Personal Blogs Blog Directory The Daily Brain Shelter: August 2009

Monday, August 31, 2009


"Get off your ass and do something with yourself already! How old are you now?" I believe those were at least two of the phrases that went through my head recently as my 28th birthday whizzed by. It wasn't until this lastest coming of age that I realized just how long I'd been spinning my wheels and doing nothing with myself. Sure, for 3 and a half years, I had a legitimate excuse. I was sick. I had a massive vertigo disorder and migraines all day everyday......but that was then.

Unfortunately, my years of stagnation did not start when I got sick.....those years just reenforced old habits.....and basically supersized them. In all reality, I had not been living up to my true potential since the 7th grade, when something inside me got depressed and just called it quits. As time went on, things just got worse. I wanted less and less out of life, and was willing to do less and less to get there. That is....until I was bed ridden long enough.

After spending 20 hours a day in bed, I started itching to live again. I started becoming motivated to do anything. I was having all kinds of crazy going to school! If you knew me then, that was always out of the question. Turns out, here I am a few years later attending my 2nd semester of community college. I'm no candidate for the rocket science program, but I seem to be making my way just fine. Why? Because I'm finally working. I'm choosing not to be lazy. I have realized that if you want anything in this world, you must go out and take it......and oftentimes, you have to earn it. So with that being said, if you are not out there achieving your potential, let me be the first to say the same words to you that I said to myself just a few weeks ago "Get off of your ass and do something with yourself already! How old are you now?" Stop being lazy already. You owe it to yourself and to everyone around you. Take care everyone!

See you next time!!!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Loyalty, Friendship, and My Brother

This posting is dedicated to the most loyal human being I know : my brother. No matter what happens, he always has your back. He is a friend during good times, and during bad times. He knows the meaning of friendship. He is an inspiration to myself, and to all who surround him. Sometimes I warn him that his tragic flaw is also his greatest trait, but in all is the one quality that separates him from the pack. This is what makes my brother so very special.

Over the years, I have watched so many people discard others in their lives like they were never even there in the first place. I must say that I have been guilty of this type of social wrong doing once or twice myself. Not my brother. I have never seen him just toss someone to the curb or disconnect himself from someone without a formal falling out. With him.....what you see is what you get.

Unfortunately, loyalty and honor are becoming ways of the past. People are stabbing their friends and families in the back left and right these day. Don't believe me? Just turn on any daytime reality talk show. Watch the interviews. Observe the guests. You won't believe what what you see. Maybe you will. Personally, it makes me sick. After having such a great brother who has been so loyal to me, I don't know how some of these other siblings(and friends) can get on national airwaves and just throw each other under the bus. It shows no respect for one another and most respect for oneself. Just the mere fact that my brother has never ratted on anyone, ditched anyone, or sold anyone down the river because they we're not good enough, cool enough, or rich enough, leads me to believe that he not only has the utmost respect for others, but also for himself. Sure he maybe my little brother.....but he sure has taught me a lot.

If you have been guilty of treating your friends poorly, or ditching them all together, take a lesson from my brother. Show loyalty.......earn respect. Treat people like dirt, and you will most likely end up all alone. Friendship is a priviledge. Remember that next time you're about to throw it all away. Maybe your relationship just needs a little tune up..... what do you think? Take care everyone!

See you next time!!!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Round 2

There are times in life in which we get knocked off our feet so hard that we just hit the pavement with an earth-shattering thud! It's almost as if a freight train has blasted us from out of nowhere, and we are left in the middle of a barren desert as we attempt recovery all by ourselves. For long periods of time we are shell shocked and traumatized. We can barely get up from off of the ground, until one day, we just get so sick of wallowing in our own pain and self pity, that we grind our two broken ankles into the desert sand, step by agonizing step, until we reach a far off place of comfort, safety, and refuge that we had been crying out for all along. Round one may have been lost a long time ago, but round two is just beginning.....and this time we're out for the win.

The first round of our lives maybe over people, but now we are left with two choices: 1. Live out our futures reliving the pain(s) of our pasts, or 2. Stand back up and make waves in this world. There is no doubt that we have all had it rough....some of us more than others, but quit letting the people who did you wrong own you! They've already hurt you once, don't let them hurt and control you for the rest of your days! Snap out of it! I know it's not easy....and yes, some traumatic events will be much more difficult to get past than others. There is no denying that. However, in Round 2 of your life I want you to stare directly at the people or visions in your head(each time they pop up) and forcefully say "You don't own me anymore!....I'm free". This will feel rather strange at first, but over time, many of you will feel the burden of your earlier years start to go away. Good luck with this....and congratulations on Round 2! Rumor has was a knockout! Take care everyone!

See you next time!!!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Thank You!

Dear Friends,
I just wanted to take a moment to let all of my members and readers know just how much I appreciate you and your support. Without the love and kindness of each and everyone of you, there is no way that I would have a reason to still be doing this. It would be as if were sending letters off to Mars or some other far off planet.....and I don't know a single soul here on Earth who has recieved a postcard back from the red planet. Do you? Didn't think so.

Anyway, with that being said, your comments and questions have changed me, not only as a writer, but also as a person. You have forced me to think about my choice of words more carefully when I write, which now helps me to select words more carefully while speaking. Over the past couple of months, I have noticed that this has had a direct impact on my thought processes and my actions. I know that I write words of motivation, encouragement, inspiration.....but the truth is, each and everyone of you have motivated, encouraged and inspired me. And for that....I thank you.

