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.

 

What if…?

What if...?

What if we had peace on earth?

What if you won the lotto?

What if that happened or what if this didn’t happen?

What if?

I find myself using that term a lot.  I use it a lot more than I probably should.  In reality, though, ‘what if’ is NOT reality.  ‘What if’ is a dream.  ‘What if’ is a fantasy.  And many times, ‘what if’ is a disappointment or a missed opportunity.

So, instead, try ‘why not?’  Instead of saying “What if I had asked that cute guy out?”  Say, “Why not take a chance and ask a cute guy out?”  Bad example?  Okay….how about this…Turn “What if I had gone for that job at the bakery?”  into “Why not look into owning my own bakery?”

See the difference?  Every ‘what if’ can turn into a ‘why not’.  This will allow you to realize that you still have the potential to do what you thought you missed.  More than likely we all have second chances.  You just need to reach out and grab it.

What If?  Why Not?

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.

😉

Elevator Fun

Elevator Fun

I know you have all heard of those ‘fun things to do in an elevator’ social experiments.  Like, stand right next to the only other person in the elevator.  Well, let me tell you that is fun…especially if she’s cute.  But then after a while, you just feel creepy.  Anyway….

That’s not what I’m talking about.  Well, it sort of is, but not entirely.  Well, I should back up and make sure you all know what an elevator is.  If you had to click on that link I have ONE question for you:  How are you connecting to the Internet way up in the Ozarks?  That’s amazing….what digital divide??

Well, there are two digressions I’ve made so far in this post, let’s move on to the meat of the subject.  Elevator Fun!  Here’s the setting.  I get in the elevator and there is already a guy standing there.  He has pressed 6 and I need to go to 5.  So, I press 5.  Following along?

So, then I look at the guy and say “I’m always feel a bit awkward pushing the button for one floor below the floor already selected.”  He chuckled and said “Don’t worry about it, it happens.”

We got to 5 and I said “Have a good one” and he said “You too!”  Amazing dialogue isn’t it?  I should write a novel.

Anyway, the point is this.  I reached out with a disarming comment, it made both of us chuckle, which I know I needed after a long day at work and I can only imagine it lightened him up a bit too.

Very little effort.  Depending on your perspective, fairly large rewards.  We live in a society where a lot of people shy away from contact.  Especially if that contact involves a stranger.  But we also live in a society that MOST people will open up when presented the opportunity.  I’m not saying there was a HUGE break in this guy’s personal walls, he was willing and took the opportunity to enjoy a slight moment of idle banter.

Or not….maybe he was just being polite and I am the only person that got any sort of profound happiness out of this.  If that’s the case, then no harm no foul.  I enjoyed it and I plan on making sure I continue to allow myself to be open to moments of idle banter…especially when riding in an elevator.   DING!

Examine.

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.

Change of Seasons

Change of Seasons

It’s that time of year again….the time when the seasons change.  The sunshine goes away and the darkness settles in.  Right?  Well, here in the north-western part of the good ‘ol US of A, that seems to be the sentiment.

We’ve had a GREAT summer…..okay, we’ve had a GREAT August…as we usually do. The portable A/C unit was used in my household on more than a handful of times….enough to make me wonder if I ever need to get that thing serviced….hmmmm

But now, the chill is returning.   The rain came back a few days ago.  And the leaves are starting to turn.  Oh and how beautiful they are.  Maybe we should take their point of view for the next part of the season.  What do you think?

I mean, really….our leaves…they are green during the spring and summer.  Good and nice and all, but nothing spectacular.  But then when they find the shift coming, they know they will just be brown and crinkly and probably fall off their lofty perch soon, they decide to make one last stand of VIBRANCE!  And man, do they do a good job!

I love this part of the year, mainly because I love the colors.  Am I alone?  ::crickets::  Hmm….well, maybe, but probably not!  But the point is, that the leaves don’t take the change lying down.  They take as their last opportunity for glory.

We are fortunate to not have our life expectancy be ‘the end of the season’ so we aren’t faced with such drastic measures.  But does that mean that we can’t act like it?  When the blues start to set in….or we’re tired of the changing weather….or we long for sunshine…there’s only ONE things to do.

GO TO HAWAII!!!

Okay….maybe there’s TWO things to do.  The above ridiculous statement and MAKE LIKE A LEAF AND TURN!  hmmm…..or MAKE LIKE A LEAF AND RUST!  hmmm….that’s not it. How about…MAKE LIKE A LEAF!

Make TODAY the day you start something new.  Make today the day you make yourself stand out just a little bit more.  Build up that confidence.  Build up that happiness.  Go have some fun!  Go MAKE LIKE A LEAF!  (Okay, that’s the last time I’ll say that…I’m sorry).

But you get it, right?  Right!  Don’t regret the change of the seasons…make the most of them!

Examine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

P.S:  MAKE LIKE A LEAF!

Remembrance

AUTHOR’S NOTE:  I started writing this last year and couldn’t finish it.  Here I go again.

Rememberance

I remember.  I woke up in a house that was shared by 8 other guys.  Yes, a frat house.  Okay, NOT a frat house, but as close as it came at Pacific Lutheran University.  One of my housemates said to me when I walked in, “The Twin Towers have been attacked!”

