Self-esteem and Self-confidence – S01E11

In this video I talk about self-esteem and self-confidence and how they relate to self-discipline, integrity, and letting go of your past.

Original Script of the Video (not a direct transcript)

Hey, everyone! Welcome to this week’s episode of Watch Me Shine. My name is Brian. This week, I wanted to talk to you about self-esteem and self-confidence and how they are related to self-discipline, integrity, and letting go of your past. But, before we get into that, let’s take a look at last week’s tasks. Remember, if you comment on this video about these things, I will take the time to respond to your questions and progress.

  1. Go back through your lists of dreams and goals and ask yourself why you want those things or why you want to change those things. Did you come up with motivators?
  2. Go through your list of goals and figure out a list of disciplines you can employ to prepare for working regularly on those goals. Did you figure out some ways you could make it easier to do the work?
  3. Go through that list of disciplines and start looking at how you can string them together into habit chains. Did you figure out ways you can form habit chains into something you just do instead of thinking about it?
  4. Start using the 5-Second Rule. Did you start to turn this into a habit?

I’ve been spending a lot of time recently on Reddit, in particular the self-improvement, self-help, and various question asking subreddits, trying to help people with advice and experience. I do this for various reasons, not the least of which is to improve my own self-esteem and self confidence. But wait, you may ask, how does that work? Don’t you have to have self-esteem in order to think your advice is worth giving? Don’t you need self-confidence to take a chance and put yourself out there giving advice? Oddly enough, the answer is a very confident… kinda.

Self-confidence is a product of self-esteem. But self-esteem is a product of self-discipline and integrity. But self-discipline and integrity all start with a choice. That choice is to decide to become a better person. And to become a better person, you have to let go of your past. I know this sounds like a very loose connection, so let me walk you through it.

As I said, I’ve been spending a lot of time reading posts and listening to people talk about their past, present, hopes, dreams, goals, and how they’re stuck. They often talk about a lack of self-esteem or self-confidence, sometimes both. They often talk about how their life is ruined, how they wasted their life so far, or how they don’t know how to fix their problems. The talk about how their parents ruined it, or their bad choices ruined it, or their lack of opportunity ruined it. I keep going back to the same advice, things I’ve talked about in previous videos, but I eventually had to bring the process further back to one thing: make a choice to fix it and get started.

I make it sound easy, don’t I? Well, it is. It is that easy. What’s not easy is doing the work. It’s easy to say, “I want to fix my life.” What’s not easy is finding the right tools, creating an environment in which to work, building the habits to maintain momentum, and actually doing the work. That’s not easy and I’m not going to lie to you about it. But you can do it. I don’t know you. I don’t know what you’re going through. I don’t know your situation. But I do know that, if you make the decision to fix your life, you can do it. I have faith in you.

But the first thing you need to do is make the choice, and that involves letting go of your past. In nearly every example of helping people, I’ve found that those asking about self-esteem and self-confidence are stuck in the past. They cite experiences in upbringing, disparity in income and opportunity, problems with friends, family, or significant others, choices that they made, and various other temporal circumstances. I want you to consider this: what can you do about it? The truth is, there’s only one thing you can do about it: learn from it.

The past is over. It’s gone. It’s not set in stone because even stone can be ground to dust. The past is the only thing that is permanent. It’s completely and utterly unchangeable. And, while you’re stuck dwelling on it, your present is slowly seeping into the future, never to return, and you’re missing out on living it. You see, the past is only good for one thing: learning from it. The past is something we look back on to recall experiences. You made mistakes. Learn from them. You made bad choices. Learn from them. You wasted time. Learn from it. Someone did you wrong. Learn from it. But you also made good choices, worked hard, someone did right by you. Learn from it!

Do not dwell on your past. If something from your past is haunting you, take some time and analyze the situation. Ask yourself, what can I learn from this situation, what could I have done differently, or how could I avoid this in the future, and then let it go. Dwelling on it isn’t going to change anything. But what can change is how you do things differently in the future. This is the source of wisdom. Make the choice to become a better person by learning from your past and then moving forward.

If you watched my last video, in which I explain the differences between motivation, self-discipline, habits, and willpower, you’ll know that I hold self-discipline in the highest regard and I use it to build habits, specifically habit chains or routines, in my own life and use them to great success. Self-discipline is that practice of doing the things you need to do before you do the things you want to do so as to create an environment in which you give yourself the best chance of succeeding. If you’re interested in this topic, please go check out my previous video.

But on top of the reasons I give in that video on the importance and effects of self-discipline, it is also the basis for self-esteem. And if you were to try and guess my favorite tool to build self-discipline, although you might think it’s building habit chains, you’d be wrong. It’s actually practicing integrity.

The best definition I’ve ever heard for the word integrity is that it’s what you do when no one is watching. It’s doing the right thing even when it doesn’t matter, even when you can’t get caught. It’s being honest, always with other people, but most definitely with yourself. It’s being who you say you’re going to be. It’s doing what you say you’re going to do. It’s not showing up on time, it’s showing up early and staying late. It’s doing what you have to do before doing what you want to do. And it’s learning to do all of these things consistently.

Where people go wrong is that they come up with excuses. They like to blame others. They like to blame circumstances. They like to blame random things like luck, accidents, misfortune, or other external forces. They like to find reasons why they can’t, shouldn’t, or don’t have to. Self-discipline is the tool you use to do what you need to do before doing what you want to do so that you minimize your ability to find or use those excuses. The more you choose to do the right thing, the better your opinion of yourself will become. When you do the right thing you start to paint a picture of yourself in your mind of a person that is worthy of praise, of success, of value. 

When you start believing that you are a person that is worthy of praise, of success, and of value, self-confidence comes naturally. Self-esteem is the basis for self-confidence. When you feel that you have value, you start acting like you have value. When you feel that you have worth, you start acting like you have worth. When you feel that you have something worth listening to, you start acting like you should share it. And it all begins with you.

Solipsism is the view or theory that the self is all that can be known to exist. But I believe it goes deeper than that. I believe that the self, your self, is the center of your universe. If you think about it, the only one that truly knows you, is you. The only one that truly understands you, is you. This is because you’re the only one that has access to all the facts, experiences, thoughts, feelings, and other factors that make you the person that you are. This isn’t narcissism. That’s an excessive preoccupation with your own self-interest, appearance, and a sense of entitlement. What I’m talking about is knowing that you’re the most important character in the story of your life so that you take care of yourself and your well-being.

Denis Waitly, an author and speaker I’ve mentioned before, says that there are four cornerstones to self-esteem:

  1. Affiliation: Know who you are spending time with, know what they’re doing to you, and ask yourself if that’s ok. Spend time with people that make you a better person, teach you things, and build you up. Limit your time with, possibly even exclude, those people that drag you down, waste your time, or influence you in a negative way.
  2. Belonging: Be a part of something that is bigger than you. If you’re religious, be a part of the community. Volunteer your time helping others. Join organizations that do good works. Spend time raising others up.
  3. Love: You can’t just join a club for love. And, by love, I don’t mean romantic love, although that’s very important in life. What I mean is that you can choose to love others in the human sense. Treat others with respect and kindness. Choose to listen more and talk less. Give your time, experiences, and knowledge to help others when they need it. Make others feel important.
  4. Worthiness: In much the same way as love, you can’t just join a club for worth. But what you can do is show others that they have worth. Again make others feel important. Listen to their stories. Listen to their problems. Don’t try to fix them, just listen. Show them that you have compassion for what they’re going through.

In all of these things, you get what you give. If you spend time with people that do these things, and you also do these things, you will build a network of good people around you. By doing this, you become part of something larger than yourself: a community. When you show love to others, they return that love. When you show others that they are worthy, they can’t help but show you that you are also worthy. And, more importantly, you’ll see it yourself. You’ll feel it yourself. You’ll believe it yourself.

Confidence is built one decision at a time, regardless of how those decisions turn out. It’s the trying that is important. But there are some specific things you can do to help build your confidence.

Remember that you are a product of your thoughts. Whatever you think, you will become. Be positive. Start thinking positively about your confidence. Sometimes you just have to fake it until you become it. Don’t beat yourself up. Believe that you have the potential to become something more. Believe that when there’s nothing left to hold onto.

Work on your image. Be clean and neat. Take pride in your appearance. Practice eye contact. When you meet someone new, give them your name first and ask them their name. Shake their hand. 

Learn to accept compliments. Be gracious and grateful. Listen more and speak less. Ask questions. Be genuinely curious about other people. Show them they have value to you.

You have two sides: positive and negative. Cooperate with the positive. Fight against the negative. Don’t become a victim of yourself. Fear is an obstacle. At some point, you just have to get over it. The best way to do this that I’ve found is to not think about what you’re doing, think about why you’re doing it.

And, finally, take charge of your problems and fix things. Solve those problems. Problems are opportunities to change and grow. Start small and build on success. Set goals and achieve them. Achieving builds more success. Achieving a goal leads to the next goal. Track your progress. Use your journal. Habit tracking and bullet journaling are especially helpful at this.

Remember that self-confidence is the basis for success. If you have self-esteem, self-confidence comes naturally. If you have self-confidence, success comes naturally. Remember, this is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. You never fail. You just found one way that didn’t work. This is called experience and leads to wisdom. Don’t give up. Keep trying.

This week, your only task is to think about what we’ve discussed today.

So, until next week… Watch me shine.

Motivation, Discipline, Willpower, and Habits – S01E10
In this video I discuss the difference between motivation, discipline, willpower, and habits. These are four different, yet related, skills. Learning how they are related and interact can help you use each one correctly to build success.

Original Script of the Video (not a direct transcript)

Hello, everyone! Welcome to this week’s episode of Watch Me Shine. My name is Brian and today we will be looking at four related skills that you can use to build success. These skills, although related, are different in many respects. These skills are: Motivation, Discipline, Willpower, and Habits.

But, first, we should look at the tasks from last week. Although they aren’t directly related to today’s topic, the skills we talk about today can help you achieve your dreams and goals. As always, comment on them in this week’s video and I’ll do my best to help you if I can.

  1. Pick one dream you want to work on. 
  2. Pick one smaller dream that will help you achieve your larger dream.
  3. Go through your list of goals, changes you can make, and pick one to start with.

You don’t have to comment on each of these things individually. I’m more interested in how the process works for you. Were you successful in mapping out a plan?

In spending time helping people achieve their dreams and goals, I’ve found that many people say that they have a hard time finding the motivation to get started. Or, more often, they say they get started and struggle to find the motivation to continue. I’ve spent a lot of time dealing with this myself and, over time, I found that there is a difference between motivation, discipline, and willpower. And I found that the key to those is habits or, optimally, habit chains.

Let’s first focus on the differences between motivation, discipline, and willpower. These are often used interchangeably and I think that’s where people get confused. People see these as the thing that gets you out of bed in the morning to work out or go for a run. They see them as the thing that gets you to sit down and practice the guitar or learn a new language. And, although they are sort of right, there is something that gets lost when you use them to mean the same thing.

Let’s start with motivation because, as you’ll soon see, everything starts with motivation. You see, motivation is the part where you discover the seed of a dream. Motivation is what makes you say, “I want to learn to play the guitar.” or “I want to learn to speak Spanish.” I call it the seed because it contains the “why” of what you want to do as well as the desire to do it. Where people go wrong here is that your “why” and your desire aren’t necessarily enough to keep you doing it. They simply show you what you want and why you want to do it.

Discipline is often called as self-discipline when you don’t have a coach, mentor, or accountability partner. Discipline itself doesn’t show you the “why” or the desire to do something. Discipline is the soil in which you plant the seed. It is the practice of doing things, often things you don’t want to do, in order to get what you want. Discipline is the tool you use to schedule, to figure out what you’re going to add or subtract from your life, in order to find time to do or learn something new. It is the skill you use to create an environment conducive to success. In the case of coaches, mentors, and accountability partners, they discipline you by using motivation, by reminding you of your motivations for wanting the things you want and doing the things you do.

Willpower is the tool you use when you don’t feel like doing it. This is important because this is the thing people are actually lacking when they say that they can’t find the motivation to do something. Willpower is the weeding. It’s the tool you use for overcoming that voice in the back of your head that says you should do something else instead of what you know you should be doing. It’s the tool you use to overcome that voice in the back of your head that says you’re not good enough, or that you can’t, or “what’s the point?” Willpower is the skill of delaying gratification, putting off getting what you want now to do some work and get something better later.

The problem when people try to use them interchangeably or don’t recognize the use case for each tool is that they use the wrong tool and it doesn’t work. This is especially the case for thinking that motivation can get you out of bed or back to work. It’s not. Motivation is a discovery tool, not a motivator in and of itself. And being disciplined, although great, can only get you to work on building an environment, not actually showing you what you want. And willpower, by itself, can only take you so far. It’s a finite resource that, if used too often, runs out.

