MAKE YOURSELF INDISPENSABLE

Ever heard the names Tom Brady, Eli Manning or Yangervis Solarte?  I’m sure that most of you recognize Tom Brady or Eli Manning.  Yangervis Solarte is an infielder for the New York Yankees who, after seven years in the minor league’s was invited to spring training to prove whether he was a major leaguer or not.  As of this date he has proved himself to be not only a major leaguer but a star in the making.  For seven years he was passed over by scouts because they thought he did not have what it took to be in the major leagues.  The same stories are true about Tom Brady and Eli Manning when he was in college.  All of these athletes have one thing in common.  Each one of them possesses a fire in their belly which drives them to perform when the chips are down.  I am sure most of my readers know Tom Brady’s story.  He was drafted by the New England Patriots and was relegated to a backup role for a period of time but when given a chance to play he excelled and as of this day will go down as one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time.  When Eli Manning was in college, he was a backup quarterback until a game where he was put in and literally lit up the Stadium. 

            What do all of these athletes have in common?   They all possess a great self-esteem and the ability to execute when the time is needed.  Each one of these professionals did not get this way because of raw talent.  Each one of them practiced and practiced until their skills were honed so sharp that they knew when the opportunity presented themselves they would execute to perfection.

            Each one of us has the ability to maximize our talents. How many of us however, hone our skills to a sharp point so that when the opportunity to perform these skills are put to the test they will execute with perfection?  Unfortunately, the truth is that not many will put in the time or effort to be able to execute when asked.  How many times have you procrastinated when you should be practicing?   How many of you look in the mirror and really see the perfection that looks back at you?  Do you have the faith, confidence and belief in yourself to take the opportunity and run with it?  There is no such thing as luck. If you want to define what luck really is-it is when preparation and opportunity meet.

            In order for each one of us to be the best that we can be we must define what we want, investigate how to do it and then practice what is necessary.  When  given the opportunity to perform you execute with perfection.  This is what true winners are made of. 

            It is easy to be positive when things are going great but the true test begins when things are difficult and you must dig deep and find out what you really think of yourself.  Do you fold under pressure or do you have the inner reserve to dig down deep and execute until you get the desired result.  Remember, it’s always up to you.

LOOKING FORWARD TO SPRING

          Looking outside my window, on one of the most dreary and yucky days, I had a flash of insight, and imagined what it would be like sitting on my porch in my short sleeves hearing the birds chirp and looking at all of the beautiful foliage that my wife has painstakingly cared for over the years.  The smell of fresh flowers filled the air and a sweet taste of spring was delicious.   Then, like a flash, I was brought back to the reality of wearing my long underwear and turtleneck and watching the snow turned to rain, turned to sleet, then back to snow.

          The above paragraph is a wonderful metaphor, for goal setting.  Within those few lines are all the components that a good goal setter would stipulate.  All of the five senses were included in the picture  I was painting.  The sentence also included emotion and sense of calm and fulfillment.   I can carry around this one scene in my head and refer to it many times during the day.  By doing so, I am literally reading my goals several times during the day.  By using this technique, you keep your eye on the prize consistently.

          The one thing that is different about looking forward to spring and goals is that you know that spring will inevitably come; you do not know whether your goals will come to fruition.  What would happen if you were able to convince yourself that if you kept your eye on the prize for an extended period of time, the chances of that prize becoming reality increases exponentially.  We, as human beings, our goal setting by design, but are also easily distracted from that goal.  The challenge becomes being able to have the tenacity to constantly strive for your goal.  There are so many distractions along the way that it is easy to lose your focus.  Each night, before you go to bed, go over what you did that day that brought you closer to your goal.   Dissect it, reevaluate and reformulate so that tomorrow you can go about achieving your goal, having learned, from the day before.  This process is called growth and is the foundation for you achieving all that you want to achieve.

          One of the most critical aspects of goal setting is faith.  Without faith that this goal will absolutely be achieved, there’s little chance of a positive outcome.  When thinking of this scene, assume the posturing and mental dialogue also.  Become one with the scene and over a period of time you will become what you truly want.

