If you’re wondering what I’ve been up to…

I flew to Pennsylvania to visit family and host a fitness seminar. It was such a blessing to be able to catch up with childhood friends, and see my family. I ate good, and got to instruct my first fitness seminar. So many emotions, so many memories. I can’t wait until the next fitness seminar! 



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What’s wrong with blending in?

I don’t know, EVERYTHING!

  1. You end up at the bottom of the list.
  2. Your name doesn’t make other people stop and think.
  3. You are never recognized out in public or online (nothing to do fame, everything to do with connecting). 
  4. Nobody looks up to you. 
  5. You don’t inspire people in any way. 
  6. You’re not working as hard as some people are. 
  7. You have no haters. 
  8. You’re treated like you don’t even exist. 
  9. The people who need you most are missing the point. 
  10. Everything from the bottom is limited. 

This post is not about being all the way at the very top. Not about being #1 everyday worldwide. It’s about having that thing that people need. It’s about being noticed on a level large enough that creates some real positive impact in another persons life.

It’s about doing work that means something to someone else. 

Here is some of my book (for free).

Thanks if you happen to find any typos along the way. 

 

(Fear relating to the creation of this piece of art)

Here’s my struggle: I was afraid of writing this book. I was afraid people would think it’s wrong or weird in a bad way. I was afraid it might not change someone for the better or at least get them to thinking a little differently.

I was afraid I would not find a unique cover design. I was afraid that people would find one or more typos while reading and lose complete interest.

I was afraid that I would be too fearful of publishing this piece of work.

Most importantly I was afraid of what would have happened if I did not finish writing this book.

Everyday I’m afraid of not doing or being anything.

This is why I continue to deliver what I hope for you is work worth talking about and doing something about. 

(Some of my own sacrifices)

I take the bus, and ride my bike, and walk, and run in order to give you this stuff. I sacrifice parties and time, and more money working full-time to create projects like this. Why? Because this is where my heart is. Because some of you really need to read this and understand it. Because I’m convicted to do so. Because a hobby is turning into a profession. Because I can no longer live without the ability to express in writing what I notice and how I feel. Because my desire to teach has increased. 

Yes I could go out and finance a car or wait 2 years to save up for one if I really wanted to. The problem with that is I’d have to use that extra couple thousand (over the course of 12 months) for car insurance as well as repair costs, inspection fees, and gas etc. 

This is a stupid idea to me. I’d rather suffer a little and do what I love every single day until I can make an honest living out of it. Why should I put my dreams on hold just to be able to travel places a few minutes faster? Public transportation exist for a reason. 

Can you travel to boston in your fancy car for less than $100 including food and water, and internet? How about less than $80? 

I refuse to let people talk me into doing something that will hurt my dreams more than it helps them. 

This is the type of dedication and drive you need to have. Even if you never give up the luxury of driving or flying first class. Just be completely dedicated to a cause. Be fixated on an idea and a purpose. Serve those who enjoy it and want more of it and repeat the process. Pass the knowledge on when you succeed. 

 

(Supreme you are)

 

 You are a supreme being. Be all you can while you still have time to smell the roses. Don’t be afraid to fly, jump, run, read, write, ship, travel, dance, laugh, cry, appreciate, or ask. 
 
Just be fully fulfilled in all that you do. Add to your collection of ideas and interests every single day until you pass on what you left, to the next generation. 

 

Have fun, be brave. Who the hell cares what other people think? I mean really? If I wanted to please the guy to my left I would give him all of the money in my pocket. 

What is going on right now? A shift is taking place. Change is more than necessary. Be aware of what is going on or get eaten alive by everything and everyone.

Don’t just stand in the way unless you want to get ran over. Life will never be the same ever again. Staying at a job for 50 years and retiring is old news. Only the fearful people in society are sticking with that formula. Newsflash: they are incredibly frustrated with life. They want a way out and can not seem to find an exit. 

Even worse than that, they are not willing to do the work they love or dream of doing. What makes it so hard to do something that you enjoy? 

A few things make it hard: 

  • People might laugh at you.
  • You won’t make any money.
  • Nobody is paying attention to you.
  • It’s not in the company policy for you to do.
  • Too many people are already doing it.
  • It cost too much money to build.

I believe they call each of those things above excuses. 

 

 Here’s why you need to be reading this book: 

Because 5 years from now you’ll care more about how life and the people in it made you feel and less about how big your bank account was. You’ll care (some of you) more about the impact you created instead of how many pairs of shoes you had. 

You need to be reminded again that you can go farther than where you are today even if you believe that you can not go any further. You need to finish this book because you need to stay on your toes. Do not get drowned in ordinary living, and thinking. Keep fighting to do more, be more, and see more. 

Yes take breaks. Yes you will get tired. Yes you will want to give up on everything but pay attention and be patient. Push forward and go beyond. What you’re doing now is not going to work forever. The idea that change is happening faster than we can keep up with is real. The idea that the best way to control the change is by being in complete control of your destiny, and not leaving it in someone else’s hands. It’s important that you find ways to remind yourself to take action and move in the opposite direction of the status quo. Don’t let it ruin you. 

Spank the day with a leather belt of success! 

(When “Can” becomes “Want”)

We must go for what we “want” to do and not just what we “can” do.

It is easy to do what you “can” do. We “can” do almost anything. We “can” wash cars. We “can” cut our own hair. We “can” lift 500 pounds off of the ground. We “can” prepare to fly to the moon. We “can” turn ourselves into human pretzels. We “can” become increasingly intelligent over time with lots of practice. And the list goes on. 

The negative here is that you have to face the potential danger of getting stuck doing all of the things you “can” do instead of what you really “want” to do.

In life we never really “want” to do what we “can” do, because we “want” to do what we “want” to do. 

