“You got to dig a little deeper; when you find out who you are, you’ll find out what you need”- Mama Odie, The Princess and The Frog. If you are a parent, then you are… More
Motivation comes in many forms. Most commonly, motivation is an action, a word or a picture that centers your thoughts. It’s there for you on a hard day and it keeps you on the right path.
Peanut asked me recently, “ Dad, what happens if I fail and want to give up?”
And I replied, “Darlin’, that’s where the challenge begins and you start having fun.”
Humans are easily discouraged. When met with adversity and it seems as though the bombs are falling all around, people tend to give up. An internal dialogue reels through the mind saying, ‘This is it, you’ve failed. Time to give up.’
Now what if it’s possible to muster up a blind courage that ignore that devil on the shoulder. I guess we could call that courage an angel on your shoulder, but that’s kind of cheesy. I prefer calling it by a truer name, ‘willpower.’
Laugh in the face of failure and get your ass back up. Good things will happen.
Many people quote Winston Churchill as saying, “If you’re going through hell, just keep going.” The man’s got a pretty good point here. If you stop when everything is going wrong then more bad things are bound to happen. But if you keep trudging through the muck and the mire, there is a chance that good things happen.
I’ll take that chance.
Hugh Herr was an avid mountain climber at the age of 18 when he was caught in the middle of a blizzard. Hugh developed a severe case of hypothermia, but persevered through to ultimately be rescued three days. Hugh needed to have his legs amputated to survive – and the doctors said no more climbing.
Don’t take no for an answer.
Where there’s a will there’s a way – Hugh refused to give up. He joined an elite group of scientists at MIT and developed prosthetic technology that not only made it possible for him to climb again, he made it easier for other amputees to recuperate. His Biomechatronics research improved the coordination between the body and prosthetic through the development of mini computers in robotic limbs.
Here is a man, who had been told by mother nature, ‘give up,’ and by doctors ‘give up,’ to then go and prove them all wrong. Now that takes willpower.
It might seem so insignificant to some, but I changed my computer background to Hugh trudging up a mountain face with his robotic looking legs. I did this to remind me every single day what willpower is and when a particularly hard day comes around, it centers me and keeps me on the right path.
Next time you want to give up, dig deep down and find your willpower. Just keep going.
Peanut here (I stole Dad’s laptop!!)
I have no idea what limoncello but Mama always laughs a little when she says this and then explains that when I am 21 I will understand. But for now, I will be drinking “lemonade.” For me, this saying simply means when life is being particularly hard on you just make the best of it.
It drives me bonkers when I hear people complaining about the little annoying things that happen over the course of their day. Ugh, all it does in February is snow.. 1month later… Ugh March is such a long and cold month; I can’t wait until April….1 month later…Ugh, all it does is rain in April; I can’t wait until the summer.
People love to complain, especially about the weather. Also, a lot of people like to complain in general about anything possible. It acts as their form of venting or distressing but in doing so I find it brings down the people around them. Complainers attract more complainers and nothing ends up getting done at the end of the day. Oh, and the stuff they were complaining about has since amplified in the mean time while they were complaining. It does nothing but hurt self-esteem, team collaboration, and efficiency.
Now I am going to stop complaining about people complaining about life because that’s rather hypocritical of me.
The other day I was upset about my teeth (which hurt a lot and I wake up in the middle of the night to let everyone know). And while I was upset, my mom first told me the classic saying about making this limoncello stuff.
So I’m like, “Hey, that sounds pretty yummy. Does it taste like milk?”
I thought about this saying for a while and realized that even though my teeth are painful I will be able to chew new food soon with my teeth, yum I can’t wait. So my solution to the problem was to realize everything is going to be okay (who woulda thunk it).
So, instead of complaining about my teeth, I will keep thinking about the good food that I can eat. It is this kind of thinking my mom says leads to happier days. And it is the happy days that lead to good things in the future.
I don’t just talk to talk. I make it count. So in the future, if you’re going to complain always have a solution to back it up. And remember Acta NonVerba (Actions Not Words).
No one enjoys sour lemons…make the good sweet stuff.
Shit happens all the time – in the middle of an intimate conversation, in a crowded room, while on public transportation. But it’s the personal reaction of the shitter themselves that will determine whether he gets out unscathed.
