At our core, I believe each of us operates according to our perspective. Our beliefs, judgments, actions, inactions, fears, loves, desires and infatuations are founded in our perspective.
Each of us has an perspective bank full of experiences that happened to us or that we specifically sought out. We don’t choose the environment we are born into. But we choose, at some point, how we respond to it. There are myriad contributors to the experiences that are at least seemingly out of our control. We can’t control those. But we all have a choice to respond intentionally, rather than react adversely.
We contribute to our perspective bank when we deliberately seek out new adventures, new places, careers, cultures and interaction with other people. These are experiences we choose because we want to understand or feel something further to what has been handed to us.
All of these experiences accumulate within us. They inform of us of what we believe to be right and wrong, just and unjust, beautiful or ugly, appropriate or not.
Ultimately, our perspective represents the core of our being. We are the perspective we hold.
We are like sponges. We soak up what we expose ourselves to, or what is thrust upon us. The people, entertainment, cultures and other surroundings we engage with ultimately form who we are, for better or worse.
In my mid 20s, after a rather tumultuous journey up to that point, I began to think a lot about the information that I was allowing into my mind. I’ve always been an activist, so I’ve always been well informed about world events and the state of humanity. But at this point, I decided I was going to spend the rest of my life being very deliberate about how I fill my perspective bank.
I am very mindful about what media (TV/Film/News) I allow to enter my mind. I’m mindful about the food that enters my body. I have lived and road tripped all over the United States. I experienced so many vibrant cultures and perspectives along the way.
I spent nine years living in East Africa, largely between Rwanda and Kenya. During those years, I experienced enough vastly different cultures (from all over the world), adventures, love, hate, inhumanity, and absolute beauty for three or four lifetimes. I experienced the rawness of humanity.
These experiences have profoundly shaped who I am today.
That’s ubuntu. I’m a reflection of everything and everyone I’ve ever experienced.
And of course, ubuntu is not inherently positive; it merely implies that are connected through a collective consciousness. We are all part of the same mechanism.
Every time I learn a new language, visit a new country, engage with a new culture or go on another adventure, I’m investing in my perspective. My successes and failures are equally valuable contributions. Each provides a unique opportunity to grow, evolve and be more of the man I want to be.
We are not trapped. We are not at the mercy of the world, or of fate. If you are privileged enough to be reading a blog post, you have the ability to choose who you want to be, regardless of your current or past, circumstances.
Many people in this world were born into, or currently live in horrific circumstances most people can’t even fathom. For those of us with more of a choice in our perspective, perhaps there is a heightened responsibility to be deliberate about who we become, as a way of expressing appreciation.
It’s a new year. Another opportunity for a fresh start.
Be kind, to others and to yourself.
Be deliberate about investing in your perspective.
Never, ever watch mainstream news. Never.
Watch more documentaries.
Embrace your privilege of choice.
Practice a mindset of gratitude and appreciation.
Invest in meaningful relationships.
Run far from the destructive ones.
Value relationships above all else.
Open yourself to new cultures.
Be responsible when you consume.
Buy locally. Please.
Remember that the earth is our spaceship. Treat her with care.
Don’t be afraid to fail.
And when you fail, cherish the opportunity to learn and grow.
Care. About everything.
Don’t worry. Ever.
Appreciate the journey.
Connect with nature again.
View the night sky with the awe of Galileo. Every night.
Experience God in everything.
Align yourself spiritually.
Take more walks.
Hug everyone. Especially strangers.
Be respectful of others.
Exemplify and amplify love.
Cherish every moment.
Time is not scarce.
Create your own reality. (You already are.)
Let go of your status.
Let go of your need to collect achievements.
You are not your work.
You are not confined to whom you’ve always been.
Stop trying to control everything.
Practice the art of allowing.
See the beauty in everything.
Be an optimist.
Believe in the goodness in us all.
Inspire yourself. Daily.
Apathy is a sickness. But it can be cured by inspiration.
Be a changemaker.
Stand up for what you believe in.
Seek the extraordinary.
Be who you dreamed you would be.
Believe like a child again.
Learn to thrive.
Believe that happiness is available to you.
Be the person you wish this world were full of.
Fortunately, we have the opportunity to reinvent ourselves every day. We all have the opportunity to be better humans any time we choose.
This is your year to be a better human. Embrace it. Be mindful of your perspective bank. Craft it. Use it to find happiness. Then amplify it for humanity.
Go forth into the extraordinary.