Monday, November 28, 2016

97.5 – Sounds like a radio station

97.5 – Sounds like a radio station.

It’s hard to believe, but I’m so close to having lost 100 lbs of weight.

In September 2015, I weighed 340 lbs. When I weighed myself today (November 27, 2016), I weighed 242.5 lbs.

97.5 lbs...DAMN!

That’s a lot of weight. I have two nieces who I love to death, and neither of them weighs that much.

But I know what you are all thinking...Show me the 100! :)

My original goal was 250 by Christmas – blew through that one in early November. So then my goal was 240 by Christmas – and it looks like I will get through that in the next couple of weeks.

I’m still toying with the idea of trying to hit 230 by New Years, which would give me 100 lbs of weight loss in the 8 months since I started, 110 lbs total.

But most of all, I’m looking forward to being help other people do what I have done. The great news is that I managed to lose this much weight without surgery, supplements, or medications.

I’m going to be coaching people who want to improve their lives by losing weight, helping them make the changes to enjoy a happier, healthier and more energetic lives.

It’s coming soon – just watch me.

Thanks to all of you who have supported me so far. Your friendship and support have meant more than you can know. Please take some personal satisfaction from my success, because part of it is yours.

Have a great week, and keep watching.


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

What does it mean to you?

Recently I was teaching a small group of 14 year olds about how they can learn to analyze a situation more intelligently. While I don’t know if they got the concept I was trying to get across, I hope that somewhere in their minds they stored this simple phrase…

“It’s never the event – it’s always the interpretation”.

I hope that it will come back to them at a time when they need it most in their lives. I sincerely believe that’s why we teach youth – it’s not that they will understand it right now, but at some point in the future they will see a situation and interpret it as we have taught them to do. Life will provide the example, but how we interpret that example makes all the difference in our lives. We teach kids so that the interpretation is loaded into the subconscious, so they can make the correct interpretation of the event when it occurs.

However, even knowing this truth, as adults we still jump to a conclusion when something happens, not realizing that we might have an option to redefine what the event means to us, so we can make it more empowering.

To some people, the idea that you can redefine your interpretation of an action or an event seems ridiculous. These are the kinds of people who I think of as “reaction machines”. They perceive an event or a situation, and they react to it (either emotionally or physically) without thinking. Have you ever done that on occasion – my guess is that you have, because we all have. Especially in a tense situation, or with someone whom we have an emotional relationship, or just a professional one.

I’ve been married for 20 years now. I can honestly say in that time, we have had very few arguments, and we have never had a “fight”. I define a fight as “when two people who love each other try to hurt the other person rather than come to an agreement about a problem”. I saw too much of that as a child, watching my mother and father fight endlessly about my father’s drinking.

My mother chose to interpret his drinking, and his struggles to provide financially for his family, as an affront to her and to her children, and felt hurt and angry. Imagine the possible differences in her marriage had she been able to interpret his actions differently.

As a child, I was too young to interpret his actions with any perspective. As a young man in my 20s, I too chose to interpret his actions as those of a selfish, immature and cruel man who cared more about his own pleasure and enjoyment than he did about his family’s welfare.

Now, as a 46 year old, I have chosen to interpret his actions differently. As I have learned more about people, and they way our minds work, I have come to interpret his actions as a desperate attempt to self medicate his own pains and grief. Himself a product of a dysfunctional childhood, he struggled with his own demons, and was trying to survive as best he knew how. Did he make great choices – no, but I choose to believe that he was trying to do his best.

I don’t think how I chose to interpret his actions as a young man made any great difference to him. I’m not sure that he would care how I choose to interpret them now. We haven’t spoken in years – and I don’t expect we will ever have a meaningful conversation about it in the future, if any conversation.

But the change in my interpretation has affected me profoundly. For years I carried around anger, hatred and repulsion for him. Thoughts of him would frustrate me, cause changes in my psychology and affect my life in negative ways. When I thought about him, I felt abandoned, rejected and minimalized, like my worth was so insignificant because he didn’t care enough to be there.

I carried, and to some extent still carry, those kinds of feelings. The scars of those emotions still haunt me to this day, and I can see how the interpretation that I chose, and the emotions that came from that choice, still impact my life, and that of my family.

Imagine the changes in my life that could have occurred had I chosen a different interpretation, seen from another point of view the actions of a man who was trying, and failing, to do the right thing. Imagine if I had felt like collateral damage, rather than someone who wasn’t worth caring about. What could that have done to my sense of self worth, and to my confidence and attitudes.

As a child, you are always trying to find an answer to a situation, some kind of logical connection to make sense of the world. For me, since my father treated me poorly, I subconsciously chose to see his actions as a rejection of myself, not as a symptom of his own issues. No child wants to see their father as damaged, so I chose to think that he was trying to do the right thing, but I was somehow unworthy of his affection and his concern.

