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.

 

Problems and Solutions

Problems and SolutionsSometimes when problems arise, it is the first instinct to run.  Run away from the problem until eventually it goes away.  However, a very wise person said “Running away from your problems is a race you will never win.”  They are always there and will be there until you face them.

Then how about this?  Instead of running AWAY from your problems, run TOWARDS a solution.  I mean, heck, you are still running in a metaphorical sense, right?  At least, this way, you are making productive use of your time and energy and life is too short to waste either.

 

 

Dreams

Dreams

 

Do you remember when you were a kid and had so many hopes and dreams.  Remember what it felt like to think about ‘what you wanted to be when you grow up’ and ‘all the places you want to see’.  More importantly, remember that feeling of ‘anything is possible’ that would wash over you when you thought about those hopes and dreams?

Driving to work the other day, listening to Pandora, I had a flashback to that time.  In my very eclectic music channel, between Evanescence and The Beatles, a Harry Chapin song came on.  It was a song that I don’t even know if I’ve ever heard, but I know Harry enough to know when it’s him singing.

Immediately, I was sent back to when I used to listen to Harry Chapin in my parents car when we would go places.  I would be sitting in the back seat, staring out the window and would always start to daydream about all sorts of stuff.  It would always put me in a good mood.  Driving to work that day, listening to Harry Chapin, made me realize that I usually turn to his music if I need a pick-me-up.  It always reminds me of that ‘feeling’ that I would have when dreaming.

A lot of us, as adults, lose sight of dreams and goals.  We get jaded by life, knowing that NOT everything is possible.  Therefore, we stop dreaming and hoping and wishing.  Worse, we stop feeling that ‘feeling’.  Furthermore, we don’t necessarily realize we’ve stopped doing that or stopped looking for hope until we get reminded, like I did on my drive into work.

The realization that I came to, is if I can start finding that feeling again on my own, I can regain the motivation that at times may have seemed to be lost.  We all have those moments in life, in memories, of when we thought the sky was the limit, we just need to find that again.

The seasons are changing, the sun is shining more, what better time to improve our outlook on life.  Go out and find your ‘feeling’ and make today (and tomorrow) better!

Examine.

The End…

tyberonn_mayanCalendarWell, I’m sure you’ve heard this before.  The End of the World is coming.  Sometime in the next couple of weeks I suppose.  The asteroid is coming, or the zombies will rise.  The seas will flood and the earth will open spewing forth its molten core until the only things that survive are cockroaches and Twinkies….

Wait, what?!?  You’re telling me Twinkies are already on the endangered species list!  Maybe those Mayans WERE on to something.

Anyway, let’s say for a minute (or maybe 5, I haven’t decided how long this post will be yet) that those Yokels from the Yucatan were correct.  We only have 8 more days to live.  How do you spend them?  Do you turn to your deepest darkest desires and give in to the evil that lurks in each and every one of us?  Or do you turn to your….shallowest…lightest…ahh, never mind that’s a bad metaphor.

How about this.  What would be the last thing you want to do in this life?  What statement do you want to make to end the story that is you?  Are there things that you’ve always wanted to do and haven’t?  Well, 8 days isn’t THAT long, but I’m sure you can get some of those things accomplished.

The deeper question here is why haven’t you done them already?  Money?  Time?  Both very valid reasons.  Also, both of those reasons are able to be met.  You can make time and money.  Maybe not very fast, but it can happen if you really want it.

Do you really want it?  Why wait for the end of the world?  Take charge now and make it happen.  Make a plan and see it through.  Don’t wait for an ultimatum to make your wishes come true.

There’s still time!  Maybe 8 days, maybe 8 years, maybe 80 years.  But it all starts today.  The day you start making plans is the day you start realizing your dreams.  Stop waiting, start doing.  Make that your motto for the new year.  You’ll be amazed at how many things you can accomplish.

Examine.

 

Self-Image

Self Image

It all starts with you.  That’s been a recurring theme of those blog and it won’t stop now.  How do you see yourself?  Do you see what others see or do you see what’s really inside? What percentage of your self-image is your external appearance or more importantly, how much weight to  you put in others’ opinion of your external appearance?

I’ll tell you that I’m not overly thrilled with the way I look.  Do I try those crazy herbal based diets?  Yes. (It’s great!)  Do I try those crazy workout programs?  Yes (This one works if you stick to it!)  Do I look like Hugh Jackman yet? No! (I can’t believe I just Googled ‘Topless Hugh Jackman’)  Do I lose sleep at night?  Yes…..well, okay no.  I don’t and that is because I only care so much about my external appearance.

