The Real World vs The Taught World

Throughout our educational years, we have been taught by our instructors that we can become whomever we want to be, we can achieve any dream we wish to achieve, and we can have anything we want to have. Our educators encourage us to dream big, to never give up, and to strive for success by reaching the top of the ladder in society with hard work and dedication. We are pre-programmed to think the recipe to make our dreams a reality is a dose of perseverance, an ounce of faith, and a smidgen of determination is all that’s needed to make them come true…along with a good, quality education of course. But the one thing that is not taught is the fact that our perception of how things SHOULD be and the reality of how things WILL be are two separate entities, that if ignored, is the recipe for disappointment.

The depressing reality is: half of today’s college graduates are working in jobs that are not in their chosen field or may be overqualified for, are making less money than what they’re worth, and are sacrificing a majority of their hard-earned income into repaying student loans for an occupation they were told would put a substantial amount of money in their pockets in order to cover their post-education expenses. In a 2012 McKinsey & Company survey, along with the collaboration of Chegg, Inc., 4,900 college graduates expressed their regrets of what they envisioned reality to be like after four years of higher learning. 48% of U.S. college graduates were employed in jobs that did not require a four-year degree while 32% of graduates were actually working in their field of expertise. Out of the 72% of college graduates who were required to complete an internship in their chose field of study, only 42% reported their internships have landed them a job. This means either 30% of these college graduates were either out of work or underemployed.

As the competition stiffens within the workforce, so does the number of available jobs for college graduates decrease. Of course, this all depends on one’s major, with the visual and performing arts being the most difficult to break into while science, engineering, and technology provide the most satisfactory results for job seekers. But with today’s economy, even choosing the “right” major still does not guarantee a stable job. Higher education institutions overlook this fact when promoting idealizations of reality in exchange for a signed promissory note. What appears to be achievable through hard work, dedication, and persistence is not always what will be attainable in the end.

©2013 Learus Ohnine

Something to think about: “Walls were Made to be Broken” (part 4) The Demolition Process

Hopefully by now, you have uncovered which walls need your immediate attention and which walls do not. I would suggest beginning the demolition process on any wall that is causing an immediate hindrance to your daily living, such as anything that is interfering with your peace of mind. Nothing compares to enjoying life with a healthy state of mind. Remember – you only get one life; it is better to make the most of the time you have to spend on this earth than to waste it and regret it later.

So on to the demolition…

The demolition process basically starts off following the same procedures for both Conscious and Unconscious Walls. The only difference is the amount of time it takes to completely destroy them. That time is determined by factors such as when that wall was placed there and who put it there. For example: an Unconscious Wall that has been built by an authority figure, such as a parental figure, a lover, or whomever you have depended on for emotional support and approval, may take years to demolish simply because it has been ingrained inside your heart and mind as a necessity for survival. Let’s say, for instance, a child who grows up in an environment that is unsympathetic and is full of callousness may have had to learn to adapt to that kind of situation by becoming so thick-skinned that they do not know how to love or be loved. They reject anyone who comes across as caring and sympathetic, or the total opposite, because they do not recognize that real love and are only receptive to people who resemble the authority figures of the environment they have grown up in. They will recreate their childhood environment because that IS their comfort zone. It may take years before this person can make a successful personal transformation, but it is not impossible.

So let’s begin with a less challenging wall to destroy: the Conscious Wall. Just a quick recall, a Conscious Wall is one that is derived from a realistic fear stemmed from an illogical belief. Examples of this would be along the lines of stereotyping: ALL marriages end in divorce, ALL blondes are dimwitted, ALL males are cheaters, and ALL women are not as intelligent as a man, and so on. Plenty can be said about the stereotyping of gender, sexual preference, and races but I will not get too deep into those details. When stereotype a person, place or thing, we will react to them according to what we feel is appropriate, and that includes avoidance. Keep in mind it is healthy and wise to avoid something or someone we know for a fact is not in our best interest. However, stereotyping is not based on facts. Stereotyping is based on opinion and does not necessarily mean one part applies to the whole, if you catch my drift.

But how do we debunk any hypothetical stereotyping beliefs we may have?

