Being Happy Is All About Right Now (One Habit That Will Blow Your Mind, This Is Totally Click-Bait)

            When this site and page first began I had the intention to share the thoughts swirling around my brain and throw them out here, hot off the press. It’s kind of funny now with how little I’ve written over the last several months and while my mother might attest it to the lack of activity going on up there, I’d like to think it’s because of something else. In a way, she’s right.

I really don’t know anything. I enjoy writing about things about my life, and I can stick to that. It almost feels like I can’t write about things I don’t know much about, but I started by sharing my thoughts on things and I’m sure I can continue that. Over the last few years I’ve really become a hungry little nerd about life and growth and all the concepts that stem from this in various ways. At the end of the day, just laying back and writing about my thoughts is fun and as my friends can vouch for, I’m pretty good at entertaining myself- and I don’t think anyone laughs at my lame dad-jokes harder than I do. That’s just self-love, baby. 


I saw a quote last month that really reverberated through my mind, and it made an appearance on the Facebook page. It’s pretty easy to get carried away sometimes in thoughts, activities, planning, reflecting; a drink maybe. With thoughts and planning this is different though, with these two mental activities sometimes taking me off to the races. The distraction is real, too. Man if I had a nickel for every time I made myself look like an idiot by slipping into auto-pilot and doing something I was really paying no attention to because of the frenzy going on in the ole cranium. 

Of course, there’s more; like how these thoughts inch me further from what’s going on in the present moment little by little. I don’t think it’s all that bad though, as long as this doesn’t dominate my day. Mindfulness is really about observing these thoughts in a non-judgmental way, and since I could rant about that all day like a choirboy, I’ll just leave it there for now. The chorus of this song is just that thinking about these things, for me, can make me wonder about what’s to come or what has already happened. 

This is where one of the quotes comes into play, and is all about the presence of happiness. 

“Happiness is not in another place but this place… Not for another hour, but this hour.”

–Walt Whitman

It’s a bit of a funny relationship, the present moment and happiness. I don’t think many people struggle with staying present when they’re happy or engulfed by that good feeling of satisfaction. It’s pretty easy to just enjoy the ride when given those great moments. 

But that’s not really what this quote is saying. Since this isn’t much of a struggle to do when wrapped in those warm feelings, it definitely points to the way we choose to view all of the other times where it isn’t so easy. I find it super easy to boost myself sometimes by thinking of some upcoming event that will improve my mood or lift me up a bit. It could be a basketball game that night, some plans with friends, a new episode coming out. But the reason I love this quote so much, and perhaps why it resonated with me so strongly, is because it reminded me that focusing on loving ‘the now’ is such a vital habit. Sure, it’s definitely nice to look forward and be excited about something, this isn’t discrediting or villainizing that. It’s just a simple reminder not to habitualize this as a main source for some emotional satisfaction. Looking for love in the present moment, the present hour, minute, and second is a great alternative habit that really develops like a skill over time. I’m just one big ole bag of my own habits as I’m sure many other people are, and getting the same repetition for things like this is much like the way I try and develop new habits and skills as an athlete. 

This quote just gave me a tug of concentration back onto this message, and led me to begin asking myself something I love about ‘the now’ in times I drift off into the future. It’s wild how something so insignificant can influence our thoughts. For the people that already do this so effortlessly, that’s dope and I aspire to be more like that. 

As for right now, I’m happy to come out of my writing cave and get some new content out there.

What about you?

As always, any sort of activity on social media goes a long way- any likes, shares, etc. on all posts are super appreciated! 

The Power of Perspective: How To Come Out Better Off From Adversity

I’ll tell you one thing: when it comes to physical growth, it’s something I picked up on super quickly- not that I had a choice. Evidenced by a constant rotation of new clothes, cramming into cars, or straight up hitting my head on low ceilings and door frames, rapid growth was just a part of my life.

However, what I’m most interested in lately is the other side- the mental side. Growth in that area is much less obvious, yet more important. To be willing to change and adapt to what is around is an ability that serves each person, and specifically the mindset around that and problems that arise can feel like a make or break in dealing with it all.

In other words, how we see challenges and adversity will determine the ability to overcome them when they come around.

