Focus

Focus

There’s nothing in the world that is more important than you.
So why do you spend so much of your time focused on other people? Or on things that will never get you what you want?
Distractions.
The things you love are designed to distract you. It’s easy to be distracted. Websites with links to other articles, apps with ads for you to check out more apps, social media that is designed to keep you engaged longer.

Have you ever read an entire page and not remembered you’d just read when you finished? It’s happened to all of us, and it does so because our attention wasn’t focused. We allowed our minds to wander while our eyes scanned and no comprehension happened.

We live in a tech age, and things compete for our attention all day long. We have a hard time sitting in class, in church, or even hanging out with friends without looking at our phones. Just because that has become a social norm, doesn’t mean it’s positive, productive, or necessary.

Look at your call log, number of text messages, posts, selfies, likes, retweets, and everything you watched, and learned about celebrities just last week. Compare that to what you learned about yourself, what you learned about the profession or industry you want to get into, what did you do that helped get you closer to your dream? If your time was spent focusing on you, and what you want out of your life, you would be a week closer to having it.

The good news is, attention is a muscle. So the way to become more focused is to practice, to exercise the attention muscle.

People wonder how I’m able to be so focused and disciplined and the short answer is practice. I am prone to distractions, just like everyone else. Heck, in the middle of typing that last paragraph my grandmother called and I chose to answer it and that 1 minute distraction caused me to lose focus. So, I get it. But, here’s the reality. You can convince yourself that you have a short attention span, undiagnosed ADD, an in ability to focus, or that you are good at multitasking. Or, you can begin to practice focusing.

If you have a clear goal, eliminate anything that takes you away from that goal. Put your phone on airplane mode, turn off your playlist, and get to work. Spend the majority of your time focused on you and when that time, attention, and work pays off in a few years, you can sit back and spend the rest of your life however you’d like. I have a goal and I keep that in mind at all times because I know that a short amount of focused time will help me to not only reach my goals but will impact so many others because of the type of goals they are.

No matter what age you are, no matter your goals, there is something you can begin to do this very day that will make your future endeavors easier, and help you reach them faster.

This week:

1. Set an alarm and twice a day let yourself browse social media for just 30 minutes. (One hour total.)

2. Watch one hour of television (fear not, every show is available online and able to be watched later).

3. Initiate and answer only 10 texts per day. Choose them wisely, don’t waste your time on “ok” or “lol”.

4. Spend 2 minutes in complete silence listening only to your breath. When you start thinking about other things, bring your mind back to your breath.

It won’t be easy, but, it’ll help you realize how much time you spend doing things that have nothing to do with your life and it will help you to remain focused on your goals.

Have a great, focused week, and enjoy your weekend knowing how productive your week was.

All That Power

The Power TO changeAccording to Kanye, no one man should have all ‘that’ power. (But, he doesn’t run stuff ’round here.)

You’re more powerful than you even know; or, maybe you do know, but don’t yet know how to use it. Like those kids in that movie Sky High, remember that?

The great things, the happy thoughts, the good times, those aren’t things we usually want to change. So, what’s the stuff that sucks in your life? The things, people, feelings, or behaviors you wish you could change it? Does your attitude suck? Are you always making excuses, lying, procrastinating? Do you think you aren’t smart enough? Do you feel angry all the time?

Yo, you can do something about all of that crap. You can be a person who recognizes that they have the power to change, and actually do it. You may not be able to change your parents, your school, or your hair texture, but there’s plenty you can change. For starters, you can change everything you think about those things, along with everything else in your life you wish were different.

Don’t be one of those people who is known for complaining, but never doing. Or a person who goes their entire life wishing things were different, but never actually trying something different.

You have the power to change how you feel about things and how you behave. All you gotta do, is change the things going through your head. Yup, the power you have is as easy as turning the channel on the TV or switching stations on Pandora. That’s it. All this time, and the very thing you needed was sitting right up there in that dome of yours.

Let’s practice…

“Ugh…I’m so pissed! My parents never let me do anything I want to do.”

I feel pissed because I can’t get my way.

Feeling: Pissed off (angry, mad, etc)

Thought: I can’t get my way. = I’m not important.

But, you know you’re important, silly. You know your parents want nothing but the best for you and that they probably want to keep you safe. They may not have the time or money you want to do this time, and there’s plenty of things that they do allow you to do.

So, chill. Be pissed for a few seconds, then think about that new ___ your peeps bought you not too long ago, how happy you were when you go it, the fact that you don’t even know where it is right now, and realize your parents love you, sometimes, especially when they tell you no. And most of all that you are important and no one was born to ruin your life.

See, it’s that simple, just change the channel in your head. Instead of listening to ‘I can’t get my way TV’, change to the ‘I’m good, maybe next time’ network.

It ain’t fun and it ain’t always easy, but the point is, whether you want to stop an unwanted feeling or change a bad habit, all you gotta do is tap into that power and change what you think.

