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Faith And Spirituality

Faith And Spirituality

I am a Christ follower. It sounds different than calling myself a Christian, or Catholic, Lutheran or any of the other denominations.

People love to group themselves in these different categories of religion, and there isn’t anything wrong with it unless it steers away from the main point.

Jesus died for you and me.

As a Christ follower, I have understood that I am a sinner. Whatever way we look at it, we all are. We all are born into this world of pain and suffering. That is a negative look on it, but it’s the truth. We live in an imperfect world, with broken people everywhere. And that is fine because we aren’t supposed to be perfect.

According to the law of Moses, we are dead in our sin. We all fall short of the glory of God if you believe there is a God. This is where Jesus comes in to save the day. There’s an analogy that I really like to express Jesus’s love for us. Imagine your whole life is a receipt like at a restaurant. Now imagine all the things you’ve messed up with, all the nasty things you’ve said, all the people you’ve hurt, all of the hate you’ve shown, and all the other flaws you have. Imagine that is all on one big bill. Now imagine someone coming by and saying, “Hey, I’m gonna take care of that bill for you because I love you”. To me, that hits home, because I know that my flaws are real and that I am dead to sin, and the only thing that can take that off my hands is Jesus, and He demonstrated that by dying for me and you.

So what the Bible says is that this is a gift. It is not something that is supposed to be earned. So all you have to do is accept that. That’s what many people don’t seem to grasp. How can I accept a gift without acknowledging who gave it to me? If someone accepts that Christ died for their sins, they are renewed in Him, and they are made new.

Millennials

Millennials

I’m a millennial born in 1996.

We are not owed anything.

In today’s standards, we go through grade school, go to college, intern, and work in a company for the rest of our lives. At least that’s most young people’s interpretation of it.

But work isn’t like it used to be. The world is changing and so is the workforce. We believe that we got dealt a bad hand of cards. Even if that was true, nobody is going to fix it for you, you’ve got to do it yourself. I believe Millennials have the potential to be hard-working, strong individuals who can create value by applying themselves and destroying the mindset of victimhood.

The Battle Against Resistance

The Battle Against Resistance

Resistance is one of the evilest forces ever. It is one of the reasons humanity has its flaws. Because of it, we make excuses. We like to blame our problems on things besides taking responsibility for them.

I’m reading the War of Art by Stephen Pressfield, a book about fighting resistance. Pressfield expresses in an example how the hardest part of writing is not actually writing, but sitting down to do it.

I’m having a difficult time adjusting to overcoming resistance. There have been many times in my life, even to this day where I struggle. It could be out of fear, or anxiety, but I am continuing to push through daily and training myself to not let the resistance get the best of me.

Why Everyone Should Be Exercising

Why Everyone Should Be Exercising

I don’t know what I would do without working out. Now before you write me off as a juicehead, hear me out. When I was 18 and living in New York, I had started to work out mostly because I wanted to look better. That is the reason with a lot of people, and that’s a very valid reason. But, there was something more that I craved besides bigger muscles that I always defaulted to when deciding if I should go to the gym or not.

Besides the benefits of looking fit and being healthy, the brain makes drastic changes from before to after a workout. When the human body is under physical stress, the heart is pumped faster, causing more oxygen to the brain which releases many hormones. This is why people always feel more clear and level-headed after a workout.

When I used to deal with anxiety and stress, exercise was a must when it came to clearing my head and coming back to reality. So pick up a dumbbell or go for a jog, it’ll help you.

Sales Is Everywhere

Sales Is Everywhere

Something I find so fascinating is how sales exist in so many forms than just someone’s occupation. We must all be master salesmen in life, or else you may not get what you desire out of it. We sell our stories to people on why we are right and the other person in the story is wrong. Teens sell the ideas of why their parents should let them spend spring break in Mexico (common). Politicians sell their ideas to the public on why they are better than their competitors. Kids sell the ideas of why they don’t want to eat their broccoli (I still had to eat mine).

We should all recognize this and use it to our advantage. The ability to sell yourself is way more powerful than a lot of people think. The idea that our credentials speak for themselves can be true, but only if you can back it up. One of the best examples I’ve seen of this was back in New York City where I lived for two years. I met some of the world’s best musicians, and the saddest part about it was that they weren’t going to “make it” in the music business, even though they were BETTER than some of the people who were making it. Why? Because they weren’t able to sell themselves to the people who mattered. They also referred to this as “selling out” and that it was blasphemy to put yourself out there to make something happen. As if chance was their determining factor.

Let’s put our egos aside and create the opportunities for ourselves.

The Breakthrough Day

The Breakthrough Day

Today is the day I saw the breakthrough.

(For anyone reading that doesn’t know about Praxis, it is a 9 month apprenticeship by self motivated learners who also pair you up with a growing start-up company they feel fits you best. This opportunity starts in your third month at the program.)

One month in Praxis has gone by, I’ve already made my own website, started to develop my personal brand, created a pitch deck (the alternative to the resume), and have created some friends along the way. But, today was a great day and I’ll tell you why.

