Tuesday, November 3, 2009

And like a good neighbor...

The fastest route to a destination is a straight path. Whether I’m diving out of a plane from 12,500 feet or facing a 145 foot long mud pit before the finish line, that option holds true. However, pulling the chute at 7,000 feet I was able to observe a 360 degree view of the surroundings I generally do not see. Perhaps, if I didn’t crouch down and waded through the cold mud I would not have corrected the knee problem I developed mid-way in the race. As they say “It’s the journey, not the destination.”

When I lived on the East Coast my home and car insurance policies were with State Farm Insurance. When I bought my engagement ring, through my MULTIPLE attempts at proposing at the right moment (and chickening out) I was happy to know that the ring was insured by State Farm. After our wedding we moved to Orange County and one of the first things we did as a couple was to visit our local State Farm Agent, the late Jonathame Wang, and his son Steven Wang. After completing our initial evaluation and writing of policies, we continued to develop our relationship through additional policies as we entered various life stages. I would even stop by just to hang out with the staff at the office and catch up with everyone.

It was sad news when Jonathame passed away in 2008. However the calm came from knowing he lived up to what he advised my family and many others, that life insurance is for those we leave behind. Steven continued in advising my family and as we hit another life stage, we added an additional policy this summer.

As part of a reorganization within State Farm, my family’s policies were somehow transferred to a new agent. We were surprised with this development and we worked on having our policies serviced back to Steven and his office. Our requests were met with some resistance, and for a brief moment we felt our relationship over the years was falling apart. Over the course of three weeks we eventually received a post card from our “new” agent confirming the fate of our long-established relationship with Steven, and with State Farm for that matter.

As with any journey we expect some bumps on the road and we could’ve taken the “easy road" and switched all of our policies with another insurer. That decision would have been swift and without much emotion. However it would also feel like instead of floating around in my parachute, I was essentially cutting off my harness. That journey would come to an end quickly.

As people use social media for various purposes, I’m friends with @StateFarm on Twitter. I made a general comment about my situation, within 140 characters of course! I received a Direct Message from a Public Affairs professional at State Farm’s Corporate HQ that the appropriate individuals would hear my concerns. This person added, “Let me know how it turns out…I’m happy to help.” Within a few days my family received notices in the mail that all of our policies were back to being serviced by Steven Wang and his office. Various comments, pros and cons, toward social media exist and people forget that it’s not a “thing,” but rather a community. I’m going to sound like a commercial for State Farm … BUT … through the Twitter account @StateFarm “…and like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.” Thank you, @StateFarm! You demonstrated well your commitment not only to the social media community, but also to the community of policy holders who value relationships fostered over the years.

Our journey continues with State Farm, and I’m certain various life stages will occur, prompting updates to our policies. This chapter had its bumps, but that experience made this portion of the journey a memorable one. Most see me as the mud running, skydiving, mountain biking, fitness training, Oakley loyalist, who loves to BBQ and support local Orange County restaurants and businesses. I also want to point out that I’m a CPA, an Investment Advisor … and I’m licensed to write insurance policies as well. I have colleagues who would gladly reciprocate these professional services back to me and my family. Nevertheless my family and I choose to stay with State Farm because of Steven and his staff. We were fortunate to have met Jonathame and Steven when we first settled in Orange County over a decade ago. We’ve found that our relationship with their legacy will continue through many life stages in the years to come!

As with any journey it’s easy to take the quick way out. However memories built on relationship and time? Those live on well past that mile marker in the mud!


I am not being compensated to write this plug: I just want to provide Steven Wang’s contact information for those who want to just even meet Steven and his team. You’ll find Steven exudes the relationship-building that is important in addressing personal and confidential needs.

Steven Wang
State Farm Insurance
15333 Culver Drive
Irvine, CA 92604
(949) 552-3600

Monday, October 26, 2009

Got it right the first time

Wow, I’ve not made an entry since after my first ever mud run? The summer plans and back to school adjustment for the kids REALLY took charge!

