Having the freedom to do as I please each day has been such a wonderful blessing for me. It has allowed my mind to relax away the stresses which accompanied my formerly time consuming work schedule. With greater peace of mind, I have explored new practices such as yoga, meditation, journalling, and other forms of self-care which have improved the quality of my life and my overall happiness. Taking a daily walk, or constitutional as I like to call it, quickly emerged as one of the most enriching new daily practices. This is especially true because it was during a walk that inspiration struck for my most meaningful life change to date: a 30 Day Smile Challenge. Now, having enjoyed a full month of smiling at every person I see, I am happy to report that my smile is the single most efficiently mood-boosting element in my life. It is also a meaningful way to positively impact others and invite connectedness through simple kindness. Smiling is now my secret happiness tool.Read More
Here's a little life update. Things have been amazing! I am actually living the life I envisioned and in full alignment with what I have begun to refer to as The Ashley Way. Each day, I awake refreshed and with a desire to allow a beautiful and inspiring day to unfold before me. Those daily desires have been realized. I've started projects that were just ideas in my head before, soaked up creative vibes visiting museums, nourished myself with soul-stirring cuisine, connected with new friends who share my interests, and found inspiration from watching some of the most talented athletes ever (Go Steph Curry! Go FC Barcelona!!!) demonstrate seemingly effortless mastery. I have joyously spent money on awesome concerts, beautiful and flattering clothes, and books that have expanded my belief in what is possible, in each case inviting more abundance into my life. Meditation, prayer, reflective walks, and yoga have helped me to connect with my true self, the source of my hope and most valuable ideas. Each of these experiences has helped me to more fervently believe that when I ask, it is given.Read More
My life took a dramatic turn for the better when I embraced the understanding that happiness is a choice. My decision to embrace unconditional happiness has opened me up to a new way of thinking and being where I can find joy in each moment no matter the circumstances I face. I didn't truly realize how striking this change was until I began to discuss it with others who invariably note that I seem to be radiating positivity and full of hopeful expectation. The positive feedback I have received from others encouraged me to take a new leap in sharing my perspective on living your best life, one that enables me to reach people who I might never meet or need a more dynamic platform than this blog. The Ashley Way is to always evolve and thoughtfully create new opportunities for personal development and enhancing the world. The result is a new endeavor I am happy to announce: the Good Vibes Only Podcast.
Cam Newton has emerged as a dominant figure in the world of sports and is an emerging superstar and pop cultural icon. He has solidified a place in history with his record-setting play. He has defied the odds and summarily silenced naysayers. The warrior-like levels of focus and drive that Cam has demonstrated at times make him a man among boys on the playing field. Under his leadership, a now imposing Carolina Panthers team has ascended from the doldrums of the NFC South to the Super Bowl. Cam's magnetic personality and gleaming smile make him a highly desirable male prototype. For these reasons, he is a stellar exemplar of "the Ashley Way," the ultimate path to living the life of your dreams.Read More
Greetings Beautiful Souls,
Imagine that in the picture above I am instead coming to you waiving the white flag of surrender with one hand. With my other hand I am reach out for your grasp. We are both witness to and combatants in a dehumanizing war that has far too many casualties. This war was has exacted an ever-mounting toll of collateral damage. The war I speak of has a frontline that is so close to home that it has terrorized our daily existence and even plagued us in our sleep. This is the Epic Mental War on Ourselves (EMWO). For too long, we have been our own worst enemy. Now is the time to lay down the weapons of self-judgment, loathing, doubt, and denial. This is a proposal for peace. I hope that you will adopt it along with me.
