Cognitive

Cognitive: (adj) knowing and perceiving

Thinking works best when thinking has not occurred before we decide to think.

It’s the only way to keep it fresh.

If you show up to a meeting, a counseling session, a conversation or even a family gathering having “thought out” what you’re going to say, the possibility for the event being a productive one is hampered.

To be cognitive is to be willing to arrive at a meeting with a blank slate and no pre-determined conclusion.

There’s nothing wrong with studying or having your facts in place. But if it becomes obvious that you’ve been trumped by your adversary with more thorough coverage of the subject matter, the cognitive brain relinquishes turf instead of protecting it.

There are three signs that a person has a cognitive brain:

  1. Cognitive leaves the door open for the possibility that a stone was left unturned in your investigation.
  2. Cognitive opens up two ears when others are talking, just in case there’s something to be learned.
  3. And cognitive is prepared to make the adjustments to the reality of the situation instead of merely standing by a press release which was printed long before the debate began.

Without this kind of cognitive reasoning, we always end up in war instead of the humility of admitting that we have much to learn from each other.

 

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Clout

Clout: (n) influence or power

Liars talk too much.

It’s one of the sure ways to pick ’em out. Rather than just stating the facts or presenting the situation, they feel the need to emphasize some
aspect of their story to further impress you with its validity.

That’s always been my problem with the word “clout.”

How much more reinforcement is necessary for a good idea?

How many times do we need to recite our accomplishments before we understand that nobody cares?

How often will we find ourselves stumbling over words because we are not yet convinced that the room has been swayed by our argument?

Does a nation have clout because it has a big army? (Candidly, the nations which have had big armies throughout history are no longer around.)

Do a people have credence because of their faith in God or their morality? If that were the case, the Puritans would still be very popular instead of deemed assholes for killing little girls as witches.

Does a woman gain clout by convincing everybody that she’s just as good as a man, when being a man may not be good enough?

How many characters do we need to introduce to develop the plot?

How many promises should be secured before we decide to move out and attempt a noble deed?

When I was in my thirties, a very prosperous music producer told me that I had no future because I didn’t carry enough clout. I looked him in the eyes and said, “I decided a long time ago not to carry anything I didn’t need.”

We don’t need clout. Actually, it warns of insecurity, pomposity and arrogance.

If I believe I am the best at anything, I need to leave my house more often.

If I think that God favors me because of my numerous religious inclinations, it may be necessary for me to encounter those human beings who scrape together fifty cents, knowing they need sixty cents to survive.

If you want to legitimize the word “clout,” then here is a better definition:

Clout is when I have the humility to realize I don’t really matter, so if I want to keep from being invisible, I should open up my heart and do what I can for the human race.

 

 

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Class

Class: (adj) showing stylish excellence.

I have selected the class of my identification.

It isn’t being white. I’m too blotchy for that.

It isn’t being young. I’ve eaten too much birthday cake.

It isn’t being old. My brain and spirit refuse to make that concession.

I’m not in a class with the intelligentsia. Matter of fact, I feel silly writing the word “intelligentsia.”

I’m not in the class of the ignorant. I try to avoid ignoring things.

I simply want to possess “who I am” as simply as possible and show class. What is class?

I suppose people would give many examples of class, but my definition is: the ability to expose arrogance without hurting anyone.

Life is filled with arrogant people who think they are a class above everyone else. Being able to welcome them back into the family of humanity without infuriating them or making them defensive is called classy.

Arrogance kills the human spirit because it forbids humility. Humility is the only thing that makes us tolerable to one another.

Join me in hoping for more class in our world.

And the best way to guarantee an answer to that wish is to sport a little bit more of the stuff yourself.

 

 

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Citadel

Citadel: (n) a fortress on high ground

How can you take the high ground without instinctively looking down on those beneath you?

It became an issue in the recent presidential campaign. Both candidates insisted they were taking the high ground, while simultaneously
using the concept to proclaim themselves superior.

Unfortunately, any insistence on superiority renders us weakened by the kryptonite of pride.

I need a citadel.

I need a place where I can climb a little higher in my consciousness–not to peer down at the infidel, but to have the chance to see things the way they are, and not the way they appear at ground zero.