February 28, I get a message from my program advisor. “Check your email man, you’ve got an interview!”. My email wasn’t updating until I got to the computer and checked that I had already received my first interview with a business partner. It was very soon and not expected. My first month in the program was just finishing. After checking the email, I had scheduled a phone interview the next morning. The company is called Reliant Technology, a re-seller of data storage. Not knowing much about it didn’t matter to me, I went with the call. After the interview, I had become more intrigued about the company and its business to business selling. With a follow up video interview the next day, I had gotten an offer.

It was the most satisfying feeling in a long time when you see the email that says “(name of company) offer letter”. Without even thinking about it, I accepted.

I start at Reliant Technology on March 20th, located in Atlanta Georgia. Most participants start after 3 months in the program and here I was starting a month and a half in. That is why today is a good day. But, enough writing, I have to go pack!

The 30 Day Writing Challenge

The 30 Day Writing Challenge

This month, Praxis is having me post on my blog everyday. Even if it isn’t much. With no set goals of what I’ll write, I’m just going to do it!

The only goals of this month are to come out of this a better writer, ship my ideas onto my blog, and finish the War of Art by Stephen Pressfield.

Let’s get it done!

Books To Base Your Life On

Books To Base Your Life On

It amazes me how I’ve heard so many people say “The last book I read was in college” or “The last book I read was in high school because it was for an assignment”. Books are a collection of people’s life experiences in a nutshell. It’s like having a one on one interview with the writer, which is extremely convenient if they aren’t alive anymore.

When I had started reading for myself, I noticed a lot of positive changes. I was able to see things more clearly, and became more effective in whatever I was reading. I can relate it to any craft. Every person wants to be great at their craft. But, the difference is the ones who are willing to put in the time and practice are always the ones that become the best. Once you see that practicing can make you better, and better, and better, you will start to enjoy it. Reading fits into that category. When you see the effects that reading has on your comprehension, your base knowledge, it becomes a “want” to read. It becomes like a muscle forcing its growth when you work it out.

I’m doing a reading project by Ryan Holiday called “Books to base your life on”, a collection of philosophy, fiction, and biographies of the greats and by the greats.

My first book for this project was The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene. The book is broken down and comprised of the 48 most necessary laws that are required to be powerful. At first glance, this book is very controversial and immoral, and for good reason. It shows how the most powerful people throughout time were able to achieve what they did, by putting others down. But, with an open mind, this book presents itself as not only a way to obtain power, but to recognize it, and DEFEND from it.

It’s Not What You Know, It’s Who You Know

It’s Not What You Know, It’s Who You Know

This piece of advice has been with me for as long as I can remember. From the moment I thought I had my chosen destiny planned out from a young age, I kept these words.

As a kid, my most vivid memories revolved around music and a trumpet specifically. The son of a professional musician and composer, you could say it was in my genes. Everyone in high school was freaking out about their future careers while I had my hands behind my head with not a worry in the world because I had it all figured out. Or so I thought. I had gotten into jazz in high school and had created opportunities to form some groups and play in various bands around town, and I loved it. I had created an impressive “street rep” throughout Arizona that got me a lot of gigs. Before the age of 18, I had won many awards and played in some of the most prestigious venues like Lincoln Center in New York City, Montreaux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, Vienne Festival in Paris, Umbria Music Festival in Venice, you name it. Not to mention receiving a full tuition scholarship to a jazz conservatory in New York City. Life was good. Little did I know, moving to New York City would be the decision that changed my life forever.

Alone, 18, and naive, like a deer in headlights.

I was finally on my own, and music was my job, no longer my hobby. I had become a slave to it. Going through the day to day classes just wasn’t what I expected it to be. Playing for money because I had to, made me turn off the creative switch in my head. Not even a year and a half in and it was eating me up. My playing suffered, my confidence suffered, and I didn’t know why. Things weren’t the same for me. What had changed? I asked myself this question every morning and night for two years. It wasn’t long before I dropped out. A failure. Back to living with my parents. But if only I knew back then that it was a start to a new beginning. I spent my free time searching for what happened to my talent, my passion. With no luck, I gave up. I stopped playing professionally and decided to focus on myself as a whole.

I had to take a step back, and look at my life. What made me happy? What was I good at besides playing music? What else was I good for? I have always been extroverted, and always loved talking to people. Looking back at my life so far, every success was a result of help from others, and the relationships I have made along the way. I am where I am today because of the generosity of others. Back in my junior year of high school, I had spent a little over a month at Berklee College of Music for a summer program. Without a doubt, there were people better than I was. But, without even thinking about it, I had taken the skills I had,  made clear I had something to offer, and created more relationships than I can remember. Leaving the program, I created a nationwide network with some of the nation’s most talented kids. I was eating lunch with the big boys and I knew it, and it felt good to have that sort of power. By creating those relationships, they have paid me back tenfold. My whole life I had created these relationships and networks but never noticed; that was my calling. Although I love playing music, it was never supposed to be my job. The moment I had taken the life of a musician, was the moment I realized I was a slave to it. I realized that my non-musical talents could be used outside of the music business. The relationships I have made have shaped who I am, where I have been, and what I have done. It’s not what you know but who you know. These words couldn’t be more true.