Thursday, June 9, 2011

Emerson Post #7- Message

To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men, that is genius. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

What is burning deep inside of you? If you could spread your personal message RIGHT NOW to 1 million people, what would you say?

That we are all vulnerable and we all need eachother. That true greatness comes from humility, and true excellence comes from diligence. That to expose ourselves to others takes courage, and that courage strengthens us and strengthens those around us. That emotion is endearing and empathy is empowering. That in being ourselves we become what others need.

That I have mastered none of these things.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Emerson Post #6- Goals

Our arts, our occupations, our marriages, our religion, we have not chosen, but society has chosen for us. We are parlour soldiers. We shun the rugged battle of fate, where strength is born. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Next to Resistance, rational thought is the artist or entrepreneurs worst enemy. Bad things happen when we employ rational thought, because rational thought comes from the ego. Instead, we want to work from the Self, that is, from instinct and intuition, from the unconscious.

A child has no trouble believing the unbelievable, nor does the genius or the madman. Its only you and I, with our big brains and our tiny hearts, who doubt and overthink and hesitate.” - Steven Pressfield, Do the Work

The idea of “being realistic” holds all of us back. From starting a business or quitting a job to dating someone who may not be our type or moving to a new place – getting “real” often means putting your dreams on hold.

Today, let’s take a step away from rational thought and dare to be bold. What’s one thing you’ve always wanted to accomplish but have been afraid to pursue? Write it down. Also write down the obstacles in your way of reaching your goal. Finally, write down a tangible plan to overcome each obstacle.

The only thing left is to, you know, actually go make it happen. What are you waiting for?

I've always wanted to learn to play the piano. The obstacle for me has been the time it takes to make it pleasantly enjoyable. It's a daunting time sink. I don't know if it's something worth beginning for me, because I'm not sure I'm willing to dedicate enough time to it to become great at it. It's always on the back of my mind, but I don't have the wherewithal to make it a reality.

A goal I am in the process of achieving is getting my speed back for rugby. I love lifting weights, and as I became stronger I began to look at competition outlets. Obviously there was competitive lifting. It's appealing in the sense that it directly relates to the activity, but for me team sports and competition are where I have always felt at home. Rugby was something I loved doing and stopped due to a leave of absence related to a sabbatical/internship in school and a renewed focus on school upon my return.

I always wanted to go back and never did so I took the plunge last week. It's destroyed me so far, but it's been exciting to see a measurable change in myself. I'm getting my speed back and in a few months I should be highly competitive at my position. We'll see what time holds for the future, but after the first week things seem promising.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Emerson Post #5- Travel

If we live truly, we shall see truly. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Not everyone wants to travel the world, but most people can identify at least one place in the world they’d like to visit before they die. Where is that place for you, and what will you do to make sure you get there?

(Author: Chris Guillebeau)

For me my location of choice would have to be Asia. I haven't been there before and the difference in culture is very interesting to me. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance made me fall in love with the region. Being somewhere very different from you causes you to learn so much about yourself and exposes your beliefs that perhaps were so intertwined with yourself that you never saw them before.

To make sure I get there I will plan a trip down the road. It's on my list after Australia and possibly Macchu Picchu. Preferably it will be a trip that is several years down the road as I would like to spend a significant amount of time there as to not waste the airfare.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Emerson Post #4- Challenges

That which each can do best, none but his Maker can teach him. Where is the master who could have taught Shakespeare? Where is the master who could have instructed Franklin, or Washington, or Bacon, or Newton? . . . Shakespeare will never be made by the study of Shakespeare. Do that which is assigned you, and you cannot hope too much or dare too much. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Identify one of your biggest challenges at the moment (ie I don’t feel passionate about my work) and turn it into a question (ie How can I do work I’m passionate about?) Write it on a post-it and put it up on your bathroom mirror or the back of your front door. After 48-hours, journal what answers came up for you and be sure to evaluate them.

Bonus: tweet or blog a photo of your post-it.

My biggest challenge is getting it all to fit together. I'm doing decent at a lot of things but I feel in a transition right now. I'm getting better but not there. I know you never get there, but I'm on the cusp of really getting somewhere fantastic.

It's tough and focus on goals and taking it day by day is the way I need to manifest this. Busting out the daily goal board is probably in order.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Emerson Post #3- A Dangerous idea

It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude. - Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

The world is powered by passionate people, powerful ideas, and fearless action. What’s one strong belief you possess that isn’t shared by your closest friends or family? What inspires this belief, and what have you done to actively live it?

(Author: Buster Benson)

The belief I try to foster in myself that everyone doesn't share is that you can do anything that you want to. In reading about great men, you find that limitations are more or less the creation of the self and not society.

