Confidence & Beauty

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I wrote this entry with the community at www.huddl.org in mind, yet it applies to everyone.

Confidence is not an illusion, but a realization. One must understand their true beauty and importance, which isn’t always easy to do.

With the way society is today, many people are conditioned to think that they’re not important or that their unique thoughts, characteristics, and traits are not important. This leads to insecurity, timidity, and ultimately hinders one’s ability to share their beauty with the world.

Think about all of the people that our society truly lauds – these people are usually confident human beings. Why are they confident? Because they realize their true beauty and a lot of that realization comes from someone in their lives encouraging them, noticing them, appreciating them, and telling them that they are beautiful and important.

The people we appreciate and put on pedestals are no more important or beautiful than any one person in the world – the difference is that at some point they came to that realization and gained enough confidence to show themselves to the world.

Imagine if you and I took the extra second to appreciate each other and point out the good stuff.

How can you help change the world? Sounds crazy right? It’s not. In fact, it’s simple. You can encourage others and show them you appreciate them for who they are and what they think. We are all so special and if we took a bit more time appreciating, not only with the younger people in our lives, but all of the people we come across, we can change the climate of society.

We can help each other gain confidence in ourselves and ultimately be our beautiful selves.

It starts with you and me. Tell the people in your life how much you appreciate them today. Tell them why they’re important and why they’re special. You won’t regret it and neither will they.

 

Love & Peas,
Josh

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Lead, Empower, Develop

First blog in what seems like maybe a year – I’ve been busy writing personal stuff and a whole bunch of other stuff, and a couple of people close to me mentioned this blog and asked why I haven’t been writing… I guess that’s a sign, so here’s a short piece I wrote in my phone last night… Hope it resonates…

In business and combat, it’s mission first. Personal opinions are not typically a factor. They’re silenced, ignored, kept to the individuals that have them. The mission continues and is typically accomplished.

With artists, as with Soldiers, and businessmen, they often think and wonder, “Why am I doing this? Is this fair to us? Is this fair to them? Is there a better way?” Only the artist is really given a chance (not after they have reached commodity status on a major as a part of the machine) to voice their thirst for knowledge, a knowledge they might not have the fortitude to deal with, nevertheless they want that knowledge.

They want to understand how shit works, just like we all do, however the artist – more than anyone else has the ability to ask the question (however much resistance it’s met with by producers and other collaborators). Answer the fucking ‘How’. Better yet, answer the ‘Why’. Share the knowledge with those who want it. Those who want it, those who continually question, who beg to understand WHY — They shall be the ones to move society forward, to progress, and to better what we have done. Be that progression. Lead, Empower, Develop.

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Spring Cleaning

With the weather changing, I’ve found myself thinking about the idea of “Spring Cleaning”. It’s something that I have been trying to really concentrate on as of late. My life is full of positive energy, good fortune, great people, smiles, laughs, and fun. This is not to say that there aren’t tough days or hard work – there are always tough days and hard work.

The tough days and hard work can actually be extremely rewarding and positive, all according to the way you look at them, which brings me back to my outlook and the life that I am creating and continually working on for myself. I’ve been extremely fortunate to have met some unbelievable people in the last few months and begin working with them, learning from them, sharing stories, and just really vibing with these folks.

This isn’t an accident. I have created the circumstances surrounding these connections by being honest, open, caring, and doing things with no expectation of any type of reciprocation. I continue to meet wonderful people with huge hearts and minds and it seems as if my circle is getting larger, but more focused.

The “more focused” part of this is a function of what we might look at as, “Spring Cleaning”. I had a conversation with a group of friends and colleagues this past week that really opened my eyes. We spoke about business, charity, energy, love, relationships, and most importantly our approach to life. I’ve had a lot of help in my life from many beautiful people and I hope that I have been helpful to others along the way. I have been trying for a long time to do as much as I can for as many people as I can (this is just the way I’m built – this doesn’t mean that I’m not self-aware or get no value out of helping others – I do and I love it). Focusing my energy, evaluating the projects I am working on, and more importantly the people I am surrounding myself with are at the forefront of my “Spring Cleaning” if you will.

