I’ve Moved

Hey friends – I really appreciate you waiting while I worked on an entirely new self help website. For those of you who are still with me, head on over to:

www.kylebhart.com 

and subrscribe via email. You’ll not only get new and improved content when the site officially launches June 30th, but you’ll also get my first eBook for absolutely FREE.

Look forward to seeing you there.

PSA, Construction, and Other Notifications

 

moving-truck

For those of you who have been wondering where I’ve been the last week, wonder no longer. I’m currently in the process of finding a new place to live and it has been demanding the majority of my time. Furthermore, Always Looking Up is undergoing some major construction at the moment to better the experience for all of us.

I appreciate your patience, understanding, and continued patronage.

Stay tuned for big things.

Under_Construction_with_Bart

Maturity and Other Mishaps

as we grow older

we trade our dreams

for idiotic insecurities

and symbols of wealth.

 .

as we grow older

the lake of possibility

shrinks

and

dissipates

to almost nothing

although

though it’s still there

and very much alive

but the trouble is

we’ve convinced ourselves

it doesn’t exist anymore.

.

as we grow older

so does the earth

and as it grows older

so do the screams to end this

and walk single file

into oblivion together.

.

as we grow older

self-righteousness moves in

like the cousin you never knew or

a friend who said he’d be gone by last week.

you aren’t sure exactly when they came

or whence they came

all you know is

they just finished your bag of pretzels.

.

as we grow older

we are told what to do

what to think

what to eat

and

all the people to avoid

which is boiled down to

everyone

that isn’t your carbon copy.

.

good luck.

~

as I grow older

my metabolism hasn’t

it’s still as stubborn

and lazy

and worthless

and defiant

as a 67 year old diabetic since

the day we were paired together

but hey,

it takes two to tango

i suppose.

 .

as I grow older

i fear people

and their capabilities

and lack there of

more and more

day after day

forever and ever

amen.

 .

as I grow older

i find the privilege

in one true friend

away from the adjustable light

of technologies glow

and into the transfixed light

of unconditional eternity.

 .

as I grow older

i miss my family

and am reminded

not so slightly

of the privilege

to be affiliated with angels.

 .

as I grow older

my eyes get heavier

with tears

with stories

with sites

with love

with hope.

 .

as I grow older

i grasp that fame

albeit fortune too

are the grandest trickeries

of a civilization face down in the gutter.

 .

 .

.

Me Against Me

Having a ‘competition oriented’ approach to living can be beneficial in a multitude of ways. It promotes consistent improvement and encourages setting, meeting, and exceeding goals. For most, the word competition involves direct relationships with outside entities like other players, obstacles, or the game itself. It’s not often that we think of this opposition as a test of character, resiliency, and ability to overcome the largest competition we face: ourselves.
Sure, having an observable adversary makes the visualization of your goals easier. When you get smoked off the dribble in basketball, take second place in the spelling bee, or come inches short of taking the finish line, it hurts. Failure of any sort is terrible. No two ways about it. However, it’s an inevitable part of life. We discussed this a few weeks back in regards to understanding that we will spend a large majority of our lives existing in a ‘middle ground’ where there will almost always be people better than and worse than us at something.

The trick here is to not shun the desire to perform better than your peers, but to up the personal expectations you have on your performances. At all stages of life, you are the only judge of how satisfaction and success is defined in your life.

Here are 4 things to focus on to consistently win the fight against yourself:

  1. What’s on your plate: To get better, we must have a strict and dedicated focus on only the tasks at hand within a given day. We must not dwell on the success or downfalls of yesterday nor the promises or let downs tomorrow may bring. Today, this moment, this second is the only thing we have to work with. Utilize it.
  2. Plan & Prioritize: No successful exertion blossoms out of nowhere. It usually involves a lot of regimented planning, reflection, and progression. Having a notebook with a list of your daily tasks can offer a rewarding visualization of the things you need to get done today. You may be surprised at the triumph that comes with crossing things off your list.
  3. Slow Down & Breathe: Cliché’s and over used Pinterest jingles aside, we’re really only promised today. Although we may not choose to believe it, humans are very delicate creatures with an unsure and unpredictable fate. When I throw around the ‘live for today’ mantra, it’s not to imply shunning responsibility, rationality, or reality. I do, however, hope to stress that a day can be fully utilized by breaking it down into compartmentalized steps to a larger goal.
  4. Battles: Think of the hours or tasks in a day as battles. If you overlook one in anticipation of the next one, you’re inevitably going to half ass it or fall short completely. Focus on the chore at hand and don’t move on until it is completed to the best of your ability. These battles will eventually add up and, sooner or later, the war will be yours for the taking.

Dollar Sign Crucifixion

There’s a large divide between the things we absolutely have to do and the thing’s we’d like to do. It’s not uncommon that the obligations of everyday life can impede ability to delegate time to our wants and desires. Not only that, but living is exhausting and downright difficult. It’s not easy to obtain a way of life that’s both comfortable and completely free. But instead, we feel this responsibility to ‘punch a clock’ and, for the overwhelming majority, work 8-9 hours per day for someone we don’t like doing things we don’t want for a life could easily leave.

It seems to me that we have completely rolled over in regards to our own capabilities and aspirations. People don’t seem concerned about spending their life crucified to a dollar sign, forever a slave to monetary insecurity. I’m not sure exactly where this defective philosophy stems from, but I do know that it’s is a total forfeiture of personal liberty.

Ask yourself this: would you be happier living with more money from a job you hated or less money doing something you don’t actually consider work?  We seem to be stuck in this grand illusion that happiness and money are directly linked to one another. When one steadily rises, so will the other. I may not be a man of extreme monetary wealth, but I personally see much more value in spending a life doing the things you want to and finding a way to monetize it so you may continue doing it.

So maybe we wouldn’t have mansions, six cars, a butler, a gigantic bank account, and an indoor swimming pool that came with making a boatload of cash. That’s okay. Instead, we’ll trade it for pleasure, fulfillment, accomplishment, less stress, and a new appreciation for life that comes with spending the majority of our time doing things we want to. In order to get there, we need to take money off it’s gigantic pedestal while we assess what we actually want to spend our time doing. Money cannot, and should not, be the sole purpose for human existence and creative endeavors.

We must embark on our dream chase with the mindset of freedom and liberation as opposed to monetary gain. We already know that dreams are very difficult to achieve. We must be willing to invest a large amount of our time and patience in order to get there. Sacrifices will have to be made and money will be financed along the way. However, persistence and tenacity always pay off for those who are willing to weather the storm and continue their journey

Objective Reattribution Theorem

Any object, once given to another person in the form of a non-obligatory gift (birthdays, graduations, weddings, etc.), immediately and indefinitely redefines the emotional significance of said object and it’s applicable meaning. To illustrate: say I gave my best friend, Theodore, a book. Theodore hasn’t heard anything about this book, it’s author, or the themes and content within it’s pages.  He reads it, enjoys it, tells me about it, and then he puts it down for a while and forgets about it. While this book entertained him for a short brief, when asked about the book by others, Theodore will speak not of the book’s death grip plot structure or relatable characters. He will speak, instead, of the kind friend who gave it to him as a token of nicety. Thus alternating the depth of definitions for Theodore. This places the most personal, and therefore most meaningful, definition first. To others this mere object is nothing more, or less, than a book. Just a book. But to Theodore this is an entity of our friendship and a reminder of what the friendship means to each of us. This is something a third party will know nothing about nor feel anything significant towards.

In positive correlation with heightened emotional meaning, it’s trade value skyrockets to a nearly treasured level. How many times have we been cleaning and come across a picture, a patch, an action figure, or an item of clothing given to us by a friend? Well, unless the object was given to you by someone you really don’t care about or you’re a cold-hearted barbarian, it’s a bit difficult to part with something that was given to you by someone else you truly love. Regardless if it’s no longer stylish, doesn’t fit, or was apart of the last two years where you were stuck in a fad you’re trying to forget. It still carries with it an unspoken bond of companionship and an obligation to cherish it accordingly.

