Oops! Thats Not What I Meant

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Whether it be a relationship with a significant other, on the job or simply a social setting with friends; the desired outcome of any conversation is hinged upon two variables: communication & expectations. Personally, this is a mantra that I live by in every aspect of my life with any given relationship; so don’t be surprised if you hear me talking about it one day in passing.

With so many means of communication at our disposal, its very easy to misconstrue what someone is trying to say. You might get a text message and finding yourself wondering “Is he getting an attitude with me?” Who knows! (No offense ladies.) This is why it is so important to not only communicate but to do so effectively and to manage your expectations based upon the agreed topic of discussion within the conversation. Let’s take this example:

Your girlfriend says “I want to go on a nice vacation.” The guy replies “Sure. Let’s do it. When do you want to go?” She says “Sometime in July.” Easy enough, right? Well a couple of months go by and the girlfriend is excited about the trip and asks “So where are we going?!” *Drum roll please…..* “Emerald Pointe!” the guy replies emphatically! By the look on her face it is clear that she had something a lot different in mind. So let’s see what went wrong with this picture. For starters, how effective and thorough was the communication? Looked like a 30 second convo if you ask me. So, due to the communication gap, the girlfriend was giving nothing by which to manage her expectations, leaving her imagination free to run wherever it takes her. Not to mention setting her up for one big disappointment and probably an argument How could this have turned out differently?

Let’s go back to the beginning: Girlfriend says “I want to go on a nice vacation.” Guy replies the same as before, “Sure, when do you want to go?” She then says “Late July,” only this time, the guy replies “Sounds good, did you have any place in mind?” The girl tells him that she would love nothing more than to go to an all inclusive resort in Cancun. With this enhanced level of communication Mr. Emerald Pointe can let her know then and there that Cancun may or may not be possible. Maybe Cancun is out of his budget but they can go to Virginia Beach. It’s not Cancun, but certainly not a water park in Greensboro, NC. So as a result of this, the girl is able to manage her expectations accordingly and not be disappointed. Rather she can embrace the reality and make the most of it.

This may seem like common knowledge, but how many times have you ordered something from a restaurant and they bring out something that isn’t exactly what you ordered, or you’re suppose to meet someone at a certain place and time you get your wires crossed and you are in two different locations? Moral of the story is, if it can happen with something as small as messing up your order, what effect could the lack of effective communication and the managing of expectations have on a marriage? A business? A friendship? It may take a little more effort, but take the time to thoroughly communicate in any given situation – allowing everyone involved to manage their expectations accordingly. If it requires you to pick up the phone instead of text, or walk down the hall instead of email, do it. It will be worth it in the end.

Cheers,

MrGeorgeA.

Posted in Motivation, Vision, Perspective (MVP) | 2 Comments

Is Jackie Robinson’s Legacy In Vain?

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Sixty-six years ago, Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball. Robinson, along with his wife, children, teammates, and organization, endured a lot of scrutiny in the time leading up to this monunental occasion and during his career. But just like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., what have we done in 2013 to keep his dream and legacy alive?

Former Atlanta Braves’ outfielder Brian Jordan made the comment that “when I (Jordan) was playing, the league was 40% African American and now that percentage has dropped to 8%”. Why is that? Are African Americans not receiving the same opportunities? No, thats not it. Are African Americans not good enough to keep up with the continuous increase of players from other countries entering professional baseball? No, thats not it. Are African Americans being discriminated against by baseball programs at lower levels? That may happen occasionally, but thats not it either.

In my opinion, we have handicapped ourselves in terms of remaining a part of the elite class of players in Major League Baseball. This handicap is caused by two major things: popularity and the media. Growing up, my main sports were baseball and basketball. I loved basketball because of the “fame” that came along with it. Girls loved basketball players; teachers loved basketball players; even my principal loved basketball players. But when baseball season rolled around, that fame faded to the background as members of the track team took the spotlight. As I would look around the field at my baseball games, it was filled with Caucasian girls in tank tops and short shorts and Caucasian parents sitting in lawn chairs. This was no where near as appealing as the packed stands at the basketball games with hundreds of people cheering our names.

Jasmine King, UNC-Greensboro alumnus and major sports enthusiast, made the following comments regarding the representation of African Americans in baseball: “I think that blacks don’t choose to play baseball because they simply don’t want to. We live in an age now where images are everything. Young black boys aren’t interested in the nostalgia of the ‘good ole days’. They are interested in what’s ‘hot’ right now and because there are no dominate black figures in the MLB today, little black boys don’t pursue it as they do football or basketball which is really sad. Baseball is a wonderful sport that we as a culture contributed a lot to. It saddens me when I go to my brother’s games and there are only one or two black boys on the field. In one aspect its good for those who want to play professionally because there’s so little competition but it also limits the representation of a race of men who fought to play ‘America’s game’.”

