365 Days to a Better You – Day 67

Lead with your “best pitch.”

You don’t need a GPS to find your strengths. They live at the intersection of passion and talent.
~Ray Davis

It defies logic, but we human beings often become focused on our weaknesses and lack rather than our strengths and capabilities.

There’s a great quote from the 1987 series premiere of Star Trek the Next Generation. The Enterprise crew is on trial at the hands of the omnipotent advanced being Q. He accuses humanity of being “a savage child race.” He threatens to force humanity back to Earth and confine us there. Q has established a test for Captain Picard and a timeline for its achievement or else.

As Q badgers Picard, the stalwart captain finally tells his second-in-command, “If we’re going to be damned, let’s be damned for who we really are.”

I’ve always loved that quote. It’s similar to a baseball saying, “If you’re going to be beat me, you’re going to have to beat me on my best pitch.”

There’s a defiance in both quotes and a determination not to shy away from your best because it might not work. To extend the baseball metaphor, if you’re fastball’s your best pitch, why go through life throwing curve balls? Put your best foot forward. Lean on those things you’re best at and ride them all the way to victory. Even on those occasions when you lose, at least you did all you could.

Power hack: To make this tip work for you, do the following.

  1. Identify your strengths: If you don’t know your strengths, figure out what they are. They have a relatively easy address. Where your passion meets your talents, that’s where your strengths are. You may be passionate about something, but have no talent. That’s not a current strength. Conversely, you may be great at something but have no passion. That’s not a current strength.
  2. Give yourself credit: Stop doubting your strengths. Believe in them and where they can take you. You’re good at these things, damn good. Admit that and use them to your advantage.
  3. Throw your best pitch: If your fastball is your best pitch, throw fastballs. If your curve ball is your best pitch, throw curve balls. This gives you your best chance to succeed in life.
  4. Learn and regroup: Even going with your strengths, you won’t always win. A well-studied loss is worth a dozen mindless victories. Don’t move away from your strengths because you failed. Evaluate, recharge, and come back stronger. I’m on a sports theme today. Have you ever noticed how a young team rarely goes all the way to a championship right away? Often they have to go to the brink once or twice before they win the big prize. It’s not because they lack the talent the first time. It’s that they lack the experience. The moment became too big and talent wasn’t enough to overcome it.

When you lead with your passionate talents and combine it with experience, you can become an unstoppable force. If you spend your life throwing your second-best pitch, you’ll never know.

Stay inspired, my friends!

Ray

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365 Days to a Better You – Day 60

Walk the walk.

Three years out of four, day 60 is the beginning of the third month of the year. In ancient Sumeria, this would have been one-fifth of the way through the common year. The Sumerian year was 360 days long (it came from the recognition that a circle is 360 degrees). The five extra days each year were holy days to complete the year.

Ironically, that calendar configuration reminds us of something interesting. Most days along our path are ordinary. That’s not to say they don’t count or they don’t add it up toward the result. They absolutely do. I simply mean there’s no fireworks, no big news, no major achievement. They’re just ordinary days.

You often hear the phrase, “Walk the walk,” in the context of, “Don’t just talk the talk…” Today I want to use it differently.  If the proverbial journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, then it’s also completed one step at a time. A lot of days are simply about walking that walk without fanfare or accolades.

This causes a lot of people to detour or stop the push toward their goals because “nothing is happening.” The truth is nothing is happening on the surface most of the time, but the power and consistency of the action (the steps) is building a momentum behind the scenes that will eventually manifest your dreams.

So, today keep on walking the walk even if nothing seems to be happening. Keep on doing the small, ordinary things that will one day equal the big, extraordinary dream. Let others be bored with a lack of immediate gratification for your dreams are bigger than that.

You are all the BEST!

Ray

Please check out our growing Motivational Quotes Library on the TAS website.

365 Days to a Better You – Day 58

“In times like these,” the late Paul Harvey once observed, “it helps to recall there have always been times like these.”

Have you ever been standing nearby when someone says, “Why does this always happen to me?” Have you ever said it yourself? I certainly have from time-to-time. It normally leaves our mouths in a moment of unconscious exasperation when we’d readily believe the entire universe had aligned for the specific purpose of cheating us.

Truth is that proverbial “this,” whatever it may be, doesn’t happen to us alone. These sorts of things happen to all of us. The light turns red just as you approach the intersection. The grocery line moves particularly slowly. Someone else gets the last ticket to the sold out concert.

The difference in your perspective is that you are present every single time something like that does happen to you. You’re not present when it happens to your brother, mother, friend, spouse, child or enemy. Thus, it feels like it only happens to you.

I’ve always loved the above Paul Harvey quote. When you face one of those moments when the formation of the solar system seems like a vast plot to stick it to you, think about this quote. Replace the phrase, “times like these,” with the phrase, “moments like these.”

It’s true. There have always been moments like these and they happen to everyone all the time. It’s part of the human experience.

Power hack: If the gentle reminder of this quote doesn’t achieve the desired shift in perspective, consider this. Call to mind three or four moments when it felt like the universe bent over backwards to see your dreams to fruition. Recall moments when it felt like the clouds parted and the sun shone just for you.

