How do we restore trust in not only the media, but in the process of exchanging reliable information on a mass scale without perverting the message or quality of content along the way?
Your god is not real. I know because he told me!
Why everyone should write their own story in life
Everyone has a story. Everyone has some part of themselves that is interesting enough to share with the world. But society often leads us to believe otherwise. Leaving us feeling like little more than a statistic in some marketer’s wet dream.
Divided and aggregated by demographic information. Sorted by location, age, sex, income, etc. and then marketed too at every opportunity. Always being sold something by someone who cares little about us as individuals, but only as possible consumers. As potential padding for their profits or as a pedestal from which to grab more power.
Why does it work like this? Because the methods work. Because we allow it.
Because even though we all claim to hate the system, we continue to live with, and inside it. And because nothing will change until we decide to change it. Until we decide to start writing our own history in real time.
Which brings me to my original concept of… writing your own story.
You should tell your story because it will separate you from the crowd. Because it can help you remember how unique you really are.
Because, by understanding and defining your story, you can become impervious to other peoples attempts at writing it for you. And when you become confident in who you are, in what you know, and of where you’ve been, you can better know where you are going and how to get there.
Because it is in the moment of becoming that thing when you can actually affect its trajectory. Not while sitting there thinking about it, and not in the dreaming and planning of it, but in the actual state of doing of it. In telling the story by living it each day.
Because telling a story is one thing, but living a life worth telling stories about… well that’s something else altogether.
This post is part of my 30 day creative writing challenge. Click here to learn more about the challenge or explore the other posts in this series.
Today I saw myself in another man and hated what I saw
I was in an argument that had absolutely no purpose. An argument, simply for the sake of arguing. Picking sides in a battle because I had to be right, but by the time I noticed, it was already too late.
I was too stubborn to step back and too determined to prove to myself that I was right. Because, well… I was right.
But so was he. Kind of.
And so there we sat. Both right, yelling at each other for no real reason, and then I saw it.
I saw myself.
Looking at this man I saw myself arguing with so many others over the course of my life. Defending my position because I was already emotionally committed to the argument.
Unwilling to humble myself because my macho man mechanism was in full force.
I hated that moment. It made me realize how it must feel to sit on the other side of a stubborn mule like myself. I found myself in the middle of the same argument that I must have had a hundred times before. Almost always as the immovable rock.
So as hard as it is for me to do, I tried to humble myself. I tried to take a step back but I couldn’t fully disengage. I still had enough of the old me left in the tank to try and show him how much like me he was actually being. But it was of no use.
He had no interest in having himself tell himself how much like himself he was acting.
And it was in that very moment that I grew. As if I had hit a psychological growth spurt. As I sat there dumbfounded, caught in this real life freeze-frame of a time, not long ago, when I was the one who was arguing recklessly. Oblivious to the futility of it all.
It was in that moment that I realized how childish I have been all along and quite often still am. It was in that moment that I realized there was no sense in being right if all it meant was feeling wrong.
And so it ended. Another tough lesson in this game we call life, but one we would all be well served to learn. Maybe next time, I’ll see myself in a man and like what I see. And maybe I’ll learn how to be more like him. Maybe I’ll learn to swallow my pride and take a step back. Or maybe, I’ll just do it all over again, like I have before.
After all, do any of us ever really change?
Are you a writer? Ever have a desire to write? Click the button below to learn more about my 30 day creative writing challenge and learn how you can empower yourself through your words and the words of others.
An in your face article that challenges you to consider the real reason our country is in turmoil. Who is really to blame?
This post is part of my 30 day creative writing challenge. Click here to learn more about the challenge or explore the other posts in this series.
Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson –
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First of all, lets set some ground rules!
The word “fuck” is in the title of this article! So If you keep reading it and then decide to bitch at me for using it again later, then that’s on you. Don’t come crying to me in the comments or on social media about how inappropriate my use of the word is or how much it offends your sensibilities.
After all, If a couple f-bombs are all it takes to keep you away from what I am about to say, then imagine what other wonders of the world you are missing out on while hanging from that noose of naiveté.
That’s right, I said it! And you’ll be lucky to get one or two people throughout the course of your life who are willing to be as honest with you on a consistent basis as I am about to be.
The truth is that everything is not going to be alright. Things are not a-okay, and the world we live in is full of people who will fuck you over as soon as you give them a chance. People who will hand you a dollar bill to help you pay the rent while stealing your house from the guy who rents it to you.
People who care about nothing more than using you as their philandering whore. Who give you just enough to keep you happy, and feeling free. A type of 21st century slavery. Something that will leave generations to come as slaves to a silent master. And do you know why?
Because fuck you, that’s why!
Our country was founded by people who felt that freedom was part of a natural law. A right that should not be intruded upon by men. But the country they gave us has been overrun by people who have strategically played the system on both sides in order to control a game bigger than you might even be willing to consider. And they are doing it all right under our noses. Do you know why?
Because fuck you, that’s why.
The books have been cooked for a long time now and the real reason that things are not getting better is because as a species, we need to be pushed to the brink in order for us to break. Its a fundamental flaw of human nature. One that leads us to fall prey to the pied piper time and time again.
So I know these words might piss you off, but you know what… I don’t much care. And do you know why?
Because fuck you, that’s why.
For not seeing that the the people in control want you to hate me. For letting them make you think you do hate me. Not because of who I am, but because of the labels they have given us. For not seeing that they are in control of our education and the entire national conversation. Only letting us know what they want us to know and burring the rest with streams of misinformation in order to further confuse us.
For not seeing how easily humans are controlled on a mass scale. For not understanding the fundamental nature of our educational, religious, media and government institutions. For letting them pass off their own doctrine as that of the majority.
For going in to work each day and selling your soul to do something you hate. For not selling out to your passions and for not chasing your dreams. For not being willing to create an opportunity if your path is not clear. And for hating those who do.
For not playing more. For not spending more time laughing! For acting your age. For living life as if you were on a stage. Always on call, always taking the easy path to ensure you don’t fall.
For thinking you deserve something. For thinking that because you had something yesterday it’s still yours today, or that you won’t need to keep busting your ass in order to keep it. For not realizing that nothing is permanent in this life, and that the world will erase you as fast as you let it.
For not recognizing that our society is still in its infancy. For not knowing that the American experiment was a gamble on mankind as a whole. That it was an all-in bet on whether or not man could rule themselves.
For not understanding the consequences of giving the government overarching rule and control of the means of production. For getting mad at lobbyist in Washington but allowing them to enter your house in high definition for hours a day in the form of entertainment and news. For being a hypocrite and not even knowing it.
For knowing and still standing by. For not participating in local elections. For not looking for something more than superficial. Fuck you for not seeing that our society has been designed to do exactly what is happening right now. For not seeing that the rug is about to be yanked out from underneath our feet and put us on all on our asses.
For thinking that we can give the same assholes who drove us into this collapse, the keys to the tow truck that is supposed to pull us out of it. For not seeing that Democrats and Republicans are both pieces of the same puzzle. A large game of chess that has been played on a global scale. One that will never end. One that will be played over and over again, everyone available for sacrifice. Other than the royalty that is.
So fuck you for all of that. For being a doormat. For lying there on the ground so flat. For watching idly by as the the world falls down. And for sitting quietly on the leash while continually being pulled around.
