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The Time is Now

Posted by Zak Reid

It’s game time.

The perfect time doesn’t exist. It’s not out there waiting for you to find it. There isn’t an alarm that tells you when it’s time to make a change. It’s now.

The Time Is Now.

It’s now before more time passes.

Have you ever had something on your mind for a long time – and you finally do it – and the first thing you think is – man…. why didn’t I do this earlier?

I’ve had that feeling. I dislike that feeling. I don’t want to  live a life where I regret the past. A life where I look back and wish I’d had made a different decision.

I’d rather live a life with failed ventures… ideas tested that didn’t work… I mean I hope some of them work… but still, trying and failing is worlds better than a bunch of “I wish I would’ve tried that” memories and regrets.

If I’m going to make the change that I always wanted to make, when should I do it?

The answer is now.

Any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts. – Arnold Bennett

The Importance of a Fast Start.

Posted by Zak Reid

Every week is a new race and challenge. If we want to advance as much as possible we need to learn how to get off to a fast start. We’re all motivated and function differently, and need distinct methods to get us going, but one thing that helps us all achieve our goals is a starting strong. Reflect and think of what you want to get accomplished this week. Be ambitious. Now consider The Importance of a Fast Start.

How to Start Fast, Positivity, Momentum and Motivation

Photo Credit: Phil McElhinney via Wikimedia Commons

I’m a self-admitted procrastinator. My quote in the 8th grade yearbook was “I’m going to quite procrastinating… starting tomorrow”. It’s a life-long ailment. But as I grow older and take on more ambitious goals, I realize that if I wait until the last moment, I won’t be able to accomplish what I’ve set out for. One thing that’s helped me start strong is by making goals in a weekly format.

When you think about your life goals, it’s easy to feel like you have so much time that you can always just start tomorrow. The problem is that tomorrow becomes next week, month, year. A great way to achieve our long-term goals is to convert them into a number of short-term goals. I personally like to set a weekly goal but as previously mentioned, we’re all different. Maybe it’s better for you to set a monthly bigger goal, or a very small daily goal. Now when you talk about a bunch of small goals, it reminds us that Small Steps Make Big Leaps, but let’s talk about why.

When you make short-term goals, you’re converting a marathon into a number of sprints. This takes away the mentality that you can make up time later if you’re going very slow. This lets us see a finish line, which immediately changes our way of looking at the goal. It’s rare that an athlete can have a terrible start and win a 100 m. dash against good competition. You don’t have to have the best start but you definitely need to have a fast start.

Try it. Make a goal for this week. Immediately you’ll feel a sense of urgency as there is a very limited time frame to work with. This feeling makes us realize that we need to get moving NOW.  This allows us to start our week strong, push ourselves and drive towards our goal. When the track is so short, the start becomes more important. Monday suddenly becomes a key day. Taking this step and accomplishing a goal due to a productive Monday or Tuesday will demonstrate The Importance of a Fast Start.

Remember to Breathe.

Posted by Zak Reid

We’ve been talking  about dreams and goals, and patience and thankfulness. I’m excited about our conversations and think we’ve touched on some great material, but there’s one thing that’s very important, that we haven’t discussed.  We must Remember to Breathe.

Motivatin Daily Inspiration Don't Forget to Breath

Photo Credit: Kiuko via Tumbr.

This journey that we have all embarked upon was marked by our first breath.  We came into this World breathing, and generally don’t stop until we’ve reached the end of the adventure.  But in our day-to-day world, we sometimes forget to breathe.  I’m talking about breathing deeply: to feel the air entering your nose or mouth and traveling down your throat to fill your stomach and lungs.

These deep belly breaths can also bring us back to the present and allow us to refocus.  Deep breathing allows us to slow down when everything is sped up – when you are stressed or need to make a crucial decision, when there has been an accident, when you have messed up or when you are running late – these are ideal times to remember to breathe.  A few full breaths, while you relax and just focus on breathing, will allow you to calm down a bit, and make a cool-headed decision about where to go to next.  Breathing deep can remind us to let go, to Be a Leaf.

Sometimes we won’t even fully breathe during our day.  Between our alarm clock screaming at us, rushing in traffic jams, and incessant emails and calls, it’s easy to get lost in it all.  Unfortunately, when we’re lost in all of this, we forget to breathe.  We breathe shallow, quick breaths, which don’t allow our blood to oxegenate as it should, and can even lead to negative health consequences if uncorrected.  Don’t forget to breathe.

Remember.  Remember to take a moment to breathe deeply, fully, enriching your body and blood with the oxygen it needs.  Remember to breathe because a deep breath can slow you down and allow you to take a centered and grounded position.  Use this as a tool when confronted with stress or with the unexpected.  Or use this as a tool to absorb your happy moments and make a positive memory.  Breathe now and again later.  Don’t forget.  Remember to Breathe.

