What’s Possible?

The significant space between good and great, great being at the very top of the scale, is filled with belief. The person who decides to set a world record (which should be respected as greatness within that realm) doesn’t necessarily know it’s possible, but believes it’s possible. So every time people sit in meetings, discussing probability; or, when people are discussing ranking factors for a particular candidate’s future ability to do a certain job, the most important idea or concept is missing. Belief. Belief that something that has not happened before can happen now, which translates into whether or not any past indicators matter for future unseen greatness.

All this boils back down to very simple constructs of hard work, dedication, passion, will, heart, and mental strength. So go out and take care of the basics to set the foundation for a wonderful work of art. Can’t paint on canvas without a canvas, and you can’t paint without paint–although I guess you could use something else. But I digress. Just go out and try with all the resources and belief you can muster; and even if you don’t strike magic or gold or the goal, you will have learned something for the next time.

Go be great!

rejection, losing, failure.

imagesApplying for jobs was once a humbling ordeal given all the rejection I’ve faced in the process. Now, I see rejection as par for the course in all that I do. Me being a fake philosopher and always trying to draw analogies, I see how rejection or failure is pervasive and necessary throughout life. I believe that failure, rejection, and hard times are necessary steps in order for me, and others, to: 1) actually know what success is; and 2) appreciate the success when it comes.  These feelings arise with Romantic relationships, sports, a professional or working career, business ventures, blogging, making and keeping friends etc. Some are on a different plane of thinking and have a Zen like view. Not every win is a win, not every loss is a loss. And we all aren’t the same. I can only speak for myself. But, I no longer treat my shortcomings as weight on my shoulders.
It may be obvious, but I just got another rejection letter. Strangely enough, I’m not feeling any sour or bitterness from it. All I know is I must keep on pushing. I know there are people who hate rejection and use it as a tool or motivation to work harder and prove their doubters wrong. I guess I feel the same way, I just don’t take it as a personal affront because “[they] know not what [they] do.” Alternatively, I think I see that I just need to work a bit harder and smarter while taking more risks.
Rejection, losing, and failure is not a new phenomenon for me. As a youngster,  I ran track, and I didn’t finish in first place all the time or in every event I competed in; and I missed out on qualifying for the higher levels of competition. But, it was informative. I had to learn how to cope then learn from my mistakes. The losing  told me I wasn’t good enough and I needed to work harder during the off season to improve. It was fun too. I relished the opportunity to compete again. I wasn’t the best basketball player everywhere I played and definitely not the best at every level.  I thought I was a beast, but not enough others felt the same. The teams I played for would lose games. A lot of games. There was a time when colleges coaches were not interested int recruiting me. At every chance,I had to keep proving my worth.
After college, agents didn’t want to sign me, and teams cut me, or just ignored me. Next thing you know, I took the LSAT and didn’t score very well. Thus, I had to attend a law school that wasn’t my dream school. Rejection letters came like clock work. Then, I had to compete in law school for A’s which never came. I had to take the bar more than once. Opening that email to find I failed was the most egregious pain that no one could prep me for. I feel like there was no greater failure in my life, to date. I have never been given the “ok” to relax, or given the feeling of accomplishment that says you don’t have to keep working harder and harder.
I’ve seen failure and rejection far too much. But, I am not worried about the next instance. I’ve been confronted with the feelings associated with losing frequently. But, here I am. And, all I can do is keep going. I have learned that continuing to push is far easier when you don’t harbor ill will or resentment or bitterness. I feel like I have a better understanding to the saying “roll with the punches.” The difference I will have to make is in the execution. And, I can’t just prepare. I have to prepare perfectly in order to have that perfect performance or outcome, so that when it is time to execute perfectly I will. Perfect Practice makes Perfect.

Sports as a Reflection of Culture: Be Multifaceted

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(Leonardo da Vinci)

I can only accurately speak to football and basketball, but it’s clear that the best athletes in their respective sports are multifaceted. Drawing a comparison to the rest of the world, it seems that the most successful or well-known people have a myriad of skills, that are very effective.

If you are a sports fan and end up watching highlights via the various media outlets, you may be familiar with LeBron James, Miguel Cabrera, Robert Griffin III (Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson), etc, to name just a few. These athletes are threats in multiple ways. And they are considered some of the best in their respective sports, or at least at their position. If they aren’t right now, they will be. LeBron James can shoot, pass, rebound, and defend. Miguel Cabrera is an excellent hitter who won the first Triple Crown in many years, for being a high percentage hitter, home-run hitter, and hit to enable others to score (they are highly correlated in my opinion, but still). Robert Griffin and the new age of Quarterbacks, can run with the ball very well and pass the ball with accuracy. Although there will always be a place for a Peyton Manning or a Tom Brady who are incredibly cerebral and accurate passers, there seems to be an infatuation with these hybrid football players. These athletes do several things very well, making them the most effective or valuable.

Drawing the comparison to the non-sports world, I posit that the most success people and corporations do many things very well. Most people who find themselves financially successful aren’t people who just work wonderfully at their job or within their career. They take on other ventures. They seek opportunities in real property; play the financial markets; find other means of income via board membership; all while spending money wisely.

