It’s the 4th Quarter!

If you’re a football fan you’ve been seeing players hold up four fingers at the start of each 4th quarter from some time now. It doesn’t matter if its little league, high school, college or even professional football. They all do it.

When you see the four fingers in the air you know what it means. It means it’s the 4th quarter its time to dominate, its time to shut the other team out, its time to dig deep and worm extra hard.

Throughout the history of football the most dominant teams, the best teams, teams that win championships have the ability to turn it up a notch when its the 4th quarter. It doesn’t matter what the situation is. It doesn’t matter how many points they are down when the 4th quarter comes they find a way to win the game! It doesn’t matter how tired they are…they find the energy and time to get it done in spite of. Teams that fall short of greatness always lose it in the 4th quarter. They think the game is over and they coast. I guess they think they performed well in the first 3 quarters so they can relax. They lose all momentum and end up losing the game.

Lets apply this winning mindset to our every day life and to our businesses. Lets not fatigue out. Its time to turn up or efforts its time to work HARDER than we ever have. I know that you’re tired mentally and physically. I am too! But we want to be great. We don’t want to be average. Great teams are dead tired in the 4th quarter but they push hard. You must do the same. I must do the same. I believe the way you end your year is the same way you’ll start the following year. Its kind of hard to just flip the switch after you’ve been coasting the last 3 or 4 months.

Lets win. I’m holding my 4 fingers in the air! Its crunch time. There is only 15 minutes left in the game. This is where the legends leave their mark….IN THE 4TH QUARTER. Are you going to step up? I am! Hold your 4 fingers up and lets attack these last 3 months and set the tone for 2013!

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Before I begin my blog I would like to extend warm Labor Day wishes to everyone. I hope you are able to kick back, relax and enjoy the day with love ones.

I want to take some time to discuss what it takes to be a master of your craft. I recently read a book entitled “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell. This book basically discusses what it takes to be successful.

There is one Chapter in particular that really stands out to me. The chapter was called “10,000 hour rule”. Once I read this chapter I was ashamed, I felt bad, I felt lazy. I thought I knew what hard work was. I thought I knew what it takes to be great or a legend. This chapter pretty much changed my life.  The 10,000 hour rule is a study that says in order for you to be a master at your craft one must put in 10,000 hours of work or traning! Thats a great deal of time and dedication.

There are two examples of the 10,000 hour rule Gladwell uses in this book. Two of the most iconic figures you can think of put in 10,000 hours to master their craft. Those two figures were Bill Gates and The Beatles. While interviewing Bill Gates Gladwell discovered that Gates had access to a computer at a local campus. Gates would spend hours upon hours everyday programming and practicing since he was 13! There would be nights where Gates would sneak in the building and work until  the early morning hours. That’s dedication. That’s what it takes to become legendary. Now I’m not saying to be a trespasser and get arrested, but to be so dedicated you will work from sun down to sun up every night learning and practicing whatever it is you’re passionate about.

The Beatles arguably the greatest band the world has ever known also had to pay their dues and put in their 10,000 hours before they mastered their craft. The Beatles in their infant years left their home of England for a small opportunity to perform in a small pub in Hamburg, Germany. From 1960 to 1964 The Beatles performed over 1,200 times. Well surpassing the 10,000 hour requirement. Can you imagine the hard work and how long they would play every day to reach 10,000 hours in less that 5 years? That baffles me when I sit down and think about. it.  When the Beatles returned to England. They were masters of their craft. Their sound was unique and it took the world by storm.

As you all know Im a very big football fan. Every player that I know who’s great and changed the game all spoke of training and working on their craft for years. They put in time before and after practice. While others only practiced 2 hours a day they were practicing for 4…in essence reaching their 10,000 hours faster than the average professional. I remember when I met Walter Payton as a kid in first grade. It was during the off season and Walter was in the last years of his career. But while on vacation Walter was running and jogging for miles drenched in sweat, working hard still putting in the hours it takes to be a master. Then there are the hours he would spend running up a hill everyday. Other athletes would attempt and fatigue in a few minutes where Walter would spend hours. Again reaching his 10,000 hours twice as fast as the next athlete. That’s why he’s the greatest running back to ever play the game. We can talk about genetics and the ultimate excuse for mediocrity “some people are just born that way”. I don’t believe that one bit. We all can be great we just need to put in our 10,000 hours in.

