Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Taco Bell and Karma

The other night I had a pretty fun experience that has reminded me that karma is real and that it truly pays off to be nice and help other people.

At about 2 am I felt the need to get my fourth meal on at good old Taco Bell. Before you judge me for that, let's be honest, what's better than a double-decker taco with lava sauce and a baja blast mnt. dew after a long night of partying? Right, nothing.

So as I was saying, I went to Taco Bell with my friend and as we pulled up there were 2 kids sitting on the grass by the drive-thru who immediately jumped up when they saw us approach. I was a little wary at first of having drunk people approach my car at such a late hour, but I soon discovered that all the guys wanted was some Taco Bell and without a car that would be impossible for them. I hesitated at first, but as I thought about the situation I realized I couldn't deny them Taco Bell. First, I shouldn't punish these guys for being responsible and smart enough to walk rather than drive to Taco Bell in their drunken state. Second, I understood their desperate need for Taco Bell and I just wouldn't have felt good about myself if I were the jerk to deny them that blessing.

So I ordered food for the 4 of us which came to almost $20, one of the guys handed me a $20 bill and I told them we'd figure out money at the other end of the drive-thru. Once we got our food we divided it into bags and I handed them their change, but they wouldn't take the money. They said it was payment for helping them receive the blessing of fourth meal. I awkwardly bowed in gratitude and we parted our separate ways, never to meet again.

Deciding to have fourth meal that night may have been the best decision I had made in months, not only did I get Taco Bell, but I got it for free. Why? Because I was nice enough to help a couple strangers out and because karma is real.

Simply put, karma is a theory of how actions bring about (cause) consequences (effect). Karma is not a negative idea, but for some reason it has developed into a negative idea which is evidenced by the common saying that "karma is a bitch." This saying is more than just a little deceiving since karma can bring us good as well as bad consequences. If we wanted to accurately describe karma then the saying should be that "karma is a bitch if you are an jerk" or "karma is a saint if you are a gentleman."

My experience at Taco Bell is just one example of many experiences in my life where karma was kind to me as a result of my decision to be kind. On the flip side I have many experiences where karma wasn't kind to me as a result of my decision to be a jerk. Sometimes we don't see the effects of karma right away (usually because we don't see the connection between the two events) but I stand as a witness that karma is real and by being a gentleman/woman and by doing good to others we will be blessed by karma and our lives will be filled with joyness and happiness. I promise.

So next time someone says that "karma is a bitch" remind them that they should stop being a jerk.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Best 3 Friends That Anyone Could Ever Have

This past weekend I went backpacking, hiking, and camping in Tahoe for the 2nd Annual "Near Labor Day Weekend Backpacking/Camping/Hiking Mancation." Only three of us (Joe, Zach, and myself) could make it this year, but it was still awesome.

The best 3 friends that anyone could ever have.

I don't know how many of you have had the opportunity to spend some time in and around South Lake Tahoe, but it is easily one of the most beautiful places on the earth. Last year we found a beautiful little lake called Dardanelle with a perfect camping site in the woods about 100 yards from the lake and we liked it so much that we decided to do it again this year. Besides the stupid, lazy fish that wouldn't let us catch and eat them it was nearly a perfect camping weekend. The scenery was beautiful, the hiking was fun and easy, the weather wasn't too hot or too cold, and our phones didn't die (allowing me to take crap-tons of pictures).

 The hike

Lake Dardanelle

With that said, the highlight of this year was something I had never experienced: reading a book aloud around the campfire. Reading is one of my favorite things, but when Joe threw out the idea I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical about reading a book aloud with 2 other dudes. We decided to read read one of my favorites and an American classic, "Fahrenheit 451" by  Ray Bradbury. We each took turns reading about 15 pages and it turns out that we were able to finish the entire book in only 2 nights of reading. It was an awesome experience and one that I hope to repeat in the future.

Joe reading by the campfire with the aid of a headlamp

The book was written in the '50's and is a bit odd, but in a lot of ways it is very fitting for our time and reading it gave me time to reflect on my own life and the relationships that I have. One of the main themes of the book is that people are so consumed with TV and other forms of media that they don't have time for people anymore. This is something I see more and more in our society today. For example, have you ever gone to dinner with a bunch of friends and at some point during the dinner noticed that instead of talking everyone is on their phones?

The whole experience of the weekend reminded me of something that has become very apparent to me over the past few years, that enjoyment in life is a direct result of the relationships in our lives.

