I only move when I pedal, so I need to pedal.

Recently I went on a long bike road ride, about 50 miles long. That is not unusual for me, nor is a 4 to 9 mile hill at around mile 30 or 40. But what was unusual about this ride was my “ah ha” moment. I was climbing the hill and trying to push myself more than any other time on that particular climb. This climb is actually easier than most of the others that I find myself climbing on a given weekend. It is easy in the sense that it is not too steep, but it is relentless. I will sometimes pedal to a certain heart rate, say 165-170. The goal is to maintain a constant heart rate between 165-170 for the entire climb. This is easier said than done. Heart rates will vary for many reasons, one of course is the grade of the climb, or the incline. Heat is a big factor, as the heat rises, so does your heart rate. Heart rates are different for everyone. Mine is higher than many at my age. Most Drs. say that your max heart rate is 220 minus your age. and that you don’t want to go over 80% of that. If that were true with me, I wouldn’t be allowed on hills. So let’s say your are 50, we take 220-50=170 for max HR. So 80% of that would be where you want to train. Just doesn’t work for me. Anyway I got off on a little tangent there, sorry.
So as I was saying, I was on this 4.5 mile climb and really wanted to beat my previous personal record (PR). I didn’t want to do heart rate training, I wanted to beat my old PR! So I pedaled really hard at the beginning like I always do. Then I usually just maintain a fairly rigorous pace and push as hard as I can. But in my mind I know I have 4.5 miles to go, so I pace myself and save some for the end. This typically gets me a pretty good time up the climb. But this time I started thinking, “you know, I only move when I pedal, so I need to pedal” Sounds simple, but it is true, I can think about it, pace myself, save some for the end, etc…but ultimately, as in life, it only matters when you actually do something. Planning and talking and thinking will only get you so far. It is the doing, in this case, the pedaling that matters. I decided to just pedal harder and when I got tired towards the end, I just pedaled, because that is all that really matters at the end of the climb. And guess what, I did get a PR. I hadn’t come close to beating my old record for more than a year….now to apply it to other areas of my life, that will be the real test.

Be here now

I made it a goal recently to focus on the present, on what I am doing now. Or on who I am interacting with right now. With so many things to distract us, it is really easy to not be present, even if it is just you and one other person. Texts, phone calls, emails, messaging, Facebook, Instagram, etc… all take our mind off of what we are doing in the present.
I know for me, it is a bit depressing when I tell someone something and a minute or two later they ask me what I just told them. Or they tell me what I just told them..!!
For example, I have had interactions like this with co-workers; In a meeting, I say “I am going to stay and work late tonight, maybe staying until 7 or 8 to finish up the project” They ask, “So how is the project going?” “Good”, I say, “But it will take a few extra hours to finish up, as I said.” They say, “well, could you stay late tonight to finish it up?” Crazy huh? Maybe they looked at a text real quick or an email, and for that second or two had no idea what I was saying. Talk about feeling unimportant.
So having this type of situation happen to me, is what made me decide not to make anyone else feel unimportant. by doing it to them.

At home the same thing occurs, my kids do the same thing, and I have been guilty of it. I used to drive my kids to school and on the way ask them something about their day. I would look over and their head is pointed down to read a text. So I wait until I see them look up. Or they hear the silence and say ” go ahead, I’m listening….yeah right. I used to get mad about it and let them know that it’s not polite to do that. But at some point I realized that I may be doing that to others, my wife, friends and kids.

I now ask myself, Am I listening to what this person is saying? Or am I thinking of what I will do once they leave or stop asking me questions, or do I let my cellphone dictate whether I am present or not? It is not easy to be present but it is well worth the effort. I now make sure to look the person in the eye, and concentrate on what they are saying. This tends to make meetings a bit shorter at work and leads to a more efficient day.
At home, I do the same, and have begun talking about living in the moment. I don’t think you can live in the past or the future very well. You have to live for now.
You can learn from the past, and plan for the future, but trying to live either one just won’t work. The past is gone and the future is not here yet. So try to “be here now” and see how it feels, see how others start commenting on your focus and attention, they will notice, because believe me, people notice when you are not really in the room with them even though your body is there. They notice when you seem to listen then they realize you didn’t hear them, I mean really hear them and absorb what they said. People do notice. So be here, now.

