Enlightened Conflict

value ourselves as more than just an image

March 2nd, 2017

 

a-better-reality-false-hope

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“At the end of the day, we have to value ourselves as more than just an image.

 

 An image is just an image.

If you want more, look deeper within.

 

Are you a good friend? A kind companion?

How do you treat others?

 

Those are the things that are a better definition of beauty.’

 

—-

Sara Ramirez

 

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I imagine all of us want to be seen by everyone as ‘something.’

 

they must be giants fake lies right lifeTo me … this ‘something’ isn’t famous or with some high falutin’ title or rich … but rather be recognized characteristically as something.

And not something shallow … but something a little deeper that defines you.

 

I say that but reality is that the driving ‘something’ for us is far too often fairly innocuous … and, yeah, it will vary from person to person … but a shitload of us want to be seen as smart, or well rounded, or beautiful, or funny, or … well … pick your personal poison.

I could suggest that is kind of a shallow something.

Okay.

I will.

That is a shallow ‘something.’

 

And what makes that shallow worse is that by making that a fairly significant portion of how we choose to define ourselves we spend an inordinate amount of time & energy planning for ‘someday’ when that ‘something’ is played back to us as our defining characteristic.

uhm what did you say really

Uhm.

 

Well.

 

If you are not careful … someday stealthily sneaks up on you as ‘today … and then yesterday … and then day by day it just becomes your Life.

 

Unfortunately Life is not just an image.

Unfortunately Life is ultimately not that shallow.

 

Unfortunately you have to leave the shallow end of the pool at some point and venture into the deep end in order to find … well … value.

 

Despite what marketing & advertising & branding folk may suggest … image is not everything and image does not equal any meaningful value.

 

Image without substance is simply a façade … a mask.

And I can unequivocally state that the number of people who can maintain an entire life behind a mask is minuscule.it is extremely difficult to maintain that façade for an entire Life. It is like trying to play out an act … forever. Someone can do it for a while and fewer can figure out how to build the trappings which can hold the act together … but to hold all of that together for a Lifetime takes some luck, some clever skills, some bravado to appease the cynics & skeptics and, ultimately, some ability to keep the lack of substance out of the spotlight & questioning.

Suffice it to say … it takes a lot of work to wear a mask an entire Life.

 

intent help flaws self bestAnd maybe that is my larger point.

 

We all want to eventually be seen as ‘something.’

 

And we all would prefer that something be of value to those who recognize it and of value to our self-worth.

 

That means.

If you are not careful you can spend a significant portion of your Life chasing some definition … some ‘something’ you are recognized by … that has little or no real value to oneself.

 

By the way. I am not suggesting this is easy. Society encourages shallowness. It can do so in a variety of ways but the main way is simple – measurement.

The shallowest ‘somethings’ are easy to see, easy to assess and easy to measure versus either society standards or versus others.

 

The deepest ‘somethings’ … good, soul, character, integrity … shit like that … are difficult to measure and, frankly, the definition is earned over time and with consistent behavior. You cannot expect instant gratification … at least external gratification … if you pursue a ‘deeper something.’

 

Sigh.

 

Well.

 

Here is what I know:

 

“At the end of the day, we have to value ourselves as more than just an image.

 An image is just an image.

If you want more, look deeper within.

 

Image is just an image.

 

How about this.

 

Image is like masturbation.

 

A deeper something is like making love.hard to planyou are more

 

I tend to believe we all want more.

 

We all want that kind of self-value that is deeper.

We all want more than just an image.

 

It is a Life truth that Image is seductive.

 

The good news?

It is a Life truth that if you want more than image, and look deeper within for that ‘something’, you will find a better definition of yourself.

In this time, at this place, I will be defined

February 17th, 2017

 stand for what is right i will be defined now

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“I endure.”

 

Lockhart

 

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“What we do in life will echo in eternity.”

 

Maximus (in Gladiator)

 

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There is a tide in the affairs of men
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.

 

Shakespeare

 

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“The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.”

 

Howard Zinn

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So.

 

This topic has been on my mind for a while but I hadn’t figured out how to talk future-universe-view-space-open-thinkingabout it without being apocalyptic or overly dramatic.

 

I know it has been on my mind since Trump entered into our lives <when is the last time you had a conversation where he wasn’t mentioned?> and lately I have found myself placing tags on my posts like “enlightened reading” or “enlightened thinking” or “enlightened politics” or … well … I guess I have been thinking about enlightened a lot. But this doesn’t feel like an ‘enlightened issue.’

 

And then I had lunch with a good friend the other day and out of the blue he says “this feels like one of those times when years from now people will be asking you what you were doing … or not doing.”

 

Yeah.

 

It does.

 

This does feel like “a moment in the tide in the affairs of man.”

 

This does feel like a moment in which people will define themselves.

 

 

It does certainly feel like a time of angst. An ‘apocalypse’?  Certainly not.

 

Unrest and uneasiness and uncertainty? Absolutely yes.

take a stand america define

And, frankly, in times like these it is tempting to sit back … maybe, to be harsh, be lazy and fall back on our opinions and “what we believe” and mumble to ourselves, maybe bitch with our friends or just remain silent.

 

But this seems to be more a time … uhm … no … this is “a time” more than ever to … well … be defined.

 

Look around if you don’t believe me.

 

You can see it if you look hard enough that a shitload of people feel the same thing. You may get confused in thinking it is “whining democrats because they lost” or “establishment people afraid of losing their gravy train” or even simply “people afraid of change.”

 

It’s more than, and less than, that.

 

It’s the tide in the affairs of man.

 

And, yes, we can blame Trump for this defining moment time. But he is less relevant in this tide than you may think. He is simply riding the tide … and we are the many drops of water within the tide … the ebbs and flows and crests and furrows are ours to build and destroy.

