I read in Steve Jobs’ biography that his power to focus on his goals was so strong that he could ignore pain and other problems in his life when he was working at Apple. Also, I heard in an audio book called “Rhinoceros Success” that if you continue full charge towards your goals, the small problems will be like mosquitoes that you are leaving behind. You would not even feel them. Focusing does help to ignore some discomforts that don’t matter and don’t help us reach our goal.
I am always thinking my life is perfect…
There are times when everything just happens the way I planned it, and there are times for winter and storms and everything unpredictable. Many times in my life, I am having fun reaching my goals and having a great relationship with those around me, my financials are good, God is on my side, people appreciate what I do, my car is working just fine, I feel physically very strong and energetic and I am learning my lessons easily. However, other times it’s the opposite, but I don’t feel when everything hits me. It starts with a small argument with a family member, it goes to the whole car suspension, continues with spending more than my usual monthly budget, follows by not being able to focus at work and help our members the way they deserve, it moves to not feeling at peace and feeling tired and without energy and motivation. It seems like I am being followed by a grey cloud. All of a sudden, everything is going in the direction I did not plan.
But I learned to divide my life into areas and maintain all of them because this will allow me to bounce back easily. I never let go no matter how difficult it becomes. I continue working on all areas in my life and have faith. Let me explain a little more.
Dividing my life in 5 areas helps me understand where I am failing…
or what needs work and where I am doing great. I have my spiritual, health, family, professional and financial areas. Many times my life suffers in one area; I might not be my best on my health or my profession or my family area. Sometimes all suffer. But because I take care of all the areas when life is good, when a down time comes and one area does suffer, I can make it out without too much effort.
For example, I recuperated fairly quickly after my knee surgery for many reasons. One is because I exercise, so the muscles around the knee were already strong. Second is because I eat healthily, my immune system is strong. And third I don’t take medications, including pain killers, which allows my body to focus on healing instead of fighting foreign chemicals. The down phase was my knee surgery; my up phase is now when I have my health back. This can be applied to a small cold — it works just the same way.
Another example is when my both dogs suffered an accident and my car broke down. I had to spend around $10,000 out of pocket. Working, spending less than what I earn and saving money helps me during situations like that. I have learned how to deal with these down phases. Thinking that down phases don’t exist is being naïve. I need to be prepared for them just like I did in this example.
No matter how healthy I am, I am going to get sick, no matter how much money I have, I am going to have to spend money where I didn’t plan to, no matter how much I show my family how much I care and work on the relationship, I will have disagreements and inconveniences, and no matter how much I have learned to control my emotions and make very thoughtful decisions, I will be heartbroken and make dumb choices.
However, if I am healthy, have money saved, take care of my family and learn how to deal with emotions, I will be better off…
When down phases come, I will not go as far down as many will because they don’t take care of their basic needs.
My point is that if you take care of your basic needs, when down phases come, it will be easy to stand up again. But if you don’t take care of your basic needs, you may be trying to get of the hole for years or even your whole life.
I love going back and studying my past. I have made many mistakes, and while many of them are very painful, I love to learn and prevent myself from making the same mistakes. I realize I was in a winter time or down phase only after I am out of it. This is why I always think my life is great: I never notice the down phase thanks to my focus on my goals in all my life areas.
Learning how to focus, understanding how life works and dividing your life in areas that make sense to you that you can track is a smart way to approach life and live it happily.
Reading Helped me with my depression…
One of the habits that have completely changed my life and helped me become successful in many areas of my life is reading. When I was in depression, reading gave me the answer to overcome it. When I was failing in my business, reading gave me the answer to make it grow. When I was unsuccessful in my public relations, reading gave me the answer to improve it. When life is not working the way I want it to, reading gives me an explanation to understand or overcome such issues.
If I need an answer or to improve myself, reading is one of the keys. And one of the best books I have ever read and that has the best life instructions is the Bible. It is a difficult book to understand, but many theologists have helped me to understand many of the stories or parables.
I am by no means an expert on the Bible. And I think I will never be even though I’ve almost finished reading it. I am probably going to read the Bible many times before I die and still not understand it 100 percent. It has so many secrets, from the whole Bible story, to the individual books, to verse and parables. However, that does not mean that I am completely ignorant about it.
