Prime

First things first, I want to wish all of you a happy and eventful 2018.  If it’s already been a ride through the first week, I don’t know quite how to respond to that!  If it’s progressing, I hope that it continues to do so for you.

Now, onto the real point before I lose my train of thought on the matter.

If I haven’t mentioned it by now, I really have a strong dislike for math.  On the flip side of that, I have a strong appreciation for numbers.  So, while I was on my daily walk yesterday, I started to wonder about prime numbers in particular.  The word “prime” means a lot of varying things but the one thing that stands out, and in such a wonderful coincidence, is that it means the very best of something.  The best time of your life (prime of your life), the best example (prime example), or whatever else you can think to associate with the word.  But, what really set me on this path has nothing to do with numbers.

I am a huge science fiction guy.  I absolutely love it.  So, while I was walking, I was watching a clip from “Transformers: Dark of the Moon.”  Some people think it’s a terrible movie and I won’t get into a subjective discussion about it.  But, what I will like to talk about is why Optimus is such an excellent example of the term.

I don’t think it is so much of him being an example of leadership or morality.  Maybe it’s more along the lines of it being such a numbers thing.  It didn’t occur to me until I was really invested in how such qualities and characteristics aren’t so easily mirrored or duplicated.  Sure, we can have examples of its antithesis but never an instance of those things in another form.  So, I had the thought of, “What makes a prime so special?”  I came up with many possible reasons but the one I can’t escape from is this:

A prime number is divisible only by itself and one.

What the hell does that even mean?  Well, numerically speaking it means that the number… say… 13… is only equally divisible by itself (13) and the number one.  Up front, that doesn’t mean a bunch, does it?  Well, when you’re trying to figure out what makes a person so uniquely them, that word can factor into so much more than numerical meaning.

As people, we try so hard to multiply our success.  We feel like whatever formula we’ve used to find professional success will translate into our personal, spiritual, or emotional lives.  So many of us find that to be lot easier said than done and I find myself among the many who feel this way.

So, why is it so hard?  If we can find success in one area of life, what makes it so damn difficult to just copy and paste?  As the saying goes, “The devil is in the details.”  The amount of work it takes to achieve and maintain success in one area is one thing but to duplicate it is something completely different.  So, why is so different?  Why is such a thing so hard?

There are two main reasons.  The first one being is that success cannot merely be copied.  We cannot clone the routine of a successful person and expect it to work for us.  Our individual circumstances, strengths, and weaknesses make it a tough challenge to duplicate.  We are just too different and that isn’t a bad thing!  The second reason being is that we want our own success.  We want every bit of who we are as people to be as relevant as the results themselves.  We don’t all break the same.  The same things that can make us special can make others fall into obscurity or vice versa.  It’s those things that make us who we are.  Which brings me to the point…

The point of being in the prime of anything isn’t necessarily to achieve or sustain.  The point here is to take the opportunity to take who you are and let your uniqueness and individuality build something that may be worth having.  Each aspect of our lives create unique challenges that must be resolved with unique solutions.  Why spend time trying to copy what worked for another when you’re not them?

So, as we move forward, use the best of what makes you unique to make something something equally unique.  I don’t think I’ve met anyone who would respond positively to their clone or even would want to meet their clone for that matter.

 

Besides, isn’t the best expression of who we are the expression we make ourselves?
-Kevin

 

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10.11.2017 – Learning Curve

Here we go!

Shout out to my friend, Keegan F., for giving me one to lead off with for you readers.

Or, economics, government, and English for that matter. For the record, I failed English three times.

To say that I didn’t care was a massive understatement.

I don’t care what they would have said, I was bad.

There is no worst feeling than being told that you’re not wanted.
Some for the better. Some for the worse.

One experience that is unique and challenging, to be certain.


I’ve grown to appreciate these moments more and more.

Contact information is at the bottom of the page!

