Josh Bowen: The Time is Now

b8c197f3-6ca2-4e88-9c21-15bb0f46e3e7Let me set the stage for you…

After finishing my last client for the day (shout out to Lauren) I quickly get ready to go work out myself after a long day of clients and before a super packed Friday. I get in my car and go workout at Lexington Athletic Club, a few hundred feet from Aspire. I finish my workout, get in my car, and as I do every night go back to Aspire; re-rack the weights, clean up and turn the lights out. At this time it is 10pm. I get in my car to go home, get something to eat and go to bed before my 5am appointment. I go the same way I always do and pull out of the studio and I am the first in line at the red light to turn left to head home. I am no more than a football’s throw from Aspire.

As I am sitting patiently at the stop light, out of my left ear (my good ear by the way) I hear what sounds like a freight train, I glance to my left and I feel the most vicious impact, almost like Ray Lewis has clotheslined me and hit me with a 2 x 4. I am disoriented, I smell smoke and I panic. I cannot get out the driver’s side door, too much damage. I rip my seat belt off and climb out the passenger side door, still not sure where I am or what just happened. I get out and the most confused I have ever been in my life (that is saying something) there is no car to be found. I start to think, “am I dreaming?” I know I was just hit by something and where is it? There is nothing and no one. After a few seconds and me evaluating my situation I realize my body is shook up and this could of been much worse but not sure how much worse until…

Bystander from the across the street comes to see how I am and leaves me with these words I will always remember, “Hey man, I saw it all from across the street and you my friend are lucky to be alive.” It was real at the point. This could of been it. It could of been my last workout, my last client and my ride on earth. But thankfully the car that hit me, going at 80 mph so the guy said, only got me at the corner of the driver’s door instead of the middle, where it would have T-boned me and I wouldn’t be writing this email. I survived with very minor injuries compared to what could of happened. The driver was never found and was probably drunk, as he/she was so out of control they probably had no idea what happened. Still yet, I am alive and will be able to continue life as I always have…except I have a new found appreciation for time.

You see tomorrow is not promised, hell today is not promised. You never know when its your time to go. So why do we waste time not doing the things we want to do in this world? Or why do we waste time being with people who do not make us better? Or even more importantly why do we put off doing the things that make us happy? It could all be over tomorrow. Your time is not promised. I was not even driving my car, I was parked at an intersection, patiently waiting for my turn to go home and I was violently hit by a car that could of killed me. But it didn’t.

I write this to you all today because every situation we go through in life should teach us about ourselves. Life is not perfect, we are not perfect and one day this will all come to end. I will leave you with this advice:

Leave it all on the field

If you want to do something, now is the time to do it. Not tomorrow. Not next week. NOW! What are you waiting for? There is literally no excuse you can come up with for why you aren’t chasing your dreams. You will not live forever, but you legacy with people will.

Leave something to be remembered for

Not to be morbid but I thought about my funeral the last couple of days. What would people say about me? How many people would be there? This may sound negative to a degree but I cant help but think about it. I still have time to make a legacy for myself and every day counts. Make every day count for yourself. Its not a popularity contest, you know who means the most to you and who will remember you when you are gone. Leave your best for them to remember.

Don’t waste time on people who do not belong

If someone does not add value to you, they are a detractor and they need to go. Not everyone belongs in your life. Surround yourself with people who push you, who add value to you, who will remember you when you are gone. Money and possessions come and go but when you die, your memory with people and how you affected them will carry the longest. Ditch the negative and embrace the positive.

The time is now. What are you waiting for?

No apologies. No regrets. Just greatness.

Lauren Mayer: Wait, The US Is Less Hip Than Ireland?

I mean to cast no aspersions on the Irish – some of my best friends really ARE Irish – but when it comes to marriage equality, I figured Ireland had quite a ways to go.  This is an overwhelmingly Catholic country, quite conservative on social issues, and they only decriminalized homosexuality in 1993.  But not only did they pass full marriage equality way before the US, they did it by a huge landslide, with only one out of 43 districts voting against it.  (Which would be like every single state in the US voting for it, except for maybe Alabama.)

News this historic deserves not only a song, but dancing (and even some outtakes) –

Josh Bowen: Perfection Does Not Exist

“The essence of being human is that one does not seek perfection.”
~George Orwell

joshThe quest for perfection. The perfect body. The perfect life. The perfect marriage. The perfect job. We all want what we consider to be “perfect.” When something isn’t good enough for us, we drop it and move to something else and then the viscous cycle ensues. Nothing is good enough for us anymore. We are chasing perfection in an imperfect world. We want what we can’t have and once we have it we don’t want it anymore, because its not “perfect.”

