Category Archives: Motivation

When Does a Runner Become a Runner?

Do you have a to-do list or a bucket list? Most of us do. Some of us have “make a bucket list” on our to-do list. Each list has things to check off and do, followed by the satisfaction of being able to say those are things we “did.” I went skydiving, I ran onto a football field naked, I got an STD in Thailand.

Those are things we did–but what about things we do? …and keep doing? What item is on the list that you want to do everyday, from here till as far as you can see?

If you ran a marathon, are you a runner?

Read this:

An inspiring quote, truly applicable to anyone

Any path to greatness is surely filled with practice and repetition. Something that happens once can certainly impact your life. But what can happen in just one day that actually defines your life? It’s what you work on day-in, day-out that will define you.

A runner runs. Whether he runs a marathon, never runs a marathon, or runs with one leg, he is on a quest to express the runner in him. He sees the kind of runner he would like to become but he doesn’t know the extent of how great a runner he could be. And he’s curious, he wants to find out. Nothing that can happen in one day will give him that answer–it is purely a matter of journey.

What’s worth doing every day?

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Seek and Find Out

Nadal after winning his first grand slam

“Seek and you shall find.” Wow! What a big guarantee. If I seek, I shall find? Honestly, that sounds like a cheesy, empty promise that I can find in a fortune cookie in a second-rate Chinese restaurant where they yell at you when taking your order at the counter.

A lot of people are job seekers but they aren’t finding. Some people send out daily applications, visit recruiting agencies, and have created personal branding website things. Often times it leads to the business venture. So many fail in their first year because stuff just couldn’t work out.

Being fit is important to a lot of people. They invest in the athletic wear, get the right supplements, buy a gym membership or home equipment. But it’s hard when you have a big family or a demanding job.

As a country we want change. Our political leadership is failing us, we seem more and more divided, and we just can’t take it anymore. What can we do?

There are people who get jobs, start businesses, are fit with jobs and families, and people who bring about change, however. Are those people different or have some special set of talents? The more I learn from people I admire, it seems not.

Gary Vaynerchuk is one of those online guys who has a big following, started some great businesses, and became a best-selling author. His simple response when asked about what made him so bad ass was “I out worked you. Straight up, I out worked you.”

As a nation, it’s hard to say we’re seeking political change when the average American spends over an hour per day watching TV and being active voting for Project Runway contestants on Twitter, but not one hour per week researching candidates or economic policies.

As a person trying to get fit, it’s hard to say you want a six-pack when you don’t work out because “you don’t feel like it.” Saying you want to start a business but you don’t have time because you have to check out Perez Hilton.

You get where I’m going with this. The first step is honesty. Trusting that what you’re doing right now is exactly what you want to be doing, that you’re lying to yourself when you say you want to be fit as you shove a Twinkie into your face. Every second you’re making a decision. Every second you spend watching TV is a decision to watch TV and not to learn to play the harpsichord or whatever you (say you) want to do. The first step is that honesty…”so this is what is important to me.” How does that sit with you? Does this provide fire under your behind to make you want change? (Related post on embracing dissatisfaction, opens in new window – No Shame In Dissatisfaction)

Some people might respond “well, I’m not willing to give up my side things or distractions. I guess I don’t really want x y or z if it comes at the expense of my relaxation time when I get home from work.” Okay–that is good and dandy. There is nothing wrong with that.

But I want to make you think. I want to impregnate your mind with something that could drive you crazy, crazy enough that over even months of thinking about it, you reach the point you can’t sit. Did you ever wonder: What can you say that you actually tried your best at…and failed?

What have you done where you have sacrificed your TV time, where you have done something when you didn’t feel like it, where you could say you did everything in your power to accomplish, and failed? Could you be rich? Could you change the world? What can you say that you cannot do even if you gave 100% of yourself to? What if you closed off your cell phone and spend all day working on it? Is there something even worth giving this 100% to? It certainly would be a beautiful passion. Something that you’d stop watching TV for, stop doing things that you can admit are not necessary. Can you call yourself a seeker until you have tried?

