TWENTY FOUR

That’s it. No I’m not going to stop writing, what I mean is that’s all the hours you get each day. Not enough right? Unfair? If we really break it down we only get about sixteen of those precious hours (if you sleep of course), and if we go even further another eight to ten of them are at work. So those twenty-four hours just turned to six. Damn!

There are not enough hours in the day. Have you said that to yourself before? I have plenty of times, and guess what? We’re wrong. It’s not the lack of hours that kills our day it’s how we actually manage those hours that does. What I’m saying here folks is that you have to ask yourself if you’re maximizing the few hours that you have each day.

Right now it’s 2:24am and I’m writing my blog. Yes I’m a little extreme but I know for a fact that in five hours my 18month old will be awake. For you that don’t know Bryce or do not have children of your own that means ME TIME IS OVER. So things like writing a blog, using the bathroom, or watching anything on television besides the movie Cars is not going to happen.

To write this blog I have to sacrifice. In this case it might be a couple extra hours of sleep. For you maybe it might be not zoning out to the real housewives of (insert state here) for five hours after work. You have to find a way to make these hours work for you, because as you know once their gone there’s no getting them back.

Another way to look at the hour shortage is what if you didn’t have any time at all? When you look at it from that angle you appreciate what you have more than what you don’t. When you dig a little further you realize that that time can be taken away from us without notice. On that note I’m sorry for the five minutes I borrowed go make the most of your twenty-four!!

 

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REACH

Post-30-OriginalSo many of our dreams are right in front of us. What we feel is so far away is closer than it seems.

Mostly everything we dream about doing has been accomplished by someone else. Do you want to be a billionaire? Done! Own your own business? Done! Make an invention that changes the landscape of the world? Done!

So ask yourself what’s the difference between you and the person that did it.  (Insert excuses here)

Excuses like I don’t have any money, education, background, influence, or what have you were most likely present to the people that accomplished the same dream you’re pursuing. The truth of the matter is that most of the visionaries out there dreaming with their eyes open had the same circumstances you do.

The difference my friends is they didn’t use those circumstances as a crutch. They realized that with hard work and belief in themselves their dreams could come true. They also realized that any dream no matter how big is only as far away as you believe it is.

Just seventy or so years ago it was said traveling to the moon was impossible. We didn’t have the technology, it would be a suicide mission, and on and on. Then somehow we ended up landing on it. Flash-forward to today and they’re actually talking about taking tours into outer space for normal folks (well not normal folks super rich folks).

The reach exceeded the limits of most people’s imagination. What worries me is that this knowledge isn’t passed down from generation to generation. In fact the opposite occurs. Instead of telling little Sally that there are 400 or so girls that are in the WNBA, we tell her about the millions that are not. So Sally’s reach never travels as far as it could.

When I talk to people my job is to empower them. I do this by allowing them to reach. They’re not afraid to tell me their dreams because they know I’m a dreamer. Let me rephrase that I’m an “active dreamer”. I figured out the equation a little while ago. Dreams + Action + Belief – Doubt – Fear – White Noise= whatever dream you’re wishing for. I have not discovered how far my reach can go yet, and to be honest I don’t think I ever will.

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BIRDS OF A FEATHER…

200399906-001Who’s in your inner circle? Do they make you better? Do they ground you or drown you? Are they energy givers or energy takers?

Now you might think these questions are a tad invasive but it’s something that you have to know. Who you’re around everyday has a direct affect on who you are every day. Does that make sense?

Think about two different environments. The first one is you’re living in a house with four people that sit on the couch all day and play video games. They don’t workout, they have no hopes or dreams, and zero motivation to improve themselves. In the second environment you have the complete opposite. All four roommates are successful in every aspect of their lives. The have a positive outlook every day, they’re encouraging, and are constantly striving to improve not only themselves but also each other. What environment do you think you’d strive in?

When I was younger mom used to hit my siblings and I with so many phrases it’s amazing that we remembered any of them. When it came to us choosing friends one of her favorites was, “Birds of a feather flock together”. This basically meant that if we were around successful people we’d most likely be successful.

