Patience And Vision – 2

Is there a time when having Vision and Patience is not appropriate or useful? Sure.

If your house is burning down (figuratively or literally), it is not the best time to map out and reassess a strategic goal and reflect on the nuances of your path and potential obstacles between your destination and you. You want to either grab a fire extinguisher or get out of there!

In other words, do not chase so single-mindedly your overall vision that you dismiss what is in front of you right now. Focus on both, and practice becoming better at weighing the benefits of each.

My family thinks I am too quick to fall in love, for example. When I meet someone compatible with my needs, I am not afraid to commit and try to enjoy every moment together, even if I think the predictable future is not likely to be success. Though I might know where I want my future to ultimately lead, there is always a chance I may not reach the goal I desire. I would be a fool, then, to pass an opportunity for joy only because there is the potential for sorrow.

I must choose intelligently, of course. I must have the Vision and Patience to continue working toward my overall goals, but I also must live in reality and acknowledge that I can lose everything at any moment. The trick is to be content in every moment I can.

To follow suit with my examples from Part One of this post, in martial arts if I am fighting someone else, I must have the vision of my goal and patience to make the right decision at the right time, but I must also be clever enough to spot an open opportunity if my opponent drops his guard for a moment or loses his balance.

In business, I need the patience and vision to master my career and follow my goals, but I also must be cautious not to foolishly turn down a promotion or opportunity that presents itself now, as long as it is still aligned with my overall vision.

Live for the future but live in the present. Exercise Patience, follow your Vision, but don’t lose sight of the fleetingness of life. Everything changes, all the time. Allow yourself to be content in every moment.

Sometimes you just have to wait… but sometimes you only have to wait a moment.

 

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Vision And Patience – 1

I have never won anything in life by simply racing to the finish (not even a race). Whether business success, relationship needs, or material wants, any victory of significance for me has come from having patience and vision.

I am certain the goals I reach in life happen because I am able to see, where others do not, the long road to the future I wish to make reality. I can not express the value of waiting for the right time to make the right decision. In the interim, though it can be extraordinarily difficult, sometimes all there is to do is wait. Patience, then, is an action. Patience is the act of finding inner peace when your mind is racing, of answering to your calmness and self-control, which in turn allows you to think clearly and move swiftly when the very decision itself runs out of patience.

Patience without vision, though, is boredom, is death. If it is time to wait, then be sure you know clearly what you are waiting for. Vision is an action, too. Vision is the act of looking into possible futures and choosing the one you will make reality, and then seeing the road to travel from where you are to where you want to be. Further, you must keep looking and checking the state of the road, over and over–obstacles can change–indeed, will change, causing you to re-assess both the goal and the direction to reach it. The trick is never losing sight of the goal or the future you are choosing.

This applies in relationships, of course. What is sweeter than the wait for the first kiss with a new love? But without patience, you might jump the gun and find yourself rejected. Without vision, the first kiss may never happen and you may find yourself watching the woman of your dreams meet someone else because she simply was not sure if you wanted her.

Another example is in martial arts. When you are fighting, you must start with the vision of your victory over your opponent and then see the path to reach it. You must be patient when he strikes to avoid traps, feigns, or mistakes in your own balance and emotion that he might turn into his victory (naturally, his success depends on his patience and vision, too).

This applies in business as well. To reach number one in any field, you must know what the metrics are to surpass them (Vision) and you must build yourself or your team by learning and applying and gaining experience (Patience) to overtake one-by-one the opponents or obstacles in your way.

Sometimes the hardest part is waiting, but knowing what you are waiting for and why can make it infinitely easier to bear. I suppose the secret here is to know when the waiting is no longer worth the reward, but to understand that you must know your own values and how well those values are aligned with your vision.

It should go without saying, but Vision and Patience are only values if  they stay true to your other moral and ethical values. Taking that kiss the wrong way could be rape. Getting ahead in business by being unscrupulous could be stealing or cheating. Not having patience and vision in a competitive fight could lead to serious injury or worse, death.