If you follow me, you probably have read the article Be Prepared For The Unpredictable (you can find it on the Post Independent website or my website, or simply search for it online). It talks about how life is not all happiness or all sadness, yet many of us think that when depression hits in any way or form that is how life will be forever. But that too “shall pass.”
This is what I think Jesus means when he says:
“Woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort. Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will hunger. Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep. Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for that is how their father treated the false prophets.”
That is important to know to be ready for bad times. I have noticed that many people do not prepare for bad times, and when bad times come, they become worried and irritated. They start getting desperate and make bad decisions.
For example, when someone has a good job and is making good money, they don’t save money for the future or for undesired events, and when the economy collapses, or they lose their jobs, or the car breaks down, their response is to be upset with life and borrow some money or sell their house to get out of debt and get their head above water. I have been there, and I know the feeling.
The same reasoning applies with their health. Many drink, eat junk food and processed foods, don’t exercise and make bad health decisions and years later become ill to the point they are desperate to find a cure for their illness.
Nevertheless the verse continues with this:
“Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil because of the Son of Man.”
That also means that bad times will not be there forever, that the person who cried will also smile. So this is only a cycle. For instance, if you lost your job, you are ill or have family problems or any other issue, it means that is going to pass and you will get to smile again. That does not mean that you should not work to get out of the downside and put effort into it. It means that your life will change for the better soon and your effort will pay off.
The truth is that no one is exempt from these lows and highs — no matter your education, economic status, marital status, nationality, religion, age or anything.
One of the requirements of my career is listening to people and finding out why they have not achieved their goals. And this is one of the reasons: They can’t handle the down side of life. They forget that the moment, weeks, months or even years are only a part of their life, not their whole life, and they stop moving forward.
So if you’re having a storm of bad news…
think about it, and you will find that something similar happened at some point in your past and you overcame it. You will overcome it again, and you will be smiling. Also, when you are smiling, be ready for the downside of life, because it will come. The good news is that you will be ready for it, and it won’t be so painful.
There was a man who came to collect fruit from his fig tree every year…
but each time he came back the tree had no fruit to offer. By the third year the man was upset with the tree and asked his servant to cut it down because all it was doing was taking from the soil. The servant suggested to give the tree another chance and he would work on the soil, and if the tree doesn’t bear fruit by the fourth year, they will take it down.
Simon Sinek is a marketing expert, and he talks about an experiment he performed. He persuaded a homeless woman to change her sign that said something like, “I am homeless,” to, “If you only give once a month, think of me next time.” She made more money in two hours than she used to make all day. I saw a video with the same effect. There was a blind guy asking for money, and the sign said, “Help me. I am blind.” A lady stopped and changed his sign to, “It’s a beautiful day and I can’t see it.” Then this guy made more money, too.
In the past I remember working only for money. I wanted everyone to look at me and focus on my car and my clothes and to give me more, and I was not genuinely thankful for people’s services. I learned to say thank you, but it was from my teeth out.
Many of us think about our needs only and what others can do for us…
but never think about how we can contribute to others’ lives. This is what made the difference in the signs of the homeless people. While many of the homeless people focus on “help me” by writing “I am homeless,” “I have 5 children,” “I am a veteran” and so on, the new message in the signs focuses on others instead of themselves. Now the homeless person is doing a legitimate transaction. He or she is offering “feeling good for giving,” and we are giving the person money.
It feels good to help. I have stopped to help people move their broken-down cars from the middle of traffic. I have helped people change their flat tire by the highway or load up their trucks when they lost equipment on the highway, I contribute monthly to different charities, and I look forward to see how I can help people who want and need help.
We always want something in exchange when we do something, and oftentimes the exchange for helping others is just the feeling we get from it. I am not only helping others because I want to be the nice guy and I want recognition. I am doing it because it makes me feel good. Not too long ago I went to the pool and I saw two guys struggling with the lockers. They lost their two quarters, and I had two extra ones. One guy was going to run downstairs and change his bill. I just told him that I had two extra quarters and gave them to him. The other guy told him to give me his one dollar bill. I know we’re talking about just two quarters. I told the guy to keep his bill. I almost wanted to tell him, “Don’t take my joy away. I prefer my joy than the extra 50 cents.” No matter if we do it with time, physical effort or money, we always end up buying the feeling of helping.
I learned that we release oxytocin when we help others…
This hormone contributes to our happiness. The best thing about helping others is that not only the person who is helping releases more oxytocin but so does the person who is being helped and the people watching the charitable event.