So, let’s look at each of these tools, in turn, and find out the way they should be used, when they should be used, and how they fail if used improperly.

Let’s, again, start with motivation. Motivation is the tool you were using two weeks ago when the tasks for the week were writing down dreams and goals. When you said, “I want” or “I can change”, those were ideas that came to you through the employment of motivation. The reason you said that you wanted something or could change something was because you were motivated in some way. The idea is to use motivation to discover what you want and to then ask yourself why you want it. If you know what you want or what you can change, ask yourself why you want that or why you want to change that. These things are specifically motivational, they are motivators.

Discipline is the tool you use to build an environment conducive to working on the things your motivation shows you that you want. Discipline is the skill of building a schedule, setting aside time specifically for the purpose of working on the things you need to work on. It’s the skill of organizing your workspace and tools so that you have everything ready when it comes time to work. It’s the skill of putting your phone on airplane mode, turning off the TV, shutting the door in order to be alone, and generally reducing all the distractions that take your mind off of practice. The idea is to use discipline to make sure that you have everything you need and remove everything you don’t need in order to focus and set yourself up for success.

Willpower is the tool you use when discipline fails. It’s the voice in your head you employ to remind you of your motivations and the disciplines you need to practice when you just don’t feel like it. It’s the positive self-talk you use when there was a lapse in your discipline and you forgot to put out your gym clothes the night before and you’d rather just skip it than go for a run in dirty clothes. It’s the positive affirmations you use when your mind is telling you that it’s no use, so why bother. The idea here is not to have to fall back on willpower unless you have to, but to make sure that when it gets to this point you exercise your willpower and don’t let it fail. Willpower is like a muscle. It needs exercise. But, remember, willpower is a finite resource and, if you rely on it too much, it’ll run out.

So, let’s talk about how to build each of these in turn so that it doesn’t take a whole lot of willpower but, if it comes down to that, your willpower doesn’t fail you.

Motivation is easy, as long as you look at it for the tool that it is. We all want something. We all want things, whether tangible or intangible. There should be no shortage of motivation. It’s easy to say, “I want to run a four-minute mile.” If you’re lacking in the motivation department, though, all is not lost. You can build your motivation by starting small. You can build this by using things you already do and don’t have to force yourself to do. Try saying, out loud, “I want another glass of water.” when you’re thirsty but before you get up to go get a glass of water. Try saying, out loud, “I want to empty the dishwasher.” even though you secretly know the only reason you’re doing it is to get a clean bowl to eat some soup or cereal. Once you get into the habit of using the phrase “I want” it becomes easier to want other things. You’ll start to recognize the feeling you get when you actually do want something. And, when you do, hold on to that. If it’s something new, something that will take time, you just found a dream, no matter how small or large. Write that down in your journal. By simply writing it down and looking through that list you create, you will build motivation.

Discipline isn’t quite as easy, but looking at it for the tool that it is, it becomes easier. Discipline is supported by the fourth skill in the title of today’s video: habits. The key to discipline is to know what you can do to make it easier to do the things you say you’re going to do. Let’s use the example of working out. Discipline is taking the time to review your motivations daily. Write them down and post them in places where you’ll see them regularly. Discipline is taking the time to wash, fold, and place your gym clothes out so that you can’t talk yourself out of working out when you can’t find a sock or shoe. Discipline is telling yourself that you really want to work out, even on rest days. That one works great because you’re actually telling yourself you should be working out on days where you’ve scheduled time for your body to repair.

And this is where habits come in, specifically my favorite: habit chains. Start forming routines out of the things that you regularly do built of things that can help you succeed. Again, let’s look at a routine that can help you get up, out working out in the morning. This begins the night before. Set your alarm for the same time every day. If you need to get up at 5am to work out in the morning, always set your alarm for 5am. Then lay out your work clothes for the next day. Write in your journal about how you’re going to wake up in the morning and work out. Then try to get to bed early enough to get a sufficient amount of sleep. Make these things part of a routine, or a habit chain, for your evening.

And then create a habit chain for the morning. When the alarm goes off, don’t hit the snooze, even on rest days. On rest days, get up and spend time reviewing your motivations, go over your progress, watch videos or look up other things that you can do in your workout. The point here is to keep doing something related to working out so that you’re always thinking about doing what you want to do even when you’re not specifically doing it. This will keep your mind prepped for it at the same time every day. It will make it easier, on workout days, to get up, go over your motivations while you put your workout clothes on, and get to work. Don’t think about it, just do it.

You see, habit is what happens when discipline becomes second nature. Discipline is what you use to create the environment and habit is the practice of doing those disciplines over and over to the point that you don’t need to talk yourself into it. Once you do something enough, you won’t need willpower unless something goes wrong. You will just do these things because they’re what you do.

It takes roughly 30 days to form a habit. You will need motivation, discipline, and willpower for the first 10. Those are the days that suck. But once you’re past those first 10 days, the next 10 should only take motivation and discipline. After those 10 days, the last 10 should only take discipline. And, after that, it should be habit to do whatever it is you started to do. And that habit will be yours as long as you keep doing it habitually. The only time willpower should come into play is when you fall off track. Willpower gets you back on track.

So, if you’re not using willpower, except when you need it, how do you practice it? I said before that it’s like a muscle and you need to practice it, right? The key to building willpower is to practice it on things you don’t need to do to maintain discipline working on your goals. You practice willpower by telling yourself you have to do unrelated work before you can do something else. Tell yourself you have to clean the bathroom before you can sit down to relax. Better yet, use the word “choose”. You practice it by telling yourself that you choose to put the dishes in the dishwasher or wash them by hand before you can sit down to relax. You practice it by telling yourself that you choose to do your laundry before you go out with your friends Saturday night. By choosing to put in some work in front of some pleasure, especially when the two aren’t related, you build willpower.

I’ve mentioned this before in an earlier video, but a good practice to get into is to use the 5-Second Rule by Mel Robbins, even when you don’t need to. When your brain says that you’re tired and you just want to sit down, use the 5-Second Rule to do a chore first and then sit down. When your brain is silent but you know you want to play a video game, use the 5-Second Rule anyway before doing a chore first and then play the video game. Get in this habit, not only of using the 5-Second Rule, but doing some work unrelated to your money paying job before doing something you want to do. It builds expectations in your brain that you need to do what you need to do before you get to do what you want to do. Again, the discipline of doing this will become a habit. And this habit builds willpower.

Putting all this together and using the tools to their proper strengths will give you a greater chance of success. But none of this works without practice. You have to use the tools in order for them to work for you. So, that being said, let’s take a look at the tasks for next week. As always, comment about them in next week’s video and I will do my best to help you if I can.

  1. Go back through your lists of dreams and goals, specifically the ones you chose last week because they’re iminent, and ask yourself why you want those things or why you want to change those things. This adds more motivation to accomplish those things.
  2. Go through your list of goals, again focus on the ones you chose last week because they’re iminent, and figure out a list of disciplines you can employ to prepare for working regularly on those goals.
  3. Go through that list of disciplines and start looking at how you can string them together into habit chains, or routines, in order to be able to do them without having to write down checklists. This practice will form those habit chains into something you just do instead of thinking about it.
  4. Start using the 5-Second Rule, whether you need it or not, to get done something you need to get done, a chore or task, before you do something you want to do. Turn this into a habit and build willpower.

Ok, just a quick note: to anyone that watched my video on Journaling and wasn’t enthused because it was a paper journal when you really wanted an electronic journal, I’ve found an app that suits my needs. Unfortunately, I am going to disappoint those of you on iOS. This app is only on Android at this point. But, an iPhone version is in the works. You can sign up on the webpage I link to in the video and get notified of any developments.

I’m building a video on that journaling app and will have it out soon. It will be a bonus episode, outside the scheduled season episodes. It’s also going to be quite involved and take some work, so it won’t be out for a couple weeks. But I will notify you all when it goes live. Or, if you want to be notified right away, hit the subscribe button and the notification button to get notified automatically. 

Next week’s video will be about self-esteem and self-confidence, and how they relate to self-discipline, integrity, and letting go of your past. It’s one of my favorite topics, so please join me. And, until next week… Watch me shine.

Goal Refinement and Prioritization – S01E09

In this video I talk about the refinement of dreams and goals, prioritization, and selecting what to start working on first.

Original Script of the Video (not a direct transcript)

Greetings, everyone! Welcome to this week’s episode of Watch Me Shine. My name is Brian and this week I’d like to talk to you about how to refine your dreams and goals to help make them more attainable and how to prioritize them to make sure you’re maximizing your output.

But, as usual, we need to look at the tasks from last week and see how we did. Again, put any questions, answers, and comments in the comments for this week’s video. If you do, I’ll take the time to respond.

  1. Come up with a list of dreams. Again, these are the things you want. Did you think about what you really want out of life?
  2. Come up with a list of goals. Again, these are the things you can change or do. Did you think about what you can change or do to help you get what you want out of life?

Normally I start out by saying, “Let’s look at the things I learned this week.” But, this week, we’re actually going over stuff I’ve used before to varying degrees of success. Notice, however, that I’m not saying anything about failure. That’s because, even though I had some failures along the way, I did not fail to attain my goals. Hopefully, this method will work for you as well.

The first step I did was to look at my list of dreams. I would then start to prioritize them. And there are different ways you can do this. I sort of looked at them in a holistic way. This means to look at all of their qualities and judge them based on all those factors all at once. For example, when I first started this process, my dreams were to quit drinking, quit smoking, lose weight, and run a Tough Mudder.

I knew that starting by working on the dream to run a Tough Mudder wasn’t feasible because, in order to do that, I needed to quit drinking, quit smoking, and lose weight before I could even start running and see effective results. If I started running right away, I wouldn’t have had the discipline to stick to it and I wouldn’t have had effective training sessions because I wouldn’t have had the energy to perform at an effective level. So, I needed to prioritize my dreams better. That meant looking at my other dreams to see what I could accomplish to help me get closer to attaining my overall, larger dream.

This changes the perspective a little. I looked at my “smaller dreams” as stair steps to my “larger dream”. That means I had three I could work on: quit drinking, quit smoking, and lose weight. These dreams are hard, but they aren’t dreams in which I had to add something to my life. They were all taking things away. I say that because it’s important to differentiate. If you’re taking things away from your life, you have to add something in to fill that void. Nature abhors a vacuum. If you’re adding things to your life, you have to take something away to make room. I hope that makes sense. It’s like how you don’t ever get rid of a bad habit, you just overwrite it with a good habit.

So, my next step was to decide which dream I wanted to work on to start this process. And here’s where I sort of went wrong initially, so I wanted to change what I did and tell you so you could learn from my mistake. I chose to work on all three, to small degrees, and it did work for me, but looking back I should have done things a little different. What I should have done was to pick one major dream to work on first and focus on it.

This is important because, if you get all these grand ideas and you figure out all the things you can do and you try to do them all at once, you’re going to fail. I’m not directing this statement at any one of you in particular. I don’t know you. This statement comes from a place of experience and watching everyone I know try this every New Year’s Day with tons and tons of New Year’s Resolutions. If you try to do too many changes at once, you’ll fail, and this is why.

Let’s again use my own experience as an example. When I started out by quitting drinking, smoking, and trying to lose weight all at once, I made all these changes and started living them. At first, everything went well. I was skipping breakfast, fixing a lunch to take to work, not drinking when I came home until a certain hour, holding myself to a certain number of cigarettes a day, and working out before I went to bed… and I was miserable. I hated it. I started to sneak cigarettes, making excuses for why I deserved them. I started sneaking snacks, making excuses for why I needed them. I started skipping workouts, making excuses for why I couldn’t do them. Eventually, it all fell apart, because in the end I was doing what I’d always done, except I had added in the habit of making excuses. I even made excuses for why my excuses were justified.

My advice to you, then, is this: Pick one dream. Focus on that dream. Then pick one smaller dream that can get you closer to your larger dream. Make it a large, overarching dream, one that you can work towards over a long period of time, like a year. Then, go through your list of goals and pick out a smaller list of goals you can do to get you further towards achieving that large, overarching dream. Again, here’s an example of what I did:

My dream was to run a Tough Mudder. That’s the dream. My first smaller dream was to quit smoking. That’s a huge dream and I gave myself a year to do it. I would be cigarette and cigar free within a year from when I started. But, instead of just going into it cold turkey and forcing myself to deal with it, I chose from my large list of goals for all of the smaller goals that would help me attain the dream of quitting smoking. Like these:

  • Cut down the number of cigarettes I smoke weekly.
  • Start vaping.
  • Only vape between certain hours.
  • Reduce the level of nicotine in my vape.
  • Suck on lollipops instead.
  • Chew on toothpicks instead.
  • Spend an hour a day in the Stop Smoking subreddit helping others.

