Friday, November 28, 2008

The Tomorrow Diet

Ok, raise your hand if your going on a diet on Monday and this time, you mean it. Don't wait until Monday, start today. Start right now. I know it sounds scary but it doesn't have to be. I am not suggesting you have to be on a perfect diet starting today. Instead, I only suggest that you make a concious effort to limit the amount of food you take in. Or maybe go for a walk that you normally wouldn't have taken. It seems as though everyone always has to take the whole diet thing to an extreme and since the extreme is so drastic and scary, no one ever starts. Everyone is on the tomorrow diet and as we all know, tomorrow never comes. When you talk about your diet, talk about the present not the future. Don't say I am going on a diet starting Monday, say I am on a diet and I am adding limitations as I move forward. Empower yourself. Get the ball (however big that ball may be) rolling and live in the present. Believe it or not, you are dieting as you read this, you just don't know it.
"Diet" although a four letter word, doesn't have to be associated with something negative. Change the way you think and see the word for what it really means. Diet, by definition is "1 a: food and drink regularly provided or consumed." On the other hand, "1 a: to perish from lack of food b: to suffer extreme hunger," is the definition of starving. Don't get the two confused.

If all else fails just remember:

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Come to your senses

Your senses are all very powerful and hardwired to your brain but the sense of smell, is very unique. For the most part, the way something smells, tends to be more permanent, than the way something looks. You may for example, have gone to many different schools in your lifetime but a classroom always smells like a classroom. For that reason, when you find a familiar smell, it has the unique ability to transport you to the past. It can be a bad smell as well as a good smell but for today, I want to stick with the good ones. With today being Thanksgiving, our work load should be pretty limited. With the exception of preparing the "Big Meal," it should be a pretty relaxing day. So I ask as you read the list of items below, that you pause after each one, close your eyes and immerse yourself into what is being described. They may not all apply to you but I am sure you will find at least one.

1. The smell of the top of your desk at school (if this one is really clear it indicates how often you slept in class)
2. Text books from school (this is assuming that you opened them)
3. The erasers for the chalkboard (this might also indicate your classroom behavior)
4. A field, for any athletic event. (Early in the morning when you were just getting to the field)
5. A church pew (prior to licking it)
6. A baseball glove you had as a kid( as you buried your face in it)
8. Your bed as a kid (the G.I Joe sheets with matching comforter)
9. The seats or dashboard, in the family car. (Some of us slept on the back dashboard)
10. Fireworks (Not including any singed hairs)
11. Swing set
12. A roller skating rink
13. An ice skating rink
14. A bowling alley
15. Disney
16. A new book
17. The smell of your first car
18. Your first cologne or perfume
19. Your grandmothers house
20. Your dog
Your Cat
Your best friend 's house
Your mom
Your dad

Think of your own. There are many others that can bring smiles to our faces and take us back to the memorable times in our lives. After you have thought of your own, take a deep breath and make sure you take the time to smell today. Smell the turkey. Smell the house you celebrate in. Smell the people around you and the cold or warmth in the air. Most of all smell tomorrow's memories because they are happening today.


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

When I grow up, I want to be

What is it that makes us want to be a particular thing? Is it something we grew up with and experienced as a positive? Is it what our parents exposed us to ? Are we just trying to make them proud of us, based on their criteria? Maybe we are driven by financial gains and the lure of happiness through wealth. Most of the time, whatever "it" is , does not seem to be so clear. Some of us will spend all of our lives waiting for that magical moment when we wake up and suddenly know exactly what "it" is . Unfortunately, that day never comes. Between financial, parental and society's pressures, we are unable to clearly see what it is that we want for ourselves. We spend our lives in a tug of war between what we seek as individuals and what the rest of the world tells us we should be. Don't spend the rest of your life waiting for divine intervention. Take a chance, let your freak flag fly, and who knows, you might even end up doing what you want to do, rather than what everyone else wants you to do.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Dare to Differ (Poem)

