Meghan Markle's Thoughts on Turning 33

There is no fairytale without a real story....

Borrowed from the thetigarchive. The Tig is Megan's former blog site were she shared her travels, fashion, love of food, and interviews with influencers.

Meghan's birthday post is a great reminder that what it means "to arrive" in this world is first coming to terms with yourself. 

Birthday post from Meghan
In 2014, she wrote:
I am 33 years old today. And I am happy. And I say that so plainly because, well...it
takes time. To be happy. To figure out how to be kind to yourself. To not just choose that
happiness, but to feel it. My 20s were brutal – a constant battle with myself, judging my
weight, my style, my desire to be as cool/as hip/as smart/as “whatever” as everyone
else. My teens were even worse – grappling with how to fit in, and what that even meant.
My high school had cliques: the black girls and white girls, the Filipino and the Latina
girls. Being biracial, I fell somewhere in between. So everyday during lunch, I busied
myself with meetings – French club, student body, whatever one could possibly do
between noon and 1pm- I was there. Not so that I was more involved, but so that I
wouldn’t have to eat alone.
I must have been about 24 when a casting director looked at me during an audition and
said “You need to know that you’re enough. Less makeup, more Meghan.”
You need to know that you’re enough. A mantra that has now engrained itself so deeply
within me that not a day goes by without hearing it chime in my head. That five pounds
lost won’t make you happier, that more makeup won’t make you prettier, that the now
iconic saying from Jerry Maguire -”You complete me” – frankly, isn’t true. You are
complete with or without a partner. You are enough just as you are.
So for my birthday, here’s what I would like as a gift: I want you to be kind to yourself. I
want you to challenge yourself. I want you to stop gossiping, to try a food that scares
you, to buy a coffee for someone just because, to tell someone you love them...and then
to tell yourself right back. I want you to find your happiness.
I did. And it’s never felt so good.
I am enough.

University of North Texas Communication Studies Master's Hooding Ceremony

Transcript

INTRODUCTION – Thank You & Congratulations

I want first to thank Brian Richardson & and the entire Communication Studies faculty for asking me to come here and speak today. I want to thank my mother and best friend who took the long road to Denton to come out and support me. Construction has been going on here since I left, that’s amazing! (Do we have a completion date??) I also want to thank.  Dr. Allison, Dr. Karen Lain-Anderson, Dr. Brian Lain, Dr. Justin Tredau & Dr. Richardson, forgive me if I left out anyone. You all have a part in who I am today, thank you.  [PAUSE]  

CONGRATULATIONS to you 2018 graduates

Preparing for this speech, I wanted to keep in mind the task was given. I was asked to be upbeat and hopeful. Encourage & Inspire you, to tell you there is a glorious life waiting for you on the other side of your degree [PAUSE]. 

Because you all are not the middle schoolers and high schoolers I usually speak with; I've decided I am just going to give you the information, tell the truth, with a few stories of how, on the back of my degree, I designed, planned, and built the life I have today. 

The complex problem we find ourselves in today is celebrity is worshiped and rewarded. The outrageous is applauded. You all want to create real work in a world that no longer recognizes what is disciplined and profound. Social media pulls you away from study and deep work. Reality television challenges your notions of the real art form of acting and theatre. You will be forced to compete with nepotism and favors, but still, you must tell yourself the work will be worth it.


The Almighty Google says your future career options are these: Media planner, Multimedia specialist, Programme researcher, broadcasting/film/video, Public relations officer, Social media manager, Television producer, Web content manager, so on and so on. But I want to present another option. 

ARGUMENT: You must CREATE! The world will make room for the person you want to become, but you will have to create it. 

Three Points: Have a vision and Begin, Create, create, create; Master self-mastery

POINT ONE
#1 [Have a vision & BEGIN]
You must have a vision for your life even if you don't know the plan? You have to have a direction in which you wish to go.  from the philosopher - Oprah [PAUSE]

When I left college my dream was simple – I was going to be Cameron Diaz from the movie Any Given Sunday. My goal was to be first African American woman to own a basketball team because I believed the boys had way too much fun. In the movie, Diaz was strong and courageous. The dream, my dream was born out of that movie, a movie I saw when I was a teenager.  

I was presented with many challenges when I began my career in the sports industry, but one, in particular, stands out.  The first day of my internship we were told if we were going to succeed, land a job we had to sale and sale well. the only problem was, I knew nothing about sales or the sports industry. I just knew I wanted to own a sports team. I did not know where to start but knew I could talk to anyone. Challenge Accepted. I sold to everyone: my mother, her friends and everyone in between. And after the three-month internship ended, I was offered a position on the spot. 


