Archive for the Life Lessons Category

Reflections 20 Years After Pledging

Posted in Life Lessons with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 18, 2010 by djvinceadams

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March 14, 2010 commemorated my 20th year as a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.As the cliché goes, I can remember “crossing over” it as if it were yesterday. Like some people that pledge a Greek Letter Organization, and unlike others, I had no idea of what fraternity life on a Black College campus meant. Technically, I didn’t know anything about fraternities and sororities on any level.

I guess in an odd way, my first “real” introduction to fraternities was through the viewing of Spike Lee’s part satire, part musical, part drama, School Daze. I can remember leaving the theater in 1988 after seeing the movie my senior year of high school with one prevailing thought: “I will never pledge anything!!” For those who have never seen the movie there are a lot of sub-plots, but one of the main components of the story centers on the G-Phi-G pledgee known as Half-Pint. Half-Pint (played by Lee) had to follow the bizarre orders of the “big brothers” to pledge the fraternity, which would then open the proverbial “college golden gates” where cool points, hot women and status reside.

Anyone beyond the age of 16 knows that there is a contingency of people who do join groups, such as fraternities and sororities, to have a sense of belonging and gain some virtual level of appeal and prestige. When I hit the campus of Florida A&M University in August of 1988 I knew that if I were going to be known for anything, it wouldn’t be because of an affiliation with an organization. I think that its important to know this, because there often times lies a feeling that members of Greek organizations have a sense of entitlement or superiority. Although that does exist on some levels with some individuals; it certainly is not a global position.

Luckily it didn’t take long for me to develop a good reputation on campus based on my personal merits and from developing friendships with different guys who were members of fraternities I started to have a different sense of what membership could mean. I grew to the understanding that my joining the frat wasn’t defining my character; it was a transaction between the frat and me. I would give the Beta Nu Chapter of A-Phi-A service as a person, a character and a model on the campus and in the community and in return I would enter into a life-long relationship with some of the most helpful, entertaining and socially/culturally developed African American males as brothers.


2006 Reunion for Spring 1990 – Nubians of the Nu Dynasty, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. – Beta Nu Chapter (Florida A&M University)

#1 – David Wells #2 – Joel Johnson #3 – Patrick Scott #4 – Byron White #5 – Rich McCloud #6 – Derrick McCants #7 – Teddy Gilmore #8 – Reggie Wynn (not pictured) #9 – Robert Flakes #10 – Dr. Joseph Youngblood
#11 – David Askew Esq. #12 – Michael Bonds #13 – Michael Hargrett
#14 – Kwame Kilpatrick #15 – Vince Adams

Spring 1990 was actually the last of the pledge classes that “legally” participated in public hazing such as dressing in uniform, shaved heads, etc. before being a member of the fraternity/sorority. I could go into how fun/scary it was to pledge the fraternity that Spring, but that’s not the point of my sharing. I would really like to share that the time that I spent learning more about myself during the pledge process and more importantly after pledging has molded my resolve, my aspirations and my tenacity in a way that quite honestly would not have been there without those experiences.

Today, relationships I share with my pledge brothers (15 in all) and the Beta Nu Chapter are bonds that only the natural passing of life can break. 20 years later, to a great extent, I feel the same way about being known for my own merits. I still feel that the fraternity accentuates my character, it definitely doesn’t define it.

To all members of Greek Letter Organizations, I hope that my words in some part speak to you on the feelings and spirit that come from the experiences you’ve had. To people who have never pledged, I hope that I have shared a brief glimpse into my experience that may debunk some of the myths that are unfavorable as it relates to the attitude/mentality of those that have pledged.

20 years ago, I learned that “I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.” To my mother, my family and the life-lessons I learned with Alpha and FAMU, I owe everything.

Click to join the discussion with DJ Vince Adams on twitter! @DJVinceAdams

Peace and my blessings,
Vince Adams – Spr 90 BN – AΦA

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Is Your Will Power “Broken”? Here’s Why…

Posted in Life Lessons with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 12, 2010 by djvinceadams

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Happy New Year and Happy New Decade!!!  I know that we are now officially several months past the New Year, but this is my first blog of 2010 and I thought that I would start by wishing everyone well. Some people have asked “hey, where is the new blog??” I enjoy blogging because it allows me to share my thoughts and opinions, but it’s always important to me that when I write its something sincere and heartfelt and not perfunctory. I’ve taken the last few months to clear my thoughts, read some books, travel a little (some for work, some for play) and now I’m back!!!

We’ve often times heard that the best way to start the New Year is with resolutions. Some people do them, some people don’t believe in them and some people don’t do them because they know they won’t stick to them. In th[e]is “goal oriented” world we live in, we’ve also heard that the best way to get rid of an old habit is to replace it with a new habit. Additionally, we’ve heard that the best way to start a new habit is to repeat it at least 21 days in a row and then it will integrate into your way of living. Cliché after cliché, we hear them, but for some reason resolutions, good habits and routines don’t always stick. Let’s find out why.

The key to moving your dreams and goals into being is to change your beliefs. It isn’t our will power, it is actually our belief systems that create the focus, discipline, conviction and drive that help us stay on point with accomplishing anything. Far too often people rely on sheer will to create long-term changes.  Whether its going back to college, losing weight, advancing your career or any goal, you will be far better served to take the time to establish new core beliefs about that goal as opposed to simply relying on will power to achieve a goal.

To illustrate, I’ll use something personal. I used to really dislike checking voice mail. I believed that it was a chore, I believed if anyone really needed me they would call back and other things that discouraged me from wanting to check my messages. I genuinely wanted to be more consistent in checking my messages and I tried (through will power) to check my voice mail on a frequent basis. It worked for a few days usually, but it didn’t take long before the messages piled up again. It wasn’t until I shifted my belief to “you could be losing money/opportunities by not checking your voice mail consistently”, that I then moved to a state of checking my voice mail typically every 48 hours (if not sooner), not out of habit, but out of a newly established belief that drives my actions. Now because of my beliefs it’s hard for me not to check my voice mail for the anxiety of potentially losing business.

Whether you want to lose weight, save money, start a business, commit to a relationship, leave a relationship or anything – you have to examine your core beliefs to make sure that they line up with your actions. For example, if you want to lose 20 lbs, but you have a core belief that, “I know some of what I eat is bad, but I could change it anytime if I wanted”, chances are the 20 lbs won’t go away (or may even increase). As a matter of fact, you may join the gym, go many times, but until the underlying core beliefs are changed, chances are you could possibly sabotage any progress made. However, if you adopt a new belief that says, “I owe it to myself to be in my best health and eating X or Y or Z sabotages my progress, so I have to limit X,Y,Z to once every two weeks in moderation or eliminate it to get my desired result”, you are now letting your beliefs take the lead.

In most cases, until we shift our beliefs, it is highly doubtful that any long-term change will come out of sheer will. This can be a liberating discovery to those who just thought that they couldn’t get through the routine of changing habits because of lack of will power. It’s not our habits or even our will that first needs to be addressed; the primary force is our core beliefs.

The trick is that the core belief has got to be a prevailing thought that holds more emotional weight with you than any other thoughts. For example, you may dislike working out, but if your core belief is, “my family needs me to be healthy” or “I refuse to go another summer not looking my best”.  Whichever belief holds your emotional attention the most is the one that guides your long-term actions/results. Just think of the smoker who has tried to stop for years, and then they get bad news from the doctor and don’t ever smoke again (and lose the compulsion to). Their habits didn’t have to change to create an instant change, their beliefs lead the way.

Don’t let the lack of accomplishments from prior goals or a feeling of weakness/inability stop you from making the changes that you want to make.  However, don’t let me oversimplify it either, exploring your inner core beliefs can be an emotional and involved process in itself. The difference is that failed attempts based on “will power” can now be eliminated and you can now begin to work on establishing new, supporting core beliefs that move you closer to the focus, discipline, conviction and drive you need to live your dreams.

