Month: January 2014

Justin Beiber Arrested? Let’s Take Some Blame & Learn A Lesson


Justin Beiber's Mug Shot

Justin Beiber’s Mug Shot

I know you have all heard of Justin Beiber’s arrest. Some of you are happy, others are sad – especially  some of the girls in middle school. But the old and wise among us are probably not surprised and they are most likely saying “well, its about time.. we knew it was coming“. 

My News Feed in the Social Media world is buzzing with this headline. Almost everyone has something to say about it, and almost everyone is bashing this poor young man. I am not here to defend Justin Beiber or to protect his image, but  I here to shed some light to his situation which we often seem to ignore. Most importantly, I am here to learn a lesson.

Ask yourself this, besides Hilary Duff, how many of these young celebrities actually turn out to be responsible adults? Definitely not a good number. Being young and having a lot of people bowing down to you can do more damage than good. These young stars are exploited by the big corporations, placed on the pedestal by the media, and hailed by the public (us). A young man or woman with that much attention, money and power will only go wayward especially without some guidance. But how many young children will allow themselves to be subject to their parents authority if they make more money than their parents will ever make in their lives combined? I don’t know about you, but my African parents would be strict with the belt regardless of how much money is in my account. I am not trying to justify Justin Beiber’s actions, but trying to understand where these ongoing problems (child celebrities acting up) might stem from.

Let’s face the music: fame and money at a very early age can be extremely detrimental to the growth process and maturity of young adults. Money is powerful! And it has a way of making you think that you are invisible, especially if you are not wise enough handle the pressures, responsibilities, privileges, trials and tribulations which comes with it.

I am not here to defend Justin Beiber, if he has committed a crime and the law finds him guilty, and there is no way around it, then he should serve his time. I am also not going to judge him either, at the end of the day he is only human just like you and me; and as humans, we are all subject to the failures and fall of others. I am only here to learn from where people have fallen and failed. On that note, as I pray for good health, peace, and prosperity, I pray I will not be consumed by what God has or will bless me with. I pray I will mature as God would like me to, and I pray I will allow my blessings be a blessing unto others instead of problem to anyone – with the exception of my enemies of course, my success will always be a problem to them.

Hope you all enjoy the rest of your day.

Feel free to share and debate.

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3 Point Turn: Finding Happiness As An Adult From Your Childhood


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“We couldn’t wait to be adults”

Remember when you were a kid? Just take a moment… Take a trip down to memory lane… Remember how happy you were? How free spirited and carefree you felt? I don’t know about you, but anytime I think about my childhood, I smile. As Bryan Adams said in ‘Summer of ’69’, “those were the best days of my life!” 

But wait a minute.. how come the best days of my life can’t be ahead of me? As kids, we thought our best days were ahead, but as we got older, we started to think that our best days were behind us. Ah Ha! I hope you had ‘light bulb’ moment, because I did. Think about it, is this the reason why we seemed so happy as kids? Were we happy because we had hope and were optimistic? Now that I got you think, let’s make a “3 Point Turn” and break down some of the things we used to do as kids which contributed to our overall well being and happiness and let’s see if we can implement them in our lives today. 

1st Point Turn: Enjoying Responsibilities & Family Time

As kids, we enjoyed responsibilities! We felt a sense of pride when given the chance to be ‘responsible’. We enjoyed helping our parents and smiled anytime they said “good job”. We wanted to help mommy with everything and we wanted to help dad with his duties. At the same time, we enjoyed being around our parents. We couldn’t wait to go home and see our moms after school in kindergarten. We enjoyed family re-unions because that’s when our uncles could act the fool, that was when our 40th cousins came around to play board games and football with us. 

Today, we occupy ourselves with so much that we do not have time to spend with friends and family. We run away from our 40th and 50th cousins, and we constantly make excuses to spend quality time with our parents. Yes, our responsibilities have grown as well: we are in school working on various degrees, we have jobs and we have bills, but let me ask you this, are we really enjoying our responsibilities? Our we enjoying going to school? Are we enjoying working? I can read your mind and I agree to the notion that no one likes to take tests or work crazy hours a week only to pay bills; but do we see them as responsibilities we have to enjoy? Whether we like it or not, we will have responsibilities as humans till death, and enjoying these responsibilities can change our attitude and enable us to be more happy.

