I’ve been writing consistently for just about a year now.
At first, writing was just a cathartic exercise to help me express myself and feel relief from the things I struggled with. In all honesty my first post was about a woman that I liked and how I didn’t feel good enough for her.
I started writing at a time when I felt like I had no one to talk to. I know that I have many people in my life that care about me, but I didn’t want to change the image they saw of me.
So I wrote everything down online, and for a long time no one paid attention. I didn’t mind that.
But eventually people started relating to my stories. I always tried to put a positive spin on everything and focus on solutions to these struggles, instead of the endless negatives that came with them.
Fast forward a year and 2HelpfulGuys has released our first book.
“Not So F.A.Q.: Common Questions, Uncommonly Asked.”
It is a compilation of questions Leroy and I receive on a daily basis. Some are the most common questions about confidence and health etc., and some are more specific questions that strike a chord within us.
In this book I wrote my answers as if the asker and I were sitting outside looking at the stars in deep conversation.
I answered with my heart and put my own experiences with these struggles out there for them to relate.
Although I was answering one person, this conversation would not be for their eyes alone, and that scared me. Not only was I revealing myself to anyone who would care to look, but people would be paying for these insights.
I’m not good at asking people for money. With this book I’ve had a really hard time asking people if they’d like to buy, simply because I want to share this message with everyone without strings attached.
But the problem is that I want this to be my career. I want so desperately to have the resources to continue to spread our messages and help the people we resonate with.
Leroy and I at 2HelpfulGuys have dreams so big that they would surely be laughed at, but we have a deep routed attraction towards these dreams and the good that they will accomplish.
Even with this in mind, I still have a hard time asking people if they want to buy our book.
This made me worry.
I didn’t know if I was good enough, after all, I’m still a work in progress. I’m not perfect and I’ve never been perfect. I’ve often felt like I’ve been worse than most people out there.
But someone left a review to our book that made me realize that all of this worrying and fear was unwarranted. One specific thing that they said struck a chord with me.
“This book is inspiring because the authors pull back the polished masks folks wear and show the teeming process that is happening underneath. The reader is invited to actively think along with the answers being presented, and instead of being the last word on the subject, the answers that the authors give are more like a jumping off place.”
I don’t have all the answers, and I would never try to say that I am better than anyone else. I am still going through the process of improving myself every single day, and this reader understood that.
I was so worried that people would expect our answers to be a one stop cure to everything that they struggle with, but the truth is, we can only offer each other a new path to journey; a new perspective and new tools to carry with us in our growth.
Writing these articles week after week, working through my problems with you and hearing your insights has helped me to grow in ways I could never have imagined.
So I’m writing this post for you, our readers, as a thank you for giving us the opportunity to grow with you.
I’ve written about my fears, my dreams, and my mistakes, and every time we have helped each other work through these difficulties.
With our growing popularity I have often become tempted to leave out the blood, sweat and tears from my stories for the fear that people will think I am not a worthy teacher.
But as always you have shown me that these struggles are what connect us. We all go through tough times, it is what makes us human.
So thank you for teaching me every day, for growing with me and for accepting me as I am, at my highest and at my lowest.
I will continue to serve you to the best of my ability, and maybe one day in the future we will sit underneath the stars and have those beautifully deep conversations about the trials we’ve struggled through and the dreams we yearn for.
I’ve been in a complete standstill for the last three weeks. I was stuck, unhappy and saw no end to it. But, today is the first day I actually feel ‘alive.’
I made a conscious decision to pick myself up by the bootstraps and start anew. I realized three things that pulled me out and, today, I started my day properly.
It begins with a change in perspective.
Realize that it will end
In the natural progression of life, standstills will happen. They will occur frequently and, perhaps, for extended periods of time. But realize this portion of your life is short-lived.
You will feel better, if you allow yourself to.
Life occurs in cycles. As sure as the seasons change from fall to winter, spring to summer, so will your ups and downs. At some point in your life, ruts will occur, but don’t wallow. Realize it and push through.
When I was young I wanted to have an impact on the world.
I went through different stages of how I would want to accomplish this task. While going through my blood disorder I wanted to become a doctor, after that I wanted to be in a famous band, and after that I wanted to do something in politics.
