Thursday, October 16, 2014

A Battle

Sometimes in life you have to just battle through stuff.  This stuff can be stuff you don’t really want to fight through but you do it anyway.  Stuff can cause stress, it can piss you off, it can really annoy the shit out of you.  The cards are stacked against you.  It can make you want to quit. 

But that same stuff can also create amazing opportunities.  Sometimes you just have to battle through the stuff because there’s hope that at the end of the fight it will be worth all the bullshit. 

I’ve always struggled with patience.  This particular battle requires a great deal of it.  I’m fighting.  I’m fighting for something that I believe in.  I’m waiting.  I hate waiting.  I’m learning.  That is really important to me.   I’m hopeful that if I can figure this thing out and find a way to win the battle it will all be worth it.  No doubt I’m going to be better because of the fight.  

They say that it’s not about the destination but the journey.  This journey has been a long one and had its ups and downs.  The ups have been life changing.  The downs are worth fighting through.  They say there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.  I don’t see the light but trust its there.  Fight or flight – fight.  Win or lose - fuck losing, we’re going for the win.   


Now I’m going to go listen to Metallica because Metallica rules! 


Friday, September 19, 2014

A Tribute

Well Ryan, you’ve ended it.  You’ve ended a beautiful life.  You thought that what you did would save the world.  Maybe it will.  It will impact the hearts and souls of so many people that will process and adopt the passion, enthusiasm, and love that you brought to the world.  I would still rather have you around but I can accept your play.  You had good intentions and you died with no regrets. 

We both went to Arizona, we were in the same fraternity, we lived in the same house, but we were never really friends (I saw some feces last night, man you would have laughed your ass off…).  I was entertained by you – the pajamas at Eller, the nasty kitchen, the Regress movement, Jolene, the countless schemes -- but eventually you graduated, I graduated, and that was it.  If I were a betting man I would have put money that we’d never run into each other again….

…..but then…..you randomly, out of nowhere, showed up on my door step in Palo Alto.  We stroke up a deal that night.  I get dibs on your Coachella ticket for a referral to LinkedIn.  Fast forward two months – I’ve gone to Coachella with all your high school friends and you are working next to me at LinkedIn.  A scheme that worked (!).  From then on, we were friends – real good friends – and through you I learned a whole lot about myself and what’s important in life. 

If I could boil it down, I want to give you special recognition for these three things:

Enthusiasm – your intense enthusiasm made it’s way into every aspect of your life. Music, travel, get rich quick schemes, e-cigs, surfing, regress, juicing, tinder, those stupid toe shoes. More than anyone I know, you had so much enthusiasm in everything you did.   I will miss that more than anything.     

Realness – you were yourself.  It was about who you were, not how you looked or what you had.  Probably to my disadvantage professionally and huge advantage personally – you taught me the importance of being myself.

Friendship – you loved Julia.  More than any of my friends, you saw her as a true friend – and I love you for that.  You were so incredibly loyal and loving to us.

Thanks for introducing Settlers of Catan to me. I miss your evil laugh.  Remember that time at Outside Lands when you packed raw bell peppers as your snack for the day?  That was hilarious.  Or that time you spurred a huge debate about how I wasn’t healthy because I didn’t wake up with a boner every morning.  That time you ditched me at Coachella to hang out with Christian – and after a few hours – you came back and said “Christian is way funner than you!  We are going to have a threesome!” I see your spirit in Christian more than anyone I know.  Or that time you met up with Julia and I all sweaty because when you got my text you ran from North Beach to Inner Richmond wearing a Hawaiin shirt and those stupid toe shoes.  Or that time you told me you cried when you saw that video of me?  That really meant a lot to me.  Or the time you were so proud of that hideous green sweater that you got from Goodwill.  That sweater was so ugly.  We had so many conversations about the meaning and purpose of life – happiness – being the one and only thing that mattered.  I fondly remember us always asking strangers who the guy on our shirt was.  Regress confused EVERYONE.  I still don’t really get it but I think that’s the whole point.  Remember when you said that instead of making dials at LinkedIn you were just going to use recruiter to find software engineers so you could get that $10k referral bonus?  It didn’t work but man was it entertaining.  That night we spent three hours making gnocchi with that cream based sauce?  It was so bad we went to bed hungry and you gave the remains to a homeless guy.  You were always thinking about the homeless, I noticed that about you.  These memories will live on forever. 

