Role of the Health Club in the Community

Role of the Health Club in the Community

The health club, or gym, serves an important role in individual’s lives, but also for the community as a whole.  Gyms provide a common place where the goal for everyone is the same—to learn the body through physical exercise and improve one’s health.  The health club is a tool for self-discovery and self-improvement. The health club is an air-conditioned environment for health-oriented individuals to assemble and exchange knowledge, ideas, and stories, and freely engage with other people from a diverse group of economic, social classes and backgrounds.  The ability to freely exercise and train around others with similar goals has been a staple of a healthy society dating back to ancient Greece and the first Gymnasiums and Olympic Games. Nowadays, we teach our children from a very young age how important physical exercise and health is. There is a reason why high school gyms across the country have their own workout rooms. The gym gives anyone an outlet for extra energy and aggression. Without the gym, many people have no identity. For me, it was the gym that helped me develop a sense of who I was and what my body could do.  At age 19 I was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis, a reactive-arthritis condition in my spine.  The thought of a future with incredible pain and physical limitation had a severely negative impact on my idea of who I was, my identity as a young man.  The gym helped me realize a much different future, one without the pain and physical limitations I thought were inevitable.

For decades in the United States, publications have ranked the healthiest cities in America, based on factors such as the overall health of its population, attitude toward overall wellness, and access to local wellness businesses (gyms, spas)[1]. The health of the community is the safety of the community. Now, most of that has been taken away. Gyms have been closed for months; parks are marked off with caution tape; basketball hoops have been removed from public courts. It is no surprise to us why we have been seeing an increase in anger, violence and destruction in our communities.

Recently, throughout the course of the lockdown, we have received countless messages from clients recounting their mental stress, some with severe depression, and relating to us that the gym is the only outlet they have for stress-relief and mental health[2].  The fitness community has lost several athletes to suicide very recently, and the suicide rate in the areas where we operate has spiked significantly in Northern California.  Exercise has also been shown in numerous clinical studies to be an effective (for some the most effective) form of relief from depression and anxiety[3]. This is something that individuals instinctually know—when we exercise, we feel better.

In addition, the CDC recommends 150 minutes of “vigorous” exercise weekly as essential for health.  It’s very clear now, that Covid-19 has been particularly damaging and deadly in people with high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity. These co-morbidity factors are all metabolic disorders, which exercise has been shown to be effective in reducing and eliminating[4],[5].  The inability of the public to exercise has and will exacerbate these underlying conditions.  Moreover, physical exercise and its role in strengthening immune systems cannot be overlooked.  Strengthening of the collective immune system of a community is crucial in preventing the spread of communicable diseases among that population.

The damage of this lockdown to the fitness industry has been absolutely devastating and destructive. By declaring the industry non-essential, despite the long and storied role of the importance of the health club to society and despite the understanding that exercise is essential for a healthy and fulfilled life, people are now afraid to frequent businesses that have been negatively portrayed by politicians and the media.

Once restrictions are put in place on health clubs, there will be significant demand destruction—current economic factors compounded with the media narrative that businesses that house large groups of people are unsafe to the public during this era[6],[7]—more so than what we have already experienced. Given the current economic situation and the fact that gyms have been closed for so long, the industry is suffering as it is. (For example, the amount of pending cancelations year over year for June is already at 30% increase in our business. Our first and second quarters of 2020 have been obliterated, and we will absolutely be unable to recoup the loss in revenue for the rest of the year. We estimate a 20%-25% decline in revenue year over year.) There is a great deal of uncertainty in the fitness industry at this moment in time. National-level firms have already declared they have filed, or are preparing to file, for bankruptcy[8],[9] as their boards’ analysts foresee significant economic damages and a loss of demand in the fitness industry after the lockdown.

Given that we have made very minimal income for the past 11 weeks, and our current losses (estimated at this point in time to be over $1 million) due to the forced shutdown, any further restrictions placed on businesses will make it increasingly difficult for health clubs to survive. Increased regulations will result in increased payroll cost in order to have additional staff members monitoring social distancing and ensuring everyone is sanitizing, per the recommendations by the CDC.

Any further restrictions beyond the original social distancing guidelines and the sanitization and disinfecting of surfaces would cause undo harm, and simply make it unsustainable to continue;

Capacity Restrictions–To put an additional capacity restriction on health clubs would be extremely detrimental to our business. By curtailing the number of people allowed inside the facility, we are losing a significant amount of revenue. We have already increased our expenditure toward payroll to comply with the social distancing and sanitization requirements. As tenants, we have to pay for the entire space; increased social distancing reduces the number of members that we can serve, and of course results in less revenue, while simultaneously increasing payroll costs in order to comply with new regulations. Social distancing itself reduces class size when participants move in a greater area of space (yoga, kickboxing, cross training, etc.). Some members only join health clubs because of the group fitness classes. They enjoy the variety and the social aspect of the classes.

Masks—Staff, and members, have expressed concerns with wearing masks for extended periods of time, especially in a fitness environment where our bodies are expelling CO2 at a rapid rate. Wearing a mask while working out could potentially lead to overheating or fainting.

