Week 11 Recap

Well, week 11 is done. I really enjoy this time of year, but it can get ridiculously busy — especially if you stick a major holiday in the middle of the week. I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving giving thanks to God and enjoying it with family and friends.

The week started with the Ferguson decision. Darren Wilson was held completely unaccountable for the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown. NFL football player and outspoken Christian, Benjamin Watson, shared his thoughts on the situation. I don’t think there were better words to describe the overall feeling of myself and probably a large percentage of people across the United States. There was also some CCN footage which was cut short for some unknown reason as well while he was explaining that the state of the nation may be because of the lack of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Maybe it was coincidence. Nonetheless, I gained a role model as a Christian. If he can preach and stand by the Gospel as a professional football player in the spotlight and with millions to lose, if he becomes subject to attack for his views, there is no reason I should not be able to do the same with the little I have. I would rather stand for what I believe with the little I have, than to gain the whole world and compromise on Christ. If only one person is saved from the example that Benjamin Watson set on behalf of Michael Brown, his death will not have been in vain. However, we will continue to keep the city and families involved in our prayers.

On November 26th and 28th I wrote on Quality and Quantity. I had fun with these; discussing what writers have to deal with All. Of. The. Time! I got some good feedback from other writers who checked in on the topics. In the first post I wrote based on the fact that I prefer quality every time over quantity. The post was short; only slightly more that 600 words, but it took two hours for me to complete. However, the post I wrote to illustrate the disadvantage of quantity writing only took about forty minutes to complete. It was more words, but it was so poorly written that I almost recanted on the idea. I got excellent feedback though, and I believe it really did a great job at getting my point across.

I realized though, that I did not get the usual feedback from my regular readers. Then I realized I had I only addressed an audience of writers this week. That’s one of the downsides of having multiple interests though. There is never enough time to address everything. I learned a little bit from the other writers though, and I really enjoyed it — probably because I write. Another thing too, that I will probably address this week, is that writers have to read! That’s how we get better at our craft and stay inspired. Reading is just as necessary to a writer as writing is, and I think it’s overlooked most of the time. The problem is though, that it’s hard enough to find time to write, so unfortunately, I may have to take some time off just to catch up on reading.

Well that is all for this week. I can never thank you all enough for reading, the encouragement and support. I am really looking forward to 2015 and the support that I get from everyone on a weekly basis makes anything seem possible. I had someone tell me this week that they read the entire Thirty Seconds Ago… series. Even though it may not be the core of who I am as a writer, the fact that I captured their attention and held it throughout the entire series means a lot to me; and I appreciate them telling me that.

Thank you guys for another great week. Remember to keep an open perspective next week and look to show some compassion and love. You may change someone else’s perspective on life with just a smile or a kind word.

Quality or Quantity – Part 2

The other night I posted on the topic of quality or quantity. That short post took a little over two hours to write, even after I had noted and thought about the topic throughout the day. (Check it out HERE.) It didn’t matter though because i have to go over everything over and over again before I’m comfortable with it.

After I wrote part one, I had the idea to defend my position on why I take as much time as I do when editing even something as small as a 600 word blog post. To do so, I decided to write this showing the difference in what a few extra minutes of revisions can make. Even though the length of these two posts are about the same, the time that it took to produce this one is on a limit of thirty minutes. I’m cutting the time. Like I said in part one of this topic, I would love to improve on the time that it takes me to write and complete a project. However, until I get to that point, these are the type of things that you will be reading if I start focusing on quantity before I have developed an acceptable quality that matches that desired speed. It’s called efficiency, I think. Because I know if you had to force yourself to read pass all of this grammatical nonsense every time you read something with my name on it, it would not be long before you just gave up on me all together… and I wouldn’t blame you. I can’t read crap either. Anything worth appreciation takes time. If you can produce something worth appreciation quickly, it took time for you to grow develop that efficiency. It’s called patience, I think.

