Thanksgiving 2014

blog Nov 26, 2014

This year was one of the best years of my life: I moved to a slightly bigger house. I found out that my wife Leslie and I are having our second child. I watched my other son Andrew take his first steps. I published another book. I even snuck in a couple of trips with the guys. I have so much to be thankful for. Here is a brief list. (I have been doing this ever since I blogged for the USC football team back when Pete Carroll was the coach.)

  1. Watching my son sleep, take his first steps, and a hundred other things that only my wife and I care about.
  2. My amazing parents, who always take the time to make sure I’m OK.
  3. My amazing friends, especially Patrick Saylor, who I’ve known since second grade.
  4. Chris Stevenson, who is my speaking partner; we did some amazing work this year.
  5. Smile TV, who I’m talking with to produce a documentary about me and invited me to speak to four hundred people at Contagious Optimism LIVE, where I got to share the stage with two of my mentors,...
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An Amazing Couple of Days

blog Nov 20, 2014

On Friday morning, I woke up early because I was going to give a speech at USC (which is always on honor). A film crew from Smile TV came to record my speech. On top of everything else, my baby sister Sanaz was getting ready to give birth to my nephew. I woke up at 5:30 in the morning, took a shower, and met my speaking partner, Chris. We drove down the Pacific Coast Highway, and cut across the 10 freeway into downtown L.A.  When we arrived, I was greeted by the Smile TV crew and my former communication professor, Stacy Geck. (As Chris and I were getting mic’d up, we were cracking jokes about nothing in particular and I was wondering if our mics were on!) Then Jim Ellis, the Dean of the business school, walked in and introduced me to the class. When I was at USC, he was a marketing professor and we continued a fourteen-year relationship. It’s an honor to be invited as a guest speaker at USC, especially by Jim.

There was a time when I assumed that I could never...

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The Resources Exchange

blog Oct 31, 2014

Being amazing requires time, energy, money, love, inspiration, motivation, and many more resources. There are two types of resources: hard resources and soft resources.

Hard resources are quantifiable–they include time and money. Everybody has 24 hours in a day and a buck is a buck. They might have different meanings to different people, but they are tangible and quantifiable.

How you look at each resource is important to becoming amazing. Your relationship with time, money, knowledge, and other resources can propel you into an amazing life. When many high school students graduate, they have the choice of exchanging their time for money or investing their money and time into getting an education, which in the long run, will lead to an amazing life. Everybody has the choice every day to either just get by, keep up with the cycle, or invest their time, money, and energy into having an amazing life.

There are three types of activities you can perform with your resources. You...

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What is Your Job?

blog Oct 24, 2014

If you observed at a waiter at a restaurant (where else you find a waiter? Well, I guess maybe a bar or sporting event…) and asked yourself what his or her job is, your answer would probably be that they take orders, get them to the kitchen, and bring food and drinks to the table. It’s a lot more than that. A competent waiter has to recommend items, take special requests, be friendly to customers, make sure the kitchen isn’t overwhelmed, anticipate when the customer needs a refill or to-go container and many more little activities—the list is endless. There a good waiters, there are bad waiters, and then…there are amazing waiters. In any job there are the good, the bad, and the amazing. The first step to being amazing takes understanding what that means. To be amazing requires the knowledge that there is a regimen of activities, which must be executed on a regular basis whether you’re having a good day, or a bad day, or you have a hangover....

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The Process

blog Sep 19, 2014

I read about ten self-help articles every week.

Last week, I read an article by James Clear. He presented an idea that really hit home in my mind.  He said instead of focusing on achieving your goals, focus on building a process. That was very insightful to me because long-term goals can be very far away. He gave an example of a coach who has a goal of winning a championship. Instead of focusing on said goal, he focused on the process of what he needs to do every day in order to achieve his goal.  Even though he now focuses on the process, he’s more likely to win that championship. I love to speak.  I love to publish books.  I love to write.  There are a lot of activities that I need to perform in order for me to achieve my goals.  Some of them I like and some of them I dislike…and there are some parts of my job that are boring, like ordering postcards and other office supplies.