[BEGIN] Begin with where you are and with what you have.

The charge I give you today, wait for NO ONE to do for you, what you are capable of doing for yourself. 

At this point, with your degree, and for some a masters degree at that! You are more than equipped to create the life you want for yourself. [PAUSE] If you don’t see a way into the job or industry you want, create it. If there is not a company that fits your philosophy build it. if you find yourself utterly unhappy at the way life has turned out, and those days will come, reimagine your life. 

No one gave me permission to enter the sports world or dream the dream I had. Nor to be a writer, I gave it to myself first and then I started. [PAUSE] I started writing right where I was. I started writing about the things I loved and cared about. I set a routine, I got up early, I planned out my success. I started living out the person I said I wanted to be and the world adjusted. It made room for me and is making room for the person I am becoming.  

It will do the same for you! 

I saw a video on Facebook earlier this week, a man used a piece of wring to tie the front in of a walking lawnmower, to the back of a golf cart. He hung dice from the top of his creation, and appeared to be having the time of his life. He just invented a riding lawnmower. Genius, I thought. Another thought I had was about us as humans, we are capable of inventing outrageous and workable solutions to our problems when we have had enough; Or like my mother used to say, while raising triplets, when she had enough of our foolishness, she was  “fed up,” My second charge to you all is to be “fed up” and create. Be “fed up” with the news media the outrageous behavior of our elected officials or the way the world asserts itself on you through continuous advertisements. 

POINT TWO
#2 - [CREATE] 
I believe You have what you create. Nothing more. Nothing Less.  

I was apart of the building two minor league NBA teams. Days were long and the nights were lonely. I had moved away from the man who is now my husband in pursuit of my dreams. The process was exhausting, but what I learned in the building process no one can take away from me the experience, all the lessons I had learned, the coaching, the teaching. 

I challenged my sales reps to design the life they wanted in the future and start here, laying the foundation for their future careers with this infant organization we were growing. Most of my sales reps were recent graduates, from the city or wealthier areas in upstate New York. That did not matter in our sales office because they needed to learn how to sale. They are necessary to build a client base in the area we operated in. So, I challenged them by who they say they wanted to become. Whether it was a General Manager, Sales Director, Head Coach. I would also remind them, “This is who you SAID want to be, let's create it!”


Be committed. Be willing. Be without fear or hesitation to do the work of creating. In the end, the work and what you produce from your mind, your hands, is all that matters. And it is what you have for yourself. Its what you get to keep for yourself in a world that is changing quickly. 


Post-rationalize - realize as it pertains to your work, there are no mistakes, create, put it out there. If a project makes no makes no noise or does not garner the results you expected, great, go back to the lab and create again. 

When I look out at the world and at what has happened to our political system, the indifference shown towards minorities, the popularity of the Kardashians [PAUSE] I see a world that is different than me, a world that values things that I don't value, a world that is changing, heading in a direction I don’t want to go, I, at times, feel alone, as I am sure some of you do. However, in the early mornings and sometimes late at night, when my phone is down and the television is off, I am reminded the strength that comes in creating.

The responsibility that falls on each of us as individuals with free will to create something. I am reminded as a mentor used to say, “If its to be. it's up to me, and you.” 

POINT THREE
#3 [Commit to Self Mastery]
Socrates demonstrated long ago, that the truly free individual is free only to the extent of his self-mastery.

I realized a few years ago that I would not own a sports team. That dream, that vision had carried me as far as it could take me. I had lived my early 20-something dreams of moving to New York. I met people this culture labels as famous and celebrities, I traveled to Johannesburg Africa, to help with basketball camps and to work with other organizations to build homes and visit orphanages for children with AIDS. I watched my home team win the NBA Championship in 2011. I left no dream unturned. 

But I wanted something more, 

Principle of Priority, states (a) you must know the difference between what is urgent and what is essential, and (b) you must do what's important first.

Writing and talking with young people is my heritage. It’s in my roots. My mother did this work, as a Dallas police officer for over 30 years. 

Leaving the confines of these walls a plethora of choices await you. In the creation process, this can go for or against you. 

 Why? because out of your mind, you can create paths for yourself that you never imagined. 

Allow your LIFE to unfold. Allow yourself to risk, to cry, to laugh, to live. 

But remember, Newton's third law of motion is always in effect: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. 

What you put out you will get back. Master self. Decide what is important to you and do that.

You probably have asked or will ask yourself the big question: What do I want? Who do I want to be? Don't fear these questions. Ask them of yourself often. 

Build a plan for disruption, decide today
A few of borrowed guidelines in my plan: do not at any cost try to fit in, question the status quo, be kind, envision an alternative, be willing to create what you critique. 