Our “wants” are the key to unlock our full-blown potential. The “wants” are the dreams,  goals, and desires that we really yearn for. The problem? We get into the habit of settling for what we “can” do because it’s faster, easier and, we have a better chance of dodging severe criticism. Fear of failure takes over. The feeling of inadequacy triggers the ability to stiffen up and do nothing. 

I’m telling you now the “can’s” are going to eat you alive. You will never be happy or satisfied. You will only conform to the duties of a life where you “can” do almost anything instead of going straight into what you “want” to do. It sounds like a trick. It’s not. The best way to describe it is this: your “wants” throughout life outweigh your “can’s”.

I know it sounds a bit contradictory and what not, but trust me if you just read this post over again and really pay attention to what I’m saying, you’ll understand exactly what I mean.

(One topic of discussion)

The status quo does not change. You have to change. Did you hear that? Read it again. The status quo does not change because you have to change. Gandhi said “be the change you want to see in the world”. It means if you want to live beyond the status quo you need to be willing to change yourself. You are the only reason why the status quo will either continue to exist in your own life or why it will be forever crushed by your increased productivity. 

(A quick back story on what helped broaden my perspective while writing this book)

SKIP THIS SECTION AT YOUR OWN RISK! =)

Some of you know that aside from writing and teaching, I make music for a living. Back in 2005 I made a promise to myself to get serious about music. I was set on learning everything I possibly could in order to score a record deal (which at the time was my goal). I wrote at least 2 songs a day almost every single day for 3 years. To save you the headache I believe I wrote around 150 to 200 songs from 2005 to 2008. I was incredibly determined to make it happen for myself. I had no clue what to do next so I started studying the music business. 

Everyday I would sit in front of my computer for 3 or more hours a day reading up on the business and how to “make it”. I purchased books that revealed in great details what the business was like and how they treat the artists. This time of my life was such an eye-opener. I learned that the music business was very cut-throat and nothing like they made it seem on television. A lot of artists got paid squat for an enormous amount of work. They were barely able to pay for their own expenses. 

In 2005 it was all about getting lucky and being in the right place at the right time. The cool thing to do was perform and hope or wait for some record exec to discover your music. It was all about that one in a million chance that L.A. Reid would walk into a grocery store and hear you in the bread isle belting out some usher song. 

It was all about spending hundreds of dollars on postage sending in “press kits” to record labels across the country. A press kit was the equivalent of what a resume is except you included a super photo-shopped picture of yourself, your genre of music, and what you had to offer the record label you were trying to sign to.

It was terrible! I almost created one of those stupid press kits! The furthest I went with any of this ridiculous non-sense was mailing out a few demos which at the time were awful! Funny thing is they never made it to anyone’s desk because I had the wrong amount of stamps on them. I was actually relieved. 

 Fast forward to 2009 and acts like drake and wale (pronounced wal-lay) were ruling the industry! Why? Because just that fast everything changed completely! Once the internet became a tool of direct connection between the artists and the fan, record labels lost almost all of their power that they held for so many decades before. 

The formula changed from performing in clubs and subways, getting discovered by an A&R, to building a home base studio, putting together a great body of work, and getting supporters to spread the word for you. Chasing a label became a thing of the past unless you were looking to go on a huge tour or needed tons of money for distribution to put your record in well-known stores around the country. 

Slowly but surely I started to recognize these patterns as the years went by. I studied the way every new artist was getting picked up or noticed and it was mind-blowing in the beginning. 

Now the normal thing to do is completely ignore the record labels. Build a fan base of 10,000 plus fans (or even 1,000) that show up to your concerts and buy your records. All of this is now accomplished with a laptop being that desktops are soon becoming a thing of the past. 

I got to watch this music industry shift take place and a similar thing is happening with the way we shop and make a living. The guys who use to be in charge and use to have the most power are really having a tough time keeping track of the changes. 

Studying the music business gave me a keen eye way before I discovered Seth Godin and his ideas. It helped me become better at observing situations and knowing what to look for. 

(Do you have any change I could hold?)

Change is happening right now as you read this. This book is the red flare in the middle of the road! Go a different way. Do something else. What use to work years ago is long gone. The traditional way of life is fading. Don’t let the blind lead you to believe otherwise.

My argument is for you to take advantage of this moment. Do exactly what you love. It sounds cliché. It maybe seem simple. At times it is. Other times it’s a real bitch. Just find out what you’re the very best at doing better than anybody else you know. Not with intentions to brag but to further discover your true gifts. Everything else will follow behind you if you truly have a knack for what you love. 

Start ideas. Share them with 10 people. Leverage the positive feedback. Repeat the process with more ideas and better ideas. If you don’t love the ideas you come up with start over and pick new ideas. Don’t do it for money. Be authentic. Be flawed. Show integrity. If your afraid of the ideas but really love them, those are the ones your suppose to be working on and sharing. Fail. Fail again. Fail daily and keep going until success arrives. 

This is the more appropriate way to live life as far as your work goes. 

I understand you have bills to pay and kids to feed. I’m not saying you should quit your job yet. What I’m going to stress throughout this book is working on ideas you truly love for the sake of just working on those ideas because it’s who you are. Not thinking about the money and trying to trick people. I know it’s tough but you have to practice everyday. 

Why? Because you’ll enjoy life a lot more and when things go sour for the time being, you won’t be as bothered because you’ll still be able to do the things you love dearly. 

(Here’s a rundown of the most common pattern people fall into):

Sidenote: I started the cycle/pattern from a freshman in high school all the way into adult hood. It made more sense to write it from there. 

Go to school.

Graduate with a degree after being brainwashed into becoming an excellent follower of instructions.

Create a list with all of your wonderful attributes and qualities.

Send it to 2,000 employers.

Wait around doing nothing.

Hope that 1,999 employers call you back with job offers.

