Break: (v) to separate into pieces

“He’s waiting for his big break.”

I’ve heard those words stated over and over again in my presence as I have stood idly by, knowing how errant they are, but remaining silent so as not to rock the boat.Dictionary B

There is actually no such thing as a “big break.” What you have are little victories and tragedies that come into your life, which break you up, segregating true ability from ego.

If every person in America were immediately cast into the role of what they thought they were worthy of doing, we would have nuclear war before the end of the day. Our perceptions are twisted by greed and arrogance.

Most of us have no idea of what we’re capable of performing in the cauldron of difficulty–because that’s where talent thrives or dies. No one gets to use their capacity in a vacuum. It’s always under pressure, criticism, lack or even fear.

So to a certain degree, it is Mother Nature’s job to break us. That is the true definition of our “big break”–when we are finally cracked open and the poison is spilled out, so we can rummage through … to find any gold that remains.


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Beg: (v) to ask someone earnestly or humbly for something.Dictionary B

Asking is not begging.

Begging is reserved for those who have given up on the power of asking, and also have abandoned their own ability to pursue possibility.

It is also difficult for me to believe that begging has anything to do with true humility.

Humility is when you realize that accepting less opens the door to more. It is not a decision to accept less because you have ascertained that you are neither worthy nor capable of acquiring your desire.

Begging is reserved for an entirely different mind-set which no longer thinks that asking will elicit a response, or that humility will lay the groundwork for growth.

Even though it is considered to be open-minded and magnanimous to give to those who beg, we must understand that allowing people to beg from us is devastating to their soul … and an overdose to our pride. 

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Bastion (n) an institution, place, or person strongly defending or upholding particular principlesDictionary B

I have been invited, from time to time, to pontificate on the issue of parenting.

I suppose I receive the requests because people have looked at my children and deemed them to be acceptable human citizens.

I never accept these opportunities.

Why? Because I have no idea how to parent.

Any good parent will tell you that somehow or another, they lucked their way into ending up with decent children. It could have easily gone the other way.

Children are not born bad, but one bout with narcotics can make them look like they are hell’s spawn.

So truthfully, there is really only one bastion for the human spirit. Without this particular quality, everything we do is overwrought, inconsistent, and foolish.

The only hope for the human race is humility.

I don’t care if it’s popular or not; I do not check the polls to find out if it’s favored by the masses.

Whenever I promise to do anything in my life, I always follow it with a disclaimer.

Sometimes I say the old-fashioned, “God willing.”

On other occasions, I warn people that the success of what I allege is dependent on my limited ability.

But human beings, without the bastion of humility, are similar to dogs … who think they own the master’s bed. 

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Words from Dic(tionary)

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A


Acumen: (n.) the ability to make good judgments and quick decisions, typically in a particular domain: e.g. business acumen

We have convinced ourselves that ability is best achieved through training—and by training, we usually mean some sort of educational process granting us a degree or license to pursue an activity.

Here’s the problem: I have been to many doctor’s offices, where there were all sorts of awards hanging on the wall, and the technician standing before me has the personality of a beleaguered slug climbing a eucalyptus tree on a very hot day.

I have been in the presence of clergymen who have a doctorate in Biblical studies or Christian counseling, who have an interest in books but more or less deplore the sight of human beings.

Acumen, in our society, is permission to pursue a profession because you have adequately written down the correct answers on a piece of paper in an allotted amount of time to demonstrate your present level of knowledge on a given subject.

  • It does not mean you care.
  • It does not mean you’re evolving toward greater understanding.
  • And it certainly doesn’t mean that you even comprehend the “damn” that the tinker is supposed to pursue.

To me, acumen has to be measured in a much different way. Matter of fact, if you’ll allow me a little piece of silliness, I think the word should be broken down to “act like you mean it.”

That’s how I determine if I’m going to put my trust in another human being’s abilities. Just as grace covers a multitude of sins, passion certainly can disguise some levels of lessons yet unlearned.

Would I rather have someone convinced they’ve already achieved the right to pursue their craft, or would I prefer someone who is feverishly interested in the task and wants to learn how to do it more proficiently?

To me, that’s a no brainer

I’m tired of looking into the eyes of Congressmen and even into those of our President, and seeing weariness and boredom instead of light and intensity.

I am fed up with individuals who labor behind the desk in Customer Service, who obviously would rather shoot people with a gun than address their complaints.

