Forget About Perfection and Focus on Progress

This may be a surprise or maybe not, but perfect is not always positive.  At times, we get hung up on things being perfect and as a result, nothing happens. By the time that something does happen, it could be too late.

You shouldn’t wait until something is perfect or the situation is perfect to act.  Perfection is nothing more than a hindrance on progression.  Continue to wait for protection and you will be waiting forever.

Nike built their empire off the saying “just do it.”  They figured out early on what many fail to realize.  That is to move on even if the situation or the product is not perfect because it’s important to take action.  Launch the shoe, pitch a product, go for that run, whatever it is, “just do it.”

Nike placed it in the minds of their customers to lace up their shoes and head out the door.  They were telling everyone to quit waiting for the perfect conditions.  Don’t wait until you’re motivated, don’t wait until the rain clears, “just do it.”  Get out there and work.

It’s about progress, not perfection

When you want to start something, there is never going to be a perfect time.  The key is to just start.  Start with whatever you have and wherever you are at.  But it is imperative that you start.

What happens when you start?

Progress is what happens.  As you get going, you begin to figure out what works and what doesn’t work.  You fix what you can and keep moving forward.  That is progress.  You’re not waiting for perfection but you are chasing it.  This is where your focus should be.

It’s about progress, not perfection.  Set the goal high and strive for perfection.  There is nothing wrong with trying to make something perfect unless you let it hold up progress.  Don’t wait because it’s not the perfect time or the product isn’t perfect.  That is nothing more than an excuse.  Take action and improve as you go.

The benefits of progress

Progress is happiness

The great Tony Robbins once said that “the key to happiness is progress.”  Progress is a reward for your work.  When you feel it and when you see it, you get a feeling of fulfillment.  You get that feeling because you put in work for something, take the action necessary and you are rewarded for it.  Much in the same way we feel when we get paid for our work.

Progress is motivation

Once you feel progress you want more.  You want more so you start taking more action and start working harder.  It motivates you to get better because you realize that all that time and effort that you’re putting in pays off.

Progress is feedback

Progress is also feedback for the action that you have taken.  it lets you know where you stand.  In the gym, if you’re stuck squating 315 for a few months, then you know there is something that isn’t right in your training plan because your progress has plateaued.  Something has to change.  More reps, heavier weight, more rest, something needs to happen.

Bottom line

Whether its in your work, in the gym, or in a relationship, progress in anything just feels great.  Waiting around for perfection is a recipe for disaster.  Start immediately and strive for perfection, but don’t be held up by it.

Enjoy the progress that you make because any progress is worth acknowledging and celebrating.  No matter how small, progress will always feel good.  Always remember that it’s about progress not perfection.

—Cruz

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Change Perspective by Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

At your level, from your perspective, you may see nothing more than a wall in front of you and at every turn.

You need to change your perspective.

Stand on the shoulder of a giant and it will change.

When you stand on the shoulder of a giant, you become a witness to an entirely new world.

Your perspective will forever change with the vision of opportunities that were non-existent before.

 “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants” —Sir Isaac Newton

Through our lives, in some form or fashion, one way or another we are helped by those around us.

This is what Sir Isaac Newton meant when he said that he saw further only by standing on the shoulders of giants.

We don’t get to where we are alone even though at times, that is exactly how it feels.

No one is self-made no matter how much one claims to be.

At some point, every successful person received help from someone.

Take a moment to reflect upon your life.

If you concentrate enough, you will find the giants who placed you on their shoulders.

Perspective matters more than you may think

There is a story about two young brothers that were raised by a single father.

Their father was doing the best that he could to raise his sons, but it was difficult, and he drank to deal with his problems.

His financial situation worsened with each passing day.

Then, one day having become overwhelmed, the father felt there were no options left and in a moment of desperation, he decided to rob a convenient store for money.

He believed that this was the only way that he could get the money he needed to support himself and his young boys.

Unfortunately, during the robbery, a shot was fired and an innocent bystander was killed.

Shortly thereafter, the police arrested the boys’ father for his crimes.

He was tried, sentenced and put away for a very long time.

