Day 9 - The Only Social Media That Actually Gives Back

I was asked the other day if I had to delete all social media except one, which one would I pick? Which one would you pick? I thought about it for a while and realized that for the majority of social media we just consume. Rarely do we take anything away from social media except updates on people’s lives, some nice photos, or entertainment. 

 

There is a social media that actually gives back, if you use it right, and that is Reddit. Below, I’m going to show you how to use Reddit and try to convince you that you’re missing out if you don’t.

 

Reddit

 

Reddit is the 4th most visited website on the internet which surprises me because I know just a handful of people in my life who use it. Reddit is a website made up of “subreddits” which is made up of forums usually containing text, videos, pictures, or gifs. These post can be upvoted or downvoted which helps in keeping clickbait and other useless stuff down.

Basically, there’s a subreddit for almost anything. Most TV shows you're watching have a subreddit and so do most hobbies. When you first go to Reddit on a desktop it looks like it’s stuck back in the 90s. That's why I think not many people use it because of the learning curve. The desktop version is a whole lot harder to understand than the app. So I’d suggest downloading the app first. 

 

After you create an account, what you’re probably looking at is r/all which is made up of the most popular content on Reddit at the moment. To personalize and make a sort of “news feed”  for yourself you can subscribe to subreddits. The best way to do this is scroll through r/All, find stuff you like, click on it and see what subreddit it belongs to and then subscribe to it. Most of these have about pages where you can see a summary of the subreddit. I also thought I'd give you my top ten favorite subreddits.

 

1. Ask Reddit

 

Maybe my favorite subreddit. It’s exactly what you think it is. People ask questions and the rest of Reddit answers them. However, Reddit is made up of doctors, lawyers, teachers, blue and white collar workers so the answers are almost always on point because of the wealth of information. It really gives you perspective on a ton of different topics too. Check it out!

 

2. Personal Finance

 

This one has everything finance. From housing and investing, to budgeting and insurance. Like AskReddit, it’s made up of all kinds of people which usually includes people that actually work in these fields and know what they're talking about.

 

3. Today I Learned

 

People share interesting facts that most of us have never heard before. Facts about history, facts about our planet, facts about the rest of the world, and much more.

 

4. Meal Prep Sunday

 

If you’re looking to eat for $3 or less a meal you have to meal prep. I didn’t know anything about this until I found this sub. People post their meal preps along with tips and advice to do it. Also, check out r/EatCheapAndHealthy There’s resources on the sidebar to get started.

 

5. Fitness

 

People posting questions and comments about anything fitness and achievements reached. I’d also check out r/bodybuilding.

 

6. If You Like Blank

 

In this subreddit, you can post any music, tv show, book, or movie you currently like and receive alternatives you might also like.

 

7. Explain Like I’m Five

 

This is one of the most fascinating subreddits. People ask ridiculous questions, ones I’ve never even thought about, and other people that know the answer will dumb it down enough for a 5-year-old to understand.

 

8. Get Disciplined

 

Everyone could use more discipline in their lives. This subreddit helps. It gives suggestions, techniques, and encouragement to carry through with any task.

 

9. Mildly Interesting

 

Everything on here is interesting, but only mildly. It’s usually just stuff that people notice throughout their day and think, “Hm that’s interesting.” Seems dumb, but it's actually pretty eventful.

 

10. Documentaries

 

If you enjoy watching documentaries and seem to always be running out of ones to watch, here you go. There are tons on here, all with links to where you can find them.

 

Honorable Mentions

 

  • AMA (Ask Me Anything)
  • CannotWatchScottsTots
  • ChangeMyView
  • CrappyDesign
  • DataIsBeautiful
  • Im14andthisisdeep
  • Nevertellmetheodds
  • jokes

 

Pro-Tips

 

  1. It’s just like the rest of the internet. It has its good and it has its bad.
  2. When you initially find a new subreddit, filter it to “Top” and then “All Time” to see the best it has to offer.
  3. Here’s a post on some of the unspoken rules of Reddit.

Day 8 - Resistance, How To Combat It Like Tiger Woods

Hopefully, from the last post, you have an idea of what Resistance is and how to spot it. So the next question has to be, “Well, what can we do about it?”.

The answer: become a professional (not as in doctors, lawyers, and other professions, but as in the “ideal").

 

What is a professional?

 

We all have traits of being a professional. If you have a job you already exhibit these traits.

  • You show up every day
  • You show up no matter what
  • You physically stay on the job all day
  • You accept remuneration for your labor
  • You don't over-identify with your job
  • You master the technique of your job
  • You have a sense of humor about your job
  • You receive praise and blame in the real world

 

Pressfield uses the story of Tiger Woods at the 2001 Masters to explain what a professional is. With four holes to go on the last day of the Masters, someone in the gallery snapped a camera shutter at the top of Tiger’s backswing. Tiger was able to pull up mid-swing and back off the shot. That wasn’t even the crazy part. He glared at the gallery, recomposed himself, stepped back to the ball, and struck it right down the middle. What can be learned from this?

 

1. Tiger didn't react reflexively.

 

He, as Pressfield says, “Didn’t allow an act that by all right should have provoked an automatic response of rage to actually produce that rage.” He was in control of his emotions and he was in control of his reactions.

 

2. Tiger didn’t take it personally.

 

Tiger easily could have taken this as an attack against him personally. He could have said this cameraman was out to get him. He could have played the victim.

 

I see this amateur move everywhere right now (mainly in myself). We think the world revolves around us. We think every comment, laugh, or joke is directed towards us. This is why I believe it is so hard for people to have civil discussion nowadays. We find a political party, sports team, or any other set of beliefs or values and we personally attach ourselves to them! Every attack on them is an attack on us. 

 

This is why arguments get so heated so quickly. We can’t afford to let our party down or admit that we may have backed the wrong horse. We can’t admit that maybe the other view has some valid beliefs as well or that our rival is just like us in that they grew up in a certain area or chose a certain school and now root for them. 

