How the Power of Gratitude Can Change Your Life

Gratitude is a mental weapon which can change our lives. It is an act that can be done in written form – in the form of diary-keeping or journal-writing which, with the help of digital tools such as your device’s notepad, word processing software and services such as words to pages converter and free plagiarism checkers, even persons most allergic to writing can do. The power of gratitude is something that is often neglected in our day to day life. To understand its benefits, Lao Tzu left us a phrase that should make us have an understanding of this abstract concept: “Gratitude is the memory of the heart“.

What it Means to Live in Gratitude

To live in gratitude, the law of gratitude proposes we have to relax and also learn to be thankful for the little things and values that we have in its rightful measure.

When we speak of gratitude, we are not referring only to courtesy behaviors such as being appreciative after a favor someone grants us. However, it is to open our conscience to appreciate the state of our well being, having a good family, enjoying that walk in the mountains, on the beach, and even saying thanks during not-so-good periods.

In fact, this idea is supported by the law of attraction which is found in the philosophy of the New Thought. According to the law of attraction, a person’s thoughts (whether negative or positive) brings the same positive or negative result in his life.

Gratitude isn’t Just for the Good Times

People tend to fall into a very common mistake, and we almost do not realize it: it’s common for us to only give thanks or be appreciative when we receive positive news or positive things. Far from it, gratitude should not be reserved for the good times alone.

We will be expressing gratitude if we can also offer recognition, for example, after a failed effort at something, we say, “I recognize you because I know you have tried something to help me, to bring me happiness.” Recognizing our efforts for having the strong will to live with hope and fulfillment can be a good way to lift our self-esteem.

During bad times, gratitude offers strength and motivation. We will give you a very illustrative example: Imagine the situation where your partner has disappointed you in something and that the relationship is broken. The pain is terrible, there is no doubt. However, there exist many ways you can continue to thank life, such as finding strength in each moment to overcome that loss, having gratitude in your family and friends who will support you for being as you are, a woman or man that deserves to be happy again.

Writing a Thank You Journal

Have you ever found that we often feel relieved during traumatic experiences after writing down our thoughts or worries?

You can dedicate about 5 minutes of your time every day to review all the great things in your life.

Thanks to the digital innovations around us today, no one should have no doubts about his ability to keep a journal. Today, digital tools are available which can assist us in making free plagiarism checks, for example. Also, we can find and use the best free grammar checkers for spelling and grammar corrections. There are also services such as words to pages converter and those which can help us know how many words on a double spaced page.

Through writing, you can reflect on the things and values you have and be grateful for having them. Remember, life brings you results based on what you fix your attention on.

Gratitude improves our health

According to experts from WritingPeak, the simple act of recognizing ourselves and others, and giving thanks for the positive aspects of life, offers a physical and mental improvement, capable of preventing various heart problems.

The author of this research is Doctor Paul J. Mills from the University of California, San Diego (USA).

The conclusions reached were the following:

1. Gratitude and positive emotions

The power of gratitude is related in many cases with spirituality. However, we should all take into account the importance of positive emotions in our day to day life. It does not matter what we believe in or whether we are religious. The most remarkable thing is knowing how to appreciate ourselves and others without rancor, without anxieties, without pressure.

2. Gratitude and heart health:

He also found out that the mental wellness and the simple fact of being a part of this life offer many patients great recovery which can be seen in their blood pressure and their biomarkers, which are related to cardiovascular system processes.

A person who takes life with tranquility and balance – who knows how to appreciate the little things, enjoys himself and his family – often has a healthier heart and has fewer problems of heart failure, such as shortness of breath or fatigue.

Dr. Mills also explains that to carry out this study, several psychological tests were applied to 500 patients, to find out if those people who valued the power of gratitude and who expressed it every day differed from those who did not consider this aspect.

Guess what the results were? The most spiritual or gratifying patients had no symptoms of depression; their quality of sleep was very good; they presented less fatigue and, in addition, their inflammatory markers regarding their heart health were within the normal parameters.

In conclusion, we can say that the simple act of expressing gratitude and recognizing ourselves and this life of which we are part of helps us to have stronger health. Gratitude is an expression of love, an attitude to practice. It gives more importance to positive emotions, which, in turn, give strength to our health and establish a very appropriate link between body and mind.

This content is sponsored by Kelly Newborn.

Photos provided by the author.

The post How the Power of Gratitude Can Change Your Life appeared first on The Good Men Project.

from The Good Men Project

Vast Mind: 3 Ways to Open Beyond the Self-Concern of Our Small Mind

Most of the time, we are caught up in what can be called “small mind”: the small world of self-concern, of wanting to get what we want and avoid what we don’t want.

This is the cause of our suffering — always running to distraction, procrastinating, caught up in worries and fears, worried about what people think of us, what we’re missing, what someone did to offend us, and so on.

It’s a small world we get trapped in, this worrying about ourselves all the time. And it leads to stress, anger, hurt, worry, fear, anxiety, and distraction.

The antidote is Vast Mind — growing bigger than the small mind we have habitually become stuck in.

What is Vast Mind? It’s opening to something bigger than our self-concern, opening to the freshness of the moment.

Let’s imagine that there’s someone whose family member has said something insulting to them. They immediately get caught up in small mind, thinking about how they don’t deserve to be treated this way, that they’re a good person and that this person is always being inconsiderate. They are worried about themselves, and their world is very small and constricted.

