Category Archives: Philosophy of a Man

Love Language

Total Read Time: 6 Minutes

“I thought they were another Buzzfeed quiz. You know? Those clickbait type quizzes to learn what kind of Pokémon you are?”


Don’t touch

See yourself in your Lover’s eyes
Painted holy and still tacky

Who am I then?

A museum piece
Preserved in a state of fallacy
For you’ll never again be
Who you were a minute ago

What if I stay really still?

And dry?
No, I’m Andrey.

I’ve been cleaning my suit of armor
Thinking with every passing day
How safe am I?

If I stare at this chest plate
Do I look away, Like I do reflections elsewhere?

Do I give this one another coat of polish?
Or
Languish and pray I never have to wear it.

-A


Welcome

I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately.
Mostly introspective type philosophy, designed to bring forward a self actualizing being out of me.

It appears both kinds of fiction are capable of reaching deeper.

Mostly, I rely on these readings to habituate writing for me.
Like surrounding myself with instruments to promote music.

I want to share two moments of inspiration with you

The first is a story from Richard Power’s, The Overstory.

This is my summary:

A man commits himself to a Stanford prison experiment to earn $15 day because he had nothing better to do with 14 days.

He realizes purposelessness when he doesn’t give his blanket to save a man in solitary confinement.

He sends his previous selfishness aside by chasing purpose in Vietnam, where he loads carpet bombs and clears forests of life.

When he falls out of a shot plane, he is saved by a tree’s lush foliage and leaves the war.

He tends to horses and reads them Nietzsche through the winter, burning pages as he reads them.

When winter is over he digs up his savings and leaves Idaho, toward Oregon.

On the way he realizes how barren the forests are becoming thanks to loggers.

He commits the rest of this story to planting Douglass fir seeds in the ground by hand.

Reapplying a symbolic blanket to the earth.


When the purpose for which you act expands, as in the desired audience grows unfathomable, the act you do becomes more finite and yet incalculable. As simple as planting seeds. As infinite as the amount of seeds it takes to grow a national forest.

This thought process has helped me become a more disciplined writer.

Expand your desired audience

Simplify your daily ritual

Replicate until the end of time


The second piece I’d like to share with you is a quote shared with me by a dear friend.

“Don’t forget to practice your love language on yourself.”

Gary Chapman

5 Love Languages

Words of affirmation
Quality time
Gifts
Physical touch
Acts of service

Feel free to take the quiz and patronize Chapman for his fine work.
My lack of references are not out of disrespect.
I believe they would take away more than they provide here.

The point here, is we are all innately predisposed to be skilled in giving and receiving a unique combination of these languages.

What I’ve found is, most of the time they are different.

For example, I am least receptive to acts of service.
However I am very good at performing said acts.

They can change over time,
They sure have for me,
or maybe I’ve become more honest with myself.

Self examination

This part is quite interesting.

BUT

You have to be honest.

I’m sure you’ve already given some thought to which of the languages you’re great at; I do mean innately.

Now take a moment to think about which one (or two, but no more than two) you are uniquely horrible at doing

For Yourself

I consistently find it easy to perform acts of service and give myself gifts.

Physical touch is a much more serious topic that I aim to one day cover at length.
To summarize staunchly, I adamantly believe physical touch is a love language that solely deserves to be shared.

However, words of affirmation and quality time have always been a struggle for me.

I think it’s a self esteem thing, saying kind things to myself.

I don’t think the quality time is a loneliness issue, although that is how I’ve framed it for myself in the past.

For me, both of the love languages are a struggle born out of fear.

Recently, the best gift I’ve given myself is alone time and words of affirmation. It’s meditative and honest, creating a ripple effect of confidence throughout the week.

Fear is more present than I’ve ever believed.
And facing that fear by being alone with myself, listening to all the negativity, and realizing it’s all bullshit has been a beautiful shedding of armor.

I feel most things have to come naturally to someone.
So I can’t just say, you need to follow your fears and all of your questions will be answered.

I do think you can follow your fears and you’ll learn they’re not so bad.
You’ll learn you’re not alone.
You really find your true self down there.
I picked myself up down there.

Before you call me a stoic, I do think there’s validity in the cold shower. You can teach yourself, by exposing yourself to homelessness that it would be okay to take the big investment risk and have to shower in a puddle.

