If you could get away with one crime…(?)

‘O.K., punk, up against the wall! Spread ‘em. (pat, pat, pat, pat) Whatjado wit’ the stuff?

N’ don’ crack wise wit me or so help me God, I’ll knock you inta next week, now give it up…!!’ What if? What if? If you could pull off one caper in your lifetime, if you could get away with one crime, what would it be? Steal a car? Not any car, the car of your dreams. Who cares about the cost? You’re stealing it. How about knocking over a bank? Just you and your GANG. Just fill the bag, Toots, no one’s gonna get hurt. Fill it. Fill it all the way up. How about a white-collar crime? You know, use your head, steal a million or a billion with your computer. Yes or no? Nobody’s the wiser, nobody gets hurt and all that zort ends up in some account in Switzerland. Or how about setting the screws to the fat-cats, those pariahs that seem to suckle off of the same system that gives them all their tax breaks for their phony minority set-asides, how about taking them to the cleaners? Oh! Oh! Oh! How ‘bout the gov’ment? They seem to have oodles and oodles of cash. Lord knows when someone else needs it, it’s there for them. They bailed out the banks, the insurance companies, the auto companies. How much of that money did you see? So why not you?

And what, pray tell, would you do with your ill-gotten booty? Would you spend, spend, spend or would you live in constant fear that everything would get traced back to you? Tsk, tsk, tsk, you’re not paying attention—the premise was if you could get away with anything…? Would you share with others less fortunate than yourself or would you keep it all to yourself? Would you give money anonymously to a village in South Africa so they could dig a well for fresh water or would you go on a buying spree on 5th Avenue at Tiffany’s? Nobody’s going to be the wiser. Which one would you go for? Would you pack up the entire family and spend the holidays on the beach in Maui or would you give away groceries and turkeys at a church on the south-side of Chicago. Would you spend $125M on a yacht or would you use that money to start an incubator-program that taught single mothers how to accomplish their dreams by staying in school and helped small businessmen employ the youth from gang infested neighborhoods around any given city? Nobody’s going to know, just you.

Or what if you wanted to do both, help others AND take care of numero uno? How ‘bout that? How much would you give away? 25%? 50%? 75%? All of it? You would obviously take care of your own first, right? Actually, that’s not all that obvious, is it? Some families are just so competitive, each one being out for themselves, that ‘obvious’ couldn’t be further from the truth.

But not all crime has to do with money, not necessarily. What about the bad guys? You’d have to think, sooner or later, there has to be a reckoning of some sort. What about gathering up some of the bad guys and getting rid of them. ‘Course, you have to remember that the bad guys aren’t always going to look like the ‘bad guys’, are they? Lot of them wear suits and ties, drive the nice cars, send their children to the finest schools and what have you. But make no mistake about it, these guys are worse than the crooks themselves; the only difference is that these guys hide behind our laws and the other guys just break them.

There are no ‘right or wrong’ answers to any of these questions, this was simply a mind game. But the answers should say something about you yourself and how you play the game of life. What if? That’s right, what if?  Take it slow. MLProko (2011)

Published in: on October 24, 2011 at 6:16 pm  Comments (1)  
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On fortune cookies (good vs. ???)

They’re part of the ritual, fortune cookies; those and almond cookies. And they usually send you off into the evening quite content with a positive message to go along with an enjoyable meal: When fire and water go to war, water always wins or something like Your dream will come true when you least expect it or maybe something more definitive like What ends on hope doesn’t end at all. Those are the kind of messages that can give you a bounce to your step as you walk down the street on the way home. Just a little more dramatic than You will be successful in your work or the favorite Expect the unexpected, lest we forget Live this day as if it were your last. Kind of boring, I think. If someone’s going to drop something into my noggin, I would just as soon let it be something that I can use, not just plain vanilla.

And who gets that job anyway, coming up with all these little ditties that they have to fit on a tiny piece of paper. Are these musings from an ancient Chinese encyclopedia that you have to filter through to find just the right one for your diners?

