All posts in “Personal Development for Real People”

11 Reasons To Get Off Your Ass


Yes, that's me.

These are just a few of the things I’ve written down in my journal that reminds me to get to work.

  1. There are only 1,440 minutes in a day, once it’s gone you’re shit out of luck.
  2. Sitting around all day makes you fat and unsexy.
  3. Doing something with your life is better than rotting in front of the TV wishing you could do all the things you watch on the travel network (or the food network… or America’s most wanted)
  4. You don’t achieve anything by doing nothing.
  5. “Ain’t no tuition for having no ambition.” Kanye said that one.
  6. You can’t be in a boy band if you don’t practice. This goes for anything else that takes skill and has the potential to make you a ton of money.
  7. People that do stuff are more attractive than people that don’t do stuff.
  8. Because Method Man said “Drop the excuses, and pick up a purpose.” Well at least it makes you think right?
  9. Change is automatic, progress is not.
  10. If you have a dream, don’t wait… act. – Axel (Kingdom Hearts II)
  11. What changes your life is not learning more, what changes your life is making decisions and taking action.

You guys have anything else?

New Girlfriend Pitfalls (Men’s Version)

1952 - The Girlfriend and the Boyfriend Magazine

Now here’s something I’ve been putting on the back burner for a while, mainly because my thoughts weren’t clear enough to be cohesive on the topic, thanks due in part of me still “going through the motions” of a past relationship. And now after I’ve finally (I think) cleansed myself of the cushiony bullshit I’ve told myself and pulled my head out of my ass, I can finally re-affirm the lessons that I so conveniently neglected and intentionally ignored during the course of my affair.

Entering into any new relationship, especially if the chemistry is spot on, will throw some common sense ideals out the proverbial window.

ABANDONING FRIENDS

Unless you’re a total reclusive, or a serial killer with a fine collection of flesh-made lamp shades, it’s probably not a good idea to boot, or utterly ignore, the friends you associate with, for they are the outside force to bitch slap you if ever you should forget who you are. Those on the outside usually have a clearer perspective.

NOT PUTTING YOURSELF FIRST

For guys, I know you’ve heard you have to put your woman first and that’s usually something you hear from… wait for iiiiiiiit… women! Ladies, on the other hand, almost always get told to put themselves first. So where’s the balance here? Honestly, this advice should go for either camp.

Putting yourself first just means that you care for yourself. Rarely are martyrs that sexy to begin with. You know the type. They’ll do anything just to make you happy. It’s compromising yourself, your character and whatever flavored Jujubes you may be carrying.

And remember, your girl is with you because of who you are, not what you can do for them. If it’s the latter, I highly recommend moving on and cutting your losses before you find yourself at war with a person so quick she can swipe your bankcard at BeBe’s faster than David Blaine’s sleight-of-hand techniques.

Or I’m going to assume your girlfriend is hot in which case you are an idiot with a hot girlfriend. I must admit, that becomes difficult to cut off, because attractive girls usually have the skillset to manipulate very, very well.

PEDESTALING

Here’s a problem that continues to crop up with guys time and time again. Pedestaling is the act of putting girlfriend on said ‘pedestal’ or basically praising her for being a wonderful woman (AKA Hot Chick).

Men typically do this for two reasons:

  1. She’s the prettiest girl they’ve dated in years… or ever
  2. She’s really good at something sexually

What pedestaling does is it allows her to get away with bad behavior. When a woman knows she can get away with things, the scale on the attraction meter starts to make its way to negative.

Side effects of pedestaling: nausea (from other guys), stupid choices, neglecting friends and family, growing interests in things such as pottery, yoga, shopping, Bed Bath & Beyond, increased verbal sensitivity, becoming active in a cause that deal with Earth, animals, and/or oxygen, incremental viewing of romantic comedies, defending Channing Tatum for his role in G.I. Joe and Dear John, and becoming fond of pink and bright colors.

PUTTING YOUR HAPPINESS INTO ONE PERSON

This kind of goes hand-in-hand with pedestaling, but the gist of it goes like this:

Your happiness will never come from one person.

So why make her the only and absolute thing that makes you happy? Let’s see if I can justify this.