Get out there and find out for yourself. Be realistic; nobody is perfect. We all have flaws, hang-ups, etc., but is that not what makes us all unique? None of our personal flaws may have anything to do with our gender, our cultural background, or our sexual preference.  The funny thing about social networking, such as Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In, etc., is we all can be whoever we want to be behind the screen, but it is the words that we speak that will be noticed by others first. We do not see a face, a race, or a gender unless we post a profile picture, and even that sometimes is not always truthful. The bottom line is: you will never know what you are missing until you get to know the character of a person. Drop everything that you have heard and read about a gender, a culture, or a sexual preference and just meet a variety of people from all, and I do mean ALL, walks of life and from any and every category. Remember, you yourself fall into one or more categories. Would you want someone to discriminate against you without giving you a fair chance?

 

© 2013 Learus Ohnine

The Realization Of Character

Everything we do starts with words. Words will determine who we are. Whatever we think we are, we will become. It is no wonder why we see so many people who struggle with low self-esteem, but that is such an extensive topic that I will save for a later discussion.

I am sure you all have heard the “formula” for how one’s character comes into fruition and the end result of where our character will lead us. If not, I will briefly go over the famous formula in order of importance:

“Words = Thoughts”

“Thoughts = Actions”

“Actions = Habits”

“Habits = Behaviors”

“Behaviors = Character”

“Character = Our Destiny”

“Words = Thoughts”: Words will determine your thoughts. Words are very powerful. Like it says in the Bible, “Life and death are in the power of the tongue…” (Proverbs 18:21). When we insult someone, we are killing them figuratively. When we compliment someone, we are giving them life. It does not matter if words are spoken or written; they will have the same affect on the listener and/or reader. We begin to think exactly what words tell us to think. We should be aware of what we say to one another as well as what we hear and read because once we let those words take root into our minds, we become those words.

“Thoughts = Actions”: Our thoughts have a heavy impact on the things we do. Most all of our actions start with our thoughts.  We can think ourselves into motivation, inspiration, encouragement, and so on. On the other hand, we can think ourselves into procrastination, depression, discouragement, and so on. Our thoughts will determine what we will do next.

“Actions = Habits”: Our actions will become our habits. Have you ever met someone who seemed impossible to change the way they think about themselves? They have learned to adapt to a particular way of thinking that their whole life is arranged around their thought processes.  They withdraw instead of socializing. They retreat when faced with challenges. They may have been told time and time again that they are stupid or a failure, and so they tend to believe those words without applying themselves to rise above the adversity of those words. That is because they have become so comfortable in thinking what they think is true, it has become a habit. Habits are hard to break.

“Habits = Behaviors”: Habits develop into behaviors. Hurting people hurt other people. It is just that simple. Very rarely have I come across an angry individual who goes out of their way to make others happy. In fact, I have seen hurting people deliberately hurt others to bring them down and have said this somehow makes them feel better knowing someone else is hurting just as much as they are. I suppose this would account for the numerous abuse  and murder cases in the world today because this seems to be the only outlet a hurting person knows, trusts, and feels comfortable in doing. It is a horrible habit that, unfortunately, has become a behavior that is justified in their minds.

“Behaviors = Character”: Our behavior determines our character. People are known for what they do. Someone who carries a reputation for lying, stealing and cheating has built that reputation centered around those actions. The same goes for someone who has proven to be trustworthy, honest and caring. People are more drawn to these traits. Our character derives from the behaviors we set forth and also determine the type of characters we draw to us.

“Character = Destiny”: The kind of character we build for ourselves will determine our destiny. For example, if we are a well disciplined individual, chances are we will go far in life. We will resist the temptation to procrastinate in order to get things done. However, if we are lazy, we may not accomplish much in life due to neglecting important responsibilities. This is why it is so important to take heed as to the people who you allow in your life because they, too, can determine your destiny…

(to be continued…)

© 2013 Learus Ohnine

Setback to Setup

 

Everyone encounters situations that get in the way of their progress of where they want to go in life, and every problem has a solution. Setbacks are a part of life. What matters most is how we handle those setbacks, and that starts by having the right attitude. If we keep the right attitude, we can look at our opposition as an opportunity.  What was meant for your harm was meant to be used for your advantage. Had it not been for the opposition, you would have done one of two things: either stayed in your boat or got on the wrong boat. So do not look at disappointments or betrayals as setbacks.  Setbacks are setups to catapult you forward in life.  Not only will you come out of the trouble, you will also be better off than you were before.

