Archive for the ‘Success Stories’ Category

Guest Post: “Start Giving” by Ofir Tzoubari

by Aaron under Relationships,Success Stories

Last May, Mother’s Day was celebrated across the country. Families gathered to pay their respects to the woman who put so much of her time and energy into raising, feeding, and teaching her children. A mother’s life, we reflected, is truly dedicated to her children. A mother’s love for her offspring will always surpass the love of the child for his mother.

But why is this so? And why discuss this on a dating website? (And why, as an additional question, should we only recognize this on one day of the year? But this article won’t go there, at least not today…).

The answer to the above questions illuminates a profound truth about human nature, and about the nature of love. Often, we are told that the more we receive from someone else, the more we will love them. That seems to fly in the face of what we learn from our parents and the love they bestow on their children. Mothers and fathers give to their children since before their birth. Every minute of every day (particularly when in the child’s infancy) is dedicated to giving.

The reason for the love that develops as a result of the giving, is due to the investment the parents made into their children. They have put so much of their lives into the object of their giving and, as a result, the love grows. It is not a merely biological love; it goes much deeper. It must be the following: a parent will almost always love a child more than the child can love their parent because love grows from giving, and only from giving. And, the more selfless the giving, the more powerful the consequent love.

Anyone who has been truly in love can confirm this point. The love you feel for the other is made manifest by an overwhelming desire to give. One almost feels shame and annoyance, a besmirching of this great love, when one receives from their loved one in turn (which is unnecessary, to be sure, since another manifestation of the giving nature of the love is to permit your partner to give). Ideally, we should want only to give; the more you give, the greater the love becomes.

One of the reasons for this must be precisely the reason mentioned above for a parent’s love: the greater the investment of self that goes into the other person, the more you see yourself in that person. The natural human state is to love oneself; by extending this sense of self into the other by giving of yourself to him or her, that love expands outwards.

This can be seen quite clearly through our great affinity for things we have put so much time and effort into, such as our careers, building our homes (or even card-houses when we were children), or our music. The more time, energy, and money we put into a thing, the greater our love for that thing.

All the same, acknowledging this as truth today is unpopular today. In a relationship, we are told not to love as deeply as the other. Why? So we can walk away more easily, so that we will not be the one who leaves the relationship hurt. We must give the least and take the most.

The lesson we must learn from our parents teaches us the exact opposite: we must invest ourselves deeply into our beloved, to give as powerfully as possible, so that our love for them will grow. The paradox here is this: when you make the goal of the relationship the other person’s happiness, you in turn will find the greatest happiness of all. When the goal of the relationship is to be an altruistic giver, your relationship will last forever.


Success

by Aaron under JBloggers,JDate,Judaism,Single Life,Success Stories

Failure, inherently, is a gigantic part of life. As your life goes on and opens up new opportunities, you are bound to fail at some point. But more rewarding than anything are those moments when you seem so on the brink of failure, and success somehow comes crashing toward you anyway.

In particular, I can remember two times in the last year where failure that I couldn’t begin to fathom came crashing on me. The first was a long-distance date with a Jewish girl from New York I’d been chatting with on JDate. As I planned to fly out to New York from Dallas, the greatest ice storm we’d seen in years began to take over the city. I had the foresight to move my flight to a day earlier, but even then, the ice piled on and basically froze all of Dallas in fear. I witnessed a truck crash on my way to the airport and was almost late for the flight. When I got to the airport, panic struck as I was told I’d miss my connector no matter what. At the last second, things changed, and they let me race through security for a long weekend in New York that, while a one time event, was still a good time.

As I sat in the baggage check-in line that day, I felt a dread I never knew before — here we are, having Skyped for two months, our big meeting finally at hand. We were so excited and the prospect of waiting any number of weeks more seemed awful. There is a certain power of getting to know someone, even over video, and it was devastating to not be able to be happy with that person in person… even for a weekend.

But as things often do, it worked itself out.

I had a similar experience again this last week. I had been trying and trying to get to New York for the summer, becoming so good at long distance networking that I started my own company to help people do it (TheSocialCustodian.com, though the site is not totally complete yet). As the one company I’d made it far with in New York was reaching a final decision, it was down to crunch time. They told me they’d let me know by a certain time, and I heard nothing.

And yet, I didn’t stop. I took my phone and called, and sure enough they were getting ready to offer me the job as I called. It was a moment that changed my life essentially, and will change the rest of my year by its very nature.

Yeah, that’s great, my life is awesome. How does it affect you? Life will bring on big challenges, and again on the theme of the beginning of the new year, don’t let that fear freeze you. The world offers great things to those who are ready for failure in pursuit of success, as I was when I made the call and tried to make the flight, and it rewards those ready to fall on their faces. Let this be the year you try to make a sketchy flight, make a new call, or just say hello to someone unexpected. Sure, you’ll probably fail at some point, but success is the greatest feeling in the world. See you in New York, JDaters.


