Are you the Tortoise or the Hare?

 

images

I was digging through my old hard drive and found some workout footage from 2008. I didn’t even realize that I had it, but I am very grateful that I did. This footage brought back memories for many reasons. First off this was the offseason after I became the full time starter and made many fantasy football fans a bunch of money. I didn’t even know what fantasy football was at the time. I just remember being at the Super Bowl in Arizona and feeling like a rock star because people from all over the country acted as if I was there Hero. I didn’t pay for a single thing all week!

Another reason is because it shows me grinding after having success. I was big about customizing my workouts. Cory Thomas, a childhood friend of mine who looks eerily close to Kobe Bryant, was my trainer during those years. We use to scour the city of Tampa for places to train. We didn’t really like gyms, it was just our philosophy to get out into the elements and get after it. So, we found this secluded area with a dirt hill and a couple of barn looking structures way off the beaten path. Even though I had some success, it did not stop the bucs from seeking upgrades. I was truly the guy that they thought they could replace every single year in football camp. There was always someone bigger and faster who came through the doors and I absolutely loved it. It drove me to work my tail off.  All I heard all offseason was how slow I was and that I hadn’t had a run over 28 yards in 2007. What they didn’t know was that my ankle had been damaged since week 4.  Jon Gruden use to give me that infamous “Chucky” scowl all week wondering if I was going to dress and I never wanted to let him down or miss my opportunity. I did any and every thing I could do to take the field on Sunday.  A popular saying during that time was “Get it How U Live” by the Hot Boyz and I was truly doing that. I was also holding out for a new contract at the time. The nerve of me and my 4.6 forty holding out for a contract!!…LOL.  Thank God that I successfully got a contract extension, but even more importantly I earned it. Through the first 5 weeks I was leading the league in 40+ yard runs and yards per carry ahead of a guy named Adrian Peterson.  During Game 6 I would willingly take over as the starting Fullback for 5 weeks, but I will speak on that later because I want to get to this 3rd point.

Training  with me in this clip is Thaddeus Bullard, but you might know him as Titus Oneill who now wrestles in the WWE. He was out there grinding as well as he was playing Arena football. Thad had no clue that he would go on to wrestle in the WWE, but what he did have is the one thing that mattered. Faith. Which inspired his incredible WORK ETHIC. He was working his butt off for his next opportunity and it kept opening doors because he was willing to take the talent that he had and make the most of it. This is why I posed the question. Are you a Tortoise or the Hare? This world that we live in is comprised mostly of Tortoises, that continually take forward steps in belief that they will achieve something significant. They also know that it is not only about believing but the follow through. When you have a gift you have a God-Given responsibility. When you don’t hold that gift as sacred, YOU become a liability, causing the ego to surface above the gift.

Many people look over the Tortoise because there is nothing threatening about the tortoises pace to the naked eye. Their is not much flash to it, but when it finishes with integrity it illuminates its path.  Carrying nothing but it’s own expectations, the tortoise travels without anxiety because when it has been communicated that is a race no one bets on the Tortoise. It’s assumption is not that it is faster, but that it can endure, giving it its chance. Believe it or not a small step every day can create an inspiring life. As 2016 kicks off and we’ve made our New Year’s Resolutions are you engaging them as the Tortoise or the Hare?

I am Earnest. I am a slow-walking, steady-paced, eyes on the prize havin’, too focused to entertain the doubters minded, christ-centered Tortoise and I truly cherish the gifts that God has given me. God Bless!

Quote of the day

Rudyard Kipling

“If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!”
― Rudyard KiplingIf: A Father’s Advice to His Son

5 Random Rules that Can Change Your Life

  1. Earnest Graham

    Give something good a chance to happen.  I remember my mom bought us a set of Encyclopedia Britannica’s. All the kids use to come to our house and say “What the hell are those?’ It wasn’t the popular thing to do, but it fostered my love for reading, critical thinking and writing. It is the very reason that I am writing this blog. Had she conformed to the thoughts of other’s, I’d still be searching for something that I am passionate about beyond sports.

