The Stories We Tell Ourselves

We all tell ourselves stories whether we want to think so or not. We have a bias towards certain things more so than others. We buy certain products, shop at certain stores because we believe these things to be true.

Do you shop at the supermarket or do you shop at Whole Foods? Do you stay at the Hilton or Motel 6? Sure some of this may come down to price, but part of it is also the stories we tell ourselves about who we are.

I came across an article posted on Facebook today, and I was shocked to read some of the comments. Well, can you read any comments without being shocked?these days? This, however, was not racist, political, dark or deep.

This was different. I was shocked to see some of the stories people tell themselves about travel, money, and lifestyle. Sure some luxuries may be out of reach right now, but it doesn’t have to be that way forever.

The article was posted by the Today Show, WATCH: How the Bucket List Family travels the world with kids in tow. It sounded pretty interesting, and while I do not have kids yet we do plan to, and I would like to travel with them.

 

Facebook screenshot - Today Show - WATCH: How the Bucket List Family travels the world with kids in tow.

It’s got quite a lot of views, likes, shares, and comments. It seemed like more people wanted to point out how lucky of them it was to have this “luxury” of being able traveling the world, rather than anything supportive.

Take this comment for example

facebook comment
“While a great idea/experiment, the average family who may be interested in doing this kind of thing won’t be able to do so, simply because of money/ Guess this is something for folks who can sell a company and live off the profits rather than working…”

There are so many stories going on here. Now money is usually the determining factor as to whether or not you can do a lot of things. I get it, but what I don’t get is why you would think the average family couldn’t do this. You can do almost anything if you make some sacrifices.

What this person is also saying is that they don’t think you could ever do something like this. What is stopping you from starting a company to sell it? In today’s age, there is zero reason to say you have a lack of access to information.

Information and education is more accessible than it’s ever been. You can find information on almost any subject and topic you want. The amount of free information out there is virtually limitless.

What’s even more amazing is that 62 people like this comment! It means that 62 other people agree that this kind of lifestyle will never be possible for them because they can’t start and sell a company.

It’s also kind of funny that they do not talk about the money the man in this story made from selling his app. They go on to say that they decided to travel the world using money from a giant garage sale. This family decided to sell everything they had and travel the world.

What is stopping this particular commenter from doing the same? You don’t need to sell a company, you can start by selling the stuff you already have. Once you get rid of all the baggage holding you back, you are a lot free-er to live the life you want to live. I’d venture to guess that 85% of the reason this person goes to work every day is to pay for stuff they can’t afford in the first place.

Here is another commenter:

facebook comment
“Too bad the kids won’t remember doing all these adventures since they are so young. Should have waited till they are older.”

Why would you wait to travel to the world? Should this family just sit around and wait until their kids are older? That is insane. Also, let’s not forget the other 19 insane people that agree with this commenter.

You shouldn’t really wait to do anything because you are not guaranteed tomorrow. Life is too short to sit around waiting.

These are just a couple of comments, but there are plenty more just like it. I guess this family should have asked what these random facebook commenters thought before they decided to sell their stuff and travel the world with their kids.

We can sit around and watch these people have a good time, living the life we wish we could be living or we can do something about it.

No one mentioned how much this guy must have worked to build an app that was good enough to be bought in the first place. For all we know, this guy could have spent 3 years working 80 hour weeks to build this app.

Most people are not willing to work and sacrifice their time now for freedom later. The reason this family has the “luxury” of living this lifestyle now is because they created it.

We are all capable of creating and doing way more than we think we are. What’s holding you back? What stories are you telling yourself?

 

 

My Three Words for 2017

The goal here is to replace resolutions with something a bit more useful. This is an idea was taken from Chris Brogan.

My Three Words for 2016

How Do You Do It?

Pick any three words that will guide you in the choices you intend to make for 2017. They should be words that let you challenge yourself as to motives and decisions. They should be words that help you guide your actions.

My 3 Words for 2017:
Create. Commit. Ship.

The artist must create a spark before he can make a fire and before art is born, the artist must be ready to be consumed by the fire of his own creation. – Auguste Rodin

Create

The best way to predict the future is to create it. You can create your own reality, your own opportunities, and art. The simple act of creating takes on many forms and meanings.

Definition

  1. to bring into existence
  2. to produce or bring about by a course of action or behavior
  3. to produce through imaginative skill
  4. design

We can interpret these meanings however we want because we create them. You can create more of what you want by focusing on it, because what you focus on expands. What you believe to be true is true for you, and believe I have the ability to create anything I want in life.

It is better to create than to learn! Creating is the essence of life. – Julius Caesar

I am creating:
– art
– value
– opportunities
– business that can support my life and lifestyle
– financial freedom
– space

Commit

One area of my life that I used to be bad at was committing. I liked to dabble and dip my toes in the water, and never fully commit to anything. I was always afraid I’d pick the wrong thing. What if I do this and waste all kinds of time? Committing is scary. You have to make a definite decision and stick to it. If you are not committed to that decision then your chances of failing or quitting are much higher.

