Bottled Up

You can’t be moved by a presentation a week after as passionately as you could be moved the evening of. Inspiration can’t be bottled and saved up for later. Motivation is also addictive for this reason.

We love the feeling of creative potential, of assertive ambition, of being fueled with passion, but the moment the creative spark ignites, so does the lizard brain tricking us to wait until a better moment, to use our knowledge on our next project, not the one we’re currently working on.

Since we don’t recognize it’s the lizard brain speaking up, we feel bad a week later when we’re reminded about the seminar we went to and how we haven’t put to action anything we learned from it. I recall myself saying how ready and stoked I was to write my next novel after a 2-day writing conference. I never did. So what’s the best solution?

Go to another conference, watch another Ted talk, listen to another podcast episode because the energy makes us happy again, which leads to an addictive mentality, a downhill spiral of bottled up and wasted inspiration.

What has helped me prevent wasting creative energy is to remind myself I don’t need to create something huge or wait for something big to release the passion. Immediately after attending a second writing conference, I wrote an incomplete story. I spent about 20 minutes writing while I ate lunch.

Two things happened.

One, I learned inspiration is quickly spent. The creative juice waned after 15 minutes of writing, but when I first put pen to paper, I thought I was pumped up enough to write for hours.

Two, I was proud of myself later in the day and even a week later when I thought back to the conference and how I used the inspiration. Even though it was a short incomplete story about an irish boxer who had a fascination with things colored orange, I had conquered my lizard brain.

Don’t bottle up your inspiration. Don’t hang on to motivation. Put it to use, make something, write something, do something differently, and remember, it doesn’t have to be big, it just has to be.

 

Stay Positive & You’ll Often Come Out Even More Inspired (by yourself!)

Questions & Concerns About Me & My Blog

I’ve gotten questions, concerns, and stories from plenty throughout the last three and a half years I’ve been blogging. Scroll through this post and pick out what may apply to you. Enjoy.

Garth Beyer's Dojo

(Q) Your writing is sometimes confusing.

Yea, it is. Oddly enough, there are times that I write something that’s even a bit confusing to me. Later on though, I read it again and it makes sense. Part of me wants to say that if something sounds confusing it means that now is just not the time to understand it or there are some borders stopping you from understanding it.

Not all writing can be clear. I view most writing as I do poetry, it’s not up to the author to decide what a poem means for someone, it’s up to the reader to decide what the poem means to them, which is why I study people as much as I do the lessons I share.

Next time you get confused while reading, don’t ask yourself “what did the writer want me to get out of this,” ask “what can this mean for me,” if you still can’t answer that question, ask yourself, “what would I need to go do to be the person this message was directed at?” Often times, you can mentally put on someone else’s shoes.

Always, though, I suggest you get out and experience, expose yourself more. I write about being human. Everything comes from my experiences. If you don’t understand something, it’s more likely that you haven’t experienced what I have or near it. Go give it a try, you might learn more than me. And when you do, shoot me a message and tell me about it. When the teacher ceases to also be a student, education loses it’s value.

(Q) How do you decide what to write on?

There are two ways I do this. The first is that I will write on anything that moves me, anything I’m passionate about or curious about. This is a natural inclination of anyone who puts the pen to paper. It’s why everyone seeking their passion should first start journaling their thoughts at the end of the night. I also know passion matters when someone reads something. Why share anything that is void of it?

The second way I decide what to write on is when I need to challenge or remind myself of a lesson. Luckily, this also falls under the passionate category, but this writing is the most difficult because it revolves around my own failures, mistakes, and I have to exercise humility, which is hard. On top of that, when I suggest a reader does something some way, I commit to do it myself that way. I’ve always been a person that is respected for practicing what I preach and I use that to my advantage, both in my life and in my writing.

I do my best to freewrite each day for 15 minutes straight. Sometimes something worthy comes out of it that I think of elaborating more on the next day on my blog. However, I don’t go back to look at what I wrote in my journal. If it’s worthy, I’ll remember it. I also freewrite to get all my rants and stupid content out of my head. It’s easier to write (more so easier to read) work that isn’t all lovey-dovey or too personal or full of rage or flat-out not relevant to your audience, it’s sort of a filter, time for reflection.