Take the job that pays the most and forget about the actually work until you get too deep into it to start caring.

Stay at this job for 50 or 60 years with a capped salary. (I mean really, how many promotions can you keep pulling off at the same company?)

Be told what to do, when to take breaks, and when to vacation. 

Be forced to buy only what you can afford because of the salary cap.

Fill your house with a bunch of stuff. 

Talk about how much your job sucks but how you can’t fix it because you’ll get fired if you talk back to your boss. 

Go on cheap vacations and pretend you enjoy your life so much when you express yourself to your peers. 

Force yourself to feel a sense of contentment and satisfaction because of your religious views or your fear of being bashed by your friends and family for thinking outside of the box. 

Work.

Work more. 

Work overtime.  

Struggle to send your kids to college so professors can teach them the same thing you’ve done for the last 50 years.

Retire.

Spend all of your retirement money out of the joy of not working a crappy job anymore.

End up going back to your old job.

Even better create a list with all of your wonderful attributes and qualities.

Send it to 2,000 employers.

Wait around doing nothing.

Hope that 1,999 employers call you back with job offers.

Take the job that pays the most and forget about the actually work until you get too deep into it.

Stay at this job for 50 or 60 years with a capped salary……

Wait a minute, didn’t you do that 30 years ago after you left college or graduated high school?

Is there a pattern here? Yes. Do you need to be aware of it before you waste years and years of struggle, confusion, and disappointment? Yes! 

To the 20 somethings reading this: PAY ATTENTION!!!! Don’t get caught up in this cycle. Break it. Break it right now. Declare that your life will be filled with moments of bliss and pure satisfaction.

Live the exact life you want to live!

Do not settle for anything less. Do not put your dreams and desires on the back burner for any reason at all.  

(What your life should look and feel like):

Picking ideas that you truly love or ideas that you really want to fix. 

Ideas that are big, courageous and scary.

Working on those ideas everyday. 

Putting those ideas into the universe. 

Leveraging the positive response of those ideas. 

Doing the work because it’s just who you are.

Letting the money make itself as you continue to work on ideas you love.

Putting no limit on how much you can do, be, see, or earn. 

Traveling wherever you desire all year round. 

Being your own boss. 

Changing many lives with your ideas. 

Connecting with the people you touch through your ideas. 

Repeating the process, and teaching others how to do the exact same thing.

 Sounds much better and less stressful right?

None of it is easy. None of it happens over night. This is why people don’t do it. This is why people give up and give in to doing the easy work. The easy work is killing you. Stop dying. 

Give life to yourself by paying attention to the changing patterns and doing things you truly love. 

None of this stuff says quit your day job and borrow $1,000,000 to build your idea lifestyle. This is not what I’m saying. I’m saying come to terms with the fact that the world of work is changing everyday.

Realize that doing work you love and getting paid is much better and less stressful than doing work you hate just to be able to keep the lights on. 

The above sentence is the cornerstone of this book! That is the most important sentence in the book! I can’t explain it much better than that!

 

“Do You Want Fries With That?”

 Written By Mereald Leon Benson III. 

 

 

Reasons why you might be reading this book:

 

1). You read my first book (“First Times A Charm” on Amazon.com).

 

2). You didn’t think I could make it to book #2 and wanted to see how good this one is compared to the first one. (Trust me it’s much better). 

 

3). You believed in at least one of the ideas I talked about in my first book. 

 

4). This is your first time hearing about me and your curiosity made you find this book and read it. 

 

5). You were extremely bored or you are incredibly excited about something in life that you want to make happen. 

 (A random sentence) 

 The status quo can be incredibly crippling to your entire existence. 

 

I wrote a short e-book in 2012 and put it online for free. It’s in the bonus section of this book and it gives you more of a “history lesson” on the origins of the status quo. Based on our habitual ways of following instructions and how society pushed that behavior, and still do today. 

  

(Status quo?) 

When you’re first introduced to the world as an infant the status quo does not affect you directly. It is a chain reaction. Meaning the results of what someone else directly related to you does effects your well-being and survival.

You don’t control your mom and dad, therefore you have about 12 to 14 years (in most cases even longer: caution! the longer the worst) of this chain reaction going on. Their beliefs are yours. You live where they live. You eat the food they buy. You go to the schools they want you to go to. 

There are a lot of one-sided arguments at this stage of your life that you always have to lose (reasons being food and shelter). 

This is not a good time to fight the status quo because you could end up homeless on a count of being disobedient. 

Lets back pedal a little bit and talk more about the early stages of this chain reaction of the status quo. 

Something we all have experienced in our lives at one point in time is this status quo thing. If you’re not sure what it is your most likely living in it. For some it’s just a small phase of life. For others it’s the norm. Some people never make it through the status quo (you don’t want that to be you).

There are people living life everyday that are not aware of the status quo. They don’t even realize it exist. A lot of people know it exist and some are actually brave enough to speak about it. 

The status quo is similar to an airborne disease. It can’t been seen or touched. If you come in contact with it you’ll feel the negative effects of it almost immediately. 

In my opinion the status quo is a lifestyle. A behavioral shift in thinking, being, and doing. Sorry I was not 100 percent honest in the paragraph above. It can be seen as well as heard. You just have to decipher whether what you’re seeing or hearing is someone being lazy, relaxing from a long day of emotional labor (Study Seth Godin) or just someone who is stuck and doesn’t know how to fix it. 

 (What is it?)

The status quo has a few definitions (both real and made up) to describe it. They include:

1). The existing situation.

2). The existing state or condition. 

3). The existing state of affairs. 

4). The existing order of things; present customs, practices, and power relations.

5). Keeping things the way they presently are. 

6). Not taking risk. 

7). Being fearful of every outcome. 

8). Letting things just flow. 