I can say that part of my success in life is thanks to practicing the act of helping others without expecting something in exchange. Our members at Custom Body Fitness can perceive my intentions, and therefore they trust us with their health.
When I was focusing only on me, I was miserable. I thought I was happy because I did not know better or how to improve my happiness. All I knew was taking from people. It was very hard to drop $2 in the church basket. Can you imagine giving $5? I was stuck. And no matter how hard I tried, I was always broke, and I felt unloved. I had three jobs where I was being paid well. But I spent my money either on partying, on material things that lose value, or fixing my car. I was like the fig tree. I was not giving fruit. Thank God He gave me another year to show that I can provide fruit.
Now, I don’t have these problems. Helping others not only makes me happy, it also helps me with the law of “what you sow is what you reap.” I can see myself progressing in life. In addition, many people accept me because they know I care about them, and being accepted is a human need.
I don’t think anymore about others serving me only. I think about how I can improve people’s lives. What can I do extra? What do I need to learn? How I can contribute to positively improve the community? Now it is mostly about others and not much about me.
When people are serving me in a restaurant, retail store or anywhere else, I appreciate their job, and I understand that what they do is not easy, and thanks to them I am getting the service or product that I need. We are all here to serve, and when we understand this, life is fulfilling.
When we don’t give fruit we end up like the fig tree, ready to be taken down. When we give fruit everyone likes us and they are ready to come to us and take our fruit to use it. This is the reason fruit trees exist and we exist: to provide for others.
I remember when I went to school to learn writing…
It was overwhelming (I bet that is what a person, who started a weight loss program, thinks as well). To write an essay of 500 words seemed to be impossible. Now I can write whole books. The same was true when I studied algebra. To learn how to factor and solve for x or y seemed very hard, but I learned.
The truth is that none of these are hard to do, but because we focus on the end results, it seems very difficult and we often get discouraged or afraid to start.
To be able to learn how to write, I needed to know what a sentence is and how to make one. Not only that but how to put my ideas in order, how to deliver the message and so on. The same happened with algebra: I needed to know when to subtract, add, divide, multiply, exchange character places, etc.
Like I said, if you see the whole algebra problem or the whole two pages of writing, it seems overwhelming. Nevertheless, if you focus on only one division or one sentence, it seems simple. This is how life works.
I have many goals in life, and I often get overwhelmed because I get stuck and don’t seem to move forward. I focus on the long-term goal and forget about the small tasks I do that help me get closer to my goal. You may focus on your car, house, business, weight loss, family or investments and become desperate to achieve what you want because it is taking time. But don’t forget about the process that is leading you to your goal.
The process is what matters.
To resolve an algebra problem or write a book takes a process. If you skip one of the steps it messes up the end results. For example, if you do one of the divisions for the algebra problem wrong or you divide instead of multiply, or move the variable to the wrong side, your results will be wrong. If you write an article without engaging your reader or lose your train of thought or don’t come to a conclusion, you lose the reader, and your ultimate goal is lost.
For example, many people who want to lose weight focus on the end results, and they are weighing themselves very often if not every day. They start exercising and they don’t eat healthily. By the end of the month or two months later they don’t see any changes on the scale. They get discouraged and stop making the effort to lose weight. This is like using only division in one of my algebra problems or checking my results each time I take a step without luck of getting the right answer.
Or many people when they start their weight loss program focus on everything they need to do to get results, such as cooking, being aware of whole foods, weight lifting 3 times a week, walking 3 times a week, waking up earlier, taking time from other practices, getting a gym subscription, hiring a personal trainer, learning about healthy food choices, delegating tasks to the family, driving to the gym and so on. To them it seems a lot. Just like when I started to write a page essay. It was a lot. What was I supposed to say? Who can write so much? Who is going to read it? Who can I explain it to? How can I start? What is going to be my conclusion? Is it going to take a lot of my time? I might need to rewrite a sentence many times? I need to think, and it’s boring.
When we focus on the whole process it is overwhelming just like when we focus only on the results without seeing them.
Once again we forget that we need to take every single step and do it right to get results…
For example, in an algebra problem, instead of thinking about all the division, addition, etc., we start by distributing the negative sign to the numbers needed and then we can add like terms and so on. We are following a process step by step. It is not overwhelming anymore. If we continue taking the right steps we will get the right results without having to be checking every time we take a step forward.
