Archive for May, 2014

Thanks Charlie Day for one of the best commencement speeches ever! An article in entrepreneur magazine outlined the commencement speech that the actor/writer/television show creator wrote and performed for Merrimack college. He encouraged the graduates to,  

I don’t think you should just do what makes you happy. Do what makes you great. Do what’s uncomfortable and scary and hard but pays off in the long run. Be willing to fail. Let yourself fail. Fail in the way and place where you would be proud to fail. Fail and pick yourself up and fail again. Without that struggle, what is your success anyway?” 

 

The words of Charlie Day ladies and gentleman and more true words have never been spoken or written.

We will fail but this is what will make us great. Getting up and trying again lessons learned and what not. I know I blogged yesterday about graduation and I am going to mention it again. Why? Because graduation is a big deal, the graduate did it? She or he has graduated from something, high school, college whatever and that is a big deal. The graduate has failed up and congratulations graduates!   Now that you have graduated you are getting ready to partake in adulthood. Welcome to the real world. It is a jungle out here but if you take some of Charlies advice and when you get the chance read the article, it has the full speech in it you know what? I am pasting the speech to the end of this post definitely read it.

But take note at what he says about failing and doing what makes you great because that is a big deal! A little secret about doing what makes you great is this: when you do what makes you great you will be happy and the happiness will be immeasurable and you can do this. No matter how hard it seems you can do what makes you great. Take it from the doctor

peace

john3c

 

download (2)

 

“Good morning Merrimack. I’d like to thank President Hopey, trustees, faculty, students, parents, and my apologies to all the grandparents in the audience who have absolutely no idea who I am.

You are graduating from an excellent school today. Alumni have gone on to be CEO’s, doctors, politicians, professional athletes, however this year you get to receive wisdom, knowledge and life lessons, from a man who has made a living pretending to eat cat food.

I do however have some qualifications, some insight, because I, like you are becoming today, am a Merrimack College Graduate. I know what it took to get here. I was in this very room. I sat in those uncomfortable chairs. I dressed like some sort of medieval pastry chef and I too desperately hoped my hangover would wear off. If you can just make it to brunch you should be alright.

Take note. A quick observation.

Apparently the higher in life you climb in life the more ridiculous your hats become. Like the one I’m wearing today, or the pope’s or Pharrell. So if in some way you fear success, just think of the hats and that alone should motivate you.

This may be hard to believe but it was roughly twenty years ago that as a freshman I first set foot on this campus. I remember it well. My parent’s eyes filled with tears. My own nervous excitement. I entered the Ash dormitory. I walked to my room. My heart was pounding with what the future might hold. I reached for the door handle, grabbed it tight, only to discover it had been covered with Vaseline.

It was a real lame prank being pulled by the boys on the third floor. “So this is how it’s gonna be” I thought to myself. “Okay. They have no idea who just arrived on campus.” I had to take action. I befriended a guy named Ed with a similar penchant for mischievousness. And late that evening Ed and I went to the third floor community bathrooms and cut all their shower curtains at waist high. Leaving the third floor boys with a diabolical option the next morning. Pass on a shower or take the most embarrassing shower of your life. My apologies for the destruction of school property. I’ll donate two shower curtains. You’ll have to dig up Ed to get the third.

Merrimack has come a long way since my time. The campus has grown. The quality of student improved. U.S. News & World Report ranked Merrimack as one of the top ten regional colleges in the north. In my time there was a young man at this school who scored in the zero percentile on his SAT’s meaning nobody in the nation did worse than this man. This was a man who once mistakenly said “he wished he lived when it was black and white.” A man who with complete seriousness told someone, that “he would take their advice in to cooperation.” This man, of course … was my roommate.

Did you think it was me? Come on. You’re confusing me with my tv character. No. I was a decent student and I’m actually a doctor now. I have a PHD. I’d like to thank the school with bestowing me with this honor and highlighting to all the students and the other PHD’s in the room today the complete and utter unfairness of life.