Appointment System—This can be inconvenient for people to plan in advance. Oftentimes people need to work out at a spur of the moment to improve their mood.

Temperature Screenings—These are not always accurate and it will cost our business money for supplies and training for our staff. Additionally, inaccurate readings could cause customers to become angry, leading to unnecessary conflict between employees and customers. We value the safety of our employees.

The health club (gym) is fundamental to the fitness, health and safety of a community. Our aim is to help as many people as possible become stronger and healthier. We are concerned that a significant increase in restrictions upon businesses such as ours, will reduce our ability to serve the community to our full potential. It is imperative that we open these pillars of community fully, so our community population can become healthier and happier.

Respectfully,

Sean Covell

CEO, Fitness System Health Clubs

 

EXHIBIT A:

Direct Messages to the Fitness System/Sean Covell Instagram/Facebook Pages

 

 

[1] https://www.businessinsider.com/healthiest-cities-to-live-us-exercise-sleep-wellness-2020-1

[2] See Exhibit A

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1470658/

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK278961/

[5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK549946/

[6] hhttps://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/13/well/move/coronavirus-gym-safety.html

[7] https://www.healthline.com/health-news/heres-why-covid-19-can-spread-so-easily-at-gyms-and-fitness-classes

[8] https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2020/05/30/24-hour-fitness-reportedly-prep-bankruptcy-filing-gyms-reopen/5291159002/

[9] https://www.cbsnews.com/news/golds-gym-files-bankruptcy-chapter-11-coronavirus-pandemic/

 

In Defense of the Individual

In Defense of The Competent Individual

A pervasive ideology of group-think and group-identity has been slowly infiltrating the college system in the West over the last 40 years and has finally made its way to the center of the political and social arena as a consequence.  The post-modernist philosophy that has fueled this is based on resentment of Western culture, a rejection of the importance of the individual (post-modernists believe essentially that all individuals are constructs of their society, especially their race, gender and sexuality). In other words, to the post-modernist, you are your race. You are your sexuality. You are your gender.  You are part of an identity group and all groups are in a struggle for power because of the existing dominance hierarchy. In other words, the entire world can be seen through the lens of the Oppressor vs. The Oppressed.   The result of this thinking has manifested itself all over the West.  Identity politics has taken center stage in the 21st Century political discourse, with various groups demanding that supposed existing power structures in societies be toppled by force. 

Us vs Them 

Surely dominance hierarchies do exist and they always will. (They will also exist within certain groups themselves which shows the futility of the post modernists attempts to take down the existing power structures.)  Humans are animals and all animals fight to find their place in the pecking order of life. However, the problem with seeing the world through the lens of US vs. THEM is that it is a poor philosophy to live a good life.  A problem with all ideologies is that, by adopting them exclusively, you are willingly sacrificing your ability to reason as an individual actor in the world.  Instead, you have opted to engage in the collective thinking of the group.  By engaging in group think you are likely to adopt a mob mentality, one that lacks reason, empathy and compassion.  The result of mob mentality is almost always violence.  Some post-modernists are okay with violence. In fact, some leftist politicians have even called for it. When mobs rule, regardless of the ideology, the rights of individuals will always be trampled.   Without the importance and protections placed on all individuals disaster occurs, even genocide.  This has been the case in Marxist countries and the atrocities have been well-documented.

Western culture is based around the idea that the individual has rights and those rights are not to be usurped regardless of what the majority of people believe.  In other words, the individual has value in the world and they must be protected by the law. It’s worth repeating that there are no “group” rights. There are only individual rights.  You have rights because you are a human being, not because you happen to be identified with a certain group.  Any time you hear the call for group rights or new laws to protect certain groups of people, you should be suspicious of the people making the demands.  What are their motives?  Who will suffer as a result of the new laws?  Who will benefit?  Whose rights are being favored over others? Another question to ask is, “What are you against?”  See, every political party and ideology says what they are for, but rarely do they say what they are against.  The reason is often that they are against other groups of people entirely.

However you may identify with a certain group, your potential as a human being is not determined by the categories in which you believe you fit. All individuals have nearly unlimited potential, being limited only by their unique characteristics and beliefs. By allowing yourself to identify as a group rather than an individual, I am suggesting that you are damaging your potential due to the rigidity of your beliefs.  You are not poor because someone else is rich.  You are not fat because someone else is fit. You are not depressed because someone else is happy.  Life is not arranged in such ways, although having a scapegoat may make you feel better. Labels create division and animosity between people.  It would be wise, before lumping people into certain “oppressor” or “oppressed” groups, to look at the individual situation pertaining to people. If someone has done well, it could very well be that they are competent, not that they were given something not earned.

The world runs because of competent individuals.  Regardless of whatever group you are identified with, the number one factor in regards to personal accomplishment is still competence.  Mastering a trade or skill, being effective in communication, and performing a duty that others see as valuable is the number one way to rise above in any social hierarchy that values the individual and individual accomplishment. Today, there is confusion between extremely competent people and the so-called “privilege”.  Groups of people are made to feel guilty because they were born with a certain skin tone or an XY chromosome, when in reality these people have no responsibility to make right the sins of their predecessors, whatever form those sins may have come. Personally, I think the attempt to label groups of people as “privileged” and suggest whatever success in life they have is solely a result of them being born into a certain group is atrocious.

