Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

It's so close to the New Year, just a few hours more. 2011 is going to be a great year and I hope everyone else has the same expectations!

Go out and get a haircut, buy a new watch, start a journal or go to the gym. I got a haircut and I'm already feeling great, ready and excited for the new year.

Do something that will start your year off really well and carry it out!

Make every minute count and have a HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I'm heading out to PF Chang's for dinner with my hometown friend Elin and then we're watching the fireworks over Boston Harbor. I'll update you on the fun times of the evening soon.


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Battle of Social Networking

It's the new generation. Highlighted by unimaginable access of information, the ever harder working middle class and problematic illusive privacy.

Although many fight about the privacy of Facebook, Twitter and even Google, even more people are expressing themselves on purpose to the public.

But this expression of one's self can become a burden. The ultimate goal, to capture the most virtual customers possible comes at a price -- Time and Personal Interests.

Time is not something that is easy to find. In fact, as you may well know, there are never enough hours in the day. To become a blogger is to blog regularly and to use up precious minutes. Perhaps ultimately making our day more productive by taking our wasted minutes and fitting in a few last words or by impeding our work day by slipping in that interesting thought instead of sending out that e-mail to coworkers.

How about personal interests; do we really express what we have an interest in? You can. But in reality, everything is tailored to what the majority of people want. We see that we got a new follower, I better make my next tweet similar. Oh, wow! Another blogger likes mine -- my next blog must be better!

Of course, not many stop and think about it, but it's true. Social Networking is all about making yourself known and getting the word out about who you are. But if we're limited to showing our friends what they're interested in, you're going to lose interest. If you blog about what you're interested in, you're following will suffer. The Battle of Social Networking has started. We all know who's winning the war -- those that have hit it big time and those on their way up.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Unprofessionalism in Business Writing

It's interesting, I've never been willing to let myself write anything negative or non progress oriented. For once, I feel that I just have to call a group of people out at once. I'd like to call out any boss, advisor, leader or program coordinator that has written an e-mail to their employees and volunteers.

This week I have received two ill-written e-mails from "leaders" (a boss and a program coordinator). One was composed of rants; she swore and kicked everyone down. The other was written with a list of wrong doings. Neither praised us workers and volunteers for the positive we have done. Although I sit here and try to tell myself that none of their complaints apply to me (as I do believe), I know that most others are reading the complaints and thinking the same thing.

Now, to the real point. There is a way to write business e-mails and a way not to write business e-mails. As a volunteer, I do not prize friendly relations with student program coordinators over professionalism; and this applies to how to address one in an e-mail. As an employee, in no circumstance does one have the right to swear; regardless if, as a manager, you are only 3 or 4 years older.

When writing an e-mail that encompasses several issues to be addressed, NEVER ever acknowledge the problems in the first sentence or first part of the e-mail. As it should go, it's a "bad news sandwich;" good news/intro, bad news, closing positive remarks. If you're close to those you are e-mailing it's still good to have this structure because you are their BOSS. Most people understand that your are boss and friend in separate places.

Due to the lists I've received in the two e-mails, there is less to look forward to for me when I go to work or volunteer. I, nor were others, commended for what they have done and are doing. Volunteering is great and provides a large number of reasons to thank those to whom you address the issues. Employees aren't volunteering, but in many cases are trying their hardest - so if there are certain people that you know are not included in your comments DO NOT E-MAIL THEM. This will most likely put a damper on your most positive workers while addressing those whom can improve most.

I often wonder what goes through people's heads because these aren't things that are so out-of-this world crazy that it should be new. Many bosses understand the concept of morale and positivity in the work place. Sadly, many bosses lack the simple ability to address issues that it brings down the whole team rather than just teaching (not reprimanding) those that can improve.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Operation Rich in Beauty

Dear Friend,

I have given you this letter because I have seen you giving of yourself to the world. Your inner beauty is obvious.

Many times, many places one might wonder - Why do I matter? You've received this letter because perhaps you picked up garbage off the ground, you helped someone across the street - be they blind, elderly or just wobbly, or maybe you paid someone's fare on the public transit. Whatever you may have done, you have proven to me and many other on lookers that there is good in the world. You are a role model to each and every one of us and therefore, you matter.

