A Piece of Trash

Remember… it starts with just one idea.

I like to go on walks. I find walks to be little “energy boosters” to start the day or to get reenergized to take on the tasks during the day.  On these walks though, I always see so much trash laying around. I don’t know about you, but seeing how much people litter just really bothers me. I want my city to be in the best possible shape and when I see that some people just don’t care what their own city looks frankly, it just worries me. I love my city.

So I had an idea…

I decided that during my walks I would pick up just one piece of trash. It probably takes me a total of 2 seconds to bend over and pick up the piece of trash. It reminds me that, yes it’s not a huge difference, but everything has to start somewhere. By picking up a single piece of trash, I believe that I’ve made a difference. If I want my city to stand out, in the way I want it too, I have to do my part. By picking up a piece of trash, no I haven’t made a huge impact, but I did something.

Could you imagine if everyone, in every city around the world, just picked up one piece of trash when they went out on a walk ? There’s an interesting thing to think about…

If you’re reading this and have a similar problem in your city, just think, by picking up at least one piece of trash when you go on a walk, you too, can make a difference.

Remember…

“Little things seem nothing, but they give peace, like those meadow flowers which individually seem odorless but altogether perfume the air.” -George Bernanos

 A Series of Unfortunate Events

As a bike rider you have to be prepared for the worst situations.

It started with one bike when I moved into my apartment(this was when I had my car before losing it), I knew I was going to eventually switch over to riding a bike full time when I bought it. I bought the bike from a guy off Craigslist. I had to make the trek up to Valley Forge, but it was worth it. “The Cannon” has been treating me well.

Then I got another bike. This bike was given to me by a dear friend of mine who now is a resident of Australia. After going on a 30 plus mile bike ride starting in Lambertville he said, “I’m leaving in a few days and can’t really take anything with me, just take it.” Keep in mind that this bike was legendary, this bike went from New York to San Francisco. The body of the bike was littered with bumper stickers from this historic rides from all of the bike shops and cafes that he stopped at on this journey. It was a mean, “ferocious” looking bike too. It had the character of an ancient Wizard who had been living anonymously amongst the locals in hiding, just waiting for it’s next opportunity for greatness. Yes, the bike wasn’t perfect but when I started to ride it, I knew why it had made it across the United States of America. I was grateful and honored to have a bike like “The Legend.” I also had a bike to back up the other one in case there was some mechanical issues.

Time went by and the bikes were, generally, pretty good. Many times though I had to replace the inner tubes and do some general maintenance. There was a time three or four months ago heading to work where, halfway on the ride, I heard a pop and had to pull off to the side and hope one of my coworkers were on the way to work or could pick me up so I wouldn’t be late. What about the time when my chain busted in the middle of a downhill on a journey from school… The bike life, “You never know what to expect.”

Then, my brother, who was living in Philly at the time was moving back West. He had a bike too and he gave it to me. A nice purple Schwinn, who rocks a nice extremely cushioned women’s seat, which had an unforgiving power to it while propelling me to heights that only the most fortunate bike riders ever experience in their lifetimes. It took me a very long time to experience this and “Daisy’s” raw unforgiving power though…

It was this bike who saved the day on Saturday. She was third in line for use since the day I got it and didn’t receive any use other than the first test ride when I finally got it from my brother. To say the least she was a little upset and just anticipating when her opportunity would come. Days went by when I refused to acknowledge her. She was a forgotten “by product” of the past. “The Legend” and “The Cannon” had been first and second in line since virtually day 1…  but I had been neglecting them. I had beaten them up and had forgotten to put the necessary love and maintenance into them.

The day was Saturday, and the agenda was full. “The Cannon” was first in line. I was ready to go. I just gave him some fresh air in both his tires. He was primed and ready to go, so I thought…  First on the agenda, Laundry. It wasn’t until about 2 minutes later when I heard a loud, “Pop.” Damn it…  I had to make a move. I picked up “The Legend” and was off to “cleansify” my Laundry. About halfway on my journey I experienced another unfortunate event… “Pop.” It was over… “The Cannon” and “The Legend” had been critically wounded. One of their tires had each popped. I couldn’t stop though. I left him there and proceeded to the laundromat to start the first cycle. When I started the trek back, while my laundry was getting “Cleansified,” I carried “The Legend” off the battlefield. I had to act quickly though, while my laundry was in the cycle I had some errands to run. When I got back to my place I saw “Daisy” and gave her the opportunity she had been waiting months for. ‘To prove that she belonged in the starting lineup.’ I took her out and she took me on one hell of a ride. I hadn’t ridden that smoothly for quite some time. Her shifting was the only thing that was a little off, but other than that, it was a clean ride that left me speechless.