          As the great motivator Zig Zigler said ”see you at the top”

WITHOUT YOUR OWN PERMISSION

 

 

          No matter how hard I try, I can’t change how I feel toward X.  How many of us have tried to change something, but found that most difficult, because a voice in the back of our head said that you can’t do that.   I am sure that we have all experienced this little scenario at one time or another.   The reason is very simple; these things that we are trying to change were told us by some sort of authority figure and therefore, have been ingrained into our unconscious as being above reproach.  In fact, however, these constructs were based upon, other humans, who have the same flaws as you and I.  In other words, these statements were created by our fathers, mothers, teachers, preachers, or some other authority figure.  In our head, the statements must be true, because these people are in a position of authority, and therefore should know more than we.  In reality, the statement is totally flawed because we get to choose where we want to go, how we want to get there, and to whom we want to share it with.    This is called free will.

          When I was a young person, my father told me that I was a great front runner, but I had difficulty coming from behind. I am sure that he said this because he loved me and wanted me to become a better person, but the way it was presented to me left me with a concept I am still trying to wrestle with.  To this day, each time that I achieve something by coming from behind, I still find myself telling my father that he was wrong.  Why would he, the idol of my life, tell me something like this?  The answer is simple, in his world, he was trying to make me a stronger person when in fact, in my world, I took the statement as fact. That statement, although innately false, was taken as truth, because it was given to me by somebody who was the ultimate authority figure in my life.  Remember, you have the ability of free choice and therefore, can negate what other people say based on your own expertise and experience.

          One can never do anything, think anything, or act in any way without giving yourself permission to do so.  If you would like to change the way you think, or act in a different way one must first find out why you think the way you do.  After achieving this revelation, you now have a choice as to whether you would like to continue on the same path or change the way you think, which will change the outcome in which you seek.

          Life should not be built on doing things by habit; they should be built on choosing what is best for you, based on your experience, expertise, and advice from those whom you admire. Once all of this information is gathered, you are now able to make a choice as to the direction you would like to go rather than just doing it because somebody in authority told you it was the way to do it.

It ain’t easy, but it sure is rewarding, because in taking charge of your thinking, you take charge of your life.

THE SANDS OF TIME

 

          For the past two weeks, Jews around the world have been celebrating the Days of Awe.  The 10 days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are generally used for introspection, repentance, and transmutation.  It is a time for one to go inside of themselves and do internal housecleaning.   It is a time to truly look at your accomplishments of the past year, to grade them, and to set outcomes or goals for you to accomplish the next year.

          When you look back on the year that has passed, did you live up to your potential?   Were you as good to people as you should have been?  Did you improve your lot in life or did you fall behind?   These are profound and introspective questions which need to be answered.  By spending time and literally grading yourself for what you’ve accomplished for the prior year, one is forced to face the reality of your life.  For me, it was time to formulate a different plan and move in a different direction.

           As you are well aware, the definition of insanity is to do the same thing in the same way but expect a different result.  This, of course, defies the laws of the universe.  It is in the changing and challenging of yourself that you truly grow as a human being.  I feel that the most important attribute that one can possess is being able to give of yourself without expecting a reward in return.  People that exemplify this type of attitude are the people that will reap large benefits.  The universe works within definite constructs.  Your ability to help people is in direct proportion to your self-esteem.  For without self-esteem, or love for yourself, you are unable to take on the challenges of other people and help them achieve their goals.

          After the death of George Steinbrenner, the Yankees owner, people were amazed to know that this hard-nosed business person was also one of the greatest and largest philanthropists of his day. One of the most remarkable attributes of Mr. Steinbrenner was his ability to truly help someone and not tell the world about it. He thought that if he told anybody else other than the recipient about his help, it was a form of ego and therefore lack of self-esteem. 

          We all can learn from this great American.  How many of us have helped someone and then told exactly what we did to the world?  I’m sure we are all guilty of this.  Was that an act of giving or was that an act of self indulgence?  These are interesting questions to ponder.

          I honestly think that we were put here on this Earth to be able to live up to our individual potentials.  The greatest gift that we can give to other people is to be able to use this vast knowledge in helping other people achieve great things.

          If we are more interested in our acts of kindness then we are in stroking our egos, we will find rewards far beyond those of just the physical. The old adage of, it is better to give than to receive seems to ring true. Our success IQ is predicated on our ability to take our vast amount of knowledge and disseminate it. As you gaze into the mirror tonight, look deeply and ask yourself if you have done what is necessary to achieve your greatest potential.  Remember, we are all in this together, so why not help other people achieve along the way.

