There Is No Stopping Naievety

1.  How much money in U.S. currency do you need a year to support yourself and anyone you currently support in a modest lifestyle?

2. Describe in some detail what type of project or projects you would pursue if you didn’t have to work or make other compromises to have money.

3. Discuss how this is different from your current circumstances.


I have recently read an article that the magic income number to have a relative and consistent happy lifestyle is annually $75,000. The article stated that even those who made $50,000 to $65,000 still felt financial stress and bound to always make careful decisions when it came to money. This idea of making about three-quarters of a hundred grand a year is what I would consider modest living. I currently make about $20,000 a year and find that this lifestyle works. I have a relatively nice apartment on the lake, I can get a couple of cups of coffee each week, and a short vacation each year. This lifestyle, though it may seem normal and modest, is not. The beauty of being human in this world is that we can make anything work and we can make anything look like it works well. People can be happy with $10,000 a year and people can be just as happy – that is, no happier or no less happy – than someone who is making $45,000 a year. For me though, with high expectations for the quality of life; for me, who believes that the current standards of living are far below what the standards should be, I believe that an annual income of $75,000 would be the right amount to support a modest lifestyle.

“He’s got some high expectations,” you might be saying. Yes. Yes I do and I often get a good chuckle or two when I tell people about my bucket list. This is also when I come in conflict with the prompt. There are no projects that I’m not pursuing solely because I have to work or I make other compromises or because of money. I don’t so much believe that the greatness of a bucket list is having checked off items, rather that you made it one hell of a ride to checking them off. See, my bucket list isn’t something I’m waiting until I’m 70 years old to take seriously. (Be ready to be surprised) Nor is it a list of some five to ten items. It’s a list of 200+. This list ranges from speaking at the White House, to pepper tasting in Chile, to fire walking, to experiencing zero gravity, to learning calligraphy, to owning Le Corbusier’s (famous architect) chair. To say I am crazy about goals would be an understatement. I read them over nearly every week or two and try my hardest to cross at least one item off the list each week.

It would be wrong for me to not include a certain five word quote to help you better understand my mindset. This quote sums up why, though I may not be in the perfect situation to do everything that I want to do at this single moment, I am working as hard as I possibly can toward it. Every moment of mine is put to use, exploited, taken advantage of; every moment is put towards pushing me forward, doing what I love, getting to where I want to go, and enjoying the journey of checking items off my bucket list. It really comes down to this, “I’m naïve, but I’m not stupid.” Think about it.


Stay Positive & Life Really Is What You Make It

Garth E. Beyer

Motivated Teenagers, This Is For You. (Because My Parents Never Showed Me)

We’re emotional human beings, we feel disappointment, sorrow, sympathy, false hope, regret, and a bit of anger.

However, for the sake of what I am about to share with you, let’s be on the same page. Sure, we as teenagers are emotional, but in an extremely different way from the average person. We teenagers are emotional in the sense that we are meant for more than what we are currently doing. We aren’t feeling challenged and it sucks. It hits us emotionally. School is easy and homework is even easier. Making friends is easy and connecting with strangers is even easier. Chores are easy and making money is even easier … the list goes on. Things just come easy to us, likely because we work for it, but that is only part of the point. Being blatant, we are gifted individuals.

I’m turning 20 in November and I’ve recently come across an opportunity so-very-close to perfect for teenagers who have fire in their belly, a passion for improvement, and a motivation to be successful. You have probably not heard of the Thiel Fellowship and like I said, I had just found out about it the the other day. Greatly interested, I submitted my email address to be notified when the next application process for the Fellowship would begin (sometime this fall).

The Fellowship: When you apply for the Thiel Fellowship, you are applying to be part of a handpicked group of teenagers who will be given $100,000 NOT TO GO TO SCHOOL for two years and to work on turning their ideas (business’s, inventions, software, etc.,) into reality.

Now here is the kicker. Only people age 19 and under can enter the Fellowship. I would just be turning 20 when the application process opens so I am SOL. Why is this so important for you? If you haven’t already Googled it, let me tell you in the shortest version.

This is your chance to live your dreams of “If only I had the money.” The Thiel Fellowship says, “here, let me give you all the resources you need: money, mentors, like-minded people, tools, resources, everything.” They take away the excuses that prevent you from doing the emotional labor of creating something you believe in. This is your opportunity to quit being emotionally frustrated with your life and be emotionally passionate about it instead… all before the age of 20.

