Archive for Miscellaneous
I offer coaching services to LD debaters and PF teams. My standard rates and service descriptions are below. If you have something else in mind, don’t hesitate to contact me. I will do my best to work with you to accomodate your needs. Visit my debate academy website for a better look.
- The information below is for individual students and teams. If you are a school or program looking for in person coaching services, please contact me by phone to discuss services and rates. I conduct judges’ trainings, on site debate camps, and coaching sessions. Give me a call, and I will be happy to discuss my services.
Personal Coaching – $250 per month
- I will serve as your debate coach. I will conduct regular practices with you over a conference call. I will teach you the ins and outs of debate, conduct case reviews, and do everything necessary to prepare you for debate competition.
Online Debate Camp- $250 per student/team
- I will provide a two day camp (5 hours each day) to teach you all the competencies you need to be an excellent debater. If you would like a detailed syllabus of the content, please email me.
Shattered Lens Apprentice Program – $1550
- This is an exclusive year long program designed for those who are not only committed to becoming better debaters but transcending into becoming communication gurus. This program teaches the skills offered in other debate training and takes them to the next level. Students will learn expert communication skills and learn how to apply them to their lives. Students will shatter their preconceived notions about speaking, presenting, and interacting.
- The academy only accepts two apprentices per year. There is currently one spot remaining for 2013. Please contact us for an application. Students of all levels are welcome to apply.
Lately, several people, in their apparently infinite wisdom and understanding of human behavior, have been pointing out that the way I talk and act around others is seemingly “rude” or “rowdy.” Shockingly enough, when these same people are removed from a public situation or have their inhibitions removed by some substance, they behave and talk very similarly to how I do regularly. This is very peculiar to me not only because of the blatant double standard but also because the way I do things seems to be working phenomenally well, and the way people around me do things seems to be working very badly. In fact, I cannot think of anyone I know who has similarly healthy, genuine, consistent, and drama free relationships as I do. The reason for this is because of the way I talk and behave, honestly and openly.
The conflation of rudeness and honesty, double standards, and lying to oneself are predominant problems in the social lives of American youth. I thought I ought to take the time to address the issue of exactly what it means to be rude and offensive, and why I choose to be myself, honest and blunt, at all given times.
Let’s take a perfectly common example. If a woman catches me checking her out, and she points it out, I will not try to come up with a clever response or avoid the confrontation. I will simply respond with a “Yes, I was.” How is she going to respond? Surprisingly, most women will just ask “Why?” and I will respond by saying “Because you’re hot.” Where does the conversation go from there? I would like someone to explain to me why it’s rude to call a woman hot. It is a compliment on her appearance, which she clearly puts some time and effort into. I do not understand why this is rude. If a woman said I was hot, I would not be offended, and yet, men are reluctant to comment on a woman’s appearance, and they chastise me for doing so. Coincidentally, these same people spend their time objectifying women and talking about them like sexual objects in their private conversations. This boggles my mind.
How about racial stereotypes? A group of white people will sit in a room and make black jokes over a couple beers regularly. Yet, if there’s a black person in the room, no such racial commentary will ever be uttered. Why? I’ve made black jokes in front of black people, used the “N word,” and even criticized prominent civil rights activists. I have yet to be shot, beaten up, or mugged. Quite to the contrary, people find honesty refreshing. They do not enjoy being treated like victims, and they do not enjoy the feeling that someone is not being themselves. Not only that, they are more than aware of the stereotypes revolving around their race. If they understand that you see these stereotypes as stupid and humorous, they will not be offended. They are more insulted when you treat them like ignorant idiots and pretend that they don’t have more active melanin than you do. They will realize that these stereotypes are just the same to you as they are to them. I know it’s a crazy concept to understand, but being open about humor and important issues may not be as bad as we all make it out to be.
We have a tendency to treat two faced people as virtuous. People who put on a nice or kind front in public in order to be perceived in a better light are not to be praised. They should be chastised for being dishonest. The even worse consequence of this moral system we have developed is that everyone becomes the same. If our behaviors in public are predicated upon some concept of what it is to be “normal” then there is no point to human interaction. We may as well just be robots programmed on a particular set of behaviors.
Genuine human interaction does not occur at the level of manners and social platitudes.
Let’s take a moment and step away from the less humorous examples. Sure, I have hit on a lot of waitresses, commented on a lot of hipster clothing, told a lot of racist jokes, and many other things in public. None of these have yet resulted in a negative consequence for me. Let’s talk about friendships. I have maybe 3 or 4 genuinely close friends in my life. Yet, I have many people I talk to and socialize with regularly, and I have a vibrant social life. The reason for this is because I do not change who I am in front of anybody. My friendships are genuine, predicated upon trust and honesty. I do not lie to my friends. I am very kind to them, I take care of them, and I am ready to take a bullet for them at any time. Not only that, I know that they would be willing to do the same.
