Love the Struggle

Learn to love the struggle. Learn to love the work.

That’s what I kept telling myself as I was tearing out the drywall on our house. We’re renovating the place right now and it isn’t easy. There is some hard work to be done. Even though my dad and father-in-law are very handy we will still need to bring in a few professionals to handle some of the more critical work. That will cost money. Appliances will cost money. New floors, new lighting, new bathroom, new kitchen, it will all cost money.

I could sit around and stress about it. I did that for part of today. The thing is, when you are tearing away drywall and punching holes in the walls you tend to let some of that frustration and stress go. I’m not too worried about the cost of the renovations. Eliz has Continue reading “Love the Struggle”

Confidence

I never loiter anymore. It used to be one of my favourite past times. I don’t think I knew it at the time. I simply liked hanging out with my friends. It didn’t really matter where we are. I used to loiter on the front porch with friends in Brooklyn. I did it at parks in Hamilton. I would always hang out with friends outside the gym at university. This could go on for hours and oftentimes, it did.

I recall one time an acquaintance of mine asked if we had nothing better to do because we were just standing around “Wasting time.” I didn’t see it that way. Hanging out with friends, making jokes, talking about whatever, was not a waste of time in my opinion.

I miss it. Nowadays, all my friends are busy. Even though some of us live close to each other we see each other less and less. There are times we see each other at the gym but those are instances when we go to workout or play basketball. Since we are all working and have other commitments and responsibilities, we don’t just run into each other near the cafeteria and hang out for a few hours. We have to make time now.

It’s not always easy to make the time. Luckily, the past few days I was able to hang out with my two close friends individually. I had amazing conversations with both of them. I’m glad we were able to make time to talk. At the end of the one conversation my friend said Continue reading “Confidence”

Social Norms

What am I going to write about? Sometimes while I write I surprise myself with the ending. Somehow, I tie it all together. Or maybe I just think I do a good job of it. That’s enough for me right now.

We saw our place for the first time as the homeowners. My parents and sister saw it for the first time too. I could see the pride my dad had for me. It was a great feeling. Eliz was measuring everything like crazy and making her plans. She’s been working with her mom to put together a brand-new floor-plan. I’ve seen her work in the past and I can’t wait to see how she is planning to utilize all the space we have now.

I seriously have nowhere to go with this. At times, I think, this is a great thing to blog about but when I sit down to write, it doesn’t come to mind. I don’t wait for it either. I think if I were to just sit here and wait it wouldn’t be a pleasurable experience. I don’t want to think too much about what I’m writing. I don’t really have anyone proofread my work. I simply look out for the obvious spelling mistakes. Also, Word is helpful enough with the red and blue lines now that point out spelling and grammatical errors, respectively.

If I wanted to, I know I could ask a friend of mine to help me proofread. He has a great way with words. I aspire to be at that level. The more I read the wider my vocabulary gets. However, I feel pretentious Continue reading “Social Norms”

Fear Set

I’ve started to learn the Dvorak Keyboard. I’m learning it quickly. I need to make time to work on it.

My products have come in from China for Invictus Beard. I was worried about the quality of it. I was worried about how it would get through customs. I was worried the products may get sent back because I forgot to include “Made in China” anywhere on the label. Luckily all my worries were unwarranted. Mark Twain said, “I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.” I like that quote because I tend to worry about the future and be anxious.

I think about this quote often. Anytime I think of scenarios that may happen I pause and remind myself that it’s all hypothetical until Continue reading “Fear Set”

Moments

I’m becoming obsessed with moments. For instance, two nights ago it was my friends birthday. We all went out to dinner at a Brazilian steakhouse. Yeah, a vegetarian at a steakhouse. I walked into the belly of beast and came away unscathed. While we were all hanging out I was watching my friends and trying to take away the most out of the moment. Pretty soon I’ll be married. A few of them are in serious relationships too. These moments aren’t guaranteed. They’re fleeting. I feel I need to take full advantage of them.

A friend of mine that had not heard about my blog was also there. He wanted to read a post and I sat across from him while he did. That’s another moment I really enjoy. Watching people read a post of mine. I like to watch the look on their faces as they read. Are they entertained? Do they agree with my thoughts? I like to see the affect my writing has on them.

