by Dana Cavalea June 24, 2017


Quit feeling sorry for yourself. That is the first step to recovery. The first step to a lifetime of happiness.

We all have problems. Problems are a sign of life as Norman Vincent Peale once said. If you don't want problems, head to a cemetery.

Bottom line is this. Life is problems. To appreciate pleasures, you must deal with the problems.

Sitting in a Professional Baseball Dugout for my whole career, I was able to see a lot of problems. I saw players come, players go. Players go into slumps and weeks later those same players win Player of the Month.

I have seen people deal with substance issues and overcome. I have seen players go through divorce and come out on the other side.

I have seen players have to leave their newborn children and fly across the country for a 10 day road trip. I have seen players lose parents and play the next day.

What is my point?

The point is this. You have a choice: Accept or Resist.

You are dealt the cards you are dealt. Accept the cards. Fight to control ONLY what you can control. What you will soon realize is that you can really only change One Thing.

That one thing is how you REACT.

If you view something as a problem, it will be. If you view that same "problem" as a vantage point, it will be.

That is human psychology 101. Perception is reality. How you perceive something determines how you feel.

I lost my grandmother during the 2007 Yankees Season. She was 99 years old and in the hospital back at home while we were playing the Minnesota Twins. It was my first full season with the team as the Director of Strength and Conditioning & Performance, so I could not take the time off.

I remember sitting in the dugout at the Metrodome before batting practice, feeling terrible that I could not be in New York as she was suffering.

At that moment, I felt somebody sit next to me. That somebody was AROD.

He asked me what was bothering me? I let him know what was going on back at home and he followed with words/ perspective that would forever change how I view negative circumstances.

He said, "D- your grandmother lived a great life. She is 99 years old. That is an incredible thing! Could you imagine living to be 99 years old? I mean think of all the things she has seen in her life time. Focus on the great life that she had. Focus on the great times you had together. Those are times you will never forget. But, man, I would kill to live to be 99!".

These words were spoken with true genuineness, but also with tremendous admiration for the fight of this women. Admiration for what she had seen in her lifetime. Admiration for her endurance!

At that time I realized this man was a Professional at dealing with negative. From negative press, to negative performances to struggles of his own growing up in Miami- with a mother that had to work multiple jobs to support the family.

You see, we all have issues. Billionaires, millionaires and those who have nothing.

The ability to reframe and take things for what they are, rather than blame yourself, overanalyze and live as a prisoner of guilt is what keeps the human mind healthy.

Feed your thought process with good material. Fuel your body with good foods. Sleep and Exercise. This potent combination will keep you even. This combination of perspective and physical care will lead to more "great" days than "bad".

Most people are in a daily fight trying to find happiness. The reality is, you create happiness. Situation, circumstance and events should not determine your happiness. YOU DO.

I bring up Athletes quite a bit because I don't think people really understand what these people go through. Balancing their "real" life with a "stage" life of perceived "perfection".

Once I understood these guys deal with same things as everybody else, I became fascinated by how they the could perform at such a high level and eliminate the distractions of real life. It all came down to perspective and levels of self-worth that were higher than the average performer. Most PRO Athletes have a very high viewpoint of themselves. They have ego. They have swag. They have confidence. They have an "edge". Many of the greats even have an "elitist" mentality. This all translates to BELIEF IN ONES-SELF.

I believe this is what helps them. It is healthy and not negative. I have found that this is another reason why they can do what they do at the highest level.

I know that many may view this as a negative, but dealing with hour to hour adversity like this requires a certain disposition. Same with elite surgeons, high level political figures, lead actors/ actresses. It is almost a self induced coping mechanism to lead and "deal" with situational stressors.

I am happy to share these stories with you to provide hope and encourage self-mastery. Master thyself and your life will improve day after day. Mastering your thought life, while keeping your body strong will take you to your "happy" place. It is a process. It takes time. It is like training a muscle. Consistency over time will lead to your greatest results.


Dana Cavalea
Dana Cavalea

Dana Cavalea is the World Champion Director of Strength and Conditioning & Performance of the New York Yankees. Currently, he is a High Performance Speaker & Consultant to Pro Athletes, Entrepreneurs, Business Executives, and Workforces on lifestyle strategies to reduce stress, improve work/life integration, and most importantly improve daily performance /outcomes. Book Dana to Speak at your Company Event or Conference Today!

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