Archive for conduct

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

I Think Someone Forgot Tomorrow Will Be Better…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 11, 2009 by djvinceadams

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bdpic

For me the great thing about writing a blog is that there are no deadlines.  I haven’t written in a few weeks and its given me the opportunity to sit back and observe a lot and then write something that I feel can be of value to those that take a minute to read what I’ve come up with.  Over this past month, I have observed quite a bit.  One thing that I have observed is that there are a lot of unhappy people in the world.  I’m not talking about depressed, just in a funk that seems to last day after day, after day (you get the idea.)

For a number of people things have turned from hope for a better day to the malaise and routine of going from day to day accepting what they feel is their fate (at least for the moment.)  It’s very easy while “stuck in the matrix” to lose faith that there is something better in store for you.  I, for one, would like to encourage everyone to continue to believe that there is a better place in life waiting for you.

It is amazing to me the number of people that are willing to offer discouraging words or people who say the first negative thing that comes to their mind without regard to respect for you as a person.  First, let me make a distinction, just because someone makes an observation or has an opinion that isn’t positive does not automatically make them or their statement negative.  What I am more so referring to is that there are people who offer rude and oftentimes unsolicited comments to people they know or even people that they don’t know.

With all of the negativity in the world and the less than ideal financial/social conditions that we’re living in it may be hard to keep a positive perspective in hopes of having a brighter “tomorrow.”  With that in mind, I would like to offer the following observations:

  • I think that somewhere out there is a person that forgot that they are a beautiful spirit.
  • I think that someone forgot that they are worthy.
  • I think that someone forgot that they do deserve better.
  • I think that someone forgot that with great power comes great responsibility.
  • I think that someone forgot that they owe it to themselves to do more with their God-given talents.
  • I think that someone forgot that their opinion of themselves is more important than the opinion that others may have of them.
  • I think that someone forgot that others often times wouldn’t know what pains them unless they share it.
  • I think that someone forgot how to dream and let the current conditions of their life today not be the parameters that they move in tomorrow.
  • I think that someone forgot that it’s better to give than to receive and didn’t remember that extending themselves positively to others can cure them of ills they may face.
  • I think that someone forgot that sacrificing for others doesn’t mean that you lose yourself and what’s important to you in moving toward a brighter future.
  • I think that someone forgot that thoughts are sown and reaped.  Therefore if thoughts of lack and limitation are sown then the actuality of abundance is almost certain to not come.
  • I think that someone forgot that loving yourself in a healthy way that’s respectful of others is necessary in creating an environment where they will receive love.
  • I think that someone forgot that loving others, as they would want others to love them is the foundation of the Golden Rule that creates reciprocity, only if they initiate the love they want to receive.
  • I think that someone forgot that God’s delays are not God’s denials and that this too shall pass if they are wise enough to grow from the lessons of the current conditions.
  • I think that someone forgot that forgiveness is a blessing that we all have the ability to give.  However, just because they forgive does not mean that they have to receive that person in their life back in the same capacity.  By not forgiving one actually brings more harm to themselves than the person/people they are against.
  • I think that someone forgot that the results experienced today are not just the results of yesterday’s decisions, they are the results of the accumulation of the last 5 years of decisions.  What should be done today to make 5 years from now a better day?
  • I think that someone forgot that there are times that “suffering breeds character, character breeds faith and in the end faith shall not disappoint.”
  • I think that someone forgot that tomorrow will be better than today by declaring I will be the difference maker and game changer needed to make it happen.

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

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

Can We Remember How To Imagine??

Posted in Life Lessons with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 23, 2009 by djvinceadams

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Aladdin lamp

Well, I’m back and at it again.  I decided to take a little break after the relationship blogs to let all of that information settle in.  I want to thank everybody for taking the time to check them out and I really had no idea that the blogs would go beyond 6,000 views in just a couple of weeks.  I’ve received some questions from people asking me when is the next “relationship blog” coming and it may be a few weeks or maybe months.  I’ve definitely got a lot on my mind and relationships as a topic is only one thread of thought for me.

So, moving forward with what’s next I’m now on the thought of building a better future.  I have 2 aspects of a better future I’d like to share, one is the perspective of building a better community/culture and the second, building a better “you” (or me in my case.)

A gentleman by the name of George Zalucki is a life coach and motivational speaker.  To paraphrase Mr. Zalucki, he said that “imagination is the closest thing that we possess as humans that allows us to tap into the God that is in all of us.”  That’s a pretty powerful statement when you look at the fact that everything that has ever been formed was at one time a thought before it was a physical outcome or a tangible item.  It’s very similar to Napoleon Hill’s words that “Whatever The Mind of Man Can Conceive, It Can Achieve” taken from his book “Think and Grow Rich.”

I personally think that when we look at the progression of technology and advances in “lifestyle” we can say that there have been many improvements made in American civilization.  I think that there is a degradation that is also taking place at the same time.  Being a DJ, I am constantly surrounded by music in one form or another.  Also, I am surrounded by people that have opinions about music.  It is my opinion and only my opinion that the quality of music and the standards of music desired by the mainstream music listener have been reduced to an all-time low in 2009.

At first glance it may seem that I’m talking about a lot of different things, but I’d like to bring them together.  I believe that we as Americans are some of the laziest thinkers in the world.  I also think that technology has made so many things readily accessible and has “painted the picture” of what we could think so vividly, that people have come to the point that they don’t imagine anymore – they don’t think for themselves.  Of course this is a widespread generalization and it couldn’t nearly apply to everyone.  I do feel that the number of people who read for pleasure, is probably at an all-time low.  I think that the patience that we have for and with one another is at an all-time low.  To put it succinctly, we have become a “microwave” society that needs and wants everything immediately.  However, we don’t put much thought into life beyond just “wanting things.”

Simply put, if we’re not using our imagination – we’re actually moving further and further away as individuals and as a society from being the most and the best that we can be.  When I say imagination, some people may think of that as “goal setting” and although that is a part of it, I do think that we “as a people” are quite comfortable with “wanting things.”  The imaginations of most people these days seem to stop short at what we can have.  What about what we can do, who we can ultimately be??  I think that we have stopped dreaming, stopped imagining as a people and we have become very preoccupied with wanting and having.

This could be caused by a number of things – upbringing, influences, environment, etc.  Regardless of the source of the stagnation, we can do something about elevating and moving to a better place.  I think that we all owe it to our parents, our friends/families and communities to become the best and most that we can become.  It’s not fair to those who need us to be our best to settle for less than who we can ultimately become.  Of course that’s relative to everybody, some people are leaders and some will never lead.  However, those who don’t lead have just as important a job as the leaders – it takes a village to raise a child and it takes us on a “conscious” level to understand that we all are villagers – we need one another.