And although I join the ranks of fellow prestigious Honorary Doctors like Mike Tyson and Kermit The Frog and although I fully acknowledge that Dr. Charlie Day sounds like some kind of club DJ. I assure you all that I intend to go by this title from here on out. And as a doctor I plan to start writing my own prescriptions immediately.

Now, I know that having a honorary doctorate degree will do nothing for me, but I’m here to tell you today that your degrees, the ones you toiled to get, the ones you actually took classes to earn, those degrees, will also basically do nothing.

Let me clarify. You can’t exchange your degree for cash. You can’t have a degree audition or interview for you. You cannot eat it. Please don’t make love to it. You can maybe smoke it but I wouldn’t advise it. A college degree collects dust. It does nothing. It does however mean something. It represents something, to yourself and your community. It tells your community. “I have expanded my mind and destroyed my liver but I didn’t give up. I pushed through. I made it, man.” And although 44 of you today took more than 4 years to achieve that goal, nobody has to know that. Think of the plus side, you gave your parents a couple more years of nobody living in their basement.

Of course, jokes aside, you all should be very proud. This is the end of an impressive chapter and in many ways just the very beginning of what your lives will be. And I know that you are curious about how things will go from here. Well let me tell you, Dr. DJ Charlie Day is here to help.

I have been in your shoes. Not literally of course. I wouldn’t go anywhere near your shoes. I’m sure half of them reek of stale beer and vomit.

No, my point is this. I was here and I have the rare opportunity today of looking back at myself on this day and giving myself advise. What would I say? First off, “Charlie, lay off the dark beer and the bread. You’re getting a little puffy, bud. Also get over that girl. She’s not that into you. You’re really wasting your time, trust me she’ll regret it. Oh and you don’t need to worry about Y2k it’s like not even going to be a big deal or anything.” Okay perhaps this exercise isn’t too helpful but the truth is I don’t have a ton I would say to myself. I’m happy with my choices. Let’s face it, my life is pretty sweet.

I’d like to tell you instead three quick stories about some of those choices. The choices that led me from there to here and although most of you are not planning on becoming actors and writers I’m sure there are some parallels you can draw to help guide your own experience. If not, feel free to tune out. If your anything like I was at your age I lost you somewhere around “Good morning Merrimack.”

When I left this school I was presented with two options. Move to New York City where I knew next to nobody and begin my pursuit of acting or take the entry level position that had been offered to me by Fidelity Investments. I know what you may be thinking. “Why would major financial services corporation offer this numbskull job?” The answer is simple, because I tricked them.

Merrimack’s business program was offering interviews with the company. The students would be given a score on their interview. I had no desire to work at Fidelity Investments but I had never been on an audition and I thought it would be a similar experience. I wanted to see if I could pull off the role of aspiring banker. Or whatever they do at Fidelity.

I had a game plan. Deflect from me. Get the guy to talk about himself. I wasn’t going to lie. I just thought I’d basically interview him. We had a pleasant conversation. If I recall correctly we talked forever about the intricacies of water skiing, an activity I know nothing about.

Look, had the man asked me what eight times seven was there would have been an unbearable pause in the room. But he didn’t. The interview went so well they offered me a job. Now this threw me a little. It was a real job. A big boy job. It was also more money than anyone had ever offered me for anything before. “Should I take it? Is this my destiny? Am I the next great financial genius? Should I come up with a plan B. Work in Boston a few years at Fidelity. Make enough money to have a cozy transition to New York.”

Well, I’ve always had a half-baked philosophy that having plan B can muddy up your plan A. I didn’t take the job. I moved to the city. I bussed tables and answered phones. I lived in a basement apartment next to a garbage chute. The apartment was filled with cockroaches. I couldn’t have made a better decision. Well maybe not the cockroach part. I should have found a different apartment. You’ll find better apartments. Just avoid the trash area.

