Tag Archives: self betterment

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.

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

Latest Thoughts: A Theory on Alcoholism and Self Harm

Total Read Time: 4 Minutes

I like how recording artists release their work. The music of their heart and soul is poured out daily until they let go of a compilation. It is… released.


Released by a few bad shifts at work
Mindset is productivity
Responsibility and discipline highlighted
By their absence

Mindset as soil
Ideas as seeds.

Ever-changing soil can nurture seeds
Into rooted theories and concepts.
It can be too acidic.
It can ferment.

Sometimes, my mindset can give birth to noxiously attractive ideas.
Like a train wreck.

-A


Perpetuation of Self Harm and Substance Abuse

I’ve done a lot of self-experimentation. Recently, I’ve tried removing certain distracting elements from my life. I think of them as “easy” or more accurately, “obvious.”

Diet
Exercise
Alcohol
Sleep

I’ve written about these more specifically.
It would be a compliment if you sifted through this website.
I would love to connect and talk too.

Subtraction Past Zero

Assuming you can, once you remove the obvious elements from your life that are holding you back, you would think a massive light would emanate from your chest. It would feel like a sci-fi phoenix rebirth. You would hatch new colorful feathers and majestically screech like an eagle.

The truth is, it’s shockingly the opposite. You begin to miss having something obvious to blame. It was nice to feel like garbage, knowing you shouldn’t have drank last night. It felt comforting to say, I’ll eat healthy this time for lunch.

I liked having an easy answer.

Once you remove the obvious, you begin to see the less obvious. All of the repressions from your past begin to surface.
You are left with everything left of zero.

Think of this scale:

Subtractions : -5 -4 -3 -2 -1 <0> 1 2 3 4 5 : Additions

When your lifestyle is full of easy things to blame, you’re somewhere around 5. The subtraction of those things take you closer to where you’d like to be: zero.

Blame is the Trend

Continuing to find things to blame is the trend. You spend time focusing on blaming diet choices, exercise habits, and substance abuse. That focus carries you past zero and into the negativity of blaming your job, blaming loved ones around you, and blaming yourself. When you continue blaming things, you get further from zero and closer to -5.

Balance Blame with Love

You have to see the good in the world around you. You have to subtract a bad habit and replace it with a good one. After my father quit smoking cigarettes he told me he began to taste food again. His life had flavor again! He gained appreciation for having stamina. At that time in his life, he went to the gym again and got into great shape. I remember he would flex his bicep and challenge me to wrap my hands all the way around his arm.

Allow light to displace the shadows of negativity and engorge your life with love and self improvement.

You’re Not Alone

The heaviest thoughts when you’re low are thoughts of isolation. You want to be alone. You want to retreat. You feel like you deserve the blame and hatred for yourself.

I promise you, you’re not alone. There is a world of people who have lived through everything you’re dealing with. There is almost always someone In reach who has dealt with what you’re dealt. Everyone deserves to know,

You are Not Alone

I want the best for you.
I want you to feel.
I want you to taste.
I want your life to have flavor and light and excitement.
I want you to feel the love you have for yourself.
I know you are capable.
I know it’s somewhere inside of you.
Please, try and see it too.
Try and look past the shadows.
You deserve this.
You’re worth it.

Thank you, endlessly.

Thank you for your love, your support, your time.
You make my day better.
Always feel free to reach out.

Andrey Starostin

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

Instagram
a.o.starostin

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.

Why do some people Never Break Up?

Total Read Time: 5 Minutes

What a lovely palindrome of a day (02 02 20 20). I was informed it was also our 33rd day of the year, with 333 days left. Allow me to geek out over numbers, moon patterns… moving onward!

People are so caught up in finding someone to be with.

Maybe it’s loneliness. Perhaps I’m wrong and people want to be left alone. I believe people live longer and are living happier lives when they are in healthy long term relationships. I would love that for YOU.

Here’s some stuff to look out for. 👀

I’ve racked my brain over healthy relationships. I’ve examined and analyzed couples who have confided in me with their difficulties. (I know you’re reading this, so know that I love you guys and can’t wait to hear from you).

This is a good spot to add, I’m no expert. I LOVE analysis. I find writing therapeutic. Please don’t do anything irrational after reading this. I only want what’s best for you and your loved ones.

Here are qualities that people in healthy relationships

MUST HAVE

Let me intensify: without these, your relationship is doomed.