Don’t get me wrong.  I would love six-pack abs and a chiseled chest…and as long as I stick to my crazy herbal diets and do my crazy workout programs, I think I will get there eventually.  But what I don’t do is let it get to me.  Nor do I let it make me forget who I am on the inside.

I feel like my self-image is great.  I know that I do what I can to help out others.  I treat people with respect and try to set a good example of what it means to be a man to my son.  I look after my wife and try my best to make sure she feels appreciated.  And though I may not keep in the greatest contact with friends and family at all times, I make sure that when I do see them, it’s worth their while.

That is how I measure my self-image.  This may not be the same for everyone and that is the beauty of us as individuals.  We all have our own metrics by which we need to stand.  We all have expectations and limits.  So, what do you hold yourself against?  What is your measuring stick?  Are you happy with your self-image?  If so, great!  If not, I have one piece of advice.  Instead of getting down on yourself, re-evaluate your measuring stick.  Or….re-

Examine The Glass.

😉

Hope in the Darkness

Hope in the Darkness

“There’s hope in the darkness, you know you’re going to make it.”

That was a line to a Savage Garden song I listened to today.  A song that I’ve heard a lot over the years as it is on one of my favorite CDs.  Yes, I still listen to CDs.  Wipe that shocked look off of your tapes, it’s not like I said 8-track tapes or something.  And Yes, I did just link to 8-track tapes….sue me! 🙂

Anyway, where was I…oh yes, Savage Garden.  Or music in general is where I get some of my most inspiring thoughts.  The quote I started off with always struck true to me.  It always told me that no matter how dark it gets.  No matter how hard it gets.  There is always a way up.  I’m not saying it’s an easy way up or even an obvious way up.  But that old truism is still true…ism: when you’re on the bottom, there’s only one way to go.

I’ve seen people at their lowest.  I’ve seen people at their darkest.  And MANY more times than not, those same people are much better off now than they were then.  They have been able to rise above the tragedy, the pain, the sorrow.

It puts it into perspective for me.  The simple notion that I’ve seen people rise up from situations MUCH more dire than I may ever face, so why I am I worrying about my petty (in perspective) setbacks?  Well, a little worry is okay, because it can be a strong motivator.  However, too much worry can be a delimiter.

How many times have I stopped progressing forward because of what I perceive as a blocker or bottleneck?  How many times have you?  What’s really stopping us?  Ourselves….that’s it…end of story.  We are the candle that will light our darkness.  We have it within us to lead our own path to righteousness.  We are the key to our own future.

Embrace the darkness….it can only get lighter once we accept the fact that it is ourself pulling the blinds or closing the doors.

Be the light that shines inside of you.

Examine.

Hopes and Dreams

Hopes and Dreams

It’s my second favorite 4 year tradition….second only to Leap Day!  The Summer Olympics are HERE!  Growing up, I had two Olympic images in my head.  The first being that I would one day be an Olympic swimmer.  I remember dedicating myself one summer to being the best swimmer possible.  Needless to say, that didn’t quite work out.  The second image I had in my head was a time and place that the world could put aside their differences and just compete in friendly competition.  A naive thought, you say? Maybe…maybe not.

As I grew older, I came to realize the amazing accomplishments that an Olympic athlete is.  Not just what they do, but who they are.  They are the epitome of dedication and drive, hopes and dreams.  They are amazing athletes who show you that anything is possible.  Oh, and if you have this thing called natural talent, that helps too.

There are two cases I want to bring up in these current Olympic Games.  Two gifted athletes, Michael Phelps and Jordyn Wieber.  Two American athletes who have tasted their own flavor of defeat over the past couple of days.  Two of the most amazing and gifted athletes in the world who came up a little short.  What am I doing harping on the negativity when this blog is supposed to be about open perspective?  Well, let’s dive into it.

Mr. Phelps is undoubtedly one of the most natural-born swimmers to walk on two legs.  Tearing through both Athens and Beijing, he was unstoppable.  Coming into this Olympics, he was definitely a major favorite, despite his age and apparent lack of training.  Then all of a sudden, he lost.  Okay, he didn’t lose, but he got 4th place, which means no medal, which to an Olympian means he lost.  Still one of the absolute best in the world, but not THE best.  Why?  He, himself, said he didn’t put the training in.

I bring this up, because it seems like a slap in the face.  What sort of arrogance is going through your head to make you NOT put in the training and still compete?   He also was a part of a relay team for the US and they did not win Gold either.  Did his lack of training effect that performance as well?  I don’t want to speak for Mr. Phelps, but it seemed very self-centered to think he could walk into the Olympics and win without giving 110% to his training.  Oh, and it may have also affected his teammates.

