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20 Media Links that Changed my Life

20 Media Links that Changed my Life

1 – Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford Commencement Address

steve jobs

    For teaching me to stop attributing value to unimportant things, and start trusting my instincts. Before reading Jobs’ speech, I was working a job I hated because it was really the only thing I ever tried. It was what I knew. Jobs says “You’ve got to find what you love.” His speech helped me realize that I was wasting my life living someone else’s dream. If I settled for someone else’s dream, I’d grow old and die without ever seeking my own.

    2 – Hunter S Thompson “Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail” June 3, 1976, Rolling Stone

    The real world is exciting, but the news is boring. Hunter S Thompson changed all that. During his stint with Rolling Stone, Thompson wrote some of the most brilliant journalism featured in a news publication. He invented Gonzo journalism, and proved what a man can accomplish with the right perspective. Hunter S Thompson didn’t just report the news; he redefined the media. Gonzo journalism laid the ground work for the modern citizen’s journalism movement.

    3 – Tabitha Soren “Tupac interview” 1995, MTV

    Tupac (2Pac) Shakur is often quoted by members of the hip-hop community, but most of them seem more committed to achieving his fame than his dream. Tupac inspired me since I was a kid. I was taught musical theory and performance at an early age so I understood his music, but I was too young to understand the media. This interview forever preserves the mannerisms of one of the most iconic musicians of multiple generations. Pac knew he couldn’t change the world, but we believed he would inspire the mind that does.

    4 – Gabriella Coleman  “Who is Anonymous?” June 27, 2012, TEDGlobal 2012

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    who is anonymous

      The hivemind of Anonymous is a byproduct of modern life in a surveillance state. The instant you leave your home, you’re in public and lose certain rights of privacy (although never all). Every human being deserves complete control over the privacy in their own home though. Your smartphone or tablet connects your home to the rest of the world, and Anonymous is the internet’s natural defense against it. In this TED Speech, Anthropologist and academic Gabriella Coleman breaks down what she learned from Anonymous.

      5 – Brian Penny “I’m a Bank Whistleblower and You Can Be Too” October 29, 2012, The Huffington Post

      I learned to utilize the media for defense. Social media had proven effective, and I was connected to the right people at the right time. HuffPo invited me to contribute a series of blogs to a political column. I wasn’t really following politics, so I only got 1 boring article cranked out before I realized I was the journalist I needed to tell my story. I spent so much time training regulators, lawyers, journalists, and activists that I forgot to leave a breadcrumb trail. This article launched a successful writing career for me and taught me the power of the media.

      6 – The Beatles – The Beatles Anthology (1995)

      The Beatles Anthology

        By the age of 25, I completely ran out of both new and old music to listen to. I decided to buy the Beatles Anthology and watched it straight through…twice. Whether you like The Beatles or not, this collection of media about them is an amazing story about fame, fortune, and art. This is your brain on drugs. It taught me everything I need to know about the world and the media, and the music is amazing. Paul McCartney is easily one of my Top 10 Concerts of all time, and thanks to the media, the legacy of The Beatles will forever be preserved.

        7 – James Duane & George Bruch “Don’t Talk To The Police “ June 21, 2008

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        do not talk to police

          Watching this could be the best 45 minutes of your life. I’ve spent a lot of time with police officers as a witness, person of interest, friend, and family. I also grew up on Army bases to a mother and father who worked military intelligence. I blew the whistle on the largest bank in the United States. If you trust one thing you see on the internet, trust this speech. It’s your right to remain silent, and anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.

          8 – Julian Assange “Why the World Needs Wikileaks” July 2010, TEDGlobal 2010

          why the world need wikileaks

            Wikileaks is a legend. Last month on Mother’s Day weekend, Julian’s mother Christine RT’ed a tweet of mine with a link to a blog about some of the retaliation I experienced as a whistleblower. Assange redefined the media and changed the world. Seeing him speaking on TED opened my eyes to the new world we live in. He explains many yogic ideas being applied to society as opposed to individuals. Assange’s vision of the world is even more chilling now that Bradley Manning is on trial and Edward Snowden leaked a glimpse of big brother.

