Sunday, December 31, 2006

Motivation Tips for the Weary Resolution

It’s the beginning of the year and time for all athletes, noncompetitive or competitive, to assess what they want to accomplish for the upcoming year. The start of each year is when your motivation is high and training is fresh and fun because you feel that this is the year that all your goals and resolutions will be accomplished. Unfortunately, statistics show that the majority of you will break your resolution before April and resume the same lifestyle you had before you made the resolution to change. So, the $64,000 question now is how can you maintain these feelings when the weather turns sour, your social commitments interfere with your goals, and work begins to sap the last bit of energy you have left? Unfortunately there is not a magic motivation pill to take, but with understanding of where you are at in your training and by creating the proper motivation and focus towards your resolution, it is possible to reach your goals and consistently and maintain your motivation despite any adversity that you may face.

No matter what your motivation is, everyone reading this blog falls into one of five stages related to activity. The first stage is the Precontemplation Stage where for various reasons you have no intention to be active in the next six months. If you are seriously considering becoming active in the next six months then you are in the Contemplation Stage. In this stage you are planning what it is you would like to do, possibly dust off your old runners, and become an “imaginary athlete” where you do everything but get out and exercise. The third stage is the Preparation Stage where you have finally entered the active world, but not on a regular basis. This is a very inconsistent period where you are active sporadically and get little or none of the benefits that exercise has to offer. When you finally are active on a regular basis (3 times a week for 20 minutes or longer) you have entered the Action Stage. While this stage allows all athletes the physical and mental benefits of exercise, it is the most unstable phase of the five. Within six months, roughly half of all participants will drop out of their program and drop back to the Preparation Stage or quit all together. For those of you who make it past the six month mark you have entered the Maintenance Stage. Minus time off for injury or any other unforeseen breaks in the action, now you are on a path to maintaining your swimming and an active lifestyle for a life span.

Knowing which stage you are in is an important start for everyone because it allows you to look at your current activity level and develop your plan. Getting to the Action Stage of exercise is easy; it’s maintaining that effort and staying active that is more difficult.

Motivation is the intensity and direction of one’s effort, and in order for this to be successful you must create your own personal motivation. Your own personal motivation is essential to making it into the maintenance stage, and while others may help you along the way, you will not stay there if you are not internally motivated to do so. Internal motivation can be created by:

  1. Using of visual cues in your everyday life.
    When you get home from work exhausted from being on your feet all day and the first thing you see is your couch you are likely to sit on it. The couch as your visual cue pulled you towards it consciously or not. What would happen if your exercise gear was on the front seat of your car or the first thing you saw when you got home? Visual cues are instant reminders of what it is that you would like to be doing or what you would like to achieve.

  2. Use contracts, it is a positive way for you to commit yourself towards remaining active.
    This is especially important for the athlete who is in the Preparation or Action Stages of exercise. Having a contract to become active three times a week forces you to take ownership of something that you have committed to. It is also a way for you to involve other people into your training, which is a proven way to increase adherence levels for someone just getting started, or starting over.

  3. Variety in training is essential in keeping motivation high.
    Spice up the way you train. Focus on speed, endurance, different muscles, and technique. The key is to have something to look forward to when you go to exercise, if you don’t have a purpose behind what you are doing then it is likely that you will not go after it with as much motivation as you would otherwise.

  4. One of the most successful skills in creating motivation and increasing adherence levels is goal setting. In order to make sure that your goals have the ability to be successful, use the SMART goal setting principle:

Specific goals are goals that are obvious and directed, in a positive way, towards what you want to achieve.
Measurable goals are goals that can be put into a number or percentage so that you can track you progress easily.
Adjustable goals are goals that can be made easier or more difficult so that your motivation can stay constant.
Realistic goals are goals that are challenging but not impossible.
Time Based goals state a timeline for accomplishing your goals (days, weeks, or months).

Motivation can be maintained when properly created. You need to find out what motivates you and then create your own personal plan. Using cues, contracts, variety in training, and goals are all suggestions that can assist the process but it is ultimately within your power to meet your training needs. By recognizing the many benefits an active lifestyle contributes to your well being, you create the ability to adhere over time and maintain your ability to be active for a lifespan. Good luck and have a great 2007.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Full wallet, empty house.

At first I thought it was because you didn’t care. But then, seeing your surprised reaction to what seems so blatantly obvious, I began to rethink my hypothesis and arrive at the fact you just aren’t getting it.

Here’s the 411. You are a hungry, a-type workaholic who’s invested every minute of your waking life to get the bucks, so you could get the gal, so you could drive the car, so you could build the house, so you could live the life. It all worked out! You made your wad, spotted the gal, she saw the hunger, and with the same moves you use to broker the deals, you got her and envisioned the future together.

There inlay the challenge. T.o.g.e.t.h.e.r. What could not be predicted is that the first ½ million wouldn’t be enough for you. You had to chase the second, and then the third, and then the deal over there. You seemed to care less about the new born and more about the free room with gambling in Vegas all under the guise of doing it for ‘us’. Sure you made attempts to be there… but were you really there, or were you simply grooming your kids to become the same knucklehead you are. I recall telling someone my son’s motto was work hard & get rewarded. This guy looks at me and says, my son’s is work hard and make millions. "Isn’t that great"… he laughs. I look at his wife who I’ve seen come onto one of my buddies prior to meeting them and laugh too.

Anyways… suddenly, the gal you came home to had enough of your guys trips, last minute business meetings, grabbed the remaining shred of confidence she had left after single handedly mothering two kids, gaining weight, attending social functions, and mading sure you presented like the sales GURU (because really we are all sales people so not really sure why you think your above every other sales person) you are…. and moved on. Whether or not it was in the physical sense or just mentally, it doesn’t matter, she moved on.

Of course ‘what a bitch’. Of course ‘who’s the asshole’. And of course you can walk into your guys club and moan like a 5 year old who’s lost his favorite toy. But while you are insecurely gluing your ego back together amongst a bunch of the intellects who have done the same thing, we have a simple analogy for you.

Sunlight and plants.

Remember gr 11 science class when you seeded a plant & took it home in the Styrofoam cup? Well, when you left that sucker in the dark… it wilted and died. Shine light on it, and it flourished. Even if a glimpse of light, that plant would lean lean lean towards it. It’s the same game with people, except its called attention! Sometimes the sunlight is simply shining, not intended for one specific plant over another. The plants find the sun.

If you want to know how your gal became detached, your children started to hate you and your wallet emptied by ½, voice activate the mirror in your SL9000 to look directly at you.

PAY ATTENTION. It's not that difficult.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Lobster: Great Food, Bad Friend

okay, okay... I'll get to the point fast here, I don't want to offend a slew of diners by 'dissing' one of our favorite delicacies. Delicious as it may be in the literal sense, when we use lobster figuratively to describe social behaviour, it's a bad thing.
Now I haven't tried it (too cruel for me) but it is well documented that if placed in room temperature water and brought to a gradual boil... lobsters kill each other. That is to say, if one lobster attempts to claw their way out of the pot, the others will drag it back down. How does this apply to social behavior? Very simple, and very hard to change.
Think of your friends you grew up with during your junior high/ middle school and high school years. How many of them are you still friends with? I consider myself abnormally lucky because I can answer several. Most people have very few friends left over from this period of their lives, and some are at a loss as to why. Many people have even lost touch with their maid of honor or their best man. Granted, going off to college, taking a job in another city, province or state, or having children will all speed this process up and make it difficult to remain friends. So why do so many people lose touch even if their lives keep them in close proximity and similar life stages? Enter the 'lobster friend' analogy. When I went to school, or started my own business and took clients or booked meetings on a saturday, I got the following responses from friends...
"why aren't you drinking more?"
"oooh, look at mr. important, he's soooo cool!"
"you've changed, you're no fun anymore"

When we are young, let's say we are a small fraction of the great human being we are capable of and hopefully destined to become. Say we are a 4 out of 10. 8s don't hang out with 4s. 4s hang with 4s. So when you take a course, make sacrifices, work hard, and take any step to become a 5,6,7, etc the 4s get left behind. They have a choice to improve themselves, or question and criticize your behaviour to try to keep you at a 4 out of 10.

