Hate it or Love it the Underdogs on Top

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[Chorus (50 then Game):]
Hate it or love it the underdog’s on top
And I’m gonna shine homie until my heart stop

Go head’ envy me
I’m raps MVP
And I ain’t goin nowhere so you can get to know me

Intro

The NBA Finals are over. The confetti that fell from American Airlines Area is cleaned up. The lights to the gym are turned off, and the seats are empty. The locker rooms no longer smell of champagne and sweaty men. The fan section no longer has popcorn and spilled soda sticking to the floor. It is all over. The Miami Heat repeat as champions, and the off-season begins.

If you are a sports fanatic or NBA junky you knew coming into the NBA season what the headline stories would be. Will King James be dethroned from Championship number 2? Will his supporting cast be up for the Challenge? Is LBJ the best player in the NBA? Anyone could tell you that Lebron James would be the focus throughout the regular season. This young man has been in the spot light his entire career, dating back to his high school, The Fighting Irish. Since living in Akron Ohio, LBJ has had to deal with flashing cameras, over aggressive media and rude analysis since a teen, comparisons to MJ and Kobe Byrant, his place in history, his mark on the NBA brand. At the age of 28, LBJ has been given a lot of responsibility (A lot of which he has not asked for/Some of which he did). All of this, not allowing, Lebron to be Lebron.

The Expectations

On June 26th, 2003 the NBA was given an instant attraction. Though the draft was filled with 3 other superstars (Do you remember who they are), they did not receive the hype, in which the kid from Akron received. This kid was already given the crown, and an audience was waiting to see if the crown fit perfectly. At the age of 17 he was given the nick name “The Chosen One, by Greg Kelly an SI senior editor (NBA Players usually do not come up with nicknames for themselves/If they did it was whack or not really a nickname), talked to NBA superstars on a regular basis (Tracy MacGrady, Antoine Walker, and coach John Locus of Cleveland at the time) and also spent time with rap legend Jay Z. Not to mention the $100 million dollar endorsements deals before a game on the hardwood.

His path and hype was like no other superstar who has ever entered the NBA nor any other professional sport. The expectations from no other individual have been this high. The pressure from teammates, organizations, fans and media was at its all-time high, not to mention he was still 17-18 at the time. Entering something new is easy when you have nothing to lose. The world (for some reason) gives you 1-2 years to mess up and make mistakes. Everything after that is considered a fail or you will be highly criticized for your actions. It only took 1 year for the world to focus in on LBJ and his progress as a superstar, and what he has YET to accomplish. Or better yet what he has to accomplish to be considered great. How did he respond?

Doubters

All of this and the world still doubts what he can do:

NBA Championships Details:

2011-12 with Miami Heat

2012-13 with Miami Heat

Awards and Honors by Type:

Season MVP – 4 times 
2008-09, 2009-10, 2011-12, 2012-13

Finals MVP – Twice 
2011-12, 2012-13

Scoring Leader – Once 
2007-08

All-NBA First Team – 7 times 
2005-06, 2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10, 2010-11, 2011-12, 2012-13

All-NBA Second Team – Twice 
2004-05, 2006-07

All-Defensive First Team – 5 times 
2008-09, 2009-10, 2010-11, 2011-12, 2012-13

Rookie of the Year 
2003-04

All-Rookie First Team 
2003-04

Overcome

Everyone makes mistakes. We go through life and learn from the decisions we make as an adult and as a kid. If we did not make mistakes and go through ups and downs we would not learn as much as we learn and grow as much as we grow. Everyone has their reasons for why they dislike Lebron James. Moving from Cleveland to Miami. The Decision. The way he plays the game. The way he speaks. What he does in the community. Possibly even the things he eats. How he works out. Some simply have no reason at all. Some just like to follow a trend that is floating in the media (The Bad Guy). Some just hate hearing comparisons to him and other players.

Lebron is amongst very few players (in the world of sports) who have been hated for being so damn good. Hated for making life choices, he felt (key word “HE”) would be best for him. Everyone believes to know what is right for Lebron James. In the mean time, he continues to do what he feels is right for himself. There comes a time in life where you have to make choices for you, you can either allow others to dictate future goals and dreams, or you can decide to determine these experiences and expectations on your own.

