Information overload.

The idea of a person searching for their soul mate is a relatively new idea.  Sixty years ago, people married because it was the social norm.  When looking for a partner, people often approached it from a social and economic perspective.  Will this person be able to give me children to work my farm? Will they be able to be the breadwinner and support a family?

People didn’t necessarily need to fall madly in love and have a laundry list of things they needed checked off  in order to find a suitable partner.  Many people started off with a partner they felt lukewarm about and worked hard to cultivate love in their marriage.  It wasn’t totally shocking to see a couple married for 30-40 years like it is today.

Now everyone wants a storybook romance that would sell out every movie theater in the country.  We have impossibly high standards that few of us could ever live up to.  We don’t necessarily want to be perfect ourselves, but we certainly want the people we date to be.

I’m part of this problem.  I’m one of the assholes out their in the world straight fucking up how people view relationships for generations to come.  The thought of settling for anything less than perfect person seems intolerable.

Thinking about the concept of finding a soul mate and the “perfect person” made me curious.   Did people always look for this deep-level of fulfillment, meaning and purpose in other aspects of their lives?  What about in their careers?   Is the idea of “do what you love and you will find your purpose in life” a new thing?

Where did all this searching for purpose in life come from?  Is it something brought about by motivational speakers and bad movies?  Do we search for deeper meaning because it’s what society tells us has value?  Or is it something that transcends time and is worth spending our life trying to figure out?

We’re flooded with ideas of how life it supposed to be and when we compare that to our reality, we become dissatisfied and feel less than.  We have access to so much knowledge, and even more so, the opinion of others who we think know what the fuck they’re talking about, that we get confused and aren’t sure how to process it all.

We’ve become lost in emotions and fluffy bullshit, so we create stories to make life match up with our fantasies.  We want the fairy tale and the Ferrari to match.  We don’t want to work 60 hours a week, make 50 grand a year and take our kids to eat at fucking Applebee’s. (more…)

The gift of experience

I’ve been handed many gifts in my life.  Amazing opportunities to help others through my own personal experience.  I’ve been giving the gifts of Tourettes, addiction, cancer, and depression just to name a few.  I didn’t always have this perspective.  As a matter of fact, I only came to realize these as gifts a few days ago.

Each one of these gifts has shaped me through adversity and allowed to share my experience in hopes of helping others who may be going through similar situations.  I felt alone with my battles.  But millions of people are going through what I am / have.  I’m not special or isolated, I’m in a sea of people.  I just never had the courage to open up and look for them.

For some reason, I was laying on my couch thinking about leaving rehab 8 years ago.  I remembered one of the counselors telling me “I wish you weren’t leaving this area, you could do a lot of good for others here.”  It was nice to hear, but I didn’t put any really credence into it.  How could I, a guy who had 60 days clean do anything for anyone?

I’ve never felt I have had much to offer.  I’ve rarely felt that I was good enough to deliver value to anyone.  I mean, Look at my life.  I’m 37, single, horrible at relationships, still partying too much and struggling to make it through basic adult life.  What could I possible offer anyone? .

I’ve come to the realization that I can offer experience.  Not advice, but experience.  There’s value in sharing the things we’ve been through that help others feel not so alone.  Hopefully it will encourage more people to share their experience and help those around them.

I’m certain that each one of us has something worth sharing that will benefit someone else’s life.  It’s called being of service.  That’s really what life is about.  It’s easy to find meaning and fulfillment by being of service to those around you.  Everything else in life is just extra.

How I Got Here – Gains vs Loses

I lost it all. At least that’s how I felt.  No more steady high dollar income, no more life of crime, no more single life and no more steroids.

My life changed drastically 4 years ago. Some of the changes were voluntary, while others were forced upon me. Instead of appreciating what I would gain in my new life, I could only focus on what I no longer had.

My ex-girlfriend and I were moving in together to start a life as a family with her son. He was 3 at the time and I wasn’t going to allow him to be raised around a man who was selling drugs. He deserved better than that.  So I quit my lucrative profession of choice for the last 20 years and I had no idea what I was going to do.

