Personal Power

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Hi guys! I wrote this article to get back the basic fundamentals of life. Everything starts with you and it all comes down to you. This sounds really heavy, but really all it means is that you have the power to change and create anything – which is AMAZING! So one of the best things you can do is work on yourself and on how you can improve. So why not start with your own personal power?

Personal power is when you give yourself permission to listen to your inner self and let your decisions come from this place. If you are making decisions from your inner self, you know deep down that you will always be okay. You can trust yourself to make good decisions and choices, and you have a healthy sense of self-worth. You know that although life may not always be easy, you are on your path as long as you give yourself this personal power. Generally, people with personal power have confidence and good self esteem. They take responsibility for their own problems and they do not rely on others’ opinions or decisions to solve them. They trust themselves.

Without personal power, you are not connected with your inner self and therefore, you feel uncentered. You don’t trust your own judgement, so you rely on what others think and use that to make decisions and choices. Since you depend on what others think to make decisions, you base your self-worth on what others think of you and their opinions. You don’t listen to your heart. You play small and you don’t follow your dreams because you believe that they aren’t attainable. You let life push you around instead of deciding for yourself how life is going to be. Most people who do not give themselves personal power feel insecure, worried, anxious, or depressed. They might even blame others for their problems (we have all known at least one person who does this) and they have trouble solving problems.

So how is your personal power? Here is an exercise to find out:

Do you feel anxious when someone doesn’t agree with you?

Do you agree with people even when you feel they’re wrong?

Is it hard for you to say no when people ask you to do something you really don’t want to do?

Do you need other people’s approval in order to be happy?

Do you say things you don’t mean to try to make people like you?

If you answered yes to 3 or more of these questions, you might want to think about how much control you have over your life, and how much you are listening to your inner self.

“If we don’t trust ourselves, then how can we trust anything else that we are doing or anyone else we know? Trust yourself.”

We all know that you can’t please everyone, so don’t expect approval all the time. You are free to have your own way and your own opinion no matter what others think. Most people who struggle to have personal power don’t realize that the root of their unhappiness in this area comes from their unhealthy need for approval by others. If someone criticizes you, do you get down and upset afterward, blaming the other person for what they said and thinking about their harsh words? Or do you realize that it may be your need for approval that’s making you feel bad- not the person or what they said? Don’t judge yourself by how much approval you get from others. Good self-esteem starts with you. It comes from how you feel about yourself, not how others feel about you. You must always look within first. This is how you make good decisions and how you trust yourself. Stop giving your personal power to others! What other people think has nothing to do with you. It does not have an effect on you unless you let it.

But how can you like yourself when you don’t feel good, confident, or trusting of yourself?

Start with self- love. Even if you hate yourself, you can change into someone you love.

What do you like about yourself? List them.

What characteristics and traits would you like to have more of? Less of?

Who do you always feel wonderful being around? Why?

Who are the top three people you look up to? What are the top three characteristics that you like about each of them the most?

 Who do you want to be more like? What do they have that you want to develop?

If you could be the perfect you, what would you be like?

Ok great! Your answers should give you a pretty good idea of the ideal, optimal you. The great news is that you have the power in your hands to change and become this person! You can love yourself and live the life you want. But only you hold this power. No one else can do this for you.

I couldn’t imagine going through life hating myself. I am sure it would be pretty awful, so I think that you have nothing to lose by trying to love yourself. When you hate or dislike yourself, you are your own enemy. When you distrust yourself, you compromise your happiness and enjoyment. You are not living your dream life if this is how you live. In fact, you are not truly living at all.

But you can…

The choice is yours.

 

To your highest personal power,

Alex 🙂

How Well Do You Know Yourself? | The Question Game

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To live your best life, you also must become your best self. To become your best self, you have to know yourself thoroughly, inside and out. Many times you get to know your true self through experiences, your reactions to certain events, meditation, etc. But today we are going to play a game to help you become an expert on yourself.

It is time for the game! It is probably a little different from the other games you have played before. For one thing, it is only a one-person game. And secondly, it will probably result in more personal insights than pure entertainment. So let’s play! This game comes from my upcoming book, The Truth About High School, which I wrote for high school students but a lot of its content applies to anyone of any age.

 

The Question Game:

How to play: Ask yourself and answer as many of the questions as you want to. Answer them in as much detail as you can. (Note: the questions that you do not want to answer might give you some insight into what you are avoiding asking yourself. If you feel that you aren’t answering certain questions because you don’t want to face something, then answering that question is exactly what you need to do.)

How to win: Learn something about yourself that you weren’t consciously aware of beforehand.

 

Get out a piece of paper and something to write with. You are going to want these answers in writing!

 

It’s Game time!

