The Examined Life

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It started back in 2011 when I truly began to examine my life. I opened a brand new book called The Secret and dove in. Immediately I was enthralled by the book and devoured every word in less than a few days. This moment would open a new world to me and little did I know that learning, reading, and self-examination would become a huge part of my life. Each day there are a few things I must do and learning is one of them. Whether I watch a video, read some of a book, or get my hands dirty, learning is at the forefront of who I am.

The examined life is a life where we do not settle for what is told to us, instead we seek the truth for ourselves. For a few years I spent a lot of time seeking for the truth from things such as mastermind groups, books, videos, movies, and more. What I failed to see is that the examined life starts and ends within. Mostly everything we need to know can be discovered from ourselves, in our mind. While books and groups are an invaluable way to learn and discover, the truth will come from within. I wonder if this is why meditation is a huge part of life for many people? In meditation you focus on nothing, try to at least, but what often happens (to me) is the examination of thought, emotion, and feeling.

For me, self-examination is a way to consciously realize who I am and why I am the way I am. I wonder what makes my mind tick. I’m fulfilled when I can sit quietly and seek answers through what my mind is telling me. I also enjoy looking into the actions I take and figuring out how I can get better. How can I become a better husband? A better father? How can I increase my endurance for Jiu-Jitsu and my energy levels for everyday life activities? What makes my mind focus on the past problems instead of enjoying the present moment?

Seek and ye shall find. Ask and it will be shown or given to you. The only way to truly discover who we are is to examine the little things that make up our large days. What kind of worker are you? What kind of lover? What kind of father or mother, sister or brother are you? What makes you angry and how can you overcome that? What do I want for my life, my family’s life, in the next five years?

The best thing we can do to understand this is… write. If you go through many of my blog posts you’ll discover a sort of journal. Every post I write is a reminder to myself. Eat better, sleep more, train harder, be a better father, find out why I get angry and why I cycle through emotions, and more. Writing down our thoughts, feelings, and emotions for different situations in our life is the best way to improve our actions and understand what makes us act the way we do.

“The life unexamined life is not worth living” according to Socrates and in my opinion, I agree.

 

Jiu Jitsu

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Last summer, in late July or early August, I embarked on a new journey. I entered into a brand new world to me but a world with a storied and celebrated history. I enter a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu school for the first time. Nervously I sat waiting in my car, afraid of what I was getting into. As a gym owner, I thought I knew how people felt when they first came to our gym. The nerves, the anxiety, the fear. Problem was, I had no clue how they felt, until I put myself in their shoes. As I sat in the parking lot I anxiously went over all possible scenarios of what I believed was going to occur.

Jiu-Jitsu is at the root of it, a self-defense martial art. For a long time it has also been used in combat sports and in tournaments of it’s own kind. Millions of people throughout the world are participating daily in Jiu-Jitsu practice. The sport, the art, was popularized by the historic Gracie family in Brazil. Hence the reason it is vastly known as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. However, there are other types (Jujutsu) and it originated in Japan from the basics of Judo ground fighting. Jujutsu itself is said to have been created in Japan as an art in close combat against an armed person when one is unarmed.

Throughout the world you can find Jiu Jitsu schools where men and women and even children of all types are practicing daily. Some come to learn, some come to sweat, some to lose weight, while others come to fight. For me, the reason I chose to start Jiu Jitsu was to find an outlet for my primal energy and a way to silence, or in the least tame, my monkey mind. Being an owner of a gym, in which I train the majority of the members, is hard on my energy outlet. People come every day to learn and to exercise so they can feel better. However, this left me drained. Add into it the fact that I am a stay at home father to two very young children, my mind felt like mud and I needed some valuable me time. After talking to a few people I knew about the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, there was no question I had to try.

Since that first day I have fallen in love with the martial art. It is hard. It is physical and it takes a lot of patience. One reason I fell quickly in love with the art is the fact that it is a lifelong adventure. There is no black belt in a few years. For me, it will take closer to fifteen or twenty until I get there. The person I have become after only one year of training is a light year away from where I was when I started. My mindset has improved. I am stronger. I am in better shape and my skills have increased greatly. Jiu Jitsu has given me a way to see that I am not at my best and the journey to living my best life and being fully activated will continue until I pass from this lifetime. There will always be room for improvement, whether it’s on the mat, in my business, as a husband or as a father. As the great Tony Robbins would say, “we either grow, or die”. I chose this journey to grow.

