“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “press on” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”
-Calvin Coolidge

I have met a lot of talented people in my life. I remember two friends that were so intelligent and athletically superior that they constantly amazed me. Both of them however lacked persistence. Persistence does not come easy to some people, and so situations in life can kill it. In the case of both of my friends I put some of the blame in drugs. A lot of people think that smoking a little weed is not a bad thing, but I have seen it kill persistence. I say it kills persistence rather than motivation, because the motivation might be there but the persistence is gone.

I learned a lot about persistence practicing martial arts. It is one of the best lessons I think martial arts can teach. Almost everyone can accomplish perfect form through persistence. Some of the most complicated movements became second nature after you kept going. I had always heard the term getting your second wind. Even though I did sports while I was younger I had never reached that level until I practiced martial arts. I pushed and pushed past not being able to do it anymore and it was a wonderful feeling to get that extra boost of energy.

I think we can apply that same second wind mentality to life. When we feel like we have exhausted every possible option in a situation, try to push on and perhaps the second wind is right there waiting for you. So what does the quote say to you?

Best Friends

‘Best Friend’ has been a title that I have given to a lot of people but it has seldom been reciprocated. I was very surprised when my best friend from high school back in Colombia actually called me his best friend. We have kept in contact and our paths actually crossed again back in 1998 after not seeing each other for five years. He is actually a successful singer, musician, record producer and electrical engineer back in Colombia. He actually taught me how to play the couple of chords I know how to play on the guitar. He recently started blogging and posted a 50 things about him, and I am proud that he actually mentioned me as his “mejor amigo” during high school.

I remember a lot of people that have affected my life as best friends. In one way or another they have shaped who I am with their friendship and even though some of them have not ended in the most positive of terms, I have learned from all of the relationships. My first memory of having a best friend comes from grade school. I spent 5 years with the same group of kids and my best friend was Edgar. He lived around the corner from me and was a very kind, mild mannered kid. I will always remember how gentle and friendly he was to everyone and have always wanted to reconnect with him. I do know that he got married and has a couple of kids, but not sure what he became professionally.

Around the neighborhood I had two friends that I will never forget. One was Jose Luis aka (Pocho). He was an excellent athlete and soccer player. He made me a better soccer player and taught me a lot about being street smart. I remember a lot of playing soccer and playing dominos with him and a group of friends. Pocho went on to become a doctor and I am really not sure where he lives now but I do know that he actually moved to Ecuador to go to school. The second one was Jacqueline who was the daughter of one of my Mom’s best friends and the niece of my uncle’s wife. We grew up together because our families were close but we developed our own friendship to the point that she knew more about me than any other friend. She was someone I felt I could talk to about anything and there would be no judgment. One sad thing about remembering her is that she is not with us anymore. She passed away 2 years after I moved to the United States. I visited her grave when I went to Colombia and I will always remember her.

During high school I had a group of friends that through the years became a protection clique. I was always the small one and they all took care of me in one way or another. The school that we went to was very divided into different social groups and we had tons of fun with each other. We came up with our own made up words, our own practices and just overall craziness. Julian aka (NitoXXX) was part of that group along with Javier, Diego, and Andres. Julian inspired this post, Javier is now a doctor and I believe he is now in the UK, Diego is a Psychologist working with the people displaced by the war all over Colombia and I believe Andres is a teacher still in our city.

After moving to the US I did a couple of years in High School and graduated after 4 senior years. It is a complicated thing that I will someday explain in a post. While at High School in the US I made one best friend, Luis aka (Chino) he helped me survive a very tough High School without any major incidents. I also became a part of his family during those years by being over there all the time eating tasty Puerto Rican meals that his Mom made. After Chino moved away from his parents I have not heard much from him. I have seen him over the years but at times it seems like I have seen his parents more than I have seen him after High School.

College was a blast and I met some of the people that I wanted to keep in contact with for the rest of my life. It just so happens that after college you lose touch with most of your friends. Something that I should have learned after grammar school and High School, but I partially blamed it on just moving away from Colombia. I met some great people there, some I don’t talk to anymore by choice (mine or theirs depending on various situations) and some are the people that I will have stand up for me at my wedding. Travis and Eric are two of the brightest people I have the pleasure to interact with in my life. Travis is a web developer working for a firm down in southern IL, and Eric works for a big telecom company writing software (even thought he is a hardware guru) and installing equipment to deliver digital content. I still keep on contact with them in a regular basis, but we have not seen each other as much as we would like to because of geographical distances.

Another Year of Blogging

January 9th will mark the second anniversary of my blog. Last year was one of the best years of my life, not because it was full of happiness but because it was a learning experience in many levels. We think of happiness as so many things but at times forget that sadness, struggle and pain are also part of the balance in life. I learned a lot of lessons this year but without rambling on any longer I present to you my favorite posts from the now defunt 2005, enjoy!

Read more Another Year of Blogging