The Stuff Sex Education Should Have Taught Us

Cole Schafer Blog

I am not a teacher. Though, if I were a teacher and were given the responsibility to educate America’s youth on sex, I am certain I would do a much better job than my teacher ever did. 

First and foremost, I definitely wouldn’t teach sex education by showing dated VHS tapes inside a stuffy classroom. Instead, I would take the youngsters to Donut Bank, where each day we would drink chocolate milk, consume massive amounts of donuts and explore the subject of sex education.  

We would, of course, have a featured speaker of the day, who we would pick at random in the Donut Bank. Preferably they would be over the age of 65. Honestly, I think the baby boomer generation knows the most about sex. So, it would only make sense. 

Unfortunately, all of you 20-somethings reading this have graduated from middle school a good while ago. So, I guess we will have to settle for this less exciting blog post. 

Men and Women Are Not Created Equal, and That is Okay

I was watching in terror as my Home Ec. teacher struggled to roll a blue condom onto a banana. 

She was holding the banana at its base, describing the proper technique in which one goes about applying a condom. I winced as she squeezed too tightly and the banana ruptured, oozing out its mashed insides from the base of its peel. The class gasped in unison, as my teacher responded, “It’s fine! It will still do.”

No, it won’t do, I thought to myself. Everything isn’t fine here. You just mashed Bart Simpson’s cock in your hands. 

I was horrified. 

The sex education I received in 6th grade was subpar at best. 

Still, to this day, I remember one of my male classmates Tommy raising his hand, “Mrs. Winterbottoms, are all guys the same size?”

The class gasped again, mostly just the girls, for the boys in the class were very curious to know the answer. 

Mrs. Winterbottoms responded to Tommy’s question with complete confidence, “Yes, sweetie. God made all boy’s penises the same size.”

The boys in the class exhaled in relief, but I was skeptical. Thoughts began racing through my head. 

If penises are all created equal… Why do shoes at Shoe Carnival come in all different sizes? Why are some kids taller than others? And how come Jimmy’s cranium looks like a damn watermelon? How come our skulls aren’t all the same size too? 

Suddenly, it hit me. 

I leaned over to Tommy and whispered, “Dude, she’s lying.”

Boobs, butts, curves and penises come in all shapes and sizes, which is a beautiful thing, really. Whatever you were born with you should love it, because it means you are alive and that is a miracle in and of itself. 

I make my living in marketing and understand the industry well. A very effective, but shady way to market is to create insecurities in people and then sell solutions to said insecurities. 

Listerine is a perfect example of a product that created an insecurity (bad breath) and then marketed the hell out of it.

This is a big reason (pun intended) why industries like male enhancement and plastic surgery have skyrocketed over recent years. 

Marketers create insecurities and then market to them. 

Love your body and don’t give anyone the time of day that doesn’t love your body. Women, I can tell you… if your significant other isn’t happy with your breast size, there are plenty of men that would kill to take his place.

Same goes for you, men. 

If you want to get work done, that is your prerogative, but never do it in hopes to appear more attractive to someone else.

You are hot. 

Sex Does Not Make or Break You

Our culture places a ridiculously high emphasis on sex, which in turn has placed unnecessary pressure on both men and women. 

Men are pressured into feeling as though they have to have a lot of sex to feel masculine and live up to societal expectation. Sex has become a badge of honor among men, a pat on the back amongst our peers. Whether we want to admit it or not, we subconsciously place men who have a lot of sex with a lot of women on a pedestal. 

Women are pressured into feeling as though they have to have less sex to not be shamed by society. Sex for women has become something that should be enjoyed in moderation, within the confines of a relationship. Whether we want to admit it or not, we subconsciously label women who have a lot of sex with a lot of men as ‘promiscuous’, or shall I dare say, whores. 

In both cases, it is wrong. 

Sex and self-worth are not one in the same. Guy or girl, have as much or as little as you like. Regardless, it doesn’t affect your worth as a person. 

On That Note, Enter Into Relationships with People Who Have Similar Beliefs as You on Sex

How you choose to live your life sexually is up to you and it is nobody’s business but your own.

With that said, don’t fault people for having different beliefs than you in regards to sex -- but, you also shouldn’t get into relationships with people who have drastically differing beliefs than you on sex. 

I have always held a deep respect and value for sex. In my mind, sex is the deepest, most passionate act you can do with another individual. So, I have found the most success in relationships when I am with a woman that feels the same. 

This is not right or wrong, it’s just my outlook. 

With that said, I know some amazing people who place less importance on sex and this has worked for them just fine. They may have dozens of partners throughout their life and that’s okay. 

I don’t look down upon them, they just have different beliefs on sex than I do. 

That being said, is it a good idea for the Christian who is saving him or herself for marriage to enter into a relationship with an individual who enjoys screwing anything that isn’t nailed down? 

No. 

Generally, relationships work best when both people have very similar outlooks on sex. 

Varying Sexual Orientations are Natural

Homosexuality has been around since the beginning of time. 

There is evidence of gay relationships dating all the way back to 2400 BC -- two men in the Egyptian city of Saqqara were buried together, much like a married couple. It has been present in nearly every culture and it is seen all across the animal kingdom. 

There are even theories out there that say men and women oscillate on a sexual spectrum throughout their lifetimes. 

Sexuality is very grey, not black and white.

A Few Final Thoughts on Sex

Use protection.

By Cole Schafer 

Part Two of The Three Loves Theory: Passion Isn't Enough to Make Love Last

Cole Schafer Blog

If you haven’t yet, I highly recommend you skim through Part One of The Three Loves Theory: You Don’t Put a Ring on Lust, before continuing on with this post.

With that said, if you’re the type of person that likes to do crazy shit, like taking a pull directly from the milk jug without pouring a glass, then go buck wild, read away -- you little rebel.

Previously, we talked about my brother’s friend’s cousin, Chuck, who was telling me a story about how he had sex with a girl he was lusting after in a treehouse; which resulted in a bunch of splinters in his ass and their eventual demise.

This week we are going to talk about the second type of love, Passion, which should be taken much more seriously than Lust. Why? Well, because passion happens when lust, emotional chemistry and spontaneity of a new relationship morph into something beautiful.

Passion is when you see her and everything stops because all that matters in that moment is watching her exist. Passion is when you don’t wash his sweatshirt because his scent smells like home. Passion is when you stay up till 5 a.m. with your favorite person, naked in your bed, listening to vinyl and sipping craft beer.

But what you will find in this story, is that even passion isn’t enough to make love last.

Passion

My best friend dated a girl throughout college that I was certain he was going to marry.

I loved them as a couple because I loved the way she made him feel. They looked lovely together. She was stunning, a brilliantly gifted artist and head over heels infatuated with him. He was damn good looking (still is), sharp as a tack and thought she hung the moon.

Everything seemed to fall into place with the two of them. In the words of Anne Lamott, “It's not unlike finding a mate, where little by little you begin to feel that you've stepped into a shape that was waiting there all along.”

While the relationship was far from perfect, it was in its imperfection that something beautiful was cultivated.

He was an Adman, studying relentlessly to perfect his advertising genius. She was a painter, that had the ornate ability to turn a blank ordinary canvas into something the world fell in love with. He was a charming extrovert, born to own the room. She was a quiet introvert, a wallflower of sorts.

But something about their clashing personalities and passions drew them together like a pair of magnets in a child’s hand. Adversity and curiosity would pull them apart but was never strong enough to keep them separated for too long before they would snap back together.

They were passionate people and passionate about each other, and most importantly they loved each other deeply.

My best friend loved music. He was one of those who was created with it sewn into his soul and his girlfriend loved that about him. So, for his birthday she painted him a vinyl cover to store his favorite album in.

At night when there was no privacy in their apartments, they could be found in the car, parked in the back of a Dairy Queen parking lot, making love.

What they had was wonderful. Beautiful. Passionate.

But like I said earlier, passion isn’t enough to make Love last.

One day, he called me. And I felt my heart drop because I realized my best friend was crying.

The end of their senior year in college had crept up on them; like a sunset slipping into dusk, they didn’t realize it had grown dark until they looked out the window.

They had decided to go their separate ways.

Passion is Beautiful, But Love Demands More

And that is the tough part about passionate people. They dream hard and they love hard, and one day they are forced to choose. They are forced to choose between passions.

My best friend was heading to New York to work with one the largest branding agencies in professional sports. She was heading to Maryland, to pursue a fellowship in painting.

They were forced to choose, and they chose their dreams.

My best friend and his now ex-girlfriend would both tell you that they wouldn’t change their time together for the world. They would tell you they both grew tremendously, experienced beautiful moments and loved hard during their time together.

They don’t talk much anymore, leading separate lives in different cities. But they don’t hate each other, either. In fact, I think there is a part of both of them that deeply admires the other.

He has never let go of the album she painted.

I am sure you’re wondering, why? Why did they end? What caused their demise? If passion isn’t strong enough to keep love together, what is?

Commitment.

They loved each other, they were passionate about one another, but there was a very important element of their relationship that was missing, commitment.

Passion must exist to keep love magical, but it takes commitment to keep love together.

The greatest piece of advice on relationships I ever received was from my brother -- love is not a feeling, it is a commitment. Which is exactly what we will be talking about in Part 3 of The Three Loves Theory.

A couple years later, after my best friend and his ex had decided to go their separate ways, he had finally started dating again and met someone very special.

I received a text one night, while drinking a beer at Tin Man, a favorite pub of mine in my hometown, “I am trying to stay balanced through all of this, but I am falling hard for her.”

I smiled and put my phone down, it needed no response.

Love has a way of coming back around, I will be curious if this time it happens to grow beyond passion.

Regardless, there is something beautiful about it, love that is.

By Cole Schafer

A Subtle 'Fuck You' to Social Media

Cole Schafer

Half the time as a writer I am not even writing, I am competing for attention, I am spending my time thinking up new ways to market my message to the people that truly need to hear it.

It fucking sucks to be a writer in 2017.

Not only do I compete for attention with other writers, but I compete for attention with the cat memes. I compete with the ridiculous World Star Hip Hop street fight videos. I compete with the bullshit political rants.

I will never be able to effectively verbalize how frustrating it is. I have this message, this real authentic message I am working every Goddamn day of my life to get other young people to listen to.

But they would rather read breaking news about how Kim Kardashian is considering divorcing Kanye West, than how they could legitimately improve their actual relationships they are in, by pulling their heads out of their asses and taking the time to hug their partner rather than their phone.

A couple weeks back, I was done, I had reached a point where I was officially ready to be done blogging. I was staring at the ‘Deactivate’ button at the bottom of my blog site, fantasizing over how wonderful it would feel to just walk away.

But then, Bo Burnham’s words came rattling through my skull. I had watched his Netflix Original, Make Happy, a few nights prior. During his live performance, he had a brief moment of seriousness where he passed on a message that really resonated with me.

“Social Media was just the market’s answer to a generation that demanded to perform. So, the market said ‘here’, perform everything, to everyone, all the time, for no reason. It’s prison. It’s horrific. It’s performer and audience melted together. We lie in our bed at the end of the day as a satisfied audience member. I know very little about anything, but what I do know is that if you can live your life without an audience, you should do it.”

His words were everything to me, addressing exactly the struggle I was dealing with -- measuring my value and self-worth as a human being in the number of shares, likes and visits my work was receiving.

I had stopped writing because I loved it, and started writing in hopes that other people would love it.

And I see this all the time.

We don’t measure the value of a relationship by how much we love the other person, but we measure it in how our friends and followers love the pictures we post.

Our thoughts aren’t measured by their depth nor originality, but instead, they are measured in favorites and retweets. Take a moment and fucking think about that. Seriously, think about how messed up that is. Twitter has created a system where even your thoughts, one of the deepest parts of you, are measured and graded.

So guess what happens? We stop living for ourselves, we stop living in the pursuit of our very own honest to goodness happiness. And instead, we start performing, for anyone and everyone that will fucking listen.