And I am never going to be amiable to the notion of attending a church worship service where some monotone, anemic declaration of faith in God is revered simply because it has descended to a level of adequate somberness.

We will become a much better country when we stop touting our history, pointing to the achievements of our past, and instead, build a fire under our young people to hunger and thirst for righteous conclusions.

Acumen is not a one-time arrival at acceptability. It is a driving force inside us that tells us there is more to come if we will just act like we mean it.


by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Ably: adv. skillfully, competently.

So I was sitting over breakfast talking with my dear friend about accomplishment. Suddenly a thought popped out of my mouth and rang with such clarity and truth that I was convinced I had been temporarily possessed by an angelic intelligence. Since that doesn’t happen very often, I thought I would mark the occasion by sharing it with you:

You can never learn how capable you are until you confess all of your incapabilities.

I guess the first step to that is removing the fear of being inadequate in some maneuver. If you don’t do that, or you will never have the gumption to uncover your incapabilities so that your capabilities have a chance to breathe and dance around.

I realized that all human beings live in a fleshly house and spend all of their time hoarding. We want to be the BEST at EVERYTHING–so we collect every accolade that might confirm our proclamation of superiority, and we stack them in the closet, until we are so surrounded by false praise that we really can’t move around and do anything.

  • Do you really need to be the BEST lover to enjoy the process?
  • Do you have to be the BEST writer to be read and appreciated?
  • Do you have to have the BEST time at the NFL Combine to believe that you’re a good enough athlete to play on Sundays?
  • Do you have to be the BEST singer to raise your voice in song?

Capability is never freed up to express itself until it is unencumbered by unacknowledged incapability.

Ably–what a great word. I don’t have to do everything ably. That’s why I have brothers and sisters.

But when I am blessed man and discover something that I CAN do ably, let me thrust it to the forefront and see if I can’t make this earth more habitable.



by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Able: adj. 1.having the power, skill, means or opportunity to do something: He was able to read Greek at the age of eight 2. having considerable skill, proficiency: The dancers were technically very able.


You know what’s funny about that phrase? It’s always followed by the word man.

“Able-bodied man.”

Apparently, women’s bodies are not able.

Although I would vigorously object to that conclusion, I would hesitate to use the word “able” by itself. Because certainly our politicians in Washington are able. Many of them are able-bodied, which they are delighted to demonstrate as they quickly climb stairs to overcome the notion of pending senility.

But what I want to know–what I’m curious about–and what haunts my consciousness, is: “Are they ready?”

Because to have “able” without “ready” is the concept that because somebody has the look of success, they actually are going to be ready to deliver the goods. So not only is “able-bodied man” a bigoted phrase, but the whole presentation that having physical prowess has anything whatsoever to do with coming up with a good idea on the spot, to overcome stupidity, is equally fallacious.

So even though I’m glad that “able” is in the dictionary, we should be careful in our assessment of our fellow-human-beings, to make sure that with their ability–with their able-bodiedness–is also some confirmation that they are ready.

Otherwise, we might end up with a stalemate, where able people who are not ready actually are making decisions for our lives while lifting weights instead of lifting our burdens.


by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Ability: n. 1. the capacity to do something 2. talent that enables someone to achieve a great deal: a man of exceptional ability.

Let me see if I’ve got this straight. Sometimes we think certain words mean the same thing, but if you look really carefully, you see that they don’t. So I have it figured this way: talent is what I think I can do, and ability is your opinion of my effort after I’ve completed it.

I know I’m always nervous when I hear somebody brag about their talent. I alway silently want to tell them to be quiet; play it cool. Don’t be such a blowhard. Because each one of us human beings has two different modes in which we perceive the performance or presentation of others. If we think they’re conceited, we put on our “mean” mind and get very, very picky. If we believe they are leading with a humble spirit, we are much more relaxed and willing to be forgiving.

So even though many people feel they have talent, their egomaniacal approach towards self-promotion makes the world around them judge their talent and pronounce a very low grade on their ability.

So maybe we don’t know how good we are until other people tell us the value of what we’ve shared or produced. Of course, we don’t like that. We are so preoccupied with our self-image that we would like to control all of the aspects of our offering to the world, including deciding for them what they’re going to think about it.

But it just ain’t so, Joe.

That’s why I think it’s better to play down your talent and come strong with your gift, so when people judge your ability, they will be much more merciful and generous. If you happen to be excellent on top of that, be prepared to be successful.

Talent is what I think I can do, and ability is the grade card you give me at the end of my test.