Tuesday, September 29, 2009

You Never Know!

Life is about mindset, how you view things, and what you choose to ... (fill in the blank). The greatest news anyone can ever hear is, "we get to choose!" We can believe, or not believe... it's up to us.

Recently, at the local grocery store, I found myself speechless (and for me, this rarely happens). While shopping for some sort of drink, I noticed a woman trying to reach something that was obviously too high for her... but no one would help her. She looked homeless, or at the very least, in desperate need of clean clothes. Since everyone was walking by, as if they were "too good" to help her, I walked over and offered my assistance ~ why isn't this obvious for more of us? 

After I handed her the bottle she was struggling to reach at the very top shelf, she looked at me with the softest, kindest eyes I've ever seen, gave me a hug, and in a thick Scottish accent, whispered something in my ear that will stay with me forever...

"I'm here to share the news ~ good deeds are prayers with wings. Keep giving, my new friend."

Chills instantly shot through my body. She had something about her ~ something that was unexplainable. You may say I just ran into a nice, older lady... but I think there may have been more than meets the eye.

I'm not saying I know, because I don't know... but you never know!

A few winters ago, my wife and I were driving home from a long road trip late at night, and during a huge rain storm. Winters in Southern California aren't a big deal, but sometimes it does get below freezing ~ this was one of those times.

The entire way home, I was feeling really nervous for some reason, and kept asking for protection from "whoever was watching." I've driven in heavy rain before, but this night was different~ the road was crowded, and cars were flying down the freeway. In Southern Cali., people don't have a clue how to drive in the rain. 

30 minutes from home, I got extremely sleepy but didn't think I needed to stop. I've never been tired enough to stop before and we were almost home... so I was going try to make it. Liane kept asking me if I was sure I could make it without falling asleep. I assured her I could do it. I wouldn't put our lives in danger in order to save a few minutes. She continued to ask, though, as if she didn't trust me. There was one more exit to pull off and rest before we would hit a long stretch of freeway, with nowhere to stop. One last time (about 100 yards from the exit), she asked again if I needed to rest. I told her... ONE MORE TIME... that I was fine, and was going to drive home. By this time, the temperature had dropped below freezing, and was raining harder than ever.

As we were about to pass the off ramp, my car began to pull off the freeway. This of course happened very quickly, but remember I didn't want to stop, so it felt like we were in slow motion. Yes, my hands were physically turning the steering wheel to the right and off the road, but my mind wasn't. I didn't want to pull over, so obviously I wondered why I just did. Before I knew it, I had taken the last exit off the freeway. How did that just happen? Since I got off, I decided to find a gas station, and take a 20 minute nap. 

As we got back on the freeway going home, we notice something crazy had happened: At least 20 cars had spun off the road into ditches and were flipped over on their sides. Come to find out, immediately after the last exit that "I" decided to pull off, all the cars hit a huge patch of black ice, creating a 20 car pile-up... I was spared. 

I'm not saying I know, because I don't know... but you never know!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Pressure's Letter To Me...

I recently found a letter that Pressure wrote to me as I was learning the power I had over stressful situations. I wanted to share it with you. 

Dear Dayne,

My name is Pressure, and I make my living torturing the vulnerable and weak minded. Little do these people know -- I actually don't have any power whatsoever. I've done much soul searching as of late, and I've come to realize that I need to come clean. I attack athletes, personal relationships, grades in school, job productivity, and much more. There's no one I don't touch... but the ones I love to attack most are those who give in to my perceived power. Many people feel me, yet still choose to feed me.

I'm going to tell you a little secret, but you have to promise not to tell anyone, ok? I know, I know... I said I wanted to come clean, but I'm having a difficult time with that still. (shhh - I'm going to whisper it to you just in case more are listening). If this secret gets out to public, I'll be completely useless and won't have anyone to pick on. My secret: I'm really not something you should be afraid of, and I'm definitely not your enemy. You should embrace me ~ I'm your most powerful weapon, and if used properly, I can make you stronger than you've ever imagined.

The key to unlocking your potential is deciding how to view me. If, when you look at me, see opportunities for failure and embarrassment, I'll destroy you. I'll make you think twice and constantly doubt yourself... selfishly speaking, thank goodness many view me this way. If they didn't, I would cease to exist as a fear-based weapon against them. 

On the other hand, if you look at me, Pressure, as a motivating tool ~ a way to become more focused, using me to push yourself further and harder, I'll take you to levels you've only dreamed of... hopefully, you won't choose this option.