Perhaps it could be one of the cooks. He comes running out into the dining room every now and then and shouts ‘I have another one!’ God forbid that the guy in charge of doing the cookies has a bad day. You don’t have to be Confucius to know that the inside is reflected on the outside. Picture this poor soul behind 6 months on his rent to his parents, his wife just took off with his best friend and all the cash and his car was repo’d last night and it’s his job today to write the fortune cookies. I wonder what they would look like? You will die alone and poorly dressed. Or how about The dream you had your entire life isn’t worth it. Find another one! Or try this one: Bad luck and misfortune will infest your pathetic soul for all eternity. It could happen, y’know, I’m just sayin’.

            We would go to this small Chinese place for lunch every now and then. The owners were always very kind and very accommodating and they had a waitress who was drop-dead gorgeous. One of the guys who went with us was smitten by her; she, on the other hand, wouldn’t give him the time of day because he always forgot to leave her a tip. What she did do was give him a ‘special’ fortune cookie after each meal. Here’s one: The friends you do have are all below average. Then one day he got Most of the people that you know think your head is too big for your body. Then, there was one The end is near and it’s all your fault. I’m sure there’s probably a box of these babies in each restaurant for guys just like this character. Do yourself a favor and just leave the damn tip.

            Well, we’ve sampled some of the plain vanilla and the good ones that put that bounce in your step, the negative types and even the zingers. Then there are those times when you read the fortune and just wrinkle your brow trying to figure out what went into this particular message: Tell them before it’s too late!  Or Caveat Emperor [I’ve heard of caveat emptor but ‘Beware of the Emperor?] Try this one: I’m a fortune cookie. You just broke my little house. Where will I live now? This one should get that food to get stuck right in the middle of your chest: You are thinking about doing something. Don’t do it. It won’t help anything anyway. In all honesty, I prefer the messages that are more practical like The early bird always gets the worm but it’s always the 2nd mouse that gets the cheese. Add if you open one up and it says Stay healthy, eat more Chinese food it just goes to show you the Chinese are good business people. And very practical, too. At least that’s how I see it. Take care. MLProko (2011) more at www.mikeproko.com

Published in: on October 24, 2011 at 6:07 pm  Comments (1)  
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On looking into the future, would you?

If given a chance, if you could look into the magic crystal ball, how many of you would care to see what the future held? Most, I think. What if you didn’t like what you saw, how would that impact your life from that point forward? Almost everyone would like to know what’s in store for them, what’s around the next bend and how everything’s going to end up. But what about the subtle mysteries of life, the ‘not knowing’, how does that work? From a personal point of view, I’m one for surprises and I like a good mystery every now and then. And that’s probably indicative of our different personalities at the same time. Some of us plan every possible detail and some just kind of ride the winds. Is one right and the other wrong? That’s a coin toss, that’s up to the individual.

Are there those who can see the future? Since the beginning of time there have those blessed with an innate sixth sense, some who have a sense of what’s coming down the road. I also believe that all of us were born with this ability but only a handful will use that gift on a constant basis. But, for every Shaman, Wiccan or ‘Seer’ there are hundreds if not thousands who peddle the insights for anything from money to food or even an occasional bit of livestock. The honest ones will ask for nothing in return. The dishonest will always have their hand out. Those that are honest will deal in specifics; those that aren’t usually speak in generalities.

In my lifetime, I’ve been fortunate enough to witness many, many things that could not be explained, at least not in the regular course of events. I have seen things come to fruition, seemingly from out of nowhere, in the outside world and even within our own family. But, I have also kept an open mind about things that I know nothing about, kind of like a wild-eyed little kid. Sad is the person who discounts this and that just because it is outside the realm of their thinking. In the end, they will have missed out on so much just because they were unable to allow themselves to do some ‘free thinking’.

But getting back to the original premise, if you could see the future, would you? Be careful now! What if it’s not the kind of picture you like? Perhaps you may see that you are not long for this world or worse, your children? You could end up living an entire life on the defensive, too afraid to make a move because your fortune-teller said not to. My wife had a sit-down with an old Greek woman way before we got married and this woman was all over the map talking about the past, present and the future, stuff that would happen to us in 30 years! Specific things! Almost all of them came to pass. I wish she were alive today so I could give her a big fat kiss. What a woman. On top of that, her words were a gift to my wife, no money changed hands. This woman had THE gift.

