Search Results for: change

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.

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

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.


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.

Photo Credit:
Feed Banana

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A Personal Framework for Increased Happiness

Personal Growth Alternative Thinking
I am a firm believer in extreme empowerment on many levels of personal growth. What I mean by that is simple: you have the ability to change almost every aspect about your life. I am constantly revising the way I think, eat, and live in order to better suit my happiness. With this concept comes a constant internal revision process and continuous challenges to change. Fortunately, there are a magnitude of tools and principles to employ that naturally brings about a constant flow towards being happy.

I recently returned from Burning Man which taught me more than I could ever begin to describe. Within the context of personal empowerment, I learned about my significant ability to accomplish goals and impact others. Everyone has a personal modus operandi which they employ to move forward in life. Take a long look at what you do to get to the end of any task, cut out the fat, and streamline your thinking/doing process. I also realized how significant other actors can be in my outcomes. It dawned on me how impactful a gift could be, and what significant alteration a single interaction with someone can have on a life. Approach others as if they held the key to happiness. Treat your relationships as sacred and use them as a platform to lift your spirit and your capabilities.

Change should be considered a certainty along with death and taxes. It’s here and will continue to come regardless of resistance. It’s vital to embrace and direct change to the best of your ability in order to generate the results you ultimately desire. There are always challenges and obstacles that arise throughout life which must be overcome. Take a long look at the changes occurring now, changes that are likely to come, and potential changes we have no control over. Analyze those changes and decipher what kind of impact they will have on your life. Having a better understanding of these changes can assist your decision making skills and put you on the path to maximum happiness.

The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.

One of the most vital pieces of information I have acquired is that I know close to nothing. Once I was able to hold this in my mind, I was able to learn exponentially more and get far more help than overestimating my knowledge. Simply acknowledging that I have a very specific skillset and background empowered both my ability to contribute to those around my and their ability to contribute to me. Never again will I hesitate to ask questions or say that I don’t understand. Information is power and to obtain either requires an openness to that which you do not know and cannot control.

There are currently a magnitude of different life aspects I have applied my new way of thinking to. My new approach has led me down avenues I never before thought possible. I have made staggering progress in achieving my goals and dreams which I can easily see and articulate. Constant personal revision for an improved pathway to happiness is vital for my way of living. Incorporating this thought provocation and purpose driven approach has set me up to enjoy each day more than the last. If any of this rings true or sounds bogus, message me and let me know how you feel!

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Dude, Be Nice

positive workplace environmentThe last two weeks I spent 12 hours per day with the same group of people chanting and yelling. Each of us began as complete strangers which rapidly changed given the duration of the time we spent together. There was nothing truly significant about this particular group of people that made them behave the way they did. Granted, some general stereotypes can be applied anywhere you look. What was significant was the attitudes that were on display towards one another.

WCMS is a credit union education program that promotes the movement’s values. Anyone can put on a class and fill it with useful information (which they did an excellent job at). What WCMS excelled at was promoting a positive learning environment. They set expectations that were intangible which students were generally expected to live up to. This is really difficult to do and even more difficult to describe, but it was the cornerstone of the entire program.

We learned early that there were many people who were very involved in the school. Of all those people, not one contributed a negative look or word to one another. Classes threw events that were geared towards inclusion and participation. Being part of a team is a daunting task. It’s important that the expectation of non-judgmental inclusion and participation without risk of reprimanding or embarrassment is set early. Without that, there really won’t be a great team atmosphere where members are willing to contribute their all.

There are many ways to generate that environment. The desired result is pretty simple: be nice. Everyone has a workplace horror story of having to collaborate with the office asshole. If we want to pull the most out of each employee, we can’t allow an overly harsh or terse communicator to pull down the moral of individuals. We need an accepting and open environment where our people are willing to take risks on behalf of the company without fear of any form. Allowing fear to seep into a culture spells disaster for innovation and growth.

The idea of having the expectation to be overtly nice and courteous is a base requirement. Don’t make excuses for those who inject fear to your organization. We need all people on the payroll to be as happy as possible to maximize productivity. Accept people for who they are, make it known that everyone is expected to accept their peers for who they are, and structure your environment to promote pleasantly courteous attitudes. The age of the temper tantrum or whip cracking is well over. Move into the current era of work places where your people can’t wait to get there every day.