I definitely hope this helps you move a step closer to your dreams and as I always say…
Much love, take care of one another and remember – “we all we got”…VA

A Fatherless Child at Christmas Time – The Glass is Half-Full…

Posted in Life Lessons with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 9, 2009 by djvinceadams

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Not that long ago I thought about the last time that I ever saw my father.  Maybe the partial irony in that statement is that the last time that I saw my father was the first time that I saw my father.  I think that the thought arose because it was around the month of November when I was about 8 years old.  Prior to that time there wasn’t really much talk in my family about my father.  Some may see this as a bad thing, but for me (even as a little fella) it was as if I was the Immaculate Conception.  There was my Mom (who had me a month before her 18th birthday), Grandma, my aunt and myself – we were a team.

Some people may think “oh, how tragic that you didn’t know your father before the age of 8” or “its, such a shame that men abandon their responsibilities” or the other comments that may be said in regards to a father-less situation.  In reflecting upon those times, I think that it’s a blessing that I was born into a family that showed support, guidance and love and I cannot remember a time EVER that anyone in my family (Mom included) ever had a bad thing to say about my father or his absence in my life.  I think that the “matter of fact” nature that it had back then has really helped me not harbor any resentment or ill-will toward not knowing my father or having a relationship with him.

Back to that last/first time that I saw him, it was a cold night in Chicago and he picked me up from karate class and was introduced to me as “your father.”  I’ve had the same demeanor all my life, so even then I was like “hey, nice to meet you.”  No big smiles, no tears, no jumping up and down took place.  The amount of care and compassion that I received in my home, sans a father, never lead me to feel that I was not cared for fully.  We took a trip to Burger King and later while at my Mom’s house he asked me what I wanted for Christmas.  Anybody over the age of 30 can remember having a Sears or JC Penney catalog with all of your favorite toys circled in the catalog.  I pulled out my catalog and we made a list.  I eventually went to bed and that was the last memory that I have of my father.

For some, this may be a sad story, in my case, I to this day feel that it is not possible to miss what you never had unless you choose too.  Although it may have been the makings of a sad story, it’s a story of triumph to me.  I feel that I have matured through the years by being a very masculine, yet caring and secure person by the guidance of my immediate family and the various extended family, mentors, coaches and other people who have had a strong influence in me being the person that I am today.

I am sharing this story because during the holidays there are many people that spend far too much time focusing on what they don’t have as opposed to being grateful and cherishing the things (material and non-material) that they do have in their lives.  Also, there are many women who are raising boys/young men on their own and they are wondering can they do “enough” to raise their child to be a man.  In many instances, it still does take a village to raise a child, but in short the answer is “yes, you do have what it takes.”

I invite all of us to be more conscious of the words that we share with people in all aspects of our lives.  The loving nature and quite frankly, the respect that my family showed my father (although he wasn’t present) is something that has rubbed off on me to make me calm in the face of adversity and see the glass as half-full while many others may view the glass as half-empty (or just empty.)  The strength and communication that they’ve shared with me over the years has helped me show gratitude for what I do have as opposed to bemoaning or begrudging what I don’t have.

Energy is transferred among us, especially when it comes from a parent to a child. As we go into a new decade, don’t let disappointments and situations of the past hold you back like dead weight and stop you from accomplishing your life’s purpose.  Many people feel like they should be able to say whatever they feel, but the thing that distinguishes us from animals is the ability to think before we speak.  Moving forward into 2010 let’s move in a positive, uplifting manner that encourages others to be the best that they can be while exhibiting grace, character and maturity in the process.  Our families need us, our communities need us to walk as the example of what it is we would like to see the world become.

I share my Christmas story of being a fatherless child to say that there is an opportunity in every perceived threat.  There is potential strength in every perceived weakness.  Now more than any other time, we can’t look to anyone other than ourselves to create the social and emotional climate that we want to see in the world.  Let’s treat others as we would want to be treated, forgive ourselves for the mistakes of the past and look to make a better life not just for us, but for all that we come in contact with.

Spread love this holiday and challenge yourself to be a better person to others in the future where possible.  Also, allow yourself to forgive those who may have hurt you in a way either known or unknown to them.  This is your time and it will be what you make of it.

This is by no means meant to absolve absentee fathers in any regard.  Nor is it meant to invalidate the feelings that men or women have regarding anything missing or removed from their life.  What it is meant to do is share that your happiness/fulfillment or disappointment/anguish in life will be a direct result of where you channel your thoughts, feelings and energy.  As I’ve shared in earlier blogs, the “Strangest Secret” is 6 words – “man becomes what he thinks about.”   If you think about being abandoned, a victim or “wronged”, you will be.  If you think about being loved, fulfilled and “whole” those things in turn will come your way.

I invite you to turn as many of the half-empty glasses in your life to half-full, you will soon find that they are totally full and there is little else to worry about.

Much love, Happy Holidays, take care of one another and remember – “we all we got”…VA

Additional information

“The Strangest Secret” by Earl Nightingale – http://www.nightingale.com/AE_Article~i~22~article~StrangestSecret.aspx

Are You Where You Wanna Be? – How To Get Out of a Rut…

Posted in Life Lessons with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 15, 2009 by djvinceadams

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stuck


I haven’t written a blog in a few weeks.  I fortunately have been busy and traveling as well.  Additionally, I’ve been spending some time assessing where things are in my life and getting ready for a great 2010.  As I make the assessment of where I am and where I want to be I have made some decisions that I think will help to solidify the position of where I see myself going.  However, when I generally observe where the nation is headed or just take the temperature of people at-large it seems like there is a serious case of the “blahs” going around or in general people are stuck in a rut.

One of the decisions that I made was to get back to reading and listening to some of the personal development material that I have amassed over the years.  As I contemplated what to share in my next blog I thought that I would give 5 quick-tips to help people move to that next place in life and get out of a rut in the event that they were stuck in one.  Of course with this being a blog there is no way that I could cover an entire book’s worth of information in this space.  However, these points can hopefully assist in moving a person from where they are to where they want to be.

The interesting thing is that there will be those that feel that what I’m sharing is common sense.  With that being said, I would say that there is a tremendous difference between knowing and doing (very much akin to physically unhealthy people who neglect what they know about living a healthy lifestyle.)  Taking action on these points will create the new progress to take you to new places physically and just as importantly emotionally.

Tip #1 – Maintain a Persistent State of Grace

I think that it can be said that many people in 2009 are in the most stagnant and some even in the worst places in their lives.  However, life does have its cycles and although the current time may be a down swing, there is always something to be thankful for.  Regardless of your religious beliefs, there is an opportunity to look at the positive aspects of our lives and focus on what is going right more than what needs improvement and be thankful for those positive aspects.  The precursor to a new blessing is acknowledging the one that is currently with us.

There’s a saying that “you never miss your water until your well runs dry.”  Whether it’s the love of a parent, love of a significant other, love of a child, gainful employment, shelter, food – there is always something to be thankful for.  Maintain a persistent state of grace and when things seem rough refocus your energy on what’s right in your life as you identify what you would like to improve.

Tip #2 – Let Go Of Disappointment/Frustration

There’s another saying that states “This Too Shall Pass.”  Think back to one year ago.  Can you remember what your biggest issue was in your life at that time?  In many cases people will remember what that issue was and then quickly consider it old news because it is no longer an issue.  In some cases it will take more than a quick minute to remember before you say “oh yeah, I forgot all about dealing with that.”  In probably a smaller number of cases there may be some individuals still addressing that problem.  At any rate, the overwhelming majority of people have moved on from last year’s issue.  In turn, that also could represent that the major issue you are facing today could soon be rectified and will merely be a memory a year from today.  Have faith that this moment of frustration is temporary and that a solution will come soon.

