A manifesto on life, 36 lessons for 36 years

I share quite a bit here in celebration of my 36 years on this planet. Points of inspiration, frustration, truth, fear, love, everything I feel that may have a positive impact on someone else.  I have spent the past four days compiling this ‘manifesto’ in hopes it provides you something, and if you watch, read, or listen to all of it that you gain insight into the things that make me tick, motivate me, and why I am eternally hopeful and most importantly that this is really for a seven year old boy.

1. Steve jobs commencement speech

Steve Jobs tells 3 stories about his life.  I found this when in chiropractic school spending countless hours studying and wondering if I am doing the right thing, am I capable of doing this, will I be successful. I have made all of my coaches watch this more than once and it holds a special place in my heart, there are many lessons in this speech and I listen to it whenever I need to be reminded to stay hungry and stay foolish.
2. Randy Pausch Last Lecture

Randy speaks on Oprah about this hypothetical lecture series where professors would give their “last lecture”. In Randy’s case it is his last lecture. Again, full of wisdom on life and applications you will see in how I coach, how I try to treat other people and what I expect in return.

3. Al Pacino any given Sunday

Pacino accurately describes all of it, life, football, sports, everything. Life is a game of inches. No one can do it for you. They may do it with you but you are going to have to fight for it, to scratch and claw, to rip it all apart to make it happen.
4. Lollipop moments Ted talk

You have given someone a lollipop moment I promise. I listened to this and then I sent messages to a bunch of people to let them know that there were certain points in my life that they impacted that may have seemed small or insignificant in their own journey but were impactful in mine, do not be afraid to tell people those things they may need to hear it, even if they are a motivator.
5. Ready player one book and movie

I never actually read the book, I did listen to it over four times already and have seen the movie probably an equal number of times. Its nostalgic, its fun, it makes me feel like I am on an adventure and I do think many people would enjoy the story, the book is better for a variety of reasons so start there!

6. Tommy Boy – you are either growing or dying

The next line of this quote is ‘there ain’t no third direction.’ It’s very true and very true in life. Just because its a comedy does not mean we cannot take away lessons for life from it, some would argue life is simply a tragic comedy.

7. The man in the arena – Teddy Roosevelt

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

I love this excerpt of a larger speech from President Roosevelt, this speech motivates me everytime. Nothing else to add.

8. Not all those who wander are lost

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes, a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.

I just started reading The Lord of The Rings to my son on Thursday night, I am just as excited as he is, I have never read the series through and through and I cannot wait to share in this experience with him. Read those words above again, its powerful if you let it be.

9. Friendship is a rare gift

I’m not talking about hey, lets go party. That’s easy. I’m talking about I need your help, I need you to do this for me. I need your time. That is rare, that is not something everyone has or ever gets. If you do get it foster it, care for it, and do not let it slip.

10. Success is different for everyone

When you want to breathe as bad as you want to succeed, that’s when you’ll be successful. That’s the truth. This was and still is one of those videos that gets me going when I do not want to, great lessons for everyone in here.

What I think is success is very different from your definition. It does not make either of us right or wrong, it just makes us who we are. Different.

11. No one makes it out of this alive.

Image result for memento mori
What do we have to lose? You cannot take it with you and you aren’t making it out alive.

To quote Seneca, “You act like mortals in all that you fear and act like immortals in all that you desire.”

We will all die, it doesn’t mean you need to like it or go willingly.

12. Move the dirt- John Welbourn

“Some days you get a shovel and some days you get a spoon”, you still get to move dirt, to work toward your goal. Not everyday is a shovel day and that is okay.

13. Measure twice, cut once.

I keep having to learn this one. It goes far beyond the cutting of lumber. SLOW DOWN. Do not rush, similar to the saying that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  I am constantly trying to slow down and do it right.

Image result for measure twice cut once

14. You cannot pour from an empty cup.

We are in a world of takers. People will take and take and take if you let them. It is very hard being a person who helps others to say no, to not answer that text or message until the morning, to say I cannot stay late or come in early. If I do not fill my own cup I will not be able to help those in my charge and I will not be able to say yes, ever.

15. It’s none of your business what anyone else thinks of you.

Man, this is a tough one. I am not secure enough in who I am to never let stuff bother me, it does from time to time. However I am learning that their thoughts and words about me are more reflections of themselves and not so much about me and that judgment both good and bad is based off of a limited view of who I am as a person. I should in return, not judge anyone else. If I spend all my time trying to get them to see in me what I feel about myself I will make no one happy, myself included.

