Day 6: The Perfect Routine

6/30 – Schedule out your ideal day:

6am: Morning routine (make bed, drink supplements and water, make coffee, journal, schedule day, read 10 pages, write blog, stretch, meditate, check social media and email)

7:30am: Finish any filming needed. Edit and post the day’s vlog.

10am: Work.

12pm: Eat.

1pm: Work.

3pm: Break. Read, play chess, or nap.

4pm: Gym.

6pm: Eat.

7:30pm: Jiujitsu class.

9pm: Evening routine (shower, make tea, meditate, read)

10pm: In bed.

Day 5: 7 Pieces of Advice

5/30 – Give 7 pieces of advice to a college graduate:

  1. I’m a moron and I didn’t even finish college, so don’t take my advice. But of that same token: listen to people who have done what you want. See what they’re glad they did. Hear about their mistakes…But at the end of the day, just go out and do shit. Jump into the pool with a blindfold on. Make crazy mistakes so you can learn as quickly as you can. School teaches you theory, not action. Take action. Fail. Then move forward.
  2. Bite the bullet and learn all the boring intricacies about personal finance. Build budgeting into your habits so you can eliminate the anxiety of paying your bills and debts. Save and give yourself an awesome cushion in case a pandemic hits, you lose your job, or some surprise expense comes up.
  3. If you have some sort of dream–even if you don’t want it to be your full-time job–fucking do it. Always wanted to be an actor? Audition for a local theatre. Want to try standup comedy? Get your ass up and do a 5 minute open mic. Want to start a podcast/YouTube channel/blog? Sit down, start recording, start typing, and click upload. You don’t have to be the next [insert the best person at your thing here] to get a ton of fulfillment out of pursuing things you’re passionate about. You’ll grow as a person and learn that you can set goals and accomplish things you want.
  4. It blows my mind how many adults do absolutely zero exercise ever. For the love of God, you don’t have to do crossfit 7 days a week or go vegan for the rest of your life…but work out at least 3 times per week and eat mostly clean. Go for runs or walks. Do a 30 minute workout at the gym or at your house. You can Google or YouTube simple, effective exercises that do the job. Eat plenty of well-sourced meats and veggies. Grass-fed proteins and fresh plants. Farmers markets are havens. Avoid soda, sugar, and empty carbs. It may all be difficult and uncomfortable for the first few weeks, but if you just keep at it, you’ll never want to go back. You’ll feel like a human should feel; refreshed, energized, creative, mobile…
  5. We spend most of our time working and being with family and friends. Aside from all of this, find something that is completely and utterly yours. Find your thing. It’s you time. You love and appreciate everything else going for you in life, but I think everyone needs their own separate thing that’s just theirs. Martial arts. Yoga. Movie night. Book club. Piano. Swimming…Something where you can get into a flow state and just be with yourself or strangers who aren’t part of your everyday life.
  6. This one is tricky. We often abide by the sunk-cost fallacy when it comes to relationships. Because we’ve been friends with someone for 10 years, we feel like we must continue said friendship. People evolve, grow, and change their values. It is lovely when two friends evolve in a way that coincides with one another. Those relationships are the strongest. But it doesn’t always work that way. Someone you were best fucking friends with 5 years ago can feel like a total stranger today. Locate the friends in your life who you don’t look forward to seeing, having conversation with, supporting, and growing with…and fade them out of your life. You don’t have to hate them. You don’t have to never speak to them again. For some, a difficult conversation is needed. For others, a simple limitation of time spent with them will be enough. This will NOT be easy. It will be uncomfortable and sad and you’ll feel guilty and like a bad person. That’s okay. Understand that it’s for your own wellbeing, and do it in an open and honest way. If they don’t handle it well, you’ve done all that you could. Wish them well and keep growing.
  7. To end on a positive note, talk to your family members often. If you are lucky to have living parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles…pick up the phone and chat with them. It doesn’t have to be the most profound conversation in the world. But one day, that one relative will be dead; sooner than you would like. When that happens, one of the first thoughts you’ll have is how much effort you put into reaching out to them. Now is your time to take advantage of those opportunities before that sad day inevitably comes.

I’ll cheat and do an 8th: No hurry, no pause.

