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Archive for the ‘best version of yourself’ Tag

New YouTube Videos Up   Leave a comment

“Keeping Your Headlights On” and “Using a Victory Log” are now up on YouTube.  The first video talks about how your being happy isn’t just for you.  The second video expounds on the concept of a Victory Log, that I mentioned in the first video.  Check them out.  Like and comment if enjoyed the videos.  Subscribe and click the bell for notifications on YouTube if you want to be notified every time I put up a new video.  Have a geat day.


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How You Choose To Be.   Leave a comment

When I was born just over 48 years ago, I came out a little off.  I was a mostly healthy baby with one glaring exception.  On my left leg my foot was malformed.  The foot was curled up such that my big toe actually touched my ankle.  It’s a condition known as clubbed foot.

Thankfully it wasn’t as bad as it sounds.  I was born at just the right time.  The defect was correctable to a certain extent by surgery.  If you look at my left foot sans sock and shoe you can see it’s different.  And I don’t mean just because of the scar that runs across the top.  It’s shaped differently then my right foot.  And there’s an indentation on top near the ankle joint on the left hand side.  But aside from the cosmetic difference it functions mostly as well as my right ankle.  It’s just easier to twist and if I go too hard on it the ankle will hurt and stay sore for days.  It used to be worse when I was heavier and it was sore all the time to varying degrees.

On one such occasion it actually did something it had never done before.  The pain started climbing up my shin.  I’d gotten used to the normal pain coming from it. I’d actually tune it out a lot of the time until I did something to tweak it.  But if I paid attention to the ankle I would notice the pain.  This time I didn’t have to pay attention, the pain up the shin got my attention.  Knowing I had a “bad ankle” made me feel very concerned about what I may have done to cause the pain to reach the shin so I decided to go to the podiatrist to have it looked at.

He looked at some x-rays of it and physically examined it.  He asked me about a usual day at work to get an idea of what could be the issue.  I told him that I worked 10 hour shifts and could wind up standing for as much as 8 hours of it. He said based on his examination I shouldn’t be able to do that.  I shrugged my shoulders at him and replied, “well I do.”  He responded that why I was experiencing the pain was pretty simple.  It was kinda cool, yet kinda disconcerting.  He said that my ankle was maybe 10% useable so there really wasn’t much of anything I could do to damage it more by just walking on it.  He also said that because it was only 10% useable and I was standing on it all day I was wearing down the other muscles which had to compensate for it and that was causing the pain.  So good news was I wasn’t hurting anything, bad news was not hurting anything really hurt.

What he said next has stuck with me for the years since this event happened.  He told me that as my left ankle was less than 10% useable that meant my left leg would be viewed as less then 10% useable.  According to the state of Alaska, where I lived at the time, that made me disabled.  Because of my ankle I was qualified to go on public assistance in the state of Alaska due to my disability.

Here’s the thing.  I’m not disabled.  For over three decades prior to being told I was disabled I had been living my life without a disability.  This wasn’t denial, or refusing to be labelled.  Or not being able to accept being disabled.  That’s not what I’m saying at all.  What I mean is that while my ankle may have hurt more as I did more, I was never in a position where I felt I wasn’t able to do the things I wanted.

In the podiatrist’s office I was being offered to have the state of Alaska pay for my life.  I met the criteria for getting those benefits.  I wouldn’t be lying.  I wouldn’t be cheating.  It would all be very proper and legal.

But for me it would be wrong.  I knew I didn’t need that.  I knew my “disability” didn’t stop me from holding my job or earning a living on my own.  So if I said yes and filled out the paperwork I’d be getting money that in my mind I didn’t deserve.  Money that then couldn’t go to help someone who actually needed the assistance.  That’s not who I wanted to be.

In life we’re all offered choices about how we will act in different situations.  Someone does you wrong, physically or emotionally.  They’ve given you cause for anger.  They’ve given you cause for vengeance.  But ask yourself, who do you want to be?  Maybe one of your coworkers is an under-performer and the bosses let him get away with it.  Why should you work hard if he doesn’t have to?  But ask yourself, who do you want to be?  You get to your car and realize that the cashier at the store you were just shopping at gave you more change then you deserved.  It’s not your fault.  You didn’t do anything wrong.  It really isn’t your mistake to fix.  But ask yourself, who do you want to be?

