Saturday, September 29, 2007

If it bleeds, it leads: Why does "drama" sell?

We've all watched Jerry Springer and Maury Polvich before and said, "she is so stupid; how could she not know who the father is?" or "Why is she staying with him after he did that?" Whether it relates to our lives or not we are drawn to drama. The type of drama that we are attracted to tells us a lot about our own lives.

Some people use drama as an escape from their lives. They see their own everyday life as unexciting and use the happening of others as their dose of drama. Other people can not live without drama. They grew up around it at home, took it with them to school, and haul it into their relationships. I knew a girl that was determined to have drama in her life whether she wanted it or not. If things in her life were going to well, she would always act out in some way and that would eventually cause drama or a conflict.

Then there are the folks who use other people's misfortunes to make their lives seem better. The idea is if I watch someone else's messed up life on TV, then my life isn't so bad. The worse the situation the easier it is to say, "man, his life is a train wreck. I couldn't live my life like that." Yeah, you probably couldn't so it's easier to watch.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

What I learned on my vacation

I just had a week vacation and I feel like a new man. I really am the type to use every experience and a learning opportunity. Although I decided not to go far, I used the time I had to get away from my old routine of working late on articles, updates, and links and fell into a habit of trying new things, connecting with old friends and meeting new people. Here are some things that I learned on my vacation.

College Football is better than the NFL
The last two weekend afternoons of my vacation were spent watching a ton of football. I’m a big college basketball fan but when it comes to football I’ve always preferred the NFL. Not anymore. I’ve been to a number of college football games and the excitement is great but on TV I’ve always liked the fact that the NFL had personalities and stories that a fan could tie into their viewing. It wasn’t until this past week that I realized how much I liked the college stories and history more than the pro’s. The Notre Dame losing streak interest me more than the Patriots cheating scandal (mostly because I don’t like Notre Dame). Now I here that the NFL is saying the cheerleaders are a distraction. That’s not good marketing NFL.

I need to update my wardrobe twice a year
I never go on shopping sprees. If I’m in a store and I like a shirt I’ll buy it. Earlier this year I bought a number of dress and polo shirts that I liked. After I packed I felt that I made some good selections on the outfits that I picked out to take with me. But when I got to the suite I realized that my taste in clothes has already changed. I made plans to hang out with some friends on Monday night and remember looking in the mirror with confusion thinking “is there something wrong with this mirror?” Then I realized that it wasn’t the mirror it was me. The dress shirts were fine but I no longer liked the polo shirts fits or their designs. I believe in presenting yourself how you want others to perceive you so in order to send the right message I need to make sure I feel good in the clothes that I have on.

Weight gain sneaks up on me
I knew my diet wasn’t that good the past two weeks but I didn’t see any change in my weight until a few days ago. I skipped my weekly workout routine during my vacation but I’m back on it starting today (maybe tomorrow).

O.J. Simpson is an idiot
Are you serious, O.J.?

I haven’t lost sight of my goals and now I have new ones I want to accomplish (plus I gotta lose this vacation weight). Some time off did me some good and now I’m ready to finish the year strong.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Benefits of Deep Breathing

What if I told you that there was a way you can relieve stress, reduce anxiety, and have more energy would you be interested? No, I'm not talking about a new hard to pronounce prescription drug with a seemingly endless list of morbid side effects. I'm referring to the practice of deep breathing. This often overlooked method of health optimization is one of the easiest and best exercises you can do for yourself. In addition to stress and anxiety reduction, deep breathing may also lower blood pressure and lower your heart rate. Your brain also benefits from your deep breathing. The more oxygen that is allowed to enter your brain through the blood, the clearer your thinking will be. Deep breaths help relieve your fight or fight instincts so that you can clearly think during high stress situations. Here are a few types of breathing exercises you can perform at any time.

Counting Breaths
This exercise requires you to sit in a comfortable position with your spine straight, head forward, and eyes closed. Breathe in naturally and count "one" when you exhale. Breathe in again naturally and then count "two" as you exhale again and continue on until you reach a five count. Do this for about 10 minutes and if done correctly, you should come out of it with a clearer head due to a change in brain activity.

Chest and Abdominal Breathing
This exercise will help you become more aware of your breathing. Start by lying on your back and placing one hand on your abdominal and one hand on your chest. Take a deep breath through your nostrils with the focus on keeping your chest still and filling your belly with air. This will help you learn to breath through your diaphragm.

