Lou Holtz, Hendrix and the Prince of Egypt on Attitude: Just Believe

Admonitions from Lou Holtz in my Twitter stream jarred me out of a summer haze (not that kind, deviants…) this morning:

Ability is what you are capable of.

Motivation determines what you do.

Attitude determines how well you do it.

Admittedly, I’ve had a chip on my shoulder lately. Too often it’s easy to gripe about perceived injustice, lack of appreciation or acknowledgement from friends, family and in the workplace.

Even if said sentiments are valid, I’ve come to realize it’s just wasted time, space and energy.

As with forgiveness, happiness is a choice. It’s a gift we give ourselves.

Again, as mentioned in previous posts: the world doesn’t care if you have a degree, nor how hard you may have worked for it.

The world doesn’t care if you’re grossly underpaid, overqualified, under-qualified or entitled. If you have a dissertation, 14K grill like Lil Wayne, 10-foot spoiler on a tiny sedan or more bling than the polar ice caps.

But the world might care if you care. Might believe if you believe. 

How many times, mornings…

Days.

Weeks.

Months does it get increasingly harder to wake up ready and willing to face whatever’s next?

To extricate ourselves from our own self-pity, helpless-complex or demoralizing slumps and quietly say:

I’ll try again.

I’ll be better.

And not for anyone else but me.

And with that perspective the nerve and renewed desire to lighten someone else’s load, too…

That’s commitment. That’s selflessness from selfishness. Cynics might dismiss as antiquated, but experience seems to say that forgiving yourself usually precedes forgiving others.

As Daniel Deronda said, it’s about using your unhappiness to help you see other peoples’ pain. 

One of my favorite flicks is the story of John Nash, the mathematics savant from West Virginia played by Russell Crowe in A Beautiful Mind, which garnered 4 Academy awards (including Best Picture) in 2001.  

One scene that particularly resonated with me depicts a young, salient and blisteringly impatient Nash witnessing a “pen ceremony” (where faculty present their pens in honoring and welcoming a distinguished member).

Though not an official rite of passage at Princeton, the reel goes on to Nash’s professor asking, ‘What do you see?’ Nash replies, “Recognition.”

Shaking his head, the professor elucidates him: Accomplishment.

So often we miss the mark because we’re too focused on the mark, rather than our motives and the process of getting there. Perhaps the hardest part is recognizing when perspective’s lost, where we might have veered off-course in our attempts to control where we’re headed.

The notion of a journey, not a destination. The notion of being present, and slowing down to embrace the moment for what it is.

Granted, nothing worthwhile comes without a cost. I’ve learned that the most rewarding and enriching experiences have also stretched me the most.

Have hurt the most. Have disappointed the most. But man you stretch — and that’s what truly matters.

My first annual review post-college is this month, a part-time gig at a humble, locally-owned business in the town where I attended university. Perhaps the title and the prestige aren’t there, but at some point the world doesn’t seem to care a whole lot about that either.

Rather than dwelling on the fact that friends, family and loved ones are thousands of miles away out West and scattered across the globe, I’ve learned in the past few years to focus on making the best of the people, places and time that are in front of me.

To check my attitude, and willingness to make someone’s life a little easier. To accept the only guarantee I know so far: change is consistent.

Upcoming Footloose ( ahem — remake) dude Kenny Wormald‘s onto something:

If you’re true to yourself and you work hard, and treat people with respect you will Grow… 

RELATED LINKS

Dan Waldschmidt >> Why Believing is the New Selling

Spin Sucks >> Seven Habits to Change the Perception of PR

Anthony Iannarino (new site looks great) >> Unlearning Learned Helplessness

Joe Pulizzi, Content Marketing Institute >> PR and Fighting the Content Marketing Battle Within

 

 

Pain is Life, Get Used to It: Know, Not Fear, That Someday You’re Going to Die

CLEVELAND – Ever have the kind of day where you’d rather stab yourself in the eye with a rusty spoon than listen to any more excuses, bullshit or equally infuriating negativity our insipid, mundane life has to offer? Then welcome. This is me at my most nihilistic.

Yes, I’ve been under the weather lately (honestly, I never get sick — but when I do it’s obscene. Ugh). So perhaps that’s part of the equation. But I’m not talking about sickness.

I’m talking about being sick and tired of being sick and tired. Life is cruel, indifferent, deaf. Sometimes you have to shout, cry out, stomp your feet. Whatever necessary to shake it off and move on. So I am. Via another rant.

I am SICK AND TIRED:

Of year after year after year of hearing NO from others, and especially an industry I love, an industry I have sacrificed countless hours, relationships, blood, sweat and tears for — only to continually be overlooked, disregarded, disappointed, jaded and patronized. Too smart. Too enthusiastic. Overqualified. Underqualified. Too young. Know-it-all. Entitled. Cocky.

Of Excuses

>’What have I done to deserve you?’ (relationships, breakups). So rich I can’t even comment further.

>’It’s tough out there… (others referring to the economy — to which I am unequivocally allergic and  intolerant. The economy does NOT determine our destiny. WE do)

>’It’s not your time yet’ (if not now, then when? If not you, then who?) And how is it everyone else seems to know what’s best for you?! Wish I was that lofty and special. When everything’s superlative, nothing is.