 

Take note of what is happening.

People feel this is a defining moment.

 

I don’t care if it is Hannity who has attached himself to Trump to rise and fall with the man himself <and not an ideology>. He is all in.

 

never be silent stand up i will be definedI don’t care if it is Jake Tapper on CNN who appears to be attaching himself to truth & facts. He is all in.

 

I don’t care if it is Meryl Streep who has attached herself to celebrity moral authority. She is all in.

 

I don’t care if it is the millions who walked in a women’s march without any real reason other than it felt like they should. They want to be all in <on something>.

 

I don’t care if it is someone who fills out petitions and sends $5 to whatever organization possible. That person is all in on something.

 

I don’t care if it is a white nationalist who now attaches their feelings to real words said in public or statement clothing. That person is all in.

 

I don’t care if it is someone who has their senators on speed dial and calls them every morning during their commute to just leave a message with whatever is on their mind. That person is all in.

 

I don’t care if it is someone who attaches themselves to ‘deplorable’ without really knowing what embracing deplorable really means other than it permits them to make a statement. That person is all in.

 

I don’t care if it is someone like me … someone who hasn’t given a rat’s ass about politics up until now … who now writes pieces, posts almost every day and emails writings & thoughts to different people … from Mark Cuban to John Lewis to John Kasich … The National Review to The Guardian to CNN … hoping that someone somewhere will affect this tide of affairs of man.

 

I tend to believe we all feel the tide of affairs shifting.

And as we feel it a range of emotions surges … some excited riding the tide and many many others desperately, and helplessly, feeling like they are fighting a tide they don’t like or do not understand <and this where we see some angry people … as they feel helpless struggling in this tide of affairs>.

 

This is a defining moment.

 

And I think we all know that this moment is different.  In the past, maybe without truly consciously thinking about it, we recognize most moments actually create their definition … because, for the most part, they are all about creating something from nothing.

 

That is different than this moment.

 

In this moment, in this time and place, something is happening of which we have to create nothing … but rather shape it. And, in doing this shaping, we are actually building something within the moments we elect to stand up and define ourselves … well … building “us” … okay … maybe it is building “me or I.”

 

This moment is different because it demands that we take a whole bunch of seemingly meaningless little moments … almost unrecognizable … that have got us to where we are attitudinally, intellectually and physically … and stop and speak out in some way that will be meaningful to us for the rest of our lives.

 

And.

In this moment … I would suggest that this is not the time to define yourself by standing against something but rather standing up & for something. This is not the moment to be “anti” something but rather “pro” something.  ‘Anti’ suggests you can turn, or stem, the tide of affairs when the reality of ‘affairs of men’ would most likely suggest a tide is a tide and affairs will be affairs and by being ‘pro’ it may be possible to show which harbor the tide should enter. Don’t define by what you are against … define by what you are for.

 

That said.

now or_never_web_design_grandeI could suggest that for many of us this is a “now or never” time.

 

 

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“Sometimes there is no next time, no time-outs, no second chances; sometimes it’s now or never.”

Alan Bennett

 

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In the general tide of affairs of men there often seems to be unending line of second chances standing outside your door.

And then in the tide there comes a time when … well … you look outside one morning and all those second chances are gone to Starbucks.

 

Just gone.

 

And you are alone.

 

And you can’t play the next time card or ask the next second chance to come on in. or say … uhm … can you wait a minute? <until one of the second chances comes back from the bathroom>

 

Nope.

 

It’s now or never.

 

Life is looking right at people … right at you & me … and saying … ‘okay, what’s your call?’

speak the truth i will be defined stand up

And this is actually your judgment call and no one else’s.

 

This is your defining moment and your decision.

 

Life is not going to help you out on this one … Life isn’t going to lean in and whisper in your ear … “hey, just so you know, this is one of those no time out, no second chance, no next time moments.”

 

That is my job today.

 

My job today is to tell you what I believe is the truth … that while Life is typically extremely generous in giving time outs and second chances … this feels like a ‘now or never moment’.

 

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“attack everything in life with a mix of extraordinary genius and naive incompetence, and it was often difficult to tell which was which.”

 

Douglas Adams

 

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This is a daunting feeling.

 

Because while you may actually have done a gazillion things in your Life to prepare yourself for this ‘now or never moment’ … I seriously doubt anyone feels competent for this moment. It is slightly daunting to think this is a ‘now or never’ moment which will live with us for years to come.

 

Yeah.

It certainly feels slightly daunting to think that what you do will define you … for eternity.good people defined losses victories

 

Yeah.

 

On top of uncertainty or excitement or helplessness or a feeling of freedom to do & say what you have always wanted to do & say you are being asked to choose how you want to be defined.

 

The kind of thought that makes us think about choices and what we elect to do … because … well .., what we do echoes in eternity.

 

The Gladiator quote was perfect … it suggests that the way we live … and what we choose to do … not only affects our present … but also determines our eternity.

He suggests what we do in the present will affect not who we are and what will happen but also our future … beyond death.

 

He suggests that you … well … matter.

 

That your thoughts matter.

That your choices matter.

That your actions matter.

 

And not only within this moment.

But in the moments which end up in eternity.

 

Your life matters. What you do is up to you, but your life matters to the degree that you choose it to matter. Life means something … especially if you defiantly define who and what you are.

defy word defiance

Defiance is not easy.

 

It is much much easier to not push back, to not push yourself forward, but go along for the ride … wishing it were better than it seems to be.

 

 

Defiance is a choice.

 

And, I would remind everyone, that choice defines destiny … not chance.

 

If you are defiant, and push back, you are more likely to control the destiny of … well … your definition and how you will be defined.

 

And that is what today’s world feel like. a moment to be defined. A moment to be defiant with regard to who you are, what you believe and what you stand for.