And fuck me too, for blaming you. Because if it’s true for you, then it’s true for me too. Because we all sit around and pretend like it’s not our fault, but in the end, who else is there?
So… What the fuck are we gonna do about it?
Click here to learn more about my 30 Days of Thought Challenge
We have all heard Einsteins definition of insanity (or was it a Chinese proverb?) as doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. It is something that people throw out via meme, tweet, t-shirt, bumper sticker etc. yet, almost every one of us continues to do the same thing day after day. We are after all, creatures of habit. And I am not the exception.
— Raymmar Tirado (@RayTirado) March 5, 2015
I like to talk shit about how the world works and bloviate about politics and philosophy, but I rarely take the time to look at myself. Sure I beat myself up here and there, but I rarely talk in depth about my real flaws or focus on the fact that I am often part of the problem, not of the solution.
Give me a website that is not converting and I can show you how to drive traffic, build engagement and increase conversions. It’s like optimizing digital products comes naturally to me, but ask me to fix myself and the blinders come on. My ego throws up a wall that stops me from objectively looking at what is really wrong. I raise the barriers and start to defend my behaviors. I get frustrated and of course, nothing changes. Then, like clockwork, I begin to hate myself for being so stubborn.
But today I am trying something different. Today is the first of my 30 Days of Thought Challenge, and I have decided to do something completely different today than I have done every day for the last 5+ years of my life. Starting with this post and the admission that I need to change myself before I can ask or guide others to change themselves.
That being said, not only am I starting a writing challenge, but I will also be working to change a few of my bad behaviors over the next 29 days as well. For instance, today I set and alarm for the first time in years, I woke up early and I even thought about eating a healthy lunch. See, who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? But those are all surface issues and this is where I hit my first real barrier.
You see, I have been struggling with a few issues that I am not sure I’m ready to share just yet, but I have a sneaky suspicion that they may all come out during the course of this challenge. I intend to purge my mind, body and spirit over the next 30 days and I’m going to do it right here on this blog. So I hope you’ll join me because I am going to need your support in sticking with this thing.
If you do decide to join me on this quest, thenfeel free to share your 30 Days of Thought with me as we go along. Feel free to use the same format, and then share your thoughts in the comments of each article or send them via email to 30DOT@raymmar.com
You can also share with us on social media by tweeting @RayTirado and using the #30DOT in your posts!
That is all for today. See you fuckers tomorrow.
Just a note:
Most of my blog articles are super long and heady. This challenge is not about posting long, well articulated arguments about how the world works. This experiment is about sticking to a new set of behaviors over the next 30 days in order to try and change some of my stubborn habits. That being said, these posts may be all over the place. Think of them as unedited journal entires. There may be some typos here and there and sometimes they might be short, sometimes they might be super long. At the end of the day, I am just challenging myself to stick with it for 30 days and then look back from there.
We can steer our boats around the rocks and so we assume that we are in control but we are but a spec, floating on the surface.
Our government is like a fat, rich, spoiled child, who has never been told no.
Propped up on an oversized throne; Under armed guard, in a gun free zone.
Feasting on a buffet of corporate interest, drunk on free money and fucking every warm hole he can find.
Mom’s too busy getting high to notice that the house is on fire and the kids are fast asleep.
Apparently someone unplugged the smoke detector because it was making a weird noise.
Oh well… maybe just one more bump.
After all, who’s gonna know?
We’ll just hope for change tomorrow.
A harsh look at the ignorance that affects our society as a whole, and an explanation for why the powerful have no problem keeping you in the dark.
“The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum….”
― Noam Chomsky, The Common Good ―
We are all susceptible to the influence and power of others. We also crave to have it for ourselves.
We watch those who do, and all we do is hate. If we can’t have it, then neither should they. We are no longer taught to understand the power of the people so we forget what if feels like to have any power at all. Over time we start to believe that we have little or no power at all.
As a society, we have outsourced our intellect to a large group of social, political and financial oligarchs. We have given way to a new type of tyranny. Digital tyranny. A version that hides in plain sight and secretly wishes to take control of everything, including your behaviors.
We see some story on Twitter and take it at face value. We hear the satirical perspective from a social celebrity and let it shape our opinions and ideology, but rarely think to explore the topic deeper. We never read proposed legislation before it’s passed. Instead, we rely on those who wrote it to tell us how great this next new law is going to be. Instead we find ourselves fighting about left vs right, while both are nothing but wrong.
Most of us don’t know how governments are created, how they work, or how they are destroyed. Why then, would we notice that our own government is falling apart right in front of us? We pay little attention to other countries who are facing or have faced the same perils we face, so why would we pay any attention when it happens here at home?
It’s not that you are all stupid
After all, I have no Idea how smart any of you actually are. For all I know you are a 4.0 grade-getting, chess-club-running, pocket-protector-wearing, three-degree-having, bad motherfucker who knows a lot about something.
I’m just saying that in spite of all the things you know, you still have no clue as to what any of it actually means. And by any of “it,” I mean life in general.
Sure, you graduated high school, maybe went to college, got a job, got married, bought a house, had a kid, etc. But the question I want you to ask yourself is this; what do you really know about any of it? What is your purpose in life? Other than to exist that is?
“Men are more easily governed through their vices than through their virtues.”
― Napoleon ―
We’ve been trained to be idiots
You can use the word interchangeably if you’d like. Slaves, surfs, peasants, proletariat, or whatever popular label you’d like to put on the purposely oppressed people that have populated this planet over the years.
The powers that be have always controlled the people through the flow of information and we are all to happy to accept their projections as our realities. We are happy to have a place to lay our heads and we take for granted the responsibility of what it means to live in a free country.
So many people walk around thinking they know something about anything, but in reality, all they know are the things they think the know. And really, what kind of benchmark is that for understanding anything in life?
What would the world be like if all that we needed to do to flourish and to understand it was to sit around and watch? At what point are you going to admit to yourself that in order to accomplish anything, you have to go out and do something? You must learn to experience and influence the people and the world around you in order to truly elevate your intellect?
That’s the way the world works. Someone has an idea, then they do something about it and in the process of building, refining and distributing that idea, they convert it into a reality. Often creating something from nothing.
The problem is that inside of that growth comes power and with that power comes perversion.
As we begin to create and manipulate the methods of information distribution (governments, religions, businesses), power shifts to the individuals who control and manipulate the flow of that information. Often embracing the structure and benefit of power but repressing you, or anyone else from finding it for themselves. This is the problem that has lead us to where we are.
“If you are not open to the idea that everything you know might be wrong, then you are likely to be wrong about most things.”
― Raymmar Tirado ―
Think about the power that entities like Google, Facebook or the NSA have amassed recently. All of the things we fear most about any of them are the invasions of our privacy as they manipulate the flow of our personal information.
We are seeing larger and larger power structures spring up around the flow of this precious information. As if information were becoming the ultimate and final currency. One that gives the bearer the power to control entire civilizations, regardless of their country of origin.
The first groups of man did it through grunts and chest-thumps, cave drawings, swords and story telling. Then came written languages and and eventually books. Now we have radio, television and the internet. All results of technological innovation. All brilliant in their own right, but all easily manipulated for power. All easily used to exert control over the narratives that then become the societies we live in.
Every time humanity meets a new invention that allows for the mass distribution of information we see these fluctuations in social behavior. We see new influencers emerge and old pockets of power fade. Superpowers are born, then they die or adapt to fit in with the new technology of the time.
