Thursday, November 19, 2009

Effective = Selective

The other day I was talking to my 8yr old nephew about cursing. I told him that although cursing is a part of our language, for the most part it is supposed to be used to show emphasis. Unfortunately, there are many of us who seem to have forgotten this and throw out curse words by the minute. I went on to explain that if he wanted to keep the power within the words, he should only use them in extreme cases. He would want people to take notice as if in shock when he cursed. Then he would truly hold the power within his words. Like curse words all of our actions hold power within them. Anything you do too much of, eventually loses its effectiveness. We all know people who constantly cry wolf and no one pays attention to. Then there is the person who always flies off the handle, we all just shrugs our shoulders and say, “there he goes again.” Like those two examples there are many more. It really doesn’t matter what it is, if you want to be effective, be selective.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Lie for a Lie and a Truth for a truth

You want what we all want, to be treated fairly with respect. You want to not be lied to and to not be taken advantage of. You want to be appreciated for your efforts and given a fair chance. You want people to accept you for who you are and understand your faults. It all starts with you. You want, so therefore You must lead by example. Some people say bad karma, or what comes around goes around, I say, “A Lie for a Lie and a Truth for a truth.” You want respect, give it to others. You want to hear the truth then tell the truth. You want to be appreciated and not be taken for granted then appreciate those you take for granted. You want acceptance and forgiveness, then give it to others. It all starts with you. Instead we live in a world where lies perpetuate more lies, where the list of things and people we take for granted, grows daily. We live in a world where we spend more time talking about the bad things that people do than the good things and then spend our days complaining about the very same things. We take a defensive posture of do on to others before they do it to you and it spins out of control causing mistrust. Tell a lie and expect one in return, take someone for granted and expect to be taken for granted, it’s that simple and the list goes on. “A lie for a Lie and A Truth for a Truth.”

Monday, November 16, 2009

Cirle of Life

My brother sent me this the other day and I felt it  fit in well with my writings.

Every morning on the plains of Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the lion, or it will not survive. Every morning, a lion wakes up and it knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve. So it doesn’t matter whether you’re a lion or a gazelle; when the morning comes, you better hit the ground running.
This is an excellent portrayal of the reality of our lives. The balance (or circle) of life shows no bias. It does not know a nice/good gazelle from a bad one, it only knows that there must be continuation of life. The less gifted, must work harder than the gifted to survive and the gifted will parish, if they take for granted what has been given to them. If you want to continue living you must fight everyday for what you have achieved as well as for what you strive to achieve.

From the day we arrive on the planet
And blinking, step into the sun
There's more to see than can ever be seen
More to do than can ever be done
There's far too much to take in here
More to find than can ever be found
But the sun rolling high
Through the sapphire sky
Keeps great and small on the endless round

It's the Circle of Life
And it moves us all
Through despair and hope
Through faith and love
Till we find our place
On the path unwinding
In the Circle

The Circle of Life

Friday, November 13, 2009

Hair Today Gone Tomorrow

One of the things I have noticed is that the true purpose or point of many of the things we do get lost in the process of doing them. For example, something as simple as a women’s haircut can become overly involved. I assume we all go in to get our hair cuts with one purpose, looking good. Somehow along the way, it becomes about with who and where. Then it continues to become more involved by what you will wear to get this haircut. Once you arrive, there may be espressos accompanied by finger foods and idle chatter. Three hours later you’re walking out feeling like a goddess or crying and wondering why you ever let these barbarians touch your perfect head. The reality is that no matter how great of a job they do, two days later your back to running around doing the everyday things and your hair is the least of your worries. Of course, I am a huge advocate of enjoying the process, which is my point. Many of us turn a simple task (haircut) into a complicated process (trip to the salon)and then don’t enjoy the process while it is taking place.

So maybe the trip to the salon isn’t the most universal example but we all have simple task that we over complicate and then complain or don’t enjoy the very process we created. No matter what it is you set out to do, take a look at what the real purpose is and then see if you are overcomplicating the process. If you are, then ask why and if it is for other reasons (like a day of pampering) then enjoy your creation while it is taking place. I would suggest that in many cases we overcomplicate things for all the wrong reasons and create our own frustrations. It’s getting caught up in the rat race or the blinding of our vanity that can make us lose sight of the purpose.

It’s really quite simple, if you want a simple life, keep things simple and a simple life you will have.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

There Should be a Rule

There should be a rule that you can’t complain about the things you don’t like about your life, if you are doing nothing to fix them. Imagine that I was standing outside shirtless, in the dead of winter and I started complaining about how cold it was. First, you would probably think I was crazy, but then you would most likely start giving me suggestions like, “Why don’t you put something warmer on,” or “Why don’t you go inside?” Now imagine that I just stood there freezing and continued to complain, without acting upon any of your reasonable suggestions. How long would you stand there making suggestions and listening to me complain before you came to the conclusion that I either liked freezing my bum off or just liked to hear myself complain? Since most of us don’t stand out in the freezing cold in T’s, here are some examples easier to relate to:

After reading each, ask one simple question: “What am I doing about it ?”

“I am so fat, I don’t have anything to wear and I hate the way I look”
“I’m not getting any younger, my mind and my body just aren’t the same”
“I don’t have the relationship I would like with _________”
“I want to have financial freedom”
“I need more time to do the things I want to do”
“I want a new job”
“I wish my kids were better ________________”
“I am always tired”
“I want to learn to _______________”

There are hundreds of different things that we all complain about but the one thing they all share in common, is the fact that complaining about them will do nothing to change them. Venting is a worthless release of hot air. I think in some instances we complain, in the hopes that someone will hear us and solve our problems. Or maybe give us the magic solution that we hadn’t already thought of ourselves. Many times, when are pleas go unheard, we become even more frustrated and fall into further hopelessness. The only way out, is to take action ourselves. We need to ask ourselves, “What am I, or can I do about it,” and then start.
Don’t just stand there in the cold complaining, it accomplishes nothing, makes you look crazy and just further reminds you how cold it is. Do something to change your situation. Put some warm clothes on, get inside near the fire and have a tall cup of hot chocolate. Don’t be consumed about the order in which it needs to happen, just focus on getting started. You can instead, have a tall cup of hot chocolate, get inside near the fire and put some warm clothes. You see the order doesn’t matter as much as getting started and the end result.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Don't Judge a Book by its Cover

If you were asked a few years back, who was a better man or who you would rather be associated with, you probably would have given a very different answer. But with just a little information about them your opinion even then, would have changed a little. (I am saying even before the scandals).