Luckily, I had saved up a nice nest egg to make sure we would be well taken care of for a couple years. However, I totally lost perspective of that.  All I could think about was what in the hell was I going to do now.

I was lost and I certainly didn’t have the work ethic to go work for someone else. My ego told me that was beneath me.  I was an entrepreneur, so I had to figure out a way to be my own boss. It’s amazing what ego and arrogance can lead you to believe.

I was forced to give up using steroids because a scan found pool ball sized tumors on my liver. The doctors told me they were liver adenomas from using steroids and I had to quit using immediately. Two years later I found out they were cancerous and had be removed, but that’s a story for another time.

I had been using steroids off and on for the last 10 years. The last 2-3 years I used them continuously.  I was obsessed with how I looked and how “big” my muscles were. If I had to rank the importance in my life, it was in the top 3 things I cared about most.

Without steroids my muscles quickly diminished and my clothes no longer fit like they once did.  I would put on a shirt I used to love and have a meltdown complaining about how it used to fit.  I lost 15 pounds in a couple weeks. I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror without clothes on. (more…)

10 creative ways to squeeze writing into your day

If you’re anything like me, you’re always scrambling to find time to write.  I made a promise to myself I would write at least 200 words every day and see what happens.  I don’t always have the luxury to clear my schedule and sit down for an hour during the day and write without distraction.  So I had to get creative and use my “in-between time” to get my writing done.  Here’s the 10 best time’s I’ve found to write.

  1. In the sauna – I try to use the 10-15 minutes I spend in the sauna post workout to get some writing.  There’s some occupational hazards like your sweat falling on your jumbling up your words or your phone occasionally overheating.  But I have found a lot of good ideas come out when I am extremely hot and uncomfortable.  I’m actually sitting in the sauna writing this now.
  2. On the toilet – This is an obvious choice.  You’re going to be sitting there for a few minutes with your phone, why not write rather than scrolling through Instagram.
  3. At the end of your workday – I’m usually the last one at my office, so it’s quiet and there are no distractions.  I’m still in work-mode and haven’t been beaten down by the traffic on my commute.  This is also a good time for editing for me.
  4. Bedtime – When I crawl into bed at night I always have thoughts racing through my head.  Some are constructive, others are my insane ruminations.  Either way, writing helps me get to sleep by capturing those thoughts and emptying my mind.  I make sure to keep my phone near my bed so I can write down any ideas I get at night, because I know I will never remember them in the morning.
  5. Stuck in traffic – I don’t necessarily recommend this on for everyone, because it could be dangerous and illegal.  But I’ve been stuck in standstill traffic for 10-15 minutes and whipped out my phone and wrote.  I hate wasting time doing nothing.
  6. In between chapters while reading – I always get a ton of ideas while reading.  I jot them down and when I finish a chapter I try to make something out of my notes.  I use it as a reward for each chapter I read, because there’s times when I would much rather write than read.
  7. First thing In the morning –  Get those ideas out early and on paper.  Either while you’re still laying in bed or as part of your morning routine.  This is a very effective way deal with any anxiety you may be feeling about the day or you could use it to map out your daily goals.   Get it in front of you and see it for what it is.
  8. While at the dog park – It’s a little antisocial and I don’t want to neglect my dog, but on days she’s really into playing with other dogs, it gives me some time to get writing in.  When the weather is beautiful, it’s especially nice to be writing outside, taking in all that sunshine.
  9. In between sets at the gym –  I get 60-100 seconds between sets.   Normally I would be texting, checking SnapChat or a dating app. Instead, this gives me a time crunch to create something.  Sometimes a deadline can help get your ideas flowing.   Also,  its a reprieve from thinking about the physical stress your body is under and movement stirs up your ideas.
  10. While waiting – We all have empty spaces in our life, like at the barbershop, the DMV or before a meeting.  How often do you waste that time on social media or sitting there doing nothing? Why not use that time to write?  It helps control your feelings and emotions before a big meeting, like I’m about to have.  I write about my anxiety and fears regarding the meeting and how I may react. It’s a great prophylactic against blowing your stack.  I need that in my life.