The same applies to weight loss…
Instead of thinking about all the things we need to do to lose weight we can start with the basics, such as cooking every day, eating breakfast, and going for a 30 minute walk 3 times a week. If we continue taking the right steps without checking the scale every day, just as with the algebra problem, we will get the results we desire.
When we get overwhelmed and start thinking about the results only, we lose sight of the small tasks we do to get the results. Can you imagine an athlete thinking about only her next match and being desperate for it without focusing on her training regimen, doing anything at anytime whenever she wants and not tracking her progress? What do you think would be the results?
To get real results it is very important to focus on the small tasks, because they add up to the results we get in the end. If we don’t, chances are that our results will be the wrong ones.
When I was young I wasted my time playing video games for hours. I could play all day and night. I love challenging games. I like games that have different levels and quests to accomplish. One of the reasons I played all day is because I would not stop until I defeated the game. No matter how many times I got defeated in the game I would try it again and again until I won. Video games did not add value to my life in any way, but I discovered that I have a useful trait.
In Mexico I was a public transportation driver. I started at 17 years old. I learned how to drive when I was 16. I am coming from a very poor family. My family and I barely could bring food to the table. We had no money for a bicycle let alone a car.
I started to hang out with people who work driving public transportation vans. When they were not on the road, I would beg them to teach me how to drive every time. They would always say no, and they called me annoying or stubborn, often in a mean way. When they did this, I felt rejected and mistreated. However, something inside me told me not to stop. Finally one day, some of them gave up and let me try. That was the beginning of my driving experience, and this is how I learned to drive.
The reason I could play video games for so many hours and enjoy it was because there was a challenge involved, and I have a virtue that I used when playing video games: persistence. I would not stop no matter how many times the game defeated me. This is also why I learned how to drive at an early age when the possibility to learn was minimal.
Life continued, and I noticed that many people don’t like my persistence because it is annoying. I let my persistence go for a while, and during that time I did not achieve anything meaningful in my life. At 28 years old I got into learning again, and I started to study. I found out that my persistence is what got me what I wanted. Therefore, I continue being persistent even if other people don’t like it. However, this time I needed to be smart by applying my persistence toward meaningful acts. This is how many people became successful in their lives.
I read about Silvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Abraham Lincoln, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Thomas Edison and others who are part of our history, especially Mother Teresa. I read her story, saw her documentary and found out how persistent she was about getting people to support her cause.
For me, being “annoying” or “stubborn” is a virtue. Persistence shows that you really want what you are being persistent about. Persistence means that you won’t stop until you achieve your goal. Persistence is the mother of all disciplines. It doesn’t matter how much knowledge one has if there is persistence to succeed. Persistence is only for serious people who are willing to be rejected, get many “no’s” and fail many times.
I have been persistent in my career, and I am proud of it. It has helped me achieve many of my goals. Also, I think about the mistakes I made by not being persistent. “If only I had tried one more time,” “if only I would have had one more chance,” “If only I would have stayed longer,” “If only I could try it again.”
The other day, I was hiking and saw an ant pulling an insect bigger than itself. I stopped and contemplated him. The ant had many obstacles to overcome to take the insect to his refuge. The ant philosophy is very simple. They don’t stop no matter the obstacles. They get to their destination with their reward. If there is something blocking their path, they go up, left, right under and wherever it takes to get past it. What a great philosophy to learn from.
Persistence is one virtue I can tell has helped me get so far in my life. I have applied it everywhere in my life where I want to achieve anything, and it works.
Don’t be afraid of being rejected. If you really want to achieve your goal or dream, don’t stop until you get it. You will regret for not trying, but you will not regret for being persistent.
I have being paying close attention to how our body and our life transforms about every 7 years. For example, our cells are replaced every 7 years, our bones are replaced every 7 years and we are programmed for life in our first 7 years. I remember reading in a book by Carlos Cuauhtémoc Sanchez where he mentions that if we go back and check our pictures from seven years ago we will have changed our way of dressing, our facial futures, our hair style and other features.
What really caught my attention was a video of Bruce Lipton explaining how what we experience in our first 7 years influences how we are going to behave for our rest of our life (unless we do something about it). He further explains that our genes do not have any control over our future.
For example, if in his first 7 years of life a child has been taught to live in fear and he has been overprotected, he will behave like that for the rest of his life. If the child was abused or was taught violence for those 7 years, the child will become a violent adult. This will become his blueprint for life.
