Being Grateful

Thanksgiving is a great time to reflect on what we are most grateful for this year.  I am particularly grateful for family, good health, great business partners, In-n-out and the Lakers winning (lately!).

I received the following article from Michael Josephson.  I’ve been following him since I moved to LA in 1998.  He ran a radio program called “Character Counts”, and I have found his blogs and words of wisdom to be a great inspiration.

Enjoy these words on gratitude and it’s importance.  What are you grateful for this season?  I would love to hear about it in the comments section!



Be Thankful for Your Parents

On this Thanksgiving Day, I’d like to remind children of all ages to think about your parents and all the things you could feel thankful for. Even if you didn’t have a perfect home life or ideal parents, it’s a good day to appreciate those who need affirmation, approval, and encouragement as much as you did when you were a child.

It’s natural to criticize your parents and be preoccupied with your own life, but this doesn’t free you from the basic responsibility to be courteous, kind, empathetic, respectful, and grateful.

Children, especially teens and young adults, often become so self-absorbed with their own lives that they really believe they’re too busy or too poor to be attentive to their parents’ emotional needs. They don’t make thoughtful phone calls or get even symbolic birthday, anniversary, or holiday gifts (with parents, it really is the thought that counts). Because their parents forgive them, they think what they did or didn’t do is okay. Well, it isn’t.

You have an enormous power to cause happiness or hurt. Sharing good news, even asking for advice, can give your mom or dad great pleasure and pride. If, however, you ignore, demean, or shut out your parents due to thoughtlessness or malice, you can cause enduring distress, even misery.

Good parents – the ones who are easiest to hurt – change their lives in thousands of ways for their children. They don’t do it for gratitude, but they deserve thankfulness. In a moment of despair, King Lear utters an age-old truth: “How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless child.”


Character Development

I found this article from my friend – Michael Josephson.  I have always believed that a person’s professional growth is directly tied to personal growth.  In other words, if you work on becoming a better person and continuously “upgrade yourself”, you can expect to see upward mobility in the workplace.

Enjoy the article.


7 Seas

The Seven Cs of Character

As you consider your goals for the New Year, I hope you’ll think about working on your character. No, you’re not too old and I don’t mean to imply you’re a bad person. As I’ve said often, “you don’t have to be sick to get better.” In fact, it’s a lot easier to make a good person better than a bad person good.

The struggle to be better takes place during our daily choices.

People of exceptional character stand out from the crowd because they develop the wisdom and strength to know and do the right thing in the face of pressures and temptations to do otherwise.

There are seven core qualities called the Seven Cs of character: conscience, compassion, consideration, confidence, control, courage, and competence.


CONSCIENCE. Your conscience is your moral compass.  Take care of it. Use it. Trust it.

COMPASSION. Nurture, express and demonstrate compassion by caring about, giving to and helping whomever you can, whenever you can in all ways that you can.

CONSIDERATION. Be considerate.  Always be aware of how your words and actions affect others so you can do more good and less harm.

CONFIDENCE. Approach every opportunity and challenge with confidence that you are worthy enough and able enough to succeed. Never doubt your inner strength to overcome temptations, difficulties and misfortunes with honor and dignity.

COURAGE.  Protect who you are and what you believe with courage. Master your fears and preserve your integrity by doing what you know is right even if costs more than you  want to pay.

CONTROL. Control the emotions, urges and appetites that demean you, damage your name or diminish your future.

COMPETENCE. Continually build your competence, the knowledge, skill and ability to ethically and effectively solve problems

A Little Warrior Needs Help

There are some things that happen in life that are difficult to understand.  Why do bad things happen to good people?

I was given some really bad news last week (September 14, 2012).  An old friend of mine (James) that I grew up with in Humboldt, Canada, let me know that his son (Tyler) was diagnosed with brain cancer.  Unfortunately the tumor cannot be removed by a surgeon; it can only be treated with radiation.  Tyler is 5 years old.

James, his wife (Kelly), and Tyler are about to engage in a very difficult war with cancer.  They are about to uproot their lives and temporarily live in another city to give Tyler the best treatment available.  It’s hard to imagine how difficult this will be for these young parents.

During this crazy time, the old gang from Humboldt started calling, texting, emailing, praying, and asking how we could all help.  It was certainly a proud moment for me to be part of a special group of compassionate friends.  We all live in different cities, and sometimes we don’t see each other as often as we’d like.  But make no mistake, everyone is stepping up for James in one way or another.

We all want James to put every ounce of his attention and energy on Tyler.  We don’t want James to be concerned about bills piling up at home, a temporary loss of income, and some increased expenses.  In the near future, we hope to put together some fundraising efforts.  I hope many of you will join our cause to help this family pour their love and focus on to their little warrior.

For now, please keep Tyler in your prayers.

Do you need it? Do you want it?

People today buy things they don’t need, with money they don’t have, to impress people they don’t care about.  


Think about that.  To a certain degree, we all buy in to that statement.  Some a little; some a lot.

Below is a post that I found online that articulates a mindset that would be a healthy adoption for all of us living in countries of abundance.



Here are my wife’s comments when I showed her the article:   “That’s a great article.  We should post it somewhere, and reread it whenever we think we need to get a bigger and better tv…”

I just purchased a 60 inch Smart TV about a month ago….   😦


Enough is Enough

What does it take to make you happy?  How much do you have to have to be grateful?

