Travelling Young.

“We are what we repeatedly do” is a quote from Aristotle that reminds me each and every time, that as a young graduate fresh from university… the decisions you make now will affect you for the rest of your life.

This is why our young 20s are so important. It’s a time when we all realize that in September, the game has changed. It’s a new lifestyle we must adjust to, but it hits you so hard and fast that even approximately 19 years of school couldn’t prepare you for this. It’s our rite of passage to look into ourselves and see what we really want from life.

For me, there’s no better way to experience a fulfilling life than to enjoy what our world has to offer us. Most often though, our lives are in the way… or is it just a petty excuse to for us to not take the risk?

What about my school debts?

What about finding a job?

What about my friends and family?

You think you have problems now… wait till you’ll older. I’m not one to speak for a 30 year old, but you can observe that as you get older, more responsibilities will be piled on top of what you think are problems now.

Go out there, find 3 other friends and a car and just go and experience what even your own country can offer. Being a city boy in Toronto practically my entire life, experiencing what Western Canada has to offer was beyond any description I could type here for you. Or perhaps, do a volunteer excursion. Build a school in a faraway land, intern overseas or teach English in foreign country.

Be a person filled with adventure, culturally informed and experience what our planet Earth can do for you. You’re still young, but you won’t be young forever. Take the time to get to know yourself and what you really want from your life. These experiences will enlighten your perspectives, allow you to figure yourself out and will inform you about many aspects of the world’s culture. More importantly though, it will connect you with nature and generate human networks that can last a lifetime.

Another man that can attest to this idea is Jeff Goins. He wrote this fantastic piece which inspired me to generate this post and spread that same wisdom throughout the internet: http://convergemagazine.com/featured/travel-young/

Natural phenomenon, Electric neon blue water, in Maldives
Photo by Doug Perrine

Bodyrocking. An essential activity to life.

I have always been a huge advocate for physical fitness.

You have to understand that without your physical body and your health, you are nothing. So take care of it. You are going to be useless to everyone in your life (including yourself) if health isn’t a priority for you.

I have always heard excuses when it comes to exercise ranging from, “I don’t have enough time” to “I don’t know how to workout.”

Giving excuses to important aspects of your life leads to failure. Failure occurs when you stop trying.

Failure in physical fitness is not something you want to ever deal with. There are no benefits to being unhealthy. I know this sounds obvious, but a reminder or two doesn’t hurt. If anything, I would like this to serve as a reminder of how important it is to stay healthy.

This is why when I ran into something called “Bodyrock”, I was amazed. If you lack time in your life, or the necessary skills to workout on your own at the gym, this is a solution for you. Better yet, you can do this from home… right in front of the same computer screen you are reading this from. Best of all, the only equipment required is you. Check out their website at: http://www.bodyrock.tv/

Here’s an example of their various workouts that you can try:

Don’t be fooled by the website guys. This home workout movement is catered to both men and women. Trust me all you macho guys, even the female workouts can be brutal. In fact, they are probably more brutal because they tend to concentrate on core muscles (which are essential to overall physical strength development), rather than the typical upper-body workouts for men. They also provide new workouts daily and if you follow their routines, you will notice a difference. These are amazing workouts because they develop your body in both strength and endurance.

Good luck, and keep on rockin’!

A very great story, told by a very great writer. Heartbreak doesn’t always have to end in </3. Loneliness is underrated.

– Phil

Adrian vs. the World

“People don’t realize this but loneliness, it’s underrated.” No, I didn’t write it. Yes, it’s from a movie. Doesn’t make it less true.

It’s no secret that I absolutely adore (500) Days of Summer. As a film, it transcends generations through its boldfaced honesty and reaches to the hopeless romantic in each of us. Tom, the hopeful hero of the story, is a character who we all can relate to. Just like him, we’re eventually drawn to the idea of true love at some point in our lives. But that’s through no fault of our own. We’d see it in movies, hear it play on the radio, and read about it in books. We’re exposed to it at such a young age that it becomes more of a goal than our own dreams, which is pretty much what happened to Tom. He’s the only enduring human trait throughout the…

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Social Networking… an essential tool to give you the upper hand in our 21st century job market.

Being active online and creating your online identity, is like going to a job fair, or a speed dating event, or even a golf tournament with potential clients… but they know a bit about your background beforehand.

There’s nothing wrong with being the person who is tweeting every few minutes, or being the one the one who keeps posting cute kitten videos on Facebook, but there is a limit as to how you should use social media to create your online identity. The powers hidden in this wide net of electronic data is astronomical. It’s a way to meet people without being the creeper at the club, and a way to unlock potential opportunities or develop a client base in not just your local area, but around the world. Which is why you should be actively participating on social networks.

