You're listening to Excellence Above Talent, a podcast where we have the hard conversations about the lives of men and what leads us to achieve greatness and suffer defeat. Hear from other men's journeys as well, as we all learn and grow together to become inspirations to ourselves and those around us. And now your host, aaron Thomas.Speaker 2:
What's up my beautiful people? Aaron Thomas, with Excellence Above Talent, I know, I know, I know I said I wanted to be consistent and for the last two weeks I have not put out a podcast. Oh, so this is what I am fighting right now, because most of my life I have been disruptive. I've never just accepted the status quo. I've always questioned why we do the things we do. But in living my life and having the family trauma that I had where my dad left when I was at an early age and I felt like I had to step up as a man and try to help and provide for my family, I became to not be so disruptive and started to conform to what I thought people needed of me to be, versus being who I was called to be. And for most of my life I have always felt like I wasn't the same as everyone else. No matter how cool I tried to be, no matter how mysterious I tried to be, no matter how fake I tried to be, I was never the cool kid. I was never the one that people looked to for anything On top of searching for my manhood. Because I didn't have someone to show me what that looked like. That lost kid became a lost young man who became a lost adult. And I'll tell you this I probably, within the last three to four years, have started to step more into the calling that God has on my life, which is a disrupter. I am not here to be everyone's friends. I am not here to tell you all the beautiful things that is happening in this world. I am here to if I see something, I will say something, and that gets me into a lot of trouble because people assume that I am a troublemaker and it's just that I have, for a majority of my life, tried not to piss people off and I can't tell you how exhausting that is. That when I walk into the room, I check the temperature and I want to make sure that my temperature matches your temperature, and if your temperature changes, then I have to pay attention to it and change when your temperature changes, or else there's going to be an issue. I'm not listening or I'm overbearing or I'm too much, and here in the last couple of weeks there has been an attack on. I don't want to be disruptive, I just want to live my life as quiet as I possibly can, without making any enemies and, if I can make new friends along the way fantastic. But I have been reading the Bible, I've been reading the one year plan and God has really been showing me that if God is in your life and you accept him as your Lord and Savior and you want to do his will and you want to be his soldier and you want to go out there and fight for his kingdom, you will be disruptive. There is nothing in the Bible that has shown me that God was soft and just let things slide and if he saw something, he didn't say anything. And a lot of times society has now made it out to be like it's my business, it's not your business, it's my business. Well, you know what? It wasn't my business that I saw a coworker being abused and hurt and destroyed. It wasn't my business, but I made it my business to have a conversation with her and to speak to her about the situation and she broke down and she expressed what she was going through and we were able to sit her down and have a conversation with her and from me not wanting it to be my business to me making it my business because I'm seeing something, I have to say something. She got divorced and was able to pull away from a guy who would have eventually killed her if she didn't get out, because he was putting her in the hospital, because he was beating her up so bad. He was creating a space where her kids didn't want to be at the house. And now she is happily remarried and the kids look fine and they look happy and they look like they're striving. But if I didn't say anything, would she still be in that situation? Or if I have a homeboy that I say he's my homeboy and I'm a big believer in orange shoppers' iron. So if we're homies and you're cheating on your wife and I ain't saying nothing, that's an issue, because if I'm your homie, I'm going to let you know you screwing up. There are too many people that just want to say it's not none of my business. But in saying it's not none of my business creates devastation, continue devastation, versus just having that conversation and seeing, hey, this is what I'm seeing, what's going on. And if someone says it ain't your business, well, guess what, you try it, it ain't your business. I'm seeing it now in my community, the Odessa community. Well, everyone just doesn't want to say anything about nothing and just keep pushing it forward and things will just be okay. And in my head I'm like the hell, like there are so many gutless people who don't have the courage to stand up and be like this isn't right. And for a minute it wasn't that I was afraid, it was that I didn't want to push people away or cause issues, but God has been working on me. Every story in the Bible, every story in the Bible, there was a form of disruption. And because there was a form of disruption, it created people to think not inside the box, but outside the box. God is not an inside the box thinker, he is an outside the box thinker. And most