What a difference a year can make. About a year ago, I decided to write a blog post daily. While it has not always been easy to think up topics, I have definitely learned and expanded my interests during this exercise. I am not sure if I will continue this blog next year or start a new one, but I will definitely continue writing. Often times people wonder about tomorrow, but they never actually think about how long it takes to actually get to tomorrow. Our days can be broken down into hours, minutes, and seconds, and with each second we have a chance to make a change that we want to see for tomorrow. In order to make the future we want to see tomorrow, we must take a minute to begin working on the hour that will become the day of tomorrow. Each day of this year, as short as they seemed, added up to make the year that we are currently ending. As I look back on this year, I can see plans that blossomed well and others that fizzled out, and I have realized that the only difference between the two is the time that was put into preparation and execution. The plans that turned out well were well prepared and the others were thrown together foolishly. In the year 2016, I am going to make sure that I use the time that I have much more wisely, every second counts and I will treat every second like a fraction of my day rather than time to be wasted. This year went by quickly, as does every year, but that is no reason to let another second pass on working towards your goals and dreams. I am excited for this new year, not because it is new, but because I get another year to grow and improve the world that I live in. Happy New Year everyone! Thanks for reading along throughout the year.
Do or do not. There is no try.
This week is unofficially being known as Star Wars Week. The seventh film in the storied Star Wars franchise will be released on Thursday night, and fans have already been lining up to watch it for weeks. I plan to watch the movie this week, so I will save specific movie talk for my review later on. I want to focus today on this quote from Episode V made by Yoda. “Do or do not, there is no try,” Yoda made this phrase when Luke was asked to do something that seemed impossible, and he responded with “I’ll try.” I know this is just a movie but I have said before how much I dislike the term “at least you tried,” saying that you will try is almost acknowledging that you feel like you can’t succeed. “Do or do not,” is the best way to approach any of life’s challenges, if there is a gap to cross, do it or don’t, because trying just isn’t putting enough effort into it. When you try, you give room for failure so you make provisions for a way back to safety, not to say that planning isn’t important, but planning is part of doing. To try is a half hearted and unplanned attempt, to do is a process that is set up for completion. Nothing comes easy in life no matter how it seems, it is important to fully pursue the things that will make you happy and lead to the success you expect to receive. If you plan to get anywhere do it or don’t do it, there really can not be room for a try.
A man is called selfish not for pursuing his own good, but for neglecting his neighbor’s.
There is far too common a misconception that it is selfish to desire things, or to work hard for anything, and often times people settle for much less due to the fact that they don’t think they deserve more. Selfishness is an unlearned trait, as children we are inherently selfish, we want all of the food, all of the toys, all of the time from others. Somewhere along the way, as we are trained away from selfishness, we lose sight of self worth. I have seen many people fail to attain a goal due to the fact that they don’t want to seem selfish, while in fact they are being selfish by withholding their talents, knowledge, and contributions from society. As I have grown, I have learned that one of the quickest ways a person can be derailed from their path is by calling them selfish. If a man is working hard to support his family, and somebody ignorantly calls him a selfish workaholic, he may get discouraged and start to question the worth of his work. This quote centralizes the true theme of the idea of selfishness, and in my opinion perfectly defines it, we are not selfish for desiring to go places or do things, true selfishness is when we decide to do all of these things merely for ourselves while disregarding the lives of others. If you are working hard towards a goal, there will be times when you can not be as personable as desired, but as long as your success will lead to the success of your family and community, you are on the right track.
Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
Sometimes you never know how far you can go until you have another person pushing you. Even when you set a goal for yourself the biggest obstacle to overcome is your own doubt. In my opinion, this quote hits the nail on the head when it comes to speaking about human nature and motivation. We all have goals, hopes, and dreams, but often times we don’t know where to begin or if we can even start. We like to know that it is possible to reach our goals, that is why we speak to others about our ambitions in hopes that we will be inspired to proceed. To illustrate the importance of having outside inspiration I will refer to the job of a personal trainer, these individuals push their clients far past their “limits” in order to prove that they can do much more than expected. It is not always easy to have someone push you, but it is always more beneficial than quitting a task far too early. I understand that everyone would prefer to be self motivated, but it is important to surround yourself with people who are willing to push you harder than you thought you can go, in order to reach the higher levels that you know you deserve.
There is something that has always bothered me about the phrase, “at least you tried.” It is the ultimate false consolation prize for failing to reach a goal. I know that it is nearly impossible to succeed at everything you attempt, but I find it far less helpful to hear those words than to hear actual encouragement after a tough loss. The thing that bothers me about the phrase is the assumption that this obstacle that was being faced is too big to actually get over. This term basically denotes the notion that one has been utterly defeated. I guess I generally dislike this term because, to me, it means you will never try again, or ever be successful in that endeavor. I understand that there are certain obstacles that we are only given one chance to overcome, but with things like that I rarely ever hear the words, “at least you tried.” I respect anybody who is working towards a goal, and if they fail, I prefer to encourage them to keep going for it, or to continue working hard to get back on track. At least you tried, is not an encouraging phrase, it is actually quite disparaging when you think about it. I know I have used this term in the past, but I am committed to remove it from my vocabulary, since encouragement is the best way to help anyone through a moment of failure.
True character is revealed in the choices a human being makes under pressure – the greater the pressure, the deeper the revelation, the truer the choice to the character’s essential nature.
