Successful Steps: Q&A; How to live a successful life!

Successful Steps: Q&A; How to live a successful life!

Friends,

I am extremely excited to bring you all something a little different today. This is a guest post in Q&A format with one of my favorite blogs, Successful Steps. I have gotten to know Andrew over the course of several months and we have been planning this project for a while.

Andrew is someone with awesome ideas, a great mindset, and a passion for helping others. I think you guys will really enjoy this content.

-Harrison

P.S. – Make sure to go check out my portion of the Q&A over on Successful Steps blog!


 

“Smile, breathe and go slowly.” ― Thich Nhat Hanh

Hi Harrison’s readers!

My name is Andrew and it is an honor to be featured on Harrison’s page. Our conversation began when he reached out to me on my page, Successful Steps. We quickly came to the realization that we are both creative thinkers who want to help others grow and see their own potential.

I love connecting with creative minds, hearing different perspectives, and learning more about mindfulness, minimalism, personal growth, among many other topics. Other than that, I enjoy running, reading, writing, as well as spending time with friends and loved ones.

I haven’t always enjoyed these activities, but after years of reading and consuming personal development content I realized that I wanted more out of life, and it was one of the best realizations I’ve ever had.

But it didn’t happen overnight. I experimented with different ideas, to see what worked for me and what didn’t. I tried, had some failures, and picked myself back up. Over time, I realized that I needed to achieve success, one step a time.

My journey is far from over, but now I am helping people achieve success their journey too. If you’d like to learn how to take steps to success, please join me on my blog, as well as Facebook and Instagram.

 

  1. Where do you see your blog in 2 years?

I want to improve my blog so it becomes a better resource that people can use to find motivation, inspiration, and successful strategies so they can improve themselves and the world around them. I am constantly on the hunt for new opportunities to grow, challenge myself, and create a better blog for my readers. If you have any suggestions, feel free to reach out.

 

  1. If you had a 30-second Super Bowl commercial, what would you tell the world?

Live a life of love, and love the life you live. Do what you can to improve yourself, and make the world a better place. Oh, and if I had some extra time I would tell them to check out Successful Steps to find more great tips on how to make that happen, of course.

 

  1. Do you see blogging as an outlet for your own experiences? Or do you view it more as a passion for sharing a message with others?

My blog was born when my three passions met: Writing, helping others, and self-growth. In the infancy stages, I would have said that I saw blogging as a vehicle to share my message with others. As the blog matured, I realized that it was helping others as well as myself. As I wrote content for the blog, reminding myself of the crucial steps to success really provided a lot of value in my own life. Not all of my messages are completely revolutionary, but having a kind reminder and a slightly different perspective can go a long way.

 

  1. What advice would you give to someone who wants to start blogging?

Don’t give up. Blogging is rewarding, but it’s not as easy as it looks. There is always an opportunity to grow, so improve every chance you get. Sometimes it’ll be easy, sometimes it’ll be difficult, but if you stick around and keep at it, you will see how rewarding blogging can really be.

 

  1. Specific to your education, have you always been a writer/had an affinity for it? And also, how do you balance a love for writing and educating others with your college major that, in a practical sense, seems a future career?

Writing has not always been an interest of mine. In fact, I remember in elementary school I would spend time trying to figure out the shortest sentence I could get away with so that I would write less. My passion for writing started with journaling, and it just began to branch out as I wanted to try different writing styles. As a psychology major, my blog aligns with my personal and academic goal of helping others.

 

  1. Why did you start writing?

I love using to-do lists, so that’s where my writing began. Being able to write out everything that I had to do helped me clear my mind, but I wanted to take it a step further. Then I began journaling, and I loved being able to swim in a sea of my thoughts. Journaling allowed me to see my thoughts from a distance, and gain a better perspective of the full picture. Once this happened, I realized the power of writing and written words. Writing became a mystery that I yearned to learn, and I am still learning every day.

 

  1. If there is one lesson you’d want to teach the people who come into your life, what would it be?

Love the life you have, and be grateful for the simple pleasures that life gives you. I think that most of us are grateful and enjoy life on the surface, but lack a deep and genuine appreciation for life. I had a close and unexpected encounter with death, and it changed everything. Fortunately, I survived and carried every ounce of appreciation, love, and gratitude that I could with me. Don’t learn the hard way like I did. Appreciate life without the slap in the face from death himself. It’s much better that way.

 

  1. What did you want to be growing up?

Believe it or not, when I was a kid I wanted to work at a retail store called Target. When I went there as a child, I always thought it was such a cool place and would be an even cooler place to work. I have never worked there, but my interest has moved on to other ideas, such as writing and helping people outside of retail.

 

  1. Who inspires you?

My family and friends are one of my biggest sources of inspiration. They each have amazing qualities about them that are too long to list here. Aside from them, I am inspired by some of my favorite authors, mentors, and anyone who is able to overcome their challenges and make this world a better place.

