Archive for August, 2011

motivational mondays – how great you are

08/22/2011

It has been 7 weeks and 6 days since I quit my job.

It has been 7 weeks and 6 days since I took my first true direction-changing choice with my life. For 25 years, my life was predetermined. I rolled with it. I did everything that was expected: I went to school and I got good grades; I went to work and stored money for college; I went to college and stored knowledge for work; I got internships, I networked, I got a job, and I made friends. Challenges were met and overcome along the way, but they were challenges laid before me by a system I entered into because it was normal. Because it was expected.

I have now done what is unexpected. And in that, I have incidentally inspired.

incidental inspiration

I say this with no pride. It has been a song sung to me for the past 7 weeks and 6 days, and it is a heartening song, one I did not expect to hear in such abundance, if at all. After I quit, I had more than a dozen friends and family members tell me they wish they could do what I did. I had no less than a few tell me they were probably going to quit their jobs soon to pursue the life they want to live. I had no intention to persuade, and yet I’ve influenced, albeit incidentally.

It is amazing to me how we inspire one another by simply doing what we love. History is wrought by people who have provided that beacon of light for so many. How many musicians have been inspired by Johnny Cash, by Aretha Franklin, by Charlie Parker? How many authors have been inspired by Ernest Hemingway, by J.R.R. Tolkien, by Ray Bradbury? How many businessmen and women have been inspired by Warren Buffet, by Henry Ford, by Edward Bernays?

What did all of these people do that made them so inspirational? Simple. What they loved.

My cousin asked me the other night if I could ever go back into public relations.

“Could you ever see yourself being a marketer again?” he asked. “Would you ever go back into PR?”

“No.” My immediate response.

He smiled at how self-assured I sounded. “Why do you say that?”

I hesitated, searching for the proper explanation. “I know it sounds kind of stupid, but I know…I just know…that I have to be a writer. I can’t let myself get distracted mentally, ya know?”

He shook his head and seemed to get a little irritated. “That pisses me off that you say it like that.”

I was a little taken aback. “Why?” I asked.

“It doesn’t sound stupid that you know what you want to do with your life,” he said. “That’s awesome. There’s so many people that wish they could do what you’ve already done. Look at a lot of the people who’ve made it big. They all did what you did. They made some big decision and took the plunge. They risked it all. That’s what you’re doing.”

That was just plain cool to hear.

how great you are

When was the last time you told yourself how great you were? When was the last time you did something with supreme passion or an ideal sense of direction, knowing it was right and good? When was the last time you put in the hours to be great? The last time you dedicated yourself to something so completely that all else became a blur?

Was it earlier today? A week ago? Five years ago? Have you ever, truly?

Ask yourself this question very seriously, and visualize your answer. Visualize what it was you did that propelled you along the path to greatness. Whether you’re there yet or not, it doesn’t matter. “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” Do this thing. I did it. I’m doing it. Do I have anything published? No (and I don’t count this blog haha). But that doesn’t matter. I’m doing what I love and I’ve been more content these past 7 weeks and 6 days than I have been in 7  years.

We can all be great. We all have the potential. But our repeated actions day in and day out must demonstrate that fact. “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.

So ask yourself this: “How great can I be?”

And in the meantime, imma show you how great I am.

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when beauty fades

08/18/2011

Dying flowerWhen beauty has faded,

where will you turn?

When beauty has faded,

what fire will burn?

When beauty has faded,

will you remember its core?

When beauty has faded,

will you dig deeper for more?

We put trust in appearance,

in nice shiny things.

We adore accumulation,

and the wealth that it brings.

But is it wealth that it brings,

or misery instead?

For what wealth can be had,

when we all end up dead?

Will that Coach purse come with you,

to the grave six feet under?

Or that beautiful woman,

who tears your heart asunder?

How bout the diamond ring

and the veneer of beauty it brings?

Or that sofa and loveseat,

where you kick up your feet?

