Tag: Dedication

Life

Photo Tour of Boston’s Fenway Park

Boston is one of our country’s oldest and most storied cities and there is never a shortage of things to do, see or experience while visiting Boston.

One of the things that you MUST do while visiting Boston, (and this goes without saying for pretty much any sports fan) is visit Fenway Park, home of the Red Sox.  For me, it was the opportunity to cross an item off my bucket list. Read more “Photo Tour of Boston’s Fenway Park”

Life

July 1: The Necessity of Pushing Yourself Outside Your…

And here we have it.  The last and final installment of the series.  The last wise and sage bit of motivation and inspirational knowledge I get to impart for this series.

Some have asked me why I went with 31 days when June clearly only has 30 days.  While a completely legitimate question, my intent with this was not to match the number of blog posts with the number of days in the month, it was more closely tied to the fact that on June 4th, I turned 31 years young.  Also, when tackling the initial rush of ingenuity with this series, the piece that solidified my decision was the fact that the 31st entry would fall on July 1st, effectively giving me a final blog to help propel my readers into July and beyond, while offering a solidifying finale to the series.

If you have followed along with the series, I really have 3 running themes to all of these posts, 3 main areas where I believe that you cannot help but feel better about yourself and more alive, just by participating:

Finding Adventure

June 4: Hit the Road, Jack.

June 5: Embrace Spontaneity

June 6: Get Lost

June 7: Spin the Globe

June 9: The Long Road Home

June 10: First Flight

June 11: Blow Off Work

June 20: Get Lost (Again)

June 24: Take a Flying Leap

June 25: Map Your Escape Route

June 28: Choose Your Own Adventure

Embracing Action

June 1: Stop Reading My Blog

June 2: Take a Photo

June 8: Relax!

June 12: Take a Hike

June 14: Make Something New

June 15: Sell Your Crap

June 16: Stop Making Excuses and Achieve Greatness

June 17: Set a Deadline

June 18: Create a Bucket List

June 19: Throw Caution to the Wind

June 21: Dedicate Yourself to Yourself

June 23: Disconnect Yourself

June 30: Draw A Blank

Giving Charity

June 3: Say Hello to a Stranger

June 13: Be Kind, Rewind

June 22: Be Charitable with Your Feet

June 26: Selflessness and You

June 27: Find a New Best Friend

June 29: Go Out of Your Way

 

The underlying theme that I have been trying to convey is a pretty simple one.

It is absolutely necessary to push yourself outside of the confines of your comfort zone on a daily basis.

Far too often, as I have touched on before, Americans, hell, people, strive for COMFORTABLE. We strive to hit that point in our lives when we don’t have to work too hard, yet pull in a decent salary. Where we don’t have to try and constantly impress our wife/husband, but they love us anyways.

We strive to be AVERAGE.  Not for excellence, not to be a superstar. We strive to meet the status quo.  Not to beat it and call it our bitch.

Why is that?  Why don’t you strive to be perpetually amazing?

Each and every day we need to push ourselves to be better, to achieve greater things. We need to push ourselves to achieve what we never thought was possible.  No matter how big, no matter how small, we need to make forward progress each and every day.

Our limits are only defined by our previous shortcomings. We must constantly explore the boundary of what we have previously identified as our “limit” and then push those boundaries further.

Ordinary people don’t make history.

Ordinary people don’t even make the news.

Don’t be ordinary. Be extraordinary.

Day 31. Way 31. Be Extraordinary. Every. Single. Day.

What limits are you going to push today?

Fireworks Photo Credit / Desert Photo Credit

Life

June 27: Find a New Best Friend

As I sat on the train to NYC with my nephew, I started to reflect on the 31 days, 31 ways to Get Busy Livin’ series that I had undertaken just a few days prior.  Besides the thought of “what the hell did I get myself into”, I started writing down possible topics for the month of posts.

Sure, I could blog for ages about traveling to exotic destinations, traveling for free, epic road trips and other great adventures (which I probably will), but the one recurring theme that really resonated with me was the fact of contributing to or giving back to something greater than just us.  Making a difference.

I have written about charity walks and volunteering your time, both of which are very noble endeavors and I encourage everyone to participate as much as they can in any related activity, as their actions truly are making a difference in the world.  Another tangent of that same discussions hits a chord very close to my heart.

