What A Clown Taught Me About Doing The Impossible.

The World's Strongest Clown.
The World’s Strongest Clown.
  • Circumnavigation of the world
  • The light bulb
  • The telephone
  • Human flight
  • Visiting the moon
  • Personal computers
  • Breaking the 4-minute mile
  • A portable phone
  • A portable phone with music, a camera, and video chatting.
  • A black U.S. President ( I had to throw this one in there.)

Know what these are?

This is a small sample of things we once considered impossible.  Almost everything that was created or had not been done before was considered impossible at some point.

In my non-medical opinion, I’m convinced that our brains tend to operate on automatic mode sometimes.  And anything that we have never seen accomplished, can’t imagine, or seems too difficult gets dumped in that part of the brain where all the impossible things go.  Let’s call it the black hole. Once here we can never even consider the possibility of these things.

This happens so easily and naturally that we don’t even know it’s occurring.

Here in Havana, I love bringing my kids to the circus. The circus doesn’t have an animal show, except two dogs in dresses, no fancy lights, no souvenirs, and no food for sale (except some nasty chewy popcorn) . You walk into the big top and sit on long thin uncomfortable wood bleachers that barely cover your butt.

As people sit, the wood bends and squeaks as if one more person will cause the entire row to snap. This place is bare-bones.

With that said, what this circus lacks in food, animals, and comfort it makes up in performances. They have incredible acrobats, contortionists, and jugglers. Oh yeah, and they also have an awesome band blasting salsa music.

But my favorite thing about this circus is the clown show.  During the skit they ask for an athletic volunteer from the audience to compete in a strength test against the clown. All the contestant has to do is copy the clown.

Sounds easy, right?

  • The clown starts off with 10 push ups.

No big deal.

  • Then the clown does the human flag. (Imagine hanging from a pole in a horizontal position.)

Wait a minute, I said, this is getting interesting.

  • Then the clown does ten one handed push-ups.

Wow! Who is this guy, I say to myself.

  • Next the clown completes 10 push-ups using only his freaking index fingers.  (Side note:  I ran into him one day while he was performing on the street, so I asked him to prove this was real.)

BAM!

Push-ups(Kids/adults don’t try this at home or you will break your fingers.)

 This guy is a beast. The real deal!

  • Now picture yourself lying on your chest with your arms and legs fully extended.  And your palms facing down (like Superman flying). Now try doing a push-up? Those are the hardest push-ups in the world also known as the “Superman push-ups.” He easily cranks out 10 of these babies.

By this point, I’m telling my wife:

“That’s impossible. No one can do that!”

But it’s not over.

  • Then he does the superman push-ups using his two freaking INDEX FINGERS!

By this point my I’m in complete shock and disbelief.  Brain cannot compute (this is my robot voice).

Underneath his clown costume this guy is Wolverine without the muscles and platinum claws. the things he’s doing are all in the “impossible” part of my brain– the black hole.  (What’s the scientific name for this section of the brain?)

I’m sure there’s a lot of stuff in this black hole that has been locked away never to be seen or heard from again. But the scariest thing about this is that over the years, society, life, marketing, and our environment determine what’s possible for our lives.

Our environment tries to dictate our reality.

But I’m learning that our possibilities have more to do with our mental attitude than with our actual circumstances.

Some of us have convinced ourselves that

  • it’s impossible to have a career you absolutely love.
  • it’s impossible to take that around-the-world vacation for 30 days with your family.
  • it’s impossible to buy that dream home.
  • it’s impossible to have an incredible and loving marriage.
  • it’s impossible to start that business or a charity you’ve always dreamed about.
  • it’s impossible to lose weight.
  • it’s impossible to write that book you’ve been thinking about for years.
  • it’s impossible to become a rapper in your 40’s (please don’t do this.)

Unless we’re intentional about fighting these negative ideas or expectations they can take over.  I like what Simon T. Bailey said in his book “Release Your Brilliance.” He suggests changing our mindset to one where

“Impossibility is not an option.”

Don’t give up on your dreams, goals, or aspirations because it seems impossible. And if you’re tempted to quit, like I am at times, remember what Henry Ford said:

Whether you think you can, or you think you can’tyoure right.

Do the impossible or at least start to question it.

Keep Going!

When we have an idea for something that excites us we have to go for it. Asking for advice and support is important, but we shouldn’t get surprised when others can’t match our excitement for that idea.

It makes sense. This is your idea, your voice, your gut waking you up.

We can’t expect others to connect with our idea or dream in the same way. Having said that, I’ve noticed that when people are really passionate about something, no matter what,  they can attrack people.  They are so energetic, excited, and fully alive about that one “thing” that their passion becomes contagious.

Or like Howard Thurman said,

Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs are people who have come alive.