  2. Don’t let the past interfere with the Now.  There are things that happened, but don’t mistake those things for what you are. I’ve had my butt kicked before, but it does not mean I’m going to lie down and take it. I know the feeling of conquering my bully’s and fears. I didn’t have a father present but that doesn’t mean that I wasn’t worthy of Love. I am not these things. They are things that I encountered and gave their proper due and nothing beyond that.
  3. Don’t remain a fan of things you wish to have or become….Become a student of them The more that I understand something the less I am in awe of it. As a child I was a fan of certain NFL players, but the more I learned about the game and the various things that made them successful the more it became attainable….it empowered me. I once was a fan of money, and fantasized about the life it would bring. Fantasies are one-sided and don’t factor in the relationship that must ensue. When I was growing up parents would always say “I Can show ya, better than I can tell ya” right before they beat our butts.  Well, everything in life has first been my bully and then my teacher. I am first a fan, a student, and then that which I want to be.
  4. Love thine enemies, because they are the instruments of your destiny This is a quote from Joseph Campbell. Our enemies teach us the most about ourselves. For one, they expose that which we need to fix the most. Friends identify with our strengths and weaknesses but use neither against us.  However, my enemies have always sought to use my gifts and curses for their own gain. Enemies are spies, they are not trying to attain the same things you are. They are willing to go into unknown territory because they are intrigued about what lies beyond. Why? Because they are curious about the person who is the exact opposite of what they happen to be. The theft of your joy will be used to achieve that which you are undoubtedly opposed to.
  5. Be more than a survivor While surviving some of toughest trials in your life is to be commended, we are able go well beyond that. We can get caught in a vicious cycle of surviving. What does surviving your current circumstances mean towards that which you want to achieve? Finding meaning in your suffering is what we want. There is a high that is associated with surviving, and this is the root of why we stay in circumstances that control our lives. Once we know we can beat it, we are comfortable with that and unknowingly place ourselves in terrible situations over and over again. It’s time that we aspire for more because we are only fooling ourselves by hoisting up the same trophy over and over again.

I am Earnest Graham and these are my five Random Rules for today. I pray that these rules are beneficial and have brought clarity to your current circumstances.

Thank you and Have a Blessed Day!!!!

Doing it all, By doing your part(blog version)

Earnest Graham

*blog version denotes that my upcoming book will contain a more detailed version

My friend Cory Jordan tragically died in my senior year of high school. He was the warmest and funniest guy you’d ever want to meet. Ms. Beverly, who is Cory’s mom, was white and his father was black, which provided Cory with the blessing of solely identifying with neither. Throughout the day he would spend time amongst the blacks from the Dunbar community, whites and Hispanics from Cape Coral, country boys from Pine Island, as well as the “nerds” and “jocks” . Though I don’t think he understood it at the time, his gift was that he didn’t understand why everybody was taking themselves so seriously. He was living in the moment and lightening things up. Cory died from an accidental gunshot wound and on the evening of, his mother blessed me with a chance to see him on life support. I walked into that room, full of confidence that my touch would be all that Cory needed to rise from that bed. I grabbed his hand, and the miracle that I imagined, did not happen. At the time It was humbling and the majority of my focus was on what I COULD NOT do, I cried uncontrollably. I was thinking as a child. I’d imagine I hadn’t cried in this manner since I was an infant in need of a Binky. Today as a grown man, I understand this more fully, that moment signified the actual power that I had, and was about everything that I COULD do and was very capable of.

