Is This What Belief Looks Like?

If you are unfamiliar with South Carolina men’s basketball, watch this video. Don’t worry about the poor audio quality, just focus on the large man in the suit, who does not look very happy.

That man is South Carolina head coach Frank Martin. And in case you weren’t able to tell, he is takes his job very seriously. If one example isn’t enough to persuade you of this, just type “Frank Martin” into YouTube and you will find many videos displaying his intensity. One is simply called Frank Martin is terrifying.

He screams, he stares, he stomps his feet. He really is terrifying. At first glace, you’d probably think “I bet his players hate playing for him.” But guess what..

His players love him.

Check out this video

That is Frank Martin being showered by his players in the locker room after his team upset second seed Duke in the NCAA Tournament. Not enough proof for you? Check out this picture from USA Today.

Image result for frank martin beat duke

There’s Martin again, being hugged by his team. I’d say they look pretty happy to be around him. I don’t know about you, but I have never looked that happy hugging someone I don’t like (if you argue that I have never beat Duke in the NCAA Tournament, well, touché).”

Despite his intensity, his players really do love the guy.

Actually, maybe the reason they love him is because of the screaming, staring and stomping.

The fact that he believes in us, he trusts us. And his intensity — it’s just unmatched,” senior guard Duane Notice told NY Daily News.

When you have a coach like that, from the outside looking in, it looks like he’s crazy. It looks like he’s yelling at us. But no. It’s just he wants us to win so bad — not for him, but for us, because he knows how hard we work in practice and how much we sweat and bleed. Not to be too cliché, but that’s just how he is.”

Yes, Mr. Notice, he does look crazy. But he is also one heck of a coach. I don’t know what he is yelling during the games, but it is working. Martin has his Gamecocks in the Final Four, something no other coach has been able to do at that university.

It is clear that Martin wants to win. It it also clear that he believes in his players. And that belief has taken his team on an incredible ride. Notice would go on to say.

He makes us his priority, and when a guy does that, a man does that, it makes you want to rethink the way you live your life and what you put your time and efforts to. The fact that he committed to us four years ago when stuff wasn’t going right and he still committed to us, it says a lot about the relationship he has with all of our players.”

His players know that Martin is committed to them. They know that he expects effort and focus. He doesn’t just talk about it, he lives it. Which, I suppose, explains why he is so demonstrative. He needs his players to know that he cares.

So he screams. He stares. He stomps. But most importantly, he believes. He believes his players can achieve great things.

And for that, they love him.

Frank Martin is terrifying. His belief doesn’t look like many other people’s believe. But the result of his belief looks pretty familiar.

A team buying into a message and achieving great things.

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This Is The Best Thing I’ve Read All Day

The bestselling book You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero is filled with great thoughts about, like the subtitle says, how we can live an awesome life. I am a big fan of these type of books. I have read chasing your dreams described many different ways. 

But Sincero managed to describe it is a way I had never thought about before. And it is fantastic. It is by far the best thing I’ve read all day. Probably all month.

Birthing your dreams is like… giving birth.  Conceiving the idea is the fun part (hopefully), then you go through insane amounts of fear and excitement and dreaming and planning and vomiting and growing and thinking you’re crazy and thinking you’re awesome and stretching and shape shifting until you’re practically unrecognizable to everyone, even your own self.

Along the way you clean up your puke and massage your aching back and apologize to all the people whose heads you ripped of in a hormonal killing spree, but you stay the course because you know this baby of yours is going to be the bomb.

Then, finally, just when you can see a light at the end of the tunnel, labor starts.  your innards twist and strangle and force you to stumble around hunched over in the shape of the letter ‘C’ while you breathe and pray and curse and just when you think it can’t get any more out-of-your-mind painful, a giant baby head squeezes out of a tiny hole in your body.  Then.  A full-blown miracle appears.

In order to change your life and start living a new one that you’ve never lived before, your faith in miracles, and yourself, must be greater than your fear.”

Like that description? Check out the book here.

To A Writer, There Are Only A Few Things As Rewarding As This

The last month, I have gotten lazy with my writing. This happens around the same time every year. With March Madness in full swing, there is so much basketball to follow that I find my writing gets shifted to the back burner.

My free time gets consumed with basketball — watching basketball, reading about basketball, and anticipating the next game to watch/read about. This doesn’t leave much time/energy for writing.

Sure, I could watch one less game, during which time I could knock out a blog post or two. But I don’t. I convince myself that the writing will pick back up in April. And it usually does.