Lebron James went through a variety of hatred. Scooter Magruder has it all in his 2012 skit Stuff Lebron James Haters Say

Scooter makes a point of emphasizes to show that no matter what LBJ does throughout his career, people will always find a way to hate him, or dislike his accomplishment. And this does not “only” go for Lebron, James, this is a fact for everyone. Know matter how good or great you are at something, people will always try to find a way to bring you down, or make you feel less of a person. It is up to you to manage this storm, and come up with ways to weather the storm.

 Focus

Spending 7 years in Cleveland without a ring left Lebron upset and hungry for better results. A Decision in 2010 rocked the sports world and easily gave fans and media something to hold onto for a lifetime. Another loss in the 2011 NBA Finals to Dallas made one think and take a better look in the mirror.

The lessons learned through experience have forced Lebron into one or 2 mindsets. He could either allow others to determine his future or take control. Lebrons latest decision was overlooked this year. Lebron decided to block out all of those who negatively affected his game. He used these (Haters) individuals as motivation to create one he best all time performances over an NBA season/playoffs. And he said it best when he received his MVP award in-game 7.

Last Thoughts:

All of your failures should be used as motivation. The pressure and outside influences are more reasons why you should want to be successful. This should be the gas for your engine. Never take a negative comment too serious. Never allow a word or gesture to go to the heart. Use it. And create something out of it.

#BeAwesomeNow

If I was your Bestfriend, I’d want you Round All the Time

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Do you currently have a best friend? Or someone you know you can depend on when times get tough, need a laugh or share a secret? If you want to find someone, most people have to wait or build  years of trust, commitment and understanding before this title is given. Best friends don’t magically appear in thin air (do they?). They usually come unexpected and are built on experiences you go through together.

How do you find a best friend?

What qualities do you look for?

Most children by the age of 3-5, according to AboutOurKids.com have developed an imaginary friend. Why are imaginary friends good? Well they usually do what ever you want, never talk back and disappear upon request. They also prepare you for when a “real” friend comes a long. If you have never had a best friend, practice with an imagery friend. Best friends talk back!

Finding the Right Person

It is not easy to find someone you enjoy being around, enjoy talking to and don’t mind telling stories to. Some of these experiences, that you cherish are not meant for “just” anyone. You want to share them with people you care about (just a little bit more than everyone else). Finding the right person is often the part most people don’t understand. 1. You can’t make someone into your best friend & 2. Don’t pressure them into doing so.

I have 4 really good friends. These are people I’ve shared experiences, stories and secrets with. They understand me because we’ve gone through most of these experiences together. We’ve bonded and created a trust that is unspoken. Years of ups and downs, and experiences that relied on trust and commitment have passed, and the outcome is people who I consider “best friends”.

I didn’t go looking for these people. And they didn’t go looking for me either. I strongly believe “best friends” just happen. It isn’t something you can’t sign up for, unless you’ve seen bestfriendmatch.com, a place supposedly that allows you to find your best friend. Pretty dumb if you ask me. Either way, it is going to take a lot of work to find this individual(s).

Where do I look?

Before you go out on a wild goose chase, look right in front of you. Give someone a chance to be a part of your life. And if they aren’t exactly what you are looking for, kindly show them by giving them less information and spending less time with them. It doesn’t mean you are a bad person, it simply means you have other things to do, and that person “should” understand that. You have every right to pick and choose who you want to share information with, or allow to enter your life (on a personal level). Never allow anyone to pressure you into doing so.

 Often people who are best friends have a variety of things in common. And sometimes they are total opposite. You can’t go walking in the park thinking you are going to find the perfect friend because you love parks. Does that make sense? No. You have to simply enjoy every encounter, and if you feel there is potential, open up a little and slowly build the trust and commitment you are looking for. WARNING: Blowing the doors off a conversation is a big no, no.  What is blowing the doors off? Giving too much personal information when not needed or asked.

What Happens When I Think They Are the One

Umm. How about ask them? May sound a little silly, but why not? At least you’ll know for sure. If they haven’t popped the question, why can’t you. The worst thing they can say is no right? Some people are too perfect to ask, will you be my friend? Better yet, will you be my best friend? When you are older it is a lot more difficult. When you are younger, you have no idea what you are doing anyways, and you could care less about the results because eventually someone will (hopefully) say yes.