As surely as we’ve all had the “Why Me” moments, we’ve had a bundle of moments that fill us with gratitude. In the big scheme of things, the universe really does rain blessings and setbacks on everyone in a relatively equal way.

I always like to say that roadblocks are simply shortcuts to something better than you had planned.

Your decision is which kinds of moments rule your mindset.

Follow your bliss. Experience your bliss. Become your bliss.

Ray

365 Days to a Better You – Day 49

Don’t die with your music still inside of you.

One of my favorite moments in Spring is the first time I see and hear a cardinal sing. I love red and so I find cardinals to be stunning birds. The best thing, though, is their amazing song. I can’t get enough of it. I’d love to hear your song too!

The late Wayne Dyer often encouraged his listeners with this aphorism. I never heard Wayne say it, but I’ve always believed he was referring back to another proverb of indistinct origin. “A bird doesn’t sing because it has the answer, it sings because it has a song.

Did you know you have a song inside of you? I believe we all do. You may call it your bliss, your mission, your path. It’s that thing that we cannot imagine dying without having expressed, experienced, and shared. Yet, many of you reading this, have not blessed the world with your song.

“Well,” you might think, “No one really cares about my song. It won’t change the world or my situation.” Are you sure? Who among us knows how a word, a gesture, a thought from you might change everything?

Whether you “singing” your song would shift the world or just shift a moment, read the quote again. The reason for singing your song is not because your song is the answer, though it might be. The reason for singing your song is because you have a song and it’s what you’re here to do. You won’t feel complete until you pipe up. So, pipe up!

It doesn’t have to be the most beautiful song or the most profound. It only needs to be the contribution you came here to make.

No pressure, but it’s time to start singing!

Have a fantastic and song-filled day!

Ray

365 Days to a Better You – Day 42

Feed the hero within

Today’s Affirmation:

When I feel helpless I remember I AM powerful. When I feel weak I remember I AM strong!

In yesterday’s post, I shared 10 empowering ideas that, if absorbed and applied, could make a huge difference in your life. Today we going deeper on bullet four from that list – the hero I am waiting for is waiting for me in the mirror.

Ok, it’s clever, but what does it mean and how do you become the hero in your life?

Some may see it as cliche to talk in terms of the hero within. After all, we have a tendency to overuse words like hero and dilute their meaning. However, I really want you to embrace this idea that a hero lives within you. Every person reading this is disguised all day like Clark Kent just waiting for your phone booth moment to arrive.

We are inundated by the idea that soldiers, firefighters, and police officers are heroes. No question, they are heroes. Yet, I would argue that the seeds of heroism lie within each of us. The single parent raising several successful children is a hero. The person who works for peace daily is a hero. The person who shares a kind word with someone who needs it is a hero too.

Here are eight characteristics of a hero to help you see the moments in your life when you are or can become one.

  1. The hero’s work may be great or small. It does not always change the world. Sometimes it just changes the moment.
  2. The hero’s work is everywhere he or she goes all day long. The hero is always looking for those phone booth moments to step forward and shine.
  3. The hero may deserve or even get the credit, but the hero does not do it for the credit. The hero does it because it contributes to the greater good.
  4. The hero puts the good of the team ahead of his or her own good.
  5. The hero sees beyond appearances and gets to what is real and true; choosing to live there.
  6. The hero knows his or her work is bigger than self.
  7. The hero knows that criticism and blame comes with the territory and is careful never to associate himself or herself with either.
  8. You are a hero. Plain and simple, you are. Let that part of you come to the surface at every opportunity.

The hero you are waiting for IS waiting for you in the mirror.

Follow your bliss. Experience your bliss. Become your bliss!

Ray

Please visit the TAS YouTube channel for more great motivational content. You may also enjoy our massive list of topical affirmations.

365 Days to a Better You – Day 32

Small strokes fell great oaks.

That’s a quote from Ben Franklin. “The journey of 1000 miles,” said Lao Tzu, “begins with a single step.” Creighton Abrams wrote, “When eating an elephant, take one bite at a time.”

We live in a world that conditions us to want it all and want it now. These quotes remind us to take a breath. Big things start small. Small, consistent actions, over time, move the needle a great distance. If we try to “eat the elephant” all at once, we’ll probably get indigestion.

I’ve often used a basketball analogy for this idea. If you get behind 20 points in the first half, there are no 20 point shots to get you back into the game. The way to get back in is one trip up the floor at time. Score and go play defense. Score and go play defense. If you come out trying to get it all back at once, you’ll probably do foolish things and lose by 40.

The overnight success is a rarity. The truth is most overnight successes have been working at it for years before they finally attained their success.

What’s my message? It’s easy to feel like your dreams aren’t happening fast enough. I’ve often felt it myself. Remember there is no deadline. There’s amazing lessons and experiences along the way.

This I promise, though, if you keep whacking away, even the greatest of oaks will eventually fall. Rome wasn’t built in day and neither are you.

Patience and keep working. Good things will happen.

Ray

P.S. – No elephants or oaks were harmed in the writing of this blog post. What great metaphors they make, though.