Read the original article on Philly.com.
If you haven’t noticed, I repeat A LOT of the same messages that I write about in my articles. Mostly because you need to continuously have these positive thoughts in your head in order to make them a reality. But also because I try to associate the messages with events or instances that occur in my daily life; to prove that these things really do exist.
Let’s reiterate some of these messages:
1. I believe you need to fulfill your vision and passions in life. Realistically, you’re put on earth to accomplish something. Your vision and passions are there for a reason.
2. Throw the rule books out the window. You don’t need to live within the parameters that other people have laid in front of you. Are there risks associated with carrying out your passions? Of course. But it is wise to go against the grain.
3. You are the only person who possesses the power to begin moving in the right direction. It only takes one step to embark on your personal journey. So take it.
4. If you’re tired of the way you live day after day, week after week, year after year, stop accepting it. Take risks and embrace the change. It’s easier to play it safe. That just happens to be a foreign concept to me.
5. … among countless others.
I know my readers are saying, “I understand. I hear ya, Bernie. But it’s easier said than done. How do I implement this way of life?” I’ll give you the wisdom that has allowed me to overcome the fears associated with living life without limits; fear of failure, fear of acceptance, fear of losing what you have chasing something that isn’t guaranteed. Refer to this powerful quote, because I’ve adopted this ideal into my daily life.
“You can find inspiration from others, but determination belongs to you.” – Unknown.
I’ve gotten plenty of feedback from readers about the messages I preach. Their portrayal of my life and their responses go something like this: “Sure, it’s really easy for you to say. You were a professional athlete and have a ton of money with no worries, so I can’t relate to you.”
Don’t misunderstand me. My messages may not apply to everyone. Some people go to the factory to work everyday, they have their family, they have their friends, and they’re happy with that. That might be their passion. I’m talking to the people who are not happy about their current situation. I strive to make people realize that they have the ability to change it. All I ask is that you evaluate your level of content. I want you to think about how you can make changes for the better, to help live a more fulfilling life by delving into the “unknown.” What’s wrong with that? If I help just one person with each article I write, my work here is done.
Speaking of the “unknown,” I was asked to attend an event on October 18th for a cause that is very near and dear to my heart; The Bethesda Project, a Caring Family for Philadelphia’s Homeless. We were asked to participate in Philly Photo Day, an event in which everyone in Philadelphia was invited to take pictures anywhere throughout the city. Your pictures would be submitted and included in an exhibition to create a massive portrait of Philadelphia that will be displayed in Old City at 120 N. 3rd St between November 14th and December 28th.
My business manager and best friend, Dean Smith, and I were invited to join The Bethesda Project and participate. I had absolutely no idea what the point of Philly Photo Day was, or my level of involvement in the event itself, but I never give up an opportunity to help this cause. So we went.
When we first got there, we sat in a small group, right alongside the residents of the shelter. The instructor explained that we would be walking through the city of Philadelphia, taking photographs to allow other people to see the city through our eyes, capturing different perspectives, etc. My first question was, “What the hell am I doing here?” It just didn’t make sense to me at first.
As we moved on through the process, my interest grew and I learned a lot about how to take pictures and what to look for; depth, lines, texture, framing, contrast. I learned that when I’m looking at something, I can apply these techniques to see things differently. After a short lesson, they handed us our cameras and off we went.
It was a nice change of pace, because we’re so wrapped up in getting from point A to point B in life, all while missing the beautiful things around us. I got to stop, take a good look at my surroundings, find the beauty in a seemingly normal corner or street sign, and capture the feelings associated with these normal people, places and things in a still photograph. That is powerful.
I found myself standing in North Philadelphia — not the best section of the town, but I found beauty there; beauty that I’ve never seen before. Is it because we slowed down, or because we were looking for it? I believe the reasons that we were able to look at the city in a much different light was because:
1. We made the decision to do it;
2. We were enjoying something that we never thought we would.
I learned a lot that day, and what if I would have refused the offer to go? I would have missed out on an awesome opportunity because of the “unknown”, or I thought that it really wouldn’t interest me because I had no idea what the event was about. I would have missed out on the joy that it brought to me, but more importantly, the joy that it brought to the homeless men of The Bethesda Project. Something so simple put a smile on all of our faces. I was amazed at the pictures that these men took, and I was fascinated to see their perspective of the city. They were so intelligent in portraying their vision, and they were able to open their imagination and find beauty and detail in things that we couldn’t, and we walked the same streets as they did!
