Monday, April 30, 2007

propaganda k-8

sitting across from a smart man this morning, we discussed the state of affairs around our children. one of the interesting comments he made was how young children in the 3-5 range have such a great attitude and view of the world without 'scholastic knowledge'. as i put some more thought about it, he ws right. they express themselves without real regard to what they 'can & can't", 'are and aren't" supposed to say. really we groom them from 0-5 and then turn them over to the state for the next 16-18 years to seek higher education.

don't get me wrong. i'm not coming at this with a screw the system, everyone should be home schooled, peace to all attitude. however, i am suggesting that we pay closer attention to what's going on in their lives from 5-25 and not make the assumption that what they are learning is a) useful, b) beneficial and c) right. of course, that involves getting involved which is a hard concept for career seeking parents to come to terms with. "we pay you to educate, coach, teach, care for, babysit" and the list goes on. you need to get involved. not over involved (mom's with too much time on their hands), but appropriately aware.

because ultimately its us (parents) who have the final say in terms of sifting through the worthy & unworthy, relevant & irrelevant information that our kids seek and hear every day and we must make sure the incoming data is of genuine benefit and not simply propaganda. with media & corporations basing millions of dollars in their budgets for the specific attention of your childrens, the only think standing between them and a brainwashed soldier.... is YOU!

Friday, April 27, 2007

American Idiot

I’m sure you have all had the chance to hear Alec Baldwin’s tirade where he left a message on his 11 year old daughter’s phone calling her a “thoughtless little pig”. As if that wasn’t disturbing enough, we now have to listen to Rosie Odonnell and the rest of the Hollywood idiots defend this jerk. Hollywood lives in a disturbed false reality where everything goes and nothing can’t be defended. The excuses have been many, but my favorite two have been “everyone has talked to their children that way at some point” and “it is nobody’s business how others raise their children”.

First, I was not the easiest kid in the world to raise and there were many times where I was a thoughtless little pig, but never did either of my parents use threats and name calling to put me in my place. In fact, the worst thing my father ever said to me was “people judge you by your actions and right now you are an idiot”. He did not say it yelling, rather in a matter of fact tone, and he was right.

Secondly, I worked with abused children for 10 years and it is our business how others raise their children. If you think that we should just ignore what some people are doing to their kids then I suggest you find a group home or residential treatment center (unfortunately they are not hard to find), volunteer there for a month and then honestly tell me that if someone didn’t intervene these children would be better off.

What Alec Baldwin did is child abuse plain and simple. I will also guarantee you that this is no the only time he has spoken to his daughter this way, and if he would dare to speak to his daughter like this imagine how he speaks to people who he has no relation to. There are three easy ways to tell if someone you know is a jerk; 1) go to a restaurant with them and see how they treat their waiter or waitress, good or bad, 2) sit in gridlock traffic with someone and see how they respond to other drivers, and 3) watch someone interact with their children. Within one hour in either situation you will be able to separate someone who you want nothing to do with from someone who is worth spending time with.

The easiest and least expensive thing to give someone is kindness. It takes no effort on your part other than not being an asshole, so take you hand off the horn, be polite to those who are bringing you your food, and always remember to be a role model to your children because they in turn will model this behavior to others.

For all of you who are defending this “American Idiot”, shame on you. I can only hope that you are never berated in the same way this 11 year old child was.

ten miles wide / 1mm deep

its not my turn to write today but i just found out paris hilton inked a 6 figure salary with a group of bars to make 2 25 min appearances / month. included in the deal was a black ferrari she could show up to the bar in.

are you fucking kidding me?

1st of all. i have to give credit where credit is due. kudos to paris for inheritting your grandfathers fortune and carrying on the family legacy by behaving like a 16 year old attention seeking moron. your legacy will likely survive until your country discovers, markets, exploits... and destroys the next quick flash wannabe who's 10 miles wide and 1 inch deep.

2nd of all. i BEG young girls who aspire to be paris hilton or young boys who want to sleep with paris hilton to splash ice cold water on your faces and think about what's really important in life. it's not one big party based on hype (check your currency lately?). sure, you should have a lot of fun... go nuts, you all deserve it, yet know when its time to grow up. paris can be paid to party because her grandfather worked hard - beginning and end of story. don't be duped into thinking there's a lot of talent, depth and for that matter brain power under that badly bleeched sponsored mellon. in most country's (actually almost everyone other than yours), their is culture, meaning, depth and substance. now, i'm not slamming everyone here, only those who print, publish, promote, exploit and or follow these charachters. bacause that's just what they are.... characters in the puppet show called american media. you have millions of great, talented and inspiring people, stop promoting idiots.

3rd wake up. seriously, we (because i don't think people in general are different) need to seriously re-evalute a) the messages we send, b) the impact they have, c) the legacy we are leaving. if the world is going to become populated with paris hilton wannabee's while we dedicate air time to murderers, crooks, and "icons?" like anna nicole smith than press the button while i'm sleeping so i can wake up in a better place.


Thursday, April 26, 2007

NEW FEATURE: "Inside The Quotes"

That's right swim upstreamers, we've added a new feature to our swim upstream line up: Inside the Quotes. In this feature, we will break down a famous or obscure (but meaningful) quote from contempoary thinkers or from the past, and how this relates to our fundamental vision here on swim upstream. So without further adieu,

"The real measure of your wealth is how much you'd be worth if you lost all your money." - Bernard Meltzer

Though this quote stands alone in terms of it's meaning, let's take it a step further. Many people may read this and say, "wow- that's profound!" and then within 0.5 nanoseconds they are onto the weather, their work to-do list, their marital stress, etc. KNOW that this is human nature, vis a vis the rat race, and DECIDE that today is going to be different.