Some of you have sent me amazing letters on other sites such as . You have told me that I have changed your life, your attitude, or even helped you to get yourself a better job. This is more than I could dream of doing. I never expected to impact lives in such a manner. I want you all to know that I will always remain humble, I will always answer letters, and I will always do my best to help out in anyway I can. Thank you so much for all that you've done for me! Take care everyone!

See you next time!!!

The Cold Hard Truth

Facing up to reality is never easy. Sometimes the way that we see ourselves is not always the way that we are percieved by others around us. For instance, we may think that we can sing like Elvis Presley or Carrie Underwood. We may think that we should have a 7 figure salary and stardom tomorrow, but in all reality, we still need a lot of work if before we can ever dream of stepping on stage with the pros.

It is so important to slow down and assess ourselves every once in awhile. If we don't analyze our strengths and weaknesses, and occasionally take other people's opinions and advice to heart, we will end up disillusioned and disappointed time and time again. Facing the cold hard truth is never easy, but it sure is necessary. Trust me....I know.

So where are you at in your life? What do you do best? What is your passion? What are your strenths? What are your weaknesses? What do you need to work on? How do you see yourself and/or your work or talent? How do your friends/fans/audience percieve you? If you can not answer all of these questions with complete ease, you need to take a moment to stop and think about things. Just to warn may be a little painful.........but, this will make you better once you set some goals and face up to the cold hard truth. Best of luck! Take care everyone!

See you next time!!!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Networking, Bill Gates, And You!

There are many things in this world that we can accomplish all on our own. However, there are a much greater number of things that we need at least some assistance from those around us to transform from mere concept to actual reality. The older I get(and the more that I hate to admit it), I am accepting the old cliched saying : It's not who you are...... it's who you know. Let's face it, without a team of people(otherwise known as a firm), where would any of these gigantic comapanies like Microsoft, Wal-Mart, or McDonald's be today?

If you answered: probably nowhere, then you are probably correct. No unknown variable(or hypothetical situation) can be answered or solved for in this situation with absolute certainty(meaning a true 100%). Even with the brilliance of Mr. Bill Gates behind the gears of a one man company, I am 99% certain that even he could not replace all of his people with robots. Why not? Robots perform isolated tasks. Humans create and innovate. The human mind is the creative epicenter of the universe. Therefore, a networking of intelligent human minds, is virtually limitless in its reach and its capabilities.

Our wingspan is only so wide. If we truly want to explore the limits outside of our own reach, we must touch wings with other birds of similar feathers. We must network. Our networks will soon become amazing teams that we can delegate tasks to, and that can delegate tasks to us. Our resourses will become limitless, and there will be no problem to difficult to solve. There will always be an expert or specialist standing by. Networking is a beautiful thing. Who knows? You just might be the next Bill Gates! Take care everyone!

See you next time!!!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Staying Organized

Today's society is moving at a faster pace than ever before. We are faced with more responsiblities, tasks, and daily duties that must be fulfilled as each year passes. Without maintaining proper organizational habits, we may never realize our full potentials. What's worse? Oftentimes, our lives end up lost in the whirldwind of chaotic clutter.

So how do we stay organized? The theory behind it is really simple. It is the follow through that takes some real effort. First, start off by cleaning your home, your automobile, and your office. If you have no idea what is around you, how can you organize your thoughts, your belongings, and carry out all of your daily tasks to their full potential. Next, make two lists, and divide them into two columns. On the first list(1st column), jot down your long term goals. On that same list, in the 2nd column, jot down the actions that you must take to achieve those goals. On the second list, title it "Today's Goals" . Write down exactly what you need to accomplish, and in what order(make a copy if you need to). Start checking them off one by one as you finish them. If you need to add some notes to help you to takes action, do so at the bottom of the page, and refer to them as you go. The third list is "Weekly Goals". This one is usually a reminder to do housework, and to pay bills on time, or to make it to a prior engagement or meeting. Once again, list your items/duties, then check them off.

There you have it ladies and gentlemen. There are the three lists(daily, weekly, and long-term) and three clean-up jobs(home, auto, and office) that have the ability to improve the quality of your lives forever. It's all up to you. Will you add "Mow the lawn" to your list.....or just "Buy more Gummi Bears"? You can add whatever you like. It's your life....but I'd suggest you make it count! Take care everyone!!!

See you next time!!!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Dealing With Disappointment

Some say that there's a pot of gold at the end of every rainbow. If you are a bright-eyed 7 year old, new like that will have you running for miles. Unfortunately, no 7 year old that I know has ever found the end of a rainbow, nor the pot of gold....only some disappointment and maybe the occassional four leaf clover.

We as adults face similar situations in our lives. Other people around us dangle carrots on strings to lure us into believing their false realities in an effort to use us to complete a task that they can not complete on their own, or even just for the sake of mere monetary gain. We raise our hopes up so high that when the bubble bursts, we feel like broken souls on an empty sidewalk when all is said and done. We were merely pawns in a game, and people used our own dreams and emotions to take advantage of us.

For some, this collapses their entire world for months and years at a time, for others.....this lights a fire like no other. And you know what? This is how it should be....even if you do collapse at first. Pick yourself up off the sidewalk and get ready to fight. Your dreams haven't gone anywhere in ten minutes time. You are just clouded by strong emotions....and now you need to harness them. It's time to direct your energies into something more positive. Manage your own operation. Be your own captain. Decide where it is that you want to go, and take yourself there!!!!! Now!!!!! This is a call to action ladies and gentlemen. Don't lay down and die. Achieve the unachieveable and rub it in the faces of those who have used and doubted you without saying so much as one word. Deal with your disappoint and claim your victory! The world is yours!!!!! Take care everyone!

