Cannot even begin to talk about all the happenings since my last post here, but have to admit, as my frequency of posting dropped, so did my motivation to post. In reality, it was too tedious for me to post here, as all of my images had to be customized to a specific size or it overran my theme and, well, looked horrendous. Read more “Time for Change”
One of the largest points of self realization that I have come to accept is that I sometimes bite off more than I can chew. What sometimes seems like a minor side project, or a great idea, turns into a time suck that eventually falls by the wayside to be abandoned when priorities change.
At the end of the day, I am not a full time blogger. Hell, I am not even a part time blogger. Yes, I have a blog, but not always the time to update it. Just look at some of my past blog posts. I was gangbusters for a good 6 months, maybe even 8 months. Then I had to find a real job in my career field. Read more “6 Months of Silence”
Today’s photo comes from high over Boston as the sun rises on the east coast. This photo was taken from inside the John Hancock tower where I was working for a few months. Regardless of some of the slight reflections, this photo, posted today, signifies a new start, a new dedication and a new beginning. Read more “Foto Friday – June 1, 2012”
I started this blog with great intentions. A creative outlet, a showcase for some photography, a window into my world. Everything was going swimmingly for the first 6 months of the blog…
And then life happened.
My last update came in August while we were trying to win a Marriott Beach Blogger dream vacation. Suffice to say, we didn’t win, but two of our Team Cocktail friends did! Bittersweet, yes, but glad to see some friends win. I guess that is either the next best thing to winning, or the worst thing to happen if you lost. It is a thin, grey line.
Since then, life has been a little crazy:
- Spent 7 awesome days lounging on the beach in St. Thomas
- I accepted a new NYC-based job
- I have spent 6 of the last 9 weeks in Boston, where my company has its HQ and biggest customers
- Had to learn NYC and Boston mass transit systems
- Learning the Amtrak service from NYC to Boston and back
- Spent a week (sick the entire time) in California for some great birthday parties
- Showed Juliet around Boston for her first time
Due to the fact of not blogging for the past 3 months, I have a TON of adventures to update everyone on, complete with photos, recommendations, first time newbie guides and more! Here is a quick rundown of some upcoming post ideas:
- How We Escaped Hurricane Irene (and ended up in the islands) – Also known as our St. Thomas getaway
- The Boston Freedom Trail (and how to experience it for free)
- Fenway Park
- My foray into iPhoneography
- A Boston Must: Samuel Adams Boston Brewery
- Our First Cruise: The Buildup (and why we are excited)
- Boston: My new favorite big city
And here we have it. The last and final installment of the series. The last wise and sage bit of motivation and inspirational knowledge I get to impart for this series.
Some have asked me why I went with 31 days when June clearly only has 30 days. While a completely legitimate question, my intent with this was not to match the number of blog posts with the number of days in the month, it was more closely tied to the fact that on June 4th, I turned 31 years young. Also, when tackling the initial rush of ingenuity with this series, the piece that solidified my decision was the fact that the 31st entry would fall on July 1st, effectively giving me a final blog to help propel my readers into July and beyond, while offering a solidifying finale to the series.
If you have followed along with the series, I really have 3 running themes to all of these posts, 3 main areas where I believe that you cannot help but feel better about yourself and more alive, just by participating:
The underlying theme that I have been trying to convey is a pretty simple one.
It is absolutely necessary to push yourself outside of the confines of your comfort zone on a daily basis.
Far too often, as I have touched on before, Americans, hell, people, strive for COMFORTABLE. We strive to hit that point in our lives when we don’t have to work too hard, yet pull in a decent salary. Where we don’t have to try and constantly impress our wife/husband, but they love us anyways.
We strive to be AVERAGE. Not for excellence, not to be a superstar. We strive to meet the status quo. Not to beat it and call it our bitch.
Why is that? Why don’t you strive to be perpetually amazing?
