The Next Chapter

#55 Write a longer “About Me” post – Classical About Me posts are a couple of lines but introduce yourself more and write a longer one. People like to know what’s the background of the content they’re reading but they usually don’t have time to check LinkedIn accounts or just Google the name.

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As my college career comes to a close, I realized that I am opening an entirely new chapter. I also realized that the blog post that the introductory blog post that I wrote about me a few months ago is no longer accurate.

A few months ago I wrote about my background of what lead me to ENMU and where I currently at in my life. But, a week from today that chapter comes to a close when I graduate from Eastern New Mexico University and am no longer a student at ENMU and will become a student of the world. This is exciting because it allows me to apply the things I have written about in this blog and also apply what I have learned in college. Yesterday, I accepted a position in Grand Rapids, MI that will move me over 1,000 miles from my friends and family. A step that is slightly frightening but is also very exciting.

When I first come up with a theme for this blog, I didn’t know exactly how it would play out, but I have enjoyed writing about several topics that expanded my own personal knowledge of subjects but allowed me to express my thoughts in an organized manner. I think the underlining theme of my blog has revolved around trying to better understand people.

The content and ideas that I have had for this blog have come from taking chances and learning lessons at the mercy of the real world. The background of the content revolves around me wanting to make a difference in the world. I feel like now that I am entering the workforce I will be able to come into contact with people who will help me to continue to learn valuable life lessons.

One of the most important lessons I have learned in life is by Dale Carnegie who said, “Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain but it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.” As I enter the next chapter in my life, I hope that I am able to remember to have character and self-control and that I will also be able to be understanding and forgiving.

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The B.L.O.S.K.A.S. Method: How to Successfully Get a Date in College

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Since I am recently married, I thought that I would give some advice to my young friends who have not been as lucky as I am and found the perfect person for them. I have had several people ask me for advice, and so I have come up with an effective method of successfully getting a date. The method I have established is The B.L.O.S.K.A.S. Method. The B.L.O.S.K.A.S. method has been 100% successful (only one person has tried it that I am aware of) and should only be used by people serious about getting a date.

B- Be on the lookout

Be on the lookout

One of the most important things to remember is that you never know when you will run into, what seems to be, the perfect date. Once you master these skills, you will be prepared to put them into practice the second you meet someone you’d like to date. Make sure that you keep your eyes out everywhere that you go for your next potential date.

L- Lure them in

Lure them in

After finding a target and committing to the person, you have to use methods to make them interested. Dating is a lot like fishing; you have to know what tools to use and when to use them. One of the best ways of doing this is not to seem desperate but instead, make them feel like they would be the one who should be begging you for a date.

O- Open emotionally

Open Emotionally

It is important to make an instant connection and make sure that your intentions are clear from the start. You have to show them that you are interested in them as an individual and do not have alternative motives. The moment your potential date realizes that you care about them is the moment they’re hooked. For example, imagine you were lost in a strange city, and a homeless man off the street came up to you and started giving you directions. He is really “nice” to you but you, probably would not feel like making a personal connection with him because you would be afraid that he is only nice so that you’ll give him money. In the same way, if you do not have that emotional connection, then your potential date might think you have other motives.

S-Serenade Them

Serenade Them

This skill is often used in romantic movies but rarely taken advantage of in real life. This is where you set yourself apart from everyone else that has ever talked to this person. I suggest having a rose handy for the moment you meet this special someone. It is often helpful to think on your feet and think of song lyrics that rhyme with their name. I would not suggest doing this in a heavy populated area. If you are not sure how to serenade someone, there are videos on YouTube that will make you a pro in no time.

K- Keep Interest

Keep Interest

Imagine a Vegas slot machine. Imagine your potential date slowly approaching the slot machine, popping a coin in and pulling the handle. Odds are they probably won’t win anything on the first try. So they try again, and again, and again. Pretty soon they not only have money invested in this machine, but also a lot of time, effort, and hope invested as well. The more they “invest” in this machine, the harder it will be for them to get up and walk away. Because they are convinced that the very next pull will be the one that sets off the JACKPOT.