Now that I knew my list of goals that would help me attain my dream of quitting smoking, I knew where to begin. The method I chose to begin was to go over my smaller list of goals to help me quit smoking every Sunday night and pick one. I would then commit to that change for at least a month starting Monday morning. If I chose, say, cutting down the number of cigarettes I was going to smoke every day, I would commit to that no matter what for a month. All through this process, I spent an hour every day, at the minimum, in the Stop Smoking subreddit on the website Reddit. I looked for posts by people struggling. I spent time offering advice from my point of view. I didn’t tell them what they should do, but I did tell them how I’d been struggling with the same things and how I got through it.

At the time I decided to do this, I smoked a pack of cigarettes every, every 24 hours, nearly to the hour. I was always opening a new pack around the time I quit work for the day. So, what I told myself I’d do is take five of the twenty away for the day. I did this by placing them in another pack and putting that away somewhere. And when that felt normal, I’d take five more out. And, when that felt normal, I’d take five more out. I committed to that process for a month, minimum. At which time I would reevaluate and decide if it was working or not. If it was, I’d keep it. If it wasn’t working out, or I wasn’t seeing results, or the price was too high for the benefits I was receiving, I would abandon it. This particular process took longer than a month, so you can see that I stuck to it.

But committing to a change for a month didn’t stop me from picking up more changes in my life. I sat down every Sunday night, every week, no excuses, and I would select another change. I would commit to that change for at least a month starting Monday morning. So the changes weren’t all at once. It was a rolling set of changes, one after another, building momentum. The changes were staggered, but constant, and built off of one another. At one point, I committed to sucking on lollipops to take the place of cigarettes. I hadn’t fully quit smoking, but I started overwriting one habit with another, more acceptable habit. At one point, when I decided I had had enough of cigarettes, I switched over to vaping. Now, I know that’s sort of the same addiction, just a different delivery method, but the benefits of vaping over smoking are evident, despite what we’re seeing in the news. The worst part of smoking is the smoke, so trading it for vapor is a step in the right direction. And, in the end, it is what helped me quit. I got bored with vaping and quit completely. I was clean for seven years.

I used this same method to quit drinking. I used this same method to lose 40 pounds of body fat. I used this same method to start running and doing bodyweight fitness training. This method works, at least for me. In the end, I never did run a Tough Mudder, but I ran several other mud/obstacle course runs. All in all, I think I ran about a dozen events, maybe more. I started with a 5K Warrior Dash and the last one I ran was a 10K Gladiator Assault Challenge, which I ran in a chilly 34 degrees Fahrenheit. It was two degrees above freezing and the first thing we did was run down a giant hill and through a chest deep mud hole. I spent the next several hours running, drenched to the bone, and shivering to the point I threw up. But this process, this drive to achieve, and this desire to improve got me through it. I had several chances to quit. I could literally see my car at least three through the run and knew that I could quit at any time, but I chose to go on. I did this because I had the self-discipline and drive to overcome difficulty. I built this through setting and achieving goals.

Looking forward to next week’s content, I’ve realized that it didn’t teach me that much when I went through it and the week after that was a week off to play catch-up or work on other material. I’m not going to take the week off, so I’m going to create my own content. Next week, I plan to focus on the difference between willpower and self-discipline and the process of forming habits. So, I look forward to seeing you next week.

But, before we go, let’s look at the tasks for next week. Again, save your answers, questions, and comments for next week’s video. I look forward to hearing from you and I will take the time to comment with any encouragement and advice I can offer.

  1. Pick one dream you want to work on. Make sure it’s something you can work on right now by achieving goals.
  2. Pick one smaller dream that will help you achieve your larger dream. Agai, make sure it’s something you can work on right now.
  3. Go through your list of goals, changes you can make, and pick one to start with. Make sure it’s actionable, something you can do right now. Commit to that change and work on it.

Remember, just get started. Education and thoughts are worthless without action. You’re going to fail, from time to time. Learn from it, adjust, and try again. Don’t get discouraged. I mentioned it before, but next week we’ll talk about the difference between motivation and self-discipline. We’ll also talk about forming habits, which are the key to success.

So, try to get started and learn from it. We’ll build on that next week. Until then… Watch me shine.

Dreaming and Setting Goals – S01E08
In this video I teach why setting goals is important, the difference between dreams and goals, and how to come up with a list for both.

Original Script of the Video (not a direct transcript)

Hello, everyone. I would like to welcome you back to this week’s episode of Watch Me Shine. My name is Brian, and this week I would like to start to cover dreaming and setting goals. This will be the first half of the process, which consists of why goal setting is important, the difference between dreams and goals, and then coming up with a list for both.

But, before we do that, let’s go over the tasks from last week:

  1. Start being proactive. Did you take some initiative this week? Did you start to look at what you could do instead of what you need to do?
  2. Focus on what you can change, not what you can’t. Have you started to separate things into the circles of influence and concern?
  3. Practice The 5 Second Rule. How did that work out for you? I, personally, have had a lot of forward momentum using this technique.
  4. Try, fail, learn, adjust, and try again. Were you persistent. Were you relentless?
  5. Focus on overwriting the negative with positive. I know I keep harping on this one, but it’s vital to your success.
  6. Start to visualize your success. I know it seems silly, but again, it’s vital.

And, now, let’s look at the things I learned this week! If you’ve taken the time to listen to The Strangest Secret by Earl Nightingale, you’ll know that his definition of success is as follows: “Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.” He believes that, if you have a goal and you are working on it, you are already a success.

A lot of people will say, “I don’t have time for goals. I’m too busy.” To those people, I always ask, “Too busy? Doing what?” As far as we can tell, we only get one shot at life, and until someone can prove that the afterlife or reincarnation is real, I’m working under that assumption. Everything you’ve done up until this point in your life has brought to you where you are now. Is it the right stuff? Are you really where you want to be? I doubt it, and I’m probably correct because you’re here, watching my videos. So, if it hasn’t been the right stuff, that means some of the stuff you’re busy with should probably be replaced with stuff that’s going to take you someplace else. 

I, for one, feel the same way Earl Nightingale feels about success. Not because one of the most influential people in the personal growth field, one of my favorite speakers said it, but because I’ve had a certain amount of experience with it. At some point in my past I got on a path that took me to a place I ended up not liking. That means everything between that point and the point at which I decided to change was put under the microscope to see if I had been doing the right stuff. I had to choose to stop doing certain stuff that were either holding me back or weighing me down. I had to replace that stuff with other stuff that moved me forward or took me to a different place.

In one of my earliest videos I talked about how I overcame my drinking and smoking, as well as my weight problem. I also achieved several goals that pertained to physical fitness. But, it wasn’t that I succeeded in achieving these goals that made me a success. The act of setting those goals, working on them, sacrificing time and energy, and building my self-confidence, self-discipline, and persistence changed who I am as a person.

It’s not what you get by achieving the goal that’s important. It’s what you become on the journey. I went from being an overweight, pack-a-day smoking, alcoholic to a physically fit, straight-edge, mud/obstacle course runner. I spent nearly two decades destroying myself and came out of it in three years. Why? Because of goals.

In order for this process to work, you need to allow yourself to dream. Dreams get you out of your comfort zone. They make you analyze what it is you want, the things you want to change, and show you ways in which you want to grow. And when you dream, you can provide yourself with motivation. That allows you to focus and direct your actions towards specific things, instead of just going with the flow and taking what you’re given. You can actually go out and get what you want. And you do this by turning your dreams into goals. As Bob Proctor says, “Goals are the means by which we achieve.”

Before we get started on setting goals, there is one more thing you need to understand about dreams. There are three types of dreams: character, acquisition, and experience. The best way to explain this is by looking at how you phrase the start of the sentence when you say, “I want.” You will probably say one of these three things: I want to be something, I want to have something, or I want to do something. It’s important to understand the difference because you have to measure progress differently. Whereas an acquisition dream or an experience dream should have a deadline, you can’t put a deadline on a character dream. You can see how close you are to buying a new house or or going skydiving, for example, but you can’t see how close you are to becoming a more patient person. Do you see the difference?

Now let’s look at the process of dreaming. The first step is to find a quiet place to sit where you won’t be disturbed for a while. In my home, I’m fortunate to have an office in which I can seclude myself. But, if you don’t have space, pick a time when you won’t be disturbed, like when everyone else in the house goes to bed. But find a time and place where you can be alone.

Once you’re there, start by looking into your past. Remember when I set the task to reflect on your life so you would know where you came from and have a more accurate picture of where you are? This is where that becomes important. Think about your previous accomplishments. We all have them, whether they’re big or small. Don’t compare them to other peoples’ goals. This isn’t about them, it’s about you. Think of things you’re proud of. Did you graduate high school, college, university, post-graduate? Did you land a really great job at some point? Did you benchpress a Buick? Did you run a 4-minute mile or a half-marathon? Did you win a contest of some sort?

When you sit down to do it, take some time on this. Write a list of all the things you can think of that you’re proud to have accomplished. It’s important to realize that, whether you knew it or not, no matter how big or small, you have accomplished things. It’s important to realize that yes, you can, if you try. You know this because you already have, whether you realize it or not! The point of this exercise is to take inventory of where you are, as well as build confidence.

After orienting yourself and building some confidence, it’s time to let your mind soar. But first, I want you to set aside judgement. Don’t analyze anymore for a while. That comes later. I want you to really think… what do you want? What do you really want. And don’t waste time on what you think society wants you to want, or what your friends and family or your boss wants you to want. This isn’t about them or what they think of you. This is about you. Just you. What do you want?

Explore your potential. Think about things that excite you. Think about what you’d rather be doing for work. Think about things you really want to have. Think about things you want to accomplish. Think about things you want to do. Think about all the areas of your life, which can be categorized as follows: mental, spiritual, physical, financial. Remember to keep in mind whether your goal is an acquisition goal, an experience goal, or a character goal. I usually mark mine with an A, a C, or an E next to them so I can spot them easier.

Once you have a list of what you want, realize that these are dreams. They are dreams because, right now, they’re just things you want. What we need to do is turn them into goals. And, to do this, we need to analyze them a little and make another list. This list will contain all of the things we can change, all of the things we can do, in order to work on making those dreams a reality.

When I first started to work on quitting drinking, quitting smoking, and losing weight, I had an exercise I would do on a regular basis. I would sit in a quiet spot where I wouldn’t be interrupted, just like you will when you sit down to write down your dreams. I would write down everything I could change or do in order to move forward on my goals. Here are some examples that actually were on my list, from back in those days:

  • Slowly replace my carbonated beverage intake with water.
  • Start the intermittent fasting process by skipping breakfast.
  • Start the keto diet process by replacing sweet snacks with nuts, beef jerky, and cheese.
  • Spend an hour on Reddit every night in the subreddits for people with the same goals and help others with problems they may be experiencing.

When I did this, I came up with scores of things I could change or do. Some of them were big, while others were small. These are goals. 

Jim Rohn says there are three parts to a powerful goal:

  1. Inspiring. Every goal needs a reason to accomplish it. Think about why you want to achieve these goals. Is it going to improve you in some way? Is it going to get you a step closer to achieving a dream? Is it going to give you the ability to work on a future goal, a prerequisite, if you will?
  2. Believable. This doesn’t beggar the question of whether or not you can achieve a goal. This simply means to make sure it’s something that’s possible. Setting a goal to get a raise isn’t possible if you haven’t achieved the goal of getting a job, for instance. You can’t set a goal to swim the English Channel if you don’t yet know how to swim.
  3. Actionable. A goal needs to be something on which you can work. Take the example of the goal to swim the English Channel. If you don’t yet know how to swim, this goal is not actionable. But learning to swim would be an actionable goal.

But, as I said before, goals can be big or small. At one point in my life, one of my goals was to wake up on time every day for a week. I’m not joking. This was at a point in my life when I was known for coming to work fifteen minutes late on average, give or take five minutes. I took liberty with this because my office didn’t consider you late if you were within ten minutes of your starting time. I did this so often, it became a habit. And they let it slide if I shaved ten minutes off my lunch, so there were no consequences other than annoyance on the part of my supervisors. This was not a behavior that I was proud of, later on in my career, so I set a goal to change it.

Because the topic of goals is so important, as I said in the intro to the video, I’m going to split it up into two weeks. And there are only two tasks for this week because they’re going to be rather large tasks. So, here they are:

  1. Come up with a list of dreams. Again, these are the things you want, whether they’re character (I want to be…), or they’re acquisitional (I want to have…), or they’re experience (I want to do…).
  2. Come up with a list of goals. Again, these are the things you can change or do that work towards achieving your dreams. These must be inspirational, believable, and actionable.

