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!

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!”

 

Intrepid

Two entries inside of a week?  Tell me about it.  There’s a method to my madness mainly because there’s a lot on the brain.  Well, this particular part has been spooling since early December.  But, anyway…

 

Like most men, I’ve been watching a lot of sports lately.  As a child, I grew up watching the likes of Michael Jordan and those great 90’s basketball teams alongside with Michael Irvin and those great 90’s football teams.  I think it would be safe to say just how much all of us wanted to be like those men when we got older.  But, as we get older, how much like those people did we really want to be?  History is repute with those who have tried and failed to live up to the legacy that they have set.  However, there are those whose efforts have been met with criticism because they aren’t consistent with the level in which these men or women achieved their accomplishments.  So, what is it about them that makes so drawn to them?  Is it their measurables?  Is it their statistical accomplishments?  Or, is it something more?

Michael Irvin, I guess you can say for lack of a better way to put it, is my hero.  But, I don’t want to really call him that.  Sure, he is someone I look up to in many ways.  I am captivated by his professional body of work.  I believe that his life outside of football is worthy of a story.  But, is he really my hero?  I admire the man but I don’t idolize him.  I’m grateful for him but not grateful to him.

 

First, I feel like I have to define what a hero is.  The dictionary defines a hero as “a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.”  I don’t think Mr. Irvin is noble.  He is indeed fallible in many respects.  He is, after all, a human being.  Human beings can make mistakes.  I’m confident that he would attest to that.  I don’t think he is admired or idealized for courage simply because he isn’t the epitome of regress.  I will admit that it does take courage to accept responsibility for actions in his past that do not endear him to his predecessors or contemporaries.  I do believe him to be admired for his outstanding achievements in his profession.  He was a terror for defensive backs and did so with unrelenting passion.

But, did this man save my life?  Did this man give me an opportunity where there was none?  Did this man take me into his home and make me one of his own?  Did this man affect my life in any way that would make me devote myself or feel like I’m indebted to him?  No, he did not.  It’s because of these things, I don’t consider him my hero.

 

But, what is a hero really?  Is a hero a civil servant?  No, they’re paid to protect the public trust.  It’s their job to do protect property and serve the public trust.  Many would argue that they are more than this.  I’d argue in favor that statement.  They do more than their job description entails and don’t get the appreciation they deserve.  Yeah, Jeff… I see you, buddy!

Are your parentals heroes?  I’d hope not considering that they spawned you, the least they could do is take care of you until you’re old enough to make decisions and take care of yourself. Are athletes or artists heroes?  OH, HELL NO!  They both get paid millions of dollars to either play a game or express their talents to the masses.  There’s nothing noble about that.  If you look at some of these men and women in modern times, it is a testament to just how far what constitutes “talent” has gone down hill.  The only thing noble for them may be their dedication to their craft.

Are athletes or artists heroes?  OH, HELL NO!  They both get paid millions of dollars to either play a game or express their talents to the masses.  There’s nothing noble about that.  If you look at some of these men and women in modern times, it is a testament to just how far what constitutes “talent” has gone down hill.  The only thing noble for them may be their dedication to their craft.

Is Jesus a hero?   Some would argue that He is and some would argue against it.  Personally, I don’t think so because first of all, I didn’t ask to be here.  I didn’t ask for his “divine countenance.”  Second of all, when it came right down to it, he was just as selfish as everyone else when he wanted to live.  That isn’t heroism in any sense.  That is a finely honed sense of self-preservation.  Had He gotten his way, he wouldn’t have been crucified.  He probably would have lived to a ripe old age.  But, since it is hard to have a New Testament without a dead Jesus, it so happened that he gets screwed and killed for his troubles.  Now, it doesn’t mean that He wasn’t a good dude and that he wasn’t someone to admire.  I’m saying that it doesn’t make him a hero to me.  Even then, if He did fit my criteria, divinity is a disqualifier for me.  Divinity is corruptive as it makes people conspire for its sake instead of inspiring for its sake.

 

So, I guess the real question is, “What is a hero to me?”  Truth is, I don’t know what would constitute a hero in my eyes.  It would be safe to say that I share a similar sentiment about the word “hero” and any of its derivatives that I do about the word “love.”  However, maybe not to the same extent for “hero.”  I just believe that the meaning and intent behind it have been awarded to circumstances that don’t merit it.  These days, a hero can be someone who simply does the right thing.  To me, it’s just senseless to recognize someone for doing what they’re supposed to do.  Well, hopefully, what they’re supposed to do.

