1 Thing You Can Do This Week To Communicate Yourself More Clearly to Others


Pick Your Eye Placement

The human eyes, being the windows to our soul, are perhaps our most powerful way of passing along our inner thoughts and unfortunately, our internal prejudices.

Bluntly, eye contact is powerfully overwhelming. Sometimes it’s just not needed. Often it can be intrusive. Matter of fact, animals in the jungle do not make eye contact with each other unless they’re ready to square off and fight.

Therefore, deciding what to do with your eyes in any particular  situation grants you the peace of mind of knowing that you’re not passing along false information to other people because they misinterpret your gaze.

This is the power of the cell phone. When you’re going into an environment where you do not know anyone, you’re not aware of how things will turn out, or striking up conversations with the people next to you may be perceived as wacky, look down at your phone. Pen a note. Peruse a book.

If you want to convey that you’re deep in thought, stare straight ahead.

If your selection is to scan the room as if you’re keeping yourself open to possible introduction, then turn your head from right to left and go back and forth like you’re slowly mowing a lawn.

Yet, when you’re in a new situation, avoid eye contact. Since nobody knows you, it will generally be considered to be criticism.

As De Niro once said, “Are you lookin’ at me? Are you lookin’ at me?”

Save your eyeballs for better use—intimacy.

Where you place your eyes determines what you are communicating to the surrounding atmosphere.

Just keep in mind—until your presence is welcome, your eyes can be viewed as being too aggressive.


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G-Poppers … July 20th, 2018

G-Pop was nine years old when Bobby moved into the village and started attending the little elementary school.

At first the parents thought he might be a Negro, since he had skin a couple of shades darker, and curly hair. But on careful inspection and tracking down some details, it was confirmed that he was Italian. This allowed him to be suitable for playtime and interaction.

But Bobby was different.

He wasn’t like all the scared children from our burg who were frightened to death to displease the grownups who held the key to play-time and candy. Bobby didn’t care.

When the teacher came into the room, the rest of the students fell silent–like attending a funeral. But Bobby just kept chattering, glancing up at the teacher and smiling back at all the other terrified third-graders.

He was the same way during recess. He played hard, rough and mean. But at the same time, he was sweet-talking to the girls, so they liked him. In no time at all, he developed a reputation among the teachers, staff and some of the parents of being a brat.

Yes. Bobby the Brat.

What concerned them most of all was that there seemed to be a breakdown of discipline across the board–because other students began to feel the liberty to be curt, selfish and overly aggressive.

There was so much pressure on Bobby that when the time to begin fourth grade rolled around, he was gone. His parents left town.

Bobby the Brat had departed, so things went back to being orderly. Even though we all denounce the blandness of being orderly, disorderly comes with a nastiness which spews out poison which has been deposited in our “mad hole.”

Yes. All God’s children got a mad hole.

It’s a space deep inside where we stuff all of our frustration, misgiving and prejudice, thinking it’s a garbage can–but really, it’s just a container where our bigotries decay.

And then one day, we reach a point of rage when this poison is vomited out of our mouths.

It’s a mad hole.

It’s never cleaned out–ignored.

People try to freshen it–try to put a lid on it, so to speak, but as long as it exists, it will eventually erupt.

G-Pop wants his children to know that the truth is, you can’t get provoked unless you’re already pissed.

Nobody pissed you off. They just provoked you until you finally spilled all the putrid contents of your mad hole.

Often all it takes is for Bobby the Brat to come along and tease us with the notion that we aren’t crazy and we should speak out our stupidities loud and clear, for everyone to hear.

So we do.

Civility dies, kindness is mocked, being nice is deemed weak and the only distinction we have seems to be in the horror of our mad hole.

Mad hole

In my soul

Take it in

Make it sin

First the hate

Of your fate

Rots your brain

With things insane

It’s begun

Load your gun

Me against you

Us against them

Don’t wonder if it’s true

Repeat it again

Mad hole

Leaves a space

For me to despise

The human race

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Jesonian … June 30th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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He had done an excellent job explaining his “View.” He was plugging a new book.

Over the years I had enjoyed his commentary and appearances on television, as he invites a bit of grace and “courtly” into the American thoroughfare of thought.

The segment was winding down when he was asked a question about a recent retaliation a Congresswoman had proffered toward one of her enemies. I saw his countenance change. Suddenly, he appeared beleaguered. Perhaps merely pursuing kindness had left him in despair, causing him to look for more aggressive weapons to address all the surrounding demons.

