Small Numbers Add Up

July 26, 2010

I believe that the biggest events that happen in our lives occur as a result of a build up of small skills or tools that we use that add up. You don’t become a great writer the minute you are born- you have to read, write and study good writers and through consistent discipline and use of your skills, gradually you become comfortable with the art of words and knowing how to best communicate through this medium. When it comes to my bowling accomplishments, I’ve had to study, obtain coaching, execute the new skills on a consistent basis and simulate practice into real league and tournament bowling in order to achieve many of my goals.

It may not seem like it at the time, but the extra hour or two a day you put into something will become monumental years down the road. I concur with Jim Rohn’s thoughts during his 1999 weekend seminar where he states, “Do what you have to now because later leads to more satisfaction. Give your best to the few and you’ll be recognized to help many.”

I love reviewing and interviewing bands for a multitude of reasons. I feel like I can express myself to others and help people make better purchasing decisions with their money. I receive free music and get the chance to go to concerts as a result- but I would still find a way to support the music that I love (and continue to do so) even if I didn’t benefit from these perks. I’ve been able to met a wide variety of people through the years of my involvement with the scene- and I still keep in touch with a large number of them. They’ve become not just comrades in support of music- a lot of them I’m proud to call my friends and we’ve gotten to know each other on a deeper level.

So I want to encourage you to pursue your dreams even if they seem years in the distance. Time is going to pass anyways, so wouldn’t you rather get in the game and start taking the steps to achieve your dreams? If you’ve always wanted to go into a new career field and need the training, find someone already doing what you want to do, take them out to a meal and interview them. Get signed up for the classes, even if it’s online or through part-time night classes. Don’t be afraid to tell others about your dreams, they may be able to help you with resources or the right connection to take the learning curve down quickly.

Small numbers do add up. A little money put away each week in an interest bearing savings account or investment adds up. The 60 minutes a day with positive, uplifting reading material adds up. Audio learning in your car ride to and from work adds up. The continual hugs that you give each day to your partner and your children add up. The risk that you take to pursue a new hobby will add up. Passing on your knowledge and talent to others who show interest adds up. Take the chance and you’ll be surprised at the outcomes.


Don’t Get Stuck At The Start

June 25, 2010

Ever feel like you have a certain dream or ambition of what you want to do, where you want to go, places you would like to visit- but seem to get stuck at the start? It’s as if you know the end you want in sight, however struggle to get out of the gate in knowing the first step to take to move you along your dream or goal.

I find it’s better to ask for help and obtain the skills and knowledge you need to achieve you dream. When it came to my passion for music, I went from being a music consumer to a writer about music. I took advantage of the opportunities given to me 20 + years ago when other music fans began writing their own magazines. They asked me to contribute, I would receive music to write about and then I would interview bands, researching about their past and present so that I could get information that I felt the fans would want to know about these musicians.

I didn’t say to myself I don’t know how to go about this. I wrote letters, I expressed my desire to write and when one magazine would fold, I would gain another opportunity. Even now with the print medium in flux, I still write for online magazines and I have to thank many of my writing friends who’ve been able to give me the opportunity to shine. At first my writing was stiff, awkward and very immature- but I found the more that I did it, the more I read what other writers were doing and saying and the more I applied myself, the better I became.

What I’m expressing is the fact that anything that you start will not be something that you get right away or become an expert on. On average to become a master at something takes 10,000 hours of deliberate practice and execution- which can take 5-7 years or even more depending on the availability of your time. If you really want to pursue your dream, throw yourself into it. Find someone who’s succeeded and ask them questions about how they started and their learning curve. Get yourself a coach if necessary. Study film and video- which can be easily accessible these days through all the social media channels on the internet.

I know as a parent of adoptive children with mental health issues, I do not know everything there is to know about the subject. Both daughters come from different backgrounds, have different trauma histories and have differing personalities. As a result, what works for one doesn’t work for the other. My wife and I apply techniques from various therapy models and sometimes even have to make modifications from there. Ultimately, we don’t give up. We are committed and have known from the start that this was going to be a journey of epic and mammoth proportions.

You can achieve your dreams if you set your mind to it and take action everyday in one way or another. It doesn’t matter whether your 7 or 70, where there is a will to do something your mind will catch up and find the way. Don’t get stuck on the details- just push yourself forward and I think you’ll be impressed at the dividends and outcomes.

What Matters Most Now

June 23, 2010

What matters most now is safety and security.

The ability to provide for my wife and my family.

Bringing happiness and joy to those closest to me as well as those I may only encounter briefly in my lifetime.

Wanting my daughters to grow up as healthy adults, and learn that their pasts do not dictate where they will be in the present and future.

