Latest Entries:

  • How to Survive the Coronavirus Quarantine

    The last thing I want to be doing is writing about the coronavirus. We get bombarded by news about it every day, our daily lives have been drastically impacted, and people are suffering due to no fault of their own. This coronavirus pandemic is draining. It feels as though no matter where we turn, the coronavirus scourge as permeated every single part of our lives. One cannot even go outside without being impacted by the eeriness of a quiet street on a Tuesday afternoon, or the anxiety that bears down the atmosphere. People are perplexed and fearful asking themselves: How did this get so out of hand? Where is our leadership? What can I do to protect myself and my family? And how do I keep my sanity? And that is what I want to talk about in this post; How do we keep our sanity during this pandemic?

    Focus on Yourself

    I live by myself and have started working from home (as most people who have been fortunate enough to keep their job have been doing). My life prior to this outbreak centered around social interaction. Whether it be engaging with coworkers, going to church and other social gatherings, or spending quality time with loved ones and friends, it was seldom that I would have a majority of my day to myself unless I made a concerted effort to do so. So, to find myself now just a week and a half out from what was my normal, to be isolated, and socially distant is a radical change to life as I knew it. I find myself clamoring for ways to stay engaged, learning and reinstituting old habits and hobbies and creating space for myself to do things that I normally would not prioritize. The truth is, even though my situation may not be similar to others, the one thing that we all have in common in this time is we are all being forced to spend more time with ourselves.

    Being forced to spend time with ourselves is a scary prospect for some. Some purposefully create a life that does not require them to spend any time with themselves. The reality of our existence is that no matter where we go, we always have to bring ourselves. The idea of self is pretty oxymoronic in this time where we are self-isolating and social distancing as a precaution for others. I would assert however, that now is a great time for us to work on ourselves. Now the implication behind that does not imply a necessity to improve but rather a necessity to engage. How do we engage with ourselves when we are not being over stimulated? The great thing about humanity is that we always grow but I would suggest that there is no better time like right now to change the question from am I growing, to how am I growing?

    Spend your Time Well

    A major concern for everyone is time. The one thing that no one seems to have enough of is time. It is the only thing that we cannot buy more of. How are we using our time during this pandemic? With most of us locked away in our homes it is easy for us to waste time watching television, and procrastinating; But what if we used this newfound gift of extra time on hour hands to do something constructive. I just want to provide a silver lining in this dire situation, and it starts by realizing the new opportunities that we have been afforded.

    Maybe that new time translates into more time with family, or an opportunity to work on a pet project, or a chance to do things you may have forgot that you enjoyed doing. How we spend our time during these days is crucial to how well we each survive the quarantine. I have made an intentional point to create to do lists for myself if not every day, every week. These lists consist of things that I have wanted to do for a while and things that are newly inspired by this extra time at home. Capitalize on this moment and do not let it go to waste. That idea that you’ve had, write it down and make it plain, that business you wanted to start, do some research on it, that book you wanted to write, start; Our time is more valuable now than ever before.

    Invest

    Now is a superb time to invest. No I am not exclusively talking about the stock market, however I would suggest (and no this is not financial advice I am not a financial advisor), that if you are into stocks, now would be a good time to put some skin in the game while we are in a bear market. Outside of stocks and money, now is a good time to invest in the intangible. Invest into your relationships. Being willing to engage with one another allows us to keep our humanity and our sanity.

    We all have the opportunity now to call and speak with friends and loved ones. Social media as our primary mode of engagement is not going to cut it during this time of isolation. No matter how disconnected we become with the advent of technology, at our core humans are social beings and its important for us to never forget that. Since being quarantined, I communicate with my close friends just about every day multiple times a day. Prior to this, we would communicate once every couple of weeks. I’ve even challenged myself to reach out to people that I would not normally engage with regularly because of the hustle and bustle of life.

    It is equally important that we invest in ourselves. Do you have a regimen in place? How do you spend your 24 hours and how is that benefiting you? What will be the ROI on your time after all of this is over? All of these things are important and something that we would not normally take time to consider. I’ve been consistently working out at home, spending more time to take care of my health, and leaning into some of my favorite hobbies like cooking. Normally we allow our schedules to dictate our lives, but now is a good time to turn the auto pilot off and get back in control of our lives as best we can.

    Protect your Mental Health

    Depression and anxiety are two of the biggest mental health challenges most of us are facing right now. Social Isolation can take a huge toll on one’s mental health. Another side effect of social distancing is a lot of us are staying inside for most of our day. Sunlight is thought to increase levels of serotonin in people while a lack of sunlight decreases it. A decrease in serotonin can contribute to depression. Additionally, the 24-hour news cycle has become the 24/7 coronavirus live stream. While it is important for us to stay informed with what is going on regarding this virus, the news is also constantly exposing us to negative information that undoubtedly has a negative impact on our mental health. We have to be disciplined enough to take care of our mental health because our current state of being is not conducive to positive mental health.

