We All Have Gifts And They All Come From The Lord.

We All Have Gifts And They All Come From The Lord.

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We all have gifts and they all come from the Lord. “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware. You know that when you were pagans, you were led astray to the mute idols, however you were led. Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus is accursed”; and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit. read more. Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills” (1 corinthians 12:1-11). 

Event photography is an art. Drawing with lights in low lighting isn’t an easy activity if the goal is to produce outstanding shots. In addition, capturing memorable moments isn’t an easy task at all, either because human beings is unpredictable. In reality, you never know what folks will do when you hit the trigger.

The photograph taken above was part of a service assignment for a local church in Cleveland, TN. The choir was awesome and the worship first class which helped to capture cool photos like this one you are seeing. Doing great photography isn’t easy and events aren’t an exception.

We are to do what the Lord has called us to do. Are you listening to God?

 

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Life Is Illogical — Get Used To It.

Life Is Illogical — Get Used To It.

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Forget logic… Life is illogical. If you operate under the assumption that you need more common sense in order to better understand your circumstances, think again because the former can in fact be a handicap instead of an edge for you. The moment you think that logic is what you need in order to advance your mission in life, I bet you that you will struggle over and over again pretty bad. The reality of the matter is that most people are crazy and there is nothing that you and I can do that will ever change this reality. It is only by being able to deal with the illogical that you will find sanity in your world.

In my life, I have seen a painter and a nurse buy a three thousand thousand dollar home with a sixty five thousand dollar combined income with maxed out credit cards yet they thought they deserved to have that kind of property and many friends assumed that they were wealthy because of their estate. What do I Say? Craziness! Life is illogical. I have also seen real estate professionals trying to put blame on their own clients for their own misfortunes. Yet, many people believe these ludicrous professionals and blame the innocent. Again… Illogical.

I have seen many blaming others for their own incompetence. How illogical is that? Yet, the former happens more often than you may think. Today, I was told that some areas in central Mississippi will start charging five thousand dollars for a small piece of commercial real estate because developers want to make the region into the next Beverly Hills with huge hotels and such. Illogical, I say. I love central Mississippi but this region will never compete heads on with southern California in wealth.

I have seen too many misunderstandings that could have been avoided due to either unsubstantiated thoughts and biases, people trying to be wealthy when in trueness they don’t have anything, priests treating their own people with disrespect yet asking them to fund their churches, colleges seeking accreditation at all costs without having the funding to recruit enough staff to complete the work, and even people eating in fancy places yet they don’t have a sustainable place to live. All of this? Illogical.

Check this irony out! You live a responsible life according to your means, treat others with respect, do your job with care, respect others, celebrate other people’s victories, make others look good, help others when they are sick, pray for them and in return you get — They try to screw you in every opportunity they can; They lie about you and your family; they elevate their lies and reduce your accomplishments… and in the end? Many people believe these lunatics many times over you without hearing both sides of the story! Isn’t the former so illogical?  Yet these former things happen more often than you may think. Illogical right? I say so.

Human beings are so illogical all over the world. In India, for example, many men work their whole lives, save up what they have made but often spend more than half of what they have acquired in one night at their daughter’s weeding. In Brazil, many have very little money sometimes having nothing or little to eat but during carnival, they go nuts on spending what they don’t have in a costume that they use for two maybe three days. The British system of education (the German, Portuguese…) assumes that by age 18, you are ready to choose what you want to do for the rest of your life. In Brazil, winning what is yours in court may take a lifetime. Don’t believe me? Go ask my family about it! We have been fighting for a piece of real estate we have paid taxes religiously for the past 37 years… Things are just illogical everywhere!

Do yourself a favor — just realize that life is illogical. Get used to it. If it makes too much sense, be skeptical. I am learning to accept this absolute reality. You should do the same.

 

 

Millennials Are Not Computer Geniuses.

Millennials Are Not Computer Geniuses.

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This is perhaps one of the biggest myths of our times — The idea that the millennials are geniuses of technology and that they know everything there is to technology. The reality is that they don’t actually know  the very basics of longitudinal productive technology as this kind of knowledge base requires significant internal rehearsal which is a fancy name for practice through repeated behavior. The Millennials can rarely recognize their own limitations with modern technique which in itself should serve as evidence that something just isn’t right.The former is perhaps one of the biggest problems we face in society today. The idea that millennials know everything about computers. Well, they don’t.

They “know” how to use social media but social media fluency doesn’t equate into being capable of producing an elaborated spreadsheet, C++ programming expertise, or even HTML 1.0 code understanding.  I even argue that the millennials don’t even have the necessary tenets of building a legitimate group of organic followers on social media either as such endeavors require time and effort. I have worked with a number of clever social media students to help promote some of my initiatives and in every instance, even the very best student wizards of technology, couldn’t make anything go viral for me. Why is that? Well, you tell me. Let me tell you…

Most youngsters of today don’t have the “time” and don’t want to put the effort to build such social media empires. They are too busy wasting their time with themselves rather than learning how to produce artifacts or advance any social media initiative overtime as such endeavors require a combination of rest, reflection, and hard word. This is why TechnoModeration and rest are critical elements to meaningful production. Most millennials are consumers of technology not producers of any kind. Most don’t rest to be able to contribute to their highest potentials. Looking for the easy way out under a constant state of frazzle won’t cut and this is perhaps why most millennials simply don’t produce novel artifacts despite the numerous techniques available to them.

This is perhaps why a smart group of entrepreneurs developed a number of smart applications to help the busy generation to get more followers, likes, comments… I like to call them the “industry of fake” who offer a solution to what I call the egoistic me at all costs clientele. I have to admit — these internet entrepreneurs are brilliant! They understand their target audience!  They produced modern media artifacts to satisfy the Millennial hunger of wanting to be popular and as a value added fool their parents with the idea that they are geniuses of technology because they can buy popularity.

The price of fake is decreasing by the year as do most innovations. So, NO! Millennials Don’t Know Everything About Computers. They probably know very little, in fact. They know how to fake what they know. If you take their smartphones away, they know even less and would probably get severe anxiety.

Don’t be fooled by what you hear. If it appears too good to be true… did you remember that phrase? Pay attention, investigate and look for the undeniable evidence that is found out there.  They need as much help as we do with technology.

Speaking Your Mind With Reason Is Critical In Life.

Speaking Your Mind With Reason Is Critical In Life.

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Let me tell you this straight: Your end is near if you decide to stop sharing what you know and learning new things due to fear of retaliation or simply because of arrogance. I am not aware of any quality professional who lacks generosity and/or avoids engaging in timely professional development. Life, my friends, isn’t about you or me. Life is de facto about others and how we share and learn overtime. Don’t get me started — if you think that you know everything under the sun, you are heading towards imminent disaster and a huge awakening in the near future. Nobody knows everything… not even you. We need to be prepared, thats for sure. We need to keep learning and sharing.  We need lifelong learning! We need lifelong sharing!  Be ready to speak your mind with reason once is a while as the former is certainly critical to your success in life.

All that I ask you is: Be reasonable. We already live in a world that is so unreasonable.  We most definitely need to be vocal about the former because acting without reason is dangerous and always backfire. In fact, being unreasonable is both dangerous and oppressive as it can silence the voices of people who might otherwise change the world for the better. Our goal is to make things better not worse in this world. It is to carry and advance honorable agendas in a timely fashion. Be patient, be kind, be loving and strive to be great in the eyes of others. Speak your mind with reason and defend what is right and honorable once in a while. Remember: Being impartial or overly judgmental of others, especially if your life depends on the same people you criticize, isn’t wise. One thing is for sure — Your goals are not that different than mine. it is to move forwards in life by being a reasonable person. Is it that complicated? I don’t think so.

There are many ways people can speak their minds reasonably. In this life, I will share with you three ways I speak my mind with reason. Here we go.

  1.  I write. Well, the former shouldn’t come a surprise to anybody, right? I write my blog on a daily basis in order to communicate my thoughts to the masses with a tough of reason. Writing allows me to speak my mind in symbolically through language. What is my overall goal you may be asking. My goal is simply to speak my mind to others so that engagement takes place as I believe that sharing what I know and hearing what others have to say is a critical to my own professional development and with succeeding in life. This is my advice to you — You should de the same and write daily. Writing is a wonderful tool to tell others about how you feel, as long as it is done with reason. It is a way to keep yourself sane in this insane world that we live in.
  2. I photograph. Drawing with lights allow us to speak our minds visually. Differently from writing, a well taken photograph is art in itself with no symbolism. We all need art to be reasonable. Life is art and without question… life without art isn’t life as we know it. The whole idea of being critical is tied to the field of photography. Have you ever met a professional photographer who wasn’t critical of his/her photography work? Are you critical of your photography? Tom Petty once said, “Sell your computer and buy a guitar.” I say, “Sell your computer (or guitar) and buy a DSLR!”
  3.  I speak. Speaking in public allows me to speak my mind orally. When was the last time that you delivered a public speech? If you haven’t done one in a while, I would strongly suggest that you make plans to deliver one by next week. In order to speak your mind with reason, you need to be versed in public speaking. I bet Dale Carnegie would agree with me on this one! Get yourself a good public speaking training program and start developing your repertoire of speeches so that you also have the ability to change the world for the better by speaking and being reasonable! We need more people like you, that’s foe sure.