Additionally, try to spend as little time as possible focusing on the undesirable aspects of your life.  This would include spending hours of your day recounting and reliving your frustration of your experiences from a negative position.  Rather than recounting frustrations, continually project the desire to have a new and better situation replace the one that you are currently dealing with.  For example, in sharing a situation about a negative work experience, speak more from the position of “I look forward to moving on to a better situation” as opposed to 3-hours of “this place sucks!!”  It may seem like semantics, but your subconscious mind moves you closer to the things you dwell upon and the more you dwell on the “job that sucks” the more it hangs around.  [There are many books including Dr. Joseph Murphy’s “The Power of the Subconscious Mind” that discuss more of how to use your subconscious thoughts to your benefit.]

Tip #3 – Identify A New Direction

The one positive thing about experiencing what you don’t like is that it gives you a frame of reference for what it is you would prefer.  If you are dissatisfied with your job, major in college, relationship, the number staring at you on the scale, the good news is that all of those things can be changed.  Unfortunately, no one is going to be able to change those things other than you.  Its amazing the amount of time that people spend stuck in unsatisfying relationships, jobs, and other positions in life as though they don’t have an opportunity to do anything about it.

I think the faster that a person realizes that they are not stuck and although change is challenging, it can be rewarding if done properly, the faster they are to apply long-lasting change.   Fear has a way of immobilizing a person from making a change.  There has to be a way to transfer the fear of doing something different to the realization of what would eventually happen if you remain in that stagnant state.  Identifying the new direction again can be as simple as saying that you want the opposite of whatever the state you’re in that could be causing you frustration today.

Tip #4 – Make a Choice and Act on It

Another “amazing” thing are the number of people who instinctively do Tips #1 – #3 and then when it comes time to make a choice, they freeze or “excuse” their way out of COMMITTING to the new direction that they have identified.  Most people don’t realize that if you apply yourself in a particular discipline that you can absolutely change your life in 24-36 months.  I think its safe to say that 100% of the people reading this have lived more than enough to say that 2-3 years is not a long time to devote to a major life change.  The problem is that some people don’t believe this could apply to them and there are others who are too lazy (frankly) to move out of their comfort zone of leisure, routine or other circumstances to carve out the time to apply positive and progressive change in their life.  We’re all given 24 hours in a day and its how those hours are spent for the next 24-36 months that will identify who will be the proverbial winners and losers, who will be happy and who will be frustrated.

While re-reading Tony Robbins book “Awaken The Giant Within” he discusses how many people are in emotional and psychological pain over their present life conditions.  In response to this he says that everyone has the ability to make choices to either focus on their conditions or implement choices that can effectively give them new life conditions.  Therefore, if you’re not happy with your current “conditions”, will you continue to give them your focus and energy or will you make choices that will move you to a new condition that you can feel better about?

Tip #5 – Believe In Your Commitment and Maintain The Courage of Your Convictions with a Positive Attitude

It’s unfortunate how many people allow the opinions and feedback of others to alter the excellent plans that they lay out and begin to implement for themselves.  There will always be opinions offered on things, sometimes it will be presented from a fearful position, sometimes a loving position and sometimes from the “hater” that doesn’t want to see you do something that they either can’t do or don’t have the heart to go for themselves.  At any rate, there is no accomplishment that can properly be achieved without being backed by sustained belief.  Before anything is accomplished physically it has to be completed and accomplished mentally.  Don’t let anybody or anything get you “off of your square.”  Many people discount their past accomplishments (big and small) and don’t take the opportunity to focus on these prior wins as momentum which can be used for accomplishing newer and bigger goals.  Don’t discount those wins and more importantly stay the course in the face of adversity, weariness or discontent.

A mentor of mine once explained to me that many people don’t accomplish the goals that they set out to achieve because they haven’t properly identified “WHY” they want to accomplish their goals.  He shared that in order for any life change to take effect and to “stick” that your “why has got to be big enough to cry.” Simply meaning that if you don’t come up with a substantive and meaningful reason to continue on the path of moving out of your rut, chances are you won’t accomplish life-long change. Therefore you need to establish a motive for the change that doesn’t allow you to quit.

_____

Again, these tips are simply meant to be a framework to start the gears of change.  I have said before that the people who go the furthest are students of life and they read, study and apply themselves in their chosen area of aptitude/change to learn what is needed to be successful.  If you are looking to make a change in your life I invite you to devote at least 30 minutes of “would be recreation/leisure time” to learning/doing something to move closer to your “new direction.” If you’re in a bad relationship read books on healthy relationships to get a clear understanding of where you are and what you want.  If you’re in an undesirable job, spend time on the net researching better jobs or developing new skills.  If you’re not happy with your “body image” get a gym membership or at home dvd/workout system.  Again, excuses are always available to continue to do the same thing.  However, we know that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

In the end, we as individuals are the ones that are responsible for the path that we’re on and we all have the same access to opportunity.  Only a few will take that course.  You’ll just have to ask yourself if you’re in enough “pain” to give up the excuses and take a new direction and make the choices required to move out of the rut to a new and better place.  You and only you can make that determination.

It is my desire that this entry comes to someone at a point where they don’t know what to do next or need to hear something to create the momentum to initiate a positive change in their life.  If you’re at a point where these tips don’t apply, consider yourself lucky and feel free to pass them to someone who may be in a rut, have the blahs or at a crossroads.

Much love and take care of one another – “we all we got”…VA

Additional information

“The Strangest Secret” http://www.nightingale.com/AE_Article~i~22~article~StrangestSecret.aspx

Bamboozled – Why Is It Cool To Be Dumb in 2009?

Posted in Life Lessons, Music Industry with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 22, 2009 by djvinceadams

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Bamboozled Cropped

I often times post questions on my status-line in my Facebook account.  One of my recent questions was about movies and the answers brought me to think about how the landscape of Black movies is totally different in 2009 than it was in 1999.  That thought quickly lead me to reflect on the email that I recently read from Andreas Hale who was relieved of his duties as the Executive Editor of Music for Black Entertainment Television (BET.)  In the email Hale expresses the resistance that he was met with by BET Executives in bringing about a “positive” change within the programming of the station.  These thoughts then lead me to revisit thoughts that I frequently have regarding the lack of creativity and skill that is attacking Black music today.

In 2000 Spike Lee released a movie “Bamboozled” which was a satire about the effects of essentially turning Black entertainment into a literal “coon show.”  Although the movie was met with mixed reviews, in my opinion the movie has been prophetic when we look at the state of where Black mainstream media/entertainment is today.  A good friend of mine, Andrea, has expressed that “instead of art imitating life, life starts to imitate art and they [some individuals in the African-American community] believe that whatever these ‘artists’ talk about is real and try to live those things.”

I have a question for everybody 21 years old and older.  Regardless of how much you do or don’t like the current state of Black entertainment, do you feel that Black radio, Black television and Black movies were more provocative, mentally-engaging and intelligent 15-20 years ago and are we at an all-time low when it comes to Black entertainment? I think that it’s fair to guess that I am of the opinion that we are at an all-time low when it comes to the level of creativity and quality of Black entertainment.

I could get into the financial aspects of how the record labels and tv/movie executives only put money behind projects that they feel will produce revenue, but that’s a given at this time.  Additionally, I could say that there is a type of systematic racism that is taking place by “the powers that be”, but I feel that would be absolving the listening/watching/buying public from the role that they play in the caliber of entertainment that is being produced today.

The bottom-line is that it would appear that media outlets (tv networks, record labels, etc.) are developing and marketing media for the “lowest common intellect denominator” among African-Americans.  Of course there has always been “mindless entertainment” throughout the history of media, but the difference today is that “mindless” is now the new mainstream where it used to be more underground.  “Mindless” is the new rule where it used to be the exception.

I think that somewhere along the timeline that parents and adults forgot that entertainment is at times mindless fun, but at other times it is art.  There was a time that there was a fair balance of entertainment that inspired creativity on a higher level, inspired thought on a higher level and added a sense of “beautiful escape” from the world that we’re living in.  The caliber of entertainment today is so marginal, so beyond mediocre, at times so horrible that it doesn’t inspire it actually relegates the viewer or listener to a lower level of being.

