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

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New Year’s Day: Just another day on the calendar

New Year's Day 2019

As we enter New Year’s Eve, I find myself thinking about all the resolutions that will be made and all the resolutions that will be broken.

Nearly all resolutions that are made on New Year’s Day are broken before January ends.

According to US News, 80 percent of resolutions made in the new year will fail.

The reality of New Year’s resolutions

New Year’s resolutions are crap.

Yes I said it.  It may rain on some parades, but it’s time to wake up and see the truth.

People make a New Year’s resolution without really putting any thought into it thinking that it will magically happen because the numbers on the calendar changed.

Most resolutions are usually vague with no real belief behind them when they’re conceived.

“Most resolutions are usually vague with no real belief behind them when they’re conceived.”

Things like losing weight, not drinking, sticking to a diet, and getting out of debt, are the usual suspects when people think of a new year resolution.

They’re made and broken in record time.

Did you know that big time commercial gyms like Gold’s Gym and 24 Hour Fitness have memberships skyrocket in January? It’s because of the new year and all the resolutions that have been made to change.

You’ll notice in the first two weeks of January that every gym never has enough parking because everyone is still working on their resolution. Gym on February 1st of the new year

Revisit those same gyms in February and chances are pretty damn good that you won’t have a problem finding a parking spot.

A new year’s resolution is nothing more than an idea that you should have acted on well before you decided to make it a resolution.

Every new year resolution is nothing more than an excuse.  It’s a free pass for procrastination.

“Every new year resolution is nothing more than an excuse.  It’s a free pass for procrastination.”

Instead of implementing the change immediately, in the now, you decided to leave it to “someday”.

Someday I’ll lose weight, someday I’ll get rich, someday I’ll become better, or someday I’ll make it work.

That is the wrong mindset to have.  Someday will never arrive because something will always hold you up.  Unless you get after it now.  Don’t let your resolution depend on the flip of a calendar.

Work on it now.

The new year, January first of whatever year it is, does not make a new you.

It does not mean you get to start over.

Life is continuous and if you waited until January 1st to make a change then you will be in the same position on January 1st, 2019 that you were in January 1st of 2018.

You’re still going to wake up in the same bed, go to the same job, making the same money.

But if you made a resolution two or three months before the new year and acted on it then, imagine where you could be.  Maybe in line for a promotion, a pay raise, a new business, smaller debt, healthier, fitter, happier, a better bed, etc.

What really makes you stick to a resolution

The new you and the chance to start over only begins when you make the decision to do so and act on that decision.

“The new you and the chance to start over only begins when you make the decision to do so and act on that decision.”

Not when the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve.

When you’re finally fed up of being the way you are or are in a position in life that you don’t like, that’s when you make a decision and take action.

Your decision to act and taking that first step to change yourself and your situation mark a new beginning.

It’s not marked by a holiday or a calendar.

Don’t let an external factor like a day on the calendar make your decisions.

Guess what?

That decision you made, that doesn’t happen because it’s a new year.  It doesn’t matter if it’s 2019, 2020, January 1st or July 1st.

The calendar does not make a difference.

You do not have to wait for a new year to change yourself into the person you want to be.

Why resolutions are broken

The reason that most resolutions are broken before January ends is for the simple fact that they are not backed by a strong enough “why”.  Some are not backed with “why” at all.

The new year is not a strong enough “why” to stay true to your resolution.  Hell, it’s not a “why” to begin with.

What is your “why”?

What is your why?

Do you want to lose weight in 2019? Why?

Is it because you want to look skinnier or is it because you realized that if you continue to pack on the pounds, you won’t live long enough to see your children grow?

Do you want to quit drinking in 2019?  Why?

Is it because you’re wasting too much money on booze or is it because you’ve had a few close calls and are on the brink of losing your family, friends and everyone you care about?

Now, you tell me which “why” is going to keep a person true to their resolution.

Find your “why” and make your resolution now, regardless of the date.

Start busting your ass to stick to your resolution.

Burn this into your brain, the date doesn’t matter whatsoever.  The year doesn’t matter, the day of the week doesn’t matter, and the time doesn’t matter.