Aren’t you curious about the extent of your abilities? What would it be like to die and say “I never tested myself?”

Here’s a good video for those who have not seen it. Good motivational tool. “The Secret to Success” by Eric Thomas

By the way, curiosity is a great form of motivation. I wrote about it a little in the post Why You Should Have Curiosity .

You Will Die

Time's 'a Tickin'!

Focusing on our own mortality could be a very helpful technique used to breathe spirit into our daily lives. Boredom and laziness are not part of a healthy human being-ness; they represent a spirit so covered up with societal expectations, media garbage, and lack of questioning. Curiosity, wonder, and satisfaction from daily work are what every human soul craves. I think we slip away from these blessed states when we “forget” that we will soon enough die.

Human attempts to conquer nature are as old as humans, almost, and death has not escaped our cross-hair. Pills to make us live longer, research into DNA to see if we can reverse the aging process, and freezing ourselves are all attempts we have made to escape the seemingly inescapable. So far, no luck.

We don’t seem to want  to die, and we try to avoid it in more subconscious ways. Leaving a legacy is one of the most common thoughts of dying men and women: “What will I leave to my kids?” “How will I be remembered?” “Can I make a donation to get my name on a wall somewhere?” The curiosity, wonder, and helpful attitude endemic in human being-ness is often buried as we try to make ourselves feel whole and complete through things such as money and status. We will never be good-looking enough, rich enough, or popular enough to avoid the same death as everyone else.

Curiosity, wonder, and that helpful attitude in humans brings about joy and progress.  The best scientists, reformers, and performers of any kind have all stated that they were never motivated by money, but rather by passion to learn and discover how great they could be, how far their could go, or how real they could make their dreams. So what does death have to do with all of this?

First, let’s look at direction. The closer one comes to truly realizing that they will die, the more valuable their time on Earth becomes. You probably know when you meet someone who has had a near death experience, as they often change their entire life course, usually to go on and encourage others to follow their dreams. That should be a big enough give away right there, bucko. If you can really spend twenty minutes trying to visualize what your last hour on Earth might feel like, it very well may make your heartbeat increase as your head becomes flooded with lots of questions. The big things to pay attention to are “I should have,” “I would have,” and “I could have,” as one who faces death must truly wonder “what if I just did what I thought I should do?” “What if I was the spouse, sibling, child, me that I always envisioned, rather than giving into my excuses to not be that person?” Curiosity runs abound. Things that you “have” to do start to lose footing…you might see that what you have to do is actually what you really, deep down, want to do. From the second we are born, our time is ticking. We only can begin to live once we realize what we’re actually doing here is dying.

Next, consider the strength of living a life of principle. “If nothing is worth dying for, then nothing is worth living for.” If you believe that your race should be treated fairly, great. If they are legally treated as secondary citizens and you say “hey stop that!” and the government says “No, shut up or we’ll kill you,” and you respond “Oh, well…that’s that,” you’ve just decided that hanging onto life is more important than your principle of equal treatment. What would a life look like where nothing was worth giving up your life, though? You would essentially be clinging to life, trying to safeguard it, not giving your all for your principle in fear of losing it. This is a shame because you are going to lose it anyway.

Coming to terms with one’s own mortality leaves one powerful in the face of fear. This is useful because sticking up for principle can be quite scary. But consider that some of the most effective men and women in history were fearless.  “I know I am going to die, so why give up on my principle?” Martin Luther King, Jr., Gandhi, and Socrates were all people who faced serious consequences to their well-being because of their curiosity and dedication, yet it never fazed them, even though it did end up in some of their deaths. Those people were full of life, and maybe realized that since they will certainly die one day, the only way to die is to die doing exactly what they believed they should do.

