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!


Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Thank you for your emails and DMs (for my Twitter followers). As noted in my last post I had to help a friend get over some troubling news recently. Your dose of Oakley-dokely is back again ...

The Los Angeles Lakers will play Game 1 tonight against the Denver Nuggets. This morning I heard a Charles Barkley say in an interview that the Lakers are talented players who are focusing, hence, surviving, on talent. Sir Charles said that the Lakers could play with such intensity in every game, and in every minute, and definitely show on everyone’s radar that they are the best team in the NBA. Unfortunately Sir Charles believes the Lakers aren’t playing with such intensity all the time. What struck me was that Sir Charles said that the Lakers will play like this with the series with Denver, since the Lakers have Game 7 at home. Hopefully not, as I have a feeling the Nuggets are going to bring their A game to Game 1 in order to set the tone. Do you think the Lakers believe in providing fans a victorious Game 7 sudden death moment at home, or do you think the Lakers believe in stretching the series to Game 7 to save themselves for the championship?

The focus today is on a perceived safety net versus belief.

Goals are one thing, but taking actions that produce results to reach those goals are another thing. It is important to set goals to gain focus in daily life. Do you find yourself setting foot to achieve something that was easy to accomplish to score mini-wins? I hope so, as instant gratification is something we don’t take too lightly. However, when was the last time you set a goal that you truly believed was worthwhile, and that you truly believed would be a bear to accomplish? If I caused you to draw a blank for a bit, do you owe it to yourself to look beyond the safety net ready to catch you when you slip?

If you knew that there was a reward you desired to receive, would you be all in? Picture a loved one, someone you really cared for. OK, do you have that person in your head? Come on, this will work better if you do. You can choose a spouse, child, friend, pet, etc., but choose someone you couldn’t live without. OK, good; now we're ready.

If I told you that I will give you $10,000 in fifteen days if you can sell x number of widgets, would you accept the challenge? Nine times out of ten, the average individual will accept the challenge. What have you got to lose, right? At the end of the challenge say you don’t complete the challenge successfully. What happens? You go on with life as if nothing happened. You're back to your same routine. Now let’s change the challenge a bit. I will still give you $10,000 in fifteen days if you can sell x number of widgets. Would you still accept the challenge if I told you that you will not see that loved one EVER again should you not successfully complete the challenge? Nine times out of ten, the average individual may NOT accept the challenge now. Why? Why bother taking a challenge if you do not possess the belief that you will succeed? Do like to fail just for kicks?

The person that possesses such a strong belief will not rest until the job is done. The point here is that money is not even the object anymore. The challenge could’ve been for 10,000 pats on the back. The point is having conviction in the actions you take, making your actions count for something. Look around you in daily life and observe those who believe in themselves. Do you find yourself marveling at their belief and accomplishment? Is it time you believed in YOURself? When you believe strongly in yourself, that is powerful, as that belief guides you through sustained actions, which help you reach your desired outcome. It is then and only then that others will also believe in you.

Charles Blondin of France was the greatest tightrope walker of his time. In the 1850’s he strung a tightrope from the Canadian side of the Niagara Falls to the US side, and crossed it, in front of 10,000 onlookers. He yelled, “I am Blondin! Do you believe in me?” Of course the crowd roared, “We believe! We believe!” He then asked the crowed if they believe he could cross back to the other side, this time carrying someone on his back. Again the crowd yelled, “We believe! We believe!” Then Blondin asked the crowd what that person would be that would ride on his back as he crossed the tightrope. The crowd became silent. In the end one individual did step forward to volunteer, and in a long and tense journey across the tightrope, they both successfully made it across. The entire crowd believed, but only one TRULY believed.

Do you want to go through life waiting to land in your safety net? Would you prefer to live life exercising your belief in yourself? Make your actions count and TRULY believe in yourself.


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Winning and losing

Each time I hear about winning and losing, one icon towers above … Vince Lombardi. I remember one of his many quotes, “Show me a good loser, and I’ll show you a loser.”

In all matters, sports, career, or life, never settle. It doesn’t necessarily mean to be first, second, third. This can refer to the individual who goes through life playing it safe, not taking chances. Life can mean many different things for each person, but one thing for certain is you should do something to improve it. Do something!

You ever get that feeling where you sat around all day, without a worry, go to sleep and wake up the next day refreshed? Not unless you were sick all day, right? If you were able-bodied and for one day you just stared at the wall and did nothing constructive, the next day your energy level would still be as deficient as it was the prior day. On the other hand, what about where you ran around all day doing errands, taking care of things back-to-back, to the point where by the time you laid to bed at night you felt like you conquered the world? This is because you prepared a list of things to accomplish, in a period of time, and you saw it to completion. You competed to check off your list, you put your game face on, and you succeeded.

