Emulating Success

August 9th, 2012

I used to be obsessed with copying success. If I only had the right blueprints, I could turn into something big. As I grow older and more experienced, I understand that success cannot be copied but rather it can be emulated.

Success, unlike a great recipe, cannot be copied or replicated 100 percent. The components of success are not finite. There are numerous factors that go into success.

If you ask one hundred successful couples what made them fall in love, you will get one hundred different answers. One couple might go camping while the other couple might visit the opera. One couple might travel the world while the other goes to baseball games.

There are also many intangibles that people don’t think about, such as the way someone shakes your hand, the general aura about them, their smile, how people react to a situation.

There are guiding principles for success, such as hard work, discipline, taking advantage of opportunities, reading, learning about life, and many more. These core disciplines should never be compromised.

A person should take a blueprint of success and make it their own. They should look at all the successful people they can. Look at what they do, compare their strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities, and see what works for them and what didn’t work.

Responsibility

August 3rd, 2012

On a hot summer day, a working mother comes home from the beach with her five-year-old son. They had a good day running around on the beach and playing. When they get home, the little boy decides to conk out in front of the television while the mother makes phone calls for her job. She needs to call New York and Boston. A half an hour into the call, she hears a big thud in the living room. The son knocked over a vase full of flowers.

The son was well-behaved. The mother was a model mom. She took her son to mommy and me classes when he was a toddler, taught him about right and wrong, and there was really nothing more she could do. But sometimes, boys will be boys…and kids like to get into things.

Without missing a beat, she cleans up the mess, tells New York that she will have to reschedule. She does not yell, she does not say, “why me?!” She understands that stuff happens.

In life, stuff happens.

You can do your best, do all the right things, yet stuff happens. It’s not your fault, but it’s your responsibility. You can do everything right. You can read all the self-help books in the world, have great relationships, not do anything wrong, but it’s a guarantee that something just will go wrong.

Life is not about avoiding what can go wrong. Life is about dealing with what is going to go wrong.

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This is something I have to remind myself of every day. As a disabled person, it’s one of the most challenging concepts I have to deal with. My disability is not my fault, but it’s my responsibility. I can do everything right, but there are impairments every day. I want to move at the speed of light, but my mind says no. There are times when I want to jump on a plane and go hang out with Leslie. There are times when I want to Tweet something, but I have to wait for Kristi.

It’s easy to understand that a mother whose child knocked over a vase has the responsibility to clean up without any complaining or questions, but for some reason or another on a bigger scale, it’s harder to grasp. If you are not doing well in any aspect of your life, business or goals, no matter whose fault it is, it’s your responsibility. You need to find that vacuum, paper towel, or whatever you need to clean it up.

Kristi

July 26th, 2012

As I am publishing this, Kristi—my manager for over two years—is having a baby girl. And don’t worry, it’s not mine. (Haha!) She started working with me in the spring of 2010. It was a very dark period of my life. I was scared, but she made me put up a blog every week and two years later, I’ve only missed a handful because of the holidays. We have been through a lot. She has watched me get engaged, move into my house, and so on. But mostly, she helps me write. Recently, she just delivered the manuscript for my upcoming book that I want to publish next year. We tease each other and she’s like a big sister.

What you are going to read in the next few weeks are a series of blog posts and tweets that have been written in months prior. I’m really happy and can’t wait for her to get back. After all, who else am I going to complain to?

Two-Year Anniversary!

July 19th, 2012

Two years ago, I was wondering where my life would lead me. And now, I’m engaged. I am writing a lot more. I was hoping that everything would work out…I’m happy to report, it has.

It has been an interesting two years since I first put up the blog.

When I decided to finally start this blog, I was scared of – well, everything. There was a part of me that said I was coming to the end of my career. I had almost run out of money. My love life was non-existent, and look at me now.

Yes, my family got lucky. Really, really lucky. What I have learned from luck is that if you don’t embrace it, it will just go away. Luck in this case – dumb pure luck – came all the way…and our goal as a family is to make that luck last for generations to come.

I used to sit in my chair and wonder if I would ever get married. If I would ever have kids. And now it’s around the corner. When I mean around the corner, I mean I am going to get married in September or October. And Leslie wants to have kids right away. I am planning my bachelor party in Vegas and to be honest, I’m a little bit scared.

This blog has helped me get my ideas out into the world. It has created tweets, and made me a better writer. It challenges me to think about life and to come up with something interesting to share every week. I hope you guys get the same thing out of it as I do.

Happy two year anniversary to the blog and to my new lease on life!

Picking Battles

July 13th, 2012

A couple of weeks ago, I was at my parents’ house and my friends Jay and Dickie dropped by. We were talking about my trip to the Philippines and my dad brought up the fact that I couldn’t use the restroom on the 15-hour flight. A few days later, I had breakfast with them again and they were still talking about how I couldn’t use the restroom on the flight.

To me, that’s part of my life.

And, yes, it’s annoying.

I really don’t dwell on that…that much. I dwell on other things. In fact, I dwell on the fact that I can’t use an iPad on the plane or use the computer more than the fact that I can’t use the restroom. After all, it’s a long, boring flight. Yes, it’s hard not going to the bathroom, but in my mind, I have to pick my battles because if I don’t, I will go crazy. I would dwell on this one minute and that one minute, and my life would be filled with anger and frustration.

I wish I could dwell on things less and let go. There are things I think I dwell on too much. Like the fact that I can never have a Mercedes Benz. Yes, I’m a little vain. I wish I could take my laptop into bed or I wish I could text from wherever I am. There are some things that I dwell on in the moment and then let go. Like the whole bathroom thing in the airplane. It sucks when I’m there, but when I’m home or—even better—when I land in the Philippines and see that face, I don’t care.