Now, more than last week, last month, last year, I’m working on focusing my world and cutting out the negative energy. It was brought to my attention that I was just trying to do too much (for the millionth time) and it really hit me hard. Since this group conversation, I’ve been thinking about the way I approach people and life. I will ALWAYS lend a hand to someone who is reaching for help – ALWAYS. However, I have been the one reaching out to “help” others and make sure everything is okay in their lives, and sometimes – they either don’t need any of my “help” or they simply don’t want any of my “help”. As I’ve been looking back on the things I have done and the people I spend time with, I have really begun to notice the relationships and the things in my life where I am reaching out my hand, but there’s nobody reaching toward it. This is my fault. My “help” isn’t always needed – and this begs the self-reflective questions: “Dude, who do you think you are? The guy who everyone needs? Maybe they don’t need you or want you?”

I’m not sure how to feel about these self-reflective questions and it’s definitely not easy for me to be writing this, but it’s happening, so why not share it? I am who I am and I can’t really be anything else. While I’m not sure how to feel about these introspective questions, I am beginning to gain clarity on how to act and where to focus my energy going forward. When I try to lend my energy, mind, time, and heart to a situation, organization, or person and my energy is not met with the same positive drive and commitment, it’s probably a good indicator that the situation, organization, or person is not something I should be “helping”.

I’m actively taking more time to look at the things THAT I WANT (one of them being helping others) and figuring out how to achieve them. I’m cutting out the people, organizations, and situations that I am not “helping” or do not want my “help”. This is not me being cynical or some passive-aggressive post you might find on Facebook or some other Social Media site – this is me recognizing that I am NOT “helpful” in every situation and me recognizing that I should focus my attention and energy where it is warranted.

Personally, this is extremely liberating for me – doing this, and even writing this blog about it – it’s really helping me clear out some of the crap that’s stuck in my head and my heart. I’m really beginning to understand that the things THAT I WANT for myself and I want for others are not the same things that everyone else wants. I’m taking a hard look at the projects, organizations, and people in my life and I am really evaluating my time and how I spend it. My time is the most finite, valuable currency in my life and I want to spend it doing the things that mean the most to me with the people that mean the most to me. This is my “Spring Cleaning” and it’s a work in progress. It’s not something that’s easy to do, but since I’ve begun doing it, I’ve gained clarity and a better understanding of myself and the environment around me… What are you doing for “Spring Cleaning”?

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Love & Progression

Every day, sometimes two and three times a day, I write out a to-do list.  I have been doing this for as long as I can remember.  I’m a visual guy, so I break up my page into four corners.  Each corner is for a subsequent, different area of my life.  The reason I make these lists and rewrite them so incessantly is two-fold; 1) I must look at the list every day and this ensures that nothing slips through the cracks, 2) On the days when I feel like I don’t really have a “big” day with a lot to do, I’m able to look at the different areas and see that there are things that I can be doing, making progress in at least one area of my life.

I deal with many different people, ideas, businesses, and charities on a daily basis.  My four main lists are broken up into the following categories: 1) Work stuff for employers – things that I have to do to get paid and eat, 2) Work stuff for my interests – this is comprised of the things that I have interest in and I’m working to bring to fruition, 3) Life stuff – this list ranges from cleaning up my workspace, doing laundry, sending someone a birthday gift, to writing blog entries such as this one, 4) Commitments I’ve made to others – this list is typically comprised of things I have told friends, family, charities, etc. that I will do.

These four lists involve a ton of different people, organizations, and skill sets.  They keep my mind sharp, diverse, and they keep me well rounded.  They all compliment each other very well.  I move at a pretty high rate of speed in everything I do – I know many of you are the same way and you’re left feeling like you’re waiting on others a lot of the time.  I’m not the most patient guy in the world, so it’s very easy for me to get frustrated when others aren’t moving at the speed I’d like – this is a flaw and something I’m working on.  My priorities are NOT everyone else’s priorities, so recognizing that notion is the first step to creating balance in my life and becoming a more understanding, empathetic individual.

Aside from growing frustrated in one area or “list” in my life, it’s very easy to become stagnant and in a state where I’m just kind of existing or waiting on others.  I don’t want to sit in front of a computer or do nothing, so what do I do?  I look at another area or “list” in my life and there’s ALWAYS something I can be doing.  As I mentioned, the different lists I have broken down compliment each other and keep me balanced.  They ensure that I am always making progress on at least one front in my life.  Additionally, the diversity in the areas of my life is a true blessing because I can be running through a strategic business plan, organizing a sales or marketing initiative, take it as far as I can, and then I can shift my focus to something totally different such as figuring out how to help someone who needs it or sending someone flowers, a gift, whatever.  This really allows me to understand what is really important in life.  The ability to shift my focus and energy from something as necessary and mundane to me as making money to something as fulfilling and meaningful as helping someone out affords me the perspective to see things in a larger scope, take a step back, and really APPRECIATE what is important in life.