And you know what’s wrong with performing? It’s not real. It’s not genuine. It’s not authentic. It exists solely for the purpose of applause, to sell tickets.

I suppose I am fighting against something here.

I am fighting against the world where greasy internet entrepreneurs, like Tai Lopez take advantage of people through ‘get rich quick’ e-courses.

I am fighting against the world where a woman can gain millions of followers on Instagram by posting consecutive pictures of her ass.

I am fighting against the world where cat memes are consumed in greater frequency than books.

I am fighting against the world where young women look up to Kim K. rather than Michelle Obama.

I am fighting against the world where young men believe their only path to success is through basketball, rapping or becoming Insta-famous.

I suppose I am fighting for everything we have lost in the midst of all the followers we have gained.

So, for all the people that read my work, I have a message I want to leave you with:

Your most heavily favorited tweet will not be etched onto your gravestone. Your 10,000 followers will not be included in your obituary. Your relationship will not grow stronger the better your Instagram filter. You will not find happiness through social media.

So, be genuine, be true to yourself, be authentic and be exactly the person you believe in your heart you should be. Don’t play into the system, don’t chase after the applause that social media has programmed us to long for.

Stop performing and start living.

By Cole Schafer

The Science Behind Snuggling: A Lesson on Oxytocin

Oxytocin, not to be confused with the highly addictive Oxycontin, is a powerful neurotransmitter in the brain. It is oftentimes referred to as the “Love hormone” or “Cuddle Chemical”, because it is produced during activities like kissing, hugging and snuggling.

Prairie Voles, arguably nature’s most monogamous species, produce Oxytocin in massive amounts -- interestingly enough, they snuggle the shit out of each other every chance they get.

Cole Schafer Blog

But, we aren’t talking about rodents. So, why is this hormone so important to humans?

Oxytocin in Women

First and foremost, Oxytocin plays a vital role for women during the birth process. Its production is what shrinks the uterus after delivery, and its release is what allows mothers to breastfeed.

More importantly, Oxytocin promotes mother-child bonding. A study published in the journal, Psychological Science, found the higher a mother's Oxytocin levels in the first trimester, the more likely she was to engage in bonding behaviors; like singing to her baby.

Oxytocin in Men

Oxytocin also plays an important role in father-child bonding, but doubles as a fidelity booster. One study found that men in relationships given a burst of Oxytocin spray stood farther away from an attractive woman than men who weren’t given any Oxytocin.

No women, I don’t think you should snuggle your significant others so they don’t cheat on you. That’s ridiculous. I am just saying this is a result of the study.

Oxytocin in Relationships

If you are anything like me, children aren’t part of the plans anytime in the near future. So, why is the subject of Oxytocin so important? Because it plays a major role in intimate relationships -- affecting longevity, empathy, closeness, trust and communication.

Oxytocin acts as a highly effective bonding hormone between couples. If Cupid were real, he would dip his arrows in a warm caldron of Oxytocin before taking aim.

Do you remember that couple in high school who were constantly groping each other and making out in the hallways? Their mildly disgusting behavior can be attributed to surging levels of Oxytocin, as well as all the other fucked up hormones present in teenagers.

5 Ways to Increase Levels of Oxytocin in Your Relationship

1. Snuggle and Snuggle Often

Yes, it is really that simple. If your partner is watching Netflix, go lay with them. If they are making breakfast, go wrap your arms around them from behind. Even if they are working on their laptop, go sit with them and just be present.

2. Express Non-Sexual Affection

Men have a bad habit of only showing affection when they want to have sex. Hugging, holding and kissing their partner in hopes that it will lead to something. While sex certainly can produce Oxytocin, non-sexual acts like hugging, kissing and snuggling causes the hormone to kick into production at full throttle.

Snuggling without intention is important because it says, “I am here because I love you and care about you, unconditionally.”

3. Tell Your Partner They are Beautiful or Handsome

When was the last time you looked at your partner and told them how hot they were? This may seem minuscule, but words of affirmation are... well, affirming. Sure, you may have found your girlfriend hot two years ago, but do still find her attractive today? Let her know, tell her. 

4. Think of Them

If you are at the gas station and know your boyfriend loves kit-kats, buy him a king size. If you stumble upon tickets to a concert you know your significant other really wants to see, surprise them. If you know your partner is having a rough day, send them a funny picture of a cat with a fat tail.

It doesn’t have to be expensive or momentous, it just has to be something thoughtful. The cliche, “It’s the thought that counts” is a cliche for a reason; because at the end of the day, all that matters is that you are thinking of your person.

5. Put Down the Phones and Show Interest

When your partner speaks, listen. When your partner asks you to get up off the couch to look at a fat squirrel in the yard, get up and look even though you have seen hundreds of squirrels in your lifetime. If your partner is upset and venting, don’t just listen but empathize.

Our phones have made all of us really bad listeners. People will talk to us and we will just nod our heads as we stare at our screens.

I want to make something very clear; when your partner is talking to you and you are entranced in your phone, you are giving off a message -- Whatever is happening on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter is more important than you and what you have to say.

In Closing

The production of Oxytocin really just comes down to a little bit of extra work each day, a willingness to do more and be more for your partner.

I try to always write about big problems with easy solutions. I truly believe a lack of intimacy to be a big problem in relationships, and I think snuggling is both a fun and easy solution.

By Cole Schafer

Sources:

Oxytocin: Facts About the Cuddle Hormone

A Love Drug? Oxytocin Hormone Makes Mothers Kinder

Be Mine Forever: Oxytocin May Help Build Long-Lasting Love

20 Ways to Amp Up The Love (Boost Oxytocin Naturally) In Your Couple Relationship

Part One of The Three Loves Theory: You Dont Put a Wedding Ring on Lust

Cole Schafer Blog

When Helen Fisher wears a black turtleneck sweater accented with a pair of black rimmed glasses and starts talking about love, you listen -- she’s brilliant and resembles a modestly attractive librarian, reminding the onlooker of the ‘kind of’ hot girl in high school that got a whole lot hotter when you realized how smart she was. 

Anyways, none of that is really the point. The reason I bring up Helen and her black rimmed glasses is that she knows an ungodly amount about relationships -- and due to the fact that the majority of 20-somethings, including myself, are relationship-challenged, it’s paramount that we become well-acquainted with Helen and her wisdom. 

Helen Fisher developed The Three Loves Theory years ago and in my humble opinion, it is one of the better relationship models that exists to date. 

Helen did a shit ton of studies on the human brain, taking a hard look at the cognitive and neurobiological processes underlying attraction and love. It was through these studies that Helen was able to map the types of love we as humans experience. 

There are three types of love, hence the name The Three Love Theory -- these being lust, passion and commitment. 

It is so incredibly important to be able to differentiate between these three types of love in your 20’s. You will find yourself and probably already have found yourself in at least two of the Loves I will discuss in this blog series. Understanding and recognizing the type of love you are in, will help you have realistic expectations for where the relationship is heading. 

Alright, grab your cup of coffee and favorite pen, let’s get started. 

Lust

I took a large pull from my iced caramel macchiato as my brother’s friend’s cousin, Chuck, was telling me the story of he and his lover, we were seated in a Starbucks and I felt extremely uncomfortable, looking anxiously from side to side. I am still pissed at Chuck for having the audacity to delve into such explicit detail, and at Starbucks of all places. 

Things got extremely awkward when Chuck said the word ‘penis’ and three tables up an older woman that appeared as though she had never missed a bingo night, spit out her pumpkin latte with such ferocity, that you would have sworn someone had actually sat a large throbbing dick on her table. 

Anyways, we were forced to leave, and Chuck had to finish telling me his story in the car. Let’s continue… 

Okay, so Chuck was 20ish and found himself in an incredible relationship, or so he thought at the time. He met this girl at some random party and they had absolutely nothing in common, except for the fact that they wanted to fuck each other every waking moment of the day. 

They never really talked, didn’t really laugh, they just blew each other -- they were in Lust. 

Chuck said things were wonderful for about one month, but everything started going downhill when they ran from the cops one night after attending a house party -- finding sanctuary in a random treehouse in someone’s back yard. 

I am sure you can guess what happened next. Yes, you guessed it… they had sex in the tree house. Can you believe that? As Chuck was telling me this story, I was in complete disbelief. 

All I could think about was the poor kids who loved their wondrous tree house like staunch republicans loves Fox News. A part of me died thinking about those kids coming home to color in their little coloring books after school in their treehouse, completely oblivious to the horrible acts that had taken place in their beloved kingdom, just 24 hours prior. 

I closed my eyes and prayed to God. I prayed to God that Chuck did not pull out. 

Chuck continued. Apparently during he and his lover’s festivities he had gotten 6 or 7 moderate to severe splinters in his ass cheeks -- serves the bastard right. 

Anyways, like any logical individual would do, he asked his significant other to help remove the splinters. She obliged because she was a halfway decent person. 

It took approximately one hour to remove the splinters from Chuck’s ass and it was during this time that Chuck realized he and this chick had absolutely nothing in common. 

You see, it was the first time they were around each other not having sex. After she had removed the last splinter from chuck’s ass, she said exactly what Chuck was thinking, “I think we should break up.”

What we Can Learn from Chuck & his Lover

Here is the deal. We have all been Chuck, and we have all found ourselves in relationships similar to Chuck’s -- insanely attracted to another individual, in Lust. 

Unfortunately, like what Chuck discovered, Lust is simply not enough. Lust doesn’t equal compatibility. Lust doesn’t pay the bills. Lust doesn’t take care of you when you’re sick. 

Lust is not love and it will never be love. 

No matter how hard you try, Lust will never in a million years transform into love. 

In fact, it transforms into the complete opposite. One day, you wake up and you’re sitting next to this person, and the Lust the two of you had once shared, has vanished. 

Why? Because your entire relationship was built off Lust, not Love. And once the foundation of Lust crumbles, so does the relationship. 

If you want to be in Lust, be in Lust. I don’t give a shit. Just don’t be stupid about it. You don’t put a ring on Lust. 

We will continue with the second kind of Love, “Passion”, in a few weeks when I drink more coffee and write Part 2. Right now I am tired and am lacking Passion. So, the last thing I want to do is write about it.

By Cole Schafer

Advice on How to Be a Good Friend from Someone Who Hasn't Always Been

Cole Schafer Blog

How to Be a Good Friend

I was seated across from one of my best friends a couple weeks back, having an afternoon cup of coffee, something that had become a tradition over the past nine or so years of friendship. We hadn’t spoken much in the past 4-5 months, she got a big girl job in a big city, while I was busy chasing both my writing dreams and the strongest wifi connection I could find. 

She was smiling and catching me up on her life, work and relationships and as much as I wish I could say we picked up right where we left off, we didn’t. There was obvious space that had accumulated between the two of us -- an elephant I think we both desperately wanted to address, but one we had difficulty understanding. So, we kept quiet, pretending it simply didn’t exist. 

When we parted ways later on that afternoon a realization began to cross my mind -- I haven't been the best friend. It was a thought that sounded like a ball ping hammer in my skull, stinging my conscience. 

I hadn’t made a good effort of staying in touch, checking in and offering support.

Honestly, I had become a lousy friend.

In a way, this blog post is an attempt to hold myself accountable, but it is also a challenge to my readers to be the best friends they can be. I am challenging all of us to do better and be better for the people we love, for the people we owe so much to. 

How to be a Good Friend: 5 Actionable Steps to Becoming a Better Friend

Step 1: Good Morning I Love You’s

I set a reminder on my phone for every Monday -- “Text a Friend!” I make it a rule to text the first 2-3 people that come to mind. These texts may be a quote that reminds me of them, a link to an insightful Medium article or simply an “I love you and miss you and hope you kick-ass today.” 

Thinking your friends will live down the street from you for the rest of your life is unrealistic. Love, work and dreams have a way of catapulting us hundreds and even thousands of miles apart. 

