Category Archives: Mind

So What If Everyone Thinks 2013 Will Be A Horrible Year?

Dare to Defy Odds and Make 2013 the Most Meaningful Year of Your Life

13 has always had an eerie ring of horror to it and by the major accounts, this New Year, 2013 is set to live right up that reputation.

The number 13 has always had an horror feel to it and by the sound of pundits globally - this year will be horrible. So what? Photo by Skley
The number 13 has always had a feel of horror to it and by the sound of pundits globally – this year will be horrible. So what? Photo by Skley

A whopping 65 percent of the 311,591,917 people living in the United States of America have predicted that 2013 will be a year of economic difficulty.

To date it seems there will be no easing in the European crisis. In fact, the latest reports are that the Greeks have discarded the use of the Euro for bartering.

Here in Jamaica – well, they didn’t even bother run a poll. #Foregoneconclusion.

But…You Can Defy the Drab Prospects

It is against this bleak backdrop that I extend a most audacious challenge to you: How about we work to Make 2013 a Stand Out year – a year of uncommon exploits, never to be forgotten?

How about we work to Make 2013 a Stand Out year – a year of uncommon exploits, never to be forgotten?
How about we work to Make 2013 a Stand Out year – a year of uncommon exploits, never to be forgotten?

I have written 7 articles, challenging you to make serious commitments in 7 areas of your life this year.

These commitments, I am suggesting, will transform your life even in the midst of a turbulent year. Moreover, they will ensure that at the end of this horrible year, you are stronger, wiser and more ready than ever to take advantage of new opportunities.

Why You Should Care About “Bad Years”

Ever said, or heard a friend say, “Man, last year was just a really bad year for me personally”…?

I wrote this series because I believe, especially as young adults; neither you nor I can afford “bad years” in our lives.

And, with all the predictions in the world saying it will be ‘oh so bad’ socially, politically and economically – it’s clear to me, we must work double time to prevent the impact of it in our lives.

This Is Our Only Time

Bad years and hard times bring at least 3 things that do a lot more than make the present unpleasant – they attack the foundation of a great future.

We must be fanatical in our efforts not to have “bad years” as though they were like bad days. Two reasons:

1.     We only have so many of these years to spare:

People like Dr. Meg Jay, author of The Defining Decade are correct – “Thirty is NOT the new Twenty.”

Those of us long past the age may feel a sting of regret in reading this but the jury is in: what we do in our twenties really does matter.

Life does not begin when we want it to; we only decide when we’ll come alive to life.

2.     Bad years are horribly destructive to our future:

Because “bad years” bring three things:[pullquote align=”right”]At the end of a bad year, you may find yourself more aged but no more mature; older but not wiser; bigger but not stronger; a head and shoulder taller than everyone around you, but not an inch more elevated in their eyes and estimation.[/pullquote]

  • Deficit

In the bad year – there is a deficit of positives. Less meaningful interactions, less things read, less feeding of your imagination, less exercise, less healthy habits, less activities that matter, less, less, less.

  • Deterioration

Slowly, over the course of the year, your mind and body alike become flabby. The networks you were building disperse.  The fitness you had wanes, the strong positive resolves you had are weakened, the bright, colour dreams are noticeably dull.

  • Derailment

A bad year in your 20s (any point of your life! But especially here) is not “just another bad year!”

At the end of a bad year, you may find yourself more aged but no more mature; older but not wiser; bigger but not stronger; a head and shoulder taller than everyone around you, but not an inch more elevated in their eyes and estimation.

Sadly many of us are still 13 going on 30.

I challenge you: Make this year different! Change the script. Read the series. Defy the odds.

Are you ready to face a New Year? How do you plan to meet it?

[note color=”#9ce7c5″]

This is part 1 of a 7 part series “Make 2013 a Stand Out Year.”

Read the other posts in this series:

1. So What If Everyone Thinks 2013 Will Be A Horrible Year?

2. Decide On Your Destination: Create A Personal “Life Plan”

3. One Thing For Your Daily MUST DO List: Get Out of the Pile!

4. Are You Improving Your Mind? Here Are 3 Reasons Why You Should Be

5.The Real Reasons You Should Care A Little More About Your Body (Now!)

[/note]

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Is Everything Alright In Your Heart?

One Question You Should be Asking Yourself and Those You Care About.

[dropcap style=”1″ size=”3″]D[/dropcap]o not fool yourself. What matters most in your life today is not your age, your race, your class, your upbringing or your address – per se. What matters most is not your membership in a church or any religious sect, your level of educational attainment, the size of your professional network or your overall net worth.

The heart of the matter, of every matter in your life today, is the matter of the heart. Either what is going on in your heart, or the hearts of those around you. Open your eyes to the fact that things do not “just happen” | Photo by Alfonsina Blyde »

What matters most today in your life is what is going on inside your heart.  Life is not about what you have learnt in school or think you know – it is about what you value. Not what you think you value, but what really consumes you.