How Giving Energy Affects My Mind and Body

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Some days you wake up and you’re ready to tackle the world. The feet hit the ground fast, the alarm is off after the first alert instead of six snoozes, and your eyes are opened wide. The energy is flowing through your shoulders, your chest, your core, and finally through your legs and feet. You feel invincible. These days are special because they’re days you feel happy and get the best work done. You cherish these moments because you’re not sure the next time you’ll wake up feeling so good.

Other days are a disaster as soon as the alarm beeps for the first time. The forty five minutes of extra alerts you have set go off and you don’t give a shit. You don’t want to open your eyes and the inner dialogue goes something like this “Fuck this. I don’t want to get up. Why do I have to get up? Fuck this.” It’s a struggle and you know it. People who don’t understand or experience this think “What’s the matter cupcake? Suck it up buttercup.” But to you, it’s a battle that’s going to take every ounce of energy within. These days you don’t want to look at people. You don’t smile. You don’t feel motivated. You just want to fall and not get up.

As a business owner, a generally positive person, and a self motivated man, I experience exactly what I wrote above. Some days are awesome and some days I wish I didn’t have to leave my bedroom. Some days being a stay at home father are the greatest days ever and an absolute joy and other days I feel like running away. I go through ups and downs and it affects everything in my life. Some months business is good and others, when I’m down, it sucks. There are days when I run classes and I am on fire and super positive. There are also days when I don’t want to be there or look at anyone in class. During the down days I’ll listen to positive affirmation tapes on the way to the gym but often, it doesn’t help. I use techniques I learned from Tony Robbins about changing my state, and it doesn’t help. I just do my best to make sure everyone enjoys their workout.

Some days you can’t peel me off the couch. I simply do not want to get up. Other days I get massive amounts of work done. Some days I’m super nice to my wife and others, she hates my guts because I’m an asshole. I’m not the only one who goes through this and there are many business owners I know who feel the same way. Is it the stress, the work that needs to be done, or the unknown about future business? In my opinion, it’s energy.

Inside of each of us there is energy that we have that fuels our life. Introverts often use their energy up faster than extroverts and they each recharge their energy in different ways. Introverts recharge by being alone and in solitude (I am an introvert). Extroverts recharge by being with other people and doing things. But when you are a person who has many people looking to you for knowledge, love, direction, motivation, purpose, passion, and energy, it’s a different story.

Imagine yourself, if you’re in the position of having many people’s eyes on you, as an outlet in the wall. You get your energy from the battery that nobody sees. It’s tucked behind the wall and it runs from solar power. Each day the cells from the solar panels recharge the energy (Being alone, meditating, exercising, therapy, etc). People, whether they’re clients, kids, a spouse, or friends and family all plug into your sockets. They need energy to refuel their motivation, or their love, or their passion, or their direction, and you are the one they have chosen as that source. It’s a huge responsibility. Picture a power plant and everything that goes on in the daily operations. Millions of people, their homes, refrigerators, and more are depending on the plants ability to provide their needs. When you are a chosen one, it’s extremely difficult to maintain a high energy level. You need to recharge and often, it doesn’t happen fast enough.

Part of my problem with being up and down is that I generally do not get a long enough break to recharge my power. I do very well when I am alone, with quiet, and can relax. I say no when I should say yes, but if I did say yes I’d create more leaks of valuable energy. One place I recharge my energy is at Sakura Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Dover. I find the physical nature of Jiu Jitsu and the challenging tasks we face in each class as a great way to recharge my energy. Why? I plug in to an outlet of energy. Nobody is plugged into my outlet and my battery is draining of the stored energy. I’m connected to a source of energy entirely separate from my power plant. This is why people come to exercise at Activate Fitness. They unplug and connect to me, giving their power plants a rest.

We all are givers and receivers of energy and it is in the recharging our own personal energy that will make our lives the best they can be. If you don’t recharge with clean burning fuel, the downs you experience will be the most significant part of your life. Clean fuel is exercise, healthy eating, meditation, floatation, ice baths, Epson salt baths, grounding in nature, camping, hiking, and anything with complete solitude. The way we operate is directly related to our energy levels and how those energy levels are is related directly to how much time you have to recharge yourself.

