(Diary 66) The B Code

I think one of the most important things in life, especially for those my age, is to know what you know and why you know it.  The more I think about that, the more I realize that my entire life journey is one based around finding out what is most true and living by it, while sharing that with anyone who will listen to me speak, read what I write, or appreciate the things that I make with my hands. Some of these things I have been taught by a pastor, sometimes friends or family, and in many cases life circumstances. However, some of the most important things that I learn are through prayer. They come when I just sit in silence with no distractions and think about the clockwork of the world.

 

And if you sit long enough, stay quiet enough, and think hard enough, you can hear the world tick. I’m frequently asked to speak to others essentially about things that I have learned, and I’ve just realized that I have never necessarily spoken about some of these things. So I want to share a few. I guess you could call this my order of operations.

 

Now, this is not me telling you how to live. That is your journey. This is a list of some of the things that I have learned that have helped me to.  I believe everyone has their own code that they operate by, and this is mine.

 

It’s something like…. “The B Code.”

 

1.) Search. No matter how much humans know, we will always search. Our minds will always wander for what is more, for what is bigger. We will always be thirsty for the unknown. Acknowledging this as human nature is the beginning to chasing anything worthwhile. Once you quit searching, you quit living.

 

2.) Believe in something bigger than yourself.  No one can deny that everyone wants to find his or her purpose in life. Maybe it’s to be the President, or possibly to be a father. Both are equally as important. Humans need a purpose. This is why we are what we are. We are relational beings that need communion with one another. But more importantly, we need the intangible thing that sparks our souls.  To believe in “Purpose” is to believe in something bigger than yourself.

 

3.) Be tough. We are stronger than we give ourselves credit for. You have no idea what you can sustain until you are required to. Then you have the option to do one of two things: you win, or you lose. And typically toughness is the judge. I have stopped using the phrase, “I could never go through that” because of this reason.

 

4.) Compete. No one can ever be their best self if they aren’t competitive. Competition is the most beautiful thing on this earth. I don’t believe in the, “I’m just not competitive” phrase, because if that were the case you wouldn’t exist. Everyone had to beat quite a few other little speed racers to their mother’s egg.  Before any of us even took a breath, we had already won our first race. Everyone is competitive. Everyone needs to compete with others. But the most important thing of all is competing with yourself. To know more, to be more, and to live more.  And at the end of the day by competing relentlessly at life, you make it impossible to lose.

 

5.) Know who you are and what you are capable of. The truth is that you are the best person to ever walk the earth and the worst, and because you are human, you are capable. I try and remember that truly I am awful and capable of the worst of things. And knowing this is true keeps me from them. Knowing that I am bad makes me good. Knowing my worst is never far off propels me to be my best.

 

6.) You can and will lose. No one likes saying this in today’s world where everyone gets a medal.  But I do. I love being a winner. I love victory, but only because I love to compete. The secret to it all is learning to love when you lose just as much. It’s knowing that losses are really what created victory in the first place. If you cant learn from losses, you cannot truly compete. And if you can’t compete, you probably aren’t tough. And chances are that if you aren’t tough, you probably don’t believe in your purpose as much as you think you do. Because the truth is that “Purpose” can be the heaviest thing that anyone can carry.

 

7.) Condition. Train your mind daily. Think of the things that no one does that are beneficial to success, and do them. Condition and prepare a successful mind. Make your norm the abnormal, and make the abnormal successful. You will stand out to everyone as a conditioned traveler, while onlookers will acknowledge that they would have grown weary and never made it to where you stand.

 

8.) Diversify. Surround yourself with people who are different from you. Most of my friends are much older than I. Some of my peers find that strange, but in reality I have learned more by simply surrounding myself with people who have lived longer, than from anything else. I have also avoided pitfalls from listening to those who fell. Learn to see both sides of an argument instead of bickering, then find out what you believe based on what you have deduced from either side’s perspective. Know what you know and why you know it.