One of the mistakes that I made early in my career was...

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Never Forget The Fundamentals

blog Sep 11, 2014

On Sunday, I brought up my DVR and saw that I had an episode of 60 Minutes Sports recorded. My wife and son were taking a nap and the 49ers were destroying the Cowboys, so I decided to watch it.

The first story was about Peyton and Eli Manning, who were both coached by the same coach. Every year, they go back to David Cutliffe, who is now the head coach at Duke University. Cutliffe was Peyton’s QB coach at Tennessee and the head coach of Old Miss when Eli was QB there.

Every year before the NFL camps start, Eli and Peyton travel to Duke for a private tune-up, as the brothers call it. Watching it, you would think that both brothers were just beginning their careers.

There are two things that stand out in my mind. First, the fundamentals should never be ignored. The fundamentals are the keys to success! I have struggled with remembering and executing on the fundamentals all my career. It’s fun and exciting to get on stage, sell books in the back of the room, and give...

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David and Goliath

blog Aug 21, 2014

I was reading David and Goliath by Michael Gladwell who is one of my favorite authors. The book was about how perceived weaknesses bring out hidden talents.

There have been periods of my life where I assumed that my disability completely screwed me out of life. The more and more I that I write and speak I realize that my disability influences the way I think and the way I look at the world. That’s not to say that I  don’t wish I was not disabled, let’s not get carried away.

When I was in college, I started to look at how my disability affected my studies. I could not write stuff down, I could only listen. I could not study without assistance which forced me to study only when I could find help. I was lucky because my mom was there if I needed her. When I took tests, I had to dictate my answers and sometimes I had to repeat myself to people I only met 10 minutes before. Yet, I was doing very well, even making it on the dean’s list often. I asked...

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It’s Been Forty Years

blog Aug 14, 2014

Back in the summer of 1974 a young exchange student from Iran went back for the summer from Cal Poly Pomona in Southern California. When he went back home for the summer before his senior year, he told his mom that he wanted to meet a girl and marry her before he went back to Cal Poly for his senior year. His mom didn’t hesitate to start inviting all her friends with daughters to meet her son.

Two weeks before my father returned to America, he met my mom. This week, they are in Hawaii celebrating their 40th anniversary. With one grandkid and another two on the way (by the way, my wife Leslie is pregnant again and this is the first time I’m sharing it on the internet), they are as happy as ever.

If there are two people that understand the notion of sacrifice and love, it’s my parents. As hard and challenging it is to be disabled, in a way it’s harder to be the parent of a disabled child. Yet, they did everything in their power to make my sister and me feel...

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5 Simple Thoughts

blog Aug 08, 2014

Here are 5 simple thoughts I came up with that will make life better, make you more successful and will give you control over your destiny.

1)  I like to believe that life does not come to us, we have to go out there and get it. With that said, I admit that there are times when we do have to let go and let it come to us.

2)  I believe in hard work. What you should do is analyze the situation and see what you need to do to accomplish your feats and allocate your time, resources, and energy accordingly.

3)  I believe that any successful person should just withdraw from the world and think about life–what they want, and how to achieve it. Take an hour a week just to withdraw, turn off the cell phone…and just think.

4)  When times get challenging we become more disciplined. When times are good, it’s in our nature to not be quite so rigid, and this does not benefit us in the long-run.

5)  Take the time today to develop a strategy that will...

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Fundamentals and Skipping Steps

blog Aug 08, 2014

Every goal has incremental steps to achieving it. There are people who don’t want to commit fully to all the steps. When you try to skip steps, you are gambling with your dream. In the past, I have been guilty of trying to skip steps and gamble with my dream. When you gamble, you might win or you might lose, you might get lucky, you might stumble across something amazing. Most likely, the way to an amazing life is focusing on the fundamentals.

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