Slowly give information to this individual and (IF) they share back, you have potential right away. If they do not, back off a little and see what they say next. If you still see potential, ask them a question and see if they tell you a sincere answer. If they do not, maybe they need a little more time with you to open up. Or maybe they are not the right person. Note: You can’t share information and expect information to be shared back. Most people don’t operate that way. And remember,  YOU are volunteering to share information, they never asked you to do so.

Take it slow, and ride it out. Be careful with your questions and see how they respond:

Sample questions you could use:

1. Do you have brothers or sisters?/Follow up question: What do they do for a living?

2. What do you like to do for fun? /Follow up question: Do you prefer to do this with friends or alone and why?

3. Who is the most important person in your life? Follow up question: Why?

Use this to get a feel for who the person is, and what they value in a person.

How do I ask a FRIEND out?

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You’ve finally built a relationship with your new friend and you are bored. You want to ask them to do something and you have no idea what you want to do. Before anything, friendship stuff is never usually planned. The first 2 or 3 outings are usually organized really well between the two of you. Everything else after turns into a “your going with me right?” or “I need you to come with me”. And that is what you want it to be like. Unfortunately, you end up doing things you additionally do not want to do, but more often than not you have a good time, and your friend appreciates you a little more for coming with them.

If you are looking for ideas with your new best friend here are some options:

1. Simply hang out and watch re-runs of old television shows

2. Eat ice cream/Order food and gossip (Gossip is bad, but builds relationships)

3. Make pretend you have to go on an errand to the mall or to the grocery store

4. Help babysit a little sister/brother/or animal (dogs are cute)

5. Make pretend you need help fixing something, but have it fixed before they come, offer to stay for a cup of tea or hot chocolate

Conclusion

Best friends can’t be packed and delivered to your front doorstep. If you think you can turn someone into that person you are creating a fire that is going to be very difficult to put out. Give others the time to breathe and make a decision on their own. The best friends are found through experience or surprise. Some people find friends instantly and some people need time. If you honour every conversation and interaction you have with new people, you will slowly see who you want to become closer with. With that, you have to understand that everyone you feel connected with, may not necessarily feel the same way about you. Either way, that doesn’t mean you can’t be friends.

Do you have another way of making friends? How do you know someone is going to be a BFF? Contact use through Twitter: @BeAwesomenow_ca or Facebook: BeAwesomenow . We’d love to hear your response!

Until next time!

#BeAwesome

How to Survive the First Month of School

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Is your first day of school coming up? Are you wondering what your new teacher is going to be like? What pair of nikes you are going to use to sway new friends? What parties and exams are you going to skip or make a priority? What sport teams are you going to watch or try out for? How close is the nearest grocery store, and can I make it in my slippers?

It is about that time of the year again, back to school! For me, that means new kids, new parents, and new desire to inspire young minds to believe in themselves and be nice to one another. The summer is gone, and it is back to the grind in the classroom for many of us around the world.

 

Let’s talk about September

What are the main concerns of an elementary student? 1. Is my teacher going to be nice 2. What do I have for recess? When I was little, every year I would wonder if my teacher was going to be nice, or if I had to watch out for the Big Bad Wolf, or did mom pack my Dunkaroos, or will I have to trade my sandwich with another classmate. As we get older, these thoughts continue to run through our heads, only in slightly different context. 1. Will I meet new friends or like my boss/or professor 2. I should have ate breakfast today/I need to pack a lunch.

September is crucial to your survival in your new setting. The first month will separate the men from the boys. The women from the girls. Your idea and perception of your new setting and experience will be fresh. Your ears will be alert and your mind and body will be focused on the task at hand. But for how long? Some of us will be entering a new school. Some of us will be going back to a similar setting after the summer holidays. Either way, September is the start of the “new” year. How do you have a great start?

