Understanding The Man-Machine-Theory Of Mind Explained

The first principal of my blog is Creating Ecosystems of Success, and two of my key focuses are Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), and Health and Wellness. The brain and or the mind is arguably the most critical organ in our bodies. Mastery of the mind is key in the maintenance of proper mental health, and excelling at any task whether it’s in the realm of: academics, athletics, or business. The following guest post discusses this and is entitled; Understanding The Man-Machine-Theory Of Mind Explained.

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What is the mind?

As most of your 100 billion neurons flash intermittently in search of an answer, you realize that in the very process of thinking you are turning to your mind for the solution. While the fact that we are blessed with the incredible ability to think and reason is incredulous enough, what is even more startling is that the mind is capable of much more than simple retrieval of information. Wealth Creation Mastermind’s guide to the kybalion explains a few interesting theories about how the mind works.
A lot of people associate the mind to be a singular and simple concept. When you don’t know something, you turn your mind “on” and the answer “appears.” Because of our conditioning, a lot of us are stuck in this vicious cycle of assigning simple tasks to our mind and not leveraging its true power.

The Mind Explained

The mind is known as the seat of human consciousness. However, the true answer of what the mind is eludes us as we are discovering profound things about it every day. The mind is the most powerful multi-tool you will ever own. It is like a cosmic Swiss knife which has several tools, some of which can even transform your reality and reshape your life.

Most of us have been conditioned from a very young age to be “realistic” about goals – a strongly inculcated belief system of what we can and cannot do. This leads individuals down the path of inaccurate conclusions of who they are and what they are actually capable of in real life. This path typically leads you to wasted potential and regret.

The most successful people you see around you are those of them who took the first critical step towards their journey – they started to believe that they could. This process of mental transmutation, materializing your own reality, is a very real phenomenon and you can use it to make it work for you as well.

Balancing The Mental Ecosystem

The mind is a complex ecosystem that is powerful and resilient, but with a catch – you are the fulcrum that it rests on. What you think and feel about yourself has an impact on what you become. This is because thoughts are self-perpetuating cycles and they manifest itself in ways that are hard to imagine. If you think that you’re failing your way through life, then that is what you’ll end up becoming.

One way out of this is to make a list of all the things that you feel are positive achievements that you’ve been able to garner. Read this list out to yourself (aloud if you’re alone) when you’re feeling down. Something as simple as this can build confidence and redirect your mental thought flow to a more positive place.

Rework Your Self-Belief System

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Self-belief is a powerful tool that you can use to tide you over the worst of times. When this falters, you will find that you are left listless and floundering even when it comes to day to day activities. A lot of us are more talented than we can imagine but if this talent needs to surface, you need a healthy self-belief system.

Search for things that reinforce your self-belief. Don’t hang around with people who mock you for your goals. All that doubts and sarcastic company do are hold you back from your true potential. Don’t be the person who calls it luck when things go your way – believe that you deserve it and work towards getting more opportunities.

Draw Positive Conclusions

People tend to give themselves a hard time – they come to negative conclusions when things don’t go their way. When people are too critical of themselves, they tend toward negative labeling which is again a self-fulfilling condition. You’re setting yourself up for the very goal that your label indicates. Thankfully, you can unlearn all these negative habits and change your perception for the better.

Know that sometimes you are more wrong about you than a lot of other people. It helps to talk to people to understand what they feel about you. Challenge negative views of yourself by stepping out of your comfort zone and meeting challenges head-on. The most important thing you can do is try, the results will eventually work themselves out.

Summing it up

These are just a few things that you can try to unlearn the mental hurdles that have been preventing you from achieving the success you deserve. Hone your mind to accept failures as lessons and keep striving to better yourself.

Having a positive outlook does not magically transform everything around you in a flash. What it does is to encourage you towards optimistic thoughts which can lead to productive behavior. Given time, you will notice that a lot of things about you have changed… and for the better!

Mean Streets: Protecting Yourself While Out & About

Two of the focuses of my blog are Athletics and Sports, and Health and Wellness. While the martial arts are competitive sports, they also help personal wellness, both physically and mentally. In some instances, it’s very valuable to know how to handle oneself in the streets should danger arise. The following contributed post is thus entitled; Mean Streets: Protecting Yourself While Out & About.