At the end of the ride, “Daisy” was satisfied. She did a hell of a job. For now, “Daisy” is the starter. She earned it that day, after waiting patiently for her opportunity to present itself. Once “The Legend” gets healed from his wounds, he’ll move back to the starting spot. But for now “Daisy” is in that position, and after doubting her for too long and not putting the trust I should have, she proved that she belonged with the best that day.

 

Really though I learned a crucial lesson after all of this. Although some people started to hint that I was going to be a bike hoarder the rest of my life after, somehow fitting these 3 bikes in my room, I knew what I was doing and I knew who I was. I was over preparing. After this experience I learned that you never can over prepare too much. Prepare, Prepare, Prepare as much as you can and when people start to talk behind your back and call you crazy don’t let it phase you. Keep doing what you believe is right and block out the negativity.

“Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.”

A Rough Past and A New Friend

When you decide to wake up and start the day you never know what will happen and who you’ll meet.

I headed out on my bicycle. It was Friday night, one of those nights where the air was humid and cool and the streets were filled with people in search of making memories. I made some smoothies earlier in the afternoon and decided to take out one of the ingredients. Based on a request a few nights ago from Mario, who I met a few weeks ago, I took out the Spinach since he wasn’t very fond of it.

It was around 10:30  and I was ready to go on another adventure. I first stopped at the Agape house. Jamar came out, someone I met a few nights ago, who just started a job at a graphic design company. He had been through some rough spots in his life and was just beginning to gain some traction. He had a great passion for designing things and he thought he found the right job with the right boss. Throughout talking to him though, I noticed something… he literally looked as if he was sleeping while he was talking to me. I think I just barely saw his eyes through the “droopiness of his eyelids.” It looked as if he had been up the last 2 days just working and thinking about his life. He ended up telling me that, “I’ve just had a long day.” I was really grateful he wanted to come outside and talk with me, but I also wanted him to get in his bed and get some much needed rest. The conversation didn’t go much farther than that. I told him I’ll see him soon, and we parted ways.

My next stop, was the train station. There was no cop waiting outside, and it was eerily quiet. Before getting on the platform, a train flew by, thus shaking the station and waking up and “angrifying” the bugs. When I got to the platform I approached a man who looked at little lost. It was about 11:20 at this time, and he looked like he had been waiting on the platform for quite some time. After introducing myself I asked him, what he’s doing out here this late, “Waiting for a friend.” He told me, “The trains been running late.” His name was Chris and I found out he was extremely passionate about making music. His eyes also looked like they were starting to gloss over and he looked as if he rolled out of bed before he came here. We parted ways shortly thereafter.

I then proceeded to the waiting area. I saw my two good friends Tony and Kate. They were asleep, but Tony woke up just to say hi. He didn’t want one of my smoothies, but appreciated the offer. I came back later and dropped a smoothie off for Kate for when she woke up. She was the one that lost her father around the same age that I did. We established, a good friendship a few nights back. Maybe I’ll catch her at a better time.

I then went to the other side of the platform where I met an interesting and very passionate man. His name was Chris and he had been dealing with a burden for the last 20 years. Chris had long flowing hair and a thick burly mustache. Before anything though, we just talked about our days. He told me he had an amazing day at work. Of course, we introduced ourselves and he accepted my smoothie(which he found was pretty good and exclaimed, “Maybe I should stick to these energy smoothies instead!”) Chris had been drinking since 10:30 that morning. He was very intoxicated, so it was difficult to understand him at times in our conversation. I do want to say that Chris went through something a Father should never go through in his life…

After, getting into an altercation with his girlfriend and the Mother of his 2 kids, they soon parted ways with each other. The situation was pretty bad and Chris ended up having his two kids taken away from him and hasn’t seen them for 20 plus years. Chris has been working a lot of manual labor jobs recently and has found enjoyment in his work. He told me, “I’m the best damn worker around and I love work. I can’t wait to go back on Monday.” I was really happy to hear he liked what he did.

Chris started to get animated and really aggressive when he started talking about what people had done to him in the past. He didn’t get aggressive with me, but he was just generally fired up and started shouting a little bit. I wasn’t getting the best vibe from the conversation either. I was actually getting very sad as he continued to tell me his life story about his kids, losing his Mother, Father, and Brother all within a few years span. I had no idea what to say, so I just continued to let him talk.

