Stop being anti-social: How Networking helps the future you

Stop being anti-social.  I get it, people suck a lot of the time, and you might be to the point where you say “It’s just easier to avoid people all together” or “I’d rather stay home than mingle with people I don’t really care about”.  While this may seem like the cool edgy thing to say, this same mentality will put you at a disadvantage in the future.

Being an outgoing person most of my life, I’ve found that networking with people comes easier for me than others, and I have also taken note of the side effects of both personality types and I can say with full confidence that I’m happy with my natural social disposition. 

For some, being social doesn’t come easy, and that’s OK, but I think it’s less of a lack of personality/skill and more of a lack of understanding of why being social is important.  Some people will see making an effort to be more social as “trying to be popular” or “waste of my time when I could be doing what I really want to do”, when they really just have no real motivation to do so.   Let this article be your motivation. 

Have you ever been with a friend or family member when a situation comes up or someone asks “I wish I could get some firewood right now, but I don’t know anybody who has any.”, then one of your friends, or that weird Uncle, says “I got a firewood guy” and proceeds to call them and solve the problem.  Simple instances like this one are one of the many reasons why networking is important.

Another reason to get out there and meet more people is how it opens doors for your potential future.  It’s not hard to understand how the more people you meet, the more experiences you’ll have, and the more opportunities that will be made available to you.  You can’t possibly expect to win the lottery and never buy a ticket. 

I can imagine some of you introverts are thinking “Well I’m not one to “be fake” just so I can get hooked up with things here or there”, but that’s not the point of being more social.  Anything you are not used to doing often is going to feel strange at the beginning, but over time you’ll find you can be just as real as you ever were with minimal effort on your part and maybe even start to enjoy it. 

Another motivation is that you don’t end up like the crazy cat lady or the weird old guy who lives down the street that nobody knows and or trusts because you didn’t develop enough personal and or professional relationships earlier in your life.

Below are some ways I think you can start being more social and pump up your networking game to give future you more options than you have now: 

Methods to help you socially network: 

  • Say yes to the invitations you get
    • I know, I know.. it would seem staying home would be the better of the two options when invited to go out to a function or a party, but you never know who you might meet or what unknown doors you might open if you do go.  Take the chance and you might not regret it. 
  • Make an effort to reach out to old acquaintances and family
    • Staying in touch with people you’ve already met is key, not only for their perception of you when you might need something they have access to, but also to be viewed as a “valuable resource”  to people in your life.
    • Go through your apps or old messages and ping the people you haven’t spoken to in a while.  Sometimes just a simple “Hey how’s it going” is enough to start a conversation and then you can blow them away when you’re not just reaching out to ask something of them. 
  • Make an effort when you’re already in a social situation
    • We’ve all been to a function or event and all you can think about is when you’ll have the opportunity to leave, but you can easily turn these seemingly negative situations into positive ones by forcing yourself to meet with or talk to specific people that would help future you out.  Yes it requires a little effort, but anything worth doing is worth doing right. 
    • You can even make it a game in your head to talk to at least 5 people or to get just one phone number or make plans with somebody for a future get together.  No matter how you go about it, someone is bound to take notice that you are not just a lump on a log and may have some value to them in one way or another. 
  • Be genuinely you
    • Most of us can tell when a person is being fake and it’s always off putting, so don’t be that person.  It’s ok if you don’t become best friends with everyone you meet so just be yourself.  When you’re networking the goal isn’t to like 100% of every person out there, it could just be the 20% of a person that you get along with and it’s ok to enjoy them only for that 20% and that number could improve over time. 
  • Don’t be a flake
    • This is my final and probably most important aspect of being social.  People hate, and I mean HATE, a person who makes plans and cancels at the last minute.  You may think your excuse of “My kid is sick” or “I had an emergency pop up” is going to cut it, but they know you’re just being a flake and they will be less apt to make plans with you in the future.  
    • Part of social networking is also building your own personal brand/reputation and being a flake does no good for it. 

Making simple changes to your social behavior can have extremely beneficial outcomes ranging from new job opportunities, new friendships or even finding the love of your life, but none of these doors will be open to you unless you put in the effort.   People can be terrible sometimes, but we can also be amazing and you are one of them, so be the best version of you that you can be. 

Apocalyptic Wealth: Trading, bartering and what to prepare

We’ve all seen the movies and shows where society collapses, people have to survive when money is worthless, but have you really thought about what YOU would do realistically?  The goal of this article is to get you thinking or maybe give you new ideas of what you can trade or barter with in a SHTF scenario. 

There’s things you can start saving and stockpiling now for barter and trade later and other things that you’ll need to learn how to produce as your stockpile will most likely dwindle faster than you think and you do NOT want to be left with nothing of value when you and yours are hard up for food, medicine or other life saving items. However this article will only be for pre-collapse prepping/investing.

Pre-Collapse Prepping: Hypothetically It’s present day and you’re feeling pretty good about life, you have enough money in savings to survive most modern day issues, maybe a steady job, 401k and some trendy crypto investments to “hodl” onto, but will these things help you during a SHTF scenario?  The obvious short answer is NO.  