I see others around me who seem to have very large social circles and many people whom they call friends. Yet, they will talk about them behind their backs. Their behavior in front of one friend is completely different than in front of another, and they become bitter as soon as a little bit of money comes between them. These relationships cannot be described as friendships. They are not predicated upon honesty, but rather lies and false conceptions. These so called friendships are not only transient, but they cause more grief and problems in a person’s life than they do happiness.
On an even more serious note, I do not pity handicapped people or victims of abuse. Most people think it’s a good idea to treat them like victims and tread carefully during conversation with them. I have met many such people, and I am fairly close with a few them. None of them appreciate being pitied or treated like victims. It doesn’t help them get over their emotional turmoil or deal with their handicap to treat them like they are different or deficient. The reality is that, if a person has been handicapped from birth, their life is perfectly normal to them because they have nothing to compare it to. The only time they feel like there is something wrong with them is when people who think pity is an act of kindness decide to treat them like they are deficient.
It is not meritorious to be two-faced. It will not help you in life to try to please people or give them what you think they want. It will only cause you pain and trouble. I have a career position that I thoroughly enjoy, which I am leaving for an even better career offer I just received. I have a wonderful, beautiful, and committed girlfriend of one and a half years whom all my friends and people I spend time with also adore (more than I can say about some other girlfriends). I have my own place, my own car, and wonderful close friends who I know would give their lives for me. I am a 20 year old MA, published author, and owner of my own company.
I do not attribute my social and life successes to any of the traditional things like hard work or natural talent. Why? Because there are plenty of talented people who work hard and are miserable. My successes, professionally and personally, are a direct result of my open and honest behavior. I am a breath of fresh air to anyone who meets me. I am genuine and uninhibited. I am consistent and unyielding. These qualities are not offensive, contrary to common belief. They are very attractive to employers, women, and everyone else.
I do not hurt people, nor do I insult them; it is just very tragic that honesty is perceived as insult sometimes. In fact, I am very kind and helpful to my friends and those close to me, despite never lying to them to spare their feelings. If I tell you that you made a stupid decision, that is not the same as me calling you stupid. I am very self aware, and I have a tremendous grasp on how people behave and why they behave that way. I do not engage with people who I dislike and who cause problems in my life, unless there is some potential for me entertaining myself
Many of you are going to read this post and just think that I am an asshole, and I’m gloating. I assure you, that’s not it. My self-awareness gives me a wonderfully secure sense of self (for the most part), and I do not have a need to prove myself to anyone.
My goal is to inspire people to act honestly, to have genuine human interactions. We are not robots, and to construct our behaviors based upon rules which don’t even have a reasonable basis in anything does great violence to the very special parts of us that make us human.
Take A Look at Your Own Self
So before the next time you criticize someone for being honest, open, and just saying what’s on their mind, take some time to think and reflect. What part of your life is better as a result of the two faced way you do things? How much good has it done you to not tell that girl walking by that she looks great? What benefit does it gain you to pretend like your friend isn’t black? Or gay? Does it make your life easier to have to act differently in front of nearly every person you meet? Or is it taxing and distracting? How productive would you be if you didn’t try to deal with people you don’t get along with?
I am not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but I am pretty fucking incredible. The way I live my life is amazing, being in a position where I can literally do as I want when I want (with the exception of absurd things like buying my own island; that’ll be a couple more years). I assure you that meaningless social platitudes and norms do not get you anywhere in life. Regardless of the metric you use to measure yourself and other people (whether it’s happiness, social success, financial success, moral virtue, or anything else), it will never be helped by hiding who you really are in some misguided attempt not to offend people.
So I’ve been in the social media marketing game for a little over a year now, and I’m starting to get the hang of it. Understanding the nuances is tricky, but there are some questions that most everyone asks. Every social media client I have spoken with, without exception, has asked me how to measure their social media ROI or return on investment. I have learned that there are several misconceptions about what a successful social media strategy entails, and I thought I ought to contribute my insights to help clear some of those up.