And this is how I write

A friend of mine has been struggling with writer’s block and asked me about my writing process.  I never gave much thought to the mechanics of my writing.  Then as I was reading “Steal like an Artist,” I realized I do have a specific creative process.

  1. When an idea comes to me, I stop whatever I’m doing, open up the Notes App on my phone and write until I no longer have anything coming out of my head in a rapid fire manner.
  2. I would write by hand, but my handwriting is horrible and undecipherable.  Using my phone is my way of handwriting.  I feel a greater connection to my thoughts and feelings using Notes.  It’s almost a physical connection, I can feel myself purging what’s in my head.
  3. I let my ideas flow without judgment.  I don’t worry about grammar or spelling because that gets in the way of me capturing ideas freely.
  4. I Write all in one block.  No paragraphs.
  5. Once the words stop coming out easily, I stop and close the app.
  6.  I go back and add to it as things come to mind.
  7. I Email whatever I wrote to myself and post it into a draft on WordPress to work on later.
  8. I take that raw data in block form and try to create something usable out of my cluttered thoughts
  9. I post it to my blog, Medium or Facebook
  10. Repeat

I don’t like to write on my computer because it feels boring and robotic.  I look at a computer all day at work.  It lacks authenticity and shuts down my creativity.  The only purpose it serves for me is fine-tuning and posting the finished product.

So that’s it, that’s how I write

 

Modified Keto and Me

We all know carbs are fucking delicious.  Pizza, Swedish Fish, pasta; I want to rub them all over my body they’re so tasty. But I’m older and my body hates me when I start eating more than 50-100 carbs a day.  Most days I aim for less than 50, but I need a cheat day once every 10 days or so.

I thought my life would suck without carbs.  I figured I’d be starving all the time and miserable.  I mean, how often could I eat meat and nuts or chicken and avocado.  Turns out I can eat these meals way more than I thought without getting bored.

I love going out to eat and housing some delicious gourmet.  However, most of my meals I consume for fuel for my body, nothing more.  Consistently eating the same or similar meals actually makes eating for this purpose much easier and less time consuming.  Which is great for someone like me who’s short on time and indecisive.  Now, making decision about what to eat is no longer taking up space in my day that I can devote elsewhere.

There’s some obvious benefits to cutting carbs, most notably is fat loss. When you start a modified ketogenic diet, your body starts using ketones (fats) for energy instead of sugars.  You can peel off a lot of fat while maintaining lean muscle if you keep your protein and fat intake high.  Somewhere around 250-300g  of protein and 90-110g of fat for someone my size (215-220) seems to be a good starting point.  You can experiment by increasing or decreasing these macros depending on your body goals, but we will talk about that a little later.

It’s important to choose your fats wisely.  I stick to coconut oil, olive oil, whole eggs, avocado, cashews, walnuts, almonds, lean meats and occasionally some cheeses. (more…)

Context

As I walked out of my office to my car, I picked up my dog to put her in the backseat and I noticed someone had smacked into my rear bumper.  There was plastic on the ground from my headlight and my bumper was dented .  I walked around to in hopes of finding a note from the person who hit my unattended car.  I wasn’t shocked when when I didn’t find one.

Now I’m sitting at the auto body shop at 2:30 on a Thursday, waiting for the guy to come out of his meeting and give me an estimate.  I’m bored and annoyed because I have to be here dealing with this.  I had to come in here to do a bunch of shit I could have easily done over the phone with them.  My day could be filled with way more productive activities; who’s the asshole that decided this ridiculous process was worth anyone’s time?

Then it hit me. Why the fuck am I complaining about some first world problems?  My life’s real hard.  I’m getting an estimate for damage on my car when most people would be working.  My life allows me the freedom to take care of life’s annoying little inconveniences whenever I choose.  I make those decisions for me.