Your end is near if you decide to stop sharing what you know and learning new things due to fear of retaliation or simply because of arrogance. I am not aware of any quality professional who lacks generosity and/or avoids engaging in timely professional development in this world. If you think that you know everything under the sun, you are heading towards imminent disaster and a huge awakening in the future. Nobody knows everything… not even you. Be patient, be kind, be loving… take time to write, photograph, and speak so that you also have a chance to speak your mind with reason. Are you ready for the challenge? I hope so.

Be Thankful, Always.

Be Thankful, Always.

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Be thankful, always. Celebrate what you have and give thanks to God because life in its essence is about the memories that you collect and the moments that you will remember with nostalgia forever. Why make things complicated and make life more difficult than what it should be. I say live a simple life and without question… live your life to the fullest because our days on this earth are counted and temporary. There is no need to build four businesses, working 17 hours a day and taking no vacation. Not even the mighty government cares about what you spend and live for. Be wise: Live small, focus on your job, and be thankful, aways.

My life is much more precious than any award I’ve received for doing professional work. If we deeply investigate our own circumstances, in the end friends… we are all very average and sometimes below average in what we do and how we live. Everything is meaningless in this life as the good God has once said in Ecclesiastics 1. If you die tomorrow, how many people will be attending your funeral? Maybe a couple dozen if you are lucky… At mine, I can tell you, won’t be many and I am fine with it. I don’t live a beat the Jone’s type of life and find elitism to be both fickle and unnecessary but that’s just me.

There are so many ways that we can live a thankful life. In this article, I will share with you three ways I live my thankful one.

  1. I say no to elitism. There is no room for elitism in my life book. It is very difficult to be thankful to God and live life thinking about money and what others think of you. Maybe you can live your life this way. I can’t. When I was 14 years old, I chose to live a simple life, despite of my family upbringings and recommendations. In the end, what a person brings to the table is so much more important than what a small group of preppy kids who think they are wonderful have to offer. Get a life, man. A polo shirt, fine wine and a pair of sneakers will never define who I am. I don’t need to wear or appear wealthy to have value in this world. Life is to be lived for God not men. Elitism is a cancer that often backfires, especially if you want to live a thankful life, always.
  2. Play with your kids. There is nothing more satisfying to me than seeing my daughter grow up. Playing ponies with daddy, cabana at night, reading books and occasionally going to a bouncy place means the world to me.  All these former activities either costs us no money or are very cheap to pursue. Having fun with your kids is a blessing that isn’t tied to monetary power. It is a good way to be thankful, always. Let me share something with you, before I forget — make sure that you marry and have kids. You will thank me later.  Playing with your kids is perhaps one of the very best ways for anybody to grow thankful and happy, I think. Smile at your child before bed. I bet you will enjoy the moment.
  3. Tell others you are thankful for them. You don’t make your life great. Others do in fact with a touch of God. Moral of the story? Make sure you tell others that you are thankful for having them. If you really analyze your life in detail, you will quickly realize that the impact that others have on you are much higher than the impact that you have on yourself. We are members of only one race — the human race. Human beings were made to live in community and celebrate with others. Language and societal symbols are two means that we use to live a thankful life with others. Practice the former every time you can and do what you can to get better at it. Nobody is perfect and we all can improve. Make someone happy tomorrow. This is your duty and mine.

Be thankful, always. Celebrate what you have and give thanks to God because life in its essence is about the memories that you collect and the moments that you will remember with nostalgia forever. I say live a simple life and without question… live your life to the fullest. There are so many ways that we can live a thankful life — I say no to elitism, play with my kid, and tell others I am thankful for them once in a while but that’s just me. Don’t forget… Make someone happy. This is your duty and mine in this world.

The Faces Of The Homeless. How Can So Many People Be So Heartless?

The Faces Of The Homeless. How Can So Many People Be So Heartless?

According to the National Alliance To End Homelessness, there are more than 500,000 homeless people living in the United States today with a large number of them being children. The Housing and Urban Development office estimates that this number is likely to be an under estimation as many homeless men and women (and children) don’t have the means to fill out census surveys. Lack of affordable housing and low pay are the two main variables that contribute to the large number of homeless living in the streets in America. We need to do what we can to reduce this number exponentially and keep helping those who need our help the most. It is the Christian think to do.

By the way, can you spot a homeless man or woman? I bet you can but just keep in mind that they are more diverse than you may think. The Rethink Homelessness campaign has enlighten many of us to the true “face” of homelessness in the American empire.  Many homeless folks are college educated, have played sports in college with a scholarship, and some have even gone to modeling school. There are homeless who can speak multiple languages, including the language of personal training.

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Rethink Homelessness

You might be asking, “What happened to them?” “How can this be?” Well, there are so many answers to these questions. Let me offer some for you. When medicine is so expensive and only a few can afford and if you get really sick… it becomes really expensive for anyone to pay for those medical or prescription bills. What a shame, I say. I have known a number of clever, nice and hard working professionals who had their lives destroyed because of health care. How can the former happen in the United States of America!

In other cases, homelessness might be due to addiction to prescription drugs or sometimes due to financial bankruptcy. Sure, lack of affordable housing and low pay are two big variables that impact homelessness but they are not the only two. In my opinion, we need to do what we can to help each other out and redesign the system to at least give Americans the right to live without having to pass through this kind of hardship. Don’t you think? By the way, if you live in Mississippi, look for Clarence from lovevets.org. He is a nice guy who cares for Veteran Homeless living in Jackson, Mississippi.

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When I see images like the one we are seeing above, I can’t stop thinking about when I thought about going to medical school back in the 00’s with plans to work as a general practitioner in small town USA assisting folks with little funding to see a doctor.  I ended up becoming a different kind of doctor by my care for the poor (especially the homeless) will never go away, that’s for sure. Seeing a man (or woman) being homeless really bothers me especially if the person is in this position because of lack of health care. We can do so much better in this country, I argue.

 

Appearances can be deceiving sometimes, especially within the poor and disenfranchised. Forget gender, ethnicity, places of origin, language, location… the homeless are as diverse as you can think of and can be found everywhere in the union. Some have even created robots and have extensive knowledge of electronics. Surprised? Don’t be. They re everywhere. Next time you see a homeless asking for help, stop and think. You have the power to make a difference in the life of another fellow human being. Don’t forget — Jesus Christ called us to help the poor. Helping those in need is our duty a Christians.

 

Do You Want To Succeed? Be Disciplined.

Do You Want To Succeed? Be Disciplined.

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If your goal is to become a successful professional, you need to learn how to be more disciplined. Being able to obey the rules of society and your company at all times, understand the codes of behavior of your community and country, and correct disobedience when necessary will make you into a superstar. We all need to keep course and do our very best in order to be disciplined and above all — fair.

Life is all about being able to be reasonable and doing things right. Don’t wait for the perfect moment to be totally disciplined to start being more disciplined. Be disciplined now and accept the fact that we are we all a work in progress, people. If you think you aren’t, I strongly suggest that you reconsider your thoughts and surrender to the fact that you are not wonderful. Only God, my friends, is wonderful. You are not God — You have faults as much as I do.  So, be quiet and live life to the fullest yet accepting that you are not a saint or the next pope. Life is all about development and understanding. Strive for discipline, though.

There are a number of ways one can be more disciplined in this world. I am not going to attempt to explain all the ways that we can achieve this remarkable goal. However, I will show you three ways that you can become more disciplined in this world.

  1. Don’t think you are God. As I said early on in this article, nobody is God. Therefore, don’t act like or think that you are one. Are you omnipotent, omnipresent? All powerful? The answer is no, obviously. Do yourself a favor, be humble, understanding and forgiving. God is watching over your path and heart. Would you like to be outside of God’s blessing? Not me.  Don’t think you are God, nobody is God. Keep living your life simple and recreating yourself once in a while for the better. Ask God for directions. He will give it to you.
  2. Don’t procrastinate.  If you can do something today, do it. Don’t wait until tomorrow. The former can be a cancer in your developing as a discipline superstar. Those who choose to get things done eventually tend to eventually be fired or be laid off. Don’t be like them. Be yourself and do what you can to keep learning and living. Discipline pays off. Not everybody actually has it. Be a person of character and strive to be more disciplined. I can almost guarantee you that you won’t regret your decisions. Those who have ears to hear need to listen.
  3. Be open to criticism.  If you can’t listen, you will never be disciplined enough to make the required changes to achieving success in this world. There is no way out of this. We all can improve and learn, hands down. If you choose not to, sooner or later — you will put yourself out of business naturally. Consequently, the former would then make your chances of being good or shall we say — great in society very small. Closing yourself off from criticism is likely to screw up your future forever, even if you are good in what you do.   We live in tough times. Don’t handicap yourself by avoiding constructive criticism given by others once in a while. It ain’t worth it.

