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Monthly Archives: February 2014

Making Good Grades in the “University of Life”

It is not too late to get straight A’s!

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By Greg Smith

I always talk to my kids about the importance of their grades.  And they always ask me what kind of grades I got.  It’s one of those, “Don’t do as I do… do as I say” scenarios.  Parents feel me…

Do you ever wish you could go back and “re-do” your education?  If that possibility magically emerged, I would take on a whole new attitude about my grades.  I would be a 4.0 guy instead of 2.5 guy.

Life is filled with “If I knew then what I know now” impossibilities.  Unfortunately, we only get one shot at life’s experiences.  I was too busy worrying about my popularity, my level of “coolness,” my delight in seeking out a good time to be a 4.0 guy.  Most people can relate to sacrificing grades for other interests.

But what if I told you that it is not too late to change your grades?

Despite the fact that your formal education ended with your graduation (hopefully), as long as you’re living, you are still learning.  If you’re not learning, then you’ve begun the process of dying.  How’s that for a “stay in school” message?  You are enrolled as a full-time student in the “University of Life.”

You are majoring in whatever your goals and dreams are.  The classes you are taking are the categories of knowledge and skills that you need to master to reach those dreams.  Your daily activities in these categories and your level of success or lack thereof are your grades.  The more you master the material, the more likely you are to get good grades which will lead to the attainment of your goals.

For example, one of my dreams is to become a world-renowned, top-level motivational speaker, author and broadcaster.  The classes I’m taking in pursuit of that dream include the following:

  • Presentation Skills
  • Creative Writing
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Broadcasting and New Media Concepts
  • Advanced Marketing and Promotion
  • Sales

That is a full schedule.  I need to master all of those skills to be successful.  I’ve decided to grade myself on a daily basis.  I’m keeping track of my performance.  What have I learned?  Did I apply that knowledge to my work day?

What about you?  What are you dreams?  What “classes” do you need to take in order to reach those dreams?  What areas do you need to master with A’s so you have the knowledge and insight to be successful?  I urge you to list your schedule of classes and to pay attention to your daily progress so that you can get all A’s, which will result your success.

Lesson Applied:

While preaching to my kids about grades, I was inspired to create the following graphic which illustrates my definition of each letter.

Grades

I posted it on Facebook and then looked at my wall.  First of all, I should have capitalized the word “mean” to be consistent with the rest of the headline.  Beyond that, after spending about an hour trying to figure out how to work my new graphics program, I decided that it was “good enough.”  I wasn’t thrilled with the layout.  The graphic came out a little “blurry” and I didn’t know why.  But what the heck, I thought.  And I posted it.

When I looked at it, I immediately decided that if I were to give it a grade, I would give it a B.  I rushed it.  I didn’t take the time to study the graphics program long enough.  The graphic is a classic B: “Because I didn’t study hard enough or long enough.”

But the beauty of the “University of Life” is that the professor will always allow you to take the test again if you’re not happy with your grade.  There will be no averaging of your first and second test results.  No penalty for turning it in late.  No limit to the number of times you get to take the test.  When you master it, you get an A.

I decided to spend more time and use more resources to improve my graphic.  I consulted with an expert and turned it in again.

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I think this time, I earned an A.  If you agree, feel free to copy it, share it and spread the word about the importance of getting good grades in the “University of Life.”

I’m excited about also sharing the graphic with students who are currently in school.  I’m looking forward to bringing my message to middle schools, high schools and college campuses in 2014.

 

Dayniah Manderson featured in New York Times Video Profile

Dayniah Manderson is a friend I met through the “Living with MD” Facebook group last year.  The New York Times put together this video profile.  I guarantee you will be compelled to watch the whole thing.  Check it out and then check back this weekend for my exclusive one-on-one video interview!

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Together We Miss Football

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Well, welome to the annual abyss.

The Super Bowl is over.  I can’t get into college basketball until March.  I can’t get excited about the NBA until June.  Baseball doesn’t turn me on the way it did when I was a kid.  There’s nothing in the sports world for me to get excited about until May 8, the date of the 2014 NFL Draft.  From there, it won’t be long until the Hall of Fame game and the kickoff of the pre-season.