That I can make small changes in my life when I am ready and they will add up to better health and better wealth to benefit my family and their lives.

The fact that I can be creative daily and put my thoughts out to the world through my blog entries and my music reviews and interviews.

The release of energy in the right direction whenever I am bowling- and the chance to meet new people who share a similar love for the sport as I have.

The feedback that I receive from people when I share my life and they share similar experiences or extend their kindness to me in my time of need.

The love and affection I receive from my wife and my daughters.

The time that I can spend with each of my children, listening to their stories and sharing in the experience of helping them grow up.

The gift of insight, the gift of reflection, the gift of visualization, the gift to know that imagination can create my reality.

I will continue to challenge myself and become a better person today and learn from the choices that may not have gone exactly the way I envisioned.

To be in control of my emotions matters because I need to model appropriate coping skills for my daughters.

Assessing where I am in life and where I would like to be- then taking the steps forward in action to accomplish everything that’s within my mind that I put on paper.

Yard Sale Time of Season

June 19, 2010

Finally a weekend without the threat of gray skies and rain. During this time of year where we live, yard sales thrive and pop up almost every weekend. People getting their clutter out of their homes and hoping that one man’s junk is another man’s treasure. I told my wife that I would be heading to one early this morning at a friend’s house- because he would be lowering much of his music collection. Who am I to pass up that offer- especially at bargain bin prices- for items that I may not have in my collection?

As a result I found 11 CD’s to my liking for less than $1.50 a disc. A mixture of power and progressive metal, plus the occasional death and doom piece for good measure. I can never have enough good music at my disposal. Just as books transport my mind to another level, music can cast out a wave of differing emotions and energize me in ways that other outlets can’t. It can help me think when I want it to. It can change a negative mood into a positive one if I want it to. I can just daydream away and transfer my head to a different place if I want to. I can write and get my thoughts out easier. I’ve always felt that my world is a much better place and easier to handle thanks to the gift of music.

I’d really love it if our apartment complex could get a multifamily yard sale going, but if not I think our family will probably set up at one of the numerous local flea markets that are held on the weekends. For a small fee you can easily sell off hundreds of dollars worth of items. We’ve had good luck through the years to do very well when we set up, because we are in the business of passing our items to others at reasonable bargains. Sometimes we haggle about the prices, but overall we find that our negotiations are easy going and as a result I think people are willing to talk to us and buy from us.

We will also be attending a town wide gathering where we get the chance to take in vendors, food, arts and crafts and other games. Growing up these days would help us as children get to know more families in the community, and you didn’t have to spend a ton of money to have a good time. I want my children to get the chance to not be afraid of their surroundings and willingly be a participant in community activities.

Enjoy the bright sun shine days of your life. Seek out the comfort of a good neighbor. Surprise people every once in a while with kindness and generosity. Hold a door open for a stranger walking into a building you are exiting. Pay a toll for the car behind you when you are on pay toll road. You may be surprised how the gesture improves your world as much as the world of the person you touch. Spend time wisely- we only have a finite time on this earth. Create good vibrations and memories.

Welcome To A Hazy June

June 6, 2010

Well, it’s been quite hot and humid in my neck of the woods these past few days. We spent the first part of yesterday visiting our daughters and reassuring them that they are still a part of our family. Which has to be tough on their part- they only get to see us for an hour or two at a time on the weekend, instead of being full time at home. We are hoping this gives them the right motivation and incentive to follow through and get their mental health in order to return successfully and happier/ healthier than before.

I received the new issue of Success magazine and I’m listening to the new interviews on the audio CD. I feel like there’s a wealth of information to be learned and shared through these discs. I’m currently listening to Chet Holmes and his business sales tips. I’ve probably listened to many of the older discs a good 20-30 times. I will often take notes on what I’m hearing and then take action on the best information. What do you have to lose when you are learning from other experts?

Brian Tracy talked about on one of my wealth building DVD’s the concept that you should attempt a new concept at least 10 times before you decide it doesn’t work for you. He stated that for most people, it will become comfortable for you around the 5th to 7th time- but often we give up on something if it doesn’t work the first or second time. Does this explain why in certain areas of your life things aren’t exactly measuring up to what you want- be it your health, your finances, your relationships, etc.?

I know that for example I didn’t become a better bowler until I realized that I needed to add more skills to my tool box. When it comes to bowling in different centers, you have to learn how to use the right equipment, play the lanes a certain way, read the changes as they happen, and also believe in your ability to do what you need to do to score well. It’s something I’ve learned as I’ve continued to study and learn at the sport that you can’t play better when you are tense and angry- you need to focus and use your mind as the best offense in bowling.

