Why So Negative?

Banish NegativityThe world is full of challenges. So is your company and your job. The news is laden with ten negative stories to every one positive story.

One of my favorite affirmation from Huffington Post’s 35 life-changing affirmations is:

I am superior to negative thoughts

Read all 35 affirmations here.

Entertaining the negativity only fuels gloomy and despair.

Positivity can also spread like wildfire – if someone just creates that first spark though.

So TODAY, let’s go be:

  • Awesome
  • Fun-loving
  • Happy
  • Productive
  • Compassionate
  • Understanding
  • Forgiving

Lukas Graham says it best in his song 7 Years

I only see my goals, I don’t believe in failure
‘Cause I know the smallest voices, they can make it major

Have a good, great, terrific, outstanding, and amazing day!

-DJ

Advertisements

24 Things I’m Grateful For

gratitude-iiiExpressing thanks and showing gratitude should be a year round attribute that we exhibit. This week is just an additional opportunity to articulate our thankfulness.

In that spirit I share a small sample of what I’m grateful for:

  1. An amazing wife who has makes me a better person
  2. Two high school teenagers that keep me well grounded
  3. Two Elementary school age kids that keeping me imagining and dreaming
  4. A mother who always believed in me, and who is dearly missed
  5. Siblings who drive me crazy and I love them for it
  6. Cousins who have always treated me like a brother
  7. The Brazilian side of our family who treats me like a native and not just a gringo
  8. Strong beliefs and values that give me hope and knowledge of what’s truly important
  9. Good friends – one who pushes me to be stronger, one who helps me dream of new opportunities, and one who keeps me humble by destroying me in racquetball each week
  10. A job where I both excel and am challenged daily
  11. Physical and mental health – minus a few aches and pains
  12. Ibuprofen for those occasional aches and pains
  13. Contact lenses – without which life would be a blurry
  14. Advances in food science that make Whey Protein that actually tastes good
  15. An only 25-minute commute – albeit 40 minutes to get home due to rush hour traffic
  16. The view from my office window – spectacular!
  17. Travel – that has enriched my life and given me a glimpse of the diversity and beauty this world has to offer
  18. Spikeball – it’s like volleyball for those of us under 6 feet tall
  19. Rockstar® lemonade – Only 20 calories with no carbonation. Just the boost I need some days
  20. Chocolate – alright this isn’t for me, it makes my wife happy. And that makes us all happy
  21. 2-ply toilet paper.
  22. Technology that makes life simpler… and sometimes more complicated
  23. The Wasatch Mountains that provide a picturesque backdrop to where I work and live
  24. A good night’s sleep – invaluable!

“Gratitude and attitude are not challenges; they are choices.” – Robert Braathe

 

Learning to Skateboard

A lug nut snapped when changing a tire on one of my vehicles this week. So this morning at 8 a.m. I took it to get fixed. The repair shop said it would take about an hour. I considered, for a brief moment, sitting in the waiting room but based on the fairly dingy atmosphere I thought better of it.

So, I decided to go for a walk, after all, I could always use the extra exercise. As I was walking I saw an older gentleman probably 75-years-old or so on a skateboard. Slightly wobbly, but with both feet firmly planted on the board, he rode it down the street.  A guy, maybe thirty years younger, was holding the older man’s elbow to keep him from falling.

As my path crossed with theirs the older gentleman looked up at me with a big smile on his face and said “I’m learning”.

What a great attitude and a great example that we need to always be learning.

I wish I would have stopped to take a picture so you could see the smile and the enthusiasm on his face. A reminder that not only should we always be learning but we should do so with happiness and excitement.

Happiness

Happiness.pngHappiness is a choice. That’s a difficult concept to embrace when struggling to find it. It’s not a destination, though, but a state-of-being achievement along the journey. Some people seem to be blessed with a natural disposition for happiness. Others have to work at it. Levels of happiness ebb and flow even throughout a single day.

While psychology says we shouldn’t let other people determine our happiness, it sure seems like they can bring it down at times. Contrarily, we have the opportunity to make someone’s day. A simple act often brings more happiness than we realize – a smile, an encouraging word, a kind gesture.

I’ve recent started following Skip Prichard. I quite enjoy the topics and insights he shares. This article gives scientifically proven methods for achieving great happiness.

http://www.skipprichard.com/10-science-backed-ways-to-be-happier-right-now/

Skip, thanks for sharing. I hope you don’t mind me passing along this great article.

LIFE: A GRACEFUL SPRINT OR A GRIMY SCRAMBLE?

A couple weeks ago I took part in our company’s annual 5K run. It’s the 4th year I’ve participated which is quite impressive considering I don’t like to run – at all! This explains why I was completely content to walk most of the 3.1 miles.

Someone once tried to explain to me how running is a metaphor for life. Something about only really competing against yourself, pushing to continue when you just want to stop, and the sense of accomplishment at the finish line. Not going to lie, the metaphor just didn’t sink in. Life isn’t a well groomed path where the only real obstacles are based on your own physical and mental toughness – at least not my life.

Dirty_Dash_muddyshoes_2014Last Saturday I had the chance to run another 5K with my wife and several friends. This was a different sort of race called The Dirty Dash. Participants can choose the 3.5 or 5.5 mile version (we wimped out and opted for the shorter run). The race began by running (by that I mean stumbling, slipping and sliding) up a muddy embankment with water spraying overhead. There were no smooth paths here; instead we encountered dusty, grimy and swamping trails. Obstacles are placed throughout the race including stacked hay bales to climb over, murky pools where you sink two feet deep into sucking sludge, slimy mud walls often only scalable with the help of someone on top, and a 200 foot waterslide where you get hosed down right before being jettisoned into another hazel colored pond of soot and soil.