What if instead, this person dropped their self-concern, and opened their awareness to something wider than themselves. The experienced the moment as pure experience, and suddenly everything is open and vast. They relax into this openness. They might notice that this other person, whom they love, is suffering in some way. They send this person compassion and feel love for the person and this moment.

That’s the difference between small, constricted mind that’s full of suffering, and vast mind that’s open, fresh, unbounded, and full of love.

You don’t have to take my word for it. Here are three practices for growing from small mind to vast mind.

Practice 1: Ego-Dropping Meditation

A great place to start is by sitting in meditation and opening your awareness and dropping the boundaries between you and everything else. Here’s a meditation I’ve created for practicing this.

The idea is that we practice dropping into a relaxed, open awareness, and then start to relax any boundaries we have between ourselves and all that surrounds us. We drop the construct we’ve created that we call ourselves, and then there’ just sensation, just pure experience.

It’s a returning to wholeness. It’s a wonderful practice.

Practice 2: Radical Not-Knowing

Most of the time, we act as if we know exactly how things are. We don’t pay too much attention to this moment, because it’s boring to pay attention to the breath, body sensations, the sensations of everything around us, because we already know all about that!

But in fact, every moment is completely fresh, completely open, full of new possibilities to explore.

When we get stuck in small mind, we are in a narrow, constricted view of the world. And it’s a hardened view — I know what I want and I just want to get it. I know what I don’t like and I want to avoid it. It’s the hardened view of fundamentalism.

The practice of radical not-knowing is to act as if you’ve never experienced this before. Everything is completely new to you, with no preconceptions or labels.

You look around at everything as if you’ve never seen anything like this. It’s fresh, wondrous, breathtaking. There are no names for anything, just the pure experience.

Try walking around like that for a few minutes, and see what it’s like. Be open and curious.

What happens is that we become much more open to the vastness of experience. There is no, “I want this” or “I don’t want that.” It’s just, “This is the experience I’m having right now.”

This is pure boundless awareness, and it is vast.

Practice 3: Opening to Devotion to Others

When I notice that I’ve gotten caught up in my small mind, I try to think of people other than myself.

This person is being inconsiderate because they’re suffering.

The people who I love are more important than my discomfort.

The love I have for my family is so much bigger than my small wants.

Opening myself up to the love I have for others gets me past my small mind, and into an openness. What would it be like to be completely devoted to other people? It’s a fresh experience, boundless and vast.

Original article appeared at Zen Habits. Reprinted with permission.

submit to Good Men Project

Photo: Shutterstock

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from The Good Men Project

The Emotionally Searing Experience of Notre Dame Burning

Nothing is truly permanent.

Nothing is guaranteed. Not our own lives. Not those who are most dear to us, the center of our lives. Not our most treasured artifacts and buildings, no matter how large and impressive and imposing. Not our democracy. No matter how disconcerting it is to allow this notion into our brains, to really let it permeate our mental being – the truth is always there. We just need to allow ourselves to see it. And sometimes the truth is forced upon us. And we react with shock and sadness. But at the same time, it is the acknowledgment of that fact that can save us. It is having that truth set in front of our line of sight, whether willingly or not, that can allow us to truly internalize, and hopefully use productively, the central reality of our existence.

Paris has always played a special role in my life.

When I was 14 years old, between my freshman and sophomore year in high school, I somehow finagled my parents and a college summer study abroad program to let me join a bunch of 19-21 year-olds on their 6-week trip to France. It was the first time in my life I was really on my own – no rules, no parents – just learning French, making older friends, studying art and history, and having my first independent travel adventures. It was glorious. I saw and learned about Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower, the treasures of French museums, and the phonetic demands of the French language, and I was hooked. What a wonderful break it was from the academic rigors of my high school, and the endless daily schlepping on the subway!

I continued to study French in college, and studied abroad in Paris my junior year. There were ups and downs of course, but again, I just loved learning the language, wandering around the city, going to the Rodin museum and sketching the sculptures, and just pondering life, and history, and art. Back in the day when I had the time to ponder life, and history, and art.

After I graduated from law school, I took a long-discussed trip to Europe with my best friend from high school. First stop: Paris. Again, we visited all the sights, saw some new sights, and found our way back to the courtyard of my study abroad program in the Left Bank. It already seemed like such a distant memory at the time. After our jaunt through Europe, I continued on to Southeast Asia to meet a couple of law school friends in Vietnam. It was my first time truly out of my element, and while it was intimidating at times, it was such an amazing time, creating memories I have always treasured. The night we landed in Bali, we were strolling along the road in Kuta Beach and were approached by a frantic middle-aged British man (a geezer at the time, but probably about my age now) who asked if we were American and wanted to share some news with us. It was September 11, 2001. And when we were finally able to connect to the CNN website (in an “internet café” as those dinosaurs were called), we saw the truth for what it was. Our existence as we had known it, as we had understood it throughout our life up until that point, was over. Nothing would ever be the same. Those grand monuments to the skyline of New York were gone. Along with thousands of innocent lives, and our sense of safety and reality.

But life went on anyway.

We returned to New York. We returned to our new legal careers. And we moved forward. And over time, the acuteness of the realizations we felt on that day in Bali slowly wore away. After a few years, I met my husband and moved to London to be with him. During that time I returned to Paris – this time with my future spouse. We toured the city I loved once more, and then the next year we returned to Paris on a surprise trip, and he proposed to me.