So, what can be done about a stagnant society or about the lack of consciousness within many of us?  I think that the first thing we can do is to understand what it is that we let in our “space.”  That can be people, music, entertainment or anything that influences who we are or what we do.  If you find that the music on the radio is monotonous and annoying, turn off the radio.  When it comes to TV, sure it’s cool to have a guilty pleasure in reality TV, but what about creating your own reality by taking some of that time back.  I think that music listeners, movie watchers and tv viewers have increasingly accepted far less in quality without questioning it, as opposed to knowing that they deserve a better offering.  Listeners/viewers deserve better, however in many cases far less time is being spent creating value around what standards their lives should be held to.

Instead of spending time watching/listening/viewing others, spend that same time to sit with yourself, quietly and think about where you want to go in your life.  I think that more and more people are spending time looking at their current position in life and not spending time just thinking, imagining where they can be (as opposed to where they are.)  When we look at some of the great thinkers of the last 40 years including Dr. King, President Obama and Oprah Winfrey – I think that it can be said that they “had a dream” (pun intended.)  My point is that the chances of you getting where you want to go in life increase exponentially when you put conscious effort – just 15 minutes a day directing your mind to where it is that you would like to go with your life, who you want to be, what you want to do.  Not only can you get more, but the “things” that appealed to you can become less significant or even totally lose their appeal based on your having a higher standard of where you see yourself moving in your life.

Your imagination can serve as your life’s compass.  That’s a great thing and a scary one for some at the same time.  The good news is that if you take time to direct your thoughts in a positive and progressive fashion you have a great chance to advance to whatever heights you seek.  The “not so good” news is that for those who don’t take the time to direct their thoughts – there’s enough garbage out here to drive them to a less than desirable destination.  The worse part is that they often times won’t take responsibility for being the architect of that dead end destination by not using their energies to chart a better course as opposed to the one that they’re on.

I think that the great thing about Soul music from the 50’s – 90’s is that it was filled with imagery and imagination.  Additionally, Hip Hop music from the 80’s – 1999 was peppered with texture, creativity and “I could have never thought to say that” lyricism.  Where is the next Spike Lee, Russell Simmons or Susan Taylor (creator of Essence Magazine?)  There used to be so many discussions surrounding Terri McMillan and other fiction authors just 15 years ago.  It’s not to say that we don’t have visionaries in 2009, but it could be said that there are so many people trying to fit “in the box”, that “out of the box” thinking is more the exception than the rule these days.

I think that imagination will move us out of the copycat mentally of trying to sound like, look like and be like everybody else.  Furthermore, imagination will allow creativity and originality to take the forefront.  The person who becomes the creator of the “original material” will be inspired to be different and improve the quality of the products they deliver.  In turn, the receiving audience will expect to receive more than sub-standard products and will elevate the standards of the media (i.e. tv, film, music, etc.) companies to deliver quality instead of quantity.  This will force companies to go back to offering substance over style.  In the end this leads to a better community and environment overall with more progressive material and influences as opposed to stagnant or destructive material.

That speaks to the culture that we’re in, but what about you?  Ask yourself, who’s in my “inner circle” – what do they concern themselves with or “are we talking about anything that matters?”  What do you consider entertainment AND is it purely entertainment or more a lifestyle for you (aka “living the music video”)?  There are many books, articles and websites developed to encourage people to do more and be better with their God-given abilities.  I think that the simplest thing we can begin to do is to read more.  Reading sparks thought, it sparks imagination.  Some people say they don’t have time to read, but I’m sure that in many cases (not all) that there could be a time shift made to incorporate more reading and less of other forms of entertainment.

In the end, it boils down to vision – where do you see yourself.  Many people use different ways to stimulate positive thought within themselves.  Some people may meditate, some may use affirmations, some may pray.  All of these activities require some use of the imagination to move us from where we are to where we desire ourselves to be.  I’ve said it before in other blogs that people often times acquire what they think they want and find themselves unhappy once they get it.  This is partially due to spending a lot more time thinking about what they want as opposed to who they want to be.  There’s a big difference between “having” and “doing.”

It was revealed in Earl Nightingale’s 1956 audio recording “The Strangest Secret” that the commonality in all men is a secret that is revealed with these six words: “we become what we think about.”  So, ask yourself – what do you think about most?  By adjusting your environment along with having directed thoughts of who you want to be and what you want to do, you’re half way there.  If you find that you’re not where you want to be in life – tune out the outside world and tune into yourself.  Become the child you once were, connect to the little God inside of you – your imagination is only a thought away.  I hope you find it.  Your life, your family and your community’s survival depend on it…VA

For additional information on “The Strangest Secret” visit http://www.nightingale.com/AE_Article~i~22~article~StrangestSecret.aspx

Open Letter To Men/Women Wanting a Healthy Relationship…Do You Know Where You’re Going??

Posted in Life Lessons, Relationships with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 13, 2009 by djvinceadams

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Road to Nowhere Color

NOTE: THIS IS A THREE-PART SERIES.  TO ACCESS THE OTHER PARTS CLICK THE LINKS ABOVE BY THE TITLE…

Disclaimer: This is the third of a three-part blog series on relationships.  The first was An Open Letter To Men and the second was an Open Letter To Women.  As with all of these entries, they are based on conversations, observations and experiences related to male/female relationships and behavior.  The premise of the letter is to expand the conversation regarding relationships and hopefully serve as a benefit to those seeking positive and healthy relationships.  This entry will not be able to address or account for everything that has ever gone wrong in the history of relationships or totally prepare the reader for everything needed for a fulfilling relationship.  That is totally beyond the scope of one letter, book, seminar, sermon or other aid.  This is just one step in what should be a person’s never-ending search for knowledge, understanding and progression.

This document is geared more toward single individuals that are open to pursuing a relationship as opposed to people currently in a relationship.  Again, it’s just that the scope of this letter can not realistically address all issues related to dating whether in a relationship or open to being in one.  The attitudes and behavior addressed in the Letter to Men and Letter to Women aren’t addressed in this letter because those behaviors need to be addressed if they haven’t before this information can be applied.

Dear Friends,

What’s up and I am glad that you’re willing to take a moment of your time to allow me to share some things with you.  You may have read my prior two letters to men and women addressing different aspects of how “we” can be or how some of us are.  If you have not read those letters I would definitely recommend them for when you have time.  By this point in life you may have had a relationship or two (or three or more) and find the opposite sex to be confusing, frustrating, unpredictable or some other adjective that may not be positive.  If you have great feelings about relationships and the opposite sex then that’s definitely a good thing because I would not assert that all people are disenchanted with the opposite sex.

