Float like a Butterfly

Muhammad Ali was one of the greatest athletes of our time, but his opponents extended far beyond the boxing ring. We too can be the champions of the battles we fight each day if we are adaptable and courageous.

Being a black Muslim in the 1970’s produced its own challenges in the forms of racism and Islamophobia. One of the characteristics that made Ali so remarkable was his ability to stand firm in his beliefs, regardless of who was opposing him. If you look up any video today, you’ll see ferocious confidence in his self-expression.

Being unique today requires tremendous courage to challenge the status quo. Heroes are scarce in our generation because most of us have been taught to limit our critical thinking for a paycheck; by fitting into society like a standardized cog in a machine. Ali found courage within himself and became an individual. You can also cultivate this courage for self-expression.

In nature, a butterfly is able to float because it is light, agile and curious. On the other hand, a bumble bee has similar capabilities but different mindset: workers that’ll defend the queen and hive with their sting. Humans however are not restricted to any particular pattern, because self awareness allow us to change our perspective when presented with new information.

When Muhammad Ali’s saying, “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” was also a comment on how humans can adapt their nature. We can be light on our feet and observe like a butterfly, but change and strike with purpose like a bee. We are not restricted to nature’s patterns, but to recognize and change them requires self-awareness and that courage deep inside you. Adapt, and you will overcome anything.

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The right team for the right job

If your goal is to build a bridge, then following the advice of a demolitions expert and buying dynamite make no sense. But most of us do this in our lives every day: we take actions opposite of our goals and end up frustrated.

Demolition experts are the negative people in your life. They’ve relentlessly practiced how to locate and identify even the smallest faults and weaknesses to destroy the greatest structures. The reason negative people seldom live positive lives is because they focus on failures their entire life — so they rationalize any risks to avoid taking them. They can easily demolish the foundation of your courage with their years of practice.

On the other hand, an expert bridge builder focuses on strengths, and what materials go well together for a strong structure. His mission is to connect people, and this goal far outweighs any short-term fear of failure. His team and tools are also much different than a demolition expert: one carries dynamite and a wrecking ball machine, and the other employs construction workers and engineers.

Depending on what we are trying to accomplish, we need the right team. Whether you’re trying to build bridges or destroy them, you’ll be able to achieve your goal more efficiently with a team on the same mission as you.

Generosity Comes From Abundance

[Today’s podcast was about generosity. You can check it out here]

In college, one of my colleagues was notorious for forgetting his pencil. It was very clear in the way he dressed, his mismatching socks, and disheveled hair that his goal was to do the bare minimum in class to get participation. And usually he would ask me for pencils, since he knew I kept an ungodly amount of pens and pencils in my backpack.

I think it’s interesting to note our respective attitudes in this scenario regarding pencils. If I really just wanted to be prepared, I would keep only a few extra pencils. Not twenty. But in past experiences, I’d personally been in embarrassing situations where no one was willing to give me a pencil. So, out of this fear, I kept many pens and pencils.

So he would ask, and I would give. But I started to notice that when my pencil stash would run low, I was more hesitant to give him a pencil. In fact, sometimes I would lie that I didn’t have an extra, so that my own anxiety could be quelled. Needless to say, neither of us were happy in this situation.

I had developed a relationship with my irrational fear of pencils, and my colleague developed an unspoken trust with me of providing. The more pencils I had, the more comfortable I was with giving him a pencil. But as that stash dwindled, so did our weird relationship. Basically, the less I had, the less willing I was to give him a pencil.

Eventually, he moved to another part of the class where he continued his cycle of “pen-handling.” I thought I was being generous, but in reality I felt bad for him. We aren’t able to freely give if we think we don’t have enough.

You know at least one person in your own life who has shied away from donating because they say they don’t have enough. They usually say things like, “Once I become rich, then I’ll have extra money to donate!” But riches come from an abundant mindset. Let me ask you this: how will you ever become rich, if you operate from a poor and lacking mindset?

 

 

Back online and kickin’ !

Hello my wonderful friend. It has been quite a long hiatus, but I am back in full force now. What does this mean?

Many things, but most importantly that I will be executing many of my longtime goals. I truly appreciate your support, and even during my long hiatus, you’ve encouraged me to write and bring many projects into fruition.

The new stuff:

  1. Podcast! TheBrainWaves is live and into its 6th episode this week. Tell me what your favorite episode is, and how I can improve the format to make sure it is as enjoyable for you to listen as it is for me to create them.
  2. Instagram! itsjayram has been the most amazing project since its inception a little over two months ago. Already, it has 550+ followers! I share cool inspiration poems and original works to help you get inspired to overcome self-doubt and fear. My deepest gratitude to you if you’ve connected to them in any way.
  3. Blog! Yes, this. I want to make sure I post as least once a day. Ambitious? Maybe. Possible? Definitely.

Until next time, friend. Thank you for subscribing (in the upper right corner)!

Robin Williams and an Angry Kid

The first stand-up special I ever saw was a day I came home early from school. It was also the beginning of my school suspension from the Assistant Principal for retaliating against a bully. I felt so much anger, resentment and unfairness that day, especially because the person who caused me so much hurt for making racist comments went undisciplined. I flopped onto the couch, flipped on the TV, and started watching a guy on stage with multiple water bottles behind him, sweating like a maniac, making an entire theater roar with laughter. The more I watched, the more I laughed and the less I felt anger and rage. “This is fucking crazy!” I thought. How is a person able to give laughter and kindness to millions of people he didn’t even know, in that theater and on TV combined?  There is something magical and powerful about that.