Each and every day we need to push ourselves to be better, to achieve greater things. We need to push ourselves to achieve what we never thought was possible. No matter how big, no matter how small, we need to make forward progress each and every day.
Our limits are only defined by our previous shortcomings. We must constantly explore the boundary of what we have previously identified as our “limit” and then push those boundaries further.
Ordinary people don’t make history.
Ordinary people don’t even make the news.
Don’t be ordinary. Be extraordinary.
Day 31. Way 31. Be Extraordinary. Every. Single. Day.
Recently I wrote an article on being charitable with your feet that brought up a number of good points that segue right into this blog that I have been wanting to write.
Charity sees the need, not the cause. – German proverb
So often there is a misconception that in order to help charities you must donate money. You see it all over the place. Donate money to help the children read, donate money to help build homes for the poor, donate money to save the rainforest, donate money to a scam that we just made up to get your money but we really are calling it a charity.
Fact of the matter is, there are plenty of organizations that need your time, not your money. Actually, most every single non-profit organization (NPO) thrives on the time and dedication of its volunteers. Whether you can donate 4 days or 4 hours, most any NPO can find a need, from helping build houses, to helping sort groceries, to stapling marketing materials. There are plenty of jobs, some that will use your talents, others that will just use your time.
What is the use of living if it be not to strive for noble causes and to make this muddled world a better place for those who will live in it after we are gone? – Winston Churchill
Here is just a quick list of places and ways that you can donate your time without a penny out of your pocket:
- Build a house with Habitat for Humanity
- Assist with pet care and events for the SPCA
- Staff an event for a charitable organization
- Volunteer with the Susan G. Komen Foundation to help cure breast cancer
One of the best places, besides the internet, to find organizations in need of volunteers is your corporate HR department. Most times, larger companies are involved in community driven charities and often use company driven recruitment to assist these organizations with their events.
Is money what all of these non-profit organizations need to function? YES. But the money doesn’t just come in by the truckload, these companies need to operate like a normal, profit-based business and use their events to aid in the fundraising. These companies need selfless volunteers to donate their time and expertise to run a business whose sole goal is to give back to their communities and their causes.
Day 26. Way 26. Selflessness and You. You don’t need to spend money to affect change on a large scale.
I left the list above with some question marks at the end. This is where you come in. Can you help me finish off that list with a recommendation for groups or charities that need volunteer assistance?
Share your recommendations and stories of selflessness below.
Over the past 21 days we have covered a lot of topics surrounding personal motivation and growth. We have discussed being outgoing, taking risks and even taking time for yourself. While all of these actions seem enviable, most people will read my blog and start making excuses on why they support what I am writing, however, cannot pursue these actions themselves.
What happens a lot is that we lack dedication. It happens to all of us, including me.
“Obsessed is just a word the lazy use to describe dedicated.” – Unknown
After I relaunched this blog, I told myself I was going to write a blog twice per week. Then I embarked on my Epic Road Trip and did not post a blog for over 2 weeks. When I returned, I wanted to dedicate my first few blogs to the Epic Road Trip recap. Then life happened. Work came up, home life took precedence, and my blog schedule slipped more. It took me 2 months to get all of my blog posts surrounding my road trip online.
I disappointed myself.
If I wanted to make this blog a reality, at least in my eyes, why couldn’t I even get a few blog posts out on time? I began to realize that while the blog fell down the priority list to me, I lacked dedication to making it a priority, even if it was a priority 3 or 4 on my list.
Back in March, in the midst of my procrastination with my Road Trip updates, I started a series of posts that would teach me to start small with dedication. I started a Foto Friday post where I would post a photo from my personal gallery along with a short story depicting the background of the photo. It was quick, it was easy, and it was only once per week. No Epic Recap with an epic (and unrealistic) deadline, even if it was self-imposed.
Since March 18th, I have posted 13 updates, one per Friday.
The Foto Friday series has taught me that I have the ability to dedicate myself to a project, dedicate myself to myself.