While it didn’t get quite as extreme for me as sleeping under the Fullerton bridge, it was as scary for me to make no plans with anyone and sit at home alone.

And yes, it was as simple as giving myself a pat on the back when no one was around to see.



For questions, and so I don’t feel so alone…

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.

Validation Vagabonding

Total read time: 7 Minutes

How are you complicit in
creating the conditions
you say you don’t want?


Standing on the side of the street with an empty cup
Won’t get you the change you preach of

However, Cowboys a Stetson does make

Impoverished by self esteem
Fueled by deafened courage
Barracked behind the clicks and taps of Twitter and Instagram

Self imposed outsider, predictable patterns
We are branded by society’s silence
Given a consolation bullet after denied for our FOID card

After you graduate, you can be whoever you want
You can be unique, like they were
You can buy freedom, but you’ll never be free as us

How are you going to fence in a field
But say it’s not a dog park
I‘m as much a dog as anyone else

I’ll get to Wyoming without a horse
I’ll stand on a federally owned ranch
They’re united by division

A county is not a country
However, Cowboys a Stetson does make

-A



Some people have the freedom to live in unhealthy conditions.
Think basements of parents houses, with a curfew to be back home
from the job you’re lucky they got for you.

Living with the thought that it will allow them to eventually dig themselves out into a healthy future.

Society’s involvement

Is there a circumstance where we can pardon that kind of behavior with the assumption that it’s intentional? 

For Example

European post primary education vagabonding to neighboring countries for cultural growth.
Mindset on lifestyle and mental development as opposed to western career focused ideology. 

The first problem is drawing validation from society, and quickly discounting the weight of self-justification just like self deprecation. 
You craft excuses for why you’re the way you are.
You then become a product of false intentions.

The second, larger problem is not having a clear picture of the next thing you want. 

I say “next” thing intentionally.

It’s too broad to envision an ideal future, and most often you’ll be wrong about what future you want.

However, chasing a clear annual goal or even a quarterly goal can allow for you to have fluency over your daily planning and disciplined decision making. 

Two easily identified personal growth areas

Initiation: starting the traumatic plunge into your vulnerable dreams. Publishing the instagram post, declaring your efforts, asking for support.

Sustaining: I am quick to start planning a business idea or jumping head first into project aesthetics, but I lack the discipline and more importantly the accountability to get through the low points of project trajectory.

This is highlighted in procrastinators, because the approaching deadline
directly correlates with action taken. 

Actionable solution: eliminate an “ideal mindset” where you limit yourself with things you wish you had bought to make your project complete.

Take a project through fruition with the tools you have, truly realizing you aren’t as limited by your ideal mindset. 

Sometimes, if you truly don’t have a lathe to make clean cuts in a furniture piece, rewrite the design to highlight the raw exposed chips and pieces from you hacking away with an axe. 

Maybe that’s a little too carpentry.

If your dream is to bike around Lake Michigan.
You might give up on that dream if you don’t have enough money for a new upgraded touring bike.
I propose you redesign your dream of riding around the lake to highlight the core of that dream.
If it’s to self-sustainable camp, you can do that on this side of the lake too.
If it’s to ride a bike a long time, you can see how long you can push your current bike.
If it’s to have a bike to begin with, you can rent a DIVY bike, and see how you like it.

The point is to go for it,
purposefully smaller scale than you think you need
so that you actually get off your ass.

I have received feedback that these posts can be a little too concise.
I understand that my segues assume you have comprehension of my convoluted train of thought.

I would love to one day go into depth, with examples and extrapolation, perhaps in book form.

So, if you connect to a particular part of my posts, or are completely lost and disconnected, please let me know.

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.

This post was inspired by a question from a dear brother of mine.
Thank you for your inspiration Kai.

6 Minute Lifestyle

Don’t do yourself the disservice of googling “6 Minute Abs.” Somehow it leaks into your instagram ads and the world knows you’re ready to fall victim to their bullshit. Instead, google 6 Minute Lifestyle to come to this post anytime you need to feel a little more earthly and grounded. :]

Total Read Time: 6 Minutes


The Regal Yew

Do you believe a blade of grass sticking out of the ground
If it were to speak and announce himself as a regal yew?

Nonetheless, Do you step on his progress
And bury him back into the dirt?

