Beyond The Specific!

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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!

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What Does It Mean To Refine?

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Refinement to me means that what you are doing is 100% correct, only moving forward from the point that you are currently at, leaving no room for improvement on your past life and actions taken in it. Redifine to me means excepting the imperfections of your past, always looking to improve upon them, or at least question them, otherwise you might be refining the wrong answer in your head instead of exploring to become closer to the correct answer. For example I always find myself questioning the way I go about a horse, is there a way to accomplish more by doing less? I have found that to get to the next level you have to dig deeper and redefine everything about yourself, not only reflecting on your horsemanship, but on your life, past and present. You must break down your past and present to figure out where there is room for improvement, and once the need for improvement is identified, you must take action to redefine your future.

This reflective journey into my own past has made evident many improvements that need to be made and made constantly, but it also has brought to my attention the fact that there is more and more room to relate to everyone. Digging deep into my past journeys, I find out why I do what I do or why I did what I did in particular situations. Essentially, we all have our struggles, whether they are deep within or reflected outwardly in what we do. There is a reason for all of our actions and thoughts, but trying to understand them is the first step towards accepting ourselves for who we are. Ultimately, this allows us to relate to everyone in this world through those struggles within and to start to redefine them into someone better. Like I have come to tell myself and many others lately, there is nothing wrong with you as you were and as you are, but there is always room for growth and love. I’m not even sure what that all means, but I feel as if everyone can relate to it, and it makes me feel better just to say it, if only to myself.

Dig deep into your past. Dig deep in yourself to find moments of comfort, awkwardness, fear, overexcitement, etc. and try to break them down and understand them better. I hope you will find the ability to relate to everyone else or perhaps relate to every horse; they are only doing what they know and to the best of their ability as they know it. Just take a step back and put yourself in their shoes to understand what they do and why they do it, and what you should find after a long search within yourself is a deep sense of struggle. We all experience it whether we are rich or poor, athletic or uncoordinated, overjoyed or depressed. The question is what are you going to do to help others and yourself. The choice is yours and only yours. Can you do what it takes to motivate yourself to take action for a greater purpose? These are just questions that are rolling around in my head every day. Can I do what it takes? As long as I have not given up on self improvement, these questions will linger with me forever. My great fear is that I will give up on myself and let everyone else down, and I feel a very heavy pressure because of this. What do you feel? What’s your greatest struggle, smallest struggle?

Reflect on the past to gain presence of mind in the present while working towards being the best you can be in order to help others. So are you merely looking to refine yourself or redefine the life of others? I hope I can tell you someday that I redefined the life of others by first being able to understand and grow myself, but until that day all I can do is try to relate to everyone else. Try, Choice, and Questions are all I have to give as of now.