6 Best Apps to Increase Productivity

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Our business recently ended up in a place where if we go 24 hours without replying to emails, it’s nearly impossible to catch up the next day, and our todo lists manage most of our work each day. Because of how quickly everything is moving around us, it’s important to me to stay on top of everything from emails to applications to blog posts. Productivity is something that has become extremely important to me, and every time I purchase a new computer, I have a list of six apps that have to be installed instantly to get going.

1. Airmail 2

This is an app that I contemplated downloading for almost a year, and after I finally pulled the trigger, I don’t see myself ever going back to Apple’s Mail.app. The default email system on OS X used to be great, but recently I’ve started to notice a ton of sluggishness, unreliability, and it has an awful time trying to work with our email servers.

Airmail isn’t perfect, but it’s a lot better than any free email app I’ve ever used. For the price, it’s most certainly worth it. It works wonders with IMAP and Google Accounts, which are the two types of accounts I use. The iCloud syncing to an iOS device and other Macs also helps tremendously. I have an iMac, MacBook Pro, and an iPhone 6S, so I need all of them to work together to stay on top of everything. Thankfully, Airmail makes that possible.

2. Slack

Staying in touch with everyone you work with can be a challenge, and when you need to delegate tasks and communicate effectively about those tasks, Slack comes to the rescue. It’s the best team-focused communication tool I’ve ever tried! In the past, we’ve used traditional email, Skype, and Telegram. All of them have their place, but none of them compare to Slack. The file manager mixed with the amazing chat features makes this app unlike any other.

If you find yourself having some trouble staying in touch with the people you work with while everyone is off doing their own work, give this service a try. It’s easy to setup for your team, and it’ll change the way you work together. The only feature I would like to see them add is VOIP (calling). For that, though, Skype is still there.

3. Evernote

I have used this service for years, and honestly, I love it and hate it at the same time. It will increase your productivity if you use it correctly, though, and that’s what’s really important here. It allows you to have shared notebooks with other Evernote users, and you’ll be able to store an assortment of files.

I love the service, but there are places it could use some work. It really needs real-time collaboration for working on documents. I’m not too sure when and if they are ever going to offer it, but if they do, it would make their service twice as good. The problem is, it locks other users out of editing documents if someone else is working on it, and if you make a change, you get a huge error of something called a “Conflicting Change,” which is nothing major. It’s just annoying at times.

Truthfully, if a service came out that competed with Evernote and had real-time collaboration, I would switch. It’s a great app that helps increase productivity, but collaboration is much more important to me than “work chat” and other features they keep adding that don’t make a huge difference.

4. Wunderlist

I’ve tried almost every todo list app out there, and I’ve even gone as far as to purchase journals/books that are meant for making todo lists. I’ve tried Asana, ToDoist, Clear, and a huge list of others. Wunderlist is the one I always end up going back to. It has an amazing design, incredible features, and great project organization.

It doesn’t matter if you work alone or with a team; this app will help increase your productivity. Is there anything special that Wunderlist has over other services? No, there really isn’t. It has a basic chat feature, tasks, subtasks, folders, groups, etc. Those features are great, but it’s how it makes use of those features that keeps me coming back. It just feels natural to use. There’s no learning curve, and it’s simple with advanced features.

5. Sunrise

I wanted to keep this list open to both OS X and Windows users, and for the most part, I’ve done that. Airmail is unfortunately only available on OS X and iOS; however, everything else is available on Windows 10 as well. I was originally going to make number 5 Apple’s Calendar app, but since I wanted to keep this open, I changed it to Sunrise.

This app works brilliantly with your Google Calendar and your iCloud events. It’s everything you could want in a calendar application, and it works with many other services along with the two mentioned before. I’ve used the app for a while, and it’s a great alternative to “iCal” and using Google’s Calendar alternative.

6. Dropbox

There are plenty of cloud storage platforms that you can try, and I’ve personally tried a large majority of the popular ones. Dropbox is always the one I go back to, though, and it seems to be the most reliable. Thankfully, this service is simple. The interface online is simple. The installation process of the app is simple. Gaining access to your files online should never be a task; it should just work. The files should just be there for easy access. Dropbox does a good job at making sure it just works, and I truly appreciate that.

 

What are some of your “must-have” apps to stay productive? Comment below!

2016 Reading List

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I was looking back through old articles today, and I found my reading list for 2015. Unfortunately, I didn’t read through all of the books that I had on that list, but I plan on finishing off the ones that I never completed this year. Weirdly, though, after I wrote that article, I completely forgot about it. A lot happened early last year, and I completely fell off the path I was paving for myself. What’s even crazier, even though I forgot about the list of books I wanted to read, I still ended up purchasing almost all of them without even knowing they were on my list.

To me, it’s absolutely crazy that I ended up purchasing all of those books months later without even remembering the list consciously. With that said, though, I would like to remember this list and read through all of them this year.

Additionally, because I didn’t finish all of the books on my list last year, I’m going to break this year’s article into two categories: purchased and new. It’s self-explanatory.

