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Follow Your Dreams

Growing up, most of us imagined ourselves in a bunch of different roles and careers. We fantasized of being astronauts, explorers, actors, law enforcement officials, doctors, lawyers, and everything in between. We played with toys and dolls and reinacted scenarios where we achieved great feats, got the bad guy, explored other planets, and made it onto Broadway. The options were only as limited as our imaginations.

What happened? Why did we ever stop dreaming?

We got a little older and were told to grow up. We were informed we could never rise to such lofty expectations that we had as children. Good luck with that kid, why don't you go to school and get a real job! Be like your father, and go to work at the factory. This assimilation of thoughts seems proposterous, but it is the reality of the generation before us. Perhaps, career choices were not limited to specific trades or manual labor, but it was modern day practice to secure yourself a career position, start a family, own a piece of property, and work to pay it off and then die, occasionally taking a vacation break a couple weeks a year.

As with everything in life, moderation is key; like a pendulum, imbalance will manifest when weight is distributed unevenly on either side. To daydream and imagine a fantasy world is all well and good; however, simply wishing and hoping is useless and a waste of time.

YOU CAN DO WHATEVER YOU PUT YOUR MIND TO

Yes, and no. An indomitable spirit is an essential characteristic to posess when plowing through life and conquering your goals; that much is undeniable. An intense work ethic compliments the first asset marvelously; and lastly, consistency and perseverance combine to create a trifecta of success. Or do they?

The truth is, we could be the hardest-working, smartest people in the room. Day after day, we bust our assess- remaining patient, yet eagerly awaiting results. But they don't come

We always tinker with the formula, discovering ways to improve efficiency and productivity. Sometimes we literally do everything in our power to move forward. Exhausting our resources, we become more frustrated, digging ourselves deeper and deeper into a hole.

... OR CAN YOU?

Maybe you have a passion for painting. You eat, breathe, and sleep painting and the thoughts about it consume your mind. It is your happy place. When you paint, time evaporates as you stroke the bristle against the paper, creating art with your very fingers. You dream of being a blossoming artist, with your illustrations displayed at exhibits and conferences worldwide.

The only catch is.. you suck at painting.

No matter how hard you try, your drawings look like a child scribbled with a crayon. Nobody would pay a dime to put that junk in their living room.

Some people are born with talents- others, not so much. In a previous post we explore the concept of improving the things you're already good at, and becoming great at them, versus improving your skills from bad to mediocre.

So, if you suck at painting, yet have aspirations of becoming the next Van Gogh, what are you to do?

Realistically, if you are 100% honest with yourself, you may never make a penny painting on your canvas. This isn't to say that you cannot still pursue your passions- but as for the phrase "make your passion your paycheck"- that's just not in the cards for some. It almost sounds superfluous to say that such a circumstance could potentially be your reality, but it is absolutely true for some people. What is more true than that, however, is...

LIFE ISN'T FAIR

Luck is an interesting thing. It is viewed superstitiously like black cats in alleys and walking underneath ladders. A lot of people refuse to accept luck as a thing. I don't believe in luck, mutter those individuals. I create my own destiny.

While you personally have an enormous role in dictating your own progress, you cannot escape the fact that luck does exist. Some people just end up at the right place at the right time. The equation that some would use is:

Preparation + opportunity = success

So many people work hundreds of hours, with little to no return on investment. They grind away, crafting their skills as their peers proceed to go to social outings and various entertainment venues. A tedious, montonous, and repetitive routine is set in stone, as they chip away at transforming their vision into reality. Maybe- just maybe- they will be graced with a brief second of opportunity.

"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas Edison

Again, the cold hard truth is this: some people just get lucky. They receive opportunities that others dont. Take into consideration the people born in the United States. We live in a country with limitless opportunities to further our career and build our empires. The majority of us have access to modern accommodations, job opportunities, and the ability to fail and restart an endless amount of times. Those born and raised in third-world countries, not so much. We often don't recognize this as an opportunity because we are so accustomed to it- but at the end of the day, that's exactly what it is.

YOUR CIRUMSTANCES DICTATE YOUR OUTCOME

For in-depth, real world examples of this, look no further than Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers: 

It's not what you know- but who you know.