In our most idealistic moments, all of us would love to have the ability to save the world. We have already been saved, if you are Christian it is Christ who is our vehicle to salvation, that is the good news. Most people have fantasies of flying, well planes are vessels that travel through our skies at amazing speeds to the destinations of our choosing, though the downer for some of us are the annoying people we have to sit with. Others would love to live forever, and I say to you that a birth happens every 8 seconds, though the pain can be unbearable but yet and still through this process life will continue. If you are blessed to have children, they will carry on parts of you through many generations, to be carried on we must leave here, some of us more peacefully than others but funerals are full of tears and sorrow. My grandmother often tells me that my kids remind her of relatives who have past decades ago, I never grieved for any of them but they are nonetheless present today and a piece of them still lives and dies.  Embracing these examples makes the ultimate sacrifice possible.  Loving others more than myself takes priority over my own want to rest in heaven. I don’t focus on single acts that I think will allow me to ascend to heaven, this is the same as wishing wings were on my back so i could fly all alone, we all must board the plane that is Jesus Christ. It’s listening and relating to others in the spirit of service that makes my heart content. When we align ourselves with the absolute fact that we will not experience any miracles in our lives as individuals, it opens us up to all things . There will always be a thought, action or effort by others that makes our greatest feats possible.

I am reminded of what Jesus was quoted as saying in John 14:12:

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

Jesus Christ

What does my real life experience with Cory and the support of the scripture tell me?  That my miracles lie with the rest of you and if I believe that Christ is within us all then these miracles are possible. Eternity was within Christ within the confines of time. For others, time is our resource, and it is the daily commitment to each other that will stop these events from happening. These are miracles still. A lot of labor goes into putting a 500 piece puzzle together, but by paying attention to the smallest details of each individual piece, we finally make it. Those who lay eyes on it just admire its beauty with no idea of the time it took. There is not an NFL football team that has won a Super Bowl by ignoring the last man on the roster, it is the collective effort of all 53 men, that allows the team to realize its dreams.  You can experience it all, by doing your part but God mandates that it will be a shared experience.

This should be great news that none of us are faced with some monumental task. In our homes, businesses, sports teams and churches we are charged with only doing our part. We are to make sure that they are the very best that they can be. Some of our reach will be broadened, but know that this does not happen without its full actualization within the institutions aforementioned.  It is called MAKING love for a reason. It is call friendSHIP for a reason. These are all manifestations of the force of  life continuing through the vehicles of US. Where more than one is gathered in his name, all things are possible.

I am Earnest Graham and I have vowed to do my part. This is my affirmation for today.

Thank you and God Bless!

Daily Quote: Change Lies within us

Earnest Graham

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“While the government is “studying” and funding and organizing its Big Thought, nothing is being done. But the citizen who is willing to Think Little, and, accepting the discipline of that, to go ahead on his own, is already solving the problem. A man who is trying to live as a neighbor to his neighbors will have a lively and practical understanding of the work of peace and brotherhood, and let there be no mistake about it – he is doing that work…

A man who is willing to undertake the discipline and the difficulty of mending his own ways is worth more to the conservation movement than a hundred who are insisting merely that the government and the industries mend their ways.
(pg.87, “Think Little”)”
― Wendell BerryThe Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays

What Cadillac Williams Taught Me: Determination Part 1

This may be a bit left field, but anybody who knows me understands that I am a very observant person. With that said, they won’t find it strange at all that this post was inspired by my daughter’s dog trying to eat some excedrin, that I dropped while I was in the kitchen. What I pulled from that simple act was that Rocky, my daughter Aiyana’s dog, could care less what it was that I dropped out of my hand.  The fact that Rocky is kept in a crate, and feeds and eats when we deem it proper to do so, is what I attribute to him reacting that way. Now, here is where I am going with this. I also observe people, and it is no question in my mind that some of us act this way in regards to a status or ideals when the opportunity presents itself. 