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3 Principles for Transforming Corporate Environments

As a business school graduate and an MBA student, how to act in the workplace is supposed to come natural to me. However, if you read any of my previous posts, you might note that I don’t believe in behaving the way everyone else does. Particularly in the corporate environment, conformity is coveted. If we can break that barrier and be open to a new wave of business thinking, we can open the doors to all sorts of possibility. Here are a few ways I know how:

1. Radical Honesty

I am in the fortunate position to have been blessed with the ability to speak truthfully without fear of prosecution based on my second amendment rights. Although this is subject to great political and legal debate, using this principle in the conservative corporate world is really not all that controversial (at least not on a micro level). I can honestly talk to my boss about what I think or feel about my job, and I should! The problem is not enough people are trying to hear this. Happy employees are good employees. Find a way to be more honest with your employer, or find a way to stimulate honesty within your department of employees.

2. Radical Transparency

Friends don’t make secrets AND secrets don’t make friends. This can be applied to the business world. Ever wonder why your company has a nasty reputation? Either among employees or among consumers? Well, chances are that the reputation could be combatted with a healthy dose of transparency. Be real with people because people don’t like fakers. Whenever I have a decision that may be unpopular with my employees, I have a very open conversation about what it is and why it had to be made. I cover all of their concerns in order to justify it. If you can’t justify your decision in the face of adversity, then clearly you haven’t thought enough about it. This can even be applied to pay. Imagine if women around the world were able to see what their male counterparts made in comparison to them. Transparency is a powerful tool that can elicit trust, faith, and equality.

3. Radical Participation

If you’re only looking to warm a seat, you don’t belong to be part of what I’m trying to accomplish. That isn’t derogatory to your character, it’s simply a difference in attitude. In my work environment, I pursue inclusion and buy in (just like all other employers). This transfers to my personal life as well. I tend not to hang out with those who prefer to watch me have fun rather than participate in the fun. Considering there is no difference between a personal and professional life, the only difference in this principle is the matter of employment (and employment is not always fun). Inciting participation and participating yourself is vital to being successful in any area of business.

I only skimmed over the tops of these principles. There is much to say about how to go about bringing this kind of change to an organization and how to keep it going. It’s not easy. There are, of course, downsides to using these tools. With that said, there is no way that I will ever personally neglect them because of the benefit they have provided to both me and everyone around me. If you would like to know more about this and how it could benefit your company, send me a message or comment below!

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Getting Millennials ‘Buy In’ For Your Workplace

The buzz about millennials in the workplace leaves me scratching my head. I listen to executives gripe about the new generation with the same breath they’re begging for millennial cooperation. Understanding the demographic is apparently frustrating, but I ensure you that it’s not impossible.

First, let’s not commit stereotype suicide. Certain generalizations can be made to make your brand more appealing to millennials from a consumer and an employee standpoint. However, no net can be cast over us all. We are as diverse in our culture as we are in thought. Some commonalities we tend to share include a flexible and adaptive workplace. You don’t have to be Google to offer a modified environment to conform to our preferences. Also, we are individuals. We want to be able to be ourselves without restrictions. Find a way to capitalize on what we tend to be partial to rather than fighting against it.

Second, you must be willing to change. I know…your brand grew to success with these tried and true techniques. Want to know a millennial secret? We don’t give a shit how it was always done! This is the moment, right here and now, that we are going to make a judgement about. As employees, it doesn’t matter if every new hire since the brand’s inception has been satisfied with the pay structure and benefits.

Third, we are paying attention. The revolution that has shaped millennial’s mindsets revolves around the internet’s rapid spread of information. We are in tune with our surroundings on a level that it hard for Gen X’ers to comprehend. Brands can’t hide behind corporate policies and human relations. We are a generation of information and we are finding brands that embody what we desire and those who make excuses for why they don’t.

Millennials are the present and future consumers that have brands drooling. To get this generation’s attention, you must behave in line with our values. Actions must be taken to move your brand into millennial sights. Go out and talk to them to get a feel for their wants and needs. Understand the way we think. Without that understanding and willingness to change, your brand will be about to enter its’ sunset phase.

