Friday, May 24, 2013

Quotes That Inspire Me Daily

I have a poster over my desk at work, with hand written quotes from famous people and some anonymous sources. They serve as the compass that circumscribes my daily interactions with patients and co-workers, and inspire me to produce the highest quality work possible. My sincere hope is that you find some encouragement and valuable advice in these words as you pursue your life's journey.

"Quality is not an act, it is a habit" - Aristotle

The iPod, iPhone, and Mac Book aren't quality products by happenstance. They are quality products because Steve Jobs was a quality person who demanded the same from his employees and peers. If you want to deliver quality at work or in your personal life, start by making your bed every morning. Yeah, I know. Why make your bed when you're just going to jump back in it at the end of the day? If you get in the habit of doing small, seemingly trivial things well, you'll have no problem extending that habit to more important activities. Ladies, if you want to see what type of husband a man will be, look at how clean his house is, if his bills are paid on time, and if his clothes are wrinkled on the first date.

"A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others." - Ayn Rand

When your focus is on beating others, your marker for success becomes an external factor. When your desire is to achieve, success lies within you. When your desire is to achieve, even the act of losing becomes an opportunity to achieve great and better success. More importantly, you respect your opponent more for their achievements and embrace the factors that contributed to your failure. When your desire is to beat others, defeat becomes a debilitating afront to your ego. When Nicola Tesla invented the alternating electrical current, he was setting out to create a cheap, non-diminishing form of energy. His peer at the time, Thomas Edison, was an opportunistic businessman who just wanted to get rich at any costs. Common history remembers Thomas Edison as a pioneer and the inventor of electricity, but it was Tesla whose genius we remember. Edison died a very rich man with a multitude of enemies and Tesla died a pauper, but only one of these men died with their integrity intact.

"The will to succeed is important, but what's more important is the will to prepare." - Bobby Knight

No one likes to study. It's tedious and, often times, you can't see the light at the end of the tunnel. But, have you ever tried to take a test without studying? The nervousness that ensues from not knowing what the hell you're doing will do you in faster than the exam itself. Confidence comes from knowing that you did all that you could do to prepare for a situation, even when you fail. The annals of history are filled with the stories of women and men who were successful. The part that is always left out is, what did they have to do when the lights and cameras weren't on to reach that success? We all remember Michael Jordan's many great performances and game winning shots. What we don't remember, because we were never witness to it, are the countless hours he spent in the gym preparing for those singular moments.

"Always render more and better service than is expected of you, no matter what your task may be." - Og Mandino

Don't ever "play down" to the competition. Whether you are a cashier at McDonalds or the CEO of Virgin Airlines, every opportunity you have to serve is practice for an opportunity that you may not see coming. Who knew that a community organizer on the southside of Chicago would be President of the United States? Barack Obama could've been a hot shot on Wall Street, but he wanted to serve where his service was most needed. He practiced in the trenches and was prepared to practice those same habits of service at the pinnacle of world politics. Don't get up in the morning to just meet expectations. Wake up with the mindset to exceed expectations. It may appear to be an inconvenience with no rewards right now, but life is cyclical. The service that you've given to others will come back to you in the most unexpected fashion, and when you least expect it.

"The service we render others is the rent we pay for our room on earth." - Wilfred Grenfell

None of us are in this alone. There are very few, if any, completely self-suficient people on earth. We all get what we have based on the work of others, and others get what they need based on our work. This is the inextricable law of humanity. Selfishness, in the sense that you believe in yourself, is not bad. Selfishness, in the sense that you don't need others, is abhorant. Even in Ayn Rand's magnum opus Atlas Shrugged, where she praises the self-made man and woman, these individuals depended on each other to to supply the skills that they, as individuals, lacked. There is not a teenager (and some adults) that embrace the tasks of washing dishes or taking out the grabage, but is this not a fair trade off for the roof over their heads and the heat that vivifies in the dead of winter?

"Excuses are the tools of the incompetent, that build bridges to no where, and those that use them are monuments to nothingness." - Anonymous

I learned this quote while I was pledging a fraternity in college. At first, I didn't understand what this meant. It seemed like another form of hazing. However, after I entered the professional world, one defined by tight budgets and even tighter deadlines, I learned that people don't want to know why something happened, only what the solution to the issue is. In professional coaching, we learn that there are three types of negative personalities - whiners, complainers, and blamers. There is one simple way to diffuse all of these types of people - simply ask them what their solution is to the problem that is bothing them? Often times, if you can not come up with a solution, you can look in the mirror to find the real source of the problem.

