Monthly Archives: February 2016

The benefits of finding 10 minutes for yourself

“I don’t have enough time….”

This is a common phrase we hear from people when they are trying to qualify why they can’t do something. What I want to do is give you something that if you find the time to do can have a permanent effect on you and your life.

Mindfulness has proven to have tangible health benefits for both your physical and mental well-being. It is a purposeful practice of focus all your attention on the present moment and keying into accepting the present situations. Far too often we are caught checking an email, while watching tv, while trying to pay attention to our kids, while (insert activity here).

What I’m asking you to do is invest 10 minutes in yourself, just 10 minutes! Take 5 in the morning and 5 at night.

Use those five minutes in the morning to breathe and appreciate the here and now, use the five minutes at night to appreciate the good things that you experienced during that day. If you think you might have issues with doing it or focusing on the good things that happened, invest in a journal that will prompt you to fill in answers on gratitude, appreciation and introspection on the day. I use the five minute journal.

People are spending less time actually paying attention to the current moment. Most people don’t realize they can manufacture more time for a new practice if they just quit wasting it doing something else.

As my good friend Kurt Richardson said many years ago

“There” is not better than “here”.

When your “there” has become a “here”, you will likely look for another “there” that will again look better than “here”.

So be happy “here”.

Perception is often worse than reality

I want you to think about a time when you stood before a task and you knew it was going to suck. You knew that the thing you were about to do was going to put you into a state of physical or mental pain. You knew it was going to hurt badly and you truly in your heart did not want to go through it.

An easy example of this is to think of a time when you were standing on the edge of a pool and you knew that the water you were about to enter was cold. The idea of cold water plays with everyone mentally. We all stand there on the edge of that pool and think about all of the negative things that are about to happen when cold water touches skin.

What we don’t spend time thinking about is that after 2 minutes, you’re going to adjust to temperature of the water and it will become an enjoyable experience. Too often our focus is on all the negative things, instead of worrying about all how bad it’s going to be at the beginning. Think about how great it’s going to be after you endure the initial suck.

Because let’s be honest, if you can’t endure 2 minutes of pain, you don’t deserve the feeling of enjoyment.

What’s Your Default Mode?

“Everyone has a plan until this get punched in the face” – Mike Tyson

Do you know your default mode? It’s a simple question that everyone should take time to figure out. You’re default mode is going to be the thing that switches on in times of chaos. When things fail to go according to plan your body and mind are going to switch to whatever settings you have turned on in your system.

The concept of default aggressive in one I’ve heard spoken about in everything from sports to military combat. I personally have experienced during my playing career at Michigan State. Coach Mike Garland was always on me to do things aggressively. Every step needed to be aggressive, every cut needed to be aggressive, every defensive slide, every rebound, every time I dove after a loose ball, it needed to be aggressive.

My default mode is aggressive.

When you know your default mode and make the switch from passive to aggressive. You will have less worry about what would happen if a plan fails. You gain confidence that when you do take a punch to the face, you’ll be ready to handle whatever happens next…..aggressively.

Use Outside Perspectives to Help You Find Opportunity

“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses” – Abraham Lincoln

When I got to Michigan State I had no clue how I fit into the overall program. I didn’t know whether I would be a full time practice player or have any other sort of role. For a long time I tried to play like and do the same things that a lot of my more talent teammates did. What I failed to realize was that by me trying to play like everyone else I was actually hurting the team and not adding any value.

Fortunately, I had one of Coach Izzo’s old coach’s Steve Kirk come to practice and after he watched a few minutes he pulled me aside. He told me that I could start to help the time by changing the way I was trying to play and focusing more on doing the things that no one else was doing. That would give me an opportunity to add value and earn some playing time.

Seeking out an outside perspective to look at what you’re doing and help you find the gaps of opportunity is one of the best ways to help your team and puts you in a position to make an impact in ways you may have never thought of.

Day 2 – Use Your Ego as an Indicator for Learning Opportunites

Everyone feels jealousy at some point in your life, especially in the current state of information consumption. Because most people only highlight or share the good things that are happening in their lives on a day to day basis we are inundated with the consumption of other people’s highlight tape of their life.

This can also cause us to start to feel the onset of jealousy creep up the back of our necks and start to make statements like “why not me” or “so and so doesn’t deserve what they are getting.” When you start to feel that negativity growing inside you take a minute and flip the way you look at it. Instead of trying to knock the other person down, try asking “what can I learn from this person?”

Take a look at the positive steps they’ve taken to garner success and learn from the road map they’ve laid out for all of us.

Day 1 – Blind Acceptance vs Self-Awareness

“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step” – Martin Luther King Jr.

This is my first step for me as I embark on a 30 day writing challenge for myself and hopefully for other people to learn and thinking and have self-reflection about why and how they are doing things. It’s one of the most underrated tools that people have at their disposal.

There is an undeniable tie between your ability to look in the mirror and examine why you accept certain things as truth and why you disagree on topics and your own self-awareness.  I truly believe that people are more accepting of truths and ideas of other people and will adopt those as their own and will have never sat down and gotten introspective as to why they actually believe.

A great example from my personal life is the reaction I get from people when they hear the kinds of food I eat or that I feed to my son. Most people have taken a blind acceptance to the non-sense that is fed to them by big businesses and in many cases this blind acceptance turns right into a form of addiction. Take moments to understand yourself and that will help you truly understand what you believe in.

What it take to be No. 1 – by Bill Russell

Bill Russell

“The first part’s easy. You arrange to be born with a lot of the tools. In my game that means a good pair of hands and a good set of reflexes. Coming on at 6’9” doesn’t hurt you too much, either.

“But that’s only the beginning. Because to get to where you want to go, you’ve got to drive and push yourself relentlessly. You’ve got to want to win so badly that the thought of coming in second is simply intolerable. And you’ve got to pay the price of winning.

“Paying the price, in anything you do, is spelled “work.” Days and nights and years of work. And it’s too bad that many men – men who are born with the basic talent –think of “work” as a dirty word.

“But there’s another angle to being No. 1. Getting there is tough enough. Staying there is something else. It is, in fact, a lot like being a gunfighter. Day after day…80 grueling games a year, another hot young hand comes on to try you. He’s watched and studied you ever since he was a kid. And he thinks he’s ready to take you. And the fact is that if you let up for a moment, he’ll do it. You lose that fine, competitive edge, mentally or physically, and you’re dead.

“Forget about luck, You make your own luck. A year or so ago a prominent football coach put it pretty well. He said “There’s only one thing I believe about luck….it’s unlucky to be behind at the end of the game.” And that’s what it’s all about.

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