No matter what the circumstance you always have a choice of how you choose to be.  Choose to be the best version of yourself in each situation.  Your future self will thank you for it.  Have a nice day.

Would You Ever Say That To Someone Else?   Leave a comment

Have you ever walked up to someone and told them how fat they look?  Have you ever let someone know, after they’ve made a mistake, how stupid they were?  Have you ever told someone they should just accept that this is as good as they’ll ever become?

I’m guessing probably not on all three.  Most people would view that as mean or cruel.  You may have even cringed a little bit reading the questions because it’s hard to imagine how someone could be so insensitive to someone else.  You’d never treat another human being like that?

Or would you?  You’re a human being after all.  Has there been a time when you looked in the mirror and felt bad about what you saw?  Maybe you made a simple or easy to understand error, but were quick to judge yourself as stupid for having committed it?  Have you ever looked at the life of someone you felt was better off and wished you were them?  Right after wishing you were them did you tell yourself to get real?

We’d be so upset with ourselves if we ever treated someone like we sometimes treat ourselves.  But have you ever felt bad about treating yourself bad?  If it isn’t acceptable to treat others that way, then hold yourself to the same standard.

The next time you walk by a mirror, smile to yourself and let yourself know you look good.  Made a silly mistake?  Then why not chuckle a little instead of berate?  Afterall shouldn’t a little silliness bring a smile to your face?

And here’s the big one, just be happy where you are, but always work to be a little better.  The first step in getting a little better every day is first accepting you can be better.  This isn’t a negative judgement about where you are now.  Remember in the progression good, better, best you’re starting out with good.  But why just be good when you can be better.  Why settle for better when you can become the best version of yourself?

When listening to your self-talk this week remember to ask yourself “would you ever say that to someone else?”  And if you wouldn’t, don’t accept that language for you either.  Don’t beat yourself up.  Don’t judge yourself harshly.  Just be kind.  That’s all it takes.  Be kind.  Just as you would treat others and would have others treat you.  Have a nice day.

Why?   Leave a comment

I listen to a variety of podcasts and read a lot of books. I think this moves me forward along my journey to be my best self. I just don’t think there’s anything such as bad information, so long as you always ask “Why?” at the end.

You see the problem with the information we are exposed to isn’t the information, it’s the lack of critical thinking we put into it. We often hear something and either accept it or discount it uncritically. Why?

We’ve spent a long time becoming the person we are now. We’re very invested in that person. And there’s nothing wrong with that. So we hesitate to do anything that upsets the apple cart. But if you’re that certain of the person you are there shouldn’t be any problem asking those “Why?” questions.

If you ask Why? and follow that thought critically you’ll discover one of two things. First is, you were right to hold that view or belief. Yeah you! Or you might realize that you could be a little off. Maybe even way off.

It sounds bad at first but think about this. Once you’ve identified a problem you can fix it. Once you’ve fixed it you’re back to being right again. You’re back to “Yeah you!” That’s a win.

Asking Why? is the path along which we get to the best version of ourselves. We’re often told not to question ourselves. Have confidence in who you are and what you believe. I think questioning yourself is the best way to show that confidence in who you are and what you believe. So go ahead and start asking yourself Why? a lot. You’ll love the results of being comfortable challenging yourself. Have a nice day.

The Blame Game   Leave a comment

I mentioned a few posts back that I went on a trip to Bellingham, WA.  I live in Alabama so I had to fly to get there and back.  As I was proceeding to check in for the flight home, a guy came running into the airport and ran straight up to the counter.  He stated he was on a flight that was about to leave.  The woman at the counter asked which flight, and when he told her, she stated the flight was already closed and she couldn’t check him in now.  He stated that he had to get on that flight, he just had to.  She told him there was nothing she could do about it.  He complained that she was being unreasonable and she reminded him that he was supposed to arrive at the airport two hours early for his flight.

