Love Your Family as if You Will Die Today

One of my favorite quotes is from James Dean

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. I love the quote so much that it hangs (with a photo of him) in my den. You can see it and other cool quotes in a previous article (here).

“Dream as if you’ll live forever. Live as if you’ll die today.”
— James Dean (2/8/31 – 9/30/55)


This quote holds so much power, and it’s sort of ironic that it came from a man who died at the very young age of twenty-four. A man who lived his life to the fullest and died young. We should all be so lucky!

In some ways I feel that I’ve been blessed by having to live with HIV. I know some of you are going, “What??” Well, allow me to explain. When I was nineteen, my family doctor told me that I had fewer than two years to live. As a teenager, that put some things into perspective! Immediately I realized all that I had and all that I would lose. Since that day, I have spent every moment realizing it could be my last. For that reason, I honestly think it is cool that I became infected and was faced with this reality.

That said, I would certainly much rather not be HIV+ and lead a more “normal” life… However, I consider myself lucky none-the-less. I sincerely mean that… I consider myself lucky!

Where am I going with this? You ask. Well let me tell you.

You guys have an opportunity here… Use me! I mean it. Live through my eyes for a moment. Simply imagine that you were told by your doctor that you had less than a month to live. Sincerely think this and focus on it for a moment. How would that make you feel? After the momentary freakout, wouldn’t you start to assess your life? Wouldn’t you look at how you could tie up your loose ends? Of course you would! You know what else you would do?? You would spend time with those most important to you. You would honor them with love and shower them with hugs and kisses. You would treat them the way they aught (and deserve) to be treated. You would tell them how important they are to you. You would share with them. You would cry with them. You would live those last few weeks by giving them praise and words of encouragement. As your final days crept up, you would tell them over-and-over again how much you love them.

Guess what…

You don’t have to be dying to do any of those things.

Cherish your family!

Love Your Family As If You Will Die Today

For tomorrow you may be gone…

Posted with love,

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Believe in Your Dreams and Believe in Yourself

Rome was not built in a day. Like the Romans, you are creating something that will take incredible amounts of time and effort. You are working on yourself. Making you a smarter, stronger, wiser, healthier, more loving, believing, hard working, patient, and understanding person takes time. You absolutely can improve yourself in a day

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. You absolutely cannot create your ultimate desired outcome for yourself in a day.

As I’ve said in plenty of previous posts, kaizen is a Japanese philosophy that essentially means small, daily improvements. It is a way of life, not a quick fix. If you want to be all that you can be… If you want to maximize your life, than you must plan and follow through over decades! Baby steps is the simple answer to creating the best you.

My favorite analogy to improving yourself is, oddly enough, like learning to drive a car with a manual transmission. I’m a stick-shift fan.

Soon, this analogy won’t be relevant, because it seems that the manual transmission is becoming extinct. For now, I will stick (no pun intended) with my story…

Assuming you know how to drive a stick… These days, it is basically second nature for you to shift gears. We can easily drink coffee, listen to the radio, think about work, think about family, hold a conversation with the passenger(s), and simply switch from first to second gear without any hesitation or actual thought.

However, it was not always so easy. As a matter of fact, if you’re honest with yourself, it was downright tough as nails to drive a stick-shift car when you first started out. Close your eyes for a moment and gradually slip back in time to your very first day in the driver’s seat of a vehicle with a manual transmission. During that very first experience, you were learning and you couldn’t do any of things we listed above. Not only could you not do them, you had to concentrate and focus completely on switching gears and switching gears alone.

Nervously, you gripped the wheel and struggled along. When it was time to change from first to second, you adjusted your hands shakily on the steering wheel so that the right hand was off the wheel and had access to the shifter. From there, you eased your foot off the gas while slowly pressing the clutch in with the other foot. Once that tedious part was done, you gripped the shift knob as sweat started to form on your forehead. Pulling the lever with just enough force, you popped the transmission out of first gear and into neutral momentarily. Finally, you kept pressure on the shifter, sliding it carefully into second gear. As if all of that wasn’t enough, now you had to time smoothly pulling the clutch back out while applying gas incrementally.

Do you remember that first time? Getting your stick-shift cherry popped?? Wasn’t it kind of like that?

Even after that first time, we still had to practice this carefully for hours, days, weeks, or even months before we perfected it enough to feel comfortable. Small gains and improvements were made over time before we could finally switch gears without thinking about it. Over time muscle memory took over and we were finally able to do it without a second thought. These days, you don’t even think about the entire process and can juggle in a bunch of additional tasks. Heck I wrote this blog article while driving a stick-shift, eating an Egg McMuffin, and singing along with the tunes jamming out of my stereo… Ok, I made that part up, and I would never condone blogging while driving… But, you get my point!

Improving ourselves is done much in the same way. When we first dabble into an improvement, it often feels foreign and impossible to accomplish. However, with determination and drive you quickly get past that feeling and over time you create a desired result that feels like second nature today.

Remember to carefully choose your improvements. Then, draw out goals along the way to achieve your dreams. The last piece of the puzzle is to not only stay focused on your dreams, but to dig deep inside yourself and find the willpower to follow through!

Nothing is impossible to a person who believes in their dreams and believes in themselves.

Dream it! Write it! Plan it! Do it!
(I’ll let you in on a little secret… It can be anything… The sky is the limit)

Your daily dose of inspiration was brought to you by,
Mr. V

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Shower Her with Love

Forget cards, flowers, and chocolates… Well, don’t forget them, but don’t rely only on them. What she really wants is sincerity and love! Love offered freely and without strings attached. I’m talking about love given regardless of what you get in return. I’ll let you in on a little secret: You must give unconditional love to get it.

Kristine and I have been married for 19 years and been together for 26. Over those years I’ve given her countless cards, flowers, and chocolates. But, the one thing that stands out to her more than anything is a simple thing I said to her about 22 years ago… One day when she was feeling a ittle down, she shared with me something along the lines of not being good enough. Without a second’s delay, I responded, “Look around you… Look at all of my stuff. I surround myself with only the best of the best. My stereo, guitar, TV, and other things are all the very finest you can buy. Do you think you are any different?”

That may not sound like much to you, but it’s precisely what I’m talking about. It was sincere and said honestly with love. I meant it. And, she knew I meant it. Therefore, it has stuck with her all of these years. To this day she still reminds me of how special that conversation made her feel.

I’m not telling you to skip the flowers, but I am suggesting that there are others things you can give, do, and say that will be much more memorable. One of the most important things that I’ve discovered is listening. I mean real listening… Not sitting there while she’s talking. I’m talking about, turn the TV off, set your phone down, step away from the laptop kind of listening

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. Look her in the eyes and nod at appropriate times. Then, when she’s done talking, compute what she said and reply with an honest assessment and appreciation with what you heard.

This ain’t rocket science, folks. Many would have you believe that relationships are incredibly tough and nearly impossible to build and keep strong. The truth is, they are much simpler than we pretend. Level with your soul mate, treat her with honor and dignity, and listen to her. This is the valuable key to staying in a healthy relationship.

There are people out there that will tell you that a man is weak for doting on his wife. This is ridiculous and any man who deserves a good woman in his life knows that it’s untrue. The truth is that it is our responsibility to love and care for our wives and our families. A real man can be strong and compassionate at the same time.