Was he trying to do the right thing, or was he just being a jerk like I described earlier – who knows? But my choice of interpretation is the greatest control I have over the situation, and it forces me to re-examine all my actions.

A mind that is awakened to the possibility of situational redefinition is a mind that has left reaction, and the dark abyss of being at the mercy of other people’s actions.

The mind that is awakened to the possibility of choosing how to redefine a situation is a mind that has struck out on a journey for that greatest of realities – a universe full of possibilities, no longer chained to the actions of others for meaning.

The mind that is awakened to these possibilities is a mind that can change the world.

And it is a mind that can know peace.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

How do you know when you are ready?

How do you know when you are ready?

Life has a way of changing on us. In the musical Jekyll and Hyde there is a song that contains the lyrics “The Only Thing Constant Is Change”. Never were truer words spoken.

But how do you know if you are ready for the change that is coming? I recently had a friend become a parent for the first time. Before the birth, I shared with him my philosophy that you are never truly “ready” for parenthood, because you have no idea what life is going to throw at you.

I certainly was not ready to become a parent. I was not ready on the day of my son’s birth to be confronted with the harsh reality of congenital heart disease. I certainly was not ready for him to have open heart surgery at six days old.

You are never ready for something like that.

But to go even further back, was I ready to be a husband? Coming from a dysfunctional family, I had no experience of a happy family to be able to base my decisions for the future. All I had were my own theories and ideas and principles that were forged through a childhood of listening to my parents fight and scream and cry.

Even before that, was I ready to change countries and start a new life with a woman who I had not spent much physical time with at all? A long-distance relationship is a difficult way to get to know each other, and yet I was prepared to walk away from family, friends and country to start a new with nothing more than two suitcases.

I was prepared, but was I truly “ready? No – we never truly are.

Does your fear of “not being ready” hold you back from doing the things that will make you happy? I have written recently about the value of time and the importance of spending or investing time wisely. One of the things that often holds us back from the proper investment of our time is a feeling that we are “not ready”. That somehow we need more experience, or a better understanding, or more resources.

Most of that is our own fears. Can you be underprepared…sure. Could you be more experienced…of course. Could you have more resources…of course you could.

But you can also spend your entire life hiding behind those reasons. At some point you have to make the decision to go.

From the first time I watched it, Apollo 13 has been one of my favorite movies. There are so many moments in the film that give me goose-bumps but, without fail, every single time I watch the scene where they are giving the go/no go for launch, and as the flight controller is calling out to each of his team leaders for their go/no go, I feel that same thrill of excitement, as the combined knowledge, skill and experience of so many people converge at a single moment when 7.5 million pounds of thrust is unleashed on a Saturn V rocket to hurdle three brave men into a rendezvous with danger that they had no concept about.

Were they ready for the explosion to happen? No. Had they prepared? Yes.

They did not know that that exact failure was going to occur, so they could not have been ready for it. They were trained for many other failures, but nobody had even considered such a catastrophic explosion that destroyed so many of their spacecraft’s systems.

However they had drilled and prepared and studied and learned as much as they possibly could about their spacecraft and their mission before they left. Their training, and the skill and training of the entire flight control team got them through a situation that they should not have survived. They came home despite overwhelming odds when they should have been breathing their last moments in the vast expansive unforgiving space.

They were not ready, but they were prepared.

All of us go through life with different experiences and different situations. Sometimes we come up against situations that we are “not ready for” because we have not been there.

Do not let the fear of that stop you. Prepare, but then do. There comes a time when you have to trust your skill, knowledge, experience and training, and then just do.

Whatever it is in your life that you are preparing for, set your deadline. Make your decision. Prepare, prepare, prepare...

And then do.

And you will know peace.

Monday, November 14, 2016

The Power of Rituals

The power of rituals.

I wrote over the weekend about the sanctity of time. An hour wasted can never be reclaimed.

But how do you spend/invest your time?

Sometimes we decide to spend our time in fun. Sometimes we invest it in work. Sometimes time is taken from us by responsibilities we have agreed to, which I feel is like investing in humanity.

I’ve always looked at time spent not planning or working for the future as time being spent now. Maybe it’s emailing a friend, watching a show or just mindlessly roaming the internet (it’s never mindless, there’s always something to learn). Time spent that does not have a directly intended future impact is time spent.

Then there is the other side – time invested. This is where you set aside time to work on something – yourself, a relationship, your business…something that will pay a future dividend in either increased ability to help others, increased quality of relationships, increased revenue to allow you more time to spend instead of investing.

When you think about time as a resource like money, you tend to treat it more seriously. This leads to a greater sense of satisfaction in life, a greater feeling of accomplishment and a greater “presence” in the lives of others.