Living in Southern California for pretty much my entire life, I was always surrounded with high-end shopping malls, big box stores and luxury everywhere.  Mixed in amongst all of the high end shoe stores and chocolatier shops were designer puppy stores where they hawked puppies from all corners of the country for prices ranging from $800 and up.  Most “purebred” puppies would sell for upwards of $2500.  The smaller, the most expensive.

A dog is the only thing on this earth that loves you more than he loves himself. -Josh Billings

Yet no more than 10 miles away in any direction was a minimum of 3-4 pet shelters or rescue organizations that were overflowing with animals.  Some were so packed that if a dog was in their facility for more than a few weeks, they were euthanized.  Who would want a 5 year old mutt when you lived in Southern California where money grows on trees and dogs were made to fit in purses.

The problem is that this doesn’t exist just in Southern California, it is across the country.  So many dogs, cats and other animals are being abandoned or picked up by animal control and placed in these humane society shelters, most to wait out their final days.  Why? Because they grew up to be to big? Because they misbehaved?

There are so many wonderful people who donate their time and energy to saving animals from euthanizing by bring them into foster care, cleaning them up and doing their best to adopt them out to loving homes.

It was just a few years ago when I was looking to adopt a new best friend.  After months of searching on Craigslist, Petfinder, and other adoption websites, I came across Theo.  Theo was a wonderful, shaggy little Yorkshire Terrier/Wire Haired Terrier mix.  He was turned into the shelter by animal control that picked him up on the side of the road.  The day before he was sent to be put down, he was saved by a rescue organization who cleaned him up, microchipped him and got all of his shots current.

It was about a month after they fostered him, that I found and adopted Theo.  Because Theo was an adopted name only a few weeks old, I renamed him Rusty.

What spoke to me the most was the ability to give a dog like Rusty a second chance at a good life.  A life of not running the streets. A life of not having to search for his next meal. A life with a warm bed and the occasional road trip.  A second chance at what he deserved.

And he has rewarded me with a great friendship, unmatched loyalty and adoring love.

My story is not unique. There are hundreds and thousands of stories out there, just like mine.

So I ask you, if you are looking for somewhere to donate your time, or even looking to adopt a dog, please look into rescue organizations in your area.  Give a dog a second chance.

Day 27. Way 27. Give a dog a 2nd chance. Adopt a new best friend.

Pleas share your stories and photos of your adopted babies with us in the comments!

Pick Me Photo Credit / Stuffed Animal Photo Credit / Header Photo Credit

Life

June 26: Selflessness and You

Recently I wrote an article on being charitable with your feet that brought up a number of good points that segue right into this blog that I have been wanting to write.

Charity sees the need, not the cause. – German proverb

So often there is a misconception that in order to help charities you must donate money.  You see it all over the place.  Donate money to help the children read, donate money to help build homes for the poor, donate money to save the rainforest, donate money to a scam that we just made up to get your money but we really are calling it a charity.

Fact of the matter is, there are plenty of organizations that need your time, not your money.  Actually, most every single non-profit organization (NPO) thrives on the time and dedication of its volunteers.  Whether you can donate 4 days or 4 hours, most any NPO can find a need, from helping build houses, to helping sort groceries, to stapling marketing materials.  There are plenty of jobs, some that will use your talents, others that will just use your time.

What is the use of living if it be not to strive for noble causes and to make this muddled world a better place for those who will live in it after we are gone? – Winston Churchill

Here is just a quick list of places and ways that you can donate your time without a penny out of your pocket:

  • Build a house with Habitat for Humanity
  • Assist with pet care and events for the SPCA
  • Staff an event for a charitable organization
  • Volunteer with the Susan G. Komen Foundation to help cure breast cancer
  • ???

One of the best places, besides the internet, to find organizations in need of volunteers is your corporate HR department.  Most times, larger companies are involved in community driven charities and often use company driven recruitment to assist these organizations with their events.

Is money what all of these non-profit organizations need to function? YES.  But the money doesn’t just come in by the truckload, these companies need to operate like a normal, profit-based business and use their events to aid in the fundraising.  These companies need selfless volunteers to donate their time and expertise to run a business whose sole goal is to give back to their communities and their causes.

Day 26. Way 26. Selflessness and You.  You don’t need to spend money to affect change on a large scale.

