The Closest of Friends

•September 3, 2017 • 2 Comments

Honesty

I do think technology has made cultivating relationships easier. So, now it’s possibly to do with quantity and not about quality. The result is that friendships over the last 15 years or so have become shallower?

I used to think that the years from around five years old to my mid twenties were the Bond for Lifegolden era of friendship in my lifetime. Meaning, I thought during those years I made my best friends.

My question to myself was – can the golden era of developing friendships be at all possible later on in life?

True friends are such an integral part of my life, by filling it with sunshine, warmth, positivity and unconditional love. So of course I would say that they are an essential part of my existence and happiness.

Friends see us through difficult relationships, marriages, problems at work, and major Inseparablechanges in life, and so on. They do more than just get us by. My dear friends allow me to enjoy live, are loyal, and support me regardless of what happens and the mistakes I make. In fact, research has shown that friends actually help us live longer and that there are certain habits that genuine friends possess, which make them more like family. They have particular characteristics, including the ability to dish out tough love that creates that glue that bonds us.

These characteristics set real friends apart from the other relationships in our lives. So to answer the question I posed to myself in the third paragraph – a definite resounding The GangYES! I have made friends over the last 10 years that I consider family who are in the same circle as those friends I made earlier in my life. All the new genuine friends I have made make me feel like I have known them my whole life too. When I look at the group of my closest friends, new and old, and study each of their qualities and attributes, there is definitely a common thread. Here is what I have found:

Best Friends show us the truth as to who we actually are:
We can, I know I can, be a negative sometimes, going through periods of intense self-criticism; whether it’s feeling inadequate in a particular situation, or just not liking what Vito a friend for lifewe see in the mirror. My closest friends are the ones who tell me the truth and bolster me when my self-opinion starts getting low. They strengthen my self-esteem and definitely make me feel better about myself.

They make our friendship a priority:
We are all so busy. Sometimes, it feels that there is no room in the day to take on much else. However, it seems that my real friends don’t let life interrupt the relationship. They always have time for me. Genuine friends make each other a priority.

They point out when I am wrong about something:
I have many flaws, one of them is that I am sometimes adamant about being right about something when in fact I couldn’t be more wrong. My real friends identify and point these situations out for me, in an honest and mindful manner and keep me accountable. They support me on both sides, when I am wrong and when I am right. Being totally honest separates a true friend from the rest. Friends who are open and straightforward are the most important ones to have. This unbridled honesty it what sets my genuine friendships apart.

They are tuned into me:Late in the game but here to stay!
A true friend always gives you his/her full attention and awareness. I have found that a real friend stays present in the moment by paying attention to my needs, as I do to theirs. It needs to be a mutual thing and cannot be one sided.

True friends listen:
I have found that people who are not as invested in my life, as a true friend is, tend to turn a conversation back to him or herself, when I need them to listen to me because I have something to resolve. When I want to discuss a problem or issue real friends never make the conversation about them. Interesting to note that many times in my life I have found that becoming tight friends with someone resulted directly from the ability of having an open, two-way dialogue with this person.

SK and JW Cheers to life!They keep me grounded:
Genuine friends celebrate my every accomplishment, but at the same time they keep my feet on the ground. They are able provide me with checks & balances to maintain the best version of me. They do this by being totally honest with me, while supporting me when I succeed, at the same time reminding who I am at my core.

Always have my back:
My dearest and closest friends always make me feel supported, telling me the truth regardless of how painful the truth might be. Being honest all the time, is not always the easiest thing but it is what creates a strong bond between people.

Real friends forgive each other:
When it comes to relationships I am sometimes not the easiest person, making judgment Mr Honesty JDerrors from time to time. It is at these times that genuine friends know how take this and don’t take things so personally. When conflicts come up, real friends have the courage to reach out directly to each other versus going around angrily gossiping and letting the negative situation grow. My real friends understand my flaws, and because they understand them they are capable of forgiving me. This allows us to move on very quickly and prevents the use of excess emotional energy.

