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The Recipe For Happiness

Picture your favorite restaurant.  Not just the outside signage but imagine yourself being in the restaurant and sitting at your favorite table.  You’ve ordered your favorite meal of all time and you can’t wait until the server brings it to your table.

Finally, the server appears from the kitchen with this favorite meal in hand.  Man, that seemed like forever! As it sits in front of you, envision how it looks.  Does it steam?  Does it glisten?  As you look at it, what are the aromas that come from it?  Is it strong and pungent or sweet and airy? And the taste?  You could rave about the moisture, the tenderness, the feel in your mouth but there are really no words for the taste.  It just makes you happy.

English: Several pieces of fried chicken.

Fried chicken makes me happy!  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If only you could make that meal at home!  As impossible as it may seem, you could make that meal at home.  The first and most obvious thing that you are going to need is the recipe.  That recipe is going to save you years of trial and error.  Somebody already went through the time and trouble to develop the recipe into what it is today.

You may have to watch or interview the chef as he/she prepares it.  You’ll have to take notes on the ingredients, the preparation, the cooking times.  Then you’ll have to study and practice.  You might even have to buy some equipment.

It is easier said than done but but if you prepare and portion the ingredients the exact same way, cook them in the same type of equipment, at the same temperature, and for the same amount of time.  If you did all those things exactly, that same dish would be sitting in front of you right now and you would feel successful and happy.

Recently, a successful friend of mine gave me a call.  He was expressing to me that he’s happy with everything in his life except his career.  Although he has a well paying job, it isn’t fulfilling for him.  He isn’t happy with his career beyond getting his paycheck.  I gave him the scariest advice he’s ever heard.

My advice: “Do what you love.”

His response was to ask, “How do I do what I love and still make a living?”

You can sense the apprehension (and fear) in the the response.  The unknown is a scary thing for a lot of us, for most of us.  The question however is the right question.  What he is asking for is the recipe.  Whatever unhappiness you may be feeling in your life is the result of not knowing or not following the/your recipe for happiness.

Do you want a successful and fulfilling career?  Picture what it is that would make you feel successful and fulfilled in a career.  See what it looks like.  Know what it feels like.  Find the people who are already doing it. Get the recipe.  Discover the ingredients.  Study, practice, and follow it.

How about a relationship? Is that an area of you life that could be better?  Picture a successful relationship.  Maybe you have a friend who has the greatest relationship ever.  You can’t figure it out.  How the hell do they do it?  Ask them.  Observe what it looks like.  Know what it feels like.  Get the recipe.  Discover the ingredients.  Study, practice, and follow it.

This favorite meal of yours can parallel many aspects of your life.  If you can follow the steps that it takes to recreate that favorite meal, you can follow the steps to recreate a successful and happy relationship, business,  fitness level, education, career, etc.

Taking action is a big step up from reading a post.  Do not be intimidated by the amount of effort, energy, and expense that your recipe may require.  See what it looks like.  Know what it feels like.  Find the people who are already doing it. Get the recipe.  Discover the ingredients.  Study, practice, and follow.


Here are couple links I thought were interesting and in line with what I’m talking about in this post.  Enjoy.

Need a recipe for winning?  Try this book, The Winning Mindset:

Celebrities that have turned their liabilities into assets:

Steve Jobs and the Seven Rules of Success:


Be Inspired My Friend! Bruce Lee Remix

I’ve been in a lot of fights.  I’m not talking professional career here.  I’m talking elementary school.

There were multiple reasons but mainly it was because I really stood out.  I was a white kid living in black neighborhoods.  I changed schools quite a bit too so I was constantly the “new kid”.  Not to mention I was a skinny, geeky looking dude who was a physical threat to no one.  That might not seem like a bad thing but the places where I spent my early childhood were pretty violent, even my school teachers would hit you.  Not being tough looking sucked.

One of the things that I learned early on was that if someone said something, even a little bit derogatory about you, you basically had to punch them in the head.  Even if you thought that maybe they could kick your ass.  If you didn’t get physical, it never stopped.  Fighting kind of did solve everything for me.

If I had to fight then I had to become a better fighter.  There weren’t any gyms or martial arts schools for me to go to and there wasn’t any either.  The school library was my only option.  The school libraries where I lived sucked.  I would always go to the sports section and look for karate books.  If there were any available they were usually crappy looking, hand drawn, black and white illustrations.

Then one day, I came across a book on the making of Enter the Dragon, a film by martial arts legend Bruce Lee.  Not only were there pictures of Bruce Lee actually kicking and punching but they were in full color.  I could actually learn something from this book, I said to myself.

The more I flipped through the book, the more I wanted to be Bruce Lee.  A skinny dude like Bruce Lee could kick a lot of ass and I was inspired.  There were many times where I imagined I was him, practicing his footwork and style in my bedroom.

I looked at that book over and over until I wore it out.  I practiced constantly and even awarded myself an imaginary green belt!  The way I figured it was that I was better than a white belt but not as good as a black belt.  Green belt was the middle belt from what I could tell in my karate books.

Gettin My Bruce Lee On!
Photo taken by Zack Lynch from during one of my fights.

