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Don’t be a silent friend!

“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” – Martin Luther King Jr

I have many friends who are dreamers, artists and entrepreneurs.

Every once in a while, one of those friends will get a big break, make an appearance on Television, and announce the good news on Facebook.

Without fail, such announcements are embraced with a wild frenzy of fanfare;

I knew you’d make it!

You’ve always had the gift, my friend!

I’m so proud of you!

Holy Moly! I remember when you talked about this back in High School!

But it’s easy to be an outspoken friend when your buddies are already receiving lots of attention for doing creative work.

Who wouldn’t want to be seen congratulating an old friend turned pop star?

Unfortunately, most of the members of the congratulatory crowd are deafeningly silent when nothing exciting is going on.

Many creative-types struggle to get their acquaintances to turn an attentive eye to any of the day-to-day details involved in their quest for an imaginative and inspired life.

Those aren’t the kinds of friends dreamers, artists, and entrepreneurs need.

We need people who will speak up and support us before we’ve written a best-seller.

We need people who will show interest in our work before the rest of the world does.

We need people to believe in us before faith is no longer required.

For the would-be dreamer, the most discouraging force is not the harsh criticism of cynics, haters, and naysayers, but the indifferent and disinterested attitudes of friends and family.

If you know someone who’s trying to achieve an unconventional dream, don’t be a silent friend.

Don’t wait until they’re doing the Oprah interview before you express your pride and support.

Take a little time to let them know you’re aware of what they’re doing.

I’m sure they’ll appreciate it.

Cheers,

T.K. Coleman

It’s different

It’s different for him because he’s young and he has lots of time and energy.

It’s different for him because he’s older and has lots of experience and confidence.

It’s different for her because she’s married and has the support of a spouse.

It’s different for her because she’s single and doesn’t have to deal with the expectations of a spouse.

It’s different for him because he has lots of financial resources and can throw money at his problems.

It’s different for him because he’s poor and it forces him to be creative and stay motivated.

It’s different for her because she has kids and having children tends to make you more mature, more productive, more accountable, and more conscious of the value of time.

It’s different for her because she has no kids and is free to do whatever she wants to do without having to compromise for others.

It’s different for him because he’s a man.

It’s different for her because she’s a woman.

It was different for them because back then they didn’t have social media.

It’s different for us because we have social media.

Ladies and Gentlemen, It’s different for everybody!

It always has been and it always will be.

Your job is to figure out a way to make it work for YOU.

9-1-1

When calling 9-1-1 to report an emergency, the first thing you should do, according to this article here, is “Stay calm.” It goes on to say, “It’s important to take a deep breath and not get excited.”

Wow!

Really?

I’ll try to remember that when I’m in the kind of situation that makes me want to dial 9-1-1 in the first place.

Unless you’ve undergone extensive military training on how to suppress the physical symptoms of stress under high pressure conditions, those instructions from above are probably inconsistent with everything your body and brain instinctively tells you to do when in an emergency situation.

In fact, if you have the ability and audacity to stay calm while the people around you are stressing out, many will probably look at you as if you’re clueless or careless.

So why stay calm? Why breathe deeply? Why relax, of all times, while trapped in the middle of an urgent problem?

Because a calm and creative mind is more effective at problem-solving than a rash and reactive mind.

After all, if things really are going bad, you don’t need an academy award for how dramatic you can act. You need results.

Self-control (which is not the same as suppressing your feelings, denying your problems, or lying to yourself) puts you in an optimal state for creating the results you need.

When you maintain composure, you can think clearly, communicate concisely, and act consciously.

Freaking out might be a good way to bring a lot of attention to yourself, but it doesn’t necessarily make it easy for others to help you.

Sometimes, when things are going wrong, the best way to show you care is by pulling yourself together and taking a good old-fashioned chill pill.

As Bruce Lee taught his students, “slow down to go faster.”

There’s no neutral place in philosophic space

No matter where you stand on any issue, you run the risk of offending a dissenting party.

If you believe all opinions are equally valid, you’ll offend the man who believes his ideas are objectively better than others. If you believe some ideas are better than others, you’ll offend the guy who believes all opinions are equally valid.

If you go left, you’ll offend those who insist on everyone going right. If you go right, you’ll offend those who demand you go left. If you stay in the middle, you offend those who want you to take a specific side.

If you invoke a deity, you’ll offend those who don’t like deities. If you avoid making reference to deities, you’ll offend those who’ll think you’re too secular.

If you have a strong opinion, you’ll offend people who don’t like your opinion. If you don’t have a strong opinion, you’ll offend those who think you’re being too politically correct.

The moment you set a thought in motion, no matter how seemingly innocent or well-intentioned that thought may be, you’re going to make someone’s blood boil.

Here’s today’s two cents:

Have a backbone!

Believe what you actually believe. Say how you really feel. Do what you truly want to do. And don’t let people’s decision (yes, it is a decision) to be offended intimidate you into living a life that isn’t yours.

If you enjoy playing social games where you pretend to have opinions that don’t really belong to you, then play your heart out and have an amazing time.

Just don’t buy into the illusion that you can avoid controversy by refusing to have convictions.

At least that’s the way I see it.

Cheers,

T.K. Coleman

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