 

Anything worth winning is worth waiting for, to what extent it is worth waiting is up to you, but the best things (or goals, or people), I can tell you, are often the ones that require the most patience and surest vision.  Sometimes you just have to wait.

 

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What Would You Give Up To Have It All? (Part Two)

In Part One of this post, I spoke of sacrifices, but I am not aligned with the concept of “sacrifice”. Giving up cable television and video games, for example, is not a sacrifice if I am trading them for something greater, such as more ownership over time in MY Life to spend on people and things that matter more than channel-flipping and playing Xbox. I am really just editing my world to wean out the unimportant bloat, the parts that do not give meaning to the overall vision I am creating.

As I said in part one, when I give up something, I create   s  p  a c  e   in my life. Space to fill with greater things, greater values, or greater experiences. Giving up alcohol, for example, creates space to exercise control over my judgment and emotions and become better at self-discipline. Giving up my daily latte at Starbucks creates space for me to spend time and money traveling or exercising or  finding and enjoying different types of teas (and still leaving a little money for the other stuff!).

For anything you are willing to give up, you gain freedom.

For anything you are not willing to give up, by default, you accept consequences for your choice. For example, someone who gives up smoking gains freedom over smoking. He or she is no longer a slave to their addiction and they have gained control of their life and future. Someone who chooses NOT to give up smoking, by default accepts the consequences of holding onto it: cancer, loss of hard-earned money, poor health, loss of time with loved ones because of an early death, etc.

This is not to say holding onto something is bad; it is acknowledging that you accept consequences when making a choice. For example, you might cling to being single and unfettered by a monogamous relationship. Perhaps that is a fine option for you. The consequences accepted, though, might be never having the intimacy of spending a life with someone, learning and growing at great lengths together, building trust over many years, and showing how much you value each other by pledging yourselves to one another. By choosing polyamory or promiscuity, you perhaps the consequences you accept are being wary of diseases, dangerous encounters, superficial partnerships, etc.

A monogamous person, by giving up being single, gains freedom over being alone. Someone with many partners must go through the process of finding many partners while the monogamous person continues growing and building a single relationship. The monogamous person accepts consequences, too. By clinging to being in a single intimate relationship, he gives up the experience and potential pleasures of sharing many partners instead of being devoted to one. He also gives up having many experiences and encounters with people who will be transient in his life (if he values a transient life without specific commitments to anyone). Instead, he chooses the stability and predictability of having someone with him to share and remember experiences and people. He chooses a partner over partnership.

Each choice is valid and yours to make (in relationships or otherwise); it is up to you, however, to understand the stakes.

Choose your life. Every second of it. Know your values and whether you are living up to them. What things are bringing little or no value to you right now?

What are you willing to give up so you can clear space in your life for what (or who) you value most?

 

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What Would You Give Up To Have It All? (Part One)

When you have specific goals, you must make specific sacrifices. There is no way around it. Reality dictates that life is not infinite (for now) and there are far more things to learn and do than there is time to learn and do them all.

You must choose your priorities.

I gave up Cable TV and video games more than 10 years ago. I love television shows and video games, but Angela Salamey helped me see these were things designed to rob me of my time in life. Watching TV is what I would find myself doing to turn my brain off instead of helping focus my mind, energy, and time on people and things that are really important.

When I am near the end of my life, I do not want to look back and say, “Boy, I sure did watch a lot of shows and I bought a bunch of stuff!” I want to look back and say, “Wow, I have been to many places, shared great times with amazing people, created some ideas that will live on and transform others, and I’m pretty sure I’ll leave this world a little better than the way it was when I found it.”

I’m giving up Netflix next. I love movies, too, but there is no end to the amount of movies I will want to see. If I REALLY want to see a movie, then I will go to the theater. If I miss it at the theater, then it must not have been important enough for me to make it a priority.

I have other things to fill my time with–passions I wish to pursue: mental and physical health, writing, helping people understand the benefits of being vegan, and the work I am normally paid money for as well as the work I do for other types of payment (experience, gratitude, knowledge, etc.).

I am really just editing my world to wean out the unimportant stuff, the bloat, the parts that do not give meaning to the overall vision I am trying to create.