Before I go any further I know that everyone has their own perspective and this is simply my perspective.  It can’t be all-inclusive of all things, it’s really just meant to operate as a springboard to a better understanding or just something to consider.  Millions of books have been written on love/relationships.  I will share 5 major components/understandings that I think if addressed could significantly improve a person’s chances of achieving a fulfilling relationship.  In addition to these components I will share solutions that can get the ball rolling in getting over the hurdles that are presented.  The good news is that there is a solution in most cases.  The “not so good news” is that there are no quick remedies or instant revelations that move you from Point A to Point B overnight – as with anything worth having, it’s a process that takes work, time, energy and effort.

1) If You Are A Weak Individual By Yourself, You Are Just As Weak In A Relationship

Far too many people view a relationship as crazy glue, as a wonder drug or some magical remedy that will address a void in their lives or their personality.  I believe that it can be said that far too many people do not assess their own personalities or their own offerings prior to entering into a relationship and feel that something or someone outside themselves will fill the void of what’s possibly missing within them.  The first person that you must love in a relationship is the person that you are.  There are too many instances of a person not loving (in some cases not even liking) themselves that enter into a relationship and project their loneliness, their emptiness, their discontent for where their lives are on to the person they’re dating.  Their next step is to load up the figurative “relationship wheel barrel” and they hand their discontent to their new partner and say “you carry the load now – I don’t have to do this by myself anymore.”

That’s where it is first and foremost required that anyone understands that in love/relationships – two halves don’t make a whole. There are an extremely high number of individuals who do not go through the often times uncomfortable process of evaluating “who am I and am I fulfilled with my life independent of who is in it.”  This is a must-do process for anybody for two reasons.  One, it’s the smart thing to do because understanding deficiencies in your life independent of a relationship gets you to the place of identifying that regardless of how many relationships you enter – you won’t be satisfied and its not the other person’s fault for your dissatisfaction.  The second reason is that it’s the socially responsible thing to do because as you lure other people into your “no-win relationship” you drag other people through the process of you being unfulfilled.  How does this happen?  It becomes a situation where you are constantly going to the relationship to address your voids and that’s not the responsibility of your mate, that’s your responsibility.  You virtually become insatiable.

It is absolutely true for anyone to be fulfilled in a relationship that they have to be very comfortable with who and how they are as a person.  That doesn’t mean that people don’t have insecurities about themselves or things that they would like to improve.  The key word in this instance is identification.  Some people understand this next point and some are totally unaware of it.  That point is that if you truly can’t spend time with yourself, be fulfilled within yourself and you constantly NEED other people and things around you to be fulfilled then the chances of you being fulfilled outside of yourself decrease exponentially.

Many people feel that ignorance is bliss and it truly can be.  In this case, ignorance can be weakness as well.  By blocking out the constructive criticism and positive feedback from individuals that are closest to us share about our “ways”, characteristics and behavior that could use some improvement we are consciously choosing to remain a lesser form of ourselves.  Let me clarify what I mean by this.  I’m not referring to “directions in life” type of advice like “you should go back to school”, “you really need to settle down” or “your job is not challenging enough.”  These are life decisions that everyone needs to make on their own and although outside consideration is valuable, its not always the best course for you.  I’m referring to behavior statements like “you’re pretty hard to get along with sometimes”, “its hard for me to communicate with you because you seem to not listen to anyone other than yourself” or “why does it seem that you are never willing to compromise with other people.”  Those around us who actually are of great integrity and have our best interest in mind can be a catalyst for positive change if we are open to receiving what they share.

The basic solution to this understanding is that life is an ever-evolving and progressive learning process.  Many people think that learning ends when formal education (i.e. high school, college, graduate school, etc.) comes to an end.  Puberty is the first stage to adult development, but the true “wonder years” of figuring life out take place when the first bill with your name hits your mailbox post graduation.  The true leaders and winners in life understand that they don’t have it “all figured out” and they seek the progressive advice of people, books and other sources of information to progress their life from where it is to where they want to go.

The true winners understand that you must be a student of life in order to really progress yourself and your life’s conditions. For many people, they would rather “wing it” and take an “I got this covered” approach.  Often times the result is if you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll continue to get what you’ve always gotten.  Watching Oprah a few times a week and other casual activities won’t make you the best career person, parent or prospect for a successful relationship.  Value the input of those around you that you respect when they share, but just as important – you have to pursue excellence in order to be excellent.  Many people are content to lean on their own understanding which is an exercise in futility in many cases.  True learning begins after you graduate.  Never stop your willingness to learn.

2) People Often Seek Relationships With Others Who Have Qualities That Are Not Compatible With Their Preferences or Qualities That Aren’t Compatible Period

Many people have a physical or virtual list of qualities that they want in a person.  It has been my observation that far too often this list contains qualities that are dissimilar and incongruent.  That is not to say that there isn’t that magical person out there that fits all of your qualities listed on your “should have” list.  However, the chances of you finding that individual grow far less likely when you are looking for someone whose character traits are unlikely to exist in one person.  Again, it’s improbable, not impossible.

What do I mean by dissimilar, incongruent or incompatible character traits?  Let’s look at women for a second.  I’ll share a story about a good friend of mine who has done well for herself as a lawyer in “the big city.”  She used to date a guy that was a big time real estate investor and they would kick it hard.  This guy would take her on expensive vacations, everything they did was top shelf, dinner for two people would be over $500 many times.  That’s great and they both enjoyed the time and the lifestyle.  Now here’s the issue, sometimes the guy would be an hour or two hours late for dinner.  I can hear women across the country with one collective “aww hell naw – that’s not gonna work for me.”

Let’s look at this a little closer, this guy is a multi-millionaire in real estate.  Anyone who has ever sat in a closing for the sale of property knows that you literally can never tell how long a closing will last, they easily could go over the expected time by one or more hours.  Here’s the bottom line, if you want a man that’s always on time you will have to find a guy who’s career and lifestyle fit the type of flexibility or inflexibility that works for you.  It would be different if the guy was cheap as hell, but if she wants to enjoy the fruits of his labor with him, she’ll have to give him the room and understanding that go along with his career.  Bottom line, your preferred attributes and qualities in a partner should be congruent – if you want someone who is on banker’s hours, date a banker, not a real estate mogul.

Now let’s take a look at the fellas.  For the guy that is looking for a match to his power couple image of a relationship, he may pursue women that are very career oriented.  Along with that woman comes her schedule and responsibilities.  That means that it’s pretty unreasonable for that guy to want this career oriented woman to have dinner on the table everyday at 7pm like his mother did.  She may have dinner on the table at 7pm one day, 9pm the next day, she may pick up the dinner the next day on the way home and you may have to do something for dinner to help out the other two days of the week.  For him to have the expectation that this “compliment” to his “power couple image” will have the same schedule of “household maintenance” that a woman who is looking to be more of a caretaker in a relationship are incompatible traits.  If he wants to date a woman with that ambition, somethings got to give OR if he wants dinner on the table everyday at a certain time then he may need to find a woman who’s career and lifestyle make that possible.