It feels like you cannot be silent … and you have to choose.

 

Now.

I purposefully have tied “I will be defined” with an attitude … one of defiance.

I do so because of … well … Trump.

He has far too often been called a ‘disruptor.’ In businesses a disruptor is not one who creates & encourages chaos but rather one who ‘overturns conventional wisdom’ to take what exists and reshape it into a new way of doing things. A true disruptor envisions what can be <let’s call this ‘a plan’> and dismantles only that which encumbers in the here & now to enable the “what will be.” In the business world Trump is more often called ‘an agent of chaos.’ He is one of those managers who cannot tell the difference between chaos & doing — they are of equal in his mind. He holds up doing as proof of his value. A true disruptor holds up ‘what can be’ as proof of value.   Calling him a disruptor is an insult to the true disruptors.

 

This means, even more than ever, those who choose to stand in this time & place and define themselves will have to be defiant.

 

Defiance is standing still, standing strong, speaking out … amidst chaos.

This will not be about the one, or ones, who speak the loudest but the ones who speak the smartest and steadfastly. This will be about the ones who defiantly stand in the face of chaos and stubbornly defend what they believe and what is right.

And, in doing so, the country will be defined by who and what we coalesce around. The fragments <which are what some people will call “divisions”> will cluster until the cluster of that which is the country itself has spoken and defined itself. As a country … it is false to suggest we are divided … we are fragmented. There is a huge difference between those two thoughts. And it is actually within that difference in which Hope for something better resides.

 

Yes.

In this time, at this place, I do believe this country will be defined. And it will be defined by those who not just endure the moment, the tide of affairs of man, but rather the ones who stand up and say “this is how we will endure.”

 

You may be angry, you may feel helpless, you may feel excited … but whatever you feel it is because you are caught up in a unique tide in the affairs of man … i will be defined stand up speak outand you will be defined not because you endured but rather by how you endured.

 

My friend was right. This is a “moment.”

 

We will look back in time at this ‘moment’ and you will be defined by what you did do … or didn’t do.

 

Me? I have made my decision. In this time, at this place, I will be defined.

 

cover the universe with drawings we have lived

May 20th, 2016

 

 

 

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Each one of us, then, should speak of his roads, his crossroads, his roadside benches; each one of us should make a surveyor’s map of his lost fields and meadows. idea art creative draw life imagine

 

Thoreau said that he had a map of his fields engraved in his soul.

 

And Jean Wahl once wrote … [“] The frothing of the hedges / I keep deep inside me [“] … Thus we cover the universe with drawings we have lived.”

 

 

Gaston Bachelard

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“You have to live a life to understand it.

Tourists just pass through.”

 

 

Prince

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Well.

 

Let me give you a reason not only for living … but experiencing Life. And I don’t means “savoring Life” type trite bullshit. I mean experiencing what is going on around you and being aware, to participate in Life … and actually experience the realities of the here & now <and not divert your attention toward some imaginative “boy, I imagined something completely different than what is occurring”>.

 

Nor am I going to hijack any of that nutjob Eckhardt Tolle’s “live in the now” nonsense.

 

All I will suggest is that each experience, especially when you pay some attention to it, etches something in us.

 

Think of it like acquiring a tattoo.

And if you do accept the tattoo metaphor <or is that an analogy?> it seems to me you should take some care with what gets engraved upon you.

 

dance color cloud skirtWhy care?

 

While the fact Life is in constant movement and that can become incredibly tiring trying to dance with it  all day long … your dance partner, named either ‘good’ or ‘bad’ typically arrives without invitation. I would suggest more of us would be slightly more content if we didn’t focus on the fact our dance partner made us smile <lets assume that is “good”> or is a complete asshole <lets call that dance partner “bad”> but instead focus on the dance itself.

 

That, my friends, is experiencing Life.

 

The steps, the movement, that path and arc of the dance and the fields upon which our feet are placed in their movement.

 

 

Thoreau tells us ‘ he had the map of his fields engraved in his soul.’ That is … well … because he not only walked them but he saw and felt the steps as he placed them.

 

This is all about recognizing the value of being aware. And it is this perceptive appreciation of the time & place, past & present, permits us a healthy balance of reality and memory.

 

Even better?

 

This awareness actually permits us to embed the moments better in our heads.

This isn’t to say we will remember it correctly <because psychologically we suck at correctly & accurately remembering things> but rather the moments themselves are engraved upon us.

 

To be clear.

 

This ‘thing’ we embed is actually a reflection of the natural gap in our minds between the complexity of reality and our ability to experience the complexity.

What I mean by that is we tend to view reality heuristically. Therefore we don’t truly see reality but rather a simplified translation. Unfortunately … this simplified version naturally builds in some blind spots.

 

Now.

 

There is a whole bunch of psychological mumbo jumbo about ‘dimensions of recognition’ and ‘symbolic complementariness of the person’s first-hand life events/involvements’ but it is much easier for everyday schmucks like you and I to think of it in a linear fashion … any initial connective personal involvement in a moment begets some reflection <how it may relate to other moments> which inevitably creates some ongoing narrative in our head.

 

Aw.

Forget all the psychological stuff.

 

Simplistically … the map of our Life is engraved upon our minds if not our soul … assuming we actually are aware enough to experience the map as we traverse it. Our universe deserves to be covered with our drawings.

 

I am fairly sure a lot of people will read this and be shaking their heads going “I have great memories … I could cover my universe with drawings” … you aren’t telling me anything of value.

 

And you may be right. Absolutely. You may be.

 

But I would suggest that most people would actually end up papering their universe with someone else’s drawings of their experience … like taping postcards on the wall of everywhere you have been. That is not covering your universe with drawings of what you have lived.cage bird tattoo

 

Those are simply superficial surface expressions of real actual experience.

