Get unstuck, get unplugged, and take a swing

Using the internet can get to be like drinking from a fire hose. You’re attentive, reading, laughing, posting, messaging. But soon the web becomes a tangle of sticky strands. The internet is always open, holding many, many, many bits of data. Empty calories at an all you can eat buffet, leaving us hungry. Opinions are amplified and in your face. After a time, you shrug off the sarcasm and insults. Soon, the rest become blurred, too.

Billions of people defined by their pictures, their forwarding, their quoting, their lecturing. There’s a megaphone for everyone, like a crowded bar you’re tired of shouting in. The people are friendly enough, reliable little nodes for information, streaming you everything from everywhere, so you stop digging in, because it all looks good, and you just don’t have the time. So you graze, taking just a taste, and move on. Like walking down a busy Manhattan street with the honking horns, the engines rumbling. You get jostled, so you stop seeing people, instead looking at the fringes to carve out where to walk as you glance into the shop windows. But you don’t try anything on. You just observe as you go by. Surrounded and alone.

But we can unplug whenever we want. And you know that. So you do. And you walk out that door.
Look there.
A person.
Smile.
You get a smile back.

And then you remember.
You remember what it’s all about.
So, reach out.
Step up and take a swing.
Why not? Hear the clock? Tick-tock. It’s going to stop sooner than you think.

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You are the leader you’ve been looking for

Leaders don’t check their culture for approval. They have the awareness of what’s going on to determine the right direction and start a movement towards it. It’s lonely, but it begins with a trust in human nature. Not the group’s nature, but individual nature…your nature. The group will not like your idea to change, unless it’s a slamdunk positive gain for them. Otherwise, they may think you’re going in the wrong direction. Or, more likely, they’re afraid of the change or pessimistic that things will improve.

Leadership begin with self-awareness. It begins with having the courage of your convictions. But it is more than pointing out all the wrong things. Or blaming one group over another group. The leader needs to extend his courage to the group. We must have the courage to trust people. To trust their potential, to empower people to do the right thing.

This courage is particularly important today, when people see two political parties and no real difference. And yet we are scared to vote for anyone else, because we don’t have the courage in our fellow citizens that they will do the right thing. And so we continue to vote based on who is more likely to win, and not who is more likely to do the right thing once in office.

And so nothing changes.

“I start with the premise that the function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.” -Ralph Nader

I agree with Ralph.

So be a leader.

Start a conversation about where you think things are headed and where you think the right direction lies. Listen, don’t lecture. Exchange ideas. If we don’t, then money will determine who wins elections, just as we feared.

And it will be our fault that it continues.

When you remember the bad times, you know better how to do good

As we try to control others in the world, we need to appreciate the consequences of this effort, good and bad. Let 9-11 not only help our nation be more mindful of its place in the world, but let it help you and me to be mindful individuals of our communities.

When we give others the authority and money to do things on our behalf, we are responsible for their actions.

Do you know what our government is doing, especially who they are killing, in other countries today on our behalf?

The secret to truly changing yourself

When I was in middle school, I noticed that I was smaller than most of the other kids. And I hated that. I hated my skinny arms and legs. So I started lifting weights. And eating… and taking supplements. I got bigger, but I always found fault. Even throughout college, I compared myself to other guys.

For years, I forced myself into this lifestyle until it became a habit… until one year. I stopped working out. I had met someone, the first person who showed care for me. We moved in together. I soon realized that I had never been training for me. Now, years later, I exercise for myself, for the good feelings I get. And I focus on getting fit, not big.

Changing something in your life means taking control. And where does that control come from? Your personality, values…your attitude, right?

So the first step in changing our actions is finding out what values are driving them. Is it because we’re unhappy with ourselves? Because no matter how much you “improve”, you will never become happy with yourself if you’re not already content with life.

Once you gain this self-awareness, then whatever changes you want to make aren’t hard, because…well…because you want them. When my goal changed from getting validation to being fit, it was almost unconscious. I didn’t obsess over becoming healthy. I didn’t hold myself to a strict program. I didn’t read books about why it was better to be more fit. I didn’t do those things because I didn’t need to do those things.

A measure of the value of a goal is how much you want to do the grunt work. But if the drive to change comes from inside you, you will embrace the grind and it will cease to be one. Facing the challenge of something new will become exciting, not paralyzing. The sacrifice won’t feel like a sacrifice.

But it won’t really work if you’re doing it because you think you must or you have no choice. You can’t do it if fear is driving you, or if you’re forced to.

People do change. We evolve. Just don’t force it. Evolution is natural. Other people and your environment can supplement a change in your values, but the truest values, the ones that drive us to do the right thing, always come from the inside.

So what’s the secret to really changing yourself?

Let go of what you think you need.

Free yourself. Because no one else will.

We were meant to evolve. And we have the self-awareness and freewill to do exactly that.