Category Archives: How to

Healthy Wealthy Happy

Total Read Time: 5 Minutes

If you were healthy and wealthy, do you believe you’d be invariably likely to also be happy?

If you solved happiness first, would you hack your way into health and wealth?


I know happiness
Like I know rain
From behind a pane of glass
Corresponding dryness
With memories of wet lips
Time standing
as
still
as
I am
At the mirror
Leaves shaken by western winds
Waiting for my feet
To catch up with my mind

-A


Healthy

It’s obvious how important your health is when you’re losing it.
I forgot where I heard this, but nothing is more important than something stuck in your eye.

When you find the weakest link, or when it finds you, it’s pretty obvious how many things you should have been doing.

Stretching
Bending
Playing

It doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom.
Most gyms are the same.
So if they’re the problem then figure out a way to play outside.

Some of my favorite ways to play

Find the tallest thing around you that you can touch.

See how fast you can get over something (fence, boulder, bench, yourself…)

Try and do something without hands, that normally requires hands (climbing, jumping, crossing).

Having fun doesn’t have to cost anything, staying healthy doesn’t mean degrading your self esteem.

Wealthy

THE MOST IMPORTANT LESSON:
Expend less than you Produce

There are tricks and tips to build healthy habits and identify/eliminate bad ones.
I’m not here to tell you to unplug the toaster when not in use or to cook at home.

My favorite tricks to Remain in surplus:

Never drink alone.

If you buy a new pair of shoes, get rid of two old ones.

Find a water bottle you think looks really cool.
Cool enough to carry around everywhere.
Carry it around everywhere you go.

It’s worth mentioning… pay off your damn debt.
I’m constantly surprised by the amount of people I talk to in credit card debt.
I have all the compassion in the world for you out there…
Student debt got me good.
But come on now, don’t spend money you don’t have.

Happy

Now take a second with you eyes closed.
I mean it, close your eyes and think about this.

Imagine the state of health you’re currently in is good enough.

Forgive yourself for your debt and poor financial decisions.

There is happiness in every moment, and it doesn’t depend on you fixing things.

I truly believe you can be happy with where you are now, and love yourself for it.

I believe YOU would be happier if you tried.

For questions, connection, I would love to hear from you.

Email 
(Yes, I respond and read every one)
Andrey@andreystarostin.com

Instagram
a.o.starostin

Thank you for reading this far. 
You mean the world to me. 
I write for you.

Success is Nostalgia

Total Read Time: 7 Minutes

I went for my first ”morning” run today (7am).
It was my 5th run of 2020, and I’m getting faster at unlocking hidden tools to feeling good.

The morning air was cold, like a strawberry you grab out of the fridge.
Only the burst shock chill went through my neck and collarbones instead of my teeth and jaw.

I sit now in a bright sunlit window in fresh laundered denim.
It’s a subtle squeeze as I write, having not written in what feels like weeks.
I mean I write poetry daily and keep a gratitude journal, but it feels like a farmer’s tan.
It’s warm enough next to this window that I took my shirt off.


Why do we overlook and move past
The passed proud-less promises
We made but couldn’t make happen

But glorify our life-long stay
At Hotel High School Hometown, USA

A goal is a debt and debt is designed
To perpetuate payments and pull
From you, a lifestyle you can’t afford
To put back down

Announce your defense against judgement
And your intentional time spent
As success in nostalgia

-A


Goal Un-Setting

A goal feels clean and presentable when intentional time has been spent on it. That’s why we write them down and announce when we’ve started a month long cleanse.

The achievement happens when someone smiles at you and says, “good job, that’s a great goal, I wish I could do that.”
Then you quit because you’ve already gotten your pat on the back.

Discipline has to happen for personal accomplishment. You can’t fake the proof of time. Your reason, your “why” has to be for something so personal, it’s easier to do it than to face yourself after not.

Speaking of the test of time, if you’ve had a goal like picking up a guitar and learning to play for years, and the guitar is just sitting in your room, yet it’s really been years and you have better things to do, give that guitar away.

Time is telling you to forgive yourself for setting a goal you really didn’t want and accepting that you have better things to do. Don’t do yourself the injustice of feeling guilty any longer.

Designing Perpetual Debt

If you were to start a bank, what would your business plan look like?
People go to banks to put money in and take money out.
You’d need a safe.
You’ll need to fill it with money.

After your safe is full of money that it’s yours, you need to make money.
So you lend people other people’s money, in exchange for a percentage of interest you’ll get back in return.

You design a repayment program that allows for the people to pay back slowly, allowing for your interest to accrue over time.
The slower they pay, the more interest you earn.
It’s only fair, they have YOUR money for longer, right?

Goals work the same way.

Setting goals feels good like borrowing money feels good, because it makes you feel like you have this new lifestyle you can afford.

If you can’t lower your cost of living and buckle down to pay off your debts, you’ll perpetually be setting goals and never achieving the life you’re capable of living.

You’re Not a Mind-Reader

Side note: I was talking to a friend who called psychology majors “mind-readers,” which still makes me laugh thinking about it.

Who do you think you are, predicting what you’ll be interested in in the future?

I mean, I know it’s you and your brain, but can you honestly say you could have predicted where you’re at now?

So why would you say you know what success is and set goals for your future that depend upon this satisfaction you think you’ll have?

I preach loving yourself in just about everything I write. Setting yourself up for failure, when you achieve your goals and they weren’t good enough is not loving yourself.

My advice is to detach for a moment and think into your past.
Within your retrospective analysis, ask yourself what you’re proud of yourself for accomplishing.
What did you do that made it feel like an accomplishment?
Even if it’s as small as getting out of bed.