Tell me what you do to shower your spouse with love. Tell me what you’ve tried… What works, and what doesn’t?

I hope this article was beneficial.

Heartfelt feelings sent your way,

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Stay Hungry

Be more like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Steve Jobs, and Dee Snider!!! You might be asking yourself, What the heck do Arnold, Steve, and Dee have to do with each other? Well, the simple answer is that their commonality may not be immediately apparent. However, there is one thing that is easily figured out. All of these men were (and are) a big success in life. If you dig even deeper, you will find something in common between all three guys… They were all hungry. I don’t mean hungry as in needing food or drink… I mean hungry as in a zest and zeal for life that led them on a daily basis to pound the pavement looking for new and better ways to improve and succeed. That is my kind of hungry!!! Let’s learn a thing or two from each of these people:

Cracking open Steve Jobs’ biography, Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson, I was instantly mesmerized and couldn’t stop reading it. The book covers the entire life of one of my idols, Steve Jobs. A second idol, who impacted me just as much as Steve, was Arnold Schwarzenegger. Fortunately for me, Arnold’s autobiography, Total Recall, was recently released too. So, I read it. I can tell you that both of the books were amazing to me. I have heard plenty of harsh words about both men and about both books

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. That said, I found them both inspirational and incredibly motivational. I haven’t read Dee’s biography and I’m not even sure if one exists. However, if he or someone else did write a book at Dee, I bet it’s killer!

Regardless of what you think about Steve, Arnold, and Dee, or how you feel about their lives and/or books, I think they are all amazing men who fought very hard to achieve their dreams. For this reason they will remain my idols and I will continue to believe in myself with their inspiration.

Back in circa 1977 I first saw Arnold in the Guinness Book of World Records for having the “most perfectly developed physique.” I had never seen anyone so muscular and developed. It was unreal seeing that a human being was capable of such sheer size and muscularity. This brief glimpse in time has stuck with me for my entire life and I can still remember seeing that photo. Years later, I use Pumping Iron the movie as a backdrop when I do my weight lifting. Also, I have pictures of Arnold (among other lifters) in my basement gym. To me – Arnold was, and still is, the bodybuilding King.

Only a couple of years later, when we bought our first home computer, I was introduced to Steve Jobs. Between Steve and Arnold I was a changed child, and later changed man. Finally a few years later, Twisted Sister came out with “I Wanna Rock” and I was again inspired!

As I am prone to do, I digress. Where I was going with this is that you need to have dreams and you need to work daily to achieve them. Hmmm… Actually, you do not need to have them. You need air, water, and food to survive. “Dreams” is merely a want. Ahhh… Now I’ve uncovered a truth. Do you want to improve? I can tell you unequivocally that I do. As a matter-of-fact I think it is essential to my being. That’s where I was going with this. Many of us get into a set state, become complacent, and no longer worry about getting any better. You need to make a conscious effort if you want to improve.

Did that make any sense?

Now for the correlation… In Arnold’s book, he mentions one of his early movies, Stay Hungry. In Steve’s book, Isaacson talks about a commencement speech that Steve gave at Stanford University. He finished the speech with, “Stay hungry. Stay foolish.”

I dunno about you, but those two sentences sum it up for me!

If you are looking for words of encouragement while struggling through something, think about Steve Jobs’ final words in that speech.

Clearly I know that Arnold’s movie, and Steve’s sentences have nothing to do with each other, but what they did was spark a feeling inside me and I connected (for the first time in my life) the two idols I had built my life around. Weird, right? The hilarious part of this is that Dee is a third person in my “stay hungry” pyramid of inspiration… Oddly enough, Dee Snider of the Hard Rock/Heavy Metal band, Twisted Sister is also a hungry inspiring being. Isn’t that an odd combination?? But, if you read the following lyrics from his song, “Stay Hungry” you will see that he gets it too.

“Be the hunter and the hunted, keep your target in your sight.
Don’t be side tracked or shunted, let pretenders feel your bite.
And, if you start to slide, never show you’re weak.
Don’t feel you’ve got to hide.
Remember what you’re fighting for, remember what you seek.

Stay hungry!”


When I first heard that song back in circa (I like using that word) 1984 I immediately got it. Even though I was only 17 years old and probably wasn’t HIV+ yet… I still got it. A year-and-a-half later when I was told I was HIV+ this song became more profound. At that time I needed all of the idols I could muster just to survive. These days, I am using these (and other) inspirational people, words, and lyrics to make myself a better person.

At first look (and second and third) you might think that Arnold Schwarzenegger, Steve Jobs, and Dee Snider have absolutely nothing to do with each other. However, a closer look will reveal three completely different people and personalities who became huge successes through staying hungry! We can all learn something from Arnold, Steve, Dee, and other folks just like them. If you desire improvement and success then you will need to weather some storms… However, it is absolutely possible!

In the middle of Steve’s commencement, he also had a few profound words:

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”


This long-winded article was meant to do one thing. To get you up off your arse and keep you putting some elbow-grease into your life. You can either kick back and be driven where life takes you, or you can lead the way and determine your own destiny. I’m a destiny controller… What are you?

Written with a buttload of motivational mojo,

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Sugared Water

Many moons ago, Apple Computer wanted John Sculley to join them as CEO and apply his marketing skills to the personal computer market. Sculley was not sure that he wanted to join Apple and Steve Jobs sealed the deal when he made his legendary pitch to John, “Do you want to sell sugared water for the rest of your life? Or, do you want to come with me and change the world?”

This quote has stuck with me through the years and it is always a powerful reminder for me: I think that 99.9% of what we humans do to earn a living is selling sugared water. Think deep and hard about what you are doing in your job. Does it embody your high level of standards? Does it fill your heart with gladness? Does it inspire you to be even more? If so, then congratulations! If you are doing your dream job and making the world a better place, it is my belief that you are among 0.1% of the population of this small blue dot we affectionately call “Earth.”

If on the other hand, you are like most of us and unsure of what you are doing to make the world better, than maybe you should ask yourself the Steve Jobs’ question… And, if you do ask that question, you might get a sinking feeling in your stomach that says, “You are not doing everything in your power to accomplish great things.”

Supposing you do get that tummy ache, I suggest that instead of pouting and feeling sorry for yourself, you decide to make a change! Think about it… We are all capable of controlling our destiny. You! And, you alone can determine what path you take each day. Sure there are outside influences that will try to knock you off your path

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. But I believe that you can either let those influences alter your course, or you can stand up to them and say, “No.”

Together we are capable of anything. I mean that. You and I can make the world a better place. I choose to believe this, and I choose to do something about it. I’m doing it right now in fact. My blog is one of the ways that I strive to inspire my friends, family, and complete strangers who follow my shenanigans. This is one of my many ideas to make the world a better place. Come join me!!!

For what it’s worth… When Steve asked John that question, he thought about it and then accepted the job. Powerful words with an even more powerful meaning!

So tell me, Do you want to sell sugared water for the rest of your life? Or, do you want to come with me and change the world?

All the best,
Vaughn “the world changer” Ripley

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Jump Start Your Day

What if I told you that if you were to give me 13 minutes, I PROMISE your day will be more enjoyable and go smoother!!! What have you got to lose?