I have an idea of what characteristics a hero is supposed to have.  Would my hero be brave?  Absolutely!  Would my hero be courageous?  Most definitely.  Would my hero have a fierce determination and an unshakable resolve?  Sure!

Would my hero be honorable?  I hope so.  Would my hero have to do something grand to gain my admiration and respect?  They don’t have to do anything grand.  Would my hero have to save my life?  Well, no…  Would my hero give up his life to save mine?  HELL NO!  I fucking hope not.

 

Does my hero have to be any more or any less the person they are?  Well, that’s the thing now, isn’t it?

We want our heroes to exceed the sum of their parts.  We want our heroes to do the impossible.  We want to exaggerate their talent or deeds to something legends are made of and it isn’t fair.  Talent isn’t mythical nor acts done in accordance with them meant to be lifted to that level.  We want to our heroes to be larger than life.  Maybe that’s why I don’t have one.  I can’t imagine placing someone on that level.  To me, it’s just like loving someone.  We can elaborate on what one does and what skills or traits they employ, but those things don’t explain what one is nor could ever hope to do so.  There’s this unrealistic expectation of ability versus the capacity to fulfill it.  How can they?  How can they when we, even as “extraordinary people,” are tempted by the most ordinary things?  Hell, we are even to a point where we considering the miraculous an ordinary, everyday happening.

Maybe that’s why I don’t have one.  I can’t imagine placing someone on that level.  To me, it’s just like loving someone.  We can elaborate on what one does and what skills or traits they employ, but those things don’t explain what one is nor could ever hope to do so.  There’s this unrealistic expectation of ability versus the capacity to fulfill it.  How can they?  How can they when we, even as “extraordinary people,” are tempted by the most ordinary things?  Hell, we are even to a point where we considering the miraculous an ordinary, everyday happening.  So, where is the mystique and mystery of someone or something that we empower in such a way?

 

Earlier, I mentioned that Michael Irvin is the closest thing to someone I’d call a “hero” and that athletes or artists don’t fall into that category to me.

But, if you look at it closer, you’d see that they do exhibit some of the characteristics that would warrant the comparison.  They, night in and night out, get ruthlessly antagonized by their opposition and media for the job they do, or subsequently don’t do.  They are imbued with authority because the younger generation looks up to them and they are met with obscene amounts of criticism, both positive and negative when they live up to or fail to meet expectation.  Their humanity is harshly magnified when they fail to rise above the insurmountable opposition that is placed before them and made to look like gods when the insurmountable becomes very much so attainable.

What about Jesus and all of the other types I mentioned?  Do they suffer or do they still suffer?  Sure.  Jesus lived much like everyone else does.  He didn’t escape criticism, incredulity, skepticism, and duplicity.  Civil servants take a lot more heat now than ever because the populous isn’t confident in their ability to protect them and then scream in outrage when the people who are supposed to protect them protect themselves against their constituents.  Parents these days have a real chance of failing their children due to the demands that society puts on them by mainstreaming softer parenting tactics in favor of older, less archaic methods.

Nobody mentions the amount that these people suffer.  The exultation of triumph is the cure for their misery.  However, the painful sting of defeat is the humbling reminder of why their suffering is relevant and much more important.  Nobody wants to suffer and those who use their suffering as justification towards being anything less than it has made them is still suffering.  The chilling notion of failure isn’t an option for them because that admission of failure might as well be the end.

 

So, what makes failure so important?  For one, the admission of failure is considered taboo.  Who wants to admit they’re a failure?  It’s like an admission of guilt or defeat and I’ll be damned if anyone will blatantly come out and say it.  Everyone wants to be a winner in some respect.  A small victory here and there goes a long way but the ultimate goal would to stand tall and claim dominion over their enemies.  But, we can’t win all the time and to believe so is foolish.

Which is why Mr. Irvin is what he is to me.  He is an admitted sufferer and failure.

 

So, what’s the point?

My point here is that I don’t believe there to be such things.  It’s a word we would use to encompass the person who rescued us in our time of need.  It’s a word that we would use for someone who gave us hope when we had none.  It’s just a word with no special meaning or intent other than to describe the level in which we esteem another.  Much like “love.”  It’s an extent to which we attribute the impact of the actions of another.

Michael Irvin didn’t rescue me.  He didn’t give me hope.  He didn’t sacrifice anything for me.