If your business is generating 40% of the profits you know it can, you will do everything to get closer to 100%, and you can easily dismiss people who stand in your way or question your heart or committment to your cause. Why should our personal lives be any different? They're not.
If you want to become a 8, 9, or 10 out of 10... surround yourself with those kind of people. The kind of people that respect your wishes to improve, and will support you in your journey to get there. You can also quickly become a 7,8,9, etc by doing what you can to educate your friends on how to move themselves forward, and support them in their journey. Those firends of yours that accept the challenge to improve will remain friends. In fact, the relationships will improve. Those who resist any and all attempts to become better people because they are 'comfortable' with where they are, need to be dropped from your circle of friends.

This may sound harsh, but like begets like. Hang with a 10, become a 10 or they will drop you. You don't always have to like the right answer, but ask for as many second opinions as you want, the truth will surface and then it is just a question of how long it takes you to acheive your goals and improve your life. There is no time like the present to affect positive change.

In fact, here is one clear cut case of where the grass truly is greener on the other side. Care to see for yourself? Swim upstream... become a 10, and then pass it on!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Hold That Thought

Christmas is a time that we reach out and give to others.
Christmas is a time that we fill our lives with laughter and cheer.
Christmas is a time that we spend with close family and friends that we love.
Christmas is a time that we celebrate and appreciate the things that we have.
Christmas is a time that should not be forgotten all year.

Why for one week do we...
  • focus on others before ourselves?
  • put our problems behind us and appreciate the things that we have in life?
  • take the time to get together and spend time with the people that love us in life?

Yet, fail to consistently do so for the other 51 weeks of the year.

The day after Christmas is...

NOT a green light to revert back into what we all become every year.
NOT a green light to become selfish again.
NOT a green light to bring our problems back into our lives.
NOT a green light to underapprecaite the things that we have in our lives.
NOT a green light to make us forget about the people in our lives that love us.

Our attitudes during christmas should be our attitudes towards everyday.
Don't forget the person you became on christams day, for the person so many become the days after.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Let Bygones Be Bygones

Let Bygones Be Bygones

Sorry about the late blog today. It was a late night after a few too many beverages on Christmas Day.

However, the thoughts of the day are based upon some unruly statistics that we hear very often around the Christmas season.

  • The highest number of suicides
  • The greatest amount of depression
  • The highest incidence of domestic violence
  • And the list goes on….

The family may be still at your house, the topics of conversation may have bordered on ignorant or even brimmed with animosity, and you may not like your Aunt Edna one little bit but…..contrary to popular belief….

….you still have something to be happy about. I’m not sure what it is but I think it may start with the fact you are still alive and control your destiny. If you didn’t know that start with that fantastic place. You control your life and that is something to be truly grateful for.

Put down your guard, lay away your personal feelings and make sure that you just appreciate what you do have. Life is too short so….

Let bygones be bygones and live in the moment.

I’ll be back next week with my weekly Seven Day Sights, Sounds, Speculations and Stargazing from our wonderfully challenging world.

Until then, cheers.

Monday, December 25, 2006

live the moment, love the day!

twas the day of the birthday and all through the land
there was peace on the earth, all lending a hand
to make our home better, one mind at a time
unconditional loving, with reciprocity 'in kind'

those who were doubters, had machisimo to spare
live, laugh, and loving, without one single care
for this day is selfless, its not about us
the excitement of giving, the adrelalyn.. the fuss

we wish all days were like this one, paused in real time
when the takers and skeptics, had no chance to chime
their bullshit and baggage, stole away for one day
the innocence born into, allowed to 'be as it may'

hug the kids tightly, call friends, forget foes
cause today's not being spend, on the smallest of woes.
recal what's impprtant, to you on this day
and show thanks to that, in your special way

and take today forward, to tomororw... next week
bottle that feeling, let out and just tweak
cause there isn't one reason, this feeling can't ride
its just too much fun, to brush under and hide

this special day, no matter what you should do
is about giving to others, which brings the best out in you
don't wonder why, and for sure don't debate
how good it feels, and you can finally relate.

reflect on the great things, you have in your life.
free of oppression of loss and of strife
celebrate the birth of the god whome you choose
in celebrateing life, there's no one who lose.

from the subtle words posted, right to the extreme
a most merry christmas, from the swimupstream team.



Sunday, December 24, 2006

The Christmas Brat

When I was a young teenager all I wanted for Christmas was a stereo with big speakers so that I could listen to my music at levels that, ultimately, would make my parents resent the gift Santa brought me. The anticipation of Christmas at this time was different; I was not waiting for Santa to arrive, as I had outgrown that stage, but I was waiting to receive gifts.

The first gift I grabbed from under the tree was the biggest box I could find with my name on it, and there they were, two of the biggest speakers I have ever seen. I began to tear through box after box in search of the accompanying stereo, not caring who each gift was from or what was written in each card. When I finally got to the last present I learned that there was no stereo, just some really cool speakers and a bunch of sweaters. Being the typical teenage brat, I was angry that I didn’t get what I wanted and began to sulk.

As I began to bring my gifts up to my room I was stopped by my mother. “Did Santa bring you everything you asked for?” Knowing that my parents did not have a lot to give, I tried to put on a happy face and said solemnly, “Yeah”. I got the speakers up to my room and stared at my clock radio. How in the world I was going to get the speakers hooked up to that? After trying for sometime, mad that there was no way for me to use this gift, I decided to call my Father up to solve the problem. I knew there was nothing he would be able to do. I was really calling him up to say, snottily, “What the hell?”

My parents had gotten me the big stereo after all. They had simply forgotten to take the second box, the one containing the actual stereo, when they purchased the set. So all they left the store with were the speakers. My Dad braved the day after Christmas lines to find out where my stereo was so that I would have my gift as soon as possible.

You learn lessons about love in strange ways when you are a kid. Sometimes they don’t connect until you are much older, but ultimately they do connect. My parents had every right to take those speakers and return them because I was an ungrateful little brat. I had bought into the commercialism of the season, and disregarded everything they ever taught me about Christmas. But they didn’t, they choose to love me and allow me to learn.

I share this message because I want to remind you that there is not one gift you will receive tomorrow that is greater than the person who gave it to you. That gift may just be a hug and a “Merry Christmas”. It is enough that they are there with you. As my brother arrives into town from Nashville, my sister visits from Boston, and my wife and I share our first Christmas, I am thankful for the opportunity to spend another day with family members. They are my gifts in life, not just for the day. Tomorrow I will open presents, some which I will like and some which I will have no use for, but ultimately I will be surrounded by people I love and people who love me back….what greater gift can life give you?

