What a difference a year can make. About a year ago, I decided to write a blog post daily. While it has not always been easy to think up topics, I have definitely learned and expanded my interests during this exercise. I am not sure if I will continue this blog next year or start a new one, but I will definitely continue writing. Often times people wonder about tomorrow, but they never actually think about how long it takes to actually get to tomorrow. Our days can be broken down into hours, minutes, and seconds, and with each second we have a chance to make a change that we want to see for tomorrow. In order to make the future we want to see tomorrow, we must take a minute to begin working on the hour that will become the day of tomorrow. Each day of this year, as short as they seemed, added up to make the year that we are currently ending. As I look back on this year, I can see plans that blossomed well and others that fizzled out, and I have realized that the only difference between the two is the time that was put into preparation and execution. The plans that turned out well were well prepared and the others were thrown together foolishly. In the year 2016, I am going to make sure that I use the time that I have much more wisely, every second counts and I will treat every second like a fraction of my day rather than time to be wasted. This year went by quickly, as does every year, but that is no reason to let another second pass on working towards your goals and dreams. I am excited for this new year, not because it is new, but because I get another year to grow and improve the world that I live in. Happy New Year everyone! Thanks for reading along throughout the year.
A man is called selfish not for pursuing his own good, but for neglecting his neighbor’s.
There is far too common a misconception that it is selfish to desire things, or to work hard for anything, and often times people settle for much less due to the fact that they don’t think they deserve more. Selfishness is an unlearned trait, as children we are inherently selfish, we want all of the food, all of the toys, all of the time from others. Somewhere along the way, as we are trained away from selfishness, we lose sight of self worth. I have seen many people fail to attain a goal due to the fact that they don’t want to seem selfish, while in fact they are being selfish by withholding their talents, knowledge, and contributions from society. As I have grown, I have learned that one of the quickest ways a person can be derailed from their path is by calling them selfish. If a man is working hard to support his family, and somebody ignorantly calls him a selfish workaholic, he may get discouraged and start to question the worth of his work. This quote centralizes the true theme of the idea of selfishness, and in my opinion perfectly defines it, we are not selfish for desiring to go places or do things, true selfishness is when we decide to do all of these things merely for ourselves while disregarding the lives of others. If you are working hard towards a goal, there will be times when you can not be as personable as desired, but as long as your success will lead to the success of your family and community, you are on the right track.
Today is the day of the NBA draft, it is the second most popular draft in American sports, and I am something of a sports fanatic so I have been fully drawn into the hype. Much like the NFL draft, this is an event in which dozens of young adults are made instant millionaires with the calling of their name. There is no science to the NBA draft, I mean, scouts study and interview players for months before naming a pick, but often times NBA draft picks just don’t pan out. On average, it seems as though only 8 out of the 60 players drafted in a single NBA draft actually make an impact in the league. The low percentage of success in the NBA for draft picks can be unnerving to a struggling franchise, so it pays to have the first pick in the draft, but even that is not a sure thing. Many notable players were passed on by the team choosing first, including Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and Kevin Durant, and while there are some greats chosen first overall, the NBA draft is always full of surprises. This year is the first year in a long time that Knicks fans like myself have something to look forward to, as the Knicks actually own a top five pick. The Knicks have been known for their years of boneheaded picks and terrible management, but that could all change in an instant. The Knicks have expressed a desire to draft Duke Center, Jahlil Okafor with their pick, but it seems like the fourth pick owned by the Knicks may be too high to grab the highly touted freshman. I would love to see the Knicks draft a versatile player like D’angelo Russell, but if he too is not available, they may find themselves making another boneheaded Knicks move. I am pretty excited about tonight’s draft, I have my hopes set high for a positive move by the Knicks, I just don’t want to see my dreams dashed by more of the team’s poor management decisions.
The Tortoise and the Hare is one of Aesop’s famous fables about a race between a rabbit and a turtle, and it’s unexpected outcome. In the fable, the Tortoise is fed up with the cocky ramblings of the Hare, so in his attempts to humble the Hare he unwittingly accepts a challenge to a race. During the race the Hare decides to eat a meal, and take a couple of naps before he realizes the Tortoise was almost at the finish line. The Tortoise ends up winning the race and silently smiles as he knows that he succeeded in humbling the Hare. There are many varying interpretations of this story, but in my opinion, the best lesson of this fable is to not allow your talents to get ahead of you. By stating keeping talents from getting ahead of you, I mean don’t get too confident in your skills, since someone will always work harder to succeed at the same art. The Hare felt as though he was the fastest creature on the planet, and while he may have been, he did not have the determination and desire necessary to allow his talents to take flight. This story is timeless because it can be equated to just about any life situation. There will always be things that you may not excel in, but if hard work is put forth and care is given you may find yourself surpassing the “Hares” in your life.
I have to begin by stating how excited I am about my Duke Blue Devils winning the Men’s Basketball National Championship, not only did they win, but they won with the exact score that I predicted in yesterday’s post. Congratulations Blue Devils, let’s make it two years in a row!
Today I decided to visit the New York International Car Show, it is a showcase of some of the auto industry’s most magnificent works. I am generally not a car person, but this show got me pretty excited for next year’s vehicles. The international car show is like a zoo for cars and a playground for grown men, as we get to sit in and play with vehicles we dream about owning, or plan to buy someday. I had some favorites in the show, but of all of the makes available, I was most interested in seeing next year’s edition of the Audis. I love the engineering and style of Audi vehicles, but seeing the showcase of brilliant automotive technology today has me questioning my prime choice of vehicle. I stated earlier that I am not a car person so rather that trying to describe the cars I saw, I will leave you with a few photos of my favorite cars from the event.
