Discovering Individual Purpose and Meaning. 

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How does one find individual purpose and meaning amongst the chaos of the times?  I believe purpose and meaning derive from the minimum of two disciplines.  One discipline is the endless pursuit of self-mastery within the entirety of one’s life and the second being the attainment of high-level proficiency through the mastery of a craft.  That craft mastery can either be of a free choice desire or the necessity of survival.

Self-mastery will be applied very broadly into every facet of one’s life and the discipline of craft mastery will be applied very directly to a specific area of focus.  Another way of thinking about it is self-mastery is changing your perspective from within to see the outside world more clearly, while craft mastery is seeing your creation of something outside of yourself to more clearly see the reality of who you actually are.  Both juxtaposing one another to create a balance of the way you see the world from within and how the world sees you from outside.  This allows you to remain true to who you are while constantly connecting to all other individuals.

In order to begin this process of discovery to one’s purpose and meaning the path must be intentional.  That is simply saying there must be an individual desire to apply oneself towards growth and the ownership to prove that desire through the actions taken on a daily basis.  No one can or will do this part for any individual, this must be earned through continual personal growth and the proof of deliberate action taken throughout one’s daily life.  We all need help and guidance to achieve our own purpose and meaning in this life, but only the individual can discover their path for themself.

Before I go any farther I want to break down a few of the words above.

Purpose and Meaning:  A life in which we constantly strive to become better on a personal level.  In return, we can more positively influence others in hopes for the creation of a better future.  A life in which we have clarity in our daily pursuits that will continually motivate us to be better no matter our current state or lot in life.

Discipline:  Areas of life in which we intentionally apply our time and capacity on a daily basis to become better individuals in order to better serve others.  One disciplinary focus needs to be internal (self-mastery) while the other should be an outer based focus (craft mastery.)  Each discipline is broken down individually to be studied, applied, and reflected upon daily to ensure growth and ownership through proof of practice.

Self Mastery:  The endless internal dissection towards the refinement of oneself and all experiences in order to become a better individual to be of better service to others.

Refinement: The reflection process in which you take all experiences to learn from the bad and what not to do, as well as why the actions are taken didn’t work. Then taking the good and deciphering why the actions taken worked and how to make the process even better.   This helps understand the past and present to more clearly craft one’s projection of what they are working towards in life, a more desirable individual future.  A process of constant improvement towards one’s purpose and meaning in life.

Craft Mastery:  An outer practice of a specified skillset taken to a high level of proficiency that allows an individual to relate their wisdom to benefit the rest of their life as well as the life of all others.  The principles of the craft transcend the specific to become a source in which you can connect and serve all others no matter what their disciplines may be.

Ownership:  Taking full responsibility for your life no matter the past or present.  Accepting the fact that no one is going to create your desired future for you, because no one knows where you want to be heading, not even yourself.  It is constantly changing with every bit of growth experienced throughout your life.  Your actions lead to results and those results guide your desired future.

What is the importance of finding purpose and meaning in life?  It helps make sense out of everything you experience in this life as well as drives you towards continual growth no matter what your circumstance is or what your desired future may be.  Purpose and meaning drives each person to make the most of each day in hopes of a better future for themselves, for others, and for the collective.  The experience helps relate us all together through our disciplines and the struggles we all are exposed to in this life.

Without this overreaching sense of purpose and meaning in life, we all revert into negativity and insanity by looking for superficial ways to escape our responsibility for our situation.  This is a scary place for anyone to be and the longer a person views the world through this perspective the more dangerous they are to everyone pursuing a better future.  The negative insanity loop will swallow all those who don’t have a true sense of what they are working towards in this life and why.

We must become clear about what that is to us in order to become impervious to all the temptations into mediocrity and negativity.  Once you are aware, there is no going back without grave consequences.  There is no easy journey, so why not apply yourself in a way in which you can look back at the end of each day or the end of your life with complete satisfaction upon your actions?  I can’t imagine waking up any day without a clear drive towards more purpose and meaning in my life.

Civil Discourse: A Safe Way to Converse

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The most common factor that seems to be holding so many people back is the inability to confront the undesirable.  In particular, the inability to have the necessary conversations in which there is no easy or obvious outcome.  Conversations in which I would capture into the phrase, civil discourse.  Civil discourse can be a conversation with your present, past, or future self.  It can also be with two or more sides to a conversation.   