My previous blog entry,  fantasy football as a possibility for your life, essentially dealt with a similar subject. In our culture it is widely accepted to hang on the every word and action of another human being. While some human beings are undoubtedly brilliant teachers and performers, I believe that it is a healthy balance that we must have in order to get mutual benefit from the relationship. I am assuming that is what we all want right? If we teeter too much on the side of worship then the relationship becomes one-sided and you find yourself behaving like my man Rocky. I have no intentions of slighting dogs, it is truly an admirable quality, but it is what separates us. We shouldn’t subscribe to worshiping the man and the opportunity to grasp what is in his hands, not without questioning it. I have always thought it wise to stay in touch with my core self and borrow certain philosophies, mindsets and ethics from others.

This I tell you is from personal experience. I have been smitten with others and have given them my blind trust; to no avail. Throughout the years I have learned that my fantasies about others or certain status has greatly exceeded what actually was realistic. It was being a fan of money, wealth, power, beauty, security and other ideals that led to a false attribution of a nearly divine status. It wasn’t until I became a student and an appreciator of the same qualities, that they were able to manifest in my own life.

On that note let me tell you what Cadillac Williams taught me. He taught me that when the world thinks you are down, it is your faith and determination that will bring you through the toughest times. Cadillac Williams came back from a Patellar Tendon injury in 2009 and it was his first game back. I remember it like yesterday because it was a very special moment in my life. He was tearing it up in the 1st quarter against the Dallas Cowboys. Our head coach, Raheem Morris, committed in the media to a 3 man rotation at our position of running Back. So, after Cadillac’s two series, it was supposed to be my turn. Coach Morris looked at me and asked me whether or not I was ready, in which I replied “No, I am good. Carnell is hot leave him in there”. This may sound dreamy, I don’t know or care, but I wanted to appreciate that moment. I viewed it as so insignificant to my single series in that single game. See, I chose not to be a fan of attention or obsess about tomorrow. I was very confident in my skills and value to the team. I chose at the moment to be a student of life instead.

Did you realize that thinking that you are competing against another man falls in this category? That to think someone else is your competition is in a way deifying them? This always diminishes yourself, as well as the object of your worship, because in the end it never measures up to your ideal.  My competition has always been the man I look at in the mirror. If I was to compete with someone else, I would in a sense be setting my own limitations. Not only on myself as an athlete, but also as a person because the potential of the relationship with your opposition becomes limited. You don’t believe me? When you fumble the ball, what does it have to do with the other person?  Think about it. Some of the greatest feats in life have come from men who are alone. Throughout the offseason, the media would talk about how Derrick Ward and Earnest Graham were going to be a powerful duo. To their dismay, Cadillac was back and ready for the season opener. If you don’t know a Patellar Tendon is an injury few come back from. While the world was feeding Cadillac the possibilities for his life, he chose to believe in himself and in my opinion found out more about who he was during his adversity, as opposed to his successes. He left a talented young man, but came back an experienced one, powered up by his grueling rehab and mining of his soul.  This is why I state that it’s no need to focus on the next man, things come to those who are prepared.  This is why I always made it a point to focus on my value, which allowed me to perfect all things. They tell you when you come into the league in a less than desirable manner, meaning undrafted, that you should not compete with the man next to you, but against everyone in the room. They were referring to the need to earn a spot on special teams, because starting was not likely. This was one of my first lessons about value as a professional. I chose to better myself and add skills as a special team ace to my resume. Trust me, many guys ignored that advice and tried to disprove the coaches theory. I have yet to see it work.

It is the humbling of myself, that at the same time empowered me to be strong enough to realize that this man was in my life for me to learn from, as is all others. See if it was two dogs in that kitchen, they would have darted at the same pill and possibly bitten each other for first dibs on what I dropped out of my hand. While I love our pets, it is a different love than I have for a human being. I GOT football, I can do that in my sleep as I was born to tote the rock. What Cadillac Williams did was special, and he did it twice. I am just happy that I got to experience it in the proper spirit.

I am Earnest Graham and I am more than a competitor. Far away from watching eyes I continue to better myself in preparation for all blessings. I thank God for those that I have borrowed from in the midst of a desire for the same thing.

