Friday, September 25, 2009

Character Traits of a Winner - Surround Yourself With Winners

You have a dream. I know you do. It is somewhere deep within the recesses of your heart and soul. It is something that you can do for long periods of time and never tire of doing it. For me, it is like eating roast pork egg foo young and pork fried rice from a good local Chinese take out joint. That's my favorite dish. I've been eating it for decades. I just can't get enough. Oh! Let me not forget: plain homemade cheesecake -- no strawberries, please. Yum!

Pause right here and think of it. It brings a smile to your face, doesn't it? The mere thought of your dream just gives you an unexplainable good feeling, yes? Of course it does. Your dream is like your soul mate -- that special someone that by the mere mention of their name sets your tail feathers wagging. Oh, the joy!

Lately, you've turned away from your dreams. Like a hungry dog, you've settled for crumbs off the master's table. Your days are filled with drudgery. Food doesn't taste quite right and life has lost it's spark. You wake up in the morning and in no time you're off to work to punch in for another eight hour day.

The problem may be that you are surrounding yourself with people who tear you down. People who tear you down are like fig trees that don't produce fruit. What do you do with a fruit tree that doesn't feed you? Common sense dictates that you should get rid of it and plant another tree that will produce quality fruit consistently. Thus you will eat consistently from the harvest of produce. However, if you choose not to replace a dead tree with one that is productive, you will hunger and eventually die. Of course, that's a bit ridiculous. Who would do that to themselves?

Nevertheless, when some apply that principal to their lives, sadly they find themselves starved for healthy and productive relationships. Many people live surrounded by unproductive, negative and soul killing parasites. If you are going to make your dreams a reality, you need to cultivate solid and sincere relationships with others that are living the dream.

You alone have control over who joins your circle of friends. If you beset yourself with people who constantly whine about their hard life and do nothing about it, you will suffer the consequences of your choices. Negative influences are not conducive to fertilizing your goals. In other words, if you wish to open the best bakery in your community, don't hang out with drug dealers.

You are your most prominent asset. You must have the goods to bring to the table. Exhaustively practice your craft until your skill set is razor sharp. Be the cutting edge. Nothing less will do.

The people who surround you are your next most valuable asset. They are your support crew and can help you stay motivated. They will support and encourage you even on your off days - when you're not feeling it. We will call these people your positive influences.

Negative influences are the soul draining parasites who rip you apart. They want you to be like them and don't want you to achieve anything because they've done next to nothing with their lives. Remember the wise axiom, Misery loves company.

Unfortunately, it is difficult to eliminate all negative influences from your life. Use these pointers to help surround yourself with positive influences:

  1. Identify your support crew. List them. This helps with your determination.
  2. Consciously make an effort to continually surround yourself with your positive influences.
  3. Positive influences LOVE to help others. It's a natural side effect of being a positive person. Ask for their help and advice.
  4. Help and support your crew in return; be their support in their times of trials. Giving of your time and talents is always better than receiving. Offer them your sincere friendship, emphasis on sincere. If you sponge off your crew and give nothing in return, you are a negative influence. Don't whine when you find yourself tossed to the curb and without a crew. If you want best friends, be a best friend.
  5. Identify and note the negative influences are in your life. Keep your interactions with them down to the lowest common denominator.

You must be astute and tenacious in pursuit of your dream. Give no time to flotsam.

Victory is waiting for you with open arms.

Live the dream.

Monday, September 21, 2009

For Profit Health Insurance, Conservatism, Healthcare Reform, and The Bible

Free market works best, right? Capitalism, right ? I mean this is THE USA after all, right ?

Supply and demand set the correct prices for goods and services. The consumer chooses the best options and thereby makes the best supplier successful.