He replied, “I know we’re supposed to turn the other cheek. That’s what Jesus said. But there’s a reason there’s only one Jesus.”

I stalled. There was a grumbling of approval from the audience, but I did sense that many of them, like me, were hoping that the words “turn the other cheek” had great validity–considering the fact that the alternative offers nothing but disaster.

When has retaliation afforded any lasting effect? Certainly all despots and murderous dictators have to eventually be ousted from power, but it does not keep them from coming back.

We need a more permanent solution.

We need to know that in the midst of making progress, we are actually progressing.

It would be absolutely divine to sense that God is with us. Can we take a moment to take a look at “turn the other cheek?”

The law of that day (and also our day) was “an eye for an eye.” So “turn the other cheek” was a clever way of explaining the process of losing your eye.

It begins with a hit to your face. No one is going to extract your eye without striking you. It is unlikely that the first blow will dislodge your peeper. So it offers the quandary:

Shall I fight back and lose an eye, or maybe die, or end up doing the kill against my will?

At this moment, the reasonable nature of a survivor needs to kick in to provide the possibility for sustaining life. Without this, something will be lost.

Every time two people fight, there are casualties on both sides. No one has been able to come up with a “clean war”–or even an argument free of damage.

And the question is, how many times can we be damaged before we’re beyond repair? And long before we’re beyond repair, are we not without faith?

Turning the other cheek is not a noble concept, lived out by an itinerant Nazarene minister two thousand years ago. It is the clever, intelligent, intuitive and revelatory approach to avoid losing your eye or being forced into extracting life from another.

Whether we like it or not, once we kill, we are murderers. Once we damage, we are destroyers.

The thing my brother failed to realize is that even though turning the other cheek demands that I use much more of my intellect than I would tapping my baboon instincts, those jungle antics always leave some creature dead.

A slap on the cheek is the beginning of an attempt to squash your eye.

You can either retaliate and hope that you are stronger, or, as you bleed out on the ground from your head, wonder if it might not have been better to interrupt the process by turning the other cheek–to buy time for more reasonable negotiations to be considered.

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … August 16th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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See me

See me stand

Just as I planned

Or should I sit

To display my wit

What shall I wear

Will anyone care

And what shall I speak

Aggressive or meek?

When I share

Will others stare

Should I wear a dress

My hair is a tossled mess

Explaining my plea

Please listen to me

For the tale I tell

Must go well

I’ve invested my feelings

Jeopardized my dealings

To gain your ear

Then escape my fear

I’m more than a daughter

Or a human container of water

Not just a wife

Please notice my life

Being a mother

Sons I bore

But look at me

I’m so much more

A sinner saved by grace, tis true

A friend, acquaintance, to many of you

A queen who awakens from foolish dreams

To rule her kingdom without schemes

My heart is thumping

My soul is screaming

This brain is jumping

As my face is gleaming

See me

See clear

See clean

Then I can help you

To be seen

 

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Ask Jonathots … September 24th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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It seems to me that you only win in life if you’re aggressive. For instance, Donald Trump, who is extremely defensive and cutting, leads in the Republican polls. I’m not asking you to talk about politics, just answer this question: how can Jesus suggest that we get anywhere by “turning the other cheek?” Or is he just talking about the afterlife?

I think the problem in most people’s thinking is that they like to characterize certain words as positive or negative. Putting it in simpler terms, most folks would consider passive to be the opposite of aggressive.

But the issue is not whether we should be aggressive. The issue is, to whom?

You are absolutely correct–aggression expressed to others as a means of domination or for generating payback is not only non-spiritual, but also generally considered, in the long run, to be a lame choice.

Yet we are certainly supposed to be aggressive to ourselves. Intertwined in the teachings of Jesus is a strong motivational message to go the second mile, be perfect even as the Father in Heaven is perfect, and take care of the beam in your own eye instead of worrying about the mote in your brother’s eye.

The foible in humans is that we would much rather be aggressive toward other people’s weaknesses than our own.

Donald Trump is characterized as aggressive, but he isn’t alone. There is a general consensus in our society that we can achieve success by–pardon the expression–“trumping” others. Nothing could be further from the truth.

After all, insult may be the only word that never requires a period. As long as an insult is hanging in the air, it’s just awaiting the arrival of the next insult.

So what does it mean–to be aggressive to yourself?

1. Take an inventory.

Consider what you actually can do instead of what you want to do, and then work on those talents.