People say think before you speak, journaling to me is my time to think before I write publicly. At a writing conference I was at last year, Roy Hoffman had a workshop on keeping a journal and what to do with it. For him, he often returns to his journal entries for writing inspiration, to use what he’s written. This has worked successfully for him, but I do the opposite. I don’t read anything I’ve written in the journal. The point: How we use the journal isn’t as important as that we use a journal.

(Q) I want to start my own blog, what should I do or use? How do I attract visitors and interactions?

It took me more than three months to start my blog. I thought about it a lot. In that time period I even started a blog at Blogger. I couldn’t stand that platform. Then I researched great places to start blogs and found WordPress. Go to WordPress and create your own blog. Once you have your blog. Write. It’s going to be shit. Post your writings anyway. Everybody poops, your bad writing makes you human.

Keep writing and posting your content. Open your mind up during the day for ideas on what to write about. Edit your writing to make it great, but not perfect. Don’t let edits take longer than 10 minutes. Making it perfect is a waste of time. For the most part, forget attracting visitors. For every blog post you make, go comment on two others, hopefully who have written on something like what you wrote about.

When in doubt, stop focusing on how to attract visitors and look at what visitors attract you, interact with them. Find people you care about. They’ll have friends.

Oh yea, and never look at your stats. The data won’t change your actions.

(Q) Where do I start?

This is one of the most feared questions to ask simply because getting an answer means that you now have to act, and you are finally being held accountable by the person telling you where to start.

The beauty about starting? You can do it anywhere. You can start in your journal. You can start in your car. You can start in school. You can start whenever, wherever, and however. When someone asks me where do I start? I can only reply with, “You choose. Start buttons are everywhere.”

(Q) What is the purpose of life?

I can provide a thousand to four word response to this question: to play, to challenge your fears, to love one another… but at the end of all my responses, what do they add up to? Life.

The purpose of life is to live it, live it with every bit of energy you have and every thought, smile, tear, and wiggle of your toes.

If we go through life wondering what the purpose of it is, trying to find our own, you may find a purpose, but you will have lost life. So to answer your question, no purpose, just life. Or as my friend best puts it, “Why question a beautiful thing?”

(Q) What if it’s something I don’t have control over?

The hardest thing I ever have to do is get people to understand they can’t have complete control over anything but themselves.

However, you can have influence, persuasion, and compassion for or on others.

It’s an all too common thing to give up on something you think you don’t have control over. Ever heard of the saying “if there’s a will, there’s a way?” No point in telling that to someone who believes they are “out of luck and out of control.” The extremely difficult part is getting someone to understand that if they are not willing to find a way, then what they want isn’t worth it.

Control is sticky. The moment someone says “well that’s it, I don’t have any control over that answer.” They get themselves stuck. I suppose they think it’s the perfect excuse to not do anything. Instead of moving on to something else, they stay stuck there, waiting to get a bit of control. Maybe things will change? That’s easier and safer than trying to make it work or just moving on to something else. Instead of using will to find a better way, find a better problem. Find something else. Get unstuck.

(Q) What is your biggest regret?

A lovely friend of mine tweeted the other day “What’s worse than fear? Regret.” A second friend of mine jumped it to tweet “Trying to steer away from regret is just as bad as hating yourself for having it.” In the end I tweeted back, “suppose the only good thing to do with it then is to dance with it.”

People who say they don’t have regrets are masking them. You can be completely thankful for everything that has happened in your life and you can be happy where you’re at in this moment – I sure am – but that doesn’t mean we don’t have regrets. We can say one thing, think another, and still feel something completely different. That’s why my regrets are from times when I didn’t follow my heart.

(Q) I can’t seem to follow all the way through with anything. What should I do?

I’ve been told that I get a lot of shit done. I write a lot about finishing tasks, shipping projects, completing goals. I do so because it’s the most exciting part. I want to apologize for not writing more about the importance of starting. I have recently erased everything on my chalkboard and wrote two things since: 1. Set goals. 2. Start goals. That’s it. Simple as that. The final touches, the shipping of your products will happen on their own. The greatest of writers threw away thousands of pieces of their work. They will finish and ship something when they feel it. You’ll feel it, but don’t worry about that just yet. Set goals and start goals.

