G.O. For Change

Changing people, places, and things one blog at a time…

Archive for January 2013

5 Lessons Learned from Polar Bear Plunging

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This weekend marked the 17th annual Polar Bear Plunge- a charity event sponsored by the Maryland State Police, where individuals take a “plunge” into freezing water (Sandy Point Beach in Maryland), with the proceeds going to the Special Olympics. This year was my first year as a plunger! It was an amazing event! Here’s what I learned:

  1. Great causes are a great motivator: Would I go jumping into a freezing body of water for NO reason? Of course not! But with the donations going to the Special Olympics, I didn’t have any issues spreading the word, getting donations, and taking a plunge!
  1. It’s bigger than ME: We all have our issues and obstacles, but I can say proudly and confidently that I have been blessed. It is very easy to become concerned about our own issues, our own affairs, and turn a blind eye to what happens in our country, our state, even our own communities. Often we turn to our politicians and state officials for answers, but we should ask ourselves, “What can I do?”
  1. Create an EXPERIENCE: Quick- what did you do last Tuesday? Can’t remember? (I’m pretty sure it was awesome) I won’t forget this entire experience- deciding to participate, getting donations, actually plunging- these images are permanently etched into my cortex. I have a couple of rules, but one that I hold dear, is called the “No ifs, ands, or buts” rule- simply put, if I ever become interested in something, I have to do it-no ifs ands, or buts about it. I am glad that I was able to create this experience.
  1. The U in Unity: It is great to get people on board with an idea. Some of the other members in our group (HEEBIE JEEBIES!!) already have participated in the plunge 2-3 times. It was awesome to connect with my friends, and thousands of other people who were there for the same reason. To really feel connected to other people is something that we all desire, and when we have it, it’s beautiful.
  1. Humanity is REAL:  We as people have seen some ugly things in our world, and it’s very easy to become skeptical about helping your fellow man. There have been things that have happened that could easily make you saddened at our state of affairs, shake your faith, and even question our own existence. As a team, we were able to raise $2,000 for the Special Olympics, which spoke VOLUMES about people and their willingness to help. To see people spring to action for something bigger than them really uplifted my spirits, and took the sting off of that icy water. We have seen our share of villains, but we also have witnessed our superheroes emerge as well. To those who donated, volunteered, and plunged, thank you.

As always, thanks for reading,


P.S. I’ll be returning next year, hopefully you’ll be there too!

P.P.S. Even Batman was there!



2012 in review

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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 5,000 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 8 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Written by Garry O'Neal Jr.

January 21, 2013 at 9:59 pm

Posted in Uncategorized


with 2 comments

 Ray Lewis

“It is time for me to create a new legacy”

“If tomorrow wasn’t promised, what would you give for today?”-Ray Lewis

Ray Lewis, the legendary linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens, announced his retirement this week. As a native of Baltimore, and a HUGE fan of the Baltimore Ravens, this news is bittersweet- I am always happy when an athlete can make a decision to leave the sport under their own power, but to realize that #52 will NOT be coming out of that tunnel next season was a saddening thought. To the city of Baltimore, Ray Lewis is MORE than just a football player; he is active in our community, and a great motivator, and as you will see in the following clips, not just to his NFL brethren, but to everyone.

Here he speaks to Miami Hurricanes…

Motivating Stanford Men’s Basketball team…

…and him talking with the people of Baltimore, after the unveiling of “Ray Lewis Way”

When I think of legacy, I think about people like Ray Lewis, a great leader who combined his character/integrity with his talent. It is rare to see an individual posses BOTH. Michael Jordan had great TALENT, but he wasn’t the type of teammate that could make everyone greater (Kobe Bryant, who idolizes Jordan, even mimics his attitude towards his teammates). Even in his controversial Hall of Fame speech, Jordan rips some of the people he interacted with throughout his career. Lance Armstrong, who won 7 Tour de France titles before being stripped of them due to doping, repeatedly denied the drug use, created LIVESTRONG, and had people backing him in his efforts despite evidence that investigators built against him(even I had a LIVESTRONG wristband). Now, months later after being stripped of his titles,and publicly denying any use of drugs,  it looks as if he is going to confess.

Legacies are not just reserved for people who are great athletes; everyone can create a legacy (whether positive or negative). My son is my legacy; the things I teach him will be the blueprint for how he looks at the world, which he can bestow onto his children. Legacies aren’t just something that we can wish for; you have to work at the legacy you want to create. Author John C. Maxwell believes that you must create a list that asks the question “What must you change in the way you conduct yourself so that you live that legacy? Your list may include behavioral changes, character development, education, working methods, relationship-building style and so on. Only by changing the way you live will you be able to create the legacy you want to leave.”

I thank Ray Lewis for the 17 years he has spent as a Baltimore Raven.

With these things in mind, what will be YOUR legacy?

As always, thanks for reading,




Written by Garry O'Neal Jr.

January 6, 2013 at 1:02 pm

New Year REVOLUTION: Making your resolutions STICK!

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Happy New -Year!!! First, let me say THANK YOU! My blog has been viewed over 5,000 times in 2012, and if you have read every one of my articles, or even just one, I thank you for time that you have shared reading my thoughts- at work, at home, even from your cell phone.

The ringing in of the New Year comes with different traditions- eating black-eyed peas, the watching of fireworks across the night sky, as well as the infamous “New Year Resolution”. If you are a fan of social media, you probably still see resolutions are being proclaimed- “NEW YEAR, NEW ME”, and other various statements about changing in the upcoming year flooding your news feed.

Here is an ASTONISHING fact: 50% of resolutions fail within the first week, while 90% fail within the first month. This means that as we are close to the end of the first week in 2013 you, or someone you know is dangerously close to ending their resolution.

One of the definitions of “revolution” that I particularly like is “a radical and pervasive change in society and the social structure, especially one made suddenly and often accompanied by violence.” While I am not telling you to start assaulting fast food employees if they ask you if you would like to supersize your order,   I challenge anyone who is in danger of not returning back to the gym after the 3rd day, or reconsidering ending the non-beneficial relationship that you swore you would do, or ______________________ (insert life-changing resolution here) to make a REVOLUTION so that you can live the life that you envision! This radical change in thoughts, actions, and beliefs can ensure that the goals you set can actually be completed. To help you with this task, here are a few things you can do to keep your resolutions:

  1. ENVISION your goal: See the goal that you want to achieve. Envision how you would feel when you accomplish the goal, what it would look like, and what comments people may say.
  2. BE SPECIFIC:  “I am going to lose weight” is not good enough for a goal. You should have specific goals that you can track. If losing weight is your goal, how many pounds would you like to lose? Is there a deadline? (there should be) This way, your previous statement of “I am going to lose weight” can have more flesh by stating: “I am going to lose 15 pounds by March 21st”. See the difference?
  3. PLAN: Planning is CRITICAL to your success in your goals. If your goal is to return to school, the first question you should ask yourself is “HOW”? Research the steps you need to take, write them down, and then…
  4. EXECUTE: This is where people get somewhat discouraged (don’t be). Once you envision what you want, specifically documented your goal, and have a game plan, now it is time to get it done!
  5. GET SUPPORT: Enlisting friends, joining a support group, or simply asking someone to be your accountability partner increases your willingness to continue in your goal.

As always, thanks for reading.


P.S. While January 1st is a great starting point to start goals, I also believe any day is a great day- October 19th, December 5th, June 3rd,-any day can be the starting day to get started!!

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