That is one example, but you start today, and we’ll practice more later.

Do good. Be well.

Just Say Hello

D E F I N E

Do you have any friends?

Are you one of those people pretends to be proud of that? Do you secretly wish you had a close group of people to share your life with? We’re built for connection, you should feel that way.

You know those articles and advertisements saying that social media has made us less social? Well, I don’t know if they’re true or not, I actually never read one, (I’m more of a headlines skimmer).  But I do think that the more we rely on having a pocket full of strangers (people who follow you and whom you follow on social media) the more likely we are to believe that we aren’t alone, lonely, or without friends, and the more we justify not making real relationships.

You know how you can feel like the people on your favorite TV show are your friends?  Newsflash, they don’t even know you exist, so there is no real relationship there. However, there are lots of people you walk by, have class or work with, every day who are real, who have a story, who want and need a friend, and who would be cool to hang out with.

So, stop being a scaredy cat chump and say hello. It’s not corny or lame to straight up walk up to someone and say what’s up, to compliment someone whom you think looks nice, or to ask someone their name and spark up a conversation. Don’t be afraid that it’ll be awkward or that you’ll be awkward, you will most definitely be awkward, but it’s ok. It won’t kill you.

Start Today

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I’ve used this quote before for a post, but it’s still worth saying.

Say your goal is to be a photographer, you can start, TODAY!

Watch videos online, read blog posts, and practice picture composition with your little raggedy camera or cell phone. You can even study and comparison shop the kind of camera and lenses you want, now.

Line your goals up with your choices. When the opportunity to go out eat with a friend comes up, and you know your goal is to be a photographer, decide. Will spending my money on eating out help me get to my goal? If not, keep your butt at home of go over your friends house and eat for free. Just that one simple decision to keep your $20 in your pocket means $20 more for you to put towards your camera.

And don’t be silly, it doesn’t mean you can’t have fun, or that you can’t ever go out to eat. But until self control and discipline are your habit, it will mean saying no to things you want to do but that don’t get your closer to your goal.

Buy a lens at a time, buy a tripod before you ever have a camera. Ask a photographer if you can tag along with them, be an apprentice, people love to teach. And most people don’t take young adults seriously anyway, so if you show up and prove you’re willing to learn, they’ll teach you more than any classroom experience ever will.

And, yo…

I get it. I lived it. I was your age. But me and the dozens of other people I talk to all wish we’d of done more when life was simpler, when times were easier, when we were younger. There is absolutely nothing wrong with kicking it with friends, watching TV, spending time with your boo, or talking on the phone or Twitter. But, everything in balance, that stuff shouldn’t consume your life. I just don’t want you to look back in ten years wishing you’d of tried. Wishing you’d of just started or that you had spent your free time more wisely.

If you don’t think you can start today doing what you want to do in the future because you don’t have the time, that’s a lie. If it’s because you don’t have the money, find the free way people are doing it, trust me, someone is. If you just don’t know what to do, find someone who’s doing the job already and ask them what they wish they would have done sooner, where can you start, and what they wish they could have known then that they know now.

Learn something. Teach yourself how to edit videos, learn photoshop (you don’t have to buy photoshop, use free editing software online, like pixlr). Learn code and make your own website. Add something to your life, your resume, your experience that increases your market value.

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” TODAY!

Speak Up!

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You have a voice.
Use it.
Use it for good.
Use it to build.
Use it to encourage.
Speak Up!
Speak up and speak out against injustice.
Speak up when you’ve been wronged.
Speak up when you are hurt.
Speak up when you are in need.
Speak up to cultivate change.
But also…
Use it to shut up.
No, seriously.
Shut Up!
Shut up when you want to say things that aren’t helpful.
Shut up when you should be minding your business.
Shut up when someone is trying to teach you something.
Shut up and learn.
You don’t know it all.

Don’t

D E F I N E copy“Don’t laugh at another’s dreams. Don’t judge people by their relatives. Don’t overlook life’s small joys. Don’t confuse comfort with happiness. Don’t confuse wealth with success. Don’t let weeds grow around your dreams. Don’t swap integrity for money, power, or fame. Don’t expect life to be fair. Don’t get too big for your britches. Don’t forget to call your mother.”
anonymous

Money Mindset

D E F I N E (2) copy 2You mind your business; you are all about your personal and professional business. You don’t spend time gossiping, worrying, or getting involved in others people’s business cuz you’re too focused and too busy handling your stuff. Sweet! But…

[blockquote cite= type="center"]Do You Mind Your Money?[/blockquote]

Are you equally as focused on knowing where your money goes?
The last time you were paid or gifted with money, what did you do with it?

Money’s one of those things that when you have it and when you don’t, you always want more of it. But why? What do you need more of it for? And, how much of it is enough?

