Why You Should Attend Self-Development Seminars (Plus Life Changing Insights From Tony Robbins’ UPW)

I just got back from the Tony Robbins Unleash the Power Within event in Chicago.  Although it’d be impossible to give you every life enhancing  lesson I learned at the seminar I thought it’d be beneficial for you if we quickly covered a few of the most important things I learned.

The first insight I’d offer you is that reading blog posts and watching free videos online isn’t enough for you to develop yourself at the fastest rate possible.

I say that not because I’m trying to sell you something, but because if you’re financially minimalistic as I am it’s incredibly easy to think that attending live events isn’t worth it. After all, most of the information you’ll get at the events could be found online for free if you were willing to search long enough for it.

However, with that being, you’ll likely save a significant amount of time by attending a live event because most of the crud has already been filtered out and you’l be learning only the most powerful methods of changing your life.

Beyond that, realize that the acquisition of new information often isn’t the most important reason for you to attend an event.  If you’ve been an avid reader of my blog the past few years you’d have already “known” more than 90% of the material covered at the Tony Robbins seminar I attended.

If you’re reading this blog post you probably already understand that the internet’s greatest strength is that it allows you to quickly gain an overview of a broad set of ideas. However, this is also the internet’s greatest weakness.

Because it’s so easy for you to read blog posts or watch free videos online it’s incredibly easy to take the information you learn for granted.  If you’ve been consuming works of self-development for a few years you probably already understand almost every key concept on an intellectual level.  You could probably explain the 80/20 rule, the pain vs pleasure principle, etc, to someone else fairly easily.

Yet, why are so many people able to learn about these things while continuing to stagnate in their life?  It’s very simple.  If you know what you should be doing in life, but you’re not putting it into action you don’t actually “know” what you are supposed to be doing.

I’m not saying that you lack the knowledge to intellectually understand what needs to be done.  Rather, the reason you’re failing to change your behavior is because you lack the emotional anchors necessary to do so.

This is why attending seminars can be extremely beneficial.  When you listen to a speaker live you’re going to experience a greater emotional response and thus have the potential to develop a greater emotional anchor to the concepts they’re offering to you vs when you read a blog post they’ve written.

This is partially because you’ve paid for the privilege of attending the event and thus your brain emotionally rationalizes to itself that the information must be worth more than a free blog post.

However, it’s also because you’re in an immersive environment where hundreds or thousands of other people are focused intently on the person speaking on stage.  This social proof again reinforces for your brain that the information is extremely important and thus you’re more likely to develop an emotional anchor to the concept and actually apply and embody it.

Of course, the ultimate emotional anchors come from real life experiences.  The most powerful learning and behavioral change occurs when you recognize that doing something brought you pleasure or failing to do something brought you pain.

Key Insights From Tony Robbins’ UPW Event

Of course, although simply discussing the value of attending live events could have been a blog post in itself I also think you’d benefit from reading about some of the important concepts I learned this weekend.

Chicago Unleash The Power Within Tony Robbins

Your Beliefs Have Ripple Effects

Whether you think you’re too young to travel, you believe that you’re unable to start a business because you lack an MBA, or you feel that money is evil, everyone has limiting beliefs.  Regardless of what limiting beliefs you hold it’s important to make a very important distinction.

Understand that your limiting beliefs don’t hold you back from success only in a specific area of your life.  A limiting belief actually causes you to have more difficulty attaining success in every area of your life.

Feeling that money is evil is a rationalization often formed as an excuse not to continually grow and face the larger challenges in life that inevitably accompany generating a larger income.  Thus, feeling money is evil not only damages your finances, but it also can limit your ability to pursue personal growth.

In addition, having tight finances can also limit your ability to support your family, friends, charity, etc, and thus reduce your ability to feel as if you’re contributing to the world.  This can make you feel less significant.  Lacking disposable income can also limit you from purchasing healthy foods which damages your health.

We could go on and on, but the point is that a limiting belief causes damage far beyond what you may expect.  You could be upset by this because it means even one significant limiting belief could greatly reduce the quality of your life, but I’d actually encourage you to feel the opposite.

You should feel grateful because now that you’re aware of this concept you’ll have even more leverage to remove your limiting beliefs and replace them with empowering beliefs that can cause an upward spiral in your quality of life.

Physiology & Emotions State Shifts

You probably already aware that your physiology affects your psychology.  The way you walk, talk, and move matters because doing these things in different ways causes different brain chemicals to be released.  These brain chemicals change how you think and feel and thus change the actions you take and eventually shape the life you create for yourself.

If you sit with poor posture you’re going to feel worse, have less energy, and struggle to produce optimal results.  You already know that changing the way you sit would improve your results.  What you may not know is just how quickly and dramatically changing your physiology can change the way you feel.

If you’re slouched over watching television, jump up, scream yes five times, bang your chest, and let out the loudest battle cry of your life for 15 seconds.

If you make a genuine attempt at this there’s no way you won’t dramatically improve your emotional state and thus increase the likelihood you’ll feel more able to take positive actions.

Even better is that as you practice changing your physiology to shift your emotional state you’ll become more adept at changing the way you feel.

Changing your physiology isn’t a magic pill solution that’ll allow you to effortlessly coast through life while still attaining massive success, but you’d be surprised at how able you are to instantly change the way you feel.

At first you’ll feel strange beating your chest, and screaming.  You may even feel inauthentic and as if you’re trying to be something that you are not.

This is simply your body’s resistance to you changing your physiology because it is so familiar and comfortable with whatever emotional states you currently experience most frequently.

Keep practicing, and changing your physiology soon won’t be so uncomfortable for you and your default emotional state will be of a much higher quality.

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Picture is from the Tony Robbins July 2015 Chicago Unleash the Power Within event.

How To Guarantee Your Success

You choose a goal for yourself.  You research the best way to go about achieving that goal.  You begin taking action towards your goal.  You see very little in terms of results.  You give up.

Don’t bullshit me.  You know this has happened to you.  You probably wrote off your strategy as being the reason you were unsuccessful in your endeavor. “I didn’t succeed because I didn’t have the right plan.”  I get what you’re saying.  I’ve said the same thing hundreds of times.

