Tag Archives: long reads

Success is Nostalgia

Total Read Time: 7 Minutes

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

-A


Goal Un-Setting

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

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

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

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

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

Designing Perpetual Debt

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

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

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

Goals work the same way.

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

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

You’re Not a Mind-Reader

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank You

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

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

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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
a.o.starostin

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.

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