 

Let me go back to my tattoo metaphor.

 

If I were to get a tattoo on my soul I imagine, at least me, I would not choose a tattoo of a postcard but rather I would prefer choosing an expression of what I felt when I placed my feet where that postcard was. Don’t be a tourist with Life … live it.

 

That’s all I’m sayin’.

conviction that there is a better life

May 7th, 2016

 transparency rosy horizon

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“We have always held to the hope, the belief, the conviction that there is a better life, a better world, beyond the horizon.

 

Franklin D. Roosevelt

 

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Life barrages us, with fairly relentless consistency, with the unexpected and the unforeseen which inevitably makes us feel like we are out of control.

 

 

horizon questionThis can be personal.

 

This can be organizational.

 

Heck.

This can even be on a country level.

 

 

You look around at the relative carnage of the day seeing your plans in disarray and hopes & dreams nowhere in close proximity to your current reality and you think to yourself “how the hell did we get into this shithole.”

 

That is where conviction comes into play.

 

You, or we, are not really in a shithole … you just have had what you thought would happen or should be happening … well … not happen. And you have some threads of belief that exactly the same thing will happen again tomorrow. Your conviction of ‘something better beyond the horizon’ is a little blurrier than it was the day before.

 

Look.

 

Each of us has conviction within us.

The most basic conviction that no matter how bad it is … it will get better and there truly is something better somewhere beyond the horizon.

 

And, yet, while I am 99.9% sure that this conviction resides within each and every one of us I am also 99.9% sure that all of us encounter something at some point which makes us question or doubt that conviction.

 

I call this ‘the bridge of conviction.’

 

Think of it this way.

horizon road long

Life is a long winding path. And, on occasion you come to a bridge. You hate heights and the bridge can maybe look a little shaky on occasion.

You stand at the end of it and … well … pause.

 

You maybe even question the conviction & wisdom of the path you are on.

 

What makes you finally take that first step … and the next … and the next … and cross that bridge is the conviction that on the other side is something better.

 

I would also like to point out that it is this conviction which makes you look forward and not backwards.

 

Better” inherently cannot reside in the past. It cannot be found somewhere in retracing your steps on the path you have taken.

 

What was will be as it was and no longer exists as what you once knew.

 

Conviction inherently knows this <although all of us fight conviction on this on occasion>.

 

I say all this just to point out that no matter how bad the current time may look it is actually not that bad.

hope cup of

That no matter how bad one person may appear to affect your view on what iswhat will be will most likely be affected much less by that one person, or one event, than you think now.

 

That no matter how bad the horizon may be blurred in your view … something better really does reside beyond the horizon.

 

Why do I feel so confident in saying so?

 

 

“We have always held to the hope, the belief, the conviction that there is a better life, a better world, beyond the horizon.

 

 

112 reasons why Life should be lived by Seussisms

March 3rd, 2016

suess why fit in stand out

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“Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.”

 

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Dr. Seuss

 

 

—————–

 

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And you are the one who’ll decide where to go.”

 

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Dr. Seuss

 

 

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It’s okay everyone … I am not going to actually list 112 reasons why Life should be lived through Dr. Seussisms.

 

be who you are  cat in hat suessYesterday would have been Dr. Seuss’s 112th birthday.

 

And I could guess I have read his words, quotes and thoughts way over 112 times.

 

And I will guess I will read those same words, quote and thoughts at least another 112 times in the years to come.

 

 

It may sound silly for a grown man to suggest he spends as much time as that implies I have spent pondering the words from children’s books.

 

In my defense I believe there have been hundreds of books written analyzing the philosophical underpinnings and morality messaging of what Dr. Seuss stories and words truly mean.

 

I am a much simpler guy.

 

I take the words at face value.

 

I accept that the world, and Life, offers us a shitload of complicated questions which we could dwell upon for hours … if we just didn’t want to accept that some answers are truly simple. As simple as Dr. Seuss answers.

 

 

Dr. Seuss, at its core, is about a strong sense of self, a belief you are master of your own actions <if not your own destiny>, that you are not any bigger, or smaller, than anyone else in terms of importance and that leading isn’t about popularity or the size of your following but rather by individual actions.

 

 

Me, being me, notices I just focused on actions as learnings.

 

Which makes it incumbent upon me to remind everyone that attitudes drive behavior. In other words if you remain true to yourself, your character, your moral compass, your integrity and sense of dignity and respect for any & all, you actions will be … well … truer than true.

 

————-

 

“Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!”

Dr. Seuss

 

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And, lastly, I imagine I keep going back to Dr. Seuss words because time & time again the implication is that one individual’s actions can make a significant impact.

 

 

In other words … if I had the time and the interest <and the words> I would share 112 reasons why understanding yourself and getting comfortable with who & what you are … and believing that your actions matter <all your actions> is the key to living a Life of purpose. And, I imagine, a higher likelihood of a Life of happiness.

 

 

I do know that back in November 2015 I wrote something called “I want to save the world.”

 

suess save the world

In it I wrote this:

 

 

it may appear easier to just say “I need to focus on my own happiness” research has shown over and over again that our true happiness and self worth is attained when we aspire to being dynamic beyond our own purpose.

Here is a Life truth.

Life can suck if you let it.

And things will always remain sucky if you let it. You can either do something or not do something. And you can do some important things or you can do unimportant things.

That’s the gig. Simple as that.

 

 
Maybe I should have added … “you can save the world by being you and doing things that are a reflection of you.” I think if I had Dr. Seuss would have liked that post a little bit better.

 

 

In today’s big, complicated, messy world we can sometimes feel really really small. Maybe even insignificant in the grander scheme of things.

 

Are we insignificant in today’s world?

 

That is a complicated Life question many of us seek to answer.

