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Archive for September, 2011

Beautiful Words of Wisdom Part 1 of 3

Saturday, September 24th, 2011

A Short Story That Changed My Perspective

No matter the situation or circumstances when beautiful words of wisdom are spoken they have a unique way of shedding light on complicated issues, lifting spirits, offering guidance and insight, and can even make one view the world with a much clearer perspective…

Over the summer I had the pleasure of flying around the world on business.  During my trip there was plenty of time for reflecting on and taking stock of my life, which allowed me to gain an incredible amount of wisdom that I’ll always be grateful for having learned.

Amidst the whirlwind of this working trip I met a wise, young unknown artist who shared with me his unique perspective on how we should view our lives.  And given everything that eventually transpired during this exciting yet tumultuous time, in a way it felt like his words had been created just for me…

Or maybe, just maybe, my late father chose this young man to convey yet another one of his beautiful teachings…

In any event, the beautiful short story he shared with me touched my soul in a way that I’ll never forget.  The more I think about what he said and how his transcendent words came to life, the more enriched my own life becomes.

This chance encounter helped me to view things that were going on in my life, whether personal or profession, through a new and very pretty prism.

The Power of Positive Thinking

Though I always strive to be the eternal optimist, I’m also one of those kinds of guys who doesn’t like change.  Given my druthers I’d rather deal with the familiar, which I know isn’t the most enlightened way to view the world, but deep down inside that’s just a big part of who I am.

Now I know all the women out there are probably thinking “surprise surprise—you are a man after all”… But all stereotypical male behavior aside, where I think this stems from is the fact that I grew up an only child.  Often I had the full attention of both parents, which enabled me to engage in a great deal of positive behavior that was constantly being validated and reinforced.

Looking back on all that now I believe this positivity laid the foundation for what would inevitably become the basis for my inspiring outlook on life.  The man whom I’ve naturally become is passionate, thoughtful, intense, driven and worldly…

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The power of positive thinking and how it affects everything about your personality has been well researched, but what I really want people to understand is that they’ll never be able to open up to all of life’s possibilities without first possessing the ability to simply drop all negativity.

Eight Countries in Six Weeks

During the summer I traveled through eight countries in six weeks.  I had numerous speaking engagements scheduled, but there was plenty of time to meet up with old friends.  Now although I was of course looking forward to this trip with all the excitement of a kid on Christmas Eve, there were many facets of it which wound up exacerbating the perils of my chosen path in life.

The entire trip ended up being a whirlwind of travel and personal loss.  There were countless exquisite moments, like when I was sitting along the harbor in Sydney basking in the warm Australian sun, or when I was walking the streets of Paris contemplating the state of my shaky relationship…

One of the many things I love about what I do for a living is that I get to see the world.  I’ve always loved learning about other cultures and seeing the way other people live, but the personal price I pay for this is, for lack of a more subtle phrase, a stiff one.

‘Cause You Just Might Get It – Part 2 of 2

Saturday, September 17th, 2011

Now of course I know that they are, but at the end of each and every day I’m still a human being. I have my own desires, flaws, idiosyncrasies and basically anything else that can cause me to make a mistake or lose sight of what truly matters.  But it’s during these times that the wisdom and teachings of those who have come before us matter the most.

One of the primary aspirations I had as a youth was wanting desperately to see as much of the world as I possibly could.  Often I’d get into deep and meaningful conversations with friends and girlfriends about the vast array of cultures and other perspectives that people in far-off lands practiced and believed in.  I wanted to learn about all of them, and not just from a book, but from real life experience.  I needed to see the entire world in all of it splendor with my own eyes…

It was this drive, united with the unwavering support of my father and mother, which led me to the path I’ve taken in life.  I’ve been able to accomplish a great many things because of this solid foundation of love that without which, I might not be writing these inspiring words.

But my journey has been far from smooth sailing.  Along the way I’ve also learned how the lack of balance can negatively impact even the most dedicated of us.  And in fact, given the shaky footing with which my current relationship was on during the beginning of summer, it appears that I still have a great deal to learn about how my life choices, good or bad, affect those closest to me.

Often what causes people to stumble or to begin to take loved ones and the tangibles in their lives for granted is simply lack of proper guidance.  No matter what country I travel to or what group of people I’m speaking before, I witness this dynamic time and time again.

The adage that “you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone” is another one of those invaluable clichéd phrases that I wrote about a few weeks ago.  Regardless of your position in life, what we as a people really need to do is learn to accept who and what we are.  Doing so allows one to strive toward whatever one may want from the most positive stance possible.

Focusing on the here and now while simultaneously doing all that you can to make those around you smile will lift you to unseen heights.  Spreading this kind of graciousness echoes across time and makes yours the kind of name people give their children in honor of.

In the end it’s not going to matter whether you flew all over the world running down your dreams or spent your life cleaning up after others.  What will matter is if you brought happiness or sorrow to those whose lives you were fortunate enough to touch.

No matter the continent or culture, these are some of the most important lessons I’ve gleaned from my travels around the globe.  As long as you persevere you’re going to get in some way, shape or form, that which you focus your attention on.  But for the vast majority of people, this will never fill your heart…

Nor will it make up for whatever perceived shortcomings you feel your life is hindered by…

So please do be careful what you wish for, because as they say, you just might get it.

And if you do, take the painstaking efforts to keep this gift from turning into a burden.

