Archive for hope

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

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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

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

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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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