What does civil discourse entail?  

Civil discourse can be a conversation with your present, past, or future self.  It can also be a conversation with two or more sides, whether that be individuals or parties.  

Civil discourse isn’t about the outcome, it’s about the process in which a mutually desired outcome is attained.  

Civil discourse is about understanding why the other side believes what they do and how they came to believe that.  Once both sides understand these perspectives then an outcome can be discovered.  

Civil discourse may mean an infinite amount of really frustrating, annoying, mentally and emotionally draining conversations until any positive headway is gained.  Some discourses shouldn’t be restrained to one poignant chat.  

Civil discourse does not mean taking one’s own baggage out on the other person or bringing in past resentments into the conversation.  It is not an attack on the other side regardless of the past.  

Civil discourse is a prearranged conversation in which there is a designated time/place in which to have an open, safe, and secure place to dig in.   

Civil discourse has an agreed-upon subject matter in which to focus on in which to have time to prepare for the conversation to be had. 

Civil discourse is about letting the other side clearly articulate their thoughts without interruption.  There is a clear dialogue in which a question or statement is made and the other side then gets their chance to speak.  

Civil discourse is a balanced conversation in which both sides get to speak their truth without interruption to clearly find the words to match their own thoughts.  

Civil discourse isn’t only about negative conflict resolution, it can also be about positive ventures going forward.  It is merely about trying to find a clear path forward regardless of the circumstances.  Sometimes it just takes many ideas and thoughts before something great can be formed from two good things.  

Civil discourse may be about having these types of conversations to see if you continue to want certain people in your life.  The answers or way someone has these conversations is a great answer to the type of person they really are.  Part of these conversations is being able to let those who will not grow with you behind so you can better surround yourself with those who are happy to hash through these types of conversations.  

A quick example of how this recently played out in my life.  My baby momma and I have been having what I would consider being to me civil discourses, to her probably conflicts.  We had probably close to 20 or more conversations all revolving around the same issue.  We would have a conversation and it would end in a negative manner in which emotions ran too high or there was nowhere else for the conversation to go.  Regardless we went about our day to try and hash it out another time.  Finally, after quite a bit of time, we had a breakthrough due to better questions and better descriptions of how the other person views things.  We both could better understand the way the other viewed life or what the other was going through that led to compassion for the things they were dealing with.  It was a huge moment for our relationship to take it to a better level of individual understanding.   

From that one breakthrough, we then had another not too far apart from the first.  Again drawing us closer and tighter together to better combat what the future has to throw at us.  Needless to say, there was a lot of work that went into these conversations in order to find a breakthrough.  It didn’t happen by random chance nor would it take care of itself, it happened through continued conversation on the subject.  It was exhausting and took a lot of our capacity to continue to work through our areas of individual confusion.  We will continue to have these tough conversations in the future and I imagine they only get tougher, but every time we work through one topic we become so much better prepared for the next.  

Don’t leave these conversations to chance or write them off as not that big of a deal.  This is your future at stake.  Whether that be to continue working some crap job where people continually abuse you or take advantage of you all because you refuse to try to converse with them on a real level.  This could even be a conversation in which you need to have with those closest to you.  If they won’t have these conversations with you, well then have the courage to stand up to them and speak your truth.  Leave that crap situation or leave those holding you back behind for a better future in which you find others who will grow with you through the tough and the good times.  Otherwise, what is the meaning of any of it?  

If you aren’t having these civil discourses in your life, chances are you are living your life based on the perspectives of others.  You are falling into the trap of living your life according to how they think you should live in order to best serve their future.  If people around you don’t know how to have these types of conversations, leave them and find others who will.  Do not leave this up to others, take the initiative to have real conversations about things that actually matter.  Otherwise, you are just another person attacking others hoping that someone treats you like a victim or charity case.  No ownership, no growth, and no reality.  

Be the positive change by having the tough conversations with those willing to work through them!  Be the leader that the world needs you to be!  Don’t be the child who loses their cool and throws a temper tantrum.  Don’t be the one who takes out their BS on you to make themselves feel better while potentially ruining another life.  No!  Stand up against the weak or ignorant.  If not you, WHO?      