Before I decided to leave though we got in a little conversation about his sister and he said that his sister lives down the road from him and helps him out all the time. That really settled him down as he said, “I would do anything for my sister, I love her to death.”

Before parting ways with Chris though, I let him know that I’m sure I’ll see him again and gave him the best bro hug in town.

I still didn’t feel right about the whole conversation. There were a lot of emotions, and passion in what he was saying and at times he got a little teary eyed. I just felt like I opened up a door in his life that he didn’t want to be opened ever again. So I was walking away not feeling the best about what just happened. That was until… he stopped me and shouted, “Thank you Brother! Thank you for the company! Thank you for the company…  Thank you for the company… “ With him saying that it let me know that the conversation allowed him to let some feelings of his out that had been brewing for awhile and I was just the person that decided to listen. There was a spot in the conversation where I didn’t say a word for about 30 minutes. He was letting go of some emotions that no one ever bothered to listen too. I was happy to meet him and be there for him.

Every moment is an opportunity.

 

“Possibility starts with a conversation.”

 

 

 

 

Taking Action and Failing

So sometimes when you take Action it doesn’t always go as you expect. Stay tuned to find out what happened in this interesting series of events…

Yesterday, I finally decided to Act on an idea that I had for the last three days. I was just sitting in a Cafe getting some work done, when it hit me… It hit me like a “bag of bricks.” I knew I had to do it. I wasn’t nervous to the slightest. I had to make a big move and put myself out there. Who knows what the outcome would be, but my decision was made… I’m going to create a public event, that will allow people to try out my training style.

That’s exactly what I did too. I created the event, online, and I even put a little flair to it to motivate people to come with the right energy. Here’s what I opened my post with…

“Are you trying to start the weekend off right with a Good Ole’ ass kickin! Then join me at this epic event. We will meet on the bleachers at the football stadium.”

Regardless of what you think about it, whether you think it’s good, bad, or just crazy, understand this, I was psyched up and ready to go for this class. So I decided to check the event sharing app when I got back to my place later that night to see my newly created event. Little did I know that I had put the wrong date in… for a month and a half later!

To say the least, I wasn’t very happy, but after seeing that, I did try to fix it but to no avail. After figuring out that I was only giving two days notice to this event, I thought, “Maybe it’s a good idea to schedule for the following weekend.” That might give me more time to generate a larger group to come out and experience my training.

In short, I was on full throttle and then came to a full stop within a day. Through this failure I was reminded of a valuable lesson that, ‘Patience is key.’ That also reminds me of a quote…

“The pyramids weren’t built in a day.” -Anonymous

Witnessing Persistence

So today, I just wanted to post about my neighbor.

My neighbor is one of the most energetic, and happiest guys I’ve ever met. He’s also a die hard Yankee fan which I love.

Recently though he’s had some trouble with some computers. He’s been getting outdated computers and technology for a long time, he’s an older guy too, so the “technology era” came up on him pretty quick. Overall though it was just the time for him to get a new computer and from the graciousness of my roommate and his father he got one, they had an older computer they didn’t use anymore that they donated to him.

So, after seeing him jumping for joy in anticipation of the computer, I quickly saw those emotions be turned to sadness after his Brother and the people in charge of our apartment complex,  said that he couldn’t bring it into the apartment because of “bed bugs.” That wasn’t going to stop my neighbor though.

My neighbor is resilient.

Until just a few days ago, they finally let him have the laptop. Before they let him have it though he actually hooked up an extension board brought out a “make shift” office and posted up outside. He even had the recycling bin outside. He beat the system! One day he was out in the sun for too long and got some serious sunburn. He even posted up, just barely, in the door of his apartment when it was pouring rain out. 

He wanted that laptop so bad that he was going to do whatever it took to get it. After trying again, and again… and yet again. He finally got what he wanted. They finally told him it was fine for him to have the laptop.

He got his laptop which was “bed bug” free and working great.

 

“Think doubt and fail. Think Victory and Succeed” -Anonymous

Taking steps into “The Market”

“One day I’ll do it.”

“When I’m ready.”

“You know, I’ll just wait a few years and then everything will be good to go. How about I put you on the calendar for a couple years from now?”

“I like what you’re saying, and totally want to do it, but you know what, the timing just isn’t right.”

“I’m scared.”

“I have a really busy summer. After that, I’ll give you a call. Cool with you?”

“You know, my wife has been on my “ass” lately and at this point I think that it just wouldn’t be a good idea.”