I dreamed of changing the world, but I could barely get a handle on my own life and the world that surrounds me, never mind the world at large.
With the coming of the new year I finally feel like I have positioned myself to impact the world on a scale far past anything I have done in the past.
In my dreams I always imagined this point arriving much sooner, but I had a lot of lessons to learn up to this point. Changing the world may seem out of reach, but you can slowly pull yourself towards this goal if you know where to start.
So, here is the behind the scenes. This is the part of changing the world that no one ever talks about. The stages that you must go through that never get the spotlight, the glamour, or the glitz.
Change Your Inner World.
Before you can have any real impact on the world, you must first create your own foundation of excellence within.
When Leroy and I were heavily interested in politics, we got as far as creating an organization called “EFFP: Education For Freedom and Prosperity.” It was a huge milestone for us and I was excited.
The problem was that even though I had all of this ambition, I had no solid foundation within myself. I was sand, not a rock. With the slightest change in the winds of fate I would be distracted, blown this way and that way.
If I had a bad day, a problem with a friend, or a lack of energy I would make no progress that day and possibly fall into a spiral that could take days or weeks to get out of.
If you want to change the world you have to start with yourself. You can’t solve anyone else’s problems if you are still losing the battle against your own.
If you can build a strong foundation within yourself, you will be able to walk your path towards changing the world without worrying about the next situation that is going to derail you from your goals.
Change Your Environment.
I moved out of my parents house recently. I didn’t realize just how much of an effect that environment had on me until after I had left.
The house was very messy so I stayed in my room. It was tiny and I felt very claustrophobic. Other problems arose and it become unbearable to stay there. It weighed on my mind where ever I went, even when I was at work I felt the residual stress.
Your environment is so important if you want to change the world. If you can’t focus because of mess, negative people, or a bad workplace then you will end up unable to help anyone while trapped in your own problems.
Remember, if you don’t have a solid foundation, you will be too subject-able to the winds of fate and you won’t make it very far down your path to changing the world.
Surround yourself with things that motivate and excite you. Write down to-do lists and keep them where you will see them every day.
If your surrounding environment is set up properly, even when you have a bad day it will not last long. Everything around you will help you to see why you are on the path that you are on, and encourage you to push through any difficulties.
You should be surrounded by things that make you happy, your goals, and good people.
Once you have changed your inner world and your environment, you will be ready to change the world at large. You will be able to move forward with full focus and truly make a difference.
It’s taken me years to learn those lessons and I’ve spent the last two years dedicated to creating the best version of myself that will best serve the world.
You can’t fight the good fight if you are losing personal battles. Change yourself, then you will change the world.
I’ve never met most of my heroes, mentors, or anyone I look up to. I have only seen them on the other side of my computer screen or in the pages of their books.
Creative and ambitious people are hard to come by in real life. Without ever seeing this type of person face to face, it’s easy to understand why a lot of people don’t believe it’s possible to turn their ideas into reality. You think “I’ve never met anyone who has done it, so what are my chances?”
Well, I recently got the opportunity to meet someone who has shown me that we don’t just have to admire the stars, we can reach out and grab them.
Dori the Giant. A small girl with BIG ambition.
When she agreed to an interview I was ecstatic. This was someone who had been in newspapers, worked with major corporations, been featured in art exhibits, spear headed community projects, and done more freelance work than I could imagine. She had truly put time into her craft, pursued her passions and continually marched towards a life of fulfillment and meaning.
During this interview and subsequent conversations I learned what the reality of accomplishing your dreams can look like, the good, the bad, the ugly, and how to get through it all.
Here are the 8 things I learned from Dori the Giant.
1) Find ANY excuse to be creative.
This was a subject that she touched upon often throughout our conversation.
“I was going into a class called “Creative photography” and the teacher warned me that it was very technical and not creative even in the slightest, but I would find ways to be creative in my assignments.”
This theme is pervasive throughout Dori’s work. She turns the everyday, into the extraordinary.
People aren’t going to approach you randomly and give you reasons to be creative or try something new.