Dare to differ in the way, we raise our kids today
To lead and not to follow, for this is what we say

Dare to take the time to teach and give them loves instruction
For if you do, prevent for them, a strangers hate corruption

Dare to be the "different parent", who knows what's "right from wrong"
This will live inside them, when your time has come and gone

Dare to listen to what you say and practice what you preach
For if one does not show to class, then never dare to teach

Dare to show all the love you have for them, this will take some sacrifices
And as they grow, their love for you, will keep them from life's vices

Dare to be unselfish, let them grow and sprout their wings
A parent’s love is unconditional, although one tends to cling

Dare to speak to other parents, and pass this message down
It’s up to us the "different" ones , the few still left around

Monday, November 24, 2008

On Time

I know that everyone has their issues regarding being punctual. Some of us consider this to be very important, while others may not consider it to be so important. Well here's a thought. It is impossible to be on time to anything. On time would mean if arriving at that particular minute. You can be late or you can be early, but it is highly unlikely that you will arrive perfectly on time. If you are one who cares about your punctuality, I would suggest you try to arrive fifteen minutes early. Planning for an early arrival will accommodate for the unexpected and be much less stressful. My experience has always been that the stress created while trying to arrive on time, can ruin the event you have worked so hard to get to. If you want to have a good time, eliminate potential road rage and cause less strain on your relationships, take what you consider to be on time, subtract 15min and re adjust. In the long run you will be much happier and so will everyone around you.

Friday, November 21, 2008


“Thank God it’s Friday”! How come no one says, “thank God its 3:00AM” or, “thank God it’s the 24th”. The answer for most is obvious. Friday is the last day of the work week. Friday represents the beginning of the weekend. Two days off from the everyday hustle and bustle of work. Everyone says it and society reinforces it. What if everyday could give you that same feeling that Friday does? What if I told you that having a job and going to work was a vital part of your self-worth? What if I suggested that always sitting at home and doing nothing would do nothing more than create depression and make you socially deficient, creating a lack of self worth. Think it through and build a case for everyday to be as great as Friday. Mondays could be great for any of the following reasons, depending on who you are:
1. Maybe your favorite TV show is that night
2. Maybe you go out to lunch with your peers
3. Maybe you just want a change of environment after being at home Sat and Sunday
4. Maybe it gives you a chance to talk to your peers about the big game
5. Maybe the kids go back to school during the day and you get a break
6. Maybe there’s a hotty in your chemistry class. (no I don’t take chemistry)
There are many good things that happen, everyday of the week. Perception becomes reality and the more we tell ourselves that one day is a bad day and another is a good day, the more it becomes reality. Every day is different and for that reason alone, they are all good days. Forget about, “thank God it’s Friday” and try, “thank God it’s my day.” If you live your life waiting for Friday, it will come and go every week, taking you for an emotional rollercoaster. If you live your life for “my day” it will last forever.

For those of you who live for Friday, it’s here, so enjoy and make the most of it because your current bad to good day ratio is 2(Fri, Sat) out of 7(Sun thru Thurs)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Who's your daddy?

We teach our children and once they learn something, we push them to learn more. While learning new things, they stumble and we are always there to support them. We don’t allow them to quit. We let them know they can do anything. We know this is what is best for them. If they have mastered one thing, we push them on to something more difficult.

1. If they excel at school, we put them in advanced courses or even have them skip a grade.
2. If they excel in sports we move them up in skill level or even age group.
As parents, we always push our children because we love them and never want them to stop challenging themselves.
If God is our father, why would he treat us any different? He is the ultimate parent and therefore will always challenge us, just as we challenge our children. He wants us to grow and to reach our full potential. When you feel that things are going smoothly and you have it all figured out, prepare yourself for the next challenge that God will send your way.