When you make her your world, that puts a lot of undue pressure on her. She now has the job duty of keeping you happy which is going to stress her out when things don’t work out at times, like arguments, or just life. A stressed out girlfriend is not a happy girlfriend so then she’s unhappy AND you’re unhappy. Nobody wins here.

As a man, lead by example. She’s not here just for your own self-fish happiness. Understand what makes you happy. (That doesn’t involve her). A self-guiding and self-assured person is an attraction multiplier.

Of course, you could always whine about crap to her and see where it gets you.

TRYING TO LIVE A FAIRYTALE

This one I find more prominent in women, but I have to put it out here because it’s come up in discussion more than a few times before. This is a problem more for idealist. These are the ones that want that perfect life. They have a vision, more like tunnel-vision, that takes over, scrutinizing everything that isn’t in that field of view of that particular vision.

Everything has to fit in this fairytale. When you become focused on something, your brain will start to work magically by paying attention to things that help your world view, or constructing easy and sometimes elaborate actions that fall within the vision to support it.

Let me give some examples.

  • Coming home from a long hard day at work, you expect to be pampered when you walk through the door. Dinner’s cooking and the TV is ready for your daily consumption. Your girl serves you a wonderful home-made meal and tells you she loves you.

That’s sounds nice. You’ll probably be waiting a long-ass time for this to happen. But you’ll always have this vision in mind hoping one day it will come true. Your relationship is perfect when it reaches this point. Good luck.

Next one.

  • Simple one, it’s the middle of night and you want sex. You turn over in bed to catch a view of your woman’s beautiful face as you rest your hand on her waist. She notices you touching her, open her eyes and you sleepily gaze at each other. You kiss her on her neck and begin to move in closer. It’s on.

That would be wonderful if she just gave in wouldn’t it? I find this more probable than the first one though. But more than likely, she’s going to push you off a few times and you’ll probably still continue pretending not to hear her, which leads to two outcomes: she gives in only to just lie there waiting for you to finish, or you guys end up arguing and you get up to watch some TV in the other room until your hard-on goes away or you take care of it in the bathroom.

Have I made my point yet? This has a lot to do with expectation. It becomes a big let down with things don’t go your way. With these expectations in mind, we fail to see opportunities around us. In my opinion, your relationship isn’t a goal-setting achievement, I mean, once you get there then what? Stop trying anything else? Say adios to your hot girlfriend then.

YOU’LL NEVER PLEASE HER 100% OF THE TIME.

So knock it off. Matter of fact 50% is already killing it. Balancing this out is a nice idea but way too difficult to keep tabs on, on a daily basis. And if she’s expecting YOU to keep her happy all the time, that’s a dependency issue and might need to be addressed ASAP unless you like having to fight other dudes all the time. “Oh, my boyfriend can kick your ass anyday.”

Okay, maybe not like that (I’ve had that more than a handful of times though) but the point is to keep cool if she doesn’t always look cheery. It might not even be you. Being concerned for her happiness is fine, but trying to control her emotions is stupid.

Reload: Doing Absolutely Nothing Does Something Absolutely!

So It’s been a while. I know, I know. But taking the fact that I don’t have that many readers I’m sure you guys can forgive me. Burnout really started to creep in a little more than a month ago and I found myself fighting against myself to get work done.

And it pissed me off.

So much so that I rebelled entirely against myself, which is weird because my body wouldn’t do anything but my mind kept screaming, “GET TO WORK DAMMIT!”

Now I know that’s just a character flaw of mine, but like anything, I learn from it and adapt. I know I’m going to run into it again, (me, my own worst enemy) but I can be sure that the next time it happens I’ll know how to handle it better and my intervals in that state will shorten.

Not to say that I didn’t learn anything from my little tirade. That internal voice of mine finally stopped screaming at about the 20th day, thank goodness I took a week vacation or I would have been acting very postal at work.

Part of the cause for my self-insubordination is likely due to that little psychological devil that psych majors learned at the university called cognitive dissonance. (Yes Aesop, we believe you… those grapes are yummy.)

It starts with an overwhelming motivation that’s triggered when something traumatic or near-traumatic (and by that I mean something that overloads your emotional circuits) occurs suddenly in your life and things are clear. So clear you can practically see the path you need to take in order to gain that thing, whatever it is, that you seek is pleasurable. Everything makes sense in this state; congratulations you are now Thomas Anderson. (Morpheus would call you “The One”.)