Anything you need to know to live a meaningful life is contained within this quote. Having said that, decide right now to be inspired and take action. Ask yourself, "if I lost all my money, what would I be worth?"

Will the fancy cars teach your kids to say no to drugs? Are you fundamentally a less happy person because you don't own a BMW? Are you screwed because someone else isn't giving you yours? We on swim upstream uphold the values that this quote speaks to the day of reckoning- judgement day, or if there is one- the afterlife.

After all, the most important legacy you can make....
The most valuable thing you can leave behind in this life...

Is what's left over after all that you own, all that you wear, and all that you show is stripped off. What is left at that point is what you really are, and who you really are. Take a moment, and ask- "if I lost all my money, what would I be worth?" and if you don't like the answer- today is the day your life changes, and you change your own stock price for the better. Best of luck in your pursuit of true wealth!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Rowing in the Same Direction

Yesterday, I came across an article that was written by an individual by the name of Jeff Combs. Although I have no personal connection to him, what he writes about, myself (along with the rest of the swim upstream group) also believe in the powers of the law of attraction, the benefits of focusing on the now to benefit for the future (sow before you reap), and the truth that hard work is always rewarded.

Take a read....and be inspired by an indiviual that is outside the swimupstream team with very similar perspectives and thoughts!

Jeff Combs writes:

There’s more to life than just making money and creating results. Life is really about connecting. Life is about developing a network. Life is about reaching out and assisting other people to achieve their dreams. When you’re able to do that, your dreams will come true more quickly than you ever imagined. Back in 1997, I had a breakthrough year. Many hundreds of thousands of dollars flowed into my bank account and even though it was overwhelming at times, I look back and say, "Wow, my breakthrough year." What most people don’t understand is that I was in that process for about eight years. It all showed up in that one year and it all showed up not because I was a great salesman, but because I had evolved into a position where I had finally learned the difference between selling to people and developing the right people. This I call the law of attraction. I looked up one day and had all these great people in my organization and realized that it was a by-product of my own charisma, my own energy. I had evolved to a position that people wanted to follow. People believed in me because I had started to believe in myself. I’d crossed that invisible barrier, developed that sense of certainty, and moved into the space occupied by people who really understand the game of life. They start to understand that life is about service and value, and giving back, not just taking, and that everything operates off a yin and a yang, a give and a take, and you’ll get exactly what you expect. When you expect to struggle, the Universe will reward you with exactly what you expect. When you expect to flow, to reside, be hands-free, evolve and start to become the person you’ve always deserved to be, the Universe will also reward you with its own sense of abundance.

Most people never get to that phase because they never really start. Most people think they’re doing something, but they’re using their heads instead of operating from their hearts. When you’re in your heart, you are passionate, you are feeling. There’s a zest for the game. You can’t wait to play. Life is nothing more than a game and you don’t work for a living. You don’t trade time for dollars. You are creating a palette in your design of your life. You’re moving people. You’re part of it. You’re all of it. You’re moving and shaking. You can’t wait to get up. You wake up before the alarm goes off and you say, "Wow, five-thirty. I get to work out right now. I get to work out and then I get to connect with people."

People ask me all the time, "Aren’t you a workaholic? Don’t you ever have fun?" They don’t understand that every breathing moment that I am on this Earth plane I am having fun because I don’t do anything that isn’t fun anymore. I will not operate from guilt. When someone tells me to do something, I’m only going to do it because I feel it will be fun, not because I have to. Operating from fun means you come from your heart. But when you have to make yourself do something, you’re operating from your head. That’s a job. That’s trading time for dollars. But when life is fun, you’re in your heart. People sense it. They want to be a part of it. They want to be around you. They want to touch you. They want to connect with you. They want to flow with you. They want you to lead them to the land of Paradise, the Promised Land. When you can radiate and resonate and feel and operate like this, people want to be around you. When you operate like this, greatness starts to show up in your life because it’s showing up in your heart. The more it’s in your heart, the more you exude it. It’s an internal experience that starts to radiate out of you externally. That’s when you operate from a telepathic position that says, "I am the leader you are looking for." You’re consciously sending this message telepathically through thought waves, and in synchronicity, people who are supposed to hear your message become magnetized to these moments.

I call these, ‘Ah-ha’ moments. It’s radiating from your heart, not your head because if you’re in your head, you’re over-analyzing rather than being in the present moment. People don’t understand the value of time. Time is your most valuable commodity. There are 86,400 seconds in every single day, 1,440 minutes, one hour, one day, one week, one month, one year, and one lifetime. What are you doing right now to create value in yourself? Obviously, if you are reading this, you are gaining a deeper perspective because, at least in the moment, you are in the process of changing just by taking the effort to gain the empowering perspectives of this information.

When it comes to change, sometimes change is gradual. Sometimes change is big, and sometimes change is small, and sometimes you’re changing and you don’t even know you’ve changed and you wake up one day and you realize, "Wow, this is the life I’m leading. This is the life I deserve. I am the person that people are looking for. I am becoming the artist who’s designing my life." When you operate this way, people want to be a part of you. They want to be in your energy, and instead of people being repelled by you; they are magnetized to you. People are touching you. They’re feeling you, and I’m talking about your energy, and when this happens, you have crossed an emotional bridge.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


At a speaking seminar series I watched a woman hold up a crisp $1000 bill. She asked the crowd to raise their hands if they wanted the money.

The crowd raised their hands in unison.

Then she took the $1000 dollar bill and crumpled it up and asked again if anyone in the crowd still would take the money.

Everyone in the crowd again raised their hands in unison.

Then she took the crumpled $1000 dollar bill, threw it on the ground and proceeded to step on it. The bill was now dirty, crumpled and didn’t look much like it did at the start yet it still remained a $1000 dollar bill. She again asked if anyone in the crowd wanted this $1000 dollar bill.