To try something new is really more about overcoming fear. Obstacles are there, sure, but they exist to repel those who don't want it bad enough. The higher the obstacles the more special the goal.

Individuals have a way of getting wrapped up in this cookie cutter life. Get married, buy a car, buy a house, have kids, buy a bigger house, and retire. We find a job where we get paid well enough to live within predefined means. Consumerism provides us with a safety of new things to show off our "interesting" life. It's much more rare for the individual to pursue an interesting life on its own merits.

This idea came from reading blogs/books of successful people and realizing that my belief system and the opportunities that existed were largely lies that I had created for myself. In my life, it made me apply for a job I had no business applying for and getting it. I've taken sabbaticals at age 27 and done things just to see if I could.

I could always do more, but now I have more of a "why not" outlook than a "I can't" outlook and that has made all the difference for me.

Emerson Post #2- A Sentence

Your genuine action will explain itself, and will explain your other genuine actions. Your conformity explains nothing. The force of character is cumulative. – Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

If ‘the voyage of the best ship is a zigzag line of a hundred tracks,’ then it is more genuine to be present today than to recount yesterdays. How would you describe today using only one sentence? Tell today’s sentence to one other person. Repeat each day.

(Author: Liz Danzico)

Good times with good friends, nuzzled around a productive workday.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Emerson Post #1- Fifteen Minutes

We are afraid of truth, afraid of fortune, afraid of death, and afraid of each other. Our age yields no great and perfect persons. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

You just discovered you have fifteen minutes to live.

1. Set a timer for fifteen minutes.
2. Write the story that has to be written.

Fifteen minutes isn't very long to reflect on one's life or what one wants to say. So in that case I will just speak. Due to the brevity of time forgive the jumbled nature or my comments.

It's tough to say what makes one's life great. I don't think it's the same for everyone nor do I have the answer for everyone. The things I remember most about my life are the things I have done with others I care about. Friends and family are what make life worth living, and how we exist beyond our finite life. All things come to an end, but when we give of ourselves to others it stays with them and should we do something fantastic well perhaps it will change them enough for the better that the individual passes it on to others, and so through acts of kindness we can live on forever.

The human experience is so magnificent and yet so mundane, no? Regardless of how fantastic of a life one lives there is ample time for nonsense. Time spent doing things that don't matter or that we would rather not be doing. Why is that? Maybe we grow in these moments in ways we can't yet fathom. Do we develop patience, focus, wantingness? I can't say for certain.

Money can't be the answer for anything because at the end of the day it's just there and you always feel like you could have more. I don't see it as a limitation in my life. I have enough to do the things I want, and yet I strive for more. Perhaps, it's seen as a scorecard. That's Warren Buffett's premise. That we merely use it as a way to keep track of who has done what and so we feel that the more we have the better we won at life. There is some truth to this idea. Society pays us for our contributions, though it seems unequitable because we overvalue some things (athletics/entertainment) and undervalue others (education).

If I have one desire for those around me it is to live their dreams. It is so easy to get locked into routine and live it. To do the same thing over again. To find the best use for our paycheck, spend it, and get the next. Spend some time frequently questioning why you do what you do and try alternatives. We have a set time here and we may as well take advantage of it. I've found that our only limitations in life are those we instill upon ourselves. Hard things worth doing are hard to prevent people that don't want it bad enough from doing it themselves.

I used to believe that life was about finding what you are good at and doing that. I was wrong. There is no such thing as exceptional talent without exceptional effort. Any successful individual you read about has struggled to get where they are at. It is human nature to try and find the shortcut. There isn't one. You will not find unbridled success without developing a talent. Enjoying the cultivation process helps.

Take the time to believe in yourself and let others know you believe in them. Empowerment is something that is cheap and can have a profound impact. I'm very bad at this, so I apologize for my shortcomings here. When you see someone up against the wall help them see over it. Sometimes it only takes a change in view to continue to push.

Create something. Whether that be a blog, art, whatever, it keeps you on the edge of your seat. Do something because you can and because you enjoy it.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Quotes- Blackbird

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise
Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these sunken eyes and learn to see
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to be free
Blackbird fly, blackbird fly
Into the light of the dark black night
-The Beatles

This song is my life right now. I can't stop listening to it.

