Why does it seem the World around us is getting worse!

On any given day, there seems to be a new tragedy that plagues our Nation. America is a great nation, but I can’t help but ask the question, why do we hear of these tragic situations nearly daily? 

Last month it was the Church goers in South Carolina. Yesterday it was Marines in Tennessee. Time and time again we continue to hear of a new mass shooting case, while opponents of Gun Control argue that less guns is the answer, and proponents of guns argue more guns. It seems that at the heart of that they’re forgetting to look at the root causes. As some have said “Guns don’t kill people” while I agree with that statement, there seems to be no effort to get to the root cause of those instances. It seems evident that HATE is the central issue.

What kind of world do we live in where young kids now has “Active Shooter Drill” ingrained in their vocabulary?

What kind of a world do we live in where a young teenager can go out to get candy and a soda, and end up dead?

What kind of a world do we live in where a traffic stop, ends in you clinging to your life?

What kind of a world do we live in where unarmed citizens are dying in police custody?

What kind of a world do we live in where my skin color, is a motive for the violence inflicted upon me?

What kind of a world do we live in where Slavery and Jim Crow era is now looked at as Southern Heritage? I’d like to pause here briefly. It boggles my mind to comprehend how a society that was soo against Blacks prospering just a mere 50 years ago. In one breath say they’re proud of their Southern Heritage, while at the same time not recognizing that Racism was an aspect of that heritage. It’s one thing to say you’re proud of your heritage, and acknowledge the bad aspects. To remember that you’re also capable of bad thing, so that you can actively work to produce good. To simply forget about the bad aspects seems a recipe to repeat those mistakes. 

What kind of a world do we live in where Military Service members have to protect themselves living in our Country?

What kind of world do we live in where someone can say “I’m CHRISTIAN” yet openly spew hate towards the LGBT community?

These are just a fraction of the questions I find that I ask myself. The truth is I don’t know how to begin to answer many of these questions. For me part of it is a break down in empathy. How can you continue forward with any of these acts if you’ve ‘Walked a day in another person’s shoes’ A question that I love to ask is “why have you take the actions you have?” This question has always quipped my curiosity about people, to get to know and understand them beyond what I see. What is your motivation? Why did you say what you did, or more importantly what experiences have led you to your decisions? If you’re living your life and not making a conscious effort to think about many of these types of questions that I find plaguing my mind, it seems that Society as a whole may be in bigger trouble than I can imagine. Our world seems to be falling apart, is anyone going to try to address some of our faults, to make an attempt to be less violent with each other?

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I have the FREEDOM to…!

Freedom

The debates over the past weeks have been interesting and aggravating at the same time. While we all have our own individual values and belief, we have the freedom to choose how we’re going to live our lives. The thing about freedom though is that if you’re free to think one way, others are also free to think another. The biggest most contested views of our time seem to be around Abortion, Guns, LGBT rights, and certain Belief Structures. I myself tend to be a bit more logical in my thinking, it’s not that I don’t use emotional appeals, I just try not to base my entire arguments on them.

Logical reasoning is the process which uses arguments, statements, premises and axioms to define whether a statement is true or false, resulting in logical or illogical reasoning – as defined by www.fibonicci.com

In contrast here an Emotional appeal:

An emotional appeal is a method of persuasion that’s designed to create an emotional response… Emotional appeals are considered fallacies, or errors in reasoning, because they manipulate emotions in an audience – as defined by study.com

With logical reasoning there’s usually someting specific, where an outcome can be measured and tested. A simple example could be: when it rains, things outside gets wet, the street is outside, therefore when it rains the street gets wet. This can easily be tested, you’d just have to wait until it rains, and you can check for yourself, you don’t have to take my word for it. In contrast Emotional appeals are usually based on stories or anecdotes, and inferences. They usually try to elicit some kind of emotion. For example fashion magazines feature well fit people, with body types that aren’t like the general population, and they ask you to feel fit.

Every action has a Reaction!