But, you have a fucking iPhone you are on 24/7. One, that believe it or not, has the capability of sending digital notes across the world. There is no excuse to simply not stay in touch. 

Step 2: Don’t Sacrifice Friendships for Intimate Relationships

I see a lot of people drop their friends the minute they enter into a relationship. I have been guilty of it, some of my best friends have been guilty of it and chances are you have been guilty of it too. 

Just don’t do it.

There have been numerous times I have had my heart broken, called up one of my best friends and five minutes later they are by my side making me laugh until my stomach hurts. 

Eventually, you will find the person you're supposed to spend the rest of your life. But in your 20’s, there is a good chance you haven’t yet found that person. So, don’t throw away lifelong friendships because you think you found your Juliet. 

Step 3: You Should Never Be Jealous of Your Friends

One of my best friends, John, is living in Boston and killing it in his first year out of school. I am living at home with my parents, pounding carpal tunnel into my hands as I build my career as a writer. 

John makes more money than me, lives in a cooler apartment than me and is more successful than me -- but there is not a bone in my body that is jealous of my best friend.

It’s the complete opposite -- I am ridiculously proud of him. 

If you are the type of friend that spends time being jealous of your friend’s success, you need to do some serious soul-searching. Chances are, you are miserable and directing this misery onto your friend. If you have friends that don’t want you to succeed, then I think it is time to find new friends. 

Step 4: Good Friends Tell Each Other When They Fuck Up

I see a lot of friendships that are horribly toxic for one another. Girls will cheat on their boyfriends, or vice-versa, and then their friends will attempt to validate the bad behavior -- “Terry is such an asshole, and do you remember that one thing he said that one time about your cousin? Fuck him. Don’t feel guilty girl.” 

Pause. 

If you have friends like this or are a friend like this, you are making the world a shitty place. 

Your responsibility as a good friend is to tell your friend when they are being stupid, even if that means it hurts your friendship for a little while. No one said being a good friend is easy, it certainly isn’t. 

Sometimes it requires you to tell the people you love what they need to hear, rather than what they want to hear. 

Step 5: Remember You Aren't the Only One with Problems

I have always struggled with anxiety. One aspect of anxiety that I hate is the self-absorption that comes as a side-effect. 

Some days I will wake up and start worrying for no fucking reason. Then I will start worrying about why I am worrying. Then I may start worrying about upcoming writing projects, the traffic on my blog and why a client is taking so long to fulfill an invoice. 

By noon, without even realizing it, I will have thought about one person and one person only... myself.

Often times, people's biggest problem is that they think they shouldn't have any problems. This mentality causes us to be selfish and causes us to be less empathetic. 

No, I am not saying people with anxiety are selfish people, I am saying that anxiety causes people to develop selfish habits. 

It is important to remember that you are not special. There are 7 billion people in this world, all battling their own set of fucked-up problems. A handful of these 7 billion people are your friends....

Don't forget to check up on them. 

By Cole Schafer

Nice Guys Finish Last: 7 Habits of Highly Unsuccessful People

I was sipping coffee, comfortably slouched in a massive leather chair of a Starbuck’s cafe, listening to a damn good podcast rattle away in my tri-colored bose earbuds, when two girls in their latter teen years sat down at a table directly adjacent to me. 

When the first girl opened her mouth I found myself immediately annoyed, she had the type of voice that belonged to someone quite intelligent trying desperately to sound less intelligent.

She exclaimed, “I don’t fucking know Debbie, he is just too nice. Ugh… he is just way too nice and it’s boring.” Debbie stared at the screen of her iPhone doing her best to appear as though she was acknowledging her friend's grievances when in reality she was scrolling through various social medias. 

The two carried on for a good while, talking, but not actually talking. I eventually increased the volume on my podcast to blare out the spewing of nonsensical bullshit. 

But even as my podcast continued on, I was distracted by the girl’s comment, which seemed to loop around in my head ceaselessly, “He is just way too nice and it’s boring.”

I felt myself hurting for the teenage boy on the other end of the girl’s line. It took me back to a painful place in my younger years when I felt I was constantly labeled The Nice Guy. I wanted to track down the kid, throw my arm around his shoulders and say, “Hey, that chick you’re texting has some daddy issues. So, stop fucking with her.”

The girl's words got me thinking about the phrase we have heard time and time again throughout our lives, “Nice guys finish last.” I have always thought the phrase to be bullshit, I think there are other qualities in a guy that causes him to finish last, not kindness. Though, I have never heard strong arguments against the statement we have all grown to accept as true. 

Believe it or not, this post is more about life than it is about relationships. And the lessons I will be talking about apply just as closely to women as they do men. Here are 7 qualities in both men and women that cause them to finish last in life, relationships and success. None of which have to do with kindness. 

7 habits of Highly Unsuccessful People

1. They Are Entitled

I once heard a guy complain that he had taken a girl out on a lavish date, spending close to $100 for the night and come to find out… she wasn’t interested in going on date #2. I sort of scratched my head thinking, “Dude, should she have jerked you off under the white table cloth in exchange for the expensive steak dinner?”

Both men and women have a major issue with feeling as though good behavior, kindness, and hard work entitles them to something -- love, money, sex a promotion, etc. Treating a woman with respect does not entitle you to her love. Working your ass off does not entitle you to more money. Making it to date #7 does not entitle you to sex. Doing everything your boss asks of you does not entitle you to a promotion. 

Highly successful people realize they are not entitled to anything. 

 

2. They Lack Confidence

Both men and women are attracted to confidence. The best example I can give here is Netflix's less attractive modern day James Dean -- Lip Gallagher from Shameless. He is hands down one of the ugliest mother fuckers I have ever seen, but every girl and her sister wants to blow him like a trombone. At first glance, his foul mouth, poor decision making, and drug abuse left me questioning my faith in the female population. But, as I took a closer look I realized what women were attracted to was his high level of confidence. 

Men and women have to know they are a great catch. Seriously, I can’t stress this enough. If you don’t believe in yourself, how can you expect others to? You have to not just think you are the shit, you have to know you are the shit. My girlfriend is like the hottest girl on the planet, and I am so lucky to have her, but there is never a time that I question whether or not she is lucky to have me. I am a catch, I am the shit. Though, I will never be as cool as Lip. 

Highly successful people radiate confidence. 

 

3. They Are Boring

Here is the deal, nice guys don’t finish last, boring ones do. When that girl with the annoying voice made the statement, “He is just way too nice and it’s boring”, what she was trying to say was “he isn’t interesting.” I think it is important to realize that people like interesting. Look at the fucking social media accounts you follow, are any of them boring? No one likes to see boring tweets, watch boring movies, read boring books and listen to boring music. 

You have to be interesting, and you can only achieve interesting when you are striving to be your 100% authentic self. I think people become boring when they try to be someone they are not. In my eyes, that is suicide -- living a life that is not your own. 

Highly successful people are interesting people.

 

4. They Are Passive

Guys think women like “bad boys”, but in reality, women like the attributes that are present in “bad boys”. They like the edginess, the confidence and the aggression. I have found that men we label as “bad boys” tend to be much more apt to go out and get exactly what it is they want. They are more apt to see an attractive girl in a room and strike up a conversation. They know what they want and they are aggressive about getting what it is they want. 

I have always admired one of my best friends, Austen Henson, for his tenacity and aggression when it comes to what he wants. He is currently working on developing a dating app for college campuses, and I have no doubt that it will come to fruition. If I stick Austen in a bar and point out the hottest girl in the room, he is leaving with her or her number. He is an edgy dude, but more importantly, he is aggressive. That aggressive decisiveness is what will make him successful in entrepreneurship. 

Highly successful people are aggressive. 

 

5. They Play The Game

“The Game” applies to life as much as it does dating. Regardless, we all seem to be more familiar with it in terms of dating. So, that is where I will begin. In my younger years, when I felt I was much less successful when it came to dating, I would partake in all the stupid fucking games so common in the early stages of intimacy. I texted her first the last two times, she can text me first this time. She has been distant lately, I better start being distant too. She took one step forward, I better start playing hard to get.

I don’t play games anymore and I refuse to date girls that play them. Oh, you want to fuck around and see who can care less? I don’t have time for that shit, I have books to read and things to write. 

The same can be said in life. I have found that successful people conduct their business on their terms. They don’t accept standards as standards. And they definitely don’t get caught up in all of society's silly expectations. In other words, they don’t play the game. They cut right to the chase. 

Highly successful people don't make time for games.

 

6. They Need to be Liked

Women and men who are attracted to people that blatantly don’t give a shit, living their lives with a fuck the world mentality, have some obvious deeper underlying issues they need to work out. Not caring about anything, not having a cause to fight for and lacking passion is disgusting to me. 

With that said, I think not caring about whether or not you are liked is much different. Highly successful people spend their time caring about the right things, their relationships, their business and their well-being. They don’t spend their time caring about trivial matters, like whether or not they are liked.

Highly successful people don’t need to be liked to feel whole. 

 

7. They Play Small

My favorite quote of all time is as follows, 

“Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone, and as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

This is a good close to today’s discussion and something I hope you remember as you tackle the rest of your day. 

You started out as a tiny little sperm that raced against 100 million other tiny little sperm to fertilize a single egg. 

All of which was made possible because your father and your mother were so ridiculously attracted to one another that the idea of “pulling out” escaped their minds in the moment, and boom… six weeks later in a target bathroom with several pregnancy tests reading positive, it was confirmed -- in a short matter of time you were going to be a whining, screeching baby bear pup ready to take on the entire fucking world and all of its marvelousness. 

If you are alive right now and reading this, you survived chicken pox, speeding cars and alcohol poisoning. The very chance you are alive today is in and of itself a miracle. I mean, if you really think about it, the odds were stacked against you. 

So, I am begging you to not waste a single breath. Not a single one. I am begging you to never play small in hopes to go unnoticed or to keep others from feeling uncomfortable. I am begging you to play big in whatever you choose to do. 

Show the world what you’ve got. 

Highly successful people play big all of the time.

 

In closing.

Lengthy teenage boy at the other end of this girl's phone at Starbucks -- nice guys don't finish last. So, keep being nice... just add a little interesting, purpose and a dash of confidence and you'll be good to go. 

P.S. I think you would have grown tired of her voice anyways. 

By Cole Schafer

Cole Schafer Blog

A Letter to My Daughter: 7 Lessons About Men

Cole Schafer Blog

When it comes to intimate relationships, 20-somethings are severely fucked up. Between commitment-phobia, blurred morals and horrible communication every one of us has quite a few areas for improvement.

I’ve spent some time thinking just how exactly I could delve deeper into the dark waters of relationships. What advice would I give to women in regards to men? What advice would I give to men in regards to women?

It hit me last night when I was running -- What lessons would I want to teach my daughter on men?

No. I am not a father. Hopefully, everything goes as planned and I can put off having a little girl for 8-10 more years. With that said, I thought this would be an intriguing post to write and an effective way to approach the idea of relationship advice.

I imagine the advice we would give our children in regards to the opposite sex, is advice we severely need to hear ourselves.

Men, I am going to apologize in advance because I am probably going to hit you pretty hard in this post. Please understand that I am hitting myself just as hard, a lot of the things I am about to discuss, I need to work on too.

Women, enjoy this. In a couple weeks, we are turning things around and I will be calling a lot of you out for the bull shit I see on a regular basis in A Letter to My Son: 8 Lessons About Women.

Let’s begin.

7 Lessons to My Daughter About Men

1. Listen to The Silence

Often times, we judge our compatibility with another person based off of how smoothly conversation flows. How often have you heard someone say, “We never run out of things to talk about!”

Talking with your significant other is important, but understand that verbal language just skims the surface of the communication iceberg.

Silence is very much a type of communication, and I would argue it is just as important as verbal communication. Couples who can sit comfortably with one another, silently, share a gift of great rarity.

Can you sit with that boy you really like in silence and feel comfortable? Can the two of you read your own books, or work on your laptops in silence without feeling awkward? 

