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15 Life Lessons from The Lonely Island

15 Life Lessons from The Lonely Island

For those of you who many not know them by name, The Lonely Island is the parody rap group responsible for many of Saturday Night Live’s viral YouTube hits. Off set of SNL, the group has released three rap albums, all of which are equally satirical, witty and perfectly hilarious.

Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer are the musical and lyrical masterminds that make up the group, and–quite frankly–they have a lot of inspirational lifehacks to teach all of us.

Here are 15 life lessons I’ve learned from The Lonely Island:

1. You’re never too old for anything.

Anyone who knows the name Michael Bolton probably knows him for his world famous love songs back in the day. This is the man responsible for “When a Man Loves a Woman” and dozens upon dozens of other soulful love songs.  And, now in his early 60s, this same man is the featured singer of the hit Lonely Island song, “Jack Sparrow.”

If that isn’t proof that you can do and be anything you want to be no matter what age you are, then I just don’t know what is.

Watch “Jack Sparrow” here.

2. Being cool is all about confidence.

If you’ve seen the members of The Lonely Island, then you already know that their oddly attractive persona has very little to do with the way they dress. The hyper masculine attitude of The Dudes is all about confidence and self-respect, no matter what their clothes or behavior would otherwise indicate.

Wearing powder blue turtlenecks and skin tight white pants really isn’t in style these days, but somehow Andy, Jorm and Kiv just pull it off.

Listen to “Turtleneck & Chain” to get a better idea of what I mean.

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3. Throwing things on the ground is funny in almost every situation.

If you’ve read any of my other Lifehack posts, then you may have noticed that I’m a big fan of exercising your inner child and not taking your life too seriously. That’s just one of the many reasons that I’m such a huge Lonely Island fan. As their video and song for “Threw It On The Ground” shows, you can throw just about ANYTHING on the ground and it will be funny to someone.

I think throwing things on the ground is an important part of keeping your outer adult in check. Plus, it looks really funny in slow-mo.

Watch “Threw It On The Ground” here.

4. Nice girls can go hard too.

One of my first and all-time favorites is “Natalie’s Rap” because, much like myself, Natalie Portman comes across as a sweet and innocent goody-goody in many of her on-screen roles.

Any girl who’s ever felt stuck in the “nice girl” stereotype can appreciate Natalie’s willingness to go hard for a day and personify a gangster kingpin whose love of violence, drugs and sex comically contrasts with her normal acting roles.

Watch the uncensored version of “Natalie’s Rap” here.

http://vimeo.com/77383280

5. Work is more fun if you amp yourself up about it.

Even though early Lonely Island favorite, “Like A Boss,” is all about a guy whose job sucks, the upbeat and overly confident nature of the song kind of conveys mixed messages. So if you’re having a bad day at work, try thinking about your job as if it were a hyper-dramatized rap video and your day will likely be much more bearable.

Watch the video for “Like A Boss” here.

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6. Nobody cares that you’re having sex because everyone else is doing it too.

America is pretty well known for hush-hush feelings about airing your sex life in public, but this leads many of us to feel awkward or embarrassed about our sex lives and sexuality. In “I Just Had Sex,” The Lonely Island confronts this nationally awkward topic head-on by rapping about their (hopefully) fictional, embarrassing sex lives.

Watch the video for “I Just Had Sex” here.

7. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

We’ve all heard this saying before, but nothing puts this phrase into perspective quite like “Dreamgirl.” In a slower, R&B-style song, The Dudes list off the characteristics they like about their dream girl. With characteristics including, “skin like asphalt, nose so runny,” this description of a sexy woman is the exact opposite of what most people imagine. But beauty should not be defined by one ideal image, and The Lonely Island shows us just that.

Listen to “Dreamgirl” here.

8. Partying gets old after a while.

Our culture places such huge importance on the “coolness” and consumerism of partying that many of us fail to realize that partying 24/7 would get boring pretty quickly. The Lonely Island exaggerates the overrated expectations of party life by describing the mental breakdown of a huge party-goer in the song “After Party.”

I think this song is just a good reminder that, while partying can be fun sometimes, there are more important things in life that deserve a lot more of your attention.

Listen to “After Party” here.