During a collapse, electricity on a wide scale will undoubtedly go out simultaneously, bringing down the internet, and any electronic banking, investing or savings you might have.  If you’re a millionaire only in numbers on a computer, you’ll be destitute merely seconds after the power goes out for good.  

So what can you do to prepare for this sort of situation? This is a tricky question, and it depends a lot on your current situation and means that you currently have at your disposal.  Below is a list of some realistic ways to prepare pre-collapse: 

  • Physical precious metals like Gold/Silver
    • Gold/Silver has been a main purchasing power throughout nearly all of humanity and it will undoubtedly be one during a SHTF scenario.  
    • You can start saving and hoarding your precious metals even on a tight budget as there are local stores and online stores that will let you purchase as much or as little as you can afford. 
    • Even if a collapse never happens in your lifetime a stockpile of physical precious metals will have only gone up in value and can be traded back for cash value if needed or you can give them to your children as inheritance that the government cannot tax you on. 
  • Ammunition
    • No matter what your views are regarding firearms, the fact that ammo will be worth it’s weight in gold during a SHTF scenario doesn’t change.  Keeping ammo on hand and in large quantities can not only help you survive if violently attacked, but can also serve as a very valuable trading item.
    • Different types of ammo will be worth different amounts to different people depending on what type of firearm they have to shoot it, so keeping commonly used rounds on hand is preferred.  9mm, .45acp, .223/5.56, 12ga, 30-06, .308 and .22lr are all very common and keeping any of these on hand can help you out with bartering. 
  • Alcohol & Liquor 
    • Just like Ammunition/Firearms, your personal opinion about Alcohol will not diminish its value during a SHTF scenario.  Not only will other people want it for drinking, but others may need it for disinfectant or cleaning. 
    • Unopened liquor has a nearly unlimited shelf-life so you can start collecting your booze now, but don’t open it as opened bottles of liquor usually only keeps for 1-2 years before degrading. 
  • Hunting Gear
    • Getting food will not be as easy as it once was and you won’t just be able to stroll to your local Bass Pro shop or Walmart to pick up some bow arrows, fishing pole and or small game traps, so having a much of these items stored as you can (even if you don’t know how to hunt) is just a good idea.
    • You’re surely to run into someone in a SHTF scenario that either knows how to hunt that could use your items or could teach you to hunt and you can use your own items, so in either case, it will benefit you to have them. 
  • Salt
    • Salt is important, not only to make food less bland (which will be a huge issue during a SHTF scenario), but also because it’s a mineral your body needs (especially when running low on food and dehydrated).
    • Since you most likely will not be transporting large amounts of food long distances you’ll likely use it for your own food and to barter with as most people have no knowledge of how to find salt for their use outside of the grocery store. 
    • Buy and store as much salt as you can and you won’t regret having if the occasion should arrive. 
  • Medical & Hygiene
    • This section should go without saying, but knowing that you’ll pretty much ONLY be able to get these items pre-collapse might help motivate you to get a head start on stockpiling the more important ones below:
      • Antibiotics 
      • Scissors
      • Gauze Pads
      • Tourniquets
      • Tampons/Pads
      • Toothbrushes/Toothpaste
      • Tylenol/Aspirin
      • Disinfectant
      • Ointments
      • Pain Meds
      • Rubbing Alcohol
      • And anything else you can get your hands on
  • Clothes
    • Believe it or not, clothes will become a bigger problem than you think.  Wear and tear of your current clothes will be accelerated without proper cleaning and with heavy use.  Also running to the mall to scavenge some clothes will likely be unsuccessful as you’re not the only person who will be running into this problem.
    • One way of doing this might be to hold onto some of the better clothes you no longer wear instead of selling them at the next yard sale or taking them to goodwill, this will take up space, but also won’t cost you anything extra. 

There are many items that other preppers would potentially add to this list, but to keep this from becoming a short book, I’ll stop here.  Remember, skills you learn will always be worth more than physical items when it comes to preparing for a SHTF scenario, but a combo of both is the best plan.

Becoming more self-sufficient: Getting started and staying motivated

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last year or so, you can probably see for yourself how unpredictable the world has become.  The COVID pandemic woke a lot of people up to the cold hard fact that you can’t just rely on consumerism to provide and feed yourself consistently.   

It may seem like a minor inconvenience to show up at the grocery store one day and not be able to get a few key items that you need, but it’s telling of what it might look like during a more serious situation that can very well happen to anybody. 

Venezuela is currently experiencing the scenario that I am talking about above due to a mix of political and economic stress brought upon by their adoption of socialism.   Their money devalued to the point you can find it in the gutters,  food shelves mostly barren and if you can find it, it’s prices have inflated to the point only the wealthy can afford it.   What would you do in this type of situation?  

In lieu of recent events my wife and I have recently decided to start becoming more self-sufficient.  We live in a small neighborhood about 30 minutes outside of St Louis, Mo.  Our home is almost the stereotypical one family house (minus the picket fence) with a front/back yard and a garage.  The rest of this will be applied to similar settings so if you live in an apartment or have other arrangements you’ll need to adjust your methods, but there’s still some good thought provoking parts that might interest you. 

