Tag Archives: Inspiration

Risk and Regret

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Taking risks is scary but leaving yourself with regrets is much worse.  And more often than not we regret the risk not taken.  So in an effort to curb our regrets, we become quick to act when we see something we want or when we believe a golden opportunity has graced our lives with its presence.  We’ll say to fate, “not again, I’m not going to let this pass me by like the last time” and we’ll go for it, whatever it may be.  In doing so, we hope to claim the reward we’ve let slip through our fingers time and time again while growing a little more as individuals.

But at the same time one shouldn’t fear regret because it may make you risk unnecessarily.  It may make you feel urgency where there should be none, causing you to rush and misstep, thereby forfeiting your chances and finding yourself regretting your choices once again.  It seems that caring too much AND caring too little are equally detrimental and lead you down the same road you were trying to avoid.  And they do.  It’s because they are both overcorrections, and just like driving, overcorrecting yourself will cause you to swerve and fishtail when approaching an important junction in life…giving you no real control over which road you end up taking.

So what do you do?  Do you just move along somewhere in the middle, accepting everything as it comes without making a decision to care too much or too little?  Or do you only act on the risks that seem good for you–when the juice is worth the squeeze? Because it can be hard to tell what is actually good for you and by the time you can tell, it may be too late to make a decision:  either you get locked into the risk or you get locked into the regret.  While accepting everything as it comes leaves you susceptible to the whims of chance and circumstance with no real power over the direction things go…and the second you decide to take power over the situation you are showing you care AND you are taking a risk, so once again you may misstep and wind up falling flat on your face.

The reality is life is a balancing act and there is no right or wrong way to approach this.  Sometimes you risk and win, sometimes you risk and lose, while regrets are just a fact of life.  Take it all in stride.  You’ll learn from your decisions and balance yourself out over time.  If you feel something is good for you and see an opportunity then go for it…you may end up failing but don’t be discouraged because one day you will win big.  And then you’ll learn to appreciate your risks and regrets because they guided you straight to that jackpot that has eluded you for so long.  Or at least you’ll know that jackpot is on the horizon and is just waiting for you to do the right combination of things to win it.

You just have to keep going and remain strong, never losing faith in yourself or your decisions.  Do your best not to overcorrect when the road forks and you have no idea which way to go.  But above all, make sure you stay focused on your goals and desires while appreciating what you do have in life.  Sometimes we risk for things that will lead us from our paths and other times we regret things that may not have been the best for us anyways…guessing is the essence of the human condition for we can’t know everything and some would even say we can’t know *anything* for certain.  But that’s the beauty of it–the mystery and the suspense.  Yeah, there may be pain involved but as someone once told me, pain is life’s admission.  And while that may be true, I believe new experiences are the reward.  We can’t grow if we don’t risk and what is the purpose of a life without growth?

The uncertainty of life is certain but that should be more liberating than restricting because it means the possibilities are endless.  You can wind up anywhere with anyone doing anything.  So don’t shy away from risk and don’t fear regret.  Just accept them for what they are and continue down the path that seems the best for you.  There’s no way to tell if you missed out on a better path or not but as long as you are happy with things there can really be nothing better.  And if you aren’t happy then you have all the power in the world to change that.  The power comes from your mindset and your mindset comes from your attitude.  Change your attitude, change your mindset, change your life, change the world.

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Who Are You?

If I asked you to tell me about yourself, you’d probably tell me your name, your gender, your ethnicity, your job, your religious beliefs (if any), your musical taste, your marital status, your education status, your pet ownership status, your Zodiac sign, your political allegiance and if you’re an introvert or extrovert.  Which is great–those things would help me get to know you some.  However, none of those things are really who or what you are, they are merely labels.

And labels, well, they kind of suck.

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Labels are reductive, they divide us and limit us.  They give us a reason to fight rather than unite.  They prevent individuality by making us conform to definitions and group allegiance rather than conforming to our own authenticity.  They cause us to generalize people instead of looking at each person as a special case because it’s easier that way.  They take away from what it is to be human and replace it with a facade.  They make it difficult to discuss ideas because people ascribe those ideas to the label rather than the person, which causes arguments rather than understanding–especially if the people fall under different labels. 