2nd Point Turn: Saying “No”

Believe it or not, kids know what they want and they know how to communicate that effectively, irrespective of how you feel. Kids don’t care so much about pleasing others. My little niece Oli is barely a year old, and anytime I visit my family in Maryland, I want to see her and play with her. As soon as she sees her mom, she does not know me – yes, she is cold. She will quickly leave my arms and run towards the arms of her mom. My sister will then say “Oli, why are you doing this to Uncle Joe? Let’s got to Uncle Joe”. As I open my arms to receive her again, she will shake her head and crawl back to arms of her mom. She already knows how to say NO! She prefers to be in the arms of her mom, than the arms of her uncle. When Oli gets older, for some strange reason, she will be less comfortable saying no because she will grow to appeal to the desire of others while ignoring hers. I hope she doesn’t change. 

As we get older, we begin to become conscious of how people feel – which is a good thing, but should this growth of consciousness stop us from being honest? The happiest people know how and when to say “No” irrespective how the recipient of the answer will feel. They say “no” not because they want to be rude or evil, but simply because they can’t comply with your request.  Now, I am not saying we should go around saying “No” to our parents, our bosses, authority, for no apparent reason. Being an adult means being able to decipher when to say “No” and “Yes”. We should not be afraid to say “No” just because we are going to offend someone, or else we end up pleasing people and offending ourselves.

Being happy is not about saying “No” – it is actually about saying “Yes”, but knowing when/how to say “No” will make you better at saying “Yes” and when do you say “Yes”, you will say it meaningfully and a value add will be attached to it. In a nutshell, when you learn to say “No”, you learn to honestly learn to say “Yes”.

3rd Point Turn: Hope & Positive Thoughts

As a kid, I thought I was going to be the greatest soccer player ever! Obviously I thought wrong. Kids will are always hoping for the best and thinking that great things will happen to them. Our positive attitude as humans take a major hit when we being to focus on what we see: hiccups, roadblocks, and setbacks – believe it or not, these become more evident the “older” or “wiser” we get.. It seems as though as kids, we had more faith. We walked more on faith and not by sight. Faith does open doors. 

There is nothing wrong with thinking positive and having hope irrespective of your circumstances. Thinking positively and being hopeful forces your overall being to be in a positive atmosphere which promotes a more happy well being. Once you create a positive atmosphere, you begin to feed off of the positive energy around you. 

Being negative and being around negative people will only get you depressed. Kids understand this concept. 

Drive Off: At the end of the day, you control how happy you want to be. You are in the driver’s seat of your own happiness. What are you going to do?

Do Not Stop Lying! If You Haven’t Started, Get To It


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Lies Lies Lies

Do not stop lying and you haven’t started, then get to it – at least that’s what Mark Twain thinks.

If you haven’t read Mark Twain’s essay “On The Decay of The Art of Lying”, then it should definitely be the next thing to read. It is a good read! It is a short essay written by the master of essays. Mark Twain wrote this essay in 1885 for a meeting of the Historical and Antiquarian Club of Hartford, Connecticut. In the essay, Twain focuses on the lost art of lying by discussion why people lie, the different kinds of lies, situations in which people lie and why all lies are not bad. He concludes by insisting that: “the wise thing is for us diligently to train ourselves to lie thoughtfully, judiciously; to lie with a good object, and not an evil one; to lie for others’ advantage, and not our own; to lie healingly, charitably, humanely, not cruelly, hurtfully, maliciously; to lie gracefully and graciously, not awkwardly and clumsily; to lie firmly, frankly, squarely, with head erect, not haltingly, tortuously, with pusillanimous mien, as being ashamed of our high calling.

I have never heard anyone argue for dishonesty – for Politicians and Lawyers for that matter. While it is entertaining to poke fun at Politicians and Lawyers for lying, let’s be honest with ourselves and agree with Mark Twain that we are all liars. We often forget that we sometimes indulge ourselves in something Twain likes to call “silent lie”. Silent lie is simply not speaking when you know that your words (the truth) will not better a specific situation or might cause some kind of harm/damage – Twain likes to label such truth as an injurious truth. Twain makes the argument that an injurious truth is as deadly as an injurious lie. In a nutshell, Mark Twain argues that lying is good, so long as your intentions are good. Sounds so good from such an intelligent man, but wait…. we do not judge a man’s character by his intentions, do we? I don’t know what world you live in, but on earth and with humans, we certainly do not judge people by their intentions, but by their actions. The irony is we judge ourselves by our intentions and judge others by their actions. It makes sense – we judge people by the “knowns” and not the “unknowns”. We judge people by what we can see and examine and not what we hope to see in them. Lying in itself is bad irrespective of intentions. 