Having said that, yes, each and every one of us would like to know what tomorrow brings. Lord knows we stay up all night worrying about it. But at the same time, there should be a natural unfolding of life, where you just get a little at a time and if we have to take a detour every now and then, so be it. Rarely do we ever end up where we started out for anyway. That, in a nutshell, is life. Could we have done without the mistakes? Undoubtedly. Should we have been better prepared? Again, without a doubt. But this is how we’ve developed our character and yes, look, we’re still standing. My grandfather used to say that the best way to predict your future is to go out and create it. And for that, you don’t need a crystal ball or a fortune teller. Don’t worry. It’ll all turn out and it will probably be better than anything you could have ever imagined. On that you have my word. Take it slow, my friends. MLProko(2011) www.mikeproko.com  

Published in: on October 24, 2011 at 5:56 pm  Leave a Comment  
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On overcoming fear

It starts when we’re ‘wee’ little ones, when we’re young, the boogieman’s gonna get ya and it follows some of the rest of our days, that fear. You can’t explain it really, not that you ever had to but what is this thing that has a hold on us? There’s nothing wrong with good old-fashioned ‘fear’, it keeps you on your toes and it keeps your senses sharp; that is when there’s something to be afraid of. But when that fear is of the unknown, of nothing in particular other than the fact that you’re just plain scared, well then, that’s a horse of an entirely different color.

Everybody gets scared, even the very best, the best of the best feel like they’re going to come apart at the seams just prior to walking on stage. Francis Albert Sinatra chain smoked just before he went on stage. We were lucky enough to see him just about every time he came through Chicago. I think he would qualify as being one of the best, wouldn’t you say? But every time we saw him he would start out the show by doing 3 or 4 quick tempo arrangements, say hello to the audience for 10 or 15 seconds and go into a couple of more standards. He really wouldn’t start a dialogue with the audience until he had rattled off about six songs. One of his conductors told us that he was how he handled his nerves. Old Blue Eyes? Nervous? You got that right! Richard Burton was another one. My God, you would have thought that the man was going to jump out of his own skin. And if you were sitting close enough to the stage, you could almost hear him shaking. But, in our lifetime, who was better than these two? You’d be hard pressed to come up with a good answer.

Conversely, the opposite of these two were guys like Jackie Gleason and Dean Martin, two pretty cool customers. Were they nervous? Without a doubt, but as soon as they hit that stage you knew that you were part of their show. You never got that feeling with Burton or Sinatra, you felt like you were watching royalty in action but with Gleason and Martin, it was like you were watching one of your uncles on stage. But the gag with those guys was that they would drink during the show. And the joke would have been on all of us. Gleason’s ‘booze’ was always in a coffee cup while Martin’s was in a glass on the rocks. Tea. That’s it. Tea. That’s all they drank. Sinatra, on the other hand, always ‘had some Jack’ (Daniel’s) in a glass on the piano. And Burton couldn’t wait to get off stage so he could have a few belts and that actually worked against him as got older.

All of the ‘biggies’ in any walk of life get nervous just before they have to do anything of any importance. They have to. The only people that I’ve ever seen that looked in complete control before they went on were the one’s who were talking down to the audience and, in fact, they probably put some of the patrons to sleep, they just came off flatter than a pancake. Those juices that you feel running through your system are there for a reason, the ‘fight or flee’ juices, that adrenaline—man, what a rush! And when your body says ‘flee’ and you stay to ‘fight’, that will be something to remember, mark my words.

Our daughter was 12 when she had to take her exam for Tae-Kwon-Do black belt. That morning she told me she couldn’t do it and she wasn’t going. After hours of coaxing she finally showed up to a room with about 100 people in it. I said one word, focus, and I walked away. And that kid moved like lightning that day. Action will beat fear every time out. Take it from your Uncle Mike. Take care. MLProko (2011) www.mikeproko.com

Published in: on October 24, 2011 at 5:19 pm  Leave a Comment  
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On why, who & how (amongst others)

Growing up with two other brothers (I was the middle one) and at 6’2” I was the smallest. We were close as far as brothers went, probably could have been a lot closer but there was always this division (no, not the kind of division caused by sibling rivalry) we were divided in the ways that we looked at things around us. I was the ‘why’ guy. I would look at things, anything really, and want to know why this happened, why this person responded this or that way, why were they in the circumstance that they were in? Always why, why, why.

