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The image you see here is a symbolic representation of the multi-faceted journey we all embark on in life. Each segment of this striking visage represents a different aspect of our inner world, beautifully interwoven to form the unique individuals we are. 

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As human beings, we experience physical and emotional pain. Our reactions to these experiences shape our perspectives and behaviors. As we mature, we must adopt a more adult way of thinking to progress and succeed tremendously. A critical aspect of this maturation process involves understanding and managing our responses to how others perceive us.


The Race Issue: A Contemporary Example

To illustrate this, consider a recent example involving the American basketball players Angel Reese and Caitlin Clark. This situation has become a significant talking point, reflecting broader racial issues within the United States. The discussion around these athletes highlights how race can influence public opinion and create division. Angel Reese, who is black, and Caitlin Clark, who is white, have become symbols of this racial divide.


The debate about these players on social media often devolves into racial trolling. For instance, a young black woman defended Reese on Facebook by criticizing those who trolled her, calling them "devils." A white man took offense, accusing the woman of racism. This exchange underscores the complexities of race relations and how quickly conversations can escalate when racial tensions are involved.


Understanding Racism and Its Social Constructs

The concept of race is a social construct with no biological basis. Historically, it was created to categorize and classify people, often to justify unequal treatment. Despite this, the term "race" and the associated prejudices persist in society. People usually apply the term "racism" to anyone who dislikes a particular race, but actual racism involves a belief in the superiority of one's race over others.

For instance, someone might claim that both black and white people can be equally racist. However, racism is more than dislike or hatred; it is rooted in the belief in racial superiority. Thus, while a black person might hate a white person for being racist, this does not necessarily make them racist unless they believe in their racial superiority.


Institutional Racism and Its Effects

Racism extends beyond individual prejudices to institutional practices that systematically oppress certain racial groups. In the United States, institutions like the justice system, education system, and housing market have historically functioned as mechanisms of racism. These institutions have created and perpetuated inequalities that continue to affect minority groups.


Understanding these institutional dynamics is crucial. For instance, affirmative action policies were designed to counteract educational disparities. However, the rollback of such policies can lead to a resurgence of institutional racism, limiting opportunities for minority students.


The Psychological Impact of Racism

Both individuals who harbor racist beliefs and those who suffer from racism need psychological help to navigate these issues successfully. Racists often operate under a delusion of superiority, which can lead to behaviors and attitudes that are harmful to themselves and others. On the other hand, individuals who internalize racism may develop a sense of inferiority, hindering their ability to succeed.


For example, a black person who believes they cannot succeed due to systemic barriers may not take the necessary steps to improve their situation. This mindset can be more detrimental than the external barriers themselves. Therefore, overcoming these psychological hurdles is essential for personal and collective progress.


Moving Beyond Racism

To foster a more inclusive and prosperous society, we must be motivated and determined to challenge both individual and institutional racism. This involves recognizing the inherent equality of all people and addressing the subconscious biases that influence our behaviors.


Life Application

  1. Reflect on Personal Reactions: Consider how you react to perceived slights or criticisms. Are these reactions based on mature reasoning or lingering childhood perceptions?

  2. Understand Racism: Reflect on your beliefs about race and how societal messages have shaped them. Are there subconscious biases that need to be challenged?

  3. Address Institutional Racism: Recognize the role of institutions in perpetuating racism. What actions can you take to promote equality within these systems?

  4. Reprogram Your Subconscious: Identify negative influences in your life and replace them with positive ones. Engage in activities that promote personal growth and surround yourself with supportive environments.

  5. Foster Inclusivity: Strive to overcome biases and promote inclusivity in your interactions. Recognize the value in every individual, regardless of their background. This will help you develop a more empathetic and open-minded approach.


Addressing these areas can help us overcome the limitations imposed by societal conditioning and foster a more inclusive, successful society.


Conclusion

Understanding and addressing the complexities of racism is essential for personal and collective success. By challenging both individual and institutional racism and by reprogramming our subconscious minds, we can create a more inclusive society where everyone has the opportunity to succeed. It is time for change, and it starts with each of us.

  • Martin Jarvis

A religious scripture suggests that people be "instant in season and out of season," meaning to be ready for anything, anytime—spiritually, emotionally, and physically. This principle has guided my life, culminating in an unexpected yet deeply fulfilling achievement. In November 2021, just four days before my 63rd birthday, I became a certified scuba diver. This wasn't a lifelong dream or a bucket list item; it was simply necessary because my 16-year-old daughter needed a diving partner. As Daddy’s little girl, I couldn't let her down.


