Social Media is Not Free

Social media has come a long way over the last 10+ years and it is an excellent way for us to connect with new people and reconnect with old friends. Especially because platform’s like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat are free, right?

What if I told you they’re not free, would you disagree?

The fact is: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and even YouTube are technically free. However, if something is taking your time, it is actually costing you something. Usually, it is costing you valuable time that can be allocated toward more important things.

The Pew Research Center recently conducted an interesting survey about Social Media Use in 2018. I recommend you take some time to read about their findings: http://www.pewinternet.org/2018/03/01/social-media-use-in-2018/

Pew Research Center

If the average person visits these sites each day, it makes you wonder: what are they not doing while navigating these sites? Obviously, we can’t make any assumptions about anyone because the “Information changes the situation” principle always applies. But we do know that what people do with their time always has a cost to it. Everyone has 2 choices when it comes to time and money:

  1. Be a producer
  2. Be a consumer

Unless people are operating an online business, chances are — they are a consumer while scrolling through the lives of other people on their timeline. It is perfectly normal and acceptable to be both. However, figuring out how to balance this can take some time. Meaning, you should probably spend more time on things that produce income for you, not Facebook and other people.

What can you do moving forward? Figure out how much time you want to spend on social media, when you want to spend that time, and what you want to spend the time on. For example: instead of watching YouTube videos about dancing cats, try finding self-help YouTube channels that can educate you on taking your life to the next level.

I also recommend turning off ALL of your smartphone notifications. Those notifications literally rob your attention every time they alarm, flash, or vibrate. Is a Facebook comment really worth you stopping what you’re doing? Try to train yourself to check your smartphone when you’re ready, not when Facebook or Twitter says you’re ready.

Don’t Apologize for Your Originality

Regardless if people disagree with your lifestyle, your hobbies, your likes, your dislikes, your character, and even if your personality — don’t you dare apologize for your originality. It doesn’t matter if you’re: a man, a woman, weird, popular, religious, an atheist, white, black, straight, LGBTQ, a hard worker, a lazy individual, short, or tall — you are unique.

Not a single human on this planet has the exact same thumbprint as you. They might be close but they’ll never be exactly like you.

That means you’re incredibly special. Yes, there will be days where you might question yourself and your purpose. You might have to make necessary changes and updates, depending on where you’re at in your life. However, those are usually just external things.

Stop letting the world stick a finger in your face and determine your value. You are a brilliant creation. This is your story and you need to be the only one that continues to write it.

Memorial Day – SPC Shane Ahmed

I’ve had the honor of serving in the United States Army for 21 years, with the following units:

  • A Co 1-22 INF (M) / Fort Hood, Texas [1997-1999]
  • D Co 2-9 INF (M) / Camp Casey, South Korea [1999-2000]
  • A Co 1-148th INF**/ Xenia, Ohio [2000-2003]
  • 52nd CST (WMD) / Columbus,Ohio [2003-2007]
  • 73rd Troop Command / Columbus, Ohio [2007-Present]

So, Memorial Day is very important to me and my fellow Service Members, given the meaning behind it.

This weekend, I will be thinking about SPC Shane Ahmed and our other fallen brothers and sisters during:

RIP – SPC Shane Ahmed

What I wear on my wrist while in uniform.

I had the honor of serving with him in A Co 1-148th INF, during our support for Operation Noble Eagle (2001-2002).

He is gone but will never be forgotten.

For more information about SPC Shane Ahmed: https://www.iraqwarheroes.org/ahmed.htm

I hope everyone has a fun and safe 3-day weekend. However, please take some time to reflect on the meaning behind this holiday.

Resource used for military operations: http://www.roswellmemorialday.com/history/timeline-of-americas-wars/

Mothers: The Worlds Forgotten Heroes

On January 30, 2000 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia, Kurt Warner of the St. Louis Rams (now LA Rams) hoisted the Vince Lombardy trophy over his head after winning Super Bowl XXXIV. The State of Missouri was filled with joy and labeled QB Kurt Warner as a hero.

Kurt Warner

Throughout the United States of America, Soldiers from all branches of service return from deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). Medals and promotions were addressed to those that had earned their right to have them pinned upon their chest. Just like Kurt Warner, they were labeled heroes. These are two different scenarios that define two completely different types of heroes. But in the end, they are both viewed as someone we should look up to; heroes.

