Perspective Matter

 Often times great advice, even when brief, can have lasting effects that shape how we think & what we do - especially when relatable! We own new perspectives when we deeply contemplate what words mean for us & how we can replicate them in our own way.

 

The power of words can spark new ideas, encouragement, & strength. For these reasons, we asked LCS community members to share the best advice they’ve ever owned.

 

These are their words . 

            Experiences are like pieces to puzzles we call life. Each experience, book we read, talk with mom or dad, and lesson learned at school is just another piece to all that puzzles us. Each piece alone doesn't look like much, but they are a different story all together. Each victory, epiphany, or problem solved is another completed puzzle, but getting there is hard to do sometimes. This is because no one can put the pieces together for us. We have to move pieces around, twist and turn them, or start at the edges with the easy ones. It all takes much time, thought, and plenty of effort. It takes time to learn or do something new, and trial and error is part of the process. In this case, it’s about trying to fit pieces together. By the way, in the process, time sure flies by! We can go on forever without slowing down to really think about what our experiences mean or how the pieces to our puzzles connect with one another.

            For a long time I had...

            I'd say that spending money is my favorite thing to do. It’s fun, really easy to do, and it feels amazing! Here’s my conviction: Money buys happiness! I promise that it will not be very hard to convince you of this. Let me start here. How does it feel when you buy a new outfit right before going out? How do you feel at Disneyland? Once there, buying Mickey ears is a must, right? Ordering pizza with extra toppings when friends come over would be nice, right? Picture a family BBQ on a sunny Saturday afternoon, feels good? What would it be like to sing your all-time favorite song a few rows from your favorite band at their sold-out concert? Going to the movies and not getting popcorn just doesn't seem right! And what if everyone wants to hang out at Starbucks after the movie? Also, we need gas money to go to the mall.  And personally, I hate window-shopping. Only looking at everything that I can’t buy is just cruel. Isn’t how much money we have an absolute must when calculatin...

            We're programed to buy stuff! Almost like robots, because we do it automatically without thinking! The American dream is not what we think it is, at least from our American economy’s perspective. My Economics professor blew my mind away when he had us watch a 20-minute video called “The Story of Stuff”. YOU HAVE TO WATCH IT! This was life changing for me! I see the world and everything in it so differently. At 16 minutes the video showed a wheel. This wheel represents what keeps our American economy running smoothly. Its foundation is centered on us, all of us buying stuff. It’s a simple cycle that consists of working, watching TV (and Instagram), and shopping. It got my mind spinning and making connections that I couldn't figure out in my head before. 

            Why and how we buy stuff is what made so much sense to me. We buy stuff for status, to keep up with Joneses, to wear what is supposedly in season, because we’re bored, and to fee...

            My dad always finished his talks with me by saying, “miremos”, meaning, “we will see”. It was my cue to put my head down gently, say okay, and start walking away slowly. He talked to me many times. The big talks came on really good days like graduations or really bad days like report card days. My intentions were always to do better, but somehow that was never the case. I thought about what he said, but then his words would fade away after a few days. I reminded myself that I needed to do better, but never really figured out how. At some point after I got to the community college, he realized that he wasn’t receiving report cards like in high school. For me it was like permission to slack off. To my surprise he finally asked about my grades. After a while I ran out of excuses and showed him the best ones I had, even though they weren’t so great. Of all the talks we had through the years, the one that followed was the one that I remember the most. I think about it every day...

            I started off with princess. In my heart and mind, I wanted to be a princess when I grew up. That was going to be my career somehow. To me, the possibility became even greater once I saw a princess with glasses. I’ve always worn glasses and identified with every picture I saw. Every book, movie, birthday theme, and conversation was about the same thing. It was hard to let go. I don't want to say how old I was at the time, but I secretly wore dresses all the time for a while because I was still passionate about the idea. Then I grew up and decided that I wanted to be a teacher. In my heart and mind, I wanted to be a teacher. Then I wanted to be a business owner. In my heart and mind, I wanted to be a businesswoman.  Then I wanted to be a lawyer. Each time, I was so convinced in my heart and mind. Each field was my future, which led to confusion after realizing that I had decided on something else. I felt much better once I found out that my friends, and their friends were go...

