An Unlikely Inspiration, from a Likely Source

Like most people, my father is my role model. He’s everything I want to be as a man, a father, a husband, and a sibling (as he is to his). For the most part, I’m sure every son in the world can relate to the above statement, or at least, I hope so.

What’s unique about my father’s inspiration on me, however, is that he’s the reason I want to (continue to) be an entrepreneur. Now, my father isn’t the traditional small-business owner, nor is he a huge risk-taker. On the contrary, my father went to school for Chemical Engineering, and worked for a large corporation (the same one) for 30 years before being laid off in 2008 at the height of the recession.

My father’s message was always clear to us children: go to school, get good grades, get a good job, be a good spouse and parent.

An admirable message, to say the least. The problem is, I’m an entrepreneur. I always have been, whether I’d like to admit it or not. I’m a risk taker, I’m an ‘all-or-nothing’ go-getter, and I’d rather work 24/7 for something I believe in, for free, than work 5 minutes on something that doesn’t spark my interests.

As you can imagine, my father, nor my mother, was particularly pleased when I told them 3 years ago that I wanted to leave my job and start Buddytruk. I was “crazy” and “not thinking straight.” This was just another “excuse to get out of working.” I went ahead and did it anyway, and 3 years later, I couldn’t be happier in my decision. Ironically enough, it was my father that motivated me to do so.

You see, my father told me not to do it. He told me the likelihood of failure was high, and sure, he was right. But what I haven’t told you, is what my father did after he got laid off in 2008.

My father, not one to sit still, started trading stocks and penny stocks online. He thought he could make money by day-trading full-time, and it turns out, he couldn’t. So what did he do? He did what any other entrepreneur would do, he pivoted and tried something else. The second thing he tried was real estate, and he bought a beach house in Galveston, Texas and started renting it out on VRBO. Well, it turns out that his second stint worked pretty well, and 8 years later, he has 4 beach houses, and has flipped 3 additional properties. My father, with his “get a good job and work hard for 30 years” mentality, has become quite the entrepreneur. He may hate the title, and claims he only does this for fun and to “pass the time”, but make no mistake, this is a business, and one that’s run very well.

So naturally, my father’s success has inspired me to master my own craft as an entrepreneur. Our conversations are much more frequent than they used to be, and we talk business on almost every call, and not because we feel the obligation to ask the usually mandatory “how’s work?” question, but rather because we are both generally passionate about working for ourselves.

But what’s even more inspiring to me than my father’s ‘on-the-field’ success, is how this career change has affected him ‘off-the-field.’ In Stephen Covey’s famous book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” Stephen talks about a concept he calls “private victories before public victories.” What Stephen means is, in order for someone to have success in business, or in relationships, one must first have success internally. In other words, someone who’s generally happy with themselves, tends to work better, treat others better, have better relationships, manage better, etc. And this is so true with my father. As already mentioned, my father has been very successful over the last 8 years running his own business, but what means much more to me, and perhaps I’m biased because I’m his son, is how much better our relationship has become because of it. When I was growing up, my father had a short temper, yelled at me when I made mistakes, and genuinely seemed unhappy most of the time. As a kid, I just thought that he was “grumpy”, but now, as an adult and entrepreneur, I see the truth: he wasn’t passionate about what he was doing.

I’ve always believed the key to happiness is following one’s passions, and my dad is the perfect example. Now that he’s doing something he’s passionate about, he’s happier. He’s more patient. He’s a better listener. He’s more empathetic. He went from being the parent you’d “avoid” when you made a mistake to the guy you’d run to for advice when you’ve messed up. Whenever I call, he answers. And no matter what he’s got going on, he’ll talk to me for hours on end just to help me with my problems. Now granted, I’m sure this sounds like a lot of stuff fathers are “suppose to do”, and you know what, you’re right. But I know way too many parents, my own included, who have let the stresses from work affect their family life. I myself have passed along my stress onto others after a long day at work. It’s human nature. But to me, it’s clear as day to see that those who are passionate at work, tend to live much better lives. They stress less, they worry less, and because of that, they think about themselves far less. Because my father thinks about himself less, he’s able to think about me, and my sisters, and my mother, and his parents, much, much more. In the last 8 years, I’ve seen my father go from the “grouch” in the family to the “rock.” Even my mom’s mom goes to my dad for advice now! And it’s obvious why, he’s simply the best listener in our family, and the most understanding person I know.