  Competence and privilege should never be confused.  There are many people born into financial privilege who end up miserable, depressed failures.  Likewise, there are many people born into “under-privileged” groups that end up massively successful.  In the end, the greatest determining factor in how well a person does is his or her own personal philosophy and desire to achieve.  Social hierarchies do exist in the world, but aiming up and taking action is the best way to get ahead in them.  What I am really suggesting is that all this political discourse should be focussed around the protection of individual liberties, not mandating an equality of outcomes.  Should a student who earns A-plus grades be required to give some of their grade points to those who have not done as well so all can have the same grade?  Will that make us all feel better? That instead of celebrating someone who has done exceptional work, we can celebrate that all outcomes will be equal?  This is what the post-modernists want in truth.  They cleverly hide behind the false excuse that a white male dominated patriarchy has led to inequality in outcomes and if we could just eliminate this social hierarchy, everyone would have equal outcomes.  When in reality, if you look at other groups, the outcomes compared to others inside those groups are often unequal as well in regards to finance, education and other important markers in life.  

By demonizing certain groups, a philosophy of resentment takes hold in the minds of people.  Those who feel oppressed begin to resent anyone who they feel has more than them and blame them for the unfairness of life.  On the other hand, those who have been declared oppressors or privileged will begin to harbor resentment for those who call them such.  Thus the cycle of the politics of envy and resentment continues as groups are pitted against each other thanks to such ideologies.  The truth is that the competent individual is the one to be admired, because no one is quite like anyone else.  Each person is unique and cannot fit conveniently into whatever philosophical boxes that certain people would like.  Every person is a mixture of both good and evil, determination and laziness, compassion and indifference. If systems are rigged to limit opportunities, they should be fixed, but to fool ourselves into thinking that equal opportunity means equal outcomes is ridiculous.  Each person determines his or her own outcome based on their talents, intellect, physical attributes and competence.  All of these gifts vary from person to person, so outcomes will never be the same because people are not the same.  That is something to be celebrated—uniqueness.  Instead, groups of people tear each other apart in the street because they think the world is rigged, US vs. THEM.

We have seen where this ideology has led.  Let us not go down that path. 

Communication 101

There’s a popular book by John C Maxwell named Everyone Communicates, Few Connect. After reading it, and from my experience in the marketplace, nearly 15 years, I’m convinced that most people are not communicating well, although they think they are. In fact, I would break down all communication into three categories, which I will explain below. I believe that most people never truly make it beyond the first category. My belief is easily supported by the lack of harmony in the workplace, governments, and even in partnerships and marriages. Perhaps the hardest thing in life is to effectively communicate so that others not only understand what you are saying, but can logically and maybe even emotionally connect with what is said and take action. Let’s explore what I believe are the three levels of communication:

SAYING SOMETHING. This is the most basic level of communication. We all say things through speaking, writing, signing or some other form of communication. Unfortunately, much of what we say is not necessarily heard, read, or seen, and much less is fully understood by our intended recipients. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve asked a manager about some unfinished task or some other issue and was met with the reply, “I told him or her to do it…”. Therein lies the problem—just because something was said, does not mean that the message was understood well and acted upon. I believe most communication falls within this first category—things are said, memos are written, laws are signed, but they are not effectively communicated so that the recipient truly understands the message.

EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION. This level of communication occurs when a message is properly understood by the intended recipients and can be repeated back essentially verbatim to the person who originated the message. I rarely see this in relationships or companies anymore. We are so distracted by smart devices and screens in our cars, kitchens and even bathrooms that it is difficult to understand what is being communicated to us and even more difficult to understand the messages being conveyed. Moreover, often the message being communicated doesn’t effectively state why the intended recipient should pay attention to the message. Too often we ask people to do things without explaining exactly why it is important that they do it. Without a sense of importance, no message will be effectively communicated.

CONNECTION. This is the ideal in regards to communication. Connection goes beyond just speaking and effectively communicating, it creates an emotional response in the recipient that causes him or her to reflect on what is being said and possibly take action. Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy, Socrates, Winston Churchill, Ayn Rand, Ralph W. Emerson and even Karl Marx and Hitler went beyond speaking to and communicating with people, they all connected with and influenced people on a high level. The ultimate goal of any leader is to connect with people. I believe this is the reason leadership is so difficult. It’s very difficult to actually connect with people on a high level. It’s easy to “say something” or even have your message understood. Connection is hard.

When you are speaking, writing or engaging in any form of communication, it may be useful to ask yourself, “What level of communication am I engaging in?” It could very well be that you think you are connecting with an audience, when in reality you are merely speaking, and what is being said is just as easily being ignored. It’s difficult to connect, especially in our very distracted world but connection is the key to building real relationships and creating massive action. Connection is the ideal when communicating, although it is rarely achieved. My suggestion would be to work on effectively communicating so that your recipients actually understand what you are saying and why you are saying it. Too many words are wasted nowadays. Don’t let your words be wasted as well!

