Believe in yourself. Believe in others.

Starting something can be scary. The small business owner risks much to make their dream a reality. The singer fears that nobody will want to hear them. The writer is afraid to share his words. Everyone has that small bit of doubt when they embark on a start-up business or creative endeavor. It is fear of failing.

Competition has driven mankind to do great things. It has also bred self doubt and insecurity in many of us. We are afraid of what other people will think. We are afraid of what they will say. Social media has been one of the biggest contributors of fear today. We feel good when we get a like or a share. But self doubt rears its ugly head when we don’t get the reaction that we want.

Everything is about community. It’s about people. Everyone wants to be liked. We all want support from others. When we bare our souls and put everything on the line, we need it most of all.

May we all stand brave in the face of fear. It’s time to start believing in ourselves. Everyone of us is unique. We all have an idea or a gift that we can share with the world. Let us all believe in others. With positive reinforcement, anything is possible. It’s all about community. It’s about people.

Support and love one another.

If you agree with me, stand bold and share this with others.

Free Giveaway!!!

I want to say thank you for supporting my writing. It means a lot to me that you take time out of your day to read my words. In everything I do, I want to give more than I receive.

I will be drawing TWO addresses at random from my email subscribers. The winners will be announced tomorrow. The winners will receive TWO digital prints of their choice from Tara’s shop heartoflifedesign.etsy.com. She’s my awesomely talented wife. These can be printed from home, but the preferred stores are Staples, Office Depot, and Wal-Greens.

Again, I want to say thank you.

Matt

The ugly truth about America’s political system and why there are no more presidents for the people.

Every four years, Americans look forward to two things that inspire hope; the presidential election and the olympics. One of these things makes people believe in humanity and that anything is possible. The other one makes people go out and buy all the guns and ammunition that they can afford.

Everyone thinks that they have a say in who is elected president, but they’re wrong. Sure, you can choose a side and voice your opinion, but does it really make a difference?

The ugly truth is that it doesn’t, and I’ll tell you why.

The president is a celebrity. He’s the guy that we praise when he delivers a stirring speech and makes us a promise. He’s also the guy that we point the finger at when something goes wrong. The president is not the one who controls this country or it’s affairs. Do we really put all of our trust and faith in one man?

The truth is that money rules the world. Money equals power and power equals control. Control over the masses. The people in control belong to every major nation and they are the one’s who are playing the game. It’s like a high stakes game of chess, with 7 billion people at risk. The moves are slow and the game takes generations, but it gradually moves into one side’s favor.

America has not seen a president for the people in a long time. Only a few like Lincoln and Roosevelt come to mind. The last might have been JFK. Since that shot rang out, all trust went out the window. We see how the powers that be can shift a political system and sway an entire country. In 1963, a line was drawn in the sand – Do not cross.

Turn your TV on right now to see the effect that the presidential election has on the masses. What used to be somewhat believable is now nothing more than a reality TV show. The frontrunner has even had his own reality TV show! It has become a fiasco of shaming and negativity on all sides. Are we really buying into all this? And why can’t we seem to find any candidates worth running? Who’s going to run next, Beyonce?

Our political system is broken. Corruption has overshadowed the so-called transparency. The first event that broke our faith in the government was Watergate. The first election that caused questions was the miscount in Florida. Until we do away with the electoral vote and go by popular vote, there will always be a president by the government and for the government in the white house.

Our country has struggled, along with the rest of the world, in the recession. We as Americans have no one to blame but ourselves. It is our lifestyle that caused the banks to collapse. It is also the corruption in big business. So how do we make America great again?

America is great already. We don’t need to make it great again. Americans just need to quit complaining and buying into everything the media says. That includes advertisements. We all should strive to be entrepreneurs and self made people that don’t rely on the government to take care of us. Want to help the budget? Work on decreasing your own debt. That in turn will help the deficit. The people are what make this country great. Sometimes we just need a kick in the butt.

It’s time to go to work. It’s time to take our freedom back.

What does your America look like? One where you get to choose how to live your life? Or one where you are told how to live your life.

My Manifesto

motivational-999247_1920

My life has changed drastically over the years, shaping what I know, and who I am as a person. From my carefree childhood years, to my rebellious teenage years, I was immortal, and unaware of the world outside of my own. My experiences molded my thoughts. My friends and family made or broke my heart. I did the same to them. I was thrown into the world of death and taxes without a parachute, expected to fly. The pressure of living up to social standards took hold of me before I knew it, so I put my head down and swam upstream like everyone else. Get a job to pay for the house, the car, the food, and the fun times. Work my way up the corporate ladder. The change in my life had been gradual, and it took me before I knew what happened. This is my life, and it’s not that much different than yours.