With that in mind, June 1 came around, with my 31st birthday looming on the horizon a few days away. I was really wanting to do something big for my birthday. Something that I would be proud of. Something that would help me set a tone for my blog, more so than I had in the previous few months with my blog.
That is when the 31 days and 31 ways to get busy livin’ your life was born. For my 31st birthday, I would post 31 blogs meant to inspire my readers (both of you!!) to break out of your routine and start living your life to the fullest. That would take me from June 1st through July 1st and would require 1 post per day.
I dedicated myself to uphold that goal.
21 days in, I have been 100% successful. I have not missed 1 day, not 1 post. I have had to work this around a few small weekend vacations, while keeping up my Foto Friday posts and I am proud to say I have not missed a single one.
Take something small to dedicate yourself to. Dedicated time to your kids. Dedicate to leaving work on time. Dedicate to calling a loved one each day. Dedicate yourself to something you know you have been slacking on. Start small, build confidence, and teach yourself that it is okay to dedicate yourself to yourself and your own success.
Day 21. Way 21. Start small, build confidence, and teach yourself that it is okay to dedicate yourself to yourself and your own success.
Are you invested in your own success?
Have you dedicated yourself to yourself?
Share your success stories in the comments below!
Back on June 6 I talked about turning off your GPS, putting away the map and taking a road less traveled. Getting lost in your local area to find the parts of your town/city/county/state that you have never explored before. Today, we explore a different type of getting lost.
This type of lost is more time consuming, yet easier on the wallet and requires no use of GPS or a map.
Take a step away from work, away from the house, away from whatever your normal, daily life entails, and lose yourself in a story that transports you miles/years/worlds away from here.
Relax a little. Read a little.
No work manuals, no tech journals, no textbooks, no white papers, no cook books. Good old fashioned stories. Stories that engross you. Stories that envelop you. Stories that engross you to the point that before you know it you have spent the past 4 hours reading, completely lost in the story, without even realizing it.
“Books are for people who wish they were somewhere else.” – Mark Twain
Ever since the advent of the e-Reader, I have fallen in love with reading again. I used to buy paperback books that looked interesting from the book store, but whenever I couldn’t find the time to make it down there, or Target did not have anything too interesting on their shelves, it seems that my recreational reading fell to only when I traveled, as I would but the books from the store in the airport terminal to read on the plane flight ahead of me.
Now, there is Amazon.
I have found my love of reading again. From fiction to documentaries, novels to short stories, the virtual book stores that can be found online, complete with recommendation engines, ratings, feedback, finding books has never been easier.
It has never been easier to find a story to get engrossed in, a story to lose yourself in.
A story to find yourself in.
Day 20. Way 20. Get lost, again, this time, in a book. Lose yourself, find yourself and be transported while doing so.
What books have you read lately?
What books would you recommend to others?
Share your favorites, stories and recommendations in the comments below.
Seriously, knock it off.
All too often in life, we find ourselves making excuses for ourselves. We are afraid to take risks. We are scared of the unknown. We are afraid to step outside of what is comfortable to us. We are afraid to leave what is safe.
We are standing in our own way.
We work our way through high school and college. From our first job to our first career. We work for years to build a life that for all intents and purposes is SAFE. We begin to fill our life with “…but…”
“I should start my own business, I could TOTALLY do that better….. but, I don’t know the first thing about starting a business, so I will just go back to my 8-5 cubicle job where I hate my life but will never stick my neck out achieve greatness”
Who said you have to quit your job tomorrow and start a new business? Find a business partner, a buddy who DOES know about business, or hey, go read a book. Go back to school. You CAN educate yourself to know how to run a business, but sitting there talking about it is just making you more bitter. Get out there, make a decision and start controlling your own happiness.