Try and stop thinking about the future, because you’re not ready for it yet.

T.S. Eliot’s East Coker,
“…wait without hope for hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love, for love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith but the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting. Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought: So the darkness’s shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.”

When you think about success, realize it can only be appreciated after it’s done. You see successful people for what they’ve accomplished. You see pride in yourself for standing the test of time and making it here. Enjoy today as if you’re looking at it ten years from now, with ten more years of mistakes and ten years of more wisdom.

Thank You

I love hearing from my readers and how they connect to my writing.
It connects me to you.
If you want to reach out, I’m best found by:

Email 
(Yes, I respond and read every one)
Andrey@andreystarostin.com

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a.o.starostin

Self Sabotage is a Cop Out

Total Read Time: 6 Minutes

It can feel like a moat sometimes. Filled with tears, bridge burned, and castle doors boarded shut. They say to let people in, but sometimes you’re on the outside yourself. You’re the only one who can swim across.


It’s not like ruining your shoes
So you can’t run anymore
Or even ruining your reputation
By making an ass of yourself
And saying the wrong thing to your boss

It’s not driving through a late night menu
Or shoveling your way through a box of donuts

It’s not leaving them on read
and waiting for them to give up on you
You already did that

It started the moment you closed the door
And set the first brick
Of the wall between you
and yourself

A Cartesian argument
As cynically gregarious
or accessible
as it is a moment of eye contact
A moment of acknowledgement
and agreement
That you deserve not to win
And blame everything except them

It isn’t you every time is it?
The world just sucks sometimes
And the rest of the time it blows
If you’re into the whole wind thing

-A


A Writer’s Self Sabotage

It looks like cleaning the house and preparing a work station or fixing a snack and stretching, because we avoid it for so long and they all say stretching is so important to prevent lactic acid build up.

Sometimes I read and am so impressed with a writer’s style and vocabulary and pacing that I can’t help but compare myself to them. I quickly determine that I’ll never be that good and open up Instagram.

Entitlement of an Immigrant White Male

I grew up with a pessimistic defense against the world. I was raised to question the motives and incentives of people around me. Although they never said it, it felt like altruism was a ruse and every favor was a palimpsest of inauthenticity. Someone GAVE you that; you would be nothing without them.

I developed an opinion of myself that seeps through me to this day. That I am capable of more. That I’m holding myself back. That I need to work harder because this isn’t enough.

It’s a war between entitlement and complacency. At a core level, I don’t believe this is enough to get me by. I want more. I feel like I need more to raise a family; despite having been raised on less.

When the argument is really in favor of my opponent, I can pull out facts like salary and how expensive kids are. If I’m feeling up for it, I’ll even remind myself that I’m not making a difference and make myself feel like a waste of time.

Confronting a Gun

I don’t want to feel like it’s worthless. I don’t want you to either. You shouldn’t see me like this. But we both have to feel it to get through it.

Once I realize, I take more responsibility. It’s a puzzle worth assembling. It’s decoding a cypher where you have to take the dip into darkness before you can blame yourself for going into the shadow. You really don’t know what’s waiting for you in the clarity, but you need to realize it before it’s too late.

Forgive and Accept

The slippery slope is blaming yourself and letting it go on. It’s ammo against yourself, only telling yourself you haven’t gone far enough into the darkness. I was repeating myself when I would write out ideas for business plans and supplementary education I can arm myself with for success. I can’t tell you how many days I spent fawning over ideas just to quit like I never had them.

The truth is following your fear. That is the darkness. You have to go there and trust that nothing is going to matter until suddenly, it does.

If you got this far, you’ve come a long way. Congratulate yourself on starting an honest conversation with your soul. There’s meaning down there, and the steps to finding yourself are laden with pain and traumatic memories.

Wrestling a Worthy Adversary

The “discipline” that everyone talks about is not a pushup contest. Your schedule doesn’t have to be filled with to-do lists just like your boss already has for you. There’s enough to worry about at work.

Discipline starts with going to sleep at the right time.
Don’t let yourself watch Netflix until you’re struggling to stay awake.

Once you’ve slept an appropriate amount of time, discipline becomes about individual decisions and intention. It’s a whole lot easier to close Instagram when you’re properly rested. You also know the right thing to do with your time.

I feel most susceptible to bad decisions when I’m tired or fatigued. I’ll convince myself I deserve to eat a whole bag of chicken tenders for the protein and the carbs. I feel like garbage afterward and I’ll see myself for what I wanted to.

Keeping up the Momentum

I don’t have an answer yet.

I’m trying to think of writing as reps, relating it to muscular contraction necessary for tearing fibers and rebuilding stronger limbs.

What I’m doing is writing 30 minutes a day. I’m starting a few projects at the same time, to give myself direction. I also look forward to finishing one, to feel accomplished by having a contained work to show for my time spent.

This website is one of them.

Emails and Instagram DM’s keep me going. I hear from you and how I’ve, even for a moment, connected a thought or emotion to something you’ve struggled with. It’s okay, I’m really believing we are all struggling together; just at different rates.

I want to see you follow your dreams and aspirations, because you are significant and you have a fulfilling purpose.

I want you to feel how good it feels to know you’re on some kind of a right path. That’s how writing feels for me.

I would love to know what gives you that confirmation.

What is it that just feels scary and confident at the same time?

What has you feeling like, even if you fail it would be okay because you could just start over again?

How about if it’s not working?
What do you think is holding you back?

Email 
(Yes, I respond and read every one)
Andrey@andreystarostin.com

Instagram
a.o.starostin

Thank you, so much.