Every month you had some new scheme.  Cricket farm, container communes, juice bar, the “people” stock market (my favorite ridiculous idea), bus tours for tourists, opening a hostel.  To steal a pretty spot on quote from Jordan, “When Ryan spoke about an idea, it was as if everything had already fallen into place. It was over, and he had already won…The ideas were enough. The plans themselves and the eventual success of each were actually better than wasting years of time working on them.”  You are one of a kind my dude.  I love you. 

Your last week was a wild ride.  I’m sorry for not investing in you, or connecting you to the people I know, or in some way not influencing you out of your hypnotized state.  I do feel like I could have done something and that’s been tough for me to get over.  You did a selfish thing but I know that you didn’t mean for it to be selfish – your intentions were pure and I forgive you because of that. 

The morning after you passed I watched this video over and over.  I couldn’t stop crying.  Elvis was the fucking man!  I don't know if you ever got into his music but you would have loved it.  


I’ve had some really good conversations this week – you were loved – Lev, Jordan, the Segal’s, Belitz, Jimmy, Pete Ryan, Bryan Breck, Gordon, Josh and Christian – even Bdave and Jason were sad that you died! 

You’ve made a huge impact in my life and I’m going to be a better person because of this.  You’ll be glad to hear that I intend on becoming good friends with Horen, Kendal, Stevie, Mikey – you had a great crew.  Your death won’t fix the worlds problems (you weren’t Jesus, silly!) but will make the world a better place.  Your spirit lives in me and all the people you touched.  Luckily you have hundreds of shirts with your face on them as proof.  

You were such a good person.  I love you so much. 

#REGRESS




Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Good Things

Music

Been a good year for new music, and I have a few albums and songs that I’ve been bumping non stop that you should check out.  

Albums:

This is my #1 album this year, the entire thing is dripping with good vibes, every song is fire.

This is a friend of mine from high school and it’s amazing.  The first couple tracks are some of my favorite songs this year.

I had the chance to see them on Saturday and it was absolutely amazing.  These guys have the best instrumental album I’ve heard in a very long time.

Songs:

Lower the Heavens – The Donkeys



All – Blackbird Blackbird



Left Hand Free – Alt J



Intentions

I’ve been thinking a lot about the importance of implications in life.  I think the #1 change I’ve made over the past five years is to always have good intentions in every interaction I have.  If you always want the best for the people around you and interact with people with the best intentions, you’ll create an energy that attracts people to you. 

Stay Positive Gear

A few months back I put in a new order for Stay Positive shades, sweatshirts, and t-shirts.  I’m super stoked about it.  I’ve been selling them to friends and family, and I’ll be putting up a live Etsy and StorEnvy shop to sell to everyone this week.  Stay tuned and get in on the good vibes.

One of my favorite bi products of the Stay Positive gear is the regular and constant comments I get walking down the street.  Every single time I wear it people are smiling at me and giving me the ol’ “Stay Positive!!”.  My response, every time, “holla”.

Farmers

This year at my job has been the year of the farmer.  Almost all of my new conversations are with farmers and organizations that support farmers.  This year I’ve helped over 100 farmers access over $700,000 in capital on Kiva Zip.  It’s something I’m really proud of.  We should be supporting small local farms in the US and investing in food that is grown in a sustainable and responsible way. 

I’d love if you could find a farmer that is fundraising on Kiva Zip and help them out with $5. 

Journaling


I’ve written about this in previous blog posts but I can’t over emphasize how big of an impact it’s made on my life this year.  Since January I’ve been writing three things I’m thankful for every day.  I think it’s had a massive positive impact on my attitude, perspective, and day-to-day happiness.  I’m creating a timeline of my life that’s helping me keep track of all the awesome stuff happening every day.  I highly encourage you to try it out.   

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

March

It's almost May -- just found this blog post I posted a few weeks back.  Thought late was better than never :)

March was a good month, quite possibly the best month I’ve ever had – not sure I can attribute that to anything specific just consciously happy and fulfilled in every aspect of life.  I’ll call March the month of “boom”. 

Day Light Savings / Frolf

This is my favorite day of the year, the day that the sun comes out and those precious hours after work allow me to make any day a weekend. 

What am I primarily referring to?  Frolf. 

In case you’ve been living under a rock, frolf is essentially golf played with frisbees.  5:00 hits, it’s been a productive day at work, I hustle out to the frolf course as quickly as possibly and play as many holes as I can before the sun comes down.  After 2 hours, and typically a cold beer and some ganj, I forget that I worked all day.  It’s basically a casual weekend afternoon – that’s a best case scenario.

