I’ve been there through it all.
Anyone who knows me in the slightest knows that I’m a die-hard heat fan. Besides perhaps Blue’s Clues or Dexter’s Laboratory (“Oooh! What does THAT button do?”), my first memories of watching television are of watching the Miami Heat draft Dwyane Wade out of Marquette University “with the 5th pick of the 2003 NBA Draft” (that last part being said with the voice of former commissioner David Stern’s dry voice in my head).
I witnessed Lamar Odom play in a Miami Heat uniform, back when he was better known for playing basketball than for marrying Khloe Kardashian. Later that year, he was traded to the L.A. Lakers along with Caron Butler and Brian Grant (remember those names, bandwagon fans? Didn’t think so.) for The Big Diesel, Shaquille O’Neal. Shortly afterwards, the Heat finally won their first title, with Wade averaging Jordan-esque numbers in order to slay the Dallas Mavericks after falling behind two games to none before winning four straight in 2006. I was at that championship parade.
I remember sitting in my dad’s living room as Lebron James announced “The Decision”, an event that will go down as one of the biggest snafus in free agency announcement history for everyone in the world except South Floridians, where that moment remains one of the happiest in Miami sports history. I cringed when we lost to the Mavs in 2011, and felt for Lebron as he suffered the biggest media backlash known to mankind for “choking” in the Finals.
I also watched, jaw dropped to the floor, the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals, where Lebron, outfitted with the scariest death-stare you could ever imagine, scored 30 points in the first half alone against the Boston Celtics in Game 6 to stave off elimination and save his legacy. I celebrated again in South Beach with hundreds of thousands of fans after we won in 2012, and watched Ray Allen’s unforgettable three-pointer against the San Antonio Spurs in 2013 live from my cell phone in a San Francisco BART station (of course, cheering at the top of my lungs in sheer joy with no regards to anyone else around me waiting for the train). And, most recently, I remember slouching in my seat at a restaurant in the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport as I witnessed the Heat lose to the Spurs in the latest NBA Finals.
What die-hard Heat fans will tell you, along with basketball aficionados alike, is that, while we are disappointed to lose Lebron to free agency, we are also extremely grateful to have watched one of the game’s all-time greats play in our team’s uniform night-in and night-out for four memorable years. I don’t think that will truly settle in until long after Lebron walks away from the game in a decade or so.
What I can also say is that there are a lot of lessons to learn from Lebron in regards to “The Decision” 2.0, particularly from his letter in Sports Illustrated in which he told the world about his return home. Here’s why Lebron’s letter is actually a success manifesto to be emulated and modelled after.
1) He Surrounded Himself With The Best Talent
When Lebron wanted to write a letter to the world making his decision about free agency known once and for all, he did so with the help of Lee Jenkins, one of the most acclaimed sports reporters in the world. Jenkins received high praise from the 15 other on-air journalists for ESPN who broke the story, all of whom would have loved to be the first to report such breaking news.
In his open letter, James also acknowledged that the reason he came to Miami in the first place was to play with top talent like Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, and we saw the success that decision resulted in (2 MVPs, 2 rings, 4 trips to the NBA Finals, and an Olympic Gold medal). In Cleveland, he will certainly look to continue that trend, and the team has already begun making moves to acquire players like Kevin Love to surround James with winning pieces now.
Kudos to Lebron for surrounding himself with top talent, both on and off the court, over the last few years, and it serves as a great business lesson to the rest of us.
2) He Learned From His Mistakes
The first one-and-a-half years Lebron James was in a Miami Heat uniform were disastrous from a PR standpoint, starting with his primetime TV announcement that he was “taking his talents to South Beach” (such sweet, sweet words even now). As he has recovered from being public enemy #1 in the NBA four years ago (and has now arguably become the most lovable sports figure we have today), he has learned from his mistakes and has matured greatly. This time around, he kept things under wraps until he was ready to make his announcement, and then did so in humble and calculated fashion in his Sports Illustrated letter.