Kimbo Slice (Kevin Ferguson) (On the right)
Ferguson was born in Nassau, Bahamas, moved to the United States and grew up in Cutler Ridge, Florida, raised alongside his two brothers by a single mother named Rosemary Clarke. He went to Bel-Air Elementary School and when Ferguson was 13 years old, he was involved in his first fight, trying to defend a friend. He continued his studies with Cutler Ridge Middle School and later with Richmond Heights Middle School. He attended Miami Palmetto High School, where he was the star middle linebacker. In 1992, his house in Perrine, Florida was destroyed by Hurricane Andrew and he continued living in his 1987 Nissan Pathfinder for a month.
For college, he attended both Bethune-Cookman University and the University of Miami, where he held an athletic scholarship and studied criminal justice. He was there for only a year and a half. In 1997, he had a tryout with the Miami Dolphins and was part of the pre-season squad, but was unable to get a place in the first team. He is currently trying out for the UFC where he has been nothing less than a model student of the game.

Bernard Madoff
Madoff was born to Ralph and Sylvia (née Muntner) Madoff in the New York City borough of Queens, on April 29, 1938. He was raised in the Jewish tradition. Ralph Madoff was a plumber before becoming a stockbroker. Madoff graduated from Far Rockaway High School in 1956, attended the University of Alabama for one year, where he became a brother of the Tau Chapter of the Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity, then transferred to and graduated from Hofstra College in 1960 with a degree in political science. The following year, he attended Brooklyn Law School, but did not continue.
I won't go into all the details of the Ponzi Scheme but as they say, the rest is history.

Now that you know more about these two, your opinion should drastically change. Who would you rather be associated with now? Don’t judge a book by its cover no matter how convincing the cover may be. Open it up, read a little, give yourself a chance to fully understand the person or situation before jumping to conclusions or passing judgement. The world is full of Bernie Madoffs and Kimbo Slices, its your job to figure out who the good guys are with all your senses, not just your eyes.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Stay the Course

To many times in our lives we set out to accomplish one thing and along the way get distracted by ego, fears and insecurities. The result is usually a shift in focus and we lose sight of our original goals. It’s difficult to explain it so the best thing is to give an example:
Let’s say your son is on a football team but is not starting. In fact you feel that the coach may be singling him out for personal reasons and not giving him a fair chance. Of course, this causes fears within you on many levels. You fear he will not improve; he will be have a bad experience and possibly associates sports negatively. You also fear that socially he may be rejected by the others on the team. As your fears build, anger grows and you start to focus on what a jerk this coach is. You start planning in your head how you will “show him.” Maybe you will write a letter to the club president or get other parents who are unhappy to leave to another team. Some may think about making their son some super star athlete and then when the coach wants to use him, yanking him from the team, “that will show him even more”. As time progresses your ego and fears have distracted you and the original goal you set out to accomplish, is just a spec in your rear view mirror. So how do you bring yourself back on course? First you must ask yourself, “What was it that I was setting out to accomplish in the first place?” In this case, I would guess the father wanted to have his son to play an organized sport to get exercise, build confidence, make friends and have a good overall experience. Next you need to ask yourself, “What is the best way I can accomplish that goal?” Maybe the father should take a look at the skill level of the team his son is on. It may require more effort and commitment, maybe some private practices to level the playing field. It may also be that the son is playing the wrong sport or just needs to move to another team where his skill level is more valued. Regardless of what the right answer will be, it is more important to recognize what the wrong answers are. Shifting focus on to the coach, teammates or club and trying to change them is the wrong answer. You can accomplish so much more in your life if you stay the course and focus positively on the things you do want. Don’t waste time by losing site and sending out negative thoughts, to counter the things you don’t want. Remember if you assign blame, you are forced to wait for others to change. If you take responsibility, you can take action immediately.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Send a Message

All of my kids have been involved in sports and they will all tell you that prior to every game, I always instruct them to send their opponents a message. If you start out the game slow and lethargic or weak and afraid, that will be the message you send the opponent. Your opponent will not only get the message but they will feed off of it. It can make a weak opponent strong and a strong opponent that much stronger. The first thing I ask my girls is, “What message do you want to send and then how can you clearly communicate that message.” Of course after telling them this for many years, I ended up asking myself the same question about the messages I am sending. Just as in sports, this translates to life. We send our message out every day, from our first experience in the morning, to the last one before going to bed. What message are we sending? Have we even thought about what message we want to send? I am sure it is an effort for my children to send that message every game but they will tell you it has been worth it. In trying to send a message to their opponents, they have found that the same message was received by their teammates and coaches. Think about what the message is you want to send, make the effort to send it and watch how everyone around you responds.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Destination Unknown

How crazy would it sound if I told you I was headed out on vacation and didn’t know where I was going. Imagine you see me loading up my family, with all of our luggage and when you ask where we are going, I casualy respond, “I don’t know.” To add to what already sounds crazy, you see me pull out a map and a weather forecast report. Then as you continue to watch in amazement, I start to vocally express my concerns about things like, tire wear, fuel consumption, food quantities, hotels and all the other items involved in the trip. I would have to assume that at some point you would stop me and ask the inevitable questions, “How do you know what you need if you don’t even know where you’re going and why are you so preoccupied with the items you will need, as opposed to where it is you're going.”

