New Car SMell
Why is it so difficult to change? I said a New Year's resolution. I started a diet. I stuck to it. I started an exercise regimen. I was working on it. Why is it so difficult to change? One word, gravity. Now, I know. What does gravity have to do with change, right? Gravity is a scientific term. What does that have to do with my social well being or even philosophy for that matter? Gravity, gravity, gravity.
First of all, what is gravity? Gravity is a force that pulls. It's something that keeps us on the earth. Without gravity we would fly off into...float off into space, right? Gravity was discovered by Newton, the falling of the apple, all that kind of stuff, the force that pulls.
Now, one of the basic premises of gravity is this. Well, actually there's two and they're related, right? They counter balance each other. So gravity is a force that pulls. One of the basic premises of that concept of gravity is that the larger the mass of an object the stronger the pull and that larger objects pull on smaller objects. So, larger objects pull on smaller objects. So, the larger the object the stronger the pull, the smaller the object the smaller the pull. Gravity, right? That's the basic concept.
For example, if I'm flying out in space and there are two planets and one is just this huge planet and this other one's just this teeny, tiny little planet, which will my ship be drawn to? Based on the principles of gravity, it will go to the larger planet, right? It's almost automatic even though I've got thrusters and all this kind of stuff. So I will be drawn to that larger planet.
Back to the original question, why, oh why, oh why is it difficult to change? It's difficult to change because the old habits that we have are very similar to that large planet. They have a strong gravitational pull on us. We try to do things different, but that gravitational pull is so strong that we fire our jets, our engines and our space ship, and we try to go to this new planet. But when we run out of gas, we have to cut back. What happens? We float right back to that old behavior or those old habits or that old planet with the big gravity.
And so, a lot of us, we think positive. We're doing positive affirmations. We're doing all of these things, and our ship keeps floating back to this old way of being. So, Andre, what do we do? I mean, how do we change that? Well, one of the things we have to understand is that this is just a metaphor that I'm using and that in this metaphor... Well, let's just do this.
I'll tell you this story, right? I took my car in for service, and while I'm at the service place they say, well, why don't you test drive one of our cars? I'm like, no, no, no. I don't want to. I don't need to do that. And they're like, no, really, just test drive one of the cars. And so, while I'm waiting, I'm like, this seems like a great idea. So, I get in the car, and oh man, let me tell you.
I don't know if you've ever bought a new car or a car that's new to you, but they are absolutely ‑ I mean they lay it out, right? You sit in the seat and it's so comfortable. It is just amazing, right?
The ergonomics of the steering wheel and the shifter and all that kind of ‑ it just...ooh, feels good.
And it's clean. I mean just sparkling clean. The stereo works. There's no crackling. And it's like you've got like 30 million speakers surrounding you, like you're in Orchestra Hall and turn up the [sings] , all of that stuff.
You're sitting in the car like "ooh", and they even have their own fragrance. Yes. New cars have their own fragrance. And so you get in the car and you're like and then you're like "oh", and just peaceful. Where I go, they always have it turned to the classical station so it's like, [makes sound] . And it's feeling good and everything is clean and it's working and it's driving smooth and it's just oh...it's amazing. Absolutely amazing.
And then I return the car. Yes. Because my car's done, it's time for me to go home. I had my fantasy and all that kind of stuff.
So I just experienced this new car. I experienced the smells and the feeling and the sounds of this new car. And then I get in my Saturn. Now, mind you, I love my Saturn. Love it. But it's not new. Because when I turn on the stereo, like two of the speakers work but only if I turn the bass all the way down. Otherwise [makes deep sound] , so that's that.
And then, one of my...so, you know when you do the squirt for the windshield wipers, one of the things trickles a little bit but the other one squirts out gallons, like [makes swoosh sound] . So like, I'm filling that sucker up like every time it rains. And so there's that.
And, I have a bad habit of eating in my car, so there's...yeah, OK, so you can see that.
And so I'm a little dissatisfied with my Saturn. Great car. Great car. But I'm a little dissatisfied. What happened?
One of the things that car dealers know that you and I need to realize about ourselves is that when I have this planet of old behavior over here that gravity can take care of the rest of my decision‑making. I'm drawn to this because it's the largest piece.