Like you, I’ve failed at many things.  I’ve failed to kiss girls when I knew it was the right thing to do, I’ve failed to make enough money to sustain myself (without taking money from my savings) my first time abroad in Asia, and in many regards I’ve failed at being a good family member.

We all fail.  Often we fail and it’s the end of the story.  But it doesn’t have to be.  One kid gets cut from his middle school basketball basketball team and decides to quit.  Another kid gets cut from the team and practices several hours per day for an entire year so that he’s able to join the team next season.  Through the boy’s persistence and consistency he’s able to will his way towards a spot on the court.

At age 13 that boy has already learned something most people haven’t.  He’s learned the most important ingredient to making progress in any endeavor — sticking to it.

In today’s society we’re “heady” people.  We like to plan, we like to analyze, and we like to discuss strategy.  Those are all wonderful things, but the reality is that they’re irrelevant if you fail to apply them.  A job well planned has no value until it’s begun the process of becoming a job well done.

That’s not to say shortcuts don’t exist.  You may think you need to be a retired rich person to travel.  Nope, totally unneccessary.  Instead of traveling western Europe or Australia splurging tourist style for $4,000+/month instead travel Southeast Asia like a local for $400-800.  Boom.  In one small shift to your strategy you were able to decrease your expenses by 80%.

Can’t scrounge together $800/month to travel Asia?  It’s ok. If you want you can always learn to be a digital nomad and create an online income for yourself later.  In the meantime, however, there’s no excuse not to travel if that’s your dream.  Money does not need to be a barrier.

Why?  Because you’ve got a good strategy.  You realize that although it would be nice to have 1,000s of dollars of passive income every month that those simply aren’t yet the circumstances of your life.  For the moment you’re dealing with the broke hand in life.

You only have $2,000 but you want to travel around the world for a year.  What do you do?  One possibility is you could use a website such as Helpx or Workaway.info.  In exchange for a few hours of help on an organic farm, in a hostel, teaching English, etc. per day you’re able to have accomodation covered by your host and you’re able to receive a more authentic view into the culture of the place you’re visiting. Voluntourism is an amazing solution that you can only come to if you’re willing to spend time and energy thinking outside the box.

Intelligent planning is important because it allows you to find shortcuts and the optimal strategy (or at least the best strategy you’re capable of identifying), but there’s still more to than that to making progress in something.  In the end, the result you produce in any endeavor is roughly equivalent to the effectiveness of your strategy times your ability to remain consistent in applying that strategy.

Effectiveness of your strategy times consistency equals your result.

Therefore, if you want to make signficant progress towards a goal you need to do two things.

(A.)  Spend time analyzing your situation and goal to determine the optimal strategy for the pursuit of that goal for someone in your unique circumstances.

(B) Remain consistent in carrying out tasks in alignment with your strategy.

People glorify strategy rather than implementation because strategy is sexier.  But of course, progress cannot be made without the implementation of your strategies.  You may have heard this before, but even if not, you’re surely able to understand this concept upon having it brought to your attention.

The truth about making progress towards your goals is that although short cuts may exist for some of them, in most cases you’re going to have to work a long time for what you want.

If you want to become more fit your results lay mainly in your ability to consistently get to the gym.  If you want to become a skilled writer you needs to write thousands of pages.  If you want to be a better comedian you need to perform in lots of shows.

However, the one nuanced point most people fail to mention is that the best way to make progress isn’t to rely on a perfect strategy upfront (that delays your project an infinite amount of time as you procrastinate in search of it) or to simply remain consistent in the implementation of your intial strategy.

The ultimate strategy for any nonfatal endeavor is to start quickly and remain consistent, receive lots of real-world feedback based upon the implemention of your initial strategy, use that feedback to refine your strategy, and to consistently apply your new strategy as you remain introspective and continue to look for ways you can further refine your strategy.

Again, that’s the secretConsistently show up, refine your strategy, show up, further refine your strategy, and continue being a consistent action taker that is able to be introspective in identifying the flaws in your strategy.  DO THIS over a long period of time and YOU WILL MAKE SIGNIFICANT PROGRESS and guarantee your success.

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Note:  Of course sometimes you don’t need to consistently do something and stick to it because it’s truly not the right thing for you.  Having the ability to accurately assess and be honest with yourself in what you should pursue is another difficult to acquire trait but something that will have tremendous value regardless of what you want from life.

Bonus: Watch the video below to see an example of showing up over a long period of time.  I’ve included a clip from the first vlog I ever recorded in 2013 to show what a dramatic difference a couple years can make when you’re consistently taking action toward your goal (which in my case was recording videos to become a better public speaker).  Compare the video below to the video at the beginning of this post or any of my videos from 2015 and you’ll see a DRAMATIC difference in the way I carry myself and my ability to deliver speeches.

How To Make Life Changing Decisions

Maybe it’s premature of me to write this post.  I’m admittedly still making tons of mistakes and learning how to effectively navigate through life myself, but I’d like to offer you some things I’ve found useful in determining what choice to make when you’ve got a life altering decision before you.  Whether you’re deciding if you want to go to college, quit your job, end a relationship, or travel the world, here are some things I’d recommend you consider.

Call To Adventure
The first criteria which you must evaluate when making a life changing decision, especially as a young man is if something is your call to adventure.  This was a concept introduced to me by Elliott Hulse.  The idea is that during tribal times young men often had to go through some type of initiation process to transition from adolescence to adulthood.

These days, however, your family probably isn’t too keen to send you off on a quest to kill a lion. Therefore, the responsibility now lies completely in your hands to create a challenge which you must face and overcome.  You can choose to shy away from your call to adventure, but this inevitably leads to prolonged adolescence as a result of refusing to mature and accept additional responsibilities.  Worse than that, however, ignoring the calling of your heart leads you to resent yourself (and those around you).

Almost everyone around you has given up on their dreams at some point.  This is why when you walk down the street people look beaten down by life.  Most people do not live by their values (or even know what their values are) and thus use television and other stimulants in an attempt to alleviate the negative emotions they experience as a result of not being the person they want to be.

When you’re making a decision involving your call to adventure it will usually take a form similar to this, “I can do option ‘A’ (obtain college degree out of obligation rather than as a necessary prerequisite for the career you’d love to have, take the well-trodden path to success your parents have laid out for you, etc) and I’m likely to be ‘successful’ (or at least what society labels as successful).  If I choose this path my life is almost certain to turn out ‘OK’.”