In contrast if we hung out with people that weren’t doing anything with their lives the opposite would occur. That phrase has stayed with me through the years, and I can honestly say that I don’t have one negative, lazy, or unmotivated person in my inner circle.

It’s sometimes hard for us to let go of anchors in our lives, people that hold us down in a negative way. What we have to understand is that our time on earth is very limited, so why waste it around people that aren’t going to encourage and uplift us? So make sure the flock you’re flying with is going in the right direction.

 

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SEE IT AND BE IT.

ImgSelfConfidenceBannerI encountered a funny question a couple of weeks ago when I was doing a speech in Lakeview Michigan. A student in the crowd asked me how long I’ve been a motivational speaker.

Whenever I’m asked this question its hard not to smile on the inside. Most people expect this long-winded story of a young boy with a dream to inspire the masses, but that’s not how this fairy tale goes.  To be completely honest I’ve only been speaking (to non basketball folks) for about eight months.

When I wrote my first book last year I told myself that I wanted to be a motivational speaker. I started speaking wherever anyone wanted to hear my story. My first speech was at a friends dance studio to about fifteen of her employees. I’ll never forget the feeling I had driving home after my speech that day. It felt great to impact other people’s lives. After that day I told myself that I would eventually speak in front of thousands of people. I started doing import speeches in my car on the way to work. I know that anyone who must of saw me at a stop light during one of those speeches was either really inspired or really scared.

A month or so later I spoke to a small group of students at a local college. Then I traveled to Boston two weeks after that to speak again at another college. Opportunities were happening because I was putting myself out there. At that time I was paying my way to work on my new craft, but the experience was more than worth it.

The next thing I knew I was booking a flight to speak in Las Vegas. From there I ended up speaking in Michigan, and just recently in Wisconsin. In thirteen days I’ll be back in Vegas speaking with three other world changers at their event. I think back to eight months ago and one message sticks out amongst the others, “See it and then be it”.

Speaking is what I wanted to do so I went out and did it. There wasn’t some elaborate story of overcoming adversity to be a speaker. I put in my mind that I wanted to share my story to help inspire the world. I didn’t weigh the pro’s and con’s because there are no cons when you’re chasing your passion and purpose, but that wasn’t the only thing I had to do. It wasn’t just seeing what I had to do, I had to take action towards making that vision a reality.

So my first question to you is what do you want to be? My second question is why aren’t you being it right now? If you can see it you can be it my friends, GO GET IT!!!

 

 

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PURPOSE

IMG_0435Right now its 2:55am Eastern Standard Time. I’m wide-awake writing this blog as I listen to my son in the other room talk in his sleep. He’s said “dada” about thirty times, “car” maybe 20, and the rest is a flow of gibberish that I know will be hilarious when he starts to form sentences.

My sleeping patterns are not like most people. To put it simply I’m usually awake when you’re asleep. My mind only stops going in short four or five-hour spurts after that It’s back on. Studies show this isn’t particularly good for you. I believe the recommended hours of sleep per night are somewhere around 8, but if I followed that rule I wouldn’t be writing this blog right now.

I kind of get up when I get up. I haven’t used an alarm clock since the one I had in college broke five years ago. My new alarm clock is purpose. I discovered it about ten years ago. I know that this blog is meant to happen because someone somewhere might need to see it. Helping others is what I was put on this earth to do and that purpose is confirmed everyday. My daily routine goes as follows. Wake up, think of the quote of the day, post quote, and then help get Bryce ready. The last part “post quote” usually takes about fifteen minutes. For you guys that still follow me on twitter (thank you) you know that I send my quote out to about sixty people every day. That process takes exactly ten minutes; the other five is dedicated to finding a picture for the quote on instagram. Once that’s complete I’m off and running.

My life revolves around the people that are in it. Family first and then it spreads to the outside world. When I wake up these people are on my mind. I wonder about my mom, siblings, friends, the kids I train, and anyone else that are in my life either past or present. I’ll send random text messages to people that I haven’t talked to in months because for whatever reason they’ve popped up in my head. I love that a simple quote, blog, or text can make someone’s day. It makes my job of helping others a lot easier. I can’t physically be with everyone so I can reach out to them in other ways.