And just like everything else, it’s a habit.

I’ve read some interesting things lately that support the claims that how we interpret a problem or obstacle influences how we’ll be able to actually get through it, and how we’ll be left afterwards. This is where growth comes into play. Adversity is always going to be tough, clearly as it’s in the definition itself. But when a challenge presents itself, however harmful, draining, or distressing it is, looking at it from a point that’s determined to see an opportunity to grow changes how we move through it- and what we’re left with when it passes.

This school of thought is based off of viewing adversity through two sets of goggles. One of these lenses show a struggle as something debilitating, hampering and a source of stress. The other shows a landscape from the bottom up littered with rationalization of ways this will help benefit some aspect, or promote growth in some way.

This is similar in the motivational mantras we see from time to time that preach the importance of failure and how it’s necessary before success. It’s from the same branch of perspective and requires the same mentality. The only difference with this is that it’s applicable into everyday life and the struggles that present themselves. Big or small, the philosophy remains the same.

Psychology supports this by offering that we have two routes when presented with adversity (small challenges all the way up to immense ones), and that’s growth or trauma. Framing things from the former perspective enables us with this ability to become better, smarter, stronger- whatever we wholeheartedly believe is possible. This isn’t my own idea, rather something I was drawn to and am now reiterating to go along with my own insights.

Science tells us that this concept of belief in growth over trauma is possible with anything. I’m not disparaging or taking away from the horrors that some people go through, because sometimes it’s beyond difficult and overwhelming. My two cents on the matter is mainly that plugging in this habit first with minor challenges repetitively, and often, can help put us in the position to do so when the bigger problems come along. Every person is a bundle of their own habits, and making a frequent effort to reason what all of the positive benefits the not-so-positive things bring can shape how we feel during adversity, and what we’re left with when it passes.

Reverting back to the motivational cliches, if Michael Jordan being cut from the varsity team was seen from the traumatic lens, we might never have known the now-household name. If Dr. Seuss had seen each rejection from children’s publication companies as a sign to quit, we might not have seen his world of fantasy and art.

Brainstorming all the different, intricate ways that any certain challenge can push you forward, strengthen you, or make you wiser helps growth while also showing just how possible moving beyond the struggle is.

Starting small seems to help with me, making those a habit before tackling the major stuff.

These are just my thoughts and I’d love to hear yours- feel free to comment or write a message. Also liking and sharing content is always a huge help, thanks for the support!

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If One Thing’s For Certain, We’ll Never Have It Figured Out- And That’s Alright

There’s so much more to life, from the things that grab my attention for a moment or two, to the things that impact me forever.

An incredibly vague statement, but let me get going here.

Like the lust that overcomes an adrenaline junky seeking out their next thrill, I’ve become pretty hungry for anything putting me along a path of growth and personal development. In doing so, I feel like I’m relentlessly searching for things, ideas, and concepts to get my fix. This is great, but I feel like the mentality of this pursuit is sometimes like seeking out an always-elusive feeling of certainty that just doesn’t exist.

In other words, sometimes I’m chasing a feeling of absolute stillness within myself that isn’t real. As a child, always thinking that teenagers were so old, wise and cool, transitioning to being a teenager and thinking someone the age I am now has it all figured out. To what I’m sure will be the feeling as I approach the next phase of life, revering the generation before me as the ones that just have life down and pegged out.

I’m here to tell myself now that it’s garbage.

Wisdom is a wonderful crystallized knowledge that we get after trading it for youth. And while I have no experience to back it up from, I feel as though wisdom will teach me that of course no one has all the answers, figuring out life and laying back in satisfaction. There will always be someone who knows more, can teach me something- younger or older.

I write this because I feel like now more than ever I’m being shaped by my experiences. Currently on month number three of jumping around Southeast Asia, every day is something new that offers something I can learn from.

Some stuff hits me to the core in some profound way, some stuff makes my mother worried sick for my safety. I’ll ominously leave it at that, and sorry Ma…

But this wave that I’ve felt come over me recently is just the overpowering realization of how much more there is to life than anything I could ever do. And because of this, making sure I’m taking the time to do things that I want to do and live the way I want to live just seems like the only logical option.

Why wouldn’t I?

