February 24, 2018

Finding the Right Opportunities

Possibility hides behind grey skies. And clear ones too; even if you can’t see it yet. Matter of fact, among that ash, is where most opportunity is discovered. But you need a sense of optimism to get there. You need to be able to sort through the fog and filter the nutrients the same way your skin does.

Our brains are clouded with many things — some significant and some trivial. These can be good things, bad things, or even nothing things. That alone can be overwhelming and often pushes us towards trying to remember how to see clearly. We know the course of time will tell, but we don’t always have that luxury. Especially in this age of information overload.

So how do we find the lesson in something? How do we see the opportunity before us if it’s clouded with nonsense?

Only upon reflection and intentional practice can we see clearly enough to recognize what’s in front of us. Provided we give it some time. Most often, it can be the smallest of details that direct us down roads we were meant to travel. They can seem bad at first and then good after a while.

It took me 3 years to figure out that totaling my first Jeep was a sign from the universe that things were going to be ok. It led me to marry my wife (but that’s a story for another time).

We must remember that there is a balance to all this. A ying and a yang. Life is not entirely positive, nor is it entirely negative. It can be terrible at times and then turn utterly beautiful before you go to bed. The Butterfly Effect is as real as Gravity Waves and Chaos Theory.

The key to seeing isn’t in only choosing to see one side of it. The key is in how you react to the side you wish to pursue.

Remind yourself that you are NOT in control, no matter how much you’d like to be. Or believe yourself to be. The only control you have is your reaction. Things will happen as they will and you’ll adapt. Remember that everything you’ve ever done has prepared you for this moment.

It’s the same for all of us, even if we’ve learned to express that differently.

In life, there are choices that will define us. We cannot avoid them. We cannot ignore them.

At some point, we must make them. Some of them are big, others are less significant. Some are so small that we don’t even realize we’re making them — we’ve programmed our brains to overlook them.

But do not be fooled, these choices are not giving us control. Each of the outcomes are already determined deep within the caverns of our mind. So deep, in fact, that we don’t even realize they’re there.

To quote Mr. Robot, “Control is an illusion.” (For those of you who’re fans, Whiterose is the metaphor for this concept.)

Even if you don’t understand the opportunity — why it’s there or how it manifested — accept it anyway and learn the rest later. Remember what Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, says about the blessing of opportunity:

“If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes — then learn how to do it later.”

Challenge yourself to trust yourself. And if you fail, you will only grow. The only true failure is failing to try again.

Learning is a never-ending process. When there is opportunity, we must find the courage to walk through that door. It will accelerate our understanding and acceptance of self and it will give us the push we need to keep going. The obstacle is the way, as Ryan Holiday has elegantly taught us.

Take the red pill. Truth will always set you free.


Thank you for reading, friends! You are my biggest influence. If you eNJoyed this, please feel free to comment and share. Check out the BingBangCo. newsletter for more insight on human harmony. Stay learning. Much love!

February 12, 2018

Q & A with Eleven24, poet, blogger, and influencer

Eleven was born and raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia and now lives in the city. She's 31 years old and only got back into writing within the last 2 years. Ever since she was able to form complete sentences, she recalls loving to write. It was her way of communicating with her mom when she was mad or upset with her about something. She would leave these little notes under her pillow or in a drawer and let her find them to figure out what the issue was LOL. Growing up, she wanted to be a writer and then when it was time to actually go away to college and pick a major, she was quickly talked out of writing because “no one makes money writing.” She was so bitter and resentful that she stopped writing altogether. It took her over 10 years to pick up the pen again but she has yet to stop ever since. She's the founder of Tribe of Poets, a community built to help poets thrive in the new age of poetry. Check out her website and find her on Facebook @eleven24poetry, Instagram @eleven.twenty.four, Twitter @eleven24poetry, and Pinterest @eleventwentyfour.


GB: Eleven, thank you for taking time to talk. My first question is usually: Can you share a bit about yourself? Any info or side projects worthy of highlighting for the readers?

11: Well I consider myself old and washed up - or at least that’s how I feel most days. I have a full-time job doing medical billing for a university in Philly and it’s a great job with phenomenal benefits but I don’t care in the slightest to actually be there so mostly my days anymore consist of plotting how I can make money doing what I actually care about (writing). I try and live the calmest and most relaxed life because it hasn’t always been this way for me. I had a pretty eventful 20’s so now that I’m in my 30’s I really like to kick back and watch the youngins do their thing. Plus I work 6 days a week, run 2 IG’s with over 5K followers, and write for 2 different blogs so even when I feel like being wild and staying out until 11pm (which is late for me), I am quickly reminded why I should not LOL.

I have a few side projects in mind, however one I won’t be launching until late April or early May. I don’t have all the details worked out but I can hint that it will have something to do with mental health awareness. May is mental health awareness month, so I am hoping to launch it around then.

GB: On top of being an amazing poet, you've recently launched a blog for the poets' tribe. Does that inspire your writing at all? What impacts does that have on your personal work? 