The reason that I single out parents and adults is that there should be a certain level of maturity in this group of people that work out of a conscious position to expose themselves and their children to more than what the media executives are offering.  There was a time that if you wanted to let the TV/radio/movies raise your child that there were some options (does anyone remember “Teen Summit” on BET) that attracted younger minds and discussed/approached issues that inspired greater esteem and elevated the viewers’/listeners’ thought as it related to handling life from a more mature perspective.

I really don’t think that people in general realize what effect this “entertainment environment” has on young children.  Actually there are many people that are 20+ that don’t understand that much of their “socially accepted behavior” comes from the influences of the movies, music and television that they are watching.  Again, it would be very easy to point the finger at “The Real Housewives of Atlanta”, Tyler Perry’s tv shows and movies and recording artists like Gucci Mane and Soulja Boy (who make music of no socially redeeming value) and say that they are THE REASON that everything is the way that is today.  Once again, that in my eyes would be absolving US of the role that we play.

I think that through the history of time there has been controversial music and entertainment that created a stir.  I can remember DJing in college playing Luke records and other music from Florida that was 50 times more lewd and outrageous than the music that I play today in the clubs.  However, I think that there is a huge difference today in the people that attended the parties that I DJ’ed in college 20 years ago and the parties that I DJ in the clubs now in 2009.  It appears to me that the party-goer of 1989 had interest and likes beyond “party music” which allowed them to go out and have a good time and leave the party behind.  The party-goer of 2009 in many instance look to imitate the lifestyle of the music/musicians and the music itself and many of them practically identify and live within the vein of party music virtually 24/7.

That’s not to say that 20 years ago there weren’t fads and things that people did outside of the club that were representative of club life.  There were “high-top” fades like Big Daddy Kane or Kid from Kid ‘N Play.  There were gold ropes like LL Cool J and Rakim.  As much as people were trying to look like a rapper or party like a “rock star”, they weren’t looking to emulate that in their actual lives.  Although there were people who did, again, they were the exception, not the rule.

Of course it’s easy for me to sound like I’m casting aspersions on the party-goer of today or the people that are fans of today’s “pop culture”, that is not what I’m looking to do at all.  My only point in this submission is to identify that there is a growing “pop culture” in the music, TV and movies today that is very dumbed down, unintelligent, if not “coon-like” that is becoming a way of life not only for the reality TV stars, rappers, “wanna-be” singers and the less than engaging movies that are being created, but for the people that are entertained by this media.  In many communities and social circles it has literally become cool to not care about one another, to not have a positive presentation of yourself by appearance or by the way you speak and it is cool to “not care” about much of anything.   Without creating a balance in the things that are being presented as entertainment, we will have a more difficult time restoring entertainment (and our communities) to a place that moves us to higher states of creativity, intelligence and consciousness.

As much as the TV, movies, music on the radio or even the music that the DJ plays at the club contributes to this – morality, virtue and ideals start in the home and its my opinion that we in our everyday lives need to be each others heroes and role models.  I think that the continued domination of mindless music, sex/drug music and less than intelligent TV/movies will continue to be that way until WE as individuals begin to want and gravitate to entertainment that is more in the “art/creativity/intelligent” category than programming that is a perpetual “guilty pleasure” with no intelligent or redeeming value.

That does not mean that I am taking a shot at an entire group of people or an entire time period.  I’m very proud of my frat brothers from Rainforest Films that produce high quality movies such as “Stomp the Yard” and “This Christmas.”  I applaud artists like John Legend and Alicia Keys for always bringing a positive, showing class and a talented presence in their music and on television.  I am stating that there used to be a balance of positive imagery and “guilty pleasure” imagery and I am of the opinion that balance is broken.  Just as important, I feel that the people who do not try to imitate this lifestyle, who see these “Stank Leg-isms” as pretty meaningless are themselves turning a blind eye to the disparity that exists in today’s music.  Understanding and consciousness are the things that will help re-establish the balance in Black “pop culture.”

In the past there was a balance: for every “N.W.A.” there was a “Public Enemy”, for every “Ice-T” there was a “Heavy D”, for every “Geto Boys” there was “A Tribe Called Quest”, for every “Friday” movie there was a “X” or “Do The Right Thing” and I can’t count the numerous TV shows including “A Different World”, “Living Single”, “NY Undercover”, “Roc”, “Soul Food” and “227” that were entertaining, good for the family and produced in a way that didn’t consistently have buffoon-characters “jive talking” ever episode.  I’m not calling for an elimination of anything from today, just restoring the balance that used to exist.

As I’ve said in other writings, if you have cousins, nephews, nieces, students or children continue to be a positive influence for them by not only being an example of how to live a balanced life, but also expose them to quality/intelligent/creative entertainment (from the past and present) that lets them know that there is a difference and that allows them to become an agent for change in the caliber of entertainment that’s being offered.  I know that for me personally, as a DJ, that I will play classic feel good music in the middle of a party to show people that there was a time music held a different feel and was made in a way that can stand the test of time.

I think that what’s happening right now in the first decade of the 21st century with Black entertainment is simply a phase.  I think that things go in cycles and that there will be a better day soon when we see more of a balance in “pop culture” that represents a higher standard of living and deeper grade of thinking.  For now the true change must be ignited from the inside (the people) to the outside (the media.)  It can definitely be agreed that companies have a large influence on how people think, but we can’t be so lazy that we just throw our hands in the air and say “there’s nothing we can do about it.”  It is possible for all of us to be agents for change and if we took a fraction of the awareness, the gumption and the initiative that our ancestors did to erect change then we would begin to turn the tide in a better direction.

As an answer to “Why is it cool to be dumb in 2009?”, I think that it has become a social norm in many African-American communities to live down to the example that’s being presented in much of our entertainment.  Moving to a better, more elevated way of thinking starts with everyone in their everyday life looking to affect change positively for not only themselves, but for the peers and younger people that they may influence.  Not only is it cool to be “dumb,” but it has become cool to not care.

Let’s make a change to care and display a positive alternative for people that allows us to continue to advance as a people and not take the years of social progress from the 1860’s, to the 1960’s, to the election of an African-American President and essentially relegate ourselves to a place where we are essentially out of control.  Originally the control was taken from us, this time we are consciously giving it away and that in essence is “dumb.”  Don’t be Bamboozled, we have a lot of power, let’s put it to good use.

Much love and take care of one another – “we all we got”…VA

Additional Info:

Andreas Hale Letter Re: Conditions at BET: http://www.bvblackspin.com/2009/09/08/bet-ex-employee-e-mail/

Top 25: Black TV Shows of All-time (ranked by Ebony Magazine 2007)

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1077/is_12_62/ai_n27391446/?tag=content;col1

The “Ugly” Truth About Men – What Women Should Really Ask Themselves…

Posted in Life Lessons, Relationships with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 26, 2009 by djvinceadams

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Ugly Truth

The “Ugly” Truth About Men – What Women Should Really Ask Themselves…

I make it out to the movies on occasion and I saw the movie the Ugly Truth while it was in the theater.  As much of a “movie” as it was, it was pretty accurate in some of its depictions (at least in my opinion) about what draws and repels men/women to one another.  This train of thought led me to the realization that sometimes despite a deeper-than-surface level understanding that women have of men, they still tend to be filled with questions about why men do what they do.

On another note, writing the blogs that I have written over the past month or two has really been about discovery, not only for me, but for the people who take the time to read my “long-ass blogs” as they’ve been called.  I really don’t mind the reference to them being “long-ass blogs” because they definitely are, but that statement is quickly followed up with the fact that people find them interesting – which I definitely appreciate.  Another observation that some women have made is that I seem to direct a lot of my focus and attention to women when discussing relationships in my blogs.