To win in anything you have to compete. When you compete, you put all your efforts toward that goal and you finish the job. These actions help you win. Don’t go into things half-heartedly. If you do, you might as well not take on the challenge.

Not only do you need to do it because of you, but there are others that may be watching. In a boxing match you have two individuals ready to pound each other to pieces, or so their press conferences show. Finally in that first round of their match you see the intensity of the winner, and you see the unpreparedness of the loser. You can already see in your head the ending where the boxer will say he was not ready, didn’t train properly, etc. Why would you get in the ring with someone you’ve been talking crap about? You have to play to win, not to lose.

Not to take anything from anyone’s talent … thank you Manny Pacquaio for an awesome two-round knockout this weekend … but talent is sometimes not enough. When your mind is not in the right mindset to win, you will not win. When your preparation is not at peak capacity, you cannot expect to win. I hate to call people winners and losers, so I’ll let Lombardi do it for me, “Show me a good loser, and I’ll show you a loser.” Get two prepared, motivated, and talented boxers in the ring, and you will get a slug fest that EVERYONE will be on their feet on, no matter the outcome. In the end people will remember each fighter's determination and focus to win. How do YOU want to be remembered in your actions in the workplace, in the home, or in your life ... as a winner or as a loser?

When you enter into competitions, do so with a focus to win. When you enter a new role in your career, do so with a focus to win. When you enter a new stage in a relationship, do so with a focus to win. Otherwise don’t even bother. There will be some rough spots along the way, but that’s expected for anything worthwhile tackling. Another Lombardi quote is, “The real glory is being knocked down to your knees and then coming back. That’s real glory. That’s the essence of it.” When you pour all your efforts in to win you cannot lose, as one final Lombardi quote that says it the best, “We didn’t lose the game; we just ran out of time.”

Psych yourself to win, and prepare for a battle that may suck the energy and wits out of you. However, put your mind in a state of winning. Doing so influences your action, and your actions will lead to a result. Which mindset do you have right now, to win or to lose?


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A Win vs. a Victory

Each time the NBA winds up to the Finals I often remind myself of the difference between a win and a victory.

Whether you’re rooting for the favored team or not, when all is said and done, look at the expression of the players of both teams after the final seconds run out. It might be difficult at first but associate the win with one team, and the victory with another team. My opinion is that oftentimes a great series that takes it to the sixth or seventh game, those labels are split between the two teams. The series that end in four games usually has one team taking a win, and neither a victory. Or is it?

When the heavily-favored team dominates a game 150 to30, that was just a blowout … no, just kidding; it’s actually just a win. Not to take anything away from the winning team, but they were expected to win. On the other hand if the struggling team takes the series to seven games, and loses, did they really lose? What if they had depth issues all season, injuries left and right, barely winning their post-season games AND taking the championship to the seventh game? Many teams wish they would have made it that far. Who would’ve thought they would make it this far?

In life we are put through a series of tests, whether they are standardized tests in school or tests in life. Growing up I saw a lot of material items that was left to be desired, as that’s all they were, due to financial constraints. Nevertheless, I saw a few childhood friends get their wins in life early on, or so it seemed. From sporting the bling, driving in their expensive vehicles, flashing their cash and buying whatever they wanted … all as such a young age, too. As many other childhood friends grew out of the hype of this easy life of hustling on the street, we all later realize that we who have survived this long actually accomplished a victory. Each time we hit a milestone in life, positive or negative, was a victory as I guarantee you that many in the outside world did not see us surviving, let alone accomplishing much.

In an earlier chapter in my life, I can remember when I reached the final oral interview panel for the FBI Special Agent Selection System. I can remember how much focus was put on the neighborhood I grew up in, and how I managed to pull through. (I just want to add that today I wouldn’t dare walk through my ol’ neighborhood now without a protective detail of mercenaries.) However, I remember during my FBI screening that after basically defending myself fit, due to list of childhood friends who were now probably on their watch list, I experienced a paradigm shift at some point. It was one of those “wait a second, I didn’t make it this far to feel inferior about my background” and I ended up feeling prouder during the remainder of the interview, knowing, no, feeling the victory I had accomplished in life sitting in front of those senior FBI Agents.

A win is a moment celebrated and may soon be forgotten; a victory is a feeling that lives on within us and is forever.

As many of you feel like you’re not winning at anything: school, sports, career, or relationships, what about LIFE? I encourage you to look back at your life and the victories you’ve failed to celebrate. Stand proud at what many can only imagine, yet you’ve lived through and pulled through, VICTORIOUSLY.