9). The way life was in the 14th century before war. 

10). An easier way to categorize society as a whole.

Bonus: Fear of change.

 

It is a way of life. It is the least amount of effort. It keeps your dreams, goals, wants and desires at bay. It is not the way to make forward progress. It’s something that I believe government officials try to keep us under. 

It’s easier for the people with power to keep us following instructions. It’s much easier for you to lay down and die. Easier to completely give up on everything you want. It’s not as hard to throw in the towel as it is to get up and go get what you want and believe you deserve. 

 This book is designed to make you think deeply. It is also designed to make you get up and make something worth talking about. After reading this book you will want to do bigger and better things with your life, and you’ll be able to at least ignore your fears (rarely do they ever go away completely) and go beyond what you’re doing now. Anything less is partly my fault for writing work that doesn’t deliver real results! Most of it is your fault for not picking up on the message this book is putting on display. 

I’m holding you accountable from this point on to work the ideas and use them to your advantage. I don’t own these ideas, I’m just the person who is supposed to give them to you. It’s in my DNA. 

At least have an intelligent conversation with someone about how good or bad this book is. 

 The most important goal to me in writing this is to convince you that change is necessary.  My job here is to get you going in the opposite direction of the status quo because you know in your heart that you deserve better. 

The status quo is a problem. It’s irritating. It’s limiting. It’s only a figment of the imagination. (It took me 10 years to figure out that it’s “figment” and not “pigment”).  

You don’t want to live life of mediocrity. It’s not healthy. It’s not sane. 

 (Why am I talking about it?) 

I’m talking about the idea of settling for less. I’m talking about only doing that work that is required or assigned to you. I’m talking about your job as an individual to use every ounce of your being to create greatness. I’m talking about doing work that will create impact for decades to come. I’m talking about touching someone emotionally. 
 
What I’m talking about is getting away from the idea of only “doing the minimum amount required”. Minimum effort is easy my friend. It is not challenging to only get a good enough grade in school and it’s not very rewarding or exciting.
 
Although the topic of school is a whole different book in itself I’ll touch on the subject a little. 
 
School teaches us nothing but how to live in this world of staying inside the boundaries. School does not inform us on how to use our gifts to the best of our abilities. In school you need reasons and permission. Those are two things you do not need when discovering, starting, or shipping work you love. 
 
The best example of students who are less likely to fall into the trap of the “status quo” are those students who make honor roll. The students that do extra side projects and play lots of sports and join afterschool programs. Some of the best examples I can think of are the students who decide to study abroad. 
 
This shows those special students that doing only what is required will only get you a certain amount of satisfaction and recognition, as well as freedom of self-expression. 
 
Now that I got some of the school talk out of my system let’s get back to our regularly scheduled program.
 

 The status quo is deadly. It’s unhealthy. It is the reason why we do not ask questions. I’m talking about it because people need to be aware it. If you know that something deadly exist and it has the potential to ruin you, you will either run from it (which I hope you don’t do) or do everything in your power to remove it from your existence. 

I’m writing about it because I experience it everyday. You do too, but your less likely to give it the name or specific characteristics.

I’m talking about the status quo because I care enough about your future. There is something inside of me that needs you to really understand what it is I’m talking about in this book (great if you already know!). Before I die, before you die, I want to be able to know that by the end of this book you will understand what the status quo is and you will be aware of it and fix it. 

Sometimes the status quo can not be seen because it is disguised as a belief or a doubt, or even a fear. Yes something that somebody thinks about or believes in their mind can also be and is connected to the status quo depending on if it’s negative, positive, real, or fake.

Something you have to realize today if you never have before, is the status quo can become a way of life. If it is not diagnosed and treated immediately things will only get worse. You might be thinking “why do you make it sound like a disease?”. BECAUSE IT IS! It is a deadly virus. It is a sickness. The other take away is that YOU have to be the one to fix it! There is no specialist other than you and your work ethic. 

It is a behavior. 

There are real symptoms and side-effects that describe the status quo. Examples include (in no specific order):

 

1). A constant lazy feeling. 

2). Very excuse driven (at all cost).

3). Incredibly whiny.

4). An avid follower. (Avid is defined as: Very interested or enthusiastic). 

5). Very weak-minded.

6). Very close-minded.

7). Too Trust-worthy (this symptom is almost a contradiction to symptom number six. I’ll elaborate more on this symptom later: keep reading). 

8). Willing to play the blame-game whenever applicable. 

9).  Bad habits (successful people have bad habits too). 

10). Their emotions run their life. 

Let me share a more in-depth look at each symptom and do my best to break them down for you. 

 

(1). A constant lazy feeling.

This symptom is where a lot of people are at in their lives. You watch a lot of television (We’re talking more than 2 hours every 24 hours!). What you watch on television is not very inspiring or motivational. The shows you chose to watch don’t make you want to get up and do something productive. (At least most of them don’t. There might be a few).

Television in my opinion gives you the lazy factor. Why? Because it’s you practicing sitting for hours at a time, fixated on a large portion of junk and non educational programming. Believe it or not that’s what it is. 

Reality television is diminishing the minds of anyone in possession of a television! You sit back and watch people live their lives everyday just like you. You sit up and watch them argue about nothing. Who thought that would be entertaining 100 years ago? 

Here is the thing about this issue: in order to be entertained by reality television that means your life is so boring and stagnant (I hope I’m hurting somebody’s feelings in this paragraph!) that you have to watch other people live a regular life on a screen. You watch them shop. You watch them kiss. You watch them argue about issues that are not personal to you or a part of your passion. You watch them cry (babysit kids if you really enjoy watching people cry!). 

You watch them drive places. You watch them live a life they either love or hate. You watch them make lots of money doing nothing worth watching week in and week out. 

Not to mention how emotionally connected you get to each show. I’m guilty of it too! 