Robin Williams is one of my life’s greatest inspirations and reasons why I enjoy doing comedy so much. He is one of the few people who inspired me to believe in myself and be courageous. Thank you for giving me the courage to pursue my dream, my friend.young-robin-williams

 

 

Hangin’ with Anjelah Johnson!

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I am very grateful to have met the super-talented Anjelah Johnson recently at a church here in Southern California! She is a super sweet and kind individual who shared her story about success and how spirituality played an important part in her life! It definitely gave me a lot of inspiration and fuel to finish up my college degree and pursue this path of stand-up comedy and bringing positivity and happiness to others!

 

Weekly Q&A: When is it appropriate to fart in front my significant other?

I question you as a person gastricwarrior. Well, it depends on how long you’ve known the person. If you’re both between the one and six month dating period, it’s a bit risky so definitely hold it in. At about six months to a year, you could try out test farts to see if they can feel the “nature of the beast,” but I would still advise against it. I would wait until you guys have been going out for at least fifty years or more, when you and your significant have lost the motor skills to control flatulence, because otherwise it’s NEVER okay to unleash your gassy wrath in front of anyone. It’s rude!Fart Q&A Pic That’s why you save it for people you hate in elevators. Have a nice day!

Have a question? Ask me here!

Weekly Q&A: How Do I Stop Procrastinating??

This week’s anonymous question was submitted by luvalaf. If you’d like to submit a question, you can find the page here.

Chemistry or Cute Animals? The Struggle Is Real.

Chemistry Exams Or Cute Animals? The Struggle Is Real.

A: What makes procrastination so difficult is that most of us would rather do nothing than work. NOTHING! Now add in cat videos on YouTube, checking Groupon deals in email, and a myriad of other social media options and it seems like all hope is lost. But, the important thing to remember is that procrastination is a habit, and habits are difficult yet very possible to change, and all change begins from within. Make the commitment to yourself to improve your life, and make small adjustments daily and good things will follow. Why not start today? 😉

Weekly Q&A: What Is The Best Way To Enjoy Stinky Tofu?

This week’s question comes from Foodie411. If you enjoy reading, ask an anonymous question here!

Q: What is the best way to enjoy stinky tofu? And what does it smell like?

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Stinky tofu is usually sold in open-air night markets because of its strong stench.

A: The biggest problem with eating stinky tofu is the horrid smell. The best way to get rid of the stench is by immediately throwing that shit away, and then slapping yourself for almost eating garbage. The night when I tried it, most of the people in line were either drunk or eating it as a dare. As for the second part of the question, I think the best way to express my disgust is through video — so stay tuned this week for my stinky tofu rant!

Weekly Q&A: Five Ways to Hang With A $20

This week’s question comes from Yesy A. If you’d like to ask a question, you can find the link here.

Q: What’s the best way to spend $20, but still have an awesome night with friends?

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A: An awesome night with friends for just $20? How about Taco Tuesday night at a midget strip club in Mexico? There are many factors to consider: the area where people live, transportation, social preferences of the individual, etc. So I’ll cover the top five ways to pick up a date in $20:

1) Food: I would go Asian. Vietnamese sandwiches, Taiwanese dumplings, Chinese noodles; even though you’ll gain calories faster than you can say “carbohydrates,” going to any area with a predominantly Asian population will tend to have very cheap, delicious and affordable food. The only drawbacks might be the language barrier and sanitation laws, but hey! Who’s up for an adventure? Check out some of my food reviews to get some ideas.

2) Beverages:  If you’re looking for a little sugar to sweeten up your conversation, some expensive-ass Starbucks will do the trick. I also recommend going to a boba (squishy tapioca ball drink) shop like Tastea, Lollicup, or some “hole-in-the-wall.” Those places tend to be open later (and a littler cheaper too).

3) Entertainment: Dollar theaters. On certain days however, regular theaters will play new movies for a discounted price. I personally love these, and you can find out about them on your smartphone app or that ancient relic called a newspaper. Knowledge is power, especially on a budget.

4) Entertainment #2: Comedy shows. The ones that give free tickets, and usually a two-item food minimum. So technically you’re paying for the show, but that’s where the drawback ends. If you go to a comedy show where good comics are performing, you pretty much get a meal, drinks (depending on what you buy) and about an hour and half to two hours of solid, live comedy.  Oh did I mention I’m also a stand-up comic? You can check out and like my page here: my super awesome page-thing.

5) Random: Gas money. Use those $20 bucks, fill up 1/16th of your gas tank, and go on adventure! To the beach, the aforementioned midget strip club, or just cruising. The best thing right now, during the holidays, is checking out the lights and holiday decorations!

Remember, it’s not as important what you do but who you do. I mean, who you do it with! Money should only enhance the hangout, but not be the crux of it. So what do you think? Have a “hole-in-the-wall” place you’d like to share? Love, hate, or have an addendum for my list?  Let me know in your comments below!