The more plugs in our sockets, the more energy we give away. Failing to recover and recharge will drain your soul energy and cause you to wear out faster than normal people do. Burn out in entrepreneurs and high level jobs (and parenthood) is very common because we forget to recharge. We must learn how to say NO and be okay with that. It’s not selfish, it’s vital for health. If someone were to say it’s selfish, they are the one being selfish. They want your energy and can’t appreciate the fact that you need to recover. Learn how to recharge your energy and make it a priority. This is a major problem in my life that I am working on. As a stay at home dad, a husband, and a business owner it’s hard for me to find time that I spend alone. Looking back through the past year or two with the fluctuations in my energy, I can see that I haven’t given myself enough time to recharge. I completely believe in the saying “Put your own mask on first” and in order to fully live activated and awake and alive, I must do such. We all must put our masks on first. Without doing so, we’ll never be able to give of ourselves completely.

Find time in your life to do what you need to do to be activated and your best. Remember, it’s okay to say NO. Actually it’s vital to your happiness and well being.

5 Things I Learned So Far From Being a Stay At Home Dad

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In the morning when I get home from the early classes at Activate Fitness I rush to make shakes for my wife and I. With the sound of foot steps and ice being crushed and blended for our morning smoothie, the little critters begin to stir. Our neurologically impaired cats tip and tumble their way to their food bowl and begin begging for breakfast. The other little critters yell for Mommy or a show. They want to sit and watch Bo on the Go or Care Bears or some other stupid children toon show. But we have to go. I run a mid morning class at the gym, and they come with. It’s a dash to get out of the house early enough to make it to the gym so I can get my personal workout done before the next wave of awesome Activators rolls through. Some days I get half a workout done, and I’m cool with that. Once the members come in and class begins it’s often a fight to get my kids to sit in their gated area away from swinging kettlebells and flying jump ropes. But they listen and usually it’s only because I promise them Turkey Bacon Jerky or a lollipop.

In between the mid morning class and the evening classes at Activate Fitness, it’s home for us and the insanity ensues. Being a stay at home dad has changed my life and while it’s for better there are times when it’s been for the worse as I’ve had to battle with emotions and feelings about getting the job done and handling the constant need for attention. Here are five things I have learned in my time staying home with my two silly fun kids.

1. I have more Patience than I thought.

Screaming kids, spilled milk, carpet stains, nap fighting, and kids not listening on a consistent basis is nerve racking and mind blowing. Some days I feel like mush and brain fucked but I realize that I have more patience than I ever thought I do. While it can get crazy and completely overwhelming, it’s just spilled milk. I’d rather see spilled milk than baby shit on the walls.

2. Tend Your Field

As a business owner and someone who enjoys books and writing, I find it extremely difficult to get the job done. There are too many days that go in a row where I don’t write or read with total concentration. This used to infuriate me until I heard a man named Earl Nightingale talk about “tending our field” and doing the best we can. What he means is that in this moment we have a field that needs to be taken care of. It could be driving to the store or giving your children a bath. That moment is the field of life that you’re in and your purpose at that moment is to take care of that field to the best of your ability. So when I am home and I’m stressed out about setting up consultations at the gym and my kids are telling me they’re hungry, my field isn’t booking a consultation. It’s sitting down and feeding my children a healthy meal and being present with them. This is by far the hardest struggle I face each day but recently after a talk I heard by my mentor, I’ve been working on stopping and smelling the roses.

3. Each Day Is A New Day

Kids have much to teach us, especially about letting things go. Each day is a new day for my kids and they act like it. They don’t concern themselves with yesterday’s matters or tomorrow’s worries. They just be. Part of me tries hard to let it be and I think that’s the problem. Trying to let it be and actually letting it be are different. I believe there is no trying, it’s just being. This lesson is one of the most important lessons I’ve learned from my kids. Circumstances arise each day and being like water and going with the flow is a lot easier on the mind and creates less stress than trying to plug the holes and mend the dam.

4. Their Eyes Are On You

And they want me to put my eyes on them, they want you to see them. Kids watch our every move and listen to everything we say. They create their personalities based off of what ours are like. Kids only want love and approval from their parents and each day they want to learn something new about life. They spill milk and they look at us to see how someone should react. They build a fort out of sheets and toys and look at us for approval of a job well done. They look at the problem they face and look at us to see if they have the ability to find the solution or for advice on how to solve the problem. Kids are watching every move we make and every move they make they are watching us to see if we notice. Stop and take it in.

5. Time Management

I believe there is a need for three to five things to be done daily to help my business grow. I believe they can be tackled in an hour or two. The rest of the time is spent wasted and by being constrained with time because of tending to the needs of children, I’ve learned that with focused effort the work needed to be done can be done quickly. There is a lot of time spent wasted when we don’t concentrate on the vital tasks that need action. Many people create useless meetings, useless reports, useless filing, and instead of doing the three to five things that create progress, they waste time that could be spent building relationships, loving family, or taking care of our self. It’s amazing what can be and how fast when you have kids running around.

