Ignorance

There was a time when I longed to be an adult so I could go make my own money and buy the good cereal, so I could stay up past my bedtime reading the latest Harry Potter, or so I could skip church on wednesday nights. As I grew older however, things changed. Drastically, the grass is always greener type approach. As an adult now, I miss those youthful days of rent-free living, 3 square meals a day, and not a worry in the world. I actually came to realize that I grew tired of eating cereal for dinner even if it is the good cereal, I can barely stay awake past 8pm, and I like going to a community church once a week. Oh how things change!
Fundamentally, I experienced a shift in my expectations. I found out that life was not as cheeky and rosy as it once was. There a cold bitter truth out there waiting to nip at the bare noses of young adults, fresh out of childhood. you can probably still smell breast milk on the breath of many. This shift happened slowly over time so that one day, at almost 30, I looked around me, startled and out of breathe. I didnt recognize myself nor my mind. I think others noticed the shift sooner than I. My mom went into paranoid freak out mode all the time, fretting over the umbilical cord that was snapped almost 3 decades ago, hoping I wont up and run away into the abyss. My employers saw the change as well as my friends.
Ignorance was the change. I became aware of the fact that I was ignorant about so much in life. This may not seem like a big life changing ordeal but this is coming from a person who thought they had a pretty optimistic view on life as they knew it. What caused this awareness of ignorance? More knowledge. I, like many transitioning adults, realized that there was a MAJOR discrepancy between what I was taught growing up and the way things really are. Like a vast difference. The more I noticed this gaping difference, the more frustrated I became. Then that frustration turned to anger, like it usually does. Officially, I became the sterotypical “too smart for their own good” kind of young adult — you know the ones. The ones that always seem to have a chip on their shoulder, always screaming about the injustice in the world, always raging on about their innocent victim role. I became her. She was me. Pessimism was my new thing. Hating “the man” was in (as if it was ever not in style). And I was in full fashion. I signed petitions, wrote letters, and attended meetings with others who had realized the unfairness of life and their own ignorance. To be quite honest, it gave me zeal for awhile. The anger had an outlet. It also allowed the anger to grow and fester into the beast of arrogance and greater ignorance. Becoming an outright rebel without a cause, just like all the other rebels without causes, I failed to really do a detailed analysis of myself, study my situation, and plan an intelligent way to deal with my ignorance and the injustice. As we know with anger, it poisons you. And poison me it did. Anger sucked all the wind out of my sails. I became depressed and despondent. I hated every job I worked. I hated poor people. I hate depressed people. I hated the man. I hated black people. I hated the south. I hated white people. I hated myself.
At my wits end, swirling a cocktail of meds and whiskey in my hands, I knew I needed to make one last ditch effort to make things right before I ended it all. I could try to save myself. There must be something here worth saving. There must be some other point of life that I was missing. This last minute question of life saved me from taking my own. If I don’t have anything to lose, clearly I didnt as I was about to drown myself in a glass of cheap whiskey and OTC sleep meds, what could I stand to gain I reasoned? I didn’t know but I was willing to find out.
This would actually be a great place to insert [The End] and continue telling the story of how my life was instantly changed. I could tell you that I put that drink down, went home and started an amazing million dollar business and non-profit to save starving children and never looked back. But I would be lying. And I would be doing both you and I an incredible disservice.
What I can tell you is that I did put that drink down. I did alot more crying, alot more hair pulling, took a few more risks and although I am still not where I want to be, I am right where I need to be. Right at the intersection of “making progress and getting there”.
I can say that we all will have that moment, or several of them if you are like me, when we feel that an incredible disservice has been done to us. We may feel like life has not prepared us enough and that in itself feels like a cold hard slap in the face- an injustice. Some of us have chosen to blame our parents, our religion, our skin color, our environment or the cat. The list of the blamed are many, the list of the responsible are few. It’s easy to blame and hard to swallow the pill of responsibility but in order to progress, we must.
I wrote this blog post to encourage someone to not let ignorance fester in you, do not let your temporary frustration turn to anger- and even if it does, I am here to tell you that there is a way out should you decide to seek it. Life is not a sprint. It is a marathon. Prizes are not awarded to those who finish the fastest but to all of those who stick with it, those who make progress, those who remain resilient in the face of uncertainty and ignorance.

Online Therapy Sessions for Social Media Addiction

Have you ever wanted to decrease the amount of time you spend on social media and being distracted by the internet? Was the task much more difficult than you imagined it would be? You are not alone.

I have been free of my social media addiction for several years now. I quit in 2013 and life has transformed in so many ways:

  • I have increased productivity and creativity;
  • I have more time for friends and family;
  • My mental health has improved greatly;
  • I am more aware and compassionate.

If you would like to live a more fulfilling life, you can start today. I offer therapy sessions via Skype, weChat, and Google Hangouts in several different timezones. No matter where you are connected in the world, help is here.

Please contact me today via email ingramr88@gmail.com to set up your first session and build a happier life.

Productivity and Multi-Tasking: The Benefits of Reducing Distractions

As an avid self-help book reader, I have read a lot about productivity and time management. Most self-help books read the same on how to increase productivity by making the most of your time. This concept has proven to work time and time again as business continues to boom and more employees enter the workforce requesting full-time employment, which in America means 40 hours per week. Employees are pushed to produce more in less time.