    Earlier this week, I was feeling lethargic and did not fully understand why. I came to realize that those days that I was feeling lethargic I had the news on for most of the day. Once I turned the news off I slowly but surely felt my energy coming back. What we put into us is important, and influences what comes out of us. It is important for us to make a conscious effort to get outside whenever we can, along with doing the aforementioned of staying engaged with family friends and loved ones as best we can. Depression can be insidious, and anxiety can be treacherous. I would encourage each of us in this time to identify mental health struggles that we may be facing and find the proper help, in the resources are a few suggestions for online counseling and articles on battling anxiety and depression.

    Ultimately, we are experiencing unprecedented times and unfortunately it is going to get worse before it gets better. it is important that we do what we have to do to take care of ourselves, our loved ones, and those in need. If we are not in a good place we cannot help others get to a better one. Knowing how to survive the quarantine during this pandemic is essential and the benefits of doing even a portion of what is in this post will outlast immediate satisfaction and gratification. I implore each one of us to work on ourselves in this time so that we are all able to come out of this pandemic better then how we entered.  

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    Resources:

    www.cnn.com/2020/03/25/world/coronavirus-newsletter-03-25-20/index.html

    Talkspace.com

    betterhelp.com

    positivepsychology.com/what-is-mindfulness/

    www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/depression

    www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/anxiety

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  • Can Joe Biden Make a Mad Dash to the White House?

    Yesterday we bore witness to an all but decisive defeat of Senator Bernard Sanders as six more states voted in their perspective primaries. Joe Biden won every major state that voted including Idaho, Missouri, Mississippi, and the coveted Michigan with 125 delegates up for grabs. Senator Sanders won North Dakota, and is currently leading in Washington state by point five percent as of the writing of this post, with 67 percent of the votes in.

    What does this mean for Joe and Bernie?

    What Joe Biden has managed to pull off in the last three weeks is nothing short of a miracle. The once senator from Delaware, career politician with 35 years of experience, and former vice president to the most popular democrat currently in America, pulled off what for most other candidates given his circumstance at the time would have been impossible. After a conclusive victory in South Carolina, and a flood of key endorsements, Joe Biden went into Super Tuesday with the momentum and validity he needed to cause the other primarying states to fall in line. Biden has had definitive victories in Alabama, Arkansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Virginia, and Texas. Of note with these victories is that the Biden campaign was hemorrhaging money and had not been campaigning in any of the aforementioned states.

    The Bernie Bros (Bernie Sanders supporters) of which primarily consist of young people, failed to send him over the finish line. The Biden coalition of blue collar, and older black moderates contributed significantly to his landslide victory. What South Carolina did was show America that the Obama coalition is alive and well, and the power that they hold should not be overlooked or undermined. This was obviously great news for Joe because not only are those the votes that he wants and needs, it also gives him an in to go for the same voters that flipped in 2016 and put Trump in office. For Bernie Sanders this means that its time to throw in the towel. Bernie being in the political discourse has pushed the democratic party far left enough where his ideas will be issues debated long after he is gone; but sometimes the person who comes up with the idea is not always the one who gets to champion it.

    Bernie’s major flaw in his campaign among the many, hands down, was not pandering or being able to identify with moderates in the democratic party. It cannot even be argued that this primary was stolen from him like in 2016. When push came to shove Bernie did not and does not make the cut amongst moderates. Fact of the matter is, the man is a socialist, and socialism does not sit well with moderates no matter how much Bernie or his supporters tried to explain it away – the nail in the coffin being his favorable remarks towards the Castro regime in Cuba. That being said, Senator Sanders has yet to concede and plans to debate Joe this coming Sunday March 15, 2020.

    Best Case Worst Case

    Sunday’s debate is going to be in Arizona, two days before that state along with Illinois, Ohio and Florida vote. The key states to be aware of going into next Tuesday is Illinois and Florida. Best case scenario for Biden (worst case for Bernie) is he has an amazing debate on Sunday, annihilates Bernie on the issues, and has a landslide victory Tuesday. Worst case Scenario for Biden (Best case for Bernie) is Joe goes out on that debate stage on Sunday and his brain fails him big time. It was easier to overlook when there were 20 people running but now that there are only two people it is undeniable that Joe Biden is having cognitive failure. Joe Biden is a gaffe machine and cannot go two minutes without putting his foot in his mouth. His supporters as well as the democratic establishment have gone at length to undermine this fact about him. That cannot happen anymore.