Purchased

  1. Think and Grow Rich

2. Trading In The Zone

3. Rich Dad Poor Dad

 

New

  1. How to Win Friends and Influence People

2. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

3. The Secret

4. Secrets of the Millionaire Mind

5. How Successful People Think

 

Overall, the list isn’t too long. I obviously want to restart the 3 books that I never finished last year, mainly just to jog my memory of them and learn some things I missed. Throughout the entire year, 8 books isn’t a lot, so I will probably be adding a few more. When I do, I’ll add them to this list as well.

My Goals For An Amazing 2016

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If I had to sum up every single thing I want to achieve in 2016, I would have to say it would be indescribable. I want 2016 to be the year that I have trouble describing to people because of how amazing, inspiring, and fulfilling it was. As I’ve done for the last two years, though, I want to publicly list all of my main goals for this year, and there’s quite a few of them. Amazingly, though, I’ve already achieved a couple of them. I know it’s already halfway through February, but it’s a hell of a lot better than never.

1. Abundance

The main goal this year is to live a lifestyle filled with abundance. To me, this is all about mindset; you can live a life of abundance while living on a small income. This wonderful life we live can be transformed instantly with a change in perspective. I want to attract abundance this year, and that includes love, wealth, happiness, friends, family, and even the “greedy” possessions.

Abundance has recently become something that I strive everyday to have throughout 2016. I met some truly amazing and inspiring people last year, and through meeting them, I learned all about living a life filled with plentifulness. The rest of my goals for 2016 are going to be based around living a life of abundance in life, love, experiences, and possessions.

2. Aston Martin V8 Vantage Roadster

Yep, this is the year that I buy my first exotic car! I’ve truly been working around-the-clock with the goal of purchasing my first super-sports car by the end of the year. With the price of the V8 Vantage dropping dramatically due to depreciation, picking one up will only really set me back around $60,000 – a small price to pay for such a beautiful roadster.

The Aston Martin brand makes a statement that few other car companies have been able to pull off. The brand represents abundance, status, luxury, and performance. Sure, it’s not the fastest car you can buy for the price, but the way it makes me feel is what’s truly important here. When I see the car, I know it’s the right choice for my first exotic.

instagram-pictureCrazy enough, though, I posted a picture on Instagram over a year and a half ago while I was in Charleston, SC. The image was of a Ferrari 458 Italia, and the caption states that I plan to purchase my first supercar at the end of 2016. At the time, I had no clue how it was going to happen. I had just graduated high school, and I was ready for something new. Once again, little did I know, within the next year, Nic and I would increase our company’s revenue by 350%! With that, and everything else going on in life right now, I’m on track to purchase the Aston Martin by the time winter comes around… Oh well! That just brings me to my next goal!

 

3. Moving On & Moving Up

This is the year I leave Morristown, TN. Medium-sized towns are not for me (especially in the South-East). I’m ready for warm weather, a new atmosphere, and some damn good vegan food! That’s why this year, I’m moving to Orlando, Florida.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve had the opportunity to travel to a few cities. These include Austin, TX (my least favorite); Charleston, NC; Blacksburg, VA; New York City, New York; and the beautiful Orlando, FL. It wasn’t until the end of 2015 that I realized Orlando is the place for me.

Here’s a little back-story on how I found out this was the place for me. I’m a member of a Forex Trading community called Infinite Prosperity. At the end of 2015, they held the first Infinite Prosperity Ball, which was a truly life changing event! I originally didn’t have the chance to purchase tickets for the ball, but I decided to fly to Orlando and check it out. Along with me was my best friend and business partner, Nic King. On that trip, we ran into the founders of Infinite Prosperity at lunch, and I can’t even begin to explain how thankful I am for that! During the lunch, we were invited to the ball the next day, and of course we had to go! That trip was unforgettable. I met amazing, inspiring, and wonderful people, and I came home with the goal of moving to Orlando.

The atmosphere Orlando has, mixed with the amazing people, food, and weather made me decided that it was where I belong. By the beginning of 2017, I want to be living in that city – preferably the Winter Park area.

4. Travel

Over the past couple of years, I learned that traveling is a huge value of mine. I always come home with new perspective, memories, and I’m filled with passion, love, and happiness. This year, I’m going international again.

I’ve been to some countries in Europe and Central America before, but this time, I’m going further. At the end of the year, I’m going to be taking a trip to Bali for at least two weeks, followed by a trip to Australia for another couple of weeks. Given, I’m going to be gone for a month, so this is going to be quite a life-changing experience. For that, I’m motivated, excited, and ready. Oh god, am I ready for this trip!

After the memories I’ve made here in the United States, I can only image how crazy these memories are going to be on the other side of the world! I’ll talk much more about this trip when I learn more details, but expect greatness!

Along with that, I would like to return to Orlando for another visit before we move, and I would love to revisit New York City (perhaps with a new lover…)!

5. New MacBook Pro

So, as I said earlier in the article, I’ve already achieved a couple of the goals in this article. This is one of them. I was planning to buy a new MacBook Pro with a Retina display around the middle of the year. I just purchased a new 5k iMac last year, and I didn’t really need a new MacBook. However, the MacBook I was using at the time was out-dated, slow, and truly unusable. I couldn’t trade FX and travel, and that was starting to frustrate me. I couldn’t work away from my desk at home, and I couldn’t take it anymore.