And so what car dealers do for you and I when we go there is, they want to make that car so appealing, they want to make that new behavior, if you will, so beautiful, so colorful, that it tantalizes all of our senses so that we become dissatisfied with the old planet.
You see, one of the things that if we want to make a change and why it's so difficult is because we're not dissatisfied with this old planet. We're not dissatisfied with our old behaviors. When we start seeing the beauty of what these new behaviors have to offer, we get to see how big and vast this new planet can be ‑ of opportunities, of choices, of ways of living ‑ that we become dissatisfied with the old.
So, once I decide and I create a new attitude and I create new routines and habits and ways of thinking and seeing the world in a different way, I can't go back to that old planet. Even if I wanted to. Because now, gravity has kicked in. And so my ship starts to float towards this new behavior.
I just want to know, what planet are you going to be on?
There are 3 Parts in your mind that I want to talk about. There's the conscious, the sub conscious, and the creative sub conscious. Now, your conscious mind... Well, first of all, what does it mean to be conscious? It means to be alive, awake and aware, right? So, your conscious mind is constantly taking in information using your five senses.
So, it's how you know what the world is like and what's going on in the world, right? So, you see, you taste, you hear, you touch and you smell. And if one of those isn't working properly, then the others kick in hyper sensitively to help you to compensate, right? So, your conscious mind takes information through your five senses. Your conscious mind is alive, awake and aware.
We also might call your conscious mind kind of like your microphone. So, microphones just take in information and they help to process that information. So, that is your conscious mind. So, that is the first part. The second part of how your mind works or part of your mind is this bridge that they get us to the second part. And this bridge is the scientific term, a very, very high browse so be careful, buckle your seat belt because this term will knock you off your feet.
And this stuff is eferred to as TMUS, Totally Made Up Stuff, right? So, we have your conscious mind and this is again, how your mind works. So, we have your conscious mind which is alive, awake and aware and it is taking in all these information through your five senses and then we have this thing called TMUS, Totally Made Up Stuff.
What is in Totally Made Up Stuff? It's all the things that we got through our social lenses. So, what do lenses do? They focus things or they distort things. And so, some of the social lenses that we have are things like our gender, our sexual orientation, our perceived race, our religion, our ethnicity, our height, our weight, our age, all of these things are things that distort in some way the truth.
So, in some ways, it's focus, really narrow and in other ways, it's really broad but through those social lenses, we get this combination of things called our Totally Made Up Stuff. It can also be referred to as our paradigm if you will or our way of seeing the world. So, we have our conscious mind, then we have our Totally Made Up Stuff which then gets file in, gets save into our... Let's call this our DVD or a hard drive, right?
So, all of this Totally Made Up Stuff gets written to this hard drive. Well, what else is on that hard drive? The hard drive contains things like our habits, our attitudes, our beliefs, our expectations, our self talk. All of those things get stored on our sub conscious. Now, when we talk about sub conscious, let's just break that word apart so it means to be alive, awake and aware just like conscious but sub means under.
So, it is under the awareness that we have that we are not readily open to or have available to us, right? So, it is the consciousness that's under. So, we have our conscious mind. We have our totally made up stuff and we have our sub conscious. Now, the interesting thing is I can control some of those things in my conscious mind or limit that information but that stuff gets written into my subconscious.
And I am not always aware of what some of those things are, all right? So that the conscious mind, the totally made up stuff and the subconscious. Now, the most powerful port of your mind is this third area called the creative sub conscious. And the creative sub conscious only has one primary job. Now, it shows up in three... It has three manifestations but it's got one job and its job is to say yes to anything that is in the subconscious, all right?
All the creative subconscious does is say yes to anything and everything that is in the subconscious/hard drive. Now, the creative subconscious, its job, its one job to say yes and that yes manifests itself in three different ways. One, it maintains sanity. It makes sure that we are acting right what the subconscious says. So, if in my subconscious, I don't believe I can do a thing, my creative subconscious is design... Its job is to make sure that I'm not able to do that thing that I "know" or think that I can't do.
Even if I have the ability to do it but if I know that I can't, my creative subconscious job is to make sure that I don't do it. All right? So, to maintain sanity so I act like myself.
“Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless - like water. Now you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup, you put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle, you put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.”