Lesson to all leaders out there – learn from your mistakes, and use those teachings to showcase your growth when given the opportunity. Everyone around you, from your employees to your co-workers, friends, family, followers, and fans, will respect you greatly for your growth in maturity.
3) He Didn’t Burn Any Bridges
Both in his letter and in his actions the past few days, Lebron was very sensitive to the key relationships he had built in Miami over the last four years. He met with the other two members of the former “Big Three” at the onset of free agency in order to give them first consideration in this entire process. He made sure to meet with Heat leadership face-to-face to hear their proposal and give them the respect they deserve. He even consulted Wade man-to-man on a long flight back to Miami from Las Vegas, where I’m sure the two of them discussed this move and what it would mean for their friendship.
In his letter, he wisely thanked Heat owner Micky Arison and Heat President Pat Riley for their time together over the past four years, and cited that the relationships he built here were near-and-dear to his heart. For us, we should use this as a lesson for times in life when we need to leave a job, end a relationship, reject a business deal, or otherwise have to part ways with those we become close to. There is a way to leave something or someone respectably, and Lebron James showed us exactly how to do so.
4) He Began Planting Seeds For Future Success Without Sacrificing For Today
Lebron does this in multiple ways with his decision to return to Cleveland, as well as in his letter. He’s returning to a young team that has the potential to keep a core nucleus of players intact for years and years to come, yet already have enough talent to contend for a championship this season and is already looking to add more talent and experience to the roster to try and win now.
With his brand, he secures current sponsorships and momentum by making this “fairy-tale” return reminiscent of Michael Jordan coming back to the Chicago Bulls from early retirement, while also providing the opportunity to cash in on future success and storylines that may come with potentially producing rings for the championship-starved city of Cleveland. Finally, in his letter, he already began to acknowledge some of his team teammates, which will go a long way towards building chemistry for his team come tip-off of the 2014-2015 NBA season.
In business, if you can “cover your nut” today while planting seeds for future success, you’re already doing a pretty good job of managing your time and potential opportunities.
5) He Showed Us That He Was The Bigger Man
It would be easy for Lebron to hold a grudge against Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, who wrote a nasty letter to James after his departure from Cleveland in 2010. It would be easy for Lebron to be angry at the Cavs fans who burned his jersey in the streets just minutes after he announced his decision to play in Miami and violently booed him at every reunion between the two teams over the last four years.
It would be easy for him to hate the media, who took every rumor of the last ten days and blew them up to epic proportions. However, all of that said, he put the past behind him, especially in his relationship with Dan Gilbert, in order to make the biggest impact possible for his hometown with his choice of returning. That’s not the easiest thing to do, yet that type of class is what epitomizes true success more than any paycheck, job title, or investment ever will. Well done Lebron.
6) He Acted With A Higher Purpose In Mind
While Lebron is undoubtedly the best basketball player on the planet today, this was not solely a basketball decision for him. As you can read in his letter, he acted with a higher purpose in mind, knowing that he was in a position to profoundly impact an entire city’s future for decades to come.
Not only can he potentially deliver a sports championship to a city that hasn’t had one in 50 years, but he sets a standard for hundreds of thousands of Ohio natives, from the 3rd graders currently growing up there to the adults who’ve moved on to other parts of the world, that Cleveland is a great place to live and a sound place to invest your professional and familial future in.
Lebron understands his impact in revitalizing his hometown, and understands the long-term ramifications his return can have on the city’s economy, growth, and collective psyche long after he hangs up his jersey. While we should all make decisions that benefit us today, we should also constantly be cognisant of our higher purposes in life and align our actions accordingly with our “calling” wherever possible.
It has been an absolute pleasure watching one of the greatest players of all-time play for my favorite NBA team the last four years, and as disappointed as Heat fans may be with Lebron’s decision to return to Cleveland, we should all be appreciative of the lessons he can teach us. He is certainly a class act, and his letter in Sports Illustrated should serve as a success manifesto for anyone looking to “make it big” in life (including all the former bandwagon Heat fans who instantaneously became bandwagon Cavalier fans upon hearing his announcement).