His two sons were left alone and grew up moving from one foster home to another.

As they became adults, one brother turned to a life of crime and ended up in the same prison that his father was sent to.

He was asked why his life turned out the way it did.

His response was, “how could it not? Take a look at my father.”

From his perspective, he believed that he would end up like his father no matter what he did.

His brother, who went through many of the same struggles, went on to become a success.

He too was asked how did his life turned out the way that it did.

His response was the same as his brothers.

He said “how could it not? Take a look at my father.” 

From his perspective, he believed that by experiencing the things his father did, it gave him the drive and direction needed to succeed.

He used the pain and adversity to fuel the fire to succeed because he did not want to end up as his father did.

Morale of the story

This story shows just how powerful perspective can be.

One brother’s perspective of their father was one of a wall.

The other perspective of their father was that of a giant.

Change your perspective.

Find the giants in your life that will put you on their shoulders.

They can be parents, brothers, sisters, teachers, mentors and anyone else that you can think of.

Stand on their shoulders and change your perspective.

Be the giant

It’s not enough to change your perspective.

What will you produce?

How and what will you contribute to your family, your community, your city, your country, and this world?

Who and how many will you help?

Become the giant for others and put them on your shoulders as others once did for you.

“Become the giant for others and put them on your shoulders as others once did for you.”

Whether you think so or not, someone sees you as a giant.

There is someone or many out there that are waiting for you to pick them up and put them on your shoulders.

If you’re a parent, you are a giant to your children.

Maybe you have younger siblings.  To them, you can also be a giant.

Maybe you’re a teacher or even a supervisor.

Even if you do not see yourself as a giant yet, make yourself one.

The best thing that you can do is put yourself in a position where you can be the shoulders on which others stand on.

To be the one that changes their perspective is a reward in itself.

Walter Bond, a former NBA player says that you should always pick up your child.

When you walk through that door after a long day and see your child, pick them up.

Pick them up as often as possible because there will come a time when you can no longer pick them up physically.

When that day comes, you can still pick them up emotionally.

You can still pick your child up mentally and you can pick them up spiritually.

No matter what, no matter how frustrated you are or how your child is behaving, PICK THEM UP!

Pick them up and change their world by changing their perspective.

When you pick them up, they see the world from a whole new perspective.

They see the world as you see it, from your perspective with the support and safety of the person that they trust the most in this world.

Put them on your shoulders and imagine the perspective they will have of the world then.

Bottom Line

Perspective is important.

Change your perspective by finding those that will help you change it in a positive way.

Find the giants in your life that will help you do so by giving you their shoulders to stand on.

Just as our perspective was changed, we all have a responsibility to change the perspective of others.

We have a responsibility to put as many people as we can on our shoulders.

You will be better for it and the world will also be a better place for it.

Stand on the shoulders of giants.

Change your perspective.

Become a giant yourself, let others stand on your shoulders and change their perspective.

—Cruz

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6 Ways to Show Up and Get Ahead

If you want to show up, then get up.  Get up, get your shoes on, and get moving.  Do it like it were basic training.  

How easy it is to roll over and smash the snooze button when your alarm goes off. 

Sure, it’s easy to stay in bed for a few more precious minutes under your warm cozy covers.  It’s easy, but the worst thing to do first thing in the morning is go back into bed. 

“It’s easy, but the worst thing to do first thing in the morning is go back into bed.” 

You’re losing every time you hit the snooze and lay back down.

You can’t always go along with what feels good at the moment.  Kick in the self-discipline and go with what is right. Go with what is going to make you better and give you a better life. 

You know what that is because you will be uncomfortable.  Being uncomfortable is where you grow. 

Get out of your bed, break that damn alarm clock, win your morning, and show up to be the hero of your story!

The easy part

Anything done with motivation can be easy.

It’s easy to show up and accomplish things when you’re feeling motivated and full of energy.  Anyone can do that. 

Ask yourself this, how many of those days do you have? 

It’s not every day, that’s for damn sure.  If you count them, you’ll be surprised how very few there are.New Years

There would be a lot more successful people in this world if they were constantly motivated.  Even if they had more days of motivation than not.