She does it all…

At the same time in a small, beyond repairable apartment in Boston, a single mother makes dinner for her 5 year old son after working 12 hours and earning only minimum wage. On the inside she is feeling defeated and embarrassed to face her family and friends. But on the outside, the side that her 5 year old son views everyday regardless of the circumstances, she is happy and full of life. She emits an amazing ray of light that says “No matter what we go through, I will be there for you son and you will never go without.” Despite how she feels on the inside, her son doesn’t notice due to her phenomenal level of compensation.

After evaluating all of the astonishing things this mother does for her son, at the end of the day, there is no Vince Lombardy trophy hoisted above her head. There are no medals pinned on her chest for her heroic deeds. There is no standing ovation or even as much as a, “Good job, mom.” No, the only thing this single mother gets is a new day to repeat the same processes.

Our society complains on a daily bases about not getting the recognition that we believe we deserve. Yet, there are so many heroic events happening around us without our knowledge because we are complacent. You as the reader may know this person; at least you should be familiar with them since they have already done so much for you and your siblings. They have a fancy title for her, they call her mom. Does she ring a bell? She should.

Mom is the one that carried you for 9 months when you were incapable of supporting yourself, yet. Mom is the one that helped you grow when dad was too busy or was away at work. Mom is the one that told you it was going to be okay even though she knew deep down inside that it really wasn’t that easy and it would take some time. Does mom ring a bell now?

As an avid sports fanatic I have considered many of my favorite athlete’s heroes. In fact, being a former fan of the St. Louis Rams (now LA Rams) I too labeled Kurt Warner as a hero. But now that I am older and wiser, I now realize I have forgotten the most important person that I have failed to acknowledge: my mother.

Every mother on this planet regardless if they are rich, poor, or even famous are heroes. Yes, there are some mothers that do not deserve such a title but I can assure you, the ones that do outweigh the few that do not. This doesn’t mean we have to present them with trophies and medals because I can assure you, those things do not mean a lot to them. In fact, I am willing to bet it is twice as special when she gets to see you being awarded these things.

So what does this mean? What should you do? Perhaps you should start off with something small like, “Thank you mom. Thank you for being there for me when no one else was there. Thank you for helping me grow-up to be the person that I am today. More importantly, thanks for being my mom.”

The world is full of people like Kurt Warner and honorable Soldiers that deserve to be called heroes. But none of these are more deserving than Mothers: The Worlds Forgotten Heroes. To leave these special and unique individuals out of the equation would simply be a tragedy. On behalf of all sons and daughters of the world, I would like to take this moment to say, “Thank you mothers of the world. You truly are heroes.”

The Real Version of You Doesn’t Require a Filter

With the popularity of social media platforms such as: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn–we are now seeing an epidemic of people using filters to hide their identity. Although fake profiles/accounts are a real issue, that is not the purpose of this blog.

Fake accounts – don’t believe everything you see.

This blog is about the real version of you. For some reason, both women and men feel like they have to create a fake version of themselves, just to satisfy the social media world. What happened? Are they unwritten laws and arbitrary (unachievable) standards that we choose to accept? I hate to be the one to break the news but–this is not healthy and definitely a contributing factor for depression.

Woman filter – Example

Sure, this woman is very attractive but you have to wonder, how many attempts and filters were used to create this finished product? Some additional questions to consider:

  1. What message does this send to other women that are focused on physical fitness? Some women are motivated and inspired, some feel worse about themselves. I love that my wife is serious about fitness [and very beautiful] but that does not define her.
  2. Does this create a false sense of reality? If you wore this outfit and worked out like her, you could look like this…
  3. What if she were more masculine? Would other women and men unfairly judge her based on masculine features? She’s still the same woman that someone loves.

Unfortunately, women are held to standards that are insulting at times and not fair. A woman doesn’t have to look perfect to be accepted by society. If a woman looks masculine or likes things that are labeled guy things–so what? She’s still a woman and is entitled to like whatever she wants. That’s called freedom.

