Missing the Mark: Where’s the Bullseye?

There are two targets in life for any attempt at success. The one you aim for, and the one you land on.

Now, with this principle in mind, looking at the 8 targets above, you’d be surprised to find that we probably don’t agree on where the bullseye is.

Well that’s a little silly. Unless he means the circle around the bullseye isn’t the bullseye and that the true bullseye is the X?

Close! Actually, the bullseye for me is the smallest spot of black on the X. The middle of the X, and then smaller than that. Why?

Because most people don’t aim for it. However, it’s the only target I see. The bullseye IS the target….until I miss. Then I reevaluate my strengths and weaknesses based on where my shot landed (second target).

When you’re striving for excellence, are you narrowing your focus enough to pinpoint exactly where you want to be? Don’t let the world set the standard. In competition, the rings count for something. You will be awarded points.

But get this: While I get the same amount of points for hitting the X as I would for being inside the smallest ring around the X, it’s not enough. Your standard should exceed anything anyone could ever set for you.

REMEMBER–special note: While striving for excellence, appreciate where you are, but always push towards where you want to be. Perfecting over perfection. You may never arrive, but you can always strive as hard as possible.

And whatever you do, do it now.

 

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Getting a Little Closer to the Clouds

I called in.

Doing this in the middle of the week pushes me to really make it count. So this morning my beautiful wife and I wasted no time in getting dressed and hitting the trail. Eisenhower Park in San Antonio Texas is absolutely a great way to start the day with miles worth of accomplishment.

With our little man being taken care of by the in-law’s, we have the week to be more spontaneous and venture out into the city…and a few other cities in the surrounding area. The last time we hiked this trail, we weren’t as consistent as we are now. This is the first time the long way around–filled with higher elevations and boulders to climb over–felt like just another hike, in the best way possible.

In fact, had we not gone today, I wouldn’t have realized that our 1 yr 10 month old son is more than ready to be helped along. I may have to carry him towards the end, but that’s fine by me. He loves dirt, rocks, being outdoors, and hiking. Minimum and maximum criteria for this kind of an outing.

As far as the experience we shared together alone, we couldn’t have been more pleased. Fueled by a simple McDonald’s pit stop, we were ready to huff and puff up those hills. There’s something about filling the silence between conversations that makes you more aware of each other’s unique presence. We reflected on the week and our goals for the future. We talked about friends and family. We talked about work, but not for very long. You have to be intentional about seeking out the recesses of each other’s mind. It’s not a forced, but rather loving sense of commitment and curiosity that is usually hindered by the nuances of regular background noise and people you interact around.

At some point I stopped and gave Monica a long kiss.

“It’s just us.”

Those three words have carried us through trials and sums up the best part of working as a team. It says whatever we accomplish, we accomplish together. That’s already something to be proud of. That’s a success in itself. God watches us use a “fear-setting” technique in that phrase that allows us to acknowledge the odds of success are better in unity. There’s no other option. It’s all or nothing.

At the top of the watch tower, the city was laid out before us in all its distant appeal. That’s how far I want to be removed from the norm today. As far as this trail allows.

A lot of people refuse to be away from their kids for any long length of time. That’s admirable! For us, however, it’s done in moderation and with a purpose. There’s a time for everything. I highly encourage everyone that can to try it out. It gets easier the more you try it. The first time wasn’t easy.

It gives your kids a break from you and has proven to be a wonderful reminder to take things back to the basics every now and then, keeping each other’s hearts in their own special spotlight. It’s amazing how many light towers a couple can need even while they’re only a few feet apart. But these moments keep me moored to the love that hold us in place amidst the storms and sunny days of life.

What are some activities in your own life that can exclude the world and include only your spouse? Give it shot and make life happen.

And whatever you do, do it now.

If You’re On-Time, You’re In A Rush

“If you’re on-time, you’re late.”

Sounds wise and shocking, until you realize it’s not. Impressive, because it takes something acceptable and makes it sound as though it’s completely unacceptable. Clever.