-A

Follow Your Trauma to Find Your Dream Job

Total read time: 9 Minutes

I can’t stop thinking about wrong jobs.
Lately, with COVID-19 on everyone’s radar, job security is more important than ever.

I’m so sorry for everyone in hardship right now. I pray you have your health. I hope for the best support to find you. I wish they would have the cure for this strain of coronavirus and solution for all of this sooner. Remember to reach out and ask for help. You are not alone.

Contact your creditors for relief with monthly payments.
Fedloan announced they will defer all accruing interest during all of this.
Help finds it’s way out of the most unexpected places.
Don’t give up, Don’t ever give up.

I’m writing this out of the honesty of my heart. I believe everyone has
something they dream of,
something they could do with authenticity,
something that keeps them up at night,
something so terrifying and exciting at the same time,
It’s crippling.


If only The Sun and the Moon
Could with yearning hands
Outstretch their arms

Until then

The Sun will gleam
The Moon, a muse
And I, Your Earth

I enter the breadth of your tides
Knowing the safety of your arms
I inch my way atop arduous mountains
Feeling every step closer
I step into the abysmal night
Where You lead me to solely what is

Trustworthy

Only as much as I can handle
Slightly more than I ever

Before you

Could

-A


Changes Seem So Out of Reach

You think about it sometimes, don’t you? What it would take to get you out of this rut. You fantasize about having the gall to stand up straight, reach out your arm, exposing all of your scars.

What are you so complacent for? Why did you get so used to this? Why does it still sting to think about where you could be instead?

Derek Sivers, in his interview with Jeremy Ryan Slate said after your twenties, change is mostly rare. You spend so much time after high school moving, applying, meeting… changing. Eventually you find a job that pays enough money, you buy a house, and you slow the hell down to a screeching halt.

Maybe you’re like me and actually gave something a shot. I dove into photography for years. I started a business and got paid for my work. I emailed photographers, magazines, editors… I poured out my heart all over the world. Nothing happened. I gave up.

Do you remember how it felt? The vast emptiness. It doesn’t happen overnight… the abandonment.

You realize you’ve given up one day. That feeling is instantaneous. It’s felt in the pit of your stomach. That’s how it feels to let yourself down. I let myself down.

What now?

You Feel Stuck

Maybe you really are like me and after you gave up, you didn’t have anything else. You felt so stuck because you didn’t have anywhere else to go.

The only certain thing is that bills keep coming.

You have to pay them, don’t you?

I kept going to the restaurant, waiting on tables, pouring beers at the bar, eventually brewed the beer… until eventually that wasn’t enough and I just kept the trend going.

How do you know what to do next?

I Am Crippled By Trauma

Fortunately, I know you’re like me. I know you’re traumatized. I know you start feeling great and get stabbed in the gut by your past.

Have you ever had a moment of clarity?
It sounded something like, “YES, THIS IS IT!”
I was driving down a steep hill in St. Charles, Illinois on a sunny day. Not having anywhere to be, I could drive as slow as I wanted. I thought, maybe I should share some poetry with people.

It felt so good to realize.

Until it came time to open the computer. Thinking of all my friends and family judging me. The laughter on the other side; people will think I’m a joke. They saw me give up on photography. They’ll think I’ll just give up on this too. They think I give up on everything.

Trauma has a way of popping up when anything really matters.

The knife in my stomach is always here.
I hope it always will be.

Vulnerability is so taxing. It forces you to relive your memories. You imagine this thing you so care about will end up like things did in the past. Your past will continue to remind you.

Fear is debilitating. Judgment makes you feel like you’ll never belong; like you’ll never be accepted. Failure means disappointing someone. Forget about not paying the bills, failure means everyone who didn’t believe in you was right.

What are you supposed to do when you’re afraid of disappointing and failing the ones you love?

Love Can Be a Gift and a Curse

It can feel so much easier just doing “the right thing.” You know, the thing everyone tells you is safe.

It becomes easier to help (to love) others by doing the things they say instead of doing right by you, instead of loving yourself.

I’m certain that the best in people comes out when they are loved.

When you’re loved, you instinctively have good intentions. You do the right thing right back at that person. You take care of them.

You can do the same thing for yourself. You can love yourself.

The Truth is Right in Front of You

There is a litmus test when you’re doing the right thing.

The excitement is an unalienable light in your eyes every time you speak.
The feeling has clarity; it matches what people told you you’re gifted at.
Earth shaking trauma reappears to warn you, this is something that matters.
Love flows through you; you know you need this.

If You’re Anything Like Me

First of all, hang in there because it gets better. Secondly, think about what happened to me. All of this makes sense.

Giving up was the right thing because photography was not.
I gave up on photography because photography was not writing. Photography was not truly the pursuit for me.

I was stuck because I let the inertia die.
Not only did I come to a halt, but I went backwards to the restaurant industry. I started climbing up a ladder on the wrong wall. The climb only made sense because money had to be made and bills had to be paid.

I didn’t know what to do with myself.
Having abandoned the first thing that I cared for, I was lost. After reading enough books, I looked to the people around me and listened. They liked my writing. Even in my emails to all the photographers, I received compliments for my composition.

I couldn’t move forward without looking in the mirror.
Trauma punched me in the face every time. I have an avoidant personality, finding it easier to hide at my own expense. Standing up to myself was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do. I didn’t know how.

I learned to love myself.
This took a whole summer to even start believing. I read and studied Mastin Kipp’s work. That’s where I learned about the different personalities. I really delved into behavioral psychology.

I took the leap of faith.
Even armed with love for myself, previous experience with running a business, and all of the knowledge and motivation from the books I’ve read, it still felt like jumping off a cliff to put this writing out.

