Sunday, March 16, 2014

One Habit to take you to the Next Level

I love my bed and I hang on to it as long as I can in the mornings, waking up only after the 3rd snooze alarm has gone off. I have known (at least in my head) that early waking helps you to get the best out of your 24 hours but I have always thought 'I will sleep late and stay up later.' This arrangement seemed to suit me fine especially being a night person that I am. I however had a whole change of mind a few month ago.
 
    The late great Actor Peter Finch and Wife Eletha (curtesy Argenta Images)
I was trying to work out the setting up of a new gadget I had bought. I don’t like gadgets especially because there is this massive user manual that you have to weed through just to learn how to work anything from a camera or even the simplest plug-in on your computer. In this case I had tried over a couple of weeks to install the gadget correctly but most of the time I tried, I read the relevant manual pages over and over without grasping the right procedure. Other times I just didn’t have the mental energy to tackle it. Well on this faithful day, I had fallen asleep earlier than usual and so woke up at 5am. A sudden wave of inspiration pushed me into deciding that I would tackle installing the gadget with the few minutes I seem to suddenly have to spare this morning.
 
It took me all of 10 minutes to install the gadget that I had spent hours trying to figure out!
A fresh brain coupled with renewed will power was the reason why the problem that had stumped me for weeks took such a short time. I was clearer in my thinking able to see things I simply stared through when my mind was foggy and when I was tired.
 
A certain school of thought believes that our short term memory is 'discharged' and freed up for more information and mental work after night's sleep. In addition some experiments seem to suggest that your will power is also at it's peak when you wake. This means that you can take on challenging tasks without a heightened level of discouraging feelings and thoughts flooding in and the whole self sabotage dynamic coming in to play. You are then also able to perform task that require discipline and might be low on instant gratification. This is why it has been suggested that if you are struggling with overeating and have a poor relationship with food it would be better to eat the bulk of your food towards the end of the day when your will power is running low. In other words while you have the will power on your side, eat smaller and wait to eat bigger when you would really want to emotionally at the end of the day. 
 
If you have to learn a new skill, do some intense studies, take on a task you are dreading and have been putting off, research a topic you've been stalling on then wake early and devote those very effective couple of hours to doing it. It will take less time, you will understand and pick up more and you will have the satisfaction of knowing you have been very productive which will crown your very day. In fact go one step further; make a habit out of it and wake up early each day and devote the first hour to some mental work for instance improving your IT skills and abilities through studying and reading and before you know it, you will be an authority/expert in the specific area.
 
I will be away from base for a while so next post is 12th April 2014

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Monday, March 03, 2014

Don't get led away from your goals and your dreams in life

It seems that Mr Simon Cowell has finally been 'landed.'
 
Ok he may not be married to the woman but he is now the proud father of an infant son and it seems very clear that he will do all he needs to be in his sons life! He has taken to twitter and other media to display what is no doubt a deep genuine affection between father and new born. Insider accounts say he is besotted with the young bairn who he quite telling named Eric, after his late father. 'I have waited for you all my life' he is reported to have said at the arrival of Eric. It's lovely to see such father son affection, especially from someone like Simon Cowell who often seems incapable of loving anyone but himself. I wish him every joy in the world and it is easy to see that Eric is helping Simon plug the huge gaping hole in his heart that came about when his father died. Anyone who knows anything about Syco (yes the name of Simon's business concern), knows that Simon's father was the only man Simon strove to impress and losing his father just before his success was cemented was a very big blow to him.
 
Simon will now do everything to be in his son's life
 
Anyway why am I giving a rundown of the history of Simon Cowell?
 
I am writing about this intriguing story because Simon claimed for years and years to the media and to girlfriends that he wasn’t ever intending on being a father. He announced it repeatedly to all who could hear, that he was not a family man. I am certain he meant it for the time and I don’t think he really changed his mind, he just found himself expecting a baby with his paramour and she wanted to keep it and that was that. Suddenly he is enjoying fatherhood more than he ever thought he would or could and you see, that’s the thing, sometimes people genuinely don’t know what will make them happy. In life we sometimes stumble on the path that fulfills us, that’s why it is important not to close yourself off from other parts, people and situations. Sure we all specialize and focus in, as we grow older. We decide we will be a carpenter rather than a poet or a doctor rather than an electrician but if you become rigid about not letting yourself experience life beyond narrowed boundaries, you can miss out on so much that life has in store.
 
