My Aim

In any of the things that I do (podcast, YouTube channel, blog), my aim is not to get the most out of people. My goal is to inspire people to get the most out of themselves.

The risk of any “self-help” or “self-improvement” content (I despise both of those terms), is that it can often sound preachy and elitist. I’m constantly working on my ability to portray the fact that I’m not some perfect, disciplined, sculpted being…everything I preach applies to myself as well. This is a daily process. Each and every day, I struggle with a lack of confidence, fear of what the future holds, and consistent questioning of whether or not I’m doing things correctly. We all face these issues all the time. They never disappear.

When times were at their darkest, when I was at my lowest, I literally tried to kill myself. And I nearly succeeded. I collected a number of pain and anti-depression medication from friends and family over the span of a week, then swallowed a number of them whilst finishing a bottle of Jim Beam (ad?). I woke up two days later utterly confused and was hungover for days after.

This was years ago. And I’ve told no one until now.

Now, I experience levels of confidence and satisfaction of which I literally thought were impossible. What I try to highlight for people is that there was a journey for this transition. There’s an evolution. And you can make it happen. It’s not easy, but it is simple. It’s overwhelming. And when you ask yourself where to start, the answer is, “At the beginning.”

I mention this story because nobody likes to hear from someone who’s ripped at the gym telling someone out of shape, “Get in shape, you’ll feel great!” But that ripped dude (or gal) went through an evolution of work and insecurity and doubt. I’m just some idiot with recording equipment and a laptop. There’s nothing special about me. We’re all just human and if you have a dream, and someone else has done what you want, you can do it too. Just start at the beginning.

My aim is not to push people up the mountain. It’s to inspire people to climb it with me.

”Do you know someone you would like to change and regulate and improve? Good! That is fine. I am all in favor of it. But why not begin on yourself? From a purely selfish standpoint, that is a lot more profitable than trying to improve others—yes, and a lot less dangerous. ‘Don’t complain about the snow on your neighbor’s roof,’ said Confucius, ‘when your own doorstep is unclean.’”
– Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People

Action

I’ve said this and will continue to say this in as many ways as humanly possible:

You have to take action.

The worst feeling in the world, the thing that aches the soul, the thing we carry with us if our time is not commandeered…is regret. But our worst regrets are rarely the things we do (mistakes or bad decisions we’ve made, jobs we take, places we go). Our deepest and most harrowing regrets are all the things we didn’t do.

Inaction leads to the vast majority of our unhappiness and dissatisfaction with life. Three years ago, you may have thought about picking up the saxophone. But then you contemplated the how difficult and time-consuming it would be. Would people judge you for pursuing the skill? Would you even get good, or would you just be blowing awful squeaks and squaws into your walls?…Well guess what…If you just started that miserable process and got going, you’d be pretty damn good at the saxophone right now. Hell, you’ve been playing and practicing for three years!

Acting and theatre combine to create one of my loveliest passions which has totally altered the way I see art (films, shows, music, fine art, etc.). When I auditioned for my first play in college, I was so god damn nervous that I convinced myself about 50 times on the twenty-minute walk to the theatre that I had no business auditioning. “You don’t belong you’ve never done this before they don’t need you or want you you will probably mess up your lines you’re no Matthew Mcconaughey they’ll probably have you hold the prop or you’ll be Tree 2 go the fuck home.” These were my thoughts.

Cut-to: I got a small part in the play. This was my foot in the door to meet the theatre gang, build friendships, and develop my skill as an actor. I later went on to land some bigger roles and work with incredibly talented people. I woke up each and every day grateful and inspired to be able to act and live in that world. None of that would have been possible if I listened to myself and did nothing. I can’t even imagine what it would be like if that was never a part of my life. But I can only imagine the throbbing feeling in my soul if I had never auditioned. That’s regret.

If you’re thinking about pursuing something: No matter your age, regardless of what others may think of you (people make fun of the person who just started playing the cello and sucks, but people love it when a person plays the cello well after practicing for three years), if you’re afraid of failure….understand that not doing the thing you want to do is infinitely worse than any possible short-term discomfort you muster up in your mind.

Do. Take action. Now.