 

The amateur idolizes their point of view and demonizes any other.

 

3. Tiger didn’t use this as an excuse to fail.

 

You know the type. Always an excuse in their back pocket as to why they couldn’t do the thing they set out to do. Tiger could have groaned and sulked and used this as an excuse. But he didn’t. He knew he still had everything he needed to make the shot. He could either keep or let go of his anger and make the shot.

 

4. Tiger got back to work.

 

Most of all, he stepped back up. He took the shot. 

“Tomorrow morning the critic will be gone, but the writer will still be there facing the blank page. Nothing matters but that he keeps working. Short of a family crisis or the outbreak of World War III, the professional shows up. He learns to recognize envy-driven criticism and to take it for what it is: the supreme compliment. The critic hates most that which he would have done himself if he had the guts."

Day 7 - Resistance, The Enemy of Your New Year's Resolution

I’m reading the book The War of Art by Steven Pressfield , not to be confused with The Art of War, and with this past week of writing It’s already paid for itself 10 times over.

 

It’s broken into 3 books. The first book is on “Resistance” and how to spot it. The second book is on combating resistance. The third is about going beyond resistance (which I haven’t gotten to yet).

 

Book 1 - What is Resistance?

 

Here are some quotes about what Pressfield calls Resistance:

 

"There's a secret that real writers know that wannabe writers don't, and the secret is this: It's not the writing part that's hard. What's hard is sitting down to write. What keeps us from sitting down is Resistance.”

 

"You know, Hitler wanted to be an artist…Call it an overstatement, but I’ll say it anyway: It was easier for Hitler to start World War II than it was for him to face a blank square of canvas.”

 

Where to find Resistance:

  • In the pursuit of any calling in writing, painting, music, film, dance, or any creative art, however marginal or unconventional.
  • In the launching of an entrepreneurial venture or enterprise, for-profit or otherwise.
  • Any diet or health regimen.
  • Any program of spiritual advancement.
  • Any activity whose aim is tighter abdominal’s.
  • Any course or program designed to overcome an unwholesome habit or addiction.
  • Education of every kind.
  • Any act of political, moral, or ethical courage, including the decision to change for the better some unworthy pattern of thought or conduct in ourselves.
  • The undertaking of an enterprise or endeavor whose aim is to help others.
  • Any act that entails commitment of the heart. The decision to get married, to have children, to weather a rocky patch in a relationship.
  • The taking of any principled stand in the face of adversity.

 

Basically any act that rejects immediate gratification in favor of long-term growth, health, or integrity. 

 

One of things I like about the book is how Pressfield structures it. Most pages are only written halfway down with the point he’s making on each one. I’m going to write in the future on the other two parts, but just wanted to give you any idea of what Pressfield calls "The most toxic force on the planet."

Day 6 - The Small Things We Miss When We Make Big Resolutions

December 31st. The biggest day of the year for planning. Everyone’s getting their resolutions in order and double-checking their goals for the coming year. I’m doing this as well, but we may be missing something seemingly small, but bigger than our huge goals and aspirations.

 

Our lives are made up of millions of tiny seconds. (This is why I can’t conceive of "living for the weekend”. Like really? You’re going to spend 5 days of every week of your life looking forward to 2?). The greatest way we change is typically not through dramatic events, but small moments. Ones we may not even be aware of. Change is boring and mundane not dramatic and exciting. Now, looking back at change is exciting.

 

"How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing. A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days. It is a scaffolding on which a worker can stand and labor with both hands at sections of time. A schedule is a mock-up of reason and order—willed, faked, and so brought into being; it is a peace and a haven set into the wreck of time; it is a lifeboat on which you find yourself, decades later, still living. Each day is the same, so you remember the series afterward as a blurred and powerful pattern." Annie Dillard

 

“The little moments of life are profoundly important precisely because they are the little moments that we live in that form us.” Paul David Tripp

 

If the above is true then we need more than huge resolutions. We need “Whys” and “Hows”.

 

- Whys - 

 

I stole this from

 

· Your vision (your WHY) = 10–25 years’ out

· Your long-term goals (AKA your wild guess) = 36 months’ out

· Your actual goals (AKA your realistic game plan) = the next 90 days

 

Why is that specific thing on your list of resolutions? If you've even remotely heard of Simon Sinek you've heard of the importance of starting with “Why?”

 

Start with your vision. What are your goals not for 2018, but for 2028 or 2043? Where do you want to be on those New Year's Days? That should dictate this years goals. 

 

- Hows - 

 

This is the part where you break down the year into 365 days. How are you going to daily achieve these resolutions? Get practical and then break those things down even further. Major in the minors. What are you going to start or stop doing each day, each hour that will lead you to complete these goals? How you spend your days is how you spend your life. They say don't miss the forest for the trees. I'm saying don't get so caught up in the forest that you forget to appreciate and utilize each and every tree.

Pro-tip: Write up a daily routine that integrates your resolutions. You’ll be much more likely to complete them if you do. 

 

To reiterate:

1. 2043

2. Today

3. 2018 

Day 5 - The Greatest Worst Decision I Made in High School

My entire life could be summed up in the phrase "fake it until you make it". I don’t know what I’m doing and I’ve learned a secret about everyone else, neither do they.

 

I’ve recently learned this about parenting (I am not a parent). Most parents are never really ready to become “parents”. Yet you and I are here. How does that work? Well, they just threw themselves into that role (willing or unwillingly) and did the best they could. 

 

That right there is how I want to live my life. Throwing myself into various roles and situations I’m vastly under-equipped for and coming out the other end on top. 

 

The greatest worst decision I made in high school

 

My freshman year of high school I decided to referee soccer at my local rec department. I hated every minute of it. Not even joking. There are few worse things in life than being in the middle of a field and having 30-50 year old men and women scream at you. The turnover was crazy. Most people quit after the first or second season. 

 

I went on to do it for 6 years.

