4 years and 13 days. Persistence is the key to success.

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My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:

Have you wondered why there are so many bright and gifted people in the world, yet so few reach the pinnacle of success?  I think intelligence, creativity, resourcefulness, talent, industry, etc., are necessary conditions for success; however, they are not sufficient.  A key ingredient is persistence.

Too many give up when the going gets hard.  But, that is the defining moment that separates the successful and the great from the the mediocre and the common.

Unfortunately, we live in a society in which mediocrity is celebrated.  People aspire for the banal and the trite.  Like lemmings, they give in to their urge to be like everyone else, to dress like everyone else, to think like everyone else, to rush headlong into the oblivion of uniformity … all while proclaiming  uniqueness and individuality.  (Go figure.)

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Don’t be like that.  Be yourselves.  But, be your best selves.

Pursue your passion.  Commit to it.  Strive to achieve your goals … whatever they may be.  (I do hope it is a good and worthwhile goal, and not an evil or selfish one … like Dr. Evil wanting to take over the world.)

Be persistent.  Don’t give up simply because you encounter obstacles.  What great achievement would be worth its salt if not for the difficulty of reaching it?

According to The Brain Warrior’s Way, the most important strategy for health, longevity, and success is persistence.  https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/brain-waves/201701/what-is-the-number-one-predictor-personal-success.  However, “[t]here is a portion of the brain that must activate to help with persistence.”  Id. 

Even if being persistent and conscientious are not your strong suite, here are 8 skills to practice.  These skills will develop and protect your prefrontal cortex.

1. Start first with fore thought.  Take the time to plan upfront what you desire, whether that be the groceries that you need for the week or steps needed for finishing a project.  Plan out each step needed to achieve your goal.

2. Reflect on all the positive and negative consequences of a plan.  Knowing what consequences are possible, assists the brain in making better decisions.

3. Keep your word.  What we say to our self and others is often all we have.  I often say to clients that what we say needs to be consistent with what we do.

4. Follow-up and follow-through.  Ask questions about details.  Again if you say you are going to do something, then do it.  Be reliable. What ever you do, don’t blow it in the end.

5. Take calculated risks.  Stretch out of your comfort zone.  Anxiety and fear are not healthy motivators.

6. Be sure to establish a daily routine.  We are creatures of habit, and we need structure and routine.  Plan out your day, just like you plan out an agenda or project.  That consistency offers order out of the chaos of life.

7. Evaluate every plan.  If it needs adjusting, adjust and adapt.

8. Perhaps most importantly, if you fail, get back on the horse and try again and again.  Being persistent help the neurons wire and fire together.

Practice these skills, my sons.  Live long, be happy, and be successful.

All my love, always,

Dad

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4 years and 7 days. Merry belated Christmas. The holidays are most difficult.

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My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:

Do you recall our tradition of choosing and making our own Christmas ornaments every year?  I miss that.  I hope someone protects the ones we have made so that you can have them for yourselves and your own families when you are older.  (However, I fear the thugs may have destroyed them as when they stripped the clothes off Little V’s fabric doll and illegally seized highly confidential and privileged notes and documents to and from our lawyers about our case.  Unfortunately, we are not the only ones wronged.  See, e.g., https://www.themarshallproject.org/2017/01/09/the-punishing-price-of-freedom?ref=hp-3-111#.Wri5eLSAd; http://chicago.suntimes.com/news/chicago-police-misconduct-findings-released-today-by-ag-lynch/; and, https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-department-announces-findings-investigation-chicago-police-department.)

I hope you enjoyed the holidays this year.  I know the absence must be as hard for you boys as it is for us.  Life, and the holidays, is simply not the same without you.  The rainbows are less magical, the birds sing less sweetly, the rising sun less promising.

They say time heals all wounds.  They lied.  They say I should move on with my life.  How do I move on when most of my heart — the best part — is missing?

You are the best part of me.  Don’t you ever forget that.  My hopes and dreams lie with you.  That’s why it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to have hope for, and dreams about, the future with you absent.

All my love, always,

Dad