Let me know if there’s a goal/dream/skill you’ve been thinking about pursuing but have been putting off!

A Letter to a Hero

Wordsmith prompt #2: Write a letter to someone who has impacted your life.

Dear Joe Rogan,

Sometimes I get flack for being just another dude who talks about your podcast but I’m an enormous fan and you’ve changed my life. Roughly two years ago, I got kicked out of school and the woman I was prepared to marry left me. This was the darkest time of my life and I considered ending things. I had no job, didn’t exercise, didn’t eat well, had ideas and aspirations but wasn’t taking action on any of them, and simply had no direction, values, or principles.

Two things got me out of this mental prison: the practice of meditation, and listening to you rant about discipline and happiness. Both of these kicked my ass into gear by forcing me to realize that any outside forces which were blocking me were actually just in my own head. The world wasn’t out to get me…Shit just happens and you are either mentally and physically prepared for the storm when it comes, or you’re not. You taught me how to prepare for and conquer the storm.

It doesn’t work for everybody, but a lot of people (especially men) just need a jacked, bald, tatted comedian to shake them by the shoulders and say “Get your fucking shit together!” By following your basic formulas for developing meaning and satisfaction in life, mine turned from a pit of nothingness to being excited to live each and every day. The formulas include:

-Find something you love to do, do it all the time, get better at it.
-Write down the things you want in your life.
-Be a great person, even to the people who don’t deserve it.
-Have conversations with people, it’s okay if you’re not a genius who knows everything about everything.
-Realize that if other humans are doing it, you can do it too.
-When you’re feeling stressed, remember that you’re just one of 7 billion monkeys on a giant floating rock in space.

You’re an incredibly humble man, who has dedicated his life to solely doing what you want—bow-hunting, MMA commentating, podcasting, traveling, loving your family. You’ve worked your ass off and continue to work your ass off so that you may live the life you want to live. Thank you for showing me that all this was possible. Life will take the wheel if you allow it. I am working each day to ensure that life takes the back seat, so I can throw on my shades, turn up the music (or your podcast), and drive myself down the road I choose.

Thanks again brother,

Dill

Tell me about a person who has impacted your life.

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Leadership

Leadership isn’t something interesting until you’ve seen it done well first-hand. Leaders are not the same as managers or bosses. Leaders inspire action. Simon Sinek has written a multitude of amazing books on what it takes to be a leader in the real world.

The most effective leader I’ve ever known (and the sole reason great leadership is one of my life goals) is Mark Milecki. Mark was my General Manager at the Cheesecake Factory. And although we were just working with burgers and fries, he taught me how to take care of people, solve problems, and lead by creating leaders. We did an amazing podcast (#13 – Leadership, Done Right) on his climb of the ladder from busser to top-level GM. We also discuss his son’s battle against a rare form of leukemia.

In a nutshell, a leader must:

• listen to everyone, learn about everyone
• make everyone feel valued, but hold everyone accountable
• take responsibility for their own actions as well as their followers actions
• be willing to do the work that they request of their followers
• inspire others to be independent

This blog post is dedicated to the Mileckis.

30 Minutes

“All of humanity’s problems, stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”
– Blaise Pascal

Could you spend 30 minutes in a room, simply sitting and thinking? In this age of technology and distraction, even the most enlightened of us find it difficult to resist stimulation of some kind—social media, texting our friends, Netflix, pornography…But if you struggle violently to just sit down and be still of mind and body, I think that’s a problem.

Practicing meditation has saved my life when it comes to my desire for artificial distraction. Sitting and focusing on the present moment (the breath, the sounds, the feeling of my body sitting down in the chair), you realize how beautiful this moment is. And this moment. And this.

My favorite meditation apps (I know, sounds counterintuitive) are Headspace and Waking Up. But besides organized, guided meditation, just try to sit for 30 minutes with your phone on airplane mode. Set the timer, and for that half an hour, pay attention to your thoughts and the world around you. Notice the things in your field of vision in focus and out of focus. Focus on your breathing, from the beginning of the inhalation, to the end of the exhalation.

Enjoy the stillness. Enjoy having nothing to do in that time.