Lately I find that I am slower getting out of bed. Perhaps this is because I’m getting older (I’m 46 years young). Another thing I have noticed is that how I get out of bed affects my ENTIRE day!

Starting NOW, I am going to improve this battle in the morning. Wanna do it with me??

Let’s promise each other that we WILL NOT hit the snooze button. I wish I could disable or remove mine. If you find that this is too tough for you, my good buddy Nino Greasemaneli likes to put his alarm clock across the room from him, to ensure that he has to get up and run to shut off the alarm. I do this too… My alarm clock is on a dresser a litte ways away from the bed, so I have to get up and walk some to turn it off.

Train yourself to jump out of bed immediately, with no hesitation, and start your day with movement. When I say, “jump,” I mean it… Literally leap with excitement and land with crazy eyes and a huge grin!!! (My wife is gonna think I’m nuts… Maybe she already does… HA!)

The next thing we will do together is to keep our shoes and a pair of shorts beside the bed and hit the ground running!

I’m going to start walking my dog, Samson, every morning… So, I will simply jump into my shorts and shoes and head down to take him out! If you don’t walk the dog, go outside anyway and do a brisk walk. I am talking about you being outside within two minutes of your alarm going off

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. No excuses! Don’t stop to take a pee even! Get up and run for the door! (okay… You can pee if you have to, but NOTHING else!)

Here is the fun part of our walk. Breathing exercises…

Start your walk with a deep breath holding exercise that I learned from Tony Robbins. Inhale briskly and deeply to a count of seven (7). Hold this breath for a count of 28 (you might not be able to do this the first couple of times you do it). Now slowly exhale to a count of 14. The ratio is: 1 in / hold for 4 / 2 out So if you can only inhale for a count of 5, then do 5 in, hold for 20, and then exhale for 10. Get it? Good! Repeat this exercise three times (this will take just about three minutes total).

Then, for the next five minutes of your walk, perform “breathwalking.” Essentially, you inhale four times through your nose, exhale four times through your mouth, and repeat continuously for five minutes. During my exhale, I chant a powerful 4-syllable incantation like “my day is great!” Or, you could try, “I will lose weight!” Just make sure you chant something positive! Mucho thanks to Tony Robbins for teaching me this one too!

Finish the last minute of your walk by calming your body and then do several minutes of easy stretches.

So in 13 (or so) minutes, we have just sealed the deal for a fantastic day!

I plan to follow my “breathwalk” with a 45-minute run (after dropping the boy inside the house) and then a more extensive stretch. On days that I don’t jog, I will go right down to my gym and do 45-minutes of “other” training.

Who’s with me? I want a commitment for at least the 13-minutes to enrichment!

Because I am a CDO (my doctor calls it OCD, but I didn’t like the order of the letters) planner, here is my morning routine that I have setup. If you dig, use it as an example of how you can do your own.

4:25 a.m. WAKE UP WITH VIGOR!!!
4:30 a.m. do the Eagle breathwalk exercise with Samson.
4:45 a.m. run or workout for 45 minutes.
5:34 a.m. stretch for 11 minutes.
5:45 a.m. make and eat a healthy breakfast.
6:15 a.m. jump in the shower and get ready for work.
6:45 a.m. drive to work!

Happy mornings to you,

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Life Balance

Balancing the different pieces of your life is a surefire way to improve and become successful. I strive to improve aspects of my life and therefore build a better balance. This goes back to a few previous articles I’ve written about kaizen, and constantly working to improve yourself on a daily basis.

One popular method of working on your balance is called a “circle of life” or a “wheel of life.” Usually these circles will consist of eight (or so) slices of your life. These slices are categories from your life; which can be used for improvement. They are often some form or fashion of these: family, friends, spirituality, finances, self esteem, fitness, nutrition, stress mastery, hobbies, relationships, life purpose, and so on.

Each person’s categories (regardless of whether they are six, eight, ten, or some other arbitrary number) are different. I chose the eight most significant parts of my life: spirituality, family, finances, health, work, friends, hobbies, and community.

In the circle of life, my selections would look something like this:

Once you have your pie designed, sliced, and labeled, then you rate each category on a scale of one to ten, with ten being absolute perfection (level ten is practically impossible to achieve, but a great goal area to keep improving toward). Using this scale, you dissect each slice by drawing a line representative of this rating. This new line will literally shrink each piece of pie, based on how good you are doing in that aspect of your life. I currently rate my pieces like this: family=7, finances=4, hobbies=8, health=8, work=7, friends=6, community=6, and spirituality=3.

Drawn and filled out, my “circle of life” would look something like this:

As you can easily see, this is not close to being a perfectly round circle. Many of the motivational speakers ask you to visualize this completed circle of life as a wheel on your car. Now imagine trying to drive along with a wheel that is shaped like this. As you can see, you would have a bumpy ride to say the least! This “bumpy ride” translates to your life..

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. Without balance, your life will be a crazy and bumpy ride.

To simplify this drawing, I created a scale (that was derived from my own ideas mixed with those of countless self-improvement coaches, family, and friends) that I follow with the most important aspects of my life. I rate each of these eight parts individually with a number from one to ten, where one is horrible, and ten is the absolute best. I add all of my category ratings together and then divide by the number of categories to give me a balance “average.” I call this my life balance value.

If we go back to my previous numbers, it would look like this:
family=7 + finances=4 + hobbies=8 + health=8 + work=7 + friends=6 + community=6 + spirituality=3

These all add together to equal 49.

From there, I divide by the number of categories; which in my case is eight.

49/8 = 6.125

I round down and find that my life balance average is 6. So, my overall “life balance value” is only a six. I consider an average of eight to be an exceptional life and that is where my goal is set. So, I need to work on each thing to get them to create an average of eight. It is my belief that each of these pieces should be at least equal to six (above average) in order to achieve true success. And, my overall score should be eight in order to lead an exceptional life.

Now that I have that life balance value, I use Dr. W. Edwards Deming’s cycle of improvement to work on each of these areas (categories). Simply put, his cycle is: Plan, Do, Check, and Act. In this way, I can continually improve any part of my life by simply repeating this cycle in a never-ending pattern. You can read more about Deming and kaizen in my previous article:

I am working on it, but it is a tough thing to improve one’s quality of life.

What is your life balance value?

Please comment by clicking “Leave a Comment.” And, if you dig, share this article! Also, please type your email address into the “Subscribe” box up top to get updates each time I post a new blog article.

You can rest assured that we will never SPAM your email account, and it’s only used to send the latest articles.

How to Boil a Frog

I thought about titling this article, ”A Look at Why Some People Thrive, and Others Do Not.” However, that seemed a bit wordy, unclassy, and simply pompous… Talking about frogs on the other hand is fun, goofy, and downright cool. Hence… The title is what it is. I’m sure everyone knows how to boil a frog, but I will waste one minute and explain it… You boil a frog by slowly turning up the temperature. With that in mind, if you were to throw a frog into a pot of boiling water, it would immediately jump out. At least that’s how the story goes. Honestly, I have never boiled a frog so I don’t know if this is true. What I do know is that if a frog jumped out of a boiling pot of water he would be one burned-up dude!

Ego digresso.