As Communication Studies graduates you all are in a distinctive position to explain and communicate the world as it is today in unique ways.


Embrace the opportunity to shape AND tell the story. 


CLOSING
8 years after my graduation the things I know to be true --- service is the only way you secure a life worth living, the game of popularity is unwinnable and even those who excel at it have to give pieces of themselves away, you have what you create, and if you don’t remember anything, remember, love and humility covers all your bases, so live brave. love people. 

Thank you

 

Women Are Left Behind Because They Do Not Ask With Expectation

 
IMAGE BY WE WORK

Could it be true? Could women be left behind in pay and opportunity because they do not ask with expectation? In a different time, I would say no way. Women ask for precisely what they want. I like to think my great, great grandmother asserted herself to survival and here I am. 

But do we as a whole ask expecting to get what we want? Do we generally expect to get the jobs we go for? I heard Paula Scher discuss this topic on Hurry Slowly, a podcast curated by a Jocelyn Giel. Paula is a legendary graphic designer with her own "BIG BOOK" and hundreds of community, public, and private design projects under her belt. 

During the interview, Paula states: 

"Men expect to get all the opportunities they go after. The reason why women don't go after opportunities or equal pay is that they lack the confidence." 

That word "expectation" rings loudly in my ears. Google Dictionary defines expectation as a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future.  

How then are we asking for better-paying jobs and advancement in our workplaces if not with expectation? The thought gives me chills imagining a woman, my sister from another mother, stumbling into her bosses office meagerly asking for what is rightfully hers. The counter image is a bold and beautiful boss lady deciding its time for a raise or a new job and going after it with the expectancy and urgency of a toddler going after ice cream. 

Now, of course we all know the cliche life is not fair. But we could help life out by asking with the confidence of a warrior and the expectation of our male counterparts. 

Paula also argues that we should take jobs that we are not qualified for. She may be onto something with this one too. 

Take a listen to Jocelyn and Paula's interview on the Hurry Slowly podcast

 

How To Get Less of What You Don’t Want

 
 PHOTO BY PIM CHU

PHOTO BY PIM CHU

Inversion is a way of thinking, in which you consider the opposite of what you want. 

The Stoics, a group of philosophers who lived centuries ago, had a way of reimaging their lives through a principle called inversion. They considered the opposite. To apply the technique, Instead of focusing on only success and great outcomes you invert or turn over, weighing the opposite to determine where your pitfalls, missteps, and obstacles lie. 

The philosophers believed that by imagining the worst case scenario ahead of time, they could overcome their fears of negative experiences and make plans to prevent them. 

Most of the time when I think about my future, I think about a remarkable encounter where my present-self meets my future-self in all her glory. The daydream is always me on a couch discussing big ideas with Larry King or Oprah. It ends the same way, “You’ve written a brilliant book here that has the potential to shift minds.” I nod graciously, button my Hugo Boss custom blazer, jump in a black SUV to my next interview.

And scene. 

I never get around to reversing that picture. My mom raised my sisters and me on the idea, “as a man thinketh, than so he is,” so I saw no reason to imagine a counter to my well-planned out future. 

But the Stoics may be onto to something. What do I think about when I think about failure? How do I react? How do I perceive failure? How do I prevent failure from happening by thinking of it ahead of time? Now, I’ve experienced my fair share of disappointment, jobs that did not work out as planned, relationships that went bad, and my first and even second book were not exactly New York Times bestsellers. If I had imagined each of this situations at the beginning with a possible adverse outcome, I could have rebounded faster or responded differently. 

Today, when I imagine my goals, I consider all sides and remember just because I can perceive my demise it does not mean I have to let it scare me from proceeding forward anyway. 

If you enjoyed this 'motivation' check out my newsletter Brave Living. Brave Living is a bi-weekly dose of what it means to chase courage and live inspired.

A Life Philosophy

 Photo by Joe Mort

Photo by Joe Mort

I was recently asked about my view and overall thoughts on the world, what I think about today's polarized social climate, what I think about the future, applying my past and present, and did I have a life philosophy to counter the negativity? 

A life philosophy as defined by Merriam-Webster is an overall vision of or attitude toward life and the purpose of life.

For context, my mother, a single parent from the time my sisters and I were four, raised a total of five kids on her own. She was a police detective and highly active in the community. My father, a man who lived by his ideals, was an activist. He protested in the day and drove the city bus at night. I graduated from college with a degree in Communications. I've traveled around the world, to places like Japan, South Africa, London, and Paris. I've created opportunities for myself and have been given some as well. 