What’s our destination in life? Where is it that we are headed? How are we able to prepare daily, for a destination unknown? We need to set some goals (destinations), whether they are yearly, monthly, weekly or even daily. If we don’t know where you’re going, how can you possibly prepare for the journey? Before deciding our destinations, we need to make sure if we choose to go skiing, we don’t mind the cold weather that comes with it. In other words we need to take a look at the destination we have chosen and understand what is involved in getting there. We need to be prepared to pay the tolls that are sure to come along the way. Once we have decided where it is we are going, we can sit back and enjoy the journey. There will be plenty of great things to experience along the way.

Added bonus: Choosing a goal is most of the work. Once we have a goal in mind and we keep it in our daily thoughts, it seems to just come without a great deal of effort. My belief is that in having those goals in our daily thoughts, it causes our decision making to be focused on achieving that goal and therefore things seem to happen naturally.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Soul Mate

I have heard it said before that our soul mate is not the person that agrees with every word we say but actually, he or she does just the opposite. Our soul mate is that person that constantly challenges us and makes us defend our every move. This person is the person who teaches us the most and makes you work on the things you wouldn’t normally work on. They teach us patience and how to control our temper. They challenge us and force us to re think without becoming defensive. They are the messy when we are the clean. The funny thing is that as much as we complain about them, we continue to go back for more and if that person is to leave us, another one just like them pops in. It is not a coincidence; we seek these people out without even knowing it. We want to be challenged and reassured about what we feel and do every day. The person that sits next to us, agreeing with our every word, cannot satisfy us so we search for someone to challenge our thinking. It is much more complicated than what can be written in a paragraph. Today when you find yourself at odds with another person, don’t ask why in desperation but understand that these people are our greatest teachers and learn what it is they are teaching you about yourself.

Quick story from a lecture Dr Wayne Dyer gave about soul mates:

My youngest and eldest daughters were sitting at breakfast when the oldest turned to the youngest and asked, “If you didn’t have feet, would you wear shoes?” The youngest turned to the oldest and replied, “Duh, of course not, why would I need shoes if I didn’t have feet?” The oldest then grabbed her books from the table and as she walked away turned back to the youngest and said, “Then why are you wearing a bra?” “Those two are soul mates”, Dyer said.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Find Your Switch

Why is it so hard to turn things positive when your day starts out negative? We start out the day with some sort of negative event and then we begin to spiral out of control into a toilet bowl of negativity. If you think about it logically, it makes no sense. Why would we want to be in a bad mood for another minute, let alone, for the rest of the day? Yet no matter how much sense it makes, we continue to get worse as the day progresses. Here are a few things that can put the brakes on.

1. Immediately find 3 things you should be grateful for and say them to yourself, even though you may not want to, at the time.
2. Stop telling yourself the negative story. Stop calling others to tell them your negative story. This only prolongs it and is a weak attempt to justify your misery.
3. Ask yourself if you could stay in this state for the rest of your life or will you eventually want to be happy again. If the answer is yes, then choose to get over it and be happy now.
4. Compare your event to the larger scale of negative things that could happen in your life. If your upset about being late to work, imagine not having a car and or a job.
5. Lastly, change the mood. Find a good song on the radio, call someone who always makes you laugh or close your eyes and thing of the happiest moment of your life.

It’s not easy to find, but we all have a switch that will work for us, find yours.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Three Elephants

What do you see below?

The answer most would have given is three elephants.

What do you see below?

The answer most will give is three pens.

What do you see below?

When we come into the world as infants we are a blank slate. We see things for what they mean to us on a physical level. We feel things, smell things and hear things. We use our senses to read and react. We don’t have labels or judgments and our responses to what we encounter, are pure and free flowing. Every day that passes from the first, we become influenced by others. We are taught to label things and given assigned expectations and feelings towards all the things around us. We lose sight of the purity of what surrounds us and become influenced by what we are told should and shouldn’t be.
Isn't it odd that we dont identify the Elephants or the pens as anything else other than Elephants and Pens but when we see the Women the labeling automatically kicks in? I don’t know what most people answered to the last of the three questions but I can’t imagine it was three human beings.

Monday, October 26, 2009

What Are You Doing About It?

While talking with my mother the other day, she mentioned to me that she thought her days were numbered. Something about having another 10 years before her mind and body would give out on her. Then I asked her, “If you fear this to be true, what are you doing about”? First she dismissed my comment but then she proudly announced that she was doing exercise regularly and that it had done a lot for her. She went on to say how her exercising made her feel better about herself and how she could feel the physical rewards from her efforts. I then asked her what she was doing to stay strong mentally. She mentioned that she read a lot but that was about it. “Mom, If you fear this is coming, don’t just sit there waiting for the hurricane to hit, do something about it. Do whatever it takes to stay strong, not just physically but mentally.” I suggested taking college classes or even something as simple as doing Soduko puzzles daily. I went on and on about how you have to make an effort to change the things you don’t want in your life. “Nothing will happen on its own you have to take control and make an effort to change the course of anything”, I said. Of course just like any other time I give advice to someone, through my words to them, I end up giving myself more advice than anyone. I started to realize that there are so many things I see coming in my future that I do little or nothing to prepare for. So who are you? Do you sit around and hope that the Hurricane changes course or do you prepare? Which of the three little pigs are you? Tape on the window pig, plywood pig or hurricane shutter pig? If we make the effort to prepare, we might not avoid the events all together but we can make them a lot easier when they come. Lastly, as I told my mom that day,”Reading is great but what are you doing more than the average person that will make you succeed more than them”?