But, use it responsibly and professionally! Those pictures of you in the club with your bunch of ladyfriends sipping on “Santana Champ because it’s so crisp” won’t do any good for anyone. You want to your future employer, your future potential girlfriend/friends and your future clients to know enough about you to want to know you. Not know everything about you and what you for pleasure on a Saturday night.

I read a great article today and was inspired to reactivate a regular presence online to help not only myself, but everyone else:

http://lifeinc.today.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/08/14/13220742-your-absence-on-facebook-may-be-holding-you-back?

It was actually because of this blog and my online presence that allowed me to gain amazing opportunities, get my foot in the door and helped with my candidacy over other potential applicants. It’s also an easier way for you to get to know and meet other people nationally and internationally, sharing your  similar interests, connecting to people with similar skills, etc. And let’s face it, if your online presence is next to nothing, you can compare yourself to “that creeper” at the club, approaching a girl when she has no idea who you are and what you want.

If you think you’re too busy or too cool for Facebook and Twitter, think again. It should be just as important as your job, because it defines YOU as a person and not just another “employee” or “potential candidate” to a company. Workers are people too.

 

In today’s world, where many people are permanent job seekers, “social media presence is basically a must in managing one’s career,” John Challenger (chief executive of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, a global outplacement firm) said. “Not doing so will cause many to question why and will raise red flags about your candidacy. What do you not what people to know? What are you hiding?”

“And if you don’t have an online identity, companies can’t find you,” said Challenger.

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2012: The end of the (financial surplus) world. – Saving vs. Spending

I don’t mean to scare or discourage you, but it is important for everyone to be well informed of the hard times we will have ahead in the New Year. The best you and anyone else can do is be informed and prepared. However, I am in no way whatsoever a psychic – but it doesn’t mean this makes no sense.

Here is an article you can read as a reference.

A good friend of mine made a good observation on an article comment, and I quote:

Canada Today:
Buying things we don’t need…
With money we don’t have…
To impress people we don’t know…
To fill a void which won’t go away…

As you may already know, the world is currently floating on so much debt, that it has hampered economies such as Greece and Italy, but what you don’t know is that countries such as the United States and Canada are no better off than they are. The United States are $14 trillion+ in debt and Canada has just surpassed their $1 trillion dollar mark (Federal and Provincial debt accumulated). What does this mean for all of us? This means we will be taking on this debt. With debt, there is interest (money paid as a fee for borrowing), and it varies according to your credit rating (how good you are at paying your bills). Take this for example: If you were never good at paying your credit card bills, why should I keep lending you more money? Well the solution to that is to actually charge you more interest because I may never know if my money will be coming back. This is the problem with accumulated debt. It gets to a point where it is impossible to pay back the interest and the principal (the amount you borrowed from me).

It’s a path that many of our countries are heading into. A country only produces so much money every year. By overspending and borrowing, you put yourself in a bigger and bigger hole… to a point of no return. So what’s the solution? Stop borrowing over your means to spend. Especially on stuff that you don’t need. Be responsible with your mortgage and credit cards. If you can’t afford it, don’t buy it! This is going to be especially important when the government finally realizes this and starts their austerity measures by cutting everything from jobs to services. Times will be bad for every single one of us, so it’s important that you SAVE and PRODUCE more for the economy in order for us to repay our debts and afford to live while we repay our debts. Turn off the heat and bring out the sleeping bags, it’s time to live like a soldier!

What’s even worse for us is that we have many, many people who do not understand this concept about how the monetary and economic systems work. This poses a problem to all of us because if you are not informed about your personal contribution to our economic debt, you hurt every single one of us in the end. I personally do not have a degree in Business, Economics, Finance, Accounting, etc. I have a degree in the Arts and still understand this concept. It’s Finance 101. It’s knowledge that you need to know for your own personal benefit, and for the long-term benefit of our society’s way of life.

When you see low interest (borrowing) rates to borrow money for the new house/car do you think of it as an opportunity or a burden?
If you saw that as an opportunity, you are contributing to the problem if you cannot pay it off. – Exercise responsibility.
If you saw that as a burden, then you’re right. If you needed to borrow money in the first place for something, it means you cannot afford it. Don’t let your desire for consumption overtake your rational financial decisions.

