One in a million

This phrase has been uttered all over. You are one in a million. I used to think it was special to say that but then I realized how wrong that thinking was. It truly limits who we are to just be one in a million because you are so much more than this.  

I don’t know if it stems from a lack of understanding as to how big the universe really is and how many people really exist because if you truly are one in a million that would mean that there are 6,000 other you’s living right now. And that’s just not true. 

We take things and we say them. But we don’t truly mean them.  

Sounds a lot like our lives doesn’t it?  

What if I were to tell you that “you” have never existed before?  

No one has ever had your exact interests. Or your exact upbringing. Or grew up in the place you did or with the family you grew up with. No one has married your spouse at the exact same time as you did. No one ever had your kids or your job at the time that you did. No one who has ever lived is exactly like you. And this may sound dumb but it can be revolutionary for your soul.  

Yes this can be scary but ultimately, it should be refreshing. Because you are you and no one else can be you. They can try but ultimately they will fall short. You are the original and everyone else is a copy. And for anyone who has ever used a copy machine, the copies do not line up to the original. They get the picture at a glance but they don’t get the down and dirty. They miss some key details.  

This should also be freeing because it lets you determine your success or failure. You don’t have to have a 9-5 job to appease the Man. You can work every day or every other week. Or whenever inspiration strikes you. This day and age is also the best time for these types of people because these people are the ones who are willing to embrace who they are and live and change the world from that standpoint.  

We don’t have to go through hoops anymore to be who we are.  

So today, don’t settle to be one in a million. Strive to be the original. Or the one and only. You. 

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What about the other half?

Going back through my life, I am very cognizant of my lack of motivation to continue.  I jump start on whatever passion I have in the moment and then eventually stop.  And as one of my favorite cartoon shows from the 80s constantly pointed out to me, “knowing is half the battle.”  But what about the other half?

I have known the fact that I stop after some progress for some time but I’m now beating myself into submission to stop stopping.  To continue.  To plow through the hardships.  And to reach for whatever prize or calling I’m trying to claim.

Knowing is half the battle but doing wins the war.  Or as the pastor in me yearns to say, “information is great but without transformation, it is worthless.”

And for that reason, I’m about to embark on some great things in my life.  I’m going to start a challenge group for those guys interested in moving through a program of workouts, whatever they may be.  Guys who are wanting to stop thinking about losing weight and to start actively losing a ton or as I’m calling it, to Lose a Bunch.  But it could also be for guys looking to gain muscle and eat right and finally get on track physically.

This is one area of my life that I have neglected for too long and honestly, I have started and stopped many times.  I did T25 (Shaun T’s intense workout) for about 6 weeks and got into great shape and lost a good amount of weight but then I had one Mt. Dew and thus brought down an avalanche upon my life.  I am still recovering from stopping then.  But for the past couple weeks I have done great.  I have gotten up super early to work out and do a program with tons of reps of weight lifting called Body Pump and I am even doing a Couch to 5k program right now.  I have done great but what I need is to continue.  I have huge aspirations (to lose 70 pounds) and I must have some great daily rituals if I am going to accomplish what I want and what I know I need.  And this is not only for me to get healthy and strong and to look and feel great, but also for my family whom I hope wants me around for as long as possible.  But it is also for you, the person who is struggling right now to continue.  The person who feels too overwhelmed to begin and to depressed to go after what they want.  I know you need this and I know that I can be a motivator for you.  Because I am going to continue.

A lot of this started by seeing my wife lead people to greater health and greater passion. She has been a huge inspiration for me and I am so happy to be a part of her life.  I know that she did it last year (when she lost over 50 pounds) and that has sparked me to believe that I can do it too.  I have seen firsthand, people in my community and church lose a bunch of weight by eating right, drinking right, and working out consistently.  If they can do it, so can I, and so can you.

And I am not trying to start this and let you think that I know everything but I do know that if I have this, I will hold myself accountable and can help spark something in my life and yours.  So don’t think of me as the person at the top (maybe at the scales though) but as the one who just started this, hopefully, huge movement amongst us.

So if that is you, please send me a message on facebook (facebook.com/musicbunch) and we will get started soon.  At this time, I am looking for just guys to join in this group.  If you are a female wanting this same thing, still send me a message but I can point you to someone much more qualified than I, my wife, Victoria.

 

John Lennon and happiness

Happiness is one of those elusive things for me.  Most of the time I am able to find it when I just stop focusing on the always growing demands of my daily life and simple focus on what is going on right in front of me.  Playing with my son.  Throwing him in the pool.  Or swapping stories with the wife.  Or simply reading a book.

But other times, no matter what I try, happiness seems out of reach.  Thinking on where I am in comparison to where I want to be.  Dreading the idea of getting up and going to a job that is not my passion.

I’m a simple person and a lot of the time, my homebody ways frustrates the mess out of my wife who would rather go out dancing or eating expensive wine.  But we usually find a way to do something we both enjoy.

But I have been learning contentment in where I am (honestly, where else can you learn it?).  Trying to find joy in what I am doing and not focusing on what I want to do in the future or what I got to do in the past.  To me, it seems like the happiest people are the ones who live in the moment.  The ones who put all of themselves into where they’re at.

And nothing explains happiness better than a quote from my favorite Beatle:

“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life.  When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up.  I wrote down, ‘happy’.  They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.” – John Lennon 

The worst part about this whole movement towards happiness and all the books written on it, is that we can miss happiness so easily because we focus on what we think others think should be happiness.  It is not some magic formula you find but a treasure in a field.  Some may find it in the quiet while reading a book while others find it only in a mosh pit.  To each, his own.

My idea of happiness is always changing and I believe it should because each moment is different.  And that’s okay.  So let’s just be happy wherever we’re at and suck all the joy out of every moment.