Questions:

  • On a scale of 1-10 (1 being the least, 10 being the most) how much do you like yourself?
    • Why did you pick that number?
    • What exactly do you like about yourself? What exactly don’t you like about yourself?
    • How can you take what you don’t like about yourself (if anything) and change it into something you do like about yourself? (note: the question game does not take “I can’t” or “that’s impossible” as an answer. If you resort to these answers, you automatically lose… Harsh, I know – but so is an overly pessimistic outlook on life.)
  • What are you passionate about?
    • What percentage of your day is spent doing what you are passionate about?
    • How can you do more of your passions and less of what you don’t want to do?
  • On a scale of 1-10 how happy are you?
    • Why did you choose that number?
    • What specifically brings you happiness in your life?
    • What specifically brings you unhappiness in your life?
    • What can you do do get rid of or reduce your unhappiness in your life right now (if any)?
    • What would bring more happiness into your life?
  • Who do you hang out with?
    • Are they people you enjoy and look up to? Or are they people you actually don’t like very much?
    • What feeling do you get when you are around them? Are you happy, annoyed, bored, excited, angry, uncomfortable, insecure, etc.?
    • Name your top 5 closest friends. Now ask yourself why you hang out with each of them.
    • Are the qualities in your top 5 friends qualities you look up to and want to be like?
      • If not, what qualities do you look up to and want to be like? Do you know anyone who has some of those qualities that you could make friends with?
    • What animal represents you and why?
    • What do you see yourself doing in…
      • …1 year
      • …5 years
      • …10 years
      • Why? Of all the things you can do in your future, why are you doing these?
    • If you had two or three months to do absolutely whatever you wanted, what would you do?
      • How could you make this possible now or sometime in the near future?
      • If you could not do all of those things you see yourself doing in 1-5-10 years in the future, what would you chooses to do instead? In 1 year? In 5 years? In 10 years?
    • Finish these sentences:
      • I am:
      • I need:
      • I want:
      • 5 adjectives that best describe me are:
      • I am proud of:
      • Three of my accomplishments are:
    • What energizes you? In other words, what activities do you do (or want to do) that make you feel excited? What excites you?
      • Pick one from the list you just made. What can you do today to start working toward this goal?
    • What are you really good at? What are your strong points?
      • How can you leverage your talents to make life easier and to use to your advantage?
    • What are you really bad at? What are your weak points?
      • How can you improve? How can you use your strengths to improve on your weaknesses?
    • Have you been putting your energy, effort, and focus into your strengths or your weaknesses in your life?
    • What would you do/be/have if you had $10m in the bank?
    • If you found out that you were going to die in five years what would you do?
      • One year?
      • In a month?
      • Tomorrow?
    • How often do you find yourself following the crowd?
    • How often do you find yourself challenging the status quo, and instead, doing your own thing?
    • what would you be doing if you weren’t always trying to get somewhere or be someone?
    • Who do you look up to?
      • Why?
      • What qualities or skills do they have that you want to be better at?
    • Make up your own questions and answer them! It’s time to think about all of those deep questions that you have avoided answering.

 

The purpose of this game is to get you thinking about who you really want to be. It will ask you questions about who you believe you are, and then you can determine whether or not you would like to change anything about yourself.  You don’t find yourself, you make yourself up. Therefore, to become your greatest version, it is important to know yourself completely. You can’t live your dream life without knowing your true self. They are a package deal. Without truly knowing yourself, you are not able to live up to your full potential. So stop playing small and cutting yourself short. Life is too quick for that! Stop hiding from yourself. The world needs more people who are willing to step out and share their gifts, instead of shrinking back and pretending that they are not there. Small thinking and small actions lead to small-minded people. You’re better than that! You are reading this right now because you want to live an amazing life. Why should you settle for anything less? But to live that way, you’ve got to be that way first within yourself.

 

To Becoming your best self,

Alex 🙂

:) How to Literally Smile Your Way Out of Negative Feelings & The Art of Body Language (w/ Pictures & Examples)

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Smile! It’s Friday 🙂

How often do you find yourself smiling? Next time you feel grumpy, stressed, or down, try forcing yourself to smile for 3 minutes. Doing this will noticeably increase your mood and your happiness.

On a more scientific level, what happens is this: When you smile, you are changing your physiology by partaking in positive body language. It turns out that your physiology directly affects your psychology (brain, thoughts, mood, etc.) and therefore, the positive body language of smiling sends messages to your brain that are in direct contradiction to your unhappy feelings. The reason to smile for a consecutive 3 minutes is to continue to strengthen this process happening in your brain until your negativity is overridden. 🙂

To double the strength of this exercise, smile for 3 minutes in front of a mirror. By doing this, we are activating one of our powerful senses: sight. When others smile at you, it brings on feelings of openness, warmth, and a greater sense of happiness. It is also very easy to smile back. By using a mirror, you are recieving all of these benefits from yourself while compounding your own efforts to efficiently boost your mood. So smile more, and enjoy a higher quality & more relaxing life! Oh and remember to spread the love and smile at other people too!!

