The War is On!!!!

The War is Underway. Are You Prepared?

“Circumstance does not make the man. It reveals him to himself.” -Epictetus

There is a war underway. It is happening to us and affecting us all and though you may not have heard a shot fired, I can assure you the war is very real. Do you feel the struggle? I assure you that you do because the struggle I’m referring to is the one for the ownership of your soul. The enemy is one you are familiar with on an intimate level. He or she is the one you look at in the mirror! That’s right, your biggest enemy is you.   Your only opponent is you. It’s always you vs. you. You are always the maker of your circumstance because of your power to choose the thoughts that you listen to. Your thoughts can be your ally in this war for your soul or they can be your enemy.

“Thoughts can be your jailer, being base. Or, they can be angels, being pure. “- James Allen

The enemy within is very real. He may never be completed defeated, but he can be subdued and made to retreat every day. How? Every day stand guard at the door of your mind! Be vigilant and exacting about the thoughts that you allow to take root in your mind.   Your mind is like a garden. It must be cultivated regularly, or the weeds will take the garden. Similarly, your negative thoughts, anxieties, fears and will take your mind. They are the weeds that must be cut back. Your mind, your body, your life is your garden. Pay attention to what is taking root or you may wake up one day to realize that enemy has won and that weeds, the weakness, the disease and the unhappiness has taken over.

The enemy is real. You have met him. He is you. So do what is necessary to build up the disciplines to take control of you mind and your life. We are the masters of our lives because we have the ability to disregard our instincts and instead instill disciplines that will improve our own quality of life as well as the ones we love. Discipline has no regard for emotions, which often fail us. Discipline does not negotiate with the whims and desires of the mind. Establishing disciplines that will serve you in life is the only way to combat the enemy of negative thoughts that have the capacity imprison us all. Start the disciplines today so that you can be free in the future.

“Discipline equals freedom” – Jocko Willink

 

In Health,

 

Sean

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Superhero Abilities

10 Superhero Abilities You Can Possess

 

As an employer, investor, husband and father I’ve had enough experience in life and business to recognize there are certain traits that people possess which pretty much ensures success in whatever they do.   Admittedly, there are other desirable traits and certainly most people do not possess every single trait I’m about to list. However, in my dealings with other business owners, athletes, investors, employees, coaches- you name it, just about every successful person has some of the following traits that allow them to achieve their desires. I’m going to refer to this list as Superhero Abilities. Please keep in mind, these abilities are in reach of everyone, not just the heroes of the screen and comics. So let’s begin…

 

