I stumbled across the acronym H. O. P. E. through one of the networking meetings I attended a year ago. This acronym is still as relevant to me today as it was when I first heard it. H. O. P. E. stands for Help One Person Every day. So often we get entangled in the daily hustles and rigors of our day and neglect opportunities to be of assistance or a blessing to others. Imagine how different our world would be if we all chose to inject a few milligrams of HOPE into the lives of people we encounter each day.
You don’t have to construct a well-drawn out plan to end world hunger or figure out the solution to world peace. You can help an elderly lady to cross a street, stop and give someone directions, grab an item on the top shelf at Wal-Mart for a random stranger, or help someone change a tire on the side of the road. You can do something simple, complex, crazy or something that takes you out of your comfort zone. Just get up and do something!
Your simple acts of kindness can Help One Person Every day to know they can have HOPE that, no matter what their current situation may be; things will get better!
The act of creating bonds and forming friendships is a behavioral pattern we have cultivated since our infancy. We look for shared commonalities and interests exhibited by potential applicants. We create friendships with people we know, like, and trust. Those privileged enough to be granted the title of “friend” are given the keys that unlock the door of our lives. We share embarrassing stories, seek advice, vent, and create lasting memories with our friends. We all have our inner circle (a small, intimate, and usually influential group of people) that we interact with the most. Let me ask, who’s in your circle?
“You can learn a lot about a person by the company that they keep.” This statement is spot on. Whether you choose to believe it or not; we take on the characteristics of the people we surround ourselves with. We resemble the members of our inner circle in our speech, actions, thoughts or mannerisms. It is imperative that you surround yourself with individuals you desire to be like. My inner circle is comprised of people who are successful, intelligent, mature and doing things to better themselves.
Surround yourself with people that you can LEARN from and EMULATE!
“Think before you act!” I’m sure we’ve all heard this maxim at some point in our lives. The saying is true. In today’s society we tend to let our emotions run rampant. We are emotionally driven creatures and there are many occasions in which we allow our emotions to get the best of us. I’m certain we can all recollect moments in which we did something that we immediately regretted. I can think of many things I’ve done. There are many people locked behind jail cells or with criminal records because they did not think before committing acts that negatively affected their future. Take a few seconds to pause, cool down, and properly calculate your response to a certain situation. I guarantee you’ll be better off in the end for doing so.
I was driving on the highway in the fast lane (the furthest lane to the left) and it so happened that a car was in front of me traveling at a top speed of 38mph when the speed limit happened to be 60mph. Traffic flow was constant in all the other lanes so I could not go around the driver in front of me. I proceeded to do the next best thing and decrease my braking distance (slightly ride his bumper) in an effort to get the driver to speed up. He did not comply. After 5 minutes there was an opening in traffic and the driver moved over to the right. As I’m almost even with the driver he rolls his window down and shouts words I do not readily understand. Then, he proceeds to launch a ball of saliva (often referred to as a “loogie”) at my car as I’m accelerating pass his car. However, he did not pause to consider the direction the wind was blowing that day. The wind blew the ball of saliva that he intended to hit my car, back into his face. I’m quite confident that he regretted his actions within seconds.
Don’t allow a rash decision to turn around and hit you in the face! Take the time to “Think Before You Act!”
I was in the middle of a conversation with a friend when he said “I have good news and bad news. Which one do you want to hear first?” We’ve all been in this situation in which we were forced to choose between the two. Which one do you choose? I’m going to venture to say that most of us would respond with “I want to hear the bad news first.” Why do we do this? In today’s society we tend to place a greater emphasis on the bad news. We can quote bad news verbatim to one another and elaborate on the worse details of the event. We know every natural disaster that takes place, we know of the latest murders, acts of terrorism etc. News reports assists in these efforts. I know many people that refuse to watch the news because such a high percentage of the broadcast is “bad news” (the glorification of crime and negativity). How many uplifting stories do you remember from the last news report you’ve seen?