I truly believe it is important to make sure everyone is given the praise that they are worth. I give you not only my praise, but I give you my heart, my mind, and my soul. You have demonstrated that there is certainly a way for me to help others and it may not be obvious. You have demonstrated that we each make an impact in our own way, be it small and isolated or broad and often.

The greatest part is that you did not contribute because you had to. I truly wish that I could personalize every letter I give out so that your individual impact could shine, but trust me, your impact lives on through each person that has met you and seen you in the act of good.

I want you to know that you are contributing good to this world - most certainly, you put a smile on my face. I want to thank you for all that you have done, do and will continue to do into the future.

You are an inspiration by the little things you do.

Forever and Always,
Joshua L. Wright
Operation Rich in Beauty

Saturday, May 8, 2010

A Reflection of the Past Year.

In the past year, I have experienced so much. No doubt, my emotions have been everywhere.

To those whom know/have known me closely over this past year, they'd probably say at some points I was off my rocker. Looking back, I'd have to agree.

Starting last summer, I needed to figure some things out. My roller coaster started with a job I hated, or rather, a job where I hated my coworkers. If you can't enjoy the people you work with, you can't enjoy your job. Going home everyday and despising people was not pleasurable. I love people and I love working, so to feel anger towards others was not a suitable environment.

I've always been a person that feels if you are unhappy, you need to change something in your life. Well, I adhered to my motto and I transfered jobs part way through the summer to become a Front Desk Agent within the same department. I felt so much happier with the people I worked with. Everyone I worked with was a lot less immature and a lot more friendly (hence why we worked at the front desk). This was a great change for me, but little did I realize my summer emotions were hardly done with.

Next thing I knew, I was making a new friend. To you, my reader, he will be known as Thomas (quite odd because I do not know him as such). Thomas was someone that I didn't really want to meet, but someone my best friend Emily prodded me to know. So, the first time I met him was at his apartment where he lived with his boyfriend, his boyfriend's twin brother, and his boyfriend's twin brother's sister. Thomas invited Emily and me for dinner. I was hesitant but willing. Sure enough, I got along great with everyone.

Although I denied any interest in Thomas, each time he facebook messaged me or texted me I'd roll my eyes and then continue the conversation. I had accepted any offer to hang out with Thomas and I began to enjoy his company. No, I didn't have an interest in dating Thomas or the like, but I really enjoyed spending every minute of my day talking and hanging out. I really felt like I had met someone that I could relate to on levels that many people don't understand. Throughout the whole development of our friendship, I was highly suspicious. I hate being seen as an object and I surely hate being thought of as someone whom is available on the market.

Slowly but surely, I began to know the ins and outs of Thomas. Runs, walks and in depth talks taught me a lot about who he was, how he thinks. Our texts back and forth grew in number, hardly to my dismay. I really wanted Thomas to figure things out for himself before I got involved, but I couldn't help feel that I was confusing him. There was no way that I could back out of the situation. I was not about to ignore him and I was not the person who was taken. All I could do was be there to support someone I considered a best friend.

I'll leave out all the emotional mumbo jumbo that goes really deep because this is supposed to be a reflection and not an intensely nostalgic story. To speed through, I developed feelings for Thomas and he claimed to have felt them back (if not a little stronger than I).

Toward the end of the summer, I realized that BU was too expensive and that I needed to help myself by taking a leave of absence while taking night courses and working full-time. The original plan, Worcester State College -- the plan after my mental breakdown, UMass Boston. Surely, I needed to stay in Boston to be as close to my friends and beloved school. My addiction to BU took me to great lengths.

While volunteering as a staff member for the First Year Student Outreach Project (FYSOP), the week before BU classes started, I became encased in a bubble of insecurity. I didn't know where I was living, I barely knew what classes I was taking and if they'd be approved by BU and lastly... Thomas. I often felt disconnected from my FYSOP kids because I was so lost in my world. After the end of the program, my FYSOPers assured me that I was an awesome FYStaff... making everything worth it. But, I was still homeless?