          How familiar are you with Plato’s Allegory of the Cave? If you’re not, picture a dark cave with chained prisoners inside. They’re facing toward the back of the cave and unable to look backwards or outside. There is a fire behind the prisoners that burns bright. Because of the fire’s flickering light the prisoners can only see shadows on the wall in front of them as animals pass by from time to time. Faint shadows of nature like trees that are near the cave change as the sun rises and descends outside the cave. The prisoners have been in this environment their entire lives and can only see the shadows on the wall. They know nothing of the outside world. The hazy shadows and chains are their norm – their reality. If we asked them to describe the sun, what would they say? If we asked them to describe the colors of nature, what would they say? How much do they know about life as they observe obscure shadows that mask important details? How limited is their perspective? They’ve ne...

            People lie, cheat, and steal. They shoot, kill, abuse, and destroy lives forever. People quickly choose sides and divide into rivaled ends to debate who’s at fault. Then we choose sides and divide. What? Another shooting? And this time in a preschool? It’s all so depressing! The news reminded me of these types of events every single day. I realize that life has always been this way, but I just hadn’t noticed. As a freshman in high school, I was in my own world trying to figure me out I suppose. When we’re young the Disney channel seems to protect us from this unfair and even cruel world, but then we all grow up. I grew up. I began to pay attention and woke up to see and hear many heavy truths about how the world works. It’s sad, but it’s so easy to get used to all the madness. It’s so difficult to express words, emotions, and find the right way to respond to such inequalities and devastations that are ever present every single day.

            The ha...

          God is sneaky. He put everything amazing and truly worth having on the other side of fear. It’s no accident that the most amazing things in life are hard, distant, and riddled with unseen obstacles. If we could look back in history I’m pretty sure that the origin of regret came after countless failures that derived from fear. Fear brings doubt, which then creates hesitation. That brief hesitation floods the mind with motionless thinking, which then leads to surrender. In the end, we sit there defeated. And finally, if we repeat the same cycle often enough we learn to give up and live with regret. How do I know? I was there for a long, long time. So what’s on the other side of fear? Everything amazing! The catch is that aiming for amazing is demanding, punishing, and inconvenient. No one can have amazing accomplishments without hard work. This kind of hard work is especially unforgiving because there is no clear path. There’re no guidelines or multiple-choice options, like we...

          When I was in high school I didn't know where I belonged. I chased the person I thought I needed to be and lost a true sense of the real me. I only noticed because I caught myself doing things I normally wouldn’t do. But I did them. They were dumb. I guess I was dumb. As they say, guilty by association. I was hanging around with so called popular people who where having a good time. In our case, having a good time meant not taking anything seriously. We laughed at smart students who took school way too serious. We laughed while doing silly things in the classroom and at anyone who was annoyed by the dumb jokes we made. Actually, we laughed at anyone for any reason we could find. We laughed off bad grades, pretending that they didn't matter. At some point the teasing and laughing at others wasn’t funny anymore. At some point it was mean. But I laughed because they were laughing. I laughed because I didn’t want them laughing at me. I wasn't confident or comfortable being myself...

          I finally figured out my purpose in life! This is a huge deal for me because I struggled with this for so long. I thought about it all the time, but became frustrated with not knowing and left the thought alone for a while. After another argument about doing better in school, my dad told me, “What’s your purpose in life, understand that, then work towards that always”. He repeated over and over, “Do you want to be successful”? Of course the answer was yes, but “success” is such a vague word that could mean so many things, and finding a purpose in life was so intimidating. I felt the pressure all the time. I was in college by then, almost twenty-one and still felt that my life had absolutely no direction. There were posters with the word “success” all over the place at my old high school. The word “purpose” is thrown around a lot online. There are tons of quotes. One day my dad insisted that I tell him my purpose in life. I told him I needed time. I thought about it for days,...

