All posts by Jason

I'm a computer nerd by trade, but I have found a second calling as a half- and full-marathon coach. I found that I like to motivate people to do things beyond their initial belief and feel that I help them achieve a better perspective on their natural abilities.

A Motherly Perspective

A Motherly Perspective

A friend of mine, Molly, posted the following on Facebook:

I’m in the bathroom sans kids so here comes another moment of enlightenment since that’s the only place I seem to have clarity: The older I get and the more things I put my body through (traveling, mountain climbing, marathoning) the more I am amazed at what these bodies are capable of. But it has been the 2 pregnancies and the endless caring of my children that has afforded me a new found grace and awe of this temple I reside in. And it is the unconditional love and support of my partner and husband that allows me to add to it confidence. My wobbly bits are multiplying like rabbits, but the 3 most important people love me more with each passing day and that makes me so proud of the journey that has gotten me even closer to a love of myself and a reason to smile when I catch a glimpse of the newest gray hair or saggy spot – I am truly, wholly loved by them, so I want in on it, too! I wouldn’t be me without any of them and without any of them I wouldn’t be this better version of me!”

With this quote, she fully expresses (whether she meant to or not) the best parts of what this site tries to preach.  It’s not what you necessarily believe about yourself or what other’s believe about you.  However, with the right combination of the two, gold can be found.

It’s about surrounding yourself with love and giving it in return.  It’s about recognizing that you aren’t alone, that you have support, if you know where to look.  With that support, the possibilities are endless.

The people who you choose to surround yourself with play an important part of who you are and it is important to ‘want in on it, too!’

I want to thank Molly for sharing the above quote and hope that any and all mother’s out there can relate and remember what amazing people they are.  To all of you, a Happy Mother’s Day!

Examine.

You Can Always Try…

You Can Always Try...It is amazing what wonderful lessons you can learn from your children.  Lately, my son’s answer to us saying we can’t do something has been “You can always try…”

More times than not, he’s absolutely correct, so we end up ‘trying’.  Whether it’s flapping our arms to see if we can fly or reading the macaroni and cheese on the lunch plate, we usually give it a try.

We have found that this offers my son dual lessons.  First, it reinforces his already set belief that we can try anything.  Second, it also teaches him that we can’t, in fact, do everything we set out to do.  One of the reasons my son is so awesome, is because he doesn’t get too discouraged when his thoughts of dairy-infused literary magic doesn’t pan out.  Instead, he then looked up at me and said, “we don’t read mac and cheese, Dada, we eat mac and cheese.”  His logic is infallible.

So, that’s all well and good, right?  A 3-year old learns that he can’t do everything and that mac and cheese is still delicious.  What does that have to do with us?  The answer is…Everything.

At what point in our lives do we stop trying.  The fear of failure sweeps the American society and we become inactive, thus unproductive, members of society.  That’s an extreme illustration, but you get my point.  Individually, there are things we have not tried to do because we are either afraid of failing or believe that we can’t accomplish whatever it is.

As always, there are things that cannot be done, we know that.  But if there is a chance that it can, then what’s the hurt in trying?  As a throwback to the last post, it’s not failure that’s the crime, but holding our sights too low.

So, get out there, try something new, you may be surprised.  In the meantime, I’m going to grab the latest issue of The Daily Pasta and see if they offer flying lessons.

Examine.

 

Sights and Targets

Sights and Targets

Bruce Lee once said:

“Don’t fear failure.  Not failure, but low aim, is the crime.  In great attempts it is glorious even to fail.”

I love this quote because it sums up the way goals and priorities should be set.  I’ll further promote the idea by saying that it’s not the failure that matters, but what you do with that failure.  Learning from the mistakes, recovering and moving on is the only way to succeed.

We don’t live in a black-and-white world.  It’s not all or nothing.  It’s not just success or failure.  Every failure has the opportunity to be a partial success if you let it.

This post may be short, but sweet.  There’s not much too it, because it’s simple.  Set high goals and succeed.  If you don’t succeed…well, try try again.

Examine.

Karma: Good or Bad?

Karma:  Good or Bad?

