And Now Introducing… The Point System!

I didn’t want to tell you guys about this till it’d been working for a while, but my sister Sarah and I have been having so much fun with this point system we invented over a month ago and so I wanted to share it with you because it could help make your life even awesomer.  I have never been quite as productive as I have this last month — it’s insane.  So, without further ado —

What is the point system?

It’s a reward system where you earn gold coins and blue coins (i.e.points) for doing positive things that are moving you toward your dreams.  Then you can use your coins to ‘buy’ treats and things you want.  It part of the gamification of life — i.e. to make ordinary tasks as fun, rewarding, and addictive as video games do with their lights, sounds and, well, coins of achievement.

How does it work?

First you decide what type of things you want to be doing daily to get to your perfect, dream life.  For me it’s exercising, keeping the house clean, and most especially writing.  So when I write for thirty minutes, I get one gold coin and one blue coin.  Cycling two miles also gets me one coin of each color (I tend to call such things earning a coin, but as you’ll see different colors have different uses and every activity offers one coin of each color).

And if I have a ‘perfect day’ in which I do all the coin-earning activities that I have written down, I get an extra coin!  Yowza!

What do these coins do?

Well, gold coins are for food treats like dining out or getting a shake, or even buying a carton of ice cream to take home.  That’s right, my base is no sweets and no eating out.  BUT you don’t have to go all out like that.  Even saying you’re earning your Big Mac by taking a walk around your block would still be a great thing.  You decide your point system — just know, if you want it — you gonna have to earn it.

Blue coins buy you non-food related goodies — albums, movie tickets, fun clothes or jewelry.  That’s right, I don’t get those things unless I earn them.  The flip side, if you earn it, you don’t feel guilty about buying it.

So, how’s it been working out?

Fantastically.  It means that just doing simple, good things like cleaning the house or doing yoga (things I didn’t do every day) suddenly are reward situations.  I’m earning points right now sitting here writing to you!  It’s limited the amount of indulgences while increasing the activities that will lead to the life of my dreams.  We all know steps that would get us where we want to go; this helps us follow the path AND feel rewarded instead of deprived when it comes to treats and snacks.

Here’s how you do it —

  1. Figure out your dream life.  Are you fit and healthy?  Is the house clean?  Are you closer to your family members?  Have you written a novel?  Imagine an average day in your perfect life.
  2. Break your dream life down into daily steps.  Want to be healthier?  Take a daily walk.  Have a dream job?  Improve yourself in 30 minute stretches to own that role.  Want to write a book?  Write every day.
  3. Choose four or five areas of improvement.  Mine are writing more, exercise, yoga, and cleanliness.
  4. Choose five or six (or more) activities that can earn you points.  I wouldn’t make these denials (i.e. no sugar before 12:00pm).  Instead make them as positive, enjoyable, and fun as possible (after all, you are replicating a day in your perfect life, so if you love cycling but hate calisthenics — cycle!)  The idea is to enjoy this stuff as much as possible.
  5. Decide what activities you need to do to earn a ‘perfect day’ bonus point (it’s a powerful motivation if you’re close to getting that extra point).
  6. (Optional) Decide if anything loses you a point.  I only mention this because I’m a little sporadic about brushing my teeth as often as is optimal, so I made a rule that if I fall down on my teeth brushing regimen, that day I lose a point.  After you’ve cycled two miles to earn a point, believe me, you won’t want to lose it.  So these are some shiny teeth.  If you chose to do this, I’d make it about a tiny activity that take no more than five minutes out of your day.
  7. Decide how many coins you earn for each activity and how much treats cost you.  This is a matter of trial and error — you want to feel like you get treats pretty often if you’re really hitting it.  If it take too long to earn anything, you’ll lose heart and if it’s too easy you might not push yourself at all — play around with it and see what gets you the best results.
  8. Buy a whiteboard and a dry erase marker.  Write your name at the top and then ‘Gold Coins:’ and below that ‘Blue Coins:’.  Update it each day.  You can also keep a lifetime total if you want to.

