SAY IT MO BETTA

I’m guilty of it too.

You record a YouTube video and at the end remind your audience, “don’t forget to subscribe and smash that like button.”

I hear this invitation on most videos and therefore “gots ta tell ya, there’s a way to say it mo betta”…or PLEASE, not at all!  By the way, the like button is not a bug so there will be no “smashing” of buttons to begin with.  Second of all, no one in the history of the internet (not very long, but still) has ever “forgot” to subscribe to your YouTube channel.  Think about it, when is the last time you turned your car around or pulled off to the side of the road because you forgot to subscribe?  Never, ever, ever.

Somehow this seems to be a modern day equivalent to, “How are you doing today?”  Rarely is that inquiry authentic.  The response is even more half-baked.

Invitations are a very peculiar thing.  You either shouldn’t be asking for them, or nobody wants to accept.  For example, “Will you be my friend?”  “Will you be attracted to me?”  “Will you love me?”  These are very elementary.  We all know that they take care of themselves.  It’s just nature doing her thing.  If someone likes your YouTube video that much, they are going to give it a cat call like two dogs sniffing butts.  (Would you say that sentence is raining cats and dogs?  Sorry – I digress)   It’s going to happen without your assistance.  On the other hand, “We need everyone to participate in the next homeowners association meeting.” is an invitation that might not go over so well.

So what is a good invitation?  People tend to help when it’s something that takes little effort and minimal commitment.  For example, “Will you take our photo?”  “Would you mind holding the door for me?”  “Can you save my spot in line?”

THE CHALLENGE:  Think about what you are asking other people to do.  Words have meaning.  Don’t spray your audience with invitations “just because.”

ONE LOVE

The heart is a universal symbol of love. Do you remember Valentine’s Day back in grade school? Who didn’t hope that their secret admirer would present a candy heart with an even more deliciously flirty phrase?

bunch of heart shaped assorted color tablets
Photo by Emily Ranquist on Pexels.com

But where did this whole heart as a symbol of love thing originate anyway? Sorry to disappoint, I’m not here to tell you that.

What I do want to get off my chest (hah!), is the fact that the heart has four valves. But I bet you already knew that. The real question is, can you name them? Oh, you were too busy flirting with candy hearts during that lesson? No problem – I’m not here to grade your homework either.

What happens if one of the valves in your heart ceases to work? In an effort to not get all “cardiologist” on you, lets (for simplicity’s sake) agree that you’re dead, departed, cold, stiff, asleep, checked out, neutralized, sayonara…you get the idea.

In life, there are multiple “valves” that we need to take care of. I personally like to keep it simple “MIND, BODY, SPIRIT” – if you want to sound a bit more “uppity” (like you were paying attention in class) you might say “INTELLECTUAL, PHYSICAL, SPIRITUAL.” You can slice your life’s heart into as many chambers as you wish (apparently a cockroach has 13). For example, you might include “personal, professional, and family” as some or all of your categories. It’s up to you.

You only get to die once.

THE CHALLENGE: Once you’ve sliced up the chambers of your life you need to keep the valves flapping. You can’t just have one love. A balance must exist. Heart failure will result if blood doesn’t flow. Blood, in this case, is time and attention. It’s commitment and planning. It’s a beautiful thing to have your life in balance and harmony. Now go flap whatever valve you’ve been neglecting!

BEAR-LY OVERWEIGHT

America has a favorite “F” word and it’s not the one you’re thinking. Are you ready? Brace yourself….

FAT…yeah I said it – FAT!

Does that make you uncomfortable? If so, maybe it’s because you are indeed
{F} {A} {T}

Sorry, should I tone it down a bit with some other “F” words? Perhaps you prefer the term “frumpy” or “fluffy” or that you only have a “few” extra pounds to lose. Whatever word you prefer that starts with the “ffff” sound, please don’t get o”ffff”ended.  Don’t stomp away. – I’m here to help!

First of all, fat isn’t all that bad. In some countries fat is a direct reflection of your wealth.  In other circumstances, you may need it to stay alive. Check out the amazing books Disturbed in Their Nests or 438 Days to feel what I’m talking about. A careful read of these titles might make you want an extra inch to pinch.

But let’s be real here, your mind is made up and you’ve decided (i.e. brainwashed) that fat is the enemy. You want it gone, and that’s why you are still reading. Well, you’ve come to the right spot. I have an answer for you, if not THE answer – the best part is, it won’t cost you a dime!

