I figure there are two ways your actions play out in life. With the first way, you have a bucket of water. You push your fist in, and take it out. This represents your actions in life. The bucket of water represents the world that we live in. When you fist-punch the water in the bucket, it creates ripples. The ripples can spread, depending on how hard or fast you punch it. The ripples represent the impact that you've had on the water, or the impact your actions have on the world.
The second way your actions can play out are with a lump of moldable plaster or clay. If you push your hand into the clay, you're left with a handprint. Duh. Likewise, if clay was the world, and your hand is your actions in life, you'd leave an impact on the world.
Both scenarios contain the same analogy, with one difference. In the first case with the water bucket, when you remove your hand, ripples spread, but then they disappear. Your efforts can be doubled, tripled, and even last a lifetime, but you won't leave a lasting impression in the bucket of water after you're done punching the water. There won't be any impact. With the moldable clay, you leave an impression even after you're gone.
With your current daily actions in life, are you spending time In the bucket of water or with clay?
Kick your bucket habits, and go with Playdoh instead ;)
If you were to live to 80 years old, that's how many months you have. It's approximately 27,000 days.
If I have a choice everyday to write out what that day will be, and a limited number of days, you bet that I will live everyday as if it's my last.
My blind father passed away at the age of 58 from cancer, but before he died, he told me this: 'Jay, there are only two things you can't do as a blind person. You can't drive and you can't become a surgeon.'
He was the most humble down-to-earth person I've had in my life, and he vigorously pursued each day with the intent to discover more about himself and the world.
I can only hope I do the same.
What will you do with your 960?
Something that has hit pop culture hard recently has been the notion of bucket list. Popularized initially by the movie, the Bucket List, with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, and followed up with the Buried Life, people have caught on to the idea of doing the things you want to do with urgency, before you die.
I love the idea. I view the bucket list as a simple future goals list with a nice deadline: as soon as possible.
I no longer regret the past nor fear the future or death, all that matters is that I have tried my best to do the things I either said I was going to do, or wanted to.
With that, I've compiled my bucket list for all to see and also for me to be held accountable to.
Here's my bucket list, from when I started it til now:
(The things that I have done are in are green)
Speak in front of:
50 people - WLV Festival
250 people - Division B competition
300 people - Freshman Reception August 2011
400 people - District 21 Humorous Speech Competition November 2011
Division B Champion - YES - April 26th, 2012
World Champion of Public Speaking
Perform in front of 50 people - March, 2011, FSA Night/September 2011, WLV Festival
Perform in front of 750 people - March, 2007
Perform in front of 1,000 people
Compose an album - 2006
Compose a second album
Open Mic Night - December 19, 2011
Buy a black grand piano for my home
Build/buy a studio
Played squash for the first time - New Year's 2012, with John
Storm the Wall - 2009-2012
Day of the Longboat - 2011&2012
Harry Rosen Run - March 2011 - with AKPsi (44:21)Harry Rosen Run - March 2012 - with AKPsi (41:13)
Sun Run - April 2011 - with Kristy (55:06)Sun Run - April 2012 - with Blake, Debbie
Half Marathon - May 2011 - with Kajaul, Beatrix, Liz, and Charlotte (2:30:16)
Half Marathon - May 2012 - with Arash, Beatrix, David, Blake, Jackson, Kevin, Kevin, Tommy, Emily, Jin, Susan, Zhian (2:18:50)
Salsa dancing lessons - 2008-2012
Full Marathon - (tbd)
Super Spartan 15km Race - 2012, with Brandon, Jason, and Bella
Tough Mudder - 2013
Barcelona, Spain - Dec, 2012
Italy - Dec, 2012
Go on a cruise that drops by Italy/Greece or Panama - October-November 2013?
Australia Mexico (Puerto Vallarta and Cancun)
St Lucia - for honeymoon
Britain - Dec, 2012
France - Dec, 2012
New York City (Do a cartwheel on top of the empire state building) - 2013!