Some notes: You can call it one coin or 100,000 coins if that motivates you more.  It’s only an imaginary unit of measurement.  Also, I did let myself go ‘into debt’ a couple of times if something big came up and I didn’t have the coin right then to buy it.  Just make your whiteboard say something like ‘Gold Coins: -25’  and then work your way back to a positive number.

I can’t begin to say how much I’m enjoying this.  There may be a lot of reasons I’m so productive right now (it’s ‘Go Big or Go Home’ time) but I don’t know how I’d make it without the point system right now — it’s that important to my progress.

Best of luck!  Let me know if you have any questions, and tell me about your successes!

Remember: If you earn it, the cake is not a lie.

Katherine’s points (for reference):

Do Richard Hittleman’s 30 minute yoga program — 1 coin (actually one of each color, by I call it one)

Write for 30 minutes — 1 coin

Go cycling — 1 coin for each 2 mile stretch

Clean the house (one load of dishes and ‘pick up’ around house) — one coin

‘Just Dance’ video game done on ‘just sweat’ medium program (10 minutes of dancing) — one coin

Go for a hike/walk — one coin for each mile walked

My perfect day (earns a bonus point):

At least two hours of writing

Yoga

Cleaning

At least one form of exercise

Some treats (and their cost for me):

 Gold coins —

32 oz soda — 5 coins

Candy bar — 5 coins

Shake, Starbucks, or Smoothie Planet drink — 10 coins

Carton of Ice cream, package of cookies — 15 coins

Eating at Mcdonalds, Wendys etc — 10 coins

Eating at a nice sit down restaurant — 20 coins

 Blue coins —

one MP3 song — 5 coin

one album — 20 coins

Movie ticket — 25 coins

DVD — 20 coins

Other items: 2x — 3x coins to each $1 spent

 

Remember: This is a game!  Play around with it and find what motivates you.

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Who’s Inspiring You Right Now?

As I get excited about 2014 and living the life of my dreams I was thinking about the quote —

And that got me thinking, which five people in my life are doing what I want to do more of?  i.e. who’s inspiring you right now?

So, without further ado, here are the five people who are doing what I want to be doing (since these are people from my own life that most of you don’t know, and since I don’t know how they’d feel about being the subject of a blog — I have made them into archetypes for us).

THE ARTIST

This person inspires me by living the artistic life every day.  He’s a writer who’s sharing himself online and by reading, teaching, etc around town.  He’s doing more and more work, and getting better and better all the time.  The world at large hasn’t caught onto his brilliance yet, but he has, and he’s happy to follow his words into places (and genres) he’s never been to before.  I don’t know what his day-to-day life is like, but he makes you believe in the dream of writing in cafes and small apartments, soaking in the cities and breathing out genius.

THE ENTREPRENEUR

 

 This woman has transformed a rocky past into a rock-solid future, and found obvious peace, joy, and prosperity along the way.  She’s very successful, has three businesses, and a staff that loves her.  She’s selling well without selling out.  But the thing that really sticks in my mind is when a similarly middle-aged woman told her about a ‘fantasy’ dream life and business.  The Entrepreneur told her it was possible and told her a few first steps she could take.  But the other person laughed and put it back in the ‘fantasy’ box where her dreams likely would stay.  But the Entrepreneur is a person who’s pulled their dreams into the open and done the hard work (but oh so worth it) of making them come true.

 THE HERO

This woman has had some hard knocks; her body and her brain chemistry would be a challenge for any of us.  But she continues to fight, look for answers, improve herself, and vanquish her fears.  And she does all that while being one of the kindest, sweetest, and best people I know.  Whatever size problem I’m dealing with, I try to remember to tackle it with the cheer and grace this woman brings to every day of her life.