On October 25, 2009, I participated in the Inaugural Irvine Lake Mud Run with my friends, spread out over team and individual participants. It was great to have my friends join me as we’re all just about getting together for fun. Going into this event, for the most part, we never competed in timed events (except Karaoke contests…right, @PaulTTran?). Coming out of it, we joke about the memories from our first timed event (@RicDizon joking that it was his belly that edged out @PaulTTran by 1/100th of a second; at one point during the race @smashgirl even yelled out "Reggie!" to me just say hi, as she rounded one of the trails that ran above where I was). That is the kind of experience we looked to have at this mud run, and we’re proud to say that this event delivered BIG TIME!

STAFFING: Brent Weber with his megaphone theatrics made sure he was “that guy” that the thousands of people had to listen to in order keep the pace and direction of the day’s events in line. My friends and I would ask when/who/what questions, and would hear Brent in the background with the answers. There were volunteers set up at various check points as we made our way up and down the scenic trails at Irvine Lake. These volunteers were helpful at reminding us which direction to go, how far we’ve run, and what’s coming up next.

TIMING: The race started about ten minutes off mark, but I believe that everyone appreciated that ahead of time Brent already alerted us about the slight delay. However, as the event was run in waves, when my wave (fifth and last wave) was cleared to start, we were only a couple of minutes off mark, so we made up time and avoided any long wait.

FLOW: There was a long ways to maneuver along a trail of uphills, downhills, and loopty-loops before we hit the first obstacle. This allowed us to get our momentum going, as well as to spread out the participants, avoiding bottlenecks at the obstacles.

SAFETY: I found that the trails were cleared well for the participants. “Taking over” a beautiful lake shore while preserving it for long after our footprints have blown in the wind, I felt the trail was well-prepared. While this is not a full on “trail run” I found that the rocks, craters, etc., provided a nice touch as we faced the challenges of the hills and loopty-loops. I volunteered for a mud run, not a serene treadmill run, and I didn’t see anything out of the ordinary of what an average mud runner should expect to come across running in Mother Earth’s playground.

SETUP: It was neat to see professionally-constructed obstacles, and not temporary parking control barriers. The location of the obstacles was spaced well to avoid bottlenecking. Running through the mud pits the only challenge was the mud. Compared to my first mud run, the 145’ long mud crawl initially gave me flashbacks of scraping my knees in sharp gravel and being poked by rebars that were accidentally left during the construction of the obstacle. At yesterday’s event, as I crawled under the markers and made my way across, it was all mud! The sun was shining and this was the last obstacle before the final hill to the finish. I decided just flop my body in for a quick “freshening up!”

SUMMARY: The steps involved in the planning of the Inaugural Irvine Lake Mud Run could have been good, great, bad, or total chaos...who knows? However, the greatest of plans are without merit when they’re poorly executed. I am certain that the planning of an inaugural mud run is a big challenge for any organizer. Executing a successful one such as Paul Rudman and his team did for the Inaugural Irvine Lake Mud Run must be a tremendous uplifting feeling. Great job, guys!

I like the concept of mud runs. I thought my first one I participated in gave me that sense of accomplishment after I completed it. I recommended mud runs to my friends after that experience. A novice at it, I blogged about some things I would probably do for the next one. I blogged today on the same topics in order to compare apples to apples. There were some negative comments about my first mud run event that were on my blog, or elsewhere. It at least confirmed that others had their opinions as well, and were willing to express them. Thank you.

I STILL like the concept of mud runs. Now it doesn’t take a genius to get the hint that I preferred my second experience better. My teammates this time around were first time mud runners. I had friends who ran in other teams or as individuals, and they got their friends to run as well. Darrell Robinson, my good friend from my high school and college years flew all the way from Virginia Beach because I had a feeling that this would be a great experience to share with him. I would’ve really felt bad if all these friends would have resented participating in this mud run. I’m happy to hear that everyone is looking forward to running in the April 10, 2010 Irvine Lake Mud Run!