This is just an example of what you would be subjected to if I put myself on a limit that is too demanding for my skill level. It produces crap. I’m not ashamed of this post because it’s an illustration of what writers go through before they share something with their readers. As a matter of fact, I’m sure this is a lot better simply because I know there will be people reading it. Some times I write from scraps of paper that I took notes on throughout the day. Once I put it on paper, it’s still the same crap, now just consolidated to one editable location. Then I have to cut out the useless and insert better word and sometimes by the time I’m finished, not that was on those scraps of paper is in the completed work, but the ideas are the same. I am very curious to see how that process works for artists in other areas, but I’m sure 99% of writers can relate to what I’m saying now. If you think you can just grab some notes from a writer and follow what he or she is thinking from those notes, you are wrong. Half the time, I don’t even know what my notes are pertaining to; I have to think and remember.

Useless image to back up the tangent that I just went on
Useless image to back up the tangent that I just went on

I’m going to wrap it up now. Notice that the title of this post is “Quality or Quantity – Part 2”, when it should be “Quality vs. Quantity – Part Two” so that it stays consistent. When focusing on quantity though, inconsistencies happen. In the previous paragraph, I went on a tangent about drafting, that had nothing to do with quality or quantity in the context that I am focusing on. I hope this provides a better illustration of how easy it is for a writer to produce crap. I did very little backspacing in this post and change only a few words to help get my point across.

END (because there has not been a lot of structure, and I want you to know that I’m done)

Quality vs. Quantity – Part One

As a writer, a type of artist if you will, I constantly have to revisit the theories of Quality vs. Quantity in regards to productivity. Anyone who practice anything will probably cross this path more often than they would like — I know I do.

For me, I have to decide whether or not I’m satisfied with the quality of what I have written before labeling it as completed. Quantity has never been a concern of my personal writings. I never consider word count; but I need for every word I write to count. I have only cared about quality. However, now that I blog, I try to stay consistent in posting. This keeps me on my toes about scheduling times to produce since I already know that I will not post anything thrown together. If I expect anyone to read and enjoy anything that I have written, I should at least see to it that I give them a level of coherency that makes the ready relatable and enjoyable. That’s what quality is for me in my art. It is very time consuming, but it’s worth my satisfaction in having just one appreciative reader.

I appreciate other peoples’ arts and the time that they put into what they do. More than anything else, I always look for the prep work. The prep work is what shows how serious a person is about their craft. Take a painter for example, at the end of the day all we see is the finished piece, and we may envision them painting it as we ask, “So what inspired you for this piece?” But consider the newspaper they collect to spread over the floors. Think about the fact that the room may have to be a certain temperature for the paints that they used. Think about all of what goes into an art before it is actually completed. That’s where the quality happens. You could just throw the turkey into an oven and let it cook; but consider the chef that prepares a brine for the turkey to soak in for sixteen hours BEFORE the cooking even starts. That’s where the quality happens. Think about the barber who cuts you a really nice hair cut; but then consider the barber who washes and conditions your hair first for more precise styling. That’s where the quality happens. Preparation is what I always look for in a completed work of any standard; that might have started when I started cooking though, to be honest.

The fact of the matter is that if I wrote one hundred books a year, and ninety of them were trash, the chances of the ten good ones making the best sellers list is still going to be pretty slim. However, if I produced twelve quality books a years, the chances of one of those twelve making it on the list would be pretty slim. The key is producing quality in large quantities. By the time your work has been filtered through to find only the good stuff that you have produced, those works may be considered lucky because of the low percentage. That’s why I refuse to label anything as complete if I am not satisfied with it. In the meantime I will focus on speeding up my methodology without sacrificing and quality.

So for this argument, I have to choose quality. I believe quantity without quality is simply a waste of time; shooting in the dark. I believe that discovered quality in a mound of quantity is luck; and I refuse to place my success in luck.

Ferguson Riots

Last night, Officer Darren Wilson walked away free of all charges in the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown — The city of Ferguson is still burning.

Rarely do I neglect my opinion on what should have happened, but in instances like these when everyone is already decided and have a straight answer, there is no need for persuasion from another.