There is an obvious lesson here about believing in yourself, and there is the plan A plan B stuff but forget all that for a second. I think the lesson is this. Had I worked at Fidelity I’m sure they would have fired me eventually. I’m no financial genius. I can barely do long division.

But I didn’t want to fail at Fidelity. And I didn’t want to fail in Boston. If I was going to run the risk of failure I wanted it to be in New York. I wanted to fail in the way and place where I would be proud to fail, doing what I wanted to do and let me tell you … I did fail. Time and time again. I was too short for this or too strange for that. I even had one casting director for a movie say “he’ll never work in comedy.” I was taking my punches but I was in the fight. That’s a metaphor of course, I highly doubt I have any ability to take an actual punch.

My second story is a story about creating your own opportunities instead of waiting for them to be given to you. After a few years in New York, my foot was in the door. I was working. I was doing bit parts in film and television like mail kid #1 and junky #2. I couldn’t get that big break. After many, many failed attempts of getting cast in television something popped up. It looked as though I was going to be offered a part on a big network show called “Life on a Stick.”

Around that same time because I was tired of waiting for the big break I, along with my friends Rob McElhenney and Glenn Howerton, started filming a show in my apartment.

We had a sense that maybe we could make a better show than what was being offered to us at the time. We borrowed cameras asked friends to hold microphones and shot this show that we would eventually call “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.”

Suddenly there was another decision to be made. Another crossroad. Do I do “Life on a Stick.” Take the big network opportunity, the big paycheck or bet on myself and my friends, make no money and try to sell what basically was a home movie as the next great television series.

Do I try to convince people that I’m a writer and a show runner even though I didn’t own a personal computer at the time. We were talking about a real long shot. It was the scarier thing to do but I said “no thanks,” to “Life on a Stick” and went with “Sunny.”

“Life on a Stick” went one season and thirteen episodes. We are currently filming our tenth season of “Sunny” we’ve written and produced one hundred fourteen episodes and are signed on for another two seasons making “Sunny” one of the longest running comedies of all time.

Again the bet on myself and my friends paid off. This time in spades. There was power in numbers. “Sunny” changed my life. Not only did I have a career as an actor and a writer now, I had complete control over it control it too. If I wanted to dress in a full body green spandex suit it went in the show. If we wanted to drink wine from a coke can as perhaps some of you are doing today it went in the show and if someone thought mittens were funny on kittens it went in the show.

It was the riskier road and again I could not have made a better decision. Taking matters into my own hands changed everything. Led to everything. “Horrible Bosses,” “Pacific Rim,” “Saturday Night Live.” Creating the job as opposed to having it offered to me accelerated the process. Draw your own conclusions here but I think the lesson is obvious. Don’t wait for your break. Make your break. Make it happen for yourself.

My last story of what led me from there to here is the literal act of agreeing to be here. When President Hopey came to Los Angeles to sit down with me my first thought was, “here it comes, they’re gonna ask me for money.” But when he asked me to speak to you today, I quickly accepted. Then as is the case with all great opportunities, reality of what I had to do began to set in. “Dear God” I said to myself, “I’m actually going to have to give a speech.” I am not a public speaker. I have a voice like a ten year old who smokes. “How am I going to do this?”

I YouTubed commencement speeches given by Conan O’Brien, Steven Colbert, Steve Jobs. This … was a terrible idea. Their speeches were so intelligent, so well informed and so eloquent that only more panic began to set in. “What am I thinking'” “How could I ever compare?” And the truth is, I can’t. I don’t host a talk show or do stand up. As an actor normally you have cut away from me ages ago. I am not nearly as smart as Steve Jobs was. I don’t know how my computer works, I don’t even know how my toaster works! And the YouTube comments, Oh the snarky comments! We live in a world now where things don’t go away. And that perhaps is the most terrifying thing of all.