Perhaps there are other factors at play here, but I can’t help but think that this career change is the main driver in my father’s change of heart over the last decade. As Aristotle says “we are what we repeatedly do”, and if you go from spending the majority of your time at a job that stresses you out, to a job you genuinely love, you’re damn sure it’s going to positively affect ALL aspects of your life, not just your professional one. It’s my father’s ‘off-the-field’ success that’s most inspiring to me, and makes me want to continue to be an entrepreneur. He’s shown me through his actions, regardless of his words, that how you spend your time has a major effect on who you are, and who better to be, than a man of passion!

Thank you Dad for all the inspiration, I love you dearly.

Must Win, Part II.

I must admit, I was wrong in my last post. I went 1-3, missing both Game 3 of the NBA Finals and Hillary vs. Bernie in California.

Hillary vs. Bernie in CA

I clearly underestimated Hillary’s ability to “close.” Hillary needed a big day on Tuesday, and she got it! This was about the same time her campaign fell apart in 2008, and part of me was expecting the same thing in 2016. Bernie had seemed to be gaining momentum, and CA and Bernie seem to align on several issues. However, when it mattered most, Hillary got it done. Well done, Hillary.

It’ll be interesting to see who wins in November, as both candidates are clear winners (in the sense that they win, not that I endorse either one). Traditionally wisdom must have Hillary as the favorite, but since when has Trump followed traditional anything on his rise to the top of the GOP? Too hard to predict.

Cleveland vs. Golden State, Game 3

Again, I underestimated Lebron’s ability to win a “must-win” game with his back against the wall. Instead, Cleveland won by 30. I’m impressed, they showed up!

Not surprisingly, Golden State came back to win Game 4, after being down 8 in the second half. They now head back to Oakland for Game 5 up 3-1 and have the chance to close it out. Do I even need to predict who I think will win Game 5 tonight? Let’s just say there will be plenty of celebrations in the Bay Area tonight.

Brian’s Correct Pick, USA vs. Costa Rica

I’ll save my gloating for last. I called a “big win” for USA over Costa Rica, in a must-win game for the States. I called for 2-0, but instead, USA romped Costa Rica 4-0. The US went on to beat Paraguay 1-0 on Saturday, and after Columbia’s loss to that same Costa Rica squad, USA won the group! We now play Ecuador in the QF on Thursday. My “soccer brain” doesn’t know enough about the Ecuadorian side to make a logical pick, but my “soccer heart” would love to see the US advance. Can we all agree that Brooks is the best defender the US has had…maybe ever? He’s playing with intention right now, and it’s fun to watch.

Must Win.

Today is a pretty beautiful day. It’s election day in California, USA plays Costa Rica in the Copa America, and Game 3 of the NBA finals is tonight! Not bad for a Tuesday…

These events got me thinking, who wants it more? What I’ve found is, as in sports and in life, is that “winners, win.” They win because their focus is on winning, and nothing else. They don’t care about stats, how “well” they play, or anything else. They only care about winning.

The same philosophy can hold true in “must win” situations. The reason “winners win” never disappoints is because, since winners only care about winning, they tend to “want to win” more than their opponent, and ultimately, the team or individual that “wants it more” almost always comes out ahead.

So let’s apply that philosophy to the events today and see how accurate we are:

CA Election Day

Now I’m not trying to get political here, so please don’t confuse my pick of who I think will win versus who I think should win. This is simply a prediction. Also, since the Republican side is already finalized, we’ll stick to the Democrats.

Based on the “Winners Win” mentality, you’d have to say Hillary is the favorite. She’s been the clear pick (according to politicians) since the beginning, and has maintained a pretty comfortable lead over Bernie the entire primary season.

That said, in respect to “who wants it more”, I think you’d have to say this is a “must-win” for Bernie. Hillary already has the 2,383 delegates she needs for nomination, but Bernie is a good 800 short. California could help Bernie a lot, with 475 delegates at stake.

When you contrast the “Winners win” mentality of Hillary versus the “must win” situation with Bernie, I’m going to give the edge to Bernie. Why? Well, for one, Hillary hasn’t always been a winner. She lost to Obama 8 years ago, and she’s lost over 10 states to Bernie already. Thus, I “trust” Bernie’s ability more when his back’s against the wall, then I do Hillary’s overall ability to “win.”

Prediction: Bernie wins a close one in CA.