THE HARD WORKER

This man recently got the ‘dream job’ handed to him on a silver platter.  Lots of money, living in a big, exciting city, and getting to do what he loves every day.  I guess some people are just lucky, huh?  Wait a minute though — this guy also makes plans and goals all the time, spent his own money (and time) to better himself, and spent years before this ‘breakthrough’ honing his talents and turning himself into a dream hire for the company of his dreams.  Then he applied, risked rejection, and flew himself out there for interviews.  Oh, and all that money?  He was willing to ask for a little more and they happily gave it to him.  And yes, among the many things he’s taught himself, one was how to negotiate.

 THE STAR CREATURE

This woman doesn’t belong to this Earth, and I mean that in the best way possible.  She doesn’t connect to much of the rabble of our modern world but instead she’s inspired by the greatest artists in history, the most profound thinkers, the most beautiful moments of nature.  Life may overwhelm her senses, but only because she sees everything, feels everything.  And believe me, when you see everything, you miss nothing.  And when you miss nothing, you become a hell of a creative force.

So, that’s mine.  Now tell me, who’s inspiring you?  And what are you going to do about it today?

Ten Things I Want You to do Before the End of the Year

We have a little over a month left in the year.  I want you to end 2013 strong, alive, and full of possibility.  Here’s how to do it:

Ten Tips to Come Alive

  1. Pick one event, concert, etc that you’ve wanted to go to but have never signed up for — buy that ticket today, even if the show etc isn’t till next year.
  2. Make a holiday spending plan right now, before the holidays really start.  Make a list of each person you want to give a gift to (this year, give nothing out of obligation — the world does not benefit from it.  If you feel you must give to someone you don’t care about, make a donation to their favorite charity — that way everyone wins).  Choose an amount to each person that is within your budget and don’t change your mind or get caught up in ‘out-gifting’ each other, even if it’s done in a loving way.
  3. Pick two days before the end of the year to be only ‘fun days’ for you (either ask for these days off from work or, if you have a set schedule, mark two ‘off’ days right now.  On these days just enjoy life — enjoy your friends, nature, the season, but don’t do regular work, house work, chores, needed shopping, of even present buying.  Treat yourself to these two days, they will remind you what everything else is about and probably be your favorite days of the fall.
  4. Take a one night, overnight, trip to somewhere you’d love to see.
  5. Take at least one walk a week, in nature if possible.
  6. Make a plan to cut down/out of the over-indulging during the holidays (i.e. plan to attend 3 Christmas parties but not five; drink 1/3 less than last year etc).  You’ll enjoy your indulgences more if there’s less of them.
  7. Make a plan to help one person this season, be it in a large or small way that you would have not helped otherwise.  Try to do more than just give money.
  8. Buy yourself a gift this year — you’re amazing and beautiful.  Wrap it and put in under the tree.
  9. Get rid of more than you get.  Think of the amount of new things you’ll probably get this holiday season — gifts you receive, new decorations, new clothes — and start right now giving away old things you don’t want.  Give them up now and you’ll have more room and appreciation for your new items.
  10. Try one new thing before the end of the year.  Take even just one class or look up the instructions online.  Learn to write a poem, climb a rock wall, paint a picture.  Or make your first blog, Pinterest Board, or start a Meetup group for next year.

You are amazing, beautiful, talented, and poised for greatness — let’s knock the rest of 2013 out of the park.

What I’ve Learn After 50 Blog Posts (Tips & Tricks)

from blog.pinkcakebox.com

TA DA!  (TWEET, TWEET!)  WE MADE IT!