The two most important things to me in life are LOVE and PROGRESSION.  I try to give all I can to whoever I meet and it goes hand in hand with not only my progression and their progression, but it also goes hand in hand with progression in general.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m very busy and I always revert back to something I learned back at West Point: “Priorities of Work”.  This is something that Soldiers are taught while training for combat.  For example, when you get into a position on the battlefield, you are trained to always think about “Priorities of Work”.  These are drilled into Soldiers at the most survivalistic level: Defense, Force protection, Supplies, and Improving your fighting position (or as I like to look at it – PROGRESSION).  I find myself using this ideology with everyday life.  Once I feel like I have taken a task in an area of my life to the point where I have exhausted all of my energy, done all I can, I move on to another area or list and begin to work on something else.

Do you have a to-do list that you write out every single day?

If not, give it a shot – and try breaking it up into categories.  I guarantee you will become more efficient and you will not be left with that “existing” feeling, waiting on others.  My to-do list is something that really works for me and I think it can help everyone.  From the busiest folks who feel like they are overwhelmed to the folks that may feel like they are “existing” each day with no real direction.  Think about what your categories can be – they can range from those necessary things at “work” all the way to the dreams, wishes, and hopes that you have.  Creating these lists and looking at them every day will force you to make progression towards your goals in each area of life.  This exercise might even make you create a list for an area of your life (like that book you want to write or new venture you want to tackle) that you aren’t paying much attention to right now, but could be…

If you give this a shot and create a to-do list with categories, you might be surprised at what you want and more importantly what you COULD be doing every day to PROGRESS and achieve your goals.  Time is finite – it’s all we have.  Think about it and don’t waste a second.  Love life, love yourself, love others, and make progress – YOU CAN DO IT.

Love & Peas,

Josh

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Don’t Be A Bot

Don’t be a bot.

Stop and take a look at those you might usually pass by.

Those people you serve or those people you work with, work for, and/or see at the newsstand every day.  They are people just like you.  They might be acting like robots… but why?  The same reason you and I have and do – we get fixated on either a task or something negative and we put our head down, move forward through our day, through our life, missing the most beautiful part of this life – all of the unique people made up of the same stuff.

There have been too many instances that I have both been a part of and experienced where we just walk by others just like us and don’t recognize each other.  The thing that separates us from robots and machines is our ability to feel.  We can relate to each other, we can create things, we can use our minds to connect and help each other.  I know I’ve had days where I move through life, not thinking, not wanting to be bothered, and I’ve had interactions with people where I could have just simply been more caring, loving, and HUMAN.  I could have asked how people are doing, made a friendly gesture – even a small smile – that little thing could mean the world to someone else.  I know I’ve had days where people went out of their way to say hello to me, talk to me, and genuinely shown care, love, and acted HUMAN towards me.  And it feels good, especially when we’re down.

I read a quote from Jerry West this week that really struck a chord with me and my existence in general, moreover it made me think about the way I carry myself and interact with others.  Jerry West said, “You can’t get much done in life if you only work hard on the days when you feel good.”  This quote really resonated with me because there are many days when I wake up and I don’t feel 100% and those days are tough to get going and get things done, make progress in whatever it is I’m undertaking in my life.  I’m sure we all have those days, and I’m making a conscious effort to remember that quote and get up and get it done, no matter what.

This really applies to the way I treat others as well.  It’s very easy for us to wake up, not feel 100%, which I’m not sure is ever the case, and just kind of bumble through life feeling sorry for ourselves.  We’ve got to first think about our output, our goals, and ourselves, then we have to think about all of the people we might interact with on any given day and give ourselves and everyone else our best – even if it’s tough.  If we can be a light, brighten someone else’s day, and do something good, then we’re helping – we’re adding – we’re putting something good into the world.  We’re DOING MORE.

I challenge all of you to think about Jerry West’s quote, “You can’t get much done in life if you only work hard on the days when you feel good.”