So you may be wondering if you should apply or not. I have a simple solution for you. Answer this question: Do you have a passionate drive to make the world a better place? If yes, then apply.


I don’t blame my parents for not showing me an opportunity like this while I was still able to apply, but I would blame myself if I didn’t compensate for it by not showing you.

For information and the application, visit the Thiel Fellowship.

If you decide to apply, send me an email, let me know your thoughts. I would be more than happy to dedicate time, resources, and an extra bit of passion to your work.


Stay Positive & Go After It

Garth E. Beyer ( )

Choose, Don’t Cheez-It

Vote for Cheez-It? No. I vote for something entirely new!

If you’re going to create something – as everyone must during some point of their lives – don’t create a new variety of something that already exists. Create something which you can create a variety from.

Creating a new flavor of Cheez-Its won’t get you far. I’m not even sure it will get you anything except a snack to munch on while you contemplate your next “genius” idea.

Maybe after a few new flavors of Cheez-Its you will decide to create an entirely original cracker snack instead. In which case, you can showcase all your new flavors with your cracker snack.

If that’s the case, or rather, if that’s the box, then I’m in. Just because something has 20 different flavors doesn’t mean I’ll choose it.

You know what people (you included) love? New. They love change, mishmash, and variety – after all, it’s the spice of life! The illusion is that they love a variety of originality. They don’t.

I’ll cut to the point and stick with the Cheez-It theme:

If you were given the choice between a new flavored Cheez-It or an entirely new cracker snack, which would you choose?

There is always more of a craving for something original than a new flavor, new type, new color of something already invented.


Stay Positive & I Call It The Flavor Of Originality

Garth E. Beyer

Make ________ Not War

Our Last Night. (I’m in between the two band members on the left)

Just the other week I took a nice four-hour drive down to Joliet, IL to see the band Our Last Night. Once my friends and I got there, we had to wait another five hours while other bands played. Bands we either didn’t know or they dragged on stage last-minute because the originally scheduled bands didn’t show up. After plenty of headshaking, not headbanging, Our Last Night was up to play.

As the saying goes in the hood, the music was “an orgasm in my ears”. However, this post isn’t about to promote Our Last Night, it’s what I discovered from constantly checking their Facebook page, waiting for them to upload this photo that I shared above. While I waited I saw other photos of the lead singer wearing the same shirt that he wore to the concert I saw. Even in the pictures that were taken at locations they played at after Joliet, he was still wearing the same shirt.

Finally, curiosity kicked in and I once again went on their Facebook page only to see a professional photo-shoot of Trevor (lead singer) and his brother sporting Johnny Cupcake t-shirts. Trevor was, of course, wearing the same shirt that you see in the photo above. The link was provided, I was sucked in.

Meet Johnny!

The creator of Johnny Cupcakes was, you guessed it, Johnny! Look above! There he is showing off his “Make Cupcakes Not War” t-shirt. Johnny is a multi-millionaire and he has his story. He doesn’t have a specific motto, he doesn’t have a thousand testimonials (although it would be all too easy to get them), and he doesn’t have a college degree. Most rags-to-riches stories you hear have some special opportunity in them: a person runs into an investor, an idea gets picked up by the newspaper, an anonymous person donates a hundred thousands dollars to a persons blog post of an idea, they use Kickstarter, or they know someone who knows someone. Very rarely are the stories… simple.

Johnny has a very simple story, a story that represents so many noteworthy themes and lessons.

  • Never giving up
  • Waking up early or pulling all nighters
  • Avoiding drugs and alcohol
  • Start selling whatever you can, buy in bulk and sell
  • Even having a smashed up car won’t stop you from making sales out of the trunk of it
  • Everyone loves surprises
  • Take risks
    • “These trade shows cost an arm and a leg…but you gotta spend an arm and a leg to make more arms and legs.”
  • Sometimes you have to leave what you like to do what you love
  • Add value to you and your product, no matter how crazy people think you are for the choices you have to make
  • Confusion sells
  • Upset customers sell even more.
    • In response to the question “why don’t you sell cupcakes too?”, Johnny says, “Well, if I did that then people wouldn’t be upset. And, if you think about it, those upset people advertise for me!”
  • Turn your customers into friends and truly connect with them. You can become a millionaire due to the help of 10,000 people. You don’t need 100,000.
Mac Miller representin’

Just an FYI: You’re going to see Johnny Cupcakes everywhere now. Congratulations, you’re part of the tribe!