Yup, I was homeless. BU expected me to move into academic housing after I lost housing for my summer job. But surely they have housing for those whom weren't continuing at BU during the fall -- wrong. I spent hours on craigslist looking for an apartment. I had gone through a whole ordeal trying to get ahold of my loan check which kept getting sent back to WellsFargo, and I had finally secured funding for an apartment. On the night before my friend was kicking me out of her StuVi II housing, I found the perfect place. Right next to 1019, a BU dorm.

A load was off my shoulders having figured this much out so far. The next stop was finding a full-time job that would allow me to take night courses. I applied at several hotels and banks, I had many interviews and I got a couple offers. Century Bank offered me the best pay and benefits, so I started the job at the end of October. At this point, I had already started feeling that I wasn't where I wanted to be... I truly missed my world-class education at BU on a normal schedule (if you can call college class schedules "normal").

Work was great. I loved my coworker, Selam; we would just sit all day and talk. Few customers came in, making the job pretty easy, even when I was left to tend the teller line by myself. Without a head teller, I was given a lot of responsibility. Having had two years prior teller experience, I felt comfortable with the amount of responsibility and sometimes I felt that I didn't have enough.

As I struggled through this transitionary phase of school and work, my days began to blur together and once again I wasn't truly happy. I decided to fight to get back to BU. I applied for more financial aid, and although I didn't receive much more, I worked out my finances so that I could pay my way back to BU.

Of course, you're probably wondering -- "What happened to Thomas?" Well, he's still there, but we were on rocky waters. His boyfriend and him had gone through a break up, but then got back together. Somehow I stayed involved and kept up with the two of them and somehow I got involved even more closely with the two. None of the Thomas situation was fair to the boyfriend or me, but neither of us protested because we both wanted Thomas and we were both afraid of losing him if he didn't get what he wanted. Many nights were spent where I wasn't able to think straight and many evenings were spent running through the streets of Allston to clear my head.

Work suddenly became unbearable because I desired to be back at BU, I didn't want to be talked down to by my boss and I just wanted more time to be a college student.

Sure enough, I re-enrolled in the spring semester at BU. Ecstatic I was. I decided to remain on staff at the bank for a little longer to help out since the head teller (the one that wasn't present earlier) had been struck by a car. Many months had passed without filling her position, so I felt obligated to stay around till they could find another suitable replacement for one of us.

The first two weeks of classes at BU were really tough. I didn't remember how challenging classes were at BU. I forgot about all the outside work and the never-ending obligations to groups, organizations and future planning. This was the point where Thomas and I probably took out biggest plunge, but it was when I decided once again that I needed to make progress. So, I did.

I decided that the best way for me to move forward was to get myself excited for BU (easy task) and to accept that I couldn't have Thomas (harder task). I worked diligently toward both and after the first month of BU classes, I had it down. I could see Thomas with his boyfriend and still be okay. I enjoyed waking up and going to class because I felt like I was learning something worthwhile and I enjoyed the material that I decided to challenge myself with.

Thomas stopped talking to me (he even said flat out he was ignoring me), but I wasn't going to take it personally. My door was not shutting, and he is always welcome back in my life as a friend (and a dear one at that). But I moved forward, more motivated to do well because college is about self-fulfillment and discovery. I realized what I want to go to school for and how to obtain my dreams.

I really think I can say that I've never worked so hard in my life prior to this semester and year. I've finished this year strong. A B- in WR 150 was not a happy moment, but the A- in micro -well received, an A in SM299 - well received, and an A in macro- definitely well received.

Throughout all of this, I've learned that I am human. I have my flaws which cause me to go upon these adventures of self-discovery, to travel down a dark path of unknown emotions and yet as a human, we all have the ability to rebound from it all.

There is so much more that I could expand about from this past year; new friends (Timothy, especially), great memories (never-ending with Emily), team-building (SM299 Team 4 Representin'!), more about Thomas, watching my roommate grow and plenty plenty more. But I'm happy with the things I have accomplished. The emotions, skills, grades and all the junk that I've written about and much that I haven't is just part of learning.

