Friday, September 30, 2011

TECHNOLOGY HAS A POWERFUL INFLUENCE ON OUR SOCIAL BEHAVIORS

Technology has begun to change people's behaviors toward each others for the worse. People no longer speak to you when they walk down the street. Instead, we listen to our music through our headphones, blocking out the outside world. You might even be considered old-fashioned if you do not have one type of electronic attached to your person. At times I have had my headphones in, cellphone in one hand, and Nook in the other hand. When you think about it, is all this really necessary? Why are we blocking others out? What happened to conversation? It doesn't only affect you when you are outside of the home, it affects you right within your home. I remember the days when we use to play checkers and board games together as a family. There was physical interaction with my parents and sisters. Today's family is so separated. With all of this technology, kids are addicted to video games, Facebook, etc. Parents are so caught up with work that they have brought home from their jobs that they are not fully attentive to their children. Even at the dinner table, individuals text and answer calls. I never realized how rude that was until my dad told us that he didn't appreciate us texting at the table when we went out to dinner one day. There really is no reason to be texting or playing games on your phone, when you have people that you love sitting around you. Technology is slowly taking away the manners that we once possessed. Unfortunately, I find myself practicing some of the behaviors that I speak of because some things have become a norm in society. When I catch the metro, I listen to my music, text and play games on my phone. However, I would never want someone to feel like they couldn't approach me to start up a conversation. Sometimes, when people try to converse with us, we feel as if they are bothering us. I guess we just want to get to where we are going without any distractions or disruptions. Forget about ignoring others, some of the things that we do are actually dangerous. I'm sure you have heard of people being killed or injured for texting or talking on the phone and not paying attention to traffic while running, walking, or driving. Technology has caused us to become distant, dangerous, and unaware because of choices that we make. Use technology for your advantage not to your disadvantage.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

LECTURING

You have to know when it is the right time to lecture a person. It is very difficult to determine the perfect timing. Sometimes, it is about the manner in which you lecture someone. Knowing how to communicate properly with an individual can be very important to the outcome of a situation. You can't appear to be judging them or looking down on them. You can give advice and provide guidance to someone without verbally abusing them. The worst time to lecture someone is when they don't want the information. People won't accept things until they are ready to accept them. Sometimes, it may appear that the individual isn't receiving what you are saying, but it doesn't mean that they are not. People have different ways of dealing with things. I think we tend to lecture people based on an initial reaction to a situation. It would probably be better to calm down and think about the situation before you speak. Are you qualified to lecture that person on that particular situation? Have you personally dealt with an similar issue? These are some things to take in consideration before you lecture a person. Lecturing is good, you just have to know when and how to lecture.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

SECOND CHANCES

Some of us get it right on the first try, but the majority of us do not. Without second chances, life would be very difficult for all of us. Second chances are necessary because no one is perfect. You should never take advantage of a second chance just because you know that it is available. Hopefully, the mistakes that are made during the first attempt are avoided in a second attempt. The same mistake can truly only be made one time. When you become aware of what you have done wrong, the next time you participate in that activity you are making a deliberate decision. A second chance is a true indication of forgiveness, it is the step that follows forgiveness. I believe that a second chance can only be given after you have accepted and forgiven the individual for the mistake that they have made. It is easy to say that you have forgiven someone, but sometimes it takes true concern for an individual to give them a second chance. You can forgive someone but you are not obligated to give them a second chance. Saying that you forgive someone and actually forgiving someone are two very different things. We tend to discriminate on who we will and will not give second chances. Sometimes, this is done consciously and sometimes unconsciously. For example, it is probably easier to forgive a child over an adult. You may find it easier to give second chances to family and friends than to individuals who you do not know. Perhaps, you are super kind-hearted and you give second chances to everyone. If so, we might need more people like you around. A second chance is just another opportunity to get it right, so don't beat yourself up too hard about the first attempt, just know that you can do better this time.

Monday, September 26, 2011

IF YOU HAVE WHAT YOU NEED, WHY ARE YOU COMPLAINING???