10 Ways to Lead A Positive Life

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When I looked around and saw all that I had and created, I wasn’t as happy as I should have been. In a moment of awakening I realized my mindset had drifted too far into the negative side of things. As a coach, I speak with enthusiasm for fitness, for nutrition, and living your life activated. But behind closed doors and the walls I built around myself, the truth was very different. While I did the movements and the training and I ate kind of well, I was far from being a positive person. My negative attitude was slowly crushing everything I worked hard for and everything I loved. I caught myself thinking outside of the person within and I drifted too far away from my center. With this negative attitude the help people needed in which they came to me for, couldn’t be done. I was faking it.

Luckily I realized there was a simple solution to “snap out of it” and recently I’ve been turning it around. What happened was that I stopped doing all of the things I knew needed to be done, the things I would do as I taught and helped and motivated others. I stopped doing exactly what I was telling others to do. This happens to many people, especially coaches and trainers. We often spend so much time helping other people that we forget to take care of ourselves. Our lives are non-stop action towards helping other people became fit, healthy, and happy. It’s easy for us to drift off into la-la land and forget about putting our own masks on first. When we do this, everything crashes.

Here are 10 Ways you can lead a positive life and keep from drifting too far and into the negative realm of thoughts and feelings.

1. Be Grateful

For the little things, for things we tend to overlook and often don’t truly appreciate. Be grateful that you are capable of reading this. Be grateful that you are alive and well. Even when things seem tough, there is something to be grateful for. Show it. Write it down. Tell someone you’re grateful for them. Gratitude is a powerful thing that can change your life. Appreciate it’s power and keep a gratitude journal to document the things in life you’re grateful for. Do it daily.

2. Release Your Expectations

There was a time in the recent past that I allowed my expectations to overcome my reality. I expected things from myself and from other people that were not possible or aligned with an activated life. I let my growing expectations create a false sense of failure and it bred my negative attitude to newer heights. Once I released those expectations, things settled down and got easier. Things became fun again and it opened my heart and mind to positive energy that created a greater sense of happiness and joy. Let go of what you expect from others first and then work on your own.

3. Have a Dump Day

Pick a day of the week where you simply don’t do anything but what you want and recharge your batteries. There are days where I let go of everything I’m “supposed” to do and do nothing, like watch Netflix shows for hours on end. Some days it’s simply relaxing and reading or hanging out with the kids and family. We have action packed lives where we go from one thing to the next without breathing. Stop and dump everything off your shoulders and relax. Make this time. It won’t just appear.

4. Exercise

This is without question one of the most important ways you can lead a positive life. In fact, without exercise, I think it would be pretty hard to live a fully activated and positive life. Exercise has the ability to make you feel better, more than any anti-depressant drug out on the market today. A quick ten minute workout is enough to create change in your mind and in your body. If you currently do not workout, start now by doing some simple exercise like walking. The release of positive feel good hormones in your body can lift your spirits when you’re down and crush the negative thinking that might be going on inside.

5. Remove Negative People From Your Life

I recently went through my Facebook news feed and unfollowed many people. The only reason I did so was that the majority of their posts were negative and a waste of mental energy. Before removing people from social media, I did so in “real life”. I do not have any room for people who are negative and those who bring nothing good to my life. It created a lot of space and thinned my social network but it’s for the best. I often see people at functions or getaways who are nothing but negative. They drown their lives in drinks and parties or by staying angry at whatever it is that affected their lives. Removing the negative people has helped me feel stronger and happier and leaves no room for people to bring you down. Some situations you encounter a negative person and they start bringing you down and what I do is change the subject or remove myself from the conversation. It’s unnecessary and not productive to my happiness. Do not be ashamed or upset or worried about their feelings when removing negative people, just do it.

6. Fill Your Mind With Positive Material

Lately to keep my positive attitude boosted I’ve been listening to audiotapes from Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich, and reading Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins. These books and tapes are keeping my mind set on success, opportunity, positive thinking, and the abundance that surrounds me. While many people are focused on the presidential elections and suffocated from the media filled nonsense that is trying to create tension and a doom and gloom feeling, I remain optimistic and positive about my life and the lives of people just like you. The more you fill your mind with negative bullshit, the darker your life is going to seem.