 

I dreaded the start of every season. Why? Why would any sane person willingly choose this? Because I know I needed it. I was a very indecisive, passive, and non-confrontation young man. Still am.

You know what reffing upwards of 10 games a week will do to you? It will force you to learn how to make quick decisions, actively put out fires as you seem them start to kindle, and confront people who have no idea what they’re talking about. 

 

I went on to referee intramural, JV, varsity, and even adult leagues. Hated them too, but I got better and better and it shaped my character in a way that simply reading how to be more decisive and confrontation couldn’t. 

 

That’s what I'm challenging you to do. Throw yourself into roles and situations that you're ill-equipped for. Ones that scare you to death. Ask ridiculous favors from people for public speaking opportunities, management level jobs, or responsibilities that will push you beyond your limits.

I was vastly ill-equipped to make judgment calls for soccer games and handle the aftermath of them. But now I am and it’s translated into every other area of my life as well.

 

Conclusion

A lot of this has to do with self-fulfilling prophecies which I think have a huge impact on where we end up in life. If people tell you your entire life you’re unintelligent and will never amount to anything, you start telling yourself that. You start believing it. You never risk any opportunities because why would you? You would fail anyway, right?

 

On the other hand, if you’re told you can achieve anything, be whatever you want to be, you take more chances. Doesn’t mean you don’t fail, but maybe one of those chances work out and you press forward. We need a healthy dose of both. A humble arrogance. 

 

Our mindset should be that we can achieve anything we put our mind to, but that we’d still be at the very bottom if it wasn’t for the people and opportunities we’ve been given. 

 

Put yourself in opportunities that scare you today and your future self will thank you.

Day 4 - Why You Shouldn't Sleep in Tomorrow

Here’s a list of things that happen every time the earth makes a complete rotation:

  • The sun rises.
  • 365,000 babies are born.
  • 8.6 million lightning strikes occur.
  • It’s approximately 18 million people’s birthday.
  • Two living organisms will get their supply of oxygen throughout the day from one tree.
  • Each person will laugh about 15 times on average.
  • 150-200 animal and plant species will be placed on the “extinct” list.
  • Human body cells will expire and reproduce about 50 trillion cells.
  • A mayfly will hatch and die.
  • The sun sets.

 

I have a list of motivations I look at every morning. Here are two of the main ones:

  1. There will never be another *insert m/d/y here*
  2. You’re going to die one day.

 

1. There will never be another *insert m/d/y here*

 

I like to think of this as if I’m someone in the future looking back on the past. Have you ever thought to yourself “It would be great to have lived in the 20s, 80s, or 1700s.” or maybe you’ve thought “It would be amazing if I could just travel back in time and experience that thing that happened on that day.”

 

I like to think of every day like this. As if I have some advantage of being alive at this moment in time that those past and future don't have. As if every day has the potential to change my life for the better or worse if I let it.

 

2. You’re going to die one day.

 

 

Morbid right? I think this motivation came from a quote by C.S Lewis. He talks about Christians here, but this can apply to anyone's legacy:

 

"If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.”

 

Wrapping your mind around the fact that you will one day not be here and the world will continue to exist without you, will certainly make you live your life with more intentionality.

 

How do you practically live with intentionality and maximize every single day? Check out this blog post by one of my favorite guys on Medium.

Day 3 - Fall In Love With the Process

One of the best things I’ve learned from working out is to love the process not the results.

 

 

It’s also the biggest thing I’ve learned from the guy in the video of my last post, Gary Vaynerchuk. If you know anything about him you know that he loves the New York Jets and his goal is to buy them one day. However, he makes it abundantly clear that his happiness isn't in finally buying the team, but in the work it takes to get there.

 

Here’s a video explaining this more. It really is the ultimate advice for twentysomethings. 

Working out and exercise are great examples of this. Have you ever wondered why the guy at the gym who is beyond ripped still goes to the gym? It’s because he fell in love with the process of getting ripped, not the end goal.

 

This is a great habit for everything. If you just workout for the end result, you’ll either quit when you don’t see results fast enough or you’ll stop when you reach your goal and fall right back to where you started.

 

What is your goal right now? Is it to graduate, lose/gain weight, or find a stable job? In all of these things fall in love with the actual work and grind of getting there, not the completed destination. You'll be able to take setbacks better, create an unmachable work ethic, and you might even reach your goal sooner than you think.

Day 2 - The Best Career Advice I Received in My 20s

Here it is, you ready? Close your eyes until you’re 29. Here’s what I’m talking about *language warning*

 

What is he talking about? He’s saying stop looking up, stop looking around and comparing yourself to your peers. Put your head down and work. Give up on getting your dream job in your 20s. Give up on moving up the corporate ladder in your 20s. Tell yourself it’s not going to happen. 

 

What’s funny is if you apply this principle you’ll most likely achieve what you’re trying to achieve before you turn 29. 

 

Every college graduate thinks they’ll get their dream job straight out of college and the majority of them don’t. I think the reason most graduates don’t get that dream job is that they’re too busy looking around, comparing, and turning their nose up at perfectly good jobs that they could crush. Or they do accept a job but are too busy wishing they were where their friends are at in life that they become mediocre at that job and that’s why they’ll be there for the next 30 years.

 

Be smart. Take a job that lines up with your career goals, crush it, and if another opportunity comes along that lines up more with your goals, grab it and crush that one too. Just don’t take a job and be average at it because you spent your whole time there wishing you were somewhere else.

 

 

 

Day 1 - This is Not a Finished Blog Post

Starting today I’m forcing myself to write every day for a minimum of 30 days. The goal is to form an idea every day for 30 consecutive days, write something about it, and press publish before midnight.

 

From the age of twelve, Ray Bradbury wrote 1000 words a day. Steven King doesn’t sleep without typing up 2000 words and Arthur Conan Doyle wrote 3000 words per day saying this about writing:

“My mind rebels at stagnation. Give me problems, give me work, give me the most abstruse cryptogram or the most intricate analysis, and I am in my own proper atmosphere. I can dispense then with artificial stimulants. But I abhor the dull routine of existence. I crave for mental exaltation. That is why I have chosen my own particular profession, or rather created it, for I am the only one in the world.”