The problem with many individuals in our society is that we want too many material possessions. Half of the things that we want, we really don't need. We look for opportunities to receive from others, when we should be looking for opportunities to give. God has blessed each and every one of us with a gift, so we can offer things that are not necessarily materialistic. If we stop thinking about ourselves all the time, we might discover different ways to help others. When we receive more, we want more. We become so attached to the things that we obtain, that we confuse wants with needs. More is not better all the time. The fact that you have a place to live, food to eat, and transportation makes you very fortunate. Anything that is not necessary for your survival could be considered a want. So many times we complain about what we don't have, when there are others who would gladly switch places with us.  We should stop complaining about what we don't have and be thankful for what we already have.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

WE DON'T WANT THE TRUTH UNLESS IT IS CONVENIENT FOR US

Have you ever asked for someones opinion concerning a situation that you were dealing with? Did you find yourself upset with the individual's response. Do you hate the truth when it is not convenient for you? Many times we look for others to reassure us that what we want is right for us. When we don't get that reassurance we find ourselves upset. It is also important to realize that just because someone reassures you of something that you want, it doesn't mean that it is right for you. The truth can be hard to accept and it can be hurtful at times. We have to accept the truth despite the outcome. When we listen to the truth, we can find ways to better ourselves. Therefore, we should work on finding the truth and accepting the truth in inconvenient situations.  Often times people try to portray others because they are not happy with their true self. So, they take on a fake personality. Individuals go through very extreme measures to hid the truth. However, "the truth always comes to the light," so it is better to remain true from the very beginning. If you start off wrong, it is very likely that you will end up wrong. To get the best out of life, we must accept the truth in all types of situations.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

IS YOUR PAST STILL PRESENT IN YOUR LIFE?

What part of your past is still present in your life today? Many times we allow our past to remain present in our lives. If we hold on to an unflattering past, it may prevent us from moving forward in life. The past is comprised of both good and bad experiences. There are some events in our past that we will never be able to forget. Truth is, sometimes the past hurts and some wounds remain open forever. However, if you don't try to deal with some issues in your past that impacted you traumatically, you may deal with those issues for the rest of your life. Some people may feel that their past has destroyed any hope for a better future. A bad past doesn't have to define who you are today. You just need a good support system and the willlingness to overcome whatever situations that you dealt with. There are some things that we must let go in our past, and there are things that we must always cling too. Some situations in your past, which may be both good and bad are actual learning experiences that prepare you for the future. The only time that you should allow the past to impact the present is when it has the potential to brighten your future.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

GOVERNMENT PARENTING

Please read the following links which discuss government involvement in how your raise your children: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/on-parenting/post/montgomery-curfew-controversy-how-much-is-this-about-location/2011/07/28/gIQAY6YWfI_blog.html. and http://chappaqua.patch.com/articles/can-government-efforts-help-parents-combat-childhood-obesity-2

Both of these articles deal with issues that are affecting our youth. However, I don't believe that government involvement is necessarily the answer. No parent should need the government to tell them how to raise their children. I personally don't agree with imposed curfews on children under the age of 18 years old. Although, I don't agree with children aimlessly roaming the streets, I believe that parents should control their children's whereabouts. The government cannot replace parents, it is the parent's responsibility to know where their children are. If you cannot account for your children's whereabouts then you might need to work on your parenting skills. Unfortunately, there are many children that have no parental guidance. However, that doesn't make it right to impose a curfew to all children under age 18 years old. I feel like it is punishing an entire group for a few individuals' mistakes. If I were to entertain the idea of a curfew, I feel that it should not only be imposed in urban areas. There are bad kids all over the world, in all types of neighborhoods. Even if you impose a curfew in one area, the crime may migrate to another area where there is no curfew imposed. So, if you really want to minimize crime, it seems as if you would need to impose curfews all over.

Obesity does affect many children and adults in America. However, obesity is a result of personal decisions that parents make for their children. Do you really think that people are unaware that they are eating junk and feeding junk to their children? It is good to implement healthy eating habits. The government can establish programs to aid in obesity, but the audience that they are trying to reach has to want the help. Individuals need to take responsibility for their health and for the health of their children. If the government really wants to help, they could work on eliminating the production of what they say is causing obesity. I mean with fast food restaurants on almost every corner, the temptation is very hard to resist for this fast paced society. So no, removing an obese child from their parent and placing them in temporary foster care is not the answer. Although, it may be seen as form of neglect it would do more harm to the child to remove them from their family. The government thinks that they have the solutions to our problems, but in reality they are the cause of some of these problems that we face.