In the name the goodness of humanity and in furtherance of the divine, we, the signatories to this Personal Peace Accord, gather in mind and spirit to bring an end to the pernicious and destructive EMWO we have been waging against our own selves. We seek inner peace and personal enlightenment. Far too often, we have attacked ourselves with negative thoughts and beliefs about our worthiness, capabilities, limitations, attractiveness, and will to overcome adversity. These EMWO thought bombs have destroyed our confidence, causing us to live in a perpetual state of fear, anxiety, suffering, and despair. We have tried to flee from the battle field, at times going AWOL to chase escapist fantasies, but addictions to drugs, alcohol, mindless living, sex, shopping, the Internet, popular culture, and delusions only offer temporary reprieve. The fever pitch rises higher each day as the collective of humanity is subjected to all manner of torture and savagery as our own respective EMWO prisoners of war. This EMWO threatens to destroy each of us, but conscious minds are intervening. The time for peace is now.Read More
In my last blog post I deconstructed the social phenomenon known as the Friend Zone. I also promised that in my next post I would provide some practical tips about how to side step Friend Zone status. At first, I began to work on a list of 10 or so generalized recommendations (know yourself, don't settle, state your intentions; etc.), but then I remembered how empty I feel after reading many of the generalized Top 10 style advice articles which litter the internet. Since this is my blog, and it is as much an effort to shift the way we discuss important issues as it is a forum to share my thoughts, I decided that I would share a personal experience which might actually speak for itself. Here goes . . .Read More
A man meets an attractive woman and becomes instinctively drawn to her and engulfed in amorous feelings. He desires to establish a committed romantic relationship with his love interest. Alternatively, he may just want to jump her bones. Either way, it appears the man is in full pursuit mode. In fairy tales, the gent would do all the right things, inciting a reciprocal attraction in the woman and they'd live happily ever after. So why is it the case that so many real life situations go completely to the left, leaving the man in the dreaded "Friend Zone?" And why is it also the case that, according to Feefo from DeadEndHipHop.com "every guy has been friend zoned at least once."Read More
On Twitter, I recently saw a mention of blog post with a title so bold, I had to click the link. "Angry Black Bitch: The Trials and Tribulations of Being Too Real" is a personal expression of the frustration one black woman feels as a result of the marginalization, disrespect, distancing, and worse she has encountered in organizing spaces and social settings. She attributes this maltreatment to her status as a "Black femme fat woman." Ashleigh Shackelford, the author, is clearly motivated to change the world and passionate about speaking truth to power. Based on her biography, she appears to be fully equipped to create the new justice-filled world we both envision. But the blog communicated more to me about its courageous author than those it intended to call out. I say this with all humility and genuine concern. The blog read like a thoughtful, well-crafted, compelling soliloquy on suffering. Anger was described in affirmative terms; it was her friend. Each line expressed the attitude of a sista deeply enmeshed in a dysfunctional repeating cycle of trauma, pain, anger, and expression. I wish I could free her from this cycle by changing the behavior of all the offending folks who have been dismissive, standoffish, or threatened by her truths or violent against her, but I cannot. What's more, even if I could, it would not end the suffering. I know in my heart that this sista, like many myself, likely needs to look inward to address the pain and despair which is wreaking havoc on her life. She must stop embracing the defensive badge of "Angry Black Bitch" and become work a Self Loving Sista. Ashleigh, I say this from the most loving and non-judgmental perspective I can muster. I do not know what it is like to be you, but I do know that I want the best for you. My positive intent, like your pain, is really real.Read More
Affirmations are such a beautiful way to communicate with your self. They are short positive statements which prime your mind to adopt the reality your statements affirm. The primed mind projects our affirmed sense of self into the world because our attitudes are merely reflections of our beliefs. In turn, our beliefs are birthed by the thoughts we impart into our minds. Affirmations are fertile seeds of positivity we plant in our own minds, creatively ensuring that we have self-serving beliefs and life-enriching attitudes to harvest. Since I have added a daily affirmation practice to my life- I repeats affirmations to myself each morning and night and have affirmation statements on Post-it notes strategically placed around my place- I feel much better about myself and have seen miracles unfold around me daily. My thoughts have manifested an awesome, affirmed reality.
The process of crafting meaningful affirmations for myself has been so rewarding that I would now like to begin creating affirmation sets for others. Anyone who is close to me knows that I love the energy I get by connecting with creative types (people whose life purpose is to share their creative visions with others), so in an effort to return the positive energy I have crafted a set of affirmations with creatives in mind. We all use creativity in our daily lives, so even if you are not a creative professional, you may benefit too. Affirmations are most effective when you say, reflect, and internalize them daily, like meditation and just about everything else which is good for you.Read More
A little over a week ago I met an incredibly inspiring Hiphop artist aptly named Limitness. Born Shayne Smith, Limitless had travelled 19 hours by car from Toronto, Canada to attend the A3C Hiphop Conference and Festival in Atlanta. The arduous journey Limitless traversed to arrive at A3C paled in comparison to other challenges he had faced in his life. At four months old, he contracted life-threatening meningitis, leading to amputations of his legs, an arm, and fingers. Shortly after he fell ill, his father left his mother. He tells me his childhood was no crystal stair, and I struggle to imagine the epic adversity he faced as a mobility-challenged young person from a struggling family in this judgmental world. Yet, despite everything Limitless experienced and the practical challenges he faces each day, he was the single most positive person I have ever met. His energy was infectious, and his message, though simply worded, hit me like an epiphany: Live life with no limits.