President Barack Obama is an educator, writer and politician, some aspects complimenting the others. A person I just heard about named Randal Pinkett, seems to have never taken a break. And, Jerry Jones or Daniel Snyder are successful because they have their hands on as much as they can, while shouldering and shuttering much risk. Steve Jobs had more than Apple. He was an essentially part of Pixar.

Wal-Mart is an easy corporation to point to that is a one stop shop. You can go there and get clothes, food, entertainment items, household needs, and far more. This isn’t a secret, but the best athletes are a reflection of that, now. Specialist are becoming obsolete. Why play a 3-point shooter, when you can play a 3-point shooter that can rebound and defend? Why go to the liquor store, when you can go to Wal-Mart to get your liquor and mixers, and sunglasses and Advil?

Athletes in their triple or quadruple-threat-ness, mimic corporations who have cornered several markets, or people who have embarked on championing several fields. This may be the reemergence of a Renaissance era, where you must do a multitude of things in order to stand out. Maybe that has always been the case, but our athletes are reflecting that idea right now.

Success isn’t only defined by fame or money. But, if you are a good friend, spouse, or parent, it is likely because you are more than just humorous, affectionate, providing, good at lending an ear or advice. It’s probably a combination of those things.

Billionaire!

“Fuck it I want a trillion,” says Jay-z. I feel you, and I hope you get it. “Good luck with that, bruh.” Seriously, I hope he and we all get what we want. More than that I hope we go for Image

what it is that we really want. Me!? I just want peace of mind. Young people who were always told what to do and how to do it, while seeking the approval of those telling them, turn into old people who need to be told what to do and how to do it while seeking the approval of others. Nah…I’m good off that. But I was that young person.

Kinda borrowing the swag of Cee-lo/Gnarls Barkley, most of my heroes had the heart to live out on a limb, doing what it is they thought was right. (Not trying to discuss right or wrong; or, good vs. evil.) And hopefully you do whatever it is that you do for more than fleeting things like money, but for something deeper. Although, bills, mortgages, living costs, etc. are real concerns. It’s well-known that you need to be a valuable and contributing member of society, somehow or just valuable. Meaning you earn a living.

It’s never too late so, go chase your dreams and fail–or succeed. Just go find out. It’ll teach you more in the process than any teacher or professor from any institution could ever try to, even if you dream of being a teacher or professor. A professor can’t teach you to do something they cant or haven’t done, so Dream Big. Little black kids need to dream big, knowing the world is their oyster too, and that they can be Neil Degrasse Tyson, Anton Thomas, PhD, or Jay-z. There’s more to life than shoes and entertainment. You can transform footwear and be a billionaire or trillionaire and give it all away. It’s clear that we’ve been miseducated about how to approach and go through life.

Jaden Smith was clearly high as fuck, when he said the world would be better if there weren’t schools, because our Education teaches us to be dumb or stifles thought, or something like that. Then went on to say, babies would be the smartest beings if they Imagecould convey it by speaking. He has a good point, in that our Education system needs to get better and change the concept for what it is to teach. But, babies are pretty much blank slates, unless you theorize that they are born into the world with all the answers, or have a cognitive function that is higher until they are forced to learn. Shit maybe. haha. It’s interesting and problematic that I even know Jaden said this.

ImageInstagram, Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook are setting peoples’ expectations and defining success, cool, and whatever else by way of instapics, 140 characters, reblogs, and status updates. It’s kinda sick. We’re all little homogeneous beings lacking the drive and spirit to do more. All programmed the same. Maybe we can’t get mad that the large corporations run everything and Banks are getting too bigger* to fail. We are all buying into the same mode of thinking and way of living. There are people fixated with being a part of the conglomerate and having what they see via various media outlets, including relationships.

Girls want to get married, find love, have a family and have the perfect man that can help create it all for them. Men just do all that is required to get the affection of women, until one gets him. And, hopefully he acts right. Remember he’s been pushing for success to gain the attention of a woman his entire life. People love what Jay-z and Beyonce have, Angelina Jolie and Brad, Will and Jada, Barack and Michelle, Tom Cruz and wait…um… Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow, Tom Brady and Giselle, etc. I can guarantee they have defined happiness for themselves or they really aren’t happy; and that their relationships aren’t what you would want for yourself. Unless of course you want a relationship where money and fame is the call of the day, and getting strange sex from another with as much to lose as you, because that is the best plan of attack for getting some ass since your wife or man is off in another country or place for…days, weeks, months at a time. But, you don’t want to have it all come crashing down because of a TMZ report. Basically, you have to find what it is that makes you happy. It’s something that can’t be taught to you. You’re most likely to find out what that is when you have peace of mind.

Therefore, social media, your parents, friends, and social media, should not define your happiness. Moreover,those celebrity relationships should be the LAST to teach or set expectations for a relationship (if that’s what you want to make you happy). You have to blaze your own trail to leave a mark.

Well, I postulate that once you reach your Billionaire status, or you’ve done everything that it is that your parents, friends, and society thinks is great, you will finally be able to have peace of mind and do the things that you really want to do. You will finally be able to see what it is to enjoy the little things. So until then, another day, another dollar, another social media view to inspire, depress, or empower you to reach the point where you gain higher ground in this rat race. “I Gotta Find Peace of Mind”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=brWmS8As9Wk