Be careful to never allow forced conversation to mask a connection that is missing. Conversation does not always equate to compatibility.

You can converse with a parrot, but try connecting with one.

2. Watch How He Treats His Momma

Mothers are good at pissing their sons and daughters off. If they didn’t frustrate them from time to time, they wouldn’t be doing their job. I say this because I think it is completely normal for parents and their children to get in verbal disagreements.

With that said, pay close attention to how he treats his Mom. Does he buy her just because flowers from time-to-time? How does he talk to her? Lovingly or hatefully? Does he value their relationship?

I am going to be brutally honest -- If a man can’t show the woman who birthed him the utmost love and respect, he will never show you the utmost love and respect.

I don’t care how beautiful you are or how you don’t knit-pick like his Momma does. You also didn’t carry him around in your womb for 9 months and go through 5 hours of traumatizing labor.

Watch how he treats his Mom because one day that’s how he is going to treat you.

3. Spending Time Over Money

Let's cut the bullshit here. I do think money is important. I think it’s completely normal for a woman to be partially attracted to a man because of his money (***Note I used the word partially). A man’s ability to make money reflects his intellect, drive and passion. It’s also comforting to a woman to feel supported.

With that said, I think women need to be paying more attention to the time a man is investing in them, rather than the money he is investing in them.

When a man is giving you his time, he is literally giving you a part of his life. In a sense, he is giving you a part of himself. Diamond rings and roses are shiny and smell good, but they will never equate to time.

4. Listen to What He Does, Not What He Says

Anytime friends of mine come to me seeking advice regarding the men in their lives, this is a line I always say -- Listen to what he does, not what he says.

The I Love You’s mean nothing unless I Love You is written all over his actions.

In the words of Extreme,

“Saying I love you,

Is not the words I want to hear from you

It's not that I want you

Not to say, but if you only knew

How easy it would be to show me how you feel

More than words is all you have to do to make it real

Then you wouldn't have to say that you love me cause I’d already know.”

He says I Love You, but do you actually feel loved? I know I have hit hard on communication today, but I think it is just so important. Men are notoriously poor communicators, and it is easy for them to cover up their true feelings with bullshit.

Again, I am being blunt -- If he says he loves you but doesn’t act like he loves you, he doesn’t actually love you.

I love you, but you’re probably gonna catch me texting other bitches from time to time. I love you, but I fucked around with so-and-so last weekend when I was drunk. I love you, but I am not going to come support you at your event because it’s inconvenient.

You get the idea.

The first step to understanding the way a man communicates is realizing that he doesn’t always say what he means. So, you have to listen through his actions.

5. He Calls You Out On Your Bullshit

When you are fucking up, does he call you out on it?

We have this misconception that relationships are supposed to be rainbows and butterflies 24/7. Plus, 90% of people are God awful at taking constructive criticism. These two factors make for relationships that aren’t very transparent.

I once dated a girl that hated any form of constructive criticism. She wholeheartedly believed she was born perfect and had problems due to imperfect people. The relationship didn’t last long.

There should be points in your relationship where you momentarily hate your partner because he calls you out on your bullshit.

Did you fail the test? Well, I love you babe, but you partied all weekend… do you think you should have passed?

Is your manager being an asshole again? Wait, so is Jan, Suzy and Tamara? Hmm, do you think there is potentially a miscommunication on your end that you can improve with these people?

Strong and healthy relationships involve tough love. There will be times he should call you out when you are slacking, and I hope he has the balls to do so.

6. He Picks You Up When You’re Knocked Down

Now, with all of that said, there is a difference between building and breaking.

I am a believer in constructive criticism within relationships, but there is a time and a place for it.

Destructive criticism is not constructive, it shatters confidence, hinders growth and is hugely unhealthy to an individual's spirit. 

Imagine a basketball coach yelling at his players. Picture his face going beet red as spit starts flailing out of his mouth. The basketball community, for some odd reason, finds this type of criticism to be constructive. 

When I was in college, my basketball coach was identical to the one I described above. Save for the fact that he was one of the ugliest mother fuckers I have ever seen in my life, the way he treated people made him very difficult to love.

He shattered my confidence, hindered my growth and was hugely unhealthy for my spirit. The coach-player relationship lasted a season, and then I quit. 

Get the picture?

When life fucks you up, and trust me it will certainly find a way to do so, your significant other should be there with open arms ready to pick you back up. He shouldn't be looking at your current situation as an opportunity to knock you further downwards.

He should be a teammate, not a coach.

7. He Spends More Time Looking At Your Eyes Than Your Ass

Women are generally smarter than men, but they have a difficult time connecting the dots when it comes to male behavior. 

If a man doesn't want to hang out unless you're having sex, what is he most interested in? If his eyes light up when you take off your clothes, but begin to drift when you talk about your dreams, what is he most interested in? If he only shows excitement in your text exchanges when nudes are involved, what is he most interested in? If he is staring at your ass more often than your eyes, what is he most interested in?

If you're just wanting to ride his face, and aren't looking for anything remotely serious, I think you have found yourself the right guy. 

But if you're looking for a serious partner that you can build something deeper with, you should probably delete his number and tell him to download Tinder.

There is no right or wrong answer here. You just need to be realistic with yourself and your expectations. Don't try to turn your hookup into your partner -- enjoy it for what it is.  

And please don't try to hit me with some bullshit like, "All guys are the same, all they care about is sex!" There are so many genuine men out there looking for something deeper. 

Yes, men are always going to be interested in sex, but you'd be surprised at how many would choose a genuine connection over it. 

I, for example, think my girlfriend is sexy enough to be on the centerfold of a 1974 Playboy, but I first fell for her evergreen eyes and would choose them above all things else -- they could move mountains.

Lastly.

First and foremost, my daughter will be 17ish before she reads this, it got a little more intense than I anticipated. Hopefully, I got my point across, though. 

Don't do drugs, often. Say please and thank you. And set the world on fire. 

Love,

Cole Schafer

 

 

Love, Heartache & Gender Equality: 5 Reasons Why Everyone Should Read Milk & Honey

Cole Schafer Blog

Rupi Kaur first surfaced the web when she posted a picture on Instagram of her lying in bed with her pajamas and sheets stained with a small amount of menstrual blood. The image was at first banned by IG, but then put up again later -- generating an insane amount of buzz & debate. 

Rupi is a 24 year old activist and feminist poet that moved from Punjab India to Toronto when she was 4. Her self-published book, Milk & Honey has sold over 400,000 copies and was No. 3 on the New York Times Best Seller List. 

I recently read Milk & Honey and walked away with a completely new perspective on heartache, trauma, women & discrimination. Rupi has helped hundreds of thousands of women across the world, but I think she has quite a bit to offer men as well -- I think everyone should read Milk & Honey for the following reasons:

5 Reasons Why Everyone Should Read Milk & Honey

 

1. Women Are The Most Discriminated Class in The United States

i want to apologize to all the women
i have called pretty
before i have called them intelligent or brave
i am sorry i made it sound as though
something as simple as what you are born with
is the most you have to be proud of when your
spirit has crushed mountains
for now on i will say things like
you are resilient or you are extraordinary
not because i don’t think you’re pretty
but because you are so much more than that
— Rupi Kaur

Generally, I keep most of my political beliefs to myself. Some of this, I must admit, is due to fear that sharing my opinions will push away a valuable portion of my reader base. So, what I am about to say is an exception to a rule I normally try to follow

Women are the most discriminated class in the United States. They are discriminated against by white men, black men and as much as it pains me to say... other women.

This discrimination has become increasingly more apparent as Hillary Clinton approaches The White House, and for the first time the ugly behavior women face on a daily basis is slapping America right in the fucking face. Whether you love Hillary or hate Hillary, everyone should be thanking Hillary... her candidacy has brought to the surface issues that have been plaguing our nation since its birth.

I once heard a woman say to me, "I don't think women are fit to be president." My jaw dropped. The statement made me realize that the belief that women are less has been so heavily ingrained in our culture, that women have started to believe they are less.

Rupi instills self-love, self-respect and confidence in the hearts of women across the world. She is a huge advocate for women and I respect the hell out of her for it. She addresses many of the issues women have been plagued by for years, and offers insight that both men and women can take away.    

2. Men Will Gain a Deeper Respect & Admiration for Women

he placed his hands
on my mind
before reaching
for my waist
my hips
or my lips
he didn’t call me
beautiful first
he called me
exquisite

— how he touches me
— Rupi Kaur

I am no saint when it comes to women. I on more than one occasion have shared disrespectful jokes & conversation with my guy friends. I am not a feminist, I am a realist. I think many women have been guilty of having "locker room talk" about men with their girlfriends, so I don't necessarily see anything wrong when men partake in this sort of tom-foolery with their guy friends. 

With that said, I have noticed a clear disrespect towards women in regards to sex. Honestly, you are blind if you haven't. A man that sleeps around with dozens of girls is considered a 'stud', a woman that does the same thing is considered a whore.

A key that can unlock many locks is a good key, a lock that can be unlocked by many keys is a bad lock. This concept is messed up, but it is a widely shared opinion by both men & women. 

Along with this, I think men are horrible at empathizing with women, and in general there is too much lack of admiration for women in our culture.

It stuns me to watch men be so close to their mothers, literally willing to protect them with their lives and then go out and treat women like sexual objects.

Rupi allows men to gain a unique perspective on the female mind and helps them to grow a deeper admiration for women, their strength and their greatness. 

Lastly, I want to clarify. I have played women before, I have broken hearts. Just like I have been played and have had my heart broken. I do not write any of this to sound uppity. In fact I have been guilty of many of the things I am writing about now, I just feel it is important to bring these issues to the world's attention.

 

3. Women Will Gain a Greater Respect for Themselves

you tell me to quiet down cause
my opinions make me less beautiful
but i was not made with a fire in my belly
so i could be put out
i was not made with a lightness in my tongue
so i could be easy to swallow
i was made heavy
half blade and half silk
difficult to forget but
not easy for the mind to follow
— Rupi Kaur

Women are as guilty as men when it concerns the lack of equality in this country. I see just as many women holding themselves and other women back, as I see men. Like I said, I am not a feminist, I am a realist. If these issues are to ever be resolved, women will need to experience a drastic change in mindset. 

I strongly believe that Rupi offers this mindset. 

She is fierce. She is intelligent. She is compassionate. She is sexy, not just in physical appearance, but in spirit. I think she envelopes everything a woman should be, and she demands the respect and equality she deserves. 

Women forget that there is no life without them. They forget that they were the ones that birthed the "great" men of this nation, who are currently supressing them. They forget that they are the only reason this world continues to turn. 

When I have a daughter and when she is of age, Milk & Honey will be the first book she reads. 

4. Mending Heartbreak

If you are broken
and they have left you
do not question
whether you were
enough
the problem was
you were so enough
they were not able to carry it
— Rupi Kaur

Rupi offers beautiful insight about heartbreak, and while it is heavily catered towards women, there is value for everyone. It gives men an interesting perspective on the female side of a bad break-up.

In many ways I have found it healing as a man. Women are just as guilty as men when it comes to breaking hearts, and I think there are quite a few lessons in this book that can be directly applied to men on their own self-worth and investing too much of themselves in women. 

5. Overcoming Trauma

our knees
pried open
by cousins
and uncles
and men
our bodies
touched
by all the wrong people
that even
with a bed full of safety
we are afraid

This is a darker subject that nobody likes to discuss, but it's real.

As many as 1 out of 4 girls and 1 out of 6 boys will experience some form of sexual molestation before the age of 18

1 in 5 women have been a victim of completed or attempted rape in their lifetime and 1 in 2 have experienced some form of sexual violence. 

Rupi doesn't necessarily make it clear in any of her interviews if she has been sexually abused, or if she is writing for a friend or someone dear to her that has had these types of experiences. Regardless, she uses intense vivid language, that I imagine is hugely relatable to anyone that has had similar experiences.