Saturday, December 23, 2006


Sometimes people come into your life and you know right away that they were meant to be there, they serve some sort of purpose, teach you a lesson or help figure out who you are or who you want to become.You never know who these people may be; your roommate, neighbour, teacher, long lost friend, parent, family member, or even a complete stranger who, when you lock eyes with them, you know that very moment that they will affect your life in some profound way.

And sometimes things happen to you and at the time they may seem horrible, painful and unfair, but in reflection you realize that without overcoming those obstacles you would have never realized your potential, strength, will power or heart. Everything happens for a reason.

Nothing happens by chance or by means of good or bad luck. Illness, injury, love, lost moments of your greatness and sheer stupidity all occur to test the limits of your soul. Without these small tests, if they be events, illnesses or relationships, life would be like a smoothly paved, straight, flat road to nowhere. Safe and comfortable but dull and utterly pointless.

The people you meet who affect your life and the successes and downfalls you experience, they are the ones who create who you are. Even the bad experiences can be learned from...those lessons are the hardest and probably the most important ones.

If someone hurts you, betrays you or breaks your heart, forgive them, for they have helped you learn about trust and the importance of being cautious to who you open your heart to.

If someone loves you, love them back unconditionally, not only because they love you, but because they are teaching you to love and opening your heart and eyes to things you would have never seen or felt without them.

Make every day count. Appreciate every moment and take from it everything that you possibly can, for you may never be able to experience it again. Talk to people you have never talked to before, and actually listen, let yourself fall in love, break free, and set your sights high. Hold your head up because you have every right to. Tell yourself you are a great individual and believe in yourself, for if you don't believe in yourself, no one else will believe in you either.

You can make of your life anything you wish.
Create your own life and then go out and live it!

Author Unknown.

Friday, December 22, 2006

the spectrum of intelligence

given the stellar examples of leadership we have seen across the woman of hollywood in 06, we've created a special sumthin sumthin to measure their aptitude. we call it the scale of stupidity.

on the left side of the spectrum is naive. naive is making a mistake when there was clearly no to little knowledge of this being a mistake. hey... we are all human and perfect doesn't exists. you equated money to happiness... uh uh.

in the centre of the spectrum is stupid. stupid is making the same naive mistake twice. yo.... THE ELEMENT IS HOT. member, first time you touched... big ring on hand. no touch. you are not attractive and we don't actually want to see your boobs or sex tapes. jeez paris, i'd rather dryhump a barbie doll.

at the far right side of the spectrum is ignorant. ignorant is planning to make a stupid mistake. i don't know, like.... getting our of a car without underwear on when the press is there. nice brittany.. wish i could have my moms @*!!&* on the news for all to see. classy... feelin really sorry for you. fire your agent / publicict / assistant / babysitter immediately and move back home till your 30.

now, young ladies that watch this debachery and scoop it up like its gospel. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE go to your blockbuster video store and rent any movie made prior to 1990 that doesn't represent woman like the BIMBO's of 2006.

1. that's not what you are.
2. thats not what you are expected to be.
3. that's not what you should aspire to.

check out oprah or jane fonda to name a few examples of classy hollywood female role models! and think about this: if any of the 2006 "girls" [aka : bobblehead-stickfigures] didn't have money, would you be paying 10 seconds of attention to them?

no way.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Time To Take Stock

Yes, it is almost Christmas...

That time of year when people get together as families and discuss how grateful they are to have each other, and how special everyone and everything is. This is all well and good, but we must also be open to the full experiance and the reality of others this holiday season (if not year round). That reality hit me twice this week; hard.

First: Slap in the face

Oh, I never cease to be amazed by stories like this one. One of our fair city's greatest humanitarians got her chance to shine this week. At a drive through coffee shop that will remain unnamed (for fear this womans' actions in any way affects the income of an innocent company), the human race took a step backwards. Frustrated that this particular cafe did not have the variety of scone she requested, this woman actually threw her piping hot coffee in the face of the poor employee at the drive in window. Yes, I am serious, and no this woman did not receive a public hanging.

Second: Kicked in the gut

Today I got a rare and beautiful opportunity to give out Christmas presents to children diagnosed with cancer. The 2 hours at the children's hospital oncology unit gave me a very different outlook on what life is really about. Do I have it so bad? Is traffic really that big a deal? When I saw a young boy exclain "Mom, I got a REAL basketball!" I had a big smile on my face, because I thought he liked the gift (though I feared he hadn't the energy to enjoy it). When I saw him hooked up to tubes in the hallway 10 minutes later dribbling the ball, I got kicked in the gut so hard I'm sure I went white. I almost burst into tears at the simplicity of his joy amidst the bleakness of his situation.

Third: (I hope) Kicked In The Ass

That's what people like our coffee chucking monster of a human being deserve after reading, hearing about, or seeing things like I've just described above. Next time you think about honking your horn at the guy in front of you (who is also in a traffic jam by the way, and feels the same way you do), think about what is really going on in your life, and how you have so much opportunity it is not even funny. Now think about seizing that opportunity daily... there are others who in your shoes would let nothing get in their way.

Take Stock of your life, and lead it as though you were diagnosed with cancer. Kids aged as young as 5 don't have as much choice as you or I. Are we using or losing that power?

Take Stock (evaluate where you are headed)
Make Talk (inspire others with your example).

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Degree of Difference

At 211 degrees, water is hot.
At 212 degrees, it boils.
And with boiling water, comes steam.
And steam can power a locomotion.
One extra degree... makes all the difference.
And, the one extra degree of effort in business and in life...

seperates the good from the great!
  • The average margin of victory for the last 25 years in all major golf tournaments combined was less than 3 strokes.
  • The margin of victory between an Olympic Gold Medal and no medal at all is extremely small. In 2004, at the mens 800m race, the margin of victory was .71 seconds.
  • The margin of victory at the 2006 Boston Marathon was 1:07 minutes over 26.2 miles.
  • At the Indy 500...The average margin for victory for the past 10 years has been 1.54seconds. On average the winner took home $1,278,813. Second place prize is $621,321...a difference of $657,492.

It's your life.
You are responsible for your results.
It's turn up the heat,
To get what you have never had.
You must do whatever it takes,
To do what you have never done.

  • The only thing that stands between a person and what they want in life is the will to try it and the faith to believe it possible.
  • It is one of the most beautiful compensations in life...we can never help another without helping ourselves.
  • Belief fuels enthusiasm, and enthusiam explodes into passion. And passion fires our souls and lifts our spirits.
  • Having a simple, clearly defined goal can capture the imagination and inspire the drive to achieve what never thought possible.

The time is strive for that next degree,
the degree of difference.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

You Get What You Ask For

Congratulations Canada.

You have spoken en masse and what you have said is that you actually don’t have a clue.

Yes. We, you and I, are a nation full of followers. But don’t trust me or blame me for saying you are crazy. Just take a look at some of the statistics and examples [written in no particular order].

1. The number one selling football jersey in Canada is the number eighty one of the Dallas Cowboys, worn by Terrel Owens. So we have made sure that the biggest cry baby, the most selfish player in the history of sports, a whiner and a dramatist who pretended to kill himself, someone who has little or no respect for anyone and someone that spits on opponents during games, is the number one dude. We like that. We showed that with our wallets. In fact we pay money to put that guy on our back and tell others he is the man. Good example.