You are more than a label or an identity.  You are more than your beliefs and experiences.  You are more than a gender, a race, a religion, a political party or an age.  You are a human.  A soul.  Like the rest of us.

Instead of discussing political reform as a concept, we blame conservatives for only aiding the rich and blame liberals for making the government too big and expensive.  Instead of talking about gender equality or freedom of belief, we blame feminists for male-bashing, “meninists” for feminist bashing, Muslims for terrorist attacks and we blame Christians for Bible-thumping. 

We don’t agree with conspiracy theorists because they’re all obviously crazy and we never listen to scientists because they’re always changing their minds and talking down to us if we can’t keep up.  We know athletes are overpaid douchebags and we know mathletes will never lose their virginities. We know stoners are all losers and we know straight-edge people are all winners.  We know people from rough areas are bad asses and we know people from gated communities are yuppies.  We know everyone who wears flannel and tight jeans are hipsters while everyone wearing hoodies, baggy jeans and sneakers are thugs.  We know cops are corrupt, politicians are shady, women are emotional and men are aggressive.

We know so much about others based on their labels, don’t we?  So much that we don’t even need to get to know them before believing we know them.  Which only makes it easier for us to judge and gives us more opportunities to misunderstand.  Because labels are merely facets of who we are and none of them are really definitive or say anything about our personalities. We cling to them to feel a sense of identity and belonging, but that’s all it is, a sense.  Not the real thing. 

So when people ask about you, try telling them about your passions and hobbies.  Tell them about your quirky sense of humor, your love for cinnamon pancakes or the dream you are working on manifesting in the future.  Tell them how you can’t sleep at night without having the television on or how you consume fifty cups of coffee a day.  Tell them you built your own computer or that you travel somewhere new each year. 

Tell them what things in life still give you goosebumps. 

Tell them all of that instead because it reveals more of who and what you are as a person than labels do.  The labels give us status and constructed identities, but telling someone you get goosebumps when checking out new books at the library tells them more about you than the fact you are a data analyst.  Because we are always so much more than our constructed identities.  We are human, we are souls and we are complex webs of thoughts, memories, passions, dreams, attitudes, outcomes and personalities.

Each one of us is a universe.  So ask yourself, who are you?

Manifest Destiny–Literally

How many of you noticed how things seem to fall into place in your life when you’re feeling good about yourself?  Or conversely, how everything seems to fall apart when you aren’t feeling good about yourself or where your life is at right now?  It always seems like a crazy coincidence, but there’s something about coincidences a lot of people don’t realize.

They don’t actually exist.

Well, not the way we normally think about them.

You welcome into your world what you think the most about, and “coincidences” are simply validations that your inner world and outer world are interacting.  We simply can’t notice all the subconscious interactions and connections we make each day and how they all weave together to influence our lives at a larger level.  Thus, if you hold negativity you’ll encounter negative outcomes, circumstances and coincidences and the same is true for holding positivity.

For example, if you think you’re better than everyone else you will spend all your time finding people’s flaws and attracting other people who think the same way, which you will interpret as flawed thinking and take it as evidence you are better than everyone.  On the other hand, if you are self-content you won’t see a need to judge or compare yourself with others which will help you see not only the good in you, but the good in the people around you who are often your biggest supporters.  We see what we want to see and hear what we want to hear.

Think about it.

Given we share one outer world and all have our own inner worlds, the events that befall in life are the result of everything that everyone is thinking.  If you think of matter as energy and thoughts/emotions as energy and believe in conservation of energy, it could be said that a rise in global disasters, wars, disease and famine can be the result of a global-scale trend toward negative or destructive thinking.  And if you can see things that way you can see what kind of influence over the physical world our intangible thoughts have, making them akin to the influence of a God.  Which helps explain why religions emphasize the growth of self and promote self love because in having these traits one brings only positive things into their lives and the lives of others, using their “Godly” mental influence over fate and the world responsibly and compassionately.