To triple the strength of this exercise, practice more forms of positive body language while smiling. The more the merrier. Here are some examples of positive body language (these are all just free stock photos I found on the internet for examples):

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The boy in this photo has excellent positive body language going on. This particular pose (with both hands up in a “victory” type of stance) is scientifically proclaimed to be embedded in our subconscious brain as an action we do when we succeed at something great, or just feel really good.

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Great one to do while smiling at yourself in the mirror for 3 minutes straight like a crazy person. Might as well look even crazier, right? 🙂 This one will make you feel more important and more self-confident, but it only works in front of the mirror or if someone else is doing this action to you. 

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Hands on the hips helps you keep a good overall posture, regardless of whether you are standing or sitting during this exercise. Good posture is also good body language and therefore it will help you feel happier as well. 

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Arms outstretched and open to the world. Opens up your body and lungs to take deeper breaths (which is good for you, and is a topic for another post someday) and this pose helps you feel more relaxed thankful. 

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Hands on the head is a good one to feel more relaxed as well, along with more confident. 

 

 

Hre Are some examples of body language that leads to unhappy feelings (and what NOT to do during the smiling exercise):

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Curled up and closed off. This will make you feel worse than you already do if you are in a state of negativity. Bad.

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Bad posture, hunched over, looking down, not smiling, and looking small in the way that he is sitting – which in turn, of course, makes you feel smaller as well. Also bad.

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Better, as she is smiling, but crossed arms is a sign of defensive behavior and closing off from interaction. Unless you are cold, doing this pose is just going to make you feel more insecure and defensive toward others instead of open and relaxed. 

As you can see, smiling and positive body language is really important to your general happiness. Notice yourself slumping in your chair, or looking down a lot? Those types of body language poses will not help you feel better. Luckily, the body language you use everyday can be changed. It is just a bad habit, so all you need to do is change your habits and replace your bad body language habit with a good one! My Article on changing habits can help you with this.

So smile more and share this article with anyone you think would find value in it! The more we can get people to smile, the happier this world will be as a whole 🙂

 

To your highest quality life,

– Alex

How Are You Really Doing? A Personal Check In:

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Today’s blog post is a little different. I want to know how you are doing. And the usual “I’m good” isn’t going to cut it this time! I want to know how you are really doing. Do you know how you are really doing?

The best way to find out is with a personal check-in. It is a list of simple questions that will give you a general idea of how you are doing. When done monthly, you will notice patterns, your baseline happiness level, and you will learn a lot about yourself. If you write down your answers to these questions each month, you will have some great data about yourself that you can then analyze to help you live your best life and become your best self. Just ten minutes each month can tell you so much! Let’s do this!

During the past month, (on a scale of 1-10) how often did you feel…

Happy

Interested in life

Satisfied

That you had something important to contribute to society

That you belong to a community

That our society is becoming a better place for people?

That people are generally good

That the way our society works makes sense to you

That you liked most parts of your personality

Good at managing the responsibilities of daily life

That you had warm and trusting relationships with others

That you have experiences that challenge you to grow and become a better person

Confident to think of or express your own ideas and opinions

That your life has a sense of direction or meaning to it?

Two More questions:

When was the last time you felt really alive, and what were you doing?

What are 5 activities, pleasures, or events that will make you feel even more alive- right now this month?

That’s it. Great job! Return to these questions monthly for the best results. You might find that it has been a while since you felt really good. If that is the case then it is time to revisit happiness! Or maybe you realize that you are happier than ever right now. That’s awesome :)! Feel free to leave your answers in the comments if you would like. Just like I said in my Big Talk post, I would love to hear how you are really doing. The more we care about others, the better this world will be.

 

To living your best life,

– Alex 🙂

What is happiness? Are You Happy?

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Here is a picture of me looking happy. Truth is that when this photo was taken, I had been fighting depression for about 7 months. I was feeling particularly down that day because I felt like I was making little progress toward defeating depression. It took me a while, but I did end up getting out of depression for good (and 100% naturally) by mid 2013. I can confidently say that I will never fall back into depression again. 🙂

This is an excerpt from my upcoming book, The Truth About High School. Although I wrote this book for people in high school, there is a lot of valuable information in the book for anyone of any age. So without further ado, let’s get into it! 🙂


…What is happiness and are you happy?

Happiness is an “inside job” many people say. Which is true, of course. You don’t find lasting happiness in objects, places, or tons of friends. It all must start with you. Happiness is the end result of having positive emotions like inner peace, love, compassion, joy, etc. You come to these emotions by doing what fulfills you, what excites you, and what you are passionate about. You also can get these emotions from spending time with the people who are closest to you and who you really care about. These are the ones who will always be there for you no matter what. Who are these people in your life?

If you are unhappy or constantly negative it is time to reconnect with your happy and positive side. The happy life is one where positive emotions dominate. So by simply enhancing positive emotions, or experiencing them more frequently, you can become a happier person. BUT you need to get these frequent positive emotions through the things and people that fulfill you, or your happiness will be short lived and inauthentic.