Support through adversity:
My genuine friends are there through EVERYTHING, the ups and down. I can’t stand it when people want to become close, during a period of success. Getting support from A day of Suffering togethersomeone during the toughest of times instantly elevates this special person in my book…they become family, become part of my inner cycle. A true friend has the power to reduce the stress in my life

Best friends force me to become a better person:
My best friends are people I trust, who I can discuss problems and personal matters with, get drunk with. They are confidants, but more importantly they are role models. Through example, kindness and other attributes, genuine friends bring out the best in me, which is one of the greatest gifts they could ever give me.

“A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still, gently allows you to grow.” – William Shakespeare

 “A good friend is like a four-leaf clover; hard to find and lucky to have.” – Irish Proverb

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Forgiveness, the art of letting go

•February 12, 2017 • 2 Comments

It is normal that when someone you know or care about hurts you, you can hold on to anger, resentment and even thoughts of revenge. Or, you can make it easy for yourself by embracing forgiveness and move forward. I think true forgiveness is one of the hardest letting-gothings for most people to do; I know it is for me.

Most everyone has been hurt by the actions or words coming from another person. Might be a colleague sabotaging you in a meeting, someone criticizing your parenting skills, finding out that your partner had an affair, etc. The resulting wounds can leave you with lasting feelings of bitterness and anger.

If we don’t practice forgiveness, you might be the one who pays the biggest price. By embracing forgiveness, you can then partner with peace, hope, gratitude and joy. The simple act of embracing forgiveness can lead you down the beautiful path of physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.

Holding a grudge is easy

When you have been hurt by someone, particularly by one who you love and trust, the fighting-tigersresult is usually anger, sadness and confusion. If one keeps thinking about the hurtful events or situations, resentment, grudges, vengeance and hostility can take over your life and drown you. If the negative feelings overtake the positive ones, you will become a washed up shell of whom you are supposed to be, driven by your own bitterness or sense of injustice. You will eventually be defined by how hurt you are, which will become a crutch and an allowance for failure.

Forgiveness – what is it?

Forgiveness is a decision and a powerful way to let go of resentment. The act that hurt or Helping handoffended you might always remain a part of your life, but forgiveness can lessen its grip on you and help you focus on other more positive parts of your life. Forgiveness can also lead to feelings of understanding, empathy and compassion for the one who hurt you.

It is important to remember that forgiveness doesn’t mean that you deny the other person’s responsibility for hurting you, and it doesn’t minimize or justify the wrong. You can forgive the person without excusing the act. Forgiveness brings a kind of peace that helps you go on with life.

I personally found out the benefits of forgiveness…

A few years back I went through a very emotional and stressful situation. Emotionally it animals___birds_eagle_in_the_fog_on_background_with_mountains_057742_was one of the worst experiences I have ever endured in my life up to that point. Something I never thought would happen to me. I felt I was so unfairly treated and did not deserve it. I became so, so angry, bitter, and definitely looking for revenge. It was a stressful time, no sleep with nightmares, accompanied by loss of appetite. I was stressed out and became sick quite a few times during that period. Over time I became physically worn out with no energy for anything. I felt like a different person. No resemblance of my former self. I knew something had to change. I was open to something, anything.

One day, almost a year after the event, I met up with the person. We had a calm and boy-in-lakeselfless conversation. I began to understand that person’s side of things. All of a sudden I had this urge to forgive. It was not a conscious thing; it was more of an impulse. After listening, absorbing, and understanding what the other person was telling me, I suddenly said the words “I forgive you.” I am not kidding when I tell you that as soon as I said those words it felt like the heaviest weight was lifted off my shoulders. I felt 100lbs lighter! I instantly began to relax and felt so happy as if I had just finished a massage session and meditation class simultaneously…the feeling felt so good it was like I had just taken something! Instantly, the psychological toxins left my body. One or two days later I felt like a healthy new person, ready to start a new chapter in my life.