You don’t have to get from A to Z as quickly as you can, make as much money as you can in the next 2 years, or become the next this or that tomorrow. Enjoy the ride. Take your time. But at the same time, don’t stop pursuing what’s most important to you. No hurry, no pause.

Day 4: Your Billboard

4/30 – If you could put anything on a billboard, what would it say?

“Start. Suck. Keep going. Get better.”

I’m also reminded of one of my favorite memes:

“Injured? Go fuck yourself you injured piece of shit.”

Day 3: You Know More Than You Think You Do

3/30 – Share something you have recently learned:

About two months ago, I began giving life coaching sessions. There are an endless number of nuances and intricacies into what makes for a great coach; but at its heart, an extraordinary coach is one who coaches the person instead of the problem.

This is something I still struggle with, and it is applicable to our every day lives. No matter how logical, intelligent, or ‘correct’ you are…if an idea doesn’t come from someone else, that person most likely won’t do anything about it.

Making incredible choices and living a disciplined and prosperous life aren’t simply about knowing how to make them happen. We all know what to do…

Eat mostly well, exercise regularly, be kind to others, pursue things which interest you, spend less money than you make, put yourself out there, be grateful for what you have, focus on what you can control….

I can lay out perfect advice in a perfectly articulate way for someone, but if they don’t truly feel it…if the idea doesn’t come from within them, nothing will happen. That’s why so many people say out loud what they should be doing, yet at the same time are taking no action to actually do it.

What I’ve learned recently: Don’t get attached to solving someone’s problems for them. Only they can do so. Coach the person; not the problem.

Day 2: The Next Chapter

2/30 – Write the next chapter of your life:

It always sound so cheesy, but I love the book analogy when it comes to life. There are chapters, plots twists, character developments, and eventually, a final page.

I think the goal should be to make it a book worth reading; one you don’t want to put down.

Here’s the next chapter of my life if I could write it (and I can):

• Dillan stuck to his schedule and system as best he could to focus on all of the Essentials: friends/family, the daily vlog, his business, coaching, and his fitness.

• He lived his life 90% responsibly (reading every day, sticking to his habits, improving and working always, building his skills), and 10% irresponsibly (drinking, breaking diet, staying up late, going down YouTube rabbit holes). This seems to be his happy balance.

• As he became a better filmmaker, storyteller, and entrepreneur, he saved up money for his move to Buenos Aires, Argentina. The goal was to move there with some clothes and his recording equipment to live for a year or two–before he turned 30.

• Before that, he made films, developed his business, and took on any other projects which excited him. (If COVID-19 gives way, hopefully the next chapter will include plenty of comedy shows and other domestic excursions with close friends…)

On to the next chapter.

Day 1: Before and After

With a ton of projects to focus on, as well as posting for my daily vlog, I thought automating these blog posts would spare up some bandwidth.

Thus begins a suggested 30-day writing challenge…

1/30 – Provide a before and after of your life:

The most life-changing shift in my mentality has been over these past few years of getting my shit together. The key to compiling said shit was focusing solely on what I can control as opposed to what I can’t in any given situation.

Whether it be being stuck in traffic, spilling my coffee, someone else saying something hateful, getting injured, clients ghosting me, plans not working out….

If there’s there’s literally nothing I can do about it in the present, I don’t worry about it; I simply take responsibility and accountability. Responsibility if it’s my fault, and accountability by declaring it won’t happen again if I can help it.

When you make this change, you realize how often people drone on and on about things they can do nothing about. It’s exhausting, and futile. A few weeks ago, a friend complained for about 45 minutes about how his friend had annoyed him. The first 5 minutes were funny. The next 40 were just a waste of time.

I asked him if he could have a conversation with his buddy. He shrugged, “yeah…” and then continued to harp on about him.

It’s fun to complain, but there’s comes a point where one must realize that they’re just making things worse for themselves and those around them.

Before: Cranky, on edge, negative, draining, buzzkill

After: Positive, resilient, productive, energetic, uplifting

Why Would You Do This?!

• Eating a ton of sugar

• Being on my phone before bed

• Taking a long nap

…These are all things I regret doing almost 100% of the time; yet I do them anyway.

It’s as if in those moments I’m thinking, “You have to do this. It’s the only logical choice.”