2. Global Warming is not just a hot button issue but probably the issue on the minds of all North Americans. Especially in the wake of natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina. Our leader has decided that the meager pollution and environmental gains that the Kyoto accord suggests are not really worth it. We are one of the only countries on the planet to first ratify this agreement and then go against it. We voted for that because the environment wasn’t a big issue for the second largest country by size in the world.

3. We continue to use natural resources and tourism as our key markets. Does anyone see that the two don’t mix? One needs to take the natural resources and the other needs to show them off. Just my thoughts but it seems at odds to me.

4. We live in a country that tolerates a province entering a hockey tournament as if they were a separate country. Hardly a murmur from the rest of us and if any of us did say anything it was to a friend in passing. We didn’t really stand up for ourselves as a country. That would ruffle the feathers of other people. Why would we……perhaps have basic patriotism? Again, just my thoughts but how will we ever have an identity if we don’t get irritated by this… least politically. Shouldn’t the other provinces just say ‘No’ and then be done with it?

5. As a country we have allotted what seems like 2 pages to the inconsequential ‘same sex’ marriage debate while maybe one page has been put to everything else. Give it a rest. We have bigger fish to fry starting with health and ending with the environment.

6. Video Game injuries. I don’t need to say anymore but Canada is apparently the number one country in the world per capita with injuries related to video game playing. When will we be fatter than the U.S.?

These are just a few of the things that have caught my attention this week but I am still baffled by a nation that doesn’t walk even though we are built generally from immigrants that knew nothing but; baffled by shopping mall car parks that don’t have sidewalks or places to avoid the SUV’s for meager pedestrians; baffled by parents that buy their 12 year old caffeine energy drinks and then wonder why they can’t concentrate or sleep. I’ll check in with some of those topics in the future but one thing I can say;

We are sure living in a strange world at a strange time. We asked for the above to happen by continuing to support it.

I’ll be back next week with some more random thoughts and if you see anything that needs to be addressed send me a line.

[Note: The stats can be checked, those examples that have them, and I approximated for simplification. If you think you are being cool by checking the exacts or for arguments sake, then you have missed the point…..again. Please just use the time to make a point and get people on board for saving this planet, one brain and one piece of garbage at a time.]


Monday, December 18, 2006

And the purple heart goes to…

The hero who kicked my son and I off the school ground while we tried to play catch today. Thank god I had my digital, because it’s tough to define the word moron to a 5 year old. Today you were “the one”.

You were that person who has to make themselves feel validated by imparting your authority over those with ‘lesser power’. Power-trippers rock! I just love them. You know, when you make an honest mistake or you have an honest question and you get the ‘TUDE’ from the person who rolls their eyes and treats you like a criminal.

You probably learned it from your boarder patrol buddies, or maybe a campus security officer. Could have ripped a page from the book of some city clerk, regardless... I have some advice.

Get over yourself.

Don’t get me wrong I understand your work. You are compensated to keep people in line and I can respect that. What I don’t respect is a) the JOY you take when some of us inadvertently crosses that line or b) creating a line because you think you can. Newsflash Francis we are not all terrorists, we are not all litigiously motivated, we are not all trying to sneak in something for nothing… and there are times when you need to think before you start belching diarrhea from of your mouth.

Sunday morning, 9 a.m. 2 square acres, a 5 year old and his father playing catch with tennis balls on a public school that we live across the street from (meaning, we pay taxes and contribute to)… marching out onto the field yelling and screaming like we are setting of fire works? Please. Tone it down a little Rambo. Predictably, we knew you would be too lazy to come out twice… and returned to play 15 minutes later.

For those in positions of influential power and control, use it to positively educate others instead of opportunistically branding yourself. That goes for you too New York Nicks, Cavaliers and Terrell (jackass) Owens.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

It's Not Their Fault

I read in the paper the other day that smokers were demanding that Phillip Morris pay for their health screenings and finally decided that I have heard enough out of smokers. Phillip Morris has paid hundreds of billions to people who thought that inhaling smoke into your lungs wouldn’t be harmful (after all fireman just wear those masks because they look sexy). Smokers are on the path to creating universal health care in the US. The system works as such; start smoking and assume no responsibility for it, realize that it is bad for you when you become sick, blame Phillip Morris and wait for the courts to hold them, not you, responsible for your illnesses, become a millionaire in a class action suit and get all the health care you need.

I am 33 years old and in the 3rd grade I remember people calling cigarettes “cancer sticks”. This meant to me that cigarettes caused cancer. By the 6th grade they were called “death sticks”, which meant that if I smoked them I would eventually die (although I knew that this will happen anyway, I assumed that cigarettes would just accelerate the process). As I became older I saw people who smoked and said to them “smoking is bad for you” which usually brought on a “no shit Sherlock” or something to that effect. What I am getting at is; are there really people that don’t know that smoking is bad for your health? So much so that they still expect Phillip Morris to help bail them out of their choice to inhale.

The education campaigns are working, laws are being passed to ban smoking in about every available open air environment, and cigarettes are being taxed so much that you almost have to take on a second job just to continue your habit. Where do we go with smokers from here? I say we cut them off and hold them as responsible as they have held Phillip Morris for the past 20 years. A simple message should be sent, if you smoke you most likely will die of lung cancer at a young age and it will be your entire fault, enjoy if you choose to do so. Then I say we go after fast food and candy.

Obesity is no less of a problem in North America than smoking, the only difference is that obesity numbers continue to increase and are starting at a younger age (yes children in preschool are becoming obese at alarming rates) leading to more and more obesity related health issues. The only real difference between obese people and smokers is that smokers have someone to legally blame for their condition.

I say we sack smokers and start to treat the main contributors of obesity the same way as we’ve treated cigarettes. This means that we would tax the hell out of candy, soda pop, juice boxes, and fast foods. The money we get from the taxes we would use to get every kid involved in some type of movement activity, start an obesity education campaign, and get those preschoolers to find joy in a healthy and nutritionally balanced lifestyle.

Dollar menus would become $5 menus, candy bars would finally be more expensive than apples, and soda pop would become “Cristal” in an aluminum can. We can sue Ronald, the King, Carl, Jack, and that Chihuahua, so they have to give health care for everyone with high cholesterol, heart disease, and diabetes. The wrappers on fries and burgers can say “Warning: This product may cause serious obesity related health issues and premature death”.

As long as we are going to be a society that will always hold others responsible for our own personal choices, then the least we could do is get the smokers off of lifetime scholarship and share the wealth with others in personal responsibility void.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

You Never Know

You never know what tomorrow brings. Accepting that means agreeing that you have a responsibility to yourself, your family, and possibly to the world to MAKE SOMETHING of the day. Tim Harriman, 18 years old, gets that at a higher level than most of us. His story is below....

December 7th, 2006

My Story

My name is Tim Harriman and I was born and raised in Calgary Alberta. I grew up as a very competitive hockey player and was also involved in many other sports. Unfortunately on September 28th, 2002 my hockey life and dreams as a kid came to an end. On the night of September 28th, 2006, I was taken to a nearby hospital with intense pains in my stomach and even on the line of being unconscious. To the shock of my family, friends, and even myself, at the age of 14 I was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, a form of Cancer in the blood common among children. Within several hours I had been diagnosed, transferred to the Alberta Children’s Hospital, had more IV tubes hooked up to me then I could count, and would soon under go treatments. After settling in my new home at the Alberta Children’s Hospital, room # Q11 we soon found out more information that put my family’s faith and hope into a real test. The doctor’s had told us in order to begin treatment they would need some more tests to confirm exactly what type of cancer I had, how far it had spread, and what were my treatment options. The doctor’s had explained that if the cancer had spread to my spinal cord, it might have spread to the brain, if it had spread to the brain, unfortunately they may not be able to offer me any type of treatment. Fortunately the test results came back and my spinal cord was free of cancer cells but they discovered that the cancer was the dominate of the cells and diagnosed me with 97% cancer cells. They concluded my prognosis was poor but with a good attitude and willingness to try, I had a chance.