Surrounding yourself with influential, ambitious individuals gives you a foot in the door, per-se. Your network determines your net worth. You are the sum of the 5 closest people you surround yourself with. Insert a bunch of other inspiring quotes here; they all mean the same exact thing.

Your friends, your environment, the time and date you were born, the state of current affairs- all of these circumstances dictate your ability to "make it" in the world. Like it or not, that's just the way it is.

AND THAT'S THE WAY THE COOKIE CRUMBLES

We cannot all be astronauts, celebrities, rockstars, or congressmen and women. But that's not an invitation to allow others' disbelief to permeate our consciousness. We have the right to dream; it is our responsibility to be slightly realistic, though. If we can't sing, play an instrument, or put on a performance.. we're not going to be rockstars. Plain and simple. It all recycles back to the beginning- find the couple things you're pretty good at, and master them. This allows us to express our individuality and give our unique gift to the world in an infinite abundance.

 

YOU'RE DUMB, FAT, AND UGLY!

Yes, you. You read that right. You're dumb, fat, and ugly, and there's nothing you can do about it! So buy useless shit to make yourself feel better about your pathetic life!

....ha, ha!

Who's laughing? I can guarantee you're not! The large companies stuffing their pockets and running to the bank are, though.

The Dumb

Selling you false hope and empty promises, these companies tailor to the weak-minded, insecure individuals who will desperately seek for a product to improve their garbage life...

..unbeknowst to some, you can change your life... FOR FREE!

A simple mind shift is all that is required.

The Fat

Go look in the mirror right now and find something you genuinely like about yourself. Your eyes, your hair, your jelly-rolls. Whatever the hell you want! Own that shit! All your flaws and imperfections. They make you, you.

Now, after that, it is time to educate yourself. Learn that you, and only you, have control over your emotions. Looking around at others for comparison is the quickest route to depression and anxiety.

The Ugly

Every minute of every day we are blitzed with advertisements, from the minute we wake up till the moment we lay our heads to sleep. From the day we're born till the day we die. Logos, brands, and products pollute our earth. Plastered on billboards, engraved in our clothing, advertised in our music playlists, we just cannot escape from all this nonsense.

The Uglier

We can learn to navigate through all the dunnage, however a lot of environmental factors influence our consumer purchases; from our family's brand choices, to our friends' opinions, and keeping up with the major brands celebrities and icons flaunt, we are always influenced and our opinions become warped and contorted.

The Ugliest

Eventually, we end up intertwined in a web of shit, wondering why the hell we bought some Gucci flip flops because some auto-tuned trap-rap artist mumbled it in one of his, umm.... songs..

This is not a declaration to abandon your nifty wristwatch or name-brand sneakers..

....it's a wake-up call!

It's Either You Or Them

You don't always need to update your posessions based on someone else's repertoire. If it was up to the companies, they would gladly feed your gluttony till you wobble home with a belly full of bankruptcy.

The message here is to be a little more mindful of our consumerism. If you desire a nice article of clothing, by all means, splurge a bit when acceptable and within your budget. If not, stash some spare change, skip eating out, and save up for what you wish to possess. It's that simple.

Still concerned?

If you're dumb... read a book!

If you're fat... exercise regularly and fuel your body with adequate nutrition!

If you're ugly.. well, that sucks! You can't fix ugly. ;-) But you can learn to love yourself for who you are, which is a beautiful human being, instead of wasting money on plastic surgery.

We don't wish to forcefully convert you to our opinions or lifestyle, but if you are interested in what we think a dollar well spent here at Polywander is, it's this: spend more money on experiences, and not material posessions.

Time Management

Time. What an interesting concept. A tool we use to measure our everyday lives. It dictates most, if not all, that we do- when we wake up, when we leave for work, when we go to sleep. Heck, even your lunchbreak is molded into a time slot. Living in a modern society, we may not be able to truly break free from the pardigm of time, but we could use it in our favor.

How Much Time Do We Really Have?

24 hours in a day.. 

The average life expectancy for males in the US is 76 .

The average life expectancy for women in the US is 81.

If you sleep for 8 hours a day, that equates to roughly 229,961 hours spent asleep in your life..

Eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner combined with drinking beverages consume another 32,098 hours.

 ...around 37,935  hours driving..

For an average job, working 40 hours a week, and a 2 week vacation once per year, the average person will spend  90,360 hours at their place of employment.