Little Pig, Little Pig, Let me Come In? (What would you say now?)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Sound Familiar

You know that one thing that everyone always says about you. It’s the one thing you have been hearing all your life. It comes back time and time again in different jobs or situations. It is told to you by unrelated people of all parts of your life.
Here are a few examples:

“You’re too defensive”
“You’re too sensitive”
“You exaggerate”
“You tend to not follow through”
“Your incredibly talented but don’t apply yourself”

Of course the list could go on and on, each example or several may apply to you. I have always joked around and said that if 1 person says something about you, you have a chance that their wrong but if 100 people say it, it’s probably true. What is that one thing 100 people have always said about you? Do you want to change whatever it is? What are you doing today to change it? For me, I know several and I work hard to change them. Although I know some people might say it’s how we are hard wired and there is little we can do to change, I say that’s just another way of refusing to make the effort to grow. I myself have always heard that I am a sprinter not a marathon runner and these Daily Dumbbells are part of my marathon run. They are a way to show myself that I can go against my hardwiring if I just re arrange a few wires and trick myself into running the marathon one day at a time.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

"Out of Sight, Out of Mind"

Growing up, I had a friend’s mom who would always say, “Out of Sight, Out of Mind.” To me, it basically meant that if you’re not around, people forget about you. Today it still means that but it also means much more. We are all just human and if given the chance, we will forget just about anything. I remember when my dad died I thought I would never get over it but as time passed, it became easier to deal with. I thought about it every minute of every day at the beginning and then as long as I wasn’t reminded, the thoughts began to fade. However, even today if I see his picture or someone brings him up to me, I feel some of those old feelings. Just the same, if you have ever tried to quit something, you might experience the same feelings. For example I am trying to not drink any soft drinks and it has been pretty easy for me, that is, until someone reminds me. Most of the day I have zero issues with it, but when I go to lunch and the waiter ask what I would like to drink, It gets a little harder. When I see others drinking soda, I tend to think about it and how hard it is not to drink it, when just minutes before it wasn’t even a thought. So, you can see that the out of sight out of mind thing works, when trying to quit something. If you really grasp the concept, you can use it to your advantage to change whatever you want to change in your life. You just have to be aware that to change your behaviors, you will have to change your familiar surroundings, to avoid what others may term temptation. I prefer to say I would just rather not be reminded, so I keep it out of sight. Lastly, this idea can work in business, however you have to think about its affects in reverse. If I don’t call my client regularly, they will forget about me. They don’t forget because of any other reason than, “out of sight out of mind.” You have to remember that anything you want will require your constant reminding. That doesn’t mean you become a nuisance it just means you don’t let people forget what you want.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Movie Score

If you’ve ever seen a movie, you know that the music they select can set the tone for what is happening or is about to happen. In a horror film, as you hear the violins become louder with a quick march, your entire body fills with suspense. In a love story, those same violins can soften the scene and send a feeling of love and compassion as they play softly, like tress swaying in the wind. Moving on to an action movie, the violins play quickly through the scene, with desperation. Their constant playing is that of a sprinter, never stopping to take a breath, moving as if though every sound will be the last. I find it incredible that the same instrument has the ability to set the tone for what we feel. There are no words or pictures necessary the tone is set on the music alone. Simply by listening to the violins, we can immediately feel different emotions. As you head out into the day what is the music playing in your head? What violins do you play to the world around you? What is your tone?
Is it Blah Blah Blah !!!!!!
Is it a constant warm up of, ME me ME me ME me MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!
What movie are you? Horror? Comedy? Action? Tragedy? Love Story?
You’re the composer of your own life movie, you get to right the score. You may not think so but we can all hear the violins playing in your head. Make sure you put the right score to the movie you want your life to be about or you might end up in what you think is a feel good movie, with horror music in the background and that would make one heck of a comedy.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Know It All

There may be a misconception out there that I write these Daily Dumbbells because I think I have all the answers or my life is somehow perfect. Let me clear the air, it couldn’t be further from the truth. I write them because I myself am constantly looking for the answers and because my life is far from perfect. I question on a daily basis whether the things I do, make a difference in the lives of others. I question whether what I am doing is right or wrong. I am in a constant struggle to figure out how to balance my wants and needs with the needs of others. I struggle to not be selfish and at the same time not lose my identity by only focusing on others. I try to be open to others and their opinions. I work on not being set in my ways. I wonder if others feel the same things I do and hope to find comfort in the comments I receive from them. I thought that by forcing myself to write about these things daily, I could create some clarity for myself and hopefully others. Most importantly, I wanted my children to read them later and understand my thoughts. I wanted them to understand that we all have our doubts and struggles. I wanted them to realize that having these thoughts is not as important as what we do to change our thinking.

What I am sure of is that sitting around hoping that things will change on their own, is a complete waste of time and is irresponsible behavior on my behalf. I also know that blaming others will only force me to wait for them to change, while taking responsibility will empower me to make changes. I know that if I communicate my thoughts, it creates discussion and discussion can bring about change.

Lastly, there are many days where the last thing I want to do is write something inspirational while I sit frustrated but what I have found is that by forcing myself to write them, I feel better. It’s not a cure but it does bring some relief. It forces me to work on a solution and to not dwell in the misery or self pity. My hope is that my Daily Dumbbells are always well received and can bring about some change not only in my life but in the lives of those who read them.

