Tag Archives: andrey

My YouTube Endeavor

I used to be a photographer.
I got burnt out trying to pursue a career in editorial and commercial photography.
I let it get to me.
I gave up.
I quit.

Once I put the camera down, I let the creative in me settle for less.

Now, I’m back. In more frames than one.

24 Frames a second.

Sometimes 60.

I’m making movies.

Here’s one I made for my dear friends after we helped them move to Tennessee. They will be missed.

The reward for good work is more work…

Let me know what you think of my movie.
Comment if you’ve ever been burnt out of your passion.
Share where you fell short, proudly.

Taking ownership is a beautiful thing.
Expecting failure, planning for derailment, anticipating straying from the path…
That can drive you mad, but it’s a lot more realistic than demanding perfection.
Plan to refocus yourself
like meditation
That will keep you out of insanity.

I love you guys,
Thank you for your support.

Andrey Starostin

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.

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.

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

Live On Purpose

Total Read Time: 6 Minutes

This is one of the hardest and at the same time easiest topics for me to write about. The difficulty comes from how important it is to me, because I’m okay at failing at things I don’t care about. This is not one of those things. The ease: because it consumes me; there is no shortage of material in my brain when it comes to this. -Andrey Starostin

It hits when you’re confronted with the question of time. How much time do I have left? For some, it’s so crystal clear and in focus, that their next steps have no alternative. For the people who face the doctor, prescribing the amount of days they have left, I have the utmost respect. I’m most impressed by their outlook on life. In every experience I’ve encountered, be it podcast interview or story, the individual who has accepted the finality of life has disconnected with entitlement and focuses with pinpoint accuracy what is most important to them in their remaining days.

There is a lesson to be learned here. Living every day as if it was your last is not practical. However, living the next 5-10 years seems to get closer to the point. The point is one I’ve made repetitively throughout my writing; and it is intention. What are you doing on purpose? I mean truly thought out with reasoning and discernment.

Let’s take it back a notch and examine the span of one’s life… from a western perspective with a heavy bias from what I’ve seen and experienced.

I truly apologize that I do not have the end all be all answer to what is the meaning of life. I can only write what I can be genuine about.

The life of Andrey Starostin

  • Birth
  • Immigrated to USA, without speaking English
  • Raised through the United States educational system
  • K-12 into higher education (Bachelor’s)
  • Spat out into the real world, with no more curriculum
  • Self betterment: job hopping and career development through business education – entrepreneurial endeavors
  • Ended 4 year relationship and started the relationship I never knew I needed
  • Self betterment: emotional stability, facing past traumas, dealing with self honesty and intentionality, discipline, and leadership.
  • Today: 19 December 2019

Analysis

Self analysis… ahh the bias… wowww he’s full of himself…

My goal here is to articulate the necessity for intention, based on where in my life it has struck organically and the impact it’s had.

Let’s start with the lovely topic of immigration.

I moved to Chicago, Illinois at 5, almost 6 years old. One huge takeaway, believe me there can be an entire book on it’s own, is assimilation and conformity. At a core, I am a mix of extrovert and introvert, but overall I need to feel like I belong and I recharge independently (most of the time just the 10 minutes on the toilet scrolling through instagram while my legs go numb is enough). As a kid, not knowing English really threw a wrench in my whole needing to fit in. My parents told me of the stories I’ve evidently repressed when I came to them crying because I didn’t know how to ask the neighbor’s daughter if they’d come outside and play with me. My parents also told me about the phone call they received from the ESL program director, exclaiming my sister and I graduated into acceptable fluency in record time.

I believe this was the beginning of my exposure to the power of intention.

Although K-12 were some exhilarating years of my life, I’d like to talk about

Falling flat on my face in College

Entering the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, I was dropped off in my dorm room and for the first time in my life, I tasted freedom. Although I had a great time, after my first year of adjusting to independence it would be an understatement to say my grades and personal development suffered. Sophomore year had to be different. I switched majors and essentially started over, having to make up for lost time by overloading my schedule. With the intention of finishing school in 4 years and not being a failure in the eyes of my family who raised me in an educational siphon, I was able to graduate on time and learn self sufficiency and independence.