I close with the echo of the quote: “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” With my experience at the Inaugural Irvine Lake Mud Run, I’m happy that the challenges from my first mud run did not repeat at my second mud run. I’m happier that the based on my friends’ experience yesterday that they would ALL repeat that experience with me again. I’m thrilled that I have friends who now want to experience their first mud run in April 2010. The biggest affirmation of the aura of a fun and challenging experience of them all … I’m ecstatic that my wife wants to run on April 10, 2010 for her first mud run ever!


My teammates from The RED C (Reggie, Eric, Debbie, Chelsey) did awesome for their first time mud run:

CHELSEY VETURIS: College Student, spreading cheer to everyone as she's a cheer coach, runs regularly, has a cute dog Ally. On Twitter @ChelseyVeturis is one-third of the “OC Triumvirate,” a respected source for the goings on in Orange County, CA. A special shout out to Chelsey especially, as midway through the mud run, she walked with @OakleyOC a few times after my slight knee problem.

ERIC DIXON: USA Track & Field (USATF) Certified Level Two Track Coach. Founder of Tachyon Training Center, Eric continues to compete at the World Championships, recently finishing 4th in the world in his sprinting championships. He also trains various Orange County athletes in speed conditioning. His longest timed races are done in 60 seconds or less. Nevertheless, Eric joined in the mud run for some fun and time with friends.

DEBBIE WATKINS: In addition to finishing her studies to be a Nutritionist, Debbie also operates SoCal Dog Walking, teaming with individual clients, pet stores, and vets. Debbie helped set the tone for The RED C’s teamwork by suggesting the team name that was made up of our initials.

Pictures from the 2009 Irvine Lake Mud Run

The following videos are courtesy of @RochelleVeturis and @ChelseyVeturis:

Video 1 from the 2009 Irvine Lake Mud Run

Video 2 from the 2009 Irvine Lake Mud Run

Monday, July 20, 2009

OC Mud Flop

The OC Mud Run on Saturday, July 18th was its inaugural race. As such there will be complications to overcome and some mudslinging (all pun intended) after the fact. What’s unfortunate about the experience is the bad taste left in a lot of people’s mouths (again, all pun intended … fellow participants, you know what I’m talking about!). If I were one of the organizers of this event, I would have taken notes from the world-famous Camp Pendleton Mud Runs. Granted these are US Marines who live and breathe planning and order. Nevertheless, using their model is only half the battle… proper and effective EXECUTION is key.

Having a local Orange County location, with decent registration fees, and proper execution would have contributed to a lasting memory … on the positive side. I have shared some of my gripes with fellow OC Mud Runners who are Twitter friends of mine (OakleyOC) as we were excited about putting together all the runs and workouts together in order to get ready for race day.

I’ll list some of my concerns here but from a different angle, one that focuses on corrective suggestions. (You can get the disgruntled version if you Tweet me.)

As with any organization, event, or family setting, it is important to list out these gripes and concerns. What’s even MORE important is the part where we suggest corrective courses of action, lest we repeat our flawed actions. There’s quite a list of observations already noted on the Eco Mud Run Tour's Facebook page, but I’m certain many would agree that proper planning and execution at a FUTURE mud run in Orange County would be welcomed. Let’s not kill the event; let’s just kill the execution style. Here’s my two cents:

STAFFING: I’m all about volunteers, regardless of age, as long as they provide value to their role at the event. Let’s train and prepare the volunteers to guide the participants; let’s have them live and breathe course layout, guidelines, pace, direction, etc. The participant needs to just run, run, run, and look for volunteers to guide them should any confusion arises. In unknown terrain a participant would like to feel relieved that trained/prepared/competent/willing guides are around. There also needs to be “that guy” or “that girl” that is prominently directing the events on race day … to avoid multiple happenings, yet exponentially multiple confused participants.

