Golden advice from a dental assistant that changed my life

Sometimes people give you advice that is meant to get out of a rut in life. “Keep your chin up,” “persistence pays off,” or “when life hands you lemons…” This kind of advice is solid, but it is more of an overarching, catchall-type thing you say to someone when you don’t have any specific advice for a specific problem they have.

Such was not the case in regards to the advice I unexpectedly got from the woman who gets in there before the dentist and does most of the grunt work (ie – the real hero in the dental office [even though she was going HAM on my teeth with the scraper thing, but I digress]).

After the plaque-scraping-around-my-gums fun was over, she began to polish my teeth, and began to tell me that I had “two internal fractures” in one of my front teeth. She gave me a mirror and pointed them out. Sure enough, two little horizontal lines were streaking across my front tooth like tiny rivers on a little white map.

My first thought was “how am I going to fix this? Do I need a tooth cast? Will my tooth just break off when I am eating breakfast?” But then, my 50-something dental assistant began giving me some of the best advice I would never have thought to ask for.

Keep in mind, there was no joking around when she gave me this advice — in her mind, this was info I might not have otherwise thought of, and should take seriously to protect my fractured tooth.

She told me that I should try to avoid getting hit in the face, specifically in the mouth. She told me that if I were ice skating and should fall on the ice, that I should NOT allow myself to fall without bracing myself and landing directly on my face. I should instead put my hands up, or better yet, put my hands up and turn my head so that I would not absorb the impact directly on my mouth.

While she’s telling me this, she is polishing, spraying water in my mouth and using the little water vacuum to pull it right back out, rendering me unable to ask any follow up questions regarding a potential ice skating incident that may or may not be in my short term future. Before I could say anything, she thought the need to elaborate on other situations where I might be in danger, and without a plan to protect my tooth.

She cautioned me to be wary of, and I am going to throw this one in quotes because you’d think I were exaggerating otherwise, “parties where people are swinging around beer bottles and you might get hit in the face.”

This woman is cautioning me about not being at parties where people opening swing beer bottles around at face-level. Parties where everyone is playing whack your neighbor in the hip with your beer bottle, sure we’ve all been there, but I can’t imagine a party where you need to be worried about getting hit in the face with a beer bottle! I mean, I’m glad I canceled my Pete Townshend themed Edward 40-Hands birthday party this year, right?

And she was dead serious. Mind you, I went to the dentist at 11:20 on a Wednesday. It wasn’t like I got the 6:00 a.m. on Saturday and I came straight from the rav. I was wearing slacks and a collar shirt. Granted, I’m sure there are some white collar workers who like to turn it up on the weekends, but the advice still felt a little out there.

She did go on in regards to the swinging beer bottle parties I might attend… Like the ice rink, if I were to see someone swinging a bottle that was going to hit me in the face, I should (and I swear to god this happened, she stopping cleaning my teeth to demonstrate this) I should turn my head (she did this) and put my hands up to block that beer bottle (she did this).

So here I sat, mouth full of fluoride and spit, watching this 50-something woman turn and block an invisible beer bottle with cleaning tools in her hands. This was, needless to say, not the last piece of advice I thought I would get as I finished up at the dentist. Let’s handicap this — before I went in yesterday, if someone gave me 1,000,000:1 odds that the last piece of advice I’d get before leaving wouldn’t be “floss more” or “make sure you wear your night guard,” but instead “protect your face from swinging beer bottles,” I would not have given you the dollar that would have won me a million.

People say you learn something new everyday — that’s one of those blanket-phrase pieces of advice that you take with a grain of salt and forget about as soon as you hear it. However, yesterday, from the unlikeliest of sources, I learned one of the most valuable lessons I don’t know that I’ll ever forget.

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You can only have three hobbies…

Everybody needs three hobbies – one that makes them money, one that keeps them in shape, and one that keeps them creative.

I read this the other day and it kind of struck a chord in me because I’ve always been the guy who tried a little of everything (you should see my plate at Thanksgiving… literally a little of everything!). The thought of only three hobbies is a hard thing to wrap my head around because I spend more time thinking about the things I’d be giving up than I would those things that I would hold on to and keep in my life.

