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Friday, November 16, 2012

Inspiration - All That I've Accomplished Over Time

So often we define ourselves by the obstacles we've overcome.  Most of us spend a good portion of our time occupied with the thoughts of the hardships we've been through, or the challenges we faced, or the problems which continue to plague our lives.  Funny how those problems never seem to go away when we're always fixated on them.  The more energy we give to the issues in our lives, the bigger they become, and the more insurmountable they appear to be.  When you focus only on your obstacles, you tend to get more obstacles in your way, because what you focus on extends, and if you focus on problems, guess what, you get more of the same problems.  I certainly have been a perpetrator of this negative thought process, and as a consequence, the problems never seemed to go away, and like Sisyphus, I pushed that boulder up the hill, only for it to roll back down again, and I have to start all over.  In the midst of focusing only on what's wrong, I conveniently forgot what's gone right, and how much I've been able to accomplish in spite of myself and my self-defeating thoughts and habits.  When you begin to question what you think and why you think it, it becomes evident that we are our greatest obstacle to achieving the great things we are capable of achieving in our individual lives.  So, for this installment, I've decided to celebrate and own my accomplishments, and what I have been able to achieve in my lifetime up to this point, as a way of changing the way I look at myself and the world around me.  By focusing on what I've accomplished, I change the energy flow in my body towards a more expansive and positive outlook than by focusing on what went wrong and beating myself up for it.  The only thing the past is good for is to learn from and grow from, and when we own who we are by what we've accomplished and given to the world, we invite more of that into our lives because it makes us feel good about ourselves.  It's hard to feel good about yourself if you're only focusing on the bad stuff.  I also want to take this time to thank all those who've helped me along the way, because without you, I may not have found the courage, strength, or desire to push myself beyond my limitations and succeed like I have done so many times.  To all of you, I offer you my deepest and sincerest gratitude.

Here's my list of accomplishments:

  • I graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy.  One of the greatest moments of my life, and I couldn't have reached that plateau without the love and support of my parents, my family, my friends from high school (Mike Palmer, Josh Tolini, and Chad Oshner), and my friends from the Academy: Jason Ortiz, Mark Pizzimenti, Dave Owens, Mike McDermott, Mike Patterson, Chris Thompson, Mike Hanna, Yumi Ramirez, CJ, and all the guys and girls from 11th Squadron.  Thank you all for all that you gave me during that time.
  • While serving in the Air Force at Los Angeles Air Force Base, I led a project to develop a new, advanced Global Positioning System upgrade; I decisively developed and implemented installations plan when the Air Force needed to install new ground system software on short notice after identifying system operational errors;  I initiated, helped develop, and implemented a report database and prioritization process online when the Air Force needed to resolve fielded maintenance reports; and I created and implemented a plan that consolidated the essential information of a complicated, complex satellite program into a newcomer's orientation training package.   
  • My senior year at the Air Force Academy, I was the Survival Squadron Commander and responsible for the training of 3rd Class cadets in the survival portion of the SERE (Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape) Training program.
  • I studied, trained, and graduated from the Stella Adler Academy of Acting in Los Angeles in order to become a professional actor.  (Many thanks to go around, especially to my parents, who supported me in my transition from the military to the arts; Eugene Lazarev, my mentor, who taught me the art of acting and to trust in my own creative nature; Tim McNeil, my beloved teacher and friend who's passion for acting is so contagious he makes me feel inspired every time I take the stage; Linda Phillips-Palo, who urged me to go and study at Stella Adler, and has been there every step to watch me grow into the actor I am today;  John Jack Rodgers; Beverly Leech; Charles Waxberg; and all the great teachers there at Stella's who opened me up and laid the foundation for performing excellence, thank you all).
  • I delivered the valedictory speech to my graduating class at Stella's commencement ceremony.
  • I studied Shakespeare at the Midsummer in Oxford Program hosted by the British American Drama Academy.  It was an intensive summer conservatory program held at Balliol College, Oxford, England.  Only 122 people were admitted into the program from all over the world!  (Thank you Stella teachers!)
  • I've performed in numerous plays, films, and webisodes over the last 10 years.  Some of the most notable roles in plays include: Pozzo in Waiting for Godot; Laertes and the Player King in Hamlet; Dr. Prentice in What the Butler Saw;  Robert in Harold Pinter's Betrayal; and Smirnoff in Chekhov's The Bear.  
  • I performed in New York a monologue play called 'Times Scream and Hurry' at the Cherry Lane Theatre during the New York Fringe Festival which received many accolades from casting and industry people who came to see it.
  • I've acted in two webisode series' that were Emmy nominated - 'Sam has Seven Friends,' and 'Prom Queen.'  (Thank you to Chris Hampel, Chris McCaleb, Ryan Wise, and Doug Cheney who cast me in the part and believed in me.)
  • Currently, I have a tv series running on the CW Network website, the next installment of the 'Prom Queen' series titled 'The Homecoming', and I am a recurring lead in the series.  (Again, a HUGE thank you to the guys above.  I am so grateful you gave me the opportunity.)
  • I am a member of the Screen Actors Guild/American Federation of Television and Radio Artists Union. (Thank you Linda!)
  • I am a member of the award-winning Elephant Theater Company here in Los Angeles (Thank you Dave Fofi, Lindsay, Pam, Tara, Doug, Tony, and the whole elephant herd.  You are like family to me!)
  • I've partnered up with my friend Paul Hoan Zeidler and formed our own not-for-profit production company called Sewer Socialist Productions.  We've produced 3 shows over the last three years, have more shows coming, and a film in the works!  (Thank you Paul for inviting me to be an integral part in the forming of this company.  Excited to see where it goes!)  
  • I worked as a free-lance journalist for the United States International Mission.  I reported on the plight of the orphans in the Hmong villages and helped to initiate actions to begin construction of an orphanage within the city of Chang Mai, Thailand for 50 Hmong children.  (Thank you to Eric King, Denis Catron, Pam Brown, and all who I worked with in this organization.  Thank you for believing in me and trusting me to do the job.)
  • I was a board member of USIM and contributed my time and energies to help bring awareness to the child sex-slave trade going on in Southeast Asia.  (Thank you Denis for recommending me to the board and for all those who voted me in.  It was an honor to be a part of it.)
  • I have cultivated and expanded my knowledge and understanding of the deeper truths of life through the readings of poetry and plays, personal studies in the classics, philosophy, and literature.  Also, I have expanded my awareness and understanding of spirituality and higher consciousness, and consider myself a student of the mysteries of life. (Thank you to all those who've brought knowledge into my life, especially my father, who brought me to the Greeks, and Dr. Sarah Larsen, who's deepened my knowledge and understanding of the mysteries of life far beyond anything I could have ever imagined.  I am eternally grateful to you both!)
  • At the Air Force Academy, I was on the Dean's List 3 consecutive times - average 21 semester hours.  I was also an intercollegiate football team member.
  • In high school, I was a member of the National Honor Society.  I graduated with a 3.8 GPA on a 4.0 scale.  My senior year, I was voted "Best All-Around" by my high school classmates. (Thank you)
  • I was awarded All-Conference Honors for my performance on the football field in high school.
  • I volunteered for Camp del Corazon out here in LA - a week long summer camp for kids with congenital heart disease. (Thank you Camp del Corazon for welcoming me as a camp volunteer!)
  • I am a great trout fisherman. (Thanks Pa)
  • I sang and toured the country as a member of the Colorado Children's Chorale. (Thank you Mom for pushing me to give it a try; and Mr. Wolfe, and all those I sang with, those times are some of my most cherished childhood memories, thank you for making them so wonderful.)
  • I sang and performed in two operas as a child - Puccini's La Boheme, and Bizet's Carmen.
  • I played the lead role of Tom Sawyer in my sixth grade musical 'Tom Sawyer.' (Thank you Mrs. Lund)
  • And this year, I have completed my first book proposal.  I've submitted it, and now have a literary manager who loves my idea and is going to help me to get it done.  Eventually, I will turn it into a script. (Thank you Dr. Sarah, for so many reasons).
I'm proud of everything I've listed here.  These accomplishments truly define who I am, because they reflect the best in me, not the worst, and if we could just look at ourselves in this space, in our own respective lives, we might be inspired to do more.  Self-actualized and self-realized people build off of their accomplishments, and learn from their mistakes, and their effort is always towards becoming and being the best version of their selves in every moment.  Of course, without the help and assistance from people along the way, those who encourage and support us, who stand by us when we're down and lift us up, who light up with joy when they watch you succeed, none of us could ever reach the highest we are capable of reaching without those people in our lives who's influence gave us the tools and motivation we needed to keep going.  And, in my case, the institutions of learning where I studied provided me the luxury to develop all of my talents, skills, and abilities.  I've been very fortunate and I am very grateful to all who have helped me to get to where I am today.  I wouldn't change a thing, and I'm looking forward to the future like I've never have before.  There is so much more I want to accomplish.


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