When you see me walking your way, invite me to walk with you... become my friend and learn everything there is to know about me. Figure out what makes me tick, and you'll quickly find that I can be your biggest supporter and contributor to personal success. The only thing you should fear when I come around... is the fear you feel when I come around. Fear creates doubt, which will always make me stronger, eventually stealing all of your potential. Instead, put your arm around me and invite all of my friends to join us ~ understand that the more Pressure you feel, the more success you can potentially acquire. Again, it's all about how you choose to use me.

Example time:

If you're attempting to lose weight, and feel me tapping you on the shoulder, wanting you to eat that forbidden food... use my power against me, turning it into an opportunity to grow your confidence by NOT eating that specific food. Use my nagging as motivation to become more discipline, taking one more step towards your goals.

When you're competing as an athlete, and find me in your head giving  you negative messages, tell me NO... turn me on myself. Take my negativity and switch it to opportunity ~ an opportunity to grow and turn the situation into a confidence builder. Every time you switch pressure into opportunity, you build confidence... simultaneously destroying mine. 

If you're having difficulty with test anxiety, because I'm always there reminding you of the negative consequences  of poor grades... use me to turn your fears into clarity. Use me, Pressure, to intensify your focus, concentrating on answering that one question at a time. All you ever have is one question to answer, one problem to solve. Don't allow me to keep feeding your mind full of what-ifs... instead, use me to fuel your concentration levels, resulting in pure clarity and peace within.

My name is Pressure, and I'm your best friend.

Please don't tell anyone!

Saturday, September 19, 2009


Let me preface this by saying that I know fear as well as anyone ever has. I used to be best friends with this piece of (bleep)... but no more. No more do I listen, although I must say it still whispers in my ear, sticks it's hand out in friendship, and reminds me that it'll always be there if I want to come back. 

Sorry... no deal! I'm never going back!

   fear.   Fear.   f-E-a-R.   feaR. 


reaf. earf. aref. frea.

F..... E..... A....... R

It doesn't matter what shape it takes or how it's spelled... fear means what it means, and does what it always does.

It's strong and powerful, yet weak and fragile~ all at the same time. To some... fear looks, feels and tastes like a force that will always win... can't lose... is impossible to conquer!

To others... fear is an illusion, created by the mind, performed by the imagination, but squashed by conscious decisions~ decisions that say, 

"No! I won't listen. I won't give in to it's temptations and it's attempts to paralyze me."

Fear surrounds us, tries to engulf us, all while telling us that we must listen. And if we don't listen, fear makes us believe we'll fail miserably, and look foolish in the eyes of those watching. Fear can be as giant as a skyscraper, but can also be as fragile as wet paper. 

The good news... we get to choose which shape it takes! We're in control of whether or not that word (that's all it really is) affects our decisions, moods, speech ~both to ourselves and to others. We can live without fear... so why do so many of us choose to befriend it?

Answer: Fear!

So, if that's the answer... let me ask a few more questions: What will we do when it knocks again? What will we say when we answer the door? What language will we use when it asks us those important questions? What actions will we take... or choose not to take? Does fear even have a voice when it looks us in the face? 

I don't know you, so I'll never pretend to answer for you, but for me... fear will always be there lurking, waiting and hoping, but I'll never give it the satisfaction. You see, I can't afford to talk to fear ever again. My daughter's counting on me to stand up and teach her how to fight quietly against this villain. She needs my example of strength in order to reinforce her power against (that word) when it comes knockin... and you better believe it'll come knockin.

F-e-a-r?  FEAR? FeaR? 

What shape will it take for you? 

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Habits Anyone?


Stop changing those bad habits that are holding you back from reaching the next level. Sounds strange, and is the opposite of everything you've ever heard, I know. Read on...

List 5 of your worst habits.
List the things that trigger those habits.

Now write 5 new habits you want to implement in your life~ new habits that would change who you are, how you see your life, and what you believe. 
List the benefits that would take place from creating those new habits.
Visualize yourself using your new habits.
Take action right now, making those new habits a regular part of your day.

90% of our behavior is dictated by habits, so it makes sense that if we learn to choose what those habits will be, our lives will be completely transformed. 

One Problem: We've created a ton bad habits along the way that have become a part of our daily routines, resulting in this nonstop cycle of crap (sorry mom~ sometimes I have to cuss). When we finally realize these bad habits are what's holding us back, we do what any motivated person would do... we try to change them. Sounds good, right? Unfortunately, when we focus on changing our habits, we unintentionally continue focusing on them... helping the cycle remain a cycle. 