  1. Courage– I believe that courage is the most important trait that anyone can possess. Without courage, no other trait or ability matters. One must have the courage to begin a journey before he or she can employ any other abilities. Fear is what stops most people from achievements and fulfillment. Courage what allows us to overcome fear and move forward despite the fear. I have found that courage can be developed through repeated action and your successes will add to your courage. If you find yourself anxious or afraid, keep moving forward and focus on your achievements, not your failures. Courage is something we all possess like muscles, but maybe it’s time to exercise it.
  2. Faith- The capacity for faith, to see what is not there yet, but what could be, is something that most children have. Yet, it seems to be beaten out of us as we get older. I think creativity is really just a form of faith. The creative person imagines what could be, and perhaps what should be instead of the status quo. This is really just another way of saying they believe in something that doesn’t exist yet or we just can’t see. That’s what faith truly is. We are all born with faith, but the best place to start building faith is in ourselves. We must believe in our own abilities, even though we may not see them yet.
  3. Problem Solving Abilities- Life is a series of events which we interpret through our lens, or “blueprint” of how life should be. We all have expectations of how life should be and when life doesn’t equal those expectations, we get pain. When life goes the way we think it should, we get pleasure or happiness. What most of us realize very early in life, however, is life is filled with obstacles, incidents, and environments that we must figure out a solution for because what is happening in our lives is not something we necessarily like. Therefore, people in all occupations should become incredible problem solvers. The ability to solve problems not only brings personal fulfillment, it is also one of the most desirable traits that employers and partners look for in business. If you want to be highly sought after, become a great problem solver.
  4. Reason- The ancient Greeks spoke of reason as the one tool that humans have over other animals. What is reason? As humans, we have the ability to examine our own thoughts, emotions and actions and decide whether what we are thinking, feeling or doing is serving us in our lives. While we cannot control what thoughts creep into our mind, we should all develop our ability to use reason as to how we will act in response to these thoughts. The ability to reason is what gives us power over ourselves. Humans are not subject to animal instinct if we use reason.
  5. Negotiation- Much of our experience in life comes down to how we interact and engage with other people. I think that life is a fine balance delivering value to others so that you can get what you want as well. Therefore, all of our interactions with others is a negotiation of sorts. We are always negotiating how we will spend our time, where we will go, what we want in return for our labor or investment, we are even in negotiation when we are trying to decide what to talk about with others. Indeed, the ability to negotiate is a very powerful ability. I strongly suggest you exercise your ability to negotiate. I think you will find it will serve you well.
  6. Persistence– The ability to keep going, to get up after falling down, to keep on keeping on is an ability that cannot be overstated when talking about a successful life. As I have already pointed out, life will no doubt deal you a series of problems. Until you figure out how to solve them, the ability to persist is what will drive you forward towards your goals. It has been said that Thomas Edison tried and failed over 10,000 times before he succeeded in creating the electric light bulb. Without his persistence and the persistence of other great people throughout history, where would we be today? Without persistence, where will you be?
  7. Compassion– Seeing life from another human’s perspective is a vital skill to have in life. I believe we owe to it each other as humans to develop compassion for the human condition. This condition is one of nature and nature is not always kind to living beings, just as living beings are not always kind to one another. Kindness and cooperation is how species thrive. Without compassion for others, true cooperation is not possible. This is especially true in relationships. Develop a capacity for compassion and watch your life transform as you begin to focus on how to deliver value and kindness to others. If you can do this, I promise the rewards will come back to you in orders of magnitude.
  8. Curiosity–   In order to unlock the secrets of the universe we must be curious. Great inventors, scientists, philosophers all have one thing in common- curiosity. They are all curious to find out “why”? Why does something work the way it does? Why does someone act the way they do? Those who ask “why”, have begun the process of discovery. I think the “meaning of life” itself is to discover- what we are capable of, what the universe is comprised of, how we can help others, how we can overcome obstacles. All of these discoveries start with curiosity. All learning comes from curiosity.
  9. Hunger– What separates the truly great in any field from the average? It can be summed up in one word: hunger. Those who truly excel in anything have one trait that others do not, the hunger to do better and become better. It’s really that simple. Hunger demands that we keep looking and find food. The truly great don’t stop when they find the food. They stay hungry. They don’t settle. The never stop trying to become better. Hunger keeps the lion moving and taking action. Humans are not much different in this regard.
  10. Discipline– This ability must be learned and developed if any of the other abilities mentioned are going to be utilized. The lack of self-discipline is the leading cause of failure in any endeavor. As the great philosopher Epictetus stated, “No man is free who is not master of himself.” Indeed you must become the master of yourself, your body and mind if you are going to be truly free. Therefore, discipline = freedom. By becoming the master of ourselves, we allow ourselves to develop these Superhero abilities.

Do you possess any of the above abilities? You may just be a superhero and not know it yet. Are there a few that you must have not discovered inside yourself yet? With a little patience, discipline and training, you can develop these abilities that will allow you to thrive. There’s only one thing left….what will your Superhero name be?

 

In health,

 

Sean

20 Things You Must Try

20 Things Everyone Should 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 your 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 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 your 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 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 your. If not, it may be time to refine it. I personally have refined my philosophy at least 4 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? Let me know. I’m curious to experience new things and grow!

 

In health,

Sean

Transcendence Now!

7 Steps to Achieving Transcendence

What is the most powerful word you can think of? Is it love? Is it power? Perhaps it’s something else. For me, the most powerful word in the English language is transcendent. I don’t know of any other word that articulates the possibility of the human experience. From Merriam Webster dictionary:

  • Transcendent: exceeding usual limits :  surpassing, extending or lying beyond the limits of ordinary experience; being beyond the limits of all possible experience and knowledge; being beyond comprehension.
  • Being beyond comprehension! Doesn’t that pretty much sum up our experience in this universe? I believe it does. I cannot even fathom why we are here or what our destiny is as a species, except to say that I know humans tend to transcend the limits of what our perceived limitations are. In fact, I believe the purpose of life for all humans is to transcend- to push beyond. We are all destined to evolve, to grow into new beings. If this sounds too far out for you, consider this; do you want to be the exact same person, with the exact same consciousness, knowledge, philosophies, world view and relationships in 10 years? Stated differently, how will your life unfold if you believe the same things and act in the same ways for the next decade of you life? Will you grow? Will you achieve what you desire? What will be lacking in your life? These are questions I ask myself everyday and the answer to the questions always leads me to the same conclusion: I must transcend. I must grow.