It doesn't matter what you have done in the past. F*** your past. You may have been broken, but today you can fly. All the pain, all the crap you have gone through is gone. It is not who you are now. Open your eyes, see the world, face your fear and go in to the night. We are not prisoners of our past; we can open our eyes and change in an instant. Define yourself by your dreams and fly.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Quotes- And Then Some

And then some… these three little words are the secret to success. They are the difference between average people and top people in most companies. The top people always do what is expected …and then some. They are thoughtful of others; they are considerate and kind …and then some. They meet their responsibilities fairly and squarely …and then some. They are good friends and helpful neighbors …and then some. They can be counted on in an emergency …and then some. I am thankful for people like this, for they make the world a better place. Their spirit of service is summed up in these three little words …and then some.
-Carl Holmes

If you are doing what is just asked of you in your job, relationships, life, etc. you are short selling yourself. If you aren't giving more than the minimum you will never cultivate anything of excellence. We are all painters, we draw the landscape of our lives with our actions daily. If you can't give your best, than you are in the wrong line of work or around the wrong people. It's time for a change. Creating your ideal world takes time; plant the seeds today so you can see fruit tomorrow. You're worth it.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Quotes- Insanity

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
-Albert Einstein

Last night I sat in bed trying to fall asleep for over 3 hours. Getting up at 5:24am to go lift was looking more and more daunting as the minutes rolled by and I laid awake unable to sleep. I sat in bed thinking about how tired I would be in 4 hours. "I will probably end up skipping I am going to be so tired," I thought.

I've done it that way hundreds of times. "oops! too tired, back to bed, we'll make it up the next day." I've half assed it plenty, so my results have been half assed. As I lay there I realized that excellence would require me to be different. If I wanted different results I had to change. So at 1am still unable to sleep I got out of bed, got dressed, and went to the gym. I wasn't excited about it and I didn't have my best workout, but I got done what I needed to do to be successful.

I wanted different results than I've gotten in the past.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Quotes- Girls Are Trouble

When women love us, they forgive us everything, even our crimes; when they do not love us, they give us credit for nothing, not even our virtues.
-Honore de Balzac

Have a good weekend!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Quotes- Be Real

The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
—William Arthur Ward

Don't be a complainer. Complainers change little and instead spend their time nagging the status quo. Waiting for someone else to make a change. And don't be overly optimistic to the point that you sit and know that things will be better in the end. Waiting for the universe to change itself.

Instead, be real. Identify where you want the change to occur and start changing. It's simply amazing how little effort it takes to change your circumstance. 365 days is a long time. A minor change a day turns into a major change real fast. Adjust your sails and head for your goal.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Quotes- You Have to Work

The will to win means nothing without the will to prepare.
-Juma Ikangaa

I had the opportunity this week to speak with several high net worth individuals. Guys who buy and sell companies for a living. The secret to true wealth? There is no secret. It's grinding it out step by step until you hit then going after it again. It's the accumulation of due diligence and effort. Shortcuts don't bring success. I used to naively think that if I found the right project then I could work a little to get a lot. It's not true, at the end of the day you get compensated for what you do. And if you aren't doing much, well you aren't making much either. Your life is worth your effort.

Friday, February 18, 2011

200 Posts in the Bank

Well I've now written 200 posts on this blog. The first post occurred in 2009. When I go back and look through old posts, I've changed a lot. This blog has changed a lot. My writing has gotten better (hopefully in your opinion too). I'm doing now as a career what I hoped to be doing then. I've grown up, at least a little.

This blog was created to help me with my writing, and I feel like that goal has been accomplished. I write better, but I have a long way to go. I'm far from decent, but I've realized that growth comes from persistence and application. I started out with a lot of thoughts and have become more of a man of action. Action is the only way we get a long in this life.

So with that said, thank you for reading. I hope at least a few of you have benefited from my little project. I know I've benefited greatly from writing it. And yes we need a quote:

To Infinity and Beyond!

Ps. Everyone have a fantastic weekend.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Asking for a Raise/Negotiating

The power or negotiating is important. In fact, in all my studies on financial independence it's the signal number one way to save more money. If you make more money you have more to save. Surprisingly most people do not negotiate salaries.

If I took my first job offer without negotiating I would be getting paid 18% less than I do now before bonus. Factor in my bonus and it is closer to 20%. All I did was counteroffer, not once, but THREE TIMES.

When I announced my departure at my previous job, I met with the partner in charge of retention. He asked me what I was making and I told him after a little prodding. He looked at me and told me to leave because I was making more than any of my departed peers, and I would find out I was earning more than people with three to four years of additional experience. I was an average employee who did exceptional research in regards to negotiating my salary, and it paid off.

At the end of the day I read a book on negotiating and a couple blog posts. So for approximately 3 hours of research I got a 50% increase in salary with bonus. Worth the time if you ask me. What you make now determines what you will make in the future, in fact I have never had a job interview or held an interview where the candidate's current salary wasn't discussed. There are ways to tactfully dodge this question. You will rarely ever see a huge jump in pay because your hiring employer incorrectly assumes you are getting paid slightly less than you are worth.