Tough Times

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My favorite time to observe others is during tough times, because only then can you really see who people are.  The toughest of times unveil all to the exposure of reality and how they have been going about their life.  There is no masking of the truth when times are tough, as is possible in the good times when the majority have a very routine or mechanized life.  Life is easy when everything goes as planned, but what about when things become difficult, unexpected, and uncertain?  

These are the moments in which I base the core of those closest to me because I know what they have been practicing on a daily basis.  In theory, they have been preparing for the toughest of conversations, the toughest of unexpected events, and any other moments in life that can only be tackled properly through constant preparation for the unknown.  I don’t take other words seriously until I get to see how they act in these types of moments.  I find it very hard to trust others until they are forced to act in the uncertainty of challenging moments.  Then and only then, do I know who really know how they have gone about their daily life.  The words in which we speak must be backed by the proper actions in which we take.  That is both referring in preparation too as well as in the moment we are all faced with the natural chaos of life.  

That’s why I am excited to get to observe others in this moment of time of the virus epidemic.  Are you one of the people being super selfish and stocking up on superficial things such as toilet paper?  Are you buying infinite rounds of ammunition to “protect” your own?  Are you one who is attacking others for doing the previous two?  Are you one who is in complete hysteria as if this were the zombie apocalypse?  Are you one claiming it is a conspiracy?  To me, it has been a real treat to watch how others are responding to this “crisis.” 

 Imagine if this really was the end of civilized living as we currently know it to be.  If that was the case, a lot of the concerns of the general public are totally absurd!  I mean what good is toilet paper if the economic system was coming to an end as we know it?  So you have a month of toilet paper, well what happens to you for the next 50 years after that?  Even in investments people may be pulling their money out, but what good is cash if it was all crumbling to begin with?  If it was the end of the world as we know it to be now, it is already too late to do anything about it.  Just as the fall of the Roman Empire long ago, the end occurred long before it was finalized.  

Don’t get me wrong, I get the concerns and I sure hope this isn’t the end of a great time we have had to pleasure to live our lives.  I know the media literally creates the hysteria by how they report the news and that is no joke.  I watched about 30 minutes of the “reporting” on the virus and you would have sworn this was the zombie apocalypse.  I thought for sure after every commercial break this was the legitimate end of the human race.  “Breaking news, this area or town or state has been shut down, quarantined, and surrounded by the national guard to keep anyone from getting in or out.”  I mean do they not understand how most people see that?  They literally had armed personal at checkpoints.  I felt like I was watching a Netflix series or something.  

Regardless of all the chaos, it is times like these that we need those leaders to come out of the woodwork!  Those who have been going about their daily life in preparation for this chaos.  We need clear thinking and intentional action to help guide those who have just been letting life take them on the whims of societal breezes.  Most people are completely unprepared for the months or years or entire lives ahead.  A lot of people were barely surviving the way it was, and things were good or at least the best they have ever been.  So who are you?  Are you one to help guide others forward or one who is like a chicken with its head cut off gathering mass amounts of toilet paper?  

It is time to see who people really are!  In these times of great struggle, there is even more opportunity for those who have been ready for this moment.  This moment was inevitable so why wouldn’t we be preparing for it at all times?  Life is chaotic and unknown, why would you not expect this?  I hope we all step up and take accountability for ourselves now!   I hope we can be accountable for ourselves so that we can better help those around us.  That is what will propel us into a better future.  We should have been taking care of ourselves long before now so that we can team up with our neighbors and extend our positive reach.  We must help each other through these times.  Prove who you are through the actions you take!  

The Tides Of Change: Fatherhood!

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Through my 32 years, I have experienced a few major redirections in which altered my life’s course completely.  These changes reshape one acceptable future for a completely unforeseen path into the void of uncertainty.  While I have been shaping my life to prepare for this moment, now that the void is confronting me once again I can feel the subtle changes happening throughout my entirety.  I feel the oncoming of a tidal wave of drastic change that can only be understood in the wake of it all.  I know my current way of life will never be the same, nor will I ever be who I am today ever again.  Like a horse shedding its winter coat, I too have to let go of my current and former self to adapt to a new environment.  I must become more, I must become better than I ever have been up to this point.  I must become a father!