How do I choose between running and Crossfit? One is good for my soul, while the other is giving me some semblance of abs (only visible in the mornings after I dehydrate myself with alcohol the night before).  Likewise, how do I choose between playing guitar and blogging. One is good for my soul, while….well you get the point.

On the other hand, none of my hobbies make me any money, and I would love to begin pouring some of my energy into something that might help me accumulate wealth one day. Everything I have ever done, from marathon training to learning guitar has either taken time or money (usually both) and I never see a return if I look at it like an investment, which it is if you think about it.

Then again, I don’t want my life to be joyless, where every decision I make has to have a dollar sign attached or take me one step closer to something. I think the one thing I’ve always held on to about myself is that most things I do, I do because they make me happy. I think I am done getting tattoos, but if I did ever get another one, it would either be a wedding ring tattoo (unrelated) or something that said “do what makes you happy.”

I think what works for me is to kind of make some creative, executive decisions. For example, instead of choosing between running and crossfit, I can say that the hobby that keeps me in shape is “racing.” Racing requires endurance and cross training, so I can kind of bundle a few things into one larger umbrella of a hobby.

With that being said, these would be my three hobbies that will make me money, keep me in shape, and keep me creative.

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One that makes me money…

Sweat Local Columbus – my wife and I have this really cool thing, and we both want to figure out a way to take this really cool thing and turn it into something that can make us a little money on the side. Who knows, maybe one day we can make a lot of money on the side. We’re still trying to figure out exactly what we can do with it and we’re still trying to figure out the best way we can make it as accessible and worthwhile to the active community in Columbus as we can.

Currently, Kelly IS Sweat Local Columbus. She is the one who has had to shoulder all the work for it and, to be honest, she is much more involved in the fitness community around Columbus than I am. She teaches spinning, knows just about every Yoga studio and instructor that teaches in Columbus, and she is the one who has been making the connections that have helped get Sweat Local Columbus off the ground.

We both know that if Sweat Local Columbus is going to grow into what we want it to be, it is going to take both of us, which means I need to step up and contribute beyond helping set up and clean up at the events we do. So, my new hobby that will make me money, even if it’s in the future and not RIGHT NOW, will be to pour my effort and energy into matching Kelly’s passion for it and see it grow.

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One that keeps me in shape…

Racing – Anyone who knows me knows that this past year I found the sport of obstacle course racing. My wife and I joke about how I ever found this sport, and the truth is I don’t really know. I had done 5K’s and a few distance races since I graduated college, but nothing that wasn’t just running on flat ground for however long. Then, last February, I did a trail run (little different). Then I did a Spartan Race. Then  Kelly was out of town one Saturday, so I drove up and did a Warrior Dash. Then I talked Kelly into doing another Spartan Race with me. Somewhere along the way I qualified for the Obstacle Course Racing World Championship, so last month we drove eight hours up to Canada and I did that.

The point is, I think this is a hobby that is going to stay with me, and one that keeps me in shape. In order to train for these races, I go to Crossfit twice a week to work on my strength and cross training, and I also run twice a week or so to keep my endurance up. Kelly now wants to get a Spinning bike for the house (might be a ploy by her as a way to get me to clean the basement…jury still out on this one), which would also help with my endurance. The long and short of it is that racing, to me, can encompass all of these things but still be “one” hobby.

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One that keeps me creative…

Writing – This one is tough because I feel like if I say writing, then I should consider giving up playing guitar. But, as an executive decision maker in the Ryan Rauch brand, I will allow myself the ability to play a minimal amount (let’s be honest, that’s all I do now anyway) of guitar. But the best way I know to channel my creativity is through my writing, and I would like to develop a voice not just for myself, but be able to cultivate a voice for other brands as well.

I already blog here, you know that, but I also write blog posts for Sweat Local Columbus. They’re fine, but I was to write in a way that is more engaging with an audience. I want to be able to excite people when I write.

Last night, I was talking to Kelly about one of her favorite bloggers (slash Snap Chat follows), and she was talking about a blog post she had written recently that Kelly could relate to every word. I wish I could tell you what the subject was of the blog, but I think I’d be in trouble so I’ll leave that part out. Anyway, I don’t think anyone can really say that about my writing. I think it’s good, but it doesn’t make people say, “every word he wrote was spot on to how I feel.” As soon as I can develop THAT kind of voice, I think I’ll be at a point with my writing where I can genuinely add value to Sweat Local Columbus, or maybe even some Local Anywhere clients!