            My older brother was always fascinated with ‘who’. He was the ‘who’ guy. This person did this, this one did that, 200 years ago these people did this; these people were going to do this and then this happened. He never asked ‘why’, all he cared about was ‘who’. The younger brother was always interested in how things work, he was the ‘how’ guy. Whether it was a doorbell or a computer or even an outdoor grill, he always wanted to know ‘how’ something worked. But knowing ‘how’ something works does not necessarily mean that you know ‘how’ to fix something that doesn’t work. That is or should be an art unto itself and when he got done fixing whatever needed fixing, you were just waiting for the Rube Goldberg Seal of Approval.

            Each of us was well versed in what we were interested in, probably more so than the average person. Therein lay the problem. When a ‘why’ guy carries on a conversation with a ‘who’ guy, the ‘who’ guy can’t wait for the ‘why’ guy to finish talking so he can start talking about ‘who’. And the ‘how’ guy thinks it’s all boring stuff until you can show him ‘how’ this thing is supposed to work anyway. So there you have these three orbs rotating around one another that will never be on the same plane about anything. The comical part about this scenario would be trying to carry on a conversation with the old man. One of us would be talking and he’d be sitting there stone-faced and when you were done he’d just look at you and say what does any of this have to do with making money? When I think back on the talent that was in that room that was never fully realized, it makes you just scratch your head.

            We are all hard-wired a specific way and we will always be that way. And it’s easier to change circumstances than it is to change personality. But it will be more conducive in the long run if you are able to round out your psychological makeup and learn or at least tolerate just a little bit more than what interests you. Case in point: you are at an event talking to someone who you know will do wonders for your business and you can tell by his conversation that he’s a ‘who’ guy and you’re a ‘how’ guy. Unless you can impress him with some ‘who’ knowledge, one drink is perhaps all you’ll ever share with this ‘rainmaker’.

            Tear a page out of Rudyard Kipling’s ‘6 Honest Serving Men’. It will serve you well over the years and through all your travels. What and Why and When, How and Where and Who; they taught me all I ever knew. And that guy Kipling did all right for himself, too. At least, that’s the way I see it. MLProko (2011) more at http://www.mikeproko.com

Published in: on October 24, 2011 at 4:25 pm  Leave a Comment  
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On waiting for your 2nd chance

You wait and you wait. You’ve made all of your mistakes and you’ll be damned if you’re going to make any more. So, you sit and wait. And you wait a little longer. Your eyes are on the horizon while you wait for your second chance. It’ll come, I know it. And the sun keeps coming up and the sun keeps going down and there you sit, waiting. Prudence might dictate that there probably won’t be that second chance that you’re waiting for. In the rule book that most of us didn’t read when we were younger there was a small paragraph in an unintelligible language that foregoes any mention of a second chance. Nope, this is a one-shot deal. That was more or less implied the day that we were born. Holy Mary, Mother of God, now what? I need that second chance. Or you could do just that, give it to yourself—give yourself that second chance.

What would happen if the second time around you actually grabbed life by the throat and hung on for dear life? What if you just got sick and tired of letting things just happen to you and went out and made those things happen? The sad part about waiting for a second chance is that you’re gambling on tomorrow but, correct me if I’m wrong, tomorrow is promised to no one. Oh sure, we’d all like to pick the point and reason for our departure but in reality that’s just not going to happen.

I have had friends that took an afternoon snooze that never woke up again. That’s how my grandma (my dad’s mom) passed away, during an afternoon nap. She was 63. The angel of death called on me twice while I was asleep. Neither time did I answer the door. Both times, he left his calling card and I still have the paralysis to prove it. And I was one of those who were waiting for that second chance except when I got it I had to learn how to walk and talk all over again. By second chance, I didn’t mean to go all the way back to the beginning. You see, it’s not up to us. Life is in charge and he plays by a completely different set of rules than we’re used to.