You have to take every excuse you can find and turn it into an avenue for creativity, whether it has a purpose or whether it’s just for fun. Even if it’s just for fun, you are going to be learning new things along the way that will improve your skills and increase your confidence.
2) Look at things from every angle.
One thing that I noticed is that she never tied her self down to one perspective on a subject. Every time we spoke about an idea or project, she always looked at it from high, low, left, right and everywhere in between.
This wasn’t just a way of approaching creativity though, it seemed to be her way of approaching life.
“…It has it’s pros and cons. That’s sort of like my motto and I often start off my conversations like that. I think my friends get mad because I say it so often, but it opens up the conversation to both perspectives so I like it.”
The ability to step back and look at something from all angles is one of the most resourceful traits someone can incorporate into their personality.
Forcing yourself to look at all sides can be the key to finding the silver lining in any bad situation. If you get fired, you won’t only think about the stresses of finding a new job and how embarrassed you are, you will also think about all the time you have now to pursue your dreams.
3) Surround yourself with creative and support people.
“For the past four years I’ve slowly been trying to collect a decent circle of creative friends, or friends who believe really strongly in my art. It makes all the difference. Gotta keep ’em close and pay it forward.”
They say you become the average of the five people you spend the most time with. If the people you surround yourself with don’t believe in you, how can you believe in yourself?
Surrounding yourself with other ambitious people will give you the boost you need when you run out of steam. You want friends that you can go to for advice, tips, and support.
There are plenty of studies that show the effects that people close to you can have on your habits and mentality. I remember reading one study showing that someone could gain healthy habits and lose weight just by being around other fit people. Never discount the effect that your environment has on you.
If all of your friends are negative, it can be hard to stay positive. If they are all lazy, you will have difficulty being motivated. When you meet someone who has qualities that you admire, try to engage more with that person and those qualities will cultivate in yourself.
This brings us to the next thing I learned from Dori.
4) Don’t be afraid to ask for help, or help others.
Asking for help from other people seems to be a part of Dori the Giant’s natural process when turning her more unbelievable ideas into a reality.
“Even if I have the time and money and motivation for a project, I often don’t know where to begin. I usually start with Google searches and move onto videos and eventually I start to e-mail people asking questions.”
But you can’t always just take, sometimes you have to give as well.
“Often, people don’t like to just give away their most valuable information, especially when it comes to a method of art that is bringing in money or making them distinctively different. I know I’m the same way – I wouldn’t give away my best secrets to just anyone! It’s always good to offer something in return, even if it’s just dinner!”
You’d be surprised how helpful people will be if you just ask. I convinced Dori to come out to this interview by offering her coffee. She was so nice that when we met up she wanted to buy me coffee. This spirit of give and take will help you to develop those oh-so important connections you will need if you plan on making your stake in this world.
But don’t focus all of your attention on making connections.
“Connections are everything, and even though everybody wants all these great connections, you should also focus on your own assets and turn YOURSELF into a connection that other people will want to have.”
5) Learn what makes you tick and use it to your advantage.
When I asked Dori what she had done in the past to improve her situation, she had an answer that was just as creative and unique as she is.
“I got a lava lamp and it helped. Seriously. It helped with motivation. One thing I’ve found that motivates me are the little details of my environment and my comfort: mood lights, lamps, candles, scents, the right music, chocolate, and of course Facebook chat. Everybody is different so I suggest everyone experiments with their own inherent/stubborn psychological routines. Get to know yourself and be your own friend.”
When you are trying to find out what motivates you, gets you in the creative mood, or helps you overcome obstacles you should remember that everyone has different preferences towards rewards, inspirations, motivations, triggers, and routines.
A trick I use to figure out what will invigorate me and what will suck the energy out of me is my “Invigorate/Debilitate T-Chart.” I write down everything I do throughout the week and split it into these two categories. It helps me put into perspective exactly what I can add or cut from my life to increase motivation.
You can try my method or come up with one that works for you because, hey, we are all different!
6) It’s okay to have a down day as long as you don’t beat yourself up.
When I asked her “Have you ever had periods in your life where you lost the creative “Spark” or inspiration? How did you overcome them?” she gave me an answer that you might not expect.