You can catch my inspiring interview with Limitless here.Read More
If it were not for my unyielding curiosity, I am not sure I would be thriving today. There have been days when I was so gripped with despair that I wondered if there was any reason to fight to see another day. I have sat alone, engulfed in tears, and clutching the last bits of my beliefs, confidence, and sanity together by a shoestring. I have almost succumbed to reality. But at some critical moment in each of those junctures in my life, curiosity has brought me through. Simple questions have the power to reshuffle my mental energy away from the darkness and into the light. What if this is happening for a reason? What if I wait to see if this too shall pass? What if I push on? These questions represent the critical elements of what I refer to as courageous curiosity.Read More
When is the last time you have lost yourself thinking about the positive possibilities life has in store for you? So much information comes our way each day that it's difficult to go deep into our own thoughts. This is why it is important that we make time to step away from the external communications and commune with our minds each day. Take control of your mental path by thoughtfully focusing on the things you want to occur in your life and the world. You owe it to yourself to think deep thoughts.Read More
About a year ago I decided to avoid eating anything that does not nourish me in mind, body, and spirit. That meant cutting our random junk food, radically enhancing the quantity of fresh fruits and vegetables in my diet, and living a mostly pescatarian lifestyle. I still periodically indulge in fatty foods, but only if they truly have earned a place in my heart. Atlanta is a great food town for a person like me because it has a number of independent of restaurants and bars which serve delightful food in vibrant environments.
A3C is a hip-hop centered music festival and conference which turns Atlanta into the center of the hip-hop universe for a long weekend in October (7-11 for 2015). It brings hip-hop artists, fans, entrepreneurs, and media to town from all over the world. I am frequently asked by festivalgoers for recommendations of the best restaurants and bars to visit because I live in Downtown Atlanta (near the center of A3C activities), eat out frequently, and have pretty good taste. I decided to create this blog post to share some of the places I hope you will enjoy while you are visiting Atlanta.Read More
I made a radical shift in thinking when I began to really understand how adversity has been a powerful advantage in my life. It is seductive to look at unfortunate events, personal and professional failures, and life challenges as proverbial scarlet letters. They threaten our confidence, drop shame bombs in our psyches, draw ridicule from others, and pose serious practical challenges to our life circumstances. I cannot fault an innocent man languishing on death row, a teenager who grew up in an abusive home, or one of the millions of Americans struggling to make ends meet for thinking "Woe is me." Yet I urge us all to recondition our minds to embrace adversity in whatever form it appears in our lives. Without struggle, there is no progress. Without wounds, there is no healing. Without challenges, there can be no success. Adversity is the ultimate advantage.
Adversity is a literal and figurative badge of courage and should be respected as such.
The "Adversity Advantage" stares me in the face every time I look in the mirror. I was always an uncommonly successful student, able to learn with ease and maintain excellent grades with limited effort. Given my track record of success, it was a complete WTF moment for me when, in my senior year at Princeton, I learned that I would not be graduating because I had failed a required lab science course. At the time, I thought the world was coming to an end. My parents nearly had me committed. My friends were preparing to begin prestigious careers and elite graduate studies, but I was completely uncertain about my future, just stuck. My confidence and identity as a brilliant person were under direct fire. I attempted to take replacement courses at two other schools, and failed each. I ended up homeless, broke, and suicidal. A boyfriend shattered a glass door in my face attempting to punch me, and it was fitting. My life and belief in myself was shattering all around me.
It was in that downtrodden state that my will to win was born. The adversity finally nudged me to make a decision to "get my sh*t together," and I made it happen. I came home to Detroit, enrolled in a local college I would have previously thought was beneath me, and single-mindedly focused on the goal at hand- completing a Psychology 101 lab course. In retrospect, that semester was one of my most enriching times in life and more educationally enhancing than all four years at Princeton. Everything I did- from the walking around Detroit, taking the public bus and assisting people from all walks of life while working in a bookstore- lit my brain and spirit on fire. The course ended up being one of the few in life that I was actually eager to attend, and I learned practical tips in it which made law school and negotiating complex transactions as a corporate lawyer a relative breeze. I emerged from the entire experience more self-assured, charismatic, worldly, empathetic, and grateful than I could have ever imagined to be before my failure. I graduated, not only from Princeton, but also from a more surface level of living. Adversity taught me to ascend.