 

  • What follows are Seven Steps to achieving transcendence. All of these are my opinion of course. However, I can confidently state that by following these steps I have grown into a completely new person in the last decade. I’m much more proud of who I am now, than who I was. I truly hope these steps will help you as much as they have me.

 

  1. Get a philosophy to deal with the daily occurrences in life. If daily events upset you and deter you path to growth, adopting a philosophy towards life will be incredibly beneficial for moving forward and growing your potential.

 

  • Stop blaming others. Take full ownership of your life.  In fact, stop wasting time blaming or complaining about anything or anyone who is outside of your control. The Stoics believed that we should divide the world into two categories; things that are in our control, and things we have no control over. Start figuring out what you can control and what you have to let go of and your life will transcend immediately.

 

  1. Read every single day. For thousands of years, humans have been writing about their experiences, problems, successes, triumphs, discoveries, adventures, failures and much more. There is not a problem you are experiencing now that someone throughout history has not faced and written about. Take the time to learn how they triumphed. Both success and failure leaves clues. Don’t be blind to them.

 

  1. Live with virtue. Having high moral standards is the only path to true fulfillment. If your destiny is to grow, you can only do so by treating others as you would have them treat you. This is known as The Golden Rule and it’s a philosophy that transcends all cultures and religions.

 

  1. Train yourself physically and mentally everyday. To transcend, you must train your body and mind to grow by experiencing and studying new things. My favorite quote about physical training comes from Socrates, “No one has the right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training. It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.” So true

 

  1. Realize that you don’t know what you don’t know. And there is a ton that you do not know. If you believe you already know something, it becomes impossible for your mind to allow you to learn anything new about it. I like to say “there is always something to learn from everything and everyone. Sometimes it is learning what not to do.”

 

  1. Set the game of life up in a way you can win. We all experience certain emotions because of the rules and beliefs we have in life about certain things.   For instance, I feel fear when I believe that I may not fulfill my true potential. I do not feel fear if I see a spider, or a wild dog. I feel happy when I wake up and see my family, or a picture of them. I feel joy when I see someone smile. I’ve set up certain rules for the emotions I feel.   Most of us don’t believe so, but we are all responsible for the emotions we produce and the subsequent actions we engage in. Understanding that you are responsible for your life and that you can set up your rules and beliefs in a way that will serve you. If the only way you can be happy is making a billion dollars or having someone else treat you a certain way, I can promise that you are setting yourself up for a lifetime of disappointment.

 

  • Follow these seven steps and you may not become emperor or president or CEO, but you may transcend to the next level of understanding and fulfillment. (It all depends on you.)  At the very least, I hope that by adopting these actions you will find tranquility in your life.

 

In Health,

 

Sean

Life and Death

Some Stuff is Life or Death

These are troubling times. Not that there haven’t always been troubling times, it’s just that more of humanity is aware of problems in various parts of the world thanks to technology. Unfortunately,there will be more troublesome events to come. It’s unlikely bad things will stop happening. However, it’s important to remember that you chose where you get to live emotionally. You can live in despair and fear. You can live in gratitude and abundance. The choice is yours. Do you want change in the world? Change yourself first. Specifically, there are two things that must change for positive transformations. The first is having a productive philosophy towards life. The second is to live in harmony. If you have these two characteristics, you will thrive. These are the traits needed to maintain life. If you lack these, you will begin to break down and devolve. Life needs harmony and clear thinking. Death does not. Death must be staved off- the death of the business, the relationship, the organism. It is the natural consequence of not having a philosophy of productivity and being in harmony with those around you. Growth or death- it’s all very simple.

Those who develop and maintain a positive, productive philosophy will always do well because they take responsibility for everything in their life and control their emotions and responses to the world. These people will also have a natural tendency towards harmony with others. Those who have a productive and positive philosophy understand that harmony is essential for life. Your body must work in perfect harmony to sustain energy and life. If not, it begins to decay and the damage may be irreversible. The same is true with a business culture. A relationship is perhaps the clearest example of why philosophy and harmony are necessary to life. Both people in a relationship must give 100% effort for it to work. They must each have a philosophy of love, responsibility, and compassion. Each must strive to be in harmony with the other. Yet, half of all marriages end in divorce. It’s so simple to see why. It’s the lack of harmony and maintaining a philosophy of positivity. The same goes for the violence so prevalent amongst mankind. All of it can be traced back to the lack of the fundamental characteristics needed to grow and maintain life.

