The range and brilliance of Jim Carrey is displayed in this commencement address at the Maharishi University of Management 2014 graduation. I had never heard of the Maharishi University of Management (or, MUM, for short–duh), so I had to Google it. Wikipedia gave me some answers, but it’s too late to read up on it right now. (If I find anything conflicting with my own personal beliefs, I’ll let you know.) But from the tone of this commencement speech, I can garner nothing but positivity.
By the way, where is the Maharishi University of Management located? Iowa. Duh.
By all accounts, and my perspective, the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil were a big success–especially given all the negative media coverage leading up to the games. (Now, we can get into a more in-depth socioeconomic conversation, but I’m speaking to the event and experience of Rio, in particular.) I had an incredible time in Rio de Janeiro. Sure, I was concerned about my safety and the Zika virus heading into the trip, but overall, I found that using common sense and staying out of places I shouldn’t be was enough to have a successful trip. I was able to go to my first Olympics and visit Rio/Brazil/South America for the first time. My lack of Portuguese didn’t help, but it wasn’t a major impediment. Also, a seasoned Olympic traveler shared an important point: When you visit a country for the Olympics, you are typically getting the best treatment possible. Security is way up and the country wants to put on a good face, or, a “show,” if you will, so it’s a great time to visit. I found that to be true in Rio. It is too bad, that Lochte had to get weird and make up that story, I digress.
Here are some quick highlights of my trip:
On one of my first days, got to witness Usain Bolt coast to a victory in his first round 100m heat. Had a good view of the finish and his walk through the maze of worldwide media after the race.
2. Olympic Beach Volleyball in Rio was incredible. Not just the setting, overlooking Copacabana Beach and the South Atlantic Ocean, but even the music (DJ or live band) in between points and the general spirit/energy of the Brazilian people and crowd. It was definitely a unique experience. I’m pretty sure it’s one of the greatest things that has ever been invented.
3. Visiting Christ the Redeemer. Incredible experience. Also was able to spend a moment in the chapel nestled inside the base of the statue. On the walk back down from visiting, I will admit, internally, I became a little overwhelmed. Of course, in typical B. Laesch fashion, I did not really display this emotion, so nobody in my group really know. But what will stick with me, is that after that personal moment, I heard a voice in my head say, “Can you hear me, now?” I will always remember this. It was clear and concise.
4. Favela tour. We were able to take a tour of Rio’s Favela Rocinha–which is one of the biggest. It was an eye-opening experience. A bus took us to the top of the hill and we literally walked through the favela, all the way down. To see how these people live, in crowded conditions, poverty, poor construction and in gangland, was something I will never forget. I think I’m still processing it. At a certain point in the tour, it was truly overwhelming and I needed to get through that walk and back into the city just to clear my head. Just imagine living there everyday. I did see some hope there…but it was rough… We think we have it bad in the U.S. sometimes… This was life changing. I’m not sure how, yet.
7. Despite some games in pool play that were way too close, USA Basketball got it done in a definitive way.
8. The Closing Ceremonies were one big international party. The closing of the Olympics in Rio and the handoff to Tokyo were both a lot of fun. (Including an appearance by Super Mario.) It was one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Nobody wanted to leave. Or, at least, nobody in our group wanted to.
There is lot more that I could post but I have to get back to work. May post a “Part 2” in the future.
Just heard an awesome story on the NBC Olympic coverage. Michael Phelps alternated between watching Olympic coverage and the movie Hoosiers for motivation last night, prior to his record-extending 23rd Olympic medal, and 19th gold medal in the 4x100m freestyle relay at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro tonight.
Hoosiers has always been one of my favorite movies. And growing up a Midwestern basketball player, in the heart of Illinois, with an entire family of Hoosiers and Indiana connections, it’s always been my favorite sports movie. Hands down. I grew up as a kid with a framed Hoosiers movie poster on my wall. (My mom was a cheerleader for the 1975–76 Indiana Hoosiers basketball team, led by Bobby Knight, who went 32-0 and won the National Championship.) My entire family went to IU (except for me).
Hoosiers has always been an inspirational movie for me. It goes without saying that it was pretty cool to hear that Phelps used it as motivation. If you haven’t seen the classic from David Anspaugh and Angelo Pizzo, I highly recommend it.
Great principles to live by. In running a Google search to determine where this speech was given, I also came across this great breakdown of the key takeaways of this speech on Huffington Post:
Put God first: “Everything that I have is by the grace of God, understand that. It’s a gift. … I didn’t always stick with Him, but He stuck with me.”
Fail big: “Don’t be afraid to fail big, to dream big, but remember, dreams without goals, are just dreams. And they ultimately fuel disappointment. … I try to give myself a goal every day, sometimes it’s just not to curse somebody out.”
You’ll never see a U-Haul behind a hearse: “I don’t care how much money you make, you can’t take it with you. … It’s not how much you have, it’s what you do with it.”
While you’re on your knees in the morning, say thank you: “Say thank you in advance for what is already yours. … True desire in the heart for anything good is God’s proof to you sent beforehand that it’s already yours. … When you get it, reach back, pull someone else up. Each one, teach one. Don’t just aspire to make a living, aspire to make a difference.”
Les Brown can deliver a motivational speech. This dramatized version on YouTube is…dramatized. But that doesn’t dilute the message. Attitude, and the things you put into your mind can change everything, period. If you are a little down, feeling stuck, feeling complacent, feeling stagnant, feeling unmotivated, feeling beaten, listen to this:
If you are looking for the speech itself (and you don’t miss the drama — shout out to the Cars.com commercial featuring my friend, John Ruby, who I won some Westwood Rec Center Basketball League championships with in LA, no big deal), then here is the incredible speech, without the music and editing:
People who know me may be wondering why I keep posting all of this. Am I trying to be a motivational speaker? Am I trying to gain fame? Am I losing it? I’m just being true to myself, the person I know I am, and the person I’m striving to be. This blog is a great place to build a collection of all of these great things I use to motivate myself. I’ve come a long way. I couldn’t have done it by myself. I still have a long way to go, in my opinion, and I probably will never be satisfied. But as long as I can share in some success and help just one person in this world, I will be happy.
Against all media warnings of a disastrous2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Zika, thieves targeting tourists, infrastructure not being ready, general corruption, general crime, general safety issues and half the PGA Tour dropping out of the games), I’ve decided to attend the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Despite all of the media reports, I booked my trip back in May and have, hesitantly, continued to plan for the trip. My motivation for going is simple. I’ve always wanted to go to the Olympics, I’ve never been to Brazil (let alone South America), and I need an extended, international vacation. I haven’t really taken a vacation in over 2.5 years in my current role.
I can’t really tell you why I’ve ignored all the media reports, but I have. And, of course, I’ve been doing some research. If you happen to be heading to Rio this month as well, here are a few resources I’ve found useful:
Remember that Visa requirements have been suspended for this summer for U.S. Residents, so you do not need to obtain a Visa prior to travel.