    If Joe Biden gets on that stage on Sunday and gets owned by Bernie in a major way, there is a very slim chance that Bernie could force a brokered convention. The reason I say slim is because the likelihood of that happening is highly improbable. Even if Joe has a poor debate performance and he very likely will; there is no evidence based on the votes that have already been casted that Bernie could rebound, the damage is irreparable. In addition to that, Florida has a lot of Hispanic voters, a demographic that Bernie did exceptional with in Nevada, however, the Floridian Hispanic voter is on average older, more conservative, and not Castro sympathizers. Bernie also struggles in Illinois. Based on his 2016 primary performance against Hillary, who won the state, Bernie will once again likely struggle with black and moderate voters especially against Biden who is a more liked candidate than Hillary was back then. Arizona and Ohio go to Biden no questions asked. Once again however, this is a worst case scenario, and with politics anything could happen so if Biden does flounder badly on stage Sunday, the momentum could flip.

    What about November?

    I hesitate to speculate on November with the uncertainty associated with politics. However, at a high level: given what we are seeing right now with coronavirus tanking Trumps economy, recession looming even closer (click here read my post: Trump’s Elephant in the Room, Recession), and Biden being the heir apparent nominee. Come Tuesday November 3rd 2020… Trump wins a second term. Democrats need to stop being delusional. Biden cannot speak, he is running on Obama’s clout, and he does not know where he is half of the time. Trump has already started his smear campaign against Joe. On the issue of electability, what made democrats think that a 77-year-old man who does not know his sister from his wife would be more electable than the 20+ other candidates that were in the race? Now I know there is a lot of nuance that I am leaving out in that statement, but the fact remains there is faulty logic in thinking that Joe Biden can make it to the white house over the incumbent Donald Trump. Bernie Sanders is no better but at least he would have had a fighting chance. All the same, I am eager to see how this all pans out for Joe. He could win if he motivates enough of the Obama coalition to come out and vote for him, OR if he steals enough Trump voters. One thing is certain, between now and November, anything is bound to happen.   

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    References:

    https://www.270towin.com/

    https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/meet-the-press/if-it-s-biden-v-bernie-buckle-n998841

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  • How to Shift our View on Success and Obtain it Regularly

    This has been an interesting season of life for me recently. Specifically, as it relates to this blog, I’ve admittedly had a hard time keeping up with my own expectations. Whether it’s a certain number of posts or a desire to scale and grow, or my desire to diversify my content, I have not done a good job at self-managing. I have not had any systems in place since coming off my last hiatus. That [not having a system in place] was and has always been an intentional decision of mine however, I’m learning that I cannot have ambitions to grow with no structure guiding me to do so.

    The blog is a small example but the same has been true of my personal life recently too. I’m starting to put those necessary fail safes in place however, it was a challenge for some time. The main contributing factor to that is because I wanted to do too much. Between work, applying to school, a recent whirlwind of family issues, aspirations of maintaining the little bit of a social life I currently have, and other miscellaneous personal things that take of my time, I found myself being spread too thin. At one point, I even considered posting a half assed post on here for the sake of having some content up and driving numbers to my page. In short, I allowed myself to lose my joy. This is not uncommon for me, but this is the first time I’m acknowledging it and definitely the first time I’m writing it down and making it plain.

    I always tend to lose my joy in one way or another, mainly because I allow myself to forget why I do what I do in the first place. Writing for example went from being a passion to being a business, which is not inherently a bad thing, but my relationship with that paradigm was bad. Other things in my life did a similar transition where the narrative shifted from “hey this is an opportunity/privilege” to “this is an obligation”. Without a why nothing makes sense. I learned recently that big victories are not big because of their scale and scope. Big victories are big because of the discipline that comes before the opportunity. The equation to success is hard work plus luck. The harder a person works, the more luck they are likely to generate for themselves, and the more success they are bound to have. What I’m saying is, there have been two major extremes in my life leading up to this realization and acknowledgement: on one hand I can be really passionate and give something everything I have, and on the other hand, my expectation of that work ethic is rapid success and growth. The reality is success does not come rapidly nor is it always grandiose, but it can come consistently.