7. Accept Fear and Have Courage

Fear can be overwhelming to the point where you don’t take any action and have the courage to lead a positive life, which will make things harder then they should be. Or, fear can be used as a tool to overcome obstacles and create the motivation and courage to take action. When we accept fear as something that will always be within us, we can make the changes needed and by accepting fear we can realize that they negativity surrounding our fears does not have to consume our life.

8. Understand That Happiness is a Choice

You either make yourself happy or you don’t. Objects do not. Circumstances do not. While things can help, real happiness will always be a choice. Recently I was stuck in a stage of unhappiness. I had a lot of great things going for me. Family was good, business was good, and my personal lifestyle was good.. but I wasn’t happy. Why? I kept telling myself I was unhappy and the truth is, I was bullshitting myself. Happiness is always a choice. We can be happy with our life situations, or we can decide to not be happy. If you want to lead a positive life, choose happiness.

9. Keep on The Path of Growth

I read somewhere once “We’re either growing, or dying.” and that has stuck with me since. When we purposefully work on improving our lives, we grow and with growth comes opportunities and success. When we don’t work on growing ourselves personally and professionally, we wither away with the lack of direction and purpose. People often do not read books or listen to audiobooks and podcasts. I’m consistently working on learning something new every day. By working on our growth, we feel more awake and alive. Pick up a book or listen to a podcast. Make time each day to grow. Flowers always need sun.

10. Dream Bigger

Feel like life is stale or boring? Ever feel like things aren’t the way you hoped or imagined? Chances are you’re playing small and not dreaming big enough about what you want from life. One of the greatest things we can do for a positive and happy, and fulfilled, life is to work hard towards accomplishing big things. When I started out training people I dreamed of the day I’d have my own gym. Now that I have a gym, I’m dreaming big about the next step in our growth. Dream big, and then dream bigger.

Putting My Own Mask On First

 

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Driving down to the Jersey Shore is always a great time. The fact that you’re headed down to the water in itself is enough to relax the tense muscles of the neck, the shoulders, and the face. This past weekend I spent a few days around the Red Bank area with a bunch of men who help me grow, who help each other grow, both professionally and personally. Before I made the trip I was severely stressed out and filled with anxiety. The past few months have been taxing, even though I spent more time on vacation than I ever have. My mindset was drifting more and more into the negative state and my actions showed. My personal energy was faltering and I was losing control of so much.

On the way down I was listening to a podcast and Ryan Holiday, the guest of Lewis Howes, said something that struck a nerve in me and made me question why I was so closed down in my feelings and thoughts. He talked about a eulogy James Baldwin gave in which he said “Thou knowest the man, thou knowest not his wrestling.” That quote really moved me and broke down a barrier of defense I was using as a shield from the truth. The seminar I attended was just what I needed at this point in my life. Paul Reddick who runs the Sack Summit said the day I first met him, “all progress starts with the truth.” and I understood that but never applied it. I was scared. I am afraid of letting people know the wrestling I do.

As the meeting unfolded, my emotions began to shake and life was brought into a perspective. I felt my barriers and the walls I have built begin to crumble. The guys I was with I have known for many years and I never once shared what was really going on in my mind and my life. As we sat in small groups in which our task was to help each other grow as men, my shoulders tensed, my heart sunk, my nerves began to shatter. It was time I put my own mask on first, and I did.

Leading up to the split into groups I was thinking about the question I needed help with most in my business. I wanted to learn steps to help Activate Fitness grow and was ready to fire off an easy question. I was afraid of opening myself, my real self to those men who I sincerely trust and love. The time came for me to ask my question and as I looked around the table I knew these guys were here for me and would not judge me. I knew they were filled with love and ready to help me in any way I needed.

“Fuck it” I said, and broke the walls. I released a massive amount of tension that was building in my neck, my shoulders, my waist, my hips, and I let those men in on the truest feeling going on inside. Instantly I felt a wave of release and relief. They accepted my question and offered advice they would only hope to receive if faced with a similar situation.

Nothing changes if nothing changes and had I not put my own mask on first and asked for the help I deeply needed, nothing would have changed and I’d still be stuck right where I was, hiding behind the truth with no progress.

When I heard the quote of not knowing the man’s wrestling I began to think about all of the people in my life. My family, my friends, the people who trust me to help them and I understood clearly that I know nothing of what each battles and the only thing I can do is give. I can give of myself with love, caring, and understanding. I am very grateful that this trip was taken at the perfect moment and grateful that now I have cleared away the jungle hiding my trueness, for now I can fully give of myself in the way I was intended for.