 

9.) Converse. Talk with others about what they think and believe. Put the cell phones down at the dinner table and talk. Enjoy other people’s company while you have it. Use conversations as a learning experience, not a filler.

 

10.) Test everything. I try never to blindly believe anything. I think that is foolish. At the end of the day you are the captain of your ship, responsible for its safekeeping. No one else should steer it. In the end you leave alone, believing what only you believe and knowing what only you know to be true.

 

11.) Zero ego.  I learned this from one of my coaches. He would tell me that to be my best I have to throw my ego out of the door. Once I began to live by this, a few things changed. First I began seeing everything that previously offended me as an opportunity to see my own faults and flaws.  No one should ever feel offended, only disrespected. Being offended is like a mirror. There is always a reason that lies within you that makes you weak enough to allow someone to control your emotions. Taking offense is revealing a crack in your armor. Don’t be foolish enough to think that others won’t abuse it once they see it. This is something that I work on daily and at which I can never be good enough. Have zero ego. Become less, and then you can become more.

I hope that a few of these things can be used by those who read this. Before any of you take any of my words and put them into action, I implore you to doubt it all, test it, try it, and if anything proves worthy, please take it.

Blessings,

Baron

Posted 4 weeks ago

 

Diary 65 (Ideas that knock)

Lately I have developed a different relationship with my Ideas. They have become more personable, more attractive, and more real.

And they speak.

Our conversations are always beneficial, and they happen quite often. But lately… lately it has been different.

Lately I try and stay quiet when my Ideas present themselves to me. I try not to converse with them as much. Maybe because I’m too scared that the Idea is actually too good of one, and I would be crazy not to pursue it. And I know that by speaking to it at all, I will only dismiss it as illogical or just a crazy thought.

So I just try to just listen and hear them out.

And what I have learned has quickly changed the way I perceive my own ideas; especially the ones that I know are good.

Being an entrepreneur is awesome, but it’s a strange thought that my value comes in the form of my ideas. They come in the form of art concepts or marketing strategies or dreams while I’m sleeping. They knock during the day, gaining my attention through the things I see.

They can be dressed as trees along the side of the road, or disguised as a weird shape in the clouds. They have been the intricacy of butterfly wings, and they have been conversations with friends over coffee.

Before recently, my interactions with my ideas were much different. I saw myself as bigger and better than them. I looked down on them. I deemed them as either good or not.

But what if it was the other way around? What if your Ideas chose you based on the level of skill or work ethic you had at that particular moment in time? What if they chose a person based on their likeliness to bring them to fruition?

What if Ideas could speak audibly to the masses and recruit the best candidates to work for them?

Would you be worthy of your own ideas? Or would you doubt your own work ethic, skill or devotion, and dismiss an opportunity because you actually don’t think you are worthy?

But that idea knocked on your door. Not your neighbor’s. Not the kid down the street who wrapped your house in toilet paper last Halloween.

It came to your door.
If a billionaire came to your home and asked you to work for them, it would be easy to accept. It would be a no brainer. You would weigh the risk versus the reward and come to the conclusion that the reward is greater.

When the risk of failure is low, it is quite likely because you are operating under someone else’s Idea. And there’s nothing wrong with that at all. There’s nothing wrong with working for a great company or helping others build their ideas.

But what if your own Idea knocked on the door and recruited you to work for it. Not only work for it, but be the CEO.
To own it.
To grow it.
To nurture it.
To love it.
And then at the very end, leave it to care for others once you are gone.

Never neglect the power of your own Ideas.

They are realities that only you can construct.

They are precious, and they are a direct indicator of our own level of readiness. They are hooked into the flesh of Courage itself, and that is why the biggest of ideas takes the most.

So lately I try and stay quiet when my Ideas come knocking. I open the door and invite them in, and try and learn as much from them as possible.

I can’t help but wonder how many Ideas have I have aborted because deep down I thought I wasn’t adequate.

