People Don’t Notice as Much as You Think They Do | Negative Self Image

Be honest: how many times have you thought to yourself, I look like a fool right now and people are laughing at me? If you’re anything like most of the people on this planet, this has probably happened to you at least 5-6 times. As much as we don’t like to admit, we are way too hard on ourselves (Negative Self Image) and we put words in other people’s mouths. (Mind Reading)

“They’re laughing at my shirt.”

“My coworkers think I’m an idiot.”

“The panel probably noticed when I accidentally used the wrong word during my interview.”

“Nobody trips over their own feet while working.”

These are just some of the examples of things people say to themselves. For some reason, people have a tendency to gravitate toward negative aspects of themselves. At least, what they believe to be negative.

Focus on what matters.

The truth is, 80% of the things you’re stressing or worrying about, other people don’t even notice. Why? Because they’re too busy stressing and worrying about themselves. People are not perfect. They’ve never been perfect and they never will be. Yet, our comparison trap leads us to believe they’re perfect and we’re insufficient. In fact, everything about us is subpar.

[Read more about the comparison trap in my upcoming book: The Best Version of You.]

“Someone’s opinion of you does not have to become your reality.” — Les Brown

Here are 3 things to help calibrate your thinking:

  1. Stop stressing. People honestly don’t notice when you say something wrong or trip over your own feet. If they do, that’s ok — they’ll eventually do the same thing.
  2. Stop overthinking and mind reading. Unless you have evidence to support your concern, stop overthinking and mind reading. For example: “John, I heard what you said and you sounded ridiculous.” Did they actually say that or do you think they said it? Information changes the situation. Ask yourself: What information do I have and what am I missing? Assumptions do not = reality.
  3. Focus on what matters. What people think of you should have no impact on your goals, daily activities, beliefs, and life in general. Worrying about other people is a waste of your valuable time. It serves no purpose and will simply elevate your stress. (You will catastrophize.) Focusing on what will create winning streaks is how you will take your life to the next level. Small things are the secret. Do the little things every single day.
What evidence do you have?

No matter how hard it gets, you have to keep moving forward. People are not thinking about you as much as you think — they’re honestly not. The more time you spend on trying to please them, the less time you’ll have to work on yourself.

Self Discipline vs Self Destruction

Self Discipline: Focus on yourself and ignore external noise.

Self Destruction: Focus on other people and listen/accept external and internal noise.

LGBT Pride Month – 2018

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month (or LGBTQ) is currently celebrated each year in the month of June in honor of the 1969 Stonewall riots in Manhattan.

To read about the full story: https://www.loc.gov/lgbt-pride-month/about/

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month

Every year the LGBT community is faced with difficult questions and comments, such as:

  • “Why don’t we have a heterosexual Pride Month?”
  • “Why is this even a thing?”
  • “Why do I always have to see this stuff?”
  • “This is ruining social media and television.”
  • “Why do they have to remind me of this, every year?”
  • “These people are annoying…”

Although everyone has the right to ask questions and express their opinion — it is still important to think before you ask or comment. Information changes the situation. As discussed in the About – LGBT link, everything has a meaning. Plus, regardless of what people think or believe, everyone deserves something to celebrate and be happy about.

As a sexual assault victim advocate, a man, a father, a husband, a human, and someone that values basic human rights: supporting LGBT rights are extremely important to me. This community holds a very special place in my heart. For that reason, I am a proud member of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC).

Human Rights Campaign (HRC) logo

For more information about this great organization, visit: https://www.hrc.org/

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) community uses the rainbow flag

(commonly known as the gay flag or pride flag), which has different colors to represent the diversity of the community. Here are a few examples:

At the end of the day, LGBT Pride Month is about the celebration of people loving other people. Even if you don’t believe in this, due to religious or personal beliefs, it doesn’t matter because everything can’t always be about you. There are 7 billion unique people on this planet and it would be a tragedy if we were all the same.

Seeing people happy or in love, regardless if they’re heterosexual or LGBT, should bring a smile to your face. That is what life is all about. No, it is not teaching children something bad. Judging, labeling, or even committing a hate crime because you disagree with someone’s sexual orientation is what’s teaching children bad things. I would rather my children grow up in an environment where everyone is happy in their own unique way, then have them grow up in an environment filled with hate or worse — the fear of them self-identifying as LGBT. To me, this world has no place for that. After all, it is 2018, not 1418.

Additional helpful links:

GLAAD: https://www.glaad.org/sites/default/files/GLAAD-Social-Share.jpg

Lambda Legal: https://www.lambdalegal.org/

The Advocate: https://www.advocate.com/

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?

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