Monday, July 13, 2015

Why you should look forward to Jury Duty!

For most Americans, they HATE getting Jury Summons from the local courts.  They do everything in their power to avoid having to serve.  And more pathetic is those who actually get chosen to serve on a jury and to hear them answer questions to the lawyers and the Judge to obviously try to get off of serving.

I was one of those.  As a business owner, I could get off in the past because I was self-employed and therefore it could be an economic hardship.  What a crock.  I had good people working with me.  I didn't have to use that excuse.  I was just lazy.  I wanted to do what I wanted to do. 


But this is what happened... I served... on a murder trial.  Well I was an alternate (this is actually the worst, as you have to sit and listen to the whole case then you get dismissed without knowing the verdict or getting to deliberate.)  It was a 3 week trial.  It was fascinating.  I don't watch much TV, but it is like watching a Crime Drama show.  Slowly but surely the lawyers would make their case by interviewing witnesses.  As each witness answers the questions, the story builds.  And really only after listening to the whole trial can you really piece together what actually happened.  And you have to use your own discernment to determine who is telling the truth or what you think is most accurate.  As you are going through the trial, you can take notes.  But you cannot talk to anyone about the trial.  Then in deliberations, you get to discuss each point that was made.  You get to listen to how others heard different witnesses.  You realize you didn't hear and remember every point after hearing others review the trial.  You realize everyone has a prejudice about some aspect of the facts of the case.  But in the end, you all are trying to do the same thing.  That is, you are trying to properly judge your peer, your fellow citizen based upon the facts reflected in the trial.

Fascinating really!  This is how our Founding Fathers determined was best to settle disputes with each other.  And it works!

But it really only works if EVERYONE participates.  It cannot just be the elderly that have the time.  It cannot just be those who have to do it because of their job.  It needs to be all of us so that each jury is truly a representation of our society.  It needs to be all of us so that we all understand how our system works.

I love our Country.  She only asks two things of me.  Vote.  Jury Duty.  (Besides paying taxes of course.)  That is a pretty low bar.  Many country require every citizen to serve in the military for 2 years.  

Next time you get the summons, do everything you can to say YES!  You will then be even more proud to be an American

And, finally,

here is a selfish reason.  Someday, you might be wrongfully accused.  Who do you want judging YOU?

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Patriotic? I don't think so...

We just celebrated our Nation's birth last weekend.  What an amazing time for our Country.  Everyone is waving flags, taking the day to celebrate with friends, and watching fireworks shows to top off the day. 

We obviously LOVE our Country!  There truly is SO much to love about it.  It is beautiful!  Grand Canyon, Washington DC, Yellowstone, Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, and Yosemite are just a few of the things we treasure.  We have Liberty thanks to the amazing sacrifice of our young people over the past 200 plus years.  Social and political freedoms are wonderful.
Yosemite National Park

Yes, we HAVE a lot with this great Nation.  And what does She ask in return?  Not much for the average citizen- voting and jury duty!  Because of the sacrifice of the few, we are free.  Because of the economic engine we have continue to build upon, we have wealth.  But WE must DO something with all of this... vote and serve on jury duty.

If on July 4 each year, the only way we could get the day off of work was if either we served in the military or we proved that we had voted in every election and served jury duty every chance we got... would you get the day off?

Hmmm, think about that as you celebrate our great Country...

Monday, June 15, 2015

Does an Apple a Day keep the Doctor Away?

We have all heard the phrase, "An apple a day keeps the Doctor away?"  A great motivational speaker, Jim Rohn once asked, "If it were true... would you do it?"  

That is, if you knew that eating an apple every day would keep the Doctor away or better said, if you ate an apple every day, you would always be healthy... would you do it?

A lot of us would nod our heads yes.  But in practice, many of us would likely forget to eat one EVERY day.  We would have excuses like, I would have eaten one, but I ran out.  I would have eaten an apple, but I didn't feel like it today.  Or worse, I didn't eat my apple today because I don't care about being healthy.

Well, life is exactly like this.  There are things that we should do every single day to have the kind of life we want to have, but because of laziness, forgetfulness, or pure stupidity we don't do those things.

So what are the things we should do every day?  Eat right!  Any questions?  Nope, you agree that if you eat right, you will feel better.  Exercise!  Well, I don't have to exercise EVERY day to stay vibrant.  I can take a day off and I won't even notice.  