Next, let’s take a look at Jordyn Wieber.  By all accounts Miss Wieber is said to have a very rigorous training schedule and a very dedicated ethic.  Watching her perform only verifies the previous statement.  She is a well oiled machine and one of the best female gymnasts in the world.  So, what happened?  Well, on that particular day, two of her teammates were better.  Sure, she made a couple of mistakes, but unless you’re Nadia or Mary Lou, nobody’s perfect.

Here is where these two athletes differ.  Both tasted defeat, but for very different reasons.  Mr. Phelps did not train as much as he should have and Miss Wieber just wasn’t the best on one particular day.  Later on the same day, Miss Wieber ‘tweeted’ that she was excited about Team USA finals and happy for her teammates.  Who knows what Mr. Phelps will do, but at least for the moment Miss Wieber is 100% a team player and representing her country well.

I don’t take anything away from Mr. Phelps, he is an amazing athlete and should be looked upon as a great role model.  But in this case, fame appears to have gotten the better of him.  He achieved his hopes and dreams, and got used to winning.  More than likely, Miss Wieber will not achieve her dream of an individual Gold Medal, but she still has a chance to be a part of a Gold Medal team and thus far it appears that she is embracing that as she should.

Who would you model yourself after?  The undeniable athlete whose character is slightly in question or the one who gave it her all, came up short, and is still pursing for the benefit of others?

Examine.

Emotions vs. Education

Emotions vs. Education

First of all, let me say that this post means NO disrespect to anyone.  This is a post I’ve been meaning to write for a while now and it all kind of came to a head in a situation last week.

Sometimes we think things through and sometimes we just plow ahead with our emotions.  Both scenarios can lead to success, but sometimes not.

How many times have you been caught in the moment and said something you didn’t necessarily know was true, but felt so strongly about it that it didn’t matter?  It happens.  NO doubt about it.  However, in order to be truly successful, you must be able to give rational thought and a bit of research in order to make sure you aren’t spreading false information.

Does this mean that you need to research every little detail before you execute your strategy….probably not.  There’s a definite time and place for gut feelings and knee-jerk reactions.  However, dispensing information is not one of them.

In a world of freedom speech, freedom of religion and basically the freedom of opinion, everyone has one.  People will tout off a lot of information….and usually put it up on the Internet somewhere.

It’s very easy to fall into the public perception and forget to check the facts.  No examples are needed here as I’m sure you have already brought one or two up in your mind just reading that.

All I’m saying, is make sure you get the facts before sending on that forwarded e-mail or passing off that “Did you hear…”  If we all get a little better at educating ourselves, we will have more opportunity to have civilized discussions.

Examine.

Rhythm of Life

Rhythm of Life

So, I found myself wondering today, “Where did the day go?”  I mean, I sat down at my desk and started doing my tasks and all of a sudden I was 30 minutes late to leave.  Weird.  We’ve all experienced it, though, so it’s not a new concept.

Then I thought about the month and a half absence I took from this blog, albeit unintentionally, and realized that my life has been at a pretty fast clip for…well…a long time.  Probably the past two years.

If I had to equate my life to a song, I have been following the beat of “The Lone Ranger” when I should have been following “Fur Elise”.  Now there’s a classical reference that I’m sure not everyone will get.

My point is…I need to slow it down.  I’ve already started taking steps towards that end.  I’m taking a sabbatical from Marathon Coaching starting in September.  I’m focusing on spending more time with my family.  I’m going to actually START writing my book.  Basically, I’m going to become Mr. Fur Elise.

So, what’s your life’s theme song?  Are you “Mission Impossible” or Kenny G?  I suppose you can be set to a beat that is too slow also.  Remember, it’s the extremes you want to be careful of.  Do you need to slow down or pick it up?

Take a look….or a listen….

Examine.

Care More

Care MoreA friend of mine posted this today on Facebook:

“In a world full of people who couldn’t care less, be someone who couldn’t care more.”

A very simple quote….a very simple design to live by.  Stop caring less, start caring more.  A lot of times when I see people who have ‘given up’ on their hopes and dreams, it is because someone (and quite possibly themselves) have stopped caring.

When you stop caring about what is to come or what is happening around you, you stop believing….you just stop.  Remember what I’ve said before.  Every action in life needs to be, in some way, promoting yourself to move forward.  A stagnant life or a life in reverse is counter productive and will only lead to unhappiness.

Change is incremental.  Change is also contagious.  If you start changing your life, others around you will start to notice.  If you start caring about something you may have ‘given up’ on, the effect on others can be profound.  It can be two-fold.  It can motivate them to start caring more about what you are doing and become positive re-enforcement to you.  It can also allow them to start caring about dreams and goals they may have given up.

Stop caring less, start caring more.  Spread the love, joy and happiness you start to feel.  The change can be astounding!

Examine.