We Need to Step It Up

In our culture today it is okay to stop at the bare minimum, in some cases it is even encouraged. I have seen a lot of people doing just enough to get by. I am guilty of it to, more so in the past, but still today I suffer from allowing mediocrity into my life. I have realized that I no longer want to settle for it. I am not okay with mediocrity. I want greatness.

It is okay to not be good at something. It is okay to fail. What is not okay is to stop just because you feel like you did just enough. From my own experience, when we push ourselves and drive to obtain optimal results, whether we achieve our goals or not we feel better regarding the outcome.

For example if I had to take a test, I could not study, and just breeze through the work, half-conscious and I could pass that test with a C and a lot of people would accept that grade. It would be considered a passable grade. I see a lot of people doing just that in life: giving half-effort and being okay with half-results. It is okay to be a C student but it is not okay to put in C effort.

We should always push ourselves to do better. There should be no plateau. The things we could do if we stopped permitting mediocrity is unlimited. If you are going to do something, then do it. Do it to the maximum, do not leave any effort on the table and when you walk away whether you get an A or a C, you will know that you went after it and that alone is a victory.

Advancing Anger

I was reminded today of the immense amount of work I still have yet to do on myself. Of course, I am aware that I need to improve many things in my life and I am working to do that very thing in many respects. I am seeking education in many ventures, I am seeking new experiences, I am making efforts and researching how to be more productive both in my career in personal life, and so on.

Despite all of the progress I’ve made, I am constantly reminded that this journey of improvement never stops, there is no end point in self-development. Today, just now in traffic, my patience temporarily unraveled. I hate traffic but I often learn some painful, yet necessary lessons while involved in the madness that is the modern day commute. The universe is the greatest teacher if we are attentive to learn the lessons being presented.

The thing I love (and also the thing I hate) is the fact that everything I encounter in my life is my responsibility. Things may happen to me, things may happen for me, but what I do with what happens is my responsibility. I have done good things and I have done terrible things. With the same tool that I can use to create a beautiful masterpiece, I can also use to manifest absolute destruction.

I used to blame everything on everyone and everything else. Growing up, like many people, it was my parents fault. In my teen years and early adult years, I wanted to blame everything on the pitfalls as society. Everything may not be my fault (though it often is), but everything is 100% my responsibility.

My biggest challenge today is my anger. I have overcome many hurdles, through many ups and downs, but I am still struggling with my anger. That is going to be my next big focus. I grew up watching my dad be angry. He would often be quick to anger and hit inanimate objects. I love my father but I do not want to be like my father. I want to be better so I can be a better husband and father to my own son so they don’t have to experience what I did and as a result have a better life.

I have been exercising a lot and that has helped to some degree, dull my quickness to anger. I have been experimenting with yoga and I need to get back into meditation as it has helped me with anger in the past. From my experience mood stabilizers, depression and anxiety medications did not work for me or my anger. I tried them honestly for a while (as a scapegoat) and they did more harm than good. Most notably they disrupted my sleep cycle and sex life. I have thus stopped taking those.

I have tried therapy (in brevity) and the prognosis did seem to hopeful. I going to continue my search elsewhere. I have had, for the longest time, had the nagging notion in the back of my head that a lot of the personal and even societal issues like this that we experience are due to the grand disconnect that results from this artificial lifestyle we subject ourselves to.

We are connect online but growing farther apart. We rush around to chase careers and illusions of success while neglecting our families. We eat unhealthy out of convenience or due to the desire for pleasurable diet at the expense of longevity. The staggering evidence is piling up and it is painfully apparent to me that our collective conscious is very sick. So maybe it is a result of my value system that leads me to anger. When I try to take back and look at matters, my anger seems to lessen and my joy seems to increase. Perhaps a mindfulness based approach will serve best for my anger as well as my overall mental and spiritual well-being.

In conclusion: exercise, yoga, meditation, mindfulness, and a healthy perspective have all helped me to some extent with anger. I am going to continue progressing and seeking new ways to better address my anger. When a person gets angry it is that persons fault and that persons responsibility. It is not the fault or responsibility of the other person.

I have spent my entire life becoming an expert of being angry. Now I must devote some of my energy to being an expert in coping with, addressing, and managing my anger in healthy ways.

If anyone has any notes, pointers, or suggestions please let me know. Or if you are also angry please reach out to me and we can discuss things and perhaps devise solutions.

I Quit! You Should Too!

Too often we let things accumulate, things that hold us back from our dreams. Some people do colon cleanses, liver cleanses, spring cleaning, etc….. This is about a life cleanse. A deep clean for your soul.

“I Quit!”, these words can be liberating. In the right context it means that you are taking control and freeing yourself from whatever limitiation or hinderance is impeding your forward momentum. Your job, your negative self-talk, your excuses, your self-imposed limits, can all be swept away with this one powerful resolution to take your life back into your hands. Over the past few years I have done a lot of quiting. I quit bad relationships(both romantic and platonic), I quit bad jobs, I quit bad habits, I quit bad cognitions. Quitting is like spring cleaning on your schedule, on your routines, and your entire life. I wish I started sooner.