Why is ORT (Objective Reattribution Theorem) important?

  • Rejection of 1-D Thinking: Instead of saying,“Yeah, it’s just an replica leather jacket the greasers wore in the Outsiders.” You’ll instead say,“Yeah, it’s just a replica leather jacket the greasers wore in the Outsiders that my friend Tom gave me. I should give him a call. I think the craft bazaar is in town this weekend.”
  • Think of Others: Let’s be honest with each other. We all spend most of the livelong day thinking about ourselves. What do we want to do today? Eat today? Think today? What does my future hold? What excuse am I going to give Aunt Becky later to tell her nicely that I’m not going to take her to the Wig Emporium? It’s healthy to have an excuse to think about other people every once in a while. Besides, thinking about you is all but conducive to a life of arrogance and closed-mindedness, but these are topics for a different day.
  • Giving Gifts: Once one truly comprehends ORT, one can decipher the unpolluted bliss involved in giving a gift to someone. Not only does it let your soul soar and your brain bubble, it also gives you that warm and tingly just-about-to-have-my-first-kiss feeling. Anyway you look at it, there’s a win involved. (It feels extra good when it’s an ‘out of the blue’ gift as opposed to one that’s expected like on birthdays)
  • Trash and Treasure: We’ve all heard the saying so I feel excused from repeating it but I’ll demonstrate this point with a short story. A boy whom I looked up to in school, he went by Chud, let me tag along with him and his cronies after school one day. Thinking that I, of all the mortals, was particularly blessed by invincibility that day, I was willing to do anything and everything these kids asked of me. So, while we were down at the railroad lobbing rocks at the passing by boxcars, Chud reached down to the tracks, resulting in a momentary shower of sparks and iron chips. I looked down to find that my hero held a 50-cent piece under the crushing weight of the train causing a slight bend in the middle (what I’d guess was around a 63 degree bend). This story happened when I was 7 years old. I still have that coin in my secret tin and I’ll be 23 next month.

ORT

There’s no denying that both rational and abstract advancements and discoveries will be made when my sociological associate Sr. Riley Hayes and I complete further testing. Natural phenomenon will be documented and shared as a from our sample of unknowing, but relevant, case studies. My associate and I reserve the right to alter this theorem over time as we see it based on the aforementioned findings.

Secondhand Socrates

Secondhand Socrates

I’ve noticed something peculiar

while sipping my morning jo.

Nothing too serious, mind you.

Just something you need to know.

.

There’s usually a man out there

who asks for around six dimes

but

I’ve seen a few different men today

In fact, they’ve changed six times.

 .

But that’s not even the weirdest thing.

No, I have far stranger news.

No matter how many come and go

they always leave their shoes.

 .

So one day I was curious

and I had to go find out.

Who they were, what they were doing,

and what the shoes were about?

 .

When I began to ask him questions,

he held firm in the wind.

Handed me a book

and smiled, “Take a look.

It’s worth the time you’ll spend.”

 .

So I raced through the door,

drew all the curtains,

and with some bourbon insistence.

I began to read,

Then felt the need,

To question my own existence.

.

I skimmed every sentence front to back

68 times, in fact.

Even the colons and paragraph breaks

had an everlasting impact.

.

There was neither author nor publishing date

and no footnotes to ignore.

But something was brewing deep inside.

I absolutely had to know more.

.

I barely waited till sunrise,

to meet him at their spot.

My tummy, my rumpus, my knees and ankles

were all tied in a knot.

 .

My silly heart had skipped a beat

when I saw no man was there.

All I found was the same pair of shoes

and a little blue note that said:

Share.

Hanging On: A Daily Discomfort

It’s very difficult to perform optimally every single day of our lives. There’s going to be times where we run into snags, ruts, and other various obstacles when perusing our dreams and largest desires. It’s very important to understand and trust that we, like everyone else, are not infallible and absolutely perfect. Stumbles, sadness, and straight up bad days are all a part of the journey, the process, and of life itself. Yet, the feeling of triumph would not taste so sweet and be so desirable if it weren’t for all of the agony, turmoil, and frustration. This, in my opinion, is the largest difference between ‘living’ and ‘being alive.’ It’s the willingness to deal with the hours of frustration that comes with chasing a cause that we feel is worthy of our time. We, as individuals, are the only ones who define what success, purpose, and meaning we have in the gigantic enigma of life.

The challenge and difficulty with this lifestyle is that, first and foremost, it’s a daily test of patience and a true testament to how much we want something. The easy way out is always readily available at any time we want to forfeit our visions. Unfortunately this ‘roll over and take it’ mentality is adopted by the majority on the pure basis of security and comfort. To truly conquer daily life requires clinging desperately to that dream and not letting go no matter what. It’s a very large task, no doubt, but sometimes this can be a lot easier when we break it down into bite-size, daily pieces.

Here are 3 ways that will allow us to slow down and concentrate on the compartmentalized steps needed to persevere and hang on when times get testy. No matter how busy we get, we should prioritize each of these items every single day in respect to our dreams.

  • Frame of reference: When we begin to shift our attention away from a concrete fixation on the result and begin to focus on the process, we will be able to assess the small victories needed to get there. It’s going to be exceedingly difficult to produce your best work in the limited hours we have in a given day. However, if we concentrate on just one component every day, it will result in a spectacular masterpiece.
  • Rest: Constantly staying dedicated takes a lot of mental effort and energy, which is why it’s so easy to give up. Therefore, it’s vital to take time every day to let your mind recuperate and relax. Healthy ways of doing so include exercise, reading, and regular sleep cycles. Doing this regularly will no doubt improve your mental clarify. It can also revitalize your psychical and intellectual energy levels.
  • Practice: The best part about this specific aspect of perseverance is that it can be as secretive or public as you wish. Practicing a craft or trade is something that can be done in the privacy of your room or studio space and can also be put on display via a blog or other online media platform. However, there is unquestionable importance in daily practice and it is very vital to victory.

o   *If you do so choose to keep the majority of your work in secrecy, it’s important to share it when you feel comfortable doing so. Austin Kleon has a little bit more to say on the matter and I highly recommend his new book, which covers this topic very thoroughly.

Never Ending Education

As the old saying goes, practice will eventually make you fairly good at something (I have a hard time using the term ‘perfect’ anywhere in life, especially here).  It’s extremely rare to experience immediate success and accomplishment the first time you try something. We must have the willingness to dedicate the majority of our undivided focus to becoming better at something. Donald Latumahina, creator of the riveting inspirational blog Life Optimizer, brilliantly explains the importance of investing both time and money in order to upgrade yourself.

I strongly agree with Donald’s statements and have experienced personal growth firsthand as a result of investing in my own side projects. The experiences and practice one receives from ‘getting out of your shell’ and trying new things is the truly priceless entity and is absolutely necessary in order to produce results.

Here are a list of 4 time and money investments that, in my experiences, have created endless new paths, introduced me to countless new people, and provide a boat load of encouragement along the way.

 

