Happy Thanksdriven

Thank YouThanksdriven

Thank you for the doubters.  They make me work twice as hard and twice as long.

Thank you for the failures.  They have created opportunities for improvement.  They have humbled me and corrected my incorrect path.

Thank you for the naysayers.  They force me to refine and redefine my success pursuit.  They challenge me and keep me honest.

Thank you for the antagonists.  They helped reaffirm my goals and heighten my focus

Thank you for the struggle.  It gives me the motivation to push forward.

Thank you for keeping success just out of my reach.  It motivates me to succeed even more.

Thank you for my weaknesses.  They show me where I need to improve.

Thank you for my losses.  Though they hurt, these loses will make my wins that much sweeter.

Thank you for my pain.  That pain is a testament to the rigor of my work.

Thank you for knocking me down.  It taught me how to get right back up and never ever give up.

Thank you for my poor results, because I have learned not to give excuses.  My results are my results.

Thank you for not rewarding my best.  If I have already done my best, how can I possibly get any better?

Thank you for breaking me down.  I have to be broken down to learn how to rebuild even stronger.

Thank you for holding me back.  Without being held back, I would never know what it takes to spring forward.

Thank you for a difficult yesterday.  Without yesterday, I won’t know what to do tomorrow.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to fail.  Without failing, I will never develop the skills necessary to succeed.

Thank you for telling me I can’t.  Hearing that made me realize I can.

Thank you for not believing I can succeed, because that is why I remain driven.

Thank you!


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He was standing, if you can call it that, under a sign that made him smile.  “Congratulations!  You are now at Uhuru Peak.  Africa’s highest point.”  He trained for 12 months and it took him a grueling 7 days to get there.  The first documented ascent to the top of this behemoth was in 1889 by Hans Meyer.  Since then, there have been thousands of people who challenged this geologic beast.  Most of us are content with our mundane, vanilla lives.  Most of us are very comfortable not challenging ourselves at all.  Spencer West was different.  He wanted a challenge.  He wanted to make possible what most thought was impossible.  He is different because of his drive, determination and perseverance.  However, he is also different because he has no legs.

Spencer lost both his legs, just below the waist, at the age of 5.  Most of the things that able bodied people take for granted were impossible for Spencer.  Doctors made it clear that he would not lead a normal life.  He would not accept that.  Not only would he have a normal life, but he would do something that many other people would not even consider.  Most of his 12 month training regimen was focused on making sure his arms and hands could withstand the journey.  He wobbled hand to hand all the way up the highest peak in Africa.  Nothing would stop him and no obstacle was too big to overcome.

This is an intense example of grit and determination.  It shows that the human spirit can dominate any circumstance.  It shows that anyone can overcome anything.  When you doubt yourself, think of Spencer West.  When you encounter an obstacle that you think you cannot overcome, think of crawling on your hands and climbing 19,341 feet.  No deadline, no job, no circumstance is too much to overcome.  You will get to your highest point.  When you get there, let them know that Spencer West sent you.

doc mu


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5000 miles

In the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, Ethiopian Mamo Wolde won the marathon gold medal with a time of 2 hours, 20 minutes and 26 seconds.  This was only Ethiopia’s second gold medal at that time.  As he crossed the finish line, he was mauled by his Ethiopian brethren.  With no obvious signs of fatigue, he wrapped himself in the flag of his home country and began his victory lap.  Crossing the line to their own cheers were Japan’s Kenji Kimihara in second and Mike Ryan of New Zealand in third.  The first America crossed the finish line at 2 hours, 29 minutes and 49 seconds.  In all, 55 marathoners crossed the finish line and the cheers diminished with each one.  At 3 hours 25 minutes and 17 seconds, Enoch Nwemba of Zambia was the last to finish the marathon – or so everyone thought.

Just as the crowd began to disperse and approximately one hour after Mamo crossed the finish line, John Stephen Akhwari entered the stadium.  Every step appeared labored and painful.  His right leg was bloodied and bandaged.  Earlier in the race he had fallen, hit his head and badly injured his knee.  To make matters worse, he was trampled during the fracas.  As the last lone runner hobbled and limped to finish line the crowd erupted in thunderous applause.  They congregated at the finish line and watched as he slithered by.  After stumbling across the finish line, a reporter asked him why he didn’t just retire.  After all, he had no chance of winning and risked career threatening injury by continuing.  Exhausted and confused, John bluntly replied.