Happy 50th post on this website.  I was kind of surprised that it sneaked up on me.  But I’ve learned a lot since March 2nd, 2013 and I want to share what I have learned with any would-be writers or bloggers —

10 Things I’ve Learned About Blogging

  1. Trust yourself.  People who are meant to find you will find you, so don’t waste time trying to be someone you’re not.  Always be yourself.  Unless you can be Batman, then always be Batman 😉
  2. ‘Tag’ your posts.  The world is wide and tags really help like-minded people find you.  And be open to tagging anything — in the beginning WordPress suggested ‘Mental Health’ for some of my inspiring blogs and that was a great idea I’d never thought of.  I also got a ‘re-blog’ link because I mentioned ‘The Simpsons’ once but I’d added a tag for it.
  3. Stick to a few topics.  Catherine Ryan Howard had that advice in her ‘Self-Printed’ book and it has worked well for me.  It also guarantees that people who like one post will probably like more down the line.
  4. Do your own thing but also find out the needs and desires of your audience.  I write mostly about how to live an inspirational life, writing, and self publishing.  But people really like the inspiring life bit (they like me even more, but that’s just coincidental 😉 ).  So I keep that need in mind and try to help people, even a tiny bit, on their journey toward their dreams.
  5. Post regularly.  If I had one tip, this would be it (along with be yourself, be interesting etc).  The keys to the kingdom.  Catherine Ryan Howard suggested three posts a week but for a long time I was ‘too busy’.  But when I got serious about posting more often (I aim for Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) then people really started getting interested.  I did recently take a ‘birthday week break’ because, well, I’m only human (Skyrim!).
  6. Get great titles.  The number one thing I see when I look at blogs is a lack of inviting titles for posts.  Everything doesn’t have to be ‘How To Make A 10 Tips List To Drive Business’ but I see a lot called ‘Blah Blah, Dreary Day’.  And maybe that’s great and maybe it’s funny, and maybe it’s only meant to be cathartic, but I’m not that interested.  I saw one just called ‘L’ and the first line was ‘I guess this is really happening’, and I had to see the rest of that post.  I lot of times I’d pick a title, write the piece and find a better title in one of my lines, more original, more dramatic, and I’d use that.
  7. Pictures, Links, Ponies — whatever it takes.  People respond to great pictures and quotes (at least I do).  And links not only promote things you love (like my recent Frank Turner post) but they are also added valve/fun for your fans.
  8. If you can, proofread your ‘preview’ before you publish.  I have found seeing the post in its final form makes catching the error easier (warning: you will still find errors).
  9. If you Google something and can’t find the post you wanted — jump on that.  I was looking for a certain kind of list of ‘how to move to the next level as a writer’ for my Athens Writers Association meeting and I couldn’t find it!  So I wrote my own thing to bring to the group and it turned into a very successful post.
  10. Dream (and think) big.  Act successful to be successful.  I had no idea I’d have so many followers by my 50th post but I wasn’t put off when I had just one either.  I just sent my best, most professional work out into the world and hoped to find a few people who liked it.  Thank you all for being so kind as to be part of this wild ride with me.  Onward to 100!
The Amazing Austin Kleon

The Amazing Austin Kleon

Grab a Little Magic For Yourself

‘I Still Believe’ by Frank Turner

Last night my sister Sarah and I saw Frank Turner in Atlanta and he was AMAZING!  Frank has been a huge influence on my journey to  live the life of my dreams.

Sarah first heard an interview with Frank on NPR a few years ago and we’ve been addicted ever since.  ‘I Still Believe’ has 601 plays on our itunes account and ‘Photosynthesis’ has 553 plays.

Frank is someone who has taken the path less traveled and is now living a life of destiny.  His live show is funny, passionate, and so full of energy you wouldn’t believe it.  I’m SO inspired.  And I want you to grab a little of that magic for yourself, buy a few Frank songs, and make the most of these last 51 days in 2013.

LET’S ALL START LIVING OUR DREAMS AND REMEMBER —

‘Photosynisis’ by Frank Turner

Buy Frank on Amazon

Visit his website

Listen to my favorite Frank Turner song —

How to Move to the Next Level as a Writer — 10 Tips That Could Make You Well-Known and Famous

I consider myself an intermediate writer.  I’ve been writing seriously for fifteen years and am just now moving into the publishing game.  Where ever you are in your writing journey, you probably want to move up to the next rung on the ladder.  Here are ten ideas to get there –

1.  Write More

That’s really the key to anything – do it more.  Everything will improve as you practice and the quality of your writing will springboard you to the next level.