            9 – Every News Outlet in the World “The World Trade Center South Tower Attack” September 11, 2001

            I was in Ft Benning, GA standing in lines getting my gear assigned for Army basic training. What started as a shot for college money and escape from Ft Huachuca suddenly became a brutal reality. The military restrained information from soldiers, especially those in training. We were cut off, and rumors were rampant as snipers, MP’s, and Special Forces shipped out in dessert combat gear. It wasn’t until a year later after seeing a contractor beheaded online that I finally sat down, read what got reported, and watch the media footage of the WTC attack… Where were you?

            10 – TMZ Staff “Michael Jackson DIES” June 25, 2009, TMZ

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            michael jackson died

              I’m an 80’s baby. I grew up on Michael Jackson. There’s no hard time in your life that can’t be soothed with a little MJ in it. Michael was a genius, an artist, a businessman, an icon, a star. When he died, it was almost unbelievable. We’ll never have another like the King of Pop, and it was the internet that reported it first. We’ll always be faster online. Michael Jackson will forever be preserved on the internet.

              11 – Kurt Loder “Kurt Cobain 1967-1994” April 5, 1994, MTV News

              Kurt Loder was the most reputable new source I knew of in the 80’s and 90’s. Kurt Cobain was the artist who created some of the most hauntingly beautiful albums I ever heard. Nirvana’s Unplugged set sits in a league of its own alongside Eric Clapton and Jay-Z’s performance with The Roots. Cobain’s death was a tragic one. His fame heralded the peak of the grunge era and the end of the 80’s. His music and subsequent suicide still resonate with generations of music fans.

              12 – Mohandas Gandhi “Non-violence and World Crisis” November 26, 1938, Harijan

              At a time when Adolph Hitler was taking over the world, Gandhi promoted peace. He took a stance and defended nonviolence in every situation. Reading his articles inspires me to think through difficult hurdles. There is always a way. If one man can do it, anyone can. Reading the words of Mohandas Gandhi reminds me that anything is possible if you sit still long enough.

              13 – Alyona Minkovski and Ceynk Uygur  “Anonymous vs Bank of America” March 16, 2011

              I wasn’t just standing at the center of the mortgage crisis. This time I was the story. I had a first-person view of the news. I got to see how skewed the media was just by reading what they wrote about me. I hid behind Anonymous and watched. Alyona and Ceynk were among only 4 journalists who put in the proper research. I beat the banks. I hit them where it hurt, and ignited a revolution. Learn how to be Anonymous here: anyone can do it.

              14 – Brian Knappenberger – We Are Legion (2012)

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              The Story of the Hacktivists

                While living in Clearwater, FL surrounded by Scientology, I downloaded We Are Legion from The Pirate Bay. I was being stopped and searched for my Guy Fawkes mask on a regular basis. Florida is a depressing place. Everyone is drugged out, and not in the good ways. This movie provided me comfort that I was backing the right flag. We are Anonymous. We are legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect Us…

                15 – Parmy Olson interview with Jon Stewart on The Daily Show June 18, 2012, Comedy Central

                Parmy breaks down Anonymous for the masses on the most trusted news source on cable. She did a fantastic job of explaining the movement. Once again I felt relief knowing there’s a culture built around transparency. It was a whistleblower’s dream. The more of us that exist as real people in the media, the harder it is to attack Anonymous. We are the internet’s first defense, and we’re 100% nonviolent.

                16 – Wikipedia “Protests against SOPA and PIPA

                Don’t use Wikipedia for a source. Do use Wikipedia for a story and cite their sources. Everyone will tell you not to use Wikipedia. Everyone has an opinion as to why it’s inaccurate. Yet it’s one of the largest websites on the internet. Why? When Wikipedia and other websites shut down to stop CISPA’s predecessors, SOPA and PIPA, the world fell to its knees and pulled the controversial bills. Clearly everyone is lying about not using the top search result for nearly every search online.