Once more the crowd put their hands up in confirmation they wanted the money.

"You have all learned a valuable lesson here today. No matter what I did to the $1000 it still maintained its value. It did not decrease. It was still $1000."

Many times in our lives we are dropped, stepped on and crumpled up b the circumstances that life throws our way. We feel as though we are worthless and our true value has vanished. There is nothing further from the truth because no matter what has happened or what will happen you will never lose your value.

Look forward on what dreams you will make happen and not back upon past roadblocks.
Dream big and remember you are valuable.

Monday, April 23, 2007

hey pessimists, keep your thoughts to yourself.

let me let you in on a secret, you don't get ahead by doubting everyone and then waiting for them to prove you right.

i have about 10 seconds for pessimists. in fact, the minute i start to see their eyes rolling back into the right hand side of their brain (where they it is said we create our fiction), i cut the conversation short and move on.

you people are draining, boring, predictable and fricking ANNOYING (to me). i prefer someone that says hey... i like you so if you like that person, or think that idea is great, or want to do something outside of the norm i'm behind you 100%. in fact, WHAT CAN I DO FOR YOU BUD!

i'll take that attitude every day over the person who's to insecure to believe much of anything positive can happen in the world, let alone something good, let alone to someone they know. as a coach, i see this with parents all the time. their child tells them something in a super exited state and they suck all the life out of him / her with a mediocre / can't be bothered to reciprocate excitement back to them attitude. i feel like slapping them. please, slap me if you see me doing this to my kids - (and i won't sue either).

optimist are responsible for creating 99% of the things that make our lives easier, richer, and better. we kill their spirit and i can assure you we are in deep shit. so think about that the next time you are engaged in conversation with someone you know and think before you speak.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

capitalizing off of death.

after reading scott's blog yesterday, i could not help myself in getting on today's blog and adding my 2 cents.
1st - completely agree that what gets lost in the focus-on-profits are the 32 young people who lost their lives.
2nd - is the family & friend tree's that span from those people, which doubles and triples. at the end of the day, its an unspeakable, unfortunate tragedy.

what really pisses me off, is the fact we have digressed to believe this is "a great story". we quickly, assemble the media circus, head to the location and bombard the airways with who was this man. we'll talk about it for months on end (until someone else does something equally as destructive) and repeat the same circus for them.

did it ever occur to the media, they may have a tiny bit of responsibility for the copy cat nature of these crimes?
follow me here. "loner kid starving for attention", watches continually negative news CNN, and see's another loner kid getting that very attention through his martyr-like acts of violence. in fact, between these killings, this idiot send a package to the news station? where would he learn that?

i have an idea for the media. stop capitalizing of death & start capitalizing off life. don't give the perpetrators the attention they are seeking (free p.r.). i don't care about their memoirs, they are fucking idiots - what am i going to learn? you wouldn't give anyone who's trying to do something great for the world free p.r, you'd make them pay millions of dollars for it - so why give it to assholes... for free?

focus on the great lives of the people who were shot down. tell us about them (minus the tragic bullshit you think we want to see & read about). don't kid yourselves into thinking 100% of the sheeople you broadcast to like your drama. we don't. when you continue to produce garbage - you get garbage in return. realize that. understand your freedom of speech and quest to "get the story", has lead & will lead to more deaths as you give people their platform. understand the fact you highlight the stats of the greatest number of domestic deaths only serves to challenge your next idiot to beat that mark...

or do you already know that and it's what you are looking for?
another bullshit story at the expense of human life.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Don't Pass the Blame

We have all had a few days to digest the cowardly acts of a deranged lunatic at the Virginia Tech campus on Monday and there are several things that really bother me about the whole incident. Obviously the most glaring is the loss of the 32 students who are no longer here, 32 men and women who were doing nothing more than trying to create their future.

What is also upsetting to me is how we look at tragedy in this country. In every tragic event that we face, we watch the news and listen to person after person looking for someone to blame for the incident. Here is a new idea; how about we blame the coward that pulled the trigger therefore ending the lives of these people. Look at any incident over the last 20 years where a large group of people died and I can tell you who is at fault, and it is not the person who committed the atrocity (although I believe that the person committing the act it to blame, others just feel the need to somehow not make that individual accountable).

Jeffrey Dahmer wasn’t hugged by his parents enough, the Government made Timothy McVeigh hate them, Columbine kids were picked on by other students, 9/11 happened because of our Government and our lifestyle. Bullshit. These events happened because this world has a small percentage of very sick people who have an evil agenda that they just need to expose to the rest of us.

Let me make this simple. A tragedy is tragic because mistakes are made which leads to the loss of many lives. Some mistakes are subtle, some are obvious, but none of the mistakes that are made are malicious or with intent, they are mistakes. The murderers on the other hand are malicious, have intent for months beforehand, and should not be excused for inexcusable actions. They personally choose to play executioner and the blood needs to stay on their hands and on their hands only. The more we pass the blame the more we are justifying their actions and giving fuel to the next lunatic that decides to kill. This is the message we send off every day; there is always someone to blame, so do whatever you want because it is not your fault.

The more we hear about this coward at Virginia Tech the more the media paints a picture of him being the victim. They allow him to get the attention he ultimately sought and show the next loser in waiting that they too can be excused for whatever atrocity they plan on committing next. Yes, there are more people planning the day that they too can gain this much attention for despicable acts. There will be another Virginia Tech, there will be another 9/11, and there will be something bigger that we haven’t even thought about yet. This world has some very sick people in it who are looking for the opportunity to show us just how sick they are, and when they do we will find out who is to blame because accountably is nearly extinct in this country.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Watch Out For The Opportunistic Bastards

Hopefully that title caught your attention. Today's entry is about arming yourself with knowledge; because knowledge is power; to avoid the sick scam artists that are constantly coming up with new ways to liberate you from your money (or worse). Let me start by making it crystal clear that this is not a rant. This is information is to help prevent bad things from happening to good people like you.