Monday, September 19, 2011

HOW DO YOU DISTINGUISH CONFIDENCE FROM CONCEIT/COCKINESS?

Many times when you are extremely confident in yourself, others can mistake that confidence for cockiness or conceit. They might be right in their assumption and they might be wrong. However, it is possible to be confident in oneself without being overly vain. You never want to think too much of yourself, because what you have presently can be taken away at any moment. A good way to distinguish confidence from cockiness is by observing how a person speaks. If they talk about themselves all the time and talk about what they can do, then they are probably conceited and self absorbed. Cocky individuals feed off of the attention of others. Conceited individuals are so involved in themselves that there is little room for them to accept advice from others. So, if you find yourself unwilling to listen and take advice from others you might be close to being characterized as cocky and conceited. You can also be confident without having to say anything at. You can spot a confident person from the way that they carry themselves. Even though a person can speak confidently, confidence is best expressed through actions. A confident person is more likely to be respected over a cocky individual. Despite how successful you may become in life, always remember that you didn't get there by yourself.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

UNNECESSARY NEGATIVITY

Have you ever realized that when you remove certain people and things from your life, that your life appears to be a lot easier? If so, this can be attributed to the negative presence that certain people and things possess. It sometimes takes a while to realize that the people and things around you are making your life more difficult than it has to be. Negativity affects the way that you think and it also impacts your actions. Some times when I am around negative people, I find myself becoming angry and upset. Most of the time it is because they have handled a situation in a way that I would have never attempted to handle that situation.  As a generally happy individual, one of the worst feelings in the world is for me to be angry and upset at someone. There are two ways to deal with negativity. You can give in to the negative presence or you can remove yourself from the negative presence. When someone says something negative to you that is not meant to be a constructive criticism, you can not let that comment get you down. Many times you will find that people that display a great deal of negativity towards others are not happy with their own lives. I believe that the way that you think impacts the outcome of certain situations. I feel that optimistic thinking helps create optimistic situations. I try hard to think positive and it has allowed me to accomplish many things that I wanted in life. Supportive family and friends has also encouraged my positive outlook on life. If you attempt to do something with the attitude that you don't think that you can achieve that goal, the chances are that you won't achieve it. It won't be because you are not capable of achieving those deeds, but that you refuse to open up your mind to positive elements. Removing negativity from your life creates more room for positive thinking and positive outcomes.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

EVERY DECISION IN LIFE HAS A CONSEQUENCE......

Many times we complain about certain situations in our lives that we are directly responsible for creating. I can recall times when I have blamed my misfortune on the actions of others. Sometimes, things are out of your control and you can't affect what happens to you. Other times you experience situations based on personal decisions that you have made. A lot of times people look at others around them and say, "Well they seem to be doing okay." From that observation we try to emulate what we see others doing.  The thing about life is that each decision that is made, affects each individual differently. My outcome from a decision may turn out very different from your outcome. So many times I observe people and wonder why they do the things that they do. Then, I remember that I am far from perfect and I am blessed not to have experienced certain misfortunes in my life. I try to learn from others experiences so that I do not make those same mistakes. As a young adult I made several decisions without thinking of the consequences. I also made decisions fully aware of the consequences but continued with those activities. I am very thankful that God was merciful towards me to keep me from all the terrible consequences that I could have endured. I have also learned from consequences of certain decisions that I have made. If your attention can be caught from one bad consequence, hopefully it will prevent you from making numerous bad decisions. Without consequences people would probably do whatever they wanted in life, both good and bad. Consequences are good, because they keep me in touch with reality. Despite what many may imagine, there is no invincible man or woman on this earth.

Friday, September 16, 2011

HOW DO YOU DEFINE BEAUTY?