2.  Experience More

Whether it’s reading, watching great shows, seeing concerts, and having adventures – all of these will impact your imagination and writing quality.  Try to step outside of your favorite genres, entertainment types etc. and let Grand Theft Auto 5 influence your romance novel and Jane Eyre inspire your electronica.  You never know.

3.  Seek Help

Find a mentor, read a new book, and just keep looking for others who are where you want to be.

4.  Start Acting Like You’re Already There

Your mind is your most powerful tool.  If you believe you are talented, dedicated, and able – you will be.  So start seeing yourself as the success you want to be.  This both shows others and yourself that you are serious and going places.  Dress like you would when you’ve ‘made it’.  Treat people with the generosity of someone who’s been blessed with success.  Never bad-talk yourself.  You are a star.

5.  Make a Plan

I have a one year plan, broken down into 52 weeks.  If you’re serious about getting better — write down goals and make step-by-step processes to complete them.

6.  Network

Yes, yes, and yes.  For a long time I thought I could ‘go it alone’ but now I believe my success is tied to everyone I interact with.  Scary, no?  So join associations, critique groups, online pages and anywhere else that will help you meet others.  They’ll help you more than you could imagine.

7.  Dream Big

When you’re making those plans, make them giant.  Push yourself.  If you dream of writing the next great HBO series – do it!  “Your playing small does not serve the world.” – Marianne Williamson

8.  Play to Your Strengths

I suggest you read the book ‘Now Discover Your Strengths’ by Buckingham and Clifton.  It changed my life.  We spend more time fixing our weaknesses than embracing our strengths.  You can always pair with someone who’s good at what you’re unsure about (whether you do a trade or for money).  What you want is to spend most of your time doing the thing no one but you can do.

9.  Clear Out the Junk

If you want to be an amazing writer who’s living the life of their dreams, you need to get rid of everything you can that takes time and energy away from your happiness.  Give away items, get fit and healthy, let go of people and situations that drag you down.  If you’re serious about wanting to move to the next level, be ready to leave a lot of this level behind you.

10.  Know You Can Do It

Absolutely, positively.  Where ever you are, whatever you’re doing, know that some of your heroes started with less and overcame more on their way to greatness.  You are special, talented, and have gifts no one else has.  And if you are willing to work hard, you will be unstoppable.

Everything You Want is on the Other Side of … Sugar?

Now, all my life I’ve loved sugar and the sweet foods that contain it.  And in a very real way, I think a life where you couldn’t enjoy an ice cream cone, or a birthday cake, or a piece of chocolate would be sorely lacking.

That said, I’m enjoying feeling better than I’ve ever felt in my nearly 34 years and it’s because I’ve left one thing behind (you guessed it).

I should say almost behind.  I’m allowing myself half a cookie and one shared dessert from our local Italian restaurant each week.  But gone are the sodas, the candy bars, and everything at home with refined sugar (honey and fruit juice are okay).

I had thought for most of this year (a big one for change and living my dreams) that sugar and fast foods were holding me back.  Though I knew I sounded paranoid, I wondered to myself if living my dreams was impossible as long as I was ‘high’ on sugar.

