It is often said that a picture is worth a thousand words, but it took words to pay such a compliment to the picture. Click each picture to read its story.
Not too long ago I had the honor of being invited to speak at a TED Talk for the youth in Puerto Rico with other unique guests. Not knowing what I was getting myself into, I accepted the challenge and started to brainstorm the different topics that I could talk about.
What kept coming to mind was the word “potential,” and how I discovered that I had so much hidden potential outside of the athletics waiting to explode, to be awakened. I briefly explained the journey that helped me discover that truth, and then encouraged them to start on their own journey to discover their hidden potential.
Paseo Lineal in Bayamon
It wasn’t until later that I decided to visit and explore the different areas in Puerto Rico that I simply had missed all my life. This photo is in Paseo Lineal Bahaman, Puerto Rico. I went with my brother to have a bicycle race, but it was hard to even start the race since I was mesmerized by all the green and nature all around.
The pathway and trails reminded me of the path I have taken in life, and how long it has taken me to grasp some of the important concepts of life. However, I was also encouraged because I remembered that the shortest path is not always the best path because it can bypass some of the biggest life lessons.
Arroyo Dulce, Dom Republic
After almost nine years without visiting family members in the Dominican Republic, I decided to put a pause to all events and make some time to find some family members that I never knew. I thought I was going to add value to them somehow by sharing my experience of the more developed world in which I live.
It turned out the opposite. Those kids in the photos are my cousins, and they inspired and humbled me as I interacted with them. You see, kids have positive qualities such as curiosity, playfulness, eagerness, fearlessness, warmth, and energy. I was encouraged to continue to grow as an adult and not lose those qualities by time and age.
Texas Wrestling Camp
For the first time in history, Juarez-Lincoln High School in Texas had someone to teach wrestling of world and olympic caliber, at least that's what they told me. I was able to organize this wrestling camp through my good friend, and we brainstormed to bring something more than wrestling. After each teaching section, we both shared some of our ups and downs in our journeys, and how we made it to college and graduated both coming from very low-income families.
The thing that we all had in common in that room was the opportunities in different ways given to us. What is ironic, however, is that some people who have so many opportunities do so little and others who have so little opportunities do so much. But those who live a purpose-driven life don’t let what they cannot do keep them from doing what they can.
One summer afternoon we had a cook out in State College. Pa., and had among us some of the Nitttany Lion Wrestling Club guys. 2012 Olympic wrestling champion Tatsuhiro Yonemitsu was our guest of honor for the day. He is like a Samurai warrior hidden in this nice and humble person. He was around for two years learning English and gaining experience as a new wrestling coach.
I trained with him as much as I could and definitely learned some good wrestling techniques. More than wrestling though, what stood out the most was his ability to focus and switch from playful mode to serious wrestling mode. I learn that there is a time for everything, a time to laugh, a time to play, a time to learn, and a time to be fearlessly focused.
I have traveled countless times to wrestling events. Once in a while, I would travel with some team members, but most trips I have to travel by myself and meet the rest of the crew at our final destination. It never gets old to look through the window of the airplane and become astonished by the beauty of the sun hitting the clouds and the endless invisible thoughts that surf around.
Those thoughts inevitably produce chemical signals and somehow the feelings of gratitude and thankfulness are the byproduct. But thankfulness to whom? I would say to the Creator, to whom all the glory is due. And then this process begins again, at the next window opportunity.