The struggles are real

Daily life is ripe with struggles.

The glowing check engine light, the dismissive coworker, slow Wi-Fi, the wavering religious faith, a snarky Facebook comment.

Yesterday’s struggles have been replaced with today’s struggles. And today’s struggles will be replaced by tomorrow’s struggles.

However, you must learn to separate struggles in two categories: empty and meaningful.

Empty struggles are pedestrian and often easily fixed.

Don’t entertain empty struggles. Let empty struggles entertain themselves. Empty struggles are also trivial. And if you devote time to the trivial, you yourself become trivial.

Meaningful struggles compromise your principles. They challenge your integrity, your creed, your philosophy, your ability to emotionally and intellectually grow.

Meaningful struggles don’t go away on their own. They breathe and wait for you to engage. So when you do engage– I recommend leveling your eyes, flexing your muscles, snarling something wild and fighting like hell until you’re victorious.

Be well,

Jay

About that email no one responded to…

You develop a meaningful idea that excites you.

A practical idea with positive benefits. An idea, you’re convinced, people will appreciate and support.

So you write an email, send it, and wait.

And nothing happens. Nobody replies.

Don’t take it personally.

Remember, just like you, people are busy. They have they’re own passions and pursuits. Don’t be insulted by their lack of enthusiasm and never let their silence discourage you from doing meaningful work.

Be well,

Jay

Don’t be an indifferent student.

You will not love all of your subjects. You will not love all your teachers.

You will question the importance of the subject and it’s significance on your current life, your future life and the world-at-large.

In fact, you will rationalize some subjects are pointless and insignificant.

You will fall asleep in class. You will look for shortcuts. You will procrastinate and cram and stress and possibly, fail.

But whatever you do, don’t be indifferent.

Indifference makes many capable students incapable.

Your teacher is passionate about the subject. Respect their passion.

They attend workshops and seminars and take advance classes on the subject you dismiss. They think about the subject while eating lunch, driving to work, staring at themselves in the mirror.

No matter the subject–don’t be indifferent. Your indifference is impossible to hide.

Inside, outside a classroom we’re all forever students.

Respecting another’s passion allows you to forge connections and build relationships while indifference is the quickest, safest way to be forgotten.

Be well,

Jay

Disarm the audience

People often ask how I could teach teenagers. Stereotypes find teenagers to be arrogant, rude, and scary.

If I learned anything from performing stand-up comedy it’s to survive on stage, you have to disarm the audience by criticizing yourself and your absurdities.

When teaching, I’m quick to poke fun at myself. Self-deprecation is one way to win over a crowd or a classroom full of judgmental teenagers and get them to do something miraculously subtle–listen.

By taking away their ammunition, you doubly encourage the critic to support your cause.

Be well,

Jay

Yelling at the referee

I was the head coach of a boys’ high school varsity soccer team for nine years.

In those days, I was quick to yell the referee. Quick to criticize. Quick to question. Quick to verbally announce my presence on the sideline.

I felt if my players, the parents, the other coach heard me yelling then they would assume I knew what I was doing.

We are all guilty of yelling at the ref, at our kids, at the car in front of us.

We waste so much valuable energy yelling about things we’re not be able to change.

I have to ask–what are we hoping to accomplish with all our yelling?

As a coach, I never had a call overturned because I yelled at the ref.

I never felt great after yelling at a ref either. In fact, nine years later, I’m still a little embarrassed I didn’t possess the self-control a head coach needs to properly lead.

Be well,

Jay

The answer is not out there.

Many young people think the answer will be found in a magical land known as out there.

They can’t wait to graduate high school, move out of their parent’s house, leave the confines of their hometown behind and get out there.

Older now, I realize the answer is not out there. The answer has always been right here, inside me, wherever I am.

If only we could travel inside ourselves with the same vigor and optimism that we travel to some distant land, hoping to find the answer, we may have saved a lot of time and money.

Be well,

Jay