My life philosophy is we are all CREATORS. We are creating our lives by the way we think, speak, and move through the world; any self-help coach will tell you that. The application of this is much more transformative. The application that follows this belief has the power to unhinge a life of habits and traditions. This deep-seated belief has transformed the way I see my past, my upbringing, and my future. 

I believe that humans should live and exist in the present allowing the past to be a vehicle for correction and insight, learning from experience and disregarding what does not serve the now. Dismissing what does not help your present desires brings goals and dreams to realization. But ultimately I believe we are CREATORS, that if you or I don't like something we have the power to change it. 

A couple of years ago, I went through my church's recovery ministry because addictions to people-please and pride do not make for a healthy life. Later, I went on to lead the groundwork phase of that ministry. What I know from months of weekly meetings with others who are struggling to find a solid footing in life is that we happen to ourselves. 

We are both the problem and the solution.  

If this is true, which I think it is, the next steps are obvious. My thoughts create my actions so my "thinker," my mind, needs a revolutionary shift. 

I am not discounting bad parents, bad marriages, traumatic childhoods and other misfortunes life hands out. It distributes them equally in one form or another. All I am saying is, "what now?" What will you do with what you have been given? You had a bad family, CREATE a good one. You received a subpar education, CREATE one that fits your aspirations, read, challenge your mind. My mom used to remind my sister and me – the scripture say – you are “transformed” by the "renewing" of your mind. 

It is our mind that needs constant tending to.  

If we should all live by a philosophy, mine is this, because we have such a short time here, a short time to make a difference, a short time to make an impact you and I must choose the way of the warrior. We must choose peace, we must choose happiness, we must choose self-discipline, we must choose love, and we must choose life. When the world wants you to choose violence over peace, victimhood over solutions, don’t. Choose better. Choose higher ground or be swallowed by the waves of noise.  

Another commonly quoted scripture of my childhood says, "whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

If you choose to focus on what is wrong with the world if you choose to focus on what has been done to you, that is a choice and as in life, what we focus on magnifies. That does not mean you are silent and absent in moments of great injustice or inequality; it just means that you are focused on and in the direction of solutions so that you can get back to creating a life worth living. 

Polytechnic High School

Last month, I spoke at Polytechnic High School for their Black History Month program. A few photos from the event. 

I Want Better Representation 

 

I want better representation not much for me because I am an adult. 

I want better representation for the kids coming behind me.

I want better representation for the world I have to step into.

I want better representation for the skin color I happen to be.

I want better representation so that when I travel to Italy, Spain,

or Belgium people don't ask me to rap or snap my fingers.

I want better representation because I am my brother's keeper.

I want better representation because my race does more than smoke, dance, and talk on money phones.

I want better representation because my husband is a smart and thoughtful human being

and I rarely see him represented in the culture.

I want better representation because I believe that progress can be delayed if we are all not on the same page.

 RAP GROUP MIGOS 

RAP GROUP MIGOS 

 

The Table Was Set For A Conversation On Race

 PHOTOGRAPH BY BROOKE LARK 

PHOTOGRAPH BY BROOKE LARK 

This past Monday I had the privilege to sit around a table with five other brave participants and discuss race and ethnicity in America. Dallas Dinner Table, an organization founded in 1999, holds annual dinners to bring together people who may not have found each other otherwise. We answered questions about where attitudes, perspectives, and understandings of race come from and how they limit or define our reality? The goal of the two and half hour gathering, in simpler terms, is to learn to drop assumptions. We should judge people on the merit of their character and not because they are white, woman, Mexican, male, rich, or poor. 

But can we? 

This question came to mind for me several times during the night. Can we drop all of our assumptions when seeing and watching people from a distance? Our forefathers, who were cave dwellers, made assumptions to move quickly, assess a situation in order not to starve, or worse, be killed. 

 Dallas Dinner Table Dallas Group 

Dallas Dinner Table Dallas Group 

I believe we make assumptions to shortcut real thinking; to bypass connection and relationship, making assumptions is more accessible and less convoluted. I think it speeds up the process in the short term and limits us in the long run because we miss out on engaging people and experiences. It’s people and our communication with them that give us our greatest lessons in life. But we only have so many hours in the day. We only have so many interactions that don’t involve our family and friends, so many hours to process our news feeds, our place in the world, and how we are perceived. Here in America, we live in an individualistic culture, where a majority of the time self-interest is placed above “the other.”

We make assumptions out of necessity. 

However, meetings like the Dallas Dinner Table allow us to step outside of our beliefs about other people for a moment. These occurrences enable us to see a different point of view and maybe even empathize if we are willing to go deep. These moments create space for us to be bigger than ourselves. 

