May 28, 2013

Is Thin Privilege Real...

Melissa Fabello has piqued my interest.  I just happened to catch her newest video, and it has continued to make me think.  Is there something to the concept of thin privilege?  I would say unequivocally, yes.      

With the birth of social media, we are all a tweet away from sending or receiving our innermost opinions relating to anything and everything.  It is common to hear how thin someone is, but you would never hear the morning shows discuss how bright and articulate young Hollywood has become.  Why?  Because all we seem to care about is the exterior.  The best hair, nails, clothes, makeup, diet, abs, blah, blah, blah....

I genuinely like what Ms. Fabello has to say.  She's right.  There is definitely thin privilege in this country, and the issue doesn't seem to be going away any time soon.


May 20, 2013

The Ireland Baldwin Generation Has A Great Opportunity...

A few weeks ago, the daughter of Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger posted a retort to the less than favorable comments that some of her not so kind fans added to the Twittersphere regarding her weight.  Let's recap.  Ireland Baldwin is 17~years~old, 6' 2", and a stunningly beautiful and healthy looking young woman. She has chosen to pursue a modeling career, which has sadly generated a slew of ugly comments from the public.  I was pleased to read her response, though. While she said that she once suffered from an eating disorder, she has dedicated her efforts to a healthy lifestyle by incorporating sensible food choices and exercise.

Much has been reported in the last several years by many in the public eye about the issue of food and the self-loathing that comes from eating that extra slice of pizza or not feeling adequate because you do not fit into size 2 skinny jeans.  It doesn't help matters when clothing peddlers like that guy from Abercrombie and Fitch go on the record dictating that he only wants the skinny cool kids representing his brand.  Granted, he has every right to do that, but shame on him! Adults have a tremendous responsibility to be good examples to our youth, and encourage excellence by lifting them up.  Sadly, exclusionary comments will almost always destroy a spirit, and cause those navigating their way through their formative years to question their abilities.

The Huffington Post ran a story calling our teens "Generation Z" and depicted them lazy and apathetic.  I think that's crap!  By giving thousands of teens a box marked lazy, how will they find their way to the path of strong, determined, and remarkable?

My hope is that Ms. Baldwin and the rest of her generation take the opportunity to change the conversation.  We need Generation Z!  We need you to represent our interests in Congress, lead our companies, find cures for diseases, and use technology to seek new and innovative ways to remain competitive in a very internationally competitive world.  And if our young men and women are spinning out of control trying to be visually perfect in the eyes of some lame guy from a store at the mall, how will they find the confidence to pursue greatness?

So, here's the deal Generation your bliss, master it well, find happiness in your own skin, ignore the haters, and embrace those who resonate with you. Because every successful person you see around you did exactly that.

May 13, 2013

One Of Those Special Teachers...

I love!  I have posted vignettes in previous blogs from speakers who have resonated with me on a variety of topics.  Last week was teacher appreciation week across the country.  Frankly, I think every week should be teacher appreciation week.  After all, they are overworked, underpaid, rarely appreciated, and oftentimes supplement their curriculum with their own funds.

I have added a link below to a Ted Talk, which spotlights a teacher by the name of Rita Pierson.  She's the kind of teacher who likely has hundreds of students who fondly remember her long after they have moved on from her classroom.  Why? Because she totally gets it.  She has spent forty years connecting with the children in her classes.

Thank you, Ms. Pierson.  You have reminded me that every kid needs a champion. I have always believed that you never know when you will inspire a child while simply going about your day.  It could be someone in your child's school or a neighbor who may need a little extra attention.  I remember several adults and teachers during my childhood who have no idea how instrumental they were as they unknowingly gave me guidance in my formative years.  I hope you will take a few minutes to be inspired by Rita Pierson, too!

May 6, 2013

How Reliable Is The Gut...

A gut feeling can propel you forward or send you running scared.  So, what's the difference between intuition and fear?  The word intuition comes from the Latin word intueri, which means knowledge from within.  Basically, we are made up of a right brain, which is our emotional, creative, innovative characteristics.  Then we have the left brain, which give us our mathematical and factual qualities.  Most people have a propensity for one or the other.  Although, there are those special people out there who have the gift of being blessed with an equally strong right and left brain.

We hear about a woman's intuition, yet it almost seems like a myth that somehow made its way through the years as truth.  So, I ask you, myth or fact?  Turns out it's a fact.  We all (men and women) inherently have an internal mechanism that causes us to be alerted before our cognitive brain can assess and reason a situation.  According to Dr. Alexandre Linhares, who is a leading expert in the study of intuition, if you have the propensity to have more knowledge with people and relationships, your instincts will be more acute with people. Although, if you are a people person with so-so financial expertise, then your gut may not be as spot on with your 401K, for example.

I know you have all had that initial introduction to someone, and you walk away knowing immediately that you could be friends or, unfortunately, the opposite.  I have an example.  I have often talked about moving all over the country.  We have had the privilege of living in some of the loveliest neighborhoods, but there was one person (who shall remain nameless), and I immediately  knew there was something off during our first interaction.  It was not her words or her actions.  In fact, I eventually thought it was me because I could never quite put my finger on it.  Until one day!  I was at the market, and she was there with another woman. We spoke briefly.  It was a pleasant, how's it going, conversation.  We parted ways and I pushed my cart to the checkout line, only to realize that I had forgotten something.  She, on the other hand, wrapped around thinking that I was long gone.  As I grabbed my forgotten item, she unknowingly was standing in the next aisle and had no idea I was a tower of cereal away from her.  I stood paralyzed as I heard her tell her friend how much she loved annoying me by purposely walking her dog by my house because it caused my dog to descend into a barking frenzy. That, my friends, is intuition.  And I knew it within the first two minutes of our first conversation.  As a result, I have honored that gut feeling ever since that day in the market.

While our gut may guide us forward, what's the difference between intuition and fear?  They are very different, but it is entirely possible to misinterpret fear for intuition.  Say, for example, you are in a dark alley at midnight.  Chances are you have a gut feeling that you are unsafe.  Why?  Because we all intellectually know that nothing good can come from walking in a dark alley at midnight.  Essentially, the difference is that intuition is that split second feeling that comes before we give the situation any further consideration.  So, the dark alley is quite possibly fear more than true intuition.

A recent study asked half of the participants to make an immediate choice prior to rationalizing or explaining their selection.  The other half were given the opportunity to think through their decision.   A month later they were asked again about their choices, and those who made the split second decision were consistently happier with their choice than their counterparts who were given the opportunity to consider their decision.

I am, by no means, suggesting that we all fly by the seat of our pants, but I do think there is something to be said for the gut.  So, the next time your intuition taps you on the shoulder, go with it...