You get a little older and realize this is a lie. Kind of like when you clock-in at the last minute, fly into the parking lot by the seat of your pants a few times, show up to pick up a date at 7pm…on the dot, turn in that writing assignment to your eye-rolling professor, write “Happy Birthday” at 11:57 p.m. on someone’s facebook wall, and somehow make it to the curb with your trash can in the morning…and you know what? You got away with it. Because you’re not late. You’re in a rush. 

That’s the true saying: “If you’re on-time, you’re in a rush.”

Until now, it’s been unnoticeable to you. Because when you’re on-time, you’re good. Not great, but you’re good. And who’s going to tell you about this? Nobody. Because it’s your right. And you’re abusing it or giving up a life of peaceful, swift, and graceful entries in and out of each experience during the course of your very hurried life.

Think about it. You’re always in motion. Everything in your schedule leading up to an event and deadline in your life is now a slave to perfection and the absence of friction when you’re on-time. You don’t get to smoothly transition. You get to hurry. What used to be a negligible amount of change or deviation is now a deal-breaker. Traffic is a something to worry about. Married and a family man? Ask me how that works. Wait, don’t. I’ll tell you. Your wife can’t forget anything on the way to the car. Your kids can’t forget their favorite toy. You don’t get to look for your favorite station on the radio. The car will remain on 0 miles to empty. You will run to work. You will breathe heavily even after you’ve “made it”. Because you don’t have time on your side anymore. You surrendered that partnership when you waited until it was too late to be early.

On the other hand, you don’t have to make people wonder. You don’t have to be the person that others would love to hate, but can’t. It would have been easier to say “You don’t have to be difficult”, but that’s really what I meant to say there.

Instead of breaking even with your day, let me repeat that…instead of BREAKING EVEN with your day (meaning you gained nothing), why not invest in a small reserve of time that allows for human error? Avoid frustration. You’ll have to acknowledge that you can’t control everything, and that necessitates the need for a cushion of reserve time before the next appointment or commitment you’ve made. But trust me, it’s worth it. You’re less of a headache that way. You have less headaches that way. Ever seen the guy that always has a silly reason for being late when he finally is? Nobody cares a whole lot about that guy. They sympathize, but they can’t change him. Be the master of your schedule and make “early” the ideal, not simply the “noble” thing to do.

And whatever you do, do it now.

 

Becoming Ruthless in your Endeavors

I can’t talk about my job in detail.

But what I can tell you is how I prepare for it. Every morning.

The successful have rituals: a list of items to complete that provides more than just a feeling of accomplishment. I adopted and modified this approach based on the studies of Tim Ferris.

I wake up before anybody else does. Two hours pass before I clock in. Once the alarm goes off, I check my email, look at the news, check my facebook notifications, and then roll out of bed. Reading always helps me rub out the fogginess in the corner of my eyes.

After showering, I get dressed and begin to cook an egg and a slice of bacon.  My work shirt is already on the iron board with the iron heating up. I sit down to eat while listening to some smooth jazz or watching a biker documentary on our smart tv. We’re about 35-45 minutes into my morning so far. The ironing begins immediately afterwards.

5 minutes or so go into reading some Scripture. I read John Maxwell’s Leadership bible and enjoy his excerpts and breakdowns of the characters involved. He makes sure to break down their leadership qualities as well as their formulas for failure. This is my coaching time.

Afterwards, I spend 5 minutes reflecting. I let God guide my thoughts on each topic and ask that I have clarity on the direction I should take with my day. Running through each role I play, I start to think about where I’ve met success and where I’ve come up short. Father, husband, employee, coworker, friend…..what can be done differently? Candidly, I critique myself and think about my growth in each area. How can I serve more? How can I simplify my routine? How can I improve the quality of time within each category? How is my attitude displayed during the trials that each facet will offer?

My daily prayers are basic, but meaningful. At the very least, “Lord, please bless my day indeed. Keep your hand upon us. Keep us from evil and from causing pain. May your will be done, today. …I put it all in Your hands. Amen.”

That’s it. That’s the jist of what I need… I ask for blessings. More than I can fathom. When I say “bless my day indeed”, what I’m really asking for is for Him to bless me so abundantly that I can hardly believe it’s real. I want so much to the point that I’m overwhelmed. I ask for protection. Not just from natural occurences, but from evil itself. And from being the person at fault in any situation that’s regrettable. And finally, “May your will be done, today. …I put it all in Your hands. Amen.” I’m literally saying “Just do whatever You want! I don’t know if I’m ready for it, but let’s do it. Head-on. It’s all in Your hands. If I missed anything in my prayers, you know what I need and want. You know how to take care of my life. I trust that.