But all of that practice paid off and I was getting pretty good.  Except the day I threw my first kick in a fight after school.  It was a disaster.  Not only did I fall down when I kicked the kid but kicking was considered “sissy shit” where I lived.  I was picked on about that kick until I actually knocked the wind out of a kid in a fight with it.  That story may make it to my blog someday.

Anyway, my family eventually moved to an area where they actually had a school that taught Bruce Lee’s martial art, Jun Fan Gung Fu – Jeet Kune Do.  It was legit too.  Sifu Kevin Seaman ran it.  He was certified to teach Lee’s art by Guro Dan Inosanto.  Guro Inosanto was not only a good friend and training partner of Bruce Lee but he was also one of Lee’s martial arts Instructors as well.  It was a dream come true.

Now there were 8 of us living in a house at that point and you didn’t get things like martial arts lessons.  It just wasn’t financially feasible for my Mom.  It didn’t really matter to me that she couldn’t afford it, I was already hustling night crawlers on the corner, gum and candy at school, newspapers in my neighborhood, and anything else I could get my hands on for a profit.  I paid the tuition myself at 12 years old.

I eventually became a certified Instructor with direct martial arts lineage to Bruce Lee.  Bruce Lee certified Dan Inosanto who certified Kevin Seaman who certified me.  I’m currently one of Sifu Kevin’s highest ranked Instructors and oversee 4 martial arts schools across New York State ( CNY MMA ).

Finding that book all those years ago was the tiny spark of inspiration that I needed to discover that I could do anything that I put my mind, body, and soul into.  I was inspired to improve and keep moving forward despite my environment or my situation.  It’s a very valuable lesson for me.  Maybe it will be for you too.

This video below is a mix of Bruce Lee’s cinema fighting and his philosophy put to music.  It’s so good.  Check into it.

My First Film: In The Fight Documentary Part 2 Released

My First Film: In The Fight Documentary – Episode 1 Released

In this episode of In The Fight we follow amateur boxer, Phil Parrish, as he attempts to beat the odds and win the Olympic Boxing Last Chance Qualifier Tournament in Cincinatti, OH. Will he overcome the impossible and win the tournament or is it too much too soon for this young boxer?

Written and directed by Erik Charles and Bobby Gorham, In The Fight takes you behind the scenes as people from all walks of life battle their demons, overcome obstacles, and meet personal challenges to accomplish their goals.

In the end, we learn that success is not the smoothest road to travel but what we become during the journey is what matters.

I’m really proud of how this turned out and hope that you enjoy it. Please leave us some feedback after you’ve watched it. Enjoy!

6 Ways To Coach Your Child To Better Behavior

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I’m not a perfect father.  Ha.  I know, “way to establish some credibility right out of the gates.”  But I don’t try to be perfect father because I never will be.  My goal as a father is not to be perfect but to teach my kids how to deal with life and make good decisions when I’m not around.  Life isn’t always perfect.  However, I am a parent.  I brought people into this world and I have an obligation to teach them how to do the right things and make good decisions.  You have the same responsibility to your kids.

My kids behaving properly, for now. 🙂

At CNY Mixed Martial Arts we get quite a few parents that come in and want help with their child’s behavior problem.  I hear a myriad of excuses as to why their child is misbehaving.  My son has ADHD.  My daughter has a learning disability.  The mother doesn’t help out.  The father doesn’t help out.  It goes on and on.

You may not realize this but the world doesn’t care why your child is misbehaving.  No judge is going to let little Johnny off the hook for speeding, shoplifting, (insert your own issue here), because he has ADHD.  He isn’t in trouble for having ADHD.  He’s in trouble for not managing his behavior properly.  If your children aren’t behaving the way they should be they are going to face escalating consequences as they move on in their lives.

You might be asking yourself, “why should you listen to this guy?”  You don’t necessarily have to.  As matter of fact, you should read this and determine for yourself it makes sense in your situation.  Then do what you think is best.

Before we get to any techniques though, I want you to understand something.  Your child does not want to misbehave.  You might think they get off on it but they don’t.  Negative behavior elicits negative feelings, emotions, and unhappiness.  Your child wants to be happy and so do you.  Here’s how to make that happen more often.

Let’s use an example of your child doesn’t want to pick up their room.  Because they don’t want to do this, they become verbally abusive.  The reason your child is exhibiting this behavior is because he or she thinks it will get them out of picking up their room.  It’s probably worked for them in the past either for the same chore or for having to do dishes or homework or whatever.  What your child is telling you with this type of behavior is not that they are a bad kid but that they don’t know any other way to handle this other than to be verbally abusive.  This doesn’t excuse their abusive behavior and yes, there should be consequences.

You can tell your child to stop doing something until you’re blue in the face.  You can “ground” them for weeks or months at a time, but if you don’t teach your child what to do instead of the negative, abusive behaviors you are just going to see more of those behaviors and you’re going to become more and more frustrated and exhausted.

