.  I can speak from experience, as I’ve worked firsthand under several narcissists in the past.  While I appreciated their self-confidence at first, in the end I lost respect for their leadership once I recognized their arrogance and lack of true confidence in their own leadership abilities.

When it comes to leadership, you can’t “fake it til you make it,” but rather you actually have to acquire and earn the confidence necessary to lead others.  It sounds corny, but at the end of the day the best version of yourself is the most genuine and authentic version of yourself.

Knowing When To Quit Your Job

Being an I/O psychology, psychology articles about the workplace definitely intrigue me.  I was reading an article on Psychology Today earlier entitled “5 Signs It’s Time To Quit Your Job” (link: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/cutting-edge-leadership/201609/5-signs-it-s-time-quit-your-job?collection=1094185).

I completely agree with the first two signs on the list, that being working in a toxic environment and being the target of workplace bullying, and I can speak from personal experience.  Simply put, a previous employer of mine was terrible.  My boss was very moody, and it seemed as if she would go out of her way to be mean and negative to employees.  After a few months working for the company, she offered me a better position with the organization which I would have loved to have taken because the increased salary and the better sense of job security would have been much appreciated.  But I turned it down because I couldn’t stand working for her any longer.  I couldn’t tolerate her personality any longer, and I didn’t feel comfortable at work on a daily basis.  I dreaded going to work (this was all unfortunate, because I did like the job itself, and there were times she could be really nice…but those days were very few and far between).  So, I decided to leave altogether.

Two of the other signs on the list, which were being stuck in a dead end position or having no chance to grow and further develop are also a pair of critical signs that it might be time to move on as well.  It’s frustrating to feel that you’ve plateaued, and that you’re no longer getting better at your job.  Imagine going to the gym, bench pressing 150 pounds, and then working your way up to 180 pounds, and then….being stuck at 180 pounds, regardless of how hard you were working.  It’d be pretty frustrating, right? The same goes for your professional career.  Plateaus are frustrating, and I’ve left an employer in the past because I felt like I had stopped growing professionally, and that I wasn’t going to be given the opportunity to further develop under their guidance.

So in my own personal experience, I can say that the signs on this list are all very valid reasons to seek employment elsewhere.  If you feel like you can’t get along with your co-workers or your boss (side note: conflict is bound to happen at times regardless of where you work, but it’s how it’s able to be managed that makes the difference), or you feel like you’ve hit a professional plateau and don’t see any end in sight, then it’s time to look for employment elsewhere.

Work is important, and that goes without saying, because of what it brings us in terms of financial support.  But we spend at least half of our waking lives at work, and do you really want to be miserable for half of your waking hours, and even feel a sense of dread during the waking hours you don’t spend at work because you hate your job? I think not.  It’s not worth the sense of frustration.