Stay committed to your decisions, but stay flexible in your approach. — Tony Robbins

I am committing to:
– creating the life and lifestyle I want
– creating financial freedom
– building a business that can support my life and lifestyle
– building awesome relationships
– shipping the art I create
– finishing what I start
– achieving the goals I set for 2017

Ship

You know what is just as scary as committing? Shipping. The act of publishing and sharing the art, whatever that maybe, you are creating.

Art is the work of a human, an individual seeking to make a statement, to cause a reaction, to connect. Art is something new, every time, and art might not work, precisely because it’s new, because it’s human and because it seeks to connect. – Seth Godin

The idea is to always be shipping, because if it doesn’t ship you’ve failed. Done is the new perfect.*

I am shipping:
– projects
– content
– art
– even when I am not ready

* I almost didn’t ship this post

I No Longer Support the Zoo or the Circus

There have been a few news stories over the last several weeks that involved animals at zoos being killed. I’m sure you’re familiar with the story about the gorilla that was killed to save a boy at the Cincinnati Zoo. Maybe a little less familiar with the man who stripped naked and entered a lion enclosure in a Chilean zoo, but the lions were killed.

We have people jumping and accidently falling into animal exhibits and the animals are being killed because of it. I understand that we should protect human lives, but rather than taking animals away from their homes and locking them in a cage, shouldn’t we find a way to keep them in their natural habitat?

We are protecting them from poachers. Thier habitats are being destroyed by deforestation and pollution. We can learn more about them when we can observe them closer.

These are the arguments you will hear for zoos. These zoos are also profiting from these animals so don’t believe everything they tell you about why the have them locked in cages.

Have you ever been to a zoo? I have. Not one of those animals looks happy. Frankly they were probably happy to get killed. They no longer had to live a miserable existence in an enclosure.

I recently watched An Apology to Elephants on HBO. This short documentary examines their abuse and chronicles efforts to provide more humane treatment.

Elephants are smart. They don’t forget, and they can even paint.

The reason they can do “tricks” is because they are abused, tied, beat and tortured. The way elephants in the circus are treated to get them to perform is sad and downright wrong.

Unfortunately, you cannot just release animals back into the wild. Most captive-born predators die if released. We are really painting ourselves into a corner here because soon the only animals that exist will be in captivity.

Organizations like PETA are speaking out against zoos, and organizations like PAWS are helping to in this cause against captivity and abuse.

PAWS is dedicated to the protection of performing animals, to providing sanctuary to abused, abandoned and retired captive wildlife, to enforcing the best standards of care for all captive wildlife, to the preservation of wild species and their habitat and to promoting public education about captive wildlife issues.

The biggest threat to animals and their habitats is us. When we stop putting a value on ivory, fur and entertainment then we can begin to keep the animals that are so vital to our ecosystem in their natural habitats.

 

 

 

 

Just Missed Last Weeks Goal

Last week I talked about how I thought I walked a lot until I got a Fitbit. I set a goal to hit 10,000 steps every day for the next week.

I came close, but on Monday, I forgot my Fitbit at the house and did not wear it for half the day. Now it’s debatable I may have still not hit 10,000 steps. I finished with 6,229 steps on the day.

Saturday was my highest day with 13,759 steps and my daily average was 10,234.

fitbit daily step dashboard

The 6,229 steps on Monday affected the daily average, but as you can see I barely made it over the 10,000 step goal on most days.

I found it both easier and harder to get the 10,000 steps in than I thought it would be. Easier in the sense that I enjoyed it. Harder in the sense that I did have to make time to get the steps in. I set my alarm and hour earlier on days I did not go to the gym, and I went for a walk. I would walk for almost an hour, and I still barely made my 10,000 step goal.

I enjoyed getting the extra exercise in each day and I look forward to continuing.

 

 

 

I Thought I Walked alot Until I Got a Fitbit

As someone who spends most of the day behind a desk I know sitting in a chair all day is a bad idea, so I try to be active and exercise when I can.

I go to strength camps twice a week to break a sweat, build muscle and lose weight. I work on the sixth floor and take the stairs. I even go to the bathroom on the second floor, just so I can take the stairs back up. Whenever I go somewhere I typically park away from the building so I can get some additional walking in.

I thought I walked a lot until I got a Fitbit. Apparently there is magic in 10,000 steps and that is what Fitbit suggests as a daily step goal. 10,000 steps is roughly 5 miles depending on your stride length.

I’ve had my Fitbit since mid-April. In the beginning, I was averaging about 6,000 steps a day. I’ve been working on hitting 10,000 every day, but it is not as easy as you think. You do need to make time to do it.

If it is one thing I’ve learned it is that you will make time for what is important, and exercise is something that is important to me. It helps me not only feel better physically but mentally as well. Exercise does more to bolster thinking than thinking does.

I have made a commitment to hit my 10,000 steps daily. On days when I do not go to the gym I will wake up early to get a walk in to start my day. Today was day one and I am over 12,000.

Next week I look forward to writing about how I hit 10,000 consecutively for 7 days. I hope you’ll join me.

 

Life is Sweet and Full of Choices

We love options. Whoever said, they want fewer options? In fact, if you ask most people they will tell you they want as many options as possible. The more the better.