Yesterday evening at seven I went to the store to pick up a few items before the announcement was made at 8pm. Not that I was in a rush to see the announcement, but so that I would be back inside before the announcement was made. Yesterday on my way home from work, from downtown Atlanta to the park in my neighborhood, police and ambulances lined my route as if this was Ferguson. At the store, a few employees were allowed to go home early for the same reasons; no one really wanted to be out for fear of rioting.

I went back home and watched the announcement. At the first signs of rioting, I went to bed. The fact that destruction is thought to be an option for improvement shows that we are missing something somewhere. The greatest changes that have ever taken place were done peacefully, from as far back to Moses leading The Great Exodus, up until as recently as Dr. Martin Luther King in the Civil Rights Movement. I hate to preach things that I don’t feel I could preach, because if I was placed under the right circumstances I may have potential to be a Hall of Fame rioter; but it doesn’t negate that it’s wrong.

So, I don’t know if we lack leaders or we’ve just become to rowdy to be led. It seems that at the request of Michael Brown’s parents, the night should have never seen those extremes. We already lost what should have been justice for Brown. Then I feel as though we gave the nation exactly what they wanted on the other end — a show of unruly people that need more restrictions and monitoring and less freedom. In rioting we only hurt ourselves.

It’s a cloudy day in Perspective Park.

Week 10 Recap

I completed week ten with the omission of yesterday’s post. No matter how much I read over it, reworded it, completely changed it, I just couldn’t get it to the point where it clearly conveyed what I wanted to say. Therefore, it was scrapped. It did, however, prompt me to address the issue of “Quantity or Quality?”, which will be posted next week.

Last week was much needed as far as blogging was concerned. I had not had a relaxed week of fun rambling, since week six. As far as Perspective Park the blog goes, I never want to become so involved in social issues that I neglect the imaginative and strictly fun sides of writing. Writing for me was a hobby first; through storytelling and creating. This week, I got back around to it even though the last blog was not posted.

I did the previous recap a day late, on Monday the 17th. On Wednesday, the 19th, I discussed the importance of keeping friendships strong with those that we do not see as often as our day-to-day friends. For most people that have those relationships though, you may not need that type of attention because that’s the chemistry of it, but check on it to make sure. True friends are not always easy to come by and it would be silly to lose ones that you already have because of lack of communication. I can’t tell you how to treat your friends, but I know you don’t want to lose any.

On Thursday, November 20th, I did a “Thirty Seconds Ago…” post recalling that weird moment when my dad discovered something about me that he hadn’t noticed previously. It’s a good read and I would hate to give away the punchline. So if you are interested, check it out — “Thirty Seconds Ago… Transitional Awkwardness”. I don’t mind laughing at myself and accepting my flaws. I find that it plays a part in keeping one with a sense of humility, and it’s funny! Side note: If it is not rude, crude, or nude and in good spirits — I WILL LAUGH AT YOU! Laughter is a part of life that I will continue to enjoy… thoroughly. I will not be stripped of it, even at my own expense.

Unfortunately, the occurrences taking place in Ferguson, Missouri are no laughing matter. Depending on the outcome of the case in the shooting death of Michael Brown by a white police officer, Ferguson could see many dark days ahead. That goes either way too, whether the decision is guilty or not guilty. Whatever the outcome is, will cause waves across the nation. It would be nice if we could keep the city, both families, and the residents of Missouri in our thoughts and prayers as the time of decision draws near.

No matter what happens next week, try to keep a positive perspective and show compassion wherever you can. Another thing too, is that it may not always be easy to stay encouraged drawing strength from within yourself. Make sure you have a friend or two that will encourage you and support you with the love of Christ. You may be surprised at how much easier it makes your day.

Thirty Seconds Ago… Transitional Awkwardness

Dealing with your parents as you get older can be very liberating. It can also be very awkward. Both parties are trying to learn each other and respect each other as individuals rather than extensions. Mother and Father will both have to go through this process on their own with each individual child; and since I am the oldest, I seemed to have gotten all of the awkwardness. My mother pretty much had a smooth transition, since she was a stay-at-home mom. My dad on the other hand, found it a bit more complicated to deal with us as adults. Not in a bad way, but when he was concerned about us (his oldest boys), he had to get used to conveying it. So he used my mom as a medium until he got better at it.