Sunday I went into the office on my day off in order to be prepared, as a few senior staff members just turned in their resignation, and as leaders it is our job to service our remaining teammates and customers by avoiding drama and providing solutions and leadership even in times of apparant turmoil. On the way out to go enjoy my day, I passed a scruffy looking character pushing a stolen grocery cart full of cans. As I came to the realization that my struggles with staffing (in a well-paid position) were petty compared to what this man must go through- I stuck my hand in my pocket and was about to offer him a few dollars. That was- until his cell phone rang and he changed his facial expression into business mode and went into a directive tone as though he was leading an employee or customer through a business transaction. How the fuck does a homeless guy foot a cell phone bill? He doesn't.

Hence the name of today's blog. I beleive in charity- big time. The last time I donated to charity was today. However, in hoping to create a better world and pay forward any opportunity for those less fortunate than ourselves, we must learn to spot and avoid the opportunistic bastards.

The worst example in popular press recently comes from New Orleans. Shortly after Hurricane Katrina, when thousands of decent citizens found themselves as squatters in the Superdome, police came to the aid of those trapped in flooded communities, only to be shot at by snipers. Amidst all this chaos, a website was started as an outreach source to children affected by Hurricane Katrina. Great idea, but who was behind the website? Pedophiles looking to lure children into their homes and sexually abuse them.

As a police officer of 30 years, my father routinely investigated 'discounted construction outfits' for the elderly, where thousands of dollars were taken up front, and no work ever done. I hope to God those people reach this blog today, or someday soon- that they may receive their day of reckoning and change their behaviour and attitude.

Good citizen, I hope that today you are even more motivated to help others (knowing there are opportunistic bastards preying on the naive), but do your homework.
  • get a tax receipt to know the cause is official
  • ask for a website or a reference
  • offer to get involved behind the scenes with the cause rather than just opening your wallet- your time is more valuable anyways.

There are 2 things NOT to do with this information.

  1. Keep it to yourself. Instead, share this, and prevent the exploitation of others.
  2. Do not become jaded and stop giving. There will always be assholes in the world. Swearing off charities because one asshole is raping the cause just makes you a different kind of asshole.

So get out there my friends- give and you will get back. Help others, and when you see an opportunistic bastard, report them to the police or you are as guilty as they are through your inaction.

What better day than today to make the world a better place?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Is it Right?

Relationships can & will be challenging - It is a fact.

People become unhappy and unsatisfied with what they have - It is a fact.

Here is why.

One of the biggest reasons stems from the fact that most of us (people) enter a relationship in order to get something. We are trying to find someone who's going to make us feel good (sexually, materialistically, emotionally, etc.).

Without knowing this, once the relationship has been established, the continuous search to make our selves satisfied and ‘happy’ is put on the responsibility of our partner – which should NOT be the case. This leads to the existence of power struggles – where one individual is consciously or unconsciously looking to gain control or domination over the other person in order to meet their own needs and requirements…hence, we hear “I am not happy”.

If this is YOU – guess what sweetheart…you aren’t happy because you aren’t happy with yourself!
So, stop looking for outside things to make you happy…your partner being one of them! Because in reality, the only way a relationship will last is if you see your relationship as a place that you go to give, and not a place that you go to take.

If this is you, most of your life, you have probably tried to create an image, in fact, in most cases, a fake image of how you would like people to see you for what you are on the outside but in reality you are dying from the inside.

What is it that you are hoping to achieve from this? A result that will always be at your own expense? Because that is what you are going to get.

Look at your life and try to bring yourself back down to earth to enable yourself to evaluate your life accordingly. In relationships, knowledge is a progressive thing. And it starts with each of us on a personal level. It answers the basic question, how well do I know myself?

When you know who you are, you are more prepared to understand who your spouse/partner is. When you can clearly see your own strengths and weakness, you are much more capable of helping your partner understand who they are, including their unique strengths and weaknesses.

That said,

  • don’t try to take control of the relationship just to prove something to yourself, in order to fill the gap of something that is lacking.
  • don’t try to proclaim that he or she is manipulating your weakness or your self-confidence and use it as a weapon against you. This may be the case, but we do have responsibility for ourselves and should NOT allow for such treatment to take place.
  • don’t hold onto that previous experience that you went through and then be afraid of being hurt. "Letting go" to break yourself free by accepting the experience as being just an experience for what it really is, and most importantly, without keeping any bitterness in your heart which takes control of your current relationship. Just let go!


  • don’t look to try and change the exact person that you fell in love with because chances are they haven't changed...and if they have - they have probably grown to be better! it right?

You hold the answer to this or to any other question that you have.

Start looking at your relationship in a different way. Start with yourself and then look to make a change if you are not happy with what you got. After that it is up to you to make that change!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

An Open Letter to Mothers

There are those that feel raising children isn't a job. It is to those people that I use you as an example.

They say that all you do is stay home and do nothing...........they obviously haven't tried to go shopping with a new baby.

They say that it isn't their responsibility to pay for you to have time off and raise the children...........they don't realize like you do that those children will one day be making the rules and probably be their doctor.

They say that it is impossible to love a second child as much as the first...........they don't have more than one child.

They say that being a Mum doesn't require any learning...........they have never tried to teach a child to read.

They say that as they get older it gets easier to sleep...........they have never laid awake waiting for the door to open and their baby to be home safe.