What makes someone beautiful to you? Is it their outward appearance, their personality, or is it a combination of both? Is it something that you have been taught, or is it a personal preference? Many times people develop perceptions of beauty based on visual images that they are exposed to on television, in magazines, on the internet, and on billboards. Some people base beauty on one's hair, makeup and weight. Women deal with the pressure to be beautiful from a very young age. They strive to duplicate the images that they see from day to day. Weight seems to be one component of beauty that affects both men and women. However, there seems to be a lot more pressure in society for females to remain thin. This desire to be thin causes some individuals to develop unhealthy habits such as starving themselves. Bulimia and anorexia are eating disorders caused by individuals wanting to remain thin. The healthiest way to remain thin is to exercise and eat right.  However, the reality is that all individuals are not meant to be thin. Some individuals such as myself have to work real hard to stay in shape, while others are blessed with naturally slim frames. As long as you feel beautiful inside and out, then you can disregard what others may say about you. However, if you don't appreciate yourself as whole, you may find yourself giving in to the pressure to be beautiful based on what society has defined as beautiful. Men also deal with the pressure to be attractive. However, their struggles are not usually discussed to the same extent as women.  I believe that one reason that women struggle to remain thin is because they think that it makes them more attractive to men. I read in one study that men are more likely to leave their woman if she gained weight, while the woman would remain if the man gained weight. So weight definitely seems to be one of the determining factors of beauty. Of course, this doesn't apply to all men because men have different preferences. So is your definition of beauty based on what others have proclaimed as beauty, or do you have your own unique definition of beauty? Always remember that beauty comes in all races, shapes, and sizes. God made you the way that you are for a reason, never let anyone take that away from you.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

IMPORTANCE OF FAMILY

My family means the world to me.  I have been blessed with a very close, loving, and supportive family. Through the good and bad times we have remained strong. The experiences that I have shared with my family have taught me how I should treat my family. The greatest thing about family is that they usually accept you for who you are. There has not been a time in my life when I haven't been able to rely on my family. If your family is willing to take care of you, you should be willing to take care of them. You only get one family, therefore it is very important to express your gratitude towards them. Even though I don't see my family often, I have the greatest time when I do see them. Some of my greatest laughs come from sharing moments with my family. Family have impacted my life tremendously, and I seek to follow in their footsteps.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

ARE YOU STRESSED OUT?

Stress impacts all of our lives in some way or another. Knowing how to deal with tension is very critical for your health. Strain impacts people in different ways. It is very important for you to find the best way for you to deal with stress. Exercising is an effective method of reducing stress. If you don't find a way to deal with your stress you may find yourself overeating, not exercising, drinking, smoking, and neglecting the people most important to you. Another way to control tension is by trying not to let things overwhelm you. When you approach a breaking point take time to gather yourself and get back on track. I have noticed that when I'm stressed, everything seems to go wrong. Rushing, panicking, and worrying  never helps the situation. If you are stressed at work, the worst thing that you can do is to bring that stress home. It is a good practice to separate work life from home life. I know that it is easier said than done, but it is worth giving it a try. After a stressful day at work, I exercise by going to the gym or taking a run. Those activities always seem to release my stress. The reality is that stress will affect you, but you can't let stress control you, you have to control the stress.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

NATURALLY FREE

So I guess you're probably wondering what I'm talking about. I'm going to discuss my transition from wearing chemically processed hair to natural hair. For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted long straight hair. The desire was influenced by images I saw on television and by females that I encountered day to day. As a young girl, my mother did not allow me to put relaxers in my hair. The only method of straightening my hair was through a straightening comb or a flat iron. Even still, all the heat from those products caused damage to my hair. When I turned 18, in an effort to be like everyone else around me, I had my first relaxer put in my hair. I was so happy and I felt better about myself. For the next five years I continued to put relaxers and hair color in my hair. I also wore extensions from time to time which actually did more damage than good to my hair.  In June 2008, after one too many relaxers and hair colorings I decided that I would go natural. My definition of natural included removing all the processed hair from my head and wearing my hair in styles that required less extensive heat. I never thought that I would have come to a point in my life where I would actually cut off most of my hair and wear it in its natural state. I honestly thought that it would take a while for me to get use to my new look, but I actually loved the look which allowed me to embrace the change. Now that I am free I exercise without worrying too much about my hair, I can go out in the rain without worrying about my hair frizzing up, and I no longer have to spend hours on straightening my hair. Those are just some of the benefits that I have reaped since I became natural. Being natural is not for everyone. You have to really be comfortable within yourself and you have to know how to deal with negativity. Since I have been wearing my hair natural, I have dealt with positivity and negativity. When comparing a picture of myself with relaxed hair to my current state, this one lady said, "You were so pretty." I then realized that many people shared the same view that I once shared about beauty. Nevertheless, we know that people describe beauty in different ways. That will be another blog. I guess the worst part about being natural is that everyone will not accept you even when you have accepted who you are. Sometimes this can affect you especially in the workplace. Society has certain expectations when it comes to your physical appearance. The profession that you choose to go after also plays a role in what is acceptable and what is not acceptable. Unfortunately, there is no definite way of knowing  if you are being overlooked because of your appearance unless someone tells you that directly. As a young child and young adult I always wanted to look like someone that I wasn't. I have now come to accept who I am, natural hair and all.