The Nirvana Fallacy, is a concept that is defined by, “comparing actual things with unrealistic, idealized alternatives.” It simply means we chase perfection and perfection is not attainable because perfection does not exist. My career as a fitness professional has been spent training and getting to know a vast variety of clients, all of whom want to make some type of change. Every so often, I will find someone who is never satisfied and is always chasing, in their mind, the perfect something. In most cases it would be the perfect body. They will do and try anything (within reason) to attain such an unattainable quest. It can be frustrating and in a strange way admirable that people will go to such lengths to get something they want. I find it somewhat difficult to “harness the reigns” on some people because they give it their all and their all is not adding up, in their mind, to what they want. Perfection does not exist.

The media is great at the projection of perfect. Go to any magazine stand and pick up a Cosmopolitan or Women’s Health or some other vanity focused magazine and you will see the following, “perfect abs in 30 days,” “10 ways to a perfect relationship,” “perfect love making for you and your spouse.” So we as a society think we have to chase this concept of perfection because if the magazines say its possible, it must be. This leads to trouble especially when it comes to people’s body image and concept of who they are.

We have a selection of our population turning to fad diets, crazy supplements and in some cases drugs because of the attempt to have the perfect body. Look at some of the most popular Instagram pages and you will see “fitness pros” who look like they are carved out of granite rock performing exercises and showing you what they do. They look outstanding and in some people’s minds, perfect. However, we all need to eat some humble pie and realize these people are not perfect, we have no idea what they did to look like that, and how long that is sustainable for us long term. I am here to tell you, where there is smoke there is usually fire. No movie star has added 30 lbs of lean muscle tissue without some help. No music artist has six pack abs in their 40s unless they are blessed genetically or have had some surgery. That is a fact jack.

So what the hell are we doing? Why are we killing ourselves chasing something that does not exist? And why do we quit when we realize what we wanted either isn’t achievable or too hard to make work? These are great points to ponder. I suggest the following:

Chase Progress Not Perfection

With your body, your marriage, your relationships. Work on improving things, not being perfect. No situation is perfect. No solution is perfect. So why focus on it. Everyday get a little bit better. This will make a world of difference.

Walk Your Walk

Guess what? Some people won’t like you. Not every one will like you or love you. You aren’t the perfect human being. You are human. Welcome to the land of imperfection. We all live here. So why not relish in the fact we aren’t going to make everyone happy, but we can make ourselves happy. Walk your walk and forget what everyone else says. You know who you are, no one needs to have an opinion on the subject matter.

I leave you with this….

“Why, when we know that there’s no such thing as perfect, do most of us spend an incredible amount of time and energy trying to be everything to everyone? Is it that we really admire perfection? No – the truth is that we are actually drawn to people who are real and down-to-earth. We love authenticity and we know that life is messy and imperfect.”

Be authentic. Be you.

Lauren Mayer: Viral For Old People

When I started posting weekly political comedy songs on youTube, my teenage son tried to caution me against unrealistic expectations.  “You know, Mom, anything over 100 views is viral for old people.”  But it turns out there are more fans of political comedy out there than he thought, and even some of us ‘old people’ know how to use computers to check out videos.  Not that I’ve rivaled Gangnam Style, or even most funny cat videos, but most of mine get into the mid 3-digits, and some go quite a bit higher.

So far I haven’t been able to draw too many conclusions about what makes one of my videos hit higher numbers – I’ve gotten into 4 figures with ones I really worked on, ones I threw together, some are parodies of recognizeable songs but other recogizeable parodies don’t seem to hit.  But there are certain hot button issues I can count on, and none more reliably than gun control.

Of course, most of the increased number of views come from people who really, really, REALLY disagree with me, and let me know in the comments.  The first time I did a gun control song, the comments were quite disturbing – tons of horrible language, vile insults and even threats.  But then I realized that if the spelling and grammar were any indication, these folks were not going to be able to figure out where I lived.  (More importantly, I also realized that they were showing off for each other more than anything else.)