Whistler, BC - Nov, 2012
Victoria, BC - 2010
Snorkeling - November 2011 in PV, Mexico - with Desi and Warut
Skydiving - April 2011 - with Dyana
Jump off a cliff - small 15 feet - YOLO Summer 2012
White-water rafting - August 2012, w/ Team YOLO
Fly a plane
Make/Try Panna Cotta - December 3, 2011 - with Teresa
Publish a book
Hit a salary of $100,000/year
Learn to ride a motorcycle - in progress, with Peter
Jet-Skiing in PV, Mexico - November 2011 - with Desi and Warut
Do a 48 hour fast - Sept 2011
Speak Chinese fluently - 2014
Speak a third language conversationally
Speak a third language fluently
Action step: What are things that you want to do before you die?
Create a list!
I'm writing this 3hrs, 36 minutes before I turn 22 yrs old. Looking back at the past year, I started going through the list of firsts I had this year.
My year being a 21-yr-old man-kid:
First time I went skydiving
First time I made it to District level for the Humorous Speech Competition
First time I ran an organization
First time I ran a half marathon (Thanks Liz, Charlotte, Kajaul, Beatrix)
First time I was in Phoenix, Arizona
First time I was in Jamaica
First time I was elected president for Alpha Kappa Psi
First time I raised money for charity: Harry Rosen Run - $500+
First time I spoke in front of an audience of 150, 300, then 400 people. (division, Freshman reception, district contest)
First time I volunteered: Junior Achievement x 4 high schools
First time I met a Canuck, Kevin Bieksa
First time organizing a personal development event for over 100 people
First time investing in a portfolio and analyzing stocks! :)
First time I got my suit custom tailored
First time I hit 5000 followers on Twitter
First time I passed 50,000 kilometers driven on my car
First time I've ridden a horse thru the ocean waters (Jamaica)
First time I started a blog
First time I did the Sun Run
First time I got my L for motorcycle license (Thanks Peter)
First time I received Advanced Communicator Gold distinction from Toastmasters Int'l
21 new things! ;) I'm sure there's more, but they're more minor.
In reflection, I feel like I have been so blessed for these opportunities, but also humbled. There's much more to learn and I'm just getting started! ;)
Post below comments on what I can do for 22!!!
Ideas so far:
Run a full marathon
Learn to ride a motorcycle
Go Trick or treating
Quite possibly the greatest rapper of all time. A two decade career that has brought him from the underground to stardom, with numerous ebbs and flows throughout. Countless hit singles, multi-platinum albums, accompanied by the omnipresent watchful eye from the press. What makes him so successful?
Enter Kanye West.
The media's favorite obnoxious asshole. Starts his career as an instrumentalist/producer. Experiences firsthand record deals falling through (Listen to "Last Call" for the full story). Ends up with Roc-A-Fella, with Jay-Z as his mentor and friend. Came out of nowhere with The College Dropout and hit big on the mainstream. After a decent first single (remember Slow Jamz with Twista?), two things that got him noticed were his singles "Jesus Walks" and "Through the Wire". "Jesus Walks" had him talking about Christian belief in a top-40 chart song. Through the Wire had him spitting lines with his jaw wired shut. Having personally gone through jaw surgery, I can attest that it's hard haha. What made him so successful?
Enter Childish Gambino.
Actual name Donald Glover. Most notably known for his role as Troy in the NBC tv show Community. An up-and-comer. Raps about sex and how awesome he is. All the time. A Punch liner. Relatively unknown as a rapper, but I think we'll be seeing a lot more of him if he plays his cards right. Why did I put him in this list? What will make him successful?
Originally came out being known as Jimmy Brooks from the tv show, Degrassi. Released a mixtape that had executives chasing to sign him, a tour, and a number one single with no album. Came out of nowhere and now stands among the top of the game. Singer, Actor, Rapper. Triple threat and he's good at it. How about him?
Is there anything in common? Is there a success factor that is tying these guys together?
I'd propose with Eminem and Childish, there is one thing that places them ahead of their competition: Raw and directed emotion. They're open-book humans, honest to the utmost about what they're going through in life and they speak about it in their songs. Just by listening to them, you can tell they go hard. The concept of going hard is going all out in the moment, with vigor and fury, with deep pain and reflection, with anger juxtaposed with hope. In that moment, there is absolutely nothing stopping them. There are no social barriers that they feel they have to accommodate. No masks they put up. Nothing else on their mind. They are focused. Present. Determined. They just do them. (Oh, and their intellect is definitely impressive - Eminem's wordplay on "Infinite" back in 1992 was and is still unparalleled in any song up-to-date)
If you want to see pure uninhibited emotion in action, there are two videos you can see them go hard in. YouTube Childish Gambino's "Freaks and Geeks", link below. YouTube Eminem/Kanye/Drake/Lil Wayne's "Forever" and watch Eminem's verse in that.