See you next time!!!

Everything In Moderation

We are living at a pace that kills ladies and gentlemen. We are smoking too many cigarettes, drinking way too much liquor and hitting the pipe just a little too hard. We are working ourselves into the ground. We hardly eat. We barely sleep. We empty our styrofoam cups until they're down to their very last drop. We have lost all sight of the concept of moderation.

If some is good, more is better right? Maybe in some cases, but in most cases the answer is no. Do more of anything than the RDA and that is when you generally start experiencing side effects. The greater the amount of extremes we go to, the more side effects and general reprecussions we encounter. Although in most cases adaption is necessary for survival, you can always adapt to an extremist's world, by going to extremes. You may have a better chance of survival remaining cool, calm, methodical, and calculating instead.

It's time to stop the insanity people. Please examine not only your lives and your actions, but also your motives that lead to your thoughts and actions. Please realize that half of the time, your addictions are all a product of your mindset alone. You are stronger than you think. You just don't know it. step at a time, and everything in moderation. It's all up to you. Take care everyone!

See you next time!!!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Compassion For Those With Less

I believe that it is normal to want to climb our way to the highest pillars of achievement, earnings, status, and rankings in the work place. I believe that is also common for us, as people, to lose sight of the struggles that others around us may be facing after we no longer have to worry about these kind of issues anymore.....or if we are lucky, maybe we never had to face these problems before in our lives. Regardless of where we are at in our lives, or what problems we have or have not faced, it is of the utmost importance to always remain compassionate of others....especially those that are less fortunate.

Sure, it is easy to look at a homeless man, and just call him a bum or a crackhead. He's probably just another drunk or whino or addict, right? Maybe....maybe not. What if his family of four was killed in a horrific car accident and he went bankrupt due to the medical and funeral bills? What if he was a physician, but just couldn't keep his head together after such tragedy? Physicians sure aren't lazy bums are they? No. They are not. The truth is we just never really know another person's story unless we live it. Every person deserves to be treated with dignity. Everyone face great moments of trimuph, and moments of epic failure. No two people share the same story. No two men share the same struggle.

While it may be easier for you to keep every dollar that you earn inside your pocket, or to hoard every moment of free time you have to yourself, you will live a much more rewarding life if you give once in awhile. Look for a local homeless shelter in your area. Volunteer one day a month, or even one day every 3 months. Put some extra change in the box for the Ronald McDonald House next time you grab a burger and a hot fudge sundae at McDonald's. Do something. Just don't be greedy. We have enough of that going on right now. Start making this world a better place by helping those that are less fortunate, and watch your life become a better place too. Take care everyone!

See you next time!!!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Growing Pains

One of the hardest things to do in life is to get to know ourselves. We as people are everchanging creatures in an everchanging environment with new, unexpected circumstances that manifest themselves daily. We try our hardest to adapt, to stablize, and to maintain some sort of homeostasis or equilibrium in our lives. We try not to change as people, for we do not want to distance ourselves from life long friends or even loved ones, but sometimes, self evolution is inevitable, and the pain that follows is nothing short of heart breaking.

On our journey of self discovery, we meet so many beautiful people. We build wonderful relationships that last, days, weeks, months, and sometimes years. In our minds, we want them to last forever. We truly endear the people we encounter along the way. Some people almost seem too good to be true. I know I have recently encountered a few people like this....and unfortunately, it seems as if I have let them slip through my fingers as I have found the need to advance my life in different directions. I wish I could tell you how painful this is. I probably don't need to. I'm sure most of you already know.

In this short little life of ours, we grow together, and we grow apart......oftentimes for reasons completely beyond verbal explaination. All that I know is that sometimes growing is painful....whether physically, mentally or emotionally. In the end, all growing pains lead to a stonger body and a sharper mind. Growth is a form of change, and change is inevitable. It is something we all must do. May we grow together in the future, and if we grow apart, may it be in peace. Take care everyone!

See you next time!!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Good Images..... Bad Company

Choosing the wrong peer group may very well be one of the most common problems facing us today, but that doesn't make our lives any easier.....does it? Of course not. Often we are pressurred into associating with a certain set of indivduals that we would normal not hang out with, thanks to the introduction of a good mutual friend. Eventually, we find ourselves deeply enmeshed with some pretty undesirable people.

Not only are we known for the company that we keep, but the company that we keep, also starts to make itself known through us. What do I mean by that? If you hang around a certain group of individuals for any long enough duration of time, some of their opinions or ways of thinking are likely to rub of on you.....whether you realize it or not.

Be careful of the company you keep. Don't judge a book by it's cover. Some of the nicest people look pretty rough, and some of the greasiest snakes look like choir boys. Give people an honest assesment on a case by case basis. Then, pick out the ones whose personas and lifestyle choices suit you best......not just the ones whose images seem attractive, popular, and charming to everyone else. Take care everyone!

See you next time!!!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Full Throttle, Crash and Burn

Have you ever had everything in the world falling into place for you, yet you just get hit by a wave of sadness or other raw emotion...... all at once? I know I have. Sometimes is seems to be almost too bizarre to even comprehend. You are fully concious that life is great, but there is also no mistaking the fact that you are sad.....and for what? Who knows?

Often during times of intense transition(s) or decision making, we start racing a million miles per hour, never stopping to slow down enough to assess what is happening emotionally. We ride a wave of adrenaline accompanied by a new romance, a job offer, a move to a new place, or some other opportunity....and we just go full throttle.