So my mind goes to the girlfriends who took his disinterest in being a father seriously. I know some broke up with him over this stand, others I think sadly might have tried to go along with his no child agenda and it might have severely damaged their own abilities to have their own offspring- one particular girlfriend comes to mind when I say this.
 
In truth, it’s very easy to go along with another persons 'agenda' and damage your own dreams, especially if you have become attached and feel that that is the only way to hold on to them. Si Co is a powerful man, with the lifestyle to match and the networks and connections that can make life smooth and pleasant for any woman. It could be all too easy to convince yourself under these 'incentivising' circumstances that you are of the same mind as him in the matter of children. I am glad some of his girlfriend parted company with him eventually to maybe keep their dreams of children alive. Which brings me to the second point.
 
Some of these women who moved on might look back and regret, but the truth is that their 'timelines' did not coincide with where Simon was at the time. This is a reality of life and you should not kick yourself if you cant get yourself on the same page as your romantic other. Don't hang about or try to make them fit with what you want to do or where you want to be. You must have the courage to move on. Even if you see that later they went and did exactly what you wanted from them but with someone else, know that it wasn’t for you and them. It’s easy to say, 'maybe if I had waited', but it is unlikely they would have 'changed' for you.
 
A lot of people change because of experiences and often times we act as that experience for others. Coming across us might be that catalyst for a change in some people's lives. I know men who have mistreated women and lost a good thing, learning a hard lesson on how not to treat people for their future. Some white men have let priceless black girlfriends slip out if their fingers (and vice versa) because of family, nay sayers and what have you. Having gone through that experience, they come out on the other side, vowing to never let others mess up their good thing ever again!
 
So to summarize, you must not sacrifice your dream to be with someone because you will regret it. Also you have to know what you want, what your deep felt desires and dreams are because If you don’t, it is easy for someone with their own firm ideas about what they want from life to sweep you along with them and apply you and your energies to what they want to do.

Once you have defined what things you want out of life. Pursue it with vigor! 

Next post 15th March 2014

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Thursday, February 06, 2014

Hunting for White Racism

Hunting for and turning over rocks to seek out evidence of white hypocrisy about race, seems to be a very popular pastime with many black women. Each day I get dozens of emails and articles in my inbox, on the topic of 'outing' whites as racist, against all their protestations. The other week, I got one saying, 'White people treat blacks different in Emergencies' or some such title. As you can see I am more or less blasé about all this and so cant even remember the title.

It might seem a bit exciting to peak into the minds of whites, to confirm what you have always thought about them: that they are a two faced group of people, ‘they smile in your face, but stab you in the back.’ However I think this preoccupation to expose whites is entirely time wasting. And here's why:


Why? Because I feel like showing a black woman with a seriously kicking body ...so sue me!

Racism is a natural response

Truth is that it is only in Western societies that we have taken very great steps towards social engineer against a normal natural impulse in all humans. Humans fear difference or fear the outsider who is marked different by their appearance.

Lets use an evolutionary model here to look at why racism is a natural response. Let’s think back to a time when racial characteristics linked closely to you being from a different continent and climatic condition (before the time of large scale and modern travel). Supposing I was taking my daily stroll down by the rift valley, just chilling, and I suddenly saw a band of foreigners who were finally revealed to have come from far afield as China. What do you think I would feel seeing these strange folk riding on horses or who knows what? I am sure most of you would say I would feel alarmed, and you are not wrong. Racial difference would mean they came from an area that is markedly physically different to the area from my locality. It would suggest that they have been subject to different climatic conditions and they have a culture that has evolved from that climatic and ecological landscape. How do I know that they don’t have a belief system that would imperil my own life and that of others who look like and act like me. If they came from a harsh and unforgiving land than it could be quite easily true that they have adopted cultural codes that match the need to survive under those situations. Maybe they don’t like to share or in their lands, darker skin meant the attack of a very wasting disease that could kill in thousands. If this were the case then I could be in serious trouble couldn’t I?

