I Wrote 1,711 Words before I Arrived at these 169 about ADVERSITY and ETERNITY

Overcoming adversity makes us stronger

(For reasons we may never understand in this lifetime) we CHOSE come here (we chose to be earthlings) We CHOSE to suffer

Like a knife, sorrow carves us out (like the guts of a pumpkin) That’s why sorrow often feels like a hollowness, like a cavity in our soul

In actuality, this hollowness is EXPANSION It is GROWTH Ultimately, sorrow expands our capacity to experience JOY

(Someone once told me that high highs make up for low lows)

We exist to experience JOY

And to expand the experience of JOY of others around us

I offer no evidence from my own experience to assert the truth of my words Instead, I encourage you to consider my words in light of your own experience

(I omitted periods to point to the truths: nothing ever truly ends & all we have = NOW)

I invite you to share with me your perspective

Advertisements
Standard

Humility, Astonishment and an Invitation to Grow

I am humbled and astonished at the overwhelmingly positive response to my last post, Be My Guest to Experience 14 Things I Love about Utah Jazz Games.

I must admit, the idea to include a contest where the winner will be my guest at an upcoming game was my wife’s idea, so if it happens to be you, be sure to thank her.

In an earlier post I shared that publicly sharing my thoughts and feelings online is new and somewhat uncomfortable for me. But many of the comments readers of my last post made helped me to remember just how special the Jazz is, what a unifying force the team is for Utah, and how blessed I am.

I was particularly pleased to read about how many family relationships have been strengthened by watching the Jazz play— grandmothers and grandchildren, parents and children, and brothers and sisters. My favorite stories are those of couples who found romantic love grow out of a shared love of the Jazz. It’s great to hear from people who got engaged at a game or whose game-night dates blossomed into happy marriages.

My dad had incredible vision. I think that before he bought the Jazz he could see all this good that would come from keeping the team in Utah. He must have seen something, because in the eleven seasons before he bought the team the Jazz had never made a profit. And this was before the era of global superstars, when the NBA Finals were still broadcast on tape delay. It was a very different world.

I have a theory that he did know all the good that would come by keeping the team in Utah, and I think that’s what motivated him to take the risks that made it possible. And not just one risk, or even two, but three of them.

The first risk was buying the first half of the team, the second one was buying the second half, and the third risk was building the arena. Any one of these risks could have had a tremendously different outcome and jeopardized his other businesses. If you’ve read his autobiography, Driven, you’ve heard all this before.

I myself learned a lot about my dad’s life by reading Driven. I had no idea that prior to buying the second half of the Jazz, my dad had the opportunity to sell the first, and that if he had, he would have walked away with $6M profit in just fourteen months. And that was in 1986— adjusted for inflation that’s like nearly $13M today. Was he crazy? Who wouldn’t do that?

I’ll tell you: Someone who had a sincere desire to serve the community. Someone who saw money simply as “Numbers on paper and a tool for doing good.” Someone who understood that the things he had been blessed with were gifts from God, and that he did not own them but was merely a steward over them. Someone who had the words, “Go about doing good until there’s too much good in the world” inscribed on his headstone.

One of the ways my dad went about doing good was by teaching. In fact, he believed in the power of teaching so strongly that he established as the second responsibility for every employee of the Larry H. Miller Group: “Be a Teacher.” (The first responsibility is to “Protect the legal, financial and moral well-being of the company.”)

I have taken my dad’s instruction literally. After spending nearly eight years working to make one of his most ambitious dreams— Miller Motorsports Park— a reality, I have started a company within the LHM Group called Miller Inspiration.

Miller Inspiration is dedicated to collecting and sharing the principles, philosophies and practices that Larry and Gail used to grow the Group into what it is today— a company that produces billions of dollars of revenue annually, employs more than 10,000 people, does business in nearly all 50 states and which is committed to enriching the lives of its employees and giving back to the communities where it does business.

Miller Inspiration incorporated on the LHM Group’s 34th anniversary, and it just so happens that I’m the same age now that my dad was when he started his own company. In addition to providing inspiration to the employees of the LHM Group, Miller Inspiration will serve business leaders and entrepreneurs outside the Group through speeches, seminars, coaching, consulting and a book.

I invite you to grow with me as Miller Inspiration grows. One of the best ways to do this is to sign up to receive my blog via email. I also invite you to connect with me on Facebook.

Most of my blog posts won’t be about the Jazz, and they won’t include cool contests or giveaways (though the response to this last one was so awesome that I’ll almost certainly do it again next year).

But I will write about some of the things I’ve learned as part of a phenomenally successful family business— insights gleaned from Larry and Gail, my brothers who also work in the business, and from the many other great mentors and teachers that I’ve been fortunate to have had. I will write about my experience and the wonderful privilege that being alive is.