There’ll be more to life regardless of whether I’m down in the trenches of something unpleasant, unfulfilling, or upholding values I don’t believe in. In the nicest way possible- it doesn’t matter, aside from the standard I hold for myself.

As children we grow up trying to fit into and belong to the fast-flowing social ocean of youth, trying to belong somewhere. As adults I can’t help but feel everyone around me and at similar places is now trying to distinguish themselves from the herd of  ‘everyone else.’ More and more I find the peace that comes with living for myself in spite of the repercussions of what other people might think- this is a thought I hope to keep running with as I try to live free from the influence (indirect or otherwise) of what someone else might think.

To those younger, or those trying to find their own way, it might seem like that’s all that matters right now but man, those feelings will pass- be you and learn comfortability within everything about yourself.

This might be common sense, or a long-known truth to others, but growth is a subjective path and I’m happy to relay where I’m at and how I feel. As always, I write for myself but thanks for taking the time to read and share with me- the support has been fantastic.

Top photo: Mui Ne Sand Dunes, Vietnam. Above photo: Da Lat Canyon, Vietnam. 

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You Can’t Always Choose Life, But You Can Choose Gratitude

Gratitude comes at me in so many different ways it’s not even funny. It’s easy to be grateful for family, friends, achievements, and stuff like that- because those are some of the best things in life. Naturally, we like these things.


Today though I found myself feeling gratitude for an event that could’ve been immensely worse had the dice been shaken differently and thrown a different way. The kind of gratitude that left me with something I cherish deeply: life.

Taking things back a bit, and I’m cruising through Thailand on a bike I rented from the mountainous Pai area to head back down to the bustling but charming city of Chiang Mai. I had trekked up about a week prior and now it was time to head south again to move on to the next leg of our journey, back down the mountain highway.

Winding through the road with the smell of a jungle-y forest and the remnants of the rain that had swept through an hour ago made for an unreal ride. After about a quarter of the way down, we stopped to grab a tea as these two particular Canadian boys had somehow already become climatized enough that temperatures in the mid-to-low twenties were actually making us chilly, in lieu of the usual high thirties.

Not even an hour after sending my mid-journey snaps and messages to people back home, winding around the corner I caught a blanket of gravel while trying to hang the curve to the right.

It didn’t work so good, and in a split second, I spilled over top of the handlebars and onto the highway, crashing to the ground.

I immediately jumped up, in a daze while I tried to make sense of what just happened. Braden had slipped in front and hadn’t seen me tumble.

The tingly-sensation of shock crept across my body as I instinctively screamed his name, hoping he would hear and come back for me.


I began to feel out of body as I looked over my wounds, looking but not really seeing them. Noticing the shock in my body rising, I began reassuring myself despite the fact that the pain hadn’t set in yet- this concerned me.

I watched as a few cars drove past me, my wounds beginning to bleed and my shredded poncho reduced to just a symbol of what had happened. On queue, Braden raced around the corner, and a local pulled over and ran to my assistance. I’m not even really sure how everything happened from there on, but the bike was pulled from under the guard rail and I was loaded into the local’s vehicle- a man named Te (who had at some point also enlisted the help of another local woman, who climbed in quickly to take me to the hospital. I could feel my bearings coming back to me, and while this was nice, this was accompanied by the corresponding pain.

Three doctors hurriedly but meticulously cleaned the various wounds ranging from my shoulders to my feet. Braden and Te made sure to capture the whole encounter through photos, as Te was incredulously and affectionately calling me Superman as I refused to take a photo without smiling. Albeit some were downright forced, as the skin in the right side of my body were scraped and scrambled like ground beef cooking over the stove.

Slowly, in between the winces the whole ordeal slowly crystallized in my mind. The bike jammed into the metal plated guardrail, the way I fell off the bike and protected my head, and the local who found me and came to my rescue instantly, loading me into his car, blood and all.

Sitting there finishing getting cleaned and sterilized, and the bandages relieving some of the pain, I realized how lucky I was.

Not going to lie, tears formed in my eyes.

Te waited for the duration until I was cleared to leave the hospital, and while his English was a little less developed, he understood enough for us to embrace each other and revel in the moment.