To miss this, is to think you are heading West, when in fact you are heading East.

The Heart is the Issue

I am currently doing my legal internship – doing criminal defence work. As I attend court and observe the gory details in each case – the more I realize how driven people are by what they “feel”, what they “want”, what they think “should have been theirs.”

It is the same with you and I. Your good and bad actions are not the result of your birth month or sign. It all comes from what we call the heart. That is why I love Andy Stanley‘s question “Is everything alright in your heart?”

What is Your Heart?

Oxford struggles to define heart in a way helpful to us. They come closest when they say it is “the central or innermost part of something.” The bible constantly refers to the heart – the definition there refers to the “inner man”, the mind and will.

These are huge philosophical concepts that can easily bog you down. Nobody knows where the heck the mind is. Don’t let that bother you.

Just note, that according to Andrew Wildes, your heart is what makes you do stupid or smart things, saintly or sinful things. It is the very centre, the deepest most significant part of who you are. What exist when you put all your emotions, desires, thoughts and intentions together.

Your Heart is Not Your Brain

Your brain knows it’s not best to eat ice cream at night. Your heart thinks/feels/ strongly that you deserve/need/should have ice cream now.

Your brain knows to answer that call is going to ruin your day. Your heart just wants to hear that voice or thinks that today will be the day when things are different, or just cannot say no.

Your Heart Needs Guarding

My favourite book, the book of Proverbs says Guard your heart above all else (or with all diligence/vigilance) because it determines the very course of your life. It calls the heart the “wellspring” of life – the very source from which all actions flow.

Interrogate Your Heart

We know what it is. Why it needs guarding. This is what I urge you to do: question yourself regularly.

If you haven’t recognized – most of the post on this blog are aimed at getting you to interrogate yourself about yourself. Why? To encourage you to get to the heart of your life. You can easily do it to your closest friends too.

Here are some of the question that Andy Stanley asks about this. I think they form a good foundation for you to build on.

1. Is everything ok in your heart.

2. Are you mad at anyone?

3. Are you waiting around for someone to come to you to make things right?

4. Have you had any extended imaginary conversations with anyone lately?”

5. Do things come out of your mouth on a regular basis that you have to apologize for?

6. Have you secretly celebrated someones failure?

7. Anything going on you hope no one discovers?

8. Is there a question you hope no one ever asks you?

9. Have you lied recently to someone you love?

Do you make a habit of interrogating your heart?.

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‘First Impressions Last’…Because We Are Stupid

Hasty Judgement May Cost You Meaningful Connections

I think some of the most important people in my life today are people who I gradually embraced. Either I misunderstood them or was misunderstood by them at first.

An impression is “an idea, feeling, or opinion about something or someone, especially one formed without conscious thought or on the basis of little evidence.” Obviously it cannot be sensible to base our relationships on something so shallow. | Photo by Adam Foster | Codefor

On the flipside, many of my deepest wounds come from people I had hurried to hug. Amazingly, the people – and there are some – whose presence I can now only endure by extremely long, deep and agonizing groans, are people who at first seemed picture perfect as friends.

I know I am not alone in this. Why then do we say ‘first impressions last’, as though it were a good thing, and build our lives around it, when a whole lifetime of experiences clearly tell us to look deeper?

Hey – I fully understand why parents and teachers rivet the idea “First impressions last”. They do because they know, stupid or not, that it is the reality. It can affect whether you get a job or not. So, by all means, go and make great first impressions.

People Are Not Dispensable

While we cannot change the fact that others will judge us by the first impressions we make, I submit that it is stupid (lacking common sense) for us in our personal lives to define the value of a person by the first 2 minute conversation we have with them.

The fundamental problem I have with this concept however is that it is based on a idea that people are dispensable. It is a cut-throat business concept. It may certainly help Human Resource Department to clear through 100 resumes in an hour. It will cheat you of the value that different and, at first, unimpressive people may add to your life.

If you need reasons (why the idea is stupid) here are some:

  1. All real people have bad days.
  2. Many people also have bad weeks and months.
  3. Millions, perhaps billions of humans, have bad years!  [Parents die.  Meaning and purpose for living elude us. People grow, mature and advance in their thinking and living.]
  4. The wonder of humanity is that unlike dogs, people CAN and DO change.
  5. No first impression is a full impression.
  6. No impression whatsoever is a true representation.
  7. The problem with marrying a girl/guy for her/his good first impression, is that you will have to live daily with their last impression.
  8. Look at how Oxford defines the word impression: ‘an idea, feeling, or opinion about something or someone, especially one formed without conscious thought or on the basis of little evidence.’
  9. The habit of trusting good impressions is a silly trait in a world of lying, scheming con artists.
  10. We all have a deep, nagging hurt inside at the idea that someone we value misunderstands who we truly are/what we can truly do/why we said or did whatever.
  11. Half the list of “Great First Impression” stuff are superficial and inconsequential.  [I would love to hear the American Airlines CEO explaining on CNN after 4 or 5 pilots crash into the sea, “Gee, they all had really great eye contact in their interview.”]
  12. Half the time our own prejudices are what determine the extent of a good first impression.
  13. I typed “Good first impression” in google. Found a list of 21 ways to do it. Evaluate the list and ask yourself If you had to do open heart surgery. Which of these 21 things would help you to decide what doctor to choose.