In the Dating Casino of Life, you are the slot machine. And it’s your job to keep them invested in you so that it is harder for them to give up and not give you a chance. Sites like eHarmony.com have articles on communications secrets to keep someone interested. 

A- Ask for her number/date

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After you have done all of the methods, you are now ready to take this to the next level. You want to get their number and ask them out on a date. You should be clear from the beginning that you are interested and would like to see them again. The best way to get a phone number is to keep it simple and say: “Hey, it was nice meeting you. If you give me your number, I will text or call you sometime, and we can hang out or go on a date.” The “Art of Charm” has an article on their website that also gives tips on how to effectively ask for someone’s number without making it awkward.

S- Success/Shot down

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If you have followed these steps, chances are you’re well on your way to a great relationship. But every once in a while you will be rejected. Remember not to take the rejection personally. Rejection happens to the best of us, and if they aren’t smart enough to realize the great person you are then they don’t deserve you! Winston Churchill said, “Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.”  It takes a lot of courage to keep trying and not throw in the towel.

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The Importance of Context

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This past week the New England Patriots visited the White House for a visit following their recent Super Bowl win. According to Thomas Neumann of ESPN, the tradition of inviting sports teams to the White House started on Aug. 30, 1865, when President Andrew Johnson first welcomed the Brooklyn Atlantics and Washington Nationals amateur baseball clubs to the White House. The visits to the White House are usually lighthearted and fun, but the most recent visit of the New England Patriots got more coverage than it usually would.

The social media presence that Donald Trump has tends to get him into trouble, and often the reporters who he attacks look for ways to use social media against him. After Donald Trump’s statements about his inauguration attendance as opposed to President Barack Obama’s inauguration, a New York Times photo, comparing the two, flooded the internet. This picture caused a big debate on social media questioning the context surrounding the photo. This week, New York Times Sports’ Twitter account made a point to compare the number of the Patriots players attending this week and the players who attend two years ago when President Obama was President. There was only one issue; the photo lacked context.

Although only 34 Patriots players attended this week’s visit to the White House compared to the 50 two years ago, the emotions behind the post got the best of the writer for the New York Times, and he simply made a mistake. This is an important lesson that everyone should take note of, don’t allow emotions to dictate decisions.

As I have mentioned in a few previous posts, it is human nature to have a desire to feel validated in our views. The past few months have caused the constant battle between political affiliations to heighten and the emotions also attached to rise. This not only has an effect on society but can also have an adverse impact on those who engage in these political debates.

Dan Kahan, a law professor at Yale, did a study where he found that people use facts to try to prove their point of view on political issues. Instead of both parties agreeing once facts are presented, he found that the more information partisans get, the deeper their disagreements become. He says that “as a way of avoiding dissonance and estrangement from valued groups, individuals subconsciously resist factual information that threatens their defining values… what we believe about the facts, tells us who we are.”

Although facts supported by context might validate our views on an issue, they rarely change someone else’s opinion. As James Madison said, “As long as the reason of man continues fallible, and he is at liberty to exercise it, different opinions will be formed.”

Hippos Can’t Jump

I am a huge advocate for education. I try to learn something new every single day. Today I learned from a 1st grader that my mom teaches that hippos can’t jump. After doing research I found an article that confirmed that not only can hippos not jump but their milk is also bright pink. These are not things that I would have been able to learn in my communications classes today but instead required me to branch out and learn from someone who has researched random facts about Hippos. In the spirit of education this week I am exploring blogs that I thought had a similar audience of my blog. What I thought would be an easy task, I quickly got engulfed by the vast number of blogs that pop up when I searched “Religious and political blogs.” I spent a few hours looking through several blogs. Most didn’t have a writing style that intrigued me, and I quickly got bored but here a few that I thought were interesting to read, witty, or just provided information and opinions in a unique way. I do not agree with all (or any) of the views shared on these blogs, but they caught my attention.

