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:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KPUU-t28lg&feature=fvw

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?