Peanut asked me the other day, “Dad, when shit happens to me at the most inopportune times what will your advice on what to do do?”
I responded with, “Hah, you said ‘do do.’
Okay okay no more poop jokes, what are we talking with babies here or something?
In all seriousness the first thing to keep in mind next time you’re in a sticky situation is to stay calm. No one else yet knows of what dwells below. Chances are you will be able to escape without them even being aware. Just play it cool.
If shit happens during a business meeting, stare intently at Bill’s chart of this quarter’s report and don’t panic. As hard as it may sound, maintain eye contact and have a strong will. You will survive this traumatizing event.
Next step is to plan the getaway. Call me paranoid but whenever I go to a restaurant I take the lessons I learned from Godfather with me. Don’t sit with your back to the bathroom and always expect unexpected attacks from the bathroom to occur.
Now when Peanut and the Gang go on a family outing, we always face the exits and have a bathroom in sight. But what if said bathroom is in a restaurant with no changing table. Even if you do make it to the bathroom you’re still up shits creek (last one I swear).
When a loved one shits their pants in public, it’s your duty (okay that’s the last one) to help with moral support in any way you can…or be a distraction. Prior to social events, create a hand signal that says, ‘IT’S HAPPENING’ and have an established escape plan. A wonderful distraction would be to subtly go open the bathroom door and immediately yell, “There’s a troll in the dungeon!!!!” And while every eye in the place falls upon a perfectly scripted distraction your loved one escapes to live another day (and find new shorts).
Once you make it out of said restaurant (fresh air thank god), find the nearest store and buy the first pair of pants you see. Now the most reliable spot to make a diaper change is the car – whether it’s yours or your baby’s. It takes some skill getting used to the angled seats, but the car is private and quiet in case someone starts to cry (usually me).
Expect the unexpected and follow my advice if ever caught in a stinky predicament.
What about the good old days of going to school and one of the hardest decisions was to pick an owl, a cat, or a toad?
Harry Potter was a revolutionary series that spurred the imagination of thousands of young kids and swept them away into a magical world of witchcraft, wizardry, and teeming curiosity. Students were encouraged to pursue their curiosity in the form of magic classes and adventures – most importantly, they were taught how to think, not what to think.
After watching the movie, Peanut immediately asked if she could attend. I simply said, ‘if you work hard and let your creativity flow then you can go.’ Peanut promptly responded with, ‘I’ve got lots of that creative stuff.’
Learning how to think allows a student to take his mind and apply it to any scenario as opposed to learning what to think and not being as malleable.
Hogwarts allowed a natural development of individual knowledge to take place. If you can do the whole magic thing then you’re probably in the best classes for that. If your wand explodes after every spell then you just excel at your own pace. In normal Muggle schools, kids are thrown into classes they aren’t prepared for or even worse held back in classes that aren’t advanced enough.
In an ideal world, there’s a hat that sorts you into your respective house. Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Slytherin all representing different types of people.
Hogwarts is not a utopia. Bullies, cliques, and bad grades still exist, but they are dealt with in the right way.
Sports politics and drama exist at Hogwarts. Quidditch is the football craze of the school and jocks aren’t just dreamy at Hogwarts, they’re magical (Hah, bad jokes can be funny too). Similarly to the real world, everyone goes nuts over sports and often too much focus goes towards school sports instead of class time.
Harry Potter has the role of the Seeker in the first Quidditch game, which is the equivalent of the quarterback. But I just can’t help but notice that in pretty much every Quidditch match, someone gets hurt or dies. Maybe a little less pride and concussions could help our nations test scores (think about it).
It doesn’t matter how from the Internet you are –trolls will find you, even at Hogwarts.
Internet trolls are always a pain in real life, but why not outsmart them like Harry, Ron, and Hermoine and make them look stupid.
Use some creativity to confront your troll issues. And remember don’t let those trolls get ya down.
Let’s start this party off with something I recite to you all the time. Then we can get to your dad’s sage old advice. Keep these words close – believe it or not, not everything I say is a bunch of hogwash.
Oh, The Places You’ll Go!
You have the brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
Any direction you choose.
You’re on your own.