At face value, I should be super grateful and realize how fortunate I am to have the time and resources to take care of mishaps like this when they occur.  Others aren’t always that lucky.  My life’s a cakewalk in a lot of ways.

It’s all this kind of bullshit that so many people, including myself, allow to ruin our day or frustrate us.  But life happens, that’s just the way it is.  The sooner we learn that lesson and roll with the bullshit we’re dealt, the sooner we can get on with focusing on how great life is.

A couple of years ago I would have been pissed off and argued with the people at the shop for wasting my time.  Now I accept it and go about my day.  I’m not telling this to prove how mature and well balanced I am, because I’m certainly neither of those things.  I’m saying this to create perspective.

18 months ago I was laying in a hospital bed cut open from my sternum to my stomach, worrying if my cancer had spread.  Now im blessed enough to be here today being annoyed because I lost 20 minutes of my day.  Seems crazy to let this bother me when I frame the situation in that context.

Life’s bullshit will always get in our way, there’s no way around it.  Our problems scale depending on how severe they are and how capable we are of handling them.  The thing to remember is every problem is temporary, even the most serious ones.  Eventually circumstances will change and those problems will no longer be an issue.  Even the sickest person’s problems end once they pass on and become energy again.  That’s the cycle of life.

Stressing and being angry only robs any chance of happiness in the present and possibly the future depending on how we deal with it  Whatever it is, it will pass.  I forget all to often I had cancer 18 months ago.  Sometimes it’s nice to remind myself I’m going to die one day.  It forces me to live and experience all I can today.  That’s the purpose of life, to experience all that we can in the short time we have.  Good and bad, it all writes our story, it’s how life works.

Ambition is a Bitch

Sometimes ambition is a bitch. I often wonder if a life without ambition would be easier and happier. No stress from worrying about achievements.  No fear of not being enough or creating enough during your life.  No struggling to become more than you are right now.  Instead, simply being happy with where you are with no need to achieve more or be better.

Without getting philosophical or playing devils advocate about what ambition is to other people, I’ll use the dictionary definition for the sake of this post.  Ambition is defined as “a strong desire to do or to achieve something, typically requiring determination and hard work.”

I always viewed those who lacked ambition as lazy or ignorant.  Maybe that’s accurate.  Or maybe they are content with what they have.  Maybe they don’t need anything more than what they have right now to be happy.  It’s possible that people without ambition are able to be the most present and can enjoy life more than others who are working to be more in the future.

I met a guy in Costa Rica who seemed happier than most I know. He told me he had no savings and shared a small apartment with roommates. He didn’t own a car or any sort of transportation. He walked 15 minutes to work everyday from his little house in the jungle.

He had a menial job, from my perspective anyhow, working at the little hotel I was staying at.  He manned the front desk and occasionally helped out at the hotel bar. To paint an accurate picture, the hotel had 8-10 rooms; the bar had 3 stools and 5-6 tables on an outdoor patio.  It wasn’t like he was working at the Ritz-Carlton.

When I spoke with him he was cordial, funny, intelligent and easy to get along with.  During our conversation we briefly discussed careers and aspirations.  When I asked him what he would like to do with his life, he smiled and calmly said “this, why would I want to do anything else with my life. I have a roof over my head, food to eat and people to share my life with.”  Part of me judged him as being unrealistic and full of shit for giving me that answer.  While another part of me was insanely jealous because his answer seemed genuine.

Ambition can, at times, be the root of all my suffering.  Wanting to be more, achieve more, make more.  The constant feeling of needing to work harder to be better.  Being a Type A personality, it’s ingrained in my default setting.

However, ambition can also be the driving force of most of my happiness.  The feeling of making progress in life and bettering myself may be the most addictive drug in the world.  However, too often I allow my happiness and contentment to depend on that feeling.  Needing to always be more can leave me feeling incomplete and dissatisfied with my life. (more…)

It’s Really This Simple

I’m a little high and I got way too much sun today, but I’m pretty sure I realize how life works now.

I spent a lot of time on the beach today.  I had been pay attention to everyone surfing, trying to figure out what made some of them better than others.  I’m a wannabe, novice surfer at best, so I wanted to figure how I could get better.