Today’s article is meant to show how some of us thrive in life and others struggle to thrive. I believe it is the boiled frog syndrome. And, I recently had this very discussion (to some degree or another) with a group of friends. I do not think that anyone purposefully tries to fail or do bad or quit in the blink of an eye. Rather I think it is a series of small doses of negativity, disappointment, struggling, and so on. Thinking along those lines leads me to logically conclude that I can also succeed, do good, or accomplish with this same exact pattern.

A strange epiphany hit me today. A friend said something along these lines, “I reached a turning point in my life when I realized that I’ve lived sick for longer then I’ve lived healthy.” She has Lupus (among other things) and what she meant was that she has lived longer with Lupus than without it. When she said it I was like, “Wow.” Then I thought a moment and realized that I was in the same category with my HIV. I was healthy and leading a fairly (relatively) normal life for 18 or so years. Since then, I have lived for about 28 years with HIV. For some reason, this hit me like a ton of bricks. I have almost lived twice as long sick as healthy!!! So, then I started thinking, How?

Next, another friend in the same group said, “If your problem changes from a physical to mental illness, you’re hosed.” Ha! That is freaking brilliant! That got me thinking real deep and I started formulating how I (and others like me) have survived. Next thing I knew I had another article idea.

Since I am such a firm believer in incantations, and I also talk with those close to me about how I believe in “I Can’t Tations” too, I formulated what I think is the secret to my longevity

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. It is not one single thing that can be pointed to. Think about it. No one wakes up and has such a negative thought process that they simply die or fail to live. It takes days, weeks, or even years to get there mentally. I believe that how we react to life on a daily basis is the key to our longevity. That’s right, I said it … Prolonged doses of negativity will eventually kill you.

I look back at my life and realize that I’ve had my share of negative beliefs and thoughts. However, my positive thoughts and actions far outweigh the negative ones.

I have heard people routinely say things like:
– I am unlucky
– The world is against me
– I can’t
– A black cloud follows me
– This is just my lot in life

And so on and so forth. Long ago I discovered (or at least I believe I did) that these folks are a part of creating their own destiny. Take responsibility for your thoughts. Take responsibility for your actions. Take responsibility in how you convey yourself to you and others.

Responsible said another way is “Able to respond.” Think about it… You are able to respond. This is in all of us. And, like Rush says, “If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.” Make your choice to succeed. Make your choice to improve yourself. Make your choice to inspire others. Make your choice to think positively on a daily basis.

The next time someone asks you how you’re doing, think about your answer carefully. Instead of saying, “Okay” or “Been better” or “Can’t complain” try coming up with something upbeat. You don’t have to say, “I’m freaking unbelievable and have never felt better in my whole entire existence on Earth!” But you could say something along the lines of, “I feel great.” Say it, believe it, live it.

Brought to you with a dose of love,

Please comment by clicking “Leave a Comment.” And, if you dig, share this article! Also, please type your email address into the “Subscribe” box up top to get updates each time I post a new blog article.

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Inspirational Passages and Quotes

Quotes and passages can be incredibly uplifting and inspirational. I like to read inspirational quotes every day. I start my day by reading the following quotes… They instill my spirit with motivation and lift me to a higher level. Check ’em out, and let me know what you think!

“Come not between the dragon and his wrath.”
-William Shakespeare / King Lear, act I, scene 1

“Dream as if you’ll live forever. Live as if you’ll die today.”
-James Dean

“Adventure is worthwhile in itself.”
-Amelia Earhart

“The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.”
-Albert Einstein

“Decide whether or not the goal is worth the risks involved. If it is, stop worrying.”
-Amelia Earhart

“Remember: Life is short, break the rules”
-James Dean

“Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.”
-William Shakespeare / Measure by Measure, act I, scene 4

“The most effective way to do it, is to do it.”
-Amelia Earhart

“Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
-Benjamin Franklin

“Never bend your head. Always hold it high. Look the world right in the eye.”
-Helen Keller

“Excellence sucks!”
-Tony Robbins

“There are three things extremely hard: steel, a diamond, and to know one’s self.”
-Benjamin Franklin

“Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.”
-Eleanor Roosevelt

“Temet Nosce. It means, know thyself.”
-the Oracle

“Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold.”
-Helen Keller

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.”
-George Eliot

“Life’s tragedy is that we get old too soon and wise too late.”
-Benjamin Franklin

“Nobody can be successful unless he loves his work.”
-David Sarnoff

“Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try.”

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
-Gandalf the Grey

“Never interrupt someone doing something you said couldn’t be done.”
-Amelia Earhart

“Let us step out into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure.”
-Albus Dumbledor (care of J. K. Rowling)

I would be remiss if I didn’t include some of my own personal quotes… Enjoy!

“Dum spiro somnium”
-Vaughn Ripley

“We’re all going through something… The trick is to go through it anyway!”
-Vaughn Ripley

“Life has its ups and downs… Ride the downs and climb the ups!”
-Vaughn Ripley

“Chivalry is not just a fancy word with a neat meaning… It’s a way of life.”
-Vaughn Ripley

“Life throws punches. It’s not about punching back..

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. It’s about taking ’em, and still standing.”
-Vaughn Ripley

Do you have a favorite quote or passage? Please share and chime-in!

Hoping this inspired or motivated you!


Please comment by clicking “Leave a Comment.” And, if you dig, share this article! Also, please type your email address into the “Subscribe” box up top to get updates each time I post a new blog article.

You can rest assured that we will never SPAM your email account, and it’s only used to send the latest articles.

Dum Spiro Somnium

Perhaps it’s time that you created a life motto for yourself. Maybe you already have one. Could be that you have no idea what I’m talking about..

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. Let’s discuss the potential of this very powerful tool.

Dum spiro somnium is my life motto. It means, “While I breathe, I dream.” Actually… I do not know for certain that it means that, because I simply made it up based on Google translate and a little Latin knowledge. But, it is my interpretation and best-guess as to converting my life motto to Latin. Why did I convert my life motto to Latin? you ask. Well, mostly because Latin is a cool way of saying things in life that are important to us. At least I think so. I do know that somnium means to dream, or daydream. This was close enough for me!

I was able to piece this translation together because I know my family motto, dum spiro spero; which translates to “While I breathe, I hope.” This is a great family motto and a wonderful creed to live by. However, I thought about it carefully and realized that it doesn’t totally encompass my beliefs and motto. I’m a dreamer. Life is a dream of sorts for me, and my imagination is the key to making it day-in day-out. Hence making my very own personal life motto.

Do you have a life motto?

Life motto, vision, mission… All of these things are so important to our continued improvement and success. Along with these powerful tools, I think that short and long-term goals are incredibly beneficial as well. Expect a post in the near future that discusses goals, missions, and vision statements.

If you don’t have one, or are interested in some motto ideas, checkout this list:

Another great resource, and the article that inspired me to create this one, can be found here:

Make sure you chime in and tell me what your thoughts are on this subject, and if you have a life motto.

Until we chat again,

Please comment by clicking “Leave a Comment.” And, if you dig, share this article! Also, please type your email address into the “Subscribe” box up top to get updates each time I post a new blog article.

You can rest assured that we will never SPAM your email account, and it’s only used to send the latest articles.

Care for a Threesome?

Let’s talk about one of the toughest competition fitness events that you can put your body and mind through. Triathlon.