Not long ago I made a change in myself. With God’s help, I wanted to be the one in control of my life. I was tired of complaining about my job, where I lived, the economy, and the government. All of these things are going to create feelings of dissatisfaction and negativity. Not only did I want to be in control of where my life went, but I wanted to be in control of myself. I knew I needed to change my attitude, and my heart, before my life would begin to change. So I did, and I struggle with trying to make myself better everyday. It’s not easy. It takes commitment and a present mindset. It takes an open mind and an open heart to others around you. Don’t be quick to judge the guy on the corner holding the sign, you haven’t walked in his shoes. It takes sacrifice and a willingness to give more than you receive. This is especially hard since people are hardwired to be self serving. These are the traits that need to be applied to everyone, but none more than to your wife, husband, sons, and daughters. We are the ones responsible for the future generations of this world. Will they see themselves as confident, giving, and positive thinkers in society? How will they see others? Our actions carry more weight than we can imagine.

Soren Kierkegaard, known as the Father of Existentialism, recognized what was wrong with the world. He found that it came down to a personal level, one that needed observation. He challenged everyone to take a good look in the mirror, unafraid and unbiased, to recognize their faults. It takes courage to do this. A change begins to take place when we can recognize what’s wrong with ourselves and move to action. That is the key, action. Decide, act, and commit. No more excuses, no more complaining. In this modern day, knowledge is infinite and time is short. Let’s not waste it.

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” -Soren Kierkegaard

The Forsaken Guardian

Jack sat at the bar. Alone midday on a Tuesday in the middle of winter. The smell of smoke and cheap perfume choked the lungs.
Jack lit the cig – half tobacco, half pot. It calmed his nerves. Cured cancer even. The media talked about it and big tobacco pushed the ads.
Kids lurked around the streets like shadows, sucking THC lollipops, laughing. Being cool. He was glad he didn’t have kids.
Last week, Jack’s wife complained about the kids these days over a cup of Arabica.
Jack looked at his phone and pretended to listen, like usual.
Coat, keys, wallet, phone. Kiss goodbye.
Traffic, media, radio, stoplight. A man holding a sign on the corner. Jack pulled his film case from his pocket and popped a couple. It was a cocktail; hydro, oxy, lortab, valium, vicodin.
Parking garage, quick toke. Elevator, good mornings and smiles, cubicle, computer. Meeting at 9:00. Meeting at 9:30. Lunch in the cafeteria, a brown bag his wife made the night before. Another meeting.
Now Jack sat at the bar, alone, admiring the craftsmanship in the neon beer sign.
“What can I get ya?” The bartender said.
“Crown.” Jack took a toke.
He looked at the dancing girls behind him. His favorite was working tonight. Krystal.
The bartender sat the drink down. Before he could walk away, Jack shot it down, holding it across the bar for another pour.
Fifteen minutes later, nothing. Why was the buzz not kicking in?
Bathroom, locked stall door. He pulled a small bottle of eye drops from his pocket. Monkey Juice was what the kids called it. Heroine mixed in to get the red out. A couple drops in each eye and the effects flooded him immediately.
He opened the door and washed the germs from his hands. Tired eyes looked back at him in the mirror. He walked back into the bar.
A man, weathered with dried blood on his face, sat in Jack’s seat.
Jack took the seat next to him.
“Jack Grimes.” The man stated.
“Yeah, that’s me.” Jack signaled the bartender for another drink.
“I’ve been watching you for quite some time.” The stranger said and took a drag of a cig. “You ain’t doing so well.”
Jack laughed, eyes on the TV above the top shelf. “The world’s gone all to hell, and you tell me I’m not doing so well? You been watching the news?”
“You could say I keep up with current events, or did.” The stranger said, watching the cig burn. “What would you say if I told you that we are living in the beginning of the last days of man? The tribulation.”
“I would say you need another drink, friend.” Jack said, turning to look at the man. “I’m sorry, I didn’t catch your name?”
“Gabriel.” The stranger took his shot of crown and faced Jack. “I’m your guardian angel.”

On the Shortness of Life

One year from now I will develop cancer and die.

Stop and say the words to yourself. Sit back and let it sink it. If you could see into the future, and knew how much time you had left on earth, what would you do? What would you change?