And THAT is where we get in trouble.  We know what it good for us, but because we don't see immediate consequences to developing poor habits, we do!

I believe we should read every day to expand your mind.  Of course, if you don't do it for one day, you are going to be just fine.  But if you track the progress of those who do read every day compared to those who never read another book after high school, the trajectory of their lives WILL be different.

For me, this is my list of daily activities that are mandatory for me:
  • Read the Bible and pray
  • Love my wife whether I'm home or away
  • Be positive (what's the alternative)
  • Be physical-- run, tennis, walk, stretch, something to make me feel alive
  • Eat at least ONE good meal per day, usually breakfast to start me out right
  • Talk to at least one friend or family member a day (other than Judy)
  • Learn-- I read through or listen to at least 30 books per year to grow
  • Say yes!  I really decided 8 years ago that I would live by this.  If someone asks me to do something... I always try to say YES.  I have said yes to new sports, yes to speaking engagements, yes to dancing class with my wife.  Who knows what other adventures I will have!
 Life is full of moments.  If we spend the moments well, we will have a good life.  It's not going to be the trip down the amazon or running with the bulls in Pamplona... it is going to be living a fulfilling life of things that matter to YOU!  

Monday, June 8, 2015

Where are you going to be in 5 years?

Lou Holtz, famous college football coach once said, "I can tell you where you will be in the next 5 years based upon these 3 things:
  • The Books you read
  • The People you meet and
  • The Places you go"
Lou Holtz
I really believe this!  Look back in your own life over the past 5 years.  Think of the person you were,  the things you were doing, the places you were going... are you growing?  Are you staying the same?  Has life taken a bad turn over these past 5 years?

I would bet you that there is a direct correlation between your personal life trajectory and the 3 things listed above.  If over these past 5 years, you have read new and inspiring books... you have been around people that naturally get you motivated to live a better life... and you have been to places that helped you continue to define a purposeful life... I would bet you everything I have that your life is in a much better place than it was.

On the other hand, if over these past 5 years, you have not been exposed to books that grow you, people that challenge you and places that enhance you... you are in the same place... or worse... your life is getting worse.  You are less happy, content, satisfied.

So take charge of YOUR life's direction.  Read books that stretch you (my personal list below**
).  I like these books today.  They expanded my brain.  They help me see the world differently.

The people you meet sounds so random... but it does not have to be!  There are so many people who are stuck with a group of people that are really stuck themselves.  Expand your horizons by becoming a volunteer.  People who volunteer are passionate!  People who volunteer care for more than their OWN desires, but have a passion for SOMETHING!  Take a class!  For almost no money you can take an adult class within your community.  You can learn to build a website, paint or study a foreign language.  For me, it is getting involved in my church.  People who love God... generally love people!  They are caring people.

Another way to meet new people is in books.  Read a biography on a person.  You will feel like you have a new friend!

And finally, "The Places you go", definitely takes purpose.  We all have busy lives.  We do certain things that are our patterns.  Without these patterns, most people wouldn't know what to do with themselves.  But does your patterns include watching yet another TV series?  Does your patterns include playing more hours of video games?

This past year, we hiked to the Hollywood Sign.  On the day we did this, the sky was clear.  Sitting before us was Downtown Los Angeles, Santa Monica, the Pacific Ocean and Catalina Island.  By turning around we saw Griffith Park, San Fernando Valley and Warner Brothers and Disney Studios.  Inspiring!  Then we went to Los Feliz to have lunch at a quaint neighborhood restaurant.  What a memory! 
My son Austin and his fiance Jordan at the Hollywood sign

A few years ago, I went on a missions trip to Cambodia.  You talk about life changing?!  My mind was blown away by Southeast Asia, it's people, and the culture.  We even went to Angkor Wat, one of the 7 wonders of the world!

Please grow!  Please expand!  As my dad used to say "Life is NOT a dress rehearsal."  This is the only one that we have!  Use it to the full.  If you feel stuck; commit to reading great books, meeting new and inspiring people, and exposing yourself to places that can change your life!

**My recent book list:
  • The Bible---the greatest book ever written, it refreshes me EVERY day
  • How We Got to Now--Steven Johnson
  • Brothers--George Howe Colt
  • Lord of the Flies--William Golding
  • Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World--Jack Weatherford
  • In the Plex--Steven Levy
  • East of Eden--John Steinbeck
  • Destiny Disrupted--Tamim Ansary
  • The Power of Habit--Charles Duhigg