Then my sister and I decided to give up sugar for September.  We’d had fasts and cleanses before but this was different.  This felt like a whole new way to live.  We also started cycling and, between the two, the pounds just starting falling off — my body wasn’t fighting a losing battle against the calories in refined sugar anymore.   And so, without further ado —

Five Things I’ve Gotten By Giving Up Sugar

  1. Peace of mind.  Seriously.  I feel much calmer and more in control now.  Also, before I would feel like I was always looking for the next ‘hit’ and never quite getting enough when I did.  Now, I need nothing to feel complete.
  2. A happier body.  It’s only been one month by already I feel more healthy in every way.  I’m stronger, don’t lose my breath or feel my heart pounding, and everything seems more aligned and functional.
  3. Slimmer.  The pounds are disappearing.  So, to anyone who eats pretty well except for sugar and wants to know how to lose their extra weight, I can tell you — no sugar and cycling (did you ever see a fat cyclist?).
  4. Freedom.  Oddly, since I can’t eat any sugar, that means I’m free to go anywhere without needing a ‘treat’ when I get there.
  5. I’ve lost interest in fast food.  It was the strangest thing; as soon as I knew I couldn’t have a sweet tea or big soda with my meal, suddenly that fried chicken, hamburger, etc lost a lot of appeal.  I think I might have really been looking for a sugar hit all those times I thought I wanted fast food.

Speaking of sugar hits, be prepared for your detox.  It will take a few days, and you may feel a little off emotionally or even get a headache.  But the headache will pass, and the effects of cutting back (or cutting out) sugar will last a long, healthy lifetime. Read more here —

5 reason why I won’t take sugar back

Deadlier than smoking? The bitter truth about sugar

Are You Willing to Look Like a Fool for Your BIG Dream?

The Amazing Austin Kleon

The Amazing Austin Kleon

Would you be willing to fall flat on your face while moving toward your dreams?  Because honestly, if you would not, I don’t see you making it in the long run.

Harsh?  Yes, very.  But I believe more and more that the fear that stops most people is only born of a desire to always be saying the right thing, doing the right thing, and looking blameless in society’s eyes.  Now there’s a lot of understandable reasons why we fear looking foolish and most of them date back to early ridicule at school or at home.

But you’re grown up now (or at least older) and you can learn to see that fear as what it really is — something that’s stopping you from living the life of your dreams.

Think about it.

tumblr_m8q9wtH3SJ1qdb7o7o1_500

The above quote was about approaching the woman of your dreams.  But the same (with a slightly longer time frame) is true for putting in a resume for that perfect job, entering that competition, or sharing your creative work with the world.

Go Big or Go Home

In my new plan of taking action, I have decided to self publish three books in the next year.  I’m also giving my first public reading this Saturday.  Scary as Hell?  Yes.

But why?  There’s no penalty (and very little money) on the line.  At worst they don’t buy and they don’t applaud.  So what? As Jack Canfield of The Success Principles might say, ‘So what?  You’re not getting applause and money now — the worse case is that nothing would change.’  And something might change, even if it’s only selling one book.

And change is what you want.  You’ve got the big dream.  And maybe you don’t want to share it with everyone, but you need to find others who share similar dreams, and you need to start putting yourself out there.  I mean, put EVERYTHING on the line.  Your pride, your humility, and your fears.  Because everything you want is on the other side of fear.

And our stupidest fears are about looking foolish.  It’s not stupid to fear them, but it is a waste of all of your talent and your unique vision.  You were put here to move mountains, inspire thousands, and change the course of the world.  If all you have to give up is a little comfort and certitude, then I think it’s damn well worth it.  You are a star — start acting like it and share your glory with the world; the world desperately needs what you have to offer.

Welcome to September — Start Your Engines

From zulily.com

Awesome author Catherine Ryan Howard (who you should be following) said,

“But what I really love about September is that it’s a fresh start, a perfect little package of time between now and New Year’s Eve in which you have every chance of achieving your goals and sauntering smugly into 2014 with a smile on your face.

‘I subscribe to the French notion of la rentrée, which is to say that I let the summer months pass without too much thought for goals and To Do lists, but then I pull my socks up and stride into September with a newly recharged motivation and determination to get things done. Roughly translated it means the re-entry, and I’m ready for mine.”

I particularly like her idea that September is still early enough in the year for great accomplishments to happen.  I myself am in that place right now — and it’s time to get excited.