The adversity I endured was a fantastic gift. I would never have known that I have the courage to live (and thrive) in the midst of adversity if I had not experienced it. The experience of failing was freeing too. It is hard to take risks if you do not know with certainty that you can fail successfully. As an attorney who closed over $100 billion in transactions, my adversity paid dividends each day. No matter how tense or complex deals became, I never lost my cool, and staked my reputation on innovative new approaches. I was always hopeful we would get the deal done and more savvy and resourceful than opposing counsel who had never been faced with "do or die" situations. I do not entertain any pretenses about being perfect, but I do know I have a fighter spirit and a mind that is powerful when it is focused on achieving noble goals. Adversity is not my enemy; it is a wise instructor thoughtfully coaching me to my awesome, successful and abundant destiny.
My tips on dealing with adversity:
1) Remember that this too shall pass.
First, always put any adversity that you encounter in proper context. It is most likely only a temporary circumstance, not a permanent life sentence. Believing that a negative condition or series of events will end eventually helps your mind to attract the conclusion of the negative events. Even if the event is permanent, as time passes, you will be better equipped to deal with it. So if you lose your eyesight, in due time you can learn to adapt to the condition and do everything that a person with sight can do.
2) Focus on your past achievements.
Do not let adversity wipe out your slate of prior accomplishments. Recall goals you have accomplished in the past and treat them as evidence that you will do amazing things in the future.
3) Find examples of inspirational figures who have also overcome adversity.
This part is easy because in the story of virtually every great figure you will find an adversity tale which was an integral part of their success. I take inspiration from figures as diverse as my mom, Tupac, Nina Simone, Zora Neale Hurston, Elon Musk, Malcolm X, Tom Brady, Joan of Arc, Bo Jackson, and Sojourner Truth. Each of them is great because of the adversity which shaped their life.
4) Seek support from others.
Find people who will encourage you to persevere. If there is no one in your life who fits the bill, then find encouraging books, videos, songs, blogs to consume. In my case, I joined a church to connect with a community of positive minded people and delved into the affirming works of bell hooks, Audre Lorde, Cornel West, and the music of J. Dilla.
5) Eliminate losers from your life.
Nothing makes it more difficult to deal with adversity than hanging around a crew of Debbie Downers. Negative friends and associates will launch you into a spiral of despair and nihilism. They literally do not want you to ascend because then you will leave them. Banish them from your life!
6) Find positive affirmations to repeat to yourself.
The power of positive thinking is mind bending. If you tell yourself that you are an awesome person with a divine mission in life and deserving of abundance, prosperity, health, and joy, watch it manifest. Affirmations invite your mind to internalize positive beliefs about your characteristics and destiny. They bring positive events into existence. You can find them all over the web, and I am particularly fond of video affirmations on YouTube.
7) Get inspired.
I immersed myself in places and events where I would see beautiful, thought-provoking, or imagination-engendering things. Going to libraries, museums, parks, and concerts helps you to feel like a thriving person, not a loser. Inspiration leads to a belief that anything is possible which then helps you to have faith that your adversity will be a feather in your cap, not a black eye.
8) Create an attack plan.
Spend your time charting how you will dance with adversity. Even seemingly insurmountable challenges can be broken down with smaller steps. Each moment spent creating a plan to adapt to adversity is doubly effective because you are also not giving in to negative feelings of powerlessness.
Your mind can take you away from any circumstance. Do you think that Harriet Tubman would have taken the first step out of slavery and onto the Underground Railroad if she didn't daydream? As a child, you believe you can do anything and you spend hours lost in your own fantastic thoughts. Get that back by daydreaming and visualizing your future success.
10) Believe in yourself and the power of your adversity to positively impact your life.
Above all, believe in yourself. Know that all adversity you face is a sign that you are in the process of becoming a more perfect, prepared, and mentally prosperous version of yourself. You can do it!
In the comments, please share an adversity story. We all have them.
Soundtrack to this post:
Fall down the rabbit hole:
Watch this inspiration video on Tom Brady.
Say these affirmations.
Please share this post. Thank you in advance.