Along with the lack of popularity, Jasmine touched on the fact that there are no dominant African American figures in baseball today. Players like Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Rickey Henderson, and Ken Griffey, Jr. are no longer prevalent in the game today. There are some emerging stars but the majority of the superstars and video game cover owners are Caucasian or Hispanic. As a culture, we are attracted to prosperity. LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Adrian Peterson, and Robert Griffin III represent prosperity. Even Serena Williams and Tiger Woods are at the top of their sports and many young African American kids are striving to be like them. Although baseball players tend to have the largest contracts, you don’t see them on TV in commericals everyday or on the shelves of your favorite athletic shoe store. The media representation of baseball players is not strong enough to attract the younger generation. To echo Jasmine’s comment, I believe this is really sad.

For those who have seen the movie “42” and understand the fight that Jackie Robinson had to endure in order to blaze a trail for African Americans in baseball, you too should understand why the lack of our race in baseball is disheartening. We are quick to say that baseball is more “costly” than other sports. This is a myth. While it does require a glove, a bat, some balls, and a hat (along with other things if you choose), we are quick to spend $100 on “quality” basketball shoes and another $50 on compression shorts, arm sleeves, headbands, and ankle braces.

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My argument is not that all African Americans should consider playing baseball. I am simply saying that we should consider the fight of Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickey and take advantage of the opportunities that they have given us. Rosa Parks, Thurgood Marshall, Martin Luther King Jr., and other civil rights leaders fought for our equality and we cash in on that daily. Let’s do the same to preserve the legacy of Jackie Robinson and other Negro League players that sacrificed so we could show the world that we are not just good for running fast and jumping high.

Posted in Championship R.I.N.G.S. | Leave a comment

21 Questions.

1. How do you feel about censorship?

2. More specifically, how do you feel about censorship in the media?

3. How do you feel about the 1st amendment?

4. Is freedom of speech the same as freedom of expression?

5. Do we really possess either of the aforementioned rights?

6. Would you consider them rights or privileges?

7. Are you religious or spiritual?

8. How do you feel about people who believe in religions other than your own?

9. Are you easily offended?

10. Did you know that the name of Kanye’s new album, scheduled to be released June 18th, is entitled “Yeezus”?

11. Does that offend you?

12. Do you consider celebrities role models?

13. What’s your favorite color?

14. My favorite color is green.  Was it the same as yours?

15. If my favorite color was different from yours, would that offend you?

16. If you were asked to define choice, how would you?

17. What is the biggest influence on the choices you make?

18. How do you feel about the choices that others make?

19. On critical issues such as gay marriage, immigration, abortion, religion in schools, gun control, what affirms your view on the subject?

20. Do you leave room for the opposing argument?

21. Do you think about things like this daily?

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Capacity:Success

Men are wise in proportion, not to their experience, but to their capacity for experience.

~ George Shaw

In proportion to my most current experience with the education systems of the Carolina’s, understanding student learning across all grade levels, and most of all working alongside those we feel possess the capacity to instill educational foundations to youth; I cannot help but notice the “lack.”

“The lack” is a descriptive term educators use interchangeably with disconnected parenting, behavioral moderation, gap in summer learning, decreasing population of unmotivated students, and the disparity of qualified and passionate instructors for all students. Below the picture describes a perfect scenario of lack. Capacity or ability in many ways is said to determine success. When given the standard test to be compared to the next student, the next advisor, next associate, next college graduate, next candidate, or next applicant, how does one separate their capacity to succeed from the “lack.”

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By no means could I give a definite answer, but what I do possess is a suggestion. I suggest that for all of us, young professionals, students, parents, advisors, and trusted friends not to succumb to thinking that capacity or ability alone will open the glass doors of success. I have very close gentlemen who are more qualified in areas, intelligent, and even willing to put in more hours than the others who are merely planted in positions they could flourish in. Capacity and success do relate, but more than immediate family, these two are more cousins in theory. Capacity and/or ability relies heavily on self-efficacy, intrinsic reward, and faith; all aspects that go uncompensated. Success relies heavily on knowledge, time, and experience.

As for mentioned, my post are based on “Aspiring to Inspire”, therefore what practices, habits, and life experiences would begin to bridge the gap or fill “the lack” of today?

Feedback welcomed
~ Cory K. Bennett

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Excuses…..How productive are those?

A safety net of some kind, or maybe a comforting mechanism…….no how about a valid reason to avoid doing what you said you were going to get done. Excuses, I just don’t understand them nor do I give them. I understand in life shit happens, I am a firm believer in this. Don’t allow anything to stand in your way of greatness. Life has a way of testing you but when you give a reason to justify your failure with an excuse is what I have a problem with. As the poem states: “Life is 10% of what happens to me and 90% how I react to it”.