Thank you, Lebron. See you next year.
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3 Simple Hacks That Can Recharge Your Willpower and Help You Perform Better at Work
How many times did you wake up feeling like you could conquer the world? You set ambitious goals for the day, you put on your best attire and walked out the door with a big smile on your face but eventually, life took over. Traffic, emails, work, family, and everything else you have around slowly but steadily started to drain your energy and made you feel exhausted.
You run out of battery, and the only solution that seemed viable was to rely on more caffeine. When that stopped working, all the temptations around you started to look much more appealing, and that sense of drive and commitment you had before slowly faded away. This is you running out of willpower.
Willpower: what is it? Why is it limited?
The American Psychology Association describes willpower as “the ability to resist short-term temptations in order to meet long-term goals.” In the book “The Willpower Instinct”, Dr. Kelly McGonigal, explains how every person’s willpower is limited, and slowly depletes throughout the day. The more “willpower challenges” you face, the quicker your reserve drains. Dr. McGonigal divided the different types of willpower challenges you might encounter in three categories:
- I will: We face this type of challenge whenever we should do something, but we simply don’t feel like getting it done right now.
- I won’t: We face this challenge when we try to resist temptation, or we try to keep cool in stressful situations.
- I want: This is a particular type of challenge where we keep track of our long term goals, dreams, and desires. In this instance, we feel like we should take action right now to come one step closer to the goal.
It’s easy to recognize it when you face a willpower challenge because you literally “feel it in your body.” Imagine being really hungry and walking in front of a bakery. The sight and the smell of pastries quickly triggers an “I won’t” type of challenge, and it takes a severe amount of effort and energy to walk away.
Every time you manage to win one of those challenges, a little bit of your willpower reserve gets used. The more challenges you face daily, the harder it will be to stay true to your goals.
Can you train or recharge your willpower?
A growing body of research suggests that willpower should be considered a muscle. To strengthen it, you should exercise it regularly, but you should not overwork it. Therefore, we shouldn’t try to “be good” at all times. Instead, we should learn how to relax and recharge our willpower.
The general advice on how to improve willpower involves sleep, proper nutrition, and regular exercise. This broad and general recommendation is often not downright applicable by most, because it consists of changing various daily habits. Luckily, three very effective hacks have been discovered, that have an immediate effect on our willpower and take just a few minutes to apply.
Here are the 3 ways to refill your willpower reserves:
1. Focused breathing
Breathing, when done correctly, can stimulate the release of calming hormones while reducing the release of stress hormones like cortisol and catecholamines. To make this effective, you should deeply and slowly inhale through the nose for at least five seconds. Fill your belly with air first, then your chest, and when there’s no more space for air, still try to do tiny inhalations through the nose.
You should feel a pulling sensation around your neck and trapezius muscles. Once your lungs are full, try to hold the breath for five seconds, then slowly exhale through the mouth for at least five seconds. If you repeat this process ten to twenty times, you should feel dramatically more relaxed. Use this method several times a day, especially when you’re experiencing high levels of stress or anxiety.
2. Reward yourself when you accomplish a micro goal
According to a recent study, frequent instant rewards can boost motivation, and therefore, willpower. Creating your own reward system can help you to accomplish your to-do list, and also resist temptations. Since every individual has different tastes, you should come up with creative ideas about the small and frequent rewards you will give yourself upon winning any willpower challenge.
You can see this hack in practice in Apps like the popular Duolinguo, where after completing each lesson you get presented with a chance to open a treasure chest. This rewarding system seems to keep the users much more likely to keep learning new lessons.
Your body has an autonomic response to cold water. Getting into a cold shower is a difficult (but minor) willpower challenge on its own. As I previously mentioned, winning a willpower challenge strengthens your willpower muscle. Having a morning cold shower, on top of having multiple health benefits, will set you up for a positive winning streak of further challenges.