Even life circumstances only contribute about 10% to your life’s happiness. This includes getting what you want in life, such as becoming a billionaire or getting married. So if getting what you want doesn’t give you that much lasting happiness, then what does? The answer: appreciating what you really have and being happy within yourself. If you want to be truly happy, a major part of happiness is gratitude and positivity. The happiest people:

  • feel and express gratitude even during tough times in life
  • stay in the moment as much as possible
  • enjoy the simple pleasures of life
  • don’t let unavoidable ups and downs disturb their inner peace

How happy are you? Stop right now and seriously ask yourself this question. If you aren’t sure how happy you are, don’t worry. Happiness is pretty tough to measure. It may help to rate your happiness level on a scale of 1 to 10. Try out this set of questions that can also help you determine how happy you are.

1. In general, I am:

Not happy 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Very Happy

2. Compared to others, I am:

Less happy 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 More Happy

3. Some people are generally happy regardless of what’s happening in life. To what extent does this describe you?   

Not at all 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Totally

4. Some people are generally not very happy. Although they aren’t depressed, they never seem to be as happy as they could be. To what extent does this describe you?

Not at all 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Totally

5. I smile:

Hardly ever 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Very often

If you look at the numbers you circled, it will give you a very broad understanding of your happiness level. You could always average these numbers too if you want another way to look at it.

If you got a low score on these questions, then you may be depressed. Take this quiz to find out. This quiz was created by Carol Landau, who has a Ph.D. in Depression. I don’t know if I would have ever realized that I was depressed or gotten out of depression if I hadn’t stumbled upon this quiz during my sophomore year of high school. I wanted to include it in this book because I hope that it helps you like it helped me. Even if it only helps one person, I’ll be happy. So let’s take the quiz!

To be diagnosed with depression, you have to feel extremely sad or have lost interest in life, and you must experience 4 out of the 7 following symptoms every day and for at least two consecutive weeks:

– Increase or decrease in weight or appetite without conscious dieting

– Insomnia or excessive sleepiness

– Agitation or lethargy and difficulty getting out of bed

– Loss of energy and fatigue nearly every day

– Feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt

– Difficulties concentrating, thinking or making decisions

– Recurrent thoughts of suicide.

Scientifically, if your mood is constant and lasts more than two weeks, that’s a sign that you might be slipping into depression.

According to Lifescript, which operates the leading website for healthy living, more warning signs for depression include:

  • Loss of interest in things you once enjoyed
  • Sleep problems
  • Appetite changes
  • Lack of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness or self blame
  • Trouble concentrating or making decisions
  • Thoughts of suicide

Now, there is a difference between grief and depression. Mourning the death of someone close to you is an exception to the two-week rule. For the first month or two, it is typical to have symptoms similar to depression, such as unrelenting sadness, frequent crying, trouble sleeping, poor appetite, and weight loss. But if it continues for longer than this, with no signs of improvement, then the grieving may have turned into depression.

If you are depressed, or if you would like to know more about depression, don’t wait to get help. Your condition will only get worse. But be careful when getting help. It always amazes me how many people think they know what depression is, and that they can solve it for others when they haven’t even been through it themselves! If they haven’t gone through it personally, then they don’t understand. I promise you this. I learned this the hard way when I was getting out of depression myself. If you think you are depressed, even if you aren’t completely sure, please please please do not wait. It is important to take action and start getting out of depression as soon as possible. The sooner you realize it, the sooner you can get out of it!

Trust me, I have been there. It is a dark place, and it is very difficult to see the light. But when you get a glimpse of light, hold onto it and don’t let it go. Build on it until there is no more darkness. You can do it! If I can do it, then you can too. I believe in you. I know that you have what it takes to be happy again and to get out of depression for good. And, strangely enough, once you have completely overcome the challenge of depression for good, never to fall back into it again… your past depression becomes a gift. How? That is a discussion for another book which I am currently writing, so stay tuned. 🙂

If you would like to be happier, you must take time to consistently develop your inner qualities. Every minute you have a choice of where you focus your attention. The more you relax, try your best, and allow life to unfold, the more you will get out of life and the happier you will be. When your mind starts spiraling into negativity, stop yourself. The more you do this, the easier it will be and the more control you will have over your own thoughts. Eventually, you will be able to decide what you want to think about and what thoughts you want to let pass through your mind. Notice the good things in life. Pay attention to the positive things and be an optimist. Understand what makes you happy, and appreciate yourself. Choose to be happy!

“As long as there is a lack of the inner discipline that brings calmness of mind, external facilities or conditions will never give you the feeling of joy and happiness that you are seeking. On the other hand, if you possess this inner quality, a calmness of mind, a degree of stability within, then even if you lack various external facilities that you would normally consider necessary for happiness, it is still possible to live a happy and joyful life. Achieving a genuine sense of happiness may require bringing about a transformation in your outlook, your way of thinking, and this is not a simple matter. In taking care of your physical body, you need a variety of vitamins and nutrients, not just one or two. In the same way, in order to achieve happiness, you need a variety of approaches and methods to deal with and overcome the varied and complex negative mental states… It is not possible to accomplish that simply by adopting a particular thought or practicing a technique once or twice. Change takes time.”