  • Relevancy: What type of business or enterprise do you want to create? Who is currently having the most success in the field you with you enter? Staying current by studying the techniques of others in the same market will promote new ideas and innovations. Now, I’m not encouraging anyone to rip off or copy the ideas of other’s. However, it is important to know what is being consumed right now and the types of techniques that are working.
  • Network: When is the last time you’ve attended a conference or seminar chalk full of like-minded people? When’s the last time you were active on a blog or forum chatting with people who have similar ideas and endeavors? Instead of viewing these people as your direct competition, see it as an opportunity of collaboration or a chance to bounce your ideas off others.
  • Read: I have yet to see a field of work that doesn’t require some studying, which means that reading is more or less inevitable. There are countless books on techniques, common practices, and success stories in just about every field known to man. From home brewing to real estate practice. The information can be easily found by those who wish to find it and search for it. [Side note: why wouldn’t you want to read? Especially if you’re passionate about it. Reading is so much fun.]
  • Apply: A vast knowledge and a strong education are fantastic things to have but these can be quickly rendered useless if it is not directly applied. Don’t be afraid to put your head on the chopping block by getting your work in front of other people for questioning, editing, and critiquing. As noted before, the feeling of failure should not be held in a light of negativity but, instead, should be considered and appreciated as both productivity and proactivity. It’s a sure sign that you’re moving forward in the direction of your dreams as opposed to stagnantly waiting for something to fall in your lap.

 

When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.
Confucius

Wash: Act 6

15th of June, 2046

The steady rumbling of the engine, a somber muffling of the radio DJ, my lap completely covered in curly brown Muffin hair, and the stench of diesel gasoline reminded me of the frequent summertime trips to Lake Janobi. The only distinct difference being that instead of a fair skinned, youthful brother to my left, it was an leather-skinned, elderly man I didn’t know too well instead. Though I missed my brother dearly, I did not miss his never-ending chatter.

I have found the absence of sound can be greatest comfort.

“Where are we heading?” I asked Cecil, the captain in command of this wayward trio.

“Unless you have any better ideas, we’re heading north to Canada. News reports indicate that the flooding isn’t half as bad there. Considering that Arizona will become Atlantis in a matter of days, I feel this is our only option.”

Regardless if he was he right or not, which I honestly felt he was, what say do I have in this matter? With my mother and brother slowly decomposing in my old home and my father assumed dead, where else am I to go? They’re all I’ve had for the past four years. Besides, at the rate things are progressing, or regressing depending on how you see it, I don’t expect humanities pulse will beat for that much longer. Cecil and I, and Muffin too I guess, had some sort of mutually understood but unspoken alliance to one another. This is my family now.

Considering that he was the last human companion I had left, I wanted to create a more trustworthy and cohesive bond with Cecil. I asked him questions and wanted to know what made him tick? What crossroad or intersection of life did we meet?

He seemed very hesitant at first., but much like the smallest snowball slowly trickling down the mountain side, he gained girth steadily. To my surprise he had never married nor has he felt he’s ever experienced true love. As a result, he never birthed offspring or kept in touch with relatives of any sort. He even noted that every pet he’s ever had has either run away or went on some demented hunger strike until they died of starvation (this was mainly the case for his fishes). Cecil seems to be an unintentional but natural repellent of all forms of life. I can’t help but wonder what it is about his personality that comforts me and why his demeanor is so welcoming and accommodating?

A particular point of his rant left an immediate stamp in my brain. I remember it word for word:

“I genuinely want to help people, and despite what it looks like I do like them, but no one seems to want to help themselves. It’s an overwhelming majority that seem to be content and comfortable existing in their smoggy, smuggy, selfish blindness. This is the largest generational divide in the history of our species. People are far too wrapped up in their own personal muses and obsessed with the gratification of their own egos. All there is to life anymore is to get what’s coming to you without consideration of others. Forget all you know about white picket fences, that’s this is the new American dream.”

The only thing fitting to follow this harsh but accurate commentary was silent introspection for, I assume, the next 35 miles. Neither of us spoke a word. I’m not even sure we blinked.

If this was indeed the first step towards mankind’s extinction, is it such a bad thing? Is this a product of our own ignorance?

I could see a reflection of sunlight jutting off the road up ahead. As we approached, I could tell is was the shimmering of a wall of water greeting us as we descended from the peak of Mount Cowen, just north of the border of Montana and Wyoming. Cecil showed no signs of slowing.

“Cecil! Look —“

He was too zoned out and I was too tardy. We were both sucker punched and made into rag dolls as the vehicle was submerging fast. I have never felt such a heightened sense of clarify and alertness.

Annabelle Pinser