         

FORGIVENESS

 

          There comes a very poignant time during the Jewish high holidays in which you verbally ask people for forgiveness.  It is soul-searching, deeply personal moment.   After doing this for many years, I can truly tell you that there is a tremendous relief or lightness that one gets after asking for forgiveness.  Many times we say something, gesture to someone, don’t look at them or do something that the other person perceives as standoffish, rude, or mocking and we are totally unaware of how this affected them.  Asking for forgiveness for all things, known and unknown, has always given me the feeling that I’ve done everything that I could in my power to help ease the discomfort that I might have caused someone.

          When was the last time that you asked yourself for forgiveness?  Remember, you are not perfect, you make mistakes and should therefore, ask yourself for forgiveness.  Most people in this world beat themselves up on a consistent basis because they have either done something wrong, or not acted in the proper way.  By not forgiving yourself, and internalizing this consternation, the ramifications are usually physical or emotional.   Whatever you think of or feel, will eventually express itself in a physical nature.  This is truly one of the reasons why we get sick. By having the ability and self-esteem to forgive yourself for things that you did, you are going a long way to making yourself a healthier and self assured person.  I guess the old adage of”put up or shut up” comes into the picture. Are you able to admit mistakes and ask for forgiveness or are you too wrapped up with ego to admit that you are human.

          Life is a trial and error situation. When one tries to perform a task and is unsuccessful, they will most likely try again.  Each time one tries the task, they change the steps necessary until they find the proper protocol that would lead them to success.   What would happen if you tried something once and failed and never tried again because you would not forgive yourself for screwing it up. Does that make any sense?  It is the same principle at work.

           Through the winding river of life, we are faced with many challenges and situations.  By trial and error we navigate these rapids and usually look back upon our results.  To situations that were successful, reward myself with a strong pat on the back and an internal raised fist bump.  To failures that have encountered, I will recapitulate the steps taken and change the appropriate ones until I reach my positive outcome.   The one thing that I will always do is to forgive myself for doing things in an improper way.  I learned from the failure, I forgive myself for the failure and I move on to higher and better things.

PUT ME IN COACH

            It was 1925, the Yankees regular first baseman, Wally Pip was in a dreadful slump, and a young 23-year-old named Lou Gehrig, replaced him in the lineup. He stayed in that lineup for over 14 years, never missing a game, and became one of the greatest baseball legends of all time.  He was a shy, unassuming, individual who just went about his business.  There were no grandiose or other displays that would call attention to him. He was most effective by just being Lou Gehrig.    This humble, individual became the Yankee captain and was revered by both players and fans alike.  He was, in every way, the quintessential leader. 

          Leaders lead by example.  They have an innate ability to know what to say, when to say it and how to deliver the message.  It could be as simple as a gesture or a resounding pontification of words that brings everyone to their feet. All leaders have an innate ability to be able to motivate themselves from within and the conviction to see the task through. 

          This internal motivation is within each one of us.   It may be covered over by many, many layers of self imposed inadequacy but it does reside in each one of us.  The leadership quality that each one of us possesses is called tenacity or persistence.  We all have the ability to set a goal and minute by minute, day by day proceed along a path to its fruition.  The problem is that most of us don’t allow ourselves to think like that.  We are confined, in our brain, to remain just ordinary, when in fact we are all truly extraordinary.  The operative phrase for this particular blog is that no one can make you do or think anything that you don’t choose-without your own permission.  Each of us fails to realize the potential that we truly have.  We fear to try most things that are new because of the unknown.  It’s really scary out there, especially if you dare to try something that you thought you could not do.  I will guarantee you, that after its accomplishment, your brain will literally explode in excitement of what you just did.

          The true definition for luck is when preparedness and opportunity meet.  You must prepare for your success. You must research and put in your mind the information necessary for your success.  You must think about it, as if it’s already happened, on a consistent basis – try purposeful dreaming.  Get comfortable and picture in your mind the accomplishment of that outcome.  Involve your five senses-seeing, hearing, feeling, tasting and smelling into that scene and feel the warm fuzzies of success.