How was this awkward? Let me give you an example…

A few years ago, my dad made a startling discovery about me that I guess he just never noticed. One night I knocked on my parent’s bedroom door to ask my mom a question. As we talked, I noticed my dad staring directly; intently, as if I had done something wrong. When I looked at him though, he looked away. I continued my conversation with my mom. A few seconds later, my dad is peering into my face again as though he is trying to detect a lie or something. I stopped talking, looked at him again, and waited for him to interject. He turned back to the television. At this point, I had the information I needed from my mom and started out of the room, completely weirded out by my dad’s strange behavior.

Now my dad is a person of concern, but has very little tact when showing it — like any typical dad, I would imagine. So before I can get out of the room, I hear him ask my mom, in a tone that was supposed to be a whisper, “Sharon… Is that boy crossed-eyed?”

I stopped. I turned around and looked my mom directly in the eyes and replied, “A little bit.”

The look on his face was a gasp away from bewildered. It was like he was meeting me for the first time Thirty Seconds Ago. I actually enjoyed seeing him uncomfortable because it was new to me; and I was the cause of it. I wanted to exaggerate the laziness in my left eye and just train it on him to see how he would react.

He could have just asked me, “Reggie, have you been wearing your contacts or glasses?” I would have known exactly what he was referring to, but because of that transitional awkwardness, the whole situation was weird. Since then, I think he has been paying close attention to my younger siblings, as not to ever be caught off guard like that again!

Ninja Friends

I think we all have those one or two (maybe three) people, that no matter what, you know they will always be there for you… Even though you only talk every blue moon. These are not your normal friends. You don’t see them every day; every week; or every month. I don’t even think “friend” is a proper term for them. The relationship is weird. It’s a strong bond though that’s held together by… practically nothing.

In my case though, I have two friends from high school — a guy and a girl — that I hardly ever talk to and rarely see. The girl, I haven’t seen for maybe four or five years now! She moved out of the state and out of respect of our dating relationships, our talk time had become nearly nonexistent. She has since gotten engaged and had a child (BUT she and her fiancé thought I would be an excellent Godfather; Yay me!). The guy friend, I may see once or twice a year, but when we get together it’s like we never spent any time apart. He is now married with two kids. I’ve seen him a few times since he’s been married, but not his kids. That’s how bad it is, and I really don’t understand it. Through all the space and time between both these friends we remain separated, but inseparable.

I texted a friend for some help today, and the response I got was, “Well my phone says this is Reggie but nahhhh. Reggie doesn’t text me.” So I’ve accepted the fact that maybe I’m a bad, but loyal friend. I’ve heard other people say they have friendships like this, but now I’m considering that maybe me and those people have problems in nurturing friendships.

I first thought about this one night about a month ago when my brother came over. Now my brother and I are pretty close — the kind of close that can be exhausting — like Shawn and Marlon. However, over the last two (nearly three) years, we have not spent any time together where it was only us two. So that particular night we talked from 10pm until 6am the next morning… and we realized we are no longer as similar as we once were. Since that’s my brother though, we still understand each other and know why our views are the way they are, even though they may differ now.

Shawn and Marlon Wayans in "White Chicks"
Shawn and Marlon Wayans in “White Chicks”

Now let’s consider these two friends that I have. If we really sat down to catch up, what would happen? Not at a birthday dinner, or a wedding, or some group reunion… Just one-on-one and eyeball to eyeball; what would happen?

Answer…

We would leave thinking about how awkward it was. If my own brother and I are having to relearn each other after a short three years of not living together, how much have my friends and I differed since we’ve been apart? We don’t know each other anymore. Our lives have taken different routes, and experiences have taught us different lessons. Yes, it’s a part of life and growing, but there has been no constant communications between us to make us aware of each other’s changes. It’s like seeing your friends in the sixth grade after fifth grade summer break: “Dang you got tall!” It would be to drastic and the thought of it has actually made me paranoid about getting to know my friends as full grown adults.