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With that said, it seems like I won’t have much room in my life for fantasy football, my dog, any sort of chores, my dream of being on the Senior PGA Tour, or anything else that doesn’t help Sweat Local Columbus, my racing career, or my writing… Then again, who doesn’t love a good dog story, and I’m sure 18 holes would improve my shoulder flexibility in a way that might help me on some obstacles.

 

Fill in the Blank: 2017 – The Year of ___

So my wife and I have been doing something fun each of the past two years, and if you read this blog, you know that 2015 was the year of concerts and 2016 was the year of Travel/Yes. We have kind of joked about 2017 being the year of “yes, continued,” but that kind of feels like cheating.

Here’s how the “Year of” works… Basically, anything you want to do within the general parameters of the word or phrase, you get to do without any (too much) fight from the other person.

Example:

Kelly: “What do you think about going up to Pittsburgh for a night, then doing a race there the next day?

Ryan: “OK. Then do you want to go up to Canada the next week for a different race?”

K: “Seems far, but sure! #YoY right?”

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I’m pretty sure that’s exactly how that conversation went down. 2016 ended up being probably the most fun year of my life. We traveled to Grand Cayman, Destin, Ireland, Pittsburgh, and Canada. Toss in a few trips up to Cleveland to see the family and probably one other weekend trip I’m forgetting about.

So 2017 has to be good. I don’t know if it will be able to top 2016, but so far, every year has been better than the one before. I know Kelly and I want to do some more races, and no less than one of us has some big plans for some house updates and projects, but we are otherwise fairly open.

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Maybe 2017 will be the year of business? Kelly and I have committed to refocusing our brands (Sweat Local Columbus, Local Anywhere) to figure out what the best way is to make those two things as successful as possible. We have had some high’s and low’s on both of those fronts, but I think we’re starting to figure out what does and doesn’t work and will attack both of those next year with more passion and purpose.

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Or maybe 2017 will be the year of fitness. I think having had a taste of what the OCR world can offer, I love the idea of (broken record word of the day) focusing my training so that I can be a better racer. I think Kelly and I are both learning a few things about better ways to eat and train so that we can be the best and healthiest versions of ourselves.

Side conversation – the other day, we had some siding coming off the side of our house. I fixed a piece of it with a ladder, but another piece was up near the top of the house and was too high for me to reach with the ladder. So I went through the bedroom window to the first level of our roof, and was able to Irish Table my way up on to the second level of our roof. I know this level of fitness doesn’t mean a whole lot, like, being able to get up on top of my roof isn’t a reason to get fit, but it makes me feel good knowing that I can. I feel like there is very little I can’t do, which in itself makes me extremely happy.

Or, maybe 2017 will be the year of something much more significant. Whatever the case, I’m open to suggestions and really hope that whatever we decide to do with this upcoming year, it’s as exciting and brings us as much joy as the year of concerts and the year of travel/yes.

Eat Better, Move More, Live Longer

I get it, self-sabotage, talking yourself into a bad habit or out of a good decision, having one more piece, not feeling it today, starting on Monday because you want to enjoy this weekend or in January after the holidays. You’re stressed, upset, tired, too this-or-that to take the time to make the right choice. I get it. I’ve said all of these things to someone at some point and I’ve told myself all of these things when I am accountable only to myself. I used to smoke cigarettes, dip, literally lock the door to my bedroom and eat entire large pizzas, after which I’d wait until the middle of the night to take the pizza box out to the garbage so no one would see that it was gone.

I used to buy pants that were way too tight at the waist because I didn’t want to accept that my waist was bigger than 36″. I used to buy all my jeans from American Eagle because their sizes ran big, and I convinced myself that I wasn’t getting any bigger so long as the number on the inside of my pants didn’t go up.

I tried Adkins diets, fat burning pills, any kind of supplement that promised to build muscle and get rid of unwanted belly fat; I would tell people that I didn’t want to workout because I wanted to slim down first before I worked out because I was afraid of looking too bulky. I was my own biggest cheerleader while at the same being my own biggest road block to transition toward a healthy and active life.