If your goal is to become a successful professional, you need to learn how to be more disciplined. Being able to obey the rules of society and your company at all times, understand the codes of behavior of your community and country, and correct disobedience when necessary will make you into a superstar. Don’t think you are God, though. Nobody is God. Not even you. Don’t procrastinate. Be open to criticism. We live in tough times. Don’t handicap yourself by avoiding constructive criticism given by others once in a while. It ain’t worth it. Give yourself a chance of winning by being open minded and sensitive about the need to be disciplined.

 

Don’t Be Upset: Learn To Deal With Ambiguity.

Don’t Be Upset: Learn To Deal With Ambiguity.

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Don’t be upset. Learn how to deal with ambiguity and celebrate the fact that you have a good life after all. Be positive! In this world, you will find in your path to success both uplifting and nagging individuals in which you are gonna have to learn from and live with. It is part of the life that God has planned for you. Somedays, people will make your life heaven; Other days, they will make your life a living hell. It is a rollercoaster. Don’t forget this, though. Stress, celebrations, non-sense frustrations and victories is all good and part of the game. Listen carefully: Most people are self-centered and could care less about your thoughts or feelings. You have to learn how to deal with them and move on. Your days will be many if you choose to live a nonchalant and happy life journey.

Let me tell you something this Sunday before I go to church. It is literally impossible to control people’s mindsets and values or the decisions they want to make in all levels of society. Do your work with distinction and dream big. Be the very best you can be regardless of what might come after you. Believe God and pray often. Dream big then dream bigger. What do you have to lose in order to think big anyways, right? Nothing. Live your life to the maximum without regrets. Smile often, play with your kid, enjoy your wife and have daily chats with your close friends. God is in control.

Don’t let others poison your thoughts by making you believe that this life sucks or that this world is mostly composed of misery and negativity. Remember: God is in control and things happen for a reason. In the book Experiencing God, Blackaby talks about the importance of living a life that God wants you to live and that God should be the center of your life not you. What a great advice that we all should follow verbatim. Life isn’t about you or me. Life is about glorifying God.

So far in my blog, you have read a large number of articles dealing with a wide variety of topics ranging from technology to workforce tips, discussions and reflections. Of course that my posts aren’t necessarily directed at anyone specifically but as a general rule of what I’ve seen in my life both in the places I’ve worked for and in society. This, folks, is what makes me happy. Self reflection and daily chats about workforce topics, along with critical discussions about technology is what I like. What do you like? Don’t be closed minded. Instead, be open minded. Don’t Be Upset: Learn to deal with ambiguity. Life may not be what you think it is.

Smile. Write a book maybe two. You only live life once anyways. Do what you like.

If You Can’t Inspire, Don’t Be a College Professor.

If You Can’t Inspire, Don’t Be a College Professor.

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You must inspire if your plans are to become a college professor one day. It doesn’t matter whether you plan to work in a public or private college or university, you need to be inspiring and have a lot of patience in order to motivate students to take action on their own and eventually help them to achieve greatness.  A college professor who is unable to inspire his/her students will struggle tremendously in the industry of higher education anywhere in the United States because pupils these days must be constantly energized sometimes stimulated to learn literally every day. Being inspirational isn’t a skill that everyone or every professor has in abundance naturally. However, you can learn to be more inspiring by putting into practice a number of systematic and predictable steps.

There are a number of ways that you can be more inspiring in this life. There are a number of “inspiring systems” out there, of course. In this article, I will share with you three ways that I know will help you to inspire others. It is part of my system of student inspiration — Are you ready to read these tips? You may like them.

  1. Stop thinking that life is about you.  Start yesterday making others the focus of your life. Reject any attempt to consider putting yourself first against the needs and wants of your students. If you decide to put yourself ahead of them, chances are pretty high that you won’t inspire too many of them. I am not aware of any college student who celebrates being second when it comes to important priorities. You must make students first priority period. Stop thinking that life is all about you — It isn’t and won’t ever be. As an educator, life must be about serving others and making students your top priority not the other way around. Listen carefully: Deviating from this norm will cost your college career. Don’t do it.
  2. Do what you can to be available. You can’t inspire effectively if you are not around. There is no reverse to this important rule. As my friend Kyle once said, “Be there or be square.” Are you there or “are you square” for your students? You need to be able to answer this question frequently and honestly. If you choose to not be there for them too often, you might as well just quit your aspirations of being an inspiring professor. Students don’t get inspired by educators who choose to have their office door closed constantly or who chooses to make an excuse to not talk with them when they really need to be seen. Make sure that you are available to your students more often than you feel is required. You will thank me later.
  3. Develop the initiatives that they want, with reason.  Take into account what your students want to do and develop the initiatives that they ask for whenever possible. By engaging in what some of us call “user-design,” or the ability for students (in this case) to develop their own systems of learning, I bet that you will develop superhero skills in influence and inspiration. You will become a very inspiring and popular professor if you empower your students to achieve greatness on their own, if you legitimately delegate responsibilities to them. I have never seen a student who doesn’t appreciate having decision making power after doing this kind of work in ten years. By giving power you gain power and as a value added… You become more inspiring especially if you make an attempt to legitimately empower others. I know, I know… What I am asking you to consider doing is unorthodox and can be quite challenging to many — There is some truth to that but man, this micro system works wonders.

You must inspire if your plans are to become a college professor one day. It doesn’t matter whether you plan to work in a public or private college or university, you need to be inspiring and have a lot of patience in order to motivate students to take action on their own and eventually achieve greatness. What are you doing right now to be more inspiring? Is life all about yourself? Are you available for your students to ask you questions? Are you empowering them to develop their own systems of learning? In order to be inspiring, you will need to do the former. At least, it has been my experience in three public universities and a private school. Stop thinking that life is all about you — It isn’t and won’t ever be. As an educator, life must be about serving others and making them your top priority not the other way around.

Technology Is The New Pacifier

This is Sophia, my daughter. Every morning, she wakes up, immediately runs from her room to ours with her blanket in one hand and a doll in the other. She finds herself a way to crawl into our bed and snuggle for a little bit. Minutes after the snuggles, she approaches me and says, “Daddy, cabana? Let it go? You might not know exactly what these terms mean but I promise you that you won’t forget as soon as I finish writing this blog post. I bet you will tell this story to someone you know because chances as pretty high that one of your friends or family members might have experienced something very similar to what we had.

Cabana is an activity I created to bring Sophia to spend time with me at night and calm her down during her terrible twos’ year. During the early stages of “cabana,” Sophia would come close to me and we would talk below the bed’s sheets. Initially, this activity worked out great as Sophia would then come to see me in the evening, play cabana, get tired and eventually ask to go to her room for nighty night. She would sleep like an angel the whole night. Everyday, my wife appreciated the activity as we both slept like an angel for almost six months straight. For a good while, the word “cabana” meant rest and play at night with daddy in our household. Not anymore.

Daddy! Cabana, Let it go? These are the new words that Sophia uses around 3:30am almost every morning after waking up three times prior to that from insomnia.  She also uses these words at 6:15am, after she leaves for daycare at 7:15am and when we come to get her at daycare at 6:00pm. She asks to play in the cabana at 8:00pm, and of course around bed time. Why are all these activities happening now, you might be asking? Well, it started happening after I allowed Sophia to watch a video on the smartphone while we were in the cabana one day.

I was trying to be a TechnoModerator but technology has back fired on me as now my kid can’t wake up in the morning or go to sleep in the evening without asking to have a smartphone video being played. Of course that in our house, technology isn’t played all the time, regardless of whether Sophia asks for a video to be played or not. But the fact of the matter is that she is constantly asking for technology to serve as a pacifier! At least, this is what it seems to me.

Do you know anybody who has a kid who is constantly asking for technology in order to be entertained? How do they feel about the use of technology in their household? What do you think will happen to the new generation of toddlers being exposed to all these technologies?

What Makes You Great? EQ.

What Makes You Great? EQ.

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I hope you won’t get offended if I tell you that technology use won’t make you or anyone into a great person. In fact, nothing that is technological necessarily has the ability to do the former. No, your smartphone use will not transform you into the next Rockefeller, Washington, or will make you have the heart of civil rights leader John Lewis. It’s just not gonna happen. What can make you move towards achieving greatness in this life is your capacity to be self aware, self regulate, motivate, your ability to develop empathy and communicate socially. Greatness is almost always defined by others so you might as well win them over and treat them right in order to have a good chance of success.

A professional who is incapable of seeing how he/she is behaving towards others is on their way to displaying uncontrolled emotions and consequently losing both credibility and influence within an organization or a particular team. Unless a person is aware of what he/she does, damage occurs which can indeed lead to frustration and in many cases high turn over of both good and bad employees in organizations. By being self aware of your persona, chances are high that you can view yourself more positively and expand your influence beyond a few people. Daniel Goleman and other experts in emotional intelligence (EQ) have proposed the former to be a critical element of success in organizational leadership. I couldn’t concur with Daniel and others more. I wish that behavioral self awareness was the only construct that you needed to master in order to achieve greatness in the workforce. It isn’t the only one.  You also need to be able to do what psychologist John Anderson from Carnegie Mellon University proposes — Self regulation.