of my life I've tried to be inside the box because I didn't want to be outside the box, because outside the box is lonely. It's one of the loneliest places you can be. When everybody's inside the box looking at you, saying why are you out there doing that? That's extra work you're creating on yourself. Why are you doing these things? Why can't you just let it be? And for the month of July, the whole month of July, I usually get in this very depressive state. I never understood or knew why it was just. It just happened. But I started to think about what trauma in July happened that every year I would just I just kinda I kinda get down on myself, I overthink a lot of things, and I remembered when I was in Iraq in 2006. July was one of the craziest months I've ever experienced, from people dying and getting shot, people getting blown up, not thinking that I was going to be able to make it out alive. I thought I was going to die and I eternalized it all and I never had a conversation with anybody about it and I never understood why I got this way. But it just came to my attention maybe two days ago that, hey, this is why you feel this way in July. And then I started to think of the courage it took all the men that was over there to fight, fight for us, the freedom in the United States. And I look up and the people in the United States aren't willing to fight for others in the United States. We're willing just to allow people to die from addiction and abuse and gun violence, all for the sake of freedom. And I'm realizing now that we fought for freedom but people in America aren't even free. And I'm saying that to say this that I now know that I was put on this earth to be an outside the box thinker, to be a disruptive thinker, to call out accountability whenever it needs to be called out. No one's going to like it, but the men and women who died for this freedom that we all have and we don't use, they will not die in vain. I was thinking to myself just this morning how the screams of men will forever haunt me. If you've ever heard grown men scream, it's unnatural because it's not supposed to happen. We don't do these things. But at 19, a Humvee blew up, flew about 10 feet in the air, came back down, upside down with four, four or five, I believe four soldiers in that Humvee and the scream of pain, the scream of I don't want to die, the scream of bones sticking out of bodies, the scream of broken backs, the scream of not being able to hear and blood coming out of people's ear, those screams forever haunt me and for these past two weeks I've been thinking about that and I realize I will never allow society, people in this community, myself, my family, to silence me when I see something and I know it needs to be said, because it's so easy to be comfortable, and I think that's what has happened in our society. We want to be comfortable, we don't want to ruffle feathers and I'm walking into a place where I'm gonna ruffle feathers and if you don't like me, I can't help you with that. I am no longer changing my temperature when I get into the room to try to fit the room. I come in how I come in and you accept it or you don't, but what I'm not going to do is try to coddle to or shrink so that I don't piss anyone off, because I'm starting to realize I cannot control anyone's thoughts, anyone's emotions, what they're going through. There are people going through some heavy stuff like divorce. There are people going through a divorce and I come into the room and I'm happy and my light is shining and that's going to piss them off. So even if I try to have a conversation with them, even if I call something out, it's not going to be taken with a grain of salt. It's going to be taken with. He's attacking me and because he's attacking me, I have to attack him now, versus putting yourself out of that situation and saying it's not about he's not attacking me. It's maybe a behavior or something that I'm doing that I might need to do better at. But a lot of times people don't want to even acknowledge that there's something wrong with them, which blows my mind that people make this assumption that there's nothing wrong with them and we're all screwed up. So I hope I'm kind of bringing this all into focus. So, growing up, having my dad leave, trying to be the man of the house, I shrunk to make sure that everyone was good. I didn't allow my own personality to come out because I felt like I had to be the man who couldn't cry or show emotions. I had to step up as the Otis and then going into the army and going to Iraq and then coming back out and trying to navigate and figure out life and being in relationships and being married and getting divorced. I had lost my way there for a while. I would be disruptive every so often because I saw something and I just something had to be said or done. But it wasn't to the extent of every single day, not being afraid that if I need to say something, that I will say something, not caring about your feelings or your thoughts, because that's not on me, that's on you. I can't control that. And now I'm in a mind space a way better mind space than I was two weeks ago when I was really trying to be consistent with putting out this podcast. And I'm going to be very consistent with putting out this podcast. But I'll tell you one thing being disruptive or having disruptive thinking is scary because it puts a bull's eye on your back. Not because you want the bull's eye on your