The Waco shooting last week only made Texas loosen gun restrictions even more, but it did inspire me to tackle the subject once again, so let’s see what it does to my views (and my comments!):

Josh Bowen: The 7 Cardinal Rules of Life

joshWhen life imitates art its time to take a step back and evaluate the situation.  For some reason it always takes me a few days to get over hard losses, whether its just my passion for Kentucky basketball or I view it as an outlet or some other reason that is not apparent, I take loses to heart. But with every loss there is time to reflect, not just on the season at hand but also on you the individual. For the players, they evaluated where they sat skill and NBA readiness wise and as a fan I evaluate what I learned from the season. I took this; nothing and no one is unbeatable, sports as in life aren’t fair, team work and hard work conquers all and finally do your best to make everyone around you better.

So  I am just a crazy Kentucky fan right? Maybe. But I do have an ability to learn from literally every situation and that is a skill I pride myself on. (By the way, this piece will have no fitness related advice in it, I am still on the motivation/inspiration tip this week.) So as I am reading this week, preparing for what I am going to write about, I see a picture with seven statements on it. It is essentially a code of how to live your life to the fullest. So I feel the need to share those seven principles with you tonight. So, here we go…

Make Peace with Your Past 

I raise my hand and admit there are some things in my past that are hard to left go of. BUT to look to the future, you cannot be concerned with what happened in the past. Past failures do not predict the future. If there is something back there that needs tending to handle, if not keep moving forward.

What Other People Think of You Is None if YOUR Business

Easier said than done, but what some one thinks of you is just that, a thought. Lets take Kentucky’s coach John Calipari as an example. A hall of fame coach, multiple final fours, one national championship, produced some of the best NBA talent in the game today. Yet, he is vilified and thought of as a cheater. Truth is, he is the best at what he does and his approach is about helping others more than helping himself. What is so bad about that? Nothing. He doesn’t care what anything thinks of him, as long as he is doing his life’s mission, that is all that matters. We should all practice the same.

Time Heals Almost Everything

It may hurt today and tomorrow, but give it a few weeks and the hurt will subside. All you need is time.

No One is in Charge

No one is in charge of your happiness. No husband/wife, girlfriend/boyfriend, car or purse. Literally nothing on this earth can make you happy but you. Usually unhappiness comes from lack of purpose, if you are feeling that way think about your purpose. If you don’t have a purpose, find one and chase it.

Don’t Compare Your Life to Others

This can work a variety of ways. We all have problems but when it comes down to it, we would keep our problems instead of trading them with someone else. It can always be worse. On the flip side, comparing yourself to someone else is a waste of time. You don’t know their struggle and what they are going through.

Stop Thinking Too Much

Face it. You don’t have all the answers. No one does. So if you can’t control it, why are you worried about it? I like to use the adage, “Don’t think, just do.” Over the years I have seen clients and friends crippled by their own thinking. It is necessary. Do not let your mind run roughshod on your life.

Smile

I know, I know. You are sitting there saying, “this dude never smiles.” I get it. I need to and I will continue to improve on this aspect. However, even through all the dark days the easiest thing to do to make a difference is a simple smile. Try it. I will.

It is all so simple yet all so complicating. It’s life. It was designed this way. It is a grand challenge but remember your purpose and be driven toward it.

John Y. Brown, IV: Why I’m Voting for James Comer

JYB IV and JYB JrLess than a week from today, Kentucky Republicans, such as myself, will choose our next nominee for the Governor of our commonwealth. The choice we make will have major implications for the future of Kentucky. For 60 of the past 68 years, a Democrat has occupied the Governor’s Mansion. One of those Democrats was my own grandfather and namesake, who was governor in the early 1980s.

Times have changed, however. The Democratic Party has moved far to the left, a development that led me to join the Republican Party. Our nation is deep in debt. Our own state is among the bottom 5 in terms of credit rating. The most recent monthly jobs report showed a loss in private sector jobs in Kentucky. Years of Democratic leadership have clearly failed our state.

We are in dire need of bold conservative leadership on the state level. I have come to the simple conclusion that the candidates best suited to win the general election and move our state in a bold, conservative direction are James Comer and Chris McDaniel.

In order to get the kind of bold conservative reform Kentucky needs, we must first win the general election against likely Democrat nominee, Jack Conway. The most recent polling has all of the Republican candidates except for James Comer down double digits against Jack Conway in a general election match up. Comer, on the other hand, is within the margin of error. We also know that in 2011, when both Jack Conway and James Comer were on the statewide ballot, Comer got 70,000 more votes than Conway. This was a year in which Democrats won every other statewide election. James Comer was the only Republican to win statewide, and he won with over 63% of the vote.