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While it isn’t exactly fair, a lot of people don’t feel safe when they are walking around in their home cities and neighborhoods. With violent crime on the rise in a lot of places, along with populations getting much greater, it makes sense that you might want to figure out some ways to keep yourself protected. Of course, though, handling this sort of process correctly can be incredibly hard. To help you out, this post will be exploring some of the best ways to protect yourself on the mean streets, while also making sure that you don’t break the law in the process.

Self-Defense: A lot of people think that carrying a weapon is the best way to keep on top of their need for self-defense. In reality, though, most weapons which can be effective are illegal to carry around without cause, and they can easily be turned against you if you make a mistake while using them. To overcome this issue, learning how to protect yourself by using your body can be a great route to take. Martial arts are great for this, as they will give you the chance to learn how to fight properly, while also keeping your fit and avoiding any risk of hurting someone too much. Options like Judo are perfect when you’re first starting out.

Situational Awareness: Being aware of what is going on around you is another good idea when you’re trying to protect yourself. A lot of people ignore the things around them, choosing to remain oblivious to the risks around them. This goes much further than gangs of youths and other scary people, though, with things like cars posing a big threat, too. Thankfully, to help with this, there are loads of courses out there which can be taken to help you to become more aware of your surroundings. A big part of self-defense is avoiding a fight in the first place.

Legal Support: Finally, as the last area to consider, it’s time to think about what you need to do if you ever find your protection failing, and need to take action against someone who has hurt you. Criminal justice, personal injury, and pedestrian accident attorneys can be found all over the world. Professionals like this will be able to fight on your behalf if you ever find yourself in need of legal support. To find the best options in your area, it will be worth reading some reviews, as different lawyers will have different levels of success in the areas which they work.

Hopefully, this post will inspire you to start working harder on the time you put into protecting yourself in the modern world. It’s a shame that people have to take this sort of action to feel safe, but this doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth doing. In time, places slowly get more and more peaceful, especially when political discord settles down. This means that it may only be a matter of years until you are able to confidently go about your business without these precautions in place.

How To Help A Loved One Overcome Substance Abuse And Addiction

A major focus of my blog is Health and Wellness. Substance abuse can become a lifelong struggle for some people – sometimes our friends and relatives, and it’s not always clear in terms of how to help them. The following contributed post is thus entitled; How To Help A Loved One Overcome Substance Abuse And Addiction.

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Learning that a loved one is addicted to drugs or alcohol is a scary, stressful, and upsetting experience. Naturally, you want to help them, but with so many people telling you that “they’ll only stop when they’re ready,” you can be left feeling conflicted and helpless. Thankfully, while it’s true that an addict is the only person who can make positive changes in their life, there are still steps that you can take to kickstart these changes and try to curb addictive behaviors. With that in mind, here are a few things that you can do to help a loved one overcome their addiction.

Never Turn A Blind Eye
Reaching out to someone with a drug or alcohol problem is never easy, which often leads friends and family members to turn a blind eye and ignore toxic behaviors. However, the person that you’re worried about is never going to know that you’re concerned until you tell them that you are. While this may be an uncomfortable conversation, it’s important that you open up these lines of communication and try to make a difference. If you don’t, it’s unlikely that anything will change.

Intervene Before Things Get Serious
Ideally, this initial conversation should occur before anything gets too serious. All too often, families and friends wait until there is a major crisis, like an arrest, sacking, overdose, or another serious health issue, before they take action and decide that enough is enough. However, like other illnesses, addiction can be best treated during the earlier stages. For this reason, you should start a conversation and express your concerns the moment toxic behaviors begin.

Don’t Shame Or Pass Judgment
Alcoholics and drug addicts rarely start taking drugs or drinking heavily for no reason. More often than not, there is an underlying issue that they struggle with, like anxiety or depression, and they take drug and alcohol as a way to self-medicate. It’s important that you recognize these reasons and avoid passing judgment or shaming the person that you’re worried about. Usually, this will make them feel worse about themselves, which will only make them use more.

Offer Professional Help And Support
Addicts need the support of those that care about them, but, most of the time, they also need help from a professional. After all, they have years of knowledge on addiction and know the best ways to help. They also have access to medical professionals, like LifeBrite Laboratories, who can run tests and ensure that your loved one has definitely stopped using. This is incredibly important as many addicts try to hide their addiction from those around them.