Another example of this is how we work. 

What the average person does: wakes up, gets dressed, and goes work. Works their scheduled shift, goes home, watches television, and goes to sleep the moment they are too tired to comprehend what’s happening on the screen. 

If your asking “what’s wrong with that?” you need to keep reading because your on your way to never becoming successful at anything other than being a profession television watcher. Last time I checked that wasn’t a profession! 

First things first: when you’re at work you need to find at least ONE person that you are comfortable with. Then you need to ENGAGE with that person. Speak to them, get them to open up without seeming like your being nosy. This means being completely honest almost to the point of vulnerability.  

You might be wondering what talking to someone has to do with the status quo. EVERYTHING! The difference between people who are broke, have no goals, dreams, and desires and people who are happy and successful is that successful people ENGAGE. Successful people know what the status quo is and they defeat it by engaging with others. Some people don’t call it the “Status Quo” but they naturally work to live beyond it.

Successful people realize that engaging leads to open opportunities. Successful people or people working toward success realize that they must engage in order to be brave. 

When I say engage I don’t mean small talk. We all know what small talk is. Small talk is short, simple, and doesn’t lead you to a greater common goal. When you engage with your co-workers you need to be finding out and discovering what you are going to do with your life today and what you’re going to accomplish in the future. 

There needs to be a sense of urgency here!

You might be wondering what telling someone these things might do for you? 

The idea of engaging and asking open-ended, long-winded questions creates a mental shift in your mind. It creates a shift that is painfully needed for you to take things to the next level. 

It will help your fellow co-worker do the same if the level of comfort presents itself. Which in turn might inspire you even more to get out of whatever funk you’re in or headed for. 

Why? Because you need to stay ahead of what you have done so you don’t fall behind. I’m not saying don’t reflect, don’t remember, don’t appreciate. What I’m saying is do not get comfortable with what is now in the past. Even if it happened 5 minutes ago. 

The status quo is designed to keep you focused only on “what happened” and how to keep it that way. We live in a world where new cellphones are being created almost every 3 to 4 months. The world is constantly changing, innovating and rearranging. 

The status quo keeps you out of the loop entirely.

Back to engaging. When you engage you need to be interested in people’s lives (how unfortunate right?). What got them to where they are and where are they going now (their life’s purpose). If your co-workers are at a place in life that you want to be, you need to keep them around and continue to engage with them as often as possible. Don’t engage so much that you get lost in what they are doing and forget to accomplish your goals. 

Your aim should be: To connect. Engage. Share.

If you don’t like what they have accomplished or where they are going you need to take mental notes and go find new co-workers to talk to (do it now). This goes for your family, friends, and everyone else in between. Denis Whaitley once said “you have to play up”. He said play with better golfers, better writers, better doctors etc.

If you want to get past regular and be the very best at what you do, you need to work with the best. Play with the best. Engage with the best. They will only drive you to do better for yourself. 

(2). Very excuse driven (at all costs).    

Is this not the entire world? 

Just about every single person (including me!), I have ever met in my entire lifetime has somehow at some point created an excuse. It never fails. It is a constant reminder of how lazy and afraid society truly is. Even people who are extremely driven and obsessively motivated often make excuses. 

We all do it throughout our existence as human beings. We make big excuses. Little excuses. Funny excuses. Serious excuses and any other types of excuses you can think of. 

Side-note: The opposite of an “excuse” relating to this subject matter would be “honesty”. Meaning instead of making a bunch of excuses (telling lies) just be honest (trust me it’s not as hard once you get it right the first 3 times). 

There is something about placing the blame on an idea, person, or weather conditions that drives us to constantly create these circumstances in our minds, in order to get out of doing what we’re suppose to be doing. 
 

I would say the most accurate way to define the word “excuse” in my opinion would be: the ability to find the best way to get out of doing something necessary or worthwhile. 

This definition sums up so many of us. My supporting evidence to this will be explained in the next few paragraphs.   

The funny thing about humans is when we know it’s necessary to do one thing in order to get a certain result in another part of our life, we slow down. We think harder. We think longer and ask more one worded “yes or no” questions that we already have answered in our own minds. 

From there we stop digging deeper and start coming up with our own beliefs as to why something is not going to work (excuses). We work our thesis statements and opening arguments until our counterparts or friends are ready to kill or and walk away! 

Excuses are just reasons to become afraid of an outcome. 

This whole book is really a plea for you to get up and go get as happy as you possibly can. Accomplishing your dreams with enough confidence to share them, and gaining support is where the most joy comes from.

Don’t believe me? Go paint that picture and get it put in a gallery and write a blog post about it. Put together that rock band you dreamed of over 15 years ago and get a magazine to write an article about you. Do that one dance, help that one non-profit, sit next to that special person. Go ahead! Share the experience and when the feed back is good repeat the process.

Now how good do you feel? Amazing right? 

This is what I’m talking about. It’s about you not second guessing.  Second guessing is for the weak. Second guessing is for the unsure heart. It’s about just doing things that feel good and sharing them with others without stopping yourself.

This does not mean be sloppy and do any and everything. If you want to accomplish specific goals and dreams you need to be patient. You need to be very meticulous in your design and delivery of your idea or product. 

You’ll never understand what I’m trying to help you do here if you don’t give it your very best shot. 

(3). Incredibly whiny.

In short these types of people complain and moan about everything. From taxes to toe nails. From uncertainty to school grades. Put something or someone in front of them and they will find multiple reasons to whine about it. It never fails. Some people whine because they want attention or want to talk about something that they usually can fix themselves (like the rest of us). Unfortunately some people don’t even realize that they have a whining problem. Either way it does not help any situation unless you’re in a whining contest.  

(4). An avid follower.