I don’t remember having any kind of “a-ha” moment where I threw away all the junk food from my cabinet or wrote a goal weight number on my wall. I do remember being fed up with flirting with being this close (thumb-index fingers nearly touching) to 5’10” and this close to 200 pounds when I graduated college. I recently read that males peak physically at 25 years old, and I laugh at the thought of me when I graduated college being at my athletic apex. Soon after I graduated, I did sign up for a half-marathon and gave a mediocre effort at “training” and changing my diet. I finished the race, but hardly made any real changes to better myself afterward.

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Then something changed. Instead of wanting to lose weight to be more attractive or date attractive people, or even to get away from all of the negative things I saw when I looked at myself in the mirror, I decided I wanted to be able to do things when I got older. I decided that I wanted to be able to play basketball with a son, daughter, or grandchild. I didn’t want to be the 50 year old guy who sits at a desk, then goes home and sits in a chair waiting for a weekend that was full of more TV. I wanted to experience everything I could in this world and not through a lens or a screen.

I think the biggest issue with weight loss is that people want to do it for the wrong reasons. People want to lose weight only when a doctor says it’s killing them or when they can’t afford blood pressure medication. There is NOTHING more important than your health, period. Your family, friends, loved ones, anyone close to you is impacted directly by the choices you make in (or more often out of) the kitchen.

I think it’s critical for anyone who is trying to lose weight or change unhealthy habits to make a decision. Either you are going to accept yourself the way you are and be OK with increased risks of heart disease, bone and joint problems, cancer, and even little things like body odor, bad breath, general fatigue, poor range of motion and lack of motor skills, OR you can decide to make changes to improve each and every single one of those things.

Being healthy is about so much more than looking good naked, but because we are so obsessed with how we look, we often times think that’s what matters and tell ourselves that life is about more than what is on the outside that counts. While that’s true, what’s on the inside is also directly effected by those choices you make regarding your body. Tell me that you can’t be equally happy, or charitable, or kind, or good natured if you felt better physically. Tell me you wouldn’t have more energy to get out and do the things that already make you a good person if you could breathe easier, stand up or sit down without any pain, or know that you’re doing everything you can to make whatever time you have left in this world better.

If you truly want to become healthier, the only things you need to do are eat better and move more. That’s it. Cut out any excuses you have. You don’t have to go from couch to marathon in 12 weeks, just move more and eat better. You’re not going to lose 20 pounds in a week like Biggest Loser contestants do when they start working out (and if you do lose that much weight, great!). Be realistic and don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself to lose X pounds or fit into a size whatever by a certain date. Lose weight because you want to be healthy and you will lose the weight. The biggest change you need to make is your outlook on life, and I promise with just a little bit of effort, you will meet and exceed your goals.

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5 “Stranger Things” Thoughts

The other title I had was “5 Things I Think about “Stranger Things,” but I kind of like the way my first one sounds. Anyway, last night my wife and I powered through the second half of Season One of Stranger Things. If you haven’t seen it yet, it means you don’t have Netflix. If you don’t have Netflix, it’s 2016 and costs like $15/mo. Get it so we can move on…

Moving on…oh, and SPOILER ALERTS AND SPOILERS AND PROCEED WITH CAUTION’S are in order. I’m obviously going to be talking about the show, so if you don’t want it ruined, thanks for the site hit, but it’s best you move along.

Thing One: there isn’t a bad character on the show

I was laughing with my wife while we were watching it because, during the show, she noticed I was in a “deep-though gaze.” When asked what I was thinking about, I kind of laughed because it wasn’t like I was wading into the deep-end of my mind, rather I was thinking about a Facebook poll I saw called “which ST character are you?” I didn’t take the poll, but I wish I would have now that the series is over. But the thing is, I can see myself in just about every character. The characters are bold, extremely relatable, and each has depth beyond trying to find their friend or fight the monster. Even Brenner/Papa played his role well, and while his “death” was extremely underwhelming, I read that he’ll likely be rewritten into season two. Oh it’s happening!