Hippie Liberal Momma

Penelope Windeldorf

http://hippieliberalmomma.blogspot.com

The thing that intrigued me about Penelope’s blog was the fact that 1. It was called Hippie Liberal Momma and 2. The fact that her image was the state of Texas with 4 pictures in it. I intrigued to learn more and quickly learned that while most of her recent post don’t have much to do with politics, once you dig a little deeper you get to the meat of the political side of her blog. She has several witty posts included a post titled, “Ron Paul’s Brain is a Dirty Diaper.” This a 2011 post where she goes on a rant about the reasons why nobody should vote for Ron Paul. I loved the way that she is not afraid to say what she is thinking and makes sure that her opinions are known.

Intersections- Thoughts on Religion, Culture, and Politics

Debra Dean Murphy

https://debradeanmurphy.wordpress.com

Debra’s blog was one of the first ones that I came across as I was trying to search for people who wrote about politics but also included religion in their post/views. Debra’s writing style is the complete opposite of Penelope’s blog that I mentioned above. Debra’s writing style is very detailed, thought out, and seeks to benefit the reader. Instead of using the blog simply as a journal to air out her thoughts she uses the blog as a platform to expose others to insightful information. A recent post from November discusses how Facebook arguments about politics happen because we are willing to say things online that we would never say in person. She talks about the benefits of face to face discussion and how a lot of pieces of communication (like expressions and non-verbal communication) is lost online.

Heather Annastasia’s Blog- “Never talk about religion and politics.”

Heather Annastasia

https://heatherannastasia.blogspot.com

Heather Annastasia Blog features a writing style that is a mixture of both of the previous blogs I have mentioned. Heather uses the blog not only as a way to air out her thoughts but also seeks to educate her reader. She tries to tackle the taboo topic of mixing religion and politics with information the reader can use. Heather is the creative side of the blog, and uses Rob Constantine as the “left brain” of the blog, as she calls it, to bring research and hard facts to back up the post in the blog. She uses wit to tackle literally everything (one of her recent posts is simply about “dust”) but tries to offer mainly insight into religion and politics and how they intersect each other.

5 Things to Consider Before Engaging in an Online Political Debate

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Like most people, I am glad that the 2016 President Election is (for the most part) behind us. It has been a relief to be able to get on Facebook and other social media sites without being blasted with constant news articles and political posts from everyone trying to make sure that their opinion is heard and known to everyone. Like I mentioned in my previous post, Craving to be Appreciated, everyone has a desire to validate their views, and they tend to be very passionate about their beliefs and will fight to defend them. While the disagreement and discussing different ideas often allows growth in society, it can also be detrimental to ourselves and our relationships with those around us if not done correctly. That is why I felt like I would share five tips that have helped me before I engage in a political debate (or any debate for that matter) online.

1. Don’t allow your emotions to get the best of you.

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I think that one of the biggest mistakes made people on social media is they tend to use it as a way to blow off steam, voice frustration, or as a personal journal to get their thoughts out. When people are upset, they often don’t think rationally and say things that they regret, are offensive, or can get them into trouble. CNBC posted an article a year ago about how your post on social media can get you fired if they reflect negatively on your company. The problem we run into is when we allow one thing to set us off without really understanding the issue or taking it out of context. Which leads me to my next tip:

2. Do your research.

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I am going to be honest for a minute here… One of my biggest pet peeves is for people to post something on social media without doing any research and only responding or reposting something they saw someone else post. One of the greatest pieces of advice I have received on this issue is an article from a professor I had a few years ago, Butler Cain. Cain mentions making sure that you are doing research into the article before posting it and that it is coming from a trustworthy source. Most people know which news sites they can trust, but most tend to stick to news sources that tend to share similar views as them. Which is why it is often important to remember to…

3.Beware of Biases (and the third-person effect)

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We live in a digital age that allows us to have so much information at our fingertips that it is easy to find information that supports our point of view. It seems like every debate I see on social media is a constant battle of people posting articles and statistics that support their point of view. A debate like this often focuses more on who’s right instead of what’s right and turns personal very quickly. Our informational, ideological, and partisan biases hinder us from being able to see many issues objectively. I know that I personally tend to be affected by the third-person effect, which happens when we feel we are not affected or influenced by the mass media but others (the third-person) are. The third person effect is often associated with advertisements but can also be seen in political views also.