It’s also of great importance that whoever wins the nomination is able to successfully execute a conservative vision when elected.  James Comer also has a record of success in this respect. When James Comer first was elected as Commissioner of Agriculture, in 2011, the office was mired in waste and corruption. Commissioner Comer immediately began reforming the office and restored transparency and fiscal sanity. For his success, the Bluegrass Institute gave him an award for restoring transparency in government. He was even able to return $1.65 million dollars to the treasury. The only earmark funding ever returned by a constitutional officer.

I had the privilege of personally getting to know Commissioner Comer. To say I have great respect for him would be an understatement. He is a man of incredible integrity and a strong commitment to bettering Kentucky. Along with his wife TJ and their three children, the Comer family stands for everything that is good about Kentucky.

I am very proud to support James Comer and Chris McDaniel for Governor and Lieutenant Governor. Their candidacy is simply unmatched in terms of personal integrity, achievements, and vision. Nominating Comer and McDaniel would be the next step towards a better Kentucky.

Josh Bowen: Back Against the Wall? 5 Strategies to Handle Adversity

 

be the best

I truly believe the statement to the left ; to be the best you must be able to handle the worst. Whether we like it not, can deal with it or not, adversity will always be in our way. No successful person, in any field, has gone through life without adversity. It makes us who we are. Some will quit when faced with it and some will rise to the occasion  and champion the responsibility and use it as a learning experience. Either way, every situation in our lives cannot be perfect. As sure as there will be death and taxes, there will be adversity. It is how you faced it that counts.

Take Responsibility

Control what you can control and accept what you can’t. However, do not point the finger and feel that you cannot change the situation because you absolutely can. It may not be immediate, but all situations can be changed. Remember, at all times you can control your own destiny.

Focus On Solutions

If all you do is focus on the problem, you will become frustrated and quit. Focus on the solution to the problem or at least do something about the problem. Complaining will do nothing for you here. Compartmentalize the issue and focus on a game plan to fix it.

No Fear

No matter how bad it gets, never have fear. Easier said than done but fear nothing or no one and watch what you will achieve. There is a supreme difference between fear and danger, danger is real fear is not. “Fear nothing, achieve everything.”

Have a Sense of Humor

This one I am working on. Everything will pass in life, might as well have fun with it. Make fun of the situation and yourself, keep your sense of humor and it instantly becomes better.

Never Quit

Quitting solves nothing. Quitting says it wasn’t important to you. Quitting is an easy way out. Never give up on something you truly want.

Adversity makes the best out of strong people. Let it make the best out of you

.

Josh Bowen: Six Rules of Success – As Told by the Terminator

joshWords of wisdom from what may seem like an unusual, the Terminator Arnold Schwarzenegger. An Austrian born man, who came to the United States with no money and hardly speaking English. He transformed himself into the greatest bodybuilder, the greatest action movie hero and even the Governor of California. One has to ask their self, “how did that happen?”

With persistence, relentless hard work and a little work, that’s how. If you watch the video above it shows Arnold going through his six rules for success. Below I will go through them in my terms and how I relate them to fitness and life. Here we go…

Trust yourself

At the end of the day we can only rely on ourselves. No one can care about our success or failure more than us. We must trust ourselves and go with our gut feelings. Continue to strive for personal greatness and always remember nothing is fatal or final. Finally, believe in yourself because if you don’t, no one will.

Break the rules

To hell with the rules. Your not suppose to do this or do that. Screw them. We don’t need them. We set the rules. We are the measuring sticks by which all are judged and we didn’t get there by playing it easy and playing by the rules. Break them and break them often. Keep it legal but turn the “I can’ts” into “I will.” 

Never be afraid to fail

You will fail. I will fail. However, we must not be afraid to fail because where there is failure there is success. The only way to succeed is to fail. If you have never failed you have never tried. Push the envelope of what you think is possible. You will learn a lot about what it takes to succeed. Just remember, what you are most scared to do is often the one thing you should do. So go out and do it.

Don’t listen to the naysayers

As John Calipari says, “haters gonna hate.” Do not listen to them. Nothing is impossible. With a strategic game plan and a hellacious work ethic, anything is possible. Don’t listen to people who say you can’t do it. They are only feeding your drive to do it. Follow your heart an your gut.

Work your butt off

Hard work is a given. Nothing will be given to you. You want it bad enough you will go get it. Work your ass off every day with your goals in mind. When you take off remember there is someone out there working towards what you want. Keep pushing and never let up.