One night a couple of weeks ago, I just decided to say fuck it and bought one. At the end of the day, I can receive a huge ROI on this just from traveling and working alone. Not to mention, this computer is a beast. I now have the ability to do everything I can at home while I’m anywhere with an internet connection.

Was it a bit impulsive to just do it randomly one night? Yeah, sure it was. Whatever, though, it was great purchase! It’s fun to be impulsive sometimes. I’ll just consider it a Valentine’s Day gift to myself!

6. Read & Write Daily

A few moths ago, I had just gone through a breakup that truly tore me apart for a while. It ended up, though, that it was the best thing that could have happened. The relationship was toxic, even though it was a relationship I once cherished.

I didn’t speak much of it, but I had an extremely hard time for a while. One day, I received a gift that truly changed my perspective. Nic purchased a “Five Minute Journal” for me, and I started writing everyday. I wrote my goals, affirmations, accomplishments, and failures. I laid it all out in the journal, and it helped. Within a week, I truly noticed a difference in myself.

I felt so much better about myself, my future, my past, and my goals. It brought me back to who I am and reminded me of what I’m meant to be doing for the world. It sounds weird that a journal can change a life so dramatically, but just reminding myself that I’m an amazing person was what I needed at that time.

With that, I realized that I want to write something everyday this year, even if it’s just in the journal. Additionally, I would love start reading daily again. This is something I did for a while a few months ago, and I was learning new concepts about life, love, money, and perspective constantly. I’m going to do that again starting today.

I want to document my days this year, and I want to learn something great from someone else’s perspective. I’ve always said that once you stop learning, you’re as good as dead. Considering I have a lot more life to live, I think I need to continue learning.

7. Share My Knowledge & Passions

Recently, I’ve learned that I have a huge passion for sharing the things I’ve learned and experienced over the last couple of years. I’m nowhere near where I aim to be in the end, but I’m closer than I have ever been. While I’m far from the smartest and most experienced in any field, I have been able to accumulate a lot of information since I started my journey through life.

I want to share these amazing experiences that I’ve been fortunate enough to have. I want to help other people along their journey. I want to be able to motivate just one person to be something better in life. There are so many ways to grow in life, and I truly believe that helping other people would also benefit my personal growth.

Along with a few other businesses that I have founded and currently own with Nic King, one of the newest is a business called Achievable. The entire purpose of this website is to send out motivational, inspirational, and kick ass content to members. Another business that we would love to start this year is still in the works of being validated. This business is more of an online course for people looking to start an online business to open up a new income stream. This idea is still in the very beginning stages of development, but it is something that is likely to be released near the middle of the year.

8. Grow Social Media Accounts

This category can really be a part of “Share My Knowledge & Passions”, but this one is much more specific. I’ve had close to 1,000 followers on Twitter for close to a year now, and that number has just sat there. I gain and lose an equal amount of followers each months, and it’s honestly become quite annoying. I want to share amazing content with people, and the best way to start doing that is to utilize the social media accounts that I have.snapcode

By the end of the year, I want to have my Twitter account to 10,000 followers, and I want my Instagram account to be around 2,000 followers. With that, though, I also want to grow my Snapchat account. I’m going to start doing “lessons” on Snapchat this year as an incentive to follow me on that platform. Those lessons will include anything from starting a business, Forex trading tips, behind the scenes content, and so much more. I am currently planning on doing two of these “lessons” each week starting in March, so if you’re interested, my username is PaFassler.

9. Relationships

This is something that is going to be extremely important to me in the year of 2016. Last year, I had three different relationships, and two of them were absolutely draining emotionally. One of them failed after over two years of what at times felt like hell, and the other two were much shorter. The longer one, which was the worst, was with a person I met in high school, and at the time, I was very naive to the fact that some people just are not worth the effort. People lie, manipulate, and drag you down for no reason, and I was too foolishly “in love” to put it all together.

Before I dive into this any further, I want to point out that just because a relationship ends doesn’t mean it failed. From every relationship you enter into with someone, being a friendship or traditional relationship of love, you learn a lot. Though the longest one that ended last year was the biggest failure, it was also the one I learned most from. I learned what I didn’t want. I learned who I didn’t want to become in a relationship, and most importantly, I learned what a real relationship needs to do for me in order for me to be happy.

I want this year to be much different; I want to have successful relationships with people. It doesn’t matter if it’s one relationship or 4. I just simply want to connect with amazing people on a deeper level. I want to find at least one person this year that I can see potential in. No, I don’t mean that I want to find someone to spend the rest of my life with. At the same time, though, if that came up, I wouldn’t be opposed to it. I’m open to anything right now, but simply put, I want to meet and connect with someone amazing. I want to spend time with someone who sees the world in a different way. This year, I want a relationship with someone who will travel, learn, grow, live, and prosper with me. I want to make a positive difference in someone’s life.