    Success does not come rapidly nor is it always grandiose, but it can come consistently

    It’s a matter of how we quantify what success looks like. This is an old adage but the most successful people most likely started by making their bed everyday. The bible says to “do not despise your humble beginnings”. It’s not the action of making one’s bed everyday that makes a person successful, it’s the discipline of it, with the reward being that at the end of everyday they get the privilege of coming home to a made bed. If we can begin to shift our focus from success that is rooted in results, to success that is rooted in disciplined activities and systems that lead to desired results, we will begin to see constant success, and we will create for ourselves opportunities to be successful on a larger scale. I’ve begun to implement this strategy in how I organize my days and weeks. Time management has been an area of growth for me; I’ve been finding ways to put systems in place at home and at work that would allow for me to make the most of my time.

     Another good example is the gym. I recently started working out with a close friend and we’ve put different systems in place that have held us accountable to going to the gym and has allowed us to stay engaged and motivated. As for this blog starting today I will be putting systems in place that will allow for me to meet my goals but will also allow for me to retain my joy; Like writing about things that are motivated and inspired and not just pumping out posts because I need content or because I need more visitors to my website.

    How can we create atmospheres for ourselves that allow us to be consistently successful?

    The first way we can all engage in generating consistent success for ourselves is by doing things that we are passionate about. If we are passionate about something the success will come. That is because passion drives motivation, motivation drives discipline, and discipline drives success. I’ve never actively decided to put a system in place for something I had no interest in. This is true in all areas of one’s life: at work, at home, in school, in relationships, and everywhere else.

    Passion drives motivation, motivation drives discipline, and discipline drives success

    After a person finds passion in what they do, the next step should be a desire to get better. It does not matter how much I want to do something, if I’m not willing to get better at that thing I want to do, it’s not a passion, it’s a past time. Truth is, some of us need to recategorize what we claim as a passion as a past time. An example of this for me would be Pokémon. I was once passionate about the series and the prospect of getting the new generation 8 games. I even wrote a whole blog post about it (click here to read my blog post on Pokémon and the gen 8 games), but recently, I’ve come to the realization that I’m not passionate enough about the series to continue to play at the level I use to, and it has become more of a past time for me. I would encourage all of us to take stock of our passions and past times.

    Finally, the way we create atmospheres for ourselves that allow us to be consistently successful, and hopefully by now this does not come as a surprise to anyone, is we become disciplined in our actions. How we do that, is by making small yet intentional behavioral changes. For me that has looked like going to the gym consistently, reading regularly, and creating space for certain things. I’ve also utilized accountability partners to assist in keeping me on track and focused on my growth. Success is available to all of us, and I think we achieve it by first redefining it, and secondly, by applying it to areas of our lives that matter. Let’s not be jacks of all trades and master’s of none, that will leave us with a whole lot of past times with few, if any, passions.

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    References:

    https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/18/making-your-bed-first-thing-can-make-you-more-productive-all-day.html

    https://myblackperspective.com/2019/11/16/pokemonswordnshield/

  • The Company We Keep

    This year in general, but this month specifically, I have made it a point to be more intentional about the people I choose to have around me. I am in a place in life right now where mentally I am in growth mode. I want to grow my finances, my sphere of influence, my capacity for more, and my skills and abilities. I’ve come to learn, that our growth is directly correlated to the people we are connected with.

    As it relates to me, I do an amazing job at isolating myself, identifying problem people/situations and creating space between myself and those things that may inhibit my growth. What I lack in is inviting people into my space and sharing the intricacies of my life with others. In today’s social media age, real human connection is an outdated commodity.

    Our growth is directly correlated to the people we are connected with

    People rather remain in their silos as opposed to allow themselves to be exposed to new opportunities. I must admit that I have fallen into this trap as well. I’ve always been forward thinking and open to new experiences, but as I’ve been getting older, what was once a natural inclination has now become something that requires a conscious effort.

    It is imperative that we are intentional about the company we keep. As we become more isolated, we become less effective. I wrote a piece entitled Why are Millennials so Lonely?, and it highlighted several issues that us young adults may be facing. I would like to submit that another contributing factor to our loneliness is our unwillingness to be open.

    It is imperative that we are intentional about the company we keep

    One would think that in the year 2020 vulnerability would be commonplace with all the messaging around us that encourages us to be our best selves, and to lean into that which makes us unique. However, I would argue that today’s society has subverted the idea of what being our best selves really means. I once read somewhere that we are strong in our weakness. Why would someone write that? I would like to think the author knew that the best way for us to be our best and strongest selves is by leaning on others to help overcome our short comings. We cannot fix what we won’t allow to be broken.

    Vulnerability is an essential part of the human existence. Find people who will accept and appreciate the real you, not the you, you think people think you are. The company we keep is Crucial to our growth and development, and a preference for social media focused and echo chambered life is not a sufficient substitute for real authentic human connection.

    We cannot fix what we won’t allow to be broken

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