This is why it is so difficult to help people change their ways when they’re adults. They’re already programmed to be the way they are. This is the subconscious program that kicks in every time. Many people blame their behavior on their genes, but really it was the behavior that they were taught starting at birth, and because our parents are the ones with such behavior, we think it’s genetic.
It is like a machine that is controlled by a program. It will do only what the software or the program is commanding. To help the machine behave differently, a different program needs to be downloaded.
People who want to change their life do have an option to be happy instead of negative or to be in shape instead of overweight. People who don’t have a successful relationship can have one. People who are alcoholic can become sober. This is a matter of choice, and I will disclose what I have discovered in a moment.
Let’s go back to the 7 year period. Like I said in the beginning, every 7 years we are a completely different person depending on our environment, food, beliefs, acts and other things.
For example, let’s say that all you eat is junk food the first 7 years. By the time you’re 7 you have already developed a disease, or you are overweight. Or let’s say that your parents are negative and that is what you learned in your first 7 years. By age 7 you are already negative about your life.
To begin with, junk food is tasty and addicting (or if all you know is being negative) and you believe that is who you are and you don’t see your behavior, it will be very difficult to change the way you are eating (or your thought pattern).
Nevertheless, you may become aware of the harm junk food is doing to you and understand that to succeed in life and be happy what you need to do is be optimistic and that you have a choice about it. When you decide you would like to change your way, it’s the first step and the most important one you need to make. Now, I am only saying you have done this for 7 years. There are people who have done it for their whole life — 25, 40 or 60 years. The faster you find the behavior the easier it is to change. The longer you practice the behavior the harder it will be to change it.
In the past I was a mentally lazy person, an impulsive shopper, an alcoholic, addicted to cigarettes and destructive relationships, and quick to get angry or emotional in general. I did not know better. I honestly thought I was that way and I could never change my personality. I did not change for 28 years until I understood that I could be better, and if I wanted to be happy I needed to change my life. There is when I made the change. Even though I was changing every 7 years before my real change, the previous changes didn’t amount to much because I was continuing practicing many of the same behaviors.
It was not until I started reading, being conscious of my actions, listening to people who are more capable than me, meditating, eating healthily, setting goals, planning, saving money, forgetting about materialism and caring about others that I started to change, and my life reflects the change compared to 7 years ago (Many people don’t believe who I used to be when I tell them, and people who know me from my past don’t believe the change I’ve made).
Do this experiment: Go back to your picture collection and compare your pictures every 7 years, and you will notice the difference. If you compare pictures that are 2 or 3 years apart there will not be a big difference.
Here is the key to changing your life. You need to be aware and make an effort to do the things that are difficult for you. For example, if you never exercise and you quit a week after you start every time, you need to understand that you will be quitting every time unless you make a conscious effort not to; it will be difficult to exercise unless you decide to do it no matter what stands in your way. When your subconscious takes over, you will quit again, but when you consciously think you need to start exercising again, you will. This will be a fight until your new behavior gets recorded in your subconscious, and then you won’t have to fight any longer because it is a new habit.
If you have a negative thinking pattern, you can start recording your thoughts, or you can ask people around you to tell you when you are negative and you need to change one of those thoughts to a positive one or focus on the positive. For sure, you will relapse and think negatively again, but you need to consciously think positively again. It will take time before you change your thinking, but once again, once you have done it long enough, the fight you had in the beginning will be there no more.
All your fights will be difficult at first, but after a while you will need no effort once your subconscious has recorded the new program. It will take a lot of repetition and persistence to do it, but it will happen.
So if you want to change your way and be a better person, lose weight, have a successful relationship, have a job that you love or open your own business, be healthy, stop living paycheck to paycheck, be optimistic, and be successful in all areas of your life, you need to start practicing new habits. You need to start now; you will relapse many times, but you will be on your way to being a different person in 7 years.
I personally can tell you I am so happy I have changed my life for a better one even though it was difficult in the beginning. The only thing I regret is that I did not do it 7 or 14 years earlier; I would be in a better place now.
It is never too late to start enjoying your life, but don’t waste any more time living a life that you don’t truly enjoy. Stop blaming it on your genes and take responsibility for your happiness. When you’re 7 years older you will be glad you did.
I travel to Mexico every year, and people usually ask me days before my trip if I am excited about the trip, and my answer is no. I also remember when I was about to get my knee surgery I got asked the day before if I was nervous. And hours before my seminar presentation, I was asked if I get nervous about being on stage. The answers are no.
