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.