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Quote of the Week: Conflict of Will & Imagination

“When the will comes in conflict with the imagination, the imagination always carried the day”

-Émile Coué

 

You will live up only to the level of your self-image. You will only accomplish what you can see yourself accomplishing. It’s your mind, so use it wisely.

 

You have no time for negative thoughts. You simply don’t have time to listen to what the media or your peers tell you who you are or who you should be. You’re better off eradicating your negative beliefs and installing new ones. You wouldn’t let your yard be overcome by weeds and thorns, would you? Time to take a mental mower to the conditions you let get out of hand.

 

The unwitting dissenters will see this message as a contradiction. Rather, it is a corollary. See first, then accomplish.

 

Take responsibility for your beliefs. You have everything to lose, and everything to gain. Think, breathe, and live your improved self-image. The world does not change your belief; instead, belief changes your world.

 

Questions? You know where to find me.

 

 

How to Overcome Rationalization

From Reader Mikeemisme, Kindly requested before my hiatus:

Most people don’t succeed because they don’t even try. Now there’s something to be said about refining yourself, but after a certain point you just need to *do*

Imagine the young aspiring athlete who spends hours reading about workouts and proper free-throw shooting technique, but never steps into the gym. Or the man who wants to start his business, but never moves past multiple readings of how to start a business. Or, worse yet, the man that studies the act of approaching people in public, but (you guessed it) never approaches anyone in public.

 

To all these, I ask: what are these people waiting for?

 

To you, I ask: what are YOU waiting for?

 

I can just hear the excuses now:

 

I’m just not ready yet: Truth is, you will never be 100% ready. But I’ll tell you what: making a move when you’re 10% ready beats the daylights out of never starting. If you never start, consider yourself a Zero Percenter.

I’m waiting for the right time: All things considered, there is no right time. So why not wait after making a move? Instead of waiting to start your business, start your business and wait. Instead of looking for that perfect window to speak to someone, just speak to them and see where things go.

If you’re dealing with a time-sensitive discipline, such as investing, then there may be a favorable time after all. But in the meantime, ask yourself what practical steps you can take right now. The answer might just surprise you.

I have no idea what I’m doing: That’s good, because doing is practice. When you figure out where you went wrong, you can go back to the drawing board, in the aim to adjust later. This is a successful method of mixing in theory & practice.

I’m just lazy: Make a to-do list. Keep it short, 3 to 5 items. Do them, check off, repeat. This will form a habit and push you into unthinking, machine-like productivity.

 

Is there an excuse I missed? Post it below. To the rest of you: go forth and do good.

 

On Shame/Guilt Mindset

From The Rawness, an interesting & recurring discussion of guilt and shame:

 Many people think shame and guilt are the same thing, but they are very difference. To reiterate a concept I’ve discussed in the past, guilt is feeling bad about something you did, while shame is feeling bad about what you are, your very essence, your very identity

 For shame-based people, even what little sense of guilt they have ends up fused with shame, making it something called toxic guilt. That is, they can’t separate their guilt from their shame, meaning they can’t separate their actions from their identity. For example, when you are operating from a sense of guilt, you can say something like “I am a good, decent guy who just happened to do a stupid thing. Doing something stupid doesn’t make my whole identity defective.”

The concept here is a simple one: a “guilt-based” mindset will see that a misstep lies in their actions; a “shame-based” individual will see that same mistake infused within their identity.

So how does one overcome an unhealthy shame-based mindset?

The first part is simple: establish your identity. No, you are not defective or fundamentally flawed. Despite the billion dollar industries that tell you to what to buy/how to vote/where to eat, you will not be a loser or suffer any harm to your self-image if you choose to go your own way.

Your identity should be set on a just-because truth: I am a good, decent person. Why? Not because of what you did, or where you grew up. You’re worthy because you’re here.

Secondly, realize when you do it. As mentioned I the article, the problem is not limited to mistakes and lows; when one achieves a successful feat, they may also be tempted to believe “I am awesome!” Avoiding identifying with actions & results, whether positive or negative, will allow you to maintain a constant truth of yourself: I am a good, decent person.

Quick note: I’ve mentioned before that one can build confidence by setting action-based goals. Such is consistent with the message here. When one achieves goal after goal they set, the mindset is not “Look how awesome I am,” but rather, “I have achieved this in the past, and I am capable of achieving more in the future.” Conversely, if those goals were met with resistance or failure, the message may be “I am a failure,” which may in turn render the opportunity for future confidence null.

The New American Girl

Bitch!” She scowled, as a lady friend pulled me away from a random girl on the dance floor.

 

I’d like to say it was one of those nights, but I simply had not experienced such a mood to this degree. Ever since I returned from Western Europe, my levels of interest have seen a stark decline. I no longer care to go out. I don’t volunteer myself for any cute, single friends. I don’t even introduce myself to women who eyeball me like I’m going out of style.

