Sunday, February 9, 2020

Don't Wait! Start Now!

When was the last time you told yourself you would do "it" later? How many Mondays have you designated as the beginning of a new chapter? I bet you have a history of incomplete New Year's resolutions. Congratulations! You are a procrastinator. There are a lot of us.

I use to chalk my procrastination up to a lack of time and energy, but the truth is: I was afraid of failure. I was terrified of failing in a public way. I was, and to a certain extent still am, a prisoner to public perception. This reality caused me to waste a lot of time.

Failure sucks! The fear of failure is so powerful that after a while we convince ourselves it's easier not to try. Here's another hard truth for those of you waiting for some mythical cheering section: No one has to support you or your dreams! Coming to grips with this is liberating. Life is too short to allow fear to steal what time we have. 

We are solely responsible for setting and accomplishing our goals. Along the way there will be opportunities presented and opportunities denied, but no one can do make us take the leap. I truly believe it's better to fail miserably than to look back and wonder what if? What do you have to lose?

My advice is cliche, but keep pushing! Fail trying! Die living! Don't waste today because of what someone may say tomorrow. Don't live the "bad faith" Sartre wrote so eloquently about. 

There's nothing wrong with prioritizing your aspirations. You can't fail if you love and respect yourself. Try to keep the promises you make: especially the ones you make to yourself. Keep Grinding! Don't wait till Monday!

Monday, January 27, 2020

Kobe Bryant: He Touched Every Line

I sat down to write about Kobe's life and contributions to the game, but a blank piece of paper kept staring back at me. I struggled to find the words to express the shock I felt. Watching the crowd in New Orleans pay respect to Kobe was emotional. Seeing the tears in the eyes of Celtics players was tough. I felt a sense of pride after seeing teams take 24 second shot clock violations. Trae Young's inspired 45-point performance while wearing the number 8 made me a fan of his for life. Those images are worth more than any words I could ever write.

Sports fans are hurting. We share a love for the game that non-sports fans may never understand. Sports are a huge part of our lives. I love all sports, but basketball was my first love. I learned to respect and admire the grace, strength, hard work, and passion it took to excel at the highest levels. Kobe did the work. His tenacity was legendary. In a league full of Alphas, he was a boss.

The game is better because he played it. The game is better because he had the courage to openly chase Jordan. There’s a generation of players who are better because of Kobe’s work ethic and sheer will to win.

I came of age during the Renaissance of Basketball. I saw Magic, Bird and Jordan in their primes. I saw Kareem and Dr. J at the end of their careers. I remember Olajuwon, Ewing and Shaq dominating games in their own way. I watched Iverson cross up Jordan. I enjoyed seeing Kobe and Michael go after each other. These battles will live on forever.

Every generation has its stars. Every generation debates the greatness of their era. This cycle makes the game we love better. Kobe cemented his place among the pantheon of basketball Gods. What he left us is on film.

The debate over who's the greatest is as disrespectful as it is futile. Every great dared to be great. Every legend spent thousands of hours chasing the legend(s) that came before them. They all touched every line. They might have employed a number of “veteran tactics”, but they never cheated the game. They all started out as kids with a dream. Sports fans care so much because we watched him for the better part of 25 years. We remember hearing about this high school phenom. We watched him grow up.

Sports are more than little kids pretending to be their heroes and old men vicariously living through young men. Almost 40 years after going to my first basketball game with my dad we still watch and attend games together. We are shareholders in a tradition worth passing down. A.I., Kobe, D. Wade and Lebron begat K.D. Steph, Kawhi and Giannis. Debating who is the “G.O.A.T.” kills time, but it doesn’t matter. They are all great. All of them are mourning the loss of someone who earned their respect.

Friday, January 24, 2020

You Might Have An Incurable Disease!

Let me ask you a few questions. Have you ever considered yourself a writer? Have you ever stayed up later than you planned because you wanted/needed to write? Have you ever woke up in the middle of the night with words slamming against your skull trying to escape your head? Have you ever felt anxious or depressed because you didn't have time to write? 

If you answered yes to any of these questions I have some good news and bad news for you. The good news: you are a writer. The bad news: without proper care this chronic condition can destroy the other parts of your life that seem to be working. Don't worry there is a cure and because I care about you I will share it. 

Queue the drum roll..........the solution to (y)our problem is to WRITE. Write lists. Write jokes. Write love letters. Write your plans for the upcoming week. Just write. If you've ever felt tortured by writing, WRITE!

There are a ton of legitimate reasons not to write. There are instances when our creative time belongs to other people. There are times when it seems like there aren't enough hours in the day, but there are. Writing is self care for those of us who can't escape the power words hold over us. We need to prioritize our happiness and mental health. This isn't selfish. This is therapeutic. We are allowed to pursue our happiness. 

If any of this resonated with you, spend 10 minutes alone with your thoughts and some instrument capable of transmitting those thoughts into shareable words. Get into the habit of writing in small bursts. If you are rusty, your first few drafts may be "trash", but don't throw them away. If you commit to doing this in a few weeks it will be a part of your daily routine. In a few more weeks you will notice that your 10 minutes turned into 15. In a few months your first short drafts will be a good metric to use to judge your progress.

Thoughts to remember: 

1. Writing isn't a sugar high. If you are a writer, you will never cure the itch. 
2. The highs are amazing. You won't need any recreational substances to accommodate you. 
3. Take care of yourself. If you feel the strong urge to write: write!

Friday, January 17, 2020

They Can't Hurt Your Character!

Hey, hey you! I want to remind you of a simple fact: your character isn't affected by what people say about you. Your character is far more valuable than your reputation. How you feel about you is more important than any validation you can get from society. 

There will always be people who don't understand you. That's life! All of us are vulnerable to the pit falls that make clear speaking and plain understanding impossible. The Rorschach test is a great example of this. Every time you see a butterfly someone else could be seeing a bat. This is an honest mischaracterization, but we know there are people who willfully attempt to destroy our character. 

We have to come to grips with the fact that there are times when we will be misunderstood, falsely accused and/or unfairly judged. This hurts! There's no easy way to deal with this, but we can overcome it. Your reputation is a derivative of your character. What people say doesn't matter nearly as much as what you do.

Here's a few things to always remember:

1. Be consistent: your daily actions are a truer reflection of who you are than gossip or innuendo.

2. Be real: authenticity isn't always appreciated, but it's so rare people notice it.

3. Be fair: leave as much room for the humanity of others as you expect.

4. Be nice: avoid insulting people who misunderstand you; it's​ a form of confirmation bias.

5. Be forgiving: life is hard enough without adding revenge, restitution or retribution to your daily to-do list. 

When you close your eyes at night the only validation you need is in between your ears. Once you have done your best the rest is out of your hands.