One of the best ways to ensure that you are investing your time wisely is to use rituals. I know, sounds crazy, but we all have rituals in our lives, and our rituals will determine the outcome of our lives.

For some people, their morning starts with the coffee ritual. Maybe it’s made at home, maybe it’s picked up on the way to work, or after dropping the kids off at school. If you’ve ever seen my wife make her hot chocolate and take that first sip…trust me, it’s a ritual. There are priests who show less sincerity on a Sunday than she does making hot chocolate.

Maybe it’s the ritual of working out, investing time in your future health and appearance.

Maybe your ritual is looking at your investments, and working out how to improve your financial health.

Maybe it’s the ritual of sitting in front of a television/computer/tablet and watching a show that really has no redeeming qualities, but makes you feel better about yourself as you watch people make fools of themselves and everyone around them.

Maybe your ritual is the 30 minutes you snooze the alarm before reluctantly climbing out of bed.

Maybe your ritual is to get angry when someone takes too long at a four way stop. That’s more of an unconscious ritual, but we have those too.

Our rituals determine the quality of our lives. We need a balance in our lives of ritual and spontaneity. Make your rituals ones that empower you, invest you in good things and ones that enable you to live a life of spontaneity.

Your rituals are like the skeleton of your life. Used properly, you can unlock a future more rich and rewarding than you can imagine.

So invest time, in rituals, so you can invest in yourself.

And you will know peace.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Stand and deliver – your money or your…time?

Stand and deliver – your money or your…time?

I’m sure that you are thinking to yourself ‘that’s not right’. It’s ‘your money or your life’.

Well, what is your life if it is not your time. If you have no time, you have no life left. Game over. End of the line. Termination.

But which is more valuable to you…your money or your time?

I knew a man once who was very, very frugal with money. Even though he had a personal net worth that most people would consider a fantastic sum of money, he watched every dollar with the intensity of an eagle, streaking down on its prey.

At first I wondered at him, then became frustrated with him, and finally I sought to understand him.

And then I realized that he didn’t see money the way I saw money. He saw every dollar not as it was, but what it could be. Every dollar he had was viewed not in the short term, as something to be spent, but as something for the long term, to be invested.

For him, every dollar was a seed for the future. It wasn’t the $1 or $10 or even $100 that he was worried about losing. It was the $10, $100 or $1000 it was going to become that he was trying to keep.

Now, I’m not suggesting that each of you become so focused on money that you become that way.

But maybe you should look at your time that way.

Money lost can be earned back, but an hour lost can never be reclaimed.

Three and a half years ago I had the chance to meet an icon on the fitness industry, Greg Plitt. A motivational speaker, a gifted athlete and a very determined human being who travelled many places inspiring people to live their lives better.

This picture was taken the day I met him. In it, you see a fit, confident, outgoing and energetic man, clasping hands with a overweight, tired and not very self confident 40 something who looked like he was one happy meal away from a tombstone.

I cried the day Greg Plitt died. A freak accident. A guy I admired, respected and listened to as a source of inspiration, had no more time left. We were all the poorer for it. There didn’t seem to be any justice that he should be dead, and someone like me who wasn’t taking care of his body, his mind or his life, should still be alive.

But he did so much more with his time than I did, and his passing taught me that truth.

There is a saying that time is money, but that’s a lie. Time is much more precious.

Every hour of your life today is a “hour-seed” for your future self. The actions you take, or don’t take, today will change your future, or not.

So please, think about what you are doing today. Look at each hour and decide how you want to invest that hour of your life. Focus on what you want out of your life, and decide how you can spend time today investing for that life. Whether it’s learning a new skill, deepening a relationship, fixing a problem, walking on the treadmill or telling someone “I love you”. Invest your hours today in a way that is meaningful.

And you will know peace.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Perfection is deadly, but deadlines are perfect.

Perfection is deadly, but deadlines are perfect.

How many times have you looked at something and found fault with that which is "good enough"?

How many times have you been stalled in your pursuit of a dream, a desire or a passion, simply because you thought your efforts were not "perfect".

How often have you walked away from something you could be great at, because you were afraid you would get things wrong?

Stop it now.

Resolve instead to set deadlines, and do the best you can until that time.

Will you make mistakes - yes.

Will you have days when you feel like you have failed - yes.

Will you have times where you feel like the world is crashing down on you, and you feel like you have lost your way, your truth and your self respect. Probably. Just do.

Do it as a way of living, a commitment to yourself to give yourself over to your passions, your dreams and your desires. Set deadlines and apply yourself at whatever it is you want to do until then. Screw up, evaluate, change approach... whatever.

Don't stop.

They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

I say the road to paradise is paved with imperfect actions.

Do, learn, adapt, overcome and succeed.

And you will know peace.