They say that once they are in school life gets to be a breeze...........they have never had to pick up the first one when the newest member should be a sleep.

They say that all you have to do is set them up to succeed as adults...........they have never worried about how their children are doing in University, their jobs and socially.

They say that once they are married then your job is done...........they don't realize that once they are married it is one more person to worry about.

They say that you will never love your grand children the way you loved your own...........they have never felt what it is like to have a second chance. They have never felt the hand of a grandchild holding their finger.

They say that the perfect family is having two kids...........they obviously never looked into the eyes of their third or fourth child and saw that the world was still full of joy.

They think that being a Mum is monotonous...........they have never tried to help with physics homework.

They say that Mums are out fashion...........they don't have stains on every piece of clothing they own.

They say you get stuck in time...........they have never seen you shopping for the latest and coolest Christmas presents.

They say that being a stay at home Mum isn't a job. They don't have a clue.

Thanks for taking the time to raise our children, learn what needs to be done, make an effort to be a super hero and take the responsibility of making sure the world gets the very best next generation. We owe you one.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

$400 moron.

I'm 35. numerically that makes me uncool and post-hip but today i found out people are paying $400 for a pair of jeans. i thought someone was shitting me.

now i'll preface that not only am i uncool, but i'm not a cool dresser either, so its not like i'm coming at anyone with tips or critiques from a place of 'be like me'. but at $400 per pair of jeans, i can assure all, i would never be like you.

you probably saw some attention seeking, narcissistic, did one good film, bottled perfume, made a song, got a star, went to rehab, came out worse Hollywood "role model" wear these things, which makes you think if you wear them - you can be like them but there's one difference.

they have money to waste and you don't. if you do, you shouldn't. you are not getting paid to wear those things, they are. take them off - take them back and pay your rent, or your car, or your phone, or give that money to someone less fortunate (who will certainly not buy $400 jeans).

yup, its uncommon anyone on this team will ever tell you what to and not to do, but i'm breaking out here. DON'T BUY ANY ARTICLE OF CLOTHING OVER $100. even if "it makes you feel better", send me a bio, give me a call and for half that, i'll make you feel great about yourself by telling you how good you are sans apparel.

for a split second, i thought of what i would say as a parent when my son walked in with a pair of jeans and a $400 bill. nothing came to mind. or an expensive "worn shirt" that looks like something we wore under our football equipment in 83. sure it reeks, but it isn't of coolness.

be happy being you. clothes don't define you and stuff shouldn't make you feel good. you should make you feel good. so spend the time you would walking around the malls, learning about what you wearing inside. you'll be 100 times cooler and you won't be broke.

Friday, April 13, 2007

The Little Things That Make Big Differences

I planned on writing about a completely different topic today, but something happened that seriously impressed me. I went to a business meeting today at the Grand Hyatt in San Francisco, where they were launching a 10 week worker wellness program. They have made a commitment to workers health through serving healthier meals for their employees as well as encouraging them to exercise more throughout the week. This did not impress me, although it is a great investment, actually investing in those who help generate your revenue.

What impressed me was the General Manager. I had the privilege of getting into a conversation with this man regarding many different facets of life and leadership. This also did not impress me, as we were talking the same language. During our conversation the group was on the move into a different room where the GM would address the housekeeping staff before they started their day. As we walked to the meeting, passing many different workers from management to housekeepers, this GM greeted every person by name, made eye contact, and smiled. This is what impressed me. Here was a man who made every person he passed feel like they mattered, that they were a part of something. And it went beyond that. He even mentioned little nuances that only someone who cares would know about others, to everyone. He walked through the halls like someone who had mastered his craft at this location for years, and when I asked how long he had been at this Hotel, he responded “three months”. There are hundreds of employees at the Grand Hyatt and he knew everything about everyone of them in just three months.

How many of us go to work and take the people we work for or with for granted? How many of us work in places where we don’t even know other peoples names, let alone anything about them? Too often we don’t know anything about the people we work with because we don’t care, they are in a different department, or they can’t help me with my job. Too often we find ourselves in a work environment with a lot of worker bees, but no Queen Bee to lead us. Leadership takes effort beyond whatever your normal work day entails, therefore we either shun it and focus on us, or complain about it because it is not there. Either way we accomplish less and work harder.

Leadership requires being someone that people want to follow just as much as it requires giving people something to follow. Leadership is much more than being able to get things done, it’s about getting people to want to get things done with you. Leadership is about building relationships so that those relationships pay off by making your job easier. Leadership is fostering a vision and convincing others that they are valuable entities in accomplishing this vision. Leadership is all about making others believe that they are involved in something larger than themselves, so that they not only invest in your vision, but they want to invest in you…as well as themselves.

Today I met a great leader of people. How often do we get to say that?

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Tales From The Crypt: The Numbers Don't Lie

Time to make a choice Canada: hit yourself over the head, or let us on swimupstream do it (again) for you...

We as a country are blindly headed exactly where our American counterparts have already gone, and then warned us not to go. That is; out with fashion and in with FATshion. 23% of all Canadian adults are now considered obese, and almost half of all adults are overweight. Before you say, "it's way worse in the states"... those numbers south of the border are at 30%- we should all be ashamed.

The easiest way to measure obesity is through measurement of your BMI (body mass index). For adults, a BMI of 25 or more indicates overweight and an increased risk of developing health problems; 30 or more indicates obesity and a high to extremely high risk of developing health problems. BMI is measured by dividing weight in kg by height (measured in meters, multiplied by itself).

If you agree that those numbers are bad, but think that we are getting better; over the last quarter century the proportion of adults aged 25 to 34 who were obese more than doubled from 9% to 21%. Similarly, the rate among people aged 75 or older rose from 11% to 24%. We are killing ourselves, and then passing this on to our kids (whose obesity rate also doubled over the same time frame).

