Language: Words We Use Can Build Up Or Destroy

Language: Words We Use Can Build Up Or Destroy

Language Matters Words have meaning and power. The language we use shapes how we see and interact with the world. Most people are unintentional about the words they choose. They simply just speak into existence whatever comes into their mind. People with a tolerant personality tend to use more inclusive and humanizing language while those who see the world in adversarial terms speak in more exclusive and dehumanizing language. The video above from Mayim Bialik put this theory, the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, in very simple terms. When we call women 'girls', we're intentionally or unintentionally devaluing women and disempowering them. As she says, we wouldn't call professional men 'boys', so why do we call professional women 'girls'? Men, The Language We Use, And Respect Men are taught from a very young age that respect is linked to violence. We teach our sons to 'man up', 'toughen up', or 'grow some balls'. Phrases like 'I'd hit that', 'I'd tear that shit up', or 'I'd smack that ass' are...
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The Footsteps We Leave Behind Are Our Legacy

The Footsteps We Leave Behind Are Our Legacy

Legacy We leave footsteps on the world as we walk through life. Tonight we were watching This Is Us, the episode of William's memorial. After leaving a letter behind for his granddaughters to plan the service, Randall is finally able to sit back and let some of the stress in his life subside. Watching this, people William knew are sharing stories of how he touched their lives. His boyfriend shared how William faked knowing about football so he could 'fit in' among his friends. The mailman talked about how he and William became friends during his morning walk and always asked about his daughter. At one point, the mailman says: "Nobody just stops and talks anymore." It's through these tertiary stories that we see how huge an impact William had on the world around him. Although he wasn't around long, William left some pretty deep footprints behind. You often hear people talking about legacy. Gary Vaynerchuk is big on legacy. My friend Sam Crowley makes...
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Share Your Scars, Not Your Open Wounds

Share Your Scars, Not Your Open Wounds

Open wounds can get infected if you keep picking at them and don't allow them to heal. Sharing them with the world can spread the infection further than you realize. If there's one thing I preach constantly is that you should tell your story. Nobody else has the right to prevent you from doing so. Yet in doing so, you must be careful to share your scars and not your open wounds. We all get wounded in life. Whether through our own choices and actions or inflicted upon us by others, it's impossible to get through life unmolested. In the age of social media, it's easy to take to the internet and share your wounds with the world. The only problem is that displaying your wounds openly can cause infection in other areas of your life. Tend to your wounds and let your scars tell the story. Time Heals Eventually the wounds will heal and leave scars. It's the scars that tell the whole story,...
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Your Life: Is It A Warning Or An Example?

Your Life: Is It A Warning Or An Example?

Tony Robbins says "Everyone's life is either a warning or an example". You've seen the saying "No matter how big your house is, how recent your car is, or how big your bank account is. Our graves will always be the same size." It's a saying that while serving as a reminder to stay humble, it also dismisses what you accomplish in life. While we all may end up in the same size hole, there's so much more to our lives than just a race to the eternal dirt nap. In our lives we're becoming a story. We become stories of celebration and sadness, gain and loss, trials and tribulations. Don't Be A Warning People whose lives serve as a warning are all around us. They're the ones who constantly complain, playing the victim card, and take no actions to improve their lives. They're convinced that everything is everyone else's fault and that life happens to them. Warnings are the people who will undercut...
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Roll Down The Windows And Turn Up The Music

Roll Down The Windows And Turn Up The Music

Alan Watts once said that in music, one doesn't make the end of the composition the point of the composition. A piece of music is to be enjoyed as a tapestry or a painting, with all of the elements coming together to create a beautiful work of art. The same can be said about life. Life isn't about getting to the end, it's about enjoying the journey. This week on This Is Us, we witnessed an event that we knew was coming, the death of William.  We knew it was coming and we knew HOW his death was coming, but I don't think anyone was emotionally prepared for the kick to the gut this episode was. After a road-trip with his son, William died in a Memphis hospital, Randall's hands on his head keeping him calm. My wife and I shed more than a couple of tears while watching this incredibly sad and gut wrenching scene. During the trip, William shared some advice...
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Give A Damn. Change The World.

Give A Damn. Change The World.

