Carlos Whittaker is a modern day renaissance man. A popular musician, influential blogger, and a YouTube sensation thanks for a viral video called “Single Ladies Devastation” (embedded below). But now with the release of his book, “Moment Maker: You Can Live Life or It Will Live You,” you can add author and purveyor of the “good life” to that list. Here, we discuss how he wants to help people create meaningful moments in a flimsy, digital age and whether his ideas are “Oprah-esque.”
RNS: As you surveyed culture, what did you see that convinced you to write “Moment Maker”?
CW: At first, it wasn’t so much surveying culture at large as it was surveying the culture in my own home. And there was that moment for sure. I was outside throwing the frisbee with my son and captured a fantastic moment on my iPhone. I immediately stopped playing catch with him and uploaded the moment to instagram. I then scrolled through my feed for some time until I saw my son sitting on the grass just waiting. That is when I realized that we are so busy trying to capture the perfect moment that we are not living any of them. And so began my study into this strange moment-less existence many of us live.
RNS: Ok, so what is a “moment maker?”
CW: A moment maker is someone who is going to take each moment for all its worth. Sometimes this person will screw up a moment royally. Sometimes this person will hit a grand slam with a moment. But either way this person doesn’t let the moment go to waste.
RNS: So can we really create these moments in our lives? That sounds a little Oprah-esque to me.
CW: Doesn’t everything start with Oprah? My answer to this is absolutely yes. And I’m not talking about Oprah’s-50th-birthday-Black-Eyed-Peas-flash-mob kind of moments. I’m talking about intentionally creating moments on a daily basis that make the world better. We sell ourselves short when it comes to our creativity. For example, when you order a drink for a friend, have the barista write a word on the side of the cup that says why you are grateful for your friend. It’s the small moments that lead to the huge “Moment Maker” life.
RNS: Are there ways we can be more present? To be aware and receive the moments that are unfolding in our lives right now?
CW: Here, my friend, is where I’m going to get really Oprah on you. In my book, I talk about “received moments” akin to what Oprah calls “aha moments.” These are moments where your ethos shifts and your paradigm opens wide. Most of the time these moments only require us to pay attention.
A few weeks ago, I drove by an 80-year-old hitchhiker holding a sign that read “Dr. Needs A Ride To Memphis.” I turned around and asked him if I could help. So I called him some help and in our short conversation I realized that he was not in his right mind. He was not homeless. He was confused. My aging father quickly came to the forefront of my mind, and I have since began having conversations with him about keeping his mind healthy and what happens when he no longer can care for himself. None of these conversations would have happened had I not stopped. Receive a learning in everything you do. We will triple our wisdom in a day!
RNS: And what about when life is a mess?
CW: This is where I talk about “rescuing moments.” I didn’t want to write a book filled with fluffy clouds and rainbows. Because that is not reality for most of us. Some of us are facing small messes and others, catastrophic messes. I love to tell people that many times rescue happens in silence. We are so quick to try and fix things. To try and find a sermon to make us feel better. To try and find another door that “God may open.” But its been my experience that the rescue often happens after we stop and pause. In the silence, in the pause, is where so much healing happens. No matter the size of your mess, pausing before you try and clean it up is always a good idea.
RNS: Finally, almost seven million people have seen your family on the viral youtube video “Single Ladies Devastation.” Tell us, in a sentence, what that even is.
CW: It is a moment when I was recording my children singing Beyonce’s hit song, “Single Ladies” and I told my son Losiah that he was in fact, not a single lady, in which he had a massive meltdown on camera. Does a run-on sentence count?