This is someone who has no direction at all. They just wait around for others to make moves and jump right in line once things get moving. When you stop, they stop. They live by the rules of “Simon says”. Growing up these kinds of people were most likely never given the opportunity to lead, or never took the chance to because of fear. 

Another reason why someone might turn out this way is because their parents were the same way. It could also be something that their grandparents were taught. Even worse is growing up with these characteristics or habits and never growing out of them. Growing up every one of us makes it to a point where we can become open-minded and start making our own decisions. Whether or not you take advantage and control of that is completely up to you. 

People like this are very sensitive to others opinions. They will not wear an outfit, take a test, or read a book without first consulting a friend or family member. My questions to every person who suffers from this side-effect is “what happens when you are forced to make your own decisions?” “Will you just lay down and die?” Will you call 911?” 

You can not be what others want you to be and be happy. It will not happen. It will not work that way. It will not work that way because your heart knows what it really wants.  

Here’s the thing about an avid follower: they are always on someone else’s clock. They live their life when the person they are following moves. If you can’t see the danger in this let me further elaborate. 

Once upon a time a woman gave birth to a baby girl. This baby knew nothing but the feelings of hot, cold, hunger, tiredness, and happiness. More like the baby didn’t know what these things were but she could respond accordingly. 

Being that the baby was in the beginning stages of life she couldn’t make her own decisions so she had to be an avid follower by means of survival.

When mommy woke up, she woke up. When mommy ate food she ate food. When mommy had to run errands so did she. If mommy thought a toy was cool she had to play with it. When mommy got tired she had to either get sleepy or actually go to sleep. Not to mention the pattern of baths or no baths on a day-to-day basis depending on how mommy is feeling. 

Now if we reverse the effects it goes as followed:

If mommy doesn’t sleep she doesn’t sleep. If mommy forgets to eat she gets no food. If mommy stops buying toys she gets no play time. If mommy stays home all day so does she. If mommy decides to stop being mommy she has to stop being a daughter. 

Yes it’s a little dramatic but how else am I suppose to explain avid followers if I don’t give you a ridiculous or obvious example? 

Now when baby girl becomes a woman and has kids she will do exactly as her mother did her when she was growing up. At least in the beginning for the most part, until she realizes something is wrong with it. Since she is a woman now she might change a few things but because all she had was mommy, she will still adopt a significant amount of her motherly habits and convert them into being a great mother or bad mother. 

Of course this is not exactly how it goes but I’m almost sure you understand exactly where I’m going with this now. 

Starting out this is obviously not by choice. This is by nature when you’re an infant or toddler. 

In the beginning stages of life all you know is whoever takes care of you. Whoever feeds you and cleans you until you grasp the idea of making your own decisions and thinking your own thoughts. 

This is where becoming an avid following begins. This is an incredibly early time in your life to adopt this way of living. Being that young though you can’t really do anything about it which is fine until time progresses. 

I would say people start to work on developing their own ideas about life on their own at the age of 11 or 12. My theory behind it is that there is a percentage shift at that age. I would say at that age the follower to self-sufficiency ratio is 50:50. Meaning you and your guardian/parents are making an equal amount of day-to-day decisions for your life. Big and small decisions. 

By the way, these ratios are based on my own theories. 

Any age before 11 or 12 years old changes the ratio to less than 50% on the self-sufficiency side. After the age of 12 years old it all becomes even more critical. Sometimes people allow themselves to stay within the boundaries of 10 years old and below, which subsequently changes the ratio and more importantly the remainder of your existence on earth. 

For instance people who seem to act like they are still 10 or 12  at the ages of 16 and above are prime examples of people who let the follower to self-sufficiency ratio either stay unbalanced or are being controlled by a superior figure and refuse to fight for their own independence. 

Following can easily become habitual. It is easily unnoticed by individuals. Some of you are  avid followers and you don’t even know it. I believe the biggest way to figure it out is how you interact with others. 

When you interact do you ask your friends, family, and co-workers what they think of everything you do? Examples include: how your outfit looks. My brother has a drinking problem, do you think I should say something to him? Which one do you think I should pick? Which car should I finance? Do these shoes look better or do those? 

Questions and behavior like this are sure signs of uncertainty. It means you do not really trust yourself enough to go with your gut feeling or intuition. It means you need some sort of stamp of approval. Some people go as far as asking strangers questions like the ones I mentioned above.

This is a sign of being or becoming a follower. Yes I know some people just like to get a second opinion for things, but don’t abuse that privilege. 

What you need to understand is that when you get a second opinion the person your asking (9 times out of 10) does not give a damn about the choice you make. They just agree with you so you can go away. Even people who love each other do this to one another. It’s inevitable at some point in time to be this way. 

For the opinion-seeker you need to take a step back. You must realize how taxing this opinion-seeking trait can become if it is not taken care of right away. You will do it for the rest of your life if you don’t stop it now. 

A theory I just thought of while writing that last sentence is individuals who get lonely quickly are the most prone to adopt this behavior.  

Here’s the thing: People who get lonely easily always have to have people around them constantly. Because they always have to be surrounded by people they begin to pick up on those people’s train of thought and most likely find their theories and train of thought valuable. 

Now other individuals just love to hear ideas from other people that they trust and care about, hence my next example. 

A famous example of this is the Kardashians. Now before I get into the story I have to say I do enjoy the show. They work really hard on their brand (which I could write a whole book about just on how they used their name to create a frenzy) and still find ways to be entertaining at the same time without trying. 

Anyway, here is a family that has turned their name into a multi-million dollar business. From the outside looking in yes they do their own thing. They didn’t follow certain trends. They went with what they thought would work for them as a brand. They followed their hearts and did what they were passionate about. 

In order for their business and brand to expand and continue to grow world-wide they all have to have a common threshold. 