This actually works for a lot of things - even for health care providers. For example: consumers will continue to use providers who offer a good ratio of quality care vs price. If the price goes too high, consumers will choose a cheaper provider. If the quality of care goes too low, consumers will choose a better provider. Likewise, providers have an incentive to keep consumers (patients). It doesn't matter whether the patient sees the physician annually for a checkup, or weekly for chemotherapy: it is profitable to retain the patients you have and when possible, add new ones.

This doesn't work with insurance! First, let us dispense with the comparisons (used by both sides) with mandatory auto liability and collision insurance. Auto liability insurance pays the person you hit when you damage their vehicle. Collision/comprehensive insurance pays for things that happen to you or your vehicle when it is hit by another.

True, health insurance can cover when you fall off a ladder and break your arm, or crash while skiing and break a leg, but most of the health care claims are not for accidents. Health insurance is more like an extended warranty or maintenance agreement for your body. It covers defects in design (genetic diseases), manufacturing (congenital abnormalities) and other things that break down after you're born. And that's where we begin to see the problem.

For-profit corporations have a mandate to operate in the best interest of their shareholders. It is not in the best interest of the shareholders to have customers who continually cost nearly as much - or even more - than those customers pay in. So the customer who uses the insurance the most is the least desirable customer. There is little incentive to retain people who actually use the services of the insurer. Ideally, an insurer would have customers who never make a claim. So there is no reason to make the claims process easy or to try to keep those customers who make claims. In essence, the controls which tend to drive most businesses to a balance of cost and quality to maximize those who use the service actually work backwards here to lower the quality and drive up cost for those who use (need) the service most, while driving up the quality and lowering cost for those who use (need) the service least. What we end up with is excellent, affordable insurance for the healthy and expensive and poor quality insurance for the sick. It doesn't take a lot of thought to see why this is a lousy model from the standpoint of the sick.

I understand that many conservatives who oppose universal health care are of the religious persuasion. To them, I respectfully offer these two very insightful passages from the Bible: Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. - Ezekiel 16:49, The Bible, KJV

Jesus also forewarned His followers: When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.' "Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?' And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.' "Then He will also say to those on the left hand, 'Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.' "Then they also will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?' Then He will answer them, saying, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.' And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life. - Matthew 25:31-46, The Bible, KJV

Are we, the American public at large, supposed to assume the religious conservatives are only holy and righteous until it affects their pocketbooks? I digress.

Yet this is also a lousy proposition for the healthy. When your healthy children go to school with the sick uninsured child, your healthy children are exposed to Influenza H1N1 or TB. When you eat at that restaurant, you are exposed to the illnesses of the kitchen help who could neither afford health care nor a day off from work. While you say, they can always go to the emergency room, remember that the cost of a visit to the emergency department is much higher than a visit to a clinic or general practitioner, especially if the illness has worsened over the time the patient delayed treatment he or she couldn't afford.

And that cost is paid somewhere: higher costs for paying patients at the hospital, lower quality care for paying patients at the hospital or higher taxes. Whether you care about others or only yourself, it is a good idea to make sure that everyone has access to health care. The preceding should make it clear why for-profit health insurance makes the problem worse instead of better.

Maria DeBard is a successful freelance writer, business owner and co-host of the equally successful FM radio talk show "Off the Kuf" out of Flint, Michigan. You can also follow Maria via her highly informative and entertaining Facebook page.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Latinos Unite!

The supposedly newfangled rave to emerge on the web scene in the recent months is called social media. I am unashamedly a tech head – I have vast knowledge about computer and web technologies. It's my “thing” as we Latinos say in the barrio. As a tech guru, I've scratched my head in curiosity because social media is not new. Social media has been around since the inception of the world wide web. The Internet is about communication between people across vast distances. We have been communicating through forum boards, chat rooms, instant messaging, e-mail, and a host of other types of electronic media for decades. What is so new about social media?

If we are to define and clarify what social media is (and what it is not), we also need to define social media marketing also known as internet marketing - another of my specialties.