And it’s in this state that your drive becomes conviction and you vow to one day make them all pay for laughing at you when you forgot to bring your signed permission slip to class on the day of your sixth grade trip to Great America. So sad. (Feel free to replace that with whatever you promised yourself.)

That conviction establishes your destination and you know how to get there, so you move and set out on this journey to reach that destination. Time passes. That place you sought after still seems so far away, you wonder if you even moved at all. Jaded, you begin questioning it. Is it even worth it? Maybe it wasn’t even real to begin with. It’s too much trouble. People like me never get there. Blah, blah, woof-woof.

Yes, dissonance.

My destination was freedom. Freedom from obligation, from finances, from a job. Free to pursue all the creative endeavors I could think of. Burnout was making its way inside my personal bubble. And it was also inevitable.

And let’s not forget my anti-establishment nature, my greatest weapon, especially against myself.

But for the time being, I’m back on track to what I was moving towards. I just needed a little momentum. Who knew that momentum would come from going nowhere? ‘Tis a paradox indeed, my dear Watson.

Let’s get on to the lesson.

1. It’s okay to do absolutely nothing.

In this fast-paced society where everything leans towards “instant” and “fast results” and checking off lists and running on tight schedules, we forget about living or having a life. Goal-oriented folks, like myself, get caught up in the doing. Big picture people, big picture. Draw one if you don’t have one right now. I did.

I used to be a little more extreme with every hour of my day scheduled for productivity— multiple and simultaneous projects, errands, bills, etc. I found that my lists always seemed to grow bigger every day. It becomes overwhelming.

What did I do? Being the extremist I am, I just stopped everything and did nothing. It was kind of like in Office Space when Ron Livingston’s character stopped giving a shit after being hypnotized. I was nervous at first, but it ended up feeling great. If any problems were to happen, I’d deal with it later, because I knew I could handle it even if I didn’t know what it was.

Doing nothing tends to make you think though. But that’s a good thing. Reflect. And when you go to absolute nothing from unending shit-storm, you tend to re-evaluate. And that’s good too.

I rewrote ALL my goals. I had 32 in October (my birthday, I don’t do that whole New Year’s Resolution crap. Hey look, a list of shit I’m never gonna do once the new year glow wears off and I wake up from this drunken stupor.) and now I have 7, and a new way to go about it… one at a time, instead of all-at-fucking-once.

2. Over-ambition can become a brick wall.

When you’re just ready to go and do-do-do, sometimes you take on far more than you can handle. I slap people like that (back to reality that is). Being overly ambitious can lead to having too many options open and not enough experience to deal with it, or to what we talked about earlier with cognitive dissonance. In this instance, I’m calling it delusion.

Although when you do nothing and let ambition simmer, it grows to become a great motivator. It’s the bug. It’s that little bastard that keeps coming around saying, “You know you want to do it.” Mine sounds like a chipmunk, actually, more like Gir from Invader Zim. It compels you to take action, creating plans in its little Moleskine™ just waiting for you to finally decide, and know for a fact, what you want to do. It’s scheming… let it scheme.

3. Achieving something shouldn’t feel like work.

The “work” that I do is mostly things that need attention and action aligned with my visions. (Visions are just my cryptic way of saying long-term goals.) So they’re things I WANT to do. I’m choosing to create the life I want. I’m deciding what’s important enough to focus my time on. I desire it. I don’t have to do it. I don’t have to do anything. It’s something that satisfies me.

Just switching my mentality from HAVING TO to WANTING TO makes a huge difference. It’s not work for work’s sake, it has a purpose. Maybe having to remember what that purpose is and why it’s important to you makes it real again.

When it does feel like work. Step back. Do nothing for a while.

4. Being mindful.

This is just slowing down and taking note of every action you take and everything around you. From your breathing to your losing yourself in the outdoors, it’s amazing how relaxing life becomes when you take the time to appreciate it. When you’ve stopped yourself from productivity suicide and slow down, stress disperses. I really don’t know what else to say to that, it just does. Logically, I’d say it’s because you’re no longer moving rapidly. Your heart rate slows down and you’ve subconsciously told your mind to STFU. It works. I’m a fan.

That’s about as Zen as I’ll go, still not sure about the meditating part yet.