The Fear

I still struggle to this day to find the words to explain the fear I felt when I heard the words that I had a blood disorder classified as a type of cancer and would have to undergo 2.5 years of heavy chemotherapy and radiation. At the age of 14 I had enough knowledge as to what cancer was but was obviously unprepared when I found out I had to fight the disease. I was afraid of the pain I might face. I was afraid of surgeries, I was afraid of losing hope, I was afraid of the outcome; I was afraid of the unknown. With the support of many friends and family I had to look deep down inside myself to find the hope and perseverance to push forward and with that hope I discovered a faith inside me that was much greater then anything I’ve ever experienced. And that faith is what has brought me this far today.

The Experience

I began chemotherapy immediately after I was diagnosed by the oncology team at the Alberta Children’s Hospital and was told I would have to undergo at least 2.5 years of treatment which consisted of chemotherapy at the time and eventually doctor’s decided it would be best for me to also receive radiation which would reduce the chances of relapsing. 2.5 years eventually turned into almost 3 years which completely changed my view on life. Although I had to undergo intense pain in order to become healthy again, I also found an extreme amount of Joy despite the circumstances. And 4 years later, that joy is also what has carried me this far and be able to claim myself cancer free.

An experience that is even greater

Within my 3 years of treatment I discovered a pain that was more painful then my own battle, and that was the pain I had received when I knew I was one of the oldest children at the time at the Alberta Children’s Hospital Oncology Clinic being treated for leukemia. Every day when I walked through the doors of the cancer center, it brought a lump of pain knowing that the other patients were ages 5 to as young as 12 months old. It was painful knowing that they had to undergo the pain I had to but probably even more since there little bodies could only handle so much.

This is when I came to the conclusion that I no longer wanted to see another child have to face the pain I faced so I wanted to make an attempt at bringing life and hope back into the situation. On June 4th 2005 I began a journey of a lifetime and a dream that has become a reality. I began training with Innovative Fitness to bike across Canada for childhood cancer. After 1.5 years of planning and prepping, in June 2007 I will dip my wheel into the Pacific Ocean and begin a journey through all 10 provinces, visiting all 17 children hospitals and cancer treatment centers in hope to help in finding a cure for childhood cancer.

Thank you for taking the time to read my story. I hope it has inspired you to make a difference in lives of children who are diagnosed with cancer. If you wish to receive more information on my project or wish to donate, please contact me at:

Tim Harriman
41 Sprucegrove Cres.
Airdrie Alberta, Canada

Tel: 403.948.4304
403.948.4304 (Fax)
403.803.2298 (Cell)

.... and if you never contact Tim (which is okay) DON'T sit on this and say "nice story". DO SOMETHING to better yourself and your world. Why is it that people like Tim give back to the world after the world gives them cancer, while many of us horde our possessions after the world gives us opportunity?

Get out there... Give.

Friday, December 15, 2006

surround yourself with great people.

my coach used to tell me: "go to the garbage and you get garbage". he was referring to nightclubs and the company i used to keep with "cool people"

its easy to get wrapped up in cool, but after 35 years, i find myself migrating towards warm. warm people are not easy to find, bcs for the most part, they are not looking to be found.

the 5 guys off swimupstream. connected by a commonality of passion for educating. its easy to speak with them, bcs we are immediately on the same wavelength, sometimes finishing each others sentences. these are 5 people i would answer the call for if need be.

our summer lake group. every summer (and now winter too) we get together with a great group of people. when we started, these people didn't even know eachother but every time we come away, they say "wow, what a great group of people, thanks for including us". they miss the fact they are great too, and that's why they are there. no ego's, kind, giving, humble and most importantly competative and fun! there are two dates i look forward to every year and its bcs of the people.

my tech friends. not geeky tech, rather brilliant tech. movie producers, directors etc. completely under the radar, completely humble and completely not like myself. listening to them speak, seeing them work, watching them create has opened up my eyes to a completely different realm.

so to all the great people i know... thanks for being great. to those who are fortunate to be surrounded by great people... thank them today for being them. you, like me, are fortunate!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

My Declaration of Self-Esteem

I am Me

In all the world, there is no one else exactly like me. Everything that comes out of me is authentically mine because I chose it - I own everything about me: my body, my feelings, my mouth, my voice, all my actions, whether they be to others or to myself - I own my fantasies, my dreams, my hopes, my fears - I own all my triumphs and successes, all my failures and mistakes. Because I own all of me, I can become intimately acquainted with me - by so doing I can love me and be friendly with me in all my parts - I know there are aspects that I do not know - but as long as I am friendly and loving to myself, I can courageously and hopefully look for solutions to puzzles and for ways to find out more about me however I look and sound, whatever I say and do, and whatever I think and feel at a given moment in time is authentically me - if later some parts of how I looked, sounded, thought and felt turn out to be unfitting, I can discard that which is unfitting, keep the rest, and invent something new for that which I discarded - I can see, hear, feel, think, say, and do. I have the tools to survive, to be close to others, to be productive, and to make sense and order out of the world of people and things outside of me - I own me, and therefore I can engineer me - I am me and

I am okay

by: Virginia Satir from the book "Self-Esteem" - Celestial Arts, Berkeley, California.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Newton's Third Law

Sir Isaac Newton worked in many areas of mathematics and physics. He developed the theories of gravitation in 1666, when he was only 23 years old and some twenty years later, in 1686, he presented his three laws of motion in the "Principia Mathematica Philosophiae Naturalis." These three laws (particularly Newton’s 3rd law) are quite unique in that they actually apply more than to the study of physics but to our behaviors and actions of our daily lives.

Newton’s third law states “that for every action (force) in nature there is an equal and opposite reaction”. When we consider this law in human behavior people should want to consider analyzing all the consequences and benefits prior to making decisions and actions, as the results might have an impact on more people other than just themselves.

Too many times we make decisions to get ourselves further ahead without thinking about assisting others getting ahead. At the same time we don’t consider any negative or detrimental effects that our decisions/actions/words might have on those around us. Don’t get me wrong, taking the initiative to take yourself to the next level is required for your own personal growth and development. However, when actions are not well-thought out and are driven solely by self-fullfillment, you might want to consider who is going to be affected by the outcome of those actions.

Newton’s 3rd law is a law.
Newton’s 3rd law is simple.
Newton’s 3rd law is reality.

Any action is a form of motion, therefore, if we were to abide by Newton’s third law of motion, we must understand that for every action in nature there will be an equal and opposite reaction (whether it directly affects you or others).


Take the time to think before you act.
Take the time to help up as opposed to kick down.
Take the time to act selfless and not selfish.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A Message to Christians

[Note: This is not meant to offend religious or faithful people. It is meant to help us all remember why we celebrate our diverse and amazing religions. By writing this it helps remind me that I need to be a part of this solution. Thanks.]

A Message to all Christians:

Get a hold of Christmas!

The average six year old knows about 5000 consumer brands and only one in ten can recognize Jesus. Santa Claus is literally more powerful than Bill Gates and the G7, and we have normally started this holiday by the 1st of December.