A little before 10 am on the morning of the Notre Dame fire, I spoke to my mother on the phone. As I told her about the plans my husband and I were making to go to Vietnam with our children next winter, I explained my motivations for taking such a seemingly extravagant and involved trip with my young children. I had such an amazing time in Vietnam when I went there in my 20s. I had always dreamed of going back with my husband and the kids someday. And the world is such a crazy, chaotic, scary place these days. It seems that society and the world are shifting in ever-more dramatic and unpredictable ways.

  • How long should I wait before I just take the plunge and book those tickets?
  • Will the countries I’ve kept on my to-visit list definitely be there in their familiar form for my kids to visit in the coming decades?
  • Will they be roiled by unexpected political turbulence?
  • Will authoritarian regimes take over?
  • Will climate change create social upheaval that renders these places unsafe?

I can’t answer those questions. Who knows what tomorrow will bring? So let’s get out there while the going is good.

Paris was also on my list of places to visit with the kids. They’re learning French now, and certainly aren’t dissuaded by the prospect of croissants, and macarons, and Berthillon ice cream. Sadly, it hadn’t occurred to me that one of the classic panoramas most central to that city could disappear overnight. But yet, while permanently altered, it hasn’t disappeared. Not entirely. The firefighters of Paris rallied to preserve whatever they could, and they saved the two iconic towers. There is already talk of rebuilding. There is already hope. There are already plans being made. Because the people of Paris, of France and of the world, had a vision of the world without Notre Dame thrust upon their consciousness. One of the things they thought they could always depend on being there showed them today that it is just as fragile and susceptible to destruction as everything else in this world. And they weren’t, they aren’t ready to let it go. So they will fight for it.

I hope we can all take that message to heart and fight for our most cherished institutions, knowing that they are not guaranteed, and knowing that they are worth the fight. We mustn’t take them for granted any longer. We need to act on our hopes and wishes for the future with an awareness that tomorrow – the next year – the next decade – may turn out differently than we ever expected or hoped. I will be booking those tickets to Vietnam as soon as possible.

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The post The Emotionally Searing Experience of Notre Dame Burning appeared first on The Good Men Project.

from The Good Men Project

Think You Understand Kids? Have one!

That kids have to learn everything is something I didn’t fully understand until I became a parent. What I mean is I thought that I understood that before I had to walk a new human through the learning process. Children really have to learn every thing. If there’s something we adults take for granted as instinct, that a baby can’t do for itself, then there will be a time when that baby has to go through the painstakingly slow process of learning how to do that thing!

I mean, they have to learn they have feet for goodness sake! How could a baby not know it has feet?! But they don’t. Our son has learned to grab things, to eat without choking, how to fall asleep at night, when it’s appropriate to laugh and when it is not. (Ok, he’s still working on that one!)

And as surprised as I am at the staggering breadth and depth of what new humans have to learn, I am as equally in awe of how little I’ve had to teach him. We never really taught him to walk or talk, he just figured it out. But, surprisingly, the same has rung true for so many things that I thought new people had to sit down and have someone teach them about. Our son learned to count to ten and I have no idea when or how that happened. One day, seemingly out of the blue, he could do it.

Ironically, there were things I thought he could get on his own that I’ve had to carefully go through and instruct him on. How to wipe one’s own butt has been a subject of so…much…discourse. ‘Oh, come on,’ you’re saying. ‘How many ways can you possibly explain that simple process?’ The ways of explaining butt-wiping are many, I assure you.

Anyway, kids are weird, life is funny! I hope you’re enjoying your quirky little ones today!! I know I will be.

 Join the Parenting and Relational Intelligence FACEBOOK GROUP here.

Photo credit: By nilimage @ iStock by Getty Images

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from The Good Men Project

How To Fully Commit to Goals That Terrify You

We all have that one thing we seriously want to archive: our goals and dreams, things that keep us awake when others are sleeping. Every time we think about it, however, we get terrified in our mind and say, “how is this going to come to reality.” Don’t worry, being terrified is a step forward in achieving your scary goals.

In her book entitled, This Child Will Be Great: Memoir of a Remarkable Life by Africa’s First Woman President, artist Johnson Sirleaf said:

The size of your dream must always exceed your current capacity to achieve the theme. If your dream doesn’t scare you they aren’t big enough.

Humm! what an astonishing quote. But if we have to look at it from the reality aspect, the achievement of some of the world’s most famous or successful people all started for them with a dream. No doubt, their dream scared them but doesn’t stop them from achieving what they want.

However, the fact about achieving your goals comes from within, it’s your mindset that matter most. At every second of our lives, we are either moving towards our goals or getting away from them, we are either scared and terrified with our goal or we decide to take over.

No matter what you want in life, it’s achievable with the right amount of focus, effort, and action. Of course, it’s not just about having big dreams that scare you; you need to also do something to turn those scary dreams into a reality.
Below, therefore, is how to fully commit to goals that terrify you.

1. Stop surviving and start thriving.

It’s high time you stop sitting down in your comfort zone. Enough of thinking and analyzing how you are going to achieve your goals, start working towards it. You might try to avoid failure because it weakens your self-esteem – although failure is a prerequisite for success. Ask any entrepreneur or adventurer, and they will tell you failure is essential.

It is better to try over and over than to keep thinking without taking any action. For many, surviving means getting through the daily huddles, just to endure the same challenges all over again. If you are in this category you won’t be able to meet up to your desire standard unless you’re determined to thrive.

Some people seem to be thriving under whatever conditions they’re faced with, while we wonder why we are stuck in our predicament. The fact is that they learn not to survive alone but to also thrive with whatever situation they are into.

However, to achieve your goals that seem unattainable you have to stop surviving and start thriving.