46% of Americans say that football is their favorite sport.  Why?  The NFL asked its fans.  Thousands of people submitted essays and videos about why they love football to NFL Films for a chance to go to the Super Bowl.  I submitted my entry and amazingly, I received a call from NFL Films!  They wanted to come and shoot some video of me watching son’s game!  Donovan’s Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Bulldogs were traveling to East Mississippi Community College for a first round playoff game.  Missing one of my son’s football games is something I hate to do but I had a speaking engagement on that date.   Now, not only would I miss the game, but I’d miss the opportunity for NFL Films to put mics on Donovan and on me for broadcast nationally.  We did agree that if Gulf Coast won the game, NFL Films would come to the championship game the following week.  Didn’t happen.  That was the end of my chance to go to New York.

But I did make a cameo on the big show!  “Football America” aired nationally on Fox and on the NFL Network.  Millions of Americans saw my 10 second appearance near the beginning of the show.  Check it out, and enjoy the whole show.  It is a wonderful, heartwarming presentation of stories about what’s great about America’s favorite sport.

Here’s a link to my “almost winning” submission to NFL Films:

Here’s a link to the full program: “Football America.”  Enjoy!

 

Your Super Bowl Memories

A lifetime of memories from an annual game

Super Bowl Portrait

Super Bowl Sunday!  My favorite American holiday.  All across the country, and in many parts of the world, people have gathered in celebration of our favorite game.  We love the food and the beer. We love being around so many of our friends. We savor the memories that are created by our experience of watching each game.

Where were you in January 1973 when the Miami Dolphins beat the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl VII?  I was sitting on the shag carpeting in the basement of my parents home in Big Flats, New York. I was 9.  My face was wet from tears because the Redskins were my favorite team and they lost.

How about 1982?  When the San Francisco 49ers’s squeaked out a victory over the Cincinnati Bengals, I was a senior in high school, having recently found out that I would attend Arizona State University for college.  I watched the game on our family’s wooden TV console — a cross between a television and a big piece of furniture.

Where were you in 1986 when the Chicago Bears blew out the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XX?  I watched that game on my rented TV, alone in my apartment complex in Tempe, Arizona.  I didn’t want to be around anybody during the game.  It was the Bears.  I wanted to be able to yell and scream and curse and if necessary, cry, in privacy.  I was angry at my dad because he chose to use his tickets to the game on a business associate instead of his son.  It was frustrating because I had been a part of the Bears championship run that year.  Home to Chicago for the holidays, I had secured media passes for both the NFC Divisional Playoff Game against the Giants and the NFC Championship Game versus the Rams. I got to meet Mike Ditka, Walter Payton, Richard Dent, Jim McMahon and the rest of the charismatic bunch that comprised the greatest football team ever gathered!

Where did you watch Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004 when the Patriots beat the Panthers?  I watched the game at my home in Ocean Springs but I have an interesting memory about that game.  I had just invented “The Strength Coach” persona and decided to go to Media Day at the Super Bowl to collect interviews and to get videotape of myself interacting in that environment for use in the documentary film “On A Roll.”  I traveled to Houston alone.  It was a frigid cold day in Houston.  When it’s cold, my hands don’t work.  I could not use my cell phone to communicate with the film crew and we never made the connection.

Lombardi Trophy

In 2001, I was living in the Super Bowl city, Tampa, and attended all the festivities that week.  I enjoyed the game at a big party with several of my closest friends.  I was pulling for the Baltimore Ravens, who beat the New York Giants 34-7.

When Devin Hester returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown in Super Bowl XLI in 2007, I was screaming with joy at my 50″ plasma.  I was with my family at home and we were celebrating too early.  When the game was over, I turned the TV off and went to bed.  Final score: Peyton Manning’s Colts 29, the Bears 17.

Today’s game is a family affair once again.  Football is such an important part of our family structure.  My dad played.  My sons played.  I coached and I watch.  As far as I’m concerned, you can have the big Super Bowl parties.  I’m excited about watching this year’s game on our 55″ with the surround sound turned way up and my father and sons within yelling distance.

For a fun exercise, go back and look at the history of the Super Bowl. Where were you?  What was going on in your life?  Who were you watching it with?   What about your experience with this year’s game?