It’s been some time since I’ve been in school, but everyone I’m sure remember’s Newton’s Law: Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. How does this apply to some of today’s debates? Those opposed to Abortion may argue that it is the killing of an innocent life, that it’s barbaric. While I do support their individual beliefs, doesn’t that mean that other people are also FREE to have other beliefs that might not be similar? What I don’t like about the proponents of Anti-Abortion is that they’re basically saying I don’t like Abortion so you shouldn’t do it. I agree that this could be problematic in that there are many things which society deems inhumane that we don’t support. For me it seems there’s still a broad swathe of opinions on this issue, so we also have to have room for varying views. Many argue that the 1st Amendment gives them the freedom to speak their views, yet they trample the views of others that disagree with them.

A war against Religion! 

One of the biggest arguments I seem to hear the most is that people’s Religious Freedoms are being infringed upon. This is always an interesting argument, it usually goes like this. My religion teaches me that ______ (insert cause) is wrong, therefore you shouldn’t do it. This makes me laugh because as those who say their freedoms are being infringed upon, they are actually trying to take away your freedom to choose how you feel. Many say that the Supreme Court’s decision to open up Marriage Equality to the LGBT community is a step towards damnation for our country. While I myself favor traditional marriage, if you favor another kind, then so be it. If I’m free to feel one way about marriage, you’re also free to feel another. The notion that marriage is a Religious Institution is preposterous, and here’s an example that illustrates that point: In order for a marriage to be legally recognized it takes only a marriage license from a State Organization. No longer is the day when you’d have to get approval from a religious leader. Taken a step further, if you were an upstanding citizen, and were married by your local priest, had family friends and the entire community present, but don’t have a marriage license. Your marriage isn’t legally recognized. It seems that marriage hasn’t been a Religious right for quite a long time. For me the Religious that oppose marriage equality lack this basic premise. They believe that marriage is rooted in a religious base, yet the legality of a marriage is more of a Government approval. If the Religious community wants to worry about something, it should be that our Government doesn’t seek a religious opinion when writing laws, and haven’t for a long time now. For me we can’t have it both ways, give up our opinion or input when laws are formed. Then after the fact if we don’t like it, say people are infringing on our religious freedoms. Which is an oxymoron anyway, because the reality of those arguments isn’t that other’s are infringing on their freedom. Rather they’re looking for a way to stifle other’s beliefs, and only theirs should have any kind of standing. Which of course is everything the 1st Amendment isn’t about, something to think about!

What would Jesus do!

By now if you’ve read many of my writings, you’ll know that I’m Christian. However I have to say most of the Christian Voices don’t represent my views. Take any specific issue, the response form Christian seem to be this: “You’re an abomination to god, you will die a slow and painful death, and will live in eternity like that, you should confess your sins, and be saved from eternal damnation” I jokingly say that they don’t even say “hello how are you!” The problem with that approach is that it might not be entirely rooted in the Gospel. Take Jesus for example, I understand that not everyone is a believer and that’s ok. In the stores in the bible Jesus’s interactions usually went something like this “Hi there how are you, here’s some interesting news, don’t know if you know about this… A conversation ensues, then at some point the person will ask, “wait do you know who I am?” My community has shunned me, are you sure you want to talk to me? While I’m paraphrasing here, here are some direct resources to check out. John 4: 1-29; Luke 5: 27-31; Luke 7: 36-50. My point is this for the Christian Community, Jesus is our example. Interestingly when he interacted with people who were labeled as “sinners” he never addressed their sin initially. In many cases it was other people who brought up the sin, and Jesus was happy to interact with the person with no regard for what their flaw was. It seems that many Christians miss this lesson.

3. “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? 4. How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? 5. Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.

It doesn’t matter the issue, people don’t like when you point out their flaws, especially when you don’t know anything about them, or what has lead them to where they are. For me what people lack is basic empathy, and in many cases don’t take the time to know others. To really find out the why behind why they feel so strongly about a cause, or what has lead them there. If you’re to change someone’s mind, it’s easier to do that by changing their heart or their core. We all have our core beliefs, and they don’t easily change.

Lessons I’ve learnt from not having a Plan!

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I’ve been a bit quite in the past months, while I’ve wanted to write, I instead took time to be a bit introspective. For the past 2 years I’ve been single, and have decided to be a bit more intentional about getting a better understanding of my personality. I’ve learnt so much, and I’m also very excited to see what comes next. I’ve always been the type of person who has a plan (5 yr, 10 yr, 15 yr…). Despite my best plans my life hasn’t worked out how I thought it would. With a bit of a mix of frustration and wanting to change things, I decided to forgo any new plans, and just live and see what happens. In the past that would have scared me to death, not having a plan is going against every fiber of my being. What’s remarkable is that first of all I’m still here, I haven’t succumbed to failure, and I’ve also learnt a lot more about myself and have rediscovered my faith along the way.