There honestly isn't anything in life that makes me happier than spending time with friends and family. Taking the time to care about other people and build relationships are the most important investments we can make in this life to be happy. Sure, we might be disappointed by people from time to time, but investing our selves and our time in other people is worth it. Getting to know someone, becoming friends with someone, confiding and trusting in someone, caring about someone, and being a part of someone's life are the most gratifying things we can experience in life. I dare you to think of something that brings you more long-lasting joy and happiness.What? You can't think of any? That's cause there aren't any.

Therefore, I propose that we spend more time with people. When we go to dinner with our friends let's put the smartphones down and talk with each other. Let's enjoy the people we are with.

Invest your time in people and you will invest in happiness.

Thursday, July 5, 2012


Hi, my name is Brett and I enjoy a little bit of good humored mockery.

A few months back I noticed a lot of "people" took a lot of pictures that looked very similar and an idea began to brew that culminated in a continuing series of photos and captions. Now, many of you might be familiar with this series of mockery. but for all of you who don't follow me on twitter or instagram here is my creation that I have entitled #PicturesGirlsTake.

"I love how I look when I'm in such a comfortable and natural pose"
"I'm driving a car! lol"
"My outfit/legs/feet look so good from this point of view"
"Just my sexy legs at the beach, lol!"
 "O. M. G. I looooooooooove this work outfit"
"Duck lips make me look so pretty!" 
"I am so loving this nail color/watch combo!"

This is an ongoing series that has yet to be finished, so if you have any good ideas for #picturesgirlstake please let me know. And most importantly, please feel free to join the fray. Make fun of each other. Make fun of yourself. Make fun of me. Make fun of life. Laugh a little and enjoy life a little bit more.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

A Novel on Expectations

Spoiler Alert: This is just another blog about happiness, specifically how changing our expectations can help us find more happiness and gratification from life. So if you're sick of my happiness rants feel free to skip this post.

I feel like a lot of us struggle to be happy with our lives and situations and believe that it is in part due to our unrealistic expectations. It seems like everyone these days expects everything to be perfect. They expect that life will be easy, that nothing will go wrong, and that life will work out exactly how they want it to. People expect the perfect job to fall in their laps, they expect their jobs to be fun all the time, they expect marriage to be full of bliss and falling in love, and they expect life to be easy and perfect. But I have learned in my short life: life rarely works out the way we want it to. And as a result we are often disappointed and ungrateful for the many wonderful things that happen in our lives. By expecting and demanding unrealistic things of the future we are denying ourselves happiness and the blessings of having a grateful heart.

I first understood how expectations affect our happiness by watching movies. In the past I would go into movies often expecting it to be amazing, with wonderful acting, intriguing plots, unique characters, perfect special effects, and no cheesy or stupid scenes. As a result of these expectations I left a lot of movies disappointed. But recently, I have discovered that I enjoy a lot more movies when I have lower or more realistic expectations. I now go into movies with the sole expectation of being amused and entertained for a couple of hours, nothing more. I still experience disappointment from time to time (e.g Mission Impossible 12: Ghost Protocol, Snow White and the Crappy Actress, etc.), but more often than not I am entertained by the movies I watch (even that crappy ones give me a good laugh). I don't lower my expectations completely and anticipate hating movies, I just lowered them to a realistic and reasonable level. And as a result my movies watching experience is substantially more enjoyable.

Since discovering this secret I have tried to apply it all aspects of my life and I am now a happier and more grateful person. Expectations aren't bad things, they are a necessary part of life, but unrealistic expectations are not healthy to our happiness. They set us up for failure, defeat, and disappointment. If we are always expecting the very best out of life and other people we will almost always be disappointed and unhappy with what actually occurs in our lives. This does not mean that we can't hope for the best and be optimistic about life. It just means that we can't expect things to always work out exactly how we want, life just doesn't work that way. So one of the many keys to being happy and grateful is to have realistic and reasonable expectations. Life isn't perfect or "fair". Life is full of change and trials. The sooner we accept these truths the sooner we can set realistic expectations that allow us to embrace and enjoy the many things that life throws at us.

This mindset has changed my life. Now I more grateful and I can enjoy more of what life throws at me because I no longer expect outcomes that have almost no chance of occurring. Instead I enjoy the outcome that actually occurs. As soon as we stop expecting crazy and unrealistic things out of life and people we can be grateful for the outcomes that actually occur.