I have learned to live the moment and not think about the future…
However, many times I forget. For example, many times I start to meditate, and I am thinking about reading because I have not read; or I am reading and I am thinking about how poor my meditation was; or I want to go back to meditate while I am writing my next column. Even though I have learned to live the moment, many times I need to be reminded about how important it is to be in the moment.
When I live the moment I enjoy my time, and everything is happening within the moment. Not only that, but I am more efficient by listening to people, not forgetting things, getting my ideas clear and putting all my energy into what I am doing.
This is why I don’t get excited before traveling or while traveling or nervous about my knee surgery or my speech. I start to get excited when the airplane lands or nervous when I am getting the anesthesia or when I am stepping on stage.
I have seen many people wasting their time with their loved ones when they are having dinner together and texting on their phone…
These people are not living the moment and are lost in their phone. Have you had a conversation with someone who is not present? While you are focused on the conversation the other person is thinking about something else. How beneficial do you think this conversation can be?
Where there is focus, energy flows. I heard this somewhere. The truth is that whatever we focus on we put energy into, and many people put energy into the “not real world.”
In this same way many people live in fear…
Many people worry so much about the future and things that have not happened yet. They worry about cancer, losing their jobs, losing a loved one, getting into an accident, getting injured, about many things that can happen. They aren’t living in the present. Other people are stuck in the past suffering for what happened and want to bring the past to the present to fix the mistakes. While it’s true that it’s okay to visit our past to learn not to make the same mistakes, it is painful and a waste of time trying to change the past.
Can you imagine how much time people spend in their past or future?
With this I am not saying that we should ignore reality and not be ready for any of the negative situations that can happen in the future, but instead of worrying, it is important to take action to prevent them. To take action to protect our future is very smart. However, to worry about something that may not happen does not make sense. One suffers more in the anticipation of the pain that something can bring than from the event itself.
On the other hand, many people get very excited about things that are supposed to happen:
a wedding, a new car, a new house, a new job, an event — and when these don’t come to fruition, they get upset and distressed. Once again, I am not saying not to have faith and stop working to make your dream or event come true. What I am saying is it’s important to live the moment and enjoy the present, let the future manifest and the past rest. The past is not real anymore, and the future does not exist yet.
The present is real. Many times we let the best moments pass because we continue thinking about the past and future. This specific present moment will never come back, and when you are into the next moment you will wish you would have enjoyed that specific moment.
Many people are looking forward to not being single anymore, and they want a relationship. When they are in a relationship, they want to get married. Once they are married, they’re thinking about children. Then they want their children to grow up and be free. When they are alone then they realize that they never enjoyed their life and they were so busy living in the future that their past is gone. Now trying to live the past and fix what is done and long gone does not make sense. It makes sense to live in the present, doesn’t it?
I have learned to feel the moment…
to look for the unique things of it, to listen and to watch. Living the moment is to understand the emotions that I am having within the moment. If I am happy in the moment, I think about what’s making me happy or if I am sad I think about why. We all have our moments of sadness, happiness, anger, joy, deception, pride, embarrassments, confidence, etc.
Being present has helped me live fully, make better choices, control my emotions, be a better person, help others, find my mistakes, empathize with others, express myself better, and live my life.
I still make mistakes, of course. I still visit my past and learn from it. I have goals set up and work on them no matter what. Plan and take action, but I continue doing my best to live the moment.
To the pharaoh the dream was a nightmare…
He wanted to know what it meant, and the only person who could understand the dream was Joseph, so he had Joseph brought to him to interpret it. Once Joseph was in front of him, he started to tell him his dream. It was about 7 fat cows, 7 skinny and ugly cows, 7 healthy heads of grain and 7 sprouted heads of grain. The 7 skinny cows ended up eating the fat cows and the same happened with the heads of grain.
Joseph told the Pharaoh the meaning:
Egypt will endure 7 years of abundance and 7 years of scarcity. If the people don’t get ready for the times of scarcity, they will suffer, and Egypt may perish.
After having my knee surgery, I had some family problems and some business problems with employees and clients, there were promises I could not keep (opening CBF at Glenwood Springs) because of third parties, my car’s suspension broke and a developed an engine problem we couldn’t figure out, my apartment needed repairs, and I couldn’t focus at work no matter how hard I tried. It sounds very simple, but when there is a string of events that don’t allow me to move forward, it is frustrating.