What is SUCCESS!

Everyone talks about being successful, yet we all have varying meanings for what success looks like to us. At it’s root success is a kind of a Social Agreement, in order for you to be successful, it doesn’t just depend on your definition; others have to agree with you. For me my success is tied to my childhood, and family upbringing. Although I consider myself as someone who follows his own decisions. My past also determines what I see as success, the messages I’ve heard as a child back home in Guyana play a big role in my definition. Despite what I may say, having a family of my own, having a stable career, are all tied into what I consider successful. For the past several years it’s been a bit of cognitive dissonance, I know what I want, but despite my best efforts I can’t seem to quite get there. For the first time in a long time, I feel as though I may finally have the tools and drive I need to push ahead.

Fear of Failure my Nemesis

I’ve been recently reading Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. In one of the chapters Brene talks about how shame and fear can hijack us. Sometimes it seems that my greatest enemy isn’t others, but how I think of myself. In my mind sometimes I ask “what will others think if…” That shame of letting others seem ME is sometimes paralyzing. Of course the other thought is “will they like or approve of what I have to say?” There’s a hidden danger to that type of thinking. For example when I first started this blog, it was because I saw how my words could encourage those close to me. So I thought that if I reach a larger audience, I can help and impact more people. Somewhere along the way I became more focused on whether I received any likes, or if anyone read or commented to my posts. So I stopped writing for a bit, at least until I can write based on my initial motive. I will admit that I’m not immune to other’s impression of me. I’m learning to not attach my self-worth to what others think, that seems a quick way to end up down the negative self-talk and depression roads. Sharing something that is special to me with others without regard for whether they like it is a way to be more authentic. I have to learn how to not let my worth be dictated by how others perceive me.

Not everyone will like or agree with you!

I tend to be a bit more logical in my thinking, I’m an INTJ on the Myers/Briggs if you follow those types of Personality Inventories. Making decisions based on emotional appeals doesn’t usually work on me. As a result I can seem a bit stubborn to most people, where others may have a strong emotional connection to a decision; I tend to be more logical and practical. With each passing moment and day, I think carefully about decisions I make. I decide what is best for me, and I know that others will disagree with me. I’m ok with that, afterall I’m making the best decisions for my life, while they’re doing what’s best for them. Of course the hope is that with those close to you those decisions will overlap.

(It was a few weeks since I originally started writing this post) I’d like to end with another quote from Daring Greatly

Perfection is the enemy of done.”

For me that means that regardless of whether I think this post is good enough, I should post it. I got the opportunity to visit New York for my lil sister’s Graduation, it’s funny that I still think of her as a little kid, but she’s a grown woman. Being back in New York, served several purposes. Of course the most important was to see my sister Graduate College. I also had a few brief moments where I was able to relish in the thought that, I’m at a stage in my life where I can take off for a few weeks to go to New York. Despite what I may think of myself, or my lack of career progress, I still have the time, energy, and resources to take trips like that. For that I’m grateful and feel blessed.

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Is Success an absence of Failure?

In my self-description I probably won’t use the words “Creative Type” yet aren’t we all creative, aren’t we all creating new things each day? In writing these thoughts I am creating something, and that is worth taking a moment to bask in. Not for the praise from peers or on social media, but to give your creative spirit a voice. It would be fair to say that I’ve had a bit of a block for a few months now. I started writing because thought and inspiration for others was running wild in my head. As quickly as it started, it seemed to have disappeared. Just when I was starting to finding a voice, something I was passionate about, it seemed to have left as fast as it came. For some time I’ve felt a bit stagnant, not just in my career, but also my personal life. Just as the voice has guided me before, it lead me to a TED Talk which let to another, and to yet another. In listening to those, the voice seems to have peeked it’s head out. Here are a few things I learnt from those talks.


Success doesn’t mean they’ve never Failed!