Support Them Through Their Journey
The journey to sobriety isn’t an easy one, and there will be many hurdles for your loved one to face along the way. For this reason, it’s vital that you show that you’re supportive and care about your loved one and their journey. The moment it starts to feel like you can’t be bothered anymore, your friend or family member will notice, and this could impact their recovery. You should also avoid drinking around the person and never enable their toxic behaviors.

Helping a loved one overcome addiction will never be easy, but, hopefully, with the advice and guidance above, you have some idea of how to start.

Sport Could Change Your Life: How Do You Plan On Letting It Change Yours?

Two of the focuses of my blog are Athletics and Sports, and Health and Wellness. In addition to teaching life lessons through competition, sports are overall good for our quality of life. The following contributed post is thus entitled; Sport Could Change Your Life: How Do You Plan On Letting It Change Yours?

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Let’s get a little serious for a moment, shall we? Sport can honestly change your life, but how it changes it is entirely up to you. We see so much online and in print about how exercise and perhaps even taking part in sports is so good for you. Not just physically, but mentally as well, but yet many of us will still openly admit that sport or physical exercise is not a part of our normal routine. I wanted to share with you some of the ways that you could introduce sport or physical exercise into your life and how those ways could really transform the way you live and think. It sounds dramatic, but it is true. Here are my suggestions.

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Play a sport and get involved with a team or class

One of the first things you could try would be to find yourself a local class or team in the sport you want to play and just have the courage to get involved. It may sound difficult at first to overcome such a mental fear as this, which is on the same lines of stepping out of your comfort zone, but it could make the world of difference. Being part of a team also gives you that social aspect, which can add to the enjoyment and even give you the chance to make some new friends.

Watch a sport live and feel the adrenalin

At first, just join a team or even doing something yourself may feel like a big step to take, so actually being a spectator of sport can give you the inspiration and motivation to get started yourself. Seeing a hockey game live and buying tickets, or attending your first ever football game, it can give you a new sense of passion for the sport as well as the motivation to start out yourself.

Get yourself a pet dog

Maybe you just need a reason to be more active, and one of the best things to do is walking. Buy walking yourself may feel a little overbearing, so having a dog to do it with you could be the ideal way to start being more active on a day to day basis. Walking is one of the best forms of exercise to take, believe it or not, and it can actually be a great way to build up fitness levels and confidence.

Set yourself a challenge or target to achieve

Finally, why not set yourself a goal or a challenge to get started with? This could be a great way for you to start feeling motivated about taking part in specific sports or exercises. Having a big goal is great, but don’t forget to set yourself smaller targets along the way to help you along the way. This really helps you to stay motivated on track.

So there you have it, my thoughts on how sport could change your life. However you choose to enjoy it, I hope you start to notice some of the differences yourself.

Unexpected Wellness Benefits Of Motorcycling

One of the focuses of my blog is Health and Wellness. There are several perceptions of motorcycles. In some instances, they are viewed as status symbols, and in other instances they are viewed as health hazards. It turns out that there are some therapeutic benefits to riding motorcycles. This contributed post is thus entitled; the Unexpected Wellness Benefits of Motorcycling.

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If you own a motorcycle, you’re already conversant in the arguments made against them on a regular basis. You probably hear them fairly regularly from your significant other, your parents and /or your children. They constantly remind you of just how unsafe you are on a motorcycle compared to on a car or how they worry about you every time you don your leathers and take to the road.

Image by Pexels

While it could be argued that motorcyclists are actually safer than their car driving counterparts as not only does being able to turn their heads for an unimpeded view of their surroundings make for better hazard perception and eliminate blind spots, motorcyclists are also much better positioned to react quickly and decisively when they perceive a hazard. Of course, if you are injured on the road as a result of someone else’s negligence you should always contact a motorcycle accident lawyer to pursue justice. Nonetheless, your family needn’t worry for your wellbeing. While you hit the road on your trusty steed, you actually benefit from several unique health benefits…

Improved cognitive faculties

A study by the University of Tokyo demonstrated that motorcycling regularly can have a positive effect on cognitive function. In the study, a group of 40-50 year old male motorcyclists were compared to non-motorcyclists of the same age for 2 months. After 2 months of daily riding, the motorcyclists not only scored higher on their cognitive tests than the non-riders, they found a cognitive improvement of over 50% in some cases.