We’ve all heard of Karma, but how much of it do we believe in?  For most of us, it’s a fun way of explaining things.  Like when that guy weaves in and out of lanes while speeding down the highway and we see him pulled over a few miles later.  We say, “That’s Karma”.  Or when I find a good parking spot at the mall, I call it “Parking Karma” which really doesn’t make sense, does it?

More importantly, do we ‘invoke’ Karma equally?  I mean, do we focus on the positive as well as the negative?  The Buddhists define Karma as “the law of moral causation.”  It’s more complex than this, but basically, do good things and good things will happen to you.  Same with bad things.

It’s a nice thought, but does that mean that WHEN you have bad things happen to you, it’s because you’ve done bad in the past?  Vice versa with good.  Or is it the ‘balance’ of if something good happens to you, then something bad will happen at some point to even things out?

Well, I don’t know the answer completely, but I can tell you if you dwell/worry about either of the two preceding statements, it will drive you insane and add unnecessary stress to your life.  And I’m pretty sure that’s anti-Karma…or anti-Buddhist…or well, just not good!

I experienced a loss recently.  Without going into any details, I’ll tell you that it’s the first time in a long time that I, personally, questioned whether or not I ‘had done something wrong’ or “Karmic-ally caused the loss”.  Usually, I don’t go down that road.  Everything happens for a reason, even if we don’t know what it is.  Timing, Fate, whatever.  But this time it hit harder than anything had before.  I’ve come around to the thought that the reason will become clear and that sometimes things just happen.

I can assure you that doing good and leading a happy lifestyle surely can’t hurt.  Whether one believes in Karma or not, it never hurts to hedge a bet.  This is what you’re doing when you put good out into the world.  By doing so, it allows more and more goodness to penetrate and absorb into the world around.  And that’s never a bad thing.

Examine.

The Key to the Future

The Key to the Future

The notable quote is that “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” That’s what we remember it, but the true quote is “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” For the sake of this post, I like the second a bit better.

Let me tell you a story.  A few years back, I went back to school and got my master’s degree.  My intent was to educate myself and work my way into a management position.  A couple of years later, I got that chance and became a manager for a company that I had worked for previously.  Since I had no real management experience, I knew it was a very fortunate circumstance and put all of my effort into making it work.

Fast forward to a couple of months ago.  I was recently laid off from that position.  It was heart breaking.  I’m not going to sit here and make excuses.  I will admit that I failed.  I failed my employees.  I failed my boss.

It was hard, but what it did was force me to reflect on the time I had there and determine what my next steps would be.  I ended up being hired within a couple of weeks, and again with today’s economy I am grateful for this fortune.

In my reflection, I came up with a couple of revelations:

  • I wasn’t up to the expectations of my previous employer, thus I failed.
  • I do give my all to the success of myself.
  • I have confidence in my skills and abilities.

Even though it was heartbreaking to lose my job, I took heart in the 2nd and 3rd revelation and this allowed me to pursue a job search and interview with complete confidence.  I ended up getting an offer that was higher than the job posted (both in position and salary) and I attribute that to being sure of myself when presenting why I would be an asset to the organization.

Now I sit in a position, that isn’t management, but is of seniority and look to the future.  It is bright because I can look back at my recent failure, see what I did wrong and not repeat the process.

This is the combined power of reflection and looking back.  I did not dwell on the past, but turned it to my advantage for a brighter future.  What I learned most was that I should do this, not only in times of crisis, but on a semi-regular basis to make sure I am still aligned.  Examination leads to enlightenment, enlightenment leads to success.

Examine.

Does It Get Better?

Good, better and best conceptEmotions are an amazing driver.  They make the highs higher and the lows lower.  They can sharpen focus as well as cloud judgement.  They are the epitome of paradox.

However, when we’re up, we don’t necessarily care nor acknowledge what’s coming next.  When we are low, though, we completely shut out what’s coming.  Our emotions can drive us so low, that we tend to ask ourselves:  does it get better?

This is also the first thing that Others tell us.  “Oh, don’t worry, it’ll get better”.  “Well, there’s always tomorrow.”  Heck, I’m a huge culprit of this.  This entire site is built on such a sentiment.  However, does this really help out those whom we are targeting?