Then once I do it I’m thinking, “Why the hell would you do this? It’s the most illogical thing you could’ve done!”

Don’t let your short term trick your long term. Know what makes you happy with yourself and what makes you displeased with yourself.

The Magic Formula

Start.

Keep going.

Get better.

See results.

This boring, magic formula is the key to succeeding in anything.

Today, I start my daily vlog. The goal is to force myself (similar to this daily blog) to create something new every single day. Hopefully, my filmmaking and storytelling skills will naturally improve as a result. I couldn’t be more excited…and terrified.

Isn’t That Enough?

Whenever I’m stressed about whether or not I’m making the right life choices, I come back to this quote from Derek Sivers:

Are you helping people? Are they happy? Are you happy? Are you profitable? Isn’t that enough?

Creatively Empty

Some days…many days…you feel creatively and motivationally drained.

It feels as though you have nothing to give. Nothing to provide. You can’t conjure up any words or ideas which are useful.

The only solution: just start writing (or whatever it is you’re trying to do).

It may only be four crappy lines; but after those four lines, you’ll realize that before when you said “I can’t write anything,” it was complete horse shit.

Derek Sivers Read My Blog!

Derek is one of my favorite authors and bloggers.

His book Anything You Want changed my life.

His blog is short, sweet, and informative.

I reached out to him yesterday to thank him for his work. He checked out a few of my latest blogs and told me about his favorite.

I immediately felt like a self-conscious schoolgirl and dashed over to that post to reread it–making sure it was worthy.

Then I calmed down, smiled, and just took in the moment.

Reach out to someone you respect. You never know what might happen.

Now What?

You’re unlucky.

Something unfortunate happened to you.

There are millions of people on Earth pursuing the same goals as you.

Most of them are better than you are and will achieve it quicker than you will.

People are smarter, more talented, and have better resources than you have…

So, now what?

What are you going to do about it?

Do Bad Work

In soccer, there’s this phenomenon I’ve labeled the Long Shot. It’s when a player attempts a ridiculous shot from far away or from an insane angle.

When they miss 95% of the time, you go “Why the hell would they even try that?” When they make it though, you go “Wow. That guy’s a genius.”

It’s either absolute respect or absolute resentment. And it’s the same thing for creatives.

It’s easy to judge the kid who raps on SoundCloud, but once he starts selling out shows, we start eating those judgements.

Bad work is bad. Mediocrity is well, mediocre. But this painful process is a necessity for bigger and better things to come. Do bad work. Then do mediocre work. Then do good work. All the way until people start coming to you.

The only difference between a successful artist and her friend who always dreamed about being a successful artist is this: one took consistent action while the other did not.

Designing for Others

In your design, in your business, your relationships, your creations…

Are you designing for people the way you would like them to be, or for the way they really are?

Willpower is B.S.

Exercise willpower…Be disciplined…

These statements are often misunderstood.

A few months ago, I began giving life coaching sessions. One of the most common errors I see people make is when it comes time to create action steps. I used to do this same thing…

When I ask, “Now, what are some specific steps of action you can take to get closer to what you want?” I often get answers like these:

“I have to be better about x.”

“I need to focus more on y.”

“I gotta be more disciplined about z.”

It’s so understandable to think like this, but what the hell to any of these mean?

How will you be better? How will you focus more? How will you be more disciplined?

People think they have to be better doing exactly what they’re doing, when really all they need is a better system. It’s like Daniel Tosh’s bit, “How does Superman fly faster? I understand he can fly…But how does he fly faster?” You can’t magically summon more willpower than you had a minute ago. Humans–for the most part–are naturally lazy and undisciplined.

That is why we build habits and systems. I’m not disciplined because I exercise regularly; I was just disciplined enough to build the habits of going to the gym and doing jiujitsu. I’m not disciplined because I eat well most of the time; I just avoid buying junk, and since it’s not in my house, I don’t have the option to consume it. I don’t have an enormous amount of willpower because I write a blog every day; I started a daily blog so I have to write something each morning.

Don’t wish for more willpower or discipline; take them out of the equation.

Fight for What You Love

A few months ago, I quit the safety of my full time job to give myself more time to do the things I absolutely love. I started my own freelance business and have been paying my monthly expenses with that. It’s stressful for sure, but it’s the kind of stress I want to have.

