Sunday, July 17, 2016

Frogs, Fleas, and Crabs

There are three parables that I've heard over the years, that I think are relevant when considering who we are, who we are becoming, and how we are treating ourselves and others. The stories are about frogs, fleas, and crabs, and if you are honest with yourself you have probably been involved in one or more of these situations in your life. At the very least, you have probably observed one or more of these in action.

There is an old story that says that if you put a frog in a pot of boiling water, it will immediately jump out, aware of the obvious danger that the boiling water presents. However, if you put the frog in a pot of cold water, and slowly turn up the heat, the frog will not recognize the increasing danger and will remain in the pot until it boils to death. For many, the parable of the frog and the water (it's in the Bible I think, just search for it, after 3rd John) highlights seasons of our lives where we find ourselves in a bad place, not because of some unforeseen, unavoidable circumstance (though we may feel that way), but because of the decisions we have made, or the people we have spent our time with, that have slowly hurt us or thrown us off course, until we wake up one day and realize that we are in an altogether different spot than we originally intended.

One of the best ways to battle against this scenario, is to be intentional about surrounding yourself with quality people you can trust, who care about you, and who will not only be supportive, but who will be honest with you. There are two groups of people who can be of critical value in this situation. The first and most obvious group, is the friends or social group that you choose to spend time with. Much like the "What Goes In, What Comes Out?" post, the type of people that you spend your time with will directly influence your personal behaviors. If you hang out with kind, encouraging, positive people, then most likely you will display similar characteristics. If you hang out with knuckleheads, you are probably going to, at the very least, display knucklehead characteristics.

The second group that can be influential, is a group of mentors that you can trust to be honest with you, and who can help you grow along your journey. This could be parents, youth leaders, coaches, experienced people in your field of business, or just older, experienced people that you trust and respect. These people can answer and ask questions that will help guide you along, based on their experience in similar situations. it's good to have a balance between both friends and mentors to be sure that you minimize your boiling frog situations, and don't get to far off your desired path.

*Full disclosure, after looking it up, I found that an actual scientist tried the frog experiment to see if the parable was true, and sadly (or gladly?) it was not true. When placed in cold water, frogs did stay put, but as the water got to a certain point, the frog jumped out. The scientist did not test what would happen if he tossed a frog into boiling water, because, that would be some type of cruelty to animals or something. Hopefully this doesn't ruin the point of the story, but I felt the need to be honest with my reader. That's right, singular.

Stay tuned for part II: Fleas

Much Love,

Thursday, July 7, 2016


My wife and I took a weekend vacation to St. Augustine, FL a couple of weeks ago, while the kids were with their grandparents. It was nice to get away and spend some time together. For those of you who don't know, St. Augustine is a beach town on the coast with some cool history and some nice places to enjoy the beach. We walked around downtown, ate out, did some window shopping, got a couple of free samples of beef jerky, and spent some time at the beach. While we were there, we road around and looked at some of the houses in the area, particularly those right on or near the beach. I'm in the very early stages of developing a real estate empire, so I enjoy looking at real estate when I travel, just for fun. While we were driving around, I found myself thinking, "man, I would really love to live so close to the beach, wouldn't that be awesome? One day I'd love to have a house close to the beach". This would be a totally logical line of thinking except for the fact that I live on a beautiful island that is a vacation destination for people all over the world and we are A MILE FROM THE BEACH!! I caught myself, and wondered what in the heck is wrong with me. We just moved into our home, did some remodeling, and now live in a wonderful home that is just a short bike ride to the beach. It's really an awesome spot, and as we drive around and look at beach homes in another town, it's like I forgot all that. I really am grateful for what we have, particularly as it relates to our home.

I think that sometimes we just "forget" or we get so wrapped up in wanting, that we don't take time to constantly pause and reflect on everything that we have. Maybe it's just me, and it means I'm not a good person. If that's the case, it's a good thing there are only two people reading this blog.

 It is so important that we take time to recognize what we have, and be grateful for all of those things. I really believe that our daily mindset, our approach, how we present to and love others, is a reflection of our gratitude for life, possessions, the people around us, etc.I worked with someone once who used to say, "Don't take for granted what other people are praying for". I thought that was a good way to phrase it. He was speaking to our basketball team, and was trying to drive home the fact that our kids had an opportunity to play, practice, travel, wear nice gear, etc. while others may not have those same opportunities due to injury, economics, lack of ability or opportunity. I'm sure most moms, at some point, have used the, "there are starving kids in Africa, you need to clean your plate" line. While I understand and feel badly that there are people who struggle for food, and also understand the perspective of the coach I worked for, I don't think our gratitude should be solely contingent on the fact that other people don't have what we have. I believe we should be grateful for the things that we have because we should be grateful for the things that we have. We should love our children not because someone else doesn't have children and we do, but because we love our children, they matter to us, and we want to express that. We should invest in the players that we coach not because other people don't have players to coach, but because we love and care about our players, and want them to grow into the men and women that they are capable of becoming. We should be thankful for all the things that we've been blessed with, and we should not be afraid to express this gratitude to others, to our Savior, to our family, or to ourselves on a daily basis.

The girls that I coached at Piney Grove would say thank you after almost every practice. It was the most amazing thing to me, not because they owed me a thank you, or I expected it, but because it was a daily expression of gratitude. They were thankful that someone was coaching them, investing in them, or recognized that I was putting time in there when I could have been doing something else. I don't really know each of their reasons for saying thank you, but it meant the world to me. I felt appreciated, and it made me even more grateful to be able to coach them. I encourage you to use the word Thank You frequently and meaningfully. I encourage you to be grateful for everything that you have . There could always be more, or better. Be grateful for what is in front of you. Much Love, Bryan

Saturday, July 2, 2016

What Goes In, What Comes Out?

Have you ever noticed that when you burp, your burp tastes like whatever you have been eating? Like if you drink an excessive amount of coke, and then you burp, you will taste coke. Or, what happens when you eat a ton of mexican food?? I think you know. It never happens to me, but I've had friends who have told me about it. Or, if you've ever been sick, and thrown up, what comes out? Whatever you have been eating or drinking. I have a story about a bad burrito, but I'll spare you the details. What's the point? The point is, that whatever goes in, is going to be what comes out. Since this isn't a nutritional blog, we won't explore this area. The important thing to think about is this: What are you putting in? To yourself: spiritually, emotionally, what are you watching, reading, listening to, who are you spending time with? If we are honest with ourselves, we can answer these questions, and acknowledge that these areas affect what comes out of us. In other words, what we listen to, read, watch, who we spend time with, what or who we worship (religious or otherwise) affects how we talk, act, treat others, and spend our time. There is research that suggests that we are the composite of the five people that we spend the most time with. On some levels, we talk, dress, act, and even think like the people we spend the most time around, and probably not intentionally. I know it may sound lame or uncool, or "grown ups just don't understand" but if you are listening to music or watching movies that focus heavily on drugs, sex, or foul language, then those are the things that are going to be most prevalent on your mind. If your group of friends is constantly judging others, making fun of people, or complaining about their lot in life, then you will soon find yourself doing the same. It's just human nature. Whatever we put in, is going to eventually work its way out. Here is my encouragement: Give some thought to what you are putting in. Can you adjust what you are listening to when you workout? Is an edited version of a song going to push you any less than the X-rated version? Can you find people to spend time around that will pour into you positively? Can you find something to read that is encouraging and uplifting? Can you find people to follow on twitter or instagram that are going to build you up instead of add negative energy to your life? What are you putting in? Much Love, Bryan