Character Education


Pirate Distance



  • Rock in Bucket story. There’s this teacher at Indiana State University.  His kids are all stressed out because Indiana State is such a terribly difficult school with the highest degree of rigor.-Therefore  he decides to teach them a lesson. He puts a large bucket on his desk- he then fills it up with large rocks- has asks the class if it’s full and they all respond ‘YES’. Then he takes out some smaller rocks and chucks them in the bucket, then some sand- and finally – he pours water into it.  “Now it’s full” the professor says.  The point is unless you prioritize and put the big rocks (tasks) )in first you’ll never be able to fit them in with all the smaller tasks in the way.
  • Loving your Work!!! A man happened upon a construction site where three men were working.  The man asked the first one, who is clearly miserable, “whatcha doin? The man replied “I’m laying stupid bricks all day”. The man approaches the 2nd man and asks him “whatcha doin?” The 2nd man replied in a tired voice ” I’m building stupid walls all day”.  The man approached the third construction worker and asked him “whatcha doin?” The man smiled from ear to ear and exclaimed “I’m building a beautiful church!!!!!!!!!” The moral of the story is begin with the end in mind and buy into the beauty of the process.


From the Desk of Anthony DeBenedictis who is a  Renowned NJ artist,  1995 State 3200m Champ, and Seton Hall U. track legend..

Here’s some tidbits of advice from ME, that I follow.. You can also follow it or choose not to.. Which ever
1) Pushing yourself & taking RISKS will allow you to PROGRESS & EVOLVE.. Don’t ever regret or question why you’re taking those risks, just know that the end result will be something big, something you’ll be proud of!!
2) If a really AWESOME OPPORTUNITY comes your way and you may not be fully ready to take it on, then I say take it on 100%. Take the risk & push yourself, test your limits. It’s the only way you’ll ever progress..”









Regina Brett’s 45 life lessons and 5 to grow on

Originally published in The Plain Dealer on Sunday, May 28, 2006

To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me.

It is the most-requested column I’ve ever written. My odometer rolls over to 50 this week, so here’s an update:

1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

4. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

5. Pay off your credit cards every month.

6. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.

8. It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.

9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.

10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.

12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.

13. Don’t compare your life to others’. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.

15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don’t worry; God never blinks.

16. Life is too short for long pity parties. Get busy living, or get busy dying.

17. You can get through anything if you stay put in today.

18. A writer writes. If you want to be a writer, write.

19. It’s never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.

20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

22. Overprepare, then go with the flow.

23. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.

24. The most important sex organ is the brain.

25. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.

26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: “In five years, will this matter?”

27. Always choose life.

28. Forgive everyone everything.

29. What other people think of you is none of your business.

30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.

31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

32. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.

33. Believe in miracles.

34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.

35. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.

36. Growing old beats the alternative – dying young.

37. Your children get only one childhood. Make it memorable.

38. Read the Psalms. They cover every human emotion.

39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.

41. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

42. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.

43. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

44. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

45. The best is yet to come.

46. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

47. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

48. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.

49. Yield.

50. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.

Lou Holtz’s Game Plan for Life

  1. The Power of Attitude. The attitude you choose to assume toward life and everything it brings you will be determine whether you realize your aspirations. What you are capable of achieving is determined by your motivation. How well you do something is determined by your attitude.
  2. Tackle Adversity. You are going to be knocked down. I have been on top and I have been at the bottom. To achieve success, you are going to have to solve problems. If you react positively to them, you’ll be stronger and better  than ever. You can assume that your competitors have problems, too. If you react to setbacks more quickly and positively, you gain a distanct advantage. I’ve never encountered a person who achieved anything that didn’t require overcoming obstacles. Expect them.
  3. Have a Sense of Purpose. Understand what you are trying to do. stay completely focused on your original and primary purpose. Do not be sidetracked. If you own a business, help the costomer get what they want. If you want a promotion, give your employers what they want, somebody who delivers a first-rate performance every day.
  4. Make Sacriface your Ally. You can’t be sucessful without making sacrifices. Most losing organization are overpopulated with people who constantly complain about life’s difficulties. They will drain your enthusiam and energy. Take pride in makinf sacrifices and having self-discipline.
  5. Adapt or Die. Things are always c

Dale Carnegie’s Steps to……….

Building Personal Relationships

  • Never criticize, condemn or complain.
    • Self-criticism is extremely rare. Your criticism won’t be welcome.
    • Criticism makes others defensive and resentful.
    • Positive Reinforcement works better. (Praise good behavior)
  • Become genuinely interested in other people.
    • People are most interested in themselves.
    • Remember people’s birthdays and other important details.
  • Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.
    • Find the interests of others and talk about those things.
    • If you know nothing of their interests, ask intelligent questions.
  • Be a good listener.
    • Give your exclusive attention to others.
    • Urge others to talk about themselves. Ask pointed questions.
  • Make the other person feel important.
    • People yearn to feel important and appreciated.
    • Praise others’ strengths and they’ll strive to reinforce your opinion.
  • Use Names whenever possible.
    • Nothing’s more beautiful to a person than their name.
    • Use Nicknames.
  • Smile.
    • Greet others with smiles and enthusiasm.
    • Smiling comes through even over the phone.

Pat Croce’s Ten Rules of Customer Service.


Hello…and Goodbye.  Saying “hello” established interest, saying goodbye validates the exchange.


First-Name Basis- people love hearing their name- make an effort to remember names.


Listen, Listen, Listen- people think their ideas are important- focus when they talk.


Communicate Clearly- say what you want to say- look people in the eyes- be assertive.


Be Neat, Clean, and Fit.


Be Prompt and Professional.  Be on time and walk the line.


Be Positive- a negative attitude represents your outlook- a positive attitude tells everyone you’re excited about being you!


Give Compliments- people love them.


Have Fun- people want to have fun- the more you have fun the more people will want to join you- regardless of your endeavor.


Do It Now!- don’t procrastinate- use your time.

Sean Covey’s 7 Habits for Highly Effective Teens

The Coach Wayton version.