Peace of Mind

I will rarely express my political views about anything because I find them to be utterly useless in any social arena.  I find it equally useless to talk about social issues because ultimately the discussion breaks down into a left vs. right argument instead of a discussion that yields problem solving techniques and solutions.  But, today will be a little different.

First off, let me say this:  I don’t have all of the answers nor will I attempt to justify or articulate the reasons why for all of these things that are happening in America today.  However, I will say that as a child from a military family, a former athlete, and a man who has had to deal with some consequences of being a minority, I feel that I should speak on some of them.

1) Racism in America:  First off, let me define through a practical application of what racism is.  Racism is the isolation of an ethnic group by either denigrating single or multiple groups by another in an effort to improve the status of another.  For example, Adolf Hitler was a racist.  The KKK, at the time of their establishment, was racist.  You folks get the idea.

Part of the problem is that everyone in the NFL who is kneeling to activate themselves in the face of oppression isn’t helping their cause.  They’re actually being more divisive.  What these men don’t understand is that their objection is cultural and not legislative.  The problem isn’t the senseless killing.  The problem is that the protests are by men who embrace their heritage but don’t condone the negative images that it portrays.  You see these men mimicking the mannerisms and behaviors of their successful peers but don’t pay attention to what brings that success especially with regards to music.  Some of the elements include drugs, guns, violence, and the open resentment of authority.  Now, I understand that some of these people don’t have the luxury of living in an environment that don’t produce a better opportunity at a life where one doesn’t have to worry about things like that.  I totally get that.  But, those things don’t necessarily make you obligated to “be about that action” as Marshawn Lynch would say.  The sad thing is that if one wants a better life for themselves, they would be accused of “selling out.”  You can’t act the part and live the life and not expect to be treated as a degenerative influence.  Now, some of the shootings were bad.  I talked with a Canyon PD officer who shared his thoughts and opinions and I found myself to be in agreement.  His ethnic background is irrelevant as it compares to his objectivity within the situation.  He said that some were bad and some were justified.  I agreed with him.  It doesn’t mean I’m an “Uncle Tom.” It doesn’t mean that I’m an enemy of my race.  It means that I can’t sit here and condone the actions of people just because they refuse to be accountable for their individual actions or choices.  You can’t act a certain way that promotes antagonism and expect to be treated fairly.  Simply put, you get what you give.  If you offer a reason to be mistreated, the odds are you will be.  You can’t stand around and disrespect authority and seek a fair and just response.  Now, I get that this isn’t always the case but in my experience, I get treated much in the same way I treat them.

Finally, if you want to work towards a solution for racism, here’s one:  Work to end it across the board because black people wanting equal and fair treatment for themselves is inherently racist.  Equality isn’t something you can take from someone and add to yourself.  It isn’t a finite resource to be fought over and coveted.  History is replete with examples of people warring over such a thing only for the victor to be given more avenues to further subjugate and marginalize each other.  It’s unfortunate but as a people, we are incapable of demonstrating the necessary ability to not commit acts of ethnic patriotism, for lack of a better way to put it, against one another.
2) Protesting the Anthem:  As a military child, I will always support the American Flag and National Anthem.  This country we live in isn’t perfect but the total disrespect being shown by athletes during the ceremony is contemptible.  Men and women have died so you can sit there and demonstrate your discontent with the social climate.  You can express that all you like; however, there are places in this world where you would be executed for such things.  You have a problem?  Okay, power to you for offering a solution.  But, you’re not offering solutions.  You’re using your profession as a platform for political and social reform.  You’re being paid millions to play a game.  If you want to affect change, do it through affecting policy or the climate in your community.  You won’t do it through your demeanor at work because some people would rather fire you than have to deal with your personal circus in the workplace.  If you ever doubt that, you can ask Kaepernick, Terrell Owens, Greg Hardy, Ray Rice, or any other person who has red flags because of their personal behavior or politics.  Honoring your home, despite its flaws, speaks more about you than complaining about the injustices you do not suffer.  You don’t have to be a patriot.  Just don’t be a divisive influence because it makes your hypocrisy more evident when you protest and do nothing to promote positive changes. 