What many people don’t realize is that having all these choices comes at a cost. I’ve recently realized that being presented with unlimited options can actually hurt you.

Options and choices are a double edged sword. On one hand they allow us flexibility, and the other, it can paralyze us.

How can you do that if you choose this? What ends up happening is that we either start 100 things and never finish any of them or never start at all. We just want to keep our options open we tell ourselves. We can’t put all our eggs in one basket.

Cable providers offer hundreds of channels and most consumers willingly pay for premium packages to have access to all those channels, and if you’re like me you really only watch a select few.

We flip through the channels to find nothing on, then wonder what it is that we are even paying for. We say we’ll cancel, but we never do. We love having the option to watch tv!

Trying to decide where to go or what to eat for lunch can cause enough anxiety that you just want to take a nap or not eat at all.

We have a closet full of clothes we never wear. We couldn’t possibly throw them away, there will be that one day that we wish we still had it.

It’s easy to see why Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, and other highly successful entrepreneurs prefer to wear the same outfit; it’s a simple choice.

All these choices take away from our ability to focus, and by eliminating options we can actually free up brain power to focus on more important things.

Ever eat too much candy? Sometimes too much of a good thing can actually be a bad thing, as is the case with always leaving options open.

 

 

Romentum

Romentum. WTF?! That is probably what you’re thinking right now and I get it. It will make sense if you stick with me, I promise.

Last week I talked about how sometimes life throws you curveballs and how you just have to get back into the batters box.

Sometimes it’s hard to get back in there. Life is full of surprises. We get sidetracked and we’re slowly led off course. We didn’t mean for it to happen. It just did. Maybe we get too overwhelmed and don’t know where to begin so we just never start.

Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Every day, bricks were laid, stones were carved, and roads were made. It took a lot of hard work, blood, sweat, and tears, and eventually, Rome was built.

Just like Rome, you may have grand visions of the future, but you have to start somewhere. The key to building the grand vision is starting small and building momentum.

You don’t do something once and expect instant results. You need to do it repeatedly; day in and day out. Rome would never have been built if they worked for one day, took two days off, worked for a day, took a week off, and got around to it when they could.

Yet, this is what happens to us all the time. We get sidetracked by secondary activities.

Momentum requires sustained effort and commitment. More importantly, momentum requires change. Big life changes come from small daily changes and change always begins with us.

Embrace the change and make a commitment to yourself that you will make time to achieve your grand vision. Once you start building momentum, you’ll want to keep going. Stopping would almost feel weird.

The only way to build momentum is to start. Do it every day if possible. 5 minutes a day. 10 minutes a day. It doesn’t matter, just get started and eventually, you’ll achieve Romentum.

Life Throws You Curveballs

Once you have clarity and you understand where you are spending your time, you are well on your way to achieving your goals.

The universe doesn’t always see it that way, though.  As you begin to make progress on your goals and you have everything planned out, something will inevitably come along force you to re-prioritize.

These past 2 weeks my dog has been sick. I had my days planned out with what I needed to do, but taking care of him quickly became the #1 priority. Everything else could now wait.

Life is What Happens To You While You’re Busy Making Other Plans

Things happen at inopportune times, and I guess that’s why we have words like emergency and accidents. You do not plan for them to happen, they just do and you must deal with them.

Life throws you curveballs. This is the universes’ way of testing your commitment to your goals.

If you are committed, it is important to step back into the batters box, because as you get better with the curveballs, you’ll be able to knock the fastballs out of the park.

 

Lack of Clarity is Like a Fish Out of Water

A few weeks ago I wrote about how procrastination is caused by a lack of clarity. I’d like to follow that post up with why clarity is so important.

Having clarity is absolutely paramount to achieving your goals. You need to know what it is you want to accomplish and why.

If you are not clear about what it is that you want to do, you flop around like a fish out of the water.

Should I do this? Should I do that? What should I be doing?

The poor fish flops around because it is suffocating, except in our case, it is a lack of clarity that will suffocate you.

Just like without water the fish will die, you will fail without clarity on your goals.

Life is short. Don’t spend the little time you have left flopping around.

Where Are You Spending Your Time

In an effort to end procrastination, a word I am starting to eliminate from my vocabulary, I realized I need to understand where I am spending my time. Where is my time actually going?

I made a spreadsheet, that allows you to track how many hours you spend a week doing a certain activity. There are only 168 hours in a week, so where are you spending your time?

weekly-hourly-planner-spreadsheet

Weekly Hours Planner

The spreadsheet should be pretty self-explanatory, the available hours are on the right (and green), when you run out of hours it will turn red. Fill it in and make it your own. Try to get every hour accounted for. To use it, just go to file > make a copy.

This should be used in conjunction with the weekly planner.

daily-weekly-hourly-planner

After you figure out where you are spending your time, plot it out on the weekly planner. Download it and print a few copies. Fill it in, make it messy, and play with it until you find something that works for you. I understand every week will be different, but if you could make your ideal week, what would it look like?

There are only 168 hours in a week, so where are you spending your time?