Thank you and God Bless!!

Fantasy Football as the Possibility for Your Life

Earnest Graham

“View your days as your fantasy football team. There is 24 hours, so you have 24 players. In order for you to bring on that new player that will make your days better, you gotta cut somebody. Sometimes we covet those old players. Aint nothing wrong with upgrading. Release the hours in your life that arent performing, and pickup the free agent that will reinvigorate your team. Evaluate your life wisely and choose. You are your own General Manager”

Earnest Graham

“The divine music is incessantly ringing within all of us, but the loud senses drown the delicate music, which is unlike and infinitely superior to anything we can perceive with our senses.”

Mahatma Gandhi

I want to encourage everyone today to take full of advantage of the Time we are given. I made an earlier post entitled Discipline Reloaded where I spoke of the importance of understanding that our results in life are not by chance. It is imperative that we become conscious of the way our 24 hour days are spent. Thinking about our future can create some anxiety. It is the day that we are to master. I truly believe that mastery of the day can lead to an illuminating life. It is discipline that will build your bridge to the highest ideal of yourself. It is focus and proper understanding that will be the foundation of your discipline. It is humbleness that allows you to accurately assess yourself, and the courage to be honest that will be your first footsteps on this journey.

When I evaluated myself,  I found that the time that I was neglecting was my driving time.  For most of us this is a large amount of time that is unaccounted for. Some of your greatest decisions can be subtle, but create the most dynamic change in your life.  Most of us, after a long day of work are at our most vulnerable time because we are mentally tired. This is the time that we must be proactive, which I know sounds like spending more energy, but what I am asking is to the contrary. I made a decision during this time to be in silence. I simply turned off the radio.

Sometimes, our actions are so ingrained that we become numb to them and just allow its intrusion upon our lives. As much as I love music, I had not realized that I hated the damn radio. Especially today’s radio, it forces music down our throats until we just lay down and take it. Same thing with Talk Radio, it’s rarely a show that doesn’t have some sort of agenda or issue that isn’t relevant to my life. I refused to make another man’s issue my own. It was the couple of hours of silence a day that added so much value to my life. I decided that it was time to lay on the couch of my consciousness, and allow it to be my shrink. 90 minutes a day turned into 630 minutes a week and 32,850 minutes a year.

In my mind I view my days like a NFL football team because that is where I have had a majority of my experiences. You have limited roster spots and there is no exception. This is similar to your days, ALL YOU HAVE IS 24 hours. If you have ever played Fantasy Football you know that on Any Give Sunday it is all about who you choose to start. You do your evaluations of the opponent and decide who you think is going to give you the highest production. This is the same as your days, which will become your life. Choose wisely, as the way you spend your time will bring your fantasy life into fruition. For me God is the owner of the organization and I am the general manager which will employ all the proper traits as a means for the entity that is Earnest Graham to win a championship. I tend to rule with an Iron Fist. If you aren’t producing then you got to go. That is why I had no problem turning off my radio.

That revelation allowed the happenings of my life to come into focus as well as allowing me to be better prepared for work and my household. It also helped to spur greater ideas that ultimately led to better efficiency. I am still very involved in music but that involvement is when I am creating my own. It has given me back my love for music, rather than engaging with it like it’s mcdonald’s, which is cheap and processed and only capitalizes on inconveniencing me when it’s convenient. I’ve discovered new artists that I never would have, had I allowed the radio to keep handing them to me.

Our brains are amazing as far as what it can process in a matter of seconds. I have emerged from a simple car ride with developments that improved my life, as well as that of my family and community. There is one thing that is a must however, and that is your conscious awareness that you are your general manager and God is the programmer, in which Gandhi so eloquently says is the Divine radio. To tune in, it requires the execution of babble and the subtle but radical application of silence.

I am Earnest Graham and there is one programmer in my life….God. This is my affirmation for today.

Thank you and God Bless!!