I recently read a great book entitled The Power of Awareness by Neville. Calling it an awesome read is an understatement. I spend a lot of time and mental energy trying to "figure out" what is the best way to think, and TPOA ignited a thought bomb in my brain. It's a welcome mind bender and a fantastic reminder of many beliefs we know are true but suppress in moments of self-loathing and despair. TPOA was the perfect book for me to read at this moment in my life because it renewed my belief that I will accomplish anything I put my mind to.
The best way to think is to assume that the life and world I want already exists. #Message
The central message of TPOA is that we all have within us the power to bring ideas to fruition by tapping our innate creative force. I had a eureka moment when I read Chapter 15: The Crown of Mysteries.
The assumption of the wish fulfilled is the ship that carries you over the unknown seas to the fulfillment of your dream. The assumption is everything; realization is subconscious and effortless. "Assume a virtue if you have it not." Act on the assumption that you already possess that which you sought.
Now we have all been urged to "fake it 'til you make it," but this much more powerful than the common refrain. Each time you conceive an idea you become impregnated with a new being in the world. You can use your creative powers to birth this idea, but only if you truly believe in it and yourself. Manifest this belief by assuming that that the idea is already existent. It takes a leap of faith (a higher state of consciousness) to believe something so abstract. But that's the magic of it all- as you allow your assumptions/thoughts to move deeper into your own conceptions, reality (or your lived experience) then bends to suit your beliefs. Don't fake it. Actually believe in your myth and then make it manifest.
The drama of life is a psychological one and the whole of it is written and produced by your assumptions. Learn the art of assumption for only in this way can you create your own happiness.
Let us all live abundantly in our progressively bountiful creativity as we embrace the power of our thoughts! Think highly of yourself! Make it happen! Be epic!
Soundtrack to this post:
On Friday, LeBron James stopped a wildfire of free agency speculation when he announced he would return to the Cleveland Cavaliers. The announcement was made via an essay published by Sports Illustrated. The essay speaks to LeBron's tremendous personal and professional growth over the last 4 years and his strong desire to return to the Northeast Ohio community he calls home. I do not question the sincerity of those points. I do wonder, however, if the emergent media and social chatter around LeBron's decision to rejoin the Cavs reifies and ignores a grievous problem facing our society: people in the business world may disrespect black people at will and with impunity. All this disrespect has got to stop!
Dan Gilbert was understandably very upset when LeBron left the Cavs. Still that is no excuse for the open letter he published on the Cav's website decrying LeBron's decision to play for the Miami Heat. The letter implied in bad faith there was no rationale for the decision, though it was clearly the result of complex calculation by LeBron and his representatives. It also attacked LeBron's character, calling him "narcissistic", a "deserter" and "cowardly." The letter's tone was condescending and inappropriate for it's subject matter- a business and personal decision made by LeBron. It was designed to humiliate and shame LeBron, each which could have negatively impacted his ability to do business in the future by altering the his public image. At the time the letter was published, a number of commenters objected to the letter for various reasons.
I do not believe Dan Gilbert would have published the letter if LeBron James was white.
Since the first African slaves arrived in this country, black people have fought for the respect that can enable us to be treated with dignity appropriate for all human beings. This fight continues today (not for lack of effort!). The American system of racism is at base, a collection of diverse forms of disrespect in the social, economic, cultural, political, media and justice structures targeted at oppressed minorities. In many public spheres, black people remain subject to dehumanizing and disparate treatment, demeaning characterizations, discriminatory practices, and straight up disrespect. Many black people in the business realm must confront covert and overt racism in the form of institutionally sanctioned disrespect. If you don't believe me, browse some discrimination claims filed with the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission).
Dan Gilbert's open letter was the "diss" heard around the world. It was unethical, patronizing, tortious, and wholly unacceptable conduct for the business sphere. Treating others, even counter parties or competitors, with respect is a basic element of business ethics (actually all ethics), and when a business person breaches this basic precept in such a public manner, it is a big deal. I am not aware of another instance in which Gilbert posted a similar toned letter, though he surely must have endured many failed transactions in his career. So why was it ok with LeBron? Gilbert recently invested Genius, f/k/a Rap Genius, an annotation startup run by Ivy Leaguers, none of whom is black. Imagine if they had decided to walk from the deal at the last minute and Gilbert published a similar letter aimed at them. He would have hell to pay. It would be perceived as beyond the pale. But he wouldn't do this because he would treat them with respect.