I’ve chosen each word carefully

  • A Safe Communication Environment
  • Intentional Love
  • Compatible Foundational Life Goals

Things that make relationships inherently easier, NOT VITAL

Primary

  • Finding your person impressive
    • Imagine them in their element. Does it turn you on?
  • Similar attractiveness

Secondary

  • Equally opposite in masculinity/femininity
    • You’re both a blend of masculine and feminine. One of you is more masculine. The other is equally as much feminine as the first is masculine.
  • Similar Intelligence
  • A general predisposition for learning and improvement

Tertiary

  • Similar financial liquidity
    • It’s great to be pampered. Finances turn into really hard conversations when one person has had it easy all of their life while the other has had to struggle between paychecks. If you’re both on the same page, it just works easier.
  • Similar diet
    • I’m not saying you both have to be health nuts. I’m saying if one is a vegan, and the other hunts every season… that’s an important conflict.
  • Similar hobbies
    • Time is a precious commodity. If you both like to hike, that’s an amazing activity you can share in excitement with. The hike itself is fun, and the preparation builds the excitement that much more every day.

Clarification

Large caveat: I’m extremely lucky to be in a healthy relationship. Even more so, I’m lucky to be with someone who recognizes and values hard work. We’ve worked really hard to get where we are. There are still tough times. Trust is a huge factor. However, I promise it will be earned. I say will be earned because it takes the strength of time. Time will show you everything you need to see in your relationship.

Remember, I’m merely a man observing relationships around me. I’ve had the privilege to talk to some people about theirs. I’ve analyzed, from my perspective, what has led to their strengths. My writing is not absolute. Love has a way of defying all concepts of reason. The world doesn’t make sense some times, and yet works in a balance you can only observe in retrospect.

Let’s go back to the vital three.

A safe communication environment: A space where there is freedom to express each other’s opinions, conflicts, compliments, and so on. There is no judgment. This is a place for honest listening and cooperation. A place which brings us to…

Intentional Love: This is huge. Genuine, honest, intentional love. Intentional means you, at your core, want this. Love is everything that is good for your person. You truly want your special someone to be loved. To feel loved. To know that you love them.

Compatible Foundational Life Goals: This one’s tricky. This isn’t, “I want a house some day.” This is more like, “I want a lot of kids,” or “I want to serve my country as a Marine,” or “I want to live on the coast.” The goals of you and your loved one have to be compatible, they have to operate together and not contradict each other.

As for the following set of “Non vital,” I repeat they are not vital. They simply make getting along easier and making any compromises easier and more fluid.

Compromises

will make these flow into a healthy relationship. The vital list of three is a list I simply believe relationships need to end up with to make the long haul. I’ve seen people change for the better. I believe I am one of those people. That is what compromises are all about. The major factor here is Love. When you love someone, their needs make it easy to be selfless and commit yourself. If both of you are in love, both of you have a tendency to want to make sacrifices for the other. However, everything will crumble if you don’t feel safe enough to communicate your concerns, if you’re not sure if your person loves you, and if you’re both headed in opposite desired directions.

Thank you so much for your time

I’d like to expand in the future on the vital three. And maybe look at some relationships specifically and help or just walk through what works.

Please let me know if that’s something you’d be interested in!

Andrey Starostin

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

Instagram
a.o.starostin

“Consider THIS Before Your Next Conversation.”

Total Read Time: 5 Minutes

Have you ever heard about the family that you actually got to choose for yourself? How about that you are the average of the 5 closest people to you? (Tim Ferriss quote… Seems to be a theme in my mentorship). The common denominator is your choice.

It really doesn’t matter where you are in life, what you’re working on, how much you’ve accomplished up until this point, or where you’re headed. The most valuable thing in our lives, is our relationship with the people around us.

Let’s take a bleak turn to drive it home.

On your death bed… Here Andrey goes again… You really get a clear picture of what truly mattered in your life. This is a gratefulness exercise. Imagine someone close to you died yesterday. What would you pay/do for one more day with them? Probably anything. I would pay anything…

This should make most of the so-called “problems” in your life go away instantly. Your relationship with people is above everything else.

Consider THIS before your next conversation.

Your day is built upon choices you make. You employ discipline, you have routines, and you choose the manner in which you conduct your relationships.

Relationships:

  • Family
  • Friends
  • Significant other
  • Boss
  • Coworkers
  • Mentor

Every interaction you have can be a withdrawal or a deposit into your ongoing relationship.

Visiting your mom and spending time cooking with her: Deposit.

Visiting your mom and communicating your stresses in life: it may sound like a withdrawal because stress can be vicariously taxing, but I’d bet it’s a deposit in your mom’s eyes.

Visiting your mom and recommending new exercises, yoga, hiking, and general motivation for getting more active: sounds like a deposit because of great intentions, but could be a withdrawal if mom is a human and takes criticism with a grain of salt.

The most immediate use of this logic is at work.

Everyone has difficult coworkers, an unreasonable boss, and unfathomable clients/customers. If you structure your interactions, with positive intention, your days will get better, I promise you.

“This isn’t manipulation, unethical, or deceitful. The key is to care.”