Getting Comfortable

July 5th, 2012

A couple of months ago, I blogged about my issues with my new Mac. I figured out a way to use the old operating system Snow Leopard with my keyboard, because the drivers for Lion were not out yet. So, I bought a Macbook Pro, which I was planning to do anyway because I travel extensively.

I have software that reads the text to me, but it was not working right. So, I decided to buy new software. It felt like I was borrowing a computer. In addition, I did not get my iTunes library up until now. For a couple of months, I was using the PC side of the Mac. Last week, I finally got everything working just right and I feel that I am more creative, more relaxed, and more comfortable.

Sorry to bore you with my mumble jumble, but this is what I learned: You need to create your own space whether it be in your kitchen, in your living room, with your video games, with your stamp collection, and so on. Mine just happens to be in my office, and for over six months it was not my own space. It didn’t feel like my office. If you don’t have your own space, then you won’t feel comfortable. Creativity, learning, and growth will be suffocated.

Relief

June 28th, 2012

Last Thursday night I was watching the NBA finals. After the Miami Heat won the championship, LeBron James had a sense of relief on his face. Although he had been wanting a championship ever since he got into the league, this was only another notch in his illustrious career. He has three MVPs, a gold medal, his own line with Nike, and now an NBA championship with a championship MVP. Wow. But it’s not enough if you want to be considered the greatest in the world. He needs more.

One of the main differences between really successful people is once they achieve something, it’s right back to work. Yes, they celebrate. Yes, they treat themselves to the spoils of victory, but it’s right back to work.

Expectations

June 21st, 2012

Last week, Southwest Airlines got voted best in customer service. The weird part is that Southwest does not have first class. It doesn’t offer meals on the flight. The only thing that is offered are cheap flights and free checked bags. Nobody who flies Southwest expects anything more.

Life is about setting expectations. People expect what is promised or at least people expect to be treated like they’ve been treated in the past. Managing expectations is one of the most important parts of life.

For example, if you tell a friend that you will call them on Thursday and you don’t call them until Friday, you might let down your friend. But if you call them on Wednesday, you might surprise them. Right now I am talking to colleagues and one of them said that he wants to talk every day, and one of them said that he can’t call me until early July. I get that both of them are busy, but I have different expectations of them. I hold the first friend to a higher standard than the second. In fact, I don’t hold the second to any standard until early July.

Lowered expectations are not always a good thing. In my case, growing up disabled, and still to this day, people don’t have much expectation from me. Although it’s fun blasting expectations, it’s also difficult at times because nobody has greater expectations for my life than I do. At times, it’s challenging to get motivated without external expectations. Even to this day people tell me I’m doing a great job and that I need to relax. It’s flattering, but there are times when I need people to say, “Hey, work harder. You’re lazy.” Let’s face it, nobody can be 100% self-motivated. No matter how self-motivated we are, there are times when we need external motivation such as a friend telling us that we’re not working hard enough.

My mid-thirties

June 15th, 2012

If I didn’t go out on Friday and Saturday nights a couple of years ago, I felt there was something missing. Not only that, even if I went out, I wanted to come home after midnight. I felt like I was going to miss something if I wasn’t out and about. If someone asked me how my weekend was, I wanted to tell them about a great adventure I had.

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to a party but decided to stay home and chat with Leslie. That was where I wanted to be.

On Saturday, I went downtown during the day to run some errands with my parents. In the past, on Saturday afternoons I would start hitting the phones asking my friends what they were doing. This Saturday I decided just to hang out at home with Pat and watch the game…and I loved it.

I am more secure now than I have ever been about my social life. This is where I want to be. Engaged, waiting for Leslie to come, and looking forward to the day when I hang out with my family at night, falling asleep with my baby on my chest.

That day will come soon.

Relaxing

June 7th, 2012

I just got back from Hawaii and the Philippines on Tuesday night. I am exhausted but energized, if that makes any sense.

Before I left for Hawaii, I woke up sad because I had to leave my fiancé Leslie for about three months. I assumed that I would not see her until September, when she was expecting to go for her fiancé visa interview. There is a statute that says for a fiancé visa, the applicant needs to have a valid passport for at least six months. Leslie received hers in mid-February.

We called the embassy to find out if we could get the statute waived. To my surprise, the woman said yes. So Leslie has an interview on the 20th of June, and shortly after that, she can come. I cannot tell you how much I like being with her. She’s kind, she’s sweet, and she makes me a more relaxed, well-rounded person. Isn’t that what love is about?

We didn’t do much in the Philippines. We went shopping at the local mall, went to see her big family two hours away, and that’s about it. It was not boring; it was just simple.

I love adventure, but there’s definitely a dichotomy to my personality that says the best parts of life are just sitting around with the ones that you love.

My best friend Pat was the most gracious he has ever been. Scratch that. He is always gracious. He let Leslie and me be a couple. When I needed him, he was always there. When I needed to be alone, he knew.

Then I was off to Hawaii. One of my favorite places in the whole world is Waikiki Beach. Pat and I met up with my friend Arash and his father. We sat out on the balcony, went to nice restaurants, and just hung out.

Every time I went to the elevator to my room, I had to pass by the ballroom where conventions are held. There is always part of me that likes to reflect on my next move and the ballroom reminded me of how much I can’t wait to speak. I did not dwell on it, but it was there.

I would love to report on the great adventures that I had, but it was just all in all…relaxing.