But, I did get that second chance. I was the lucky one. My doctor explained that one maybe two in one thousand are lucky enough to beat that kind of stroke. Then you start to question fate: Why? Why me? Why do I get the second chance? I’ve known those stronger, why didn’t they get the second chance? I’ve known better people than myself, why didn’t they fair as well? And, believe it or not, those questions start to weigh on your mind. All of this leads to a great deal of introspection and questions that cannot be answered. I don’t know if there is one answer that would satisfy everyone but hopefully it will all be explained to us sooner or later.

Now you have the second chance, what next? If you’re like most people, you won’t make the change. But, if you’re a thinking man, you will make the change. I was blessed twice; first, I was allowed to survive; secondly, I got my second chance and, dammit all, I wasn’t going to blow it. I was able to get rid of a lot of dead wood in my life while befriending some truly amazing individuals. Our grandma used to teach us that the people who were going to make the biggest difference in our lives were people that we had yet to meet and how right she was.

Don’t make the same mistake most of us make waiting up to the last minute for that second chance. Go grab it by the collar and hold on as tight as you can. You’ll end up living a life on your own terms. And that’s the way it should be. At least, that’s how I see it. MLProko (2011)   more at www.mikeproko.com.

Published in: on October 24, 2011 at 4:20 pm  Leave a Comment  
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On doing what you love

  • We were all taught by our fathers and their fathers that if we did something that we loved, we would never work a day in our life…
  • If you honestly love what you do and you are doing the thing that you love, then you are indeed a lucky man.  [A. Lincoln]
  • Most people make the mistake of not trying to make a living doing what they truly love to do. [Malcolm Forbes]


    Doing what you love. It sounds so simple, doesn’t it? Think back on your first job, think back on what that was like. You probably showed up right out of school and were baptized right there on the job, not really knowing what they expected of you but you were going to give it your all, weren’t you? Probably figured that you would learn to love it, right? Not so fast, bright eyes, ‘cause from the moment that you showed up, there was a fellow worker who was supposed to show you the ropes whose main crux was to make your time there a living hell. And that he did. Not enough to make you want to quit but just enough to make you miserable and tie your stomach up in knots. Maybe after 5 or 10 years you find that you just can’t do it anymore so you leave there for greener pastures and, I don’t know, let me guess, you run into the same old same old. Then you start to think about that camera of yours and how much you love it and wouldn’t it be nice if I could do that for a living but I can’t because I have a family and I have responsibilities and a mortgage and then you vomit on yourself. After you clean yourself off, you catch your reflection in the mirror, the age in your eyes, the salt and pepper around your temples and the gentle stoop in your shoulders as you turn to return to your desk, your 3’x5’ piece of borrowed real estate filled with its steel drawers and your empty dreams. And you do what the other guy next to you does and the guy behind you and the guy in front of you do—you wait for that clock to hit 5 and you’re out the door.

      There are only a handful of people in the work world who have not lived that scenario while most have. So what to do? Actually, it starts with a sheet of paper and a pencil. Just start making notes to yourself, small encouraging notes about whatever it is that you are going to embark upon. And then start with baby steps. Inch by inch it’s all a cinch. Baby steps. Don’t forget. Baby steps. You have to pity the fool who cashes in his 401k and takes off for two years to write the next great American novel. Baby steps. Talk to some people in the business that you see yourself in down the road and ask them for some help and/or advice. You’ll be surprised at the help you’ll get just by asking, but you gotta ask. You will meet someone who will explain things one way, another will tell you a short cut, someone else will introduce you to so-and-so and you’re off and running. Baby steps. Don’t forget.

      I was doing a small amount of writing back in the 90s then in ’99 I suffered a series of strokes. I was making notes to myself while in the hospital, notes that would yield my first book. One became two. Then another. Then another. At the end of this year I will have 12 books out and I’ve met some pretty amazing people along the way who helped me. And yes, I’m doing what I love. Baby steps. Don’t forget. And let me know how it turns out. God bless. MLProko [2011]  www.mikeproko.com.