Once you find a job you like it's important to periodically review your salary structure. Winning the wage game is the result of incremental raises over time. If you are in your current job here are some reasons you should be getting a raise:

-You are assigned new responsibilities
-You take on someone else's workload because they left/got fired and you feel like you can do the additional work long term
-You don't have an annual review with a raise or your raises aren't structured
-You get moved to a different office or location
-You believe you are outperforming your peers

The bottom line is that no one is going to do this for you. Companies rarely throw extra money at employees if they don't have to. If you are adding value and are worth keeping around then you should be compensated for that. If you aren't adding value, then you should be working somewhere else.

If you want a raise here are a couple of tips:
-Make a list of how you have contributed (tasks, value, etc.)
-Know how long it has been since your last raise
-Know what people in your position at other places are making (google "find salaries", check job postings)
-Don't accept the first offer unless it was what you were expecting. A negotiation is a two way street.

If you want more information here are some posts that go more in depth. Additionally, if you have job specific questions feel free to contact me.:

-Managing your career
-How to negotiate better than 99% of people
-Don't reveal exactly how much you make
-Negotiating Your Salary

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Quotes- Plan

Maturity includes the recognition that no one is going to see anything in us that we don't see in ourselves. Stop waiting for a producer. Produce yourself.
-Marianne Williamson

A lot of us spend our lives waiting. Waiting for the right moment, the right person, the right job, the right circumstances to happen. Do you know where you want to be in five years? What if you do what you are doing now for the next five years, are you content? I know where I am and where I want to be. I’ve developed a plan to get to my end goal. Most folks bob on the open sea and amble through life. Be better than average. To put it another way:

If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.
-Jim Rohn

This is why the mental aspect (plan) of change is the hardest part. We have to convince ourselves first that it’s something we are capable of and can complete. Then we have to design a strategy we will use when plowing through the adversity. Anytime we change something about ourselves it’s not easy. Yet this step most people skip. You can’t lean on a whim when you start to struggle. You have to have a well planned thought; a vision of a finished product. So what’s your plan?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Quotes- Persistence

1) Figure out what you want, and the price you’ll have to pay to get it.
2) Resolve to pay that price.
-Keys to Success Bunker Hunt

The urge to quit is strongest right before you make it.
-Bob Parsons, founder of GoDaddy

An interesting article in the Wall Street Journal indicated that the most successful artists were those who believed they were destined to be famous. Is God really concerned with the popularity of starlets? No, obviously not, but a funny thing happens when you believe in destiny. You can't take no for an answer. Your heart won't let you. You stand in the face of all accusers, all road blocks, and grit your teeth and persist. Because you know something they don't. That it's your destiny.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Quotes- Dream

It's Valentine's Day, I know... I just wrote about love so if you want to read it then click this text.

Everyday I see my dream.

We are capable of living the life we want to live, our only obstacle is ourself. You see limitations are most often perceived rather than realities. Walls exist to stop the people who aren't willing to sacrifice enough. For most anything you want to accomplish there is someone who did something similar with less. The human will when maximized is a powerful tool. You can create your dreams. If you wake up too many days in a row realizing that the life you live isn't your dream; well, only you can change it.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Quotes- Choosing Tomorrow

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?"
"That depends a good deal on where you want to get to," said the Cat.
"I don’t much care where--" said Alice.
"Then it doesn’t matter which way you go," said the Cat.
"--so long as I get SOMEWHERE," Alice added as an explanation.
"Oh, you’re sure to do that," said the Cat, "if you only walk long enough."
-Alice in Wonderland

Know where you want to go. What you do today has an effect on your tomorrow. No one can decide your destiny for you. If you leave it to chance, then don't be disappointed when you've arrived. You didn't care which way you went, and well... now you're there.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Quotes- Enthusiasm

Nothing great ever happens without enthusiasm.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Extraordinary results take extraordinary enthusiasm. You see the success is not the person who had the grand idea. It's the person who waded through the mud and the crap to reach the carrot on the other side. You have to want it bad enough, because if it was easy or simple than it would already be done.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Quotes- Value

Try not to become a man of success but rather to become a man of value.
-Albert Einstein

How will you use your blessings? Success is something personal, and value is something offered. We all come into this world with nothing and we all leave with nothing. The only remains we truly have are the lives we have touched. Make a footprint of joy wherever you go. Help others achieve their dreams. It's the best legacy you can leave.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Quotes- Start

You only get results from the physical actions you take, never for the ideas you have.
-Steve Pavlina