“Alternatively, I can do option ‘B’  (travel the world for a year via voluntourism, attempt to make a living as a freelance writer online, etc).  This is what I feel drawn to do, but I’m just not sure about it.  This option is daunting and just doesn’t seem as ‘practical’ to me.”

You already know which option I’m going to tell you to take.  Don’t ignore the calling of your heart.  Have confidence in your ability to structure your life in a way that allows you to be adventurous and do that which you are drawn towards.  This leads us into the next principle…

It’s Not About What You Get
One of the arguments people often have regarding ventures perceived as risky is that they may not give you the same material gains.  This is actually an accurate assesment.  While following the calling of your heart can sometimes produce lucrative returns, often doing so won’t make you rich initially, if ever.  This is ok.

Money isn’t at all evil (the flow of cash is actually a representation that you’ve provided society with a product/service it perceives to be valuable).  However, what is important to note is that you probably need a lot less money than you think to be happy.  True happiness is derived much more from loving the things you do and being the person you want to be than material goods.

Think Principles, Not Emotions
This is the biggest key to making good decisions.  Understand that following your heart is actually somewhat of a paradox because sometimes you’ll feel emotional resistance to that which you know is best for you.

I can remember experiencing fear a few months ago at the thought of leaving Wisconsin and everything I knew back home to come to Asia. I can even remember sitting in the O’Hare Airport in Chicago a few months ago wondering what would happen if I “accidentally” missed my flight.

I can remember the first time me and this cute Vietnamese girl (who would eventually become my girlfriend) were alone.  I knew that kissing her was the right thing to do.  I was attracted to her and knew that this was as good of a time as any to kiss her, but I still felt resistance.  Why?

Because we have emotional momentum.  We don’t want to be successful.  Sure, we all say we want to be successful, but on another level we don’t.  With every success you achieve comes an added level of responsibility.  Perhaps even more emotionally jarring than that is your unconscious understanding that every success you achieve will fundamentally change you.

For that reason, your feelings won’t serve you to take actions that will produce real change.  Biologically the purpose of your emotions are to keep you alive, not to assist you on some quest of self-actualization and spiritual fulfillment.

Therefore, you need to rely on principles which you act through.  You can identify and develop your principles by evaluating that which you value in life as well as by studying the greats that have come before you and by adopting the principles they emphasized as being crucial to their own development.

Of course, you still need to grow a pair of cojones to actually execute on your principles, but having identified them can massively help in giving you the leverage to make difficult decisions.

Burn The Boats

Of course, if the principles you’ve identified still don’t give you enough leverage to take the proper course of action you have another tool available to you.  You can burn your boats.

That’s what I did.  I knew that taking my call to adventure and traveling Asia was what I needed at this point in my life.  But to leave all I’d ever known behind was still something I found incredibly difficult.  Like I said before, however, it’s usually in your best interest to act through your principles rather than your emotions.

Therefore I gave myself no option but to leave home.  I dropped more than $1,000 on a handful of nonrefundable flights to, from, and within Asia.  Once I’d obligated myself to a $1,000+ contract to carry out my journey it became significantly easier to do so.

Understand, however, that burning your boats does not entitle you to success. If you want to become an online entrepreneuer, dropping out of college won’t automatically make you successful.  Dropping out of college is the easy part.  The hard part is actually putting in the hustle needed for your vision to manifest.  Dropping out can provide you with a stupendous amount of leverage, however, because if you don’t produce a result you’re fucked.  There’s nothing to fall back on.

Therefore, the decision to burn the boats ultimately comes down to your willingness to hustle after doing so.  If you’re going to hustle, then of course burn the boats because doing so will only give you additional fuel to your fire.

Common sense would then dictate that if you’re not willing to hustle you shouldn’t burn your boats.  If I was writing to a mainstream audience I’d say that’s the perfect conclusion.  Even for most of you reading this it’s probably the “right” thing to do.

What I’ve always done for myself, however, and what I recommend you consider is being aggresive in your willingness to burn the boats.  This will result in one of two things:

(A.) You’ll benefit from burning your boats because doing so gave you the leverage to put in the hustle necessary to attain success. You’ll also experience significant growth because you were forced to expand to the increased demands you had to put on yourself in order to attain that success.

(B.) You don’t hustle and your life turns to rubbish. Unfortunately, despite this option being very painful, it is what many of us need in order to rid ourselves of complacency. Fortunately on the other hand, even if burning your boats didn’t give you enough leverage to take the proper actions to improve your life, often adversity will because your life circumstances force you to experience so much pain that they demand you to change!

I’m not perfect at making life changing decisions. With that being said, I’ve had to make enough of these decisions in the past year that I’ve grown fairly proficient at making them quickly and effectively. I hope if you’re going through adversity or have big decisions on the horizon that this post helps you make the right one.

As always, subscribe and we’ll be back with another post for you next week!

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Note: I typically write a blog post and record the accompanying video within a day or so of each other. This blog post was written about a month before the video was recorded, however, because my last week in Asia (and Saigon especially) was so chaotic.

2nd Note: Did I kiss the Vietnamese girl despite feeling the resistance? Of course! She ended up becoming my amazing girlfriend as well. We gave each other the best 2.5 months of our lives, but we may never have had such an amazing relationship if I hadn’t kissed her and let her know how much I liked her that night. Now although I was uncomfortable that first time we were alone, the thought of us never being together is FAR worse.

Girlfriend I met in Vietnam

3rd Note: If you’re reading this and there’s no place to subscribe it’s because my newsletter subscription box isn’t finished yet.  I didn’t want to delay giving this blog post to you, however.  Check back in 24 hours and you should be able to subscribe and no longer have to manually check the blog for updates.

Lessons Learned From Traveling The World at 18

Hey guys, sorry for going silent on you this past month!  You wouldn’t even believe the sequence of events that recently occurred…  But we’ll get to that another day.  My long-term goal on this blog is to be as transparent as humanly possible, but for professional reasons and to respect the privacy of those close to me I’ll save those stories until enough time has passed.

