Don’t ever for one second believe that you are in control.

Posted: March 1st, 2010 | Author: admin | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | No Comments »

About 9 1/2 years ago, a friend of mine was about to a begin working at a new firm. He pursued this position diligently, lobbying hard, selling his qualifications and the potential impact he could have on the company’s business. And when he was chosen, he was truly elated, as this position afforded him an phenomenal opportunity to advance in his career. So one beautiful late summer morning he woke up extra early, left his home in northern NJ and arrived eagerly at his new employer. Upon arrival, he was undoubtedly presented with stacks of forms from HR and left in some cubicle to fill them out alone. Then the first plane crashed into the tower. He left behind a wife and small kids, one just barely a year old.

This past Friday, the 15 year old son of friends left for an adventure as an exchange student. He too was undoubtedly excited about the wonderful experiences and opportunities that would unfold over the next 4 months. He would meet new friends, experience a new culture and elevate his Spanish skills to a new level. And then with in 24 hours of his arrival in Santiago, one of the largest earthquakes in  modern times struck Chile.  Fortunately, he was unharmed but the last that I heard, he has still yet to actually speak to his parents.

These are 2 personal examples of the world being turned upside down instantly; one caused by the senseless yet well planned action of a few men and another brought on seemingly at random by our very world. No one is immune from these exogenous events. They may not be life threatening but your life will be changed. While you can’t control external factors, you can control yourself. The only course of action is to simply accept the reality of the situation and respond appropriately.  Whether that is making a last call to your wife and telling her that you love her or working closely with others for a common goal. Regardless of the outcome, every situation, good or bad,  whether we realize it or not, presents us with an opportunity. It may not be the opportunity that we are looking for or one that we even want, but we don’t have that choice. However we do have the choice, or rather the responsibility to ourselves, to see these opportunities and seize them. Our lives are composed of a continuous stream of these moments. Don’t waste them. Make each one count. Make every moment your last moment.

Michael, you will not forgotten. Zach we all look forward to your safe return.

choose one: crisis or opporunity.

Posted: April 23rd, 2009 | Author: admin | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

cri-sis: noun [krahy-sis]

  • a stage in a sequence of events at which the trend of all future events, esp. for better or for worse, is determined; turning point.

op-por-tu-ni-ty: noun [op-er-too-ni-tee]

  • a favorable or advantageous circumstance or combination of circumstances; a chance for progress or advancement.

Crisis and opportunity. The actual definitions are very similar, in fact they share the same character in written Chinese. But because they each have such distinctly different and incredibly powerful connotations, their usage drastically colors our thoughts and influences our perception, of both our own lives and the larger world. Crisis implies a certain helplessness; a scared, and perhaps futile, reaction to a large, unknown and external force. Opportunity reflects a sense of confidence. A focused and purposeful response to the current conditions, designed to ultimately improve one’s position.

Constantly changing circumstances are an immutable fact, both far outside our comprehension and our control. However, accepting change and then choosing to see and then act upon opportunities, rather than being swept aside by random crises, will yield a much richer and more meaningful life.

die once.

Posted: April 15th, 2009 | Author: admin | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

Last summer, out of the blue,  my dad asked me to go coffin shopping with him. This seemed a little strange so I asked him why. He said that he wanted to make sure that he looked good in his coffin. I asked him if he was planning to try them out and if so, did he want me to take pictures. We never went to the funeral home but we did go to lunch.

A few weeks ago he experienced a health scare. He had a 2nd urinary tract infection in a 3 month period. He saw his Urologist and underwent various tests. He was convinced that he had bladder cancer and that it was quickly spreading. He was upset. He is a type A person who was losing control and he really believed that his was living his last days.

Before the test results came back, I called him up and asked how he was. He told me that he was fine but that he knew he had cancer and that he was going to die. I told him that he was right, he was going to die. It might be today, tomorrow or it might be 30 years from now. He may very well have cancer or he might get hit by a bus. I didn’t know why, when or how, but I assured him that he was right, he was going to die. My dad didn’t say anything. After a momentary pause I told him that my advice is to not focus on a possible hypothetical outcome but rather to live life now and just die once.

The tests came back a few days later and it was found to be a simple urinary infection; the most likely cause was that the original infection was not completely resolved. He apparently does not have cancer but he does have a happy and grateful family that enjoys his company, quirks and all. We love you dad. Live your life and die once!

Open secret number 1: the reality of control

Posted: March 12th, 2009 | Author: admin | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , | No Comments »

We can’t control the weather, traffic or the economy. We can’t control our family, friends or the random people that may enter our lives. The only thing that we can actually control is how we respond; we can control ourselves. And taking control over ourselves is truly what really matters. It is the single most significant factor in making a difference in our own lives and the lives of those around us.