Lessons from Your Lone Wolf.

Posted by Zak Reid

Humans are communal beings.  Archaeology shows that 12,000 years ago we held mass banquets to be together.  We are, many believe, programmed to live in a community and share.  But with that said, there are many things that the Lone Wolf can teach us about journey, destiny, and adventure.  We spend the majority of our days together, but we must know ourselves apart from this communal perception.  We must look within.  I encourage you to learn a few Lessons from Your Lone Wolf.

Majestic Wandering Wolf Wildlife Montana

Photo Credit: David Mark

Wolves are communal creatures – they find a mate and build a pack.  But for a number of reasons, from their mate passing away to needing genetic variety, a lone wolf sometimes leaves the pack.   This wolf will wander hundreds or thousands of miles, through hostile territory and risking death, to look for new pack.  Many of us spend the majority of our time with other people: friends, coworkers and family.  That’s great.  The problem is – if you’ve always had a crutch by your side, have you ever really learned to walk by yourself?

In 2005 I spent a month backpacking across Europe by myself.  It was amazing.  I was forced to make key decisions, meet people, navigate, and pave my own path.  I will never forget it.  This gave me the strength to later move to Wisconsin and then to Santiago, Chile.  Having the courage to believe in yourself is something that can’t be underestimated.  Even if you’re married I encourage you to listen to the Lone Wolf Within.  Spend a weekend in a town a couple of hours from home if you can.  What will you do when you don’t have someone to talk to?  How about when there’s nobody else to help pick the restaurant for dinner?  Personally, the Lone Wolf Within taught me to:

–  Be strong.
–  Make key decisions.
–  Have faith in myself.
–  Introduce myself to others.
–  Navigate in unfamiliar places.
–  Improvise and go with my gut.

Your Inner Lone Wolf may teach you lessons that are completely different from mine.  That’s the beauty of listenting to yours.  By taking an adventure alone, you are forced to break out of your shell and create your story.  If you can’t take a weekend off, how about an afternoon bicycle ride alone to a local park?  Sit under a tree and read a book or relax in the sun, it’s completely up to You!  I would love to hear what your Inner Lone Wolf has taught you.  Please share below – what have you learned?  What do you want to learn?  What are the Lessons from Your Lone Wolf ?

You Are Different, Embrace It.

Posted by Zak Reid

Accept it.  Be proud of it.  Live it.  You are different from every single person out there.  That’s something to celebrate!  Embrace your uniqueness and be proud.  It takes courage to live your truth but the nice thing is, the more you do it, the easier it gets.  Be proud, hold your head high, and know deep down that You Are Different, Embrace It.

daily inspiration community live life motivation dare to be different

Photo Credit: ‘Tambako the Jaguar’ via Flickr

About twenty years ago the internet began its slow march to enter our homes and change the world forever.  You can now easily access information about Buddhism, African cultures, see photos from France, or talk with a Japanese comic book artist.  It has allowed us to experiment with our interests, investigate, learn and share.  It has allowed us to learn more about what inspires us.

Unfortunately, a less-than-ideal side effect of the connectivity takeover is that we’ve essentially created a ‘broadcast culture’.  We tell everyone what we’re doing while simultaneously wanting to be accepted by all listeners.  We want as many ‘likes’ as possible.

It’s as the famous Mr. Bill Cosby said: “I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everyone”.

The same applies as we decide who we want to be.  If we try to be what everyone is comfortable with, and expects us to be, we will never be the Great person that we were born to be.  If you embrace your unique qualities, and dare to be different, it will inevitably make some people uncomfortable.  That’s fine, let them go.  Don’t spend your life worrying if the new career you want to pursue, the new clothes you want to wear, or the poetry you want to write will be accepted by those around you.  If someone can’t support you for being the best you, that person shouldn’t hold influence over you.  Disclaimer: if someone that genuinely loves and cares about you is concerned, it is best to sit down with them and listen to what they have to say.

You are unique and special; understand that, accept it, and live it.  Next March you will be one year older, you can either be that much closer to who you were born to be, or you be in the same spot you are today.  The decision is entirely up to you.  In my opinion, I vote that you listen to your inner voice and follow that path that makes your heart truly happy.  Be the best YOU possible.  Never take it for granted, it’s something to be proud of: You Are Different, Embrace It.

Cultivate Curiosity.