Unfortunately, that is never the case for anyone.   

Working, progressing, improving only when you are motivated is not progress that will last.  Motivation is purely momentary and when that moment passes, it’s gone. 

What then? 

Usually, we fall back into the trap of going through the motions in life.  The progress made during the moment of motivation is lost.

The hard part

It’s the days that you don’t have the energy that truly matter.  The days where there isn’t an ounce of motivation in your body, but you get to work anyway. 

When you don’t feel like waking up early, going to the gym, working on your project, studying for your test, and getting better.  It’s those days that it becomes absolutely imperative that you fight that feeling of comfort and do it. 

That’s when you must show up.

Most days, all it takes is to show up.

Showing up is the first step and it’s the hardest step to take.

Show up and make it a habit

You don’t feel like working out? Great!  Show up to the gym anyway.

Chances are you’re going to work out if you do.  It doesn’t matter if it was a bad workout or a great workout.  What matters is that you showed up, you put in work. 

You strengthen the habit of showing up.  Show up consistently.

“Show up consistently.”

Showing up is the start of gaining momentum and building it in your favor my friend.

When you don’t feel like writing, you better plant your ass in front of that computer screen or notebook anyway.  Start with a few words, grind into it and before you know it, you’ve written 250 words. 

Then you’ve written 500 words.

WritingYou could possibly snap out of your stupor to find 1000 words on what was once a blank page. And it started with showing up.

It doesn’t matter how many words you write.  Once again, what matters is that you showed up in front of that screen, in front of that paper and wrote. 

Imagine you did that for a year straight writing at least 250 words.  At the end of the year, you will have written a book.   A good sized book at that.

Forgo instant gratification. 

Get out of your comfy bed, get off the lazy boy, get away from the water cooler and just show up. 

Like the one and only Joe Rogan said, “90% of success is just showing up. You’re not going to feel perfect every day.  Get there and start working.”

 

“90% of success is just showing up. You’re not going to feel perfect everyday.  Get there and start working.” —Joe Rogan

Make it easier to show up in 6 ways

It’s difficult enough to show up when there is no motivation. 

Make it easier on yourself to show up.  Encourage yourself by setting up you’re environment up for success. 

1. Stage your items

Prepare your items

It’s a lot easier to get something done when whatever you’re going to use is ready and easily accessible. 

If you’re going to work out in the morning, have your clothes and shoes ready to go. 

Planning on eating more fruit then have it out where it’s visible and easy to get to. 

If you want to read more, make your books easily accessible. 

Make it easy to see the things you’re going to use to make yourself better.  Easy to access and always in view. 

2. Eliminate distractions

Do not disturb

The biggest distraction of them all is our phones.  It has become a habit to most to check our phones every few minutes or open up one of the apps for no apparent reason. 

Eliminate this distraction by disabling notifications, turning the phone off or setting it to do not disturb. 

Schedule time to not be disturbed. 

Remove the television from your room. 

Do what you must to eliminate any distractions from what you’re trying to accomplish.

3. Designate areas and time

Home office

Designate areas of your place for specific functions. 

Such as where you will read, where you will work out, where you will write, where you will sleep and so on. 

Designate a specific time for each function as well.  Keeping a schedule that you can stick to will make miracles happen. 

Do this so you know that at a certain time that is for business, pleasure, or relaxing.

4. Accountability

accountability partner

Get an accountability partner to keep you in check whenever you even have a thought about not to show. 

You can also post it on social media and let everyone else hold you accountable. 

Be warned, you will not always receive the type of accountability you’re looking for.  Although it can be effective, having an accountability partner would be ideal.  

Either way, should you go the social media route, do not let the negativity you may encounter derail you. 

5. Write it down

write it down

Write it down and make it visible. 

Get a calendar and cross out the days you show up.  This has a mental benefit and acts as a motivator as well. 

It doesn’t have to be a calendar. 

Use a journal, a notebook, notecards, sticky notes, a napkin, anything will work as long as you write it down and make it visible for you to see every day.