  • Be proactive– make things happen don’t wait for things to happen to you.  Initiate and make your own experiences. Ask before waiting to be asked.
  • Begin with the end in mind– be goal oriented- start with a goal then take stock in the road that gets you there.  Embrace the road- love the road- it’s the path to your dreams.
  • Put first things first– learn to prioritize- make lists- plan your days- your days will be filled with action and accomplishments.
  • The Relationship Bank Account- great relationships are made, earned, and worked through- they just don’t happen- life is not a 2 hour crap-filled melodrama.  The relationships worth caring about are enduring and take commitment and caring to nourish their existence.  Don’t expect people to love you for being you- give them something to love.
  • Think Win-Win- Teens often are overwhelmed by what they can’t do- or aren’t supposed to do- this line of thinking is futile and pointless- all of life’s greatest elements exist in a realm of positive energy- the more you stay in this realm- the more positive things come your way. Learn from your mistakes- own them- but bury them and move on. Some of our worst failures plant the seed the blossoms into our masterpieces.  Go into every endeavor with a light air of possibility- do the best you can do- that’s all the matters and that’s all you can control.
  • Seek First to Understand- then to be understood– years ago I concocted a line in the middle of an outburst- it went something like “what Am I talking to you for? YOU KNOW IT ALL!!!” Know-it-alls can’t learn anything- Learning creates growth- growth is improvement- if you’re not growing you’re falling behind- be modest enough to hear people through- be interested enough to seek wisdom. Be a life-long learner- success follows wisdom.
  • Synergize– learn to seek help- learn to build bridges- connect with others- we can do much more as a group than we can as individuals. Presently we use University to coin an institution of higher learning- Plato referred to university as a place where people exchange information. With exchange we have healthy growth and perspective- each person has a vast array of experiences that are separate and different from our own- everybody has their own story to tell- as Ralph Waldo Emerson said- “”Every man is my superior in that I may learn from him.”  Seek wisdom-ask questions- learn to cooperate and include yourself.  Whatever you do – contribute!
  • Sharpen the Saw– life is about improving- those at the top of their game sharpen their saw to stay there and acknowledge that others are gaining on them- the harder we work in life the more we can expect to be rewarded.  Perfection is an impossibility- true success is determined by one’s fulfillment of their potential.

  Coach Wayton’s Tips

1.  My father used to tell me all the time as a kid “It only takes a little more to go first class”. Take the extra step- bridge the gap between ordinary and extraordinary.  Put in the time- you’ll gain the respect of others and eventually succeed.

2. It’s better to be good than to be nice- nice is wearing a snazzy hat in public- good is who you are. Invariably, when a serial murderer is apprehended the little old lady next door says “Oh he seemed like such a nice boy”.  Nice doesn’t cut it, good runs deep.

3. Celebrate success- when you or someone you love accomplishes something- celebrate it- you earned it!!!! You, your family, and your buddies need to acknowledge your efforts! This doesn’t mean you rest upon your laurels- or boast to those you surpassed ( “drive your Bentley down skid row”).   Rather celebrate and recognize your individual and collective benchmarks.  Have pride in your pains. Make your successes special- it’ll make working for future accomplishments more meaningful.

4. Acknowledge mistakes. Wear them- don’t dwell on them but make them your own.  The easiest thing for someone to do when they fail is to project the failure onto others.  This is blaming and those who blame are amongst the most putrid on Earth.  Be the captain of your ship! It’s easier to take credit for your successes after you’ve owned your failures.

5. Enthusiasm- enthusiasm is a choice- be excited about who you are, what you’re doing, and where you’re going.  You’re effort will multiply and your journey will be rewarding, fulfilling, and meaningful.  You should be excited about what you’re doing, it’s your life after all.

6. Positive attitude.  With a positive mental attitude your world becomes a series of possibilities, opportunities, and accomplishment.  People with positive attitudes spend their days doing and moving; people with negative attitudes sit and dwell and procrastinate because they expect failure and futility.   Winners do, losers stew.

7.   “Make everyone you meet feel like the most important person in the world”. Another one from my Dad.  Try to make every person you meet smile- when they see you coming the next time they’ll know they’re in for a party.

8. Keep up appearances. You don’t have to dress to the 9’s but be presentable at all times.  It comes down to pride and how you value yourself and your possessions.  Eat right and be neat, your healthy appearance will attract admirers and gain you status. Plus YOU’LL FEEL BETTER!!!

9. Stay in your ‘yard’.  Be good, do good.  Your yard should be full of good deeds and values.  Don’t stray.  Have a value system and believe in it.  Consistency is the most fruitful element of growth.  The best gardeners are also the best teachers, parents, coaches, leaders.  It’s not enough to water sporadically, it’s certainly not enough to let “nature run it’s course” (ugh…. that’s neglect).  You have to tend to your life as you would to a garden.  The more consistent care you apply the more beautiful your life will become.  Tend to yourself, tend to your journey, every day.  This takes commitment to self and task.

10. Loyalty- reward the people you love with dependability and reciprocity.    Protect and nurture your biggest fans, acknowledge other’s love by returning the favor.

11. Write letters and give thanks.  It’s easiest to send an email of thanks or shake someone’s hand.  Both are good.  Writing a letter is better.  Letters are lasting, words are semi-permanent to others.  Take the time.

12. Winners do what losers don’t want to do.  Plain and simple.  When I was a kid my father gave me a sign that said “when you’re not training someone somewhere is, and when you meet them they will win”.  There’s much justice in life- and often times you’ll be beaten by someone who took the steps you ignored.

13. Be a life-long learner. Reading is to the mind what running is to the body. Seek wisdom! The more you know the better informed you are, the better informed you are the better decisions you’ll make- the better decisions you make the more successful you’ll become.  Be curious!!! You’ll be a deeper and more interesting person. Your conversations will run deep.  Knowledge is power!!! To seek truth one must first ask questions.

14. Contribute.  Be a part of whatever you do- life’s too short to participate- make your mark!!!  Don’t hesitate- be man (or woman) of action.  Sitting around second guessing yourself will lead to nothingness.

15. Be patient.  Don’t forsake the forest for the sake of one tree.  Think Big. Don’t let small set backs discourage you.  Stand your ground and don’t lose sight of your dreams.

16. Winston Churchill once remarked that “Continuous effort – not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our potential.”  Keep moving towards your goals- the accumulation of your accomplishments will become a legacy of actualization and worth.