The world needs you to give a damn. People need love and encouragement. Cities need revitalization. People are looking for leaders. Have you ever seen something that just bugged you, made you sad, or filled with righteous anger? Did the words "Somebody needs to do something!" escape your lips? Guess what? You're somebody. If it's something you can't stop thinking about, something you can't run away from, something that seems to keep popping up in your life... You're the somebody that's needed to do something. You're the somebody the world needs to give a damn. Take Pride In All You Do The world today is selfish and self-absorbed. People are rude, inconsiderate, and out for themselves. Customer service is a thing of the past and 'not my job' is how people operate. Screw that. It's amazing how we're grateful for even slightly better than (what used to be) mediocre service. Hell, we'll even take notice when someone is competent in their job. Didn't used to be that way. I firmly believe that how we...
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My 23 And Me DNA Surprise: I’m Not Italian?

My 23 And Me DNA Surprise: I’m Not Italian?

This morning, with much excitement, I opened my 23andMe DNA testing results report. My wife gave me a kit for Christmas and I've been impatient as hell waiting for the results. Everything I know about my family history, I learned through stories. My father's father was Sicilian, his mother was Lithuanian, while my mom's family was 100% Polish. Even though I have the skin color and facial features (read: Roman nose) of an Italian heritage, we used to joke that our family came from the "hairless Italians". As I got older and began looking into the etymology of my family name, I learned that it's an Arabic surname. OK, I thought, that's not too much of a stretch. Family legend says we're from Sicily, and the Italians colonized North Africa....so maybe there was some migration across the Mediterranean Sea.  That would explain the 'hairless' bit. So, when I opened my reports, I was expecting Eastern European, Italian, and North African to be...
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Education: The Cure For Hate And Ignorance

Education: The Cure For Hate And Ignorance

The world seems to be coming apart at the seams. Fear, ignorance, and bigotry rule the day. Decisions at the highest levels of government are made solely on emotion and not with reason and logic. Darkness seems to be winning the hearts and minds of people around the world. Millions of people are asking "What can I do?" To that, I say educate yourself and others. Education is the cure for hate, ignorance, and bigotry. Education Isn't Only In Books Educating yourself through school is important. In fact, it's the number one way to expand your horizons. Yet not all education can be found in books. Get Involved Do you have a cause that's weighing on your heart? Find an organization that addresses it and get involved. You'll learn more from doing and meeting people with the same passion as you than by simply reading articles and books. Travel Visit other cultures. Meet other people. Learn about how other people live. As Mark Twain said "Travel is fatal...
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Mrs. Landingham Doesn’t Want To Know You

Mrs. Landingham Doesn’t Want To Know You

There's a scene in the Two Cathedrals episode of the West Wing where we see the first interactions of Mrs. Landingham and a young Jed Bartlet. In the scene, they're discussing equal pay for women, a taboo topic for the time period, and she's challenging Jed to challenge his father. Over Jed's broken down car Mrs. Landingham says: Look at you. You're a boy king. You're a foot smarter than the smartest kids in the class. You're blessed with inspiration. You must know this by now, you must have sensed it. Look, if you think we're wrong, if you think Mr. Hopkins should honestly get paid more than Mrs. Chadwick, then I respect that. But if you think we're right, and you won't speak up 'cause you can't be bothered, then, God, Jed, I don't even want to know you. That scene says so much about the world today. It's easy to profess what you believe, particularly on social media, by sharing pictures, typing...
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Turning Crap Into Compost

Eventually Crap Turns Into Compost So, this morning I sat here, staring at the blinking cursor, wondering just what f*cking brilliance I had to share with the world today. I'd sit, write a few words, and then send the crap I just wrote to the recycle bin. Frustrated, I bopped over to Facebook and lo and behold the universe smacked me right in the face. A friend of mine who has been dealing with his own challenges posted the following: Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. Compost is a fertilizer that can be made from most of the leftover crap you have. Food, coffee grounds, old newspapers, and even dryer lint can be turned into compost. In the beginning, though, thrown together it looks like one giant pile of crap. Kind of like life sometimes. Sand, Oysters, Pearls, And All That Jazz When you're standing in the giant crap pile, it's often difficult to see the good that can come from it. Plus, as people, we tend to LOVE our problems because we...
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