6. Celebrate and don’t settle

cheers

Celebrate each day that you show up because each day that you do is a win for you.

You don’t have to throw an extravagant party or anything like that.  Give yourself a pat on the back.  Some good words and good thoughts are celebrations and they can go a long way too. 

Reinforce the habit of showing up with celebrating each win. 

Do not settle though. 

When you go through a week of showing up, don’t tell yourself that that was good enough and quit. 

Keep going and make it habit deeply ingrained into you. 

Bottom Line

Show up every single time.  Do it without exception.  Show up on the days that you don’t feel like showing up.  Make it easier for yourself to show up.  Remember, that is when it is most important that you do.

That’s how you become successful.  If you want to be fit, that is how you get fit.  It’s how you become a writer and it’s how you become a great parent and a great spouse.

To put it bluntly, that is how you become a bad ass.

—Cruz

4 Steps That Will Get Rid of Your Life’s Crutches

We all have crutches or had crutches at one time in our lives.

Not literal crutches but metaphor crutches.  Basically, the excuses we tell ourselves to justify why we didn’t, can’t, or shouldn’t.

I’m a husband, a father of four and an active duty Air Force NCO.

Life is busy and it gets hectic on a daily basis.  At times, it feels like I’m a lot busier at home than when I’m at work.

Once I leave work, the fight against traffic begins as I go get the kids at three different locations.

When we get home we start on homework then dinner, then time to get ready for the following day.  Somewhere in there, we manage to squeeze a workout in.  It gets even crazier when after-school activities and other school functions get thrown into the mix.

It’s not easy, but my wife and I somehow make it happen.

My crutches

In the past, I would use this craziness as an excuse to not do anything.

For a long time, I used my family as crutches to justify to myself that they were the reason that I wasn’t able to do anything.

Basically, I was putting the blame on them for my shortcomings and not taking any of the responsibility. That wasn’t fair to me and it especially wasn’t fair to my family.

However, I was doing it and I’m ashamed of that.

Everything was put on hold and I wouldn’t work out, read, have a guys night or any of the things I used to do that would make me a better me.

Convinced I didn’t have time because of family responsibilities, I would tell friends that I couldn’t hang out because I was too busy.  That was the furthest thing from the truth.

Honestly, I was only being lazy.

That’s the best way it can be described and not wanting to admit it to myself, I used my family as a scapegoat.

As a result, I was going crazy.

Not literally, but I wasn’t headed in a good direction.

Depression hit me, out of shape became my norm and I would get easily frustrated.

The change seemed to happen quickly from fit and productive dad to out of shape, full on dad bod with an irritable attitude.

Not to mention unproductive and going through the motions which included work, marriage, and every aspect of life really.

Something had to give.

Change needed to happen immediately if I wanted a better and happy life.

Change is exactly what I did.

The same responsibilities as a husband, father and work are still there.  Those will never go away nor do I want them to ever.

And like everyone else, I still have the same 24 hours in a day.

What changed?

Letting go of my crutches

For starters, I made the decision to stop using my family as a crutch.

They are not responsible for my self-sabotage.

It’s utterly amazing to think back about putting them in that position in the first place.

Prioritization became a key in my change.  Prioritizing important things over comfortable things made all the difference in the world.

The 4 steps to getting rid of your crutches

1. Make time for yourself

It was mandatory that I made time in my day to work on myselfPersonal development became the foundation for my success.

Whether that’s reading and writing or working out.

That time is made so I could be the best version of myself.  This makes me better for my family and anyone else really.

This meant giving up a few things as well.

Giving up the comfortable things that really weren’t moving me in the direction I wanted to go.

These things included late nights, binge-watching television shows or getting lost in the world of social media scrolling.

The weekend bender became a thing of the past, and video games are now something I miss dearly.

If you only knew how much I love to watch movies and play video games, then you would understand how difficult it was for me to drastically limit those.

2. Wake up earlier

For me, this meant returning to my morning routine waking up at 4 am.

Waking up this early gave me at least an hour myself because my day usually starts at 5:30 am.

This time is specifically for personal development.  This is not to say that I’m running on 3 or 4 hours of sleep because I’m definitely not.