The beauty in her language is that she evokes a sense of strength from life's darkest moments.

Lastly 

I know I have thrown a lot at you today, and I recognize these are subjects I generally don't delve into on my blog, but I am a huge advocate of everything I discussed and I think Milk & Honey offers answers to many of the problems America, women and men are struggling with today.

This book will leave you feeling something, I highly recommend it. 

By Cole Schafer

Life After Her: 10 Steps to Getting Over a Break Up

Cole Schafer Blog

I had a reader contact me a couple weeks back and requested I write a post about how to mend a broken heart. I was hesitant at first, because it meant I would have to get a little vulnerable, but here we are.

I compare the pain of a break-up to a bad fall off a razor scooter. You are full of elation, barreling down a hill at what feels like wind throttling speeds.

Suddenly, the shitty front wheel of your razor scooter gets caught on a rock — all in one motion, the sharp edge of the scooter karate chops your left ankle and you go flying through the air.

While you are midair, everything is moving in slow motion, you resemble something of a squirrel falling from a power-line after a bad misstep.

Finally, you hit the ground palms first against the pavement, scraping them bloody. Your right knee has 1 or 12 tiny rocks lodged in it and you let out a blood-curdling scream.

You throw your scooter in a rage, run home to your mother, who knows exactly what to do.

Side Note: Next time you get pissed at Momma, remember that she has nursed all of your childhood injuries and has been there after every single break-up. When we fall in love we tend to forget about the most important people in our lives, our parents. Remember, they will never break-up with you.

Let’s continue.

10 Steps to Getting Over a Break Up

1. Throw a Tantrum --

No, for real, throw a tantrum. Cry, scream & shout. Feel everything for a night, a few days, a couple weeks, a month. Whoever it was that broke your heart was obviously incredibly important to you, don’t ever feel ashamed for hurting.

That’s the one thing I will say to both men & women -- don’t ever let anyone make you feel sorry for hurting over the loss of someone you loved dearly.

2. Accept It --

She is not coming back. He is not coming back. If they did, I fucking hope you wouldn't take them back. Why would you take them back? No, seriously... reflect on this question. 

If someone broke up with you, they either... A. Didn't value your worth B. Had their own insecurities they were dealing with C. Felt you had too much shit to work through. D. They didn't share the same feelings

Please remember that the breaker will try to disguise the true reasoning with: "You're seriously so amazing and I don't deserve you..." or "I love you so much, but it just isn't the right time in our lives, if we had only met 5 years down the road... " or "I am not ready to settle down right now..."

Okay, so now that we have waded through the bullshit excuses, let's return to A, B, C & D.

A. If someone didn't value your worth, that's fine, but they can go fuck themselves.

B. If someone has insecurities and needs to get laid by different men or women for validation, that's fine, but they can go fuck themselves.

C. It is possible that you have some shit you need to work through, but you should do that for yourself, not for them. 

D. Why the hell would you want to be with someone that doesn't feel as strongly about you as you do about them?

This is hands down the shittiest part of getting over a breakup, but it is by far the most important. You have to accept that the person you loved is gone. 

3. Give Yourself 10 Minutes a Day to Think About Them -- 

Just because you have come to acceptance with the fact that the two of you are over, doesn't mean that the pain goes away. While pain is natural, it is important to keep it in check. 

Give yourself 10 minutes every day to sit down and think about your ex. If you want to cry, cry. If you want to yell, yell. If you just want to write mean things in your journal about them, write away. 

But after those 10 minutes are up, you aren't allowed to let their sorry ass ruin any more of your day. Understood? 

What you will find as the days go by, is that these 10 minutes will dwindle down to 8 minutes, then to 5 minutes, until finally thoughts of them take up no part of your day at all. 

4. Pull Out Your Phone, Let's Start Blocking --

Instagram. Block. Facebook. Block his ass & his momma's ass too. Twitter. Block her ass & her thirstier than a shark in the desert tweets. Snapchat. His drunk snap stories are gonna piss you off, Block. Her phone number. BLOCK. 

Okay, so everyone has their own opinions on blocking exes. I respect that, too each their own. We, unfortunately, live in a world where we have two lives -- reality & social media. If you aren't going to see your ex in real life, why are you interested in seeing them in your digital life?

*drops mic... pen* 

5. Unless You're a Blogger, You Shouldn't Be Talking Shit About Your Ex --

Chances are, you're going to be drunk one night out on the patio of a bar somewhere. Your inebriation will lead to mild depression or frustration and you're going to say something really shitty about Douglas or Cynthia.

"Douglas had a nasty neckbeard & smelled like fungus" -- Shut up, you probably sucked on that neck beard more than a handful of times & you slept naked in his hoodies.

"Cynthia gave awful head" -- I bet you still came like a loose cannon in a room full of dynamite. 

I apologize for how graphic all that was. It made me uncomfortable typing it, so I can't imagine how you feel right now. Jokes aside, don't talk shit about your ex... remember you once loved them.

6. Run, Don't Eat --

People do one of two things to fix heartbreak, they either run or eat. After a break-up of mine a while back, I laid around in my room for a couple days and sulked. Ate. Jerked off. Watched Netflix. Slept. Not exactly in that order. 

By day three, I decided it was time to come out of my lair. I opened the curtains and the bright sunlight burnt pale skin, revealing my dungeon tan. 

I looked like an idiot as I waddled around my neighborhood, gasping for air like a maimed platypus. So, I decided to start running at night and it ended up being the most therapeutic activity I ever did for myself. 

I started running 10 miles a week, lost 15 pounds and was happy... wait, what the fuck? Happy after a breakup? Yes, it's possible people. 

The moral of this story -- run to ease your pain, don't eat. 

7. Let's Talk About The Rebound --

We all have that best friend who sucks at relationship advice, yet we still love them regardless. Anyways, this friend may recommend you to "fuck" it out of your system.

Let's all take a moment to appreciate the stupidity in this. The logic is by having sex with a complete stranger, a chemical reaction will take place in your brain and magical pixy dust will float from the heavens, in turn causing you to not feel pain anymore about missing your ex. 

I wish a one night stand would patch the massive hole in your chest, it just won't. It will leave you feeling empty, thinking about how good your ex felt naked in the covers as the two of you rocked it out to AC/DC's "Shook Me All Night Long".

8. Work On Yourself --

I have been out of a relationship for a while now and I have so much free time it's unbelievable: I read one book a week, I run at night as Childish Gambino blares in my earbuds, I have started my own freelancing business, I get drunk and do high-kicks with my best friends, I play ukulele in my room with my dog Lucky and I watch so much Office in my boxers whilst eating Honey Nut Cheerios that I might as well be selling Mary Jane. 

Life is pretty fucking good.

Take advantage of the massive amounts of time you have being single. Go learn a language, take Karate lessons, build a stronger relationship with your parents, make money, travel and read... constantly read. I can't harp on that enough.

9. Forgive Them --

This is something we haven't talked about yet, but eventually you have to forgive the person that broke your heart. I personally have reached forgiveness and inner peace through meditation, which I highly recommend

You have to reach a point where you want your ex to do well, to find happiness, to experience success. Feeling anger and sadness towards your ex is normal, but over time it can become toxic to your healing process. 

Forgive them, because at the end of the day they are only human. We all have hurt people at one time or another, every single one of us. 

10. Tomorrow Tastes Better --

One day, when you least expect it, you're going to fall in love again. It's going to be really slow and wonderful at first, like light acoustic music in a dimly lit coffee shop.

Then before you know it, you will have fallen deeper than you ever have fallen before, and it will be the most beautiful fall of all the falls thus far -- & hopefully the two of you will never hit the ground.

But if you do, well... that's why I am here, that's why I write. 

Love you,

Cole Schafer

 

 

62 of The Most Beautiful Feelings in The World

Cole Schafer Blog

1. A horse muzzle, have you ever felt a horse muzzle? Softer than cashmere.

2. A tightly packed snowball, melting away, becoming water in the palm of your hand.

3. Back in elementary school when you’d lather up your hands with glue, wait for it to dry, then pull it away -- maybe this was just me, I was really fucking weird.

4. Flipping your pillow to the cool-side.

5. Catching lightening bugs and placing them in a mason jar -- igniting your entire adolescent universe.

6. Sliding your legs into warm sweatpants, fresh out of the dryer.

7. Burying yourself in warm laundry, fresh out of the dryer.

8. Barefeet on cool grass.

9. Holding a newborn child -- I never wanted kids, then I held Taylor & Summer Maurer’s son. I just kind of sat there, with Cruz in my arms, staring at the life two beautiful people made… That was and will forever be everything, holding a newborn.

10. The taste of hot chocolate after playing like a maniac in the snow all day.

11. Watching your best-friends change the world.

12. Figuring out whether her eyes are green or blue.

13. Executing the perfect sharpen on a #2 pencil, back in grade school.

14. Erasing something with a Magic Rub eraser, squeezing a Magic Rub eraser , smelling a Magic Rub eraser.

15. The one shot that brings you to the perfect level of intoxication.

16. Experiencing how sweet water tastes after a day of swimming in the ocean.

17. Vellichor -- the strange wistfulness of used bookstores.

18. Sneezing a ferocious sneeze and getting goose bumps.

19. Burrowing in fresh sheets.

20. Sex in fresh sheets.

21. Riding an escalator.

22. When someone places a dandelion underneath your chin and asks you if you like butterscotch.

23. Hitting a personal record on flappy bird.

24. Cutting into a watermelon, and staring at how beautiful the red and green contrast.

25. Chills when the breeze hits the back of your neck.

26. Watching a 70 year old couple hold hands.

27. Anytime my grandmother would speak Japanese to me.

28. The crack of a Kit Kat when you break it in half.

29. Biting into a whole Kit Kat without breaking it in half.

30. When she hits her period & the anxiety dissipates.

31. Twirling a Q-tip in your ear after a shower.

32. Pulling the protective cover off the screen of your brand new iPhone.

33. Eating a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios whilst binge watching Netflix.

34. Unexpectedly experiencing a pleasant scent that reminds you of your childhood.

35. Jumping in a body of water, fully clothed.   

36. Having a dream where you are flying.

37. When you fall in love with a complete stranger of the opposite sex for like 5-seconds.

38. Cold aloe on sunburnt skin.

39. When you made it all the way across the monkey bars and got hype as fuck.

40. The way your mom looks at you when you surprise her with flowers.

41. Sliding across slick hardwood floors in dress socks.

42. Dipping your fingers in hot candle wax, then feeling it constrict & solidify.

43. Christmas morning when you were a kid.

44. Drinking scotch, playing ukulele and smoking cigars next to a fire with your best friend.

45. Watching someone’s eyes light up when they talk about something they are passionate about.

46. Using the odd spidery head massagers at the mall, as your eyes roll back in your head.

47. Sitting on your patio, in the midst of a storm, watching lightening paint itself in the sky.

48. Running your hands through the fur of your favorite pet.

49. Standing at an outdoor concert. Feeling the music roll like echoing ocean waves in your chest, and for that tiny moment in time you’re energy in its purest form.

50. Watching a Monarch butterfly land & slowly fan it’s wings.

51. Watching a hummingbird float.

52. Really damn good sushi.

53. Staring in admiration at another person’s tattoos.

54. Falling in love with the characters in a book.

55. Jumping barefoot on a cold trampoline.

56. The first time you notice the leaves have changed in the Fall, and you wonder how life can move so fast.

57. Fall.

58. Stargazing whilst listening to Bon Iver.

59. Running on a winter night, the cold air making your eyes water, and the streetlights become passing tracers.  

60. An aesthetically pleasing Instagram.

61. A good morning text from someone that means the world to you.

62. Kissing Lush Lips

By Cole Schafer

Anxiety Hack #1: The Carousel & The Mason Jar

Cole Schafer Blog

In order to overcome our anxiety, we have to destroy the thoughts that cause it.

Generally, anxiety is caused by looping thoughts.

Imagine standing in front of an empty, motionless carousel -- this carousel represents your mind.

