Push Through

Today was a hard day. Just after concrete testing we had some down time before supposed rebar inspections in the frigid air outside. I decided to quickly sweep our concrete testing area, conveniently located in a parking garage just east of the construction site. After construction is completed, our portion of the parking garage will be used for premier hotel guests.

During this time my boss took a look at the sweeping and realized some excess concrete had built up next to the testing site, sticking to the garage floor. I was handed a metal scraper and told to simply separate the excess concrete from of the floor. So, I grabbed the scraper and banged it against the concrete, watching as a spec the size of a small chocolate chip flew through the air and landed a few feet away. Again, I rammed the scraper against the concrete with excessive force, only to watch as the mound remained in an unbreakable embrace with the floor. I was furious, and, after multiple further attempts, I realized this method wasn’t going to work. An eternity of using the scraper as a chisel, a bucket of sweat (and tears), some slight cursing, and most of the concrete had been removed.

Now, I didn’t tell myself to get over my self pity, and continued to curse at the damn ground for just being there. I could realistically have told myself that it would take time and to push through, but I simply became more flustered with each seemingly useless whack.

Needless to say, when you encounter difficulty, no matter how insurmountable it may seem, try to have a realistic perspective. Rather than giving up, say, “This is going to take a bit of time and will probably be hard, but I’ll get it done before long.” Then finish the job. No whining, no cursing or self pity, just get it done. Hopefully it will help the task get completed faster, and you won’t end up crying in a heap on the ground. Food for thought.

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Finding bliss in an average day

Today was, well, average. I woke up at 7 this morning and after wolfing down a rather large breakfast hopped in my company truck and headed to work. The day zoomed by, and I am now finding myself back at my house, writing this second blog post of the week.

We as working adults can get stuck in the humdrum of life. It’s easy and comfortable to wake up, work, and get home to simply relax before our bed entices us back to sleep.

Break the mold today. Try something new and exciting, heck, maybe even uncomfortable. I guarantee you will be more satisfied because of it.

Well, I’m off to run a in a new area of Denver with a friend. Thanks to everyone who takes time out of their day to read this!

Continually Distracted

Continually Distracted

I’ve been driving a lot for work lately (in my white Chevy Colorado, a company vehicle that doesn’t quite suit my tastes, but hey, I’m not complaining). Sometimes I’ll find myself in a town two to five hours away, gearing up for another day of testing concrete. As the work day winds to a close, I pop in my car and start up a podcast before hitting the highway.

My internal radar is increasingly noticing the number of car crashes on Colorado’s main highways. It seems each week I pass more and more blinding blue and red lights followed by disgruntled people staring at their wrecked cars.

The main cause? That little friend resting in your pocket, middle compartment, or dashboard. Yep, your cell phone. If the majority of drivers made the choice to take their phones and put them on do not disturb while driving, I am sure the number of car crashes would decrease dramatically. The U.S. Department of Transportation states that “Drivers who are texting can be more than 20 times more likely to crash than non-distracted drivers.” (USDOT). This is pretty weighty news and recently it feels like it’s getting worse. If Elon Musk and the thinkers at Google don’t come up with some sort of “autonomous” solution fast, we could be in for increasingly dangerous situations on highways, not to mention more absurd amounts of time lost due to onlooker slowdown.

Long story short, put the phone down. Your pals can wait a little bit.

Texting and Driving
A sad car crash due to texting…

Success

When you visualize a successful person, who do you look at? The Wall Street tycoon? The Olympic athlete? The famous actor or actress?

What impresses me about the word success are the many interpretations that allow this word to achieve such a broad meaning. Definitions spring up from a plethora of opinions constructed by unique cultures and environments. Many seem to think it is defined by a level of status, wealth, fame, or comfort.

In my life, on occasion, I am drawn towards these broad definitions, and as I observe much of the media today, success may have the appearance of requiring minimal effort to obtain. “Buy this product and you’ll be a step closer to a happy life”, or “join our organization and you can reach your goals” are just some of the hooks out there vying for our attention.

Success may seem like a short and direct avenue with reward in sight, though once you actually decide to take the path towards accomplishment, the once spacious trail narrows, roots suddenly appear to obstruct the way, and success assumes an evasive nature.

As I’ve learned from my Christian perspective, the definition of success is really quite counter cultural. Success, by most standards is not easy to obtain, and without luck takes substantial effort. To climb the mountain you must train, to get that dream job you need to put in the time and effort to be competitive. To be satisfied in life, many times you need to show humility and defy our self promoting culture.