2. Create strong network access for yourself.

You must know that networking is a strong backbone for success. No matter how beautiful your idea might be, you need people that have gone through what you are going through, you need people who have been successful in the business you are planning to venture into.

As we all know that goals come in different forms, yours might be getting a new house, upgrading your business and others. All this can be easily achieved if you have the right people around you.

A lot of successful business persons, like Nicholas Dutko of Auto Transport Quote Services, also attested to the fact that creating strong network access for yourself helps you to achieve more than standing alone. He said, “People who have strong business network are always on top of the market.”

Building a relationship with other successful business owners will allow your company to gain additional work exposure and to know things going on in the market.”

3. Seek new information to clarify your new goal.

  • Exploration and searching are key to discovering what is possible and what’s out there. You don’t know what you don’t know.
  • You must be exposed to new things to realize it’s possible to expand far beyond the current sphere in which you’ve found yourself.
  • Information is power, it can bring you choices and choices bring power- educate yourself about your options and choices. Never remain in the dark of ignorance by using your knowledge alone.

4. Don’t wait for miracle, take action now.

For many things, we wait around for the perfect conditions to go after our dreams. The fact in most situation is that waiting for the perfect time to start a new thing later leads to disappointment, stagnation, and failure.

Just as best auto transport companies advise people to ship their cars early even before traveling, there’s never a perfect time or day for your dreams. The best time to start executing your thought and plans is now.

Growth requires offense — or what psychologists call an “approach-orientation” where you focus more on the rewards of a new future than the potential risks.
You must advance, otherwise, you’re going backward and you will be counting days not achieving your goals.

5. Commit to your dreams regardless of external conditions.

We should be taught not to wait for inspiration to start a thing. Action always generates inspiration. Inspiration seldom generates action.” — Frank Tibolt


If you believe that something is possible; though it might be impeded, yet it’s still going to be possible.

Our orientation speaks well of our destination. One of the most deadly things on the human race is having an impossibility mindset. It robs you of creativity and sets you on the lane of downfall.

Let your dream be so big that small-minded people will look at you and laugh. Belief in your dreams and work towards it. Obstacles are natural. So be sure to stand for it and don’t stop moving. Before you know it you are there.

In conclusion

Never give up on your goals no matter how big they are, work hard till you get your desired result, the harder you work for something, the greater you’ll feel when you achieve it.

This content is sponsored by Perfect Motivations, Inc.

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from The Good Men Project

The Importance of Strong Female Role Models

I have a daughter, she is my princess she always will be. However, I don’t want her to be the kind of princess you find in fairy tales. The kind of woman who is completely inept at doing anything and will need a man to rescue her. I want her to fight the monsters under the bed and be the kind of girl who will ride to war on dragon back, just because.

In a world where even now the feminine is seen as the lesser or weaker how can I convince her that she can?

An Englishman, an Irish man, and a..

Is an Irish joke racist? You know the kind you may have been raised on as a child. They usually start with ‘There was an English man, a Scottish man, and an Irish man… and usually, finish on some quip indicating that the Irish fellow is stupid.

Some of you may think not. The person telling the joke may not even realize that he was applying an unfounded stereotype to a whole race of people. I’m even more certain that he wouldn’t declare himself a racist or a bigot, he was just chasing a bit of fun and there was no real harm done right?

Well for the most part that may be right. (apart from the poor person whose feelings may have been hurt) Yet if someone’s belief or view on a group of people becomes changed, and thus they start to interact with that group differently based on that preconception then, yes harm could be done.

Admittedly a person’s ideas on a group of people wouldn’t be affected drastically by one single joke. If however, someone was experiencing negative tones from various people, cast from various angles then I think it would be difficult not to be influenced to some extent.

Casual sexism

So now imagine if instead of just one race of people we applied this theory to approximately half of the world’s inhabitants. Females. Where we go much beyond just jokes about things like parking etc. But imply there is a disparity between the sexes which only seem to favour the attributes of one.

Nothing major but just an insistent undertone. For instance, anything that implies a male would be more able to complete a task to a higher standard just because he is male discounting any prior experience or skill set. Little phrases, ‘needing a man about the house’ when referring to DIY. Jokes about all those ditsy girls and ‘Pesky women drivers’. The list goes on even if it is made up small seemingly inconsequential things.

Well, it’s one such joke that I heard that inspired this post. It really wasn’t that great so I won’t repeat it, but it left me feeling uneasy that the context that a girl was stupid was assumed without needing any back story.

It doesn’t take a great leap to see that this ongoing drone could and has affected the thoughts surrounding females. I’m well aware that there are strong minded females out there who pay no heed to this pish. I hope my daughter grows into one herself actually.

Xena not Cinderella

I want her to be a strong independent woman so much so that I have actually decided to try and show her some of the great things women can do. As well as some of the great historical figures that I admire who also happened to of been ladies.

Absolutely, most definitely NOT A FEMINIST!

I’ve listed a few below but I’d like to take a moment just to clarify that I am not a feminist in the internet sense of the word. I am not trying to portray to my daughter Loopsy that she is better than a boy. Nor that she is able to achieve something despite being a female. (That would be hazardous to my health even at her age)

But I want to be able to demonstrate to her that people are capable of pretty much anything. Regardless of what may or may not be between there legs. Which is why strong female role models are of importance.

My hero’s (who happen to be ladies)

Queen Victoria

The longest reigning monarch of the greatest empire the world has ever seen, need I say more?

Queen Boudicca

From the Iceni tribe, this lady was the Britons defense against the advance of the inevitable Roman army.