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Joneses

Who are these people we are all trying to keep up with? I hate them. During the summer I never hear from them. My life is simple and I am happy with what I own and the things I am doing. It’s a real life with the Becerra’s and we all love it. We swim in the lake, barbecue, have sleepovers for the girls, take the dogs to the dog park, enjoy the outdoors and basically enjoy what we are so fortunate to have. When school starts, I can’t stop hearing from the Joneses. They start off whispering but by October, it’s Blah, Blah, Blah. I hear about all the fancy trips they took traveling the world, while I traveled Disney World at one of my daughter’s soccer tournaments. I was happy with that trip, until I realized that Spain in Epcot is considered to be a far cry from the Spain in Europe. They are constantly telling me about their new cars and fancy dinners and suddenly I feel like I must be doing something wrong. Personally, I love my truck and Sports Grill wings but before long, I am considering using money I don’t have, just to keep up with them. The Joneses are always having so much fun and their life is so exciting. I swear The Joneses must have a money tree cause they are always on vacation and constantly out to dinner or at a party. They tend to always have some weird profession that no matter how you do the math, doesn’t add up to their life style. These people frustrate and annoy me! These people are ruining my life!
Playoff tickets for thousands, fancy dinners for hundreds, expensive cigars, mortgage size bottles of wine, endless vacations around the world, luxury cars, boats with cabins, houses mansions, the most expensive schools, “the damn Joneses have it all. They make it all look so simple too.”
What happened to the Beanie Babies and the Coach Purses? What happened to the 32" tube TV’s and the latest VCR’s? What happened to the Walkman’s and the Designer Jeans? What happened to the Car of the year or the Restaurant of the month? The Joneses had all these things and now they are chasing all the new things while those old things are forgotten. You know what I have in the summer when Joneses are dormant? I have a real life. I live uninfluenced by the outside pressures of the things the Joneses tell me I need in order to be happy. I have peace of mind. Most importantly, I am living my life as it should be, focusing on the things that truly matter and will never be forgotten. All of us are guilty of blindly following the Joneses without asking why. We can’t change the Joneses but we can change ourselves by simply asking why.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Sponge Bob Time

Just in case you have never watched the show, I will sum it up for you. It’s a very sarcastic cartoon, staring the following characters. Sponge Bob, Patrick Star, Squidward, Mr Krabs, Sandy Cheeks, Plankton, and Gary! In the beginning, I watched this show with my kids with no real consideration as to what was happening. Now, upon further review, I have come to realize that it is the story of all our lives. Each character represents someone you know. So here is how we play. Familiarize yourself with all the characters and their individual characteristics.

Sponge Bob = Quirky, sarcastic, funny, a bit off the deep end
Patrick Star = Simple, naïve, jolly, dopey
Squidward = Raspy, Grumpy, Annoyed, Miserable
Mr Krabs = Busy, Money Hungry, Blinded with Ambition
Sandy Cheeks = Happy, smart, savvy, fresh
Plankton = Evil, Wicked, Thief, Mean
Pearl = Happy, Chearful, Positive
Gary = Quiet, slow, misunderstood, lonely

Now, go out into the world and every time you talk to someone, decide which character they resemble and why. I know this sounds silly but there is a point. First, it will bring light to the fact that we all take ourselves way to serious. Secondly, it will allow you to see how our actions can group us into a category of people, we may not want to be associated with. Lastly, it might make us further understand that our individuality provides for one heck of a good show. I mean how much fun would life be if everyone was Sponge Bob?

To win the game, ask yourself who you think you most resemble and why. Then ask yourself, who you think most people would pick you to be and why. Who would you like to be? Are they the same? What could you do to change your character? An important thing to remember is that people will communicate with you differently based on what character you portray. Make sure that if you want to be seen as Sponge Bob you’re not acting like Squidward.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

One time and you’re Done?

It’s never about one time and you’re done. You can’t be a good person once, you have to be a good person forever. You can’t practice for something once, you have to practice it for as long as you intend to excel at it. You can’t work hard once, you have to keep at it or you will lose it. Some may say it’s not fair but no matter what you do, doing it once or for a short period of time, will only give you temporary results. You can diet for a month and lose weight but the second you stop, you will gain the weight back again. You can build a business for years and make millions but stop building and it will crumble. Ok, so what’s my point?
Don’t give yourself the illusion of a finish line. Set small goals but realize that no matter what it is that you want in your life, you will have to work at it every single day and the more dedicated you are, the more results you will see. All this although it may sound exhausting is called being alive.
Remember the day there’s nothing left to work at, is the day your done (literally).

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Are You Paying Atention?

One of the ways that I have found things to write about daily, is by simply paying attention. Every morning when I wake up or at night before I go to bed I ask myself, “What are, or were, you supposed to have learned today?” I am pretty confident that we are suppose to learn something every day and that the people we meet and the situations we are confronted with are meant to teach us. One of the things that happens to all of us from time to time, is that we get distracted and just don’t pay attention. We get in that sort of auto pilot mode and don’t snap out of it until our plane is headed towards a mountain side. I know sometimes it’s nice to just sit back and think of nothing but even thinking of nothing has its purpose, “if you think about it.”

If you pay close attention to what the universe is telling you, you might be able to have a two way conversation with it, where you have a say in what’s going on. On the other hand, if you just stumble through your day in auto pilot, the universe will put mountains in front of you and scream out “PAY ATTENTION!!!!!!”

I did spell Attention wrong on purpose in the title, nice to see you were paying attention.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Good Values

Growing up, we all heard about having good values. Our interpretation of this usually tends to be along the lines of having strong principles or high standards. Recently, I thought about people’s values and it came to me that it really is more about what we actually value. The same as the value of a dollar, what worth we give a particular attribute. What do we value as a group or society, in others? How do we reinforce these values so that others will want to emulate? Remember, It’s not only what we value but how do we show that we value these things. If you look around, it seems that we give more value to a person who can throw a basketball through a hoop than one who may be dedicating their entire lives to help others. We pay millions to the basketball player and tend to ignore the school teacher who educates our children. We know the words of the songs of singers who have beaten their girlfriends, abandoned their children and are overall people with skewed values. We worry more about how great our children can be at sports than what kind of human beings they are growing up to be and how they will contribute to humanity. We make people the captains or leaders based on how they perform in a game physically, rather than how they perform as human beings. We overlook and ignore the mistakes of those who are popular and famous. We condemm those who are not for less.
We are responsible for what our children decide to put their efforts into. It is what we reward them for and reinforce, that they will strive to do more of in the future. You have the power to send a clear message to your children and the world. Make sure it's the right message.