Even in a less threatening scenario, their culture would be different and might lead to a serious conflict around resources (maybe they come from an area with an abundance of water and thus treat that resource differently to how my tribe would, coming from the other point where we don’t have much of it). There are a thousand and one ways in which we could suddenly come into serious and even life threatening conflict as people who come from lands which have evolved markedly different ways of life. A shorthand way of dealing with this situation and its range of variables which could possibly prove lethal is for humans to have this instinct to respond with reservation to characteristics marking people as coming from a different climatic and thus social milieu.

Racism is a problem in all of us

If studies were done for blacks as frequently as for white, we would notice no great difference in basic responses. We are not naturally trusting of difference, we just have had to put up with it and evolved more open and cooperative ways of dealing with others out of necessity. Blacks are not the socially dominant group in Western societies so it hasn’t been a very pressing issue to analyse our attitudes in these matters. Negative reactions in blacks are also often excused away or put down to the fact that we are minorities and socially excluded as a group and so these responses are a result of the evil of racism and the racist system that surrounds us etc etc etc.

Stop wasting time fishing for and collecting articles and data on whites subliminal race aversion

These response are comon to all mankind and until the time when humans can engineer their every attribute I doubt we will be able to get rid of this response which is bedded deep in the human psyche.

I am hoping black women can wean themselves off the self justified feelings they get when they read and chase down the latest report on white racist hypocrisy.


How to do this

Consider white folk as mere human as we are human.

Consider that a reasonable focus ought to be how to avoid being at the mercy/victim of these natural human responses to difference. You will be able to control some of it, but you will not be able to save yourself from ever being a victim of such race prejudging or knee-jerk, 'unevolved' response to your racial difference. That my friend is life and what it means to be a human being vulnerable to broader realities and plain life's happenstance. Try not to get bent out of shape if it is not a serious issue. Focus on surviving, fighting back and having 'options' available to you to side step to.

Above all, pray for good fortune!


Next blog post 21st Feb
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Thursday, January 16, 2014

12 years a slave and other things

I am noticing more and more black women make unconventional choices.

Maybe not unconventional re the rest of the world but re black women themselves and the fact that they have largely limited their range within the wider world and the broader context. Because of our experiencing hurt and heartache at a time from the wider society, we pulled back from it, but the times of comfort within black boarders has ended and what we can observe now is that black men have been busy building links and making contacts. They are now able to convert these links and contacts and even broader goodwill for their betterment.

If a black man is not making it it is very likely because he has set himself against the wider society, deciding against education, delayed gratification or choosing to go the wrong way (bling and criminality). I say this because most black men can now rely on the liberal left to champion him as the victim of white men and white society and thus open up opportunities that are even denied black women. You even see white society frame the issue of oppression in such a skewed way that it facilitates black men's move in society and provides a stumbling block for black women.

Speaking of framing of the issue of oppression, I went to see the film '12 years a slave.'

I had some misgivings about seeing the film in part because we have talked about only supporting films that are made by men who support black women. Of course the issue of the lead actor of 12 years a slave and of course the producer (and who knows who else in the cast), being married interracially (and thus funnelling the money out and away from black women) was raised about this film. However as soon as the film was released in the UK a rash of articles appeared about it, and one of them essentially changed my mind about not seeing it.

It was an article in the Guardian written by a white female journalist acknowledging that the film had opened her eyes (or made her admit) to the role played by white women in brutalizing black women during slavery (the name of the author of the article is Hadley Freeman and you can google her article). Not only was this the first mainstream acknowledgement of this dirty little secret that keeps being 'white washed', that I had come across, she linked it to the resulting difficult relationships that continue to exist between black and white women re feminism. And the comment section warmed my heart even more because it became evident that many folk had long since given short shrift to the popular framing by feminists that white women were 'oppressed' alongside black men and women by white men during slavery, or that they had very little social power to do much more than watch the brutality meted out impotently, or that if they victimized black women, it was under instructions of the white slave master which they had no choice but to carry out. My oh my here were folk commenting (mostly white), that white women not only supported the system of slavery because they were invested in the wealth it created for them and their children, but that they participated in the brutality and even egged on their 'masters' in their vile joys, just as the film portrayed. For the first time the brutality of white women to their black female slaves was thoroughly captured on screen so much so people had begun to comment on this particular angle whereas before it would have not have been in anyway delineated.