College professors and many other professionals are known for displaying bursts of emotions once in a while. Although sharing emotions in public is a normal and expected human behavior, those who are able to control their emotions perform better in the long run as they are able to control their impulses and take responsibility for their decisions. Being able to face reality and self-regulate enhances one’s chances to accept change and develop new ideas, two critical components of success in any industry. The question then becomes — Why isn’t everyone self-regulating more often? Maybe it is because of arrogance or perhaps due to their inability to control their impulses and find ways to justify their decisions without being self aware of their own actions. Self regulation is as critical as self awareness if someone has the goal of becoming great in this life.

If you are not a good mediator, negotiator and motivator, you are in trouble as far as being great in the workforce. Greatness is the cousin of motivation. If you can’t motivate, you can’t improve and consequently can’t meet challenging life goals and truly lead any private establishment or public unit. Are you ready to boost morale for your own sake? You better if you like to have an organization performing beyond its capacity and planned goals and objectives. Remember: Opposition and differences in opinion are likely to occur wherever you work or spend the majority of your time. In 43 years, I haven’t seen too many people out there who can achieve greatness and not be a motivator. Take this seriously and motivate. It is that simple.

Empathy can be understood as ones ability to “see” how others feel and do self analysis on how one’s actions and decisions affects others. Being able to put yourself in the shoes of others is both critical and a gift, I must add. Not everyone was born with the Christian gift of exhortation or was born so naturally gifted in empathy that further EQ training then becomes optional. We all need to develop this important and quite critical skill-set if we are to be truly great in the world. Sometimes you just have to be able to pick up how others feel and be empathetic to them. Listen carefully: One day, you will need others to show empathy towards you to console you. The world goes round and round. Never forget that.

What if I told you that all these former points aren’t good enough until we all develop quite sophisticated social skills? Regardless of the career you choose, you will have to communicate well, especially socially. Great communicators use their social skills to leverage team and conflict management, leadership roles, cooperation. Ones ability to relate to one another, master social rules, both verbally and non-verbally, is the differentiator between those who achieve real greatness or are often stuck in mediocrity, sometimes subpar positions. If your goal is to be great at home, you need to apply these concepts at home. The same can be said if your goal is to be great at work. Is there a way out of this? No, there isn’t. We all need to adhere to these rules as soon as we humanly can and keep practicing and developing them.

I hope you won’t get offended if I tell you that technology use won’t make you or anyone into a great person. Technology is overrated! Human skills are required and necessary. I say, “Work on your organizational behaviors first and foremost.” Develop Emotional Intelligence skills and reflect. Be a source of happiness and sometimes the hero for others. Self Awareness and regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills is what we all need to be great. The alternative is just perishable machinery and propaganda.

Either you stand for something or you don’t stand for anything.  

Either you stand for something or you don’t stand for anything.  

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Either you stand for something or you don’t stand for anything. If blue makes you happy, don’t tell others that you love red, with reason of course. You might like blue cars and red roses and that’s okay. What isn’t okay is to publicly advance a democratic agenda and privately defend self interest or the interests and wishes of a few. It isn’t cool and only shows a lack of integrity on the part of the leader. Strive to be different, kind, and helpful, loyal and have a stance. You have to believe and defend something if you are to form an army, create coalitions, build support or fight an enemy.  What are you core beliefs? Do you stand by them? You better.

We only live once. Our ability to influence meaningful outcomes depend on how we act and what we believe in. There isn’t honor in being so secretive and dry for political sake as such characteristics only result is discord and disappointments. Stick to what you believe and play the game right. Most politicians are so predictable and so easy to understand. They claim to be greater than the universe, bigger than mars yet truthful. In time, we find them to be less than mediocre, small and fearful. Don’t believe me? Look at Trump.

In this life, there are many ways we can play the game right and stand for something, as Aristotle has once showed us. In this article, I will share with you three out of the many ways I play the game to win. Let’s maybe get started.

1. Make sure you know the rules of the game.  There is nothing more dangerous than taking a position on an important matter without knowing both the intended and unintended consequences. We all must play the game. We all must play by the rules and guidelines of the game. You are to know literally everything there is to know about a system in order to come up with a stance and stick to it. How can anybody craft a stance and live by it if they haven’t investigated the available choices? Maybe a few can craft their strategy and stand for something long term without knowing rules and regulations of a field. I just don’t know who they are. If you don’t know the game, you will dance, sooner or later.

2. Stick to your guns. If you believe that your position is right and you have data to back it up, don’t deviate from it even if you can predict backlashes at first. It is better to stick to your senses 9/10 times and deal with the consequences up front than prematurely adapting to a movable and unpredictable target. In the end, life is like Vegas, the house always wins. Aim straight and keep course. You might as well play by the odds and give yourself a chance of winning 90% of the time by sticking to your guns. If you think you can win every time, clearly you don’t know how to play the game. Just never forget that.

3. Play by the odds. As I just said, “Life is like Vegas, the house always wins.” You might as well play the game smart by understanding — sometimes calculating — your odds of success and qualifying your maneuverability in the game board. The secret, of course, is to match your critical assessment of position against the odds of success and standing firm to what you believe. I don’t recommend ignoring your chances of success for the sake of emotion. The former is, in fact, quite a myopic strategy which will only lead to disaster.

Either you stand for something or you don’t stand for anything. What are you doing to craft your stance?  Remember: We only live once. Our ability to influence meaningful outcomes depend on how we act and what we believe in. It is directly related to how we implement and spread our stance. Make sure you know the rules of the game, Stick to your guns, and play by the odds. Be who you are and have character. The former are two priceless commodities of adult life. That’s for sure.

When In Doubt, Hire and Retain Talent.

When In Doubt, Hire and Retain Talent.

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In real estate… it’s location, location, location. In the workforce and in sports… it’s recruiting, recruiting, recruiting. If you lead any team that wants to win consistently and achieve greatness, you can’t afford to lose the opportunity to hire the very best. Don’t be fooled to think that hiring mediocrity will take you anywhere in this world because it won’t. If you are undecided who you should hire for any position, make sure you err on the side of talent. Do yourself a favor. Strive to learn more about what makes people have true talent. The former is a science that can be learned simply by engaging in the act of observation and conversation.

In the vast majority of cases, talented individuals tend to think pretty critically pretty often, help you when you need help the most, are able to craft persuasive arguments to advance and protect your unit, and to complement… they actually do the work when you need it done. It is true that talented individuals have their faults like anyone else but their pros numerically outnumber their cons by a fraction of 10 to 1 ratio, at least. Please be aware that talented people tend to be pretty opinionated, bold, and won’t deviate from confrontation. This isn’t to say that talented people expects to always be heard, always wants to defend a strong position, or is living to fighting others. Of course not — The truth is far from the former.  In some instances, talented individuals prefer to express themselves timidly or even act like an introvert.

If talent heads your way… make sure you grab them! What if you already have them in your organization? Make sure you retain them! You never know where they would land next — You don’t want them to join your competition, do you? I don’t know about you but I am from the stance that if you can’t beat someone, I do what I can to have this person on my team. Hire well, retain often, and don’t regret your decisions. Recruiting the very best is a necessity in this competitive market we live in these days. Recruiting and retaining talent can be the difference between winning big or losing, in the literal sense. There are many ways you can hire and retain talent in any organization. In this article,  I will share with you three ways that I bet will help you to hire and/or keep talent in your organization.

  1. Involve them in decision making. The majority of talented people I know have a good salary or make a good living by working for themselves. However, compensation is rarely what motivates them. Their abilities to influence and participate in decision making, directly or indirectly, is meaningful to them. If you want to hire and retain talent, involve them in decision making. I guarantee you that the former will attract them and keep them around. Money won’t.
  2.  Pay them well and accordingly.  Notice that I didn’t say, “Pay them a lot of money.” Like in any industry, if you choose to pay your employees poorly, they will eventually leave. If talented employees receive a poor series of paychecks, chances are high that they will vanish from you when you least expect it. Make sure you compensate talent accordingly and well so that they don’t have a reason to look for alternatives or put their brains into something extraordinary and leave you.
  3. Treat them with respect and kindness. Treating people with respect will defend your company from losing employees, especially talented ones. Share often; Be social and nice whenever possible. A smile goes a long way — A hug is often appreciated. Admire others once in a while for their accomplishments. Celebrate with them and allow them to celebrate you. Honor personal commitments with talented people and give unselfish particular attention once in a while. These are excellent ways to hire and retain both good and talented employees in any organization or industry.

In real estate… it’s location, location, location. In the workforce and in sports… it’s recruiting, recruiting, recruiting. If you lead any team that wants to win consistently and achieve greatness, you can’t afford to lose the opportunity to hire the very best. Please be aware that talented people tend to be pretty opinionated, bold, and won’t deviate from confrontation. Involving talented people in decision making helps to hire and retain them in the long run, along with paying them well and accordingly and treating them with respect and kindness. It isn’t complicated.

The Underdog Already Has Too Many Sympathizers.