Taking the leap of faith doesn’t mean quitting your day job.
Derek Sivers says the happiest people he’s met have two jobs. The first job is your dream job. Even if you don’t get paid for it, you treat it seriously and truly give it your all during your free time. The second pays the bills. It’s consistent, its reliable, and it’s a break when trauma strikes and you feel vulnerable during the first job.

You just have to go for it.

Is it possible that the things you gave up on were necessary to give up on?
Is your ladder on the right wall?
Listen to the people around you, what are you gifted at?
Have you forgiven yourself?
Have you started loving yourself?

What do you have to lose?

The truth is, you have too much authenticity for anything you truly care about to fail.

Eventually, it will take off.

You owe it to yourself to fill your life with Love and Significance.

Thank you

I really do this for you. If I reach you somehow. If something sticks out and you’re touched, please don’t hesitate to contact me on whatever social platform feels comfortable to you. Connection feels amazing. We all grow stronger every time we add to our community.

Thank you for your time, and for your support.

Andrey Starostin

Email
(Yes, I respond and read every one)
Andrey@andreystarostin.com

Instagram
a.o.starostin


Recommended Reading

Help finding yourself when you’re stuck:
Designing Your Life

Mentioned above:

Derek Sivers

Jeremy Ryan Slate

Mastin Kipp

When to Promote Yourself to Manager

Total Read Time: 3 Minutes

Short answer: right now, but it’ll take people three years to believe it.

Leadership starts every day when the alarm goes off.

Start by managing yourself. People naturally want self improvement. It’s called progress. We do not like to go backward. When those people see you succeeding, they will want a piece of the action. They will come to you for advice and for vicarious thrill.

DO NOT SEEK OUT PEOPLE TO LEAD

Do not start a cult. Motivation works better when it is sought out by those looking to be motivated.

Trust me, when you’re winning, people will look to be led.

Why it Takes THREE Years

Year ONE:

You enter as a beginner, albeit with a set of predisposed skills, but in the eyes of everyone around you, a beginner. You are developing relationships with those around you. You care for them like your family. Without them, there is no winning. YOU CAN NOT DO IT ALONE. You stay humble, you learn from the people around you with tenure, your job is to care.

Year TWO:

You begin to master your surroundings and naturally see areas in need of improvement. You suggest and implement new strategies and processes that benefit everyone on the team. Your relationships are strengthened.

Year THREE:

People see consistency in your actions. You truly want what is best for them. You’ve made prudent choices and beneficial improvements for the team. You’ve made the Investment of Time. There is no better evidence for your commitment than time.

Start today

Congratulations, you’ve been promoted to manager. If you’re here for money, power, control, you can go home. In order to EARN the position, you have to act as though you already have it. You have to care. Above all else, you have to care. Anyone can see through bullshit. If you are motivated by anything other than seeing everyone around you thrive, you’ll fail, because they won’t believe you.

Thank you for your time, for your attention, and for your support.

Every time I am notified that someone has read my writing, it makes me feel significant. Every time someone has a conversation with me, shares their personal experiences, asks me for further clarification, I am made whole.

Thank you,

Andrey Starostin

Email
(Yes, I respond and read every one)
Andrey@andreystarostin.com

Instagram
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How to WIN Today: Forget the Nail; Just Swing the Hammer

Total Read Time: 4 Minutes

“Basically as we try to design more than we can comprehend, more than we can understand. We will shift from traditional engineering to evolutionary algorithms and iterative learning algorithms like deep learning and machine learning. And as we shift this engineering to the training of these iterative algorithms, the locust of learning shifts from the artifacts themselves, to the process that created them.

Tim Ferriss podcast: 404: Steve Jurvetson,

Tradition tells us,

Keep your eyes on the prize

We are led to believe we can do anything we set our mind to.

We are given tools to dial back the size of our goals. The end seems so far away. It all feels so daunting.

Dale Carnegie advised us to live in “day tight compartments.

If you’re worrying about tomorrow, you’ll lose track of today. Dale suggests focusing solely on today.

This is the “dialing back” I mentioned earlier. Take Quick analysis of your end goal and you can figure out what you can do today to get closer.

WHAT IF YOU HAVE NO END GOAL?

Crazy right?

That’s been my life for the past 10 years. 2010 I thought I’d be a math teacher, 2012: a photographer, 2014: a beer brewer, and plenty more in between.

Enough about me, how about you?

It’s okay to NOT know what you want.

You can spend years, even decades figuring out your desires and goals.

You can be a lot more productive with that time.

FOCUS ON THE PROCESS, NOT THE OUTCOME

Love the Hunt, not the kill.

Doesn’t it make sense? If you’re searching and fighting for happiness, are you saying you’re unhappy now? Do you think the dream job will bring you fulfillment? Once you have it, you will still have to go to work. If work now makes you unhappy, then work later, albeit different, will also make you unhappy.

I volunteer, I’ll be the bearer of bad news.

Your appetite won’t stop growing. You think $100k a year is enough, but once you have it, you’ll need $200k, $500k, $1,000,000.

Stop imagining the future. Start living right now.

Jocko Willink’s latest podcast, episode 210: Leadership Strategy and Tactics, talks about the seal teams advancement strategy. It’s just like life. “As soon as you feel ready and comfortable to do your role, you’re promoted and advanced forward.”

You’re in a constant state of progress. That means, you’re never “there.” You’ve never arrived, because you’re already here.

THE PROCESS

If you believe anything I’m saying, if you’ve read this far…

First of all, thank you 🙂

Secondly, let’s set some assumptions:

You don’t need money. Money just allows you to spend more time doing the things you want. Assume you have enough money and start doing the things you like.