 

 

And Dr. Seuss provides the simple answer:suess grinch cindy lou

 

 

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“A person’s a person, no matter how small.”

 

Horton Hears a Who

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I may yet write 112 reasons why Life should be lived by Seussisms. And if I do it may be one of the most important Life lesson posts I will ever write. But maybe, instead, I will suggest everyone read Dr. Seuss 112 times.

And many of the complicated Life questions we face will be answered more simply than you thought possible.

who no one imagines anything of

February 22nd, 2016

loser tshirt

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“It’s the people who no one imagines anything of, who do the things that no one imagines.”

 

 

The Imitation Game

 

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eccentric person

The misfits.

 

 

The discarded.

 

 

The eclectic.

 

 

The ‘different.’

 

 

 

 

I have always gravitated to these people. I have always tended to hire these people. I have always found these people interesting, rewardingly challenging to know & manage and … well … most likely the key to any success I have found in Life – personally & professionally.

 

 

I have found I learn more from the misfits. They are the curves in the winding road which have a tendency to share new vistas.

 

They are the ones independent of the traditional ‘expected’ and are truly the unique.

 

 

But let’s be clear.

 

 

While we seem to celebrate uniqueness & independence … society and culture has pushed back those who practiced uniqueness and independence since the dawn of civilization.

 

 

I could suggest it is because we naturally gravitate to ‘commonalities’ and are more comfortable in seamlessness but instead I will suggest it is because they are perceived to pose some sort of threat to what is perceived as the natural order of things and what should be.

 

 

The backbone of all society & culture is an undercurrent of conformity. This shouldn’t be necessarily perceived as any type of real limitation because people and society inherently coalesce around what looks best, feels best and does the best for the majority. It is kind of a natural gravitational pull.

 

unlearn fish swim

And then there are those who fight that gravitational pull.

 

The misfits as it were.

 

 

They are the ones who for any variety of reasons fight against the undercurrent of conformity not to ‘be different’ but rather because they see that conformity has a tendency to make people give up their dreams and play small <or smaller than possibilities may suggest is possible>.

 

It’s more common to “fit in” and slot yourself in some sort of ‘dream of who I could be’ rather than step out and create that dream.

 

 

That’s maybe why I love misfits.
As an enabler of misfits I often found myself benefiting from the fact I was part of ‘dream creators’ rather than ‘dream slotters.’

 

But the path of a misfit is not an easy one. It is a tricky path strewn with obstacles, resistance, and frequent feelings of isolation/loneliness/ self doubt.

 

 

It becomes very easy for a misfit to get angry as they perceive more obstacles, more resistance and more isolation than the average person.

 

 

That is the lot in life of being a misfit.

 

 

And I loved teaching misfits, or maybe even just encouraging them, to learn how to successfully swim upstream and go against the undercurrent of conformity in the river of life.

 

 

Look.

 

 

I am not one of those people who will unequivocally state that Misfits can win big in Life <although they can>.

 

I would simply suggest that many <most> misfits aren’t really misfits.

 

They come in all shapes & sizes.

 

They are simply people who embrace their personal characteristics as part of not what makes them different but rather what makes them successful as a person.

 

scarecrow misfit unusual interestingThe most comfortable of the misfits do not really celebrate their so-called misfit characteristics but rather wear them like a comfortable sweatshirt.

 

 

These are the people who don’t ignore the beat of the majority drummer but are more in tune with their own drummer.

 

 

These are the people who tend to create things beyond the norm. They imagine what could be more easily than the ones who see more of what is <and try to improve it>.

 

 

Later in life these are the people who tend to exhibit compassion. They have fought the undercurrent and faced the obstacles … and have endured the nicks & dents and proudly stand as no longer a misfit … but just a unique person who has a strong sense of self. Therefore they tend to be compassionate not to misfits as people but rather a person’s sense of self <which is actually the more important key>.

 

 

I have been extremely fortunate in Life and I credit the misfits.

 

Having had the perfect seat to get the best perspective on all that is ‘misfit’ I have been able to develop my own belief system and independent individualistic perspective on business and life.

 

 

 

They have also shown me the challenges of fighting the status quo.

 

They have shown me how tiring it can be swimming against the undercurrent.

 

They have shown me how a powerful conviction, without some selective strategic compromise, is often destined for a weary bitter Life.

 

 

They have shown me what happens when you choose to not follow the norms and customs of the environment.

 

 

Ultimately, though, there is a power that is associated with misfitdom.

 

There is a power found in acknowledging that you are different … and most likely have always been different.

 

And that different is not necessarily bad.

 

It is just different. That is all it is.

 

 

I am pleased that I was one who appreciated the differences and encouraged the ‘misfits’ in life.

 

I am pleased that I encouraged people to find what was within and to remember that you are allowed to be different and you are allowed to be who you are.

 

 

I am mostly pleased because by embracing misfits I became a better person and a better business leader. Misfits changed me from being yellow to … well … a variety of colors.

 

 

=====writing colors

 

“All your life you’re yellow.

Then one day you brush up against something blue, the barest touch, and voila, the rest of your life you’re green. “

 

 

Tess Callahan

=======

 

 

 

 

I most likely learned significantly more from misfits than they learned from me.

 

And I am sure I would have been a significantly more bland person if I hadn’t had the pleasure of the company of misfits.

 

 

Anyway.

 

 

I think we have a tendency to overlook misfits far too often. And they are the ones, the ones we least imagine having the capability, who are most likely to imagine what no one else imagines.

 

 

I will always embrace the misfits. I will do so recognizing not everyone will. And whenever I get the opportunity I pull them off to the side and say ‘be stubborn and keep working and keep fighting.’

 

 

I do so because without them we would all be yellow.

 

 

==

 

 

“I have always believed that hope is that stubborn thing inside us that insists, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us so long as we have the courage to keep reaching, to keep working, to keep fighting.”

