Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Birthdays, best work, sunshine & the one-day contract

Birthdays, best work, sunshine & the one-day contract
by rick olivares

When you’re younger, your birthday is something you wait for as much as Christmas. Well, at least I did. All I thought of were the gifts and money I got. You’ll have to forgive me. I was a kid.

When you’re older, you try to ignore your birthday because you do not want to be reminded that you’re a year older. I don’t think of gifts but continuing to make money to provide for my family is constantly on my mind.

The one wish I make on this day is that I wish I were younger and a lot slimmer.

This is the part where I wait for someone to say, “Be careful for what you wish for…”

I am still waiting.

Unfortunately, I am not going to be like Tom Hanks in the classic comedy, Big.

And that brings me today. I woke up happy and filled with great thoughts. But it was hard to feel totally happy when there are so many people suffering from the effects of the typhoon that wreaked havoc in the south. I opened my computers (well, I have about five of them) with each monitor focusing on different things.

I tried working and was able to get some work done. It was difficult too because every birthday, I make it a point to thank and answer each and every message and greeting. It is my belief that if someone took the time to send you a message the very least one can do is reply.

There’s that and not taking anything for granted. Life in New York taught me that.

Nevertheless, this is where I wish I had lots of money and resources to help.

When I began working, I put up this sign in front of my work station that said, ‘Today, I will do the best work of my life.”

I was working as a copywriter in an advertising agency back then and I really tried to live that creed on a daily basis. When I went home at the end of the day, I asked myself if I earned my pay whether it was small or big. There were days when I ‘earned’ it and there were days when I sucked big time. But I always made sure I rebounded the following day or the following piece of work. I’d say ‘JO’ but not everyone might get ad nomenclature. ‘JO’ is for ‘Job Order’ for all our work.

Somewhere along the way, beset with many problems, I forgot that. I complained about what I didn’t get and what was not coming my way. I whined and became angry and at times, bitter.

Reality looked bad and fortunately, I woke up in time to readjust my thinking. I thought back to that kid who was hungry, passionate, and trying to do the right thing. That’s it, doing the right thing. It is in those humbling moments when you rediscover yourself. That’s a very long story and I’m telling that in a book I am writing. But that’s for another day.

I put back that ‘today, I will do the best work of my life’ and my ‘bring your own sunshine today’ attitude on a paper that I see everyday of my life. It’s in my closet where I place my wallet and other important paraphernalia.

The cool thing is, I finally found a term for it. Well, it’s not mine. It belongs to someone else but I am co-opting it because it is exactly how what I believe in and what I try to live by.

It’s called, ‘the one-day contract’.

It’s something that coach Rick Pitino lives by.

Here’s an excerpt from a book titled ‘The One-Day Contract’ written by Pitino that I am currently reading:

“Sitting with a group of Wall Street brokers after watching a New York Knicks game, we were talking about one of the Knicks who signed a long-term contract and was playing with no urgency and no hustle because he was very content with his long term secure deal. I said, “That’s our biggest mistake in sports. Guys play their best in the last year of their contracts.”

Their response to me was what stimulated my mind for the title of this chapter. They said, “Here on Wall Street, we don’t have one-year or multiyear contracts. We are only as good as our last trade. One severe case in poor judgment can lands us in unemployment.”

It stands to reason if you’re always at your best toward the end of your contract, why not create a situation where you can capture that mentality all the time?

You won’t always perform at your optimum, but you can always perform with the effort and the mentality that a one-day contract would evoke. And you can certainly get the most out of your abilities.”

So there it is. My beliefs and attitude all fleshed out by the heir to Pat Riley’s Armani suits.

My birthday will end in a few hours. I thanked God for the gift of life and friends as well as for safety. I also prayed for those who are suffering from the effects of the typhoon and for all those helping.

It was a bit sad because of that but it still came out as a good and blessed day.

Tomorrow’s another day and it’s time to renew that One-Day Contract.

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