This book represents a collection of various thought provoking views and ideas regarding certain topics germane to us all. No matter where you are in life, this book will undoubtedly stimulate your curious tendencies.
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Lock my body…can’t trap my mind
Ever since I can remember, I have always had a high aptitude for numbers. Whether it was arithmetic, algebra, calculus, geometry, or physics, mathematics has always been my preferred and most passionate subject. I believe my appreciation for math stems from its universal nature. After all, math is the lingua pura. One plus one equals two whether you are of Asian, European or African decent. It was the literature, grammar, writing, and history courses that truly challenged me. English class in particular was hell! I found it very difficult to develop any emotional intensity for reading and writing about English literature, principally because I could not relate to the subject matter. Ironically, one of my passions is writing poetry. I have come up with countless ideas and ways to utilize that talent. Unfortunately, I did not possess the resources or the motivation to bring them to fruition.
What I am leading up to is that my life experiences have led me to toy with the notion of writing a book. Knowing how much I have always loathed reading and writing, I saw this as an opportunity to confront one of my fears and weaknesses. I have succeeded at everything that I consciously knew I was capable of doing. I now have the urge to challenge and develop myself by trying to accomplish something that is totally out of my character. For me, writing a book was the last thing I would imagine myself doing. Anyone who knows me personally will undoubtedly agree.
In the back of my mind, I figured it was just one of the many hustles and bright ideas that I have come up with in the past that would eventually fall short and fade away. But it never faded. Although I felt confident about this venture, I was still very skeptical about this whole book thing until one day I said, What the hell! Why not? So I began my writing and let a close friend of the family read what I had written. She was ecstatic about the draft and encouraged me to continue writing. So I did. Another close friend read what had by then evolved into a few chapters. Again, I received positive encouragement to continue with my writing intentions. At that moment, I knew I was going to write and publish this book.
What began as a free write, emerged as an expression of various thoughts and perspectives. I must admit, it is rather difficult to express the intricacies involved in bringing this book to fruition. Early on, I had no idea how much dedication, discipline, and determination this undertaking would require. My efforts have definitely been a strain on my social life and friendships. I feel the need to commend those around me who have remained supportive throughout this journey.
This book has undoubtedly been shaped by the opinions and beliefs that I have formed through the experiences of my young life. It contains a number of celebrated sayings that I have referenced because I feel that they amplify my own perspectives. However, the opinions expressed are my own and I take full responsibility for them.
I would hope, nevertheless, that the reader does not conclude that I am a pertinacious person. I know that my youthful opinions may change as I grow older, but that is an anticipated achievement for me because that would only be indicative of my own growth and maturity. However, at this particular time in my life, these are my thoughts.
In no way is this manuscript intended to disrespect or belittle any person, race, culture, society, faith, religious sect and/or nation. I did not write this book in the interest of financial rewards or recognition. If I can help only one person to appreciate any aspect of his/her life from a totally different and hopefully positive perspective, then I have reached my goal in writing this book.
Everything’s Corrupted Once Man Touches It
We also tend to make a competition out of every situation. It seems as though we have to be the best, at all costs. Competition can be a good thing; that is, if all parties involved are competing for an outcome that would benefit everyone. A common misconception with regards to competition implies that it produces a winner and a loser. There is such an outcome, branded win-win, which generates mutual benefits. Unfortunately, our society has been conditioned to equate a second place finish to failure, deeming it far from acceptable and less worthy of praise. Winning and losing is a state of mind and not necessarily an outcome. What this implies is that winning and losing are in the eyes of the beholder. However, we may think we are winning at a particular point in time while in actuality we are probably losing in some other aspect of competition.
With that, I try not to spite any opposition; rather I might strive to understand and respect their purpose and position. As goals are reached and new goals are set, those who previously opposed may become allied due to shifts in interests. It is not totally unheard of for adversaries to find a common ground and eventually form an alliance. Contrary to what one may think, it appears to be rather common, almost routine. This appears to be evident in the history of our civilization and the ever fluctuating relationships between nations. Taking that into consideration, it almost seems prudent to develop some type of respect for any opposition; otherwise, how would the potential for future alliance have any practicality?
Our win/lose mindset may stem from society’s attitude regarding right and wrong. We have to be right, all the time. This entire disposition may eventually lead to the destruction of this world. As the sun sets in one part of the world, it rises in another. So I can claim that the sun is setting while another can contest that the sun is rising. Both of us are telling the truth, from our own perspectives; thus, two people can both be right from opposing viewpoints.
Just because I do something one way does not mean it is the best way for everyone else. What is best for me may be the worst for the next man. At the same time, maybe we could always be open to new ideas and be willing to try new things. I like to wash dishes as I cook, while others like to focus on cooking, and then wash the dishes. Neither method appears to be wrong or right; we just do whatever suits us best. In some cultures, it is a sign of aggressiveness and disrespect to look a person directly in the eyes when talking to them, whereas in my culture it may be considered disrespectful and dishonest to not look a person in the eyes while speaking with them. Maybe we should show more appreciation for those who do things differently than us. We just might learn something.
Some of us think we are wise because we are educated. If we do happen to be educated, some of us might give the impression that we know everything there is to be known. To acquire knowledge, we study, but to acquire wisdom, we listen, observe, and experience. I would say knowledge is nothing but information made relevant, while wisdom is the experiential know how. I know people who dropped out of high school and are far wiser than those who are considered to be knowledgeable and educated.
Allow me to draw on a baseball analogy: Some of us are born on third base thinking that we hit a triple. We might not make it to the home plate because we do not know how to run the bases. All we know is that we are on third base and home plate is ninety feet away. Similarly, for someone who got walked to first base and made it to third by way of a sacrifice pop fly, getting to home plate may be awfully hard because they never had to advance on their own. But for someone who hit a double and stole third base, getting to home plate is the easy part.