Or shall you wait and see,
What burning questions the sun will serve,
What wine the clouds will weep for his thirst,
What earthen support will found his yearning roots

And when you move onto more exciting cities,
To one day return to the field of grass that raised you,
And see The Regal Yew,

Do you believe Yew grew rings upon rings,
To convince you he could?

Do you think he would speak,
or let his stature do the talking,
And convince you did too?


Sustained Effort

Maybe we all know better. Maybe I’m not breaking the foundation of the 6 minute abs series on YouTube. Perhaps we all understand abs don’t make you happy.

Why then, do you believe you’ll be happy with 1,000,000 followers and $1,000,000?

Applying the effort of positive reinforcement, over a sustained effort, will result in a lifestyle change that will emulate what you truly believe will make you happy: following your inner character.

That might be too wordy… let me break it down to fit into a 6 minute read.

Or exit this, and do a 6 minute ab workout.

Building Character

Pursuit of wealth and success is easier understood through negative reinforcement.

It’s the reason you’re not satisfied when you get what you wanted.

Motivation for wealth and success is not based on appreciation of what you already have, it’s the pursuit of what someone else has.

Pursuit of honesty and living true to your character is the arduous journey achieved through positive reinforcement.

It’s easier to understand through negative reinforcement: You don’t like feeling guilt and shame by lying, but it’s easier to lie or pretend to be something you’re not for short term satisfaction.

That is why it is easier to live in a negative, complaint driven lifestyle.

Instant gratification is born out of negative reinforcement.

Your short term feeling of winning is done through force of power. That power quickly runs out when everyone stops listening to you and your lies.

Positive growth, in this example, is made through building relationships with people where your driving force is your honesty and care for them. You have to honestly care, so that you produce the actions of a caring person. You can’t lie your way into someone’s trust, because you will expose yourself when it’s time to act upon the promises you make.

Expanding Honesty

Let’s simplify this with the 6 minute ab example.

The progress of your abs coming out is dependent upon you doing the 6 minute workout and then letting that feeling of health trickle it’s way into your whole week. The choices you make for your diet, your hobbies, and even the friends you surround yourself with.

6 Minute abs turn into a lifestyle, and then the abs show for it.

If your instant gratification focused mind believes it only takes 6 minutes to get abs, you might also believe that having a million dollars will make you happy.

Proposal

Try and put “the proof” of achievement on the back burner. Let the book deal, or the subscribers, or the paychecks all be frivolous byproducts.

Instead, focus solely upon your character, and follow the times in your life when you’ve felt honest with yourself, regardless of who’s approval was or wasn’t gained.

If you think of the product of your effort as short term, instant gratification then think of the lifestyle you want as long term gratification: thus being much harder to achieve and more worthwhile to savor.

If you’ve gotten this far, you’re the type of person I’d like to hear from.

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

Instagram
a.o.starostin

Thank you

This post, inspired by quotes David sent me from Walden, by Henry David Thoreau and from Timaeus, by Plato.

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

Instagram
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

Moments of Clarity: What Do You Want?

Total Read Time: 6 Minutes

I’m working on shortening the down time.
It takes weeks recently, but it’s been months before.
I spend so much effort and time planning: writing down ideas, plotting out their fruition, mentally wrestling my own discipline to start wanting it enough to make something happen.

That’s the secret, isn’t it?
Wanting it?

After plotting out these ideas, something happens.
It is almost reliable. All of a sudden, I stop wanting it, and time begins to elapse. I lose interest and fall into a sense of loss.
I don’t know what to want.

That’s what I mean by “it’s been months before.”
It took two weeks this time.
Today, I found clarity again.
Today, I want again.


In a world where we skip from 
One desire attained

Into debt

The price for your instant satisfaction
To another debt paid through discipline
Laden with questioning whether it was 

Worth it 

To then 
New desire visualized

What will you do with your lesson learned?

What will you allow yourself to instantly attain?

To gratify yourself with 

What do you allow yourself to be spoiled by

And when spoiled what will you want for next 


Did you ever stop wanting 

Do you want to? 

-A


I woke up today without an alarm.
Only my thoughts.
I woke up wanting to write something for you to read.
Something worthwhile.
I immediately accepted that I had nothing, so I decided to read.

I’ve been reading Anthony De Mello’s, Awareness. I put my bookmark in last time with maybe two short chapters left.
I would normally finish a book with so little left, but for some reason I hadn’t.

Anyway, the point is I really wanted to get back to reading, because I had so little of the book left.