The Underdog Already Has Too Many Sympathizers.

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In this world, we have read, cheered and celebrated the misfortunes of the favorites and elevated the dreams and aspirations of the underdog with unbelievable odds yet showing little mercy for those who dominate or are extremely gifted. It is perhaps the way that the weak and the common man cope with defeat and gets back at those with talent. I’ve seen this phenomenon occur repeatedly in two countries my whole life. I’ve seen little to not even a shadow of remorse for cheering against the top guy. In the bible alone, we have read and came know and appreciate a number of favorite underdog stories that illustrates the former including the story of David and Goliath, Gideon versus the Midianites, Moses against Pharaoh, and Daniel and Babylon. Have you ever heard anyone celebrating the strength of Goliath against David? I haven’t ever heard anyone cheering for the Midianites over Gideon, either… Have you?

I am not sure if always cheering for the underdog is necessarily ethical, fair, or for a lack of a better word… right. Don’t you have pity for those who are talented or have an alternative reality to what you might see if what they have to offer is of value, ethical or right? I do you should have also. Why am I saying this? Because in my life, I have had in a number of occasions been in the shoes of the favorite and man I tell you… It sucks to have everyone on the face of earth going after you because you are using your God’s gift, being successful, and they aren’t. In the 80’s, I cheered for Ivan Lendl in tennis against his arch enemy, Boris Becker. Why? Because Ivan Lendl was ranked number one in the world. Back then, I was ranked number one in my state ranking in golf in my state. You know? I sympathized with Lendl in tennis where everyone else I knew hated him because he was too good. I have always cheered for Mike Tyson not his opponents because I appreciated the myth of Mike Tyson and the history he was making. I also cheered for Larry Bird and became a fan of the Boston Celtics because they used to win big. Celebrating talent is as important as cheering for the underdog. At least, it is in my book.

There are a number of ways in which you can cheer against the underdog and still justify your position with honor and respect. In this article, I will share with you three ways that you can do that with dignity.

  1. Use the favorite’s talents to teach your kids life lessons. I am not aware of too many talented athletes, engineers, educators or therapists who  win games and make fun of others directly. The reason why is because if they choose to be a jackass, sooner or later their talent will dry up and they themselves will pay a huge price for it. In golf, I have always cheered for Arnold Palmer. Why? Because he was very talented and won several major golf championships. Today, I use a number of his well known talents, e.g., being honorable to his family, having a strict regiment of professional practice which leads to perfection, and never giving up to teach students to succeed. I emphasize to many of my students and coworkers that working in your talent is paramount for success. I don’t use underdog stories to teach them lessons. I would rather cite talent.
  2. When a well executed strategy is put in place, winning becomes a consequence. Contrary to what many believe, those who are successful and are leaders in their crafts aren’t lazy and strategize like anyone else, and want to win.  Why is the former a bad thing? Why is seeing Pete Sampras win 14 majors in tennis a bad thing? I see no need to cheer for anybody simply because they are the underdog.  In my opinion, success is rarely (maybe never) an accident. Quite frankly, I think that success is a consequence of a series of very well executed strategies combined with talent. Why should we condemn that in the name of the underdog? We should celebrate victory regardless of whether a person is an underdog or not because in this life, there is always a need to explain to others the importance of starting and ending tasks with success and dreaming.  Sure, if the underdog does his work and wins the cup, great! But wishing for anybody to lose simply because they are great will never fly with me.
  3. In reality, the odds are against both favorites and underdogs, anyways.  I am not aware of anyone who has always won every game or got all the available job promotions.  In fact, the odds of success are quite slim if we put into the equation the the options that we are given in this life. The great American general George Patton was fired, despite his many victories in world war II. The iconic Charles Schwab was so successful for a while in finance but died in bankruptcy. Even Jack Welch, the great GE CEO experienced defeat and got fired early on in his career. Where is Ian Baker Finch? I know, I know… You may not even know who he is which in itself proves my point that in this life, nobody, absolutely no one can win every time and forever. In the end, lads… it is like Vegas. The house always win. Sooner or later, Pete Sampras is faced with a Rafael Nadal, Magic Johnson meets Lebron James, and that good President you had leading your company or school is replaced by the great new incoming President. Today, Tom Brady became the most successful quarterback in the history of the NFL. Tomorrow, I bet somebody will take his crown and he will become more human to everyone. It is just like how life evolves and progresses, I guess.

In this world, we have read, cheered and celebrated the misfortunes of the favorites and elevated the dreams and aspirations of the underdog with unbelievable odds yet showing little mercy for those who dominate or are extremely gifted. I’ve seen this phenomenon occur repeatedly in two countries my whole life. What if I tell you that perhaps, we shouldn’t always be against the favorite or leading authority in a field or sport? There is value in celebrating talent, I must say.  There are a number of ways in which you can cheer against the underdog and still justify your position with honor and respect.  You can use the favorite’s talents to teach your kids life lessons, you should be able to share with others the importance of implementing a well executed strategy, and that in the end, nobody wins all the time and forever. Do yourself a favor — celebrate success regardless of if the person winning is the underdog or not.

We Should Have The Right To Disconnect After 5:00pm

We Should Have The Right To Disconnect After 5:00pm

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Technology use after hours has reached absurd levels of adoption and use in the United States and abroad. It isn’t uncommon for hard-working  professionals living in the United States or abroad to be required to take phone calls, answer emails, reply text messages, update social media sites… 24/7. Even when someone is on vacation, he/she may need to comply with corporate policy of other duties as assigned and work while attempting to rest somewhere in New Zealand.

I do realize and predict that this modern day curse won’t be an easy one to be fixed or broken because our adopted professional operating system depends on its talented hard-working labor to be constantly connected to a machine in order for the system at large to operate and function. Therefore, producing twice sometimes three times more output than what is humanly possible isn’t in our favor. I guess this is what happens to society when technology takes control of human behavior and greed is then imposed on us in the name of productivity.

I bet that you and most if not all of your working family members are experiencing this quite inhumane practice. I wouldn’t be surprised if you know someone who is already experiencing health complications due to the unreasonable demands of the workforce these days. I wish we could just boycott the system but in reality we cannot, at least not initially.  SO, you might be asking… What can we do to alleviate the burdens of technological workplace abuse in 2017. There may be other ways to fight the cancer of working from 9 to forever in society. In this article, I will present to you three ways I do in order to live a balanced technological life in moderation.

  1. Join the @escthemachine movement immediately. You won’t be the only person to support the movement and is quite possible that a close friend of yours or a person you know has or will join the movement in your lifetime. @escthemachine is a movement to end the computer obsession era. The movement is about celebrating technology moderation. What a nice and humane mission, isn’t it?  You can follow the movement on twitter and receive daily updates on its Facebook feed. Who knows? The movement’s staff and partners might call on you to help to spread the TechnoModeration agenda in your community and beyond.
  2.  Be an independent voice for change primarily off-line. If you are a good speaker, consider giving keynotes about the need to create a policy that prevents the intrusion of technological messages into the worker’s leisure hours. Maybe you have the authority or hold an influential vote to decide who to bring and talk about the dangers of technology overuse in your establishment or club. I don’t recommend relying on social media as a medium for promoting TechnoModeration. Many folks out there will be confused and will quickly disregard what you say because you are using technology to talk about the dangers of it. I know, I know… It is idiotic because we are not trying to tell anyone that technology is bad or is always evil. We are in the business to put together a critical mass of individuals who are calling for the need to use computer technology in moderation from 9-5. Trust me. They won’t understand this simple tenet and are likely to get angry and emotional about you and your message.
  3. Be vocal and literally turn off your device after 5:00pm Friday.  I do and you should as well. Why do you need to be on the smartphone at 8:37pm on a Friday solving weekly problems? All right, I do get it. If you are in news, you need to be on standby 24/7 literally because breaking news and the need to produce and report such events happens all the time. You might not be able to turn your device off these days at 9:43pm on a Sunday but what you can do is to be at least vocal about it or do what some have done to alleviate their own unreasonable weekly schedules — Book an expert on the topic for your daily show or invite him/her to your classroom. Sometimes in life, winning is a function of losing less to eventually gain more. I do my part — You should do yours. It pays off, I must say.

Technology use after hours has reached absurd levels of adoption and use in the United States and abroad. It isn’t uncommon for hard-working  professionals living in the United States or abroad to be required to take phone calls, answer emails, reply text messages, update social media sites… 24/7. I bet that you and most if not all of your working family members are experiencing this quite inhumane practice. What can you do to literally @escthemachine? Join the @escthemachine movement immediately; Be an independent voice for change primarily off-line. Be vocal and literally turn off your device after 5:00pm Friday. We only live life once. Don’t waste your precious time in vain. We should have the right to disconnect after 5:00pm. Don’t you agree?

Sometimes Less Is More.

Sometimes Less Is More.