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Get Your Mind Right

I have always thought differently. I remember, in high school, I had a fantastic social studies teacher Mr. Combs. In his class we were learning about political beliefs, what they were, how to define our own, and most importantly why we thought that way. He would separate the room into left or right and allow a brief debate about why each side felt the way they did. I found myself standing alone in many instances. Today, I don’t stand alone. I do stand apart.

Stereotypes and structure are not insurmountable aspects in any way shape or form. In developing a relationship with my girlfriend, I disrupted the preconceived ideas about what a relationship should be early on. If she wanted to be a part of my non-traditional lifestyle, she would have to be part of my non-traditional way of thinking. In having a radically honest conversation about what I was looking for in a relationship we became spiritually intertwined in a way.

Radical honesty is one tool I use to raise questions about what we do and why we do it. In my girlfriend’s situation, I was looking to find out whether she was or is capable of being stronger than me. Simply because society has shaped our thought patterns to think of women as less physically or emotionally sturdy than men doesn’t make it so. Fortunately, she is a stronger person than I could ever dream of becoming. It took raising the question for both of us to realize what the full potential was that lay before us.

“The person who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The person who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever seen before.” – Albert Einstein

This principle of questioning the norm can be applied to all kinds of situations (not just relationships). It should have been applied sooner in the slave trade. We don’t challenge enough when it comes to LGBT rights and inherent prejudice build into our public social structure. Companies play follow the leader rather than taking the initiative to lead themselves. In the corporate world, were afraid to stick out like a sore thumb. However, it is usually the outliers who are capable of the greatest growth and reward.

Change is resisted by most. We are, after all, creatures of habit. The only way I am able to learn and grow as a citizen of the world is to undergo change. Understanding for our fellow citizens is not an inherent quality. We need to step out of our comfort zone to be able to empathize with all walks of life. Don’t be afraid to think or act differently. Change, uncertainty and growth is what the human experience is all about.

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Release Your Creative Mind

Recently I’ve realized that my voice has been stifled since I was a child. Growing up we are told children should be seen and not heard. Don’t talk back. Over time, I have been brainwashed to think the way that those who have held authoritarian positions over me have wanted to me think. What does that mean for my artistic vision?

I’m not going to get into a nature vs nurture debate here. All of it carries equal weight in my mind. What I do mean to do is explore the portions of my mind and creativity that have been impacted by others negatively. As a young child, adults change your thought patterns even if they don’t know it. As an adult, it is important to undo the mistakes that have resonated so far.

So what am I talking about? I’m saying that throughout all my childhood, I wanted to be a painter. Art captivated my mind and I practiced constantly. Teachers didn’t have much time for any of that. What they were preaching came second hand to me, so I was bored. Boredom made me act out. The powers that be slowly, but most definitely surely, redirected my attention from what was interesting to me to what was necessary for them.

Reprogramming a fully functioning brain takes work. In my case, I need to refocus my energy pattern that flows through my brain to enable me to envision and pursue art. Since my brainwaves have been set on a course through math books, sitting still, and shutting up, they need to be taught to travel through the ravine that sparked the fire of childhood ambition.

Technical knowledge is important to get out the vision you have in your mind. If you don’t know how to paint, it doesn’t matter if you can imagine a painting. I have to work backwards to undo what had had originally been done. Reject the traditional ideas about what makes good art, what is the social norm of acceptability, and what everyone else wants to see from you. Un-teach yourself the cookie cutter lessons that subdued your passionate pursuit of unique. None of it matters now. Allow your artistry to be untethered.

Photo Credit: Inc, Exquisite Minds

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Born in China

Born in China Disneynature Pandas Documentary

Walt Disney set the tone of Disneynature films in the late 1940s with True-Life Adventures. Disneynature carries Walt’s fascination and love for the planet’s animals forward through the 21st century. Born in China is a look into the unique lives of four tremendous creatures. It documents a span of seasons and how each life changes and morphs with the changing life circumstances.

Born in China utilizes a story telling technique that is unique to DisneyNature documentaries. The story of the animals is told by narrator John Krasinski, and he has the priveldge of telling these animals unique path through their world. We don’t just see pandas in their natural habitat, but rather we see the pandas Ya Ya and her daughter Mei Mei in their home. The filmmakers took a exceptional approach to giving feeling to these characters.