I offer you something else to read, MOTHER NATURE. What do bears do in the spring and summer? They eat their fill. Every day is a Thanksgiving feast. No holding back. Always room for seconds. Always on the prowl for that next batch of honey, patch of berries, or migrating salmon. Fat is followed by feasting.

brown bear shallow focus photography
Photo by Steshka Willems on Pexels.com

Now, what do bears do in the winter? They knock out. They sleep, and sleep, and sleep some more…for a very long time. No alarm clocks and no midnight snacks. When they finally wake up and stumble out of slumber they do so with a new look. If they were human they would be ready to pop on a bikini, tie on some heals, and pucker up with some lipstick ready to strut the fashion runway.

The bear didn’t have to take dieting pills. Nor did it have to experiment with the Atkins Diet, South Beach Diet, Vegan Diet, Ketogenic Diet, Paleo Diet, Zone Diet, Dukan Diet, 5:2 Diet or any other diet.  A bear doesn’t wear a fitness tracker to study analytics. A bear doesn’t read the latest trends in the newsstands. A bear doesn’t have a vision board or a Pinterest board of all the other “sexy bears.”

A bear eats a lot and a bear eats a little. Feast and famine. One yields one result while the other yields the opposite.

THE CHALLENGE: If you want to be “unfat” just follow the laws of nature.  I’m not suggesting you starve yourself, but there are lessons to be learned from observing the mighty bear. Eat less! Stop making it complex! “Oh, but if I eat less my metabolism will slow down and then I’ll blow up like a balloon.” Cool, keep being fat. But for the rest of us, remain diligent. Don’t overthink it. Nature’s laws work the same whether on the Serengeti or in the depths of the ocean. Those same laws work in my kitchen and belly just as they will work in yours.  The law of the harvest always wins.

READY! AIM! FIRE!

READY! AIM! FIRE! We’ve all heard this phrase before. We play games as children and call it out to our friends as we cannonball into the pool or launch a stone at a perched pigeon.

It’s all fun and games as children, but as adults, for all intents and purposes – we aren’t very good at it. At least the stage where we are supposed to “aim.”

Society seems to be drunk on success and stardom. There’s no arguing that we’ve bought into the idea of “aiming for the top.”  Haven’t we heard this idea our whole lives?  Aim for the moon, shoot for the stars, swing for a home run.

However, if you were a warrior in days past and had the responsibility of firing the canon in order to knock down a castle, where would you aim?  Would you aim for the top?  Of course not.  Who wouldn’t aim straight for the foundation and cheer as everything came crashing down?

wall architecture castle england
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

THE CHALLENGE: It’s good to be at the top of the ladder, the top of the mountain, the top of the totem pole. (Or whatever other “top” is working for you these days.) Just keep in mind that arriving at the top isn’t exclusively dependent on “aiming” for the top.  There is whole lot of bottom feeding you need to achieve along the way.  Learn the very basics of your craft and master them.  Ensure you aim for a solid foundation.  Look to nature as your guide, the tree’s roots grow down and outward before it grows upward.  Before it can provide shade it is very intimate with the dark, damp and lonely soil.  Examine your goals, if you haven’t made it to the top, maybe it’s time to aim for the bottom.

TICKING TIME BOMB

Seneca, the Roman philosopher left you a supernal gift. You might be thinking, “Oh yeah, I heard that quote before,” Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.

No, no my friend. He left you far more than that!  He left you a book called, “On the Shortness of Life.”  You probably haven’t heard of it yet because you’re too busy celebrating a “holiday.”  Don’t worry, I’m here to help.  Do yourself a favor and pick this book up.  Read it and reread it, again and again.  It will soon become the most relevant text you’ve ever encountered.  It is perhaps the most important volume in my library.

I am endlessly fascinated at the rate in which we as humans squander our lives away. Look around you, how many people are playing a mind numbing game on their phone?  How many are feeding the social media monster or incessantly scrolling through the media’s click bait?