If you watch a few hours of TV a day, that could total around 80,486 hours in your lifetime..

 ..and these are just some activities that a large majority of us participate in on a daily basis.

So, how much time do we really have...?

The following paragraphs will make sure you are equipped with the right tools to make sure you run the day, and not the other way around.

Make A To-Do List...

Simple and straight to the point. When you awake, jot down some things you need to accomplish for the day or week. Prioritize the things you must finish, and do those first when your energy is at its highest. The likelihood of accomplishing all our tasks in a given day is pretty rare, so pick 2 or 3 things a day, and distribute the rest throughout the week.

 ...and Stick To It

There's only so many hours in a day. Most of us work, go to school, have a family, and other duties and obligations. Time management is a critical skill that should be implemented daily. Pencil in on your calendar what time you plan to do an activity, and focus 100% on that activity. If you allot yourself 1 hour to the gym, that hour should be spent at the gym, not on your phone, or socializing with your friends, or worrying about what groceries you need to pick up on your way home. Spending time with your family, stressing about finances and managing your business, is also another example. Those around you will notice your wandering mind, and inquire what the issue is. Children are especially keen to this behavior and lack of being present in the moment, so be aware of that as well.

Pick & Choose

The truth is that there are only so many endeavors we can give our utmost focus and attention to. Quality over quantity on this one. Pick a few things you really  care about, and worry about progress and improvement in those areas. It is a waste of time and energy trying to do a dozen things mediocre, than doing a couple thing exceptionally. For a great read on this specfic subject, you can check out The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck.

The Mindful Family Unit

For those interested in the pursuit of a more mindful, enriching experience for this short lifespan we are awarded on this planet, it is inevitable you will face scrutiny and ridicule by those who do not want to witness you reap such enjoyment. Sometimes, people withhold insecurities like extra baggage and feel compelled to lash them upon you. This is unjust and cruel, but we cannot blame those individuals; we must rise to a higher level and lead by example. Perhaps you could show those in such circumstances that via an iron will and unbreakable character, they too can blossom if only they put their best foot forward.

All of us are at different stages in our lives- maybe we recently graduated high school, or finished college; we could be a decade in at our corporate job, or approaching middle-age. Either way, it's never too late to begin the journey toward self-betterment. As the saying goes, "the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is today."

This post will delve into maintaining a healthy relationship with those who try to bring you down; specifically, your family unit.

First and foremost, we never asked to be born. Your parents decided to reproduce offspring. In some situations, they were forced to, with little or no warning. For those of us fortunate enough to be in good health, we truly won the ultimate lottery ticket. There's a 1 in 40 million chance of us being human beings on this planet, and somehow we drew the lucky straw. This simple fact alone should inspire all of us to make an impact!

We have this perception of a family, and how it should be maintained and operated. In an ideal world, everyone in the family would be loving, happy, and supportive. Realistically, this is not the case; all families deal with their fair share of drama, dysfunctional habits, and unhealthy tendencies. Such is life. Again, you don't necessarily pick and choose your family, so at one point it is certain your ideals and viewpoints will clash. It is about learning how to stand your ground even when your loved ones try to bring you down. Just because they're your family, doesn't mean these individuals are exempt from supporting you. They've known you your entire life, and are comfortable with you staying put and not risking everything. You must firmly, but respectfully, stand your ground- like any situation in life, really. It goes without saying, the degree of your resistance is 100% individual and unique to your upbringing. If, after you state your purpose, and affirm you are to uphold yourself to loftier standards, and still encounter opposition, there are a few options.

Use Doubt As Fuel

This is fitting for those still living in their parents' residence. They might be too young or unable to move out just yet, so this is the most appropriate coping practice.

Hate and love are the 2 strongest emotions we have. If you're not getting the love and support you require, it is crucial to use those powerful emotions that fester below the surface, and transform them into good, productive habits. This is easier said than done, as a lot of people turn to self-destructive and self-defeating habits. The mind is a powerful tool and you can make it work for or against you. Again, if you are pissed off for greatness, this might prove to be advantageous. Put the hatred and anger into the fire of passion.

