THE ART OF COMPLAINING

blog Oct 08, 2010

After I speak or after someone reads my book, one of the most frequent comments that I get is that they are embarrassed of complaining. Now, do I believe them? Of course not. Complaining is a part of life. If you are growing as a person, or as a professional, there will be problems and issues that are going to tick you off. If you don’t find a way to deal with your feelings you will blow up.

For the sake of this article, there are three kinds of complaining and guess what? Two of them are actually healthy. (Imagine that! A motivational speaker that says complaining is OK.) Let’s start first off with the bad kind. This sucks and no matter what I do, this is not going to get any better. In this scenario, you are playing the victim. You’re not taking any responsibility for anything. You’re basically throwing in the towel and accepting defeat.

The second type is this sucks but here’s what I’m going to do to rectify it. One time, I got an email from a...

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MY PROCESS AS A WRITER

blog Oct 01, 2010

When I tell people that I wrote my first book http://www.amazon.com/Love-Your-Life-Will-Back/dp/0979136903/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1285952017&sr=8-2 Love Your Life and it Will Love You Back in two weeks, they respond, Oh...two years! To which I say, no, two weeks. You mean two months? No. Two weeks. The back story behind it is that I first did a lot of brainstorming with my speaking mentor, Frank. Now, at the time, I was working on my autobiography with my friend Jay Lavender, but he felt that it was too soon to put out an autobiography of an unknown. So, one day I was at his apartment and we decided that it would be a good idea for me to first write a self-help book. I started looking at the notes that Frank and I worked on for my speeches, then I started my process. Here’s how I write 90 percent of my work: I dictate my words to someone who types. In this case, my manager Kristi. That’s also how I wrote my papers in college, my book, my emails, and...

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SOURENA V.'s TOP TEN TWEETS

blog Sep 24, 2010

I was reluctant to start tweeting because I assumed that I would tweet stuff such as having dinner with my friend or it’s midnight and I can’t sleep.  While I’m sure those things must be fascinating, it’s been done. (One of my favorite Twitter stories about the underage football player who tweeted "I’m having beer!" and subsequently got suspended for it.)

I decided to mostly tweet quotes of my own as well as quotes from others who have inspired me from time to time.  Here are my <strong>top ten favorite tweets quotes written by me that I have shared thus far.  (And if you haven’t done so already, please be sure to follow me at http://twitter.com/SourenaV )

By the way, I DO often tweet going out to dinner with my friends or watching a ballgame  for example, just the other day I tweeted about the show The Apprentice with a stupid joke at the end.  To see that joke, I guess you have to http://twitter.com/SourenaV go to...

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DESTINY

blog Sep 16, 2010

The beginning of 1998 was a particularly difficult time in my life. It was in the middle of a series of events that brought me face to face with my disability. I started to ask myself, would I ever live a normal life? Would I ever have a career? Would I ever fall in love?  In the midst of my emotional roller coaster, I also wondered, is there a reason that I am disabled? Now, if you asked me these questions in my earlier years, I would have said absolutely not, but I realized that there were points in my life where every single situation I was in was a result of my disability. Outside of my family, I would probably not know anyone that I know now. My parents moved from Iran to America to get me treatment. I am not sure if we would have made that move or not. Since my father was educated in America and had all his family here, I would like to think that we would eventually have made the move. Even so, would we have moved to Agoura Hills, California? To recap, I probably would...

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ARE WE HANGING OUT

blog Sep 09, 2010

My mother Zahra went back to school to get her degree in the late 80s. Back then, my father Ben worked at his restaurant all day on Sundays. Saturday was family day. On Sundays, my mom would study the entire day and my sister Sanaz and I would rent a movie or just hang out. Sanaz would oftentimes put on her roller blades and we would go down to the market and grab something to eat. I would drive my electric chair and my sister would hold while I towed her. (By the way, my good friend in college got wind of this and for some reason he never wore his shoes, he always wore his roller blades around campus.)

One day, my sister and I grabbed a bite to eat like we always did. While we were eating, this older woman came up to our table and said, it's so nice of you to take your brother out. It stung a little. After all, I am the older brother and when you are 16 and 13, that is a huge age difference. (It's like 40 and 60.) I did not dwell that much about anything at that age. The only thing...