Understand that these examples are only that, examples, they are not absolutes.  I’m not saying that real estate moguls are exempt from respecting a woman’s time and that career women are exempt from providing nurturing and “feel good” esthetics that men like.  I’m simply saying that there has to be a degree of flexibility that tempers your expectations if you have preferred characteristics in a partner that may be more of a contrast than a compliment.

Then there are people that date a person that has traits that are incompatible with their own.  A woman who hates sports may want to date a guy who is a sports nut.  A guy who loves sports may want to date a woman who has never been and doesn’t ever care to go to a football game.  An even better example of this is the person who has a very active social life that falls for the person that has a very inactive social life.  In all of the examples just stated there is often a strong desire to CHANGE the person that you are in a relationship with.

Let me now state this – the only person that you can change, control or exert power over is yourself. If you met a person and they have “undesirable” likes, manner, interest and lifestyle (meaning that they differ from your preferences) you’ll save yourself a lot of frustration by understanding what makes them tick as opposed to getting them to change what they gravitated to long before the two of you were a couple.

If a woman had a lot of male friends before you met her, its not probable that she will stop talking to her male friends now that you’re in her life.  If a guy has “guy’s night” out and likes to hang with his boys – that’s his thing and although prospective shifts in a relationship you can’t remove people from their interests and likes.  The primary result of attempting to change them is resentment and as much as you think you’re helping yourself by trying to change your partner, you’re probably creating resentment toward you and your position if his/her behavior was like that prior to the relationship.

This is not to say that opposites don’t attract or that people can’t expose others to more than they already know.  It is to say that expectations have to be viewed as contiguous qualities and not these disjointed desires such as “I want a beautiful woman with no male friends” or “I want this head strong man who never refutes what I say or has an opinion different than mine.”  The more closely in alignment with one another your desired qualities are, the better chance you have of finding someone who realistically meets your standards.

The solution to this issue is born out of the definitions of disappointment.  My definition of disappointment is “the result of unmet expectations.” Some people are crafting a world of disappointment by creating tons of expectations in another person that more than likely will never be met by them.  Of course you should have expectations, standards and behavior guidelines that work for you in your relationship.  However, it’s important that you align those expectations in a way that you give the person you’re dating the opportunity to win.  Far too often men and women create a set of diametrically opposed traits that will create their own frustration.  The awareness has to be adjusted in their expectations that give themselves and the other person the opportunity to win in the relationship.

3) Many People Tend To Be Reactive and Problem Oriented in Relationships

This issue can’t be any more plainly stated than it already is.  There is a large contingency of people that chronically complain.  It may be that their observations are accurate, but they continuously whine and complain as opposed to create a winning environment.

The words that usually accompany the complaint are “you should already know this”, “why should I have to even tell you this” or “I thought you would have figured that out by now.”  Any iteration of that statement has a certain level of presumption and/or assumption in it.  Although I do agree that there is a basic code of conduct that most people would have toward one another, I would add that “common conduct” ain’t always common.  That just means what’s expected by one person isn’t a “given” to somebody else.  For example, I went on a lunch date with a woman who thought that it was proper for me to get out of the car when we parked, walk around to her door and let her out in order for her to exit the car.  I definitely didn’t do it, but my illustration (though a bit of an outlier) more so is to illustrate that people have different perspectives on what “common conduct” is.

My main point here is to say that people are not mind readers.  There are a lot of cases where people sulk, “blow a gasket” and get bent out of shape when people don’t perform an activity or provide something that they wanted or expected that somebody should or would do.  Additionally, some people are more apt to complain in many instances rather than see this disconnect as an opportunity to grow closer to together.

The solution to this issue is simply open, honest and effective communication.  The key to making the communication effective is to be solution oriented with the issue by creating an outcome that works for not just one, but both people. Additionally, in order to preempt an issue from arising, more people need to communicate what their expected/desired behavior or response from their mate is prior to an issue ever coming up.

Let me go back to the example of my lawyer-friend and her real estate mogul boyfriend.  I agreed with her that her time mattered and that she needed to be given notification of times that he was running extremely late.  I suggested to her that instead of wagging her finger in his face and demanding that she wasn’t going to be disrespected that she present a solution.  I gave her several examples of things that she could do that would create a win-win scenario and she said that what I shared with her was not only practical and feasible for her, but not an inconvenience to him either.  Although the relationship with that guy didn’t work out she found that the general advice of being solution oriented made sense and she put it to use in her next relationship.  I just found out that she and her current boyfriend just got engaged this weekend and she’s happier than she’s ever been.  I’m sure that providing solutions and not just addressing problems has gone a long way to creating a more collaborative environment than combative one for her.  Yes, it takes more work, but most things worth having do take more work.

4) People Show You Who They Are If You Take The Time To Look & Listen

Let’s get real for a second – most people that are horrible in a relationship show you that they’re going to be horrible before you ever commit to the person.  There are a ton of non-verbal and verbal clues that people share with you to let you know that they are selfish, shady, volatile or a ton of other undesirable qualities before you wake up and ask yourself “what have I gotten into.”  How does this happen?  Often times people go into relationships with their “eyes wide shut” looking at the things that they want to see and not the things that are actually happening in front of them.

This is not to say that there are not some good posers, actors and con artist (men and women) out there.  However, I bet in many instances that when people look at situations in hindsight that they can piece together different things that they glossed over that should have been something that was more disconcerting at the time it was recognized than it actually was.  We all have to go through different situations, experiences and frustrations in order to learn and grow.  Part of learning what you want is experiencing what you don’t like.

Volumes could be written on this point alone, but I will share one quick item to address this point.  Simply stated – A RED FLAG IS A RED FLAG!! I can’t take credit for this phrase, its something that I actually got from my Mom, but the truth of it is undeniable.  There are too many people that look at undesirable behavior in a dismissive capacity instead of with the seriousness and importance that it really deserves.  The worse part is that more times than not, by the time a person accepts the red flag as being a red flag they are “time committed” into the situation and then begin to put good time in after bad time as opposed to recognizing that the situation isn’t a fit for them and removing themselves from it.