Some people argue that saving the good news for last makes the bad news not seem so bad. These individuals would rather have good news be the last thing they hear because it leaves them with positive images ingrained in their mind. William Shakespeare stated “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” He is simply saying the more we tend to think about something the more likely our behavior, attitude, lifestyle and actions line up with what we are thinking about. It may be a bit of a challenge, but we need to place a greater emphasis on the good in this world. Let’s celebrate and share more uplifting stories with each other. Look for the good inside others. We need to detonate a nuclear bomb of goodness and positivity in this world!
Success is usually defined in one of two ways; the accomplishment of an aim or purpose, or the attainment of popularity or profit. The question I wish to pose to you is “How do you define success?” Each day our minds are bombarded by images of success portrayed by the media. We see rappers wearing lots of jewelry while riding around in expensive cars. We hear news reports of athletes or actors that purchase multi-million dollar homes. We watch reality tv shows that highlights the daily activities of celebrities. Today’s society has a momentous fascination with the lifestyle of the rich and famous (lavish purchases and luxurious possessions).
However, that is not true success. “Success is not measured by what we have. It is about who we are and what we have to give.” My definition of success does not involve the depths of my pockets or the amount of zeros I have to the left of the decimal point in my bank account. Success for me involves being a person of character, values, and standards. Success is making a difference and leaving my mark on this world. Success is helping as much people as I possibly can in whatever ways I can. Success is maturing fully and becoming the man I am called to be!
Let me ask you again, “What is your definition of success?”
Two nights ago I decided to complete a task we all have done and know all too well. I proceeded to go to the laundry area on my apartment facility to wash my clothes. It was approximately 9:30pm once the washing machine initiated its cycle. I decided that I should kill two birds with one stone and complete a few homework assignments in the comfort of my apartment while my clothes are being cleansed. I became so consumed by my homework that I forgot that my clothes were still in the washing machine. It was now 12am. I have no idea where the time flew off to. When I arrived at the laundry room all the doors of the dryers and washing machines were opened. I didn’t think much of it. I looked inside the washing machine where I left my clothing and it was completely empty. It was a dry as the Sahara desert on a hot summer day in Africa. I was taken aback. My clothes were stolen. I’m guessing the person stole the water I used to wash my clothes as well. The items pilfered were undergarments, gym shorts, socks, and various Nike t-shirts I use to work-out in the gym.
Why would someone do this? Were they stuck in a calamitous situation in which they were in dire need of clothes that probably wouldn’t look normal worn by a person under the height of 6’5? The motive behind this heinous act stills leaves me trapped in a state of befuddlement. I realize it was my fault for not keeping a close watch on my laundry but the act itself cannot be excused. How would you feel if you were in my shoes? We live in a crazy world. Unfortunately, there are people who chose to commit crimes. To be honest I wasn’t mad at the thief. Nor did I desire to formally introduce the culprit to my left and right fists. The material possessions which were stolen are all replaceable. I’m happy to have life, shelter, health, food and all the other minuscule amenities we often take for granted. I simply hope the person that stole my possessions really had need of them and was blessed somehow by them.
On Saturday night I witnessed an act that fully depicts the world we live in. I pulled into to the parking lot at Target and parked in the No Ding Zone (a parking spot located far away from other cars which usually requires an increased amount of walking to arrive at the entrance of a store or building). I was about forty feet away from the store’s entrance and I had a clear view of Target’s automatic sliding doors. I saw a lady bolt out the store holding a carrying cart in her hand. She proceeded to run into a beige ford explorer. As soon as she closed the car door the high-pitched screech of rubber meeting with asphalt filled the air. Shoplifting had occurred. I was too far away to notice any distinguishing factors. The lady in question was a brunette. She was well dressed in blue jeans and high heel boots. She made her exit through the entrance doors so that the sensors would not go off. The Explorer she entered did not have a license plate on the back of the vehicle and it was positioned at the entrance of the store waiting on her to make her exit. Obviously time was spent formulating the heist. I have no idea what they stole. I would venture to say that it was a high-end camera, or electronic device of some sort. Sadly, it probably wasn’t their first rodeo.