I have a habit of collecting thoughts. Quotes (no surprise there), books, ideas, etc. When starting a workout/diet program I'll read a ton on the subject and try to tweak the tiniest thing to get optimal results. You have to be careful. Sometimes that leads to inaction. You spend all your time on tweaking and fixing that you fail to do anything. A bad workout/diet program works better than a great idea of the best one. If you aren't sure the best approach just start. You'll achieve more than if you sit another day and think about it.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Quotes- Today

I am from the future. I am here to tell you that, today, you have the opportunity to change everything. Your whole live hinges on today’s actions. If you do not act today, if you do not grab control of your fate today, your life will take a completely different trajectory. One path leads to greatness, and the other path leads to a life where you will look back on today as the day where you could have spoken up, today is the day where you could have reached out. You will look back realizing that today was the one chance you had to change everything. Do not let this moment pass you by.
-Zen Habits Blog

What have you done over the past week? What if you do this for the next five years? Will you be who you want to be? I'll read this quote and realize that I have developed a stagnation in my daily habits and need to change my course. The things I am doing with my time have little positive effect on the future. You don't change the you five years from now five years from now. You have to change today.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Quotes- It's All Relative

Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. That's relativity.
-Albert Einstein

It's the weekend. I hope you have a great one. Do something fun and make someone smile.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Quotes- Be You

Be yourself because everyone else is already taken.
-Oscar Wilde

People respond to openness and vulnerability because genuineness is inspiring and addicting. Why is that? It's something everyone can do. Because it is so rare. It takes risk to be just who you are instead we conform to social dogma, our environment, or try and emulate someone else. Don't, if you want to change something about yourself then do it, but now you are unique, today you are beautiful. The world is spoiled with wannabes, but there is only one . And we all love something new.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Quotes- Brick Walls

A little drained from yesterday...

Brick walls are there to show you how badly you want something.
-Randy Pausch, the last lecture

If it was easy everyone would have it. If it was simple it would not taste as sweet. If it was a whim it would not be worth the effort. It is hard, difficult, and tough. Go Get It, IT IS YOURS.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Quotes- Love

Be very careful if you make a woman cry, because God counts her tears. The woman came out of a man's rib. Not from his feet to be walked on. Not from his head to be superior, but from the side to be equal; under the arm to be protected, and next to the heart to be loved.
-Hebrew Talmud

In any relationship there comes a moment when you must make a choice. You must decide to put someone else and their interest before your own. Often this choice, when made in the other person's interest, will cause you pain. And yet regardless of the outcome of that particular relationship these choices define who you are and what your final relationship will be. Love can't be about you because love is not selfish. True love must be about someone else.

Resolve how you will treat the one you will be with forever and treat those you date accordingly. Everyone deserves your best, if you don't give your best perhaps "the one" will move on; because at one point in his life he resolved to give his best in every relationship. And to be with someone who does not give her best would mean that he settled for something less than what he deserves. He knows for him not to give his best would be a disservice to the one he would eventually love forever.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Quotes- Success

Success unshared is failure.
-John Paul DeJoria

Individual accolades don't define you. What you do with those successes does. I've tried my best to share in the joy in others lives and give back when I can to my friends and family. It's the most fulfilling part of any success. Ask yourself how you can improve the lives of those around you. It doesn't have to be monetary. Give what you have an abundance of: time, money, a listening ear, etc. We all have something to give and we all can improve our world.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Quotes- Seriously!

Don't take life too seriously; you'll never get out alive.
-Catch Me if You Can

Have a good weekend. Do something crazy. Be amazing.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Quotes- Mistakes

If you don’t make mistakes, you’re not working on hard enough problems. And that’s a big mistake.
-Frank Wiczek, 2004 Nobel Prize Winner

We grow when working on the fringe of our competence. To do something easy doesn't push us to be better. It takes a challenge. A result of this is that sometimes we will fail. That failure is merely a lesson. A lesson that grows our competence and makes us better people. Your mistakes are your lessons. Learn from them and become better. If you stop making mistakes than you are stagnant.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

How I Lost 30 Pounds of Fat- 2011 Mini Update

So it's been exactly one week and I have lost about five pounds give or take. I have gotten use to my pill regiment which was my biggest change. I look leaner and am taking pictures so afterward I can do a sort of before and after montage. If you are following a long or have questions message me as I have been talking to peeps on an individual basis. Two more people started this week and the other person through week 1 lost 7 pounds (awesome!). Look for a more robust update at the end of week 2.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Quotes- Nothing Gold Can Stay

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower,
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
-Robert Frost

