A mentorship and personal development program directed by: Alexander Knox
Listening to the greats.
I wanted to deliver messages and lessons on this day solely in the Abstract. Sure, the kids might recognize a couple famous faces here and there, but they are not in direct association , nor do they have a personal relationship. I wanted to keep things in the abstract, I wanted to challenge them to focus on the wisdom takeaways only. My intention for them was to extract the wisdom and lessons from each of the various successful people, and bring it back down to reality, to say, how it more immediately can be applied to us. I’d play a video, and they’d drive the post video discussion, I’d only jump in if necessary. Videos studied and their thoughts:
Vincent: “Practice is more competitive than the game”
Manny: “The intensity and professional of Kobe Bryant did not just start when he became professional”
Jason: “The importance of practice”
Aidan: “There is a limit on how much gas you can put in a gas tank. What is the difference between risk and reward, pushing to your body’s limit for maximum output vs pushing your self to detrimental depths you can’t recover from.”
Manny: “There is a fine line between giving your body time to recover from injury, and continuing to push through the pain of an injury. That is the differences between the way Allen Iverson spoke in his interview and the way Kobe Bryant spoke in his interview.”
Me: It goes without saying both of these players have left a tremendous impact on the sport of basketball, but in doing so from two different styles. Two completely different approaches to practice and preparation. But one of the same mindset in action itself of doing. Not good bad or indifferent, just unique.
Our question continued, but we came up with an analogy to align it to: What is the fine line between ripping muscle fiber and building it back up vs. ripping the whole muscle and getting injured?
Aidan: He said when he’s in the gym and he pushes hard, it doesn’t necessarily feel good in that moment, but it’s the moments that feel incredible. The fine line for him is the sign that it feels good after. But none the less I challenged him again to think about how does one know in the moment if they are pushing to hard or not… he retorted that, its “a feeling that you get within yourself”
Manny: “Being broken down and being built back up, is an enjoyable pain”
Jason: “You walk the fine line by your curiosity for growth”
Vincent: “You walk the fine line by being driven by your goal”
I was in alignment with a little something from everybody, but what Vincent said rung true to me most. A goal you set, you work towards. And if you are moving in the right direction, you are getting closer to that very goal. Thus if you are closer to that goal you are more likely to want to push yourself to deeper depths in order to achieve that of what you desire. This last push could have the potential to build you up to new levels for which new goals can be sought, or it can have the potential to break you. Either way, a given person doesn’t know what he or she will do, or what will happen, until they themselves are at that tipping point. But something I asked the boys:
What if you fail? What if you injure yourself? Then what? Its a no brainer you’ll have to rest and try to come back. But I’m more interested in the process of the mind. What is the mind’s process in the event of a failure? I then present to them an individual who’s life was riddled with failure
Aidan & Sebastian: Perseverance above everything is what stuck out most to them.
Vincent: He noticed Lincoln had little to no affirmation, he was curious on how he was able to keep pushing.
Jason: In response to Vincent, Jason thought that Lincoln might have found the will and perseverance to keep going through one of two things. A personal mantra. Or. Lincoln found the greatest amount of inspiration from the smallest wins or losses from that matter; playing the game of the “shrinking margins”.
The grand takeaway that the boys decided was that in some cases the journey to success may be long and excruciatingly hard, but the benefit has the potential to be worth the lifetime of struggle for. Lincoln as the best example of that idea.
I challenged the boys to imagine being in Ellen’s shoes. Having to lose everything because of who you are; for Ellen it was loosing her show shortly after coming out. There was an unanimous thought amongst all the boys that no matter how successful or not each of them will be, they will always walk with their head high and never be afraid to live out loud, and be themselves, and nothing but themselves.
Everyones response to this video was unanimous. No matter what circumstances life would present, you’d never be afraid to be yourself.
I didn’t even give context to the boys till after I heard their thoughts, but I knew from the beginning that they had no idea who Warren Buffet was. I found that funny.