What else is going on in my random world? I’ve been averaging 2-3 reviews a night writing-wise. The market once again gets hectic as bands and labels try to fight for consumer money before the big festival and concert-going season. I can understand the difficulty in average fans following what’s going on. But please be sure to put your money into the bands you really enjoy- otherwise we will end up seeing inferior products on the market. I understand there is much to be had for free- but free doesn’t pay the musicians, free doesn’t keep the music alive and as a result we end up having to pay higher concert ticket prices to make up the difference.

Even though I get a lot of music in to review, I spend a lot of money at my local record store on the albums I want and the bands that I need to complete my discographies. You don’t have to buy everything- but please don’t tell me you are a real, true fan if you only have 200GB of music in your iPod or laptop and maybe 10 albums in your physical record collection.

May Be Time For A Break

May 30, 2010

As much as I love writing consistently in this blog, and hope that I’ve helped many through my thoughts, I think it may be time for me to take a break from the daily posting. Circumstances have just taken a turn in another direction, something I never expected to have to face in my life or within my family. During those times, I feel it’s necessary to close ranks and be prepared for some serious decision making as to what will happen in the near future.

After the fact I may be able to unfold what’s been going on and how I feel about all of this. At this point, I have had to shut certain emotions down and just reside on a do what I have to do level of life. This may not be healthy in the long run, but short term I feel it’s best. I will still read, I will still write (especially in the music reviewing and interviewing realms), and I will still connect with people. I could change my mind hours from now and be inspired to write another long entry.

I just figured the readers deserve a heads up. It’s better to keep people in the loop than to fall off the edge of the earth and have people wonder whatever happened to him?

Happily my wife and I had another good visit with my youngest daughter over the weekend. She’s not pleased that we are only able to go out 4 hours at a time, but that’s one of the downfalls of having to live in a group home currently. We are hoping this will inspire her more to place a greater effort on making the best use of our time together- to repair our relationship and get home quicker as a result. I think she knows we love her, we just have to work on two way communication and understanding.

I’m going to sign off for now. Keep smiling, keep in touch when you can and be sure to develop some personal mantras that you say to yourself in a mirror daily. You need to know how important and special of a human being you are. Don’t let anyone take away the special qualities, talents, and abilities you possess. Read something positive for at least 30 minutes a day. Work on deep breathing and meditation/ visualization, I think you’ll be quite surprised at the increase of energy and productivity you’ll receive throughout the day.

Current Reading and Thoughts

May 25, 2010

Well, I decided it’s important to revisit some of the books I’ve purchased so far in 2010. Just as much as I like visiting the library and keeping up with books that are hard to find, I love going to my local Barnes and Noble bookstore and picking up some of the latest offerings. I’m currently jumping around between these three books.

The Unemployed Millionaire- Matt Morris
Instant Wealth- Wake Up Rich- Christopher Howard
Trust Agents- Chris Brogan and Julien Smith

The latter book discusses how to build up trust and credibility through your communication and interaction on the web. There are some excellent tools in place that both authors mention, as well as brief case studies on how other successful people have built their trust on the web.

The first two books work on personal development and achievement strategies. I enjoy reading about how individuals have to fall and fail sometimes in order to pick themselves back up and make better choices for a more successful life in the long run. I’m aware that it isn’t easy to have a great career, a great family and a great personal life. I do think it’s important though if I want to learn and grow in all areas of my life, I think I need to make a continuous learning path of the best minds in our lifetime now as well as of past generations.

Which means in the coming months I’m going to take some risks in order to establish a wider presence in my world. I’ve thought about my years and years of acquiring knowledge and how to be able to pass thoughts and insights on a variety of topics in a different way. I’ve watched the ascension of the video blog medium and think it may be time for me to venture into that realm.

It would probably be related to one of my favorite interests: music. I feel like I have a lot of opinions about music, about where it’s going and what we need to do about it to keep the spirit and productivity alive and flourishing. I feel that I could have special guests who would also give their opinions about certain aspect that they have more expertise about, and I may be able to combine my love of reviewing and talking about music at the same time.

There’s no better time than the present to establish credibility and trust. I want to help people discover their passions, their hopes, their dreams. We can’t be afraid as human beings to take the first step. So what if the first few times on camera may seem awkward- you study what you’ve done and you learn from those experiences. We’ve heard from Shakespeare that all the world’s a stage, and I don’t want to go through life anymore thinking everything is a rehearsal. You have to prepare I agree- but better preparation means playing to set up a win-win situation for yourself and for your audience.

Now it’s time for me to leave for now. Keep smiling, don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and call that long lost friend you haven’t spoken to in a few months. Maybe it will be the right time in their lives to hear from you and let them know how important they are to you.