Last night, I recorded a 4 hour podcast with my good friends. We drank. I microdosed. We laughed hysterically and told stories into the late night.

As we were chatting, I got a sudden rush of tingling in my face. This is what I do it for. I fight for the freedom to do this shit on a Wednesday night.

I’m not telling you to quit your job. I’m telling you to fight for the things you love.

“Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress. Working hard for something we love is called passion.”

Simon Sinek

When to Take a Break

After releasing this week’s podcast (it’s incredible…check it out), I have decided to take a hiatus from recording episodes for Fancy.

This has nothing to do with a dwindling love for the show, and everything to do with the art of budgeting one’s time. As much as we hate to admit it, we simply can’t do or have it all.

There is only so much time in a day. In a week. In a month.

Work. Side hustle. Friends. Family. Fitness. Planning. Learning…I choose to be incredibly specific and picky with my time and energy; for I’ll never get those things back.

In the meantime, I’ll be using that freed up time to double down on filming YouTube videos. My dream is to move up to a daily vlog. This will not only force me to create something every single day (just like this daily blog)…it will also greatly enhance my filmmaking, editing, and storytelling skills.

There will also be my personal, bullshit podcast–The Dill Hole. There, I have my friends on to talk about nothing and everything.

Less stress. More time. More quality.

To follow the mindset of an Essentialist:

Do less, but better.

Talking is Fun

Talking is fun. It’s easy. What you would do. What you’ve been thinking about doing. What you should do. That would be awesome.

In the past, I have blabbered on about my incredible ideas to friends in the hopes that they would praise my potential and affirm my ambition.

A year later, I’d have totally new ideas; which were just as transformative.

You continue this process for several years and you end up in an unfortunate place to be: exactly where you were before.

Talking is fun. Talking is easy. Action…Doing is tough. You’ll fail. You’ll look stupid. But you’ll do shit. You’ll create opportunities. You’ll learn. You’ll improve. You’ll become more confident.

“People who want milk shouldn’t sit on a stool in the middle of a field in hopes that a cow will back up to them.”

Bucket List

Wordsmith prompt #8: Write down 10 things for your bucket list.

  1. Take my mom on an African safari.
  2. Live in another country and assimilate for at least a year.
  3. Go to a Manchester City game with my dad.
  4. Have a daily vlog.
  5. Earn passive income from my own business.
  6. Help someone do something they didn’t think possible.
  7. Create something which entertains thousands of people.
  8. Get a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
  9. Start (or massively contribute to) an organization which raises money for low-income communities; providing youth with education and goals, and veering them away from crime, poverty, and stagnation.
  10. Have my own podcast studio/gym/float tank/sauna/office (all in one, Joe Rogan style).

Check out BestSelf’s array of productivity tools to get you taking action, writing clearly, and trying new things!

Just Start

Sometimes, when you feel creatively empty, when you feel totally dry, when there’s nothing inside, when you don’t know where to start…the best thing to do is just start anyway…

Just start typing.

Just start recording.

Just start playing.

Just start…

Is ‘Do What You Love’ Good Advice?

In short: yes and no.

Much of what I write about, talk about, make videos about, etc…has a common theme of creating the life you want to live. This often suggests you pour your heart and soul into what you love or what you want to do.

I’ve received a decent amount of push-back on this mentality so I’d like to address a few caveats; namely with the statement, “do what you love.”

Firstly, I do believe a good chunk of one’s life should be dedicated to something that person is passionate about; be it a hobby, a side-hustle, or a weekend activity. Learning new skills, educating oneself…this shouldn’t stop once one graduates. It’s constant.

Having said that, doing what you love–no matter how much you love it–provides no guarantee that you will be able to support yourself financially doing it.

It doesn’t matter how interested you are in art history, theatre, making videos, writing, fitness, music…In terms of money, people don’t give a shit about how passionate you are; people only care about whether or not you can provide them value.

Therefore, if you rely on doing what you love to support yourself, you must:

  1. Provide a ton of value.
  2. Be incredibly good at what you do.
  3. Supplement that thing with one or two other useful skills.

For example, being really knowledgeable about art history is super cool and interesting, but people won’t be lining up outside your door to give you money to learn about the significance of Manet’s Olympia (thank you Google).