                17 – Brian Penny “30 Best Movies  of All Time” Lifehack.org

                I can’t help but laugh knowing I’ve appeared in the Wall Street Journal, NY Times, and countless other news outlets fighting the banks, and the most controversy I ignited is over a list of the best movies of all time. People don’t like having their opinions questioned. I can’t help but continue trolling by adding myself twice to this accomplished list.

                18 – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr “Letter from a Birgmingham Jail” April 16, 1963

                Dr. King sat in Birmingham jail for breaking an unjust law. From there, he wrote some brilliant ideas. One of them was this letter to address the local Clergymen who accused him of being a hypocrite for breaking a law. He brilliantly differentiates a just law from an unjust law and questions their own allegiance to justice by sitting around doing nothing. When I couldn’t find the answers I needed in life, I turned to the Doc.

                19 – Richard Sears “Scientology is a criminal organization…” November 18, 2009, UK Daily Mail

                Scientology is fascinating. To their merit, they are excellent with nonviolent defense. They expertly troll governments and small businesses using attorneys and PR—this I enjoy and agree with. Their financial and technical sense could use a lot of advancement, though. I personally believe transparency is necessary to control corruption, and too many things smelled fishy in Clearwater, FL.

                20 – Matt Taibbi “As Bradley Manning Trial Begins, Press Predictably Misses the Point” June 6, 2013, Rolling Stone

                I’ve followed Taibbi’s pieces on the mortgage industry for a few years now. He doesn’t pull any punches. Seeing him involved in the Bradley Manning trial is brilliant. Manning is a hero, and he deserves our respect and attention. I love that Rolling Stone is covering his trial, and Taibbi especially. Pay close attention to this trial, as a lot of our human freedoms are on the line.

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                Last Updated on May 20, 2019

                How to Live in the Moment and Stop Worrying About the Past or Future

                How to Live in the Moment and Stop Worrying About the Past or Future

                We sometimes hear people talk about the importance of living in the moment. We might hear about the different ways it will benefit us. It all sounds wonderful, but how exactly can we live in the moment when our mind is constantly racing?

                In this article, we’ll discuss some of the benefits of living in the moment you may not be aware of. Then we’ll look at some of the obstacles, and why we worry. Finally, and most importantly, I’ll show you how to live in the moment and stop worrying using some simple practices that you can easily incorporate into your busy schedule.

                The result: a happier and more fulfilling life.

                Why Live in the Moment?

                “The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.” – Buddha

                Living in the moment has innumerable benefits. Here are just a few that will enhance your life tremendously:

                Better Health

                By reducing stress and anxiety, you avoid many of the associated health consequences, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and obesity. Studies have shown that being present can also improve psychological well-being.[1]

                Improve Your Relationships

                Have you ever been with someone who is physically present, but mentally he’s a million miles away?

                Being with unavailable people is a struggle, and makes relationships with them extremely difficult.

                How about being with someone who is fully present? We enjoy being with him because we can make a much deeper connection with him.

                By living in the moment, you can be that person other people enjoy being with, and you make relationships much easier.

                Greater Self-Control

                You have greater control over your mind, body, and emotions. Imagine how much better your life would be if it weren’t at the mercy of a racing mind, and unpredictable emotions. You would certainly be more at peace, and much happier.[2]

                Why Do We Worry?

                Before we answer this question, it’s important to distinguish between worry and concern.

                When we are concerned about something, we are more likely dealing with a real problem with realistic solutions. Then once we do whatever we can to address the problem, we’re willing to live with the outcome.