Secrets…

Why Secrets Matter

“The best entrepreneurs know this; every great business is built around a secret that’s hidden from the outside. A great company is a conspiracy to change the world; when you share your secret, the recipient becomes a fellow conspirator.” – Peter Thiel (Co-Founder of PayPal)

The best business are based on secrets. In other words, they start out to work on problems that no one else is working on or talking about. Think about Google; they saw there was a lack of efficiency in searching the internet. Their “secret” was that internet searches could be extremely relevant, even to the point Google could predict what you were searching for. Google is now essentially a monopoly for internet search. With electricity it was Benjamin Franklin and then Edison and Tesla who sought to uncover the secret force of electricity. Ford’s secret was to make automobiles available and affordable for every family. Alexander Fleming’s secret was to uncover and defeat deadly bacteria that claimed so many lives. His discovery was Penicillin and many millions of lives have been saved through this and similar drugs.

The uncovering of these secrets led to giant industries that have transformed life as we know it today. The people behind these giant companies would not have succeeded if they had simply tried to do what others were already doing. Most people and companies set out to do something slightly better than those around them. This is essentially copying what others are doing with the intention of doing it just a little bit better or faster, or less expensive. The problem with competing like this is that it’s very hard to build a truly great and lasting business if so many others are able to do what you are doing. The opposite of this would be to set out building a monopoly company- one that is working on solving the problems that no one else is. The uncovering of secrets will lead to incredible value for mankind. Focussing on secrets will also lead to a lasting company because no one else is really working to uncover what you are.

Two Types of Secrets
In his book Zero to One, Peter Thiel suggests there are two types of secrets to uncover: those about people and those about nature. Many believe that most secrets in nature have been discovered, but that’s not true at all. For instance, why does all matter vibrate? Why do people develop auto-immune disease? Why do we our cells have to age and deteriorate? There are many secrets in nature that need to be uncovered. There are perhaps even more secrets about people that need to be examined. For example, why are some people prone to violence? Why do a majority of marriages end in divorce? Why do people get married in the first place? Why do we find it necessary to lie in order to avoid discomfort? Why do some people succeed in their goals while others give up and quit? I’m sure that you can come up with come secrets as well. The main takeaway here is that secrets matter a great deal because working on them will lead to new technologies and innovations that will improve life for all mankind.

A secret by definition is keeping something hidden or unexplained. We can find secrets by asking, “what is nature not telling us?” Or, “what are people not telling us?” So what secrets are you working to uncover? You may just change the world for the better by solving a major problem for humanity. There are secrets all around us and they are possible to solve, we just have to know where to look for them and truly believe they are possible to solve. Sometimes we assume that others must be working on a problem because it seems so obvious or important. To that I would say that if you don’t believe you will discover the answer to a secret in nature or in people, you won’t! You will fulfill your own prophecy that you can’t solve it, or you shouldn’t bother because someone else “must” be working on it already. Maybe someone else is working on the problem, but it could be that you have the very insight needed to solve the problem. Do you want to change the world? Look for secrets. They are everywhere.  If you are working on secrets you might just create something new for mankind to use.  If you are working on what everyone else is, you will end up competing for the same slice of the pie…
In health,
Sean

33 Lessons I’ve Learned

33 Lessons:

Tomorrow I turn 33 years old. So, here is a lesson for every year that I have learned and find valuable enough to share with all of you.

-Think about business from a customer centric angle to find insight.
-Save money. At least 20%. if you don’t, you’ll be at the mercy of those that did save.
-When you first date someone, you’d do anything for them including rubbing their feet and taking out the trash. Don’t lose that if you want a lasting relationship.
-Don’t always react immediately. Acting without thinking is usually worse than not acting.
– Don’t let fear drive you. Life is scary. If you want security, go to a mental ward. They’ll take care of you.
– All government is force. It is a monopoly on violence. Nothing more, nothing less.
– You and I owe to each other to look out for our common good. But I have no right to rob another because I believe I can use their property better than they can. (That’s called taxation)
– Read to your children and spend most of your days with them.
– Only you can teach yourself. Others can provide information, but you must do the learning.
-Read at least a book a month to ensure a better future.
– Work harder on yourself than you do on your job and you’ll get better at both.
– You are not poor because someone else is rich.
– Don’t wait to be wealthy;start helping others today.
– You don’t know everything. But God(the Universe if you prefer) does, so it might be wise to ask for guidance.
– Treat everything as if it was the last time you will see it. You quality of life will improve dramatically.
-Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. Mark 4:25. ( This is talking about gratitude)
– Crap attracts flies. Don’t have crappy thoughts.
-Music makes life fulfilled in every way. It makes your mind vibrate at higher frequencies and attracts love to you.
– Your success will always reflect the standards of your peer group.
– Start everyday by writing down ten things you’re grateful for.
– The quality of your life will be determined by how comfortable you are with uncertainty (risk).
– You are not a goose. You don’t have to fly south during winter. Choose your own direction.
-Carbohydrates make you fat because of insulin. Earn your carbs. Don’t just eat them without training to use them.
– You can change your attitude by changing your state. Do some push-ups or train to operate at a higher level.
-Most people believe they desire Liberty, but sell themselves into a slave- like existence for false security or because of a lack of creativity.
– Skip a meal once in a while, it can help you feel better and get in touch with yourself.
– Any disease can be defeated if the reasons behind beating it are strong enough and the mind believes it can be done.
– If you want a great life focus on appreciation instead of expectation.
– Use your money to buy assets that produce income and not liabilities.
– Energy is something you produce, not something you have.
– The quality of your life is determined by your philosophy towards life.
– Disciplines are the keys to success in any area. The first discipline to learn is controlling your thoughts.