My life requires a sweetness of morality, a gentleness of empathy and an awareness of my talent.

In order to mingle these factors, I must don the cloak of humility. For humility is not the absence of ability, but rather, the evidence of it without needing to overpower all comers.

Yes–America should be a citadel.

Our faith should be a citadel.

My life should be a citadel: a piece of higher ground that does not insist on being worshipped because of its elevation, but instead, uses the bird’s eye to consider all the sparrows.

 

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Chutzpah

Chutzpah: (n) shameless audacity; impudence.

One man’s impudence is another man’s courage.

I’m sure the bus driver thought Rosa Parks was very impudent when she refused to move to the back of the bus during the civil rights
conflict in Alabama.

Many of my teachers thought I was impudent when I questioned practices I felt were faulty, but were still part of the “scholastic logic.”

We live in a generation where your cause is meaningless to me and my cause is sanctioned by the will of God.

Yet I would never use the word “chutzpah.” It’s not because I’m anti-Semetic (which most people under the age of twenty would define as having something against cement.)

It’s just that I find the introduction of impudence, strife or vanity only complicate my possibilities instead of enhancing them. We are a race that promotes self-esteem while greatly enamored with humility.

I realize it is possible to be too humble, but it’s a risk each one of us should take.

Because when two impudent people stand on the field of play, hurling insults at one another, boasting of their prowess, the whistle does eventually blow, beginning the game. At that point, it becomes obvious who is better trained, who has a more ingenious plan and who will endure.

One great gift you can give to yourself is to shut up, impart your gift, and see how it rates amidst the cascading efforts of others.

 

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Churn

Churn: (v) to move about vigorously.

It all depends what you disrupt.

If you stir up and churn milk and have the patience to stay with it, you get creamy, sweet butter. On the other hand, you can probably sit all
day long churning dirt, and even if you add water, you will end up with muddy conclusions.

It isn’t always effective to motivate people or circumstances. If there is quality, intelligence, spirit and humility, then churning can bring about a beautiful, natural change.

But if people are stubborn, angry, racist and ignorant, churning normally initiates violence.

You’ve got to judge your circumstances.

Is there enough milk of human kindness in the people you’re dealing with to see them turn into butter?

 

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Characteristic

Characteristic: (adj) typical of a particular person, place, or thing.

You have to be pretty bad to not want to be a good person.

Most people prefer angel wings to devil claws. We may view ourselves as being dangerous–until we realize we really like to play it safe.

What’s missing is the listing of the characteristics required to put a “good” in front of your “person”–making you priceless to the human tribe.

I’m sure everybody could derive a list, and each lineup would have its own merit, but may I offer mine?

Let’s call it the top five things that make our race tolerable instead of insufferable:

  1. Humility

Of course, you don’t get to be humble until you do something great, but once you have an accomplishment, the quality of the endeavor should be enough without demanding too much laud from others or indulging in self-worship.

  1. Self-correction

The best way to be annoying to other friends in your circle is to be the last one to realize you have a problem. Of course, there’s a danger with incriminating yourself too much, but most of us will never get near that cliff.

If you can see your shortcomings, you don’t have to go through the pain of being alienated because of them.

  1. Change

Stop being part of the unrealistic horde which insists that “change is too hard.”

Everything has come through evolution, so it is safe to assume that the process is continuing right now, in your life.

So change before you are forced to, or before you’re lying flat on your back because the cosmic steamroller just flattened your dreams.

  1. Don’t judge under any circumstances.

Even if it’s late at night, you’re with a friend and you’re in the mood to gossip–don’t. Go to bed and get some sleep.

You and I never have the right to evaluate the lives of other people. Even if an angel comes and whispers in your ear, telling you of the iniquity of another traveler, you should compliment the angel on its wings, but ignore the message.

  1. Good cheer.

There are times that depression and sadness overtake us all–but as much as is within us, we should allow the paint brush of gratitude to be the artist of our portrait. It makes us viable–and more than that, it makes us reliable.

There you go. One man’s limited scope in describing the characteristics of a good person.

In my opinion, all you have to do to become a bad person is look at the list and insist “it’s a free country, and nobody’s business but your own.”

 

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