“My country did not send me 5000 miles to start the race.  They sent me 5000 miles to finish it.”


What we can learn from John is this.  Success cannot occur just by starting your success pursuit.  You have travelled too far not to finish it.  Starting is necessary, but it simply isn’t enough.  We typical have the inertia to start, but rarely do we have the fortitude to continue.  Even though he had no chance of winning, even though he had no chance of placing, he was determined to finish his goal.  He had come too far to stop.  Irrespective of the result, the pursuit had to continue.  Your success pursuit is no different.  You should never quit.  Even if you fall, get trampled or bloody your knee, put that bandage on and continue forward to the finish line.  That finish line will come eventually.  You didn’t come this far to start your success pursuit.  You came this far to finish it.

doc mu


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34 of 34

At the 1996swimming Atlanta Summer Olympics, Omar Dallal swam his hardest!  He had trained and trained and trained.  He was the fastest 400 hundred meter freestyle swimmer in his country.  At fifteen years old, he carried the weight of his home country on his back.  Jordan isn’t known for their swimmers and the country has had limited Olympic success, but that didn’t hinder their lofty expectation for their hero.  During the race, he said that he kept repeating the words “I think I can!”  To compete in any Olympics requires dedication, preparation and most of all performance.  Omar was at his moment of truth.  These are the moments when heroes are made.  He was at that point that we all hope to get to, where all of our preparation culminates in one defining moment.

When it was all said and done, Omar Dallal had a personal best.  He performed like he had never performed before.  He overachieved.  All his practice and preparation culminated in the greatest performance of his life.  Out of the 34 swimmers that competed in that race, his time was dead last.  That’s right!  He was 34th of 34.  His name was never called that day and I would bet you money, that you have never heard his name before reading this.  It is not often that anybody writes about the Olympian who placed last in his event. Omar is important, because Omar is what success is all about.  Let’s face it.  We all can’t be Michael Jordan.  Most of us aren’t Albert Einstein and we can only dream of being Pablo Picasso.  While we may not achieve their lofty heights, we can still be successful.  Society says success is winning the Super bowl, coming first in your academic class or building a multimillion dollar empire.  That’s easy.  You know what’s hard.  Training all your life for the Olympics, being the only hope for your country, swimming your absolute hardest and placing 34th out of 34, now that’s hard.  For Omar, success is getting back in the pool again.

Our understanding of success is all wrong.  There is no question that the result matters, but the result isn’t always how the success is measured.  Success is long, arduous and incremental.  It isn’t always glorious.  It isn’t always in front of a crowd.  It doesn’t always happen with thousands of fans screaming.  Sometimes success happens by working your entire life, incredibly hard, giving all you have to finish dead last.  Success may just be going to your dead end job every day and performing your personal best.  When no one cares and no one is watching, performing your personal best may be what success is all about.  How many of us give up, because we know that our result will be 34th of 34?  How many of our kids stop pushing because Johnny is just “better” than them?  How many of us only do what is expected at work, instead of exceeding expectations?  If we truly knew what success was, we would perform our personal best every single day in everything we do.  We would perform our best even if it means being 34 of 34.

Slightly different!

doc mu


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Second Place is the First Loser – Maybe Not

Second Place is the First Loser – Maybe Not

Winning is everything.  After all, it is the reason we compete.  No matter what motivates you to succeed, winning feels good.  Winning strokes our ego.  It is what we anticipate, when we perform at our peak.  Each incremental moment of deliberate practice is fueled by the desire to win.  Every free throw, every wind sprint, every squat, every bench press, every test, every new assignment, every practice, every step is powered by the passion to win.  Winning is the engine of our social Darwinism.  Winners are lauded, extoled, glorified, applauded and put on a pedestal.  Winning affirms your preparation.  It affirms your performance.  It establishes your presumptive place in societal hierarchy.   Most of all, winners are given the opportunity to continue winning.