The past few days have been great. Yesterday, I went to a surprise congratulatory party for a friend of mine from high school. He accomplished a life long goal. He recently Continue reading “Moments”

Ask

I’ve been using the sauna a lot lately and a see a few other people in there from time to time. Sometimes, I come across the same guys and we discuss the benefits of going into the sauna, as well as other things. After a few weeks I realized that others, just like myself, found that the sauna’s temperature wasn’t as hot as we’d like.

One day, I simply asked a staff member at the gym to turn it up. The next day the sauna was warmer than ever before.  The next time I saw those men they were all thanking me. All I did was ask.

Asking questions is so important.

Too often I am too shy to ask a question.

I am too embarrassed to ask a question.

I feel as though I may be judged for my question.

This is another example of trying to do things outside of my comfort zone. I’m still not where I’d like to be, but I am actively trying to ask more questions.

Yesterday, as a family, we went out for my mom’s birthday. I was hesitant tell the waitress it’s my mom’s birthday and to ask her for a cake. I know it’s such a small thing but I found myself holding back. I don’t know why. Maybe because they would sing and people would look at our table. It wasn’t something that I am comfortable with. Instead Eliz asked. I’m glad she did.

That’s a learning experience for me. I look at that and think never again. At least I hope never again. I should be able to ask simple questions like that.

At the same time I am very comfortable asking questions to people online. What is it about me that is more comfortable when sitting in front of a computer?

I’m not quite sure but I definitely feel as though I can ask questions over email or Facebook easier than in person. This is the case in certain situations. For instance, when I am in a meeting with a potential client I make sure to ask as many questions as I can.  Asking the right questions can land me a big contract.

Maybe I am hesitant in situations where there is no structure. In a business meeting we all know why we are there. On the other hand, if I’m in line at a Starbucks and I see someone holding a book I’m curious about, I will think twice before asking their thoughts on the book. I’m afraid of what the other person may think. This is precisely the type of situation that I am trying to change. My goal now is to able to ask how the book is. If I can do it in low pressure situations like that I feel I will be able to ask the right questions in high pressure situations. It takes practice.

I believe asking the right questions can change one’s life.

I play a lot of backgammon with my dad and soon to be father-in-law. I win some. They win some. It’s pretty even. I really enjoy it.

Last week, I searched for world winners of backgammon championships online. There’s a list of past winners. I actually reached out to a few online. Asked them a few questions and actually received replies. It was awesome.

They gave me a few tips. Mentioned websites that help them out. One champion even shared his favourite book about backgammon. I haven’t read it yet but I imagine I will at some point.

It only took me 15 minutes to find past champions and ask them questions. This was a trick I learned from Tools of Titans. 

I simply asked to be named VP of Sales. This, I did in person. Maybe our CEO was thinking about the promotion already. Maybe he wasn’t. What harm would it do to ask? Absolute worst case scenario he says no you’re not ready yet. He may have even offered up some advice to say this is what you need to do before you are ready. Instead, he gave me the role. The title. I feel I deserved it and I had to ask to get it. I’m glad I did. It was one question. Granted it came after years of work but it was still a question that needed to be asked.

I ask more questions in my personal life too. I ask about people’s plans. It leads to very interesting conversations. I get closer to them through these questions.

We can all benefit from asking more questions. The right question, to the right person, can change one’s life. Asking questions is beginning to change my life. We’ll see how it turns out.

 

 

Boredom

You ever been bored? I have. I used to be bored often. I was always saying “There’s nothing to watch on TV”, “There’s no good games on tonight”, or “There’s nothing on Netflix”.

I’m bored less often now. I have things to do. I’m reading Seneca’s On Tranquility. He says it doesn’t matter the ranking you may have in society. It doesn’t matter how much money you have. At the end of the day you have to be able to be alone with yourself. That’s tranquility. How do I reach that point?

At this point in my life I can do this by working on things that will eventually help me reach my ‘long term goals’. That’s an abstract term we all use. “What are your long term goals?”, “What’re your short term goals?”. Well, isn’t that relative to the person.

Right now, my 5 year goal is my long term goal. A few years ago, a 30 year goal was my long term long. I continually ask myself why I can’t achieve something in 6 months. I got the idea from Tools of Titans.

It’s worth asking. It doesn’t mean I’m going to accomplish my goal in 6 months but it may help me think differently. It may help me think of ways to reach my goals quicker.