This movie is shot with landscape photography that will blow your mind. China has an absolutely gorgeous topography that is portrayed in the greatest fashion. Obtaining footage of the snow leopard, Dawa, is not simple by any stretch of the imagination. The fact that the crew was able to reach such isolated areas and obtain such captivating footage is inspiring.

One of the most interesting aspects of the experience with this film was the approach they took with death. Wildlife is full of predatory animals and it would have been difficult to avoid in their story line all together. The approach they took impressed me and delivered a message that resonated well. They emphasized that in the animal kingdom, sometimes they must take life to give life.

From the beginning, I knew I would enjoy this documentary. Seeing it in the opening week contributed to the World Wildlife Fund to benefit pandas and snow leopards. Disney is one of the leading powerhouses when it comes to branding. Each action they take perpetuates their brand identity. They also happen to consistently produce high quality products. This all creates a perfect storm under which I find myself swept away in each experience, and Born in China is no exception.

Photo Credit: Disney Parks, USA Today

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Visual & Perceived Signals – San Jose Sharks

Prequel: Preparation

Sweaty palms and restless legs can be feelings invoked by talented curators. Although far from simple, accomplishing this response can solidify our feelings about the experience we have towards a brand. As a lifetime sport enthusiast and a business education background, exploring the organizations that bring the world so much passion is intriguing. I recently traveled to San Jose for a Sharks hockey game. Although I watched a disappointing loss, the experience was far from disappointing. From the planning and preparation to the in game experience, the San Jose Sharks organization provided exemplary entertainment which has me yearning for more.

The most complicated aspect for most journeys begins with coordinating the trip. Fortunately, there are only a couple simple steps here. I first researched the schedule to find a home game which fell on a Saturday. These will be more expensive than weekday games, but potentially have a larger audience and more energy. It is also wise to research their opponents and the context of the game if it is at all possible. My choice was to see the Anaheim Ducks, a conference foe with a playoff bound record, in a time where both teams could be jockeying for playoff positioning.

Tickets can be purchased in a number of ways, but I suggest using the NHL ticket exchange or the regular Ticketmaster site (just be prepared for the exuberant service charges). I have purchased tickets on other sites such as Craigslist, but take extra safety measures if you do such as ensuring your tickets are scanned close to when the doors open to ensure duplicates aren’t used. In choosing a ticket, there are a few things to be aware of. First, the Sharks shoot at the goal in front of sections 107 and 109 two times. Second, this is extremely different from outdoor sports like football or baseball. The Arena is smaller and built up instead of out. Therefore, the section you choose will not inhibit your view, but it does change the viewing experience. Being against the glass makes it difficult to see the opposite end of the ice, but that does not mean they are ‘better’ seats than the second tier. Personally, I prefer to be up and back in order to be fully immersed in the experience and to better see the development of play.

There are two hotels I’d highly recommend for attending a hockey game. Both the De Anza Hotel and the Arena Hotel are literally a 10 minute leisurely walk away from the game. The De Anza is the more modern of the two with a snack room available from 10pm to 5am and an iconic design. The Arena sacrifices luxury for the sake of convenience. It is less expensive, has recently renovated rooms with slightly rundown furniture, and a free continental breakfast every morning. Either of these options puts you in prime position for an easy enjoyable experience. If you have time, head to the SAP Arena to check out the Sharks Store and all their unique merchandise. The store will typically be open all afternoon, and close before 5pm to reopen for the game at night. Don’t waste your time shopping during the game. Knock it out in the buildup.

With tickets and a room, the rest is subject to interpretation. My personal favorite activity is to visit Kukar’s House of Pizza a couple hours before the game. A trip to San Jose is not complete without their linguica jalapeno pizza fragrance filling my hotel room. They are only a roughly ten minute drive from either of the above listed hotels. I advise you order double in order to ensure you have some after the game, otherwise it may be a struggle to find something you want nearby. With pizza in hand, grab a bottle of rum or a case of beer and head for the room to begin preparation.

