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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

Take a Positive Step Today.

Posted by Zak Reid

There are many ways you can try to describe this life we have, this journey we all share… life is a long road, a marathon, or life is like climbing a mountain. Each of these metaphors paints a picture of a long, difficult, yet rewarding adventure comprised of many, many steps.

While each step is small, maybe a meter, each one is vitally important to the journey. Today I may not make a life-changing breakthrough, but what I can do is take a couple good steps closer to that goal.

Instead of taking a poor step, or no step at all, let’s make the decision to…

Take a Positive Step Today.

Cordillera Huayhuash Alpine Circuit, Peru, Quick Me Ups Take a Positive Step

Mountains are climbed on step at a time. Photo: Jeremyfrimer

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” – Lao Tzu

I personally enjoy thinking about life as climbing a mountain. There are steep ascents, difficult valleys, unexpected storms, plateaus, and there are breathtaking peaks. The moment of arriving at the top of the peak always seems to overshadow the pain it took to get there.

Standing on the peak you don’t think a whole lot about your 4,732nd step as you were climbing up, but it was just as important as the one before, and the one after it.

All it takes is one bad step to twist an ankle or slip and fall. One bad step can set us back quite a bit, that’s why each one is so important.

It can be easy to get caught in a routine, a rhythm, and start to take more mindless steps. Just going through the motions. Those are dangerous times and when it’s easy to slip and fall.

We’re at our best when we’re present with each step – when we’re conscious of where we’re stepping.

“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.” – Robert Collier

So what can you do today to further you on your path? If you’re working on a project, what can you get it finished this week? Exercise – make yourself show up at the gym this week. Art –  write, draw or build something today. Health – make good food decisions throughout the day and night.

These things don’t have to be big, just showing up and putting in the effort is a game changer. Work on one idea. Make a plan. Take a step.

“Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together.” – Vincent Van Gogh

So let’s take a good step today. Let’s think about our day and the week, what we want to do, and how we can help today. Let’s be conscious today and do something to help ourselves. It doesn’t need to be a gigantic leap, just take a breath, lean forward and…

Take a Positive Step.

If you enjoyed today’s Quick Me Up, try…
Which one is the Most Important Step?
How each one adds up: Small Steps Make Big Leaps

Do What Makes You Happy.

Posted by Zak Reid

Hey you: what makes you happy?

Think back to some of your fondest memories, what’s special about those moments? Why do you remember them, why were you happy then?

Each of us could list a million reasons as to why we don’t dedicate enough time to the situations and activities that make us truly content, but let’s focus on the reasons that we should make time for what makes us happy.

Let’s do that – make time, and then do it.

Do What Makes You Happy.

Phil Kessel from the Toronto Maple Leafs smiles for the camera.

If Hockey makes you happy, do that! Here Phil Kessel smiles for the camera. Photo: Tim Alamenciak

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” – Confucius

I think we do a great job at making things more complicated than they should be. We worry, over-think, and sometimes veer off of the path. Myself included. But I think one important thing to remember is to make time for those activities that bring us joy.

What brings you joy?

I’ve been inspired recently as my girlfriend has been pursuing her passion for cooking. It’s been amazing to watch… and taste! haha I can’t lie about the benefit my taste buds have received…

She has a great sense of flavors and ingredients and has grown her ability to experiment and invent new dishes. It’s contagious to watch someone who’s motivated, smiling and inspired.

photo 2

She quickly whipped up this Apple Merengue Pie with homemade crust. Tastes as good as it looks!

At the end of 2014 I sprained my knee and recently within the last few weeks have been able to exercise fully. I’ve been back on my skateboard and just the sensation of rolling around brings me happiness. It has brought me joy since I first started, and it continues to do so.

I was watching an awesome, brief, biographical video about the start of one of the best professional skateboarder’s on Earth – Ishod Wair. It tells the story of how Ishod started skating and how he got to where his is now: A mix of natural ability and a supportive mother who allowed him to pursue what made him content.

At one point during the video, Ishod’s mom says:

“I believe it’s my duty as a parent to find their gifts and cultivate that. I think you should let your kids tell you what they want to do. I asked him, ‘do you want to play basketball in highschool?’ ‘No, I wanna skate!’ “

And that’s exactly what happened. She supported her son’s hobby and let him pursue his happiness. She eventually travelled with him to a national contest, where he placed well, met some companies, and was eventually sponsored by Nike. Since then he has rocketed to the top of the skate world, and was 2013’s “Skater of the Year”.

He pursued what made him happy, his mother fully supported him, and the became extremely successful. While we may not all become #1 in our chosen field, we can all be happy.

Sometimes I forget… I forget to make an effort to exercise / write / write music. When I get away from these things, my happiness can decrease. It’s important that I remember to do what makes me happy.

It’s important for all of us.
So… what makes you happy? Have you done that recently?

Let’s try to remember that. Let’s not get lost in routine, errands, and work. Let’s make sure we take time out to do what brings us joy.

“You’re here to live, you’re not here to sit on the couch and be worried about stuff. GO DO IT!” – Jason Homoki, father of successful, professional skateboarder Aaron “Jaws” Homoki

Do What Makes You Happy.

Quick Me Ups Turns One!

Posted by Zak Reid

Happy Birthday Quick Me Ups!!

It’s been a year full of learning, writing, thinking, growing, dreaming and saying thanks. Thank you to the reader for following along and keeping me going; thank you to every person, animal, and element of nature that inspires me; I say thanks because I was born where I was born, when I was born, and the beautiful family that I inherited upon my birth.

I simply say: Thank You.

Quick Me Ups is One Year Old!


A beautiful Arizonan sunset. Photo: Zachary Reid, 2014.