I sat there with the most tremendous and profound gratitude for life and the way I had avoided being closer to an encounter that jeopardized it. Reality hits me in different ways, but nothing could stop me from the thankfulness for the severity of the situation and the kindness shown from absolute strangers.

Toughness is a quality I’ve been both unpacking and exploring lately, and even on the ride to the hospital, however delusional it may be, I was thankful for the opportunity to show myself that I was tougher than this event. Someone dear to me explained the beauty in adversity, and how in these moments we find out who we really are and in turn presented with an opportunity for growth.

I can definitely be a big baby some times, but through this I was excited to dig down and power through it. A little unorthodox? Maybe. But after today there’s no other way to frame it.

I’m sure I could look at it all from a different lens, criticizing the roads, weather, luck, or maybe even my driving. But truthfully that sounds like such a bizarre concept that accepting that is less likely than me getting my damage deposit back on the bike I just crashed.

Not a freakin’ chance.

I’m going to keep loving life, loving today, and carry it with me tomorrow.

What about you? Leave me a comment and tell me something you’re grateful for!

Te, left side in the red shirt. The doctors/nurses who mended me. And the woman who guided Te to the hospital!

Five is Back!

What a ride it’s been the last 3 months, and with the conclusion of my athletic season I’ve gone from 0 free time to what at times feels like limitless time to sit around. The end of one hobby opens the door for another, and without question it’s nice to be able to sit down and write again.

Over the past few months I’ve also been reluctant to write more on subjects I’ve encountered on personal growth, and that added to a busy schedule provides a deadly combination of procrastination that admittedly takes a little will power to hurdle over.

All this to say I’ve felt uninspired, and unmotivated to write lately, and for a variety of reasons.

While I’ve felt super comfortable in writing about and sharing things that’ve moved me or affected me in profound ways, I’ve realized it’s hard to continue to do so and even more challenging to keep finding topics if I don’t have a deep, charged experience about it in some way.

Not going to lie, there’s even a little bit of guilt that goes into it.

Writing about things I know in theory or have experienced myself and sharing them for others to read is something I enjoy almost as much as I love mentoring or supporting those around me. But going into ideas in depth can really feel hypocritical at times in moments I’m feeling like I’m not living up to the standard articulated in some of my writings.

And in more honesty, this article is more of a chance for me to be open so I can comfortably resume the writing I’ve found such a passion for. Because at the end of the day this area is something I’ll likely always be a student to, and exploring these topics so vividly really lets me learn more about it- and helps turn ideas into practice by putting them at the forefront of every day life.

Falling in love with the life around me and the person I am has been a long, winding journey, but a process I enjoy and find increasing importance in as time goes by.

Perhaps a dull article for today, but one for my own sake and one to open back up to after a 3 month hiatus.

A dear friend of mine told me that a quality he admires is my consciousness and awareness of my own flaws coupled with a motivation to grow. And while there are multitude of qualities I admire in him, this is a small characteristic I hold close as I realize it’s my vehicle to ‘more,’ which is rewarding but only as long as there’s gratitude for the present.
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Why the Link Between Your Body and Self-Image Is So Important

We live in a society where we tend to mainly focus on, and be concerned about our physical health; our appearance – how we look, or maybe more importantly how others look at us. We tend to measure and base our health, and sometimes-even worth, on numbers. Numbers coming from a scale, measuring tape, a calculator or likes on our last IG picture. We want to fit in so bad, whether it be in a certain BMI box or amongst the bikini pictures we see on social media, that these numbers, and how others see us become what’s important. And we forgot to focus on how we feel about ourselves, and how we make others feel. 