17. Location, Location, Location. Put yourself in the right place at the right time.  Your parents have blessed you with the advantage of being in a competitive and nurturing district, much of this has resulted in your present success .  Continue to put yourself in positions where growth is likely to occur. On my way to work there’s this cute little cedar tree growing at the last bit of dirt between the median which separates the on ramp and the interstate onto which I drive to work. It receives ample sunlight, rain water, etc, yet this tree’s future is certain to be compromised due to its unfortunate location.  If it survives the onslaught of traffic it is sure to be removed by man before it reaches its full potential.  There are inferior trees all over who are lucky enough to be born in more ideal locations and therefore able to grow to maturity.  Unlike trees you have a choice in where you cool your heels.  Hang out with peers who are strong in character.  Place yourselves in situations where your strengths will be noticed.

18. Imperfections do not excuse failure.  Imperfections are truly universal.  Great men and women are able to work around their shortcomings and minimize their misfortune.  Your imperfections therefore can never be allowed to define you.  For every reason you can’t– there are, in turn, many more reasons you can.

Johnny Wooden grew up in the small town of Martinsville, IN.  He excelled at sports growing up and was successful enough to earn All- American honors at Purdue University.  Following his years as a player Wooden began teaching and coaching basketball at the high school level- first in Kentucky- then at South Bend Central High School where he settled with his wife, started a family- and compiled a record of 218 wins and 42 losses. After serving in WW2 Wooden resumed his job as a teacher and coach at South Bend Central before leaving for Indiana State University where he coached basketball  and track and field at Coach Wayton’s al-ma mater.  Wooden left ISU for UCLA.  At UCLA Wooden won 10 national championships in his last 12 years as coach.  In 27 years of coaching at UCLA Wooden never had a losing season.  Wooden understood the tools of a successful program.  In his pyramid of success Wooden outlines the building blocks for success.

Click Here for Wooden’s

Pyramid of Success

Years ago to the Mountains North of us there was a program that did a lot with a little- even winning MOC titles with a Group 1 Enrollment-their coach was a learned man who has gone on to have tremendous success at the Division 1 level.  Here’s some sound advice written to his athletes when about to embark on their summer of training- entitled “Camp Pain”. They won the Meet of Champions that November. Here’s some snippets.

MW’s introduction to his team. “Camp Pain is a fee-paid coaching service for the serious dedicated runner. If you reject the moronic suggestions (aloe vera, caffeine, carbo loading, break-thru workouts, fasting) of the popular jogging magazines, and accept the reality that athletic improvement is governed by the simple but rigid triology of stress, failure, adaptation, then possibly you are ready for Camp Pain.”

MW on diet- “You will eat intelligently three times per day. Candy and soda are for weaklings who have failed to instill more substantial gratifications in their lives.”

MW on punctuality- “Time – You will be at practice punctually every day forever. you will leave when you have been excused. you will observe an 11:00 curfew every night but Friday. Friday night is to be used for your one social outing per week, which shall be concluded by midnight. you will never sleep beyond 9 am. Sleeping late is for infants, anarchists, and hermaphrodites”.  Not sure where the last word enters but as you can see sleep is important- always has been.

MW on education- “Study – the sole function of childhood is learning. The quality of your adult life will be effected by nothing as significantly as by your education. If our relationship lasts into the school year, your G.P.A. will go up every marking period, or you will cease to exist.

MW on citizenship- ” The sword of expectation hangs over your head. Your conduct is an expression of your respect for your family, community, faith, and yourself. you will regularly (I will check) volunteer for work at home for free.”

MW on alcohol and drugs- “Intoxicants – alcohol and drugs are destructive physically, emotionally, and spiritually. The idea that there is any space, however small, in the life of an athlete for intoxicants is absurd and ridiculous. Television is similarly dangerous. Television viewing is allowable only with parental supervision.”


John Wooden’s Set of Threes

“Never Lie,

Never Cheat,

Never Steal,

Don’t whine,

Don’t complain,

Don’t make excuses.”

John Wooden’s 7 Point Creed

1. Be true to yourself.

2. Help others.

3. Make each day your masterpiece.

4. Drink deeply from good books.

5. Make friendship a fine art.

6. Build a shelter against a rainy day.

7. Pray for guidance and give thanks for your blessings each day.


 H. Jackson Brown Jr.’s Rules to Live by..

1. Never give up on anybody.  Miracles happen every day.

2. Be brave. Even if you’re not, pretend to be.  No one can tell the difference.

3. Think Big- but relish in the smallest of pleasures.

4. Over-tip breakfast waitresses.

5. ANever deprive someone of hope, it may be all they have.

6. Never resist a generous impulse.

7. Become the most positive and enthusiastic person you know.

8. Never go to bed with dirty dishes in the sink.

9. Leave everything a little better than you found it.

10. Call your mother.


21 Keys to a Happier Life

H. Jackson Brown Jr.’s

1. Marry the right person.  This one decision will determine 90% of your happiness or misery.

2. Work at somethinbg you enjoy thats worth your time and effort.

3. Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully.

4. Become the most positive and enthusiatic person you know.

5. Be forgiving of yourself and others.

6. Be generous.

7. Have a grateful heart.

8. Be persistant.

9. Discipline yourself to save money even on a modest salary.

10. Treat everyone like you expect to be treated by everyone.

11. Commit yourself to constat improvement.

12. Commit yourself to quality.

13. Understand that happiness is not based on possessions, power, or prestige, rather on the quality of relationships that you have with those you love and respect.

14. Be loyal.

15. Be honest.

16. Be a self starter.

17. Be decisive even if it means you may be wrong.

18. Don’t blame others, never blame others, you are responsible for the direction and course of your life.

19. Be bold and courageous, regrets are about the things you don’t do with your life- not the things you do.

20. Take good care of those you love.

21. Don’t do anything that would disappoint your mother.


Ben Stein’s “How to Ruin Your Life”- learning from other’s mistakes before you make them.