2. Practice what you want to achieve until you reach the point that you don’t have to make excuses for your shortcomings.

There will still be failures but you want to make sure they are not caused by your lack of perseverance.

3. Don’t compare your work to the work of others.

Compare it to your own vision and what you desire to achieve.

The Jesonian life–a life following Jesus–is an aggressive one–but not in relationship to our judgment and critique of others.

Rather, in our own passion to perfect our ways … and learn how to go the second mile.

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Three Ways to Ask… December 18, 2014

  Jonathots Daily Blog

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Timid or aggressive?

It is the unholy bounce we find ourselves in when trying to pursue our heart’s desire.

  • Timid makes us ill-suited to acquire our dreams.
  • On the other spectrum, aggressive is undesirable. We end up looking self-serving.

Yet we do have needs. We do require certain input to make our lives work and on occasion these valuables are not immediately provided.

So how should you ask? How do you bridge the gap between timid and aggressive and find the appropriate profile to offer your beseeching?

1. Ask from a history of gratitude.

I do not believe that anyone will get what they want in life without preceding it with a great dose of gracious thankfulness. There is something in the heart of humans–and I also believe in the heart of God–which repels those who think they can come making demands without first giving testimony of the blessings that have already come their way.

People don’t like to do this because it seems awkward, contrived and insincere. But what could be more awkward, contrived or insincere than coming one more time to ask without expressing a “thank you” for what has already been provided?

2. Ask and be specific.

It is annoying to have to draw out of someone what they really need instead of them being candid and sharing their heart with you.

If you’re embarrassed about your lack, then you should learn to live with it. You have to decide if you want to improve your situation or if you just want to act humiliated.

Be clear about what you want.

Focus on what you’re asking.

3. Ask, prepared to use what is available.

Once people know you’re grateful and you have been forthcoming, be prepared to get a little bit less than what you petitioned, and then astound yourself and the world around you by working with it.

My definition of greed is thinking that what you have determined to be your bottom line has to be achieved before you will move one muscle to begin.

Asking is one-third of the great energy that’s necessary to be a human being. It is the first step to seeking, and finally culminating with the perseverance of knocking.

Never be afraid to ask–as long as you have a grateful heart, an honest tongue and a willingness to make a start of things instead of stubbornly waiting for exactly what you want.

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Three Ways to Be Valuable Without Being Used … December 4, 2014

  Jonathots Daily Blog

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For every reason you can give to encourage people to be generous, open and expansive, they are fully prepared to counter with a hundred excuses why such benevolence never works.

It is usually accompanied by some well-rehearsed horror story, when an attempt was made to share heart, soul, mind and body with another human being, only to be used or abused.

This leaves you standing there, holding your rejected virtue, sheepishly walking away, dismantled by their aggressive dismay.

But somewhere along the line, the human race must be caring enough to include one another, or we very well may resort to eating one another.

So how can we be valuable without being used?

1. Invest in people, but do it in three phases:

(A) Start by offering your ears. If you listen to folks, and realize they are either crazy or unwilling to heed advice, you might want to keep that relationship on the back burner. But if you discover that these people are not just hearers of the word, but might actually become doers, you can move to phase two of your investing.

(B) Time. Never give people time if they’re not listening. It’s a waste of … well, time. And since you have limited quantities of that, you may not want to be too extravagant. If you discover that investing your minutes in people is fruitful, then you can consider the generosity of money.

(C) Yes, some people are worthy of a financial risk. But never pursue them if they aren’t listening.

2. Don’t be in demand–just available.

You may think it’s cool to be popular and bombarded with requests, surrounded by those who need your care, but it gets old really fast, and the personal benefits aren’t obvious. To make sure that you’re not in demand, but just available, learn how to say no.

Yes, every once in a while, when you sense that people are taking advantage of your soul, choose to pass on the present opportunity. It will balance things out and will let them know that when you are involved, you’re in it all the way.

3. Use hope for your own dreams and common sense for the dreams of others.

If you believe you’re going to be a millionaire, that’s absolutely fine. But if you’re gathering around a candle, holding hands and joining in the belief that someone else is going to be a millionaire, you’re an idiot.

Your hope belongs to you because you can sustain it with your own faith and survive any failure in your own way. But you cannot maintain the faith of another person, nor control his or her disappointment.

So when people share their dreams with you, be enthusiastic, but also ask the logical questions that cause them to think, instead of getting generally “goosey.”

If you pursue these three approaches, you can avoid being a doormat … while still becoming a door.

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