Which pattern are you interrupting?

We get so caught up in the day-to-day grind, focus so much of our time and resources into putting out fires, that overtime, it becomes a regular pattern.

Comfortable with the uncomfortable:

“I can’t possibly go to the gym. I’m too tired in the mornings.”

“I can’t quit right now. That’s too risky in this economy.”

Small decisions that turn into a habit. Habits turn into patterns.

We dip our toe into the waters of change and are surprised to discover that the water is actually cold. Of course, the water is cold! That’s what makes it so hard to dive in.

We retreat back to our old ways.

So, the real question to ask if you are serious about changing things is deciding which patterns are you willing to interrupt for a while?

Are you willing to give up marshmallows?

And if you are seeking to change a part of the culture, how can you help others do the same?

“Tell them about the dream”

In 1963, Dr. King in front of a quarter of a million people said the following:

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.’

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

“I Have a Dream” has been recognized as one of the most important and iconic speeches in history.

Shockingly, the most quoted and famous passage above wasn’t part of the original text. Dr. King ad-libbed after Mahalia Jackson shouted from behind, “Tell them about the dream!”

That takes guts to improvise in front of that many people. The more important take away though is this: When we speak from the heart, tell a story about our shared vision of the world that does not yet exist; we can enable the impossible.

Stories are what change people’s minds. Tell them, the people you seek to change, tell them about the dream!

Because the world needs you to change things as they are to enable what is to come.

What makes someone a scholar?

Continuous learning.

That’s it.

And if you want to become an expert in your field?

Read 100 books on the subject.

So, what’s stopping you from becoming the best in the world at whatever it is you do?

How to be remembered

Do something memorable.

How?

There are many paths one can take.

You can create music, you can write a book, you can start a charity or volunteer your time…

There is no path.

You get to choose your art.

Whatever it is you decide, the shortest one always follows generosity.

Be generous.

New car smell

What are we really buying?

If someone can figure out how to bottle it, that be really cool. Alas, you just can’t beat the new car smell.

Why is that?

Because of the story we tell ourselves about a new car smell.

Everyone knows that a new car smell can’t last forever. As soon as it wears off, it no longer has the same glamour.

What we are really talking about is status. For a moment, we gain a bit of it when someone asks, “Is this new?”

Find a way for others get that status and you are on your way to gaining enrollment.

Of course, we are not just talking about a new car either.

How to respond to a critic?

Thank you.

Thank you for reading this blog.

Thank you for caring enough and to be brave enough to say something.

And now, it is time for me to go back to work.

Because that one critic doesn’t represent the whole world.

That one person represents one world view.

Perhaps though, it is a clue to what someone like them thinks.

And if it is someone you seek to serve, you can now make something better.

Doom and gloom?

Here are the highlights of 1968:

  • Dr. Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy were both assassinated.
  • North Korea captured the American surveillance ship USS Pueblo which led to an 11-month standoff that would ultimately worsen Cold War tensions.
  • Many, many protests had broken out in opposition to the draft and the Vietnam War.
  • Star Trek had aired its first interracial kiss.
  • We had successfully orbited the moon.
  • Olympic medalists, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, made a silent protest on stage for Human Rights.
  • Richard Nixon had been elected president.

We’ve come a long way over the last 50 years. And while the decade closes in perhaps not the best of places there is plenty to be hopeful for.

Because a record number of women, people of color and LGBTQ have been elected to congress.

Because we have seen the minimum wage raised in so many states.

Because of social movements like #metoo, #blacklivesmatter and #nobannowall.

Because the greedy and corrupt can’t hide the same way anymore.

Because in 30 years it is estimated that America’s majority will be people of color and mixed races.

Because more women are going to college than men.

While the problems we have are urgent and important, because of people like you, things have and continue to change.

It isn’t doom and gloom. The narrative is there to purposely cause people that care to give up.

Instead, make a ruckus.

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Phase-out people

We don’t actually say goodbye to as many people as we used to.

Thanks to social media, you can keep tabs, check-in or stock from a distance.

That shift is vastly different from ten years ago.

And so, we tend to keep people around us. Perhaps, even longer than we should.

Not everyone you meet is going to be extraordinary. As a result, we begin to surround ourselves around mediocrity and become more comfortable with it.

The real decision then is figuring out who is actually a real friend and who is just someone we know on Facebook.

Who is actually helping you become the person you want to be?

And…

Who is keeping you from reaching your goals?

Make no mistake, we need friends. Humans are built to connect. But the amount of friends has nothing to do with quality.

We need to surround ourselves with quality people. Even if we must say goodbye to some for a time and season.

Setting a good example from a distance maybe all we can do. It’s better than living under your potential.