Quad Streaker         

If you’re in San Francisco you have to download this app.  It tracks where you’ve been and rates you against your friends.  My manager and I have a stiff competition right now and it’s really changed my daily habits.  I strive to “acquire new quads” which translates to exploring new parts of the city and forcing myself into new adventures.

Master Mind

One of the biggest drivers of my steady rate of my positive mindset this year can be attributed to a group I meet with every other week, the Master Mind.  We are a group of three dudes that are all young professionals, in tech, with girlfriends, and similar personal and professional goals.   We’ve built a foundation of trust where we can talk openly about our challenges, goals, work, life, relationships.  We build each other up and inspire one another to be happier.

The one big takeaway from Master Mind is the impact that a proactive consciousness can have on a day-to-day basis.  Surfacing, articulating, and flushing those parts of life that matter is healthy.  It’s comforting to know that these guys are experiencing similar things and helpful to brainstorm and bounce ideas off one another.  From these meetings I come out with a proactive mindset in tackling areas of life I want to improve or strengthen. 

Refueling Station

A big learning I’ve had in the past couple months has been focused on time, mind, and energy allocation.  I’ve gotten better at identifying how I refuel and how often I need to charge my battery.  At LinkedIn, I burned out and I remember in my final interview with Kiva’s CEO his one concern with me was burning out of the job.  I’ve been very conscious of the need to refuel, recharge, and refocus on a weekly basis to combat stress.  Frolf and Master Mind are two very tangible ways in which I do this, Quad Streaker is a tool that influences me towards this.  

Express Thanks

Make every day “thanks-giving”.  Be thankful for what you have.  Find ways to express your thankfulness and make this a part of your daily routine.  It will put life in perspective and influence your appreciation and relationships with the people you care most about and the things in life that make you happy. 

PEEF

In February I trained 12 new Kiva Zip fellows that are all over the country growing our program.  When I was prepping for them to come in the office, I came up with four words that represent the culture of Kiva Zip – positivity, energy, enthusiasm, and flexibility.  Those four words are what drive and inspire me.  They are the guiding principles I aspire to in my life. 

PEEF homies.  

Sunday, March 2, 2014

February

Got lots on my mind, time to dump out the positive on you!

HandUp

A big part of my job is networking with high impact organizations that are aligned with Kiva.  One that really inspired me was HandUp, an organization that is fighting homelessness.  I really love their model and encourage you to help them out.  It feels good to help fight homelessness in such an impactful way.


Bo

One year ago I spent 4 weeks in Little Rock Arkansas.  I went on a whim, with no contacts, no real game plan.  I had 4 weeks to build Kiva Zip's presence in Arkansas for an event with Bill Clinton.  It was a pretty gnarly challenge and one that I will always feel grateful for because it really influenced by future with Kiva and set me on my course.  I wouldn't have been able to do what I did in Arkansas without the help of strangers that believed in what I was doing.  One of those strangers was a guy named Bo.  Bo was the produce manager at Whole Foods and super connected to the local food movement in Arkansas, he connected me with loads of inspiring farmers, food producers, and influencers in Little Rock but more importantly welcomed me into his circle -- inviting me over for Settlers of Catan (Star Trek version was sick!) and encouraging me regularly.

This month I was able to help Bo out.  He started a juicing business in Little Rock and needed funds to help him grow.  As a Trustee at Kiva, I was able to recommend him for a loan and help him out.  We hustled together to get the whole loan funded in four days from 133 people -- lenders in Sweden, New Zealand, Spain, and the Philippines too!  This was a fun project for me and allowed me to jump into the action and see how Kiva Zip worked as a user.

Bo's loan -- https://zip.kiva.org/loans/3088
The farmers that Bo introduced to me (filter by status "all") -- https://zip.kiva.org/trustees/332/loans

It feels good to help others.

Facebook Challenge

I saw this post on Facebook and wanted to share in case you want a fun exciting challenge:

I’m participating in a Pay-It-Forward initiative: the first five people who comment on this status with "I'm down", will receive a surprise from me at some point in this calendar year - it might be a ticket, a visit, a postcard, or something completely different ... absolutely any surprise! There will be no warning and it will happen when you least expect it ... These five people must then make the same offer on their FB status... Simply copy this text onto your profile, (don't share) so we can pay the ripples of kindness forward!!

Excited to surprise five random people in my network with something super awesome.

A Dose of Inspiration



Don't know how you can not be happy after watching this.  Love this dude, what a winner.  I want to jump on the road to awesome.

