Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Next Station

By Daniel Kelly

It was April 20, 2014.  I was riding the train back to Penn Station from New Jersey, where I spent the day with some family for the Easter holiday.   I looked up at the digital monitor in the front of the train car as it reads, “NEXT STATION”.  Having seen this triggers this feeling of anxiety within a millisecond as I thought, “What is it?!  What is the next station?!”  I began to ask myself, “Where is my next station?  Where do I go from here?”  At times, it is vital that one ponders the ultimately intimidating life question:  What are my goals in life?

It is easy to get caught up in the stresses of life.  It is also easy for people to lose sight of goals which they set forth.  One of the primary reasons that this occurs is that most people do not document their goals.  They merely think of them, or verbally communicate them to other people.  I am 29 years old on the day I publish this article, and I did not begin to document my goals until recently.  I wish I could go back in time and do this, as most wish for the same; however, we can never go back.  We can only move forward with what we now know.

For you younger folks reading this article, I can assure you that money does not provide happiness.  Money can provide a relief to certain liabilities and stress, but it cannot be the origin of where your happiness is derived.  Decide on what you need to be happy.  Do not focus on attaining wealth as the main driver in achieving any goal, or more importantly do not make attaining wealth your only goal.  The individuals who believe that you can attain wealth without trading off other things in life that can provide happiness are fools.  Follow your heart, but lead with your mind.  Ask yourself these questions in determining how you will achieve your goals:

1.        What is your goal?  This sounds simple, but can often be the most difficult question to answer, especially for younger people who are fearful of the future.

2.       When do you want to achieve your goal?  Try to set a realistic expectation regarding the timeline of which you want to remain within in pursuing your goal.  Life is unpredictable most of the time, so be reasonable when evaluating this question.

3.       How will you prepare to achieve your goal?  This question is crucial.  It pertains more to the now than in the future.  What are you doing today to work toward your goal?  It is all about the system.  After determining your system, live by it.  Do not deviate from the system.

4.       How will you reward yourself after achieving your goal?   This is something else that most people struggle with.   Many people lower their own expectations just to enjoy the reward.   Personally, when I achieve a goal, my reward is getting to set another goal!  To make things easier, it usually is good to have a set of sub-goals within your ultimate goal.  After all, the only way to go up a staircase is to touch the first few steps at the bottom first.

What is the next station?  Ask yourself this question often.  The majority of successful people in any field achieve greatness because they make decisions based on criteria they have set forth in evaluating and achieving their goals.  Will you always achieve your goal if you document your goal and develop a system in achieving your goal?  No.  Will you be more likely to achieve your goal if you document your goal and develop a system in achieving your goal?  Yes.  What are you doing today that will help you work towards achieving your goal?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Social Responsibility: Our Duty

By Daniel Kelly

             In all communities across the United States, we live each day through affiliation.  What I mean by this is that we affiliate ourselves with organizations, subjects, objects, actions, and people in order to equate some sort of purpose or personal fulfillment to our lives.  The problem with this is that many people falsely represent their affiliations.  We all know people that are guilty of this: you, me, and everyone you know.  We cannot be true to our affiliations at all times.  Human beings by nature become exhausted and run down, and even the most disciplined individuals are capable of losing focus; however, it is better to be in that category than people that do nothing.  I will provide you with some examples of people in our great sport that are true to their affiliations. 

My first individual is a man by the name of Jason Bross.  Jason is the creator of a foundation called “Pinning Down Autism”.  He has received national attention within the wrestling community and also beyond the mat.  I think everyone can agree that what Jason does for the autism community, as well as the wrestling community, is amazing.  Jason and his family grapple with autism every single day.  Jason manages organizing events for his foundation, working to provide for his family, and on top of that putting aside time to coach wrestling.  Jason is a leader.  He leads by example, and asks for nothing in return.  The best part about Jason is that he can talk about wrestling for hours, and his passion can be seen as his eyes widen while telling stories of great wrestlers past and present.  The sport of wrestling, as well as our society, needs more people like Jason Bross. 

My second individual is a man named Justin McLennan.  Justin is a former standout wrestler from nationally renowned wrestling powerhouse Easton High School.  He comes from an area rich in wrestling history and tradition.  Justin has recently started building a youth wrestling program at Excellence Boys, an all-boys charter school in Brooklyn, NY.  Wrestling is now an after-school program for 2nd and 3rd graders.  I had the pleasure of speaking with Justin about his youth program.  “We started wrestling in February, currently using tumbling mats, with our next step to get our own mats.  The kids love it and are begging for more mat time constantly.  Just about every kid in the school wants to be on the team.  It’s got a lot of potential if we can get the right support to grow.”  Justin’s program has generated a lot of buzz in the local wrestling community, and he has even started bringing his kids to the Beat the Streets Manhattan Training Center to provide more opportunities for his kids to get more mat time.  To learn more about Justin’s program, please visit http://excellencewrestling.weebly.com .

My third individual that I would like to mention is a man by the name of Andy Weaver.  Andy hails from a tightly knit wrestling community in Nazareth, PA.  I have met many people that are passionate about their local high school sports programs over the years, but Andy Weaver takes it to another level.  I have never met someone who exhibits the passion that Andy does about their local community.  Back in the early 2000’s when I was in high school I remember seeing Andy at the District XI Wrestling Championships at Liberty High School in Bethlehem, PA.  In February of 2014 I attended the District XI Wrestling Championships for the first time in years, and I saw Andy there still after all these years.  He collected my ticket at the front door with a smile so wide you could hang your jacket on it.  He started a web site that has thousands and thousands of local followers and readers:  www.nazarethsports.net .   He has touched the lives of so many people, and he has even inspired me to be more proactive and contribute to my local community in New York City.  If everyone were more like “The Weave”, as he is nicknamed by people in the Nazareth community, the world would be a much better place.  Do you believe in The Weave?  I surely do.

I hope that my article can inspire even just a handful of my readers to be more proactive and go out and pursue ways to further help their local communities through wrestling and beyond.  It is important to contribute to the sustainability of your community by giving back, and the individuals mentioned in my article go above and beyond the call of duty.  Ask yourself:  What have you done lately to help your community?