My first bout of intentional self betterment was through my first business:

Starostin Photography

During my sophomore year of college, while my sister was planning her wedding, she spoke with her photographer and I came up during the topic of hiring more help. The business asked for my portfolio, which I of course had never compiled. To save time, I’ll say I never heard from the business again. Nonetheless, the endeavor gave me the lens to view photography as a business I could do. (Obligatory photography pun)

I started the business taking photos of families, couples, animals, etc. and it taught me such a tremendous amount of lessons. This blossomed into research about business, when I was introduced to Tim Ferriss’ and Tony Robbins’ work amongst many others. Thus began:

Andrey Starostin’s Self Help Education

I was engrossed by the possibility of making it in America on my own. Yes, I had a college education under my belt, but I truthfully desired being my own boss and creating something meaningful for the world. I re-examined my life and, despite a durable effort to reach out to the professional Editorial world, Photography wasn’t it for me. I was back on my keister with a restaurant job in a failing relationship. Until…

The Life-changing, Unapologetically Honest, Love of My Life, Kyrie came along

This is a topic I will be returning to many times.

Kyrie has been the first person in my life that made me look at myself and want to be a better person. As selfish as it sounds, self-deprecation was my go-to anytime a decision needed to be made. I realized with Kyrie that I have a future and I have goals of being a husband and a father. I wanted immediately to work on and make myself the best man I could be. With the safety of the trust I received from Kyrie, she scraped down to the core of my being, picked up every broken piece of my traumatic past, and made it okay for me to be vulnerable. That my friends, is Love.

19 December 2019

Which brings me to today: the Andrey Starostin full of intent to better himself into a husband and a father. Yes, that is the end goal. I could not imagine a better life than the honor of being a husband and a father.

Again, I wrote out my life up to this point to highlight the times that have been truly life changing. I owe those times to,

Intention

If you were going to die in 10 years, what would the next 12 months look like? Odds are, you’d probably go back to the same job at first, but then what?

It is that question that answers my priorities for me.

Money: I hate money. I’ve always hated money. Damn it we need it though. Money is flexible and can come from a variety of sources. Let’s put money on the back burner.

Family: There we go. That’s important. Let’s talk more than the family we were born into. Let’s talk about the family we made for ourselves. The people we choose every day to surround ourselves with. That’s the family I’m talking about. Yes, you could spend more time with them, but you can’t take them away from their lives for 10 years. Every time you do spend with them, could have more quality, more intention, more attention.

Work: Remember, money is on the back burner. I’m talking about the work you’re here on this Earth for. What, if you died today, would be work left unfinished that only you could complete?

Leisure: Fast forward a month, maybe even just a week into you finding out you’re dying in 10 years. You’re burnt out from all the emotional pressure. You’re overwhelmed and you need a release, a distraction, something to ease the tension. Hobbies are invaluable. Truly fulfilling hobbies are the best way to recharge and get you back into a meditative stable state of mind. It could be reading a book. It could be kickboxing. It’s different for everyone.

Fitness: What if the doctor was wrong? Do you cave and let yourself go for 10 years? Or do you look in the mirror and fight for the 11th, and the 12th. Fitness is more than going to the gym. Fitness is a lifestyle of dedicating yourself to feeling optimal. Fitness is work that can not be bought. Only you are responsible for looking that damn good.

How do you get the most out of 10 years?

Let’s make a plan. Let’s make a weekly checklist of meeting your priorities.

Where and when will you organize your family, work, leisure, and fitness? Ideally, we begin with a blank calendar assuming you are starting entirely fresh. They are your priorities for a reason, so fill them in first. In between all of those things, we have to talk about money.

You have a choice.

Either you can slide all of those priorities around and make money fit when it comes from some extra job you work at, OR you can make your life’s work (the meaningful one that only you can do), your leisure (the one you truly enjoy), or your fitness (that you’re doing to better yourself) make money for you. It would be an even bigger bonus if you could combine two or more.

Remember, never mix family and business. Money and Blood don’t mix.

If this sounds too hard, let me ask you, have you even tried?

If they’re truly your priorities, you’re already doing the work, enjoying the leisure, and making yourself fit every day, every week.

This is where Intention comes in. Take some time and examine your priorities. Look at what means the most to you in this world and write it down so it doesn’t consume you while you’re trying to sleep at night.

If you are awake at night, thinking, I ask for you to do one thing: Be grateful for the world around you. It is so much bigger than you. This life of yours is worth more intention. This world needs all of you.

Thank You

I am so thankful for my family and friends that support me every day.

Thank you Kyrie for your undivided love and endless patience.

Lastly, I am thankful for you, my audience and the time you dedicated to read this.

Thank you,

Andrey Starostin

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

Instagram
a.o.starostin

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

Instagram
a.o.starostin

Andrey’s Alcohol Commandments

Total Read Time: 7 Minutes

I been here for years. It’s made me an animal. There’s rules to this. I wrote me a manual.” – Notorious B.I.G.