Think about that when you get up and think about how you must go on, you must progress towards your goals, and you MUST NOT BE A BOT.  Be a human – care, love, and recognize others – no matter what burdens you’re carrying – there are others that you can help by simply being human, caring, and loving them.  A small gesture goes a long way.  Don’t be a bot my friends… we’re all made of the same stuff.  Let’s work harder, love ourselves more, love one another more, and put some good into the world.

Love & Peas,
Josh

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Picking Up The Pieces

Picking Up The Pieces.

I’m sure that those four words mean something different, yet similar to everyone reading this entry.

Life is about beginnings, endings, hellos, goodbyes, and more than anything – moving on.  Time stops for nobody and curveballs are thrown at us every day.  I’d bet that everyone reading this has some situation, whether it’s just some menial fire they have to put out today or some larger, looming problem in their lives that is absolutely tearing them apart.  For all of you nodding your head or saying, “yup”: You are not alone.

It seems that whenever I feel like I have everything together and I’m doing okay, something or someone comes along and just rocks my world and topples whatever I’m doing.  This is when I’m faced with some options (the same way all of you are).  At this point in time, when everything seems to be against you – you feel like your friends/family have turned on you, you lost your job, a business deal fell through, you found out that someone in your family is sick, or something very small and frustrating has happened in your day to day life – you have to pick up the pieces.  YOU MUST.

Picking up the pieces, no matter how intense and important the situation might be – no matter how much of an impact it has on your life and those around you, is something you must do.  Life is just that – we’re constantly experiencing some type of destruction, either caused by circumstances out of our control or poor decisions we have made.  We’re constantly faced with things falling apart.  This is life – it sounds harsh, but get used to it.  

We continue to act surprised (myself included) when bad things happen, when friendships, partnerships, and all types of plans and situations go awry.  We shouldn’t be surprised my friends – this is life.  We have to pick up the pieces.  It sounds pretty easy to say or write, and it actually is easy to do, once we have the proper mindset and we commit to reconstruction.

How many times have you been working on something and you get to the end of it to notice that it’s all wrong and you have to go back and start over?  It sucks.  I know – I’ve been there.  Let’s take a simple situation: You’re putting together a table from Ikea and you’ve worked a few hours on it, you’re almost done, and you have a long day tomorrow.  Then you notice there’s an essential part you left out and you have to go back and redo the entire thing – brutal!  What do you do?  Well, if you’re like me, you probably curse the little figures on the instructions, act like a child, huff and puff, finally calm down, and then you take it all apart and you do it the right way.  You pick up the pieces, and you put it back together (obviously this is a very literal example).

Believe it or not, the sequence of events I just explained is very similar to the more complex and emotional problems and situations we face in life.  Let’s look at something like losing your job.  You lose your job and immediately you start to experience a plethora of emotions – you question your company, your boss, their loyalty, yourself, your loyalty, your abilities – and it down right hurts.  It all hurts.  You go through that same sort of huff and puff you did when you invested that time building the Ikea table to find out that you had to go back to square one and do it all over again.  If you take a step away from life for a minute and look at your job or whatever the issue you’re dealing with, and you get through your griping and your emotions… Then you can begin to pick up the pieces, begin to heal, and begin to build baby.

I’ve been through a lot, as I’m sure you all have, so I don’t have to harp on the emotions and the feelings that we experience when everything falls apart.  They hurt and we react in different ways when we feel betrayed or when we feel like the world is against us.  I’ve been working extremely hard on putting things into perspective when things go awry (no matter how big or how small).  I’ve written a lot about planning, and thinking things through – and the most important thing I have maintained is that we must understand that our plans are just PLANS – they change.  While it might sound like I’m minimizing the devastation of a job loss or a relationship loss, I’m not.  Again, you are not alone – we all have experienced, are experiencing, and will experience these things throughout our lives.  How you react to a situation, no matter how much weight you put on it, means everything when it comes to moving on.  IT’S OKAY to feel pain, sadness, all of the feelings you might experience, but it is NOT okay to wallow and allow inertia to overtake you and affect your path forward.  

The best thing I can recommend is to first – understand that your feelings are not unique and it is totally okay to feel what you are feeling.  Second, understand that these feelings will subside and the quicker you can realize that, center yourself, love yourself, and pragmatically look at what you can do to affect your future, the quicker you can begin to pick up the pieces and begin to build.