What defines success to you?

IMG_54301
My buddy Jordan deciding to take the left path on our way back from a camping trip.

 

Perspective

Perspective

I recently returned from a two-week road trip with my good pal Seth Newby. Near the end of our journey we had the  opportunity to bike past Fisherman’s Wharf and check out the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. This structure is spectacular to behold, reaching a maximum height of nearly 750 feet. Two main supporting cables are each composed of 27,572 intertwining wires that if stretched out to one continuous distance could wrap around the earth… three times. The main towers pose as sentinels that require the submission of each passing freight intending to enter the bay. From a distance this is a quite a spectacle, but when you’re actually on the bridge, vertigo kicks in and you realize how big it really is.

Perspective
Seth looking up at one of the gigantic main pillars of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Being on the bridge gave me a whole new perspective on the bay as well as downtown San Francisco, and as we were cycling across, the two pillars obscured much of the surrounding view. This made me realize that life is really molded by perspective. The closer in proximity you allow something to be in your life, the more of your outlook it influences. As with the Golden Gate Bridge, if you let something or someone become close enough to you, it will essentially begin to “tint” the lens through which you view the world.

Takeaway. What perspective, for better or worse, are the influences in your life bringing you?

Taking Action

Taking Action

 

A little story I think illustrates an important concept:

Many years ago in a distant land there lived a benevolent and wealthy King. He loved his subjects very much and was a fair ruler of his kingdom. Though he had spacious halls lined with gold and silver, his wealth meant little to him, and he gave much of what he had to neighboring empires and the poor. The King remained in peace and enjoyed his rule very much, though soon he would find out that all this was about to change.

You see, no story can be perfect, and as remarkable as this king appeared, he had one weakness. At the very onset of his dominion, he was given a gift to which he owed his power and ability to rule. When he took the throne he was presented with two golden shoes that seemed to capture the very dewdrops of sunlight and radiate them for all to see. Upon slipping the shoes on, the king felt a confidence and leadership that was left unrivaled, and even the mightiest of warriors was humbled in his presence.

So, one morning, much to the king’s dismay, he awoke to find that his precious shoes had been placed too close to the fireplace the night before. The brilliance that they once held, had now faded into singed plainness, and the shoes were no more than any commonly seen in the marketplace outside.

“It cannot be!” cried the king, and he wept in sadness. For the coming days he was quite distraught, and could not speak to anyone, even his closest friends and family. The kingdom quickly began to slip into shadow. Now the king’s advisers and subjects could not let this happen, for all they had seen accomplished was crumbling before their eyes.

It just so happened that two cobblers of reputable status lived within the kingdom. Realizing this, the king’s advisers pleaded with the two men to repair his golden shoes. When both agreed, they decided to give one shoe to each cobbler, hoping this may hasten the repair.

“For the gracious king, I will mend this shoe within two days, and believe me, it will shine even brighter than before,” exclaimed the first, and confidently strutted away with one shoe.

“I will do what I can, and what you request will also be done within two days” said the other, and carried the second shoe away carefully, as if taking a young child in his arms.

The cobblers returned to their homes, thinking hard on how to solve the problem. Soon the sun had chased the moon twice across the sky, and the king’s advisers hurriedly dashed to the cobbler’s shops to obtain the shoes.

Opening the door to the first shop, they found the cobbler fast asleep in his bed. Immediately, they aroused him and asked where the golden shoe was.

“I was just about to repair the shoe, and have drafted a plan that will have it done in five days,” yawned the first cobbler.

“You fool!” they yelled. “How could you say this and not have it done?”

They took the shoe and, shaking the dust from their feet, left the cobbler to return to his sleep.

Hope seemed to fade, and the king was weary, having not eaten nor slept for three days. The advisers rushed to the second cobbler’s house, and were greeted with a spectacular sight. The cobbler, tired from working day and night had not one, but two golden shoes in his hands.

“I did not know what to do right away, but began the repair nonetheless, and realized how to mend the shoes as I worked,” said the second cobbler.

Elated, the advisers returned the shoes to the king, who, upon putting them on, began to jump for joy.

“Where are the two cobblers who did this painstaking task for me?” questioned the king. “I must honor them with a position among my finest noblemen.”

“There is not two, but one man to thank,” said the advisers, and they went away to fetch the second cobbler.

This story is about action. If we say we will do something, we should do it! Complacency is the enemy of success.