(Not comprehensive, Very apprehensive)

I’ve worked in restaurants for a decade now, specifically in restaurants that specialize in beer. I was one of the brewers and bartenders at the last restaurant I worked at. I’ve seen first hand, the industry behind alcohol production, sales, and consumption.

What I’m getting at is my exposure to a decade of individuals and circumstances involving alcohol. Without getting into the details…

I take alcohol very seriously.

At least I do now… I feel like I had to see the dark side of moon to realize I don’t like going to the moon so much in the first place. It’s led me to make some internal arrangements for myself: some commandments to live by.

So far, I’ve seen my consumption significantly under control, with the greatest achievement being: Intention.

Let’s go over some common rules before I get into my own. Here are some written in a great tone that touches on the respect for alcohol and more so on the control and intention behind it.

Men’s Health writes 12 rules of Drinking:

  1. Be the master of your own drink
    • I agree: find what you like and stick to that repertoire. More so, if you find something that makes you feel like garbage, forget about it.
  2. Listen to your Liquor
    • This one’s tricky… I think the novelty of paying attention to the drinks throughout the night easily results in you studying in hindsight, “what the hell did I do last night??” Despite the amount of times you’ll check, the answers are not in the toilet.
    • I’d lean more into starting the night with a set amount of drinks, or with a set amount of money, or with a set amount of time.
  3. Drink only enough to do the job
    • What is the job? If you’re drinking to get hammered, there’s better ways of embarrassing yourself. As a social lubricant, it’s a slippery slope if you don’t have your footing. “Know your limits” is what they say. I say, “Know your intention.”
  4. See others through a glass, lightly
    • “In the wise words of Don Marquis, we drink to make our friends more interesting.”… “A shared drink is a conspiracy, a hand extended in the hope that we’ll find common ground…”
    • I love a good night with the boys.
    • Understand your relationship with your friends. If it takes alcohol for you to bear their presence, are they worth your night?
    • I’d say before you pick who you drink with, pick who you’d like to learn from.
  5. Let the wine go to both of your heads
    • “Liquor, daintily done, sharpens the high spirits that want to become romance and sex.”
    • Alcohol is a powerful thing. Again, pick your partner before the liquor picks her for you.
  6. If she’s had too much, Let her go
    • “… a righteous man helps her into a cab, not into the sack.”
    • Women deserve our utmost respect.
      • I am all for gender neutrality and equality, so spare me the judgement as I slip into a patriarchal mindset.
    • When I go out with my woman for drinks, her safety is my priority. Let’s have fun and enjoy a night out, but if, and when, the drinks do their worst: get her home, make sure her contacts come out, and get her some water.
  7. Never measure masculinity in a shot glass
    • I’ve had these friends before…
    • If your accomplishments solely happen at the gym and the bar, congratulations, you’ve peaked in high school.
    • “Men don’t drink fast. Boys do.”
  8. Buy drinks, don’t sell them
    • I don’t know about handing out drinks to people; that get’s pricey.
    • The point is, “A man never encourages a pal to drink.” … “he never exhorts anybody to hit it harder and never implies that reluctance to keep it rolling somehow demotes a man to a mouse.”
    • Abe Lincoln, Muhammad Ali, Warren Buffett, John D. Rockefeller, Gandhi. Some men never touch a drop.
  9. Drink along only when you think alone
    • ”Joseph Conrad wrote that men are drawn to the sea because it gives them a chance to feel their strength.”
    • The advice is to allow alcohol to sharpen your thinking when you’re particularly stuck in your own head.
    • I personally disagree with this one, but it’s worth mentioning, “a drop or two can do wonders for manly contemplation.” A drop or two just too quickly turns into a the sea Joseph liked to test himself in. So I don’t do it.
  10. Master the toast
    • We all know the guy… stands up on the chair and holds up his whiskey… Odd’s are his name is Kai and he learned a new chant during his time abroad in Scotland.
    • We all need a Kai, but we can not all be a Kai.
    • I just don’t have it in me. If I stand up, in my feels, I might just shed a tear before I get the manly toast out.
  11. Respect the sacramental wine
    • Some religions look up to drinking as a way of reaching our inner selves. Sometimes, it makes our sins more bearable.
    • I don’t drink according to any religion other than my own… but if the blood of Christ reaches your glass, drink it on your terms, no one else’s.
  12. Pass these rules on to your children
    • I guess that’s why I’m here, isn’t it? Let me know how I did: I’d love a critique 👌
    • I would love to have this dialed in before my kids are born.