I get you don’t like the state of affairs.  Nobody is accusing you of being oblivious or ignorant of them.  What you are being accused of is being an idle force.  If you’re protesting, you can also be active in the community and use your voice productively.  If you’re not, you’re merely an inert element in a turbulent situation.  Which sadly translates to being a part of the problem by not being part of the solution.  Sorry athletes, you’re not doing much of anything unless you’re promoting change.  Donating money doesn’t mean you’re doing anything, either.  You gotta be in the field living out the kind of behavior you want others to show.

3) Trump’s Comments:  Oh boy, did he drop a bomb here.  But, his comments are indeed fair and here is why:  If any one of us walked into our workplace and started a movement that was clearly divisive and disruptive to the integrity and quality of the product, we would be fired for it.  Plain and simple.  The hitch here is that the players are ultimately accountable to the fans and the owners have a responsibility to the fans.  The players are entertainers with no podium other than Twitter and Facebook to express themselves.  Trump used his podium, as the elected head of this country, to express his thoughts as to the social climate of the U.S.  Calling them a “son of a bitch” wasn’t wise but he did raise a good point.  They want to agitate an already inflammatory situation without dealing with the consequences.  As a result, they are angry for him expressing his discontent with their actions.  For better or worse, Trump has to bear the consequences of what comes out of his mouth just like we do.  Unfortunately for him, the spotlight is a lot brighter for him than it is for an athlete.

His comment wasn’t racially motivated.  If anything, it was patriotic and in defense of the sacrifices the military makes daily to preserve the American way of life.  Or, at the very least, what we hope it one day can be.  Furthermore, any person who has a problem is welcome to go somewhere else.  There’s nothing saying they can’t go anywhere that is more amenable to their sensibilities.  But, since they would rather stay and voice their issues, it isn’t as big of a problem as they want to lead others to believe.  As evident as it is, keeping quiet just isn’t an acceptable option.  You can ask Dez Bryant about that. 
As always, these are my thoughts and opinions.  I welcome discussion and your thoughts.

Until next time…

Kevin

Dying Words

First things first, to anyone who reads this thing… Effective September 1, I’m going to post twice a week or at least try to for all of you.  So, look for that as I post pointed and not so pointed content in the coming months.  Now that I’ve said that… 
So, lately I’ve had this song stuck in my head.  What it is really isn’t important but the message is.  Seeing as how much we take it all for granted, it really is something that needs to be addressed.

What really spurned it all forward was that I was having a conversation with a woman on a dating site that which we are both subscribed.  She told me a story about how she was mistreated by her exes and that it’s alienated her and all that.  [For the record, I believe that physical abuse any relationship is unacceptable from either party.]  So, I asked her thoughts on the matter.  Before I get into that, I’ll put the cart before the horse.  My response illicit some pretty harsh comments from her.

Granted, I’ll take some heat for this and that’s fine but my point is strictly this:  I asked her whether or not she deserved what she got.  Both good and bad.  That’s when I got the onslaught of comments and insults.  [She didn’t hurt my feelings one bit, by the way.  But, it did go a long way for the sake of this entry.]

Now, a lot of the time we say things, we use them to either hurt or heal someone.  Words like regret, mistake, goodbye, hate, and a multitude of others are used to take shots at others.  We want them to hurt. We want them to fucking suffer!  Conversely, we will use words like joy, blessing, welcomed, and love to bring them healing.  We want them to heal.  We want them to be made whole!

Personally, anyone can say whatever they want to me or about me.  I don’t care an awful lot seeing as it doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things.  Sticks and stones, right? 


