There’s a realization that hit me like a ton of feathers after my dad retired from sales last year: his watches from the 80′s are back in style! The thin-banded, small-faced moon watches are fashionable once again. Taking a shot in the dark, I asked if I could borrow one, and he willingly said, “Here, take care of all of them, but let me get them repaired for you first.”
It felt like I was in one of those corny Hollywood scenes where the dad passes down a watch or an heirloom to his son while imparting some type of responsibility or life lesson at the same time.
But I guess that’s what all sons and fathers desire: time with one another or something valued and shared within the relationship that can be passed down and cherished. We don’t want quarreling or bickering. No one asks for that. We want time that’s worth remembering.
As I descended the stairs, the hostile man in front of me turned around and spit on my shoes with no provocation. There was no reasoning with him. It was clear that he wanted to fight. This was a familiar situation, and I knew what I had to do in order to neutralize him after having a one-on-one with the one of the world’s greatest not but two days ago.
“I’ve only had one lesson. I need to go back. Looks like I can only use what I know. Is it enough?!”
I distanced myself, readied my hands and body, and has he rushed in…
I woke up in my bed room.
There was no cold sweat nor was there fear but rather a desire to learn more from these guys:
Ryron Gracie (left) and Rener Gracie (right)
Kristal surprised me with a late birthday gift and was able to arrange a private Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu lesson (BJJ) between me and one of the best-in-class Gracie brothers, Ryron (he-ron) at the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy in Torrance, CA.
All within an hour, Ryron taught me practical defenses and offenses to keep myself sustained in a street fight. It was also made clear that when people want to fight, I have few options:
Get beat up
Control the fight
Rolling with Ryron
There is no telling how good I would be at #3, but I would like to improve. After waking from my dream, I remember feeling a deep need to learn more BJJ, especially with all of the bullying and unpredictability in the world. Kristal and I even talked about doing this together after the wedding, and we agreed that when we do, we would know where to go.
It’s an empowering message that applies to what I do in both business and in personal matters. Many days I get so caught up with sales numbers and corporate jargon, I fail to craft the art of relationship and rapport.
Furthermore, I overlook emotions when I sell. I become cold and processed.
This simple message displayed above reconnects the nerves within me and allows blood to flow to the heart of why I love doing my job. Interacting with people, relating stories, and meeting needs are reasons why I do what I do. It’s difficult to see beyond the trivial in a customer service-corporate life, but Blaine infuses purpose in almost any menial task with a slogan like this.
The cake says it all, and the the justification is that I didn’t invent anything nor did I stop world hunger. It is my birthday so let’s just have cake.
We can eat it too. I’ve been learning to indulge just a little more thanks to my soon-to-be wife, Kristal. She likes to spoil me despite the fact that I don’t always know how to respond to acts of kindness. Kristal will go out of her way to invite all of my closest friends to come celebrate…me. It sounds bizarre. I don’t know why she does it, but here’s how I’m learning to respond to her catering:
Give a definite “yes” or “no,” and don’t just shrug with indifference.
Be specific when asked for my preferences and likings
Go with the flow.
If it were up to me, I’d spend my birthday alone with my thoughts while lying on my bed staring at the ceiling. However, I am starting to realize that if she feels that I deserve this treatment then I better start going with it. There’s no point in fighting.
And I must say, it’s starting to feel pretty good.
With the 300+ days ahead of us, 2012 was looking steep
And so we hiked the first day of it to symbolize our conquest
Our thighs burned the calories and regrets
As we obliged to fix our eyes on the task before us
Putting one foot in front of the other; step high
Who needs resolutions when you have accountability? You and I We are at the top already; Euphoria is the name of our city
It’s where our days are bright though the sun is hidden
It’s where we inscribe
Our dreams, our futures given another try
Full of hope
We do this together.
Do you know how many unproductive things I can do in that time? First, there’s my DVR box full of TV shows to be watched (or deleted). There’s also my Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook feed that can be compulsively refreshed every other minute. Lastly, I usually drag my feet long enough heading to the gym just to convince myself that my body needs a nap more than it needs the exercise; nap wins.
Committing fifteen minutes a day to sit down and write is not going to be easy. No, it’s not a New Year’s resolution but more of an ongoing conviction that won’t leave my Twitter feed. I have been inspired by this tweet from writer Jeff Goins and his blog about not making resolutions but rather “resolve” to reach my goals. Jeff, makes it fairly simple to develop a good habits as a writer, but these three “rules” are generally applicable to anyone who wants to excel in their craft:
Set aside at least fifteen minutes to practice, write, etc.
Show up to do it.
Give yourself grace, and don’t be so hard on yourself.
Three steps seems simple enough. It’s not some crazy crash diet, nor is it some insane workout regimen. Though I haven’t been posting every day, I have been writing for at least fifteen minutes either on my phone, journal, or computer, and I’ve never felt more productive this whole year. Yes, it has only been six days; I am aware.
With no partner to tag and plan, I refused to go solo in the late night Black Friday madness this year. Despite, the change of tradition, I still found a way to drive myself to the point of exhaustion and delirium with the ones I love.
12:00am: Did some damage on Amazon.com SHOPPIN’! but mostly for gifts…
1:30 am: Sleep.
7:30am: Drove up to a Target store not knowing what to expect. The store was empty, and all the Black Friday deals I needed wanted were still around. WOO!
9:00am: Picked up Kristal and met up with some friends at Millennium Dance Complex in Hollywood, namely Ferly Prado and Manny Streetz.
11:00am: After dancing, Kristal and I decided to do some shopping at the Bev Center in Beverly Hills.
As soon as we were about to grab some lunch, Justin Bieber’s Mistletoe was playing in mall, and we were “surprised” to see Manny again…and well…
It’s crazy how a flash mob can just drag you in like a whirlpool. I mean…why fight it when you could just be a part of the movement? Plus you’ll end up on all the Justin Bieber fansites ;)
I am thankful for Manny, Kristal, and Ferly dreaming up big and for the friends and fam who came down to support and document the whole thing.
Famished, we eventually got lunch, but no shopping done for ourselves. Thankful for this!
The rest of my Black Friday was a blur with the exception of the time spent with close friends, including my hilarious old friends at the theater, The Muppets. If I had some wheel of morality to spin, it would land on “The most memorable times in life are spent with the ones you love most regardless of what you’re doing…blah blah blah…”
DVR technology and an ongoing break from Facebook has freed up more time for me to get into some good intentional reading for personal development.
Let Justice Roll Down by John M. Perkins: A true civil rights story about redemption and forgiveness.
Love & Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs: Two of the most practical yet overlooked concepts for any relationship. If I could only afford to buy this book for everyone I know who is in a serious relationship or is seeking to understand one…
Wooden: On Leadership by John Wooden and Steve Jamison: The winningest coach in college basketball shares applicable leadership qualities that all start with a foundation of “good habits.”
The War of Art by Steven Pressfield: Fighting the resistance that is keeping you from doing what you have already envisioned. You don’t need more inspiration or more time. Just do it.
The goal is to finish these books before Christmas in addition to reading The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.
It looks I’ll have plenty to share for those “White Elephant Gift” parties during the holidays.
At least I will be paying forward enriching substance and not all trash on the Internet and TV.