Simply speaking, just follow the old adage: Plan for the worst and hope for the best. Not only will we be better prepared for the future, but we will be happier as well.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

We Are What We Eat?

Two blogs in two days? This is crazy.

I was listening to this beautiful song by Sigur Ros the other day and something hit me. I don't even understand the words to the song, in fact I think this album is made without speaking any coherent words, but it touched me so deeply with joy and hope that I started to tear up a little bit.

The experience reminded me just how powerful music is and how it affects how we feel and act.

And it got me thinking, you know how they say "you are what you eat"?

Well, I'm not sure I really believe that cause I've been eating cows and chickens for years to no avail, but the idea that we are what we consume is very true. There is a great deal more to us than what we see, hear, and feel, but in large part those are the things that mold and shape us. As a result these things we consume directly affect and/or cause the things we think, say, and do.

Who I am, who we are, depends on what we consume and what we spend our time and energy doing. I am a unique person in part because no one has the same DNA or spirit as me, but also in part because of the things that I consume. The things I say, the ambitions I have, the jokes I laugh at, the things I think about, and the friends I make are all in at least some part the effect of the things I consume.

This has made me realize that if I really want to be molded into a good person I should probably spend more time doing good things like reading scriptures or serving people or something rather than watching tv or playing video games.

Now let's be honest, I'm prob not gonna stop watching tv or playing video games, but I can always make myself feel better by consuming a lot more wholesome things, right...right?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

2/3 a Laywer, 1/3 an Old Man, and Happy About It

Wow, this is longest I've gone without blogging for about 3 years...I've missed it almost as much as all of you have, so here is a short novel to catch us all up on my thoughts.

A miracle occurred last Thursday, I finished my second year of law school. The end of each school year is a convenient time to sit down and reflect over the past year. As I did so, I realized, not for the first time, that the past 8 years have been extremely good to me. My life was changed by a 2-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I had the time of my life at Utah State University for 4 years, and in the past 2 years I have found a new home in the near-perfect Bay Area. I may act like a kid most of the time, but that's only a facade to keep the gold diggers at bay, in reality I have learned a lot and become quite the mature and well-refined man. Among the most important lessons I have learned is how to be happy. I know that I have preached on this topic many times before, but bear with me as I share a few insights I have learned over the years.

First, I realized that I can't control events or people around me and that I can only choose how to react or how I to view the situation. Basically, I can choose to look at life in a positive light and be happy, or I can choose to look at life in a negative light and be unhappy. I choose happy.

Second, I learned that happiness comes when we live in the present. I wrote about this a few years ago in a blog titled "Later Now, or Now Later?" I would highly suggest reading it even if you've read it before. Not only does it show just how witty and funny I am, but it teaches an important principle of happiness. But if you're too lazy to do that, it can be summed up by a quote from Kung Fu Panda: "The past is history, the future is a mystery, but today is a gift, that is why they call it the present."

Third, I realized that happiness and enjoying life revolves around the people and relationships in our lives. All the things we do, places we see, and things we own mean next to nothing without people to share them with. Sometimes relationships are hard to build and maintain because people can be frustrating and hurtful; so we often forget just how vital they are to our happiness. Good relationships are about loving and being loved and loving/being loved is the most fulfilling type of happiness we can have in this life and it would be impossible to experience without relationships.



Friends and Family, that is what life is all about.
Cheesy, but true.

Happiness is a choice we make, but it is also a consequence of our choices. I am living evidence that anyone can be happy if they choose to be, so...Just Choose It.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Full-time Vacationer

It's been a while since I posted last. This is due in large part to the fact that I was on vacation for exactly one month and the day after I got home I had to begin another full semester of lawyering.

With that said, this Christmas break was amazing.

And now, a recap in pictures.

A little bit of snow on them mountains
Yoga Cats for Everyone!
 My old stomping grounds...
My favorite food in the entire world...

The beach in December is beautiful
Perfect day in San Fran

Sunset I witnessed as I walked around. Statue of Liberty off in the distance.
 My NYC girls, besties, roommates, guides, friends, chefs, entertainment, etc.
New Years Eve party on a rooftop in NYC...honestly the best new years of my life!
Brooklyn Bridge. One of my favorite parts of NYC.
The city from Central Park always looks beautiful.
 The view of Manhattan via Brooklyn.
Can't explain just how much I loved Brooklyn aka Hipsterville and its graffiti/vibe.
 Wonderfully delicious food.

Then I got to return to beautiful California...I am too blessed.