So, I know though personal experience that letting go of grudges and bitterness decreases stress and clears the impediments to happiness, health and peace. Being able to “forgive” affords one the possibility of the following (some of these positive outcomes have actually been scientifically researched):

  • Fewer symptoms of depression with less anxiety, stress and hostility
  • Stronger immune system
  • Improved heart health with lower blood pressure
  • Higher self-esteem which leads to healthier relationships with the people around you
  • Greater spiritual and psychological well-being

Forgiveness is a commitment

If forgiveness is not an impulse or doesn’t come spontaneously, then it needs to become a conscious commitment in order to start the process of change. Change is hard for a lot of people but thinking about the following tactics might help:

Consider “forgiveness” and its importance in your life at a given time. Think about how heavy life is when carrying anger and bitterness in your heart. Reflect on the facts of the situation, how you’ve reacted, and how this combination has affected your life, health and well-being. Actively choose to forgive the person who’s offended you, when you’re ready. This will help you move away from being a victim and release the control and power the offending person and situation have had in your life. As I have learned, by letting go of grudges, you’ll no longer define your life by how you’ve been hurt. You will find compassion and understanding for the person that you forgive.

“Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.”  – Mark Twain
6918_top-10-most-beautiful-violet-flowers

Can I find true Happiness?

•March 25, 2016 • 1 Comment

 

images

For many years I thought one had to work hard in order to find happiness, and once actually found from that point on I would be consistently happy until my last day.

TreesAs I have moved through life I discovered that there was always some perceived obstacle in the way. There was always something I felt I had to get through before happiness would flow over me, some unfinished business, and time to be spent on something, or a debt to be paid.

I am not saying I have never been happy. Obviously, throughout my life, I have experienced extreme happiness. What I was looking for was more consistency.

After accomplishing, or overcoming, each perceived obstacle in many cases happiness Springdidn’t necessarily follow. Of course there was a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, but that did not necessarily mean it equated to true happiness.

A few years ago it dawned on me that these obstacles, to overcome, and goals, to achieve, were my life and would always be around. If I didn’t pursue happiness in a different way I would never find it.

After talking to a bunch of people it appeared what I was encountering seemed common. I realized the same mentality affected many people who were also attempting to find true happiness. They too found that true prolonged happiness was always out of reach due to the tendency of putting up barriers which needed to be overcome.

BeautySo, to be truly happy I realized that I needed to realign the way I thought. There’s no better time to be happy than right now. Why wait? Why not be happy now? It is important to FREE oneself of the restrictions set by an artificial road-map we set up for ourselves. Life is filled with challenges and negativity. It’s best to admit this and decide to be happy anyway. Humans are great at always making excuses in many aspects of our lives, including why happiness is out of reach. We are all experts at this.

The key is to enjoy every moment that you live within (time with your family and 2-flower-wallpaperfriends, a walk on a beach during a beautiful sunset, a bike ride in the hills, whatever the moment is) and treasure it. Clear the mind, live in the moment for as long as possible, and be happy that you can do the things you can or want to do. Once you internalize how special each individual moment is you will feel blessed and realize that good fortune is shining on you. No one can take that moment away from you. It is yours to enjoy and remember. TRULY open yourself up to these moments. REMEMBER that time waits for no one.

Every day will give you a number of happy moments, even when life is proving to be HD_beautiful_nature_landsacpe_1920RCRL_8003challenging. SMILE and focus on these moments. Let them guide you and push you in a positive direction. Doing so will pull your life into the direction YOU want to go. Life is our reality and is not perfect. But one cannot tell me that no good moment occurred in the space of 24 hours…even if it’s just the sun shining on your face.

So, even though finding consistent happiness is a work in progress I am definitely learning to decrease the number of barriers and obstacles I put up…there is no better time than right now to be happy. I am alive, and every day will give me a special moment. Sometimes I just need to apply the effort to look for it. It is there.

“I thank my God for graciously granting me the opportunity of learning that death is the key which unlocks the door to our true happiness.” –  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Sunset

The Big Comeback!

•January 6, 2016 • Leave a Comment

 

Fireworks explode over the River Thames

LIFE

Happy New Year! 2016 will be the best year ever!

Wow, it’s been a really interesting couple of years for me. This is the first post for many, many months. Since it is the beginning of a new year, it is time to start writing again. I have missed it.

On Your Marks Get Set Go – RESET!