Here is what NOT to do with this information;
  • Don't blame the supermarkets for carrying crap. Blame yourself for buying it.
  • Don't blame the media for constantly barraging you with food ads; blame yourself for being weak and not eating healthy and often enough that you utterly snap at the mere suggestion.
  • Don't blame other people for your stress; blame your own inability/ inactivity in terms of dealing with stress
  • Don't blame stress for making you fat; blame yourself for being a victim and letting this make you fat
  • Don't blame the beautiful people who you can't measure up to (they have their own problems and I would not want their lives!); blame yourself for wanting to be somebody else and then passing this lesson on to others
  • Don't blame me for pointing it out; blame yourself for dodging ownership over your situation almost as hard as you have dodged acting on said situation.
  • I BLAME YOU!!!

What are YOU going to do about it? If you are the husband or the wife of an obese person- be supportive of any action your spouse is taking to better themselves- but QUIT ENABLING them! When will people learn that we become what we fear? When will people learn that if we become the person we ought to; we 'get' the bodies (and the jobs, the partners, the houses) we want to.
I Love you Canada- every last one of my brothers and sisters... but it is time we change what it meant to be a typical Canadian from peace-loving, lazy, beer drinking hockey fans into nature loving, envelope pushing, ass-kicking (in the figurative and literal sense), world leading, peace-loving visionaries who LEAD BY EXAMPLE.
Either you are up for the challenge, or you will continue to see articles, blogs, websites, movies, docu-dramas, and as many other mediums it takes until you feel like enough shit to do something about it. You're Fat. No dressing it up. The sooner you face that fact, the sooner you lose that fat (and move on with your life, as your waistline should never define who YOU are).

Best of luck and we are here to support you in your journey!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


If you haven't noticed, we have developed into a society of persistent and resilient people with ONE unshakable mission:

the pursuit of happiness

Unfortunatley, this idea of happiness is largely connected with wealth. And if we mistakenly associate pleasure with happiness, it's not surprising that we pursue it without end.

We have become a nation of ambitious people with notions of imaginative future growth and those that celebrate abundance. Our thoughts belive there is no reason anyone should be deprived of luxury, if he or she works hard. This correlation has resulted in an abundance of one characteristic of the human being...


Like the origins of the drive for power the roots are everywhere, and if a little bit feels good, more must be better. No matter what we become, gain, or achieve, we want more. Our appetite is like seawater; the more we drink, the thirstier we become. The bigger it gets, the faster it grows.

Greed is everywhere.

It is responsible for crooked cops and crooked politicians.
It is responsible for the drive and motivations behind the narcotics world.
It is responsible for the exploitations of teen sports stars by colleges and for the mess in the pro sports world - which has lead to the cause of the use of performance drugs by young athletes.
It is responsible for the scam artists who steal from the elderly.

And it is responsible for more than we can imagine.

Don't get confused. Ambition and hard work with fair rewards are not wrong.
What is wrong is when we are concentrating on HAVING more instead of BEING more.

So, instead of pampering yourself with pleasure, strive to make yourself better AND happier by being more compassionate, helpful, responsible, self-disciplined, and courageous.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


There are few things in the world that universally are true. There is the belief that we are all good drivers and possibly the fact that we are all motivated by fear.

Another universal truism is that we are all united in our desire to give. Many of us are unaware of how or what to give but ultimately when put in a situation where advise, money, time or love can be offered we are a species that wants, and perhaps innately has to, give.

Stories abound of elderly misers realizing their mistakes and attempting to make up for their indiscretions by giving away their wealth. Movies always find characters that are grizzled on the outside but somehow have golden hearts as their pour out their vast wealth of knowledge in the form of sage advice. At the root of humanity is a clear need to give. This giving characteristic is a vital part of self-actualization but it is never really as easy as it looks.

In order to give a minimum of two factors have to occur:

1. Knowledge of what to give and
2. Knowledge of where to give

Basically who needs help and what do they need. And here in lies another universal truism; people don’t share resulting in people that are challenged with where to give.

Society is at odds with itself. In order to be fulfilled, whether we know it or not, we crave the ability to be important to someone else, we desire to help and we want to give of ourselves. However, in direct odds with this need is our inherent belief that we need to hide who and what we are. As businesses we hide the numbers despite the examples of hyper successful transparent businesses. As friends we hide our financial positions behind leased automobiles, mortgaged houses and fake watches despite examples like the Dali Lama and Mother Teresa who own nothing but have everything. As charities we wait for people to give instead of helping them give with pride and most importantly within our families we believe our spouses or relatives should just understand we need love rather than asking repeatedly for it.

We live in a world where we all are expected to read each other’s mind because it is poor etiquette to ask or share our feelings and needs.

I believe that if you share your truest self, what you are trying to accomplish, where you are trying to get to and how you are going to succeed, all which require your own very hard work, people will help you achieve your goals.

People want to help. People want to help you.

What do you need help with? Are you willing to bridge the gap between conquering your fear of what people will think and how others want to really help you?

If you are…..then share your story. Share it with everyone, no matter where, no matter what the consensus of etiquette suggests. You may never get a second chance with that person who could help change your life.

Share yourself and begin giving to others by perhaps offering them a chance to help others.

Monday, April 09, 2007

with each lawsuit, we take another step back.

unsure how i missed lawsuits becoming mainstream, but its important to note the effect they are having on our population on whole.

1. increase costs in idiot proofing products. e.g. the coffee cup heat dampers to ensure our hands don't get burned (forefathers would be proud).

2. increase costs in goods and services. in some services, there are legal costs built into the products to cover the potential of lawsuits.

