08 Jun Commencement
I’m sitting here today to talk and tell a story. Before I do, I also want to mention a few things that people say that I think are complete and utter bullshit.
First there’s “Practice makes perfect.” That is complete horse dookie. You can practice until you are blue in the face or dislocate your testicles and nothing may ever come from it. Practice alone is not enough.
Some people may have heard the better cliche, “Perfect practice makes perfect.” That is a whole lot better! It is true that perfect practice does indeed yield a better result than practice alone. For example, I play pool. If I were to practice constantly against someone who was terrible then I wouldn’t get much better would I. If i’m just effing around the whole time against a great player then i’m also not working toward anything meaningful. Focus and intention are key to creating the parameters for perfect practice and jumpstarting progress.
So let’s change the wording some. “Focused intention and perfect practice make perfect” Sounds more like it now huh! Still not quite there yet. You see, perfection doesn’t exist when it comes to human performance. Our performance and progress is based in the moment and therefore, what is perfect in these circumstances and moment may not be perfect in the next. No matter the time of day or the circumstance EXCELLENCE is always achievable!! Famous Chicago chef and Fine Dining Forefather Charlie Trotter once said(and it might not be his original quote), “We must strive for perfection knowing that the best we can achieve is excellence.” Now I think we have some pretty awesome advice. Focused Intention while practicing perfection creates excellence!!!
The second cliche I’d like to mention is, “Knowledge is Power.” That is complete bullshit too!!! Knowledge is absolutely nothing but that, knowledge. Every dive bar in America has a highly intelligent and knowledgeable yet unemployable gentle sir or ma’am that has to be pried from their stool at the end of the night and driven home. I grew up in a bar. Trust me I know all about this shit. If you do nothing with it knowledge is exactly that, nothing. It’s nothing. And the worst part about it is it yields nothing but pity and irritation. Knowledge with deliberate action is power. You have to act on the knowledge you have obtained in order to take power over your life. The bal is always in your court.
Third, “Everyone is equal.” This is going to be a touchy subject right now but for those of you getting worked up, get over yourselves. Just calm down and hear me out. Everyone is not and will never be equal. Equal is wholly a boring prospect. Every decent human being( and by decent I mean those of you that don’t kick puppies or do harm to others) on this planet deserves the right to an equal amount of opportunity. Equal opportunity should be an inalienable right. That being said, some people are just never going to seize the opportunity. That also does not under any circumstance mean that something should be given to you. Everything and I mean everything worth getting in life you have to intend to happen. Once your intention is clear then you must take action and DO NOT QUIT. The only true way to lose in life is to stop trying. There are no mistakes just results. Sometimes results are really shitty. Reflect. Change Your Action. And Go After A Different Result!
No matter your past or circumstance you have something to offer this world that no one else does. There is a purpose for you that you may not realize but you are here for a damn reason. Because it is you, and you alone that walk through life in your shoes. You have a blessing inside you to offer to the world. Yours is a perspective that is utterly unique by its creation therefore NO ONE IS EQUAL and that is what makes life interesting.
A quick story about defining moments and then I’ll leave you. There was a boy who grew up in a big family. He had tons of cousins and wonderful aunts that he loved very much. They were the type of family that people dream about. The boy’s father worked a lot and was almost never home. His mother and aunt took care of him and his brother in the evenings and on the weekends until the boy was old enough to go to work in the family business.
They all began to work together which the boy thought was fantastic. This was his opportunity to get to know his father in a way that he never could before because now he’d see him all the time. Little did he know that working for dear old dad was no picnic. The boy was amazed at how poorly his father treated the employees at work and knew that even though he was successful there had to be another way. His dad screamed and yelled at everyone most of all the boy. He continued to learn the family business better and faster than anyone else because all he wanted to do was make his father happy or at the very least not angry.
The boy began to fall in love with the family business and wanted to do it when he finished school. His father always said “get straight A’s and be a doctor!” There was no possibility of him entering the family business because his father simply wouldn’t allow it. The boy got the best grades possible and received a medical scholarship to go away to college. It was his father’s dream but it wasn’t his. As painful as it was to disappoint his father the boy just couldn’t travel across the country to study something that he didn’t want to do. He told his father a week before leaving that he wasn’t going to go. His father responded angrily! He was furious! His father was even further angered when the boy said he wished to enter the family business
“This is a waste of your fucking life! What a waste!” was his father’s response.
It was devastating to the boy but he decided in that moment he decided that his life would not be a waste. This was his defining moment. The boy had made a decision. He was going to be successful and in a way his father had never been able to achieve or dream of. He went on to school and graduated with honors. There were times when it was pretty damn hard. He went on to run two separate businesses by the age of 23 and then 3 at the age of 28. The boy received several national awards, did business with Kings and Queens, and realized things that they had never thought were possible working back in the family business.
Through all the accomplishments, the best part was that his father eventually got over his disappointment. In fact, he was so proud and pleased that he and the boy became best friends and would share their stories together and laugh. They would tell of their setbacks and cry. They would even get together and talk about the boy’s future.
The boy in this story is me! The family business was restaurants. My father passed away in January from a long battle with lung cancer. He passed on proud as hell of his son and with a best friend that would always remember him with unconditional love.
There are two things I’d like to leave. Not advice but just two of my truths. One is that under no circumstances should you ever let anyone in this world tell you what is right for you. Clear your head, decide for yourself, and take action. Take action toward your desires everyday and the universe will get out of your way. Find the reasons that turn your wants into musts and you can literally do anything.
The second is to let go. Let go of the past. It does not define you! The people who judged you and told you that you couldn’t aren’t bad people necessarily. They just can’t see what you do. Let go and be happy. Success isn’t the way to happiness, happiness is the way to success. No matter where you are in life take a chance at the impossible because when you do that, the improbable happens and it’s pretty cool to watch.