My message:

There is a girl on my daughter’s soccer team who is neither the best player, nor the most athletic but her hard work and determination has won her the starting job and made her the most admirable. She never gives up,  plays hard and always shows good sportsmanship. The soccer will end and the athletic skills will diminish but her character and strong values will be with her forever. She is the person I would want as a leader and in my mind, she is the captain of our team.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Once in a Lifetime

All of us are guilty of trying to force things. Usually, we force the things that we think we need in our lives. I would imagine that from the outside, it probably looks like a child trying to force a square block into a round hole. You see the poor child frustratingly jamming this square, in a desperate attempt to make things fit. In some cases, you might go to assist them, turning the square hole to their side but they stubbornly turn it back and continue to try to force things. I find it interesting that so many times in our lives there are instances where things flow easily without effort, yet we run away from them. We have straight hair and we want curly, we have talent in one thing, yet wish we could do another. The list goes on and can become more complicated. We can spend our whole lives trying to force the square block in the round hole. If we could just recognize that we all have our own unique individual talents and run with the ones we excel at, life would be so much more pleasurable. It’s not to say that we should not try others and or work to improve ourselves but our time is limited and we should spend most of it, putting our efforts in the right places.
Once in a lifetime, we find that special person or thing that we instantly connect with. It just immediately feels right and effortless. Don’t run away from it, embrace it and recognize their or its purpose in your life. You don’t need to look for new ones, just open your eyes and the real ones are standing right in front of you. No matter what it is your looking for, if you look carefully, the square hole is right there. It’s probably been there the whole time. Take a deep breath, stop forcing things and the answer will appear. If you don’t, you may look up one day and find that all your blocks are deformed, your holes have lost their definition and you can’t tell one side from the other.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

It's a Miracle

It’s a miracle that God puts up with me. Just imagine that while he is sitting up there taking care of all the real problems in the world, I keep texting him. “Hey God, got a minute, I could real use your help? I can imagine him sarcastically looking up at all the saints and saying, “Hold on a second everyone, Alex from Miami wants to win the lotto again.” Sometimes I laugh at myself wondering how insignificant the things I think I need or the things I complain about, must be in relationship to the rest of the world’s needs. Recently, I hurt my back and I must admit that I was asking God for a good explanation and a little relief. I mean, how could he let such a thing happen to me. While in the mist of asking this, a commercial came on for a program called “Little People, Big World”. The clip showed the youngest son, who already has to deal with being a little person, being told that he will have to have back surgery within the next six months. I immediately looked up and said, “Ok God, I get it, you can go back to helping those with real issues.”

God’s time is precious; don’t bother him with silly request. I can hear him now, “If you want it so bad, get it for yourself. Let me worry about the big stuff.”

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Happy Birthday Dad

Today I am officially one year older than my dad. What I mean by that is that he died when he was 42 and I am 43. It’s very weird to look at pictures of him and feel like he is my age. I have spent a lot of time this year wondering what he was thinking about himself, his life and his accomplishments during his last year. I wonder how many things he took for granted or whether he lived life for the moment. I wonder if he embraced his 40’s or rejected them. Poor guy probably never knew how good he had it. If I am honest, he probably spent his days worrying about bills, the economy, material things, vacations, relationships and all the other stupid things we all spend our days worrying about. I love my dad and even though he spent a great deal of his time working, I did learn a lot from him. He will never know but in dying he gave me his greatest lesson, live your life and enjoy it as it is because you really never know what day may be your last.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Stop Complaining !!

Don’t we all like doing things that work? Don’t we all love when the things we do, bring solutions to our problems? No one likes spinning their wheels in and endless effort to get out of the mud. Well if all this is true, why do we complain? Does complaining about pain make it hurt more or less? Does complaining about what we have to do make it easier or harder? Or how about when we complain about others, does it usually make us like them more or less? Well it is pretty obvious that complaining does nothing to help any of those situations. Some of us may say, “Well it makes me feel better.” Really? I would say it makes you feel worse. I would say it’s the equivalent of picking at a scab. Does that help heal your wound? Now on the other hand, try not complaining. What happens when you sarcastically say things like, “Alright it’s Monday. I am so glad, I get to work today.” Sarcastic as you may say it, it will feel a lot better than saying, “I hate Mondays; this sucks, another five days of work before the weekend.” When in pain, you might try saying things like, ”It could be worse or its getting better every day,” and suddenly things feel better. Bottom line is, you’re not going to ever feel or get better by complaining but you just might, by keeping a positive attitude and saying the right things to yourself.
You know I always mention an added bonus and not complaining has one also, people won’t run from your sight every time they see you coming.

“If you have time to whine and complain about something then you have the time to do something about it.”

Monday, October 5, 2009

Super Hero

As a kid and sometimes even as adults, we can all wonder what it would like to be a super hero. We all would love to have some sort of incredible super power and be able to go around the world saving people and showing off our super talent. It’s funny how we all think on such a big scale as to what those super powers would be. We all would want super strength, the ability to fly, the ability to run fast or maybe move things with our minds. I am assuming all these things would be great for the two reasons I already mentioned, helping others and showing the world how unique we are. Well we may not be able to fly and do all the things we see in the movies but we can all be super heroes. Every day we can help others and every day we can show the world how unique we are. Spend the day as if you were a superhero waiting for a cry for help and when that call comes, jump up and be off to the rescue. When someone calls with a flat tire, jump up from wherever you are and run to their rescue. When your mom calls and just needs someone to talk to, be there for her. When your children cry out for help, sacrifice yourself as a true superhero would. Whatever it may be, no matter how silly you may think the task is, you can be some ones super hero every day of your life.
So quit sitting around and get to work, the world needs you.
Please go to this link:

Friday, October 2, 2009

I Quit Too

What did those two words, "I Quit" mean to you, when you first read them?  How did they make you feel? What did you think the moment you read them? What did you want to do or say? What did they say to you, about me?