Doing nothing serves a purpose in achievement. It gets you out of your own way.

***

Image: Are You Now by Compound Eye

Damaged Goods. I’m Imperfectly Normal.

He was told he wouldn’t live past the age of 21.

His failing motor functions began during his first years at Cambridge University and continued to engulf his body since. Thirty-something years later, he has buildings named after him and statues built on his likeness.

This is Stephen Hawking.

And I’d say that’s a great way to tell Mr. Reaper to suck it.

Perfection is a fallacy. We can get close to perfect, possibly, in the work we do or the things we create, but BEING perfect is downright ignorant. There is just no such thing. I can barely stay perfectly still in one spot but now I’m just fishing.

So the alternatives are good, great, excellent, and unfathomably fantastic. I try to be the last one at all times. See what reactions you get when someone asks, “How are you?” and you respond in your most exuberant voice, “UNFATHOMABLY FANTASTIC!”… It’ll make your day I’m sure of it.

We are all born imperfect and that’s perfectly amazing to me. (Although I do wish I was a little bit taller.) If we were born as perfect little babies to become perfect little toddlers, to go through high school without a scratch and come out as a perfect adult… the world would be boring.

Instead, a lot of us are born with problems. A lot of us develop issues. Sometimes shit just happens. Oh well. Accept that we are all going to go through hardships and adapt then move on.

Humans are genetically flawed to begin with. Hell, the Human Genome Project made that quite apparent (10 years and $3 Billion dollars later). While scientists research and propose new and upgraded medicine to deal with our deficiencies, there is only so much that we as individuals can do besides help fund the research.

But let’s not take our predisposition to disease and failing functionality so negatively. I’m not going to go all spiritual and personal development extremist on you because that just isn’t me. Not that I see anything wrong in that (the spiritual part at least, I try to be Zen), but I really can’t imagine my legs as roots of trees and opening my heart to the wonderment of human energy, or something of that matter. I will tell you it’s stupid to think of all the things that are wrong with us.

It’s a downward spiral from that point on, and that’s just not a very happy place. *sarcasm*

If you find yourself doing this, please smack yourself in the back of the head. Ladies, you can gently tap your cheek with your hand if the former is too much for you. In either case, knock it off. We can think of as many good things about ourselves as we can the bad.

Space Cowboys and Adamantium

[I’m about to get real geeky right now. Brace Yourself]

Every hero (and superhero alike) has his flaws.

The flawed protagonist in any story is an intriguing journey. The suggestions for inadequacies create a character far more interesting than say, a Chad from Prestigious University with three masters, a Porsche, a glamour model wife, 2.5 kids, and Lassie.

Spike Spiegel (Cowboy Bebop) is a man with a death wish. Not exactly someone you’d vow to be as a naïve adolescent. Hunting bounties for a living isn’t what you’d call secure living, but it pays for the ramen that gets in his belly, and enables him to get by. Even that doesn’t sound worth it either, I know.

He has a particular set of skills which make him effective and efficient in the hunting for his prey, as well as a view of life which make him fearless in his pursuits. He drifts from job to job and planet to planet with no clear destination, putting himself in life and death situations on purpose.

What pull us in to this character are the whys and the motivations. He doesn’t aspire to be anything other than ordinary yet possesses extraordinary skill. For everyone who happens to friend Spike, he unwittingly becomes their protector, being compelled into risky endeavors in the guise of selfishness.

Peculiarity is magnetic.

And we all know Wolverine, or at least we should (shame on you if you’re clueless). The iconic “X-Man” and the most recognized one, with those indestructible claws that protract from between the radius and the ulna of his forearms to pierce through the backsides of his hands, or knuckles if you prefer the movie version. Either way, that’s just cool.

Here’s a guy walking around with no conscious memory of his past, and not even knowing if his name is Logan. He cares nothing for others or his own life and keeps a barrier up on the emotional front. A tad on the anti-social side and torn internally by something he’s unable to fully realize.

Yet… he’s a bad-ass. I need not go into detail about that though; you must experience that for yourself.

Suffice it to say, both of these guys have issues. They may not be perfect, but they’re definitely not boring.

Two things spring to mind:

  1. Flawed characters are interesting.

  2. Flawed characters are attractive.

Interesting in the sense that they are indeed a mystery, and mystery intrigues us. If something intrigues us, it also attracts us.