There are three main things I want to say about writing everyday: Reading and writing go hand-in-hand, just publish it, and make sure you're doing it for yourself.

 

1. Reading and Writing Go Hand-in-Hand

You’re probably asking, “how the heck does someone have enough content to write 1000-3000 words a day for months? The answer is easy: read, like a lot. 

There are tons of photos of Stephen King reading at baseball games. These photos are inspirational. You know how difficult it is to write one book in your lifetime? Well, Stephen King has written around 130 and it's because of his dedication to reading. 

Honestly, the content you’re consuming matters more than the content you’re putting out. 

If you’re not reading you won’t have anything to write about and if you’re not writing you’re not challenging yourself to become a better communicator, thinker, and overall better person.

 

2. Just Press Publish

If you’re a perfectionist or care a lot about what other people think, this is the hardest step. It’s the same as anything else, coming to a point where you say “that’s it, I’m done” is tough. 

There’s always something else to fix. Always a better point to make or something to tweak. I’m not saying the stuff we create shouldn’t be the best it can be, but when it comes to doing something every day sometimes just getting stuff out there is better than making it a perfect song, blog post, or idea. 

 

3. Do it For Yourself

If you don’t, you’ll live by people’s praise and die by their rejection (I stole that from a favorite rapper of mine). This is true for all of life. 

The majority of the content you make isn’t going to be seen by anyone else and that’s fine. Think about all the stories those authors I named at the beginning never saw the light of day. Those late nights and thousands of words a day were for themselves, not their audience. Even when they did publish to their audience I wouldn’t say they did it for themselves, but because they simply couldn’t help themselves. They loved it. 

The truth is this blog post isn’t even close to being done, but that’s not what an every day writing challenge is about. It’s about actually doing it and I just did it.

Here are two finished blog posts on this topic you might like:

First

Second

Telo - Developer Friendly Data APIs

Telo is a company out of Atlanta that has been creating APIs that help businesses since 2011. When I first heard about them I was intrigued by the work they were doing and was fortunate enough to video chat with the founders. I was excited to learn more about the technology they were building and what exactly they do. Although I like technology and want to learn a lot more, I’ll admit it can sometimes be hard to understand, so a good place to begin is on their about page on telo.com:

 

    "Telo pioneered the first developer friendly telephony data API in 2011 with the launch of OpenCNAM. Since then, Telo has expanded its developer focused product line to include EveryoneAPI, a highly advanced reverse phone append API, and released subsequent versions of OpenCNAM extending Caller ID coverage to include over 200 countries. Today, Telo is committed to leading data services innovation by providing APIs that supply systems worldwide with information that is rooted in exhaustive research and avant-garde intelligence.”

 

The first thing you’re probably wondering is “What is an API?”. In short, an API is the messenger that takes request and tells a system what it is you are trying to do. Think of an API like a waiter in a restaurant. You sit at a table with a menu of choices. The kitchen is in the back of the restaurant waiting for orders to fill. The waiter writes down your request or order and takes it back to the kitchen to prepare. It then brings the fulfilled request or order back to you. 

 

You use APIs every day without even knowing it. If you Google or type into something like Kayak, “flights to New York” their website is using the API from Delta, United, and other airlines' websites to pull information like travel times and prices. 

 

Here’s what's cool about Telo, they developed the first API that does this with telephone numbers. OpenCNAM (CNAM is just an acronym for Caller ID Name) does this with caller ID. You can try it here with your phone number! EveryoneAPI does this but is next level. Here’s a list of information it can pull from a phone number when someone calls a business:

 

  • Name (Name of person or business)
  • Profile (Social data)
  • CNAM
  • Gender
  • Image
  • Address (full address including city, state, zip, and even geocoordinates associated with the number)
  • Location (Latitude and longitude)
  • Line Provider
  • Carrier
  • Original Carrier
  • Linetype (landline or mobile)

 

You can imagine how useful this information would be to businesses. There are many ways to apply this technology to business and I’m not aware of all of them, but two businesses that are currently using Telo’s API are Nomorobo and Calltrackingmetrics. Nomorobo uses this information to identify spam callers and block unwanted robocalls. CallTrackingMetrics uses Telo’s API to streamline a business's call center and provide keyword attribution which helps them calculate ROI. I’d suggest checking out each of these websites!

 

It is a fascinating field and one I’m just starting to wrap my head around but it was cool to learn about an innovative company based in Georgia doing such great work.

5 Steps to Starting a Podcast

Today I did one of the most Millenial things possible. I started a podcast. To be honest, I always saw myself starting one, but I just didn’t know when. There’s a lot you have to figure out. What software do you use, what equipment, hosting site, what’s it even going to be about? Will it just be you on the podcast talking into the ether or will you have a guest? How often will you post? Will people even listen?

Luckily I just went through all of this so let's talk about this.

1. Is This Podcast Going to Bring Value to Those Who Listen?

I’d say the number one reason most podcasts don’t gain any traction is that whoever started it didn’t ask themselves this question initially. Value can come in many ways, shapes, and forms. It can be in the form of news, giving people advice on a topic you’re knowledgeable about, or even in the form of a laugh, giving people entertainment on their way home from work. This is something you have to ask yourself right off the bat or you'll lose focus on why you started.

2. How long and how frequent will your podcast be?

Your podcast can be anywhere from 5 minutes (such as Mike Rowe's) to half an hour (such as 99% invisible) to over an hour (such as The School of Greatness). Pick a time and be consistent. People like familiarity. Don’t hop around from a 5-minute podcast to an hour and 20-minute podcast, or going from posting weekly to posting monthly. Your listener will wonder where you are and your podcast will just move down their list of stuff to listen to.

