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Discipline versus Regret

Not counting the pain that occurs due to an accident, pregnancy, or any other acute pain scenario you can conjure, there are two distinct pains that we experience during our lives (I am sure you can think of more, but please bear with me for the sake of this blog…).

In terms of these two types of pain, one of them we feel now, and the other later, sometimes much much later. One is generally tough on the ego upfront, the other can destroy it all together. One may cause us to limp for a brief period, the other can cause an alteration in our gait for the rest of our lives.

The best part is that we can limit the pain we experience now and later. We have to be willing to take on a few tough obstacles. We have to be willing to fight for what we believe in.

We must take on a little DISCIPLINE if we hope to look back on our lives with a smile. Without a little DISCIPLINE our lives will surely be filled with more than a handful of relentless REGRET.

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You don’t want to be sitting on the couch in your 50s, 60s or beyond (or even your 20s and 30s) wishing you would have done “it” differently. And if you are already there, don’t fret, it’s never too late to knock a few things off the bucket list.

So why wait?

Welcome DISCIPLINE. Don’t shy from it. It is not a bad word even though many folks view it as such.

REGRET is a much worse state of being. It is disabling. And you often, if at all, cannot back track on the path that it has created.

Blessings to you as welcome a little DISCIPLINE and visibly shun REGRET from you life.

 

Odds are his name is new to you. It was new to me until just a few months ago. If I had heard of such a man at some point in my life, his name had not stuck the same way names like JD Rockefeller, Queen Elizabeth, Henry Ford, Tom Hanks, Oprah Winfrey, Beyonce, Joe Montana, Justin Timberlake, etc, etc, had. If I could have met Mr. John when I was a younger man my life would have likely taken a difference course. I likely would not have ruined a few relationships along the way, and I know for a fact that I would have been a better person.

You see, John passed away at the age of 91. He lived a full life. He is known as the winningest college football coach of all time, and he did not coach at a big name school like Alabama, USC, Michigan or any of the powerhouses that we tend to hear about.

Those that knew him, from his family and friends, to his colleagues and opposing coaches, saw him as a winner in so many ways, but mostly in his ability to connect with others.

He started coaching in 1949 and he ended up spending 6 decades at one school, a small Division III university in Minnesota known as St. John’s.

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When he retired his record stood at 489-138-11 with 4 National Titles, and no athletic scholarships.

His appreciation for others ran so deep that it was the core of who John was. He was an educator of young men and a builder of character. He inspired deep and enduring loyalty.

He had an unconventional coaching style:

  1. No tackling in practice
  2. No lengthy calisthenics
  3. No whistles or wind sprints
  4. No individual team captains (all of the seniors on the team were captains)

He cared about his players being:

  1. Hard working
  2. Successful
  3. Good men

At his memorial, his daughter closed the ceremony with some final words that she had learned from her father:

  1. Compliment your spouse (or significant other) many many times each day
  2. Listen intently to others
  3. Be interested, not interesting
  4. See the best in others

Quite a man, and quite a story.

So I ask you, how do you hope to be remembered by those that you call your family and friends, your colleagues, and anyone that you cross paths with? It’s your decision to make. And you can start building that legacy right now.

 

 

The two words that mark today’s title roll off the tongue with a sort of exquisite flavor. The Latin language uniquely powerful. Yet the definition of the statement is surprisingly sullen. But like most things in life, it depends on your perspective because what is doom and gloom for one, may be liberating for another.

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Tim Ferris, who I have made reference to before, talks about Memento Mori in his book Tribe of Mentors. He uses it as a pathway for success.

And the Wikipedia definition is quite clear:

Memento Mori is the medieval Latin Christian theory and practice of reflection on mortality, especially as a means of considering the vanity of earthly life and the transient nature of all earthly goods and pursuits.

If this were your last moment before dying, what would you want to be thinking about? What matters most to you?