And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who’ll
decide where to go.
You’ll get mixed up,
of course, as you already know.
You’ll get mixed up with
Many strange birds as you go.
So be sure when you step.
Step with care and great
Tact and remember that
Life’s A Great Balancing Act.
And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.)
KID, YOU’LL MOVE MOUNTAINS!
– Dr. Seuss
A Letter To Peanut
Life is an adventure little one. No matter what trials and tribulations you’re faced with in this world you will overcome them.
Humans have this terrific will power that can conquer any obstacle. It’s just that most people drown that gift with things along the way.
What things am I referring to? Well, there are the physical things. Humans seek asylum from their problems in temporary objects that fulfill immediate needs. There’s a saying ‘money can’t buy you happiness,’ and a possible response could be ‘but have you ever seen an unhappy person on a jet ski?’
The fact of the matter is you can, to a certain extent, buy happiness. You can buy a car that brings you places, a TV that gives you entertainment pleasure or new clothes that keep you warm. All of these things create happiness. But is that happiness sustainable? Usually not.
A year after you buy that car, your eyes fall upon the newly released fancy car your neighbor just bought. Your year old car looks old, grimy and is falling apart because of something called planned obsolescence that car companies use to keep selling cars every year. Comparison, greed and jealously sets in. You can’t help but want the bigger, better and faster car to get you to the places you want to go.
Don’t let comparison be the thief of creativity. Ride a bike or run to your next destination.
That TV goes from being a refreshing source of entertainment to a reliable safe haven from the world outside. Hours waste away as you consume what media throws your way.
Don’t rely on objects for joy or spend too much time using objects. Do something on your own for once – go for a run, draw a picture or stare at the stars.
Society and a hyper sexualized fashion culture tells us those perfectly confortable jeans are out of style (that’s sooo last year). A designer brand tee shirt that costs $175 does not serve the purpose of just keeping you warm, it’s a statement of class and is often a pretentious way of saying ‘I’m better than you.’ Putting other people down doesn’t get you far in life.
Don’t let others pressure you into being someone you’re not. Be yourself and create your own style.
Humans who are met with difficulties always have a choice. And that choice is to either push back against those hardships with things that indirectly address the issue at hand or to directly confront the issue using what brews inside you.
You, Peanut, will succeed. It’s 98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.
This is by no means your creed. And is unsolicited advice indeed.
But as long as you just do you and find what you need.
Kid you’ll move mountains!
Easter was this past weekend. That means long meals with mostly unhealthy foods and posing for family pictures every ten minutes. After all the festivities died down, Peanut goes, “Dad why are so many pictures taken?”
So I go, “ because people want to remember special moments.”
Peanut fires back, “people must have really bad memory then. There are too many pictures. People should just fully experience the moment like me. That way they can remember it better.”
In a digital world where everyone fancies themselves a photographer, the Internet might burst at the seems with crappy photos. No literally, this article says the Internet is being affected by all the E-waste online and eventually hurts us as human beings.
Moral of the story is if the last four pictures on your Instagram account are selfies chances are no one likes you. Question your existence in knowing that you’re contributing to the fall of the Internet.
Okay, enough picking on the narcissistic readers out there.
You may say, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” but it’s hard to justify that statement when 400 of those words would be ‘like.’ And if anyone in the audience can write 1000 words describing a selfie of theirs, please send us a message. We are genuinely curious in reading your eloquent prose.
I don’t even think Shakespeare did that but hey, maybe we have a savant in the audience.
Instead of just bashing bad photographers, I’ll give you some advice.
Take a hike.
No seriously go for a hike or take a walk. And capture what you see through the lens. Photography should exude some resemblance of what your reality is and if that reality is duck faces at the bar try mixing it up a bit.
In a world crowded with selfie sticks and duck faces, I tip the hat to those who keep real photography alive. Simple, inspiring, emotional photography. If you don’t already follow these accounts you should probably get in here: Chris Burkard, Paul Nicklen, HUNY, and Theron Humphrey.
Ansel Adams limited himself to one picture a day during some of his most creative phases. Now I know I don’t have that diligence to just take one (it’s like eating cookies or chips). All I’m saying is make it special. Make the photos you take special and you will get more from them.