There are times that a guy will give a woman an indication (hint: maybe a red flag in their book) that he is not the most dependable person as it relates to remembering things that she would feel are important to her (i.e. appointments, dates, things that he said he would do, etc.)  Yet, in many cases this pattern is dismissed in favor of thinking that as the relationship progresses that he’ll get better.  The news here is that often times people are at their best behavior in the early stages of the relationship and this is about the best that she’ll get from him (possibly.)  Many women talk about how guys have “representatives” in the early stage of getting to know the guy that he sheds to reveal his true self at a later time.  That’s well and good, but what about his (or her) true self that is shown to you that you choose to ignore. Many times people are given all they need to know up front still go deep into an undesirable situation where the person is showing who they really are up front.

However, there is a danger that some people have of becoming highly speculative or even paranoid after being hurt by a person that showed themselves to be different than how they were initially perceived to be.  The danger here is that there are some situations where you as the “hurt person” must shoulder more of the responsibility for the caliber of people that you have in your life (friends and lovers) and more importantly for the time that you put into these relationships after you discovered that this person was not meant for you.

Many people may have heard the Maya Angelou quote “If a person shows you who they are, believe them.”  Unfortunately far too many people don’t believe that fire is hot and they have to stand in the flames long after they’ve been ignited before they remove themselves (if they ever do.)  Everybody has their own motivation for why they stay in a situation, so I could never address them all globally.  The one thing that I can say globally is that the object of experience is to not repeat lessons that have already been learned.  No need to be bitter, contrary or vindictive to the next person that you encounter – however, no need to be bitten by a different animal in the same spot you were bitten before.  Learn your lesson and recognize those red flags that you’ve seen or those like them when they present themselves.  Additionally, don’t erect so many walls of protection and create so many defense mechanisms that you cut yourself off from blessings at the time that you decide you are open to a relationship if you choose.  Being a cynic is not a good look for anybody, being aware is your responsibility though.  Knowledge is power, use it wisely, but you have to use it.

As a side note, not all people are bad, messed up, etc.  Sometimes people “just don’t work out”, have different agendas or are incompatible.  That comes along with the process.  I just didn’t want it to be implied that I feel everyone presents red flags.

5) Fear and Love Can’t Occupy The Same Space

This is a lesson that I understood clearly when I got it from The Road Less Traveled by Dr. M. Scott Peck.  There are far too many people that let fear and insecurity not only lead them into a relationship, but rule them once they get there.  A relationship is a process of giving.  However, the person that is constantly in a state of fear/panic/insecurity/gluttony/selfishness becomes much more concerned about what they’re getting (or not getting) that they often times forget (or neglect) to give.

A healthy relationship is meant to be a place where you are not only getting nourished, but you are nourishing someone in return.  Many times in relationships the scales of who gives and how much they give is thrown way out of balance by the fact that people are far more concerned about what it is they are receiving than what they are giving.

The solution to this issue is that there is a certain amount of ego that has to be dialed down (by men and women) and a certain amount of vulnerability that both people must expose themselves to in order to allow an environment of sharing or a win-win scenario to take place. In layman’s terms “it ain’t all about you.”  However, just as important, it ain’t all about the other person either.  Far too many people can lose themselves in a relationship by losing their love/care of self for the benefit of the person that their involved with and to their own detriment.  Either way it goes, when the scales are tipped too far to either side, somebody or both people in the relationship are bound to lose.

There’s no simpler way that I can explain the point that Fear and Love Can’t Occupy the same space than that.  This may seem like an oversimplified explanation, but really how much more difficult is it?  Humility is something that both people in a relationship need to exhibit in order to make it work.  Deferring to your partner because you respect their ability to make a decision is usually needed.  If you don’t respect your partner enough to allow them to participate in the decision making parts of your relationship then you need an entirely different letter written to you.

Let me quickly share something about tolerance in a relationship.  People need people.  You need somebody (not a relationship per se, just the love of people) and somebody needs you.  If you’re in a relationship you have to accept someone for who they are and their desire and ability to give their best (which is relative to every individual.)  We have to be patient and tolerate one another as we strive to be our best (and I’m not speaking financially or career oriented best.) HOWEVER, the word strive is the optimal word in that sentence.  If you are in a situation or venturing into a relationship with someone who is not seeking to live their best life or looking to be their best self, then enter at your own risk.  A person does not have to verbally commit to you that they are living their best life.  Its in their manner, their character and in their way of being.  If you openly choose to start a relationship with someone who wants nothing more than what they have and where they are (i.e. spiritually, mentally, emotionally, communicatively, etc.) then it is not their fault if they don’t live up to your view of who they should be.  More responsibility needs to be taken by people for the decisions that they make, as opposed to passing blame to their partner for doing what they have always done – simply being themselves, not their “best self.”  If you value your time, your energy and your emotions you will take the time to respectfully qualify the people that you have in your life, relationships as well as friendships because you are the sum total of the people you associate with – they are a reflection of you and vice versa.

We all come from different upbringings, different environments and don’t have the same experiences when we’re raised.  In order to balance this difference in all of us, it’s important to encapsulate all 5 of these points that I’ve presented to give you and the person that you’re looking to enter a relationship with the chance to win.  By being a student of life, properly identifying/aligning your desires, being solution oriented, seeing the red flags and being emotionally/mentally capable and available for that relationship if you choose to enter into it, you’re set up for success.

Why don’t people do these things?  I can quite honestly say it’s a lot easier to be lazy, be “about yourself” and not do the work that it takes to prepare yourself for a quality relationship than it is to work at being ready.  No truer words have been spoken than “you reap what you sow.” Identify what you want, but also create a life game plan that gets you where you want to go.  Many people are willing to invest thousands of dollars into their formal careers and academic progress, but don’t take the free time to learn and improve themselves as people when they want to progress outside of their careers.

Again, life is a never-ending lesson if you’re willing to take the course.  Some books that have helped me gain a view of what “matters” to me are:

  • “The Road Less Traveled” by M. Scott Peck M.D.
  • “What You Think of Me Is None of My Business” by T. Cole-Whittaker
  • “Awaken The Giant Within” by Anthony Robbins
  • “The Law of Attraction” by Esther & Jerry Hicks

To paraphrase the great Jim Rohn “if you’re in the wrong direction you’ll never get to your destination.  If you’re in the right direction it may take you 5 years to reach your destination.  Although you can’t reach your destination overnight – if by chance you find that you’re going in the wrong direction, you can change your direction in an instant.” I pray that you’re all going in the right direction and find your destination.

Take care of one another – “we all we got.”  Thanks for taking the time to grow with me.  Much love…VA

An Open Letter to Women – “The Woman In The Mirror”…

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

TO ACCESS PREVIOUS BLOG ENTRIES USE THE LINKS AT THE TOP OR CLICK “THE BLOGS IN THE KEY OF LIFE” TITLE TO ACCESS THE HOME PAGE…

Black frame with detail mirror

NOTE: THIS IS A THREE-PART SERIES.  TO ACCESS THE OTHER ENTRIES CLICK THE LINKS ABOVE BY THE TITLE…

This is the second of a three part series regarding the Male/Female Relationship.  This entry is an open letter to Women, the first was an open letter to Men and the third is an open letter to Men and Women who want a productive and fulfilling relationship.  This submission is intended to loosely connect with the first letter to Men.  Therefore, issues that were addressed in the letter to men will not be rehashed in this letter.