Our time really is limited. We don’t know exactly when our time on this earth will end, we just know that it will at some point. Since our time is finite, we should repeatedly concern ourselves with the things that actually matter.

It is quite commonplace for us to get caught up in the things that we would truly care little about if we knew our time was limited, or at the very least thought about that limitation a little more often. Perhaps we would actually “LIVE MORE” if we periodically thought about such a notion.

Expectations, both those put on us by others and those we place on ourselves, are often unnecessary evils. They drive us insane. We do our best to please others and we lose sight of doing the things that matter.

To have that do or die moment puts everything in perspective. Nothing quite compares to such thoughts and because of this fact, it can truly drive us toward the ultimate success that we seek. And such success is not marked by what we own or how much money we have, but rather by how fulfilled, productive and happy we might be able to be. In the end these are the things that make our lives.

Memento Mori drives us to “drop-off” the things that don’t actually matter.

So what are you waiting for? What is your Memento Mori today?

Hello friends! I hope today’s post finds you doing well, and if your mind is telling you that you aren’t doing to well, and your body is echoing that sentiment, then hopefully I can cheer you up a bit.

I have been in Waco, Texas, for several months now. Only a 12-month adventure that is nearing the half-way point. The people are nice. The traffic nearly non-existent. The gas prices much lower than California. But my days have been long. The learning curve has been steep. My patience has been tested on many occasions. I have had to swallow my pride not once or twice, but several times. What does all this mean? This is LIFE.

I write in my journal every day. I haven’t missed a day since I started this new venture back on the 24th of February 2017 (getting close to 2-years). This small task has kept me going when I have felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere. I write about different things every day. Sometimes those journal entries turn into blog posts, a few of them helped fill-in the pages of my first book: “Exceptional Every Day”, and many of those entries simply stayed right there on the paper, and were simply a reminder that I was alive, able and willing to fulfill my purpose of helping as many people as possible.

Writing, like meditating, helps me visualize what I hope to accomplish. It helps me adjust my attitude and ultimately my perspective. It helps me get better.

Today I wanted to share several titles for journal entries that I have had over the past few months with the hopes that maybe just a few simple words or sentences might light a little fire into your life. I once heard that if one word can explain something, then why use two. Perhaps just a few of my words may catapult you towards creating an entire story for yourself. It’s time for you to write your story. Make it what you want it to be, not what someone else tells you it needs to be…

“Don’t let your feelings lie to you.”

“We do not remember days, we remember moments.”

“Make your life mean something.”

“We often cause our own anxiety.”

“What is your optimal you?”

Let’s keep our stories going so that the adventure never stops!

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Retired Admiral William H. McRaven, who has spent the majority of his life as a Navy SEAL, gave an empowering commencement speech to the 2014 University of Texas graduating class. Thousands were in attendance. And what he spoke about was nothing out of the ordinary. It wasn’t some grandiose idea that only he could think of. But his ideas, or at least the way he expressed them, got turned into a great little book.

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And the subtitle really does live up to the hype. If you dig just a little bit deeper into the 10 life lessons that he provides you with, you really will change your life and I am willing to bet you can change part of the world around you as well. After all, everything outside of you is the rest of the world. And you won’t figure out what all of this means by just reading line by line below…you really do have to dig into the mud…swim into the surf…open your heart and your mind…and be willing to change your perspective when needed.

  1. Start off by making your bed (“one small task completed can make all the difference”)
  2. Find someone to help you paddle
  3. Measure a person by the size of their heart, not the size of their flippers
  4. Get over being a sugar cookie and keep moving forward
  5. Don’t be afraid of the circuses (“having to do a little extra”)
  6. Sometimes you have to slide down the obstacle head first
  7. Don’t back down from the sharks
  8. You must be your very best in the darkest moment
  9. Start singing when you are up to your neck in mud
  10. Don’t ever, ever ring the bell

So I challenge you to take a few of these things on. Really take them to heart and begin to make little changes that won’t just affect you today, but will have a lasting impact in the years to come.