To the barefoot man, happiness is a pair of old shoes.  To the man with old shoes, it’s a pair of new shoes.  To the man with new shoes, it’s more stylish shoes.  And, of course, the fellow with no feet would be happy to be barefoot.

This leads to the ancient insight:  If you want to be happy, count your blessings, not your burdens.  Measure your life by what you have, not by what you don’t.

Yet in our modern world where we’re continually exposed to endless increments of more and better – others with more money, better TVs, and bigger houses – this is very difficult.

For some people, the pleasure of having something good is drained as soon as they see someone else with something better. Our sense of contentment is created or destroyed by comparisons.

A life consumed with unfulfilled wants is an affliction.  The antidote is the concept of “enough.”

This starts by thinking more clearly about the difference between our needs and our wants, between sufficiency and abundance.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with wanting more and striving to fill our lives with things and experiences that give us pleasure, so long as we don’t believe we need whatever we want.

When we think we need what we really only want, we make our desires preconditions to happiness, thereby diminishing our ability to appreciate and enjoy what we do have.

It’s easy to think that happiness is achieved by getting what we want when it’s really a matter of wanting what we get.

In the end, enough is enough.

Lessons from Pigeons

I came across a great article that studied the behaviors of pigeons in a controlled environment.  I think there are a couple of great lessons that parallel with human behavior.



2 Lessons on Adapting and Entitlement

During an experiment, pigeons were put in cages with one green and one red button.  In one cage, if the birds pecked the green button they would get food every time.  In the other, the green button yielded food erratically and the pigeons had to persist to get enough food.  In both cases, pecking the red button did nothing.  Both sets of birds thrived, learning what they had to do to survive and to ignore the red button that yielded no food.  But when the birds that were used to getting a reward every time were put in the cage that fed them only occasionally, they failed to adapt; they hit their heads against the cage and pecked wildly at everything in sight.



There are two worthwhile lessons from this study.  First, the pigeons quickly learned from experience to avoid the red button because it was unproductive.  There are lots of people who would lead smoother and happier lives if they just stopped pushing red buttons that never give them what they want.

Second, even birds who have it too easy get spoiled and develop an entitlement mentality that prevents them from adapting to situations where they can solve their problems if they just work harder.  Some people are like that too.  They don’t deal well with new circumstances especially those that require persistence.

Part of being responsible is learning from experience to appreciate the benefits of tenacity and the wisdom of avoiding useless, harmful and self-defeating patterns of behavior.

Life Is Like A Jar Of Rocks

A philosophy professor stood before his class and had some items in front of him.  When the class began, wordlessly he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks, rocks about 2″ in diameter.

He then asked the students if the jar was full?  They agreed that it was.

So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar.  He shook the jar lightly.  The pebbles, of course, rolled into the open areas between the rocks.

He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar.  Of course, the sand filled up everything else.

He then asked once more if the jar was full.  The students responded with a unanimous – “Yes.”

The professor then produced two cans of beer from under the table and proceeded to pour their entire contents into the jar — effectively filling the empty space between the sand.

The students laughed.  “Now,” said the professor, as the laughter subsided, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life.  The rocks are the important things – your family, your spouse, your health, your children — things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.  The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, your car.  The sand is everything else – the small stuff.”

“If you put the sand into the jar first,” he continued, “there is no room for the pebbles or the rocks.  The same goes for your life.  If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.  Play with your children.  Take time to get medical checkups.  Take your husband or wife out dancing.  There will always be time to go to work, clean the house, give a dinner party and fix the disposal.  “Take care of the rocks first — the things that really matter.  Set your priorities.  The rest is just sand.”

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the beer represented.

The professor smiled.  “I’m glad you asked.  It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of beers.”

Revlon Walk – May, 2012

I am so proud of the people that I work with.

When people walk in to Team TAG, they are empowered to grow personally and professionally.  One of the coolest initiatives that we have is “Spiritual Growth”. In simple terms, that means that we want to give back to our communities with our time, our money, and all available resources.

On May 12, 2012, several of our team members joined the Revlon Walk to raise money and awareness for women’s cancer.

Check out Stefanie’s testimony below.  Great job team!


“Team TAG participated in the 19th annual Revlon Run/Walk for Women fundraiser. We are all proud to contribute to this impressive charity event. So many families and friends have been directly affected by women’s cancers. It is a great inspiration knowing we helped toward the cure. The Revlon Run/Walk is one of the largest fundraisers in the country for women’s cancers and the event is backed by the Entertainment Industry Foundation.

We joined more than 30,000 participants on Saturday, May 12th for an awesome day of making a difference in the fight against women’s cancers. Revlon Ambassador Halle Berry, Mario Lopez, Matthew Morrison, and Stacy Keibler came out to support the cancer research event. At the starting line, they kicked off the beautiful morning with welcoming smiles and cheers. With the event being on a big family weekend (Mother’s Day) the office still had a great turn out. Nine walkers represented Team TAG with signs, ribbons and full of team spirit! We skipped, we power walked at times, and walked & talked the 5k race that led us through the amazing USC campus. It was a fun bonding time! The participants included Stefanie Tringham (Team Captain), Manilynn Disuanco, honorable mother, Evelyn Disuanco, Sam Chen, Andrew Barkman, Drew Easton, Sam Yu, Phi Duong, and Yesa Matvelieva. A shiny gold medal was given to each walker at the finish line inside the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum with thousands united under the common goal of defeating women’s cancers; one step at a time.

This was an inspiring event, and the employees of Team TAG were proud to support it.” – Stefanie Tringham