Friday, September 25, 2015

Follow Your Effort

I'm a huge sports fan. I literally grew up learning about and playing sports up until my mid 20's. While I am no longer a competitive athlete, I still love keeping up with most sports on a very serious level. My wife always says that guys who grow up on sports stats have this weird ability to remember all these stats about sports. Its absolutely true! One of the other things I love is to watch interviews of very successful people in the sports business. While this guy may be controversial to some, Mark Cuban, Owner of the Dallas Mavericks, said something that really resonated with me a few months ago. He was asked in an interview about his unconventional view on becoming successful. He says he never tells people to follow their dreams. He tells them to follow their effort.

That really stuck with me because when you think about it everyone tells this pipe dream to kids that they can do whatever they want as long as they follow their dreams. As you get older hopefully your view of the world becomes more mature and you better understand the intricacies of how people become successful. I've learned from my experience, which also happens to coincide with Mr. Cuban's view, that people become successful by dedicating their time and effort towards positive things. I've also learned that even though you may be talented in something, that doesn't mean that you should do it. If you don't follow the necessary effort to be great in something you are good at then you are not fulfilling that talent.

A good example of this is the story of Todd Marinovich. Todd was an exceptional football player who was driven by his father to play football from a very young age. Todd would practice like crazy with his Dad and he ended up getting a scholarship to play at the University of Southern California. He was one of the most polarizing players in the country. He eventually went on to play for Raiders in the NFL, but it never worked out for him. What you learn in his story on the show 30 for 30 is that while he was talented in football, his true follow through in terms of effort was in art. His father pushed back against that passion and kept pushing Todd towards football. What is beautiful today is that now Todd spends his time making art and he does that with his Dad, who weirdly had that passion as well. They are now following their effort which is also their passion. How awesome is that? Just because you are good at something doesn't mean you should do it. Especially, if you are not willing to follow your effort in that talent.

So, I'm going to tell you...don't follow your dreams if you aren't willing to give your very best effort to be your best in those pursuits. Don't listen to entertainers get up on some stage and blow smoke up your you know what about following your dreams and that you can do whatever you want to do. Those aren't the people you should be emulating anyways. Their path is not your path. Their effort is not your effort. Follow your own effort towards positive things. I promise, if you follow your effort towards something positive with a tremendous dedication and fervor then the result will be positive. It probably won't happen over night. It may take many years and there might be many times that you have doubts or you get tired. However, know that with each step you take in following your effort that you are depositing goodness into your life and hopefully the life of others.

Until next time...

Dr. D

Friday, September 11, 2015

Never Trust a Big Butt with a Smile

Girl I must warn you
I sense something strange in my mind
Situation is serious....

Ahhh....those lyrics take me way back in the day when I lived in Germany. I remember the first time I heard the song "Poison." I was on a military based in Schwabach, Germany and that song by Bell Biv Devoe came on a jukebox. Yes, I said...a jukebox. I love that song then and I still love it now. You can't go to a party and not start dancing when that song comes on. Its just energetic and funky. What's funny though about the song is that it kind of forecasted this strange time we are in with fitness and this obsession with social media and asses.

Every where you turn there are men and women taking pics with their shirts off or sports bras on, but even more are the pictures of women taking pictures in the bathroom or in the gym showing their asses while wearing gigantic sized headphones and crazy colored pants and bras. In fact there are even people out there who are making a living off of showing their ass on a daily basis. When did this happen and why? While it can be taken as just fun and people seeking attention on social media, there is a dark under current to the proliferation of women showing their asses and smiling away. Never Trust a Big Butt with a Smile people. 

Recently a co-worker of mine came across this powerful infographic that I have linked here called "The Cost of Getting Lean: Is it Worth Really Worth the Trade Off? I found that this info graphic and article hit home on a very serious point on the cost of being super fit. One of the dark sides to those Instagram pics of asses is the constant stream of captions focusing on clean eating (usually including constant tupperware meal preparation), being a gym rat, pushing weird supplements, and an obsession with providing as many booty based exercises as possible. Then there's the persistent memes about squats, lunges, etc. 

Again, while it looks great and undeniably its great that people are seeing more value in fitness, the ultimate downfall is a large psychological abyss filled with body image issues, poor social and emotional connections, and a hyper focus on only fitness and wellness. There is nothing glamorous about being super fit if it means that you can't have a well rounded life. I'm not asking you to agree with me in this post. I'm asking you to examine this culture that has sprung up and why anyone would want to follow it? You might have a rubuttal for me and say that at least these folks are helping to get people motivated to exercise. And my response is are they? Still only 20 percent of people actually exercise regularly. That's an incredibly small percentage of people. And I would further ask you to look at the psychological fall out of living an extreme lifestyle. Is that sustainable? Certainly not.  