Marie Curie

This lady’s name goes hand in hand with radioactivity. Whether you take energy production, warfare or healthcare into consideration it is impossible to deny that she helped to shape the world we live in.

Ada Lovelace

This extremely gifted mathematician was the first person to be recognized as a computer programmer.

Wangari Maathai

The first woman to earn a doctorate degree in central and east Africa. Which was then massively overshadowed when she became the first black African Woman to earn a Nobel Prize. The prize was awarded for her contribution to building a sustainable environment, peace, and democracy.

If you would like to read more about the fantastic women who have helped shape history this list is excellent.

Is chivalry about to be killed?

We have had conversations with the girls to try and gauge their thoughts on the topic. That alone is quite difficult with a seven and nine-year-old. When ‘can we go to the park?’ is apparently a valid response to any number of questions. But I am happy to report that mostly the notion that people could be different for any reason is bizarre to them.

I will, however, keep subliminally encouraging the thought that anything other than that is untrue and not to be tolerated. I just hope that I don’t go too far and create some kind of monster who will give some poor lad (or lady) an ear full for holding a door open.

How would you instill a sense of self-worth in your child? Let me know below it should be interesting.~MG

Previously published here and reprinted with the author’s permission.


Photo: Shutterstock

The post The Importance of Strong Female Role Models appeared first on The Good Men Project.

from The Good Men Project

Do All the Democratic Contenders For President in 2020 Agree On the Need to Battle Climate Change?

Dear EarthTalk: Do all the Democratic contenders for President in 2020 agree on the need to battle climate change? Which ones have demonstrated the most leadership on environmental issues?
— Joe Bradley, Minneapolis, MN

With 18 Democrats already declared as running for president in 2020 (Pete Buttigieg, Eric Swalwell, Tim Ryan, Kristen Gillibrand, Beto O’Rourke, John Hickenlooper, Jay Inslee, Bernie Sanders, Amy Klobuchar, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Julian Castro, Tulsi Gabbard, John Delaney, Wayne Messam, Marianne Williamson and Andrew Yang), and several more likely to officially join the fray, there is no shortage of ideas on ways to beat Donald Trump. Besides their common desire to unseat Trump, all of these White House hopefuls agree on the need to address climate change before it’s too late.

A recent New York Times survey of the field found that each candidate favors bringing back Obama-era regulations designed to curb power plant and automotive emissions and curtail coal leasing on federal lands. Likewise, all 18 say the U.S. should recommit to the Paris climate agreement despite Trump’s efforts to pull out. But less than half (Castro, Gabbard, Gillibrand, Hickenlooper, Inslee, O’Rourke, Sanders, Warren and Williamson) are for even stronger new regulations to push us further faster on transitioning to a green economy.

Meanwhile, the non-profit 350 Action recently published the results of its 2020 Climate Test, a scorecard rating each candidate’s climate cred based on whether they support the Green New Deal or similar legislation, have taken actions to keep fossil fuels in the ground, and have pledged to refuse campaign financing from petrochemical interests. Gillibrand, Inslee, Sanders, Swalwell, Warren and Williamson scored 3/3 on the test, while Booker, Buttigieg, Gabbard and Yang each scored 2/3. (Delaney and Hickenlooper failed all three tests, despite acknowledging that climate change is a serious issue.)

Perhaps the candidate with the most climate skin in the game is Washington governor Jay Inslee, who has declared solving the climate crisis the primary focus of his White House bid. His 2007 book Apollo’s Fire: Igniting America’s Clean Energy Economy laid out a plan for solving the climate crisis via a rapid transition to renewable energy sources with massive investments in clean energy jobs that would benefit Americans from all walks of life—much like the Green New Deal proposal released earlier this year by New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Harris, Booker, Gillibrand, Sanders and Warren each served as co-sponsors for the Green New Deal’s introduction in the Senate.

Warren, a longtime sympathizer with environmental causes, recently released her plan to boost renewable energy production and protect public lands if she becomes president. The crux of her proposal calls for banning the extraction of fossil fuels on public lands (and off-shore in domestic waters) and replacing it with renewable energy production so as to meet 10 percent of the nation’s overall electricity supply.

If any of the Democrats can take control of the White House in 2020, environmental advocates will no doubt breathe a sigh of relief.

CONTACTS: “We Asked The 2020 Democrats About Climate Change,”; 2020 Climate Test,

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6 Lessons From Design Thinking That Will Help You Rethink Success

Our lives are messy and complex, and there are always problems that need to be resolved. One of the best approaches you can use to deal with the complexity of life is the design thinking process. The process is based on principles that can help you discover your new passions and career.

If design thinking can transform organizations and inspire the next, it certainly can help us change our life to a more purposeful and fulfilling one. The process can be used by anyone, no matter his or her age, current situation, or occupation. It will help you to discover what you need to try next or to make you rethink your approach to success even.

What is Design Thinking?

Design thinking refers to the cognitive and human-centered processes: Empathize, define, ideate, prototype and test. On the contrary to how it sounds, it is not an exclusive practice for designers. Design Thinking is being taught at leading universities around the world. Innovators, entrepreneurs and leading businesses have also practiced it.

Here are some of the lessons you can learn from design thinking to rethink how to make your life better:

1. Start with Empathy

All success in life will start with empathy. You need to look at your life clearly; it is important that you understand all aspects of yourself. You need to be critical also and examine your relationships, your health, and your mental state. The same also applies when you work with others. If you want to be a good leader, you have to be empathetic.

