Archive for August, 2011|Monthly archive page

11 Rules You Will Never Learn In School

Given the recent events of Steve Jobs stepping down as CEO of Apple it would be appropriate if I highlighted one of the best speeches he ever gave – Stanford’s commencement speech in 2005.  But I already did that over a year ago, so you can read it HERE.  Instead I’m going to talk about the speech Bill Gates gave about 11 rules you will never learn in school.

If you want my honest opinion, Steve Job’s speech is better, so if you haven’t seen it yet you should click the above link and watch it.  If you’ve already watched Jobs’ speech then continue on to read Gates’ rules – some good takeaways within.


Rule 1: Life is not fair — get used to it!

Rule 2: The world won’t care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

Rule 3: You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won’t be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both.

Rule 4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.

Rule 5: Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your Grandparents had a different word for burger flipping — they called it opportunity.

Rule 6: If you mess up, it’s not your parents’ fault, so don’t whine about your mistakes, learn from them.

Rule 7: Before you were born, your parents weren’t as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you are. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent’s generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.

Rule 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. In some schools they have abolished failing grades and they’ll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer. This doesn’t bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.

Rule 9: Life is not divided into semesters. You don’t get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF. Do that on your own time.

Rule 10: Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.

Rule 11: Be nice to nerds. Chances are you’ll end up working for one.


Happy Wednesday!



J and R

Every now and again I’ll think about the people who have the biggest impact on my life.  I can guarantee that some of them don’t even realize what impact they have on me.  I’ve never told them and they would probably never even suspect that I learned the things from them that I have.  And that’s what is ironic to me – that often times the people who have significant impacts on our lives never even realize it.  But that’s also the beauty of it as well – that the way you are could significantly impact someone’s life.  Just by being you and just by living your life.  That is why it is so important to always make sure that you’re striving to be your best.  You never quite know when or how you are impacting the people around you.  Best bet is to always be on top of your game.  The way you are could give someone the strength and courage to overcome their own personal struggles.

For me, there have been a number of really important people who have taught me many lessons – from friends to family to significant others.  I could share with you probably hundreds of moments that I have filed away in my mind.  And while there are many people who, in being in my life, have helped me to become who I am, there are two that have impacted me in ways that words could never describe.

I very often search out the thoughts and opinions and perspectives of experienced people.  The ones who have been there and done that.  The ones who have been through everything I have ever felt ten times over.  But the one thing I’ve learned is that sometimes you don’t need words.  You don’t need opinions.  You don’t need perspective.  You just need a simple connection.  A connection that I’ve only ever felt with two people (there really is a third but I digress).  If I could explain it, I would.  But it’s something you just have to experience.  They are moments that make you realize that pretty much nothing you’ve ever worried about matters.

To the two little people who have taught me so much without ever saying a word… thank you.

Happy Wednesday!


Are Dreams Really Worth Pursuing?

There are certain moments in our lives that define who we are as individuals.  They are generally moments where ever ounce of our strength, courage and willingness to succeed is pushed to its limits.  I always find it interesting to reflect on these moments.

For a few years of my life I worked a full-time job basically to support traveling all over the place to make it as a professional soccer player.  Nothing else really mattered to me except pursuing that dream.  The dream to step out onto the field in front of thousands of people to play the game I loved.  But this wasn’t an easy road to travel.

I experienced moments that nearly broke me.  Moments where I felt so low that I didn’t think I could possibly go on.  Moments that broke my heart and broke my spirit.  Moments that tested ever last ounce of will-power I had within me.  Moments that, to this day, still give me the chills when I relive how I felt during them.  And I often wonder why I did it for so long.  Why did I continue to put forth a tireless amount of time, effort and commitment just to repeatedly come up short?

Now that some years have passed I can look back on it with a clearer perspective.  I didn’t come up short at all.  Yes, there were some sacrifices.  But I realize now that all of the things that I did during those 2-3 years have shaped who I am and where I’m at today.  Even though embarking on that journey didn’t get me what I ultimately set out to get, I did have some of the greatest experiences of my life, learned some really hard, valuable lessons about life and about myself and met some really great people along the way.  The simple act of not being afraid to pursue my dreams changed the entire course of my life… forever.

Through this experience I’ve learned that we don’t always get what we want, but that shouldn’t stop us from trying to live out our dreams and achieve all of our aspirations.  In the end, what do we have to lose?  Even if we don’t achieve what we set out to achieve, chances are the mere act of doing things we are passionate about will lead to something great.

I have also learned that it is often out of fear that we choose not to live the lives we dream.  And that’s a shame.  If fear is such a great motivator then you should be deathly afraid that if you don’t pursue your dreams then you may never become the person you are capable of becoming.

And lastly, and possibly most importantly, it taught me how to believe, even when it felt like there was nothing left to believe in.  A lesson that has come in handy on many other occasions.

The thing about pursuing your dreams is that it’s a lot like being an entrepreneur.  The highs are high and the rewards can be thrilling.  But the lows can break your heart.  That’s why you have to love what you do to such a degree that it’s worth the sacrifice, and, at times, pain.  But you take the good with the bad because doing anything else would be unimaginable.

Happy Wednesday!


Are You Lavish With Praise?

When criticism is minimized and praise emphasized, the good things people do will be reinforced and the poorer things will atrophy for lack of attention.

Praise is probably one of the most fundamental of all human desires.  Whether we admit it or not, we all crave attention and praise in some form or another.  It might not mean that your name is put up in lights for everyone to see, it may be as simple as someone saying, “Hey you did a great job!”, and genuinely meaning it.

Think about how it feels when someone recognizes you for something and offers you genuine praise.  You feel pretty good, right?  And you crave that feeling again, don’t you?  So why don’t you do that in return to others?

We are all leaders.  We all have the ability to spur change to help others achieve success and to live happier, more fulfilled lives.  It’s really not that hard – as long as you take the right approaches.  Whether you’re trying to raise your kids to behave better or trying to help a friend change their negative way of thinking or trying to spark initiative in one of your employees, start by praising the things they do well.  And do it genuinely.  From your heart.  Not only will it make them feel good about themselves, it will make them want to do more of it.  And there is where the change happens.

Might sound a little hokey, but try it.  Start praising your friends, family, significant other and co-workers on things that they do well.  If you can honestly tell me their facial expressions don’t show that your praises made them feel good and their attitudes towards you don’t change and they don’t start exhibiting more of these behaviors in the future, then you can ignore everything I’ve ever said.

If we can inspire all the people we come in contact with to a realization of their capabilities then we can do more than change people.  We can transform them.  Remember, we are all leaders.  And great leaders enable the people around them to do great things.  Start enabling others by giving genuine praise.

Happy Wednesday!


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