I want to eat
I'm starting to get a sense of how women feel sometimes when they go places, right? Because while I'm in this restaurant, I'm looking for signs of safety. I'm looking at the exits. I'm looking at who's in the restaurant and all this stuff. So, I walk into the restaurant, and I sit down at the bar. It's, I don't know, it's probably about 10:30 almost 11:00. I had a lot of errands to do, so I just thought I'd just run in and grab a bite to eat. And so, I'm sitting there and what I notice is there's a guy at the end of the bar, and this guy is drunk, I mean, just toasted, red nose, slurred speech, the whole nine. And it's not even noon yet.
So, I'm sitting there, and I notice this guy. I don't know about you, but I always have to aware of drunk people around me. So, I'm aware of this guy. And so, I'm sitting there and I get my menu and I'm looking at the menu and chit chatting with the bar staff and all this kind of stuff. I make my decision. I fold my menu. I give it to the bar staff.
In that short amount of time, the guy that was at the end of the bar is now sitting next to me. And so, I don't know how you are about drunk people, but I'm always aware of them. And so, in my processing there were two things that became real clear to me. One was that this place, he considers home because he's this drunk this early in the morning.
The second thing that occurred to me was that the bar staff, the people who work there know this dude because they wouldn't let him get this drunk otherwise. So, the dude's sitting next to me. We start talking about man stuff, scratching and spitting and we're men. And then, he breaks into the thousus of why he came to sit next to me.
He sits there and he looks over at me in the middle of our conversation. He says, "You know what? I don't like the "n" word." Now, he did not say the "n" word. He actually said that derogatory terms that many of your grandparents refer to as Brazil nuts, what they call Brazil nuts.
That's what he said, the "n" word, the derogatory word that people don't say. The word that white people get confused about because if they say it, it's bad and they think that when black people say it, it's cool or good. That word, the "n" word, the word you're not supposed to say. He says it to me in the bar.
And so, he says I don't like the "n" word. My first reaction is, what do I say to that? What a heck of an introduction. So, he's sitting there and he says I don't like the "n" word, and so I try to change the subject. I say, hey, let's talk about baseball. Let's talk about the team. And something in my spirit said, well, go back to that. Ask him some questions.
And so, I asked him some follow up questions. I said, well, when you talk about the "n" word as you describe those folks, how would you describe them? What would you say about those "n" folks? What do you really mean when you say the "n" word?
And he said, well, when I talk about the "n" word, I'm thinking ghetto, uneducated, illiterate, uncouth. So, he has this whole litany of bad things of what it means to be the "n" word.
And so, I asked him, do you know any white people who would fit that description that he gave, ghetto, uncouth, illiterate, blah, blah, blah, and he looks at me and he goes, yeah.
And so I say, how about baseball? Let's talk about baseball. And so, we start talking about baseball again and he leans over to me. And he says, you know what? I don't like the "n" word but I like you. This is one of those mixed compliments that I'm never quite sure what to do with. It's kind of like, in spite of the fact of what you are, I like you. So, I wasn't quite sure what to do with this. I'm like, what do you say to that?
And so, I just ask him a follow‑up question. I say, "Well, what is it about me that you like?" And he says to me, "Well, you are well spoken. You seem educated. You've got just a great personality." And so, he came up with another list of pretty good things about me.
And so, I turned to him and say, "Well, what if all of the people that you have met, that you described as that N word. What if all of those people that you've met were idiots? What if they were all idiots? And everybody else that you haven't met yet is just like me." And he looked and he turns to me and he looks and he says, "I got to pee." So, he stumbles out to the restroom and I'm great.
I'm so excited. I'm ready to go. I'm just like oh, yes, we're on a good note and that I can get out of here, right? Now, I don't know if this has ever happened to you but it certainly happened to me. Every time that I go to leave, there is not bar staff anywhere. There is no restaurant staff anywhere. And they are taking their time but I figured out the secret.
So, what I did was I took my keys out of my pocket and I jingle them and it is so funny, they seem to run like Pavlov's dog when they think I'm about to leave, right? So, I finally get the check and I'm excited. I'm about to leave and the guy is coming out of the bathroom at the same time. But there's something different about him, this particular time.
I mean I'm looking at him and he's got droplets of water on his face. He has his hair combed over and he just seems a little more sober. I mean it is just crazy. He was like... I almost had to ask myself, is this the same dude, right? So, he walks over to me and he has this damp paper towel. And he leans over to me and he says, "My name is Ron. If you ever need fresh eggs, give me a call."