But I didn’t back out. I’m here today speaking to you. And I know I will be posted on YouTube and judged and compared by all who care to see. But my lesson is this. I don’t give a shit.

You cannot let a fear of failure or a fear of comparison or a fear of judgment stop you from doing the things that will make you great. You cannot succeed without the risk of failure. You cannot have a voice without the risk of criticism. You cannot love without the risk of loss. You must take these risks.

Everything I’m truly proud of in this life has been a terrifying prospect to me. From my first play, to hosting “Saturday Night Live,” getting married, being a father, speaking to you today. None of it comes easy. People will tell you to do what makes you happy, but all this has been hard work. And I’m not always happy.

I don’t think you should just do what makes you happy. Do what makes you great. Do what’s uncomfortable and scary and hard but pays off in the long run. Be willing to fail. Let yourself fail. Fail in the way and place where you would be proud to fail. Fail and pick yourself up and fail again. Without that struggle, what is your success anyway?

As best we know we have one life. In it, you must trust your own voice, your own ideas, your honestly and venerability and though this you will find your way. You don’t have to be fearless just don’t let fear stop you.

Live like this as best as you can and I guarantee you will look back at a life well lived.

You are capable of greatness in your profession and more importantly in your quality of self. Stay young at heart. Stay hungry. Take those risks.

You are going to change the world around you in small ways and in big and I greatly look forward to being a part of the future you will shape. Congratulations graduates. And good luck.”

 

Advertisements

Validation. What is it? to be validated to find closure or confirmation that you are right.  It is a common psychological phenomenon and normal to want both validation and closure. Man is one of the most social animals there is. Getting closure and seeking validation is important in any society, however when we are sometimes doing what is right, because what is right is not always popular validation may not be easy to find, especially if our peers lack moral fiber.

There are may benchmarks in our societies for becoming an adult. I think one thing that is universal for all humans is the falling away of the need for validation. When you become an adult you realize quickly that the doing the right thing in and of itself is it’s own reward. This lack of a need for validation is a big deal while growing up and at sometimes it will be needed, because like I typed before the right thing is not always the popular thing. Having said all that always be sure that what you are doing is in fact the right thing

There was this cool movie that came out called “Do the Right Thing” Spike Lee directed and starred in it. Best I can tell no one in the movie did the absolute right thing but the main players reconciled in the end.

Knowing what the right thing to do can be tough but for me a good measurement of the right thing is the whole “do no harm philosophy” . If I am going to hurt someone than what I am goimg to do is more than likely wrong.

download (1)

So if you are right then the need for validation will not be that strong this is also another sign that you are right. The desire for validation will be diminished. Finally doing the right thing is the last benchmark for being an adult.

Graduation just happened and that is too another sign of becoming an adult graduating from high school and or college. Congratulations graduates and I think it was summed up best the whole idea of adult hood by the great

Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

 

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

 

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

 

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!
peace
john3c

 

Have you seen the Disney movie “Meet the Robinsons”? I love this movie! I know “Frozen” was amazing and everyone likes it a lot, but Frozen is no “Meet The Robinsons”.  My girlfriend has the Rob Thomas song “Little Wonders” on her Iphone and since we are creatures of the 00 century we do not listen to the radio anymore it is all I Tunes and downloads for us. Road trips are dominated by her eclectic mix of music and every time I hear Rob Thomas sing about :these small hours and these little wonders and twists and turns of fate’ I can’t help but think about that little yellow haired red glasses wearing protagonist from the movie. He was an orphan looked over and over for adoption. He had no one loved science and every project he worked on was a failure he was ready to quit when a time traveler from the future, who needed his help got his attention adventure happens and our protagonist learned somethings.

He learned that failure is temporary.

Forget about the consequences of failure. Failure is only a temporary change in direction to set you straight for your next success.

 

He learned that family matters and the bond that makes and keeps family is love.

In family life, love is the oil that eases friction, the cement that binds closer together, and the music that brings harmony.