For my home I have some grand plans that my wife may say is a bit lofty, and she’s probably right, so we’ve decided to take it slow, not only so we don’t overwhelm ourselves, but to also use this as a learning experience for us both.   If society really starts to break down and you have a long period where you need to provide for yourself and your family, the knowledge of how to do so will be the most valuable thing you have, considering the internet may not always be available to you to pull information from. (keeping physical books on hand is one of my backups to work around not being able to access the internet). 

Below are some steps that I recommend to get you going in the right direction, taking into account resources, cost, time and labor. 

Planning: Not only do I consider this one of the easier and funner parts of the process, but it’s also one of the most important.   At this state you can really envision what you want and what is actually possible for you and your current/long term situation. 

You’ll want to ask yourself questions like: 

  • Do I have the time and space? 
    • Whether you have a farm or if you have an apartment, there are ways you can start becoming more self-sufficient.   There are plenty of articles and books on how to do just that, but you have to set aside time to learn the methods that others have worked so hard to record.  
  • What would really benefit me and mine if resources become hard to get? 
    • Here you should think about how you’d start to save water, grow food and what things YOU can build or create that just might save your life when you need it most like Water collection, a garden that produces a good amount of food or simply shelter and heat if you live in an area that gets cold for months at a time. 
  • Prioritization
    • Now that you have an idea of what you need and where you’re going to put these plans into place it’s time to prioritize your work.  The more time you spend planning the greater this list will grow.  It may seem daunting at first, but this is why taking the process slow is so important.  Not only is the work you’re doing potentially life saving in an emergency, but it’s also A LOT of fun, so enjoying yourself during the process is key for my wife and I.    
    • You wouldn’t want to start buying seeds and plants for your garden if you haven’t even tilled up your yard yet and if you’re on a budget prioritization will be key in ensuring you don’t break the bank during the process. 

Getting started: Again, this process should be fun for you and anybody else that is helping you.  If it feels forced or if you’re stressing out too much about it, you’ll be less apt to doing it regularly.  Remember, motivation will get you started, but habit keeps it going.  

  • Changing your life habits is an important part of this process.  Lot’s of people like to claim they “don’t have time” or “I’m just too busy” when in reality there’s plenty of time, but you may have to cut some “less important” aspects out of your life like going out with friends every weekend or bing watching T.V.  Once you get into the habit of getting out in the sun and dirt you start to realize how fulfilling it is to do work that benefits you directly by your own hands and going back to binge watching T.V. or going out drinking will not seem as important.  
  • Set aside specific times that can/will become regular habits.  My wife and I use weekends for this.  Instead of saying “I’m bored, what do you want to do today” we are already excited to head out to the backyard to weed our garden or plant new plants.  Not only is it healthier for the both of us, but it’s also been great for our relationship to spend quality time together and build something together that will benefit our family. 
  • Start small.  As I said before, it can be a daunting task, so stick to your prioritization list.  One example could be “This weekend I’m going to till the plot that I plan my garden to be” or “I’m going to purchase the wood to build a raised bed”.  With each small step you complete, the closer to your self-sufficiency goals you will be.   

Keeping it going: Like I usually say, I’m not an expert on any of this stuff, I just have an active passion for it and I’m extremely excited to produce and maintain something that is completely my own and for my family’s well being.  This passion of mine is my motivator for keeping it going and repetition becomes habit.   

  • Start thinking long-term.  Once you get going, whether it be a large garden or a water collection system you should start thinking of how you’ll store this stuff for practical use.  Do you plan on canning veggies for use during the winter?  What happens when my water collection tanks freeze up?  Do I need a fence to keep out critters from eating my crops?  There’s lots of problems to solve, but if you get into the passionate mindset about your plans it becomes not so  much a problem, but a learning event for you to experience.  

The process of becoming more self-sufficient is an ongoing process that never ends, so get used to learning new things, but keep in mind that the things you’re learning is knowledge that fewer and fewer people possess that can be invaluable when/if the time comes.  You may find yourself listening to podcasts on homesteading, watching youtube videos on gardening or simply collecting “How To” books for reference in case of a disaster.  Many people have different hobbies, but learning to become more self-sufficient becomes less of a hobby and more of a skill the longer you practice it.  Good luck with your future projects!

“Prepping” as a lifestyle: Little things you can do on a budget

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past year, you’ve probably noticed many aspects of society are looking “less than stable” to say the least.  Politics are crazy, prices for gas and meat are on the rise, jobs are hard to find and we’re seeing crime and homelessness in our major cities at a level we’ve never seen before.   With the uncertainty of the future, many are attempting to become more self-sufficient and prepare for what may lay ahead, but that can be hard to do on a limited budget and knowledge on how and what exactly to prepare for.  

The last thing a new prepper on a budget wants to do is spend money on non-priority items, especially when they are just getting started.  So below is a list of tips and items that I believe ANYBODY can practice in order to at least get your bases covered in case you’re faced with a real crisis where you’re on your own. 