 

 

Barack Obama

I want to save the world

November 13th, 2015

 

ok to only save one person world

===

a weheartit contributor

—————

 

 

Well.

 

I saw this the image I open with  weheartit as I was searching under ‘self development’ and it made me think one word … “awesome.”

 

Ok.

 
Two words.

fucking awesome arrow

 

Fucking awesome.

 

 

 

At some point in our lives pretty much all of us have had a little bit of ‘I want to save the world’ in us. Of course, that was before the world & Life beat it out of us and suggested that maybe we aim a little lower.

 

Ok.

 

 
A lot lower.

 

 

Well.

 

 

The world, and Life, was, and is, wrong. This is one of those things we should never have beaten out of us.

 

 

Let me repeat.

 

NEVER let it get beaten out of you.

 

 

Let me tell you why this may be one of the most important things we should pay attention to.

 

reality problem

There is no lack of problems in today’s world.

 

 

There is no lack of people who need saving.

 

 

There is no lack of ideas that need saving.

 

 

And let’s be clear … you do not need an “everything is fucked and we’re all going to die” attitude to see this.

 

 

It just is.

 

 

And while when you do ponder this it may appear easier to just say “I need to focus on my own happiness” … well … research has shown over and over again that our true happiness and self worth is attained when we aspire to being dynamic beyond our own purpose <be part of something bigger than just ‘me’>.

 

 

Look.

 

 

Here is a Life truth.

 

 

Life can suck if you let it.

 

And things will always remain sucky if you let it.

 

You can either do something or not do something. And you can do some important things or you can do unimportant things.

 

That’s the gig. Simple as that.

 

 

But here is what I can tell you for sure.

 

 

Doing something … and doing important things … gives meaning & purpose and all that Maslow stuff which makes you feel self-value. In other words … in a world that may suck or at least may appear to suck <and has some obvious sucky things about it> … if you choose to try and save the world in some way … well … you will not suck.

 

 

 

 

You don’t have to save the world all at once. You can start saving small … a penny at a time. All you gotta do is choose any frickin’ penny you see lying on the ground <that’s a bad metaphor for ‘some issue’ by the way>.

 

 

Just pick a problem and start saving the world one penny at a time. Before you know it you will have made a dollar difference … maybe more if you are really lucky.

 

 

Education, Jobs, Homelessness. Poverty. Domestic violence. Women’s rights. Mental health. Big Brothers/Sisters.

 

Heck.

 

Supporting ‘doing what is right.’

 

 

There are so many to choose from you cannot go wrong in saving the world … you can start saving at any time in fact.

 

 

Will you solve it?

 

Most likely not.

 

 

Will you contribute to the solution?

 

Yes.

 

 

Most importantly … will you make a difference? Yes.

 

 

Like small pebbles dropped in a pond the ripple reaches much much farther than you can see from where you stand.

 

 

And you know what?moral compass individual save

 

You will feel better about yourself. Even if you are only one penny richer at the end of the day … well … you are richer.

 

 

So maybe … rather than falling in love with yourself or seek to make yourself happy … you might do well to get to work on solving the problems that prevent the world from being truly exceptional.

 

 

By the way.

 

 

If along the way you are the only person you save … well … you have done good, kid.

This huge and wondrous bewildering brilliant horrible world

September 23rd, 2014

world in your hands

 

 
——–

 
You don’t appreciate the chaos and absurdity of life on this planet.

 

 

You don’t understand irony, or ethnicity, or eccentricity, or poetry, or the simple joy of being a regular at the diner on your block.

 

 

I love that.

 

You don’t drink coffee or alcohol. You don’t over eat. You don’t cry when you’re alone. You don’t understand sarcasm. You plod through life in a neat, colorless, caffeine free, dairy free, conflict free way.

I’m bold and angry and tortured and tremendous and I notice when someone has changed their hair part, or when someone is wearing two very distinctly different shades of black or when someone changes the natural temperament of their voice on the phone.

I don’t give out empty praise.

I’m not complacent or well-adjusted.

I can’t spend fifteen minutes breathing and stretching and getting in touch with myself.

I can’t spend three minutes finishing an article.

I check my answering machine nine times every day and I can’t sleep at night because I feel that there is so much to do and fix and change in the world, and I wonder every day if I am making a difference and if I will ever express the greatness within me, or if I will remain forever paralyzed by muddled madness inside my head.

 

 

I’ve wept on every birthday I’ve ever had because life is huge and fleeting and I hate certain people and certain shoes and I feel that life is terribly unfair and sometimes beautiful and wonderful and extraordinary but also numbing and horrifying and insurmountable and I hate myself a lot of the time.

 

 

The rest of the time I adore myself and I adore my life in this city and in this world we live in.

 

This huge and wondrous, bewildering, brilliant, horrible world.

 

 

hugh adventure to adventure 

 

=

Jessica, from Kissing Jessica Stein

——–

 

 

 

Well.

 

 

I love this monologue pulled from Kissing Jessica Stein.

 

 

I love that it sounds like she is a disaster … but it really reflects the complexity of any and all of us.

 

 

What do I mean?

 

 

I believe that within each of us resides a kaleidoscope of fragmented pieces of different people and feelings and likes & dislikes.

 

 

And all of these things swirl around viewing the world from a variety of perspectives.

 

me hot messme hot mess 2All of which tends to end up muddling things in our heads and make us question whether we are being the best we can be.

 

 

And if we question whether we are at our best then we certainly question whether we are making a difference.

 

 

Yeah.

 

 

 

There is an inextricable link between those two things.

 

 

Yeah.

 

 

We don’t make that connection enough.

 

And maybe that is why the world is so brilliant … and bewildering.

 

 

Brilliant in that we can see the change that can, and could, be.