The next connection with this point is that it may seem as though I’m absolving men of the responsibility and accountability that comes with the collapse of this “man-woman” thing that we just can’t seem to get right.  I think that it’s important to understand at this time that – well, I’m a man.  In me being a man I think it’s safe to say that in many cases that I may have an inside track on what men think about, what they focus on or even what motivates them.  It’s because of this understanding that I channel my communication and direct it to women.

Before I get into the “Truth About Men” let me ask a few basic questions to frame my position.  Do we think that the target audience for TV shows such The Oprah Winfrey Show, Dr. Phil and other shows that discuss relationship and human-interest topics are geared toward women or men?  Do we think that movies that focus on relationships such as “When Harry Met Sally?”, “You’ve Got Mail”, “Sex and the City” or “The Proposal” are geared toward women or men?  Lastly, do we think that books like “The Rules”, “He’s Just Not That Into You” or even more obviously, “Think Like A Man, Act Like A Woman?” are geared toward women or men?  I think that when positioned in this manner the answer to all of these questions overwhelmingly is that these different forms of media are primarily geared toward women.

Let me kill two birds with one stone by explaining why I gear my communication toward women and why the target market for these multi-media products are women.  Drum roll please…….

The reason that I, as well as these other outlets, address women as opposed to men is that women are the number one consumers of “caring” in the world.

What exactly do I mean by this?  Let me explain in brief.  For the purpose of this argument there are two different kinds of men.  The first kind of man is the man who actually cares when it comes to male/female relationships.  What does he care about?  He cares about how you feel, he cares about applying his best in the relationship and he cares about getting it right.  Then there is the other kind of male which doesn’t care.  What doesn’t he care about?  He doesn’t care about how his actions affect you, he doesn’t care about how you feel and he doesn’t care about much beyond getting his own needs met.  Here’s the big shocker (which won’t really shock anyone) – I would be willing to say in a very unscientifically-studied manner that the percentage of men who don’t care is very far and above a greater percentage than the percentage of men that care.  You’re shocked – I can tell.

So, to specifically answer the question of why I along with the overwhelming majority of information based outlets don’t gear “our message” to men is that they simply don’t care.  Now, let me clarify, as I stated there are a percentage of males who in fact do care about these things.  They are out there and they are looking for healthy and whole relationships where they can apply their energy and effort in a progressive manner to foster a happy relationship.  HOWEVER, what me and these other outlets understand and recognize is that it is a waste of time, energy and effort to direct a message to people who are not listening and furthermore could care less about making the shift to a more progressive, collaborative and self-less approach to relationships.

On the surface it could appear that this means that I’m absolving men from the responsibilities that they play in the degradation of the male/female experience, but this is definitely not the case.  I understand that the best application of my understanding and insight is to address the audience who actually has an ear toward progressive/adjusted behavior regarding relationships.  My job as a blogger is to catch the ear of those looking for a message.  As a person, I would not consider myself an optimist when it comes to all things although I overall maintain a positive attitude.  I also wouldn’t consider myself a pessimist because of my desire to see a better outlook than the one that may initially be presented.  I would call myself a straight-up realist in that I see things as they are, make an assessment and then make the appropriate moves based on the assessment made.

Do I feel that men play a significant role in the decay of the state of male-female relationships, especially in the Black community?  No doubt.  Do I feel that reaching out to brothers to let them know what they’re doing in many cases is disrespectful, negligent and deteriorating the fabric of our communities is important?  Sure I do.

Let’s get this straight though.  It is an exercise in futility to shout to the deaf.  The “Ugly Truth About Men” is that they are creatures of habit who are driven more times than not by primal needs, certainly not emotional ones.

This takes me to my point of what women really should ask themselves instead of asking me.  I get questions like the following:

  • Why do you address women more in your blogs than men when they are just as culpable?
  • Why do men not take responsibility for their actions when they do things that aren’t fair and/or appropriate in a relationship?
  • Why do men cheat?
  • Why can’t men settle down?
  • Why do men say they are in to you and then change their script?

I don’t think that it takes an English major to see that the one common trait that all of these statements/questions have in common is that they start with the word “why?”  I think that most men in general cringe at women-originated questions that begin with the word “why.”  Reason being is that if you truly think about it, unless the subject is something with absolutes (like math or science) the word why has a very subjective and nebulous answer associated with it.  I think that if you just look at the five questions above there is really not a single answer that could be given that would satisfy women across the board.

It is for that reason and many more that I have come to the conclusion that most people are mislead into thinking that getting answers to questions is the best mark or indication in making progress. That’s actually one half the case. The true mark or indication of making progress is not solely in the answers we get, it’s in asking the right questions. Many people (especially women by the sheer nature of being “question oriented”) fail to realize that people often times ask the questions that “quietly” push them to doing certain things regardless of whether that “thing” is for the best or not.

For instance, it is a far different question to ask “What is the benefit/detriment of me remaining in this relationship” as opposed to “Why does he do this/that when he said that he wouldn’t do it anymore?”  Let me break it down – the word “what” immediately calls to mind tangible and concrete concepts, while the word “why”, as stated before, is a much softer and indirect/intangible word.  Also, by directing the question asked to yourself as opposed to outside of yourself there is much more control that is being assumed for the next step in your process.  By turning the question within there can be a sense of empowerment taken for the next course of action as opposed to the helplessness that trying to figure out why someone who is doing something that doesn’t work for you continues to act in that manner.

The important thing to take from this offering is that the words that you use to form your questions about your life can either empower you or hand your power over to the whims and actions of another.

I think that its natural in moments of frustration and wonderment to ask why the opposite sex behaves the way they can at times.  Its natural and I’m not saying that as an inquiry that it doesn’t have its place.  However, after the initial frustration, the progressive person has to understand that the most important thing that they can do is assess the impact that a person, situation or relationship is having on their life and what are their next steps to remedying the situation.  Although relationships are with 2 people (at least let’s hope so), you have to understand that your behavior is the only behavior that you totally have control over.

That brings me to my next concept which ties the topic “The Ugly Truth About Men” with “What Women Should Really Ask Themselves.”  The tie for me in these two topics is that I know who I’m writing to (primarily women) and why I’m writing to them (because they care in many cases to create a progressive relationship.)  This means that I have in essence “sorted” my audience to say “this is who I’m looking for to share my message.”  In much the same manner, women need to understand that they are not in the business of conforming, transforming, reshaping or creating a man.  The man that you want to be with may not come to you in his completed form, but the question that should consistently be asked is “Is this the man that cares or is this the man that doesn’t care?”

As I explained earlier there are essentially two different types of guys – those who care and those who don’t.  The basic point that most women miss is that they are not in the business of understanding why men do what they do, they are essentially in the business of sorting.

What exactly is sorting?  Sorting is very quickly asking yourself, not the man, does his character, his traits, his treatment of you and his essence as a man fit the mold that you see as being a partner for you to look toward developing a fulfilling relationship.  Far too many women at the end of one bad date and especially a bad relationship spend a significant amount of brain power, emotion and energy trying to figure out “why” he did what he did.  Now, I truly believe that evaluation is critical in understanding what it is you want to attract moving forward and assessing what may have gone wrong after an experience.  However, the trick to not recreating these situations is to properly assess the situation as opposed to asking the typical “why did he” questions which doesn’t retain your power – it gives it away to the person who frustrated/hurt/disappointed you.

ONE TO GROW ON: men do the majority of dumb things that they do (i.e. tell stupid lies, walk up to you at the club and ask you to buy them a drink, attempt to impress you with what they think you want to know/hear, etc.) because there is some woman out there who will go for it.  Instead of losing sleep, wasting time and zapping neurons wondering and asking why they do this, just understand that it’s a method of operating and keep it moving, you’ve got better things to concern yourself with.