Gratitude 

I've been journaling every morning before work and I love it.  Been doing it for over a month and I can tell it's making a big impact on my attitude and mood.  Starting the day off right.  I start writing down three things that I'm thankful for and then I'll do a few extra minutes on one of the three.  I really encourage you to do this!

Day Light Savings

Next Sunday (ONE WEEK!!!) is Day Light Savings, which is a really awesome thing.  Going to start a new 7 day challenge of outside activities to start me off right.  When the suns out, it's my favorite time of year -- going to be playing LOADS of frolf, hikes, basketball, yes yes yes!!!!!  I'm so excited.


Stay Positive, Holla.


Saturday, February 1, 2014

A New Year

It's been just about a year since I last posted on the blog.  2013 was a good year and I'm looking forward to 2014.  The thing I'm most excited about is my new years resolution, which I've been honing in on throughout the course of January.  I wanted to do something tangible and focus on the stuff that makes me happy and force me to be more conscious and proactive in getting those things done.

I split my new years resolution into two parts -- a monthly goals list and a series of 7 day challenges that I can do throughout the year.

Monthly Goals:
Blog post
10 mile bike ride
Yoga
Commonwealth Club
Reading a book a month
Play basketball
Go to a new restaurant
Do something special for me Julie

7 day challenge:
Positivity journal
Juice
Cook a new thing
Topic – personal interest
Topic – professional skill
Catch up with a friend
Paint/draw
Catch the sunrise and sunset
Hang out with a different friend
New Blu walk

After month 1, I'm feeling pretty good.  The only thing I missed was the blog post (by 1 day) and the Commonwealth Club, although I did get my membership and have that on my to do list today.  Yoga was the most interesting on the list because it was my first time.  It was interesting, a lot more challenging than I thought it'd be.  Time will tell if that sticks.

I did one of my 7 day challenges which was a great experience.  I read an article that said there were two very tangible strategies for increasing your positivity on a day to day basis -- writing down three things you're grateful for and journaling at the start of every day.

Over the past couple weeks, before I head for work I will spend 5 minutes writing down three things I'm thankful for and then a quick 3-4 minute power journal on something positive that was on my mind.  I could feel the impact almost immediately, as I was forcing my day to start on a positive note.  Focusing my mind on the good things that happened framed my day in a nice positive way.

This is the first new years resolution that has had me super fired up.  The activity alone of putting a list of 20 or so things together framed what I really wanted more of in my life.  Having it next to my bed, looking at it every day forces the subconscious out to the conscious.  It's made tangible improvements to my outlook, attitude, and priorities.

It's been almost a year since my last blog post (which was actually around when I got hired at Kiva!) and I feel this need to get all these things that have been sitting in my head onto this blog.  Going to try and pace it out and keep it up this year.

Stay Positive homies.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Inspiring Documentary

This documentary might be the best, most inspiring, documentary I have ever seen.  It profiles the inspirational figure of Dewey Bozella, a man who was imprisoned for a murder he didn’t commit. He found strength in boxing during his unjust incarceration, becoming light heavyweight champion of the notoriously tough Sing Sing prison in New York. And although he was given the chance to walk free after six years if he just admitted the murder, he maintained his innocence, spending 26 years inside until he was finally exonerated. This revealing documentary follows his attempt to fulfil his dream of fighting in a professional boxing match, at the age of 52.  The roller coaste ride of a documentary puts my challenges in perspective.  It shows the strength of will and the power inside each and every one of us.  

It is currently streaming on Netflix, or you can scope the YouTube video below.  


Monday, December 3, 2012

real world learning


This month marks my two year anniversary of the real world.  It's been real.  I think that the transformation I've experienced over the past two years has been more dramatic than at any point in the past.  It's been an interesting transformation not only for me, but with my friends from high school, college, and post-school.  More than ever, we are more independent and autonomous in our views of life, passions, social circles, and careers.  The learning lessons I've had over the past two year have shaped me into a person I am proud of.  I believe that these points summarize, on some level, how I have changed.  More importantly, they point to valuable learning lessons that will guide me moving forward.  

1. Stop placing all the blame on other people for how they interact with you. To an extent, people treat you the way you want to be treated. A lot of social behavior is cause and effect. Take responsibility for (accept) the fact that you are the only constant variable in your equation.

2. Stop being lazy by being constantly “busy.” It’s easy to be busy. It justifies never having enough time to clean, cook for yourself, go out with friends, meet new people. Realize that every time you give in to your ‘busyness,’ it’s you who’s making the decision, not the demands of your job.