Short Breaths
This is a quick breathing technique that begins with you inhaling three short breaths through the nostrils and then exhaling smoothly through the mouth. Ten to twelve breaths in 2-3 minutes should be enough gain the full benefits of this exercise.
It is amazing sometimes how a simple thing such as breathing can have a positive effect on our bodies and minds. You can feel better by doing some of these exercises daily and you don't have to worry about dealing with negative side effects.

Friday, September 21, 2007

What money means

Most people watch TV shows like Cribs or How I'm Livin' and wish they could have money like the rich and famous. We assume that having money is having it all. We see how easily these stars can throw around money and get whatever they want and we think that being rich is about buying the most jewelery, cloths, and houses. I had to question what I was seeing a few years back and realized that they aren't as rich as they are made out to be. Forbes magazine published an issue recently that confirmed my suspicion that the "rich and famous" are not really that rich at all. When looking at all the billionaires in the U.S., there were only 3 that were in the entertainment industry on the list of about 200. Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, and Oprah Winfrey. And all of them were near the bottom of the list. The really rich don't flaunt it around or stand around waiting for people to take their picture. I don't think we will be seeing the MTV Cribs episode of Warren Buffet.

So what is money really? If the people we see everyday on the news and magazines are rich, why do we want to be just like them? The reality is that the "rich" we see in the media doesn't equal power, it equals perks. The designer clothes and VIP rooms and the latest electronics are seen to the masses as what it means to be rich. Wealth is a culmination of a solid foundation which may include money. I curious how long it will take for people to realize that there is more to having money than just having the latest whatever. Billionaires run the country not millionaires. Billionaires don't waste most of their money on entertainment and image. They reinvest their money. THAT'S WHY THEY ARE BILLIONAIRES NOT MILLIONAIRES. As soon as people in general can begin to shift their thinking in the billionaire mentality instead of the the millionaire mentality the sooner we will see a shift in society when it comes to money..

Monday, September 17, 2007

Grasping a second chance in life

Heavy on the mind and the heart is the feeling of failure, inadequacy, or disappointment. No matter the circumstances we all experience the same symptoms. Your mind questions the outcome and reenacts your short comings. Then the questions of "Why me" and the statements of "If only I'd..." frequently visit your thoughts with wishes and prayers quickly following. But the second chance is possible and the opportunities for it are everywhere. The key to grasping the second chance is to learn from your past, create new habits and practices, and finally, help others get a second chance in life.

Whenever a failure happens in someone's life the blow can be crushing. We tend to lean towards blame after realizing that our dreams, hopes, trust, or expectations have turned into sand in the palm of our hands. Blaming others or blaming ourselves. With all of this emotional and mental conflict, how can someone begin to turn things around?

First, you must start with an understanding of how you got to the place you are. There are two types of failures. The ones that you could've prevented and the ones you could do nothing about. The first type is seen all of the time in sports. The time Isaiah Thomas threw the bad pass that go stolen by Larry Bird. Or what about the "wide right" kick by Florida State when playing The University of Miami. These types of mistakes are common in our everyday lives also. The job or position you should have taken that would have made a difference in your life. Or maybe it was that relationship that ended leaving scars unhealed and questions unanswered. Not finishing school, a missed business investment, time wasted all things that we had control over but somehow did not make the right decision.

Then there are the failures and disappointment that you could not control. It is those times when you put in every ounce of effort that you can muster up and take every precaution to ensure nothing goes wrong. But despite all your hard work and dedication; your business still goes under. You still can't get pass your addiction. Your spouse still decides to leave and start a new life, without you.

Learn to take responsibility for the things that have happened. Be honest with yourself about your bad decisions and actions that have placed you where you are and decide to make a change in order to have a better future. Forgive others for their wrong doing in your life and learn to accept the things you cannot control. Someone once told me that God cannot place a new life in your hands if you are still holding on to the old one. The sooner you can let go, the sooner you can move on.

Next, develop a new you. Take full advantage of the second chance you have been given. If you need to change the way you dress in order to feel better and project a different image than do it. Maybe the way you talk and who you associate with needs to change in order for you to stay focused on your new life. If that's the case, then make those changes. Your atmosphere will be a big part of how successful your new life is. And the habits that you create will outline your new life and enable the healing of the past. Be dedicated to your new life and hold on tightly to the endless possibilities you now have in order to prevent yourself from slipping back into the realm of your past.