USA vs. Costa Rica – Copa America

This one is pretty easy. USA is already a clear favorite over Costa Rica, and after losing 2-0 to Columbia in Game 1, if USA doesn’t win this game, it’s over. I like USA big in this game, winning by multiple goals.

Prediction: USA 2, CRC 0.

Game 3: Golden State at Cleveland

This game is tied with the election for “hardest to predict.” If you’re going to adhere to the “Winners Win” philosophy, Golden State is the clear favorite. However, when it comes to “must win” games, this is about as much of a “must win” situation for Cleveland as it gets.

This is why I think Golden State will ultimately decide who wins this game. Cleveland clearly needs to win, and with Lebron, and the crowd, Cleveland is the obvious favorite. If I wanted to make a conservative pick here, I’d say Cleveland wins a nail biter. Lebron isn’t the biggest “winner” in NBA history, but he’s won 2 Championships already and he knows what it takes to win big games. If they lose tonight, it’s over. He knows that. Most “smart” people would take Cleveland tonight.

But, I adhere to “Winners Win” above all. Yes, this is a must win for Cleveland. Yes, Golden State will win this series regardless of whether they win tonight or not. But something tells me this team learned something from the OKC series: take no game for granted. Golden State is 5-0 since being down 3-1 in the last series to OKC, and I don’t think they want to start losing anytime soon. Golden State also knows if they win tonight, the series is over, and at this point, I think that’s enough to motivate them to “show up.” They’re the better team, and they’re the “winning-er” team. I like Golden State to “shock” the critics and go up 3-0.

Prediction: Golden State 104, Cleveland 99.

 

 

People are Everything.

I’ve been very fortunate in life. I’ve had a lot go my way. I’ve worked my tail off as well, no question, but I’ve had luck on my side for most of my life. I hear that Ben Franklin quote running through my head right now, “The harder I work, the luckier I seem to get!”

Of all the beautifulness that has flowed in my direction over the years, the things I’ve cherished most are the relationships I’ve created. There are some special people on this planet, and I’ve been lucky enough to meet several of them, one of whom I’m hoping to spend the rest of my life with.

It makes me think, why do we work so hard? What’s the ‘end goal’? And every way you slice it, it always comes back to people.

“I want to provide for my family.”

“I want to be able to give back.”

Or, slightly less idealistic..

“I want to be able to impress (girlfriend, husband, women, men, etc.).”

Almost everything we do, we do for others. Whether it be altruistic, or out of a negative energy, like fear or jealously, another human is the catalyst. That’s why, I believe, if you have positive relationships, your life can’t help but be a positive one. If people are the catalyst of every decision we make, and we love those around us, wouldn’t every decision we make be out of love? And on the contrary, if we were jealous of those around us, envious of what they “have” or “who” they have, wouldn’t every decision we make be out of jealousy? Either way, people are the catalyst.

If we can cherish the relationships we have, and constantly build positive relationships with everyone we come into contact with, I believe (in a selfish way), your life will have to be a positive one. One filled with love. Peace. By always keeping “the relationship” at the forefront of our minds, whether it be with our spouse, our co-worker, or a complete stranger, our actions and decisions will always be positive ones, because we will always be thinking of the other person’s wellbeing. And since we get what we give, the world will be FORCED to always be thinking about YOUR wellbeing. Reciprocity at its finest.

And that’s how I arrived at the first sentence: I’ve been very fortunate. I’ve been fortunate because I began my life with positive relationships. I didn’t have to go out and “seek” positivity, it found me. That’s like having the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow arrive at your front door. You didn’t have to go chasing it, it came to you. And for that, I’m forever grateful.

Thank you to all who’ve been a part of my life, you are my pot of gold.

Winners, Win.

Warriors, wow.

Oklahoma City, this had to be tough to swallow.

Last night, Gina and I devoted our evening to this game. We went out for oysters, and sat at the bar for the entire 48 minutes. Both being huge NBA fans, and Curry fans, this was a must-watch event. What we saw was a team, in Golden State, who just couldn’t seem to pull ahead for the first 43 minutes.

Golden State was down by 3 after 1.

Golden State was down by 5 at halftime.

Golden State entered the fourth down by 8.