However, the life of this man did change me.  He was a cocaine addict.  He was not a sober-minded individual for a part of his life.  He failed to live up to expectations of his peers and superiors.  He suffered harsh consequences for his indiscretions.

However, the man did make the decision to kick his habit and rid himself of that addiction.  He held himself accountable for his mistakes and chose to no longer suffer because of them.  He found success on and off the field and retired as a three-time champion and is now forever enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The man is not godlike.  He didn’t conquer seemingly impossible odds.  All he did was just be the man that he is.  Nothing more and nothing less.

That, my friends, is what I would call a hero… if there was such a thing.

-Kevin

 

 

 

 

 

Captain’s Chair

“I always thought I’d get a shot at this chair one day.”

 

Lately, I’ve been moody.  Not in a happy or sad sense… for the most part, I’ve been a happy person.  A lot of good things have happened to me and I’ve learned to ride the momentum and to cherish everyone and everything that has brightened my life to date.

 

I’ve been moody in the sense that I’ve really begun to liken the journey that I’m on to having a command.  I’ve had to learn how to follow, and yes, being a follower is definitely more of a learning experience than you think it is… and I’ve also had to learn to assume the authority that command entails.  Out of the two, learning to wield authority has definitely been more of the eye opening experiences of the two.  Not to mention, perhaps the most trying and infuriating of the two.  But, perhaps the real skill to master here is knowing when to command and knowing when to let yourself be commanded.

 

A friend of mine said that our personality is the sum of the five people that we most closely associate with.  I believe he’s right.  We’ve let them close to us and influence knows no discrimination.  There is just this part of us that wants so much better than what we already have.  I’m not saying that what we have isn’t necessarily good or bad but if you’re a “Glass is half full” type of person, you could definitely endeavor to “fill your glass,” so to speak.

 

As easy as we make that sound sometimes, I’ve found that it’s become increasingly difficult to take advantage of opportunities that present themselves.  Me personally, I’ve found that I’m a “Glass is half empty” type of person.  It definitely takes a lot of courage to take on such a task of completely flipping this trait of my personality.  But, even more so, the level of risk involved is definitely intimidating.  Rejection is one of the most crippling fears that I possess.  It honestly is.  I don’t take chances unless I wholeheartedly believe that there is no chance of failure.  And if you ever get a chance to speak to me about it, it speaks volumes about the experiences and memories that have defined me as a person… so far.

 

However, being around the people I’ve invested myself in over the last good while has taught me that being rejected is just a part of Life.  It’s going to happen no matter what.  What really hasn’t sunk in, considering the level of success that I’ve experienced first hand with these people, is that it doesn’t stop them from continuing.  I don’t measure success as being financially secure, having a family, or necessarily anything tangible that you could associate with the word.  I consider “success” as having a firm grasp on how one experiences Life.  Yes, I know quite a few of these people and I’m blessed to have them in my life.  No, they always have not enjoyed the level of “success” they now do enjoy.  That’s why I appreciate them as I do.

 

One of the lessons that they’ve taught me that I’ve taken for granted for as long as I’ve known them is about risk.  “Risk is part of the game if you want to sit in that chair.”  Risk really is part of the game.  We do it all the time and don’t give it a second thought until it presents a conflict with our sensibilities.  One of the hardest things that I’ve come to experience about being granted command over anything in my life is knowing when to risk something in favor of something better.  A lot of lessons that I’ve been taught is to be content with what you have being nothing really is promised to you.  It’s hard to overcome that fear because Life also teaches you fear is a very powerful motivator.  We never know if something will succeed or fail until we try but if we’re too consumed by our fear and insecurities to try… it’s an outcome we will deny ourselves or save ourselves from experiencing.  Depending on what side of the glass you’re drinking from…

 

Through all of the experiences that I’ve gone through and all of the people that I’ve had the pleasure and the privilege to associate myself with, I am glad to have been given a chance to command the types of influences I come into contact with.  I may not always get to pick and choose the types of people I come across but I’ve definitely been blessed with some wisdom in knowing that said people pose either a chance to grow more as a person or to regress back into traits that I feel like I’ve grown out of.

 

But, the most important lesson that I feel that I’ve learned is that nobody really is fit to wield any kind of authority over themselves or anyone else for that matter.  It’s just too powerful of a tool for anyone to expect to use responsibly.  However, one of the burdens of command is that there will be times where you may have no choice to exercise influence and authority over someone else.  Letting someone pour their experiences of tragedy and triumph can be a risky thing to do and in the end could do a lot of damage or create a stepping stone in the ascent of who you are to become.