As you begin to think about different things, which you are sure to do because you are only human, the carousel fills up with various objects.

Am I over-spending? Does s/he like me? Why has my daughter been so distant lately? Why is my boss such an asshole? Am I going to fail physics? Did I pull out? etc. 

At first, these thoughts are manageable, and you can clearly see each one of them sitting upon the round stage of the carousel.

Eventually though, as these thoughts pop in and out of your head at various points in the day, the carousel begins to spin. Slowly at first, then much-much faster. Until finally, you look up and the carousel is spinning so wildly out of control, that the thoughts are just blurs of colors and tracers.

When the carousel begins to spin out of control is when your mind has entered into an anxious state. 

The reason people struggle with fighting anxiety is because they don’t catch it early enough. They try to stop the carousel when it is spinning at full speed, and end up getting mauled to pieces in the process.

Don’t attempt to kill your anxiety, attempt to kill your looping thoughts.

Destroying Anxiety Through Eliminating Looping Thoughts

At any point in the day when you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed with a series of looping thoughts, follow these instructions:

1. Grab a mason jar, and label it “Looping Thoughts” -- with a piece of masking tape and a sharpie. Set the mason jar on your desk, next to a pen and a stack of 3x5 notecards.

2. Sit down and write your worry or fear on a 3x5 notecard -- make sure it is a complete and detailed thought, and that it is no longer than one sentence. Be sure it is angry and full of emotion, don’t hold anything back.

3. Fold the 3x5 note card in half, with the words facing inward -- this is essentially telling the worry or fear to go fuck itself.

4. Place the now folded index cards in the mason jar, and screw the lid back on until it is airtight -- this is the most important step in the process, because you are now deriving the thought of oxygen, bringing about its demise.

I am sure half of you are intrigued, “What is this dark magic he speaks of?” I am sure the other half of you are a little skeptical, and that’s okay -- I have found that we all have to come up with our own formulas for controlling anxiety.

Regardless, I encourage you to give this a try. 

Lastly, please always remember -- your thoughts were not meant to control you, but rather you were meant to control your thoughts.

Afterall, those thoughts were generated from that big beautiful brain between your ears. I would kiss it, but this screen is in the way and that’d be weird.

With Love & Wellbutrin,

By Cole Schafer

Red Wine, Bluebirds, Pillows & Head: 9 Toxic Behaviors to Avoid In Relationships

Cole Schafer Blog

You’re standing in a room with your girlfriend and you say something horribly hurtful to her. She reaches for her purse, and takes a full swing at your face. She is crying hysterically, because what you said cut her to the core. And you are bleeding from your nose, now sporting a welt in the shape of the Michael Kors logo on your forehead.

10 minutes later the storm has passed, she is holding you and nursing your wounds with an ice pack, and you’re telling her how sorry you are about the terrible things you said. The two of you get over it, have hot make-up sex and it’s all okay… because you love each other. Right?

Throughout the remainder of this post, chances are I will say some things that piss some people off. That’s okay, because it’s things everyone needs to hear. Let’s have a serious discussion about Toxic Relationships.

It takes two to tango and it takes two to be toxic. So, please don’t share this post to piss that one horrible ex off that broke your heart -- that’s toxic. I am going to let you in on a little secret from my dear friend Ernest Hemingway, “The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places.”

My job as a writer is to share my life experiences to help you become stronger where people, places and things broke you. I never want my writing to be used to further break people who are already broken.

In other words, always share these types of posts with good intention -- to mend not to break.

Toxic relationships come in many forms. I have seen them in mother-daughter relationships, I have seen them in friendships, and I have certainly seen and felt them in intimate relationships.

Due to the fact that toxicity seems to be most present in intimate relationships, that’s where I intend on focusing today’s discussion.

9 Toxic Behaviors to Avoid In Relationships

1. Ignoring The Elephant in The Room --

Couples are notorious for covering up serious relationship problems with MHD’s (Momentary Happiness Distractions). A few great examples of these would be vacations, sex, date nights, drugs & alcohol. Instead of addressing the problem, getting vulnerable and working through it, they think that grabbing a steak dinner and downing a bottle of red wine will magically patch the hole in the relationship. When in reality, it is just acting as a momentary distraction from the real issue at hand. Once you shit the steak out in the morning and the hangover begins to set in, it’s amazing how the elephant is still standing in the middle of the room.

2. Jealousy Is Not Cute -- 

Listen, it’s not called protective when your boyfriend wants to bash a dude’s skull in for hitting on you at a bar… it’s called fucking crazy. Nor is there anything cute about your girlfriend erupting into a meltdown when the attractive female server looks at you like you're the T-Bone steak. We brush these habits off as being “protective” or “cute”, when in reality they are extremely unhealthy behaviors. You and your partner are not one another’s possessions, the two of you are CHOOSING to be in a relationship with one another. That’s it. 

I totally understand there are times where we must put our foot down and speak up. 

I am just saying there is a difference between being protective and being a lunatic. If he or she is acting like a jealous lunatic, stop reinforcing the bad behavior by acting flattered that they threatened to kill someone in your name. That’s just weird. 

3. Making Your Partner Your Only Source of Happiness --

You are responsible for your own happiness. It is a toxic habit to rely on your partner for your own individual happiness. Your happiness isn’t defined by the current state of your relationship, nor the mood of your significant other. When we invest so much of ourselves in another person, it can be difficult to not allow them to have some sort of impact on our emotional state. With that said, it is placing way too much pressure on your partner to make them responsible for the entirety of your happiness. It’s hard enough to keep ourselves happy, let alone someone else.

4. Relationships Take Three Pillows --

Shout out to Ian Holbrook for this one.

Imagine three pillows positioned side by side on a bed -- each of these pillows represent independence and unity in the relationship.

The pillow to the far left is where your head is lying, and this pillow represents your independence, your life and your passions. The pillow to the far right is where your partner’s head is lying, and this pillow represent their independence, their life and their passions. The pillow in the middle represents the relationship and all the wonderful stuff that makes relationships… well, wonderful.

A healthy relationship requires the presence of all three of these pillows. What you will find is that many relationships only have two pillows. Where one partner has given up their pillow, their independence and their passions -- residing fully on the middle pillow (the relationship) and their partner’s pillow (their independence, life and passion).

When we try to control our partner’s pillow, that’s when things become toxic. Many of us have the misconception that we have to give up our own independence and passions to sustain a healthy relationship, when in reality this is far from true.

Having separate pillows where you and your partner can rest your heads, makes the middle pillow much sweeter, softer and sexier.

Never give up your independence, and never force your partner to give up theirs. Millennials, independence is not taking body shots off attractive people at bars and texting/DMing whoever you want, this is called disrespect.

Independence is about having the freedom to pursue your passions and be your own person, inside and outside of the relationship -- as long as it shows respect to your partner. 

5. Love is About Letting Someone Go --

Cole Schafer Blog

You find a stunning little Bluebird in your backyard, and you see that it has been abandoned by its mother and has a broken wing. You spend the next six weeks caring deeply for this Blubird as it grows stronger, healthier and happier within the safety of your home. One day the Bluebird flaps its little wings and begins flying around the house. Your heart begins to flutter with happiness as you watch how excited the little Bluebird is, but then you realize it’s time to open the window and let it spread its wings.

This is the toughest behavior for people to wrap their head around, but it is the most important of the bunch. If you don’t remember anything else, please remember this. Let her or him go. Love is not in holding someone in your arms forever and keeping them from their dreams, it’s about loving them so much that you are willing to suffer through the pain of letting them go. 

Encourage him or her to travel the world, to see the highest of mountains, the vastest of seas and the greenest of jungles. 

If they are your passion, encourage them to follow theirs. 

6. Competing With Your Partner --

This is a really simple concept. When you partner does something well, you should be elated, you should be proud of them and you should lift them up. I have seen a lot of relationships and have been in a few where everything seems to be a competition. Where couples who claim to love each other seem to be rivals with one another. If you don’t genuinely want to see your significant other do well, then get out of the relationship.

While you are both individuals, you are also a team.

7. Keeping Score --

Cole Schafer Blog

“Fucking seriously, Donald? You’re mad about me not texting you last night while I was out with the girls? You liked three of these bitches pictures a week ago and I didn’t say shit! Here, I have screen shots!”

This habit is so toxic people. Every relationship does it, every single one. I used to be the king of this. The bottom line is that it is manipulative and vindictive. It is placing your partner’s feelings second to your own, and is Cancer to the relationship. When a fight is resolved, it is resolved and it is over. The hatchet can’t be pulled out of the ground to be used for your advantage later on.

When couples fight to win and to pat their own egos, then there isn’t really any reason to fight? You fight and you argue to resolve a problem -- not for one person to win and for the other person to feel like shit.

Keeping score is meant for sporting events and exchanging head, not successful relationships. 

8. Disrespect --

I wear my heart on my sleeve, as I am sure you have gathered from my writing. Due to the fact that I have had quite a bit of practice writing, I have become pretty good at verbalizing my emotions and feelings. I can come up with 10 ways to tell a girl she is beautiful, but I can also come up with 10 ways to tell a girl how she just pissed me off.

In turn, I am capable of making someone feel really good about themselves and really bad too. Over the past few months I have been actively working on only expressing the good, and meditating when I am upset and feel the urge to express the bad.

It is important to remember in relationships that loving someone doesn’t mean you’re entitled to hurt them. I know this sounds rather trite, but I see it all the time. It is amazing the things people have said, I have said, everyone has said… in the name of “love”.

First and foremost, love is about respect. Yes, I think it is important to help your partner grow, and sometimes that takes telling them something they don’t want to hear. But there is a difference between encouraging growth with your partner’s best interest in mind, and tearing you partner down -- this line has become blurred.

9. Love is a Commitment, Not a Feeling --

I have discussed this topic before, but it is hugely important so I will touch on it again. The actual feeling of love comes and goes. I wish I could tell you that you will always feel like your boyfriend or girlfriend hung the moon, but unfortunately this just isn’t true. If it were possible for us to always feel the same love we felt at 18 years old, I am sure divorce rates would go down considerably.

Love is about committing to love someone even when it is difficult to. Committing to respect someone even when you don’t feel respected. Committing to stay faithful to someone even when the relationship is at its darkest moments.

Too many of us are constantly measuring the health of our relationships on that “feeling” of love, when in reality a relationship is about the “commitment” to love.

Toxicity in relationships stem from couples placing too high of emphasis on the "feeling" rather than the "commitment".

Lastly

I am NOT a relationship expert. In fact, I tend to be really bad at them. The reason I feel comfortable sharing these points with you today, is because the majority of them are based off of things I have learned from myself in past relationships.

I have demonstrated every single one of these behaviors at one point or another in my relationships, and have certainly been toxic to others at certain times in my life. 

My final piece of advice is to take some time to reflect on your behaviors in past & present relationships, and notice if you find any toxic patterns. This post was intended to bring these patterns to your attention, so that you can be better in the relationship you are currently in, or the next relationship you find yourself in. 

Cole Schafer

3 Reasons Why You Should Hate That One Person a Little Less

Cole Schafer

I think Plain White T’s sums up the feeling well in their angsty early 2000’s punk rock lyrics, “Hate is a strong word, but I really, really, really don’t like you.”

There is crazy amounts of hate going on in our world right now. People hating Trump, Hillary, the Black Lives Matter Movement, the All Lives Matter Movement, police officers, Syrian Refugees, the ex that was spawned from hell, etc.

The list goes on and on and on.

Last night between the presidential debate, awkward life situations and uncomfortable ambiguity I found myself in a pretty negative mindset -- a hateful mindset.

I ran until I couldn’t breath, stargazed and meditated for 20 minutes to physically pull myself out of the hateful mindset that I was in.

This morning I woke up with some clarity and wanted to share with you a few of my thoughts.

