This article originally published August 4, 2014.
Today is a very difficult day. My stepfather, one of the most cautiously healthy men I know, is undergoing bladder surgery. He is having a cystectomy, the surgery to remove one’s bladder. This man has run marathons, never smoked, and never drank excessively. He is a rock, and now he is going through some awful crap.
I always try to find the silver lining of things, and look at what lessons I can take from the good, the bad, and the ugly. Even though this a terrible situation, I feel inspired to write to you my emotions and talk about something super positive that I am feeling. I am about to sound super cliche. However, I feel that something is used more than once usually because it’s useful: situations like these can motivate us. The fact that I am going through this time with my family is motivating me to kick some ass and, on this day, I am going to try motivate the hell out of you. Here are some useful tips I use in my life when crazy crap is happening all around and I need to focus on pushing through and getting it done.
Be positive: I know this is easier said than done. This is a learned exercise rather than just a simple switch you flip to make yourself feel better. The negative is all around us. All you have to do is turn on CNN and it could make you manically depressed. I always felt that it takes the strong ones to see the good stuff, and the good stuff is around us, too. Pet a dog, look out your window, kiss your significant other, and just breathe. Being positive is a state of mind and I for one feel a lot better being in it. It’s logical as well. Think about it like a choice: I choose to be positive.
Help out: Helping someone around me has always been the quickest way to make me feel better. Mostly every good thing that has ever happened to me was from helping someone. Whenever I get too caught up in dealmaking, fixing something with the business model, selling, and other daunting tasks, I look at how upset I get afterwards. It’s at this point I turn to the community at AlleyNYC and reach out to startups that need some help. After five minutes of assisting, I feel recharged. Nine times out of 10, you are making the person you help feel pretty awesome, too. And that's infectious.
Toughen up: Life is not so simple and easy. Bad stuff is happening all around us and at any given minute the rugs we comfortably stand on can be pulled out from underneath us. In order to battle through this windy road we call life, we need to be tough. Focus on the strength inside yourself to get through situations and very positive things will happen. What once were hurdles have become lessons and have made me stronger.
Perspective: I am about to turn 36 years old. I am not the oldest person in the room, but I have lived a long enough life to see how fast it is going by. Life is way too fast and short to not be motivated. If you are thinking about doing something, or if you want to push your business to the next level, DO IT NOW. With every second that goes by you should be thinking about what you want out of life and then you should take action to get it done. Creating something awesome, doing something you love to do, and helping people when the time comes have been my personal goals in life since I got smarter.
Appreciate: It’s time to appreciate what we have. Most of us live in a great place with great people around us. There are many people who are a lot less fortunate. My grandfather used to say, “I felt sorry for myself because I had no sneakers and then I met the person with no feet.” We are fortunate to be in the place we are today. Look around and breathe it in. I appreciate everything around me and it motivates me to sustain it and get more out of it so I can appreciate more and share it with as many less fortunate people that I can. I believe this philosophy has motivated me through some really hard times.
Take a day: Take a day off from the world. It will be there when you get back. Go hang out with some loved ones, kick it at the park or hit some golf balls. Do whatever you love to do with no pressure amongst people that love you unconditionally or by yourself. Forget about your clients or your boss for a minute, #YOLO baby. Trust me, when you get back to work you will be even better.
Super personal note: This article is for my amazing stepfather who has made a great impression over me. You have inspired me to become the person I am today, and although I do not say it everyday, I love you. You will get over this, like we always say, “This too shall pass”.
I hope this article motivates you to kick some ass. In this day and age, we are constantly surrounded by bad news and negativity. It is my hope that the way I look at things will motivate you to get through it in a positive manner. This works for me, and my one goal is to help you succeed and HUSTLE ON.Related: Meet Some of the Hottest Startups Melding Fashion and Tech