Your decision and immediate action are all that truly matter.

Make your resolution and act on your resolution every single day.  From the moment you wake to moment you sleep.  Take it into your dreams too!

Make your resolution and strengthen it every day with your “why” in mind and I guarantee that you will be successful in seeing your resolution through.

Bottom line

Don’t make a new years resolution, make daily resolutions.

Make a resolution in the now.  The moment that you realize you want change.

Make real changes in your life at the moment you know that you need to make them.

There is no reason to wait.

Why procrastinate on becoming a better version of yourself or to put yourself in a better position in life?

If you are waiting for a new year, then I can tell you that you don’t really want to change.

Remember, you don’t change because the year changes.

You change because you made the decision and acted on that decision.  Your actions will compound and they will build something great.  You may not see the results immediately, but this is nothing to be discouraged about.

“You change because you made the decision and acted on that decision.”

Continue with daily action on your resolution, one year from now when everyone is making their new years resolution, you will be enjoying the fruits of your labor.

Your decision and immediate action will have made it so.

—Cruz

The Greatest Christmas Gift to Give

Gifts, gifts and more gifts.  This usually seems to be theme surrounding Christmas time.  Ask children what their favorite part of Christmas is and the response you’ll get the most is “presents”.  A Christmas tree is not complete without presents underneath it.  How often do you see a Christmas tree display with empty boxes wrapped in fancy paper tucked underneath the tree?  Probably every time.

So much money is spent shopping for gifts.  Sometimes money that people don’t have.  Then stress levels go through the roof.  All for what?  For a gift that may not even be appreciated or used at all.  But, that doesn’t compare to the guilt that is felt if gifts are bought and handed out.  In some cases, people are even ridiculed for not giving a gift.

Material gifts are not what the holidays are about.  Even though this thought runs through many people’s head, it never changes the fact that gifts become the focal point of the holidays.  The holidays are about something much more important.

The greatest gift to give

The holidays are about love.  Love for your family, love for your friends and even love for strangers.  Spending time with one another and sharing moments with those that you care about.  Hugs, kisses, smiles, and cries are all part of these moments.

Wonderful memories are created in these moments.  Moments of laughter, a long embrace of those you’ve been apart from, smiles that come from watching everyone enjoying themselves and tears of happiness.  These are memories that will last a lifetime.  This is what the holidays are about.

Many may argue that gifts are an extension of the love that we have for one another, but it’s not.  It doesn’t take a gift to share precious moments with those you care for.  When you look back on your memories, it’s not the gifts that you’ll remember most, but the time you spent with someone and how that felt.   That is the greatest gift to give.

A different kind of Christmas

The thought of a Christmas without gifts has come to mind many times.  And with each year it becomes stronger.  I’m proposing to have a Christmas with no gifts.  Of course, this proposal has to be approved by my wife.  But, as a family, I would love to have a Christmas where no gifts are expected and for one year at least, not receive any gifts.

I’m not proposing this as something to happen for every Christmas from here on out, but just for the next one.  Once to remember what these holidays are really about.  Celebrating one another and creating the memories to take with us.  Time together and memories to have for the rest of our lives are the greatest gifts that one can receive.

Happy Holidays everyone!

—Cruz

How to Win Your Morning

How to win your morning

We’ve all had days where nothing goes right for you. 

They start with a jolt from your sleep by what sounds like a siren in your ear.  You wake, utterly confused as you furiously tap away at a smart phone with squinted eyes.

All in the name of SNOOZING. 

Five minutes later, it’s déjà vu.  Repeated at the ten and fifteen minute mark.

Dragging yourself out of bed, you come to the realization that there is not much time left to get ready and get on with the day. 

So, now you’re in that familiar constant state of anxiety and urgency from the moment that you wake. 

You can’t find your keys, you spill your coffee, you forget paperwork, the kids aren’t dressed, they’re late for school, you’re late for work and all you want to do is wake up hoping its all a bad dream. 

Unfortunately it’s not. 

Sound about right?

The Solution

My life was much the same and I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be that way. 

You can free yourself from all that unnecessary stress, anxiety and dreadful rush first thing in the morning. 

How?

