Be your own hero.
One day I was teaching a customer service class, and I remember a woman complaining non-stop about how miserable she was in her job.
She went on and on about how she hated all of her coworkers, she hated her boss, she hated serving customers, and most of all, she felt like her job was taking years off of her life due to “being around stupid people all day.”
When she was done with her rant, I asked her a very obvious question that she probably should have asked herself years ago:
“If you’re so miserable here, shouldn’t you consider finding another job that will make you happy?”
She was completely shocked by my question, before she finally responded.
“Well, I have bills to pay and I need this job. But that’s not even the issue. I just don’t understand why this company has so many idiots working here. They should be the ones who have to quit, not me…” Blah, blah, blah.
On and on she went. It was truly sad to listen to her.
She believed that the responsibility for fixing her unhappiness in her job belonged to her company, to her coworkers, and to her boss.
The fact is, no one is going to save her from a job that she hates–least of all, the “idiots” who she hates working with.
But I know who can.
Superman is Busy
The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. The gift of life is yours. It’s an amazing journey, and you alone are responsible for the quality of it.” -Dan Zadra
There is not one post on The Positivity Solution that will be of any use to anyone if we’re not willing to do one very important thing:
Take full responsibility for the quality (or lack of it) of our lives.
If you’ve been here for a while, you know that I’ve written about every topic from refusing to be anyone’s doormat to changing the world just by saying two words.
But what good is any blog post, advice, or encouragement if we foolishly believe that someone else has the power to save us, besides ourselves?
Let’s be real.
Superman isn’t coming, because Superman isn’t real.
And even if he was real, he would probably be too busy to save us anyway.
The good news is that we don’t need him.
The responsibility for saving us and leading us to our best lives, is our responsibility and our responsibility alone.
Simply put, we need to be the heroes in our lives.
And truthfully, doesn’t that make sense?
The person with the most power over our lives will always be the person looking back at us in the bathroom mirror every morning.
We’re the ones who are making the decisions in our lives.
We’re the ones in charge of our thoughts, words, and actions.
Most of all, we’re the ones with the most invested in our overall happiness and well-being.
Contrary to popular belief, it will never be our bosses, our significant others, our parents, or anyone else who hold any power over us.
Unless we choose to give them that power, of course.
Make no mistake though, our power belongs to us.
And since we’re on the topic of mistakes, the biggest one that we’ll ever make in our entire lives is choosing to give that power to someone else.
The Best (and Toughest) Advice I’ve Ever Received
The world owes you nothing. It was here first.” -Mark Twain
In 40+ years of life, I have been fortunate enough to have some amazing mentors.
During one particularly whiny period of life, I remember being addicted to the triple-whammy of personal mediocrity: 1) Chronically complaining, 2) making excuses for everything that was going wrong in my life and 3) blaming everyone else for my problems.
I still remember telling one of mentors (my psychology professor in college) that “I work my ass off at my work study job! I deserve to be treated better by my boss! It is so unfair.”
What my mentor told me next hurt like hell, but it changed my life forever.
“The world doesn’t owe you anything.”
Sure it stung, but she was absolutely right. The world doesn’t owe us anything. Not a damn thing.
That’s why we can’t fall victim to these way-too-common thoughts:
I give this company 110% effort on a daily basis. I deserve a boss who respects me.
I do everything for this family. I deserve a spouse who appreciates my efforts.
I’m such a nice person. I deserve a loving relationship.
Truthfully, your boss should respect you, your spouse should appreciate you, and you deserve the greatest love that this world has to offer.
But if you’re not getting those things and you truly want those things, then don’t wait for the world to magically hook you up with those things.
The world owes us nothing.
It doesn’t owe us a respectful boss, an appreciative spouse, true love, or anything else.
We owe it to ourselves to make those things happen for us.
Ever since I started The Positivity Solution, I have heard a lot of people tell me, “Shola, it’s not that easy.”