TIMING: Races need to start on time. Every participant knows the race goes on without them. It’s essential that published start times are adhered to. There’s a difference between being wimpy about the heat in mid-July versus having your warm up and game face countered by prolonged delays. Also, early morning races tend to be better than midday races. Add sun to mud, and you may not have the best mud conditions around anymore, unless those sections are hosed down again. (Again, STAFFING concerns here.)

FLOW: Thousands of bodies stampeding on the trail need to be met with similar/multiple obstacles spread wider. The tendency will be to migrate to the target with less resistance. Two narrow side-by-side obstacles created unnecessary bottlenecks. Participants will appreciate not losing their momentum by having to pause three to five minutes to have a turn at the obstacle. Fighting for position is key, and the hard core participants are out front. Being only about two or three rows in, I didn’t expect the bottle necks I experienced that day.

SAFETY: As an organizer I would have disclosed to participants that the sections with stagnant water were adequately tested for general safety and health concerns. While no one should make it a practice to swim in stagnant water, seeing that there are a couple of sections where it’s just water, it might make sense to slosh through it as quickly as possible. However, if the toxic levels were adequately tested and disclosed some might find it refreshing to swim through. There might be some health concerns brought up if the organizer’s intent was a net sprawled OVER the lagoon, later to be changed to a row of inner tubes, further changed to just open water…and later have cases of infection documented that related to the murky trenches that were not intended for prolonged skin contact.

MUD: I’m not an expert in this field but I would take a guess that “mud” may be inherently different than “topsoil?” The mud pits at military boot camps and at other mud runs may not be as aesthetically looking/feeling as the Glen Ivy mud section for the kids and parents (that section rocked for the kids by the way), however, I would probably refrain from adding anything closely resembling the aroma and texture of “freshly/naturally fertilized earth.” I’m all about communing with nature, but …

SETUP: I’d have a supervisor inspect the setup of various obstacles for general safety and common sense. Yes, in a fight for my life in the jungles of enemy country there’s no question that the path less traveled by inspectors may be the best ones to stay under the radar. However on a mud run course a supervisor’s inspection and sign-off might have documented/corrected the bed of sharp gravel in the sections intended for crawling on hands and knees … as well as the two rebars I knelt/crawled on in the sand crawl towards the tunnel.

DIALOGUE: As with the advertising of the event to the participants and the sponsors, it might be common business sense, even just overall people sense, to respond to these recent concerns brought up through this Facebook fan page. I would probably do it sooner than later, as people would probably like to know that this wasn’t a fly-by-night organization, but rather a group of people with a similar sense of fairness and good intentions.


I appreciate the time and effort to bring the event to Orange County. It is not easy to execute an event like Pendleton does (hoo-ah!). However, with proper planning AND execution, one can plan quite an event that will be worthy to stand in the thick of it all (again, all pun intended) and be judged on its own merits. The best laid plans don’t matter if poor execution is what’s observed. (Again, STAFFING concerns here to direct the flow of the event.)

I look forward to hearing from the organizers, perhaps even through a representative. I have experience in “heated negotiations” and I’m sure there are others on the Eco Mud Run Tour's Facebook page even more experienced than me. However, SOON some sort of communication with the event organizers is needed to address these participants’ concerns. Otherwise, this will become a one-way badgering that will yield no fruitful ending and will most likely propagate ill-feeling and/or medical/legal lawsuits.

Staying silent doesn’t necessarily mean innocence, or guilt for that matter. In some folks’ eyes though, staying silent in a situation like this doesn’t help with goodwill towards fans (or previous fans). PLUS, there are some who just like answers!


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Foosball lesson

I have a nice championship foosball table at home, and recently my wife has been beating me (close games I might add). It’s neat how we can get pretty animated during these daily matches, while our stationary players stuck on steel rods just spin away. Last night after a great workout she challenged me again. I prefaced this match with a, “I hurt my left wrist from tonight’s workout, so my backfield won’t be scoring goals tonight.” (I have a killer spin that scores a majority of my goals from the lower left corner!) She said that was just another excuse to her beating me … no mercy, I tell ya! (This time my pain was for real, though.)