Here is a list of cheap and easy to find items that you can buy now while the gettin’s good before they are invaluable and few and far between when/if SHTF:

  • Water
    • This should go without saying, but you will not get too far if you don’t have water, so grabbing a cheap case of water or jugs should be a priority, just make sure you store it in a cool area such as a basement or storage area off of the ground.  Rotating out the older cases and using them in your day to day life should become practice, this goes for all perishable items. 
    • Another thing to purchase with water is electrolyte packets, they are very cheap, lightweight and high in potassium/salt that will help replenish you during SHTF scenarios as your body will be in need of this sorely (pun intended).
  • Food
    • Canned food is great for prepping as it’s shelf life is generally longer than most other stored foods, you can find cheap canned food on sale that may not seem too delicious at the time, but when your stomach is rumbling when there is no place else to get food it will start looking very nice and you’ll thank past you for having it on hand for your home stash. I usually grab one or two cans each time I visit the grocery store. 
    • Besides canned food there are other shelf-stable foods you can start stocking up on that don’t weigh as much because, let’s face it, you may have to take your things on the road if you have to find another safer place to stay.  I recommend foods such as; Peanut Butter (high in calories), Nuts and trail mix, power bars, packets of tuna, chicken and salmon, powdered milk, and don’t forget SPICES as cooking in a SHTF scenario may be less than delicious.
  • Medical
    • No matter how careful you are, medical situations will arise, especially in a SHTF scenario.  What items will you and your loved ones need when you can’t go to Walmart, CVS, Walgreens or the hospital? 
    • I recommend stocking up on items like pain meds, antibacterial salves, bandages, multivitamins, latex gloves, hydrogen peroxide, tourniquets (at least one per person), tweezers, and a general first aid guide that you can carry around.  Stock up on one or two of these items next time you’re at the store and keep doing so until you’re stocked up. 
  • Power and Fuel
    • Besides finding wood for fires, there’s not going to be a whole lot you can do when it comes to power and fuel during a SHTF scenario, so stocking up on things such as batteries, spare fuel, propane, matches and the like while you can is imperative.  Picking up a box of AA batteries or grabbing a box of matches doesn’t take much time nor does it break the bank.  Slowly build your stockpile until you’re no longer without. 
  • Tools
    • When and if SHTF you’re going to need some hardware, so maybe on your next trip to the hardware store you can pick up an item like; an axe, buckets, wire (for repairs), shovel, screws and nails, bleach, hammer, siphon tubes, duct tape, glass jars, and other like items. 

This list above is mainly a beginner list of items you can buy slowly and ways you can “stock up”, but keep in mind prepping isn’t just about buying cool gadgets or stocking up on non-perishables, it’s also about learning new skills and getting yourself into a habit so when/if SHTF you don’t have to deviate too much from what you’ve already been thinking about and practicing.  Always be learning new ways to take care of things on your own, at home and without help, as getting into this mindset early could very well save your life or the life of others you hold dear. 

Our Bucket-List: Things we should all do before we die

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what makes people ultimately happy as well as myself, and that can be a pretty diverse subject given everybody has different goals, passions and things that they want out of life.  With that in mind I wanted to put together a list of things that I believe would give nearly everybody some memories to look back on with fondness as they ponder their life in their final days.  Some will be more specific and others will be broader, but all will be important in my opinion. 

Leaving something behind: 

  • Making your mark on the world before you go is a goal for many people, but it can also come in many forms.  For some their “mark” is their company they started that grows and becomes successful beyond themselves, for others, it’s a novel they spend years creating and for some it’s simply just raising a family that can carry on your traditions and values to the next generation.   No matter what your mark is, make sure you know it, make sure you aren’t left with no time on the clock wishing you could still leave one. 

Knowing you at least tried: 

  • One fear of mine and many others has been the fear of “what if”.  I don’t want to be that guy on his deathbed who looks back at his life with regret, especially regrets that I could change right now in this moment where I currently exist.  Do you have a business you want to start? THEN START MAKING PLANS AND STOP MAKING EXCUSES.  Do you want to travel more?  THEN START MAKING PLANS AND STOP MAKING EXCUSES.  Reference the “Getting out of your comfort zone” bullet below as I feel it goes well with this topic and remember, you’ll only be answering to yourself in those final days. 

Impacting other people:

  • This one is HUGE.  Think to yourself, when you look back on your life in your final days, will you get more satisfaction out of the money you made, the things you collected or would you get more satisfaction out of the fact that you know you directly helped or influenced others to help people who need it most.  This doesn’t have to be directly related to charity causes or homelessness, but it can be as simple as being genuine and honest with people who need it.  I was an Army recruiter for a few years as well as a tech recruiter and I helped people either get away from a bad home life or get started in the career they were aiming for resulting in their success.   The fact that I was able to influence these people and others positively makes me feel more fulfilled and happy with my performance as a human in my short existence.  

Pushing yourself: 

  • There’s levels to this one.  When it comes to “pushing yourself”, whether it be physically, emotionally or otherwise, it’s subjective and depends on your own perspective.  What is considered “pushing oneself” for one person, might be easy for another depending on how hard you’ve been “pushed” in the past.  So this will require an honest analysis of yourself and your own capabilities.  For me, I served 10 years in the U.S. Army as a Paratrooper.  I had to push myself running many miles, sleep deprivation, many months away from friends and family.  I will be able to look back on this and other times of my life knowing that I did indeed push myself in life.  Have you? 