Instead of changing our bad habits... create new, better habits! 

A habit becomes habit through massive repetition... so if we're able to manufacture bad ones, we can definitely create new ones. 

What's it gonna be, ya'll? 

(Did I just say "ya'll?") 

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

My Dream~ Daddy's Little Girl

As I walked my little Logan this morning, I couldn't help but to stare into the future, dreaming about what life may hold for her... the mental and emotional freedom I wish for her to experience. She's daddy's little girl, growing up so fast. Will she be strong, fearless, and willing to take chances when 'they' tell her to play it safe? Will she be a leader, paving the way for others to follow her example? Are these qualities with her from birth, or do we as parents take responsibility for instilling most of them? 

Will she continue to be curious, wanting to "figure it out," always without fear? When does fear come into play and become a reality in her life ~ because as of now, she doesn't know what that word means or feels like. In my, "I-can-teach-anyone-anything" mind... I want to think I can show her how to avoid letting fear dominate her mind, as it did mine when I was young. 

I'll teach her how to be her own person, looking for opportunities where others only see roadblocks. I'll guide her down the road of risk-taking, never afraid of failure, knowing that failure is only an illusion and will always bring her closer to the success she strives for. I'll show her how to never take "no" for an answer, yet still knowing how to back-off when necessary. I'll teach her to feel confident, even when there isn't any evidence to support that confidence. True confidence is born in us all, it never leaves, but must be given life on a daily basis. 

Of course, I won't be the only teacher in her life, but this is MY dream... so I can be the hero if I want!

Will she have her own voice, but still be strong enough to listen to others and ask for help often? Can she set aside her ego and offer help to those she disagrees with? Will she understand the difference between wise and smart, and be able to implement each when the time asks for one or the other?  Will she continue to laugh when emotions are telling her to do the opposite?

Right now, Logan needs and wants us more than anything... will she always? My dream says abso-freakin-lutely! Know why? Cuzz it's my dream, she's my angel, and will always be daddy's little girl!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

(Quick addition to previous post)

A few readers have responded to my previous post, "They're Unhappy... Trying To Make Us Unhappy" with the same argument, which I needed to reply to immediately. They said ignoring the people who continue to gossip about them would make their feelings bottle-up inside, eventually leading to a blow up.

This is my point of that post: We want to reach a place where we're not "bottling-up" our feelings by ignoring them... we want to completely let go of all frustration, anger and possible retaliations from our soul. We're not holding our negative feelings inside because we don't hold any negative feelings towards those people. When we bottle-up, we hide our feelings, which will lead to a future explosion. When we choose not to engage those negative emotions, there's nothing to bottle-up.

Does it take us rising to another, mature, "zen-like" level? Absolutely... but choosing the path of least resistance will lead to a more peaceful way of life in the long run.

They're Unhappy... Trying To Make Us Unhappy

"I can't stand him... he always talks crap about me!"

"She never lets it go. Why won't she just shut up?"

"I'm gonna get her back for all trash she's talked about me."

"He's such a sad human being... why does he even care what I do?"

We can't care what anyone says about us!! Ignore them... look another direction. The more they talk negatively about us, the more we should feel sorry for them -- sorry that they can't focus on the good, or trying to find the good in their own lives. The reason they gossip or lie about others is because they're unhappy, period! Know that's why they say and act the way they do, but don't be upset, be grateful... grateful you're not them!

We shouldn't waste a second of thought on these people, but instead, surround ourselves with those who lift us up and who exude positivity.  An important lesson I learned a long time ago was understanding that "they" don't care if we don't like them ~ they're not going to change for us... I was wasting energy focusing on their negative energy. It's easy for us to concentrate on how hurtful they've been, making us want to either set things straight, or even hurt them in return. We can't fall into that trap! 

They want us to be negative and miserable, focusing on them instead of our own positive way of living. In their minds... if they can't be happy, then we surely don't deserve to be happy. 

Again, don't waste another minute on them. They'll be, do and say whatever they want. If you believe in God, pray for them. If you don't believe in God, be happy you're not them! 

Sunday, September 6, 2009

I've Got Four Words For You...

As I begin this topic, I know what I want to say but not quite sure the tone I'm going to use. It's the type of topic that drives me crazy, mainly because I feel it should be common sense for everyone, but unfortunately isn't.