The world has been my oyster, but surely my future is the unknown ocean bottom with much to be discovered.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Marathon Monday - Dreams to Pursue

Marathon Monday - a day that is heavily celebrated in Massachusetts every third Monday of April. Most college students drink all day, stumble down the streets and cheer for the runners as they slur, "You're almost there!" It's not something I'm into - the drinking that is.

The Boston Marathon is something that is admirable. For the last two years I have spent part of my day out on the streets cheering for the people that I can't help but look up to. Each person that runs the marathon has traveled through life and decided to prepare themselves for a 26.2 miles run.

Last year I said, "I want to do the Boston Marathon." I felt a passion, an excitement but I was clueless how to go about it. Today, again, I said "I want to do the Boston Marathon." It's an exciting proposition.

In order to actually be eligible I a) must run a marathon in 3hours 15minutes or b) commit to raising a certain amount of money for a charity. I really think that option b is my most viable path to the marathon, but I want to know that I can challenge myself to complete the course. It's not just important to commit to raising enough money for an organization, but for every dollar that is raised, to commit to finishing the race.

By no means do I expect to win the race, but I plan on making it across the finish line.

My thought is... this summer I can train. Now, this is the area I get stuck. How does one train for such a long run? I naturally am not a long-distance runner - or maybe I am? I know that I love running and I know that I can run well, but 26.2 miles scares me. Up until last summer I had never run more than 2.5 miles in one run. Emily, one of my best friends, introduced me to a run around the Charles River that totaled 4-6 miles, depending on our actual path that day. But that was an accomplishment. The first time I ran it, I did not think I was going to make it - but I survived, and boy did I feel good.

I want to feel that challenge again.

Perhaps the motivation I need is to share my story. If I do this, I want to raise the money for cancer research and treatment. At this point, I don't know if the American Cancer Society is on the charitable organization list (but I'm sure it is).

Perhaps the motivation I need is my mother and grandfather - they can be the guiding light that I need to run up the Newton Hills and run along a crowd of people that I'm sure will be passing me and challenging me. I know that toward the end I'll have the support of my school, Boston University, because we surround Kenmore Square - one mile from the finish line in Copley Square.

I really want to commit, and I think the first step is talking to my doctor/s about the possibility. I need to see a nutritionist and find out what I really should be eating to keep me healthy.

It is a possibility that I may start a video blog to document my journey. It would make it easier to take everyone along the journey with me, to keep in contact, and for me to track my progress.

This week I will talk with a few people to see how they think I should go about it - to ask if they think I can do it - to ask for their support. I know that this will be a challenge, and I know that there will be days I will want to quit, but if you have a support base, you can do anything.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

We Must Not Stand By, But Rather Stand Against.

Water - A free, natural resource that we all are allowed to use as we wish, right?

Wrong, or at least so says many countries, including the United States.

This is a recent issue that has been brought to light, despite having been a brewing storm for decades.

Water is becoming privatized. Most people think to themselves - "How do you privatize water? There's too much water for anyone to own, and who could possibly own it?" This is the problem that we must contemplate. Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and other companies like Suez and Thames all claim they have the right to use the public resources. They have been buying up land, building factories upon that land and stealing the precious water that some people call "Blue Gold."

Is this a bad thing? YES! What the companies do is take the water from the land, which drains it of the water that is needed to feed the fern and fauna. As the water is transported elsewhere, the rain and rivers can not replenish it at the same rate, causing a succession of desert-like areas sprouting up - areas that once were lush with greenery.

Also, if you look at what the companies pay for the water, you'd be astonished. NOTHING. Yes, that's right. The companies pay nothing on the water that they take from the land. Yet, the impact is spread far and wide. We are proposing a carbon tax, stopping the extreme rates of pollution, but what about a water tax on companies? This will cause them to rethink the way they do business. To create more sustainable products.

A current thought is that we can just create desalination plants to purify ocean water. How about the companies that need the water create the desalination plants? Then the citizens of countries can revive their lands and save the environment. The large companies that need water will be paying for their usage by the creation and operation of these new purifying factories.