Turbulent times are ahead in which I hope I am prepared to endure.  There will be many battlegrounds with unidentified enemies that endanger our future, I just hope I am prepared to weather all the silly troubles of the immediate to keep the greater good close to heart and mind.  Please allow me to find clarity in the murkiest of waters so I may keep the end destination within my grasp through all experiences.  This is the journey into the void I must once again confront in order to prove myself worthy of greater responsibility.  

The unknown is the scariest of all places.  The void is the space in which I filter all information through a lens of ineptitude, doubt, and uncertainty for I know not what lies ahead.  What alternatives do I have though?  Perhaps I turn back, maybe run in a different direction, or you know what, maybe I’ll just stay put?  What future awaits me if I were to choose these paths of cowardice, blame, and reliance?  

The void has a way of testing the very essence of my soul.  A space that constantly challenges me to the very center of my being, forcing me to face every doubt I have ever pondered simultaneously.  The process nearly breaks me every time and just when I am ready to declare defeat a small shimmer of hope yet remains no matter how distant.  Do I give in to the doubt, crawling back into the deepest insecurities and mistakes of my past, devoting my self to a “safe and secure” future of mediocrity in which I endlessly suffer into eternity?  Do I give in to the insanity, never taking ownership for my own life and always rely on others to guide me forward in indentured servitude to them?  The fears I have every day are most prevalent in the face of the unknown.  I never know I will survive these tests of life, but that is the known price of admission.      

In these doubts of the moment, there lingers the infinite.  Within the infinite, there resides the longevity of perseverance over time.  With that time, the presence of clarity shines through all the doubt.  The unknown is temporary, time is infinite.  Within the infinite, there remains only persistence to supersede all.  This is what reassures me as I enter the void.  Once my focus is dialed in, the unknown is on the clock; time, effort, and capacity will transcend all.

I enter the void willingly once again, arms wide opened, inviting the interrogation of my soul.  I accept responsibility for my life and the ownership necessary to venture safely through the unknown.  I accept the sacrifices ahead in order to become better, to mature, to refine myself once again.  I will continue to sprint towards the void, for I know that is where my true self may be unveiled.  I welcome this redirection of my life called fatherhood.  Please show me the version of myself I have yet to be acquainted with.  

I am beginning to sense the artful craft of fatherhood ever so slightly creeping through me now.  So obvious the change has become that I can’t pretend to account for the differences of everything else.  I can see where my priorities are transforming in ways I never thought possible or even necessary.   I feel the way in which I view my priorities shifting, but in a way that I would phrase as a welcomed reorganization.  Reorganizing my priories in which all of the most important aspects of my life have now become the second most important. 

Instead of me potentially over obsessing over my other focuses, I except less and move on to more pressing matters.  Matters like preparation for the baby, organization of the household,  and being there to support and comfort baby momma.  I can sense the good coming from this reorganization of priorities and I am very curious to feel the continuous transformation as things progress closer to deliverance.  

I do not know what lurks ahead in the blurry fog of the uncertain future, but I am excited for the opportunity to experience this new venture.  I can’t imagine being any better prepared for this adventure ahead then I am at this time.  For I have an amazing partner who will willingly hash out any tough discussions ahead no matter how many days in a row we must work at it.  I also have the most amazing family and support system of friends one could ever dream of.  Having the ability to raise a child in this mountainous ranch setting feels straight out of a fairy tale and I can’t wait to have a little buddy to experience this amazing life with.  Regardless of whether he likes horses, nature, or any aspect of our lives and what we love, I am just glad to have the ability to raise a child in the country, surrounded by family and those who offer nothing, but support, encouragement, and unwavering love.  

Don’t pretend to know!

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I was recently contacted by a 5th grader asking my perspective on horse abuse so I figured this was the perfect time to finally write this.  Recently there was a case of horse abuse right here in the county and I continue to have many recurring thoughts about it.  Obviously, there are many different types of abuse, but I will speak specifically to the one that took place locally.  Many people saw the video and were ready to crucify the owners, but I think there is a lot more to the story than one moment in the unfolding of an entire lifetime.  