The Number of “Likes” is not an ROI Measure
Many people have the incorrect idea that a large number of Likes equates to a successful social strategy. It seems bizarre to me that people forget the basic ROI formula when talking about social media. A Like is not a gain. If you invest even $20 to get 1000 Likes, your ROI is still -100% if you do not convert those Likes into clients or increased business. The key to measuring what your real ROI is is to measure how much of that social media following is converted into actual transactions for your business. If you invest $500 into a Facebook page, get one like, and that one like hires you for a $1000 contract, then your ROI is 100%. Your investment was definitely worth it, even though you didn’t pile on the Likes as you wanted to.
Social Media is Not a Huge Time Investment
Many business owners I speak with are reluctant to begin social media initiatives because they feel it is a very large time investment to do it on their own, and they do not have the funds to hire somebody. There are several ways these concerns can be mitigated. Social media does not have to take up a significant amount of time, especially once you have refined and developed your strategy. There are programs like HootSuite which allow you to pre-program all your posts for the week, and they are automatically posted. With the advent of smartphones, there is really no reason you cannot accomplish your social media activity while you are at lunch or on the toilet. People also often make the mistake of not connecting their social media outlets and posting on each one individually. Instead, everything should be connected so that one post anywhere is instantly disseminated to your entire network. If you do not have the funds to hire somebody to actually do the work, then consider hiring somebody to teach you the ins and outs of it. Conduct a one time seminar for you and your employees, and then develop and implement the plan on your own. This reduces your front end investment to a one time cost, and you don’t have to worry about making recurring payments to somebody who doesn’t deliver. If you do it right, social media does not have to be a large investment.
You Cannot Expect Instant Results
Social media is not like the Yellow Pages used to be. You do not place an ad and expect calls within a week or two. The first three months of any social media initiative are investigatory. They are used to develop a following and understand that following. You conduct tests to see how often you should post, what days of the week you should post, and even what time of the day you should post. You develop and understanding to the content which generates the most interaction and increases your reach the most. None of these activities will instantly generate you leads. Rather, they are designed to develop an understanding and long term plan which will consistently generate leads for you. Any social media initiative should be tried for at least 6 months before it is given up.
Social Media is Not for Everyone
The news that GM has pulled its Facebook ads has gone viral across the marketing world. People are taking it as an indication that social media marketing does not work. What surprises me is that people are surprised that social media didn’t work for GM. Who the hell goes to Facebook to buy cars? Not only that, people buy cars locally, so why would a national company website concern them? Rather, if you measure the performance of local non-branded auto dealerships on social media, the numbers are quite remarkable. Social media was not for GM. Rather, GM probably should’ve hired a company like Mr. Youth to popularize its brand, because that’s what it really needs right now. Knowing your industry is crucial to having a successful social media marketing strategy. Social media may not be for you, and you need to be willing to admit that.
I have recently become introduced to the world of intervention, not because I needed one or anything, but because I have begun working with a clinically trained interventionist in Cleveland. She is a remarkable person, so I thought I ought to post about her.
Jane Eigner Mintz is a licensed professional counselor in Ohio. Her private company, Realife Intervention Solutions, provides intervention services to a broad variety of clients. She offers intervention services for clients suffering from a variety of addictions, substance and otherwise.
The unique thing about Jane is that she is clinically trained. She understands the medical ins and outs of interventions along with the sociological and psychological aspects of them. Interventions can be very complicated and can lead to devastating results if they are not performed properly. Jane has spent years learning and understanding the intricacies of performing interventions, particularly with clinically complex patients.
Further on that note, she teaches others how to properly perform interventions. She has developed her own system called the Field Model of Intervention (FMI for short). She teaches regular seminars in Malibu, California, and she also offers online video courses which take an in depth look at clinical interventions.
So, do you know somebody who could use the services of an interventionist? Maybe you have a family member or friend who is addicted to alcohol, drugs, gambling, or something else? If you do, go ahead and look up Jane at http://www.janemintz.com or http://www.realifeis.com. If you are interested in learning about becoming a clinically trained interventionist, visit http://www.interventioncourses.com.
“I found a religion that blended scientific reason with spiritual reality in a unifying faith far removed from the headlines of violence, destruction, and terrorism.” – Yousuf Islam, formerly Cat Stevens, commenting on becoming a Muslim
Anniversaries are important. The past should be remembered, and those who have been lost to this world ought not be lost to our memories. The problem with some anniversaries, however, is they often transform our recollections into inaccurate emotional jumbles which draw our focus away from many important factors. I want to take a minute to reflect on the day the twin towers were attacked, and on the events which followed.