The answer is No….and Yes.  No, by itself it doesn’t help.  However, the love and sentiment behind the words do.  It’s reassurance that there are brighter days ahead which helps, however it does not give any finality of the pain and suffering.  It’s ice for the wound, numbs the pain, but isn’t a cure.

So…DOES it get better?  Yes!  How do we get there?

That, my friends, is the question that can only be answered by everyone on a personal level.  The only person who can rescue us from our lows is our self.  We have to make the decision that today will be better than yesterday and that tomorrow will be easier than today.

The keys to success is to examine and find the positive.  Hold on to what works, don’t dwell on what doesn’t.  Simple in practice…Hard in execution.  Well, Hard at first, but start small and build from there.  Go from Good to Better to Best.

Examine.

 

You are…You Could Be!

You are...You Could Be!

Before I start, I must disclaim. I saw this quote on Facebook and it is from scripture.  I try to stay as neutral as possible, so don’t stop reading or be offended because I bring up a quote that originates in religion as this is not a religious post.

Here is the aforementioned quote:  “God loves you just the way you are, but He refuses to leave you that way.”

Now, to spin it to our topics, is change it to this:  “Love yourself the way you are, but refuse to never change.”

This is a ‘self’ centered post…that sounds wrong, but it’s right.  Everything about that above quote centers around your Self.  There are few constants in this world, but one of them is that EVERYTHING can be better.  It’s a simple 5 step process:

  1. Examine your self.
  2. Love what you see and accept who you are.
  3. Decide what would make you more happy.
  4. Determine why #3 would make you more happy.
  5. Put in a plan of action to change #3.

Let’s step back…this is not necessarily (but could be) a physical ‘see’ and ‘change’, but mainly a lifestyle/thought process change.

The strongest and most important step above is #4.  This is the hardest part, because any changes need to have a good reason.  Without reason, change is meaningless.  Meaningless changes are wastes of time and energy.  They usually result in steps back rather than steps forward.

Why is this important?  According to current studies (take those as you will), only 1 in 3 Americans consider themselves ‘Very Happy’.  That means the other two need to make changes in their lives to become ‘Very Happy.’  Are you one of the ‘1’ or one of the ‘2’?

Figure it out, take the steps and start moving toward becoming a ‘1’.

Examine.

A Dad’s Wish Fulfilled

A Dad's TaleA couple of weeks ago, the fair came to town.  This is a smaller version of the big fair that comes around in the Fall.  However, my wife and I have not missed either version for the past 7 years.  My son is now 3 years old and he has gone to each instance of this fair throughout his entire life.  Watching him take more and more of the Fair in each visit is a wonder in itself.  Every time we go, he experiences it more fully and enjoys more and more of it.

Last fall, his highlight was the farm animals and the petting zoo.  So, this year we thought it would be a quick trip and just hit some barns and get the required ‘fair food’ and go home happy.  Then we turned the corner and saw……the RIDES.  My son immediately wanted to check it out as my wife and I exchanged the ‘oh no, is he tall enough?’ look.

Well, we get up to the roller coaster and see the measure line.  From 6 feet away I could tell that he wasn’t tall enough, but man was he excited.  He kept asking if he could do the ‘rorer coaster‘.  So, I explained to him that he needed to be tall enough and showed him the black line that marked how tall he needed to be.  Looking up at me with his big brown eyes, he says ‘Dada, can we measure?’  Of course we can…so up we walk and….

HE WAS TALL ENOUGH.  What?!?!  There was no way he was tall enough until we got right up to the measure stick and sure enough, he was good to go.  So, after forking over a small fortune, I bought a series of ride tickets and off we went.

So, where’s the wish, you say?  Well, 14 years ago, I met my wife and we started dating and I bought tickets to an amusement park for us to go to when she dropped the closest thing to a deal breaker in our relationship on me….she didn’t like RIDES.  WHAT?!?!  How could we be compatible…how could this happen?  Well, it did and we persevered.  Obviously.

So, by and large, after 19 years of being a thrill seeker, I went into a roller coaster hibernation.  Now my son, wide-eyed and excited, was asking his daddy if we could ride the ‘rorer coaster‘.

So, here we go…we strap in…Mom’s armed on the sidelines with a camera (which didn’t do much good because he was ‘just’ tall enough and could not be seen behind his behemoth of a father) and AWAY WE GO!