Burning away body fat

It’s not only your brain box that gets a boost from setting out on your bike. Regular motorcycling also helps you to keep some of that unsightly wobbly matter at bay. Steady state riding in urban environments can burn around 200-300 calories per hour. Riding over uneven terrain can burn up to 600 calories per hour. Who needs to be bored rigid on a treadmill when you can be working out with the open road.

Increased core strength

A strong core is important for much more than having a set of shredded abs that make you able to stroll down the beach with confidence. Good core strength is at the heart of most of the movements that we take for granted in our day to day lives including (of course) turning and banking on your bike. If we hope to retain great mobility even in old age it’s essential that we maintain good core strength and regular journeys on your motorcycle are a great way of doing this without spending hours in a packed, sweaty gym.

Boosts your mental health and encourages positivity

There’s no feeling in the road quite like the freedom of the open road. The feeling of speed and exhilaration combined with the raw power beneath you all combine to create a thrilling experience that beats sitting in a stuffy car any day of the week. Moreover, motorcyclists enjoy a meditative state feeling at one with the road that few drivers get to experience.

It’s a great stress buster and mood booster that can help you maintain a positive outlook no matter what the rigors of your job, career and family life.

Your Five-Year Plan

Two of the principles of my blog are “Creating Ecosystems of Success” and “Long-Term Thinking and Delayed Gratification”. A key to being successful is looking into the future, setting goals and planning the steps towards achieving those goals. The following contributed post is thus entitled; Your Five-Year Plan.

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Do you often find yourself just going through the motions of your life, without any clear goals or targets? Just living life day to day, without purpose or focus? Many of us do. Then, a few years down the line, we look back at what we’ve achieved and find that nothing has changed. We still have debts, we still live in the same place, our relationship hasn’t developed or grown, we’re no closer to getting what we really want from our life, and our career has stalled.

Well, this happens when we don’t have a plan. You’re never going to hit your goals if you don’t have any. You get one life, you should be making the most of it. A five-year master plan can help you to do this. Five years is a great period of time. A lot can change in five years. Think about who you were five years ago, what you enjoyed doing, who your friends were. Now, look at your life today. In five years, we grow, we change, we start to enjoy different things, we meet a lot of people. You might eat differently, look after yourself more or less, and even go to bed at a different time. Five years is long enough to make massive changes and achieve a lot, but not too long that you can’t look ahead with focus and determination. So, here’s a look at how to create a five-year master plan to help you to develop and get what you want from life, as well as some ideas of things that you should include.

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The Benefits of a Five-Year Plan

If you are the kind of person that just lives day to day, you might not see the point of a five-year plan. But, it can have some definite benefits. It gives you focus. Instead of a general idea of what you want to do with your life, you’ll have clear and well-defined goals for all areas. Five-years means that you’ve still got time to be spontaneous and do what you want, as long as you get back to your plan and continue working towards your aims. It also helps you to prioritize, to stay on track, to keep motivated and to say no to things that would take you off course.

Merely sitting down and writing goals forces you to think about what you want and reflect on your choices so far. You are also statistically more likely to achieve things if you’ve written them down. Something about writing down a target makes it real and gives you a greater focus to achieve it.

How to Create One

Sit down and think about your life so far. Think about what your dreams were when you were younger, and if you still want the same things now. Then, write yourself a Wishlist. Think of your ultimate goals and dreams, no matter how outlandish they might seem. Write them all down. Even those that might take longer than five years to achieve.

Then, ask yourself why you want these things? Will hitting these goals make you happy or improve your quality of life? Try to picture your life if you reach these targets? Take some time to imagine your ideal life. Now, look at your list again, do you need to add or remove anything?

Now you’ve got the what’s and the why’s. It’s time to think about the how’s. This is potentially the most crucial part of your master plan. Without plans, your goals are vague and unreachable. Ask yourself what you can do to meet your targets, or to get significantly closer to them. Write these down too. Now, let’s take a look at some of the things that you might want to include.

Money

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Money is often a big part of our future plans, and your goals might depend heavily on your current financial situation and what you want from your future. If you need to borrow to help you achieve other goals, this is the website to help. If you need to save, or pay off debts, work out how much you need to save each year.

You might have something specific that you’d like to achieve financially, perhaps saving enough to start a business, or to buy a house. Or, you might want to improve your credit score and pay off your debts. Five years is long enough to make massive changes to your financial situation. Think about your goals and take the time to make a household budget to match.

