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Harder to hate them for no reason…

When we look at election maps we see that we are divided between the urban experience and the rural experience in America.

It seems as though where you live or where you were raised is a more accurate predictor of worldview than other identity politics we tend to consider as untouchable.

While the red state v. blue state divide is certainly real, it highlights something that is a lot more telling…

Regularly experiencing people different than ourselves makes it harder to hate them for no reason. The state by state schism itself is less important than what it tells us about diversity, inclusion, and regularly relating to people who are different than we are…

It opens us up, makes us more inclusive, and engenders empathy and compassion.

In this sense, people who live in cities need to visit rural areas and people who live in rural areas need to visit cities.

We can call it a ‘Reality Exchange Program.’

You in?

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The Edmund Pettus Bridge

In college, I took a course with Professor Mike Klein that helped form and cement my views on American equality through deep learning, shared stories, and a visit to Selma, Alabama. His course about the Civil Rights Movement was something I feel every American should have the chance to experience.

When we visited Selma, we worked with the community, participated in service projects, and bonded with people who shared our deep belief in equality, justice, and living up to our creed.

The Edmund Pettus Bridge was THE location of the culmination of the Voting Rights movement, and the events of that day, March 7th, 1965, became one of the keynote actions that helped swing the tide to achieve equal voting rights for Black Americans.

(Don’t let people tell you rallying behind a cause by taking to the streets doesn’t do anything.)

A few classmates and I got up one morning, went for a walk, walked over to that bridge and watched the sun skip off the river. The silence of the morning gave way to songs we sang together, and I thought to myself about how places have their own energy.

It’s an experience I’ll clearly never forget, but it’s also a testament to collective power, belief, and action.

No matter where we go or who we are, we’re all regularly presented with chances to be the change we wish to see in the world.

What will be your next chance to speak up? Will you take it?

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Please, pay for legitimate news

It’s more important than ever that we pay for legitimate news. I highly encourage you to do so, whether through a physical subscription or digital access on your devices.

We need to understand the perspective of the news outlets we read, compare and contrast them, know who owns those companies, and refrain from taking any outlet as gospel.

Most of all, we need to support good journalism with our hard earned dollars.

I have a New York Times subscription now and am loving it. It’s as much about staying in touch with the world as anything else. Art, culture, technology, innovation, philanthropy, events, and more, a reputable newspaper is worth it.

To my point, honest, ethical, & principled journalism is endangered as a whole, and if we want things to get better, we’re going to have to pony up.

We can also support real news by watching their content on Youtube via official channels.For those who don’t purchase cable TV, this is a great way to support through clicks and views, since most popular Youtube channels are monetized.

Lets vote with our wallet. We don’t have to wait every 4 years to be heard.

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Our digital selves own real estate

In a world that’s increasingly digital, it’s been incredible navigating the creation of avatars.

Join Now. Enter your email. Enter your password. (Don’t forget to update your profile!) Upload a jpeg that ‘best represents you’ and all of a sudden our digital selves own real estate.

In a world where a parallel universe exists inside the flat box on our table or the mini computer in our pocket, new rules are created, etiquette evolves, and we get to pick which version of ourselves we want to be.

Critiques of the internet say that it allows people to front, put on their makeup, and only show you the good parts of their lives. But for the most part, people do that in real life too.

That’s not the internet’s fault, but it does bring up an interesting point with respect to who we are online versus who we are in the world. I believe that we should only ever be as vulnerable, honest, raw, fake, fun, happy, crass, or silly online as we are in person.

No need to magnify or amplify, we can all just be ourselves.

We’ll find more power in social media by showing more than just the glossy sheen. By sharing our insights, doubts, forks in the road, and our uncertainty, we do more for each other than the superficial version of ourselves could ever inspire.

I’ll (try to) take my own advice.


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Your book recommendations

Thanks to everyone who got back to me with awesome reading recommendations! Now that I’ve fixed the email forwarding issue, I was able to collect a selection of those writings and have put them together for you here, along with links to enjoy them.

Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine, and the Murder of a President by Candice Millard

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

The Third Industrial Revolution: How Lateral Power is Transforming Energy, the Economy, and the World by Jeremy Rifkin

Ego Is The Enemy by Ryan Holiday

The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living A Good Life by Mark Manson

Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

Where Do We Go From Here by Martin Luther King (delivered on August 16th, 1967 at the 11th Annual SCLC Convention in Atlanta, Ga. – not a book, it’s a speech. And it’s awesome.)

Thank you all for participating. I envision more opportunities for us to come together and collectively & easily build resources for one another. More details to come……….

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I’m a dum dum, my bad!

I just realized that I wasn’t receiving your responses to my emails over the past few months! My bad! Maybe I thought you guys were being quiet? Who knows!

Anyway, I wanted to apologize in case anyone wondered why they never heard back from me. I like being super responsive with my list, or at least thought I did, lol.

I’ll get back to you promptly from now on. The email forwarding snafu has been fixed. I promise.

Thanks for reading, please share posts on social media when you love them via the buttons below, and I look forward to what 2017 brings.

Stay up!!!

P.s. I’ve started scheduling time with the 5 people who reached out to take me up on my 30-minute strategy session freebie! I’m looking forward to learning more about what you guys are working on.

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The student and the teacher

It’s interesting thinking about the way students and teachers interact.

Even though the teacher is largely the person imparting knowledge and perspective, the greatest exchange happens when both parties know there is learning to do.

I had an interaction recently where the person I was chatting with looked at me as the teacher. I was having that conversation when the thought came up, “You can learn a lot from this person even though it’s clear that right now they are hoping to learn from you.”

I mentioned something along those lines to my conversation partner. I reflected that even when we play the role of the teacher, that it’s important to allow ourselves to be taught.

I reflected on various interactions I’ve had playing either role, and my main takeaway is that the natural hierarchy can blind both the student and the teacher to certain insights, if they’re not careful.

If the student thinks her teacher is bulletproof, she’s sure to miss important critiques, parallel ideas, or valid negations of that school of thought.

If the teacher thinks she has nothing to learn, she’s sure to miss out on important takeaways their youthful counterpart might offer.

Depriving ourselves of insight by blindly protecting our chosen ideals or thinking our knowledge can’t be improved are mirrored oversights.

No matter what role we think we’re playing, we’re always both the student and the teacher.

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Hopeful haze

As the calendar flips over, many tend to think about making positive change in the year ahead. For all the focus areas of improvement one could identify, for me it’s about intentionality in my relationships, focus in projects, and making time to get mentally and physically fit.

For as much as we can get bogged down by the daily grind, I’m feeling good about this renewed sense of optimism. As the hopeful haze fades in the coming weeks and months, and it surely will, the question is less about how to maintain the discipline to meet and exceed every single one of our goals, and more about what we do to remain hopeful.

Pessimism is the heaviest of non-starters, immediately vanquishing possibility and leaning back on reduction.

But how do we remind ourselves that optimism is the only clear choice?

More importantly, how do you hit the energetic restart button? I’d love to know. I’m trying to build those skills.

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