–Dalai Lama

So, what about you…

How happy are you?

Did you just find out that you are depressed?

Do you have a success story?

Feel free to share in the comments. We are a community here and we support each other. 🙂

To your greatest happiness,

-Alex 🙂


Odds & Ends:

  • There is now an Instagram page for this blog’s lifestyle! If you would like to  surround yourself with happy, healthy, and wealthy aspects of your dream life then don’t hesitate to follow @lifetools_official  I promise it will be worth it! 🙂
  • If any of you would like to contact me directly there are two ways:
    • One: Leave a comment on this blog. I will see it 🙂
    • Two: Contact me via Instagram: @lifetools_official . 

Three Little Questions

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Today is a short post. It is just a simple exercise created by the Dalai Lama that can be done in less than five minutes, but the results are big. The beauty is in the simplicity of this exercise. Try it out for yourself 🙂 :

Dalai Lama’s simple exercise for happiness:

Answer for yourself these three questions:

  • Are you having a good day?
  •  Why?
  • Tomorrow, would you rather have a good day or a bad day?

That’s all!

The simplicity of this exercise is deceiving. It is so simple that most people will not even try it, and they will miss the benefits of the results. The most powerful part of this exercise is asking the question, ‘why?’. By asking yourself why you are having a good or bad day, you can objectively look at what you are doing to bring yourself happiness and peace, or unhappiness and stress. This exercise can be used as a guide to help you determine what you need for a happy, healthy, and wealthy life. It will help you understand what you need in your life, and also show you where your life is out of balance.

Living your dreams really can be as simple as asking the right questions, and then following through with your answers through your actions. If you would like to stop living a mediocre life, then this is another step toward a better tomorrow, or even a better rest of the day.

Imagine if you did this exercise once per week and wrote down your answers each time. You would learn so much about yourself and what happiness is to you. After a year, you would have 52 answers about why you were happy or unhappy on one particular day each week for the entire year! That’s some good data on yourself that could be used to find patterns and bad habits causing unhappiness. At the same time, you will be able to see patterns and habits that bring more personal happiness into your life.

So what about the answers you came up with today? What are they telling you about your current lifestyle? Habits? Yourself? Based on your answers from the exercise, what can you change, add, or subtract to bring more happiness into your life?

 

To living your best life and being your best self,

-Alex 🙂

Completely Change Your Life With 4 Books

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Reading these four books and implementing each into your life will completely change your life, your future, and even your values. It did for me and I hope it will for you too. These books will help guide you on your journey to become your best self and live your best life. But! They can’t change your life for you. Notice that I didn’t title this post “4 books that will change your life”. Why? Because you are the only one who can change your own life! A book can show you a new perspective, and spark new thoughts and ideas within you, but you are the ultimate decision maker and you run the show. A book doesn’t change your life. You change your life.

Here is the short version:

If you are struggling Financially, then I suggest reading Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. If you are going through a difficult time in your personal life, then read The Way of the Wizard by Deepak Chopra. If you want a top quality life and to achieve your dreams (no matter what they are), read The Four Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss. If you want to be physically healthier, more energetic, mentally sharp, and have  dramatically fewer health problems as you age, read Real Food by Nina Planck. If you want to be happy, healthy, and wealthy in all aspects of your life, read all four of these books and you will be well on your way!

Here is the long version: Completely Change Your Life With 4 Books: 🙂 

Raising Your Child’s Financial IQ by Robert Kiyosaki

Robert’s book Rich Dad Poor Dad would have also changed my life had I read it before this one. I actually picked this book up during spring break back in 8th grade. Reading this little book completely changed my entire perspective and direction of life in a matter of three days. All of Robert Kiyosaki’s books are awesome and I have read nearly all of them. I suggest you do the same. The life changing lessons I learned from his book:

  • I realized that I don’t have to live the traditional story. There are thousands and thousands of different options. I didn’t have to go to school and get really good grades so that I can get into a good college and get a degree so that I can get a good, secure, high-paying job, and work really really hard and save a lot so that I can retire at 65 or maybe even a few years early.  That’s what everyone else seems to do, so what makes them different? Nothing! There are much, much faster, easier, and in my opinion, better ways to make money than a 9-5 for the rest of your years.
  • I realized that I didn’t even want to go the traditional route. I had never really given it much thought, but I didn’t want to work at a job for  pretty much the rest of my waking life. I wanted to be an entrepreneur. I wanted more out of my life.
  • Question the “truth”. Question what society says is right. Question the things that you think you have to do, Question what society says is the only real truth; the only way. Often, society’s “right” and “wrong” are driven by ulterior motives. The only truth is the truth you decide for yourself.