With KanYe and Drake, it was simple. Their approach was that they were different when they were hovering around the periphery of the media's gaze. In KanYe's College DropOut, I loved how real Ye was. In conventional comparison to other rappers. his flow SUCKED in "We don't care". He sang in his songs, and he sucks at singing. But it was in those nuances that I felt he was somebody worth listening to. He was somebody on the big stage who just got there and was still learning the mastery of his own game. That little difference showed me that he was doing him, unconventional as he was. And it worked.
Drake was similar, not in that he wasn't good, but in that he brought a different style that we all caught on to. In a majority of his songs, you'll notice shorter lines, one bar split into two. Being comfortable with a slower flow, but concise phrases that still got the message across was/is Drake's strength. Success breeds success, and I'd say after their first album dropped, it was natural that they would do well: Talented artists with the names backing them up (Jay-Z and Lil-Wayne)? Of course.
Take a look at the dance floor the next time you hit up a club. The ones who dance the hardest, with their own style and energy, are often the ones people watch and are drawn to, not the people dancing the same way as everybody else.
Life is like that, people are attracted to those who have the most assurance about themselves and aren't concerned with society's expectations. They are open to being vulnerable and expressing themselves. This is because for them, their emotions/thoughts/views of life are expressed through their art. I wouldn't give that up for anything. The concept of success is simple.
Just do you, and go hard.
They say if you haven't written down your goals/what you want, you're probably not going to get it done.
I love travelling, and wanted to make sure that I kept a log of where I've been, but also where I want to go.
As of 7th November, 2011, I've been to:
Comment below with where you want to go and WHY!!!!
The Fall District 21 Conference happens every year.
With it comes the annual Humorous Speech Competition.
How it works is you compete at different levels:
Requirements: You have to be funny. You have to organized. You have to be original. Most importantly, you have to be good.
This is how my day went down on the day of the District Competition.
5:00am, Saturday morning.
I wake up, ready. Today is the day.
Eyes slowly adjusting to the room, I glance over at my phone and it tells me it's 5:01am.
"Shit, 30 minutes early. I could have used the extra sleep."
I roll over on my back and gaze intently at the ceiling, hoping I'll be able to fall asleep, if even just for 28 more minutes. I feel like if I were Cyclops from the X-Men, the ceiling would be gone now. No, focus.
5:03am. Nope. Not going to happen.
I accept it and start running through the agenda for the day. Get to the Hilton, get sound-checked and debriefed, get back to UBC for the Acumen Case Competition educational session, grab lunch and hopefully digest all of it, get back to the Hilton, become District 21 Humorous Speech Contest Champion. "No," I correct myself out loud , "Winning isn't controllable. Success is doing my best. Success is doing my best. Success is doing my best. Focus on what you can do, and give it your damnest all."
I close my eyes slowly and try to clear my mind: I'm a winner. I always win. I deserve to win. I am the District 21 Champion. I can, I will, and I am going to shine.
5:10-5:30am. I wait, anxious.
5:30am. My alarm goes off. Drake's song "I'm ready" intrudes on the quietness of my bedroom with words that simply confirm my thoughts.
5:31-6:45am. I make my way to the Hilton.
6:45am. I enter the Crystal Ballroom and stop to take it in. It's clearly lit everywhere. Yellow club banners hang everywhere, announcing their presence. Chairs and round tables surround the simplistic grey carpet stage that is elevated above it.
It's empty except for one table. Around the table are the 9 others who have journeyed along similar paths to get here. Their attention is diverted to the contest chair, informing the contestants of the formal procedures of the day.
Everybody else is probably sleeping.
7:25. The contest chair holds out 10 cards. "Take one, each card will determine the order of contestants," instructs Margaret.
I'm the first one to reach forward, the eager keener that I am, and grab a card.
Shit. All at once, a million thoughts rush through my head that tell me I can't win.
You're going first. The first person always warms up the crowd. I'll score lower because of that. There'll be less laughter.