Excuses are really useless when you truly assess them. They don’t change the outcome of the situation. They don’t allow you to move on from the situation. They waste your time. Nothing positive comes from them except the fact that they bring some kind of justified reason to explain your shortcoming. You ever heard this: “I failed the class because my teacher didn’t like me”? Maaaaaaaaaaaan SHUT THE F*CK UP! You really think your teacher had a vendetta against you? More like they weren’t accepting those lame ass excuses or poor work you put forward.

Some of you may be thinking “Who is this negro to be talking about excuses?”. Well I’m the guy that life has given every excuse to fail, but refuse to allow those excuses to control my life. Elaborate? Sure, why not, no shame here!! My father was born in 1937, yes 37, in North Carolina where he only received a 5th grade education and was a share cropper (google share cropper). Doesn’t look like a good start? My mother, daughter of 2nd generation Italian immigrants, is from New York and didn’t graduate high school. Some will say I started off behind the 8 ball. Grew up in Staten Island Projects surround by guns, violence, and drug wars. A place where high school was an option not expectation. Then moved to rural NC where life hasn’t changed much since 1900, literally. Life has given me so many excuses to not be successful and society probably would have given me a pass. There is a number that motivates me: 8,802. This was an actual number on my mother’s tax return. Poverty…so what…won’t let that excuse ride! Wow you say? Shit me too. Never once did I allow anything or “reason” to say I couldn’t do anything. No excuse will hold me back nor should any reason you come up with. When faced with a challenge we fight. And when that isn’t good enough we simply fight harder. Adversity comes with this game of life. Fight through it!

You can not win having a defeated mindset. You think you can’t and you won’t. You think you can, you will. Doing your assigned work requires you to act like the winner that you are and were created to be.

As ET States: “ BE PHENOMENAL OR BE FORGOTTEN”

-Diggy

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Friends in the Age of Facebook

“Friends… How many of us have them? I’m talking about friends, ones we can depend on.”

Since the days of MySpace and Black Planet (for those of us who were born before 1990), the word “friend” has begun to take on less of a meaningful role in the English language. I remember trying to get my then-girlfriend to sign up for MySpace at the time it was in. Social networking. It was the cool thing to do.

Now we have progressed to Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Facebook, to name some of the more popular ones. All individual mediums but all with one thing in common: to connect with “friends.” This leads me to ask, “What value do we place on a word that is thrown around like a baseball at Yankee Stadium on opening day?” The more we shorten words, the easier it is to use them and the more likely we are to use them. For instance, “BFF” is an abbreviation for “best friend forever,” right? To me, there can only be one “best” and “forever” is a very very long time. I’ve seen plenty of pairs who started off undergrad as BFFs fall out over something minor before we all walked across the stage to receive our degrees. However I feel that, in order to be called my friend on any level, I am making a tremendous commitment to you. A true friend, not just an acquaintance, is someone you would literally share your last dollar with. A best friend is one you would give your last dollar to knowing they wouldn’t ask if they didn’t need it.

Example.

I remember that, the summer after college, my best friend/line brother/roommate Stevan Dozier and I were broke. I was recently employed and awaiting my first check. He had just gotten some major work done on his car and was a week from his check too. Credit cards were maxed out. For a week, the two of us had $24 and some change put together. So we split every meal. Literally split cheeseburgers. We’d pump in a gallon of gas and hope the price went down by the time we needed more. The day before we got paid we had about 10 left so we bought a 4 piece box of KFC (w/ a coupon of course) and a $6 pint of whiskey (never doing that again) and celebrated making it.

That is a friend. The people who never met my father but came to his funeral to support me are friends. Someone who cannot talk with you for 3 months because life happens and we get busy but who makes you smile when their name pops up on the phone, that is a friend.

Facebook does not build friends. Twitter does not make leaders. Google+… Really, I’m still trying to figure out what exactly it does do. And I KNOW LinkedIn itself doesn’t get you jobs. But what I do know is that friendship, in its true form, has value. It’s found in shared experiences. In victory and defeat. In love and loss. In somber moments or in times of humor. That is where friendship is found. Not in an LCD screen.

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Nothin’ on the news but the blues?

This is somewhat of a brief reintroduction {links are meant to inform, thanks}… Is it just me or has our faith in the news and politics dissipated. We’ve gotten caught up in the sensationalism of entertainment and pop culture, placing our politics and our news on the back burner. It’s cool I can be the buzz kill and let you know that: you may want to glance at your current events every now and then. Why, you ask? How does what’s happening in DC or Syria affect me in Raleigh or Charlotte?… Well that’s up to you, honestly… It may not affect you and I anymore than Scandal’s season finale. Henry David Thoreau said the news is “gossip…those who edit and read it are old women over their tea.”