-You become the story you tell yourself. To change your life, start telling yourself a different story that serves you.

In Health,

Sean

Words Can Kill

Words Matter

When tragedy strikes, especially ones caused by evil behavior like the recent mass shooting in Las Vegas, the initial reaction is to look for a motive. Most people are not murderous psychopaths, so our ability to understand why someone could hate their fellow man enough to indiscriminately kill and injure hundreds of them is limited. We understand the tools they use to kill so many, so it’s easy for us to target those tools and weapons. But weapons have no feelings. They have no motives. Law enforcement will attempt to figure out a motive, but I’m proposing that all this type of behavior begins early in life when we all form the beliefs, values and philosophy that forms who we become and how we act. I’m suggesting that something as simple as an “innocent” phrase can plant the seed of hatred towards others. After all, the one thing common in all mass murderers is a blatant disregard the value of human life. We know this is true because often times the killers commit suicide, showing they do not value even their own lives.

Below are common phrases that can be heard in nearly every culture and country on the planet that I believe contribute to the devaluation of human life and mankind as a whole. When reading the list, think to yourself how many times you’ve heard these phrases. Think also, whether you have ever uttered one. Who was around when you did so, or who were you speaking to? What did you mean by what you said? As we will see, words matter. More than you may know.

“Don’t trust anyone.” How many times have we all heard this phrase? Most of us began hearing it when we were children and it drilled into us a sense of fear and hatred towards humankind as a whole. If we can’t trust other people, how are we supposed to live? The answer is a life filled with fear, anxiety and paranoia that can push people over the edge.

“Don’t talk to strangers.” This is a difficult one to stop saying because we all want our kids and loved ones to be safe. However, while this phrase may have good intentions, when combined with the other phrases on this list can and most likely will lead to a hatred of others.

“If you want something done right, do it yourself.” I must say that I’m guilty of this one. Part of the reason for it is that I’ve had experiences, which reinforced a belief that others are not reliable. The truth however, is that by uttering this phrase, I’m simply choosing to focus on negative experiences involving others rather than all the benefits I have received in my life from humans cooperating with each other. The truth is, if you are reading this, it’s because of the incredible capacity for humans to cooperate and create new things for the purpose of increasing the standard of living for everyone.

“You’re all alone in this world and then you die alone.” This is just patently false, but I continue to hear it. If you feel alone, again you are choosing to focus on negative human interactions in your life rather than ones that have brought you joy, income, housing, food or just about anything else in the modern world. You are not alone. Others have been through what you have. Others feel what you feel. It took me a while to realize this truth, but once I did, hundreds of opportunities opened up to me in my life.

“People suck.” Except for you, right? I think this is probably one of the most common negative phrases I encounter. Sure some people suck. Sometimes we suck. Generic, ignorant statements like this do more to create a philosophy of hatred in people than almost anything else I can think of. Be very careful when uttering phrases like this, even if you’re just kidding around. Others who may be in your presence, who look up to you may not understand that. You just may be a cause of their distrust and possible hatred towards mankind.

“You can’t depend on anyone but yourself.” This is much like the “do it yourself” phrase that is so prevalent. Both statements are patently falsely and serve only to reinforce a philosophy of hate.

“Human nature is evil.” Sure. It is also kind, selfless, caring, greedy. It’s all those things and more. It just depends what you choose to see and focus on.

“Mankind is dangerous.” This is true, but nature itself is dangerous for all living things. Anything mortal faces constant danger from its environment.

“Rich people are evil and greedy.” You can replace the word rich with whatever you like—whites, Jews, bankers, business owners… It doesn’t really matter. What you’re doing by perpetuating these types of slurs is to create a lack of harmony between groups of people. In reality, there are no groups of people. There are just people. Any person is capable of certain behaviors or characteristics. The color of the person, their financial situation, their sexuality, all of that has no bearing on who they are as a person. The only thing that truly matters is the set of beliefs and philosophy they live and act by.

“Marry inside your own race.” This may seem like an “old school” belief, but it’s still found in the world today. I’ll say it again, your race has no bearing on who you are as a person. Your philosophy and values do. These phrases are so destructive, especially to impressionable young people. They serve to create discord and fear towards those we see as “different.”

“They are not like us.” Really? Do “they” eat, sleep, work, bleed, love and die? Oh! Then they really are more like us than you think.