We all face obstacles in life and another quote I heard is “obstacles are not in the way, but they are the way”, and when we are faced with obstacles in which we feel we can’t overcome, there is a way to climb over them or break through them and to grow from the journey and the fight of making it through.

The wrestling going on within is not a fight you need to take alone and there are people who you love and trust that are willing to listen and be there for you. Put your own mask on first and seek their guidance. The weight it will take off your shoulders will clear the path and show you the way through. Thank you Isaac, Jedd, Adam, Christian, and Pete.

Reminders For Living An Activated Life

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As the day unfolds you’ll be pulled in many directions. Maintaining a vision for the outcomes you desire will help you steer your ship in the direction towards the end result. There will be people who need you. Be there for them. But make time for yourself and be sure to always put your own mask on first. There are many responsibilities to face each day and you must do them with purpose, honesty, and integrity. Do not kid yourself and lie to yourself. You must remain honest, even when that honesty hurts and creates emotional situations. You’ll never get anywhere in life if you’re not being honest about your thoughts, actions, beliefs, and feelings. Each day you are the captain of your ship and you can either do what’s needed for an activated life or you don’t. Each choice is entirely your own and each decision has a result. Choose wisely. Accept failure as part of the journey as well. Do not be discouraged by failure. Use it as a tool to learn and to improve.

Here are your reminders for living an activated life.

- Be Disciplined in everything you do.

Whether it’s your workouts, your work, or your family. Be disciplined to get the job done.

- Meditate

Do not go too long without being alone in solitude to meditate on your day and life. Always make room and be disciplined with it.

- Work Hard each day

In your workouts, in your jiu jitsu, for your wife and your kids. Work hard in all aspects of life.

- Exercise

Do not go many days in a row without sweating and exercising. For your mind and body exercise is a drug. Use it to fuel your passion and align your thinking. Your health depends on how you treat your body. Discipline yourself to stay committed.

- Eat Healthy Foods

Sure you like chips and salsa and good craft beer. It’s okay to enjoy the fruits of your labor and unwind with snacks and beer, but discipline yourself to maintain a healthy nutritional plan for ninety percent of your days. Eat greens every day. Eat fruits every day. Enjoy fat and meat. Reduce as much added sugar as possible.

- Love your family

Above all else in your daily routine, love your family and show it. Be there for your kids. Listen well to your wife. Make time to spend with them quietly and enjoy time away from routine. Family is always first. Work, friends, hobbies come after. Family is everything.

- Be Prepared

Like your hike in the mountains, you brought a snake bite kit and saw a deadly venomous snake. You were prepared. Be prepared for anything to happen and make sure your family is as well. Prepare yourself for the day. Prepare yourself for your nutrition. Maintain discipline to always have what’s needed.

- Be Simple with your things

You don’t need fancy toys. You never enjoy them and there are more important things in your life. Be simple with your purchases and take care of them. Know how to fix things like you did your furnace. Do not spend more than you make. Discipline yourself and practice the minimalist way.

- Practice Jiu Jitsu

Always make time to practice your art of choice. You feel better after a good session. You learn and quiet your mind. You meditate and release monkey energy. Jiu Jitsu changed your life. Honor that.

- Write Daily

Writing is a meditative tool for you. You release many thoughts in your introverted mind and get them on paper. This is good. Continue to do so and be disciplined with it. Even on vacations. Practice each day and reach your goal of five hundred words a day.

- Keep Working To Improve Your Sleep

You’ll only be as healthy and activated as possible if you sleep well. For years you have sacrificed sleep to help others. It’s time to put your mask on first and do what’s best for your mind, heart, and body. You’re a better person when you sleep enough. You never operate at your best when you lack sleep. Keep practicing and working hard to make more time.

- Read daily

Reading is a meditative tool but it’s also important for your growth as a person. Living an activated life requires a commitment to learning. The best place for you to learn right now is through the books on your shelf. Make time every day to relentlessly read.

- Share Your Wisdom

What good is learning and understanding something if you don’t share it? You are here to help others. Share the things you learn through your reading, writing, experience, and meditations.

- Guide Your Kids

You know what’s it like to hit rock bottom and you know what it’s like to pick yourself up. You learned from mistakes you’ve made and right decisions you’ve made. Guide your kids with your wisdom of experience but do not push.

- Enjoy Your Life

Have fun with friends and family. Throw parties. Go to parties. Make time for the outdoors or sporting events. Have a picnic with your family. Throw a surprise party for a friend or loved one. Have fun every day and laugh. Go to a comedy show or rock concert. Enjoy life.