I was enrolled in a government college course while I was in high school that helped shape how I gain opinions on news/political issues. My teacher made us use the New York Times, often seen as a more liberal source, to get all of the information for our assignments. He mentioned that since we are surrounded by conservative sources in the south, we needed to learn how to get our news from several sources. This helped me to get my news from numerous sources so that I am able to get the full story and not just the things that go along with my political views. To be fully educated on issues, you have to be willing to dig a little deeper and understand issues beyond how it is spun or media bias.

4. Understand That You Cannot Change Someone’s Viewpoint

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Like I mentioned before, it is easy for us to get caught up in the emotions involved with a political discussion and feel like we have to constantly defend our views. There is a very slim chance that we will change someone’s mind just by posting a political rant on Facebook or commenting on someone else’s post. In fact, there are brain studies that say that it is nearly impossible to change someone’s political belief.

Regarding this issue, Doris A. Graber and Johanna Dunaway state in their book, Mass Media and American Politics, that “Failure to pay attention to news may also spring from psychological factors. Cognitive balance theories postulate that people avoid information that disturbs their peace of mind, offends their political and social taste, or conflicts with information, attitudes, and feelings that they already hold. People are uncomfortable when exposed to ideas that differ from their own or that question the validity of their ideas. To avoid discomfort, people ignore discordant information. Selective exposure reduces the already slim chance that learning about different views will alter an individual’s established beliefs, attitudes, and feelings. Selectivity helps to explain the considerable stability in basic political orientations, such as party allegiance or foreign policy preferences.”

While political discussion allows growth in society that can bring positive change, heated political debates will do little to nothing to make a difference in people’s individual views. Since it is almost impossible to change someone’s political views, our political post on social media does not have nearly the impact we think we are going to have. That is why it is often important to…

5. Take a step back and disconnect

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There are numerous reasons to take an occasional break from social media and disconnect for a while. It is especially important whenever we are fired up about an issue. Instead of posting something that we will regret, or will get us fired, sometimes we should leave the computer or phone at home and go on a walk, get exercise, or spend time with loved ones. Social media tends to draw us in and keep our focus for extended amounts of time. We get addicted to the drama, attention, and desire to feel included that we often forget the most important things in life. Although it mainly focuses on taking a break from social media when you run a business, Forbes posted an article that talks about the benefits of taking a break. At the end of the day, we aren’t going to change someone’s political views, we will probably end up more upset, and we might lose friends in the process. Sometimes it is better to agree to disagree and acknowledge that political diversity and freedom of speech is what makes America what it is today. Change never happens from attacking or belittling someone because of their views. Change happens when we come together, recognize that it is okay to not agree with someone, and work together to bring positive change to the world we live in.

Craving to Be Appreciated

One of the most important things I have learned is that everyone has a story to tell, you just have to take the time to listen. American philosopher, William James, said, “The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.” All it takes for most people to feel appreciated is for others to take an interest in them. Sometimes we are so caught up in trying to get our opinion heard, that we miss out on learning valuable lessons from those around us.

When I lived in Michigan as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I met several people who taught me a lot that I cherish in my everyday life. One of those individuals was Tom Springstead. Mr. Springstead used to be a member of a major gang in Detriot, MI. While I visited Mr. Spreadstead several times to read the scriptures to him since he lost his sight, there were also valuable life lessons that Mr. Springstead was able to share with me. This lessons allowed me to have a new perspective on life.  Mr. Springstead passed away a few months after I met him. If I would have only been concerned with myself and didn’t take the time to listen, I would have missed out on the opportunity to learn from Mr. Springstead.