The good thing is that I have money saved for repairs for my car and my apartment…
I don’t need to put anything on a credit card. Also, being in shape helped me recuperate from the surgery faster. Caring about my family also helped me solve my problems with them, and the same is true with my employees and clients.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining, which is an unattractive trait. Complaining about my car, my job, my employees, my apartment, my life, my day, my situation, my lack of understanding, my family, the hospital system or my knee won’t make any difference. In fact, putting a negative perspective on those things will take energy from me.
Complaining is only for the weak…
Instead I like to give thanks for what I have and how great my life is compared to many others. In reality, my problems are not bigger than those of others. Yes, its true that not moving forward and progressing is a sign of getting smaller. But I think about those that need more help than I do. Therefore, I also continue focusing on helping those who are more in need.
What I have as an advantage is that I know times with skinny cows are going to come…
Therefore I get ready and prepare to endure those skinny cows.
I save money, I become wiser and stronger, I nurture my relationships, and I take care of my health. Ignoring reality won’t help me to continue moving forward.
As you probably know, if you have been following me, I come from a very poor family. Of course, my dad is as poor as I was. He could not see progress until I started to mentor him on how to take care of his health, spirit and money. When I was going through the skinny cow season, my dad helped me a lot by working on my car. I was stressed because we could not figure out what was wrong with the engine, and I bought a lot of parts to try to fix the problem. I remember my father telling me that it was a good thing I had the money to fix it and to imagine if I did not have the money.
Can you imagine having a broken car and apartment and not having the money to fix them? Or not having the money to pay your employees? Or can you imagine having a heart attack or hemorrhage or complications from a knee surgery because you didn’t take care of your health.
Just like exercising, learning and meditating, being ready for the skinny cow season is a must to ensure a high quality of life rather than just going with the flow.
“I don’t have time…”
This is one common excuse we use not to do the things that matter. Many times we opt to stay busy doing the small and easy tasks and leave the hard tasks that matter for later. This is one of the reasons we are stuck and it is difficult to achieve our dreams. Hence our dreams come with obstacles that need to be overcome.
There is time for everything we care about and that is important to us. For example, for me these things are important: reading, eating healthily, exercising, Custom Body Fitness staff, meditating, CBF members, my dogs, my family and writing. If we are talking about learning, progressing, caring, changing this world to a positive one, becoming a better person and improving my life, I do have time.
If you have been following me for a while now, you probably know that I come from a very dysfunctional family and one of the poorest areas in Mexico City. I came as an illegal alien when I arrived to the U.S. For 10 years of my life after I came to the U.S. I was lost; I owned nothing and owed a lot of money.
My life did a turnaround when I turned 28, and now I have achieved many of my goals, such as owning real estate, running two Custom Body Fitness gyms with great staff, having money saved and invested, writing and publishing a book (my second book is coming up soon), creating a nonprofit, influencing the community for a healthier life, and traveling to Machu Picchu, some places in the U.S. and Mexico every year for vacation. I am living a life I never thought I could have. And I have achieved these goals only because I opened time for it.
I am not saying that to talk about me really. Many people have achieved more than me. I am telling you part of my story to prove to you how “I don’t have time” is only an excuse.
The reality is that I have many vendors walking to my offices, many phone calls and emails from solicitors who promise that they will help grow Custom Body Fitness and people who claim to add value to my life. Also, I have many invitations about going partying and having fun because I work too much, according to them. I have been invited to dance classes and events. In fact, I have put my goal of learning how to swim on the side (which I need to start as soon as possible). My answers have been “I don’t have time.”
I just moved to a new condo, and I noticed that the condo needs a lot of improvement. While I am continuing doing my daily duties at CBF and personal life, I have opened time to improve the condo. Why didn’t I use the excuse “I don’t have time”?
Here is the truth that I think you know…
We do have time for the things we want to have time for.
Many people have time to surf the web, watch meaningless TV programs, party, talk on the phone for hours about nothing productive, drink and so on. But they don’t have time to exercise, cook, read or listen to their loved ones. I am not saying that is wrong or right. My point here is that we open time to whatever is important to us.