What to Do Instead

1. Give people a chance.

Give everyone the opportunity to demonstrate truly, genuinely who they are. No timeline. No presumptions. No expectations. No restrictions. None of that.

2. Give people a chance…not your head and your heart!

On the converse, don’t be fooled by first, second, third impression. Seriously, in a world where people are taught to craft a good first impression, why would you trust your first impressions of anyone?

Have you ever made a bad first impression? How did it feel?

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The Best Thing About Breaking My Nose

Why and How You Should Interrogate Your Fears

I am incredibly passionate about encouraging people who feel afraid, to rise above it, to run past it, to pursue the things they know they want and need to do. Why? Because fear is often a wall blocking us from investing in the things that matter most.

Fear of life, fear of the unknown, fear, fear, fear. It cripples. | Photo by *Zephyrance – don’t wake me up.

Considering my built and list of involvements and achievements, most people ignore me when I even suggest that I may be too shy or too scared to do some thing. If only they knew. For everything I do, there are so many more things I do not do. Sadly, all owing to fear. Let me just give one example.

Why They Chose Messi Over Me

I could have been in the Champions League. It’s just that, I was too much of a coward to join the football team during high school.

I could have been as bad as Messi man (probably not, I could have been a lot better though. I was just too afraid I would break my legs). | Photo by Espen Faugstad

There were twoproblems. My growth spurt got lost overseas somewhere and only decided to meet me in Jamaica when I was about ready to graduate high school. The real issue though, is that I have always had an imagination as vivid as an IMAX movie (with SOUNDTRACK!!) and I was certain, certain, absolutely certain that if I played, I would break my legs. The scenes replayed in my mind regularly. He ran out, got the ball, but blind to the sliding tackle from behind – klapow! Leg-less. The idea only intensified when a simple tackle left one of my classmates without a working ankle during a normal P.E. period. Not I boss.

How Ironic

I did start to play after a while. Who could resist? What is amazing is, I have played for at least three serious teams and I have never broken my legs. I did however, break my nose. Randomly, in an intense training session, with little light assistance from the long faded sun, I made a quick turn at the ball. So too did the guy on the next team. At virtually full speed we slammed head first (that is, my head and his gigantic forehead) into each other.

The Upsides

Guess what? I never broke my leg. All the slide tackles, all the bad plays, all the games for competition and for fun have passed and I have never broken them. What’s more, the fact that I didn’t collapse, didn’t scream or cry, but actually lived with the drooping, obviously broken nose for 3 weeks before visiting a doctor tells me: many times, the anticipation of pain is much worse than the reality. Even more! Nothing in football scares me anymore. (A bit late in the day, but still a welcomed peace).

No More IMAX Blockbusters

The whole experience taught me something that I try to remember in my daily life, now, whenever my crazy IMAX imagination tries to release other disturbing films (about how some new experience will “break my legs”). I recognize now, that I need to interrogate my fears.(How? Ask them penetrating questions!)

  1. How many people break their legs in football? (Lots actually, everyday too.)
  2. How significant are the chances that you will break your leg in football? (Just as high as the other guys who will break theirs today.)

Ok, so fears may have a good basis for existence. Here though is the crucial questions for me:

  1. Have you ever known anybody who broke their legs? (Just two guys in 25 years! That is hardly a risk)
  2. Is avoiding the risk of breaking your legs, better than giving up something you love, that enriches your life? Absolutely not.
  3. Does anybody, at the end of their life reminisce on how well they protected their legs? Absolutely not.

I am still afraid! I have a million hang-ups, I cannot write about. I just try really hard to ignore the little (I wish) voices in my head, trust in the strength that Christ provides, and live. You should too.

How do you handle your fears? Do you run and hide? Do you face them? How?

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When Your Life Makes A Detour

3 Things To Remember When Your Goals Suddenly Crash

I injured my foot while running about 3 weeks ago. It’s amazing how sudden and unexpected it happened. Gassed up with enthusiasm to get fitter than ever for summer, I ran out full speed, music on blast, at 5 AM or so – as usual. I hobbled home.

Sometimes you are going so great and out of nowhere - major injury, major expenses, major losses. What do you do when your life makes a major detour? | Photo by aaipodpics

Losing the ability to run for 3 weeks and counting is miserable. Wincing every time I press too hard or turn too fast, is irritating. The most unsettling thing of all though? I really, really miss my morning run and my summer goals. Continue reading When Your Life Makes A Detour