          We all are leaders of ourselves.  We all have the capacity for greatness. I’m curious, however, to see if you have the determination and tenacity to see your goals come to fruition.  In the beginning, attempt a fairly easy goal and then work your way up.

          Remember, Lou Gehrig, led from within by his conviction and his drive to succeed.  Become the Lou Gehrig of your life and you to will end in your Hall of Fame.

THE CHAMPION

There he was, in all his glory, holding the trophy high.   He is the champion, the one to emulate and admire.  He was the best at what he did that day.  The other contestants may have fallen short of the ultimate goal but rest assured they put in a tremendous amount of effort to get into the elite class. 

          In sport, as in life, we fall short of our goals more times than we succeed.  The learning curve must be designed so that these” so-called” negative experiences become useful tools to ultimately reach the outcome.  Yesterday, Phil Mickelson came from five shots down, to capture the British Open.  A month before he had been leading in the US open and for the sixth time came in a crushing second-place.  He used this incredible disappointment as a motivation for winning.  This is the sign of a true champion.

          Not having enough talent to make his high school basketball team, Michael Jordan went on to be the best there ever was at basketball.  In his induction speech at the basketball Hall of Fame he said he said he used that disappointment as motivation. 

          These are examples of individuals who have a burning desire for greatness. Each one of us is hardwired for greatness.  You may not believe it but it’s true. We all have individual talents in which we excel. but, most of us really don’t think that we are worthy.  The greatest challenge that one has in life is to be able to control his or her own thoughts.  To be a true champion, one must first be a champion between our two ears.  We must think like champions, act like champions  and feel like champions in order to change our physiological makeup.  Of course, this is much easier said than done.

          If you try your very best to accomplish an outcome and fall short, you are that champion in the making.  Find out what part of that experience failed to work and find another avenue to explore.  As you learn from each one of these so-called setbacks or roadblocks you will find that the path to your true calling will be revealed.   You must be flexible enough to allow the universe to show you the way. This may sound rather ethereal, but true inspiration comes from letting go and trusting.

          There will always be individuals who will be able to do what you want to accomplish faster and/or better.   This fact really is irrelevant because there may be only one Babe Ruth or Michael Jordan, but remember that there is also a baseball and basketball Hall of Fame.  To be considered one of the best in anything that you do, is to truly be a champion.

 

AND THE ROCKETS’ RED GLARE

          Yesterday was our nation’s birthday and we celebrated it with the usual fanfare.   Our country has a long and great history of men and women who have stepped up to face adversity and overcame it.  These gallant men and women may not have had the best qualifications or other parameters that we think of as leaders, but they did possess a very unique quality of vision, persistence and determination.  In other words, they were goal orientated.

          Take George Washington for example.  By all accounts he was a tall man over 6 feet who used his height and general appearance to initially command respect from his troops.  Another example is, Pres. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who, crippled with polio as a child and unable to walk on his own, used his braces and his son to walk down the aisle of the Capitol building that fateful day in December of 1941 to show the world that he was, indeed, the strong leader of the free world.  It is examples like these that make us aware that there are special individuals who rise to the challenge to lead.

          Inside of each one of us there is a seed of greatness.  It may be way down deep in our unconscious, but trust me, it is there.  Take, for example, the anecdotal story of a child trapped underneath a heavy boulder and unable to move.  The frail mother, seeing her child in eminent danger moved that boulder like it was a twig.  Where did she get the strength from?  She derived that strength from deep within her and did the nearly impossible to save her child.

          We live in a world that is filled with negativity and if we are not consciously aware of how we are thinking, we will fall prey to that negative thinking.  Most people go from day to day, hoping they will get through it without any major obstacles or setbacks.  These people are planning to fail because they have not set up any parameters for success.  The person who truly is a success in life is the person who truly thinks that they can.  This, of course, is not as easy as it sounds because it takes guts, determination and perseverance.  In all honesty, most people are not willing to put in the time and effort required to achieve the outcome.

          Your attitude on a day-to-day basis constitutes your will to achieve.  By keeping your attitude in a positive direction you command your unconscious mind to facilitate change that will eventually lead to your success.  Remember, that the road to success is by no means a straight one.  It is filled with twists, turns, mountains to climb and valleys to traverse.  You may not see that you are headed in the right direction from your present vantage point, but by keeping your mind positive, sharp, and single-minded, your goal is achievable, and the reward is sweeter than the suffering that you went through. Go for your dreams.