It's also appalling that the companies get away with their criminal activity by the corruption of politics. Bribery is more common than one could ever wish. Just look at all the indictments against Congressmen/women, Senators, Governors and Mayors all of whom have taken small but vote-swaying bribes. These bribes lead to the mistreatment of constituents that trust their leaders to vote in the publics interest. But no, it is the personal gain that overcomes the like-minded politicians, giving up their morals for a free trip or a couple thousand of dollars. Sort of like selling your soul to the devil, but rather it's selling your elected seat to the monopolistic companies that overtake nature for profit. We can only be so lucky to divulge all the secrets that are harbored in Washington and various states so that the political criminals can be sent to jail and hopefully non-demoralized beings can be voted to hold office.

Developing countries are seeing even more of the devastation from the companies because they are easier to be taken advantage of. The WTO (World Trade Organization) can and does require the countries that have received assistance to open the doors to the money hungry businesses. Citizens then see their natural water sources become depleted. Often there isn't enough power from the people to overtake the companies. Only when there is a rally, and a persistent rebellion that lasts months, maybe years, will the government listen. I'm happy to say that I see a bright future for these countries, but it seems dark for them tomorrow.

"Blue Gold," a documentary on the commodification of water, really brings to light the echos of water privatization. The effects of the markets are broadening and becoming more apparent. But as more and more people become aware of the siege on our public goods, we will take them back. The People ultimately have the hand to grasp what it theirs. If they stick to the struggle through the battles that may hurt a few, the rewards will ultimately be great. Don't be fooled - the corporations have the guns and money to fight a fierce war against all those whom wish to knock them down, but if we fight on our territory (which we do) then we can ambush them and fight them from the foundation of their argument.

If the United States of America succumbs to the pressures of power conglomerates, then there is little hope for others. That is why the United States needs to stand up in support of the replenishing of public sources of water, so that we may lead the way for other nations. Paris, in 2009, saw contracts with water giants end and refused to renew them. Small steps are a start, but let us be the first huge wave against the resistance.

Let us make the change for the future; let us protect the Earth for generations to come - without water, humans can't exist.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

What type of person are you?

I watched a movie last night called "The People Speak." It was fantastic and I totally recommend it for anyone who wants to be inspired by the truth. It wasn't a motivational movie but it was analytic in how revolution has been created over the years.

Today I realized that I'm not a generational motivator. In my opinion, everyone should be their own motivator.

If you want something to happen, make it happen. If you want something, go get it.

Work hard, and make things happen.

I've personally experienced this throughout the past few years. After being kicked out of my father's house in 2008, right before college, I was forced to be a go-getter. I have always been like that, but it was only strengthened by this incident.

A lot of people have come to me for advice on how to make things happen, what's the best solution, how to get what they want. In my opinion, everyone has to take their own path. Really look at where you want to go. If you see an end goal, think about the decision you have to make and the best choice to keep on the path toward success.

Don't rely on other's success to make you motivated. Sometimes it is essential to have a rolemodel to say - "Hey, you can do anything you put your mind to" but that's exactly it - you're the one that can make it happen. To go to college, if you're unable to get loans, what's the next best solution? Can you go to a grandparent to access funds? Can you take night classes and work during the day? Each decision is hard, but you have to be a self-motivator.

I really feel that whatever one ends up deciding shows their true passions. So, if you truly have a passion for knowledge, for learning, for academic success, you need to find a route for that. If you possess a true love of something, you will find a way. Be a self-motivator. Use any and all resources available to you. Make your dreams come true. It is you that matters. It is your dreams that are at stake. Look up to somebody for guidance, but rely on yourself to make the changes.

You have the power.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Look Back on Valentine's Day

I know many a person who says "Valentine's Day is stupid" or "Valentine's Day is a conspiracy for luxury goods businesses to sell their stuff" or they simply just call it "FML Day."

But what is so bad about it, the love that flows on February 14th each and every year adds to the strong bonds we can share as a society. Perhaps it's not the love that brings us together, but the hatred for those whom have that love we desire.

I don't stop to think twice about the holiday. It's a holiday and it means something to me, despite being single. I can celebrate the love I have for friends.

To learn about what Valentine's Day is meant to mean, I looked to good ol' Wikipedia. I already knew that it is actually Saint Valentine's Day, so I have a leg up on most people I know.