 

Why You Must Be Unreasonable

 
 PHOTOGRAPH BY TATYANA DOBERA  

PHOTOGRAPH BY TATYANA DOBERA  

To have anything in this life you must be unreasonable, like really unreasonable, like Elon Musk investing-his-Paypal-millions-into-Telsa-and-at-one-point-depending-on-friends-for-financial-support unreasonable.

Reasonable thinking says that living a life outside of the norm is ridiculous, it's risky, it's insane. But if you've dreamed of having anything outside of what you have today then that dream is only possible when you have imagination mixed with unreasonable thinking. 

I don't write these ra-ra-ra post for my health. I write them because I want you to understand that you must escape the confines of your reality in order to see all that life has to offer you. Yes, it's hard. Yes, everything for social media to binge-watching on Netflix is meant to distract you. Yes, finding your own way is frustrating and at times seems impossible when you are inundated with outright misleading advertisements; but at some point, you must choose.

Choose what you ask? Choose YOU. At some point, you are going to have to lay all those excuses at the feet of no-one-cares and go after what you want. At some point, it needs to be "do or die," "by any means necessary," "come what may." At some point, you will have to understand that no matter how comfortable you are and no matter how good life looks today, if you have delayed your dreams then you have done yourself a disservice and your children need someone to look up too, not a robot or a mannequin dressed in the latest trends.

You are not a mannequin, you are a human. You have been placed on this earth for a reason and I guarantee it wasn't so that you can drive the hottest cars and brag about your vacations.

Let's find out what it was.

Let's find out why you were made. Can you imagine the journey you would have to go on to do so? Can you imagine the people you would meet? The places you would go? The expansion of your mind in ways you never imagined? Whoa! I am feeling the tingles just thinking about it.

Who would you become at the end of this journey? I bet a person who loves harder, who feels deeper, whose sight is magnificent. It's almost as if you became a superhero and gained powers beyond your imagining. At the end of your life, you would leave nothing on the table and nothing in the gas tank. You would die on empty.

It starts with being a little unreasonable. 

Here are a few books that keep me thinking unreasonably: 
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes
The Motivation Manifesto by Brendon Burchard
Art of Work Jeff Goins 

My latest book dives further into this topic. Read a sample for free here.

The Startling Power of Fear

 
 PHOTOGRAPHED BY WILLIAM STITT

PHOTOGRAPHED BY WILLIAM STITT

 
While I was fearing it, it came,
But came with less of fear,
Because that fearing it so long
Had almost made it dear.
There is a fitting a dismay,
A fitting a despair.
’T is harder knowing it is due,
Than knowing it is here.
The trying on the utmost,
The morning it is new,
Is terribler than wearing it
A whole existence through.
— Emily Dickerson, 1830-1886

Let's face it. The end could come tomorrow. Yes, the real end. The mind-numbing, debilitating, I-knew-this-day-would-come end and you and I would accept it just as we accept the rising sun. 

What would happen if you made your worse fears a possibility today and embraced them? You would swallow every ounce of that fear and sleep like a baby tonight because you have come to grips with that fear as a possible reality and now there is nothing else to do but go to sleep. 

A few years ago, after accepting a job in New York, I had a lot of unknown fear feelings. I had never lived in the another state before, I had never lead a team of people before, I had never managed before, and I was leaving a man I just met (who turned out to be my husband) uncertain if the new relationship would survive. These facts created an uneasy feeling of "oh, crap" what the heck am I doing? But in the midst of the downward spiral, I took a few breaths and remembered this was of my choosing. I was choosing to become a person who enjoyed the unknown, challenges, and the mystery that unfolds when you just roll with life's plan. 

 PHOTOGRAPH BY ROB BYE

PHOTOGRAPH BY ROB BYE

Why? Because it all works out in the end. 

The fear reminded me of the risk I was taking and how choosing to live could work out in my favor. The fear prepared me for the unknown; it coaxed me to be alert, aware of my new surrounds, and purposeful in my dealings. Today, I look back on my experience in New York with pride, everything did not go as expected but I had the time of my life.

The startling power of fear is the awareness it brings to a situation, your muscles tighten, throat dries, fingers tingle, heart speeds up, and you remember what it feels like to be alive. 

The Secret to 2018

 PHOTOGRAPH BY EVGENIA ARBUGAEVA

PHOTOGRAPH BY EVGENIA ARBUGAEVA

Decide Who You Are

Deciding who you are is the tipping point to maneuvering through the madness of life. You need to go ahead and decide who you are – period. If you like to dance, dance. If you are secretly fascinated by celebrity culture, blog. If you want to be an artist, buy a camera or use your phone, paint, or write. But get off that fence and do something. Decide. The sooner you do this, the sooner you will find out if this path is right for you or not and from there you can make new decisions. 