When I give up something, I create   s  p  a c  e   in my life. Space to fill with greater things, greater values, or greater experiences. Giving up alcohol, for example, creates space to exercise control over my judgment and emotions and become better at self-discipline. Giving up my daily latte at Starbucks creates space for me to spend time and money traveling or exercising or  finding and enjoying different types of teas (and still leaving a little money for the other stuff!).

Consider this:

For anything you are willing to give up, you gain freedom.

For anything you are unwilling to give up, by default, you accept consequences for your choice. Every choice is valid and yours to make; just understand what is at stake.

Choose your life. Every second of it. Know your values and whether you are living up to them. What things are bringing little or no value to you right now?

What are you willing to give up so you can clear space in your life for what (or who) you value most?

 

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Washing Your Hair

 

It’s a silent observation reflected in snake-streams chasing your fingers,
Washing Your Hair

Was I there? On your mind? Or am I dried and dusty already?

Am I mud cakes crumbling under shower heads,

devolving to dirty rivers at your feet, dark rivulets around your toes?

Your dirtiness slides from the skin,

rinses away the places I’ve been.

Now we’ll see

what’s really underneath –

Pure

   Light

      pure skin?     Or…?

We could have been magnificent.
And we could have been

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Nice Guys Finish Last; Good Men Finish Right.

 

I hear women say, “There aren’t any good men left; all the good ones are taken.”

Not true. However, many women I know seem to have a difficult time distinguishing what a “Good Man” is, that he should be taken (and taken by what?). They confuse good men for “nice guys”.

 

Here is the situation. Dominique messaged another man and invited him to her bed. Howard, her husband, intercepted the message.

When confronted, Dominique alleged the message did not mean anything to her and insisted she never intended to go through with her proposition.

Reacting to Howard’s anger, Dominique attempted a defense of the other man, Peter. “You don’t even know Peter,” she said, “You don’t know anything about his moral character that you can sit here and judge him for what I did. He is actually a very nice guy.”

Howard, stunned by her brashness, gathered his thoughts. Then he said:

“No. YOU don’t know anything about his moral character. Without having met him, I know two things about him, Dominique. I know that, 1—he makes very bad decisions, and 2—he has NO moral character.

“I know he makes bad decisions because he knows you are married. Clearly he thinks with the wrong head. I know he has no moral fortitude because he not only knows you are married, but also is willing to cheat with a married woman. If he will cheat with a married woman, then it is safe to assume he will also cheat on a married woman. That makes him the lowest scum there is—a man with no morality, pretending to be a man with morals. You think he likes you? Cares about you? Is interested in you? Is that what you think? I believe you when you say you think Peter is a nice guy. Hell, I might even have liked him had we met under different circumstances. We may have been friends, but just because he is a nice guy does not mean he is a Good Man.

“Dominique, life offers simple answers but we sometimes don’t want to accept them. A Good Man does not cheat. Simple. By every right, I should show up at Peter’s doorstep and break him down like kindling, but I won’t. I can’t, because, unlike your nice guy, I have a moral code that I live by. I value life and practice every bit of what I preach. What does he value? How fast do you think he would turn around and trade you in for the next bit of action he could score? What is your body, and your mind, actually worth to him—he, who is willing to break the greatest moral sanction of fidelity, just to sleep with you? Did you think his porn lust said something different about your value to him? Is a moral shell of a man enough to lose an actual Good Man over?

“Being a nice guy is not enough. It takes more than saying nice things and telling you how pretty you are, and paying attention to you when you are pissed off, or horny, or lonely.

“It takes more than getting in your pants to be a Good Man. And it takes more than letting any moral scum do so… to be a Good Woman.”

 

The story of Howard and Dominique has a happy ending, but it takes a long time to get there, and it is very sad most of the way, until Dominique realizes her self-worth and the value of Howard’s love. Before then, Howard and Dominique divorce. She simply can not live on his terms and values, and he will not live on hers. But we can learn from their example without going through their pain.