To begin with, many people assume that Bin Laden was behind the attacks of September 11th. Now, I am not one to believe in conspiracy theories. On the other hand, I am also not one to buy into speculative likelihoods. After all, both are based upon faulty logical grounds. That being said, it is important to note that there is no confirmed evidence which confirms Bin Laden as the mastermind of the attacks. In fact, the only confirmed comments by Bin Laden we have regarding the attacks are statements he made to Al-Jazeera a couple days following the attack, in which he expressly denied any involvement. I don’t know if I believe him, but I don’t know if I don’t believe him either. U.S. armed forces claim to have found a tape in a home in Jalalabad which records Bin Laden confessing to the attacks. The authenticity of this tape is under tremendous contention. It further doesn’t make sense that Bin Laden would record such a confession after the United States had invaded Afghanistan, and after he had already denied involvement. I am not saying that Bin Laden did not orchestrate the attacks. Rather, I am saying that I do not know if he had any hand in them. Rather, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, a confirmed architect of the attacks, should have been the main target of the manhunt which led to the uprooting of an entire civilian population.
The point of this discussion is not to suggest that someone else committed the attacks, but rather to highlight how anger, shock, and fear can contribute to the acceptance of almost anything as valid truth. These emotions led us into Iraq. They led us to sanction North Korea. And they may lead us toward military action in Iran. The instinct to lash out in understandable, but also very dangerous. We must learn to always question what is around us, to approach what people tell us with speculative curiosity. Our minds should be open, but they should not be gullible.
Many people assume that the people committing terrorist attacks across the world hate Western ideals. They hate our liberties and our way of life. They hate the color of our skin, think we are the devil, and want to kill us. We must remember that, while this may be true for some, it is not true for the vast majority. Our “enemies” have no grievance against little Jimmy Smith living in a suburb in Idaho. No, they have a grievance against the government which deposes their leaders and causes military disruptions on their soil. We experienced 9/11 on one day and have not experienced a similar attack since. Remember that the people in these conflict regions experiences similar tragedies and emotions every day of their lives. They genuinely must fear if the next bomb will land on their roof. They hear about their neighbors being killed, or worse; they see their neighbors killed in front of their own eyes. It is important to remember the firefighters, medical responders, and officers who responded to the 9/11 attacks. But it is also important to remember that other countries also have similar responders, and they must deal with similar situations every day.
It further troubles me when people thank the military forces in these regions for protecting American liberty and freedom. Instead of thanks, these soldiers should receive our apologies. We should apologize that we allow our government to send these brave men and women to fight for…well, who knows for what. They are not making sacrifices for our protection. That is what they signed up to do, but not what their current duties entail. Rather, they are being sent to their deaths for reasons which are unknown to them. The ones who are fortunate enough to live through their service are leading increasingly difficult lives plagued by PTSD and other issues resulting from the actions they were forced to commit. To top it off, they do not receive the care and compensation they deserve after providing their service. I do not blame them, nor can I justify blaming them. Although, I do not remember them as heroes. I remember them as tragedies, as the victims of murder. On this anniversary, it is even more important that we not lose the courage to criticize our government when it conducts operations which unjustifiably lead to the deaths of our soldiers.
Death tolls of 9/11 place the number somewhere around 3,000. My number is several hundred thousand. The Afghani, Iraqi, and Pakistani civilians who have died as a result of military response to 9/11 cannot be excluded from this total. The U.S., English, Canadian, Pakistani, Finn, Swiss, French, Spanish, and numerous other soldiers who have died as a result of the military response to 9/11 cannot be excluded either. Let us not make the mistake of forgetting all the people we have killed to avenge the attack on our soil. These people did not harm us in any way. They had nothing to do with 9/11. They were victims of the same tragedy that befell the United States, but unlike those who died in the towers, they did not have to be. To put it in more stark terms, ask yourself if any of the victims of the tower attacks would want other innocent civilians to die. How many grieving families would be comforted by the escalation of a global conflict? We claim to be fighting for security. Have these conflicts made us more secure? Do you feel safer now that the United States has invaded two countries in the Middle East? How many people felt avenged the day Bin Laden was killed? And how many people feared an immediate increase in terrorist violence?
Ten years ago on this day, the United States experienced an unprecedented attack on its own soil. It was shocking, infuriating, and tragic. In our fervor, we made terrible decisions. We supported a government which, over the course of 10 years, enacted policies leading to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women, and children. These same policies burned 1.5 trillion dollars, contributing to one of the largest economic collapses in U.S. history. These policies have lost us allies, resources, and the lives of our citizens. Yes, the past is important to remember. But, it is not worth remembering if we do not learn from it. Take this day to not only reflect on the tragedy of that day, but to learn from it. Expand your understanding of the world and the people inhabiting it. Have the courage to speak out against injustice. Be a citizen of the world, instead of just a citizen of the United States.