Quite frankly, I’m tired of being in relationships with people who have little to no motivation to make an impact on the world. I’m tired of being with people who are able to settle for mediocracy. This year, I’m going to enter into a relationship with someone that I can build with, and when I say build, I mean build each other up by traveling, learning, adventuring, being happy, and any other way.

There’s quite a lot more I want to say about all of this, but it’s probably best that I will leave that there for now.

10. Financial Freedom

This is one the categories I’m most apprehensive for. See, for some reason unknown to me, people freak out when you start talking about your financial goals. For some strange reason, it’s taboo in our society to publicly state your goals for finances. But fuck ’em. The thing is, I’ve set my sight on an income of $30,000/month by the end of the year. It’s honestly nothing too ridiculous; people make more than that every single day. Is it a good income? Hell yeah, it is, but people make much more than that a month. This is going to be a goal that’s difficult to achieve, but it’s most certainly achievable.

By around the end of fall, I see myself being in a position where that is my income. Thankfully so, too, because Aston Martin’s aren’t known for their great running costs… From the research I’ve done, they don’t seem to be too reliable either, but that’s perfectly fine with me. I’ve prepared for that, and I’m thrilled that I know I’ll be in that position by the end of the year!

So there it is! Those are some of my main goals for the year, and it’s going to be absolutely insane! I’m so excited for everything that’s coming this year, and I can’t wait to share everything on Twitter, Snapchat, and Facebook! Go ahead and follow me there to keep up, and sign up for my email list to stay updated on everything in one place!

How the US Education System is Broken

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The title of this article is extremely vague. Let’s be honest; there are hundreds of ways you could take this article from that title, because there are so many reasons that our education system is broken. However, this article mainly is going to focus on one huge factor – the fact that we expect all of our students to learn the same material, no matter how little it will affect their future.

Obviously, all of our students need to be educated in math, science, history, and a language on a fairly high level; however, there comes a point where taking advanced math classes just to get a “credit” in a course doesn’t make sense whatsoever. Unfortunately, though, it happens very frequently in the current education system, and it brings up a much larger problem. Eventually, there are going to be some extremely intelligent students who will start to feel “stupid” because they are not retaining the information they are being “taught” in class.

Here’s the bigger problem, though. When these bright-minded students start to feel as if they are not matching the standard that the state feels they should be held to based on averages, they become easily discourage, and other areas of their lives start degrading. Their life passion can take a hit from the extra “studying” they engage in to simply try to retain information to pass a test. At that point in time, if a student has found their life passion, it’s what they should focus on working towards. If the student has yet to find their purpose in life, more of their focus should be going towards finding it, because within a couple of years, they are going to be forced to choose a “career path” in college based around it. I won’t go into an in-depth college rant here, but a lot of these people loose sight of their passion, and they will end up getting a formal education based on another person’s desires. That simply doesn’t make sense.

Believe it or not, students are actual people… They have dreams, goals, passion, strengths, and weaknesses. When we force students to try to retain information that they simply won’t need, we are also forcing them to often try to learn about topics they aren’t passionate about, and it doesn’t work well that way. The best learning experience you have is when you are being taught something that strikes a nerve within you – good or bad. You’re more likely to engage, retain, and be happy. When we are forcing students to learn about topics that do not matter for their future and that they have no passion in, we’re wasting time, energy, and resources. It’s almost as if our current education system was designed years ago when people were meant to work in factories and respond to bells like cattle. Hmm…

Every single one of the students we have in our education system right now is at least a tiny bit different than ay other student in some way or another. Why are we forcing them to all act the same, think the same, and learn the same? We are setting up a society for complete failure at this rate, and a change needs to be made soon. Huge consequences come when we force people to be the same day in and day out. Instead of discouraging students and making them feel as if they can not be educated properly, why don’t we instead encourage them to follow areas they are passionate about. Your education doesn’t stop after high school or college, so why do we act as if you have to have everything figured out at that time? Why do we act as if you have one shot to make the right choice for the rest of your life? You can learn a new skill and follow a new passion at any given time, if you have the true desire to do so.

How & Why I Stopped Smoking

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Growing up, smoking wasn’t really something I ever considered having an interest in. Like most people, I was told it was extremely unhealthy for you and those around you. Even through high school, it wasn’t something I necessarily had an interest in trying. It wasn’t until I was 19 that I eventually decided to try it. This ended up reatheing one of the biggest things that I’ve ever tried to keep from the people around me. It was never something I was proud of; it just kind of happened…

So here’s the cliche story that I’ll get to tell. I had just gone through a breakup with someone I had been dating for a couple of years, and if you’ve ever been in that situation, you know there’s a lot of pain associated with that for a while. When I tried that first cigarette, though, a lot of that pain went away. I felt so much less anxious, sad, and felt a little rebellious, which was something I enjoyed. I won’t lie and say that I didn’t enjoy the sensation I had when I smoked. Just like most other people, it was something I enjoyed. I also started dating someone who smoked, which didn’t necessarily help the situation any.

From July 2015 until January 2016, I smoked – quite a bit at times. It started out with a couple here and there and grew over time. At it’s worst peak, I had 22 in a day. That, however, was one of the worst days that I can remember having in a long time. I’ll get into that in another article.