Eventually, things slow down just enough for us to soak it in and BOOM!, we crash and burn. We become overwhelmed by exhaustion, saddened by the fact that we've neglected other areas of our lives(or that maybe we've neglected this aspect of our lives until just now), or sometimes we realize we'd be happier doing something else. Just when we think we've figured it all out, and climbed to the top of the highest mountain, we are forced to dodge the avalanche that is now headed our way.

If you have kicked on the rocket boosters in your life and you are going nothing short of full throttle, more power to you. Success is most likely around the corner if it has not already arrived. Just be careful not to run out of fuel all at just might crash and burn. I wish you nothing but the best! Take care everyone!!!

See you next time!!!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

You Can Lead A Horse To Water

Sometimes we find ourselves face to face with unimaginable opportunities. One minute we are at the lowest points of our lives.......then, in what seems like the blink of an eye, a man hands us three magic beans(remember the tale of Jack and the Bean Stalk). Some of us will plant these beans(or seeds) and grow a beanstalk. Others will simply stare at these magic beans in their hands, fully aware of their potential, and will never capitalize on what these seeds have to offer them.

I have been watching these two scenarios unravel over and over again lately, right before my very myself, and in individuals that surround me daily. Have you ever heard the saying "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink" ? This is holds true also when depicting the relationship between humans and opportunity. You can lead a man to opportunity, but you can't force him to capitalize on it.

I have been experiencing this so, so much lately. I have been presented with some wonderful opportunities, that I am taking full advantage of. I have tried to light fires under the backsides of others so they may come along for the ride(seeing as they have all of the talent in the world), but they just don't seem to want to focus or work hard enough to capitalize on their own opportunities that have merely just stemmed from my own. I guess they just have to want it bad enough.

So, how thirsty are you? The water is right in front of you. Will you drink it or will you just stare out into the pond and count the ripples? Time is passing my friend. Opportunities have already come and gone. You have already lost out once before. Will you lose out again? I won't. I'm as dry as a desert and as thirsty as a camel. I'll see you at the fountain my friend. Take care everyone!

See you next time!!!

Complacency, Ambitions, Failures, and Fears

Last August I left the poverty stricken Midwest in search of greater ambitions and more abundant opportunities. Within 6 or 7 months of struggling I started finding what I was looking for here in North Carolina. I found my sense of self, my career path(s), and opportunities that I had never even known existed......all because I was willing to take a risk.

Now as I look back, I wonder what in the world would have happened to me if I would have stayed? Tonight it became clear. I met up with an old friend of mine. She is a very talented writer, and will someday use her education degree to change the lives of countless children as an elementary school teacher. But, for now, she will live in complacency. She will stay right there. in Northeast Ohio where the cold, gray winters last for 6 months or more, the factories are shutting down, and people are losing their jobs by the handfulls.

I guess in many cases, it is not that difficult to understand. Sometimes people place limitations on their lives just to avoid stepping outside of their comfort zones. Although, stepping outside of our comfort zones allows us to blossom like nothing else does, we are often afraid of failing. We are so afraid of failing, that we often never try. This is tragic. This is a failure of epic proportions. It is my belief(and you may disagree), that the only way a person really fails, is if they never try.

Well people, if you are a victim of complacency.....a victim of your own doing, you are failing yourself. You are failing to live up to your potential. Step up and take a chance already. Your life is nothing short of a miracle.....I don't care who you are! Don't take it for granted and don't let it go to waste. Do not let fear or complacency stand in the way of your greatest ambitions or desires. Go out and conquer. Face the day. Grow stronger with every fight. Go and live your life!!! Take care everyone!

See you next time!!!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Beneath The Skin

Lately, I have been personal training a new friend of mine. He is 24, single, and plagued by insecurity. I can sympathize. When I was 24, I was plagued by insecurity as well. I didn't know if I'd ever be comfortable in my own skin. So what did I do? I did some pretty extreme stuff. I did everything in my power to compensate for how I really felt about myself and about my life. I thought that doing so would elicit the type of results that would give me the self confidence I was looking for, and change my life forever.

So......I worked out 7 days a week(sometimes 2 or 3 times a day), ingested every single dietary supplement that was sold at GNC, The Vitamin Shoppe, or any other local retailer, and wound up in the shape of my life, completely insecure, and with a long term vertigo disorder(which has finally subsided after more than 4 years of daily dizziness and migraines). I gained zero confidence. Why? Not because I didn't look better. I did. It was because I neglected my mind.

So many people(like my friend), think that if they can just look a certain way, or acquire a certain amout of money, all of their problems will disappear. least partially. Sure, some worries will fade. That's true. Others will grow larger and much more overwhelming because they have been left unresolved. Now what?

Now we are left to ourselves and our own devices. This can make us a little crazy. This is when even the largest of rooms become way too small for any of us to stand in. We are finally forced to face ourselves. At first, we must deal with depression, anger and confusion.....of epic proportions. Eventually, we learn to laugh, to love and to relax in ways that were once foreign and unimaginable to us. Peace is finally with us, and we gain comfort in our skin.

Please be advised, there is no breast implant, steroid injection, lottery ticket, or job offer that can make you comfortable in your own skin. That must come before any superficial acquistion is gained. You will never reap the full benefits of a gift that is given unless your attitude is such that you can appreciate a life with no gifts at all. While certain amenities surrounding you may bring you comfort, you will always find happiness in your surroundings if you are comfortable beneath the skin. Take care everyone!

