Voting in 2016

On this election eve, I felt the need to address something that I've been thinking about for almost a year now. We see celebrities, politicians, our peers all say "go vote," "it's your civic duty," or "your opinion doesn't matter if you don't vote."

The reality is voting is your right and only that. It's not a duty, it's not a moral obligation – it's a right. If you feel conflicted whether because of religious or personal beliefs, no one should make you feel inferior for not participating in a voluntary act.

This election has been so heated and the American people are more conflicted than ever. We need educated voters to step up and vote. We need young people who believe in the democratic process to vote. We don't need those who are simply voting for "the lesser of two evils." Am I out of line for saying this? Does this go against everything America stands for? I don't believe so. Look at the Evangelical community, they didn't even turn out to vote in mass until the 1970's.

If you are at odds between the two candidates, it's ok, take a deep breath with me – it's going to be ok.

Personally, I feel there is a clear choice in this election. I was conflicted at first, but then I took a big look at a few key points that were important to me. This allowed me to go in, vote, and feel confident about my candidate. You might feel the same way but still be in the dark. It's ok. For those of you that are passionate about either candidate and are educated on the issues - VOTE. This is your time to represent your country and candidate using your right given to you by the United States of America.

I leave you with one of my favorite Roosevelt quotes:

A vote is like a rifle: its usefulness depends upon the character of the user.
- Theodore Roosevelt

What's So Bad About Porn?

If you follow my blog, you know that we aren't afraid to address topics that might rub people the wrong way (no pun intended). I'm a very open person and like to address things from fashion, politics, and today - the topic of porn.

Ok WHAT? Why? What needs to be said about PORN? Isn't that kinda self explanatory? Why talk about such a "private" issue? What exactly is there to talk about in relation to PORN? It's just PORN!!?!

Let me first say that I am no expert, nor will I ever be. I'm just an informed friend of many who struggle with this issue.

I'm going to do my best to address a few statements I made yesterday on Facebook. If you haven't seen the comments I made, below is the post.

Yesterday I came across an article post about a billboard PornHub, an online porn site, put up in Time Square. Now, aside from wether you do or don't think porn is right or wrong, this billboard is too much. This was my original issue that I was speaking about when I made comments on Facebook. I then added the hashtag #PornKillsLove - this is where the discussion started. If you're reading this because you participated in the conversation last night – thank you. I read each comment and depending on what lens you view this issue through, all were diverse and interesting to read. Shall we begin?

Thought #1 - Porn isn't just a Religious, Secular, Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Transgender, or Straight issue. It's all of the above.

Interesting huh? If you're addressing porn from a Religious perspective, it's a horrible thing that shouldn't be talked about. From a Secular perspective, it's acceptable and everyone does it. LGBT perspective, depending on who you talk to - it's apart of subculture. Porn knows no title. I have Atheist Gay friends who are so anti-porn it's not even funny, but I also have friends in the church world who just say "it's a natural part of a man's life." So pinning this topic on one person group isn't relevant to the conversation we are going to have today.

Thought #2 - Porn – The Science of it.

For this thought, I need to let someone who is much smarter than I am to talk about this. Gary Wilson - Author of Your Brain On Pornsays it best in his 2012 TEDx Talk about the science of what porn does to your brain. Please watch this entire video, Gary proves porn isn't just situational feelings, or personality based addiction, it's scientific. 

Thought #3 - The Real Real

So here's my heart. The reason behind why I'm even talking about this. As a former small group leader to high school students, I've counseled many guys (although stats show that 18% of young women watch porn once a week) through the pitfall of being addicted to porn. I've seen it first hand ruin relationships that lead to divorce. I've seen teenage boys objectify women which lead to domestic violence and eventually time in prison. I had a friend who went straight into the porn industry right after high school, I spoke with him a few months ago when he retuned back home. He described it as "legal sex trafficking." Hello!!! We haven't and won't, in this post, talk about how the industry itself even works. Yes, these are all situational cases, but it all started with entertaining the idea that porn is natural – porn is just a process of life – everyone does it. 

I'm passionate about this issue because I see it destroying lives everyday of men and women who will never know what life, love, intimacy, is like aside from a screen. Whether you agree with me or not, it's overtaking our society. Almost a silent killer of sort. I made the decision in High School not to let porn into my life, I saw the affect it was having on my friends and I didn't want that. It wasn't because I was a "Christian," it was because I wanted to protect my future relationships and hopefully my future marriage, and family. 

My whole purpose from writing this blog was to simply start a conversation about an issue that is taking over my generation in a very real way. It's not to start a debate, because to be honest, this is a very public yet utterly private issue. In a marriage this issue is between you and your spouse. While you're single, it's an issue of heart and head. I don't have all the answers, but If I can help point just one person in the right direction, writing this was worth it. 