Most of us have heard or even uttered some of these phrases. Let me pose a question: what good has it done? Another question: what harm has it done? The harm is unknown because everything we see and hear affects us to a degree. This is especially true among young people who are just beginning to develop their philosophy for how to live. Let me be clear, saying these phrases doesn’t not make you a bad person. It doesn’t mean you hate people. It only means that you hold certain beliefs that cause your to be distrustful of other people. My request is only that you not let your distrust of others plant the seed of hatred of mankind in others. We cannot always know how our words affect others. Let our words be those of harmony, love and strength rather than hatred, violence and fear.

25 Things I Wish I Knew in High School

I don’t have any regrets in life. I would not go back in time and change anything for fear that it would alter my current reality. I like to think that I drive through life looking mostly out the windshield rather than just using the rear-view mirrors. That said, there are some things I have learned in my life that I wish I had known in high school. Having known these things, I believe, would not have necessarily changed my path through life, but rather allowed me to deal with circumstances with more calm and poise than I have in the past. So here we go… 25 Things I Wish I Knew in High School.

1. You become what you think about most of the time. So monitor your thoughts.
2. The only thing you can control is yourself and your choices, not others.
3. Your friends may not necessarily share you values, so be willing to make new ones.
4. Know that you are not thinking clearly unless your thoughts will lead to a positive outcome for you and you loved ones.
5. Building disciplines now will lead to a life of freedom.
6. The pain of a breakup will not last forever, although you think it will.
7. You family wants you to do well, but may not understand what drives you. Show them by communicating clearly what you are doing and why.
8. Don’t think local. Think global.
9. Be careful whom you take advice from.
10. Seek out mentors rather than jobs.
11. Training your body now will help you for the rest of your life.
12. Alcohol, weed and cigarettes can destroy self-discipline, so be mindful of these substances.
13. Start to build multiple flows of income.
14. Do not go out and “get a job.” Instead, learn how to live and get financial independence.
15. Start developing a philosophy for how to live now! Hard times will come. You will need a philosophy of how to deal with them.
16. Everyone has value. Don’t disregard or underestimate someone. They may become your friend or you may do business with them years later.
17. The highest ideal is individual liberty. Don’t forget that, but don’t waste time lecturing others about it.
18. Never say, “I can’t afford that.” Instead, “How can I afford that?”
19. Be humble but confident. Don’t let your ego control you.
20. Believe you can do anything you set your mind to do, and never, ever let anyone tell you can’t.
21. There is nothing you can’t do if you take enough actions and educate yourself on the right strategy.
22. Don’t operate from a place of scarcity. Your biography is not your destiny.
23. If you want something, give it away first. If you want friends, be friendly. If you want love, give love. If you want recognition, give it first. If you want happiness, be grateful.
24. Sometimes the girl sitting next to you in math class will become the love of your life, your soul mate, your queen. So treat her better all the time.
25. The best revenge is massive success. The best revenge is to “not be like them.”

There you go. These are 25 things I wish I would have known in high school that I know now. Had I know these things would my life be different today? It’s impossible to tell. I will say this: while I can’t go back in time and teach my younger self these lessons, I’m eternally grateful that I have discovered them now. I guess the one thing time affects for all of us is perspective, if you allow it to. Time has given me incredible perspective and I don’t take that lightly. I’m curious, what would you teach your younger self?

7 Qualities of a Leader

Everyone wants to make more money, but few are willing to take on the responsibilities and execute the duties associated with bringing more value to the marketplace. Value is really what we are talking about when we talk about money. Now, everyone has value. As a person, a husband, a wife, you name it. But in terms of income, value to the marketplace is what determines your pay. Sure, you may be able to fool or scam some people short term and make a bunch of cash, but you can’t fool all the people all of the time as the saying goes. Eventually, the laws of compensation will catch up with everyone and everything in this universe. That said, here are the Seven Qualities that will ensure your income rises regardless of the economic climate. They just also happen to be the Seven Qualities of Leaders.