 

My experience reads like a bad happy tale of a man who’s checked out, or gone his own way. I’ve heard the countless number of complaints regarding the American girl: loud, masculine, unnecessarily arrogant, and empty. Many generalizations, fair and unfair, wrapped up into a single entity representative of an entire culture.

 

One might say that women are simply women, be they from the East or West. Oddly enough, I did not hear this counter argument from any women abroad; in fact, the women from the various countries seemed to have more to say to me regarding the American girls I put up with.

 

And Generally, they were right. If I could describe my experience in one word, it would be refreshing. Not all women are like that, Indeed.

 

Which leads me back to the night. Back to the night in which I finally went out, enjoyed myself, and just happened to receive a rather high amount of attention every two steps I took. I was eyed, followed on the dance floor, groped, smacked by whipping hair, and “accidentally” bumped into a few times.

 

Yet I didn’t waiver. Sometimes I looked and smiled, other times I simply relocated without giving the time of day. Rarely, I humored the approach.

 

All in all, this night got me thinking: I’ve gone thousands of miles away and realized that the grass will always be greener on the other side. So why bother?

 

But in a parallel twist, in my new “not even for a second” attitude, I realize that my behavior, on the surface, is no different from those which I despise. In avoiding those who find creative ways to open me, I’ve become what I hate – The American Girl.

Broken Window Theory

From The Rawness (a blog you should be reading if you aren’t already):

 Picture you own a house, and you allow the windows of this house to remain broken. Other people who live in and visit this house will believe that they too can break windows in your house, because you give the impression that you don’t mind the windows in your house being broken. Furthermore, they may feel free to escalate and do even bigger acts of vandalism to your house.

This is the broken window theory in a nutshell. Allow others to “vandalize” you (you personally and the company that you keep) and respect goes out the broken window. The vandal loses respect for you, and you lose respect for yourself for allowing the treatment to go on this way.

This is why in politics you notice two opposing statesmen jockeying over the most minor of slights. While observers my mock them for child play, each man knows that how he responds will dictate future relations and perceptions.

The takeaway is not to become hyper-defensive about being respected, but to start by respecting yourself in the first place. This means standing up for yourself, speaking up if someone has disrespected you and setting a tone that you are worthy of recognition and appreciation.

The Thirstiest Men of Instagram & Their Trashy Counterparts

So I’ve recently become aware of the following site making rounds: Thirstiest men of Instagram.

I’ll admit, Just seeing the title drew a laugh in anticipation of the cringeworthy and creative ways these guys would be expressing their carnal interests towards the female in picture (“thirsty” here means desperate, for the unaware). I mean, who wouldn’t want to laugh at the desperate attempts at play while sitting atop their high horse? Afterall, these men should be shamed for expressing their sexual intent to women who have committed no crime other than simply being attractive.

But wait.

After going through the first 3 photos, I noticed a trend. A few more photos, and I was looking for the only exception. The exception to photos like this one:

Bikini shots. Skintight clothing. Egregious cleavage. Self-absorbed selfies.

Now the bulk of the problem here isn’t just with the overly desperate men (or unintentional comedians). Nor does it lie squarely with the attention-seeking women in the photos. The real problem is with the framework that judges and shames another while overlooking virtues (such as maturity or self-restraint) in the self.

Thirsty men and sleazy women are merely symptoms of the issue. For instance, look at music videos from late eighties rock bands, or even hip hop artists today. The interplay with scantily-clad women seemed to say “I’ll treat her the way she’s dressed.” Note that you rarely see fully clothed, modest women with alcohol being poured down their crack. But what you also don’t see on the part of these men is any sense of restraint. Because she is dressed like that (and signaling availability), does not mean one should abdicate himself of prudence or self-control.

As far as these women go, the dominant narrative states that they are innocent, and the horny losers that dare comment on their photo have no right to objectify them (one spinoff article refers to the women as “victims”). But the defense of “I was just treating you like I saw you” flies out the window with notions such as slut-shaming and victim-blaming. That said, these young girls are either blissfully unaware of the impact of their photos, or worse (and much more likely), flat out immature and disingenuous.

Afterall, while the intuitive, emotional-focused nature of women can sense creepiness and filth from a mile away, the visual nature of man can see it and make a similar, accurate discernment.

I cannot defend either line of thinking. Nor can I stop being entertained by the exchange of sleazy photo for sleazy comment. I only ask that the tumblr site be renamed “thirstiest men of instragram and the trashiest women meet.”

I’ll work on a better title…later.

A Few Questions for You

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything here, and I’d like to know a few things about the readership. Whether you’ve subscribed since day 1 or it’s your first time reading a post, your opinion will be valued (don’t be shy). Note that the feedback I am about to ask for is not specific to my blog, but rather any blog that you may read, related or unrelated. Feel free to either comment below or send a message via the ‘contact’ form in the ‘about’ section.

So with that said, here are a couple of questions for you:

1) What topics do you enjoy reading about? Additionally, which area (if any) of your personal development do you wish to have handled?

2) Roughly how many blogs do you regularly visit? If you could only choose one for the next week, which would it be and why?

Thanks for your input.

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