“For a man to conquer himself is the first and noblest of all victories.”
There have been many people all over the world throughout history that have fought for freedom. Some who I’ve heard about are Chief Joseph, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr., Dalai Lama, Pancho Villa, Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi, Thomas Jefferson and Cesar Chavez.
Of course, this list is nothing compared to how long slavery existed, and it’s not possible to count every single person who has fought for freedom all over the world. And it’s true we can find all kinds of slavery and all kinds of revolutions.
The Truth Is….
that I am very happy that I am free, not only free from slavery but also free to become a better person. I bet that any of these leaders, before they could free other people, needed to free themselves.
Can you imagine creating a revolution where you could be killed or incarcerated for life?
These leaders needed to overcome some real fears before they could lead other people.
Remez Seasson said, “Your mind is your instrument. Learn to be its master not its slave.” I think the first battle to win is the one with oneself. My thoughts used to enslave me, but now I have more control over them. One thing that has helped me is to differentiate the carnal or superficial desires from the things I really want from the bottom of my heart.
There is not a better battle to win than the one with myself. I understood that I can control my superficial desires and I can do better in life and overcome my fears and put all my energy to improve myself. I can control my thoughts instead of my thoughts controlling me. Battles with oneself are the hardest ones, but freedom begins here.
If you want to control your thoughts and overcome any difficulty and achieve your goals, here are a few tools I use to do it. By the way, personally, I can tell you that putting my life in the hands of a Superior Power has helped me the most.
Being with myself and giving me time alone to think about what is in my head allows me to understand my thoughts and find answers. At the same time, it helps me to focus on the future and the goals I want to achieve.
While all this is part of my meditation — and it helps me understand myself and what I really want — the best thing about meditation is that I can manipulate my thoughts and focus on them. When a negative thought comes into my head, I replace it with my dream. I focus on all the positive events.
Be aware of what you are thinking…
During the day there are many thoughts running through my head such as fears, negative events, negative feelings and others. I don’t let these thoughts occupy my head. I am aware of them but think about the good side of everything. It becomes easier as I become more aware of what I think. Now it is a choice to put good thoughts in my head instead of just thinking wherever my brain wants to think.
Accept That Some Of Your Negative Thoughts Bring You Pleasure And Suppress Them…
Many times we get pleasure from our negative thoughts, such as seeing someone fail, reading or hearing gossip, seeing other people in a negative stage, thinking about junk food, thinking about getting drunk and so on.
For some reason we have bad habits.
There is nothing wrong with getting pleasure from these thoughts: The problem starts when we allow these thoughts to occupy our brain. It is important to cut out these feelings and think the opposite right away. Otherwise, our brain gets full of negative thoughts and we become what we think.
Start Putting In Only Positive
Information And Real Knowledge…
There is no doubt that we become what we have in our brain. If we put junk or trash in our brain, we can’t expect to come up with ingenious ideas. If we put trash in we get trash out. If we want to become positive, we must input all the best information provided in the world by reading, listening to other capable people and leaving behind negative people, TV programs and gossip magazines.
Surround yourself with the perfect environment…
I make my environment. I meet different negative people. I choose my friends carefully, and when negative people are around me I turn their negativity around at least for the moment. If I can’t do it, then I let them be and walk away. I choose what I am ready for, what I am watching online and what I am spending my time on.
Focus On Your Dreams…
Your dreams are not going to come alone. Your dreams affect your life. You behave according to your dreams. The only way you can achieve your ideal life and be happy is by you winning your own battle. You decide if you let your dreams go by not fighting or winning over your thoughts.
I am not perfect by any means. But I have grown a lot thanks to controlling my thoughts.
“Conquer your thought and you will conquer the world.”
It is not coincidence that all successful people set up goals. Many do it in writing and others picture it. Any good leader knows how important goal setting is.
When we have a goal, we have a clear destination, we prioritize important tasks, we control our future, we get motivated, we effectively manage our time, we live an effective life, and we accomplish our dreams more quickly, achieving better results.
When I did not know about goal setting, I had goals, but they were useless or vague. For example, some of my goals were to make more money, make my car faster, pay my bills, go party over the weekend, and become a waiter (because I was a busboy). I never really accomplished anything except for getting speeding tickets, getting drunk, and wasting the money I made. But yes, I paid my bills.
Now my life is different. I have accomplished a couple of goals that contribute to my happiness, to the world and to my freedom.
For example, I opened Custom Body Fitness Carbondale and Glenwood Springs, founded Canine Outreach Care and Rescue, wrote two books, and own two pieces of real estate. I know many others have achieved more than this, but the point is that goal setting has helped me to achieve my goals. I could never have accomplished these without the help of goal setting. Therefore, I know goal setting works.