See you next time!!!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Irons In The Fire

Several months ago, I was watching an interview featuring one of the world's most wealthy economists(unfortunately, I did not tune in in time to catch his name). He is now deceased, but his words will live on forever in my mind. He looked me straight in the eye, piercing through my television set, and he said to me "The biggest key to acquiring wealth and happiness is the diversification of assets and interests. You must have several irons in the fire at all times."

That really hit me hard. I watched this interview during one of the lowest points of my life. I was dead broke, jobless, recently divorced, and suffering from a long term vertigo disorder. I was 1200 miles from home, I had not established any new friendships at the time, and the weather report had just informed me that we had just endured our 30th day below freezing outside. At this point, I was ready to know how to climb out of this hole.....and I knew my plastic snow shovel just wouldn't cut it this time.

So, I sat and watched the remaining five minutes of the interview, absorbing every word and every tidbit of information. To some the interview may have seemed pointless. I only walked away with one little tidbit of advice: You must have several irons in the fire at all times. While that did not do me much good right away, eventually, as my life started turning around, and my mindset started growing stronger, I started creating a few irons of my own. As I started meeting new people and going new places, I envisioned those people and places to resemble the fire. So....come up with a plan or an idea(an iron) and start sharing it with people(fires) everywhere you go. Eventually, people will become interested and you will have some kind of following. After your first project starts materializing, start taking on new tasks or ventures, or creating new projects if you can handle them.....just don't spread yourself too thin. You will soon get the hang of this juggling act. It is an art form based on organization, time management, and creativity.

So now you want to know why you should diversify rather than just throw your eggs in one basket, right? Here's my take: Anything we work on, invest in, or create, can go belly up in a moment's notice. Take for example the American economy. The real estate game was a sure fire way to make money, houses were going up in value, realtors, investors and builders were getting paid in exponetial figures and no one thought it would collapse. The same situation was true for other folks who held jobs in retail, construction, banking, and other industries for 20 plus years of their lives. Suddenly, the economy crashed. All of these great people who have worked so hard, devoting their lives to one job, and two stocks for 30 years just lost the farm.....overnight! That is horrible! Those who diversified assets and interests took a major hit as well, but survived with much more money to their names, and much less stress to boot.

While it is important to be devoted, it is also important to survive. Take care of yourselves. Put as many irons in the fire as you can without being spread too thin. You will never regret it. Usually, the only downside is a lack of downtime. Your schedule will be very, very busy. Oh well. I guess if you want to make the most out of life, sacrifices must be made.....time is one of them(at least at the beginning). Grab a match and some metal, and ignite your future! Your life is what you make it. Take care everyone!

See you next time!!!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Got Change?

Sometimes life gets monotonous. We get stuck in these ruts that last for extended periods of time, only to wake up and find ourselves bored, frustrated and miserable. I have been through this myself, and witnessed this many times in the lives of others.

Today, a beautiful thing happened. You see, my best friend has been going through a period of brutal self discovery. He has made so many steps in the right direction, but has not found true happiness in his life. Why? I believe at some level, he became complacent with his circumstances and then slightly too depressed or angry to uproot him self from his surroundings. Today was earth shattering......

Today, my friend said "I am taking control of my life and of my destiny. It is time for change, and I will be the man to create it.....and NOTHING is going to stop me!" So, he started discussing his plan of action to get out of his dead end job, his new found optimism for his bright new future......and I heard door after door just start opening down hallways of his life. I could not have been a happier man today.....and soon, he will see why.

If you have found yourself stuck in a rut, and you are really sick of it, and you really want a better life.....then now is the time for change. You are only as strong as the statements you make to yourself. As another friend of mine said to me the other day in the car "Your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions, and your actions become who you are. You are the captain of your own ship."

Pay attention to his words as closely as I have. Take action, and choose your actions wisely. Empower yourself with positivity in speech, thought, and surroundings....and don't make excuses for why you are where you are. I have two words for people who do that: Self accountability. Change is not something that just occurs, it is something that is made. If you want change.....go out and make it. There is no better time than now!
Take care everyone!

See you next time!!!!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Taking Breaks

The only way for an individual to master a craft or to truely succeed in his or her desired field of interest, is to be consistent. Taking breaks can also be an essential factor in the equation. Why? There are a few reasons. Pull up a chair, grab an ice cold glass of lemonade, and come join me when you're ready to start reading.

Ready? Okay..... Let's begin. So now you are asking yourself how taking breaks is going to help you succeed. It just sounds like needless slacking....a practice for the lazy, and the undisciplined. Well, if abused it sure're right. If breaks are taken tactfully, they can increase the level of motivation in workers. They can renew vigor, drive, ambition, creativity, passion, and even reverse symptoms of burnout.

Sometimes, breaks can be as shorts as 5, 15, 30, or 60 minutes. Other times they can be for days, weeks or even one or two months(like in the case of pro bodybuilder Ronnie Coleman after the 2003 and 2004 Mr. Olympia contests). These breaks renew the drive and hunger of champions. This is when the fire starts burning and the planning begins, while the other obsessive workaholic types who just can't take a day off, are hating their jobs and their lives, and running themselves into the ground.

I would have my head buried miles deep in sand if I were to say that the workaholics, did not climb the ladder(often very rapidly), or recieve promotions. What I will say, is that the individual who falls just short of a workaholic(the man or woman who can take a scheduled rest), is the one who usually ends up first at the finish line.....and in better health. Just think of the tortoise and the hare story.

Well, you get the point. Work your tails off, but leave time to take some time for yourself....and if someone won't give it to you, take it from them! That's life. Blunt reality at its finest. Sign the contract, become a slave....but only if you agree to the terms and conditions. May all of your endeavors be fruitful and fulfilling. I wish you all the best! Take care everyone!!!