Publishing houses, media companies, news organizations, revolutions, wars, and even new governments, all born from the desire of one man (or a group of men) to control another. The advantage always siding with whoever has the best information at the time of battle.
Winners write the history books…
So who is writing the books that are putting the thoughts inside of your head? Where did you get your understanding of life? What experiences have made you, you?
Did you get your information from the same place as everyone else or have you gone out to find it for yourself? Did you ever stop to wonder why some things stay the same while others are constantly evolving? Is it because stillness is the natural state of the universe or is it because man has intended those things to remain stagnant.
It seems to me that the universe and nature itself is always changing and evolving, always adapting to the most efficient version of itself. Why then, have we as a society stalled when it seems we should have everything we’ve ever needed to solve all of the problems we’ve ever had?
Why does it seem like humanity is sliding backwards?
Why does it feel like we are regressing as an entire species? Why can’t we make meaningful change, and how come there seems to be less-and-less on which to rest our hopes on as more-and-more changes take place around us?
How is it possible that we are still letting the same flaws that have hindered humanity since the beginning of time slow us down when everything around us seems to be speeding up?
Is it really so hard to believe that the people who would want to control you would also rather you remain ignorant. They prefer you that way. It makes the process of keeping you under their control easier. This is what we must resist.
This is the unrest we are starting to see all around us. We are watching as the established powers, fight to defend their existing control over the flow of information, while new methods of distribution pop up faster than they can be shut down.
You are seeing information fight to be free but these fights always end in ferocious battles. Sometimes in the courts but often in cold blood. And every once in a while, in grand scale with a global war.
Their power will be protected at all costs and we must no longer be willing to accept that as our reality. We must wage this war of ideas now in order to stop the oppressive war that waits for us at the end of inaction.
In what America was just-good ever good-enough?
In order to drive any meaningful change you must be willing to go hungry, to be bored. You must be willing to be uncomfortable, to do what is difficult and refuse what is easy.
It’s hard to let your intellect evolve. It’s hard to admit to yourself that you have been wrong about the things that have felt so right your entire life.
It’s almost impossible to make those changes alone. So for most of us things will stay the same, that is to say, until they’re not.
One of these days the changes will affect you. They will finally make an impact in your life and your reality as you know it will be revealed as ridiculous. You will be left running and screaming for help as if the sky were just starting to fall. But in that moment you will know that it is already too late.
In that moment you will know that your ignorance has finally failed you.
What do you think about ignorance and power? Let me know in the comments below.
Eric Liu: Why ordinary people need to understand power
A friend sent me this video as I was editing this article and it goes right along with my greater point so I thought I would share.
So now you know, but should you care?
I did not know Robin Williams and I would venture to guess that many of you didn’t either. Not outside of his movies that is.
I did enjoy his work and he had a major impact on the entertainment industry to be sure but what difference did he make in your life for you to run around crying like you care for any reason other than a few more likes on your Facebook wall?
Of course his family and friends should mourn his loss. And honestly, if you want to light a candle or say a prayer for him and his family then by all means, go ahead. I just think that the attention we spend as a society focusing on issues like this are symptoms of a larger problem that we face as a people.
The questions you should be asking.
When will we start paying attention to what matters?
When will we stop glorifying the people who’s jobs it is to entertain us, while ignoring the major facts that underlie these viral explosions of grief. When have you cared about the fact that tens of thousands of people commit suicide each year or that depression affects more than just celebrities?
When will we stop ignoring the fact that entertainment and most media for that matter is designed to distract us from the bigger picture. That we have allowed pop-culture to fracture our society by enthralling us with stories about one or two individuals that we have never met as opposed to connecting with the people in our lives that really matter.
How many of you are reading this story while sitting next to someone who you call a friend? What if they died tomorrow? How would you feel about having spent this final moment with them on your phone as opposed to getting to know a little more about them?
When was the last time you spilled a tear for the death of a soldier? A teacher or policeman? Aren’t those the political heart strings that are usually pulled in situations where the media is trying to make a point?
How many news organizations are flooding their front pages with this “breaking news” while burying the information about our pending economic collapse somewhere below the fold; in section E 12.
What does it say about us as a people that we are more interested in the death of a comedic celebrity than the death of a US Army General, a Death and Cover up of a US Ambassador, an IRS that is arbitrarily spying on its citizens or any other number of stories that might have you thinking you were reading a political fiction novel.
I do not mean to be insensitive, but give me a freaking break. My heart goes out to people who have had to or are dealing with any death, especially suicide. Having been close to the edge myself I know the thoughts that must be running through most peoples heads right now but please take a step back and think about why you really care.
If you can tell me that it is because you really loved him and it is breaking your heart then by all means, enjoy your grief. This is after all, still (for now) America.
I just think that most people are using this as an opportunity to suck up another moment in social media glory and to drive page views. Heck, that’s the only reason I am writing this article at 3:00 am instead of working on my book or sleeping, which is what I should be doing.
If I had my way, no one would care whether Rhianna and whoever she is currently sleeping with break up, or whether another comedian dies today or even tomorrow. Not in the grand scheme of things that is.
Maybe that makes me callous and cruel. Maybe that means that I will have a lonely funeral, but I think we should be spending our time and media resources caring about the health of our country because it is also dying.
We should be worried that our entire society is on life support.
We should care that we are completely incapable as an entire country of giving a shit about anything that doesn’t come with sparkles, sex or sporting equipment.
So, I will gladly pour one out for my fellow depression sufferers, but I will not sulk over this celebrities passing in any context other than that. And honestly, neither should you.
Did I get it wrong? Leave your comments below.
I am reading the book “Liberty Amendments” by Mark Levin and this is a quote that he references in the beginning of the book. I have read some de Tocqueville in the past, but this quote resonated with me. Alexis de Tocqueville’s was a French political thinker and historian, most famous for his work Democracy in America.
It covers the surface of society with a network of small, complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence: it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.”
Alexis de Tocqueville
I encourage all of my readers to read up on American history, political philosophy and discover for themselves the nature of the problems we face as a nation.
Our current state of affairs has nothing to do with Democrats vs Republicans and everything to do with the government inserting themselves into our lives as the grand puppeteers of society.
They will not break our will all at once as many expect. This big moment where things are totally different is never going to come so many people are left thinking that things are as they always have been.
In reality, they have been doing it slowly over the last 100+ years. They have created overbearing legislation and burdensome regulations. They are slowly suffocating us of our freedoms. Like the frog sitting in a pot of boiling water, we are unable to notice the gradual change in temperature, and by the time most of us realize that the water is boiling it will be too late.
Maybe it’s already too late? What do you think? How do you propose we turn things around in America?
The power of mind over matter.
This is a short video about hard work and the illusions that we sometimes imagine when we see others succeeding or doing something we think we cannot do.
For so long I have pretended to be able to solve a Rubik’s Cube when in reality, all I was doing was looking for a specific set of patterns and then executing a memorized sequence of moves in order to make the cube whole again.
A skill that anyone could learn to do if they if they put their mind to it. However, any time I did this in public, it would appear that I was solving one of the most difficult puzzles known to man.
“They would never know my secret and the illusion of intellect is a powerful sword to swing.”
So often in life we give up on ourselves because we automatically presume that we are not smart enough, fast enough, tall enough or strong enough.Whatever the self imposed hurdle might be, it is usually set by we.