With not much torque action with my left wrist, this game I focused on my front lines to keep the ball past midfield and the backfield was strictly for blocking goals and feeding to the midfielders. Fast forwarding to the end, I won 10-6. Simply awesome!

Each time we take the field my four steel rods of foosball players take their positions and play their plastic hearts out. Sometimes they win and sometimes they lose. Nevertheless when called upon, they’re never late for practice and they’re always there at the games come rain or shine. One thing that kept them united was the coach’s guidance, and the players’ commitment to play until the whistle blew.

Isn’t this what the coaches see as the “big picture?” They’re constantly evaluating the players’ strengths and weaknesses and adjusting the game. In the past my backfield provided key goals, yet the other rods of players were always there and still part of the team. When called upon, they delivered as they were part of the team. They earned their place on the team and as they say, “A team is only as strong as its weakest member.” Last night the weakest members were the backfield, and the rest of the plastic players stepped up and scored goals and defended the midfield. Together they were able to beat the dominant dynasty my wife’s been coaching on the foosball table the past few weeks.

When you’re on a team you practice as a team, you play as a team, you win as a team, and you lose as a team. Each one earned a spot on the team, while some make receive more of the spotlight. It’s fine. Remember, the team name is what’s on the front of the jerseys, not what’s on the back. Don’t be just another number; be a team player. Earn your place on the team, but more importantly, earn the respect of your team. Be prepared to be in the shadows, but continue to play your part.

This is true as well in family life. Yes the figure heads are there to provide for the family, and the little bobble heads in the family continue to do their thing. When the little bobble heads have trouble with a school project do you let them suffer to burn the midnight oil on a second grade presentation or should you offer some suggestions for a more comedic approach in order to ace that oral? When you’ve had the most tiring day ever, do you lay down for some me time, or should you ask if your spouse’s day was even more frustrating? You can be the most relaxed and refreshed bobble head in the family, but your fellow bobble heads may soon bobble into shambles before your very eyes.

As my left wrist recovers, it looks like my four steel rods of foosball players will do just fine in the art of teamwork as they always have.

On a team, expect to be in the superstar’s shadow, but continue to play your role well, as you earned that jersey as well. Are your actions ready for the spotlight should that moment arrive?


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Just an "average person"

You will become the average of those people you choose to associate with and surround yourself with.

Read that a couple of times and think about the sense it makes.

Whatever subjective scale you benchmark against, when you associate with folks in the 8s and 9s, and if you consider yourself a 5, then your performance will eventually average somewhere between 5 and 8. Now if you consider yourself a 5, yet STILL associate with the 3s and 4s, mathematically you can find the average you'll eventually progress towards.

Ask yourself ...

When you've set a goal to bench press some really heavy weights, will you train with the person who is at the gym working on toning/maintaining, or others who can bench press Smart Cars parked in the parking lot?

When you want to win the 4x100 at the company's upcoming relay race, will you train with the weekend joggers, or with those who can catch up to a runaway shopping cart about to hit your freshly-waxed BMW?

When you strive to build a profitable business, do you network with those who work to get paid or those who are able to pay others to work for them?

When you are the founder of a start up company making phenomenal growth in your industry, do you want to be advised by other start up newbies or by those who have seen both the good cycles and the bad cycles of start ups?

You will become the average of those people you choose to associate with and surround yourself with.

Now some may think I'm crazy for reading this out of context, but there are some that will totally understand my next statement...

"I hope to surround myself with a bunch of failures."

I will let the following article speak for itself:

"Peter, I'd like you to stay for a minute after class." Calvin teaches my favorite body conditioning class at the gym.

"What'd I do?" I asked him.

"It's what you didn't do."
"What didn't I do?"


"You kept me after class for not failing?"

"This," he began to mimic my casual weight lifting style, using weights that were obviously too light, "is not going to get you anywhere. A muscle only grows if you work it till it fails. You need to use more challenging weights. You need to fail."

