“Don’t Quote Me” is an inspirational book that is a culmination of observations and information of Steven’s life sprinkled with famous quotations used to frame his opinions. His goal is to inspire the self confidence that will allow his readers to discover their own individual formula for a successful, happy life. He uses inspiring quotations from the lyrics of classic rock & roll artists as well as athletes, poets, writers and other famous people from all walks of life, including…
The Rolling Stones
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"Don't Quote Me"
By Steven Pollack
Balboa PressCopyright © 2016 Steven Pollack
All rights reserved.
When life gets tough, and rest assured it will — I don't care what tax bracket you're in — there are four quotes that have always helped me through. We all go through periods of difficulty when we feel like life is out to get us no matter how hard we try. When I'm feeling sorry for myself and want to give up, I remember the quote that Jimmy Valvano (North Carolina State basketball coach) gave at the ESPY awards in March 1993 upon accepting the Arthur Ashe Courage Award when he knew he was dying of a rare cancer. He knew it would be the last time he saw most of the audience (many of whom were his friends). In one of the most riveting and inspirational speeches I can remember, he said,
"Don't give up. ... Don't ever give up!"
That is now the motto of the Jimmy V Foundation.
It's bottom line simplicity; nothing more needs to be said. If you throw it in, you're done. If you are lucky enough to wake up and draw a breath, then it's a good day and you have the right to choose how you live it!
"No matter how you feel, get up, dress up, show up, and never give up!"
Jimmy V spoke of having an enthusiasm for life and having a dream or a goal — this bit of optimism and wisdom from a dying man. If a dream were easy to achieve, it wouldn't be a dream. You just have to pick your dreams and focus on a direction.
"If you follow every dream, you might get lost."
— Neil Young, "The Painter"
Everything in life worth a damn is worth fighting for. Persistence and determination will pave the way to success.
"Sheer persistence is the difference between success and failure."
— Donald Trump
You simply have to believe in yourself and your dream, and you better be willing to fight for it!
"The future belongs to those who believe in their dreams."
— Eleanor Roosevelt
Nothing in life is free — nothing! I'm not saying that some days are not better than others, but "Don't give up, don't ever give up." I urge you to download the whole speech from the Internet. He says, "There are three things we all should do every day. We should do this every day of our lives. Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two is think. You should spend some time in thought. Number three is, you should have your emotions moved to tears, could be happiness or joy. But think about it. If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that's a full day. That's a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you're going to have something special."
He concludes his speech by saying, "Cancer can take away all my physical ability. It cannot touch my mind; it cannot touch my heart; and it cannot touch my soul. And those three things are going to carry on forever." Wow, I get a chill every time I read it. (Come on, admit it. You got a chill.) Seeing it live was powerful and inspirational.
"Don't count the days, make the days count."
— Muhammad Ali
Stuart Scott, the groundbreaking ESPN anchor who recently died of a rare cancer at the age of forty-nine, upon accepting the Jimmy V Perseverance Award at the ESPYs, penned an equally inspirational and moving speech six months before he passed away, echoing Jimmy V's words about not giving up.
In a powerful, heartfelt moment, he said, "Cancer is not about surviving, but how people live their lives. When you die, that does not mean you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live and in the manner in which you live. So live. Live. Fight like hell. And when you get too tired to fight, then lay down and rest and let somebody else fight for you. That's also very, very important. I can't do this 'don't give up' thing all by myself."
His companion, Kristen Spodobalski, told him that "life consisted of two dates with a dash in between." Scott's moving closing words were these: "I hope my infant girls take this with them: make the dash count."
The other quote that I have turned to for inspiration is from my favorite poet/artist/storyteller, Bruce Springsteen. It's from the album Darkness on the Edge of Town in a song called "Badlands":
"Well, keep pushin' till it's understood and these badlands start treating us good."
It was actually the quote that we had on our high school soccer T-shirts, and it stuck with me. It's easier to make excuses or to give up or settle. Perseverance takes commitment! When you think you can't dig any deeper, keep digging. "Keep pushin' till it's understood and these badlands start treating you good." They will, eventually. Age and time teaches wisdom, and you learn that life is a marathon, not a sprint. Pace yourself; keep the highs in check, and manage the lows. Take a chance and take control of your life.