I believe we all have cases like this. Yours may not be as extreme as mine, but you can relate. Partake in my perspective, will you? I say all of that to say, that relationships of all kinds, have to be strengthened. It’s easy for us to focus on strengthening that bond in a dating relationship because your are fighting to keep that person. We have to do the same for siblings, childhood friends, good friends we made on the job, or wherever. If we don’t that bond that you think is there, just may not be.

The reason that this is important to me, is because I truly believe that the types of relationships you build in life will play a dominant role in determining your measure of happiness in the end. People are your greatest investment. Try not to burn any bridges and stay in good standings with everyone. Now if it can’t be done, then it can’t be done. But a lot of times we give up on people, and possibly good friends, over something as little as lack of communication.

I hear people talk about how they don’t need friends. Well you may not need friends, but everyone needs love… and you can find a lot of love in friends. So if you got throwback friends, or ninja friends (can’t see ‘em, but you know they’re there), call and tell them you appreciate them. Hang out if you can. Keep in contact and keep the relationship what it should be. I mean, I have friends in my favorites list that I don’t even remember what they look like. I’m a bad case, so don’t be like me. Call your friends now… before you realize the number you have saved for them is their pager number.

Week 9 Recap

Well I believe an apology is in order. We’re into week 10 and I’m just getting to the Week 9 Recap.

Last week was short for posting. Material was abundant; time was not.

Monday, November 10, I worked all day Googling, YouTubing, theorizing, note taking and drafting, only to lose confidence in what I was writing about and going to bed. That was actually a first. There have been instances, where I substituted one essay for another, but I had not scrapped an idea and produced nothing. Nonetheless, I learned a lot and found out a to that I would not have otherwise known, so I count that as progress.

Tuesday, November 11, I wrote about the competitive attitudes of people. I believe most people’s competitive attitudes stem from being “better than”, rather than being the best. I feel as though any time you want to be better than a particular individual, that gives room for jealousy, rivalry, strife and contentions that would be avoided it your aim was to simply be the best at whatever it is that you do. There’s is nothing wrong with wanting to be the best, but let it not be directed at of someone else. That may sound like a contradiction, but I promise it’s not. Just a simple example, Venus and Serena both want to be the best, but they do not want invoke the pain of defeat on each other, but it’s would to happen because there can only be one 1st place (hopefully that sums it up a bit).

Friday, November 14, I tried to differentiate between arrogance and confidence. I finally decided that most of it lies within the intent of the statements and actions of the person in question. “I’m the best” from a confident person can simply mean just what he has said. However, that same statement — “I’m the best” — can mean, “I’m better than all of y’all” when spoken from an arrogant person. Confidence lies within the abilities and qualities of a person. Whereas arrogance feeds off the perceptions of abilities and qualities. None of these are stone facts, but I would like to think that I’m somewhere in the ballpark… I’m always open for correcting and another perspective.

Last night, November 15, I was motivated by an act of kindness between two groups of black men, to revisit the essay that I had scrapped on Monday night. Even though the outcome of both last night’s essay was completely different from what would have been written on Monday, I am convinced that what I concluded was the proper perspective. I am very hopeful for black American men and will not be convinced by the media that we are the lost cause that we have been portrayed to be. “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16, KJV). It is easy to apply scriptures like these to ourselves and the things we want, but while writing this particular essay, I realized that we should probably focus some of that prayer on those who can not, or do not know, to pray for themselves. It’s easier to start with those you can relate to first, but I love EVERYBODY! (Just in case I have a brother or sister from another ethnicity read this and feel as though I am negligent of others; I’m not) 🙂

Well, that was all for last week. I’m into week 10 and will probably be working some less stressful material this week. I encourage everyone to seek out their passion and go head first into it. The emotional liberty that writing in this fashion has granted me over the last few weeks has taken me by surprise. I believe the factor of sharing has broken through a barrier in my personality that has opened me up to freely be who I am apart from writing it. So if you ever see me in person, don’t be creeped out if I go mushy on you. 🙂 I’m sincerely enjoying the feedback and shares that I’ve been getting and just knowing that I may be helping someone in some way. Never take my word, completely though… Always bounce them off an elder, Pastor or a trusted person that you know before acting on anything. Most importantly, if it refers to the faith, make sure it checks out with the Bible, and if it does not, let me know and I will address it immediately.