The Four Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss

Another life-changer in matter of just a few weeks! Wealth is only partly about money. It is actually more about lifestyle. Tim Ferriss shows you how to live the lifestyle of a multi-millionaire without being a multi-millionaire, or even without having any money at all. It is not only possible, it is ridiculous that more people don’t live this way! This is by far my favorite book and I have read it at least 5 times. I learn new things with every new read and I have used tons of information within the book to implement changes into my own life.

The Way of the Wizard by Deepak Chopra

Spiritual development! This book helped me stay strong during a difficult period in my life, and it will help you develop yourself spiritually. But not religiously- there is a difference. Great book! It will get you to really think about yourself and your connection with your inner self. This book will help you change a lot of inner beliefs you have within you that aren’t serving you.

Real Food: What to Eat and Why by Nina Planck

You truly are what you eat! This book changed the way I eat, think about, and buy food. It helped me make better eating decisions to take care of my body. Her book alone literally helped me become a better and healthier eater. If you are trying to eat healthier, then this is your book! Also, on the same note, watch the documentary called Food Inc. It will probably change your life or disturb you so much that you won’t want to acknowledge the truth that goes on behind the scenes in the food industry of mass production. But that doesn’t mean it’s not there!

Bonus Books: 

Here are some books I recommend that have changed some aspect of my life in one way or another:

  • Any book by Deepak Chopra, Tim Ferriss, or Robert Kiyosaki.
  • The Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Eker
  • Who Moved My Cheese? by Spenser Johnson
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey
  • How to be Rich by J. Paul Getty
  • The One Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan
  • Follow Your Passion, Find Your Power by Bob Doyle
  • Shel Silverstein poems. They are children’s poems, but similar to Dr. Seuss, there are deeper underlying messages to realize.
  • The Truth About High School by yours truly 🙂 I had to sneak one of my own books in here because it just finished going through the editing process, and will be out soon! I am excited since through this book I will be able to help teens go through a really difficult period of life. The book will get them to really think about their lives, and change their lives for the better!

What about You?

What book(s) have you read that changed your life?

To living your best life and becoming your best self,

-Alex 🙂

The Story of the Starfish

Today, I wanted to share a story with you. It may be very short and simple, but it is powerful. After you read this post, I advise you to meditate on the story and what it means for you. The best part is that you can use these insights from meditation to take action and incorporate new habits into your daily life. As a result, you will better yourself, your life, and everyone else around you. 🙂

The Story of the Starfish:

A boy went to the beach with his grandfather. When they got there, they saw that thousands and thousands of starfish had been washed up and were now drying out in the sun. The boy started to throw one starfish after the other back into the water. The grandfather said, “Boy, what are you doing? There are so many that it won’t make any difference if you throw a few back.” The boy picked up a starfish and said, “It makes a difference to him.”

You may wonder why you should even try to help others when there will always be more in need. It is true that you may not be able to help everyone, but if you try then you can help a whole lot more people than if you didn’t try. You may feel powerless in the big and overwhelming world, but the truth is just the opposite:

You are powerful beyond belief and you can do whatever you put your mind to.

The boy’s attitude in this story is contagious. If you were the grandpa, would you not feel more inclined and inspired to help throw the starfish back into the water?  Likewise, if you saw someone helping a stranger, would you not feel more motivated to help someone too? This energy is contagious in people and it catches on quickly, causing something of an exponential effect, yet it only takes one person to start it.

Helping others in a way that you feel you can really contribute is one of the most fulfilling things you can do. Many people have enjoyment in their lives, but they lack fulfillment. No matter how few people you help, it is always worth it.

To the world, you may be just one person. But to one person, you may be the world.

This is just a little snippet on the way I interpreted it, but it definitely isn’t the only way! It is now time to take a look at your own life and decide what this story means for you.  I would love to know what your insights are, so feel free to comment your thoughts below. 🙂

To living a fulfilled life,

Alex

Take The Leap

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For many of us, living our dream lives it is not a question of what we want- many of us already know the answer to that. It is more of a question as to whether or not we can believe in ourselves enough to do it. It’s all in our mindset. While we can live a lifestyle of living our best life every day, there are certain things that we might visualize ourselves doing in our dream lives which we are not doing at the moment.

When we think of what our best lives look like, many of us have some kind of big goal or dream that we have been putting off for a long time. These goals are probably crying out for attention. We really want to do it, and it causes us some stress that we haven’t done it yet, since we have been meaning to for so long. We also know that our dream life is not complete without attempting this pending dream that we have. Many people are scared to do what they know they need to do to live their best and most fulfilling life.