On the other hand, there are people who are busy doing worthwhile things but they avoid the tasks that really matter, which are difficult and tedious. For example, a guy can be cleaning his car or a woman doing her hair paying attention to the finest detail and spend far more time than is necessary. While it is important to have a clean car and beautiful hair, they ignore their exercise, the prospector call, the cooking, the improvement their business needs or the book they need to read to improve their skills.
We are always going to have time to do the things that matter to us…
Coming up with the excuse “I don’t have time” is just that, an excuse. We know that it is only an excuse.
One of the things that I do to see if my excuse is valid is to find out why and when I am coming up with my excuse and compare it to my values and priorities.
For instance, if someone calls me and is trying to sell me the most revolutionary marketing tool ever invented and promises me that without effort I am going to become rich, “I don’t have time.” If someone walks into my door and is trying to seduce me with a big percentage profit by selling his/her supplements, “I don’t have time.” If someone tells me, “You’d better watch Dancing with the Stars,” “I don’t have time for it.” The reason is because I know there is no easy way to become successful, and I don’t have time for lies and empty promises. I don’t sell products and supplements that don’t contribute to health. I don’t see how watching meaningless programs will help me progress. My priorities and values do not match with any of these events, and this is why “I don’t have time for it.”
However, I have not made swimming and archery a priority. When I say, “I don’t have time for it,” I know I am only making excuses. Therefore, my conscience tells me that I need to get on it and stop making excuses.
The question now arises:
when is your “I don’t have time” real and when does it become an excuse that keeps you from reaching your goal and improving your life?
Be honest with yourself and think about the goals that you have put on the side for many years and have not had the pleasure to enjoy only because “you don’t have time.”
You woke up to be successful today…
It does not matter what you woke up for, but the goal is to succeed in whatever you have planned.For example, driving to work should be a success: You plan to be at work. You do not plan to get into an accident or wake up to a broken-down car or to be waiting in traffic all day.
This is one of the reasons people enter into depression:
They don’t see themselves succeeding, and therefore they don’t even try to get a job, write a proposal, drive, learn, help and so on.
But I know this is not you. You are planning to succeed in your day. You are waking up every day to do better and get all the tasks done right. You know by now that to be successful you must work for it.
You are going to fail many times…
you are going to find obstacles; you are going to find people who are not supportive of your life; you are going to be afraid; life will get in the way; you are going to suffer inconveniences; you are going to feel lazy; you are going to feel confused; you are going to be rejected; you are going to feel alone… Be successful anyway.
What else you are going to do? We all are going to die. That is part of life. There is no escape. The only way you can be remembered is by leaving a legacy, and you can have a legacy only by being successful.
There is no reason not to be successful…
Success is not only an event. It also helps us to be happy. As you probably know, we need dopamine to be happy, and there are many ways to release or get dopamine. We release dopamine by doing drugs like cocaine, psychiatric pharmaceuticalsand alcohol. Eating sugary foods can also release dopamine. But these behaviors have negative side effects. In contrast, succeeding in each goal you have set up gives you a shot of dopamine with no negative side effect (assuming your goals are focused on good will).
That does not mean that you should expect to succeed each time you do something. It means to persist without giving up until you succeed.
I am going to use myself as an example. I announced the opening of our second location in
December 2016. We were supposed to be open in January 2017. Eight months passed, and I could not open our second location. It was because of the city inspections, the owner’s decision to continue moving forward or because the location did not meet our requirements. There was a lot of real drama. We looked for another place without succeeding, and finally we found two options. One had great potential, but the other one had everything we were looking for. Even though I was under a lot of stress trying to open on time for those who signed up, I never gave up. I continued looking until I found the right place that meets all of our requirements.
As you see, it took me almost a year to complete my goal, but I did it. I succeeded. This is what Thomas Edison and Michael Jordan did in their lives. They failed many times but never gave up. They finally succeeded in their goals.
You are made to be successful no matter how many times you fail…
There is no better feeling than dopamine and adding value to your life and others’ by succeeding in your goals, and you will be remembered because of your goals and the change you have made in this life, your legacy.
Experience life; it is okay to fail — it will make your success even more fulfilling. Sacrifice momentary pleasures, time, money, security, fun and yourself and endure pain, stress, criticism and boredom to be successful. Be successful in all areas of your life. Be successful in your happiness. Be successful by having a connection with God, by taking care of your precious family, and in your health, profession, financials and knowledge (become the best you can be and become smart by learning what makes you passionate).
Don’t leave your life to destiny. Make your destiny and succeed no matter what.