However, twenty five days for a holiday is not enough! So we make sure that the day after our national holiday, Canada Day or July the Fourth, we start in on sucking every single solitary morsel from this holiday that celebrates the birth of God’s Son.

Ladies and Gentlemen, lets’ get ready to rumble……start you Ford Taurus and go shopping. Pathetic if you think about it like this isn’t it?

Oh and while I’m at it, I’m pretty sure that when God said, “let their be light” he wasn’t talking about glowing snowmen or mechanical moving Rudolph figures perched on your roof top. I know, I know, you are trying to brighten the day and the hearts of people driving by. I get it, you aren’t doing anything in bad taste but you might want to take a look around the back of the local hardware store and see if they maybe have one of those old, slightly shop soiled ‘manger scenes’ and see if you can buy a timer for the lights so that the six months that we celebrate Christmas doesn’t actually push the earth to increase a degree of temperature tomorrow.

Christmas is for giving, for remembering peace, for celebrating the birth of Jesus. Take one moment this year to contemplate why we celebrate and then what we have turned Christmas into. Maybe this year, or next year, you can help slowly turn back the clock to a time when family meant a great deal and giving wasn’t just throwing five bucks in the Salvation Army kitty.

Now, the rest of you that have been thinking you are off the hook…..please pay close attention.

It is not called Festivus!

We have never, nor would we ever try to change the names of your religious holidays. Ramadan stays just the same; Hanukah, just the same. You name it; we haven’t tried to make you feel that you cannot express yourselves. Oh, and I am not talking about the history of religious growth here. I am not talking about which religion has been the most persecuted and this has nothing to do with the times when we were all riding horses and brandishing swords so give it a rest, you didn’t study history anyways.

I’m talking about today when we all live next to one another. In fact, and I am far from a studied religious major, but I can tell you that I’m sure that because of the ridiculous level of Christmas that it has made many of your religions hunker down and try to be seen, recognized by your people and thus stay a little more real. All the power to you and good for you I’m glad we are all able to freely speak but I have one last thing regarding all religions.

The other thing is that your God, whatever brand you represent, has never said that it is okay to tie a bomb to your chest and kill yourself in the name of your religion. Seriously, this is becoming a bit a problem don’t you think? He or she really doesn’t want you to die and there isn’t one old book that says go kill other innocent people to show your love for me. Check it out rather than take the words of some psychopaths as truth.

Let’s all just try and get along and instead of spending time competing actually give to one another.

Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 11, 2006

How much is enough?

Shared by Blog Reader Sharon Constable.

If you have so much why don’t you feel happier, If you are so successful, why don’t you feel more satisfied? If you are so busy, why do you spend so much time on things that seem so unimportant? If you hate what you are doing, why are you doing it?

It’s all too easy amongst the daily blitz of meetings, business trips, and running the kids to school, soccer or hockey games, to brush off such vexing questions. The more we achieve and the more possessions we acquire, the heavier such questions weigh on our minds. The tensions in our lives: ambitions at work, financial goals, the constant need to keep up with the Jones’, family commitments, expectations of others and of ourselves along with maintaining health and having time for personal matters, become even more urgent – until you have no choice but to confront this difficult question we rarely ask ourselves, let alone answer: WHEN IS ENOUGH, ENOUGH?

When so many things seem so easily attainable, what kind of life is desirable? In an age, of more, more, more --- more travel, more possessions, more stock options, more challenges, more dreams – when does the pursuit of less make sense? How much is enough? Does what you have or don’t have define you? Why do so many people allow their lives to get so far out of whack by failing to ask themselves the kinds of questions that they routinely ask others: Why do you work? What gives you pleasure? What do you feel passionately about? What do you want? Most people are open and honest about life – until they need to be open and honest with themselves. Introspection takes too much effort and too much courage.

It’s hard to take a time-out from our busy lives to just think about what it is that is really important to us. How often do we take the time to reassess our life, to recognize the compromises we have made in order to attain the possessions we have acquired, to recuperate from illness or just the shear exhaustion of an incredibly stressful life? The constant need to gather more of everything and ultimately for some, to have the most.

While serving the needs of both work and home have we neglected ourselves? How many get so swept up in all the gathering and never pause to find true north on their inner compass? Others simply adopt someone else’s vision. Still others have achieved one set of goals and are at a loss as to what to do next. How many successful people who set career goals in their twenties or thirties find themselves somewhat disappointed by the view from the top when they reach those goals in their forties or fifties, the Peggy Lee Syndrome “Is that all there is?”

How high a price would you pay for enough? It is an alluring trap, because the extra effort you put into working harder and longer can pay off in the form of raises and promotions – which only reinforces the grind to have more.

Most people don’t realize how out of kilter their lives have become until they face a crisis – a divorce or a death in the family. Even when faced with the ultimate wake-up call of serious illness will they wonder why they did not take their health as seriously as their possessions?

The desire to have enough can be exciting but beware that you do not end up buried in all that excitement.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Gift of You

Today a child will be born to parents who will support and love them all of their lives. They will never have to wonder where their next meal will come from or if they get to sleep in the bed tonight. They will have warm coats for the winter, most likely new, and will be able to attend camps in the summer. During the holidays they will receive new toys and sit by the fire sipping hot beverages and enjoying their families.

Today at that same time another child will be born by a single mother who is scared. They will never grow up to know their father and will never know when their next meal will be served to them. They will live in borrowed or donated clothes and be bumped from family member to family member as their mom is in and out of prison. They will face physical abuse by their caregiver, sometimes sexual, and will ultimately be put in custody of the state and moved into a home where they will be raised by a group of people who are on “shift”.

These are two children born on the same day, but are walking into two completely different starts in life. Statistics show that one kid has a much greater chance of living a successful and productive life, but they do not mean that one kid will be more successful than the other. Each kid will go through good times, struggles, and everything else that children face on the road to adulthood. The paths of these two lives will most likely never pass, but each life will share one thing in common; at some point someone is going to make a life altering impact on that child, which in turn will shape them into the type of adults that they will become.

Think of yourself, there is someone who has made a profound difference in your life, someone who saw something in you and exposed it so that you could find your success or failures in life. They were your support, your mentor in life, and the person that you now can look back on and realize that without that person, your life would be drastically different. These people enter your life at different times and mean different things to you, but ultimately they influence you and have in some way pushed you to become what you currently are.

You were one of these kids. You had a parent, teacher, coach, or role model take the time to invest in you. Now it is your time to invest in someone else. Spend more time with your kids, spend more time with your kids friends, coach a youth sports team, volunteer for a non-profit organization, become a big brother or big sister, or just do something where you can give to someone else what was given to you….the feeling of someone believing in you and giving you that chance to succeed. It is your responsibility to not let someone else’s efforts die with you. Pass the torch on to another, because we have all seen what happens when the wrong influence is able to get a hold on the youth of today.

Friday, December 08, 2006

major league "secret"

"how to you stay focused and so positive?" the "secret".... it's a choice. in fact its the exact same choice most people make to be unfocussed and negative.

that's right, the exact opposite things that go through your minds, "another day, i don't get paid enough, traffic sucks, i'm going nowhere, it's raining outside"... go through ours. "ah morning, still alive, time to rock it, etc." if you are reading this right now with an inch of skeptisism... you may be "that person".... again.

