Personal

How Art Has Changed My Life

Read Time: 4 min.

I was recently asked what experiencing a creative art taught me, if I could quantify its effect on my life, and what “good” came from it. As a self-proclaimed “arty farty” person, my first reaction is to soap box the importance of art in our culture.  How it shapes us and our reality.  How it’s used in marketing, film, politics, and is statistically proven as valuable for test scores and SAT’s. I ...

What I Didn’t Know I Needed to Know

Read Time: 2 min.

Like many others, I wasn’t able to escape craze surrounding Hamilton: An American Musicalthat has swept America in the last few years. Whether it’s the shock and novelty of rap in a major musical, the celebration of an unsung American hero, the brilliant character development, or the themes that keep recurring in unexpected places, it seems to be finding its way into American hearts on a host of l...

The Gift of a Tender Heart

Read Time: 4 min.

Despite how it sometimes seems when we focus on the negative, Americans still value kindness as a culture. Each person’s view on kindness may be a little different, but the idea is still in our framework as a people. No one has ever sat in a merging lane of a highway traffic jam forever. Someone will eventually let them in with a wave. Most children’s television programming regularly teaches ways ...

Virtues

Read Time: 3 min.

Honesty. Truthfulness. Purity. Kindness. Forgiveness. Courage. Humility. Obedience. Integrity. Faithfulness. Trustworthiness. Peace. Mercy. Compassion. Perseverance. Love. Hope. Moderation. Generosity. Wisdom. Patience. Common Sense. Diligence. Forgiveness. Endurance. Cheerfulness. Gentleness. Self-control. Serenity. Loyalty. Contentment. Strength. Joy. Purity. Unity. Faith. Respect. Dignity. Hono...

You Can’t Plan

Read Time: 4 min.

Life is funny, isn’t it? From the beginning of my freshman year of high school, my goal was to be in the select Jazz Choir for my junior and senior year. It was going to happen. It didn’t matter that only 16 voices got selected. It didn’t matter that I needed to fit it into my schedule. I just KNEW. And when the roster was posted at the end of my sophomore year and my name was under the altos, my ...

Why I Spent Four Years Pursuing a “Useless” Degree

Read Time: 4 min.

Every once in a while it is nice when things don’t go according to plan. For me, those were my four years as an undergrad at the University of Illinois. I had entered college with the intention of pursuing a degree in International Studies. My concentration was in “Middle East Politics & Policy.” The plan was to go on to pursue a career in diplomacy, move to Washington D. C. and intern with th...

My Actions & My Intent

Read Time: 3 min.

In recent years, I have noticed a trend: my friends and acquaintances have been justifying their not-so-great actions with the phrase, “but I’m not a bad person.” To me, that is a particularly nondescript way of defining one’s self. Because at any given time, the sum of the things that do define you will be far smaller than the sum of the things that don’t. I am a 27-year-old man. I am not a 26-ye...

The First and Only Rule of Being Good

Read Time: 3 min.

Being a good person is simple. Like most things, people tend to overcomplicate it. They scour the internet or ask the smartest people they know (i.e. parents), hoping for the missing piece to the puzzle. But like I said, it’s pretty simple – all you have to do is pay attention to religion. I’ll admit, coming from someone who isn’t religious, this might seem like shaky advice. Now, I’m not sa...

Being a Good Person?

Read Time: 5 min.

“I’m a good person.” “I try to live a good life.” “Everybody’s got their issues, but X is one of the good guys.” We hear these kinds of statements constantly. We might even say them ourselves. But what does it mean to be a good person? What does our culture have to say about it? I checked Twitter to see what came up the most commonly. People were saying things like “being a friend,” “having good m...

Self-Control

Read Time: 3 min.

Self-control is one of those things we all wish we had more of. For a lot of us it’s food (pepperoni pizza, mmmmm); for others, video games, or texting, or constantly refreshing Twitter. For some of us, it gets to the point where there’s an actual addiction involved, and then our problems get even harder to deal with. But self-control goes beyond just dealing with temptations to pleasure. Ever try...

Discipline is the Path to Discipline

Read Time: 3 min.

For many people, the word “discipline” is a negative. A disciplined person is not spontaneous or fun-loving. It seems like being disciplined means giving up freedom and joy. The truth is the opposite. Discipline is the path to freedom and joy. I play piano, acoustic guitar, and bass guitar. I love playing in bands. But learning to play a music instrument requires… you guessed it,...

Self-Control and Social Media

Read Time: 3 min.

There’s a word that has always been the difference between the successful and the hopeful: “how.” I know WHAT to do to achieve my goals, but I don’t necessarily know HOW to do it. Finding that “how” requires discipline… So HOW do you create that? There’s a lot involved in exploring this question. I’d like to start with the world of social media as an examp...

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