Reflection: An Invaluable Tool

It’s Monday Madness!

After a successful thrashing of UNLV (first recorded shutout in the match-ups history), the weekend’s festivities have come to a close. Unfortunately, some of my favorite tech gadgets also broke, sending me into a spiral of frustrations.

My iPod currently flashes a fun little exclamation at me and my laptop just refuses to turn on. I have, however, found a new appreciation for the world-flattening capabilities of email!

Recently, I’ve made a habit out of taking time to sit down and think (not necessarily literally) to reflect on life. I have always been great about keeping a journal, although it’s often easy to make a habit out of it and not necessarily be entirely honest with yourself. Dreams and inspirations are my focus but what about my struggles? I prefer not to think about it…

I spent some sorely needed time swimming laps in the pool last night, and that got my gray matter churning. This year has gone by so quick and the rest will continue to blaze past. How do you know that you’re living life to the fullest? Well, I’m not entirely sure, but here’s some thoughts from my chlorine infested brain cells.

  • You find the inspiration to keep going – Saying that you wake up everyday feeling like Suzie Sunshine may be a bit drastic, but that’s not to say that you can’t identify a challenge or something fun to work your creative juices on. Each day presents new interactions and opportunities, and it’s what we do with those chances that makes us feel fulfilled. We never grow without putting ourselves out there, so why not take the chance to do so?
  • You pursue opportunities – There was a time in my life when I would bolt from an opportunity that I was not 100% comfortable with. That provides limited to no growth as a person, and really did not require me to stretch myself. My favorite example of this was failing miserably at high school baseball. Baseball was, and still is, my favorite sport, and yet I just wasn’t meant to play it. Fortunately, I joined swim team the following year, because it seemed like an adventure. Sure I wasn’t that great initially, but years later that has provided the foundation for a phenomenal triathlete career, which in itself has opened an unlimited world of opportunities!
  • You cut your teeth on new experiences or knowledge – Learning is one of my favorite activities (besides eating) and the world today is incredibly exciting with even more knowledge out there to devour. The thought of going a single day without learning at least one thing is quite appalling, and the structure for my day to day activities is rooted in learning. Maybe I learn how to produce certain reports more efficiently, or maybe I learn a new programming language, but I always strive to find new ways to expand my knowledge.
  • You stay flexible – As one who is all about scheduling and plans of attack and sticking to a calendar, flexibility has not come easy. It is definitely something that takes TONS of practice. Staying flexible allows you to take the ups and downs in style, but also keeps your mind open to new thoughts, ideas, and experiences. For those of you who have attempted yoga (I’m awful at it) you know how critical it is to be flexible. The more you practice yoga and flexibility, the more flexible you get. The same goes with life… stay flexible and a host of new opportunities will present themselves.
  • You take everything with a grain of salt – There are far too many opportunities offered to us in our lives, and it is our responsibility to take advantage of everything possible. When something doesn’t go your way, there is usually a reason. The bad times make the good that much better, and the good times are there for our enjoyment. My pursuit of a “normal” life has since been abandoned, because normal doesn’t exist. Yes, we have our routines and daily activities, but those experiences should never become drab, boring, or uninteresting. If they do, that responsibility lies on us…
  • You practice delayed gratification – There are many times in my life when I have not been entirely honest with myself. It’s easy to lie to yourself when you use it as an excuse to get something that you want, but is that truly beneficial? A classic example of this (per my mother) is delayed gratification. The idea of delayed gratification is almost entirely foreign to Americans but is super rewarding. Nothing beats spending a whole summer saving up for a new car. The feeling when you finally get those keys is just fantastic! However, you would not have that same rewarding feeling if you simply went out the first day you decided you wanted some new wheels and loaded it up on your shiny credit card. You reap the benefits of putting thought, effort, and devoted energy behind your goals!

A quote from Steve Jobs’ speech to the class at Stanford in 2005 sums these thoughts up perfectly:

Your time is limited so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.

What a wonderful charge! Go out and make something of your life, don’t worry about keeping up with the Jones family…

We have been given X amount of time on this planet and it lies on our shoulders to make the most of it! Stay “true blue” to yourself (and your Wolf Pack) and you’ll be well on your way.

Do you ever feel like you worry about living the life someone else wants you to?

Picture credit.


  1. Great point on worrying “about living the life someone else wants you to.” Huge risk.

    I knew a lot of kids in high school that tried to be what their parents wanted them to be, career-wise. One guy that I was pretty friendly with had a nervous breakdown when he couldn’t come to grips that he couldn’t make it thru college requirements to become a doctor—something that had been drilled into his head.

    And even equal or greater risk is not living your own life but living your life through your children. I know lots of people that gauge themselves on how “successful” their children are. There are plenty of kids that had “faulty wiring” from the start, so is that any fault of the parents? Not that a parent can feel joy and sorrow with the successes/failures of children, but the warning is to not gage oneself solely (or even mostly) on the accomplishments of the children.

    Woe to him that monitors his own successes and failures and dreams through his own kids. I have dozens of close friends today that are in peril if their kids don’t hit the dream that my friends have for their kids.

    Maybe you’ll remember that when YOU become a parent.

    By the way: I am proud of who you are and the man you are becoming.

  2. Hey dad,

    Absolutely! What could be worse than trying to live your life based on someone else’s expectations? No thanks…

    As far as feeling the pressure of doing what your parents want, I’m glad we decided early that I wouldn’t make a good project estimator :P It’s better left to the pros (that’d be you!)

    I definitely can’t relate to the parent issues yet, but I’m sure they’re in the cards for the future. Hopefully, you’re able to realize how awesome your own dreams have been!!

    Thanks, I appreciate the vote of confidence. FOOTBALL NEXT WEEK 8-)

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