“Amen.” Basically, if my will is God’s will, then both will be done. There’s the hope of an alignment there. There’s the risk that I’m not asking for what He wants to give me. But I’m confident that if it is, then it’ll happen. Period.

60- 70 minutes into my day, I kiss my wife goodbye, head out the door, and ride to work on my Harley. I talk with a few supervisors, grab a cup of coffee in the breakroom, then walk through the door to the office. That’s where the remaining 50 minutes go. No matter what happens today, I’ve had my personal time. I’ve taken back that half of the day by starting it with my own schedule and choices.

I’m more relaxed. I have a plan for what I can foresee. I’m well-dressed, fed, and spiritually ready to tackle whatever comes at me. And throughout the entire morning, I’m repeating a variation of this one phrase…“I’m going to be RUTHLESS in achieving my goals.” 

“Nothing will bring me down today.”

“Anything so-and-so says is NOT a big deal.”

“My finances are not the beginning, nor end of me. I will become successful.”

“Be ruthless in your endeavors.”

Instead of putting myself down with negative thoughts or doubt, I’m amping myself up with positive motivation. I’m already anticipating the suck, but I won’t be a contributing part of it. I borrowed this approach and statement from Anthony Robbins. He’s a little more vulgar, using “taboo words” to break through comfort zones and transcend norms and mental restraints. I do the same, just not on this post *wink*. I’ll let you fill in the blanks.

I’m more relaxed. I have a plan for what I can foresee. I’m well-dressed, fed, and mentally ready to tackle whatever comes at me.

It’s simplistic and effective. It’s routine, but interesting. It’s flexible for changes, but unchanging in effect. Since I’ve started this, my morning is no longer in chaos. It’s not rushed, it’s not “on-time”, and it’s not “something to do”. Every minute has a purpose. There’s a handful of minor investments in life the second I open my eyes. And it’s a small part of what makes the day go from “good” to “great”.

What are your rituals? How can you improve your day and start a solid, empowering routine that will help you overcome obstacles and put yourself in an ideal position to embrace the productivity of your day? Make a routine and stick to it.

And whatever you do, do it now.

 

 

This IS the Good Part

We value our family time together. In fact, “family” and “time” tend to be used in combination quite often around our home.

Lately, our son, Raiden, has been the prime motivation for getting outdoors on our days off. With Texas winters acting a lot like any other state’s summer, it’s easy to get sick with the constant change in temperature. We figured we’d power through the gut-busting, food-laden holidays, but with at least one of us sniffling at all times, we compensated with healthier foods and little movie nights as a family….now that we’re on the other side of that, our routine is finally taking shape again.

Raiden is my model for getting the most out of my day. It’s a simple strategy, really:

Nap when able, stay on your feet, and stay curious.

Translated into our adult world: get some rest, stay active, and put effort into keeping your interest in learning alive.

It’s not the same trail every week. It’s the trail where Raiden learned the difference between a boulder and a rock. That’s not the same trail running alongside that apartment complex. Last week he learned that Dad’s key ring can’t open every gate around him. Little things like that remind Dad to continue seeing analogies in life. And that bridge is where Raiden started to fear the sound of something he can’t see. The cars overhead. It’s easy to see how patient God is when you’re explaining something so simple, yet something not to be completely understood for a while longer. Belief, but not just by sight.

I try not to be anxious while we’re out there. A 30 minute walk with a stroller is a two and a half hour walk with all of us on foot. But this is what counts. “As good as it gets” will become more precious as he gets older. These simple walks are shaping him to become more independent and fearless than I’ll ever be. And this is all just my perspective. My wife has an entirely different experience than I do. Every time. Nature offers each of us a different serving of humility and reflection.

We’re not getting to the good part. This is the good part.

Rest. Stay active. Learn. ….and love.

And whatever you do, do it now.