'that person' who looks at [insert successful anyone here, but lets use bill gates] and says, "ohhh what i would give to be him. i wonder what his 'secret' is?" "willie, tell us, what is your secret?" "no shit hey, you just did it? no-way, it couldn't have been that easy - you are lying! and you are lying because you are making fun of me. i may not be stinkin rich like you, but it doesn't mean i can't see a con job from a mile away. fricking liar, what an asshole. i just asked a simple question".

......and this is how it goes day in and day out. on one hand, an entire ecosystem wanting, emploring, begging people to step up to the plate and on the other, skeptics... who won't accept the batting practice and are critical of the coaching advice.

this happened in our business last week. the realization that we had an entire group of people sitting in the proverbial 'on deck circle' becuse they are too afraid to step up and hit at the plate. they stay in that on deck circle because their ego's won't allow them to stay in the dugout, (where its blatantly obvious they are not in the game), but also won't allow them to step up to the plate (fear striking out). so... there they are, beaking off in the on deck circle, thinking the 62 000 fans in the stadium don't see what they're doing and the coach & reast of the team doesn't realize they are not going up to the plate. they watch as others go up, and take swings. they make fun of those who strike out, the critisize those who hit the homers because they are trying hard "kiss asses"... and worse of all, they impart their baggage to influence others on their way to the plate. "stay here.. don't go up there... "we're safe here.... we're invisible.... we're in the game.... no one see's us".

wanna know another secret? we see you, you dumb twit.

because our collective success hinges on you stepping up to the very plate you brought yourself on this team to reach! shit we don't even care if you strike out. we do care that you start swinging! we've seen you a million times before, we will see you a million times to come. we know from the ages of 1-6 you leaned the words NO, MINE & CAN'T which started the basis of your mistrust, and then some gal broke your heart, your parents split, a pervert came onto you or a best friend left you in the dust which magnified your mistrust and now here you are, ready to tackle life in the real world with a jaded attitude but we have three words for you that take us right back to the beginning of this blog.


and our secret is our choice to use those three words instead of your three words and that's what enables us to hit the very home runs, that facilitate the very victories you aspire to have...

you want to know how to hit a ball? let go fo the fear, lay down the ego and get your ass up to the plate and swing the bat!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

One Word

There is one word that, when used properly, can solve many, many problems. Sure, there are many words that if used properly, can solve many problems... but let us look a little closer at one great example....


Any of the above words occur when we allow circumstances into our lives, or allow circumstances to remain as they are. Basically, without changing the status quo, we are left with those 9 unhappy horizontal words. The one word outlined vertically, Challenge, is a great way to overcome our circumstances and change the status quo.

Basically, to quit complaining and ACT... to quit being a victim and DO something... to start LISTENING in order to COMMUNICATE... to get your ass MOVING... to OWN up to your ACTIONS and not give excuses... to quit dragging people down and start INSPIRING... to stop being a "yes man" and start INNOVATING or SHARING your ideas... helps you STAND OUT from the crowd and become indespensable. These are all ACTION words, folks. Just as CHALLENGING is an ACTION.

This is all to point out that life is a contact sport, so get dirty... don't sit in the stands and yell at the refs or say "why can't my team win?" Get on the playing feild of life, get your jersey dirty, and use that ONE WORD to improve your life and your condition... CHALLENGE.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Demonstrate Respect

You might be one of those athletes, teenagers, employees, or students out there…that for one moment never take the time to stop and listen to yourself and think about the other side? Too many times you are so focused on yourself, you don’t even realize that you bitch and try to justify the things in your life that you have control over. Not only that, but you complain to the exact people [your coaches, parents, teachers, and employers] that are smarter and have more experience than you do – hence why they are in the positions that they are in.

As an athlete, you come to practice to find your coach already there setting up early and vary rarely leaving before you. You become aware that they are taking valuable time away from their friends, family, work, and outside life to teach something that they are passionate about....not to mention, make you better. Your coach always shows up [even when the soccer field is being covered in rain], and you never seem to have to fight for for their attention to listen to you and your problems. Yet, you never see the importance of showing up on time, listening to the feedback that is provided, or apply what is being taught. Instead you decide to do it your own way and end up fighting your own battle and losing the game. A suggestion - demonstrate some respect.

As a teenager, you grow up with a roof over your head, with food on the table, with a flexible 'taxi' service that picks you up and drops you off at all hours of the day, and with someone in your life that takes their pay cheque and devotes more than half of it towards what you need/want/do. Yet, you complain when asked to help out around the house, when you are given any added responsibility, when you have to abide by rules that are in place for your own good, and vary rarely value the efforts that they put forward. A suggestion - demonstrate some respect.

As an employee, at one point you were passionate about a position and applied for a job. Over time, something changed your attitude towards that position [9/10 times is due to your own change in expectations]. You complain about how tired you are, how expectations are set too high, how you don't get paid enough...and the list goes on. However you complain to a person that provides you with a job, writes you a pay cheque [that is on time every time and never with any excuse], that puts in 10x the hours that you have or do put in, has a hell of a lot more responsibility than you, and chances are doesn't get paid nearly what you think they do. You complain to the person that does everything that you do + more. A suggestion - demonstrate some respect.

As a student, you come to school and always seem to have a teacher that is there for your best interest and that takes the time to prep for every class to ensure that your own personal and educational growth is not limited. Your teachers are vary rarely late, they never make excuses why they forgot or lost your tests or assignments and they never are rude, disrespectful, or dressed inappropriately. Yet, you come to class with the intention not to listen, to make rude comments or gestures, to dress inappropriately, and even worse - skip class completely. suggestion - demonstrate some respect.

Ensure you take time to understand the devoted time, efforts, and reality of what these people do for YOU and how they contribute to your life. The least that you can give in return is the respect that they deserve for the help with your own success.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Sow Before You Reap

Sow Before You Reap

“Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.”

Reaching back to a recent blog from Tales from the Crypt where the content was about getting ‘paid’ I look out at the world and wonder how our de-facto leaders, the sports stars, the internet business wranglers, the Hollywood party goers, have in fact become the people that the next generation looks up to.

Basketball stars come out of high school to multi-million dollar contracts, the ‘coolest’ people on the planet [and I use the term loosely] are people that have never had a job [hello Paris Hilton], and anyone with a mouse can convince the ‘sheep’ that their ideas are savvy stock advice. How does it affect our young adults?

They think that they are owed a job, that being a starter on a team is a right not something that is earned, and that money basically grows on trees. Most of us, young and old, can’t see the rain from the rainbow because every day we are told the same message. You deserve it and you can have it. The media sells it and we eat it up because we want to hear that we don’t have to work for it: whatever ‘it’ is on that particular day whether money, a job, or a starting position.

Frankly it gets boring watching people think they can just wake up and dream their way to success.

The thought being sowed is just the start. Then we must all work to reap the action. Success comes from sowing that action into a habit and following through until our destiny is created.

Today we as a population are stuck on the idea that the thought is all that counts when really that thought counts for very little unless it is acted upon.

Take a stand and teach yourself and all others that ideas are cheap. Show the world someone that is willing to reap the results of a great idea by working hard and enjoying the journey that comes from there.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Hey Parents - Sack the Snacks!

Don’t know what do gooder geek brought this practice into effect.
Don’t know how the baton was passed to almost every educational vocation in the world.

Don’t know who the first volunteer of shared snack / snack pack / parents supply all the other kids with snacks was.

Don’t know what 5-10 year old North American kid is in danger of dehydration if they don’t drink and snack every frickin 10 minutes on the sporting field where they are ohhhh so taxed

… but it has to stop & here is why.