But, I’ll BE DAMNED if people flaunt the word deserve around.  Talk to me like the consequences of your choices in the past entitle something to you now and there may be an incident.  Call me an asshole.  Say I’m a piece of shit.  Hell, run me through a wood chipper for crying out loud.  Do whatever except sit here and tell me that I deserve what I get.  That anyone deserves what they get…  Especially when they think it’s owed to them because they want it.  Hell, I want a blonde haired, blue eyed, and well-endowed Australian woman who has the accent to match.  Doesn’t mean that who I am or what I’ve done merits me one.  It’d be my luck I settle down with a Canadian woman.  As long as she has legs that go up to there, naw’mean fellas???? I digress…

I guess the method to the madness is here is that I’m a firm proponent of the philosophy of “You get what you give.”  Nobody owes anyone anything and that work and effort are rewards and rewarded.  It chaps my ass to see people, men and women alike, who are critical of their situation because they don’t deserve it.  [Now, I’m also a believer that life is indeed fair and that situations regardless of what they may be are a result of many things.  None of which stem from entitlement.]  Consequences aren’t always favorable, but they are definitely a result of what happens.  Not from what we want to happen… 
I want the best for people and I’m willing to go as far as they are to get it.  If they want it bad enough, I’ll support any action that leads to that goal.  But, sitting around waiting for something sounds like a lesson in patience to me.  I hope I’m not the only one, either. 

Now, those are some words to live by. 

-Kevin

Twenty Minutes

When I woke up today, the last thing I honestly wanted to do was reflect on points in my life that had come and gone.  However, I was reminded by an awesome colleague and even better friend of this:
These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.  Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” -Deuteronomy 6:6-7 (NIV)

 

It really resonated with me because of something my driving instructor at Exotics Racing in Las Vegas said to me.  He said that he wouldn’t have been telling me I was doing good things if I hadn’t been.  For a long time, people telling me I had been doing things well just to be nice.  Brandon, my instructor, also said that he had been around way too long to tell people constructive things for the sake of being constructive.  Looking back at it all now, it really makes me wonder just when I had been doing good things or just being told I was doing good things.  However, that is something for another day.

 

What I really wanted to get off my chest is that we seem to only really encourage or impart words of affirmation only when we’re on the journey.  We feel that the need to encourage one another only has punch when we’re about to do something important, risky, or unknown to us.  I can agree that those three instances can be critical when it comes to being encouraging.  However, it is disheartening to see it practically in only those three instances.

“For the most part, we have to work on small things right now.  So, if we’re having to work on small things after six laps, that’s pretty good.  It’s a car you don’t know.  It’s a track you don’t know.  It’s a driving style you don’t know.  After six laps of doing pretty good… getting to where you’re working on small things, I think that’s pretty good, right?” -Brandon, my instructor

Halfway into the experience and to have this spoken to me by an experienced driver was… for lack of a better way to put it, encouraging!  Here I am… no competitive racing skills or experience under my belt and just there for the sake of getting to drive a $120,000 sports car… to be told, by an experienced driver, that is what I would need to work on to progress?  That’s what we all want!  We want to be naturally in a position to have to make subtle adjustments instead of these whopping, life changing ones.  All too often, we take those whopping ones for granted because we don’t necessarily appreciate the journey we took to get there.

As I’ve gotten a little older since then, I’ve learned to really enjoy not abiding in being stationary.  Just because I haven’t left Canyon, USA doesn’t mean that I’m stationary.  There’s always a place to go or a thing to do wherever you are.  Lately, I’ve been exploring my faith and what it means to me.  I’ve been exploring my talent for composition and creativity.  I’ve been lots of places that a car could never take me.  But, for those twenty minutes in that Nissan GT-R, I found that a car could take me places that I wouldn’t have ever considered otherwise: a place that showed that encouragement is a journey all its own and not merely just a stop along whatever path you happen yourself to be.

 

So, as I find myself sitting here reminiscing about the things I have experienced and the things yet to come, I am encouraged.  Because at some point, somewhere down the line, there either has been or will be a Brandon telling me that regardless of what point I exist in, I have done good things and those little things will resolve themselves with understanding and application.  It’s kind of a shame that at first, I didn’t believe him.