Take No Prisoners

The Kardashians will be the Kardashians, Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook founder) will be Mark, so you must be you. There's no sense in waiting for the tide to roll in your favor, go out and create your luck. You do this by holding nothing back each day. Leave nothing on the table this year! 

Know What You Want

Why did you not get a lump of coal for Christmas? Because that is not what you wanted and I bet knowing you, you got exactly what you wanted. Why? Because you knew what it is you wanted. The same magic works in life. If you want a different, fuller, more amazing life, know what that looks like. Paint the picture in your mind. Then, pursue only the activities that move you closer to what YOU said YOU wanted. 

Envy No One

This ask may be hard to digest seeing your Instagram newsfeed, and Facebook timeline is 24/7 but what if this year you decided to want the things you have and work for the things you want.  The outcome will be empowering as well as life-changing.  

Compete with Yourself

I want to be a better writer. I will not become a better writer by competing, stalking, or hating on writers that are better than me. I will become a better writer by competing with my last work, by challenging the way I view the world, and by writing. Your only hope in outworking your competition is by doing the WORK. Then, let the chips fall where they may and if they don't fall in your direction, TRY AGAIN. 

Happy New Year, Friend! 

Get my latest book project START YOUR MOVEMENT: A 5-Step Guide to Creating Purposeful Results in Life and Community for free by subscribing to my newsletter here

Facebook: The Creators Rebel and You and I Are Caught in The Middle

 
anti social club

As if the time suck wasn't enough, Facebook's minions are turning on the mother host. It's like one of those bad sci-fi movies. The offsprings, smelling blood in the water, or in Facebook's case, an opportunity to capitalize, are now speaking out. We heard from Sean Parker and now Chamath Palihapitiya, the companies former vice president of user growth, about the human complexity that is before us if we choose to be humans that frequent social networking sites. 

For starters, Chamath's comments were harsh, but that's what makes them excellent reading material and a viral sensation. Yes, we know that Facebook is "eroding the core foundations of how people behave" and "ripping apart the social fabric." We know that we are "programmed," and the fact that Chamath even goes as far to mention that he does not let his kids "use that s**t" is just further confirmation of how individually addicted we are. 

Be honest, if you heard this news somewhere online, you thought about shutting it all down and starting a new life for two seconds, then reconsidered the idea because your ex would miss this weeks bar crawl photos or because that new outfit deserves "likes" and comments. We stay because we are deeply attached, and no amount of telling us how bad it is will deter us. Take that Mr. Chamath. 

The truth is the addiction does not stop with our social media feed, the dopamine fix from the attention has created a world in itself, and like any addict, our improvement will come at rock bottom.

The cliche rings true, Rome was not built in a day, and neither are our Facebook profiles. Overtime and with future revelations like Chamath, I hope that we make new decisions about how we operate online. It's not about should we use these sites that connect us to the world but how we use them. 

I'm still figuring it out myself. 

Watch Chamath Palihapitiya's full conversation at Stanford Business School

Five Newsletters That Will Change Your Mind About The World

You should subscribe today.

The world is changing, and if you want to change with it, you will want to stay informed. Here are my favorite free newsletters subscriptions for daily and weekly inspiration and information.

LitHub

LitHub offers a mountain of essays, interviews, and pieces on writing. LitHub's Daily newsletter is easy to read and links to some of the best work around the internet. One of my favorite articles, "25 Works of Poetry and Fiction for Anger and Action."

New York Times

I receive daily notifications on breaking news first thing in the morning from the New York Times, which can be a good or bad thing. The hidden jewel in this subscription is that you can specify what else you would like to receive from their content portfolio. My specifications are set to receive updates from the world of art, fashion, and books, along with the news.

Brain Pickings

Brain Pickings, curated by Maria Popova is where I go to peek inside the brains of writers and artist living today and those from the past. Maria is a mastermind curator of information. She works solo and spends hours bringing together the best reading. Her newsletter is mind-changing in what she offers - varied perspective.

Austin Kleon

The creative guru behind Steal Like An Artist. Austin's newspaper black-out work led to a bestselling book, great tips on creativity, fans everywhere, and a witty calendar that hangs on my wall as I type this. His weekly newsletter makes sense if you want to build a creative life. 

 

Poem-a-day

The world can be beautiful, and poetry makes it so. A Poem-a-day can build tranquility into your daily information consumption. I am new to this subscription and was pleasantly surprised this morning by the work of Pulitzer Prize-nominated poet Rodney Jones on Nixon's Watergate Scandal. Rodney built into the framework of this piece a story about an experience he had as a child. 