Let me recap the story quick.  Two horse people who were well known for riding their horses into town to visit the local establishments became a kind of iconic representation of the old-time mountain town.  For years they have owned horses and for years they had nothing other than great experiences with their horses. I did not personally know them, but I often saw them and their horses around town.  The horses looked healthy and happy, while the owners were having the time of their life.  The riders loved to show off their horses to the locals and out of towners, it was an all-around benefit to the town.  The horses were a great representation of what mountain town life can be like and they were great spokespeople to the out of towners who really thought they were in the wild west.  A great attraction for the town on top of everything else this area has to offer.  

None the less, one unfortunate event took place that buried them forever.  They attained a new horse and that new horse was not a good fit for them.  The horse wouldn’t leave the barn and primal human nature took over.  They haltered the horse and hitched it to the back of their dually truck to drag it across hard-packed snow.  The most unfortunate event for them was the wife filmed it while using excessive vulgarity through its entirety and then was talked into posting it thinking it was a great representation of “horsemanship.”  The husband was in the truck dragging the horse behind it at I would say 10 mph or so, for about 100 yards.  That is where the video ended.  The video went viral and they were fortunate to get a mere slap on the wrist from the authorities for what happened.  

Just to follow up on what I know of the rest, the wife was fired from her job, the horse was taken to a rescue, and the rest is unknown to me.  They received extreme threats of any and all kinds for the video.  I am not sure if they even live in the area anymore.  I remember seeing the video while thinking they better delete all their social media accounts, change their name, change their phone number, and move out of the country in hopes to survive this. 

Needless to say, based on 1 minute out of their entire life there whole future has been taken away from them.  Now the question, is that really a true representation of the entire situation?  Here are my thoughts on what led to this unfortunate event for all parties involved.  

From this point forward I am mixing a little bit of fact with a lot of assumptions as to how things may have been behind the moment.  In other words, I am merely portraying a thought experiment for people to consider before they may judge another negatively.  The point of this is to make people think a little deeper before they jump to conclusions.  I am not saying its right or wrong, simply outlying a normal life in which any of us could become a victim too on both sides of the spectrum.  We need to be more careful to not be overcome by our primal urges to react at the expense of others because of our own personal shortcomings.  We need to clearly think through the moment and everything leading up to it, otherwise, we should all step back to gather better information before we act.

The first problem that took place was the illusion that all horses were going to be great horses like the horses they’ve been previously exposed to.  These horses had filled in for them by forgiving them for their ineptness.  The horses they had were glorified dude horses that were kind of numb to the world.

Coincidently they were in the market for a new horse so they could retire one of their aging horses.  The wife also wanted to purchase a new horse for her husband’s birthday as a surprise.  She had reached out to me prior to the accident and was wondering what we had for sale here.  I told her the price and of course, it was too much.  I was sure to warn her when a horse is cheap or free it may not be a good fit for what they do and their experience level. Sadly, they didn’t heed my advice.  They received some free horse from a “friend” and the rest is history. 

Lesson one put the money forth for a horse that is right for what you do.  It isn’t about color, height, or any other factor, it’s all about is that horse going to fit your needs and take care of you and others.  Is it going to fit into the living situation you can currently provide for them?  Do they have a good foundation?  When it comes to finding a horse for the average hobbyist rider, these are the questions that should be running through the individual’s mind.  If you can’t afford a horse that is going to be this for you, don’t own a horse until you have a better ability to do it correctly.  Some other options may be taking lessons on foundationally sound horses or leasing a horse that is right for you.   

Think of all the time and money you would have if you weren’t having to care for and ride a horse!  Apply that time and money to your daily life in a matter in which you are refining yourself so that you can have a better quality of life in the future without always suffering to stay afloat.  Sacrifice now so that you can have a better quality future.  This will help ensure that you can buy the correct horse, care for it properly without worrying about expenses to survive, and most importantly be able to spend quality time without any pressures to delude the experience.  Don’t add more to your plate so you have no ability to shape a better future.  

The second problem was getting a horse that was beyond their level of proficiency and not getting the correct help once the problem was perceived.  Now they have received this free horse from someone they would consider a friend, a whole other issue in and of itself, and they have expectations to ride the new horse into town just like any other day with their usual horses.