See you next time!!!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Little Miracles

The past few days of my life have been nothing short of nail biting. A few days ago, my (male) dog was bleeding multiple times a day when using the restroom. When the vet examined him, it turned out it was a bacterial infection. He was going to be fine.

Last night my female dog starts vomiting every thirty minutes until she can no longer hold herself up. Finally, this morning, she throws up a pinkish color.....not good. That means my dog is vomiting blood. I rushed her to the vet, who was equally as concerned, so he ran a ton of lab work. Everything came back normal. He said that, while this was good news, it was a little baffling and that I should monitor her for the next day or so. If she throws up again, I need to take her back to be hospitalized.

As any loving pet owners knows, this is the last thing you want to have happen to your dog(or cat). It was horrible. What was worse was having to pick her "lifeless" body out of the car and bring her into the house. She could hardly move on her own.

Several hours later, she still had not vomited, but she was still very lethargic. Virtually no movement besides breathing. And now, I had to perform at a private party(I sing and play guitar). This was not an easy feeling. I did not want to leave her.....but I made the leap. I said a prayer and hit the road. Luckily, I have a wonderful brother who came in and checked on my dogs after he left work.

The entire time I was performing, all I could think about was my dog. I kept saying little prayers, and thinking about the faces of my little miracles. They have been such wonderful friends to me. They have helped me through a divorce, a long term illness, and through many wonderful times as well. I must say..... I really love them!

After my duties as a performer were fulfilled, I sped home, only to find her............alive, happy, and full of joy! It was almost like she had never been sick. She still wasn't quite as energetic, but she sure was close! It was amazing! Those two dogs are fighters. They never cease to amaze me. They really are my little miracles!

So, if you have kids, or pets......take a good look into their eyes. You will see their innocence. You will feel an overwhelming sense of love and compassion for them. You will realize that they truely are precious, little miracles! Take care everyone!!!

See you next time!!!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Mourn My Death, Slander My Life

If any of you have been paying attention to the national news over the past several months, it will have been apparent to even the of blindest eyes, that celebrities have been dropping dead by the dozen. This has been an unfortunate trend that has shocked the world in waves. Each time a celebrity dies, the nation gasps aloud in sheer reverance, awe, and horror.

While we are on the topic of trends(and dead celebritites), many of you have probably noticed another common theme: slander. We have taken these people's faces and lives, and plastered them across TV screens, websites and magazine covers, only to tarnish their reputations with disgraceful headlines and articles filled with unfirmed allegations and rumors. We ruin them. We turn them into the laughing stock of our time and of our society, just so we may be entertained for 30 minutes after work, or so we can make a buck at their expense. They are no longer people to us. They are objects. We never stop to think that they once worked at Denny's or PetSmart, MetLife, or Dell.....just like us. They just popped out of the womb and onto a TV screen in our living room devoid of all feelings and emotions. Numb.

Eventually.....they drop dead. All of a sudden, it becomes crystal clear to the masses of ignorant sheep: these were real people. We are witnessing the death of "the immortal" once again. Another wake up call. We have slandered their we must mourn their deaths. Such a pity. Think about what you say and do people. Please. Your actions, and most especially, your words have consequences(read my post "Sticks and Stones" for more on this). It is now up to you to reverse the trend. All that I may ask of you is one thing: Celebrate life.....don't slander it. Take care everyone!!!!

See you next time!!!

Bullies Just Act Tough

Tonight I let my dogs out of my back door to go to the bathroom(just like I do every night). I live in a relatively safe area, amongst the company of countless young, up and coming corporate I don't have much to worry about.

The instant my dogs got out, they darted across the lawn to another condo, where a group a few guys and two girls were just finishing up a night of drinking. They had a much larger dog than my two little ones. My male dog was not scared a bit, but my female is timid and was shrieking. I had just finished working out, so I was walking over there slowly......and didn't even have time to grab my shirt from the inside of my house. One of the guys, started hovering over my tiny female dog and bullying her while she was crying. He was yelling at her to shut up....until I came over. I was not having it. No sir. "Do not speak to my dog like that...understand?"

He tried to stare me down for a brief second, but my eyes pierced through his like spark plugs through a car window. He sized me up. I am 5'6" and built like a small tank from 14 years of working out. He was 6'1" and had a medium build. Probably not a good fight for either of us. The only difference, was that he was a bully. Bullies are weak minded. They like to pick on others, but once they are confronted, they almost always back down. If they don't back down instantly, its usually because they have friends around and don't want to look like the cowards that they are. But, if you take the opportunity to turn the tables and become the aggressor(within reason), they will fold like a poker table.(Please don't use my words to brainwash yourself into starting your own Fight Club or vigilante civil and sensible please).

Anyway, back to the story. He apologized for his actions. "I had a little too much to drink tonight" he said in a very embarrassed tone. He didn't seem so much embarrassed that he was physically backing down. He seemed more embarrassed of his behavior. I told him it was no problem. I shook his hand like a gentleman, then introduced myself and my two dogs. He played with the dogs very kindly for about fifteen minutes afterwards, while I spoke about the night casually with he and his group of friends....and that was that.

Most of the time.....bullies just act tough. Occasionally, you will get a wild card who will not back down, so be careful and make sure you know who you are dealing with. The point of this posting was to let you all know that people will walk over you because you are smaller or weaker because they can....until you give them a reason to stop. This is so unfortunate. You or I might not treat others this way, but a good majority of people make you "earn their respect". This is common in social settings, in the work place, or sometimes even in your own back yard. Do not be frightened. There is no reason to be. The moment you stand up for yourself is the moment your life will change forever. You will no longer allow yourself to fall victim to anyone else. The bullying must stop. Best of luck with this.....and make sure to choose all battles wisely. Take care everyone!!!