If those photog accounts above didn’t motivate you enough just google ‘urban photography’ and see what comes up. It’s funny how some of the best photographs occur in the oddest of places.
Have fun and don’t forget: Shoot Responsibly
You can tell a lot about someone by just looking at his or her shoes. See where they’ve been or decipher their habits.
Peanut prefers no shoes – Embodying a free spirit attitude and laid-back lifestyle. Occasionally, Peanut does throw on some footwear in the form of comfy socks (gotta keep those babies warm). Hopefully she doesn’t grow up to wear just socks in public or be a Shoobie from Rocket Power.
I’m going to start introducing Peanut to different kinds of shoes and see which ones she likes most. Some Vans or Toms would be a fashionable choice.
If Peanut wants to wear some funky shoes, I support her decision as long as she doesn’t use the line “It’s called fashion, look it up,” which I’m sure the designers of 20 Of The Weirdest Shoes, Ever said at one point or another.
But if we’re getting down to business and jumping in puddles, she should try some cool J. Crew rain boots. If she wants to wear flip-flops, I’ll let her (just not crocs).
Crocs are off limits, no matter what. Sorry Peanut, looks like you’ll have to go barefoot if the only option is crocs. Cowboy boots on the other hand, is always a yes.
Shoes can bring together an outfit nicely and when you’re a baby it’s all about microfashion.
We went into Asics the other day because I needed some new dad running sneakers. They have baby Asics sneakers that definitely only fit babies who crawl. I’m sure the importance of arch support for toddlers is crucial, but I guess Peanut will have to learn how we all learned, sans arch.
I’m all for spoiling my kid and giving them what they want but dang man, those shoes were expensive and she can’t even crawl yet. Maybe next year missy.
Peanut asked me the other day, who’s idea was it to eat cheese? And I was like, yo I have no idea quit playin’. Then she just looked at me with that ‘nah man I’m serious’ look. So naturally some research ensued.
Seriously think about it though. 2,000 something years ago some guy was probably super drunk, had the drunchies and said, ‘Ya know what screw it, Ima eat that. What’s the worst that could happen?’ And from one man’s impromptu drunk food adventure came today’s wine and cheese parties.
Dairy actually contains something called Casein and when digested, Casein fragments are converted into Casomorphins – which has effects similar to an opioid. Dairy cows have this inherent chemical breakdown in their milk to help baby calves eat more and grow bigger.
After thinking about it for a while, I realized drinking the milk of another animal is absolutely absurd. And to what extent that first guy needed to go to in order to chase down that poor cow.
Humanity will always find a way.
It doesn’t matter what the addiction is, humans find a way to over use everything – cheese, food, drugs, alcohol, video games or Netflix.
Netflix or more generally media addiction is really prevalent and is constantly down played in social settings.
“Have you seen the new season of that show?”
“Yeah, I’m totally addicted. I binge watched the whole thing.”
This conversation has become a reality in today’s world. People deflate the reality of wasting hours at a time as if it’s not a big deal. Ya’ll should be aspiring to more than that and you know it.
When that 30-second timer pops up saying the next episode is about run, stop the playback loop and do something else. You’ll thank Peanut and I later at some point, trust me.
In moderation addictive things are radical and can really be cool, but when abused they take over your life. Over consumption of dairy product rich in proteins or probiotics can cause stomach and heart problems. An awe-inspiring Netflix show can just blur into a giant blur of staring at a screen. Video games can increase reaction times and creativity, but when used too much it over stimulates the brain and users get less quality sleep.
Again, Peanut asked why do humans go out of their way to hurt themselves and ruin really cool things?
I wanted to just say, “Cuz they’re human, honey” but I know that would just be followed by a “but why?”
Simply put, people have a hard time saying NO. The more disturbing thing is when other people (like marketers) take advantage of this inherent disposition, but I digress.
So, how do we avoid addiction?
It takes saying NO to break the cycle. Then follow up that NO with some action. This reinforces new habits.
Find addictions or habits that are beneficial to your wellbeing. Instead of eating cheese and watching Netflix on the couch eat something that makes you feel good (You Are What You Eat) and go to the gym (Babies Workout Too).