High performance is the sum of many small habits. Successful people don’t have an unlimited reserve of willpower, but they do have a set of daily rituals that made them succeed. These three hacks are some of the most effective techniques to develop willpower, but some of them may not fit every individual. You should try to find the perfect mix of daily practices that best fits your lifestyle and likes, so that you can strengthen your willpower muscle and perform better at work.
3 Inspiring Lessons We Can Learn From Jim Carrey About the Law of Attraction
You’ve more than likely heard of Jim Carrey before. Over the years, he has starred in many popular films including The Truman Show, The Mask, and Bruce Almighty (just to name a few.)
But his personality goes a lot deeper than just his comedic persona and movie star charisma. In fact, Jim Carrey is probably one of the most philosophical individuals on the planet!
Although he isn’t in the spotlight as much anymore, throughout the years, he has credited his success and fortunes by applying the Law of attraction into his life. What’s even more inspiring is that Jim Carrey, like you and I, came from humble beginnings. No silver spoon or easy ticket. In fact, his family was very poor throughout his childhood. So what made him so successful in attracting such an extravagant and self-fulfilling life?
Here are 3 lessons you can learn from Jim Carrey when it comes to manifesting your dreams into a reality:
1. You Have To Take Action
“You can’t just visualize then go eat a sandwich”, Jim Carrey says. It goes without saying that the law of attraction does require action. You cannot simply rely on visualizing and expect to see results, especially when it comes to manifesting desires that other people would like to achieve also. E.g. Careers, scholarships, competitions, anything that involves another individual.
Visualization and positive thinking are crucial when it comes to using the law of attraction, but you have to meet the universe halfway with the steps you take as well. We are physical beings that require physical steps to get physical results. The real key is to make daily plans/goals in order to get you closer towards achieving your desires. So after that sandwich, make sure start taking action toward your dreams!
This could be working on your hobbies or passion, applying for that dream job or studying to get better grades. As long as you are moving toward your goals then there’s no reason why it can’t happen. So get out there and kick some butt.
2. Double Down On What You Love
“My father could have been a great comedian but he didn’t believe that that was possible for him, and so he made a conservative choice. Instead, he got a safe job as an accountant and when I was 12 years old he was let go from that safe job, and our family had to do whatever we could to survive. I learned many great lessons from my father. Not the least of which was that: You can fail at what you don’t want. So you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.”
If this story of Jim Carrey’s father doesn’t pull on your heartstrings and inspire you at the same time, nothing else will! This is such an undeniable life lesson that everyone needs to learn. A lesson to take risks, push comfort zones and go all-in on what you love doing. So if your dreams, hobbies or goals seem far fetched to the majority, then you are already beating the other 99%.
Be that 1% that’s willing to dream big and rise above the norm. Unfortunately, in today’s society, our ancestral instincts still rule our everyday life. Fear is one of them and controls the majority of our population. It’s scary to push comfort zones and try something new, the thought of failure is often paralyzing to many. But my question to you is, will you look back one day and regret the chances you didn’t take?
3. Keep Your Eye On The Prize
“As far as I can tell, it’s just about letting the universe know what you want and working toward it, while letting go of how it comes to pass.” Holding onto every little detail when it comes to manifesting, can conjure up more harm than good. The reason is that the universe will deliver in ways you might not expect.
If you are too busy wondering when your desires will manifest, comparing yourself to others, or ignoring every sign that doesn’t look like your detailed plan you’ve written down, then you may be missing out on opportunities that are right in front of you! Your visualizations don’t have to be perfect, in fact, it’s better to just let go altogether and focus on the result itself rather than dwelling on every little detail. This doesn’t mean to simply forget about what you want but instead having the confidence it will happen in time.
An example of this is when Jim Carrey wrote himself a check for 30 million dollars. The only detail he knew was that he would earn it through his acting career, and he did indeed achieve this goal! So make sure to tell the universe what you want, but try not to hold onto every little detail!
Jim Carrey is just another person like you and me, with his own personal ups and downs in his road to success. He is someone to look up to when applying the law of attraction in your life too. It doesn’t matter if your goals or desires are different because the core foundation will always stay the same. You can and will do this if you think, feel and act as if it will happen!
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