It is important that you are empathetic to their needs. When you show empathy to others, they will reciprocate it. Design thinking builds a framework where through empathy, you can meet the needs of others, and they can help you succeed by meeting your needs.

“The highest form of knowledge is empathy.” – Bill Bullard

2. Connect the Dots

If you aim to succeed, it is necessary that you learn to see the bigger picture. It will thus require that you first define the issues. You will then need to correlate and connect things to ensure you know what actions will help you achieve your goals.

In essence, you need to learn how to visualize abstract concepts. With these visual maps in your mind, you can define a path for success with ease. Whether you are working as the head of a group or on your own, having these mental maps is always important.

3. Improve Often Based on Feedback

The design thinking process requires that you are open to feedback daily. Use this feedback to make meaningful improvements to your life. Keep in mind that what works today might not work tomorrow. Thus, it is important to constantly imagine new scenarios and try to find solutions to them.

In short, never get too comfortable in one situation that appears to be working. Tomorrow, you might find that it actually causes you a headache. The aim is to seek out problems proactively before they start to harm your success and even cause you to fail. Feedback here comes from making a self-analysis or listening to the opinions of customers if you run a business.

4. Talk to Those Who Already Made it

If you are thinking of entering a certain career, it is essential that you talk to those who are already there. This might entail shadowing successful people or having normal conversations with them.

In the end, you might understand how things work better. It can help save you the time of getting to some unanswered question you have. The best way to understand anything better is conversations (and reading too).

These conversations can be over coffee or on the weekend. However, ensure that you ask probing questions such as the difficulties people face and how they solve problems. Even when they don’t want to talk about something that has gone wrong, you can discuss the practices that keep things running smoothly.

5. Take Actual Steps in the Real World

While it is important to visualize success, it is always vital that you take real action in the real world. You can’t just sit and think about what those jobs or ideas may be like. Go out and try some of the things you think might help you succeed.

Always keep in mind that you will never know whether you could have succeeded unless you do some testing in the real world. It is one of the definitive methods to help make a decision.

“Above all, think of life as a prototype. We can conduct experiments, make discoveries, and change our perspective” – Tim Brown

6. Be Persistent

The design thinking process requires you to persist in whatever you chose to do. Achieving goals will not happen overnight. A repetitive process requires a lot of willpower at times. The more you persist, the more lessons you get to learn in life. In the future, you will be able to make better choices for your success.

Successful people are learners and observers. They show empathy but also take a critical look at themselves, at others and at the problems. Successful people are also the people who devote their time to learning from other people and experimenting.

Design Thinking is definitely one of the practices to help people rethink their approach to success while in the process.

Which one of these lessons from design thinking resonated most with you and why? Let us know your thoughts below!


Do You Have the Royal Voice?

In today’s article, I want to show you how you can begin to discover your Royal Voice.

Looking back on what I’m about to share today, it’s little wonder why and how I wound up so self-conscious.

Eighth grade – that might’ve been my most awkward year I ever had in school. And considering the h*ll that was my high school years, this is a huge statement.

Our band director liked to sneak away quite often. Truthfully, I think he was an alcoholic, but I don’t know this for sure.

Here’s my journey through Tuscaloosa schools. See if you can keep up.

I went to one elementary school from kindergarten through fifth grade – six years. A building the Tuscaloosa schools have recently shuttered and is either tearing down or has already torn down. After leaving elementary school, we were sent to one school each for sixth, seventh, and eighth grade. You can’t really build relationships with teachers that way, y’know?

And then you had 9th and 10th grade in one building and 11th and 12th at another.

Anyway, eighth grade…that was a fun year.

Mr. H had escaped to the teacher’s lounge (I’m asserting) and he left a bunch of 13-year-olds to their own devices. Not wise…

We were instructed to work on our homework while he was away. Yeah, that was gonna happen.

I had no friends in these days. Or at least, this is how I saw myself. Friendless, fat, big headed, and with a voice that still hadn’t dropped.

Yeah, here’s why I get to share this story.

That afternoon, two future felons of America started laughing in my general direction. And being a hyper-sensitive kid – who has become a hyper-sensitive man – I was positive they were laughing AT me. I turned around and one of them says this to me.

“Yo Ryan? What size bra you wear?” And they both laugh lecherously.

Something snapped. I don’t know what it was, but something snapped.

I shoot out of my chair, get in his face, and squeaked “what did you just say to me?” I wanted to fight that little jacka$$!

This already six-foot tall kid gets up and he’s laughing at me. And his little felon buddy is also laughing and making fun of me. Imitating my squeaking voice.

I immediately thought better of it, and I sat down.

This event was the start of something pretty disturbing from my past. My voice actually had dropped, but I didn’t show it because I didn’t want people to make fun of me. Yet, it opened up other avenues for ridicule.

I mean, I could turn amateur psychologist and talk about my survival mechanism and unhealed parental wounds and why my mom wanted to put me into vocal therapy after this and I know this is a run-on sentence.

Long story short, I had no Voice. I had no Voice in the world. Yeah, I was a kid. What do I know about the troubles and the drama of the world? I was just a stupid kid.

Flashing forward almost 30 years, I recently had a speaking engagement that reminded me of how far I’ve come.

The mere fact that I’m embracing public speaking is proof of this in and of itself, y’know?

Before I go in for any kind of speaking engagement or anything where being present is crucial for me, I do three things.

First, I listen to my “get your mind right, Ryan” songs. Those being EWF’s In The Stone (I mean, I DID title my first novel after that song), and Yea Alabama. You know, because Crimson reasons.