“Do More Of What Makes You Happy” – Johnny Cupcakes

You can visit Johnny Cupcakes website by clicking on the picture above.


Stay Positive &Vote Cupcakes For President

Garth E. Beyer

Going After Growth

Going After Growth

Plants are better than us. They grow taller, they accrue width, they are in the sunlight more than us, they stand stronger and admit it, when they lose a leaf or a branch they grow it back quicker too. Actually, I once wrote a haiku that went like this,

If A Tree Stays Standing in the Forest, And No One Is Around to Hear It

they sway in the wind

never break from much pressure

we must stand like trees

Trees or plants in general go after growth. They don’t wait for the sun to shine on them, or for it to rain, or for something to be thrown near it to feed off its nutrients. It goes after it!

The plant spawns its roots as far as it can to get as much carbon dioxide and nutrients as possible. It extends its leaves as far out as possible. It builds itself to acclimate, whether that means growing a thick strong stem that nothing can bring down or one that sways with the wind.


It’s in their genes, their programming, their ancestry – it’s what plants do.                                                                                            Us on the other hand, were given a tragic gift.

We can choose to live like a plant or not. And that choice makes all the difference.


So let me ask you, are you a Bonsai Tree or a General Sherman?


Stay Positive & Unlike Plants, You Have The Ability To Grow ANY Direction You Want

Garth E. Beyer

Unlocking Potential: Interview #6

People can hate on Twitter as much as they want, but the Twitterverse is where I met Clemens Rettich, a small business consultant. Having sent a few tweets back and forth with him, as well as contributed to his #smbfunchat where I learned a handful of tips that helped me jumpstart my passion in consulting, I could not think of a better person to participate in the sixth interview of my Unlocking Potential series.

Whether Clemens is aware of it (obviously now he will be), he was a great inspiration for me to learn more about what it takes to successfully run a business as I often studied from his website/blog which there is a link to at the end of this post. It is an honor to be the one to share with you a bit more about Clemens, his worldview, his operation for consulting and some of the most straightforward life lessons you will learn one way or another, by Clemens or by life.

Without further ado,

Q: Everyone can read your bio by clicking on your name, so let’s dive more into what you do. What is your passion? Do you have a daily routine?

I love the beauty of things done well, of things and processes beautifully designed and executed, of those points where art, business, science, or sport come together to create something magical. My passion is to have some role to play in making that happen. In particular I love to help it happen in small businesses, teams, and organizations.

My daily routine is only moderately routine. It happens many days, but not every day. I work with clients 4 days of the week. I take 3 days to recharge, create, reconnect, rest. My days start with brisk walks and fruit smoothies… making coffee for my wife and I to talk over. Then it is time for email, client conversations, travel, shopping, organizing life… I love cooking so that is my late-in-the day pause to shift out of work for a while before diving back in again for the evening. I work about 70 – 80 hours a week.

Q: What is the biggest decision you have had to make?

To act without fear. And it is a decision I have to make every morning. Like paying your dues, this is one that you never stop doing. Paying your dues is never a thing to think of in past tense. A life to be lived fully, has to be paid for handsomely. There is nothing wrong with being afraid. True fearlessness is just another form of stupidity. It is the choice to act on those fears that matters. And I have to make that decision each morning… and sometimes several times in the day. This conversation I am about to have, or this decision I need to make, or this action I have to take, scares the hell out of me. But it needs to be done. And that decision to act without fear is the biggest one I make.

Q: How do you tug your client’s imagination and motivation? What is the core of your professional relationship between them?

The core of my professional relationship with my clients is active listening. Listening until my bones ache. When I do presentations or keynotes, I tell people that if you aren’t exhausted after a day of communicating, you haven’t been listening hard enough. Listening to every word, every implied word, and every telling silence is exhausting. That I why I try to limit my day to 2 – 4 coaching conversations maximum, and only 4 days a week at that. I’m no good to anyone after more than 4 or 5 hours of conversation.

I evoke imagination and motivation by responding to what I hear with suggestions from outside my client’s frame of reference. Nothing new there. It is the old lateral thinking, disruptive creativity, non-linear connection of ideas that still works. Most of the time the best ideas are my clients’. They just can’t hear themselves say them. So I just tell them what they just said. And I use a gift I have had since childhood: I connect “unrelated” things easily. A client can be telling me of a financial challenge, and for some reason it makes me think of another client’s story about a motorcycle they just bought. Something in the intersection of the two things creates a fresh approach to reframe the question or problem. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard myself say “Your problem isn’t A, it’s B!” The answer wasn’t coming because the question was wrong.