Take this process seriously. Don’t sit and fret about it, just let your mind soar. Your imagination is one of the most precious assets you have. Give it some exercise and this process will become easier the more you do it. Remember, don’t judge your dreams and goals. That comes later. Use the rules I set above only for making sure they fit the criteria. We’ll start sorting them out next week. I’m going to show you how to prioritize them, refine them, and start picking which ones you want to work on first.

I would like to thank you all for joining me, it really means a lot. And, until next week… Watch me shine.

Who You Were Meant To Be – S01E07

In this video I want to offer a different perspective on who we were all meant to be and then offer some suggestions on how to become that person.
Mel Robbins TEDx Talk

Original Script of the Video (not a direct transcript)

Welcome back, everyone, to this week’s episode of Watch Me Shine. My name is Brian and this week we will be taking the idea of Becoming and start taking a look at ways in which we can make some course corrections in order to head down that path.

But first, let’s take a look at the tasks from last week and see where we’re at.

  1. What do you think about all day?

Did you start to change your thought processes? Did you start recognizing the thought patterns in your head? Did you start altering those patterns to push your thoughts towards goals and positivity?

  1. Practice making the right decision on what to do.

I’m really curious about this one. Did you start to notice yourself thinking about work while relaxing and then get up to go do some work? That’s the tough one. Of course, it’s just as important to take a break if you need it, so don’t forget that one.

  1. Analyze your relationships.

And, the uncomfortable one. Did you analyze your relationships for positivity versus negativity? Did you start to consider who is raising you up and who is dragging you down? How are you going to handle that?

  1. Pick a trait you want to work on.

Again, I’m really curious about this one. What trait did you decide on and who did you ask to help you with it? What did you ask them to do to help you with it?

Be sure to put your answers in this week’s comment section. I’m serious, I want to help and I want to hear how you did. Comment and I’ll take the time to respond and help you out as best I can!

Ok, let’s get to what I learned this week.

Who took the time to listen to the Earl Nightingale video, The Strangest Secret, that I linked to last week? If you haven’t done that yet, go give it a watch. He does a great job introducing this week’s subjects.

When I titled this video Who You Were Meant To Be, I didn’t mean to imply that I knew who you, in particular, were meant to be. And I certainly don’t want to generalize and say that we should all try to be a certain person. One of the most beautiful things about this world is that it’s full of different people with multitudes of differences, even though we are similar in a lot of ways. It’s this diversity that gives the world such a beautiful, interesting variety.

But there is one generalization I would like to make about who we were meant to be and that’s to say that we should all be the best version of ourselves that we can be. Nobody is perfect. But we can all strive to reach perfection, to get as close as we can. Science shows the beyond astronomical odds of us (you, me, everyone) being here, on this planet, at this time in history, coming from where we did, getting to the place we are. You can Google the odds of you being born and the numbers vary from person to person depending on how they do the calculation, but all the numbers have one thing in common: they’re extremely small.

So, knowing that the odds of you being born are so very small, shouldn’t we take the chance we have to become the very best version of ourselves that we can? Whether you believe in God, Allah, Brahma, any of the other gods of creation or no god at all, the fact is that this life is a gift or an extremely rare coincidence. Either way, it is a chance. One that gives us an opportunity. And we should make the best of that opportunity. We should be excited about life and use the time that we have to improve, not only our own lives, but the lives of everyone around us. You can change yourself by changing your input. You can change your life, by changing the way you think.

The question then becomes, how do we do that? How do we get started?

The place to get started isn’t “out there”… It’s “in here”. Life isn’t about what happens to us, it’s about what we do with what we learn when things happen to us. We can’t stop things from happening to us, but we can control how we react to it. We need to look inside first. Only you can solve your problems. Like Mel Robbins says, “Nobody is coming to save you. Nobody is coming to do the work for you.” That means it’s up to us.

But you have to be proactive. You have to make the first move. Like I pointed out a second ago, nobody is coming to save you and nobody is coming to do the work for you. It’s up to you. Dr. Steven Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, points out that proactivity is the foundation of all the other habits he talks about. A proactive person focuses on things they can change, not things they can’t. Dr. Covey has a concept called The Circles of Influence and Concern. Imagine two circles, an inner and an outer circle. The inner circle is the circle of influence. The outer circle is the circle of concern. The circle of influence is things we can affect, things we can influence. The circle of concern is things with which we are concerned, but we cannot affect. If we focus on the outer circle, things we cannot affect, the inner circle shrinks. If we focus on the inner circle, things we cannot affect, it grows to consume the outer circle. So don’t concern yourself with things you cannot change. Focus on things you can change and you will grow to be able to take on those things you cannot change… yet.

Remember, I said the problem is not “out there”. Things external to us affect us, but they are not the problem. The problem is how we react to those things. We need to focus on becoming. Become smarter, more patient, more kind, anticipate, empathize, work hard. Stop thinking external. Don’t wish others looked at you different, treated you different, or gave you a chance. Be different. Work on the things you can change, and most of that change is within us. 

The first area in which we need to work is positive thinking. Dr. Norman Vincent Peale wrote a book called The Power of Positive Thinking. I remember seeing this book in my teens and thinking, “wow, what a bunch of hokey crap.” I’m guessing that’s where you’re at, or have been, and that’s ok. I recommend you give it a read, but I can boil it down for you into this one quote: “If you think in negative terms, you will get negative results. If you think in positive terms, you will achieve positive results.” Putting it that way makes it sound easy, but I can assure you it wasn’t easy for me.

I mentioned in an earlier video how I was always looking to fail, either consciously or subconsciously, and that drove me to failure. Pessimism changes how we think and changes our paradigm, how we see the world. When we take a chance, if we’re always thinking about the potential for failure, we hold back. Imagine trying to jump a large gap. We set our stance, we take off running… If we get to the edge and change our approach to take into account a safety measure, to reduce the amount of pain we will experience when we fall, we’re not fully committed to the jump. And that holds us back.

Denis Waitley, author of The Psychology of Winning, was a former chairman of psychology for the U.S. Olympic Committee’s Sports Medicine Council. He tells us that Olympic athletes train for success, they don’t anticipate failure. They train to make that jump. They perfect their form by doing the same motion over and over again. But then they do something we can’t see. They visualize their performance. Before they take their stance, they see themselves making that jump. They see their motion, they see their jump, and they see their landing on the other side. They see their full performance before it ever even begins. And, when they make their jump, they’re fully committed. What’s more, they succeed.

Of course, Olympic athletes sometimes fail. But there’s a key: They fail more times than you and I have ever practiced. They practiced and failed so that they could learn from those failures. They didn’t let those failures stop them. If they did, they wouldn’t be among the best athletes in the world. They would fade into history a nobody, a mediocre talent that never developed. No, they stood up, brushed themselves off, analyzed what they did wrong, and then altered their form, their motion, their vision, and then continued practicing, failing, learning, and practicing some more.

It’s not about successes and failures, it’s about failing in the right way, learning from our mistakes, and using that education to improve. That’s what leads to success. Remember what Earl Nightingale said, “Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.” Success is not a destination, it’s a journey. I read that on the back of a semi one time, but it’s absolutely true. It’s not the end that makes us a success. It’s who we become on the journey.

Learning to fail in the right way is key to this next point. There’s a book on my reading list and I know it has to do with this topic. I haven’t read it yet, but it’s by John C. Maxwell and it’s titled Failing Forward. It’s about turning failures into steps towards success. Failing and learning from those failures in order to improve builds self-discipline. I mentioned her earlier, Mel Robbins, the author of The 5 Second Rule, is another great speaker that I love to listen to. She did a TED Talk on self-discipline and it was fantastic. In it she mentioned her technique, which oddly enough is called The 5 Second Rule. This doesn’t have anything to do with dropping food on the floor and eating it if it wasn’t on the floor for more than five seconds. It’s a technique to get you moving when you need to do something.

Studies show that when we know we need to do something, if we don’t move to start doing it within five seconds, we’ll talk ourselves out of it. Our brain does this for various reasons and, if you want to learn them, you should pick up her book. There’s a lot of good information in there. Among which is the actual technique. When you know you need to do something, stop whatever you’re thinking and count down from five. 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1 – GO. Make a physical movement directed towards what you need to do. She recommends you start by learning to get out of bed within 5 seconds of your alarm going off. I recommend starting as soon as this video is over. Don’t wait to feel like doing something. Do it because you need to do it, because it furthers your goal.

Another area in which self-discipline is important is education. The foundation for success is education. It’s where health, wealth, and happiness all begin. If you want to be a success, start educating yourself. Learn something new. If you fail, learn from it and try again. If you fail again, get some help and try again. If you fail again, learn from it, and try again. Success is a numbers game. The more you fail, the better your odds of succeeding. Ask Bill Gates. Ask Steve Wozniak. Ask Jeff Bezos. Do you think they stopped when they failed? No! They kept learning and trying new things. They kept on working on what they could change, not being concerned about what they couldn’t.

By repeatedly continuing to try, you’re building self-discipline, and this can be applied to your whole life. Need to get some work done? Rely on your discipline to get you working. Need to learn something new? Rely on your discipline to get you going. Motivation is a finite resource. Build the habit of doing what you need to do with discipline. Practice it. Don’t berate yourself if you fail. Notice it, learn from it, and use discipline to get you moving forward again.

With positive thinking and self-discipline on your side, self-confidence comes naturally. After falling down, continuing to get back up, and eventually succeeding, you will understand that you can do whatever you want to do if you just keep trying. You will learn the satisfaction that comes from accomplishing what you set out to do and you can use that to build your confidence in accomplishing the next thing.

And while you’re going through this process, continue to pay attention to the thoughts in your mind. When you fail or catch yourself thinking negative thoughts, don’t attack yourself. Correct your course and overwrite those negatives with positive, affirming thoughts. Tell yourself how you’re learning, getting better, building a foundation that will hold the greatness you’re becoming. Failure is not the end, it’s a chance to learn and improve, a chance to succeed. You will succeed. You just have to keep trying.

This self-talk is the most important conversation you’re ever going to have. If we change our behavior, we change how we see ourselves. How we talk to ourselves is the foundation on which we build our paradigm, or how we see the world. It is the lens through which we build our opinion of ourselves, which is the only opinion of us that matters.

Don’t listen to the haters. Don’t stoop to the level of people who wrong you. Treat them the way you want to be treated. Treat them as if they were the most important person in the world, because you are the most important person in your world. So treat them the way you deserve to be treated. I’m not suggesting you feed the trolls, but if you do, don’t feed them fuel, feed them kindness. It starves them. And this is how you build character and confidence.

Earl Nightingale, in his speech “It’s All About Attitude”, says that, “Attitude is the reflection of a person. What’s going on inside shows on the outside.” I mentioned how powerful positive thinking is. Being confident, positive, disciplined, hungry for knowledge, excited about life, nicer, more empathetic builds positive character. Being a person of integrity and character makes you more attractive. Remember last week when I said that you attract success and to succeed we need to make ourselves more attractive? Well, there’s the key: work on yourself, the things you can control and change. 

I know I’m better than this. I know that I was meant for more. I could be better, but I spent too much time partying and drinking. I built relationships on the fumes of alcohol. I can’t change the past, but I can learn from it. I can learn those lessons and set the past aside like the unnecessary baggage that it is. I need to strive to get back to the man I was before those days: hungry to learn, eager to put that knowledge to use, hard working, excited about life and the possibilities it holds. I know I can correct my course. And, to quote Mel Robbins again, “You will either find a way or find an excuse.” I’m tired of excuses. I’m better than that. And I choose to become something even greater.

Ok, here are your tasks for next week. There are a couple more than previous weeks because we covered a lot this week. So, here they are:

  1. Start being proactive. Start doing the things you need to do, not waiting for someone to come and rescue you or to do your work for you.
  2. Focus on what you can change, not what you can’t. As you improve at this, you’ll gain influence and the ability to change more.
  3. Practice The 5 Second Rule. Grow that self-discipline.
  4. Try, fail, learn, adjust, and try again. Don’t get frustrated, look at failure as an opportunity to learn and improve. Focus on the lesson, not the failure.
  5. Focus on overwriting the negative with positive. How we react to the things that happen is much more important than what happens to us. Grow that self-confidence.
  6. Start to visualize your success. Don’t hold back for fear of failure. Commit to overcoming adversity.

Remember, I’m going to ask you to write your answers in the comments of next week’s video. If you do, I’ll be there to comment and help as best I can. I’m holding you accountable and hope you do the same for me.

