PR stands for personal record, and when life offers you a challenge, it is up to you to make the choice to conquer your goals or accept mediocrity.

Watching an individual squat twelve plates at the gym was awe-inspiring to say the least.  This man did a squat of 585 lbs with such ease that I found deep motivation to begin striving once again for old fitness goals.

Of course the next day, I decided to do squats, one of my weaker lifts, and I progressed through the weights slowly but surely.  Determined to break my own limitations, I was antsy to add more weight to destroy my PR.  It was a little intimidating to load up the bar, but I started blasting heavy metal music through my earphones to drown out my doubts.

The squat began and reality set in.  I felt the weight push heavily against me, but I continued to go through the preparations for the lift.  As I went down, there was a brief moment where I felt my legs were ready to give out on me, and a singular second felt like five.  At the bottom of the squat while lifting up, I felt myself start to fold under the heavy bar.  In a fight or flight moment, where I felt like I was in danger, I blacked out for a second and found my inner strength to get the bar up to destroy my old PR.  That brief moment I was given a choice to either fold under the weight or get that bar up.

When conflict knocks on your door, always know that it is completely up to you to decide whether you use it as an opportunity to conquer your goals or accept mediocrity and let yourself fail.


Christmas: Another Day At Practice!

Practice… even on Christmas day!

In my youth, I remember wanting, above all else, to truly excel at my craft of bboying (breakdancing).  With such fervor in my heart, I was convinced that this would be my ultimate calling in life, and I dedicated myself to fully immersing myself in the dance style.

Few truly understood this crazy obsession, except another dedicated individual by the name of Mario.  Back in those days, I remember him always being the quiet person in the corner who had such a high level of skill in the dance style that none could even hope to match his prowess.  He was that silent bboy assassin that would show up to practice and utterly crush anyone who challenged him.  As I was just starting out in my dance journey, I found it awe-inspiring to see him perform all of these wildly difficult moves in such a facile manner. 

A year had gone by, and I became a regular at the Aiea recreation center.  This was the venue where we all practiced, and I had become obsessed with becoming better.  I had always admired Mario’s tenacity at the dance style, and I eventually became a frequent visitor whom would practice every single day the recreation center was open.  

Towards the end of the year, the holidays rolled around, and fewer and fewer people were coming to the gym. Due to the busyness of the season, many elected to focus on other avenues of their life, and the recreation center became empty towards the ending of December.  To this day, I vividly remember Christmas of that year.  I walked in fully ready to practice by myself, only to see Mario as the only person dedicated enough to be there on this day usually reserved for loved ones.  

After a year of knowing this person, I had never once engaged in a conversation with him, but today that ended.  Out of mutual respect for each other, I recall our first conversation being about the utter disbelief we each had that another was here to practice on Christmas day.  Since that day, 10 years ago, he has become a valued friend who constantly provides inspiration to me on a daily basis.

Two crazy, obsessed individuals gathered on Christmas years ago because of the unfathomable work ethic that they both possessed.  

Our First Chuck E. Cheese Experience!

Chuck E. Cheese is a totally different experience when you are a parent!

After denying myself the full satisfaction of the recommended daily intake of carbs, I thought it would be a fantastic day to mess up my routine with some good ‘ol fashioned pizza.  As this is our day dedicated to fun and enjoyment, I thought why not embark on taking our son to his first experience at the new Chuck E. Cheese that opened in Kapolei.

Since this was a new location, it was exceptionally clean and packed full of children with their parents.  Bright neon lights were abundant, and the speaker system was constantly sharing the current activity occurring within the establishment.  After quickly munching on some pizza crust, our little one immediately took off in a frenzy to join in on the excitement of the other children.  Running from video game machine to miniature ride in an instant, our son was in a state of total excitement which brought the biggest smile to my face.

Throughout the time in that location, I kept reminiscing of birthday parties where parents put the entirety of their focus on making your little one feel exceptionally special.  Now as a parent myself, I can’t wait for the days to bring that same big smile to our son’s face when his birthday arrives!

In our youth, we look forward to Chuck E. Cheese as a place to eat pizza and spend copious amounts of time playing their various video games.  As a parent though, Check E. Cheese is completely different, and it makes me excited for the future to take as many opportunities as possible to show my son how truly special he is!

Tour Guide

When people come to visit, show them around!

The hospitality that I had received when studying abroad in Korea was unforgettable to say the least.  Long nights were spent drinking hefty amounts of soju with enough Korean bbq to warrant me checking into the hospital to check for coronary heart disease.  Needless to say, I was excited to return the favor when my dancer friend Bboy Orange came to Hawaii.

He visited the islands for his lovely honeymoon, and he was thrilled to experience a bit of Hawaii’s Hip-Hop culture while on the islands.  Although from a completely different culture, once he met the dancers, it was easy to connect with everyone due to the singular dance style that bonded us all.  

We spent the entire day visiting various temples and points of interest of Hawaii, and although my Korean was limited (after not speaking it for several years), we managed to converse on simplistic topics.  Time went by extremely quickly as we enjoyed various sites and bantered on fun topics. Even though we hadn’t seen each other for years, we quickly caught up. Years instead felt like weeks as we reminisced at the good times we enjoyed in Korea.

Finally, we ended the night with a large meal at a local bbq eatery which provided ample amounts of sake for us to enjoy.  As we became more inebriated, the language barrier we previously had seemed to dissipate, and all-in-all this was an amazing day spent with a dear friend whom I had not seen in years.