What do you see when you look up at the clouds? I believe you see what you are thinking about or what is on your mind, while others believe you see where you want to be or what is in your heart. Since spring has only just begun I’ve only had one clear day to actually look up at the clouds, and while I don’t do it often, I always find something interesting. The other day, my mother called a cloud to my attention and asked me what I saw, I saw an airplane and she saw a cat’s paw reaching for something. I certainly don’t think my mother has dreams of owning a cat any time soon, as raising five children and being a school teacher is already enough responsibility, but what I saw is quite possible exactly what was on my mind and heart. After I graduated college I decided to return home to the city I grew up, which makes sense due to the fact that it is New York City, but I have never actually felt like New York is the place for me. I love the city, but I really enjoy traveling much more, when the right time comes I won’t hesitate to move, but for now it’s where I am and I just need to work to get to where I want to be. Cloud watching is like God’s Rorschach test, it is scientifically clear what is seen when staring at a cloud, but if you think about it, the deeper thoughts in your mind often come through when looking at the simplest of things. To return to my initial story, my mother is a science teacher, so seeing a paw of a cat may not be too far from her mind as it is the anatomy of a living thing, anyhow take a look up at the clouds sometime, you may find that you are seeing the thing that is really on your heart.
Coming up with great ideas that are actually plausible can at times be difficult and definitely taxing, but actually following through with these plans takes more effort than just doing the legwork. I have often wondered about old ideas and plans I once had that have fallen by the wayside, and I think, what caused these ideas to die? Another question I have is can an idea actually die? Or is it just the ambition of the individual with the idea that dwindles. In order to answer these questions I had to look back at my unpursued ideas, in most cases they did not pan out due to my lack of research, and also due to the people I confided in for counsel. When you have a great idea it is important to find the right people to share the idea with, often times friends are the worst people to build on an idea with, unless it was a shared vision. An idea is like a nice quilt, if you want it you will begin to sew it together, others may want to share the quilt with you, so they will start sewing their own pieces into it, turning it into something you never dreamed it would be. I have never shared an idea with a friend without it eventually losing its relative purity, if you have ever written a book or story, you know the first thing friends do is give advice on what should be added or removed. The death of ideas can not be fully blamed on others, since an idea should be well groomed before presentation, and the presenter should be fully confident in their idea. Ideas die because they are fragile, and if an idea is not solid, it will not grow beyond a simple thought. The best way to keep an idea alive is to remember it, build on it, and research it. A well thought out idea can not easily die, and if an idea is nourished by its originator it can grow into something great.
Failure is the great adversary of success, but also quite possibly the greatest catalyst for reaching your goals. Robert F. Kennedy once said, “only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly,” and while success never seems close in times of failure, the ability to press on leads to life’s greatest victories. Whenever you find yourself reaching for a goal, there are many setbacks, these can be small or large, a setback isn’t considered failure unless you quit. As life progresses and responsibilities advance setbacks become more common, but with growth comes a natural adaptability to abrupt change. Most people take setbacks in stride, when you know what is important a small speed bump won’t send you off track, but there are also many who cannot deal with setbacks, those are the people who succumb to failure most often. People who cannot deal with setbacks usually stop taking risks, they usually end up failing at their long desired goals due to the fact that they stop trying. Robert F. Kennedy’s quote is most inspirational to anyone who faces multiple setbacks in life, it is a reminder to keep going no matter how risky it may seem, because the achievement will be much greater. Failure is not and should not be an option when looking to achieve your goals, it takes patience, and courage but those who consistently fight through their setbacks will find themselves the most successful.
While I was preparing this post about dreams, I found an old blog I had written 4 years ago on the same topic. In my post I described a very vivid dream I had the night before. I will quote my previous work here and give a new interpretation of the dream, I have grown considerably and so has my interpretation.
Dreams are very interesting occurrences, it is interesting how a dream can teach you so much about the world while sticking only to what you know. Its almost as though your brain has something to tell you, but it waits until you sleep. I recently had one such dream and the message I got from it was quite compelling. In my dream I was standing on a subway platform and a woman was near me holding her baby, the woman walked away from her baby to tend to other things and the baby started roaming freely. I watched as the baby climbed onto a small beam, then proceeded to fall off of it and into some mud. Realizing the baby needed some sort of supervision, I walked over to him to pick him up. When I picked the baby up I noticed he now had several tattoos displayed all over his body. The baby’s tattoos were of baby things like bottles and pacifiers. I began to speak to the baby, as I would an adult, I told him “wow these tattoos are really cool, but you are going to think they look foolish when you grow up.” The baby just looked at me as a baby would, smiled, and began to giggle.
when I originally wrote this post in 2011 I likened the baby to a young adult, who was living for the moment. As soon as he got his freedom he did everything that wasn’t allowed, even if it caused him harm. After rereading this dream I now have a more elaborate interpretation. The baby was not only causing himself harm and living for his freedom, but he was also doing it with no regard for any type of correction. In the dream after I spoke to the baby he just giggled, I understand what I said probably doesn’t mater to a baby but it wasn’t even taken into consideration. I would say that perhaps this baby was me, when I was growing up, I was somewhat inflexible. I rarely put any weight or thought into the advice or concerns of my parents or elders. I often would scoff at advice that I just didn’t understand, much like the laughter of the baby. I am happy to say I have grown much in the last 4 years, and kept my foolish decisions rather tame. Hopefully nobody will consider me an “independent baby.”