 

Tackling Y for the Sake of X: Addressing One Problem to Fix Another, and Loving It

You have a problem. Up until this point in the office, it’s gone unnoticed. How do we make the solution more attractive and deserving of immediate attention? Easy. Address a bigger or more pressing dilemma.

Improving your work environment is usually contingent upon the approval of someone in a position of higher authority. This presents you with the challenge of compelling rather than begging your boss to address your needs and wants.

Let’s call this: problem X. This can be your office supplies, computer equipment, office staffing, approval for an increased budget, etc….

Now, let’s look beyond Problem X to Problem Y.

Boss: “Well, that would be a huge help. Scanning into PDF form, utilizing a shared drive on the computer, and batching our paperwork processing would save us a lot space when filing and for documents subject to retention periods. We needed to figure something out on that front. So thank you.”

You: “Perfect. While we’re at it, can we purchase a desktop scanner? Something cost-efficient that would enable me to remain at my desk and upload files right away would speed up the process. It would free up the main printer for the rest of the office as well.”

Boss: “I don’t see why not. Send me a few quotes and I’ll bring it up at the next quarterly meeting.”

You’re willingness to become more efficient will often necessitate the need or increase the appeal of accommodating your requests. Rather than simply doing more to appear worthy of a favor, continue the theme of exchanged services (which is really what a job is to begin with) and position yourself to receive the benefit of efficiency. Oil the machine that pays you. Fix a bigger problem than the one you already have. One that is connected to the original issue you’re dealing with. You’ll find much more satisfaction in the return.

The reason behind this approach lies in the worst-case scenario.

“No.”

What are you left with? The idea you had originally pitched has been approved, so there is still some progress with your overall work ethic and daily strategy. Build yourself up and hope that the pack follows suit or is swept up in the fervor. Over time, a consistent stream of ideas will make the idea of change and spending the ideal rather than a break from the ordinary.

 

 

Asphalt, Fresh Air, and a Throttle

“It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.” -Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll

 

Alice is the name of my 2009 Superglide FXDC. As you might have guessed, she shares the name with the heroine from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. Why? I’ve always admired Alice’s ability to navigate through a backwards world. How’s that for being relatable?

A few observations from the time I’ve spent on Harley’s:

-It’s a brotherhood.

There’s an instant sense of camaraderie when you’re out there and you pass by another rider. Stop for those in need, lend advice when asked, and savor the friendship you may not have past the conversation you’re holding. Blood may be thicker than water, but we’re all filled with both. That 2 or 3 finger salute/wave we give is a sign that you’re never alone and we all wish for the best for each other.

-Don’t buy a Harley to save money or gas. 

Do it for the love of the ride. Fuel economy is a bonus. Parts and maintenance can add up quickly. But you can’t and shouldn’t put a price on outpacing the wind. Especially when it’s done while engaging all your senses, fully exposed (some people prefer the term unprotected). You just can’t get that same sense of liberation in a car (cage). The satisfaction of earning miles through the work of your hands rivals surpasses any vehicle I’ve ever been in. You’re so cut off from the world by panels, mirrors, a/c and a hood that you forget the limitations of man are being broken with every gear that’s shifted. There’s a greater sense of realization out there on that bike.

-Take care of what takes care of you. 

Your whip is valuable because your life is valuable. Don’t skimp and play Mr. Cheapskate just because it’s easier. The more time and attention you put into cleaning her up and preserving what you have, the more likely you are to live long enough to tell your kids and their kids what it truly means to ride. Your bike gets you to and from, creates long-lasting memories, and carries a soul that can’t be replaced.

-Be concerned, but don’t worry when it comes to death. 

If you’re going to constantly worry about dying, then don’t ride. People love to ask “Are you okay with the fact that something may happen?” Well, no. Who is? And how unfair is that? If we had to become comfortable with the idea of death every time we decided to try something new, we’d accomplish very little and miss out on a lot. Back to the main lesson, though…we tend to gravitate towards what we think can happen and help our thoughts come to fruition. Sow a worry, and you’re more likely to reap an accident or worse. Keep your head in the game and try to make sure your skill-set outweighs as much of the risk within your ability to do so. The rest of it is the stuff of prayers I pray every time I kick my clutch into first. I don’t think about angels as much as the God that made them.