There needs to be a balance of Saving & Producing versus Spending & Borrowing. We have severely unbalanced our financial system. It is up to our generation to be informed and know that we will be living a hard life of repayment. We will be paying more for less, there will be hard times ahead. Just know why it’s happening. Hope for the best but be prepared for the worst.

Your Network. A precious asset or liability to You.

When you’re out there in the real world, you are your own business. The business is You. Marketing yourself is a job you will have your entire life. What people think about you, what people want from you, what people expect of you. As the CEO of your own company, you have to make decisions. These decisions can affect the future prospect of your company (the success of You). Do your friends in your network respect you? Do they know if you’re lazy or hardworking? Do they know if you’re honest or a liar? It’s up to you. As the CEO, you manage your own public relations with your own network. It’s what generates your leads, future customers, prospective jobs and most of all, develops friendship.

Think of it this way, who would have the advantage: Someone recommended by a friend? Or someone that just applied off your website? Education gets you far, but what gets you further is your network.

This is why you should never take your network for granted. Most importantly, don’t ever use your friends or connections to help you achieve a selfish goal at their expense. There are many stories that can be twisted and things may sound too good to be true, because it probably is too good to be true. You must look at things from not just your own perspective, but from the unbiased perspectives of your customers, family, friends… Your Network. And when it comes to business, it’s the same thing – how would the market and your potential customers see it? Don’t believe everything someone says, do your own research and talk to people who would be your potential target customers. Observe and research, before doing anything. Don’t let someone take advantage of your spirit and allow you to put your desire into the wrong opportunity. This goes with anything in life:

  • Don’t put your desire into selling things you don’t believe in
  • Don’t put your heart out for a jerk who says you are beautiful and doesn’t treat you like it
  • Don’t put your trust into an incompetent leader who constantly makes bad decisions
  • Don’t let gym trainers have you sign up at their gym only to watch you walk the track.

– Get my drift?

Desire is one of those traits that can be used to make a positive change and motivate someone to do something that benefits them, or used negatively to cause harm to someone at their expense. Going back to your network, it’s important that others see your company (You) as someone that actually makes a positive change for everyone. For example, how would you feel if your boss took more money at the end of the day at your expense and hard work? A good boss would note that without your efforts, they wouldn’t be in a position to earn that extra money. How about a bonus for you? Or a company party to thank you for your hard work? Your network will respond positively if you demonstrate these traits – I don’t know about you, but I would work for someone like that – or they will know you as that horrible friend that just takes advantage of you for your labour and leaves without a goodbye.

As a sidenote: Don’t ever believe something from one perspective, anyone can be convinced of anything. It is up to you to go out there and make sure that you are actually making an INFORMED decision. 

Desire: The not-so-secret formula to success in all aspects of life.

It’s interesting how you can just simply look at someone and know what they’re thinking (kind of). It’s almost like a natural skill, a universal language that we are all born with. Granted, I run into my fair share of happy people, along with unhappy people. It’s the consistent unhappiness that I see in some people that concern me. Things may not always go your way all the time… but it shouldn’t be happening all the time. Especially when it’s a problem that you can voluntarily change. It’s natural to think that nothing is ever going your way, but it’s because we only notice something when it’s wrong. Really, just sit back and think of all the little good things that have happened today. If you need help, check out 1000 Awesome Things.

I like to use the word desire to express how much you are willing to achieve your happiness by attempting to fix the problems that challenge you. Life is filled with problems. But you fix it. It just shows how much you care about yourself. People like that. They can see it and even feel it. You will too.

Let’s take an example of a relationship: Your boyfriend/girlfriend doesn’t take the time to shower and brush up for a date. No time? Make time. Attempt to do it in 5 minutes, at least show the effort. – Failure to attempt shows irresponsibility, a lack of interest and it is just plain and simply unattractive.

Or even in the workplace: I’m unsatisfied with my job. Well… what do you see yourself doing? How will you get there? Do some research and make it happen! – In your lifetime, you will spend most of your time sleeping, next to working, so it plays a huge role on your morale in life.

Not happy with your health? Go join a gym. Join with a friend if that helps. – Or even better… work out from home! The secret to a healthy lifestyle and physical success is desire. It generates motivation which allows for consistency in exercise, leading to actual results. None of that steroid stuff is necessary.

I know these are very obvious solutions to many popular problems. But the point I’m trying to make here is that… nothing changes, if there’s no desire to make a change. Yes, you can join the gym… but will you actually go? It’s so easy just to stay miserable and hope the problem will solve itself, but think of it this way: Will the outcome be what you wanted it to be? – Chances are, if you didn’t have any input to inflict change, it either won’t change or the change will not benefit you.

