Things Happen

As much as we’d like it to, life is never going to slow down. It seems as though life even tends to speed up the older we get. When we’re children, responsibilities are typically limited. Of course, this can be drastically different for some, but the only real worry for a lot of children is finding the next game to play and having fun. I can remember the school days and years moving by a bit slower then than they do now.

As we grow older, the responsibilities start to pile up. We go to school and take jobs to better ourselves and provide for our families. We enter new relationships and start families of our own. We exercise and have hobbies to express our creative side and help us relax. We have good days and bad. Sometimes the stress starts to creep in and an overwhelming feeling of pressure develops, affecting not only us but our loved ones around us. We regret things and tell ourselves we will change. Whether we actually do or not depends on how dedicated we are to really changing our lives and the ways we react to the things that happen to us.

At the end of the day, this is life. Life is made up of these “things,” with our reactions to these “things” determining how successful we will be. You’re not alone because plenty of people out there are going through something very similar, although that seems hard to imagine sometimes. Someone out there is going through something similar and is struggling with it, just as you may be. Someone out there is also going through something similar, but has accepted and made their peace with it, and is moving on with a positive attitude to the next “thing” in their life. It’s important to remember that the stress we feel every so often, or even everyday, is something that everyone else in the world is feeling as well. In order to succeed and live a happy life, being able to accept our “things” and find peace is essential.

Clearly, this blog is a vessel used to do just this. For you, it may be going for a walk with your dog. It may be reading or writing. It can be anything, but it must be something you find yourself. Thinking about the “things” going on in  your life and how you’ve dealt with them is step one on a long journey.

Dawes – “Things Happen”

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Discipline

Life is filled with distractions and excuses.

Before going to bed at night, you tell yourself you’re going to get in a workout at the gym before going to work the following morning. When you wake up, the snooze button on your alarm looks so tempting and you tell yourself a few more minutes and then you’ll get up. After waking up to the second alarm, you remember the nightly news said it would be quite a chilly morning and to watch out for snow and ice. One more snooze couldn’t hurt. Finally, you realize you’ll be late for work if you don’t get up now and you mosey on to the shower…that whole workout idea just wasn’t meant to be…

Upon your arrival to work, the first thing you see is a stack of papers on your desk and the “to do” notes you left for yourself from a lazy Friday. Today is definitely the day you get yourself caught up, but rather than digging in, you decide to log into your personal email and have a quick chat session with some friends that happen to be online. After this, it’s off to the kitchen to brew up some coffee and make your breakfast. On your way to and from the kitchen, there of course is some small talk with your colleagues. Once you finish up your breakfast and realize your a few minutes late for your first meeting of the day. Next, it’s lunch time. Then running out for a quick errand. One more meeting for the day…getting to all you said you would just wasn’t meant to be…

With your day just about complete, it’s finally time for the hobby you’ve been telling yourself you’d get back into to keep your mind on point and attempt to earn some extra cash on the side. Right after dinner, of course. But wait, the newest episode of your favorite show is on tv tonight! You can’t miss it…getting back to that hobby just wasn’t meant to be…but tomorrow is the perfect day!

I do these same things all the time, but have tried to realize that without focus and discipline, nothing will ever get done. Discipline is essential for success and without it, you will not continue to grow and better your life and the lives of those around you. Train yourself.

People here’s something that you should be considerin’

Things could turn bitter when you don’t use discipline

You might wake up the next day upset and in fear

Buggin out, yappin’ bout “How the f!@# did I get here?”

Gang Starr – “Discipline”


Bridges

Never burn a bridge.

Every bridge was built for a reason.

Art by Lena - "A New Day's Morning"

Art by Lena – “A New Day’s Morning”

 

The reason will reveal itself in time.

 


Be Easy

Life is filled with ups and downs, better times and harder times, good and bad everything. No one has it easy all the time and it is those who decide not to let the struggle get to them that come out on top in the end. Of course, some are dealt a much harder hand than others, but the proper tools are available to guide you to where you want to be regardless of where you come from.

Sometimes what is needed may be found in a book of philosophy. I’m currently reading Meditations by Marcus Aurelius and I’d recommend it to anyone looking to learn more about character, acceptance, focus and control…Sometimes what is needed may be found in the success stories of others who have gone through a similar struggle. It’s always helpful when you can learn about and relate to someone and what they’ve overcome in their lives…and sometimes what is needed may be found in the lyrics or music of a song. As is evident by the posts on this page, I commonly find inspiration and lessons in various types on music and I suggest listening to music a bit deeper to see if there are any lessons you may be able to take for yourself and apply to your own life.