                Worrying, on the other hand, involves unrealistic thinking. We may worry about a problem that doesn’t really exist, or dwell on all the bad things that can happen as a result. Then, we feel unable to deal with the outcome. Either way, we have difficulty dealing with uncertainty, which is a normal part of life.

                Certainly, some of our problems may not have desirable outcomes, such as a serious health issue. Some problems may be beyond our control, such as civil unrest or economic downturn. In such cases, it can be hard to avoid worrying, but not impossible.

                We sometimes worry when we don’t know how to deal with a problem. For example, have you ever received a letter from the IRS telling you that you owe more money than you thought, and don’t have the funds to pay it? This is enough to scare anyone who is not familiar with taxes.

                How to Live in the Moment

                Step 1: Overcome Worrying

                In order to overcome worrying, we need to do two things:

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                Learn How to Live in the Moment

                By living in the moment, you calm your mind, and are able to see more clearly.

                The reason some problems seem so daunting is that our mind is racing so fast that we cannot see things as they truly are. So we make up a bunch of possible scenarios in our mind, most of which are unlikely to come true.

                In addition to seeing more clearly, living in the moment will help us think more realistically. Unrealistic thinking is fueled by confusion and uncontrolled emotions. Calming your mind will reduce confusion and calm your emotions.

                Learn to Focus on Solutions Instead of Problems

                Some people tend to be more solution-oriented, and others more problem-oriented. Some of the factors that may determine this are gender, upbringing, and education.

                People with higher educations tend to be problem-solvers. That is what their years of education train them to do. In addition, their jobs probably reinforce this way of thinking.

                If you’re not problem-solving oriented, don’t worry. You can train yourself to worry less. We’ll discuss that soon.

                Step 2: Identify Obstacles to Living in the Moment

                In today’s busy world, it can be a challenge to live in the moment. The reasons revolve around how our mind works, and outside influences.

                Racing Mind

                Many busy people have a racing mind that never seems to slow down. Their mind gets so agitated from too much sensory stimulation.

                You see, anything that stimulates any of our five senses (sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell) will trigger a thought, and that thought leads to another, and then another, and so on.

                If you have a busy life, all your activities will overstimulate your mind, and make it seemingly impossible to slow it down. And an agitated mind wants to go to another place and time.

                Unpleasant Situations and Troublesome Past

                None of us want to be in unpleasant situations, or remember those of the past. They can bring up painful emotions, which we don’t want to feel.

                So how do most people cope with painful emotions?

                By doing whatever we can to avoid them, and we can avoid them by taking our mind to another place and time where things are more pleasant.

                In other words, we avoid living in the present moment.

                Some people resort to doing things that stimulate sensory pleasure, such as eating, alcohol or sex. Others will consume substances that dull their mind, and keep them from thinking about unpleasant or stressful situations.

                A Wandering Mind

                From the moment we are born (likely sooner) until the time we die, our body and mind are active performing some function. So it’s natural for our mind to have some level of activity, whether conscious or unconscious.

                Generally, a wandering mind is unproductive. As noted above, one thought starts an endless chain of thoughts. The reason is that one thought reminds us of something else, and this process can go on until we need our mind to perform a specific function, or until we get distracted with something else.

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                Now, there are times when a wandering mind can be productive, such as when creating works of art, or trying to find creative solutions to problems. In such cases, we need our mind to explore different possibilities.[3]

                Outside Influences

                Most of us are not fully aware of how our environment and social norms influence our thinking and behavior. People and institutions are constantly competing for our attention. The news media draw our attention to the past, and advertising usually to the future.[4]

                Many people around us who dwell on the past or future try to draw us to their way of thinking. Even the whole concept of the American dream is geared toward the future. It tells us that if we acquire things like a good career, family, and house, then we’ll be happy.

                Step 3: Practice Mindfulness

                So how can we live in the moment in a world that is constantly trying to draw our attention to the past and future?

                Before we get into concrete actions you can take, it’s important to understand what mindfulness is. You’ve probably heard the term before, but may not fully understand what it means.