The great thing about having desire is that you have the will to make something happen for yourself. It’s one of the most important features you will need to succeed in anything, whether it’s a financial, social, physical, or career goal. Go out there and make something of yourself. Just remember that sh*t happens, and it’s going to happen to you. What matters is that you have the desire to get back up and keep going. Never run from your mistakes, admit and own them. It shows respect and integrity for yourself and for others. Remember: YOU are the change.

Investing in yourself. The best investment with potentially astronomical returns.

That’s right. You. Consider yourself as a small business or maybe even a small country. You are the Manager/CEO/President/King or Queen/God/whatever. You are the person that goes out there making phone calls, sending resumes, working out, socializing, and making the “big cheese” (money).

How do you show a company that you have the experience for the job? How do you show the girl that you’re the one they should be with? How do you show your friends that they’re really appreciated? How do you impress your boss?

The answer all comes down to you. Investing some time/effort/money into yourself. Take some initiative and motivate yourself to finding the best path to reach your goals. Let’s be honest, how do you benefit others if you can’t even benefit yourself? By achieving overall success in yourself, you’re a better co-worker, husband/wife, boyfriend/girlfriend, friend, brother/sister, etc. There’s a saying I like to go by: You get what you put into it. The more work you put into something, the likelier you will gain a return on your investment. I’m not just talking about money here… I’m talking about something that is of value to you.

I started this blog not just to write about what was on my mind, I wrote it to help others who may be struggling, need some advice, learn something new and most importantly, empower themselves. Even this has lead to some great returns. You never know with the internet these days, something as simple as words on a blog can turn to gold. Just keep at it! Never give up. You only fail when you stop trying.

Why money is a hot topic – Start saving now and know what to spend your money on.

Financial management is more important than ever as we are now feeling the pinch of inflation and rising prices in food and oil. (What is inflation?) How ridiculous is it that gas now costs us $1.20+/litre? The higher cost of oil affects everything… including the cost of getting your food to the supermarkets! Workers have to work longer to save up for retirement, issues of rising debt for Canadians and the cost of living is getting more expensive. Some of these trends are out of our control and the only way to make sure you can still make ends meet (for now and for the future) is to save up for rainy days and retirement by controlling your own finances by making a few adjustments to your life and learning what to do with your money. Money does not always have to be a burden on you. You can make yourself worth a lot more with what you already have. A great quote from a book called “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” which helped me realize the importance of savings & investments is: Why work for money when money can work for you?

Start putting some money aside for savings NOW! The earlier you start, the easier it’ll be for you in the future. Taking a portion of your paycheck and putting it aside from reckless spending will allow you to do many other beneficial things with your money. I’ll explain this a little further below, but the only way you can start saving is to not spend it recklessly on things you don’t really need. If you’re already in debt, you have to get rid of those as soon as you can. There is nothing worse than having to pay interest on existing loans. It’s basically the school bully robbing you of your lunch money.

4 words: Tax-Free Savings Account. Get one! We all hate the tax-man, and with TFSAs there is literally a chastity belt on it from the tax-man. You can only contribute $5000 per year but these savings and any money that you make from investments are not taxed! Imagine having invested in something where you made money and it’s ALL yours. At the same time, if you ever need to withdraw from it for a rainy day – you can! Check this for more information about TFSAs.

Now what do I do with all my savings? There are many options and a lot of it depends on your personal risk tolerance (We’ll save this for another time). But one thing is for sure, you must know the difference between an asset (Anything that makes you money) and a liability (Anything that costs you money). This is a basic way of determining what you should be spending your money on.

Take a car for example and layout the income and expenses of a car: A car will never generate you more money than you’ve spent on it. You have to pay for gas, repairs, parking, insurance, etc. and it doesn’t generate you any monthly income and will decrease in value – the older a car gets, the less it’s worth. There is no doubt that a car is a liability. An argument is that it is a necessity and sometimes it is. Some people can’t make it to work without a car, which is why you have to learn how to lose the least amount of money with the purchase of a car. Check out this article if I haven’t convinced you that a car is a terrible investment.

Now let’s take a GIC (Guaranteed Investment Certificate) investment: A GIC is a low-risk investment provided by banks that guarantee your contribution, which means you will be guaranteed to get your money back if no gains are made on it. Depending on what type of GIC it is, you can make none, or a little bit of money. Because it’s so low-risk, you probably won’t make much money, but you won’t lose it either. The only way you can lose your money is if the bank goes bankrupt (which will not happen with any of the big banks). At the same time, they usually lock your money in for a certain amount of time so you can’t touch it (Which is great if you’re saving). There are no expenses with this transaction but this can generate more income for you. Therefore we can conclude that this is an asset.