(Q) How can I forget? (failures, relationships, mistakes, poor decisions, etc.)

Asking how to forget is just another way to remember. Don’t.

(Q) What was the dumbest thing you believed in?

That people would rather you hold back the truth and just be nice. I believed that you couldn’t be straightforward with people because they would hate you for it, that you would come off as being a jerk. Then, the more people I talked to about life and their problems and concerns and questions, or anything, I am more forward and honest in my responses than ever before. If someone says they are broke, I don’t just say get a job. I tell them every reason they won’t get a job. I tell them all their fears and worries so they have to face them. I believed enabling was a positive action. When in reality, people like you more when you are thoroughly honest, when you care so much to understand and nudge them in the right direction. Call things as you see them, just make sure you do it sincerely. If you can’t do it sincerely, don’t do it at all.

I want to thank everyone, from the kid who spit in my face running through the hallway in middle school to the janitor who I know let me steal keys from him every week. From the girls who kissed back to those who didn’t. To Zig Ziglar. To Seth Godin. To Michelle Welsch. To my family and my significant other. To all those that entered my life just long enough for each of us to make an impact on one another. To all those that have had to put up with me and my craziness over the years. Thank you to the ones that will stay around to put up with more.

If you have questions or want to chat, send me an email thegarthbox@gmail.com

or tweet me @thegarthbox

Fact: I hyperlinked my email and twitter handle because you have 60 seconds before your lizard brain gives you “reasons” to not send the email or the tweet.Quick. Before fear gets you.

 

Stay Positive & Go Do Something

Stressful Work, Self-Evaluation And Hacking Your Productivity (And How To Win Monopoly)

Hacking Productivity

It’s been more than two years since I gave a Toastmasters speech. I connected with the president of the club I used to be involved in and had dinner with her yesterday. We chatted about the PR life and how stressful the work is. (Top 10 most stressful careers!)

I agreed that it’s stressful work, but it’s as stressful as you let it be; there are ways to lessen the stress.

One of my old friends gave a speech at the meeting about saving mental energy for more important decisions by limiting the options you have for what to wear. A few months ago I mentioned the benefit of wearing the same outfit each day. Jobs did it. Zuckerberg does it. So many others do it to save mental energy for work and decisions that matter.

What I do each weekend is evaluate my week in terms of stress, productivity, time, focus… all that important stuff that dictates your level of happiness or unhappiness. I stop doing what’s unproductive, I stop having meetings with people who don’t create value, I read more, I freewrite for 15 minutes every night, I meditate in the morning and recite a mantra I wrote – all the things I do and don’t do are done or not done with purpose.

The president asked me something like, “Isn’t that exhausting or stressful to have to be so on top of everything?” She was obviously thinking about the benefit of going with the flow, letting things be, simplifying life (which certainly has its value at times). My response…

It’s fun to hack your productivity, your energy, your focus. It’s like the moment you learn how to win Monopoly: just make sure you buy St. James. Place then begin to build on the orange. Works every time. The excitement of learning, knowing and then implementing the practice which nearly guarantees success is what drives me to reevaluate, review, and renew my objectives of the week each weekend.

Stress is not an external force we have no control over. We design our stress, and by evaluating ourselves on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, we begin to notice what’s working and what isn’t in our lives. We respond rather than react. It’s an art, and there is so much beauty in art.

 

Stay Positive & There Is No Better Game To Hack Than The Work Game

Photo credit

What You Put Into It

Put energy into it

“I put love in it!”

It’s a bit difficult to explain, but when you create something, you also put emotion into it. It’s not that you can choose to make something with love or make it with nothing at all. Nothing isn’t an option.

Everything you do, everything you create has emotion transferred into it.

A noteworthy quote from anyone who views remarkable art: “I can just feel the stress he must have felt creating this piece.”

This is why we must not do the things which make us incredibly frustrated. In the end, that’s the vibe of what you create gives off. Similarly, it’s important we always take a moment to actively seek out how we feel while we do things. Emotion carries energy with it and all things are made of energy.

 

Stay Positive & Careful What You Create

Photo credit

Busy? Get Excited

You’re busy. I’m busy. Other readers are busy. Your neighbor is busy. So is your boss, your parents, your friends, your co-workers, and the customer service agents you try to reach when one bad thing happens after the other.