Anyway, I used it as an escape from extreme feelings of anxiety, loneliness and sadness. Ironically, though, I wasn’t alone. I was blind. I had people around me who cared about me more than anything, and one day I really started noticing the affects it was having on my body. A simple task of running upstairs to grab my phone ended up with me being out of breathe. I’m not necessarily in great shape to begin with, but running up the stairs should never be a task where I end up with a shortness of breathe.

Then, the trip to Orlando happened. I told myself that I would be fine without cigarettes for a week. Oh boy was I in for a shock! I was flying to Orlando from Atlanta, and I didn’t necessarily want to take cigarettes on a flight, even though you are allowed to in the US. So I left them at home and assumed I  would be fine. It’s funny, because you don’t really know that you’re addicted to something until you go without it – by choice or force. I made it 3 days in Orlando without a cigarette, and I was fine for the most part. I had random headaches here and there when I had a huge urge to smoke, but it wasn’t anything unbearable. I was expecting it, so I was okay. One morning, though, after an event that I attended, I was exhausted from three hours of sleep and a large consumption of alcohol. My head was about to implode, so I took an Uber to the nearest gas station and bought pack. I felt absolutely defeated.

After we returned home from Orlando, things changed quickly. Certain events happened that added massive amounts of stress to my life right before Christmas, and I ended up getting to my worst point with smoking – 22 in a day. At that point, I realized it was time to stop, and I started cutting down little by little.

One day in January, I decided I was done, and I haven’t had one since. Let’s break down the how and the why.

The How

People say that trying to stop smoking is one of the most difficult things the stop. After all, it’s an addiction. To be completely honest, it’s going to be harder for someone who has smoked for 20 years than it is for someone who smoked for 7 months. That’s just a given; however, the same principles apply.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret that makes quitting so much easier. It’s not fool-proof, but it’s a lot better to know this than to try quitting without this information. In order to quit, you have to be done with your need for it. Sure, if you want to quit, you may be able to for a while, but odds are, you’re going to go back to it. After a while, cigarettes become something your brain tells your body you need more of, and that’s complete bullshit. From my experience, 80% of this addition was mental. It was all in my head that I needed a cigarette, even if I didn’t. With that, though, remember that a part of your body is still addicted to this, and there can/will be withdrawal-like symptoms.

Chances are, you’re going to have a headache for a while. You’ll probably also be really moody, but at the end of it, you have to remember that it’s temporary. It will go away, and the best way to get it to go away is to do something productive/creative. It will help tremendously because, as I stated before, 80% of this is all in your head.

Back to my biggest point, though. This is something you have will have to overcome as a person. This “addiction” is something that you’re going to have to not need anymore. If you started because you were stressed out, you have to remove a lot of those stressors from your life. For me, that’s pretty easy. I cut out the people who were causing me to harm myself in that way. I cut out the tasks with work that were not helping me grow as a person or growing my business. For others, that might not be so easy, but it’s still very possible.

Like any other addiction, it takes willpower – more than most people have to have on a regular basis. Luckily, having willpower isn’t something I struggle with too often. With the path I’ve chosen in life, I have to have the willpower to make something of myself. I don’t have a boss telling me when to work, when I will get paid, and how much I am guaranteed to be paid. If I don’t do A, I don’t get result B. I have to be able to manage myself as a person and entrepreneur to get what I want. So, for me, going into it with the mindset of knowing I could stop was everything.

Summary of The How: You have to be at a point where you no longer need cigarettes. If you no longer “want” them, it’s probably going to end briefly. When you no longer need them, though, that’s when your true success with quitting starts. It’s all in your head, and (as with everything) your mindset will determine your results.

The Why

This is going to be the part that most people who smoke will hate, because when you tell someone that something they are doing is bad, it quite frankly pisses them off. To be completely honest, it did the same for me. I remember looking for reasons to rationalize why I smoked when I would read facts about the health risks and skin aging. I found that the human brain is capable of rationalizing risking cancer, lung disease, heart disease, awful skin, terrible breathe, yellow teeth, hairy tongue, emphysema, awful spending habits, and so much more all for the sake of momentarily feeling relaxed. By the way, that’s just the risks it puts the smoker with. That does not include the risks it puts children, your family, and the environment at.

I was already starting to notice the affects of what I was doing to my body. Running up the stairs became a task. Carrying heavy boxes became a struggle, and having yellow teeth, awful smelling clothes, and an ash tray for a car was beginning to become unbearable.

I’ll let you in on a little secret. Smoking is not glamorous, sexy, appealing, fun, cool, or anything positive. Explain to me what’s sexy about smelling dirty, yellow teeth, brown marks on your hands, bad spending habits, and bad skin. Explain to me what’s cool about a cigarette. The problem here is that nobody has ever been able to logically explain those things to me, and there’s a very good reason for that. Those explanations don’t exist.

Along with the health reasons, I simply didn’t need it anymore. Cigarettes didn’t do what they once did for me, and at that point, I knew I was ready to stop smoking. It was one of the most freeing moments that I’ve had. Along with realizing that your past no longer controls you, realizing that you’re ready to end something that should have never started is a very unique feeling.