Finally, if you are going to die tomorrow, your neighbor taking your parking spot really isn’t going to cause you to spend fifteen minutes brewing over what an inconsiderate penie-head he is. Some might say that if we are all going to die tomorrow, “we might as well go commit crime, steal, rape, pillage, do drugs, etc.” Over and over, this is shown to not be the case. I just talked a guy who was in an area that suffered serious emergency flooding. He said he was astounded at the way people came together to help one another. My friend Jonny Boy told me a story about people in the Twin Towers, who stayed by strangers in wheel chairs, unwilling to abandon a fellow human being. Stories like this are a dime a dozen, pal. When death is imminent–which it is, if we choose to acknowledge it–there is less room to screw over your fellow human being. If I have two hours to live and so do you, I’ll probably ask you if there’s anything I can do to help, as we see ourselves as travel companions here on Earth making our last wishes.

Do you think Gandhi or MLK, Jr. ever said “I’m bored?”There is so much to do and learn here on Earth, and tomorrow isn’t promised. We will die soon, and we could die in our sleep tonight.

What do you want to see, know, have accomplished on your last day on Earth?

Using the Past to Form New Habits

Is there anything that you want to do consistently, but you don’t? Anything that you don’t want to do, but you keep doing? Welcome to the human race. Will power comes in handy when trying to be a better you.

Bye Bye Sucka!

I’ve stayed away from blogging a lot longer than I had originally intended to. I stayed away for so long, that I dreaded opening up my account because I was scared to look at the low readership. I got out of the swing of it, and the longer I stayed away, the bigger of a mountain it seemed that I had to climb to get back to it. This sort of thing happens to us all, I’ve noticed.

As the days turn from present to past, it’s like they build up and weigh heavy on us, making it harder to resume our discipline, whether its staying in the gym, staying away from cigarettes, or working on that special hobby every day. A textbook practice I learned on this matter is to always remember that the damage comes not from screwing up a day of your diet, habit, or routine, but rather it comes from the mental beating you give yourself when you mess up. That is likely to last a few more days, not to mention cause you grief. So the basic takeaway on that one there is really to just stop worrying and jump back on the horse and forget you ever fell off.

But can we use that power of dwelling in the past to benefit us, rather than weigh us down? You know, switch it on ’em?

Yes! I discovered a simple way that I’ll share with you for free: keeping a public count of days on track with a new habit. The beauty of this is you use your momentum to keep you on your routine. I’ll explain using personal examples:

I am done with cigarettes

I came back from Trinidad & Tobago, and chose to optimize my health: “How far can I take my health in the positive direction?” So that was 35 days ago, and every day I update the count on my Blackberry Messenger status so my friends can see. As the days go by, I love watching the number rise, and if someone offered me a cigarette tonight, the first thought I’d have is “Man, I’d have to reset that ’35 days’ back to zero…” It ends up gaining strength as I go.

I am done with pornography

I became sick of the warping effect porn was having on my mind–it really desensitizes a person to the sacred nature of sex and the human body. I don’t want anyone telling me how that part of my life should look like or go, especially not the citizens on those websites (hit me up if you need a few links though!). So, I also started a count–20 days ago–for days without looking at pornography. I like keeping my sexual energy focused where it belongs–on my pet dog. Just kidding, I don’t even have a dog. I also post this count on my Blackberry Messenger status for my friends to see. Keeps me honest!

I want to write

So write I will. Man, I became so caught up with my writing, the quality of it, the readership, blah blah blah blah blah, which can be good, but not to the point where it stops me from acting. Therefore I hereby to commit to making a blog post every day. Some days might be good, others might be horrible, but it’s okay–I accept that and I trust that over time I will improve. If I feel free to talk, let me feel free to write. Additionally, I choose to not care too much about how my blog goes for at least a year or two. I have a few inspiring friends I hope to share with you later that have inadvertently taught me that nothing ever happens over night. “Everything worth having is worth waiting for,” “work for 10 years and become an overnight success,” these inspiring friends put in serious time without expecting results quickly, and as time passes, they reap the rewards. So you all can watch my progress by checking up on me to see if I follow through!