The individual has become weak and it is about time we started believing in ourselves again. It is about time we admit that we are usually the biggest reason for why we cant get anything done in life and then start doing something about that.
After making that realization, we can actually start to move past ourselves and towards success.
I wrote the script for this video a while back and now that I bought my own camera you will start seeing a lot more content like this. Please share this with a friend and leave your comments below.
This is my Rubiks cube…
I’ve had this Rubik’s Cube for more than 15 years.
Some people think that you can solve it by pulling off the stickers, but it doesn’t take too long to figure out that swapping the stickers isn’t a real solution.
When I got my first Rubik’s cube, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to solve it legitimately but then I discovered a little trick.
I realized that I could take the cube apart and reassemble it in the right order.
There! Good as new. No one would ever know the difference, that is, as long as I was alone when I did it.
So much for that little trick.
I was determined to find a way to solve the cube in plain site. I wanted to be able to stand in front of anyone and do something that no one else they knew could do.
So I went back to work.I spent hours trying to solve that damn puzzle, but I still couldn’t figure it out… until, I did.
I was searching for instructions online when I learned that there are a number of patterns that you can recognize, along with a series of moves that you can memorize, in order to solve the cube from any position.
I learned that there were turns and twists that would allow me to move a piece from one side of the cube to the other without disrupting the rest of my progress.
After a few months of practice I had it down cold, and for more than a decade I have let the world think I could solve a rubiks cube in under 5 minutes.
But why does any of that even matter? Who cares whether or not I can solve a rubiks cube legitimately.
What difference does it make when I am standing right in front of you solving it?
All that matters in that moment is that I can do it, and unless I’ve told you this story or you’ve watched this video, you’d simply think that I was solving one of the most difficult puzzles know to man.
So the next time you see someone doing something you think is amazing, something you think you could never actually do, I want you to stop and think about this story.
I want you to ask yourself whether they’re actually doing something amazing, something you are simply incapable of doing, or whether they’re just doing something that you are not willing to do?
Text on screen to close video
How hard are you trying to do the things you think you can’t do?
The Importance of Learning to Control Your Inner Killer
In this podcast we explore the power of a positive attitude and expose the human predisposition to being controlled as a species.
– Highlight any text in this article to tweet it directly –
As always, if you want to skip over the introduction, you can do so by jumping to the 1:40 mark. Just remember, a polar bear will be left stranded on an iceberg every time someone does this.
1:40 – The Power of Positivity
Pretending to be positive is a powerful way to impact the world around you.
Most sales people are trained in the art of pretending to be positive but it is something that we would all be well served to learn. People underestimate the impact that positive thought can have on the lives of the people around them. Especially if you can find a way to stay positive on a regular basis.
When you understand that we all have problems that we are dealing with and that complaining about your particular problems does nothing other than push the people around you away, then you can finally start to see the real power of positive thinking. Even if you struggle with the execution early on.
Now, I am not talking about stupid, overbearing, goofy-faced pretending. I am talking about genuinely believing that things in your life are good and will get better. Start believing it or others will see it for exactly what it is. Fake.
The truth about happiness – Read the full article
3:09 – The slave mentality
Humans have delegated their entire existence to external controls. Everything outside of entertainment and the facade of education that is. We have given up on trying to understand the world around us and how it really works and instead accept whatever the popular belief is, regardless of how easy the truth might actually be to access.
We have given ultimate control of our lives to the government and we have become slaves to our elected leaders and the corporations that place them.
We are slaves to our lives, jobs, debt, drugs and on and on.
The perversions of our attitudes and over all psyches have been so completely corrupted, that we are actually satisfied in our slavery. The lack of individual accountability has put is in a precarious place as a population and the uninformed masses that make up the membership of that new majority are dragging us all towards mediocrity.
5:50 – It’s a cancer really
The distractions have been purposeful and direct. What we are watching sprout up around us, is the fruit of more than a hundred years of hard labor. The culmination of closet communism in America. Something that the whole world seems to be running from, while we (America) run towards it with open arms.
The good news is that people are waking up to the truth. Every day people like you are listening to podcasts like these and reading articles like these to learn more about what is really going on in this country.
I think more people need to be reading and exploring the history our founding, where we came from and where we are going. Understand the ultimate fallibility of man and the inherent nature of large societies to self destruct. It has happened over and over again throughout history, yet we continue to accept it as if everything were ok.
8:10 – How to claim your superpower
Becoming bulletproof is important to finding your place in the world. Learn how to be comfortable in your own skin by finding beauty in your individual flaws. So many of us are worried about what is going on in the world of others more than worrying about our own world as a whole.
How to claim your super power – Read the full article
A community of support
None of this is going to be easy. It is up to you to apply and execute these ideas as they apply to your particular place in life. If you want to dig deeper and join the conversation then register as an early adopter and then join us in the forums.
10:18 – It’s not always easy
It is important to understand how powerful a shift you can make in your own life (as well as the life of others) by allowing yourself to commit completely to making these changes. To convince yourself that you are actually able to do it.
You may have to fake it before you make it early on, but I promise that over the time, you will love the new, freer, you. The people around you will love you more too. They will actually be able to see you. Maybe even for the first time.
12:05 – Let’s not pretend that pretending is always enough
Some days you may have to go to war with yourself, all on your own. Depression and self imposed hurdles are real, and pretending to be happy is never enough. Eventually you have to buy into the idea of actually finding fulfillment in whatever it is you are trying to do and let it consume you from the inside out.
13:45 – What if money didn’t matter?
What if we just give everyone a million bucks? Think about it. It would cost pennies on the dollar compared to the level of debt we are burying ourselves under as a society and it would instantly free us all of the constraints of our current monetary monopoly. Or would it?
You might think that by giving everyone a million dollars, you’d make everyone rich, but what it would really do is expose the trivial nature of the mirage we call money. Imagine how devalued the dollar would become if all of a sudden, it was all actually spendable, by you and I, the average person.
Flooding the market with that much cash would expose the nature of our monopoly money. It would make the entire system instantly irrelevant. It just goes to show how perverted everything about our monetary system actually is, and why it is important that the average American do a better job of understanding the monetary policy that has enslaved us all so effectively.
15:50 – A cure for depression?
Disclaimer: I am not a psychiatrist and you should not take my thoughts as mental health advice. I am only offering my perspective, insights and personal points of view that has helped me cope with my depression personally.
Acknowledging the dark thoughts and exploring the evil nature of your negative emotions is an important step in your development as enlightened individuals. You have to explore the boundaries of your positive and negative thoughts, if only in your own head, in order to understand the limits of what someone else might do without your level of control.
You have to learn that those dark thoughts and the crazy voices in your head are just other parts of you.You must learn to embrace and control them, just as you control any other part of your emotional interactions in life.
Depression can make that difficult but these theories can help. Take it from a guy who has struggled with depression his whole life. These tips may not cure your depression but they can definitely help you understand and manage it.
You also have to understand that these emotions do not define you. You can have these thoughts and know that they are not in control of your actions. Exploring these thoughts in depth is really the same as exploring the other thoughts and desires for knowledge that you might have through life. All a part of the insatiable curiosity I try to inspire with the content on this website.
18:20 – Solving problems like a psychopath
Embracing these thoughts and learning to use them as pieces of the bigger puzzle that is your life, can really help set yourself free. Many powerful professionals and personalities have characteristics that are common among psychopaths.