 

And I’ve found that being in the Captain’s chair is less about being in control and more about being groomed into a person that knows they shouldn’t be there but have been blessed by those around them enough to have been given the opportunity to affect success in others.

 

“Perhaps you still will… somehow I doubt that this will be the last ship to carry the name Enterprise.”

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The 20/20 Experience

When I was a little boy, I loved cars.  To this very day, I still do.  But, all I really wanted to spend what is now my adult life doing was race.  I loved the competitive spirit, flying by the seat of your pants, and being within a shake of disaster… both literally and figuratively.  It took an appreciation of adrenaline, risk, skill, and trust that what you’ve built and who you’ve built your life with won’t come crashing down on you.

Over the years, I’ve come to know that life, in general, is likened to a race.  Even The Bible makes a reference to it.  There are a lot of ups and downs, twists and turns, and obstacles that happen to interfere with making it to the finish line.  It wouldn’t be much of a race if there wasn’t a finish, would it?  But, perhaps the biggest obstacle that we all face is love.

Talking about my teenage years and experiences is pretty tough for me.  Mainly because I had such a terrible time coping with all of the antagonizing situations and negative reinforcement that I had gotten from them.  I learned not to love myself.  I felt that desire… the spirit… and the dedication that I once had as a child was gone.  In its place, degradation, contempt, and a complete sense of helplessness and being unwanted set in.  The feeling of being abandoned because love, in general, had become so glaringly absent and critical in how I perceived myself.  I had become depressed and suicidal because I didn’t love myself.  I hated myself.  I hated who I had become.  I was empty inside.  There was nothing left.

As I got older, I learned what love really is.  It has a lot of forms but the feeling that it brings is the same.  It inspires.  It uplifts.  However, the pain that we’ve accumulated and a lack of trust and faith that we can be healed can be overwhelming.  It’s definitely a struggle to believe that we can arrive at a point where we can be capable to pursue all of the things that we once felt passionate about.  I also learned that it is a journey to be enjoyed.  Personal growth is a process that should be approached with an open mind and a loving spirit.  I didn’t understand that because I didn’t have love in my life.  I don’t mean the superficial love that we tell our friends or the type we feel when we’ve become attached.  I mean the type of love that can only come from being invigorated with passion and being driven by purpose or by someone whose passion reinforces your own.

But, just because I got older doesn’t mean I found love.

Don’t get me wrong.  I love cars.  I really do.  They have been such a big part of my life as I am so fascinated by them.  They are about as unique as we are.  They have their own personalities.  Some would even say that they are an extension of our own personality.  I would agree with them.  We can make them loud.  We can make them faster.  We can make them flashy.  We can make them so elegant that everyone can’t help but notice.  But, they also can die because just as easily as we can nurture them, we can neglect them.  And much like them, our ability to love can die if we don’t take care of it.

I’ve learned a lot of life lessons over the years but none as important as love is the basis of everything.  I spent a weekend in Ft. Worth and it was really an eye opening experience.  I’ve become acquainted with a lot of people and most of which I would call my friends over the years.  I would go as far as to say that I love them in more than a superficial manner.  But, loving them as I do didn’t necessarily make me feel like I could love myself.  It wasn’t until recently that I had found a glimpse of that love I had as a kid.

It takes a certain kind of personality to make your life less about yourself and more about others. To be so open with people you know and don’t know alike takes so much strength of character and an ability to place them in a level of priority above yourself… it’s a genuine moment of clarity and rejuvenating to the spirit of passion that lives within us all.  Furthermore, to surround myself with people who want to thrive on their own as well as see and assist others in finding their own passion gives me the faith that the race I run is for something… and worth it to continue.

Through all of the hurt and lack of faith, being put in a position to realize that I still have the passion to continue… and enough love to persevere even when I believed I didn’t… is a testament that we can recover from those wounds… and there’s more to life than just building walls of doubt, mistrust, and paranoia.  I’ve learned that a secret to life is passion… what that may be is as unique as we all are.  For success… for love… for finishing the race, even.

Or perhaps to start one…

“Don’t act like it’s a bad thing to fall in love (with me).” -Justin Timberlake

And it really isn’t such a bad thing…

-Kevin

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