- Live the lifestyle of a Warrior

And continue to study the art of warriors.

- Show Your Gratitude

Journal your appreciation for the good and simple things in life, as well as the trials and tribulations. Make time to write each day what you are grateful for.

- Set Goals and Dream

Be disciplined in each day to reach the goals you envision. Dream on and dream always as dreams are what creates reality when you apply action. Never say it’s impossible, you never know what can happen with effort.

 

You Don’t Get There By Saying “Must Be Nice”

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I’m not a fan of fancy gadgets. I’m not a fan of flashy cars and high dollar clothing. I’m not a sneaker fan, a go out all the time fan, or a big house fan. Many people hustle hard and bust their asses to pay off big homes, big cars, big clothing credit card payments, and fancy dinners every weekend. I’m not that guy and my family isn’t that kind of family. We’re simple minded, easy going, and content. While there is a culture of new is better, where someone gets a new house or new car every five years, I’m sitting here enjoying the gratitude I have for being alive.

One thing I have done is worked hard for the past five years building a business. I scarified a lot to get the job done. Some days I failed and others I won. Those five years have been brutally challenging and at some points scary as fuck. It took a lot of courage to give up some of the things I did and neglect some of the other. During the past five years I haven’t traveled much or enjoyed family vacations a whole lot. Mostly because I’ve been in the trenches helping other people lose weight and feel better.

Things this summer have changed. I’m traveling more than I ever have because I am finally in the position to be able to. As a business owner and a leader that people come to see, to learn from, to be around, and get results, it’s tough to remove yourself from the daily functions for a week or two here. It’s hard to say “This year, like many people from corporate America, I’m getting four or five weeks vacation.” It doesn’t work that way when you have to open and close the doors. And for the past five years it’s been that way. Now, I have help and I’m burned out.

So what do you do when you’re burned out? You stop, relax, reflect, recharge, and refocus. And, you spend time with the family, which always comes first. This summer I’ve been fortunate enough to take time to go camping twice. Once with my family and once with my brother and father. Next I get to go spend time in the Mountains by the lake with my family before we head to the beach for a few days. It’s not a lot, but it’s needed.

Several years ago when I had my sleeves rolled up, my work boots laced, and my mind laser focused on being able to survive and help my family thrive, I didn’t do this and I used to look at people who vacationed for two weeks at a time and say “Must be nice”. Well now I know that you don’t get there by saying “must be nice”. You get there by committing to the goal, kicking the door down every day and doing the work. You make sacrifices where you need to and then you apply the effort needed to succeed. You don’t waste energy being upset that someone else is going on a vacation, in which you actually know nothing about, and you use that energy on doing the work.

Thoughts on Filling The Void in Your Life

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The wiser I get through knowledge, action, failure, and success, and experience, the more I begin to see how foolish some people are in their way of life, their vision of reality. I’m included in those people. Life is strange and the way we live is even stranger. Working, waking up at four in the morning, consuming more food than we need, more gas than we need, shelter too big for what’s needed, resources, and materialistic garbage is not for me. I realized very early in my business that I don’t want to be a fancy materialism based facility. I don’t, and you don’t, need towels, water fountains, showers, fancy art work, hardwood floors, and shiny objects when what you are coming for is a workout. The point of coming to the gym is to train and anything beyond the essential tools is pointless. The same goes with my life. I have way too much shit right now and getting rid of it is a big priority. I don’t need it, I don’t want it. It’s useless. What I need in my home is love, companionship, happiness, and fun. Beyond the basic needs of food and water, there is nothing more that I need. Filling it with useless material junk is a waste of energy, money, and space.

A Zen Buddhist quote says “To seek is to suffer. To seek nothing is Bliss.”  The seeking of things beyond essential needs is an ego related matter and often times we fill it because of a lack of knowing who we are within or to fill a void we feel is left by something beyond our own self. Men around the world seek to fill pieces of their self through cars, cigars, homes, boats, electronics, and drugs. Women around the world seek to fill pieces of their self through shoes, make-up, boob jobs, and more. Often times when we seek something, say through a possession, we find that the void in our lives we wish to fill is still empty. That is because things that money buy can’t fill your heart and soul with what you really desire. What you really desire is purpose, truth, and love. Some times people who were never loved as a child, told they are beautiful or enough, have lives in which they obsess about a particular thing, like sex, money, a perfect body, drugs, cars, music shows, and more. They want to fill the whole in their heart. Sadly they don’t realize or understand that the whole in their heart needs to be filled from within first and by giving fully of who they truly are.