You have time. Worrying about time is a waste of it. Tomorrow is future you’s problem.

There’s nothing to be a afraid of. If you’re not working toward any goal, remember you don’t know what you want, then you can’t fail. I mean, failure is the biggest fear right?

What’s left?

That’s right, nothing. Nothing to fear. Nothing to worry about. You have nothing to do, except what you desire. The choice can be anything. The direction can change any and every time you want.

The only thing that remains is process. You start small. Start now.

Thank you

For your endless love and support.

Andrey Starostin

Email
(Yes, I respond and read every one)
Andrey@andreystarostin.com

Instagram
a.o.starostin

Bibliography

Thank you for reading. Thank you for listening. Thank you for your time and attention. Thank you to my loved ones who give me significance.

Inspired by Tim Ferriss podcast: 404: Steve Jurvetson

Further inspiration by Jocko Podcast Episode 210: Leadership Strategy and Tactics

Suggested reading:

Dale Carnegie’s, “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living”

A quick weekend read. Dale’s typical analogous style keeps you following along with examples to back any and all of his theories.

Late to Life: Theater Theory

Total Read Time: 3 Minutes

HOW TO BE LESS STRESSED. HOW TO ARRIVE ON TIME. HOW TO GET STUFF DONE.

In a previous article I wrote about examining your lateness to things in your life as a filter showing you what you really don’t like to be doing. 

Today I want to examine the stress behind lateness, but more importantly how to reason with it. 

Think of your day and it’s priorities as a movie. When you go to the movie theater everything gets put on hold. Everything before it doesn’t matter anymore. You watch the movie. If a phone rings, that’s rude. If you have to go to the bathroom, the movie is a lessened experience. An uninterrupted focus makes for the best return on investment. Yes, Investment. Everything you did prior to the movie set you up for the experience you had.

You can think about your life as a movie.

Rather, your day is you preparing for mini movies. You know what needs your attention. You can make sure all of the other things get done. When it’s showtime, you can focus on the task. 

Let’s talk about arriving at the movie theater.

The getting ready, the getting out the door, the traffic, the parking, the standing in line, the popcorn, the bathroom, finding the theater, and finally, the movie. Each of those steps can be traced back from the time the movie starts. 

We know what time the movie starts. That’s a constant.

“Because the train is leaving and it will not be waiting for you.”

Knowing that invariable constraint, we can look one step back at a time, and examine what we can control and what we can’t. 

If We know the way to the theater room. 

If We know where the bathroom is. 

If we know how long the average popcorn line is. 

If we know the duration  of the ticket stand line. 

If we know how long the worst case, furthest parking spot, would take us to walk from. 

If we open google maps and know how long the traffic will hold us back. 

Then we are at the juicy reason for why you’re late. 

You didn’t get out the door in time. 

Before that, you didn’t start getting ready soon enough. 

Before that… you get the point. 

That’s why you hear about people waking up at 4:30am. It’s the only way to remove constraints on your day. It’s the only way to take ownership of your day and make it what you want it to be. 

The Point

When you’re late to something you care about, you’re stressed.

Take ownership.

Eliminate the things you don’t care about.

Less noise. More focus.

Start early. Arrive on time.

Thank You So Much

For your time, for your energy, for your support.
Just, Thank you.

Andrey Starostin

Email
(Yes, I respond and read every one)
Andrey@andreystarostin.com

Instagram
a.o.starostin

Bibliography: 

Thank you so much, to my loved ones for your endless love and support. Thank you Kyrie for listening to my never-ending rants. 

This article was inspired by a conversation I heard between Tim Ferriss and Dr. Philip Zimbardo. 

Tim Ferriss podcast episode: #226

Some awesome reading to go along with the idea of making time for your priorities:

Deep work, by Cal Newport

Cal Newport touches on the importance of undivided attention and it’s capability to achieve unheard of annual goals. It was a quick read with a majority of “the meat” 3/4 of the way in. 

The Hands That Hold You Down, Could Be Hands That Pull You Up

Total Read Time: 6 Minutes

Picture a man riding a chariot pulled by two winged horses. The horses: one noble and sound paired with one of the opposite will. The horses are the devil and angel on your shoulders. The charioteer is your mind. The chariot, your body. Without the reign of enlightened reason and discipline, your horses will guide you to danger.  – Phaedrus, by Plato.

A quick disclaimer by Andrey Starostin: I am not a physician. Please consult your doctor to ensure your safety both physically and mentally before you follow any of my suggestions. 

To gain control over your body, you must first control your desires pulling you to the path of least resistance. I can’t speak for everyone, but several of my friends and I agree that once you abstain from sugar for a little while, it becomes less appealing. Every once in a while I fold under pressure and have a blueberry muffin. I’m reminded every time, it’s not even THAT good. Trust me, not only is it possible, but it becomes easy to make the right decisions for eating, for choosing engaging activities, and even choices for your financial health.

“The initial resistance that trees face when they stretch their roots is the same Earth that solidifies to hold them in the face of any storm.”

Have you ever noticed how annoying people are who start working out? 

They’re onto something…

Once your environment is supportive of your goals, you will weather any storm.

The way to upgrade your lifestyle is to update your ecosystem. If you are growing and your ecosystem is not, your surroundings will resist your progress and pull you back to your previous comforts. If you FIRST change your ecosystem, you will be pulled UP and into improvement.

