Monday, April 22, 2013

Life Chapters - Regret

Tomorrow Never Comes

We have no input to life’s clock even though we always seem to think we have tomorrow to take care of the things needing care.  To say the things needing to be said or to do the things needing to be done.  The problem with tomorrow is it never comes.  While we may think we have tomorrow this past week reminds us how uncertain tomorrow is, reminding us once again that our biggest regrets may be the words unsaid or the actions not taken.  This past week clearly reminds us how important it is to say those words and take those actions.

Looking Back

Time seems to sneak up on all of us and is something we can never get back.  What if you never let the people in your life know how important they have been to you or the impressions they make on your life, is it a regret you can live with when their time runs out?  What are the things you have missed out on because there is always tomorrow which never comes?  If you could go back in time to speak with a younger version of yourself, say 18 years old, what would you tell yourself?  If you either stepped back in time or you could leap forward to when you are 80 years old who would you want to ask for advice?  The 80 year old would say – go live your life.  Live it well, without regrets, without fear.  Live your life with purpose giving it all you have and never give up. “A life worth living might be measured in many ways, but the one way that stands above all others is living a life of no regrets.” – Gary Keller.


Bronnie Ware’s 2012 book The Top Five Regrets of The Dying listed the top five most listed regrets by those close to dying.

5.  I wish that I’d let myself be happier.
    Remember happiness is a choice you make.

4.  I wish I’d stayed in touch with my friends.
    You fail at giving time and effort our family and friends deserve.

3.  I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
    Many times your feelings seem too heavy to handle.

2.  I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
    You spend too much time making a living and too little time building a great life.

1.   I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
          You decide to settle for half-filled dreams and to live with unfulfilled hopes.

So are you living a life of no regrets?  Do you know what is most important and what matters most?  When you look back on your life it will be the things that you did not do that will plague you the most with feelings of regret.  “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do.  So throw off the bowlines.  Sail away from the safe harbor.  Catch the trade winds in your sails.  Explore.  Dream.  Discover.” – Mark Twain. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Life Chapters - Stereotyping

Grouping Individuals

Stereotyping is the grouping of individuals into ill defined categories or associating them with a specific group or type.  As individuals, regardless of how similar we all might be we are all different.  Individuals with like traits, history or similar ancestry tend to group together.  These groups develop qualities that define their group or category.  However, stereotypes do not define groups; rather stereotyping is a means of explaining and justifying differences between groups.


Stereotyping can be very detrimental to groups; for example individuals suffering social and or economic disadvantages who cannot find employment could be stereotyped to explain away their disadvantages and their inability to find employment.  When in fact, their inability to find employment is due to other groups unjustly labeling, classifying, playing favoritism or other related social forces that identify the disadvantaged group or individual as unmotivated, unintelligent or lazy - stereotyping.  Every night on nightly news there are reports of crimes that occurred that day.  The individuals committing the crimes appear to be all the same race.  As a result, that race is stereotyped as all being criminals who should be in jail.  This is an unfair assessment of any group.  In the days of the wild west Indians were depicted / stereotyped as being unintelligent savages; watching Saturday morning Westerns every Indian was either after a white man’s scalp or was a drunk.  Again, an example of a group unfairly labeled resulting in the group being stereotyped as savages and drunks.


I have first-hand knowledge of what it’s like to be stereotyped – I have been many times in my life.  When I was a teenager I had long hair there were many times I was called freak or other names.  If you have long hair “how can I give you a job – you’re a hippie.”  How can you be an athlete if you have long hair, “you’re a freak” but I placed second in a junior Olympic High Jump event.   Today I ride a Harley.  It is amazing how people who ride motorcycles are stereotyped.  The funny thing is most Harley riders are very successful people that just like to ride motorcycles and have tattoos – doctors, lawyers, judges, engineers etc..  When I recall those days or think about stereotyping a song that was popular back then always comes to mind.  The song is “Signs” by Five Man Electrical Band which starts with this verse

And the sign said long haired freaky people need not apply
So I tucked my hair up under my hat and I went in to ask him why
He said you look like a fine upstanding young man, I think you'll do
So I took off my hat I said imagine that, huh, me working for you

Stereotyping is unfair to any individual or group.  When we use generalizations, or assumptions, about the characteristics of all members of a group, based on a preconceived image (most times wrong) about what people in that group are like we are guilty of stereotyping. 

We live in an age of extreme stereotyping – all one needs to do is look at and listen to the world around them – men are strong and do all the work, women can’t do as good as a job as a man, all Mexicans are lazy and came into America illegally, all Arabs and Muslims are terrorists, all Jews are greedy, all African Americans are criminals, people in same sex relationships are freaks of nature, and on and on…  It’s easy to see how these examples are incorrect and unfair to the individuals in the various groups.  Each of us know individuals in at least one of the examples used – do you believe the stereotyping of that person is fair and correct?

I leave you with this “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you” Matthew 7:1-2.