 1.  Don’t learn any useful skills.

2. Don’t learn any self- discipline.

3. Convince yourself you’re the center of the universe.

4. Never accept any responsibility for anything that goes wrong.

5. Criticize early and often.

6. Never be grateful.

7. Know that you’re the source of all wisdom.

8. Envy everything- appreciate nothing.

9. Be a perfectionist.

10. Think too big.

11. Don’t enjoy the simple things in life.

12. Fix everyone and anyone at any time.

 13.  Treat the people who are good to you badly.

14. Treat the people who are bad to you well.

15. Hang out with the wrong crowd.

16. Make the people around you feel small.

17. Keep score.

18. Use drugs and alcohol freely.

19. Don’t save money.

20. Ignore your family.

21. Know that the rules of reasonable, decent conduct don’t apply to you.

22. Live as if truth is relative…..a very distant relative.

23. Remember- No one else counts.

24. Know that you don’t owe anyone a thing.

25. Gamble with money.

26. Make it clear- pets are for losers.

27. Don’t clean up after yourself.

28. Hvae no respect for age and experience.

29. Show everyone  round you that you’re holier than thou.

30. Fight the good fight….over everything.

31. Do it your way.

32. Think the worst of everyone.

33. Live above your means.

34. Be a smart ass.

35. Whenever possible say “I told you so”


From an Email


1. Throw out nonessential numbers. This includes age, weight and height.
2. Keep only cheerful friends. The grouches pull you down.
3. Keep learning. Learn more about the computer, crafts, gardening, whatever. Never let the brain idle. ‘An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.’
4. Enjoy the simple things.
5. Laugh often, long and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath and your belly hurts.
6. The tears happen. Endure, grieve, and move on. The only person who is with us our entire life is ourselves. Be ALIVE while you are alive.
7. Surround yourself with what you love , whether it’s family, pets, keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies, whatever. Your home is your place. Do with it what YOU want…
8. Cherish your health: If it is good, preserve it. If it is unstable, improve it. If it is beyond what you can improve, get help from someone who looks healthy and fit.
9. Don’t take guilt trips. Take a trip to the mall, even to the next county; to a foreign country but NOT to where the guilt is.
10. Tell the people you love that you love them, and at every opportunity.


Sent to us from the desk of Pirate Alum Ting Ting Zhou. From Marc and Angel Hack Life.

We make a living by what we get.  We make a life by what we give.
– Winston Churchill

  1. Be authentic.  Be true to yourself. – Judy Garland once said, “Always be a first rate version of yourself instead of a second rate version of somebody else.”  Live by this statement.  There is no such thing as living in someone else’s shoes.  The only shoes you can occupy are your own.  If you aren’t being yourself, you aren’t truly living – you’re merely existing.  And ask yourself this:  If you don’t like who you really are, why should I like you?
  2. Care about people. – If you don’t genuinely care about people, they won’t care about you.  The more you help others, the more they will want to help you.  Love and kindness begets love and kindness.  And so on and so forth.
  3. Make others feel good. – People will rarely remember what you did, but they will always remember how you made them feel.
  4. Be honest and take ownership of your actions. – Nobody likes a liar.  In the long-run, the truth always reveals itself anyway.  Either you own up to your actions or your actions will ultimately own you.
  5. Smile often. – Everyone likes the sight of a genuine smile.  Think about how you feel when a complete stranger looks into your eyes and smiles.  Suddenly they don’t seem like a stranger anymore, do they?
  6. Respect elders.  Respect minors.  Respect everyone. – There are no boundaries or classes that define a group of people that deserve to be respected.  Treat everyone with the same level of respect you would give to your grandfather and the same level of patience you would have with your baby brother.  People will notice your kindness.
  7. Address people by their name. – People love the sight and sound of their own name.  So make sure you learn to remember names.  Use them courteously in both oral and written communication.
  8. Say “Please” and “Thank you.” – These two simple phrases make demands sound like requests, and they inject a friendly tone into serious conversations.  Using them can mean the difference between sounding rude and sounding genuinely grateful.
  9. Excel at what you do. – I am impressed by great guitarists, writers, bloggers, painters, motivational speakers, internet entrepreneurs, computer engineers, mothers, fathers, athletes, etc.  There is only one thing they all have in common: They excel at what they do.  There’s no point in doing something if you aren’t going to do it right.  Excel at your work and excel at your hobbies.  Develop a reputation for yourself, a reputation for consistent excellence.
  10. Help others when you’re able. – In life, you get what you put in.  When you make a positive impact in someone else’s life, you also make a positive impact in your own life.  Do something that’s greater than you – something that helps someone else to be happy or to suffer less.  Everyone values the gift of unexpected assistance and those who supply it.
  11. Put a small personal touch on everything you do. – Think of it as branding your work.  If you’re funny, add a little humor into it.  If you’re an artist, decorate it with illustrations.  Whatever you do, customize it with a little personal touch of ‘you.’
  12. Over-deliver on all of your promises. – Some people habitually make promises they are just barely able to fulfill.  They promise perfection and deliver mediocrity.  If you want to boost your personal value in the eyes of others, do the exact opposite.  Slightly under-sell your capabilities so that you’re always able to over-deliver.  It will seem to others like you’re habitually going above and beyond the call of duty.
  13. Get organized. – How can you get anything accomplished if you aren’t organized?  You can’t.  Make a regular habit of organizing your living space and working space.  For some practical organizational guidance, I recommend David Allen’s Getting Things Done.
  14. Do your research and ask clarifying questions. – Don’t be that clueless dude in the room who just nods like he knows what’s going on.  Prepare yourself by doing research ahead of time.  And if something still doesn’t make sense to you, ask questions.  The people involved will respect your desire to understand the material.
  15. Share knowledge and information with others. – When you can, be a resource to those around you.  If you have access to essential information, don’t hoard it.  Share it openly.
  16. Be positive and focus on what’s right. – Everything that happens in life is neither good nor bad.  It just depends on your perspective.  And no matter how it turns out, it always ends up just the way it should.  Either you succeed or you learn something.  So stay positive, appreciate the pleasant outcomes, and learn from the rest.  Your positivity will rub off on everyone around you.
  17. Listen intently to what others have to say. – Eyes focused, ears tuned, mobile phone off.  In a world that can’t move fast enough, someone who can find time to listen to others is always appreciated.
  18. Be faithful to your significant other. – Tiger Woods was everyone’s hero until recently, wasn’t he?  Sustained fidelity in a long-term intimate relationship is not only impressive, it creates a healthy foundation for everything else you do.
  19. Learn to appreciate and love Mother Nature. – Those who truly appreciate and love the natural world surrounding us typically exhibit the same high regard for all humanity.  It’s a positive way to live, and it’s something people notice.
  20. Invest time, energy and money in yourself every day. – When you invest in yourself, you can never lose, and over time you will change the trajectory of your life.  You are simply the product of what you know.  The more time, energy and money you spend acquiring pertinent knowledge, the more control you have over your life and the more valuable you will be to everyone around you.  For fresh ideas on self improvement and lifestyle design, I recommend The 4-Hour Workweek.
  21. Perform random acts of kindness on a regular basis. – Pay for a stranger’s coffee in line at Starbucks.  Buy the office receptionist flowers just to say, “Thank you.”  Help an elderly lady with her groceries.  There’s nothing more rewarding than putting smiles on the faces around you.
  22. Compliment people who deserve it. – Go out of your way to personally acknowledge and complement the people who have gone out of their way to shine.  Everybody likes to hear that their efforts are appreciated.
  23. Speak clearly and make eye contact. – Most people have a very low tolerance for dealing with people they can’t understand.  Mystery does not fuel strong relationships and impressiveness.  Also, there’s little doubt that eye contact is one of the most captivating forms of personal communication.  When executed properly, eye contact injects closeness into human interaction.
  24. Make yourself available and approachable. – If people cannot get a hold of you, or have trouble approaching you, they will forget about you.  Your general availability and accessibility to others is extremely important to them.  Always maintain a positive, tolerant attitude and keep an open line of communication to those around you.
  25. Be self-sufficient. – Freedom is the greatest gift.  Self-sufficiency is the greatest freedom.  And self-sufficiency is quite impressive too.   In the business world, it’s one of the primary dreams that inspire people to give-up their day jobs to pursue entrepreneurship.
  26. Exploit the resources you do have access to. – The average person is usually astonished when they see a physically handicap person show intense signs of emotional happiness.  How could someone in such a restricted physical state be so happy?  The answer rests in how they use the resources they do have.  Stevie Wonder couldn’t see, so he exploited his sense of hearing into a passion for music, and he now has 25 Grammy Awards to prove it.
  27. Be a part of something you believe in. – This could be anything.  Some people take an active role in their local city council, some find refuge in religious faith, some join social clubs supporting causes they believe in, and others find passion in their careers.  In each case the psychological outcome is the same.  They engage themselves in something they strongly believe in.  This engagement brings happiness and meaning into their lives.  It’s hard not to be impressed by someone who’s passionate about what they’re doing.
  28. Stand up for your beliefs without flaunting them. – Yes, it is possible to stand up for your beliefs without foisting them down someone else’s throat.  Discuss your personal beliefs when someone asks about them, but don’t spawn offensive attacks of propaganda on unsuspecting victims.  Stand firm by your values and always keep an open mind to new information.