I reached clarity while reading.
I was sparked with desire and knew what I wanted to write again.

De Mello, “Every child has a god in him; our attempts to mold the child will turn the god into a devil.” … “The religion that makes people good makes people bad, but the religion known as freedom makes all people good, for it destroys the inner conflict that makes people devils.”

Before the pious quote eats all your attention and pulls you away from here, let me explain.

I realized when I listen to my body and soul, I am constantly telling myself something. There is always something missing. Why do I feel like I always want something? How can I choose what to want and when to want it?

I am not talking about a new t-shirt.

I want to read, but talk myself out of it because I believe I’d just fall asleep during the first two pages.
I want to eat something really unhealthy and sit in my own filth, but luckily my pantry is missing the lord’s chips.
I get bored and think it’d be fun to drink some wine, but thank heavens for Andrey’s rule number 1: no drinking alone.

Pay Your Debts

When you choose to stay up late and watch Netflix,
then wake up early and go to work,
then come home and stay up again
doing some other impulsive thing,
you have racked up one hell of a debt.

The debt is with your own heart and soul.

I keep telling you, you have to love yourself.
And, you did. You indulged. It’s okay.

However, you now must pay the price.

There’s an order to things.

You have to catch up on sleep.
You need nourishing food.
You must enjoy some exercise.
You will want do some fulfilling work.

Sleep is your first debt, just like it’s somehow the easiest thing to give up.
If you’re not caught up on sleep, anything that isn’t an impulse will bore you and you’ll just fall asleep when trying to force yourself to do the right thing.

Food is your next impulse. You will be hungry, and you must reach for the nourishing food that takes care of you. We’ve covered this, you know what’s good for you.

If you hate running, exercise does not mean run. It does not mean burpees, just because you’ve heard that burpees are where it’s at.
Exercise is meant to leave you feeling better.
Pick something you like to do, maybe a scenic bike ride, a hike through a forest preserve, a longer walk with your dog.

Getting your body moving starts an inertia of loving yourself that can’t easily be stopped. All of a sudden you’ll want to do more good.
That’s where fulfilling work comes in.

This is the feeling you get when you’re ready to take action.
When you know what you want.
When the world is clear.

When is the last time you felt clarity?

I wish I could feel it every day, but like I said at the beginning of this, it’s been two weeks, and before that it’s been months.

Have you noticed some trend in your moments of clarity?

I mean it, I’d really like to know. I’m always trying to learn better ways of being a better me, but we’re all human and this is hard for everyone.

How about your fulfilling work?
What do you do that fills you with joy and satisfaction?

I write.

If you have the time, let me know:

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

Instagram
a.o.starostin

Thank you, so much.

-A

Leave Me Wanting More

Total Read Time: 4 Minutes

What if you could control your desires and dangle them out in front of you, like a cartoon of someone chasing a hotdog 🌭 tied out in front of them on a fishing rod 🎣.

What could you get yourself to do?


I know desire by her absence 
As to say I know god 
By what god isn’t
As to say alcohol sanitizes 
when it evaporates from my skin 

And what then, when she is in my arms
Will I crave her any less 
Will I assume I know 
The other side of once locked doors 

When she lets go of my skin 
Will my soul remain on it’s dirt path 
Or will she pave my veins with marble 
Will she assemble my pile of pieces 
Into beating shrapnel 
Will she lead my soul to stardom 
Amongst mortal men of immortal wisdom 

Can I ever know desire 
The way she knows when my strength trembles
And my legs give out 
The way the cold knows my shiver 
When my lungs give in to winter 

Lord give her strength 
To hold up this crumbling heart 
To sanitize my past 
And pace my future 
With every step I feel lighter 
Shedding fear 
I find her

-A


Have you ever woken up, wanting?

Desire is sexy.

Desire is powerful.

Desire is a pull, motivating you.

It’s easier to be pulled than to be pushed.

Identifying Your Desires

Eating?

Spending?

Sex?

You can’t judge yourself for what you want.
You have to accept and love yourself.

Sustaining Desire

All desire is sustainable, if you have the strength.

First, acknowledge where the desire is coming from.
Is it genuine or impulsive?
What would it fulfill?

Second, accept your desires.
You already want it, whatever “it” is, so accept that it’s there for a reason.
It’s okay to want things.

Third, intentionally delay the desire.
Do not allow yourself to impulsively act.
This is intentional delay.
You have to resist in order to truly benefit.