Thus leading us to the third and final problem that led to horse abuse, expectations.  I imagine they had it in their minds that it was going to be a great moment in which they were going to get to show off their new horse in town and get to tell the reason for getting the new horse.  A birthday gift from his wife, I mean how great was that moment going to be for them?  There is also a piece of ego and need for attention behind this that also led to the issue, which is more of a dissection of the individual then the specific case of horse abuse.  I don’t know enough about them to dare to go into that.

To me one question arises, was this even a conscious case in which they knew what was happening that led to the actions taken at the moment and after?  While I hands down agree that this was a totally inappropriate way of handling the situation in any case, I do still feel this was a very human moment.  A moment in which any of us given the same circumstance would have been highly susceptible to making a terrible mistake.  Given their state at that time and their level of knowledge/experience, they were doomed from the very moment they received that horse.  

Follow me here, living in a mountain town demands a lot out of most people.  They work their whole lives to support their family or survive to witness another birthday underneath their own roof.  That means slaving their life away just to make ends meet.  Working at least one full-time job to afford the mountain life which is highly expensive.  Now add trying to have a hobby and pay for that.  Not to mention almost any mountain hobby is no minor investment to partake in.  Let alone the hobby of riding horses!  

So here are two individuals trying to stay afloat by working all the time and still trying to have a life outside of that chaos, by riding their horses into town to feel like their true selves.  That is who they were at heart, just an average person who wishes their real job was riding for a living, but we all need to come to terms with reality and what is possible given our circumstances.  Two honest people who want to keep a piece of their true self, but don’t have the time or money to invest to become the real horsemen they want to be.  So they find a way and stretch themselves even thinner to fill this void.  Stretching themselves in a way in which they will have to work till the day they die just to be able to experience a little piece of freedom within their realities they are being consumed by.  

Now take all of that and throw in the necessity for them to get a new horse for no money at all because they can’t afford anything else.  On top of that, imagine being exhausted and looking for that one hour in which they get to ride their horses and show off who they really wish they were all the time.  Now add in a spoiled rotten horse created by another human being that is holding them back from that one piece of freedom.  Who would you be in a moment like this?  How would you react if you have struggled your whole life for this one moment and that was taken from you?  To me, this is a true test of any human being.

Who are you when things don’t go as expected and the deck is stacked against you?  Who are you when there is no money, no time, and no capacity of yourself left to handle the most difficult moment of your life?  Is this really their fault?  

Yes and No!  Yes because we all need to take ownership and come to terms with our current reality in order to create and strategically work towards our desired future.  No in the sense these people didn’t have any of the tools necessary to handle a situation like this.  No person has the tools to handle a situation like this unless someone has shown them how to intentionally prepare for a moment like this and how to act at that moment by practicing for it in our daily lives.  These moments are indeed inevitable so we need to be preparing ourselves to recognize and to respond as intentionally as we can at the moment.  

So you tell me, is this abuse or is this just a reflection of how they have been treated their whole life?  One could even argue that they had been conditioned by all of us to take it out on others.  Is it their fault or is it ours?  I feel as if it is mostly our fault for not being able to positively influence more individuals.

We can all do more to try and reach these people before it’s beyond the point of help.  I have to do more to better prepare myself and others to succeed in moments when our life is in the balance and all the odds are against us.  If not you or I, who then are we leaving this up to?  I know I could be doing more, but even than I can’t be the only person trying to do so.  This has to be a choice in which all of us decide for ourselves but to even have a choice this must be brought to our attention.  

Had anyone given them the chance to decide?  We all need help to become more aware, we all need help to try to understand the person across from us, and we all need help to become better.  So before you try to crucify the person across from you, I would hope you would find out the whole story behind the one moment you witnessed.  It shouldn’t be through the social media filters meant to amplify every individual’s most primal tendencies.  The moment should be scrutinized by humanizing the situation in which you could find a scenario in which you yourself could have acted in a similar manner.  

If you honestly or ignorantly believe that could never be you, well then you are definitely living in your own false reality in which you have no right to comment on anyone else’s situation.  You are the type of person who becomes a guard in a concentration camp or the gulag.  For you do not think for yourself nor do you even consider yourself a real human, you let others tell you how to think and what to do without ever questioning it.  You honestly believe that you are better than others so you should have privileges others do not.  Little by little, you are talked into becoming evil by preying on those less fortunate and that is a very human trait in which we are all perceptible too.      