Calvin's onto something.

Every time I ask a room of executives to list the top five moments their career took a leap forward — not just a step, but a leap — failure is always on the list. For some it was the loss of a job. For others it was a project gone bad. And for others still it was the failure of a larger system, like an economic downturn, that required them to step up.

Yet most of us spend a tremendous effort trying to avoid even the possibility of failure.

According to Dr. Carol Dweck, professor at Stanford University, we have a mindset problem. Dweck has done a tremendous amount of research to understand what makes someone give up in the face of adversity versus strive to overcome it.

It turns out the answer is deceptively simple. It's all in your head.

If you believe that your talents are inborn or fixed, then you will try to avoid failure at all costs because failure is proof of your limitation. People with a fixed mindset like to solve the same problems over and over again. It reinforces their sense of competence.

Children with fixed mindsets would rather redo an easy jigsaw puzzle than try a harder one. Students with fixed mindsets would rather not learn new languages. CEOs with fixed mindsets will surround themselves with people who agree with them. They feel smart when they get it right.

But if you believe your talent grows with persistence and effort, then you seek failure as an opportunity to improve. People with a growth mindset feel smart when they're learning, not when they're flawless.

Michael Jordan, arguably the world's best basketball player, has a growth mindset. Most successful people do. In high school he was cut from the basketball team but that obviously didn't discourage him: "I've missed more than 9,000 shots in my career, I've lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I've been trusted to take the game wining shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."

If you have a growth mindset, then you use your failures to improve. If you have a fixed mindset, you may never fail, but neither do you learn or grow.

In business, we have to be discriminating about when we choose to challenge ourselves. In high risk, high leverage situations, it's better to stay within your current capability. In lower risk situations, where the consequences of failure are less, better to push the envelope. The important point is to know that pushing the envelope, that failing, is how you learn and grow and succeed. It's your opportunity.

Here's the good news: you can change your success by changing your mindset. When Dweck trained children to view themselves as capable of growing their intelligence, they worked harder, more persistently, and with greater success on math problems they had previously abandoned as unsolvable.

A growth mindset is the secret to maximizing potential. Want to grow your staff? Give them tasks above their ability. They don't think they could do it? Tell them you expect them to work at it for a while, struggle with it. That it will take more time than the tasks they're used to doing. That you expect they'll make some mistakes along the way. But you know they could do it.

Want to increase your own performance? Set high goals where you have a 50-70% chance of success. According to Psychologist and Harvard researcher the late David McClelland, that's the sweet spot for high achievers. Then, when you fail half the time, figure out what you should do differently and try again. That's practice. And according to recent studies, 10,000 hours of that kind of practice will make you an expert in anything. No matter where you start.

The next class I did with Calvin, I doubled the weight I was using. Yeah, that's right. Unfortunately, that gave me tendonitis in my elbow, which I'm nursing with rest and ice. Sometimes you can even fail when you're trying to fail.

Hey, I'm learning.

Peter Bregman speaks, writes, and consults about how to lead and how to live. He is the CEO of Bregman Partners, Inc., a global management consulting firm, and advises CEOs and their leadership teams. He is the author of Point B: A Short Guide To Leading a Big Change.

Find value in failure, in the proper context AND in the proper action ... not inaction ... that you take. You will become the average of those people you choose to associate with and surround yourself with.


Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Wow I can’t believe a whole month went by without an update to my blog. Actually I can … as there were a lot of events during June that ate as much spare time I could spare!

As we approach July 4th I’m reminded of the word Independence. Not only should we be thankful for oppression the early Colonists fought against and won, but we should remember the independence we have in life.

Often people search far and wide for that thing that will take them to the next level. Whenever a team reaches the finals do they feel like they’re always the underdog? Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing is how the individual perceives it. Look at from the team that is NOT the underdog. Do they want to just feel like “ehhh … we’re going to win again” because they’re perceived that way? Perhaps they want to elevate their game to produce a VICTORY instead of a WIN.