There is nothing particularly unique or gifted about my mind. 90% of the time there is a great idea or breakthrough of some kind it’s not because I am smart or anything, it is simply because I have outsider status and have my client’s permission to speak my mind. There are few things more powerful than an outsider’s perception, when the currency between the insider and the outsider is complete honesty.

Q: Would you mind sharing one of your biggest failures?

I can’t go into details because they usually involve others. But I can say they almost always involved one thing: a failing of confidence on my part. I fail when I make decisions based on “settling for second-best” or on not having the confidence to push through a tough patch. Dodging conflict has also been pretty consistently a disaster, so I do a hell of a lot less of that in this part of my life.

Q: What did you learn from it? What would you do differently if a similar situation occurred?

It took me about 40 years to learn, and much of that in the last 10 years, but these days I stick closer to my own sense of right and wrong. I don’t mind conflict over something I believe in. I have started to see that the worst that can happen is not a hell of a lot. I trust my own experience, my own sense of things.

Q: This series is a lot about giving credit where credit is due. It’s about reaching out to both, people who could use a little help unlocking their potential and people who can help with that unlocking. Do you have a business mentor who helped curate your passion for small business consulting? What were the mentor’s practices? In other words, how did this person make an impact on you?

Where credit is due is first and foremost to my wife and family. Their passion for great moments, for things done right, for finding that place between standing your own ground and understanding the value of others, has been critical in making me who I am. On the small business side I don’t have any direct mentors. My biggest mentors are my clients. Every one of them owns a small business that is everything they have on the financial and other levels. Yet they trust me and have the confidence in me to invite me in and work with me to change the game. This can be incredibly scary and requires huge trust, particularly if I am asking an owner to change something that they have done for years, and is connected to their own personal values. Every time the change happens, and the owner let’s go, I am in awe. I know from personal experience how incredibly hard that is, even terrifying, yet they do it with me. That makes life worth getting up for each morning.

Also, I am the collective wisdom of every small business owner who has ever brought me into their inner circle and shared with me the workings of their businesses, their successes and failures, what has gotten them out of bed in the morning and kept them up at night. All of that is in my head. Any wisdom I bring to a coaching conversation now is 90% the collective wisdom of a lot of tough, hungry, street-smart business owners who have spent almost every day of their own lives pulling on their shoes and making life happen.

Q: What is your worst fear?

Missing something. I’m not like all those wise ‘old souls’ out there in the world of patchouli oil and Birkenstocks. I can’t get enough of anything. I love being alive and learning and consuming and enjoying. I guess I’m a young soul if you believe in that kind of thing… I don’t believe in that ‘vale of tears’ nonsense or that our bodies are “just material”… I love being alive and on this earth and have no interest in waiting for some ‘other later’ reality. I like this one. A lot. There is a reason why Walt Whitman is one of my favorite poets. So ya, I’m afraid of missing stuff. I want to live 1,000 years and try it all!

Q: What is the biggest obstacle/challenge you have had to overcome?

All that stuff about fear I talked about above. The rest is relatively easy. Following a close second would be bootstrapping my business. You build up a lot of debt in the first few years, and you have to be crazy careful not to let that cross the line where it erodes cash flow in a fatal way.

Q: What is the biggest challenge todays small business leaders are facing?

Gerber got it right: failing to understand that baking and owning a bakery are two completely different things. The biggest challenge they are facing is a world of ignorance and bullshit. All that “do what you love and the money will follow” nonsense. Running and growing a small business successfully is probably the most complex thing a human being can do. The number of things you have to know about and do right, and do right consistently, every day for a decade or two, is staggering.

So no, it isn’t the economy, or competition, or offshoring, or anything else like that. Those things are huge challenges, but they are not the biggest. The biggest challenge is the romantic mythology, especially in America, of owning your own business.

Q: What do you do to continue your growth as a consultant?

Listen to my clients. Listen to the market. Respond with an ever-broader and more diversified and responsive set of products and services. My new book Great Performances – The Small Business Script for the 21st Century is a piece of that. It is setting up a whole new way for me to connect with and support more small businesses to be successful.

And never forgetting who brung ya to the dance. I am a passionate believer in the power of follow-through and great long-term relationship development. I drop the ball lots, but I don’t ever stop trying to stay in touch with and add value to every business I have ever worked with.

