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 “FOMO is a MOFO

*(Fomo is an anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on a social media website.)*

Remember back in high school when every party was the last party? Remember your college years when attending the third rage cage and beer pong filled night was more of a priority than whatever boring subject you had to study for.

It never really clicked in your mind that there would be a dozen more parties right after your midterm, but then again….Fomo. It never once clicked that missing that one party would not cause global warming or accelerate the rising of the sea level. As a teen and 20-something year old, it was tough to process the fact that nobody really cared.

An old, wise woman once told me that the older you get the more you realize that nobody cares if you go to the party.

In life, there are more parties than those with keg stands and beer pongs. The party is a metaphor for anything that you may feel obligated to go to simply because everyone else is. The party is the distraction that often comes between you and whatever it is that you are after. For some, the party is hanging out with friends that do not add value to your like. For others, the party might be watching every episode of that one show that everyone else is watching.

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It is normal to feel the need to always be in the know and continuously show up to where everyone is; in fact, it is a social norm for us to stop what we actually want to do in order to do what everyone else is doing. Believe it or not, some people don’t want to watch that game, yet they feel the need to because they think that everyone around them actually cares.

I know this sounds mean but it is true. It’s ironic because we let these things impede our personal growth and prolong our stagnation while simultaneously idolizing those who choose to bypass the social pressures and instead focus on their own growth.

If you internalize the idea that nobody cares if you go to the party then you will liberate yourself from the false obligation of always showing up to things that have nothing to do with your vision. There is a true sense of freedom that comes with knowing how people really feel about you, showing up to another party or another superbowl get together. Yes, some may miss you in the moment but after a few cold ones it will be as if you never existed.

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When you chose to overlook social pressures and instead choose your own destiny, over time people will actually start to care about what you are doing and respect you more for your decision to remain committed to your vision. People are interested in those who do not conform to the norm, those who choose to miss the party in order to record that album or bypass the club to build that new app.

When I say nobody cares if you go to the party, I am not doing so to stop you from a good time, I am doing so to remind you that you are free to make your own choices in this life. Choosing YOU will benefit both yourself and others far more than “going to that party.”

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Tinashe Hwande

Edited by. Tayla Hasselbach

Living on the Edge of Time

What a crazy, wonderful blessing it is… the camera. We literally have the ability to capture the ever fleeting moment. One second in time that has never happened before, that will never happen again; the camera allows us to capture it, preserve it for the future. We can look back, remember experiences, monitor growth and changes. It’s truly mind boggling.

Millions upon millions of moments we get to experience in this life… we literally live on the edge of time! We can’t possibly remember every single one. The camera helps with this. There’s a balance to find here, however. We’ve come to take the camera for granted! We take photos of every moment as if we would never be able to remember without it. Dependency?

Tell me though… how often do we really go back and review these? I do this from time to time and always have realizations, feel emotions, make connections, etc. I am so thankful I took the photos. Again, there is a balance to find here… living in the moment and capturing the crazy, amazing, beautiful ones to be able to look back on later. It it a gift to our future selves. I cry. Seeing how far I’ve come. Remembering things that aren’t at the forefront of my memory on the daily basis. We live on the edge of time.

-Tayla M. Hasselbach

 

Keys to the Heart

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word “communication”? A 12th grader nervously standing in front of her peers, giving a speech on a subject she just read up on last night? Or maybe you envision a college student typing up a persuasive essay the night before class at a pace fast enough to tear the keyboard in half.

School taught us how to talk and be persuasive both orally and textually, but often neglected the most important part of communication: Listening.

Since I was a youngin’, I’ve heard the phrase “communication is key” thrown around. This cliche made sense in my young mind; if you want to get your point across, you have to speak up. I was never shy of such an act. What took me two decades to learn, however, was the pivotal part of communication.

It was Stephen Covey’s book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” that opened up an entirely new world for me. He spoke of the importance of listening not for response, but for understanding. Right after I read this, I had an experience which solidified this notion. I felt as if I had been freed from a self-induced, ego-controlled cage and opened up to an entirely new paradigm. Until that day, I was a product of my conditioning, a conditioning that said “communication is key and getting your point across is communication… therefore, DON’T STOP TALKING.” That very day, I found the true key, the essence of communication; listening.