Frustrated, the guy tried to explain the situation to her.  His alarm didn’t go off that morning so he got a late start.  He drove to the border as fast as he could but the traffic was heavier than expected and moved at a snail’s pace.  When he got to the US/Canadian border, there was a back up because Customs was going so slow.  He had done everything he could to get there on time but life had just conspired against him.  He wasn’t to blame.  Couldn’t she just help him out?

We all play the blame game.  Nobody wants to admit that they’re at fault.  It’s an ego thing.  If we admit fault we are admitting there’s something wrong with us.  We erred. And that can’t be right.

So we assign the blame to others.  Or we assign it to situations completely beyond our control.  Like the guy at the airport.  He’d made a good faith effort to be there on time but a series of cascading delays befell him.  He can’t be held accountable for that, can he?

It is true that there are events over which you’ll have no control.  You might be smitten by someone, but you can’t make them return the feeling.  You can take perfect care of your vehicle and then a defective part can sideline it.  You say or do something with one intention, but can’t control how others will interpret it. I get that.

The problem with the blame game is it cedes control to factors outside of us.  If the problem exists outside of us there’s nothing we can do to change it.  And there’s always something we can do.  After all, you at least have control over how you react to a situation.

But it’s easier to blame circumstances beyond our control.  That way we can never be at fault.  You can’t blame me for the traffic or the border.  I don’t control those.  There’s a problem with nothing ever being your fault though.  It means you’re admitting ALL circumstances are beyond your control.

You’re a passenger in your life, not the captain.  You have no determination in the events in your life.  If every time something bad happens to you, you’re powerless to stop it then you have no control, period.

Now you’re probably saying to yourself “I still make decisions.  And all the great things I’ve accomplished were my doing.  I can take credit for them.”  Even if that’s true, when you’re powerless to stop the bad things from happening, at any moment something bad can take away all that good you did.  And by your own admission, it’s out of your control and you can’t stop it.

To be able to stop it you’d have to take ownership.  Admit that there were factors in your control.  Take the guy at the airport for example.  He could take ownership of the fact that he didn’t have a back up alarm, just in case.  Or he could take owernship of the fact that both average traffic wait times, and border wait times, are available for searching on the internet.  He could take ownership of the fact that if the flight was so important he could have decided to cross the border way earlier then he needed to.  It may have run the risk of making him wait way longer for the flight, but it would have lessened the risk of being late.  All of that was under his control

So I guess it’s up for you to decide what kind of life you want.  Do you want to be the person who is dragged through life by Fate?  No real say in how things will turn out.  No real hope because you know it’s all out of your control.  Or do you want to be the Captain of your ship?  Your hand firmly on the rudder of your life.  Focused on ownership and personal responsibility.  The true creator of the best version of yourself.  Make your choice, and accept the life that comes with it.  Have a great day.

Your Great Experiment   Leave a comment

I was talking today with a coworker about the ketogenic diet.  She was interested in knowing what I was doing to lose so much weight since the beginning of the year.  And I didn’t mind sharing.  In fact, I’d say that the problem tends to be getting me to shut up after I get started talking about keto.

As much as I love keto and as much success as I’ve had with it, though, I always try to remember to share that not every diet will work the same for everyone.  And I think that’s a good thing for everyone to remember for a great many things in life.

When I first tried losing weight a long while ago I tried simple calorie restriction.  It’s worked for many a person, but not for me.  I lost a little weight at first but after a short while my body just adapted to the lower calories by slowing down my metabolism.  I was tired and cranky all the time.  My cravings went up, and soon enough I just broke and went back to eating what I used to, and lots of it because I was starving.

I tried creating a caloric deficit from the other side of the equation, increasing the calories I burned each day via more exercise.  Again, I lost a bit up front, but then I just started feeling hungrier all the time and eventually broke again.  And I felt terrible to boot as I know that lots of people have lost weight this way.  So what was wrong with me?

Over the years I tinkered with lowering calories and increasing caloric burn in shifting amounts but it all wound up right back reaching the point where I lost the willpower to keep at it.  So eventually I just gave up trying for a while.

Then a few years ago my friend wanted to try the Whole 30 plan.  She felt it would be easier if she had an accountability buddy to do it with her and asked me if I would go Whole 30, too.  I got a copy of the book “It Starts With Food” by Melissa and Dallas Hartwig.  I liked the premise of it and felt it was something I could stick to for 30 days, especially if my motivation was to help a friend.  So I told her I’d be happy to try it.  I dropped a lot of weight quickly and was really happy with the results.  I felt better and had way more energy.  It’s a great diet plan that has worked for a lot of people.  I highly recommend it and have included an affiliate link to the book below (just click the pic).

The problem came after the 30 days was over.  If I had continued to follow the Whole 30 eating plan I have no doubt I’d have continued to lose weight.  The worst mistake I made was after the 30 days was up I decided to reward my willpower with a mocha, as I couldn’t have one for the last 30 days.  It seemed innocent enough.  After all one mocha wouldn’t erase all the success I just had.  And it’s true, that one mocha didn’t.  But the mocha I had a few days later, and the trip to Dairy Queen I justified using the same “just one” principle, plus other justifications slowly led me back to my old habits.  So the diet was great, my desire to stick to it wasn’t.  The only difference was instead of reaching a breaking point where my will just snapped, it was more a slow downhill slope that eventually created enough momentum to knock my willpower out.

This brings us to January 1st of this year.  I started the keto diet.  Like with the Whole 30 I wanted to be prepared by studying up on it.  So I purchased a copy of “The Ketogenic Bible” by Jacob Wilson and Ryan Lowery (there’s also an affiliate link for it, just click the pic).  And I started doing research online, including following people on YouTube who were living the keto lifestyle.  And a friend of mine had great success with it so I was really excited to see what it held in store for me.

The best part was that I knew I wouldn’t fall into the same trap I had with Whole 30.  Although I do enjoy one day off from keto a month, I knew the rest of the month I needed to be strictly keto.  Unlike the Whole 30 where one mocha wouldn’t wipe out all the rest of the proper eating I was doing, one mocha on keto stops the diet in its tracks.  Doing that for one day a month is ok because it won’t override the other 29 days of staying keto.  But it’s definitely knocking you out of ketosis on the day you do it.  A day of fasting after my day off and I’m quickly back in the game.

And it’s worked.  I’ve steadily lost weight on keto.  Sure, there have been a couple of upswings in weight since the beginning of the year, but I’ve still managed to lose a lot of weight.  Because I’ve stuck with it.  I’ve found what works for me.  I clearly needed the disciplined nature of keto so I couldn’t allow myself to make excuses.

Which is why I titled this post “Your Great Experiment.”  Not every diet your friends have had amazing success on will work for you.  Or the supplements that your friend has taken that increased her endurance while running may not move the needle for you at all.  Or running itself may be a terrible exercise choice for you.

The thing to keep in mind is, just because one thing didn’t work for you, doesn’t mean you’re destined to fail at all things.  Thomas Edison famously stated that he didn’t fail 10,000 times developing the lightbulb, instead he discovered 10,000 ways not to make a lightbulb.  He experimented with a lot of different methods and one finally paid off.

So treat your life like a great experiment to find your best version.  Try this, that, or the other.  Figure out what works, and keep it.  Find out what doesn’t work, and discard it.  But keep running the experiment every day.  Eventually by implementing all the things that work, while not wasting time on the things that don’t, you’ll arrive at your best version of yourself.

Was I happy I had failed so many times before?  Of course not.  But I kept running the experiment and eventually found what works for me.  And now I keep running the experiment by continuing with keto while trying new things like meditation (it works and I’m keeping it) and supplements (a lot don’t work so I don’t waste my money on them, but a few have shown promise).  And I’ll continue to run my experiment until my final day so that when my time comes to an end I’ll leave with a smile knowing I’ve done everything I could to be my best version.  Have a great day.