It’s physically and mentally exhausting. It’s oddly therapeutic. It’s a blast!

No one gets through the race unscathed, scratches and scrapes are common. To say participants get dirty is an understatement. Mud cakes your shoes and clothes, weighs you down, and saps your energy with every step. It clumps in your hair, smudges your face, and obscures your vision. The occasional water break is a welcomed respite as much to quench your thirst as to be used to clean your face and hands.

Some of the obstacles feel impossible to conquer. You get through by laughing, or crying or grunting. You overcome the challenges with the help of your friends and teammates. Often you get a boost from a total stranger. In return, you turn back and lend a hand to the random guy or girl behind you as they struggle to make the climb.

You don’t always clear a hurdle on the first try, so you step back, take a deep breath and try again. Sometimes when you see an obstacle on the horizon you smile and say “bring it on!” Other times you see an obstacle and exasperatedly exclaim “You’ve got to be kidding me.” You leap over some hurdles with ease as others struggle to do the same. Then you find yourself clawing, fighting and crawling along while other people sail past.

Dirty_Dash_2014Finishing the race is great, but it’s not really the point. The joy comes in the journey, in the doing, in the accomplishing, in the overcoming. It comes through the experiences and comradery discovered along the way. It seems to me that life feels far less like a marathon sprint and far more like a dirty dash.

Running the Dirty Dash was on my 2014 Bucket List. Good job me!

What Lies Beyond

SP trafficMy heart was racing, every pulse thumping through my entire body. Muscles in my arms, shoulders and legs all sore from the tension. Fingers stiff, white-knuckled from my death grip on the steering wheel. Another turn ahead, I crank the wheel to make the sharp turn, tires screeching, accelerating through the turn to keep ahead of the cars battling me for position. A near collision; brake, down shift, avoid being hit. Then shift again, accelerate, continue soaring down the stretch of asphalt. Head is throbbing, headache increasing with each kilometer of ground I cover. Almost there, the finish is in sight; one last swerve to avoid another car, then hard right and finally… stopped. Whew! I did it. I survived. No, not a Formula-One or Indy race, but an adrenaline fueled drive through the streets of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

For someone who grew up driving in the shadows of the Rocky Mountains, this type of traffic is unheard of. Yes I’ve driven in large metropolitan cities like L.A. and Atlanta and have experienced grid-lock and traffic jams. However, this is Brazil. The narrow windy cobblestone roads wreak havoc on both car and driver. It’s not stalled traffic; it’s hectic, chaotic movement. Nerve-racking aggressive driving that feels more like a fight for survival than a mere commute. The multitude of three-lane roundabouts becomes five or six mingled lanes based on the time of day and numbers of cars that wedge themselves onto the road. Buses have the right-of-way because they’re bigger and will run you off the road if you don’t yield. Stop signs lining the streets are irrelevant. Red traffic lights are observed and obeyed, well at least until dark, then slow down long enough to flash your brights, honk and accelerate as to not get robbed when stopping, all while hoping you don’t get t-boned from a crossing vehicle. The people of Rio de Janeiro, the Cariocas, have become accustomed to this feverish traffic and slender, congested streets that snake through concrete edifices.

So why subject yourself to this? When driving it’s difficult to see anything but the cars, taxis and buses, and the looming shadows cast by the adjacent buildings. These objects distract your attention and block your view from seeing the beauty of this city and surrounding landscapes. It’s the proverbial problem of not seeing the forest through the trees.

The secret is to get out or get above it all. Rio II 20140806_150428

Turning onto Avenida Atlântica the buildings dissipate in the background and spectacular views of the iconic Copacabana Beach are seen. Continuing down this large avenue and eventually turning onto Avenida Vieira Souto the beaches of Ipanema and Leblon come into view. Miles and miles of white sand, palm trees and deep blue waters stretch as far as the eye can see.

As if the majestic beauty of the beaches wasn’t enough the lush green mountainside of Sugarloaf, Pão de Açucar, lines the north-east skyline. While north of the Copacabana boardwalk and neighboring beaches, Corcovado rises over 2,300 feet above sea level. The landmark peaks sits amidst the Tijuca forest, elevating the 125 foot Cristo Redentor, Christ the Redeemer, statue which overlooks Brazil most renowned city.

PaoDeAcucar II 20140805_140253The top peaks of Sugarloaf can be reached by cable car, the Corcovado by its designated train or tour vans. Views from the high vantage points are breathtaking!

The life of Rio’s 6.3 Million inhabitants is challenging. The people work hard while facing innumerable economic and political challenges in South America’s largest country.

There is a lesson to be learned from these Cariocas. They understand it’s not about daily grind, the congestion, and the turmoil life throws at you. It’s about the magnificence, the beauty and joy that can be found when you look up and look past what’s right in front of you.

Super Perspective

Ice Cave IIIt was cold and damp. No vibrant colors to brighten the rooms just a dull wash of white and gray. It was massive and spacious and utterly empty. No family or friends to be found; located thousands of miles away from any sign of civilization. An eerie complete and utter silence prevailed. Although not a captive, he was absolutely alone in this, his cave of isolation.

But… he called it A Fortress of Solitude! His glorious, magnificent structure. Brilliant. Rejuvenating. Inspiring.

And as young children we wished we could fly, high and far to our own similar fortress.

A powerful example of super strength and power, and perspective.

True Man of Steel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo credit 1

Photo credit 2