But all that being said…

To a writer, there are just a few things as rewarding as writing something you are proud of.

No matter how little, or how much I am writing, I still get that hard-to-describe feeling each time I work on a post I am happy with. And I am starting to learn that I need to take advantage of that feeling and use it to my advantage during the times when writing is not the focus of my free time.

If you are a writer, you know the feeling of writing something you are proud of. And you also know that is not always easy to get to that feeling. But once you have that feeling, don’t let it go away easily. Keep writing as long as time will allow. Because sooner or later there will be another basketball game to steal your attention.

What Do The Letters On Batteries Mean?

The other day I went to the store to pick up a 9 volt battery. As I looked at the section of batteries, I was reminded of something that I already knew, but rarely think about — there are a ton of different batteries. All shapes, sizes and letters.

A. AA. AAA. C. D.

Reminds me of a scantron or a minor league baseball hierarchy. Which got me wondering…

What Do The Letters On Batteries Mean?

Turns out, battery nomenclature is quite complicated. Technical standards for battery sizes and types are determined by organizations such as International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

Battery names vary between organizations. For example, AAA or triple-A batteries are known as “R03” by IEC and “C18.1” by ANSI.

The letters/numbers of a battery explain the size, chemistry, terminal arrangements and special characteristics of a battery. To generalize it as much as possible, the letters we are familiar with indicate the height and width. The later the letter the larger the battery. D is larger than C and AA is larger than AAA. AA refers to a batter that is 50.5mm x 14.5mm whereas AAA is 44.5mm x 10.5mm. AA batteries have about three times the capacity of AAA batteries.

5 Things We Can Learn From Spellcheck

The great thing about learning is that it is not confined to certain times or a specific location. Learning can happen anytime, anywhere.

I like to highlight this fact by, once a month, looking at things we encounter on a daily basis and seeing what important lesson we can from them.

In today’s installment of “Five Things We Can Learn From Everyday Objects” we are going to talk about something that is very important to this blog…

5 Things We Can Learn From Spellcheck

1. We Need To Turn It On

Spellcheck is pretty amazing…as long as we turn it on. There was a time when, without realizing it, I had turned off spellcheck in Microsoft Outlook. I only noticed it when I reread an email and found numerous spelling errors. I started to scold spellcheck and wonder why it wasn’t doing the one job it was created to do, only to realize that I was the one who messed up. I somehow turned spellcheck off. I fixed my mistake and from there on out, the many errors in my emails lit up like a Christmas tree.

We are surrounded by many great resources, we just need to make sure there is nothing preventing them from doing their job.

2. It Helps To Have An Extra Set Of Eyes

My blog, much like my life, is filled with errors. I rely on spellcheck to help me fix the errors in my blog. I rely on friends and family to help me fix those errors in my life. We can all use help from something, or someone, looking over our shoulder to make sure that we are on the right track.

Just make sure it is someone you trust.

3. No One Is Perfect

My grandpa’s last name is Moncher. Spell check always wants me to change that to Moocher. Spellcheck either really thinks my grandpa likes to sponge off others, or it is just a reminder that no one is perfect.

If we do not expect spellcheck to be perfect, why should we expect our friends and family to be perfect?

4. Use Technology To Your Advantage

I am a lazy speller. Most of the time, I probably do know how to spell a word correctly, but I also know that if I just get close, spellcheck will help me get the rest of the way. This allows me to save time. Because I know spell check will help me clean up the finished product, there is no need to have my train on thought interrupted by trying to figure out if interrupted has two r’s or not. We are surrounded by wonderful technology. As we are looking to improve our spelling, our sleep or any other aspect of our lives, we can use this technology to our advantage.

As an old commercial once said, “There’s an app for that.”

5. But We Need To Do Most Of The Work

Spellcheck helps me get the rest of the way, but I still need to do most of the leg work. Per my example from above of spelling “interrupted”, if I just write “inte” spellcheck wants me to change it to “inch.” If I just write “interr” spellcheck wants me to fix it to “intern.”

No matter how much great technology we have at our fingertips, is up to us to do most of the work.

All Things March Madness

As the NCAA men’s basketball tournament is getting underway, I thought it would be a good time to highlight some March Madness related posts. Check out the following, and let me know who you are picking in your Final Four.

Where Did The Name March Madness Come From?

The back story of March Madness involves many of the elements that makes the NCAA tournament so popular. David taking on Goliath, a hotly contested battle & ruling decided in the court.