This whole year has been transformative for me but it’s been an emotional, challenging journey to get to this place as well.  In August I decided the time was now and, much like a jockey in the home stretch seeing a hole between lead horses, I sprang into action and have been bearing down hard on my goals ever since.

I’m all action these days, and in truth one of my big motivations is seeing myself standing there on New Year’s Eve and wanting to look and feel great and be proud of how far I’ve come.

And I want you to do the same thing.  Four months is a long time — you could have exercised for 120 days by the end of the year, or written the first draft of a novel, or revolutionized your whole house or many other things.

The important thing is to start now, today, and turn your hopes and dreams into consistent ACTION.

Then you’ll really have something to toast come New Year’s.

Are You Ready To Be the Best?

BELL-CURVE-300x194

So you have a dream.  A dream people tell you is unlikely to come true, BUT it is a dream some people make a living doing — maybe a really good living.  So, there’s only really one question left — how much do you want it?

There’s Always Room at the Top

I was talking to a friend about their college degree and what they were going to do with it.  He said, “I like writing screenplays, but everybody’s writing screenplays,” and the words out of my mouth, before I even thought, were,  “Then why don’t you write a better one than their’s”.  I meant it honestly.  You can be the best — it’s just really hard.  The good news is most people can’t be that bothered to work really hard, even if they’re getting paid for it.

FIVE RULES FOR BEING THE BEST

Find the one thing you love doing more than anything else in the world.  This is really key.  You can’t ‘kind of like it’, or dislike it but think it’s a good way to make money and have it work out.  You can do it as a job, but you’ll absolutely never be the best at it.  The good news is the thing you were made to do is out there.  Just keep looking for it.  Remember — ‘You have to sniff out joy. Keep your nose to the joy trail.’ ~ Buffy St. Marie.

Make sure it’s something you want to do every day and night for as long as you live.  If you can’t stop doing it, thinking about it, or returning to it again and again, you will make it.

Hard work is the ticket to everywhere you want to be.  Now a lot of people have lost the idea that hard work can be a joy.  From our schools to a lot of our jobs, hating hard work is now a national pastime.  But it’s a pastime you don’t want in your life.  Step away from talking about work in those ways.  Instead remember the times work was a joy — spending all day building a fort as a kid, helping your own child with a scrapbook, or building a Habitat House.  Reclaim hard work as the key to every door you want to walk through and every dream you have.  And, when you come to terms with hard work as the price of greatness, a funny thing will happen — once you stop complaining about it, you’ll find it’s not really that hard after all.

Help other people, or at least, don’t hurt them.  Helping others succeed is one of the best ways to find success yourself, but it’s not mandatory.  What is mandatory in my book is not fucking with other people’s dreams, hopes, and happiness.  Every minute you spend putting down people (even those you don’t know and will never meet) is a minute you aren’t helping yourself become a better person, a better artist.  Like with hard work, break the cycle of talking about others in a negative way.  The world is filled with joy and abundance, but a lot of your success is contingent on you meeting the world with a positive, happy heart.  Don’t waste your precious time on haters, or being a hater.

Be only satisfied with your ABSOLUTE best work.  Compare yourself to the all-time greats — Gandhi, da Vinci, Fitzgerald.  Whatever you’re doing, never settle for good enough.  In fact, the words ‘good enough’ should make you want to puke.  A real mistake people make is to look at the lowest rung of anything and think, ‘If I could do that, I could make it.’  Now, if that inspires you to start, great, but what you really want is to WAY overshoot that.  My goal would be to have one of the top 5% best-written books of the year my novel comes out, really more like best 2%.  Audacious?  Sure.  But believe you me, it definitely keeps me out of the bottom 2%.

In the end, luck will play a role in any success.  But deep, soulful love of what you do and a willingness to work hard to rise up to the top of your powers in the thing you were born to do plays a much greater role.  So what are you waiting for?  Go out there and be the best!  I know you’ve got it in you.