The Part of Your Identity That Doesn’t Fit Into Categories

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Lutalica.

You tell the world who you are
In a million different ways.
Some are subtle, some are not.

But it doesn’t seem to matter:
This world has already got you pegged.

When you were born they put you in a little box,
And slapped a label on it.
So they could keep things organized,
And not have to think about what’s inside.

Over time you learn to make yourself comfortable
Packaging your identity in different combinations
Until you feel like you belong,
And can wear your labels proudly.

But there’s a part of you that never found a home
Rattling around in categories that never really did you justice.

You look around at other people,
Trying to judge how loosely they fit in their own lives
Sensing a knot of confusion hidden beneath a name tag.

And you realize we’re still only strangers,
Who assume we already know what the other is going to say,
As if the only thing left to talk about is
Who belongs in what category
And which labels are offensive.

You have to wonder if these boxes are falling apart.
If we should be writing our identities by hand,
And speak only for ourselves, in our own words,
So we could take our chances out in the open
And meet each other as we are,
Asking: “What is it like being you?”

—And be brave enough to admit
That we don’t already know the answer.

Maybe it’ll mean that we’ve finally arrived,
Just “unpacking the boxes”
Making ourselves at home.

And maybe one day we’ll look back and wonder
How we managed to live together in the same house for so long,
And never stopped to introduce ourselves.

The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows

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Greatness has a Cost.

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You asked for my hustle, I gave you my heart – because it came with so much more.

It’s the ultimate sacrifice. Greatness has a cost.

It reschedules your plans for you, it puts your family and friends on hold, it makes you feel misunderstood, and it will put you in some deep dark holes.

Greatness demands everything from you.

Your mind, your body, your spirit and your soul.

So what do you do when you shoot four air balls in a playoff game, what do you do?

Do you sulk? Do you weep?

When you disappointed all of your teammates, when you let down all of the fans, do you ask for sympathy? Do you ask why me?

When they blast the coach for keeping you in the game, do you blame yourself? When they’ve drawn up their own conclusions about how your career is going to end, do you wish you could go back in time and make a different decision?

Or do you get off of the plane and go straight to Palace Aids High and get the janitor to open up the gym and lock yourself in there until the sun comes up?

And you go shoot, and you drill, and you relive that moment and change the outcome over and over again.

Decisions shape our destiny, and obsession can be beautiful.

What separated me is not a gift; it was a hunger.

A hunger to hunt when others would eat. A hunger to hone in when others thought they perfected.

They had a crossover, they had a fade-away, they all wanted rings, but they also had obligations. They weren’t willing to cut it all off.

See, its not just about going to the court, shooting, dribbling, practicing the same move again and again, no no.

Lack of skill is from a lack of mind – on and off the court.

From a little boy sitting on the ball in the park to a grizzled veteran on his last legs, its been a mission from day one.

To impart what I know, so you can better understand yourself. I’m here because the game needed me as much as I needed it.

The game was my comfort; a platform to grow and teach others the same.

It was where I learned about the terrors and joys of life.

Of ice baths and buzzer beaters, of struggle and of gold – and everything in between.

It was where I transformed the darkness to come closer to the light.

And it always brought a new challenge; a flaw that needed to be healed. And the game would send the medicine directly my way.

And you will have to make that choice for yourself. Whether that treatment would be worth it or not for you.

But greatness can not come without that cost.

How do you press enough without pressing too hard? How do you go far enough if you don’t go too far?

How do you get eleven others to begin their relentless pursuit to duplicate yourself?

Not in terms of skill, but in terms of competitive spirit.

To instill the intensity, to impart that DNA so they can be champions on the court and men off of it.

How do you prove to the world who you really are – to honestly express yourself?

The media will paint a story, the fans and critics will create their own, but no one’s expectations-no one’s-could live up to my own.

My love to become more, and to give more – I did everything for you.

Because that’s what you do when someone make’s you feel as alive as you’ve made me feel.

— Jaret Grossman —

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What Kind of Day Has it Been?

Charlie: Name that tune.

Will: Play a little more.

I’ve got to find her and find out

Will: Tom T. Hall, “That’s How I Got To Memphis.”

Charlie: You do play a little guitar on the side.

Will: I do a little news anchoring on the side. Since when do you listen to country?

Charlie: My grandson Bo, Katie’s oldest, has a garage band. Ask me what instrument he plays he plays.

Will: Guitar.

Charlie: All of them. Seriously – he’s a savant. You put an instrument in his hands, give him a day and he can play it. So, I was at their house last weekend and I wander out to the garage and see Bo teaching “That’s How I Got To Memphis” to his friends and I ask him “what’s a kid from New Rochelle doing signing about Memphis?” He said “Memphis is a stand-in for wherever you are right now. That it really means that’s how I got here.”