3. Who is this Podcast Going to Consist of?

Once you have the first question down, your next step is to figure out who will be on the podcast. Is it going to be just you or will you have more than one person on it? I’ve seen both done really well (Malcolm Gladwell's and Joe Rogan's). If your goal is to give advice or educate the listener on a certain topic, do you know anyone who is knowledgeable on that topic? If not, are you prepared to fill up the entire episode? 

4. Equipment, Software, and Web Hosting.

Congrats if you've made it to step 4. You have the hard stuff figured out!

Equipment: Don’t worry too much about this when you’re first getting started. The key is to just start it. It doesn't need to be perfect. The substance of your podcast trumps any of the equipment you have. If your podcast sucks, no amount of good technology can save it. So don’t worry about spending top dollar at this point. I use the Blue Yeti mic, but that’s only because I was able to borrow it.

Software: I record and edit in Audacity because it’s free, but Garageband can work as well. Audacity does have a learning curve and looks like it's from the early 2000s, but it has a lot of great tools. Another tool I’ll link is Levelator.

Website Hosting: Once you have your first episode recorded, iTunes needs an RSS feed to pull from. You may be able to start off by using Soundcloud, but the more episodes you record the more you’ll need to look for a host to store all of them. I'd suggest a paid Soundcloud account or Patreon. Luckily for this, I already use Squarespace for my personal website and it was a breeze to start a podcast on.

5. Obligatory “Have Fun With It”

But really, no one wants to listen to an extremely uptight podcast unless it’s for educational purposes, and even then. If you have more than one person on your podcast, there should be a nice flow of conversation and you should be prepared for any lack of things to say. Lastly, this should be fun and enjoyable for you because if it’s not you will easily get bored and tired of it after the fourth or fifth episode. Get excited!

Shameless plug time:

Rogero Rants is a podcast on anything and everything that can be ranted about. Typically I'll have a guest or two on and we'll try to throw in some advice and stories from personal experience. For example, if you've ever gone garage sailing or thought about going, the first episode is about tips and tricks and things to look out for when going. We also share stories that are really entertaining. Check it out here!

More useful links: 

- https://www.smartpassiveincome.com/tutorials/start-podcast-pats-complete-step-step-podcasting-tutorial/

- https://support.squarespace.com/hc/en-us/articles/205814338

 

 

 

 

My Top 3 Skills

Here is a list of what I believe to be my top three skills:

Self-Starter

I like starting stuff. Whether it’s something as big as a business or as small as starting a new book, I enjoy embarking on something new. I started a phone repair company in high school because I noticed how inconvenient repair shops were. You have to take time out of your busy day to drop the broken item off and then sit there while it’s being repaired. I started by making a facebook page from scratch and brought it to over 150 likes while maintaining a 5 star page rating. 

The inconvenience of regular repair stores led me to start a mobile repair shop, where you can continue on with your day while your phone was being fixed. That was our biggest selling point! We would meet at doctor’s offices, sororities, coffee shops, and even do some house calls for single mothers. I loved everything that came with starting a business. The marketing, the sales, and interacting with the customer.

Adaptability

“Plans are of little importance, but planning is essential.” 

― Winston Churchill

I’ve always known that you must have a plan in order to accomplish anything in life. I also know that your plans are usually scrapped and when that happens, only the adaptable are able to move forward. 

This past summer I led a team of college students to three different cities to work with a non-profit. Each day I was in charge of getting students from point A to point B, handling itineraries, and communicating objectives to the rest of the team. I took the time beforehand to meet, plan, and prepare for the next two months. However, about a month before our flight I had one person drop out and another who wasn’t able to come. When we arrived in Boston, I learned that our housing situation was not at all what we had planned for. We were unable to have A/C units (regardless of the 90-degree weather), we had no refrigerator to store food, or kitchen to cook in. I planned to have all three of these things because this is what I was told we would have. When I learned otherwise, I had to adapt. We found a mini fridge on craigslist, bought a cheap skillet from Target, and purchased box fans. It wasn't perfect, but it was much better than just accepting our current situation.

I was in my element that summer because I love finding alternate solutions and adapting to problems!

Creativity

I’ve always enjoyed creating compelling content. I’ve created logos, websites (like the one you're reading this on), wedding videos, and even t-shirts. I like to have an idea in my head and working with a program or team of people to bring it to fruition. Some of my favorite times are taking a hard drive of footage and experimenting with Adobe Premiere to piece clips together and making a video worth watching.  

I enjoy combining creativity with problem solving. Like brainstorming sessions where nothing is off the table. Meetings where you have free reign to come up with ideas and out-of-the-box solutions. We often did this when starting our mobile repair business. We printed out coupons and went to our near university and put them in strategic places like locker rooms, mail cubbies, and even bathrooms. It was a simple idea, but it led to a big percentage of sales that month.

Week 5-6 Look Up

A few things I’ve learned during my time in Boston is: 1. I like making cheesy jokes with strangers. 2. Nobody cares about who you are as much as you do. Basically, you don’t have to hold back in a big city. 

 

The world needs weird people. It doesn’t need more people that look like everyone else. It needs people who encourage random pedestrians. People who make weird dad jokes to waiters. People who don’t just put in their headphones and drown out the world, but look up and enjoy it with those around them. It needs people who actually initiate conversations with those around them! Because the worst thing that can happen is that they think you’re weird and stop responding. God forbid, right?

 

I mean public transit is way more fun when a stranger makes a joke about how terrible it is. Waiting in line is better when someone makes a sarcastic remark about how fast the line is moving.

 

So why don’t we do this all the time? If I had to guess it’s because we’re so preoccupied with how people view us. At least for me, I’m constantly analyzing myself in public. “Should I put my headphones in or just stare at my hand?” “What do I even do with my hands?” “Maybe I'll just act like I’m texting so I look busy.”