Because their brand represents a certain idea they have to all agree, and with that comes some type of leadership which leads to a form of followers.

Now I won’t say who I think the leaders and followers of this group are because that specific part is not important. What is important is their day-to-day dialog. One thing I notice is that they have a lot of family gatherings and meetings.  

These gatherings and meetings are about a range of different topics from clothing lines to gossip blogs, and sports. As well as babies. This part is where the correlation between people always being around each other, loneliness, and opinion-seekers comes into play. 

During their conversations there is a common dilemma, theme, excitement, or suspenseful discussion going on.

Whatever the emotion is there is always an interruption by one of the four main woman in the family, while one of the others is talking and they either agree or disagree. One takes sides. Another follows and the other agrees. Sometimes its chaos. 

Yes at times it becomes very dramatic and real but each one of them plays one of the roles mentioned above or else nothing gets done. 

Even at an elite level of a Kardashian there has to be somewhat of a distinction between the leader/leaders and followers. The great thing about this specific example is that roles constantly get flipped and flopped around with each situation so it usually works out for all parties. 

When it comes to non-celebrity people the role of leader and follower does not get rotated enough and begins to cause damage to the ones who follow the most. Because they follow the most they might not be aware of how much power they are giving to the other person or people. 

They are so hung up on getting advice from others that they can’t choose a toothbrush without consulting someone they know first. Not only is this an annoying quality to have but it disables you. 

Once you get involved in situations where you have to be the decision maker and have no option of asking someone else for their opinion you might break down. You might do something stupid. You might cause a problem that can not be fixed. 

If are reading this and anything in this chapter describes you a little or to a “t” you need to do a lot of re-programming. Most of that re-programming needs to be done mentally. 

Our mentality and the way we choose to think or let our minds do whatever they want determines almost everything that we can and can not control. 

I’ll say it again since you didn’t get it the first time around. What you think is everything. It determines if you truly are a leader or a follower and if you will stay that way forever not. Therefore: “Our mentality and the way we choose to think or let our minds do whatever they want determines almost everything that we can and can not control.”

If you don’t mind being a follower then stop reading this book now and continue to be told what to do by others and never create your own freedom. Just know that you have been forewarned.

If you want to fight the status quo and become a leader and create your own freedom than I say: Thank You! Continue reading.

I tried really hard with this book not to give too many step by step actions. What I want “you” the reader to do is discover the ideas within this book during the process of finishing it and let these idea marinate after you have completed it. 

Some of you are unaware of this part of life so I decided to give you a glimpse of what you are getting yourself into. 

Back to our regularly scheduled program. 

(5). Very weak-minded (or superstitious people).

Very weak-minded people are those who are easy to persuade. They are easy to distract.  

Weak-minded people are convinced that most of what they see and read is true or the best source of knowledge. These are the people who buy everything they see in those corny and misleading infomercials at 2:30 in the morning. 

Nine times out of ten if you tell a weak-minded person something they completely believe it. They feel no need to investigate or ask questions. They don’t even really think about it. You say it and show them and they are sold. Just like that. 

You know all of those typical superstitions like walking under a ladder, breaking a mirror, salt over the left shoulder (or the right, can’t remember which one it is). Weak-minded people live life to avoid all of this stuff. They were told about it one time and they never believed it to be any other way. 

These are the type of people who are too afraid to question life’s meaning. They are not brave enough to question authority. 

This way of thinking could have come from poor parenting, from classmates in school, a television show, or a movie. It could have even come from your own beliefs as a youngster when you decided that you were going to make your own choices.

I don’t really know. What I do know is that this behavior is crippling and needs to be undone.  

(6). Very close-minded.

A close-minded person lives life one way, and won’t budge to make changes to their lifestyle. Even if they are interested in trying something new. A person like this is in an extreme phase of denial for an unknown amount of time. 

 I must admit I myself can be very closed-minded at times about certain topics. 

Closed-minded people don’t consider other perspectives. They argue with people about everything and shut down any friendly debates. Close-minded people are hard to talk to and get along with. Most of the time they think “if we can’t agree on what I think, this is not going to work at all”. This way of doing things does not work in 2013. 

Even when some of these people’s choices in life cause mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual pain they still won’t change their ways. What they are used to in their mind always has to be the right way and the best way.  

The results are sad: broken hearts, no chances taken, lost dreams, unknown depression, and a ton of other negative effects.

(7). Too trust-worthy. 

When it comes to trust some people give too much of it and get shitted on in return. They wonder why. This is the type of person who abuses it to the highest degree (giving, trusting, expecting, assuming).  

They trust other people and ideas so much that they let everyone they encounter walk all over them. Of course they do not realize it until someone completely takes advantage of them and it ends in a battle (court, fists fight, argument, psychological warfare, etc). 

They take all of their family and friends advice without question or concern. They let random people use their phone (this is not always a smart idea if you have a runner on your hands). They let their children stay with multiple people over night or while they work without REALLY considering the dangers of doing so.  

They let friends borrow their car and wonder what happened to the money they had in the glove box but deny any accusations. 

As I write this I realize that this symptom is very similar to symptom 5 which in the beginning I thought it was polar opposite (Oops! Authors make mistakes too!). 

People that are too trust-worthy give too much of themselves away to other people. They expect to never be disappointed in any way and take it very hard when it happens. 

In my personal experience I realized through canceled dates and tooth aches that you can not trust everyone. I think there is maybe 1 to 3 people who you can truly trust with just about anything (you still have to weigh your options out).

Reasons why I believe no more than 3 people can be trusted, and why even than you have to check with those 1 to 3 people and make sure you can still trust them every so often goes as follows:

People grow and with growth comes change. When people change that means they have a different mindset, friends, career goals, duties, responsibilities etc. 

