51 Days : No Excuses

 

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend the Arnold Sports Festival here in Columbus, OH.  Previously named the Arnold Classic, the event is home to one of bodybuilding’s biggest competitions.

I had the privilege of talking with the very first Arnold Classic winner, Rich Gaspari.  Rich has won numerous bodybuilding awards including the Classic, Mr. America, Mr. Universe, and three time runner up Mr. Olympia.  He is also the CEO of a multi-million dollar supplement company, Gaspari Nutriton.

 

“Make sure your words are planting seeds of success and greatness in your life.” Rich Gaspari

 

No Excuses

9781939447135Rich recently wrote a book, 51 Days: No Excuses.  As you may expect, it is complete with a diet and exercise program designed to transform your body.  But it is much more than a book about the physical body.  It is full of stories about overcoming obstacles and staying motivated.

Rich’s personal story is compelling as he overcame numerous obstacles to win competitions and then overcame different obstacles to form a success business.

‘He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.’ –Ben Franklin

Turning Obstacles into Opportunities

His story is for you if:

  • You have ever been told, “You can’t do that.”
  • You are looking to change yourself in 51 days.
  • You have experienced rock bottom.
  • You have felt disgust, anger or frustration.
  • You have a dream and need a shot in the arm.

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‘No one ever excused his way to success.’ Dave Del Dotto

 

Success Begins on the Inside

One of my favorite quotes from his book:

“I still believe one of the most important choices is how we treat others. What good does it do you to build a huge muscular, impressive body if you are small and underdeveloped on the inside?  I’ve always felt that success begins on the inside and reaching our true potential gets blocked when we are small-spirited.” –Rich Gaspari

 

‘Don’t make excuses and don’t talk about it. Do it.’ -Melvyn Douglas

 

“Do not make excuses whether it’s your fault or not.” -General Patton

 

“Difficulty is the excuse history never accepts.” Edward R. Murrow

 

“I attribute my success to this: I never gave nor took any excuse.” -Florence Nightingale

 

“Excuses are the nails used to build a house of failure.” Don Wilder

 

The Price of Right

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You’re sitting at your desk when the call comes in from your boss.

“You were right.  I was flat out wrong.  I want to thank you for working here and having the vision that we all lack.  You called it.  Never again will I doubt you.” 

You straighten up in your chair, basking in your newfound status of business wizard.

Seem far-fetched?  That’s because it is.  It’s unlikely to happen in this lifetime.

Then why do we strive for it?

Why The Joy of Being Right is Wrong

So much of our life is spent trying to be right.  Correcting others.  Carefully editing others’ statements as if we were polishing an encyclopedia, making sure everything was just perfect.

We spend so much time on defense when we should be on offense.

Think of the wasted energy.

Think of the wasted mind power.

Think of what we could do if we didn’t resist that individual’s energy, but built on it and moved it forward with additional new thinking.

 

The joy of being right is short-lived. The joy of peace lasts a lifetime. -Skip Prichard

 

Let’s have less of this:

The Hype and Hope of MOOCs

 

 

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to host an expert panel debate on the subject of MOOCs.

What are MOOC’s, you ask?

It stands for Massive Open Online Courses.  In the world of education and training, they have garnered considerable attention and debate.  Some say that this new technology will change higher education forever, causing thousands of traditional institutions to disappear while it dramatically lowers the cost of education.  Others say it holds promise, but the hype has gone too far.  The MOOC will change education in various ways, but it will not lead to a fundamental transformation.

Outside of formal higher education, MOOCs hold enormous potential for continuing education, professional development and training.  Organizations that want to grow must grow people, and MOOCs offer an opportunity to learn in a completely new way.  On my recent trip to Africa, I had many conversations about the transformative potential MOOCs offer in this regard.  Corporate leaders should be studying this potential.

The above video is an abbreviated snapshot of the conversation.  If you would like to see the entire MOOC debate, it is here.

Many thanks to the panel participants:

Bryan Alexander, author of The New Digital Storytelling, an editor of the Horizon Report and a frequent writer/speaker on digital technology in education;

Anya Kamenetz, a contributing writer for Fast Company, the Digital/Edu blogger for the Hechinger Report, and author of Generation Debt and DIY U.

Ray Schroeder, Professor Emeritus and Associate Vice Chancellor for Online Learning at the University of Illinois at Springfield, and Director of the Center for Online Leadership and Strategy at the University Professional and Continuing Education Association;

Audrey Watters, a technology journalist and founder of Hack Education;

Cathy De Rosa, OCLC Vice President for the Americas and Global Vice President of Marketing.

 

3 Toxic Habits That Will Cripple Your Productivity

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Thai Nguyen is a professional chef, international athlete, writer, and speaker. Listen to him share his personal journey. He is passionate about sparking personal revolutions in others. He blogs about breaking free from the mundane at wantrepreneurjourney.

More often than not, productivity is synonymous with success. The more quality content you are able to produce, the higher your conversion rate will be. Even talent is no match for productivity. The ever-entertaining Will Smith, with his numerous successes covering television, music, and cinema, was quick to respond when asked what his key to success was:

“I’ve never really viewed myself as talented, where I excel is ridiculous, sickening work ethic. When the other guy is sleeping, I’m working. When the other guy is eating, I’m working.”

It is a sentiment echoed by many great figures: If you just keep showing up and doing the work, results will come. When considering what stands against being productive, the usual suspects are procrastination, distraction, lack of self-discipline, and lack of willpower. However, there are three toxic habits that eat these culprits for breakfast:

1. Perfectionism

Striving to be perfect is not a bad thing. As long as you see perfection as the ideal and not the real. The reality is that everything can be improved. That is why you see new iPhones and iPads continually being churned out. That is why records are continually broken in every sport. Perfection is a unicorn that keeps running away.

 

Contentment is the enemy of improvement. -Thai Nguyen

 

Perfection cripples productivity when you spend far too much time working on the product rather than getting it out there. The inevitable question of, “What is the ideal amount of time?” is indeed a tricky one. The resolution is to be clear about your desired outcome as you are working on the project. What is it that you want your customers to experience once they are exposed to your product? If you are able to meet that level of expectation, then you have done your job. If you are able to exceed it, even better. But do not try to go beyond that and revolutionize the world. Not yet, anyway. That will happen when you least expect it.

2. Contentment

Being happy with your current state of being, your achievements and quality of relationships, is certainly a desirable goal—as long as it has a “best by” date on it. Contentment is the enemy of improvement. It is what keeps good from becoming great. You should always be seeking to set the bar higher and improving in all aspects of life. Snow is beautiful until you have to live with it daily.

 

Talent is no match for productivity. -Thai Nguyen

 

You are probably screaming, “What on earth is wrong with being happy with a situation?” That adage, “If it ain’t broke, why fix it?” may be ringing in your head right now. The reason contentment should only be a spring break is because change is inevitable. Everything is temporal. Change is the very fabric of the universe, and as much as you may strive to stay stationary, the tide will move you. We grow older, and we mature; technology continues to make groundbreaking changes; culture and society will ebb and flow. Thus, change and improvement, not contentment, goes hand in hand with personal development and productivity.