Get Good At Sucking

Oscar Pistorius was conceived normally… if you discount the fact he was born with no bones in his legs. At 11 months old they were surgically amputated. If you haven’t heard of him, you’ve probably seen him at least. He’s a double amputee people call the “Blade Runner” and holds the record for the sprints in the Paralympics running on what at first glance would seem like bent skis called The Cheetah Flex-Foot.

It’s actually really amazing to watch him run. Whoever created that flex foot probably ran over his parents’ skis as a kid. Good things come out of FUBARs. Have you ever used a Post-It? Its adhesive was meant to be a lot stickier than it originally was intended for. I use them all the time!

Let’s face it, we all know there’s no such thing as perfect, and to believe in that is to set ourselves up for a brutal mafia-style beat down.

Perfection lies in the minds of those who are too afraid to get their feelings hurt, care too much about what others think, or delusional, with a touch of superiority-complex. (I love those guys. Especially the ones that show off their oil-laden “guns” with the Superman logo tatted on their deltoids.)

One huge point I’d like to make is this:

Our imperfect qualities are what make us unique

In ignoring what makes us unique, we ignore what makes us remarkable. And remarkable is always a good quality.

What The F*** Have You Done Lately?

Wesley Gibson is a loser.

A pussy.

A wimp.

Stuck in a dead-end job surrounded by cubicles and a case of “The Mondays” every day. He has a girlfriend that enjoys spreading her legs for his best friend that takes what he wants from the hooch buffet, which is apparently open for business as soon as the 9am rolls around. For those of you who have seen the movie Wanted, I think you know where I’m going with this. If not, then you are a dense individual that doesn’t appreciate campy inspiration, or maybe you just haven’t seen it. I forgive you then. Moving on.

This particular grandiose marvel of film making now sits on my special shelf that I designate for motivation along with the classic anime masterpiece Ghost In The Shell, Hitch, a shot glass, and a miniature replica of double-O seven’s prestigious car, the Aston Martin DB5 (from the 2006 Casino Royale film… ’tis a sexy beat indeed).

I bring this movie up because for me it was a reminder of what I don’t want to end up being like. Wasting my lifespan in a workplace that’s removed of happy feelings, having a girlfriend that I settled for instead of being attracted to, and embodying an insane amount of potential, which I like to call… Super-Hero Juice, and wasting it by achieving meaningless pursuits. Sure I just saved the company 25% of their overhead cost by purchasing cheaper toilet paper that now leaves bruises on my ass, but where’s the thank you.

It’s disheartening to say the least.

Long story short, by the end of the film he’s a bad-ass and ends up being one of the best, if not greatest, assassin the world has ever known, or not known… times three.

What I got out of it is this: if you know something doesn’t feel right inside you about your life, there’s probably more to it and it may be worth your time to explore what’s going on.

It is easier to sit back and watch other people do remarkable things, but we’re not talking about other people… we’re talking about you.

I believe that within every person living today is a volcano of untapped potential. And potential is the key word here, because everybody has it whether they believe it or not. What is the dictionary reference for potential anyway?

Capable of being or becoming.

And if you don’t believe this, here’s a dumb question: have you ever tried? It’s amazing how many people I talk to tell me they’re incapable of something when they’ve never even taken a step in the direction. It becomes all speculation. They see something happen to someone, whom they probably relate to in some way, and instantly think “Yea, I can’t do that.”

But where do I start?

I don’t know! Who cares! Just get up and move, figure it out as you go.

Is it a right or wrong decision?

Again, I don’t frickin’ know! Just do something.

At least, if you were wrong you’d definitely know. And you’ll never know unless you try. Period.

Fuel Your Passion

I was recently listening to one of Sean Croxton’s podcasts* early yesterday morning, his guest was Todd Durkin who Men’s Journal named top 100 trainers in the United States. This guy was awesome not because of his predisposed resume but because of his enthusiasm for motivation and mindset to success. He didn’t use a lot of those clichés we’re used to hearing from personal development guru’s which was a blessing to me because it all sounds like marshmallow-y stuffing to me, but was more direct and forthright. I mean, he coaches people for a living you figure he would have to be.

*[whom if you don’t know is the guy behind Underground Wellness for holistic health. (I’m not getting paid to promote him I just think he’s hilarious, and you guys know by now I love information that entertains at the same time.)]