Let’s clarify how goal setting helps…
For example, if you know you are losing 30 pounds because you want to improve your health and defeat diabetes, to fit in your wedding dress, or to increase your self-confidence, most likely you are going to be investing your time doing the right things because of your clear destination. We can compare this to going to the supermarket — when we know we are missing tomatoes to make a delicious sauce for our dinner, we go straight to get tomatoes. However, if we don’t know why we are going to the supermarket, we can end up buying potato chips, a pastry, canned food, candy or anything else that may not help us with our sauce.
We prioritize important tasks…
If the goal is losing those 30 pounds, we know that we need to eat on schedule, eat whole foods, stop eating junk food, exercise at least 30 minutes every day and stop drinking alcohol, among other things. Since we have a clear goal, all our energy is focused on achieving it, and even if we relapse, we get up and continue moving towards your goal.
Because our goal is important, instead of wasting time watching TV, surfing the web, or going out at night with friends, we invest the time in the priorities that will get us closer to our goal. Instead of going out, we cook; instead of waking up late, we wake up early and exercise.
Controlling our future…
Many of us lose our temper when we lose control of a situation. Having control of the future helps us be more secure and gives us the self-confidence that everything will be okay. While we are not certain about our future, goal setting is the best way to know what can happen in our future based on what we have control over. For example, if you don’t want to develop diabetes or be overweight, we can control that part of our lives by setting goals. On the other hand, if we have no goals and just make bad choices, the chances of us developing diabetes or gaining weight is greater.
It help us get motivated…
When we predict the future and we know that the future seems promising, we get motivated to practice the right habits. We get extremely inspired because the future seems great. For example, when things happen that were not supposed to happen and demoralize me, I continue practicing the right habits because my future motivates me. This happens to me when I project my future and set my goals. If there are no goals or promising future and we only live for what life brings us, we lose motivation when things become hard.
There are only 24 hours in one complete day. When we don’t have goals we do whatever we feel like depending on our mood. If we feel like sleeping long hours, we do; if we feel lazy and want to watch TV, we do; if we feel like eating junk food, we do because there is no goal at which to aim. This can be compared to shooting. If we don’t have a target we can shoot at the sky, the tree, the car, the other tree and anything that we can think about. Like I mentioned before, when we have goals we invest our time meticulously towards our goals instead of just doing what we feel like because of the mood we are in.
Living an effective life…
Many of you already know that being in shape helps in many ways, from increasing self-esteem, having a better appearance, losing weight, having more energy, being independent, avoiding diseases to setting an example for our family. When we set goals and achieve them, we have conquered only part of our real purpose. We become more knowledgeable, resilient, and a better person over all. That gives us the courage to continue moving forward and live our purpose, leaving a legacy as we do it. This not only improves our lives and our families but improves the whole world.
Setting goals is the fastest way to get to our destination, realizing our dreams.
When I set my goals, I keep in mind a couple of things:
Goals should not be vague. For example, “I want to lose weight.” If you said that, you could get rid of an arm and lose weight, dehydrate yourself or even lose one pound and you’ve achieved that goal. So it should be clear: How much fat do you want to lose per month? Is fat the only thing you want to lose? Do you want to add muscle? Or do you only want to fit in your wedding dress? Or do you want a toned back to show when wearing your dress?
Setting goals should have a purpose, and the purpose should give you a positive sustainable result. For example, my goal was to make my car fast to feel cool and to win street races, but how would that contribute to my future and fulfillment?
Losing weight for the sake of losing weight does not give you enough motivation. If you focus on losing weight, it does not mean anything until you attach it to your emotions. When your emotions are involved your motivation increases. For example, losing 20 pounds to fit into your wedding dress sounds better than just losing 20 pounds. Or losing 30 pounds because I am tired of not enjoying life and doing what I love to do such as hiking, running or anything with my friends because I am embarrassed when they have to wait for me. If your mom died of a heart attack and you don’ t want to die the same way, that is also attached to your emotions.
Set a time limit…
If you don’t set a specific time, you could take all your life trying to achieve your goal. For example, when I bought my first apartment I wanted the freedom not to pay a mortgage, and that helped me to create a specific goal to know how much the apartment should cost and when I wanted to pay it off. Even though I asked for a five-year loan, I ended up paying it in two and a half years. So this goal has a purpose: I don’t want to pay rent, and I want to have my freedom. The time I gave myself to pay off the loan was 5 years; it is very specific. If I hadn’t done that, I might have gotten distracted with fancy cars and wasted my money on one of them when I can’t afford it and have it take 30 years or longer to pay my mortgage.
I did not spend money on unnecessary things, I worked hard to make that money; I could see myself owning the place so I wouldn’t have to pay rent. That gave me the motivation to continue working and improving myself even when I didn’t feel like it. I managed my time and invested it into working and saving money instead of spending it. My life was more effective thinking about the future, and I am living my dream. Same goes to your weight loss, if you have it clear why you want to lose weight and set a time limit, you may even get faster to your desired weight.