WIN YOUR MORNING! 

wake up and win your morning

That’s all you have to do.  Win your morning and you’ll win your day.  Winning days turn into winning weeks.  Those weeks develop into winning months and viola!  A winning year will have blossomed!

How do you win your monring?

I’m glad you asked.

Wake up earlier

It sounds easy, but we all know it’s not.  Much easier said than done. 

If you don’t want to rush through your morning and have more time for yourself then you must make time. 

You do that by waking up earlier. 

QUIT SNOOZING. 

The cliché saying, “you snooze, you lose” is a cliché because it’s true. 

The moment you hit your snooze button, you surrender your morning along with your day. 

You lose, plain and simple. 

5 ways to help you wake up earlier, stay up and win

1.  Put your alarm clock away from your bed. 

It should be somewhere you must get up and walk over to in order to shut it off.

2.  Have your clothes and morning items ready to go.

The last thing you want deal with first thing in the morning is rummaging through your room in the dark looking for something to wear or use.  You don’t want to wake your significant other or anyone else. 

Not having your things staged and ready to go is an open invitation to go back to bed. 

Have your clothes ready like fire fighters have their uniforms ready when they’re called to action. In a sense, you too are getting called to action.

3.  Quit checking your phone first thing in the morning. 

No social media, email, news or any of it. 

The morning is your time and you don’t want to get derailed.  Don’t surrender to your social media timeline.

4.  Wash your face and brush your teeth immediately.  Get refreshed.

5.  GO TO BED EARLIER which takes me to my next point.

Go to bed earlier

We spend too much time on mindless activities like watching television and playing video games. 

Don’t get me wrong, I love both and I’m guilty of binge watching shows all nighters on games like anyone else.   

Rethink your screen time because it should be extremely limited.  Staying up all night watching a television show, watching a movie, playing a game, this includes your phone too, is doing nothing more than sabotaging you. 

You won’t sleep well and chances are you won’t get much time to sleep because you spent it on screen time and have to be up early in the morning. 

Set up your sleep environment so that it will help you get to bed earlier. 

3 Tips that have helped me

1.  Stay away from electronics an hour before your bedtime. Use this time to wind down and prepare for bed.

2.  Leave your phone charging outside of your room.

It can stay in the restroom, kitchen, living room or anywhere else at your place.  It doesn’t matter as long as you don’t have it next to your bed. alarm clock

If it’s your alarm, then it’s time to start thinking about investing 10 bucks on an old fashion alarm clock.  Having it far away enough to make you get up and walk to it is a win if you can’t keep it out of the room.

3.  Read right before bed.

Some will argue to not read before bed, but in my case and many others, it helps in two ways: it helps me wind down to sleep comfortably and I get to learn a little bit more before sleep.  Studies out there have shown that reading before bed helps retain information taken in.

Give it a shot.  There are hundreds of ways to get to bed earlier, but these are a few that help me.

Start a morning routine

Solid morning routine will work wonders for the rest of your day. 

By morning routine I don’t mean get up, get dressed, grab the coffee and go.  

Your morning routine will set the foundation for your day.  Some people exercise first thing in their morning routine, others meditate, some stretch and various other activities to prepare them for the day. 

My morning routine consists of writing and reading. 

My exercise comes later in the day when I feel its more effective for me.

The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod is a great resource to develop a morning routine.

Whatever you choose to incorporate into your morning routine will help in winning your morning and your day. 

Don’t wake up early and not have anything to do.  Chances are you’ll go back to bed if you don’t have a planned routine. 

Morning routines are incredibly valuable to me and they will be to you as well.  It has been one of the biggest factors in my success and personal development. 

Bottom Line

Take back your mornings and win your days. 

Wake up earlier, go to bed earlier and start a solid morning routine.

Remember that you must be consistent.  A few times a week wont help.

Build the habit and make it a lifestyle.

—Cruz

Don’t Quit: Persevere and Overcome

dont quit persevere and overcome

Don’t quit were the words that started the line that changed it all.

It was 2008.

Freshly separated and soon to be divorced. 

My finances were a mess which meant I was broke and drowning in debt. 

My paycheck was gone before it cleared. 

