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July 1: The Necessity of Pushing Yourself Outside Your Comfort Zone

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:

Finding Adventure

June 4: Hit the Road, Jack.

June 5: Embrace Spontaneity

June 6: Get Lost

June 7: Spin the Globe

June 9: The Long Road Home

June 10: First Flight

June 11: Blow Off Work

June 20: Get Lost (Again)

June 24: Take a Flying Leap

June 25: Map Your Escape Route

June 28: Choose Your Own Adventure

Embracing Action

June 1: Stop Reading My Blog

June 2: Take a Photo

June 8: Relax!

June 12: Take a Hike

June 14: Make Something New

June 15: Sell Your Crap

June 16: Stop Making Excuses and Achieve Greatness

June 17: Set a Deadline

June 18: Create a Bucket List

June 19: Throw Caution to the Wind

June 21: Dedicate Yourself to Yourself

June 23: Disconnect Yourself

June 30: Draw A Blank

Giving Charity

June 3: Say Hello to a Stranger

June 13: Be Kind, Rewind

June 22: Be Charitable with Your Feet

June 26: Selflessness and You

June 27: Find a New Best Friend

June 29: Go Out of Your Way

 

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.

What limits are you going to push today?

Fireworks Photo Credit / Desert Photo Credit

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June 27: Find a New Best Friend

As I sat on the train to NYC with my nephew, I started to reflect on the 31 days, 31 ways to Get Busy Livin’ series that I had undertaken just a few days prior.  Besides the thought of “what the hell did I get myself into”, I started writing down possible topics for the month of posts.

Sure, I could blog for ages about traveling to exotic destinations, traveling for free, epic road trips and other great adventures (which I probably will), but the one recurring theme that really resonated with me was the fact of contributing to or giving back to something greater than just us.  Making a difference.

I have written about charity walks and volunteering your time, both of which are very noble endeavors and I encourage everyone to participate as much as they can in any related activity, as their actions truly are making a difference in the world.  Another tangent of that same discussions hits a chord very close to my heart.

Living in Southern California for pretty much my entire life, I was always surrounded with high-end shopping malls, big box stores and luxury everywhere.  Mixed in amongst all of the high end shoe stores and chocolatier shops were designer puppy stores where they hawked puppies from all corners of the country for prices ranging from $800 and up.  Most “purebred” puppies would sell for upwards of $2500.  The smaller, the most expensive.

A dog is the only thing on this earth that loves you more than he loves himself. -Josh Billings

Yet no more than 10 miles away in any direction was a minimum of 3-4 pet shelters or rescue organizations that were overflowing with animals.  Some were so packed that if a dog was in their facility for more than a few weeks, they were euthanized.  Who would want a 5 year old mutt when you lived in Southern California where money grows on trees and dogs were made to fit in purses.

The problem is that this doesn’t exist just in Southern California, it is across the country.  So many dogs, cats and other animals are being abandoned or picked up by animal control and placed in these humane society shelters, most to wait out their final days.  Why? Because they grew up to be to big? Because they misbehaved?

There are so many wonderful people who donate their time and energy to saving animals from euthanizing by bring them into foster care, cleaning them up and doing their best to adopt them out to loving homes.

It was just a few years ago when I was looking to adopt a new best friend.  After months of searching on Craigslist, Petfinder, and other adoption websites, I came across Theo.  Theo was a wonderful, shaggy little Yorkshire Terrier/Wire Haired Terrier mix.  He was turned into the shelter by animal control that picked him up on the side of the road.  The day before he was sent to be put down, he was saved by a rescue organization who cleaned him up, microchipped him and got all of his shots current.

It was about a month after they fostered him, that I found and adopted Theo.  Because Theo was an adopted name only a few weeks old, I renamed him Rusty.

What spoke to me the most was the ability to give a dog like Rusty a second chance at a good life.  A life of not running the streets. A life of not having to search for his next meal. A life with a warm bed and the occasional road trip.  A second chance at what he deserved.

And he has rewarded me with a great friendship, unmatched loyalty and adoring love.

My story is not unique. There are hundreds and thousands of stories out there, just like mine.

So I ask you, if you are looking for somewhere to donate your time, or even looking to adopt a dog, please look into rescue organizations in your area.  Give a dog a second chance.

Day 27. Way 27. Give a dog a 2nd chance. Adopt a new best friend.

Pleas share your stories and photos of your adopted babies with us in the comments!

Pick Me Photo Credit / Stuffed Animal Photo Credit / Header Photo Credit

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June 22: Be Charitable with your Feet

I must admit, this is probably the oddest headline I have written, but let me explain, as this is a topic that is very near and dear to my heart.

With so many charitable organizations to donate your time to and numerous volunteer organizations that need your support, you seriously cannot go wrong by choosing a cause to get involved with.  While out in California, one that Juliet and I seriously got involved with was the Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC).

Without a big, long, drawn out explanation, CHOC is very near and dear to our hearts after being instrumental in helping ensure the health of many people very close to us.  Children saved from cancer. Babies diagnosed and treated for rare sicknesses.  CHOC is just an outstanding organization.

Charity sees the need, not the cause.  ~German Proverb

The basis for this blog is one of the many fundraisers that CHOC has each year, but by a sheer numbers standpoint, it is also one of the most successful.  The best part, it involves physical activity and over 14,000 of your best friends.

The CHOC Walk was started over 20 years ago, has grown to over 14,000 participants that take over the Disneyland Resort to walk 5 kilometers to help raise over $1.5 million to help CHOC and the children they save.  On top of participating in a 5k, the overall event takes 2-3 hours and is an absolutely heartbreaking and uplifting event that leaves you with a sense of accomplishment that you are donating your time (and a few dollars) to a very worthy cause.

The day starts as any 5k does, with walker registration and the congregation of all participants at the end of Main Street U.S.A. within Disneyland.  There is a general sense of camaraderie and a buzz from the crowd.  Instead of thousands of runners warming up, you have thousands of people that have donated their time to walk for charity to support their child, or their brother, or cousin, or friend’s son, or any of the millions of families that are affected by CHOC.

Posters are held. Matching t-shirts have been made for the team. Babies in strollers. Survivors.

Everyone is there because they have personally been affected by such a wonderful organization as CHOC who dedicates their mission to helping children.

The walk officially starts and a Master of Ceremonies can be heard over the loudspeakers, welcoming each team, each group, each poster, anyone who walks by and waves.  Music fills the air.  The vibe and buzz never stop.  The walk routes throughout Disneyland Park, Disney’s California Adventure Park and finally culminating in Downtown Disney.

Along the way are all the Disney characters, cheering the walkers along, high-fiving all of the walkers, stopping for photo opportunities and generally giving the whole walk a Disney atmosphere.

While the whole event takes over 60 minutes to walk 3.2 miles due to the sheer amount of people, nobody is here to set a record time, or even power walk, for that matter.  Everyone is there to share their story, hug and engage others.  This walk is for the kids and all the lives they have touched.

So hunt down a charity walk or run, and get involved.  Get your exercise. Donate a little money. Give a little time. Be Charitable, with your feet.

Day 22. Way 22. Be Charitable. With your feet.

Have you participated in any charity walks?

If so, which ones?

What other ways would you recommend to be charitable with your feet?

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