Whenever someone offers you unforgettable hospitality, always return the favor and show them around your hometown when they visit!

Dressing Well

I take pride in my wardrobe choices!

“Dressing well is a form of good manners” (Tom Ford).  Personal style is an aspect that I am truly prideful of, and I believe this quote holds true in every occasion.  Whether it be to a friend’s house or meeting a client, I take particular consideration to dress in a fashion that exudes my personality.

Many times, I receive discouraging comments on how you should dress appropriately for situations, and maybe it is wrong to don a suit at parties.  In my opinion though, taking the time to don a particular outfit displays the level of respect I have for you as an individual.  If I didn’t respect who you were as a person, I wouldn’t dress in the fashion that I usually do.

Dressing well is a form of good manners, and I choose to be exemplary in my mannerisms!

Night Jogging

It’s kind of nice!

After making a commitment to my health, I unhappily decided to make daily running a requirement.  30 minutes of brisk jogging in which my only validation of the time-lapsed would be a singular alarm that would cue when I could stop.

Jogging at night is tranquil and peaceful.  Seeing the various lights and scenes is a different experience when you are outside in the open.  I found myself taking deep breaths as the fresh air and smells of pine filled my lungs and provided a harmonious feeling that I did not expect.

Jogging is something that I inherently hate, but the tranquility of running at night was an experience that I found both uplifting and relaxing.

Don’t knock a new experience until you try it.  Even seemingly mundane tasks can offer you new perspectives if you give it a shot.

Tonight is a great night to go running!

I Hated Writing!

At one point in my life, I was convinced that I was a deficient writer!

Throughout my schooling years, English was my worst subject.  As an adolescent, I had fallen into the trap of defining myself through the marks I received in that course, and had been thoroughly convinced that I would never be great at the intricacies of writing.  As a consistent B student, English courses would always be at the lower spectrum of my grades, and I would find some obscure way to barely make it to a C-.

Fast forward to 2008, I was entering community college for my first semester.  Mrs. Levy was notorious for being an extremely stringent teacher who had such extortionate standards that classes of 35 would be reduced to a mere five students (she coined those individuals survivors).  I didn’t know it at the time, but I was in for a rough first semester of college.

What changed in college was my personal endeavor to change my persona of a B student to a phenomenal A student, and I would do whatever it took to attain that feat during my new beginnings at college.  After immense amounts of hard work, Mrs. Levy imbued a strong set of methodologies to enhance your writing.  Her standards were high, but the level of commitment she made to her students were unheard of.

I survived her course through sheer tenacity, and after the semester was over, I managed to reach my goal of achieving an A.  Weeks after receiving the exemplary mark, I get an e-mail from Mrs. Levy suggesting I become a writing tutor at the community college to improve my own personal writing.  Her e-mail was something to the effect of, “Daniel, you are at best a B level writer, and it was your handwork that saw you through this class.  If you decide to take the opportunity to be a writing tutor, I can see you one day becoming an A level writer.” 

So a tutor I became, and what an experience it was.  It shifted my mindset to that of someone who could write with confidence, and although I am still not where I want to be in my writing, pure determination is on my side.

After this experience, I owe Mrs. Levy a tremendous amount of gratitude.  She changed my personal perspective on who I was as a person, and showed me the results of having sincere concern for the success of your students.

Change your own personal definitions of who you are! You have the choice to be the expert at whatever you choose, if you are audacious enough to work for it.

Everlasting Friendships

Some friendships are irreplaceable.

I was 24 years old, embarking on a second study abroad experience in Korea.  Stepping off of the plane was exciting, and the range of anticipated thoughts of how the semester was going to pan out enveloped my mind. It was going to be an outstanding semester.

Upon reaching the preplanned meeting place of all the exchange students, I was intrigued by the feeling of an individual who was intently gazing at me.  Turning to look at the person, I found the other gentleman was not offering a menacing, creepy stare, but instead a strangely welcoming stare that was both welcoming and amiable.  

Perplexing to me, he asked if I was a bboy (breakdancer), and I found it strange that he came to that correct assumption.  Maybe it was my outlandish disposition or my dissimilar style of dress, but that was the beginning of meeting one of the significant individuals that has shaped my life.

Lee Boli, a name that would become almost conjoined to my own, and we spent the rest of the semester embarking on adventures that I would never forget.

Friendships sometimes come from the most obscure interactions, but many become so pivotal to shaping our lives that they become invaluable to our personal being.

Therefore, it is important to know that some friendships that are irreplaceable, come from the most surprising interactions!

Remy Martin XO

At $180 a bottle, this better be good!

After years of drinking the most inexpensive liquors available, I found myself curious as to the rationale of individuals buying these opulent liquors that cost exuberant amounts of money.  Enjoying a bit more disposable income than before, I delved into the world of Cognacs. 

Beginning my journey, I did my due diligence and committed to learning a plethora of information about the French whiskey.  Eventually, I found myself purchasing, from Costco, a bottle of Remy Martin XO (XO standing for extra old), and I learned what the combination of over 100 different eaux-de-vie tastes like.

Nothing has compared to the airy aromas and subtle flavors of a beautifully aged Cognac.  Although it may not be for everyone, I found that sharing a fine liquor is the best way to enjoy it because you can discuss the various subtle flavors that this drink contains.

Many may ridicule the purchase of an expensive spirit such as Remy Martin XO, but it is important to try these types of experiences first-hand before making a judgment.  

In order to speak from experience, spend a little extra and try an opulent spirit soon!