James Meredith

It is easier to start with next to little or nothing in order to be truly great and achieve tremendous success in this life. I didn’t say it is easy but easier… Whenever you have literally nothing to lose and everything to try and gain, a predictable urge to succeed occurs and impetuous behaviors take precedence in your calculated decision making process. Under such guerrilla style circumstances, men or women have a reason to believe in him or herself because the alternative ends in ruin, destruction, or defeat. The great golfer Gary Player is a living example of the self made man who has achieved the pinnacle of success in sports by creating his own way to excellence with next to nothing. Without question: Not having a four time Masters Champion dad with millions of dollars in his banking account has helped Player to craft his own life strategies and training regiments resulting in the one and only, “Gary Player.”

When you have little to no guidance on how to succeed in a particular domain and have a dad who isn’t ultra successful, you can be creative and draw upon your own path to success by observing talent and working smart. The reality is that too many resources and a silver spoon (or golden crate if you were born in Brazil) can be detrimental to a youth’s career progress and achievements. At least, this is what I’ve seen repeatedly: Inheritance and a rich dad often handicaps a large number of talented young men and women as these pupils grow lazy and live a life of leisure due to the extravagant lifestyle that they had their whole lives. In fact, the sons and daughters of wealthy men and women tend to become cowed and often terrified of losing financial face in this world, as Greene would put it. No wonder! This bunch has lived under the shadow of greatness and fine red wine their whole lives. Losing such a privileged position in society can be terrifying even suicidal. After all, who wants to lose prestige and possessions in this vain world that we live in.

There are a number of reasons why the former arguments hold a degree of veracity. In this article, I will present to you three reasons why it is easier to start with little or nothing in order to achieve tremendous success in this life.

  1. When you don’t have anything, you have everything. When you don’t have restrictions in what you can test and try, you will find more than enough space to be creative, make your own world, and achieve greatness. You don’t have to necessarily oppose others in order to deliver an innovative solution. You don’t need to put yourself in the shows of others and limit your contributions by bracketing your available options. You can dream and achieve freely which can be argued to be the pinnacle of freedom and creative thinking. You are free to attain the heights of power and influence. You can do the impossible and share the unpredictable with mobility and strength.
  2. You are more free to change your style. When you don’t have a frame of reference, you can design and develop multiple ones without reprimand. Remember: Over time, one’s inabilities to innovate and adapt tend to result in self destruction and chaos. The act of being truly great isn’t an exact science and it definitely isn’t achieved by static and myopic decision making, planning, and style. Dynamic innovation is the name of the game and always will be. You have to recreate yourself and your strategies once in a while. Napoleon, perhaps the best military general that has ever lived, lost the Battle of Waterloo because his enemies learned his ways. He became too predictable. His opponents learned his moves and were able to corner him and destroy his empire. The same can be said about the great Bismarck and many other great leaders. You need to have continuous originality, as I say. Always innovate if you want to be great in anything.
  3. Underestimating your contributions reduces competition.  Competition is good and required for any capitalist society to function well. I am not against competition. Far from it. In fact, I embrace a good chat with competitors every time I can. It is good for your business or brand to have competitors. There is a lot of evidence to support that. However, having too much competition can be a problem because it might result in market saturation. The fact that some might underestimate your contributions can be quickly turned into a competitive advantage which you can capitalize from. What appears to be a hurtle is in fact an asset. Every time someone underestimates you, you win.

It is easier to start with next to little or nothing in order to be truly great and achieve tremendous success in this life. I didn’t say it is easy but easier. Inheritance and a rich dad often handicaps a large number of talented young men and women as these pupils grow lazy and live a life of leisure due to the extravagant lifestyle that they had their whole lives. It is easier to start with little or nothing in order to achieve tremendous success in this life. When you don’t have anything, you have everything — you win; When you become more free to change your style — you win; When someone underestimates your contributions it reduces competition — you win. It is goofy but it works this way.

The Last Bubble: Collapse is Eminent.

The Last Bubble: Collapse is Eminent.

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If we look back in history and pay close attention to the evolution of both the defeated world war II countries and what we call the industrialized countries of today, we can quickly conclude that the industries they have re-built were for the most part more efficient and effective than the ones we had in the United States during the 1970’s. Well, I guess Japan, Germany and others had no choice but to take the stance of excellence if they were to compete against the only superpower of the post WWII age. They had to step up their game and do things differently.

Back in the 80’s, American industries had to compete against companies that were designed and developed to literally destroy the American industrial park as the hegemony of American enterprises was everywhere. It did its fair share of damage, that’s for sure.

At the same time, the rise of immigrants and women rights along with infusion of technology has caused the job market to become an “Employers Market,” as the workforce then had (and still has) way more people looking for jobs than jobs needing people. The supply of workers became too large for the country’s labor demands resulting in employers not having to pay decent wages to its employees as economist Richard Wolff once stated. The situation we are in today isn’t different from the realities of the 1980’s — Our current situation might be in fact much worse as the levels of technology imposed in our society has reached high levels of ridicule.

The American people is overworked, stressed, without money, in debt, and for the most part… still believing that the economic crisis is temporary. Not sure about that folks. This systemic ghost is here to stay. It might not even be an economical crisis but a crisis of philosophy.

Americans now work more than anybody in the world (including the Japanese), take less vacation days than the British, have less paid maternity leave time than any other nation among industrialized countries. Regardless of whether a mom gave birth through natural birth of cesarian session, employers only pay 5 weeks for full-paid compensation only on average. Stop here for a second…. Can anyone really go back to work after an intrusive C-Session only five weeks after surgery? You tell me.

Americans are suffering from anxiety, stress, syndromes here and more syndromes there due to overwork. On the top of all of that and due to the lack of home operational income, Americans had to borrow money against their houses in the year 2000’s in order to make ends meet. Too many lost their properties dues to foreclosure and in order to survive… Had to borrow against unsecured debt. The population lives on credit card debt because it is the only way folks can live and yet maintain the standard of living of consumption they once did. Economist Wolff seems to be correct about that, also.

Well my friends, let me share this with you. This time is coming to an end as the American credit card debt crisis has reached its limits. Be ready to hear about the crisis in student loan debt on mainstream media more often, very soon. Student loan debt will be the last bubble of our generation (in my opinion) but like all financial bubbles, it will explode and it will be ugly. I predict it will occur between 2020 and 2025. Students will be going to school to defer debt in mass quantities as high paying jobs become more scarce.

I see an ugly future for a lot of us members of the struggling middle class. As a college professor, I am suppose to hold a positive stance on hope but the evidence I see doesn’t give me too much hope folks. I think this whole fiasco will occur in this country in 2023. The country might default on its financial obligations which can result in life changing events never experienced before in the land of apple pie. I honestly don’t see a way out from this mess. The good news is that I am not an economics professor but a professor of media. The bad news is that if I am right…

And they keep telling me, “We need more technology!” I reply saying, “No, we need more brain cells!” We don’t need more technology. Ladies and gentleman, the boat is sinking and we are all a part of it. I encourage you to pray and pray hard because we will need it. Be ready to reduce your standard of living… Be accustomed to living in an apartment not in a house… Stop spending and look for ways to generate your own source of income. We must stick together and be creative.

Sticking together is perhaps the only way we will be able to deal with this whole crisis. God be with us.

If You Are A College Professor, You Just Have To Be Dedicated And Care.

If You Are A College Professor, You Just Have To Be Dedicated And Care.

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If you are a college professor, you just have to be dedicated and caring. Caring means going to class and be prepared for teaching the greatest lesson you can ever deliver; Dedication means coming to your job everyday and be ready to help students when they need help the most. Being caring and dedicated also means attending university sponsored recruiting events where prospective students choose to attend and ask questions about potentially majoring in your program.  The photograph above was taken during one of our high school recruiting events in which we have designed and delivered a series of media workshops for graduating seniors. In my book, there is no room for uncaring behavior and egoism in education. If you are a true educator, you have to care and serve your students with dignity, respect, and passion. There are a number of ways in which rookie college professors can develop a caring and dedicated demeanor.  In this article, I will share with you three ways in which college professors in training can have a better attitude as an educator by the time they start teaching college courses.

  1. Go to church and get involved. The act of church attendance transcends the walls of whatever church denomination (or no denomination) you attend. Choosing to going to church with the right attitude and with the goal of genuinely helping others is a habit that is transferrable to a college classroom. When someone takes the initiative to join a church congregation as a volunteer, chances are high that this person is at the least dedicated to the faith and probably caring towards other believers.  The heart of a volunteer can change mountains and is to be celebrated by the community in which they belong. A first class college professor must have the right attitude towards his/her profession and be a champion for the needs of his/her students. When you have the “right attitude” caring and dedication follows suit making you into a valuable piece in the life puzzle of a developing young adult.  College professors must serve in the former capacity if they are to succeed in the profession with honors. Failing to do the former, on the other hand, tends to result in dismissal from the profession, prematurely. My advice? Go to church and get involved. Develop yourself in the areas of generosity and be a champion of goodwill before joining a college or university.
  2. Avoid using the word “I.” Professionals of education who constantly use the word “I” rarely make the greatest impact in the life of others especially students. If you hear someone constantly use the pronoun “I” in conversations, be aware. Chances are very high that “I” means excluding you. A caring and dedicated educator must learn to use the word “you” or “we” 95% percent of the time because he overuse of the word “I” only leads to contention and suspicion.  As a college professor, you need to create harmony and transparency… A star college professor champions equilibrium in the life of his/her students and puts him/herself second to the needs of the students. A great way to accomplish such pursuits is by replacing the word “I” with the better alternative… “You” or “We.”
  3. Start creating connections with employers. A caring and dedicated college professor has professional connections. A good way to start thinking this way is by getting involved with civic organizations in your hometown, in addition to joining a church and volunteering. Consider joining your local Chamber of Commerce or the Rotary Club. These institutions tend to attract businesslike individuals who can help your students to get jobs after they graduate. Remember: A caring and dedicated college professor helps his/her students to get jobs. I promise to you that the act of recommending and/or placing students in jobs is priceless to both themselves and you.  Don’t forget… It is our responsibility as college professors to connect and develop relationships. Our prefrontal lobe is already developed. Our student’s prefrontal lobe is still under development, for the most part. Be proactive and network. It is the only way and the right thing to do.