What wakes you up in the middle of the night? If you have children then I already know your answer, but think about it. When you’re excited and passionate about something you’re up before that annoying alarm with the cow mooing goes off. I believe that passion comes when you find your purpose. When you know what you’re meant to be doing you can feel it. No one else can tell you, its like your spidey senses come on and you just know. When I go and speak that’s one of the major things I talk about. Going out and discovering why you’re here, and once you do you’ll most likely never sleep the same again.

 

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IT’S THAT EASY

imageI was a really good math student. For those of you that follow my blog give me a second to explain myself. I was a very good math student until the seventh grade. That was the year that numbers became letters. When I was in elementary school I could do basic math without using a pen or paper most times. I don’t know where my special powers came from but my mom thought I was a prodigy. When I hit seventh grade any ideas my mom had of enrolling me at the Mensa institute abruptly stopped.

Now you might be asking yourself what happened between 6th and 7th grade? Well the same thing that happens to most of us when we have a problem we think is impossible, I started over thinking. I couldn’t wrap my mind around the fact that I was dealing with letters instead of numbers. So I would stare at X+6=14 and look for the booby traps. I would say to myself there’s no way X is 8. That’s too easy, there has to be another step I had to take. So I would morph a simple problem into that equation Matt Damon solved in the movie “Good Will Hunting”.

I was making the problem so complex I wasn’t seeing the solution. The solution was for me to turn my mind off. The inside voice that would tell me I could never do math would be louder than the voice yelling, “Its 8 dummy what’s wrong with you?” I believe that’s why most people inhabiting the earth haven’t figured out the equation called life. I would have called it a problem, but if you know the answer life is amazing. Let me explain.

We all are given this complex equation called life. For the first eighteen years of our existence our parents sit over our shoulder and help us correct mistakes, most times before they even happen. Then something happens. The equation gets a lot harder, and unlike before mom and dad aren’t there to help. It’s like they purposely act like they no longer know the answers. So you’re all alone trying to figure out something you feel is impossible.

What you learn when you have your own kids is, mom and dad still knew the answer but they needed you to figure it out for yourself. Life isn’t as hard as we tend to make it. The answer is always right in front of us. By in front of us I mean the answer lies within the person you see everyday in the mirror.

Every day we make a choice. We can live life positively or we can live it negatively. The power of choice is what makes being alive so awesome. You choose how you react to every situation that comes your way, both good and bad. Some of you are saying right now, “Cornell I got laid off from my job I didn’t choose that”. You’re right you didn’t but you do choose what happens next. Are you going to sit home and cry about it or dust yourself off and search for the next opportunity?

Life my friends is really that easy. It’s that easy because you determine how you feel each day. Life is 10% of what happens to you and 90% how you react to it. Stop making the problem harder than it is, the answer is right there.

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WHITE BELT….

10576944_10152806461828023_3514577058860151194_nI was in disbelief. Actually, what I was in I would later find out was called a ‘triangle choke.’ At the time I was too preoccupied trying to figure out how this 16-year-old kid that weighed about 150 pounds (soaking wet) was about to choke me out unconscious.

Back then, I was around thirty-years-old and probably about 280 pounds. I was a fairly high level athlete in college and I would have considered myself moderately strong. By the time I realized that I should be “tapping”, which is a form of saying “uncle” or submitting in Jiu Jitsu, I noticed that the student who rendered me helpless was loosening the choke.

After I stopped seeing the imaginary bubbles in the air, the Rugrat gave me some instructions on how to defend against the move he just strangled me with. After that, we slapped hands to restart, and he got me in the same choke three seconds later. I drove home that night with a problem; I not only got my butt kicked by Harry Potter, I had no idea how he did it.

This scenario would happen over and over again. It wouldn’t be just Potter that would submit me, but numerous people at my new school in all different shapes and sizes. Every night I would drive home wondering if that feeling of helplessness on that mats would ever go away.

Flash forward eight years later. There are still plenty of days that I feel the exact same way I did in the beginning of my Brazilian Jiu Jitsu journey.