I now know what the greats do! They are the true definition of dedicated. They are willing to sleep in a computer lab, leave the country for a music gig in a small rusty bar, or they will jog for miles while one vacation. Society calls this being obsessed, brain washed or even crazy.  Maybe that’s why over 95% of society isn’t a master at anything except for being average or being mediocre.

Reading this book and writing this blog I have a new outlook on what I need to do to become great. I highly encourage every one to read more. Just 3 years ago I wouldn’t think twice to pick up a book and read unless it was for a project or homework assignment. This book showed what it takes to become a legend. Time to stop making excuses and put in those 10,000 hours. Who’s with me?

No pain, no gain!

When you want to be successful in life or you want to reach goals that you have made you have to push past the pain. LITERALLY!

As I type this blog I am in severe pain and discomfort. But a mentor of mine told me to write a blog, EVERYDAY. No matter what. Write a blog about something! I want to be a success I want to reach my goals. So why wouldn’t I listen to someone who’s been where I want to go and does the things that I want to do? I would be insane not too. I tried to do things my way. I tried to reinvent the wheel only to have little to no success. Sometime in life we have to get beat down before we submit and become coach-able.

So here is what happened. Today I was playing with my daughter. She began to do something very dangerous. So I see whats going on out of the corner of my eye. I twist and turn very fast to catch her as shes falling and I feel a sharp pain and “thud” in my lower back. I immediately fall to the grown in immense pain. I almost felt paralyzed. Long story short. I had threw my back out. I cant walk or stand for more than two minutes at a time.

Now at this point I could be like most people and make excuses about why I didn’t blog today. And one could justify it and have sympathy from about 97% of the population. But I don,t want to live or get the things that 97% of people in this country have. So I wont use their excuses. I want to be successful and when you want to be successful bad enough nothing will stop you. When I say I would crawl over broken glass for my wife and daughter I meant it. I Would go through that pain and agony for my family. So I sit her blogging in severe pain for my family.

The reason why most people fall just short or quit on the journey to becoming successful is because they don’t have a strong enough “why”. I always felt your “why” should make you cry. Well I cried twice today for my why. My daughter and my wife. Nothing drives me more than seeing them smiling and happy.

Whatever your goal is in life please have a strong why. That will push you when you don’t feel like doing the things you need to do. When you are in pain but know you need to do something just look at your why. Whats more important looking at TV or doing what you need to do to make your “why” happy.

I cant say what being successful is. Its subjective. It differs from person to person. Just know there will be a journey while on your quest to being successful. You will have to push past physical and mental pains if you wish to be successful. Lord knows I wanted to stay in bed with my heating pad and ice cold water. But then my daughter walked in the room and I just looked at her. I said to myself. “Jay its time to put your money where your mouth is and crawl on broken glass” I want to be successful and something as small as physical pain wont stop me!

Why I love the Chicago Bears

With Football season right around the corner I figured it would be most fitting to tell the tale of how I fell in love with Chicago Bears Football. First let’s start with a little history about myself. Im from Lauderdale Lakes, Florida born and raised. In my humble opinion there is no better place in the entire United States. If you are familiar with the state of Florida you will know that football is a religion there. Little boys have footballs placed in their cribs and from the time we are able to run our parents sent us out to play football in the streets of Florida where the temperature would reach 100 degrees easily on a summer’s day. Football is a way of life, football is king in Florida. From the time you are 3 or 4 years old you’re playing football. I could go on and on about football in Florida but that’s not what this blog is about. I just wanted to set the backdrop as to why I love football and my Chicago Bears.