For starters, most people would think about quitting their jobs. Why waste time? There’s so much more that could be done. But it’s not that easy. Most of us have families to take care of. We have bills and responsibilities. As Dave Ramsey often says, the borrower is slave to the lender. To live a healthier life is a strong second option. Kick the habits, drop the poisons, and take care of your body. Exercise regularly to develop and maintain wellness. Eat healthy balanced meals and drop the processed foods. Surely, we think, that would prolong our lives.

No doubt financial stability and a healthy lifestyle would help contribute to a longer life, but there are no guarantees that you will live to see tomorrow.

Seneca was a Roman stoic philosopher at the turn of the millennium. He became a statesman and imperial advisor to Nero. Upon charges of conspiracy, Nero commanded Seneca to take his own life, which he did dutifully. During the later part of his life, he wrote an essay to his friend which he titled The Shortness of Life. In it, he wrote about seizing the day, being in the moment, and living life to the fullest. He writes, “So it is: we are not given a short life but we make it short, and we are not ill-supplied but wasteful of it.” Time has not changed much from living in those days to now when looking at life and the choices we have.

People don’t think about death enough. We see one sunrise after the next, and over the years, develop a sense of guaranteed security. “You act like mortals in all that you fear, and like immortals in all that you desire”, Seneca says. To take on a death mindset doesn’t mean it’s time to drop everything and quit your job. It doesn’t guarantee any more time in your life. It should be a practice that is applied daily to cause you to think. It should be a catalyst of thankfulness.

By thinking about the shortness of life, we can empower ourselves and enrich our lives. We can be thankful for our jobs, our health, and our family. Too many of us worry about the future. We worry about bills, about the next task we have to do, or work on Monday morning. A shortness of life mindset allows us to live in the moment. It makes life long and fulfilling. It starts with a choice. It starts with action. One small step after the next, after the next. Before long, your life will begin to take shape based upon that one small choice to act.

“The greatest obstacle to living is expectancy, which hangs upon tomorrow and loses today. You are arranging what lies in Fortune’s control, and abandoning what lies in yours. What are you looking at? To what goal are you straining? The whole future lies in uncertainty: live immediately.” – Seneca, On the Shortness of Life

Thanks for reading. If this resonated with you, share with a friend. Subscribe to stay current with all my notations on life.

 

Why putting my wife first instead of myself is allowing me to pursue my dreams.

A few years back, my wife and I had a conversation about children on our drive back from a Christmas party. We both felt our social clocks ticking and knew it was time. One year later, we were holding our baby boy in our hands. Fifteen months after that, we were holding our baby girl. Our lives took on a whole new meaning. We began living for something other than ourselves. The change was quick, causing us to adapt to the non-stop care it takes to raise babies. Upon having our first child, my wife left her job, and never went back.

The older I get, the more I understand that plans change. My wife has two master’s degrees, and she has a strong work ethic that is rarely found today. We had planned on her starting a career and, together, working our way up the American ladder. This all changed after the children, and we wouldn’t have had it any other way.

After having my son, I began to write. As the pages built and the story grew, my wife became inspired. She had been looking for a way to help provide income from home while taking care of the kids. She found it in entrepreneurship. After doing her research, she opened an ETSY shop. This was to be the source of income she was looking for that could be done in her spare time when the kids were asleep.

As her business grew, the demand went up, and she had to prioritize her time. She now had to be a full time mother, wife, and a shop owner that provided quality work for her customers. I saw that she needed more help around the house, and mainly, with the kids. I knew that my time I would devote to writing would have to take a back seat to her. I began to do more with the house and kids, which allowed her the time to create.

As time passed, her sales increased, our kids grew, and I finished my book. She now works with a fine art company which promotes her work to small time business owners and big box stores. She has just started to work with a printer out of California that can offer anything from prints to t-shirts to coffee mugs. What had begun as a slow crawl up a hill has now become a rolling snowball. At first she just wanted to bring in twenty bucks a week, and it took some time for that to happen. Now, she is on her way of allowing me to quit my job and become a full time writer. The difference in twenty bucks a week, and what she makes now, is credited to her never giving up.

Like my writing, her shop began as a source of income. And like my writing, she found that creating art gave her so much more. She found her calling. Like plunging into parenthood, the calling is more than we can ever hope for. It can involve doing more than just one thing. Parents and stay-at-home mothers have found their calling, but it can add upon itself and become so much bigger if you are open to it. Sometimes you have to give before you can recieve. With each phase in life, the calling changes, allowing new possibilities to enter your life. It takes shape, depending on the choices you make.

Ultimately, it will tell the story of your life.

Check out Tara’s shop here