I want to share some examples of questions that women specifically can ask as it relates to their dating/relationship situation.  A couple of things first – one, I’m presuming that the woman is fair, reasonable (i.e. not on some diva/princess/extra stuff, that she is looking to come to the situation contributing and sharing, etc.), that she is not just taking away from the situation and she is looking to be a desirable compliment to a “good guy.”

Some very empowering questions to ask yourself that don’t allow you to BS yourself at any point in a “getting-to-know-you” situation or relationship are:

  • Is this someone I, in my gut, feel I can trust?
  • Do I find myself making excuses for his poor behavior?
  • Do I find myself disappointed and on the end of broken promises or treatment that I feel is not in line with what I feel is fair or desirable?
  • Does his path in life seem to be in compliment or contrast to where I am headed or even where I pictured my partner to have their life directed?
  • Beyond feeling good with this person (if you get to that point) is this a person who I feel is good for me?

If you contrast these questions to the “why” questions that I shared earlier above there is one stark difference that these latest questions have that the “why” questions didn’t have – they can all be answered with a yes or no answer.  If you’re asking questions like “why” did something happen or “why” did someone do x as opposed to y you are actually inviting not only the person to lie to you, but more importantly – you are inviting an opportunity for you to lie to yourself by “crafting” an explanation to sustain where you want to go as opposed to where you should go.  Also as important, by providing the answers to questions like the ones just shared you are very clearly able to determine by the “yes” or “no” provided if the man you’re dealing with is one that cares or one that doesn’t care.  That means that if you find yourself making excuses for his behavior is a yes and knowing in your gut that you don’t trust the person – how could you lie to yourself to say that this is a person who truly cares about you.

I will soon be developing a 2-part blog series that talks about 1) The Art of Dating and 2) The Art of The Break-up.  I don’t want to leak concepts too early, but I think at this point that its safe to say that if you ask questions that have yes or no answers you are able to more quickly assess whether you are in a situation with a person that is either to your favor or to your detriment.

The other important factor in formulating the question is that the basis of the question should not be based on the other person’s perceived feelings, but based on your own.  For instance, many women ask the question “do I really feel in my heart that he truly loves me??”  Well, although the question subconsciously positions it to appear to be an assessment of your feelings – it’s very clearly an assessment for your perspective of his feelings for you.  The importance of asking these questions is to get an understanding on how you feel about the situation or the man you are with to determine whether he truly “cares” about you or whether he doesn’t.  I can’t define what “care” means to the letter because it’s a relative term for everybody.  I can say however that there are a lot of men who may feel that they earnestly love you, but they really operate in a manner that would reflect that they don’t care about you.

If you have read all that I’ve written and you read that last statement to then ask “how is it that you can love somebody and treat them like you don’t care” then you are definitely in the “business of understanding” which is a painful and bitter business.  I would definitely advise anyone to move out of the business of understanding to the business of sorting, by which you make the assessment, understand what the situation REALLY is and then move accordingly.

Some people may say that this business of sorting sounds way too mechanically and emotionally removed for it to be something that women can do with success and I would strongly disagree.  First of all, the formula for the approach that I’m giving does two things instantly that benefit women.  The first thing that it does is that it changes the nature of the question being asked from an emotional one in nature to a factual one in nature.  Again, “why does he do what he does” is an emotionally charged question versus “does he take the approach to me that I feel best serves my direction in life” is a fact-based question, if the answer is no – its more fact based than emotion (it could also involve emotions like disappointment or other things that come along with the feelings of being an adult that are totally inescapable.)

All of this may seem like an oversimplification of some very complex emotions and situations, but it is we as humans that can tend to over-analyze and over-engineer situations when there are often times processes and signs that are provided for us to elevate our capacity to cope and progress to another level.  The people that are truly successful at anything are the ones that have developed the regimens and the discipline to apply in their field of endeavor.  The same is true in relationships.  In order to be successful there is an emotional-mastery that must be attained in order to comfortably withstand the frustrations/disappointments and then contribute to the successes/positive discoveries.

“The Ugly Truth About Men” is that regardless of whether women come across a good one that cares, a good one who doesn’t care or one who doesn’t give a damn – the woman can’t give her power away and become the victim in the face of situations that require more awareness on her part.  There are winners (i.e. gentlemen, wonderful women, etc.) and losers (i.e. gold-diggers, jerks, etc.) on both sides of the sexes-coin, so it is inevitable that everyone will encounter misfortune, broken hearts, dishonesty and less than stellar behavior on both sides.  Understand that the man who doesn’t care truly doesn’t care.  That’s not something to debate, to try to conform or transform – its something to recognize.

That’s all sorting is, recognition.  I am addressing the men who care and the women who care because there are enough out there who when armed with the best approach to a healthy relationship will do the best thing that they could ever do – be an example to those that don’t think that its possible.  We are a people of osmosis and environment – we are heavily influenced by what we see and what we experience.  With that in mind the only reality that we are fully able to guide is our own reality.

I was discussing this topic with my good friend and frat brother Teddy Gilmore and he pointed out that there is also another distinction that there are some men who are capable of caring, its just that they don’t care about all women in the same manner or to the same degree – it’s a case by case basis.  I felt that this was a very important distinction because as insensitive as this may sound to some women, the fact is that this “case by case” assessment is applicable to women as well.  There are many cases where women date and they will not apply the same level of effort, understanding and dedication in one situation as they will the next.  The chief difference is that there are times when women based on their feelings or at other times based on “being wooed”, become more engaged in the person that they are dating.

Although the specifics may vary by the sexes and definitely vary from person to person, its important to understand that this notion of caring or when to care needs to be processed by an approach and set of questions that empower you with a “position of knowing” as opposed to frustrate you with the desire to understand.  Remember, knowing that someone doesn’t have your best interest in mind is far more important than understanding why they don’t have your best interest in mind.  Spend your time with questions of knowing, not with questions of understanding.

In my effort to share my thoughts on relationships or just life in general I will always make the attempt to create a dual-pronged approach for both sexes to be aware of things in their behavior that when addressed would be a benefit to everyone.  With that in mind, I ask women to be more conscious of the “why is it that men” type of questions that are either voiced or even thought about.  That is not to say that these are not legitimate questions to consider or that they can’t be applied to women as well.  It is to say that asking the “why” based questions to a body of non-respondent people is not a good use of time, effort or energy – I don’t do it, as it relates to the men that don’t care, and I would strongly suggest that women let it go as well.

Much love and take care of one another – “we all we got”…VA

The Myth of “The Representative” ~ Are We Really “Dating In The Dark?”

Posted in Life Lessons, Relationships with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 12, 2009 by djvinceadams

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Phantom Opera Mask

Yesterday was an interesting day.  I was ready to put together a new blog, but I had about 4 concepts running around my head as to what I would actually write about.  I updated my Facebook status and I stated that I would be returning to the topic of men/women after writing a few blogs about other matters.  This status update received a variety of responses including one from Elizabeth who requested that I write about the “dreamland stage” that people are in for 6-12 months before they discover the “real deal” of how their girlfriend/boyfriend really is.  I responded to her that I didn’t really think that the perpetrating of a false position with people really lasted that long at all, definitely not for men and that I couldn’t see writing about the subject.  I did thank her for the suggestion.

Also on yesterday I watched a new ABC dating show for the first time called “Dating in the Dark.”  The premise of the show is that 3 men and 3 women meet in the dark (I mean no lights, total darkness) and they pair off to see if they can establish a connection with one another totally through interaction without the benefit of seeing who they’re “dating.”  Eventually, the couples get to see their potential partner for a few seconds and then determine if they would like to pursue a “getting to know you” situation or if they want to break out and not continue seeing the person.

I won’t get into the specifics on what took place on the show, but when I put these two events (the FB status response and the concept of the show), it really made me think.  Looking at “dating in the dark” as a metaphor for the so-called “representative” that some people are accused of having – made me wonder: do people really have representatives in 2009?  My personal belief is that for men and women the answer is no.  2009 is the new age of “keeping it real” and often times many people are keeping it SO real that they’re not bothering to go through the “I don’t want you to be disappointed with who I really am” efforts that people went through just 5-10 years ago.