"You miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take."
— Wayne Gretzky, hockey player
Take a calculated risk. My son was recently at a Q & A with Billy Joel at college and had the guts to ask if they could play together. Billy said yes, and the video went viral (30 million views in all). Soon after, he appeared on the Today show, Good Day New York, CNN, Sirius radio, and The Jeff Probst Show.
"Great moments are born from great opportunity."
— Herb Brooks, 1980 USA Olympic hockey gold-medal coach
He was asked to write a song about his experience and perform it on national TV. It's about being alive and taking a risk. He had to write it in a week. It has since been featured on Sirius radio. Here is the chorus:
"You may be alive but are you living? I promise you the two are not the same. Never hesitate to take what's given. Cause chances are this chance won't come again."
— Michael Pollack, "Chances Are"
Do something that you have talked about forever — run that marathon, commit to getting in shape, finish your education, or save for that lifelong dream vacation and take it. Buy that Harley and just ride! Don't talk yourself out of it and decide to put the money in another safe mutual fund for the future. (For me, it's writing this book.) Forget the conventional "Bucket List", and put together a "F**k-it List", instead. Challenge yourself to do things that make you less comfortable. The future is now; the time is now.
"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away."
— George Carlin
You only live once, and believe me, you will be a better parent, partner, and person if you are a happy one. My new mantra is "SOLO": Steven Only Lives Once! That doesn't mean don't plan for the future or make prudent, responsible investments. Nothing I say is meant for drastic change. It's all about moderation!
The third quote came much later in life, with perspective.
"The road to happiness lies in two simple principles. Find what it is that interests you and that you can do well, and put your whole heart and soul into it, every bit of energy and ambition and natural ability that you have."
— John D. Rockefeller III
After working for years and actually doing something that I was good at and enjoyed at times, this became clearer. Life can be a grind.
"Your gift is the thing you do best with the least amount of effort."
— Steve Harvey, comedian and talk show host
Both my kids are fortunate to have a real passion for something. Being able to incorporate that love into your everyday routine can be extremely rewarding.
"If you follow your passion, you will eventually find your purpose."
— Steve Harvey
You won't actually realize or understand this until you are forty or fifty and resent the everyday grind of life. Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.
"If you are working on something exciting that you really care about, you don't have to be pushed. The vision pulls you."
— Steve Jobs, Apple cofounder
Life is a challenge. However, if you incorporate a passion, it can be much more rewarding, although not always easy! The fourth and one of my favorite quotes of all time is another quote I heard from Steve Harvey, who was quoting Mark Twain:
"The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why."CHAPTER 2
Let's start this section off with a quote, just to give you perspective.
"Raising a child is the only relationship you have where if you do it right, it will end in separation."
— Naomi Foner, mother of actors Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal
I am lucky to have two healthy (and that, my friends, is all that counts), terrific kids, and I do believe that my wife and I had something to do with it. It sounds cocky, but I have always said that you can put twenty families in a room and probably tell me which kid belongs to which parent just by spending some time with everyone — and it's not just genetics. Your kids are the product of your beliefs and lifestyle. They possess similar characteristics, idiosyncrasies, and mannerisms, as well as confidence, drive, and desire. The apple truly does not fall far from the tree. Your actions do speak louder than your words.
I have always believed in honesty with my kids, to a point. Too much unnecessary information is not always the best idea. For instance, plead guilty to a lesser offense. Telling your kids that you tried pot makes sense to me at the right age. They won't respect you if they know you are lying (as long as you let them know that you didn't inhale — or was it exhale?). But telling them that you attended Woodstock on Quaaludes and LSD and made love to a stranger while Janus Joplin sang "Me and Bobby McGee" is too much information. You get the idea.
Be an active part of their lives. Embrace your children's passions and accept who they are, not who you want them to be.
"Raise the child you got — not the one you want."
— Nancy Rose, author
Share in their interests, not just yours. And most of all, listen. By listening, I mean not multitasking but making eye contact and engaging them. (They know the difference even at very early ages.)