 

The First Impression is Key

Don’t show up to school in hammy down’s aka hand me down’s. I am not saying go out and buy the most expensive pair of shoes or t-shirt, I am saying take care of your self and look presentable. Carol Goman writes, “that moment that stranger sees you, his or her brain makes thousands of computations: Are you someone to approach or to avoid? Are you friend or foe? Do you have status and authority? Are your trustworthy, competent, likeable, confident?

 The decision of others and whether or not they will like or even deal with you are made quickly (7 seconds). Leave a great impression and you are well  on your way to an excellent week during the first month of school. Say hello to your collages. Shake the hand of your professor or teacher. Really mean what you say when talking to new people. Do the little things that count. Put in the work early and everything else is smooth sailing!

 Keep smiling

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Being a teacher, I understand what it feels like to be exhausted from smiling and shaking hands with people you typically have nothing in common with or have know desire to be long-time friends with (sounds cruel but it is true). You can’t be best friends with everyone BUT you can be a great acquaintance. People can love to be around you even though they never see you.  Just keep smiling, just keep smiling, just keep smiling, smiling, smiling. Know one said you had to be everyone’s bestie on the first day. Smile, be polite and shake hands with everyone (use sanitizer often). This again, goes with your first impression. People will always remember your first encounter. This will set you up for easier interactions down the road.

Stay ahead of the Game

In my first year of university (for lack of better word) I sucked! I flat-out didn’t know what was doing, decided to watch sports instead of study, went for walks instead of reading and ate cereal to distract me from assignments. To often we allow ourselves to fall behind. We overlook what is ahead of us, and hope that it will magically complete itself the night before

Surviving September is about Staying a head of the Game. Sure, your friends will want to party. Your boyfriend will want to cuddle. Your friends will want to hangout and chat it up, talk about stuff you necessarily do not want to talk about anyway. Than don’t do it! When you are given an assignment, start it. You don’t have to finish it, but at least look and see what you have to do to complete it. A lesson plan, prepare for the week. Heck, prepare for the month if you have the time. A project to fulfill, do the research. Get the resources and be ready to produce some quality work.

Make a list of priorities and “at least”get started before the week that they are due. We all know what it feels like when Wednesday comes along, and you have a 4000 word essay due on Auscultation and Bromhidrosis by Thursday. Yeah, I don’t know what they mean either.

Don’t allow yourself to get in this position. Force yourself to make a list of up and coming due dates, and get started right away. The best feeling in the world is knowing that you are done something, when everyone else is scratching to make a deadline.

For me, I make a monthly schedule, of what I want to accomplish, by priority. I take 15-20 index cards, put a hole in each  one of them, and tie a string to hold them tight. I often check my dates and make sure I am on schedule. I see priority and needs and attack those ideas first. Life is a party, you will always have time for that. Friends will understand if they are true friends. Everyone else doesn’t matter.

Conclusion

September is the start of a new year. It is not quite, champagne and balloons yet, but it represents a new beginning. Every September students and professionals go back to the grind. Don’t be that person who, talks about doing things and never get’s it done. We all talk about this person and often fall in the same category at times. Put your words into action and do what it takes to be a head. What are you going to do to make this “new”year better than any other year?

As years go by, you will slowly understand the preparation, both mentally and physically to start fresh, and get off to a good start. The only people I know that can start poorly and still win are Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps, Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky and Muhammad Ali. I guess and a few others. Once you get on their laugh, you’ll have nothing to worry about ;-)

Start the grind early!

In the mean time, continue to #BeAwesome

What I’ve Learned From Indiegogo, A Crowdfunding Platform to Raise Money

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Some of you may be late to the tea party, so here is an update: Be Awesome raised 10K with Indiegogo.com. 30% of our funds will go towards products and merchandise awarded to our backers. The other 70% will go towards Africa. This article will sum up my summer, campaign and future plans  with the movement.

Have you ever tried to Raise Money?

It took 4 months of thinking to figure out a fun way to raise money. I brainstormed ideas and thought about different concepts. I had no idea what to do.

We have all tried to raise money before. And if you are like myself, you understand that asking for money can be really hard and uncomfortable. How do you convince a stranger to support you? A smart idea, an easy concept and people who back you. Using  Indiegogo.com a fresh way to create a campaign, helped enormously in raising money and gaining global exposure!

How does Indiegogo work?