The Freedom to Pursue Purpose of Life

 PHOTO BY DAVIDSON LUNA

PHOTO BY DAVIDSON LUNA

“As soon as you rise above mere survival, the question of meaning and purpose becomes of paramount importance in your life.” -- Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth

I use this quote in the new book I'm writing but came here to discuss the implications of this statement for 1.3 billion people who live in extreme poverty in the world today. DoSomething.org states on their website in an article titled 11 Facts About Global Poverty, "nearly 1/2 of the world’s population — more than 3 billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day. More than 1.3 billion live in extreme poverty — less than $1.25 a day." The article also states, "805 million people worldwide do not have enough food to eat."

Do these individuals have room to pursue purpose of life? Do they have enough distance from their problems to see past human needs? 

No, based on Tolle's statement, they do not. 

Is this always the truth? We have all heard stories of people coming from absolutely nothing to make something out of themselves. The statement then hinges on the personal meaning of survival, some needing more than others.

My last observation is our belief here in America, our faith in capitalism. The individual always needs something more, new, or better. If we, Americans provided with so much opportunity, living on more than $2.50 a day, are always in pursuit of this kind of survival can we ever rise above merely "surviving" to find meaning and purpose?

Live In The Wonder

 PHOTO DENYS NEVOZHAI

PHOTO DENYS NEVOZHAI

What does it mean to live amazed? In awe of the rising sun? In awe of growing children? In awe of metal planes that fly? Where has this amazement for life gone? 

When I spend even twenty-four hours away from social media, I rediscover things about myself that got lost in the noise. I believe the reason most of us can not see the beauty in life because we are overexposed. We have allowed ourselves to live quietly in the corners of other people's lives. There we are the judge and not the judged. A simple rule applies in this space, no harm, no problem

However, there is a problem, one that has grown under the skin. The issue that always arises when we choose to take the easy road; choosing to be bystanders to the lives of people near and far jade us. It creates lapses in our mind, spend more than fifteen minutes in someone's social feed, look up, and it feels as though the world has changed or at the least, that time is lost in a space that belongs to the curator. 

To live in the wonder means to go on a journey, being content with your view, and changing that which is changeable. 

Living in the wonder means that I know when to engage and disengage from that which darkens my soul. It means that I live more aware. The awareness of my faults and shortcomings have not come without a fight. In 2014, I had a social media addiction that was out of control. It hindered my writing, and I felt it could derail my life so much so that I addressed it, among other things, in a twelve step program here in Dallas. 

I was able to return to the wonder. 

The wonder for me now is serving my husband, being present for my friends, checking on my sisters who live far away, spending time with my mother, undisturbed and undistracted writing time, and working out because your girl enjoys a good sweat. 

The wonder can be found in the ordinary. 

This piece was originally posted on my stand alone blog at Blogger. 

What if you gave brave living a try?

 PHOTO CREDIT:  Kinga Cichewicz

PHOTO CREDIT: Kinga Cichewicz

I never thought about the dangers of bravery until I heard Kyle Steed, artist, and muralist, give a presentation about his work and the resistance one of his murals received. When telling people to live brave, I ask them to leave where they are, to change, and you and I know that change can be hard. It requires work, perseverance, humility,  and self-discipline. It also challenges current notions of identity, ways of thinking and firmly held beliefs. That is what Kyle's artwork encountered painted on a public space in Fort Worth.

Should then the artist, in my case, the writer, or the singer not ask? Not ask you and I, the receiver, to change, to be more, to leave established comfort zones? Of course not. Asking introduces new ways of thinking, and it produces ideas and innovation. It also makes us a more inclusive society. I'm sure Jonathan Haidt is shaking his head because, yes, sometimes "diversity can be divisive," but we should still try to move closer to communal oneness (click here to listen to Jonathan's interview with Krista Tippett on On Being)

Asking my readers and those who show up to my book tour to be brave is asking them to be who they know they can be. At least that was the case in the story I heard from an older gentleman today named Lonzo. I'm sure Alonzo had no idea what he was getting into when he sat at the small circular table positioned directly behind my book signing set up. But what he received was two millennials, my husband and I, who love to engage strangers and encourage those who have turned their backs on their dreams for whatever reasons. Lonzo wants to be a singer. He has had the dream since he was young, and now as an old man, he sings in his Baptist Church's choir. But Lonzo wants more. He wants to create a life and provide for his wife with his vision. Lonzo merely is too "afraid" to go for it. After an hour of corralling, encouraging, and strategizing with Alonzo about the potential technology, especially Youtube held for him, he smiled and thanked us for the uplifting conversation. Who knows, we may have given Lonzo exactly when he needed.