Now what did you say to that, right? So, I take the towel and say, "Thank you, Ron. My name is Andre and hopefully, I will see you around." And I went my way and he went his way. Now, what do you think the lesson was in that story which is a true story, by the way? Yeah, often times, when we tell our folks that we would say our races or bigotry, we right them off.
I mean what I have been within my rights to give this guy a piece of my mind. You don't call me that and we are... And just gone after him with both barrels. Would I have been within my rights? Tons of people would say yes.
And in another situation, I might agree with that. However, had I gone off on that guy, had I given that guy a piece of my mind, what would have been the result? I would have confirmed every negative thing that he thought about people who hear things look like me.
So, I'm not asking you to do what I do. I'm not saying that you have to take things that are outside of yourself, that you have to put yourself at risk or not being respected. But what I will offer you and what I will challenge you is to oftentimes try and see what the lesson is. I don't know if I have changed that man's life forever. He may feel the same way. He may still use those words.
But one thing I do know is that the next time he goes to use that word, the next time he goes to interact with someone who he thinks looks just like me, he will think about the encounter that we had. It is my hope that he'll make better and different decisions. What do people say about your life in your encounters?
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I work for Anoka County. We have been doing a number of videos as teasers for a number of our hard to reach communities of color. Let me know what you think about this approach.
We are so nosy! We're so nosy. I mean have you been in a traffic jam only because people were rubber necking and for those of you who don't know rubber necking is when somebody is looking at an accident while trying to drive, and the accident is some place else than where they are.
So they slow down and tie up traffic, yeah were so nosy. The whole soap opera industry, what is that stuff called now where you watch people live their lives, reality shows right. That is all about being nosy. We're such nosy people. I was reading a book, Jack Canfield's, Success Principals. And there was something that stuck, that spoke to me that took my attention and raptured my imagination and it was this one phrase. "That what other people think about you is none of your business." Wow! We're so nosy.
What other people think about you or how they feel about you has nothing to do with you. It's what they think, it's what they feel. The most important thing is what you think about yourself, and what you know about yourself. Because let people talk. The only things that will hurt you are the things you accept as truths about you.
On this day I encourage you to not be so nosy.
Atlanta, we're all hanging out and we're talking and reminiscing and all this kind of stuff. And for some reason ‑‑ well, there's lots of food around, right? And so, we're talking about different foods and meals and what people brought and what they like to create and all sorts of stuff. And my sister, Crystal, chimes in and she says, "Do you guys remember that one time when we had pancakes for breakfast" ‑‑ I mean, for dinner ‑‑ "we had pancakes for dinner?"
And so, yeah, we started chiming in and we're talking about how that was our favorite meal. It was so exciting and different and all sorts of stuff. And there's joy and laughter and we're just laughing about it, and we're having a good time.
And my mom is sitting there. So it's Damion, Crystal, William, and myself, right? We're sitting there and then my mom just smiles with this great grin and she just kind of shakes her head and closes her eyes. And it's just giggling and kind of bubbly with that.
So Damion looks over at Mom and says, "Mom, what's so funny? What's going on?" And she looks at us and she says, "You guys just didn't know." And we're like, "What, Mom? What do we not know? That was our favorite meal."
That stuck out above all else that she's ever cooked for us. That one meal made a lasting impression on us to the point that we talked to our nieces and nephews, our children, about this one experience. And she just looks and she says, "You guys, the reason we had pancakes for dinner is because that's all we had."
Wow. It's really interesting what happens when we give all that we have. When we give something our best, we make that sacrifice and we make things happen for people. They typically remember that kind of stuff.
Now, it speaks to a lot of things about my family, about poverty and not having, and all this absence. And we can look at all of those things as negative things, but one of the things that I'm so happy about is that we may not have had much money but we were never poor in spirit.
We always had something driving us to understand how beautiful the world is. And although we may not have had any money or anything else to eat, that one meal changed that course of our family history.
You don't have to have a lot to be a lot. You don't have to collect the riches and the cars and the houses. All you have to do is give the best you have of yourself and people will remember that.
Andre's purpose is to reconnect people to their Dignity and Honor in Being Human.