Thing Two: the show keeps you guessing from start to finish

Remember the movie “Signs?” Remember how good the thing was all the way up until you see the alien, and then you kind of think “well that’s kind of stupid.” Stranger Things is like the best half of “Signs” through all eight episodes. Even after you see the monster, we really don’t know much about it. Is there only one monster? Did the fire/bear trap work (didn’t seem to, but then again…)? Does the gate move around and how does it move? Are El and the monster one in the same, or how are the connected? There is a lot going on, but never really grasping what is going on keeps you excited for what’s about to come.

Thing Three: something is always going on!

There are multiple subtle storylines that play into the show as a whole extremely well. Aside from Barbara (sorry, Barb) who kind of gets killed, semi-searched for, then “meh, we don’t need to really look for Barb anymore,” there is the mystery of the DOE building and the gate, there’s the search for Will, there is who/what is El, there’s the Other Side, Hopper might be my favorite character and we learn a whole lot about him (then get thrown a whole new “what’s his role next season” kind of loop at the end of the last episode). There’s the love triangle with the sister…

Side tangent – how is cocky boyfriend going to get beat up by Will’s brother in the street, then go total bad ass on the monster and save the day?

Anyway, at all times I am watching whatever is happening on screen and thinking about two things that either just happen or are about to happen. It’s a collection of great casting, writing, and actors that really get their characters and play them perfectly.

Thing Four: it’s not like anything else we’ve seen (in a long time)

I admit that when  I watch shows or movies, I have a big part of me that wants to cast it off because it’s too much like that show or basically the same thing at this show, only they changed X for Y. There really isn’t any of that with Stranger Things. The core group of friends are great heroes (brave, funny, unbreakable bond). They have to deal with social bullies, parents who won’t believe them, the government, and the monster, all while using their brains to figure out the things that the adult world can’t. The show is both nostalgic and original at the same time, and each character (and I mean EACH of the 20 or so characters that we see for more than 5 minutes during the show) is really, really fun and entertaining.

Thing Five: I still don’t want to play Dungeons and Dragons

I wanted to throw this in there because, there is a moment at the end when Mike is the narrator for a 10 hour game of D&D, he kind of makes up this story about a six headed hydra and I have the single (SINGLE) moment that thinks that could be fun. But, in the end, I’m much happier just catching the climax and waiting for Mike and the gang gear up for season two.

CAN’T WAIT!

 

What’s New

So, I haven’t been writing as much as I’d like (in fact, the last time I had written just one post in a month was August 2015….until last month), but there has been a lot going on in the life….so what better way to catch the world up on little old me than with a post titled “what’s new?” It’s very clever in that, “I’m going to name my band The Dave Matthews Band” kind of way.

Actually, it might sound more official if I call it, “The Declaration of What’s New.”

Nope. Changing it back…

OK, so as you might (or might not) know, Kelly and I just put on Sweat Local Columbus, and it was a big hit! See below:

While the event is still fresh, we want to begin growing the SLC brand by doing monthly meet-up type of events around the city. We’ll be hosting different studios, trainers, and groups to have unique, one-of-a-kind workouts in unique locations that will also feature some kind of “extra vendor,” either a pop-up shop from one of Columbus’ local workout gear vendor or even local restaurants or breweries (we don’t discriminate… there is room for alcohol in healthy lifestyles!).

So that’s new in the life…

Kelly and I are also doing crossfit. I won’t get too deep into it because I feel like there is a negative stereotype with people who do crossfit only wanting to talk about their workouts. While I could go on, I’ll leave it at this to debunk that stereotype and just leave it at this…

I assume that sooner or later, the sore I feel will turn into strong…

As I’ve mentioned 100x on this blog, 2016 is both “The Year of Yes” and “The Year of Travel.” There’s been a hole lot of “yes” going on up until this point, and the travel half of 2016 is about to get going.

Vegas in two weeks…

Ireland in a month…

Pittsburgh in two months…

Canada in two and a half months…

It’s getting real, and it’s no longer something that we’re looking forward to, rather something that we have to actually start putting some things in motion so we have all our bases covered. With only having a dog and knowing how much work it is to make sure he’s taken care of, I can only imagine what it might be like to try to juggle any sort of traveling with a human puppy.