But if there’s one thing I’ve learned about sports, or life in general, it’s that “Winners, Win.” It’s what they do. You see, the first 43 minutes didn’t matter. In fact, the first 4 games of the series (when GS was down 3-1), didn’t matter. The ONLY thing that matters, to winners, is that WHEN it matters, they pull through. Klay Thompson had the game of his life last night. He set an NBA-record for 3s in a playoff game (11), and finished with 41 points on 11/18 shooting from downtown. His 3-point shooting percentage (61%) was almost as good as OKC’s free throw percentage (68%). Klay and Steph combined for a +27 point differential when on the court, compared to a combined -12 point differential for Westbrook/Durant. This is because as good as Westbrook and Durant are, and they are good, they are not winners.

They don’t win.

Steph and Klay ONLY win. And that’s the biggest difference.

OKC has been to the finals once, and lost. GS went to the finals once (last year), and won.

OKC gave up 15 4th quarter leads this season. GS lost 9 games, total.

To some people, individual play and stats are everything. Peyton Manning was notorious for this. Peyton had some of the best individual statistics of any QB in NFL history. I remember when he threw his 500th TD pass. It was the 1st quarter, game was far from over, but he walked off the field, waving to the fans as if he was just crowned Superbowl MVP. And that got me thinking, what would Tom Brady do in that same situation? My guess, nothing. That’s because to Tom, the only stat he tracks is 4. 4 Superbowls. That’s it.

The biggest difference between winners and great players is great players focus on “playing well” and winners focus on “winning.” That’s it.

Tom Brady in Superbowls: 4-2.

Peyton Manning in Superbowls: 2-2.

Kobe Bryant / Michael Jordan in NBA Finals: 11-2.

Lebron James in NBA Finals: 2-4.

Nick Saban in Nat’l Championship games: 5-0.

Bob Stoops in Nat’l Championships: 1-2.

Winners win. They don’t care about their stats, their minutes, or how they play individually. They don’t care what happened in the first 3 quarters, only the scoreboard at the end. Last night, you witness 2 great players on OKC who are just that –> Great Players, lose to 2 great players on GS who are more than just great players, they’re winners.

When it matters most, winners win. It’s the oldest rule in sports, and that’s why I like GS in game 7…. by a lot.

Distracted

Some days, I just feel distracted. Sometimes, I blame it on support. I’m in the middle of doing something, and a call comes in. Other times, I blame people, I’m at Rose Cafe right now, trying to get work done, and a woman from Gold’s (who I’m not particularly fond of), comes up and talks to me for half an hour. Why does this happen?

 

The truth is, I don’t know. Maybe it’s because I’m always ‘behind.’ I’m always playing ‘catch up’ at work, and I have to balance the things I have to do now, the things I should have done yesterday, and the things I’d like to do before tomorrow. But if I could eliminate all the things that I should have done yesterday (by doing them yesterday), maybe I wouldn’t feel so distracted? Sometimes I think distraction is just a way for me to “escape.” It’s like drinking or partying, it’s used to escape my current situation. Not that I need to escape from it, but because I feel overwhelmed by it. I have so much going on, that I can’t focus on what’s in front of me. And maybe it’s because I always bite off more than I can chew, or maybe it’s because I am a procrastinator and I only take care of what’s absolutely essential every day, instead of going above and beyond to reach my goals. Whatever it is, it needs to change.

 

For now, until I can nail down the root problem, I’m going to blame the procrastination, and not finishing everything I want to for the day before the day is over. I think if I finish everything i want to do, every day, I’ll be able to be more “present” in the moment, and not want to throw a woman from Gold’s through the window when she tries to talk to me.
Anyway, just a thought. I’m going to get to work. Over and out!

On-Track

Goals → Make the world go round.

Yesterday, in the first time it what seems like forever, I accomplished everything I set out to do. My checklist was completely crossed-out, and it felt amazing! Everything I wanted to accomplish, done!

 

I was right, accomplishing my goals does make me feel better. It also makes you more confident in your ability to reach your goals, and makes you want to create more and more challenging goals! Last night at Gold’s, I felt myself looking in the mirror a lot, really contemplating what kind of health goal I could set. I have this vision in my mind of what I want to look like, but I’m having trouble creating a goal around that other than to “be healthy” or “eat less junk food” or “eat less at night.” I want something more encompassing, like, “I will be 155 lbs by May 1.” But weight isn’t a goal. I could care less about how much I weigh, I only care about what I look like. Anyway, the struggle is real. I want to be shredded. I like training at Gold’s, and it drives me to up my fitness game. I want to have the best physique yet this summer!

 

Goals → Make the world go round. You can either make your own and work towards them, or don’t have any and work towards someone else’s. But, you’re always going towards goals!
Over and out, time to chase some goals. Mahalo!