I left the list above with some question marks at the end.  This is where you come in.  Can you help me finish off that list with a recommendation for groups or charities that need volunteer assistance?

Share your recommendations and stories of selflessness below.

 

toys photo credit / dog photo credit

Life

June 22: Be Charitable with your Feet

I must admit, this is probably the oddest headline I have written, but let me explain, as this is a topic that is very near and dear to my heart.

With so many charitable organizations to donate your time to and numerous volunteer organizations that need your support, you seriously cannot go wrong by choosing a cause to get involved with.  While out in California, one that Juliet and I seriously got involved with was the Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC).

Without a big, long, drawn out explanation, CHOC is very near and dear to our hearts after being instrumental in helping ensure the health of many people very close to us.  Children saved from cancer. Babies diagnosed and treated for rare sicknesses.  CHOC is just an outstanding organization.

Charity sees the need, not the cause.  ~German Proverb

The basis for this blog is one of the many fundraisers that CHOC has each year, but by a sheer numbers standpoint, it is also one of the most successful.  The best part, it involves physical activity and over 14,000 of your best friends.

The CHOC Walk was started over 20 years ago, has grown to over 14,000 participants that take over the Disneyland Resort to walk 5 kilometers to help raise over $1.5 million to help CHOC and the children they save.  On top of participating in a 5k, the overall event takes 2-3 hours and is an absolutely heartbreaking and uplifting event that leaves you with a sense of accomplishment that you are donating your time (and a few dollars) to a very worthy cause.

The day starts as any 5k does, with walker registration and the congregation of all participants at the end of Main Street U.S.A. within Disneyland.  There is a general sense of camaraderie and a buzz from the crowd.  Instead of thousands of runners warming up, you have thousands of people that have donated their time to walk for charity to support their child, or their brother, or cousin, or friend’s son, or any of the millions of families that are affected by CHOC.

Posters are held. Matching t-shirts have been made for the team. Babies in strollers. Survivors.

Everyone is there because they have personally been affected by such a wonderful organization as CHOC who dedicates their mission to helping children.

The walk officially starts and a Master of Ceremonies can be heard over the loudspeakers, welcoming each team, each group, each poster, anyone who walks by and waves.  Music fills the air.  The vibe and buzz never stop.  The walk routes throughout Disneyland Park, Disney’s California Adventure Park and finally culminating in Downtown Disney.

Along the way are all the Disney characters, cheering the walkers along, high-fiving all of the walkers, stopping for photo opportunities and generally giving the whole walk a Disney atmosphere.

While the whole event takes over 60 minutes to walk 3.2 miles due to the sheer amount of people, nobody is here to set a record time, or even power walk, for that matter.  Everyone is there to share their story, hug and engage others.  This walk is for the kids and all the lives they have touched.

So hunt down a charity walk or run, and get involved.  Get your exercise. Donate a little money. Give a little time. Be Charitable, with your feet.

Day 22. Way 22. Be Charitable. With your feet.

Have you participated in any charity walks?

If so, which ones?

What other ways would you recommend to be charitable with your feet?

Life

June 21: Dedicate Yourself to Yourself

Over the past 21 days we have covered a lot of topics surrounding personal motivation and growth.  We have discussed being outgoing, taking risks and even taking time for yourself.  While all of these actions seem enviable, most people will read my blog and start making excuses on why they support what I am writing, however, cannot pursue these actions themselves.

What happens a lot is that we lack dedication.  It happens to all of us, including me.

“Obsessed is just a word the lazy use to describe dedicated.” – Unknown

After I relaunched this blog, I told myself I was going to write a blog twice per week.  Then I embarked on my Epic Road Trip and did not post a blog for over 2 weeks.  When I returned, I wanted to dedicate my first few blogs to the Epic Road Trip recap.  Then life happened.  Work came up, home life took precedence, and my blog schedule slipped more.  It took me 2 months to get all of my blog posts surrounding my road trip online.

I disappointed myself.

If I wanted to make this blog a reality, at least in my eyes, why couldn’t I even get a few blog posts out on time?  I began to realize that while the blog fell down the priority list to me, I lacked dedication to making it a priority, even if it was a priority 3 or 4 on my list.

Back in March, in the midst of my procrastination with my Road Trip updates, I started a series of posts that would teach me to start small with dedication.  I started a Foto Friday post where I would post a photo from my personal gallery along with a short story depicting the background of the photo.  It was quick, it was easy, and it was only once per week.  No Epic Recap with an epic (and unrealistic) deadline, even if it was self-imposed.