3. decreased access to things that used to be accessible. say like, PLAYGROUNDS! because they are not supervised and little jack decided to take his skateboard down the slide, it's the communities fault.

4. decreased access to opportunities involving risks at all. "too risky, would get sued"

5. more soul selling lawyers convincing themselves they are doing the world justice by fighting on behalf of the stupid.

sure, everyone is looking for the easy way to make a quick buck off the gap in the system, but we have a few ideas how to bring this back into check.

1. JUDGES. start charging the plaintiff's the same amount of money they seek if they lose the case. in fact, in each case where someone is suing, have the trial by jury and invite myself. i'll sit in on each one.

2. people. if you ever hear your friend or someone on the street tell you they are going to sue someone, assure them its a waste of energy that costs a shit load of money and amounts to little more than headache. the world (and your life) are not fair. throughout it, there will certainly be injustice, you just have to hope there is more good than bad.

3. companies. get the names of those who sue, and charge them more from that day forward to recoup your costs instead of the rest of us. we are ok with that.

4. people. learn how to take responsibility for your stupidity and be embarrassed if you decide to drive with coffee in your lap and it spills. you are not a hero / heroine when you collect the big payout, you are a loser. yes loser.

and if that's slanderous, take me to court.

Sunday, April 08, 2007


“But I’m afraid to ask because maybe I won’t get what I want. Maybe they’ll say ‘no’.”

It is probably the strangest statement yet one of the most common in the world today. Myriads of dating websites all dedicated to helping you choose a mate and most of these websites catering to the idea that people live in fear; the fear of rejection.

Sure the business owners and employees are doing something to help others find their right person and I’m equally as sure that the people on the websites are not as scared as this blog makes them sound. However, it is human nature to fear what we don’t know.

Take the statement and put it in any context. A sales context; sales are lost by the second by the salesman afraid to ask for the money. A relationship context; people refuse to ask for the treatment they want because they fear the response. People fear what they don’t know and they let their assumptions rule.

Take the above quote and look at it for what it is.

The ridiculous thing is that people are afraid to ask because they are scared of the response yet without asking they are already stuck without…..The worst that could happen if they did aim for what they wanted would be no different than where they were.

We are a strange bunch.

Would it kill you to try?
How much would your life change if you rejected fear and became courageous enough to take action. Remove what you FEEL the result will be and go find out what the result WILL be.

Friday, April 06, 2007


Today is Good Friday. For those that celebrate, it is the day to remember the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, which got me to thinking of the impact that can be made in the lives of others. By no means do I want this to be a religious blog, or compare us to Jesus, but I do want us to look at how we interact in this world and the potential impact we can make on it, Jesus was a human after all.

I’m sure everyone knows who Jesus Christ is, and I’m fairly sure everyone knows who Hitler is. Both people have left their impact on this world far beyond their lifespan, one recognized as a great good and one recognized as a great evil, both recognized as great impacts on the world.

Impact is “the strong effect that something or somebody has”, which is why it is important that we recognize our ability to create this “strong effect” and impact as many lives as we possibly can. Obviously I am talking about doing this as a great good, using the influence that we can create in others as a means of enhancing the lives of every person we interact with. Unfortunately we often only look within, trying to enhance our life so that we can get ahead of the pack, not looking at the big picture of what we will have left behind when we are gone. By doing this we ignore people that we believe are of no significance, when those are the people that can reap the greatest benefit of what we have to share. Just because someone can’t help your cause doesn’t mean that they can’t be influenced by you to help a greater cause.

In general people want to be inspired and it is our duty to do so because we have the means to inspire others. This is simply done by finding a cause that you are passionate about and become an ambassador for that cause therefore creating awareness in others that wasn’t there before. Your impact will be made through the enthusiasm, commitment, and passion you generate in others to also become activated. It costs nothing to inspire, it just means that you have to look beyond yourself and look to create a greater good; create your legacy.

One of the few things all humans have in common is that from the day we are born we are one step closer to death. Your steps in between allow you to have an immediate and strong effect on something or somebody and when that final day comes you will be remembered. How you will be remembered is directly related to the impact you made while you were alive, so, how do you want to be remembered?

A Higher Order of Thinking (H.O.T.) Parts 10 and 11

Welcome to the conclusion of the 11 stages of thinking, rationalizing, acting, basically stages of living and leading yourself. Today we will be reviewing the last 2 stages- stages 10 (Mentor Now) and 11, (Leave Now). To recap, the 11 levels of thinking we identified are;

Need Now
Want Now
Not Now
What Now?
Why Now?
Right Now
More Now
Share Now
Love Now

Mentor Now: This is where we take the love of what we do and combine it with humility as we teach others to do the same and pass their teachings on. It is about affecting change within the world you live in.
Leave Now: This is the final chapter of our evolvement- self actualization. As a matter of fact, this stage is often not complete until after we are dead, because the key to this stage- is legacy. Leaving a legacy at your job, within your home and community at large, and in the world... making it all better than you left it.

People in the Love Now stage (stage 9) really get messages like The Secret, or 'Pay it forward'. They are great, loving people who truly want to and do make a difference in the world. The only way we can get more people to the Love Now stage though, is if we have more Mentors. Mentors create future leaders (in this case, lovers). The question, then, is what is the difference between a mentor and a Lover (in the sense we use the term here)?

At first glance it may seem like a simple teacher/ pupil relationship, but there is more to it...
An apt comparison would be that of a business owner and a manager. In theory, both should be echo-ing the same message, and should hold the same values. What often separates an owner and a manager is that the manager most often does not have their ass tied to the bottom line. This level of ultimate responsibility changes an owners perspective, and they see all the little things in their business, from the way inter-office memos are filled out, to whether or not there is toilet paper in the washrooms. Managers do the right things, but often need a lot of coaching when it comes to perspective, and WHY this or that is important, and HOW it ties into the values they already hold and exhibit.

