Archive for the ‘Inspiration’ Category

Et Ducit Mundum Per Luce

It’s been a few months since I’ve posted anything on here, but I received an interesting couple of messages over the past week that really got me to thinking, and thus, prompted this post!  They were messages from people I know but don’t really have much correspondence with on a daily, weekly, monthly or even yearly basis.  To me, their messages were completely random and unexpected.  To them, they had been thinking about sending me something for months.  Their messages were basically sent to thank me for writing these posts and for the things I share on Facebook and Twitter.  If you think about it, it almost seems a little silly, but in reality it’s evidence of how profound everything we do can be.

And all I was doing was living my life and being myself.  Trying my hardest to make myself better every day.  Doing my best to leave everyone’s day I come in contact with better for having me been a part of it.

This reminds me of part of a quote – “And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”

Are you giving the people around you the courage to be their best?

The thing that I think too many people forget is that who you are affects EVERYONE around you.  But do you ever stop to reflect on who the hell you actually are?  With all your good qualities but also with all your faults?  Who are you?  How do you impact the people around you?  For me, I am constantly evaluating how I treat other people.  Could I have said or done something that would have made a more positive impact on the interactions I had with someone?  Is there something about me that I need to work on?  What are my best qualities?  What are my worst qualities?

How can I be better so I can, in turn, make everyone around me better?

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what other people think about you – but what they think can still be used as a point of reflection about yourself.  Ultimately the people who recognize you for all the good you bring to their life will appreciate it and thank you for it.  For those who just want to point out all your mistakes or short-comings, well, let them suffer in their own world of self-imposed misery.  As long as you can say that you did your best today, well, that’s all you can do.

As Christmas (and the holiday season for non-Christmas celebrating people) fast approaches, take a moment to think about the people who make your life better… and thank them.

Feliz Navidad!

(Chad)

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Part 1: You Have To Read This!

I recently starting re-reading How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie.  You may have already noticed, it is the number one book under Recommended Readings.  There’s a reason for that.  It is single-handedly one of the most powerful books you could read – that is, if you apply the things contained within it.

I decided to start highlighting some of the key excerpts from the chapters.  I haven’t really decided if I will continue to do this for multiple installments.  If I do this is part one, if I don’t, well, go buy the book and read it yourself.

Please enjoy some thoughts about criticism and how you should handle people…

Criticism is futile because it puts a person on the defensive and usually makes him strive to justify himself.  Criticism is dangerous, because it wounds a person’s precious pride, hurts his sense of importance, and arouses resentment.

Do you know someone you would like to change and regulate and improve?  Good!  That is fine.  I am all in favor of it.  But why not begin on yourself?  From a purely selfish standpoint, that is a lot more profitable than trying to improve others – yes, and a lot less dangerous.  “Don’t complain about the snow on your neighbor’s roof,” said Confucius, “when your own doorstep is unclean.”

Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain – and most fools do.  But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.

Instead of condemning people, let’s try to understand them.  Let’s try to figure out why they do what they do.  That’s a lot more profitable and intriguing than criticism; and it breeds sympathy, tolerance and kindness.  “To know all is to forgive all.”

Hope this helps you make your day great!

Happy Wednesday!

(Chad)

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.

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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.

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Happy Wednesday!

(Chad)

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!

(Chad)

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!

(Chad)