Whatever situation you’re in, you live in an environment where you don’t have to remain bound by others' limitations on you. You’re in the “land of the free” and you should be able to free yourself! Most of the time these are mental limitations that are keeping you from your independence from these limits. As the 4th of July weekend approaches, think of times you asked your parents for something when you were a child and were innocent of these perceived limitations. The world was open to the doctor/ballerina/President of the United States, who also liked finger painting. What about the Super Bowl champ/NBA star/Park Ranger, who could also take time to build castles from empty boxes? When did you start to take away your own independence? Were you the one who taught yourself the word can’t?

It’s comforting to be reminded of this discussion during my sons’ flag football season that we spent a lot of practice with in May and June. The sports league they participate in have a great balance of sportsmanship and competition.

My Justin was the youngest and the shortest on the team, and played well in his first season. Being part of a team with a spectacular winning season cannot possibly match the gleam in his smile whenever he rushed for yardage because the bigger kids could not run and reach for his flags that were so low to the ground. It was difficult to stop him, because no one told him that he couldn’t get past the kids that were taller, bigger, and faster.

Joshua’s aerial assault in passing developed, because no one told him he can’t run out of the pocket and just fling the ball five to ten yards out, and it was up to the receiver to catch those bricks coming at them.

Yes, on occasion Justin would end up being tackled by accident (in flag football there's no tackling!) because the big kids would come crashing down on him to get his flag. Yes, Joshua hit some faces, both on offense and defense, because he’d let loose on his passing arm. However, they both matured from their experience this season, and they are eager to do flag football again next season … as both had a great time at a winning season.

If Justin had been a startup company competing in the same industry as a more seasoned company, should he shy away from that competition? What if he desired to be in that industry after studying it for a year and worked hard researching and planning? What if he knew he’d have fun at it, while knowing there would be some obstacles along the way?

What about Joshua? Who knew you could harness so much power from a conductor or a generator? Yes the results can be overpowering at times, but perhaps others observing this discovered power can collaborate on controlling and focusing that power?

Whatever you do in life, take a look at limitations others have set for you. You and only you have the power to liberate yourself and get independence from those limitations.


Friday, May 22, 2009

Memorial Day

OakleyOC returns to blogging on Tuesday.

I just wanted to point out that we should not forget the men and women to gave their lives to preserve our rights that we sometimes take for granted.

Thirty-three years ago this month my family and I immigrated to this wonderful land from the not-so-cool situation in The Philippines. Thank you for welcoming us!


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Commencement Speech

As many 2009 graduates cross the stage they’re tasked with heeding their respective keynote speaker and the commencement speech delivered that day.

As you cross the stage at Your Life University, remember the following words from OakleyOC, your Honorary Doctorate of Motivation, and keynote speaker today:

***start of Commencement Speech***


As I look from this podium I see eager eyes and I see glassy eyes. Now those with the glassy eyes … it was a great party last night, huh? (crowd laughs) The ones with the eager eyes … you missed out! (crowd laughs harder)

How many of you truly know what you’re up against after you cross this stage this afternoon? You’re facing one of the lowest moments since the past six years of your undergraduate years. (crowd roars) However one thing you must remember is to NEVER GIVE UP. Many will challenge you in this thinking, and by many I refer to your friends who HAVE given up and want to keep you from reaching your potential. Your Admissions Office didn’t give up on you when you maintained Summer Sessions year after year, in order to move on to the next level in your respective coursework. Your Sorority Sisters didn’t give up on you when you kept breaking your nails during your missed tackles during the Powder Puff Flag Football games. Your fellow ROTC cadets didn’t give up on you when you could not keep your shoes' luster gleaming during inspection. They didn’t give up on you because everyone, I repeat, everyone, has the same shot at life. Take everything in perspective, and not just what you see in your own little world. Take that last comment how you want to take it. Yeah, yeah, I live in Orange County, too, so I can make that comment. In fact, let me share a story I recall. In fact, you English majors may even call this a parable. (crowd laughs)

