Beyond The Specific!


I was recently encouraged to express my feelings on the book entitled Control by Glenn Beck, so here is my attempt.  In short, I believe he summarizes the book perfectly with two quotes on the final page of the text.  One, in his own words, says, “It (a solution) can only be found in the rooms of our homes and the streets of our neighborhoods.  The other quote is from Obama, who says, “When a child opens fire on another child, there’s a hole in that child’s heart that government can’t fill.  Only community and parents and teachers and clergy can fill that hole.”  I couldn’t agree more with those two views, but I believe it goes even one step further than that.  The real solution should be focused on the real culprits, Me and You.

I believe we are responsible on an individual level for each and every negative and positive thing that takes place in the world.  Each and every negative action done by one or more persons was simply a failure of those closest to them.  This could be a lack of positive influence, a lack of action, or just ignoring someone clearly in need. If we live lives of unaware selfishness, we continually add to the deepest issues in the world today.

We all believe that something so tragic could never be done by those closest to us in our lives, and especially not ourselves.  Why couldn’t that be you or me?  A better question yet, why couldn’t we be the ones who went down the same path as those “crazy” negative humans who finally got to a point of taking extreme action?  Take all the positive moments in your life and replace them with all negatives and isolation; before long who knows what each of us could do?

If you can’t imagine any version of reality that could lead you to the darkest of dark places, well, quite frankly, I believe you are currently living in a delusional world of self-righteousness, blaming all the issues in your life or in the world on someone else or something else.  If that is the case, then we are avoiding the truth at the core of the issue: a lack of personal responsibility for all actions in some way, shape, or form.

We all get so caught up in the meaninglessness of our day-to-day schedules that we become self-centered, unaware monsters, oblivious to the people around us.  We ignore those in our lives who need help, guidance, leadership.  We ignore the small moments in which we could make a positive difference.  If this is the case, then we continue to add to the corruption instead of changing it for the better.  We each need to take personal responsibility for influencing all those around us, especially those nearest to us.  It could be as simple as a smile to a passerby or as deep as a heart-to-heart with a loved one about some negative behaviors.

An example from the horse world would be a “problem” horse.  These horses are simply misguided horses.  We could all say that the horse was simply born that way or is beyond help, ignoring that they can all be redirected over time.  The reality of all “problem” horses is that they were created by someone just like you or me. This horse could have been created by one catastrophic event or, more likely, by tiny negative reinforcements eventually getting the horse to respond with extreme negative force. The horse may become dangerous to the point of taking a human life.

Either way, these horses can always be brought back to the realm of a purposeful life full of positive relationships and interactions.  All anyone can do is start from where the horse is currently and build them up from the foundation.  Start with the basics, the very beginning, and work with them from where they are coming from, not where you want or expect them to be.  All they need is guidance from their perspective and a leader to show them the foundation, acknowledging success with small consistent rewards, redirecting them in times of error, and letting them become their own teacher so that they can find the path toward a great life.

Please just try your best to be the positive force in others’ lives. Acknowledge those in need and help where you can.  Don’t leave it to others to make life better; take it upon yourself every day.  The best way to that is a two-fold plan done every day for the rest of your days.

1.)  Become your best self.

2.)  Help others to do the same.

In order to become our best, we need to study, apply, and reflect on how to do this in line with our own interests.  There is no magic, one-route way to become our best self. It is merely a refinement of your daily process.  If you don’t know where to start, either follow your current interests or find a mentor.  We also need to help others by trying to understand their point of view and why they think the way they do.  This is perfect because it allows us to practice what we are personally working on ourselves. The process allows us to further our understanding that everyone we meet is actually our teacher, not our student.

It’s hard to imagine this type of world, but it’s possible.  Don’t get caught up in the small things. Acknowledge them, then move on to the bigger picture.  The positive influence you can have every day on yourself and those nearest you is important.  Accept responsibility, become aware of those around you, and take action to help one person at a time. Start with yourself!

Success, Failure, and Stagnation

To begin with, let me give you the definition for success according to Google Definitions:
 Success: The accomplishment of an aim or purpose.

 Now how can you fail if the failure itself is what brought you to succeed? You can’t fail as long as you look at every situation as a learning experience leading to success. However, if you are unaware of how to learn from the experience, you simply stagnate in a false reality. When you’re able to think and learn from your experiences, you’re able to brush off the unsuccessful short term experience knowing that those very experiences will help you understand the desired success over time.  

 I wish I could go back to high school sports to apply this one simple concept, because I was always afraid of failure or imperfection in those years. My way of making up for it was by acting like a cocky, arrogant rebel to mask my insecurities and self doubt. Even when I won, I was still looking at it as failure because all I cared about was being perfect instead of doing the best I could and learning from all the experiences along the way, win or lose.     

 The sad thing is that you look at most levels of sports nowadays and it seems like there is a succeed or die mindset. If you make one mistake, you’re out of the lineup, which encourages others to fear imperfection that much more and keeps players from achieving their true potential over the season or future years of play. Most sports have nothing to do with teaching kids about the learning process that leads to lifetime success. Is it really winning if you put yourself through physical and emotional stress just to get a title or reward that loses its value as soon as you achieve it? Or would you consider true success to be the process it took to become a better athlete by becoming a better person or learning leadership skills to apply to the rest of your life?   

 Sometimes in order for people to grow long-term they need a bit of failure in the short-term. It takes a true leader to guide a person through an experience in which they have the responsibility to carry out a relatively minor task to one in which a failure could be used as a great learning experience without crushing their confidence. This shows them what doesn’t work in the short term will ultimately allow them to discover what truly works over a lifetime. The student will then build his own separate repertoire of universal truths to add to and refine throughout his experiences in life.  

 I was fortunate to be introduced to leadership at a young age by a few great coaches and people that led me to realize that personal growth is the key to success over a lifetime. I wish I had pursued it even more and at a younger age, but now all I can do is work at it everyday from here on out