Two major setbacks to watch our for: Enemies and Closed Doors:

ENEMIES: Our enemies are there to promote us, to develop our character, and to make use stronger. With the right attitude, your enemies will push you out of your comfort zone. Each time you try to prove your enemies wrong by successfully showing them what you are capable of achieving, you have just promoted yourself above them. Your enemies can even be used to keep you moving forward so you don’t give up. By knowing your enemies are waiting to see you fall, that is more than enough motivation to discipline yourself to stay focused on what it is that you want to achieve. Do not fall into a pit of self-pity because people say hurtful things about you or to you. Hurting people do and say hurtful things to bring you down to their level, and they only try to do this to people they admire. Do not be discouraged because that one friend walked away. They were never really your friend to begin with or else they would have never walked away. Don’t be upset because someone betrayed your trust. There may have come a time in the future when you may have entrusted that person with something even more confidential than the thing they betrayed you with, and their betrayal may have been the one thing that destroyed your soul. Enemies set us up to learn how to focus on the future regardless of the stress and pressures we are under at the moment, and train us to focus on making decisions based on wisdom rather than emotion.

CLOSED DOORS:  Highways have lines; one on each side and one in the center. Those lines provide margins for our safety while we are driving forward to our destination. If we go over the line on the right side, we might drive into a ditch or over a cliff. If we cross over the line in the middle, we could get killed. We need those lines because they help keep us safe. It’s like that in our personal lives, too. When we have boundaries, borders, and margins, we feel much better and experience a sense of peace in our lives. Closed doors are similar to highway lines. Don’t fight against every closed door. Do not be angry and do not give up on your goals just because something you really wanted so badly did not come to pass when you wanted it to. That might have been the one door that would have destroyed you, or, it may be that the timing was not right for that door to open just yet. Either way, that closed door was a setup to get you closer to your destination.

Solution for Setbacks: Practice not complaining, not getting depressed or feeling defeated when facing a setback. Let go of any self-pity and let go of all self-blame. Now that you know those setbacks are actually setups in disguise, you can get a fresh vision for your life.

© 2013 Learus Ohnine

Something to think about: “Walls were Made to be Broken” (part 1)

I just want to take a moment to explain this statement. The word “walls” in reference to this statement means the invisible walls we put up around our hearts and minds. If we break down the general definition of the word, a wall is basically a solid mass used in many ways to protect, to connect, to enclose, to strengthen, and to defend. Buildings are infamous for containing walls for those obvious reasons, and also because they represent a sense of permanency. However, when the term “wall” is used when pertaining to people, it still serves the same purpose as it does in the literal sense… except for the permanency part.

But let’s face it… none of us are born with walls already placed around our hearts and minds. Walls are not genetic. We put those walls up ourselves, either consciously or unconsciously, because of some sort of dilemma we were faced with at some point in our lives. Consciously, we have strategically place them in areas where we are most vulnerable in order to keep from having to face the same dilemmas again. Unconsciously, we place them in areas where we are most vulnerable also, but are only aware they are there when faced with a familiar dilemma.

How to tell the difference between a conscious wall and an unconscious one?

One obvious difference is a conscious wall is built deliberately. A conscious wall coincides with purposeful avoidance. We want to alleviate any possible chances of feeling hurt, disappointment, angry, betrayed, injured, etc., so this kind of wall protects and encloses us from getting involved in situations that we feel will result in feeling certain emotions. They serve as a constant reminder to avoid situations whose criteria spells “injury to my well-being”. An unconscious wall is one that is not deliberately built, but is more or less triggered by a familiar event where our conscious mind takes over and says “Hey wait, this seems familiar. Even though all the facts are right there that this could be a great opportunity, let’s not take this chance again because it’s better to be safe than sorry.” So basically, an unconscious wall is an oblivious defense mechanism only triggered by the familiarity of a situation connected with a past catastrophic event.

The difference between the two types of walls is… one of them was made to be broken.

Can you tell which one?

(To be continued…)

© 2013 Learus Ohnine