Thank you all for watching. I appreciate you all and hope that you continue to watch and like my videos. Until next week… It’s time to watch me shine.

Becoming and Associations – S01E06

In this video I continue my discussion on becoming and then move on to associations. I also reference my current favorite speech, which is the following:
Earl Nightingale – The Strangest Secret

Original Script of the Video (not a direct transcript)

Hello, everyone, and welcome to this week’s episode of Watch Me Shine. My name is Brian and this week, we’ll be expanding on the idea of becoming and then look at associations.

Before we get into that, let’s first take a look at our tasks for last week and see how we did.

  1. Figure out your plan. What can you do to change your life?

Did you come up with a plan? What is it? Can you stick to it? Does it excite you or does it feel like work?

  1. What new habits can you form in order to change yourself?

Habits are the grounding force in your plan. Have you decided what you’re going to form as habits? Have you started?

  1. What are you willing to sacrifice in order to work on your plan?

We all have the same 24 hours in a day. What are you going to give up to free up time? How is this going to affect you?

  1. Think about the person you need to become in order to change your life and then start working to be that person.

Who do you want to be? Who do you need to be to achieve your goals?

Just like last week, put your answers in the comments. If you do, I’ll take the time to reply. If you see someone else comment, take the time to reply if you can. 

And that’s where I’d like to start this week. Remember, last week, I said that the moment you decide on a goal, start sacrificing time and things to free up some room, and then start forming habits to work on it, you’re already a success.

One of my favorite quotes I’ve found since I started working this plan has been around since the dawn of recorded history. But I recently heard it from a man named Earl Nightingale. He’s considered to be the grandfather of the personal development space. He is probably best known for being a radio personality in the 50’s. In 1957, he published a book titled The Strangest Secret, which was a book based on a speech he recorded and had his staff play for his employees when he was on vacation. This speech was such a hit that the demand and sales of it founded the Nightingale-Conant Corporation. They are one of the largest publishers of self-help, self-improvement, personal growth material in the world.

If you’ve never read that book, I encourage you to go over to Google and do a quick search and you’ll find the audio recording of Mr. Nightingale reading that book. It’s a short, 30 minute recording of him reading it for a radio spot. It is probably my favorite speech and I listen to it on my way to work, on my way home from work, and again before I go to bed. I’m not kidding, it’s that good.

Anyway, in this speech, Earl Nightingale uses a phrase he found in Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich. He says, “We become what we think about.” I personally don’t see how that can be anything but true. Take a moment and think about your own life. Look around you. How much of your environment reflects what goes on in your mind all day long? Here are two examples from my own life:

When I was a heavy drinker, one had only to look in my house and they could tell. If you opened my refrigerator, at least half of it was taken up by beer. If you looked in or next to my kitchen sink, there were empty cans and bottles waiting to be rinsed out. If you looked in my recycle bin, it looked like all I consumed was beer, liquor, and softdrinks. If you looked in my garage, there were piles, literal piles, of cans and bottles waiting to be recycled. I wore hats and t-shirts about alcohol. I had posters and signs about alcohol. I had pint glasses, shot glasses, rocks glasses, tumblers, martini glasses, highballs… You couldn’t look anywhere in my house without finding something alcohol related. I even found a beer bottle in the shower, from time to time. It was what I thought about all day, sometimes consciously, and always subconsciously. Since then, I’ve cleaned nearly all of that out of my life.

Now, on the opposite side, these days I’m always reading books, listening to books, TED talks, TEDx talks, speeches, and YouTube programs on personal growth, and always taking notes. I always have my journal with me. I write in it. I read what I’ve already written in it. I’m always thinking about this channel, my next episode, and checking my stats. I sit at my computer and write. I can’t wait for Friday night so I can record a new episode and post it to come out on Sundays. I wonder what new blog posts I can write to post to my site. I constantly check for feedback, comments, questions. I post about it on LinkedIn and Reddit. This is now what I think about all day, except when I’m writing my book. I’m excited about this process and what going through it is doing to me and my life.

I’m not telling you that you have to give up things like drinking. I know last week I said I don’t play video games or watch TV anymore. That’s not entirely true, but I’ve learned to limit my intake. Instead of spending hours every day doing these things, I only do them when I’m done working. Granted, I’m usually always working, but I do still find time during the week to take in something for pleasure. Video games do have value. They build hand-eye coordination and provide fuel for your imagination. Books, TV, and movies do the same for the latter. There is a sense of satisfaction in reaching the next level in a game or experiencing the twist in a good story. Don’t remove that from your life, but limit your intake of one thing to branch out into other experiences. There’s a whole world of them out there.

Here’s how I do that:

  1. When I consider something I want to do, I ask myself if it will help me achieve my goal. If there is something I should be doing that can help me achieve my goal, I strongly consider doing that first. But sometimes I just want a break. Those are important so your subconscious mind can work in the background. Let your imagination take control sometimes.
  2. I make a decision based on what I need at the moment. If I still have energy to burn, which seems to be abundant now that I have a goal, I will spend some time working on whatever task is at hand that will help me achieve that goal. If I’m tired and I know my work is going to be fruitless, or near to, I take a break. Either way, I reassure myself that what I’m doing is exactly what I need and it is a positive step towards my goal. Yes, even rest or pleasure can be this.
  3. I throw myself into that decision and give my full focus to it. Whether that’s work or my break, I give my focus to the moment. If I find that I’m not concentrating or I’m producing sub-par work, I know I made the wrong decision. If I find that I’m thinking about work while taking a break, I know I made the wrong decision. Nobody makes the right decision all the time and sometimes we need a course correction.

The next thing I learned this week was actually something I knew about, but it wasn’t something I really thought about all that often. That thing is associations. It’s one of the main points of every personal growth speaker I’ve listened to so far. I would go so far as to say it should be placed alongside the tenets that make up Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path. And to that end, it could be stated as “Right Association”.

The idea is to look at the relationships in your life. I’ve already pointed out how we are affected by everything around us, but I initially limited that to things we do, like reading, watching TV, and video games. However, this extends further. It also includes things like who we spend our time with and the conversations we have with those people. Just as books, TV, and video games influence who we are through changing how we see the world, so do our associations. 

You’ve heard the phrase, “It’s not what you know, but who you know.” That’s not entirely true. It is also what you know and how you learned it. You see, the people we choose to associate with have their own paradigm, their own view of the world. They draw from their own lives, education, experiences, imagination, etc. This can be a good thing in your life, but can also be a bad thing.

For instance, if you know someone that has a different background, they can educate you. They can teach you about their area of expertise. They can teach you subjects, languages, culture, skills, ways of thinking, ways of learning, different ideas, help you figure out problems, give you advice. Some people are a positive influence in your life.

But we all have to think but just a few moments to think of examples of people being a negative influence in our lives. Some people are takers. Some people are energy and positivity vampires. Some people, whether consciously or subconsciously, just can’t deal with other people changing or succeeding. These people will steal your dreams, sap your will, talk you out of doing something to better yourself. Why? My best guess is because they’re afraid of being left behind. Success isn’t easy. It’s work. I said it in my first video, people are lazy by default. It’s biology, energy conservation. They’re not willing to pay the price to succeed and they don’t want you to do it because, if you’re successful, you might leave them behind. They would rather you be you because you’ll stay with them.

Unfortunately, this is a truth in life and you’re going to have to make another decision. Do you want to stay where you are, with them? You can, if you’re willing to learn to be content where you are. But if you’re unhappy with who or where you are, you’re going to have to learn to limit your time with such people, if not cut them out of your life completely.

Again, I’ll go back to my drinking days. When I was constantly drinking I associated with other drinkers. This goes back as far as I can remember. Back in those days I had lots of friends. Nearly all of them were really great people. I knew that I could call on them in times of need and they would be there, and they knew I would do the same. But, looking back, all we ever did was meet at one bar or another and drink. If we weren’t at a bar, we were at a house party, drinking. Although this was a great social aspect to my life, it did nothing to advance the rest of my life: education, career, goals, etc. There was no balance.

When I quit drinking, I would get calls asking me to go out drinking. When I explained that I had quit drinking, some people were supportive. But sometimes, I would get questions… like, “for how long?” or, “why?” Sometimes this would end the conversation, but more often than not, would come coercion, peer-pressure. Things like, “Oh, come on. Meet us for one.” or, “Dude, don’t be a… “ insert whatever insult you want here. Some people just can’t handle you being different, wanting to move forward, wanting to advance your life, achieve some goals. They want you to be the you that they’re comfortable with.

In that book, The Strangest Secret, Earl Nightingale quotes psychologist Rollo May’s book Man’s Search For Himself, in which he says, “The opposite of courage in our society is not cowardice, it’s conformity.”

Michael Stevens, one of my favorite presenters, He’s the Vsauce guy and has a YouTube Red show called Mind Field. Season one, episode two, of that show is about conformity. Human beings are social animals. The pressure to conform is biological. We do it for several reasons, most of which boil down to the fact that there is a biological imperative to fit in. When human beings were hunter-gatherer tribes, conformity was required to be part of the community. Without community, one was doomed to die. Our biological ancestors are a long line of conformers. And this still drives our thinking and behavior today.

It’s uncomfortable to strike out on your own, do something new, take your life in a new direction. And, if we’re going to succeed at it, sometimes we have to cut ties with negative people, dream stealers, energy and positivity vampires. Sometimes, we have to leave our tribe in order to advance our lives. However, with seven billion people on the planet and a global network of communications linking a huge number of us, it’s not unreasonable to think that we can always find a new tribe. Again, this is uncomfortable. It means meeting new people. It means asking for help, advice, knowledge. It means asking someone to spend their time on you. It’s like the old saying in chess, “the only way to get better is to play a better opponent.” If you want to be a better, smarter, more well-rounded person, you need to surround yourself with better, smarter, more well-rounded people.

In the movie Forrest Gump, he often says, “Stupid is as stupid does.” Well, the same goes for positivity, success, intelligence, skill, humor, likability, honesty, wisdom, and all the other positive things that come from relationships. If you want to be better at any of these, find people that exude that and hang around them. Seriously, it will rub off.

I can’t remember where I heard it and I couldn’t find it in my notes, but the saying did stick with me. You attract success. If you want to be more successful, become more attractive. This doesn’t necessarily mean physically attractive, although that can help. It never hurts to clean up, shower, comb your hair, brush your teeth. But what it specifically means is to become more attractive in all respects. Be nicer, more positive, learn more, achieve more. If you become someone that exudes these positive traits, you will attract others that also exude these traits. Those are the people that you want to be around and those people will feed your traits, just as you feed theirs. And, once you find your tribe, hold on to that.

Ok, here are your tasks for next week. Write them down because you know I’m going to ask about them next week and ask you to put them in the comments for that video. So, here they are:

  1. What do you think about all day? Is it good or bad. Does it add to your life or take away from it?
  2. Practice making the right decision on what to do. If you need to work, do it. If you need a break, take it. Either way, focus on the moment and the task at hand. But, if you made the wrong decision, don’t be afraid to change it. Just be sure it’s what you really need to be doing.
  3. Analyze your relationships. Start to cut out or limit contact with negative influences. Start trying to build relationships with positive influences.
  4. Pick a trait you want to work on. Find someone you know that is good at it and ask them to coach you, help you get better. Spend more time with that person.

That brings us to the end of this video. So, until next week… Watch me shine.

The Power of the Mind

I have always been fascinated by the power of the mind. As I’ve said in several videos, I like to incorporate information from a variety of places and I recently went on a late night bender of TED/TEDx talks. What I discovered blew my mind.


One particular TEDx talk I watched was by Dr. Alia Crum for TEDxTraverseCity about how your mindset can change the outcome, the results, of things that would seemingly be unaffected by something as simple as a positive outlook.

In this speech she reveals the results of four experiments:

  1. The results of morphine injections to patients given very invasive, thoracic surgery. The patients that were given morphine from an invisible source with no outside stimulus saw significantly less effect than patients directly given the injection from a medical professional.
  2. Hotel workers, specifically the cleaning crew, were tested due to the physical nature of their jobs. Both groups of workers reported that they got little to no exercise. One group was told how much exercise their job really entailed. That group saw a significant drop in body fat percentage, weight, blood pressure, and even reported a rise in their happiness at their job.
  3. Students were tested on how their body reacted to food intake, specifically a milkshake, when they were told false claims on the macro-nutrients it contained. Their bodies had a significant decrease in ghrelin, the chemical secreted in the body that tells your body that you’re hungry, when they drank a milkshake reported to be high in calories, fat and sugar specifically. However, the milkshake was the same between the two tests.
  4. Employees at a company were tested to see how they reacted to stress if their mindsets on the effects of stress were changed. One group was told how stress negatively effects your performance and one group was told how stress enhances your performance. In both cases, both sets of facts were true. They were simply skewed, depending on which video they watched. The group that viewed stress as enhancing performance saw a significant increase in job performance and a significant drop in negative health symptoms.