Before I was a fan of the Chicago Bears football team I fell in love with the sport of football itself. Now Im about 4 about 5 years old and its time to pick a team to root for. So what made me commit treason, what made me become Benedict Arnold against my hometown team the Miami Dolphins…That’s a very easy answer. My father! My father is from the South Side of Chicago…95th and Halsted. He’s the very definition of what the south side Chicago is cool, soulful, and gritty but if you get out of line or don’t watch yourself it could become very hard, cruel, tough, gangster! If you know my father you would agree. But my dad loved sports. He was the first black man I ever met to love hockey. As I look back the only TV show I ever seen him turn the television to it was ESPN. Of course as a young boy I looked up to my father and wanted to be like him. He taught me everything about sports and being loyal to a team. Once you choose a team you can NEVER go back. So Sunday after Sunday watching the Chicago Bears on TV then finally seeing them win their first super bowl in 1985 I chose to become a Chicago Bears fan. But I was only five. I knew nothing about loyalty I didn’t know what I was really doing I was just rooting for the team because that’s who my dad rooted for and I wanted to be like him. I didn’t know years down the line people would call me a sale out or a trader for not liking the Dolphins. All I know is by cheering for the Chicago Bears I was being like my father and that made me happy. Still at this point I did not love the Chicago Bears Football.

To be honest here, I hated the Miami Dolphins before I loved the Chicago Bears. In 1985 I remember my dad taking my down to the Orange Bowl to see Dolphins vs. Bears. What stood out in my mind till this day wasn’t the fact that bears lost but how a group of Miami Dolphin fans tried to throw beer on me and my dad cause we were rooting for the Bears and we had our Bear shirts on. Little did they know who they were messing with. I saw my dad turn around to a group of about 8 Dolphin fans and threaten to kick all of their a**. I liked that. Then a couple more Bears fans in our section joined in and said they would help him do it. I liked that as well! To see 4 Bear fans punk about 8 to 10 dolphin fans that made say to myself “Bear fans don’t take any crap.”

But I still wasn’t in love. Then I finally make my first summer trip to Chicago. That trip is when I fell in love with the Chicago Bears football team. Chicago is the first big city I ever visited. As a f5 or 6 year old I was in complete awe riding around Lake Shore drive and Michigan avenue. To see all of the big buildings left me speechless. But there was one building that stood out to me. It didn’t fit in with the rest of the down town vibe. This building was regal, it looked important, it looked like a historic monument you would see in Washington D.C. with its large colonnades. So I turned to my grand father and said “Grand dad what’s that?” He made eye contact with me and said “Jay that’s where the Bears play. It’s called soldier field”. I was in awe. I never saw a stadium like this. The only football stadium I ever seen was The Orange Bowl. Needless to say the raggedy Orange Bowl didn’t look like Soldier field. To see a football stadium with large sky scrappers on one side and a huge lake on the other side I was left speechless. My grand dad took me to a pre season game later that week and to see Walter Payton, all of the Bears fans, the smell or Bratwursts, people cheering….That’s the moment I feel in Love with Chicago Bears Football. How could I ever go back? I was born into this. Then to meet the greatest running back of all time Walter Payton… he was so nice. He took a picture with my sister and I. Till this day I remember how strong and heavy his hands were as they sit on my frail 8 year old shoulders.

The only superstar I ever met for the Dolphins was Dan Marino and this arrogant jerk tried to spray water on me and my group of friends. Compare that to the experience I had with Walter Payton, How can I be a Dolphin fan? Don’t forget the near brawl my dad had in 1985.

The man I wanted to be like. The man who taught me how to be a man was a Bears fan. The treason wasn’t me becoming a Dolphins fan. The real treason would’ve been me disowning my dad and not rooting for the Bears. He did his part to introduce me to football and to introduce me to the Chicago Bears. My experiences within my first 9 to 10 years of life sealed the deal. From seeing soldier field for the first time, to meeting Walter Payton and how could I forget about The Super Bowl Shuffle? There’s no way I couldn’t root for this team.

So there you have it guys, my first Blog. There will be many more Blogs to come but I wanted my first blog to answer the question “Why do you root for the Bears?” I hope this may explain to you how I fell in love with Chicago Bears Football.