But anyway, so I’m listening right, as I’m doodling at my desk when I should be working, and he gets a question from a caller about what makes a good and a great trainer.

His diatribe offered a lot of valuable tidbits which inspired this post. I’ve recently lost some of that juice I had when I first began and everything tended to run together during the week. It got me thinking about: instead of trying to solve the problem of NOT doing what I know in my heart I love, but how about going deeper and remembering the reasons and what actions I took to get to that state of mind.

If physiology is psychology then it makes sense to take the action that put me in that forward-moving state to begin with if I ever want to “rediscover” my motivation again.

So let’s take some action. It’s better than being stuck in a room kicking your own ass because you knew you wanted to do something but didn’t.

TIME TRAVEL

The first thing we want to do is to go back to the time when we first got interested in our passion. There’s a saying that goes something like this: “First we see, then we hear, and then we know.” We want to get to the knowing part so close your eyes and remember when you fell in love with this art form, this dance, this appreciation. Visualize what you saw at that moment. Can you tune into it? Can you make it clearer? The clearer you can make this vision, the more profound it becomes. Did you read something? Did an accident happen? Did you do something incredible? What was it? Picture it.

What about what you heard? Was there a distinct sound you can remember? Was the sound pleasurable? How would you describe that sound? Was it something someone said? A remarkable conversation? Was it gratitude or praise?

What did you think of this movie? Or was it a sculpture? What did you feel that created this excitement for the thing that you love so much? Was there a feeling of appreciation? Good deed? Was there calmness in this affair? Maybe a rush? How did it make you feel?

Now what made you invest in this endeavor? What about it got you excited? Why, in the first place, did want to pursue this profession? Or dream? This gratifying undertaking.

When you understand why you do something, it makes it that much easier to connect to it again. Although, if you’re still unsure as to why, then maybe you weren’t as passionate about it as you thought. That’s understandable. People do change. You’re not going to want to do something if you’re not interested, right?

CREATE THAT DRIVE

Moping around the house really does no good for anybody, and especially for that special venture that meant so much to you. This is why nurturing that passion is important to do every once in a while. But how do we do that when we’re not in the mood or have the energy, or maybe you’re just as angsty and rebellious as I am.

Well how about this: Take care of yourself.

Going back to that physiology is psychology thing again. When you feel like shit, you’re going to act like shit. Sure you had a crappy day, but your particular passion is supposed to be the thing that nourished you, that made you feel better. Such is the case as the old man who’s barely able to get out of bed and walk becoming rejuvenated by sitting at his piano and playing like a young boy with full energy and bursting with life. (Don’t ask me where I heard that story, it just popped in my head.)

Go shopping, exercise, hit on girls (or guys, I don’t judge), play some Wii with your sorority (I would if I had one), go out and have fun. As a note, I know a lot of people out there love their comfort foods like ice cream and butterfingers (mine are nachos), but food does play a big role in your energy level so be smart and don’t eat crap foods all the time.

Inundate yourself in your passion. Become an expert in your field, that’s what Four-Pillars wrote about . Read one book a month and within five years you’d be considered an authority (Todd Durkin said in the podcast, I found it insightful.) It makes sense: never stop learning. If you’re passionate about it, you’ll discover all the particular nuances about it and probably be considered a genius in time. The more you do something, the more you make finer distinctions. Me and fitness tend to have an off-and-on relationship, but when I indulge in it by going to Borders and reading all those fitness magazines or working out with a conspiracy theorist who exercises tirelessly because a secret society wants to kill us biochemically, I get inspired. My motivation starts to rise again. Now I’ve created momentum.

It’s also important to surround yourself with great people. By great people, I mean those that support you obviously, but also those that are striving for the same things as you. Build a team. Create a tribe. Join a forum. Make your own Facebook group page. Be around those that inspire you as well as those you can inspire. The synergy from those like-minded is ridiculous for the drive that you need.

Every once in a while you may need to take a break. That’s fine too. But don’t lose sight of your principle reason(s) for your passion. Sometimes we need to fill our well up with other activities or stimulate another part of our personality. Whatever. Do it. Watch TV, coddle up to YouTube for an insane amount of hours, finish that puzzle of the Batman logo you abandoned 15 years ago. To appreciate the things that we love it helps to step away from it.

