Tag Archives: motivation

Dream – Motivational Video

This video, “Dream” by Mateusz M, has over 15 million views on Youtube and for good reason. Every now and then I browse YouTube for inspiration. This one is a gem.

The music, words and video clips are not only highly motivating, they are inspiring.

Film clips represented are from some of my favorite movies: Into The Wild, Rocky 4, Seven Pounds, Pursuit of Happyness, A Beautiful Mind. Words are by Les Brown, Eric Thomas and Will Smith, among others.

…”it’s not over until I win!”


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What I’ve Learned from 10 years of Competitive Swimming

Here I am (third from left) with friends a few years ago. We're ready to jump off the Bainbridge Island ferry and swim back to Alki Beach in West Seattle! Yes - we swam across Puget Sound (3.5 miles in 50 degree water, brrrrr) to raise money for a Junior Achievement.Peer pressure can be a wonderful thing :)

There is no sport more dear to my heart than swimming. I started swimming lessons when I was 7 years old and started swimming competitively when I was 12. I swam throughout high school and while in college did not compete in swimming per se (had no hope of making the team at Penn State), but instead shifted focus to triathlon. The triathlon bug had a firm hold on me until just a few years ago. This post is really about my experience swimming in high school, as it has had an incredible impact on my life. Nowadays I do not swim on any regular basis, but those lessons I’ve learned have helped me in many other endeavors. Here are a few of them.

Your body is capable of far more than you think it is.
Swimming is perhaps the most brutal endurance sport there is. Swimmers, even from middle school, will regularly log over 10K yards on a daily basis! Think about that, most people don’t even come close to walking that far over the course of their day, let along running that far! Swimming is a whole different story. High schools are well-known for pushing swimmers through grueling double-session workouts. My team was often in the pool by 6am for a 90 minute practice, followed by another 2.5 hour session after school! Even after pre-season training was done, we’d do marathon training sessions on Friday’s along with the occasional double training session day.

This course of training really showed me that my body is far capable of more than I think it is.  Our bodies are amazing machines, and we’re often just held back by limiting beliefs, not by any true physical limitation. I love endurance sports because they demonstrate what the human body is capable of when pushed.

Technique is more effective than raw power
Swimming is a fascinating sport because the drag caused by water makes technique and body position such an important component of overall speed. I was never that fast as a swimmer (I tend to do best over very long distances – e.g. 1 mile or more!) but during my later days of racing triathlon would do fairly well in the swim portion of longer races (usually coming out of the water in the top 10-20% of the field). Even though I am very slender (I like to think lean and mean not skinny!) technique plays a massive part.

I had several friends in college who were on my triathlon team, and they were outstanding cyclists, but their legs and hips would sink like bricks in the water. It didn’t make logical sense that I would beat them out of the water, given they were taller and far stronger (with great cardio-endurance ability), it was technique that mattered most. I remember in high school the state champion in the 500 freestyle my senior year was very short (probably 5′ 7″) with short arms, but he blew away everyone in the field through sheer fitness and amazing technique.

We can muscle our way through situations (athletics, in business contexts, in relationships even!) but over the long-term technique will win out. Pay attention to your craft – whatever it is, and spend as much time as you can mastering technique.

You can use peer pressure to your advantage
The camaraderie and group strength of our swim team was impossible to beat. Knowing that 30 of your friends were also getting up at 5am for a 6am practice helped you get out of bed. Knowing that everyone else was also suffering through the weekly “3000 yards for time” training drill didn’t make it easier, but at least you knew that everyone else was dreading it as much as you! (really – we did this drill my junior and senior years of high school for the first 2-3 months of the season, to see how our base training was helping our overall fitness! 3000 yards is 120 lengths of a standard high school pool, try doing that every week at max effort!).

Peer pressure is often viewed as a negative thing. I know that it is not. Anyone can construct their own peer group and direct the group energy in a way that helps everyone out. In racing triathlon, I rarely competed alone. In both my IM races, I had several friends join me in the race. In fact, it was seeing a close friend at mile 5 of the run course (he was actually passing me on the run as I was doubled-over on the side of the road with cramps) during my last Ironman and hearing his words of encouragement that kept me from dropping out of the race when my body was racked with muscle spasms from dehydration.