I'd love to talk with you more one-on-one if you'd like to discuss this privately. If you're in the Fort Smith area and need help with this, I can point you in the right direction of people and recourses that can help you with this. 

My last thought before I go enjoy the rest of my Tuesday, is that this addiction can be beatenNow obviously it won't be easy, but it's possible. I know of several men and women who have beaten this. You can too.

Thank you for stopping by, and I would love to hear your comments below. 


Other Thoughts:

Why I Stopped Watching Porn: Ran Gavrieli TEDx Talk
The Resurgence - A Guide To Sex & Porn
Fight The New Drug



How To Be Excellent When Life Sucks

For an early twenty something like myself, my reality is somewhere between dreaming of the future and trying to pay tomorrows bills. It's hard to answer the question of "What are you doing with your life?" and "Why are you still living here?" I've found it hard recently to be consistent in the excellence of my work because well, sometimes it's hard to be excellent when you don't feel like you're on top of the world.

So how do you combat this? How in your early twenties, when you're still trying to figure out life do we stay focused on the path ahead? How do we maintain excellence when we really don't feel up to it? 

1. It's In The Small Decisions We Make In Our Personal World.

The small decisions affect where we go and who we'll become. Sometimes as we go through colleges or internships we get lost in trying to prepare and create our public, corporate profile. We often forget that the key to a successful public profile is a solid personal stance for character and integrity. Sometimes we don't realize that our stance on character and integrity in our own lives will shape what happens to us publicly.

2. It's In The Small Things We Take Note In Other People.

Have you ever met someone and you immediately, I don't want to be anything like them? Maybe you've interned or worked for a company who did it all wrong? Take note. These experiences will help shape how you treat your one day interns and run your company. 

3. It's In The Small Things We Do.

Jesus said it best:

"Jesus went on to make these comments: If you're honest in the small things, you'll be honest in the big things; If you're a crook in the small things, you'll be a crook in the big things. If you're not honest in small jobs, who will put you in charge of the store? "
– Luke 16:10 MSG

It's all in the small things. What we do day in and day out that make us excellent. 

Thoughts About Excellence:

  • Excellence is to do a common thing in an uncommon way.
  • Excellence is not perfection.
  • Excellence is an effort, not perfection.
  • While some people have greatness thrust upon them, excellence is learned.
  • The only person who can see if you are striving for excellence, is you.

How to achieve Excellence in your everyday life:

  1. Associate yourself with people of excellence.
  2. Find people to call you out and hold you accountable to excellence.
  3. Don't allow yourself and others to get away with substandard levels.
  4. Give yourself consequences for not achieving daily levels of excellence.



50 Things About Millennials That Make Corporate America Scared Out Of Their Mind

In 2013, Joel Stein deemed Millennials the “ME Generation.” The TIME contributor called Generation-Y selfish, egotistical and lazy. He also noted, however, that we may just be the generation that will save us all.

Per usual, no one knows what to make of us. Our parents scorn us, then praise us. They lament over our technological dependency, then ask us to set up their iPads. They tell us we’re lazy, then ask us for a loan.

Our generation is an anomaly. We refuse to do things their way, so they call us entitled. We refuse to sit in cubicles, so they call us spoiled. We refuse to follow their plans, so they call us stubborn. What they are slowly realizing, however, is we’re not lazy, stubborn or entitled. We just refuse to accept things as they’re given to us.

We refuse to accept that life must be dictated by a job we hate. We refuse to go to work in suits and ties when we’re more productive in sneakers and graphic tees.

We refuse to adhere to work schedules that don’t work. We refuse to allow the corporate culture to suffocate our creativity. We no longer see adulthood as the end of our childhood, but the beginning of something even more liberating.

We’re not going to hand our souls over to men in suits or women in pencil skirts. We’re not going to work for companies we don’t respect. We’re not going to wake up every morning dreading the 9-to-5. But we’re not going to sit back and sulk either.

We’re going to innovate. We’re going to change the game. We’re gonna show our parents, Corporate America and everyone else who refuse to take us seriously that we’re not lazy, entitled nor egotistical. In fact, we’re the kids who are going to take your jobs and throw them away.

Like that girl you can’t understand, Corporate America has gone from scorning us to fearing us. The bosses don’t understand why we’re not pleading to work with them, why we’re not wearing suits to interviews and why we aren't trying to make a good impression on them.

They don’t understand why we’re not lining up after college for a spot on their factory lines. They don’t understand why we don’t want to make five figures under fluorescent lighting or why we’d rather be broke than bored.