-Ride with your kids and your spouse.

Some of the earliest sounds my 1 1/2 year old has imitated in this world has been the Vance and Hines pipes when I roll in from a hard day’s work. I love that he’s so amazed at how it all works. It’s the first thing he points to when we leave the house, and I plan on taking him on the back with me until he’s old enough to decide whether he’ll ride alongside on his own. I hear it imprints on them forever. As for my wife and family, there’s no greater feeling on the road than when you have you’re loved ones holding on to you, viewing God’s green Earth in ways that some people never will. It’s also humbling. I’ve never spent so much time in silence while actively contributing to the strength my marriage has, or the bond my family shares.

Alice will never be my favorite lady, but she’s been a blessing. The beauty of riding is that you can’t foresee how even the next leg of the next trip will change you or the people you care about. It’s an adventure. Fueled by gas but driven with passion. Stay safe out there and ride like you mean it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Interview with a Vamp–My Wife: The Lady I Adore. Sometimes From A Distance

So I thought I’d try something different and interview the person closest to me: my wife. It’s a candid, humorous look into her mind and was meant in part to help me study her. You should always strive to study your partner. I revel in the pursuit of knowing her better than anyone else with the purpose of serving her in more and more ways.

 

Here’s a glimpse into the life of the woman I love.

 

 

On Marriage:

 

What makes being a wife feel special?

 

 

I think knowing that I’m the one you choose to wake up with and go to bed with. On dates where we go for a big dinner or special occasion, I like that I’m not forced to wear makeup and get all dressed up. Some guys would push it on their wife, and make it a “Hey, is that how you’re going…?”

Trusting me all day, every day with our kid: That I’ll take care of him the right way, knowing how many snacks to give him, not overfeeding him when it comes to sweets—**Crashing sound interrupts midsentence**—[Raiden starts crying in the other room, walks over, Monica gives him a hug & a kiss, asking if he’s alright]feeding him first before feeding myself.

 

What advice would you give to any couple considering marriage?

 

Just know that bad times do happen. And more often than we’d like. But at the end of the day, God allowed you to marry this person and marry without postponement. You picked a day and that day came…you just need to push and remember why you married in the first place. You ARE meant to be…without interruption.

 

What is the best takeaway you have from watching your parent’s relationship as you grew up?

 

Always have your disagreements behind closed doors and don’t raise your voice (as much as possible). Don’t leave the house with a mad look… Let the kids know before you go you just need to get out for a bit. Even if you need to just get some air.

I’m sure my Dad left for a drive or my Mom went outside just to cool down….but we didn’t really know.

 

Why is that important to you?

 

You always read about things like kids who bring guns to school, and it always starts at home. If the parents are fighting, sometimes they feel like they’re mad at the world. …I don’t want to screw up Raiden.

 

What do you think is important to look for in a husband?

 

   Can he be entertained? Can I make him laugh? Does he have a spontaneous appetite like I do? Doing things like “restaurant hopping”? You know, going for burgers from Burger King, fries from McDonald’s, and a shake from Whataburger all at once.

   And the outside does matter. I know people try to say that (attraction) on the outside doesn’t matter, it’s what’s inside that counts…. But you need to be attracted to someone in that way. It makes me less tempted to have lust for sexy Chippendales-looking guys.

 

Now, this is a total Mexican thing to say: But does he get along with my family? Can our relationship grow like this? Or do I have to make extra, separate time for him and sneak away to be with my family? Can they spend time together?

 

On fitness:

 

Which band or type of music gets you ready for a workout?

 

That would have to be…Jason Aldean. Country. I love running to it. It just has an upbeat, party vibe that inside his music. Specifically, I like running to She’s Country (by Aldean).

 

What are some of your goals in regards to fitness?

 

I’d like to be able to run for miles and miles without gasping for air at the end. Getting to the point where working out is fun and less of a chore.; something you have to do.

 

What type of outdoor activities do you find yourself drawn to the most?

 

It’s been a long time, but I enjoy outdoor archery vs. indoor archery. Indoor shooting doesn’t get my attention as much as outdoor shooting does. It’s less realistic and doesn’t have all the fresh air that comes with it.