If idle time is the devil’s tool, then it would be safe to say that busy time is God's.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Listen to Yourself

I notice that we talk to ourselves a lot but we don’t listen to what we say as much as we listen to how what we say, makes us feel. We might, in a moment of desperation say,” Nobody is ever going to do this for me; I am going to have to do it myself!” When we say this, we tend to focus more on how this makes us feel, as opposed to the truth in what we say. In this case, we may spend days in desperation and to a certain degree self pity, without any results. If we were to say the same thing focusing on what we say rather than how it makes us feel, it would produce results and in turn make us feel good.
I recently was speaking with someone who was upset about their relationship with a friend. They made a long list of reasons as to why they felt their friend was indeed, not their friend. Much of what they said started with, “If she was really my friend she would have ………” I let the person go on for a while so that they could let out their frustrations and as they came up for air I said, “ It sounds like you have it all figured out, you just have to listen to what you’re saying and stop focusing on the way it makes you feel.” They looked at me a little funny and I said, “You have been saying it all along, she’s not really your friend.” It’s not to say that every time we feel disappointed with a friendship or situation we should consider it over but in this case she had had many years of feeling this way.
We need to take a look at whether we are constantly trying to change the situation and or people to be what we want them to be. If we are, then we need to let our words guide us rather than our emotions. We hold the answers within us and if we just listen, we will experience greater success and fulfillment in doing so.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Hardest job in the world

We prepare our children for their future careers from the day that they are born. We start them off with puzzles and simple memorization games. Later we read them books. As they grow we try to send them to the best schools. We focus on their grades and prepare them for college. Hopefully, by the time they enter college they are prepared and have an idea as to what career they want. Whatever profession they may choose, it will require a minimum of four years of intense studying to gather the knowledge needed. Usually, the more difficult the career, the more years of learning it will require.
With that being said, I think we can all agree that the most difficult job in the world is being a parent. The job never ends and the description is constantly changing. So why is it that we would assume that there is no schooling required? Why would a job so difficult, come “naturally”? I would suggest, that the only schooling we received for this difficult job, came from our own parents who themselves had no formal schooling regarding the subject. Would you walk into surgery and perform open heart surgery on someone, based on your years of watching Grey’s Anatomy? Are we raising our children based on years of what we have seen or experienced? What formal schooling have we received? We are responsible for molding our children into whom they become. They watch us and learn from us. I realize that none of us are perfect and we all have our own style of parenting, but if we all want to do the best we can do, it will take a lot of hard work and dedication. Buy some books, read magazines, take some courses, do whatever it takes. You have the hardest job in the world, the more you know, the easier it will be. If we take the time to prepare ourselves the same way we prepare our kids for college, we will have a solid foundation and the best chance at being the best parents we can be.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Letting go

Why is it so hard to let go of things? Throughout the stages of our lives, we identify ourselves by the things that we do, rather than who we really are. During our lives we could mistakenly become attached to and identify ourselves as:
A soccer player
A ballet dancer
A senior in high school
A mom
A lawyer
A dad
We will inevitably attach some, if not all, of our self-worth to how well we may or may not do these things. We shouldn't define who we are, based on the things that we do.
An elephant playing soccer is not a soccer player, he’s an elephant. He can only be an elephant. He can play soccer well, or he can play soccer poorly, but how he plays, will never define him as an elephant. We all have something inside that defines us. It tells us what we know to be right and what we know to be wrong. It lets us know when we could be doing more. It’s what makes us feel pride. It's our conscious, our compass, it’s what guides us. Everyone has their own unique compass that will only work for them. Close your mind to what others may think or do and follow your own compass. If you don't, you might spend your life as a soccer playing elephant.

Friday, November 14, 2008

What is Bad?