When we go around the corner and up the track, he’s smiling and giggling…when we go down for the first time, he loses….his….MIND!  I’ve not seen the kid smile so broadly, it was like a whole new world had been opened up.

Watching him have so much fun, reminded me how much fun these rides could be.  Furthermore, he reminded me what FUN really is.  It’s different for everyone, but for me, in that moment, it was able to show him a new experience and remember all the fun I’ve had in those situations.

Before the ride was over, there were a few times when he would just look up at me and smile.  In that smile, I could see him ‘thanking’ me for showing him this amazing experience of the ‘rorer coaster‘.

Sometimes, it takes a moment like that to remember.  And remembering his a good way to examine your perspective.  For me, personally, it has been a trying few months.  And all of that melted away with my baby boy’s simple smile.

Examine.

The Power of Belief

The Power of BeliefIn a slight continuation from the last Quick Shot, let’s talk about belief for a bit.  Note, this post might contain some controversial statements and are solely meant to provoke thought, not to pass judgement or reflect opinions.

I am and always have been fascinated by the power that belief and faith have in today’s society.  I am intrigued by what drives people to do what they do.  Good or bad, it seems to me that all actions are driven by a belief system.  I’m not necessarily talking about religion, though is most cases, religion is the medium of belief.

Religion, like magic, ONLY works if there is faith.  If there were no believers, then there would be no religion.  Furthermore, without a belief system, would there be anything?  Ever.

I was listening to Pandora the other day and John Lennon’s “Imagine” came on.  There’s a stanza in that song that goes like this:

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace

This made me think of an interesting question (here comes the controversy part).  If given the choice, would one give up religion for peace?  For example, let us say all the deities ever written about or spoken about all got together and held a press conference.  Let’s say they only had one statement.  If EVERYONE denounced all forms of religion then there would be true peace on earth.  So the choice is this:  Belief system OR Peace.

Interesting thought, huh?  Now, usually in these posts I like to keep my opinions to myself, and as I’m writing this sentence I’ve gone back and forth a couple of times whether I would stick to that or not.  I think I will.  No opinions here.

However, it does pose a scenario that some will find completely abhorrent and some will say, ‘Duh!’  Either way, there is no true right answer, as the beauty of the human mind is that we can always ‘think up’ or imagine possibilities.  And THAT is the true power of belief.

Whether you belief in an all-powerful god, a karmic paradise, or whether you just believe in yourself, you do belief in something.  That belief system, your belief system, is the one that drives you to live your life in the way you see fit.  And in most cases, that way of life (in general humanity terms) is compatible with others.  This is a good thing.

What this also means, is that others have their own belief system, so don’t be too quick to judge on how others act.  To each their own.  All we can do is try to stay on the same forward path and surround ourselves with those who make us better.  In the end, that is all that matters.

Imagine.
Believe.
Examine.

 

Magic

MagicA couple of weekends ago I watched “Now You See Me”, which if you don’t know is a movie about magicians.  I have always been fascinated by magic, illusion and sleight of hand.  I haven’t been to a lot of magic shows personally, but if there is one on TV or I have the opportunity, I take advantage.

There are usually three kinds of people when it comes to “magic viewers”.  The first kind are the indifferent, take-it-or-leave-it, “that’s quasi-interesting” type of people.  The second kind are the people who watch solely to debunk the trick.  The third kind are those who WANT to believe and get enraptured by the illusion.  I fall squarely into the third kind.

The design of magic is to make people believe what they are seeing, but it only works if the audience makes the decision to suspend reality and believe what they are seeing.  As children this is very easy to do.  As adults, it’s a bit harder.  We are too jaded by the world, too cynical to get caught up in the moment.  This is too bad.

Imagine if we all suspended reality for a few short moments each day, what sort of wonders we might experience.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting going through the entire day believing you have wings on your feet and can fly.  However, the ‘land of make believe’ is still out there.  Go find a good FICTION book.  Watch an old favorite movie or tv show.  Go to Disneyland!  (Yeah, I wish!)

Remember that life can be hard and unyielding, but that just around the corner, there might be one more trick up its sleeve waiting to take you by surprise.  Don’t walk through life hardened or that surprise might break you.

Examine.