 

On relaxation:

 

What helps you wind down after a long day?

 

Well, I know what does, but I don’t think you can put it in your blog!

 

Sure, I can. Just tell me.

 

Honestly, stripping down and turning on the fan on full-blast. Oh, and with a nice glass of wine.

 

**She’s right…. I fully object to encouraging having the fan on full-blast. She’s a bit of an eskimo. But a naked eskimo. And that changes things.**

 

Is there a certain food or drink that you enjoy separately or paired together in your off-time?

 

Mm…Peter Piper Pizza with a Black Cherry Mojto. I’ve never had them together, but I would like to try that one day.

 

Tell me about the most relaxing experience you’ve had recently.

 

The therapeutic massage that my husband surprised me with. They forgot to give me the hot stone add-on, but all that aside, it was relaxing. Painful, but it seemed like my blood circulation flowed more easily, my knots were taken care of, and the music was perfect for the moment….a flute? Just the feel of soft, oiled up hands. It was too painful to fall asleep, but I wanted to.

 

**We were arguing that day. A lot. I came home after a jog and said, rather sternly: “LOOK… you OBVIOUSLY don’t understand how to relax or the value of relaxation. So I’m going to help you. At 6 o’ clock you’re going to a 1-hour massage with a Hot Stone therapy and I’m going to watch Raiden. You’re going to go early to fill out some forms. And it’s already paid for, so I don’t want to hear any and’s, if’s, or but’s about it.” **

Jogging: Enjoyment CAN be Learned.

 

“The trouble with jogging is that, by the time you realize you’re not in shape for it, it’s too far to walk back.” ― Franklin P. Jones

I may use “jogging” and “running” interchangeably in this particular blog. Not because I don’t care about the disdain for a lack of distinction between the two (this is a conversation that can get messy), I simply don’t have the energy to please both camps. Not tonight.

So, on my not-so-daily-however-very-beneficial jog, I’m starting to laugh. Smile and laugh. This is the point I really wanted to get to. Not to run a mile in a little under 5 minutes (I’ll get there). Not to have the best form (working on it). Not because I hate breathing heavily (that’s a lie). But because I really wanted to experience that sense of euphoria that everyone who does it consistently seems to have. Several friends have expressed how “free” they feel when they run. It makes life and all its distractions seem to melt away. Or at least shrink back amidst a background of a more complex creation.

This being said, the severity of my problems will never outweigh the beauty of complex design in nature. The scent of the grass and trees intermingled with the air of the season, the sound of deer cracking the twigs while moving through a dry creek, squirrels spiraling through branches, lizards rustling in the brush… It all serves as a world away from the world. Where the only rule is one foot in front of the other and steps lead to milestones. If “walking it off” is therapeutic, then running is nirvana. Worried you’ll be alone with your stress? The echoes of your thoughts have too many natural walls to resound off of. They’ll never reach you if you breathe them out and keep your head down. The problem for your problems is your problems don’t jog. You do. So leave them behind for a while.

Back to the laughter. Jogging a lot like life. There are many blind curves. We won’t always be able to see what’s ahead, but your path is leading somewhere. And if you have clearly defined goals, the unknown is not as unsettling as the signs seem to suggest. “Caution” and “Danger” translate into “Challenges Ahead”. Roadblocks are temporary delays. Your mind is your biggest opponent. And the best way to keep from doing too little is to set yourself up with no choice but to finish big.

Want to double your max distance? Take a trail instead of a track. You’ll love it. Gone is the burden of choosing when enough is enough. As outlined with our humorous quote above, the beauty of a trail is that you have to go back whence the way you came. Don’t think about the return. Start and don’t stop. Walk between your running spurts, and go until you’re tired. Next, rest. Then, return. There you go. Now you don’t have a say-so in the matter! However far you travel out, that’s how far you’ll need to travel back. Instant growth. My respiratory system didn’t like me very much at first, but I’ve learned that wellness isn’t a popularity contest. I make the decision and my body follows. With a healthy regard towards indicators that can point towards the hospital, I err on the side of abandon.