When you begin to work on yourself, It is uncanny how irresistible it is to talk about fitness and health. No matter what stage you are in your journey, the temptation to share will always seep out of your smile. That’s why people who take care of themselves like to talk about their skin care routine. *eyeroll*

A note on empathy. People who are fit and healthy make working out seem so easy. It’s hard. Damn hard to start and even harder to keep going. I can’t stress enough how important it is to reward every little victory. I really mean every little victory. Make small goals. Take consistent effort. The plateau is real, and when it hits try your exercises at a different angle, with more intensity, or simply with less rest between sets. 

“If nothing changes, nothing changes.”

Method:

  1. Desire 
  2. Discipline 
  3. Measurement = Progress
  4. Progress = Desire
  5. Rinse, Lather, and Reinforce with REWARD

Let’s start with Ease of Use

The more we talk about fitness, the more excuses come up why you can’t. 

Start with what you can do. 

Forget counting calories. 

I tried counting calories one time, realizing it’s too easy to bullshit. Even the most honest record will have the human error between who made the food and who is measuring their meal. 

That’s not to say it’s impossible; I’ve seen people take control and transform their life measuring their food intake. I’m being honest. I succumb to dishonesty in self reporting the measurement of calories.

A farm needs a good fence.

(Stay with me here) A farmer building his fence can carefully measure every post. He can save an enormous amount of time and energy. How? By measuring the first one and using it as a stencil for the following hundred posts. 

I consider counting calories a calibration. Cacophony of alliteration at it’s finest

I like to check in every once in a while with my portion control by counting a meal’s calories. Once I know roughly what the size of my meal is, my infantile mind is appeased. 

Basics to calories: 

Keep in mind, this is an exaggerated simplification.

Food intake – Physical expenditure during the day = caloric surplus or deficit at the end of the day

Surplus in calories = gaining weight

Deficit in calories= losing weight

Forget the Gym

Your home is your gym and you are the squat rack. ESPECIALLY in the beginning. There is no need for bars or weights. Your foundation should be set with proper range of motion and flexibility. Body weight exercises mitigate risk. Your focus should always be on form. If you don’t believe in commitment without buying something, make it a pull-up bar. 

Ritualize 

If you turn your fitness into a routine, you have a much better chance of sticking to it. Even if you can’t give it 100% every day, SOMETHING will be so much more effective in the long run than nothing at all. 

Pacing with Intention

Calendars make something actually happen. Schedule ahead. Plan out a routine for yourself. Set an end goal that is a certain skill or technique that you want to be able to do. 

For example, I started out wanting to touch my toes at any point in the day without pain. 

The important part here is pacing a difficulty that is not too hard, but challenging enough that you don’t get stuck in a plateau. 

I made sure to stretch. I stretched all of the muscle groups involved in touching my toes every day. I identified where my weakest links were.

You should schedule a recalibration day every week to see where your progress is at. This leads us to…

Scalability

Your fitness goals will always be scalable if you follow a recalibration schedule. The focus on constant adaptation and change will never allow for a plateau. Your body is smart. It likes to be ready for challenges. So keep challenging it by looking for creative ways of doing the same things you’ve mastered.

Reward

At every interval you have to treat yourself. It’s so important to honor the fact that you are putting in the work that so many people struggle with. Making the right decision every day will grow and harden your discipline. The best way to make sure you’re rewarding yourself is by measuring your progress. While scheduling your routines, set goals and measure where you’re at every day.

Thank you

Thank you to Kyrie, to my family and friends, to you, my audience and my peers. You motivate me and make me feel significant.

Andrey Starostin

Email
(Yes, I respond and read every one)
Andrey@andreystarostin.com

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How to Find Your Passion

Total Read Time: 9 Minutes

What are you doing about it? Why would you QUIT YOUR DAY JOB?


Everyone wants their dream job, or wishes they even knew what to look for. If there’s one thing my 20’s taught me, it’s that your mindset behind intention defines both why you do something and subsequently, how you do something, if at all. I have spent the past decade listening to the world’s leading minds distill their advice into instagram posts, 3 hour podcasts, books, speeches, and YouTube videos. There’s all the advice in the world for people on how to achieve their goals. I’ve spent 10 years stuck at step one: what is my purpose? Here’s what I’ve got so far. My purpose is to show you you’re significant in this world. Let’s start with HOW to start searching.

It’s hard to look at yourself...”

I want to empower you. I know what it’s like, very personally, to be stuck and hopeless. I believe everyone has a gift inside them, waiting for the flood gates to open so it can drown the world in the bright lights of their passion. It’s hard to open that threshold and find that passion because it’s hard to look at yourself when you’re the one that keeps walking through the doors of the job you hate. It’s hard to love yourself when you keep making mistakes and keep wasting time. I’m here to show you they are not mistakes, and that time is not wasted. I promise you, there is hope. There is room in this world for your smile and your laughter. There is a vacuum of purpose yearning for your authenticity. The world is hungry for the real you. I want to see you full of so much passion you can’t help but give it away. So let’s start with some definitions.