If you are a college professor, you just have to be dedicated and caring. There is no reversal for this one if you want to have an impact in your career as a college professor. Start early and often. Don’t wait and act in a proactive manner. Be ready to serve and and care with the dedication that the good God expects of you. Don’t be like every other college professor… seeking to spread his or her legacy at your student’s expense sometimes turning the lives of his/her students upside down for no goos reason. Be different. Be fair. Be caring and dedicated. Be a real college professor.

You Are To Do God’s Will Not Yours.

You Are To Do God’s Will Not Yours.

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God is in control not you or me — regardless of what many may think. When the good God takes you places, it is His wishes that shall be done because glory is to be given to Him not you or me. In Jeremiah 29:11 we learn, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord… plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Stop thinking that life revolves around you because it doesn’t. Life is about honoring God and using your god given gifts to advance his kingdom. If you are trying to write your legacy on anything, be aware! This world isn’t about you or me. It is about honoring God with all you have. Writing any legacy is an overrated statement. Isn’t more important to engage in the great commission than to work your whole life and claim that you are wonderful because you left a great legacy?  I believe it is… I could write about this topic forever but for the sake of space and discourse, I will be brief and present to you three ways I’ve seen the wrath of God put in action when someone puts him or herself in the center of their universe rather than putting God.

  1. You struggle and eventually will get destroyed.  I wish I could share with you empirical data supporting this statement. Unfortunately, what I am about to say, can only be understood and accepted through faith and faith alone. Every time someone chooses to make themselves look bigger than God, or think that life is about their accomplishments first and foremost, severe consequences often occur resulting in self destruction. Attempting to place yourself in the place of God will get you destroyed. Struggle will go your way and defeat will then be eminent. Learn to respect God and give Him glory all the days of your lives.
  2.  People get confused and experience great defeats. Sorry to give you bad news… My advise? Take yourself out of the spotlight and begin to serve Christ with your godly’s gifts. Nothing can be more important in life than this, literally. If you are thinking too much about what others are thinking about you, it is time to engage in deep thinking and critical self-reflection exercises and to go back to basics. Nobody should let his/her pride take over their own personas under any circunstances and always glorify God. What others think about you is up to them. What you do you do for God. Life should revolve around God not you or me. Why experience defeat if you can celebrate victories? Don’t confuse temporary success with God’s will.
  3. Decision making becomes myopic and stress is experienced.  The bible is quite clear about the importance of seeking counseling in life. In Proverbs 11-14 we read, “Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.” Prior to making any important decision, pray and realize that God — not you or your buddies — control the universe. Failing to realize this Christian reality is like enjoying living life with constant stress and fear. God should be at the center of your thinking. Seek God’s counsel. As soon as this principle is put in motion,  you often experience true happiness never seen before. Don’t limit yourself to what you know or think you know.  If you choose to seek for solutions for your daily challenges without God, I bet that your life will be full of stress and disappointments. It is only by making God the center of your universe that success will head your way, if it is God’s wish. After all, you are not in control of your future necessarily. It isn’t what you think is best for you to do but the realization that only God knows what is best for you. Pray often, forgive daily, seek the counsel of God.

God is in control not you or me — regardless of what many may think. The sooner you realize this important reality, your life will change and your stress levels will decrease exponentially. Fortunate are those who understand this and put into practice the teachings of the bible. In the end, my friends… it was never about you or me but God above all. Don’t be selfish and seek to please God. Never and I mean never forget that.

The United States Is Divided: The Role of Technology In This Current Reality.

The United States Is Divided: The Role of Technology In This Current Reality.

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The United States of America is divided. What concerns me about our current state of affairs is that division often leads to dismantlement or conquest. The country is divided in so many dimensions that even a well skilled group of economists and sociologists would have a difficult time finding a solution to our core challenges and problems. Some might say that our problems are cultural — The culture of white American and black America are in constant struggle with each other which leads to the many problems we experience these days. Others claim that our problems are political — Liberals can’t see the world like conservatives do, despite any efforts to find political compromises. The north and the south are de facto very different in stature and culture. Most of the states in the north adopt to a certain way of living which in a lot of ways contrast life in the good old South. Many believe that we should destroy public education and invest in private educational enterprises; others are from the believe that we should invest in public universities and provide affordable education to a large portion of Americans as the former has been claimed to be a cornerstone of a healthy democracy. Let me ask you this… Why are we so divided as a nation? Some might say, “it is because of the head of the state,” others might say, “multiculturalism…” I say, “It is probably not possible to single out only one single variable that is causing all this mess. It is more likely to be a combination of variables. One of the main variables, to me at least, is how we see and use technology as a means to solve our problems. There are a number of ways I could explain to you this former statement. Let me focus on providing three examples of how technology itself might be the main problem behind the many issues we experience in American Society today.

  1. Technology empowers but sometimes it backfires. Just because we have access to any technology doesn’t necessarily means that we should use that technology in whatever way we wish. Indeed, using technology in the form of MRI and cat scan formats help us to maybe discover internal medical problems we experience which leads to us living a healthier life. Innovations in the auto industry can in fact make us safer in the roads reducing the number of auto death fatalities per year. Nano technologies assist us with manufacturing products that are lighter and more powerful often results in people having the capacity to capture the very best video footage out there for a cheap price. However, for every single positive attributes these technologies possess, there is a negative aspect to them. We have seen a number of patients being burned and experiencing hearing loss after using MRI technology. According to Motorburn.com, we have seen the semi autonomous Audi A7 breaks down with Florida governor on board, Volvo pedestrian detection tech failing to detect pedestrians, and Mazda experience rear-end collision failure. The latest failure of nanotechnology was seen throughout mainstream media when the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 caught on fire in dozens of American households last year. Just because technologies exists and are available don’t mean they are free of side effects or unintended consequences.
  2. Technology gives voices to dangerous groups out there. The latest revolution in Egypt was powered by technology. The same can be said about the revolution in Tunisia, Bahraini, Libya, Syria, London Riots, San Francisco Bart Riots, Occupy wall street and many more. The latest technology has divided peoples in many countries in quite dangerous ways since the inception of available mobile technologies. The resurgence of the KKK in the alternative media and other extreme groups are clear examples of how complete access to technology can indeed be detrimental to society and divide us. The problem of technology is that sometimes technology gives voice to groups who perhaps shouldn’t have one. The consequences are predictable — division among groups involved.
  3.  Technology is seen as an “idol worthy of worshipping.” Have you ever try to tell others that technology isn’t always beneficial to them? I actually have done this difficult task in a number of occasions including in academic conferences, open debates, public speeches, and sometimes at church. The vast majority of people receiving these messages aren’t always receptive to the idea of hearing that technology often times have substantial side effects worth discussing. Technology, nowadays, is seen by many as an “idol” that deserves worshipping. Every time someone tells them that technology isn’t anything more than a tool, folks get upset, and many times creates division. In the academic world, where we often discuss phenomenons like the positive and negative effects of technology in society, more understanding is seen. In the “real” world, the reality is much different, unfortunately. Some folks are ready to go to war anytime somebody claims that computer technology is like any other form of media out there with many benefits and side effects. The outcome? Division.

The United States of America is divided. The country is divided in so many dimensions that even a well skilled group of economists and sociologists would have a difficult time finding a solution to our core challenges and problems.In my view, it is impossible to single out the main reason why we have so much division in this country. However, technology is at the core of this discussion — overuse of technology and access. Every time hate groups possessing extreme ideologies get access to democratic media outlets, a disposition for division is likely to occur. These days, a wide variety of groups can aggregate within themselves on-line and boycott their counterparts by association. We have seen this reality in race relations and lately with the political spectrum. Don’t you like blue? Join us… the Green group. It is that simple. Media is polarizing our viewpoints and beliefs more than ever.  We need to be careful and discern what is make believe and what is reality. We have no choice but to do that. What will be our biggest challenge in the future? More technology. How ironic. Mignon Clyburn, head of FCC once told me in a private chat… Sooner or later, we will need to regulate the internet. It would be best for everybody. She may be right about it. Thoughts?

Interior Design Photography Can Be Quite Tricky.