Do you remember what it's like to be engulfed by a new passion? Be it someone in your life, a new job, or a new goal. It's intoxicating. You can't stop thinking about it, it consumes you. And then... well and then reality hits. You see the flaws or a day doesn't goes as planned or you see some work in front of you. This is the real test. You see it takes work to achieve great things. Cowards run to the next surprise because it requires no commitment no sacrifice. The truth of life is that there are no perfections because we are imperfect people. We have to work on our goals to achieve the best in life. Pouring yourself into something takes vulnerability, it takes commitment. Know what you want; then make the commitment and sacrifice to get it. Running is for the weak. When you see a glimmer of what you want YOU MOVE to cultivate it and see it through. No one else can do that for you.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Lessons from Vancouver #3- Moments

This is my last post from my trip to Vancouver

As we rode on the bus back to Vancouver I couldn’t help but look out the window at the amazing scenery around me. I don’t know if living here I could ever get used to the bay surrounded by snow covered mountains. It looked like a postcard honestly. Regardless, I was thankful to be on a bus and not in the elements; it was raining and 30 degrees outside. A sharp wind made the rain pierce your clothes like tiny knives regardless of how many layers you wore.

So I was surprised as we pulled up to a secluded bus stop along the railroad track and saw a lone individual standing in a jacket, head down, trying hard to battle the harsh conditions. You could tell the individual had been there awhile and the walk couldn’t have been short as the bus stop was on a railroad track in a remote area. We hadn’t seen anyone on any of these stops there or coming back so seeing a person out in this weather caught my attention. As our bus pulled up an older woman looked at the doors through her coat with a smile on her face. Eventually her gaze was rewarded as her husband, old himself, waddled down the stairs. They embraced in the rain, he kissed her on the cheek, and she smiled; smiled in a way that comes from a long deep rooted love that makes waiting in 30 degree rain worth it. It seemed to happen in slow motion. As the bus pulled away the two began down the railroad tracks hand in hand, surely now the wind didn't seem so cold.

Of all that I saw this was probably the most poignant moment for me. You see we live in a beautiful and amazing world. As I said before, it’s important to see and experience all you can. It will change you for the better. At the end of the day as your life comes to an end remember what’s truly important. Focus on your goals, but remember that the lives we touch and the way we change the world for others is what will stand the test of time. Don’t take those moments for granted. There is always another mountain to see, but the moments that are limited and the most special are the ones we share with those we care most about. And it’s also the easiest thing to take for granted. Don’t ever take it for granted.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Quotes- Fate

Each man is the architect of his own fate.
-Appius Claudius

We can't hold ourselves hostage to fate. Fate is our perception and the result of our past actions. Sure some things are unavoidable, but when so much is in our control we can hold ourselves hostage to the minuscule effects of chance. We will be who want to be because dreams are for those who dare enough to pay the price. If you want changes you have to initiate it and fight for it. You have to make an effort. Live the relationships and habits that will create your perfection. You can't assume you will change your behavior or actions based on some outside force or person. Fate is the reward for those who have carried themselves as far as they could. In work, love, and life don't just leave it to fate, create the circumstances as much of you can and the universe will respond to your persistence.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Quotes- Inspire

If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the people to gather wood, divide the work, and give the orders. Instead, teach to yearn for the vast and endless sea.
-Antoine De Saint-Exupery

I talk a lot about perception. It directs your life. It's what you see. The ability to inspire people to see what you see is what makes great leaders. Steve Jobs took a medical leave of absence this week. It's not said in the reports, but the concern is that the captain is no longer steering the ship. The fear is not that Apple will lose their culture, it's that Apple will lose its inspiration.

It was interesting reading The Pixar Touch by David Price. You see during the 90's Jobs purchased Pixar from LucasFilms. Jobs also started NeXt (eventually bought by Apple) and was completely immersed in the project. Pixar was an after thought. In fact, Jobs tried to sell Pixar more than once though he would spend more than $50M on the fledgling company.

An interesting take away from the book was the meetings between Pixar and Jobs. Jobs never liked requests for more money, giving $45 million extra to an unprofitable company for 6 years doesn't sit well with anyone, but the Pixar team would have a plan going forward and come out with a different one they were even more excited about. Jobs has a way of making you feel that great things will happen if you follow his plan. Jobs can make you believe in his idea and all of a sudden your course is his course. It's better to make someone your ally than force someone toward a destination they don't believe in.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Lessons from Vancouver #2- Do You

As I was driving to Whistler the Bay around Vancouver is surrounded by snow tipped mountains. As if you are sneaking into some uncharted lake that has been preserved and kept in its natural state. Aside from small fishing houses dotting little forested islands there isn't much in the way of man made... well, anything. As I sat on the bus staring at the sight before me I wondered how I would convey through words this moment and capture even a fraction of it in my blog. I determined I would show a picture, but the picture wouldn't do it justice because it could never capture the expanse, or allow you to feel the sheer presence that is almost ominous but at the same time peaceful, majestic, and glorious. And of course it made me think...