If you struggle to care for someone, realize they are structurally tied to “the mission” and you will lose without their help. If you want a good shift at the restaurant you work at, the bad server needs help with their 3 table section. If they don’t get help from you, they’ll give poor service, bring out food late, force the food to get cold and the table will ask for the food to get remade, that will slow down the kitchen, and then YOUR table’s food will be slow and your table will be upset with YOU. I digress.

Surround yourself with Positivity

My best friend David DM’d me a quote on instagram: “Pay attention to with whom you feel your best.”

I later saw another one of those quotes: “Pay attention to who is happy with you, when you’re winning.”

It’s so environmental. Tying back to one of my earlier articles, The Hands That Hold You Down, your environment is directly responsible for not just holding you accountable, but directly influencing the quality of the decisions you make for the day ahead of you.

It’s quite easy once you do the mental heavy lifting. And that is, Honesty. Once you are honest with yourself and answer the following questions, you can easily delegate your attention toward the positivity in your life.

  • What facet or quality of your life would you like to make more deposits into? (Love, Health, Finance, etc.)
  • When you think of a deposit, what does it look like?
    • Is it more time with a loved one? Is it eating healthier foods? Is it avoiding going out when money can be allocated more prudently?
  • Think about who helps you deposit into those categories and who forces you to withdraw from them.
    • At the same time, think about who gives you negativity when you share your progress and who celebrates with you and supports your successes.

Confronting these people can seem so difficult, but I promise you it’s easier than you think, and quite addicting after you start.

For example, I’ve recognized alcohol as a slippery slope in my life that I needed greater control over. See Andrey’s Alcohol Commandments. I had to take an honest look at my life and recognize who I naturally drank more alcohol with.

“My approach was initially light handed”

I suggested alternative activities like playing frisbee, skateboarding, bike rides. Fortunately for me, some of my friends really enjoy doing those things and it was easy to structure hanging out without alcohol needing to be involved.

After hanging out, I just needed to decline an offer to go to a bar or hangout and have a beer.

However, some of my other friends really don’t do much other than drink. They would ask me to hang out, and I had to say I’m busy. It wasn’t unreasonable, since I work a lot and generally live further away. (It really helps that I work night shifts Friday, Saturday, and Sunday and they work a M-F 9-5). Conflicting schedules, busy lives, and if all else fails…
“I’m saving for a wedding.” (Also very true and an incredible motivator).

Prescribe yourself Positivity

I freaking love a conservatory. Plants are beautiful, the buildings are warm and humid, it’s oxygen rich, everyone is in a good mood at a conservatory. I can’t think of a better place to go for positivity than Nature. If it’s cold outside, if you’re in a big city like me, odd’s are there is a conservatory near by that eliminates the cold and the distant forest. The Lincoln Park Conservatory in Chicago is free, and parking is free, so there are really no excuses.

Start a day off with some arugula, sunflower seeds, an apple, some olive oil. Visit a conservatory. Take some photos with your phone of a weird plant or a cool turtle.

“Clear your headspace by flooding it with positivity and displacing anything that’s been holding you back.”

Once you’re in that state of bliss, go through the questions again. It’s uncanny what a new mindset can shed light on.

It will have a domino effect

Surrounding yourself with positive influences and people who celebrate you cascades into every facet of your life. People who you care about, and who care about you give life a new meaning. It gets easier to wake up in the morning. You fall asleep quicker at night. Stress dissipates and so does the blood pressure.

I want everyone to feel significant. If you take the time to filter your life for the things that lift you up, you too will want to give back as much as possible.

Thank you

To the people who help me climb to new heights, you know who you are.

Thank you.

Andrey Starostin

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

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When to Promote Yourself to Manager

Total Read Time: 3 Minutes

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

Leadership starts every day when the alarm goes off.

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

DO NOT SEEK OUT PEOPLE TO LEAD

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

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

Why it Takes THREE Years

Year ONE:

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

Year TWO:

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

Year THREE:

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

Start today

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

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

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

Thank you,

Andrey Starostin

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

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

Total Read Time: 4 Minutes

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

Tim Ferriss podcast: 404: Steve Jurvetson,

Tradition tells us,

Keep your eyes on the prize

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

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

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

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

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

WHAT IF YOU HAVE NO END GOAL?

Crazy right?

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

Enough about me, how about you?

It’s okay to NOT know what you want.

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

You can be a lot more productive with that time.

FOCUS ON THE PROCESS, NOT THE OUTCOME

Love the Hunt, not the kill.

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

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

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

Stop imagining the future. Start living right now.

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

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

THE PROCESS

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

First of all, thank you 🙂

Secondly, let’s set some assumptions:

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

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

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

What’s left?

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

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

Thank you

For your endless love and support.

Andrey Starostin

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

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Bibliography

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

Inspired by Tim Ferriss podcast: 404: Steve Jurvetson

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

Suggested reading:

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

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

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

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

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