I wanted to make a slight shift from the personal growth topics that I write about and throw some nutrition into the mix. After all, if you don’t eat right then growing in other aspects of your life could hit many roadblocks.

So today, I will venture in the direction of SOY. It gets quite a bad rap, and perhaps there are some good reasons behind that. But it also provides some nutrients that the majority of folks are not getting enough of.

And I will be honest, after battling with breast cancer myself, I have been scared of the three letter word for many years. But my fear is dissipating, and since my youngest child loves tofu so much, I figured I should continue to research the subject. And since I am in Texas for a bit, things like soy, tofu, and other things that most people would correlate with Asian foods are not hot topics at the doctor’s office.

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This post is not meant to be all inclusive…so bear with me as I am trying to provide you with just a little food for thought.

Soy foods have been part of the traditional Asian diet for thousands of years. Today, soy foods and protein powders are commonplace in the diets of people from around the world. They are everywhere you look and unfortunately, just like the wheat that we consume, soy is getting heavily processed and its genetics are being modified.

Soy is rich in isoflavones, which are phytoestrogens (they have estrogen-like effects in your body, and this is what scares many nutrition enthusiasts). Isoflavones can be good for you, but they can also alter the body’s normal hormonal function. The isoflavone content of soy foods and soy protein powders varies widely, making it difficult to know how much you are consuming unless the manufacturer specifically tells you. And still, you just never know.

Due to its popularity and possible health effects (many of which are attributed to its isoflavone content), soy has been the subject of numerous studies, often financed by the soy industry. This again makes it even more difficult to truly understand whether such a nutrient is good or bad for you. Financing by private interests does not automatically disqualify a study, but it should be kept in mind when reading the findings.

Here are some of the most important things that I was able to pull out of the 12 studies that I spent time breaking down:

  1. Soy does not appear to affect thyroid activity in humans. This is really important because we need a thyroid to survive.
  2. Soy-protein supplementation benefits LDL-C levels, blood pressure, and endothelial function (the cells that line our blood vessels), but only slightly, so the benefit to your health is uncertain. LDL-C is considered the BAD cholesterol in our blood.
  3. In men, regular intake of soy protein may reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer. Soy protein also has the potential to reduce testosterone levels and interfere with fertility, but only when consumed in excess — no such effects have been observed from the daily consumption of 10–70 grams of soy protein or 60–240 mg of isoflavones. But this makes you wonder. Is it safe for most men? I don’t have that answer today. But if we were able to interview and exam thousands of men in Asia we would likely get a good answer.
  4. In women, soy-protein intake is associated with a reduced risk of breast-cancer incidence and mortality. And because of the prevalence of breast cancer in men is much lower than what is seen in women it is hard to tell if it actually is an attributing factor in male breast cancer patients.
  5. In premenopausal women, soy protein appears to increase menstrual cycle length and has unknown effects on fertility. In postmenopausal women, soy protein appears to modestly increase estradiol concentrations and bone mineral density. Soy protein also appears to reduce menopausal symptoms. These are good things.
  6. Finally, for those of you that are currently raising an infant, or planning to in the future, soy infant formulas should be used with caution. Animal studies suggest that soy formulas interfere with sexual development. Actual human studies are scarce, but associations between soy formulas and altered sexual development have been observed in infant girls. Additionally, while soy formulas do not impair the growth of healthy, full-term infants, they can cause growth problems and rickets in premature infants.

I hope you enjoyed this short piece on soy today. As with most things in life, moderation is key. Using a little soy protein every now and then is likely not to affect your health in a harmful way. At least not any more than carrying your cell phone in your pocket, or starring at a computer all day long. Here’s to your health!

The Ebb and Flow of our Emotions

A big part of following The Process is allowing it to ebb and flow. We must observe the ups and downs, the coming and going, and allow them to pull at our emotions. In doing so we should seek to become more emotionally intelligent. Those two words “emotionally intelligent” are not words that were ever found in the same sentence or conversation throughout my childhood. And so it’s no wonder I have struggled for more years than I care to admit.