People would be much more intrigued however if you supplemented that skill with something like animation or filmmaking. Then you could make entertaining and educational clips or films articulating and illustrating what Manet’s works meant and felt like at the time.

That may be a silly example. The point is, people pay for value, they don’t pay for how much you love what you do.

Another problem with doing what you love is that it can often tarnish your love for that thing.

I have several friends who are artists, musicians, and craftsmen. They have said multiple times that they want to keep their craft a hobby for fear of hating it if they turned it into a business. I know cooks who hate the sight of food at the end of the day.

This all can sound incredibly harsh. I’m not trying in the slightest to discourage anyone from pursuing things they love. Quite the opposite actually. I think if you’re going to do it (and you should), you have to be smart about it to ensure that you don’t end up hating it or become unable to pay your bills.

I absolutely love making YouTube videos. It’s something I want to do more and get much, much better at. But the amount of passion I have for making videos doesn’t bring in viewers; the amount of value my videos provide people will bring in more viewers.

Passion = your drive to keep going

Value = people’s drive to consume your stuff

This is a crucial difference.

Do what you love. Don’t just put a bookmark in it and keep it on the shelf until you die. Water it. Feed it. Let it grow and develop.

But unless you’re insanely good at it–like, Cristiano Ronaldo good–and unless your thing brings a shit ton of value to people, don’t rely on it to pay your bills (yet).

The Prohibition Problem

As much as we complained about it at the time, my friends and I reveled in the underground nature of underage shenanigans. Young, dumb high schoolers waiting in the backseat of a car while one of their older brothers grabbed a 30 pack of cheap beer and a bottle of even cheaper vodka. There was also the giddy anticipation of knowing we would be picking up a few grams of weed hours later. What kind? Who the hell knew at that time. OG Cali Kush, Purple Stank, Eastern Lights, Banana Peel…It could’ve been sticky oregano and I wouldn’t have noticed.

We were terrified about getting caught. It was taboo to be pursuing such shady endeavors. Meanwhile, the idea of having a few drinks and smoking some weed now, evokes no anxiety in me whatsoever.

For years I’ve contemplated the back-firing nature of prohibition; literally saying “you cannot do this thing.” Not only do humans–particularly Americans–not enjoy being told we can’t do something; evidence shows us that the amount of stress and restrictions we put on something directly correlates with the levels to which we abuse it.

I must preface this by saying I have immense respect for drugs and violence and their power. They lead to incredible experiences. They also destroy lives. This post is not aimed at getting people to do more drugs, to have more sex, or to be less responsible. My aim is to criticize the nature of the prohibition mindset. I find it to not only be delusional, but damaging as well.

Here’s what comes to mind:

Sex:

I pity the middle school teacher assigned to teach sex education to pubescent preteens. It just seems like a losing battle. I would apologize to mine if I could.

“What’s the safest form of birth-control? Abstinence.”

Fuck off.

I love Daryl’s response from The Office:

“Oh, I didn’t know we were asking trick questions. What’s the safest form of skiing? Don’t ski.”

It makes sense to hear this in a Catholic school, but public middle and high schools preaching abstinence seems ridiculous to me. Horny and confused teenagers are going to have sex. Plain and simple. Given that fact, shouldn’t the goal be to provide as much education about safe sex, pregnancy, and what love and sex actually mean…as possible?

A difficult game as well, but telling kids “don’t have sex,” and then being horrified when they do…something’s gotta give.

Bullying:

I was bullied when I was younger. I bullied when I was younger. It’s a terrible thing. Young, insecure boys typically want to express their physical dominance over others. Young, insecure girls typically want to emotionally scar others to make themselves look or feel better. Chaos.

Years of maturity, growing respect, and patience seemed to ween these problems out. What didn’t solve the problem? “Don’t bully.”

Of course something like physical violence or verbal abuse should be mitigated, but they are inevitable. What if, instead of demanding that confused, hormonal, angsty kids not bully, we taught them the fundamentals of defending themselves?

Naturally, I am biased toward martial arts. They are so effective not only in producing the skills needed to not get one’s ass kicked; but they also promote discipline, respect for self and others, camaraderie, and most importantly, a deep appreciation for the consequences of violence. People who know more about real fighting are actually much less likely to use that knowledge.