back, but because anytime you call someone out or anytime you have a critical or tough conversation and that person isn't mature enough to just sit back and have the conversation versus make the conversation about them. And if they feel attacked, well then guess what they're going to go and do. They're going to go out there and they're going to try to slander your name and make you look like the bad guy. And you're not even a bad guy, you're just courageous enough to have the conversation with them. And the people in their lives who say love them aren't courageous enough to have those conversations or to call out things that they see. And then you get into that role of people will just call things out on you because they feel like that's what you do and it's never something that I'm just like oh, if I see something, I'm just going to call it out. If it's something that I'm willing to die for, we're going to have that conversation. If I'm willing to put my life on the line for it, if I'm willing to allow it to alter everything that I do, we're going to have that conversation. Because there's one thing that I'm not afraid of, and that's dying. We're all going to die. I've experienced death before, not from my perspective, but from a perspective of I have smelt it, I have heard it, I have seen it. It is nastiest, it is ugly, and I guess that's more in wartime. It could be a peaceful and beautiful thing if you're not at war, but I've experienced it. Something that I'm not afraid to do is die for something that I believe in, for someone that I love, for some things that I love. I have and I'm going to continue to one. Create that relationship with God, continue reading the Bible, because that has really given me the understanding and strength to be like. It's okay to not be liked because Jesus wasn't liked. It's okay to be disruptive If you're doing it in love. That's one thing I want people to understand. I'm not and I don't choose to be disruptive because I want to be an asshole, because I want to hurt people. I see something that could maybe make your life better. And in love I will say it Now in love, when you accept it, some people don't or won't, and that's not again, that is not on me because I cannot control your thoughts and an energy and emotion, but God was a disruptive thinker in love. His disciples were disruptive thinkers in love. They weren't going around hurting people just because they saw something and they said something. And here in this, in my community, there's just a lot going on. There's a lot going on and everybody is too busy chasing the dollar and trying to make money that we are not paying attention to what we are leaving this next generation. And that is what is pissing me off the most. We are grown adults and we can't see how we're screwing our kids because we can't figure out a way to get along because of politics, because of he said, she said, because of drama, because of I'm blue, I'm red. This is my stand, this is my stand. Man, fuck your stand. We can still have our stand and have an adult conversation and figure out a way to make it work, but no one wants to do that because it has to be their way. I see it, I say something people get pissing. There are kids dying from fentanyl and overdosing on fentanyl and no one's really talking about that. There is abuse happening daily and no one is really talking about that. There are kids lost and confused and trying to find their way and no one is talking about that. We're talking about all the things that, at the end of the day, no one gives a damn about In 20 years. I care more about creating a space for this next generation to build upon versus fighting for something that isn't going to matter five years down the line. Most people are quiet and the saddest part about it is most people here are Christians and most people here go to church every single Sunday, every single Wednesday, and they don't have the courage of from God to stand up and step out and have these tough conversations. There's a verse I'm not sure where it's at, but I'm gonna paraphrase. He said the road is narrow for the people that are trying to get to heaven. It's narrow because most people would rather sit back and watch the destruction of his kids, because we are all his kids. He loves us all the same and it hurts him that we're trying to hurt each other over something that is made up. Being a Republican, being a Democrat, is made up. We made up this party system. I have to be on this side and you have to be on this side, and we can't come across the aisle and just have respectful conversations. I was born this way, you were born that way. So because of our differences, we can't come across the aisle and have a mature conversation. I am black, you're white or Hispanic. We can still come across the aisle and have a mature conversation. I went to a town hall meeting last night for West Odessa because West Odessa is trying to, or they were looking at what turning West Odessa into a city looks like. And Dustin Fawcett, the Ecta County judge, was just trying to have a conversation with people. He was trying to hear them out and not going to say all, but some of those people showed up angry just to scream Yellen Hauler, not knowing what it takes to be in that position, not knowing the energy and effort it took for someone who didn't have to have a town hall meeting to have the town hall meeting to show up and have it just to be screamed