More and more research is being devoted to over-exercise, injury and orthorexia (the obsession with eating foods that one thinks is healthy or avoiding foods that are deemed harmful). Its a real problem that you are seeing with the exploding nature of social and TV media. I don't know about you, but I don't want to hang out with someone who I can't have a beer with because they deem beer to be bad for you. I don't want to schedule a fun dinner with friends because they have to be in the gym to get their workout in or because they can't eat out because that's considered bad for you. No, what's bad for you is devoting an excessive amount of time into something that has tremendous psycho-social and oddly enough physical consequences for you. 

As someone who is very educated in these matters, who is very fit and who has been in the fitness business for well over a decade, I can tell you that being sedentary or being someone obsessed with exercise and nutrition are both highly unhealthy. And the worst thing about each of those behaviors is that if you have kids or a significant other, you are teaching those behaviors to your loved ones. Especially with your kids. Do you want that? Do you want your daughters and sons to sedentary? Or do you want then to over-exercise and be obsessed with what foods they eat? I don't think you want either of those. I have a daughter and the best thing I can do and that I do currently is that she sees me working out extremely hard and she sees me resting and taking time to recover my body. She also sees Daddy eating pizza AND eating tofu. She sees me drinking wine and beer AND drinking water. I always tell my daughter that you need to have fun in life and also work hard, but take time to enjoy it. You only get one life. 

I'm here to tell you its possible be fit, but also have a ton of fun enjoying the awesome things that life has to offer. I promise you, you will find more satisfaction by living a well balanced life than one that is extreme in whatever thing you are focusing on. There's nothing to celebrate about that. Never Trust a Big Butt with a Smile...

(Singing) "Poison!!!" 

Until next time...

Dr. D

Monday, August 3, 2015

Rocket Ship

When I was a little boy I used to love everything about NASA. I was fascinated by the training to become an astronaut and the study of different planets. My parents fueled this fascination by taking me to the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC many times as a kid. I just loved looking at all the older and newer spaceship technology. I remember being inspired and in awe of pictures of different planets and commentary about space exploration. While I certainly have not gone on to become an astronaut, the feeling of discovering new things and searching for what else might be out there continues to provide a large source of inspiration for me.

That inspiration was recently ignited even more by the movie Interstellar. In the movie, explorers go looking for a new home for our population since our planet is dying. Now this is a three plus hour movie and I've watched it about eight times already and that number will go into double digits very soon. I still find tremendous joy in watching a rocket launch whether it is real or in a movie. In the movies there is this grand and majestic ascension of the rocket, which represents and symbolizes the global hope of humankind. Its a collaborated and bold effort to seek out something that is greater than ourselves. Lifting that ship beyond the parameters of our earth is something that still emboldens me to think beyond the limits of my own mind.

We all have this incredible ability to be our own and even better, someone else's rocket ship. So many of us need someone to help us launch into a greater purpose in our lives. I know for me, my parents served as mission control from the moment I was born. They encouraged me and fueled my efforts and my dreams. Once I was in orbit from my parents tremendous initial launch, I hit some rough spots as a very young adult. There was debris flying everywhere in my life at one point and I couldn't make sense of where I was headed. I wanted to explore further out in the universe of my life, but I was hitting bumpy times. That's when other people helped to repair my ship and helped me blast off to further galaxies. My friends such as Nick Langridge, Rob Montgomery, Josh Moyer, Aaron Profitt took my broken ship and ascended me into a new star system. They helped direct me back to God. For that I am eternally grateful. Then my wife came along and she was and still is my generation ship. Her presence in my life has given me the strength for the long journey to seek out amazing new life forms and opportunities. Then my job with WTS International and the continued guidance from my boss, Allen Jakubauskas, bolstered my engines. Finally, adopting my daughter, Anna Rose Parker, gave way to the introduction of warp speed to my ship. I can now not only explore the cosmos of my life, but the greatest gift is now I can better understand, explore and guide the journeys of so many other people.

What's really happening here is that when you surround yourself with amazing people and make good decisions then you get the opportunity to be a rocket ship for some else. I have come to understand that in my life that my purpose is to lift other people up to help set them on a journey to explore planetary systems in their life that they have never known. I love being a rocket ship for my family, for my friends, for my staff and for my personal training clients. We are launching rocket ships from all over the planet, We are writing a space log for their lives that is meaningful and full of hope for their present and their future. And the beautiful thing is that while I may have helped to launch those ships, eventually they get to take the steering wheel and lead their own missions. Its a beautiful thing.

Who are you launching this week, this month or this year? Have you even launched your own mission of self discovery so that you can then help launch someone else's rocket ship? I URGE you to take a look at your life and think....just think....where am I going? What am I doing? If you can't answer that question...if you can't articulate your pathway towards the stars then take the time right now to fix that ship. Make those repairs and then do that countdown towards beginning a new life. Its in your hands. I want to fly with you and explore with you as long as you are willing to fly with me. Here's to a safe lift off and a wonderful exploration of your life. Be a rocket ship.

