It’s Not What it Looks Like (Assume Nothing)

Never trust your eyes and always question your judgments.

Our eyes are like CNN or Fox News, they often lie. Not because they mean to be deceitful, but because we see life through bias lenses. It is close to impossible to see the “full picture” in any situation. Our eyes have limited view points and our minds can only process so much information, this is why I stopped accepting my own story as the whole truth.

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When I speak my mind, I do exactly that, speak my mind, I give those around me a glimpse of my perspective. If they happen to relate, then that’s beautiful, but what’s just as important is the perception of those who see life in a very different way. I am now learning that I cannot attain any new information if all I do is refer to my own senses.

I used to be the sort of person that only watched and listened to information that affirmed my perspective and viewed this as “gaining knowledge”. I fed my ego by researching my own truths and ignoring the opinions of others subconsciously. I would hear others out, but to internalize their point of view was outside of my paradigm.

It is against the nature of our bodies to accept information that contradicts our habits, so to question ourselves is one of the hardest actions we could possibly take. Yet it is the most necessary in order to fully embrace life in a holistic manor.

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The meat eating version of me laughed at the idea of veganism and would never entertain the thought because I believed that my viewpoint was real. This was until I took my head out of the sand and saw the travesties of factory farming as well as the physical impact of my preconceived lifestyle.

 

 

We must continue to question what we perceive as truth. We must test our theories and see if they hold true after hearing every side of the conversation.

 

 

Tinashe Hwande

Edited by. Tayla Hasselbach

My Own Worst Enemy, My Own Best Friend

“If there is no enemy within, the enemy outside can do us no harm” -Sun Tzu

Enemies. In some Hollywood narratives, you see the depiction of enemies as evil, malicious beings that reign terror on the hero or heroine. In life, we sometimes make enemies; sure, they may not be after our lives, but they sure as hell are after our highs (happiness).

Time and time again, I have recognized the most ruthless force I’ve ever had to face was me, or at least the illusion of me.

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After promising my parents I would never take a drug or drink alcohol during the first week of high school and fully believing it, it felt like something outside of myself lead me into the five year abyss of my teenage life

 

As much as I would love to blame peer pressure or my environment for my formative lifestyle, the truth is I was the only one who chose to take, sell, and entertain those drugs. There was no magical entity that was making me act against my own well-being, in fact I don’t remember a single person putting a blunt to my lips and forcing me to inhale; all 10,000 hits were my choice and my choice alone.

Coming to the realization that I was my own worst enemy had a surprising effect. Instead of loathing in self-pity, I realized that if I could be my own enemy then I could surely become my own best friend.

If I could destroy myself, then I could heal myself. If I could deceive myself, then I could find my way back to truth. There was nothing stopping me from living a clean and sober life besides me.

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In the process of becoming my own best friend, a process that never ends, I realized that a true friend is not one who always agrees with you and cheers you on as you destroy yourself. A true friend is one who will have the tough conversations and question your lifestyle in order to help you better yourself.

 

Tinashe Hwande

Edited by. Tayla Hasselbach

Are You Needy?

How many times have you gotten into a conversation with someone and the first thing you asked was “how may I serve you?” When was the last time you went to an individual you needed something from and asked what you could do for them… don’t worry, i’ll wait.

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Many of us carry around a needy energy. We go from one social interaction to another, thinking of what we can take from the conversation instead of what we can add to it. Even in giving advice or adding our opinions, often times we do so as a release for ourselves.

I am realizing more each day that the greatest gift I could give in a conversation is a listening ear and a genuine compliment. This also holds true when it comes to physical requests. I used to approach clients in a “what do I get out of this” mentality, simply because the other party did the same and therefore we were two opposing energies looking for our win.

One of greatest examples of needy energy I’ve heard was from a random old man on YouTube who was explaining how our neediness repels and our giving attracts. It may seem common sense that you will attract others if you are a giver, but the act of giving runs deeper than a physical exchange.

When we recognize our abundance through the act of giving, it is an indication to the universe that we have more than enough.

When we are needy however, the universe recognizes us as living a life of lack, which only brings more of that into our reality.

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I used to think that if I “gave too much” I would have nothing left, but once I made the decision to come into interactions with something to offer before I asked for anything, my entire experienced changed.

Though our company is still in its baby stages, I have never experienced as much abundance as I do now, simply because I seek to be of service. I now seek to meet the needs of others as opposed living a life in need.

Tinashe Hwande

Edited by. Tayla Hasselbach

Why Pain Creates Change

Pain is the greatest human motivator. As much as I’d like to think that we change due to the compelling, heart-warming emotions of ecstasy and bliss, the reality is that human beings move when things go to sh**.

Remember touching a hot stove for the first time? I bet nothing was more compelling than feeling the skin peel back on your index finger as the heat of the stove scorched your flesh. No warning signs or cautionary tales could have done what experience did for you on this unfortunate day.

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Pain is an indicator of misalignment. The more pain we feel, the more drastic our actions will be to remove it from our lives. We eat ourselves into hospitals knowing that McDonalds for breakfast, lunch, and dinner is an elixir for disaster, but the pain of finding out we are on the brink of heart failure elicits enough pain to bring about a change.