The evidence of success will be the ability to help others in their second chance. Somewhere along the way someone is going to need your help, your encouragement, your wisdom and experience. You may be the example that they look at and say "Wow if she can do it so can I" or "I want to do what he did." Giving back keeps you climbing the mountain and it reminds you of how far you have come.
The second chance is not promised to anybody. Utilizing a second opportunity can be example of great accomplishment and can also be a blessing for someone else.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Leader vs Manager

The true difference between a leader and a manager is that you never have to be told that someone is a leader, you just know it. A manager has to be introduced to other people as a manager. Leaders have a way about them that can be easily identified. It's the way they talk confidently and with clarity and and how well they handle people. Managers do what they are suppose to do, manage. They have a job to do and the job will get done. There is no charisma or charm necessary to be a manager just the focus to finish the job. That is why managers who are leaders are so special because they possess the ability to get the job done well and keep everyone satisfied with them and their job.

Let's say you went to your local elementary at noon and walked into the lunch room. It would not take you more than 10 minutes to identify the kids with leadership skills. There was a kid in my 5th grade class that I am sure is a leader right now. He was popular with the popular kids was funny and a great athlete. All the little girls had a crush on him and all the little boys wanted to hang out with him. That isn't what made me realize he was a leader. It was those times I would see him stray away from his pack of followers and drift towards some of the nerds and spend a few moments talking to them and making them laugh and feel good. Whenever our Phys Ed teacher wanted to round us up to go back to class guess who they asked to call everyone in?

Now thats a leader. Someone people will follow because they want to not because they have to.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Finish Line Vision

"The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus."
-Bruce Lee

I wrote an article recently called Everlasting Motivation that was about staying motivated while you are reaching for your goal. I've learned that trying to accomplish something without motivation is painful. Last week I was reviewing my To-Do list for the upcoming weeks and I realized that I have a full schedule of things to do. I started running all of the meetings, all of the blog and article writing and posting, all of the networking, all of the research, all of the everything that I had to do through my head. Have you ever been a work and seen a pile of work staring at you waiting to be done? You know you have to get started on it but it seems so overwhelming that you just sit back and think "man, where do I start?"

That's the way I felt. I have all of these things that aren't going to get done unless I do them. But at the same time I sometimes wonder where to start. Believe it or not I had to go back and read my own article just to get an idea on how to motivate myself to keep going. My problem was that I was focusing on what I had to do not the results of what I was doing. Having finish line vision is having a clear picture of where you want to be, where you want to succeed. It's like a track runner who has a line of hurdles in front of him. As he is sprinting towards the finish line, he is not thinking about how he has to clear that third or fourth hurdle. Instead his goal is to get to the finish line and not let anything stand in his way.

You'd be surprised how the littlest thing can stop us from reaching our finish lines. In our everyday lives we make excuses and find reasons not to do something that we know should be done. I'm beginning to realize that the lack of focus on the result is the main reason we do this. My mission for the next few days will be to focus on the end result and not on the hurdles.

"Keep your mind on the things you want and off the things you don't want."
-Hannah Whitall Smith

Monday, September 3, 2007

Making Excuses

When things go wrong in our lives, the easiest thing to do is find someone or something to blame. No matter the circumstance or event most people find an outside reason for their actions, disappointments, and shortcomings. I'm sure you know someone like that. Every little thing that happens in their lives is a big deal and they react like a victim. Whenever I see this I feel like screaming STOP! Get up, get over it, and get on with your life

The road less traveled is the road of accountability. The people who will make the most progress are the ones who can look a trying situation in the face and say "I'm responsible for this". But that is not common in our society today. If you are on drugs blame your parents and environment. Not making enough money, blame your job and the economy. Not happy with who you are, blame your spouse and God.

The faster we can stop making excuses, the sooner we are able to improve our circumstances. Look at your life and everything that you want to gain from it and say to yourself, "what can I do to make this better?" We need to understand that the challenges in our lives are suppose to make us better. They are suppose to help us grow. If something happens in our lives and it seems too hard to fix, making an excuse makes things worse because it makes us weaker and a victim of circumstance. Take a look at your life, take responsibility for your life, and then take action in your life.