These results show how a positive mindset can improve your life. Expecting positive results can increase the amount of positive results in your life, even when the circumstances do not change. Expecting positive results can have a huge impact on your health and well-being without changing anything in your life. Changing your outlook on how circumstances can positively impact your performance can increase your performance.

I discussed having a positive mental attitude in one of my videos and recommended that you catch yourself thinking negatively or expecting negative outcomes and learn to overwrite those thoughts with positive ones. Now, I don’t want to suggest that learning to catch and overwrite these thoughts is easy. It’s a skill and one that you must practice in order to get better at it. But, these studies show that doing so can have far-reaching effects in your life.


So, how can one go about changing their mindset in order to see these positive results. I have started to use a technique called mindfulness.

mind·ful·ness – /ˈmīn(d)f(ə)lnəs/ – noun
1. the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.
“their mindfulness of the wider cinematic tradition”
2. a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.

Mindfulness is the process of becoming aware of what one is experiencing, thinking about, feeling, and sensing. It is the process of acknowledging and accepting those thoughts, feelings, sensations, and experiences for what they are without letting them control you. If you are mindful of what is happening, what you are experiencing, you can then analyze them critically. If you can do that, you can then turn them into something positive.

For example, in my own life, I often have doubts about doing this blog and this channel. It sometimes seeps into my mind that this has all been done before and probably done better by someone else. I have doubts about why anyone would watch this or if anyone would get anything out of it. I have to acknowledge that these thoughts are possibly true, but then take the time to change them into something positive. I have to remember that, somewhere out there, there is a math teacher that is the best at teaching math. They connect with students, get them excited about learning, and those students go on to understand math better than other students of the same level. But there are probably millions of math teachers in the world, some good at what they do and some bad. I have to remind myself that not all students would connect with that math teacher that is considered to be the best in the world. I then focus on thoughts that remind me that there may be students out there looking to see how personal growth works and feel that they connect with my message, process, and story more than other teachers out there teaching the same things. This drives me to continue to make videos, continue to tell my story, and continue to try and help people discover their own potential.

Positive Mental Attitude

The vast majority of motivational speakers, practitioners of positive mental attitude, say that one thing you need to do in life is to not look at what happens to you, not to look at your circumstances, but to change how you view those occurrences and circumstances. It’s not what happens to you in life, but how you react to it. The only true freedom you have in life is choice. You have the ability to choose how you react to the events and circumstances in your life. When something bad happens, you can either accept it for what it is, get depressed or anxious, be filled with fear, or you can change how you view it.

I watched another TEDx talk by Robert Grant at TEDxOrangeCoast in which he describes how one can free their mind by becoming free of fear. He tells two stories, one in which he nearly missed the birth of his daughter and one in which his plans for a company were dashed by senior members of that company, and he describes the process by which he changed his views of the situation. In the former, the birth of his daughter he describes how he stayed positive and expected to make it, and he did. In the latter he talks about how he would not let the disappointment and humiliation of the situation ruin him, which led him to a new business venture that was extraordinarily successful.

Two quotes from the talk that really resounded with me are these:

“Man’s immortality is not living forever. Every moment free from fear makes man immortal.”

– Alexander the Great

“I remember thinking, ‘Today can be the worst day of my life, or it can be the best. It’s up to me.’ I decided that it was going to be the best.”

– Robert E. Grant at TEDxOrangeCoast

The keys that I’ve found in this train of thought are to not let fear or doubt cloud my thinking. I believe I have a positive message to send out to the world. I have the ability to take information that I gather, combine it and refine it, and deliver it back to the world in a format that makes it personal and accessible. I have a personality that is worth liking and a method of delivery that is improving every time I make a video. I believe that I can help people change their minds, attitudes, and drive them towards positive outcomes in their lives. The fear and doubt that I experience is simply my mind trying to trick me into stopping, into believing that I’m not worthy of being listened to because I’m not yet the best at what I am trying to do. I can either choose to listen to that fear and doubt or I can choose to believe that there may be someone out there who needs to hear what I have to say and will connect with my message and method of delivery. I choose the latter.

Robert Grant says that the two ways to overcome fear are to feel gratitude and to be intentional in decisions. I choose to feel gratitude for the views, likes, and subscriptions I get instead of fretting over the actual numbers. I choose to feel gratitude for every follower to my blog instead of fretting over the number itself. And I choose to continue to try and connect with people, to help them change their habits, mindsets, expectations of life, and their paradigms, or how they view the world itself, instead of fretting over the number of people that hit my webpage or watch my first video and bounce because they’re not the best. I choose to look at the positive instead of worry over the rejection.


Which brings me to an experiment I would like to add to my story. I have always been fascinated by mentalism, a performing art in which its practitioners, known as mentalists, appear to demonstrate highly developed mental or intuitive abilities. To be clear, I don’t believe in psychic abilities or even the supernatural in general. I, as well as mentalism practitioners, attribute their results to natural skills, such as the ability to read body language or through psychological suggestion. It’s the use of intuitive abilities and the ability to manipulate the mind through psychological suggestion that really interest me.

I would like to learn the art of mentalism, not to perform on stage, but to see if I can use those techniques to alter my own state of mind, to more efficiently and accurately read my own mental state and alter those thoughts and feelings in a positive manner. Mentalism uses observation to derive details. Mentalism also uses suggestion, often in a very subliminal manner, to place thoughts into one’s mind without the mind being aware of the suggestion. It also uses probabilities to predict what a person is going to think about. Combining these techniques with mindfulness, I believe, could allow you to more quickly catch your mind thinking negatively and allow you to overwrite those thoughts in a manner that your brain would more readily accept, thus leading to a more effective path to positive results.

To this end I am going to add mentalism books to my list of things to study and incorporate into my education. As always, I will continue to learn and report on that learning to you in hopes that you find something that can help you on your path as well.

In the meantime, please continue to watch me shine.

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Have A Plan And Work It – S01E05

In this video I talk about handling criticism, investing in the project, investing in yourself, creating habits, having a plan and working that plan.

Original Script of the Video (not a direct transcript)

Hello again, everyone. This is Brian for Watch Me Shine. I wanted to start todays video by covering some very helpful constructive criticism I received lately from my wife. She watched my videos so far and two things she keeps bringing up are that I read my script and watching my eyes is distracting as well as the fact that I’m nowhere near as animated in these videos as I am in real life when I’m discussing something I’m passionate about. So, to address that criticism, I’m going to work harder on correcting both.

To go along with that, I would like to give you all a piece of advice that helped me handle that criticism. When someone comes to you and tells you what you’re doing wrong or what they think you could improve upon, take that criticism with a spirit of generosity, no matter the manner in which it was delivered. To be clear, my wife was very polite and delivered it in a manner that was respectful, but we all know that this is the Internet and it can be quite toxic from time to time. So, the method I use is this:

  1. Don’t listen to the words, listen to the feedback specifically. The person delivering it may not be tactful, but they might actually be delivering a message you need to hear.
  2. Remove emotion from the situation. It’s not going to help. Listen to the message and ignore the emotion it stirs. You can be offended without taking offense.
  3. Repeat the message back to that person using language that removes the emotion. If you deliver it back to them in that manner, you clarify it and cut to the core of it.
  4. Express gratitude for the criticism. You’re not going to get any better if you don’t listen to your critics. If you’re harsh back to your critics, the good ones will disappear and leave you with the trolls.

That being said, sometimes the criticism doesn’t have a message. In which case, just ignore it. Some people are just full of crap and venom. I’ll repeat what I said just a minute ago: this is the Internet and it’s quite toxic at times.

Now, in this particular case, my wife is absolutely correct. I’ve noticed it and my wife isn’t the only person that has told me this. So far, I’ve been working off a whole script made of sentences and paragraphs. I’m going to continue to write my episodes in that manner, but I’ve decided to work harder on memorizing my script and delivering it off of bullet points. And I will try to use more emotion and be more animated when talking. Bear with me while I try to hit my stride. I have done very little public speaking since high school and I’m still nervous every time I get in front of the camera. I’m not going to give up, though. I think I have a lot to say and I feel that the message I’m trying to deliver is worth hearing, but I still have a lot to learn.

So let’s get to it, shall we?

First we need to talk about the tasks from last week.

  1. Process your history and take stock of your life as it is now. Start to think of changes you can make to improve your life.

Did you take the time to process your history and take stock of your life? How did that feel? Did you learn anything new? Did you gain any insight into yourself? Do you now know where you are?

  1. Make it a habit to carry your journal everywhere with you and start taking notes.

Did you get those journals built? How did you do carrying them around? Did you use them? If so, how did you use them? Like I said, mine is glued to me. It’s nearly always within reach with very few exceptions.

  1. Think of your why, your reason for going through the process of changing your life. Then consider possible goals for the future.

Did you find your why? What is it? Does it move you?

  1. Practice your positive attitude.

I’m guessing this was the tough one, but I could just be projecting. Out of all of these things, this one was the real challenge for me. How did you do? Did you catch it when you started being negative? Did you begin to catch it quicker as the week went on? Remember to keep practicing because this is a lifestyle. It’s not something you do for a week and drop.

Take some time to answer these questions in the comments. I’m really interested in how you did. I’d would love to hear how you did. Anyone that does so, I’ll make an effort to reply. We’re accountability partners, right?

Now, let’s talk about this week’s lesson.

The biggest thing in this week’s lesson was to have a plan, work that plan, and be persistent. But there was also a lot of other good advice from Mr. Rohn. Things like building good habits, accepting criticism, and other things right out of Napoleon Hill’s playbook.

Let’s start with having a plan. My plan started simple. I was simply going to follow the Jim Rohn One-Year Success Plan and see where it took me. In doing the reading and listening to the recordings, I started to write down names of other authors that were mentioned. Reading and listening to those books led me to other authors that I wrote down and it just snowballed. I think I have about 200 books on my list now. As the masters have said, you have to change your input in order to change your output and this is how I’m doing it.

Something I learned from my time as an IT professional, specifically the year and a half that I spent as a software developer, is to remain agile, flexible, open to change. This directly contradicts Napoleon Hill’s advice to be quick to decide and slow to change, but I would like to think he means large changes, not slight course corrections. The changes I’m talking about add to what I’m doing, not full-on changing my mind. I would like to think that’s acceptable.

So, follow the One-Year Success Plan and read material that adds to that plan. That’s the plan I’ve chosen. Which leads us to your first task for next week and probably the most important question I’m going to ask you this week: What are you going to do to change your life? Do you have a plan? Are you going to follow along with me? Are you going to pick up your own copy of the One-Year Success Plan? Are you going to go your own route? The most important plan, the one that will give you the greatest chance of succeeding, is the one you can stick to.

Either way, you need a plan because without it you can’t work that plan. If you don’t have a plan you’ll end up working on someone else’s dream for the next thirty to fifty years. Get a plan and work it, be relentless, don’t give up. Like Morpheus said in the Matrix, “I can only show you the door. You’re the one that has to walk through it.” Nobody is going to do this for you. If that door is closed, you bang on it until it opens. You’re not going to get what you want unless you ask for it, unless you work for it. Be relentless! Remember your why, but it’s the what that matters more. You now know why, but what are you going to do about it?

This week, Mr. Rohn had a quote that really struck me. He said, “This is the difference between failure and success: Failure is a few errors in judgement repeated every day. Success is a few disciplines practiced every day.” When you know your why and you know your what, turn those whats into habits. Every Monday night I sit down and work on my website. Every Tuesday night I sit down and work on my book. Every Thursday night I sit down and write my next episode. Every Friday night I sit down and film that episode. Every Sunday morning I go through the Success plan. Every night before bed I write in my journal and then meditate. These are habits for me now. I don’t have to talk myself into it. I don’t have to feel like it. It doesn’t feel like work to me. Why? Because I know my why and I know what I have to do to make it happen.

And once you have a plan and start to work it you’ll start having ideas. Use that journal, start writing them down, and collect those thoughts. Review them from time to time. Napoleon Hill says that all paths to riches begin with desire, but it takes imagination to formulate an idea and turn it into something tangible. Once you start having ideas and you let your imagination explore them, you’ll eventually start coming up with ways to refine them, combine them, turn them into something else, and maybe you’ll come up with something great.