Regardless, after graduating high school early to travel Asia I’m back in the U.S. now.  Prior to this journey I’d never been to another city by myself let alone another country.  I remember experiencing a modest amount of anxiety leading up to this three month journey, but as all the travelers I consulted prior to leaving said, “You’ll be fine.  Everything will fall into place once you arrive.  You just have to get on the plane.”

At the time I remember wanting to believe them, but still feeling uncomfortable with the uncertainty I knew lay on the horizon.  Of course, they were right.  Everything did turn out just fine and that’s why I’m bringing you today’s blog post.  I want to share with you the lessons I’ve learned from traveling these past three months to help give you perspective on how you yourself may benefit from traveling.

The reasons you should consider traveling (even, and especially if you’re young) are:

(1.) You’re constantly being exposed to novelty.  When you travel, simply taking a walk though the city can keep you off the autopilot you likely find yourself falling into at home.  Learning to use public transportation, trying new foods, and laughing at yourself as you attempt to use chopsticks all help refresh you from the repetitiveness and daily grind that’s so easy to succumb to when you’re at home.  In short, the novel situations you find yourself in each day abroad help stimulate your mind and keep you mentally fresh and engaged.

(2.) Traveling helps you learn about what you do and do not like.  Part of this is because being abroad tends to help bring your adventurous side to the surface.  You’re more likely to try new things while traveling even if many of them are things you could’ve tried in your home country (though there are obviously more new/unfamiliar options available to you when in a foreign culture).  Traveling also helps you learn more about yourself in general.  I never considered nature particularly important to me, however, once I’d lived in Saigon for a couple months (where there is almost no nature) I realized how much I took nature for granted and how much I actually cared being around it.  Even if you don’t intend to travel on a permanent basis, the self-knowledge you acquire from traveling temporarily can be used going forward to structure your life back home in a way that allows you to be more effective and enjoy yourself more in the process.

(3.)  Travel shows you there’s no one right way of doing things.  You may notice that in the country you’re visiting they don’t talk much while eating.  Being from the U.S. you may consider this to be strange, but you have to be open-minded and accept that there are pros and cons to this approach.  Not talking while eating may result in less information being exchanged, but you’re more likely to sufficiently chew your food and thus digest it better.  This could actually result in more energy for you to be social the rest of the day!

(4.)  Traveling forces you to develop emotional resilience.  Although travel will give you some of the greatest experiences of your life it will also expose you to copious amounts of bullshit.  People will charge you more because you’re not a local.  People will try to steal things from you. You’ll get lost.  You’ll fall in love and then have to leave.  But as painful as some of these experiences may be, the adversity you experience will contribute to your personal evolution and the development of your character.  (Seriously, look at all the characteristics you most like about yourself.  There’s a very good chance you developed those character traits during difficult times.)  Working your way through the challenges you’re forced to face allows you to enjoy the most profound reward of all; a higher level of consciousness and being the person you want to be.

(5.)  Travel helps you see the world as it is rather than as the fantasy it’s comfortable for you to imagine it being.  Seeing the problems the world has doesn’t make you a pessimist.  It makes you a realist — someone that’s in touch with reality.  If seeing how the world works is painful enough for someone to the point they have to delude themselves, who really thinks the world is a bad place?  In other words, yes, I’m saying realists ie. people who accept the world as it is are those with the most profound appreciation of life.

(6.) You’ll see that the world isn’t such a scary place.  To be fair, I’ve only gone to six countries (Dominican Republic, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and Malaysia) so I can’t speak for the entire world, but from what I’ve experienced the overwhelming majority of fear most people have regarding travel is simply fear of the unknown amplified by the media’s sensationalism of the dangers abroad.  Never having taken the time to explore a foriegn culture leaves you susceptible to this. It’s not hard to give someone false expectations of a place (ie. mainstream media foreign crime and danger sensationalism) if they’ve never been there.  This is especially true if someone doesn’t even care enough to read books and educate themselves on the country nor is it inconceivable why mainstream media would take advantage of this (the ease of grabbing the average person’s attention and the potential monetary value of that attention).

(7.)  The people that you meet while traveling are incredible!  Especially if you visit a digital nomad hub such as Saigon, Vietnam or Chiang Mai, Thailand you’ll be amazed at the quality of conversations you’ll be able to hold.  When was the last time you met your friends back home for lunch and were able to discuss with them how to become an effective copywriter, the health effects of msg, and what it’s actually like to date a crazy Columbian girl?  Not every traveler you meet will be someone who lives in alignment with your values nor will every traveler be someone you aspire to be like.  With that being said, however, it takes guts and mental exertion to leave your life back home and sustain yourself abroad so you can bet you’ll meet some damn interesting people.  Of course, the locals are amazing as well.  As long as you make reasonable efforts to respect the local culture you’ll be amazed at how friendly and welcoming people can be.  Even with a language barrier, positive interactions are possible and it’s relatively easy to meet friends that speak English as well (if I found them in Vietnam, you’ve got a good shot at finding them wherever you go).  Whether it’s motorbiking across town with a friend you met an hour ago, treating your new Vietnamese girlfriend to her first Mexican burrito, or cracking jokes with your girlfriend’s gay friend you’d be amazed at how quickly you can integrate into a different society.  Sexual orientation, culture, or even language barriers needn’t be things that keep you from making friends.

(8.)  Perhaps most importantly, traveling gives you the opportunity to reinvent yourself!  This is in part because you’ll learn to be more self-reliant (especially if you’re giving this a go at a young age).  The other aspect of this is that you’ll no longer have a role others will expect you to conform to.  If in your hometown you’re known at the quiet guy others may react negatively when you attempt to speak up or talk to girls.  However, when you’re across the world nobody has a role which they’re trying to force you to play.  You can’t be told to stay in your box when others have never had the chance to categorize you.  When you travel you have the ability to choose who you want to be in each moment.  There exists perhaps no better accelerator for your personal growth.

Thoughts On Charisma

I went to bed at midnight. It’s currently 6:20 A.M. I’ve already meditated, recorded a video, walked to my favorite restaurant in Vietnam and am currently waiting for my order as I type this.

Anyway, I’m writing this post for you not because I wanted to skip sleep, but because I just couldn’t. I didn’t check the time when I woke up, but I estimate it was probably about 4:30 A.M. As strange as this sounds, while I was laying there alone in bed I gave enthused speeches on what it takes to be successful.