Their feelings change, their diet changes. Okay you get my point but it sinks in better when you go over all of the details. Some people can not handle change (any change at all) very well. Others are incredible at adapting and adopting new behaviors and concepts.

Trust is a huge deal. It is the center of attention and main attraction to almost every relationship (including the meeting of two strangers).

Trust is sort of like a phone charger. When it’s connected (your bonding levels and trust levels increase) you feel at ease and are able to do certain things without worrying about losing power (power meaning trust in this example). Once the charger is disconnected the panic begins to set in. You know that the trust is now in a place that can be broken at any given moment. You start to do everything in your right mind to preserve power. You dim the cell phone light (create distance from that person), you close all apps except the one your actually using (cut off your emotional outbursts to defeat further friction while setting the other person in the relationship at ease with your physical presence).

Trust becomes a game of tag when it is tainted or as it was mentioned in the above example, when the charger is disconnected. 

Trust can only be given, never kept, and needs only to be maintained to enjoy the benefits of it. 

(8). Always willing to play the blame game. 

This in my opinion has to be one of the most common and accurate side effects in this book. Many of us love to hand off the responsibility or accountability of our own actions. We find it easier to declare that somebody else did it. 

By not having control of the other individual you can claim the alibi that you didn’t know they would act a certain way or say certain things. The issue turns out to be their fault instead of yours. 

People even use natural disasters and television shows as reasons to get out of what they screw up on. 

Any time you can give yourself the ability to look like the smarter or more intelligent person, you’re going to do it. The only time you don’t is when you know you’re a person that genuinely honors integrity and authenticity. 

There is a relief when you can give something negative or inconvenient to someone else without punishment or judgement. It’s sad but a lot of us move through life putting our troubles on other people. We find comfort in doing this. 

I might not know much but I do know this: you can not blame your way to the top. Blaming others will not put you a position to succeed in any way possible. 

Holding yourself accountable and admitting your wrong or that you failed at something is how you win big.

(9).  Bad habits (Successful people have bad habits too!).

They come and they stay (if you assumed I was going to say “go” you’re not really paying attention to what’s being written). 

What exactly is a bad habit? Something negative we do without thinking about how to do it. Something nobody else can get us to stop doing. Behavior that leads to a lot of our misfortune in which we refuse to fix it. 

I mean really where do I start? Nail biting, cigarette smoking, extreme levels of frequent sex partners, throwing up after meals, cutting yourself. 

The crazy thing is, it gets worse. 

Some things that are considered bad for you don’t have as much of an after effect on your life. It’s bad. You do it. People judge, and your back to continuing your life. There are other habits that force inaction. Some bad habits cripple your mental, emotional, or physical abilities. This my friend, is no good. 

Whether good or bad, you want to be able to bounce back or become increasingly resilient over time. Otherwise your fucked (yes I said fucked). The idea of change and growth is why you want to be able to bounce back from all things good and bad. 

The reason you need to be reading this is because there are some things that are considered bad habits, that you have not fixed or bounced back from. 

You have done these things for years so you feel as though they are impossible to break. Cut the crap! View your life from the outside looking in. Are you making progress toward your dreams every single stinking day? Are you doing everything necessary to remain happy and healthy enough to live the life you think you deserve or want?

If you’re not sure then clearly there is a bad habit or two destroying everything you have worked for up until this point. I can not tell you exactly how to break these habits if they do exist in your life. One thing I can tell you is that productivity in the direction of your desires and wants is a key component to the formula. 

(10). Your emotions run your life. 

Turn them off! Get a grip. Settle down. All things I should be telling myself! I definitely tend to get too much emotion involved in a lot of the things I do. I am a very passionate being.  

The thing about others is that they let emotions cause inability to produce any action. Some people give in to their emotions every time they go through something. 

No I’m not telling you to be heartless or completely numb to life. What I need you and others to do is feel the emotion, get over it (even if it’s just for the moment) and get back to producing results. 

I’ll let you in on a secret I have the biggest problem with this type of situation when I’m recording music in the studio. If something bothers me, instead of putting it directly into the music I just freeze up and stay angry. 

Do not be like me in this way at all! It absolutely kills productivity and all things good. 

If you can help it, channel your emotions to do better work or be more productive. Productivity is a huge part of the message in this book. Why? Because it forces you to start something. It forces you to move forward and engage. Productivity is one of the most important formulas as far as getting unstuck is concerned. 

Trust me, the status quo is the enemy and you need to be attacking it at all times.

Blocking Greatness

So last night as I was doing my thing on Facebook I went to send someone a message and it logged out. So I logged back in and it says they blocked my friend request for the next 2 weeks (13 days and 22 hours to be exact). They think I’m a spammer! 

How much sense does it make to block one of your users friend requests when Facebook is considered a SOCIAL NETWORK meaning getting in a room (Facebook being that room) and getting to know as many people as you can?  It does not makes sense at all. Facebook is all about being social. Facebook is (in my eyes) made to connect you with people you either haven’t talked to or people you don’t know that you want to talk to. How boring would Facebook be if  Zuckerberg said at a company meeting “okay are users are only allowed to send requests to their co-workers and their parents. 

Facebook to me is all about making the world a smaller place (hence the internet already dominating that market). It’s about connecting real people with other real people and finding a shared interest. Not blocking your user as a company because you think they are spam. But hey I guess when you think about spam in that way it all makes sense. My other concern though is what happens when you can’t tell the difference between spam and a real person? What will Facebook become if spammers start switching up their comments requests and status updates?

My Facebook friend request suggestion: make it so that when you request someone you want to know but don’t already know from personal experience their message box should pop up with the question “are you comfortable  accepting “Leon Benson” as a Facebook friend? Yes or No?”. Then if the person says no Facebook should block the user from connecting until they are ready. There should be an “okay I’m ready to add” button if they wind up meeting at an event and hitting it off good.