It is being abused as a diversion by both teacher / coach / parent and child.

Ever hear of the term emotional eating? Yup, that one where obese people who can't help it trace the origin of their over consumption to an ‘emotional need’. Well… let’s think of what happens each time a child cries, whines, acts out etc… and we shove a snack in their face to calm them down. Wonder where that’s leading? What do we think they learn?

1. 5yrs old - Hey, every time I am upset, I get a bagel and string cheese. Great deal. Not really hungry, but I get to stop doing what I’m doing instead of working through it. Pass the grub!

2. 25yrs old – Bad day, time to hit the fridge and calm down a little. Ah that really took the edge off. Tough day but I washed it down with some Za & Coke. Feel like shit now.

3. 40 yrs old – Oh that explains it, I have an emotional eating disorder where I always fall back on ‘comfort foods’.

… ya don’t say!

Now I am far from a nutritional expert and know there are many serious issues that contribute to eating disorders that can’t be generalized into this ‘snack phenomena’ but remember I do hold a bachelor of common sense which tells me that feeding skittles to your kids to get them to skate down the ice will not lead to something positive down the road. Like Scott said yesterday parents, back off the playing / educational surface and let your kids learn how to learn. If you really want them to understand what 75% of the real world is about, feed them NOTHING for one day.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

To the Over-Competitive Youth Sports Coach

Dear Parent/Coach,

I’m glad that you are supporting young children and getting them involved in organized youth sports. I’m sure you were a great athlete when you were their age and would have gone pro if it weren’t for some coach who “had it in for you”, so you were obviously correct when you yelled at that teenage umpire. I am also pretty sure that you have a great eye for talent; you were spot on when you told your team, and the crowd for that matter, to foul number 10 because he can’t make free throws. Maybe you should become a Scout for some NBA team, with an eye such as yours. I hope your resume is ready, because when you beat that team by 4 touchdowns and didn’t rest your starters, I’m sure a BCS qualifying school had their Athletic Director out there to scout your coaching abilities.

You see, parents, you really are doing most of the kids a favor. Only playing them the minimum amount of time during the game is just letting the kids realize that they are not good enough and should quit while they are young. Why let them waste their time running around fields and gyms with their friends when they could focus on something that they are good at? Plus, if you played everyone equally, you might not have that winning record; which is ultimately more important than a kid learning new skills, making friends, and challenging themselves personally, physically, and emotionally.

Let me also remind you, parents, that you are ruining youth sports by creating a generation of children who no longer want to play because their coaches are assholes. This year alone, you have intentionally walked the team’s best hitter so that you could pitch to the kid recovering from cancer; you have tackled a kid on the football field because you thought he was a cheap-shot; you fought the referee and had the game cancelled; and you have made it so that soccer leagues are starting “Silent Saturdays” where the kids can finally play and not have to listen to you, or any other parents, constantly yelling at them.

Here is a hint for you, parents. You had your turn to play youth sports, now let your kids have theirs. Living vicariously through your child’s successes or failures does not make you an involved parent, it makes you an embarrassment to your kid. They will never tell you this, so I will; because they have told me. Do you want to know why your kid plays youth sports? Here are the top 10 reasons reported by youth themselves (ranked by boys’ responses, girls’ ranking shown in parenthesis):
1.To Have Fun (1)
2.To Do Something I’m Good At (5)
3.To Improve My Skills (4)
4.For The Excitement of Competition (7)
5.To Stay In Shape (2)
6.For The Challenge of Competition (10)
7.To Get Exercise (3)
8.To Learn New Skills (6)
9.To Play as Part of a Team (8)
10.To Go To a Higher Level of Competition (n/a)
Girls mention #9 as To Make New Friends

That’s right, they did not mention winning or losing. Kids are telling us what your job description is: to make it fun, to improve their skills, to challenge them, and to make them feel part of a team. Your kids will have plenty of time for competition when they get older, that is, if you let them have the opportunity to not quit before they get older.

For all of you parents who are doing the right thing by coaching youth sports, I applaud you, and for those of you who continue to look to pad your coaching resume please do kids a favor and quit…I’m sure that there is something you can do that you are good at, you’re still young.

And by the way, I already know what you are saying, so don’t respond. I have your answer: Competition and sports does not create character, it exposes character (a trait that is supposed to be instilled and fostered by their parents, so thanks again for yelling at the teenage umpire).


Saturday, December 02, 2006

Nature is Powerful

If you still haven't read "My Fellow Americans" - yesterday's post on Swimupstream...take a minute now to do so. The words in the slide show don't speak to me in the same way as the graphics. How has this happened? What can be done about this?

As I contemplated this epidemic throughout the night - one solution (not the only solution) came to mind. It is a solution driven by a shared passion of the Swimupstream team. Nature. Seems simple, I know, but let me explain. We have mentioned previously about the power of nature - as it dropped nearly a foot of snow on Vancouver this past week and more recently has covered Ottawa in freezing rain. In this way, we know that nature is powerful and can be forceful when she wants to be. Just look at the high altitude climbers and their respect for the weather on big mountains. But nature is powerful in other ways. Nature has the power to change us. It is peaceful. It is without distraction. It is beautiful. It is calming. It is massive. It is healing. It is spiritual.

We at Swimupstream all share a passion for nature and the restorative, regenerative, rejuvenating power that it holds. How we enjoy it though is unique to each of us. Here are some of the ways we and our families at Swimupstream enjoy nature:

1. Cycling & Running - whether it is in the mountains or on a quiet country road - the amount of nature that can be taken in is overwhelming.
2. Hiking - pack your lunch, take your family and go for a walk/hike in the nearest park to you.
3. Swimming - although swimming in a pool is great exercise, nothing beats swimming across a lake or off an isolated island.
4. Fishing - my summer favourite - nothing beats the peace of being on a lake alone at 7am and listening to the sound of a loon calling out to you.
5. Skiing, Snowboarding & Snowshoeing - going up or going down, whichever you prefer, experiencing nature in the winter is a must do.
6. Skidooing - this form of travel allows you to get more remote than you might ever think possible and see the beauty of completely untouched nature.
7. Camping - another great family activity that focusses on preserving and enjoying our surroundings.
8. Scuba Diving - nature is above sea level and below - take the opportunity to learn and enjoy mother nature's beauty in the water.
9. Sea Kayaking & Canoeing - plan a week-long trip via boat and you will quickly realize how beautiful nature can be
10. Travel - nature isn't unique to North America - plan to see the Alps, the Great Barrier Reef and everything in between.

These are 10 of the ways we enjoy nature. Try one, try them all. They are ways to fight the obesity epidemic. They are ways to find peace and healing. They are ways of prioritizing what is important in our life and what is not.

Enjoy nature - it is powerful!

Friday, December 01, 2006

My Fellow Americans

Last Monday we spoke about 5 daily's and the fact we spend so little time focussing on the worthy. Here is another "newslflash".

Some of you have a serious weight issue! Yes, click on that highlighted section, follow the link to the media file, download it and see what the centre for disease control has to say about your rate of consumption over the last decade (and make sure you watch the whole thing).

Not to be confused with your consumption of natural resources... which we are also working on showing.... we're talking food.... Maslow's basic heirarchial need. Seems like some of you have that essential covered on a 10-1 ratio for your buddies that don't.

Wow... It's disgusting. Love ya'll but come on... Get your assess in shape!