"Everything that exists is in a manner the seed of that which will be." - Marcus Aurelius

The fact that we quote Marcus Aurelius centuries after his death is proof enough that this quote is valid. Furthermore, Alexander Graham Bell could not have fathomed that the telegraph would eventually develop into the cell phone or the internet. Most people do not live long enough to see their hard work pay off, but they leave a blueprint for future generations to study, build upon, and expand to new areas. If you need further proof of this, look at your parent's accomplishments and then take a look at your own. My grandmother, who practically raised me, was functionally illiterate. Now, I have the ability to express myself in written form.

"Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people." Eleanor Roosevelt

Don't get caught up in the rumor mill or gossip. That's peanuts for rats. If the reputations of Martin Luther King, Jr. as an adulterer or Mohatma Ghandi as a hypocrit had been of more importance than the philosophy of peaceful protest and civil rights, how many more millions of human beings would still be in servitude. As the late, great UCLA basketball coach John Wooden once said, your character is who you really are and your reputation is what others think you are. If the fate of the American colonies had been predicated on the Founding Fathers' support for slavery, an industrial mechanism at the time, and not the overarching philosophy that all men are created equal in the eyes of God, we would be singing God Save the Queen instead of the National Anthem.

"Success is often achieved by those who don't know that failure is inevitable." - Coco Chanel

Fear is the greatest road block to achievement. Thinking too much, and not reacting, inhibits performance. Just ask any world class athlete or performer. How do you know what you're capable of doing if you already have a thought formed in your mind of what you're not capable of doing. Prior to running the Chicago Marathon, I had never run more than 13 miles. I didn't know that I would make it to the finish line, only that the finish line existed.

"It is not daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential." - Bruce Lee

In Western society, we display our worth by the number of possessions that we have. Some workers define achievement by how many emails or phone calls they answer. Activity does not always equal achievement and having money and possessions doesn't make a person truly rich. America is the richest country on earth, yet our citizens are routinely amongst the unhappiest. I live in a small studio apartment in a neighborhood that is not trendy or posh. The fact that I don't have a lot of things to think about makes me happier than I've ever been. I can focus on the things that really matter and produce true happiness.

"Discipline yourself, and others won't need to."  - John Wooden

No one likes being told what to do. How do you correct that? Tell yourself what to do. When I was in high school, the teachers and staff were always telling the young men to pull their pants up. My peers didn't like that, but all they had to do was put a belt on. More importantly, discipline in small deeds breeds discipline in great deeds. If you can't wear your pants right, show up on time, or finish your class assignments when they are due, how can you expect to be a professional athlete or run a multinational company? This is why, on the first day of training camp, Coach Wooden first taught his players how to properly wear their socks. His thought process was, if these players can learn to be consistent in this simple task, they could be trusted to run the Princeton Offense properly.

"To be early is to be on time, to be on time is to be late, and to be late is unacceptable." - Anonymous

This is another maxim that I learned while pledging a college fraternity that I didn't fully understand until I entered corporate America. This philosophy doesn't apply to every facet of life. If you're born too early, you may have life altering birth defects. How many people lived through 9/11 because they missed a train or bus that fateful day? However, it is the general principle of being cognizant of other people's time and respectful of your own time that matters. Following this principle also gives you time to mentally and physically prepare for the task at hand. When possible, I routinely show up for meetings 5-minutes early. This gives me time to write down notes for the meeting and have some informal conversations with any co-workers in the room to break the ice before the real work begins. I'm not saying that you have to constantly run around like the rabbit in Alice in Wonderland. However, if you keep this philosophy in mind, you will set yourself apart from the great many masses of ordinary people who have little to no regard for the virtue of timeliness.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

My Testimony

<p>Verse 1<br>
Just give me 16 bars, and I'll have you drinking off this track,<br>
So many haters in the world, me thinks I need a fanny pack.<br>
Head of the class, my black ass is just like a chalk board<br>
Writing rhymes like Bart Simpson to the rhythms of these chords.<br>
I can see the top, an ascended god on my second apotheosis,<br>
Throwing lightning from Mt. Olympus, taking my wrath out on these roaches.<br>
I have two choices, flowing great or flowing even greater,<br>
You got two choices, taking one to the chest and another to the labrum.<br>
My style is nerd chic, hipster glasses and some Chuck Taylors,<br>
If your girlfriend ride with me, your Facebook status will be changing.<br>
This rap hustle is so amazing, I turn lyrical grapes into raisins,<br>
This is my hour in the sun, get a contact high off of me because my 7 chakras are all blazing!</p>
This is my life, written in tears.
The sum result of my triumphs and my fears.
Now I'm married to the game,
We in holy matrimony.
As I take the stand to give my testimony.
Verse 2<br>
Verse 2 is for my momma and my homey Eddie G,<br>
The entire Tau Phi nation and my masonic family.<br>
I'm finally using my gifts the way the gods intended it to be.<br>
The games been upended and I'm here to lay your girl and a brand new foundation.<br>
Life ain't been no crystal stair, and my pops was rolling stone,<br>
Now I'm sipping Crystal in the VIP and grace the covers of Rolling Stone.<br>
I turned this ho called rap into my wife, and made this track into a home.<br>
Far too original to be a clone, I may be young but I'm ready,<br>
Rap was supposed to be my mistress but now we going steady.