11: (thank you!) I don’t think it has an impact on the content of my writing, however interacting with the Tribe and reading their contributions in both poetry and full-length feature form is incredibly inspiring and motivating. My poetry is usually always about my own past experiences or thoughts. I don’t really know how to write on things that didn’t actually happen to me or to someone else that I’m close with and lived the experience with. It can be exhausting being in my head so there are days I depend on the Tribe to inspire me or motivate me to write or tap into parts of me I try and suppress.

GB:  If you could list one word or phrase to describe your message and what you are trying to provide for the community, what would it be and why?

11: Well when I first started posting my own poetry, my main goal wasn’t to gain followers or exposure. I simply wanted other people in this world to know they aren’t alone. That their thoughts and emotions are normal and that other people have felt or are currently feeling the same as they do. It’s important to me that people don’t feel alone in this world that does everything it can to isolate you. I know what it’s like to feel like no one understands or no one can see and/or hear you so if I can make one person go to bed at night knowing it isn’t just them frustrated or heartbroken or lonely, then my goal is met.

For Tribe, the slogan from the beginning was one vibe, one tribe. It was always the goal of Tribe to unite writers, specifically ones new to the community and trying to build a following and engage with others, and to do it in a way that pushes their own creativity. It’s hard coming up with new content every single day especially when you’re in a writer's block or real life is getting the best of your time and energy so Tribe is really a family of writers, supporting and inspiring each other to be the best writer one can be.

GB:  What's your process like? Where do you produce the time needed to create, especially within what seems like multiple projects going at once? Any obstacles?

11: Organized chaos. I have always lived a rather chaotic life and at this point, I work best when I have 1000 things going on as opposed to 3. Finding time is the hardest part because like I said, I work 6 days a week so I really only have Saturday’s to not only get my adulting done but to also really sit and focus some solid time on my projects. Instagram is like a full time as is and I have 2 accounts I solely run so it’s really like I have 3 full-time jobs. I’ve gotten caught quite a few times at my real job (the one that pays my bills) blogging or editing or answering DM’s on my phone LOL. Any spare couple minutes I have I’m usually doing something writing/blogging related. Writing my own personal poetry is just added into the mix of everything else although I tend to write best late at night, which is just another obstacle to overcome being as though I’m usually ready to crash by 8pm.

GB:  You're also a huge Eagles fan, correct? How does that and their first big win influence your work, if at all?

11: I AM a huge Eagles fan … like die-hard Eagles fan and now that they won the Superbowl it’s been incredible in the city. It’s beautiful to see the city come together for one thing and be supportive of our team because any other day it’s not like this here. Philly is a rough city so this burst of positive energy has been super inspiring for me. I don’t know if it’s influenced the content of my work but it’s for sure giving me an extra pep in my step when it comes to getting things done.

GB:  What other types of art do you like experiment with? Why?

11: I love photography. I only use my iPhone camera but I love going on adventures around the city and taking pictures. I love the urban scenes mostly. I’m super into graffiti and mural art. Philly is the oldest city in the states and it’s very historic so we have both a classic vibe and then you go 4 blocks in the opposite direction and you have a real gritty vibe.

Photography and words go hand in hand, both can inspire the other, so I think that’s why I love photography as well.

GB:  Who and what is on your MUST-READ list?

11: Honestly, reading one book takes me forever. I’ll read 4 lines and then get inspired to write something so I’ll drop the book and then spend the rest of the night writing. I just finished @m.nihilist book, The Corners of the Room. He’s also Tribe’s February Author Spotlight. His book is INCREDIBLE. He gives me modern Charles Bukowski vibes and I could not get enough of it. His wordplay is insane, so if anyone is looking for a good book to read - check his out! You won’t be disappointed I promise you that. Anything J.Raymond is a must read for me. The man is so brutally harsh and honest you can’t help but respect his work just because he says what everyone else is too politically correct to.

I’m also reading The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*CK by Mark Manson. I am LOVING it so far and by so far I mean, the introduction is fabulous. I’m reading Charles Bukowski’s The Pleasures of the Damned. So depending my mood is depending which one I’ll pick up. I should be done them around Christmas time.

GB:  What does "success" mean to you?

11: Being able to 100% accept and allow myself to be human. I don’t think success has anything to do with money, marriage, children, how big your house is, or how high on the corporate ladder you can get. Before you can do or be any of that, you are a human and there is a whole different set of responsibilities you have to maintain and uphold. Being successful to me means that I’ve done everything I was destined to do while being a regular human, true to my core.

GB:  What's next for Eleven.24 and Tribe of Poets? Got any future projects we can look out for?

11: What’s next is hopefully a full night’s rest. LOL just kidding. For Eleven, I really want to work on going deeper with my poetry. I really want to try and be more transparent and not so guarded. For Eleven, I have more personal goals I want to achieve. People keep asking me about a book and I don’t think I’m ready to embark on that just yet. Maybe in 2019, but this year I really want to focus on the blog and see where that goes. For Tribe, I want to expand the community more. I want to start getting Tribe merch going as well. I have my mental health awareness project coming so definitely keep a look out for that.

I really fly by the seat of pants ALL the time so I think any of the things I’ll end up doing in the future, the idea will have popped up in my head at some random time of the day and in some random place and then 2 days later I’ll be seeing it through. So it’s hard to really say but just to keep an eye out. You never know what could happen!