With that being said, smile, enjoy your week, keep an open perspective and show compassion!

Black and Hopeful

Earlier this week, I started writing about the status and progress of Black American men. I’m not even sure what prompted the thought at this point, but I wanted to know whether there was any chance of the improvement of black men. When I say improvement, I would like for that to refer to the mental condition of all of us as a whole; a healing of the social stigmas that we have been conditioned to live by. Considering the fact that it would take generations upon generations to reverse what generations upon generations have done, I settled for the idea of hoping for the change of how the Black American man is viewed. Even though, this would take long as well, I believe it would be a great start to a more permanent change within the minds of black men.

Typically, I try to keep my topics more open, hopefully to broaden the perspective of anyone who may read no matter what ethnicity they come from — But on so many levels, who you are, is who you look like. I am a black man and there is only so much that I can say without exclusively referring to all black men. In the general American eye, we are all the same, and for me to want progress for myself, is to want progress for us all. So even though everything (as far as I am concerned) falls under the umbrella of being a Christian, I, being just a man, feel compelled to address more specific people, even though God sees us all the same.

My core thought process of the entire issued though, was based this theory: All of us want better; all of us want to do better; but not all of us have seen better. Therefore, we have nothing better by which to model ourselves.

Then handy-dandy Google, absorbed a few hours of my time. I came across a video that took place in 1994 of a convention for black men. At that particular session I watched, there were approximately 13,000 men on the inside of a large church and another 18,000 outside surrounding the building. The leaders at this convention were not catering to their egos, or telling them of blessings soon to come. The leaders there were not telling them that everything would be alright. These men were being told the importance of raising families, caring for their women and loving one another, instead of acting out violence towards one another. The crowd was filled with young men who were extremely receptive to what they were hearing. This made me feel that whatever progress had to be made, could be made; until I realized 1994 was twenty years ago. I enjoyed maybe an hour of hope and writing, before I realized “1994”. After just a few minutes more of thinking about all the detriment that has been done since then, I gave up and scrapped the essay.

The deterioration that I’m referring to is not limited to blacks only though; it has affected the entire nation. However, blacks might have taken the longest strides towards progress, while at the same time, taking even larger strides backwards. We have made the most progress in the fields of entertainment, which in most instances glorifies lives of crime and degradation. I am not faulting the artists, and producers, and actors, and directors (completely), but when this media is passed along without the proper checks and balances, we turn and act it out in real life. So the success for one can indirectly turn into failure for thousands. To add a bit of validity to my point, how many times have car accidents and school shootings by adolescent boys and young men been attributed to or linked to video games? Well then why can’t movies and music do the same to the actions of our young people?

With all of that being said, let me explain why I am writing this now. Today after Sunday service, my brother and I stood talking in the parking lot maybe fifteen feet from the sidewalk. From one end of the sidewalk, two young, dreadlocked black men walked towards three slightly younger black men coming in the opposite direction. The sidewalk is barely wide enough for two people to walk side-by-side on. As the two groups came closer to each other, meeting adjacent to where my brother and I were standing, I became quiet… as did my brother. I’m not sure what my brother was thinking, but I was thinking, “It’s about to go down.” That lets me know that my mind is no better than that of general America towards my own people. I expected there to be at least an exchange of words due to simple sidewalk territory. Nonetheless, I was blessed to see my ignorance proven wrong. Without a spoken word, both parties aligned themselves to smoothly pass by each other without incident. But yet and still, in my ignorance, I thought, “That was close.” So to combat that layer of corrupted thinking, one of the guys in the duo turned and addressed the younger trio and said, “Hey guys, I really appreciate you moving to the side like you did. Most people might not have done that.” The younger group thanked them for their gratitude and continued with looks of accomplishment on their faces. I could tell that with those kind words, they would be more eager to be courteous when the next opportunity presented itself. Now I’m left standing there in amazement with a sense of stoopid that I’m almost too ashamed to admit. Even though, I had just walked out of church, neither my heart nor mind showed any hope of common courtesy between these young men. I was shown that it is a lot easier to have faith in my mind that it is with your heart, and in my heart, I did not expect better from my own brothers.