I Can (Remix)

I can do it better, in sunshine or stormy weather,
Whether its smoking, acting, rapping, fucking or simply getting cheddar.
Someone please get my many haters before their hate consumes me,
Cause young Filtro is a ”G”, just like the 7th letter.
Got my finger on her clit, and I'm about to make her cum,
Have y'all dancing like P. g, be a raisin in the sun.
My raison d'etre is the fame, can't you see my name in lights?
Do two shows b4 2, then we drinking all night.
When your girlfriend come to me, for that life that you can't get her,
I say I can do it, I can do it, I can do it better.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The 5 Life Lessons I Learned From Playing MLB 2K13

I don't like my job. It's not because I'm not good at it or that the day-to-day scenarios that I'm faced with aren't intellectually stimulating. In all honesty, it's not what I really want to be doing with my life. A lot of very successful people say that the key to true success and happiness is throwing yourself head first into what you enjoy.

As a sophomore in college, I stumbled across an opportunity to work for my favorite team in my favorite sport, when I became the bat boy for the Chicago Cubs (that's me in sitting in the background). I made a ton of money and met a lot of people who I had previously only experienced through the television or from the stands. At the tender age of 19, I thought that opportunities like this were a dime a dozen. A decade after quitting my dream job by leaving a voicemail for my boss, I'm still chasing the dream of working in professional baseball again.

Nowadays, I get my baseball fix by rushing home from my 9-5 to turn on my PlayStation 3 and pop in Major League Baseball 2K13. The game is so realistic that, on most nights, I will listen to the Cubs play on WGN radio while I do battle with pixelated opponents powered by artificial intelligence. I realized a long time ago, during my actual playing days in high school, that the game of baseball is a microcosm of the game that we call life. Playing 2K13 recently has made me think of what life lessons I can garner from what is typically just a reprieve from the duties of an average American worker.
  1. Be wary the first pitch. Often times, the first pitch is the one that the computer wants you to swing at to get the result that they want - a quick out with minimal effort. If you sit back and wait for a pitch that you can handle, you can usually do more damage. In life, we are tempted to take the first opportunity that appears to be right in our wheelhouse. It doesn't matter if it's a career, a used sofa on Craig's List, or a love interest. The fact of the matter is that life, like an at-bat in baseball, is a learning experience that takes place over time. First jobs and first loves rarely, if ever, work out. It's about studying patterns, making adjustments, and learning to accentuate your strengths while minimizing your weaknesses.
  2. A walk is just as good as a hit. Yeah, getting a hit is sexy (especially a home run), but the basic object of the game is to get on base. Once you're there, anything is possible. Being laid off from my first job out of college was one of the most difficult experiences I've ever had in my young life. I thought it was the end of the world as I knew it. Turns out, it allowed me to do some temp work at various companies, learn new skills, meet new people and, eventually, land a full-time gig where I could add exactly the value that company needed at that time. I learned the same lesson from many failed relationships. I wanted to hold on to them for as long as I could but, in the end, those failures prepared me for my next meaningful relationship.
  3. Sometimes, the best pitch to make is the one in the dirt. If you throw enough pitches in the strike zone, the computer will figure out your pattern and start launching your offerings like the Explorer space shuttle. The best strategy is to change speeds on pitches and move them around in the strike zone so that you change the batter's vantage point. The same is true in life. You want to constantly reinvent yourself. If people know what they're getting from you, one of two things will happen (if not both) - they'll ignore you because you're boring or they'll take advantage of you because you're predictable.I do and say some things that I'm sure make me look like a prime candidate for psychotropics, but this is by design. People like interesting people - people who they can't quite put a finger on. In terms of my career, the best job I ever had (other than working for the Cubs) was the summer I spent selling t-shirts outside of Wrigley Field. The money was crap, but I learned what it took to run a business (creativity, production, marketing, logistics) and, most importantly, I got to talk to a lot of people. Some people aspire to have a job in Corporate America because our society holds that concept up as the peak of middle class success, but I learned more about the worth of a dollar from that experience than from any company I've ever worked for.
  4. Catching a fly ball begins with a good jump. College is overrated and grad school is the biggest ponzi scheme in recorded history (no offense Tulip Mania). If you know what you enjoy doing and what you're good at, start doing it right away, no matter how young or old you are. Build your base of knowledge early and, then, get out there and start doing it. Gain some experience because, and his is for you recent college graduates, what you can do is more important than what you know. Make some mistakes. Don't get me wrong. If you want to be a nuclear physicist, you should definitely get as much schooling as possible but, for the rest of us office mopes, get off the hamster wheel as fast as possible and start experiencing. If you LOVE beer, quit your nice, comfortable desk job and go work at a brewery or Binny's. 10 years from now, you'll happily beat yourself over the head because, if you had grown a pair sooner, you could've had 20 years of experience instead of just 10.
  5. Know when to go to the bullpen. It's not a sign of weakness to admit that a situation is to big for you and that you need help. It's actually a sign of tremendous intelligence and strength. I know that Western society adores the individual - the self made woman or man that can stand on their own two feet but there is not one person made of flesh and blood that didn't get somewhere on the back or shoulders of someone else. I read an article this morning that talked about the importance of individuals having their own personal Board of Advisors - friends, family, colleagues, or just individuals that you trust who you can bounce ideas off of and get honest, direct feedback. Knowing your limits is an essential step in expanding your capabilities. I had a girlfriend that broke up with me last year after months of dealing with my quixotic personality. I was angry with her for a long time before I woke up one day and realized that it took a tremendous amount of maturity on her part to realize that, for the sake of both of our life's journeys, it was time to make a change. I don't how the change affected her, but it allowed me to watch the "game" from the bench for a while and, eventually, unlock an inner strength that would've otherwise remained dormant - the power of Knowing Thyself.
Video game playing is, in the grand scheme of things, an innane, time wasting, cornea corroding exercise in procrastination that is slowly transforming the youth of our world into walking, talking cases of diabetes waiting to overwhelm the healthcare system.