According to Wikipedia, social media marketing is the act of using social networks, online communities, blogs, wikis or any other collaborative Internet form of media for marketing, sales, public relations and customer service. Common social media marketing tools include Twitter, blogs, LinkedIn, Facebook, Flickr and YouTube.

Latinos, what exactly are we doing? Are we hocking our wares for the purpose of creating personal wealth under the guise of unifying the Latino communities under one banner? Let me make one thing clear. I don't have a problem with making a living. I do have a problem nevertheless with using the Latino plight for personal gain.

If we're going to see any consolidating movement within the Latino community, Latinos must address the dire and cruel issues that are affecting our people as a whole. It's not a Mexican problem or a South American problem. It's not a US citizen versus an undocumented immigrant problem. It's not an educated versus uneducated issue. It's a Latino problem. If affects us equally. It's OUR problem.

Why is it our problem? I'm a native New Yorker who has lived in the South and the Mid-West for a combined total of 20 years. That's a little under half of my life. I have personal experience with extremist hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan and the Aryan Nation. These people don't care whether we're Mexicans, Puerto Ricans or other Latino culture. They don't care if you're a third gen college educated Hispanic American doesn't know a lick of Spanish. In their eyes, we are all the same. In their eyes, we're less than dirt. Their goal is the preservation of their race and the eradication of minorities by any means possible (think Hitler). Within the last decade, these extremists have risen to prominent positions within the news media, political, and business arenas. With subtle methods and fear tactics, they promote their agenda. You don't believe me? Right wing political radio show host Rush Limbaugh recently called for racially segregated buses.

What are we, as Latinos, doing about it? It is my contention that we cannot depend on current politicians to fix the Latino plight. We must do it ourselves by creating and supporting Latino-centric programs the empowerment and education of our people. That means taking some of the wealth we create and infusing it to the betterment of ALL Latinos in the United States. In other words, we need to give back to the community. Not to give hand-outs but to inspire. Not to create co-dependency but to help educate.

We must morally AND financially support Latino politicians and leaders across the US that will fight in Washington DC for Latino issues. We must encourage by words and deeds our young people to aggressively strive for their educational future. Do you realize that as of 2007, there are 35 million Latinos in America? (UPDATE: In early 2009, the US Census Bureau reports that the Latino/Hispanic population in America is at 50 million.) The Latino population is larger than the entire population of Canada! I don't know about you, but I see that we possess a titanic sized voting block in America.

Otherwise, the Latino social media movement is merely simple hype, smoke and mirrors and snake charming.

Think about it.

Take action.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Happy Hispanic Heritage Month!

Hispanic Heritage Month is upon us (Sept. 15 - Oct. 15) and we have much to celibrate! I believe that as Latinos, we should never forget our ancestry and it's passionate language, music, delicious food, superstitions, strange customs and sayings.

My ancestors were jibaros - a strong and simple folk who lived in the mountainous heart of Puerto Rico They also spoke with a rich (and often funny) jibaro language. Jibaros are - and will always be - the backbone of Borinqueño culture.

Para ustedes, mi gente. Cariñosamente y con mucho gusto les presento:

The Jibaro Medical Dictionary:
  1. Quebranto: Mysterious and slightly elevated body temperature, but not high enough to be considered a full blown fever. Nevertheless, it is serious enough to miss school or work. This illness is unknown by the American Medical Association (AMA) and only understood by doctors of Puertorican origin.
  2. Patatú: Fainting or spasmodic attack of obscure origin that can manifest itself at any time. It could be serious enough to require hospitalization, yet mysteriously undetectable by modern medical technology. Victims tend to be both males and females over the age of 50 years. See PRS.
  3. Sereno: Occurs when someone steps outdoors suddenly at night and is sprinkled by a mysterious substance. There are no physical symptoms and can only be detected by the Puertorican elderly. The cause of this disease is unknown. NOTE: Children must not be taken out at night without proper head gear or risk of contamination is certain.
  4. Empache: Digestive disorder which occurs after the consumption of a large Puertorican meal, but especially during the holidays, i.e. Noche Buena. The only known cure for this disease is "una buena criolla" or "tirarse un buen opps!". Alka-Seltzer is completely ineffective.
  5. Chichón: Elevated cranial protrusion usually caused by the fall after a patatú (Refer to #2).
  6. Chochera: Syndrome affecting all Puertorican senior citizens to different degrees. It is characterized by all around senility and irritating behavior.
  7. Tratamiento: Permanent stay at nearest nursing home - the most common cure for chochera.
  8. PRS: Also known as Puerto Rican Syndrome: A severe form of patatú. This usually occurs when a family member is arrested or killed and shown on CNN or TeleMundo. PRS is characterized by a complete failure of all your muscles of your lower extremities followed by a fall; usually broken by a person standing behind you. A variant of this condition can also be observed when Yiye Avila or another well known televangelist prays for a person and touches their forehead. The person then falls and proceeds to flop around on the floor like fish out of water - known in some religious circles as being slain in the spirit.
  9. Cuerpo Cortao: Frequent and mild condition of unknown origin. Symptoms include (and not limited to) fatigue, lack of energy and chronic whining. The equivalent to the onset of the flu or the horrible feeling the day after a bout of alcoholic debauchery (hang-over).
  10. Moño Parao: Possible biochemical imbalance of short duration that causes strange mood swings, violent irritating behavior as well as general unpleasantness. Extremely common. It can strike any Puertorican regardless of age or sex.
  11. ¡De Repente!: Also known as Sudden Death Syndrome. Lead cause of all Puerto Rican drug dealers shot over 97 times.
Be encouraged to comment and share your memories of our Latino heritage. Or El Cuco will visit you tonight!

Happy Latino Heritage Month!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Finish Strong!

The Latino Edge is about inspiring others to reach their full potential no matter what obstacle comes their way. We will always have "bumps" along our journey. Maybe you've been dealt some horrible cards and you feel like there's no point in continuing on with life.

What will we do? The answer, priceless one, is in this short video. Dios me los bendiga.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Character Traits of a Winner - Speak Like a Winner!

Have you ever noticed that most people who speak negatively are not very successful? They may have jobs, house, spouse, 3.2 kids and pet HOWEVER they are miserable. They may make a good paycheck, but they loath going to the office. They have a spectacular house in a gated community but hate to go home every night. They stop at a bar on the way home to slam down a few shots of whiskey just to be able to make it through the door. They have spouses but wish they were single. They have children but those very children are the bane of their existence. Even the dog looks like it's begging to be mercifully put down.

What has caused all this? More than likely, it was started as negative thoughts manifested in speech. The constant barrage of negative internal chatter finds an outlet through speech. After a short time, negative speech drives away any hope of success. The results are a diminished vision and life. To add to the sludge, misery breeds misery. It is a never ending cycle of unnecessary woe, pain and depression.

The good news is that as long as there is breath in your body, there is hope. In order to have incredible success, criticism, sarcasm, gossip and prejudice must have no place in your life.

I am not advocating a "pie in the sky" outlook in life. Yes, we are surrounded with negativity in media. Things will still go wrong. People still get sick and die. Stocks will rise and fall. Millions of dollars will be lost. Some relationships will sour. The wasps still sting and tires will go flat. However, the difference is in the way you react to these situations.

Words are powerful. They reveal the innermost chambers of your heart. Words reveal your secret thoughts.

Many people don't believe in the power of positive speech. However, my favorite Author, God, made it unmistakably and abundantly clear: A man's belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; and with the increase of his lips shall he be filled. Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. - Proverbs 18:20-21, The Bible (emphasis mine).

The words you speak will graph the blueprint of your very life -- they will chart the very course of your destiny!

Sigmund Freud said, Words call forth emotions and are universally the means by which we influence. Words can give the greatest happiness or bring utter despair!