But they knocked on my door.

They recruited me.

Because they knew I was ready, and they pulled on my courage.

If you value your ideas for what they really are, you will never be unemployed.

Blessings,

Baron

Posted 2 months ago

 

Diary 64 (The Blame Game)

People really like to talk about what they are going to do. Hang on. Let me say that again.

People really like to talk about what they are going to do.

My friend Chad brought up a great point the other day while we were heading to lunch.

“People really love to talk about things they are going to do. It’s almost like they get as much satisfaction from talking about it as they do actually doing it. It’s almost like they convince themselves they actually have done whatever it is before they have even started,” he said.

Pretty profound statement by Chad, huh?

But guys! Who is to blame? Why do people do this?

“Maybe it’s social media that is to blame?”

“Maybe it’s bad parenting?”

“Maybe it’s the school system?”

“Oh, no, wait, it’s for sure Obama.”

“Oh, never mind, I heard it’s the global warming!”

“No, no, no, it’s because people club the baby seals.”

“Yeah, right! Everyone knows it’s the oil prices.”

“No, it’s the liberals. Wait … I think I meant conservatives? Hang on, which one is the color blue? I’m on their side! I love blue.”

“Yeah, me too! The blue goes well with my new Jordans.”

“No. Like y’all are all so just, umm, like dumb, like it’s common scientifical knowledge. I read the facts on Buzzfeed from a Facebook link to a column written by like this really cute college boy who writes about stuff, like, online. And he said that the price of yoga pants is rising because … and guys … this is like a direct quote, OK. He said, the price of yoga pants is rising because … girls … like … yoga pants. Gawww, I just love Buzzfeed.”

Hang on … what? What were we even talking about?

And that’s how it happens.

Blame.

Blame is the ultimate smokescreen. It is the veil that all con artists, liars, manipulators, thieves, crooks and goons use to become successful.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Blame can make you successful. There’s no doubt about that.

But blame will keep you from being your best person.

Blame will keep you from happiness.

Blame will blacken your soul.

The very instant you blame someone for something, you lose power because you are willingly giving another person the power to control you.

Control you how?

By keeping you stationary, of course. By distracting you from progress.

Imagine it like this.

Blame is a two-way mirror in an interrogation room the size of eternity. The person who is blaming stands behind the thick glass like a detective with a room full of witnesses to crimes. This room is enormous and stretches back until the eyes fade to black.

On the other side of the glass there is a sea of suspects. They clamor over each other like ants to get in front of the mirror so they can be cleared, exonerated and released from the prison. And upon being blamed, they exit the prison and return proudly as either a witness or prosecutor.

This causes the prosecutors and witnesses to stay put forever. Because blame never ends.

It’s forever.

As long as there are people, there will be blame. If blame keeps you stationary and keeps you from being your best person, then why do it?

Maybe it’s because many of us have misconstrued the difference in meaning and purpose behind “blame” and “responsibility.”

For example: “I blame that man right there for stealing my Samsung Galaxy Note smartphone.”

“The man right there is responsible for stealing my Samsung Galaxy Note smartphone.”

The difference is that blame is mutually binding. It is not a one-way street. It’s a two-way mirror that binds you to the accused.

Now, let’s be real for a minute and agree that no one is going to steal a Samsung Galaxy Note.

I think our society is so ingrained in the blame game we don’t even recognize it anymore. And even worse, we don’t see it as something that can hold us back and keep us from progressing.

Blame is everywhere. It is branded and fed to us to sell products. It is wrapped in commercials we see daily. It is the poisonous lie that tells little boys and girls they are not good enough and they should be fixed.

Blame is the gigantic seventh-grader who has flunked multiple grades and loves to bully, but cries to his mother once he has eaten the last of his Twinkies, and then blames it on his little brother.

Blame is less than a coward. Even a coward or someone who is afraid can own their actions.