Own the Day   Leave a comment

For today’s blog post I’ve decided to do a book review.  Looking through the Kindle at the books I’ve recently read, “Own the Day, Own Your Life” by Aubrey Marcus was the one that jumped out at me.

I first discovered Aubrey from listening to Joe Rogan.  This led me to listening to the Total Human Optimization podcast.  If you consider listening to it keep in mind three things. First, the name has changed to Human Optimization Hour.  Second, it has a new host (Kyle Kingsbury), and I haven’t listened to it with him in the driver’s seat so I can’t speak for the quality of it now.  And third, some of the content is explicit so if that would be offensive to you, definitely give it a pass.

Now back to the book.  The whole book is about improving yourself by making small changes to how you start your day that compound on each other to produce a better you. It’s very much like the concept I mentioned in yesterday’s post about a little boulder. The idea is that instead of trying to create a change or event in your life that fixes the whole rest of your life in one move, a rather unreasonable and unlikely plan, you should focus on owning one day.  When you learn the skills to own one day, you can own any day. String enough days together and own them all and you naturally own your life.

Instead of seeing things in big picture terms, which can be very ominous and unwieldy, the book gives you a list of small changes you can make in every day practices that will add up to owning your day.  And owning one day is a much more reasonable and manageable goal to have.

Each chapter covers a specific topic.  Some of the topics covered are nutrition, sun exposure, exercise, and even how sex can figure into owning the day.  Aubrey breaks those topics down into four important areas.  Getting owned, Owning it, Prescription, and Now do it.

Getting owned explains the problem.  How does this particular area typically affect most people’s lives.  The answer is inherent in the section title.  How are you getting owned by this situation?

The Owning it section is a general discussion about how you can accept responsibility for the area and begin a process of changing things for the better.  This naturally transitions into Prescription.  Prescription is a much more detailed section on specific steps or processes you can take action on to improve that area of your life.

Finally comes Now do it.  This is, as Aubrey puts it in the book, the “kick in the pants” to get you started implementing the Prescription.  It ends with what he calls the Three Pointer. Three important points from the chapter you need to focus on to be successful.

Occasionally there are other additions to the chapter.  He includes Pro Tips, which are additional tidbits of information that you don’t have to include in the process, but can give you better results if you do.  Deep Dive covers extra resources to further broaden your knowledge base on a given topic, if you really want to know all the nuts and bolts. And last are Caveats, which will let you know what the risks involved in some of the Prescriptions are.

Although the book is designed to be read start to finish, I don’t think jumping around from topic to topic in the Table of Contents would be too big a problem.  Some of the chapters will reference other chapters before it and why a previous Prescription will set you up to better deal with the current Prescription.  In that case you could just jump back to the referenced chapter and get the information.  All in all though I do think that at least on the first read through you should go from front to back.

As far as readability goes, he made the book very conversational in tone.  That makes for an easy read.  Aside from the Deep Dive areas he keeps the discussion at a layman’s level. He doesn’t use a lot of jargon that might be confusing or interrupt the pace of reading. There are a lot of pulp culture references, so if that isn’t your thing it could be a little distracting I suppose.

It’s definitely not a one read book.  There’s a lot of great information in it, so you will want to go back over places in the book as you put the plans into action.  And by the way it’s designed it’ll be easily usable as a section by section reference book after the first read through.

If you are interested in an easy to read book with lots of helpful advice on how you can make small changes in your day that will have big down the line effects on your life, it’d be hard to beat this book.  If want to get a copy for yourself I’ve included an Amazon affiliate link to the Kindle version of it, just click on the picture below.  On that page you can also select a hard cover, paperback, or audio version of the book.  It’s a great book, but wait, there’s more.  There’s a Facebook community (coincidentally called the Own the Day community) you can join with tons of people ready to help you apply what you’ve learned from the book. And also to share success stories with.  The book seems a little pricey, but measured against the improvements it can bring into your life, it’s a bargain indeed.  The choice is yours.  Should you decide to buy it, I wish you happy reading.