In business, showing respect is to done by offering basic regard for other's worth as a fellow business person or human being, even if you feel they have wronged you or you have differing opinions. As an accomplished businessman, I trust that Dan Gilbert is well accustomed to stated mores of the business world and principles of business ethics,- congeniality, fair dealing, and treating colleagues and treating counter parties with respect.
Why then, would Gilbert believe it was perfectly ok for him to publicly disrespect LeBron, a transactional counterpart also at the helm of a wildly successful sports, multimedia, investment, and charitable conglomerate, i.e., his equal? Gilbert's failure to afford LeBron common respect was just a very high profile example of the countless put downs, back handed comments, paternalistic tones, social exclusion and impolite treatment blacks endure every day in the business world.
You will note that I have made it a point to characterize the facts in the business context. Some people do not regard black professional athletes as sophisticated businessmen and high value employees in business organizations. The owners and team front office are perceived as such though. This perceptive imbalance fosters an environment where players may not always be treated as business equals by owners and team executives. The fact that the overwhelming majority of the players in the NBA are black and the overwhelming majority of the owners are white exacerbates this issue. Disrespect of black business people (including NBA players), too often goes unchecked unless the offending behavior will cost the organization serious money a la Donald Sterling-gate. Gilbert was not punished or reprimanded by the league for the unethical behavior.
This instance of disrespect was so compelling and widely-reported that it demanded redress because of its cultural impact. LeBron James is one of the young black businessmen most known and admired by other young black men - and one who can wield considerable leverage in business transactions, has a global customer base, and had been highlighted for his business acumen. How many young black men internalized the view that if LeBron can be so utterly disrespected, it must be normal for them to endure disrespect as well? The letter begged the question, do white businessmen have to treat their black counterparts with respect.
LeBron's relative silence in the face of the disrespect (which has been lauded as a sign of maturity) may imply that it is not ok to speak up for yourself in the wake of disrespect by fellow business people.
The routine and unchecked disrespect that black people face in business causes stress, self-doubt, and the trauma of being denied your dignity. It can create invalid perceptions that black business people are not competent, limiting their advancement in organizations or opportunities to transact with others. It forces many talented black people to quit or suffer in silence. The cumulative effect of all of these ramifications is to limit black wealth and continue the vast economic subjugation of the black community.
That's why I am really attentive to the unspoken racial signals being communicated right now. I am hoping that amid the excitement (and anguish) surrounding LeBron's decision to return, something equally as public and outspoken will also occur to refute the pernicious message amplified by Gilbert's letter and absence of any appreciable punishment. To date, Gilbert has essentially referred to the letter as a result of a bad night and offered a limited and generalized sorry.
LeBron's decision about where he wants to live and work is his alone, and I would not dare question what he has chosen. Further, I understand that LeBron and Dan Gilbert may have personally resolved their differences. But the message that was cast by the letter, which remained posted until just last week, did not only impact LeBron James, it impacted all black people working to establish or advance in business. I fear that his return will wipe away a valuable teachable moment. Therefore, there is an an alarming need for a clear public exploration of this issue.
If I was Dan Gilbert, my conscience would compel me to say something like this right now:
"I was wrong to disrespect LeBron James. He deserved to be treated courteously as a business counterpart and as a human being. As a person with white privilege, originally saw no issue with publicly disrespecting and disparaging LeBron because he is black. Sadly, my behavior and thought process reflected a longstanding and pervasive pattern and practice within the business world and society at large. Unjustifiably, black people have frequently been treated unequally and discourteously in the business sector by businessmen like me. I now understand how wrongheaded and harmful these attitudes and behavior are. What's more, they reflect very poorly on our character as business men and community leaders. I am sorry for my behavior and any negative impact it may have caused to the courageous black people striving to succeed in business. We must be vigilant to ensure that disrespect aimed at black men in the NBA and in every other business sector is eradicated. I will take a leadership role in ensuring this is the case."
In an effort to bring some much-needed structure to this blog, I'd like to introduce a few reoccurring post topics. First up, let's see if I can periodically select 10 songs that collectively sum up my mood and recent experiences at a given point in time. The only rules are song selection cannot take more than 20 minutes and there's no strict counting or explanations allowed.
I am really passionate about my sports, but I have to stop taking them so personally.