I have to admit, sometimes I subconsciously think that if I succeed it means I won’t fail. There are countless stories of many famous people who were seen as failures, they were rejected by society and peers, if they had listened to the world, they would have never moved forward. With modern media it seems the bar is sometimes set very high, we’re conditioned to think that in order to succeed, we have to be super human. In the teaching at church this weekend, our pastor identified a few people that were treated as failures. The one that was the most laughable was that Albert Einstein was called stupid and unintelligent. Of course his name is now synonymous with being a genius. The message there is that if you’ve been rejected by others, that doesn’t have to define your entire life. Thomas Edison, had hundreds of failures before he had his first real success. Being successful doesn’t mean that you’ve not failed before, or even that you’re not going to fail in the future. In contrast if people call you a failure, it doesn’t mean that you will be that way forever, because at some point you will succeed. When comparing ourselves to others, we might not always measure up, and that’s ok, the world doesn’t define you, you define how your future will unfold.


What is the source of creativity?

Where does your creative ideas come from? Is it something innate that you possess, is it something you’re blessed with? Can you loose that creative spirit? In a recent TED Radio Hour Program I heard The Source of Creativity  (click link to listen to the Full Show), a few people you might have heard of attempted to answer this question. The one that stood out to me the most was from Elizabeth Gilbert, you might have heard of her, she did a book called “Eat, pray, love.” In Elizabeth’s segment of the show she talked about how she found the inspiration to write her best selling book, and how she has learnt to live with the aftermath of such a great book. Another artist that goes by the name of Sting, also spoke on the same topic. After 3 decades of producing hits after hits, one day he woke up and couldn’t write anything new. They both point out that after you’ve found success, it doesn’t mean it’s something that will stay with you for the rest of your life. Isn’t that what’s plaguing most celebrities? One day someone is on the top of the Billboard charts, then months or years later they just completely disappear. Success like most things in life is fickle, in order to keep something you have to work hard at it. So whether you were blessed with musical talents, or the ability to transform yourself into a new person on stage, you’ll still have to be intentional to maintain your gift. As Elizabeth Gilbert points out in her TED Talk, whether you’re blessed by your creator or it’s something you just learnt, we must be thankful for our gifts. You should never come from a place of arrogance, but of gratitude, because one day it could all be gone.


Success is sometimes an accident

In the message at Church last weekend, we looked at failure, and some of the people who were seen as failures. There’s a man by the name of Thomas Edison, who after 1000’s of tries finally succeeded. Henry Ford was rejected many times, people thought that building a production car was a idiotic idea that will never go anywhere. Walt Disney was called un-imaginative, but later went on to build a company that is the epitome of imagination. Alexander Fleming was working in his lab one day, and what started out as a mistake, lead to the discover of Penicillin. What these things all have in common is that for the most part, they were all discovered by accident. Meaning that Thomas Edison didn’t set out to invent things that would revolutionize the world, or Disney to create an empire to dominate the entertainment industry etc. The final outcome was not the intention of these various inventors. While they didn’t predict the brevity of their inventions, they were working towards a smaller goal. Success comes after hours and hours of hard work, and dedication, to the point of insanity sometimes. In Elizabeth Gilbert’s story, she had no idea that Eat, Pray, Love would be what it is today. She wanted to share her story, to give a glimpse of her journey so far. So what does any of this mean? If you’re passionate about something, then you’ll most likely have to work hard to achieve it. While you have an expected goal in mind, understand that the final product may be even greater, or perhaps not as big as you thought. Despite the outcome, you still have to keep at it, keep persevering.


As I think on my own life, I know one thing for certain, I’m passionate about helping people navigate and improve their lives. I do believe that that talent is divinely granted, and that I’m to use it for the good of the world. While I do have an idea of where I’d like my life to go, I can’t say with any certainty where exactly I will end up. What I do know though is that I have to be intentional, with each day I have to live with gratitude, be thankful that I have the freedom and ability to carve out my life in a way that’s satisfying to me. My goal is to live my life each day with happiness and grace, and to not be naive in thinking that I’m doing this on my own accord. Of course the greatest challenge is figuring out my place in this cosmic space, to learn what’s my contribution to humanity. While I’m sure that I might not do anything grandiose, it shouldn’t stop me from trying.