After I listen to those two songs, I sit in quiet reflection for 5 minutes. At this reflection, I had the vision of all visions about how far I’ve come.

I was maybe 12 or 13 years old, around the same age as I was when the incident happened in the Eastwood band room.

I’m watching my little 13” Sony TV that Santa brought me a few years prior. Like clockwork every summer Saturday, I’d watch Georgia Championship Wrestling at 5:05 Central #turnertime, followed by the Braves at 6:05.

When other kids were playing with friends, my only friend was a little TV. And when I wasn’t watching wrestling or baseball, I was either watching SportsCenter or playing my NES.

I was straight up terrified to have a Voice in the world! I was scared of the world. I was scared of my family! My door was always – always closed.

This is what makes the event I spoke at last week all the more powerful. I was able to remind myself how powerful my Voice really is.

My talk was to a networking group about…wait for it…how to grow and nurture your Voice and using podcasting as a medium to share that Voice!

We’ve come full circle, my Royal subjects.

Before we dive headfirst into growing and nurturing your Royal Voice, I want to ask you a few questions.

  • What are you passionate about? “It’s hard to hear you speak about something you’re really passionate about without you sounding like you’re crying.” A friend recently acknowledged me for this, and it really stuck. If you’re speaking from your heart, people will listen. What you passionate about?
  • What sparks joy? At the risk of this reading like that Marie Kondo meme, what sparks joy with you? Joy and passion go hand in hand. If you think about it, all joy as an adult is, is your inner child running wild with the intelligence and life experience of adulthood.
    • Case in point – Dr. Katie Bouman. She’s the scientist and professor who ran point on the project that culminated in the first ever photograph of a black hole. In the picture of her that’s gone viral, she’s in front of a monitor with her hands over her mouth barely able to contain her joy. That was joy and that was passion in one really awesome picture. That was also 10-year old Katie on full display.
  • What do you love? If you love something enough to speak out about it, or to create a podcast about it, that combines passion and joy into one beautiful package. Is there an issue you want to speak about? Is there a cause that speaks to your soul? Do you just want to be a better leader? Come at that from a place of love and I guarantee you that your Voice will be shouted from the mountaintops. We’re talking sounding your barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world, here.


Before we go, I want you to take a look at something. Every time I used the word “Voice” when speaking about your presence in the world, that capitalization is completely intentional.

For example: I didn’t let my voice drop until late in puberty because I was scared to have a Voice in the world.

We need more passionate, joyful, and loving people in the world speaking out about what makes them tick. And I believe we need way more heart-centered men speaking from passion, joy, and love.

That’s having the Voice of a King!

My friends, that’s the Royal Voice!

Chew on these questions before our next piece:

  • What would finding your Royal Voice look like?
  • Do you even WANT to find your Royal Voice?
  • How would your life look if you discovered your Royal Voice?

What’s your take on what you just read? Comment below or write a response and submit to us your own point of view or reaction here at the red box, below, which links to our submissions portal.

submit to Good Men Project


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from The Good Men Project

How Motorcycles Are a Rite of Passage

Motorcycles are dangerous. The chances of you dying if you ride a motorcycle is greater than if you don’t. Let’s get that out of the way right now. No argument there. I don’t want to hear about all the stories you’ve heard about people crashing and dying and how it’s not the motorcyclist but the crazy drivers around her. I’ve heard all the stories. At least twice. I get it.

This article isn’t about trying to convince you they’re safe. I’m not here promote. I could care less if you buy one. I do, however, want to share the journey of becoming a motorcyclist. Not just buying one to save gas or avoid traffic or because they have become cool and trendy. I’m referring to the motorcyclists who ride daily no matter the weather. Who go on three-hour solo trips. Who would rather be on two wheels than four anytime? It becomes a part of them. Who they are. Their story.

Volume One.

The Honda Spree.

When I was a kid, I wanted a dirt bike. It was the 80’s and everyone had dirt bikes. They were what Sundays were about. They came in all sizes, from little 50cc dirt bikes to 500’s. But my parents thought they were dangerous and refused to buy me one. So I watched my friends wash dirt off their bikes after a weekend of adventure.

I kept begging my parents.

Finally, they gave in.

They bought me a little red Honda scooter.

While my friends were going to the track and taking dirt jumps, I rode this little f*cker up the down the street sporting shorts and sandals.

But even on this little Skittle with wheels, I felt something I’ve never felt before. A detachment from the world. A connection to myself. A complete presence. A strange peace. When I was on my Honda Spree, I didn’t think about anything. I didn’t care about school or homework or what I wanted to be when I grew up. I felt wind on my face and a stirring in my soul. That’s it. Nothing else. And it was just for me. No one else.

Then I grew up, sold the scooter, got into other things like cars and girls. I got a job, paid taxes and chased things that I thought would make me happy. That feeling I felt on that little red scooter was soon a distant memory. It faded quickly like a summer fling.

In college, I begged my dad for a motorcycle. He said, over my dead body. I wish I could say my dad rode like the wind. That he was an Asian Steve McQueen. But he wasn’t. He probably rode it because he thought it would look cool. He would have been one of those riders who tells people he rides but keeps it in the garage for most of the year.

Then I got married and my wife was against motorcycles so I vowed to never get one.

Then I got divorced.

It was my call to adventure.

It was the first time I felt that feeling I had when I was a kid, connecting me to the spirit of that twelve-year-old with sandals and a sh*t eating grin.

I was going through the roughest time in my life. A rebirth and rebuilding. But when I was on this Ducati, my worries vanished. It snapped me right into the present. That’s the thing about motorcycles. It forces you to be present or you will die. So they become meditation machines.