I delivered speech after speech as I imagined myself standing before an audience of other young hustlers clinging on to every word I offered. Now this may seem somewhat strange, but I didn’t have any resistance to it. I really enjoyed the strange rush of passion I experienced this morning, and being that it’s been so long since I gave you guys a new video I thought I’d record a quick one for you this morning.

In today’s video, being that I felt charismatic and passionate I thought I’d share a few quick tips and observations I’ve had on becoming more charismatic. This isn’t to say that I am the epitome of charisma. No, no, no. Very far from it. I am, however, significantly more charismatic than I was a few years ago, and you could easily observe that if you watch some of the first videos I ever recorded. These are just some thoughts from someone that’s going through the process alongside you.

If these ideas resonate with you then use them. If not, don’t. That’s part of being an educated consumer. Never blindly accept the things I, or anyone else tells you. Sure, it’s probably better to blindly follow what I say rather than to listen to the narrative mainstream media feeds you. At the end of the day, however, if you do that you’re still going to be a sheep incapable of making your own decisions.

Anyway, enough of my rant. Here’s a quick summary of the ideas in the video:

First, how should we define charisma? To do that, I believe we first must define charisma’s opposite which I believe to be monotone. What is monotone? Failing to vary your vocal tonality. Why do people fail to vary their vocal tonality? They’re lazy and unconsciously recognize that doing so would require an extra exertion of effort.

I challenge you to do the opposite. Actively seek to exert more energy in your interactions. Of course, that’s not enough. We’ve all tried that before and come off as “try-hard” in the past. Why did we come off as try-hard? For exactly that reason. We tried too hard. We weren’t being natural about it.

See, aside from the exertion of energy the other element to charisma is congruence. You have your highest potential for charisma when you have an abundance of energy. But, at the same time we’ve all observed someone that was tired or in an unideal emotional state, but still been captivated by them. Why? Because they were at least congruent.

Just look at your social interactions. Ideally you’re in a great mood dishing out positive energy to all the people you interact with. That’s the highest value social behavior you can have. But, at the same time it’s unrealistic to expect you’re always going to be in an upbeat emotional state. Sure, optimize your lifestyle and emotions the best you can, but at times you’re just not going to feel that great. In those times, just be comfortable with who you are and most often people will still respond to you well.

Of course, these things are mostly theory. We’re just philosophizing here. It’s cool to ponder these thoughts, but how should you actually go about becoming charismatic?

My biggest suggestion to you is to face your fears. Do the things that scare you. As Elliott Hulse would say, “Live dangerously.”

You’ll find that two things happen when you face your fears. The first is that you’ll become energized. This happens regardless of whether or not you succeed in the face of fear. Even if the girl you find intimidating rejects you, you’ll still feel energized for having had to summon up the courage to talk to her.

The second thing you’ll find is that by leaning into your fears you’re naturally able to be more congruent. This happens as a result of you becoming more confident and comfortable with who you are as a person. As you begin to live in closer alignment with your values it’s easier to be congruent because you don’t feel as much of a need to filter yourself or present something that you’re not. When you like the person who you are it’s relatively easy to be authentic with others.

Finally, why you should you want to be charismatic? You’ll be a more interesting and dynamic person in your relationships, and charisma will also give you a greater ability to influence others and initiate positive change. Few people are actively trying to make the world a better place. You can never put people into a role they don’t want to play, but being charismatic can help you show them exactly why they should want to play that role.

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Below is the Elliott Hulse video I referenced earlier on living dangerously. Some great thoughts here and things I’ve personally observed as well. Definitely make the time to check it out!

Life in Vietnam, Meeting Connor Grooms, & How To Juggle

Hope you’re doing well on this mighty fine day! :) Have you ever wondered what it’s actually like to travel alone to a foreign country? I recently wrote a guest post on my first week in Saigon and adjusting to life here, meeting Connor Grooms (a digital nomad and awesome blogger in his own right), and how to learn to juggle within an hour (as well as improve more quickly at any skill). You can read the post on Connor’s blog.

Also, if my post has gotten you interested in juggling you NEED to check out the new course I’ve recently launched on juggling. It has more than 30 videos on how to go from being unable to juggle, to stringing together the 25 tricks you’ve learned in an exciting fashion to entertain any audience. Want more reasons you should learn to juggle and why I’ve invested an estimated 2,500 hours of my life into juggling? Check out my most recent blog post answering your questions here.

In short, juggling can help you:

  • Improve your physical fitness.
  • Impress people at parties.
  • Alleviate stress and clear your mind.

Are you ready to start juggling yet? As a thank you for reading my blog you can pick up the course 50% off (and help cover the blog’s monthly maintenance cost) using the coupon code “BLOGLOVE.” Get your discounted course now and be juggling before you know it. :)

Why I Juggle & Why You Should Too

I can’t remember how it all started. It may have began a few years back after Thanksgiving lunch. I remember everyone else was sluggish because they’d had a huge meal, but I was filled with energy because I was vegan at the time and had eaten fruit salad for lunch. Actually I don’t think that’s when it all began.

I really don’t remember a specific moment when I began learning, but I do remember where a surprising amount of my skill development began. The classroom was my inspiration to practice, but I’m not talking about reviewing multiplication tables. I’m referring to juggling.

I’ve always found school extremely boring so during my freshmen year of high school I began practicing to juggle in a particularly boring English class. I’d had enough of listening to my reacher rant about Zeus and Odysseus so whenever she’d turn her back to write on the chalkboard I’d grab my tennis balls and make a few throws. At first I’d often drop and I couldn’t tell you how many times I got my balls confiscated by her 😉

Juggling had finally given me a little excitement in school. Soon I was practicing during class, between my classes, and even during lunch. Juggling definitely didn’t make me popular, but man did I get good at it.

Within a month I was already learning four balls and I loved juggling so much that I’d often practice 4-6 hours per day! After about a year or so my wrists could no longer take the repetitive stress from 6 hours of throwing per day so in late 2012 I had to cut back to “only” two hours of practice per day. I’ve maintained that practice routine since and I estimate that over the years I’ve invested almost 3,000 hours into juggling.

Why Juggle?