Becoming a scuba diver at 63 was no small feat, especially considering such an endeavor's physical and mental demands. This achievement is a testament to the belief that age is just a number. We can defy expectations and accomplish incredible things with the right mindset and lifestyle. Too often, we unconsciously adopt our parents' and grandparents' behaviors and limitations, feeling and acting our age as they did. This generational mindset can be incredibly limiting.


To counteract this, I advocate for a healthy diet and daily exercise. These practices can significantly enhance your well-being and, to some extent, even reverse the aging process. If you are younger than me, there's no better time than now to start. The key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle is not to overwhelm yourself. Keep your goals accessible and enjoyable. Setting manageable targets and progressing gradually ensures long-term success and enjoyment. You are not alone in this journey, and I am here to support you.


For many years, I have been doing 40-minute cardio sessions most days. About few years ago, I decided to incorporate push-ups into my routine. Initially, I struggled to complete ten. So, I set a manageable goal: ten push-ups for two weeks, then five more every two weeks until I reached fifty. Now, I do fifty push-ups every morning.


It's time to end the generational misunderstanding that we must age according to societal expectations. Don't age before your time! Break free from stereotypes and live life to the fullest, regardless of age. Embrace the joy of living life to the fullest, breaking free from societal stereotypes about aging.


Life Application

You have the power to defy age and societal expectations. By adopting a healthy lifestyle and setting realistic, enjoyable goals, you can maintain physical and mental readiness at any age. Remember, age is just a number, and you can achieve remarkable things with the right mindset. You are in control of your age and your life.


Self-Assessment Questions

  1. Readiness: Are you prepared to face life's challenges spiritually, emotionally, and physically at any moment?

  2. Mindset: Do you believe that age is just a number, and are you willing to adopt a lifestyle that reflects this belief?

  3. Goals: Are your health and fitness goals accessible and enjoyable, ensuring long-term commitment and success?

  4. Generational Influence: Do you unconsciously adopt previous generations' limiting behaviors? How can you break free from these patterns?

  5. Living Fully: Are you living life to the fullest, free from societal stereotypes about aging? How can you embrace a more vibrant and fulfilling lifestyle?

  • Martin Jarvis

As Charis and I grew older, my relevance as "dad" seemed to decrease. A religious proverb expresses, "There are times when we must decrease so another may increase." This adage resonates deeply with the reality of parenthood. It's not as if I haven't experienced this before.


I decided to take some time off to determine the direction for the next phase of my life. Charis signed up for scuba school during this break—perfect timing, as I was off and could drive her there. At the last minute, we learned she needed a dive partner. I thought, "Hey, I am off!" But then I remembered I am almost 63 years old! However, being in reasonably good shape, I signed up. I was excited but a little nervous.


To make a long story short, you all know how I've been advocating for exercise and a proper diet. Two final religious sayings come to mind: 'Be instant in season and out of season,' which means being prepared and adaptable in all circumstances, and 'God orders your footsteps, 'which suggests a divine plan guiding our lives. As you age, opportunities for where your footsteps can be ordered become fewer. However, I have done what I could to remain healthy.


This experience taught me that my footsteps have been led to another relevant place in her life.


Life Application

This narrative offers valuable lessons for those navigating life's transitions and challenges. It emphasizes the importance of adapting to change, maintaining health, and finding new ways to remain relevant in the lives of loved ones.

  1. Embrace Change: Understand that change is a constant in life. Embracing it can lead to new and fulfilling experiences, enriching your journey and inspiring others.

  2. Maintain Health: Prioritizing your health through exercise and proper diet can open doors to new opportunities, regardless of age, empowering you to live life to the fullest.

  3. Seek New Relevance: As roles shift, find new ways to be relevant and supportive in the lives of those you care about, fostering a sense of engagement and connection.

Self-Assessment Questions

  1. How can I adapt to the changing dynamics in my relationships with loved ones?

  2. What steps can I take today to prioritize my physical and mental health?

  3. How can I find new ways to be relevant and supportive as I and those around my age?

  4. What opportunities can I seek or create to maintain a sense of purpose and connection?

  5. How can I remain open to new experiences that may initially seem daunting or outside my comfort zone?

Reflecting on these questions can help you navigate life's transitions gracefully and purposefully, ensuring that your actions today plant the seeds for a meaningful and fulfilling future. Remember, each phase of life brings opportunities for growth and relevance.

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