>’Everyone has to pay dues.’ No shit, Sherlock. I don’t care how old you are, age is just a number. I care about who you are and how you have lived, how you treat others. It’s called experience, integrity –character.  There are some who never amount to anything in life, never move beyond the maturity or mentality of a two-year-old.

Get over yourself.

When you’ve faced your mortality and pain like others do you might actually have something to say. Polarizing? Yes. This is me caring.

Of Clichés

‘There’s always a light at the end of the tunnel’ or ‘It’s all been done before.’  Profound, tell me more.

And most nauseating: Maybe you’re not trying hard enough. Seriously? What about those who say don’t try too hard, don’t care too much? Again, all too inane to further comment.

impressionism painting

Tell Me About It

Every f(expletive)-ing day, myself and countless others choose to get out of bed and face the same joke, the same lie:

A lie that says if you’re a first-generation degree holder in your family, you’ll break a cycle of financial stasis, income barrier. And not be wasting away in a part-time, minimum-wage job, isolated from loved ones, faces or places you call home and wandering a tired godforsaken place, people and cesspool of limitations, wondering how much longer until reprieve, some break that just might be deserved at some time or place in history.

A lie that says if you finance your own education, you’ll reap the benefits of easier transportation (a car perhaps), a better job and quality of life.

A lie that says you’ll be okay, because you know what it’s like to be on your own since 15, to have to fight and scrimp and scrape for everything you have and are. 

A lie that says if you work over 10 years in the same industry and graduate college, you’ll be able to work at least full-time.

A lie that says we reward and hire on the value of merit, not seniority or favoritism.

A lie that says if you are loving and compassionate and give more than you take, you will not suffer or endure continual pain, struggle or challenges. That everyone is capable of gratitude, heart and altruism.

A lie that says anyone cares about you more than you could care for yourself, that anyone is invested in your well-being, worth and safety more than you are.

Call it pride, but when it comes down to it, I expect absolutely nothing of or from others. No one owes you anything. No one will love, trust, respect or work for you the way you can, will and must. 

At the end of the day, the only one you have is YOU. Whether through tears of joy or despair, fits of fear or rage, remember it. Count on it.

And keep believing whatever delusions will move you until you reach the Truth of your heart, mind and body.

In the words of Rainer Maria Rilke: At the bottom no one in life can help anyone else in life. This one experiences over and over in every conflict and every perplexity: that one is alone. That isn’t as bad as it may first appear; and again it is the best thing in life that each should have everything in himself: his fate, his future, his whole expanse and world. 

DogPound Courage: We Choose to Be Here

CLEVELAND – Courage and passion. These words lingered as I left Touch Supper club last night, the back room still abuzz with laughter and exchanges over topics from Go Daddy, WordPress and self-hosting to diet and training regimens for the Boston marathon.

As my right arm still smarts from a rendezvous with the frying pan/bacon grease this morning (I lost –serves me right for being half-awake, on the phone and trying to make breakfast simultaneously…), here are a few insights I gained during the Ohio Blogging Association meetup last night:

Cleveland Ohio City blogging bloggers Byron Fernandez

Photos courtesy of Alicia Hansen and the Ohio Blogging Association

>>It takes courage to tell your story, courage to be accountable for who you are and who you want to be. In the words of George Eliot, It is never too late to be what you might have been.

>>Didn’t mind being the baby of the group. Some bloggers were celebrating one or two-year anniversaries (kudos!), others were seasoned veterans on the Cleveland scene. Whether bloggers of dieting or fitness, yoga, food and wine, running, tech, lifestyle, sustainability or PR and marketing, it was clear we all had one thing in common: a love for this city.

>>The food and hospitality was great (Yelp review here: Touch Supper Club). We were actually in the same back room another group and I had over New Year’s Eve –great for private parties and events.

>>Something Jen, the author of Why Cleveland? shared really hit home for me: We choose to be here. She, too, is not originally from Believeland (having moved back twice throughout education, personal and career travels), and mentioned one of the main reasons for beginning her blog was because she was so tired of hearing the inane “Why are you here” and “Why would you come back?” jabs from people who’ve been born and bred here.

The same ones that complain when Forbes or Newsweek list Cleveland as the most Miserable City in the country…when they were likely the ones said media interviewed! (Touché, Jen!). Dually refreshing and amusing, it also gave me added resolve for creative, snarky responses when people find out I’m from California and New York…

>>WordPress is favored over blogger/blogspot, both from blogger and reader ends (during a conversation with Maria from Germany, I shared how I’m a visual nerd, and liked that WP seems more fluid, customizable in shape and form).

>>We all shared concerns, challenges with making the transition to self-hosted domains. “Monetizing” and other pros/cons of ads, negotiating financial, post schedules, etc. with the creative, artistic freedoms inherent in the process of blogging for fun. As I am only a few months out of the gate, I’m still enjoying the wide-eyed role of learning and absorbing all I can as I connect and meet those in the professional and personal community. As Alicia mentioned, the opportunities for collaboration in our local communities and the blogging ecosystem at large are endless.

Regardless of background or age, everyone present mentioned they just needed an outlet, a way to write and share their story. Pretty neat.

As Thoreau says: How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live. 

Touch supper club ohio city cleveland blogging bloggers

Courtesy of Alicia Hansen and the Ohio Blogging Association

Thanks again to Alicia Hansen, a fellow alumni of Baldwin-Wallace, for hosting the event!

Guest list: