How I Interned with the best selling author Ryan Holiday

I hadn’t checked out Tattered Cover’s website in literally months when an intuitive thought came to me to check out their website. So I did, and saw that Ryan Holiday was coming for a book signing 2 days from the day I checked the site!!

He was scheduled to do a talk and signing from 7-8pm, the only problem was that I worked until 8pm…

Anyway, I took time to draft up a genuine letter from my heart to give to him if I was able to meet him. I got done with work at 8:00pm on the dot that day, which is normal, and I rushed to my car to drive to the Tattered Cover bookstore. I got there in about 10 minutes and literally ran from my car to the bookstore – since it was downtown I had to park a few blocks away.

After getting into the bookstore I asked a worker if Ryan was still there and they told me yes and pointed to where he was. I excitedly but calmly walked closer to him and got in line to meet him. I had my letter with me and I also picked up one of his books to buy-Ego Is the Enemy, which I highly recommend!

I asked some people in line about the talk Ryan had given for the past hour before meeting him. They didn’t tell me much but I was still excited that I was about to meet him. A few minutes later I was at the front of the line. I gave him my letter, we spoke of the book Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, he signed my book and we took a picture together. It was surreal in the moment but the moment got even more surreal a few weeks later…

Ken Thompson Ryan Holiday

He read the letter I gave him and emailed me a few weeks after the book signing telling me his company was hiring interns. I had a few tasks to complete for him to see if they wanted to hire me for sure so I did those, which were writing assignments, and he ended up hiring me.

I worked under him for months in which in which I researched and wrote a lottttttt, a lot a lot a lot!!! Haha. I am happy for the challenges he gave me, which I completed, because it has made me a better writer and researcher, but I still have a lot to learn.

We wrote and edited in google docs together and it felt pretty awesome to know that I’m working with Ryan Holiday. I put in my best effort and I think he could see that by the amount of things I completed in the time we worked together. 

Anyway, it was an incredible experience working with Ryan and one of the main messages I am giving you is that a single letter can change your entire life.

Go to the book signing.
Write the letter.
Pursue your dreams.
And work hard when opportunity arises.

It’s okay to feel bad

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And it’s okay to feel good.  

How long have we had this idea in America that everyone should be happy all the time?

The media portrays smiling families, good times, and happy endings, but that isn’t always the case.

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How people think they should be.

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How people think they shouldn’t be.

You don’t need to be happy all the time To Live A Great Life.

Does your Instagram look like the picture on the top left?

Oftentimes we look at someone who is upset and think “Oh there must be something wrong with them.”  Why do we think something has to be wrong?  Maybe it’s okay for them to feel bad.  It’s okay for them to feel what they feel.  When we allow our feelings to come and don’t try to force them to leave, they will leave on their own.  When we try to control our emotions, they multiply.

You are not alone in your struggles.  Basically everyone at one point or another in their lifetime will experience depression, anxiety, OCD etc.

Check out this list of some of the greats who have dealt with depression and in some cases suicide:

Vincent Van Gogh, Ernest Hemingway, Ludwig Wan Beethoven, Pablo Picasso, Edgar Allen Poe, Abraham Lincoln, Isaac Newton, Friedrich Nietzsche, George Orwell, Robin Williams, Jim Carrey, Kurt Cobain, Ellen Degeneres, Johnny Depp, Eminem, Chris Evans, Jon Hamm, Angelina Jolie, Lady Gaga, Michael Phelps, Brad Pitt, J.K. Rowling, Channing Tatum, Owen Wilson, and many others.

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So we can be there to support others and to support ourselves because everyone is going through something, and that’s okay.  We need to remember that everyone suffers in life, and the meaning we give our suffering can make our lives better or worse.

“You don’t need to feel great to act great.” Coach T

So how can we gain Peace of Mind through this idea of accepting our feelings as they are?

“Don’t look for peace. Don’t look for any other state than the one you are in now; otherwise, you will set up inner conflict and unconscious resistance. Forgive yourself for not being at peace. The moment you completely accept your non-peace, your non-peace becomes transmuted into peace. Anything you accept fully will get you there, will take you into peace. This is the miracle of surrender.” Eckhart Tolle

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A Study…

Psychologists at the University of California Berkeley have researched and tested the idea of accepting negative emotions and have found that “people who habitually accept their negative emotions experience fewer negative emotions, which adds up to better psychological health.”

See their article Here

These psychologists have also stated that acceptance and self-compassion are two key habits to happiness.

“People who accept their emotions without judging or trying to change them are able to cope with their stress more successfully.”

My Experience

There have been multiple times where I’ve experienced overwhelming feelings.  Over time I’ve learned that I can sit and dwell in these feelings or I can try to move on.  Sometimes these feelings come back to me, but I now work on accepting them as they are.  I allow myself to feel what I’m feeling, and then let the emotions go away in their time.

I remind myself that these feelings are temporary.  They will pass, and it will be okay.  With each new day comes a choice to suppress our emotions, or to allow them to come and then go.

Smiling helps, just look in the mirror and smile.  It’s funny, I know.  Try it for a few minutes and see what happens.

I Exercise.  This is something that is known to boost endorphins which trigger a positive feeling in the body.

Or you can take some time to just breathe.  Listen to your breath, just your breath.  Find a comfortable place, let go of the wandering mind and breathe.  Listening to your breath allows you to get back to this moment, here, now.  Try that for five minutes just to see how often your mind wanders.

I am not perfect at this craft, but I enjoy the practice and think you will too!

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Conclusion:

It’s okay to think & feel happy, sad, depressed, anxious, joyous, all the emotions.

Remember that feelings are temporary; they will pass, but your actions will last.

Try to be conscious of how you are thinking and feeling when you are down, and don’t allow yourself to just dwell on auto-pilot in negative feelings.  Feel what you feel, accept what you’re feeling and thinking, even wave to your feelings if you’d like, and then watch them go like cars passing by.

Peace of Mind is not just a state of relaxation.

Peace of Mind isn’t about feeling a certain way.  

It’s about feeling the way you feel.

Feeling how you feel is the greatest happiness of all.

“You can’t stop the waves (of emotions) but you can learn to surf.”

Above all, it’s about letting the mind be as it is and knowing something about how it is in this moment.  It’s not about getting somewhere else, but about allowing yourself to be where you already are. — Jon Kabat-Zin

Thanks for reading!  Please share your thoughts in the comments.

QUESTION YOUR CERTAINTY

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I was listening to famous blogger Mark Manson get interviewed by Marie Forleo Here when he said something that inspired this whole post.  I believe that this idea can help everyone in their daily lives.

  • “The starting point is simple, start asking WHY about everything.”

“What if I’m wrong?”      “What if my assumption is wrong?”

The more I think about this subject, the more I see how IMPORTANT it is to question ourselves.

“Don’t believe everything you think” is a quote that has impacted my life in great ways.

Author Dan Millman wrote that our thoughts are like wild monkeys stung by a scorpion.

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Our minds are running all day; thoughts appear like clouds passing by, some stay longer than others, but some quickly pass by.  So how can you and I let go of these “clouds?”

1) As Manson would say, “There’s no ‘how.’  It’s all in your head.”  There is not much you can do other than try on a new perspective and ask, “What if my assumption isn’t true?” What would that mean?  And then psychically traverse the answer.

  • So write down 5 things in your life that you could potentially be wrong about.  Question those deep assumptions you’ve had about your identity for years.  For example, “I am lazy” I am not an attractive person” “I don’t know how to talk to people” “I won’t ever be happy” “The world is going to shit”

The more emotion you have behind these assumptions, the more important it is to write it down and CHALLENGE IT!

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After you have written down 5 or more assumptions, go through them and write down what it would mean in your life if it were wrong.

It may not be easy but it’s worth it!  Anyway how confident can you be in your own beliefs if you’ve never challenged them?  Try to see the “other side,” and when it does appear more likely and more valid, join that side!

2) THINK THROUGH YOUR THOUGHTS to see if what you’re thinking is irrational or not.

For example:  Say that you get a little nervous to go to the gym or grocery shopping.  But why?  Because you have to step out of your COMFORT ZONE.

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You are comfortable inside your apartment watching TV & the thought of leaving will disrupt your comfort – so you think..

It’s crazy how the mind can trick us to stay exactly where we are.  But if you want to do anything significant or really even just anything, you need to leave your comfort zone.  It’s worth it.  The pain you will feel later on in life due to staying in your comfort zone will be much worse than the temporary discomfort of going for what you want.

-This can relate to asking a girl/guy out.

-Performing at that open mic night you’ve been considering.

-Joining that group you’ve been thinking of joining.

-Anything that has to do with doing what you want.

People are afraid of all sorts of things & that’s okay.  You shouldn’t try to strive to be fearless, you should strive to TAKE ACTION when you are feeling afraid.

I have learned that it’s not about how I think or feel, it’s about what I do!!  

Don’t believe everything you think!  Question your assumptions and thoughts, and start TAKING ACTION!!!

Stop wasting time caring about the wrong things; things that only worry you.  Start caring about things that truly matter to you!

Click the BOOK PICTURE below to buy Mark Manson’s NY Times Best Selling book that can help you do all of the above!

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6 Human Needs; Why all people do what they do

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This post mainly comes from the ideas of the great Tony Robbins while I only add to it.

You are seeking emotions and experiences. After researching experts, I have found that there are six basic, universal needs that drive ALL human behavior. Every human being has these needs, but we each put different VALUE on these needs. Our focus on these needs will determine the direction of our life!  What need will you live for?

The six human needs include:

1) Certainty

2) Significance

3) Variety

4) Love/Connection

5) Growth

6) Contribution

Each of these needs influence every single human being’s life, and by understanding the needs that shape your behavior, you can take control of your life, and create new habits that lead you to the life you’ve been dreaming of living.

What do you think the most addictive thing in the world is???

Find out in a few paragraphs, it’s not what you think.

Before we get more into our human needs, lets look at how DECISIONS shape our destiny, and our decisions of course are intertwined with our needs.

Decision is the ultimate power. Decisions shape destiny.

There are 3 Decisions we are making EVERY moment of our lives:

1) What am I going to focus on?  Focus=feeling.  Past/present/Future…Self or others?

2) What does it(this situation/experience) mean? Is it the end or the beginning?  Are you being punished or rewarded?

3)What are your going to do? Are you going to give up or move forward?

We make these decisions consciously or unconsciously.**

Lance Armstrong for example could have focused on his cancer but he continued to focus on biking and being the best. He continued to win!

Rosa Parks.  Her focus was that she could change the world for her kids or grandkids instead of focusing on what she was told to do.  She wouldn’t go to the back of the bus & she changed the whole world!

Entrepreneur Tony Robbins also has an incredible story.  When he was a eleven years old with a very broke family and no food for Thanksgiving, a stranger came to his house on Thanksgiving to give them a turkey.  Tony’s angry father and himself had VERY different PERSPECTIVES/FOCUSES on this event that went like this:

Tony’s Father: His 3 decisions: Focus was “this is charity” What does it mean “I am worthless” What do I have to do? “Leave my family.” Which he did…

Tony’s focus:  There’s food!  What does it mean? “Strangers care about me and other people.”  What am I going to do?  “I’m going to do something to make a difference.” Six years later he started feeding families when he was 17. Slowly but surely he built a foundation and has fed millions of people all over the world.

Your FOCUS determines much of your life. Try to be intentional and conscious of what you focus on.

& The most addictive thing in the world is….

Most people will guess wrong. The answer is Problems.

**Most people find a way to feel significant by having a significant problem.  Problems are the safest way to connect with others and not be rejected. Problems are the biggest addiction in our culture.

And SiGNIFICANCE is one of the six human needs!!! Think about your life. Do you connect and feel significant through problems? And are you happy with constantly talking about problems or do you want to live a life with less complaining?

***Instead of just looking at peoples’ behaviors, see their attempts to meet their needs.***

A few insights into the 6 human needs:

1) Certainty

  • People like to be certain, to have financial security, to trust people and experiences. But too much certainty makes us bored, so we need some variety.

2) Variety

  • People like good surprises, if it’s a bad surprise they call it a problem.

3) Significance

  • We all need to feel important, special, unique..People do this in so many different ways-tattoos, religion, joining a group..etc..One of the quickest way some people feel significant is through Violence. Violent things happen each day, just watch the news; these people have a striving for significance, as well as some big mental problems..I encourage you to be significant in a positive way.  Join some great groups, read, write, travel.

4) What we really need is Connection & Love

  • Connection and love are like rain to a garden of flowers, they make us grow.  Surround yourself with people who support and love you. I am so thankful for my family because of their love. Also if you are feeling down and depressed, get a pet. Dogs will love you and are always happy to see you.  Cats are different, but they can show love to their owners as well.

Every human finds a way to meet the first 4 needs. What will your FOCUS be to meet these needs???

The next two needs create fulfillment!

5) Growth

If you don’t grow, you die. Relationships, businesses, self, etc.

  • We grow when we have something to give of value. So don’t always be thinking of yourself..I know it’s hard, but try to get out of yourself for awhile & see what you can give to others that can help them. EVERYONE has something great to contribute, but it can be very difficult to find it. Start by donating food or clothes, or doing something small for someone. It feels amazing and will help you grow. It’s funny how a selfless act will ultimately help you too.

6) To Contribute beyond ourselves

  • Growth and Contribution are intertwined. You grow by contributing.  Contribution=growth.

“The secret of living is giving.”

“It’s not about me, it’s about we.” Tony Robbins

People truly get excited to contribute once they experience it and not just talk about it.

We ALL have the same needs, but whatever need leads us will lead us to our destination.

People all try to meet the same needs, but we do it in different ways. A firefighter saves lives for significance while someone else kills a person for significance.

Try to appreciate how people are attempting to meet their needs, explore your decisions, and give.

WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO FOCUS ON?

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO?

Get more free time by using Parkinson’s Law!

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Parkinson’s Law dictates that a task will swell in perceived importance and complexity in relation to the time allotted to its completion.

We work on things with a given deadline, but if we have no deadline we will take up all sorts of time wasting it.

Example—Someone who has a leisure day with no deadlines can spend the whole day writing an easy college essay that is due the next day.  This essay should take no more than one hour, but lets see what happens…

The person wakes up slow, makes coffee and eats, showers, and 1-2 hours is gone.  They look at what they have to do for a few minutes then get distracted with social media and surfing the web for an hour.  Decide to watch Netflix for an hour or two, and the day is almost evening..

..They open up their paper and work on it for about 5 minutes before getting distracted and going back to checking out social media.  This cycle continues for hours until they finally begin and finish the paper around midnight.  The paper would have only taken at most an hour to finish, but this person believed they did not need to finish it first thing in the morning so they took all day to do it.  They did not have a specific deadline for the paper!

This is similar to a typical 9-5 workday where many people babble their days away with coworkers in pointless conversation.  There have been studies done about how much people actually work throughout the day at their 9-5 jobs and the average does actual work-related tasks about half of the time.

Useless meetings, lunch and water breaks, surfing the web and other distracting things take them away from “what they should be doing.”  And if their bosses allow it, I would do it too!  If a boss gives an employee a week to do something, that person will take the full week to lazily do that task, when it could be done in a much shorter time if given a shorter deadline. Check cartoon below↓↓↓

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“Work expands to fill the time available for its completion.”  I can’t say it enough.

By assigning the right amount go time to a task, we gain back more time and the task will reduce in complexity to its natural state.

Parkinson’s Law works because people give tasks longer than they really need, for different reasons, because they have an inflated idea of how long the task will take to complete.  **You can’t realize how quickly some tasks can be completed until you test this principle.

Work smarter, not harder…when most people are working harder and not smarter.

A practical way for you to complete goals/tasks faster:

  • Make a list of your tasks for the day, week, month, etc.  and divide them up by the amount of time you think it will take to complete them.  Then write down half of that time that you first gave yourself to complete each task!  Make sure you view your deadlines just as crucial as you would if completing it for a boss.
  • Stop checking your phone and email every 15 minutes and take 45-60 minutes of focused time to only work on your main task.

When you begin applying Parkinson’s Law to your life and your tasks, you will begin to be more productive than you’ve ever imagined.

Please share and comment, letting me know your thoughts and how Parkinson’s Law has helped you!

3 Takeaways from Mark Cuban’s Book, How to Win at the Sport of Business

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Billionaire and owner of the Dallas Mavericks, Mark Cuban gives insight into his success.  He started from the bottom now he’s where he’s at, and he’s lovin it.  Here are three key takeaways from his new book, How to Win at the Sport of Business:

1.Never Give Up

When Cuban was running one of his first companies, his secretary stole $83,000 dollars out of the $85,000 dollars they had saved.  Cuban tried to get his money back but it wasn’t possible.

Instead of dwelling on the problem, Cuban focused on the positives, and what he could do to continue to succeed.  He never saw or heard from that secretary again; she probably changed her name.

Anyway, Cuban being a stoic, a genius, and just being real with the situation said, “What’s done was done.  Worrying about revenge, getting pissed at the bank and all those ‘I’m going to get even and kick your ass thoughts’ were basically just a waste of energy.”

Cuban got right back to work, and he never stopped, just call him the energizer bunny.  Key takeaway is to be able to let go of people who have wronged you, and move on.  Taking time out of your day to try and get revenge is only a waste of time.  Let karma take care of it.

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2.Become an autodidact

The most brilliant minds throughout history have all been in some ways an autodidact; that is, a self-taught person. Cuban himself is very much an autodidact, teaching himself how to program as well as continuously reading and learning.

Cuban reads multiple hours each day, and it pays off!  Literally, he’s a billionaire, and a lot of why he is so successful is because he consistently reads.  A huge take away from this book is to be able to teach yourself; learn how to learn.

If you don’t know something, stop sitting around doing nothing about it and research it!  Study it!  Whatever you want to learn is at your fingertips, we have the internet and Google!  Almost all the information we’ll ever need is online, and usually for free!  Be your own teacher.  Stay ahead of the curve.  Have the edge.

One definition Cuban has for the edge is: “Knowing that people think you’re crazy, and they are right, but you don’t care what they think.”  Get up early, stay up late.  Kick yourself in the ass before someone else does.

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3.Enjoy the entire process

When Cuban was 23 years old he was sleeping on a floor. He was living in a 3 bedroom house with 6 people.  He was basically broke and lived off of happy hour food during that time.  He was having a blast though, not kidding, he loved it!

He got fired from multiple jobs but he was surrounded by great friends in Dallas and that made all the difference.  Now he owns the Dallas Mavericks, and has made the team and program better with his approach.  On this subject, Cuban says, “Start the day with a positive attitude.

You are going to screw up.  We all do.  But no matter what happens, every morning, the minute after you wipe away the crust from your eyes, remind yourself that you’re going to enjoy every minute of the day.  You are going to enjoy the twenty interviews you have.  You are going to enjoy waiting in the heat for your roommate to pick you up afterward.  You are going to enjoy realizing how frayed your collar has become and how sick you are of your one, lonesome tie.

You are going to enjoy all the bullshit you have to deal with as you chase your goals and dreams, because you want to remember them all.  Each and every experience will serve as motivation and provide great memories when you finally make it all happen.  It’s your choice.  What are you going to do?”

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I hope these 3 key takeaways can help you as much as they have helped me!  If you would like to order the book from Amazon you can order it here: How To Win At The Sport of Business.  I highly recommend reading it however you can get it!