Create A Culture of Change

Why not invite those nearest and dearest to you to accompany you on the journey toward a more fruitful life? If they are willing to learn and grow, it is sensible to support one another along the way. They say if it ain't broke don't fix it- and while your family may not be broken, per se, it is a solid idea to announce your concerns and ideas before they become real issues. We are creatures of habit. Your parents run the family the best they know how; however, this doesn't exactly mean the most efficient way to do so. Sometimes we pick up bad habits, and these habits rub off on the people we associate with most. Our idiosyncrasies blend and fuse together, compounding into a culture of bad habits and unhealthy tendencies, if we don't monitor them regularly. Our mind is like a garden. Bad thoughts and habits are like weeds, and positive affirmations and a healthy lifestyle are beautiful flowers. We are the gardeners, and we must continually pick the weeds and monitor the garden if we hope to see one of vibrant, luscious variety. 

Agree to Disagree

Your family might disagree with your lifestyle change, but this doesn't mean all hope is lost and you abandon them entirely. As long as they don't strive to bring you down, and the feeling is neutral, you can make amends and agree to disagree. Stay in your own lane, and focus on your goals. Clear up the confusion if necessary, but don't conform to other's ideologies when pressured. You are old enough to cultivate your own opinions and take responsibility for your actions, so don't let someone else decide how you're to live your life.

Cut the Dead Weight

This might be a hard pill to swallow for some. If after countless times trying to resolve issues and you are still receiving ridicule and no support, it's time to cut the dead weight. Yes, your family loves and cares for you, and we feel obligated to have a blossoming relationship with our parents and siblings. But this is your one and only life. If you're not satisfied, cut the dead weight. This is a last resort option, but for some it might come to this. No reason to keep forcing something that isn't meant to be. Bid your adieus, tip your hat and carry on smartly. 

How to be a Real Man - 3 Books to get Started

On our journey towards achieving the marvels of the universe, our masculinity comes first. If we aren't embracing our core, how could we integrate with the world beyond us? To understand our level of engagement, or even where our energy comes from, we build from three brilliant books:

The Way of the Superior Man

A favorite, kept short and sweet, saying what needs to be said and building the bridge for new understandings. From work, and desires for the feminine, it delivers key topics to infuse on your spiritual path. It's ground breaking in flipping your past associations over, and alleviates old ideas into the you you're about to become. If you're looking to amp up your knowledge of masculinity in a variety of instances, look no further

As a Man Thinketh

The best spare change you will ever spend, guaranteed. If you're debating the effectiveness of such a short book, don't! What's said will leave you silent in the humble truth of your being. A masterly crafted book that squeezes everything that is important into a few dozen pages.

If there's a book you'll carry at your side to revisit, it's this one. We recommend rereading it, and often. So much juicy goodness that confronts ourselves in no time at all, it'd be a crucial waste not to give it a chance.

As a Man Thinketh
$2.48
By James Allen

The Alchemist

A priority read, no matter the topic. While not directly related to masculinity, the framework established herein about reaching one's personal legend will inspire another mindshift that a real man needs. See to it that if you've never heard of it, listen. Perk those ears of yours to the wind of change.

It's a journey that many face in their day to day, only to see our reality is not much different. Immersion into the world of a sheep herder onward his personal legend sparks the curiosity to go further. 

The Alchemist
$11.36
By Paulo Coelho

How To Have The Perfect Work/Life Balance

Many rival between the separation of work and their personal lives: always trying to make it work, spending so much time, and accomplishing nothing. When you break it down we realize: it's all a load of bullshit.

There is no work/life balance

The very idea is innately distracting and narrows your vision. Originating as a default  assumption within our culture, we've taken a hold of it and completely blown it out of proportion. We for whatever reason, accept less of ourselves, and seek to bounce back and forth between a non-existent duo. The reality is that it's only your life at stake here. Nothing else. You're either pursuing your life, or you're not.

But, It Gives Me All This Stuff! 

Stop pretending that following the tangents of others is somehow worthwhile in comparison to its offerings. There are no benefits when it comes down to your personal freedom, growth, and service to the world, when you're sacrificing the very heart of itself! 

I'll Make Time For Myself

Leaving work and chasing your true desires is to split ourselves. We must always strive to bridge the gap between what we separate as work, and life, if we will ever be able to abolish it's false pretense.