“Listen, you seem like a good guy, and everything you said is exactly what I need, but before I make decisions, I have a list of 62 people that I have to consult. It starts with my… In 7 months, after I consult each person for 2 hours each, and remember to give them a slice of my famous cherry pie, then, I’ll be ready to make a decision. So, put me down for then. I don’t know what date that is either, but contact me around that time and I will have an answer for you.”

Do any of these sound like you? If so, I encourage you to go back to some opportunities that you said “No” too. Ask yourself, “Why did I say no? Did I tell myself I wasn’t ready? Did I base my decision off of outside forces and not on my own free will?”

After you answer those questions, prepare yourself for the next opportunity. Do that by getting mentally right. Write some goals down and write down some questions you’ll remember to ask when that next opportunity arises.

Don’t let another opportunity slip away.

I received a call from a good friend of mine about 6 months ago. He said, “Hey man, are you interested in coming to this event? It’s on a Friday night and it’ll run pretty late. I think you’ll get a lot out of it. I know it’s late though, on a Friday night and I know you’re probably busy.” I responded, “Are you kidding me? I don’t have any plans! Let’s do it! The event was an investing introduction course and it walked through a few ways to invest.  Side Note: It was free! The only thing I had to do was drive about 30 minutes to the destination.That was when I had a car too. If I had waited until “the next time” I wouldn’t have even been able to go.” This event, was eye opening, and in other areas it confirmed some things I already knew. But after this event, I knew what I had to do. I made a decision with the guy I went with.

“I’m going to learn this and be a successful Investor.”

6 months later, yesterday, I made my first investment. Wow… if you ever want an exhilarating experience put your money into something that you don’t know for certain if it will increase or not. I mean, yeah, you have your 401k, mutual funds, and bonds that usually have fixed percentage rates of how much your investment will increase yearly. You know, for the most part, what will happen.

Well… let me tell you what, stepping out into “The Market” is an experience. There is no way for certain you can predict what will happen to your investment. All you can do is hope your research and preparation pays off. 

Although… I did only place one order for one share on a stock. I had hit my deadline that I set to, start to Live Trade on Monday June 19th.” The very next day, today, I decided to increase that number, and I bought 5 shares of another stock. I’m still holding onto it and hoping that my small investment ends in a profit. Only time will tell.

There’s still a lot more to learn though. I’ll be continuing to educate myself on how to become the best possible investor and trader.

I based my decision off of what I felt was right. After the event I didn’t call anyone, ask for anyones advice, nor did I ask anyone’s permission. The friend who brought me to the event, was pretty similar, and he stepped off the edge too. With his support, we’ve been able to push each other to challenging ourselves and learning “The Market.”

Side note: Meanwhile, in my apartment, there is an “elusive” cat named Leo(my roommates) that is aggressively playing with a toy mouse, and not giving up until he figures out a way too… Goodness, I have no idea what he wants to do with that mouse, but he means ‘business’ for sure. I’ll let him do his thing.

On that note, I’m committed to learning the skills of becoming an intelligent, ethical, passionate, and successful investor. I won’t stop until I’ve mastered this craft. Just like Leo on that toy mouse…

I mean “business.”

 

“You will never know what you are made of until you step out in faith, turn yourself loose, and find out.” -Anonymous

 

Dad

 

Father’s day, a day to remember to thank your dad. Or maybe it’s a day to just give him a big hug and say you love him. Father’s day isn’t the same for everyone though. Especially not for me…

I had just gotten off the phone with an old friend. It was Sunday night and it was late. I got a feeling though and it was time to head out on a ride.

I made some more smoothies, packed up the rest of my gear and I was off on another journey.

I was going around the town and didn’t see anyone. Then I went to the train station. I saw a cop hanging outside of it, like usual, stopped and said hello. I introduced myself and then headed in.

There I found two amazing people. Kate and Tony. Kate and Tony had been together for 2 years and had been through a lot of struggle. Conversation began smoothly, and Tony opened up about losing his business after 30 years in operation. He had a business that he made a lot of money in, but what he told me really got to me. He said, “Never build something that you don’t love.” He went on to say that he was coming into the office and just collecting the money and just hated it. “The money was too good though.” Finally, life decided to make a decision for him. He fell on his head and was in a coma for a very long time. When he woke up he was no longer able to perform his duties and lost his business. “I remember waking up from my coma, actually being in pretty good shape, and remembering  all my passwords.” he told me. A little while later he was in the middle of getting divorced, and that was finalized a year ago. He said, “Divorces not only tear a family apart, but they tear you apart.” He recently got mugged and was beaten “half to death” too.

 

Tony- “What do you do though?”

Me- “Well I recently just started my own company.”