(”OakleyOC, I love you!” shouts someone from the crowd)

One day a wealthy father took his son on a trip to the country so that the son could see how the poor lived. They spent a day and a night at the farm of a very poor family. When they got back from their trip, the father asked his son, "How was the trip?" "Very good, Dad!" "Did you see how poor people can be?" "Yeah!" "And what did you learn?" The son answered, "I saw that we have a dog at home, and they have four. We have a pool that reaches to the middle of the garden; they have a creek that has no end. We have imported lamps in the house; they have the stars. Our patio reaches to the front yard; they have the whole horizon." When the little boy was finished, the father was speechless. His son then added, "Thanks Dad for showing me how poor we are!"

(silence, then the crowd applauds)

Just when you thought that brand new BMW you’ve got waiting for you in the driveway made you rich, you’re actually pretty darn poor, huh? But I certainly hope you NEVER GIVE UP since you should be feeling so darn poor right about now. (crowd laughs)

Each one of us is given the same opportunity as the person sitting next to you. You History majors will call that inalienable rights. (crowd laughs)

If everyone out there goes into interviews, day after day, week after week, the ones that give up are GUARANTEED to not be offered a job. If everyone out there pushes aside all the challenges everyone will face, you’ll find that “the strong will survive.” See? I plugged you Darwinism majors out there! (crowd laughs)

They call me OakleyOC because of all these awesome looking optics from Oakley that happen to land on my face from time to time. (assistants roll in two crates of Oakley eyewear) Why do I have so many? To see through all the various crap out there! (crowd laughs) See through all the crap and push forward with your vision. NEVER GIVE UP! Who’s going to catch this O ROKR? (OakleyOC begins tossing Oakley eyewear into the crowd, but always towards the same section) Who’s going to catch this Thump? What about this Oil Rig? What about this GasCan? What about this Jawbone? Oh wait, not that one.

My point here is that some of you close to that section over there stopped reaching. Why? Did you give up? What did I just say? NEVER GIVE UP! Can I hear you say that? (crowd joins in)

Now calm down, everyone, so we can all get out of here alive. Campus Police is looking nervous over there. OK ... Where are my whiners? Do I have any whiners in the crowd?


Let me give you whiners out there some examples of winners, those that never gave up:

Tom Landry, Chuck Noll, and Jimmy Johnson accounted for 11 of the 19 Super Bowl victories from 1974 to 1993. They also share the distinction of having the worst records of first-season head coaches in NFL history - they didn't win a single game.

Johnny Unita’s first pass in the NFL was intercepted and returned for a touchdown. Joe Montana’s first pass was also intercepted. And while we're on quarterbacks, during his first season Tony Aikman threw twice as many interceptions (18) as touchdowns (9) . . . oh, and he didn't win a single game. You think there's a lesson here?

Stan Smith was rejected as a ball boy for a Davis Cup tennis match because he was "too awkward and clumsy." He went on to clumsily win Wimbledon and the U. S. Open. And eight Davis Cups

Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball teams. One of his memorable quotes: I've missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

NEVER GIVE UP. Say it with me NEVER GIVE UP. As you move past your crazy antics you’ll do when you cross the stage to pick up your rolled up posters of your beautiful campus (crowd laughs) remember to, what? … NEVER GIVE UP. Remember to look through the crap that’s out there and, what? … NEVER GIVE UP. There’s a ton of crap people will throw in your path, so just look through all of that crap. And to make that a bit easier, taped underneath your seats is a pair of Oakley Jawbones. Your families, your loved ones, your friends ... they're all looking forward to your success. Heck, they’ve waited SIX YEARS for you to graduate today! (crowd roars)

NEVER GIVE UP! (crowd applauds and yells, "Oakley-dokely!")

***end of Commencement Speech***

Look past the crap that many amateurs view as failures and NEVER GIVE UP!