James Lehman, MSW, an expert on child psychology and author of and excellent program called The Total Transformation, calls these “replacement behaviors.”  You can say “don’t yell at me” but that doesn’t teach them what to say or how to say the right thing.  The negative behavior that your child is displaying is successful behavior.  Like I said, it’s worked for them in the past.  Telling them not to do something that has been successful in getting them out of certain chores and/or responsibilities in the past will not work.  You have to teach them a replacement behavior that will help them deal with their responsibilities in a better way.

So what do you do?  Here’s some ideas:

1)  First of all, talk with your child after things have settled.  It won’t do you any good to have a conversation when they are being abusive or when you are angry.  It also won’t do you any good to ignore their irresponsible or abusive behavior.  It will rear it’s ugly head until your child learns a better way.

2)  Acknowledge the fact that “xyz chore” is not the absolute most fun thing to do.  It is however a responsibility that they must take care of before they go off and do whatever they feel is the most fun thing to do.  Whining, complaining, and being abusive will not be successful in your family anymore.

3) Explain that being abusive is only going to take them away from the things they want to really do.  Abusive and irresponsible behavior has consequences and your child needs to know specifically what those consequences are.

In the case of my kids being verbally abusive to anyone (and this includes texting), they lose their phone privileges until they can demonstrate respectful verbal communication for an entire week.  If they slip up during that week, it’s starts over.  The punishment will last until they demonstrate acceptable behavior for a week.  They know this and I have very few issues with them being verbally abusive.

4)  Remind them that not everything they have to do in life is going to be something that they really want to do.  That doesn’t mean we can avoid it and/or abuse others to get out of it. Reinforce the fact that being responsible and handling things properly has zero punishment.  There are no consequences for doing the right thing and doing what you’re supposed to do.

5)  Help them with replacement behaviors that are acceptable to your family.  Teach them what to do next time they fell angry, disappointed, upset, helpless, etc.  What is the behavior you would like them to exhibit in those situations?  You need to teach your child another way of handling things instead of swearing or screaming at you or others.

6)  Encourage you child when you see improvements and when they slip up and revert to their old behaviors.  What I mean is suppose your child loses his temper and says something abusive.  Instead of getting angry be the coach that you have to be here.  Say something along the lines of, “I know you can handle this situation better than you are right now.  We’ve talk about it and I’ve seen you do it.  Let’s handle this properly.”

Yes, your child will “slip up” and go back to their old behavior from time to time.  They may even challenge you.  Especially if abusive behavior has been going on for any length of time.  But stand your ground and you will see their behavior change for the long term and they will love you for teaching them a better way.

NOTE:  This post is not intended to be a substitute for family counseling.

Your Ultimate Creation

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Colonel Sanders is the official face of KFC, a...

Colonel Sanders is one of the most recognized celebrities in the world.

Let me ask you something, when was the last time you worked on YOURSELF?  When was the last time that you truly did something just for you?  It’s been a while hasn’t it?

Today, I’d like to challenge you to do something for yourself.  It doesn’t have to be an elaborate exercise or a grandiose vacation. Enjoy a book that has nothing to do with your career.  Sit on your porch and have a nice cup of tea (Golden Monkey, if you want a recommendation).  Get a workout in that makes you feel good about yourself.  Start that business that you’ve always wanted to start, check out Entrepreneur Magazine if you need some ideas.  It’s not too late.  You can re-create who you are into who you want to be at any time you decide to and today is the day.

Colonel Sanders started franchising Kentucky Fried Chicken, KFC, when he was 65 years old.  He received his first Social Security check in the amount of $105 and quickly realized he could not live on that meager amount each month.  He didn’t sit back and say, “life is over.”  He decided instead of retiring at 65, he would start a whole new career!  So he traveled across the country by car from restaurant to restaurant, cooking batches of chicken for restaurant owners and their employees. By the time he was 77 he was a multi-millionaire and had more than 600 KFC outlets.

Your ultimate creation is you.  Do yourself a favor… do something just for you today.  You deserve it. You’ll find it to be among the most rewarding acts you’ll ever engage in.

“The most creative act you will ever undertake is the act of creating yourself.”
Deepak Chopra, M.D., Author on mind-body medicine and spirituality.

Coaching Butterflies

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Monarch butterflies

Get those butterflies in formation!

I’ll admit it … I get butterflies in my stomach whenever my students compete.  I know what the people that I train are capable of.  I know they can do well.  I know they can win.  They show it in practice and they go out and prove it every weekend.

I still get anxious though.  It’s not because my reputation as a trainer is on the line.  It’s not because having successful competitors is good for business.  It’s because I want them to do well.  I want them to prove all the doubters wrong.  They way I know they can.  I want them to erase all the failures in their life with this one victory.  Even if it’s only erased for one night.

So what do I do about these butterflies?  Nervousness doesn’t go away.  You can’t try to block it out or forget about it.  It’s still there.  What I do, and coach my competitors to do as well, is focus that nervous energy, channel it towards a positive outcome.   That energy can be controlled and directed.

I have to perform as a coach.  I have to be aware and focused.  I have to “read” what’s going on with my competitor and make sure they are focused on the task at hand.  There’s an old saying that goes something like, “It’s ok to have butterflies in your stomach however to be effective you have to get them to fly in formation.”

My butterflies are in formation.  Time to roll!

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