Mentor to Lover is much the same in this respect; yes, the Mentor has been doing it longer. Yes, the Mentor may have a clearer understanding of the purpose of action, and how to turn other Lovers into potential Mentors... but there is also one critical difference between Lovers and Mentors, and that is in where they are headed. Lovers share their message and improve others lives for many reasons- from trying to improve the quality of live of those they love, to trying to leave a legacy through empowerment. Mentors are always leaders. You cannot truly be a Mentor to someone else without having LED them in some meaningful and real way. Mentors lead through selflessness, and don't keep a tally of who has reciprocated and who has not. They lead and Mentor because it is within them to do and they are fulfilling an ultimately selfless duty and role wherein they hope to bettor mankind.

It is not that Lovers "aren't there yet"... many would choose not to be a Mentor, and not because they are selfish- it could be because they simply want to have a quiet existence of love with those they cherish. It could be they do not have the passion to Love and lead others, or it could be that they do not have the strength to invest time and energy into others and see it wasted on some and returned in very low percentages (which is the unfortunate reality of leadership).

True Mentors (in the sense of thinking, loving, leading, and living, and not just work or education) are very rare. Whether it be a famous mind who has shaped many like Aristotle or Plato, or even Mother Theresa, the point is we can all think of someone who fits this description. The important- no - VITAL message for anyone aspiring to be a Mentor (and it has taken 11 weeks to get to this point), is that you don't have to be Mother Theresa to be a Mentor, and even if you selflessly lead only a few people, know that whether you see the fruits of your labours or not- they are there... This is the foundation of the "Leave Now" stage. This is not a stage you can hope to arrive at in your living years. Whether it is a funeral celebration of thousands, or a tear on a cheek of 1 person, know that Mentors are lovingly remembered- and it is the impact that lasts in humanity past your lifetime that marks the "Leave Now" stage; the most profound and important impact any human being can hope to acheive.

Leave Now Mentors leave a legacy. There is no legacy (at least no desirable legacy) left behind you if all you seek is money. Looks? No lasting legacy except maybe a photograph; but that does little to inspire positive action in others. Great athleticism? Unless through your feats you can inspire others to challenge themselves, no lasting legacy except statistics. This is not to discount any of the great acheivers in these fields, or those who enjoy watching them or hearing them. It is simply to state that the only kind of person who leaves a lasting legacy on another human soul... is the person who sought out merely to help that person become happier and more successful. Mentors never do it for glory, and can never leave a lasting impact if their motivation is truly selfish. If they were truly selfish, their perspective would be limited, and their impact would therefore as well.

Whether you mission is more happiness and love for yourself, to learn this and pass it on to your loved ones, or whether you want to lead others and inspire them to become leaders themselves... get after it, and know that while you may be able to leave a legacy far beyond your years, you are alive TODAY to read this, and there are people who love you and who you love. Be whatever you can for yourself and them on this list. Do it for the right reasons (and right people), but do it, and LOVE your journey!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Life Favors the Devoted

Right place, right time.

I am sure you have heard this before.

Life helps those who help themselves.

This too you may have heard before.

Both of these phrases combined will create success. Because if you are at the right place at the right still must be devoted to reap the rewards. And if you are devoted in helping still have to have the timing to experience victory.

I am not a huge believer of "it's all meant to be" and that our lives have been scripted by an invisible set of hands. This talk implies that you have limited control of your destiny. It also speaks fear. Fear of challenge. Fear of of failure. And mostly - fear of success.

What I do believe is that we are given free will and the power to make choices for one single reason - to exercise those choices. What we put into life is what we will get out of it. Good things happen to those willing to put in the effort, exercise discipline and make the sacrifices that both personal and professional greatness requires.

If you were to look around at the successful people in the world, you would realize one common characteristic in all them - they got there by outworking everyone around them. Those that have made their mark on the world and added tremendous value to it were most likely not out every night socializing or watching t.v. daily - they were up early, putting in the hours required, and demonstrating a commitment to their dream. Because behind every extraordinary achievement...there has always been extraordinary effort!

That said - work hard. Very hard. Because your hard work will be rewarded and doors will open. It demonstrates that you are serious about being one of those rare and special individuals that uses the fullness of their talents for the highest and the very best.

Life will favor the devoted.

Monday, April 02, 2007

sometimes in life... you just have to.

there are times in your life where you just HAVE To say fuck it and do it.

last week, my mom and step dad invited myself to the see the final 4 ncaa basketball finals in atlanta with a friend.
the responsible side of me said, can't too busy. the thrill seeking side of me said, less than 5% of the world sporting population who gave a crap, would ever have this opportunity.

so... here we are in atlanta awaiting tonight's game. fellow swimupstream blogger willie and myself. if you had a peek into our weekend, you would think we were the basketball stars. court side seats, restaurants and the good life. but the purpose of this blog isn't to boast about how cool we are, its to highlight the fact that life is about seizing the opportunities that come your way each and every day.

there are too many people who get presented with great opportunities only to decline them. don't do that. take advantage of the opportunities. seize the day. each and every day. when you get to your own final 4 (the last 4 days of your life) make sure you are smiling and reflecting on all the crazy and cool things you did instead of wishing you "could have / should have".

i'm not talking about a reckless and irresponsible pursuit of selfish interests, i'm talking about the joie de vive that makes life exciting. no exhilarating. we need to learn how to find as many ways to do as we do excuses not to do.

live each of your days as best you can and understand you have the opportunity to govern how much excitement you want to bring!