As a NFL fan, it's nearly impossible not to get swept up in NFL Draft hype. Given the collective bargaining agreement, teams can get great talent in the draft for almost a fraction of what the other (non-rookie contract) players make. Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson are great examples of how the draft can cost-effectively transform a team. The Detroit Lions, my team, have a lot of salary cap room tied up with big name talent like Matt Stafford, Ndamukong Suh, Calvin Johnson and Stephen Tulloch and have traditionally drafted well. As a result, I was anxious heading into draft night.
As a long-suffering Lions fan, I hoped that we would use our first round pick (no. 10 overall) to fill a real weakness on the team. To my chagrin, the Lions picked Eric Ebron. Eric Ebron is surely talented but he does not fill a critical need. The Lions need more talent in the defensive backfield or a rush-happy outside linebacker to stop Aaron Rogers and Adrian Peterson (even Jay Cutler for that matter). Without a more solid defense that will generate consistent 3rd and longs, my Sundays in the fall will be full of self-inflicted terror.
After the Ebron pick, I found myself emoting on Twitter about how disappointed I was, a telltale sign I allowed this "hobby" of mine to impact me too much.
It has gone too far when I end up insulting a stranger's tie online.
Ebron is clearly capable of becoming a great NFL player, but I am just stunned he's a Lion now.
The Lions' selection of tight end, and a non-blocking one at that, left me reeling from despair and confusion. How could they waste a first round draft pick on the one position we have a semblance of depth at? Why won't the dysfunction stop? Are my fears that our defense will perish under Caldwell coming to fruition? Why, why, why?
Now, a day later, I have calmed down a bit. What is done is done, and I have better things to do than obsess for the whole summer. It's just football right?
Ebron is a great football player with distinct talent. Calling him a TE is a bit of a misnomer, because he is essentially a big, fast wideout who will will rarely play on the line of scrimmage. If, as hopefuls suggest, he will be the Lions' "Jimmy Graham," then things will be very interesting. Even defensive-minded me cannot scoff at the prospects of 1,000 extra receiving yards on top of what we already are producing.
I have to give Jim Caldwell a chance to win with his system and shouldn't assume the worst just because it's the Lions. More than anything, I am refusing to let the Lions cause me to panic anymore, irrespective of their moves on or off the field.
With Ebron, Matt Stafford will have a solid assortment of pass options to complement Megatron (remember they added Golden Tate too in free agency). Our pass offense will consistently present matchup problems for defenses in the NFC North. An even stronger aerial game will aid our running back tandem's effectiveness. It won't take much for Ebron to outclass Brandon Pettigrew (wasn't really a deep threat plus with the new contract production will likely fall anyway). What's more, if Pettigrew can't produce, we can cut him and save a lot of cap room next year. Though I love Fauria, he is really just a passing option in limited sets, and the element of surprise is gone.
Ebron's addition could make the Lions' offense unstoppable and extend Calvin Johnson's career. An offense that clicks should keep the defense off the field, right??!
I'm trying to convince myself that I am ok with the pick. It's only marginally effective. For now, I'll try to calmly (and passively) follow how the rest of the draft goes.
I still believe that you need the best defense in our division to win it. There was a clear focus on defensive picks from the other teams in our division on day 1 of the draft. If the Lions care about my wits at all, they will select some quick sack-happy young men to accentuate our defensive line. But either way I will just deal with it. Life didn't end when they collapsed in the second half of last season, though it seemed like it was.
I will pray the rest of the draft surprises me in a good way and enjoy my weekend. We'll see how I fare as a non-obsessive fan. It'll be a big change, but until I can buy the Lions and call the shots with them, I need to limit my mental energy spent on the team.
Looking for a good Friday afternoon listen, please check this podcast out:
Since initially discovering his music, Nameless has consistently served up music which has been pleasing to my ears. He is originally from Flint, but now lives in Florida with his family. Considering his immense talent, which also includes graphic design, he is really down to Earth and humble. I am sure if you asked him he would say that J Dilla influenced his music, but he has a sound all his own. I hate to describe music because it's all about feeling with me, but his music is at once playful, energetic, and scientifically soulful. His sound just works for me.
This song is actually in my iPhone's Top 25 Most Played List:
Last year, Nameless linked with Nametag, an emcee from Detroit, to put out an album. I am convinced was one of the best Hiphop releases of 2013. It's called For Namesake. It's a shame it was so slept on. Here's one of my favorite tracks from that album. I listen to it a lot even still because it is such a mood lifter.
And here's another from For Namesake that has great drums.