Buy the book – The Wisdom of Psychopaths
Knowing and understanding those boundaries will allow you to understand that there is real evil in this world. An understanding that can lead you to strength and eventual mastery of the thoughts in your head.
20:00 – Are you even capable of succeeding
So many times we are responsible for holding ourselves back. While the whole world is waking up to the idea of mass slavery, America (the one place on earth where people actually found freedom) is succumbing to a type of soft-tyrannical control.
21:10 – Getting fucked
It is your responsibility in life to not get fucked.
Not that I am excusing the people who are doing the fucking, but it is ultimately your responsibility to provide yourself with an adequate defense against all of the fuckery in this world.
Each of us enjoys a certain level of chaos, so it is natural for us to find comfort inside of a certain level of it, but more often than not, you are the very reason why you will never do anything amazing with your life.
23:50 – Why you should think about robbing a bank
Seeing the world from the perspective of a master criminal allows you to see all the angles.
When you allow yourself to see the world as if you were trying to rob it blind, then you can see where all of it’s weaknesses are masterfully hidden.
This is the same reason hackers are important to website security and why master criminals make great informants. They are uniquely qualified to exploit the flaws of whatever system they are tasked to sabotage, and then find creative ways to fix them. This is the very approach I propose for solving problems in life. It is the reason for this podcast and a large reason behind much of what I do.
I think the average person walks around this world completely clueless to what is going on and I plan on doing all I can to reverse that trend.
“We swallow greedily any lie that flatters us, but we sip only little by little at a truth we find bitter.”
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Why do we walk around pretending like the whole world is telling us the truth when most of the time, we won’t even tell ourselves the truth.
We accept lies every day. From the world, from the government, from the media, from our friends, from our family and mostly, from ourselves.
We tell ourselves that we will get-to-it-tomorrow, or maybe we’ll send that email later, let me just mark it as un-read real quick.
We have all heard the excuses, “This is the last cigarette. I promise…” or “I haven’t had that many drinks, I’m good to drive.”
The truth is that we lie to ourselves every day. Shit, many of our memories are lies. Our brains are notoriously inefficient at creating accurate records of our life experiences. Sometimes we just fill in the blanks for ourselves.
Over time our imagination can even shift our reality. We start interjecting our own opinions and begin to mold our own memories while re-writing the past. Eventually our new version becomes the truth.
We lie to ourselves about past lovers and romanticize the experiences. We dwell on that someone we just broke up with, someone we couldn’t live with, yet somehow, can’t seem to let go.
We know it’s over. It probably should have been over a long time ago but we can’t bring ourselves to pull away. We live the lie of love, and love to live the lie.
We use lies to protect us from ourselves and to soften the blows from reality. We allow lies to excuse our behaviors. “Just this once…” because, “You know me, I never really do things like this!”
I’m not saying it’s right to lie, and I’m not saying it’s necessarily always wrong, I’m simply saying that it is. It’s hard wired into each of our brains and it is something we all do. No matter how much you want to pretend not to.
We don’t need to be taught how to lie, we just do it. We’ve known how to lie ever since the fist time we fucked up. From the first moment your mom looked at you with that face. The face that till this very day means only one thing. Brace for impact!
“I don’t know what happened…” or “it was the dog! I swear! Cross my fingers hope to die, stick a needle through my eye!”
Anything to deflect the truth. Anything to save face. But at the end of the day, we know what is right and what is wrong.
We all know what we should have done or how we should have done it. More likely than not we even knew how we should have done it, while we were doing it, but we still made the wrong decision.
Sometimes we even pretend to know what is best for our friends while we can’t even figure out what is right for ourselves. Something called the “Solomon Paradox” Instead of pushing ourselves to be the best, we’ve become ok with just “fitting in” with the rest.
We then shower praise upon the people who live inside of the very screens that stream the majority of these lies directly into our lines-of-sight. The actors and athletes, the affluent and the elites.
Forget working hard, just become famous. That’s what the cool kids are doing. Just do something silly, have sex in the street. Sell your soul to the devil and maybe you can get a spot on the next hot reality show.
We set our eyes on the spoils of those who have and instantly think of ourselves as the have-nots. We accept the lie of a level playing field and then lie to ourselves about why we can’t succeed on it.
We deserve our share after all! We want what they have and we would have it if only things were a little different. If only life wasn’t so hard and the world wasn’t out to get us! Poor, poor us. Whatever will we do.
Life is made up of these little lies. Things that you get to discover as you go. We love lies, fairy tales and falsehoods. We all pass them on, like a bad plague, from generation to generation.
We allow ourselves to be shackled by lies. Controlled by the system in which we live. For god’s sake, our entire monetary system is a complete lie. Digital ledgers of ones and zeros that for some reason we continue to believe in.
We lie to ourselves about why we can’t get a new job or why we can’t lose those last few pounds. Why we don’t have enough time to get it all done, or… wait, what was I saying? Hang on a sec, while I have some more fun.
The problem with lies is that they become complicated. One day you look back and you’ve wasted your youth, all of a sudden you don’t know which part of your life is a lie and which part is truth.
The world was flat, and then it wasn’t.
The sun revolved around the earth, and then it didn’t.
We knew each of those things to be true for hundreds of years before they were commonly accepted as fact, yet at the time, many still believed otherwise.
Like many before us, we have allowed lies to tear through our entire society like rust. Slowly eating through all of the structural components and now, finally out onto the surface. Leaving the entire structure weak and ready for collapse.
The truth is that our whole lives have been lies, and we are supposed to remain stupid. We have been played and will continue to be played until we decide to create the change we seek. Pawns in this game called life.
And sometimes those distortions lead to something good. Because well intentioned shifts in thought based on deeper understandings and new information, can often lead to great innovation; but sometimes it get’s out of control.
Sometimes that distorted reality can bring down an entire society.
Sometimes that house of cards collapses and brings everyone else crashing down with it. And you’d be believing another lie if you thought it was not happening again. Right now, and all around you.
And that right there, is nothing but the cold hard truth.
Why fitting in is not what it seems and why you should avoid it at all costs.
You see them all the time.
The cool people.
The person you wish you could be.
The people we all wish we could be.
We look up to them, want to be them, wish we could grow up to be… “Just Like Mike!”
The people who convince you that you can only be cool if you look, act and do what they do. Eat, drive and play like they do. Fuck, slut and strut, exactly like they do.
More and more in society we deify these individuals and prop them up on pedestals, in place of ourselves and our peers.
Instead of promoting the exploration of a deeper inner-consciousness (one where we might actually find ourselves) we promote a collective unconsciousness. One that that has infected our entire society.
We find ourselves entertained by our lack of education and enthralled by our erotic inclinations.
We exalt the men who make us think that in order to fit-in we must give-in. They make us feel like we should relinquish our thoughts and accept theirs instead. I mean, everyone else is already doing it. You want to be like the rest of the class don’t you?
You know who I am talking about: The politicians, corporations, large religious organizations etc. Basically anyone who’s agenda it is to manage the masses. The ones who hide their message in plain sight. The ones who tell us we’re wrong any time we try to fight.
They lurk all around us. Tempting us to give up our hopes in exchange for theirs. Convincing us that individual endeavors are arbitrarily inappropriate. That if you really want to “be cool” you’ll think about the collective. Sacrifice yourself for the greater good. Fit-in to get-in. You know the rules.