But you don’t even have to take it that far for it to make sense.  Thoughts dictate behaviors, behaviors cause reacting and reoccurring behaviors–ebb and flow, to and fro, cause and effect, Taoism.  It all begins in our minds, and by it, I mean the flow and progression of life. The paths our lives lead are hugely influenced by our actions, habits, beliefs and attitudes–and each of those things begin as thoughts.  Simple, everyday thoughts we think about, but don’t really think about as our mental habits turn into mindsets.  Mindsets that affect perspective, motivation, self-esteem and happiness levels.

So mind your thoughts and keep them positive for best results.  We are what we repeatedly do, as Aristotle says, and this extends to what we think about.  “I think, therefore I am,” or to relate with this article, “I think, therefore I exist and I exist as my thoughts are.”  Our minds are POWERFUL BEYOND MEASURE and can act as cages or as wings.  We can be our own worst enemies or our greatest allies depending on the thoughts we keep with us in the foxhole.

Seek to empower and inspire yourself everyday and you’ll be unstoppable.  Be your greatest supporter and provide encouragement along with your constructive criticism and you’ll be well on your way to becoming the best YOU as humanly possible.

Spread Your Seed…Of Positivity

“There are no extra pieces in the universe. Everyone is here because he or she has a place to fill, and every piece must fit itself into the big jigsaw puzzle.”

–Deepak Chopra

Whether or not you’ve thought much about it, you are a supremely unique individual with your own blend of talents and traits (hereon referred to as “style”) to share with the world.  No one else will ever have your same personality, your same outlook on life or your same path…let alone all three. Though we are all one in a sense and have a lot more in common than we like to admit, our individual styles are what make us one-of-a-kind expressions of life and soul.  Our individual styles make us unforgettable and irreplaceable.

Take a moment to think about what your natural talents and traits are.  Perhaps you are funny, athletic, intelligent, sociable, musically inclined, supportive, strong, artistic, techno-savvy, optimistic, hard-working or helpful.  Maybe you can sing real well, cook for a king or fix nearly anything.  Maybe you’re a patient and thoughtful listener or maybe you know all there is to know about accounting.  Just think about all the big and little things that make you who you are but especially any natural talents you have and your personality traits that you think make you different from others.

Now, think about how you can use those talents and traits of yours to positively impact those around you in a small way.  Each one of us has a story that weaves and intertwines with the stories of countless others, so if each of us were to use our talents and traits to benefit those we come into contact with on a daily basis then over time we will benefit everyone in the world by extension.

It’s what I call “planting your seed of positivity” and the cool thing about it is you don’t have to do much:  simply affect someone positively and watch as that person does the same to spread your seed on down the line.  It’s like a phone tree except more reliable.  We all know something as small as holding a door open, letting someone merge into your lane, helping a friend move or smiling at a stranger can make a huge difference in someone’s life.  Everyone has their own struggles and we typically don’t know what others are going through at any particular moment or during the course of a lifetime.  A simple friendly gesture could be an improvement to anyone’s day but we can take this practice a step further.  Consider another quote:

“Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t.”

–Bill Nye (The Science Guy)

Think of what would happen if everyone taught someone a single thing that person didn’t know–in no time at all the entire world would become that much more knowledgeable.  For instance, I love meeting people who have a unique taste in music because I’m shamefully dependent on the radio and I invariably end up with a list of interesting artists to check out.  This usually leads to me finding new music I really dig and connect with, which then leads to me sharing that music with other people I know.  Even if I never see those musical mentors again I at least have two new things to carry with me for the rest of my life:  a wider music base and a sense of these peoples’ individual styles.  The first will enrich my playlist with new things to be exposed to while the second will help me further define myself by showing me how I am different from others and how I am similar (in other words, it reveals more of my unique style to me).

Of course, I also learn a lot from other people by looking at their personalities and attitudes, listening to their backgrounds, talking about their goals and motivations, observing how they interact with the world and discussing their philosophies on things like life, love, society and their interests.  But the point here is to share what makes you unique with others so they may carry it with them and spread your seed of positivity while learning how to spread their own seeds.