Fourth, thorough and paced satisfaction.
You’ve waited an appropriate amount of time.
Reward yourself, at a pace that does the satisfaction justice.
Why rush through something so good?

Pacing Enjoyment for Satisfaction

I like to think of learning as opening doors for yourself.
Once you open a door, you reveal more doors.
It’s learning what you don’t know; what more there is to learn.

The more you know, the less you know.

It can be daunting, realizing what’s in front of you.
There is a bliss in ignorance.
There is also a bliss in desire.

Delaying the fulfillment of your desire builds excitement and prevents you from learning too quickly.

It makes the eventual enjoyment all the more satisfying.

Delay is Your Filter

Sometimes, the delay filters out things you didn’t genuinely desire.
If you wait, you will realize what was an impulse desire and what stuck.
The best desires stick for days.

The intention behind controlling desire brings out more satisfaction.

You are In Control of Quality

When you learn the wisdom of identifying your desires,

When you learn the discipline of delaying yourself from prematurely enjoying your desires,

When you learn to extract further satisfaction by pacing,

You are in control of the quality of your desire.

You are In Control

Desire is motivating.

Understanding your desires allows you to begin having control over what motivates you.

With control over motivation, you can get yourself to do the things that require an incentive.

This is not a life hack.

This is clarity.

Seeing through the lens of what motivates you allows you to see why and where you get fulfillment in life.

Remember, the important desires stick around for days.

If it’s worth obsessing over, it’s worth enjoying properly.


If you would do me the honor, I would love to hear from you.

What do you desire most often?

How do you deal with not getting what you desire most?

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

Instagram
a.o.starostin


Thank you, endlessly for your love and support.

Andrey Starostin

Moons & Moods: My Equilibrium Theory

Total Read Time: 7 Minutes

Over the past 3 days I have had the worst mood swings in months. The more people I talk to between work and home, the more I find consistencies in their emotional irregularities. Oxymoron, (consistent irregularities) I know, but mine were more than just environmentally related.

I had to go to the dentist, which I have an irrational fear of . The days leading up to my appointment were awful. Everything effected me. The things I could bounce off of me normally really dug deep. Even the little things like stupid joking comments from people at work just had more of an effect than usual.

I wrote this for all of you dealing with a similar mood swing. It’s so natural. Maybe more natural than we all realize.

You can do it! I believe in you. You’re amazing!

Without further rambling…

I made the realization yesterday over coffee. Thinking back on my writing about alcohol, I correlated it to writing. The resistance to Start writing is so akin to the resistance to Stop drinking. I wrote,

It’s self-perpetuating. Alcohol demands more of itself. The hardest part is to stop. 

The easiest… not starting at all.

Andrey Starostin: Alcohol

The self perpetuation can be understood as a state of flow,

see my writing on flow in How to Find Your Passion.

It’s quite simple to keep writing once I start, due to said state of flow. I realized alcohol’s similarity in that perpetuation. So I thought about the resistance between wanting to stop drinking and wanting to start writing.

It’s hardest to stop drinking after the first few drinks.
&
It’s hardest to stop writing after you start.


It’s easiest to prevent the perpetuation of drinking by forcing yourself not to start.
&
It’s easiest to begin the perpetuation of writing by forcing yourself to start.

The Resistance

Life seems to be so full of resistance. The richest moments of our lives demand difficulty in one way or another. The War Of Art, by Steven Pressfield is a perfect manual, almost a writer’s bible. It is the mirror you didn’t know you could look into. Relating to all creators, Pressfield brings clarity to the physical, emotional, and spiritual resistance all creators feel to sit down and get to work. The rationales we justify Not writing with. Easily in my top 10 books of all time.

My point is, I am flawed.

Unfortunately, I succumb to the resistance and my writing goes days, weeks, sometimes months without seeing a pen touch paper. I battle the desire to be more productive. I want the ability to write any time I choose. I wish I had the control.

Why isn’t there a gym of my mind? Why can’t I go through the motions and deadlift words out onto paper?

Equilibrium Theory

As a young boy, I formulated rationalization to explain why the world worked. I had to make sense of things. When people get mad, they return to happy. When people quit a job, someone replaces them. When I run around the playground all day, I get a sunburn. Everything seemed transactional, as if to have a reaction or an exchange of energy.

As bad as things get, the show must go on.