The women I know, and have met over the years, like to be what they think of as “romanced”. That is, they like to be told they are pretty. They like getting flowers and chocolates, and hearing sincere apologies and feeling their body is the destination of some man’s indiscriminate leer. I am certain many men like this type of “romancing”, too. The problem is we are swept away by this Hollywood version of what romance is dictated to be and we forget the temperance of Reality.

I want to suggest Romance is not any of those things seen on television. Romance is knowing you are the center of someone else’s universe; chocolates are optional.

Romance is loyalty and trust that has been earned in partnership, not flowers that will die on your counter. Romance is having someone come home to you every day because they can not wait to talk to you. It is having someone who cares how your day has been—for real, and not just as prelude to getting in your pants—and who you know, unequivocally, will still care how your day has been for the next 30 or 40 or 50 years. Romance is having a true partner who values you above all others, who can only see you in a crowded room, and who can turn down a flirt with ease because he knows there is you to come home to or go home with… and what flirtatious bimbo can compare to that?

Romance is acknowledging and respecting and celebrating the Value of the person you choose as your companion and partner.

I define that as romantic, and say further romance is not forsaking that value for something or someone of lesser value. Flowers die; chocolates rot; Romeos come and go; romance does not. Candy and trinkets are bribes—bribes at best. What is a greater or more valuable gift than the body and mind of the partner you choose—the companion you choose only and above all others? Being honored like that, frankly, is what should make us hot. It breaks my heart, in a way, to know it usually does not work that way.

I wonder how much we are taught by Hollywood and media to believe absurd fallacies of love… those films, stories, and commercials that relentlessly tell us romance is supposed to be sappy and emotional, all the time. Romantic stories end always where they should begin—at the start of the relationship. The assumed rest of the story is “…And they lived happily ever after.” Movies never go on to say, “…And then, seven years later, with two kids, a job loss, a sick parent, and never-ending work… Prince Charming no longer brings home flowers, the princess has gained 30 pounds, they haven’t made love in three weeks, she’s on her period, he’s always out with the boys, and the stress is driving them both nuts…”

Love is not like the movies.

 

Love is probably not even like what your friends tell you it is (because they are trained to believe love is supposed to be like the movies).

I think love is powerful and long-lasting but at times the romance ebbs, sometimes for a long time; life is difficult and those difficulties can get in the way of partnership. In reality, we are not star-crossed lovers destined to find our one and only soul-mate and live happily ever after, dramatically but effortlessly. No. We are moody and needy, and we always want more, better, or different. In reality, Love takes Work. It is a second full-time job that often demands overtime and offers little pay in return; love is itself, I assert, a “labor of Love”.

Nice guys do not know this; they believe love is whatever or whoever pleases them in the moment. A Good Man, however, understands reality. A Good Man accepts it and bears it as he must. He does not give up easily and he makes the best of it, always. He has a definable moral code by which he lives and he makes no exceptions to his strictly held values—“It just happened; I was drunk; it won’t happen again,” is never a Good Man’s excuse—these phrases are not in a language he speaks.

A Good Man treats his chosen companion as the most valuable asset he has. He enjoys material possessions in life when he has them, but he never puts such things over the partner with whom he chose to spend his life. The gifts that most satisfy him are her body and mind, and he covets those madly, selfishly and righteously, as he would covet a priceless piece of art. He takes it on himself to bring out the best in her even when she does not want to be her best.

He is always his best for her, and strives still to be better. In short, A Good Man values his companion-in-life as he values himself.

 

You can throw a rock and hit a nice guy. But if you recognize your own value, then I say nice guys are not worth your time. Dominique may have lost Howard, and may find the world seems full of Peters ready and willing to devalue her until they can trade her in for the next lease. It is true that good men are very hard to find, but I submit they are worth holding out for. If you know one that is taken, don’t waste your time. You can not sway a Good Man.

If you find a Good Man that is not taken, chase him to the end of the earth. He is more valuable than gold. If you should catch him, never let him go. Value him; satisfy him; understand what real romance is and work to keep him. Forget the rest and don’t look back.

Let the nice guys finish last.

