Challenge 70: Moving Forward

Have you ever made a simple mental slip?  We’re talking about something basic like grabbing orange juice instead of milk… suddenly you find yourself about to pour Florida’s finest on your breakfast cereal, it’s only then that you realize something is out of place.  There’s a sudden internal shift that takes place when we realize the reality of the situation does not match our expectations.  A similar occurrence takes place when we walk into a room, only to realize that we’ve forgotten exactly why we walked into the room in the first place (oops!).  In this instance, we’ve lost sight of our own expectations.  We complete step 1: walk into the room.  But what was step 2 again?  There’s another question that’s a bit more profound: how is it that we’re able to continue taking steps without a clear understanding of exactly why it is that we’re moving forward?It’s possible to move through life without ever taking a moment to look at the bigger picture, without thinking about the way in which we’re leading our lives.  In the hustle and bustle of our busy schedules, it’s easy to forget to pause and ask whether or not our current trajectory is truly fulfilling, healthy, and sustainable.  This introspective process can be difficult, there are times when the “correct” path may be completely unclear.  In these times, our mentors, friends, and family can offer crucial feedback.  Their unique perspectives can help illuminate our path as we strive to become our BestSelves.

The Challenges
For our seventieth weekly challenge, please choose one of the following. Use the provided link to register your challenge selection.

Challenge One (register)
Regroup, Recharge, Refocus.  Think of one or more ways to relax this week.

Making personal progress and striving each day to accomplish greater and greater things often takes a toll on our psyche and bodies.  Our routines are filled with stressful work, schedules, demands and commitments that, while we know they’re necessary and enjoy them, accumulate over time as tension and stress.  Granted, these byproducts of human activity are natural and even beneficial, but without addressing them they can have a diminishing affect on our output over time.  This week, think of one or more ways to relax and let this stress and anxiety roll off.  Listen to ambient music at night, get a massage, find a new meditation or take up yoga.  Whatever you do, find something enjoyable that focuses your mind on the present moment, and not on your future obligations or current work.  You’ll thank yourself later.

Challenge Two (register)
This week, step up and make it happen.  Pick something you’ve been meaning to do for a while and follow through, because if you don’t make a move now, you never will.

You really have no excuses to procrastinate for another week.  You’ve been thinking about “it” for a long time now, and somehow you’ve managed to put it off for this long.  Here’s the news flash, if you don’t tackle it this week you should forget about it, because If you don’t make a move now, you never will!  Pushing forward can feel like fighting through thick underbrush, just when you think you’re in the clear another branch will slap you in the face.  In the hustle and bustle of daily life, it’s all too easy to become lost in the forest, to lose sight of your goals.  It’s time to bring everything into focus, get yourself pointed in the right direction and blaze a trail like a laser beam.

Challenge Three (register)
Pick a subject or talking point of interest which you’re completely unfamiliar with from TED, the Brookings Institution, a newspaper, or another source of your choosing. Learn more about that subject.

Did you know that every year about 98% of the atoms in your body are replaced? That management, scientific and technical consulting services is the fastest growing industry in the United States? Or that American car horns beep in the tone of F?   Acknowledging the idea that there is a massive amount of knowledge in the world that is completely out of our realm of familiarity can be overwhelming.  Setting out to learn something you don’t know even exists can be equally overwhelming, but we’d like to present it to you as a challenge.  This task can only be completed with a child-like curiosity and thirst for learning more about the world in which you live.  This week, find a subject or discipline you know nothing about (but might be interested in), and learn as much as you can about that subject.  To begin, one place we recommend is TED, which has discussions from some of the greatest thinkers, innovators and activists in the world that are certain to inspire and enlighten.  You can also check places like the Brookings Institution, iTunes Podcasts (check out the podcast directory), Scientific American, or your local library.

Selected Quote
“We should, all of us, be filled with gratitude and humility for our present progress and prosperity. We should be filled with awe and joy at what lies over the horizon. And we should be filled with absolute determination to make the most of it.”
-Bill Clinton

This Week: You Should Know
Blackwater Back in Business… in the U.A.E.

This week, The New York Times reported that Erik Prince, former Navy Seal and billionaire founder of Blackwater Worldwide, a private military contractor, settled a deal with the crown prince of the United Arab Emirates to build 800-member mercenary army made up of foreign troops.  The $529 million deal included services for “special domestic and international operations,” part of which includes defending skyscrapers and oil pipelines from terrorist attacks, according to Slate Magazine.  Blackwater, now known as XE Services LLC, was named in a Iraq War scandal that involved serious abuses in Umm Qasr, where 17 civilians were killed in 2007.  Facing legal battles in the United States, Prince settled in the U.A.E. last year where he continues to expand his company’s operations throughout the world.

In addition to defending against terrorist attacks, the deal also seeks to protect the government from internal conflict as well.  According to The New York Times report, such troops could be deployed if the Emirates faced unrest in their crowded labor camps or were challenged by pro-democracy protests like those sweeping the Arab world this year.”  The troops have also been speculated to protect against a belligerent Iran.  Indeed, the oil-rich U.A.E. is a close ally of the United States and possesses little in the way of national defense at a time when instability and unrest pervades the entire region.

Blackwater Worldwide still remains the U.S. State Department’s largest private security contractor.  Operating in training facilities in the U.S., they provide security and conduct specifically targeted operations largely for governments but also for some private entities.  Although they are no longer licensed to operate in Iraq, Blackwater operates in Afghanistan and Azerbaijan, and is also contracted by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, Air Force, and Department of Defense.

The legal status of Blackwater’s partnership with the U.A.E. is still under question.  The U.S. State Department strictly prohibits American citizens from training foreign troops without a license, which they still has yet to obtain.  The company paid $42 million in fines last year alone for this violation.  Also at question is the efficacy of private military contractors to provide security and other services to foreign governments.  But the rise in global terrorism indicates a new era of military conflict that many believe requires a new era of global security.

Original Content Provided by BestMe 2011.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, May 17th, 2011 at 5:06 am and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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