My equilibrium theories have never let me down, but I have no explanation for them. The moon comes around every 27.3 days. It’s no coincidence that oceanic tides change, hospital attendance rates spike, and restaurant call-offs occur around the same time.

How have you noticed these wavelengths in your life? It seems like one day you’re posting on instagram, and other days you’re beating yourself up.

My point with the equilibrium theory and my discipline is that some days it’s so easy to write. Some days, I can barely get out of bed. I look for ways to influence those days into my liking.. perhaps by

Nudging

I want to control the wavelengths.
I want to find the optimal length, intensity, and frequency.
I want to understand how my ups and downs can be steered into my favor.

I believe discipline, going through motions and forcing yourself to do the intentional right thing, will raise your “low’s,” but with an important caveat.
It seems to work by desensitizing you to the effects of your emotions.

That means your lows are less low.
It also means your highs are less high.

There has to be an ideal wavelength, where the highs hit all the marks, last long enough, and the lows are not downright crippling.

Steering

What if you could choose where the lows fall, as much as where your highs soar?

I want my highs to be involved with creative endeavors. I want to create at my peak performance. I want to analyze and understand with clarity and love for myself.

As for my lows… I aim to steer them at something… resilient. Durability in various facets of my life offer the ability to absorb negativity and bounce back faster.

I believe you can practice steering negative states into parts of your life that are definite and indestructible. Controlling the downside seems to be the first step, letting the upside glow and aid in recovery.

I know, I know this sounds like some woo woo freaky mind games. I don’t deny that it’s out there. As soon as someone starts talking about moons and astrology people automatically have a predisposition to… you get the point. I’m just a young boy trying to make sense of the world.
I’ve heard from a lot of you that you can relate… creating things is hard.

So far the best examples come from states of clarity.

Clarity is when you’re centered. You can drop into yourself and sit in a state of experience. You’re aware, present, and intentional. Clarity is where I see that I’m right.

When do you experience clarity?
Can you access it?

I’ve never been able to provoke clarity, but I’ve learned to recognize it when its there. I use clarity to recalibrate where I am in the wavelength.

I encourage you to try it next time you are having an amazing day. Try to drop into yourself and write down your desires, your goals, your downfalls, things you want to be more intentional with, and experience the moment, recognizing it shouldn’t always be there.


It’s a work in progress, this theory of equilibrium. I wish I could control it, but I’ll settle for simply understanding it.

It offers some explanation for why I am the way I am.

While I may feel out of control, I gain some peace with the fact that some force in this world is.

Thank you,

To my support around the world. My family, friends, loved ones, critics, and editors. I can’t do this without you.

Andrey Starostin

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

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I’m Writing about My Relationship with Alcohol

Total Read Time: 8 Minutes

This post is about trauma. About Numbing myself. This is about choosing to give myself life instead of taking it away. I know it’s hard to read. Believe me, it’s harder to write.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. I do not advise anyone on changes to their health. Please consult your doctor before you do anything. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol, please seek guidance and help from a professional. There are people a phone call away that know exactly how to help.

The most spent currency is time.

One of my mentors, although there’s no chance he knew the impact he has had on my life, is a man I worked with years ago. He worked with urgency, indulging in a sigh only when time was taken care of. I mean the kind of “taken care of” when we are waiting on time itself. His most quoted saying was, “we are up against the clock.” The clock started when he woke up. It ended when his tasks for the day were finished.

We are either waiting on time, or time is waiting on us.

When you start a kettle of water, the time span before it boils is YOUR time. During that time, you are free to do anything you want. When the water has boiled, you are back on the clock; with time waiting on you to pour that water over some coffee grounds.

I find a soothing relief when I am waiting on time. I feel productive and in control. Ahead of the game.

Another example of this is efficient dishwashing. Not the kind at home after you ate some eggs. The kind where a 50 table restaurant that seats 200 people sends back 200 plates after they finished eating. Imagine you are the dish washer, and the next set of guests is arriving. Clean those plates.

I once worked with a young server named Jake. The dishwasher at the time was complaining they had to wash too many dishes. Jake pointed out,
“You’re not the dishwasher. That machine is the dishwasher.”

The point here is, the one thing we can not control is the time the dishwasher takes to run each cycle. What we can control, is having the next tray of dishes ready so that we can have the dishwasher running as often as possible. When the dishwasher is not running, time is waiting on you to load that thang up.