See you next time!!!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Day That Time Stood Still

Right now the time is 1:55am(according to my cell phone). We are getting hit by a massive thunderstorm, and now the LED screen on my phone is stuck on 1:55am in bright glowing light. I'm sure it is probably just techinical difficulty. I'm sure what a really need is a new cell phone....mine is ancient.

So what's the point of this post? Is it to spook you or make you superstitious? Is it to inform you about outdated or modern cell phone and communications technologies? Is it to give you another late night weather report or to bore you half to death. No, no, and no. It is none of the above.

Earlier today my friend was having a bad day, so we talked on the phone for a few minutes before I arrived at the gym. I told him that I'd call him back. Several hours later, I called him back, only to find him in a totally different mood. He was happy, appreciative, refreshed and ready to move forward with his life. I'm sure all of you readers at home want to know what I said or did to help him don't you? Nothing. I did absolutely nothing. Here's where things get interesting.

To give you a little background on my friend, he has had somewhat of a hard road. People have not been very kind to him. He has fought a battle with bipolar disorder, sudden weight gain, and now withdrawl from medications that he has said goodbye to(under his doctor's supervision). He is an absolutely brilliant person, an amazing friend, and a an inspiration to be around. But he can not always see the forest for the trees.....just like you or me or anyone else.

So back to the story. In between phone calls, he tells me he stopped at this gas station to get some gas and a slice of Godfather's Pizza. As he started to get in his car, a mountain of a man who resembled a hardened inmate approached him. He asked for a ride. Normally, my friend would have said no, and drove off, but something compelled him to say okay. Something greater than himself.

So the man got in the car and started telling my friend his story. It turns out that the man was a 37 yr old father of 3 with 9 grandkids. He had just left rehab for drug addiction and was finally given a second chance at life.....only he had cardiac issues. The doctor's told him that he had abused his body to such a point, that now he had the heart and organs of a 90 year old. He could basically drop dead any day.

Most people would turn their noses up snobbishly at a man like this for his mistakes....not my friend. Instead he invited him to his church. The man had no idea how to react. He just said "If only I had a friend like you 10 years ago......" Ten years ago would make this 37yr old man 27.....the same age that my friend is now. My friend realized something very important today. He had been stuck in what he had referred to as a "stupor". He had realized that life had been standing still and he was stuck in his past.....a mistake all too many of us tend to make at least once in our lives.

It was time to snap out of it. It was time to move forward. It was time to live again. He was refreshed, and invigorated. He realized that the world was his to seize. It was a beautiful awakening, that marked the end of a tragic beginning....the day that time stood still.

For all of you out there who are stuck on an ex-husband or wife, an old friend, a job that fired you, or friends that made you feel like crap years ago, it is time to give yourself permission to let go. Before you do that, I want you to retrace the steps of your life. Go back in time to the day(s) that time stood still. These are the days that you relive or just can't move on from. Now ask I really want to be 13 forever? Is that really rational? No. Do I really want a boss or a job that will fire me instead of helping me to succeed? No. Do I really want a husband or wife that was willing to walk out? No. Give it all up. Release the burdens. Free yourself. Go back to the day that time stood still. Put a new battery in the clock and let the hands of time move forward once again. You owe it to yourselves! Take care everyone!!!

See you next time!!!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Instant Success, Optimism, and a Realistic Approach

Sorry folks, but instant success rarely happens in the world of dating, acquisitions of significant wealth, or fame. If you are still expecting instant success at 25, 35, or 45 years old, it's time to wake up already. The only things that seem to be instant success stories for all who try are Swiss Miss Hot Chocolate packets and Folger's Coffee. Understand?

As I was thinking back on this subject tonight, I was recalling some conversations with some very wise people who had given me some great advice in my early twenties.....only I was too hard headed to heed their advice at the time. My Dad told me to stop looking at my life in such a present tense. I needed to have a bigger future plan. He told me he liked to envision his life in ten year blocks of time. He asked me "Where did I see myself in ten years?" At the time I was going through the beginning stages of a long term illness and did not have much perspective on life yet, so I could only picture the worst. Needless to say, I just answered "Not sure" and I changed the subject. How foolish of me.

That was just one example of many. Another very wise person that tried to give me advice was a caddy named Forrest. Forrest was exceptionally intellegent and well versed in what seemed like most everything. He said "You know the one mistake all of you young men make over and over again?" "What?" I said. "None of you boys ever think long term. You live now and expect everything to happen right away....and so easily." I just thought to myself "Yeah, yeah. Sure. Whatever. You're only 36. You're not that much older than I am. What do you know?" Obviously, Forrest was a intelligent guy. He knew a lot....and I should have paid attention.

I guess what's done is done. We can only move forward. As each day passes, my ambition has been growing. I have been taking small steps for today, and bigger steps for tomorrow. I am watching the fruits of my labor unfold in front of my very eyes. I must add that I am not an overnight success story. I am not an instant success. I am steady in my growth and I am slowly getting everything that I want out of life. I have a very optimistic outlook on my future, and I am taking a very realistic approach to get there.