I heard a song called “Be Easy” by Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings the other day and it got me thinking. First of all, I love Sharon Jones and the classic soul vibe her and her band provide so it’s just a good, relaxing listen. The title of this particular song made me think of how important it is in life to “be easy” and not let any one thing affect you and your livelihood too much. Face it, you are going to go through rough times and things are not always going to go your way. You will be stressed at work. You will fight with a loved one. You will do some things that you will immediately regret.

Fortunately, for all of us, these things are just part of life. The downs that come with the ups. They are not things that happen only to you because the world hates you. Once you realize life is going to happen regardless of what you do, it will be easier to accept the fact that you can’t control everything. Control what you can, what is inside of you, and accept the rest as it is. Be the best person you can be – hard working, loving, respectful – and let everything else go. If you can do this, you should start to find that happiness you’ve been looking for. Realize that life will happen as it should and all you can do is be easy

Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings – “Be Easy”


Respiration

As you grow older, priorities and responsibilities naturally grow as well. A natural progression leads to our priorities changing from things like what toy to ask for at Christmas time, to what school you want to attend, to whether or not to take your relationship to the next level, to worrying about making a deadline at work.

While all of this is going on, it’s sometimes easy to get caught up in the day to day grind and forget to breathe. When things get a bit too hectic, take a step back and take a few minutes for yourself. A mid-day walk, moment of silence or throwing your headphones on to escape to your favorite song can help you find your focus again.

It’s easy to let the little things pile up to become something unmanageable but before that happens, remember to breathe. You can handle any situation thrown at you one step at a time.

Black Star ft. Common – “Respiration”


Self Esteem

It’s not something that everyone has. I suppose whether a person has it or not is determined by the environment that person comes from. Maybe it comes from this environment, plus a collection of experiences, relationships and situations that result from living one’s life. It seems to me that it all has to start at home. We’re all born as a clean slate. From day 1, it’s the love that our parents, siblings and family show us that leads us to think something of ourselves. To think that we should be loved and that we deserve it. To think that how we feel, the things we do, the things we accomplish…it all matters.

I have been blessed to come from a close-knit home with loving parents and a great older brother. This has led me to think something of myself, but it has also led me to be able to realize that not everyone out there is as fortunate. It’s easy to see the results of being raised in a loving home and also the results of being raised in a home that was not as loving. It may lead to doubts, may lead to stressful relationships, maybe even trust issues. It may lead to a lot of things…

But as long as you want to make yourself better, you can. No matter where you came from. No matter who your parents were or what your home was like. As you move through life, make a point to learn everything you can about the world and about yourself. Open your eyes to everything around you and turn the smallest things into lessons to improve yourself. This will hopefully lead to a high self esteem, and the realization that you matter. After you love yourself, it will be possible for others to love you as well.

One person we all know that does not have any self esteem issues is Kanye West. I’ve been a fan of Kanye since I first heard him back in college before College Dropout even came out. I always thought the amount of talent he has is amazing, and I always found that I felt good after listening to his music. It left me in a good mood, feeling positive and motivated…I recently watched a very cool interview with Kanye and Zane Lowe. Sure, he has his moments throughout the interview, but I always find a great message when he speaks. After watching this interview, something Kanye said made me realize why I enjoy his music so much…

watch.

listen.

learn.


Life Breeds Life

I’ve recently had the pleasure of expanding my new family by welcoming a puppy into the fold. I had always wanted a puppy while growing up, but I can see now why my parents may have been a bit hesitant. It’s been about a month now and it’s been no easy task getting this guy up and running. For hardworking parents of two young boys, it certainly would not have been an easy situation given the amount of time and attention a puppy really needs to grow into a respectful and well behaved pup.

The past month has been a great learning experience for my little family. It’s already clear to see that a puppy, just like a baby, is a direct product of their environment. A calm, respectful environment breeds just that. On the other hand, a loud, disrespectful environment will do the same.

When something is done “wrong,” and it is met with anger or frustration, I’ve often seen that the action is repeated again and again. I don’t really know if the reason for this is that my pup doesn’t understand where the anger comes from and what point I’m trying to get across, or if he simply doesn’t like my reaction and feels disobeying me on purpose is more satisfying.

Rather than react this way when not approving of certain actions, I’ve found that reinforcing the positive actions is having a great result. Slowly but surely, the little guy is learning and he’s even becoming more affectionate as we continue to show more love. Simply ignoring, or calmly readjusting the negative and reinforcing the positive is much easier said than done, especially when you have some barking right in your face…but this is not just a helpful tip for raising a dog.