I have coached my kids and their friends from kindergarten until they went to middle school and have always tried to make it fun and competitive at the same time. I know that some people profess that youth sports shouldn't be competitive, just fun for all. News flash: sports and life are competitive! Get used to it. I have learned more of what I apply in life from being part of competitive teams and have always believed that sports are a metaphor for life. You can find out a lot about yourself and others by competing in sports.
"Sports do not build character. They reveal it."
— John Wooden, UCLA basketball coach
You learn how to coexist and depend on others and how to get more accomplished as part of a team than as an individual. Magic Johnson reworked a famous quote from John F. Kennedy when he said,
"Ask not what your teammates can do for you. Ask what you can do for your teammates."
Like they (Who are they? Any ideas?) say, there is no I in team! More we and less me. Being competitive doesn't mean playing the better kids longer at an early age. Personally, I have always felt much more rewarded when a kid of lesser skill does something great, bringing a smile to his or her face and to mine — a kid who will probably not pursue sports but had a positive experience rather than a negative one. We have all witnessed these crazy father/coaches who damage a kid's ego and confidence forever. Don't think for a minute that those experiences don't leave a lasting impression. I still remember the worst coach I ever had, and I'm sure many of you had a similar experience. Usually those are the dads who never had athletic success when they were young and are living vicariously through their kids.
Loud encouragement is great; just make sure you are yelling for a kid and not at a kid. You can teach a child more by being constructive rather than destructive. If kids feel overwhelmed, they will likely tune you out before you can get your point across. I played a lot of competitive sports growing up and would rather impart my experience and love for the game. Wow, I am making myself sound like a saint. News flash: I'm not! I just have a bottom line mentality, and as I have gotten older, I've become less tolerant of obvious bullshit!
"I am not a saint, unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying."
— Nelson Mandela
What's with parents trying to be best friends with their kids? Kids don't need you to be their best friend. They need limits. They will appreciate you more for it in the end. Don't coddle them; teach them independence, resiliency, and respect at an early age. Empower them to be curious and confident. Encourage them to visualize and imagine. A vivid imagination can increase performance and potentially alter an outcome.
"The world of reality has its limits; the world of imagination is boundless."
— Jean Jacques Rousseau, composer
Use the power of your imagination to visualize vividly what you would like to be successful in.
"The best way to predict the future is to invent it."
— Alan Kay, scientist
Bob Bowmen, the coach of Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps says that "Phelps is the best that he has ever seen in terms of athletes visualizing their race outcomes. Phelps has the amazing ability to visualize or imagine the perfect race as if he is sitting in the stands and as if he is in the water.
"Your imagination is your preview of life's coming attractions."
— Albert Einstein
If you harness the infinite power of your imagination and dream bigger, the possibilities are endless.
"The power of imagination makes us infinite."
— John Muir, author
Show your kids a lot of love and affection. The only advice I ever gave to my kids was, "Don't kill yourself.". If you are a great kid and get in a car with someone you believe to be compromised, then you are no longer in control of your outcome. My kids have always called my wife and I, no matter the situation, and they've had the confidence that we would never question them in the moment but always hold them accountable the next day. We would discuss the situation and listen to the circumstances because not everything is black and white. I love that not only our kids had the confidence to call us in a crisis, but so many of their friends, did as well. My wife and I work, and it's been my observation that the children of two working parents seem more comfortable in their own skin, better adjusted and more independent than those overly coddled by stay-at-home moms. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with staying at home, Mom. Just give your kid a little space. Trust me; the space is just as necessary for you.
"Good parents give their children Roots and Wings. Roots to know where home is, wings to fly away and exercise what's been taught them."
— Jonas Salk
Being a kid today is hard enough, and the world waits for no one. Growing up in the new millennium seems more complex than ever. More choices and options in a fast-changing technological world can be challenging, at best.
"Into this house we're born, into this world we're thrown."
Excerpted from "Don't Quote Me" by Steven Pollack. Copyright © 2016 Steven Pollack. Excerpted by permission of Balboa Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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