The mind is always working. If there is anything I learned from reading books like Think and Grow Rich, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, or Seneca’s On Tranquility. The mind has to be doing something. Even if you’re just sitting there watching celebrity news or a sports ‘analyst’. The mind is taking it all in. Your mind is going to fill itself with whatever you feed it.

I don’t think I was eating healthy up until a few years ago. Now that I eat healthier, I think about my mind. What am I feeding my mind?

It used to always be sports. All the time. I could tell you the scoring leader in the NBA the past 3 seasons. Yet, I couldn’t identify the type of business I wanted to start or what my goals were. I was just letting my life flow with the currents. Not taking control of my own ship.

That’s changing. I can tell it’s changing. I’m taking control of my life. I don’t read poetry often but I read Invictus. It’s the reason my online store is called Invictus Beard. I was introduced to the poem in Think and Grow Rich.

My mind is being filled with more valuable information. I’m taking a course on how to start an online business. How do get things done. If I ever feel stuck I can ask a question or I can watch a video on how to do it. I listen to Podcasts. I read books. I’m trying to feed my mind a healthy diet of valuable information.

I stopped watching the news. I avoid the popular page on Instagram. I barely watch any sports.

I think all of these things are just information that I used to digest to keep me away from what was most important to me. I would sit and watch news. Listen to everything bad that’s happening in the world. It may be good to be knowledgable on the current events of the world but I can always get that information from my friends. In fact, they are going to give me a better summary than the news because they actually think about it in a way that is going to affect them.

The other day I was in the car and my AUX cable broke. Naturally, I put on the radio. The major news of the day was that The Weeknd put out a “diss track” and it may be intended towards Justin Bieber. I turned to Eliz and said “Now I have to read 3 books to get that worthless piece of information out of my head”. Who cares? Why do I care what The Weeknd and Justin Bieber are up to? How are they helping my life? As a society we concentrate our efforts on the wrong things. We let our minds intake garbage. We let our bodies intake garbage. As soon as we can accept that, we can change it.

I’m not perfect and I’m not suggesting I’m even close to it. I’m saying I am getting better. It takes practice. Slowly I’m getting to a place where I’m feeding my active mind the right types of information.

I mentioned earlier that our minds are always active. That’s why we can grow bored. We sit and look for something to do. We think Netflix is actually helping this out. I used to think so. I’m barely ever bored now. All of this entertainment at my fingertips. All the time. I thought it was great but on the contrary it’s a dangerous thing.

I’m 25. I know about a lot of shows on Netflix. Lot’s of great shows on Netflix. Lot’s of great movies. I could sit there and watch something different every day. I would never be bored, but I think that may be the worst way to live.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about how I can help the world. I’ve always said I’m an environmentalist. The world is going in the wrong direction. Someone needs to change the tide. The year before winning the MVP of the NBA, Derrick Rose asked “Why not me?”. I ask this question to myself often. Why can’t I be the person that influences change? Right now, I’m simply focusing on myself. Trying to make myself better suited to take on bigger problems. Trying to see how I can help. What I can do. Before I make moves into that realm of the world I want to accomplish financial freedom. It’s step one. That’s why I’m working hard at bazinga!. That’s why I’m working hard on my own business. Ultimately, however, I want to accomplish something major. I look at Elon Musk and think why not me? I look at Leonardo DiCaprio’s work for climate change and think Why not me? I look at Al Gore and think why not me? In the past, you could’ve had an argument and said this was due to my ego. You probably would’ve been right. Now? I think it’s different. I don’t think I want to do it for me. I want to do it for the planet. I want to do it for my future kids. My nephew.

After all this talking about how much I don’t watch Netflix, there is one show on Netflix that I absolutely love. It may be my favourite show. Chef’s Table. Yesterday, I opened Netflix for the first time in a while and saw they released a new season. I watched the episode of Jeong Kwane, a Monk that cooks in a Korean Temple. I suggest everyone watch this episode. It was incredible to watch how preparing the food and cooking was a form of meditation for her. I was envious. I want to be able to live those monks. One with nature. One with my own mind. Truly free.

I feel as if I’m working towards something bigger than myself. It’s all going to come in due time. I just feel better about myself knowing that I am actually doing something. Actually working on it. Not just waiting around for something to change. Making changes within myself to ensure things around me change. First, I need to be able to free myself financially. Then I can concentrate on those bigger tasks.