WHO ARE YOU FOOLING????

Be yourself regardless of who accepts you or not. People will respect you more if you do not present yourself as someone who you are not. If you can't afford that expensive car or expensive house, don't try to prove something by purchasing it. In the end, you will be more embarrassed if your car is repossessed or if your house is foreclosed. Don't buy material objects to please other people. You are the one responsible for paying and maintaining whatever you buy. The same rule applies to dealing with people that you don't like. If you don't like someone, don't pretend that you like them when you are in their presence and talk about them when they turn their back. I would rather know that you don't like me, so that I know exactly what I am dealing with. Remember, the truth will always come to light. You don't have to try to fit in and be popular in order to have significance in this world.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

IS FEAR HOLDING YOU BACK?

If you had to confess your greatest fears to someone, what would they be? Do these fears impact your life daily? Would conquering your fears make your life a bit easier? Sometimes, fear will keep us from enjoying our lives to the fullest extent. The greatest way to overcome dread is to tackle that fear? Confronting your fear may allow you to realize that your concern was over exaggerated. It may even become something in your life that you truly enjoy. If you are afraid of water, you should try learning how to swim. Perhaps, you are afraid of heights, try a ride at an amusement park.  Overcoming certain fears can prepare you for future situations that you may encounter. Sometimes, we are afraid of certain things because we are not familar with them. Imagine not knowing how to swim, and being in a situation where you need to know how to swim. Fear and panic are not a good combination. Fright can cause paranoia and paranoia can cause you to lose control of your life. You never want to let your fear get the best of you.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

WHAT ARE YOU BUSY DOING?

This topic was inspired by the book, "Weird: Because Normal Isn't Working", by Craig Groeschel. While trying to complete all the tasks that we consider important, many times we neglect the people and things that are most important in life.  Instead of picking up the phone to call a friend, sister, or parent we send a text because we are pressed for time. You might say, "At least I was thinking about them." Were you sincerely concerned about that individual? Sometimes, we might have time, but after an exhausting day the last thing on your mind is picking up the phone to call someone. What if that was your last conversation with that person? Wouldn't you have rather had a more intimate conversation, than a quick lifeless text? You can't feel or hear the pain or happiness in someone's voice through a text. My mom, dad, and sister usually know when there is something wrong with me. They are able to sense it in my voice, something that can't be detected through a text. There are always five or ten minutes in a day to pick up your phone to call that loved one that you haven't talked to in a while. Our busy schedules often cause us to lose touch with family members and friends. We have become so busy that we are not aware of what is going on around us. Someone could be reaching out to you for help, but you are too busy to even recognize their cry for help. Relationships can be greatly impacted when other devices draw you away from the people that you love. People may feel like you don't care about them anymore. They may feel like they are being neglected and sometimes they may think that your affection is being applied elsewhere. Often we prioritize items based on what others do and say around us. Do you really have to partake in all those activities that you have faithfully implemented into your schedule?  The answer is no, but it can be very difficult to decide on what items need to be removed from your schedule. A good way to make a decision is to see if the activity is making a positive difference in someone's life including yourself? If you are not making a positive difference, then there is no need to waste any more time by continuing in that activity. Once you figure out what is really important in your life, you should notice a change. Now that you have finally prioritized some things differently you can go ahead and enjoy life.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Print Media.....Reading via books, magazines, etc....