Every Man for Himself?

by Aaron under JBloggers,Relationships,Single Life,Success Stories

This Yom Kippur, I had the pleasure of driving to synagogue with a good friend, and we decided to discuss our dating woes along the way. More than anything though we laughed and discussed funny date stories (I told him my worst sin of the year in my mind involved a Six Flags date that never happened, and he assured me it was probably a light year for sinning if that was the case), but we did reach a serious discussion at one point: when single, do we need to help friends find someone, or should we just look out for ourselves first?

My friend compared the situation to unemployment: you don’t help someone else find a job until you have one. But really, my fundamental problem is that not every job is for every person. If I found a job engineering airplanes, I wouldn’t tell an out-of-work plumber about it. Not everyone fits every job, and, in the same regard, not everyone fits every person. I mean, anyone can get along, but like a good job, longevity comes out of a good fit.

One of my favorite stories from synagogue growing up involves heaven and hell. In hell, there is food spread out everywhere and the people have giant spoons for hands. However, the people are starving because they can’t properly bend their elbows to eat the food with their long spoons. Everyone is miserable. It’s the same situation in heaven, but instead of starving, they feed each other… and everyone is happy. It always stuck with me as a way of understanding how we’re supposed to look out for each other, even in dating.

The question came to my mind again last Saturday night while I spent time with two friends of mine who are engaged to be married in May. They are a prime example of someone helping to set them up (this guy!). The woman in the relationship is a friend, and an ex of another close friend, the guy is a close friend who is Jewish but had never really been part of a Jewish community. They’re the best match I’ve ever seen. And we agreed, sometimes it’s okay to not be selfish, and maybe there’s someone who is a better fit for the position than you.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still primarily looking for myself. But it can be tiring just looking for the right person for you, and sometimes it can be healthy to help someone else find what they’re looking for. I know I’m looking for my friends, just as I’m looking for me, and I hope that anyone in my social circle keeps me in mind when they meet nice Jewish girls, too.


Extras

by JeremySpoke under Date Night,Success Stories

You have to be good at things to attract somebody. Yeah, you’re good-looking and make a good amount of money, but can you play the ukulele? You probably can’t, and that’s the point. Nobody can play the ukulele. You can be that guy. I’m pretty sure the only living ukulele players are overweight Hawaiians.

Take up a new vocation or hobby. This will be a great conversation topic once the conversation stops and you know an elongated awkward silence is about to begin. You can nip that in the bud by saying, “I collect hair from barber shop floors.” This will momentarily break the oncoming silence, but it will also break any chance you may have had with the lady.

Just be different, in any way you possibly can. She’s already been on at least twenty dates with someone exactly like you. You thought that by dressing nice and taking her someplace unique would earn you points, but she’s already been to that place, and men always wear that exact shirt. Get a new shirt. Your lucky shirt from high school has holes in it, and you’re just now questioning why you ever considered it ‘lucky’.

You know that story of how your parents met? Whether true or not, it always has some sort of odd element missing from every other love story. No mother is going to tell their children that she met their father at a Red Robin after he was five minutes late and requested that they split the check.

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Smell

by JeremySpoke under Date Night,Relationships,Success Stories

It is very difficult to force myself to write a post with my fiancée lying beside me.

Do I write about how to date successfully? I am pretty sure I am supposed to, but I’ve been blessed with such good looks and white teeth that I don’t need to know how to date. I just show up to places and people just give me things. Dates. Money. Financial tips.

I think I have this burden where I’m supposed to use my knowledge after 200 something blog posts about dating to help people out. Since I know nothing about dating, maybe I could have spent the last 2+ years helping in some other way instead of just jacking around. I could have told you guys that brushing your teeth works most effectively if you wet the brush before and after applying the paste, or I could have told you that ear plugs work best if you wet them before insertion. I think most of my advice stems from wetting things before using them. Maybe those two things are just coincidence.

But no, I don’t believe that I am very good looking, but I work every day to make sure that I’m at least presentable, whether it’s before seeing my future wife, going to work, or even going out to eat by myself. Caring about how you look can do wonders. If you have low self-esteem, you will still have low self-esteem after a shower and a shave, but you will smell better. Nobody has ever disliked anybody that smelt of Irish Spring and Old Spice.

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Legacy

by JeremySpoke under Relationships,Success Stories

When I die, which will be sometime, all that’s left of me will be the memory of how much of a jerk I was. My eulogy will consist of stories about that time I stole that chocolate milk, and that time I hit my friend in the head and then locked him in the closet. It will be a beautiful service.

I think that people start families so that not only will they be seen as good people with family values, but also if they’re horrible, they can produce people with their spouse that are only genetically half the jerks they are. If you’re a jerk, you will probably stay alone forever and die. However, if you’re lucky enough to find someone, not only will you extend your legacy to another generation, but you won’t die alone.

I didn’t think about any of this when I met my permanent lady friend. I say ‘permanent lady friend’ because if I use the actual word for ‘woman I am going to marry’, I have to use that accent over the ‘e’, and that takes forever. Meeting her, and our relationship up to this point, has been much more organic than deliberate. I am the oldest of three, and I am glad that finally by age 29, I found someone to spend the rest of my life with, and perhaps extend my genes.