Relationships

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Your relationships will also depend on where you are now and what you want in the future. If you are in a relationship, marriage and children might be in your near future. If not, you might want to think about meeting the right person and starting down the road to settling down.

Wherever you are romantically, there will be other relationships that you need to nurture. Make giving your friendships plenty of love and attention a goal. You might also want to rekindle old relationships, mend family feuds or meet new friends and expand your circle.

Career

Your career is a big one. Getting your career right can improve your financial situation and allow you to take more time for your relationships. Do you have any burning ambitions? Do you want to start your own business, or would you like to dive into a career change? If you are happy where you are now, you might just want to aim for a promotion or try to learn more about your industry to become more confident at work.

Health and Fitness

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Our health is something we often neglect when making plans for the future. Especially when we are young and healthy. But, it shouldn’t be. Your health and fitness are essential to a happy and long life. But, your goals don’t need to be huge. They might just be to carry on what you are doing or to make small improvements to your diet. Think about small, realistic changes that you can make that will improve your health and fitness.

Break it Down

Now you’ve got your five-year targets, you should think about breaking them down. A five-year master plan is fantastic, but it can be hard to stay focused when something is so far away. So, break it down and make plans for the year ahead. Thin about what you can do in the next 12 months to help you to reach your goals.

Demi Lovato: Here’s What Led Up to Her Overdose

A major focus of my blog is Health and Wellness – see my interview with fitness expert James Tate, and my post regarding Chris Herren’s visit to Northern Virginia to discuss his battles with substance abuse. In Pop Culture, we often see celebrities fall victim to the same addictions and vices as everyday non-celebrities. A recent case is recording artist Demi Lovato. The following guest post by Sam Cardigan discusses what led up to her overdose. The image of Demi Lovato used in this post is attributed to Timothy Hiatt of Getty Images.

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In a sad development for fans of Demi Lovato, the singer suffered a setback in her battle with addiction when she was recently brought to the hospital for an apparent drug overdose.

The Los Angeles Police Department responded to an emergency at her home where she was reportedly found unconscious. She was reportedly treated with Narcan, a medication to immediately reverse opioid overdose, prior to being transported to the hospital.

Lovato has been open about her years of struggle with substance abuse. Just last June, she admitted relapsing after celebrating six years of being sober last March.

In the song “Sober”, which dropped June 21, the former Disney star sang about her struggle. Some of the lyrics seem to refer to her cravings for substances that are manifested by shakes and cold sweats. Demi then talked about not wanting any of those feelings as she pled for someone to call her when they were over.

She further sang about the people who never left her and who had been with her during her years of struggle. She finally asked for forgiveness as she acknowledged she is no longer sober.

The “Tell Me You Love Me” singer openly spoke of her substance addiction, eating disorder, bipolar disorder, and depression. She has also publicly shared about going to rehab to address these problems. Here is a look back at her history leading up to this tragic overdose:

Trying Out Drugs in 2009

In Demi’s 2017 documentary Simply Complicated, she shared that she first tried cocaine in 2009 when she was only 17 years old. Her friends were the ones who introduced her to the drug, which she was scared to try at first because her mom had cautioned her about it. Still, she did try it and claimed she “loved it.”

The singer-songwriter also claimed she was curious about drugs and alcohol because her birth father struggled with those substances and chose them over his family.

Rehab for Anorexia, Bulimia, and Cutting in 2010

Also in the documentary, Lovato talked about an incident with one of her backup dancers—a physical altercation that led the then 18-year-old singer to seek treatment for physical and emotional issues.

Lovato said she just remembered going up to the dancer and everything else was a blur. However, she remembered how everyone was freaking out about what happened and that she texted her mom the words, “I’m sorry.”

Shortly after that, her representative released a statement saying she was owning responsibility for her actions and that she was seeking help. During this treatment, Lovato learned she has a bipolar disorder.

Acknowledging Bipolar Disorder in 2011

In April 2011 or three months after leaving rehab, Lovato bravely revealed her bipolar disorder during an interview with People magazine. Around this time she also opened up about her bulimia and cutting issues.

Entered Sober Living Home in 2013

She spent most of the entire year of 2013 in a sober living home in Los Angeles. It was right about this period when she admitted to struggling to survive as little as half an hour without using cocaine. She also said that she would sneak some of the substance inside the airplanes.