Q: What are the golden life lessons you have learned and are willing to share with the readers from your experience as a small business consultant?

Spend more resources on keeping customers and employees than getting new ones. Don’t ever make the mistake that solid systems and procedures, creativity, and relationships are mutually exclusive. That is a myth that simply doesn’t exist in the world of the performing arts. Any ballet dancer, classical violinist, or rep actor could run circles around business people when it comes to getting that. Discipline, practice, organization, systems, all those things aren’t killers of creativity, they are the world’s best support for it.

So work harder to hang on to people, and work harder to bring more organization and systems to your business. Don’t shy away from that stuff.


Some great places to find Clemens’s work:

Have more questions, topics of discussion or simply want to give a shout out to Clemens, you can tweet him @ClemensRettich.


Stay Positive & Stick To The Fundamentals, Or At Least Learn Them First

Garth E. Beyer

What Is It That Drives Your Motivation?

Dear Garth,

I have been engaged in a series of processes, trials and tribulations in enacting a major lifestyle change, choosing to best emulate my thoughts and emotive responses in a physical manner. I find the faith in human ambition frighteningly low amongst many of my peers and I have a pressing question on my mind, as a friend. What is it that drives your motivation? You are perhaps one of the most influential and inspiring people that I have come to know and even the slightest of conversation on the question would be unfathomably appreciated. As always, I feverently wish you the best and I hope to talk to you soon. Feel free to respond at your leisure, I understand you are a busy man!

With the out most sincerity,
Seeker (maybe not so obviously not the real name)


Dearest Seeker,

If you are willing, I can offer even better assistance if I had more background knowledge on what has produced this current state of mind and tribulation.

However, I will still go ahead and explain a few theories of mine. Please note that I have made these realizations after much mind-ache and set backs, but I believe these are the golden nuggets of the little wisdom I have.

1. This is the most complicated one, so I thought I would put it first. You have to choose not to have a choice in whether you can be motivated or not be, whether you will kick out your to-do list or not, whether you can sleep in or not.

When people have a choice, it’s easy to choose the easy route, follow the status-quo, and do little. If you revoke this choice upon yourself (don’t feel that I am suggesting a dictatorship of humankind, only YOU have control of yourself, that is was I am aiming at)… as I was saying; If you revoke this choice upon yourself then “getting **** done” so-to-speak is not an option, it’s a life style.

2. There are two hard parts in the process of being motivated. The first is getting started. Starting an addiction that isn’t based on nicotine is as difficult as stopping an addiction that is. It’s going to suck and your life is going to try and reject your pursuit. I can’t tell you how many times I got headaches, sick, and all symptoms of sleep deprivation from trying to wake up earlier to write or stay up later to write. My understanding is the more times you bounce right back after getting knocked down, the more durable you become. It’s like building calluses around your passion.

The second hardest part I have come to find is what I call “the last 3,000 words”. It is gathering that positive mindset that starting and writing the first 32 thousand words will be easy and if you are going to believe that any part of it is going to be hard, let yourself believe the last 3,000 words will be the hard part (your goal is obviously 35,000 words). The reason being is that naturally we want to have reasons to stop, to not finish, to fold and throw down the towel. Too many people think the first 3,000 words are hard, or that halfway through, it will be too difficult, so they quit early. Fight that feeling. Imagine the last 3,000 being more difficult than everything else added up. The reason being is that when you go that far, when you get to 32 thousand words, the last 3,000 are easy, they always are and you will never quit that far into the game.

3. This one is simple. You have to fall in love with shipping. Shipping a product, shipping a song, shipping an idea, shipping a poem. Whatever it is, find a way to ship something everyday, fully completely finish something every day and give it to someone, share it, spread it. Once you start to ship, you can’t help but fall in love with it, so just keep shipping.

— I hope this helped and I look forward to discussing any matter further with you. I am never too busy for a friend.

Alas, reading over your request I fear that I may have neglected to answer your question specifically. You ask, “What is it that drives your motivation?”

To answer that question, it is my desired combination of selflessness and selfishness. I want as phenomenal of a life as possible, but I refuse to be the only one. The more happy I can make others, the more motivated I make others, the more I love others, the more happy, motivated and loved I can be.

With hope that I inspired,
– Garth E. Beyer


Stay Positive & Fearless: to ask, to try, to ship…

Garth E. Beyer