We who are uneducated may have triumphed over many struggles and could be getting more out of life than those of us who are educated but have faced little or no hardships and adversity.
We are so arrogant in our ways that sometimes we would rather believe in our own intelligence and supremacy than to put all trust in God. For example, a group of highly educated, experienced, skilled, experts built a colossal, flawless vessel, aptly named the Titanic. It mainly consisted of steel, which is also man made. Conversely, an elderly drunken fool built an Ark out of wood, which is a natural resource. The Titanic never completed its first voyage while the Ark withstood the wrath of God.
Whatever we may have in store for someone, someone out there probably has in store for us. What we live by—whether it be mercy, honor, money, respect, love, hatred, murder, aggression, praise, loyalty, greed, pain, generosity, bigotry, honesty, infidelity, betrayal, violence, intolerance, selfishness, trust, or pleasure—we die by.
So it seems that by our own actions, we initiate the positive and negative forces that affect our own lives.
Always Forward I’m Movin’; Never Backwards
What would our world be without time? To age, is to grow old or mature; yet, we seem to restrict age to the time one has lived. Once again I will make reference to Noah Webster; according to his dictionary, to age is to become wiser and more prudent. Perhaps age has nothing to do with the concept of time as it pertains to seconds, minutes, hours, days, and years. We may exist at a moment in time, but following death, how is time measured? Life after death is believed to be eternal, so what is time then? Assuming life after death is eternal, one could conclude that time could be considered worldly and will remain here in this world. Time as we conceptualize it, could simply be a method of gauging the sequence of our existence on this earth.
I would contend that eternity might be the true measure of time. The irony is that we seemingly have no clue as to what eternity actually is. Everything we think we know about time is based on our own finite existence. So for a finite mind to comprehend and understand an infinite concept, such as eternity, may very well be ridiculous.
As previously stated, to age is to grow wiser and more prudent; however, a person’s age merely reflects a number. We sometimes assume that just because someone is greater in age, they are smarter or wiser; and just because someone is younger in age, they are foolish and immature. Sometimes that may not always be the case.
Generally speaking, we all make mistakes and we all seem to experience the same types of problems. However, we deal with those problems differently and how we deal with those problems may determine how much experience we will gain, as a result. Perhaps the pain suffered measures experience in life. We should rejoice in our sufferings, because to suffer and succeed depicts perseverance; and perseverance has been known to build character. For me, the more pain I feel, the more experienced I become. If I fall seven times, then I will stand up eight times. Sure I may bruise my knees or hurt myself falling time after time; but once I learn how to stand up and stay up, I feel as if I have gained some experience in standing up. So, from then on, I would utilize my acquired experience in standing up, to avoid falling down again. As I endure this recurring learning process and apply it to the various aspects of life, it seems as if my mental vigor steadily intensifies. It almost seems as if the more I fail, the more I succeed.
Some of the best advice I ever received was when I was told, Just listen! It may have sounded harsh at the time but as it soaked in, I asked myself, How am I ever going to learn anything if I’m always talking? No matter the situation, it became evident to me that it would behoove me to watch and listen, every once in a while. Presumably, some of us would rather overly discuss ourselves and impose our own opinions, than listen to and value someone else’s. How could one not find any pleasure in understanding and appreciating another person’s point of view?
I have also noticed that when seeking guidance, it might be prudent to ask someone who has experienced a similar situation rather than someone who has learned how to deal with it. The learned may have the most modern theories to offer, but the experienced has actually applied them.
Maybe a wealth of experience can be gained by simply observing. Perhaps a lot of us have trouble observing for a number of different reasons: our egos would not allow; we may be too busy talking; we could be closed minded and stubborn; and so on and so forth. Because they can be so naive, children are excellent observers. Not only do they see and hear but they also watch and listen. They know not how to close their minds or satisfy their egos, so they seem to observe everything with an open mind, eager to learn. Unfortunately, things change and as time passes and children inevitably become increasingly more influenced by their surroundings.
As time continues to advance, it would appear that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Our world is an excellent example:
During the age of discovery and exploration Columbus, Magellan, and various other explorers all surfaced as heroes and icons. The results of their expeditions changed the world forever.
The Renaissance yielded a host of talented craftsmen, architects, artists, poets, scientists, sculptors and musicians. Consequently, Michelangelo, Leonardo, Galileo, Bernini, Raphael, and many others emerged as highly regarded masters of their respective crafts.
Our ancestors witnessed an industrial age, which changed their entire way of living. As a result, Rockefeller emerged as one of the most powerful wealthiest men in the world.
A short time ago, we took part in an information technology revolution, from which Gates emerged as one of the wealthiest, most prominent figures in the world.
As inconsistent as these world-changing events may seem, they all share a common theme. Each generation or era elevates our lifestyles, while ushering someone or a group of people to world renowned status.
So it seems that everything must change. In fact, the only thing that may never change is the fact that everything changes. Picture our lives without change. If nothing changes, nothing would ever change. If we always did what we always did, we would always get what we always got. The same processes would always yield same results. Some of us may want to travel happily straight ahead down our little paved road and do the same thing forever. And should that road bend or curve—still headed in the same direction—we would immediately lose sight of everything and begin to panic. We may have grown so accustomed to our routines that we believe it to be impossible to reach our goals any other way.
I have always been told: If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. While I am in total agreement with that cliché, there in could lie a problem. Those of us who seem to think we are doing just fine might begin to question the notion of change. I would think that we all have faults in our ways, leaving plenty of room for self-improvement. A strong relationship with God may be a pretty solid foundation for self development. Ephesians 1:17-19 implies that a belief in God affords us the power to become what she calls upon us to be; and that changing for the better will lead to life’s fulfillment.
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