 

Now, I do.  Wherever you are, I pray that you’re doing well and that the same drive and passion for racing and instruction serves you in areas of life that extend far beyond the track.

I can still hear “Turn now!  Brake now!  Push through the apex!  Go, go, go!!!!” in my head.  A lot better now because I can appreciate what it means to be encouraged through proper guidance.  Wherever you are, I pray that you’re doing well and that the same drive and passion for racing and instruction continues to serve you in areas of life that extend far beyond the track.

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-Kevin

P.S:  Thanks, JP!  As one racing fan to another, “Boogity!  Boogity!  Boogity!”

 

Bill of Rights

So, oddly enough, my best friend asked me if I was still feeling good about things.  Normally, this isn’t such a big thing because it is something he usually asks me about whenever we talk.  But, this time was different.  He asked me how I felt about “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

So, being the snarky guy I can be sometimes, I responded with, “Aren’t those things guaranteed by something…”  Not to be outdone, he responded by, “Well that’s self-evident :)”  Asshole.

 

But, thinking about it now, he did have a point about things.  We live in an age where we believe that we are so entitled to things.  However, we are not really entitled to anything other than discord, conflict, and a life marred by an endless sense of competition.  Why you ask?  The reason why it is so is because we all believe that the universe owes us something and won’t settle for anything less than what we may find acceptable.  Personally, it’s more like we won’t settle for anything less than something in which we can find gratitude.

Up front, it doesn’t sound so bad.  I mean, it offers you an opportunity to earn your way into prosperity and appreciate developing a work ethic that aptly describes your approach to life.  We believe that if we work hard, we will get out of life what we put into it.  Sounds fair, right?  WROOOOOONNNNGGGGGG.  SOOOOOOOOOO WROOOOOOOONNNNGGGG.

“Nothing reveals Humanity so well as the games it plays.” -David Hartley

Actually revealed best in how it plays.  However, I’ll get into that later.

 

In response to all of this, I decided to start a simple experiment:  I wasn’t going to compete for the affection of another, period.  If someone wanted my attention or affection, I’d freely give it to them.  But, I wasn’t going to fight for something that didn’t want me.

We put in all that time and effort with people only to figure out that ones who either have put in more time and effort or with more to offer are the ones who win out in the end.  It still holds true and we feel indignant because there isn’t any justice.  We invest ourselves so much in something or someone only to get nothing out of it.  How fair is that?  It’s a question that I found myself asking daily.  Well, until yesterday…

Yesterday, I decided that I wasn’t going to be engaged with intentional community.  What I mean by that is things like bible studies or anything that was orchestrated to create the environment.  If I was going to be in community, I was going to be in community with anyone who sought my attention or affection.  I decided I was done making the offering and it going for nothing especially with the consideration of how isolated it made me feel.

I found it to be surprisingly liberating.  I may not have hung out with the groups of people I would have normally but I found gratitude and understanding when I did find myself in it.  It was so nice to not have to compete!  It was free of expectation and free of obligation and it was perhaps some of the best communions I’ve ever had.  It was strange but at the same time I couldn’t really help but feel disappointed and let down.  I couldn’t help but feel guilty for having a singular instance of it.

 

So, after really being able to sit down with myself and think about why it was so disheartening, I’ve drawn the conclusion that the “More is better” philosophy is the culprit.  We live in a time where more is better and the absence of volume might as well be an absence period.  There was the epiphany…

The extraordinary has become ordinary because the cost of being ordinary is so high.  If we’re not standing out or not in possession of something that isn’t present, we might as well not be where we are.  It’s so painful knowing that we have to do more to be more and the price paid is the expectation of knowing that there isn’t enough we can do.  It is at the root of what we are to aspire.  But, that aspiration has been lost to who we are.  We identity in how much of something we have.  We identify in how much we work.  We have become so confident in volume that we measure ourselves by it.  It has become so altruistic that we’ve made it a philosophy:  The more we have, the more we deserve and those who have more deserve to dictate more.  Thus, creating the atmosphere that if you don’t have more than the next person, you’re not worth anything.  More than that, we believe that if you’re not worth anything, you’re not anything.