Now for my commandments. Again, some rules are left unsaid, but just in case let’s lead with “Don’t drink and drive: even a $50 Uber from the city is cheaper than a DUI.” Besides, what happened to the good ol’ friend’s couch?

Andrey’s Alcohol Commandments

  1. Never drink alone (Bars don’t count)
    • I told this to a friend who immediately checked for loopholes.
      • Facetime does not count either.
  2. Always be aware of why you are drinking 
    • The drink should come second to your evening. If you’re going out for the company of your friends first, let the drinks flow.
    • Never drink to numb or make feel better
  3. If and when you do drink, enjoy the damn thing.
    • How many people do you know who actually like Natty Light?
    • If you’re going to make your liver work, at least splurge a little and learn what you’re drinking.
      • May I suggest, a build-your-own six pack paired with Randy Mosher’s “Tasting Beer.” Figure out how that Barrel aged milk stout got it’s lactose.
      • Or how about a nice 2016 North Coast Meritage paired with the documentary, “Somm.”
    • Secondly, make the night worth it. Your REM cycles are going to be completely screwed up from your drinking. If you’re going to lose sleep over it, have something to show for your discretions.

“We’re all made of Earth and Air, and so are Beer, Whiskey, and Wine.”

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

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a.o.starostin

Bibliography

Thank you to all of my family and friends who support and encourage me. I can’t thank you enough.

How to Put On Socks Pain Free: Microwave Edition

Total Read Time: 4 Minutes

LIFE HAPPENS. YOU GET FAT. What now?

I’ve been there…
I realized something 35lbs ago, in 2014: Feeling unhealthy sucks.

I woke up while I was getting ready for work. My eyes were opened at the same time as the nerves in my back squealed, “HELP” I would have said it myself if I wasn’t holding my breath on the left sock.

I got fat.

No one knows it’s happening until it’s too late. I got fat. Nothing like a pair of socks to put the fear of God into a man first thing in the morning.

I’m not here to sell you a workout tape for the same reason You’re not here to do sit-ups. I want You to smile every time you put on your socks. Just like I do.


Step One: Break up with your Microwave

You’d be amazed how little of a limitation the microwave is, once you stop buying microwave purposed food. Processed, par-cooked food is not always bad for you, but forcing yourself to use your stove top will reconnect you to your food. 

The point here is to get you thinking about what you’re eating. All while making it harder to eat the foods that are admittedly too accessible right now. 

Yes, cook your own food. Besides, Restaurants are expensive. Your 401K is hungrier than you are, I guarantee it. 

I heard great advice early in my cooking education: “If you’re going to eat anything you want, make it yourself, from scratch.”

You heard that correctly. Cut your own potatoes for French fries. Mould your own burger. Bake your own pizza. Carbonate your own soft drinks. I’m serious, I brewed my own beer. 🍻

Odds are, you won’t be putting in the unpronounceable preservatives into your meals that you see in pre-made microwave meals.   

Also, don’t take this too seriously… everyone inherently knows what’s good for them. There’s a reason ripe fruit looks and smells so damn good. Dark leafy greens are the epitome of healthy to me; especially the veiny ones. 

Step Two: Sweat Purposefully

Forget the word exercise. This isn’t about getting jacked. This is about waking up feeling good as hell and putting on socks without pain. 

Sweat does not mean run, it does not imply gym, and it does not equal pain.

Stay within your skill level and don’t get overzealous. Play. You should feel great. Throw a frisbee. Go for a bike ride. Move your body. 

Step Three: Set Stakes 

Put money down, whatever amount means something to you, that you will lose if you do not reach your reasonable goal. You’d be surprised how much motivation you have when some money is on the line. 

For me, what works better is a Kantian enlightenment I had. (See favorite quotes) I repeated a process of letting myself down.

I realized it’s easier to get over my laziness than getting over a depressive guilt streak. 

Let’s emphasize reasonable: make sure your goal is not impossible nor too easy. Start small, stay consistent. 

Step Four: Most Important Step: Reward

You did it you beautiful human, now give yourself a reward. 

Set this celebration up on your calendar 

A week in a row of sweating and eating well

Make the reward worth it

Salmon works really well for me. It’s just luxurious enough that I don’t get to eat it every day. So after an agreed upon consistency in sweating,

“…winner winner salmon dinner.” 

If you spend all week eating like a pig, but only had one good day, you’ll still feel like a pig. Same goes for the reward.

Don’t feel guilty if your reward takes you to a Chinese buffet. It’s your cake. Make it worth it. Stay on task all week, pig out one day, you’ll still feel great. 

Step five: start today, start right now

What are you waiting for? 

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

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a.o.starostin

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