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Obsessed With Improvement

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Listen to me very closely – I need you to upgrade your values. Somebody asked me about two months ago, he said “ET, if there is one mistake you made, whats the one mistake you made?” I said “I’m going to be honest with you, my values aren’t in alignment with my dreams.” He said “ET what do you mean by that?” I said “I’m going to tell you a story:”

I’ve got a good friend of mine, he came to me and said “Eric, my marriage is not where my marriage needs to be, I need to make some adjustments. I see you and your wife, I see how much time you spend with your wife, how much time you spend with your children, and I just – I want that. You buy your wife roses regularly, you always taking her out to eat… Like E I am watching you, you spoil her, ET what can I do?” And so I told him what to do and guess what he started doing guys? He started doing the exact same thing I started doing, and he said “Eric its not working. I’m doing exactly what you’re doing but its not working,” he said “why isn’t it working?” I said “You know why its not working? Because your values and your dreams — You say you want a better marriage, but I told you, you need to iron your wife’s clothes.” And you know what he told me? “I know Eric, you told me to iron, you told me to wash, you told me to cook, but where I come from when I do that, I feel like a punk.” And I said “And that’s why you’re having a hard time doing it.”

Because your value system says a man is not supposed to iron, a man is not supposed to cook, a man is not supposed to wash dishes; that’s what your value system saying. So you’re doing one thing, but you’re going against your own value system. The reason why I’m having such an easy time washing clothes and cooking and ironing-you know why-is because nothing is as important to me as my marriage. And I would rather be happy, I would rather be happy, than to say “I aint no punk.” Make me a punk, I want to be a punk! A happy punk. For real though, a friend of mine came to my house and I didn’t have a mop so I was on the ground and I was mopping the floor with a towel and he said “ET, the hiphoppreacher, you are on the ground and you’re mopping?” And I said “Yeah.”  He said “Your wife’s got you whipped.” I said “You didn’t know!? You just found that out?  I’ve been doing a terrible job I’m sorry. I am whipped.” And after twenty-three years you should be, and you’re if not its a problem.

So listen to me, there are those of you saying “I want to be a millionaire! I want to be the best in this company!” right? But your value system says you believe in sleep more than you believe in grinding. Your value system says you are a consumer and not a producer, that you are spending more money than you are making. Why? Because you’re a consumer – but you’re reading all the books and saying everything the the books are saying – but those books are not in alignment with your values. And if you are going to go to the next level your values are going to have to change.

That’s what happened for Eric Thomas, my values about learning changed. I realized that information changes situations and so I’d rather buy a book than buy a house. Because if I buy a book I can buy several homes, but if I buy a home and I don’t have the right informa– Guys for real, ok I’m going to leave you with this, this is crazy. Can I be honest with you guys? You could burn my house down and it wouldn’t bother me. Well how do I know? I had a home that a tornado tore down in Alabama, it didn’t bother me. Why? Because we have the blueprint; and they can rebuild it. You can take all my money out the bank, it might hit me-oooh-but if I tell you my line up of speaking, and our audio book, what we’re making every month we’ll be alright, I can make more money. But if you take the knowledge out of my head and take the experiences that I have, I am broke, I am nothing. So now I don’t just read because I see other people reading and I want to mimic what they’re doing; I really believe in reading now. And so all I do when I have time is read.

Last one: You’ve got to be obsessed with improvement guys. Last one, come on – come on! This one is so important because some of the greatest minds are going to be in front of you today. Some people in this room who are not just talking it, they’ve lived it.But here is the problem – the problem with most people is that you’re not obsessed with improvement. You’re obsessed with making money, you are obsessed with taking your business to the next level… And can I be honest with you guys? When you become obsessed with improvement — I will spend more time learning in Australia then I will speaking. I am going to say it again because you missed it: I will spend more time sitting under people, I will spend more time with Glenn, I will spend more time with Aaron, I will spend more time learning than I will speaking in this country! I will walk away with stuff I never heard before, books I’ve never read before, audios I’ve never seen before, going to conferences that I’ve never gone, hanging out with people that I’ve never hung out with before.

This is nothing guys, this is just a dessert. Me speaking is just a dessert. This is just the beginning – I came to Australia to learn. I came to Australia to get an upgrade. When I go back my wife will notice a difference, my kids will know a difference — why? I’m obsessed with improvement! Every day I am getting better! There are those of you with phones and every new phone that comes out, you get it. Every upgrade you get it, every piece of software you get it. You are upgrading your technology and you’ve not upgraded yourself! You’ve got the same operating system you’ve had since 1995 – you don’t think any different, you don’t speak any different, you are the exact same person you were in 2010.

And I challenge you, the final one, I challenge you, the final one I challenge you, we’ve got five seconds… four seconds I challenge you… Be Obsessed With Improvement.Be Obsessed With Improvement! BE OBSESSED WITH IMPROVEMENT!

– Eric Thomas –

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