That’s probably the question you’re wondering now. Why would anyone ever invest thousands of hours of their life into such a strange hobby? I sometimes ask myself the same question 😉

In the beginning I juggled simply because I found it fun. There was nothing else to it. I wasn’t making money from it, or trying to impress people with my new skills (ok maybe I was at first, but I quickly learned juggling doesn’t work on girls). I juggled primarily because I enjoyed the learning process practicing allowed me to engage in.

That’s why I continue to juggle today. Although juggling is not as stimulating to me as it once was it’s still something I thoroughly enjoy because it helps me fulfill one of my fundamental needs as a human being. Juggling allows me to realize the need to grow.

Regardless of how you’re attempting to grow and develop yourself there’s nothing more fulfilling than seeing yourself slowly progress each day. That’s what juggling represents to me. It’s a path to mastery and by consistently showing up to strive for improvement everyday I’ve built up a considerable amount of discipline and resilience in the process.

Of course, there’s other benefits of learning to juggle as well. It’s a light form of cardiovascular exercise, it’s a “cool” party trick, many people find the repetitiveness of juggling meditative and good for alleviating stress, and it’s fun enough that you’ll actually do it and be able to reap these benefits!

Now, I’m not saying everyone needs to drop what they’re doing and start juggling (hmmm… that was pretty witty though). All I’m saying is that if you haven’t found a path to mastery for yourself why not give juggling a shot? Or, alternatively if you already have a passion project you’re working on juggling could be a fun little diversion for you to recover from the seriousness and exhausting energy exertion that often accompanies pursuing your goals.

With the thousands of hours I’ve invested into juggling the past few years of my life it’s been difficult for me not to write a post about it, but I’ve tried to avoid talking about juggling here because the focus of this blog has always been self-improvement. However, like I’ve said, juggling had played a huge role in my personal development and it’s not inconceivable that it could contribute to yours as well. If juggling doesn’t change your life it’ll at least be a silly hobby to help you recover from the daily grind.

That’s why I’ve recently gone through the effort of creating an online course teaching others how to juggle. I’ve taken everything I’ve learned about juggling over the years, and created a package of 30+ videos that guides you from being a complete beginner learning how to juggle 3 balls, to stringing together the two dozen tricks you learned throughout the course in an engaging routine to entertain an audience.

I get that you don’t often get sold products on juggling, but that’s exactly why I made my course. I think juggling represents a fun activity that teaches you how to learn and I want you to be able to enjoy some of the same benefits I’ve gained in learning how to juggle (regardless of if you ever decide to perform).

Anyway, if I’ve gotten you interested in learning how to juggle and you’d like to support me (and help cover the blog’s hosting costs) you can find my new juggling course here. I’m selling it for $39, but as a thank you for reading my blog you can get it 50% off using the coupon code “BLOGLOVE.”

P.S. If you’d like to see me take someone else through the process of learning to juggle (and use the same steps to be juggling within an hour!) check out my recent guest post on Connor Grooms’ blog.

True Happiness Comes From Being The Person You Want To Be

For years now I’ve had a dream of traveling the world. Two years ago I wanted to be a foreign exchange student, but I gave up on that dream because I was vegan at the time and I was told that it would be almost impossible to find a host family that could accommodate my diet in any of the countries I wanted to go to.

Last year I’d again decided that I wanted to be a foreign exchange student and that I would be willing to temporarily set aside my vegan diet to explore the world. I thought that’s all it would take to find myself a foreign exchange student. Unfortunately, I’d forgotten about money.

When I’d brought up the idea of becoming a foreign exchange student to my parents it was almost immediately discounted. Sure, they said they’d love for me to be able to go, but with most programs’ tuition at over $10,000 they were unwilling to send me off unless I found a way to come up with the vast majority of the money. This discouraged me, and I again gave up on my dream to travel.

This year, however, I’d decided that I was going to travel the world at any cost. As my buddy Connor Grooms would say, giving travel a shot became a non-negotiable for me. I realized that I now didn’t qualify for many foreign exchange programs because I was going to be 18 years old. Again I was discouraged, but I didn’t give up. I researched gigs on cruise ships, being a flight attendant, Helpx, WWOOF, Peace Corps, the military, everything. If it could get me onto the other side of the world you can bet I read a few dozen blog posts about it.

Eventually I came across something called a digital nomad. I’d never heard the term before, but apparently there’s a HUGE community of people worldwide that make their living online while having the freedom to work from virtually anywhere. These people are freelance writers, translators, programmers, designers, internet marketers, etc.

After several months of researching the digital nomad community I decided that even if I wasn’t going to become one for the rest of my life I wanted to at least give their lifestyle a shot. So, I bought a ticket to Asia. For months I told myself that even though my life was moving along relatively well, everything was going to change when I got to Asia. I was going to be permanently happy once I got off that plane because I’d be, “Living The Dream.”

Well, after many months of excitement building up I left the U.S. and have spent the last week in Hong Kong, and Singapore. I’ve spent the past week with my brother (whom I’ve always been close with) and despite going on lots of adventures with him, having laughs, seeing beautiful things, and staying at arguably the most luxurious hotel in Singapore I found myself very apathetic to life at times.

I found the state of my emotions horrifying. How could I be, “Living The Dream,” doing what I always wanted, trying great foods, seeing amazing things, staying at luxurious hotels and still not be happy? If I couldn’t be happy in these circumstances, how the hell would I ever be able to find happiness?

I was extremely frustrated with myself and thought I had a problem not being as happy now as I was when I was on the grind. I thought I had a problem because I wasn’t as happy now as when I was juggling, lifting weights, and writing blog posts everyday.

That’s when I realized something. I wasn’t feeling apathetic despite the fact I was avoiding the daily grind, I was feeling apathetic exactly because I had gotten off the grind!

I’d always known this to be true on an intellectual level, but never until this week did I fully realize that happiness comes not from your external circumstances, but whether you feel as if you’re being and becoming the type of person you’d like to be.

Sure, this past week I’d had the best external circumstances I’d ever had in my life, but the reason I was still generally apathetic was because I wasn’t spending my time in accordance with my values. I was spending too much time socializing, and relaxing. Everyone obviously needs some amount of rest and rejuvenation in their life, but based on who I want to be and where I want to go I’d completely misweighted the amount of time I’d invested into just chilling and going with the flow.