San Jose Sharks Brand Presentation

The arena is kept near 60 degrees Fahrenheit, which is essential to know for the cold sensitive. Most people wear hockey jerseys (sweaters), but the arena fills with people which can generate more warmth. This is a great feature that the team is able to offer its’ fans. There are plenty of souvenirs and food vendors to peruse, so I like to get into the arena as soon as the doors open. Find your seats and orient yourself to the surroundings for the night. The Sharks, as well as most other organizations, have something for anyone who finds themselves at one of their games. They are developing an ever widening fan base through refreshing inclusion which is invigorating to see. From their business standpoint, it makes sense to treat people with equality and they do well by reaching out to those who don’t usually get the offer to join the community.

This brings me to the San Jose Sharks organization and their ability to provide an excellent consumer experience. Upon arrival, the energy is electric and seems almost other worldly. The stage is set before you and the performance of the team is ALMOST unimportant. The immediate reaction after finding our seats I caught on Snapchat displays the mood the organization sets for game night.

They maintain a clean and well maintained arena which all can enjoy. There are numerous employees wearing distinguished blue coats looking to assist anyone and anything in need. Prices for goods at the game are inflated, but that has come to be expected for any event. There is great comfort to be had in knowing all that the organization has put into ensuring the experience is a good one.

Before the game started, there was an announcement about epilepsy awareness as well as a family impacted by it on the jumbo-tron. Spreading knowledge and showing support for those who are in need of it is an admirable trait, to say the least. I tend to spend more freely with a brand which I know has the same propensity to help others as I do. It was a very valuable addition to my perception of the sport, the brand, and the night to see the organization supporting epilepsy awareness. They use their platform and influence to reach out and make a difference.

The beginning of the game and the teams’ introduction shows how the Sharks are not simply out to play a game. The audience is being entertained, and a great amount of theatrics are incorporated to cut out any of the dull parts. They use various techniques to get you invested in the experience and make a lifetime fan out of you. The action and scoring coincide with choice audio effects to sink the hooks of fandom deep into the tissue of the audience.

In the grand scheme, a single fan at a single game does not make a grand difference to the organization. Everyone who goes is pretty much subject to the same treatment and the same experience (with the exception of your seat choice). Despite this, I feel as though everyone’s experience at the game is completely unique and all inclusive. They provide a raw and organic form of entertainment that is unrivaled. The few factors that are controllable are enriched with enthusiasm and care which produce a rich sentiment in the minds of the consumers. I applaud the San Jose Sharks organization for the excellent execution, for although the team lost the game they gained 4 lifelong devotees.

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Photo Credit: Score Stream, CA Fire Foundation

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Perspective vs Perception

“Some people see the glass half full. Others see it half empty.
I see a glass that’s twice as big as it needs to be.”
George Carlin

Perception perspective

I write often about both perception and perspective with regards to many aspects of photography and the camera world. They relate to all aspects of life. It’s important to acknowledge their presence in our life situations and how they impact us. Perception is defined as awareness of something through the senses, a mental impression, or an intuitive understanding and insight. Perspective is a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view, or a true understanding of the relative importance of things; a sense of proportion.

It seems as though we are splitting hairs in attempting to differentiate the two. In terms of photographic technique, perspective relates more to the actual position of the camera. I’m not saying simply the physical location and direction of the camera, but also who is taking the picture and how they are seeing it. Perception relates more so to the feelings invoked by the image that was taken. It takes into consideration a person’s predispositions as well as the photographer’s perspective.

My perception is highly influenced by my cultural surroundings. I seek to challenge my perspective constantly in order to negate or affirm my understanding or feeling towards a subject. Approaching photo shoots with your perspective of the subject clearly in mind will give you insight to how your images might turn out. Consider the perspective of your subjects as well.

Perception is something I feel to be highly important to the work of a photographer. On a very basic level, we take pictures of things that either affirm or change someone’s perception of the subject. For example, a picture of Yosemite might confirm that nature is beautiful or a picture of a leopard after hunting might alter someone’s belief that all cats are cuddly. Considering and challenging your perspective prior to shooting will allow you to focus on the desired affect you want to have on a viewer’s perception.

Confused yet? I probably talked in circles and used interchangeable terms in a way that made them seem unique. That might just be my perception of my writing which influenced the perspective with which I wrote it. Or was it supposed to be the other way around? In any case, explore what you think and feel about subjects you are shooting. Wonder through those feelings and discover the way which you are seeing what’s in front of you, and consider how you want those around you to see it.

Photo Credit: To Know

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