Do you really understand who they were and all the odds against them prior to their demise?  Who would you be if you lived their life and were given the same odds?  These questions terrify me on a daily basis, for the only moment, you know the answer to these questions is in the hind site of the choices you make at the moment.  There is no going back for any of us.  We need to better understand the other’s perspective before we pretend we are better humans than those that were never given a chance.  

That all being said, if a person is given the opportunities to redeem their insufficiencies and repeatedly choose to respond incorrectly than they must be reprimanded.  For if a person doesn’t want to help themself they are truly lost.  There is nothing anyone can do for that individual, but continue to lead by example waiting for them to become aware that they are the only ones in control of their future.       

 

                       

Conclusion to Reflection

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As I finish up the reflection upon the past two years, I figured it would be a good idea to create an overall conclusion to wrap it up. In a brief observatory state, with out going into any diatribes, I wanted to touch on a few common setbacks I see regularly.  The four topics I want to speak on are finding purpose and meaning, having real-time conversations, investing in your self, and settling down a bit.

One of the most common pieces I observe so frequently today is the complete lack of purpose and meaning in life.  All this means is that a person has a life long pursuit in which will continually motivate them to intentionally work towards a better self, life, and impact.  Otherwise, there are only two other ways of living life, no action or blind action.  Neither in which will lead to sustained growth and meaningful results.  Sure a person may succeed through blind action, but most likely at the end of the day, it was for superficial reasons.  How is anyone supposed to survive or thrive through the tough times without a definitive why to guide them?  That’s what real purpose and meaning can give a person, no matter what the pursuit may be or the circumstances they have been dealt.

I’m sure many people would deem this to be the most obvious of observations, the general lack of real connection with others.  All you need to do is go to any public place and all you see are people completely numbing themselves to all of the surroundings.  Whether a person is walking, sitting, or eating you see there face slumped down into their phones.  When you see this, you know that person is completely unaware of all surroundings.  This is just one example, but the bigger issue being people are not connecting on a real level with others.

I am not saying that you should have to go out of your way to chat with everyone you encounter or anything of the sort.  I am just saying, through observation and awareness, that it is actually quite easy to connect with people on a meaningful level if you are opening yourself to it.  To me personally, there is nothing better than the unspoken eye to eye contact moments in which neither has to say a word but both truly appreciate each other for the subtle passing of acknowledgment.  So much can be said without a word and by using our words intentionally we can really form deep bonds with anyone.

What truly astonishes me these days is the ease in which we all can become intellectual geniuses for nothing other than effort.  Internet or library access is all we need to conquer our greatest desires, but yet so few invest in themselves to attain free knowledge.  Yes, there still needs to be proof of action behind the knowledge to show a real understanding, but at the very least educate yourself!  Podcasts, audiobooks, youtube videos, search engines, and many other countless platforms all at the ease of our fingertips being waisted for mind-numbing nothingness.  All it takes is a little guidance and we can all become high-level masters at any discipline, so don’t waste your time checking out.  Invest in yourself by checking in!

The last piece I wanted to touch on was for everyone to just settle down!  Not everything has to be taken so damn personally nor do things have to be figured out right now.  Yes decisions need to be made and everything comes to an end, but why not try to learn from all of it?  Slow down, simplify, and start small with the understanding that, for anything really worthwhile, it takes time to mature.  Conflicts don’t need to be resolved in one conversation.  We all need to appreciate the development of something over time, let go of all the immediate gratification and 24/7 happiness BS.  Forget about all the in the moment dopamine rushes and really focus on the long term.  What are you doing a little of every day to become better in unforeseeable ways in the future?  If you are not thinking like that, I dare say you are really not thinking at all!

With those most common cautionary observations, I must say I am excited to see what is coming in our near and distant future.  Everything is progressing at speeds unfathomable and only exponentially increasing.  It is hard to imagine where the future is leading us all, but the one thing that is in need more than ever is more leaders.  There are so many people completely overwhelmed by everything without any clear way out.  We don’t need more “marketing geniuses” who are taking advantage of others, we need leaders who lead by the example through their day to day life.  That is where the proof is!  It’s not how many followers or likes you have, nor is it creating a false illusion of what your life is like.  No, it is all about the progression of yourself over a long period of time and the positive impact it has had on the surroundings you are in.  That’s it!  We can not leave this to other people, we must take ownership as individuals.  Then and only then, can we come together to significantly impact the greater masses.