It’s my belief that triathlon is the single greatest way for you to stay in the best shape of your life. Think about what this sporting event has to offer. Swimming. Biking. Running. When combined, these three activities can’t be matched for building the ultimate healthy body. If you’ve got the guts (and I do mean that), you should give this AWESOME sport a tri.

Before we start… You guys know what’s coming…

WARNING: Working out and exercise can be dangerous. You can be seriously injured, crippled or killed. The opinions, stories, and ideas presented here (and everywhere on my blog) are my own and do not constitute a recommendation of or endorsement for any particular or general use. I strongly recommend getting a complete physical and doctor’s approval before starting any type of strenuous activity. Especially if you are over the age of 40 or have high blood pressure, genetic heart problems or conditions, or elevated cholesterol levels. If you choose to workout and/or race, you do so at your own risk. In addition, working out requires patience, diligence, and above all else, using good form. Never bounce or over strain! Now stop making excuses and get in the game!!!

Many people consider a marathon to be the toughest thing you can compete in… Others say that a century bike ride is unbelievably tough… You can imagine what folks say about swimming 2.4 miles… Well… Combining all three of these into one event and pushing yourself in each of them is sick beyond any individual sport. Triathlons will push you like you never imagined possible!

Triathlon is a relatively new sport

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. It was technically started in the 1920’s in France… But, it is widely recognized that the first “real” triathlon occurred in 1974 in San Diego. 46 people participated in that race, including Jack Johnstone and Don Shanahan, the two guys who came up with the idea.

“Swim 2.4 miles! Bike 112 miles! Run 26.2 miles! Brag for the rest of your life!”
— Commander Collins, USN (1978)

Standard Distances

  • Sprint: Swim: 750 meter (.465 mi) / Bike: 20 K (12.5 mi) / Run: 5 K (3.1 mi)
  • Olympic (AKA Intermediate): Swim: 1.5 K (.93 mi) / Bike: 40 K (25 mi) / Run: 10 K (6.2 mi)
  • Half-Ironman (AKA 70.3): Swim: 1.9 K (1.2 mi) / Bike: 90 K (56 mi) / Run: 21.1 K (13.1 mi)
  • Ironman (AKA: Ultra or 140.6): Swim: 3.8 K (2.4 mi) / Bike: 180.2 K (112 mi) / Run: full marathon – 42.2 K (26.2 mi)

    Along with these distances there are several that differ slightly. The one that stands out the most is the “mini-sprint” or “super-sprint”; which is typically about half the distance of a standard sprint. This is the distance I would recommend doing (if it’s available in your area) for your first race.

    First Things First
    To start racing, your best bet is to get a membership at This membership will get you access to join most races around the country. And, you get a magazine when you sign up.

    After joining USAT, buy a book… The Triathlete’s Training Bible by Joe Friel, who I consider the most knowledgeable and amazing coach in triathlon history!

    Next thing on your list of to-do’s is to find some local races. I’ve found that is a good resource… But, you can find tons of sites by simply Googling, “local triathlon races” or checking out the USAT website. Once you find one that gives you ample time to train for it (think two or three months if you’re in reasonably good shape), sign up and commit yourself!

    Finally, TRAIN HARD!

    A Few Tips and Pointers

    On my first race I learned a few things and I made a few mistakes… Let me tell you guys about some of these in the hopes that your first race can go a tad better.

    I pushed myself hard in the swim and paid for it as I tried to put my bike shoes on. I nearly passed out… Remember to push yourself hard but then taper off near the end of the first two events; which will make your transition better.

    My swim to bike wasn’t the only problem area… I also pushed myself hard to the end of the bike and found my calves literally locking up during the start of my run. I limped out of the transition area and spent the first five minutes hobbled and hopping. When my legs finally started responding I had lost some precious minutes!

    When I started my run, I had forgotten to take my helmet off. Honestly I would have forgotten to put pants on if that was part of it. I was dazed, confused, and lost… Stay calm and stay focused and you will be fine. Enjoy those first few mistakes you make and laugh at yourself. This is about fun!

    One thing that you can do to avoid the calf problems I had is to stand up out of the saddle during your last mile or so on the bike. Ease back a hair and do the pedaling in a way that you can stretch your calves. You might lose a few seconds because of this slowing down, but it beats the minutes you’ll lose if you don’t do it!

    In your transition area, make sure that you carefully lay things out ready for you to change into them… During your race your mind will be all mixed up and the easier you make the transition station the quicker you can get past it. I like to wear socks for the bike and run (some people don’t), so I wear very short socks to make them easier to put on. When your feet are wet, socks are freaking tough to put on! One thing that helps is to turn them halfway inside-out. This way you can stuff your toes in and then simply unravel them around your moist feet.

    I also bought elastic shoe laces for my tri running shoes, so I don’t have to waste fifteen seconds tying them. It’s the little things that will speed up your transitions!

    Get a tri suit (one piece or two piece is personal preference). The bike seat pad in a tri suit is thinner and won’t absorb water during the swim.

    Practice your transitions!


    As I mentioned, you should get The Triathlete’s Training Bible. But, if you don’t I can give you a few pieces of training advice. You need to train in all three sports. And, it’s important to prepare yourself for the bike to run transition by following some of your bike rides with an immediate run. These style workouts are commonly referred to as BRICK (Bike, Run, ICK!)

    After some of my swims I like to leap out of the pool and stand immediately. This is a bit of a rush, but it gets you used to the transition to bike.

    Along with training in each sport, I think it’s very important that you do some cross-training… I prefer weight lifting for my cross-training. And, don’t forget some serious core work. The core is the key to ALL three sports and will benefit you greatly!

    I hope that this article was helpful.

    And, let me know what you think. Also, tell me about your experience with triathlons.

    See you at the starting line,

    Please comment by clicking “Leave a Comment.” And, if you dig, share this article! Also, please type your email address into the “Subscribe” box up top to get updates each time I post a new blog article.

    You can rest assured that we will never SPAM your email account, and it’s only used to send the latest articles.

    What’s Best in Life?


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    . So that’s a very broad question… But I can answer one piece of it.

    Most of us (me included) do not know what we want. Before you say, “No *expletive deleted* Sherlock!” Allow me to dig a little bit deeper.

    It occurred to me that I’m not doing what I want to do. Even though this occurs to me on a regular basis, one memory from four years ago still lingers… You see, I was riding the train home and sitting next to someone that was putting off a putrid body odor. Before everyone knocks my lack of compunction, let me tell you that this was far beyond your standard human being stink. I’m not talking someone who walked two miles to the train station on a humid 95 degree day without underarm deodorant. I’m talking about the kind of stink that lingers over a two-week old dead body lying in a rainforest.

    Now that I have sufficiently gotten your attention (and perhaps offended the Hell out of you), allow me to continue…

    Sitting for 1.5 hours smelling death in a small, hot train car can make you come to some realizations in life. For one, I realized that I don’t ever want to do that again!

    During this time, I found myself pondering the immortal words of Conan (played by Arnold Schwarzenegger), when he was asked, “What’s best in life?” Without missing a beat, Conan replied, “Crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of their women.” Now there’s a guy who knows what he wants!

    The more that I think about Conan’s statement, the more I understand my lack of an answer to the question “What’s best in life?”