In an interview, she said that she would wait for everyone to fall asleep and then sneak into the bathroom and do her thing there.

But Lovato claimed that she had her last drink in January 2012 and that she has been attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings just like any other person struggling with addiction would do.

Struggle with Sobriety Between 2013 to 2018

The singer opened up about her struggles to remain sober in an interview with Glamour last December 2016. She acknowledged that she didn’t stay sober even after coming out of rehab. She further said that she occasionally has issues, with some days being difficult while the other days are easy.

In March of 2017, she took to Instagram to share how long she has been sober. She posted about how proud she is of her journey and how, “my higher power (God), my family, friends, and everyone else,” supported her.

Drug Overdose in 2018 and Her Road to Recovery

It was initially reported that Lovato had a heroin overdose but she has not been in rehab for heroin addiction in the past. She remained in the hospital longer than expected due to complications — a source told People that she had a fever and some signs of infection, and also was being treated for issues generally associated with a drug overdose—but was, “expected to make a full recovery.” As of Aug. 7, the Skyscraper singer was reportedly out of the hospital and in rehab.

Chris Herren discusses his journey, drug addiction, substance abuse and wellness

“Look at the first day, and not the worst day.”

The first principle of my blog is “Creating Ecosystems of Success” of which health and wellness are major aspects.  Personal stories also fall under this principle as they are one of the most powerful means of teaching individuals about success and failure.  Recently, three high schools in Northern Virginia hosted a very special guest who shared his life journey starting from his days as a high school basketball standout, to his college basketball stardom, to his ascension to the National Basketball Association (NBA), and then his personal struggles with drug addiction and substance abuse along the way.

On Oct. 2 Chris Herren visited Northern Virginia to talk to students and families about his basketball journey and his lifelong struggle with drug addiction and substance abuse.  In the first of many local stops, Herren spoke at Fairfax High School to an audience of all students in the morning, and then to adults, families and the general public in the evening.  I first heard part of Chris’s story years ago on the Jim Rome Show, and then I watched ESPN’s powerful documentary on his life and journey, Unguarded.  I learned about his visit a couple of weeks ago by chance after Tweeting to Chris’s foundation ‘The Herren Project’.  I told them that I would’ve definitely attended one of his talks in Massachusetts if I lived there.  They shared that he would be making an appearance in early October in the DC area, and as a lover of sports stories, I knew that I had to attend.

Chris Herren was one of the top 20 high school basketball players coming out of Durfee High School in 1994 with multiple offers to some of the nation’s top college basketball programs.  It was in high school where he first experimented with alcohol – something he had seen his father do growing up.  After playing just a little bit for Boston College, he failed a drug test which almost ended his career.  He received a second chance from a legendary coach who had given numerous young men second chances throughout his career – legendary coach Jerry Tarkanian also known as “Tark the Shark”, who had taken over as head coach at Fresno State University where I first saw Chris play on television.  There he played his way into being the 33rd overall pick for the Denver Nuggets in the 1999 NBA Draft.  He was later traded to the Boston Celtics where his drug problems escalated, and then went on to play overseas in Italy where his life further spiraled downwards before setting off on his road to recovery years later.

“The kids across the room who didn’t do anything, they had something I didn’t have,” Chris said in his strong New England accent, describing one of the high school parties he attended where he and his friends consumed alcohol underage, while another set of kids across the room didn’t consume anything and were fine with it.  During his talk, Chris told many stories about his journey which involved experimentation and addiction to Cocaine, OxyContin, and finally Heroin – all while becoming a father and a professional basketball player.  This particular story was significant because it touched on something many young people struggle with well into adulthood; personal contentment and self-esteem.

The significance of Chris’s opening quote of this post is to get people to note where our personals problems start and their root causes, as opposed to focusing solely on the end results – substance abuse, drug overdoses, suicides, and many others.  His just happened to be his father’s struggle with alcoholism, his mother’s resulting pain, and then the experimentation with drugs and alcohol amongst his peers early on as teens.  Chris’s other over-arching message was about “Wellness”, and how both parents and schools need to be more vigilant and aware of the struggles of young people which can lead to any number of injurious outcomes later in life if not caught early and addressed.