Some of you wrote comments on this site, while others called me and or posted on facebook.  I heard things like," quit is a four letter word, you can't quit we need you, you didn't strike me as a quitter, just because we don't comment doesn't mean we don't care." These were just a few of the many responses I received. So how do you think others feel when you say, "I quit?" There may not be a forum to post their feelings but I will say it for them.

"We don't want you to ever quit."
"You don't strike us as a quitter."
"We know it's a lot of work but you do make a difference."
"Don't stop now!"
"We need you."

We all get tired and we all wonder from time to time, whether what we are doing is worth it. We want to make a colossal splash in the pool of life, doing what we do. Remember it's like throwing a pebble into a pound, the ripples however small, move out and have their effects in ways we will never know. So no matter how little of a difference you may think that you make, you make a difference. Even if it is only for one person, that one person needs you and you must never quit.

PS "I never said anything about quitting Daily Dumbbells"

Thursday, October 1, 2009

I Quit

I quit.
I give up.
Too much work.
Whats the point.
I thought I could make a difference.

Nobody cares anyway. Why should I bother?

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Why do people feel the need to attack so vicously, with no regard to those they are hurting? Why is it that in our society people prefer to pick apart rather than build? Why is it more common to criticize than to compliment what others are doing? The answer is really quite simple, Fear. Fear can cause us to do really stupid things. But where does this fear stem from? We all work hard to do the things we consider to be right. Our whole lives can be identified by our beliefs and our passions. When we see someone doing something that is not what we believe, we feel the need to point out their wrong doings. In a weird way it reassures us that what we are doing, is correct. If led into a discussion, we might even get angry and rude when stating our position. Think how hard it would be to accept for ourselves that what we have invested so much time into, may actually not be right. The thought of that can make us defensive and cause us to lash out. When that uncomfortable feeling arises some of us have the skills to debate, while others can only fight the best way we know how. Don’t be mad at the boxer because he punches in a wrestling match that is the only way he knows to defend himself. The real key is to not try to justify your beliefs by attacking others. Let others do what it is that they believe in. If what they do bothers you so much, I suggest you ask yourself why? If they don’t live with you and it doesn’t affect you directly, then why the anger and the need to tear them down?
My grandfather use to say,” Yo lo que se , es que no se nada” (What I know, is that I know nothing)
Anger, hate and frustration came during the height of the Civil Rights movement, Why were they so angry? Because what they had believed in for so long was being attacked. It didn't matter that they were wrong.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Best Parent

People talk about all kinds of different parenting styles. They will use what they read in books, newspapers, maybe heard on Oprah or just learned from their own parents, to guide them. Some will laugh and gawk at the way others parent. This will come from their own internal doubts as to whether what they are doing is right. Even the professionals go back and forth about what the right answers are. Infants on their stomachs, on their sides, their back, and then back to the stomach, does anyone really know? There are hundreds of opinions on the best way to discipline your child, or what they need or don’t need medicinally, but again who really knows? I have seen success stories from people who grew up in the Bronx, with no money and the worst of schooling and failures from those who grew up with lots of money, with the best of schooling and from the finest part of town. Some of the greatest minds in our time come from families that one might call “broken”. So what is the answer?

The truth is that when it comes to techniques, there is not just one answer. Each and every case and individual is different. What works for one, may not work for another. However there is one thing that is universal and never has failed, love. Of course everyone loves their child but it is the unconditional devotion that one puts into that child that will make them the great people we want them to be. The dedication that you put into your parenting style will shine through and cover your child with love and a feeling of individuality and self confidence. The success stories from the Bronx, always have the single working mom, who did everything for that child. I am sure that mother had plenty of people telling her how crazy she was but she ignored them and kept going. She didn’t have anyone or anything to guide her but her love for her children and it guided her to be fully committed. Her children witnessed her sacrifices and dedication, gathered strength from it and were able to achieve great things. Don’t be concerned so much with the style or technique, dedication and love is what will raise your children well, just as neglect and anger will tear them down.

Imagine a balanced scale with dedication and love on one side and neglect and anger on the other. What does your scale look like? What do you want it to look like? What can you do today to make it look the way you want it to?

Monday, September 28, 2009


Consider Mark Twain’s famous quote,
"Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it."
 People will hurt us throughout our lives. Some will hurt us without even knowing, while others will purposely set out to cause us pain but it is what is at the root of their actions that is more telling, then the actions themselves. When we are infants our minds are pure and even fear does not exist. It is only as we grow and are influenced by outside forces that we begin to fear and create a belief system. Each and every one of us is influenced differently and these influences can shape us into who we are as adults. As adults, many of the things we do and say are only reflections of what we have been taught by life and by others. Sometimes, what we do and say can hurt the ones around us. Although there are those people who exist that maliciously set out to hurt others, for the most part that is not the case. Most of the time, we are only trying to protect ourselves and what we believe in and unfortunately, along the way others get hurt. It is much easier to forgive when you learn not to take things personally. When you realize that what was done was really not done to you, but at you. In other words, what was done was a direct result of who that person is, not so much because of who you are. Once you can fully understand that, true forgiveness is more obtainable. So some people might say, “Why do I have to forgive anyway?” Most of us see forgiving as giving something to the other person, a form of weakness or just giving in to our position. The truth is forgiveness is for us, not for them. It allows us to let things go. It allows us to keep living our lives without resentment and hate in us. The hidden bonus in forgiving others is that subconsciously it allows us to forgive ourselves recognizing the humanity that we share with those who we have forgiven.

Friday, September 25, 2009

You Don't Know Jack

Some of the people we learn the most from in our lives are not the ones that we will necessarily like the most. As the saying goes, “the truth hurts” and most of the time, those who deliver us the truth are not our favorite people. Although this story is a little long, it’s one of my favorites and drives home the point.