Until next time...

Dr. D

Thursday, July 30, 2015

The "No" Word Perspective

Life as a child is often very different in terms of how you see the world. I remember when I was a kid we moved around a lot due to my father being in the military. One of my favorite places that we we lived was Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas. Everything on the base seemed super sized to me. From the base itself to our house...everything was massive in my eyes as a child. When I became an adult I went back to visit Ft. Leavenworth and it wasn't the same. The house that we lived in was now very small to me. The yard, which seemed to cover a vast distance in my mind when I was 10, now looked like a small patch of grass. What changed? Was it the size of the house or the yard? Nope, it was me. I grew up and I changed. My view of the world had morphed and my perspective had changed as well. I was no longer attached to that place as I had filled my life with newer experiences and people. Still, I have fond memories of that time in my life.

So, what does it all mean? For me, the journey of life is so much about your awareness and understanding of the time you are in. You can't travel backwards to relive what you had, but you can always respect and learn from the past. The same can be said about the future. You can't predict or know the future. However, you can make your best preparations for a desired outcome. And will that desired outcome happen? Maybe...maybe not, but planning for it will make it more likely than not. 

And the real truth is that in life your improved perspective (hopefully as you age) will help you deal with the fact that life sometimes life tells you no. We can't have everything we want and we can't always hear the word yes. Rejection is hard to take, but sometimes its necessary. Sometimes getting kicked and roughed up a bit prepares us for future obstacles we will face. And it can help us better enjoy the good times when the word "yes" flows abundantly.

In the end "no" doesn't have to be a bad thing. It might just be a bridge towards something else. Or maybe someone told you no because it was in your best interest at that time in your life. Whatever the reasons or circumstances, its important to have perspective either in the moment (which I understand is very hard to do) or gain that perspective by taking some time to reflect upon the situation.

And even so, I understand that hearing no and having perspective is difficult to handle. You will have emotions related to it and that's ok. Emotions are normal, but take the time to understand that moment and just maybe...maybe..."no" will mean some great yes moments in the future. I wish that for all of you.

Until next time...

Dr. D

Friday, June 19, 2015

More Highs Than Lows

The past ten years of my life have been rewarding and challenging, which in my mind is just the right combination for happiness. I can't sit here and tell you that every moment has been incredible because that's just not true. Life can be messy. It can be difficult and all of us...know matter our place in life, will always experience great highs and great lows. No matter what you do, you just can't stop the fact that there will be hard times. Hard times don't feel great. They definitely don't feel like in the moment that they will give you sage advice and experience, but they will. Hard times can harden you or they can grow you. However, its important to know that your ratio of highs and lows don't have to consistent heavily of lows. A life filled with lots of lows is many times a product of poor choices. Or it could be the lack of action or doing nothing to challenge yourself that leads to more lows for you. A life of inaction and poor choices always leads to a lot of lows.

So, how can you have more highs than lows? Check out a few points of advice below that will help you have more highs than lows in your life:

1. Challenge Yourself - A life with intermittent challenges will push you in positive directions you won't expect. True growth is about being slightly uncomfortable from time to time. 

2. Be Nice to Others - Its simple, but so true. Being nice to everyone you meet and spreading goodness always gives you a better chance at having more highs than lows in life. People who demean, degrade and act rudely towards others should never wonder why they always are perceived negatively. If you plant something negative you will blossom something negative. If you plant something positive you will blossom something positive. Whatever you grow in your life, positive or negative, it will become that. 

3. Take Vacations - While vacations can be expensive, you can't take your money with you. Creating memorable experiences in new places with people you love and care about goes a long way towards creating regular happy moments. You can't believe the amazing positive change in perspective you receive from experiencing different customs and activities on vacation. Plus, if you do it right, its also a good way to just turn your brain off and let your mind and body truly relax.

4. Look at the Big Picture - Look at your life as a whole and not just what's in front of you. Its so easy to take what happened on one day and then over dramatize it and blow it up. Ask yourself how your actions create consequences not just for today, but for years down the road.

5. Don't Make Emotional Decisions - One of the best classes I took in my undergrad and graduate studies was Philosophy. My favorite content in the class was learning how to base decisions on factual information and not on volatile, knee jerk emotions. Knee jerk emotional reactions are always a recipe for bad decision making. The most successful people I know in my life are excellent at stepping back from situations, analyzing them and then coming up with thoughtful responses. This equals good decisions which will certainly give you more highs than lows in life.

My hope is that you are living or are beginning to live a life full of fulfillment and integrity. I hope you experience tremendous highs associated with smart decision making. Its available to everyone. You just have to be willing to be open to it.

Until next time...

Dr. D