The surfers who were really ripping it up were patient and perceptive.  They didn’t try to ride every wave they saw.  Most of them were out there for hours.  They didn’t look frantic or panicked trying to pop up on their board they way I did.   They took their time and choose the right waves for them, then took action.

After I was done surfing and watching the sunset on the beach.  I was walking back to my little “jungle hotel” and thinking about how life works. It came to me that life really boils down to three things: Action, choices and chances.  The more action you take, the more choices you make, the more chances you get at living the life you want.  I’m pretty sure the majority of life really is that simple.

Everyday we get out of bed, we decide how we are going to live our life for that day.  For me personally, if I lay around in bed half the morning, then fuck off for the next 90 minutes trying to pull my life together so I can go on with my day; I’m probably making the choice to be a piece of shit that day.  It doesn’t have to mean that, but usually it means my day is screwed and destined for jacking off and watching TV. (more…)

Your Trains Off the Track – What Doesn’t Work To Catch Up in Life

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There’s many reasons we fall behind. We’re sick, bored, depressed, busy with other aspects of our life.

Life has a way of kicking our asses even when we’re in a solid place mentally with our actions being consistent and congruent with what we want to accomplish.

Right now, I’m stagnant and falling further behind. I’m struggling to control my actions and emotions. I’m acting like a childish dick who lost his lunch money on taco day – What the fuck am I going to eat now!

I’m not sure why I’m in this slump. I’m uncertain of what will work to get my life back in order and on the tracks after I’ve derailed. However, I’m absolutely sure these things won’t help anyone play catch-up.

  1. Beating the shit out of yourself for being in your current position – This one is always they hardest for me to avoid. I can be very self deprecating and drive myself into a further hole with all the belittling self-talk. I have to get to a point where I say “Ok self, I’ve most likely made some really shitty decisions to get into the situation I’m in, I can’t change what’s happened, but I can work on making my future situation much more enjoyable and fruitful.” I have to stand up to myself and put the negative voices in their place in order to have the mental freedom to make progress.
  2. Rushing to get everything back together in a couple of days – This leads to more stress, aggravation and subpar output in your performance. When I rush, I end up having to redo the task down the road in order for it to be worthy of being considered complete.
  3. Forcing yourself to do the things you hate at the wrong times – Work on the things you are motivated to do at that time. If you’re forcing yourself to make sales calls when you really have the burning desire to create marketing materials, you will end up banging your head into the phone and your potential customers will sense that in your voice and tone. Prioritize your to do’s based off of what you can produce at the highest level of quality at this juncture.
  4. Continuing to remind yourself of how far behind you are – I get it! I’m not where I need to be. My life’s in shambles, I’m overwhelmed by list of to-do’s, I’m not sure what task to start with and I’m driving myself crazy over it. At this point, I need to politely tell myself to “Fuck Off” and pick ONE thing I have some motivation to do. As I work on that one item, I’m always surprised by how motivated I become to do something else. Especially when I’m really engaged and excited by the results of what I’m creating. It’s a process of moving forward; objects in motion, tend to stay in motion.
  5. Wasting time on your fucking phone – The answers you’re looking for aren’t on Facebook, Tinder, SnapChat or anywhere else on that productivity drain we call a smartphone. On numerous occasions, I’ve spent 45+ minutes sitting on the toilet (not actually going to the bathroom) checking out each social media app on my phone looking for answers and this is what I’ve found. Your news feed is full of idiots talking about shit they don’t understand, SnapChat is making you jealous of other people’s lives that appear to be much better than yours for the 10 second snap they recorded and the person your chatting with on Tinder will most likely be a giant disappointment because they don’t look like their pictures. There, I’ve just saved you an hour or more of your day by summarizing what you’re going to see every time you jump on social media. Don’t get me wrong, there is a time and place to enjoy all these aspects of social media, but that time isn’t right now when you’re already down and behind on your life. Forget about that shit for a while and focus on what matters, YOU!