A couple years ago, one of my student's mom called me incredibly angry about her son's teacher at school. I instinctively took her side at the beginning of her rant... until she got to the meat of her complaint. "Are you kidding me!!!???" is all I could think of saying when she finished. 

Her son was expelled from school for telling his teacher to *F-off!* So, you ask, why would she be upset at the teacher for kicking her son out of class? Her question:

"What did the teacher do to make my son tell him to F-off?" 

Again... "Are you kidding me!!!???" What did the teacher do? What's she teaching her son, and how will he ever grow up and take responsibility for his actions? I'm seeing more and more of this, believe it or not ~ some just refuse to take responsibility for the decisions they make and the consequences that follow. 

Another doozie I'll never forget: 

It was my 14 year old tennis student, his dad, and I at a tournament in L.A. This kid was a physical talent, but didn't have much mental toughness or the ability to control his emotions. In short... he was a spoiled brat that thought he was entitled to win because his dad said he was better than everyone else. 

20 minutes into his first match, it was quite obvious that he wasn't going to come out ahead at the end of the day, so I began focusing on the positives we could talk about when it was over. I knew he was going to walk off the court upset, and probably not wanting to talk, but it was my job to help him after losses like this.

22 minutes into his first match, he threw his racquet onto the next court, almost hitting a player in the head. I immediately looked at his dad to see his reaction... hoping he'd be disgusted, and maybe even yank his ass off the court! Nope, that's not what he did. He actually gave ME a look, as if I was at fault. "Are you kidding me!!!???" 

It gets even better... 

27 minutes into his first match, he hit a ball over the fence into the parking lot, hitting a car, and setting off the car alarm (which seemed to last for hours). I looked at him again and yep - you guessed it... he gave me that same, "It's Dayne's fault" look. "Are you kidding me!!!???" This time, I wasn't going to just sit there. I walked over to where he was standing (I don't like sitting next to most tennis parents during their kid's matches - they can get critical) and asked if he thought this was acceptable behavior. He didn't say a word. 

35 minutes into his first match, he threw his racquet again, but this time it hit a pole and shattered! I was horrified to call him my student... and was planning on some "heated words" the second he walked off the court. Before I could think of what those exact words would be, his dad sprinted over to me and had the nerve to ask, "Why isn't he winning!? Why didn't you prepare him better!?" Say it with me... "are - you - kidding - me!!!???" You're worried about his winning or losing, rather than the punk he's looking like at the moment? 

I looked at him with rage welling up in my eyes, yet calmly explained, "You're right, my bad! It's my fault he's an emotional psycho at 14 years of age... and it's my fault he just completely embarrassed you and your family. I'm so sorry that I didn't prepare him better. I'm sorry that I let you down!"

I won't let it happen again!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

It Never Ends... EVER!

I received a text from a student of mine which stated, "Your last 3 blogs were lame! I already know that stuff." (Oh, you little college freshman girl). She was half-kidding, but that means she was also half-serious. Because she's heard my rants so often about figuring out what she wants, visualizing, and taking action, she thinks she's got it! I know, I know... 18 year old girls know it all -- then they turn into 40 year old women who know it all!

She instinctively thought that because she's heard me talk so much on those subjects, she didn't need to hear, read, or practice much anymore. WRONG, LITTLE GIRLIE! 

*If we want to gain muscle mass... we must lift weights and eat correctly ~ all the time!
*If we want to lose weight... we must exercise and eat correctly ~ all the time!
*If we want to get better grades... we must study more efficiently (or in some cases, study- period!) ~ all the time!

If we want to create new, better ways of thinking and acting... we must practice ~ all the time!

I remember walking into a martial arts class when I was younger, super excited, yet scared out of my mind at the same time. I hated anything new and out of my comfort zone. What finally got me in the door was the fact that I knew (or so I thought) that I'd be working with all beginners, so we'd all be in the same boat. See, back then, I'd never do anything that I knew I wasn't going to be great at... so for me to take a class in which "failure" could be a possibility was a huge leap of faith. 

The first thing I remember seeing when I walked into the studio were 7 guys flipping each other, practicing wrist locks, and working on what looked like to be some very advanced moves. I asked the instructor if I was in the wrong class. He said I was in the right place... actually, I'll never forget what he told me, because it made me forever alter the way I thought and how I was teaching. 

"All black belts work with beginners because they were once beginners, and will always be beginners... they just have a different color belt than you," he said. "They will give back to the new students, as well as learn from them. You're in the right class, my son!" 