My highest honor

In terms of learning to play the trumpet, I improved greatly while practicing.  In fact, that is the thing that separated me from those who just casually played to appease the director.  I spent a lot of time thinking through playing trumpet during freshman year of high school but not enough to call it more than a requirement.

But something changed during the summer after my freshman year.  Maybe it was my first taste of band camp or the fact that I didn’t really want to play organized sports, but I fell in love with the trumpet and from there, I couldn’t put it down.  I would practice all the time.  My band director would give me a ton of CDs to listen to of great jazz musicians and even invited me to come play music in a community band in Myrtle Beach with him and some other old geezers, as I so lovingly called them then.

I just could not stop from playing trumpet during sophomore year.  In fact, at the end of the year, I was named Most Improved by my fellow bandmates.  And I saw it as the greatest honor given to me.

I wasn’t the LeBron of trumpet players because I am not bragging that I was the best, because at that time, there were others better than me at my high school and a plethora of others outside of my high school who could destroy me on the sweet sounds of the horn.  But when I got that honor by those around me, I finally believed that I could be the best. That thought had finally taken ahold of me and captured me.

So that summer, that was my overall focus.  I practiced every thing I could to build a solid foundation.  Scales, appregios, songbooks, jazz standards, transcribing CDs.  Whatever I could get my grubby hands on.  And all the work paid off because I won all the solos that fall for marching band and I even was not allowed to be a drum major because I was needed on the field to play (at least that is what they told me but it could have been because I was a little unfocused and not great at being a good influence and intentional leader).

But it was because of that one night where I was named most improved that I grabbed ahold of my dreams.  That I stopped letting my talk get in the way of my walk.  This is just a small taste of success and it is something that I am yearning to strive more and more towards each day.

Over the past few weeks, I have failed.  I stopped working out.  Ceased to eat right.  And stopped writing.  I got into a little bit of a funk because I lost sight of the goal.  I lost sight of where I want to be because I focused on the fact that I’m not there now. I’m not even close.

But I won’t let this stop me any more.  I’m moving forward.  I’m reaching for my goals.  And I am shifting my focus from trying to be the best and focusing on the prize I truly feel is worthy of my never-shifting gaze, that of being most improved.  Most improved means that you are the most different from who you were the year before.  You’re taking steps to make the person you are today better than yesterday.

And at the end of the day, I would consider that the highest compliment.

Don’t wait

I recently read a book called Things a Little Bird Told Me by Biz Stone, a co-founder of Twitter, that truly sparked a lot within my soul.  At least, in the sense of leading people.

I have always struggled with the idea of contentment and I truly believe that I always will but that is my burden to work through.  But a topic came up in this book that hit me. Biz was discussing how a couple people at the top of the totem pole at Twitter were about to leave mainly because they were unsatisfied and had new, exciting opportunities on the horizon.  And Biz revealed that he went to one of the guys in charge who didn’t want to lose some of his top people and asked the following question:

“If you have a list of people that you don’t want to lose at any cost, don’t wait until they quit to offer them more money and more stock options.” – Biz Stone, Things a Little Bird Taught Me, p. 166

This hit me because I have both had this happen to me and felt the other side of it.  Sometimes we aren’t willing to go above and beyond to keep those that we do not wish to lose.  Yes, sometimes the best option for them is to move on but a lot of the time, it may be better to have them stay because you show how much you care.

I have lost some key people working alongside of me in the past and a lot of the time, it has been because I didn’t truly show them how much they meant to me and to what we were doing.

So today as you embark on whatever it is you are doing, go above and beyond and show those around you that you care about them.  Not just what they do but who they are.  It likely will not only inspire them to continue for a brief moment but it may be the life changing opportunity to spark them to stay and invest their whole lives in what they felt called to be a part of.

Father’s Day

Father’s Day is a special day for me.  Not just because I am a dad now.  Although I love being a dad and I’m thankful for my son everyday.  But this day is special because I have the greatest father around.

Some fathers play the part very well.  So well that they leave many lesser men jealous. But some dads play the part of both parents.

Those are the ones that inspire me the most because I can’t imagine having to do everything on my own.  Vickie saves me from nervous breakdowns at least twice a week.  And I have an easy child compared to many other parents I encounter at the local hell hole known as Chic Fila.

It is not a hell hole because of the food.  Because the food is delicious.  Holy, even.  It is a hell hole because of the crazy kids that partake of this restaurant’s luxuries.  It is like every pastor’s kid goes there.  And we all know that pastor’s kids are the worst.

But my dad raised me from 7 years old on to become who I am today.  So you can blame him.  I mean, thank him.  And he did it all by himself.  Yes, he made mistakes but I’m thankful for all that he taught me.  I am blessed to call him father and I am honored to give my son just a little glimpse of what I experienced from growing up with my dad.

I love you, Papa Bunch.

Beginning is hard

Beginning is always the difficult thing to do. Especially when you haven’t done something in a long time.  I have been in this constant cycle recently of working out.  Starting and then stopping.  Only to restart a routine a few days/weeks later.  It has been quite frustrating.  But the thing I have realized is that I need to press in that much more when it becomes easy to just quit to start over at some future time.  I need to will myself to continue when it gets tough.

And I know that most of you know what this is because it should be common sense by now.  But I have learned that it is just as difficult to do in spiritual terms as in everyday terms.  I have come to realize this truth.

The reason it is hard to hear God at first is because we’ve been ignoring Him for so long.

We have only called upon His name when things didn’t go our way.  We honestly weren’t too thrilled about doing what He wants us to do, unless things went south quickly.  And this is sad because we could learn so much if we just dive in for these moments.

So let’s make a pack for whatever it is that you wish to do.  Just dive in and maybe then you’ll be able to reach the other side and obtain that which you seek.