“Oh yeah, many, many times! To be honest, I rarely ever “overcome” it in the sense of fighting it. I overcome it in the sense of simply accepting it and spending my slump days playing video games, going out, watching some movies/shows and trying NOT to stress about how unproductive I’m being. Eventually my brain resets and goes “Hey, I feel like myself again! Let’s do some art!” And you know what? Often I come back feeling even more motivated – which is another reason I don’t hesitate to just let myself have down days (and enjoy them!).”
If you are in a slump and you spend the whole day feeling guilty about it, you will end the night depressed and disappointed. That in turn can turn into a cycle, negativity begets more negativity.
So how do you break the cycle? Realize that off days are impossible to avoid completely, and use them as an opportunity to take your mind off of things! Maybe your brain is trying to give you a hint saying “You’ve been working to hard, I need a break!”
The next time you have an off day, enjoy yourself and let go of the guilt.
7) Don’t fear change, it’s a good thing.
“The only thing about me that doesn’t change is how much I always change.”
If I said to you that in fifteen years your life was going to be the exact same as it is right now, same friends, same job, same living space… would that make you happy?
I’m guessing that hypothetical situation would be depressing.
If that is the case, then why do so many people fear change? Staying the same is far more depressing than even the worst outcomes of change. We were made to grow and explore, so get out there and get rid of your fear of change.
8) Get off your butt and do it before someone else does.
If you have a passion, an idea, or a goal you had better get out there now and start working on it. One of the things that Dori left me with was the very true statement that if you don’t do it, and soon, someone else will.
“…maybe by the time I get the money someone else will have thought of it too and created it, and that’s just how it is. Original ideas need to be executed quickly – you don’t wanna look like a copycat.”
I know you have something that you’ve been thinking about doing for a long time now but for some reason, (lack of money, lack of motivation, lack of confidence) you haven’t gone out there and done it. Well take this as your cue. It’s time.
You may not see people in your everyday life that inspire you, but I hope this has inspired you.
If you want to start down the path to creativity, fulfillment and ambition you have to do something, or anything; because well… her GIF says it all.
“I, Leroy Milton, will be present, enthusiastic and inspiring.”
Is something I started saying twice a day, about six months ago, habitually. This is a reassurance of my character, to keep it in my conscious thoughts everyday.
It’s called an affirmation. It has helped me strive toward this challenge, constantly focusing on the now, being increasingly excited and bold.
What are Affirmations?
The Secret originally proposed this idea. Through your thoughts and conscious attention on those thoughts, the universe grants your imagined outcomes.
Apparently, people have won the lottery, married their dream spouse and lived in their dream houses through this mystical method. So I had to try it for myself.
They worked a few times, but sometimes they failed. I couldn’t understand why. How does the universe differentiate between my requests? Is it even the universe divinely granting something? Or, maybe God?
I am increasingly skeptical of this ‘ask and you shall receive’ mentality. It doesn’t seem logical that you can ask the universe or God of anything and it is magically arranged.
However, I still do it and it has worked.
Why the skepticism?
I don’t think it is some divine power that grants your request. I think you are in complete control of your thoughts and you determine the outcome.
My constant reminder to be present has brought me back when my thoughts stray into the past or the distant future. My constant reminder to be enthusiastic has pushed me to be my best, most excited self. My constant reminder to be inspiring has allowed me to approach every situation with an inspiring message.
I feel like through my thoughts, great and powerful outcomes can come to fruition.
However, I cannot discount peoples’ thoughts on spirituality and religion. Instead, I propose this view. When you pray or ask God or the universe, I feel like your ‘desire’ is not granted. Instead, opportunities for that desire are granted.
Situations arise that help you reach your goal. You may find yourself doing a free photography job, only to have your work discovered for a huge contract. Or, a girl may randomly approach you, and it’s up to you to make a connection. These situations challenge you to act a specific way, where your outcomes may be granted.
I was put into situations where I needed to stay present, where I needed to be enthusiastic, where I needed to be inspiring. Through these situations, I slowly added more power, more feeling and more positivity to myself.
There is a lot of power in personal thoughts. Had it not be for my positive affirmations, would I have confronted these situations the same way? The affirmation allowed me to approach each situation very uniquely.