Once I got back to juggling, and recording videos, doing editing work, and writing I quickly began to experience more positive emotions again. It’s incredible how just these past couple days of grinding have changed the way I felt. Two days ago I was feeling meeehh, but now I’m feeling the best I’ve felt in months.

My challenge to you is to make the same adjustment in your life. Don’t wait for something to come along that’s going to make you happy. It’s unlikely to come, and even if it did, it probably wouldn’t make you happy anyway. Trust me, I’m telling you this from firsthand experience.

You don’t want things handed to you on a silver platter because you’re not going to appreciate them. People think it’s the destination that’s going to make them happy, but today I’m asking you to at least consider a contrary view.

Just consider, that maybe it’s not the million dollars that’s going to make you happy. Maybe it’s not getting in bed with the beautiful girl that’s going to make you happy. It’s not staying at the five star hotel that’s going to make you happy. Sure, those things are stimulating. It’s fun to go on vacations, try new foods, and meet girls because they provide novelty and are the spices of life. But remember, they’re just the spices!

You’d never want a whole plate of just spices. You need the steak too! There’s nothing wrong with spices contributing to the steak’s flavor, but try a dish of just spices and you’ll choke!

The best part of life, the part that brings you the majority of sustained and lasting happiness is finding a path to mastery, finding something, anything, that you can strive each day to become a little bit better at. You need to find something where you’re not just looking to the final destination because that’s not what’s going to make you happy.

What will make you happy is finding something, even if it’s just self-improvement in your everyday life, where you can enjoy the small moments each day as you attempt to grow and make incremental progress. That’s what you need. Even if the milestone you’re striving towards is never realized, It’s the everyday grind and appreciating the small steps of the journey each day as you work to develop as a human being that will bring you happiness far more consistent and real than the fleeting happiness reaching the occasional peak in life brings.

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Picture is of me indulging in the luxury of the rooftop pool at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel.

You can view the rest of my travel photos on my Instagram.

Finally, today’s video was one of the best I’ve ever recorded, so even if you normally prefer reading my blog posts I’d recommend checking out the video anyway!

Life Update January 2015

I can’t remember the last time I’ve dedicated a post to updating you on the status of my life. I try not to do this type of post too often because I don’t want you to feel as if I’m more interested in hearing myself talk than providing you with material that you can use to improve your life. Regardless, I felt compelled to write a life update for you today simply because so much has been happening in my life over the past month or so. Here’s the list of things that have gone down.

I Quit My Job At Dairy Queen

After a run of 5.5 months at Dairy Queen I knew it was time for a change. Like my mentor Steve Pavlina once said, “The problem with getting experience from a job is that you usually just repeat the same limited experience over and over. You learn a lot in the beginning and then stagnate.” I quit my job at Dairy Queen because I could feel myself stagnating.

Although I’d learned some interesting things about customer-service, and the fast food industry in the early days I’d learned very little in the later months of my employment.

Beyond that, however, I quit simply because I don’t agree with what Dairy Queen stands for. I always felt guilty carrying out customers orders because I knew I was just taking them one step closer to obesity. Maybe you could justify that I shouldn’t have felt guilty because I was just giving the customers “what they wanted.” I knew, however, that I wanted out of the system. I just couldn’t take anymore of giving customers what I felt were poorly sourced animal derived products, that would support the industrial food chain as well as erode the lives of those who consumed them.

The last thing I’ll note is that as a fast food restaurant Dairy Queen is almost the definition of a dead-end job. What’s wrong with that you ask? It leads to dead-end people working there. Although I certainly liked some of my coworkers, there was very little ambition around me. I didn’t see much striving beyond mediocrity (at best) while I was there.

All of these reasons considered, it made perfect sense to me to walk away.

I turned 18

Hmm… I’m not sure what to write here beyond the fact I’m considered legally an adult. One thing that felt strange about this was that it was an impetus for me to reflect nostalgically on my childhood. It feels strange that I can be considered so young, but that I can also remember memories from ten years ago. Some of these memories are vague and feel as if they happened long ago, while others can be remembered so clearly as if they occurred yesterday and I was there reliving them. Overall, however, I don’t quite know what to think about my age.

I Left The U.S. For The First Time

This month was the first time I’d ever been outside the United States. I went to the Dominican Republic with several other family members and my Uncle was kind enough to rent out a villa for all of us. Although we stuck primarily to touristy areas I still found the trip to be an interesting cultural experience. I greatly enjoyed trying new foods, seeing the ocean for the first time, and trying to keep up with the locals’ Spanish. I posted a bunch of pictures of the trip on my new Instagram account so if you haven’t been following me check them out!

4 Year of Self-Development

4 years ago I began my journey of self-improvement because I’d just had my heart broken. I began “dating” what I labeled “the girl of my dreams” and less than 24 hours after our “relationship” had begun she told me that she thought it would be better if we were just friends. I emphasized the quotes in the last sentence because in retrospect I find it hilarious that I’d gotten so upset over something so trivial. Haha.

However, I am extremely grateful for that girl having rejected me. It was extremely painful at the time, but who knows where I’d be if things hadn’t played out that way. I’m very happy to be where I am now, but it’s highly unlikely I’d be here if I’d never had that dramatic event knock me off the trajectory of mediocrity. I doubt the girl understands what she was the catalyst for, but I’m so grateful to have fallen and been destroyed by her all those years ago…

I Graduated High School

Graduating high school more so than turning 18 made me feel like an adult. When I walked through the parking lot for the last time I realized that I’m on my own now. I’m no longer going to be given gold stars for simply doing what the teacher says. I have no choice but to hustle now because the circumstances of my life will be from this point forward determined by my ability to produce results and provide value to society.

It is nerve-wracking to have all this responsibility placed on my shoulders, but at the same time I feel it’s been given to me in a very timely fashion. Sure, I’m going out on my own a bit earlier than my peers, but at the same time given how I’ve lived my life this feels very appropriate.

I’m Officially Headed To Asia

In early February I’ll embark on a three month adventure through Asia. Although I’d initially planned to travel alone I’ll now be accompanied by my brother and uncle for much of the first month. I’ll admit to being nervous for the trip, but I’m extremely excited for it as well. I believe it will serve as my rite of passage in transitioning from adolescence into adulthood.