First, I feel writing things down, whether my thoughts, ideas, or plans, is the first step in making things actually happen, whether it’s helping other people, working on projects, or whatever it is. You know what I am saying. In many cases, writing is the first step to moving forward…

Secondly, it’s also important that I follow through and do the things I need to do to stay healthy, both mentally and physically. Only when one is healthy, by that I mean more than just the physical…I mean happy, can one excel at giving oneself to others. This takes discipline and commitment, and is easy to neglect.

Due to a busy schedule, a new family, launching a fitness business with a dear friend of mine (90 plus hours a week), and health issues, I have not been immersing myself, as I have done in the past, with the activities I usually do to stay sharp (physically and mentally). An intense Strength & Conditioning routine, cycling, weight training, writing, and reading have taken a back seat.

Bummers & Downs

I have experienced a number of downs within the last two years, including major shoulder surgery.  Little did I know that when I crashed during a bike race in the summer of 2008, I seriously injured my shoulder. However, after the crash I was able to go back into the gym and continue my strength and conditioning program, doing heavy weights, Shoulder Surgeryeven able to do military presses on most days. Over the years I had incidents that consistently affected the left shoulder, but it only took me out for a couple of days to a week and then I was back working out that area again, like nothing happened.

Then in February 2014 my left shoulder started hurting with the pain continuing to increase in intensity over a short period. With that came significantly decreased mobility. Finally, when I could not bare it anymore I went into surgery in June, after an MRI (torn rotator cuff, inflamed Burse, displaced nerve, chipped bone, cartilage damage, bone particles embedded in my bicep, and a detached bicep)  So a year and a half later it has improved, but there is still pain, with mobility at around 85%, which I will take! The area requires continuous physical therapy which I need to include every time I work out…it is getting stronger, so there is light at the end of the tunnel. However, I do have one small area, around the socket where there is no cartilage so at some point, down the road, a replacement will be required. Whatever, the most important thing is what I can do with it now!

Knee MeniscusThen something else, I started running again at the beginning of 2015. In May I was running on a stretch of road and tripped over a pothole, damaging my left knee. Over a few weeks the pain intensified and with a MRI it was determined that I had a torn meniscus. I had surgery in July. The good news is that the recovery was relatively quick.

There is a tendency to let one’s DOWNS keep you DOWN. When you are down it is easy to make excuses in order not to do stuff. But, the older you become it is important to understand that there are less and less “tomorrows.” Once you release this you can use that to motivate yourself to move up, forward, and leave your comfort zone.

SPORT

I spoke to a friend recently, a top celebrity fitness trainer, who is super strong and fit, she said –”I was the most unfit IMG_1004 when I was a working in the fitness industry as a trainer…there was never the time, or sometimes the energy; I needed, at the end of a full day of training clients, for myself.” Since working in the Fitness Business it has been difficult to stay self-motivated with all my energy going towards other people’s fitness and well-being.  Combine that with my injuries, I have had the perfect recipe of not being consistent with my own strength and conditioning.

The time to start working on my overall strength and health is now.  I will probably never race a bike again. If I go down on my left shoulder again it will be a mess!  But I will start engaging by training on a bike, slowly and sensibly increasing my endurance and sustained power. Just to have fun but garner the benefits of riding too!

I want to get my body back to where it was in 2010, 2011 and 2012, and have fun doing it, dropping 30lbs, while reaping the benefits of lean muscle.

This post is not meant for sympathy, but it’s a launching pad, for me, for bigger and better things!  Here I come 2016!

Without ambition one starts nothing. Without work one finishes nothing. The prize will not be sent to you. You have to win it.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Alpine Skiing

What is your Problem!? Just live life & be HAPPY – Simple!!!

•September 28, 2014 • 3 Comments

When I was a younger I spent a lot of time thinking and worrying about the possibilities of problems and/or negative _IGP4413 situations developing in the future.  What I have learned and try to remember is that having actual problems are problems enough, and there is no need to give space, or to become mentally hampered by spending time thinking and stressing about the possibility of problems, problems that may not even occur!

Also, I need to live my life, today, right now, in this moment, with the passion, and attention that it deserves. I need to embrace it and add special meaning to it all, and try not to become hindered by imagined problems.  This is very difficult to achieve for most people, even the most controlled among us.