Do yourself a favor. Take a moment now to assess your life. Are you just living for today? Do you expect overnight success? Do you give up when something that you really want doesn't work out in a matter of weeks or even a few months? Do you have a pessimistic, self-limiting or negative attitude? Do you take reasonable steps that are manageable or do you jump in head over heels and overwhelm yourself? Please people.....DON'T always expect instant success, DO remain optimistic even when life throws you curves, and most importantly, DO have a realistic approach to everything that you do. Oh, and DO make sure to listen when people talk. That annoying old man, nagging old lady, or nerdy co-worker, just might change your life or hand you your next meal ticket. Take care everyone!!!

See you next time!!!

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Evolution of Self

Love it or hate it, we as human beings change over the course of a lifetime. I don't know how many times I have heard an old friend of mine say: "What's up with you? You've changed." They've said this to me as if they still expect me to be the boy I was at fifteen when we rode bicycles together. Well, sorry, times have changed....and so have I.

So am I just being an outcast to old friends? Am I just pushing people away? Of course not! They just need to take a little time to get to know me again. If one person has not spent time with another person in 5-10 years, chance are 98% likely that both people have been on amazing journeys of self discovery. While this is a beautiful thing for the development of the self, it is often jarring to the another individual, who has been on a separate journey in what has seemed to be anything BUT a parallel universe. Now....two things can happen when these worlds collide: #1. a former unity will shatter into pieces due to a lack of understanding....and more importantly an absence of desire to create an understanding, or #2. these two individuals will form somewhat of a super-unity, teaching each other about their discoveries and lessons learned, growing and improving along side one another at a pace that breaks even barriers of light, speed and sound(or so it may seem).

Either way, another person's opinion of you and your changes(provided they are positive) are irrelevant. What is important is how you feel about them. In all reality, the evolution of self is what creates wonderful traits in most human beings, traits like: maturity, a healthy sense of humor, compassion, humility, ambition, confidence and many, many more. So whether you are a teenager or a retiree, you have only taken mere steps on your journey....some of you more than others. The evolution of self is a life long process. It only stops when the sand runs as soon as you get done reading this, turn the hourglass over and strive for newfound excellence. Seek the evolution of self! Take care everyone!!!

See you next time!!!

Is 110% Too Much?

Living life to the fullest is like walking across a piece of dental floss that's been strung between two sky scrapers. It is a balancing act indeed. If we don't put in enough effort, we will slip and fall.....plunging into the depths of nowhere. If we try too hard, we often encounter the same result.....if not worse.

So the big question is? Is 110% too much? I believe it is. If you are truely giving 110%, you are severly overextending yourself, thus causing a shift in proper balance of duties, actions, and energies. When you give that extra 10% in one area, you are really neglecting 10% in another area. We have all heard: Every action has an equal and/or opposite reaction.....(you guys have to remember that theory right? I thought so).

Those who give 110%(rather than just 100%) usually end up sick, burnt out, disappointed or frustrated with several things in their lives, even though they probably have one thing that they have succeeded in or excelled at. So what am I proposing? Ease up just a little. You'll get where you are going. A breakneck pace is exactly what it sounds like.....breakneck.

While it is no secret we must bust our humps to get ahead in today's world, just realize that you are indeed walking a fine line on a fine wire. You are walking the tightrope. One piece of dental floss will only hold so long before it'll snap, so get your balance and make a move. Oh, and don't try too hard......110% is much too much. Take care everyone!

See you next time!!!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Get In Where You Fit In

Are you always struggling to gain acceptance with your social circle? Does your peer group give you sideways glances everytime you speak up in a casual conversation? Do your co-workers make you choose your words a little too wisely? Do you always feel like you are walking on egg shells? If so, it is time for a change. It is time to change your 5 o'clock happy hour crowd, your office clique, and maybe even re-assess your overall environment. It's time to get in where you fit in.

Why is this so important? Well, there are many reasons. In fact, there are so many, I could go on for days. I'll just give you guys a few simple ones. How's that? Okay......good. The first is sense of self, or, self worth. If others are always making you feel like an idiot, a reject, or an outsider everytime you speak, eventually you are going to start believing you are an idiot, a reject or an outsider. This will severly damage you on multiple levels. It will take months(maybe even years) to repair this kind of self destruction. The second reason is remarkably similar(in fact, nearly the same if misinterpreted). So what is it? Self confidence. If you do not have confidence in yourself, you will never take on the tasks that you are truely capable of. Those are are the challenges which will ultimately lead you to great success. You see, a peer group who is negative or skeptical of your efforts, will often ruin your self confidence and prevent you from leading life to the best of your abilities. But hey, it's your fault. You choose to hang around them. You choose to absorb their attitudes and moodiness on a regular basis. You can always cut the cord. You can always get in where you fit in. The third reason is happiness. If you do not surround yourself with people you lift your spirits and accept you for who you are, you are missing out on a wonderful life. You are living in a high school fantasy land in which you are forever chasing the "cool people". News Flash: those people are usually arrogant jerks. More times than not, they are self centered egotists who care nothing about you. They have their own agenda.....and it is usually not positive. This is not to say that there are not a ton of genuinely cool people out there with big hearts and great personalities who care more for others than even for themselves. I meet them all the time. Unfortunately, they are just a little harder to find, and they just aren't as magnetic as the watch out.

Okay, I've given you a few simple, but important reasons why you should get in where you fit in. I can't do the hard part for you. I can not break the chains that bind you. That is your job. It is time to assess your life. If it is time for social reconstruction.....get to it. You will be all the better for it. Good luck with this. This is not an easy task. Weeding out the bad seeds can take a long time, but the quality of your life will change dramatically. I know this first hand. I wish you all the best. Take care everyone!!!!

See you next time!!!