Of course, the coolest thing about this list is that everything you need to impress everyone around you is already contained within you.  So stop trying to impress people with the possessions you own and start inspiring them with who you are and how you live your life.

“Toughness” – Jay Bilas – ESPN .com
I have heard the word “toughness” thrown around a lot lately. Reporters on television,
radio and in print have opined about a team or player’s “toughness” or quoted a coach
talking about his team having to be “tougher” to win.
Then, in almost coordinated fashion, I would watch games and see player upon player
thumping his chest after a routine play, angrily taunting an opponent after a blocked shot,
getting into a shouting match with an opposing player, or squaring up nose-to-nose as if a
fight might ensue. I see players jawing at each other, trying to “intimidate” other players.
What a waste of time. That is nothing more than fake toughness, and it has no real value.
I often wonder: Do people really understand what coaches and experienced players mean
when they emphasize “toughness” in basketball? Or is it just some buzzword that is
thrown around haphazardly without clear definition or understanding? I thought it was
the latter, and I wrote a short blog item about it a couple of weeks ago.
The response I received was overwhelming. Dozens of college basketball coaches called
to tell me that they had put the article up in the locker room, put it in each player’s locker,
or had gone over it in detail with their teams.
Memphis coach John Calipari called to say that he had his players post the definition of
toughness over their beds because he believed that true “toughness” was the one thing
that his team needed to develop to reach its potential. I received messages from high
school coaches who wanted to relay the definition of toughness to their players and
wanted to talk about it further.
Well, I got the message that I should expound upon what I consider toughness to be. It
may not be what you think.
Toughness is something I had to learn the hard way, and something I had no real idea of
until I played college basketball. When I played my first game in college, I thought that
toughness was physical and based on how much punishment I could dish out and how
much I could take. I thought I was tough.
I found out pretty quickly that I wasn’t, but I toughened up over time, and I got a pretty
good understanding of toughness through playing in the ACC, for USA Basketball, in
NBA training camps, and as a professional basketball player in Europe. I left my playing
career a heck of a lot tougher than I started it, and my only regret is that I didn’t truly “get
it” much earlier in my playing career.
When I faced a tough opponent, I wasn’t worried that I would get hit — I was concerned
that I would get sealed on ball reversal by a tough post man, or that I would get boxed out
on every play, or that my assignment would sprint the floor on every possession and get
something easy on me. The toughest guys I had to guard were the ones who made it
tough on me.
Toughness has nothing to do with size, physical strength or athleticism. Some players
may be born tough, but I believe that toughness is a skill, and it is a skill that can be
developed and improved. Michigan State coach Tom Izzo always says, “Players play, but
tough players win.” He is right. Here are some of the ways true toughness is exhibited in
Set a good screen: The toughest players to guard are the players who set good screens.
When you set a good screen, you are improving the chances for a teammate to get open,
and you are greatly improving your chances of getting open. A good screen can force the
defense to make a mistake. A lazy or bad screen is a waste of everyone’s time and energy.
To be a tough player, you need to be a “screener/scorer,” a player who screens hard and
immediately looks for an opportunity on offense. On the 1984 U.S. Olympic Team, Bob
Knight made Michael Jordan set a screen before he could get a shot. If it is good enough
for Jordan, arguably the toughest player ever, it is good enough for you.
Set up your cut: The toughest players make hard cuts, and set up their cuts. Basketball is
about deception. Take your defender one way, and then plant the foot opposite of the
direction you want to go and cut hard. A hard cut may get you a basket, but it may also
get a teammate a basket. If you do not make a hard cut, you will not get anyone open.
Setting up your cut, making the proper read of the defense, and making a hard cut require
alertness, good conditioning and good concentration. Davidson’s Stephen Curry is hardly
a physical muscle-man, but he is a tough player because he is in constant motion, he
changes speeds, he sets up his cuts, and he cuts hard. Curry is hard to guard, and he is a
tough player.
Talk on defense: The toughest players talk on defense, and communicate with their
teammates. It is almost impossible to talk on defense and not be in a stance, down and
ready, with a vision of man and ball. If you talk, you let your teammates know you are
there, and make them and yourself better defenders. It also lets your opponent know that
you are fully engaged.
Jump to the ball: When on defense, the tough defenders move as the ball moves. The
toughest players move on the flight of the ball, not when it gets to its destination. And the
toughest players jump to the ball and take away the ball side of the cut. Tough players
don’t let cutters cut across their face — they make the cutter change his path.
Don’t get screened: No coach can give a player the proper footwork to get through every
screen. Tough players have a sense of urgency not to get screened and to get through
screens so that the cutter cannot catch the ball where he wants to. A tough player makes
the catch difficult.
Get your hands up: A pass discouraged is just as good as a pass denied. Tough players
play with their hands up to take away vision, get deflections and to discourage a pass in
order to allow a teammate to cover up. Cutters and post players will get open, if only for
a count. If your hands are up, you can keep the passer from seeing a momentary opening.
Play the ball, see your man: Most defenders see the ball and hug their man, because
they are afraid to get beat. A tough defender plays the ball and sees his man. There is a
Get on the floor: In my first road game as a freshman, there was a loose ball that I
thought I could pick up and take the other way for an easy one. While I was bending over
at the waist, one of my opponents dived on the floor and got possession of the ball. My
coach was livid. We lost possession of the ball because I wasn’t tough enough to get on
the floor for it. I tried like hell never to get out-toughed like that again.
The first player to get to the floor is usually the one to come up with any loose ball.Close
out under control: It is too easy to fly at a shooter and think you are a tough defender. A
tough defender closes out under control, takes away a straight line drive and takes away
the shot. A tough player has a sense of urgency but has the discipline to do it the right
Post your man, not a spot: Most post players just blindly run to the low block and get
into a shoving match for a spot on the floor. The toughest post players are posting their
defensive man. A tough post player is always open, and working to get the ball to the
proper angle to get a post feed. Tough post players seal on ball reversal and call for the
ball, and they continue to post strong even if their teammates miss them.
Run the floor: Tough players sprint the floor, which drags the defense and opens up
things for others. Tough players run hard and get “easy” baskets, even though there is
nothing easy about them. Easy baskets are hard to get. Tough players don’t take tough
shots — they work hard to make them easy.
Play so hard, your coach has to take you out: I was a really hard worker in high school
and college. But I worked and trained exceptionally hard to make playing easier. I was
wrong. I once read that Bob Knight had criticized a player of his by saying, “You just