Definitions:

  • Passion and Purpose
    • Passion: When have you lost your sense of time and forgot to eat, drink, and sleep? What keeps your heart racing when you’re trying to sleep?
      • According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, we need to build upon a pyramid of basic human needs to eventually reach a state of “Self actualization,” where humans are driven to progress toward their full potential. The needs are:
        • Physiological
        • Safety
        • Love/belonging
        • Esteem
        • Self actualization
    • Exercise: Loving yourself
      • Only once you meet your needs can you move onward. Think of where you are on the pyramid, in terms of check points, moving up only when the previous needs are met. My point here is to help you realize you may need to work on some basics before you’re even capable of looking into your heart. Naturally I find it easier to do things to help people before I help myself. I get stuck when I don’t have anyone to help, and honestly forget to really focus on self care and loving myself. Hint: most people reading this will be around love/belonging and esteem. Write down the needs you have already met and leave some space to think about what needs you have in front of you. Keep in mind the quality of each need you already met, and highlight the ones you want to increase the quality of. For example, you know you should eat healthier and get more sleep, but maybe you also feel you could be more present in your relationship and work on your self esteem. Really trust your gut on this one. Engage the gut of honesty!
    • Here’s a quick category breakdown:
      • Basic needs:
        • Physiological: water, food, sleep, clothing, and shelter
        • Safety: Physical, emotional, and financial security
      • Psychological needs:
        • Love/Belonging: relationships with family, friends, partner/spouse, all varying in intimacy
        • Esteem: sense of self worth and pride in accomplishment, image of yourself both where you are and where you want to be
      • Self fulfillment needs:
        • Self actualization: reaching full potential
    • State of Flow
      • When in a state of flow, you are fully immersed and engorged in your task, often losing all sense of irrelevant things to what you are doing.
      • There are times in your life where you have achieved that feeling of bliss in what you were working on. I most often find myself late to places because I lost a sense of time. I realized the things I’m late to are things I subconsciously don’t want to be doing, and the things I’d rather be doing take up all of my attention. Physical fitness, specifically skateboarding, rock climbing, and hiking easily take me to a state of flow. Creative endeavors, as in writing and photography, also seem to engross everything I have to offer in this world.
    • Exercise: get lost
      • Think about certain activities that take up all of your attention and feel like you could do them all day. Also consult the gut on some activities you’re notoriously late for. It may surprise you to realize you don’t like meeting with certain people who bring you down, or engaging in activities that leave you feeling disappointed in yourself. Write them down but don’t dwell too long, let’s move on to the fun stuff.
    • Interesting side note courtesy of dear friend Matt:
      • Explore commitment to punctuality, where lateness “feeds the flames” and punctuality really makes something undesirable more bearable.
    • Purpose: What is your easy A? What comes difficult to others, but feels innate to you, almost boring unless you push the envelope?
      • What do you do so fluidly, you create your own cursive. You have your own voice. You understand how to be unique.
        • Everyone has a camera in their pocket. However, Instagram is proof that everyone is not a photographer.
  • Job vs Career
    • Job: Financial dependence
      • Get’s old pretty quick. For me, about 2 years before the money isn’t so shiny anymore. If you keep switching for higher paying jobs, you realize they pay more for a reason.
        • Work hard for years, one 8 hour shift at a time, so you can get promoted! Now you get to work 12 hour shifts at a time! I’m paraphrasing a quote, I forget where from.
    • Career: Emotional dependence
      • Some careers have a clear cut path. Lawyers, Nurses, Teachers, Doctors. They’re looked at in Immediate recognition that “If I went to school for 15 years I could be an Anesthetist too.” Not to downplay how flipping hard it is to even make it past anatomy 101, but the point is the path getting up there is recognizable. Everyone wants a path, because once you can deconstruct a goal, tasks become obvious and feel more attainable.
      • That is why instead of finding the dream career, I will get you focusing on developing skills the same way a school curriculum adds up to a degree. More on that soon.
  • Success vs wasting time
    • Most jobs can feel like a waste of time, a means to an end, a paycheck that keeps your lights on. I can assure you the path from resentment of yourself, straight through feeling content or realizing you’re stuck, and to an ownership of pride in your hard work lies in one word: intention.

Reframing:

  • Intention
    • If you think of your entire life as a budget and a resume, then stop reading and go do burpees. If you’re anything like me, you’re human and you’re inefficient and you should love yourself for it. That’s the first step really, love yourself for the glorious steamy pile of human that you are. I worked in the restaurant industry for over 5 years. I told myself over and over again, that I’m wasting my time working nights when all my friends and family are off having fun, and need to focus on a career that will solve all my problems! I plugged in different things I wanted into job searches, only to return back every weekend to pour beers and carry trays. It really clicked one Saturday morning while I was setting up my bar. My GM walked up to tell me one of our fellow managers was leaving the restaurant industry. GM, “did you hear? She’s finally getting out! She got a real job.” My GM, now caught in a backpedal, “I mean not that this isn’t a real job Andrey, I’m sorry… I didn’t mean that…” It really sunk in that time. I learned that no matter what restaurant I could work at, no matter how high up the management ladder I would climb, if I dread walking into the restaurant, there’s only one way out: loving myself.
      • The job you currently have is not a waste of time. When loving yourself, you’ll find value in every experience you walk into with intention.
    • Time wasted = Experience earned
      • You think pulling shots and steaming milk was a waste of your free time after class? If I took away the product (coffee) out of the business model, you managed time in prioritization of efficiency. Taking in orders from both in store and drive thru, you have a natural sense for systems and processes: who needs their order first and how many things can you group together to buy yourself that stand up straight, hands on the hips, head held high breath of fresh air. Seems simple right?
      • Reconstruct the same business model over one week instead of one morning rush hour. You take in clients orders over the span of a week. Rather than finishing each task before you take a new client, you group together similar tasks to serve a maximum amount of clients.
      • I hear you from across the internet, multitasking is easy when you have the tasks. I spent 10 years changing what I want to be when I grow up. You may not want to take clients or multitask, but odds are, you’ve been training for your dream job this whole time. The answer is right in front of you. You just need to hear about it enough until it clicks. So if you’re like me, now you’re ready to start working with intention.
  • Acceptance:
    • Your current job/situation can quickly become an experiment once you accept how fluid your job can be.
      • Those without flexibility in their lives (if you have children, if you’re battling a DUI, if finances are against you) can be all the more intentional, prioritizing what changes to make in order to move toward one of a few things.
      • Before you tell me it’s impossible, I’ve lived by a principal since I middle school: Even the busiest CEOs and creatives eat, sleep, and breathe. Gary Vaynerchuck and Casey Neistat found a way to make it happen. No matter how stuck you feel, I know you can make time for self love. Maslow has the foundations all written out for us. Knowing where we are gives us the first steps in movement toward being ready for our own capabilities.
  • Your job(s) as an acquisition of specific skills
    • Each position in the world: retail, service, maintenance, communication, management, etc. holds value and can be targeted like a good compound exercise or sport can target a group of muscles for development.
      • Skateboarding seems pretty simple until you break down the posterior chain strengthening happening; not to mention the twitch muscle fibers constantly activating. Rock climbing tricks you into forgetting how great of a workout it is for your tendons/ligaments, back, and joint mobility.
      • Just like the physicality of exercises build muscle and confidence in your body, your experience in different avenues of your job progression build and sculpt your knowledge and skills.