A little boy is being picked on in a group of other kids. He is being insulted. He is being threatened. He is being belittled. He is confused. He is scared. Tell that boy to “just walk away and tell someone.” That simply doesn’t work. I’ve been that little boy.

Drugs/Alcohol:

Most people know about the drug abuse problem Portugal had for many decades. In the early 2000s, they decriminalized the possession and consumption of all elicit substances. Shortly after, their opioid crisis stabilized, their levels of drug use dramatically dropped, and their HIV/Hepatitis infection rates, overdose deaths, drug-related crime, and incarceration rates all plummeted.

Obviously, the US and Portugal are different countries. But this is a clearcut example of how shifting norms can vehemently alter results.

When I lived in Germany for a year, I got to experience a totally different perspective on drinking alcohol. There, kids at 14 (with their parents close by) can have a beer or a glass of wine with dinner if they so please. They can typically drink beer and wine casually by 16. The drinking age is 18, and the years leading up to the legal age are those of openness and exposure. Drinking simply isn’t a big deal, and therefore is not abused nearly as often. Getting wasted in Germany is seen as embarrassing. Here, it’s a story.

“Dude. Last night, I got so trashed.”

“Lol that’s fucking awesome.”

What? You drank alcohol and got drunk off it? That’s crazy.

So dumb.

I’m willing to bet we all felt a similar drop off once we turned 21 and could legally walk into a liquor store or bar and order a drink. When something is taboo or underground, as mentioned in the beginning, it’s just more fun. It feels dangerous, scandalous…and whether we admit it or not, it adds to the experience.

And finally, Prostitution:

Oh boy. I’m sure someone who is better educated on this industry would kill me in a debate. But hey, I’m just a guy with a keyboard…

Since people who are lonely will pay money for sex regardless, wouldn’t it make more sense to regulate the market? Most brothels (thanks Game of Thrones) are cesspools for STDs, hardcore drugs, and shady transactions. What if the girls were tested? What if they were given benefits? What if we could ensure that these areas were clean and safe?

To sum everything up:

People are going to partake in possibly dangerous and harmful activities no matter what. It makes more sense to foster education, safety, and acceptance…rather than prohibition, shame, and punishment.

25 to 5

When I need a boost of clarity, this exercise never fails.

• Label on a sheet of paper numbers 1 through 25. Set a timer for 5 minutes.

• Start the clock, and in less than 5 minutes, write down the 25 things you most want out of your life. Goals, values, aspirations, dreams, pursuits, etc.

• Set a timer for 1 minute.

• Start the clock, and in less than 1 minute, circle your top 5.

• Pour your heart and soul into those top 5; ignore the other 20 at all costs.

Formula for Improvement

How to get better at anything…

Step 1: You suck

Step 2: You do it more

Step 3: You suck a little less.

Repeat until you quit or die.

How to Get in Shape

People want events, not process.

Events are sexy, process is not. Process is boring.

I can teach you how to get in great shape right now: Exercise three to five times per week. Eat fairly well. Limit sugar and simple carbs. Do that for a year. There you go.

People like results; but what lead to those results? Consistent, boring work.

What we see:

Watching Kobe put up 60 points in a game. Bill Burr’s latest stand-up special. Getting submitted by the super-skilled purple belt at your gym. Titus Andronicus on Broadway…

What we don’t see:

Kobe practicing his left-handed dribble and layups for two hours each day. Bill Burr writing, trying out new material at the clubs, and editing it for a year to perfect the timing and delivery. The years where that purple belt was a blue and white belt; getting tapped by anyone and everyone. The month(s) of rehearsal by the actors, director, costume designers, stage managers; where no one knew their lines or what the show would look like…

You can’t sell process. There are no entrepreneur Instagram memes telling you “Repeat a mundane but helpful task for 66 days straight until it becomes a habit…”

It sucks. It’s boring. But behind any worthwhile event…is an impeccable process.

Another Tequila Shot?

Sometimes I get so wrapped up in optimizing my time and body, I forget that sometimes I just need to be irresponsible and have some fucking fun.

Last night, I had two close friends over and we stayed up until 4 in the morning.

Tequila. Drugs. Cigars. Tacos. Blink 182. Dancing.