However, life is about gaining experience and insight into ourselves and, as a result, the world. We can find meaning in every experience that we have, every second of everyday. There is no event too big or too small that we can't extract insight from. Now, if I could only figure out how to beat the lowly Miami Marlins!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

New New Style

DeAngelo is my real name, D.Jones is my pimp name.
Damn, these Ho's is stalking me, man yo wife is insane.
Walk in the bar with empty hands, I don't need no Bandz to make her dance.
Molly got me tripped out, neon lights got me in a trance.
A couple ratchets flipped out, white girls with they hips out.
She give me dome while I'm on the microphone, cause she got a big mouth.
A day without my dick makes her sick,
Put my draws on, now she got an infirmament.
Flows dribble out like a point guard, 29 and in retirement.
Call my pants Sigmund Frueds, cause that's where I keep my ego.
That Desert Eagle got two infrareds, one for you, and one for your kin folks.
A college grad with the gift of gab, about to blow up like C4.
Put a blunt up in the air, coughing off that Cee-Lo.

This that new new style, haters ain't got shit on me,
With that Hermes model, no need to see I.d.
This that new new style, haters ain't got shit on me,
With that Hermes model, no need to see I.d.

Professors say I'm too smart to curse,
Bitch, shut up and hand me yo purse.
Give a fat broad merse, then drive her home in a herse.
I got that new new style, yo girl about to pop my child.
Cook my dinner like she Julia Child's,
cause the sex is so so wild.
Turn a MILF into a teenager, and a straight edge into a rager.
My whole crew is holding razors,
Named my .44 Jesus, cause that's my Lord and Saviour.
My rose gold chain, make 'em do 360's like Anderson Cooper,
After I get up in that pussy, I get up in that pooper.
Haters ain't got shit on me, so why you tryin to shit on me?
Sara Locke broke up with me, then I got bisexual with Becky and Bree.
This that new new style, haters ain't got shit on me,
With that Hermes model, no need to see I.d.
So drunk I need an I.v., pop a couple of I.b's,
This is death after life, that reverse B.I.G.

This that new new style, haters ain't got shit on me,
With that Hermes model, no need to see I.d.
This that new new style, haters ain't got shit on me,
With that Hermes model, no need to see I.d.