As Tony Robbins states: “we do things for one of two reasons, to seek pleasure or avoid pain.” In most cases, the need for pleasure is outweighed by the pain in our lives. Pain does not have to be physical, in fact most cases the pain that leads to the greatest change is internal. When we feel the heavy mental burdens of unattended emotions, we are forced to look inward and this inner reflection allows us to find what it is that needs our attention.

Pain is not inherently bad, it is simply a mechanism our bodies use to warn us. Imagine how many limbs we would lose on a daily basis if we could not feel pain, or the ignored, emotional wounds that would go unnoticed until it was too late if pain was out of the equation.

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Pain can be an ally and even a temporary friend that is meant to unveil something to you, but just like any guest overstaying their welcome, a consistent pain often becomes an issue.

I am learning to no longer ignore my pain or view it as a  punishment from the ruling powers of this universe. I truly believe this universe works in alignment with us and our duty is to align ourselves with it, otherwise it will use any tool in its abundant arsenal to get us back in line. Pain happens to be one of the most effective of these tools.

Tinashe Hwande

Edited by. Tayla Hasselbach

 

Why We Love to Overthinking

If you were a prehistoric Neanderthal or a Sub-Saharan bushman, the best weapon you had in your arsenal was overthinking. To remain vigilant throughout your entire hunt while mentally preparing for all the worst case scenarios was essential in 20,000 BC. In this Tesla driving, Chipotle eating modern world, however, overthinking is the curse that keeps on cursing.

When I speak of overthinking, I am not alluding to the strategizing or problem solving powers of  mind. You know the sort of witt or genius that has been displayed throughout history by men and women whose names are echoed in chambers of greatness. The sort of overthinking I am referring to is the type that petrifies the majority of us into non-action.

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We live in an ever increasingly busy world, an environment where the overthinking mind can, and often does, become an affliction. A plague that stops us from living a life of fulfillment, deterring us from necessary actions, all the while killing the dormant dreams of everyday men and women.

Overthinking can be attributed to everything from the restless nights of insomnia to the deepest depths of depression. When fears, worries and doubts take a hold of our minds with no jurisdiction, we tend to find ourselves in a bottomless abyss that seems to have the gravitational hold of the “sunken place.”

The main reason we hold onto our overthinking with such a tight grasp is due to our belief in its purpose. We feel as if overthinking may solve our problems or serve to protect us from the fear of taking action. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Overthinking is the enemy of all actions and brings along more animosity than resolve. This is why the greatest defense for our overthinking is action itself. Tony Robbins, master of the mental shift, is known for his “physical change” to “mental change” approach to habit formation. He speaks on how the simple change of physiology can make the difference between a mind in the state of depression and one that is freed from strife.

Though this may seem contradictory, it is essential for us to step into “massive action,” as Tony refers to it, in order to get out of our heads. Whether this means visiting your local gym to hit the ol’ weight rack or finally sitting down to work on that novel, taking action will show itself as the resolution to the constant mental bombardment.

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This does not mean you will never have an overactive mind again, it just means you will have the ability to chip away at the overthinking by acting upon those things that are truly at the root of your fears and anxieties. Overthinking comes from underdoing. Change your mind, change your life.

 

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Tinashe Hwande

(Edited by. Tayla Hasselbach)

 

 

Childhood Conditioning

Childhood

Every single human being goes through infancy, childhood, adolescence… Literally each and every one of had to go through it to get where we are today. What a vulnerable, impressionable time of life. We are 100% dependent on our caretakers to teach us about this ginormous, new world we just entered… It’s easy to see how things can go awry.

Naturally, a child is born to two parents, a mother and a father, both offering different teachings, traits, experiences, etc. Now we must take a step back for a moment to remember that parents are not simply acting as teachers, for example as we see in school: carefully constructing lessons and presenting them orally with pictures, planned activities etc. Unfortunately, parents don’t go to school to be parents… they often just get handed a baby (essentially) without a clue in the world what to do.

Children are sponges! They absorb everything, every new sensation, sight, sound, feeling, taste, smell, etc. Thus, parents unconsciously teach their children everything that they do and say in front of them. When parenthood was not by choice, when one parent leaves and the other is left to raise the child on their own, when other burdens take away from time spent with the child… when the parent does not, for whatever reason, take an active, responsible role in raising and teaching the child… problems arise.

Children become scared, they don’t know who or what to trust, they don’t know how to communicate or express themselves because no one ever gave them the space to do that, they don’t know how to take an active role in their lives or make decisions for themselves, they don’t know how to trust and love themselves…

When children are not actively taught, loved, encouraged, admired, developed, etc. they create defense mechanisms, they become blocked in certain areas of life, conditioned to be the way their parents were (which obviously wasn’t therapeutic), they grow up with trauma, pain, anger, sadness, anxiety that can often paralyze them and stagnate their growth and progress as adults in the world.