The basic concepts behind the game haven’t changed since you were in elementary school. The stakes however, those have changed. Dramatically.
Now we’re playing for keeps. We are playing for souls, and life-savings. For products and for professions. We are allowing our whole lives to be played like pawns in a game. Small steps forward, always at the command of someone else.
The cool people have always liked to collect other cool people. The “elites” always entice the masses with the simplest of notions. But it is the independent thinkers that live on the outside of their influence that make them worry. The ones who stand free from the restriction of their opinions. The few who think for themselves.
We make them feel uneasy about their intentions, even if their intentions are good. But take note, it is rarely the well intentioned who plead for you to “understand.” It is often those who would lead you astray that would have you change your way.
The cool kids are always worried about what brand of clothes you are wearing and the make and model of the car you drive. They want you to worry about possessions because things are beautiful distractions. But us? We ask you to convince yourself. We pass on our information and then suggest you look more than skin deep. That you make an effort to find the answers on your own.
We must not label ourselves on the premise of “have” and “have-not,” but instead on the concept of “does” and “does-not.” We must base our interactions on what each of us as individuals are contributing to society as a whole. Forgetting about how we can fit in and focusing instead on how we can bend the world around us.
In what way can you make a mark? How can you make the world want to fit in with you? In what way can you move the masses? How can you turn the tables on the establishment?
Because the truth is that the majority of people in this world will never lose a minute of sleep thinking about you. They will not care whether you are depressed and want to kill yourself, can’t get laid or can’t get paid.
Whatever it is that is holding you back is your own puzzle to solve. It is up to you to go out there and make the best of whatever circumstances life has dealt you. It is up to you to look at life and the world as something more to explore. It is up to you to make yourself impossible to ignore.
So if you ask me, (and I know you didn’t) I say “Fuck the cool kids,” those assholes always run away when things gets hard. Forget about fitting in and go find yourself instead. I bet we’d all like that version of you a lot more anyway.
Why you shouldn’t learn them either and why it is time we started playing this game called life by a new set of rules. A message to the establishment.
Skip to the 2:00 mark to bypass the intro. But beware, a baby panda will fall out of a tree every time someone does this.
Life is always trying to teach us lessons. Some worth learning, others, not-so-much.
My generation definitely has it’s flaws. We are not perfect but we are humans. That means that more likely than not, we are simply symptoms of our own environments. Environments that you built for us.
I wonder, if you have even once, considered blaming yourself for the mess we’re all in?
I wonder if these lessons you keep trying to teach us are not specifically intended to hold us back; I wonder if you knew what you were doing all along?
“You really should learn to keep your mouth shut!”
Oh really, how has that worked for us in the past? It seems to me that keeping your mouths shut is exactly what got us into this mess in the first place. You must have seen what they were trying to do. You must have wanted to scream out yourself. Why would you tell me to shut up? Why would you think that just because you were willing to be silent we should do the same?
I say scream louder! I say that when a stranger comes around you and tries to bend you over backwards and have their way with you, you should scream as loud as you can. I say you should do whatever it takes to get away from that attacker. Why wouldn’t we teach that lesson to the perverted factions of our existing political and corporate structures? Should we sit here and let you have your way with us just because you sat their and let them have their way with you?
“You need to eat some humble pie!”
Humble pie? Really? This coming from the monster who can’t quit telling me how great their product is? Pardon me if I ignore a message on humility from the same people that put professional athletes on pedestals while paying our educators a pittance? Excuse me while I ignore your “Do as I say, not as I do philosophy.”
You wouldn’t know humble if it smacked you in the face so why would you expect us to (1) know any different and (2) care, even if we did?
The system you designed is built around breaking out of our humility. You have taught us to love the taste of our own egos and we feast on them regularly.
We enjoy giving up our privacy and selling ourselves short. We enjoy our addiction to technology and we accept your propaganda as our reality. Just as long as the illusion of independence remains. But, I see your hypocrisy and I reject it.
“What do you even know? What have you really done in your life?”
What do I know? I know that we have sat by for far too long and watched you destroy this once great nation.
I know that you have perverted the free market and sold us all into the slavery of debt.
I know that your thirst for wealth, and gluttony for greed has lead to the most unstable economy in human history.
I know that you have made it impossible for us to find employment and infinitely more difficult for us to try and make it on our own.
I know that we may be young, but we have seen enough. We have watched you bastardize everything, with complete disregard for that moment when someone has to pay the piper.
We might not be good at a lot of things, but we are good at watching, and we have watched a lot.
We have watched an entire generation rot its brain on television and pervert itself on the internet. We have been complicit in burying ourselves in mindless entertainment and massive sporting spectacles. All in an attempt to distract ourselves from facing the harsh truth.
We fear that to be wrong means that we have failed, but it really just means that we are getting better at being people. It means that we have learned from our mistakes and are ready to turn from them. We are ready because we can no longer just sit and watch.
We can no longer watch you gorge on the earth and devour the resources that are supposed to sustain us all.
We can no longer watch you spend money as if somehow, we were never going to have to repay this debt.
We can no longer sit and watch you take us into wars, under the pretense of profit, or pride. We will no longer watch as you meddle with the middle class as if we were yours to play with.
We will no longer watch as you corrupt and infect the entire system of governance. We will no longer elect leaders that are purely puppets at the end of strings. Strings on which the large corporations can pull, any which way they want.
We will no longer sit as a society, stupid, and blissful in our ignorance.
We have sat silent for far too long.
“Wait your turn, you just need to pay your dues!”
Wait our turn? If we wait any longer there’s not going to be anything left to have waited for.
You don’t want me to pay my dues, you want me to pay your dues.
You want me to pay the same price you paid to get to where you are. The problem with that strategy, well one of them, is that you falsely assume that I want to be where you are. You think that we all need to do it like you did it.
You want us to play by the rules you played by because after-all, that is what you did and that is how the system is supposed to work.
You remember when you were my age and you were forced to eat your pride. You hated every second of it, but now it is your turn to pass on this despicable trait. It is your turn to have your finger on the trigger. You worked hard and waited a long time for this so who the hell are we to get in your way? Who are we to try and stop you?
Like the alcoholic father who beats his son, and the son who swears to never become that man. But the pawns have been played and the son soon finds himself as a drunken dad, with his own son bent over his knee and a belt gripped tightly in his hand.
It is the only thing you know.
It is what you have taught us and is the example you that have set.
You do not consider how the world has changed. You have not changed with it and you have not allowed us to change. You have stolen from us. In resources and in principle.
You refuse to admit that the way we did things has no relevance on how we can do them now. Very few things that were, still are, and even less of what is left will survive the next shift.
Do you not see what is happening? The system in which you are so desperate to have us play, is falling down all around you.
We have let you lead us down the wrong road for too long. I will not shut-up. I will not “do things your way,” and I will not stand by as you continue to abuse and enslave me, my generation and the ones to follow.
It is time you learned a few lessons. It is time that you learned something new.
Fuck your game!
“This is not how the game is supposed to be played!”
Your game is rigged. I am not sucking your corporate cock just so you can tell me how much money I don’t get to make. I will not let you dictate how I live my life, when I wake up, what I do every moment of my life and how I do it. I’m not going to let you sit there and watch, while I do all the work and you take home all the money. This is not the game I signed up to play.
I say we throw them all out. I say we show government and corporations alike that we are still the American people and that they should still fear us. We are here to hold them accountable now.