want to be comfortable out there!” Well, that was me, and when I read that, it clicked
with me. I needed to work to increase my capacity for work, not to make it easier to play.
I needed to work in order to be more productive in my time on the floor. Tough players
play so hard that their coaches have to take them out to get rest so they can put them back
in. The toughest players don’t pace themselves.
Get to your teammate first: When your teammate lays his body on the line to dive on
the floor or take a charge, the tough players get to him first to help him back up. If your
teammate misses a free throw, tough players get to him right away. Tough players are
also great teammates.
Take responsibility for your teammates: Tough players expect a lot from their
teammates, but they also put them first. When the bus leaves at 9 a.m., tough players not
only get themselves there, but they also make sure their teammates are up and get there,
too. Tough players take responsibility for others in addition to themselves. They make
sure their teammates eat first, and they give credit to their teammates before taking it
Take a charge: Tough players are in a stance, playing the ball, and alert in coming over
from the weak side and taking a charge. Tough players understand the difference between
being in the right spot and being in the right spot with the intention of stopping
somebody. Some players will look puzzled and say, “But I was in the right spot.” Tough
players know that they have to get to the right spot with the sense of urgency to stop
The toughest players never shy away from taking a charge.Get in a stance: Tough players
don’t play straight up and down and put themselves in the position of having to get ready
to get ready. Tough players are down in a stance on both ends of the floor, with feet
staggered and ready to move. Tough players are the aggressor, and the aggressor is in a
Finish plays: Tough players don’t just get fouled, they get fouled and complete the play.
They don’t give up on a play or assume that a teammate will do it. A tough player plays
through to the end of the play and works to finish every play.
Work on your pass: A tough player doesn’t have his passes deflected. A tough player
gets down, pivots, pass-fakes, and works to get the proper angle to pass away from the
defense and deliver the ball.
Throw yourself into your team’s defense: A tough player fills his tank on the defensive
end, not on offense. A tough player is not deterred by a missed shot. A tough player
values his performance first by how well he defended.
Take and give criticism the right way: Tough players can take criticism without feeling
the need to answer back or give excuses. They are open to getting better and expect to be
challenged and hear tough things. You will never again in your life have the opportunity
you have now at the college level: a coaching staff that is totally and completely
dedicated to making you and your team better. Tough players listen and are not afraid to
say what other teammates may not want to hear, but need to hear.
Show strength in your body language: Tough players project confidence and security
with their body language. They do not hang their heads, do not react negatively to a
mistake of a teammate, and do not whine and complain to officials. Tough players project
strength, and do not cause their teammates to worry about them. Tough players do their
jobs, and their body language communicates that to their teammates — and to their
Catch and face: Teams that press and trap are banking on the receiver’s falling apart and
making a mistake. When pressed, tough players set up their cuts, cut hard to an open area
and present themselves as a receiver to the passer. Tough players catch, face the defense,
and make the right read and play, and they do it with poise. Tough players do not just
catch and dribble; they catch and face.
Don’t get split: If you trap, a tough player gets shoulder-to-shoulder with his teammate
and does not allow the handler to split the trap and gain an advantage on the back side of
the trap.
Be alert: Tough players are not “cool.” Tough players are alert and active, and tough
players communicate with teammates so that they are alert, too. Tough players echo
commands until everyone is on the same page. They understand the best teams play five
as one. Tough players are alert in transition and get back to protect the basket and the 3-
point line. Tough players don’t just run back to find their man, they run back to stop the
ball and protect the basket.
Concentrate, and encourage your teammates to concentrate: Concentration is a skill,
and tough players work hard to concentrate on every play. Tough players go as hard as
they can for as long as they can.
It’s not your shot; it’s our shot: Tough players don’t take bad shots, and they certainly
don’t worry about getting “my” shots. Tough players work for good shots and understand
that it is not “my” shot, it is “our” shot. Tough players celebrate when “we” score.
Box out and go to the glass every time: Tough players are disciplined enough to lay a
body on someone. They make first contact and go after the ball. And tough players do it
on every possession, not just when they feel like it. They understand defense is not
complete until they secure the ball.
Take responsibility for your actions: Tough players make no excuses. They take
responsibility for their actions. Take James Johnson for example. With 17 seconds to go
in Wake’s game against Duke on Wednesday, Jon Scheyer missed a 3-pointer that
bounced right to Johnson. But instead of aggressively pursuing the ball with a sense of
urgency, Johnson stood there and waited for the ball to come to him. It never did.
Scheyer grabbed it, called a timeout and the Blue Devils hit a game-tying shot on a
possession they never should’ve had. Going after the loose ball is toughness — and
Johnson didn’t show it on that play. But what happened next? He re-focused, slipped a
screen for the winning basket, and after the game — when he could’ve been basking only
in the glow of victory — manned up to the mistake that could’ve cost his team the win.
“That was my responsibility — I should have had that,” Johnson said of the goof. No
excuses. Shouldering the responsibility. That’s toughness.
Look your coaches and teammates in the eye: Tough players never drop their heads.
They always look coaches and teammates in the eye, because if they are talking, it is
important to them and to you.
Move on to the next play: Tough players don’t waste time celebrating a good play or
lamenting a bad one. They understand that basketball is too fast a game to waste time and
opportunities with celebratory gestures or angry reactions. Tough players move on to the
next play. They know that the most important play in any game is the next one.
Be hard to play against, and easy to play with: Tough players make their teammates’
jobs easier, and their opponents’ jobs tougher.
Make every game important: Tough players don’t categorize opponents and games.
They know that if they are playing, it is important. Tough players understand that if they
want to play in championship games, they must treat every game as a championship
Make getting better every day your goal: Tough players come to work every day to get
better, and keep their horizons short. They meet victory and defeat the same way: They
get up the next day and go to work to be better than they were the day before. Tough
players hate losing but are not shaken or deterred by a loss. Tough players enjoy winning
but are never satisfied. For tough players, a championship or a trophy is not a goal; it is a
destination. The goal is to get better every day.
When I was playing, the players I respected most were not the best or most talented
players. The players I respected most were the toughest players. I don’t remember
anything about the players who talked a good game or blocked a shot and acted like a
fool. I remember the players who were tough to play against.
Anybody can talk. Not anybody can be tough.