I’ll share things that I’ve learned in my global travels— I’ve been to 52 countries including North Korea, I’ve slept on a banana leaf under a full moon in the Amazon rainforest and I’ve soared over the Serengeti in a hot air balloon. Like so many of us, I’ve searched for meaning and purpose in scriptures, textbooks, classrooms, conferences and countless conversations. And I’ve devoted my life to learning, teaching, connecting, and sharing my experiences, and as fully as I can, my blessings.

I hope you’ll accept my invitation to grow with me and Miller Inspiration as it grows. I truly appreciate you reading, and your friendship.

Much love,

-b

Standard

What a Corpse Taught Me about Living

“Everything else can wait, but your search for God cannot wait.” -Paramahansa Yogananda

I have been searching for God since before I knew I was. I think we all are, though we don’t all know it, and some of us who know it don’t always admit it, and even those who admit it sometimes forget it, intentionally or otherwise.

I think I came to Earth to find Him, which seems crazy because wherever I was before was probably closer to Him than here. Here I spend too much time looking under trash.

My work as an author might simply be more digging in the dirt, but in this moment it seems like a logical way to search. Read. Learn. Ponder. Discuss. Write. Share. Repeat. As Emerson reminds us, “The end of knowledge is action… but the end of that action again, is knowledge.” 

Writing is a way to make sense of existence, to establish my place in it, organize my thoughts and experiences, understand the past and shape the future—  after all, the best way to predict the future is to create it. Being an author creates the possibility for me to literally script my future.  

…  …

After my dad died, I was dumbfounded by the utter lifelessness of his corpse. It was odd to see his body so still. The energy and vitality it had possessed were gone— a reality I could feel as much as see. I was in awe with reverent appreciation for the precious, fleeting spark that animates each of us. 

I had seen corpses of people that I’d known before and it didn’t seem strange to me. But seeing my dad’s body absent its energy and vitality was particularly strange, not just because it was my dad, but because had been so powerful in life. He had been so passionate and intense about virtually everything he gave his attention to. He had been so alive. He had expressed his spark so fully.

I thought about my own life, and I realized that although we all have a spark of life, some of us possess a second spark. Seeing my dad’s corpse, it was clear to me that some people are more alive than others. In the words of William Wallace, “Every man dies. Not every man really lives.” 

Some people live so fully and freely that their lives possess a character and quality as different from those of us who are merely alive as corpses are different from the living. When I understood that, I gained a desire to fully express the spark of life I’ve been blessed with, and if I can, to access and express this second spark.

Writing is the way I have chosen to attempt this. Writing is also a way I endeavor to find and understand God. I suspect that the effort to find and access my second spark is bound up with search to know God. And I know that it cannot wait.

Standard

The Two Hardest Things in the World

The two hardest things in the world are: 1) Living life in a way that allows you to hear the voice inside yourself that tells you what you ought to do and be in every moment, and 2) Having the strength, courage, discipline, and/or ability to follow that voice once you are able to hear it. 

Commonly we are sure about what we DON’T WANT, yet we are unable to clearly articulate exactly what it is that we DO WANT. The better we get at being able to hear our inner voice, and the more consistently we follow its guidance, the happier, healthier, and more satisfied we’ll be. 

The truth of this became clear to me a few years ago. On an early summer day I was making my daily commute on my motorcycle. I was cruising in an open lane of I-80 heading west. The sky, light with clouds and a soft breeze, merged with the hum of my Ducati’s engine and my wandering thoughts. My mind entered the sort of neutral state that occurs just before dropping into sleep, or during a long run. 

My reverie was interrupted by a sudden and perfect realization that I wanted a future vastly different from the present I was living. I didn’t know exactly what that meant, and I didn’t know precisely what changes I would make, but in that moment I resolved to consciously create a life in which I was fully alive.

 Since the day I made that commitment to myself on my motorcycle, countless good things have happened in my life. I found and married my soul mate. I started a company (Miller Inspiration) inside my family business that allows me to serve others by using my strengths, gifts and talents. I have traveled to the rainforest and for the first time understood that humans are a part of nature rather than apart from nature. I have witnessed the majesty of lions on the Serengeti and rhinos in the Ngorogoro Crater. I have found mentors and teachers who have contributed immeasurably to my growth and happiness. And though my life is far from perfect, it has never been better. 

I’ve learned that we don’t have to know exactly where we want our lives to end up- that we don’t have to be able to see the end from the beginning (though it’s great when we can). We just have to be sure we’re pointed in a good direction and strive to live so that we can hear the voice that tells us what we ought to do and be. And we have to have the courage to follow that voice when we hear it. That voice will grow stronger as we do.

Standard