Not all news is depressing or uninteresting. I’d look at it from an informative perspective like it’s impact on your paycheck (income tax), the economy (student loans for college grads) or your relationships (marriage equality). I believe the only reason we find it depressing is because we only pay attention when tragedy occurs or a good case comes along. We give our media the right to dictate what’s important to us by tuning in when they say we should tune in… not to mention the fact that they are paying for the advertisements (but we can talk about consumerism and capitalism later).

What about the information that touches our history, our communities or even our fashion? I say the least we could do is balance our interest in ‘the entertaining’ with a boring article every now and then, knowing that it may not change your life today but it could shed light on what may affect you tomorrow. That is the news I’m interested in and I think you should be interested in too.

It’s only blues when they dish it to you and it’s because that’s the only meal you’ve seen, heard or read that day (force-fed)… But I encourage taking 15 minutes out of your busy schedule to actually do a little research, find an interest and feed yourself. You only should know what you want to know, not what they tell you to know…

{feedback welcomed}

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Giving or Giving up?

Life has an interesting way of requiring us to show our commitment for something through our actions. Whether its wanting to be more in shape, get our finances in order or working on our relationships, if you really want it to be successful, it’s going to require a serious commitment.

Often times we gage the commitment level of others and ourselves by what we are willing to give. For example if a person is committed to becoming in shape they have to give time and effort in the gym. Seems pretty logical. However, more often than not we will see people talk about how much they work out but still can’t seem to get those oh so coveted 6 pack abs. Well here’s the thing, we are creatures of habit. Although its commendable that someone is willing to put time and effort into working out its more about are you willing to let go or “give up” the lifestyle that you were used to in order to step into a greater one. Can you consistently eat fruits and Vegetables and give up the fried foods, sweets and sodas? Sure you can give your significant other gifts and wine and dine her, but are you willing to give up the the desire to be with other women when you want? Anyone can give something but it takes a lot more discipline and sacrifice to give up something that has either become a habit or a crutch. You must do both in order to reach the next level of success.

So you see, when it really comes to commitment and sacrifice; understand what you are willing to give whether it be money, time, blood, sweat or tears, then determine what habits and strong holds you are going to have to let go of or “give up” to really get to where you want to be. Changing for the better is more of a mental decision than anything and more than likely, your habits are a reflection of your mentality. That is what you must address in order to get to the deeper level of sacrifice and commitment.

Cheer’s

-George Acheampong

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“Once Again It’s On”

“Once again it’s on”…..battle words I utter every morning as I awake, ready to take on another day and those surprises that come with it. In this game of life only those with a strong desire to win will do as such.

Looks like I’m tardy to the party, but they call me Chuck, Charlie, Diggy, ass hole to some, nice guy to most, but parents named me Charles Costanzo-Newsome (That’s Italian). My brothers have stated their expertise…..me…..I’m a modern day renaissance man, dream chaser, and heavy thinker. Not one to be “politically correct”, more of a straight shooter-get to the facts kind of guy. This blog for me will be about passion, overcoming obstacles and being the greatest in whatever it is that we do. Nothing is impossible.!!!!!!!

Like a good motivator states, “No Struggle, No Progress”

Be blessed,

Newsome

Posted in Fear is a Choice | Leave a comment

Kick Start…

Webster defines a catalyst as an agent that provokes or speeds significant change or action. In layman’s terms, a kick start. When it comes to fitness, everyone wants the end product but very few really know the work involved to achieve it. I find it almost amazing the amount of people that want that perfect butt or those washboard abs but are deterred when a regimen or diet is presented. I find it even more interesting the amount of people that will begin but not finish. With that being said, I encourage you to find your catalyst; the kick to get you going.

Finding that kick may not come as easily to some as it may to others but finding it is a detrimental portion of starting your own Chaos Theory. Some of us may be afraid of giving up the “life” they used to live or some do not want to eat “healthy” food because it tastes nasty. I am not even going to lie, throughout high school and up until my sophomore year in college, I could care less about working out or being healthy for that matter. I knew I wanted to live a better lifestyle but the fear of sore muscles, bland food, and fitting it all into my day really got the best of me. When starting something for the first time or even giving something another go around, it is important to allow your faith to outweigh your fear. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Faith is the first step. Even when you do not see the whole staircase.” You do not have to see the end picture so clearly when you first start, you just have to have that kick to get you going.

I do not have a super sappy story for what pushed me to live a more healthy lifestyle. Somewhere along the road, I just knew I wanted to live longer and feel better. I think when I realized an hour in the gym is only 4% of your entire day and what you put into your body is what your body gives, I really had no room for excuses to not be living and doing better. From that moment on, I have been on a journey for healthier living.

I will end with this: “Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet.” Living a healthy lifestyle is definitely a good thing, but living it with a purpose is that much better. Whatever kicks you, let it. Finding and keeping that motivating factor is key to beginning anything new. For those already living healthy lifestyles, what kicked you? What advice can you offer readers to help kick start their Chaos Theory?

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