5 Things We Can Learn From March Madness

In reading up on the tournament, I have noticed that a lot of people are making lists. Lists of teams most likely to make the Final Four, most vulnerable to an upset & top picks to be this year’s Cinderella. I thought I would join in on the list making fun by creating the 5 Things We Can Learn From March Madness.

The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

Last year’s lyrics to a song dedicated to March Madness, the most wonderful time of the year.

Top 10 Principles From Jay Bilas’ Toughness

ESPN’s college basketball analyst Jay Bilas wrote an awesome book on the subject of what makes a person tough in his appropriately named book, Toughness: Developing True Strength On and Off The Court. I was blown away by the many thought provoking messages that I discovered in this book.

5 Good Things

Having a rough start to the week? Feel like there is nothing but negative stories online, on TV and in the newspaper? Looking for a little pick me up?

Here are 5 good things going on in our world…

  1. A Teenager Without A Jaw Becomes A Rapper – Isaiah Acosta is a 17-year-old from Phoenix who was born without a jaw, has never tasted food and is mute, but communicates through sign language, gestures and primarily texting on his phone. Isaiah also loves hip-hop, writes raps and dreams of being a rapper. A Phoenix rapper helped make that dream come true
  2. Dog Abandoned at Gas Station Is Now an Official Employees – A dog that was apparently abandoned at a Brazilian gas station got a new “leash” on life.
  3. Terminally Ill Boy Skies Down Mountain – A 12-year-old boy currently in hospice care was able to ski alongside his fellow Boy Scouts and earn a merit badge.
  4. Boy Rescues Dad Trapped Underneath Car, Credits His Strength to ‘Angels’ – 9-year-old J.T. Parker, of Idaho saves his father in an amazing way.
  5. 5-Year-Old Learns He’s Getting A New Heart – Check out his reaction!

Top 10 Lines From Bird By Bird

Last month I wrote about the top 10 lines from Stephen King’s On Writing. I mentioned that it is a great resource for those of us who are trying to write books. Guess what? There are plenty of other great books on writing.

Today I would like to feature one that has been called “A gift to all of us mortals who write or ever wanted to write… sidesplittingly funny, patiently wise and alternately cranky and kind — a reveille to get off our duffs and start writing now, while we  still can.” (Seattle  Times). I am talking about Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott.

Here are what I found to be the book’s top 10 lines:

#10 –

Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report written on birds that he’d had three months to write, which was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books about birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him put his arm around my brother’s shoulder, and said, “Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.”

#9 –

Perfectionism is a mean, frozen form of idealism, while messes are the artists true friend.”

#8 –

Writing a first draft is very much like watching a Polaroid develop. You can’t–and, in fact, you’re not supposed do–know exactly what the picture is going to look like until it has finished. First you just point at what has your attention and take the picture.”

#7 –

I mean, you can’t just sit there at your desk drooling. You have to move your hand across the paper or the keyboard. You may do it badly for a while, but you keep on doing it.”

#6 –

You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”

#5 –

Try looking at your mind as a wayward puppy that you are trying to paper train. You don’t drop-kick a puppy into the neighbor’s yard every time it piddles on the floor. You just keep bringing it back to the newspaper.”

#4 –

E.L. Doctorow once said that ‘writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.’ You don’t have to see where you’re going, you don’t have to see your destination or everything you will pass along the way. You just have to see two or three feet ahead of you.”

#3 –

I don’t think you have time to waste not writing because you are afraid you won’t be good at it.”

#2 –

If you are a writer, or want to be a writer, this is how you spend your days–listening, observing, storing things away, making your isolation pay off. You take home all you’ve taken in, all that you’ve overheard, and you turn it into gold. (Or at least you try.)”

#1 –

My students assume that when well-respected writers sit down to write their books, they know pretty much what is going to happen because they’ve outlined most of the plot, and this is why their books turn out so beautifully and why their lives are so easy and joyful, their self-esteem so great, their childlike senses of trust and wonder so intact. Well, I do not know anyone fitting that description at all. Everyone I know flails around, kvetching and growing despondent, on the way to finding a plot and structure that work. You are welcome to join the club.”

How Many Websites Are There?

Last week, an outage occurred with Amazon’s cloud-computing service, Amazon Web Services, causing websites and apps across the country to temporarily crash.

This affected hundreds of companies and thousands of websites. And it got me wondering…

How many websites are there in the entire World Wide Web?

Answer: According to InternetLiveStats.com, there are over 1.1 billion websites. At the time of this writing, there were exactly 1,156,894,180. But if you check out the Internet Live Stat tracker, you will see that new websites are constantly being added. So, by the time you look, that number will be even higher.