Ok, I can hear somebody shouting “I disagree, I went out with this guy/girl that did yada yada” – right, I hear you, but let me explain.  We can ALL agree that there are no absolutes when it comes to human nature, so people could never be lumped in a category.  Therefore, YES, there are some manipulative people who purposefully set out to create an image or impression of who they are that is false and it is done consciously and deceptively.  YES, there are people who lie or avoid the truth on things that may be considered undesirable or embarrassing.  I could go on, but I think that you get the fact that there are people who definitely misrepresent themselves intentionally or create “the representative” to lure someone into a false sense of believing that they are something or someone that they truly are not.

So let me say for the record – there are two types of people – genuine and posers.  We know that genuine tends to have a positive connotation, but it is not good in all instances and I’ll speak to that later.  Posers are what we would consider representatives.  However, posers wear the mask and if you look at the right gaps, you will become like a collector of fine gems, they can tell the real from the fake.

I want to now section this entry off into 3 parts: representatives generally speaking, the myth of the male representative and the myth of the female representative.

Representatives Generally Speaking

Generally speaking there is a getting to know you process that any new couple goes through.  This process may specifically address “what are your intentions in getting to know me” or it may just flow and take on a life of its own.  This process may contain email, social networking, text messaging, phone calls, face to face meetings – there’s no limit to the combinations that could be put into place with all of the conventions in 2009 that honestly didn’t exist 10 years ago to the extent that they do now.  Understand that technology has totally changed the landscape, premise and guise upon which we interact with one another – I digress (maybe that’s another blog), but the fact remains that “things done changed.”

My reason for stating this is that we now have so many variables in a person-to-person interaction that the rules of engagement have practically flown out the window.  Twenty years ago there was no email, people didn’t have cell phones or text messaging.  Now with the “instant gratification” of immediate interaction it is very easy to establish a chain of communication (daily interaction on email, text messaging, etc.) that goes along with the newness of any new “thing.”  It is not my desire to refer to people as “things”, but I do it to say that as humans we do get excited over new “things.”  There is an old school saying that says “you shouldn’t start anything that you’re not willing to continue or to be consistent with.”  The only caveat that I would put in place with that rule given the conventions of 2009 is that if many people talked, emailed and texted to one another for 5 years like they do in the first 3 weeks of being excited about one another – they wouldn’t get much done in those 5 years.  As much as I agree with the rule, I think that as people that we have to build some allowance for the honeymoon effect of constant contact to wear off after some time has passed.  I will soon write a blog about how to “properly” date, but again, I digress.

This is important to see because there are many instances where people say “in the beginning he was blowing my phone up everyday.”  There are many ways to handle that, but that’s not the subject of this entry.  My point specifically as it relates to this level of interaction and communication in general is that we have to build a certain level of tolerance, understanding and reason into our expectation that says that if you’re doing something with somebody at an “above average” rate, the chances of that thing continuing over an extended period of time are pretty low.

So, the question can be asked, was the person sending their representative out on those calls, dates, emails with a desirable frequency and the “real them” that emerged later is a different (less consistent) version than the one modeled by the supposed representative?  My answer would be, no, this is not a representative, this is human nature.

As adults, responsible adults, we’ve got to learn how to temper our excitement to create a pattern of doing things (i.e. contact, dates, etc.) that represents a more sustainable frequency – will that always happen, no it won’t.  Also, as adults we’ve got to build a level of emotional maturity that allows us to address these “post-honeymoon” adjustments with understanding and resolve, not resentment and volatility.  I can agree that it is my observation that the fluctuation in communication does come more often from the man.  However, it is incumbent on both people in the relationship to monitor and moderate their interaction in a way that doesn’t set them up to fail in the long run.  It’s like the old saying “an once of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Generally speaking, both the man and the woman have got to become more cognizant of how early actions can wane or not be maintained for a long term and understand how this could build disappointment when the frequency of said-action slows down.  This is not the work of a representative, this is human nature.  It’s no different than a guy getting excited about the World Series and as its ending he’s now cheering for his favorite NBA or NFL team.  Also, it’s no different than a woman who gets a new purse (sorry if purses aren’t your thing, but stay with me) and she wears that new purse often, but a month later she’s ok with alternating after she’s familiar with the new purse.  It’s not a diss, its just human nature.  Bottom line is that we’ve got to not go into these situations eyes wide shut.  Every change of behavior is not a sign of the representative, sometimes its just human nature and time taking its course.

The Myth of the Male Representative

It amazes me often times when I talk to a woman about how much she can’t believe that he “did that” to her.  Based on my conversation, whether I have just met the woman or whether we’re childhood friends, it only takes me a few questions (depending on the situation) to map the “now behavior” that the guy is showing to some prior behavior that was apparent in his behavior in the first 6-8 weeks that she was dating him.

That’s my personal rule, not scientific, but through observation and experience I have seen that if a guy is putting up a front, he typically can’t do it any longer than 6-8 weeks.  Again, there are no absolutes, so there are exceptions.  However, now would be a good time for me to say that I think that man are some of the simplest, crudest, redundant, creatures of habit known to Earth.  Men can’t perpetrate for weeks/months on end because they are such creatures of habit you will know if he’s shady, genuine, trustworthy, volatile or any number of other positive/negative traits.  The signs are there many more times than they are not, the question for the woman is are you seeing what he is showing you or are you seeing what it is you want him to be or what you want to see.

There used to be a point where guys would hide the fact that they were after a woman for their body or for sex only.  Let me let you guys in on a secret: there are so many women out here that are willingly giving up sex for nothing outside of a request that the average “sex monger” these days won’t even waste his time with a woman that he thinks that he has to work to get sex from.  Again, there are gamers/exceptions, but I would like the ladies to understand that there are a fair number of guys these day that are dating with the prospect of getting to know you better and there are guys out here who may simply make it known that they have other intentions in mind.  Although, I stated that a guy won’t apply himself in all cases if he’s only out for one thing, that doesn’t mean that the guy is going to come right out and pronounce what his intentions are.  This is where you have to have your antenna up and pay attention to the signs.

Some inquiring mind might say, “ok what are the signs?”  All I can say is that the signs are a lot more related to your intuition and your common sense than they are to any list that I could come up with.  I think that one of the main problems with women and the myth of the male representative is that so many women are desperate for love and attention that they are out of tune with the good sense God gave them and they don’t heed the signs to leave a situation that they had no business even pursuing.

Hear me out on this one – if a guy is smooth talking and promising his way to your heart, there is a chance that he is sincere, there is a chance that he is not.  What makes the difference in believing what he says?  His character. Do you understand what I’m saying??  It’s the guys character, how he interacts with his friends, how he conducts his business, how he honors his commitments, how he presents himself to the world outside of you – that’s what determines if what he’s saying to you is solid or not.

Essentially men don’t have representatives because they can’t disguise their character.  These posers can be seen and detected a mile away if you can remove yourself from listening to what he says to shift your attention to learning who he is.  If you’re telling yourself “I know how foul he is with other people, but he’s good to me” then you are choosing to be lied to.  Again, I would venture to say that in the overwhelming number of instances of people who date and live in the same city and communicate with one another on a consistent basis that you can get a feel for a man’s character outside of how he is with you by observing how he treats the waiter, how he handles the valet attendant, how he calls back when he says he’ll call back – even the good old fashion “what kind of relationship does he have with his Mom.”  The problem in many cases is that women don’t take the time to get to know a guy and then blame him for being the person that he always was before he met you, while he was dating you and then after the relationship ends, in the event that it does.