Instead of sitting here and blaming us for being lazy, stupid and ideological, I’ll tell you to look in a mirror and blame yourself.
You were the one who thought you could control us. You were the one who allowed the government to treat us like dogs. To pit us against ourselves and distract society from the perils of a populist agenda.
You are not allowed to get mad when the dog chews on the furniture, destroys your belongings, and digs up all the dirt in your backyard. You may not be angered when we tear the fence down and desire to run free.
But us? We get to be plenty pissed off!
You had the excuse of ignorance. But that is no longer acceptable and we now require results!
We will not learn your lessons. We will not play your games. We will not shut up, and we most certainly will not compare our accomplishments to yours.
Success should be measured on how solid a foundation one generation can lay down for the next. And by those standards, you have royally failed.
Grace Durbin takes us on an exploration of human behaviors and why more often than not, we (humans) are at the center of what ails us as a society.
We have problem America . . . And It’s Us.
It’s convenient to focus our vexation at our country’s ever-present adversity on impractical venues such as government. After all, we can vote, complain, rant and rave, post bumper stickers, and invest in campaigns, but we really can’t change much. Yet, what do we do in an effort to make changes? We find someone who resembles ourselves, carries our morals, and will do what we want them to do (we think). Then, we go vote for our hopeful savior; signed, sealed, delivered! Whew! We did our part! Now, what’s for dinner?
Six months later . . . we’ll find ourselves right back where we started.
We’ll point to the president, news and media, Wall Street, guns, drugs, poverty; anything to keep us from looking at the real picture:
“We the people” are the problem!
The solution begins with us. If we cannot make a change there, then we shouldn’t even bother showing up to vote, because we have already failed!
After my previous article, I found myself engaged in many debates about guns. Soon, I realized I was saying the same thing over and over again,“We have a people problem.”
The more I thought on that, the more media stories flooded my mind, and they all had a common denominator . . .
Recently the Slender Man case that’s been monopolizing the media has sparked the ethical debate of whether or not children should be tried as adults. As I watched the masses respond, I was appalled. Of course it was a horrible tragedy, but among the comments were remarks such as, “Hang em’!” “Death penalty!” “It’s a shame what our children have become!”
Yet, didn’t we establish and sustain a justice system specifically for juveniles? Didn’t we do that because they are, indeed, children; by the same age limit we established as law! Children have not changed. We have changed. We’re not legally focused anymore. We’re emotionally charged! It’s justice/revenge to the full extent of the law! But . . . What about those two 12-year-old girls? Didn’t we create that law to protect them, too?
Not long before that, I found myself shocked that an elementary school student’s Gender Identity Disorder made the media, announcing how a boy had returned to school as a girl. I was angered by every media outlet that felt it was okay to make her a hot topic for debate, but I was even more upset at the people. Again, I watched as the comments filled the thread, “This nation’s going to hell.” “That’s why homosexuals shouldn’t raise kids.” (The child was raised by a loving mother and father.) “I don’t want my kids exposed to that!”
Yet, do we not still fight for freedom? Have our forefathers, sons, mothers, fathers, not died defending our freedoms for every American citizen? Like selfish fools we disregarded her privacy, her vulnerability, her age, her disorder, her family, and we did what we do best, America! We made it all about us, that same word again . . .
“American Schools Are STILL Racist,” wrote, Joy Resmovits for the Huffington Post. I can’t get the beginning of that title out of my mind. Why didn’t this article go viral? Why weren’t we angered by that? Who stood up to make a change? Who took action? Who talked about racism with their children?
Why are we not angered, enraged, to see any adult take his fists to a child, even if that child is a teenager? An adult is 18 years of age as defined by law! How do we stand back so smugly and announce on public networks, “That bus driver can drive my kids to school every day of the week!”
Then we look at ourselves, our nation, our families, our children, and we wonder what we’ve become and where we went wrong?
WE THE PEOPLE!!
That means all of us- you and me.
It means: if we want our schools safer we should keep our homes safe.
If we want our streets free of crime, we need to be crime free, and teach our children the same!
If we want guns to be controlled, we need to control guns within our homes.
If we want our children to love and respect others, we should love and respect them and others, inside our home, at the dinner table, on the phone, in conversation with friends; when we’re happy, mad, tired or stressed!
It means that if we want change as a nation, we have to change as a “people!”
Time is of the essence.
We cannot stand back one more second and believe we have the right to shake our heads at our young people while setting such a poor example, of the heart of America, ourselves . . .
Not when the most important culture this country thrives upon starts at our own front doors.
The photos are priceless and the story will make you smile.
An experience that helped shape the way I look at the world. By Katelyn Prisco
The other day…
I was called out to a photo shoot.
I work with a local organization in Sarasota that refers me to people or companies who are looking for a photographer.
I rarely even ask what the session is about, I just show up, do my thing, and expect it to go quite routinely.
This job was different.
I was met at the door by an extremely kind and upbeat woman.
“Hey! Come on in, we’re all waiting for you,” she exclaimed.
Oh, ok awesome… these people are really nice, I thought to myself — this is going to be easy money.
I walked into a small studio, full of cameras and video equipment. All eyes were on the nicely dressed man, who was sitting in a chair in the middle of the room. My mind was racing with possibilities as I thought to myself… this is a little different.
The man, Kevin, thanked me again for showing up to help.
Apparently he had booked another photographer who wasn’t able to make it. I had emailed Kevin the night before and told him I’d be here in the morning, but I still wasn’t sure what the shoot was even for.
Kevin explained that there would be a video of him thanking the guests of an Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) event he was hosting the following week.
Kevin was only 29 when he was diagnosed with ALS. He wanted to shed light on the importance of knowledge. The knowledge of what this terrible disease has done to him and his body. He explained that he wanted a series of still photos to use in the video.
Before today, I had no clue what ALS even was. I thought maybe it was something they named after a baseball player. Now I know that it is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Not cool. But Kevin, he was cool.
He spoke so eloquently and finished his video relatively quickly.
Then, before I even knew what was going on, he removed all of his clothing down to his boxers and socks. In front of me stood a man, who I had met no more than five minutes earlier, almost completely naked. Ready for his close up.
He joked about his unfortunate situation and his silly socks.
He laughed with his mother, and other friends about his beer belly (which I had to get in a photo [or so I was told] because it was a direct result of the ALS).
He even had his mom go to a costume store so that he could dress up for a couple photos. He wanted to remind people that he hadn’t lost his sense of humor.
When I walked into the studio that day, I thought I was going to take a few pictures and maybe put a few extra bucks in my pocket. Instead, I met an inspiration, a new friend, someone with more love than he knows what to do with.
Kevin has dedicated the rest of his life to raising awareness for ALS.
He started A Life Story Foundation and has raised thousands of dollars for the cause.
I don’t what kind of man Kevin was before his disease. I don’t know much about his family or his friends, I actually don’t really know Kevin at all.
What I do know is that in the short time I have been able to spend with him and his entire entourage of awe-inspiring supporters, I am very aware that I have met a present day hero.
With permission from Kevin, I am posting some of the photos from our session.
This is my very first blog post and I couldn’t think of any better way to launch my blog than with Kevin’s story.
Katelyn is a photographer and loves to capture life’s little moments through the end of her camera lens. And, as you can see here, she has a few special words to share with the world. Learn more about Katelyn on her personal website.