            Everyone was laughing as the crowd began to gather quickly. After almost choking, everyone high-fived him again and again as phones continued to roll. He struggled to see everyone because his eyes were watery and bloodshot red. The table turned a bright red as Flaming Hot Cheetos exploded out of his nose and mouth. He was trying to fit as many Cheetos as possible into his mouth. Once he stopped coughing, everybody went on their way to their next class. For some reason, I can remember that day with so much detail. He called it funny, but I called it stupid. By the end of the day, word and video had gotten around about his latest performance. Our teachers just sighed when they heard about his latest antics. After another YouTube challenge that my best friend tried, my teacher approached me to whisper something in my ear. She said, “don’t become like him”. I asked her what she meant, but she only responded with a simple, “Just trust me”. I wasn't sure what she intended to say,...

          My math teacher, Mr. Patterson walks up to me and tells me that I should be taking AP classes. I told him, no thanks. Why would I want to take harder classes and do more work? He said that I was more than capable, but that didn't convince me. Then he said that it would help raise my GPA, but still wasn't convinced. He tried again and said that he would be teaching it, but I stood quiet. He is actually a really cool teacher, but nope! Still not convinced! Then he went for the last attempt. He said that AP classes are actually easier than regular classes, but that made no sense. What? No way! I thought he was lying for sure. I didn't want to do it, but decided to try it after I saw a paper that Mr. Patterson showed me. It said lots of things, but what caught my attention was that it said that AP classes look really good on college applications and that universities give more scholarships to students who have taken AP classes.

          Mom is always strugglin...

          I was embarrassed. From time to time conversations came up about favorite shows that my friends were watching. None of them were into the show that I liked! After a while I stopped saying anything because they looked at me like I was weird. I felt weird. Because I wasn’t watching the shows they were watching I felt left out and had no idea what they were talking about. Okay, I’ll say it – my favorite show is American Pickers. It’s on the history channel. I’m 16 years old; even I wondered why I liked watching this show that’s about old stuff and old people. The show is about finding and buying original, vintage, and antique things. Two guys pick things like vintage signs, early bicycles, motorcycles, fans, and tin toys that are usually collectable. The more rust the more interesting the story! The old things are cool because each item has a history and a story to tell. Each item comes from an era that says something about how people lived at the time. Even if things were found...

            My dad gave me advice that I will never forget. You're starting school next week right, he asked. “Yup, another year of torture”, I responded, and then I left the room, but I could tell that he was thinking when I walked away. About ten minutes later he called me back. I knew something was up because he called me hijo. He curses up a storm when he’s mad, he calls me by my name when everything is good, but he calls me hijo when he has something important to say. He’s been doing that my entire life, but I never noticed. Mom told me that he did this. He started the conversation with a deep sigh and his calm voice. I was worried. I thought he found out about me slacking off in school again, so I just listened. He said, imagine going to school next week and thinking about torture, pain, misery, and how hard or boring it’s going to be. What have you done so far? How do you feel? Are you motivated? I had no idea where he was going with this. You know that I was just playing when I...

            Yes, no, maybe tomorrow? I still have the weekend, right?  I can start reviewing today, but why overdo it? My thoughts raced to opposite ends in search for reasons to hold on to. It was my senior year in high school, my last year and last chance to make things right. My grades were decent, but I knew I could do much better. Still, when it was time to do the work, rather than thinking about putting in the work, my thoughts seemed to get the best of me. It was like a courtroom that presented carefully crafted arguments that were only received with clever counter arguments. But the courtroom was all in my head. And one side always seemed to win – the path of least resistance. But why, how? I blame my teacher!

            My sophomore year she told us that the human brain is hard-wired to seek pleasure and avoid pain. Everybody? How does she know, I thought. She went on to explain what she meant and it all began to make sense! Reading, chores, sport...

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