In Reflection (2017-2019): Personal Growth

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The most cherished piece of my life during the last two years is the time and space I have been able to allocate towards my own personal growth.  As I think through my life to this point, it all feels like a refined progression of the way that I pursue my own personal growth.  Whatever the discipline may be, doesn’t seem to matter as much as the process of how I continue to grow through it. 

Here is a little secret about personal growth and how I have come to view it.  No matter how much I learn and how much better I may become, I can’t take any credit for it isn’t my own creation.  Yes, my understanding of this experience is unique to the infinite variations of any life, but what comes from my experience is merely the reverberations of many other minds that are far better matured than mine.  The words I use are unique to my own experience, but from all of “my own” thoughts, there is only the culmination of many bits and pieces from others much wiser than I.   

Which how great is that? Nothing we do or say is really new or our own, it’s only a new combination of knowledge from the beginning of time in which we are the fortunate recipients.  With that knowledge, we also need to carefully craft the ways in which we experience ownership, through the actions of a daily discipline, to prove actual attainment of wisdom.   Ownership over knowledge takes a great amount of time and intentional effort before that knowledge can be combined with experiences.  Only then can the ownership of knowledge be joined with actual proof of experience to form wisdom that will transcend the individual and any particular discipline.

 I always find myself thinking back to the time I was able to spend with great masters of many different disciplines.  They all had their own way of saying the same thing but in so many different ways.  Whether it was “I know nothing,” “I have been teaching It wrong for over 50 years,”  or “I should have given this up a long time ago,” all my mentors have very honest feelings of self-doubt in the area of their discipline.  If they didn’t practice daily, the self-doubt would have overcome them long ago.  That’s why they obsess over their life and their discipline.  They have to obsess in order to grow from within so that it eventually takes shape outside of them and through their discipline.  I find It inspiring how honest these disciplinary masters were about how little they knew and how much more they had to learn.  They were always reiterating that there is no easy path, only endless effort in order to feel honestly worthy of the pursuit of self-mastery through their desired disciplines.  All they were trying to do at the end was bring honor and respect to those before them who have paved the way for all of us.   

No matter how great any of us are at one thing or another, we are completely inept at infinitely more.  There is no reason to be angry or cocky about what we may think we know, but merely confidence in the process in which we have dedicated ourselves to one discipline or another.  In the end, it is all just another lesson of how much hard work and intentional effort it takes to really become truly competent at just one aspect of life.  If we pursue that one discipline correctly and with humility, it all leads to one place.  Compassion for oneself, all others, and the human experience we are all trying to sort through.  An experience of which we spend a lifetime of endless hard work backed up against continual overcoming of self-doubt, to achieve a mere sliver of understanding.  An understanding of our human nature and how hard it is to overcome our most basic states in which we all operate during the beginning. 

If we understand ourselves correctly then we can truly connect and relate to all others.  That doesn’t mean pure bliss or a constant state of love or happiness.  It means continual trials and tribulations that we get to challenge ourselves against.  That means civil discourse and many tough conversations in which others are going to attack you on a personal level in your most vulnerable state or weakest moments.  

So who are you when all odds or circumstances are against you?  This is what I am in constant training for through continual personal growth.  The recognition of tough moments and the ability to act as I have projected myself to be in similar situations, whether theoretical or past.    I know I will continue to transcend all others over the consistency at which I work on myself, on a daily basis, over the entirety of my life.  This process will allow me to exponentially surpass those who choose to focus on the superficial or other negative aspects of life it leads to nowhere worthwhile.  In order to refine our life, we must endure these tests in which to overcome the beginning levels of human nature that we all start on our journey to heightened awareness.  Otherwise, we are not worthy to reach refinement, it has to be earned by each individual and no one else can do this for us.     

Embrace the good and more importantly the downright ugly, for the experiences are all the same.  Just another experience for us to prove to ourselves that we are who we think we are or we have attained the actual person we have been trying to become.  That means accepting ownership for whatever the outcome may be and our part in It.  There is always something that we could have personally done better within every experience!