Helping others find their unique styles is important because it promotes self-actualization, esteem, individuality and personal development.  Not to mention we are all geniuses in at least one thing, so helping people find their inner geniuses through genuine self-expression can lead to a more enlightened and awakened world…akin to a Renaissance. Teach a good friend your special blueberry muffin recipe (but maybe not your secret blueberry muffin recipe).  Take someone to your favorite spot and compare music playlists.  Show others your intuitive understanding of the world and inspire them to make a difference.  Help somebody learn how to do an oil change.  Or simply lift peoples’ spirits with your random jokes and warm personality.  Just try to rub off in a good way and with good intentions–those are like the sun, water and soil for your seed.  Over time you’ll see your seed grow into a sapling among thousands of other saplings.  And over some more time, all those saplings will grow into a forest where each plant is helping the plant next to it grow and develop into a strong tree.

Imagine what we could accomplish as a species and as a civilization if we all helped each other grow into strong trees rather than competed for the light and cut each other down to stumps.  Let’s leave the deforestation of each others’ characters, identities and happiness in the past where it belongs–right next to actual deforestation.

I’m Back & Meet The Mascot

This blog isn’t dead yet though it may have seemed that way over recent months.  My apologies for leaving you all hanging.  I got a job as a copywriter back in September doing a good amount of promotional writing for newsletters and marketing materials as well as working on several bulky product catalogs.  After writing all day at work it was hard to come home and write for PhAze 2, let alone the novel I’ve been working on for several months.  But I’ve been feeling the itch to get back to blogging and I feel now is as good a time as any to give it a good scratch–especially considering my stint as a copywriter is on its own hiatus for the time being.

PhAze 2 started as a project of mine, an attempt to carve a niche for myself in the new media scene that actually helps people rather than manipulates or uses them like a lot of mainstream networks.  Covering stories, issues or topics you typically won’t see on the news that inspire and empower people to make a real difference in the world.  Challenging institutions and conventions with critical thought and illuminating questions to help equal the playing field between the individual and the corporate-political matrix.  Creating original content designed to make you think, laugh, act or engage with others positively to do my humble part in advancing society to a more conscious, aware and compassionate future.  After a lot of thought and a brief hiatus to thoroughly explore the world around me, I think I’m ready to take PhAze 2 to the next stage of its development.

This is a recent sketch of mine, titled “The Skyship Bomber.”

PhAze 2 Mascot The Skyship Bomber
Meet PhAze 2’s tentative mascot, The Skyship Bomber. Dropping insight, playing watchdog and equipping readers with inspiration and empowerment to make a real difference in this world.

 

The Skyship Bomber (“Bomber,” for short) embodies courage, independence and liberty, soaring above the clouds to survey the earth, keeping an eye on those in power and dropping insight on those who seek it.  The Skyship Bomber is a metaphor for the vessel that is this blog, providing wings of cover for those who need it while shooting down corruption or those who perpetuate it.  He is a peaceful yet forceful public defender that has a sense of humor and spunkiness to spare (just get a load of that jet pack strapped onto the tail!).

It seemed natural to make this the mascot for my blog so that’s what I’m doing.  At least temporarily.  It could be the rush of adrenaline from writing my first blog post in nearly a year or it could be the refreshed conviction I feel from writing article after article about the jewelry industry and realizing I no longer want to be a part of that industry’s marketing efforts that is causing me to feel slightly more defiant and bold than usual.  I’m not sure.  But for now it feels right so I’m going with it.

I’ll be updating the structure, layout and utilities of PhAze 2 for the next couple days until I find a combination that sticks.  And of course, I’ll be adding some new content.  I have quite a few ideas in the works that I’m excited to experiment with and launch–including a possible column reviewing TED Talks–so be sure to check back in the next several days and see what’s going on.

Thank you so much for your readership and your patience as I’m coming into my own as a blogger and producer of content.  I’m looking forward to writing more and getting to know some of you through your comments.  Discussion makes the world go ’round–between your comments and my posts, we can join in the global conversation of spreading conscious knowledge.

Now, Carpe Diem!

-bw

Desire and Ambition, Life and Moments

Your dearest wish will come true.

After an interesting turn of events you suddenly come into possession of a small piece of paper that will grant you one wish, and one wish only.  What do you wish for?  Money?  Time?  Teleportation?  More wishes?