9. You can be masculine and give hugs at the same time.

Again playing with our cultural ideals of masculinity and sex, The Lonely Island’s song “Hugs” is a heavy rap beat that is all about…hugging? Yep.

For me, this song says that you can be any kind of man (or woman) that you want to be, as long as you’re confident about yourself. It’s also a pretty clear satire of pop culture’s objectification of women and relationships in general.

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Listen to “Hugs” here.

10. Team effort makes everything better.

Everything is better when a group of people combine forces, and “We Are A Crowd” is definitely one of those things. It’s a song about people being in a crowd, and it would just suck if only one dude was singing it. Even things that sound meaningless on the surface can have genuine meaning if enough people believe in the message. So if you don’t get anything else from this Beastie Boys-esque track, there’s always that.

Listen to “We Are A Crowd” now to join in.

11. Grammar is important.

Being a writer, I can’t help but get a little irritated when people misuse punctuation, and The Lonely Island seem to feel the same. In their song “Semicolon,” The Dudes rap entirely in what they think are semicolon-separated phrases. Their grammar is a bit off, though, and it turns out the entire song should be punctuated with colons instead. But still, the message is there.

Click here to listen to “Semicolon.”

12. It’s the thought that counts.

Much like their “Dreamgirl” ideals, The Dudes’ ideas of the perfect gift are somewhat less than the norm. While you likely would be more shocked than grateful if your boyfriend did this, the song “D*ck in a Box” is a funny example of times when it’s really the thought that counts.

Watch the “D*ck in a Box” music video here.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ABrSYqiqvzc&feature=kp

13. Homophobic people are really just insecure about themselves.

In a surprisingly serious satire, The Lonely Island combats homophobia and masculine ideals in their 2-part song “No Homo.” This song goes from realistic bro-like expressions (i.e. “I like the way your shoulders fill out that shirt. No homo!”) to a plethora of sexual desires that are geared towards other guys.

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The song’s true message works for the group, though, because their core listeners are younger audiences who are much more open to the LGBT movement than previous generations.

Listen to “No Homo” here.

14. Perspective makes all the difference.

A change in perspective is often all you need to gain new insights and interpretations about the world around you. In the case of The Lonely Island, though, those insights are pretty scary when the guys interpret the phrase YOLO (You Only Live Once) to mean You Oughta Look Out.

While you shouldn’t look for negativity in things, you should try to be more open-minded and view things from a new perspective once in a while.

See what a difference perspective can make here.

15. Not staying true to yourself is the biggest mistake you can make.

Probably the most overtly critical message The Lonely Island has ever put out, “Go Kindergarten,” is very satirical. While it’s funny and entertaining, the message of the song is really strong: stay true to yourself and don’t let other people tell you who you get to be.

Watch “Go Kindergarten” here.

Featured photo credit: Turtleneck & Chain Desktop/The Lonely Island via thelonelyisland.com

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Kayla Matthews

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How to Keep Yourself Awake at Work Without Caffeine

How to Keep Yourself Awake at Work Without Caffeine

Keeping yourself awake at work can be a real challenge when you’re bored, exhausted or sleep-deprived.

But before you reach for that can of Red Bull, bottle of Mountain Dew, or pot of coffee, try these healthy remedies to stimulate your 5 different senses and help you stay awake at work:

Sight – Visual Stimulation

The first thing you do when you wake up is opening your eyes, so your visual stimulation is very important to keeping your energy level high.

1. Maximize your exposure to light.

Your body’s internal rhythm is regulated by the amount of light you receive. The greater your exposure, the more alert you will feel.

Open the shades and let in the sunlight. Step outside or look out the window. Turn on all the artificial lights in your office or around your work space.

2. Exercise your eyes (or give them a break).

Roll your eyes up and down, side to side and diagonally. Rotate them clockwise and then counterclockwise. Squeeze them shut and then open them wide. Do this several times.

Reading and sitting in front of a computer screen for long periods can lead to eye fatigue.

Take regular breaks with deliberate blinking and looking out into the distance.

3. Take note of your environment.

Learn to enjoy people-watching. Observe their activities, speech, body language and interactions with others. Notice the details of building, trees and other objects around you, including their color, shape and size.