Getting out of your comfort zone: 

  • We all get comfortable, and when we get comfortable we don’t want to ruin it by shaking things up, but you can still be stagnant in life even being comfortable.  The best way I’ve found to do this is to take a chance and just DO IT!  An example I’ll give is after I get home from work, I’ll eat some food and as soon as I relax on the couch a friend texts me and says “Hey lets hang out tonight”, “have a fire”, “go pick up that thing we were supposed to get” or something similar.   It could be easy to justify staying on the couch and some days I do this for sure, but I’m trying harder and harder to say “YES”, get my butt off the couch and DO SOMETHING and since I’ve been doing this, I’ve noticed that I NEVER regret doing that other (usually more productive/memorable) thing. 


  • One of my favorite quotes about travel comes from Mark Twain “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”  This quote alone explains why it’s healthy, but for me, traveling let’s you see and appreciate the world you live in without stagnating in one country or area.  I have many great memories and experiences that I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life.  Travel more.


  • This might come as an obvious for most, but there are a large number of people out there who say things like “I’m never getting married or  having kids” as they think that “freedom” will give them happiness.  From what I’ve observed in my own life and looking at others I can say I would never want to live a version of my life where I didn’t have a wife, children and family that I care for, this alone is the biggest item on my Bucket-list.

I hope this article at least helped put you into a new frame of thinking when it comes to your bucket list and what you want to get out of life.  Life, no matter your experience in it, is still Amazing and to waste that experience would be the biggest regret of all. 

Streamline your life: Technology as a tool

There’s no doubt we live in the AGE OF TECHNOLOGY.  Sure, a lot of us, usually the older generations, wish we could return to a simpler time when people weren’t staring at their phones all day and things of that sort, and as much as I agree with a lot of it, that’s not the point of my article today.  The technology we have at our disposal today is vast, and in my opinion, HIGHLY underutilized.  

We have “phones” in our pocket (which are actually sophisticated computers), GPS systems built into cars, digital means of paying bills and much more that are used more and more each day with generations growing up with them, but just because you own the technology and have it available doesn’t mean you’re utilizing it to it’s greatest benefit to you.  My hope with this article is to maybe realize more ways we can streamline our life to take some of the guessing work out of planning and hopefully free up more time that you can dedicate to more beneficial pursuits. 

Let’s focus on probably the most popular piece of technology today, THE SMARTPHONE.  Unless you’re making a point of not getting wrapped up in the life of always being on your phone and own a flip phone, you probably have a smartphone of your own.  It’s hard to deny the benefits of a smartphone and how much time is saved, but also how much time it drains with non-productive activity.  This goes along with the “balance” that I talked about in my previous article My 6 Elements of how to live a life fulfilled , but I’m going to talk about the time it CAN save this go around along with it’s benefits.. 

For the ease of reading and your own attention span, I’m going to just list out some of the apps and tips that I use in my own daily life and other methods that I’m simply going to speculate on since I by no means apply all of this advice in my own life as I am no more perfect of a human than any of you.  

Before listing these out, you must remember that simply downloading or having these apps available to use does just about as good as buying a book on a diet and not implementing it actually.  You must also train yourself via habit or sheer determination to actually apply them in your day to day life.  One way I do this is with reminders on my phone.  

Reminders: Nearly all smartphones have a reminder feature, whether it be on your calendar, a native feature on your phone or one of the many apps that exist for such a purpose.  Reminders are a very easy way to not only remind yourself about important tasks that you must do for work (like a meeting with finance at 2pm), but it can also be used to motivate yourself and remind yourself that you are trying to do better in life and in specific areas (like take your vitamins or a reminder to work on that book you keep putting off).  One I use personally is a daily reminder that tells me to go and talk to each one of my kids individually if only for a moment as life moves quick and small important things like this can be neglected. 

Calendar: The calendar features on your phone or email are used by many for work, but I believe it is neglected when it comes to personal things.  If you treat the important things in your life like you would for deadlines that you must meet for your job, your life can be just as organized if not a little more manageable.  Not only can you use the calendar feature for reminders like I mentioned above, but you can also coordinate with those in your life more effectively by sharing your personal calendar with those that would benefit.  One example of this would be to share your calendar with your spouse in conjunction with reminders for events like school plays, or medical appointments.  This will limit the time spent sending texts and forgetting things that may or may not have been communicated a few times prior.  

Maps and Navigation: I think it’s safe to say that the majority of us use the GPS feature on our phone pretty regularly, if not, you should.  I’ve noticed that even those who use the navigation features on their phone or other apps don’t always use them to their fullest.  Doing simple things like saving destinations that you have typed in your phone multiple times can help minimize time and frustration when you have to head there next.  Also sharing your location with someone who is expecting you can be made much easier by using the “Share ETA” option on most smartphones instead of wasting time typing out where you’re at and how long you think you’ll be.  There are also many other features in navigation apps that can make your life easier if you take the initial time to discover them.