What I learned is that the real market of Valentine's Day started in a women's house in Worcester, MA. I don't know if that's verifiable but nor was I truly interested in this.

My love affair with the information came from the content describing the 19th century courtships-when love was truly a romantic endeavor. This is how life should be. Hand-written notes sent in secrecy to another person to express the desire, the deep desires to have that person in your longing arms.

It doesn't seem real that the first physical valentine we have to look to today is from the early 15th century, that's 1400-over 600 years ago. Love has existed for so much longer. So many people keep the love notes passed to them years ago in a box under their bed. I'm sure many centuries ago women did the same. Love affairs sprung about in the royal kingdoms, forbidden by the King or Queen for their son's and daughters. Love was truly an affair, something extravagant, something that was ready to bloom but wasn't allowed to in many cases. Lust was the true form of entertainment and marriage back then. Love was only shown to those whom it affected. Men of power weren't allowed to show their deep love for their wives to make it known they weren't weakened by such emotion.

Much is different today. We look higher upon those whom have strong bonds with close ones. Love is now abused. We find that one person and then abuse that love by cheating or wishing to. Neither is okay. Let love strengthen your bonds, don't let it tempt your mind with the things you shouldn't want but seem to crave. Love is what one deeply desires and without love, one's heart will seem like a waning wasteland.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Madonna Is Abusing Her Fame, Making The Wrong Choices

So, if you haven't heard-Madonna is building a $15 million school in Malawi. Great, right?

Not quite. Let's take another look;

Madonna has been generous to the residents of Malawi. She has adopted two children, a daughter and a son, from the nation. There seems to be a glimmer in her eyes whenever she visits and sets her eyes upon the children of the country. So why would she think it appropriate to displace hundreds of Malawian villagers?

The claim is that her school will benefit the families that have to leave their land. Those whom were forced out were compensated for their trees, houses and the like and supposedly given large sums, courtesy of Madonna. All nice, especially since they were also given different government land in exchange. The girls that attend the school will learn the scientific processes that will allow them to aid other women and girls whom have health problems throughout Malawi. Great, but the problem is that there is displacement of villagers at all.

If government land plots are being given to those whom were displaced, then why can't Madonna build her school on that land instead? There shouldn't be a reason for the specific land that the school is being built on.

There's also another problem; the school is solely for girls. It is often that in many nations women don't have the same opportunities that men do; but in many nations, such as Malawi, men and women don't have great chances. I support any endeavor to insure a nation's growth, but a nation can't grow equitably if there isn't equal treatment. Girls and boys could benefit from a school.

It seems that Madonna is taking the same approach to clawing her way into philanthropic work-aiming for one specific objective that excludes many, just as Oprah had done in South Africa. Girls need mentors, role models, someone to help them grow and embody themselves fully... but must we as a society full of philanthropists be so strict with our choices? Please, I beg, let us begin to branch out. Stop calling out inequality and then enabling the perpetual cycle. A girl's school will educate young women, but will also inevitably instill an idea of difference of sexes. Girls and boys go to different schools to give them equal chances-does this make sense? No.

We can all do our part. We must first think of those whom we want to aid. Then we must think of everyone whom will be effected by our choices. Finally we can conclude wether or not to move forward. Put aside all personal desires, sacrifice what you may think is wholly right for the path that will actually make the most people benefit. Affecting many is better than just a few-Let's make large-scale change.

A Start Toward New Things

In this blog I will look for news articles I find interesting and that I feel strongly toward.
I may agree, I may disagree; I may give praise, I may get heated... This will be the place I show "my true colors."

I am looking to develop my intellect in a distinct way-learning to analyze and articulate.

From time to time I may also post progress in various areas of my life. I will tell you now that I aim high and shoot for the stars each and every day-hence the name of my blog. There is one set goal in my life and that is to help others.

As I strive to find my best path to help others, I've always found myself leading back to Law. With a law degree I hope to find my way to the Senate where, although many find Senators disconnected, I plan to advocate for the public. There will always be disagreements with politicians, but they are representing a huge mass of people. Not everyone can be pleased.

I know that I will struggle along the way to attain my goals in life, but I look forward to the challenges, the triumphs and the great times to be had.

Until next time.

Yours classically,