Is the glass empty? share this

I try to share things that I find helpful and I highly encourage people to do the same. Nothing like experience, good or bad to teach you. It doesn’t even have to be your own experience.
So with that in mind, I want to share:
I had a friend tell me recently how he lost weight and it sounded so simple. BTW, he lost a lot of weight, gradually, and more importantly is keeping it off by following this one thing…yes pretty much just one thing. Here it is: He drinks a full glass of water prior to eating anything. But the water before the meal is pretty much his trick….
I figure if it helps even one person, it was worth my time to type it up…

Advice from a Billionaire

I went to a conference this last week and heard some down to earth advice from Jack Ma. This was a business conference so of course it was mainly focusing on just that, business.
His mantra was:
Customers #1, employees#2 and shareholders #3.
Very simple but important.
He talked about his background and all of the times he failed or was turned down for something. Many job interviews didn’t work out, his applications to Harvard were refused. Most people thought he was crazy with his selling on the internet ideas.
Look at him now, founder of Alibaba, which had 550 billion in sales last year.
What impressed me the most is that he wants to teach people, he doesn’t have to but he wants to and he does.
He wants to give young people opportunity to succeed, more opportunity than what he had.
I agree and hope that even if it is on a much smaller scale, that I can pass along some words of advice or wisdom that may help others.

Traveling a lot lately

This post is a bit different, I thought I would post some of my recent travels, and maybe add a page to show some pics.
For now I will just mention a few places I have been recently.

I was in China and Taiwan for work in March. I took the weekend to explore some more in Taiwan with some friends there. We went to Sun Moon lake, hiked, took a boat ride, cable car ride, visited a temple. And had a great time.
A week after my return I had to go back to Taiwan for a funeral. Unfortunately a vendor/friend had passed. I represented our company there and said my sad goodbyes. It was nice to see the family and friends there, he had so many. A very nice celebration of life for a great man.
It was a holiday weekend so I couldn’t meet anyone for business, it was also my birthday, so the next day we went for a massage and some great food with some other friends.

A couple weeks later I went to Dallas to a Success live conference. There were many great and inpirational speakers there (14 I believe) This was my first time in Dallas, very nice and very friendly people. Then off to see my parents for a couple days in PA.
Then to NJ to visit a factory that makes cowbells for us (LP). From there I flew to GA, stayed in Savannah and then the next morning drove to the Gretsch drum factory in South Carolina. Spent 2 days there and then back to Los Angeles.

A lot of travel in a short amount of time, but it was exciting and worthwhile. Look for some pictures over the next few weeks. Thanks,

nothing without health

We’ve all heard it before but when you have something happen to you, it really makes you think. I flew over the handlebars of my mountain bike twice on one outing about 10 days ago. Not sure what happened this time out, as I don’t recall ever falling (like a real fall) before, or at least going over the bars! The second fall turned out to be really painful especially in the rib area.. Landed on my side on the ribs pretty hard. It was slow motion and I knew it was coming, but couldn’t get my hands freed up to break the fall. A loud thump and me thinking, “this isn’t good, that was really hard, but I don’t think I heard any cracks” Then I thought, man this is not going to feel good tomorrow. Actually it progressively got worse over the next 5 days, enough so where I decided an x-ray was in order. So got the X-ray and the dr thought she saw a cracked rib or two near my spine. Turns out a day later that a specialist looked and said I was fine, no breaks. So great news! I would heal much faster!
I hadn’t been able to sleep very well as it was hard to find a position without pain. I try not to take pain meds unless it’s unbearable. Anyway I managed, but worse than the sleeping was the limited exercising that I could do. I told the dr that I wanted to try riding my bike and she looked at me like I lost my mind. Anyway, I said I would test it out and if not painful, then ride. Well it was painful, as was running and weight lifting. I could lift a little with certain muscles, but anything where I had to lay on my back was out. Push ups were very limited as were any heavy weights. Well this sucks, I thought, I can’t do anything! But I also thought it could have been worse.
So I have once again been reminded that our health is really the most important thing. So I will gradually get back into all my exercise routines and push even harder. I will eat even better and keep reminding myself how lucky we the relatively healthy ones are and that I am really nothing without my health.

Keep Learning

I think that having a thirst for more knowledge and the desire to use it keeps me energized. There have been periods of my life where I would feel down, either about not reaching my goals or about things just not going the way I wanted them to. I have found though that the “never stop learning” or “trying new things” mindset is a way to beat the natural low points that we all go through in life.
I recently attended a conference called “Success Live” in Dallas Texas. What an incredible event.I saw 14 speakers and all of them were great. I knew and had either read about or listened to about half of the speakers prior to going. They all had something to offer, all taught me something that day and left me rejuvenated and inspired. I had the chance to meet a few of the speakers as well as some really nice people that had attended the event as well. This event cost me a plane ticket, a couple nights at a hotel and the price of admission. I took two days off work to attend as well. Add this all up and I think I still got a real bargain. Imagine having 14 people who are tops in their field, give you their best advice, based on their life experiences. Do something like this to give yourself a boost and if you can’t do this, at least go to your library and read some books, bottom, line, keep learning so you can keep growing.
Side note to the Success Live event, I bought the ticket a month prior to the event. I didn’t know if I could afford to go, or get off work, or anything but I bought the ticket and told myself that I would try and go. As the event approached, I thought that I shouldn’t do this, I shouldn’t spend the money or take the time from work. But the week before, I decided to go for it. Yes it cost me some money and time but once I got on the plane, I knew I made the right decision. I committed to the event early by purchasing the ticket without too much thought.Since I had already spent the money, I thought that I shouldn’t waste it, so I might as well try to go. One of the best decisions I have made in a while. When in doubt, go for it if it keeps you learning and expanding your mind.

