I am in the middle of reading the book Good to Great by Jim Collins. He describes a meeting with a POW of the Vietnam War named Jim Stockdale. Stockdale described how only the optimists were defeated, because they would say to themselves, “We’re going to get out by Christmas!” Then nothing. Then they would say, “We’re going to get out by Easter!” Then nothing. Eventually, they would be defeated.
In my last post, I wrote how I’m going to get upset when I can’t interact with my child the way I want to. Despite this, I’m going to have a good time. I contend that this attitude is going to soften the blow when I cannot do something.
In every sense of the word, I’m a dreamer, and I was crazy enough to think my dreams could come true. After I have a dream, I have to bring my dream into reality. There are times when I think about walking, hopping in the car, or just taking a backpacking tour across Europe. I understand that there...
One of the first pieces of furniture I bought is a big ottoman that sits in the middle of my living room near my big screen TV. For the first couple of months that I lived in my house, I imagined maybe some day my future wife would put our baby on the ottoman and I would get on my knees and just stare. I don’t know why, but every week or so, that was the thought. And now…in July, it will happen. My wife Leslie will put baby Andrew on the ottoman and daddy is going to play with him. On the other hand, I’ve always thought that it will tear me up when I’m not able to do certain things with my child…with Andrew. I was at a barbeque on Saturday and watched a friend of mine pick up his newborn. I’m trying not to let my negative emotion affect me, but how could it not? There has always been a dichotomy about what’s reality and what I see every day. I see a baby in their mother’s lap, I see a little girl getting ice cream with her dad, I...
This year has been amazing, to say the least. My wife is pregnant with our son Andrew, I’m starting a new business venture, and I’m happy. For years I’ve been stuck, but now I am right where I want to be. Right in the thick of things. I have two great friends from USC who are like brothers. I received the news that their wives are pregnant. I’ve known these guys for over a decade. In the past, whenever I heard of any engagement, pregnancy, or some big news, I always thought that there was a possibility that it would never happen for me. However, again, now I am right in the thick of things. Last Sunday I watched my baby sister Sanaz marry my new brother-in-law Nathan. Instead of feeling left behind, I had the privilege of walking my wife down the aisle as a groomsman. As a brother, and as a man, I could not feel prouder. My life as a disabled person has been filled with ups and downs, wondering if I’m going to live a good life. And now…my life is...
There are stories about random encounters that lead to great success…
The writer who gets discovered while having a conversation in a Coffee Shop.
The model discovered while strolling the streets of Paris, while on vacation from Montana.
The media loves these stories because they bring out the random extraordinary moments in life.
When determining your own path to success, these stories can be inspiring, but shouldn’t be focused on. What isn’t celebrated in the media is good old fashioned hard work. We don’t hear stories about the business owner who spends twenty years to build a business. This is the ordinary, not the exception.
People look at LeBron James with his great physical strength and think to themselves that they’ll never get there. The fact is that LeBron could be considered a freak of nature and, yes, he works hard, but what would he do without his size and physical strength?
In 1974, this guy went home and met a nineteen year old...
Two weeks ago I wrote a blog post about happiness and I want to expand on that with a couple of thoughts.
I still contend that one of the biggest impediments to achieving success is the fact that it’s sometimes a lot simpler to make ourselves happy in the short term. Unfortunately, that short term happiness hurts us in the long run. When I say short term, I mean things like getting a drink with friends or buying an overpriced item in the window when you know you can’t afford it. By doing this, you are asking the rest of your life to compensate for your indiscretions.
I have also been thinking about what successful people do. The more I think about it, the more I realize one of the things they do is they have a list of things that they need to accomplish, and they tackle this same list over and over again. Their list might be revised from time to time, but they pretty much stick to it. I didn’t realize this until now.
I am really focusing on my list....
I have been thinking a lot about happiness and to tell you the truth, I’ve been happy all my life…but not this happy. For about a month I’ve been thinking about happiness and my conclusion is it’s easy to be happy in the short-run, but if you want to be happy in the long-run, it’s work.
Usually what makes you happy in the short-run hurts you in the long-run. Putting that yummy, scrumptious chocolately mmm-mmm good cookie in your mouth makes you happy. Charging one thousand dollars on your credit card makes you happy. In the long-run, however, it only puts added stress in your life.
In no way, shape, or form am I depriving myself of what I love. I love to shop, I love to eat great foods, I love to go to Vegas, but right now I am focused on being happy in the long-run. Not putting a Band-Aid on my feelings.
The Hard Part
It’s difficult to let go of your old habits and your old Band-Aids, and it’s easy to feel better right now. My...
On New Year’s Day I came home from dinner in Santa Monica, got into bed early, and was disappointed by yet again another Lakers loss.
With a minute to go in the game, I hit the DVR button on my remote and started scrolling down, noticing that there was a recorded episode of 60 minutes. I hit play and all of a sudden I saw a story that really hit me in the heart. I saw that doctors came up with a robotic arm that can help the disabled. I watched the story and was flooded with emotion about the possibilities for my life.
The story went on to show a woman who had virtually no movement below the neck control an arm with nothing more than her thoughts. At the end of the story, a doctor working on this project said the magic words. “This will help cerebral palsy.”
I was never the person who constantly longed for a cure or even to get better. My focus has been always to work within the confines of my disability to make my life incredible, but seeing that...
Last year was one of the best years of my life. I got married, I found out I’m going to be a father in July, I traveled, I grew as a writer, and I’m about to finish my second book. There is one more thing that I have to do: get my work out into the world.
Right now, my books are sitting on my iMac and on Kristi’s Macbook Pro. I love what I did last year, but it’s time to put everything in gear. Although I love my position in life right now, there have been two fears keeping me back. The first was that I had not achieved the success I originally envisioned for myself and my company. There were incredible pockets of success, but I could never gain the momentum that I wanted. The second fear was whenever I imagined something for my life, I imagined it as a non-disabled man and there was always a let down. Even getting married I could not whisk Leslie off to a B&B up the coast.
Over the last three years, so many of my dreams have come true. And it has...
There’s a lot to say about this year.
2012 started with my best friend and I sitting on the balcony in Hawaii. What a way to ring in the new year. This year was mostly a year of reflection, writing, and love. If 35-year-old Sourena told 25-year-old Sourena about what happened, well, 25-year-old Sourena would fall out of his chair. I took many vacations. I went to Hawaii twice, the Philippines once, Frisco twice, Tahoe, and don’t even get me started about Vegas.
On September 11th, after I came back from my bachelor party, Leslie arrived…and two months later, we were happily married.
I also had the pleasure of hanging out with my cousin, who I had never met before. She came with her boyfriend from Italy, and they were here for three weeks.
In the last month, I have been thinking about my career more than usual. Here’s my conclusion: Speaking is dear to me. It’s more about excitement than anything. Yes, I want to make a good living. Yes, I love helping...
As I wind down the year, I am already looking towards what I want to do next year. Boy, do I have a lot of plans. Part of this journey is relearning what I already know. It is very important to get what is in the back of my mind into the forefront. I have been watching videos on how to get a book out. I am in Arizona when this blog is published meeting with multiple speakers. I am digging through what I wrote trying to see if there’s something I forgot about.
There is a lot of stuff that I like, but there’s a lot of stuff that I don’t like. There’s stuff that speaks to me and stuff that, frankly, I don’t get. What I have learned is that if something does not make sense to me, I ignore it. While it’s good to have opposite viewpoints in our lives, too many will often give to confusion.
Along this unique journey, I am trying to keep an open mind, use my instincts, remember my mistakes, and hopefully, I will have a great 2013.