Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Unyielding Determination

It‘s amazing how time becomes distorted as we age… strangely, it actually appears to accelerate! It truly feels like I just sat down to write my first blog, “New Beginnings", and in a blink of an eye, it is 20 blogs and exactly one year later. To my delight, we are back… perched on my favorite mountain in St. Barth’s, devouring the inspiring magic of this spectacular Caribbean island. I feel very “zone” like here, grateful to be in the moment, appreciative of nature’s display of beauty (sunsets, moon rises, foliage, beaches) and enjoying re-charging my creative energy batteries.

Today, I am torn between writing about a silly topic of why “belly rubs” are a “Secret of Life” or a more reflective subject… “Unyielding Determination”. Since I am currently reading the biography of Steve Jobs and learning about his life and his “Unyielding Determination”, I thought I would use his amazing story to illustrate the power of “determination” in creating one’s life journey.

I have always believed in the power of free will… that if we are strong enough, focused enough, motivated, and intensely persistent towards a clear and defined vision, that we can accomplish anything. It may take us 10,000 hours, 150 times, or even a multitude of failures to achieve our dream, but what is critically vital is our passion… our unyielding commitment to fulfilling our goal.

Most people just stop. They quit for many reasons. Primarily, it is a lack of deep belief in their ability to achieve what seems impossible: they think it’s too hard… or they are afraid.

For me, it is not about belief, fear, or commitment. My own personal demons are frustration, impatience and timing. Almost everything takes more time and effort than planned. I get emotional and edgy when things don’t move fast enough. I am driven and I can be extraordinarily intense. Yet staying true to my “Unyielding Determination” and beliefs, life has unfolded much better than I could have ever envisioned. Even when I’m frustrated and feeling like I am pushing an elephant uphill, I still feel extraordinarily lucky.

One of the “Secrets” I’ve learned in achieving goals is that “we expand or contract into the amount of time we have to accomplish a task” (that’s a Glennism!) In the Jobs biography the closest people around him refer to Steve’s “Reality Distortion Field”. Jobs was determined… so unyieldingly determined, to create product perfection from his personal vision, that he incessantly generated an intensity that would not accept anything less than his view of brilliance. This overwhelming intensity created a “Reality Distortion Field” that engulfed the people around him. Jobs’ personal intensity and unyielding belief in achieving product perfection drove the people he worked with to successfully create what they had previously considered impossible. Jobs’ intense energy inspired, bullied, charmed, and cajoled his team to create greatness… to accomplish what many of them did not always believe they had within them. “Unyielding Determination” drove creativity, it squeezed the best out of people’s skills, and it inspired a powerful intrinsic desire to change the world. When your passion motivates you every day to change the world, you become a nuclear reactor of positive change.

Most people lead lives of mediocrity. We get in our own way with why we can’t do something. Maybe we’re too afraid to commit or don’t believe deeply in what we do professionally or personally. Even if we are lucky enough to discover our passion, we often fail to devote all our energy, everything we have and more every day, to achieving our dream! The difference between fully committing to “Unyielding Determination” and making a serious effort towards our goal is like day and night… it’s the difference between being awake or asleep. It is always that last 2% of intense effort that separate excellent results from outstanding, game-changing, and revolutionary accomplishments.

We are not all born to be rebels, pirates, or mavericks and I am not advocating that any of my readers venture outside of their own nature and become someone they are not. What I do deeply believe, is that by combining “Unyielding Determination”, intense passionate energy, and creative curiosity, we are all fully capable of achieving the impossible… even greatness.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Life is Better with Movement

A New Year… when many of us vow to shed those few extra pounds we so typically and enthusiastically add on during the holiday season. It’s the time of year we push ourselves to get more motivated, get in better shape, and get moving. Movement is key… it’s one of the most important things we can do to maintain a positive mindset and healthy lifestyle.

An object at rest tends to stay at rest; and something that ceases to move rapidly deteriorates. You don’t need me to tell you that movement, or better yet exercise, is as important to our well being as eating and breathing. We are constantly bombarded with weight loss ads, exercise videos, and offers of gym memberships. In our hearts we know that regular physical exercise improves overall conditioning. It strengthens our bodies, energizes our minds, releases oxygen to our tissues and organs, builds density in our bones, and most important for me… elevates my mood.

I discovered in my early 30’s that I suffered from seasonal affected disorder (SAD). My mood changes radically with the seasons. As the long New England winters lingered on I would find myself in a type of “funk”. The best cure for what ailed me is exercise and sunshine. Exercise is an elixir for life. It’s good for everything… our hearts, our minds, our stamina, our sense of self, even our sleep.

Personally, I need to do some combination of stretching, walking and strength training almost every day. If I don’t move my body it stiffens up, my back starts to ache, my mood sours… and I get cranky! Fortunately I have enjoyed the discipline of a weekly weight lifting routine for over 33 years. Strength training is an ingrained physical habit that has resulted in pretty decent muscle tone for this 60 year old guy. What is relatively new to my routine is yoga. Three years ago I engaged a yoga instructor to teach me how to breathe. Yes… I intuitively knew that deep and mindful breathing would help me reduce the stress and anxiety that was dominating my life during the global financial crisis. What I didn’t anticipate was how powerfully positive the yoga stretching poses would have on my overall well being. I am now more flexible, my balance has improved markedly, my posture is straighter, and my core is stronger. My body and my mind feel good. Simply put… “Life is better with movement.” Movement is an obvious “Secret of Life”.

What’s important is to find one’s own personal passion for movement. It can take many different forms… walking, swimming, biking, gardening, skiing, yoga, tennis, weight training, competitive sports, dancing. I love moving my body to music. Music motivates me to dance, to shake my body and stretch… even jump up and down.

Being married to a woman who is in perpetual motion is an intense motivator. My sweetheart Susan is like a “whirling dervish”. She jumps out of bed in the morning, embraces the day, and keeps on moving. It is amazing to watch. This constant motion is her nature, but it sure keeps her in fantastic physical condition as a result. Susan is a true inspiration for the positive effects of movement.

Make it an important priority to find your personal movement passion and even better, a friend or partner that inspires you to consistently practice this valuable “Secret of Life.” Your mindset will change, your body will energize, and life will become happier and healthier.

This is more than just a New Year’s resolution; it’s an attitude towards life. So, have fun and keep on movin’!