It’s not the wolf in sheep’s clothing. Blame is the sheep’s old clothes that they outgrew.

It’s useless thread that stitches together useless pockets that hold useless things that make us heavy and cumbersome, and eventually useless.

Blame is politically correct.

Truth is responsible.

What if everyone was simply responsible?

No, no, no. Not like responsible responsible.

Just simply responsible. Accountable.

Hands tattooed with glowing ink that stated one’s works.

What if our actions were all that spoke to others, and we had no voices to blame?

What if by your actions you were admired or prosecuted accordingly?

And by your mistakes others made you responsible so you could repair your flaws quickly and continue to progress to success, instead of blaming so that they themselves can take a shortcut and reach success before you do.

I’m confident there is enough success in the world to go around, and then some, for those who responsibly work toward it.

Then again, I guess blame is just part of life. But it shouldn’t be.

Ha! No, I got it. Maybe it’s blame’s fault?

Blaming blame — the ironic paradox.

Crazy to think blame is the solution to most problems as well as the cause. Like a wheel that never stops, but never rolls with progress.

To me, it’s how I imagine hell.

Being in a place you don’t desire, all the while blaming everyone else for making you be there.

Blame never moves. Not because it can’t, but because blame does not think movement is its responsibility.

And sadly the responsible sit back and watch from a distance because it isn’t their problem, they aren’t the ones to blame.

You see, blame steals a hero’s cape. The very presence of it robs a human of his or her power, and places it in someone else’s hands. Blaming is admitting defeat while you believe you have won a war.

But truth moves, because truth knows that blame is not real.

Because truth can only be responsible.

People really like talking about what they are going to do, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Being excited about what you have going on is awesome!

But if you’re just going to talk about it, you better not have to blame something or someone as to why you haven’t done it yet.

I know it’s tempting to blame something. It’s human nature to find fault in everything else before we look in the mirror. Things like timing, finances, mistakes of others, etc.

Don’t.

Just don’t. Make up your mind you are bigger than that.

Words are important because they allow us to describe our world.

Actions are important because they allow us to build that world.

Talk is cheap, and actions are loud.

But more importantly, the price of yoga pants is rising.

“I read that on a link I saw on Facebook that sent me to this Buzzfeed column. This really cute girl writes this column for them, and it’s really awesome because it’s on the Internet, and I hear when she writes, she wears her yoga pants. She also writes about how women should feel empowered and not be looked at as pieces of meat. I totally agree with that, too. I don’t think women should be looked at in such a negative manner.”

“But dang, these girls do look good in some yoga pants! It’s not my fault that they wear ’em though. Seriously guys I could sit around and look at girls in yoga pants all day long without moving, and that’s not my fault. So yeah, yoga pants are crazy expensive these days. That stinks for the girls who wear them I guess.”

“And this interrogation room is pretty nice. I think I like it here. And on the other side of that two-way mirror, girls in yoga pants are just fighting for my attention!”

“And I guess my cape can wait. Someone else can be responsible for once.”

“It’s not my job. My hands are clean! I’m really not responsible!”

Clean hands can hold the most blame. And filthy paws can eat at the king’s table.

And truth is responsible.

 

Blessings,

Baron

Posted 3 months ago

 

‘Answering the Call” By: Kristie Stutler

Hey Y’all! Kristie is a friend of mine who inquired about guest blogging. She works with at risk youth, and I think thats pretty awesome being that the children she works with daily are just like I was as a child. I hope that y’all enjoy her words as much as I did!

Baron 

 

‘Answering the Call’ By: Kristie Stutler

Before the day I walked through those doors, the only experience I had working with kids was parenting my own children who were 10 and 8.  Oh yes, and coaching Pee-Wee Cheerleaders.  So, working with severely emotionally disturbed boys who had been removed from their homes for abuse and neglect, was not something I knew I could do.  It wasn’t even something I wanted to do.