Published in: on October 24, 2011 at 4:12 pm  Leave a Comment  
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On the art of visualization

It starts out as an idea. No, wait, not really. It starts out as a concept, then, after time, the concept becomes an idea. This is where all the picture-taking takes place up in your brain. Full color. Technicolor. Colors that you’ve never seen before are creating this vision in your head, vivid mind-blowing colors and then, slowly, all of these small bits form this picture, this mental picture. You might start arranging and rearranging these pieces in your mind; maybe, like some of us, you see yourself on hands and knees (in work clothes, no less) physically moving these pieces around to get them in some kind of order. The order is really of little importance at this point because this mental picture will undoubtedly change over time, but now you have something to build upon. Now the juices will start flowing. Ask anyone who has ever done any type of visualizing and they will probably give you the same basic scenario. This is where most people start and, sadly, this is where most people quit—right at the very beginning.

Some people are good at starting something but lousy at finishing. Others are good at finishing what someone else started but are dumbfounded as to how someone could even conceive of such an idea, let alone put it in motion. Then, there are those who are strong starters and strong finishers. Unfortunately, these are in the minority. Then, just as unfortunate, you have the mugwumps, those who are no good at either starting or finishing something. These people will live out their days on the sidelines, knowing neither victory nor defeat; in essence, they will watch life and the parade pass them by. From a numbers point of view, there are some estimates that this group will be made up of roughly 55-65% of the population. Ironically, this is the same group that thinks that visualization is all in your head. That’s a sad way of looking at things because it’s what comes after the mental picture that makes the visualizing that more impressive.

Once the idea becomes a mental picture it becomes an image that you will walk around with for who knows how long. There’s no rush, really. It’s not going anywhere, it’s your image. So you have this image and every now and then you do a little refining, not much, but just enough to keep your juices percolating and to keep it from dying. This is good. This is what you want to do—keep it fresh in your mind, start adding details to your image. At some point, sometimes sooner sometimes later, your vision will take on a life of its’ own and then it starts to grow exponentially.

At this point, your concept that became an idea before it was a mental picture that became an image has now has become a revelation. Are you smiling? Are you laughing? You should be because there are forces at work here greater than are known to the untrained observer all because of your conceived idea. They say that there is nothing more powerful than an idea that’s time has come. This is what they were talking about. And we’re not done yet because after it becomes a revelation it will turn itself into a prophecy. And here’s the clincher: if you have kept your hands on the wheel from the get-go your prophecy will become a self-fulfilling prophecy and, at that point, the world and all that’s in it is yours, my friend.

Ah, the art of visualization—there’s really nothing that can come close to it. And don’t forget to wave at the mugwumps standing on the sidelines as you parade past. It’s the least that you can do for them. At least, that’s how I see this. MLProko [2011]

[more at www.mikeproko.com]

Published in: on October 24, 2011 at 3:57 pm  Leave a Comment  
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On the BIG things and the little things

Remember the way it used to be? Back in the 50s and 60s, things used to move a lot slower, didn’t they? We had time for home-cooked meals, we had time for ice cream, we made time for drinks and/or coffee with friends; we didn’t have much and we didn’t need all that much either, did we? Maybe a clothes-pin and a baseball card for our bikes or 2 paper cups and some string for a phone—all we needed were the little things to make us happy. Of course, you needed a pretty good imagination to make it all work and work it did. We can laugh about it now, today, and try to convince our grandchildren what it was like back ‘in the old days.’ Yes, we can laugh but look at what has happened to us as a whole.

            We used to laugh and scream much louder than we do now but it was all in fun, good fun. The shouting today is more mean-spirited, more hateful and it seems to be centered around who belongs here and who doesn’t. Things seemed like they moved much slower because they did move much slower. Now, everything moves so damn fast. Even fast food isn’t fast enough. Now, you don’t even have to get out of your car, that’s how fast we want it. And how many of you stand in front of the micro and tap your fingers because the damn machine isn’t heating up your food fast enough? We are so concerned about the BIG things that we don’t even notice the little things that are supposed to make our life fun. Look at the faces of the people next time you’re out, look and see how many happy faces you see. Nope, happy has given way to worry. Maybe they were just trying to outdo the Jones’ all along, who knows?

