January 2023


We know our friends during adversity, and our friends know us during prosperity.

As author and motivational speaker Jim Rohn often said, “You are the average of the five people we spend the most time with.” I agree with Rohn; your thought process & worldview is determined by who you surround yourself with, the people, and the media you consume daily. You cannot take people farther than you have gone, and we cannot give what we do not have; who we surround ourselves with matters a lot. Most of us surround ourselves with default friends disguised as frenemies, the familiar (family), our comfort zone, and low-growth individuals.

“You are the average of the five people we spend the most time with.” – Jim Rohn

The above statement by Jim Rohn cuts across every area of our lives, your income is the average of the five people you spend the most time with, and your perspective is proportional to the five people you interact with often. Who we surround ourselves with is one of the most important decisions that we all have to make. One of the recurring themes in my study of people through the reading of multiple Biographical books is the importance of choosing the right partner, whether in life or business.

In The Self-Aware Leader: Play to Your Strengths, Unleash Your Team, leadership author Dr. John C. Maxwell asserts that lack of self-awareness is the single greatest obstacle leaders face in their development, effectiveness and advancement. When leaders don’t see themselves clearly, understand their strengths & weaknesses, or recognize their negative interactions with their team, they. limit their influence & undermine their own influence.

Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.

The Death Song Poem is often attributed to native American Shawnee chief and warrior Tecumseh. The poem is often referred to by different names:  Sing Your Death Song poem, die like a hero going home poem, The Indian Death Prayer, The Indian Death Poem, Live Your Life poem etc.

Tecumseh was a Native American Shawnee chief and warrior who became the primary leader of a multi-tribal confederacy that led his people to resist the expansion of the United States into Native American land. He was one of the most celebrated leaders of his time.

A company of one resists and questions some forms of traditional growth, not on principle, but because growth isn’t always the most beneficial or financially viable move.

In Company Of One: Why Staying Small Is the Next Big Thing for Business, author and entrepreneur Paul Jarvis argues that staying small provides one with the freedom to pursue more meaningful pleasures in life―and avoid the headaches that come with traditional growth-oriented business. The core philosophy of Company of One: Start small, Define growth, and Keep learning.

In Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and Off the Court, Coach Wooden shares timeless wisdom about every aspect of life, his personal philosophy on family, achievement, success, and excellence. Coach John Wooden won 10 NCAA champions in his 12 years reign as the UCLA Bruins, including seven national championships in a row: 1967, 1968, 1969,1970, 1971, 1972, 1973. He is considered one of the most successful National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) coaches.

One of the hallmarks of highly successful people is their morning routine and regimen. Some of the early risers include Apple CEO Tim Cook, Oprah Winfrey, Indra Nooyi, and Barrack Obama, to name but a few. I have always been fascinated by success and the routine of the successful people in our world. As it is often said, “Success leaves clues”. One of the clues and patterns have found in my reading of multiple biographies and autobiographies is the dedication, routine, consistency, and regimen of the greats.

“People don’t remember what we think is important; they remember what they think is important.”

In Everyone Communicates, Few Connect: What the Most Effective People Do Differently, master communicator and leadership author John C. Maxwell shares five principles and five practices to develop connection skills needed to become an effective communicator. He also highlights strategies for connecting with people one-on-one, in a group and in an audience. He recommends communicating in ways that consistently build potent connections. Maxwell asserts that everyone communicates, but the authentic communicator takes the time to know their audience, hone their message and present it in a simple way that the audience would quickly grasp.

In Embrace the Suck: The Navy SEAL Way to an Extraordinary Life, former Navy SEAL Brent Gleeson shares his experiences from SEAL training, combat, business, and life in general. The phrase “Embrace the Suck” is a metaphor for leaning into the suffering and getting comfortable with being very uncomfortable.

Embrace the suck is a book about resilience. It provides tools and frameworks for dealing with adversity. In early 2000, Brent decided to leave his job as a financial analyst with a global real estate development company to join the United States Navy. He joined the Navy to become a Navy SEAL, one of the most challenging special operations training and selection programs in the world.

“Resilience is like any muscle. With focus and determination—you can strengthen your mind to overcome any obstacle, crush goals, dominate your battlefield, and live an extraordinary life.”

Be careful how you fight your fights because they will determine how you live your life. – Cus D’Amato

Mike Tyson’s autobiography: Undisputable Truth is a story of paradox and contradictions. Tyson used self-discipline to become the youngest heavyweight champion in the world at the age of 20. Tyson grew up in Brownsville, Brooklyn New York, in his words “A place where dreams are broken and memories are best forgotten.” He was a student of the game, groomed for greatness by his trainer and legal guardian Cus D’Amato. Tyson’s story shows what is possible, even if you grew up in a high-crime environment, was raised in dysfunction, and had low expectations from your family and friends.

 I was the youngest heavyweight champion in the history of boxing. I was a titan, the reincarnation of Alexander the Great. My style was impetuous, my defenses were impregnable, and I was ferocious. It’s amazing how a low self-esteem and a huge ego can give you delusions of grandeur.

At the height of Iron Mike Tyson’s career, he was earning approximately $30 million per fight. He was the youngest person (20) to become the youngest heavyweight champion in history. He made over $400 million in his 30 years (1985-2005) boxing career. He lost all of his wealth due to financial indiscipline, substance abuse, infamy, sex addiction and numerous litigations.

Show me a hero and I’ll write you a tragedy.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald

Iron Mike Tyson is considered one of the greatest heavyweight boxers of all time. In a career that spanned thirty years (1985-2005), he reigned as the undisputed world heavyweight champion from 1987 to 1990. Tyson made over 400 million dollars in his boxing career. However, he lost most of his wealth due to a series of poor financial decisions, drugs, alcohol and sex addiction. In 2003, Tyson filed for bankruptcy with $23 million dollars in debt.

It is often said that we get rewarded in public for what we diligently practice in private. One of the hallmarks of the highly successful is their obsession with sweating the details; they are usually the hardest workers in the room, and they are also the first to get to the gym and the last to leave. They sweat the small stuff, paying attention to details and executing relentlessly.

It is that time of the year again when we are all setting new year’s resolutions and goals. As the saying goes, “How you do one thing is how you do everything.”  As the founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates, once noted: “We often underestimate what we can achieve in a year and overestimate what we achieve in five years.” The hardest part of starting most journeys is the beginning.

We often underestimate what we can achieve in a year and overestimate what we achieve in five years

In her 2021 book, Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence, author and psychiatrist Dr. Anna Lembke, delve into the neuroscience of reward with an emphasis on the neurotransmitter: Dopamine.  Dr. Lembke shared true stories of her patients and their journey of recovery from addiction. She also shared a framework that helps the reader better understand Dopamine and strategies for recovering from addiction. The framework is based on the Acronym DOPAMINE.