Tony- “Well what kind of company is it and why did you start it?”

Me- “Well I started a training company. Do you mind if I give you a little back story?”

Tony- “Not at all.”

I was hoping I wouldn’t bore them but I proceeded to tell my story to them. I talked about how I came back to Jersey. My time in school. Leaving school. And then the last few months of my life.

I also gave them a little story about my Dad. My Dad… I told them, was a great man. I loved my him very much.

Life was tough on him though. From working in Manhattan not to far from his hometown in Jersey to taking him to the other side of the country. Life, took my Father in all directions. He had lost control. His job had him move a few times. Each time farther away, until finally, he was a couple thousand miles from his home. It’s okay to be away from home, I told them, but when you leave a place you love, due to pressure, fear, and wondering if you’ll still be able to support your family or not if you didn’t go… that’s not okay. My father was overcome by the pressures of the world. Sometime in the early 2000’s my Father lost his job, and was out of work for an extensive period of time. My Mother had to get a job and provide for the family. During this time, now looking back at it, my Father was lost and he didn’t know what to do. I saw him many times with his head in his hands and after seeing me, quickly getting up and acting like everything was okay and then embracing me. I also saw him lose control of his emotions and get very angry. He always apologized though later on. I was too young at the time to understand what he was going through. He ended up, a few years later, getting a job somewhere working the night and coming home early in the morning.

Ultimately, the pressures of the world caught up to my Father. In May 2007 he was killed in a head on collision after falling asleep on the wheel in the early hours of the morning coming home from a night shift.

My Father was 46 years old. He left behind 5 boys. 15, 13, 10, 8, and 6 years old. These boys had to come to the realization that they would never see their father again.

Kate, finally jumped in and opened up. She gave us a story about her father. She said… My father was also an incredible man and I loved him very much. I can remember missing the bus for school one day, and asking if my father could take me. He said, “Fine, but we have to hurry.” After saying this though, she said, he seemed to be really anxious and fearful. At the time she didn’t know, but now she knows that, her father was working a very demanding job. On the drive to the school she said that he was “perspiring” more and more as the drive went on. He was a heavy and overweight guy, she said, but she had never seen her father sweat this much and knew it wasn’t normal. And she didn’t say anything about it because she assumed he was mad at her for asking for the ride. She was dropped off at the school and a few hours later she received a call… Her father passed away in a car accident.

Tony, later on, opened up about his father too. He said he was still alive but is out of touch with him. He told us that he doesn’t hate his father at all. He actually really respects him. He’s a hall of fame boxer and they just never got close to each other.

He told us, “He was doing his own thing and I was doing mine. I had to respect that.” 

Fathers Days came and went through the years and I never really felt anything. Frankly, it was a distant memory that faded from my thoughts. This Father’s day was different though. It was the first time that I felt the love I had for my father since I was 10 and he left. I truly felt something. I loved my father more than anything, and when he left this world, I knew I would never be able to have that “Man to Man” with him.

I think now… I’ve finally had that “Man to Man” with my Father.

I proceeded to tell them that regardless of what we do in our lives, that ultimately, we are defined by the decisions we make. My father made some decisions in his life that were based off of pressure and “fear of the unknown.”  Those decisions took my Father to a situation that he wasn’t happy with, a place where he didn’t want to be, and it took him away from his dreams and goals. My father didn’t know how he was going to get out of it. In May 2007 though, he got out of the situation he was in and left this world.

My father was an extremely holy man though and practiced his faith daily. Something that he passed on to me. That’s why I have faith he went to a better place that day and finally was relieved of all of his burdens in life.

I’m here today talking with you, I told them, because I’ve made a decision in my life…  I’m never going to go somewhere in my life where I don’t want to go. I’m never going to be somewhere where I don’t want to live. I’m never going to be pressured into making a decision. I’m never going to make a decision based off of fear. I will always be doing what I want to do and I will always be where I want to be based off of the decisions I choose to make.

We parted ways shortly thereafter. They gave the smoothies a thumbs up SIDE NOTE: very relieved because I decided to, “spice it up” a little and put green apples in it. Thank goodness! I made sure to give Tony a good shake. And I went over to say goodbye to Kate I gave her a big hug. I embraced her for a little longer though because I just felt really connected with her. Although we were in different parts of our lives, we had such similar stories and I just felt something special with her. We did share one identical thing though and that was…

A deep and everlasting love for our Fathers.

My Father may be gone, and aside from teaching me toughness and resilience when I was a young boy, just recently, he’s taught me so much more.

I love you Dad.