Although, as I get older and live my life, I have developed much experience and tools to live my life in the way I choose, and to deal with the challenges and setbacks that constantly come everyone’s way.  This is the Beauty of experience and age.

So, Instead of stressing, being nervous or intimidated by what might go wrong, I am now much better equipped to be able to let myself be inspired by all that can go right and the resulting rewards, and the resulting happiness.  Although still hard, It islate summer light definitely getting easier, for me, to envision and make the choice to live the best life I can imagine, re-framing from going down the negative thought processes, and make the required commitment to do that.  In order to achieve this, another thing to consider, it is important not to be around Debbie Downers since that is a sure way to get dragged down the wrong path. Clean up your Rolodex!

The challenges that I do encounter and overcome serve as a reminder and let me know that I am moving forward in the right direction.  Actual problems keep me motivated to overcome them and drive me to fulfill my goals and dreams.  Nothing will stand in the way or prevent me from getting there!

I try reminding myself of all the opportunities awaiting for me every single day, which moves me forward, driven by the limitless possibilities awaiting around every corner, or within just a single phone call, or a single meeting…

Bottom-line, I want to and try to live my life with purpose, courage, richness and joy.  Part of this is only possible if I erase my mind from possible problems and negativities.

Somebody should tell us, right at the start of our lives, that we are dying. Then we might live life to the limit, every minute of every day. Do it! I say. Whatever you want to do, do it now! There are only so many tomorrows.

Pope Paul VI

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Time to Sleep…

•January 6, 2014 • 5 Comments

2013 was a crazy year for me, during which I felt mostly tired.  No racing of any kind, but it was definitely a year of contemplation, planning, building, implementation, and moving forward.  It was a challenging, rewarding year with both loss and gains…

photo 1Loss…I lost my beautiful Doberman Anka.  She was my solid and consistent companion for almost 10 years.  Amazing how bonded we become to our pets, and how much they can teach us about our own life.  I could wax on about her forever, on many levels!  What makes the loss somewhat bearable was that she passed peaceably in her sleep, very early in the morning.  She was truly an amazing partner, her consistent presence helped me through some heavy stuff.  I will think about her and her life, what she gave me, for the rest of mine.

Gain…The day Anka died my incredible nephew, Lars, was born.  The Cycle of Life!  Going forward, Lars’ birthday will have special significance to me.photo 2

Gain…I have re-established a very special friendship that started in New York City 21 years ago. This event is a revelation and has restored my faith in certain aspects of my life which, based on certain events, took a little bit of a beating.

Gain…I went into business with a good friend, who has developed an amazing fitness and healthy eating concept.  It is based on his experience of training top-tier elite athletes and pouring that experience into a 30 minute workout that has produced amazing results.  We are in the process of opening a center in Los Angeles.  Construction is in full swing, with the opening occurring later this month.  If you are interested in finding out more, here is the website: www.sirensandtitansfitness.com

As the year progresses I will, among other things, touch base on the above, going into more details.  Since I haven’t written for awhile I thought I would create a starting point for 2014…

One area that I want to improve on, since I have been constantly tired, is SLEEP.  I have blogged on so many other areas in my life, areas I want to improve on, or eliminate, but I think sleep ranks up there in regards to importance.  I have come to the conclusion, at least for me, the saying “you can sleep when you are dead” is so bloody asinine, completely senseless.  It’s taken me 51 years to make this discovery for myself!

I have always done well with minimal sleep, whether recovering from training, or conducting business.   At least that is what I have until recently thought.  But, the reality has finally set in.

Maybe it is maturity and/or the increased ability to be honest with myself.  Lack of sleep causes me to “drift” through the day, not fully taking in a conversation, the view, the taste, the breeze on my face.  Everything appears hazy since there is a lack of focus.  As I move into the 2nd half of my life I want to see things much more “clearly”!  I want to take in everything, and will now attempt to achieve this.  I am going to make a concerted effort to get more quality deep sleep, by getting into bed earlier and eliminate such things as late night computer and TV.