And here’s a hint. Now, this idea goes as far back as Napoleon Hill in the modern era, but the idea has been around for millenia: in order to be happy, look for an idea on how to serve others. Having money won’t make you happy. Having things won’t make you happy. The path to true happiness isn’t through material items because, once you get the things you want, you’ll want something else. It’s an empty feedback loop of ever increasing need, just like a drug addiction. Look at the way winning the lottery ends up destroying most lottery winners. That’s a path to prison, addiction, suicide, getting murdered. If you think I’m joking, just look up stories on what happens to lottery winners. I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re easily depressed. It’s downright tragic.

So, If you want to be truly happy, find a way to serve others. The man who trained Mr. Rohn was named Earl Shoaf and he liked to say, “If you help enough people get what they want, you’ll be able to have everything you want.” I believe that’s absolutely true. It gives your life purpose. It gives you something to drive towards. It gives you a sense of pride and a sense of accomplishment. 

After I started working my plan, journaling, and writing down ideas, I decided to create this channel, which led to a website, and other things I’ve started to kick around to expand. I also decided to write a book that has nothing to do with this channel. I never really saw myself doing any of this, but the idea to create this channel seemed like a really cool experiment that I thought people might want to watch and possibly learn from. Deciding to write a book came from an idea I had to combine two or three different topics into something I thought people could use. Once I had the ideas, it was a short step to start working on them whenever I had the time. I started to sacrifice other things in order to create that time. Now, I’m relentless in it because I turned it into a habit.

The last thing I want to cover is something I had a hard time with at first. We talked last week about figuring out where we are so we can get to where we want to be. Your last task of the week involves this, by the way. In order to become what you want to become you need to start to become what you need to be. Spend some time thinking about who you need to be in order to become that.

There are two models of living that are often debated:

  1. Have-Do-Be: Many people believe that if they just had something, like more money or more time, they could do the things they want, and then they would be somebody.
  2. Be-Do-Have: Others believe that if they be something, like more positive or more peaceful, they will then do what they need to do, which will lead them to have what they want.

I actually prefer to think of it like this:

  • Do-Be-Have: I believe that the work comes first, to do the things I need to do and to make them habits, which will lead me to be the person I need to be in order to be a success, and that will lead me to have the things I want.

Now, I’ve heard people say my version of do-be-have is actually be-do-have in disguise. They say I’m using the do part in the sense of be, but you can’t be without doing. You can’t be a mechanic without doing the work to learn it. You can’t be a programmer without doing the work to learn it. You have to do the things you need to do in order to be it. I suppose you could do-be-do-have, but that sounds like a doo-wop song, and that’s just silly. I prefer my version. But, whatever. Do, be, just don’t focus externally on the have first. It’s all about becoming first. The have comes after.

To that end, I resolved to sacrifice my free time to work on building habits that lead me to become the man I need to be in order to become a success. This will lead me to be a success, which will lead to having the things I want. And that’s my last task for you this week. You know your why. Now think about the person you need to be in order to make it happen. Look at your list of whats and figure out which ones you can turn into habits so you can be that person. Really spend some time on this. Start to visualize the person you need to be and the next time you look in the mirror, tell yourself that you are going to be that person. See yourself as that person. Tell yourself what you’re going to do to be that person. Then go do it. Be relentless. Don’t give up. You can’t change overnight, but you can start changing right now.

Ok, one last time, let’s go over your tasks for next week. Write them down in your journal, look at them regularly over the next week, and really hash them out so you can tell me about them in the comments of next week’s video. You know I’m going to ask. Ok, here they are:

  1. Figure out your plan. What can you do to change your life?
  2. What new habits can you form in order to change yourself?
  3. What are you willing to sacrifice in order to work on your plan?
  4. Think about the person you need to become in order to change your life and then start working to be that person.

And, as always, until next week… Watch me shine.

Introduction to the Plan – S01E04

This week, I start at the beginning. I’ll cover the self-improvement plan I chose and how I go about working on it. I’ll then go over the first week of the plan. I will end by giving you some tasks to perform over the next week.

Original Script of the Video (not a direct transcript)

Hello again, everyone. This is Brian for Watch Me Shine. I hope you all had time to get your journals ready. If not, just grab some paper and a pen or pencil. Because today, we actually start getting into the meat and potatoes of what this channel is about. We’re going to start taking a look at the things I learned going through the self-improvement program I chose as the backbone of my process to improve my life.

Let me start by introducing that plan. I managed to find a copy of Jim Rohn’s One-Year Success Plan. If you’ve never heard of Jim Rohn, he’s the guy that trained Anthony Robbins. I’m sure I’ll mention him here as well at some point. If you’ve not heard of either of these guys, you’ll get to know them through this channel.

If you HAVE heard of them, I know what you’re probably thinking because I thought it as well. Every time I heard about these guys or saw something making fun of them online somewhere. It has to be a load of crap. But, you know what? What I WAS doing obviously wasn’t working. And millions of people swear by these guys. And… what do I have to lose?

I’ve heard it said that, “Everything you’ve done in your life has brought you to this point.” and, “If you don’t have a plan to achieve your goals you’ll end up working to achieve someone else’s goals.” The former is absolutely true. And the latter, well, I don’t know about you but, I’m tired of doing that. I’m tired of busting my hump for the scraps that someone else shells out. I want more. So, I figured it was time I had my own plan. I decided to give Jim Rohn a try, one year of my life. Even if it works a little bit, it’s better than nothing.

What I decided to do is set down a couple hours a week where I could read through this book and take notes and then listen to the audio recordings and take more notes. I do this while I’m doing my two weekly loads of laundry instead of watching TV or playing a video game. I figured I could at least sacrifice that much. But I also try to find somewhere between one and six hours a week, depending on my week, to sit down and read or listen to audiobooks and take more notes. These audiobooks are more self-help or self-improvement books. I also listen to speeches, biographies, autobiographies, interviews, and other things of that nature. Again, always taking notes.

My plan is to give you an idea of the main point of the weekly lesson, answer some questions, and fill in those points with more information I’ve been accumulating from other sources. And, over the course of this year, I want you to see what happens. And I’d really like you to join me on this journey. Win or lose, something is going to change. And I’m betting it’s going to be for the better. So, let’s jump right in.

I know it sounds cliche, but the best place to start is always at the beginning. I mentioned it in one of my earlier videos, you have to know where you are and where you came from in order to move forward. I believe I covered that in my first two videos. I’ve laid out my history. Take some time to process yours. That’s your first task for next week.

Start by thinking about your past. What brought you to where you are today? Don’t just think about the bad things, also think about things you’ve accomplished. Think about bad choices you made and how you could have made them better, but also think about good choices you’ve made and how they’ve improved your life. The point here is to understand that your life has always had two sides. Everyone fails sometimes. But everyone wins sometimes as well. You have had moments in your life where you succeeded. We want to fuel that fire that drove us to those successes so that we can succeed more.

In order to fuel that fire for success, spend a little extra time to think about those past successes. I listed things like how I graduated from high school with high honors and university with honors. I thought about how I’d built a career in IT being 100% self-taught or learning on the job. There were only a couple jobs I had where I was ready to hit the ground running. Most of them I was underqualified and relied on my talent for quick learning. I thought about the path my family has taken so far and how far we did manage to come instead of thinking about the ways in which we’re lacking. Which brings us to the next point.

Next, think about your life as it is now. What things are going well in your life? What things could stand to be improved? Think about your home life, your work life, your physical health, and your mental health. Think about what you could change to make each of those areas better. Don’t focus on large things just yet. Just make a list of little things, like drinking more water instead of soft drinks and beer. Think of times during your week that you could dedicate to improving your education or exercise. Think of whether or not it’s a possibility to stay up an hour later or get up an hour earlier to extend your day. All of these are just ideas to get your mind rolling. But start putting them down on paper this week. Keep this list handy and add to it whenever something pops in your mind. Again, this is why I carry my journal with me everywhere I go. Start making it a habit to do the same. That’s your second task for next week.

For myself, I thought about what we do have as a family, but I also thought about what I could improve. I arranged some time to do something constructive like reading and learning. I stopped buying soft drinks and bought flavor drops and started carrying a water bottle. I picked up some recordings for guided meditation and chose to start doing that before bed. Little changes piled together make large changes and that can change your life. I’ve already seen it work when I quit drinking and smoking, lost weight, started exercising, and then ran mud obstacle courses. These all started with little changes piling up over time. So, I know this can work if I have a plan and stick to it.

The next thing to think about is whether or not you’re ready to change. When I first picked up this program and thought about it, I knew I was ready for something to change. You’ve watched my history, but that was the short version. Again, I don’t hate my life, but there are quite a few things that I want to change. I want to build something, not just work to build something for someone else. I want to stop fighting with my wife about money, scraping by from paycheck to paycheck, wondering if there’s going to be enough paycheck at the end of the week. But it’s not just about money. I want to learn to control my emotions better, not be so stressed out. I want to be in good health so I can be there when my daughter grows up.

But then you have to ask yourself the most important question I’m going to ask you this week… Why? Why go through all this? This is vital. Because if you don’t have a why, you’re going to fail. If you don’t have a good why, a why that drives you, a why that feels like a burning in your gut, you’re going to fail. And don’t think about the why that you think you’re supposed to have. Not the why that your friends or family or society think you should have. Think about the why that really gets to you inside. That’s your third task for next week. Think of your why. For me, I have several.

I mentioned it above, but I’m tired of going to work every week and helping to build a company for someone else just to get a fraction of the success. I’ve been working for twenty-eight years, everything from grocery stores and gas stations, to retail, to well-paying corporate jobs. I’ve worked with millionaires and hundred-aires. It’s all the same. One particular job I had paid me roughly $2800 per month to do a job that brought over $12,000 per month to the business. Do the math, I only saw 23% of the profit that my service provided. Some jobs you can’t quantify like that, but it illustrates my point. I think it’s time I build something for myself. That’s one reason.

Another reason, which I also mentioned above. I’m tired of fighting over money with my wife. I’m tired of scraping by. I want to budget, but I don’t want that budget to dictate where I can live or what vacation I can take my family on. Heck, I’d love to take them on a vacation at all, really, without being scared of coming home to a pile of bills I can’t pay. And I certainly don’t want to go into debt for it. That’s just paying off life I’ve already lived. That’s depressing to me and I don’t want to do it anymore. That’s another reason.

A third reason is that I don’t want to tell my daughter no to simple things she wants because I can’t afford them. She needs a new bike. She needed one this summer. I put it off because she spent most of this summer away at summer camps and vacations that relatives brought her on. But she’s going to need one next spring. I don’t want to look her in the eye and tell her that I can’t because we have bills to pay and I’m not sure how we’re going to pay them if I buy her something as little as a bike. It was that bad this summer because I lost my job this spring and spent some time unemployed. That put us in a position I’m still trying to get us out of. I’m sure it won’t be that bad next year, but I’m using it as an illustration.

I don’t need a mansion, but I’d like to be able to afford one. I don’t need a Ferrari, but I’d like to be able to afford one. I don’t need to go on extravagant vacations, but I’d like to be able to afford them. What I’d really like is to be out of debt and be able to pay my bills when they come in, not when they’re due. I don’t want money to be a worry, I want it to be what it is: a tool. But you can bet your bippy that if I could afford all those things, I’d probably get them. But to do that I need to get out of a position where I’m having to ask my family to bail us out.

But the big one is, honestly, that my wife has health problems. She’s not dying, but it is a very real possibility that her life will be cut shorter than it should be otherwise. She’s ok right now, but it is a very real possibility that she’ll get to the point where she needs care that I and our families cannot provide without help. And we honestly don’t know if or when either of these things will happen. I don’t want the time we DO have to be spent squabbling over money. I want to take her and our daughter back to Disney, or on a Disney cruise, like she wants. I want to spend a vacation in an RV as a family going to see things we haven’t seen yet. Heck, I’d like to go to see a movie once a month without wondering what I’m going to have to give up to make it happen.

Like Zig Ziglar said, “Money isn’t everything, but it ranks right up there with oxygen.”

And to do all that, to achieve those things, I need to work on me. I need to decide that I’m responsible for my life. I need to decide that change is not circumstantial. Change is on me and I have to make that change happen. I need to learn to let the stress go, to control my emotions. I need to spend time in a constructive manner. I have the skeleton of a plan. I need to spend time fleshing it out. I need to set goals, to design the life I want, and then spend time working to achieve those goals.

Earl Nightingale defines success as, “The progressive realization of a worthy ideal.” By that he means, “If you’re working towards a pre-defined goal, you’re a success.” By that measure, I’m already successful. But I know I can do better. So I need to keep working.