Again, life is about beginnings, endings, hellos, goodbyes, and more than anything – moving on.  We MUST move on.  We must take our lessons learned, PICK UP THE PIECES, and move on.  When we really think about it, there’s no other option.  Pick up the pieces and get moving – You’re better than staying down, you’re worth more, and you’re fully capable of dealing with anything life throws at you (and it will continue to throw crap at you – know that).  Pick up the pieces and begin your reconstruction.

I don’t have to ask (I know each one of us is “picking up the pieces” in some area of our lives), but I leave you with this: Think about the pieces that you’re looking at on the floor.  I beg you to begin picking them up and building again.  If you need help and nobody is there for you to talk, I am.  Feel free to contact me.

Love & Peas,
Josh

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The Will To Do

“The Will To Do”.  

Think about that notion for a minute.

There’s so much to these four simple and powerful words.  One of my dearest friends and I talked at length about this notion last week.  These four words have been haunting me since that conversation.

There is so much we can do in this life – we’re capable of anything, whether it’s for better or worse, we’re capable of doing ANYTHING.  All it takes is The Will To Do.

The Will To Do covers so much, so I’ll try and keep this succinct and relatable to all of our everyday lives.  I often write, talk, and wonder about the “Why” before the “What”.  For example: Why do I act the way I do?  Why do I get up in the morning and go after something with everything I have?  The simple answer lies in those four words: The Will To Do.

So how do I develop The Will To Do something?

For starters, I think a lot about “What” I want to do and “Why” I want to do it.  I haven’t always been this systematic in my approach to life, people, and what I take on in my life.  At this point, this is something that I am constantly breaking down and wondering “What” I want to do and “Why” I want to do it.  Once I feel that I have identified the “What” coupled with the “Why” then I feel like I have an idea.  This sparks The Will To Do.

So I’ve identified what I want to do and I understand why I want to do it.  Now, I am able to work towards any goal with The Will To Do.  This directly correlates to the actions I take and the way I act every day towards myself, my goals, and others.  Most of us interact with many people on a daily basis and we make decisions to act a certain way, but a lot of the time, we act without thinking about how our actions are affecting not only ourselves, and our goals, but the people with whom we interact.

I look back in my life and I look at myself today, along with the people I have relationships with and I see many of us (me included) just wasting time – existing – and it’s a terrible feeling.  Waking up, doing whatever it is that we do with no guiding light, no touchstone, no reflection upon how our actions affect ourselves, our goals, and those around us.  Often we take action on a whim because we feel like we should be busy and it’s extremely HARD to look back and hold ourselves accountable to a plan (if we have one).  Even when we establish a plan and The Will To Do, it’s HARDER to go back and adjust the plan because many times we feel ashamed or feel like we have failed if our original intent or idea must be adjusted.  It’s okay though – a plan is just a PLAN – it’s a line from A to B, which we MUST understand will be adjusted throughout the course from A to B.

I’ve been involved in and seen too many situations where we act aimlessly, giving no consideration or explanation to others, which always ends up in some type of miscommunication with not only those around us, but more importantly – OURSELVES.

It’s EASY to get up in the morning and stay on some course of action without reflecting upon “What” we are doing and “Why” we are doing it.  It’s HARD to step back, look in the mirror and say, “Why am I acting this way?  Is it in line with what I am trying to do?  How is it affecting those around me?”

So many people have lost money, businesses, time, relationships, and most importantly direction in their lives because of their failure to plan properly and establish a strong will to do something.  Once they have set out on an aimless path, they are often afraid to look back at what they are actually doing, why they are doing it, and the results and byproducts of their efforts.  While they feel busy and possibly myopically satiated, they are absolutely frightened to reflect and adjust their course because they have not established it from the beginning.

This is something I am working on every day and I challenge you to think deeply about The Will To Do.

Think about what you want, why you want it, develop a plan, go after it, and be relentless in your reflection to keep yourself on track… Don’t be afraid to reevaluate what you’re doing and admit to YOURSELF and OTHERS that your original plan must be adjusted… It will make you a stronger, more driven person with direction, and a more honest person… Ultimately culminating in the optimization of your time, and success in ANYTHING you have THE WILL TO DO.

We are capable of doing anything if we have The Will To Do.  I’ve shared the way that I develop The Will To Do things… Do you do this?  If not, give it a shot… If so, please share…

I can only provide my perspective.  I’m here to learn and share with you…

Love & Peas,
Josh

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