It is like if you are standing right at the ledge on top of a cliff, and everything you ever wanted was at the bottom of the cliff. There is no other way down but to jump. But you are afraid. What if something goes wrong? What if it hurts to land? It is hard to see everything at the bottom of the cliff clearly. What if it is not that great after all? How is this going to work out? You aren’t sure, so you try to find out for yourself. You read books all about the cliff. You ask others what they think. But you know that your questions and worries will only be answered if you jump. You are scared. All of this research took time, but ultimately, it is all up to you to find out. And now you are standing on the ledge, looking down. You can see all that you want below. You are so close that you can almost touch it! You really want it! And even though you are afraid of the unknown, you know what you have to do. You have to take the jump. You worry; you try to find an alternative to what you want. But deep down you know that the only way is to take the leap. Finally one day, you say enough is enough. No matter what, I am ready to go after what I want. You grab your parachute, shut your eyes tightly, and you jump off the cliff.

Usually, it is fear of the unknown that holds us back the most. Once you have jumped off the cliff, you will realize that you wasted a lot of time worrying and avoiding the cliff. Had you just jumped in the first place without over thinking, you would have been where you wanted to be a lot sooner, and saved your body, mind, and spirit a lot of stress. Procrastination, worry, doubt, and fear quickly lead to self doubt and unrest.

The leap is the unknown- the space between where you are and where you want to be in a goal. It is what everyone is so worried about before they jump. People get so focused on the process and the unknown that they forget to look at the results. They forget about what is at the bottom if they can just simply jump. Of course it is scary. Of course there will be things that you don’t know or don’t understand – you have never done it before! But once you take the leap, you are in motion. You are moving toward your goals and more into your dream life.

As you fall, you gain speed. You can see the ground getting closer and closer. Now you know that you are going to make it! The closer you get, the more you can see below. It looks similar to what you saw at the top of the cliff, but now you can see that there is way more here than you ever dreamed of having.

The process on the way down the cliff is not neccesarily an easy one. There are a lot of emotional and mental ups and downs, just like a roller coaster. But as long as you continue working patiently and persistently toward your goal, you will end up where you want to be. You just have to trust in yourself, and remind yourself that even if your goal or dream doesn’t work out the way you planned, it is better to try than to never know. It is never too late to change. You will always end up where you are meant to be.

And finally, you land. Now that you are on the ground you not only have a different perspective on everything you ever wanted, but also have a different perspective on life and on the cliff. Suddenly others are asking you what jumping from the cliff is like, trying to muster up their own courage to do it themselves. Although you went through good and bad times while you were falling down the cliff, the process was unique, beautiful, and so worth it. At the top of the cliff you had been living a happy and healthy life. Now you have your dream accomplished to enrich and enhance your life that much more.

Living your dream life is not just about living your happiest and healthiest life. It is also about realizing your dreams and making them a reality. These goals and dreams are just as important as being happy and healthy- in fact, they tie right in. If there is something that you have been really wanting to do in your life for a long time, it is time to take the leap. It is time to just do it. Jumping is the hardest part.

“An object at rest stays at rest, and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.” – Newton’s first law of motion, also referred to as the law of inertia.

Take a minute to stop everything you are doing and really search your soul. When you look at what you want your life to look like, what do you see there that isn’t in your life right now? What dream or goal do you have that you have been putting off? If you have more than one goal, choose the one you want the most, or the one that has been put off the longest.

This is your work now. Don’t put it off any longer. Put aside your fears; they are never going to subside unless you take action. Just take the leap.

To living your best life and being your best self,

-Alex

Living From Intentional Habits (Or: Killing Bad Habits and Monotonous Routines)

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What is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

What is your first immediate reaction when someone cuts you off in traffic?

What is your most common meal?

What time do you usually go to sleep and wake up?

What is your most common negative thought? Positive thought?

Take a minute to answer these questions for yourself. You might find a pattern when you do. These are all questions of habit. How much time have you taken to think about your habits and how they affect your life? For most people, the answer is: not much. I find this really interesting because habits have such an impact on how we live our daily lives. And how we live each day is, of course, how we live our lives.

We have so many habits that we carry around with us every day and everywhere we go. Not only are they engrained in what we do, but also how we think, what we think, how we feel, and how we react to things. It is said that about 90% of our thoughts are reoccurring thoughts, meaning that we don’t usually come up with many new thought patterns throughout the day without effort. This means that about 90% of our thoughts are reoccurring day after day after day. Have you ever paid attention to what thoughts go through your head each day? I’d have to say that they are pretty similar day in and day out. Unless you really intentionally change something in your life, or have a huge change/epiphany, you are going to have the exact same thoughts as yesterday and last week and last month and even last year. This is because habits are shortcuts for the brain to use to make its job easier and more efficient. By nature we are habitual beings. I challenge you to really think about what you think about. Because thoughts lead to basically everything else. In fact, Gandhi once said:

Keep your thoughts positive, because your thoughts become your words.Keep your words positive, because your words become your behavior.Keep your behavior positive, because your behavior become your habits.Keep your habits positive, because your habits become your values.Keep your values positive, because your values become your destiny.