Emotional intelligence has become something that gets talked about quite frequently these days. Leaders across the globe are making emotional intelligence important. They are not only talking about it, they are investing resources to help their followers and employees become proficient in it. Books have been written about the concept. College courses have been created (I know because I took one).

Thus today I would like to offer some pointers that I have picked up along the way – things I am trying to use in my life everyday (failing over and over, but progress is being made.)

 

Practicing Emotional Control

  • Notice and reflect on your feelings –> What do you really want and what is the best way to get it?
  • Delay responses –> Write that nasty email but don’t send it, ever!
  • Discuss your feelings with someone outside your team or family –> Opinion can help us gain perspective.
  • Get some rest –>  You’re never at your best when you are exhausted.
  • Eat Right. Exercise. Take Walks.
  • Serve the best interest of others even when it’s difficult.
  • Do something for someone who cannot do something for you. Generosity recharges.

 

Improving Emotional Control

  • Having a bad day at work –>  Keep it to yourself.
  • You don’t like your team –> Find something to love
  • Ready to blow-up at someone –> Say something kind
  • Envious of others –>  Find something to honor

 

I hope this helps you on your mission to improve your emotional intelligence. It is as much a part of The Process as everything else. Have a blessed day!

Even if you are not a parent, I think you might find a way to appreciate this short blog today. Many of us have heard of helicopter parents, but what about lawnmower parents? Both “machines” that these names are attributed to have blades that rotate, but one hovers in the air and the other was created to keep the lawn trimmed. Perhaps you are already picking up on where I am going with this.

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The Lawnmower parent takes care of The Process for their child, not just on occasion, but over and over.

They “clear” all the obstacles so that their child doesn’t have to.

Obviously this is a disaster in the making. It fails to set-up those involved for long term success, even if it appears to take care of the acute issue.

Eliminating one or two obstacles might be okay, especially if there is an element of teaching involved. But clearing the path completely helps no one. As parents or guardians or anyone in charge or responsible for another person’s well-being, we have the innate desire to serve. But then we get so caught up in serving that we don’t realize the disservice we are often doing by doing too much.

We need to let the lawnmower remain idle just a little longer. We need to let the engine run out of fuel. We need to leave the grass uncut a little more often. If you keep cutting it too short, odds are it will never grow.

Thanks for stopping by today and for continuing The Process.

I recently read the book Shoe Dog, and if you have not read it I think you would find it quite entertaining. It is the memoir of Nike founder Phil Knight. While not a perfect man (no one is), he built an incredible empire that has changed lives around the world.

We could get into a discussion about labor laws and factory workers, and all that, but there is no need. Like I said, Phil isn’t perfect. I simply wanted to tell you about another book today (it has been awhile since I have done so), and Phil’s book is definitely all about The Process. It transcends what is at the heart of it. I wanted to simply provide you with a short excerpt that got me thinking about service, creating something special and the art behind motivation and inspiration that we all desire…Phil did not like looking at Nike and selling and creating shoes as a business. He said it felt like something more.

“When you make something, when you improve something, when you deliver something, when you add some new thing to service to the lives of strangers, making them happier, or healthier, or safer, or better, and when you do it all crisply and efficiently, smartly, the way everything should be done, but so seldom is – you’re participating more fully in the whole grand human drama. More than simply alive, you’re helping others to live more fully, and if that’s business, all right, call me a business man. Maybe it will grow on me.”

It is now up to you to take Phil’s words and make them work for you. What can you do today, tomorrow, and next week to serve others?