    I know what my dream day would be like… I would wake up, take a short walk, and then swim (in my backyard pool) for an hour or so. After a shower, I would eat a good (nutritious) breakfast that was prepared by my nutritionalist and chef. Following that, I would write for about two hours straight (uninterrupted). Next, I would spend some playtime with Kristine and kids. Once we wore ourselves out, I would hit the music theory and guitar for an hour or two. After guitar, I’d tackle some business by returning emails, calls, and innovating my next great idea. Then, I would get some more kid playtime in. I’d squeeze some form of physical fitness in at this point in the day. Finally, I would wind down with the kids and Kristine watching TV or goofing off. After putting the kids to bed I would do some more business and prepare my agenda for tomorrow (more of the same). Before turning off the light for the night, I’d get some reading in.

    That day would obviously be altered to fit in other activities, hobbies, etc. Also, from time-to-time, there would be a two-week vacation to somewhere exotic.

    Funny thing about my list… I don’t see work (at least not in the traditional fashion) listed. Try as I might, I can’t seem to squeeze it in there. Some of you might argue that my writing (if done on a professional level) would be considered my work. Or, doing my entrepreneurial business ventures. I guess that’s true, but running my own business in brief time slots and writing are both things that I am passionate about. I don’t normally associate passion with work. Viola! Therein lies the problem… In order to make my life more meaningful, I need to be passionate about what I do for a living! *cue inspirational music*

    The problem grows when you consider that balancing things you are passionate about and work is nearly impossible. So, I have decided to dedicate some time and effort to figure this out… If and when I figure something out, I will probably write an instructional manual and publish it.

    For now, I will continue to commute to and from work. And, I will continue discussing these things with you on my blog.

    Please feel free to comment with what you feel is best in life!

    A passionate man who is still seeking his passion!

    Please comment by clicking “Leave a Comment.” And, if you dig, share this article! Also, please type your email address into the “Subscribe” box up top to get updates each time I post a new blog article.

    You can rest assured that we will never SPAM your email account, and it’s only used to send the latest articles.

    High Intensity Interval Training

    Many of you know what HIIT is… But, for those of you who don’t, I will lay it out for ya.

    Before we break this subject down, let’s first discuss my mandatory long-winded disclaimer…

    WARNING: Working out and exercise can be dangerous. You can be seriously injured, crippled or killed. The opinions, stories, and ideas presented here (and everywhere on my blog) are my own and do not constitute a recommendation of or endorsement for any particular or general use. I strongly recommend getting a complete physical and doctor’s approval before starting any type of strenuous activity. Especially if you are over the age of 40 or have high blood pressure, genetic heart problems or conditions, or elevated cholesterol levels. If you choose to workout, you do so at your own risk. In addition, working out requires patience, diligence, and above all else, using good form. Never bounce or over strain!

    With that gratuitous message out of the way, let us continue…

    HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is cardio based work that shortens your workout time and intensifies (to say the least) your effort and outcome

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    . Basically, it involves:

    1. Warm-up: Five minutes at a slow/easy pace to get the blood flowing;
    2. Intense Session: 30-60 seconds of breakneck pace on a higher resistant level (if possible);
    3. Resting Session: 1-2 minutes of slow/easy pace and resistance;
    4. Session Repeat: Go back to Intense Session and repeat both sessions 5-10 times;
    Cool Down: Five minutes at a slow/easy pace to get the muscles (and heart) cooled down.

    In the past, it was believed that you needed 45+ minutes of cardio training at 65-80% of your maximum predicted heart rate. Combined with 5 minutes of warm-up and cool down, this ends up being an hour or even longer! This HIIT program keeps your workout to potentially under 30 minutes and gives you FAR more bang for your buck. Trainers, doctors, and scientists have done the legwork to prove to us that HIIT does more for increasing your cardiovascular system and in burning calories.

    You can use HIIT during most cardio-based exercises. Running, swimming, and biking all work very well. Also, equipment like ellipticals, rowing machines, and VersaClimbers (my favorite) work fantastic utilizing a HIIT method.

    I can tell you that my experience is along those lines. I find that HIIT has quickly increased my performance and endurance! You shouldn’t try to do HIIT unless you are already in good shape and have had a recent physical and approval from your physician.

    I use periodization in my training routines and switch what I’m doing every two or three months. When I am incorporating HIIT, I do it twice per week and then a single “long” mileage day each week. Depending on what I’m training for, I might do more or less HIIT during my week.

    If you are fit and find yourself hitting plateaus in your cardio program, give this a go (at your own risk, obviously).

    Do you already do HIIT? What’s your experience been like?

    Train safe, and train hard!!!


    Please comment by clicking “Leave a Comment.” And, if you dig, share this article! Also, please type your email address into the “Subscribe” box up top to get updates each time I post a new blog article.

    You can rest assured that we will never SPAM your email account, and it’s only used to send the latest articles.

    Getting Results

    For better or for worse, ALL of the things we do have results or an outcome. Wouldn’t it be cool to shape your life to provide positive and desired/wanted results? This post is related to one of my passions… Improving yourself. I am going to spend a little bit of time here, and hopefully help you get closer to achieving your dreams.

    Many moons ago, a saying became very popular and has seemingly stuck with us… The saying is: “Knowledge equals power.”

    While this is a potent statement, I do not feel that it applies as well today as it may have eons ago. It’s my belief that it takes a good deal more than knowledge to give you power. Along with this statement, another one comes to mind: “Just Do It!” While this is another potent saying, it isn’t really possible without some planning and focus… Right?

    Let’s talk about my trademark super-secret formula that gives you more than knowledge equals power and/or just do it… My formula gives you the entire bluprint and allows you to accomplish any dream!

    My formula is: KFD=R




    What? You may be asking… Let’s break it down!

    What is knowledge?
    Knowledge is information, facts, or data that is gathered through many areas like:

  • Internet searches (Google it, but beware fiction);
  • Books, videos, audio recordings, and other media;
  • Life lessons;
  • Peers, friends, and family members;
  • Church;
  • Schools and training;
  • Your own thought process.

    Try some of the following ideas to utilize the knowledge that you gather:

  • Gather information and ideas;
  • Select an optimal approach to tackle tasks;
  • Utilize friends, mentors, coaches, and peers (bounce ideas off each other);
  • Learn by doing (“sharpen the saw” as Covey likes to say);
  • Avoid analysis paralysis.

    When a baby touches a hot stove, she does not need KFD (Knowledge, Focus, and Drive) to learn and follow through. In most cases, when extreme pain is involved, the focus and drive come naturally.

    Unfortunately, most things in life will not be powerful (painful) enough to ensure we will do what it takes to accomplish our desired result or outcome.

    Be proactive instead of reactive!!! The baby scenario aside, we all deserve and desire a healthy and happy life… So, make that your focus and drive. Instead of waiting for a doctor to tell you that you’ll need a walker, or are going to die… I challenge you to walk away from this discussion and be proactive in creating a healthier you!

    What is focus?

  • Concentration;
  • Motivation;
  • Application;
  • Thinking or pondering;
  • Hard work;
  • Devotion;
  • Believing.

    Design a doable plan to achieve your desired outcome (avoid analysis paralysis). Once your plan is in place, utilize focus to stay on track with what you know and make adjustments as necessary to achieve your final outcome. Keeping a journal and tracking your progress will make a big difference in accomplishing things that you set out to achieve. Make sure that you watch out for time stealing distractions. Finally, surround yourself with like-minded people.