 

  1. What is your proudest achievement so far?

What comes to mind is completing my first trail marathon when I was twenty years old. As a kid, I was overweight and hated running. I would’ve never thought that I’d end up running a marathon, but I did and it changed everything. Running a marathon has taught me so much about myself, and about life in general. It’s been a great reminder to myself that I can do anything that I prepare for and put my mind to.

 

  1. What dream do you want to fulfill?

I want to travel the world. We see such a small piece of the world in our life compared to the great vastness of this planet. I also believe that traveling would help me learn more about myself and grow as an individual, so I am planning on doing some traveling sometime soon.

 

  1. If you knew you could do anything without failure, what would you do?

I’d become a full-time writer. I love writing and helping others, and it would be an honor to pursue this work full time. Nevertheless, I will continue to write and share my message. Who knows, maybe someday I will turn this into a full-time gig. Follow me and stay tuned.

 

A note from Harrison –

Hey guys! As always, thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed the peak into Andrew’s mind and the way that he approaches these important questions.

I thought it would be fun to ask you all to answer my favorite of the bunch: If you had a 30-second super bowl commercial, what would you tell the world?

Comment below and let me know!

All the best!

You are going to die!

You are going to die!

Life is fast and you are going to die.

 

The above nine-word sentence is the ultimate fuel for my obsession with “dreamchasing”. I’m going to talk about that today.

 

 

Life is brutally fast. If you blink, the entire world can change before your very eyes. In a previous blog post I wrote about the idea of being forced into change. Maybe I said something similar to the following, but there really is no better way to sum up how life moves: It’s fast. There aren’t any timeouts, halftimes, or water breaks.

 

In fact, I would argue that life is so incredibly fast that we often get caught in a loop. We get sucked into microcosms of self-sustainability. We get trapped into the daily grind to survive — The daily struggle to make ends meet. The expectation to meet your obligations: to pay your mortgage, to have dinner on the table, to support the community.

 

I would argue that – Friends – most people spend a significant portion of their lives in a channel.

 

Similar to a current of the ocean, channels are consistent. At times, they can have quick and quirky turns, but – mostly – they are routine. Their routineness is sometimes fun. Yet eventually this subsides, and the growing inescapability of your reality begins to set in. Channels are very difficult to escape.

 

Before I trudge any deeper, I feel the need to explain myself to a certain extent. If you’ve had a conversation with me in the past year, you probably have observed that I can go a little over-the-top on the whole leadership/FollowYourDreams train. Some people may think that I just don’t understand how the world works, or the immense responsibility that rests with every working parent.

 

And maybe you’re right to an extent. But I do know how easy it is to get trapped into the daily grind. I’ve watched my mom and dad make sure that breakfast was on the table, work all day long, and spend their evenings scrambling from practice to ball game; only to wake up and do it all over again. For the rest of this blog post I’d like to ask you to put aside your preconceived notions of what it means to be responsible and successful. There’s a quote that I like by Warren Buffett that says: “The chains of habit are too light to be felt, until they are too heavy to be broken.” This applies to channels, just as it does habits. Those who are younger with less responsibility may very well be able to utilize this knowledge of channels better than their parents.

 

In the exponential age of technology that we are living in today, this is vital information.

 

 

So back to the idea of channels.

 

It’s not that routineness is inherently bad. I have a decently regimented routine that I adhere to. It’s the unhappiness in the routine that bothers me. I don’t subscribe to this idea of “sometimes in life you have to do stuff you don’t like”. I think that’s a very authoritarian and antiquated argument that quite frankly has been proven wrong if you study the mega-successful.

 

“Hey, mom/dad, did you read Harrison’s latest blog post? He said I never have to do anything I don’t like again…I’ve decided to drop out of high school and drink beer professionally”

 

Ehhhh… I hope that’s not a conversation that I actually inspire.

 

Here’s the jest of what I’m saying – You need to quadruple down on your talent and passion. If you hate math, forget math. Learn the basics of algebra (That’s important for everyone to know – I don’t care, if you hate that or not), and spend your newfound time doing what you love.

 

Obviously, it’s probably not the best idea for this love to be watching Netflix all day. But I’ll give you an idea that’s fairly close to that: make YouTube videos reviewing your favorite shows or movies. The entertainment industry is one that will certainly stick around in the future and there might not be a better way for a person to get started than by making YouTube videos.

 

So, what’s the benefit of escaping these unhappy channels? (Aside from being happier, obviously)

 

I’ll talk about that next.

 

 

The majority of all channels breed average individuals. And I am absolutely terrified of being average.

 

I don’t define average by position, salary, or beauty. I don’t define average as the number of vacations you take, the make of the car you drive, or the age that one retires.

 

I define average by the impact one makes. And I would argue that it’s not really a sequential scale – It’s binary.

 

Did you seize your opportunity? Or did you let it pass?

 

Let me explain. First by picking apart what it means to be a “success”.