3 Reasons Why You Should Hate That One Person a Little Less

1. No One is a Villain in Their Own Story. We Are All Heroes of Our Own Story

No matter how mentally fucked up you think Trump, Hillary or whoever you “really really really don’t like” is, remember that in their story they are the hero. Just like in your story, you are the hero. No one wakes up in the morning and thinks, “I am a villain so I am going to ruin the world!” Every single one of us are heroes of our own stories and this doesn’t change on account of skin color, gender, political views, religious beliefs or sexual orientation.

I am not insinuating that there aren’t good and bad people in this world, just remember that in many ways they are the same as you. They are heroes trying to save that little patch of world around them.

2. You Don’t Know Their War --

It is easy to judge someone by their actions and how they portray themselves. It is easy to hate someone on account of their behavior.

What isn’t easy is taking the time to step into their shoes. It is hard to want to understand someone deeper when you aren’t fond of them, to see what is going on behind the scenes and understand the demons that haunt them. Every single one of us is constantly battling our own set of demons -- heartbreak, childhood trauma, mental illness, confidence and broken dreams.

Stop hating people on account of the graffiti on their walls, and understand that there is a war taking place behind their walls.

3. Do it For Yourself --

The emotion of hate takes up crazy amounts of energy. Don’t believe me? Wake up tomorrow morning and work on actively hating every single thing you come across, when your head hits the pillow you will feel completely drained.

I am confident in saying that nothing good has come from hate. You will not perform better at work, you will not make more money and you will not find love when your motivation is fueled by the emotion of hate.

No, you don’t have to start drinking green tea, meditating, smoking pot and growing an organic vegetable garden -- granted some or all of these things may help. I am not saying turn into a hippie, I am just saying actively work on seeing the good in people. I mean seriously making an effort to find what people are doing well.

This is something I love about the Lucid Dreamer’s campaign I have been running. I sit down for an hour with people and search for everything that makes them amazing. Afterwards, I find myself loving them, not hating them -- and that feels really really really damn good.

Love you,

Cole Schafer

22 Thank You's to 22 readers

Cole Schafer Blog

There is a deep vulnerability in writing. Unlike most bloggers, I attempt to set myself apart by never holding back from my readers. When you read my work, you read Cole. 

With that said, it can be painful. Anytime you invest yourself in a form of creative work and display it publicly, you take the risk of being judged.

While this blog hasn't always been easy, it has been the most fulfilling project I have ever done. I will never be able to describe how much I appreciate all the people that take the time to read and share my blogs. 

I just want all of you to know that you mean the world to me. If you didn't find your name on the list, don't worry. You eventually will. I plan on creating these lists much more often to give thanks to everyone who has supported me from the start. 

Your Friend,

Cole Schafer

 

22 Thank You's To 22 Readers

1. Adrianna O'Daniel -- Continue to follow your dreams, and let that wonderful heart of yours radiate. Oh, and be sure to jot me down for reservations when that dream restaurant of yours opens its door. Thank you.


2. Austen Henson -- You have a presence that can light up all of Southern Indiana, use it and your gift of making other people laugh, smile and feel good to change the world, my dearest friend. Thank you.


3. Bill McCray -- I wish more people, treated people, the way you do. The world would be a much better place. Thank you.


4. Bradie Gray -- The Rolling Stone won’t know what hit them. You truly are one of a kind. My favorite kind. Not that it matters. *L.E.S. begins playing in the background*


5. Brian Grant -- You’re one of the most competitive individuals I know, your ability to navigate adversity is uncanny my friend. Thank you.


6. Chris Schafer -- You have the most brilliant business mind I have ever known, and the biggest most ferocious heart I have ever felt. You will forever be one of my truest blessings. Thank you.

7. Grace Leon -- “Nothing makes the earth seem so spacious as to have friends at a distance, they make the latitudes and longitudes.” Thank you.

8. Hannah Fears -- You were born with this alluring gravitational pull, continue to be the life of every place you go. People love you and trust you, never take that for granted. Thank you.


9. Holly Goldzwig -- Coolness, is a quality that comes easy to you. Stay true to your individual style, and continue to take the road less traveled by. Thank you.


10. Ian Holbrook -- You will never fully understand what you mean to me. When friends become brothers, you know you're living a beautiful life. You and that mind of yours is extraordinary. Focus and you will move mountains. Thank you. 


11. Jackie Neville -- Your drive is going to take you places, its power is unprecedented. Thank you.


12. Kyle Hoeing -- You are a born leader and one of the most well-rounded people I have ever worked with. A financial guru that doubles as a creative marketer, that’s CEO material. Thank you.


13. Laila Schafer -- I think you hung the moon and the stars in the sky, Mom. I love you. Thank you.  


14. Lauren Leep -- You are extraordinarily authentic. Never stop marching to the beat of your own drum, your creativity will take you places you have never dreamed. Thank you.


15. Lindsey Fletcher -- Intoxicated, wandering the pubs of Victoria, you proved to be my favorite Canadian. We should do it again sometime. I am fascinated by your wanderlust. Never stop traveling and doing exactly what makes you happy. Thank you.


16. Matt Bevers -- “A baby shark, is still a shark.” Never stop hunting my friend, you’re swimming to great places. Thank you.


17. Nicole Pineda -- You are the most pleasant individual I have ever had the pleasure of being around, you have the ornate ability to make every conversation you have with someone feel like the only conversation that matters. Thank you.


18. Rachel Kutzer -- Your silent confidence will forever be something I aspire to emulate. Silence is the most powerful scream, the most beautiful voice and it speaks when words can not. Thank you.


19. Ryan Griggs -- You are the epitome of a lifelong learner, and I admire your insatiable appetite to absorb all the knowledge you can get your hands on. You have grown light years over the past four years, and I look forward to seeing where your hunger to learn takes you. Thank you.


20. Taylor Mathis -- I wrote an entire blog on you for God’s sake, what more can I say? In all seriousness, you’ve never missed a blog or a moment to show what an amazing best friend you are to me. With that said, I am still going to kick your ass in pool this weekend. Thank you.


21. Victoria Richmond -- Even though we only communicate through snide IG comments, you have always peaked my interest. I can tell you think differently and I feel you are going places most people will not. Good luck in your journey. Thank you.


22. Zack Mathis -- I have had a blast traveling, competing and growing with you academically and professionally. You’re one of the most creative and genuine people I know, and I am beyond excited to see the disruptions you make in the marketing space. Thank you.

The Girl Who Felt No Pain: 3 Reasons Why You Should Embrace Pain

Cole Schafer Blog

I once heard a story about a little girl who could feel no pain.

She suffered from a disorder called Congenital Insensitivity, which is a condition that inhibits the ability to feel any form of physical pain.

Generally when a child is born with this disorder, there is no sign of anything out of the ordinary until he or she starts teething, where they will unknowingly chew their tongues raw.

This little girl once suffered second degree burns on the palms of her hands, after lifting herself up and over the side of a pool on a hot summer day. She didn’t cry nor whimper, she just stared at her hands with a look of disarray. Perplexed as to how a wound that looked so bad could hurt so little.

She and other people who suffer from Congenital Insensitivity, must go through life with the utmost caution in order to avoid severely injuring themselves. A sufferer once described it as, “A sense of touch, without ever feeling pain.”

3 Reasons Why You Should Embrace Pain

1. Pain Helps Us Avoid Danger -- What is so scary about Congenital Insensitivity is that it removes any warning of physical danger. God gave us the ability to feel pain so that we could protect ourselves from physical, emotional and mental damage. If you stick your hand on a hot grill, are in a toxic relationship or are suffering from anxiety… you are hurting for a reason. You are hurting because you are receiving physical, emotional and mental damage.

Pain allows us to avoid danger and protect our well-being.

2. Pain Allows Us to Appreciate Joy -- Remember that for every negative feeling or emotion there is an inverse positive feeling or emotion. Love/Hate. Sadness/Happiness. Boredom/Excitement. Pain/Joy. If we never felt pain, we could never truly appreciate Joy. Remember this when you are suffering. Remember that you are hurting for a reason. Pain hurts a lot worse when you have felt pure joy.

Be thankful that you have felt joy, and trust in the fact that you will feel it in much more abundance again.

3. Pain Cultivates Growth -- Pain is the price we pay for growth. Do you want a nice ass and chiseled abs? Embrace the pain of the squat rack, the crunches, the running and the dieting. Do you want a big 6-figure income? Embrace the pain that comes along with the grind of making money. Do you want to build a genuine authentic relationship? Embrace the fact that you will have to become vulnerable, a place where pain is very likely to occur.

Whether you choose to push yourself to your limits or settle for mediocrity, pain will be sure to follow.

Following your dreams hurts like hell, and living a life mediocrity hurts like hell too. You just need to choose what you want to hurt for.

By Cole Schafer

5 Thoughts on Dating in Your 20's.

Cole Schafer Blog

Through awkward first dates, bad break-ups and many a tried and ended texting exchanges; I have come to the conclusion that relationships in your 20’s are just flat out difficult. I’m sure this doesn’t change when you hit your 30’s, and your 40’s and your 50’s; but I can’t speak for those decades since I haven’t lived them. So the 20’s is where we will stay for today.

1. Casual Dating vs. Serious Dating -- At our age there are two types of people. The “I am not looking for anything serious” kind of people, who I think really suck by the way. And the “I am looking for a partner in crime” kind of people. I have always fallen under the later, but to each their own. In my eyes, I would never choose to do anything half-ass. If I were doing something half-ass, well then I just wouldn’t do it. I view dating the same way. There is much more fulfillment that stems from finding someone you connect deeply with. I have never been one for the one night stand lifestyle.

Throw her in one of my favorite sweatshirts, grab a couple cups of coffee and watch Netflix as we make plans to change the world... I would camp out all week for that shit. I am obviously bias, but there is nothing wrong with either, just make sure you aren’t the type of person looking for a partner in crime in someone that “doesn’t want anything serious”.

2. We are Selfish with Our Time --  I and most other twenty-somethings I know are incredibly selfish when it comes to what we want to do, when we want to do it and who we want to do it with. I think it is okay to be selfish in your 20’s, when you don’t have any hellions to raise and aren’t married. But eventually you have to be willing to kick that shit to the curb, in order to make a relationship work. I have had more than a few relationships end because I chose to pursue my own passions over the person I was dating. Though, I think when the right person comes along, she in many ways will become one of my passions. Who knows, maybe she already has.

3. Drastically Different Places in Life -- What is exciting yet frustrating about being in your 20’s is that people are in such completely different phases of life. Some people are finishing up undergrad, others have decided to go to grad school, some are traveling the world, others just started their first big boy/girl job, some are living with their parents, some have their own homes.

When you are 30, it is easier to find someone who you are “in stride with”, for lack of a better term/phrase. By that time you are hopefully more settled down, have a career picked out, have chosen a place to call home, etc. But as a 20-something, it is difficult to be a young starving artist trying to make a relationship work with an individual who is in corporate america, has all their ducks in a row and their finances completely under control. Sometimes, you meet someone you like, but you are just at completely different stages in life. That's okay, just have the nuts to walk away. Find someone that has the same, slightly chaotic life as your own, and make each other's worlds a little more peaceful.

4. Nature Breeds for Diversity -- Our genetics have hardwired us to be attracted to people who are different from us. This was a brilliant little trick God had up his sleeve, because he knew through diversity, stronger and healthier beings could be born. Unfortunately, nature sucks at compatibility. What ends up happening? The right brained, highly creative artist falls head over heels for the left brained spreadsheet loving, numbers crunching actuary… and three years later he is writing a poem about how the bitch just threw all of his clothes out of her apartment and left his ass.

The problem? Well, the problem was never really either of them, it was all just an issue of compatibility. I think as we get older, we get better at finding people who are more compatible with us. Then coffee dates, Christmas Eve sex, and same music tastes fill the air as the angels play harps from the heavens and everyone lives happily ever after.

5. Stop Playing the Blame Game -- I touched on this in #4, but it's important so I want to elaborate. Often times when relationships end, at our age, our immediate response is to point fingers. Next thing we know, the person we loved so deeply for so long suddenly transforms into Satan overnight.