            Y’know, color me stupid but I never thought it was about the BIG things, I always thought it was about the little things. Not that there’s anything wrong with the BIG things but we knew that eventually they would show up. I guess the optimal word here is eventually. No, some weren’t going to wait for that day to come, they wanted it and they wanted it NOW. The sad part is that those people are in their 50s & 60s now and they sit up all night now worrying about what they have and what they would do if they lost it all tomorrow.

            BIG things or little things? It was never meant to be either or, it was supposed to be both. The big things, your house, your job, your kids, etc. were what we were all supposed to strive for and the little things that happened to us in the course of the day were supposed to give the big things their flavor. You had to have both and if you had to slow down to enjoy both then, I guess, that was the answer.

            The small things, pay attention to the small things and watch how the BIG things take care of themselves. The nods. The smiles. The pat on the back. The congratulatory handshake. The kind words. The wink. The good-natured laugh. You start packing any or all of those into your daily routine and you’ll see how the BIG things just seem to come your way with little or no effort on your part. Try it. Try it for a day or two, maybe even a week and see if you can keep it going, see how long you can string this thing out. When you’re done, you’re going to sit back and laugh because it was so simple. And if you happen to be walking through a park and you see a paper cup on the ground with a piece of string running through it, pick it up and put it by your ear. I’ll be me on the other end telling you I told you so. At least, that’s the way I’d like to see this end up. MLProko

Published in: on October 24, 2011 at 3:51 pm  Comments (2)  
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On being the best you can be

            The list is endless, from every sport, in every country on the face of the earth touting everything from tobacco to Chevy’s, from cereal to cell-phones, from National defense to credit cards: be the best you can be and MORE. And our media guru’s handle all of these guys like they were our national treasures: Kobe, Magic, Woods, Jordan, A-Rod and on and on. The best? Did you ever see the size of their paychecks? They should be the best for the kind of money they get. Well, yah, but the way they figure for entertainers is not the same sliding scale they use for the rest of us.

            If any one of you batted .325 at your job, you’d be in the unemployment line tomorrow. If anyone of you lost more than you one, not only would you be out of a job, you might end up switching careers just to feed your families. The best you can be? You wouldn’t want most of the guys that they give the big bucks to in any sport going out with your sister or daughter. Very rarely do you find a ‘great thinker’ in the bunch. Most of them are like warm vanilla, its o.k. but what, what, what was that? They’re good at what they do, but in the real world most couldn’t get a job flipping burgers. And to listen to them talk, you’re better off having a conversation with a bag of French fries.

            Which brings us to the other end of the spectrum—the weekend warrior. We were all brought up the same way; we were taught the love of a sport by a father, grandfather or an uncle, if you were lucky enough, maybe you had a coach who saw something special in you. And it was taught that we always had to give it our best shot, which is the way we teach our children and our grandchildren, but somehow we never got to take that shot, that one shot that was the difference between winning and losing, the difference between winning it all or just going home. How can that be? We trained just as hard as those others, we spilled our blood, sweat and tears on any court or any field just to come up short time and time again. But every now and then you get a glimpse of what might have been; you might be out shooting some hoops or throwing the football around with your kids, you may even be out on the golf course by yourself and you do something, that one thing, that you’ve never seen anyone ever pull off what you just did. For that one brief second, you were the best there was. Does it make any difference if no one saw you? No, that’s not why we do what we do. Those are the other guys. No, we do it because we love it, for the love of the game. That’s the way we were taught by our fathers and grandfathers. Do your best. Sometimes your best isn’t good enough, there will be those kinds of days, but you apologize to no one. You did what you could.

            You see, 99% of us fall into that second group, where we do what we have to do during the week, breaking our butts to make ends meet and still take time out of our schedules to tutor our children in the sports that they like and need some help with. And we will teach them the same things that we were taught—to do your best, to always do your best, win or lose, if you do your best then you have nothing to be ashamed of. And you have something going for you that those jocks with the big bucks don’t have; you have the love and respect of children that you have helped nurture. You’ve seen the way the other guys end up without the bling, without the cars and dead broke. And what you have, all the money in the world couldn’t buy. At least, that’s the way I see it. God bless.

MLProko (2011)   www.mikeproko.com


Published in: on October 24, 2011 at 3:44 pm  Leave a Comment  
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