The value of direct experience cannot be under estimated. If I tell you about something and how it changed me you are limited by two things. Both my recollection, which isn't very good, as well the lesson I learned. You see when we do something or go somewhere the universe brings to our attention things we need to see and lessons we need to learn. We carve our reality through our perception.

It's why two people at the same event can have a completely unique experience. For example, an Uncle takes his 8 year old nephew Adam to a parade. Afterwards it's one of the best parades the Uncle has ever seen. The floats are amazing, great bands, and the atmosphere was just fantastic. He asks Adam about it and his response "I liked all the trucks". It took awhile for the Uncle to realize Adam was talking about the trucks that pulled the floats. You see Adam loved trucks as a ten year old boy and that is what shaped his perception.

So books and recounts of travels are important because we learn about the other person and a little about the place, but it can't be all we do. For each experience and moment has something to give to each person. We have to be there and receive our lesson. So like before do things, gain nuggets of wisdom. Become better and be the one who regals those with lessons and moments from a fruitful life.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Acquiring True Wealth

Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.
-Henry David Thoreau

In the past a benefit of wealthy individuals was the ability to have a diverse exposure to the world. That included traveling, languages, areas of study, public speaking, etc. Many lawyers for example had little professional training in law and instead relied on the apprenticeship of others. This idea of self made genius is lost on our generation; though it is present. In On Becoming A Leader, Warren Bennis mentions one of the key traits of good leaders is that they have an interesting life. Their broad knowledge base allows them to relate to others as well as teaches them life lessons they keep with them forever.

We live in a world now where knowledge, travel, and interesting activities are all more available than ever before, and we haven’t taken the opportunity to fully embrace what lays before us. What if you continued to watch tv for 30 years? Imagine where you would be. What if instead you learned Spanish, to play the piano, and traveled half the world? How would you be different then?

Doing the bare minimum leads to a boring life. As Lincoln said, “It’s not the years in your life, but the life in your years.” Make it count. Do something for the first time it will change you as a person. Acquire nuggets of knowledge that make you fascinating and reveal your true potential. You have one life to live and you’re worth it.

The time we live in now is fascinating and more open and available than ever before. Don’t waste it. You are your most precious investment. Invest wisely.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Lessons from Vancouver #1- Routine Tasks

I was in Vancouver skiing this last week and as with any trip being out of my element bubbles up new thoughts and angles to various ideas. This is part 1 of lessons learned.

In Anthropology no one is allowed to write about their own culture, because to do so is impossible. You can't write about anomalies from within your culture. In fact, an anthropology paper written on Americans by a Chinese man is very different from one written by an English woman because the perspective has shifted. On a more personal level, in our life or work we do routine tasks. Things that we do everyday. These everyday tasks at one time began because they had meaning and value. As something is thoughtlessly repeated over and over again it can start to lose all of its original value to the point where it is defined by its completion rather than by its value.

Let me give you an example. I was told to finish my plate at dinner as a child. The original reason for this was that my parents didn't always have enough food so to them wasting food wasn't an option. If they didn't eat it they may not be able to eat later. The pantry wasn't always stocked. So I did and still find it hard not to eat everything. The problem is that at a restaurant, where portions are high, this can cause overeating. The original meaning of the task (conserving food/no guarantee of your next meal) doesn't even exist anymore. And yet growing up an overweight child was told to finish his meal.

Or a work example. In audit you look at accounts that are material to the financial statements. This will change from year to year based on company activity. Your workpapers should change as a reflection of this, but often a team will accumulate more and more paperwork to be completed every year. The old workpapers still in the binder have lost their original value (to explain a material balance) and instead exist because it is what has always been done.

That's why it's important to explore habits. Never do things because they need to get done. Nothing needs to get done unless the value in the task at that moment is defined. When trying to illicit change often times you can find a culprit in a habit that you have created that no longer offers the value it once did. Shed the old habits once they no longer serve their original purpose and find something better.

Monday, January 10, 2011

How I Lost 30 Pounds of Fat 2011- This Week

So it's the week before the big start date. Here is what I recommend:

-Create a meal at least one day this week if not more that adheres to the guidelines. This will minimize the first run problems that can arise on the 17th.

-Write down three affirmations and post them somewhere you will see them everyday (fridge, door, mirror, etc.)