What is good versus what is bad can only be defined by how we think we will be individually and ultimately affected by what is happening. If we really looked in depth, we would realize that what is bad, is created in our own minds. The only way we could possibly determine whether something is bad would be if we could foresee the end results. A very simple example can be illustrated through sports. When the Miami Heat won the NBA Championship, it was a good thing and people were happy. However if you lived in Dallas and were rooting for the Mavericks, it was a bad thing and people were upset. Oh yeah, and if you lived in Kansas you probably didn’t care either way. Based on how each group thought they would be affected, they determined whether the event was a “good thing” or a “bad thing.”
So how can one event be a good thing, a bad thing, or “no thing” all at once? The answer is that it can’t. It is just an event, neither good nor bad, just an event. That example is simple but powerful because so many people can have their entire mood change and their lives affected from the results of one sporting event. Life is too important and short to be affected by something so trivial.
Here’s a more powerful example. My dad died when I was thirteen and that was a bad thing that happened to me and my family. Or was it? Originally I perceived this to be the most horrific thing that could have happened to me. I spent many nights asking God why he would do this to me. It is only now that I realize that with my father’s death, many great things have happened in my life. My wife, my children and the way I look at life, are all direct results of his death. In short, I am who I am today, because of his death, not inspite of it. I am not suggesting that everything that happens will feel good. I am only suggesting that if you look back at your life, many of the things that you thought to be so horrible at the time, turned out to be good things. In the end when we look back with the benefit of knowing the conclusion, everything will be good.

“God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.”

Thursday, November 13, 2008

We tell our children

We tell our children:

“Always give 100% to everything that you do.”
“Have confidence in yourself.”
“Don’t be so hard on yourself.”
“Don’t settle for just anyone, wait for the right person.”
“You deserve better.”
“Pick your friends wisely.”
“Don’t worry about what other people think.”
“Don’t be a follower, be a leader.”
“Life isn’t always about having fun.”
“If you want something bad enough, I know you will get it.”

The question is, what do we tell ourselves?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I Can't

I currently coach a soccer team. During one of my practices, I asked my players to shoot with their left foot. Almost all of the players immediately responded, "I can’t." Not one of them said anything similar to, "I haven’t practiced that enough to do it correctly." After attempting to shoot lefty, they came back with, “We told you we couldn’t.” It was at this point that I stopped practice, gathered them all together, and asked "How many girls here can fly a plane?" Interestingly enough, here were their responses:

1. “If I took flying lessons I could.”
2. “I am not old enough.”
3. “If someone taught me.”

Not one girl, of the 13 at practice said, “I can’t.” Why would they believe that flying a plane is easier than kicking a ball with their left foot? Of course, they don’t believe that. They just prefer, like the rest of us, to do what comes easy, in this case, using their right foot. I am sure that all of them are perfectly capable of learning to use their left foot. I am also sure, that very few are willing to put forward the effort required, to learn to do so. Why? Learning to fly a plane may take time to learn but the girls are able to see the benefits that will be achieved and therefore respond the way they did. Since the benefits of learning to kick left footed are not so clear to them, the effort is too great and therefore they respond with, "I can’t."
Isn’t it curious that when we say we can’t do something it usually refers to something that we can do, but requires a lot of practice and effort? We don’t say, “I really feel that the results of learning to do this would require much more time and effort than I am willing to put into it.” Or how about simply saying, “I won’t?” This may sound strong, but the reality is that we need to speak honestly to ourselves to be able to overcome the challenges that we face in our lives. When we tell ourselves that we can’t do something, we are in essence, lying to ourselves and therefore not able to reach our full potential. Take responsibility for your decisions regarding what you chose to do or not do (not can or can’t do). Focus on the things you really want for yourself and as they say, “You can do anything.”