While in my early 20’s, I worked for a man named Jack Stewart (Greatest teacher). He was rarely one to praise and always pushed me for more. He called me into his office one day to send me on what he himself described as a waste of time. It was an important client that wanted to renegotiate their contract. They had never signed in the past but someone still had to go. As I left to meet with the client I remember Jack telling me that I would never get a new contract. His exact words were, “This client is a tire kicker, they’re not interested in buying.” I went to the meeting and was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time. The client signed a new contract with me and I raced back to give Jack the good news. I entered his office and proudly placed the contract on his desk. He didn’t even bother to lift his head and recognize that I was in the room. “Hey Jack, do you see what’s on your desk”, I asked? Without looking up he responded, “Very nice.” To which I responded, “It’s signed, in case you didn’t notice”. “Yeah, I noticed” he said, as if it was expected. At this point I was completely frustrated with his lack of enthusiasm and appreciation for what I had accomplished. I went on a five minute tirade on how appreciative he should be, about the fact that I was able to accomplish what he himself had labeled, an impossible task. He finally looked up at me from what he was doing and calmly said, “That’s what I pay you for.” Of course that brought no comfort to me and now I was even more upset. I went on to explain to him that life is not all about money, people like to be praised for their efforts. I told him that people like a good pat on the back for their extra efforts. Suddenly the expression on his face changed and what I was saying seemed to have finally seeped in. He asked me to sit down, he leaned back, and yelled out “Susie, come into my office.” Susie was the company’s bookkeeper. My heart started racing with the thought of the raise he would be instructing Susie to give me. I knew Jack had finally come to his senses. Susie entered the office and Jack looked her dead in the eye and sarcastically said, “From now on Fridays, don’t give Alex a paycheck, he’s gonna come in here and I am going to give him a pat on the back instead.” (Feel free to laugh here, everyone does.)
Needless to say, I was, embarrassed and stormed out of the office. Later and I mean much later, I remember him telling me to make sure you ask for what you want in life. Don’t beat around the bush, don’t be sly or clever, be a straight shooter. “A straight shooter conserves bullets and always hits his target.” I hated him at times in my life but when I look back, he was by far my greatest teacher and friend.

You don’t know Jack but I’m sure you have met his family.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Don't Stop Believing

The one thing that keeps us going in our lives is hope. The hope that we will get all the things we want and are willing to work hard for. Along the way, we will be faced with obstacles and we will want to give up. Throughout our lives we will have those who say we can’t. Their words will create doubt and make us want to give in. Some will say our way is wrong and we may lose focus while trying to follow their path. There are those who will see our progress and try to distract us to their stagnation.
Use your compass to set your own course. Stay focused on what you know to be your way. This is an imperfect world that is forever changing and as a result, what we must do today, we might not do tomorrow. What is acceptable tomorrow is taboo today. Push forward and stay your course. Do what you know to be true to you. Don’t be swayed, misguided or pressured into conforming to what others think you should do or be. No matter how lonely or difficult you find your path to be, don’t stop believing in yourself and your ideas.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Good Mourning

Most people relate the word “mourning” with sadness, crying and the death of a loved one but we can mourn in many ways, about many things. We can mourn a friend who moves away, losing a job, our youth, and basically any dramatic change that occurs in our lives. What is it that seems to tear us apart, leave us feeling empty and in a state of reflection? The first and most obvious answer would be that we will miss what or who, we had become so familiar with. From that, one would also gather that we would  miss the way that situation or person made us feel. I really enjoy my daughters playing soccer, it has become part of my life. Every weekend we go to games and most of our “family vacations” are soccer tournaments. Will I mourn when the soccer comes to an end? Of course I will. It may not be the same type of mourning as if someone was to die but the characteristics of mourning will be there, sadness, and some time for reflection followed by a period of adjustment. So what do we do to protect ourselves from the inevitable losses that we will all have to endure throughout or lives? The answer is quite simply, nothing.  There is nothing you can do to change the inevitable. We will always have to deal with changes in our lives and the loss of loved ones. What we can do, is to embrace those things when they are staring us in the face. Love every minute of the “soccer” games in your life. Call our loved ones as much as possible and tell them what they mean to us. Find the time to spend with those who we care about the most and when your with them, don’t think about how you might change them but how you would never want to exchange them. There’s a song by Tim McGraw called “live like you were dying”, for today I suggest we change the words around to, “Live like they were dying”. It won’t eliminate the inevitable mourning but it will guarantee that you will never have regrets about the time you did spend with that person or part of your life.

Watch the video below:

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Happy Dog

A dog is known as man’s best friend. Anyone who has ever owned a dog, knows why.

  • Your dog doesn’t care what you look like or for that matter, what he/she looks like 
  • Your dog only wants to please you and thinks only of his/her bare necessities like food and water. 
  • Your dog doesn’t care what you do for a living or how much money you have. 
  • Your dog is always happy unless you are not. 
  • Your dog will always forgive you, no matter how mad you get or what you do. 
So what is it that makes an animal able to love us unconditionally?

Your dog has no ego.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Be Yourself

When we meet new people or groups, it can be very easy to pick up their mannerisms and ideas in a subconscious attempt to fit in. We can find ourselves agreeing to things that we normally wouldn’t have. We can find ourselves saying things that are not really us. It’s always difficult because you don’t want to come across as difficult but you don’t want to compromise who you are either. It can even be more difficult when you are outnumbered. The problem with not being yourself is that eventually the real you shows up. We can’t fight who we really are and cannot change the things about us that others don’t like. Despite any and every attempt we make to change reality, some will like us and others will dislike us. Imagine the level of frustration you can reach trying to please everyone and still having those who will disagree with you and dislike you. Trying to fit in is smart, changing who you are in an attempt to fit in, is a formula for disaster. “Oh yeah by the way”, some of us think you’re a great person and look up to you, and others of us think you’re not and don’t but the only opinion that really matters is what you think.