We gave you a shot, tried you out and decided you weren’t for us. We saw how you treated our parents, grandparents and the bottom percents and realized you weren’t that good of a guy.

Much like why our generation is full of more singles than any before, we’re just not willing to settle. We’re going to keep doing things our way, keep striving for that ideal life, even if it makes everyone else uncomfortable.

1. We play by our own rules.

2. We don’t take the first answer given to us.

3. We don’t care about getting into trouble.

4. We’re willing to work for nothing if it means being happy… Despite being in debt.

5. We know how to beat the system.

6. We’re always trying to change the game.

7. We have social media on our side.

8. We like a good fight.

9. We don’t care about the perks.

10. We hate that “good ole' boys club".

11. We’re not about climbing the ladder, we’re about circumventing it.

12. We ask for what we want rather than implying it.

13. We’re not afraid to quit if we don’t like what’s going on.

14. We’re not on that suit and tie.

15. We’d rather start work at 10 and finish at 10.

16. We’ve got youth on our side.

17. We don’t have a chip on our shoulders.

18. We know technology.

19. We’re more educated, by the book and the street.

20. We’re not interested in office politics.

21 . We have less to lose and everything to gain.

22. We don’t pursue the paycheck, we pursue the passion.

23. We have that "all or nothing" attitude.

24. We are trying to beat the system, not just work with it.

25. We don’t have to go to college to get ahead.

26. We’re getting married later and working younger.

27. We’re listening to our women.

28. We want freedom more than anything else.

29. We would rather die a slow death than sit in cubicles.

30. We know they need us more than we need them.

31. We distribute the news, not the other way around.

32. We don’t care as much about profit as we do the product.

33. We’re willing to listen to one another.

34. We understand whom we’re talking to.

35. Social stigma's are out the window.

36. We’re open to listen to those who don't have the same views as we do.

37. We know what makes us happy.

38. We know what doesn’t make us happy.

39. We learned from our parents mistakes.

40. We’ve defined them, they haven’t defined us.

41. We’d rather travel and be poor than be rich and never see the world.

42. We don’t take life too seriously.

43. We understand we’re all going to die someday.

44. We’d rather have experiences than bank statements.

45. We refuse to hate what we do.

46. We know there’s always a better way.

47. We want careers, not jobs.

48. We have passion.

49. We have morals.

50. We have each other.

Link to Original Post: (My post has been modified)

20 Thoughts For Your 20's

We all want to succeed.
With the evolution of social media anyone with a Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Vine, Pinterest can "succeed," or at least seem like they are getting the most of out life.

In our 20's we are all mindless idiots just trying to figure out how we are going to pay rent and buy our next statement piece at the same time. I've been dealing with the idea of "success" and how to really "make it" while only being 22. I've found the answer: you don't. Everyone else is their 20's is just as lost as I am, we are all navigating the waters of trying to do what we love and what we have to. So often we find ourselves idolizing those that have "made it" when our journey can't even be compared to theirs. God has called you and I to a completely different path, one with an outcome that we can't even fathom.

In the famous words of Kevin Hart "You Do You Boo Boo!"

Be you.

The world doesn't need another Vine or Insta famous person, we need you, and me. The better you and I can just focus on becoming the best we can be, the closer success becomes. What is real success in your 20's? Is it landing a dream internship or falling in love? Is it being able to pay your bills on time? You define what success looks like to you. For me, I've defined it as being able to grow and be true to myself while helping others navigate their success. My passion in life is people. Success to me is deliberately related to those I'm able to impact. What is success for you? Finding out what you're passionate about is a good place to start.

20 Thoughts For Your 20's:

  1. Social Media is not real life, it's what people want you to think real life is.
  2. Don't be fooled, everyone else in their 20's is just as confused as you are.
  3. No one really has it "all together."
  4. Just because your first credit card has a high credit limit, doesn't mean you can spend that much.
  5. Needs before Wants. Always.
  6. A Range Rover and/or a new statement piece is not a need.
  7. Reading will be a new kind of rewarding. Make time for it.
  8. Surround yourself with people who are better than you.
  9. Cutting ties with friends who drag you down is beneficial. You don't want that weight later in life.
  10. Get rid of people who prohibit you from dreaming.
  11. Travel. Travel. Travel. (but not on your new credit card)
  12. Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.
  13. You will fail - Embrace it. Get up. Learn.
  14. It's actually very invigorating to wake up early. Your life will be built on this.
  15. Make it a point when you go out to connect with someone you don't know.
  16. Don't be afraid to introduce yourself.
  17. Some of the best things in life happen when you just go with it.
  18. Leave your insecurities at the door, we all have them, no need to let them interfere.
  19. Find a mentor.
  20. Run relentlessly towards your passion.