Sometimes we take advantage of all the things we have. We tend to search for happiness with material things. Here we are with people that have lived without the basic necessities of life, who have finally found shelter in The Bethesda Project, expressing their creativity and genuinely enjoying themselves. It wasn’t about money. They had friends and they trusted us. Sometimes, all you need is some love and laughter.
At the end of the day, I walked away with the feeling that I had accomplished something. There was a reason I was meant to spend time with those men, to see them smile, to be involved in one small day of their lives that ultimately could have been one of the best days of their lives. I know it was one of mine. Being that some of my passions include helping people and directing people to find happiness, I’d say it was a mission accomplished.
Read my February 14th, 2013 article on Philly.com below:
It is imperative to make clear the difference between the feeling of loneliness and being alone. Being alone is a physical phenomenon. You are able to physically be alone, and be happy. Loneliness however, is an emotion that relates to your social fulfillment. You could be one in a crowd of 1,000 people, but not one of those 1,000 people can relieve that loneliness. This time of the year, masses will experience this loneliness, and it could be caused by the loss of a loved one, separation, a broken heart, etc., but the important concept to understand is that loneliness comes from within.
If you expect to relieve that lonely feeling simply by surrounding yourself with people, you can count on it for short-term satisfaction. I tell myself constantly, if I find myself in a negative mood and feeling lonely, negative circumstances are sure to follow. If I remain strong, it will not matter what goes on around me.
If someone you cherish is not around anymore, dedicate five minutes of your thoughts to them, and if there is nothing you can do about it, you must be able to push forward and reprogram life. Your mind functions just like your body. It needs nourishment from positive, motivational knowledge which may be gained from books, videos or seeking warm, enriching conversation with a likeminded person. To cope with both loneliness AND being alone, find your happiness within, with an overdose of positive thinking.
If you nourish the mind, body and soul will follow. Ask yourself this question: “What am I thinking about?” Once you have the answer, you have the ability to change it. Change your thoughts and program your mind to think about the things you would like to accomplish and the happiness you ultimately want to achieve in life. Your mind is what creates the feeling of loneliness. Kick the negative thoughts out.
“The material things” deserve an honorable mention in this piece. There was a time that I lived on a beautiful, 50-foot boat, which came hand-in-hand with the taste of loneliness on quite a few occasions. But the amazing thing is that I’ve also floated around aimlessly in a canoe with the biggest grin on my face, the happiest guy in the world.
Sure, material things are nice, but they will never provide you with the happiness and fulfillment that you seek. Flowers, candy, jewelry (enough to keep Steven Singer in business for life), etc. fly off the shelves so you can show your appreciation to loved ones each and every Valentine’s Day. In my experience, I’ve learned that women appreciate the kindness and thoughtfulness.
Remember this: if these gestures are made out of love and admiration, I commend you. If you buy your partner gifts out of obligation, your partner may end up resenting your gesture. At this point, it becomes a phony situation, and you are better off not buying anything at all. If your partner is handing out that rose, piece of candy, or bracelet just for the sake of giving it, look the person in the eye, and you will know exactly where they stand. The eyes never lie.
It is crucial to keep your relationship healthy and alive. Take note of two things: allow your partner to be their own individual, and realize you are on a two-way highway. The secret is that we all have faults and defects. It is easy to dwell on the faults, but try to program your mind to focus on the good things. I am also a firm believer that friendship is a foundation and a staple in all relationships. You are going to come across issues and bumps in the road. If you have established a friendship and you both have recognized that the greatest substance in a healthy relationship is communication, things tend to work themselves out. If you have good communication, it goes a long way. If you don’t, you will eventually start moving in different directions.
Have fun, laugh, and life will reward you with beautiful experiences.
You don’t always get what you want, but you always get what you attract. What you are attracting is what you are thinking.
With love this Valentine’s Day,
I am making myself available for readers to submit their questions pertaining to sports/life/current events/relationships/etc. to Bernie@legendssportsmarketing.com. Submit your questions and I may randomly choose yours to be the subject of my next article!
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