First thing I thought was….the Twin Towers?  Who would want to attack The Big Bossman and Akeem, the African Dream?

Thank you World Wrestling Federation for muddling my childhood education.  As I had NO IDEA what the Twin Towers were.  Yep, that’s right.  Senior at a Liberal Arts college and I couldn’t tell you about some famous buildings in NYC.  My only consolation is that I know I’m not the only one.

A lot of things went through my head during that day/week/month.  Ironically, the people I cared about most were far away from me.  My girlfriend (now my wife) was in Minnesota.  Both my parents were out of town as well….a plane ride away.  A simple plane ride away, I thought….and now they couldn’t get back to me.  At least at first.  My mom ended up taking jumps here and there and I finally met her and my grandmother in Portland to drive them home.

But mainly, I was in shock.  Who would attack us?  Why New York City?  Was this domestic or international attack?  Are we going to war?  Will I be drafted?  Should I enlist?  Who would I be fighting?  Why would I be fighting?  Should I go back to sleep?  Well, it was early morning after all….early for a college student…..anyway…

As more and more facts came out about the attacks, I saw the amazing perseverance of people and also the amazing intolerance.  I had an Afghan professor who was in fear for his safety because of the mass, almost instant, hatred and acts of violence toward Middle Easterners in our country.

Really?  I couldn’t believe it.  I could, and DID, stand behind all of the flags on the porches and the patriotism that followed the 9/11 attacks, but REALLY?  The Iranian down the street that has lived here longer than you is suddenly the ENEMY?  The Indians and, well, anyone of slightly dark to tan color who wasn’t overtly of Hispanic heritage is now a suspect?

I was saddened.  I’m still saddened.  I’ll never forget the bravery of those in the service both here and abroad who helped bring peace of mind to us during that time.  The Police and Fire units are amazing folk.  Our military soldiers are amazing folk.  But the rest of us?  Okay, that’s too general….but you know what I mean.  The ‘rest’ of us who sat back on our recliners, watched the baseball game and condemned anyone different than ourselves.  They should be ashamed.

So, how do I spin this?  How do I turn this into a lesson in perspective?  It’s hard.  11 years later and I still see people giving other people suspicious glances.  Haven’t we learned?  Not everyone is out to get us.  Yes, we got caught unaware.  I believe we learned from that and it was a much needed lesson.  So, stop glaring at your neighbor.  More than likely, they are great people.  You should be too.

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.

What’s the Big Deal?

Over the past few months, I’ve had some very interesting conversations with my son.  He’s going on 18 months now, so we are extremely thorough communicators.  Well, that may not be entirely true.  He’s got some signs down pat and definitely knows what he wants, but getting that point across to mom and dad seems a little tough at times.

Yes, we are smack dab in the middle of the toddler phase now.  He is aware of his surroundings and what he likes and doesn’t like, but lacks the motor skills necessary to enunciate his desires.  Yep, I used a big word like enunciate in reference to my toddler….probably for no other reason than to convince myself I’m of higher intelligence than he….who am I kidding?

Anyway, back to our conversations.  It’s mainly a one-way street.  He babbles and babbles and I do my best to acknowledge that he is saying something and do my best to verbally guess what it is he is getting at.  I fail most of the time, but every now and then I guess right and he lights up like a candle.  It’s one of the greatest achievements in life when your son gives you that “NOW you get it!” look.

This makes me wonder about how and when our perspective changes when children talk to us.  Right now, I hang on his every babble.  Will that change?  Will there come a point when I start to zone out his words when he rattles on endlessly?  I hope not.  If nothing else, these past few months have told me that even though in my mind he is trying to point out another one of his stuffed animals, to HIM he is telling me the most important and intimate detail of his best friend.  So, it may be small stuff to me, but it’s a big deal to him.

So, I hope to remember this as he grows older.  So that when he is old enough to start thinking about BIGGER deals, I want him to be able to talk to me about them because he will have known that I always listened.  Because at the time, everything he says while he is growing up is probably a pretty big deal to him.  That’s perspective at its finest.

Examine.

Words in Action

Words in Action

We’ve all heard the idiom that ‘Actions speak louder than words’ right?  Well, what happens when the words are very loud and your too busy to take action?  Or how about the fact that sometimes people forget just how powerful words can really be?  I mean, take this blog for example, I’m SURE I’ve changed millions of lives so far….and by millions, I mean maybe one or two….and they were probably both Corgis (miss you Ripster!).

But I digress.  How about this for perspective?  Take the strong words you’ve either heard or said and put them into action.  Sure, actions MAY speak louder than words, but you know what’s even better….Actions BACKED UP by words.  Actions ACCOMPANIED by words.  Not sure WHY my caps lock key gets stuck, but whatever.

Remember that we don’t live in a black and white world.  If there is anything you take away from these posts is that the extremes usually never sustain.  It’s the balance, it’s seeing things from both and all sides.  So, actions are great.  Words are great too.  But in order to be fully great, you need to do the right amount of both.

So, what are you waiting for?  Be great!

Examine.

where it’s all about your perspective