Lately, I have noticed a new  trend in the genre of self-help. Once upon a time, self-help books insisted that those seeking to increase productivity master the art of multi-tasking and tedios scheduling. In recent times, self-help books have begun to realize that multi-tasking and over scheduling actually decreases productivity after a certain point. Why is this? I have a few theories on my own based on personal experience.

What is Multi-Tasking and Why Did We Once Prize Mastery of it?

Multi-tasking is the act of doing several tasks at one time. Simple enough, right? Some examples of multi-tasking:

  • Talking on the phone as you check your email;
  • Scrolling through your social media feed as you do homework;
  • Eating dinner while watching TV.

Trust me, the list can go on. I am sure you can list other examples of multi-tasking that you never really considered as multi-tasking. We will discuss one of those instances later. We understand what multi-tasking is so why would one prize mastery of it? To get more done in less time. Why? Because productivity and profits go hand-in-hand.

What’s Changed in Recent Years Regarding Multi-tasking and Productivity?

Firstly, multi-tasking is more recently being defined as distracting. How so? Multi-tasking lacks the focus required for efficient productivity. This comes from the idea that when you are doing more than one thing at one time, you are not focused on any one thing. Your attention and focus become diluted, increasing the risk of error. I am pretty sure that I also read some scientific reports that monitored our brains when we multi-tasked and compared it to our brains when we focus on a singular project and studies revealed that certain areas of the brain involved in decision making and focus showed more brain activity when working on a single task than when the subject worked on several tasks at one time.

What Does This Mean For You?

This new way of looking at multi-tasking makes me call into question all of the other distractions that affect my productivity. I have since begun to reduce the number of distractions in my daily living. Living a life with minimal distractions and more focus gives me more peace, calm, and tranquility. With the reduction of distraction life seems more rich as you see more and hear more of the world around. You will begin to live life by the moment as you learn to savor instead of rushing and multi-tasking.

Ways to Reduce Distractions

  • Commit to focusing on one task at a time;
  • Become aware of when you are multi-tasking by taking small pauses throughout your day to notice what you are doing at that moment. If you find that you are doing more than one thing, simply pause one task and work on the other if possible.
  • Be more present.

Benefits of Reducing Distractions

  • Increased productivity with less risk for error;
  • Less stress;
  • More mindfulness;
  • Greater satisfaction completing tasks.

These are just some of the benefits and ways to reduce distractions.

Peace and Love.

Unplugged: What it Means to Be Bored

Now that I have been without social media for a few years and as of recently, I have also gone without a mobile phone, people are always asking me questions. I find it a telling sign of addiction when people cannot imagine a life without social media or a mobile phone. For this article, let’s tackle boredom when you have unplugged.

I think it may be safe to assume that many of us do not fancy being bored.

In this digital age, boredom is a rare occasion when your boredom can instantly be quenched by social media.

A ready-made, cooked-to-order boredom killer is at your fingertips. What is my issue with such a fierce and effective boredom killer? I believe boredom can be beneficial to our mental well-being. It is the way we first learn to meditate or create as it enhances the use of our imagination and feeds into our thirst for curiosity.

Since not having a ready-made boredom killer, I find that my boredom turns into productivity and creativity.

I have taken up different hobbies and meet people the old-fashioned way by walking up to them and holding a conversation. When I am bored, I use it as a time to meditate or read. Most often, I simply use boredom to fuel my curiosity. Recently, I began birdwatching because I was really bored one day at home and I heard a very long and seemingly intricate birdsong. Boredom caused me to be really curious as to where the birdsong was coming from. Since that fateful bored day, I have invested in a thrifted bird book, binoculars, and walking trails. Not advertising boredom as a weigh loss supplement here, but I also lost weight from all the walking around.

If you do not want to fully disconnect but would like to be more creative or productive, give boredom a try. Schedule a day or a chunk of time where you will not be connected to social media or your phone. When boredom arises, take the challenge to not engage in social media, instead, remain in your boredom and see where it takes you.

Peace and Love.

The Power of the Individual

As news reels roll tape after tape and radios play session after session of all the chaos that’s going on in the world, it’s no wonder that some of us are starting to feel a bit insane. Or if you are like me, you may be feeling completely insane. For those of you who are also like me and are not currently connected as the rest of the world, you still get your dose of updates from friends, family, and co-workers.

The swirl of chaos I hear makes me question where I stand in all of this. I am a human being. I am part of a collective whether I chose to be affiliated or not, whether I voted for a particular party or not, I am still part of society. I am part of the collective. We reflect society. Individuals reflect the collective. Amidst all of the chaos, I can only think more deeply about the truth behind such a statement. I can think about this in two ways.

#1: If individuals reflect society then our individual change and progress will make a great impact on society. The power lies in our hands. We can make an individual change that will be reflected by society.

#2: If individuals reflect society then society would therefore reflect the individual. If that is true then what we see in society is the truest reflection of ourselves.