Aidan: His biggest takeaway was hearing Mr. Buffet speak on College, and the intention of college. Warren Buffet’s perspective is a unique one in that he is one of the wealthiest people on the planet, yet he ceased to attend college. For Aidan this peaked his curiosity. Aidan launched us all into a 15 minute conversation about the necessity of higher education. As a group we came to the consensus that if you are hyper-involved with a company, organization and or specialized craft and that career does not necessitate higher education credentials but rather industry experience, than one could make a compelling argument why not to continue to higher education. Other than that we decided together that higher education is the most frequent way to go, because it has the biggest success rate, and therefore the most opportunity. Opportunity to grow your knowledge, find your passion if not found, and connect with others.
Jason & Manny : They were most intrigued by Warren Buffet’s statement, “The best investment is in yourself”. Although they loved his quote, they were more intrigued by thinking of ways on how they themselves could start to implement this philosophy into their own lives.
Vincent & Sebastian: Building off what Jason and Manny took away, these guys thought of the first tangible example of self investment. They said to best invest in yourself would be to choose wisely who you surround yourself with. **You could see the wheels turning within their heads, thinking real time about their current relationships. That was unique to see from my perspective. Also it was no coincidence we were all in that room together, as friends, talking about this next level wisdom that normal kids their age and some grown adults don’t even talk about.
You are who you surround yourself with.
This video encompassed a number of people that have become successful in their respective crafts. They talk about their failures and how it is they impacted them.
Aidan: His favorite quotation from the video, “if you look up you can get up”
Sebastian: Seeing all these highly successful people get personal about their failures, inspired Sebastian to talk on his most recent failures(Quantum Breakthrough theory). He talked in great lengths about his struggle to learn English after he came from Columbia just a few years ago.
Vincent, Jason, Manny: All three of them found the greatest takeaway of the video to be about the importance of the learning process, and the value in it.
I think they started to get the point. I was driving home the same message, just from a lot of different people, in a lot of different careers, from a lot of different backgrounds. They started to see the silver lining of Quantum Breakthrough theory, the failure and success association that exist within those that have a winning mind.
Aidan: favorite quotation, “live in the grip of life”.
Manny: favorite quotation, “you can’t find yourself by doing nothing”. I remembered that one of the things Manny told me he was looking forward to was becoming more independent. I think that he might have heard this quote, and it have been right on point and in alignment with his ambition to take the next steps.
Sebastian, Jason, Vincent: favorite quotation, “stop when the job is done”. This quote launched us into a 15 minute conversation about the importance of stopping when the job is absolutely undoubtably finished. We came to the conclusion that many younger people, and even some older folks, will only go until their desire tells them to stop, rather than the job being finished. Somebody in the group asked the group, “how do you know when the job is finished?”. I responded, no matter what you are doing and what challenge you are going up against, you will know innately when the job is finished. I gave an example, when your whole team is running line to line, and you come 2 centimeters short of the line nobody will call you out if you are lucky, but you will know inside that you took a short cut. And as we saw with Lincoln, sometimes the journey is long and hard but sometimes in the end the small margins and small wins, are what move mountains.
Aidan: Favorite quotation, “Why would you quit something you love?”.
Manny: Favorite quotation, “tough times define you the most” // He loved the idea of “response time”. Response time was something we talked on as a group for quite a while. The action of being present! But most of all, the action of bouncing back to pushing the needle closer to your goals.
Sebastian: Motivation vs inspiration. He felt the motivation from the video, which was natural because that’s what the video was made for, however I challenged him to think on the differences of motivation and inspiration. Motivation as hollow and unsustainable long term. Inspiration as coming from a deeper place within one’s self, thus a more sustainable source of fuel to add to your fire when things get tough.
Jason: Favorite quotation, “Define who you are”. This aligns with one of my favorite quotes, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going”. Jason at this point in the mentorship program I think really started to understand that he is behind his own steering wheel, nobody else.
Vincent: Favorite quotation, “Life is made up of people just like us”. For Vincent an ordinary dude wanting to “control his destiny”, I think this messaged felt good to hear. Vincent, you can change the world. We are all human beings.