Seriously, can we all agree right now that is the worst comeback in the history of the world? Does something have to be easy in order for us to do it?
Being our own heroes isn’t about “easy.”
Sadly, I’m writing this as a former chronically complaining, professional excuse-maker who wouldn’t do anything unless it was easy.
Unfortunately, there’s nothing easy about being the hero in our own story.
What is easy is making excuses and blaming others for our problems.
Being a hero means keeping our power by always taking full responsibility over the quality of our lives. I failed to do that for far too many years and I paid a very steep price for it, both professionally and personally.
If we’re going to be heroes, we need to remember that excuses and blaming others for the quality of our lives is no different than kryptonite.
And just like holding onto kryptonite, holding onto excuses and blaming others will only make us weaker.
Thankfully, there’s a much better option.
Here’s what it looks like.
Real Heroes Don’t Need a Cape
Growth is painful. Change is painful. But nothing is as painful as staying stuck somewhere you don’t belong.” -Mandy Hale
I want you to remember the above quote as you read the following story.
Recently on The Positivity Solution’s Facebook page, there was a woman named Keisha (not her real name), who shared with me that she made the huge life decision to leave an extremely toxic relationship.
Here are her exact words the day after she left her toxic significant other (re-posted here with her permission):
“I wrote the other night about leaving a toxic relationship. I wanted to report that I have officially moved me, my 3 kids (from a previous relationship), and all our stuff to a more positive atmosphere. I was yelled at and belittled during the whole process, but I stood my ground. I feel mentally and emotionally battered. But I will come through this stronger, and with the satisfaction that I taught my daughters not to stand for being mistreated!”
Pretty awesome, right?
Please trust that there’s nothing easy about what she did.
She needed saving. Even more importantly, her three kids needed saving.
And believe me, “waiting for a hero” definitely wasn’t an option for her.
So, she decided to be the hero in her own story.
I recently followed up with her to ask where she found the courage to be so heroic, and here’s what she said:
“I’ve been through quite a few hells, and I still have the ability to smile. It’s all about how you handle the situation. It wasn’t easy, it was most likely the hardest decision of my life. I chose to love myself enough to find the strength within. It’s there in all of us, I promise. I believe that we are never handed more than we can handle. We were given this life, because we are strong enough to live it.”
This woman, my friends, is no chump.
To me, Keisha is the epitome of what being a hero is all about.
She felt the fear and did the damn thing anyway.
We can all do the same thing the moment we decide that no one has the power over our happiness, our well-being, or our best lives except for us.
No more giving our power away to excuses and blaming others.
No more waiting for the world give us what we’re owed.
No more waiting for Superman.
From now on, if we ever need to be saved, we only need to remember this simple truth:
The only hero that you’ll ever need is already here.
Is there an area of your life where you need to be your own hero? Have you ever “saved yourself” by being your own hero? Jump into the comments below and make your voice heard!
March is here, and with that means the most exciting month in College Basketball, a stretch of action known as "March Madness." March is always the end goal of any collegiate team in all corners of America, playing for their lives in front of packed arenas with the mantra: Survive and Advance. This Sunday, the brackets will be revealed, and 68 of the best teams in the nation will scramble across the country and go for glory.
A is for At-Large Bids
Each conference tournament champion gets in the NCAA Tournament automatically. Whenever a team who doesn't win their conference tournament gets into the large tournament, it is known as an at-large bid. Because Miami did not win the ACC last year, they were an at-large team.
B is for Bracket
When the teams are revealed, the bracket shows who plays who, and show the winners of game X play the winners of game Y. When this is revealed, millions of people will fill out their own bracket to show how they feel it will all play out.
B is also for Buzzer Beater
When a player shoots a game-tieing or game-winning shot with no time left when the shot goes through the basket, it is a buzzer beater. March Madness is known for historic buzzer beaters, most recently when Kris Jenkins's shot beat North Carolina in the title game two years ago.