Cale Bloskas (left) with Tom Springstead (right), a few months before Mr. Springstead passed away. Image by Daniel Call

Often times, the things that are right are not the most popular. Instead of trying to understand someone else’s views, many people are often close minded and stuck in their ways. Many people allow their obsession to be right, to drive them to do radical things. There have been several assassinations and assassination attempts of US Presidents and other powerful world leaders because people do not agree with their ideology.

President John F. Kennedy with his wife, Jacqueline, and Texas Governor John Connally with his wife, Nellie, shortly before President Kennedy was assassinated. Image by Walt Cisco, Dallas Morning News

In his inaugural address a few years before his assassination, President John F. Kennedy said, “All this will not be finished in the first one hundred days, nor in the first one thousand days, nor in the life of this administration. Nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin.” We have to recognize that a big change starts with a simple idea. Instead of simply thinking that we are always right, we have to learn to see things from other peoples point of view

Someone’s ideas or views should not have to be earth-shattering for us to recognize and appreciate them. If we spend all our time trying to make others think that we are important and trying to feel appreciated by them, we will miss out on the important things we can learn.

American philosopher, Ralph Waldo Emerson, said, “Every man I meet is my superior is some way. In that, I learn of him.” If we strive to live this philosophy in our life we will not only be able to learn important lessons but we will also build better relationships with those around us.

The Root of Mankind’s Problems

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Religion and politics seem to be the reason behind almost every argument on Facebook, article in the news and war fought around the world. We are taught to avoid discussing these subjects in our conversations. Although we try to avoid them, they tend to be at the core of who we are and how we define ourselves.

American philosopher, John Dewey said, “the deepest urge in human nature is the desire to be important.” Many people fill this void in their lives by engaging in different religious and political circles. We have values that are instilled in us in our youth that we continue to develop throughout our lives. These values are also often shaped by our individual religious and political views.

Many people try to keep politics and religion separated, but in reality, they influence each other. The separation of church and state is something in the constitution that often causes people to be uncomfortable and defensive when they start to influence each other. As Forbes contributor, Bill Flax illustrates in this article, “our forefathers never sought to evict the church from society… Eliminating the very foundations of America’s heritage would have horrified them. On few issues was there more unanimity.”

Instead, the founding fathers of this country embraced the differences that people had. They sought to unite them with true freedom for everyone regardless of religious or political affiliation. These freedoms have started several heated debates recently because everyone feels like he or she is right. People want others to share their beliefs because it validates their beliefs and as Dewey stated above, fulfills their “desire to be important.”

As the video on this website illustrates, everyone feels like they are doing what is right and believes in the cause they are fighting for. We will only have real change in society when we start to work together and understand the views of those we disagree with.

My goal is never to change anyone’s political or religious views. I recognize that these beliefs shape each of us and make the United States a beautiful country to live in. Instead, my goal is to look at current events and offer my opinion on how both sides of the debate can find common ground when we work together. I hope that you will continue to join me and provide your input as I dive into some of the political and religious discussions that continue to happen in the US and around the world.

Introductory Post

I am Cale Bloskas. I am originally from Anton, TX which is right outside of Lubbock. I started school at ENMU in fall 2011 but ended up transferring to West Texas A&M in Spring 2013 because they provided me with more opportunities that met my interest. After a year and a half at WT, I put school and work on hold for two years to be a full-time missionary for my church in Michigan. I got back about a year ago and worked in Lubbock at an eye doctor before getting married this past July and continuing my schooling here at ENMU. I will graduate this May with a degree in Mass Communications with an emphasis in Public Relations.

As for the theme of this blog I have not decided what exactly I want to focus on. I have a huge interest in sports, politics, philosophy, leadership skills, and religion. I feel like a few of those topics tie together, so it is possible that I will be able to tie in a few different themes throughout my post.

(Photo Credit: Rochelle Divett Photography)