                Understand Mindfulness

                The concept of mindfulness is actually quite simple. To be mindful IS to live in the moment.

                When you are mindful, your attention is focused on what is happening in the present moment. When you are mindful, you are fully in touch with reality because the present moment is where reality is taking place.

                You are aware of what is happening in your body, mind, emotions, and the world around you. This is different than thinking about these things. To develop greater understanding, you don’t have to think about them so much, but rather just observe them.

                This may be counter-intuitive to many people, especially intellectuals, because they’re so used to using logic to develop greater understanding. With mindfulness, we calm our mind and emotions so we can see clearer. Then much of our understanding will come from simply observation. When we develop mindfulness, we literally expand our awareness.

                To develop mindfulness, we need to train ourselves to observe things more objectively, that is, without our emotions or preconceived ideas influencing our views.

                You’d be surprised to find out just how much your emotions and past experiences influence your judgments. What many of us do, including intellectuals, is make a quick judgment about a person or situation, then add the reasoning afterwards. That is not logic, but rather rationalization.

                When you are mindful, you reserve judgment until you have more information. Notice how I said “more information,” and not “complete information.” It is impossible to have complete information about something because there are infinite numbers of factors affecting it. So the best thing to do is be as objective as possible, and always be open to new information.

                Viewing the world in this manner can be a challenge, and takes some practice to overcome years of habitual thinking. But it can make our lives infinitely more fulfilling, as we’ll be able to make much better decisions that will result in real happiness and inner peace.

                So if you’re ready to live a better life, read on for some simple mindfulness practices that you can incorporate into your busy life to help you live in the moment, that is, reality.

                You don’t have to do all of them, but rather choose the ones that appeal to you, and suit your lifestyle.

                Mindfulness Meditation

                Mindfulness meditation is the mainstay of developing mindfulness and living in the moment. To practice mindfulness meditation, all you really have to do is sit quietly and follow your breathing. When your mind wanders off, just bring it back to your breath.

                Notice how your lungs expand with each in-breath, and contract with each out-breath. Let your breathing become relaxed and natural.

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                You don’t have to do it perfectly. The idea is to give your mind a rest from the constant sensory stimulation of all your activities, and just allow it to settle down naturally. Start with about 5 to 10 minutes per day and work your way up to about 20 minutes or longer.

                This practice is highly effective, and can have both short-term and long-term benefits.

                If you want to learn more about mindfulness meditation, take a look at this article: How to Practice Mindful Meditation to Calm Your Thoughts

                Also, there are many good books on the market that explain the concepts and techniques in greater detail. Some examples are

                Mindful Breathing

                While this may sound the same as mindfulness meditation, all you’re really doing is taking short breaks occasionally (10 to 15 seconds) to observe your breathing. Stop whatever you’re doing, and take a few mindful breaths, then resume your activity. That’s it.

                You can do mindful breathing at any time of the day during your busy schedule. What it does is interrupt the acceleration of your mind. It is like taking your foot off the accelerator while driving. It’s a nice refreshing break you can take without anyone noticing.

                Here’re some breathing exercises you can try to learn: 5 Breathing Exercises for Anxiety (Simple and Calm Anxiety Quickly)

                Mindful Walking

                Walking is an activity that you perform several times throughout the day. We often think we’re being productive by texting, or calling someone while walking. But are we really?

                Instead of getting on your cell phone, or letting your mind wander off, why not use your walking for training yourself to live in the moment?

                Mindful walking is similar to mindful breathing. But instead of focusing on your breath, focus on your walking. Pay attention to each footstep. Also, notice the different motions of your arms, legs, and torso. When your mind wanders off, just bring your attention back to your walking.

                You can even make a meditation out of walking. That is, go walking for a few minutes outside. Start by slowing down your pace. If you slow down your body, your mind will follow.

                In addition to paying attention to your walking, notice the trees, sunshine, and critters. A mindful walk is enjoyable, and can really help your mind settle down.