 “success isn’t the absence of failure, sometimes failure leads to success; sometimes failure and success can co-exist in the same space.”

Dating: An Extroverted Introvert’s Perspective

“You’re to live the life you want, then the idea is that you’ll attract the person best suited for you.”

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As the Title says “I’m an Extroverted Introvert” what the heck does that even mean you wonder? If you’re one you’ll get this, but if not, it simply means that I’m an Introvert with many Extroverted qualities. If you’ve had the pleasure of meeting me in person, you’d never know that I’m an introvert. Not that introverts don’t smile and can’t be interesting, but I sometimes come off as friendly and easy to approach. If I had to quantify it, I would say I’m 70% Introvert and 30% Extrovert. Why is any of this important you may ask, aside from a window into who I am, it’s a bit of a conundrum when it comes to dating.


I really wish I didn’t have to have a conversation with you! 

Being more on the introverted side means that I have limited energy for social situations. While I might generally enjoy your company, there comes a point when I’d rather not be around you, and it’s not personal. How do you tell a date that, “hey you’re really interesting, but I’d rather not spend another minute talking about your…” I find this even more interesting because for the past 7 years I’ve worked in various jobs that are people facing, and I aspire to be a Life Coach or Counselor. Oh boy sounds like I have my own issues I need to deal with! While I find people quite interesting, sometimes they’re also too much, sometimes I just want to be by myself. Getting back into dating, I’m finding that sometimes I don’t have the energy to be social. Part of that could be because I’m not where I’d like to be career wise, and I’m in a transition phase. Sometimes I feel that work takes most of my energy, and then I don’t have any left to be social.


I both admire and envy those who seem to be living! 

I’m sure each of you reading this has one of those friends, or perhaps you’re that person yourself. They’re always doing something new, going somewhere, volunteering for something. Even trying to have drinks with them isn’t easy, you always have to ask them to “pencil you in.” If any of my friends are reading this, I hope you’re not offended, and if you are well… If we’re really friends I hope I don’t have to explain that last joke. I find myself ammmazed (not a typo, it’s just that amazing what you do) that they have the energy, because time is limited, and they don’t seem to have time to do everything anyway. When I say I envy them, it’s not in a bad way, I just wished that I had that kind of energy to get into that many social events. Then again I’m more comfortable in solitude, so that lifestyle isn’t for me anyway. I’m also well aware that it comes at a cost, being involved in multiple things all at once, isn’t for everyone, it takes a certain type of personality to pull that off.


Is there hope for an extroverted introvert?

I’m currently at the stage of my life where I’m discovering more about who I am. For the first time I can say with some certainty, that I’m actually looking for a life partner. I’m enjoying learning new things, or re-discovering old traits, but I also know that I have to put myself out there. It’s time to put on my big boy pants, stop being a recluse and get out there. Of course in today’s age, it seems delayed gratification is a thing of the past. With so many self-help books, new dating sites, all promising to help you find “the One.” I feel like sometimes they all set you up for unrealistic expectations. It seems that the idea is that there’s a single strategy that can quickly solve my dating problems. Some people can go out to a coffee shop, or go out to dinner, or go to a show, by themselves. While I’m introverted, going to a public place and being alone, is not my idea of a good time. Marriage for me is a very serious endeavor, it’s not something I’m to go into blindly, or ill-prepared. The analytical  side of me wants to approach dating as if it’s a math problem, to be solved by numbers, statistics, and reasoning. Humans are complicated, and dating is a bit more of a competitive arena. Amy Webb the author of Data: A Love Story (check out her TED talk), wrote a compelling story of how she has used stats to break the code of Online Dating. Lets face it though, I’m not a statistical genius, so that’s out. What now, how do I use what I have to get the results I seek?

I’ve decided to turn the lens on myself, instead of lamenting on other peoples relationships, I’m posing the question to you. Not in the manner of a quick fix, but given what I’ve described about myself, how do I use that? As an extroverted introvert how do I approach dating? Given some of the other topics I’ve written about, I hope you understand how seriously I’m taking my search for my next relationship. Hopefully you understand that I don’t think that a mystical creature out there “the One” exists, who will come along and make the world a much better place. I understand that life is HARD, and sometimes we all face obstacles. With that in mind, if you were in my shoes, how would you proceed?