From Purpose

1. LOVE vs. FEAR. Well, I can tell you for sure that those people who are really happy, FEAR less and LOVE a lot more. They see each moment, each challenge, each person as an opportunity to discover more about themselves and the world around them.

2. ACCEPTANCE vs. RESISTANCE.  Happy people understand that you can’t really change a situation by resisting it, but you can definitely change it by accepting that it is there and by understanding that there might be a reason for its existence. When something unpleasant happens to them, they don’t try to fight it, knowing that this will make the situation even worse, but rather, they ask themselves questions like: What can I learn from this? How can I make this better? and they go from there, focusing on the positive rather than on the negative. They always seem to see the glass half full no matter what happens to them.

3. FORGIVENESS vs. UNFORGIVENESS. Really happy people know that it’s not healthy to hold on to anger. They choose to FORGIVE and FORGET, understanding that FORGIVENESS is  a gift they give to themselves first and foremost.

“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”Buddha

4. TRUST vs. DOUBT. They trust themselves and they trust the people around them. No matter if they talk to the cleaning lady or the C.E.O. of a multi billion company, somehow they always seem make the person they are interacting with feel like there is something unique and special about them.

They understand that beliefs become self-fulfilling prophecies, and because of that, they make sure to treat everybody with love, dignity and respect, making no distinctions between age, sex, social status, color, religion or race. These are the great men that Mark Twain was talking about: “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” Mark Twain

5. MEANING vs. AMBITION.  They do the things they do because of the meaning it brings into their lives and because they get a sense of purpose by doing so. They understand that “Doing what you love is the cornerstone of having abundance in your life” like Wayne Dyer puts it, and they care more about living a life full of meaning rather than, what in our modern society we would call, living a successful life.

The irony here is that most of the time they get both, success and meaning, just because they choose to focus on doing the things they love the most and they always pursue their heart desires. They are not motivated by money; they want to make a difference in the lives of those around them and in the world.

6. PRAISING vs. CRITICIZING. Happy people would probably agree with Carl’s Jung theory on resistance: “What you resist not only persists, but will grow in size”. They don’t criticize the absence of the behavior they want to reinforce, but ratherevery time the behavior is present, even if it’s not that often, they know that by praising the person and the behavior, they will actually reinforce the positive behavior.

When a parent wants to make sure that his 7 years old boy will learn to always put the toys back in the box after he’s done playing with them, he will make sure not to focus on the many times the child won’t do it, criticizing him and his behavior, but rather, every time the little boy does put the toys back, the parent will praise him and his behavior and that is exactly how he will reinforce the positive behavior, and in the end geting the wanted results.

7. CHALLENGES vs. PROBLEMS. Happy people will see PROBLEMS as CHALLENGES, as opportunities to explore new ways of doing things, expressing their gratitude for them, understanding that underneath them all lies many opportunities that will allow them to expand and to grow.

8. SELFLESSNESS vs. SELFISHNESS. They do what they do not for themselves, but for the good of others, making sure that they bring meaning, empowerment and happiness in the lives of many. They look for ways to give and to share the best of themselves with the world and to make other people happy.

 ”Before giving, the mind of the giver is happy; while giving, the mind of the giver is made peaceful; and having given, the mind of the giver is uplifted.”Buddha

9. ABUNDANCE vs. LACK/POVERTY. They have an abundant mindset living a balanced life, achieving abundance in all areas of life.

10. DREAMING BIG vs. BEING REALISTIC. These people don’t really care about being realistic. They love and dare to dream big, they always listen to their heart and intuition and the greatness of their accomplishments scares many of us.

“Dream no small dreams for they have no power to move the hearts of men.” Goethe

11. KINDNESS vs. CRUELTY. They are kind to themselves and others and they understand the power of self love, self forgiveness and self acceptance.

12. GRATITUDE vs. INGRATITUDE. No no matter where they look, no matter where they are or with who, they have this capacity of seeing beauty where most of us would only see ugliness, opportunities, where most of us would only see struggles, abundance where most of us would only see lack and they express their gratitude for them all.

13. PRESENCE/ ENGAGEMENT vs. DISENGAGEMENT. They know how to live in the present moment, appreciating what they have and where they are, while still having big dreams about the future.