Whatever you wish for the piece of paper does nothing, aside from mock you with its inanimate indifference.  As you get ready to drop it the word “dearest” begins to glow in a bold sapphire hue, and the answer becomes clear:  you may have wished for something, but it wasn’t your dearest wish.

So now the question changes.  What is your dearest wish?  The return of a lost love?   To travel the world?  For good will to triumph over greed in the hearts of all people?

If your dearest wish was different from your first wish, why do you think that was?   Often when we think of having our wishes granted we tend to go for our desires rather than the causes of those desires:  we wish for money when we want security or happiness, for example, or we wish for love and fame when we are lonely.  Sometimes we wish for something self-serving rather than altruistic, thinking karma owed us one or only thinking of ourselves.  In most cases our initial wishes are quick fixes to our problems and fast ways to feed our material or superficial desires.  But there is one main error with this type of thinking, aside from when it is egocentric:

If we give more value to our material desires than the causes of those desires then we don’t  account for our “dearest wishes.”  This leaves us hollow as we acquire more material (items, money, property, stock, people in some cases) to fill the void instead of building a core of fulfillment within us.  What we gain in material we lose in inner peace and happiness.  So to preserve our inner peace and happiness we should give more value to our “dearest wishes” than our regular “wishes,” and focus more on the causes of our desires than the desires themselves.  If you want security and happiness for example, wish for a lifestyle that will make you the most happy and secure.  You’ll account for the causes of your desire for money (security and happiness), and the money will follow on account of your wish if your lifestyle involves some type of work or investment.

You can find the causes of your desires and material desires through introspection, self-reflection, and meditation on the things you desire and why.  But when it comes to the desire to be loved — a desire within us all — all you can really wish for is time and attention from someone you met somewhere or will meet somewhere, then put yourself out there.  We all want to love and to be loved, but on our own terms.  So with high supply and high demand by nature love is a volatile thing that requires the right chemistry to stabilize.  Just a little disclaimer before moving on.

A moment:  Yi hui er

Take a moment to think about your dearest wish or the cause of your greatest desires.  How does it make you feel?  Who does it benefit?  Why is it so important to you?

Think about how having this wish come true would change things from the way they are now.   Try to imagine what all would happen from this wish coming true and the possibilities that would come with it.

Now ask yourself:  What’s stopping you from making this wish come true?  Even if you’re wishing for money or more time to enjoy life, what is holding you back from making this wish a reality?

Every obstacle has a way around it, for where there is a will there is a way.  Ambition.  Be creative and look for all the possibilities.  Aspiring travelers can backpack through countries, work on cruise lines, do wildlife photography, volunteer with the Red Cross, offer scuba diving to tourists on coasts around the world (if accredited), or even become international five-star hotel reviewers.

On the other hand, if you’re worried about not having enough time to make your wish happen or to simply enjoy the life and time you have, it’s because you’re looking at time with too wide of a lens:  Life is made up of moments, like a mosaic made up of ceramic tiles.  Each and every second that passes by is an opportunity for you to take advantage of chance and choose to change your life to the way you want it to be.  Or alternatively, to change yourself and your circumstances to better align with the future you want to have and who you want to be.

If you take each moment as it comes and use it to work toward making your dearest wish a reality, then it will become a reality.  It’s just a matter of how determined you are to succeed.

The benefit of changing your life moment by moment is it doesn’t require any big changes, just little tweaks.  Over the course of time those little changes will build up to drastically alter your life-path in the direction you want to take it, whether it is toward your dearest wish or the cause of your greatest desires.  And as you make more choices that align you with your intended destination you will find yourself getting closer and closer to your goals.  As my former communications professor says, “we become who we are one choice at a time,” and to take this quote further, our lives become what they are one choice at a time.

So remember your dearest wishes and don’t let superficial desires hog all your attention.  By giving too much attention to the latter, you will likely stray from the path you set out for yourself.  As long as you take life moment by moment, achieving your dreams and ambitions won’t require you to make dramatic changes or sacrifice too much of your time.  Just ease into the reality you wish to see, think positive, and let time run its course.  You’ll get there eventually if you stay focused, determined, and open to all of the possibilities.