16. What you do when no one is looking.

Doing good deeds is great, working out hard is great, being a good person is great, and if we don’t share it on the internet then it didn’t happen, right?

Do the deed because it is the right thing to do. Do the right thing, for the right reasons, for the right people. Doing the right thing for the wrong reasons is still wrong.

Do right when you have nothing to gain, that is a gift.

17. Be kind always.

Image result for be kind always you never know
That is all.

18. Your ability to tolerate discomfort is directly proportional to what you will achieve.

Nobody is going to hit as hard as life. Go out and get what you are worth.

Life is tough, its not called easy. I tell people often that CrossFit is a microcosm of life. We are presented with a challenge, like the workout on the whiteboard, and say that doesn’t look too bad. Then the challenge or workout begins and there is this oh shit moment, a question of what did I just get myself into? Then comes bargaining and excuses. What injury can I fake, how do I make this stop? Then comes acceptance, I will make it through this, it will suck, and maybe I will die but most likely I’ll make it, right?

Then.

After what seems like infinity, we finish the workout or challenge. We look back with pride and accomplishment over what we did not allow to beat us. That, is awesome, that is perseverance.

19. Be your own hero.

I do not want to ever be looked at as a hero by my son, ever. I am not worthy of such a title. I have no delusions that any other human being would carelessly think such things about me.

I do not think we should place more faith in another person than ourselves, see number 23. It is not wrong to look up to someone, we need mentors and guides but I do not think we should have any heroes besides ourselves, are we secondary characters in our own stories?

20. What is a legacy?

I was fortunate enough to see this fantastic play and this really resonated deeply with me. I am committed to helping others and I know that I will never see all of the impact that I have on people, I think of it like we are all boats in a vast ocean and I am just causing ripples. How far do those ripples extend? How much do those ripples effect the boats in my wake? What change if any will my ripples have in those around me?

I do not think I am creating some type of legacy, I do not think much will be said of my name when my time has passed, what I do hope will continue to breath long after I have stopped breathing are my words and actions, in the story of those who have been touched by my ripples.

21. If you aren’t making mistakes you aren’t really trying.

I do not want to live my days, weeks, and months on repeat. I do not always want to know what is next. I want more out of life than repetition, I know it is necessary to an extent but I challenge that there is more offered than a single person can take in during a single lifetime. We want to explore abroad and far away so much but many barely explore their backyards. 9 to 5 on repeat for 30 plus years for what?

Life is full of potential dangers and risks but please visit number 11 again, you may have already forgotten that one.

22. More is not better, better is better.

I see many people who want to do more workouts or think they need to do harder workouts. They think they need harder programming, they need to stay longer, they need to keep going even though the workout is done.

You do not need harder workouts, you need to work harder during your workouts. Everyday is a different challenge with different weights, reps, time domains, and stimuli. It can be hard but remember that intensity trumps duration, I would much rather see you give more in a shorter period than go for a very long time in a comfortable place.

It’s called black hole training. If it is supposed to be really fast, really hard, and very intense you slow down a little, you use too heavy of a weight, or you rest because you are uncomfortable. On the opposite end of the spectrum if it’s LSD (long slow distance), you decide to up the intensity and you use too light of a weight or you push your pace a little too hard and you always end up in the same training stimulus, and making less progress.

23. You are the only person you will wake up with for the rest of your life.

Better love who you are, inside first. It doesn’t matter what the outside likes if you do not like what is there when you close your eyes. A little harsh but the best medicine usually is. This ties in with 15 and 19. Do not change you for others, so they like you, because then what they end up liking isn’t you and you then do not even know who you are and may never find you again.

It is said we are the sum of the five people we spend the most time with, choose wisely, it will be a very accurate reflection of who you are given enough time.

24. Time is our most valuable gift.

We all have a finite amount of this precious resource. What will you do with it? We all have the same 24 hours.  Some are very productive, others are busy, others are wasteful, others do not realize how important time is until they do not have much left.

I am always working on trying to be more present with my time and to try and see the people I care about. It is hard and it seems that it is never enough but I will keep making the efforts.

I have heard that frequency of contact is more important than length of each interaction. Sometimes you can only do so much, just do the best with what you have.

25. There are more stars in the universe than there are grains of sand on Earth.

I love space, its beyond comprehension. Neil DeGrasse Tyson has an awesome book called Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, it has all of these awesome and wonderful tidbits of information like this quote below. It makes you sit back and ponder really how small we all are and that our mere existence is this wonderful thing.

