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Inaugural poet Amanda Gorman calls on Americans to “be the light.”

“When day comes we step out of the shade,

aflame and unafraid

The new dawn blooms as we free it

For there is always light,

if only we’re brave enough to see it

If only we’re brave enough to be it.”

— Amanda Gorman, 2021 Inaugural Poet

I hope Amanda Gorman’s loving call for unity inspired you to be the light we need amid our nation’s deep divisions.

The thing about being inspired, though, it requires action. So how does one bravely answer the call to “be the light?”

Here’s a secret, you already have all the tools you need

1. Your Voice

“To me, words matter. That’s what made this inauguration that much more sentimental and special. We’ve seen over the past few years how the power of words has been violated and misappropriated. What I wanted to do was reclaim poetry as that site in which we can re-purify and re-sanctify. Not just the capitol building which we saw violated, but the power of words, and invest that in the highest office of the land.”

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Photo by Bee Calder on Unsplash

“I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.”

America is putting this Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. quote to the test. Currently, a pandemic and political turmoil — both riddled with lies, conspiracy theories, selfishness, and ignorance — highlight the divide that persists between Black and white America. Since MLK’s death, Blacks have seen astounding progress: Barack Obama exemplifies this.

But just how much has changed in America? How far have we come?

Black cries for breath are still met with an oppressive boot, while exclamations of white rage are welcomed through gates and met with selfies. Since the days of Reconstruction, this has not changed; Black progress has always been met with hate and repudiation: Donald Trump exemplifies this. …

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Photo by Preillumination SeTh on Unsplash

Although personal success looks different for everyone, we all dream to one day arrive at there. Whether we realize it or not, goals are the bones that give our lives structure and movement, and the compass to provide that movement direction along our life journey.

Only eight percent of people actually achieve the goals they set for themselves. So, I’m here to share the lessons I’ve learned from failures and successes concerning my goals, as I’ve sought to become part of this small group of people who actualize their dreams.

Understanding purpose is foundational to our life’s journey. Typically, we never leave to any destination without first understanding why we’re going to that destination. …

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Photo by Valentin Petkov on Unsplash

This year gave us some harsh lessons…about social distancing, the deep inequality that remains entrenched in society, and the fragility of democracy.

With so much to be learned from this year, I found it fitting to write an uplifting article about everything I learned from this year’s holiday season.

1. Holiday Traditions Hold Value

For some reason, traditions were heavy on my mind this year. This was the first year I imagined and got excited for the Christmas traditions I will start with my eventual future family. …

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O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree, such pleasure do you give me.

Allow me to begin with a story to help put this article into context.

T’was the onset of the 2019 holiday season, and my soul yearned for help. The Ghost of Mistakes Past ran my luck shorter than an elf.

Okay, no more corny holiday rhymes. But seriously, though, around Thanksgiving of last year, my self-inflicted misfortune had me in a bad state. Really bad. I’m talking The Grinch, bad.

Being scammed out of all the money in my bank account earlier in the year caused me to be homeless. And having been fired from a coveted job, I felt a sense of regression after being relegated to a soul-crushing job that left me feeling underemployed and under-skilled. Oh, and my license was suspended due to the thousands of dollars I owed the City. Yikes. …

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What color is my shirt? I’m guessing the light distorts your perception?

America is entering a dark winter. I’m not talking about a pandemic, although there’s that too. I’m talking about the truly despicable, idiotic people who make America a cold, dark place. But they’re not you, or I. No, they’re the people who think and act differently, the ones who see the world differently than us, right? Of course.

But what if I told you our perception of the world is skewed? And not just the despicable, idiotic people, but you, my humble reader — whether you think or see things like me — your worldview is skewed.

Over six billion people live on this planet; we each own a subjective reality shaped by our background, experiences, and personality. That’s over six billion competing realities, which of these could lay the claim to being the sole Truth? …

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Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Travel with me back to early March — a period pre-social distancing— to a situation that many of us experienced:

We’re in a group of peers and someone asks us how we’re doing. No one wants to answer. The person brave enough to speak first actually isn’t so brave: they utter “I’m fine” as if the world isn’t unraveling before our eyes, as if thousands of people aren’t dying from an invisible enemy we know nothing about — as if the normalcy isn’t eroding.

Mostly everyone in your group is not fine. Maybe they’re not scared but upset by a perceived ubiquity of fear-mongering from the media and others. …

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This is me, a handsome human willing to accept the ugly aspects of our nature

“Human beings are beautifully flawed beings, to demand perfection from what is inherently imperfect is insanity” — Unknown

Who among us hasn’t driven themselves insane trying to uphold an impossible standard of flawlessness? My latest experience with this comes with my application for the University of Southern California’s MFA screenwriting program.

During my application process last year, I noticed something troubling: fear of failure was paralyzing me. The paralysis permeated into other areas of my life. My fear caused me to fall prey to insecurities about my competency; in turn, I was sapped of energy, motivation, and confidence.

I took note of this and vowed to never let it happen again. On the surface, this was an appealing sentiment, but deep down, it was disfigured. As I’ve prepared my application to USC again, I’ve found myself rotted by the same sense of paralysis. Once again, a misconception about the necessity of perfection precipitated an incline of pressure, which caused a decline in productivity in other areas of my life. …

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Photo by John Cameron on Unsplash

“The myth of the self-made man is profoundly hypocritical” — Che Guevera

I’m sure you’re familiar with this myth that some people are self-made: these people have pulled themselves up by their bootstraps and become a success strictly on the merit of their talent and individual willpower.

Now, I’m going to ask you to trust that I’m the last person to discount the value of individual willpower. I know that not understanding and utilizing our willpower is an egregious misstep. From my youngest of days I’ve been entrenched in individualism, entranced in the allure of the individualist “American Dream.”

But life has taught me the reality of interdependence. None of us live in a vacuum; we are all products of the people and experiences we have encountered. Although I feel compelled to speak on this, it isn’t necessarily a groundbreaking or new concept. Arnold Schwarzenegger alluded to this in his foreword to Tim Ferris’ book, Tools of…

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Photo by Olivier Collet on Unsplash

“If you’re afraid to fail, you’re probably going to fail.”

— Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant is the perfect example that everyone will fail at something in their life, yet that does not make them a failure.

Failing indicates the desired effect not being achieved…YET. Failure indicates finality that often comes from quitting.

This understanding has helped me cultivate a perspective of failing that continually provides me success or progresses me toward success.

When I was young I always knew I wanted a career in film. However, as I became a teenager it was the fear of failure that pushed me away from my film aspirations. …


John Broadway

Just a man living with a wild notion that I can be the change I wish to see in this world. See my website to follow my journey as I do this.

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