Although I don’t have too many concrete plans for the trip I do intend to spend much of my time meeting up with and becoming active in the digital nomad communities in Chiang Mai, Thailand and Saigon, Vietnam. Regardless of how everything plays out I’m sure the journey will be transformational and fundamentally change the way I view the world.

Concluding Thoughts…

We need to wrap up as the flight into Dallas I’m aboard will be landing soon. I guess I’d say that 2015 has already brought tremendous change and it looks to be the most promising year I’ve ever had. I’m excited what new adventures life will bring to me this year, and of course I’m also excited to take the things I’ve learned and share them with you!

I hope you’ll come along with me for the ride and make 2015 the best year of your life! :)

Let’s make 2015 the year of facing all the things you fear!

Use Your Finances Aggressively When You’re Young

Just got back a couple days ago from a weeklong trip to the Dominican Republic. I would’ve updated you sooner, but I’ve had World War III occurring in my stomach since eating some bad airport food 😉 I’m finally starting to feel better so I thought I’d shoot you a blog post.

Being that I just got back from the Dominican Republic and am on the road again to Dallas in a few days I thought I’d share with you today one of my favorite philosophies. I call it living on thin margins and aggressively investing your resources.

The inspiration for this blog post came from people constantly asking me how I’m affording all my travel this year. My parents don’t pay for my travel expenses and I just turned 18 years old. How the hell does a teenager get the money to graduate school early, and leave for a three month trip to Asia?

The secret? Cutting out all the nonessentials out of your life and aggressively investing your resources. For several years this has been a cornerstone in the way I live my life. The thing you’ve got to understand is that if you want to get ahead of the pack, doing it while you’re young is hands down the best time to do so.

You (presumably) have low recurring bills, because your parents are covering the majority of your expenses. Unfortunately, the problem with most teenagers is that they’re too dumb to realize this isn’t going to last forever.

You can’t be like most teenagers though. Remember, everybody wants the good life, but not everybody gets it. If you want a life that’s extraordinary you can’t take an ordinary approach.

What’s the ordinary approach most people take? Frivolously spending their money on shoes, fancy electronics, and other things they don’t really need.

The thing you’ve got to realize, however, is that material possessions don’t amount to increased levels of happiness. Well, at least sustained levels of happiness. The minute an expensive toy stops being a novelty you’re back to square one, only with $200 less in your pocket.

So what should you do? Invest in experiences. The reason I’m spending my money on a half-dozen trips this year is science has shown that experiences and memories are the things that produce lasting happiness in your life.

In a year when you’re expensive jeans are torn and unwearable they’re no longer going to contribute to your happiness, but in a year when I think about the memories I shared with the people I met in the Dominican Republic you can bet a smile will still come to my face.

OK, fair enough. Material possessions typically stop making you happy once their novelty wears off, while experiences tend to lead to more sustained happiness. You’re saying I should avoid consumerism. I can agree with that. But what I don’t agree with is you saying I should spend the majority of my money on experiences. Wouldn’t the best choice be to simply save all my money?

No, and I say no for a few reasons. The first is that life is short. You never know when you’re going to die. There’s too many people who have been tricked into saving all their money for retirement only to pass before they made it, or to reach retirement and realize that they were too old to do the things they’d always wanted to do.

You don’t have to be like Lil Wayne and live completely YOLO. A lot of lives have gotten destroyed that way as well, but like most things a balanced approach tends to lead to the most fruitful life.

The second reason I recommend against investing significant amounts of your money in the market is that while you’re young there’s a far better place for you to invest the majority of your money. It’s called your brain.

Although cutting expenses, and saving your change is an admirable approach to creating a secure financial future there’s an even better way. Increasing your income!

Like Bill Gates says, “The more you learn, the more you earn.” Investing in your education (which could mean college, but doesn’t necessarily) will greatly increase your ability to create generous streams of income for yourself.

Can you conceive of a reality in which reading books, spending money to attend conferences in your field, and traveling to meet your mentors wouldn’t pay off? If you’re an active thinker and are willing to take massive action the resources you invest into your education will pay off one-hundred-fold.

Perhaps the biggest reason I recommend you aggressively use your finances while you’re young is that doing so will allow you to attract better people into your life. Sure, you can work at your mediocre job scrounging together a dollar here and a dollar there, but do you think that’s going to attract great people into your life?

The person you want going to war with you probably isn’t your coworker at Wendy’s. You want the people who are going to hustle their asses off and push you to do the same. Unfortunately, these people may not be in your city or even your country. I’ve found two great people I want to work with, but one is currently traveling the world as a digital nomad while the other is in France.

It’d be great if they’d come to Wisconsin sometime, but the reality is that if I want them in my life I’m probably going to have inconvenience myself and fly overseas to meet them.

You’re probably going to have to inconvenience yourself in some way to meet the people you’d like to as well. Whether that means traveling to another country, paying for someone’s time to coach you, or doing bitch work to get someone to mentor and invest in you. Whatever the cost, DO IT. As the saying goes, the quality of your life is proportional to the five people you spend the most time with.

While you’re young you can expend significant energy and resources meeting these people that’ll push you to be the best you can be and show you ways to increase your income. This is the active thinker and hustler approach to life. If you’re willing to take massive action this is probably the path for you.

Otherwise, you can cut costs, and skip your morning latte hoping to scrounge together a dollar here and a dollar there to one day have enough money to be financially secure. This is the passive thinker approach for one that is uncomfortable with any uncertainty in life. Unfortunately, for the majority of people in life this is their best option (It still beats throwing money away at useless material possessions).

What I’d recommend you do is identify what type of person you are. Are you willing to hustle? Are you able to think creatively? If so there’s a good chance you’ll want to invest your money going to conferences, and traveling to meet the people you want to go to war with.

If you’re not willing to hustle and live aggressively then fuck off. Get used to associating with mediocre people, and living a mediocre life. The world is crazy, but it’s not a crazy enough place to give you something you don’t deserve.

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If you enjoyed this post consider picking up a copy of Richard Branson’s Losing My Virginity. It’s a great book that is centered around the same line of thought.

(Pictures from January 2015 in the Dominican Republic.)