 

In us and in the world.

 

 

hope and agonyThat is called Hope.

 

 

 

 

Bewildering in that because aligning our ‘best’ to when we can actually make a difference <which is a moment that occurs significantly less often than you would imagine> is sometimes difficult to see and experience.

 

 

That creates something called Despair.

 

 

And therein lies the huge & wondrous & bewildering & brilliant & horribleness of the world … the constant tug of war between hope & despair.

 

 

That may sound extreme … if not poetic and possibly even too philosophical … but if you think about it … our moments in life are far too often simply defined by feelings of hope <for something better> or despair <that the moment wasn’t the best it could, or should, have been … and maybe it never will be>.

 

 

I tried to think of an example of the constant tug between the bewildering & brilliance … that almost irreconcilable angst of hope clashing with despair … and then I found this:

 

——-

bookmad:

do you ever just think about how shitty you are compared to other writers and give up hope?

Step 1.

Go on goodreads

=

Step 1.

Look up any book you think is worthy of 5 stars, look at the break down of the star rating.

Someone, somewhere thought that book was a 1 star.

=

Step 2.

Now go to a book you rate as 1 star.

Again go to the break down… I bet someone has rated it 5 star worthy.

=

Step 3.

hard to planyou are more

Stop being so hard on yourself.

Someone will love what you’ve written.

Yes, it’s important to be proud of what you’re doing, but I guarantee you are being too hard on yourself.

——-

 

 

 

Lastly.

 

 

To be clear.

 

 

 

The huge and wondrous and horrible bewildering brilliant thing is not really the world. It is us. It is our heads.

 

 

 

We each hold a desire to be huge & wondrous & as brilliant as we can be.

 

 

And in feeling that we naturally get tugged between hope & despair … all the while residing in the infiniteness of a relatively indifferent world chuckling at our attempts.

 

 

 

We long for something big.

 

That is simply being human.

 

And yet most of us are taught day after day after day to collect wood and do tasks.

 

—–

If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.

=

Antoine de Saint-Exupery

—–

 

 

Most of us long for the immensity of the sea.

 

 

And by doing so … life can often be bewildering and we can often look like a disaster.

 

disastersave yourself

Oh.

 

And there will never be a lack of people ready to point out that disaster.

 

Ignore them.

 

 

Just appreciate the irony, the absurdity, the chaos, the huge & brilliance & wondrous aspects of the world.

 

 

Adore it and embrace it.

 

 

 

You will not only be a little calmer about shit but you most likely will not actually be a disaster.

the compromising of being as good as you can be

June 25th, 2014

better than yesterday

——–

“I don’t think that people accept the fact that life doesn’t make sense. I think it makes people terribly uncomfortable. “
David Lynch

——-

“Compromising dreams for the stunning reality of life. :(
mnmsnickers <twitter>

——-

Well.

 

 

I almost called this ‘playing the game.’

Shit.

 

 

I almost called this ‘scaring the world.’

 

 

“Scare the world: Be exactly who you say you are and tell the truth.”
The Shock of Honesty

——–

When I think about this I think about hollow spaces and empty people.

 

dreams holow places empty people

 

Why?

 

 

Well.

 

Compromising the wrong way … playing the game as it were … is all about filling a hollow space with empty people <or an empty job or an empty anything>.

 

Once you know what you are good at … maybe even have a clear sense of what attaining your ‘dream’ would be … you kind of have a tendency to think all you had to do now was sort out the finer details.

 

Compromise?

Play the game?

 

The words never enter your heads.

 

Unfortunately we soon discover that life has other plans for us.

 

I am fairly sure that most of us do not grow up truly believing they could have it all … all as in a great job, a viable bank balance, a perfect relationship.

 

But I do believe all of us grow up thinking ‘big things’ for ourselves.

 

 

Call them dreams.

 

Call them simply being better <or going farther> than our parents.

 

Call it hope for a good Life.

 

And no matter how we grow up … I tend to believe all of us find the reality is very different than what we imagined or hoped.

 

Learning to compromise is okay if it brings you back down to earth but not okay if it means compromising how good you can be.

 

The difficult part comes in trying to play the game.compromise never settle for

 

What do I mean?

 

Well.

 

You take a job because you have to.

You take a job because it ‘gets you in.’

 

You say something like this … ‘doing this isn’t something I would have considered before … but I have to believe that I’m bettering my chances.’
Ah.

 

‘Bettering your chances.’

 

Playing the game.

 

Managing your hope.

 

I will say from personal experience that after what seems like a zillion psychological tests in interview processes … and maybe more zillions of seemingly endless resume ‘revisions to customize to specific companies and perceived needs’ … and managing hope after what may seem like an eternity of unsuccessful job submissions.

I personally have figured out all that really matters is the core.

 

Core as in who you are and telling people what they are gonna get.

 

 

But that’s me.

I won’t play the game.

 

Ok.

 

How about there are certain things in the game that I will not play.

 

 

Look.

 

 

compromise what is inside bronteI do know that research shows that compromising early on <maybe when you first hit the job market or maybe simply as you enter adulthood out of teens> hopes are in their most nascent and fragile form and they can easily be trampled upon with devastating consequences to our self-confidence and self-esteem.

 

Well.

 

 

It takes on a mutated form in older adulthood.

 

It doesn’t attack the formative stages … it actually kills healthy esteem and confidence cells.

 

Maybe worse?

 

 

It attacks your belief not in yourself … but in society and the structure you have prospered in up to this point.

 

 

My fear in today’s business world is that in seeking employment or even working within an organization we are constantly asking ourselves what we can do without and becoming masters in what I would call ‘psychological constructive compromise.’

 

Unfortunately it is actually destructive compromise.

 

It destroys how good you can be.

