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.

 

we do not deal well with emptiness

January 8th, 2017

bad-empty-chair-in-room

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“As humans, we don’t deal well with emptiness.

Any empty space must be filled.

 

Immediately.

The pain of emptiness is too strong. It compels the victim to fill that place. A single moment with that empty spot causes excruciating pain. That’s why we run from distraction to distraction – and from attachment to attachment.”

 

—-

Yasmin Mogahed

 

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Emptiness.

 

I am fairly sure people have never, as in “since the dawn of time”, dealt well with emptiness in their lives.

fill-emptiness-empty-with-various-thingsEmptiness is … well … empty … less than … not full.

 

We put incredible energy into putting a person into an empty space left by the last person.

 

We put incredible energy overthinking shit if we find that we may be empty of some thought, i.e, we are ‘not thinking about something … anything for god’s sake is better than nothing!’.

 

We put incredible energy trying to figure out what to do, and sometimes actually doing it, when we find some empty time.

 

Regardless.

 

I would guess that in todays “if you are not doing a lot of something, you are a lazy, worthless slug” mentality world … emptiness has taken on a more miserable aspect. It is miserable because we are almost expected to not only be miserable if we have some ’empty’ <i.e., only losers have empty> but we are expected to figure out how to not be empty for any extended period of time.

 

What this translates into is … well … suffice it to say … more often than not we create our own emptiness with how we choose to live our Life and think our thoughts.

 

Boy oh boy.

There is a double whammy.

 

We do not deal well with emptiness and, yet, we almost always create our own emptiness.

 

Ok.

 

So what happens if you decide to not accept the societal bullshit about empty?

 

Uhm.

 

You will be seen as an outcast.

That I can almost guarantee.

 

It is a societal thing.society blame responsibility

 

If society demands empty to be unacceptable then … well … dammit, we gonna hate them because they aren’t living Life they way they are supposed to live life <even if it looks fucking awesome to do if we actually did it>.

 

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“Our culture has accepted two huge lies.

 

The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them.

The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do.

 

Both are nonsense.

You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.”

 

—-

Rick Warren

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I only bring up society not to suggest society is bullshit or that society is the root of all evil <and your personal problems> but to state that with regard to ‘empty’ there are two layers to our inability to deal well with ‘empty’ – ourselves and society.

 

Doesn’t mean you can’t establish your own rules & standards with ‘empty’ in your own Life … but it is tricky to do it in a way that doesn’t … well … make you crazy.

 

In the end you gotta look at your Life, what is empty & what is full, why things may be empty and why things may be full … and think about what the value is of the life we have decided to cling to.

 

 

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ما قيمة هذه الدنيا التي تتعلقون بها ؟ ..

 

“What is the value of this world that you cling to?

 

(via idle-handss)

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And I say ‘cling to’ because it is our choice.

the choice is yours life

Emptiness is our choice.

 

Fullness is our choice.

 

 

Here is what I know about empty.

 

It gives you room. It gives you space. And, yes, it gives you uncertainty.

 

But what it does do is it gives you certainty in freedom to move & do & explore the area between “I can’t” and “I can” … as well as … “what is” and “what could be.”

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“I want to get more comfortable being uncomfortable. I want to get more confident being uncertain. I don’t want to shrink back just because something isn’t easy.

I want to push back, and make more room in the area between I can’t and I can.”

 

—-

Kristin Armstrong

 

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Here is what I know about empty.

 

I once wrote Emptiness is a weight … heavier than you could ever imagine empty should ever be.

Emptiness is a burden if you fill it with the wrong things <hence the reason I tend to believe we rush to fill it with other things>.

 

——–

 

“How can emptiness be so heavy?”

 

=

Six Word Story

———holes kids and thinking

 

It can become a hole filled with the remnants of everything left behind.

Let’s just say … all things gone but not forgotten.

This could include regrets, memories; past decisions … even people no longer there … as well as whatever else your thinking may fill it up with.

 

Ok. Let’s just say anything that has touched our lives will reside in this emptiness and their, oddly, the absence of what used to touch us carries a gravitas which becomes a relentless burden.

 

Here is what I know about empty.

 

It is not nothing. Empty is something. It is possible it could be a blank piece of paper waiting for you, or someone, to wrote something on it but I don’t like that metaphor.

I do not see empty as blank or blankness. I believe empty is a map … a map we just cannot puzzle out yet. It is something you do want to carry around with you all your Life and it is something you want to deal well with.

 

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“I don’t want to be just a nothing, a sick blank, withdrawal into myself forever. I just want something, beside the emptiness I’ve carried around in me all my life.”

 

Allen Ginsberg

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For if you accept empty as what I just suggested it can lead you to unknown places and meet as yet unknown faces and … well … its darkness is not empty of ran-my-fingers-on-edge-of-empty-within-selflight … it is a darkness awaiting light.

 

And maybe that is my point about empty.

 

Instead of trying to fill ‘empty’ with shit, with people, with doing … why don’t you stop for a second and trying filling it with … well … light.

 

Maybe if you do that you will see the map I believe that is there a little better and instead of filling the empty you travel someplace where your empty doesn’t feel as empty.

 

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My heart yearns to fill its hollows with unknown places and unknown faces. It desires to be tainted by the warm rays of welcoming faces. It longs to feel nostalgic of the unknown places that reside within its darkness out of wanderlust.

 

Sandeep Sidhu

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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

 

 

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“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

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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

Enlightened Conflict