Give back

Pay it forward. Give back to what has given to you. When you succeed teach others your ways. Mentor young minds to stimulate greatness in them. Leave a legacy no one can match. Be the measuring stick. Give back to the community, donate money to a genuine cause, be an example for others to follow. These add up over time. I am proud to say that on Saturday we raised over $300 for the American Diabetes Association for diabetes research. Give back.

All things are possible through fitness. The above list, if followed, will produce success in any field or endeavor. This is short, simple and easily applied. Go toward your greatness.

 

 

Lauren Mayer: Cherry-Picking The Bible

The latest arguments against marriage equality remind me of a scene from the Mel Brooks’ classic “Blazing Saddles,” where Sherriff Bart is trying to keep the citizens of Rock Ridge from caving into Hedly Lamarr’s efforts to get them to leave and says, “Can’t you see this is the last act of a desperate man?”  Howard Johnson’s response is, “We don’t care if it’s the first act of Henry V, we’re leaving!”   The tide has turned so quickly and definitively, opponents of same-sex marriage are running out of usable tactics. “This is how marriage has been for millenia” is easily countered by the fact that for most of those millenia, marriage involved men owning women, and “It will hurt traditional marriage” doesn’t hold up against the evidence from all the states where marriage equality hasn’t produced higher divorce rates, polygamy, or people marrying their pets.

Some opponents cite Biblical passages (as though the Bible were in fact the US Constitution), but even those arguments only expose more hypocrisy, given that they ignore all sorts of other Biblical edicts.  (The one on ‘gluttonous children should be put to death’ sure raised my eyebrows when I  heard about it in Hebrew School. Fortunately, even the most observant Jews let that one slip . . . )   So here’s a musical response, in the hopes that gospel-style music might help marriage equality opponents finally see the light:

David Goldberg: What We Learned After School

Editor’s Note:  I ran into David Goldberg at our 25th college reunion, having not seen him since our last reunion. Dave and I had never been close friends, but he had generously supported many of my political campaigns, and I had proudly watched as he and his wife Sheryl Sandberg each emerged as spectacular success stories in the business world.  At the reunion, he generously offered to contribute a few pieces to this web site to share his wisdom to our readers who were looking to launch their second acts as entrepreneurs in Dave’s model.

David’s final piece for the RP, published last September 29, which discusses lessons learned from our reunion, is particularly poignant in the wake of his tragic, much too early death last week.  Our deepest condolences go out to Sheryl and his family – Jonathan Miller

 

“It was twenty (five) years ago today, Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play. They’ve been going in and out of style, but they’re guaranteed to make you smile.”

– Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Beatles

Dave GoldbergEvery day, one survey or another informs us about the attitudes and intentions of a particular group of people. Once in a while, a survey also offers up life lessons.

That was the case with an interesting survey that I and 434 other members of the Harvard Class of 1989 completed this summer. Some of the results are merely statistical. For instance, most class members majored in history, economics, and English. Most ended up in education, healthcare, business, finance, and law. Us pre-Internet grads? We’re now big users of Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Other findings are more telling. Just over 10% say they need either more love or sex. However, a whopping 34% say they need more sleep—perhaps a lesson in how our priorities change after college! Surprisingly more than 40% of our class declared they took too little risk. Only 4% say they took too much. It was unexpected to see so few of us feel we’d taken enough risks along the way.

The most compelling insights came from an open-ended question. Here it is and a sample of the responses:

“If you could travel back to 1989 and explain your last 25 years to your younger self, what would that graduating senior have found most surprising?” 

  • You need to listen more.
  • How hard it is to juggle work and family.
  • Being gay does not hinder your life.
  • The role luck plays in both good and bad life outcomes.
  • That choosing a single career might not be enough—having two or three options ready would have been smarter.
  • I have done none of the things that I considered likely that I would do.
  • The fear of failure is far, far worse than the actual experience of it.
  • How hard it is to settle on a satisfying career. Take time to explore.
  • Home, family, and relationships trump career.
  • The dramatic change technology played.
  • How profound an experience it is to have and raise children.
  • That the Red Sox have won the World Series three times.

Great responses. Some were funny. Some were serious. All were revealing. The answers show that at our 25th reunion, we are students of life. What we’d tell our younger self shows that as much time as we spend hitting the books or burning the midnight oil — or worrying about our future — the real lessons about who we are and what’s important happen after school and work. So get out. Live a little. Take it all in. Survey says you’ll learn more than you expect.

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