Upon accessing all of the uproar and protests on the news today, I am not upset at any one candidate or any particular party affiliation. I look at this new world we live in with eyes of curiosity with the above statements in mind. What must be going on in the state of the individual for us, the collective or society, to be in the state of chaos that we are in? Are individuals more fearful, mistrustful, and depressed than before? Individually, are we in more of a chaotic state than before?

The most important fact is that real change and growth for the collective or society rests in the hands of the individual. The individuals make up the collective. There is no one else to blame as life is not a game of blame. This is not about where to assign responsibility. This is about accepting your power as an individual.

Going Without a Mobile Phone in 2017

A few days into the New Year of 2017, I decided it was time to ditch my mobile phone device, my smartphone. This was not my first time thinking about the idea of being phoneless. For a while in 2015 and 2016, I played with the idea of going backwards in time and getting a flip-phone.
At any rate, I decided that today was good as good as any. I guess I did have some middle ground I could rest upon, Google Voice. Before totally giving up my mobile phone, I set up a google voice number for instances where it seemed almost dire. (Use your own discretion as to what is deemed dire. Dire in my case was needing a number for potential clients could call and leave messages for me. )
How to Go Without a Mobile Phone?
Step #1: Open up and Tell People
This step, especially as Step 1 may seem a bit weird. Let me assure you that you will want to be as prepared as possible when doing this. Doing this step first also strengthens your resolve for the time after you have stopped using your mobile phone. You will appreciate knowing possible objections to your decisions and criticisms from others as knowing them will help you come up with creative alternatives.
Step #2: Plan Your First 30 days
Having a plan for your first 30 days will help ease the transition for yourself. For just 30 days, try to calendar out for usual interactions you would have by phone. For example, make a plan weekly to communicate with your friends and family. Going mobile less, time can be your friend or your enemy. Trust me, you want time to be your friend. Having time as your friend means that you stay committed to time contraints as much as possible and you want others aware of your commitment. When events or such circumstances require that you be at a place at a certain time, being mobile less, you do not have the option to text or call to let someone know you will be late. Planning ahead is how you make time your friend.
Step #3: Know Your Limits
Knowing yourself and your limits is crucial. Know that sometimes, you will need to communicate with others that are not immediate to you. Let’s face it, in this day and age, you are probably never less than 10 feet away from a person with a mobile device or access to a telephone. Use your resources wisely. I do not advocate using unsafe measures but I have been know to walk up to a stranger or a store to ask someone to use their phone if I get lost. Know that there are limits. Know when you need to reach out for help or when you need access to a phone while you are out. Lastly, have confidence that you will be okay. Even in emergency situations, think clearly and act fast.
What have I learned since going mobile less?
I learned that there are not nearly as many emergencies that pop up that require me to have access to a phone. I also learned that I have to rely on my instinct and myself when faced with a problem or issue instead of relying on instant communication. I have learned a lot of random things going mobile less:
  • I learned how to navigate my surroundings better;
  • I learned that not everything is an emergency and that eventually everything works itself;
  • I learned that life is more interesting when you are looking up and not down at a phone;
  • I learned that I am much more resourceful than I ever could have imagined.
If you think going mobile less is for you, give it a try. Even if you don’t think it’s best for you, it won’t hurt to give it a try and see what you learn. Let me know if you have tried to go mobile less before or if you are going mobile less now.
Good luck!

When the Urge Arises to Log-In After Quitting Social Media

A successful Deactivation Day is not the end of the story. It is what happens after the big bang that really matters. For subscribers, please click here to review your plan. Take time to review your written plan. What activities did you have planned ? Comment below with what you will do should the urge to log-in arises. 
How to Combat the Urges to Log-in After Quitting Social Media
This part of quitting social media is the best part. To begin, depending on which method you use, the urges may or may not be as severe. For urges that are severe, I would consider limiting access to internet. Sounds extreme but if a plan or system is to work, it must be given ample time to settle and do what it needs to do. It seems to be the fact that physiology has its part in matters. Below are some tried and true ways to combat the urges:
  • Carry a journal with you at all times to take random notes. This can be very meditation and fun. Think of it as twitter without an audience. Click here to order handmade, upcycled DIY journal. Click here to watch tutorial.
  • Keep a puzzle of some sort handy. Challenging and stretching your brain wouldn’t hurt and the focus will keep the urges away. Click here to visit the bookstore.
  • Read. Carry a piece of literature with you. There’s never a wrong time to crack a book. Click here to visit the bookstore.
  • Meditate – By far the best remedy and the most rewarding. Click here to visit blog guest on Meditation
What if the Urges Persist?
The urges will naturally persist for a while until you become adjusted to life without social media. Should urges consume your thinking or interfere heavily with your mood, it is time to consider taking a more advanced step.
Should an urge persist beyond comfortability please considering following through with one of the options below:
  • Limiting access to internet; (disconnecting the internet router for the wi-fi at home)
  • Only using mobile device for emergency purposes and during set time to make outbound calls;
  • Make sure you are getting enough exercise and mental stimulation.
The rationale is that where there is a way to gain access to social media, there arises the opportunity to exploit an urge.
Please feel free to comment below or contact me directly with any inquiry.