Travel: Other than navigation (mainly driving) there are other great travel related apps that you can utilize to your benefit that only take a little time to download and set up.  If you travel regularly for work or pleasure you know how it goes; you have to book your flight, you get there, where is a good place to eat, where is the nearest hotel, what events are happening nearby that I can check out?  Apps like Southwest (for flying), Uber (transportation), Yelp (where to eat),  Airbnb (for lodging) Local, by Facebook (for finding events happening nearby) can answer most of your travel related questions with just a few short clicks instead of riffling through multiple google results. 

Health and well-being: Convenience and time saving apps and methods are great, but benefiting yourself from a health perspective is equally if not greater in importance.  No only can you set a reminder like I talked about above to work out, but you can also have an abundance of workout videos, health trackers, diet monitors and running trackers to help you gauge your performance and ensure you’re on track.  Besides just physical health, you can also work out your mind with other apps for meditation and mind exercises to keep you mentally sharp. 

A lot of what I’ve said above might seem like common sense or things you may have already known about, but I guess the main idea of this article is to remind you that by doing a little work up front and thinking ahead for the purpose of streamlining your life and day to day activities you can make a huge impact in how you operate your life by saving valuable time and utilizing the tools that you’ve already paid for.   Embrace technology and use it to its fullest, but also do not become reliant on it.  

Priorities: What are yours, realistically?

If someone asked you what your top 5 life priorities are in general, what do you think you’d say?  If you’re married with children you might say “my family’s care” as one example, or if you’re single and trying to work your way up the corporate ladder you might say “My career” as another example.  However, not many people have actually taken the time to sit down and realize what their priorities actually are and those who think they have probably haven’t taken the next step to ensure their daily actions/way of life support what they think are their priorities. My goal with this article is just to walk you through the thought process to make sure there’s nothing you missed or any habits you need to change. 

For the sake of this article I’ll pick some generic priorities that most of us can agree on, but also may differ in your own list of top 5 priorities.  This will give you an idea on how to structure them and how to break them down so you can actually make a change in the desired areas. 

Personal priorities examples:

  1. Health and welfare of myself and immediate family
    • Are you eating healthy/working out regularly? 
    • Do you encourage a healthier lifestyle for those around you? 
    • Do you go for regular checkups with the doctor? 
    • Do you smoke or drink too much? 
  2. Financial stability/freedom
    • Are you increasing credit debt or paying it off? 
    • Do you buy frivolous things at the gas station or store? 
    • Are you working extra hours or side jobs to earn more? 
    • Are you paying too much for “entertainment” like Hulu or Netflix? 
  3. Improving interpersonal relationships
    • Do you stay in contact with family regularly? 
    • Do you celebrate your friends’ success and encourage them? 
    • Do you reach out and help when you don’t have to? 
    • Do you talk behind your “friends” backs often? 
  4. Education
    • Have you mapped out a plan to get the degree/education you desire? 
    • Do you say you don’t have enough time, but waste hours on T.V.?
    • Are you racking up debt for a degree that is basically useless? 
    • Are you continuing to further yourself educationally or do you stop with a degree? 
  5. Actually enjoying life
    • Do you take time away from the madness to have fun? 
    • When was the last time you planned a real vacation? 
    • Do you let others tell you that your hobby is stupid or a waste of time? 
    • Do you find yourself more stressed than relaxed on a daily basis? 

These may all seem like pretty simple ideas, but even myself, while writing this, was forced to see the flaws that I make that do NOT align with my own priorities.  It’s almost a “gut check” if you will, that I believe that people today could do well by experiencing. What are your priorities in life?

A 2020 Christmas Poem

Merry Christmas everyone, It’s that time of year again,
Where we gather round with family 
And maybe some good friends.

2020 sure has been something,
That's pretty plain to see,
Sit right back and relax
As I list some out for thee.

COVID19 kicked it off, 
Toilet paper you must conserve,
Don’t worry it’ll be over soon
In 300 days we’ll flatten the curve.

We streamed a lot of content,
But which show reigned supreme?
There’s only one, you probably guessed it
The majestic Tiger King.

To add to the mess,
It was also election year,
Two old white guys fighting
Made us drink a lot of beer.

We had fires in Australia 
And a looming WW3,
Kanye ran for President
And we lost the legend Kobe.

Just when we thought that 2020
Didn’t have much left to bring,
Out come the murder hornets
And their “deadly” sting.

Cancel culture ruled the roost,
Be careful what you say, 
Or BLM and or Antifa
Will try and ruin your day.

This year is nearly over you see,
And once over, it’s done forever
But with the way things are going now
2021 doesn’t look much better.

Death: Expect it more, fear it less

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, old time is still a-flying, and this same flower that smiles today, tomorrow will be dying

Robert Herrick,1648, To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time

We all experience death eventually, but nobody likes to talk about it.  “That’s morbid” or “Let’s not talk about that right now” are common things you hear when/if you bring up the topic of death.  I think that should change.  Not only to have a healthier outlook about it, but to help you live life to the fullest without necessarily “fearing” death.  