 

Note: This was originally written as a follow up to The Truth About EveryBody – what I consider to be the most important thing I’ve written to date. Please go back and read it or re-read it if you liked this one, and share it with anyone you think will “get it”. Thanks.

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Are You Really Free (2 of 2)

Freedom is not defined by your ability to do whatever you want when you want to do it. Rather, freedom is defined by the boundaries set for you.

Put another way, the amount of freedom you have in your life does not come from not having any rules to follow—that’s Anarchy. Rather, the amount of freedom comes by clarifying the rules by which you choose to live. Freedom is not the lack of a fence to keep the wild stallions in; freedom is where you choose to build the fence.

Freedom, whether for a man or nation, is a moral and philosophical principle, then. A fence can be scaled or jumped, but there is often a penalty for doing so. Perhaps more importantly, it should be recognized the fence is there to safeguard the freedom, not to imprison or prevent the stallions from living a full life. The structure the fence provides can increase their lives and expand their livelihood not only by offering form and stability, but also by keeping the wolves and men on the other side out.

An obvious point I have not made yet is to be wary of who you allow to keep your fence. If you are giving control to another, your freedom is defined by their wisdom, ethics, and benevolence (true of man or nation), so choose carefully.

For me, personal freedom is not determined by what I can do, but by what I choose not to do. I must carefully examine my choices and actions, always, to determine if my life is working for me—that is, that my life is moving in a way which is consistent and healthful to my goals. Moreover, I must examine those choices before I make them. When faced with a moral choice, it is up to me to use foresight by considering the future I am determined to build and make a stand for it,  knowing and adhering to the defined limits of my freedom. For example, consider the following “freedom statements”, the situations that may have prompted them, and how they affect the freedom of my life (by imposing the rules by which I choose to live).

“I do not kill.” (I am not a slave to/ I am free from… my anger.)

“I do not cheat.” (I am not a slave to/ I am free from… my whimsy or unqualified desires.)

“I do not over-eat.” Or “I eat healthy/I eat consciously.” (I am not a slave to/ I am free from… my low self-esteem and negative habits.)

“I do not betray.” (I am not a slave to/ I am free from… my excuses to rationalize bad choices before I make them.)

Notice the present-tense of the statements. They do not begin with, “I will not…”; they are not a future goal I wish to achieve after the point of decision. I must, at every moment I am faced with a choice, begin with “I do not…” My freedom happens right now, right here, in the present.

I am not a slave to/ I am free from… the false luxury of an impossible future.

It is too easy to believe freedom means living without penalty or a high price for your choices, but if freedom cost nothing, it would have no value; it would be worthless to be free. Choose your boundaries and build your fences carefully, or choose carefully who will. Either way, in the end, your freedom defines what you are… or what you are not.

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Are You Really Free? (1 of 2)

Freedom does not mean doing whatever you want whenever you want and justifying it by telling yourself you are “free” to make whatever choices you wish.

Freedom is defined by the boundaries you set for yourself.

It is what you are unwilling to do that determines what you are free from, and what parts of your Self you are loyal to.

In the matter of “freedom of choice”, remember this: you do not have to keep making bad choices before you start making good ones.

Set yourself free by choosing your values and sticking to them.


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The Truth About Every Body

Download The Truth about EveryBody.

I am offering something very counter-culture in this writing. It is one of the most important insights I have to offer, and I am honored to share it. I hope it transforms your life as fundamentally and immediately as it did mine.

Understand your body is the only REAL property you own.

Your body is the only thing of any REAL value in your world. Gold, money, real estate, jewelry, all material possessions…none of these have actual value; they are not worth anything only by virtue of existing. We are taught gold is valuable because it is gold, but in truth, any material you possess holds only the value you and another person can agree to place on it in a particular moment… An heirloom gold ring is only worth what you and someone else agree it is worth during the moment of negotiation. If you are someone who does not value gold or place emotional value on heirlooms, then the ring is not worth as much to you as it is to the seller.