    Let me ask you something… When an airliner flies from Dulles Airport to Sea-Tac Airport do you think that it simply flies one straight path over the entire flight? Of course not. A flight across the country goes through thousands of course corrections. For similar reasons, you must stay in touch with your goals and ensure that your daily path is adjusted to get you to your final destination!

    “Whether you think you can or think you can’t – you are right.”
    — Henry Ford

    What is drive?

  • Willpower;
  • Gumption;
  • Determination;
  • Get-up-and-go;
  • Mental toughness;
  • Persistence;
  • Self-discipline;
  • Resolve;
  • Tenacity.

    Along this path, find some leverage. Often this leverage will be small, and other times it will be as big as a doctor telling you, “You will die if you don’t change.” Regardless of the size, leverage is a very powerful tool to help you follow through with goals. Concentrate! Dig deep when you must. Be persistent, and NEVER give up!!!

    Now we can say it… “Just do it!”

    What are results?

  • Outcome;
  • Consequences;
  • Goals;
  • Conclusion;
  • Effect;
  • Finale;
  • Product;
  • Accomplishment.

    Define your desired results or outcomes. Here are a few examples to get your creative juices flowing:

  • Exercise and/or weight loss;
  • Get closer with God;
  • Financial success;
  • Happy home;
  • Improving at work;
  • Quit smoking;
  • Write a book;
  • Live a righteous life;
  • Become a successful entrepreneur.

    Apply KFD=R today!

    In order to be successful at using KFD=R you need to know your “desired outcome” or the results you wish to achieve. These results need to be clearly outlined and defined.

    Once you know your results you will want to set short and long term goals

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    . These goals will vary based on the desired outcome.

    “Climbing Our Mountains Takes Knowledge, Focus, and Drive”
    — Vaughn Ripley

    I hope this post was helpful, insightful, and most of all motivational! And —As always— Please give me feedback and provide comments on your own life experiences!

    See ya soon,

    Please comment by clicking “Leave a Comment.” And, if you dig, share this article! Also, please type your email address into the “Subscribe” box up top to get updates each time I post a new blog article.

    You can rest assured that we will never SPAM your email account, and it’s only used to send the latest articles.

    PEP Talk from the Grave

    My dad taught me countless things. On a daily basis I relate more than a dozen things that I do that came directly from his teachings. He helped me to mold the base of loyalty and creativity that became the grown up me. Among the manifold things he guided me on, he impressed three things into me more than anything else. Those three things were preparation, elbow-grease, and persistence. I do not remember him ever teaching me to combine these powerful tools, but I clearly remember individual lessons based around each one. The ironic thing about life is that after Dad left this life, I came to the epiphany that he had inadvertently taught me the secret to success in life. You see, my father recently died. I had the fortune and good luck of being down in South Carolina visiting him and my step-mom on the day he finally succumbed to lung cancer. Very early in the morning on Sunday, December 4, 2011, my dad passed. I know it sounds final and maybe even morbid, but I believe that it is not the end of my dad. Julien Kim Ripley lives on, through me. And, he will live on through my children as well. Over the past year and a half, I have spent time each day thinking about Dad’s teachings and the amazing things he shared with me. A few months ago I was designing an inspirational speech for Sodexo, and I listed the three most important elements Dad taught me. I suddenly realized (literally in an instant) that the three things worked in conjunction with each other. Beyond that, I also found that if setup and performed correctly, these three things would solve ANYTHING! On top of that, I almost jumped out of my skin, when I found that those three things formed the acronym and word, PEP. How fracking cool is that??

    Today’s blog article is going to briefly breakdown each ingredient and then mix them together to create a recipe for ultimate success.


    Be Prepared
    —Boy Scout Motto

    Dad instilled a sense of planning in me from a very young age. Dad was a land surveyor and engineer, so planning was practically ingrained in him. For Dad, preparation was almost OCD. He planned, mapped, or drew out everything (regardless of how small the task). I can remember the countless hours he and Mom spent mapping out our trip across America. I also remember many pre-planning session before going out on our boat. His fascination for maps and route-planning has rubbed off on me. Along with mapping and general planning, Dad got me and my brothers to join the Boy Scouts. While there, I learned more about preparation and planning than most anything else in my life. There are tons of books on proper planning and preparation. Even better, the web is chock-full of advice and information. Seek and ye shall receive!


    “There’s plain few problems can’t be solved with a little sweat and hard work.”
    —Preacher from the Pale Rider

    When I was eleven years old, my dad asked me to move some chopped wood from our large wood pile to the easy access pile by our side door. I remember moaning and slumping as I dragged my feet toward the log pile. I acted as if Dad had put some terrible burden on my shoulders and it showed in my demeanor. I kicked the ground with each step and when I finally stood before the enormous stack of wood, I almost cried. Picking up a single log and carrying it like it weighed 50 pounds, I sauntered back to our house. I dropped the log and was turning to go back for another single log load. As I turned, I caught my Dad’s eyes. Dad was working on another project. He always worked so hard. I mean HARD. Most of us have no concept of what “hard” really is… Well, if you saw my dad in action, then you would understand what I’m saying. He worked incessantly, with a purpose, and HARD. Dad glared at me momentarily and then he called me over. Even though he was always busy, Dad had time to lecture and teach me. He stooped his sinuous 6 foot 2 inch body down to my level, smoothed the angry look on his face, and then firmly said, “Vaughn, you work harder at getting out of work than doing the actual work.” I honestly didn’t fully grasp the meaning of such a profound statement when I was eleven, but I get it now. And, I’ve gotten it for years. As a matter of fact, it is often my mantra to help boost me in giving an extra push during hard work. My dad and Clint Eastwood were a lot alike, and I can easily see Dad saying the above quote instead of Clint.


    “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated failures. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”
    —Calvin Coolidge

    Out of the three, this one is often the toughest to stick with (no pun intended). Almost any project, goal, or outcome that is worth completing will have a trouble spot (sometimes several) that seems impassable. It is times like that when you must batten down the hatches, lean into the battle, and move forward despite your internal objections.

    One my favorite sayings that Dad used on me was, “You gotta keep trying until you get it right.” I know that it is popular these days to say, “There is no try” (usually conveyed in a shoddy Yoda impersonation). But, that is not altogether true. I think that most people mean try as a solution, not as steps along the way. What I mean (and what my dad meant) is that you must try, try, and try again before completing some things. When Yoda said “There is no try” he was talking about the final outcome … Like, “I tried, but failed.” In that meaning, there really is no try, there is only do or do not. But, we do try along our path to success and understanding that will take you leaps and bounds ahead of the curve.

    Bottom line: Being persistent is the difference between making something magnificent and failing to make anything.

    Each of those above ideas by itself is mighty powerful. But, when combined, they form one of the best known combinations to plan, do, and follow through. I guarantee that you WILL NOT fail, if you properly execute each of these in conjunction with each other. The next time you have a desired result, utilize PEP. Start by sitting down, hashing it out carefully, and outlining a defined plan of how to achieve it

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    . In other words, Prepare! Once the preparation has been completed and you have clear milestones and an action plan, get down to it. I like to call this part Elbow-grease… Get some! As you are diligently working on completing your project, dig deep and find leverage and other tools to keep you going… Be Persistent! I know that some of you are saying, ”That can’t possibly be all there is to it.” But I can confidently tell you from experience, that it truly is all there is to it!!!