Disclaimer(s):  I could write an entire blog about disclaimers given that women are very dynamic individuals.  Very much like the letter to men, this entry is the culmination of experience, observations and conversations with men and women about women.  The nature of the blog is very frank and it is not intended to be inflammatory or antagonistic, merely one person’s vast, broad assimilation of information.  If you are a woman reading this you may feel that there are some items, examples and inferences that may not relate to you.  In that case, feel free to look past that as a “does not apply to me” issue.  HOWEVER, it has been my experience that there is quite a bit of denial within some women with regard to how they “really” are perceived by others vs. how they perceive themselves.

Also, this is a “lengthy” discussion to a broad topic.  I do not speak for all men, but I would say that the information is very pertinent.  I thank you in advance for taking the time to read it.  With that being said – here we go…

Dear Ladies,

Hello Ladies, I hope that you’re doing well at the time of receiving this letter.  Many of you had the opportunity to peek at the letter to Men that I wrote and if you have not, I would encourage you to when you find time.  As that letter stated, I don’t know everyone that this letter will reach, but there are some that I have had the opportunity to know in passing, some very well or maybe even “personally.”  I know that some of you are single, married, “unhappily connected” or “happily connected.”  Any way you may be at this time, I applaud you for making it this far and doing so much in a world that is often dominated by men.

Before I get started, I would like it if you as the ladies could do me a huge favor.  As you’re reading this, can you please let go of the excuse of “well if guys would just” or “what about when guys do” and all of the other references that could come up about men’s transgressions or wrong doings.  Two wrongs don’t make a right and men behaving badly in no way removes women’s accountability for the issues that they bring to the table.  So this letter is focused on women, not the things that men do to make women do unproductive things in return.  Ok, thanks for agreeing to that.

I think that there are many, many issues ranging from esteem issues, to insecurity, materialism, prior abuse, self-respect and many more issues that impact women in relationships.  Also, because women are so dynamic it would be impossible to address all of these issues within this letter.  With that in mind I will let ladies know that this letter will specifically speak to why many women attract more “busters” and bad choices in men and many times don’t get a call back or chance to pursue a relationship with the guy who may have been a better quality catch. Plainly stated, the undesirable components of some women’s personality quite possibly attract the buster and repel the guy with good sense.

Today (July 7, 2009) Michael Jackson was laid to rest and one of his more poignant songs is “The Man In The Mirror” which inspired the title of this letter.  I would like to ask every woman, presuming you could meet a single man who possessed your criteria for what a good man is, who wasn’t intimidated by other men or your place in life, wasn’t insecure, who was willing to develop a mature relationship with you that could lead to marriage – would you consider yourself to be the woman that he would want in return??  As much talking that has been done about how trifling, immature and under-developed men are, do you really consider yourself to be the woman that “Mr. Right For You” would want in return??

The origin of this question doesn’t come from my past serious relationships and it doesn’t come from my divorce.  It actually comes from the many conversations I’ve had with women (some dating, some just conversations), the conversations that I’ve had with “good” men regarding their experiences with women and my personal observations of women as a business man and DJ in the 3rd largest city of the country, Chicago.  It certainly comes from the numerous conversations or observations of women when I and other men think “do you even hear the words that are coming out of your mouth??” Unfortunately, if I had to assess whether many women are what I or what other men of good character would want (not referring to physical attraction, purely personality), the answer would be a resounding “hell NO.”

To cut to the chase as to why this may be the point, it is my observation that there are two types of women (for the purposes of this letter), the first is the woman that simply knows herself, the second woman is the woman who not only knows herself, but she is also “self aware.”  We all know what knowing yourself is – it includes your likes, turn-offs, ambitions, desires, etc.  However, being “self aware” means that you not only know yourself, you are also fully aware of how you are perceived by other people.

Again, my observation is that there are many women that exhibit less than desirable personality qualities (i.e. argumentative, uber-passive, over bearing, etc.) and unfortunately, they have no idea that they would run a good guy off in a heartbeat.  I’ve asked several women lately “which one of your girlfriends would you personally date if you were a guy.”  After a pause and some thought, many of them cycle through their girlfriend’s idiosyncrasies, quirks, bad habits and oddities to then say, “let me get back to you on that.”  Of course that’s not true of every woman.  However, the major point that I’m sharing is that sometimes women can be so fixated on “this is me and this is who I am, take it or leave it” that they don’t realize how much of a turn off their personality truly is, especially to a man that they would want to attract.

Its even amazing the number of arguments/squabbles that women have with their women friends during girls night out, girl’s vacations, etc.  You hear comments like “I’ll never travel with her again”, “I hate waiting for her” or “that’s why I like it when I drive as opposed to riding with them” and many more complaints about women friends.  Guess what – you and/or your girlfriends bring that same behavior (and more) in their relationships with men.  Women don’t even want to deal with their girl friends (in some cases) because “you know how SHE is.”  That’s exactly the point I’m making about the same and worse behavior with men.

Again, the natural defense is to say “well, what about the guys who…” – we’re not talking about them right now, this is about you being ready for “Mr. Right For You” in the event that’s what you would like to have in your life.

I know that there are some women that would say “if a guy doesn’t like me for who I am, then he’s not the guy for me.”  Well, let’s take a look at who you are quite honestly:

  • Are you conflict oriented or conflict averse?
  • Are you boring or engaging?
  • Are you open to new things or stuck in your ways?
  • Are you super-stubborn or open to new ways of seeing things?
  • Are you bossy or flexible?
  • Are you abrasive or soothing?
  • Are you clingly/insecure or secure?
  • Are you overly needy or independent to the extent there’s no room for anyone else or somewhere in the middle?
  • Do you appear to be frigid or tastefully alluring (let’s be honest, men do want to be ATTRACTED to a woman?)

I know that times have changed and that women have to assume more responsibility in the home and in the office than ever before.  HOWEVER, one of the biggest things that I’ve seen in the 21st century woman that is a major turn-off is the lack of a brain buffer.  Quite honestly that means that what comes up, comes out.  In addition to the brain buffer issue is women who are theoretically so far on their own page with their likes, dislikes, “this is the way that I amisms”, that it literally turns people (women and men) off or runs them away.  Again, I am referring to the “getting to know you” process.”  These issues can be omnipresent even prior to an actual relationship ensuing.