It was also my best friend. I didn’t have many friends at this point in my life. I was freshly divorced and our friends were her friends so I had to start over and find new ones. My motorcycle became my first. It was always there for me. Ready for adventure anytime. And although it was just a machine, I bonded with it like a cowboy and his horse.

Ryan Reynolds once said motorcycles saved his life. I never understood what he meant by that until I got one. When he was a struggling actor, he rode the lonely streets of Hollywood often to get out of his head. To escape. To feel something.

I did the same.

While I was entering my man journey, getting something that was dangerous and frowned upon by family and others did something to me. It forced me into the arena. It forced me to stand alone. Pick up my sword. Slay my dragons. Riding my motorcycle became a rite of passage.

Right of passage. — A ritual or ceremony signifying an event in a person’s life indicative of a transition from one stage to another, as from adolescence to adulthood.

It became a bridge for me, connecting me to my inner child and a part of myself I hadn’t yet discovered. The adult. It was on my motorcycle, logging in hours and hours of riding, by myself, with a passenger, with friends, where I developed courage, independence, and freedom.

Volume Two.

Steve McQueen.

My second motorcycle was a Triumph Scrambler. It was the perfect hybrid of the dirt bike I never had as a kid and a cafe racer — a lightweight, lightly powered motorcycle optimized for speed and handling rather than comfort. A look made popular when European kids stripped down their small-displacement bikes to zip from one café hangout to another. In this case, a therapist zipping from one cafe to another to do therapy sessions.

It’s still one of my favorite bikes. I have a photo of Steve McQueen on one in my living room. I love this photo. It represents adventure. I framed it as a reminder to myself to always seek nectar.

It was the bike that I truly experienced the joy of motorcycling on. The Ducati was my training wheels. It gave me a taste but fear and uncertainty kept me from total submersion when you’re hugging canyons and you and the bike become one. When the motorcycle becomes an extension of you as you slowly disappear. The Triumph Scrambler gave me that, a blending of man and machine. It at that intersection the feeling of flying happens.

You are no longer human.

Volume Three.

Jesse James.

My next bike was a Harley 48. Harleys are very different bikes. If a Triumph is a ninja, a Harley is a cowboy. They are loud. They rattle. Take lots of gas. Loaded with American power, they don’t just slip in, they announce they are here. The positioning is different as well. Instead of sitting straight up and down, your legs are propped up like you’re sitting on a Lazy Boy. The first time I rode a Harley, I felt like Jesse James coming into town.

I modified it into a Bobber with fat whitewall tires, a single spring seat, custom exhaust, and high T-bars.

This bike gave me permission to make riding about me. No passengers. Just me and a throaty exhaust. I rode this daily, to the gym, movies, and diners. Cruised the streets of Silverlake and Echo Park. I learned to slow down. Go straight. It gave me a stance. I felt powerful instead of nimble. It was a different feeling. An evolution. It also reminded me I could die on these machines. As I fished tailed and slammed into a car. But luckily walked away without a scratch.

Volume Four.

The white stallion.

I’ll start with a question. Who in the hell buys a white Harley? Two years ago, I would have never bought a white bike. Never. Motorcycles should be grey or black or flat black. Any dark color that hides dirt and scars. White is for scooters. So I went back and forth for literally a month. My guy friends can vouch for the annoying back and forth on our group text threads. I didn’t want to have buyer’s remorse. I didn’t want this to be a J. Crew sweater. Looks great on the mannequin at the store. Then you bring it home and realize you bought an orange sweater.

When I first saw this bike, I was drawn to it immediately for some reason. It has controversy surrounding it. This bike is disruptive and creates a split. The old vs the new. Harley redefined its entire line up this year. This one’s the most controversial. Because it’s built new from the ground up. Upside down forks, a box headlight?! The old die-hard Harley fans hate it. But the new Harley kids seem to like it because it’s one of the best Harley’s ever built.

Anyway, I love disruption. I love controversy. I love things that have something to say. It’s also very unassuming. It has the power to back up any color. It has a quiet confidence, doesn’t posture. It reminds me of who I want to be. But I think the real reason why I got it was because I wanted to buy something not all my friends liked or approved of. I wanted to get something that had push back from the world. And be okay with it. That would be my stretch. I used to never be able to buy something I truly liked unless all my friends approved. Motorcyclists will have opinions when I roll up. Some may give me a thumb. Some, another finger. This was treatment for me.

It’s also a hybrid of the Scramble and the 48. It’s sporty and handles like the Triumph but has the brass balls of a Harley Davidson.

And every time I get on this machine, it reminds me who I want to be and where I can to go. I had to ride and shed many to finally feel comfortable on this one. The evolutions of my different motorcycles parallels my own evolution as a human. As a man. As a seeker. Each represented something. My truth at the time. And by riding it, I was standing on my truth and entering a new rite of passage with a better me on the other side.

No one buys a motorcycle because they’re safe.

We ride because it represents something. Courage. Freedom. Love. Exploration. A connection to parts of us we have stuffed away. Or haven’t discovered yet. We ride to be a part of something. We ride to connect with others.

We ride because we choose to lean into the unknown.

Because we want to go on a journey.

Because —

We can not afford to be idle.
– Nick Cave

This post was originally published here and is republished with permission from the author.

What’s your take on what you just read? Comment below or write a response and submit to us your own point of view or reaction here at the red box, below, which links to our submissions portal.

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from The Good Men Project