 

 

Maybe better said it destructs real expectations of yourself.

 

Real expectations … ones colored with some Life experience … which are not sky-high and tainted with any sense of entitlement … are being challenged intellectually, financially or emotionally as now being thought of out of reach.

 

Huh?

 

Out of reach?

 

Being who you are and being good at what you do?

 

 

That is crazy.

 

And therein lies how ‘playing the game’ is simply a destructive game … and one which I am surprised businesses and other ‘game managers’ allow to be played.

 

Let me be specific <because this is what got me thinking about this>.

 

Customizing your resume as you apply for a job.outcome results still fucked

I now … I know … it sounds reasonable from a 40,000 foot perspective.

 

But <and I will talk about odds later> most times we are customizing in ways that take a square peg of information and place it into a round hole of perceived need.

 

That’s playing the game.

 

Mostly because most employers are too lazy to see anything but ‘something that fits the round hole I have.’ And the prospective employee is simply thinking … ‘once I get in I can be the fabulous spectacular square peg that I am.’

Simplistically you are playing the game to get in the game.

 

This is ludicrous.

 

It looks ludicrous even as I type it.

 

 

Look.

 

We all need to be taught to keep expectations in check.

 

But in doing so we need to be sure … really sure … that our compromising isn’t simply a dismissal of our dreams to play the game.

 

A dose of reality can be like a slap in the face … uhm … ok … maybe more like an uppercut to the jaw.

But sometimes you have to learn to take the punches.

 

And maybe give a couple back.

 

But you have to make some choices.

 

Hard choices.

 

 

And no matter what anyone tells me … I just cannot see how customizing your resume or ‘saying the right words’ or … well … whatever you are being told to do to get a job or get the girl or get the dream … actually increases the odds.

 

In fact … I would suggest in the end it decreases the odds of getting what you really want <longer term>.

 

 

Well.

 

 

relevance minorityThe bottom line on anything to do with ‘odds’ is that … the odds suck.

And they suck playing the game or not playing the game.

 

 

Bottom line.

 

The odds suck.

 

Why?

 

Life is playing its game <even if a business or other people are trying to ‘game the system’> and you have to figure out which player you are truly playing against.

 

I am not suggesting you should avoid considering anyone who is actually in the game.

 

Just who is more important than another.

 

Why?

 

Because you need to ask what is at stake in the real game’.

 

Because the one and only answer is … you.

 

Or what some people call ‘the authentic you.’

 

——-

“Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen. “
Brené Brown

 ——–

 

 

The authentic you.
Me?

I just call it ‘me.’

 

No fancying up with adjectives.

 

You sometimes have to draw a line with regard to ‘me.’

 

And yes … this line drawing comes with consequences.

But all line drawing does.

 

You just have to identify what is non negotiable.

 

What are you not willing to compromise on?

 

Find the pieces of your life vision … your character … that you want beyond all certainty.

 

These are non-negotiable features you are not prepared to give up for anything.

 

And while I am certainly a dreamer type … or maybe it is that I love hope … I will admit that this exercise can incorporate some foundational basic life aspects. Things beyond ‘being passionate with what I do’ <which I actually believe is useless tripe> like being a loving mother or father … or traveling regularly or checking something off on your adventurous things to do on your list of things to do.

 

 

But.

 

That said.

 

Compromising in this type of thinking invariably comes down to what you don’t mind forsaking in return for having something else.

 

And, in general, we suck at this type of assessment.

 

We are typically to hopeful or ‘positive thinking’ in our assessment.

“If I take this job I can show them I actually deserve this other thing.’

 

Yeah.

 

Well.

 

It typically doesn’t work that way.

 

The whole idea of negotiating or compromising on a dream or ‘how good you think you can be’ is a challenging reality.

 

 

And it is even more challenging when you incorporate the concept that I strongly dislike … the term ‘be realistic.’

 

I am not overly materialistic so I can focus on other things <and everyone needs to think about that aspect>.

 

I have at least a thread of altruism so I am okay with pursuing some self desires <and everyone needs to think about that aspect>.

 

 

Therefore.

 

It kind of seems to me when thinking about playing the game … why should I compromise being the best I can be when some people don’t even sem to be trying to be the best they can be <for themselves or for others>?
To be clear on being as good as you can be.

 

It is not simply waking up every day, stretching, looking at yourself in the mirror <possibly with fist raised in the air> saying something like “I know I want to achieve adventure and fulfillment in everyday life.”

 

My own vision for life is fairly clear.

 

And I admit that it has changed and evolved over time.

 

And I imagine that is quite similar to most people.

 

I also admit that it seems to get clearer every day as I figure out what’s important to me.

 

I know that I challenge myself to be even better.

Every day as a matter of fact.

 

Yup.

Every.

Single.

Day.
That’s because being better or the best you can be is a work-in-progress thing.
As for compromising or ‘playing the game’?

 

I know the type of organizations and people I want to be a part of and to surround myself with.
I will not apologize for how I choose to survive.

 

 

“You never need to apologize for how you chose to survive.”
Clementine von Radics

 

 

 

Oh.

 

And by survive … I don’t mean putting food on the table … I mean character.
A lot of people will argue with me on this topic.

A LOT.
They will suggest <with some truth by the way> I am not being realistic.
And you know what?

 

They may be right.
But it is the line I have drawn for myself.

 

 

I don’t want to hollow myself out in some empty job. And that is what empty jobs do … hollow the guts out of you. Strangle your soul and character bit by bit.
I would rather starve my body than starve my character.

 

 

I would rather … scare the world … and be exactly who you say you are and tell the truth.”

 

 

The stunning realities of Life force everyone to do several things.fire and life

 

Everyone needs to learn the line they will draw.

 

Everyone needs to recognize where compromise is done and ‘me’ is defined.

Enlightened Conflict