Since March 18th, I have posted 13 updates, one per Friday.

The Foto Friday series has taught me that I have the ability to dedicate myself to a project, dedicate myself to myself.

With that in mind, June 1 came around, with my 31st birthday looming on the horizon a few days away.  I was really wanting to do something big for my birthday.  Something that I would be proud of.  Something that would help me set a tone for my blog, more so than I had in the previous few months with my blog.

That is when the 31 days and 31 ways to get busy livin’ your life was born.  For my 31st birthday, I would post 31 blogs meant to inspire my readers (both of you!!) to break out of your routine and start living your life to the fullest.  That would take me from June 1st through July 1st and would require 1 post per day.

I dedicated myself to uphold that goal.

21 days in, I have been 100% successful.  I have not missed 1 day, not 1 post.  I have had to work this around a few small weekend vacations, while keeping up my Foto Friday posts and I am proud to say I have not missed a single one.

Take something small to dedicate yourself to.  Dedicated time to your kids. Dedicate to leaving work on time. Dedicate to calling a loved one each day.  Dedicate yourself to something you know you have been slacking on.  Start small, build confidence, and teach yourself that it is okay to dedicate yourself to yourself and your own success.

Day 21. Way 21. Start small, build confidence, and teach yourself that it is okay to dedicate yourself to yourself and your own success.

Are you invested in your own success?

Have you dedicated yourself to yourself?

Share your success stories in the comments below!

Life

June 16: Stop Making Excuses and Achieve Greatness

Seriously, knock it off.

All too often in life, we find ourselves making excuses for ourselves.  We are afraid to take risks.  We are scared of the unknown.  We are afraid to step outside of what is comfortable to us.  We are afraid to leave what is safe.

We are standing in our own way.

We work our way through high school and college.  From our first job to our first career. We work for years to build a life that for all intents and purposes is SAFE.  We begin to fill our life with “…but…”

“I should start my own business, I could TOTALLY do that better….. but, I don’t know the first thing about starting a business, so I will just go back to my 8-5 cubicle job where I hate my life but will never stick my neck out achieve greatness”

Who said you have to quit your job tomorrow and start a new business?  Find a business partner, a buddy who DOES know about business, or hey, go read a book. Go back to school. You CAN educate yourself to know how to run a business, but sitting there talking about it is just making you more bitter.  Get out there, make a decision and start controlling your own happiness.

“I really want to take that 2 week vacation to Europe…. but it will cost a lot of money and I can’t be away from work for 2 whole weeks like that, so I will sit here and look at pictures of castles and Mediterranean beaches while I plan my 4-day weekend, the longest vacation I have ever taken”

Take that vacation, trust me, the work will be there when you get back.  That is why you work 40-50 hour work weeks, to make this money.  Great, it sits in a savings account while you continue being miserable.  Spend the money, take the vacation, enjoy the hell out of it.  YOU DESERVE IT.

“I want to lose this extra 20lbs and get in better shape… but between work, friends and family, I don’t have the time to dedicate going to a gym every day, so I will continue to eat food that is bad for me while I sit my fat ass on the couch and watch Sportscenter and “unwind” from work”

Self motivation is hard, but so is losing weight when you don’t change your lifestyle.  Make the conscious choice to give up sitting on the couch, change your diet and start being physically active (walking to the bar for another beer doesn’t count).  Gyms are open 24 hours every day, you can sleep when you are dead. Or when you figure out how to balance your schedule.

“I would love to participate in that event this weekend, it only happens once a year!… but I already agreed to work this weekend, so, I will just have to wait for next year and hope that I don’t have an excuse next year when it comes up.”

The normal work schedule of a normal employee is 260 days per year. Some of us work more than that, inching up on 275-300 days per year.  An annual event takes place once per year.  Prioritize your schedule. Find someone to cover for you at work or make up the day later.  If you want to do something, stop making excuses and just do it. (Nike has nothing on me)

“Check out that girl at the end of the bar, she is so hot, I should go talk to her…. but, she is totally out of my league, so I am just going to sit over here in the corner by myself drinking my light beer before I go home to my parents basement to play video games.”