When all the greats describe their daily routines there is always some time carved out of the day for physical exercise. Ben Franklin would go on strolls and Ronald Reagan would pump iron int he White House. Peanut is an active baby. Every morning, she gets up and has a light breakfast (just enough to kickstart the morning), then proceeds to march in place for 30 minutes as Dad holds her up in bed.
It’s a grand ol’ time. Peanut tells jokes, I tell jokes and we both laugh. And all the while she marches in place to get that important exercise in for the day.
Not enough people have consistent workout routines. Peanut asked why don’t people have consistant workout routines? It’s so easy and fun.
You hear all the time in lots of scenarios “I don’t have time for this or that.” WORST EXCUSE EVER.
It really comes down to the fact that everyone is a procrastinator. We can find excuses everywhere if we try hard enough, but why put fortht he effort? If you tell yourself to just get up and go you’ll get it done.
If the procrastinator took the amount of time they spent complaining about the time they don’t have and how busy they are that time eventually adds up. 3 minutes here, 6 minutes there and before you realize it, that time eventually adds up to anywhere for 20- 60 minutes a day (depending on how much of a whiner you are).
Acta Non Verba – Actions Not Words
(I mentioned Acta Non Verba in a previous post, which you should read for a motivational attitude adjustment.)
It all starts with attitude. Give yourself some motivational talk over that light meal I mentioned earlier. I usually have an apple, a granola bar, banana with peanut butter while listening to music that gets my blood pumping.
Let’s be honest. some of us out there (me included) get self-conscious at the gym. That’s why I joined the $10 a month gym where no body gets dressed up in Active Wear to go work out.
Let’s cut the shit and get after it.
The age old Helicopter Parent has since evolved into something much much worse, a ‘Hovercraft Parent.’ Modern parents have a new set of instincts that increasingly shelter their child from the daunting ‘bad’ in the world. Helicopter Parents linger over their kids, but Hovercraft Parents straight up smother them. Sweeping generalization? Perhaps…but I’ll let you be the judge.
The reality of the situation is in a world where anything can simply be Googled, there’s a spoiler alert behind every turn regardless of the how protective the parents. The efforts of Hovercraft Parents to protect their kids from bullies are futile, because they often perpetuate the problem and victimize their child.
Peanut was recently exposed to some Hovercraft Parenting and she was wondering why parents are all up in their kids’ business?
So we thought about it for a bit and we came up with a two step guide to avoid hovercraft parenting as much as possible.
** From here on, let’s call them Hovercrafters. One because it’s easier and two, let’s be honest, they’re not that good at parenting and don’t deserve that in their title. **
How To Spot A Hovercrafter
The first step is always identification. Who are these Hovercrafter and what are they all about?
They’re often the mom or dad who doesn’t stop talking about their kid. “Johnny’s on the Ivy Track and won’t be at the school field trip because he has a dance recital,” said a Hovercrafter one time (I’m sure of it). In case you didn’t know lady, Johnny eats crayons because he’s still in 2nd grade and his favorite color is 6.
Hovercrafters tend to do their kids’ homework for them and then complain to the teachers claiming they don’t teach well. Such a waste of time. The kid will grow up dependent and live in their parents’ basement for the rest of their life wondering why they never made it big.
Hovercrafters are also the ones who don’t really have social lives, so they replace that void with always being in their kids’ business. Hovercrafters try too hard. They don’t know when enough is enough and ironically, it often backfires.
Shielding a kid from something makes them want to question it even more. “Don’t tell Johnny about Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll.” Well he already pulled up the female anatomy and worse on Google. He asked an older kid about drugs and then got roped into some
How To Deal With A Hovercrafter
If Hovercrafters are spotted at kiddie playgroup telling the other kids not to make fun of Johnny’s Asthma or some other absurd Hovercrafter type activity, just steer clear. Stand back and observe. Because if you raised your kid right, they’ll handle it like a champ and other parents who think Hovercrafting is weird will naturally stand back too. Boom, best non-Hovercrafter friends you’ll ever meet.
Hovercrafters are usually hotheaded drama queens. And they fizzle out. So just do you and let the drama subside.
The best styles of parenting are 1. The right way and 2. The wrong way.
If you’re not a Heli or Hover Parent keep up the good work, you restore faith in humanity.