My brother and I chased down the older two guys and told them how much it had encouraged us to see them do what they did. They replied, “You have to give, to get. We show that to get that.” At that point, it was confirmed with me that all you need is a good heart to make a change. Those guys had hearts of gold. I believe I was allowed to see that to encourage me not to give up on what I hope and pray for when it comes to my people, specifically. If things continue in the direction that they are going, things may not get better, but if everyone gives up hope, things definitely will not get any better. I feel 100% better about black men than I did last week, all because of that. I feel like there is hope for a few more black women because of that. Because of what I witnessed today, I feel better about the future of our families and the progression of our people; not monetarily, but in standards and integrity. This was something that let me know that the condition of our men is not completely lost, and with enough effort, their lives can be improved, and their souls can be saved through love and Jesus Christ.

Confidence vs. Arrogance

Often I will address the principle of humility and its importance. Personally, I try to keep it at the forefront of all I do for a couple of key reasons. The first being because it keeps the importance of God and His influence on your life in perspective. If anyone is constantly reminded of that, it will be difficult for them to raise themselves higher than they should in their own minds… and it may actually make you a nicer person. 🙂 The second reason is because humility keeps you in a place where you can always relate to those in need. As a Christian, it’s important to always be able to be there for someone who needs hope or guidance; and you can’t provide that if you can’t relate.

Some people are naturally humble. Others have to practice humility. Then there are some who have to be taught through experience. It doesn’t matter what category you fall under, because all three categories have to find balance between confidence; and that’s the end of the spectrum that I want to explore. Let’s say before you get to the point of reaching humility, you have to sort through the differences of confidence and arrogance — How do you tell them apart?

This is something that I come across from time to time when balancing my views of myself. I tried to define the two, confidence and arrogance, before actually looking them up to see what I thought they were. This is what I came up with…

Confidence: The sense of knowing that you have good qualities or abilities; proven through history, repetition and practice.

Arrogance: The sense of knowing that you have good qualities or abilities with the intent to flaunt them; based on the vanity of being seen or praised

Now this was just what I thought as a standalone mind without other contributing perspectives, so there could actually be a whole lot to argue here.

I feel as though confidence lies within a person, where it can quietly stay because it does not have to be proven. Confidence is solid and synonymous with sure, having little need of reassurance from anyone. Think about an area in which you talented. Now how often do you show it off? I guarantee it’s rarely. Even if you have a reputation for being good at it, you don’t flaunt it; you just do it. Now you will be proud of whatever it is because it is appreciated by your peers, customers, audience or whomever your work reaches.

Talents of an arrogant person, on the other hand, looks to be expressed and pushed onto others. Arrogance feeds off praise, being seen, and even “haters”. I feel as though arrogance is based in vanity. For example, if you have two talented painters, one arrogant and the other confident, and ignore both their works, giving neither negative nor positive remarks to either, the arrogant artist would stop painting. Their rewards are different. One seeks praise, while the other appreciates praise.

The other thing that I realize too, is that a completely untalented person can fall in to either one of these categories. I’m not addressing delusional people at the time.

Then I looked up the actual definitions of each words.

Confidence: 1) The state of feeling certain about the truth of something

2) A feeling of self-assurance arising from one’s own abilities or qualities

Arrogant: Having or revealing an exaggerated sense of one’s own importance or abilities 

I feel as though my definitions were close enough to still get my point across. Confidence was nearly the same. In my definition of arrogant, the word “exaggerated” was missing from my equation. However, I don’t feel as though all arrogance is exaggerated. Some people are extremely good at what they do, but will not be satisfied until they rub it in someone’s face. Michael Jackson was a pretty confident guy. He always thanked his fans for coming to see him though. Flip the script and JJ Ice Fish has “haters”! So that tells me that you can have misplaced arrogance, but someone who has the space to be arrogant, can dispel that option, which layers them in humility.

Now all of this has been completely subjective to my perspective. Let me know if you agree, disagree or somewhere in between.