Summary of The Why: Smoking cigarettes was starting to take a huge turn in my life. I wasn’t happy, healthy, energetic, or motivated. Believe it or not, as soon as I stopped, it all came back. I was immediately happier, felt healthier, filled with more energy, and much more motivated to hustle with everything I was working on. The negative health affects were taking their toll on me, and I was so unhappy with smelling dirty, having a dirty car, and feeling like shit. I never want to get back to a point where I feel like I depend on something to calm me down. I am in control of myself, just as you are in control of yourself.

All in all, though, this was one of the few times where quitting was one of the best things I’ve ever done. I no longer feel that I need a cigarette to calm down. I no longer am insecure about bad breathe, yellow teeth, degrading skin, lung disease, or other negative things. I’m free from something that was bringing me down, and it was all in my head. I had the power to stop with a simple mindset change, and you do too. Sure, it might not be easy, but the best things in life aren’t. You just have to no longer need what bringing you down, and quitting will be easy.

 

Please note that none of the above text is medical advice. This article was composed as a way to share a secret and my experience with ending a bad habit in my life. Quitting smoking will help decrease your likelihood of cancer, disease, etc., but it will not bring you back to 100% health. Consult your doctor with any medical questions/concerns. 

Top 5 Best Documentaries to Watch in 2016

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Recently, thanks to Netflix, I’ve fallen in love with watching documentaries. My favorite thing to do above anything else is to learn new things and share that knowledge with anyone and everyone. With that, I’ve complied a list of the 5 best documentaries to watch in 2016 – all available on Netflix!

1. Cowspiracy

Want some Leonardo Dicaprio to start off your year? Look no further! Leo was an executive producer of this eye-opening documentary about the lack of care we have for our environment.

This will change your views about global warming, health, and the way our society is hidden from the real facts. Even if being vegan isn’t your thing, and even if you don’t believe in global warming, just give this a watch. It may just change your opinion on what’s actually going on right in front of us.

2. Fed Up

With childhood obesity becoming a growing (no pun intended) concern in the United States, Fed Up takes you to a deeper level and uncovers some interesting facts about the way we accept soda as an everyday drink, fatty foods as healthy lunches, and the amazing concept of “skinny-fat” people.

One of the most fascinating facts I picked up in that film is that 80% of schools have exclusive deals with soda companies to sell their products directly to students in some way. With almost 100,000 public schools in the US as of 2009-2010, that would mean almost 80,000 public schools have an exclusive deal with a soda company.

As much as we try to think that we are making lunches healthy for our students, it simply isn’t happening.

3. Soaked in Bleach

Soaked in Bleach (surprisingly) has nothing to do with health or the planet we live on. Instead, this is all about “conspiracy,” specifically about Kurt Cobain’s death. This amazing crime documentary will dive into some alternate and unpopularized opinions about the death of the famous Nirvana lead singer.

As someone who truly had no interest in Nirvana or Kurt Cobain, I found this documentary to be one of the best, as after a few minutes, I was hooked. The writing and directing of this film is amazing, and I highly recommend giving it a view if you’re looking for something to get your mind running wild.

4. Freakonomics

The fourth and fifth movies on this list come in at a tie for me. I absolutely love both, but Freakonomics is all about money. The film focuses on one chapter of the book written by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner.

If you have any interest in how money works, how our society treats money, acts, conforms, and tries to understand cash, watch this. The psychology behind what keeps our economy moving is fascinating, and I promise this film won’t you let you down.

5. The Secret

While The Secret ties with Freakonomics on my list, I think The Secret is just a little bit better. If you want to change any aspect of your life, watch this right now. You need to realize that what is happening in your life is a result of the thoughts you have manifested in your mind. Whatever is going on around you is happening because of your thoughts, fears, ambitions, and dreams.

Use this secret to your advantage, and I promise you will see amazing results to whatever you want within a short period of time. Believe that something can happen, and it surely will happen. Don’t believe your mind can determine your future? Give this a watch. It’ll convince you very quickly! If you want to change your situation, start with changing your mindset!

Have anything to add to this list? Start a discussion below!

Doing What You Love

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All throughout life, I remember being told to be someone that I’m not. It was rarely ever said by family, but it was typically said by people who had no clue who or what I was. More often than not, it was a teacher who thought they knew what was best for every student, which is impossible, or it was someone who seems to be bitter about the life that they had chosen to live. For the most part, when I was younger, I would believe the lies that were being fed to me. I mean, in all honestly, who didn’t? When all you know is what others tell you, it is all you can believe, until you reach the point where you know how to think for yourself.

I’ve been told, as I’m sure you and most people you know, to become an engineer, doctor, or any other job that society holds high due to the fact they are typically well paid. But there comes a point where I realized that I had no interest in becoming any of those things. I don’t want to be an engineer that solves someone else’s problems. I don’t want to be a doctor and deal with disease and illness. I should be an accountant? Hell no. Pharmacist? No thanks… Not to say that anything is necessarily wrong with any of these things, but it’s not for me. It’s not what I want by any means.