But what about what’s hidden underneath those numbers? I believe that is important too. I believe that health is not just determined by what we see on the outside; my weight or my body fat percentage. It’s also how I feel about my self and my body. What is a ”perfect” body worth if you’re not happy? 
I think the mental aspect is equally as important – that we’re happy with ourselves and how we look. 
This is not saying it’s ‘not okay’ to want to work on your body, become stronger, faster or lose weight – but do it for you. Because YOU want to, and not because others make you feel like you should to “good enough” or to “fit in”. 
Magazines and social media constantly influence us when we create body images or body ideals. But some of what we see and strive for is unreal – and yet we still judge others and ourselves by them. Leaving some people thinking “if I don’t look like that – I’m not good enough”. Some people dedicate their lives to work and on their bodies. To improve strength and minimize fat, and as a result they are amazingly fit. I think it’s impressive, and if that’s what makes them happy that’s great, but it doesn’t mean that’s the right way to live or that’s the way you have to look to be ‘good enough’. 
Healthy and being healthy is not as black and white is we want it to be. Like everything else in life we all have different preferences, and the same goes for what works for us to stay, or become healthy. Of course our bodies have some physiological needs in order to function properly for as long as possible, and that’s why we have some guidelines for nutrition as well as physical activity. But based off of these we still have freedom to choose what kind of physical activity we want to do, and what we prefer to eat. Some people choose to minimize certain food groups, other leave them entirely out, and others eat a whole variety of food groups  – we all prefer different things, and doing one thing is not necessarily better than the other. The same goes for physical activity. 
I think what’s important is that the choices we make regarding physical activities and what we eat, are based off of what gives us joy, rather than what we read, or was told was right for us. My personal experience is that joy builds and strengthens motivation. And I believe that motivation is the engine behind most things we do, and helps us to achieve goals and feel successful. I bet, if you base your health related choices off of what YOU want, and what makes YOU happy, they’ll last longer, and you’ll find more joy in doing so. 
I think being healthy is about balance. Balance between doing what physiological serves your body and what gives you joy, and strengthens your mental health and wellbeing. And I think as part of finding that balance, happiness is an as important part of being healthy as the physical side is. And I know happiness and wellbeing are not constants; we all have ups and downs – it’s part of life, and expressing those feelings are important too. But I strongly believe, we have the power to influence our own happiness – and others’. 
Liking your body, enjoying what you eat and the physical activities you do is not the key to happiness and wellbeing. But I believe it’s a good place to start. So let’s quit the unreal ideas of a perfect body and the mentality that we all have to look the same. And instead of judging and defining ourselves and others based on numbers and physical appearance, let’s start supporting each other in habits that not only increase our physical health but our happiness as well.

Eva is a student-athlete for the Red Deer College Queens women’s basketball team. Despite her first language being Danish, Eva is a terrific writer in English as well. She has a passion for intellect and depth, and the support for The Five You Need runs both ways- as Eva continues to demonstrate her obvious talent for creative writing. 

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Without These Keys, Growth Stays Locked (Guest Post by Paul Bagnall)

“Excellence is the gradual result of always striving to be better” -Pat Riley 
Who doesn’t want to be excellent in their lives? In basketball there is a phrase “Bring something more to the floor than scoring”.  As a basketball player, you need to be able to aide your team by doing things other than putting points on the scoreboard. Playing hard-nosed defense, diving for a loose ball, and being a leader are just examples of actions that allow you to influence the game beyond scoring and become excellent. Basketball revolves around players learning how to score points, but how many players are truly willing to play hard-nosed defense, dive for a loose ball or be a leader? These skills will allow you to stand out as an island amongst the ocean of “scorers”.
Life is like that as well. We need to bring more to the floor of others lives than just being present.  Life does not allow us to just exist, but rather we must strive to better the world. Sometimes that means lending an ear to a friend in need. Other times it’s a friendly “hello” to a stranger on the street. Or pushing a stranger’s vehicle out of a snow bank even if it means you’re going to be late to work. Society has created a vacuum of individuals who just want to exist, without bringing something more to other people’s lives. On a personal note, I am trying to implement some “Evolutions” to my own life in order to create something better the lives of others. 