It wasn’t long until I fell back into my default habits of listening to reply. What changed, however, was my new found conscious intention to seek understanding within each conversation. From that point forward, I was able to diligently practice listening to others in order to truly hear what they were saying. The hardest form of this was when disagreements arose. Listening to understand literally meant that I had to sit there and take the verbal abuse of another as they uttered all the things that I had “done to them.” When an argument flared up, something very interesting happened. Instead of being defensive and striking back, I began to see where the other persons pain points were. There were no personal attacks or threats actually made towards me but more so cries for help that had taken the form of angry words.

It was not during a normal conversation that I saw how true communication was key but during a disagreement with a very close family member. As she began to project her fears, insecurities and pain onto me, I sat there and listened instead of responding with even more angst. That day, I learned more about her than I had in my entire life. I was so moved by the experience that I was brought to tears of joy; even though she might not have realized it, we experienced a breakthrough.

“Communication is key” is not some cute Pinterest quote or overused cliche, but a deep truth that we often times overlook. Think about it, what exactly is a keys purpose? And knowing the purpose of a key, why would communication be the key?

In my eyes, communication is a key to the heart. When we can listen to another with the intention to understand, we open ourselves to the possibility of seeing what is truly in their heart. With that very same key, we can open up the doors to our own hearts as well the hearts of others.

Tinashe Hwande

(edited by Tayla M. Hasselbach)

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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)

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Remember To Breathe

The first time I ever met my partner in growth and soulmate I was in a phase of my life where I was essentially going nowhere at an extremely fast pace. At the time, I was doing a sales job for a meal prep company working off of commission… and for anybody who’s ever had to make a living off of commisions, I am sure you know how taxing it can be.

My days were filled with prospecting customers, creating sales pitchs, meeting with customers, digging into sales books and such. I had become used to moving from one side of town to the other, meeting potential clients and pushing a product that I didn’t even believe in (a vegan selling meat based meal plans, can somebody say hippo crit?). I wouldn’t admit it then, but quite frankly I had lost myself. Mentally, I was the same person that I am right now, however there was this cognitive dissonance between the person I was and who actually wanted to be. I had forgotten about the simple things that actually mattered. One of those things being my breath.

My partner did not directly tell me to breathe but did what most great impactors and influencers do; lead by example. I noticed her taking the deepest breaths I had ever seen as she sat in the front seat of a mutual friends car. I could not help but notice her breath more so than the conversation taking place at the time. Intuitively, I followed suit. And almost in an instant, I remembered. I remembered to breathe.

In this rapidly changing world, complicated has become the new norm and a form of simplicity within itself (notice how I did not say evolving world as many would say). Don’t get me wrong, technology has definitely made it easier for us to live day by day. After all, our ancestors struggled to merely survive most of the time, whereas today we seldom have to think of our own mortality.

We have taken the complexities of human life and solved them through algorithms, apps and Adsense. The one problem we have yet to solve is the one of remaining human throughout this process of perceived progress.

Being a self diagnosed workaholic, I am as guilty as any when it comes to getting caught up in the ever turning hamster wheel that is modern society. In fact, most of us have become accustomed to living our lives on this perpetual track to nowhere. We wake up, scroll down, brush that, grab this, eat that, scroll up, look for that, drive this, eat that, park this, type that, eat this, talk smack… and this all takes place before your 30-minute lunch break.

We forget about the gift that is the present moment as we go through the day taking shorter and shorter anxiety, stress, worry, and doubt-filled breathes. We view the perpetual hamster wheel as being the norm, yet the rat race did not exist within the first million or so years of our existence. What did exist, however, was stillness, patience, reflection, community, connection and BREATH.

I understand that it is close to impossible to spend your entire life breathing with intention every step of the way… just take this as a friendly reminder to take a moment out of your day to breathe.

Tinashe Hwande

(edited by Tayla M. Hasselbach)