Pick something you want to do every day, and pick a bad habit that you want to stop. Starting today/tomorrow make a count for each habit and count the days you stick to it in a row. Post it where every one can see it, and use your increasing count as a source of strength and momentum.

Just Do It: What Nike Forgot to Tell You

Just Do It“Just do it,” Nike’s marketing slogan and brilliant piece of advice, is usually not enough gas for the jeep. It makes sense and sounds good, but a lot of the time we just… don’t do it.

You reach a point where you realize that everything is mental. No one can get in the way of your progress as much as you can. Man, what a struggle we were dealt as human beings…if things were different, things would be different. Continue reading

Persistence and Perseverance Are Not…

There could be a better way if you're willing to admit it.

Persistence and perseverance are not about sticking to your method. They are about sticking to your goal.

To stick to a method that fails you is like banging your head on a wall and waiting for the wall to say “I give up .” It’s a cruddy feeling to “give up” in the heat of the moment, so it seems like a good idea to devise a plan in advance for putting the plan on the chopping block.

Far goes the person who loves to find out that they were wrong.

Choose to Have Bigger Problems

People have all sorts of problems. Some are trying to fix their back, others are trying to find a job, and many people hate their roommate. There will always be bills to pay and items that you want but can’t afford and neighbors that take your parking spot.

You can research chiropractors, spend your time networking, or move out on your own. You can save your money or look for a higher paying job, and you can figure out what time your neighbor comes home so you can beat him to the parking spot.

Albert Einstein’s problem was that we don’t understand where the world came from. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s problem was that people of his race were not treated fairly. If you asked these men if not having a parking spot was a problem, they would probably say “no.” Their mental energy was not spent on parking spots or empty milk cartons in the ‘fridge.

The law of problems: you will always have them. So choose yours wisely.

No Shame in Dissatisfaction

Imagine you are talking with your friend about your job and where you are in life. You relate that you just had a baby, your job is tough and as you speak, your friend interrupts, “well, are you happy?”

Right in this moment, I became aware of a tendency to want to say “yes, of course I’m happy!” I first noticed the inclination in myself and then began to see it in others. People don’t always respond “oh, yes I’m happy!” but you can often see the initial inclination to respond that all is just fine and dandy. What stands out is that we want to say that we are happy before we stop to think if that’s even true. This leads me to believe that we are not just trying to respond to the friend–we are trying to convince ourselves that we are actually happy, as if our response determines whether we are happy or not.
Continue reading

Entrepreneur Spotlight: Mona-Lisa of BlackMasterPiece.com

This post is a part of a series based on entrepreneurs who have gotten started or are starting using incremental steps that enable them to progress steadily and mitigate risk. To see the main post, click here: Starting a Business: Baby Steps to Beat Inertia.
Mona Lisa, Founder of BlackMasterPiece.com

Mona Lisa, Founder of BlackMasterPiece.com

MONA-LISA

Founder of BlackMasterPiece.com, The Natural Hair Community
 
Mona-Lisa, 23, lives in NYC and is both a licensed real estate agent and student. She has a passion for learning about natural hair care and trying out new styles. About three years ago, she began a blog to document and share what she learned and to display new styles with which she experimented. Since then, the blog has grown to a point where she could fill up her appointment book with clients and now has the option to consider opening a salon/beauty store. Perhaps the best part of this situation is that Mona-Lisa need not feel rushed or pressured as she loves to learn about and experiment with natural hair care. 
 

I have the pleasure of knowing Mona-Lisa personally. She is incredibly open-minded and ambitious. The best part of being around her is that she is judgement free and has a shockingly positive and inquisitive attitude towards life.

Below, she speaks about the process thus far:  Continue reading

Starting a Business: Baby Steps to Beat Inertia

In planning a fast food business, I stumbled upon an interesting idea. The specific idea is simple and cannot be original.

This is for those planning a business that sells products that you can either make at home or without any extra production facility for a reasonable cost–food products, crafts, various services, or simple inventions. It is also for those who are experiencing lack of capital, lack of “drive,” or are simply facing the fear of opening up your own business. Continue reading