(after all, haste makes waste)

I’m surprised you have time to read this, but I will be even more surprised if you take action after reading.

Clearly, everyone is busy. The world is filled with busy people. But don’t you think it’s odd that I don’t say that they are energetic people, or excited people, or people on their venture for success? Nope. Just busy, with “busy” feeling dull, tasteless and a lot like a job you hate.

Becoming a success isn’t about being busy, staying busy, or having been busy. When you ask a successful person what they did, what they are doing, or what they will do, they are ecstatic to share it with you. Every bit of their story, their plans, their to-do’s are drenched in excitement.

(get excited in a haste, it’s the only action that doesn’t make waste)

I see a trend in successful people; they maintain the quality of a child who is always excited and applies it to their schedule. Are they busy? They have a lot to do, but the excitement counters the daft emotions that cling to the idea of being “busy”.

Don’t be busy, be excited. And be excited more often than you are busy.

 

Stay Positive & Titillated (yea, it’s a word)

Garth E. Beyer

You’ll Never Reach Success By Being Careful

My option for being careful was either to keep a distance and eat raw chicken or put it close and deal with a few burnt parts.

 

A lot of things can happen when you aren’t being careful.

Juice getting spilled on the counter. The cereal bag being ripped down the sides. You curbed the car making that turn. You got pranked with gum that tastes like pepper. The screw was dropped down the drain. You accidentally spelled “duck” wrong in your term paper. And so much more.

Actually, there are so many more things that can happen when you aren’t careful that I just have to continue…

You managed to standout at the board meeting. The reward, the gift, the acknowledgment came to you. You got inspired. A memory that you will always look back on and cherish was created. You got lost and found a new restaurant. You took a risk… and succeeded.

Those who achieve their goals, who make something of their lives, who are “successful” are no more careful than you and I. Actually, they are less careful.

They understand that the more they fit everything into a schedule, the more they are patient and careful with every social interaction, every small contract and every gift, the less creative and energized they are. Less potential is unleashed this way.

In being obsessively careful, you are preventing miracles from happening, putting a stop to unexpected delights and memorable surprises to occur. In being careful you are saying to the world and everyone around you that you want to play it safe, that you don’t want any turbulence and above all that you don’t want to make any risks, even if taking a risk meant succeeding.

 

Stay Positive & Think Twice Next Time You Tell Someone To Be Careful

Garth E. Beyer

 

 

You’re Grounded!

Don’t just ground your kids, ground yourself too.

Ground yourself so you can learn to be alone, inquisitive, have time to think, to use your imagination and to add to the flame of creativity.

Being alone is vitally important. It gives you the time to shut everything down, let your mind be free and for you to produce ideas and solutions that you would have never thought of before because you are constantly enabling an overload of information to transition into your mind. Day by day, the mind is twitchy, hyper and working too fast for too long. It is in this action that much of life, of creativity, of a purpose is lost.

I remember the couple of times I was grounded as a kid and the multiple times I grounded myself as an adult. I locked the door, laid on the floor and sometimes listened to light music, read a magazine or just sat there contemplating the world outside my room. I would also write. Other times, I would destroy things and try to put them back together. There were plenty of times I sat on top of my dresser, looked out the window and watched birds fly, watched clouds in the sky and questioned life. The more special times were when I thought of incredible life changing ideas – something that is guaranteed to happen once the mind is quiet. The most important lessons in life are the ones which are learned when alone, when one has a relaxed mind and can work out an understanding without any predescending variables.

It was during these periods of grounding that I would meditate. Not on purpose. Not based off of a video or internet advice on how to meditate. Meditation simply is, it’s not something that can be forced because in that very purpose, in that very goal, there is a working mind and a sense of strife to achieve. That is not meditation. The meditation I am speaking of is the one that does not seek calmness, relaxation or solitude. The one I speak of is that which will revitalize your energy, your motivation and resilience. The one which unlocks the treasure chest of creativity in your brain and releases it into all of you which then transfers to all that you touch. The one that makes art, art.

 

Stay Positive & Getting Grounded Doesn’t Seem Like A Threat Now Does It

Garth E. Beyer