    “The most effective way to do it, is to do it.”
    —Amelia Earhart

    Dad may be dead, but his advice and ideals live on through me—and now—through You!

    Shared with love,

    Please comment by clicking “Leave a Comment.” And, if you dig, share this article! Also, please type your email address into the “Subscribe” box up top to get updates each time I post a new blog article.

    You can rest assured that we will never SPAM your email account, and it’s only used to send the latest articles.

    Distraction Tactics

    This article might or might not be what you expected when reading the title. Essentially I was thinking about how we humans use diversionary thoughts and practices to avoid facing the tough challenges we tackle in everyday life. Sometimes this strategy is on purpose and sometimes it is subconscious and we have no control over it. Even more important is the fact that sometimes these daily distractions can be positive, neutral, or downright damaging.

    Examples of bad distractions might include things like eight hours of television (when you should be working on the laundry), hours of video games (when you should be mowing the lawn), reading and posting on the Facebook (when there is a pile of dishes in the sink)… And the list goes on all the way to dangerous distractions like drugs and alcohol as a means to deal with your life problems.

    Alas, I didn’t start this discussion to focus on the negative, neutral, or other down side of distractions. Instead I wanted to offer some potentially handy advice on how to use distractions and diversionary thinking to your advantage in a positive and even inspiring way!

    A good example of this is one I often use to describe riding my bicycle up this particularly tough hill that I affectionately call, Church Hill, because it is a steep and nasty hill that happens to have a small church sitting up at the top. As I approach Church Hill I know that I am about to get my ass handed to me. I mean this in a good way. It is the acme of my workout, because it is very close to the end of my ride and this ascent is always epic. We are talking maximum effort and maximum heart rate for the entire two minute climb up this steep incline.

    It takes serious focus and determination to make it all the way up this hill staying in the saddle and riding the whole way. Just ask one of my many friends who have attempted this hill and found that their willpower or stamina (or both) just are not ample enough to succeed at this daunting task.

    The truth is, I have a little secret on completing this part of my workout. I NEVER attack the hill thinking about the whole thing. As a matter of fact, I break it into five pieces in my head. The initial phase ends at this sort of hump where the incline changes momentarily. As I start pumping up this hill, I put my head down and I grind it out, thinking to myself, I’m just going to make it to the hump today. You probably know where this is heading… Once I get to that hump, I re-gather my spirit and inwardly think things like, “That wasn’t so bad… Let’s keep going for a little while longer.” From there, I know this one particular house that is three houses up on the left from the hump position. I simply decide to ride to that point, then I will quit, pop out of my pedals, and walk the rest of the way up the hill. Of course, I make it there and take a few breaths and decide to move on. There is a street only two more houses up… Surely anyone could make it two more houses and be satisfied with stopping at that point. By now you’ve got my devious plan figured out

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    . That’s right, I push myself a little further to the Dodge truck parked a tiny bit further up the hill. Then finally I set my sights on the church. Once to the church I am home free, and the hill grade eases up a bit and I see the T-intersection mere feet away. I huff it out and finish the hill.

    I’ve been using this tactic and technique on this very same hill for six years now. You’re probably wondering how I can continue to trick my mind, considering that I’ve done this same thing day-in day-out several hundred times. Honestly I’m not sure how my mind hasn’t caught on, but it truly works. Believe me!

    I use this same thing for runs and even workouts with weights! I find myself laying on the bench saying, “Anyone could do ONE more rep.” You know how this story ends.

    Before closing up the post, I wanted to mention that I’m not the only one who uses the strategy and I did not invent it. I’m sure people have been doing some form of this since the dawn of mankind. Recently my buddy, Andrew, mentioned reading a similar usage in a Navy SEAL book where the soldier talks about getting through BUD/S (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training) and especially “Hell Week.” The author says that he was able to get through Hell Week by going “meal to meal.” Meals came every six hours, so he essentially told himself I will make it to the next meal and then quit. Of course when that meal came, he got some relief and rest and then got back into the training with renewed energy. He would repeat his previous statement and continue working with the intention of quitting at the next meal. He continued in this fashion for an entire week and finished Hell Week!

    I am sure that you have used this idea in something in your life, but hopefully my article inspires you to find other areas in life to use it. Remember, it doesn’t only have to be about workouts. It can be projects at work, yard work, chores, or any number of things.

    If you use this technique, please comment and let me know your super secret plan for success! What could you use it for?

    BTW – I also use this for my writing and even this blog… HA!

    Your faithful meal-to-meal writing buddy,

    Please comment by clicking “Leave a Comment.” And, if you dig, share this article! Also, please type your email address into the “Subscribe” box up top to get updates each time I post a new blog article.

    You can rest assured that we will never SPAM your email account, and it’s only used to send the latest articles.


    We’ll be discussing kaizen a lot in this blog… I even created a category specifically for it. So I figured I’d take a few minutes to define what kaizen is and tell you my take on it. Let’s start with a translation… Kaizen is Japanese for “good change.”

    = kai = change
    = zen = good (for the better)

    Kaizen is a Japanese philosophy. Even though the literal translation is good change, it has become more popularly known by the philosophical definition, continual improvement. Or, as Tony Robbins says, “Constant And Never-ending Improvement” or simply CANI. Essentially it is daily changes (regardless of how small) that make regular improvements in your life.

    Masaaki Imai made the term, kaizen, famous in his book Kaizen: The Key to Japan’s Competitive Success. Over time, “good change” became “improvement”, or “change for the better.” It refers to a philosophy and/or practice that focuses on continuous improvement of business processes. That definition has morphed into the present day translation of improvement in business or on a personal level.

    William Edwards Deming helped popularize the idea of kaizen when he introduced PDCA (plan–do–check–act or plan–do–check–adjust) to the Japanese businesses after Word War II. PDCA is an iterative four-step method used in business for the control and continuous improvement of processes and products. PDCA is also known as the Deming circle/cycle/wheel.

    The steps in a PDCA cycle are:
    The word plan really doesn’t need a definition, but we’ll tackle it anyway… Use this stage to establish the objectives and create your desired result or output (the target or goals). By establishing realistic output expectations, the improvement is easily tracked and managed. When possible, start small with your objectives.

    Pretty straight forward… Implement the plan, execute the process, make the product. Collect data for charting and analysis in the following “CHECK” and “ACT” steps.

    Review the actual results (measured and collected in “DO” above) and compare against the expected results (targets or goals from the “PLAN”) to find any differences. Look for deviation in implementation from the “PLAN” and also look for the execution, i.e., “DO”

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    Request corrective actions on significant differences between actual and planned results. Act is sometimes called “Adjust” by modern trainers. Determine where to apply changes to ensure improvement of the process or product. Stephen R. Covey called this stage, “Sharpen the Saw” in his Seven Habits book.

    What do you think about kaizen? And, do you strive on a daily basis to improve yourself in some form or fashion?

    Please comment by clicking “Leave a Comment.” And, if you dig, share this article! Also, please type your email address into the “Subscribe” box up top to get updates each time I post a new blog article.

    You can rest assured that we will never SPAM your email account, and it’s only used to send the latest articles.