To quote the great stoic philosopher Epictetus “I cannot escape death, but at least I can escape the fear of it”.   I think this quote encapsulates exactly what I’ve been thinking about and what I’d like to bring to the attention of you, the reader. 

No matter what religion you believe in or even if you don’t believe in anything at all, you will experience death eventually.  That day could be today, tomorrow, months from now or hopefully, many years down the road.  Given the uncertainty of death, do you believe it’s smart to ignore the fact of death or do you think that it’s healthy to avoid the topic until you’re faced with it and forced to deal with it, whether it be with a family member or  yourself?  I believe preparing your mind around the topic of death can/will help you process it better when either yourself or a loved one’s time comes near. 

No I’m not talking about walking around all day just thinking about death or having a morbid fascination with it.  I’m talking about having a more “poetic” view of death, kind of a “smell the flowers along the way” sort of view about it.  I think most of us would agree that we all should spend less time worrying about things we cannot control and enjoy life’s moments more. 

Photo by Ryutaro Tsukata on

I’m 34 as of November 2020.  I’ve experienced a number of deaths and funerals in my life to include my mothers back in 2017.  Luckily for me, I prepared myself as much as possible by recognizing the warning signs of her health, lifestyle and other things.  I knew it wasn’t going to be long before she passed and I prepared myself for it.  Yes I was still sad, yes I cried, yes I still deal with it from time to time, but expecting it and coming to terms with the real possibility that it could happen soon helped my process.

No you can’t plan for unexpected deaths.  When someone young that you love is killed in a car wreck, or a disease pops up out of nowhere it’s going to be a huge blow to you emotionally, as it should, but you can still prepare your mind.   One way I recommend doing this is by knowing and expecting, in the back of your mind, that a tragedy is just around the corner.  This thought process isn’t morbid either, it’s a fact of life and accepting these facts of life, that is the human condition, will help you be caught just a little less off guard. 

I remember a conversation I had with my Aunt Kathy a few years ago.  We were standing on our family farm out in the country clearing out my grandfather’s things as he was moved into a nursing home.  She was obviously mentally and physically tired and being around her 70’s, rightly so.  I said something to the effect of “Life is crazy” and she told me “Gary, it doesn’t stop, it’s always something, that’s just life” and that made me think.  

Most people seem to have the mentality of looking forward to their golden years and retirement.  They imagine sitting on a beach with their spouse enjoying the ‘good life” that you worked so hard towards, I mean you deserve it after all, right?  The reality of this mentality is that 90% of the time this doesn’t come to fruition for most people.  If you’re lucky enough to make it to the age of 65+ you’ve been through lots of loss and hardships.  Loss of loved ones, setbacks, and at that age your time is most likely drawing to an end. 

Photo by Monica Silvestre on

“Gary, you’re really starting to bring me down here” you might say.  That’s not my point though.  My point is that once you reach a certain age, it’s healthy to come to terms mentally that you will have to deal with death more and more the older you get.  You can either get depressed about this fact when it occurs and fear it until it does, or you can appreciate the time you have left on this earth and the time you have left with those you love.  

Grieving is healthy, and basically inevitable as part of our human existence, but recognizing the difference between grieving and sulking is equally important.  Let’s say a loved one dies that you cared about who also cared about you.  Do you think they would appreciate you wrecking yourself emotionally or drowning yourself in a bottle for weeks on end because of their passing?  Or do you think they would appreciate you processing it healthily and appreciating the time you did have together?  I know I wouldn’t want those that I love to be tortured by my passing to their detriment.  

I’ll leave you with a poem that I have quoted most of my life that I think about often by Robert Herrick written in 1648 titled To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time

Gather ye Rose-buds while ye may,

    Old Time is still a-flying:

And this same flower that smiles today,

    Tomorrow will be dying.

The glorious Lamp of Heaven, the Sun,

    The higher he’s a getting;

The sooner will his Race be run,

    And nearer he’s to Setting.

That Age is best, which is the first,

    When Youth and Blood are warmer;

But being spent, the worse, and worst

    Times, still succeed the former.

Then be not coy, but use your time;

    And while ye may, go marry:

For having lost but once your prime,

    You may forever tarry.

Planning for 2021: A practical New Year’s Resolution

2020 has been a wild year.  From COVID, to the election and everything in between 2020 will be one for the books and most of us are looking forward to the next year, like we do every year.  “[insert year] will be MY YEAR” or “[insert year] is the year things start to change for the better” are some of the posts and comments you’ll hear as we get closer to New Years Eve, but putting hope aside, we all know the year changing doesn’t mean squat.  

Keeping reality in mind, what are some things we can do to ACTUALLY make a REAL change in 2021 that will have tangible results.  Below are some small, realistic and impactful changes/habits that I believe will leave you in a better situation than you started at the end of 2021. 

Health – Yes, most of us would like to lose a few pounds in 2021, but setting lofty goals will likely result in failure and disappointment, we are only human after all.  I’m sure most of you have heard of these before, but I feel reiterating them might jog some motivation in a few people.  