The dangers of living brave are this, today you occupy a space in the world but you, like Alonzo, want more. More cannot be found in your comfort zone; it cannot be found in the habits of your today, it cannot be achieved through good intentions, it takes action. It takes an artist like Kyle, writers, poets, filmmakers, and teachers to challenge, ask, and reveal the flaws and potential. But you must be willing to look at that which disturbs, that which calls out, that which stirs you.

Engage that which disturbs. 

Principal For A Day

 homemade cards from the students of william Anderson Elementary school 

homemade cards from the students of william Anderson Elementary school 

Last Thursday I had the opportunity to be principal for a day at William Anderson Elementary School. It was a fun and informative day filled with hugs from students, meetings with teachers, and the chance to read a book to a class on financial responsibility titled, Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday

The staff at Williams is an organized team. While there, I told a group of teachers that they appeared "very detailed." The ladies seemed shocked at the compliment. In meetings I attended, the principal worked alongside teachers, questioned test performance and discussed areas of improvement. There was a process to the way things worked. 

The students of William Anderson were kind as well. Diago, a Hispanic boy in the English class I sat in, gave me a Skittle that he and his table received for answering a question correctly. India, a small talkative black girl, who I met in the school's library told me about her family and that she enjoyed reading. The librarian called her back, but she wanted to talk some more and gave hugs before finally returning to the group. 

Here are a few photos from the day. 

YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR THOUGHTS

A lot was said the past few days about taking a knee or standing for the national anthem. But it wasn't until Dallas local hero and news reporter, Dale Hansen and Jerry Jones, owner of "America's Team" made their final statements did the tone of my social feed start to change, or should I say disappear. 

The discourse on equality and justice is a test for us all on how we see ourselves and our position in the world. If you are publicly voicing your opinions based on your one-sided twitter timeline or taking points from your Facebook feed you are in big trouble. 

Why? Because as Jerry Jones told us and showed us,"this is his stage" and he does what he wants. Jones flipped the script so unashamedly by taking a knee that the supporters of standing for the flag were singing a new tune by breakfast. You are responsible for your thoughts and deleting your latest post because the owner of a football team took a different stance does not clean you from your choice words just one day before. 

 Image SB Nation 

Image SB Nation 

Being responsible for your thoughts means studying your beliefs before joining a public debate. It means understanding why you feel the way you do and how it impacts your community and your followers. 

Being responsible means when you feel you've made a mistake deleting your argument is not the answer. Responsibility means you own up to your previous thought and why you argued it so loud, explaining to those you have demeaned that you have new information and you are open to a different discussion.

Being responsible means that you make lemons out of lemonade by using the president's divisive language as a stepping stone to discussion and deeper dialogue. 

I heard this phrase a while back from those who are involved in social work, "you want to be on the right side of history." Today, I understand what that means. I challenge you to leave behind your party beliefs, the beliefs of your parents and think like an informed citizen on the issues impacting the nation today. 

And Remember...

Screen Shot 2017-09-26 at 11.03.48 AM.png

A Year of Brave

I'm excited about the upcoming anniversary tour for my second book The Beginner's Guide to Finding Your Brave. In partnership with Half Price Books Store, the tour kicks off this Saturday!

click here for tour dates

FullSizeRender.jpg

Behind the Scenes 

Planning this tour was confirmation of everything I learned from my time in the sales world: follow up, follow up, follow up. Also remember to speak to the decision maker, be excited about your product, and did I mention to follow up.  My days and nights filled with content creation and I'm back on coffee. Sheesh! 

This tour has also made me realize that I have an awesome community of people who support the work. I believe whether you are an artist, solo- entrepreneur, or a stay-at-home mother, the message of living brave resonates because it's relevant and needed in todays world. 

IMG_5811.JPG

For me, the definition of what it means to live brave has evolved over the years. Today, it means to love. Can I abolish my fear and be brave enough to love people deeper? Am I willing to do the hard things and have the hard conversations to inspire change in others? 

You can't give what you don't have. Finding my brave meant taking the stage, literally and figuratively, in my life to release the past. It means choosing to forgive rather than confront friends who turned their back on me, and it means dying to self daily to give my husband the love and support he needs. 

Tour Expectations  

I have none. It's the best way to proceed forward. If I ask God for anything, it will be that he uses me for his glorification and that the people I meet leave better than they came. It means less of me and more of him.

I will leave you with this, choose to live brave because it is your birthright. Choose bravery because the opposite of it is fear and you are so much better than that. I will see you on the road. 

xx earlina