Be Careful What You Wish for… – Part 1 of 2

Saturday, September 10th, 2011

Why does it seem that with each passing year the summers seem to flash by faster and faster?  You think it’s an age and responsibility kind of thing, where it’s the simple fact that we just don’t have the time that we use to when we were younger to take in all the magic that happens during this glorious season… Or is it more so that even the best of us can get a little jaded as the mundane logistics of everyday life start to whittle away at our resolve…

Probably a bit of both I guess…

I had one of those rare moments the other day where I had the perfect amount of time to ponder these concerns.  It’s been getting darker a lot sooner lately and I’ve always been rather fond of the way that this sneaks up on you as August fades into September.  So with another summer now officially behind us I started taking stock of some of the things that had happened.

My mind immediately leapt back to the beginning of summer when I was sitting in the Bangkok Airport.  Barely a day before I’d flown out of LAX, went through Tokyo, and was now waiting to board yet another plane.  At any given time throughout the year it seems like I spend more time in the air than on the ground, but this is the nature of my life and though it does have its drawbacks, I love every minute of it.

Over the course of the next few months I spoke in Sydney, traveled to Russia and then on to Eastern Europe as I worked, inspired, played, and basically just lived.  I’m riding the crest of my fully developed abilities and for quite a while now I’ve been able to honestly say that I truly know what it means to exist on a self-actualized plane.  I’ve been working my whole life to get to this point and although it’s truly wonderful, it’s far from a panacea.

There are plenty of aspects of my personal life that suffer a great deal because I’ve chosen to devote the vast majority of my time in this world to helping those around me.  Now of course things didn’t start out this way.  Back in my twenties I always saw myself being able to have exactly this kind of dream life, which I always felt that I fully deserved.  But what I’ve come to understand is that this naïveté is a trait that all young people possess—whether their abilities and potential warrant it or not.

What I also didn’t know then but fully realize now is the hard simple truth that everything in life is a double-edged sword.  Life being the constant and unyielding battle that it is, no matter what talents you possess, assets you’ve inherited or worked for, or advantages you’ve acquired, if you don’t utilize them properly they can and will become your most serious liability.

Growing up in the suburbs of Orange County, I’d been a typical Southern California kid.  “More” was one of my favorite words and seemed to be the underlying theme that guided my adolescence.  More friends, more fun, more girls, more freedom, and yeah then more girls again…

Like I said, I was a pretty typical Southern California kid.

But now that I’ve ran down many of my dreams and have grown into a caring soul that people look to for guidance, every so often (like when I’ve got a couple hours to burn in a Bangkok terminal) I find myself wondering if the sacrifices I make are really worth it…

No Need of Kindergarten – Part 3 of 3

Saturday, September 3rd, 2011

So with only one week of school under her belt and one grade already behind her, this brilliant little girl was off on a positive trajectory that was changing the course of her life.  Immediately my friend took to Facebook to share the good news with those closest to her—but also to vent.  It had been hard enough to send her daughter off for the very first time into a brand-new environment, but skipping an entire grade was a little too much for her to bear.

Ultimately what this means is that she’ll have to step out into the real world one year sooner, but my dear friend knew full-well that she couldn’t leave her incredibly bright daughter in a class that was beneath her intellectual capabilities.  When we spoke about this over the phone she told me how proud she was and how much she realized that her daughter needed to be challenged.

After we delved into this in great detail, I started contemplating the fate of all those lost souls who never really got the chance to live up to their true potential.  Had they only had someone in their lives whom they could turn to, whose wisdom could have guided and given them the strength to believe in themselves and all that they could accomplish.  It’s so terribly sad, the collective unrealized potential of life’s missed opportunities…

Just think how much better the world would be if everyone had the chance to fully develop their capabilities and see what they are really made of.  If only we could learn from the mistakes of the past so that we would never again have to make them, all of those unfortunate people might have had a more enriched and enlightened existence.

I’ll just never understand why those that have come before us don’t do everything in their power to teach us all that they know.  Whether they’ve succeeded or failed, there’re myriad lessons in those experiences which future generations can use as stepping stones to get them where they need to go.

Again Edmund Burke’s haunting and clichéd words simultaneously fill my thoughts with hope and despair, “Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.”

How true indeed…

Having heard how adults were speaking about her long before I met her, from the moment I first spoke with my friend’s daughter I knew it was going to be a joy to watch her grow up.  Another cute anecdote I like to tell about Little Miss Wise beyond Her Years occurred during only our second encounter.  Anyone who speaks to her quickly realizes that normal kid talk doesn’t interest her all that much, so when it was my turn to speak I started telling her about one of my business ventures, going into great detail about the particular nuances of a pending deal.  She seemed to enjoy this and after I finished my story she told me that I was “mysterious.”

Which I am, but that is just a really big word.

She was two years old at the time.

Upon hearing the news that she was going to be entering the first grade after only five days of kindergarten, I needed to get her take on the situation.  After talking to my friend about everything I asked to speak to her, then she jumped on the phone and told me all about it.  She said she was a little sad because she had already made a couple of really good friends and that she was going to miss seeing them, you know, on a daily basis—she literally used this phrase.  After a solid couple minutes describing all of the things she was looking forward to, she told me how easy the kindergarten work had been and said, and I kid you not, “So yeah, I really had no need of kindergarten.”

Barely five years old and she’s got the world on a string.

With everything her parents have already passed on to her and the way she’s implementing these gifts into her life, just think where she’ll be in another five…