People try all kinds of things to be able to live in the NOW,  like meditation, reading books on the subject, paying someone to help them with the process, whatever it may be.   However, it dawned on me that all of this is a waste of time and money, without the foundation of sleep and being rested.  Being rested allows me, better than ANYTHING else, to live in the now!  Sleep and rest also increases my memory, endurance, strength, patience and definitely cuts back on ROAD RAGE!  There are just too many benefits to list.

“True silence is the rest of the mind, and is to the spirit what sleep is to the body, nourishment and refreshment.”  William Penn

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Perfection… is it attainable and is it desirable?

•January 7, 2013 • 8 Comments

I was listening to BBC World on Sirius Radio the other day. There was an interesting segment that caught my ear.  A person was giving a personal view point on “perfection” and the dangers of pursuing that ultimate goal, and why “good enough” is good enough. I found myself becoming a little annoyed with her view point.

She actually made the argument that the path towards perfection in fraught with negativities and dangers.

Amongst others, she discussed sushi Chef Jiro Ono as one example of an “unhealthy” pursuit of perfection.

This piqued my interest enough to start reading about the chef and his life.  His story is one that encapsulates the meaning of pursuing perfection.

Jiro Ono’s father was an alcoholic and worked in a factory.  When Jiro was 7 years old, his 1337256000000.cachedfather abandoned the family. The family had no money so Jiro left home at the age of 9 and started apprenticing at a sushi shop…working the same job for 76 years. Jiro currently holds the distinction of being the world’s oldest Three Star Michelin Chef at the age of 86.  He is regarded so highly, that even acclaimed chefs Anthony Bourdain, Eric Ripert, and countless others, hail him as the greatest sushi chef that has ever lived, or at least currently the best sushi chef in the world.

Sushi is special and so uniquely Japanese.   It’s what I would define as a precision food.  If prepared sloppily it looks unappetizing.  One of the skills of being a Master Sushi Chef is to make raw meat into something that looks like a work of art, while at the same time appetizing.

There is a district in Tokyo called the Ginza district.  This district is widely regarded as one DSC_9081of the world’s most luxurious shopping centers.  In between the luxury stores, which include, amongst others Dior, Prada, Armani, and Chanel, lays a dull office building. Tucked away in its basement, a glass door away from a subway platform is Sukiyabashi Jiro a tiny sushi bar with only 10 seats.  The restaurant has no bathroom, no slick interior design.  Since it is so small, this allows the staff to focus on preparing top-quality sushi and serving each client the best possible way, noticing little details like how much they eat, or if they are right-handed or left-handed.

Despite his age, Jiro, come rain or shine, takes the subway to work every morning.  He still Kozue-Tokyo-Assorted-sashimioversees most of the details of his restaurant, including reservations and menu.  The chef takes no days off other than for national holidays or funerals. But in addition to purchasing the best and highest quality fish, Jiro also has a special rice dealer who sells his best grains to him, in order to optimize his sushi.

Only six people work at Sukiyabashi Jiro: Yoshikazu (chef Ono’s son); another  sushi chef; three apprentices, who must train with Ono for a decade to attain the status of shokunin; a woman who handles the accounting and the cash register, and another woman who cleans the restaurant.

Sukiyabashi-Jiro-Ginza-Tokyo-Oo-toro-594x445Sukiyabashi Jiro is so popular you have to make a reservation up to a year in advance and pay $368 (around 30,000 yen) for a fixed menu of 20 pieces of sushi.

The attention to detail is incredible.  For instance, Jiro ages his tuna for up to 10 days, and apprentices massage the octopus by hand for 50 minutes before preparing it. Chef Ono is such a perfectionist that he’ll even make his sushi different sizes for different customers, so that an entire party finishes the food at the same time.

Even though Jiro has had a hard life and follows a strict routine, he is enormously happy with his work; as he has stated many times, he is blissful and truly enjoys his work, which appears to keep him vital in his old age.

However, in order to pursue happiness Chef Ono has had to compromise his relationship with his family and two sons (which to some people may appear extreme). His relationship Sukiyabashi-Jiro-Ginza-Tokyo-Chef-Jiro-Ono-at-Workwith his eldest son Yoshikazu, who is the worthy heir to Jiro’s legacy, is sometimes strained since at times it is hard for Yoshikazu to live up to his full potential in his father’s shadow.