Not necessarily newsworthy, but aside from my blog game slacking, so too has my social media game. Since SLC, I haven’t really done much in the world of Instagram or Snapchat. I’m hoping with all these adventures coming up, I’ll get back on track and refocus on the things (you know, snaps with my Bitmoji’s) that are really important.

If these next three months go anywhere near what I think they will, there’s going to be a lot of exciting things coming out of the various “Ryn8985” accounts!

I’d also be excited to hear what everyone else has planned for the back-half of 2016!

 

Most of what we learn, we learn indirectly

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The title of this post is a quote from Randy Pausch’s final lecture titled Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams at Carnegie Mellon University. In August 2007, he was given 3-6 months to live (pancreatic cancer) and he gave his final lecture in September 2007.

After the lecture, he received such a positive response that he uploaded the 140 page slide and allowed anyone to use it (so long as they don’t stand to profit monetarily from it) however they want. I also think there is a video of the 76 minute lecture online, but I haven’t listened to it (yet).

Randy died in January 2008.

I’m not going to get too deep into what I took away from looking through the slides, but there were a few things that choked me up and a few things I found to be really insightful (yadda yadda yadda, blogworthy).

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The first thing that really spoke to me was the line”most of what we learn, we learn indirectly.” I think today, people try to absorb as much information as they can by watching videos, reading blogs, and pouring over discussion boards on a certain topic.

Last year, I wrote a weekly column for a fantasy football site. The way I got my information wasn’t organic; I mostly tried to force information into my column (square peg, round hole style). I know it wasn’t as good as a lot of the other writers who would watch the games, discuss football with their peers, and have a solid understanding of what might be in store for a particular player the next week.

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The “head fake” is Pausch’s analogy to learning indirectly. In football, the head fake is a way to beat your opponent, but the only way to truly master this move isn’t by studying it, but rather by having played so much football that the move becomes natural.

So when chasing your dreams, the best way to go about it isn’t by reading a thousand books on how to become an entrepreneur, but by putting yourself out in the world and doing it (ie- trial and error ie- thrown into the fire).

If you want to do something, go do it. Fail at it. Get laughed at. Make a mistake, it’s OK. The point is, you have to take a chance. No one that’s ever chased their dream ever regretted fumbling over something along the way. They might regret a choice they made somewhere between there and here, but I bet you 100% of those people are glad they gave themselves the opportunity to make that choice instead of playing it safe and letting someone else take whatever it is they want.

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Another slide that spoke to me had a few bullets, but the first two really stood out. “Be good at something: it makes you valuable” and “Work hard… ‘what’s your secret?'”

“Valuable” is a term that is rarely applied to a person, unless in the sense of one’s place in a company (which I guess applies, but I digress). I really like the idea of being valuable, not to a business, but to your friends, to society, and to your place in terms of reaching your goals. There is an expression that says (paraphrasing), “figure out what you want to do and go do it.” That might be an Avett Brothers lyric….not sure. I would take this a step further and say, “Figure out what you want to do and go do it…and be good at it.” (I’ll streamline that before I make T-shirts, I promise).

The second bullet, “Work hard… ‘what’s your secret?’,” to me speaks to perseverance. (Grammar people, was that secret?’,” the right way to do that. I can’t imagine it is, but to me, it logically makes sense…)

Get back on topic.

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So finding your secret is kind of that magic thing that keeps you going. I think it means working hard…at the right thing.

For example: I have been writing for Sports Monte (other blog) for about a year and a half with the intention of becoming a big time fantasy sports writer and influences. I worked hard writing and researching every week, but I spent very little time learning what things make the great writers in that industry stand out. I was headstrong and believed that as long as I work hard, good things would follow.

While this works in some cases, it doesn’t work in most cases. You need direction when you work hard and a support system of people who aren’t afraid to critique what it is you’re doing. Working hard without direction is like digging a hole without having the foresight to know you need a rope in the hole with you to climb out.

Pausch died and left an unbelievable legacy. I would encourage anyone who is feeling in a rut to at least look up his slides (easy enough to find online). Maybe I’ll follow up with this once I listen to the lecture, and hopefully I’m not too far off base with how I interpreted his presentation. The long and short of it all, boys and girls, is that if you are going to catch a dream, whether you’re six or sixty, start making the right moves that will get you on the right path to achieving that dream.