“Selfish Listening” evolves to “Selfless Listening”
Having recently been dismissed from a relationship, I have had a lot of time for some introspection. One of the numerous “we need to talk” talks my ex-girlfriend and I had revolved around how I listen. I didn’t realize I was doing it but when I was responding to her, I would use “I” a lot which caused the focus of our conversations onto myself. I now understand that I need to become a selfless listener. One who doesn’t respond immediately with “I know what you’re saying…” or “I had something like that happen to me…”. Selfless listening involves listening to the other person and asking questions to move the conversation forward instead of turning it towards yourself. I now see that I can evolve just being ridding myself of the “I”s in my life. (Yes, I purposely used “I” a lot in this section…)
    “Making excuses” evolves to “Owning what happens”
I think we all have had bad things happen to us at some point in our lives. Whether it be a speeding ticket, a broken relationship, or a failed exam. When bad things happen, it’s really easy to look externally to create causes for our disappointments. We blame speeding tickets on the police trying to make quotas, we blame a broken relationship on the other person, we blame a failed exam on the teacher. When we blame others for our hardships, we give them power over our lives. This evolution in my life is to take back the power that I would normally give others and give it to myself instead. Giving myself power has to include both the positive and negative parts of my life. If I take all the credit for getting a good grade on a test, I have to be prepared to take the blame for a bad grade. I think the reason people have a hard time owning what happens is that you become vulnerable to yourself and others. Yes, you are opening yourself up for blame, but you are also opening yourself up for growth. Vulnerability is not as negative as society sometimes makes it out to be. Being vulnerable to another person (or yourself!) allows for trust to grow. With that trust, the relationships (even with yourself) strengthen.

“Waiting for experiences” evolves to “Creating experiences”
I love Jim Carrey. I became a fan when he was Ace Ventura and have followed his career ever since. I feel one of his most underrated movies is “Yes Man”. The story revolves around a man who starts to say yes to everything that is asked of him, no matter what. Go to a concert? Yes! Give a homeless man some change? Absolutely! Take Korean lessons? Sure! While the story is fictional, the premise behind the story holds merit. By saying yes to what is asked of us, we create experiences in our lives that we can grow from. Each experience creates a situation we can reflect on, whether the outcome is good or bad. But instead of waiting for experiences to find me, I have started to try and create my own. My neighbors recently invited me to their house-warming party. I said I would try to stop by but later that night I wasn’t feeling very social. Instead of waiting for the experience to come to me, I summoned up all my socializing might and sauntered my way next door. It wasn’t a life-changing experience by any means, but it could have been (I could have easily met my future wife). And that’s the point! Do not wait! Create your own experiences because it might just change your life.

Even through muddy waters, a river always flows. Even at the worst of times, we must always be moving forward in our lives, striving to be better. Be a better friend, better husband/wife, better athlete, better employee. Implementing an “Evolution” strategy into our lives will push us to become better people. Striving to be better will allow us to bring more to the lives of others by being the best possible person that we can be. It’s really easy to be a scorer as a human, but it’s what we bring to the life beyond our scoring that makes us a person.  

Paul Bagnall (Right) is a teacher and coach for multiple sports teams- most notably assisting for men’s basketball at St. Mary’s University as well as head coach at the highschool level. Paul has a fire for life, which includes his passion for mentorship. This mentoring is how Paul’s path crossed The Five You Need, as his guidance and support for Jordan in all dimensions is already unquantifiable in such a short window of time. 

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Jumping Off A Bridge: Anxiety or Excitement

Winter is here! After a few weeks of flirting between hot and cold temperatures, a white blanket finally covers the Albertan earth and it looks like it here to stay. But let’s flashback a couple months ago- I’m in a mountainous paradise known as British Columbia.

Not only that, but I’m sat on the left side of a two person tube that’s gently floating down a beautiful teal river, surrounded by pine trees that not only fill up the scenery, but give life to the immense peaks that rest behind them.

Needless to say, it’s pretty relaxing.

Up ahead there’s a bridge, one where our local tour guide and good friend says is a fantastic place to jump off. After gliding to shore, we mosey up towards the bridge and make our way to the middle. And instantly, the calm relaxation is replaced by intrepid anticipation and adrenaline. I try to decipher whether I’m anxious or excited but the pure exhilaration from the impending jump makes it impossible to tell, so I embrace it before tossing any thought aside and plunge down deep into the river below.

Like anyone jumping into water anywhere, as soon as splash I swim upwards as fast as I can to escape the water burying me.

As soon as my head breaks the top, I exhale quickly in order refill my lungs with air. And just like that, the post-glow of anything exhilarating sets in and the only thing found on my face is a smile.

I replay the scene in my head, and all the thoughts that came with it. I’m struck by the feelings I had, and how the nervous excitement was overwhelming.