I urge all of my employees to strive for harmony with each other. Most workplaces are toxic and a majority of polls taken of employees show that most have significant issues with their co workers and managers. This is all due to a lack of harmony. There must exist a desire to be in harmony with all those in your workplace (and in your life) to realize an incredible workplace. Without that desire for harmony, the natural tendency towards problem and decay will occur. If this continues in a business, it become part of the workplace culture. Once it’s a part of the culture, it’s nearly impossible to stop without replacing every individual. Often, even the great employees cannot free themselves of the damage done to them by a toxic environment. It warps their philosophy to see the worst in others and seek out problems. If people only knew it was within their own power to change this. An incredible workplace, an incredible relationship- an incredible world begin with each person acting incredible and developing and incredible philosophy. Be mindful of your own personal philosophy. Is it geared towards harmony and growth? Or are you letting your mind erode with the problems of life? Are you thinking clearly- thoughts leading to positive consequences for those around you and your loved ones? If not, change it. Be the change you want to see in the world.
Sean

The Power of Anticipation

Anticipate or Die

One of the most powerful forces in life and one of the most difficult to master is the power of anticipation. What does the future hold? It’s always impossible to be completely certain and that uncertainty leads to a great deal of fear for many people, especially parents, business owners and investors. Trying to predict the future is nearly always a futile attempt, but without the ability to anticipate what is likely to happen, we are at a clear disadvantage-often leading people to inaction due to analysis paralysis. When the future is unclear, it is difficult to maintain a positive outlook and hope. Fear takes over in this situation.

This year happens to be a presidential election year in the United States. This always leads to a great deal of uncertainty as people from differing political viewpoints struggle to grapple with the outcomes of a new presidency. Will there be more war? More taxes? Perhaps, more freedom? It’s impossible to know for sure and that causes entrepreneurs like myself to be very apprehensive about making more investments, especially in areas where increased regulations are almost guaranteed because of state pension liabilities and politicians who pride themselves on passing new laws, regardless of whether they are needed.

Business owners must run two businesses-the business as it is today and the one they believe they will have to run in the future. The greats had the power of anticipation. Bill Gates anticipated the rise of the PC. Henry Ford anticipated the automobile for every working family. The best in the world at what they do all have the power to anticipate what is coming. Change is inevitable. How to adapt to the change is what is difficult. The answer to the future nearly always lies in the past.

Looking at trends, the assumptions that a group or groups of people making, as well as the underlying fundamentals behind their assumptions is, I believe the best predictor of the future. Clearly, not all trends last or even make an impact on society, but an investor only needs to get a few trends right to be massively successful. Most investments do not work out, but a few “unicorns” can more than make up for the bad bets. Trends in business and government in the last 20 leads to a fairly clear picture of the future. With all this in mind, here is what I anticipate in the next 10 years for the United States:

-Increased surveillance of the populace

-Increased taxation of regulation

-Insolvency for certain government departments and financial institutions.

-Less overall employment

-The ubiquity of self-driving cars

-Student loans being defaulted on by millions of students, leading to lower credit scores and less consumer spending.

-The disruption of many industries due to artificial intelligence

-Labor will be less important, due to increased use of robotics

Change is inevitable. Are you ready for what is coming?

13 Mind Blowing Facts

13 Mind Blowing Facts

Life is incredible and the universe is truly remarkable. In case you forgot that, here are 13 facts that will blow your mind and perhaps remind you how wondrous this experience really is.

 

1.Time is not universal. The passage of time on a fast moving object has a different effect than one at rest.

2.What we call gravity is caused by the bending of space-time. The size of the Earth and the speed at which it moves causes a distortion space and time, (similar to large ball sitting on a sheet, causing the sheet to sink down. The sheet is space-time.)

  1. You are not the thoughts in your head. You are the one who listens to them and you can choose which ones to listen to.
  2. All matter is energy. The entire universe is energy that is constantly moving.
  3. Your level on consciousness and the philosophies it produces will determine your happiness in life.
  4. Humans are the only life we know of to date that can study itself.
  5. Jellyfish can live forever by reverting back to an earlier stage of life after becoming sexually mature.
  6. Your values and beliefs alter your reality of the world. That is why two different people can look at the same object and see something different.
  7. There are trillions of stars in the universe. Our sun is just one and it will burn out eventually.
  8. A new study has found the brain’s information storage capacity may be around a quadrillion bytes. We actually take in information faster than we can recall it. That’s why we “forget” things.

11.Stress and fear are the same emotion. Stressed? It’s because you’re fearful of something.

  1. The human body is comprised of 37.2 TRILLION cells.
  2. The emotion of love is driven by the release of dopamine and seretonin. You can control your emotions by changing your physiology.