Alcohol is a time suck

I see alcohol as an exchange. A trade sometimes. Most of the time, just a time suck. I give away the rest of my evening, to the influences of alcohol. I sacrifice the productiveness and efficiency of the following morning to “recovery.”

“I give away hard earned dollars to the empty calories I worked so hard at my job and in the gym for. “

Don’t mistake my drama for preaching. I am all about loving myself. I want you to love yourself. You are amazing. Your life is worth living. You are incredible. Don’t beat yourself up for a night of drinking. This is about understanding the CHOICE you’re making. Man, I’m full of caveats today…

Alcohol BLURRRS Time

My father often related his first drink of the day to it’s conclusion; the day that is. Decisiveness takes a steep drop after that first drink. It’s self-perpetuating. Alcohol demands more of itself. The hardest part is to stop.

The easiest… not starting at all.

“Drinking alcohol is borrowing happiness from tomorrow”

Matt Mullenweg

The Challenge

Awareness – Take note of the opportunity cost with drinking. Understand what you will be unable to do instead.
Value – Apply intention in weighing the value of your consciousness that you lose while drinking.

Honesty is the true challenge.

Why is it easiest to lie to yourself, when you are the person that knows the truth?

I want the blur. I hate the clarity of the mirror. I don’t value my time. My productivity doesn’t produce anything the world wants. It’s better NOT TO FEEL and keep the past buried. It’s easier to sleep.

I couldn’t be more wrong.

What I know about myself is I find the edge too hard to balance on. One drink is so perpetually powerful, I eventually succumb.

The easiest answer is no, to starting.

Why am I being so hard on myself?

I spend a lot of time looking around myself; at the people I look up to, the people that raised me, and the people I can learn something from. So… basically everyone.

Most of the time, I’m paying attention to myself. What makes me feel good, bad, okay, and not enough.

The times I beat myself up the most are when I’m unproductive, financially irresponsible, and repeating mistakes I’ve already learned from.

When I look at what keeps me on track to being disappointed in myself, it usually involves alcohol.

When I look at accomplished, revered people around the world, many of them abstain from… alcohol.

Decision time

Drink a lot less alcohol.
As in, barely any.
Most of all, to better understand the true cost when I do drink.

Accountability

This audience… YOU are a great start. I really don’t want people pointing out when I’m slipping down the slope again.
So please point and laugh if I do.

Reward

I really Love finances. If anyone wants to talk about money saving techniques, credit cards, savings accounts, trading options, etc… Maybe I’ll just write about it. I’m bound to eventually.

I’m going to reward myself for every time I say no to alcohol.
I set up an easy transfer between a checking account into a savings account at a different bank. Capital One savings, in case anyone is interested.

They’re both interest bearing, but the savings account I specifically chose because I have no physical access to it. I did not link any automatic withdrawals from it. It’s way easier to put money in than it is to take money out. The point being, to mimic the sunk cost of spending money on drinks.

Every time I say no to alcohol, I get to deposit the cost of the said alcohol into my savings account.
Bottle of wine costs $15?
Just made $15 dollars by being disciplined.

I started thinking… imagine if you could get back all of the money you’ve ever spent on alcohol… god damn.

So that’s what I’m doing now. Positive reinforcement.

The easiest thing to forget is to accept being human and forgive mistakes. I’m not saying I’ll never drink again. I’m not demonizing it if I do. Remember, I said I want to understand the cost of doing so. I’m also making it easier and more rewarding to not drink.

What does Alcohol look like in YOUR life?

I’ve heard of dear friends drinking because they’re bored. I’ve heard coworkers say how they realized how much better they feel after NYE if they don’t glorify getting sauced. I have friends running challenges to make March a dry month.

The reality of it is, alcohol is so present in our lives. It’s effects do not have to consume us. The world is such a beautiful place with people like you in it. I would love to see what you’re capable of if you stop letting alcohol hold you back.

Truly, Thank you

For reading my spilled thoughts. You are so significant to me, and to this world. Thank you for being in it.

Thank you for being.

Andrey Starostin

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

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Self Acceptance vs. Complacency

Total Read Time: 5 Minutes

I recently heard Tim Ferris’s interview of Brene Brown (Episode #409 – The Tim Ferriss Show) where they discussed relationships. As with most of his podcasts, Tim discussed ways of self betterment. He and Brene reach a topic that I in particular can relate and empathize with: the topic of self acceptance.