Buckley Blog Bits – September 7, 2016

  • Blue Jays: It’s amazing how much an amazing end to the 2015 season really seemed to spoil Blue Jays fans. After years of being out of the playoff picture by this point in the season, the Jays are tied with the Red Sox for the AL East lead and have a two game lead on the wild card.  The race is incredibly tight right now, and it’s going to come down to the final weekend of the season (when the Blue Jays visit the Red Sox).  As a fan, it’s hard not to get frustrated with the tough close losses at this point in the season, especially when the teams that are chasing your favorite team right now are winning games and closing the gap.  But it’s important to remain sane during the postseason push.  After all, wouldn’t we all rather be in this position of being in the hunt for even just the wild card after years of having to “wait for next year?” I know one day I’ll look back on this 2016 season and say ‘that was a fun, exciting year,” but in the meantime I think I, like most Jays fans, are going to experience a wide array of emotions down the stretch.  Maybe had the Jays not won the AL East last season, and in such dominating fashion, could I appreciate this season more than I have thus far.
  • MMA: UFC 203 is on Saturday, and I’m really looking forward to the card. Of course, part of that is because I have tickets to the event but also it’s shaping up to be a pretty fun card to watch.  You have a heavyweight title fight which is always fun, and that’s in addition to the fact that you have four current or former world champions on the card (Miocic, Overeem, Werdum, and Faber), plus you have the long awaited MMA debut of CM Punk (which ironically is in the same building where he legitimately quit the WWE back in 2014).  Even the prelim bouts look good on paper, so this card has potential to be the best UFC event I’ve ever attended in person, and I’m really looking forward to it.
  • I/O Psychology: I was reading an article on Psychology Today entitled “5 Signs That It’s Time To Quit Your Job” (link: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/cutting-edge-leadership/201609/5-signs-it-s-time-quit-your-job ), and reasons 4 and 5 really stood out to me (I’m not looking to leave my job, but I’m always open to new opportunities if they arise, plus I’m curious to see what other work psychologists say in regards to career satisfaction). I think a lot of people, employers included, don’t always understand the importance of growing/development and purpose in a job when it comes to career and job satisfaction.  Personally, as nerdy as it might sound, I just enjoy learning new things, so I appreciate the task variety and skill variety that my job brings.  In addition, people like to feel important, so if you feel like your job lacks a true purpose, you probably won’t feel a great deal of satisfaction.  Really, we spend so much of our waking hours at work (estimates show anywhere from 40% to 70%), that there’s no need to work at a job where you don’t feel a sense of importance and satisfaction.

Buckley Blog Bits – September 5, 2016

  • It’s been a disappointing few days for the Blue Jays. I’ll be one of the first to tell you that shit happens over the course of a 162 game season, that bad teams can beat good teams on any given day, and so forth.  But that doesn’t change the fact that the Jays going 1-3 against the Rays and Yankees over the past four days hasn’t been a bit of a bummer.  Given their lack of success in Tampa over the past decade, taking 1 out of 3 wasn’t that bad (still a bummer, however), and I have faith in their ability to take one or both of their next two games in New York, but with the AL East race, and even the wild card race, getting a bit tight it would’ve been nice to have some more breathing room.  But at the end of the day, the magic number for the AL East right now is 25 and the magic number for a wild card spot is 24.
  • Saturday’s UFC event was a fun watch. I love UFC Fight Pass cards because the pace of the show is nice since there’s minimal time in between bouts, plus the cards have been rather solid as of late.  I wasn’t surprised to see Alexander Gustafsson maul (pun intended?) Jan Blachowicz, but I was impressed with the way Blachowicz held his own and provided a solid challenge for Gustafsson for the first round.  Of course, the next two rounds were a bit lopsided in Gustafsson’s favor, but I pictured that happening.  The main event was a fun bout to watch as well.  I’d watched the countdown show for the fight on Saturday morning, and it gave me an even better appreciation for the main event.  I was cheering for Josh Barnett, so I was happy to see him win, but part of me wanted the bout to go on for a while longer because I was having a great time watching the two legends go at it.
  • Labor Day weekend has provided me with a nice reminder about the importance of work/life balance. While I love my job, having a three day weekend was much needed for me for a variety of reasons.  One, I just don’t take days off from work for the most part, or at the very least I infrequently do.  Two, with the constant traveling and weekly mini road trips I’ve been going on for the last two months, I actually hadn’t slept in on consecutive days in nearly 8 weeks, so it was great to just sit back and rest up.  Furthermore, I just took a break for a few days.  I didn’t leave the house, I barely read anything (anyone who knows me knows that I read constantly in my free time…I probably read between 15-20 books per year), and I actually just sat around the house, watched some television (which I rarely do except when I’m watching the Jays play) and worked out quite a bit.  The point I’m trying to make here is that it’s important to take some time away from work, and even your regular daily/lifestyle routines, and just recharge your batteries.  The past 72 hours have been very beneficial to me, and I suggest anyone who’s feeling a sense of burnout take some time for themselves as soon as they can.