Adults often face childhood traumas for the rest of their lives if they don’t awaken to their conditionings and make conscious efforts to heal their ingrained traumas, reactions, defense mechanisms, etc. This can impede relationships, academia, work, every area of life.

Overcoming

With every dark cloud there is a silver lining, a sliver of hope, a showing of light within the darkness.

There was a time in which neurologists believed that our capacity to learn was limited by age. We were taught that the grey matter within the brain stopped creating new links and pathways somewhere between our twenties and early thirties. This theory was refuted time and time again, however, as researchers saw “old dogs learning new tricks”.

From therapy sessions to addiction centers, those who were placed in positions to help others overcome lifelong habits began to notice how even the most coniditioned individuals had a capacity for change. These deep habitual changes did not come as a result of some sort of special gene that these people had, but due to the nature of the human being as a whole.

We are creatures of habit, and creating patterns for ourselves has always been the way in which we navigated these terrains that we call planet earth. Whether we formed habits of foraging for our survival, or nursing our young; the place where each habit formed was and still remains the same

Many of us have been conditioned into certain modems of thought and action, therefore forming habits that do not serve our higher purpose. For anybody who’s seen a child go from being a flunking student to a straight A pupil, you have witnessed the capacity of a human to form new connections within the brain.

Whether you’re five or ninety there is always hope. So long as there is breathe in your lungs and a beat to your heart, there is a chance for you to reestablish your position on this planet through the diligent efforts of retraining your mind.

Much like teaching an infant to walk is not an easy feat, reinventing oneself through the formulation of new habits is no simple task. But just like anything else in life, once we make the decision to fully commit ourselves to change we can rewrite our story, and become the alchemist of our childhood experiences turning them into lessons for our future selves instead of anchors to our pasts.

Tayla M. Hasselbach & Tinashe P. Hwande

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A Culture of Complaining

My fitness mentor, Coach Bobby Bluford, one of the most brutally honest men that I know, once said “nobody cares if you win or lose.” Though I am a fan of truth served with no sugar, this statement caused me to cringe. Not because of its “harshness,” but due to its unrelenting truth. We all see the crowd cheer for the winner and cry for the second place in a two person competition, but in day-to-day reality nobody cares if you follow your dreams or not. The irony of this idea runs deep because it is almost necessary for some to live out their visions in order to inspire the other potential dream chasers, however whether or not you have the faith necessary to take actions towards your goals is something that nobody cares about until you do.

Those who dream but do not do, seldom have an impact on those around them, let alone the world as a whole. Einstein, Joan of Arc, Picasso, Oprah, these individuals changed the course of history profoundly, however if they chose to live in their doubt and ego-driven fear, they would have had no impact on our society. As much as it now seems like the world would have never been the same if these people had not existed, if they had not pursued the unseen, the world would still go on. Nobody cares until you do.

If you are somebody who now leads a team of employees or is working towards growth then you understand the former statement. The fact that you cared enough to bring your vision into reality is the reason why people not only care, but have become invested in you and your vision for a better world; some because they rely on you for a paycheck and others because they have fallen in love with your offerings.

Whether you’re a one person business or have a fully staffed company, nobody cares whether you grow or not so long as you don’t. Your employees would love promotions and to say they work for an organization that is doing big things, but then again they could just move on to the next company who’s not afraid to scale themselves and provide their services to the world abroad.

I did not create this chapter as a way to hurt your feelings or even as a form of tough love, I wrote this to inspire you to care whether or not your company grows. Until this point you might not have cared, because if you did you would have been taking those actions that you wrote out in your business plan five years ago.

There is no secret recipe for giving a damn about growth, but there is a way in which you can practice seeing the bigger picture of what the growth of your organization will do. As I mentioned in the opening statement of this chapter, growth does not just affect you, but all those around you. As you probably know the more companies of value that open up within a certain region, the more the value of the region goes up.  Granted the question of value is subjective, however the reality is that development spawns development.

When you make a decision to care more about people and look to serve them before all else, it is not just you who feels better but every single human being that you come into contact with thereafter. Your decision to be a better person or as one of my earliest clients stated “just not be an asshole,” has ripple effects throughout your community. Your kids, parents, friends, customers, employees, and all others who are in your circle of influence will be affected by your character growth and in turn those they come in contact with will have the same happen for them. Exponential growth.

So just image what can happen if you’re able to supply a thousand more customers with the freshest produce within the marketplace or create a law firm with a thousand lawyers that are dedicated to true justice for the innocent. It does not matter what industry you are in, caring is caring and it is felt when it is shown. Caring is contagious and everybody benefits from it. We’ve become a culture obsessed with “IDGAF.” If you do not know what this abbreviation means, I dare you to look it up. The phrase “I don’t care” has become more popular than it should be, though its use is in vain; humans by default were crafted to care, if not about one thing then at least another.

Put the same care that you put into the less important things in life into your business and you will see it grow into something that serves many and not just your own day-to-day needs.

Tinashe Hwande

(edited by Tayla M. Hasselbach)

https://photos.icons8.com (Original Picture Source)