Books are one of the most valuable sources of information. Although, reading may be time consuming, many times useful information is found within books. Reading allows you to increase your vocabulary once you obtain understanding of the new words that you come across. There is no sense in using a word if you don't know the meaning of it.  Many times people choose not to obtain their information through reading, because they would rather find their answer through an easier and quicker method. It is very important that we stay informed. Many times you will discover things that have been written in books, that you would have never discovered by listening to the radio, or watching the television. If you love to read, then you have an advantage when it comes to discovering information that others who don't read have not attained. Reading is the easiest and cheapest way to educate yourself. You usually have free access to libraries where you can read, people often donate free books for reading, and there is always the newspaper which is pretty inexpensive. The excuse "I don't know how to do that", is barely acceptable, because almost everything that you might need to know how to do is written down somewhere. A lot of times the issue is that , "we don't want to learn or know how to do certain things". Try to slowly incorporate reading into your day. Whether you are on the bus, on the metro, taking a walk, or walking on the treadmill, there is always a time and place to read. Once you become accustomed to reading on a regular basis, you may find that you actually like reading and that you are discovering new ideas and information.  Access to knowledge can create many opportunites for you, but you first have to use the tools that have been created for you.

Friday, September 2, 2011

HOW DOES THE MEDIA IMPACT YOUR LIFE? Part 1

Are you influenced by visual images, audio sounds, or written words? Believe it or not, we are all influenced by the media in many aspects of life. Radio, television, film, internet and print are various forms of media outlets. Throughout the course of the day most people either listen to the radio, sign on to a computer, read some thing written, or spend at least 30 minutes watching either the news or some type of television show. If all forms of media were removed from our lives for just 24 hours, we would realize how greatly our lives are impacted by media influences. Even if you attempted to avoid all media influences that you normally come into contact with, it would be nearly impossible. Just think about it, many of us can't even leave our homes without our cellphones. Do you really think you could survive without the media? Could you imagine having your cellphone, but without access to your email, your social networks, photos, internet and music? The only feature of your phone would be for verbal communication. There would be no text messaging because that in it self is a written form of media. We have become so accustomed to this way of life that we rarely think about life without it. The media is geared to attract different types of audiences. For example, all people don't listen to the radio, so you may have to reach out to those individuals via printed material, the internet, or the television. The media has different functions.  All forms of media are capable of informing individuals of what is happening in society.  Media can also be used to entertain society, influence perceptions, and portray ideas and images,  Access to the media actually make our lives are lot easier. In a way, it also disables us. We no longer have to work as hard to obtain information. For example, research has become a lot easier because we have access to online journals, online books, online newpapers, etc. However, depending on the assignment many professors still require that students obtain their research from books not obtained online. We even have the capability of obtaining a degree from the luxury of our homes as long as we have online access to the courses. Nevertheless, always stay informed. You have so many options, so there should be very few excuses.  Grab a book, watch television, listen to the radio, or get online.

*Ironically, even though I express my thoughts in written words, my passion lies within visual images such as television and film. They have such a strong impact on society both positively and negatively. I did extensive research on the film industry, its portrayals, and its impact on society. Even though some things  may never change, I would love to attempt to be a part of the solution.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

REJUVENATE YOUR FOCUS

Have you ever felt like you were at a standstill in life? You want to accomplish more, but you are finding it difficult to motivate yourself.  Are you letting your dreams and ambitions slip away? What steps are you taking to get closer to your goals in life? Well, you are not alone. It is natural to lose focus at some point in your life. It could be a short term or long term loss of concentration. Maybe you don't have an issue with focusing on things, your issue may lie within the things you choose to focus on. Even though you may be a focused individual, it is very easy to be focused on the wrong thing. It is important that we steer our focus in the right direction. When we locate that direction, it is very important that we maintain our focus. At times, we may become so caught up in a certain routine or agenda that we may lose our ambition. Life becomes dull and repetitive and your focus becomes diminished. Initially, you will set out in life with your mind focused on certain accomplishments. However, as life goes on your focus may change or even disappear completely.Once you realize that your focus has diminished or disappeared you  must refocus. Refocusing may require trying things differently, or making slight adjustments to your preestablished goals. It may involve a change of scenery, or a new outlook on life. Being focused demands some type of ambition. Otherwise, you may find it difficult to remain focused. If you are focused and know what you want, use your ambition to drive that focus.