 

I had this thought the other day, and this isn’t just some old man trashing on millennials. What if, for a brief moment, we enjoyed where we were at the moment, just for a second. Sure stuff needs to get done and waiting for the bus isn’t exciting, but what if before we put in our headphones we stopped and just thought, “This is cool. The stuff around me is nice, the people around me probably all have interesting stories, and there will never be another *insert date here* like today"

 

That’s it. Just a hesitation before checking Instagram to enjoy where we are at the moment, physically or in the course of life. Just a moment to enjoy your kids at their age or to appreciate the fact that you can get up from the couch without your back hurting or a moment to see if there’s anyone around you to initiate a conversation with.

 

Because here’s the truth. People are lonely. Everyone is longing for someone to talk to and be heard. So why not get out of your comfort zone today and this upcoming semester to just look up. 

 

 

Anyways, back to surfing the internet. 

Week 4 - Life is an Impromptu

 

“You die in the improv set 5 times out of 9. When you get over your fear of dying, nothing really scares you anymore.”

— Bill Murray

 

One of the first times I realize I belonged in a city was when I saw how people drive here in Boston. It’s some of the funniest stuff to watch. There’s obvious traffic yet some guy thinks traffic doesn’t apply to him so he take’s to the bike line and forces his car further up the line where people have to let him in, all while three other cars follow his lead. 

 

There are no lanes here. There may be white lines on the road, but they're only a suggestion. So yes, it’s basically how I drive in Athens. I love drivers that constantly process the situation they are in and then pull something ridiculous to go around everyone. This might anger most people, but I usually applaud it. Now you see why Boston traffic is so entertaining to me. 

 

Driving is a great example of making it up as you go. It’s actually a great picture of life, think about it. The different types of cars, the different speeds, how people choose to navigate, and which roads to take. You can tell a lot about a person’s personality by how they drive. Do they get impatient easily? Do they sit in traffic or are they constantly looking for alternative routes? How fast do they drive? Do they listen to podcasts, music, or just enjoy the ride?

 

Life is about making it up as you go. You aren’t given a path-by-path manual when you are born. “Choose option B to have this career”. “Choose option A to marry this type of person”. There’s no formula. It’s like being on stage and having to impromptu everything. 

 

Think about the best conversations you’ve had. You didn’t bring notes to it (hopefully). You didn’t tell the other person how to respond. You just converced. The most beneficial college courses aren’t the ones where the professor regurgitates his lecture from last semester, it’s the one with class discussion, personal stories, and navigating through the hard questions. This is what it’s like to live by a compass rather than a map. 

 

One way to live like this is to always choose the harder option (which is usually better one in the long run) and just adapt as you go.  If everything in your life right now is safe, you’re probably not doing all that you could be doing. It’s when you’re pushing yourself to discomfort that you grow. Here’s a good article that explains this better than I can.

 

Boston update: Exactly 2 weeks left before Orlando as of today, so it’s crunch time up here!

 

 

Week 2-3 - Risk as a Way of Life

Every week so far I’ve been trying to find a sort of "theme" for each week. These past two weeks the word risk kept popping up. So let's talk about that.

 

Risk is a part of life. Risk is a major part of cities. I can’t imagine all the risks taken every day in Boston. From individuals to small startups and major corporations. Risk makes or breaks. One of my greatest fears in life is to live a life without risk.

 

When was the last time you took a major risk? I’m not talking about switching up your Chick-Fil-A order, though that can be frightening. When was the last time you lept from the comfort of a current, safe situation into the unknown? This includes, but isn’t limited to: a job change, asking someone out, or saying yes to something you were wayyyy under equipped for.

 

Now obviously the older you get the more responsibilities you have and the less risk you should take, or so they say. But for those who are still young, we should be taking advantage of this stage of life. Risking big and winning big. Failing big, learning big, and trying again, but never playing it small. 

 

There are many reasons people choose to live comfortably, I’ve narrowed it down to three:

 

  1. You're scared of what people will think/say. 
  2. You're afraid of failing.
  3. It’s just easier not to. 

 

1. You're Scared of What People Will Think Or Say

 

"In life you have two options. You can do your own thing and stand out or you can do what you’re “supposed” to do and fit in.” 

-Casey Neistat. 

 

Think of all the times someone’s perceived perception of you stopped you from doing something. Now think about how stupid that is. So many great ideas wasted. Now there’s nothing wrong with fitting in. There’s something wrong with it when you do it because you’re scared not to. You’re scared of people asking why you’re not going to college so you go anyways because, well everyone else is.

 

This post is a risk. Everything I do is clouded by this fear. The key is to do it anyway and little by little that cloud slowly disappears. 

Just don’t let your decision making be based off of the fear of others or letting them down. It’s not their life and life’s too short to think like that. 

 

2. You're Afraid of Failing

 

I’ve got a pretty good post (if I do say so myself and I do) that covers this, but I’ll talk about it a little more. Risk and failure go hand-in-hand. It’s hard to talk about risk without talking about failure, because when you take any risk there are only two outcomes. You either succeed or you fail. When you put everything on black it’s either black or it’s not. When you ask your boss for a raise you either get it or you don’t. Like I said earlier, risk makes or breaks. 

 

Most people live their lives in fear of the second option. Rarely does their excitement of the first outcome outweigh their fear of the second. You can’t afford to live like that. 

 

3. It’s a Whole Lot Easier Not to

 

Let’s be honest. It’s just a whole lot easier to live comfortably. To never take risks, to never go against the current, and to please everyone. The problem is you’re not on this planet to do that. You’re here to grow and be challenged. The key is to learn that there’s always going to be a reason not to. There is never a perfect time. You just have to realize this and jump anyway. 

 

 

 

Update: (Back again mom? Thanks.) This was a shorter post, but I’ve got one for later this week so have no fear! Yesterday marked our halfway point and we’ve been making a lot of progress both individually and here in Boston. The easiest way to keep up with the day-to-day stuff is here. And here’s a link to the previous post.