Keep track of goals:
The fact that I could see how much money I was paying and how fast I was saving it gave me the motivation to pay the apartment off even faster. When you take measurements and see real results, you know where all the effort of eating healthily and exercising is going, giving you the endorphins that you need to continue moving forward, motivating you even more to get there.
Now that I mentioned chemicals, let me mention how the following two special chemicals work…
Is a happy chemical that we release when we achieve goals. This is one of the reasons visioning our dreams and writing down our goals is so important. If you remember when you were a child and thought about Santa Claus, you thought about the presents. Those goals were so exciting that we even behaved and did what our parents told us to do to achieve the goals. When we went on a trip or passed the exam or anything like that, we got excited because dopamine is what we release when we achieve our goals.
Is what keeps us focused with no pain to get to the goal. When a runner experiences the “runners high” or a weight lifter feels the best in a weight lifting session and don’t really feel pain, the reason is they are releasing endorphins, which helps mask the pain. This is what endorphin does: covers the pain until they reach their goal. However, after hours or days they feel sore because the endorphin levels are lower.
This is why it is important to set goals for success…
Let’s recollect everything we talked about today.
Goals are important because we have a clear destination, we do the needed work to get there, we prioritize important tasks, we control our future, we get motivated, we effectively manage our time, we live an effective life, and we accomplish our dreams more quickly, therefore achieving better and faster results.
When we set goals, we should make sure we take into consideration:
Be specific, know your purpose, set a time scale and keep track of your progress.
If we set goals and follow the plan, it helps us to be high every day, and we won’t need cocaine, antidepressants or any other drug because we naturally get dopamine and endorphins.
I recently got two puppies, and I was potty training them. I am not an expert in the subject, and therefore my puppies had a lot of accidents in the house. I used the two usual training methods: punishment and reward. What I noticed is they learned faster when I gave them rewards than when I was punishing them. In fact, when they were punished, they even got confused and did not know what to do when I gave them rewards. However, confirming with them that they did something against the rules also helped them understand what they should be doing.
I also noticed in my career that people get courage and motivation when there is a reward…
and there is no better reward than achieving their goals. In addition, helping people understand their mistakes and how those mistakes are keeping them from getting to their goals is very helpful.
When there is punishment there is force, and when there is reward there is power. This is the topic that I am reading in a book call Force vs Power.
A train needs to be supplied with fuel to produce force to overcome inertia. As more force is produced, there is more resistance. So there is a constant fight that requires energy supply.
Gandhi use power against the force of Britain, Martin Luther King Jr. used power against the force of discrimination, and Jesus used power against the force of his enemies.
The point is it doesn’t matter how strong force is, power will always defeat it…
Force needs a constant energy supply, but power is just there. Power is smart, prepared, patient, decisive, persistent and peaceful. These are only some of the characteristics of Gandhi, Martin andJesus.
Many times when members start with our program they come very excited to change, or I help them to become very motivated about achieving their weight-loss goals. However, when we start creating a plan, I notice that many want to use force to achieve their goals. They want to follow a diet, a trend or a belief they don’t even understand. This is why many people can’t reach their goals — or when they do they end up regaining the weight — because of the constant energy required to produce force.
However, when we use power instead of force, losing weight becomes easier. You probably have read one of my articles or watched one of my videos where I suggest finding the real reasons you want to lose weight. When you are using your whys you start to use power, because now you are not just forcing yourself to follow a diet. Now you have reasons to change your eating. For example, one of my reasons to eat healthily is I want to preserve my body young, strong and healthy because I like how I feel and how I look. I don’t let myself get overweight or weak. I don’t use force to avoid processed foods — I use my reasoning (power) instead.
Another way you can use power is by understanding your real needs rather than your wants…
For example, you need four basic chemicals (dopamine, endorphins, serotonin and oxytocin) to be happy, and you can produce every single one naturally. For instance, you can produce dopamine by exercising, endorphins by constantly progressing and achieving your goals, serotonin by mentoring and being mentored and oxytocin simply by loving or healthily bonding with others.
In these ways you are using power. Or you can use force, by using psychiatric drugs, cocaine, heroin, alcohol, irresponsible sex or video games, behaviors that will cause negative consequences to come into your life. And don’t misinterpret my meaning; I am not saying that playing videos games, for example, is bad. I am just saying that making these behaviors the source of your chemical will create an addiction, using force to get what you need to be happy.
I have helped many people to lose weight, and they continue with me losing weight, and others are capable enough to do it alone after they learn how to use power instead of force. Following a trendy diet or superficially having a reward is never better than the real reasons you are losing weight and the knowledge of understanding yourself. Power defeats force.
This year start with the right program and mindset with your weight-loss program. Find your power instead of your force.
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.
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 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.