Apply this same theory to other parts of your life. If there are negative things going on in your life, ignore them…they will go away. Why would someone continue to bring negative actions around you if you simply don’t care and don’t react to their actions? They probably won’t waste their time and they’ll move on to the next person that will show them some attention. If it’s not possible to completely ignore, calmly readjust the negative actions. Try to meet every negative with some kind of positive. This will cancel out the negative and eventually, win it over.

This theory can be applied to so many things in life. Work, relationships, health, creativity, productivity, whatever it may be…think back to the simple lesson of raising a puppy. Embrace the positive things in your life and you’ll see things get better and better. Just expect a few accidents on the floor or some barking along the way…

My man 50 knows what’s up too…

 

50


Awareness

You will find in your life that success often comes with a price. People in your life that have always treated you one way may start to act differently around you once you begin to become more successful than they are. As Jay-Z said in “Lucky Me”…

Any type of success breeds envy.

As you live your life, continue to make progress. Get an education. Use this education to secure a well paying job, or create your own job. Keep your life balanced with hard work and relationships with loved ones. Keep your family and friends close. Keep that one person that means most even closer. Grow together.

All the while, know that there will be people around you that will not continue to grow. They will get stuck in their ways, become satisfied with the status quo and no longer have the desire to better themselves and their situation. Because of this, they will see your success and jealousy will begin to set in. Always be aware and take people as they are, knowing that the only person you can change is yourself.

“Every dollar you make comes with a set of eyes and a set of loose lips if ever you ever hide.”

Skyzoo – “Necessary Evils”


Acceptance

You can’t always control everything in your life. As hard as you may work, and as focused as you may be, there will still be things that that are out of your control. Knowing this and accepting this will allow you to move forward and be as successful as you can be with the hand that you were dealt.

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“Things aren’t working out like they’re supposed to but at least they’re working out.”

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With this knowledge, take a look at your life. There is a reason things are the way they are. Most of us aren’t rich so we have to learn the value of a dollar and in turn, we truly appreciate hard work, regardless of the monetary outcome. Most of us have to work at relationships, whether it be one with family, friends, a loved one or ourselves. In turn, a successful relationship can truly be appreciated. A similar approach can be taken with anything in your life.

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Negatives are positives.

Life always has meaning and purpose.

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“If you ask yourself if anything is meaningful, you’ll find that everything is…no doubt.”

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Peter Bjorn and John – “Stay This Way”


Priorities

top priority

peace before everything

The most important thing you can have in your life is peace. Peace can mean something different for everyone, it’s all about how you define it. It can literally mean a lack of violence, which for some, is everything. If you grew up in a home or neighborhood where violence was present, finding a way to escape that violence is key to improving your life. Peace can also mean an inner peace. An acceptance of what your life is and an acknowledgement that there is only so much you can change. Find the peace you need to lay the groundwork for moving ahead in life.

god before anything

I’m not a very religious dude, at least in the church going sense. I do believe in something, however, which I think is very important. In no way will I preach anything on this point, but I do feel it’s a good idea to think about the possibility of something bigger out there. If maybe there was something, and maybe someday you had to look back on how you lived your life, would you be happy with how you did? Always think about this question as you encounter different situations, problems, relationships, people, jobs etc.

love before anything

When you find peace in your life, it allows you to find love. Without peace, you’ll never truly be able to love anything or anyone and feel that love in return. As you move through different stages of life, love can mean drastically different things. When you’re a kid, you (hopefully) love your parents. You might love a sport, you might even love a new toy you got for Christmas. As you mature, you’ll find that love is a much bigger thing than you ever thought, and it relates to not only yourself but to others. Love shifts from being about things that make you happy to being about things that make others happy. Never force love, just let it enter your life when it’s ready and when you’re ready. It’ll hit you someday and that will be a good day.

real before everything

It’s important to always remain true to yourself. Never fall victim to doing something because it’s cool or because you’re friends are doing it. Everything you do should genuinely interest you and everyone you associate with should be a part of your life because you truly want them to be. If you don’t remain true to yourself, you’ll never find peace in your life and never find the love that peace allows.

home before anyplace

I’m fortunate to have grown up in a very loving home. Family is one of the most important things you can have in life because the support of a loving family is necessary to deal with everything life is going to throw at you. You may not have grown up in an ideal home, but that does not mean you’re a lost cause. Family can mean many different things. Friends, partners, co-workers, mentors, anything. You do have family in your life, you just have to realize who that family is and that they will be there for you as you come across different hardships throughout your life.

life is good…as is mos def…

Mos Def – “Priority”