Wow, blow me away with a feather!

So I duly bought my ticket and took my seat in a packed cinema.

I wont give anything away but I want to personally thank the director Steve McQueen for brilliantly illustrating how harrowing the whole slavery thing was for black women in particular. You cannot come away from that film feeling black women had a jolly ride as a few folk have tried to claim in recent times. You came away knowing that black women had it worse. They got it from both ends and no one watching that film will come away feeling how impossibly untenable the situation was for a black female slave.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is the message we have been trying to get across. We have been trying to buy black women some sympathy, at least consideration if anything. We have been trying to shine a light on the situation for black women which has been callously overlooked or pushed to the back ground until it has fostered this notion that black women can come out of anything unscathed. With one film Steve McQueen has changed the narrative of black men suffering the worse during slavery to one where there is a dawning realization that 'Hang on, black women experienced the middle passage, the starvation, the fields picking cotton and as women their sexuality was readily and easily also exploited'! Call me a fool but I am happy for black women to get some due sympathy at some point.

And there was no 'light skin' heroine to engage the sympathies of black and white folk (because you know we cant feel no black woman's pain unless she is lightskinned). Light skinned women were so for a reason in the film (to show the link between slaves children and their masters).

God bless Steve McQueen! He dared to show white women there alongside the slave mastered brutalising with physical violence, with cruel denial of food and drink, soap, heartless disregard of the heartbreak of black mothers grieving over their lost children and maybe worse of all selling freed black women back into slavery!

He Steve McQueen is probably the only interracially partnered black man who consistently pays his dues to black women, deliberately choosing to highlight dark black women positively (in Shame the only woman Fassbender falls in love with is a black woman, the actress Nicole Behari) or tell their pains . So yeah props to Steve.





on another note this woman is 30 but looks like a darn teenager! Black don't crack for real!


 

Next blog post 7th Feb

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Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Sunday, November 17, 2013

What a wrong detour could cost

If the wrong idea takes root in your thinking it could take you off course.

For some it could be twenty years before they come back to their senses and by the time they do, they could have lost so much time and so many lifecycle-dependent opportunities could have been lost forever. No one is going to give you an entry level job at 45, you are supposed to have placed yourself at middle management in the career path of your choice by then, that's why career changes can be very difficult at certain ages except of course you bring transferable skills with you.

The wise king Solomon said 'there is time for everything'. It is important to make sure that wrong ideas, and experimental ideas that lead most but a very few to ruin don't take root in you and equally important to look around and see what others are doing and take a kind of 'bearing' check from the activities of your age cohort. Be aware of certain things you should be doing at certain times in your life even if you do decide eventually that you do not want these things. If you hope to pursue them then make sure you are attending to them when you should.


Yes it might seem boring and conventional to trace out your life path along the same lines as the rest of humanity, you may kiss your teeth at having the same mundane choices to fulfill as your mother and grandmother before, indeed there is this push in society now for people to cast off 'structure' and just float or not commit, for many though there will be lots of regrets. Often travelling in certain sections of my metropolis, I see many older gentlemen who didn't put down roots, making a nuisance of themselves accosting women, looking for the attention they should have secured earlier on in life. But many of these men felt they would be tied down or trapped to 'commit' to their girlfriends at the time. Many found it hilarious and macho to play about with their 'gals' feelings and need for commitment.  

There are too many ideas floating around in our world today that can transfix people and take them off a healthy life course. They might be in a strange place for 40 years just like the children of Israel in the wilderness, before the 'spell' is broken. You have to find a way of directing yourself aright and have some anchors to a place of sanity and commonsense, especially in this day and age where people create social theories (some just for the heck of it) and push these ideas out there for the most gullible to test it out for them.