Man up, grow a pair and go talk to her. You will never know she is out of your league until she tells you she is.  Guess what, she turns you down, at least you tried, and now you know to try harder next time.

Fact is, we talk ourselves out of achieving greatness every single day.  We think we aren’t good enough. We don’t have the time. We don’t have the knowledge.  We stand in our own way.

So here is the challenge.

Stop making excuses. Stop talking yourself out of things. Get out of your own way and allow yourself to achieve greatness.

Day 16. Way 16. Stop making excuses and allow yourself to achieve greatness.

What are the excuses you find yourself making commonly?

How do you plan to overcome them?

What excuses did you bypass to achieve greatness?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

 

fitness center photo / office photo / beach photo / bike photo / bar photo

Life

June 13: Be Kind, Rewind

The famous words from 1990s advertising, pleading customers of video rental establishments to rewind their VHS tapes before returning them to the store, thus saving rental stores and subsequent customers from spending time to check and rewind every VHS tape.

Just think, back in the 90’s, the act of rewinding a video might have taken 30-60 seconds per video, yet so many customers finished a movie, hit EJECT and took the movie back to the store, figuring that someone else would remind it for them.

What if you were the person that rented a video from the store, got home to watch it, only to find it start up at the final credits.  Now, you have to take 30-60 seconds to rewind the video to start from the beginning. While 30-60 seconds does not sound like a lot of time, the perceived inconvenience and inconsiderateness of the previous renter is what caused the outcry that eventually led to that advertising.  Advertising that pleaded with customers to take 30-60 seconds of their time to BE KIND and think about others.

“Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness.”

I don’t know when it happened, but it seems that more and more, people are only looking out for themselves. For Number 1.  What happened to the general practice of human kindness?


Kindness is addictive. Whether you are the spark or simply paying it forward, simply being involved is what matters.

It is such a simple concept, yet so hard to implement for the vast majority.

  • When someone needs to merge into traffic, let them merge. One car length doesn’t matter.
  • When you are the one who needs to merge, and someone lets you, give them a wave to let them know you appreciate it
  • Ask someone how their day is. Actually care about their answer.
  • Hold the door open for the woman pushing a stroller.
  • Give the homeless guy on the street corner a buck or two. Even a 40oz will make him happy.
  • Never forget to say “thank you”

Small acts of kindness. Big impact.  Simple as that.

31 Days. 31 Ways. June 13: Practice Random Acts of Kindness

What does kindness mean to you?

What suggestions for random acts of kindness would you like to share with everyone here?

Life

June 12: Take a Hike

Leave.

Be Gone.

Take a hike.

Find a mountain

Find a trail

Grab a few bottles of water

Take a walk.

Get the blood flowing.

Hiking is great for the mind, body and soul.  It get’s you out into nature where you get away from the toils of society, the hustle and bustle of the city life and everything that comes with it.  It provides opportunity to connect with nature, free your mind to wander to different places and find a different focus.  It also provides us with one hell of a workout.

Now maybe a hike or workout is associated with losing weight, and in reality, we don’t all need to lose weight, but there are benefits that can be gained by simply being more active are well proven.  There are many stories of people that have bettered their life through leading a more active lifestyle coupled with a complete and healthy diet.

I had a friend whom I used to work with that over the course of 12 months, she walked between 2 and 4 miles on her 1 hour lunch every day.  Along with eating healthy, she lost 75lbs during that time.  When I would talk to her about what she gained the most from it, it wasn’t the weight loss, it wasn’t the fact that clothes fit better or she had more confidence.  Her favorite part of the whole endeavor was that she now felt ALIVE.  She had energy and she wasn’t afraid of anything.  She beat her weight, she could beat anything.  Already a strong single mother, her weight loss journey turned her into someone with a zest for life that was unparalleled.

But I am not here to tell you about leading a healthy lifestyle, or watching your intake of calories, or any other diet/health related topic.  There are plenty of online resources that are qualified to tell you about those things.  I am not one of them.

What I am here to challenge you to do is to get out and find a mountain.  Then fucking conquer it.

You have absolutely nothing to lose, but everything to gain.

Think you can do it?  I think you can too.

Day 12. Way 12. Find a mountain, take a hike, conquer it.

Are you a fan of hiking?

Have any hiking stories of amazing peace and tranquility or any photos of amazing views?  Share them below in the comments!

 

hiking photo credit