                Mindful Eating

                Eating is an activity that most of us perform mindlessly. The reason is that it doesn’t require your attention to perform. So what many of us do is try to multitask while we eat. We may talk on the phone, text, watch TV, or even hold a meeting.

                The problem with not eating mindfully is that we don’t eat what our body and mind need to perform at an optimal level. We may eat unhealthy foods, or too much. This can lead to various health problems, especially as we get older.

                Mindful eating has many health benefits, such as reduced food cravings, better digestion, and even weight loss.[5]

                So how do you eat mindfully? Start by slowing down, and avoid the temptation to distract yourself with another activity. Here are 3 different aspects of eating where you can practice mindfulness:

                • Eating itself: Focus your attention on choosing a portion of food to insert into your mouth. Notice the smell, flavor, and texture as you chew it; then finally swallow it. As with following your breath during meditation, pay close attention to every aspect of eating.
                • Choice of foods: Although you’ve already chosen your food before you have begun eating, you can still take the opportunity to contemplate your choices. Think about the nutrients your body needs to sustain itself. Ask yourself, “Is this what my body and mind need to be healthy, and perform at an optimal level?” “Is it sufficient, or too much?” By asking yourself these questions, you will be more inclined to make better choices in the future.
                • Contemplating the sources: Most of us don’t think about all the work it takes to provide us with the food we eat. While you’re eating, consider all the work by the farmer, shipping company, and the grocery store. These are real people who worked hard to provide you with the food necessary for your survival.

                You can find more tips about mindful eating here: 7 Simple Steps to Mindful Eating

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                Mindful Activities

                Choose an activity that you perform regularly, such as washing dishes. Focus all your attention on this activity, and resist the temptation to let your mind wander, or get distracted. When it does, then just bring your attention back to washing dishes.

                Notice some of the specific movements, or sensations of washing dishes, such as how the soapy water feels on your hands, the circular motion of scrubbing the dish, or the rinsing. You’d be surprised at how such a mundane activity can truly expand your awareness.

                You can choose any activity you like, such as ironing, folding clothes, mowing the lawn, or showering. Over time, you will begin doing all these activities with greater mindfulness.

                Bonus Suggestion

                Here is one activity that is not generally considered a mindful activity. It is physical training. For those of you who already workout, it may be easy to see how physical training requires you to live in the moment.

                Here’s how it works:

                In order to perform an exercise to get the desired benefit, you need to use a proper technique. In order to use the proper technique, you need to pay close attention to how you are doing the exercise. In other words, you need to be fully present in the moment.

                Another aspect of training that helps you live in the moment is tuning into what is happening in your body. First, during exercising, you need to pay close attention to how your body feels. Are you exercising hard enough, or not enough?

                There are times to go easy, such as during warm-up exercises; and times to push yourself hard, such as when you’re warmed up and want to stimulate growth.

                Second, when you’re not in the gym training, you need to pay close attention to the signals your body is sending you. What nutrients and how much do you need to consume to support your training? How much rest do you need?

                By tuning in to your body, you force yourself to be in the moment. So, physical training done properly is just about as effective as meditation, or any mindful activity, for developing mindfulness. It’s also great for your health.

                Final Thoughts

                Practicing mindfulness is like regularly putting small amounts of change in a jar. They will all add up over time. And this will add up to greater peace and happiness.

                Remember, you don’t have to do the mindfulness practices perfectly to get the benefits. All you have to do is keep bringing your mind back to the present moment when it wanders off.

                Practicing mindfulness may be a bit challenging in the beginning; but I can assure you, it will get easier fairly quickly.

                The benefits of living in the moment are well within your reach, no matter how much your mind is racing. If you stick with these mindfulness practices, you too will learn how to live in the moment and stop worrying; and when you do, a whole new world will open up for you. This is what Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh calls the ultimate reality.

                Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

                Reference

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