Anticipate & Hustle: They’ll Serve You Well

This morning as we got settled in the car for the ride to day care, my older daughter lost it and went into a near-nuclear meltdown.  She wasn’t spitting, but was spitting upset that I wouldn’t ask my wife to come back to the car to say “goodbye” one more time.

We were already late, for the second or third time this week, so I opted to press on and depart without further delay.

As I drove down street and my daughter’s voice became more shrill, her breathing more guttural, her sense of urgency increasing, I thought, “I need to anticipate better.”  That was the germ for today’s post.

The ability to anticipate serves us well across the board, in a variety of life settings:  relationships, games/competitions, business dealings, conflicts, you name it.  If you anticipate you’re not surprised.  If you anticipate you have an idea of what might be coming next, and you can be ready. If you anticipate you keep your mind sharp.

So why doesn’t everyone anticipate effectively, consistently?  Why are people caught off-guard, surprised at reactions, situations, etc. that play out.  Why does the defensive back get burned by the long ball?  Anticipation is difficult sometimes.  It requires mental effort, sometimes over a sustained period of time.  One has to think deeper to anticipate better, one has to be paying attention.  Often folks just aren’t willing to do so, or they miscalculate, or they get lazy.

To take it back to my example, if I had anticipated my daughter’s meltdown on the way to daycare — which has happened before — I might have had a better set of phrases, and certainly been less irritated, that it was happening.  Less irritation would have meant a better, more soothing, helpful tone as I tried to calm her down.

Improving one’s ability to anticipate results in less stress, better planning, better reaction, better outcomes.

I would further offer that this is one of those life skills that parents would do well to develop with their kids.  Being able to anticipate is an abstract idea, but it’s nonetheless an idea that we would do well to teach children.

As I mentioned, it’s applicable in so many areas of our lives, and there are thus so many opportunities to use as “teaching moments”, that we would be remiss if we didn’t help our kids learn this lesson, and work at honing the ability to anticipate, as early as they’re able to grasp the concept.

As I thought about the ability to anticipate, it also occurred to me that it’s something everyone can improve and something we ourselves can control. That makes it an even more important skill to encourage our children to develop.  And that’s where the idea of “hustle” comes in.

Hustle is really a magic, personal trait. It’s an inner motivation, an ability to persevere, an underlier that makes things possible that would not otherwise be so.  Hustle is also something that EVERYONE can have in their quiver of life skills, and should, to realize one’s greatest potential.

Hustle makes up for other shortcomings, it makes others want to work harder, keep trying, stay after their goals, finish their tasks, see their efforts through to the end.  Hustle provides the spark for the person who’s hustling, but also for those around her. Hustle makes up for natural abilities that might be lacking.  And each of us can decide to hustle a bit more when necessary.

This attribute is another one that we would all do well to share with our kids.  Hustle can make a tangible, measurable difference in their lives. Not only that, it will also foster other related life skills that will serve them well as the navigate the waters from childhood to adulthood, searching for fulfillment and happiness.

Learn to anticipate, learn to hustle. Stay after them both. Teach your kids. You’ll be better off, and so will they.

Advertisements

Allow Yourself to be Inspired

essenseoflucia_aug2014

From time to time people ask me where my motivation comes from, or comment otherwise on how I frequently seem to be upbeat, energized, positive.  There are a few reasons why I end up being that way most of the time.  One of the most important is that I allow myself to be inspired.

There are at least two big reasons why allowing yourself to be inspired is a very good thing.

First, when you’re inspired it lifts your spirits (literally). Allowing inspiration to wash over you fills you with energy, improves you attitude, brightens your mood.  All of these results are all critical to being happy, healthy (also literally), and being able to be more productive throughout the day.

When we’re inspired we’re excited, we’re ready to go, we’re optimistic about things, we feel GOOD.

Additionally, when we are inspired there is a certain external effect that is equally valuable: the resulting positive energy is infectious.  Those around you tend to feel better about things, if only or a brief moment.  Over time that rising tide of inspiration lifts all boats.

When you’ve been inspired, when you’re upbeat and emitting a positive attitude, others can’t help but recognize it (even if they don’t let on), and soak up a little of it too. Sharing the GOOD nudges others to have a similar world view, see the bright side, and want to perpetuate those feelings for themselves.

I’m a big believer in being open to new things, be it music, a fresh perspective, something new to learn, a new restaurant, etc.  Being open is part of the manner by which you allow yourself to be inspired.

Being observant is another skill needed for the inspiration game.  With the right perspective, you’ll notice little things all the time that can be sources of inspiration. Sunsets and sunrises are two obvious, visual inspirations.  A rising full moon can also be a reliable source of inspiration.