Week 1 - Why Cities Are Important

Boston. b-o-s-t-o-n. There really isn’t another city that makes me light up (other than maybe Athens) like that word does. I can still remember my first time here exactly two years ago. Getting off the plane, getting my baggage, a homeless man laughing at my attempts to navigate the T all while people rolled their eyes at how much room my luggage took up on the sub…good times.

 

Ok maybe that part sucked, but coming out of the subway into Copley Square was like something out of a movie. I honestly felt like I was playing the part of a small-town character who goes into the city for the first time. I loved it instantly. It was then that I realized I was made for cities.

 

Fast forward to a week ago. Same feeling, but not nearly as cinematic. Like “Yea……ok cool, I could get used to this”. Everything came back to me. How to navigate the T, the enormous library, and most importantly; how to J-walk.

 

Cities are important. I only just started reading a book called Why Cities Matter and I relate to it so much. Here’s some info from it: 

-    180,000 people move into cities every day. (5.5 million monthly)

-    Half of Africa’s population will be urban by 2050. (38% currently)

-    In the next 20 years, China’s cities will add an additional 350 MILLION (that’s basically an additional America) to their population.

 

Cities are important and I believe that as your love for people grows, so should your love for cities. 

 

If you’re here for an update (thanks mom), I’ll go ahead and do that now. This past week we spent letting the novices learn about Boston. We’re specifically working in Mission Hill, a 3/4 square mile neighborhood, according to Wikipedia. We’re volunteering at 3 different organizations there, while simultaneously helping a future church planter get acquainted with the people and area. We’re mapping out things like how many compassion ministries the town offers, and what the greatest needs of the people here are. So this past week was a lot of paperwork, prayer, and meeting people. 

 

Ok, now that that’s over with (sorry mom) we can continue to talk about how cool cities are. Cities never stop. They are always changing, always adapting, and never close before midnight. Rather than going for a run in your neighborhood by yourself, you can run through Central Park or the Charles River Esplanade with 1000 of your closest friends. 

 

We are in the middle of a fourth wave of urbanization: Megacities. Never before has our world looked so much like the book of Acts. The CEO of Gallup, Jim Clifton put it this way: "if you were to ask me, from all the data you have studied so far, where will the next breakthrough, such as Internet-based everything come from? My answer would be from the combination of the forces within big cities, great universities, and their powerful local leaders…. The cornerstone of these three is cities… as goes the leadership of the top 100 American cities, so goes the country's economic future.”

 

If churches, or any organization, wish to invest in people, our country, and the nations, they must invest in cities. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Pieces of Advice Every High School Graduate Should Know

As graduation is right around the corner, I thought I’d give my top 5 things I wish I knew when graduating high school. I’ll keep it short because you probably should be studying for finals right now.

 

1. Find the hard thing and do it.

 

One of the most important things you can do as a teenager is to get out of your comfort zone, stop asking, “what if?”, and find the hard thing and do it. This could be in the form of a job, starting something, or taking the class that’s harder with a better teacher than the easy one. 

 

An example of this is a thing I do every year, referee soccer. This ranges from recreational league to varsity, and even some adult leagues. It’s simultaneously the best and worst thing I do every season. It’s the best because it forces me to deal with people, make quick decisions, and take charge. It’s the worst because I naturally tend to avoid conflict, be very indecisive, and I'm passive by default. You can see the dilemma here and yet I’ve done it for the past 5 years. Find something like this that challenges you’re weaknesses. 

 

2. Pursue many things, not just what you’re passionate about. 

 

If you don’t know what you want to do with youre life that’s normal, but don’t start racking up debt just to find out what you love doing. Instead, go to a cheap community college and take as many inexpensive classes as you can, while getting you core classes out of the way. Then when you have a good idea of the direction you want to go, get after it! 

 

Here’s what I thought growing up: passion + work ethic = success. In other words find what you love doing, work hard, and you’ll be successful. The problem is we’re not always good at the stuff we love doing. And what if we love doing something only because we haven’t tried anything else? When we are young we are like blank canvases. Every experience is like the stroke of a paint brush. The finished product is finding our true passion in life. The more stuff you try, the faster you’ll learn what you’re good and bad at, what you like and dislike, and what you’ve always wanted to do with your life, but just didn’t know it quite yet. And that’s the finished piece when you learn your true passion. 

 

3. Look at failure like other people look at success. 

 

If our goal is to reach that finished art piece, then we should chase as many strokes as possible. This is going to mean failing at a lot of things. But as I’ve mentioned in another post, failure isn’t always a bad thing and can often be better for you than succeeding. Think about the stage of life you’re in right now. This is the greatest time to fail at things and take the biggest risk. Failure and risk only punch harder the older you get. 

 

Given that we are learning from our failures, we should just go ahead and get them out of the way as quickly as possible. The older you get the more you should know and the less you should be failing. Therefore, the younger you are the less you'll know and the more you should be failing. We can then learn, recalibrate, and move closer to success. 

 

4. Don’t judge someone based on where they are now. 

 

It’s easy to look at people and want to envy them or think you could easily get to where they are if you wanted to. The problem is we don’t always know the factors that went into where they are now. They may have had an advantage we didn’t, or worked day and night for years to get to where they are now and we simply can’t see that by just looking at them. So don’t think success is easy or your dream job should just be handed to you.

 

5. Don’t take things so personally. 

 

I’m very egotistical. It’s easy for me to think everything is about me. Every comment, laugh, and look is directed towards me. When in most cases it’s not.

 

It’s rare to see a good debate nowadays. I think this is because everyone throws their identity into a certain belief system and then feels personally attacked when that belief system is questioned. I’m thinking mainly about politics, but this could work for all beliefs that don’t have an absolute truth. The more I learn, the more I realize that both sides of the coin are right. It’s good to take a step back every no-and-then and ask yourself why you believe what you believe. This leads to a greater understanding of your beliefs or a correction in what you thought was true. 

 

Bottom line, don’t feel personally attacked when you’re system of thought is put into question. Look at it as a chance to refine your own views and to helps others understand. 