 

I may be a lot of things.  I am: a sinner, writer, philosopher, unsure, insecure, optimistic, friendly, introverted, shy, Christian, this, that, and whatever else I can come up with.  That’s what I am.  I can admit it.

But, that’s not who I am.  I’m still trying to figure all of that out.

I’m not any more or less me and I’m finding that the price I’d pay to be any more of the things that make me what I am would be at the expense of who I am.  That’s something I can’t live with nor would I really want to experience such a thing.  I don’t have to have more of something to know that I have it.

 

After all, aren’t I entitled to that freedom?

-Kevin

 

 

 

 

Odds Are

Every now and then, I’ll be driving from somewhere to somewhere else and a song will play on the radio that just shoots from the hip and strikes the heart and just holds me accountable.

Part of growth is learning that risk management isn’t always taking chances or making decisions based on numbers.  There’s an inherent dynamic that says no matter how much the numbers may or may not favor you, there is always a chance that the opposite outcome will occur.  Instead of making decisions for reasons why they would succeed, I’ve been making decisions based on reasons why they would fail.

That really just isn’t a way to live.

Sure, things go wrong but I’ve always been willing to take my chances.

I’ve always been the type of person who felt that there had to be some concrete resolution.  Sure, I’ve been known to act in faith and that everything will sort itself out.  However, more often than not I believed that whatever that meant would bode badly for me just because that’s how everything else has wound up being.  It didn’t matter if I had good intentions or not.  Someone had to bear the consequences and I always felt that it would wind up being me.

Nothing worth risking was never worth having.  I firmly believe that with every fiber of my being.  I don’t think there will ever be a point where I stop believing that.  But, I think I’ve grown up enough to say that I’ve lost sight of what I thought was worth having.

Lately, I have been struggling with the fear of loss.  The fear of losing my friends, my family, and perhaps even my very essence and what made me special… whatever that may be.  I still haven’t figured that one out.  Everything of merit that I have, I’ve earned and even more to the point, has chosen to stay.  I’ve committed unhealthy acts of sabotage against everything and everyone who has added value to a life that probably doesn’t have any.  It honestly didn’t occur to me just how damaging this can really be until I burned through them all and saw what was left.

There’s always a chance that things will turn out exactly the opposite way that we hope they will.  As much as we say that it shouldn’t stop us from taking the risk, it is still a very effective deterrent.  We can take such a negative view on how we make our daily choices no matter how seemingly insignificant or disproportionately impacting we can make them out to be.

It’s so easy for us to make decisions that we trust will satiate our own selfish desires or the collective interests of a group.  It’s a much more difficult think to make decisions that don’t.  We have to make decisions that are right for everyone concerned.  I haven’t been able to make a decision that was right for me in a good, long time.  I’ve made decisions that defended in cowardice what I’ve desperately tried to hold on to with such emotion.  What I wanted, whether it be in a social, spiritual, or emotional sense, was never really important.  So, it was just easier to place those desires behind those who did matter.

I’ve been so afraid to make risky decisions because of the odds that I will fail and lose them too… whatever the chances I wouldn’t may have been.  Instead of believing the odds would have made me miserable, forced me to compromise, or perhaps even just lay down and accept that it was over and I needed to move on, I could have accepted that they could have equally worked in my favor.  Optimism was never a strong suit of mine.  It didn’t ever mean that I wouldn’t be alright in the sense that I’d be happy or taken care of.  It meant that I’d be alright that I’ve learned how to live without those wants and desires and be able to move on from them.  After all, they don’t really matter now, do they?  Odds are they probably do… then again, the odds are that I won’t have to worry about them.

The odds are that we will probably be alright.  Not just alright, but perhaps maybe, just maybe… the odds are we will probably be all right.

-Kevin