And maybe sometimes you just need to kick your own ass or pay someone else to do it for you. Stop being stupid. Here’s a wallpaper if you need it. Maybe make a deal with a buddy and agree to pay him $100 if you don’t get some particular activity or goal of your choosing done by a certain date. There’s some motivation for you: don’t lose money. Fear response. Awesome.

All in all, if you love something, do it. There really is nothing else. You get good by doing something over and over again. You get excited by being in it, over and over again. Remember that feeling, and remember your reasons. Your car needs gas to go somewhere… better start making plans.

This was a fun post, and I’d love to hear what you think. Do you have any questions, comments, or ideas to share? Leave them all in the comment box below. And help spread the love by using the “Spread This Badboy” button below or retweet me. (Find me on twitter @leonterra)

9 Ways To Criticism Contentment

You Suck! That was horrible. What was she thinking? Get a real job.

Ah, the loving words of those that care. It’s really amazing what judgmental creatures we human beings are. The impulsive mechanism that chimes in when something doesn’t sit well in our stomachs that some of us seem to have to express our compulsiveness at… well, maybe a lot more are just silent observers but that little group that likes to vocalize their opinions, aye, there’s the rub.

Criticism hurts. We can either be desensitized from it, if being continually chastised happens as often as your morning Starbucks Tall Café Latte, or take it so hard the end result is deserving of having bruises from your house-arrest bracelet while making something in your kitchen that tastes something like your morning Starbucks Tall Café Latte.

Let’s see if we can come to a middle-ground.

Woo-Sah! First things first… calm the hell down. Your first intention may be to retort in a very unattractive manner. Stop. Take a deep breath. Release. A cool head gets better results.

Don’t over-react. We’re still cool here. It’s all good. Realize that criticism WILL hurt. Your feelings, your ego, your pride are all going to be served on a platter. Enhance the calm, it’s better than being served time.

Thank them and ask how to improve. Yea, that may be a little hard, but get it out of the way, it’ll feel better I promise. Get off the defensive and ask them what their specific reasoning’s are. Try to understand their view. If it’s a fair judgment, go along with it and ask them how they think you can improve, if not just for the purpose of humoring them and calming the compelling urge to put worms in their bed. If it’s not a fair judgment, or they seem to be attacking you…

Don’t take shit from them. I especially love when people try to tell me how to succeed, or make a lot of money… the RIGHT way. It should be common sense by now that there’s more than one way to reach the top of the mountain. Don’t be afraid to speak up and let someone know that they’re out of line. Usually the ones who attack are usually the ones with no clue, which leads to the next point…

Consider who’s doing the criticizing. I’ve recently dealt with this concerning my Facebook page and my friends dealing with my business. A lot of people (especially the ones older than you) like to be experts when they think you don’t know anything. If it seems like you’re taking fitness advice from a fat guy, you may just want to brush that off (or laugh in his face hysterically while patting his stomach). Either one will do.

Remember that what people think of you are THEIR opinions. So what! Fuck’em. In the long run, relying on people’s ideas of you and seeking approval makes you the real loser. If YOU believe in what you do, nothing else matters. How many times have we heard of others saying something was not good only to bite their tongues when that something surpasses expectations? Remember Family Guy?

Be honest with yourself. What sucked about what you did or made? How good was your performance really? We’re all a little biased about our work but let’s be truthful, nothing is perfect and there is always room for improvement. Being your own worst enemy helps because then YOU become the greatest criticizer.

Don’t be afraid to be a failure. Some say failure is just one step away. True, I’ll take that. But failure is also an experience, and as long as we learn from our experience we never really fail.

“I have not failed… I just found 1000 ways that won’t work.” Thomas Edison

What can we learn about ourselves? Sometimes criticism helps us to grow in a more positive way if we actually take the time to marinate in our accuser’s thoughts. To grow from the critics makes us the bigger person (As well as give us a reason to over-inflate their ego with a sly smile… Well, I like it).

Can you think of others? Leave your thoughts.

How Mafia Wars Taught Me Wealth Building

A ways back, which I can’t remember how long ago anymore, I found myself on MySpace being bombarded with requests to join my friends’ clans on this little flash game called Mafia Wars. (I’m assuming those of you reading this know or at least have heard of this game.)