Don’t get me wrong, I love helping people and solving problems, but I want to help people in my own way. I want to solve problems that I find interesting and important, not what someone tells me to solve. It’s not who I am. I’d rather be they person telling the engineer to solve a problem and pay him the high salary that is expected by society.

But all of this brings me to my main point, which is that we are never told and shown that thinking for yourself and doing what you love can pay off 1,000x more than a nice paycheck, and if you want to make it really insane, I could tell you that a paycheck isn’t going to make a difference if you’re miserable in your position. I would rather make $50,000/year and love what I do, have free time, and be with people I love, in lieu of making $100,000/year with no time, a failing relationship with family, and not having the opportunity to enjoy what I’ve done for myself and the people around me.

Another disclaimer, I’m not saying I want to settle for less than anything that I can possibly achieve. I will be in the financial positive I work towards, and I will have my dream Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 by the time I’m 22, but I also want to achieve it by doing what I love and following my dreams. More often than not, the founder or an executive of the company is driving the supercar, not the employee. Society tell you to become the employee for a few reasons, which consist of: 1) Society needs low, medium, and high level employees to function in a smooth way, and 2) Nobody wants to see you be that much more successful than them, and they see it as impossible.

Your family can say they want you to succeed and do this and that, but sometimes, they don’t actually mean it. Let’s say your older brother works 60 hours/week in a job that he isn’t too happy with, but it “pays the bills.” First off, when someone works for the sole purpose of paying bills, they’re going to be miserable. Understand that, and you’ll be able to avoid those people as much as possible. Unless they’re looking for change, they’re only going to bring you down. Secondly, they’re going to be extremely jealous if you’re loving what you do, making money, and have time to enjoy yourself. We experience jealousy from time the we truly have a enough sense to know what we have. As humans, we typically want more, which is great. It leads to innovation, invention, progress, etc. That is, when the person channels that strive in a positive way.

Unfortunately, most people channel that energy in a negative way, which is where we get jealousy from. Instead of working for something better, the person just assumes that they won’t be able to get it. Snarky comments about you will be made, and people will make you sound like a fool – all for the reason of feeling bad about what they have. For some strange reason, people cannot be happy with what they have already. I love striving for more, but I also realize that I am more than happy with the current position I am in. I want more, and I will have more bigger and better things, but I also love what I have now – family, friends, a wonderful girlfriend, and enough income to enjoy them all. But I also have a job that I love, and it’s a job that is always expanding and changing. I could not deal with a monotonous job or career. It would drive me insane. I need change to keep going, and that’s what running a company with Nic and trading Forex does for me. It allows an ever-changing life. And yes, some months are better than others, but there are no months that are exactly the same. I love that.

It’s no coincidence that people become unhappy doing something they don’t love or even wanted to do, every day of their life. When you’re thinking about what you might want to do with your life, keep that in mind. If you don’t love it, if you don’t have a passion or burning desire for it, take some time to think and reconsider. Also, remember that it is never too late to pursue a dream that you once had, even if you have a family that you need to support. It’s been done before is much worse conditions, and there are ample opportunities in this world. You truly have no excuse. Make it happen.

 

“I’ve Got a Case of the Monday’s…” – Dreading the Days Away

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Recently, I was browsing my Facebook News Feed, which these days is a mistake, as I just get irritated with the fact that most of it is people I graduated high school with complaining about everything, and yes, I do mean everything. Every Saturday and Sunday, though, I see the same thing. “I’m so not looking forward to Monday,” says one friend. “Monday’s ruin all the fun from the weekend,” says another. But my favorite thus far is quite an interesting one. “I’ve sure got a case of the Monday’s today. Work sucks. Job sucks. This day is ****. And I just want it to be the weekend again!!” says my new best friend on the social network! All of that brings me to my point of the article – why live a life you dread?

I get it; people have bad days. However, that seems to be a bit excessive. To be honest, if you dread what you do so much that you feel the need to post a status update about it, maybe you should reconsider what you need to do with your life. I cannot imagine living a life where I woke up on Sunday morning and had a feeling of sadness and dread for the next day or few days until the weekend. Trust me, I’ve had things in my life I wasn’t looking forward to, but I found that if I have to do it, I will do it with a positive attitude. Complaining about the future only sets you up for failure – being unhappy.

When you’re unhappy, you’re unmotivated, not productive, stressed, a stressor to those around you, and more than likely, no fun to be around. Who wants that? Do you honestly think for a minute that your friends want to sit around and complain about tomorrow with you every time you hang out? No, because believe it or not, people want happiness and motivation and a reason to keep going. Even unhappy people don’t want to associate themselves with other unhappy people. So why do we, as a society, think it is okay to complain publicly about the “Monday’s?” Why do we accept that you’re just supposed to not enjoy your work week? How twisted of a society are we?

When I work, I feel happy, more productive, motivated, and accomplished. When I’m lazy, I feel unmotivated; thus, I don’t accomplish anything to further myself as a person and become unhappy. I become lazy when I feel like I’m dreading something, so I simply turn that into “Hey, when I get this done, and I’m free to work on what I love.” So I do it, finish it, and move on to what I love. Even if you love your work as much as I love mine, you’re still going to have those tasks (weekly for me) that you just don’t enjoy like you used to. But since when does complaining fix that? Get it done, and move on to what you love about it. After all, you picked your career (hopefully) because you had some interest in it. Find that interest again, and use it to your advantage.