    1. VISION—To ensure more income for yourself and to be a great leader, you must have the capacity to see what is not yet there. You must have vision. You must tap into creativity—the energy source that brings life to all new things. Yes, you must see things as they are, but not worse than what they are. THEN, you must have vision for what could be better. After that, massive action is necessary to see your vision become a reality.
    2. COURAGE—This, in my opinion, is the most important trait to have. Without courage, nothing happens. Fear will always cloud your thinking and get in the way of your success. An example of courage in the marketplace is making cold calls to prospects or asking existing clients for referrals. That takes courage. Simply showing up to work and going through the motions takes no courage. In other words, to utilize courage, you must be willing to be uncomfortable—that’s the only way you can grow. All growth comes from a period of discomfort, and making more money requires doing what others are not willing to do.
    3. INTEGRITY—No one will follow a person without integrity for a sustained period of time. Being a person of ethics and values—having a code and living by it—will cause others to trust you and trust your judgment because they believe that you have their best interest at heart. This matters a great deal in every relationship, including those in the marketplace.
    4. HUMILITY—Having a modest view of your own importance as it relates to others is vital for any leader. Of course you are important, but no more important than anyone else as far as they are concerned. Understand that everyone is the star of his or her own movie! You are merely the cameo appearance. So, if you want to succeed in being a leader and making increased income, check your ego at the door. If others see you as being a person who lacks the humility to accept the importance of others, you may do well, but it will not last. People like to follow others they respect. And employers love to pay respectable people more.
    5. STRATEGIC PLANNING—This quality is so needed today, I could write hundreds of pages about the subject. The bottom line here is that the tactical work of doing the job as it is required and the strategic work of planning the future work that must be done for increased levels of success are two very, very different things. Most believe that by showing up and doing the job as required is enough to be compensated more (because there exist so many people who can’t even do that!). The truth, however, is very different. The truth is that in today’s marketplace, strategic planning is required to ensure that you become irreplaceable. Look at great leaders in history—they all had the capacity for strategic planning: Disney, Jobs, Washington, Churchill, Marshall, and Khan—all of these people were incredible planners and that’s why their names will be cemented in history.
    6. FOCUS ON STRENGTHS AND USING THEM—Great leaders focus on their own strengths as well as the strengths of others and plan a way to best employ those strengths. In other words, they don’t complain that “everyone around here is stupid” or “I’m the only one who really works hard.” Those are limiting beliefs that will ensure you never get to where you want to be. Those who focus on the tools they have and how they can possibly be used to accomplish a goal will usually figure out a way to get it done, even if they are lacking a certain tool or trait. This is due to the fact that they are more mindful than those who only see faults in others.
    7. FOCUS ON RESULTS—At the end of the day, RESULTS RULE. PERIOD. END OF STORY! If workplace morale is down, month over month or year over year revenues are down, or there exists an exponential increase in the costs associated with doing business or some other massive problem, you must figure out what is not working right. What needs to be optimized? What needs to be innovated? Who do you need around you to accomplish your goal? Who is not a right fit? What must happen to make your world incredible both at work and outside of it? Results rule. Do not keep going down the same road because you’re used to it. What if a giant tree or sinkhole was blocking the road? Would you still consider the route? Of course not. A great leader would formulate a new plan of action and then implement it to get the desired result. Change your approach until the result you want is reached.

 

There they are: seven qualities of a leader. Remember though, it’s not enough to understand something intellectually. You must embody it. You must live it and keep on living it so that others will follow you and help you achieve your desires!

Be a Libertarian

I’m going to be blunt. If you’re a Democrat or Republican, you’re being hoodwinked. Don’t you see that nothing changes? More wars. More debt. More taxes. More regulations. More corruption. Less privacy. When will enough be enough? I’ve listed 20 reasons to convert to libertarianism now.

Reasons to become a Libertarian:

1.You want to keep more of your own money and believe it’s your decision how you spend it.
2.You take a substance the State would consider illegal, but you don’t harm others or pose a threat.
3.You’re tired of both parties sending money overseas to foreign countries that hate us.
4. You’re tired of the Federal debt expanding under both parties.
5. You’re sick of the perpetual wars Democrats and Republicans continue to wage without a declaration of war.
6. You believe in limiting the powers of the executive branch.
7. You believe in private property rights and personal privacy.
8. You believe you have the right to defend yourself against aggression.
9. You believe the State operates similar to a gang–only what they do is “legal”.
10. You want sound money and are tired of central banks running the show and the subsequent intervention in the economy.
11.You understand that you rights are come from your humanity, not from government.
12. You agree that government cannot create anything without taxing another or inflating the money supply.
13. You disagree that a majority can trample on the rights of the individual.
14. You think there are too many laws.
15. You know that because something is legal or illegal, it doesn’t make it moral or immoral.
16. You disagree with the use of force, whether through taxation or otherwise to take property from individuals.
17. You believe that you get to decide your own destiny and the individual liberty is the highest ideal.
18. You believe that you own your body, not the State.
19. Nothing ever changes in Washington despite the party in charge.
20. You believe power corrupts, and people in power will become corrupt absolutely.

Are you a Libertarian? I believe that most are, but have been indoctrinated into supporting a certain political party. Be free. Be a Libertarian.

20 Things You Must Try

Trying and experiencing new things is really what makes life incredible. While we all need some level of certainty in life, it’s the variety that truly makes it worth living. Here is a list of 20 things that I believe everyone should experience in their lifetime.

