College + Good Friends

If you follow me on Instagram @bournegreat you’ll know that last Saturday night as I was getting ready to go to bed I turned on some music, but when it was time to go to sleep I really just wanted to lay there and listen in the dark instead. Maybe the preworkout hadn’t worn off yet or maybe I just had a lot of different things on my mind.

That same Saturday I drove out to Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, VA to be there for the 2017 graduation. I said hi to a number of people I haven’t seen in awhile and got to visit with my sister before she flew back to Oregon for the summer. As I sat through the various ceremonial parts and pieces I was struck again with how defining and impactful my time in college had been.

In one of our first classes one of the professors asked us to write down what we would like to get out of our time in school, he collected the answers, and gave them back to us 4 years later. I have mine somewhere, but couldn’t find it this morning. On that sheet of paper I wrote that A) I wanted at least one or two friends that I could depend on and who would be like family to me. B) I wanted to get better at writing (at the time I figured they wanted me to put something scholastic down too).

In at least some respect in response to B, well here I am writing. I’ve gone on to write many papers and for finals last semester I wrote over 10,000 words in a week. Granted, writing is not all about the number of words on a page, however, I promise it wasn’t all plagiarism or incoherent.

But my close friends were what really impacted me during the three years I was on campus. I was actually blessed with five during that time and each one of them taught me how to be a better person. How to be kind, caring, thoughtful, smart, and what it means to be a better friend.

I shared my thoughts, my feelings, my good and bad poems. There was always someone I could talk to when something was on my mind. We lived so much of our daily lives together during those years.

Today, two of them are married to one another and I still get to see or talk to them nearly every day. Another is also married, in another state, and we haven’t spoken in a long time, but I know we can pick right back up.The fourth is traveling, following her heart, and we haven’t spoken in about two years. The fifth is in law school and we get to talk once every month or two, but it’s always as if we just parted yesterday.

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I’m not sure there is a lesson or a point here, just something from my thoughts. I would just encourage you to be faithful to your friends, not to allow petty, and yes perhaps difficult, issues to get in the way.

The emotional and mental support is worth it.

Don’t let the bad times or difficult conversations define your relationships with good, honest, and loving people.

Protest Much?

So, as you may know, I live in Washington DC and nearly every weekend this year there has been a protest of some sort going on. A couple months ago one of them almost made me late to a soccer game! Driving into the city on the weekends, I’m always passing by tiny groups of protesters making their way home carrying the remaining signs they didn’t leave lying around the streets and monuments

(not #fakenews – the day after the women’s march the ground was literally layered in protester’s signs and trash).

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So all this has got me thinking – has all this expended energy and money effected any real change?

Of course to some extent or another this is extremely difficult to measure. Is Trump still president? Yes. Have his two main pushes so far, immigration and healthcare, succeeded? No. But, in this complicated world of ours it is rare (if ever) a single thing which affects change… so what are the protests accomplishing?

First off, it engenders a culture which pressures people into either “loudly” expressing their opinions or being viewed with distaste for not caring enough. If you aren’t a part of the protests then you somehow stand actively contrary to the message. I’m not saying people actually say this (though we all know some have), but it creates a culture where that is how people feel only causing tensions to rise. Instead of feeling open to talk about their differing opinions people are intimidated into silence.

Rather than development you get bullying.

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Second, you end up dragging in people who have not necessarily had the chance to actually think through the issues. Instead, it is all about what the group is doing rather than a meaningful discussion on what is best or even WHY it is best to solve the problem by demonstrating. The atmosphere has become defined by pathos (an appeal to emotion) rather than logos (an appeal to logic) which means the people standing next to you in the protests may or may not know why precisely the issue is a problem, why protesting is the best answer, or be able to defend these positions to someone who genuinely wants to learn.

Finally, when someone is taking part in a violent, loud, or otherwise emotion-driven protest they are degrading themselves. Before you get upset – here’s what I mean by that, when you stand up next to Dr. Martin Luther King you look like the smaller person. Dr. King used peaceful protests to generate and demonstrate solidarity for the movement. He used words which spoke to all mankind in an effort to bring them together.

It wasn’t about demonizing or threatening the enemy, it was about revealing to him the error of his ways.

You have a choice to either put your arm around your fellow Americans to plead and convince them of the light or you can yell, fight, and tell them how “evil’ they are. If you were back in school picking teams to play Capture the Flag would you want to be on the team that just spent the last ten minutes yelling and screaming about how you were (insert your choice of negative comments here)? I think not…

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How To: Maximize Your Understanding of the World

For those of you who don’t know, Medium is an article producing, information sharing, online publishing platform. It was created by Evan (Ev) Williams, one of Twitter’s co-founders, in an effort to counteract the ubiquitous false news meant to generate clicks over content.