Your body is the only thing that requires no negotiation of worth. It has all the value in the world to you, because it is the only thing of actual intrinsic value to you. When you die, everything loses all value; there is no value in seeing, smelling, touching, or hearing the world when you are no longer part of it. It is too late, then, to realize the only thing of any importance all along was your body—the very tool by which you experience and interact with the whole universe. In fact, your body is the only thing that really, truly belongs to you. Everything else—your clothes, your car, even the words you speak… everything outside of your body belongs to other people, to creditors, to governments, or the Earth.

Only your body is wholly yours and it is the only thing in the universe that is so.

This means if your body is the only thing you truly own, then it is the ONLY gift you can truly give another person. Everything else given must be borrowed from credit, from factories, from ideas, from the Earth or the Universe.

Do you see? Your body is the only REAL gift you own that is yours to give.

If you understand this, then you understand why you should never give your body casually to others. It must be earned, just as any extraordinary and precious material possession must be earned and treated with care. Honor and treat your body for what it is—the most valuable possession you have, or ever will have.

Understand there will be few, if any, people in the world that will ever deserve the most valuable thing you have…the only gift that is yours, and only yours, to give.

Before giving something so uniquely precious, consider the value of nearly any material gift is measured by a simple formula: the fewer people who have it, the more valuable it is.

An original painting by Rembrandt is virtually priceless because there are so few original Rembrandt paintings available, but a postcard of the same painting is worth virtually nothing because anyone can get one of those. The same principle is seen at most any high school. The most valuable prize to sexually active young boys is a virgin saving herself for “somebody special”. Boys practically trip over themselves hoping to win the virgin’s first sexual encounter. They talk about it lewdly, in hushed tones, and scheme to gain her glory. And what of the girl who has a reputation of giving herself to anybody that pays her attention? She is labeled a slut, a whore, and assumed worthless because of her alleged promiscuity.

The fewer people who have your body, the more valuable a gift your body is. Therefore, it must take an extraordinary person to deserve such an honor. “Extraordinary” means the person that deserves your body will honor your body before all others, will choose it as the most valuable gift he can ever receive, and will treat it as the most valuable thing in the Universe, next to only himself (because it will take someone who knows his own value to recognize the value of another, just as no one appreciates art more than an artist).

If you understand this and you have not, in your life, honored the value of your body as you should, then start now. RIGHT NOW, in this moment.

Understand no man or woman deserves a glimpse of your body if they have not earned it from you. Anyone honored enough to see your body should be in reverence to see all of it. An extraordinary person will look upon your bare figure for the hundredth time as if he were seeing an angel reveal itself to him for the first.

Paying attention to you, showering you with trinkets, and simply telling you things you like, or want to hear, is not enough. Flirting and being nice to you is not enough. He must honor you as he honors himself. He must see you as more than a commodity for a night or a month, or until a prettier product comes along.

If the person you consider sleeping with does not see you with reverence, then know he has not grasped the value of your body and he does not deserve to see your body a moment longer unless (or until) he honors and cherishes it properly, as the gift of highest value he can ever receive from another.

To put it simply, if a man (or woman) does not treat your body better than he treats his most expensive, important, or favored possession—his precious car, his hand-me down gold heirloom, or even his weekly “poker night with the boys”—then understand he puts you beneath something that is of obvious lesser value than you.

If he cheats on you, understand his actions say you have no value. To him, you are not even worth the unscrupulous behavior he chooses in favor of you.

Understand how you treat your body is an exact reflection of your self-esteem. Any time you wish to raise your self-esteem, self-respect, and self-worth, treat your body in kind (perhaps as you should have treated it all along). Care for your body and honor it as the only real property you own, the only item of actual intrinsic value in your life, and the only gift that is truly yours to give another—another who must prove he is absolutely worthy to be bestowed such a holy gift and will put no other gift before it.

It is that valuable.

Your body is the physical extension of your mind, your will, your Self. Taste, touch, scent, sound and vision—the body is the tool by which you are able to interact with the world and connect to another person, matching value for value. When your body is gone, these things are gone—value is gone.

You only own one thing in life and it is the most valuable property in all the world.

Be sure the person in whose hands you place this property is worthy to care for it.

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