I’ve got three little kids at home, and they provide a near constant source of inspiration. With their mini-accomplishments, realizations, and simple efforts that create pure joy which kids are known for, I always get a boost from them. I see one of them running down the hall, or laughing uncontrollably, and my attitude “reset-to-good” mechanism is immediately activated.

In the end it’s up to each of us to figure out what we enjoy, what motivates us, what provides a pick-me-up.  Once you’ve gone through that exercise, those very things will become the spring from which inspiration can bubble up.  If only we let it.

Hail the Champions! Post-Victory GOOD

SP32-20150115-145055

PHOTOGRAPH BY BLIGH GILLIES, BIG UP PRODUCTIONS

I got to thinking about great athletic accomplishments and how I’ve reacted as a fan to various, great victories.

Being a San Francisco bay area native, I’ve thought about the San Francisco Giants recent run of World Series’ championships and also the good seasons the Forty Niners have had (and Super Bowl victories of yesteryear).

I thought about the recent Stanley Cup Champions (even though the San Jose Sharks haven’t gotten there yet).  The Golden State Warriors have been on a tear this season and so they too come to my mind.

I was also thinking about all the big soccer leagues under FIFA, the regional championships, and of course, the World Cups I’ve followed in recent years.

All those professional athletes are elevated in status and compensation to other-worldly levels by their teams, fans, and thus, by the media too.  When athletes compete in any of those sports mentioned above at their elite level, they have most everything taken care of for them: during the season they don’t prepare meals, they don’t clean their gear, they don’t do their laundry, and they get much of their equipment (if not all) for free.  They are pampered and attended-to in a manner like royalty, often times.

And then watching Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson complete their historic athletic effort yesterday (“Who?!” you might ask), I thought of the other end of the spectrum.

Caldwell and Jorgeson are two of the world’s elite/professional rock climbers. Yesterday the finished a never-before feat:  free-climbing the Dawn Wall of El Capitan, in Yosemite National Park.  They summited in the mid-afternoon, winter sunlight, greeted by a couple dozen family and friends who had hiked to the top by trail (most of them, anyway).

It took Caldwell and Jorgeson nineteen days to complete the expedition, during which they camped (I would say “bivouacked”) on the rack face, suspended well over a thousand feet above the ground on a portaledge.  Really, it wasn’t just the two climbers alone, but also a small team of logistics personnel that supported them with frequent resupply of food, water, etc.   Make no mistake, however:

Caldwell and Jorgeson  Climbed every pitch on their own, with only their hands and feet to carry them up the near 3,000 foot slab of granite.

It was after their summit yesterday that I had the central thought I wanted to share here.  Victory for Caldwell and Jorgeson is in my view a greater accomplishment than any of  the sport championships I mentioned above.  Let me be clear, I take nothing away from champions in the NHL, NBA, MLB, NFL, or FIFA (or any other professional athlete in a mainstream sport — think golf, tennis, professional cycling, etc. — where BIG money can be made).

What I want to accentuate is the ADDITIONAL props that should be given to Caldwell and Jorgeson for their accomplishment.  There was a picture of the two of them on the summit yesterday toasting with champagne bottles that someone had carried to the top, a very nice way to acknowledge their epic feat.

However, I’d bet a dime to a doughnut that when all the hugging and crying and laughing and celebrating and initial interviews were complete, the two climbers will be part of the crew that will be removing all the gear from that big wall they just traversed.  And I bet when they get home, they’ll be cleaning their own gear, doing their own laundry, and getting everything put away until the next time.

They’ll no doubt have many interviews and appearances and re-tellings of their accomplishment.  They’ll be rightfully lauded by the climbing community (and hopefully many non-climbers like myself too).  They’ll probably pick up some new gear sponsorships to further their future adventures.

Beyond that though, they’ll return to the mundane day-to-day tasks we all face, a couple of regular guys who did something extra-ordinary and epic.  That’s where the real satisfaction and good resides. But maybe like the champions of all those other sports, Caldwell and Jorgeson will also experience the priceless feeling of believing in yourself just a little bit more, knowing you achieved your goal, which is the greatest accomplishment of all.

To read more about the climb:

http://news-beta.nationalgeographic.com/2015/01/150114-climbing-yosemite-caldwell-jorgeson-capitan/

http://adventureblog.nationalgeographic.com/2015/01/14/how-the-yosemite-climbers-dawn-wall-first-free-ascent-has-pushed-the-sport-forward/?sf6944725=1#.VLcPF5eLrWc.twitter

Being Extreme

Being extreme is easy, inspiring and even fun sometimes, but it’s not very helpful when it comes to working with others.  Channeled properly however, it can be life-changing.