Habits are not a bad thing. In fact habits are amazing as long as they are good habits, or habits made out of intention for a better life. They are good if you are using them to your advantage instead of against you. The beauty of habits is that once they are established, they are easy to maintain so they are a perfect tool to get you living your best life.

While intentional habits are really good, you may have developed some unintentional, and really bad habits along your path. Maybe you aren’t eating the way you want to, but you love junk food. Maybe you always go to sleep late and oversleep in the morning. Maybe you continuously tell yourself negative thoughts throughout the day. Maybe you are having relationship problems and you have both gotten used to fighting everyday without fixing anything… for years. Whatever the problem is, don’t worry- I have good news for you! These are all just bad habits, so all you need to do is turn these bad habits into good habits.

It is simple to change a habit, but it is not necessarily always easy. Your body and mind must be retrained to a new pattern. But how? It actually takes just five steps. Going through these steps will be easier or harder depending on you as an individual, and how engrained the habit is within you.

  1. First, you must be aware of your habit. You wouldn’t fix something if you didn’t know that it was broken. Likewise, you can’t fix a bad habit if you don’t know that you have this habit.
  2. Then you must identify it as a bad habit that needs to be changed. Some people who have bad habits never get this far because they might know it is a habit, but they don’t see it as bad for themselves, even though it might be affecting them or others around them in a negative way.
  3. Once you realize your bad habit, you can go about changing it. This is the part that takes time and self control. You have to make a solid decision to not do whatever the bad habit is anymore. Then make a plan as to how you are going to stop. It doesn’t have to be a huge written out plan, it could just be in your head. All that matters is that you commit to ending the bad habit, and that you have a way (or multiple ways) to take action and end it. If you can’t think of a way to stop your bad habit, do some research on the subject and look for possible ways to fix it. The more you know about your bad habit, the better chance you have of changing it for good.
  4. Fourth, you must replace that bad habit with a good habit instead. If you don’t replace your bad habit with a good habit, then you could easily relapse into your bad habit. Why? Because stopping your bad habit creates a void of time. If you don’t fill it with something, then you will just think of doing that bad habit again, instead of doing whatever good habit you should have put there for replacement.
  5. Once you have gone through the first four steps, all you have to do is be consistently aware of your habits and make sure that you don’t fall back into the same old bad habit from before. You have come too far to go back now, and it will become easier and easier to maintain your new habit until you don’t have to think about it at all. You do it automatically!

About 6 years ago I used to eat pretty unhealthily. It started to give me problems because I didn’t have enough energy for the intense workouts I was doing at the time. I decided that it was time for me to fix this not only just for that period of time, but simply for the health and wellbeing of my entire life. I acknowledged that I had a bad habit and made a decision to change it. I decided that for me personally, I wouldn’t be able to just immediately be 100% cut off from bad eating because I knew that I would go back to my bad habits pretty quickly. So instead I decided to slowly ease myself into healthier eating habits. I started with a 2 sweets per week rule, and I stuck to it religiously. I kept track of the unhealthy food I ate per week, and I declined a lot of offers to eat unhealthy food. Within about a month, I wasn’t even eating two sweets a week because I simply didn’t want to, and I didn’t need to keep track any more. I did occasionally get big cravings still, but anytime this happened I would always grab something healthy and eat that instead. It worked. Within two months, not only did I have a new habit of healthy eating, but I also felt a million times better because I was taking care of my body, and I had so much more energy. I still have this healthy habit today, about 6 years later.

It takes time, patience, perseverance, and self control, but you can do it! If you want to create habits that will serve you for the rest of your life, then start now. Identify one bad habit you have and how you would like that habit to change. If you can’t think of a bad habit, then you can try thinking about other areas of your life where you would like to make a good habit. What aspect of your life would you like to make better, simpler, or easier? You can create a new habit to do just that.

So remember:

  1. Be aware of your habit.
  2. Identify it as a bad habit that needs to be changed.
  3. Make a solid decision to stop doing whatever the bad habit is. Make a plan as to how you will cut out your bad habit.
  4. Replace that bad habit with a good habit instead. Do this good habit every time you feel the urge to do the bad habit.
  5. Stick with it! You will kick your bad habit in no time! 🙂

If you want to live your best life, one of the best things you can do for yourself is to stop living out of blind and unintentional habits, and start living out of good and intentional habits. Stop being on autopilot. Wake up! This is your life and nothing about it is going to change if you don’t change (see: You Are the Key). Tired after a long day? Don’t have time to fix it? Everyone else is tired after a long day too. But there are people out there who make excuses, and then there are people who make it happen. If you don’t have time to fix your life to be the way that you want, then you really need to stop and think about the way you are living because you are the one who needs this lesson the most. The reason that you are not living your dream life right now has a lot to do with the fact that you have habits that do not coincide with your dream life. So to live your best life, you just have to change those habits. Once you change, your life will also change; and it will inspire you to continue on your path toward your best self, your best life, and your biggest dreams.

To living your best life,

-Alex