The difference between those who succeed and those who fail is a fine line.
I suppose we could rephrase that to a finish line.
One chooses to cross the finish line despite the length of time, pain, or setbacks while helping others along the way.
While the other is finding any and every excuse to stop, and blaming everyone around them. Their minds are trained to give up, play it safe, and not take risks for the reward. So they stay on the monotonous path living a life they have no passion for, a life without direction, ambition, or purpose. They believe they've reached their peak and are focused on making another dollar not to enhance their lives or the lives of others, but to maintain the dreadful routine.
A way of life that no matter how much they work, how much they try to do what's right, or what makes sense, it ends in shambles with them picking up the pieces to put their lives back together again.
But there is another way of life, a beautiful paradise full of opportunity, promise, dreams, and reality.
It starts with kindness.
Pain Exists, but So Does Love
When I was young, I always envisioned myself making an impact on the world. I dreamt not of money, glory, or fame, but of genuinely making a difference and helping those who suffer to find another way of life. I believed in the power of humanity. When in that current reality, I really had no reason to.
I had suffered, seen my mom suffer, my family suffered, I saw pain, saw death, and saw anger and hate.
We lived in poverty, a leaking roof, bathing in a river, no indoor plumbing, a gang-infested neighborhood. Despite all of that, my family seemed to smile, laugh, and carry on, helping anyone they could along the way.
They are the correct representations of what it means to walk with faith, be unshakeable, and genuine.
My mother, especially who bears a heart of gold. A woman with a broken childhood who dealt with men who tried to break her spirit, body, and mind but remained powerful and never gave up on the meaning of love. If it wasn't for her, we would never have met the man we called Dad.
He was a man who feared no one who had experienced the worst parts of life but remained kind and loving, a man who believed in me and taught me to believe in myself.
I accomplished many things that I never would have been able to without his words in my mind.
He also told me of the pain he carried, the things he saw and endured as an American soldier. Those are the only times I had ever seen him shed a tear. He spoke of broken humanity and a country that left him crippled and would do the same too many others.
But still, he believed, he helped anyone he could while expecting nothing in return.
So I believe.
I believe that humanity can be revived.
Humanity On Fire
As I sit here and write, the world as we know it is in crisis, fearful of what tomorrow will bring, and some parts of our country at war.
The parts of humanity that should matter don't, the lives being taken, forgotten, and the real change the world needs is left unsaid.
Instead, people are worried about what?
Here are some hint's and a cliche: what is the root of all evil?
Ding! Ding! Ding!
Now I'm not anti-money; obviously, it is the primary source used to trade for someone else's hard work and valuable goods in this day and age, unfortunately.
Allow me to share what I believe to be a powerful image, riddled with words of truth from the box office hit, Joker. Was it just excellent writing or a foreshadow of what our country has become?
"I hope my death makes more cents than my life."
Translation, "I hope my death makes more
MONEY than my life."
A man beaten, broken, and belittled trying to survive in a world without any sense of compassion or humanity.
What good is another dollar when humanity is forgotten? We live in a world where a dollar is more valuable than human life and empathy is nowhere to be found; if you don't have the money they don't have the time.
When I say humanity, I don't mean the human race, I mean what comes with being human. The feeling of helping someone else, smiling at a stranger and seeing their eyes light up because they've felt unseen all day, calling someone just to ask how they are, not pitch them a sale. Speaking to someone face to face and enjoying it without the distraction of the virtual world.
Those simple gestures hold little to no value these days.
I see it every day, I experience it every day, and unfortunately so does my daughter. A world full of people who are in a rush, no time to smile, no time to say hello, or even wave. A world that's forgotten how to communicate verbally, physically, and emotionally. A world that can't listen and interpret for more than sixty seconds. A world so focused on sales, insights, analytics, and revenue that they remain (or pretending) to be oblivious to humanity's direction.
Our world has been shaken by #COVID19, #ICantBreathe, #BlackLivesMatter, and natural disasters. Racism and racial injustice have been an untreated epidemic for much longer than anyone is willing to admit. As a Latino, I experienced my fair share of, "Go back to your own country," and, "Your kind is taking our jobs."
Racial injustice is magnified now more than ever, but I believe it's more than that. It's this modern-humanities desire to be superior. It's not just about race anymore. When someone is put in a position of authority, everyone around them becomes inferior.
"Don't question me, do as I say or else," is their mentality.
But what about civilians? Is it just racism that's the issue, or is it more? Is it that no one can accept everyone for who they are? The color of their skin, their sexual preference, what neighborhood they live in, their social status, their clothes, and what activities they like?
The truth is everyone is always judging someone, and that's the problem in society today. No one takes the time to think about what it would be like to be in someone else's shoes. Prejudice amongst humankind is the most destructive act in our world.
We can always change the way we think and hopefully help others to do the same.
If you want to make a difference practice these very easy steps:
Acknowledge someone just because you can.
Smile just because you can.
Accept everyone just because you can.
Help someone just because you can.
Tell someone you love them just because you can.
Call someone just because you can.
Talk to a stranger just because you can.
Believe in the good in someone just because you can.
Make eye contact just because you can.
Empower someone just because you can.
Empower yourself just because you can.
Take a chance just because you can.
Share something just because you can.
Speak up just because you can.
Stand for something just because you can.
When you see hate or inequality in any form, shut it down just because you can.
Make a difference just because you can.
Love yourself for trying, just because you can.
Will it help? We will never truly know, but if hate, greed, and inequality can be contagious, so can be love, compassion, and faith.
This is our world, we are humanity, and the universe is waiting for the transition.