If you want to change your life, begin by changing your words. Start speaking the words of your dreams, of who you want to become, not the words of fear and failure. - Robert Kiyosaki

Whether we choose to do good or bad, we are going to encounter detractors every day of our lives. We will always find someone who will try to quench the fires of our dreams. Many times, they will be people of close relationship to us.

Nevetheless, it is our choice to give credence to their negativity. We can choose to reject their abysmal prophecies about us. The choice is ours alone!

I call on heaven and earth as witnesses today that I have offered you life or death, blessings or curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants will live. - Deuteronomy 30:19, The Bible

Start speaking words of encouragement to yourself. Every morning, I look in the mirror and speak over myself. I tell myself, "I love you. You are loved beyond measure. You are priceless. You are blessed." That little bit sets the course of my entire day.

Try it. You'll find, little by little, that it makes the difference between a cursed life and a life filled with abundant blessings.

Dare to live the dream!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Character Traits of a Winner - Think Like a Winner!

I have something to tell you that will radically rock your world for the better, if you let it. Are you ready?

To be successful in anything you do, you are going to have to change the way you think. If you think negatively about yourself and your abilities, you'll never, ever be successful in anything you do. If you think you can't, you won't. However, if you think that you are going to do successfully, baby, I am here to tell you, you will be successful in anything you do.

Are you seeing a pattern here?

The way you think will determine the outcome of your life. Your thoughts determine if you are a failure or a success.

If you think good thoughts about yourself, your abilities, talents and gifts, your actions will surely follow. The same reasoning is true if you think bad thoughts about yourself, your abilities, talents and gifts, then your actions will follow its natural course. The reason why successful people succeed is because they precede their success with successful thoughts about themselves. They are the "can-do" people. Despite the obstacles, despite the circumstances, despite what other people tell them to the contrary, they come up and out smelling like sweet roses every time. The only thing special about these successful people is the way they think about themselves, which is always good. They may be janitors but they are the best janitors their company has and it shows in their actions. These people won't stay janitors for long because they are always thinking upward mobility. They are thinking about climbing the ladder up and not going down. Nothing stands in their way towards success. Why? They believe in themselves. They have confidence in themselves. They envision their success and they go out and take what is rightfully theirs. I am here to tell you, it's true and it works!

Do not conform to negative thinking. Do not believe what they say about you. You are not trash. You are not the bottom of the barrel. Your worth is beyond measure. I am writing to you today to tell you that you have potential!

Here are more facts you have to know. You can't put the cart before the horse. There are some things that only work one way and one way only.

  1. A right action does not change wrong thinking. You can work-out but unless you believe you can and will lose weight, you will never lose weight. Eventually, your wrong thinking will crop up like crab grass and cause your right actions to cease. Then the vicious cycle will start up again. You get upset and discouraged and you start overeating again. It is like this with every other issue in your life as well. How many executives do you know that are miserable, crabby people? They have the job. They have the money and they are still unhappy. That's an example of the product of wrong thinking.
  2. Positive thoughts will change wrong actions. When you start washing your brain with good thoughts about yourself, it is inevitable that your actions will follow. There is no way that you can be positive about yourself and let's say, commit suicide. You cannot wake up one morning, feeling and thinking good things about yourself and decide that you're going to kill yourself. When you're positive about yourself, no matter what situation you are in, no matter what station in life you find yourself right now, there is hope. And you cannot help but follow down that bright path.
  3. Don't take to heart the negative comments that people have spoken about you. Right or wrong, you will have detractors. Your bright light reminds them of how terribly sour their lives are. Instead of taking your brilliant example to heart, they'll try to bring you down to their pit of mud and despair. Refuse to listen. Better yet, avoid these people as much as possible. You cannot afford to be around these soul sucking parasites.
  4. Find and cultivate a network of people that will be a benefit to you. Hang out with people that edify and not destroy you, that add and not take away from you. You have no time for gossip or any of that other negative life hindering junk. Remember, successful people breed successful people (We will discuss this in my fourth installment: "Surround Yourself with Winners").
  5. Be balanced with your positive thoughts. Do not think you are superior to anyone else. You will certainly sabotage your climb to success. No one likes an arrogant person. These kinds of people are annoying. Arrogant people never have the goods to back up their perceived superiority. That's why they need to boost their ego on the account of everyone else. They have nothing to offer.
  6. Be aware of what you read, watch and listen. Whatever we allow in the sanctuary of our minds, believe it or not, has a major influence on how we think and act. Not everything we read, watch and listen is healthy for us. Like junk food, junk media has a negative impact on our inner being. Devouring positive healthy media builds a strong inner core. It is a solid foundation on which to build our new healthy positive attitude. My personal preferred healthy media is the Bible. Along with the Bible, I also read other books that inspire me and teach me. I have done away with media that does nothing but waste my time. When I read, if I find myself beginning to feel negative, I lay it down. The same is true for any media; shows, music, videos or games. Nothing good has ever come from negativity.There you have it - a basic outline in which to build a healthy thought process. In the next installment of this five part series, we will learn the importance of words.