Refinement:

“…The Secret to a Long and Happy Life.“

  • There is a Japanese term called ikigai – “The secret to a long and happy life.”
    • The term combines an ideal lifestyle containing:
      • What you love, what you’re good at, what the world needs, and what you can get paid for.
  • Where you’re missing a link, locate skills in yourself that you need to develop, and pursue them through creative approaches
    • It’s important to add, I may not have experience in every industry, but my examples come from a couple I’ve been in for long enough to get my 10,000 hours of repetition in. These examples will feature a restaurant example and a freelance photography example. The restaurant example allows for you to develop yourself on someone else’s dime with little to no risk. The Photography example involves a little entrepreneurship and some more risk, but so much greater reward.
    • Developing talking to strangers
      • Serving/bar tending with customers that come to you
      • Reaching out to strangers to find ones interested in buying what you‘re capable of.
    • Developing financial fluency
      • Any job handling money with a cash register you’re responsible for balancing at the end of your shift.
      • Any sale you can make on the side where you have to bill or invoice someone for payment and keep track of your sales for tax season.
    • Developing building hands on knowledge and skills
      • Entering a job with a training program, extensive and comprehensive where someone leads you through the necessary steps.
      • Picking up a new piece of equipment and learning how to use it to it’s full potential until you become limited by it.
  • Just like every story has already been told, every job has the same principals.
    • You have something that you sell for more than it costs you.
    • You can make things cheaper for you through refinement of efficiency.
    • Make yourself more valuable, with diverse skills and experience.
    • Eventually you’ll outgrow selling yourself to a job, where you help someone build their dreams, and you’ll begin building yours.
      • Until you’re there, there’s way less risk developing yourself under someone else’s costs.
  • Through developing these skills, you’ll open doors for yourself you didn’t know existed, I guarantee it.
    • Exercise: Hammer and Chisel
      • You’ll find there are some skills you dislike working on
        • List those in your journal
      • We are looking for commonalities between these, and revealing what kind of work you’d realistically love doing.
        • For example, If you’re more into the sales acquisition side or management of operations or analysis you’ll know based on what skills are needed to accomplish these aspects of the business you’re in.
    • Those skills that you’re in love with are the bread and butter we are looking for here. The idea is to take those few truly lovely skills and think of a job where those skills plug into and can be refined so that you have complete control to essentially just focus on that skill. Even If you’re a jack of all trades, I bet there’s still one tool in your toolkit that’s your favorite.
      • In the restaurant industry, I loved the technical aspect of learning recipes as a bartender and refining my skills in making delicious cocktails. As a manager I loved planning and analysis of staff metrics on our company goals. Yes, I was the weirdo that loved meetings.
      • It was the same in my photography business. I didn’t care for client acquisition or managing schedules, but I loved knowing everything about my camera and lenses as well as applying that into a smooth experience on the day of a shoot. I loved planning the business goals on a step by step basis and looking into strategies on how to get there.
    • I’ve come to find I love planning an interview with someone to set a path in finding their passion or learning how they found it. I then love analyzing and distilling that information into easily digestible nuggets here for you! Of course, there is a lot more that goes into an interview and taking that to a written presentation. The foundation of it, however, is exactly what I believe is the core of my interests. The better I get at it, the less of the extra parts I’ll have to focus on.

Conclusion:

Throughout the past 10 years of my self help education, I found help with everything having to do with following my passion except for one thing: how to find it.

Finding your passion is not a race.

It’s honestly not even required to live a happy fulfilling life. If you’re anything like me though, you’re armed with tons of tools and plenty of examples of success around you.

The one missing link: the passion itself to focus the magnifying glass on.

Through self love you’ll get yourself ready to start looking at your skills for ones that stick out. You’ll be able to go into work today, tomorrow, and every time after with intention on developing those skills.

It’ll click one day, something where those skills shine brightest. Until it clicks, just keep refining what you have, because

You’re a beautiful human with all the knowledge already inside you.

Thank You

To my dear friends and family who help me with their support and words of encouragement. I can’t thank you enough.

Editorial help and review: Kyrie, Karina, and Matt.

Contact me

Email
(Yes, I respond and read every one)
Andrey@andreystarostin.com

Instagram
a.o.starostin

Bibliography

Hierarchy of needs: http://psychclassics.yorku.ca/Maslow/motivation.htm

Flow by: Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi https://www.amazon.com/dp/0061339202/ref=cm_sw_r_oth_api_i_VWTZDb2HMHFQR_nodl

Ikigai: https://www.academia.edu/36989526/OceanofPDF.com_Ikigai_-_Hector_Garcia