Image result for neil degrasse tyson quotes on neutron stars
26. Getting lost in nature is a great way to find yourself.

I am fortunate to to live in an area that is full of wonderful gifts from nature from Niagara Falls, Devil’s Hole, Chestnut Ridge, Letchworth, Watkins Glen, Treman, and many more places. I am healthy enough to explore them regularly. When I am stressed, frustrated, nervous, or just needing to unwind I find that getting lost in the woods will provide me much relief and mental clarity.

27. Life is found at the margins and edges, not in the doughy center.

Unlike an oreo or a pie, life is about the edges. Those moments of I don’t know.

Gary Vaynerchuk’s advice to young people is found in the middle of this page. He says to visit nursing homes and hang out with your grandparents and you will find that if you ask them what they regret, the answer will be what they didn’t do. Not what they did. Make that leap, live on the edges.

28. You can learn a tremendous amount about a person in challenging physical situations.

I have played many sports and still do. I have participated in a variety of endurance style events. The reason being I want to see what I can do, what I can handle, and what I am capable of. I want to be the one telling the stories about what I did and not spending time wondering what that would have been like, see 27 again.  I have a tattoo of a T.S. Eliot quote, that “Only those who risk going too far can find out how far one can go.”

I will continue to pursue that, I will continue to push my body, my brain, and my will as far as my lungs will carry me and hopefully a little further.

29. Get over being a sugar cookie and keep moving forward- Admiral William H. McRaven

There are many great lessons here and the book he wrote expounding on this speech is equally good with some incredible stories about this man.

30. The job of a parent is to mess up their child(ren) as little as possible.

Children are perfect. They come into this world perfect. I firmly believe our job as parents is to impart as little of our own damage, challenges, and problems on them as possible. We are here to guide them not impair them. We are here to prepare them, not hinder them. We are here to elevate them, not push them down.

We will never be perfect as parents, it is impossible, do your best with them, have patience with them, and do not forget number 24.

31. If you are on a path you aren’t living your life.

There will be times when you are on a path. There are times where you cross a path or you will follow a path for a while. However, there has never been a you, there will never be another you. We are meant to have our own unique existence.

I look at it like this, most people are unhappy. Most people are complacent or seeking more out of life through escapism. They are doing what they are told, go to school, get a job, get married, 2.5 kids, white picket fence, and 2 weeks of vacation a year, retire at 65.

That’s what we are striving for? That is the American Dream?

If it is for you, great, I am not here to judge you. I just know that isn’t for me. That is not my dream. I will also tell you that the more life I live that changes for me as I grow and learn.

To me it is awesome exploring somewhere where others have not been, even if it is just that day. My son and I love when we walk the gorge in the spring and summer and get met with a spider web to the face. It let’s us know that no one else has been there, that it is untouched, unseen, and not tampered with. A big number 32, and it is really cool for us.

32. Enjoy the little things

I obviously agree with everything I share here. I like this as a coach because I am always trying to share perspective. People come in with these large and lofty goals and I know that whether they will achieve them relies heavily on numbers 16 and 28. That lets me know a great deal about them. When they think no one is looking, what do they do and when they are in physical distress, how do they act. Enjoying those little things are huge because you may never achieve that end goal. Celebrate your success, no matter how small it is.

Enjoy the moments, the little ones. Those moments that are unique to you, they are special beyond recognition.

33. Blood, sweat, respect. You give the first two to earn the last one.

Dwayne ‘The Rock” Johnson, the only person who would make me want to buy a short sleeve hoodie. The first sentence is on the front and the second sentence is on the back. I never feel as though I am owed respect, I need to earn it. I tell my coaches that as well. However, it goes the same for everyone who walks into my gym. We are all equal and sweat equity is worth more than titles, bank accounts, and fame. Reference number seven.

The iron does not lie, effort is not faked.

34. Do not discount your successes. When someone compliments you say, thank you.

I cannot take a compliment, it is hard. I feel unaccomplished. I feel like I am never there, wherever that may be.

35. Kenny Rogers- the gambler.

I do not like country music. In fact I first listened to this song because of the Beastie Boys 3 MC’s and 1 DJ.

Life isn’t the cards you are dealt, it’s how you play the hand.

36.This last one is a little tongue in cheek, or maybe not.

There are two rules for success:
1. Never tell everything you know.

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