I was driving one day and saw a sign that said “Brazilian Jiu Jitsu/Team Renzo Gracie.” Under it there was a logo that looked like the old Thundercats cartoon symbol (you should know the reference). I called the phone number and went down the next day to talk to the head instructor. Exactly a week after that encounter, I was handed a “white belt” which is the first belt in most martial arts systems. At that time, I had no idea what the belt signified. I was just in a hurry to make it change colors so I wasn’t at the bottom of the totem pole.

What I learned immediately was that Brazilian Jiu Jitsu wasn’t about rankings, because there weren’t any. Yes there are higher belts and you show your respect to them, but unlike a lot of traditional martial arts, you didn’t feel like people were looking down at you. I sensed that everyone (even the highest belts) knew there was more to learn. Jiu Jitsu evolves everyday so there’s no way for one person to know everything. I started to realize that if Jiu Jitsu was something I was going to do, I had to embrace the role of student and not worry about what belt I wore around my waist.

Brazilan Jiu Jitsu is human chess. It’s cause and effect. If you move a certain way it causes a certain reaction. It’s not so much about strength as it is about leverage and positioning. It was designed by the Gracie family for a smaller person to be able to neutralize a bigger opponent in combat.

My biggest problem in the beginning was that I happened to be playing checkers, and I wasn’t playing it very well. Every person I was “rolling” or sparring with knew what I was going to do before I did it.  This allowed them to set me up like a mob informant.

I would go home defeated because I wasn’t seeing the lesson; all I was focused on was the loss. Jiu Jitsu isn’t about winning and losing its about problem solving. The same can be said about life. When you’re in a difficult position you have to figure a way out. Jiu Jitsu makes you start using the “other side” of the brain you hear so much about.

I felt claustrophobic when I first started training. Having someone smother you and not having the knowledge to escape can cause most people to panic, but the longer you train the more you learn, and the more comfortable you become in a chaotic situation.

When you first start and definitely when you’re rolling with someone that’s at a higher level than you, you’re working on how to defend not how to attack. In this defense mode you eventually learn how to escape dangerous positions because you’re always in them. It’s problem solving at an extreme level. I tell people that in life the same rules occur. We all go through our own adversities. Every one that you overcome should make you stronger. Then comes a point when you’re ready for whatever life throws your way.

On Saturday, October 27, after eight and a half years of training.. I received my black belt. It’s always been about the journey for me so I had no idea I was going to receive one. The only thing that I could focus on was all the hours that I spent with my Jiu Jitsu brothers and sisters in training. All the times I got absolutely destroyed by someone better than I was. Then I looked off the mat and saw my wife and son. My son will know that quitting is never an option on or off the mats. It’s not in his DNA.

They say once you get your black belt – you’re a white belt all over again. Jiu Jitsu for me is a never ending journey. I was moved to tears last Saturday not because the journey was over, but because I know it has just begun!

 

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ARE YOU CRAZY?

bg_rubberroom2And to that my answer is yes-kind sir I am crazy. I’m crazy enough to think that what I believe will actually come true. I’m crazy enough to dream. I’m crazy enough to go right despite everyone else going left.

Yeah I’m the crazy one. I’m crazy because I think the world can change, and I’m even crazier to think that I’m one of the people that will help change it.

Yes I’m that guy and I’m proud of it. What’s crazy to me is conforming to the masses. Crazy to me is living life being negative. Crazy is playing it safe. Crazy is not only listening to the negative things people say about you, but also believing it. Crazy is waking up every morning doing a job you hate for nine hours and then waking up the next day to do it all over again.

You see friends crazy in the world we live in today is going against anything that’s the norm. Crazy people in this day and age aren’t conformist. They don’t do what their told. They ask questions about the world they live in. They don’t accept whats force fed to them. Crazy people ask why things happen the way they do.

I define crazy as a state of enlightenment. When you start to realize that the world is what you make it. You have that NEO moment in the movie the Matrix when the bonehead finally realizes he’s The One!! I realized I was truly crazy about five years ago. That’s when I started reading about the “law of attraction”, and the power of positive thought. I’ve always been a positive person, but six years ago my mindset made a shift. I wasn’t going to let anyone or anything stop me from believing in me, not even for a second.