C is for Cinderella
When a relatively unknown team makes it much farther in the tournament that everyone is expecting, they are known as a cinderella team. Butler University and Virginia Commonwealth (VCU) are examples of double-digit seeds to go all the way to the final four, thus are classic cinderella stories.
D is for Dance
A slang term for the tournament is the "Big Dance" or "Dance." That is why a cinderella team is called a cinderella because they crashed the dance.
E is for Elimination
The big danceis a war because two teams are fighting for their season each game. If a team wins, they advance, but if a team loses, they are eliminated and their season ends. It can be very sudden, like when Miami's season last year was going great until it fell apart at once against Michigan State and poooff the season was over.
F is for Football Domes
Because the championship games have so much demand, they are often played in huge domes meant for football. While more people can attend the game, the top row is not an ideal place to watch the game unfold on a small basketball court.
G is for George Mason
George Mason was the first modern cinderella. People mistook the team name for a player's name. But they went to the final four in 2006 under the direction of their head coach, Jim Larranaga...
H is for Half-Court Shot
One of the most iconic moments in basketball is when any player hits a shot halfway between both baskets. It generally only happens at the end of halves or games, but its rarity makes it special.
J is for Joe Lunardi
The "Bracketologist" makes his predictions for the tournament before the brackets are released and continue his analysis thought the whole tournament. He is a well-regarded resource for any fan, from casual to hoops geeks.
L is for Larranaga
Jim Larranaga? Didn't I just mention him? Yep, after guiding George Mason through their improbable run, he found his way to Miami and remains our fantastic coach. Here, he is celebrating the Cane's win in the 2013 ACC Championship.
M is for Mid-Major
A mid-major is a program that is good enough to compete in the tournament despite being a smaller school or from a weaker conference. Florida Gulf Coast is a mid-major who often makes the NCAA Tournament.
N is for National Champion
Each team who makes it in dreams of cutting down the nets and raising a banner in their arena, celebrating a national championship. North Carolina won last year's championship.
P is for Play-in Game
Every year in Dayton, Ohio the play-in games are played. Eight borderline tournament teams are given a last-minute chance to get themselves into the main event, you win, you're in.
R is for RPI
The best way to make sure you're in the tournament is by having an elite rating percentage index, better known as an RPI. This number ranges from .000 to 1.000 with the higher number being better. The number goes up by winning games and doing them against teams who also win their games.
R is also for Regions
Each team is seeded (see below) 1-16. There are 4 regions, each with its own set of 16 teams. The winner of region gets to advance to the final four.
S is for Seed
Each team gets a magic number as they head into the tournament. A good team is likely to be closer to 1, while the teams got weaker and weaker as their seed falls all the way through 16. A 1 seed will play a 16, a 2 plays a 15, a 3 plays a 14, all the way to the 8-9 contest.
S is also for Snub
When a team who may get in, or is confident they will make the tournament is cut and is not selected it is called a snub. Most teams who believe they're tournament bound have selection show watch parties the players and fans, so snubbed teams end up showing their reactions for the world to see.
T is for True Seed
Because more than 16 teams obviously make the tournament, a team's seed is not reflective of how they stand nationally. All 68 teams receive a 1-16 seed and a true, 1-68 seed. This picture shows that Miami had a #10 true seed two years ago.
U is for Upset
In order for a team to be a cinderella, they must pull off multiple upsets. An upset is one game where a much lower seed defeats a more well-known, higher seeded team. There has never been a 16 seed to beat a 1 seed, but several 15 seeds have advanced, like two years ago when tiny Middle Tennessee knocked off college basketball blueblood Michigan State.
W is for Women's Basketball
Women's Basketball is a growing sport that has their own version of March Madness. There have been some incredible games in the Women's Final Four. One of the best game I have ever seen (Women's or Men's) was last year's final four game between UConn and Mississippi State. UConn's winning streak was in the triple didgets, but Mississippi State hit a buzzer beater to clinch one of the biggest upsets in the sport's history.