Now, I don’t know what was going in the 1880’s to provoke Mark Twain to write an essay on the decay art of lying, but I know what is going on in my generation and I can say that we live in lies and we have lost the art of truth telling – maybe Mark Twain got his point across and it has created another problem. Looking at it closely, the problem here is not lying, but acceptance and unconditional love. People want to be accepted and people want to be loved, but we often reject others’ authenticity in exchange for their “fakery”. When someone tells us of their weakness, struggles, and shortcomings, we hypocritically alienate ourselves from them instead of trying to understand, accept and love them. This forces people to paint a different picture of themselves or their situation in order to be accepted and this leads to lies upon lies. We become people pleasers only to please ourselves. Pleasing people only to please ourselves means that our entire happiness and well being is dependent on others. It does not get more dangerous than this.

When you lie, you need to tell more lies to cover up the first lie and this leads to you being buried in lies and losing your identity as a person. We are relational beings who cherish relationships, but there can never be a solid relationship without trust and what usually negates trust is dishonesty. At the end of the day, we want to build healthy relationships based on trust. 

Telling the truth is not easy and it can prove costly. You stand the chance of being alienated by society when you tell the truth, but it does indeed set you free. It sets you free from guilt and sets you free from the prison of lies. Lies limit you and what you can do or say, because when you are caught up in a lie, your credibility and brand takes a major hit and you might never be able to rebound from that. Tell the truth, but do not go around telling people they are ugly. You might be telling the truth, but you are being disrespectful. When your opinion is not needed, don’t talk – this is self control and wisdom. If you have something to say about somebody, make sure it will encourage and elevate them. If you have nothing good to say about an individual, you can humbly swallow your comments and allow the person to live. Contrary to Twain’s opinion, choosing not to comment is not necessarily lying, but in most cases, wisdom. He calls it silent lie, but I call it wisdom. Wisdom is not only found is words but in silence as well. 

Twain says we should master the art of lying, I say we should master the art of telling the truth by including wisdom. 20 something odd years of living, I have realized that telling the truth does not only free the person telling the truth, but it frees the recipient of the truth. The truth is a tough pill to swallow, but the pill will cure your sickness once it enters your system. The truth might not be received with a glorious heart at first, but with time, it will accomplish it’s task: correct, inform, educate, reveal, and help. What if we went about giving each other false feedbacks? Our planes wouldn’t have been flying and our ships wouldn’t have been floating. Someone has be open and honest with you in order for you in order for you to see your faults. If you can’t see your faults and wrong doing, you might go about your life only to end in disaster. We should not only develop the art of “truth telling”, but we should develop the art of “truth receiving”.

Mark Twain made some valid points about the benefits of lying, but I prefer the truth. Yes, we all tell lies and we can’t escape that. But we should make conscious efforts to speak the truth when necessary and we should do our best to accept and love people for who they truly are. 

As previously mentioned, On the Decay of the Art of Lying was an essay written in 1885 for a $30 prize for the “Historical and Antiquarian Club of Hartford”. Twain notes that he did not win a prize for this essay. Well, I don’t know whether to believe he did or did not win the prize. I don’t know what to believe anymore. 

Importance of the Renewal of Mind


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Renewal of Mind

After my little “market” research, I have come to the conclusion that most of my twitter followers (about 1,500 of them) tweet in a pattern and the media in today’s society is as powerful as ever! This is how most of followers Tweet through out the day. (This might be applicable to Facebook Statuses as well).

Mornings: About God and Bible Verses;
Afternoons: Celebrities;
Nights: Love & Sex #Truth

Analysis: 

I think they wake up Thanking God for His blessings and mercies, then the media hits them with stories about celebrities in the afternoon, then at night, they get on their phones with their boyfriends and girlfriends.

I’m not judging or anything (I was probably doing the same some years ago) but look at it this way, some of these celebrities are usually deemed as “worldy”, sexy, and rich and as people go through their day, subconsciously, their minds slowly move from God and by the time its night time, whatever they recently read or saw (mostly, stories about celebrities love and affairs) is fresh on their minds and leads to talking about love and sex with their significant others.

The Renewal of Mind is necessary on a regular basis through out the day because we can easily get distracted as humans by what is unnecessary leading to what might bring unwanted consequences.

Just a thought, not a sermon. Happy to listen to yours.