Winning is the ultimate goal, but what happens after we win.  Do you remember the last championship post game locker room interview?  I remember watching the Miami Heat win the 2012 NBA championship.  Champagne was flying everywhere.  Everybody was dancing, laughing and smiling.  They were doing what is natural for most people.  They were celebrating.  After a great win, it is human nature to celebrate.  But what does the first loser do?  The loser laments the decisions they made.  They think about what they could have done differently.  They think about how they could have done better.  They blame themselves.  I remember watching Lebron James speaking at his basketball camp in San Diego.  He attended the camp after his devastating loss in the NBA championships.  He told the kids how much losing made him want to practice more and work harder.

When we lose, we think about how we can get better.  When we lose, we think about how much harder we could have worked.  When we lose, we want to win even more.  For peak performance, being the first loser is far more motivating than being the winner.  Though winning may make us feel good, the bad feelings from losing inspire us to be better.  Losing inspires us to do better.  Losing inspires us to work harder.  It stands to reason that being the first loser may not be as bad as we think.

And what of Lebron James?  He was the first loser in the 2011 NBA Championships and what did he do?  He won two back to back championships in 2012 and 2013!

doc mu


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Everybody, at some point, has used the term 24/7.  When we use this term we are describing our time commitment to something.  If you are doing something 24/7, you are doing it all the time.  When we say this, we don’t literally mean that we are working on a project for 24 hours and 7 days a week.  It is a colloquialism that represents our effort.  We want to let everybody know that we are working toward a goal, as hard as we possibly can.  As the words leave our lips, we know we aren’t being entirely truthful.  There is no way to work on anything 24/7.  There are practical limitations to that.  You are not, at least theoretically, working on a project in your sleep.  When we say 24/7, we convey a message about what we are willing to do to accomplish a goal.  However, to find true success you may have to take a step further.  True success requires that you go beyond the confines of what you think is plausible.  If you rely on the time constraints of 24/7, you will have modest wins, but you won’t have the type of wins that will truly distinguish your performance.  To take it to that next level you may have to work 48/8.

24/7 is a valiant effort.  It means that you have used most of the available time in the day, towards your goal.  Then what the heck is 48/8?  48/8 takes it to the next level.  48/8 means pursuing your goal 48 hours a day, 8 days a week.  This may seem impossible, but it simply describes a mindset.  Instead of using all of the available time to pursue your goal, you create time to pursue your goal.  If you are truly maniacal about your motivation and fanatical about your focus, you must create opportunities to succeed.  You have to create time, where there is no time.  You have to create opportunity, where there is no opportunity.  Success doesn’t happen when it is convenient and when you can find time.  These time opportunities have to be created.  They have to be created in addition to your typical responsibilities.  They have to be created when you are sick, tired, hungry and sad.  They have to be created outside your 24/7.  In Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers, he discusses that mastery requires at least 10000 hours of deliberate practice.  To get to that level of mastery, you have to create time.  It means you may have to sacrifice sleep.  You may have to skip watching that football game.  You may have to develop your company’s strategic plan while driving to work.  You may have to brush your teeth while you are on the toilet.  The point is this.  You have to think, eat, and dream success.  Somehow, someway, you have to create additional hours in your day to focus on your success.

24/7 means you will find the time to pursue your success 48/8 means you’ll create it.

doc mu

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Are you doing your better?

It’s easy for us to think that we are doing our best.  Unfortunately, we think we actually know what our best is.  But, how can we?  How can we possibly know what is our best?  Can’t we always do better?  Think about the last time you went to work, could you have done better?  Could you have improved your performance?  If you are truly honest with yourself, there are many ways that you could have done better.  True success does not happen because of a single episode performing your best.  True success happens as a result of the incremental improvements that occur from doing our better.  Each and every day we shouldn’t strive to do our best, we should strive to do better than our previous performance.

Don’t settle for what you think is your best.  Always strive to be better!


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Maniacal Fanaticism: A Path To Leadership

Just stated writing my new book. Maniacal Fanaticism: A Path to Leadership. My first book going through the last editing. Hopefully I find a publisher soon. Make some noise about the book. Any publicity is good publicity!

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What is your motivation?  What is it that allows you to push past your previously perceived limits?

You have to watch this video.


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Would you have stopped?


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Welcome to Maniacal Fanaticism: A Path To Success. I want to hear what you have to say. Blog about the book or the theory. Most of all, I want to hear about your success story. How did you triumph over adversity? How did you turn failure into a success?

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Don’t wait for opportunity. Find it and take it. If you can’t find it, create it! ~ Imamu Tomlinson

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