These are very basic examples but as long as you get the idea and the difference between an asset and a liability, you will be able to make well-informed decisions on what you should be spending your money on. You can use your money and grow it into something bigger. One of the most important factors in determining how big it will get, is TIME. So start now while you can, and don’t let financial issues become a burden on you. With these tips and educating yourself on this topic, it’s possible that you can save and/or be worth a million dollars!

Thanks to this article for inspiring me to write this: http://www.moneyville.ca/article/944747–can-anyone-really-save-a-million-dollars

How to read someone without even saying a word. – Why first impressions are so important.

Some of the things that really intrigue me are social interactions we all have as human beings. You can learn so much about someone within the first 10 seconds of observing them. Why is this important you may ask? In a fast-paced world like today you need to make a lasting impression with little time. People need to make quick judgements (a mental snapshot) about people because so much is happening all the time – we need to make sense of it all, and this mental snapshot is what will define you to that person. You need to stand out in the clutter of people. This is before you even say a word to them, so naturally you would think the face and the body have so much to do with this. It does.

Picture someone in your mind and name them with the first adjective that comes to your mind. You have already developed a mental image of this person. Chances are, that is the main characteristic (or one of the main characteristics) you would use to describe him/her. You want people to have a positive emotional attachment whenever they think of you. And you can do this without even saying a word. Emotional reactions occur even before the brain has had time to register what’s causing that reaction.

One of those most basic things you can do is focus on your posture, head positioning, your smile and your eyes. This can easily distinguish someone who is walking into an interview believing they will get the job, and someone who feels like they don’t even stand a chance. Positive energy attracts positive energy. Walk in feeling confident and your body will naturally react to it. You will smile without even knowing it.

Posture: Stand/Sit up straight. Your parents didn’t tell you this for no reason. We tend to associate slouching with old age = not good. It gives an impression that you are weak, conservative and introverted. Now I know I personally do slouch a lot, but hey… focus on it when it matters the most at least.

Head Positioning: Look up! There is no reason to be looking down unless you dropped your wallet. You want to be noticed, and the only way you can observe other people is by keeping your head up. This is especially important for you guys whose heads wonders down when you talk to women. Her eyes are up on her face, not on her chest! Nothing more embarrassing than making yourself look like a pervert. Ever hear of the saying “Eyes are the window to one’s soul?” No one can see your eyes if you’re not looking up. Which leads us into the next (and most important) factor to this equation.

Eye Contact: This is very important and of course, works best with the opposite sex. Even if you’re not using your eyes to potentially develop a relationship, it still works well for business. Direct eye contact gives out a sense of respect in business and a sense of affection in relationships. A study that was done by Yale researchers involved delivering a personally revealing monologue to a listener who constantly gave eye contact. The study went as planned when women told women their stories. It gave off a sense of intimacy but when men told their stories to other men, it didn’t go as planned. Some men felt threatened when other men stared at them for too long. So there is a modified version of “eye contact” when men engage with other men. I’ll get back to this.

The researchers also found that when you look intently at someone, it increases their heartbeat and shoots an adrenalinelike substance in your veins. It’s the same physical reaction we get when we fall in love. So when you use eye contact consciously, it will feel like you have captivated the other person. So when you’re talking, don’t break eye contact and if you need to, do it slowly… don’t lose the connection that you have!

In regards to men interacting with other men, keep eye contact… but you don’t need to “stick” to it as much as you would with women, especially when discussing personal issues.

Your Smile: Probably one of the most important aspects of body language next to your eyes. Two different aspects I’m going to touch base on in regards to your smile: Type and timing. There are two types: real (warm) smiles, and there are fake (cold) smiles. I hope I don’t need to explain the difference. The other aspect of your smile… is all about timing. Picture someone smiling ALL the time… it’s a little weird isn’t it? When you first greet someone you actually don’t need to smile right away. A smile is more credible when the transition is seen by your target. So take even a split second to look at them naturally, and then shine your big warm smile right at him/her. That way the smile genuine and the person knows that smile was made specifically for him/her.

Don’t just apply these skills to obtaining a job, these skills have no boundaries. They work for any kind of social interaction ranging from developing new clients to personal relationships. Remember, it’s the little things that matter most. The stuff you usually don’t ever think about plays a bigger role than you actually think!