Nervous excitement.

What an intriguing, and entirely true sentiment that I’ve come to embrace with open arms. One of many caveats in life is that each and every one of us will have moments where we are nervous. On the same token, we will inevitably be placed in situations that also make us excited. The point is- it’s utterly astounding how closely related these two traits are.

Think of a time where you were boiling with excitement. This could be from anything from an upcoming vacation to a roller coaster ride- being excited is fun, at least for me. During this time you probably had butterflies in your stomach, your heart started beating faster, and you might’ve felt more alert and energized. All one-hundred-percent normal things to feel when you’re stoked about something upcoming.

Now think of a time when you were anxious or nervous about something. Whether from a presentation, performance, or a looming deadline, everyone has felt those ‘uncomfortable’ feelings of anxiety. They’re a part of life, and for thousands of years were the very mechanism that enabled us to survive in a primitive world where virtually anything had the potential to kill us. The fortunate reality is that these instincts are no longer necessary (unless sabre-tooth tigers make a wild comeback, which I don’t see happening), yet we still possess them and many other things passed on from generation to generation. When you’re nervous, you probably have butterflies in our stomach. There’s a good chance your heart rate increased. And your alertness probably made it feel harder to sit still or appear calm.

Sound a little familiar? The crazy thing is that these two emotions are so close in identity they are becoming linked in helping people overcome the harder one by utilizing the fun one. Excitement can be your friend, and training your mind to wrap your anxieties in a bow of exhilaration is very real, very accessible possibility.

Simple affirmations corroborate with almost everything else I’ve written, this topic is no different. Giving positive self-talk to guide yourself through these emotions might seem silly, but ‘speaking’ things into existence is a very real concept in the mind. Self-affirmations can be as simple as repeating “I’m excited” over and over again, as well as a baby step to allowing your mind to see it in an alternative way. Eventually, feeding yourself heaps of positivity can become effortless as it becomes second nature by way of habit.

This is only a small piece to a beautiful mosaic that is the puzzle of the human mind, specifically anxieties.

I don’t know about you, but an opportunity to change that sounds pretty exciting to me.


Leave me a comment below on your thoughts, I’d love to hear them.

Take Control of What You Can or Your Life Might Suck

As I’m walking to my car, I take a moment and acknowledge how the air is refreshingly comfortable, opposed to the stifling heat that enveloped the outdoors over the past couple weeks.

Fall is definitely coming. 

I look around, and realize that up until now I hadn’t even noticed the gradual change from lively, leafy green, to pieces of yellow and amber scattered throughout parts of the trees. Frankly, the assortment of colours looks scenic, and along my drive I overlook a valley and see even more, with the yellow and orange cozying around the river. With this view comes anticipation of everything the new season is going to bring with it. My mind wanders very easily and before I know it, I’m already fantasizing about Thanksgiving turkey and hoarding an entire pumpkin pie to myself.

A few hours later, I overhear someone meeting the same realization that summer is fading away, and dreading everything that strings along with the change.

Huh, well that’s another way to look at it. Listening to the distaste throws me off a little bit, as my own excitement for what’s to come clearly is not mutual.

Why view it as impending colder weather and dead leaves when you can think about awesome things, like a new medley of colours surrounding the outside, a comfy hoodie to enjoy it with, or even something like the white girls delight- pumpkin spice lattes?! (Maybe this is the year I try them, although I am admittedly reluctant, as I will probably be on that hook for life…)

Neil Pasricha has been a pleasant inspiration to me via the book he’s written, The Happiness Equation. As an individual who has committed himself to being a student of happiness, the findings he has discovered are incredibly interesting and the topic is something I will always be drawn to. Early on, long before his success, he took on a personal challenge of writing 1000 Awesome Things, a daily article on something fantastic, yet common, that he encountered and might otherwise have overlooked. Things as simple as when someone holds the elevator door open and waits, or the feeling of warm photocopies fresh out of the printer.

While there were other things accompanying his journey to satisfaction, what he noticed was how much his appreciation for life and all it’s details grew. Every day he sat down and wrote about something awesome that he experienced throughout his day, and as you can imagine, the list reached 1000 after some time. On top of appreciation, what he didn’t realize was how trained his mind became at recognizing positivity in seemingly small details. Before long, no matter how insignificant, nothing that impacted him in a good way went unnoticed or unappreciated in his life.