3. Stop seeking out distractions. You will always be able to find them.

4. Stop trying to get away with work that’s “good enough.” People notice when “good enough” is how you approach your job. Usually these people will be the same who have the power to promote you, offer you a health insurance plan, and give you more money. They will take your approach into consideration when thinking about you for a raise.

5. Stop allowing yourself to be so comfortable all the time. Coming up with a list of reasons to procrastinate risky, innovative decisions offers more short-term gratification than not procrastinating. But when you stop procrastinating to make a drastic change, your list of reasons to procrastinate becomes a list of ideas about how to better navigate the risk you’re taking.

6. Stop identifying yourself as a cliche and start treating yourself as an individual. Constantly checking your life against a prewritten narrative or story of how things “should” be is a bought-into way of life. It’s sort of like renting your identity. It isn’t you. You are more nuanced than the narrative you try to fit yourself into, more complex than the story that “should” be happening.

7. Stop expecting people to be better than they were in high school — learn how to deal with it instead. Just because you’re out of high school doesn’t mean you’re out of high school. There will always be people in your life who want what you have, are threatened by who you are, and will ridicule you for doing something that threatens how they see their position in the world.

8. Stop being stingy. If you really care about something, spend your money on it. There is often a notion that you are saving for something. Either clarify what that thing is or start spending your money on things that are important to you. Spend money on road trips. Spend money on healthy food. Spend money on opportunities. Spend money on things you’ll keep.

9. Stop treating errands as burdens. Instead, use them as time to focus on doing one thing, and doing it right. Errands and chores are essentially rote tasks that allow you time to think. They function to get you away from your phone, the internet, and other distractions. Focus and attention span are difficult things to maintain when you’re focused and attentive on X amount of things at any given moment.

10. Stop blaming yourself for being human. You’re fine. Having a little anxiety is fine. Being scared is fine. Your secrets are fine. You’re well-meaning. You’re intelligent. You’re blowing it out of proportion. You’re fine.

11. Stop ignoring the fact that other people have unique perspectives and positions. Start approaching people more thoughtfully. People will appreciate you for deliberately trying to conceive their own perspective and position in the world. It not only creates a basis for empathy and respect, it also primes people to be more open and generous with you.

12. Stop seeking approval so hard. Approach people with the belief that you’re a good person. It’s normal to want the people around you to like you. But it becomes a self-imposed burden when almost all your behavior toward certain people is designed to constantly reassure you of their approval.

13. Stop considering the same things you’ve always done as the only options there are. It’s unlikely that one of the things you’ll regret when you’re older is not having consumed enough beer in your 20s, or not having bought enough $5 lattes, or not having gone out to brunch enough times, or not having spent enough time on the internet. Fear of missing out is a real, toxic thing. You’ve figured out drinking and going out. You’ve experimented enough. You’ve gotten your fill of internet memes. Figure something else out.

14. Stop rejecting the potential to feel pain. Suffering is a universal constant for sentient beings. It is not unnatural to suffer. Being in a constant state of suffering is bad. But it is often hard to appreciate happiness when there’s nothing to compare it to. Rejecting the potential to suffer is unsustainable and unrealistic.

15. Stop approaching adverse situations with anger and frustration. You will always deal with people who want things that seem counter to your interests. There will always be people who threaten to prevent you from getting what you want by trying to get what they want. This is naturally frustrating. Realize that the person you’re dealing with is in the same position as you — by seeking out your own interests, you threaten to thwart theirs. It isn’t personal — you’re both just focused on getting different things that happen to seem mutually exclusive. Approach situations like these with reason. Be calm. Don’t start off mad, it’ll only make things more tense.

16. Stop meeting anger with anger. People will make you mad. Your reaction to this might be to try and make them mad. This is something of a first-order reaction. That is, it isn’t very thoughtful — it may be the first thing you’re inclined to do. Try to suppress this reaction. Be thoughtful. Imagine your response said aloud before you say it. If you don’t have to respond immediately, don’t.

17. Stop agreeing to do things that you know you’ll never actually do. It doesn’t help anyone. To a certain extent, it’s a social norm to be granted a ‘free pass’ when you don’t do something for someone that you said you were going to do. People notice when you don’t follow through, though, especially if it’s above 50% of the time.

18. Stop ‘buying’ things you know you’ll throw away. Invest in friendships that aren’t parasitic. Spend your time on things that aren’t distractions. Put your stock in fleeting opportunity. Focus on the important.

19. Stop being afraid. 

Read more at http://thoughtcatalog.com/2012/19-things-you-should-stop-doing-in-your-20s/#jAgCxG2eeXjpVJB7.99