“When you are present, you can allow the mind to be as it is without getting entangled in it. The mind in itself is a wonderful tool. Dysfunction sets in when you seek your self in it and mistake it for who you are.” Eckhart Tolle

14. POSITIVITY vs. NEGATIVITY. No matter what happens to them, they always seem to keep a positive perspective on everything and by doing so, they tend irritate a lot of negative and “realistic” people.

15. TAKING RESPONSIBILITY vs. BLAMING. They take full ownership over their lives and they rarely use excuses. Happy people understand that the moment you choose to blame some outside forces for whatever it is that happens to you, you are in fact giving all your power away, and they choose to keep the power for themselves and taking responsibility for everything that happens to them.

Unsuccessful Teams Successful Teams
Exhibit severed behavior amongst each other. Have each other’s back and encourage each other to make mutually beneficial decisions.
Lack team appreciation. Respect each other.
Misrepresent team through unsavory behavior. Represent the team in a positive manner AT ALL TIMES!!!!!
Race individually/ selfishly. Race as a team.
Lack direction. Train as a team
Don’t have goals. Have collective goals
Allow each other to falter. Hold each other accountable.
Secretly want each other to fail. Want each other to succeed.
Don’t express interest in each other. Sincerely care for one another.
Don’t enjoy each other’s company. Spend time together outside of practice and comp.
Are happy/ content with the minimum. Have high standards for one another.
Judge each other superficially. Judge each other by the efforts and intents.
Don’t recognize their place in time. See themselves as a part of PIRATE Tradition.
Unsuccessful Athletes Successful Athletes
Allow adversity to destroy them. Fight through adversity.
Fear failure. Understand success is working with failure.
Loaf Work Hard
Prepare to fail. Prepare in order to succeed.
Lack motivation Are passionate.
Eat like crap Eat right.
Sleep inconsistently Inconsistent sleep pattern.
Get crappy grades. Study hard.
Are followers Take the lead!!!!!
Live blindly Make plans
Abandon plans. Follow plans
Lose faith. Have faith.
Lack direction Take and Give direction.
Last Things First Prioritize
Don’t dream Dream of greatness.
Don’t go extra mile Do all of the little things.
Spoil themselves. Deny themselves.
Lack discipline Live discipline.
Know it all Life-long learners.
Have low expectations. Have high standards
Are unreliable Are dependable.
Make Excuses Take responsibility.
Avoid confrontation. Embrace competition.

Mike Rowe is best known as host of The Discovery Channel’s ‘Dirty Jobs’. The TV personality is hugely popular and gets a ton of fan mail, but one particular letter really caught his attention: a young fan had written to him in search of career advice. Rowe’s response was brilliant – when you read it, you’ll see why.

Hey Mike!

I’ve spent this last year trying to figure out the right career for myself and I still can’t figure out what to do. I have always been a hands on kind of guy and a go-getter. I could never be an office worker. I need change, excitement, and adventure in my life, but where the pay is steady. I grew up in construction and my first job was a restoration project. I love everything outdoors. I play music for extra money. I like trying pretty much everything, but get bored very easily. I want a career that will always keep me happy, but can allow me to have a family and get some time to travel. I figure if anyone knows jobs its you so I was wondering your thoughts on this if you ever get the time! Thank you!

– Parker Hall

Here’s Rowe’s brilliant reply:

Hi Parker,

My first thought is that you should learn to weld and move to North Dakota. The opportunities are enormous, and as a “hands-on go-getter,” you’re qualified for the work. But after reading your post a second time, it occurs to me that your qualifications are not the reason you can’t find the career you want.

I had drinks last night with a woman I know. Let’s call her Claire. Claire just turned 42. She’s cute, smart, and successful. She’s frustrated though, because she can’t find a man. I listened all evening about how difficult her search has been. About how all the “good ones” were taken. About how her other friends had found their soul-mates, and how it wasn’t fair that she had not.

“Look at me,” she said. “I take care of myself. I’ve put myself out there. Why is this so hard?”

“How about that guy at the end of the bar,” I said. “He keeps looking at you.”

“Not my type.”

“Really? How do you know?”

“I just know.”

“Have you tried a dating site?” I asked.

“Are you kidding? I would never date someone I met online!”

“Alright. How about a change of scene? Your company has offices all over – maybe try living in another city?”

“What? Leave San Francisco? Never!”

“How about the other side of town? You know, mix it up a little. Visit different places. New museums, new bars, new theaters…?”

She looked at me like I had two heads. “Why the hell would I do that?”

Here’s the thing, Parker. Claire doesn’t really want a man. She wants the “right” man. She wants a soul-mate. Specifically, a soul-mate from her zip code. She assembled this guy in her mind years ago, and now, dammit, she’s tired of waiting!!

I didn’t tell her this, because Claire has the capacity for sudden violence. But it’s true. She complains about being alone, even though her rules have more or less guaranteed she’ll stay that way. She has built a wall between herself and her goal. A wall made of conditions and expectations. Is it possible that you’ve built a similar wall?

Consider your own words. You don’t want a career – you want the “right” career. You need “excitement” and “adventure,” but not at the expense of stability. You want lots of “change” and the “freedom to travel,” but you need the certainty of “steady pay.” You talk about being “easily bored” as though boredom is out of your control. It isn’t. Boredom is a choice. Like tardiness. Or interrupting. It’s one thing to “love the outdoors,” but you take it a step further. You vow to “never” take an office job. You talk about the needs of your family, even though that family doesn’t exist. And finally, you say the career you describe must “always” make you “happy.”

These are my thoughts. You may choose to ignore them and I wouldn’t blame you – especially after being compared to a 42 year old woman who can’t find love. But since you asked…

Stop looking for the “right” career, and start looking for a job. Any job. Forget about what you like. Focus on what’s available. Get yourself hired. Show up early. Stay late. Volunteer for the scut work. Become indispensable. You can always quit later, and be no worse off than you are today. But don’t waste another year looking for a career that doesn’t exist. And most of all, stop worrying about your happiness. Happiness does not come from a job. It comes from knowing what you truly value, and behaving in a way that’s consistent with those beliefs.

Many people today resent the suggestion that they’re in charge of the way the feel. But trust me, Parker. Those people are mistaken. That was a big lesson from Dirty Jobs, and I learned it several hundred times before it stuck. What you do, who you’re with, and how you feel about the world around you, is completely up to you.

Good luck –