I have argued that black women are acting at a disadvantage because there is a clear and critical component of guidance and direction that is missing for black women. Some of us are actually the first in our families to experience certain achievements or get to certain social levels therefore no one has gone before us and can show us the ropes. Parents and elders who often know less about the social terrain and how to make it work for them are in the position of guides for black women! They thus offer no insight, no principles that can form the foundation for a successful life or enable their daughters survive the hostile and predatory wider world. Often there is also the toxic dynamic where black women are structured to just be there to resource others and a specific kind of 'training' that turns black women into community mules is delivered from a young age until she becomes a person who acts against her clear interests and becomes adept at forming relationships in which she is host to parasitic others.    

Some 'pyramid selling' ideas are all around you: single parenthood, careless living and not forming attachments and commitments, putting your hope in 'big' government. These ideas will fail the bulk of those who adopt them (that's why I call them pyramid selling ideas because only a few at the peak of the pyramid who embrace these ideas will come out unscathed while most who form the base will rue the day!). 

Humanity has indeed evolved but not to the point where we can jettison tried and tested principles that have worked for past generations, no matter how far removed our lives seem . The principles of commonsense acting, thrift as a lifestyle and building healthy networks and connections will out last shiny modern day gadgetry.

Next blog post 1st Dec

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Sunday, November 03, 2013

She who has much, more will be given

For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. Matthew 25:29

I used to have a problem with this saying from the gospels. It seemed so cruel and so unfair to me. I used to think about all those around me who didn’t have much and how that even what they had, God would cause to be taken away. That didn’t sound like God who was supposed to be caring and loving especially of the downtrodden. In fact this particular saying comes from one of Jesus famous parables; the parable of the talents and in it God (who in the story is the talent giver) sounded positively capitalist through and through in that scripture, bang smack in the center of the 1% with all his talk of giving his money to the bankers for profit. He sure wasn’t on the side of those who wanted a redistribution of wealth!

Now for those who don’t know this parable, it's the one where a man goes on a journey but gives each of his stewards varying amounts of money to trade with while he is away. On his return, the steward with the least money has done nothing with his 'talents' and throws the money in his face. The steward, receives not just a dressing down but some humiliation and punishment (you can read the whole of Matthew 29 for the full story).

Well I have somewhat grown up since feeling upset about unfair dealings, and there are two things that I have learnt about that parable.

  1. The world system works to a capitalist imperative as it has done for thousands of years whether we like this reality or not. You and I have to 'make profit', show an improvement, make returns and innovate on what we have been given or we are just a waste of space.
  2. The other thing is that it is you who decides whether you have more or less (which will then be taken away)! Phew that one was a revelation to me! It blew my mind when I realized that it wasn’t God or another person that determined that the person who had 1 talent had less, it was him himself who decided he had less by his actions. By not making a profit, by not trying to do something however small and meager with the money he was given, he declared himself to 'not have'. The giver of the talent clearly rated the talent he gave him and saw him capable of making returns on it! 

Folks it's all a matter of perspective. If you feel that you have nothing then you will essentially have nothing. How many of us know people who have many blessings, blessings that the rest of us are begging to have but they don’t rate their blessings and they cant even see it! I know of two people in my circle of acquaintances and friends who always complain about their plight and yet they are surrounded by blessings and good things, the rest of us would give an arm to have.

Many of us can testify that not using our talents and gifts means ultimately loosing them whether this be a musical skill or a knowledge of a computer package. If you do something with what you have however big or small, it will yield, taking you towards abundance. Never look down on the little you have. No doubt this steward was upset at being given the smallest allocation to trade with, but he could have seen it as an opportunity to be creative and innovative or even seen it as an opportunity to do the bare minimum with the money which the master was happy to accept.

Whatever you have to work with be it big or small, it is your attitude to your resource that will determine what you make of it. You might not have loads of talents and loads of money but be assured that the race has quite often gone in the favor of David (with his meager but critical attributes), than the obvious bet Goliath!

It is important that you adopt the mindset of 'I have much', no matter that you think you have little. This is because with this attitude, you put yourself on the path to getting more rather than on the path of ultimately loosing what you have. 

Next blog post 17 Nov

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