IS IT WEIGHT OR IS IT YOUR PERCEPTION

Looking back on my life, there were certain events which define who I am as a person.  One of those defining moments was my decision to lose weight.  I had always been an overweight child and teased and bullied because of it.  When I had blossomed to 216 pounds at a height of 5’7″ tall, the site was not really pretty.  I was told by my idol ((who happened to be my father) that I had the fattest and biggest rear end he had seen a long time.  That was my defining moment.

          Let’s delve into the thinking process that I formulated after hearing the most devastating of messages from the most important adult in my life.  There was a definite goal in mind.  That goal was defined, categorized, quantified and fueled with humiliation by an authority figure.  I had to lose weight.  To get to my ideal weight, I had to lose in excess of 60 pounds.

           I went back to college on a mission to lose the 60 pounds in approximately 16 weeks.  Therefore, I have formulated a goal and time frame in which the goal was to be achieved.   The thought of losing this prodigious amount of weight was very daunting in my mind. I had to make this goal more realistic.  If you divide 60 pounds into 16 weeks, it comes out to less than 4 pounds per week.  To break it down even further I had to cut out approximately 750 to 100 calories per day.  This was definitely achievable.

          I preceded to breakdown this “unattainable” goal of 60 pounds into a very achievable loss of approximately 4 pounds per week.  In addition to the calorie calculation I made a conscious effort to exercise each day by running approximately 1 mile.  The next move was to commit this to paper and sign it with my goal weight of 156 pounds as the price.   To make a long story short, the goal was achieved and has been maintained for over 48 years.

          By making a commitment, based on sound evidence, I was able to achieve a lifelong goal.  The most interesting thing about this transformation was that it was not just physical but so mentally profound that it rearranged my entire personality.  I now possess the internal representation of the person that I strived to be. Interestingly enough, my other challenges of being teased and bullied dissipated as my confidence in myself increase. 

          We are made of energy and that energy permeates to other people. They might not realize it, but they are just reacting to the energy that you are putting out.  By changing the way that you think (your internal representation) you are changing the way other people perceive you.  I no longer put out the vibration that I was an overweight, non-confident person.  The icing on my personal cake was that my father told me that he was proud of my achievement.   That’s validation.

A BUM OR A CHAMPION

          If you followed my blog you would know that I am an avid baseball fan.  I find it interesting, that some people, would call any baseball player a bum or less than a Champion. The fact that these athletes have made it to the major leagues qualifies them as the elite.  To have made it to the major leagues one has to excel at the lower levels of the sport.  Most of these gentlemen were superstars in high school, college and the minor leagues.  By no means were these guys less than adequate or bums.  You see, however,  as you achieve more at a particular craft, the more opportunities open to you, but also comes the responsibility of  performing at a higher level.  When you get the opportunity to perform at that elite level, the task does not become physical, it becomes mental.  It is not always the person that has the most innate talent that wins; it is usually the person that has the most determination, drive and perseverance that gets the job done.

          Sport has always been a perfect metaphor for life. Each day brings a new set of circumstances for you to deal with.  Sometimes you are up for the task and others present more of a challenge.  The constant in all of this is your perception of whether these situations are good or bad.  If the situation is good, how do I praise myself and make sure that I can recapitulate the same set of circumstances.  If, on the other hand, the situation turns out poorly, or in a negative way, what parameters (thoughts, words, actions or decisions)) do I need to change in order for me to achieve the goal the next time around.

          A person should not be judged by how high they are on the mountain of life, they should be judged on their achievements or how far they have come to get there.  When it comes to facing up to the challenges of life, each person has the choice of whether they should be beaten or succeed.  To succeed, however, does not necessarily mean to win; it is more of a measuring stick of your personal success.  Our lives are filled with these decisions.  Choosing the positive direction, gives you the opportunity to succeed. 

          Remember, a batting average of over 300 will usually land you in the Baseball Hall of Fame.  That means however, that you failed at your task 7 times out of 10. It also means that you kept a positive attitude, made corrections, and changed your path until you found the correct set of circumstances. Success is assured if you are willing to change your approach.  Life is like a batting average, if you bat over 300 in your lifetime, you too will be in the Hall of Fame of life.