Eva Burrows

 

He learned that giving up never ever works.


“Keep Moving Forward” 
― Walt Disney Company

 

He learned the best way to get over yourself is to help someone else out.

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” 
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

 

See how could you not love a movie like that? I think this was one of Disneys best movies  yet! I absolutely love the story and the lesons learned are timeless and empowering.

The song too is incredible when you listen to the lyrics it drives home the point that, when we try to do things and fail or succeed what matters more than the accomplishment is the journey to get there. Doesn’t that seem true? I mean when you are going through it and you embrace it whatever it is what remains? What matters. See great movie and song!

Happy Friday everyone!

peace

john3c

 

The fact is that we will die. One day we will all pass away. We will no longer be here on planet earth and what will remain of us? What is our legacy? What will we leave behind well there are moral codes and philosophies that we will have left for our children and even more tangible something physical that we will leave for our children is of course the earth itself. Think about it.

It is a bit grandiose I know but it is a fact right? I mean we as a species effect our habitat more than any other species I can think of. Plant or animal, now you may be thinking about bacteria. Bacteria is tough and spreads rapidly right? It does it came seem like an organism which devours and destroys everything but it is not it finds balance and it thrives and survives.  Mankind has learned much more about bacteria and (when you are not eating) you should take some time and read about probiotics. It is a very interesting article about bacteria and about how bacteria lives an thrives and balances itself out within it’s host or environment.  So bacteria also dies and what it leaves is its’  environment and if it leaves an environment that is destroyed and ravaged it has been a bad steward and all the philosophy and morals will be of no use to teh second generation.

I am not sure if you know it or not, but the world is changing and we are changing it. The climate change we are experiencing is changing the world we live in. Our children  and our grandchildren will not live in a world that we have lived in and thrived in because of our actions and inaction’s.

I guess the question is not will our children live in a different world as much as it is how much different will the world be for them.

unnamed

How can I help? That is the big question now. What can one person do to save the world?  I wondered this myself and of course I went to google. Google knows everything right?

Guess what I found. I found a website from the epa with small things we can do to help.  Guess what else I found. As you start doing small things others do some of the same small things and as with any movement small things effect large changes and while we may not leave the children with the best world we may leave them with one that is habitable and relatively safe.

Isn’t that important?

images (3)

Let me be clear, I am in no way an activist but well I can’t help but think about two really awesome people.

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” 
― Dr. SeussThe Lorax

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” 
― Anne Frank

peace

john3c

 

How do we do it?

Posted: May 21, 2014 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

I love the word quantify. When I say it out-loud it makes me smile. Go ahead and try it. I will wait. Did you smile? Funny sounding and looking but what does it mean? That is simple, it means to measure or to express measurement. So how do we do it? How do we measure things? I guess the answer to the question begins with, as all questions do, another question. How do we measure what? Let us say success? How do we measure success? Ah again another question success in what context? A successful life. So now we have the whole question.

How do we take stock of our lives and see if we have been successful or not? Ahh that is a tough one. I guess it comes down to priorities. We may have a clue, to what is important to us. Hows so you ask? Well Facebook has at last count 1.23 billion users on it. Yeah that is a lot.  So what is Facebook all about? Well according to its creator Face book is all about connecting communities together. Ahh that is it isn’t it? Connecting each other together. We make connections everyday, are they good ones. Do your connections benefit you and others?

If you connect and the connection results in something good for you and others then it may be safe to say that you have succeeded.  Now as far as measuring or quantifying. I cannot really answer that to measure something we must establish base lines and I don’t feel comfortable doing that with lives.

Positive-Thought-Of-The-Day-on-winning-and-losing

 

The thought of categorizing someone as a looser seems juvenile and wrong as does the thought of categorizing someone as a winner. A winner at life. See taking stock of your life and measuring it or quantifying it robs you of something very special  and that is the chance to embrace and enjoy your life.

Life is a gift

“God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living well.”