Interior Design Photography Can Be Quite Tricky.

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Capturing interior design images that take your breath away isn’t very easy. Even though we have seen an explosion of what I call “photodemocracy,” where the regular person now can take a fair amount of photographs at very low costs with okay quality, the more intricate types of photographical work is still very tough to do. Being able to frame and shoot an interior design photograph without much space and light to work with is a quite challenging endeavor. It is pretty tricky actually — Taking interior design professional photos in tiny rooms is like trying to fit seven fishes in a 10 gallon aquarium without a filter and a proper light. A much as we would love to have available technologies to help us to photograph interior design real estate,  I just don’t see how modern machinery will make our jobs any easier in this domain. There are a number of ways in which you can make your job a bit easier when taking interior photographs. In this blog posting, I will share with you three tips you could use to take your own interior design photographs.

  1. Use a tripod.  In order to take great interior design photographs, you will need a great tripod. Tripods allow photographers to frame shots at slow shutter speeds without running the risk of producing blurry photographs. A great tripod will cost you at least $200 but hey… who said that photography is cheap? It is the price of quality, my friends. I don’t recommend the alternative — Taking interior design photos without a tripod. Well crafted tripods significantly help professional photographers with keeping photo movement to a minimum. There is no reversal to this one. You will need a great tripod in order to capture great interior design photographs.
  2. Great glass. Without the appropriate lenses, interior design photography can become a daunting activity which could turn into a very stressful experience. I personally recommend the Nikon 14-24 f/2.8G ED AF lens. This is a very sharp Nikon lens possessing a quite good focal length and f stop. I know, I know… this lens will cost you almost two thousand dollars! Its price is steep but the images you will be able to capture with this lens will justify its cost. It is a no brainer. As we have said in this article before — Who said that photography is cheap? It is the price of quality, my friends. I don’t recommend the alternative.
  3. Master photoshop. Chances are not very high that your rough interior design captures will be your last. You will need to fix your photos in order to make them presentable to a client. Fixing exposure, camera lens distortion, manipulating shadows and highlights, and reducing camera noise and aberration are some of the many attributes that you will need to control and manipulate in order to produce outstanding interior design photographs. In order to do the former, you will need to master Photoshop or its alternative.  Failing to fix your shots will cost your reputation. You just have to be able to make your photographs better after taking them in raw format.

Capturing interior design photos that takes your breath away isn’t very easy. In fact, they can be quite tricky at times. You will need photo equipment and software expertise in order to produce great photo products. Owning a tripod and great glass is paramount. Mastering photoshop is also a necessity if you are planning to capture outstanding interior design photographs. Are you ready to embark in such challenging journey? The rewards can be quite gratifying.

The Importance of Being Nice

The Importance of Being Nice

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Life is too short for anybody to be mean to others. We must celebrate the gift of life with joy, a smile on our faces, and an eye towards the great Lord of the universe. In Ephesians 4:29 we learn to “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” Proverbs 11:17 also teaches us the importance of being kind, “Your kindness will reward you, but your cruelty will destroy you.” In Colossians 3:12 we read, “Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” Why be mean to others especially when they have done nothing against you? Let’s not forget that human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires, James 1:20. God takes care of its people, though. Our God is a just God who is merciful. There are a number of ways in which you can be kind to others in this world. In the paragraphs written below, I will share three ways anybody can use to be more kind to others.

  1. Make God the center of your life.  Live for God by faith all the days of your lives. Remember: Your life doesn’t belong to you but to God.  We are to do God’s will and live by faith in this life. We need to be thankful not vengeful or angry. In 1 Thessalonians 5:18 we learn that we are to give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Why should we reject God’s teachings? We shall not, that’s for sure. Whenever you make Christ the center of your life, you find true happiness and tremendous freedom.
  2. Seek love and avoid contention.  In 1 Corinthians 13:4-7  we read, “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” Love is without question one of the most incredible qualities of a Christian. If we choose peace we shall find the kingdom of God. The bible is quite clear about contention, “The beginning of strife is like letting out water, So abandon the quarrel before it breaks out” (Proverbs 17:14). Love one another and abandon the need to fight. Choose love over evil.
  3. Pray for those who prosecute you without a cause. In Matthew 5:44, we learn, “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Pray and pray hard for those who act without honor against you. The good God is a Lord of forgiveness and understanding. Be the salt of the world by adopting a lie philosophy that is based on prayer and forgiveness. Be the light of hope in someone’s angry unjustified demeanor. In the end, their prosecution of you is an act of insecurity. Make them more secure if you have an opportunity. Be a witness of understanding and always take the high ground. Most folks are egoistic. be generous especially with prayer. God wants you to pray and serve others.  Do your part — be obedient.

Life is too short for anybody to be mean to others. We must celebrate the gift of life with joy, a smile on our faces, and an eye towards the great Lord of the universe. In the end, we are all in this world together seeking our biggest gift of all — salvation. Turn your eyes to God and pray. Be the hope you want to see in others.

The Importance of Being a Gentleman

The Importance of Being a Gentleman
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Dr. A and Josh Jackson Anchor WAPT Jackson, MS.

No matter how old you are, where you come from, which high school you have attended or the college that you have received your degree from, if you are a real man… you must be a gentleman. The reason why I am so firm on the former is because God calls us to be one. The bible says in 1 Peter 3:15, “But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.” Clearly, we must do what we can to emulate the teachings of Christ and be gentle to one another. In this blog posting, I will briefly introduce to you three important ways you can become more gentleman like. They are…

  1. A gentleman knows how to listen.  There is no reverse to this one. In order for any man to be a gentleman, he must listen. Being a good listener means not interrupting others when others are speaking, actually listen to what others have to say, and consider alternatives if the alternatives received prove to be a better explanation for a particular phenomenon under investigation. A true gentleman listens to others and strive to make decisions that take into account the voices of others sometimes. A gentleman understands that listening is a skill that can be mastered.  A gentleman waits until others finish what they were saying.
  2. A gentleman does not spread rumors. Under any circunstances does a gentleman engage in the act of spreading rumors because he knows that 10/10 times, these rumors cause hardships on others and eventually comes back to haunt them in the future. Only a boor engages in such behaviors. Schmucks love to talk about others behind their backs because they have nothing better to say or anything important to do. A true gentleman doesn’t put himself in the position of being a vermin. When asked to feed a rumor mill, a gentleman says no without remorse.
  3.  A gentleman asks, “what do you think.” Because a gentleman knows that he doesn’t know everything and that the opinions of others are to be respected, he asks for other people’s opinions. Of course he doesn’t take other people’s opinions as his own necessarily but he is open minded enough to hear what others have to say. A gentleman does need to act like an “I known it all” because they now than nobody really knows it all and because the former is a quite impolite practice. A gentleman would rather be quiet than confronting left-hand contributions.

No matter how old you are, where you come from, which high school you have attended or the college you have received your degree from, if you are a real man… you must be a gentleman. Gentlemen are trained on how to listen, not to spread rumors, and to ask the opinion of others in a number of matters. Being a gentleman should be a lifelong goal for any man. It is important to be a gentleman.

Life Is A Journey: You Might As Well Enjoy The Ride With God.

Life Is A Journey: You Might As Well Enjoy The Ride With God.

draphoto2.jpgThe unpredictability of life is a mystery that can only be fully understood by God. One day we find ourselves in a big city near the suburbs of Hong Kong. Another day we find ourselves living in a small town near the outskirts of Duluth Minnesota. How unpredictable our lives are, I say. I often wonder how anybody can live life without believing that there is a God. Life is full of inexplicable surprises for anyone to deny the existence of a superior being. How can we explain the blessings that we receive and give? How can someone be born wealthy and chose modesty over principles? I don’t have the answer to these questions but maybe one day I will understand. By the way, the photograph above was taken in the well known Natchez Trace located near the city of Jackson Mississippi. What a beautiful scenery man, I have to admit. I still remember driving down there and stopping my car beside the highway to take both a landscape photograph and to reflect. I realized in a very short period of time that it is only by the grace of God that we can live a good life, regardless of might say. I live a great life full of blessings given by Jesus Christ. Every semester, I speak with a number of college students seeking life coaching advise. I help them to find themselves and to use the gifts that God has given them and me. What a privilege to be able to encourage the youth into serving the God with their lives. I love it… I was born to do this. In the bible, we read in Acts 15:32, “And Judas and Silas, who were themselves prophets, encouraged and strengthened the brothers with many words.” We must do so with enthusiasm.

Some of us have the duty to encourage others to achieve greatness, be compassionate, and care for the poor. Someone needs to be a cheerleader for others and give unconditional generosity. The bible talks about exhortation, an important gift given by God to some. In Romans 12:8 we learn, “the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness…” How great is His word and the plans He has for one’s future. The unpredictability of life is a mystery that can only be fully understood by God. I surrender it all. It is well, it is well with my soul. As long as you lead me into your ways and future plans… We shall be just fine. My life without you is in vain. God always be glorified, forever and ever. Life Is A Journey — You Might As Well Enjoy The Ride with God all the days of your lives.