With that being said, a little information can be dangerous, so let me temper my statements just a bit.  These observations are not being shared to make women any more paranoid, circumspect or leery than they already are.  Actually, this information used the right way can be empowering because the only thing that is required is that you move your focus from what the guy is telling you directly to observing who he is as a person and you will have a greater scope to determine if the guy is genuine or a poser.  Understand, there is no representative – he’s choosing to show you who he is the entire time you’re with him – the real question is are you paying attention.

The Myth of The Female Representative

Before I start with the section on women, let me state that the following information does not apply to all women.  I have spoken to many women who in a very frustrated tone ask me “where are all the good men if there are any left?”  There are some women that have great attitudes, dispositions and are absolutely becoming.  At the same time there is a certain sect of women that are very much the cause of their own discomfort and frustration and they are as much to blame for not having a man as any statistical data that claims that a good man is hard to find.  I addressed many of these considerations during my 3-part relationship blog in the “Open Letter To Woman – ‘The Woman In The Mirror’” (https://djvinceadams.wordpress.com/2009/07/09/an-open-letter-to-women/.) For the sake of brevity I will not rehash my observations from that entry, but I do offer it as a supplement to the information shared below.

Let me state for the record, I like women, better yet, I love women.  I love looking at women, a woman’s voice, a woman’s touch, the scent of a woman, I could go on.  I’ve been this way most of my life and I’ve studied women to find that the more time progresses the more I’m literally stultified at how out of touch women have become with what really attracts a man to a woman.  It’s almost as if many of them don’t care that they have these major flaws that would be a no-go for a lot of men based on the claim of “this is who I am and I’m just being me.” For real, like really???

These are my observations, opinions and experiences – that’s really the only frame of reference that I can speak from.  It is my observation that women are more clever, observant, tactical and just downright sneaky than men are.  Oh yeah, they’re smarter too because they can move out of character beyond their nature long enough to get a goal accomplished.  Some people may disagree, but hey – I think that women make the best intel because they hold their true position longer in order to gather all the information they want to come to a conclusion or take a course of action.

With that said, in 2009, (many) women are now more dude-like, sloppy, flakey, “keepin’ it real” and “I’m gonna do what makes me happy” than any other time in modern history.  It’s a pretty wild phenomenon, but in 2009 there are just as many women with stubborn, hardcore, guarded and callous positions as there men (generically speaking.)  That would lead me to feel that the 2009 woman actually doesn’t have a representative either, she is so eager to keep it real and tell it like it is that she’s running away the men that actually would be the genuine guy (as opposed to the poser.)  So, that means that the genuine unbecoming disposition of many 2009 women is in effect repelling the genuine 2009 male who would like to date her with a virtuous purpose.  I like to refer to this effect as “when keeping it real goes wrong.”

Keep in mind, my perspective is that women are not putting up a front, they are letting many of their undesirable, repelling qualities (i.e. combativeness, emotionally unavailable, clingy, aloof, etc.) be displayed bright and early in the getting to know you process.  So, with such revelations the question can be asked “are these women bringing ‘their representatives’ to the table or are they being their true selves??”  Answer: unfortunately, they’re just being themselves.  Are there women-posers out there?  Sure, the “gold-digger”, groupie and “out for her self”girl is still out there somewhere, but just like with the guys – if you watch a woman’s character more than her walk/talk you can get to the bottom of what she’s really about.  Devilish people reveal themselves constantly, they just don’t do so always by calling themselves “devilish” – they do show their horns and tail.  This goes for women as well as men.

The major difference between the male issue with “the representative” and the female issue is that women are doing the most “complaining” about the absence of male accountability, but when all of the cards hit the table it appears that women are just as flawed as many of the men that they take issue with.  In addition, it is my observation they are unwilling to make the necessary adjustments to become more desirable in a healthy way that would attract to the type of guy that they would like to connect with.

Going back to the concept of the “woman in the mirror” in many cases the person that let the woman down in a bad relationship was herself for not paying attention to the signs that were omnipresent through most of her dating process with her guy.  On the other hand – in many cases the reason that a woman let herself down during the potential of a good relationship is that she didn’t have the discipline to take the steps to grow to become the person that would be the fit for the guy that she wants to attract.

I can hear the peanut gallery now saying “wow, he’s really giving guys a pass and giving women an earful.”  Let me make some clarifications.  Men cheat, lie, cheat some more and lie about the fact that they cheated.  OK, we got that.  Women want to know why do men do the things that they do – I get those types of questions all the time.  Those aspects of men are known factors and I’ll be honest again, most times the liars and cheaters can be spotted 10 miles away by everybody except for the “victim” because she wasn’t paying attention to his character.  Again, there are exceptions, but in many instances – the woman was the only one who was “in the dark.”

That brings me to this metaphor of “dating in the dark.”  People see what they want to see, but are they (men and women) looking at their own character and scrutinizing and analyzing their flaws and shortcomings as critically as they are the members of the opposite sex.  Women have tons of tons of conversations about how men “aren’t like this” or men “don’t do that”, but women don’t have nearly the number of conversations when it comes to checking themselves on certain behavior.  Are women ready to put themselves under the same microscope that they put men under and analyze what about them keeps this “man/woman thing” way off balance in addition to the inadequacy of men mentally, emotionally and with regard to responsibility.  Ladies, in the end are you misrepresenting yourself not to the guy, but do you really know who you are??

It is my true feeling that we as a people will not get back on track until women become as critical of their own behavior, actions and patterns as they are of men.  Women are the nurturers of the universe, if the analysis does not move from “without” to within we will not be able to move forward.  As with any strong woman, when you are properly calibrated, then and only then will men follow your example.  You can’t expect for men to respect you when he senses that through your guards, attitudes and projections you continue to show a lack of true acceptance, respect and love for yourself.

It may appear that I’m giving women far more harsh reality and giving the guys a pass.  This couldn’t be further from the truth.  Let me state that the percentage of men that have pure intentions of dating a woman for the “right” reasons is far smaller than the idiots, gamers, assholes and “no good” men.  Yes, we know that the percentages/ratios of men to women are not in the woman’s favor.  This means that in order for women to have the connection and to be PREPARED for the man that she say that she really wants, there has to be an inventory taken of your own character.  Although there are pockets of men that sit and discuss the conditions of the “dating-sphere”, this is a practice taken up by women in far greater numbers.

Women, does it really made sense to be disenchanted, to complain and overstate the obvious in men when it’s possible that you are spending your time with the wrong guy and don’t have your inventory in order when its time to PARTNER with the right guy?

Again, I love women, but its time to take your own character, short-comings and bad decisions and put them under the proverbial microscope, so that you aren’t blocking your blessings.  These continued discussions of men’s screw-ups, guess what “he did” and the myth of the representative remove the attention from many of the real unaddressed issues that could be worked on.  The good news for you is that most of the men that are clueless will let their idiotic nature be known and you have the criteria to make an informed decision.  The not-so-good news is that most of the clueless women believe that they have all of their ducks in a row and become more concerned with “how they feel” than they are about “getting it right.”  Its time to put the fronts, the projection, the guards and blame aside – only then will we catch a clue and get it right.

We’re not dating in the dark – there are a bunch of asshole men out here with crying girlfriends and she is still seeing what she wants to see.  At the same time, there are a bunch of men in unhappy relationships who would rather cry and moan about the treatment that they receive as opposed to be strong enough to walk away from the situation if it’s truly not in their best interest.

The more important factor comes in the level of accountability that we should all have for ourselves, because in essence, we are the only people that we truly have control of.  Men, is it fair to ask a woman to be more “on the ball” and virtuous than you are willing to be?  Women, is it fair to want a guy to offer you consistency in action and behavior while you can have attitude attacks or flake-out based on a passing mood with regularity and without consideration of what effect that has??

The time for confusing ourselves with this notion that people at the end of a relationship (or even after a date) aren’t the people that they started out being is in my eyes, generally a myth – people are showing their true colors earlier and more often than ever.  We’re not “dating in the dark”, we’re dating with our eyes closed.

Open your eyes, much love and take care of one another – “we all we got”…VA

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