 

 

These are just a few pieces of advice I thought every high schooler, and now young adult, should know. So if this helped or you have questions or comments, let me know!

3 Employees Who Deserve a Raise

Today I want to talk about three employees who work in my city that deserve a raise. These people are what Seth Godin would refer to as "linchpins". Without them, the entire work environment would look different.

1. Dude who works at QT.

This guy is crazy. You walk in the store and he welcomes you. You leave the store and he tells you goodbye. Without fail. You buy any common item and he's already calculated the total in his head, including tax. I've even seen him work two cash registers at once. This man is no myth, he's a hero. 

2. Guy who works at the post office. 

Similar to QT guy, he always welcomes and says goodbye. He's patient with the idiots. He even let me know that I was paying too much for something and that they have another option if I just let him know next time.

During one visit I had to drop off a package that had already been paid. I just needed a label to write the address on. Despite that he was helping someone else, he somehow knew what I was looking for and pointed me in the right direction.

3. My business law professor

First day of drop-add week I knew this guy was different. He explained to us that we were paying for college and he was getting paid to teach, therefore we were the customers. Finally, a professor that get's it! He went on the explain that if we wanted to come late we could, if we wanted to leave early we could. If we had good tickets to something on a test day we just had to let him know and he'd work it out. My favorite part was that he let us text him throughout the week with any law questions we had. Both for homework and for life in general. He constantly told us interesting stories of his law days and former students who would still call him with problems they had.

Now it wasn't an easy class. But he was always willing to help, explain something twice, and work with us. His tests were hard, but I learned a lot that semester and realized if I every taught a college course, that's how I'd do it.

These three people are living examples of Seth Godin's book "Linchpin". They show that no matter where you work, whether a gas station or a college, every employee should strive to change that environment he or she is working in, making the most of your "boring" job. 

 

Ideas are Garbage, Execution is Everything

I’m not sure if it’s a personality type or something everyone does, but am I the only one that thinks to himself, “That would be cool.” a billion times a day?

Here’s what I’ve been learning recently. You could think of a cure for cancer, how to harness dark matter, or a way to fly from NYC to Heathrow in under 20 minutes. You can write out the blueprints, draw up a business plan, and even start telling people what you’re about to achieve, but if you never execute, none of it really matters.

A large portion of my life is spent thinking of ideas and ways to better humanity which sounds awesome and all, but who cares if none of them ever some to fruition?

Here’s the thing. Ideas are easy. They’re a dime a dozen. Any middle schooler with a laptop could think of a way to make money online, but they don’t. Why? Because actually doing something, the execution, is what really matters. It’s the part with the most amount of risk, the largest chance of success, and where you’ll learn the most valuable lessons.

Here’s what you should do now. Like actually do. Not “Oh that’s nice, I’ll just do it in my head.” Open up Evernote, take out a piece of paper, and write down 10 ideas you could achieve in 2017. 10 ways to make money, funnel your creativity, or to just do something worthwhile.

Then here’s the kicker. Pick one and actually do it. Even if it’s something small, execute. Because why not? It beats going through the same routine day after day.

Start Your Life Before You Have To

“One more semester and then I’ll be in the real world.”

“One more final then I have to start looking for a real job”

“Adulting”

These are all phrases I’ve been hearing for the past couple years and wanted to talk about it.

You’re in 6th grade and the only thing on your mind is getting to 8th grade and ruling middle school. You’re in 9th grade and you gotta know if you made the team. It consumes you (but then again I was homeschooled, how would I know). You’re a sophomore and you gotta start “adulting”. Applying to colleges and maybe paying a phone bill. Freshman year of college you’ve finally made it and can start your life. No parents. No curfew. No one telling you “No”. At least for the moment…

Senior year you look up and life crashes into you like a tsunami. You gotta figure out how to open a bank account, apply for a credit card, and interview for a job. You’ve been so worried about what concert you were going to next that this whole “life” thing has been put on hold.

This doesn’t describe every Millennial, but it is predominately what I’ve been watching ever since freshman year of high-school. Millions of students growing up with their eyes to the floor worried about trivial things then one day they look up at the world around them and feel helpless.

Is this their fault? Well partially, but it’s also our cultures. Partially theirs because when I hear “One more final and I gotta start looking for a real job” I think to myself, “Why weren’t you already doing this?” Partially our culture’s because no one expects them to.

When I was in high school I worked a full time job and was able to put money in the bank and a job on my resume. This freed me up to do things later on in life. Sure my grades suffered, but I put life ahead of school.

This may be controversial and I’m still thinking through this.

Never put school ahead of life. You can leverage school for your life, which is what a friend of mine is doing. He’s a genius and is going to gobble up as many degrees and letters as he can which is awesome! As long as you’re geared that way. But never sacrifice a stepping stone in your career or life, for more points on a test.

I recently struck up a conversation with a guy in my business law class who is my age and has a paid internship at a Fortune 500 company, he has a 790 credit score, and plenty in the bank. This dude is 20 years old. He’s not worried about our school events or which party, festival, or road trip to take next.

When he graduates, he’s not looking up and getting hit by the tsunami, he’s surfing it here and now. Because he took initiative to start his life, and didn’t wait.

I’ve got multiple friends who started businesses in college, one who wrote a book in high school, another in college, and a couple who designed apps on the side.

I’m watching too many college graduates freak out about what to do next with their life. When if they had just put in a little extra work on the side. Developed a better network, started a crappy business, or just went out of their comfort zone more often, if they had done any of these things for the past 8 years they’d be in a better place than they are now.

Granted I don’t have it all together. This is all advice from someone who has been on the earth for less time than a nice bottle of wine. I’ve got goals and ideas of what I’d like to do, but I know life rarely goes how you think it.

I guess I’m just saying don’t get so caught up in the here and now. Be prepared for down the road. It’s not too late. Start reading. Start learning. Get coffee with someone who could help you.

Because you’ll blink and there you are in front of that tsunami of responsibilities.