― Voltaire

I think that it was put best by one of the brightest it is up to you to live well. Let’s not measure our lives or others they way we do everything else. It is almost impossible to not do this, when you find yourself beginning to take stock or quantify your life, make a new connection or reach out and strengthen connections you have already made and you will see the need to measure diminish and be replaced by a joy that can only be described as.. Life.

peace

john3c

 

Are you listening to intelligence squared debates on pod casts? If not you should. Seriously, this is an excellent radio show.   Intelligence squared debates is a talk show in which experts debate in a civilized manner and at the end of the show the audience votes and a winner is declared.

r-DIGITAL-AFTERLIFE-large570 images (2)

 

Last weeks debate was is Death Final. A great debate with scientists and philosophers.  One of the philosophers mentioned how a near death experience and an after life is something entirely different than conscious thought and kind of hinted at how it should not even be up for debate and I have to say I agree about this. Is death final should not be up for debate because we do not have the appropriate tools yet to measure this.  Now, societies tools for maintaining and measuring death have come along way since say the time of safety coffins.  A safety coffin is a coffin with a mechanism inside, one that would allow the buried to let theones burying him know that he or she wasn’t dead, it was sometimes as simple as a bell attached to a string through a hole in the coffin.  However even after coming as far as we have there are still some incidents when a person was thought to be dead only to find they were not dead.  Just this February A Mississippi man  was discovered alive and kicking in a body bag at a Mississippi funeral home.  Of course this is simply a misdiagnosis of death and that can and does happen often, but it points out that is much we do not understand about life and death.

As man learns and begins to learn and understand all states of consciousness and beyond maybe we as a society will be able to identify a soul, but until we can life after death will be a mystery and clearly something entirely different than life right now is.

What I think is important to focus on is of course what we know and understand and can learn and for now that is consciousness and life. We should not loose hope in a life after death but to consume ourselves with this hope would be to rob ourselves of the amazing miracle going on now, which is life.

Is death final? No one really knows. I am not going to tell you who won the debate. To find out you will have to go to the website and get the podcast.  This really is a great podcast!

I still want to point out though, that if death is final, or merely the beginning of the next chapter of our existence we should do our very best to live the fullest and most helpful lives we can now, through compassionate action and education.

peace

john3c

 

Forgive? That is the question could you forgive someone or yourself for something that is unthinkable? There is a sanctity to human life. We are born alive and being alive is a gift and a wonderful one at that. What if someone came to you and tried to take away this gift from you? Could you forgive them? Would you be able to go further and fight for their live if say they were on death row?  Who could? I mean even Mother Theresa or Ghandi would be hard pressed to do this right?  We would want blood, a whole eye for an eye thing, right?

Well, Raisuddin Bhuiyan forgave Mark Stroman for trying to take his life. Mark Stroman, walked into the convenience store that Raisuddin Bhuiyan worked in and shot Raisuddin in his face at point blank range. Somehow Raisuddin, survived this attack forgave his attacker and worked hard to get his attacker off of death row. He was not successful and his attacker was executed for his crime. The narrative is in a book, that is called, haunting in a recent  New York Times article. I cannot comment on the book yet, I have a full Kindle but this book will be on my two read list. I can however comment on the laurels of forgiveness.

download

 

 

As is part of the human condition, I have been hurt and I have dealt hurt. I have forgiven and I have held grudges. I have been forgiven and I have also had grudges held against me. Let me say this, although it is hard forgiveness is as much for the man or woman giving the forgiveness as it is for the subject receiving the forgiveness. 

Forgiveness can be hard and seem impossible but well

“The right thing to do and the hard thing to do are usually the same.”


― Steve MaraboliLife, the Truth, and Being Free

 

peace

john3c

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/book-review-the-true-american-murder-and-mercy-in-texas-by-anand-giridharadas/2014/05/08/d2d18490-b047-11e3-a49e-76adc9210f19_story.html