Additionally, if it just makes you that unhappy, find something else. Sure, you may have kids, a family, a longtime career, but you can make small steps toward finding something new. Your income isn’t worth losing your happiness. It never has been. The worst thing you can do to yourself is force yourself to be miserable. So let it go. Find what you love, and go for it. It is truly never too late. Sometimes, you need to take the worst situation and find the best opportunity. So next time you start to complain about Monday, maybe you should realize that it’s not Monday that sucks. It may not even be your job that sucks. It’s your attitude that does.

Why I Love Change

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We seem to be living in a world that is terrified by change, but I’ve never been able to figure out why. From what I’ve always understood, change is something that is required to keep the world progressing forward. Once we stop changing, we become stagnant, and since when is that efficient? When things stay the same for too long, I get bored, and I lose motivation. After all, what’s the point in going on if things will just stay the same? If I’m correct, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result. If you’re doing the same thing, day by day, and you’re expecting a different result, doesn’t that technically classify as insanity, if nothing is changing by design? That may be a bit farfetched to some; however, take a minute to think about what it actually means.

For some people, it may work just fine. After all, there are many different types of people in this world, but for me personally, having things stay the same for too long gets boring. Don’t get me wrong, I think a consistent relationship with people is important. I think consistency is important in many aspects of life, but sometimes, it’s good to get out and try little things that can cause quite a bit of change in your life.

It doesn’t necessarily have to be a change that affects your entire life, family, friends, education, and every other aspect. But sometimes, even changing something as simple as your thoughts can have a huge affect on your life. Additionally, changing your office around, or changing your bedroom’s arrangement can have your massive change on your overall workflow, mindset and more.

And that’s why I love change, no matter how big or small it may be. It affects your mindset, workflow, and can have a huge boost in motivation for your overall day. I certainly don’t really want to become stagnant in life and be doing the same thing everyday with always getting the same end-result. That, to me, would drive me insane, and I would feel like I was not really getting anything productive and forward-moving accomplished through the days.

Changing things up allows you to see yourself, or even the world, from a different perspective. It gives you the chance to clear your mind and move forward. Times change, and when you as a person stay motionless in life, you won’t get nearly the experience you would be getting if you were opened and accepting to change.

What are your thoughts on change? Does the concept of it sound nice, but when it happens, does it make you reconsider? Let us know in the comments below. We love to know what you are thinking!

Why I Follow Less Than 50 People

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When you sit down and really think about how easy it is to get distracted today, you do two things.

  1. You say “Hmm,” and move on.
  2. You take action to reduce your distractions throughout the day.

For so many years, I wasted countless hours scrolling through Twitter, Facebook, and Reddit, until one day I decided that it simply wasn’t worth it anymore. It was dramatically affecting my productivity, and I decided that I just wanted to be able to work with less distractions than previously accustomed to. I say and heavily emphasize less because I truly believe that working distraction-free is near impossible in today’s world. That’s not to say that it is impossible, but it is improbably. Sure, you can focus in on something and get a ton of work done, but typically, you’ll still have those little distractions, even if it’s just a passing car.

Now, there are a ton of little and big things you can do to cut down the amount of distractions that you have in your day-to-day life; however, one of the biggest ones focuses around social media. In fact, it is something that I heavily mention in my article about avoiding information overload, which can be viewed here.

If you’re like me, which in this case, I’m sure a few of you are, you have a Twitter client open on your desktop or in-browser almost all of the time that you’re on the computer. We live in an extremely fast-paced world, and because of that I like to keep up to date (or hour) with technology news, so at one point, I was following over 350 people to keep current with things. This was horrible for my productivity, and I could rarely get a task done start to finish without getting distracted by a news article or somebody’s sushi for lunch.

I tried for a while to only open the Twitter app for Mac or Tweetdeck when I had a few free minutes; however, that also took a toll on my productivity, as I would spend quite a lot of time browsing Twitter, Reddit, etc., and I would forget what else I needed to do before the day ended.

So a few months ago, I decided that it was time to cut back, and I unfollowed everyone. Then, I went back to Twitter an hour later, and I followed everyone that I could think of off of the top of my head, which was about 40 people. Over time, I’ve followed 9 more people total, including unfollowing some and following others. So my total, as just stated, is up to 49. And I quite like it there. It’s a nice even place to keep my following, as I rarely get distracted throughout the day by news. In fact, I don’t even follow a lot of news accounts anymore, as most of it didn’t pertain to what I wanted to know.

So there it is – a quick and simple explanation as to why I think it’s important to follow a small amount of people. More specifically, make these people matter. Interact with them, and get to know them, if you don’t already. It will really make more of their tweets feel like they are more relevant to you, and, ironically, you won’t spend as much time going through it if you understand it when you first look at it.

Photo Credit: Marc_Smith via Compfight cc