Those two words were uttered to me after I had completed bilateral knee steroid injections on a patient at the downtown Waco Family Health Center. It is a place where I spend a few days per week helping those that might not otherwise get any medical care. No one gets turned away. Some have insurance, others have a county health card that helps them qualify for certain services, and others have NOTHING. I have the opportunity to help with few strings attached. While I may not be able to get someone an MRI or other services that are usually paid for by insurance plans, I can often make a difference in their health in at least one small way. Whether I need to place a cast on a fracture, provide basic education on the effects of smoking, inject some medicine to relieve a painful joint, or provide them with a few exercises and some rubber tubing to help with an ailing rotator cuff, I get the chance to give them just a little more hope.

On this one particular day it was a somewhat busy morning, and “she” would be my last patient before heading to my other clinic — a vastly different environment where many patrons have the ability to pay cash for services like Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) and stem cell injections. She had been sent to me thanks to longstanding osteoarthritis of her knees. She used a walker for years. Her knees ached all day long, each and every day. She had abused narcotics. She had been addicted to illicit drugs and alcohol, and she had several other chronic medical problems. She wanted me to perform some magic. She needed something in her life to be better that day.

Without stating it bluntly, she was looking for a bright light to enter her Process. I gave her my memorized mantra for steroid injections bringing to life both the “possible” benefits and the proven side effects. She acknowledged and desired to proceed. So we did. No complications.

The procedure was done so quickly that she asked me if I had even started. And then she said, “Thanks doc. I hope you have a nice day.” I replied with a simple, “I will try.”

The glare I received after uttering those three words is something I will never forget.

It was as if both the devil and God were staring at me at the same time. It was as if they were both seated at my table. The patient then said, “There is no try. You must Claim It! You need to claim the day. Don’t try to have a good day.” She proceeded to get a little angry. She continued to dig into my feelings about having “faith.” She kept telling me that I needed to claim each day from the moment I awoke.

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And her words woke me up. They transcended social barriers.

I was reminded that the doctor often learns more from his patient’s than he often teaches them.

I challenge you to take a step back today. Listen closely. Open your eyes just a little wider and see what you can learn that you thought you already knew.

 

The Process, when believed in, will get you exactly where you want to go. Nothing says it will be a smooth path without obstacles. That is hardly ever the case when it comes to meaningful results and a glorious destination. And then again, The Process is not just about results, it is about the journey, the odyssey, the progress and the development of the self. There is enough to worry about during the journey, so it benefits us to stray from getting too addicted to the destination. The destination may in fact gives us that which we desire, but it might also keep us from yearning to improve.

The destination can keep us complacent, causing us to lose the hunger that got us started in the first place. There is only one alternative and that is to put your heart into The Process and get going.

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Once the odyssey is underway you will recognize your strengths and weaknesses and you will readily adjust yourself. You won’t hold back because you will understand why and be compelled to keep going. You will quickly realize that once in motion, it is a lot harder to stop, especially when you are motivated and inspired. If you are not moving, then it often takes some persuasion (whether from the inner self or some outside force) to get started. Persuasion isn’t a bad thing, but it can feel fake and cumbersome at times. It can overtake our pride and can destroy our confidence. So forget it!

Don’t let persuasion dictate what you want to do. Pick your journey. Take the first steps because you want to. And don’t look back. The only thing you will see is the path behind, but it’s the one in front of you that makes all the difference.

I urge you to challenge yourself this week by taking a few steps forward with something you have been holding back on. Whether it has to do with starting a new project, going to the gym or rebuilding a struggling relationship…Get Going!

If you have been reading the posts on this site for the past few weeks, then you have either learned a few new things about relationships, or at least brushed up on things you already were aware of. If you missed out, please check out the last two blog posts. I don’t think you will be disappointed.

The final installment:

7. People need to be encouraged ⇒ so encourage them. Give them oxygen for the soul. If they are breathing, then they want to be encouraged.

8. People desire success ⇒ so help them win. Most people don’t win consistently. Everyone needs some wins under their belt. Success is all about several wins and taking several steps.

9. People follow the leader ⇒ so be the example. You cannot give what you don’t have.

Wishing you all a fabulous rest of the week. May you continue to be blessed.

The journey has begun

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