“There is a fine line between self acceptance and complacency.”

Let’s bring in a money analogy. When have you made enough money? If your goal is to “make more,” then what does it take to get you off that path? When do you realize you’re trapped in a never ending goal?

It looks like two outcomes really: You make more or you don’t. If you get what you want, it isn’t enough. If you aren’t making “more” money, then you’ll have to reconsider everything.

Money is really easy to understand.

It’s just a number. If you want it to grow, you have to define the goal number. The same principal has to be applied to your self acceptance.

How do you measure your self worth?

Now there’s a touchy topic. I’ve gone through months of trauma work and just scratched the surface. Trauma is everywhere and we have to make eye contact with it. I highly recommend Mastin Kipp as a start to learning about yourself. Below I’ll add recommended books etc.

You have to measure yourself based on who you are now, not who you want to be now. Speculation of your future self is bullshit. I’m sorry, but you don’t know what tomorrow looks like. For that reason, stop worrying about yourself. Today and right now are all that matters.

Step One

Accept does not mean like. You don’t have to like who you are right now, but you have to accept it. It’s done. Accept who you are right now.

Step Two

Accept all the things you can not change. If you don’t accept them, you’re stuck on repeat. “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein.

Step Three

Avoid complacency by being critical of the things you CAN change. Begin with things that are going well. Start with one thing and ask, “how can I be more intentional with the thing I love about myself?”

This is not something you want to eliminate. Remember, change does not have to be scary. Change can mean better. It should mean better. If you’ve been given the gift of beautiful hair, and you love that about yourself, how can you change to be more mindful, or twice as intentional with your hair?

Intention is the Key to Everything

I hate to be needlessly repetitive, but intention is my catch phrase. Jocko has “discipline” and “dichotomy.” I have “intention.”

I argue that intention is the solution for all of your problems. When you are intentional, it means you are in control. Control leads to easier solutions, because you have no one to blame and everything to change for the better.

Love Yourself

If you start being intentional with loving yourself I am sure you’ll have less time to wallow.

Displacement Strategy

You’re too busy loving yourself to hate yourself.

Or how about this.

You’re too busy improving the things you can, to be worried about the things you can’t.

Okay one more.

You stop noticing pebbles on the ground when you’re running.

Vacuum Strategy

Displacement is avoiding the formation of clutter in your living room (clothes, bags, useless garbage) by putting a couch there instead.

The vacuum is formed when you take out something you’re used to being there; your bed for example. It feels extra empty. The space is a vacuum for new things to fill it.

Take unwanted habits, bad role models, malevolent influences, and toxic environments out of your life. The vacuum that is created by that can only be filled with love. Love yourself first and your intention will naturally show you what is toxic and what is pure.

It’s like eating something out of a garden. You don’t grab the dirt. You just know what’s good for you. It looks so fresh and healthy. You don’t have to like it, but you have to accept it. You can be someone who hates fruits and vegetables, but you can’t deny that they are good for you.

Recipe for Life

Have you ever baked a cake? Baking is something I’ve never been able to do because the core construct involves trusting you’ve done everything correctly. You mix all the ingredients, then it’s out of your hands. You put it in the oven and pray.

The cooking I like to do involves tasting as you go. Adding additional salt, pepper, lemon, garlic. Giving each step thought and intention. Every ingredient serves a purpose and without each other, the dish is missing something.

Life should be a harmony of intentional steps forward. Life has no recipe where you do all the right things and come out risen and enlightened.

Life is today. Life is right now. You have the choice to carry yourself the way YOU intend. The one thing no one can ever take from you, is how you react. So react with intention. Give everything that deserves thought your loving intention. Let everything else stay in the past.

Thank YOU

For your time, your attention, your support, your kindness, your love

Andrey Starostin

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

Instagram
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Recommended

The Tim Ferriss Show: For those with a commute. Music lets you think. Podcasts tell you what to think.

Mastin Kipp: Claim Your Power – This book changed the way I see myself. It really put me on the path.

Jocko Willink: Speaking of “the path,” Jocko is responsible for hours of my time and interest in getting my mental state battle ready. From war novels to Jiu Jitsu, Jocko covers all things to get you on the path to your best self. Discipline Equals Freedom is the book I started with. Review coming of his latest book, Leadership Strategy and Tactics.