  • Park further away from the entrance – Easy concept, but by actually putting it in practice can seriously add some “steps” to your life resulting in more calories burnt and a healthier heart/cardiovascular system. . 
  • Take the stairs when you don’t have to take an elevator – This is hard for most people, including myself, but just like parking further away from an entrance, over time taking the stairs can help you out, especially if you work in or visit a building with stairs/elevator daily.
  • Cut out just ONE major junk food for the year – What’s something that you intake often that you know for sure needs to go?  For me it’s soda, for others it might be candy or ice cream.  Now I’m not saying to cut it out of ALL occasions, but making a focus to cut the “habit” of it out of your life can have a drastic impact on your health. 

Finances – Most of us don’t need a new years resolution to wish we had a better grasp of our finances or to wish we had more money, but hoping without a plan is only a wish.  Budgets are tight, especially with COVID closing down jobs and people barely making ends meet.  Since I’m not a millionaire, I’m obviously not a subject matter expert on finances, but below are some practices that I believe any billionaire would agree with me on. 

  • Start actually saving more – Don’t we all wish we had the extra money to set aside for a rainy day?  Saving doesn’t mean you have to throw a large chunk into your savings account, but it does mean you have to put SOMETHING in there and NOT TOUCH IT, that’s the hard part.  
  • Invest – just like a savings account it’s easy to say “I just don’t have enough to invest”, but you do.  There’s plenty of easy apps out there like or that you can invest a couple dollars a week into industries or companies that YOU believe are on the rise.  Also cryptocurrencies are hot right now and easy to purchase with any budget. 
  • Stop buying “small stuff” – Stopping at the gas station to get gas or grab an item is commonplace for most of us, but unfortunately it’s also common place for us to convince ourselves that we “deserve” that bag of chips or that pack of candy that only cost $2.  That $2 will add up and more often than you think.  Make it a point to NOT buy anything you DON’T NEED. 

Interpersonal Relationships – Whether it be with dating, family, work or friends, we’d all benefit more from improving these relationships and how we interact with and prioritize them.  We tend to neglect some or all of these areas at some point, that’s just life, but practicing the methods below will improve things and just might help open networking doors that would otherwise remain closed. 

  • Romantic Relationships – Assuming you’re not single, there are some forms of “thoughtfulness” that most of us don’t show the person we deem “most special” in our life as we’d like, and showing a little extra can drastically improve things and prevent negative outcomes from neglect.  One way to ensure you don’t neglect them is setting a recurring alert on your phone to just tell them you love them or to do a simple act of love such as unloading the dishwasher or just giving them a hug can make a huge difference.  
  • Distant Family/Acquaintances – You don’t want to be that son or daughter who never calls or that grandkid that only reaches out to Nanna and Poppy during the holidays, or even that friend that never tries to connect.  You can set a reminder like the example for romantic relationships above or you can try and make it a habit while you’re watching your favorite show to text one family member or old friend during the commercial just saying you miss them.  Not only is it nice and makes them feel loved and missed, but you’re also keeping doors open that normally wouldn’t be.  
  • Professional Relationships – Business is business, but more often than not business gets done easier and more efficiently when you have some kind of personal report with those professional connections.  This is a huge reason why “happy hours” and “client outings” are such an important part in sales and business, it builds confidence that you can trust the other person and their word just a little more because you’ve connected with them on a level OTHER than just business.  “But my job isn’t like that” you say, maybe yours isn’t a savvy businessy type job like sales or something, but the benefits remain the same.  Just taking a minute out of your day to ask how your coworker is doing and be genuinely engaged can help improve your work relationships and them possibly helping you out when you need them most. 

Aspirations & Goals – Most of us have things we’d like to do outside of our relationships and work, but always seem to take a backseat or the motivation just dies out.  I always tell people “Motivation will get you going, but habit is what gets you there”.  This can be applied to money, fitness or learning a new skill.  Below are some ways that I believe can keep the fire burning that pushes you to make your goals into reality. 

  • Making time and the time known to others – Not only do you need to set aside time to work toward your goals, but you also need to let those closest to you know that it is important to you.  You may have to deal with friends or family telling you that “it’s stupid”, “a waste of time” or they might just get mad that you’re willing to do something without them during the time you would normally do something with them, but if they value you, they will respect the time you take to work toward your goals.
  • Actually make a plan – I’ve talked to a lot of people who have plans, but have never actually sat down to map that plan out to see what the next step is or if that step is realistically attainable.  By sitting down and learning what point A and B look like you’ll have a clearer understanding of what it takes to get to C and everything in between. 
  • Networking & Learning – Get into the industry, market, scene or whatever you want to call the “space” that your aspirations or goals exist in the real world.  Take 10 minutes out of each day to follow a blog regarding what you’re into, add someone on LinkedIn that is a leader in that industry.  Instead of listening to music the whole ride home, listen to a podcast with experts in the area you’re interested in.  Just by slowly dipping your toes into the water you’ll find that before long you’re nearly fully submerged in what you WANT to be doing instead of only wishing you were. 

As I always say, I’m not an expert on these things and I’m not pretending like I follow all of these suggestions to a T, but it’s also hard to argue that by keeping these methods in mind and applying them more often that you wouldn’t have a better outcome and a better year come December 2021.  Wish you all a very Happy Holidays!

Website Powered by

Up ↑