When I was younger I quit trying, I gave up on any real ambitions and I was just drifting aimlessly through life, this is not the type of quitting I do now. Now I only quit the things that I have let get in the way of the things I really want from life. Some people talk about time audits/schedule audits, budget reviews, etc. I am speaking along the same lines, just in a broader scope. I recommend an entire life audit. I try to take a deep look at things and critically ask the questions, “what am I doing to reach my goals?”, “Are my methods working?” “What is preventing me from reaching my goals and how do I quit?” I find myself repeatedly asking myself these questions. If something is not working, if my methods are broken, I quit and adjust accordingly.

One of my biggest “quits” was when I gave up drugs. Of course this was the biggest hinderance because it was the only thing I did, it was all that mattered to me. Once I took this negative habit out of my life, innumerable doors were opened and my life instantly improved. This was very beginning of my improvement journey.

This next quit was very big and is up there with quitting drugs… I quit social media about three years ago and I have never gone back. I do have a Linkedin and a Pintrest. The Linkedin I never use and the the Pintrest I use it for recipes and I am brands new to that. This social media “quit” revoluntionized my life. I previously spent countless hours, mindlessly scrolling through the abyssmal dysfunction of social media. I would recommend this “quit” to anyone who wants to improve their life and mental health also. I understand the use of social media for buisness promotion and networking but I strongly recommended limiting or eliminating social media for personal for use. It will only improve your life.

In the past year I have stopped doubting myself, I stopped making excuses, and I stopped diverting blame from myself unto others. My life is my responsibility so I have made the conscious decision to take back control. This has been and still is a gradual progress but I continue to make leaps and strides that exponentially improve my life. I used to put a “cap” on myself because of my previous negative self-image, I would create imaginary dead ends for my life and how far I could go and how much I could achieve. I would make excuses why my life and my level of sucess could only go so far. Eventually I had an epiphany, there is an infinite amount that anyone can achieve if they choose to do so and consistently take the necessary steps to reach their goals.

I was a chain-smoker since I was fifteen-years-old. About four or five months ago, I quit. I finally took action on this negative habit because I can inspired to start running. Almost overnight I quit smoking and started running. I could not even run a mile without wheezing at first. The other day I ran 11 miles without stopping and I will be in my first marathon in December. This speaks to the incredible power of quitting the things that we have invited to hold us back.

Our results are a direct product of the effort we imput and the limits we permit in our lives. We can only be stopped if we allow ourselves to be stopped. Of course life is hard and different people experience different circumstances but anyone can do anything if they are ready to suffer for it and quit settling for less than their best. Take care to pick the right things to suffer for and quit letting negative things intrude upon your sucess.

So far this year I have quit smoking, I quit making excuses about obtaining a higher education, I quit eating meat, I quit over-consuming caffeine, I quit sugar ( I still dabble), I quit negative self-talk. I’m a serial quitter. If it is not working, I quit. I quit allowing myself to accept mediocrity.

My point is not one of mass-reform or egotistical congratulatory statements. I JUST WANT EVERYONE TO KNOW THAT YOU CAN DO IT TO. YOU CAN QUIT LETTING THINGS CONTROL YOU.YOU CAN QUIT ACCEPTING A LIFE THAT IS NOT THE ONE YOU DREAM OFF. YOU CAN CREATE A LIFE THAT YOU HAVE ALWAYS WANTED!

The more your quit and replace negative things with productive things, the more freedom you will experience. Your health, both physical and metnal will improve. Your relationships will improve. You will improve and you will not regret doing it.

Wash, Rinse, Repeat. Join me on the journey.

A Brief Synopsis on the Emerging Adulthood in Middle-Class Society.

No one ever told me emerging adulthood was going to be such a train wreck. Growing up, I always thought it would be exciting: no rules and I can do whatever I want. “Woo Hoo,” I thought. Whilst arriving into emerging adulthood I realized this was not the case. I did not go to college, and I had no real skills or abilities, my parents are both factory workers so, though they are caring, could offer me no real advice either. What the hell was I supposed to do?

The first few years of my adulthood were a total wash. I was drunk and high most of the time. I still really have responsibilities and I had absolutely no idea what was going on. I moved Florida around 21, because my life was a disaster. Finally at about 22 things were turning around, I was sub-letting a trailer with holes in the floor and a leaking A/C unit from an acquaintance. It was a shit-hole but for my salary it was a five-star, luxury, suite.

Shortly thereafter, I met my now wife and she quickly got pregnant. Now what?….We got a house a few months later. Let me be perfectly honest, no one tells you that when you buy a house it is a ton of work doing upkeep and if your unlucky like me, the previous owners did no upkeep and you have to keep the house in working condition in order to have a home for your family.

No one tells you going into adulthood that the job market, cost of living, and cost of education are going to make you their little b****. For real, between mortgage, car , payments, student loans, utilities, and groceries, I have about 99 cents left at the end of the month to do anything else. I’m not trying to complain because I am so grateful because I shouldn’t be alive ( I had a heart attack when I was 20-years-old) and I never though I would have any of these things, but damn without a six figure salary it is hard to stay ahead.