at 80% of the time, and a lot of those people that were screaming had no solutions. It was all problems. But I guess what? If you've never tried to find a solution for a problem, the problem is going to stay a problem. And it saddens me that in 2023, adults can't have critical, tough, meaningful conversations because we get butt hurt and we assume that someone is attacking us personally when we know that what we're doing could be better or can be better. But we just don't like to be called out and so, because we are getting called out or because we're having a tough conversation, you shrink or you puff up to get yourself out of having that tough conversation, versus just staying in that moment and having that tough conversation. I'm not afraid to have those tough conversations. I'm not afraid to be that guy who's just going to keep calling things how I see it and if I see it incorrectly, I do not mind someone calling me out and saying like, hey, this is what it is. It has happened before. I'm not around here trying to have tough conversations and call people out for the fun of it. It goes both ways. But I refuse now, as I think about the soldiers who died when I was in Iraq, as I think about the soldiers who were hurt and who fought and bled alongside me and were willing to die for me. How courageous we were for this country, I will be just as courageous for myself, for my family, for my city and still for my country. I let society tell me that being courageous is not cool, that being courageous is someone who starts stuff for no reason. That being courageous isn't what your job wants you to do. Your job wants you to shut up and not have a life outside of work, because it all comes together as what society is telling me now. So I can't say a lot of things because I could get fired, or I can't say a lot of things because people don't want to hire you, or I can't say a lot of things because they could potentially get you hurt or killed or your family hurt. But I'm just in a space in my life where I'd rather be courageous and die for something than to be a coward and live for nothing. I would rather be courageous and die for something than to be a coward and live for nothing. There's a lot of people that are being cowards and just living. You wake up, you go to work, you take care of your business, you come home, wake up, go to work, take care. And then you look up and you're 90 years old and you've never had a chance to be disruptive, even though you saw disruption your whole entire life. You chose to be quiet, to not say anything, and there's nothing wrong with that. But that's not living. There are people hurting and needing your voice in their matter. Do not be afraid to use it. It doesn't matter if you don't have the money or the power or the influence. You can change lives, one at a time, by seeing something and saying something. If your friend is going through something and you know she's hurting, or you know he's hurting or you know he's heading down the wrong path, you know he's drinking too much. You know he's cheating on your wife. You know she's cheating on her husband. You know she's not living her life to the best of her ability. Say something God did not give you a voice to be quiet. If you say you are a believer of God, you have to be disruptive by the way you live your life, by the things you say and do. You have to be disruptive Because there was no one in the Bible who did not follow God, that wasn't disruptive, that didn't try to be killed by people because they created a space of people had to look within or look at themselves, and they didn't like it. So they would stone and kill Christians versus having that conversation with themselves to be better and do better. And that's what people would do, instead of taking whatever is being said into consideration. They immediately feel attacked and so they attack back. And there could have been a lot of people whose lives could have changed if they would have just taken a step back, not allow their ego and emotion to get into the conversation and realize that there was some truth to what was being said. That's why they were getting angry and upset and to go fix it. What people would rather stone you to that? Beat you up, call you names, because that's easier than facing themselves in the mirror, and I think that's what all of America is at this point. It is easier to stone people, it is easier to crush people, it is easier to cancel people than it is to look within yourself in the mirror and say I could be the problem to this issue. So I'm in a space down in my life where disruptive thinking is all I want to do, because that's always been inside of me. I've never been someone to go with the status quo. So I'm going to challenge myself from this day forward not to shrink and not to puff up, but just to show up. Not to try to be molded by other people's temperatures, but just to show up. If something needs to be said, have the courage to say it. Because freedom. People have fought and died and bled and lost so much for freedom and we're afraid to be free. I'm not, and I hope you're not neither. If anyone hasn't told you today that they love you, let me be the first to say I love you. You're awesome. You're amazing. You deserve the best that this world has to offer. Do not give up, do not quit. The world does not get easier, but you get stronger. Y'all have a blessed Friday and we'll see y'all next week. Bye-bye.