What happens to kids who are removed from their homes by Child Protective Services who have no family willing to take them in?  What happens to kids who hit, bite, spit, cuss, refuse to follow rules, and throw things at others?  What happens to kids who are adopted and then returned like animals to the shelter when their behavior becomes too difficult to manage?. I guess if I ever thought of it before, I would have assumed there was some magical place they went when they couldn’t stay where they were.  Kind of like the fictional farm we tell children we are sending pets to when they die.  (If there is a child reading this, that farm is totally real.  That IS where your pet went.) I guess, truth be told, like most everyone else, I never considered it enough before to worry about where they went.

That was long ago, before I walked through those doors.

I learned in my interview that this facility served boys, adolescents, who had severe behavior problems.  I learned that they lived there all the time in kind of dorm like settings. I learned that I would be trained in behavior management.  I learned that I would be trained to physically restrain them when they got out of control.  It did not escape me that my interviewer said WHEN they got out of control not IF they got out of control.  Wow, I remember thinking, I am not sure I can do this.

After I passed the initial “sizing up” session, the man who did my interview walked me through one of the “units” where the boys lived.  I say “sizing up” session because I truly believe that is what it was.  He was telling me all of these bad things to see if I thought I could handle it.  I wasn’t sure I could but I would never tell him that.

When you see a padded room with a large latch on the exterior for the first time, the image stays with you for awhile.  This room was used for boys who got so out of control that they weren’t safe to be around others.  It scared me.  The sight of it was enough to run me off.  I wasn’t sure I could handle this challenge, but I needed a job.  No harm accepting it until I found something else.

I walked in nervous the first day with the boys.  All of the boys who I was assigned to work with were much larger than me.  I’m sassy so I could easily overcome the size difference but these boys were sad.  As bad as their behavior was, their stories were ten times sadder.  Stories of being hit, abandoned, not fed, and worst of all “returned to the state.”   I learned that people could do that if the kid they adopted was too much for them to handle.   My interviewer failed to tell me that I would hear all these sad stories.  I left work that day doubting I could do the work.  I would repeat that experience numerous times during the first three months.  I would come in with enough hope to share and leave drained of every drop.  Despite my growing attachment to the boys, I had made up my mind that I needed to find something else.  This work was too heartbreaking for me to do.

I don’t remember how many days I repeated that ritual.  I do remember that this eleven year old boy had gotten kicked out of the on campus school.  He was yelling and cussing, threatening to hurt others.   He was larger than me by at least 5 inches and outweighed me by 50 pounds.  I took him to the padded room so he could calm down. Instead of calming down, he began jumping up and down screaming at the top of his lungs.  He was angry at the teacher and was clearly shouting words, but because he was jumping up and down, the words were less than clear.  I watched him for a few minutes wondering what the best possible intervention for this behavior was.  They failed to discuss this in behavior management training or even in all of those psychology classes I took in college.  I approached him and he began yelling louder.  At a loss, I joined him.  I began jumping up and down, making crazy noises back at him.  He stopped and stood still, staring at me like I had gone mad. I continued.  I began yelling words at him the way he had done at me.  Call it desperation.  Call it crazy.  I had a point to prove.

He looked at me quizzically and said “I can’t understand you.”

I stopped and stared at him the way I would my own children to let them know I was disapproving of their behavior.  “Right,” I said, “Just like I can’t understand you.  If you want people to listen, then you sit down and talk, you don’t yell at them like a crazy person.”

He laughed at me and sat down on the floor.  I joined him.

For the first time since I walked through those doors, I thought, perhaps, I CAN do this.

Somewhere along the way, CAN turned to MUST.

Fifteen years and thousands of boys after that first day, I got a call.

I picked up.

The voice on the other end of the phone said, “You have stories to tell.”

The voice wasn’t wrong.

We all have stories.

And we shouldn’t be afraid to jump up and down to get people to hear them.

www.hopefulsnail.com

 

Posted 3 months ago