And I recognize that the first thing I need to change is my attitude. My time as a drunk really ground me down. I became a pessimist. I was always thinking about how things would go wrong. I was always thinking about how whatever I touched would turn to garbage. And I always found evidence to prove my point. Part of me believed that if I was always a pessimist, when things occasionally went right, I would be pleasantly surprised. But the truth is that it just became a self-fulfilling prophecy. Things went bad because I expected them to. I was, whether I realized it or not, planning for failure. 

In his book titled Jeffrey Gitomer’s Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude, the author says that positive attitude is a skill. You must practice and refine it. It is a process. I had to learn to catch myself thinking negative thoughts and double-down on a dose of positive thinking. Dr. Steven Covey in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, says that it’s not what happens to you in life that makes you who you are, it’s how you react to it. When things went wrong, I had to learn to react to them differently. I’ve read that a positive attitude can change your life more than any other skill you can build. I’m here to tell you first-hand, since I’ve started doing this, I’ve started to see some fairly significant changes in my life.

And that’s your last task for next week. Start to catch yourself in negative thoughts. When you have one, think of at least one, if not more, bright side to the situation. And instead of getting depressed or angry about the situation. Think of one, if not more, possible solutions to the problem. Then act on one. Nobody is perfect and this is going to take some practice and hard work. I know I struggled with it a lot initially, but it’s getting easier. I guarantee, if you start thinking this way, you will see some positive changes in your life. They may not be huge at first, but remember what I said earlier: small changes piled up lead to large changes. Well, this is how you start.

Ok, let’s go over these one more time so you have them down. Here are your tasks for next week:

  1. Process your history and take stock of your life as it is now. Start to think of changes you can make to improve your life.
  2. Make it a habit to carry your journal everywhere with you and start taking notes.
  3. Think of your why, your reason for going through the process of changing your life. Then consider possible goals for the future.
  4. Practice your positive attitude.

And, until next week… Watch me shine.

How to Build a Journal and Start Journaling – S01E03

In this video, I describe my most valuable weapon in my quest to change myself and my life: my journal. I will cover what I bought, why I chose it, how I put it together, and how I use it daily.

For the materials I use in this video to build a journal, check out the following links:

Tul Notebooks

Pilot Frixion Pens

Rocketbook Notebooks

Original Script of the Video (not a direct transcript)

Hey, everyone. This is Brian again for Watch Me Shine. I’m going to cover a topic that is very important to me today, and that’s journaling. For some reason, most of the people that see me carrying around a journal and are curious enough to ask me about it, tend to think journaling is a bunch of “dear diary” nonsense, something teenage girls do. But journaling is a very useful tool when you’re doing something, making a change in your life, for instance, and you want to track your progress.

When I started down the self-help path, several of the speakers I listened to recommended it, so I started doing it because it was part of the program. But the more I did it and the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. Again, you can track your progress. But it’s more than that. Journaling not only tracks your progress in building good habits and stopping bad habits, it is also a habit in itself. Setting a time and place to sit down and write a summary of the day becomes a habit. Building the self-discipline to do that habit every day makes it easier to build other good habits as well.

If you want to do all this digitally, there are many programs you can use on your phone and computer. You can use Google Docs if you like. Maybe Word or Libre Office, even. But I tried this and found that it wasn’t very easy to type pages of notes on my phone when taking notes from books I’m reading or audiobooks I’m listening to. I just couldn’t keep up. I also like the feel of writing on paper. It just seems more… genuine. I focus better. And people that know me will tell you that’s strange because I’m a nerd. I love technology. I don’t know… it just felt more genuine to write by hand. So, I went with paper and a pen.

Now, you don’t need to buy anything fancy to start journaling. This, for instance, is similar to what I used to use when I was younger. It cost me $1.47 at Wal-Mart. It’s simple, cheap, easy to carry, and does the job. If you don’t have money to blow on a custom journal, just pick up a couple of these and get started. Write the date, and write down whatever comes to mind as the important things that happened that day. Easy peasy! But, as my dad likes to point out, I can’t do anything by half, so here’s what I chose as a journal.

This is a customizable, discbound journal by Tul. I picked it because I like plain things. I’m a minimalist. There are many different kinds of discbound journal, but I prefer these because they specifically aren’t fancy. I picked this brand up at Office Depot, but they sell them on Amazon as well. Check the links in the description of this video. But there are other options out there. Staples has their own brand. I think even Martha Stewart has her own line. They’re very popular. This particular one cost me about $35 and it has the word “PLANNER” on the nice, leather cover. The leather ones without the word “PLANNER” are cheaper. They sell ones with plastic covers in two different thicknesses and they’re as cheap as $10. You can buy them in full, sheet of paper, letter size as well, but I prefer the smaller, half sheet of paper, junior size. Because these notebooks are customizable, I use them for lots of different things.

The nicest one I use as the journal I carry around every day nearly everywhere. I use the cheaper ones for projects, and long-term storage. This one is where I’m putting months of journal entries I’ve already written so I can keep them. I plan to have one of these for every year. This one is where I’m tracking my progress in the self-help program I chose as the foundation for this channel. And this one is where I keep all my research from books I’m reading to build upon that foundation.

This is a stock one of these journals. They come with the cover and 60 sheets of lined paper. The rings are 3/4 inch. But we’re going to customize this one to be more like mine so I can show you how it works.

First, let’s tear this cover off. The first thing we’re going to do is change the rings. They sell rings in 1 inch, 1.5 inch, and 2 inch. I bought the 2 inch and tried to use them as a journal, but it was just too cumbersome to carry around. So now I use those rings to keep my blank pages neat and organized. See how they stick out like this? Yeah, not really easy to tote around. I went back to Office Depot and looked at the 1.5 inch, but they looked too large as well. So, I settled on the 1 inch. As you can see, it’s much more portable. Let’s hook the cover to these new 1 inch rings.

Now, before we fill it with paper, let me start by saying that my journal has sections in it for the different things I like to keep with me. In order to keep that organized, I bought a pack of these dividers. They come in packs of five and they’re pretty sturdy. Let’s insert these into the journal next. They come with little, tab-sized labels that you can use to differentiate your different sections so you can remember what they’re for. They stay on pretty well, but once mine fall off I don’t know if I’ll put them back on. Since I use it every day, I know what the sections are. We’ll get to that later.

I’ve done something custom with section one, so we’ll skip that one for now. I’ll talk about that at the end because, although I’ve built it, I haven’t been very good at incorporating it into my routine and it was kind of a pain, but I’m sure I’ll use it a lot later. Anyway, let’s just skip it for now.

Section two is where I put the actual journal part of my journal. You can use the regular, lined paper that comes with the journal here if you want to. But because I want to keep these and have them look nice, I bought a pack of weekly journal sheets with monthly summary pages. A two-page spread is a week, separated into the five weekdays and a combined Saturday/Sunday box to cover the weekend. I typically find myself forgetting to journal on Saturday, so it works out for me to just journal on Sunday night for the weekend. You can buy packs of Dailies that have a sheet for every day if you’re a verbose person, but I like to keep my entries short and simple. 

I also bought these tabs that separate out the months. I place them in between the monthly sections so that I can easily locate them in the future. Then, I take out the current month and the next month, like so, and place them in section two of my journal. That way I have the month I’m working on, to write in every day, and next month, so I can write things down as they come up. I never plan more than a month in advance, so this is the perfect amount for me to carry and not have my journal become too cumbersome to carry. Just a note here, I find it easiest to work with about ten pages at a time. Any more and these tabs tend to get damaged.

I sit down every night, right before bed, and write down the main points of what happened that day. I write down how my day was at work. I write down how I felt. I write down important events. I write down important interactions with people, especially family members. I especially write down victories I had and things I need to accomplish or work harder on. This is just basic journaling, by the way. There are other types of journaling out there, if you want to explore more. Two that I’ve been looking at checking out are The 5-Second Journal by Mel Robbins and The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carroll. But, and you’ll hear me say this a lot, I didn’t want to get stuck in research mode. I wanted to just get started. I will look into them later and maybe adapt them to work for me. Maybe they’ll be the topic of another video sometime.

Now, section three is my goals section. You don’t have to put anything here yet, because I’m not going to cover goals for a little while in this program. Just know that this section is reserved for goal setting in the future. If you want, put a page or two of the regular notebook paper in here and write down ideas you have for future goals so you remember them when we start to cover goals and goal-setting.

Section four is what I call “Wisdom”. This section is for pages of notes on things that I found wise, things that I like to read to remind myself on a regular basis. I tend to thumb through this once a week at the minimum. Sometimes, it’s daily, when I need inspiration or to remind myself of the person I’m trying to become. I’ll go over what’s in this section more in the future. Again, maybe place a page or two in here and consider writing down sayings that inspire you, things to remind you of what you want to become, and things of that nature.

Section five is what I call “Education”. This section is for the majority of my journal. I put about twenty five of the regular notebook paper sheets in here. This is where I write notes from books I’m reading or audiobooks I’m listening to. In fact, one of my favorite pages in my journal is a page I keep in the current month page, which is a list of all the books and audiobooks that I consumed that month. Just like I learned in school, I take notes on everything I’m learning so I can keep them and refer to them in the future. Behind the notebook paper I have about five sheets of graph paper. Tul sells packs of this as well. I use this for graphing, charting, diagrams, anything I want organized into columns, that type of thing.

I also keep several sheets of blank paper behind the graph paper. Tul doesn’t sell this, so I had to make my own. I bought blank printer paper. Don’t use regular 20 pound printer paper because it’s too flimsy. Make sure it’s at least 24 pound paper or higher. I wouldn’t go so high as 110 pound card stock because that’s too thick. I have thought about using that to make my own custom tabs, though, so keep that in mind. I use this fancy paper cutter to simply cut the sheets of paper in half and they’re exactly the size of the other pages in the notebook. But to make them fit a discbound journal, I bought this specialized hole punch. It punches the holes that fit the discs and it works great. It works for both the full-size and junior-size journals. I also use this to put important pictures in my completed journal using photo album pages like this one. Just another idea to keep in mind.

At this point, your journal is basically done. There are three more things I would recommend you buy, but you certainly don’t need them. First is these pocket dividers. They come in packs of two, but I just put one in the back to hold scraps, notes, pictures, and other things I collect. The second is this plastic ruler. I use it as my bookmark to mark the current week so I can flip my journal open to the right page. And third is this type of pen.

I prefer to write with a pen, but I make mistakes a lot. This is a Pentel Frixion pen, that’s spelled f-r-i-x-i-o-n. It’s a gel type pen and this little nub on the back erases the ink through friction. The heat generated erases the ink. Very handy. They come in lots of colors and they’re refillable. I use the cheap ones, but I’ve been looking at buying one of the nice ones to put in my journal. But beware, they work like wet erase markers if your journal gets wet.

Which brings us back to section one, the section I said I did something custom with. This is a Rocketbook. It’s a notebook that you can reuse. It, again, comes in full-size and a smaller, junior-size. The paper is a special type of paper that’s made from a synthetic polyester. You can write on it with these Frixion pens and erase the pages with water, like a wet erase board. They have an app and you can record your pages digitally. You can explore that if you like, but I didn’t really like it. What I did like was the ability to write and erase with water on paper that I could use over and over.

I bought the larger size notebook because the smaller one wasn’t big enough for what I’m about to show you. I cut out pages that fit the same size as the pages in my Tul notebook. I then punched them with the special hole punch. And then I drew pages for a daily planner on these pages. My plan was to use this to plan my week and write it down on these pages. Once my week was up, I could quickly erase them with a paper towel and some water. The permanent ink framework would remain, but the daily schedules would disappear. Now, as I said before, I’ve not been successful in incorporating this into my routine, but I will in the future. So, consider doing this if you think it’ll help you. If not, maybe take that section out of your journal or create a new section all your own. If you have any ideas that you think would work great for you, put it in the comments section. I’d love to hear about them.

Lastly, Tul sells other accessories for their journals. I tried a couple out, but they made my journal too thick and I didn’t really use them. This is a nice, zipper pouch. These are sticky notes on a tab like the ruler. And these are task pads. I have gotten some use out of these task pads as bookmarks and I do keep one or two in the planner section of my journal in case I need a quick note, but I think I’ve maybe used a dozen total out of the whole pack. Anyway, just because they didn’t work for me, doesn’t mean they won’t work for you. Again, if you have any ideas, I’d love to hear about them.

And, that’s it. Spend the next week picking up a journal because next week we’ll get started on how I got started. I’ll introduce you to the plan that I started using and some things I took from it to incorporate into my life. My plan isn’t to teach the course, it’s to teach what I learned while taking the course and reporting on how my life has changed because of it. I will bring in other information from the books and audiobooks I’ve consumed throughout this process as well.

So, get those journals built! Comment with ideas. Subscribe and like. But most of all…

Until next week… Watch me shine.