“Over the last seven years I’ve had the responsibility of sharing my story in front of a million kids.  I truly believe in my heart that I’ve made a difference for some, and I do this for many reasons,” Chris Herren said opening up his talk.  “When it comes to addiction, I think we’ve gone horribly wrong.  I think we put way too much focus on the worst day, and we forget about the first day.

“It’s safe as parents to show our children pictures of drug addicts and how to watch a movie and at the end explain to them what happened.  It’s hard to sit them down at 15 years old and say honestly, ‘Please tell me why you’re letting this begin.’

After telling his story, Chris took questions from the audience – parents and teens, whom he also makes himself available to through email.  Afterwards he graciously took pictures with those of us in the audience and took further questions individually.  I seized the opportunity to ask him one to two more.

“He’s one of the people that I will unconditionally love for the rest of my life.  I did the eulogy at his funeral at the Thomas and Mack Center in front of 12,000 people.  What I told everyone that night is that he meant the world to me.  He changed me,” Chris reflected afterwards when I asked him to say a few words on Jerry Tarkanian.  “I do what I do today because he did that for me.”

“He gave me a second chance and I truly believe people are worth second chances.  If we didn’t give second chances to people in recovery, we’d be much worse off.  He instilled that in me and it continues in my life today.”

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog post. If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy:

Lasting lessons basketball taught me: Reflections on three years of basketball camp
Lasting lessons basketball taught me part one: An introduction
Lasting lessons basketball taught me part two: Life lessons
Jason Rowe discusses Buffalo Traditional Basketball, the Yale Cup and State Tournaments
Buffalo Traditional’s Jason Rowe discusses his college and professional careers and coaching

If you’ve found value here and think it would benefit others, please share it and or leave a comment.  To receive all of the most up to date content from the Big Words Blog Site, subscribe using the subscription box in the right hand column in this post and throughout the site.  Lastly, follow me on Twitter at @BWArePowerful, on Instagram at @anwaryusef76, and at the Big Words Blog Site Facebook page.  While my main areas of focus are Education, STEM and Financial Literacy, there are other blogs/sites I endorse which can be found on that particular page of my site.

James Tate discusses fitness, health, wellness and his new book: Kool Kids & The Land Of The Giants

One of the goals for my blog is to help expose for other individuals with new and novel ideas/projects of their own which is in line with my principle of “Creating Ecosystems of Success” – a major part of which is health and wellness.  Occasionally my alma maters will show up in my writings, and in the spring I conducted an interview with Robert Ridley, President of Johnson C. Smith University’s DC Alumni Chapter regarding our “150 and Beyond Campaign” to raise money for our scholarship endowment.  I recently heard about a children’s book created by another fellow JCSU alumnus; James “Big Dogg” Tate, who has his hands in numerous projects relating to health and wellness.  I thought interviewing James would be make for a compelling interview for both of us, and would further be educational for any readers based on his passion and knowledge of health and fitness.  In the following interview, James talks a little bit about his background, and his new book Kool Kids & The Land Of The Giants.

Anwar Dunbar:  Hello James.  First, thank you for agreeing to do this interview and discussing your new book, Kool Kids & The Land Of The Giants on my blog.  It looks like you’ve created something really positive and helpful here.  I graduated from JCSU in 1999, so I vaguely remember seeing you on campus.  Where are you originally from?

James Tate:  I was born and raised in Washington, DC.

AD:  Where did the nickname “Big Dogg” come from?

JT:  I had many nicknames growing up, but that’s the one that stuck.  Because I was an overweight child, teen, and adult, I had nicknames like “Fatz”, “Biggie”, “Big Daddy”, “Pooh”, etc. – but “Big Dogg” has stood the test of time, through different schools and states.

AD:  What did you major in at JCSU?

JT:  I’m a 2002 graduate of JCSU.  I majored in Computer Science/Engineering.  I am also a member of the Alpha Epsilon Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.

AD:  A couple of years ago, you were the featured speaker at our JCSU DC Alumni Club’s monthly meeting where you gave us a powerful talk about diet, health, and fitness.  With your training at JCSU being in Computer Science/Engineering, what got you into health and fitness?

JT:  I was actually forced into health and wellness.  I was an overweight child, an overweight teen, and an overweight adult.  I was involved in an accident that left me immobile for a year. After that year, my weight was over 400 pounds.  I then had three years of physical therapy.  My doctor told me that my injuries would never heal unless I lost weight.  With me being overweight my entire life, I didn’t think it was possible.