At the begining, however, it seems as if we have to prepare to go at it alone. The one consistent trait I’ve found in people who have done remarkable things is PERSISTANCE. Regardles of their support or circumstances, they keep at it. They make adjustments along the way.

But they keep going!

About Me

IMG_3519

 

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs are people who have come alive.”

Howard Thurman

That’s one my favorite quotes. When I first read this it felt like someone had lit a match to my soul.

I’m Andres Valdes. Welcome to my blog; make yourself at home.

WHAT IS THIS BLOG ABOUT?

Great question.

I’m on a quest to learn what makes me (and others) “come alive.” Because people who are fully alive are difference-makers. I want to explore this idea that everyone has a calling, purpose, or vocation and see what we can learn.  I wish I picked an easier topic. But this is what inspires me.

And similar to my quest, this blog (and my life) are experiments in progress, so I might change course in a few months.

I have a bunche of ideas to blog about, but I’m trying to focus within these three categories:

  1. Self-Leadership
  2. Self-Development
  3. Self-Awareness

I’m motivated by several reasons, but mainly to figure “things” out, use my writing to explore specific ideas, and to connect with people doing epic stuff.  And by “things” I’m referring to what some people describe as one’s:

  • Calling
  • Vocation
  • Purpose
  • Sweet spot

By this point you think I’m either crazy or your curious.  Well, if you think I’m nuts than this blog obviously ain’t for you, bro. And if you like it, please contact me , say hello on twitter, or show me some love (leave a comment below).

WHO IS THIS BLOG FOR?

I’m not a guru. I don’t have the answers or a crystal ball, but I’m learning and looking for people to learn from. In fact, I’m a grasshopper, which means I’m still in trenches battling it out trying to figure things out. I’m inspired by my three favorite words: Purpose, Passion and Potential. Actually I’m obsessed with understanding these terms not just for me, but for others as well.

My goal is to inspire and encourage others as well as myself. I know there are tons of folks out there thinking about this stuff. I know you’re there; I see you. 🙂

WHAT IS MY MAIN HUSTLE? 

I’m really fortunate and blessed to have one of the most unique jobs in the world. Many people live to travel, but I travel to live.  I’m a U.S. Foreign Service Officer or diplomat. We are the people who work inside U.S. Embassies around the world. We are the ones you call when you lose your passport, get arrested, or run out of money abroad and need to call home. Actually, we do a lot more. You can learn more about the Foreign Service and diplomacy here.

But this blog is not about my career, foreign policy, or foreign visas. It’s about tackling the biggest and toughest questions about life that most of us have but avoid or just don’t think about.

You can find me working on my blog which I call my “Side-Hustle” between 0600AM and 0630AM. That’s right— 30 minutes per day, so don’t expect me to publish blog posts daily. Between work, family, and diapers I stay busy enough. Everyday day I’m hustling, except Sundays. Even God rested on the 7th day.

WHERE DOES MY INSPIRATION COME FROM?

My inspiration comes from lots of places:

  • My Christian faith (but this not a religious blog.)
  • Experiences (good and bad)
  • Movies
  • Quotes
  • People
  • Random ideas/events

I love connecting random events with stories of deeper meaning.

WHAT DRIVES ME CRAZY?

The thing that drives me the craziest in this world our people with loads of potential who don’t do use it. I want to do something about this. This reminds me of what Aristotle said,

 Where your talents and the needs of the world cross, there lies your vocation.

WHY START A BLOG IF I DON’T LIKE WRITING?:

I don’t claim to be a good writer. In fact, I’m pretty bad. The reason I write is because the mental clarity it produces. Plus, I love the creativity involved. And like you, I have my own unique perspective which I feel can help others. I get more inspiration from regular folks who do awesome things than all of the super accomplished people out there. These are the people I want to connect with and maybe interview for this blog.

WHO AM I?

Family In Japan

I’m obsessed with living intentionally, investing my time, and making a difference. After my faith and health, my wife and kids come next on my priority list. The most important titles in my life are husband and father. I have a great wife and the awesomest three little girls ever. They are my daily motivation to hustle hard.

I still have student loans, make a lot of typos, and am terrible with math. I’m human. I’m an ordinary guy who wants to live an extraordinary life. And I suspect you might be too.

I also enjoy long walks on the beach. 😉

FUN AND RANDOM FACTS:

  • My wife and I trecked thru the mountains in Rwanda to see gorillas in wild.
  • Spelling, math, and calendars are like kryptonite to me. Seriously!
  • I’m an introvert, who loves public speaking.
  • I was kicked out of a Catholic high school after my first year.
  • I have lived in seven countries by now- either as a student or professional.

FAVORITE MOVIES:

  1. Braveheart
  2. The Pursuit of Happiness
  3. The Great Debaters
  4. The Matrix
  5. Jonny Q