This is an attractive idea, but going in the opposite direction is also entirely possible. Scoping out negativity can become just as much of a ritual as the optimistic side. In fact, lawyers are highly trained in finding flaws and inconsistencies in the legal system and obviously become much better at it over time as they develop their skills. Interestingly enough, studies have shown that this does not contain itself at work, as attorneys have been shown to carry this habit over into their personal lives and in anything they interact with outside of the office. The critical mindset accompanying lawyers can become apart of who they are!

Personally, after learning two very real and very different sides of the coin, it’s not difficult to see which route I’d rather go. And to be quite honest, the more attractive option is also not as difficult as it seems. Noticing and appreciating the little details that swirl around our lives every single day is very doable. Before long, and with practice, your mind won’t even have to try- you’ll be trained in seeing your life how you want it. I don’t about you, but the idea motivates me to take an extra moment on top of each happy moment, just to appreciate it in full. Yeah, there’s no denying that at some point something won’t be great, and sometimes it’ll suck. But taking charge of what I can control is a step along the path of love and satisfaction.

The season’s changing, there’s no doubt about that.

What will you see?

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Why Our Friendships Always Run Out Of Gas

It’s beautiful day out and my car is full with friends; we’re on our way back from visiting more friends. The right tunes are vibrating out of the speakers, with all of us in high spirits and just enjoying each others company.

I look down through the steering wheel and do a double-take, since I’m hoping that what I’m seeing isn’t true. And with comedic timing, the wheel stiffens as my car slides into neutral and I guide it to the far right shoulder of the road.

We are completely out of gas.

For what it’s worth, this  never happens to me has happened to me to many times in the past calendar year. I should’ve learned my lesson from the first time, since I know my car loves to throw obscure, over-exaggerated estimates on how much mileage it has left until empty, like it’s some grossly overconfident jock judging how much Axe body spray to put on. But I didn’t, so there I sat, waiting for the last of our momentum to be expended before we stopped at a dead halt.

Yeah, this one’s my fault.

I glance around the rest of the car sheepishly and relay the update in our current situation, and I’m met with the reactions I figured I’d find.

The thing is, friendships are not unlike the car I had unwittingly depleted of gas to leave it dead on the side of the highway. Much like the gas, and regular servicing that the car needs, the relationships we have with the people around us need to be maintained.

Friendships are a very real vehicle that will help carry us to where we need to go, all the while supporting us along the way. There are good cars and bad cars, new ones and old ones, efficient vehicles and gas guzzlers. The same can be said for friendships and relationships.

There are good friendships and bad ones, old and new friends, friendships who don’t need much, and ones who need the world.

The reality is that we let a variety of factors stop us from keeping our friendships running. Whether it’s effort (or a lack of), personal anxieties, or we just simply don’t know how to keep our relationships strong, many of us have let people and friends go by the wayside because the vehicle wasn’t getting what it needed to keep running.

I’ve seen too many times where people grow distant because their own anxieties made them believe they’d be bothering the other person if they reached out.

I’ve watched people who used to be inseparable, separate because they couldn’t be bothered to make small gestures necessary for friendship to live.

Sometimes, we don’t really know how to keep a relationship breathing and so naturally, it fades out with the wavering hope that they may be rekindled somewhere down the road.

I’ve always had a personal pride around the maintenance of my friendships, and sometimes I felt like this came across as annoying to some people- and that’s okay. It doesn’t happen often, and if you really want to keep the people who matter most to you around, sometimes you’re going to have to reach out in ways that make you uncomfortable. We as humans are incredibly social creatures, in fact we depend on it, but we let a myriad of other factors influence us in contrasting directions.

In other words, assess who you need in your life and rid yourself of any other external factor, like doubt, fear of rejection or the unknown, and put what needs to be put in to your relationships. The easy way out might feel easier at the time, but keeping the people you want around you is both rewarding and fulfilling- and something you’ll probably thank yourself for down the road.

Every car needs things to keep it running, and your friendships are no different.

To read more on friendship, click here and here.

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