Has our society seriously morphed into a state in which morals, values and decency cease to exist? What could have pushed these individuals to resort to shoplifting? Did the gains of having those items they couldn’t afford to buy outweigh the ramifications involved if they would have gotten caught red-handed? I wondered “Is there any situation in which I could see myself deciding to steal something?” I can’t bring myself to steal. I guess I can chalk it up to my upbringing, value system, and the manner in which I choose to live my life. I’m a proponent of hard work and doing things the right way. If I can’t afford something then I’ll do without. So often we try to classify our wants in the same category as our needs. Morals and value are playing a lesser role in the world today. If we want to change the direction the winds of society are blowing our lifeboats, we must first start with ourselves!
Attitude is often defined as a tendency or predisposition to respond positively or negatively toward a certain idea, person, object, or situation. We all have our moments when we may not display the most ideal version of our attitude. We are far from perfect creatures. We all have our faults, defects, and weaknesses. However, our imperfection as humans does not give us leeway to display a poor attitude whenever we see fit. I have classmates who have chosen to adopt horrible attitudes. They say things like: “This is the worse class ever.” “I’m only taking this class because I have to!” “This class is so stupid, I hate it.” Thus, their attitude negatively affected their performance in class. They aren’t participating, turning in assignments, or grasping the material. I have friends that were gifted at their respective sports but went nowhere as a result of their poor attitude. Something as trivial as a bad attitude can rob you of opportunities.
Your attitude is the key that will drive your car of life to places where talent and skill cannot take you! So I implore you to look for the positive in a situation no matter how dire the circumstances. A positive attitude will help you to be better equipped to handle the rigors of life.
Try your best to adorn a good attitude around others. Remember, your Attitude determines your Altitude! How far do you want to go?
Today I made an impromptu stop into the grocery store (aka Wal-Mart) today to purchase a few essentials. One of the items on my list was a gallon of milk. We all know milk is usually kept at the back of the most stores. This is due to the fact that milk is usually a sunk cost. It is sold at a low price (maybe even a loss) by a store in the hope that it would attract customers to the store. Store owners feel if a customer enters the store to buy milk, by the time he/she gets to the milk he/she will already have picked up a few other items to purchase on the way to the milk (end of the economics lesson for the day). I made the voyage to the back of the store to buy milk. When I arrived at the milk aisle I thought “I wonder how many people just simply reach in and grab the first bottle of milk their hand touches?” “Are there people out there that don’t take the time to check the expiration dates of food?”
Whenever I purchase milk or food items I perform a TSA security screening of the expiration dates on the products. I search high and low for the gallon of milk with the expiration date that is the furthest away. I would stand there and look for however long it takes. If need be, I would single out a few gallons of milk, remove them from the line and perform a more extensive search of expiration dates. I’m sure there are things that you may do that may be deemed weird by someone else. We all have our quirks that make us unique. No two people are exactly alike and that’s what makes this world such an amazing place to live. “Certain flaws are necessary for the whole. It would seem strange if old friends lacked certain quirks.” -Johann von Goethe
Continue to be who you are and embrace the quirks that make you an individual!
Yesterday I had the opportunity to meet with a hiring manager in a one on one, face-to-face type of setting. I immediately thought “I need to make a good first impression.” A first impression is truly a lasting one. It can influence whether you land a job, make a new friend, entice a random stranger to perform a random act of kindness for you, etc. However, you only have once chance to make a good first impression. Thus, you must be sure to use the opportunity wisely. There was an occasion in which I was approached by a lady that I did not know. She came up to me with intentions of gaining my phone number in order to start a relationship with me.
Within that thirty-second conversation I was able to generate assumptions that were influenced greatly by my first impression of her. She spoke in an uneducated manner, she was dressed as though she left some type of cabaret, and she chewed gum with her mouth wide open in a similar fashion as a cow chews grass (ok maybe I was being a little nit picky there). Obviously she failed at making a good first impression on me. I didn’t share that story in order to pat myself on the back or toot my own horn. I shared the incident only to illustrate the impact a bad first impression has on future relationships with an individual. A first impression is easy to screw up and takes an abundance of time to repair. So I encourage you to be mindful of the impressions you are making on others. You never know who you are talking you! You could be talking to a hiring manager of Microsoft who will go out of his way to help you land a job. You may be talking to your future spouse. You may even be talking to a celebrity dressed as a homeless person. No matter who you engage a conversation with, ensure that you are portraying an accurate first impression of yourself! Also don’t chew gum with your mouth wide open!