Let me explain something briefly.  Many times the guy that you are looking for who is sensitive to your needs, supports you in your progression of yourself, wants to carry his part of the load and all those other great things really doesn’t want a sarcastic, “flip”, “say whatever you feel” kind of woman.  This doesn’t mean that he’s not looking for your opinion and doesn’t want to hear what you have to say.  That also doesn’t mean that he doesn’t want a funny, witty woman with a ton of personality.  This is where the old adage “it’s not always what you say, but how you say it” comes in.  We are in a time where far too often women don’t care how they say what it is they have to say to a man.  This may seem unreasonable, but it’s no different than the desire to have a man ask something of you rather than demand it.  The gruff, crass and thoughtless way that some women speak (especially to men) these days doesn’t garner any level of respect, love, courtesy or desire to want to spend time with a woman who doesn’t have enough discretion to think before she speaks.

Some women may say “I don’t want to have to go through all of that, if I feel something I should just be able to say whatever.”  Again, you wouldn’t want some guy coming at you half-witted and quarter-cocked with the first dumb ass thing out of his mouth.  Just consider the feeling mutual.  Too often the lack of decorum and the feeling of “whatever” that many women have will continue to attract the guys who do the same in return and alienate the ones who would offer them the respect in return of thinking before they said the first thing that came to mind.

Many women are under the impression that men are intimidated by free-thinking, motivated and assertive women.  Though that may be the case with some men, there are many men who want a woman with wit, energy, ideas and ambition.  HOWEVER, they want them to still be and act like women.  The same way that it’s a turn off for a man to exhibit what would be considered “girl like” tendencies, it is equally as much of a turn off to a man for a woman to interact with him, have conflict with him and “get at” him the way that a man would.  It doesn’t mean that a “good” man wants a woman to be demure or soft-spoken.  Mature and developed men can receive what you’re saying much better when it’s delivered with grace, class and panache’ as opposed to when it’s being delivered with the subtlety of a baseball bat.  The same way you want a man to be a man, a man talking with a woman, doesn’t wants to feel like he’s “going at it” with one of his boys unless it’s the tone of a specific conversation.  It is cool to feel like you have a woman that can flow between “kickin it” and the serious man/woman vibe.  Unfortunately, I’m not referring to moments of conflict; I’m just referring to typical everyday conversation where women are so raw and at times abrasive that it’s a turnoff.  When I say abrasive I’m not referring to profanity.  More like talking at someone instead of talking to them or just frankly saying anything that comes to mind regardless of how it may be received.

On the other end of the spectrum is the woman that feels that her opinion doesn’t matter or she constantly relegates herself to whatever the man’s position would be.  Included in that is the woman who is not engaging in many regards and doesn’t present any level of allure or captivating quality to attract a man.  The man you want typically only fully respects women that they fully respect themselves.  Good guys typically are drawn to women who feel good about themselves.  It is not my assertion in any way that a woman should “kow tow” to a man in any way.  I feel that the most progressive relationships will always be the ones where the two act as equals (still respective of the man/woman dynamic) and the woman is not relegated to the lesser person in the relationship.  Unfortunately, many woman position themselves in that place are at times taken advantage of because of it.  Much of that was/is her doing.

Again, it is my personal opinion that the right woman can get a man to do just about anything that she would want if she was more desirable (mentally and yes, physically too – this is a desire based connection for both sexes) than demanding in many cases.  There is an old statement that still is  as true today as it has ever been – “you can attract a lot more bees with honey than you can with vinegar” and unfortunately many women have lost sight of that.  On far too many occasions the otherwise desirable woman is driving men away by not being “self aware” and simply being herself.

So how is it that this position assumed by women of not being “self aware” can attract busters and stave off the desirable guy?  Let’s look at the buster.  The synonym for buster is predator.  Busters look at women with emotional issues, super-ego/attitudes, walls, emotionally unavailable and/or low self-esteem as prey or a challenge.  That means that by their very nature they know that your soft exterior or rough exterior, whatever you may have can be broken down by a series of saying and/or doing the things to get past the barriers that have been put up.  The same way that the jackal stalks the lioness, many women are throwing so much of their “this is how I am” nature or their “I have low esteem” nature out there that its literally pheromones attracting the jackal who is willing to “play the game” until you break down and give him whatever it is he wants.  The buster/predator sees you as a project, a thing to do, a conquest and is willing to engage in the game of “this is me” because he wants to destroy you or at least take the parts that he wants and leave the rest behind.

How does being “self aware” help minimize the attacks from the buster/predator?  The same way that the woman that is not self aware can turn her friends off and not care, can rub the right guy the wrong way and say “he wasn’t the one for me” is the same woman that is so far on her own page that she doesn’t see the true intentions of the buster.  It is her bullshit ways that have become the bait that the buster uses because they know that given the right “approach” they can and will break her down.

On the total other hand – the mature, progressive, “willing to grow with you” type guy is the one that typically sees the walls, the issues, the unnecessary difficulty, the low-esteem, the inflexibility or brash disposition and would rather not be bothered with all of that.  All of what you may ask?  All of the posturing, extreme ego, insensitivity, lack of esteem, potential conflict that he will notice very early in interacting with a woman if he himself is “self aware.”  Self aware women and self aware men are not predators.  They don’t have time to decipher the code of what makes you tick or burst through the proverbial walls that have been erected.

It is the law of attraction – those things that are alike in life are drawn to one another.  The predator and the prey are drawn to one another.  It is very much like Job 3:25 from the bible “What I feared has come upon me; what I dreaded has happened to me.”  Many women, I have to tell you – you are running the desirable guys away with your attitudes, lack of humility, lack of grace, lack of self-anything, lack of femininity (beyond sex appeal) and you are attracting the busters for the same exact reasons.  Then those same women are enabling and supporting the behavior of the predators that they are in relationships with and are looking to place the blame on the man.  Every person’s first order of priority is to love yourself, you can not look for anyone to love you more than you are willing to love yourself.

Men and women have a lot of complexities in relationships and again, this letter can not and does not address all of them.  However, if you are finding that you don’t know where “the good men are” or if you seem to attract predators in your life, it’s possible that you may have the entire male species figured out, so you would like to believe.  My question then would be, how much time have you taken to assess your own quirks, idiosyncrasies and ways about you that may drive your friends or a good man to not want to further a relationship with you?  How happy are you with your “this is me” attitude or disposition if “good” men and women may not want to be around you while you’re being you.  When you look at the woman in the mirror, is that your best self or the person that you’ve resigned yourself to be?

Life should be evolving, it should exhibit growth and I’ve seen and observed far too many women who have tuned out the world so much that the only tune that they hear is their own.  The sad part about that is that they’re the only ones willing to play that song because there’s no room for anybody else to join in.