Posted by Zak Reid

The Earth is full of billions of humans, plants, animals, insects plus almost 200 countries.  You could spend your entire life trying to see as many of thems as possible, and you wouldn’t see but a tiny percentage.  There is so much out there to be discovered, to be seen, heard, smelled, touched and experienced.  The world is full of adventure so let’s take advantage of it.  Cultivate Curiosity.

Photo Credit: Tomi Tapio K

There’s no replacement for childlike wonder and curiosity.  To a child the world is full of new, interesting adventures.  Children always ask why and will suddenly stop to examine something unfamiliar.  As adults we tend to judge and stereotype, preventing curiosity before it enters our mind.  This creates a cold, boring, uninteresting world.  We stop asking why and start making labels, but when we do this, we lose the enchantment that this life contains.  So let’s do the opposite!  Asking questions, being open-minded, and looking for new adventures, is a great way to stay young and vibrant.  Being open to new experiences and full of curiosity allows us to look at the situation with a new perspective.

This can be applied to all facets of our life.  Curiosity about our co-workers or friends, leads to asking questions and listening.  This will improve relationships and your proximity to those around you.  Curiosity about languages, cultures and places, leads to travel and exploring new cities and countries.  Even a night out with some extra curiosity can lead you to try new cuisine, listen to a new band or to meet new people.  Curiosity improves happiness as you look upon the world freshly, full of secrets yet to be discovered.

Let’s cultivate that that inner sense of wonder within.   There are studies which have shown that toddlers with heightened curiosity become children with higher IQs, and that senior citizens who maintain their curiosity, tend to live longer (summaries of both studies seen here).  Allow your inner curiosity to drag you out of your comfort zone.  Be inquisitive.  Ask questions and search for answers.  Never stop asking. Curiosity helps us grow and keeps us alive and well so don’t lose it, instead cultivate it.  Cultivate Curiosity.

Treasure Today.

Posted by Zak Reid

Tonight is going to be great!  I’m so excited for the weekend!  I have vacation in two weeks, I can’t wait!!  Sound familiar?  I’ve heard it many times, and have been guilty of thinking that way myself.  But my question is – whatever happened to today?  What about right now?  So many of us spend our energy planning, thinking about, and dreaming of the weekend, or next week, or the end of the month, that we lose track of now.  We become far sighted and lose track of what’s right in front of us.  Treasure Today.

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Photo Credit: ‘mydaydream’, Myanmar

When we focus on the future, the present sneaks by us.  We’re not even aware it’s happening.  Instead of a new beginning, Monday’s are a post-weekend hangover.   Tuesdays cease to exist.  Wednesdays are but a speed bump.  Thursdays flash past us as we pine for tomorrow.  And Fridays, Fridays are usually days of happiness, not for the day itself, but for the coming night and following day.  Friday nights we live, laugh, relax.  Saturdays are the pinnacle of our days, of our week, we love them more than the other days combined.  Sundays even get a bad reputation because of the impending Monday waiting just over the horizon.  Now repeat.

From Monday back to Monday in a blink.  In this way months, seasons, years and lives can pass by.  Always focused on tomorrow, on next month, on next season, on next year.  If we can learn to enjoy today: this morning, afternoon and evening, our life will grow and be more fulfilling.  Don’t enjoy today because of tonight or tomorrow, enjoy today for now.  Treasure Mondays because they’re a new beginning, a new chance to set the pace and build something.  Enjoy Wednesdays because they give you 24 hours to complete goals and continue growing.  Enjoy a Friday morning.

Treasure now because if you don’t, it will be gone.  We’re only given today once.  Treasure today because if you don’t start now, tomorrow will arrive, become a today, and again, you may miss it.  Treasure today because happiness is always experienced today.  Today will always be full of challenges, obstacles, difficulties, and growing pains.  Learn to treasure it and you will enjoy life.  Treasure Today.

Small Steps Make Big Leaps.

Posted by Zak Reid

It’s much easier to take a small step than a big leap.  It’s also easier to take multiple steps than to jump into the unknown.  Although large leaps of faith are sometimes necessary, they create such change that we normally procrastinate and delay taking them.  But a tiny step is not intimidating, and in fact, is easy.  Then it’s even easier to take another one… until, before you realize it, you’ve covered a great distance.  Small Steps Make Big Leaps.

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Photo Credit: Ryan Johnson

We are creatures of habit.  It’s hard wired into our circuitry.  So when we want to implement large changes into our lives, if we do so suddenly, it is difficult to maintain. To go from never having exercised, to an extreme diet and daily gym visits, we’d be likely to burnout and return to our baseline.  But, if we decide to implement a series of small steps over weeks or months, we have a much higher chance of success.  To commit to 15 minutes of walking on the weekend, is doable.  After that, adding a Wednesday walk, or adding a small nutritious breakfast, isn’t a large step.  Now, if this person continues to implement small gradual changes, and builds a new routine around these changes, (s)he has a good chance of success.