Pressure makes diamonds
-George S. Patton Jr
Pressure is a word that is misused in our vocabulary. When you start thinking of pressure, it’s because you’ve started to think of failure.
I honestly couldn’t choose a good quote so I decided to use three, since I find the pressure to succeed is such a huge topic of my generation. I like to believe that the most pressure occurs when we have lost touch with our goals, and the reasons we decided to try and reach them. It has been said that “nothing worth having comes easy,” and I have to admit, that this statement is truer now in my life than it ever was on paper. I have found myself constantly pushing for things that I wanted, without taking a step back and realizing how I have managed to get to the tip of the precipice of success. Every goal that I have ever chased has lead me up a row of steps but pressure seems to be a factor that has kept me from opening some of the doors. These quotes that I read this morning have actually reminded me of what goals I am chasing and why I am chasing them. The first two quotes, remind me that succeeding in the face of pressure helps build strength and character, and the final quote helps me keep the goals I have been chasing in perspective. In order to reach a goal the focus must be placed on the goal, and not the consequences of failing to reach it. When it comes to trying to do anything worth while, pressure is inevitable, but as long as the goal is kept in mind, success will never be far off. In order to reach goals the focus has to be on the benefits of success, failure is always a possibility, but in order to succeed you must avoid the idea of it. I am going to keep any thoughts of failure far from my mind and I will continue to fight through the challenges that come with chasing a goal.
Always focus on the front windshield and not the rearview mirror.
Today, I started a weekend road trip with my younger brother, so I have been in the car for some time. When riding in a car there is little to do other than talk, listen to music, and when you are the driver, focus of course. Taking a long drive made me think about this quote, but it can be equated to more than just being on the road. In life, there are many distractions, and while one could easily look back at the past, it is paramount to focus on what is ahead. In driving and in life, the ability to look back is part of going forward, and the rearview mirror is an important tool that allows us to look back while driving without losing focus on what is ahead. It is important to be mindful of the things in your past, but in order to achieve success and reach any goals, you must keep your “eyes on the prize” and pay attention to the goals you want to achieve.
The NFL season will soon be upon us, a summer’s worth of speculation will finally come to an end as teams will finally get a chance to just play ball. As a huge football fan I am incredibly excited to see how this season turns out, hopefully it doesn’t end like the last season, with another terrible play call. The NFL is one of if not the most popular sport in the USA. Even when the games are not going on there is something to be said about the sport in the news. This offseason has already been filled with non football related stories surrounding the NFL and its players, and now it is time to get back to playing ball. I am certain that I have said it before in this blog, but I must reiterate, I am a New York Giants fan and I am expecting big things from this team this year. The past two seasons for the Giants were just plain awful, they looked listless and unprepared, but this season they look to put the struggles of the past far behind them in hopes of bringing home the team’s fifth Super Bowl title. The Giants have been fully acclimated to their new offensive scheme, and they have added the type of talent necessary to go far in the playoffs. On paper, the Giants seem like a solid Super Bowl pick, but they still need to get past the other 31 teams who are chasing the same prize. Every team in the NFL will start this coming season with the same record and the same goal in mind, I look forward to watching this exciting season play out over the next few months, and I hope to see my Giants finish the season by raising a trophy.
This week’s postings will probably be shorter than usual, since I am currently working a summer camp, and aside from have strict time constraints, Internet coverage is a bit spotty. Earlier today as I was going about my duties in the camp I started thinking about the concept of paying attention. I realize how ironic it is that attention became the focus of my thoughts, rather than the task at hand. I see it as pretty interesting that we have a method of blocking out stimuli and focusing on a single thing while still being bombarded with various external commotion. Often times it is said that children have short attention spans, but I don’t think that is exactly the case, I just think children try to focus on too many things at once because almost everything is new to them, even adults can seem a bit challenged in the attention department when they have too many options. One of the most interesting things about attention is how you can be focused on one thing for one moment and then instantly change focus without any active mental process. The human brain is like a super advanced computer with less safeguards, we can calculate or plan almost anything, but still be quickly derailed by a loss of concentration. Paying attention is crucial to most of life’s great successes, but life’s most basic needs such as sleeping, breathing, and digesting, are all done without a single conscious thought, a fact I find both hilarious and amazing. Attention is something that can be controlled and should be worked on. I understand that there may be times when the mind wants to wander, but as I have learned throughout life, you can not get anywhere without putting the right amount of focus into the execution of plans. Paying attention is a conscious effort to control the processes of the mind, and once it is correctly mastered success is inevitable.
Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
I have heard this quote several times before, it is often recited in graduation speeches to eager students ready to take on the world, but it is never really explained. Most people would love to set out on a new path and built their own trail, but the thing is, building a trail is difficult and doing it without the right tools or training is just plain stressful. I agree that it is much more rewarding to build your own path, and have the satisfaction of knowing that everyone else is following your lead, but many people don’t realize that there is a learning curve to getting it right. Whenever you set out on a new path it is wise to take note of the advice of those who have gone before you. Learning from the mistakes of others is not exactly taking their path, it is just working their experiences into another approach. What most people don’t realize is the fact that avoiding the mistakes of others is beneficial to time management, anytime I have known the mistakes of another I worked around these mistakes, effectively giving myself time to make my own while still keeping on a solid pace. I like this quote but if I had to tell graduating seniors one thing about setting out on their own trail, it would be to never disregard the counsel of those who have gone before them. It is always awesome to achieve great things but there are no bonus points for doing it all by yourself.