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Archive for September, 2011

Why Not To Be Racist

Black Sheep

Do I think race exists?

Yes.

Does being a member of a particular group tend to confer certain advantages and disadvantages?

Yeah, I think so.

Do East Africans really make the best runners and Vietnamese the best poker players?

Probably.

Just google it. It’s unnervingly hard to attribute their success to vague reasons like “peer approval” or “cultural legacy.”

But I’ve also met Ethiopians that couldn’t run to save their lives and Vietnamese who have lost their livelihoods in a run at the tables. See, even if there truly are genetic, physiological, and neurological disparities between groups, that doesn’t guarantee YOU anything. You are still an individual.

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A Broken Eye

Has someone ever wronged you before? So much so, that all you could think about was revenge? Did you keep replaying the scenario over and over again in your head, unable to let go? I know what that’s like. To be dizzy with rage, to feel your blood seethe with hatred, to desperately beg your body for sleep when you couldn’t take it anymore.

I believe the first and best course of action is to try to talk to the person. For most of my life, nothing has done more to quickly settle matters than to open the lines of communication. Unfortunately, if the other party won’t acknowledge any wrongdoing, it makes it even harder to move on. Even worse, they may not be willing to engage in any dialogue altogether.

You might look at what can be done within the bounds of the legal system. Will taking this person to court resolve the dispute? You might also try winning people over to your side to obtain some sort of social justice. But what if it’s not possible to go to court? And what if your thirst for justice still isn’t quenched? I’ve also been there.

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Now, Not Later

Planet and Star Alignment

I meant to start my self-help blog earlier, but having been wounded by the double-edged sword of perfectionism, I put it off for over a year. I wanted to wait until my life was more “together.” Until I became rich enough to live in a castle overlooking the ocean. Until I could bench press a small sedan. Until I had convinced Katy Perry to marry me. Basically, I was waiting for my life to be so perfect that I became unassailable to criticism. Fortunately, I stopped waiting.

I love to write. The joy it brings me is hard to describe. It feels similar to seeing the woman you love smile at you, or standing on the rooftop of a tall building and gazing down at the pedestrians. It makes me feel full to the core. I’ll never forget the feeling I had after writing my first page. I sat back, marveled at its genius, and breathed a sigh of relief. When I re-read it the next day, I was in shock. My jaw didn’t drop, but it sure did droop. In fact, my entire face drooped so much it felt like I was wearing a leather baseball mitt for a face. I remember the sinking feeling in my chest and the swirling feeling in my head.

It sucked!

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Making Life Work

Dust Behind a Fast Car

“When you’re not practicing, remember that someone somewhere is practicing, and when you meet him he will win.”
-Ed Macauley

I believe most people have 2 goals in life. A professional goal, usually the one that pays the bills. And a creative goal, an artistic pursuit like writing, or music, or photography–what most people call their “dream.” While some people are lucky enough to live their dreams and get paid for it, those stories are regrettably rare. The vast majority of people either choose to become starving artists or eventually give up on their dreams altogether as the demands of the real world become too loud to ignore.

To live our dreams, we need to work at it. We must go through the motions regardless of how we feel and regardless of circumstances.

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Keep At It Anyway

An Endless Road

Life can be a cold-hearted bitch. She can knock you down. Spit on your face. Then laugh at you with her friends and yours.

But you will keep at it anyway.

People will discourage you. They will mock you; deride you; sabotage you. At times, you will feel powerless. Impotent.

But you will keep at it anyway.

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