Buddha once said “Better than a thousand hollow words is one word that brings peace.” Look at that through action instead of word. Better than a thousand hollow actions is one action that brings peace. That brings YOU peace. Often our actions are not aligned with our true self. Our actions can sometimes be cries for help. Drug addicts are crying for help. They have shame and embarrassment and often don’t know how to ask for help. There are times when the help they get isn’t what they need. A drug addict who is in deep emotional and mental pain will not be cured of their addiction through rehab and most talk therapy. They need to confront the pain within and find a way to accept it, own it, and become bigger than it. A hollow action (rehab) won’t end the suffering, but one look within to see the pain may. It is your actions that form your life.

If you don’t feel loved you can act by becoming promiscuous to fill the void of love, but often you’ll find that being promiscuous doesn’t do the trick. Instead of acting through sex, act through giving love to something else. Confront the demon of why you don’t feel loved and work at that point to make change. We can’t put gum in the cracks of our lives. You have to mend the cracks with both pieces and apply acceptance.

Accepting the pain of emptiness one might feel is a stepping stone to improvement and fulfillment. Rather than using things like a big home or alcohol to feel fulfilled, attack the feeling of not being fulfilled and accept it and then thank it and then work on filling it with self love. If we look close enough and wad through the deep mud of pain we will find enough self love to drastically change our lives. Objects can’t make you happy unless you accept that happiness is already a part of who you are. If you feel you need more money, fancy jobs, bigger houses, or longer vacations, the first place to look for those needs is going to be your mind and your heart. It’s hard to battle the feelings and thoughts that cause pain, loneliness, and emptiness but you’ll never live activated and in charge if you don’t sweat a little. You have the courage and the strength to hold your sword out front and defend and attack. Now act.

BETTER TO SIT ALL NIGHT THAN GO TO BED WITH A DRAGON. Zen Proverb.

Thoughts on Starting a Business, Life, and Character

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I built my business through sacrifice. Through pure determination to not fail. I neglected more important parts of my life and live with that, and the endless days of digging my feet into the mud put scars on my life that I can’t change.

There were days that I wanted to quit and admit failure. Days in which I cried. I didn’t cry because I was a failure, but because my passion to make a good life was hard on my soul. Many men and women around the world push aside things that matter more to make something for the future and while it’s not a shame, it’s virtuous.

The long days of putting myself on the line and accepting the responsibility to help others has paid off more to who I’ve become and who I’ve helped than to what I’ve done. Before my efforts in the battle for success, I was a wimp, a whiner, and a fool. Today I am changed by the defeats and the pain, but I’m stronger and fulfilled.

People will question the effort and ask if it’s worth it. You don’t know if it’ll be worth it, but in doing you find who you really are. What I am can only be defined by those who care. The critic can put you down but the fan, the follower, the listener and doer can only tell the truth of what you’ve become. Do I wish for more? Certainly. But I also appreciate all I’ve been through and the experiences I’ve created. One can sit on the sideline and think about the actions and easily criticize, but it’s the people who sweat and make the sacrifices that can only know for sure if its noble.

I live with humility that I am not my best self. I live with humility that there are people better than me, smarter than me, and who live more activated than I. Building a business isn’t a worthy cause unless you impact the lives of others and share the truest purpose of your heart. I don’t look for recognition, instead I try to help others realize their trueness. Their strength and their purpose.

What I’ve done is nothing compared to those who have listened to what I say. And what I say is only a reminder to myself that I need to act and make and do. My work is a reminder to myself of the direction one should take to live fully. What I need to do now is to learn how to love fully. For my love is shadowed by fear and the courage to show that is small compared to loved ones around me.

The simple actions of standing up and doing the work aren’t simple unless you accept that which you cannot change. Some days you win and some days you lose. What matters is what you do the next moment. For you can sit and blame and wallow or you can try and do. That choice is a choice we all have. That choice is a choice we all have the strength and courage to make. My purpose is to help you see that and live it. Not just to read it and say Uh huh, but to actually put yourself on the line and take an arrow or two. You’ll only realize the greatness inside if you allow failure and heartache into your life and then try again to improve. Grow each day or decay. Accept that and you’ll find the path to living the activated life.

My advice is only wise if it aligns with your values and only you can decide if they fit. But what my advice does do is speaks the truth of what it takes to put yourself in front of fear and stand strong.