Speaking like a winner has a great positive impact on your surroundings and your inner being.

It's OK to love yourself, speak good words over yourself and others! You'll see!

Don't miss it!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Success is a Process

In America, we're accustomed to instant gratification. We ruthlessly indulge in instant credit, instant meals, microwave ovens, value menus, fast food restaurants, boxed mash potatoes – you get the point. Sometimes in the pursuit of instant wealth, millions of dollars are spend on scratch-off lottery tickets. Despite the bazillion-to-one odds against us, most times we pay for the opportunity to win nothing.

That is how some people treat their lives. If reaching their goals requires an enormous sacrifice on their part, they quit. They choose to accept table scraps like starving dogs under the master's table. Although they have the unique talent to become great leaders in a chosen field, they choose to settle for less than their utmost potential. They trade mouth watering filet mignon for spam and sparkling champagne for kool-aid.

I make no apologies if the statements above are a bit offensive to some. This is about reality checks of immense proportions. This is about choices. Sometimes, the truth is offensive. It was offensive to me in the early years of my adult life. My life was a train wreck waiting to happen. That was the truth for me until the day I faced reality – I had to change my way of thinking and the choices I made – or die.

Don't think for one minute that success came instantly for me. Ha! It was a process of discovery, of being truthful with myself, of unlearning bad habits and toxic thinking. I learned to overcome obstacles within my mind thus changing the negative attitudes that sunk me into the mire every time. I had to study and practice to a sickening degree.

I decided to become a web developer during my tenure as a corrections officer in a maximum security prison. I had enough of that dead end job and returned to university. I worked under life and death situations for eight hours a shift and attended classes full time. Mind you, I had to study. So, out the door went precious sleep. Nevertheless, I was able to graduate with honors – 3.67 GPA. That was fourteen years ago. To become a computer wiz, I had to pour over technical manuals the size of the family's Bible, wreck computers and build them from scratch and lose lots of sleep. Eleven years ago, I was accepted into a Microsoft school. After mind bending testing, I became a Network Engineer. I went on to consult for Fortune 500 companies and now, I own a consulting firm.

You may say that I'm a genius. Hardly, my friends. I was a kid from the streets of Brooklyn, New York at a time when drugs, gangs and all sorts of perversion reigned. I was poor and my life was less than... adequate. (Hey, this is about truth, right? Let's keep it real.) I had no support or motivation – zero, zilch, nil, nada, kaput. I should have been a drug dealer, a user, be dead or at least, insane.

After moving out on my own, I have lived in the South for eleven years and in the Mid-West for eight years – right smack in the middle of racist America. It's not as bad as it was in the 60's and 70's but racism still exists nonetheless. I've been called everything but a child of God. There were people who actively made it a point to try to destroy me. Maybe I should have known better than to legally take on the local leader of the Klan – yeah, that Klan, the KKK. That's another story for another time.

