Monthly Archives: March 2014

You Are The Average of Your Relationships

17t0stkd96512jpgI can remember exactly when I started asking myself the hard questions. You know, the ones that are most important in life like: What is happiness?  What is my passion?  What am I going to contribute to the world with the life I live? How can be a better person? And so on…

I was a sophomore in college in a fraternity with 50 plus brothers, and had everything you could imagine – I was living the dream.  But I remember this feeling of loneliness and uncertainty that I just could not shake.  I later realized it was because I hadn’t yet discovered who I was.  I hadn’t found my passion or embraced the ideals, values, and lifestyle of leadership that I now try to live.

That semester I started working in the Dean of Students office and involved myself in several leadership programs and positions.  It was during that time that I learned about leadership – I mean true leadership – not the definition I had been using.  Before, I considered leadership as role with a title; but after lots of self-evaluation I realized leadership is a lifestyle one lives when they are passionate, hardworking, genuine, and willing to empower others to reach their full potential.  The Texas Student Leadership Forum was one of the places where I was inspired to better myself.

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Four Tenets

elephant-blind-compoThree blind men were asked to touch an elephant and describe it to the other two men. One felt the leg, and he told his friends that the elephant was like a tree. Another felt the tail and told his friends that an elephant was like a rope. The third man felt the ear and said the elephant was like a leaf. All the men were right, but they confused the respective parts for the whole.

The risk we run when we study the four tenets individually is that we’ll forget their significance when applied together. Make no mistake, the tenets are not solely good principals to live by, they’re a comprehensive worldview that contrasts sharply with the bill of goods we’re sold in our culture and at our schools.

The lie we’re bombarded with is that life is about us. We’re told that more consumption, more experiences, and more sex will make us happy. We’re told that staying happy is the best use of our time, talent, and treasures. I’ve become convicted that the four tenets challenge that perspective directly. I think we each know this is not a truth upon which we can build and sustain a fulfilling life.

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Compassion: Slobodan Milosevic

slobodan_milosevicSeveral years ago I had the opportunity to attend the International Court Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague. I was on Semester at Sea, and one of the law professors had a connection to the United Nations that allowed us to witness the trial of former Yugoslavian President Slobodan Milosevic. The Milosevic Trial began each morning at 9:00 and ended at 1:45. We went through security and attended the session after their lunch recess. A glass wall separated the gallery from the actual court; and we wore headphones connected to a Multilanguage radio for translation of the dayʼs proceedings.

Milosevic chose to represent himself and was in the middle of cross-examination of a Mr. Markovic, his former Chief of Information. Everyone, with the exception of the accused, witness, clerk and security were fully robed. The three judges, from Rwanda, Britain, and Japan, wore a red sash to differentiate them from the rest of the court. Each sat fully distinguished with gray hair and glasses. The panel of prosecutors was positioned to our right and Mr. Milosevic on our left. A council of interpreters sat above the court in closed boxes while everyone in the court and gallery wore headphones. And there I was, a small-town West Texas boy, witnessing the first head of state to ever stand trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Continue reading