 

Some people can skip through life. They can go through the motions, and as long as they don’t break the rules, they “make it”. These people were fortunate to be born to the right family, in the right location. For all practical purposes, they were lucky. However, others face a constant uphill climb – a journey that they themselves did not choose. A number of these folk overcome their circumstance – they also “make it”.

 

But what about the ones who are still on the hill? What about the single dad who’s having to take care of two kids? When he’s not working and parenting, he’s grasping at lone minutes throughout his day looking to educate himself – looking to climb the ladder. His story will most likely remain untold.

 

The lucky person – the one who skipped through life – was born in the right circumstances, and simply didn’t break the rules. He’s got the nice car on the corner lot. He’s got a family of four. He’s got a job that makes a lot of money. He’s got a dog. He takes four vacations a year. He might even buy a boat in the fall.

 

This guy, he’s made it. He’s a success, isn’t he?

 

Here’s what I think. I think none of that matters. How many lives has “success guy” changed? How does he treat people? What does he do with his money? How does he spend his free time?

 

Who’s really impressed by the fact that a kid with every opportunity “succeeded” in America?

 

This guy never ventured off his floor. Did you get that? He didn’t push himself. He’s at the bottom of his imaginary impact graph.

 

This dude was born with success in his hands — all he had to do was not throw it away. And that’s someone who has “made it”?

 

I’m not interested in that sort of life. I want to exceed my potential. I want to create so much value in the world that people don’t know what to do with it. It’s not about the money, or the recognition, or a lifestyle for me. It’s about people. I want to see others succeed.

 

There’s nothing wrong with the “success” guy’s possessions. But life is about so much more than what you have in the bank.

 

Success isn’t about where you land. It’s about how far you’ve come. It’s your distance, not your destination that determines your success. The benefit of escaping the channels that most people are trapped in is the ability to do something incredibly miraculous. The ability to pursue a dream that most people would deem crazy.

 

I’ve gotten a little off topic, but this is something that’s important. I believe that no matter where you come from or where you currently are in life you can reach your dreams.

 

Don’t buy into this scam that you have to be good at this, or that you have to go to that school to “make it”. Write your own story, and follow your own path. I’d encourage you to bring as many people along for the ride as you can – and help them to escape their channels. Because there is nothing worse than working your entire life to support someone else’s dream, just so that you can survive.

 

That’s all I’ve got for today. I hope you’ll pass this along to someone who needs to read it. All the best.

 

Harrison

 

So…. About New Year’s resolutions

So…. About New Year’s resolutions

How are you doing with your New Year’s resolutions? I ask because this is usually the time that most people are beginning to fall out of their goals for the year, and back into their old routines.

I’m no exception.

One of my goals for the year was to spend 20 minutes a day on Duolingo, a free app that teaches you your choice of language. Well, unfortunately, it’s been about a month since I’ve opened the app. I did well for a while, but then completely collapsed. Why is that?

It’s not like I made a commitment to run five miles a day. I asked myself for 20 minutes. Finding 20 minutes during my day isn’t hard. Sure, I’m busy – I keep a full schedule. But 20 minutes is always available.

And what’s the long-term return? In just a routine 20 minutes I could become competent in basic Spanish by the end of the year. This is a skill that I could continue to build upon; and I’m certain that it would prove beneficial in the future.

Isn’t it an easy decision? 20 minutes a day, in exchange for a 2nd language. If you’re young, if you love to travel, if you love learning new things – If you are any combination of the three (ME) – This is a no brainer.

If it’s such an easy decision, why isn’t it easy to stick with?

Spending 20 minutes on an app is much easier than a common resolution that I’m sure many of you chose to pursue this year — exercising more.

The first week at the gym is hard, but it’s fun. Even with the sore muscles you’re excited about beginning the journey. It’s fresh, it’s new. Your workout partners are awesome. There’s great weather. Your gym is currently running a discount on membership. You have awesome new workout clothes. You’ve got a new shaker bottle, and new training supplements.

It’s a perfect storm and everything is as it should be.

But as my favorite middle school novel “The Outsiders” explains (with the help of Robert Frost), “Nothing Gold Can Stay”. Things are rarely perfect, and when they are they don’t tend to last.

When the honeymoon wanes, what are you going to do?

I would argue that it’s hard to stay consistent because of the incredible number of firecrackers that are thrown into our lives every day. So much time is spent on making sure our homes don’t catch on fire. And it’s so easy to be overwhelmed, right? We are forced to prioritize. This first. That second. You, go here, in third. And it sucks. It’s not the greatest way of managing things – it’s really poor actually. But it’s what we have to do. Because life is unpredictable.

With all that being said. That’s why it’s hard to keep up with resolutions. Something that has major macro implications just isn’t as imperative as your house catching on fire – and it never will be.

So in the case that you’ve broken your New Year’s resolution because of the massive barrage of life’s firecrackers, I offer to start a March 30th resolution with you.

 

Today, I’m going to spend 20 minutes on Duolingo.