Are there any changes you would like to make?  Try this: don’t focus on the big goal to – lose 50 pounds, be fluent in another language, visit every continent, etc. – focus on one small thing you can do this week to move you one tiny step closer.  It could be to eat 1 piece of fruit tomorrow, visit a free language learning site, research a country you would like to visit, something small.  Just one step.  After that step, take another one.

Today quickmeups.com is 1 month old.  Still a baby, but steadily growing.  What started as an abstract idea became envisioning what this idea would look like, what the name would be, where to host it, then how to grow it.  It’s building momentum one small step at a time.  It’s become a habit, a part of my routine, but if I would’ve just dreamed about the fully developed version, I probably wouldn’t have started.  I decided to start small with one foot in front of the other, every day something new.  It’s not big yet but it will be.  Thank you.  Small Steps Make Big Leaps.

Be Thankful.

Posted by Zak Reid

Another day has begun.  You are alive.  You have access to electricity and internet. You probably slept in a bed last night as well.  You have options.  There are billions of people on this Earth that don’t have much of a choice, they’re stuck.  They would love water, electricity, internet, a job, a bed in a safe place, and good accessible food, but they don’t have those options.  We do.  Be Thankful.

saying grace 1918

Photo Credit: Eric Enstrom taken in 1918, Minnesota, USA

In these days of ultra-connectivity, we use the internet to see what others are doing.  But even as wars rage in foreign countries, and people fight and die for basic rights, it’s all too common that we focus on our own world, and how it’s not as great as we would like it to be.  We don’t have the job that we want.  Our car isn’t as nice as it should be.  We’re unhappily single or unhappy in a relationship, wishing for a change.  Many of us have a habit of focusing on what’s missing, on what could be, rather than what it is, and how amazing we have it.

I had the blessing to be able to spend a weekend in Nature and slow down.  To cut out all of the noise and just be.  Listen to the river.  Feel the sun.  There are many lessons Nature reminded me of, and to Be Thankful was one of them.  Be thankful that you are who you are.  You were blessed with a unique set of traits to help you succeed on this planet.  Be thankful if you recognize your unique traits, and if you haven’t yet found yours, be thankful for what makes you happy and investigate.  I bet the things that make you truly, deeply happy, are related to the unique and special traits you were born with.

Be thankful for those in your life.  Be thankful for the opportunities you’ve had.  Today’s message is a simple one: take a moment to pause, breathe, reflect, and truly say thanks.  You have come a long ways since birth and there is still much more to accomplish, but pausing on the path, and saying thanks for all that has come, all that is, and all that will be, is a great way to renew your sense of purpose. Be Thankful.

Try Something New NOW!

Posted by Zak Reid

I’ll give you 48 hours.  I challenge each and every one of you to try something new within the next 48 hours – GO!!  This may sound difficult but I’m not asking you to run a marathon for the 1st time.  It can be something small – go visit a place you’ve never been, go to your 1st live jazz music event, 1st Ethiopian food restaurant, go to a meetup.com event for people who share a hobby, go hike that hill you’ve always thought about walking up, or head to your 1st community cooking class.  Do something new.  I’ve noticed if we decide to do these things ‘in the future’, i.e. next weekend, or next summer, or after we move…. they never seems to happen.  That’s why I urge you to Try Something New NOW!

My New - Estero Yerba Loca // Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

My New – Estero Yerba Loca // Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The older we get, the easier it becomes to establish a routine.  Even if it’s a ‘good’ routine including healthy eating and exercise, it’s still a routine.  And while a brave few continuously create change, routines normally don’t include many new experiences.  For the majority of us, our lives turn into some sort of variation of – wake up, breakfast, work, lunch, work, after work activity / errands, sleep, repeat.  Not very exciting.  You can grow at work, and I hope you do, but it’s a different type of growth.  It’s an intellectual or career growth.  This is a different than say – going to your first concert, or even a first visit to a new park or town.  I’m talking about that childlike curiosity and fascination.  The unknown.  That’s the kind of change and new activity pursuit I’m encouraging.

For my part, this weekend I’ll be camping at a new place in the Andes Mountains called the Santuario de la Naturaleza – Yerba Loca.  It’s a majestic park located at approx. 1,850 m. or 6,070 ft., has a beautiful river and hiking trails, and will be a new, great experience.  A perfect chance to connect with nature and to hope to see a new plant or animal in its natural habitat.  This week I also decided to make my first Twitter account (@zacharykreid) to grow my network, reach out to new people and learn new things.  New is great. Let’s all find new – Try Something New NOW!