In Ev’s words Medium is meant to provide an outlet for, “those who maximize our understanding of the world but don’t necessarily maximize clicks.” Medium is about real stories and information that can further your learning and development.

Now I don’t know about you, but even my relatively limited news and social media feeds are chock full of clickbait. Sometimes the articles can look and sound pretty interesting, but the vast majority are fake or filled with complete bias.

I cannot tell you how many times I begin to read an article only to determine ten seconds later the author only published this because they already reached their 24hr post limit (#fakenews) on emotional Facebook rants.

If this hasn’t happened to you then you need read more often!

The impact on society from the proliferation of such clickbait junk is pejorative at best as it only raises tensions and prevents reasoned discourse from creating agreement and compromise.

One can never help to change how someone thinks by using emotions as as the justification, it only allows them to become more entrenched in how they feel about the subject.

Of course there may be times when people view facts from separate points of view or weigh them differently, but this shouldn’t mean you start the discussion by yelling or spreading disinformation.

These days there seems to be a common misperception that the more intensely you express your feelings the more likely you will be able to affect change.

However, since when did screaming at your dad, mom, or teacher ever actually get you what you wanted? More likely than not it resulted in restrictions and punishment. Why? Because that is no way to act for a grown-up – for some reason we were held to high standards (maybe because they wanted us to mature? I don’t know…training is complicated). Acting like a child and trying to get other equally worked-up children to agree with you won’t accomplish anything except for higher decibel levels.

Medium has set out on a mission to stand up for accurate, fair, well researched, information sharing. The cool thing is that it isn’t just for political junkies, but virtually any topic one might be interested in.

In other words, you’re invited!

I highly recommend checking it out – maybe you’ll learn something as opposed to just getting upset about the state of the world! I mean seriously, aren’t you tired of all the junk circulating? Remember what Abraham Lincoln said… “don’t believe everything you read on the internet.” 

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Medium is a part of the effort to achieve meaningful discussion, learning, and change. Don’t you want to be a part of the, “platform for thoughtfulness, depth, and insight from independent thinkers?”

I’m excited for that vision!

Medium 

(Click Through) 

Social Media Was (is?) Wrecking My Life

I noticed a few weeks ago that I was on my phone all the time and it was eating away at my time.  I was constantly checking to see if a message of any sort had come through, often refreshing Instagram multiple times in a row to see if there was a new picture out there …as if that could possibly be worth the time it took swiping to refresh.

I noticed that my attention span beginning to shorten to where I could barely finish a book page before I checked my phone. Even 20 minute tv show episodes couldn’t hold my attention (granted, it wasn’t like I was watching 10/10 rated shows).

I was sitting, bored at my desk, putting off working towards my future, developing my business plan, hoping something interesting would pop up on Instagram, Snapchat, MAYBE even Facebook.

This trend eventually trickled down into a norm of getting less done in a day, when previously I was completing my undergrad, working up to 40hrs a week, and staying with a fairly active workout program.

My weekends were filled with wasted time on social media and lounging around watching tv shows.

Now, all this isn’t to say that such things are bad or a waste of time, but rather immersion eroded my use of the time I’ve been given. I believe firmly that we have a responsibility to use our time well and this is where I was failing in my life.

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The Excuses:

I’m already successful, I can take this time to chill.

When I have a work or school assignment I can still get it done quickly and efficiently.

I don’t like to work on projects piecemeal, I’d rather just sit down and do it all at the same time.

But here is what those three excuses were keeping me from making progress on.

Professionally:

Developing my business plan

Developing my funding proposal

Going to conferences

Developing contacts

Privately:

Writing in my journal

Reading my Bible

Reading books

My fitness regime (sometimes scrolling around kept me up too late).

My motivation during this time period began to tank and I found myself less and less capable of dealing effectively and promptly with issues because it felt like it didn’t matter and could be postponed.

My successful life was slowly destroying my life.

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The fact of the matter is social media doesn’t really matter from the standpoint of liking the latest photo or scanning through Snapchat story. Even worse is the wasted time spent anticipating a new update which inevitably leads to further straying, whether it is the recommended Snapchat stories or the Instagram home search page. Pretty soon scanning across YouTube looks enticing and two hours later you’re left with wasted time, less motivation, and an urge to just continue.

Use your time to further your aims, achieve your dreams, and spend it on things that are worth doing.

Your time is precious – treat it as such!