Doing this stuff every weekend will certainly take its toll. But never letting loose…I think would make for a less interesting life.

No matter how disciplined, how productive, or how organized I become…I hope I never lose the part of me which asks at 3 am: “Another tequila shot?”

Are We Immortal?

The only thing promised to you when you are born is that you will die some day.

We might be able to say this out loud, but we’re mostly paying lip service to the fact that for every single one of us, there will come a day where everything stops…forever. That’s a tough pill to swallow.

There will be a time where you and every person you have every known or loved will be gone. Morbid? Depressing? Perhaps. But there’s literally nothing we can do about it.

What we can do however, is truly and whole-heartedly love the brief time we are here.

We say we know that we’ll die one day; but by actually understanding this fact…we would cut out a ton of bullshit from our lives.

Your mom, dad, son, best friend, mentor, lover…There will be a time where you talk with them for the last time. Most of us act as though we will have all of this forever; and are shocked when things are taken away from us.

I’m not advocating we not mourn or feel sadness. I’m saying that it only makes sense to counterbalance that with intense feelings of gratitude and love for the things we have in the time we have them.

Tough Times

…Are, well, tough.

As unpleasant as they are, however; these are the moments when you have the opportunity to develop strength.

It’s easy to be kind, grateful, and ambitious…when things are going well.

But if you can maintain these qualities during the downs, they become engrained in your bones.

Where to Start

One of my favorite cliches states:

Your past, your history, they don’t tell you where you can go. They only tell you where you can start.

By definition, life is unfair. You don’t pick your parents; which means you don’t pick your brain chemistry. You don’t pick what you’re naturally good at. You don’t pick your threshold for improvement. You don’t pick the environment in which you are raised. You don’t pick how much love, education, or opportunities you are given.

You can very well be dealt a shit hand; and assuming you don’t choose to forfeit the game and give up on life (I really hope you don’t)…the only thing you can do is work your ass off to play the best damn game that you can.

I am incredibly lucky to have the number of privileges that I do. I’m fairly athletic. I’m a straight white guy–meaning I have never felt even remotely like an outlier. I’m moderately handsome. I did not grow up in poverty. Both of my parents love me and I get to talk to them and see them whenever I want. I went to great schools. I have always been surrounded by lovely people of whom I have been able to develop life-long relationships…

With all of this, I still attempted suicide when I was in my darkest place. After failing out of school, being dumped by the love of my life, having to move back in with mom, being $70,000 in debt with no degree, and having no job to pay for it…being a person of “privilege” was the last thing on my mind.

Currently, I live an insanely happy, healthy, and fulfilling life. By taking intentional steps, building systems, and developing strong habits…I have discovered the superpower of learning from your past instead of being defined by it.

You are not what you did. You are what you do consistently.

In other words: Your past doesn’t tell you where you can go, it only tells you where you can start…

After (thankfully) failing to forfeit the game, I realized there was only one option: to take my shit hand and rebuild my life. It’s daunting, and it’s slow. But it is guaranteed if you just keep going and stop thinking that your past defines your capabilities.

We’re all eating a shit sandwich. Some taste worse than others. We can spend all day complaining that other people’s shit sandwiches taste better than ours, or we can learn to fucking cook and make something delicious.

What You Need to Know About Social Media

The power of the internet has done wonders for our ability to communicate and learn new things. With these superpowers comes a great deal of darkness, however. Here are two things to keep in mind as you scroll:

• FaceBook, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, etc…These are companies. Crazy wealthy businesses which have to make a profit. Their service is not the product. You are the product. They are selling your attention to advertisers and other third party entities.

• Each one of these wealthy companies spends a boat-load of money paying professionals whose sole job is to find ways to get you to spend as much time as possible on their site/app. Addicted to your phone or checking social media? That’s on purpose. Algorithms and database formulas are not designed to optimize for your wellbeing; they are designed to hold your attention for as long as possible. Why do we often see so much drama and conflict on Facebook? Well, conflict catches and holds our attention, and the algorithm is designed for that, which means it steers us toward conflict because we are more likely to read through the comments or even jump into them ourselves.

I love the internet. I believe it is as beautiful or as evil as we allow it to be. But it is vital that we know exactly what is going on behind the curtain. There’s a reason most people working at these companies don’t allow their kids to create accounts…