My thoughts start to battle themselves out.
At semifinals, John Hawkins won first place and he went first. You're thinking irrationally. You're prepared. You know your speech. It's better than ever before because you've spent two weeks revising it. Don't second-guess yourself, asshole. Everything happens for a reason. You're going first because you are number one and it was meant to be. You are a winner. You, no, I, am the District 21 Champion.
7:35am. Sound check.
Since I'm first, I get to mic-check first too. Dope. The sound technician, Joel, helps me fit my wireless mic. I think to myself, Man, this mic is sweet, I'm a baller lawl.
"You're free to go try out the stage! We'll test sound levels as you're up there" Joel's words bring me back to focusing on the speech.
I walk to the side of the stage and look at it, judging it. I rub my hands together, a smile dawns on my face, and I half jog/half club-dance up to it. YEAH! "Have you ever been told that you're not performing as well as you used to?" My first line.
Up on stage, I pause. I close my eyes and visualize. A packed room. An eager audience. The contest chair's introduction. Applause. I'm on stage, lights on me. I slowly open my eyes again and look around. Slowly exhaling, I nod to myself. This feels good.
I leave the Hilton, feeling on top of the world and unstoppable.
8:00am-12:00pm. I get to UBC and sit through the Acumen Case Competition workshop, it gets me excited about trying to win that too, together with Jerry and Cecilia.
12:30-4:00pm I crash. 7 hours of intense focus and no output has led me to feel drained. I practice anyways. Revise. Review. Rehearse. Put the finishing touches together. I work on the technicalities of pronunciation of accents. It's perfect. Here we go.
I spend the rest of my time relaxing and trying to conserve my energy.
4:30pm-4:37pm. The contest starts. I'm on stage. Delivery, timing, punch lines, everything. I am throwing it all out on the stage with 110% concentration while simultaneously letting the words flow out of my mouth. I've never done this speech better in my life.
However, I can tell throughout my speech that my jokes aren't hitting the audience like they should. The normal points of laughter don't all come through. Applause is scattered and in places that haven't come up before. I push through and finish having delivered the speech in perfectly planned chronology.
I sit down at my seat, knowing deep down that I didn't place. I'm not sure how I feel about that.
4:38-6:00pm. The 9 other contestants roll through their speeches, with mixed audience responses to each one. Some are amazing, some are dece. My respect goes to all of them.
6:15pm. They announce the winners. I'm not one of them.
So my belief comes true: I didn't place. I let it sink in with slow acceptance, nodding and smiling towards the winners, while wondering what happened. Was it not good enough? I did my best, I remind myself, and that's all that matters.
The shitty feeling of not winning/placing is still there, as much as I try to push it away. Jay, what can I control? I know what I can't control. I can not control the judges preference or the other contestants performance. I can only control my own performance.
On the way out, dozens of people slap me on the back, smile at me, shake my hand, and congratulate me. I smile back and thank them, thinking "For what? I didn't win.
Did I really do my best? I thought I did. I think I did. Did I?"
I know what they're thinking, "These competitors are the 10 funniest people in Toastmasters in British Columbia, they provided for a good afternoon of enjoyment."
I know what I'm thinking, "I'm a loser."
On my way home, I am typing this on my iPad. My attitude is down. I feel crushed. Oddly though, I don't have my speech on replay in my mind. And it's a crushed attitude with a neutral adherence to the whole event, as if it's now just a fact. The disappointment of losing ebbs, flows and disappears.
My background wallpaper has the following quote: "I have failed over and over and over again. And that is why I succeed." Michael Jordan
My thoughts are now focused on the next competition, my main target, the International Speech Contest. It's bigger. Worldwide. The average competitor is between 30-50 years old. 30,000 contestants. 1 winner.
I am turning 22 in two weeks.
It used to scare the crap out of me, the thought of trying for World Champion. This is probably because I knew I wanted to win, but wasn't sure I could.
Now? I'm smiling, because I know I can. Today taught me that passion is good, but directed, relevant passion is better. I need to target my audience more. That can be learnt.
Preparation starts now. I'm going to win the next one.
All or nothing. 2012. Game on. ;)
A blog on my continuing journey through life, covering self-development and success strategies, but also personal reflection.