“I really want to take that 2 week vacation to Europe…. but it will cost a lot of money and I can’t be away from work for 2 whole weeks like that, so I will sit here and look at pictures of castles and Mediterranean beaches while I plan my 4-day weekend, the longest vacation I have ever taken”
Take that vacation, trust me, the work will be there when you get back. That is why you work 40-50 hour work weeks, to make this money. Great, it sits in a savings account while you continue being miserable. Spend the money, take the vacation, enjoy the hell out of it. YOU DESERVE IT.
“I want to lose this extra 20lbs and get in better shape… but between work, friends and family, I don’t have the time to dedicate going to a gym every day, so I will continue to eat food that is bad for me while I sit my fat ass on the couch and watch Sportscenter and “unwind” from work”
Self motivation is hard, but so is losing weight when you don’t change your lifestyle. Make the conscious choice to give up sitting on the couch, change your diet and start being physically active (walking to the bar for another beer doesn’t count). Gyms are open 24 hours every day, you can sleep when you are dead. Or when you figure out how to balance your schedule.
“I would love to participate in that event this weekend, it only happens once a year!… but I already agreed to work this weekend, so, I will just have to wait for next year and hope that I don’t have an excuse next year when it comes up.”
The normal work schedule of a normal employee is 260 days per year. Some of us work more than that, inching up on 275-300 days per year. An annual event takes place once per year. Prioritize your schedule. Find someone to cover for you at work or make up the day later. If you want to do something, stop making excuses and just do it. (Nike has nothing on me)
“Check out that girl at the end of the bar, she is so hot, I should go talk to her…. but, she is totally out of my league, so I am just going to sit over here in the corner by myself drinking my light beer before I go home to my parents basement to play video games.”
Man up, grow a pair and go talk to her. You will never know she is out of your league until she tells you she is. Guess what, she turns you down, at least you tried, and now you know to try harder next time.
Fact is, we talk ourselves out of achieving greatness every single day. We think we aren’t good enough. We don’t have the time. We don’t have the knowledge. We stand in our own way.
So here is the challenge.
Stop making excuses. Stop talking yourself out of things. Get out of your own way and allow yourself to achieve greatness.
Day 16. Way 16. Stop making excuses and allow yourself to achieve greatness.
What are the excuses you find yourself making commonly?
How do you plan to overcome them?
What excuses did you bypass to achieve greatness?
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
The famous words from 1990s advertising, pleading customers of video rental establishments to rewind their VHS tapes before returning them to the store, thus saving rental stores and subsequent customers from spending time to check and rewind every VHS tape.
Just think, back in the 90’s, the act of rewinding a video might have taken 30-60 seconds per video, yet so many customers finished a movie, hit EJECT and took the movie back to the store, figuring that someone else would remind it for them.
What if you were the person that rented a video from the store, got home to watch it, only to find it start up at the final credits. Now, you have to take 30-60 seconds to rewind the video to start from the beginning. While 30-60 seconds does not sound like a lot of time, the perceived inconvenience and inconsiderateness of the previous renter is what caused the outcry that eventually led to that advertising. Advertising that pleaded with customers to take 30-60 seconds of their time to BE KIND and think about others.
“Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness.”
I don’t know when it happened, but it seems that more and more, people are only looking out for themselves. For Number 1. What happened to the general practice of human kindness?
Kindness is addictive. Whether you are the spark or simply paying it forward, simply being involved is what matters.
It is such a simple concept, yet so hard to implement for the vast majority.
- When someone needs to merge into traffic, let them merge. One car length doesn’t matter.
- When you are the one who needs to merge, and someone lets you, give them a wave to let them know you appreciate it
- Ask someone how their day is. Actually care about their answer.
- Hold the door open for the woman pushing a stroller.
- Give the homeless guy on the street corner a buck or two. Even a 40oz will make him happy.
- Never forget to say “thank you”
Small acts of kindness. Big impact. Simple as that.
31 Days. 31 Ways. June 13: Practice Random Acts of Kindness
What does kindness mean to you?
What suggestions for random acts of kindness would you like to share with everyone here?