Son? Dad?? My dad's not Japanese! Did you give me away at birth? Sorry, back to my point:

I hadn't been there for more than 5 minutes, yet he completely changed my way of thinking, doing, and the way I'd teach for the rest of my life. We never stop learning, improving, and growing... EVER! There isn't a finish line, no matter how many classes we've taken, no matter how well we've eaten or how often we've exercised. We're never done, we never truly get it, and there's definitely no such thing as a master. We may think sometimes, that we've "mastered" something, but that's just an illusion. The instructor in that class was something ridiculous like a 10th degree black belt, but said that he's still, and always will be a beginner. 

So... to my young student who "doesn't need those lessons anymore," and has mastered her techniques: I envy you. I'm jealous that you've found a way to be done. Actually, in our next session, you'll be showing me how you did it!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

What Time Is It? Umm... Now!

Huh?? That makes no sense. Now is the time?? But -- my watch says it's 5:59.

"We have to win tomorrow..."

"I can't believe I lost yesterday..."

"What if my new client doesn't like my

 ideas, and fires me?"

"In order to reach the playoffs, we need to win the next 5 of 7 games..."

No! No! No! Thinking, talking, and coaching like this will always turn into a disaster because it makes us focus on that single thing we will never be able to control:


We can only influence the result... never completely control it. I literally have this conversation 5 times each day with my students, and everyone else who will listen. This concept is so misunderstood by athletes, business people, students, and every other freakin human being alive, it makes me want to scream. Let me repeat myself (what's one more time in a day?): We can't control the result to anything, period! 

Influence? Yes! Control? No! 

We can improve our chances of winning by focusing on those things we have control over: Every decision we make, our preparation, and our emotional reactions to the specific situation, for example.
By allowing ourselves to concentrate on the things we can actually change, don't we improve the percentages that we'll maximize our potential? That's what we should be focusing on, anyway... playing our "best game" (whatever that means in your world) to the best of our abilities. 

The winning and losing will take care of itself... THANKS, DAD - I finally get it!!

All we have is this moment, right now. There's no past or future... only this second! The future is gone, and is never coming back. The past isn't here yet, but when it does finally arrive... it'll be the now. Think about that for a second ~ if we could improve our mindsets to the point where we understand there's only this single moment to do (X), how different would our day be?

Would we stress as much? Don't we usually stress about things that haven't happened yet, or things that we think "may" happen? We wouldn't worry about as much because, as with the stressing, we usually worry about the future. The "what-ifs" would immediately disappear, wouldn't they? They're also in the future. 

Being upset about losing, whether that means a sporting event, client, or poor grades would be gone too. When we hold on to that type of anger or disappointment, we're essentially living in the past. Sure, there are things from the past that we can learn from in order to make better decisions today, but they have no power over us, as it relates to our emotional well being. 

Fear of losing; living in the past and future; stress and worry about the what-ifs; disappointment about negative results... all gone!

What time do you have again?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

To Do, Or Not To Do...

Ok, so we've explored some concepts in the last couple of posts that will help us achieve bigger, better, and more. 

1. Know exactly what we want, and believe that it's ours for the taking.     Do we want to be the employee or the owner?

2. Visualize those wants as if they are already ours. See them in our mind's-eye with such strong emotion, our brain can't figure out what's real versus what's just a visualization. 

Knowing what we want and having a picture in our mind are extremely important pieces of the puzzle, but they still need a little help. If this was all we needed, then we could simply stay at home all day watching t.v., "dreaming" our wants to come true. Sorry, Charlie -

As one of the most successful ad campaign of all-time says:                 "Just Do It!" 

Notice that it doesn't say, "Just want it" or "Just see it." Just Do It means a lot of things, but most importantly, it means get off our asses, forget all the excuses, and commit to that next level - and do it now! 

We must take massive action if we want to accomplish those things we're so passionate about. This single step can be difficult, and is what holds most of us back from the results we want, especially when we're confronted with roadblocks. 

"As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say. I watch what they do."

                  -Andrew Carnegie

 "A superior man is modest in his speech, but exceeds in his action."


When they say we can't, what will we say? When we get the door slammed in our faces, will we look for, and open the next door? After months and months of "failure," will we understand there's no such thing as failure... unless we stop doing? Will we be egoless as we move forward, not afraid to ask for help? When we wake up tired and beat-down from all of the negativity, will we remember that we only have now... this one minute, this one hour, this one day?

  "Things won are done; joy's soul lies in the doing."

                 -William Shakespeare

    "Now What?"