I am learning though. I know things are constantly changing and evolving. I am working towards bigger things in a few years. No one ever tells you how much drive and ambition you need to climb from trailer trash towards being something respectable but let me just say that it takes a lot. My hope is that my generation teaches our future children more about life than our parents did. I hope that they are taught valuable life skills like how to file taxes or how modern banking works. I had to learn a lot of this nonsense on my own or from others in the past few years and people still tell me I do not know how to do laundry correctly, but I continue grinding and I hope you do to so our children do not have to go through any of the B.S. we had to.

If you’re out there struggling, keep going, it gets easier.

From Hopeless to Hopeful

The Steps I Took to Save My Life

When I was 21 my life seemed hopeless. I was bound to end up dead or in prison if I continued in the direction I was going. One week a friend of mine almost died in front of me, and a few days after that I totaled my car because I had a few more drinks than I should have and decided to get behind the wheel. That was also the week I decided I wanted to turn my life around. I had to do something. My life is proof that any idiot can stop being self-destructive and turn their life around if they put in some work to do so. Here are the steps I took to completely turn my life around and stop living the way I was living.  

First, I quit drinking and packed up and changed my surroundings. These two aspects went hand in hand because my drinking was related to my surroundings and my surroundings were related to my drinking. I spent time in bars, pool halls, party houses, and music festivals. If there was going to be a “good time,” I was going to be there spilling about making a fool of myself. My abstinence began by my going to a treatment facility, and my surroundings changed because that facility was here in South Florida. (I know it is not very original but that is how I came to be a Florida resident.) 

Next, I had to figure out why I liked drinking and making bad decisions so much. I had to dig deep and face my fears and make some changes to my thought processes because they clearly had not served me very well up to that point in my life. After some painful soul searching, I realized I feared life. I knew nothing about real life, and the unknown scared me into a drunken paralysis. I portrayed a façade of self-confidence and self-assurance, but I was deeply insecure and terrified of a normal life. I made strenuous efforts to start facing my fears, and though it blew up in my face (a lot), I began building confidence and self-esteem and inching closer to be a normal person.  

In my younger years I was blessed with tainted thinking. In my delusional mind I thought I was just going to go on drinking and partying forever. It did not matter to me if I had a good job or a family; I was perfectly okay with living in some crappy place around crappy people doing the same crap that we had always done because we didn’t want anything else from life. My highest aspiration was that through some lucky turn of fate I would become a musician or a drunk writer like Bukowski. Every one of my idols, all my favorite writers and musicians, all the creative minds I looked up to either drank and partied their selves to death or did it until they were old and couldn’t manage to keep going. So of course, I had to change my thinking and find a different meaning for my life, because none of those were realistic ideas.  

The next thing I did was start building healthy relationships. Instead of hanging out with lowlifes like I always had, I started spending time with people who were trying to do something with their lives and wanted the same abundance for me. I surrounded myself with people who were good examples. I also stayed away from the type of dysfunctional women that I had always been drawn to because my previous taste in women always seemed to get me in trouble somehow. I had no idea what a healthy relationship looked like or what it consisted of (I am still learning). About nine months after I started rebuilding my life, I met the woman who is now my wife. She is a handful, but she teaches me what a healthy relationship is like.  

After I did some soul searching and changed my thinking, I started getting healthy. This step started shortly after my epiphany and newfound desire to do something with my life. It began subtly and has snowballed into a more pronounced aspect of my life. I began caring about my diet and eating more fruit and vegetables. I stopped smoking, I stopped eating meat, and I started exercising. I became conscious and concerned about the things I was putting into my body and the effect they could have on my body. I continue to try to improve my overall health daily and it has become somewhat of a personal hobby.  

The final step I took, the one that has prompted me to write this paper, was getting an education. In my earliest ventures towards reclaiming my life I sought education from library books and other methods. I also had to learn life skills because I knew nothing of the real world. Paying bills, taking care of myself, and being a responsible and productive member of society were all new concepts for me. I began to seek knowledge through many avenues, and this desire for education has led me to pursue a degree in nursing. I continue to seek knowledge in many self-help books, work books, articles, essays, and novels outside of my higher education. I have discovered a love for education that I never knew existed.  

Today, my life is the polar opposite of what is was when I was 21. I am only 25 now, and it is easy for me to forget how hopeless I once was. I am writing this in my four-bedroom house, while my one and half year-old son is destroying my living room and waiting for my wife to get home from work. I have two dogs and three cats. I have a full-time job that I have worked at for three years, where people call me responsible and reliable. I am the first person in my family to go to college. I don’t get drunk and crash my car and the people don’t almost die in front of me. The police don’t “harass” me like they used to. My mom doesn’t have to go to sleep wondering if I am safe or even alive, and I don’t have crazy and dysfunctional relationships anymore. I live a quiet, calm life and spend most of time reading and drinking tea with my family, just like an old man, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. 

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