That’s because I’m going to bed earlier.  So, I get 6 or more hours of sleep a night.

3. Set goals

Goals are a must have if your life is to improve.

This can’t be stressed enough.

It must be known how important goals are and the importance of writing them down.  Make them part of your daily life and put them where you see them every single day as often as possible.

Having goals and writing them down gives you purpose.

Without purpose we have nothing.

Viktor Frankl’s book Man’s Search for Meaning details how purpose and having a “why” gives life meaning.  If you haven’t read this book go out and get yourself a copy as soon as you can.

Having goals gives me purpose and they are written down on note cards that I look at every single day.

Some I’ve accomplished and some I’ve missed but I continue to work on them no matter what.  Having goals and viewing them every day helped me tremendously.

Evident in one of my most recent accomplishments where I ran my first marathon on my 34th birthday.

That and becoming debt free was another one of the goals that I accomplished last year.

That took some time but I made it happen.

4. Find support

You will not get through this life successfully without help.

Many will say that they are self-made but it’s doubtful that anyone is.

Somewhere along the way, somehow, help was there even if it was not seen as help.

Knowing that I needed help, acknowledging that changes needed to be made, I enlisted the help of my wife.

She’s a rockstar and I needed her support if this was going to work.

I’m not great at asking for help and I’m not sure if anyone really is, so it wasn’t easy to ask.

However, I did ask.

Pushing the ego aside I asked for her help.

She has given me 100% support of the changes and I have given her mine.  Far from perfection, but we know what we’re working for and do so as best we can.

Fast forward to the present day and life is a lot different without crutches.

It’s a hundred times better.

Days are still hectic and busy is still a word you can use to describe our home life.

The difference is it’s all surrounded by growth and happiness that I choose to make for myself.  The way I feel about myself and the direction that my life is going is something to be excited about.

Since all the necessary changes made, I’ve been promoted,  I’m back into good shape, I’m reading and writing every single day.

Our marriage has improved and I’m still getting better at this dad thing.

There are still ups and downs as there will always be, but knowing that life is headed in a good direction lets me enjoy the journey.

None of it would have been possible had I never acknowledged the responsibility was mine and taking these steps to get rid of my crutches.

Bottom Line

Let go of the crutches in your life.  Take responsibility.  Make the changes necessary to make the most of your life.

—Cruz

Why Being Selfish Can Be Good

It’s not about you. Don’t be selfish.

That’s what we always hear, right?  It’s not about you.

And to be honest, it really isn’t.  We live our lives for other people.  Whether you believe that or not.  We live our lives to love someone, help someone, take care of someone, etc.  Rarely we are doing something only for ourselves.

Listen to star athletes, celebrities, and high-profile personalities during their post-game interviews, talk show appearances, and award acceptance speeches.  They always talk about how they do it for their family or they do it for the fans and so on.

When do you hear any of them say that they did it for themselves?  If you do hear it, know that it’s as rare as Big Foot being spotted.

What all those people don’t say in their interviews is that to do it for everyone else, you must be selfish.

As Karen Baquiran said, “make yourself a priority once in a while.  It’s not selfish.  It’s necessary.”

“Make yourself a priority once in a while. It’s not selfish.  It’s necessary” —Karen A. Baquiran

Put your mask on first

If you have ever taken a flight from then you’re probably familiar with the safety briefing that they give to passengers prior to take off.

The flight attendants stand at different sections of the plane so that they are clearly visible to everyone.

As one of them speaks through the intercom giving directions on how to buckle your seat-belt properly, the other flight attendants are demonstrating.

They also do the same for the oxygen mask that drops down from the overhead compartment in the event of an emergency.

And for the flotation devices usually located under the seat.

The interesting thing that they tell everyone is when these oxygen masks drop down, ensure that you properly place your mask on first before trying to put anyone else’s on.

“The interesting thing that they tell everyone is when these oxygen masks drop down, ensure that you properly place your mask on first before trying to put anyone else’s on.”

If you have someone like a child with you, then you can help them with theirs afterward.