Since that day of practice, no girl on my team ever says to me that they can’t do something, without hearing me say,”Oh, but you can fly a plane?” They get it after that.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

With action there is hope

Someone was recently expressing to me their frustrations regarding the amount of things they had to do. They started with a few key things that needed to be done at home and as they continued talking the list kept growing. The key issues first discussed had faded and been replaced with the everyday responsibilities that we all bear. His tone had changed as well and he became increasingly agitated. I could sense some anger and desperation as he continued to add more items. There reached a point where it felt as if though the more items he added, the more he had the right to feel despair. As if that weren’t enough, he now rolled into his responsibilities at work. By the time he had gone through all of what was awaiting him, he had worked himself into a sense of hopelessness.
We all do this. We start off feeling a little overwhelmed with a few key things that we feel need to be done and then we pack on a to do list that would stifle the best of us. In the end, we are angry, resentful, frustrated, and exhausted at the very thought of starting any of it. As long as we live, the list of things that need to be done will always there. At any time, we can decide to access that list and create the same feelings of frustration and panic. Oddly enough, the list seems manageable until we decide differently, something changes. Typically, fear arrives, unknowingly accesses our files of things to do and opens it like Pandora’s Box. In this case, it was the fear of failure. He was recently given a new department to run at work. This was the real catalyst of his feelings, what opened his Pandora’s Box. What if he gave it his all and it didn’t work? This triggered everything that followed. If he could prove to himself that there was no possible way he could give it his all, then he would somehow protect himself from that fear of failing. With action there is hope, without action their can only be despair and later remorse. Close the file of things to do, go back to the key item that started it all and attack it. You will overcome life’s obstacles, just as you always have, and most importantly, you will learn to conquer your fears.

Picture yourself with the tremendous task of building a pyramid alone. All the stones are to one side of you. While you sit doing nothing, you build a case of despair in your mind. The very thought of it frustrates and tires you. Now picture yourself standing up, going to the first stone and eventually putting it in place. However difficult the task may be, you have now created hope.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Chocolate Leche

My brother follows the same routine every morning with his 2yr old son. He enters his son’s room, lifts his son up out of bed and holds him in his arms, allowing his son to lay his head on his shoulder. My brother then quietly walks down the hall and heads towards the kitchen. Entering the kitchen he turns the lights on and gently places his son on the floor, letting his son get his balance and bear the full weight of his body on his tiny feet. His son begins to pout and show his discontent, however once he notices that his father has reached into the cabinet for his bottle, he is immediately comforted. My brother takes out the bottle and places it on the kitchen counter. He then walks to the refrigerator, opens it and takes out the milk (leche). Returning back to the bottle he fills it with milk. At this point his son’s eyes are gleaming with anticipation. This is immediately replaced with a look of panic when his father turns away from the bottle and walks to the other side of the kitchen. My brother opens the cabinet door and pulls out a container of chocolate “Quick”. Once again he returns back to the bottle, places two teaspoons of Quick inside, screws the top on the bottle and shakes it. It’s at this point that his son begins tugging on his leg chanting, “leche,leche!!” Unfortunately for him, my brother then takes the bottle and walks right past his son placing it in the microwave. His son begins to cry desperately, ”leche papa leche!” Once the leche has warmed, my brother removes it from the microwave, gives it onc last shake and places it in the waiting hands of my nephew. The leche is just the way his son wanted it, chocolatey and warm. If his father would have listened to his pleas for leche any earlier it wouldn’t have been right. His father knows the steps that must be taken to give his son what he wants and needs. His son will learn to have faith in his father and patience in his methods. God is our Father, have faith in him and his methods. In the end we will all enjoy a nice, warm, chocolate, bottle of leche.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Something Nice To Say