I rededicated my life to Christ at the New Year’s Eve service going into the 2010 year.  I prayed for help, and I started studying scriptures about health and wellness.  I read Christian wellness books, and attended Christian wellness group meetings.  By the end of 2010, I had lost over 200 pounds naturally.  I then went to nutrition school and finished with my first certification. I currently hold six wellness certifications and own my own wellness practice.

AD:  Wow, that’s amazing.  I too was overweight as a child for a little while until my mother stepped in and made me get more active and controlled my portion sizes; so we share some common ground there.  In middle school I had some nicknames that I wasn’t too fond of myself.

Before we talk about the Kool Kids, I started reading SALT: Black America’s SILENT KILLER.  I pretty much knew about kidney dialysis, but Dr. Surender Reddy Neravetla also went into graphic detail about cardiac bypass surgery – specifically, how high blood pressure can persist even after the operation, and how the surgeon can only prescribe more blood pressure lowering medication at that point.  There’s a definite mental/quality of life cost to having conditions like diabetes, and heart disease.  There’s a financial cost as well to the individual and to society.  With all of the debate here in Washington, DC about the Affordable Care Act, I think there is something to be said here about preventative care/lifestyle.  I mean who wants take 10 medications and go on dialysis if they don’t have to?  Can you say anything about the financial costs of being unhealthy in terms lifestyle – maintaining a poor diet and not staying physically active.

JT:  That’s a great question.  Healthcare starts in your kitchen and obesity costs our country a lot of money annually – roughly 200 billion dollars depending on the source reporting the dollar amount.  Many of us don’t consider the cost of obesity and obesity-related diseases.  We only consider the cost of the food we purchase today.  Because we think this way, we go for the cheapest, most convenient options, not thinking about the long-term effects of that food.  I like to say that people will put 93-Octane fuels into their $50k car, but will consistently put 87-Octane (regular) foods into their multi-million dollar bodies and expect them to run at an optimum level.  Ironically, they’re shocked when their bodies eventually break down. For African Americans, 95% of the chronic illness that we suffer from today are caused by poor food choices.   That means that a lot of what we suffer from is preventable.

AD:  How did you come up with the idea for Kool Kids & The Land Of The Giants?  Just briefly, without giving too much away, what’s it about?

JT:  The Kool Kids are a group of Christian kids who will motivate, educate, and inspire you and your family to defeat the giants in your life/land – giants such as Obesity, Diabetes, Heart Disease, High Blood Pressure, Depression, Debt, etc.  We have become comfortable living with certain diseases and have even given them cute nicknames like calling diabetes, “A touch of sugar.”  I wanted to remind people that diseases are monsters and we should treat them as such.  Also, it’s been said that this is the first generation of children that will not outlive their parents due to obesity and diseases related to obesity.  So I want to teach them about health and wellness in a new and fun way with characters that they can relate to while including biblical principles.  I was unable to find any health and wellness books that were biblically based that starred super heroes of color, so I decided to create one.

AD:  Wow.  That’s a great idea James.  Are you envisioning any sequels?

JT:  Yes. The Kool Kids is a series and in each book they will take on a new giant.

AD:  Where can people purchase the Kool Kids?

JT:  You can order a copy of The Kool Kids from my web store, http://store.beyondw8loss.com. You will also find Kool Kid merchandise there as well.

AD:  Do you have any parting words?

JT:  First, thank you for interviewing me, and I thank everyone who takes the time to read this interview.  It’s my prayer that we learn to take our health seriously.  Again in terms of the chronic illnesses that we suffer from, especially as African Americans, 95% are caused by poor food choices.  We can change and reverse so much just by paying attention to what’s on the end of our forks.

AD:  Well James, thank you again for agreeing to do this interview.  I’m going to get a couple of copies Kool Kids for some of the folks in my own network.

Thank you for taking the time out to read this interview.  If you’ve found value here and think it would benefit others, please share it and or leave a comment.  To receive all of the most up to date content from the Big Words Blog Site, subscribe using the subscription box in the right hand column in this post and throughout the site.  Lastly follow me on Twitter at @BWArePowerful, and the Big Words Blog Site Facebook page.  While my main areas of focus are Education, STEM and Financial Literacy, there are other blogs/sites I endorse which can be found on that particular page of my site.