When that day happened I knew I was one of the people that would start this new movement. I write with the hope that every pair of eyes that reads my words gets inspired to think the same way. I want to motivate others so they understand how awesome they truly are. The world needs more crazy. The sheep can be sheep if they want, I’m a wolf and I’m looking to start a pack. Join Me!!

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RUSH HOUR

car-speeding-to-the-city-15013Yesterday a car cut me off. Living in New Jersey this isn’t a rare occurrence, but it wasn’t the evasive driving that bothered me. No my friends what bothered me happened about three second later when that same car slowly pulled into a shopping center.

No pregnant wife, no person on fire, no large sum of stolen bank money in the front seat while being pursued by ten cop cars. Just some dude that had to get to the mall. The mall to some people is a great place but it can’t be worth dying for.

Go to any major city and one of the first things you’ll hear are horns. Frustrated drivers in a rush to go absolutely nowhere. I get it we don’t have a lot of time. The 168 hours we’re allotted each week doesn’t quite seem like enough. So we end up running around like the world is going to end. There is no time to stop and smell the roses. How can we live in the moment when we don’t appreciate it?

Imagine being on a highway. On both sides of it are the most beautiful landscapes in the world. I forgot to add that you’re in a Ferrari, and you’re going around two hundred miles per hour. What did you see? I would imagine that everything was a blur. Well think about last week. What do you remember about it? Go ahead I’ll wait.

What did you come up with? How much time did you spend in the moment? Do you have anything in your life that blocks the outside world from consuming your thoughts? Something that just for a little while causes time to go a little slower. If you don’t search for what it is that does it for you.

Life is short but our moments are even shorter. Take the time to enjoy each one.

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DIVIDED WE FALL

3839675913_Broken_US_flag_xlargeJohn Dickinson wrote the blueprint for our country in 1768. During the American Revolution he penned the “Liberty Song”. In the fourth verse he wrote the now famous words, “United we stand and divided we fall”.

That slogan has been used throughout American history as a rallying cry; the only problem is no one’s listening.

You hear the phrase, “Divide and conquer” during old war movies. The thinking behind this is if you divide the enemy forces, it takes away their strength. It also makes it harder for them to communicate. This same strategy is being used today, but the soldiers in this war have no idea they’re in the middle of one.

Our eyes sometimes only see what they’re conditioned to see. Unfortunately they’ve been conditioned to see a false reality. We see what THEY allow us to see. We have no idea that we’re being split into different groups. THEY divide us by race, religion, politics, social status, gender, neighborhoods, and anything else you could possibly think of. A divided nation is a lot easier to manage.

Are you not convinced? During the next presidential election take a look at the red and blue states. Our country is divided in half based on whichever political party we’re backing. Somehow the election encompasses every way that we’re divided bundled up into one event. Insert social media wars and ignorant post everywhere.

Are you curious if racism still exist? The world just witnessed another riot. The third biggest one (damage wise) behind the Watts riots of the 60’s and the L.A riots in the 90’s. There was a charity for the victim who was murdered, (who was black) and surprisingly a more profitable one for the white cop that shot him. I saw ignorance and hate on both sides stream through peoples timelines. It got to the point where I stopped reading peoples updates because it was getting me that upset.

How many religions are there in the world? The number is somewhere around 4,000. Most religions believe that there is a higher power. Call it God, Jehovah, Buddha, Allah, or what have you. In these scriptures one fundamental law that most religions have in common is love thy neighbor. So why is there so much hate between churches? Why are their religious wars that have been going on for thousands of years? If you can’t figure it out join the club because I can’t either.

I recently wrote a blog called “The Hate Box”, which talks about how the media uses the most negative images possible to sway our thinking. What we have to understand is it’s on us to decipher what’s right and wrong for ourselves. Not from what we see on television or hear from some biased news anchor.

If we are going to ever win this invisible war we have to first realize we’re in it. Then we have to actually stand up and do something about it, together.

 

 

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