It’s a joy that is definitely unlike any other. I do feel free. The bigger picture is found outside the walls of the shops and office. And if I could recommend any advice for the person interested in running, I’d say that it’s what you make it. A stroll can be your marathon. Your stage is the top of a hill overlooking the landscape. Trade in a roof for a cloud-filled firmament. In a world overwhelmed by so much progress at a standstill, use forward motion in one of its simplest forms. And whatever you do, do it now!

You’re Working, But Are You Whistling?

 

You’re standing on the 1st place podium. Scanning the crowd, you pick out some familiar faces that helped you along the way, smile, giving a knowing nod, and taking a deliberate breath to compose yourself, you return back to the swarm of cameras and outstretched microphones. The camera spotlights and sporadic camera flashes make it hard to make out the source of a question barely discernible amidst the roar of applause.

“What was it like to get to where you are now?”

 

You pause and lean in…the silence spreads as the anticipation builds for your reply…

 

“What was it like to get here? Well….I complained every step of the way. I was discontent, doubtful, and never really appreciated any incremental progress made as I broke through each barrier. If anything, this is the first time I’ve really enjoyed my journey in any capacity: at the very end. And in the most fleeting moment of intense euphoria brought on by victory, I have to say, it was worth every day I hated myself and moped about, looking for any validation as I complained to those around me. Thank you. No more questions.”

 

*slow clap*

 

We tend to put too much emphasis on the goal and not the journey itself. We’re wired to pursue pleasure, but often reconfigure ourselves to hate any shred of it that comes along with progress and periods of rest or delayed growth. How do you want to enter the winner’s circle? Defeated and weary? Starving for satisfaction? Or ready for an added joy that will make the chalice of contentedness run over? I choose the latter. We want an attitude of success that is scalable. What do I mean by that? No matter how successful you are, a consistent mentality of hope and satisfaction that can relate to the successful on any level and in any measure of success is key to preparing yourself for the next foothold. This means the winner’s heart and mind you have now is the same that you will bear and hold when you’re standing at the finish line. It’s one less item of preparation you’ll have to deal with after your dreams come to fruition.
Today’s society has elevated discontent to an art form. If we’re fit, we complain about not being more fit. If we’re losing weight, we complain about not being as thin as we once were. Ironically, that was when we complained the most!

Don’t confuse apathy for comfort. …Being thankful for where you are in life is an integral part of training your mind to enjoy and reap the benefits of the success to come at a later time.

We want that promotion or initial job offer. So we obsess, and wonder, and worry, and neglect to fully love where we are at the present time. Don’t get me wrong; avoiding becoming too comfortable has its value. Sometimes being discontent and hating where you are can be just the motivation certain people need to become more. But we’re not talking about that. We’re looking at the people who use those exceptions as an excuse to continue the self-loathing, and continue thirsting but never drinking in the pleasure of the now.

You’re at a fork in the road. Presently, you aim to look into the masses and explain to inquiring minds how you always hoped, always persevered, and never doubted. All of this is possible without becoming complacent. Don’t confuse apathy for comfort. We can find time to smell the roses and plant a bigger oak tree. Being thankful for where you are in life is an integral part of training your mind to enjoy and reap the benefits of any success to come at a later time.

Here’s another example: The single person who is always complaining about being single. It’s all they think about. They take jabs at themselves. They post pictures and sayings on social media that provoke a sense of longing and yearning for “something that will last…”. It helps, sure. But does it promote a life of other edifying interests and pursuits? My bet is that when this person finds their spouse (as many do), said spouse will be more enamored with the more active and positive qualities they possessed. They’ll look towards and admire the lack of self-pity or hopelessness rather than how many nights were spent listening to the saddest song that could be found. I always encourage my friends to be the person they want to be when they find someone to share life with. It’s more attractive to the opposite sex. And it keeps them from missing out on opportunities that add to the list of attributes and hobbies making them the kind of person no one else can be.

It’s the same concept for any other facet of life. You’re courting success in the present, not in the future. “Down the road” often intersects with another path you couldn’t have predicted would lead to the place where you are now. Instead of bogging our minds down with the allure of distant goals unrealized, prosper and thrive in the present fruits of your efforts. The path of the powerful and exceptional is riddled with players who end up hating the game. Those who learn to do more than exist and desire are the ones who get the most out of life. Go get the most out of yours.