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A LESSON IN DIFFICULT TIMES

blog Sep 02, 2010

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.

Let's take economics. In a bad economic time, people have a tendency to save more and negotiate for the best price on items they buy; they tighten their budget and so on. In good economic times, some people just don’t care as much. They might splurge or be more impulsive.

With regards to their careers, in bad times, people might work harder, they might make the extra phone call or go to networking events. With regards to relationships, people might listen better and make an effort to keep in touch. It all boils down to developing better habits during difficult times and sustaining what we’ve learned throughout the better ones. Adversity is an extremely effective teacher.

My advice is to use this economic downturns, any adversity you might have, and look at it as an opportunity to develop habits that...

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GETTING BORED

blog Aug 26, 2010

Oftentimes, my life as a disabled person feels like stop and go traffic. The setting has to be just right in order for me to work my hardest, which means the involvement of other people and a relatively quiet atmosphere. For example, I can’t have a meaningful in-depth conversation at a crowded bar.  There are not many things that I can do for myself.  The things that I can do myself often involve more effort than other people.  I can reply briefly to an email but I cannot write a whole blog post.  I was on Facebook talking to my sister, just saying hi, and she asked me a question which involved more than a two word answer, so I had to call her. As you probably assumed, I can’t fill my time with things like texting and emailing random people on Facebook.

Even though it bothers me that I cannot perform these little tasks, it is a blessing in disguise. I have a lot of time just to think and dream.  I often get bored.  When I get bored, I start...

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ALWAYS GIVE 100%

blog Aug 19, 2010

We constantly hear that if you want to succeed, you must always give 100% of your effort.  I disagree with this. There are many times when 100% effort can be negative.  For example, bike racing (leave it to a guy in a wheelchair who can’t even stand on his own to talk expertly about bike racing just hear me out. If a person is in a race, he or she actually hurts their chances by pushing themselves to the limit all of the time. Let’s just say half the race is uphill and half the race is downhill. If the cyclists give 100% of their effort throughout the entire race, then they might burn themselves out.  An expert cyclist knows how to pace himself by putting more effort into the uphill portion and coasting through the downhill.  (Disclaimer: Everything I stated about bike riding is only based on assumptions and observations.)

In business, as in with life, we should not always give 100%.  There are times when we should just coast through life and...

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A NEW WAY TO LOOK AT COMFORT ZONES

blog Aug 12, 2010

Let me begin with a quick hypothetical story.

Let’s say it’s a Friday night in the dead of winter in Chicago.  A guy has the Bulls game on and he’s wearing sweats.  All of a sudden, his beautiful girlfriend calls and says, baby, can you come over?  At first, he makes excuses like I’m tired, I had a hard week.  After half an hour, he thinks maybe it’s not a bad idea.  He agrees, gets up, takes a quick shower, puts on multiple layers of clothing, warms up the car, and goes over to his girlfriend’s house, where they have an incredible night.  They order take-out, open a bottle of wine, and cuddle up in front of a movie.  The time in between hanging up with his girlfriend and thawing out was really uncomfortable, but at the end of the night they were both happy.

You see where I’m going with this?  We all have to get out of our comfort zones.  Let’s look at it this way: the end goal is to get...

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DON'T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF

blog Aug 05, 2010

Life has so many components, from going to school to being a successful professional, hanging out with friends in high school to creating a family, and playing with toys as a kid to taking vacations as an adult. (Well, I don’t think men actually ever give up the toys!) To fully appreciate all life has to offer, one must often endure stress and take care of the small stuff.

If one wants to build a brick house, he or she has to lay each brick carefully and make sure there are no mistakes. It is both looking at each brick and looking at the totality of the house, not to mention everything in between. A successful marriage is not about taking off to Paris, it’s about first making sure that both partners are communicating and getting their needs met. Being a good parent is not about buying a child the latest and greatest toy, it’s about instilling good values, ensuring that their children are on the right path to becoming contributing members of society (and sometimes...

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