You can and should always use peer pressure to your advantage – and the benefit of your peer group as a whole.

Leaders bring out the best in others
My swim coach was one of the most effective and inspiring teachers and leaders in my life. “Coach” had a knack for knowing when to push people when they were just slacking off and lacking mental toughness (which was often the case!), and when to take it easy on them (which was rare!) when their bodies really needed a break. He pushed us farther than we thought we could go, and in the end it was always in an effort to bring out the best in us. Leaders are like that. They aren’t afraid to push, even if it means being unpopular for a little while, if the end result is about making the entire group, team, organization far better. People pleasing and making everyone happy all the time is not what effective leaders do, they are laser focused on making the entire group great.

Those are just a few of the lessons I learned from my years as a swimmer. If you have a lesson to share from your experiences as an athlete, drop a note in the comments to this blog!

Rocky Balboa’s Inspirational Speech to His Son

Happy Saturday! I’m on a “Rocky” kick….enjoy this awesome clip from “Rocky Balboa.” A kick in the pants is good every now and then!

Be Great, Be Powerful Beyond Measure

Playing around at the Yoga Journal Conference in Estes Park, Colorado. Sept 2011.

I’m not usually into pomp and show but boy is this video by Eric Horner (Be Great, Be Powerful Beyond Measure) is incredible. Sometimes you just gotta acknowledge your own power and give yourself a kick in the but to do what you’ve gotta do. This video includes scenes from one of my favorite movies “Snatch” with audio from Muhammad Ali and Rocky and a music soundtrack spliced from the Transformer’s movie and Gladiator (another one of my favorites!).

Some of my favorite quotes from this short video are:

  • Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
  • I’m gonna show you how great I am! Only last week, I murdered a rock, injured a stone, hospitalized a brick – I’m so mean I make medicine sick! – Ali
  • I’m gonna show you how great I am! Last night I cut the light off in the bedroom, hit the switch, was in the bed before the room was dark! – Ali
  • I’m gonna show you how great I am! I’d huv wrestled with an alligator, I’d huv tussled with a whale, I’d huv hand-cuffed lightnin’, put thunder in jail! – Ali
  • Nobody is gonna hit as hard as life, but it ain’t about how hard you can hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep movin’ forward. That’s how winnin’ is done. – Rocky
  • If you know what you’re worth than go out and get what you’re worth! – Rocky
  • It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We were all meant to shine as children. Not just in some of us, but in everyone. As we let our own light shine, we give others the opportunity to do the same.


Here are the full words to this video (thanks to Dustin):

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure, beyond measure.

Ima show you, how great I am.

Last night I cut the light off in my bedroom, hit the switch, and was in the bed before the room was dark.

Ima show you, how great I am.

Only last week, I murdered a rock, injured a stone, hospitalized a brick, Im so mean I make medicine sick.

Ima show you, how great I am.

This kids gonna be the best kid in the world.
This kids gonna be somebody better than anybody I ever knew.

Ima show you, how great I am.

I have wrastled with an alligator, I done tussled with a whale, I done handcuffed lightnin, thrown thunder in jail.

Ima show you, how great I am.

All you chumps are gonna bow when I whoop him, all of you, I know you got him, I know youve got him picked, but the mans in trouble, Ima show you how great I am.

But somewhere along the line you changed, you stopped being you.
You let people stick a finger in your face and tell you youre no good, and when things got hard, you started looking for something to blame, like a big shadow.
Let me tell you something you already know, the world aint all sunshine and rainbows, its a very mean and nasty place and I dont care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it.
You, me, or nobody, is gonna hit as hard as life; but it aint about how hard you hit, its about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward, how much you can take and keep moving forward.
Thats how winning is done.

Cause if youre willin to go through all the battling you gotta go through to get to where you wanna get, whos got the right to stop you.
I mean maybe some of you guys got something you never finished, something you really want to do, something you never said to somebody, something.
And youre told no even after you pay your dues, whos got the right to tell you that, who? Nobody.
Its your right to listen to your gut, it aint nobodys right to say no, after you earn the right to be where you want to be and do what you want to do.