Where our conflict resides we may begin pushing the battlefront to an end by facing ourselves in reflection: Are you really commited to your mission? Your own prosperity, and glory? If you were, truly, then everything comes together in service of your vision. Work falls away in its unimportance, outshined by your force of life. We are unable to live life fully when submitting to work. To deny yourself is to perpetuate the lie, and spread it's filth. Don't live it.

I Can't Just Quit

You know what is right and what is wrong. To stick put and stay within your comfort zone is self-defeating. Get out there, be the person you want to be. Period. Don't give up and accept what comes to you. Take charge of your life and determine your own steps.

Having Somewhere To Be

Often work requires of us to be somewhere. We must be here, at this time, for this occasion... a never ending leash grappled around our worn down necks. Why not keep going? What happens when you commit to yourself and visions?

Step over the line, see what happens. By removing the limits we relish in the freedom of our wandering. So many options reveal themselves to us with the universe conspiring in our favor, surging us forward like never before. Everything we can do is made with all the right choices when embracing life for what it is. The only wrong one, is to deny your own potential. It's up to you.

Yin and Yang

Life. The consistent ebb and flow of the world in and around us. Twisting and turning, our reality transforms and contorts to comform with our vision every day. Through minor subtleties, change is enacted ever so minutely; occasionally, we are met with tumultuous pitfalls and enormous feats- the loss of a loved one, or the acquisition of a long sought-after opportunity we experience, for example. When such powerful occurrences happen, life as we know it is warped before our very eyes. 

If you're old enough to read these words, chances are you've experienced some of the above scenarios. Some days, it seems the world is against us and we are moving against the grain in our actions, sparing all our energy and effort to accomplish the simplest of tasks. Other days, our synchronization with the universe is unbelievable; we flow through our daily practices with ease like a leaf in the wind.

It is expected in life that we are to have our fair share of good and bad days. Both are absolutely essential, and one does not reign supreme over the other; they coexist to educate us in their own unique ways. It is a fair assumption that for every "good" day we have, a "bad" one is right around the corner. This is not a pessimistic outlook; rather, a realistic one. You can only be at the top for so long until you visit the bottom again. Awareness of this strengthens our humility. Likewise, if you are at the bottom, you will not be there forever. This simple fact reinstills hope on our gloomy days.

Understanding that you cannot have light without darkness or sunshine without rain is crucial into our journey toward mindfulness. When you recognize the ebb and flow of the universe, you can't help but feel lighthearted and giggle, for this unpredictable series of switchbacks is that which defines our very presence on this planet.

Gratitude

How much is enough?

A straightforward question that dictates the circumstances which we navigate through the maze of our very existence, from our location on this planet, to our career choices, and our daily habits and rituals. Our proposition of an ideal life is conceived in our imagination, which dictates our motives. If we can answer the above question honestly, then we can move forward in determining the route to live to our fullest.

For a lack of more genuine phraseology, the world truly is your oyster. When you recognize that you can literally accomplish whatever task you put your mind to, the options are endless and stretched far beyond the horizon. It's common to fantasize of a life with an abundance of material pleasures, an enormous bank account, great respect and admiration from your friends and followers, and the typical lifestyles of the rich and famous. All of the glamour and luxury portrayed by these icons is not necessary to live a jubilant, effervescent life.

That's where the simple concept of gratitude comes into play. Not wanting what we don't have, but wanting everything we do have. Being appreciative for everything in your life, whether good or bad, and taking ownership of it. For our struggles, misfortunes, and inner turmoil is that which strengthens us, and our pleasure, enjoyment, and satisfaction is that which purifies us.

All of the wonderful splendors we are able to witness throughout this lifetime are often overlooked- not for everyone, of course; but for a great deal of people. How is it that we could pass by nonchalantly, not pausing to admire the simple beauties and intricacies of everyday living? Perhaps we've become so focused on the pursuit of our goals that we neglect to appreciate our immediate surroundings. While it is essential to remain vigilant during our enterprise, it is imperative we hone in to our surroundings for ultimate long-lived satisfaction.

Creating an attitude of gratitude can benefit us in a plethora of ways. Taking a moment to ourselves to note everything we have to be appreciative of, whether that be via prayer, a simple journal entry, or even a thought, is an essential habit in our mindfulness journey. With this thought in mind, we can then begin- or continue- to acknowledge the pleasures we have all around us, and allow ourselves every once in a while to stop and smell the roses.