-Take measurements of your arms, hips, waist, thighs, calves, and neck. This way you can track progress. It also helps to take a picture. I will post my day 1 picture and stats on the website.

This is a simple list to do the week before and it will go a long way toward helping you have a successful day 1. As you read this I am on the slopes in Vancouver. I look forward to getting back to reality and starting fresh with everyone on the 17th!
Hope you are ready for the journey.

The path of a thousand miles starts with a single step.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Quotes- Absence

Absence is to love what wind is to fire; it extinguishes the small, it enkindles the great.
-Comte De Bussy-Rabutin

Our passions and those we care about are things we ache for when we are away. Not sure if you are doing what you should be doing? Then leave it for a week or two. Come back to it? Are you refreshed? Unexcited? Sometimes being away is the very thing you needed to discover your true passions.

I will be on vacation next week. I should have a post or two pop up during the week, but we will tune into our regularly scheduled program the week after.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Quotes- Focus

The competitor to be feared the most is the one who never worries about others at all and goes on making himself better all the time.
-Blake Griffin (derivation of Henry Ford Quote)

If you focus on others than you fail to achieve your best. It's easy to find someone less talented than you. You find them and you stop growing. You are already good. The thing is good is relative. It's also easy to find someone much more talented than you and give up. They are on a level you could never reach without substantial effort. The great competitors, leaders, individuals are people who focus on what they must do to achieve their best. Because their best is all they can give and all the task at hand deserves.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

How I Lost 30 Pounds of Fat 2011- Why You're Fat

I remember talking to my mom in the junior high/highschool time frame and coming away with the idea that I was overweight because her side of the family had was overweight; so it ran in the family. Genetics is an easy culprit because it’s vicitimless. It’s not my fault it’s just how my body reacts. It’s a load of crap. Man has existed for 2 million years or so and obesity is really a problem of the last 50 years or so. We've gone from almost 0% of the population being obese to 30% and it's growing. Genes don’t change that much in that short of a time.

Let’s take that one step further. Obesity is a symptom. It’s a symptom of a lifestyle. You can’t just fight the fat and eat less than you consume. That is an activity that you choose to make and when you stop the activity (get to your target weight/fall of the wagon) the weight comes back on because you attacked the symptom. The problem is your lifestyle. The problem was my lifestyle. I was sedentary, drank 2-4 cokes a day, and ate loads of sugary foods and processed carbs. I couldn’t lose it by going on a diet because it came back. I had to change my lifestyle. That is where the permanence comes from. You have to live your life differently.

And this will be one the hardest things that you ever do. And the most fulfilling. You have to see the mountain for what it is. You are changing your way of life. And that is why you must make the affirmation statements and mentally commit to the program. You have to change what you have been doing for 20+ years of your life. That’s hard. That takes commitment.

Einstein said that insanity was doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. You can’t diet to your weight and maintain it. You addressed a symptom, you have to commit to changing a lifestyle. Interestingly I read an article about a man that lose 300 pounds because the guilt he felt when he couldn’t fit into a chair at a restaurant with all his friends. It took drastic embarrassment/commitment to change his lifestyle. So what will you do to make the change permanent?

• Develop measurable weight loss goals
• Develop daily affirmations posted on your mirror to repeat and on your refrigerator to stop you when you try to cheat
• Keep a food log (mobile pics or written) to write down the food you eat on your diet days and the items you will have on your cheat day (really helps you hold off on the cravings)

Don’t make this something you do for a few weeks and revert to your old habits, because you are wasting your time. You don’t want it bad enough and you are going to fail. If you can’t commit to a major change it’s not going to happen. Stop and think about what it means to you. Write an affirmation about it and read it. You have to believe it well before you do it.

If you commit and really do it the payoff will be that you have accomplished something that most people will not accomplish in their lifetime. A major lifestyle change. To do it will take major work.

We are in this together and I'm ready for the journey.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Quotes- Fear of Failure

Everyone has talent. What is rare is the courage to follow the talent to the dark place where it leads.
- Erica Jong

To really cultivate your talents to their utmost is truly dreadful. What if you fail? It's scary to pursue the edge of your competence because you stand on the edge looking into darkness. Will you take the leap into the unknown?

Monday, January 3, 2011

Quotes- Grow

Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.
-Mohandas Gandhi

As we come upon the new year it's a time of resolutions. The end of things (lives, jobs, years) welcome in us a sense of reflection. What would we have done differently; how will we change in the future? May I suggest that this year you focus on growth. Learning and developing is one of the great fruits of the human experience. We are not just limited by our animal tendencies. We have the capacity to change, to become better people and a better society. Look back on 2011 as the year you decided to grow. To stagnate is boring, be interesting, do.