Now listen, I am not downplaying any of the horrible shit people do to one another in relationships. What I am saying is that more times than not, it is absolutely no one individual's fault. The relationship had just finally ran it's course, and God decided it was time to make room for someone else to enter our lives. It would be a long dreadfully heavy list to carry around, if we hated every person we dated. 

I want to iterate that I am not a relationship expert, in fact I consider myself to be pretty bad at them. I just enjoy writing about the things I think about on a daily basis, and this is a subject that has been on my mind as of late. 

Regardless, I don't think we should ever give up. If I can promise you one thing, there are a few hidden gems in the rough we call our twenty-something's.

My best,

Cole Schafer

 

 

How Sexting & Driving Could Kill The Neighborhood Cat: 5 Thoughts on Taking Technology Breaks

Sexting & Driving

One Sunday afternoon, a couple weeks back, I found myself in a weird place. I wasn’t in the best of moods, and was feeling anxious about the future. I noticed that I had pulled my phone out of my pocket 5-6 times in a matter of a few minutes. I would then proceed to turn it on, look at the screen, then turn it off. When I caught myself, I thought, “What the fuck? I wonder how many times I do this on a daily basis?”

It was at that moment, I realized that I checked my phone at least 100-250 times a day. Whether it be through texts, phone calls, checking the times, social media, etc. I was constantly on my phone.

I decided to power my phone off for 5 hours and partake in other activities. At first, I didn’t know what to do with myself. I was outside in my backyard trying to hit this large oak tree with a small pebble, I missed. I then jumped in my pool, noting how cool the water felt when my phone wasn’t on my mind.

I made a paper shark fin for my pet lab/pit bull mix and fastened it around her chest with a belt, I then watched her run around the yard like a little Indiana grass shark.

I read a lot… outside, I even had to spray OFF on my limbs in defense against the Zika virus. Life becomes scary when you’re outside without your phone.

I practiced a few of my signature high-kicks, which you have probably witnessed if ever around me under the influence. I can hit a target about 9 feet off the ground, but that is neither here nor there.

Anyways, the point is that when I took a break from my phone, my worries started to dissipate.

I am very much aware of the fact that we live in an age where as professionals, we need our phones to do our jobs effectively. But there is a strong possibility that spending too much time on these devices could be leading to some serious issues in our mental and emotional health.

1. Start Checking Email Twice a Day

How many times do you check your email each day? I would venture to say that for many professionals this number is in the double digits. One day this week try checking your email at 11 a.m. and then again at 4 p.m. These time slots will allow you to knock out your morning and afternoon emails in two settings, while enabling you to concentrate fully on more important work. At first, you’re going to feel some anxiety as the little number on the email icon grows larger and larger. This is completely normal, you’re just a tech addict experiencing withdrawals.

2. Choose Three Forms of Social media

Raise your hand if you regularly use Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat. I am challenging you to choose three of the “Big Five.” Not only will you be able to create better content on each, but you will save yourself some sanity. When I consult with businesses in the area of social media, one of my first recommendations is to choose one form of social media and do it really well. I have found that many organizations have the misconception that it is advantageous to be present on ten across the board. What happens is that they eventually become overwhelmed and stop creating content entirely. More is not always better. The human mind was not created to live five different digital lives at once, pick your poison.

3. Daily Phone breaks

Set aside one hour each day to not check your phone at all. Power it off, turn it on airplane mode, whatever. Do not look at it. Take this time to be in your own head away from technological distractions. Our cell phones cause us to constantly be thinking about the future, and in turn we are never fully present. A huge factor of happiness is being content with the present. When we spend 30 minutes at a time staring at our screens we are living in this digital twilight zone.

4. Phones Go Face Down at Dinner

When was the last time you had dinner with your family, friends or significant others and were 100% off your phone? I have mixed emotions on this, because we have grown so dependent on our devices that conversation can easily grow awkward.

I personally have noticed that many people, myself included, really struggle with making eye contact when in the midst of deeper more intimate conversations. I think this in part is due to our over reliance on our devices when social settings grow uncomfortable.

Our grandparents sure figured it out. When Carl made an ass of himself at the Christmas party, they couldn’t run to the safety of their screens. Instead they had to face the social setting head on, and let Carl know he was being an ass. The problem was addressed, Carl stopped being an ass, and the party continued on. Now, well… we Snapchat it and uncomfortably touch our faces.

5. A Few Things That Hopefully Go Without Saying

I also think we need to be doing a better job of staying off our devices while driving. Opening Snapchat nudes from your girlfriend are all fun and games until you hit your neighbor's prized British Shorthair cat, Douglas.

The neighborhood then goes into a complete uproar, because Douglas has been a beloved mascot of the Sunnyvale Cul-de-sac community for the past 12 years. You eventually get evicted and your conscious forces you to start serving at a cat shelter, where you regularly get viciously clawed. Because they know, all the cats know what you did.

Finally, you have to break-up with your girlfriend because she indirectly killed Douglas and your life continues to go down hill from there. 

Don't Snapchat and Drive.  

Cole Schafer

I Met Your Mother on Tinder

Cole Schafer

One day I will be 34, reading the Sunday news digitally on my iPhone 17 -- by this time I am sure it’s features will include a built in hologram, detachable levitating surround sound speakers and if we are lucky it may double as a fucking can opener.

Anyways, I will be reading the New York Times on the holographic image projected in front of me and my daughter will jump up into my lap accidentally racking my nuts in the process.

Through a lisp, hopefully very similar to Dustin’s on Stranger Things, she will ask, “Hey Dad, how did you and mom meet?”

As pain shoots up into my stomach I will quietly respond through muffled frustration, “Well honey, I met your mother on Tinder..”

Perplexed she will then ask, “What is Tinther..?”

I imagine how ridiculous I will feel when I explain to her the concept of Tinder, Twitter Direct Messages or any other digital form of media that led to her mother and I’s marriage; and then of course the existence of her.

The latter I anticipate being a much more difficult conversation. I have decided I will have the Birds and The Bees Talk with my offsprings through a blog series; touching on a number of subjects ranging from ‘Proper Condom Usage’ to ‘100 Things Guys Will Say to Get in Your Pants”.

Yes, this will be a shareable PDF… subscribe to my monthly email list and you will receive it in roughly 12 years, save for any unplanned pregnancies.

Today, I unfortunately and fortunately, can’t give you advice on parenthood; I can however take a moment to shed some light on how much of a hilarious disaster it is to date in my generation.

1. Texting? Talking? Dating? -- I remember the first time I attempted to explain to my parents that I wasn’t ‘dating’ a girl, but rather ‘talking’ to her. They sat across from me like a pair of deer staring into the headlights of an F-150, completely and utterly perplexed. One of them eventually asked, “So… She isn’t your girlfriend, but she isn’t your friend either?” I nodded my head yes, and they responded, “Well, that’s kind of stupid.”

2. Ultra Flakiness --  Here is a joke… Two people decide they are going to get drinks next weekend. They text and reschedule, text and reschedule, text and reschedule… until eventually one of them dies of old age and the drinks are never had. Morbid, yet frighteningly true.

3. Netflix & Chill? -- The meme has practically littered the internet for the past year, for good reason. Guys, are under the impression that a creative fun date consists of receiving a blow job while watching Stranger Things. First of all, Stranger Things is so good that it is arguably better than sex, or at least good enough that sex can wait. Secondly, we all should be paying more attention to Dustin’s lispy wisdom -- if he were a blogger, I would be out of business. In all seriousness, guys it’s time to step up our game. My boy Taylor Mathis told me he took a girl on a first date to get coffee and then they drove around town for several hours listening to music and talking. I thought to myself, “That’s fucking brilliant.” Then executed a jumping fist pump, coupled with a high kick to accurately demonstrate my excitement.

4. We Kind of Know Each Other -- “Hey! We follow each other on Instagram, I like 75% of your pictures, but now that we are in the same room I am going to act like you are a stranger.” Okay, this fucking sucks, and we are all guilty of it. No matter how advanced Social media gets, we are never going to be able to shake someone’s hand through the phone. Likes, hearts and retweets are great to pat the ego, but they don’t equate to an introduction. Coming from an introvert who is awkward as hell in large social gatherings, it’s time for all of us to get out of our digital shells.

5. Post Pictures so I Know It’s Real -- We place such an ungodly amount of emphasis on social media in our relationships that we are bound to fail before we ever start. I think Frank Ocean’s Facebook Story sums my point up here perfectly. It’s a story told by a french DJ and Music producer named Sebastian Akchote-Bozovic. It talks about how his girlfriend of three years broke up with him because he wouldn’t accept her on Facebook. His accent is badass and the story really hits home, check it out.

It left me wondering why it is is we get into relationships today? Is an Instagram couple with 300+ likes happier than a couple that never posts a picture? If a tree falls in a forest, and no one is around to hear it, did it make a sound?

I digress.

Cole Schafer

 

 

Why You Should Stop Burning Bridges

Burning Bridges

A few years back I landed an interview with an organization that I had admired for some time. I arrived and left the interview with quite a bit of confidence, feeling certain I would be offered the position -- overly so.

It was a situation in which the interviewer asked all the right questions, and I was confident I had all the right answers.

Oh, the naivety of college youth.

A week later I received an email that read something along the lines of, “Dear Cole, Thank you for taking the time to come in for an interview and the interest you have shown in our organization. The position has been filled by another candidate whose credentials were a better fit…”

Upon processing the disappointing news I was frustrated. My immediate reaction was to allow my pride to swell up in my chest like a prized fighting cock, thinking to myself, “Whatever, I am better off without them…”

After further digestion I realized just how fucking arrogant and ignorant I was being. I was a college student, who had done nothing of major significance yet to prove that I was better off without them --  ‘them’ being an organization that did millions of dollars a year in revenue and worked with top brands across the U.S.

I was being a pretentious prideful asshole and recognized it. After cooling off, I swallowed my pride and sent the hiring manager a thank you email and asked for constructive criticism.

Fast-forward a couple years. The wisdom and feedback that the hiring manager shared with me on that particular day changed the way I went about attacking future interviews; and was instrumental in building me into a better, stronger and more humble individual.

This person has since turned into a mentor that I hold in very high regard; whose actions, authenticity and compassion I try to emulate every single day.

All because I chose to swallow my pride and not burn a bridge.

Why You Should Avoid Burning Bridges

We have all experienced the painful slap of rejection in some form or another. Whether it be heartache, a missed opportunity or a job we wanted but were not offered; it hurts, like hell.

But why does it hurt? It hurts because more times than not we take rejection as a straight shot to our pride, and pride is something men and women protect with their life. We take rejection personally, rather than objectively.

In order to protect our pride, we burn bridges, we get even. We remove ourselves away from the place of vulnerability.

My first piece of advice -- stop being so prideful. Being right all the time is a very lonely place.

My second piece of advice -- stop burning bridges. I get it, I have done it, but it is self-destruction at its purest form.

Society is to blame for the bridge burning movement that has become more prevalent today -- cultivating this “Fuck You” mentality in regards to adversity and rejection that is terribly unhealthy and self-limiting.

Dealt a bad hand? Throw your toys. He/she doesn’t want to be with you anymore? Scream and shout. You didn’t receive your dream job? Toss a few birds to sky, you will feel better in the morning.

Wrong.

Life isn’t about the plans you make, but rather the shit-storm that knocks you on your ass when you are doing the things you’ve planned. Success in life comes down to how you choose to face said shit-storm.

In other words, how you choose to face rejection. 

Having the “Fuck You” mindset along with a burnt bridge or two will only leave you further behind tomorrow.

If I can make you one promise, it’s that the storm of adversity will always be staring you in the face in the morning. Always.

Would you rather face these shit-storms of adversity with a corner full of allies or a pathway full of enemies?

Start building, stop burning.  

Your ally,

Cole Schafer