Man filter – Example

Again, this is an attractive man but you have to wonder, how many attempts and filters were used to create this finished product? Some additional questions to consider:

  1. What message is this sending to other men? Are they required to be fit/slim in order to be considered attractive? I work my a** off in the gym and although I want to look fit, I do it mainly for my health. My health is my priority.
  2. Does this create a false sense of reality? If you pick up these tires, you too will look like this…
  3. What if he demonstrated effeminate characteristics? With the double standards put on men, he would probably be insulted, threatened, and labeled. Effeminate men are dehumanized due to the arbitrary standards that society created. Personally, I have some effeminate qualities but they do not define me. Why does it matter?

Just like women, men are held to standards that undermine their character based on made up standards. Things like the man card and man rules are the grade card regardless if men choose to accept those standards or not.

Bottom line: I am certainly not picking on people or calling anyone out. I’m also not targeting the woman and man I used for examples. These are good pictures and they should be proud of the results.

What I am trying to convey is that filters are ruining our society. They are causing us to forget about what’s important: our character. Using filters for certain pictures is important. I would be lying if I said I don’t ever do it. We just have to remember that we can’t use a filter to hide everything about ourselves. In fact, you shouldn’t want to do that because we’re all unique. The fact that you don’t look like Jessica or Paul is a good thing. You have value and your looks and character are an important piece of the puzzle.

You Can Handle It | You Have Value

Life will throw every type of obstacle at you regardless if you’re mentally or physically prepared for it. However, you must understand and believe you are equipped to handle it. Most people quit, fail, and hide because they allow their mind to convince them, You can’t do this.

What you don’t realize: that is your mind regurgitating what you’ve heard, not what you’ve thought or know. The fact is, you are good enough and even if 1,000 people tell you that you’re not, you are still in the driver seat of your life. You bring value and can be an instrument for change.

It is my personal goal to help people understand this. Too many people suffer from depression because they just need someone to remind them, “Hey, I got you. You and your story are important to me.”

Even if this type of blog or message does not resonate with most people–it doesn’t matter because the objectives are still the same:

  • Help people to recognize their value.
  • Remind people they are loved, even on their darkest days.
  • Rejuvenate men, women, and children’s self esteem and self love.
  • Help make change a reality instead of just a wish.

Self-Help Books | What I Recommend

I love to read. In 2018, my major focus is Self-Help books.

My goal for 2018: 45 books

So far, I am reading book #19. I do count the books I read for my job as a victim advocate because I target books that teach me new things and help make me a better advocate and facilitator.

Here are the Self-Help books I recommend:

1. Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People

Vanessa Van Edwards

2. What Every BODY is Saying

Joe Navarro

3. The Like Switch

Jack Schafer, PhD

4. The Mask of Masculinity

Lewis Howes

5. The School of Greatness

Lewis Howes

6. The Millionaire Booklet

Grant Cardone

7. It’s Not all About “Me”

Robin Dreeke

8. Mastery

Robert Greene

9. How Successful People Think

John Maxwell

10. The Science of Likability

Patrick King

What books do you recommend?

I’m Getting Older and I Embrace It

Today, an interesting thing happened to me at my local barber shop. As I was getting my hair cut, I couldn’t help but think, man it just doesn’t seem like he’s cutting very much off the top. I’m never a fan of asking, “It looks good but can you cut more off the top, please?”

As he spun me around to look in the mirror, reality punched me in the face.

What’s the reality? He did cut the top of my hair. My 39 years on this amazing planet had finally caught up and I realized I had actually lost a lot of my hair. I laughed out loud when I realized this. I then told the barber why I was laughing and he laughed, too. (Laughing at yourself is healthy.)

Why am I even talking about something so insignificant? 15 years ago, the thought of losing my hair made me feel so uncomfortable because back then, I held my image to a very high standard. I still do to this day; however, I am now mature enough to understand that my hair does not define me, my character does.

  • It doesn’t earn me more income.
  • It doesn’t help me love my beautiful wife, more.
  • It doesn’t enhance my parenting abilities.

When I was younger, I just didn’t see things the same way because my priorities were different. I had tunnel vision on superficial things and didn’t understand how unhealthy that kind of lifestyle could be.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to insult myself. My point is, when we’re younger, we don’t realize what we stress about or fear, for the most part – is not important. We waste energy on things that do not serve us and can potentially stunt our growth.

Bottom line: Pay attention to what you get tunnel vision on.

“Where focus goes, energy flows.”

– Tony Robbins

Your hair and even your body do not define you, your character does. I’m getting older and I embrace it. This is truly fun.