With Uncertainty Comes Possibility

Stars and space dust
The Horsehead Nebula.

There’s no telling what life has in store and somehow, that’s more comforting than a pre-determined and mapped out future.  Perhaps it’s because of the unlimited possibility that comes with not knowing what is going to happen next, or maybe it’s because you’ll always know that nothing stays the same forever.  Oceans evaporate and mountains crumble over time, kings and queens die, stars implode upon themselves and coal turns into diamond.  Change is constant.  Every passing second is an opportunity in bloom, an opportunity that remains invisible to the unopened or preoccupied eye.  All the while chance and choice dictate the changes that spread across the world in a ripple effect that eventually find their way to your doorstep.

You hear a knock on your door and are given the key to your destiny.  There’s no telling what is on the other side until you choose to open that door.  And even then you can still decide not to step through, out into the unknown.  But should you take that step you can rest assured that you dramatically increased the amount of possibilities available to you because with uncertainty comes possibility.  And with possibility comes excitement, opportunity, and potential.  With just a single step into the unknown you are living more than the person who has walked thousands of miles down a beaten path.  Anything can (and will) happen and as you take more steps on your journey the world opens up to you and reveals countless destinations or quick stops along the way, all inhabited by new people and more possibilities.  The adventurer cannot fail when he/she is walking through the unknown.  This is because the unknown is an adventure in itself.

There’s no telling what the future holds–the uncertainty of life is certain–and you can take comfort in that.  Because not knowing what lies on the next page is what makes life worth living.  Regardless of the circumstances, every passing second brings the possibility for change and opportunity.  And with them, another door to pass through.

The possibilities are truly endless.  Every beginning has an infinite number of ways to end.

There’s no telling where tomorrow can take you if you live for today.

Freedom, Liberty, and Autonomy

Social inequality
Pyramid of the Capitalist System.

We are raised to follow the rules and to go with the flow.  To mildly go where everyone has gone before in hopes that we’ll grow up into responsible, respectable adults who quietly sit in our cubicles and work hard everyday to make some other person rich.  “Don’t rock the boat,” our parents and teachers would say as they mapped out our daily schedules.  “Think this way, not that way.  Behave like this, not like that.”

As children we’re given these little boxes to fit into so we can be packaged and shipped off to the next stages in our lives, complete with postage stamping and other categorical labels meant to identify us.  At the same time we learn about the men and women who shaped the course of history:  Christopher ColumbusSusan B. AnthonyMartin Luther King Jr.  The Founding Fathers.  Rosa ParksAlbert EinsteinAbraham Lincoln.

Men and women society idolizes so much, yet takes strides against raising more individuals who share the celebrated qualities of these historical people.  Individuals who broke their molds and went against the norms of society.  “Give me liberty, or give me death!”  What kind of country would this be if Patrick Henry‘s immortal words did not echo through today’s classrooms?  Or if Thomas Jefferson decided it was best not to upset the English and refused to write the Declaration of Independence?  It’s hard to say.  Maybe there wouldn’t be an America at all.  Maybe the world as we know it would still be flat, in the center of the universe, with African slaves and women without rights if there were no individuals bold enough to change things.

For this reason, I say “rock the boat.”  Question authority.  Stay true to your convictions and principles.  Don’t let anyone stuff you inside one of their precious little boxes so they can put a pretty little bow on it and pass you on as another kitchen set or cardigan sweater for someone else down the line to use or re-gift later.  Because history is made by those who forge their own paths and think for themselves.  Those who aren’t afraid to stand up and be defiant.  Those who know what is right and where society has went wrong and aren’t intimidated by the challenge of fixing it.

Be you, above everything else.  An independent, thinking individual who doesn’t follow the herd or goes along with everything society tells you to do.  It isn’t anarchy and it isn’t even disobedience.  It’s freedom.  It’s liberty.  It’s autonomy.  And it’s your choice.

Now, carpe diem.  (Seize the day)

(Inspired in part by a couple amazing professors and the late, great, George Carlin)