Search Results for: Humanity

Fight Club, LOTR, The Godfather & Achieving a Growth Mindset

Recently I attended a seminar by Klemmer & Associates called Personal Mastery where I had the opportunity to explore many of the belief systems I held in my head. My approach was not to accomplish anything in particular, but to be open and available to allowing my mind to be changed. With that mindset, Klemmer put me through a clinic that fundamentally altered my thought patterns and the feelings I associate with that which is not connected. Here are some of my realizations that I feel may help those who want to have more emotional health.

1.
Fight Club Mentality

I was once (and on many levels, still am) obsessed with Fight Club. The David Fincher movie is phenomenal, and I cannot suggest you read Chuck Palahniuk’s book enough. The counter-cultural tones that this story took on resonates strongly with my being. This seminar helped me fine tune that connection and comprehend why I related so strongly. I have the tendency to take an approach to life that relies upon the appreciation of others. There is a voice that tells me to go after accomplishment x because that defines success. Once I achieved x, that voice was right there to tell me to go after y. But what if my true self is uninterested in the alphabet of accomplishments? What if my true self felt more satisfaction with accomplishing that which society doesn’t necessarily categorize as success? I learned that although I may have needed to obtain x and y for my wellbeing, I am not defined by it. I am able to see decisions I make through my very own lens by understanding who I am and what I want more clearly.

“You are not your job, you’re not how much money you have in the bank. You are not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You are not your fucking khakis. You are all singing, all dancing crap of the world.”
― Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

2.
Gandolf Lord of the Rings Mentality All we have to decide

Truer words of wisdom have seldom been spoken. It seems trivial, and I don’t really mean to wax poetic, but the reality of life is that time continues on while we are trying to ‘figure our shit out’. I propose that our shit is already figured out. We have figured it out long ago, and we have made our decisions based on what we have figured out. If you aren’t satisfied, you need to consider what it is that you figured out long ago that took you to this point. The decisions we make are guided by our underlying purpose which we live by. I have thought a lot about what my purpose is that drives my decisions in life forward. Here’s what I came up with: My purpose is to evoke a shared perspective that brings forward positive change in the world. All that I do is revolving around those words. Sometimes are harder than others to tie my actions to that principle, but I’m committed to a lifetime of practice in it.

3.

Often times I look at what I do and who I am, thinking, ‘why am I not doing more?’ It’s like I have an expectation of myself that I am not meeting although I am accomplishing everything that I seek. What is the reason for this disconnect? The problem is not me, the problem is my mindset. My limiting belief system that told me if I were going to be great, I would have done it by now was weighing me down. That internal dialogue held me back from contributing all that I had to contribute to the world. It had me pulling away from situations that challenge me and kept me down that path most traveled. If I want to live my purpose and be a great person, I am going to have to make different decisions about what exactly I do and how I think. There is no ceiling on the growth of humanity, compassion, or care. So, why put a limit on my expectations when I approach any opportunity? I have changed my mentality around the possibilities of my growth in order to attain greater results given the same opportunities that I’ve had before.

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Visionary Artist: Stanley Kubrick

Stanley Kubrick

Only a handful of artists have had as significant of an impact in their field as Stanley Kubrick has had on cinema. Beginning in photography, he showed an innate ability to display subtly powerful images that left his audience in awe. He was able to tell stories in a way that invoked passion and stimulated thought. His films are full of stories perpetuated perfectly by his direction in all aspects.

Stanley understood that each facet of his film had to fit together perfectly. His score told the story that dialogue could not. He enabled actors to perform the role of a lifetime through countless takes. Every shot was diagnosed and analyzed to place the camera in perfect position with perfect settings. He had a reputation for tirelessly demanding more from each contributor which shines throughout each of his pieces of work.

One of his most coveted films was an adaptation of Stephen King’s The Shining. Jack Nicholson stars as a recovering alcoholic slipping slowly into madness in a rocky mountain snow bound hotel. The actors recall that in each shot, Stanley would ask for take after take. Just when they thought they had nailed it, Stanley would start again from the top. Jack acted as though he was slipping into madness. Then he tired and began conserving energy. Realizing the shot was still not complete, he’d catch a second wind. Stanley continued to press further until acting turned genuine. Stanley guided Jack into subconsciously becoming the character he was portraying in a way that no one may have recognized except Kubrick himself.

2001: A Space Odyssey2001: A Space Odyssey is considered one of the greatest films ever created. Stanley pushed the envelope in terms of what was acceptable and what was expected all at once. The visual effects left audiences in awe. Dialogue is minimalized and viewers are directed through the story while continuously contemplating what they were meant to take from it. This masterpiece is orchestrated by Stanley’s brilliant mind to allow humanity to perform a self-reflection which they had never considered possible before.

Stanley Kubrick is easily my favorite director and someone who I find myself idolizing. His standards are unparalleled by any other director. He was a master of lighting which is evident in every shot. He motivated everyone to perform the best work they ever had. His genius shook the foundation of cinema and anyone interested in film would be remissed to ignore all they can learn and enjoy through his work.

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Photo Credit: Senses of Cinema, Cinemablend, Film and Furniture

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Life Changing Images

It isn’t often that we see something that fundamentally changes the way that we see the world. Some experience these moments more than others. It takes a highly powerful image with a potent message to bring about a life altering experience when viewing it. This situation can either be organic or manufactured, but the outcome resonates within the people it changes. Pictures are POWERFUL.

Taslima Akhter, who is credited for the above photo, puts together projects portraying the struggles that relate to gender and inequality particularly in the garment industry of Bangladesh. Her images are intense and propel her narrative forward in a way the sticks in the minds of us viewers.

It is simple to remove yourself from stories you hear or read about. Hearsay does not impact our lives on a very significant level unless we are directly affected by what we are learning. Photos and videos have a unique property in that they submerge the viewer into a new world. Our being able to see something in front of us brings a reality to it. Horror movies scare us because we empathize with the characters in it. It is easier to place ourselves there in the moment when we are seeing, hearing, and therefor feeling or living the experience.

This principle of using imagery to elicit an internal change goes far beyond the superficial horror-thriller with a twist at the end. Granted it is entertaining to enjoy these types of productions, but there is far more potential than jump scares. As an American, I enjoy a vastly luxurious life which I take for granted. It is difficult for citizens of our flourishing country to relate to those in environments of less fortunate circumstances. Images from around the world has helped me understand who I am and how I live relative to my counterparts in other countries, with less opportunity, and amidst tragic war and poverty.

Sometimes we see things we wish we can un-see, but we can’t. No matter what, we can’t shake that image out of our heads. This picture taken by Nilüfer Demir of three-year-old Aylan Kurdi, a Syrian refugee, sent shock waves throughout the world for this very reason. We can’t un-see it. We can’t take it back. We are completely helpless and have to deal with our emotions on our own. This causes us to take an introspective look at ourselves to rectify our gut wrench by whatever means we find necessary.

Powerful images are a double edged sword. They can make us feel good, like we’re where we want to be and everything will be OK. Or, they can make us question our existence and what we are doing with it. Nilüfer Demir’s photo changed my perception of the world and how I interact with it. It put me in the shoes of immigrants, refugees, volunteers, and families who have had to witness these tragedies first hand. Next time you’re frustrated at the Starbucks line, consider how some of earth’s citizens are forced to survive. Reflect on humanity’s shame in Demir’s photo, and what changes about yourself or the way you feel because of it.

Photo Credit: Nilüfer Demir, Taslima Akhter

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