On the one hand, being extreme often stirs passion and motivates others to action. But it also can cloud thinking, distract from reality, and silence calmer, more reasoned opinions that might very well prove more viable a solution.

Being extreme allows others to expend energy and emotion, have their voices heard, regardless of how well-thought their ideas are.  When working with or otherwise relating to others, the behavior is counter-productive to finding common ground, considering other people’s perspectives, being open to change, making progress.

I’m reminded of a quote from Michel de Montaigne, a philosopher from the French Renaissance:  “He who establishes his argument by noise and command shows that his reason is weak.”

On the other hand, here’s are some areas where being extreme is decidedly GOOD.

Pushing the envelope of human achievement.  We wouldn’t have the discoveries and innovations and many of the modern wonders of the world without inventors, researchers, and explorers being extreme in their pursuit of their interests.

Think Christopher Columbus, the Wright Brothers, Robert Noyce, Edmund Hillary, Tommy Caldwell.

Expressing the unabashed joy and celebration of performance, entertainment, art all could go in another bucket of those things which benefit from extremism, at least on occasion.  Often times new music, new art form, new expression can be met with skepticism, doubt, even fear.

Think Elvis Presley, Tommy Iommi, Joesph Simmons, Pearl Jam, Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollack, Salvador Dali.

Creating new ways to help others in need, often those in dire, chronic conditions of want that benefit from others taking a fresh approach to the problems. Such situations and circumstances can also benefit from those thinking and ACTING on extreme ideas to effect positive change.

Think Médecins Sans Frontières and Partners In Health, think about the rise and proliferation of social entrepreneurs, crowd-funding, micro-lending, etc. via Kiva, Khata: Life, Wovin.me, all channels for addressing particular problems with creativity, fresh motivation to make positive, sustainable change.

So be extreme, but only if it’s for GOOD.

Celebrating New Inspiration In The House

A new development occurred this weekend that I just have to share my perspective on, it’s SO close to home.

I’ve been blogging and otherwise writing for external consumption off and on over the past dozen years.  I’ve been at this particular effort via a couple different portals for more than a year.  It’s one of the best things I do (not so much the results or feedback — though there’s inspiration there too), mostly because it’s my own personal voice to the world.

It just so happens that my wife, SCL, has decided to get into the blogging space, and launched her own blog this weekend.   This event is exciting for me for at least a couple of reasons.

First, her writing efforts will spur me to more regular, thoughtful writing.  Now that there are two bloggers in the house, we’ll have to eek out minutes here and there between us to get our posts completed in the midst of taking care of our three little kids and two dogs.  Should be no shortage of dynamics and creativity and inspiration there!

Second, I love listening to my wife’s written voice (her audio one too, as a matter of fact).  She’s an English teacher by profession, a reader and writer by passion, and any chance I have to read something that results from here pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) is worth the time.

Insights I might not otherwise experience as an “outsider” are now accessible.  Revelations are sure to result, as will a deeper understanding on my part of her beautiful mind. Of course, I’m biased I know, but I think she has a lot of keen observations and perspectives that are worth sharing.

So as 2015 continues to unfold, there’s one more reason to be excited, and that I am.  If you want to check out SCL’s blog, it’s right here: http://writeoutofchaos.blogspot.com/

Stoked!

2015: The Year of GOOD Content

After more than a month hiatus from blogging, I feel a new, expanded sense of purpose and direction in the new year.  No surprise really, since January frequently brings to the fore new goals, new vision, new dreams for folks.  Weight loss, regular exercise, financial and profession advancement or otherwise positive change…all these fall into that same bucket.

My personal goal for 2015 is to turn up the engine on “content output.”  A couple bloggers I follow inspired me to reach further than I have thus far. They post regularly, nearly every day in fact, with some insight, story, thread that makes my day a little better. I want to do the same for others.

It’s really all about discipline at the core.  Write AND POST regularly, and especially when the spirit moves you, don’t ignore it.

Up to this point I’ve used other social media channels (twitter, facebook, instagram) to provide an “inspiration fix” when the GOOD comes across my path and I act to share it with the world. That practice will continue.   What will change is the regularity of posts on this blog.

Most every day I come across something, have some experience, witness some event or action, which reminds me that life is in fact “half full.”  My aim now is to turn that witnessing into regular content, to help others realize it can be “all good”, if only we see it that way.

Get Ready…Get Set…and once again, ONWARD.