What's the secret? Really, there's no secret. I do have to give credit to God. Without Him, I am nothing. The rest is a matter of tenacity, vision, sacrifice, study and practice – due diligence. Nothing new or earth shattering – just simple choice and process. There were no short cuts and no Mega Millions instant gratification mentality.

If a broke down kid from Brooklyn facing a seemingly hopeless future could do it, you can too.

In fact, I know of many single mothers doing the same. Full-time mothers, providers... and students. They became lawyers, dentists, authors, business owner and leaders. Our most famous Latina, Judge Sonia Maria Sotomayor, was officially sworn in as America's first Latina Supreme Court Justice.

My personal inspirations are Jesus Christ, Who saved my life and spirit, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, who lead the peaceful march on Washington DC and delivered his famous speech, “I Have a Dream”, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who motivated the English nation through his second speech, "We Shall Never Surrender" during the Battle of France in WW II, Presidential Medal of Freedom winner and first elected governor of Puerto Rico, Luis Muñoz Marín, and Bishop TD Jakes, a solid man of God, leader and motivator.

On the horizon, I see leaders and rising stars of the Latino community stepping up to the plate. Leaders like award winning Latino author, Raul Ramos Y Sanchez, Louis Pagán, co- founder of LATISM, Lancio "Lance" Ríos, motivational speaker and founder of Being Latino and Lori Gama, Latina inspirational author and owner of highly acclaimed and successful DaGama Web Studio. I seriously suggest you get acquainted with them.

How about you? Do you have a vision? A dream? You have what it takes.

We need you.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Character Traits of a Winner - Introduction

Not too long ago, I was playing chess with a dear friend of mine. She said she had not played in a long time. I thought this would be a quick game. I had no doubt I would easily win. She on the other hand, smiled and studied the board intently. I arrogantly tried to talk her into giving up the game and handing me the win. She refused despite the fact that she was slowly but surely losing her pieces. I even explained a few rules and moves along the way - just to help her out, you see. After all, I wanted to appear like a gentleman.

"Do you want to start a new game?" I asked her. "No. Let's finish this one. I'm going to win.", she replied in soft confidence. I couldn't see how she could ever think that she could ever beat me. Yet her smile remained and she never spoke a single word of defeat.

"Checkmate, John."


"Yes, John. I won."

I studied the board, trying to find a way out. There was none to be found. She had won. My king was dead.

Did she hustle me? No. She had taught me my own lesson. Despite the obstacles, despite the seemingly hopeless odds, she remained confident, never speaking negative word - she won.


Friends, despite your past, your family's and friends' attitude, the only opinion that counts is yours. The moment you speak negative words in your life, you speak defeat into your life. Yes, the circumstances dictate that your boat is sinking. However, it doesn't mean you need to sink with it. Maybe you need to take a new direction in your life. Maybe you need to consider other options like learning a new vocation or opening a new business. Whatever it may be, unless you're laying flat on a cold slab, there's always a way out of your dilemma and a way into a brighter future.

All winners in life have four character traits and employ them successfully. They:

  1. Think Like a Winner.
  2. Speak Like a Winner.
  3. Surround Themselves with Winners.
  4. Act Like a Winner.

In the next four articles in this series, we will explore these character traits individually.

Charles Kinsley said, "The people whom I have seen succeed best in life have always been cheerful and hopeful people who went about their business with a smile on their faces."

Resolve today to think, speak, act and surround yourself with winners. When you win, encourage others that they too can win.

Your life will change for the better.

Johnny Rivera (c) 2009

For Email Subscribers

During TLE's upgrade, we will be changing email subscription providers. Please make note of this and resubscribe with the new subscriber located on TLE's home page. Sorry for the inconvenience. However, this change is necessary to continue to provide you with quality service. Thank you for your patience and understanding during the upgrades.

Warm regards,

Johnny Rivera