I was raised by three wonderful women (mom, aunt and grandmother) and they are all very strong willed and opinionated.  The thing that I love about them most is that they speak loud and clear, but they also listen in return.  They taught me to listen, not only to myself, but to others.  That ability to listen is what can allow me to be in a conversation with a woman and be able to detect that the primary tune that she hears is her own, there’s really no place for me in that band.

I would venture to say that given the number of men that I’ve talked to about the state of their relationships that I’m “on to something” with this synopsis.  These good brothers find themselves on bad dates and undesirable situations with women just the same way women do.  Here’s the scary part – the buster/predator guys that are bad dates, really don’t care if they are good to women or not.  The buster/predator doesn’t care how you perceive him, if it’s a failed attempt, he’s on to the next victim.  The women who are bad dates, you can’t tell them a damn thing!!  To say that they are not self-aware is an understatement.  The even scarier part is that the dynamics of some (not all, but some) female friendships is that women can’t even keep it real with their girls and let them know how “out of pocket” that their girl is.  Or if they do tell her, she’s not listening.  Additionally, the women who know that they haven’t taken a good look in the mirror intentionally relay stories (by only telling part of the truth) to their girls to get advice from them that fosters their continuance of their less than desirable behavior.

In the end, it’s not up to a guy, your girls or anybody to police your behavior ladies. In the end it’s you.

Let me take this one step further for the women who do move past the “getting to know you” stage and actually develop a relationship with a “good guy.”  The woman who is “self aware” recognizes that once she has started dating a good guy that the journey is not over, it has just begun while the woman that only knows what she likes and dislikes feels like “mission accomplished.”  Far too many women equate fidelity with being a “good woman.” That is to say that as long as she’s faithful to her guy she can act in any manner that she wants (including driving a guy crazy for no reason) and as long as she’s faithful she’s a “good woman.”  This couldn’t be further from the truth.  If you are not aware of how your moods, outbursts, despondence, “shitty tone”, demands, sometimes insatiable or needy behavior is affecting your man you are not being a “good woman” in his eyes regardless of how faithful you are. This is where it becomes most critical that you are “self aware” because your behavior will push a good guy out the door if you can’t police yourself.

To the women who none of this applies to, congratulations to you.  That still doesn’t mean that there aren’t issues to be fleshed out while in the relationship, but at least you’re one step closer to shakin’ the busters and attracting a winner.  To the women that want to know where are all of the good men and why does this keep happening to me, when was the last time you took a look at the woman in the mirror.  When was the last time you heard and received the positive and progressive advice of the men and women in your life, when was the last time you asked somebody “what. if anything, do you think that I could work on to be the best person I could be for myself and in a relationship?”  I would venture to say that women spend an inordinate amount of time griping about how there are no (or only a few) good men out here, but not nearly as much time is spent on being the best that they can be or pointing out issues to their girls.  Again, sometimes they do that and their girl “knows so much” that she’s not listening to the good advice being offered.

I’d like to share that denial is a lose/lose scenario for everybody.  Its great to love yourself and feel good about who you are and I would never want to insinuate that anyone become less of a person to allow room for somebody else.  As men are to be providers and protectors, women are nurturers and sources of comfort.  I’m not saying to give your “gifts” of comfort and nurture to everyone.  However, allow for others to qualify you as you should qualify them without the “all self-knowing” part of your personality disqualifying you before you even get a chance.

Understand that the notion that the “right guy for you” will love you just as you are, despite your idiosyncrasies, quirks, flaws and attitudes that are a manifestation of “this is how I am” (as opposed to general likes and dislikes) is highly unlikely. What’s a general like or dislike?  Basic things like “I don’t like football”, “I would prefer to go to the early church service” as opposed to “this is how I talk, so deal with it”, “this is how I get sometimes” or “I’ve never had to do XYZ for myself, so I won’t worry how to do it now.”  Its not that only “strong” women exhibit these attitudes, a passive woman who doesn’t form her own opinion or appears helpless or “whoa is me” at all times can be just as much of a turnoff for the mature man looking for a progressive relationship.

The fairytale, the “Notebook” (refering to the movie) love affair, the myth that any person male or female will totally accept and more importantly, be fulfilled with another person without regard to that person operating in their best self is again, high unlikely.  It doesn’t mean that a meaningful relationship can not be had, it more so means that the odds of that relationship being with the “ideal” man that was desired/envisioned is very improbable.

Thesis Statement Ladies: Many women say that they are not settling until they find what they want ideally in a man.  However, many of those same women settle on being their lesser selves as a person and potential mate as opposed to finding their best self that would attract the man they feel would be their ideal compliment.

When I speak of settling within yourself I’m not referring to worldly ambition or being “goal oriented.”  I am referring to character and the caliber of “feminine esthetic” that makes a man want to be around and partner with a woman.  There are many ambitious and accomplished women who develop false-pride (as many men do) and lose a fair amount of humility as they accomplish more and also as they feel better about themselves.  Accomplishment and esteem are in direct relationship to humility.  The more you “are”, the more you “do”, the more you “have to offer”, the more humble ANY PERSON (man or woman) should become.  Far too often women gain a stronger sense of self, attain more “stuff” and lose their humility which in turn may be a turn-off to a good guy.  Women deserve to be proud and feel good about what they have done or who they are as women.  There is however a huge difference in being proud and remaining humble.  The right guy will respect you more and possibly desire you more if your confidence and accomplishments surpass the average man without having the “false pride”, “BIG EGO” (pun intended) and “chip on her shoulder” to go with it.

A quick note to the women who have been hurt by guys in the past, let that burden and frustration go.  It is not the next guy’s job to pick up the slack and remove the hurt of your past relationships.  Yes, I agree – this is true of men, as well as women – I got you!!  Again, we’re talking about women here.

So, let me put a wrap on the letter by saying that of course there is no such thing as perfection.  There is an air of compromise, acceptance, patience and tolerance that a relationship will have to endure on both sides.  However, there is a growing contingency of women who are not “self aware” and have attitudes, insufferable dispositions/opinions who refuse to make adjustments in any relationships male/female and even with female friends and these individuals can not figure out why they’re unlucky in love.  The mirror is only a step away.

I also want to say that if your first response upon reading this is “well about what the guys when they” or “if men didn’t do” or “if men would do”, then basically you’re listening to your own song and missed the entire purpose of the letter.  It wouldn’t be surprising if you never heard what anyone said outside of your own voice in your head.  The subject of this letter is women’s issues in a particular area, not men’s issues.

Go to the mirror, put your song on mute, take a long look with both eyes open and ask yourself – “am I the only person that likes what I see”, your soul and your environment will provide the answer – only if you are willing to listen.

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