It never really caught my attention because the vague idea of just starting fights for the sake of phallic sizing and worshipping never intrigued me. I’m not the type to compete with anyone nor have I ever cared if people did things better than me. Anything I do is because of my own accord or personal interest. My worst enemy is myself and there is no greater force.

Then I had to move.

Let me tell you, for a nerd like me who finds almost everything online, being without internet for the last remaining days of my lease was going to drive me insane.

And it’s not like I had time to go out whilst still packing every night after work trying to make my deadline so I wouldn’t be hung upside down by the gods of rental for an extra month because pro-rating does not exist in their world.

So there I am, fingers raw and new calluses forming on my palms from the nearly unlimited supply of Dell PC tower boxes provided by my IT Supervisor roomie (thanks btw), about to turn in for the night to watch more Bones on my laptop, which I’ve seen about ten trillion times that I could recite every dialogue from any episode, but decided to check out my iPhone for new apps.

Long story short… I obviously downloaded it… and found it very addicting.

So now running through the game for a couple weeks, I’ve managed to build a very hefty empire, and my metaphoric penis size has grown from the pwning of hundreds of rival mafias. (I mean, come on, I only have 5 mafia members and I’m taking out armies. I feel so X-Men’ish.)

I’m A Thug… Err… Street Thug

Now let’s run through the basics.

You start off as nothing more than a street thug. Okay, makes sense right? We all start off with nothing in the beginning. As a street thug there’s nothing much we can do except do jobs and probably fight (But that would probably kick your ass if you don’t have weapons, and you need money for that. Hence, we come back to jobs.)

Every time we do a job we gain money and experience. Save up some cash to buy some real estate and businesses to earn more money and continue the cycle. The point is to build your “mafia empire” by acquiring assets and people. Simple.

All of this eventually clicked in my head that people can inadvertently learn to build a lucrative empire using this model. I got so wrapped up in the gaming aspect I didn’t realize it until 2 weeks later.

For those that have played the game, this may all be obvious. But not all of us who play the game are those interested in actually building an empire. Thus, why it intrigued me. And like Pinky and the Brain, I do the same thing every night… (Fill in the blanks).

Hidden In Fun

Here are the business concepts I’ve extracted from this very ego-driven game.

  • Rags-to-Riches Model. It can be very rewarding to start off with nothing and build something worthwhile. Definitely a motivating factor if we need inspiration or are in a rut with our own empire, whether it’d be your business, or fanbase, or collection of medieval swords.
  • Passive Income. This comes from acquiring real estate and developing businesses which in turn provide you with income on a near-hourly basis. You invest money in the things that will pay off in the long run. Patience becomes key here because in the game, like life, some time has to pass in order to gain certain things. So during that time, do things that will move you forward no matter how miniscule.
  • Multiple Streams of Income. This is a basic fundamental with wealth building. If you study those who generate a lot of income, you’ll tend to notice they don’t have all their eggs in one basket. Income comes from many different sources so if one well dries out, there are others to compensate. And, the more sources you have,… well. As a note though, it does get a little more complex to manage with more sources.
  • Big Enterprises Trump Smaller Businesses. I concept picked up from Rich Schefren’s Internet Business Manifesto. Those businesses that become powerhouses usually kill off the mom and pop shops under them.
  • Outsourcing. Required because big business is difficult alone. Outsourcing and automating your enterprises allow you to work on the things that are important. Leave the minutia to others. Leverage the talents of specialists for things that you lack skill in.
  • Consistency. Things that are valuable take time, and also consistent action. You get nowhere by doing nothing. A big part of the game lies in moving up in experience, and doing bigger jobs, as well as taking on more established rivals. If we translate doing ‘jobs’ to ‘selling’ something or ‘servicing’, or in essence finding ‘solutions to problems,’ and replace ‘fighting’ with ‘marketing,’ we have a sound business plan.

Moving On Up… To That Deluxe Apartment In The Sky

I don’t believe acquiring wealth should be a complicated and difficult task. Many of the things needed to achieve it are right in front of us, sometimes we just need to pay attention. And if you’re anything like me, the bored-easily type, maybe you just need a game to play.

Monopoly started it for me years back, what other games can you think of that we could all learn from? And if you liked this post, help me spread the word with the button below.