However, I have to take things step by step. I must go shower.

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Fracture

by JeremySpoke under Single Life,Success Stories

Okay so some college basketball player recently and horrifically broke his leg. I’ve broken my leg several times, and though it wasn’t nearly as painful as his must have been, nor was it televised, it still hurt very much. This guy is getting a lot of deserved sympathy. Will he be able to play again? He had a very promising future. I actually have no idea. He could have been the worst player of all time. I have no idea.

I think my point for this new pointless post is that in order to gain sympathy, you have to be really good at something. When I broke my foot in junior high by landing funny on my sandal, the only attention I got was from my friend who laughed at me as I limped back into his apartment and cried. Sports radio stations did not discuss my debilitating injury, nor was I on the front page of cnn.com. However, the next day at school, I did gain some sympathy from some of my female classmates until I noticed them looking at my Hershey’s bar in my hand. I’m not man candy! This chocolate is my last bastion of happiness that I’m desperately clinging to until I can lock myself in my room and glue myself to the television.

This theory remained constant throughout adulthood. Sympathy is only evoked if you have other redeeming qualities, and I can’t always carry around a Hershey’s bar. I’m not made of money. Actually no, that’s completely wrong. Most women have hated me, despite any unfortunate circumstances that have come my way. It wasn’t until I met my fiancée that I realized that sympathy is not a tool to use for self-esteem. Instead it is a mutual thing to help both people realize not just their codependence but also their fusion as a coherent whole.


Smug and Stuff

by JeremySpoke under Success Stories

The moment you become smug and content is the moment you begin to lose everything. You have to choose between contentment without knowing you can lose everything and constant neuroticism without knowing there is nothing to lose.

Realistically, everyone lives somewhere between these two extremes. I am always on edge. My life is constantly getting better and I can get just as anxious as I’ve always been. I suppose that the better my life gets, the more I’m scared I can lose everything. I suppose this because this is what people tell me, and I trust people because they’re smarter than me. Right now, I have more to lose than ever. In just one, maybe two, stupid moves, I could lose it all. I don’t think I’ll ever reach a level where my anxiety will be somewhat relieved. The only thing I can think of is complete personality reassignment.

I do not deserve my fiancée, but work every day to make that up. I think the last time I was content was ironically when I had nothing. I knew I had nothing to lose, and thus had nothing to worry about. I didn’t have to work for anything, and though got no reward, also felt no disappointment. Disappointment only comes from effort. If you don’t care, you’ll never be disappointed.

I’m still not sure which is better, but I’m pretty happy with my life right now. I constantly feel like I’ve reached the pinnacle of what I will achieve. If this is true, I should just live it up and not worry. Maybe tomorrow I will get regular Lay’s instead of the baked variety.


Pushing Through

by JeremySpoke under Success Stories

Anxiety is a funny thing. Just kidding it sucks.

It’s difficult to push through the day when you have a heavy, sinking feeling in your chest. Deep anxiety makes doing everyday activities difficult.

It just took me half an hour to turn on my computer, and it only takes my horrible computer eighteen minutes to start up. That left two hours of lethargy and apathy. That’s two minutes I could have instead spent putting in my password and pressing ‘Enter’. What a waste!

So I somehow managed to open WordPress and I’m now writing this.

Finding someone to share in my misery is the best thing that’s ever happened to me. For example, for many people suffering from some sort of anxiety and/or depression, the morning can be especially difficult. Sometimes this stems from loneliness. Whatever the case, getting a text message immediately after waking up evokes the best feeling ever. It gives me just enough motivation to get out of bed and drive to work.

I know there will be ups and downs, but this ride is great so far. Things are far from perfect, but if I had to write this same blog post one year ago, I would have managed to open my laptop halfway and then gone on an icing-eating rampage which would have devolved into just eating sticks of butter.


Decision Maker

by JeremySpoke under Date Night,Success Stories

On the first few dates, if you’re a male, try to be at least a little bit decisive. It shows initiative or something.

I’m very bad at doing this. Although I have opinions, often very strong ones, I’m too afraid to express them, especially while out with a woman I hardly know. In general, I almost never talk about politics. I don’t shop around for things. If I need a shirt, I go to a store, pick up the first shirt I see, pay for it, and put it on my body. If someone asks me which insurance I prefer, I say, ‘The one that I pay to insure me in case I do something bad.”

On early dates, I have a bad habit of asking the woman her opinion on what she wants to do, where she wants to eat, what I want to wear, etc. Sometimes, you can come up with something, too. Set something up. Get a general idea of her likes and dislikes, and make an informed decision based on these opinions. If she’s a vegetarian, don’t go to a Brazilian steakhouse. If she’s a carnivore, go to a Brazilian steakhouse. If neither of you are hungry, do something else.

This all seems like obvious advice, but for me, it took a long time to learn. There’s a thin line between benevolence and weakness. I live my life on that line. I still see myself as an a****** that just can’t say no. Maybe there’s no such thing as nice people. There’s just a******* that impose their will and a******* that don’t.