By doing this, you’re not only relaxing your eye muscles but also calming your mind.

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Hearing – Auditory Stimulation

What you hear or listen to have direct effect on your brain. This is why we feel so annoyed and sometimes angry when we hear construction noise when we’re working.

4. Engage in conversation.

Talk to a friend or colleague. Trade funny stories. Discuss your business venture, a creative idea, the latest political scandal, or any other topic that interests you.

Practice mindful listening to what you and the other person are saying. Tune into the tone, volume and content of the conversation.

Learn how to practice better listening from this guide:

Why Listen to Reply Instead of Understand Is the Key to Failure

5. Listen to upbeat music.

Try hip hop, rock or jazz to keep you alert. Instrumental, non-distracting music works best.

Sing, whistle, and hum along if you can. Plug in the earphones if you must.

Smell – Olfactory Stimulation

If you’re feeling sleepy and suddenly smell the coffee, you’ll probably feel more energetic. This is why smell is an influential stimulation.

6. Work your nose.

Aroma therapists recommend essential oils of peppermint (to boost energy), rosemary (to build awareness), eucalyptus (to increase oxygen), cedarwood  (to activate your mind), and cinnamon (to improve your reaction time).

If you don’t have essential oils on hand, you can use lotions or burning candles that provide the same scents.

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Citrus like lemons, limes, grapefruits and oranges are also natural olfactory stimulants. Get a whiff of these citrus scents to stay awake.

Taste – Gustatory Stimulation

If you want an energetic day at work, you can’t let your tongue feeling plain and flavorless.

7. Have a good breakfast.

Start off with the most important meal of the day.

Think fresh, light and healthy: bran cereals, wholegrain breads, fruits, and yogurt.

Nix the heavy stuff like sausages, greasy eggs or pancakes.

Need some breakfasts inspirations? Check out these ideas:

20 Healthy Breakfast Choices That Will Save You Time

8. Drink lots of water.

Keep a glass or bottle of H2O near you and sip from it throughout the day. Dehydration can leave you feeling tired, sluggish and sleepy.

So make sure you drink enough water throughout the day. Not sure how much to drink? This can help you:

How Much Water Should You Drink Each Day (and How Much Is Too Much for You)

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Think that you’ve been drinking too little water? Try these friendly reminders:

3 Best Apps To Help You Drink Much More Water

9. Eat energy-boosting snacks.

Nuts and fruits (like bananas, apples and strawberries) are sure bets. Pairings with staying power include baby carrots with a low-fat cream cheese dip; celery sticks with peanut butter; red peppers with hummus; and plain yogurt with granola.

Avoid carb-filled, sugary snacks that make you crash and leave you feeling tired.

Here you can find some healthy snack ideas:

25 Healthy Snack Recipes To Make Your Workday More Productive

Touch – Tactile Stimulation

Last but not least, your sense of touch will make you physically feel more energetic and less stressful.

10. Splash cold water on your face.

Do this in the morning, during bathroom breaks and in the afternoon. Being exposed to cold water pushes your body to adjust and regulate its internal temperature, which in turn keeps you alert.

This works the same as you take a cold shower to increase mood and alertness. Take a look at this article to learn more about it:

5 Surprising Benefits of Cold Showers

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11. Use acupressure.

Apply pressure to, massage, or tap on the stimulation points of your body. These include the top of your head, the back of your neck, the back of your hand (between the thumb and index finger), just below the knee and your earlobes.

Watch this video to learn about the acupressure points you can try:

12. Get moving.

Move away from your chair and stand, walk, run or climb the stairs. Feel the earth under your feet. Stretch and twist. Do jumping jacks, lunges, push-ups and back bends.

And if you need to move more discreetly, wiggle your feet, bounce your knee up and down, scrunch your toes, or cross your legs.

You can also try some simple stretches and exercises at your desk:

Unlike addictive caffeine fixes, these remedies activate your senses, engage your attention, amp up your energy and prevent morning grogginess and afternoon slumps without the side effects or health risks.

Pick a few ways from this list of suggestions and practice them consistently. And when you do this consistently, you’ll soon see the positive results — a more energetic and productive you at work.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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