Got 10 minutes?

Starting small really is the secret to changing anything in your life. As one who always strives for self improvement, I have tried many ways to change bad habits in to good habits.It usually goes like this: I decide I need to do something to improve a part of my life. Let’s say eating better, or exercising consistently, or you name it, anything like that. I then try it with 100% effort and commitment and the best intentions. Then after a short amount of time it fades away…and I am disappointed. Fortunately many years ago, I read something that made sense to me. “Do it small and then add to it”. Seems like the problem is I tried to add too much at one time. So here is what I do, say I want to exercise more, then my goal is to exercise for just 10 minutes a day, everyday, and no excuse. And really it’s hard to find an excuse not to find 10 minutes to do something. You can do push ups, sit ups, jumping jacks, run in place,anything right from where you are..no need to travel or anything.(so no room for more excuses) Then when I start my 10 minute exercise, I find it usually turns into 20 or 30 minutes and I feel great. If it is only 10 minutes, that is also great, as I reached my goal. Keep doing this and eventually it becomes easier and easier. Keep doing this and you feel satisfied each day and you will notice results as well.
It makes sense that starting big would be tougher. Setting aside an hour, finding a gym, driving to the gym, oh and I need a friend to go as well, so I need to find a friend etc….all leads to excuses. Keep it simple, keep it 10 minutes. As you improve, buy some weights, try running…but on those lazy days, just do 10 minutes of anything.

Try other things as well, want to learn an new instrument? 10 minutes a day. A new language, try 10 minutes a day…you get it.

So, “got 10 minutes?” …I think so..

Applied Knowledge

Knowledge without application is just knowledge. It needs to be applied to do much good.
So with that in mind I have come up with a way to keep track of new knowledge gained, thus allowing me to implement and track it. I am specifically talking about knowledge gained from reading or listening to a book or podcast. There can be so much information packed into a book or podcast that it is impossible to absorb much of it, let alone use any of it.
Think about it, if someone takes the time to write a book, it usually takes years to write. And the information in many books was gained from years, if not decades of experience. It all gets condensed into a limited number of pages in a book. We read or listen to this knowledge and try to utilize it. This can often seem overwhelming and hard to remember, therefore making it difficult to implement. So I would take notes and then review the notes and begin to implement them. I have a system that seems to work well, so I thought I would pass it along.
I find it best to set up a piece of paper or area on my phone where I can organize notes for the particular book or podcast I will be listening to. Doing this ahead of time is best, as I am more organized that way and adding a topic is easier to do when I hear or read it.
Then there are some obvious things I write down, name of book, podcast or where I received the info. Include the date. Then I list something that describes the topic, something that will jog my memory. I usually include a page # or minute mark in case I don’t remember details.
This process sounds easy, but it is easy to not do…saying I’ll do it later is easy and often things get forgotten.
By setting up a little system like this, I was amazed at the results. I try to follow up on what I have learned and use it right away, and then keep on using it to see how it works for me. If it is helpful, I will surely keep on using it, or doing it and probably start telling my friends about it.
So step one, write,
step two; follow up and try
step three: share it if it works for you
The sharing part is important as it will give you someone to get feedback from and give you someone to follow up with on the progress.
Try it and see what happens.

Tell ten people

When I decide to change something in my life for the better, like everyone, I find it tough. This change could be a very simple one like reading more everyday. Or something more difficult like changing my eating habits for every meal.
I have found that telling friends, family or co-workers of what I am doing, or of my new goal helps me stick to it. Letting them know what I am doing, or what I’ve decided to change or stop doing gives me an instant support team with unknowing participants. The more people I tell, I find the more likely I will continue. It is very strange how that works. For me, ten people seems to be the magic number.
I’m not sure if it is just me that it works for or if this is some kind of known psychological fact that works for most…doesn’t matter I guess.
So for an example, I will talk about my decision to start riding a bike for endurance exercise. I was talked into signing up for a 2 day 150 mile charity ride. Keep in mind that I didn’t own a road bike and hadn’t been on a road bike as an adult. I signed up, I bought a bike and then was worried that I wouldn’t be able to do it. But I started telling everyone I knew of my plans. Then a funny thing happened, people started asking me about the ride. I ended up talking about it almost non stop…at this point I couldn’t back out, too many people told me how great it was that I was taking on this challenge. People told me I was inspiring them. Wow! I couldn’t let them down! I would have easily let myself down because it was tough, but having those 10 people asking me almost daily how it was going, kept me going.
Now here I am about 5 years later, still riding and challenging myself to push harder. The benefits for me have kicked in and I really enjoy it, I enjoy the people I’ve met along the way and of course the physical benefits are huge..
Try it, tell ten people.