Chef Ono increases his creativity by focusing within a narrow range, rather than going wide.  By starting with the same daily routine, pursuing a narrow focus, combined with his talent and hard work, this allows him to be open to true creativity.

Beyond Chef Ono’s life and his restaurant, I am truly interested in his philosophies – which are what drives him in his pursuit of perfection, including:

  • “Once you decide on your occupation, you must immerse yourself in your work. You have to fall in love with your work.” – It is interesting that he doesn’t say “find work that you love”; rather he says “love the work we have chosen.”
  •  “Never complain about your job. You must dedicate your life to mastering your skill. That’s the secret of success and is the key to being regarded honorably and is the key to success.”
  • “Cultivate love for your work, much like we do in a serious relationship that ultimately results in marriage. Joyful work requires a lifetime of devotion.”

Jiro’s philosophy on work is very different to how most of us perceive work.  In our culture we tend to categorize work in two ways, either work we dream of doing, or work we have to do for income in order to afford our lifestyles.  I think many of us tell ourselves that the work we would absolutely love to do is just a dream and we must endure a career of mediocre enjoyment until we hit retirement and only at that time can we begin enjoying life.

What’s very interesting is that Chef Ono still feels he hasn’t reached perfection despite the fact he has 3 Michelin Stars*.  So, the lesson I pull out of this is that perfection is never achieved but the driver to attain it, which keeps us motivated and moving forward.  The resulting created drive constantly pushes us though the boundaries which we originally thought were personal limits, allowing us to realize that we have so much more potential than originally we thought we had!

Sport

DSC_0129The Japanese word “kaizen” simply means “improvement”. The word refers to any improvement, one-time or continuous, large or small.  The word Kaizen in English is typically applied to measures for implementing continuous improvement.  It is a philosophy I like to apply, or at least try to.

Cycling is physical and hard, taking serious commitment.  To have fun with cycling whether racing, or just keeping up with the local club ride, requires a certain level of fitness, achieved by dedication, time and hard work. One needs to put in the training, effort, and absorb the necessary pain to push through to the next fitness level.  The longer I participate in this sport, and apply myself the more improvements I achieve and find myself achieving things on a bike that I originally thought were not possible due to my size and weight!

article-2172800-13D27C1E000005DC-478_468x286To me perfection and continuous improvement do not have to be what other people think it is, but it’s what I think it is, whatever aspect in life we are talking about whether its sports, life, relationships, or work.  Doing the best I can, as an individual, giving 100% of my effort and ability, whether it’s besting a previous workout, pushing past maximums, that to my mind is one avenue of pursuing perfection…finding out what my body is capable of by pushing to optimize its capabilities.

I would never want to live in a world where “good is good enough.” I think the pursuit of perfection raises us and our spirit…for instance; it is what makes the Olympics so wonderful Cavendish of Britain cycles to win the London-Surrey Cycle Classic road race, a test event for the London 2012 Olympic Gamesand exciting, where the athletes’ lifetime of work comes to the fore, under the bright lights of the world stage. Pushing the boundaries, passing what we previously thought was impossible to surpass.   Without the pursuit of perfection and achieving the best we are capable of, to my mind, the world would be boring.  Pushing the outer boundaries is what pushes us forward as individuals, as well as human kind as a whole. Since perfection is never attained, it is what drives us further than we believed we could go.

Having said all this, I think there are always two sides of anything.  Whatever people do, whether eating, drinking, working, pushing to be the best whatever, we can take it too far. Pushing for perfection doesn’t need to be unhealthy as long as we do not lose sight of the other things in our life, that are important such as love, family, friends, health, etc.

But, I do not like or subscribe to the notion of “It’s good enough.” Those three words really bug me! It is lazy.  Granted there are situations where one has to prioritize if one is under pressure.  But I want to make that the exception and not the rule.  I feel that if I was to live by those three words I would be stuck in the universe of mediocrity!  No thank you!

“The man with insight enough to admit his limitations comes nearest to perfection.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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