Indiegogo is an easy crowdfunding platform that ables others to donate funds easily. You create and idea or cause, describe it in detail, use images and or video to explain more and offer perks/rewards for your generous donors.

The most important part of creating an indiegogo campaign is a video and/or clear concept and idea. I was somewhat able to do this with my campaign: Be Awesome Africa . Our idea was to take 200+ t-shirts to a selected country in Africa. (My thoughts on this below)

Ups and Downs

After launching the campaign, I created time to sit down and really think about my idea. My mind started to wonder, “holy crap this idea is all wrong”. Why? Well why would you send 200+ t-shirts to a third-world country? I started to do a little research and ran across this article: The 7 Worst International Aid Ideas. As I scrolled down my heart skipped a beat and I see at number one 1. One million t-shirts for Africa. Was I shocked, not even a little.

Now usually number one is a good thing, but in this case it was not good at all. My idea and thoughts rapidly changed and my concept to take t-shirts to Africa (though my heart was in the right place) was entirely wrong. Sure I do believe these shirts can help others become motivated and live a happy life. I also believe they have the ability to make others follow their dreams as well. Did I plan to take 1 million like the company in the article above? No. But the point is, these countries need more than t-shirts.

Having the opportunity to speak with NGOS that are based in third world countries I started to realize my excitement overshadowed a bigger purpose. Like all people, I made a mistake. I quickly went to indiegogo and updated my message, telling everyone my new plan: To raised money to take a limited amount of t-shirts and use the rest to support families and groups in need. Such a relief.

How did I find support?

It was very challenging to find people to support my cause. I was extremely lucky to have really good friends and family members that helped out a lot. After thousands of tweets and facebook post and messages (Sorry) I continued to find support from everyone. I reached out to a number of newspapers and television stations, unfortunately I was unsuccessful. Finding publicity  is extremely important when trying to run a campaign. Television and newspapers only amplify the buzz and word of mouth about your product or campaign.

What I would have done differently

Research, research, research! It is so important to have a solid idea and concept before running a campaign. Talk to friends about it, share it with family, and do some serious research on how it is going to make the world a better place. If could change anything about my campaign it would be my pitch (main focus) and products. Though my products were good, I would offered less to keep orders less confusing.

What’s next for Be Awesome?

I have two goals by 2014. 1. Visit Rwanda and volunteer with children and families 2.  Be Awesome website up and running.

On October 8th-18th I will be traveling to Rwanda. Myself and a friend will be visiting local families and helping a local NGO: GraceRwanda with a variety of activities. We will spend our nights with a local family, explore and visit with a youth group and learn cultural and historic values with a women’s group from a local church. Once our schedule is confirm I will gladly post it online so you can keep track of our journey.

The website is coming (I Promise). I have been working with some  awesome designers and some new ideas and concepts to bring the Be Awesome idea a new taste. I am excited to show you what we’ve come up with. My idea is to launch before the end of November. More details about this will come later.

PS: Keep real friends close, be careful with everyone else..

Until Next Time,

Thanks again for all of the support!

Continue to #BeAwesome and give as much as you can!

I’m outta hurr!

Peace

 

Be Awesome Africa Update

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Hey everyone!

Before I start, I would like to apologize for the lack of commitment to writing on this blog. I’ve been home (Canada) for roughly 1 month and some, and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it! I will be returning to Kuwait Saturday (August 24th). I will be looking to update the blog 2-3 times a week starting Monday.

Our campaign is just about over (8 Days Left), and I am extremely happy with how it’s been going! We’ve raised a little over $8,000 in total! And we will be traveling to Africa in October! The place of destination will be Rwanda or Kenya. Please stay up to-day on our blog for more details.

Continue to share our link: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/be-awesome-africa/x/3442576

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Big Thank You

I would like to personally thank everyone who’s supported our cause over the past month. All of this would not be possible without you. We will keep you updated on our journey and the families we visit in the given country. Be Awesome is continuing to transform itself into a world-renowned movement. We are trying to take the necessary steps to make this happen. Our website continues to go through the developing process. We have a variety of things we want to do before we launch our site to the world. We promise it will all be worth the wait, and we again, apologize for the delay..

Sincerely,

Gary