Now if you know what youre worth, then go out and get what youre worth.
But youve gotta be willing to take the hits.
And not pointing fingers saying you aint where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody.
Cowards do that and that aint you!
Youre better than that!

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

All you chumps are gonna bow when I whoop him, all of you, I know you got him, I know youve got him picked, but the mans in trouble, Ima show you how great I am.


Interview with Vegan Bodybuilder Robert Cheeke (Part 1/3)

<if you can’t see the video embedded in this post, click here>

A few months ago I got the chance to sit down with Robert Cheeke, my good friend and an accomplished vegan bodybuilder. Robert is currently super-busy working on his second documentary (“Vegan Brothers in Iron“), his first book (due out sometime soon!) and touring the country as a representative for Vega and as motivational speaker. He frequently gives talks at health/fitness festivals, universities and vegetarian/animal rights conferences.

Robert is a super-motivating guy who really walks his talk – he’s been vegan for over 15 years and in that time has gone from 120 pounder to 190+ pound bodybuilder, all using 100% plant-based nutrition. I split the interview into three different clips. I’ll post the second two in the next week or two, but wanted to share this one with you right away.

In this <10 minute clip, we discuss:

  • What Robert is up to – filming, speaking, competing!
  • Update on his latest competitions
  • Common nutrition “pitfalls” many vegans make
  • His favorite 100% plant-based protein sources


Vegan Bodybuilder Robert Cheeke Interview (Part 1/3)

BTW…if you have questions for Robert, please leave them in the comments to this post and we’ll address them in a future post.

Daily Motivation @ etavitom.com



etavitom.com is one of my favorite sites on the net. It has fresh content from around the web (much of it sources from blogs) centered on motivation, goals and other personal development related topics.

Often, instead of browsing over to CNN or some other news site, where I am bound to hear more of the same depressing news, I’ll head over to etavitom.com and invariably end up leaving the site feeling more motivated and optimistic about what the future might hold.

Bookmark-worthy for sure.

Oh yeah, for those of you that didn’t notice, etavitom = motivate spelled backwards :)

Motivation: What It Means and How To Get It!

This article is a summary from a live group discussion (moderated by Ravi Raman) during the April 14th Seattle Personal Development POWERGROUP meeting.

Motivation is not some magic gift reserved only for the exceptional and accomplished few. It is something that each and every one of us can harness to get more done, while enjoying the process. In fact, achieving ANY goal, or completing any task requires some level of motivation.

What is Motivation?

Defined; motivation means: “the PSYCHOLOGICAL feature that arouses an organism to ACTION toward a desired GOAL.”

The letters in capitals are VERY IMPORTANT to internalize.

Motivation is PSYCHOLOGICAL, which means that it is something that comes from within you. It is not some mysterious force that comes and goes as it pleases. It is something that can be understand and indeed CREATED at will.

The results of being motivated are ACTIONS. Action is movement and it is through this movement that actual progress is made. Lastly, all this progress is made toward a desired GOAL. This last part is crucial. Without a clear goal and purpose, it is hard, if not impossible to get motivated.

So it stands that becoming a motivated individual is completely within YOUR CONTROL. It is really a state of mind, that is manifested through the body (via action) toward a specific purpose (goal). Sound simple enough?

The Antithesis of Motivation is Procrastination

Getting motivated on a consistent basis is harder than it sounds. We frequently fall victim to procrastination.

Why do we procrastinate? Ultimately, as dictated through human needs psychology, it comes down to FEAR. This is not inherently bad, but it is somethingthat must be understood. Our brains have evolved in such a way as to ensure that we are safe and protected at all times. Thank goodness for that.

However, while this hard-wiring was great at helping us avoid getting mauled by a saber-toothed tiger thousands of years ago, it is not helpful in pushing you to try new things and drive through fear in a more civilized and modern society. Our SOCIETY has evovled MUCH FASTER than our BIOLOGY. If you want to success in a modern world, you need to be able to cope with this.

Luckily, there are many tools out there to help you.

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