In America we filled our calendar with a bunch of; okay I’ll say it, CRAP! Look at all those “holidays” and “special events.”  Halloween, okay I can live with that.  Groundhog day?  Hmmm….okay maybe our fury friend can slip through the crack.  But we need to draw the line somewhere!  If Independence Day wasn’t enough fireworks for you, consider celebrating the following:

Administrative Professional’s Day: April 24
Armed Forces Day: MAY 18
National Bosses Day: OCT 16
United Nations Day: OCT 24
All Souls Day: NOV 2
Grandparents Day: SEP 8
Peace Day: SEP 21
Patriot Day: SEP 21

I suppose we need a special day for everyone and everything. Everyone gets a trophy!

THE CHALLENGE:  Stop!  Stop with all the nonsense!  Read the book mentioned above and strive to live on purpose and on time.  Live deliberately.  Take charge of the one and only life you were given.  Be honest with yourself and take an honest look at what you put on your “calendar”?  If you fill the days with nonsense, then the sum of your life will be nonsense.  If you fill it purpose and meaning and personal growth your life will be rich.  It’s up to you!

SWING BA-DAH, BA-DAH

Three words:

1) Boston
2) Fenway Park

If you know anything about Major League Baseball you should already be thinking “Green Monster” – your team has probably been robbed of a homerun or two by the 37’ high wall in left field.

As soon as spring time rolled around in my neighborhood, there was only one priority – imitate the big leaguers! After all, we lived in Pawtucket, home to the Red Sox farm team.

I vividly recall the fierce wiffle ball competitions we had, composed of set teams from kids all around the neighborhood. The oldest kids acted as team managers.  They kept statistics and calculated batting averages in 5 subject notebooks.

My friend Nathan had the perfect backyard for baseball. Off to the right was a row of hedges about 8’ tall.  Hit the ball over the hedge and you got yourself a homerun.

I was really good at this. If there was a ball low and outside I was swinging for my own “Green Monster.”  The older kids yelled at me for swinging at pitches that were so far outside the strike zone – but I didn’t care.  I knew I would hit home run after home run.

Opposing teams would harass me. As the ball was coming towards home plate they would yell, “SWING BATTER BATTER!” (pronounced with a thick Rhode Island accent “ba-dah, ba-dah”)

This annoying little phrase spread like wild fire and someone would rehearse the chant no matter who was at bat.

THE CHALLENGE: You only have one life to live and like it or not, you are at bat.  There are people who don’t want you to hit a home run, or even get on base.  There are people chanting “SWING BATTER, BATTER”  Maybe they want you to swing for a certain college, a certain program, a certain job, a certain look, a certain qualification, a certain political party, a certain standard, a certain car, a certain home, a certain blah, blah whatever.  Ignore them.  The only “certain” is for you to be certain on what YOU are aiming for.  So go for it, ignore the chatter, aim for the Green Monster and knock one out of the park.  Run around the bases and slide IN the dirt because..one day… you will be UNDER the dirt.

WINGS N’ THINGS

Long before the internet, there was this place called the library. If you wanted to gather information in a systematic fashion what would you use?  Google?  Nope!  Enter the prehistoric search engine, the Dewey Decimal System (Thank you Melvil, but I digress, a lot).

Going to the library was a must for me. I recall maxing out the 10 book limit on a regular basis.  My stack of books always came out of the “nature” genre, usually insects.

I was fascinated with bugs.  If I wasn’t reading about them, I was collecting specimens.  If I wasn’t collecting them, I was “conquering” them…usually with the bottom of my foot…or a magnifying glass (and a few other creative ways not worth mentioning – don’t judge – I was a boy).  Maybe that’s why my answer to the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” (An entomologist) never came to fruition.  (But I digress, again)

Have you ever noticed that ants take to the air for an opportunity to mate every time a summer heat wave strikes? After the “magic” happens, what next?  The male dies and the female abandons her wings.  What?!  What is wrong with Mother Nature?  Shouldn’t a new momma ant make herself as mobile as possible?  You know, explore the town, find the best neighborhood, maybe do a little shopping and perhaps raid a picnic?  Instead, she’s 100% committed.  She picks her nesting site and goes to work, never stopping until she dies.

THE CHALLENGE: Stop flying around.  You know what you want to be when you “grow up” right?  So do it.  Chew your wings off!  Dig in!  Do your thing!  Get to work and don’t stop.  The formula is that simple.  I already know that 99.9% of you reading this are going to look your wings in the mirror and tell yourself how you can’t live without them, and that you can’t lose them, at least not yet.  It’s a lie.  Don’t listen.