My father always taught me, “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Since every generation should improve on the one before, I now have improved this by saying, “If you don’t have something nice to say, find something nice to say.” People for some reason love to point out the obvious and what they point out doesn’t always tend to be the positive. There are many examples but here’s just one that comes to mind. One couple tells another that they are expecting a new baby. Some of the typical things you might hear in response would be any of the following:
1. “Another one?” (Congratulations, you can add.)
2. “Did you plan this?” (If they didn’t, do you think they need a reminder?)
3. “How are you guys going to afford this?” ( Financial stress is the #1 reason for divorces, good job.)
4. "I hope it’s a boy, so you guys can finally stop.” (What if they don’t care or if they do, and it’s not?)
Do people really believe that the expecting couple hasn’t already taken all of these things and more into consideration? Maybe even spent sleepless nights worrying about it? Do they think that this is somehow helping them? Is this what they would want to hear?
Another example might be the addition of a new puppy. People will make their comments:
1. “Better you than me”. (That's nice.)
2. “You’re going to keep it outside, right?” (What if they're not?)
3. “Doesn’t that breed shed a lot?” (What if it does?)
People don’t want to second guess their decisions once they are already made. People want support and enthusiasm from the people they care about, that’s why they tell us. So the next time someone comes up to you and tells you about their new puppy or about the new baby, try finding something nice to say. “A puppy sounds like a lot of fun and that breed will suit you perfectly. “ Or, “Babies are great, I love the way an infant stares at you when you rock them in your arms.” I know these types of comments will make you feel better as a person but most importantly, it will bring some comfort to those who receive them.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Thanks for Being Different

A good friend of mine was expressing his frustration to me about how his wife was so different than him. The beginning of the conversation started with the typical marital complaints, one's the organizer, one's not and so on. By the end of 15 minutes it had deteriorated to, " If I say the sky is blue, she will say light blue, with a shade of pink." Of course that part was said with a girly voice and the distorted face. So I asked him to imagine that everything that he said and did would be agreed with by his wife. Of course this comment was recieved with a cynical smile. I pressed on, " Imagine that everything you and her thought about was the same. Then imagine that everyone in the world shared all your same thoughts and beliefs. What kind of a world might that be? Everyone would take the same short cuts to work and they would no longer be short cuts. Everyone would compete for the same jobs, with the same qualifications. The shows on TV would be few since the demand would be exactly the same. What kind of a world would you have? What kind of a marriage would you have? Welcome your wife's differences", I suggested. "Take the opportunity to realize we need other perspectives so that we can grow and so that life can be exciting."

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Lotto Winner

Too many times I hear people say, " If I could just win the Lotto everything would be different." Of course I can understand the financial freedom however temporary, that might come from such an event but how would this make someone change their feelings towards themselves? What would they be so proud of ? That they were able to pick random numbers. Give a monkey some darts and he can do the same. Once we bought everything we think we needed and gave to those who we thought were deserving, then what? Would we feel pride, or perhaps some sense of fulfillment? We should take pride in the fact that we make it through our lives without winning the Lotto. We provide for our families and give to others when it is not so easy to do so. When times are difficult we have the perseverance to continue forward. Giving what comes without sacrifice and what you have in great abundance is easy. Giving what we have worked hard for and is scarce, is what will be appreciated the most and fulfill us in the end.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Yourself Inc.

How many employers have we had in our life time? How many might we work for in the future? The answer is quite simple, "One". The only company you have ever worked for and will ever work for, is "Yourself". Today you might find yourself feeling overburdened with your work and its importance however what was important last year has faded and no longer consumes your thoughts. There is however one thing that always remains constant. That one thing is you and your ability to grow and acquire new skills. You see, the one corporation you can never quit and or be fired from is you . Never lose sight of your company and what needs to be done to improve it. Focus on the strengths that got you here and continue to build on them. If you put all your focus on "Yourself" it won't matter whether you're a housewife,profesional or entreprenuer, at the end of the day, you will have built up the most important company in YOURSELF INC.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Alone Time

How many times in a day do we find ourselves searching for some alone time? " I just want to be left alone for one hour", we might say. Some time to gather our thoughts, enjoy the silence, or just do what we want to do. Every morning on my way to work, I am given that very opportunity during my one hour commute. I can choose to become frustrated with the stop and go of traffic. I can worry about what lies ahead that day, or I can welcome the alone time, enjoy the silence and think what I want to think. Once the work day has wrapped up and before I get home, I am given the same opportunity again on my way home. So instead of complaining about the amount of traffic make sure to stop and welcome the time alone.