At the time I was in the worst shape I had ever been in my life.  It was truly depressing.

My life spiraled out of control before my very eyes and I just couldn’t seem to figure how it happened and what I to do about it.  Everything seemed hopeless and I was feeling lost and alone. 

Facing the truth 

Now, I wasn’t sure how I got to that point.

Maybe I did and I just didn’t want to face the truth, but I was there.

Eventually I came to terms with the fact that I was in that position by my own doing. 

Poor choices were made throughout the years and I was paying the price for them. 

Poor choices were made throughout the years and I was paying the price for them. 

One of the things that I couldn’t understand is that only a few short years earlier, I was riding high with huge aspirations, goals and what I thought was a bright future ahead of me. 

Again, I now know it was poor choices on my part.

Struggling to get by, I scraped up what I could for rent, terrible food and gas that was at an all time high. 

All to travel clear across the city to see my kids for the weekends. 

Nearly all of my possessions were pawned and I sold what I couldn’t pawn on Craigslist for a fraction of what the items were worth. 

Plasma donations would become a common occurrence during this time.

Day by day, my tiny apartment became desolate.   Still, I considered myself lucky to even have an apartment with mattress to sleep on.  It was better than having to couch surf. 

I was at my wit’s end and feared that I wouldn’t make it through this dark time of my life.

Salvation

As I walked through a thrift store one day looking for kitchen ware because I had none, I came across the words that I am forever indebted to. 

The words that saved me and brought me back to life.

They were written on cheap particle board.  It had a background of a sailboat moving into the horizon, followed by a terrorizing wave primed for destruction and a seagull escaping the scene.

It inspired me in a way that is difficult explain. 

The fire that had extinguished was ignited once again.

Dont quit poem

Don’t Quit

When things go wrong as they sometimes will,

When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,

When the funds are low, and the debts are high,

And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,

When care is pressing you down a bit,

Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.

Life is strange with its twists and turns,

As every one of us sometimes learns,

And many a failure turns about,

When he might have won had he stuck it out;

Don’t give up though the pace seems slow,

You may succeed with another blow.

Success is failure turned inside out,

The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,

And you can never tell how close you are,

It may be near when it seems so far;

So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit,

It’s when things seem worse

That you must not quit.

What didn’t mean much to its last owner, meant the world to me.  

It was my lifeline to a better life and I am forever thankful that it was there for me that day. 

That was exactly what I needed at the exact moment I needed it.

It felt as if someone knew that I needed something just like this and placed it there just for me.

A new outlook

To be clear, my life didn’t exactly do a complete 180 on the spot. 

It took quite some time before everything was better. 

However, my mindset had changed in that moment and little by little I made much needed changes to my life.  

Positive change with one small change at a time.

It was all for the better and as a result, my life changed for the better.  What were some of the changes I made?

Reading

Reading books

Spent less time watching television

Watch less tv

Started going back to the gym 

going back to the gym

Making music became a hobby

making music

All of it enabled me to have more focus at work and increase my productivity. 

Financially, I started heading in the right direction.  Slowly but surely my finances began to improve. 

Little by little I was paying down my debt and I was gaining a little more freedom.

Those words I came across that day in the thrift store motivated me in a fierce way. 

Just as they said to, I didn’t quit. 

The decision was made and I didn’t live the way I had been anymore.  I couldn’t blame it on anyone else either.  It was up to me and me alone to improve my situation.  And so I did.

“It was up to me and me alone to improve my situation.”

It’s been over 10 years since that day those words sparked the positive change in my life. 

There have come plenty of down times and I’m almost certain that there will be many more. 

However, now I am equipped with the tools needed to overcome them.

As of now, my life is in a good place.  A place that I could have never imagined back in 2008. 

Truly, I believe that those words made all the difference. 

To this day, I still have that piece of particle board with its timeless wisdom hanging on my wall.  It will always remain on my wall reminding me, don’t quit.

Bottom Line

Whatever difficulties, obstacles, and trials you are facing today, no matter how intense and how gigantic they may seem, DON’T QUIT!

PERSEVERE and OVERCOME!

Build the life you want.

—Cruz