3 Quotes I like, one of them is mine

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Sometimes, when we party or take vacations, we stray from things we’ve been working to cultivate. Circumstances and conditions push us from our goals. We stray from habits we’ve been trying to instill and the beliefs we’ve been trying to imbue. We go to the beach and we pee in the ocean and we throw footballs into groups of attractive women. Sometimes those things happen. For the last five days, those things happened to me.

I am back in Daegu now, away from the ocean and away from the party. I am back in my condo working on myself; trying to hydrate and trying to repair damaged skin. I do not “bronze.”

I’m trying to get back to all the good stuff I had going.

Below are three quotes that mean a lot to me. I wrote about them in the past, in my book, because they have significant meaning to me. They are quotes I like because they force me to commit to certain beliefs and values I cherish most. They aren’t exactly relevant to my current five day beach bender, but they are indicative of what I want to get back too. One of the quotes is also by me. I thought that was funny since I just admitted to covert marine urination and terrifying Korean women with beach-toss-go-routes.

(I will write about the Busan beach trip with a next post. I wanted to include these quotes as an excerpt from my book, which I’m editing now. Shameless plug, I know. My sister’s wedding is coming up, I need to make some money so I can give her and Chris a nice gift. As of now, they will be receiving hospitality and a dynamite rehearsal dinner speech.)

(Excerpts from “Millennial Playbook”… Not trying to be cocky, it will be self published, let’s be real) 

“To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift” – Steve Prefontaine

“Pre”, if you aren’t familiar, is the man. Without going into great depths, he was a world class athlete–Olympian–who committed to certain ideals and beliefs that made him one of America’s most respected competitors.

This powerful quote, hopefully one you are familiar with, can extend to every facet of your life. I’ve drilled these words into my mind so many times that it has stuck. If I wasn’t afraid of my mom, this is what I would have tattooed on my body, probably in semi arc on my belly.

Personal significance: I’ve lived with regret in my life. As an athlete I could have worked harder. I could have done more in preparation and I could have refrained from activities (drinking, SEC sororities, dancers (exotic), etc) that were not conducive to my performance. The same can be said of my education. My mind and body were not always things I worked to optimize. “Pre” made this comment in relation to his tireless and often inimitable work ethic. As this quotation has become ingrained, almost a mantra, I find myself calling upon its essence in times of laziness or inaction.

It sticks with me so purposefully, I believe, because of the value I place in the body and the mind. They are gifts. When you are mindfully present, living each day with vigor and focus, you are always seeking improvement. Failing to improve yourself, both body and mind, is a waste of the gift. That how it sits with me and that’s why I always refer back to this quotation. If I have not worked to improve my mind or body, each day, I’ve wasted the gift.

If I find myself wanting to sit on my couch with my hand in my pants, for extended lengths of time, I refer to this quote. Over time it has become a reminder that I don’t need to remember.

I believe the pursuit of my best self. Personal optimization, is the greatest way to honor all that I have. Thinking about this daily helps me persist with things I don’t always want to do. I don’t always want to go to the gym or exercise, or read, and I don’t always want to be nice to people. Realizing the gifts in your life, especially your mind and your body, will help you persist. You will want to honor what you have.

Game of Thrones marathons are the only times I shit on the gift.

“It is not necessary to believe in God to be a good person. In a way, the traditional notion of God is outdated. One can be spiritual but not religious. It is not necessary to go to church and give money–for many, nature can be a church. Some of the best people in history did not believe in God, while some of worst deeds were done in His name.” – Pope Francis.

Please don’t get hung up on that first sentence.

I’m going to try and make a parallel between this quote, and its importance, to one of my favorite books, “Life of Pi.” It may be a stretch. If I fail, I’ll put a blunt, bold sentence at the end concisely describing why I love this quote so much.

The protagonist in Life of Pie is a young boy who survives a shipwreck and cohabitates a raft with a Bengal tiger. As that element in itself–a young boy surviving a wreck and living at sea with a tiger–is enough to warrant a read, the most resonant aspect of the book is Pi’s character. To aggressively summarize, Piscine Patel (Pi) is a young boy who holds a love and appreciation for all religions. He finds and focuses upon all parts of faith because he finds beauty in so many different beliefs. He identifies with numerous religions because, to paraphrase, belief in something pure and beautiful is always a good thing. (End of summary)

I grew up Roman Catholic and continue to practice that faith because I believe in the virtues of love and compassion that Jesus exhibits. Recently, like a lot of people my age, I have been put off by the dogma and propriety of the church. I also do not enjoy literal aspects of the Christian faith in which good people are excluded because of fundamental interpretations of the bible. What I like, much like Pi, to make that literary reference relevant, are the virtues of religion that further connectedness and compassion. I have always hated how religion–all of them–promote ritual and affiliation over goodness. To me, it seemed like meritocracy was missing. A person should not be celebrated for what they proclaim or the doctrines they adhere, but by the good that they do.

Pope Francis’ words reaffirm what I love about Christianity. I do not love this quote because it says something bad about religion, but rather that it promotes my favorite parts of religion. When people, or church officials, argue about interpretations of the bible or doctrine I think the important stuff gets lost. Obviously I’m not a learned dude in this type of ish, but this depiction of religion, where good deeds and love are what is important, is why I believe.

I may have failed:

The Pope, the leader of the Catholic Church, is advocating for a universal love and a commitment to “God” in a way that is not defined by rule or doctrine but by good deeds and love.

That is legit and something I’m on board with.

“I am my greatest resource. I am in control of my mind and my body and I have all that I need to succeed” – Me

If it comes off a little arrogant that I used my own quotation as one of the five, I’m sorry.

I’m not sorry.

With some guidance from my guy Tony (Robbins) I crafted this quotation for my visualization board. It has since become a driving personal standard and something that inspires me to action. Always.

For a long time, especially when dealing with limiting beliefs, I took refuge in certain rationalizations. These rationalizations were not good. They prevented me from committing fully to my goals before ever really trying. Because I was a little scared, I made excuses for myself. The most debilitating of these was a notion that I did not have the same advantages and opportunities of those people who had accomplished what I wanted to. Especially in regards to writing, I kind of hid behind the fence of ‘I’m not famous enough’. Pursuing this goal was out of my control; it required opportunity outside of my cultivation. That’s what I thought. It made it easier thinking that way because I had already prepared myself for letdown–for the realization that publication and literary legitimacy were out of my control. It was easy knowing that it wasn’t my fault if I didn’t succeed. Simply put, I did not have the same resources and opportunities as the authors and comedians I admired.

This thought/belief permeated into other areas of my life too. I didn’t have the body I wanted because I didn’t have the right genetics. I didn’t have the fluffy checking account because I wasn’t from money. She didn’t respond to my direct messages because I didn’t have enough followers. Passively, I was making excuses in all facets of my life. I was limiting myself without really being privy to it. This quote, once absorbed enough and instilled into my being, changed my thinking. It changed my life.

Knowledge, as everyone knows, is power. Knowing that you are capable of anything is the peak of power. When you take responsibility and become aware that your mind and your body–your greatest faculties–are completely in your control, your growth becomes boundless. The opportunities are waiting within you. By beginning with yourself, knowing in absoluteness that you are enough, your beliefs change. There isn’t any challenge you won’t tackle nor any goal you won’t pursue. There isn’t, because you have yourself, your greatest resource.

Basically, if you message her enough, regardless of your limited followers, she will respond. That, is taking control.




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