Money Beliefs:

  • Money is a tool.

  • Money is evil.

  • The love of money is the root of all evil.

  • Money separates.

  • Money is freedom.

  • Money is the motive.

  • Money is not everything, it’s the only thing.

  • Money is no object.

The list goes on.

Do you frivolously spend? Save little to no money? Borrow instead of spending only what you have?

At Launch, we believe that part of living transparently and being healthy includes a healthy bank account and understanding of money. Financial education isn’t always readily available or easily understood.

So, we’re starting our own series on money to help you learn how to handle your money. It’s the first step to building wealth, and not just getting rich.

Stay tuned to our YouTube channel for the money series, beginning in October 2014.

Motivation to Habit

Being motivated is easy.

A fiery presidential debate, a great movie, an exciting concert, a good book, watching someone win at life. All those things can motivate you, make you do some air fist pumps, and hype you up. It doesn’t take much to be motivated, but it takes work to take that motivation and turn it into action, and even more work to keep going when the motivation fades.

CONSISTENCY IS KEY

The amount of times it takes for something to become a habit varies, but it’s somewhere between 21 times and 10,000 hours.

The point is, the only way for something to become a habit is to do it consistently. Think about all the bad habits you have, you probably can’t count how many times you’ve done them, you just know they’re things you do. Luckily, the same works when you’re trying to make something positive a new habit in your life.

October starts tomorrow, try three new things. Be consistent and for the next 31 days, do them every single day. Put a habit tracker app on your phone and it will gladly remind you every day. Start small, son’t want you to go into shock by becoming some super responsible person overnight. Jk.

For example.

The point is, try. Like, really try. Commit to making a positive change in your life and stick with it. Once that thing becomes a habit and you start to just do it without thinking about it, start another thing.

YouTube Thanks

YoutubersFew things make me happier than young people doing things they’re passionate about and making a living doing it; it’s why I created Launch. So, I love YouTube as much as the next person, in fact Launch has brand new content coming to our channel soon because it’s a great platform to spread ideas and share things that matter.
Popular YouTubers started out making videos just for fun or they uploaded something to share with friends or family who were far away. As their views grew, and people began to thumbs up, subscribe, and leave comments, they made more videos. Few of them started out thinking they could earn a living from their videos. No one walked into their bedrooms or kitchens and begged them to start making videos, vlogging their friends and family, or recording themselves playing video games. They started, out of a pure desire to entertain themselves and others, and because of that, they gained a following. Millions of dollars are now earned by people posting their own content for the world to enjoy. Harley even told us so. It’s fantastic to witness, but I wonder…

Has YouTube Become More ME, ME, ME, Than YOU?

I just watched a 9 minute Youtube video and during those 9 minutes the person I was watching told me to follow, add, like, subscribe, comment below, buy, listen to, and watch this other video.
Yo, Son; that’s a bit much! I get it, it’s a business, we all suffer through hearing about Audible, Nature Box, and not skipping Ads because we WANT the YouTubers we watch to succeed. We want them to earn a living by providing us with quality, creative content. But, we don’t want to be seen as a dollar sign and not a human.
Podcasts, merchandise, tours, books, movies, and short films, what better way is there to express yourself, share, and offer ways for people to support you? It’s a dream job, and we collectively, as viewers and subscribers, applaud those who have made it their career. But is it losing the thing that separates YouTube from other media? YouTube is was connection, interaction, immediate responses . . . human.

How Many Followers Have You Interacted With This Week?

There are YouTubers with thousands of followers who never interact with them; they’re mute in their comment section, they don’t favorite, retweet, like, or even say hi (digitally) to their audience. Don’t steal the time, attention, loyalty, and hearts of people. Please know that your core audience and demographic are some of the most malleable, easily influenced minds; treat them fairly. You don’t have to reach every person, one person a day and that’s 365 lives you’ve touched in a year! All of this is voluntary, we don’t owe you anything and you don’t owe us, we know. But, if you’re going to put your work out into the world, and if we’re going to watch, spread your message, read your book, watch your movie, buy your products & merch, and listen to your podcast, some sincere gratitude would go so far that you’d never have to ask people to share your stuff again. They’d willingly do it without you even having to ask.
A three-second, free gesture means more to your followers than any profit you earn. People go crazy when someone they look up to retweets them or favorites their comment or picture. Relationship Marketing: cultivate connections, treat humans like humans and watch how willingly they’ll support and repay you. People want you to succeed, they want your book to be number, one, they are proud to watch you and be subscribed to your channel.
Retweet something, click on their IG account and like a picture, or when you’re bored, DM one of them and ask them how their day was. Be human, connect; the majority of them will never meet you in person, and that one gesture will mean more to them than you could ever imagine. Stay as connected as you can. You aren’t THAT busy.
Oh, and SAY THANK YOU! But only if you truly mean it.
Thanks!