1. Do some sort of physical challenge–Marathon, obstacle course, Iron Man, fitness competition, bodybuilding or physique show. Test yourself at least once in your life. Who knows? You may fall in love with it. You will surely appreciate your body and what it is capable of.
2. Learn to shoot a gun, bow, or crossbow. Marksmanship is a very useful skill and may come in handy one day. Target shooting is even an Olympic sport. It’s much more difficult than it looks and it may put you outside your comfort zone and force you to grow as a person.
3. Visit a foreign country where your native language is not widely spoken. Learning how to communicate with others from a completely different culture is a very fun and exhilarating experience. It will surely make you grow as a person and expand your understanding and compassion for others.
4. Learn to drive a car. This may seem obvious, but the most recent generation has the least percentage of licensed drivers than the previous ones. With Uber, Lyft and even self-driving cars all around now, don’t let yourself lose out on one of the most important rites of passage an adult can have.
5. Meditate every day for a month. Great leaders, historical contemplatives, and many successful business people all have one thing in common–they have some sort of reflection ritual in which they allow themselves to detach from their thoughts and analyze what they’ve done and where they are going. Call it prayer, reflection, meditation–all of them are practices that force one to calm the mind. Numerous studies show the health benefits from meditation.
6. Practice a martial art. Not only is it physically demanding, marital arts can be an incredible practice for self-confidence, strategy and resilience. Knowing how to defend yourself and others is also very useful.
7. Fall in love. You may have yet to truly fall in love with another. I suggest you allow yourself to experience what it feels like to put another’s needs, desires and hopes before your own. Falling in love is the greatest feeling in the world and though a relationship may not work out, the capacity to love is a huge part of what makes us human.
8. Join a social club or gym. Get out of your house and go to a place where like-minded people are doing what you are doing. You will meet new people, make new friends and though cooperation you may even achieve great things… together.
9. Stay a night in a very fancy and expensive hotel. If you have never done this, you will be amazed at the level of attention to every possible detail associated with your experience. From the architecture to the customer service to the bar to the bathroom–everything is focused on you. Sometimes, that’s exactly what you need in life. Plus, you may meet exactly the right person you need in your life at that moment. You never know in a nice hotel.
10. Get into a debate. How do you know what you believe is true or if it’s serving you well in life? You will only find out by having to defend those beliefs logically against someone else doing the same. A healthy debate will sharpen your mind and increase your ability to communicate well with others.
11. Take something that changes your mental state. It can be as simple as a glass of wine, a pre-workout drink or an herb…but… WARNING: don’t do something stupid or get addicted to something unhealthy or illegal. However, I believe it is very important to understand that there are different states of consciousness and how you act while experiencing them. Likewise it’s important to educate yourself on substances that alter your mental state and their effects on your body. More information is always better than ignorance. BE SMART!
12. Perform for others on stage. I love the stage. I love delivering entertainment to others. This thought may scare you to death. Good. Get out of your comfort zone and experience what it’s like to perform on stage. You may love it. You may hate it. But hey, at least you did it.
13. Hold a newborn baby. If you want an experience that takes your breath away and allows you to examine the beauty and fragility, hold a newborn baby and look into their eyes. It may be the most beautiful experience in your lifetime.
14. Go to an art gallery. Experience the stories told by humans through their expression of making art. There is so much history, so much beauty, so much emotion. A good art gallery is an incredible adventure. Don’t miss out on it.
15. Learn a choreographed dance. This is really just another way of making art, but the challenge of learning a dance is not only physical and mental, it can also be very emotional. It will give you a healthy respect for professional dancers and performers. Plus, it might be incredibly fun.
16. Write a book, journal or blog. The written word is very powerful. It can be used to pass along stories, entertain and teach others, make something official. It is how many people best express their thoughts. Organizing your thoughts and writing them down makes the invisible visible, and that is something truly amazing.
17. Start a side business or invest in a company. “Wages will make you a living. Profits will make you a fortune.” – Jim Rohn. Experiencing what it’s like to put your capital to use in the marketplace to deliver value to customers in the hope of returning a profit is probably the most stress-filled, anxiety-ridden experience you will ever face. There are so many variables. So many unknowns. So much riding on the line. I’ve heard that its like staring into a dark void and jumping in. But like Space Mountain in Disneyland, it’s the most exciting ride because it’s fast and you can’t see what’s coming. That’s the marketplace, and it’s responsible for nearly everything we have in our lives from food to technology.
18. Give to charity. This is something that I feel has been somewhat overlooked in our society. Charity used to play a big part in communities, but now many look to the State to deliver services to the poor and disabled. They figure they are already being taxed for these services. While that may be true, I would argue there is nothing in life more satisfying that contributing beyond one’s self. Charity is an expression of your capacity to love others. It’s a vital part of our humanity.
19. Handwrite a personal letter and mail it to someone. The handwritten letter, even the physical mail, may seem out of style today, but I can assure you, there is something very, very special in receiving a handwritten letter from another. Try it. Though, if you haven’t physically written in a while, maybe work on your penmanship beforehand.
20. Get a philosophy for your life. I believe how your life turns out has more to do with your personal philosophy than what happens externally to you. You may not be able to control external events, but having a strong personal philosophy will allow you to control what those things mean to you. Philosophy can help you understand yourself, others, history and the world around you. It can be used as a set of rules for how to live and how to go after and get what you want in life. Think of philosophy as the set of the sail and you are the boat. Want to go further? You have to set a better sail, or refine your philosophy. Personally, I’ve been heavily influenced by the Stoics, Christian, Libertarians, Classic Liberalism, Austrian Economics, Humanism. I would say that from these schools of philosophy, I have developed my own philosophy, my own set of guidelines, rules and lenses for looking at the world and interpreting meaning. I can’t overstate the importance of having a strong philosophy in life. I will however offer a warning: test how useful your philosophy is by reflecting daily on your actions and thoughts. If you can sleep at night knowing that you have done your best to fill your potential and have not trampled the rights or property of others, your philosophy is likely working well for you. If not, it may be time to refine it. I personally have refined my philosophy at least four times in my life. I plan on doing it more as I grow as a person.

So there it is. 20 things I believe every one who is capable should do. What’s on your list?

In health,

Sean