Nay, none of it will join you

as you lie ‘neath your engraving.

So what’s the purpose, what’s the point,

of all of these foolish cravings?

We want and we want,

so we can take it for granted.

Because after some time,

we’re no longer enchanted.

For the beauty it fades,

like night into day,

like a harsh stab of pain,

like a cold spring rain.

Nothing will last,

even earth will feed the flames.

So for all this, what can we do,

when we meet with no acclaim?

Well I’ll tell you one thing,

that I know for sure.

When I learn of the answer,

I’ll give you all the grand tour.

motivational mondays – creation

08/08/2011

creation kanjiAnybody can destroy. The most spiritually bereft can step on an ant hill, can take a sledgehammer to something beautiful, can kill another human being. Real worth is demonstrated by those who create.

Now that’s not to say that destruction isn’t, at times, favorable. In fact it can sometimes be necessary in order to create. But if all you do is destroy, whether it be physical, spiritual or moral, then you may need to more deeply examine yourself and your values.

create a character

The possibilities are boundless when it comes to creativity. One of the most beneficial things I’ve found in my life is to periodically create a fictional character. Now I’m sure some of you are thinking that it only works for me because I’m a [wannabe] writer. I have to create characters. That line of thinking would be false. I create characters out of context all the time to help me get through trying – or just plain interesting – situations. Sounds odd, but stick with me.

Take some aspect of either someone you know or just your imagination and run with it. Create this character’s physical appearance, moral stance, spiritual leaning and level of intellectual prowess.

  • Is he attractive or the most hideous person you’ve ever seen?
  • Is he moral, immoral or amoral?
  • Does she practice Islam, Judaism or Christianity? Maybe she’s atheist because she was raped when she was little and, based on that, she can’t rationalize that a benevolent God figure would exist who let that happen
  • Would he feel remorse or pride if he killed someone in self defense?
  • Is she a book-worm or an athlete? Maybe a balance of both? Maybe she got injured running in the Olympics and has to realign her goals?
  • Is he a veritable Don Quixote? Or maybe a Tyler Durden?

Let your imagination run wild with this! Take at least 15-30 minutes to create this person and simply enjoy the creative process.

the fatal flaw

Then, with all good characters, give them a flaw. No good character exists who does not have flaws. It’s human to have flaws, and we all want people we can relate to. People with whom we can share anxieties and fear. With whom we can talk to privately and feel a deeper connection. Nobody likes a flawless person because he doesn’t exist.

Now the key to creating this flaw, as it relates to this post and your character creation, is to give this character a flaw to which you can relate. A flaw that you and your character can both overcome. Perhaps there’s a girl behind the coffee shop counter you like but have been unable to approach. Maybe you have a boyfriend to whom you want to commit but find you can’t. What if a close relative or friend is on their deathbed and you can’t find the right words to say?

apply the character to your situation

What would your character do in your situation? What do you think is the most appropriate action? Are you one to take that action or is your character better suited? If the character is better suited, ask yourself why that is? Determining this will allow you to modify your own action and put it more in line with what you think should happen.

By creating an ideal, it gives us something to live up to. People do this all the time with religious and historical figures. What would Jesus do? Malcolm X wouldn’t stand for injustice so why should I? And so on and so forth.

Creation is a beautiful thing. It can be done to further a cause, to fulfill a dream, or simply for the thrill of creating something original. So use your Monday to create something. Anything. I recommend a character, but then again I’m biased.

What will you create before death comes calling?

there is no try

08/05/2011

A wise little green man once said, “Do or do not. There is no try.”Yoda

I find this to be more true the further I go and the deeper I delve into my writing.

I am committed. There is no turning back now.

A couple people told me a month ago that if I don’t find a certain degree of success within the year that I should re-evaluate my decision and consider going back into public relations, into the good ol’ 9-5. The more and more I think about it, I realize that my return to that field, and to that lifestyle, is next to impossible now.

For that would mean that I had given up on my dreams.

And that I will not do.