Otherwise I Won’t Grow
Why hearing the the harsh truth might be hard but it will help you grow. If you let it.
Originally posted by Sean Smith on medium.com
I thrive on negative feedback.
Sugar-coating never helped anyone, it only prolonged the inevitable.
The only road to change is through the trenches of truth — objective, hard-to-handle feedback.
I was blessed that both of my parents were incredibly empathetic, they made me stay humble, and still help me to this day. But they’re not afraid to give it to me straight.
One thing their empathy taught me was how to objectively understand the information I consumed, and take it for what it was, feedback.
“There is no failure, only feedback”
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If I was messing around and I got hurt, I understood that I shouldn’t be angry that I got hurt, I should have been more careful while messing around. If I missed a game-winning shot in Basketball, I wouldn’t be mad as if I was entitled to the win, I would reflect on what I did wrong and out-do myself the next time I had the opportunity.
This made me a hyper-critic of myself, but it has helped me more entrepreneurially than any other trait I have.
There is a beauty about objective feedback. Sometimes it hurts, but it’s objective, and it means something. If you can take negative feedback, even when you want to emotionally retaliate, it will do eons for what you can achieve.
If Gordon Ramsey came into your restaurant today and snatched the food out of your fridge, ripped up your tiles and exposed the mold, threw it in your face and called you a “french pig” would you want to punch him in the face?
Sure, I probably would too. But would you listen? You fucking better.
When you’re given blunt-trauma feedback, it stings. You will instinctively want to resist, because we are wired to take the path of least resistance. If you can get a hold of that though, not resist, analyze instead, think, meditate, then plan to make it better, that’s innovation.
Sure, Steve Jobs got pissed when everybody was up-in-arms over the antennas in the iPhone 4 not working when you try to make a call. He even tried to play it off like there was no problem, “No you’re holding it wrong” then giving out free cases to help the problem that apparently didn’t exist.
You know what he ultimately did though? He fucking fixed it.
First he got pissed, then he tried to find an easy solution, then he thought about it harder, then he ultimately took the overwhelming negative feedback and pushed out a better model. Everyone called it innovation, but ultimately it was him overcoming his own ego, taking the feedback right in the face, and making a change.
You have to seek out negative feedback. When you do find it, you have to accept it, and react to it, or you’re just being an idiot.
Elon Musk says when he is talking to friends or customers about any of his products at Tesla Motors, he seeks out negative feedback.
It’s a ritual for him.
“Don’t tell me what you like about it, tell me what you don’t like about it.”
So his friends give him the truth.
“That handle is a bit odd”, or “that switch is a bit off.”
He listens to feedback and makes a substantial effort to make it right. That’s one reason he is so successful.
When the Model S’s batteries were being criticized in the media as if they were fiery cauldrons of death and destruction, Elon instantly got his engineers to add a titanium hull to the Model S to ensure no more batteries would be punctured and catch fire (even though only 2 did, compared to the 200,000 car fires a year on gas powered cars).
The point is to seek out negative feedback, empathize with that feedback, be honest with yourself, then make a change.
So, tell me I suck.
But more than that, tell me why I suck, please.
Otherwise, I won’t grow.
I am willing to pay whatever the price may be, for being unabashedly me.
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So… What’s Your Biggest Fear?
I was with a friend the other day, and as I was about to leave she asked me a simple question.
She looked me straight in the face, and asked me what I was afraid of.
She caught me a little off guard with that question, and I said to myself, “This bitch is trying to be my mamma.”
I couldn’t tell if I was bothered because of the nature of the question, or because I felt like maybe she could already see the answer.
I puffed my chest out like a proper macho-man and said, “I am not scared of anything!”
But then, I started to think
My heart sunk into my stomach as I came to the realization that I did have a fear. A huge fear.
One that I have trained myself to ignore, but a fear none the less.
But let’s back up for a second, I have a confession to make.
I am a total failure
I actually admit that proudly, and like to get it out of the way early.
I don’t usually lead with it, but hey, this is a blog, and not an HBO special, so I don’t have much time for character development.
I have failed repeatedly in my personal life, my professional career, and definitely in my political perspectives.
Quite frankly, I’m sure I will continue to make mistakes. Lots of them. I’ll continue to stumble, because this is the life I have chosen to live.
I will never apologize for being who I am or how I am, but this does not answer the question at hand.
I’m really good at faking it you see
I can twist you and bend you however I want.
The power of coercion is strong in this one. It has been since I was young.
Maybe that’s why I found the world of sales so comfortable. I felt right at home in a world where all that mattered was whether or not I made the sale.
It was easy for me
Living in a lie seemed normal. It seemed like everyone was doing it.
I’d do whatever needed to be done in order to get what I wanted. The problem was, I had no idea what I wanted.
Maybe that’s what led me to build a house of cards on top of all of those lies.
Maybe it’s that line of thinking that led me to believe that I could be happy in the life I was building, or maybe that is why I sat there that day with a gun in one hand and a phone in the other, wondering whether to pull the trigger or call for help.
Maybe that is why I am writing this article today. Maybe I was unwilling to admit it back then.
Maybe I was unwilling to admit that I was wrong, so I pushed forward. I pushed with no regard for the price that would one day have to be paid.
But that was then, and this is now.
That price has been paid.
In fact, I am still paying. It cost me 10 years, a wife, some strife, and almost my life.
It has pushed me to accept and reject many things about myself and the world around me.
It has forced me on this path that I am on, but this, again, does not answer the question at hand.
You want to know what I am afraid of now?
You want to know what I’m scared of today?
I fear that one day I will become successful, and the world will look at me as if I were a total joke.
I fear that one day I will stand at the top of this mountain I am climbing, and people will say that I lied, cheated, and stole to get here.
I fear that they will say that I hurt others in order to help myself.
I fear that the whole world will get to look at the person that I really am, and then decide to destroy me because they can no longer control me.
You see, I have faced all of my fears
I can honestly look you straight in the face and tell you that the only thing I fear anymore is finding out that I actually am a fraud.
That I am incapable of doing what I set out to do.
I am scared that at some point, I will have to turn back and admit defeat.
I am afraid to find out that the guy who “faked-it-til-he-made-it,” actually made it, and he won’t know that it is okay to stop pretending.
I am afraid that I won’t recognize success, and that I will keep on thirsting for more.
I am afraid that I will never find true happiness because of my inability to truly let people in.
I am afraid that I will be unable to realize that once you fake something for so long, it’s no longer fake, it’s just you.
I am afraid that one day it will all come crashing down again, but that this time I won’t be strong enough to handle it.
But even that doesn’t really scare me
Up until now, I’ve done this all before. I have been on this road, and I know where it leads.
I might not be able to see around the bend, but I have memorized the map.
I adjusted my approach in order to come around the corner just right: at just the right speed so as not to fly off the edge of the cliff.
I will make the turn, hammer the gas, and never look back.
This time is going to be different.
This time, I am becoming successful by being myself, and that is what scares me.
I am scared to be walking around this world naked – emotionally, and otherwise, completely unprotected, yet somehow entirely prepared to take the arrows and to face the consequences.
I am willing to pay whatever the price might be, for being unabashedly me.
There will be no shield, no barrier, no buffer between me and the real world.
No one to blame for my failures but myself…and that, my friends, is absolutely terrifying.
What is your biggest fear? Let’s talk about it in the comments below.