At first glance, this may seem wrong because any parent’s instinct is to ensure their child is safe first.

When you think it through though, securing your mask first is what must be done.

Here is the logic behind it.

You can no longer help the child if you put their mask on first and something happens to you because you failed to secure yours.

You will reduce your child’s chance of safety if you don’t put your mask on first.

The reality is that you must get your mask on first so that you can help the child or anyone else that may need help then continue to help.

Why you should be selfish

It’s no different in everyday life.

You must be selfish and help yourself first.

The fact is you will not be helping anyone if you have not helped yourself.

It’s crucial that you do what is right for you because you cannot do right by anyone else if you don’t.

“How do you make someone happy when you are not happy?

When it comes to love, how do you love someone when you do not know how to love yourself?

How do you teach someone else when you have not learned anything yourself?”

How do you make someone happy when you are not happy?

When it comes to love, how do you love someone when you do not know how to love yourself?

How do you teach someone else when you have not learned anything yourself?

Therefore, you must be selfish.

So that you can go on and teach what you’ve learned, love without limit, and make others happy because you know what happy is.

Be selfish for others

be selfish for othersOnce you have been selfish for yourself, it frees you up to be selfish for others.

Be selfish in passing on what you were once selfish for.

Teach others what you have learned.

Love others the way that you love yourself.

Brighten their day, every day, and make them happy.

This life is meant to be shared.

We as human beings are meant to have relationships.  Deep and meaningful relationships.

You cannot have those meaningful relationships and will not share your life with another if you are not the person you need to be.

“We as human beings are meant to have relationships.  Deep and meaningful relationships.

You cannot have those meaningful relationships and will not share your life with another if you are not the person you need to be.”

So, I tell you to be selfish.

Be selfish so that you are prepared to build strong, fulfilling relationships and can continue building them for as long as possible.

You must be selfish in sharing your life with another.

And be selfish in sharing with the world your ideas, creations, love, and happiness.

What Does Being Selfish Look Like?

Being selfish for yourself, for your better self comes in many forms.

This can look like taking time away from friends and family to do something that is going to better your life.

But it can impact your relationships in positive ways.

College is a perfect example.

Men and women leave home every year in pursuit of higher education for a brighter future.

They hope to gain the necessary tools, skills, and knowledge to one day provide for those they love.going to college

It’s not only young men and women either.

Older men and women that are married, have children of all ages are returning to school.

They attend classes, stay up late working on papers, and spend hours on research for various projects.

This is all time that could be spent cooking dinner for the family, watching a movie with the kids, or taking their significant other out on a date.

But they forgo this time because they know that if they selfishly stick to the work in the now to make themselves better, their future will be better.

Spending time at the gym is a form of being selfish.

In my case, I’m married, we have four children, and I usually spend an hour a day at the gym or out running.

I take that one hour from my family to work on myself, putting in that sweat equity so that I can be as healthy as I possibly can.selfishly running

It’s a must for me because I want to live long enough to be there for my children well through their adult years.

Having the privilege of seeing my grandchildren would be amazing and having the ability to run around with them would be icing on the cake.

That is why I take that selfish hour to workout.

Selfish in love

If you are married or in a relationship, be selfish in your marriage and in your relationship.

Many marriages fall apart and relationships end because the today’s way of thinking goes something like this: it’s all about the children and they come first no matter what.  When the children come first no matter what, that means that spouses and the relationship come second.

It’s no longer the priority.

Then we wonder why spouses grow apart, marriages and relationships fail.

Be selfish in your marriage.

Your relationship with your spouse should come first.

“Be selfish in your marriage.

Your relationship with your spouse should come first.”

My apologies if this offends you or this makes you uncomfortable, but its the truth.be selfish in love

The children are a product of your relationship, not the other way around.

Remember, put your oxygen mask on first.

Having a strong marriage or relationship will only make you a better parent giving your children a better life.

Bottom Line

Be selfish so that you can be better for others.

If you want to make others happy, make yourself happy first.

Love yourself first so that you can love others without limit.

Help yourself first so that you can help others the best that you possibly can.

—Cruz