The idea for Quick Me Ups came to me at the beach. The year 2014 was just beginning and there was something slowly brewing in me. As I relaxed next to the Pacific Ocean here in Chile, I decided to swim out to sea a few hundred feet… past the breaking waves, where it became just me, waves, ocean, and horizon, and the idea began to crystallize.

I wanted to share positivity: a website could help me share it with more people. The idea began to take form – how the site could look, what it could be, where it could go. The snowball grew and grew, and Quick Me Ups was born.

Read the first entry, one year ago, here: Turning 30.

Over the past year I’ve dedicated time every week to write 2 or 3 entries, to share them with you in order to build a base. But, with a full time job, and the time needed to write multiple posts weekly, I haven’t been as effective evolving Quick Me Ups as I would like to be.

Now, we’re headed into the 2nd year, and it’s time to evolve + grow. I have ideas that I will be testing / trying / implementing over the next few months, some may work, others not as well, but it’s time to try new things.

Here are some ideas I have for QMU year 2:
– Open a Spanish side of the site.
– Mix in occasional shorter posts to keep up the frequency.
– Incorporate other authors; become a contributing, lead editor.
– Promote the site more actively; consider bringing in a marketer.
– I would like to support more volunteer projects, possibly culminating in a fund raiser / charity project in 2015.

There are many directions this site can take, but for it to stay alive another year, I need to make changes, and I hope you can help share the site with your friends, so we can grow together.

Thank you for reading, supporting, and motivating me to keep going. There are a few people I would like to take a moment to recognize for all of their support / comments / views / shares in 2014.

A special thanks to: All of the family + friends that have supported me,  my wonderful girlfriend who supports me and my crazy ideas, and the other writers and readers who have made a point to comment here, or tell me in person that they appreciate QMU.

The 2014 Quick Me Ups Top Commenter was Katelon Jeffereys (from EmpowerAndBalance) – Thanks Katelon! Also thank you very much to – DeJav Speller, Liz Isaacs, Elizabeth (Cardamone5), Yvette (Y.Prior), Marie Abanga, Andrew Cook, Skip Prichard, Lelia Antillia-Mu, Joey Schrichte and Greg Skrivanek. There are many more of you reading and commenting, and I appreciate each of you, so keep up the great work and maybe you’ll become the 2015 QMU Top Commenter.

Happy Birthday Quick Me Ups, I hope this is just the beginning for all of us! Thanks to all of you for sharing this adventure with me, let’s make it an amazing 2015!!

Zachary Reid

Adjust Your Expectations.

Posted by QuickMeUps

We’re taught to try our hardest to expect the best. Give it your all and great things will come your way. We love stories of triumph and succeeding against the odds. We love the stories of sports star that came from nothing, and young singers with no formal teaching who becomes famous in front of our eyes.

We see it so often that it becomes normal. If they can do it, we all should, and we expect the same. The problem is, if every time we touch a basketball we expect to make every shot and be the best… we probably won’t be very content after the game.

If every time you pick up a guitar you expect to write a chart-topping hit song, you’ll probably end up disappointed.

While it’s important to dream, to set goals, and to strive to be our best, it’s also important to Adjust Your Expectations.

Inspirational smile from an older woman working in the streets in India.

An older woman in India, smiling as she sells small packets of peanuts. Photo: dilip

I’m not saying accept mediocrity, but let’s align our expectations with a probable outcome. There are studies which show much of our happiness isn’t derived but how much we have or what we’ve done, but based upon how our reality compares with how we expected it to be.

This makes sense considering you can find poor families in a 3rd world country that live with more happiness than rich families in a 1st world country. If happiness was based solely upon career success or monetary accumulation, this would not be the case.

“It is often said that you will be happier if your expectations are lower,” Dr. Robb Rutledge, the senior research associate at University College London (UCL) who led the study, said in a statement. “We find that there is some truth to this: Lower expectations make it more likely that an outcome will exceed those expectations and have a positive impact on happiness.” – from Today.com

There’s a big difference between expectations of a situation, and dreams / goals. For example: we can dream big, try our hardest and want the best, while simultaneously expecting that everything will turn out OK, but maybe not AMAZING.

I see this all the time at the skate park. We’re all there to have fun. For the majority of us, it’s a hobby and a sport. Nevertheless, I see people frustrated and upset and having a poor time. Admittedly I’ve been there before, but this happens when we set high expectations and reality doesn’t match it: I’m going to land this, do this, and get this… and it doesn’t happen quite like you planned.

Nowadays my expectations at the skate park sound a lot like what you would tell a child: try your hardest and have fun. Just Smile. Don’t get me wrong, it can still be frustrating when you try and try, and fall and fall, and don’t land the trick. But as I’ve gotten older I’ve learned to move on more quickly from these experiences, and enjoy myself.

I commonly leave the park with a big smile on my face, even if I didn’t have the best day. By keeping expectations in check, when I do have an exceptionally good day, and land a lot of tricks, or learn something new, it’s even more exciting. It’s all about perspective.

This is like life. It’s awesome to dream, set goals and go for it, but let’s not forget to live. Let’s enjoy today. Maybe today won’t be some amazing, Hollywood inspired day, but most aren’t… so why do we expect these? Let’s enjoy today for what it is. Let’s enjoy the little things.

Let’s Adjust Our Expectations.

Be Passionate.

Posted by QuickMeUps

pas·sion: noun ˈpa-shən: a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something.

What are you passionate about?
Do you pursue / do you feed / do you follow your passion?

Being passionate allows us to live full of energy, optimism and inspiration. This life is short so make sure you enjoy the ride.

Be Passionate.

Roller Coaster in Luna Park, Australia from Wiki Commons

Enjoy the (roller coaster) ride. Photo: Stevage

Imagine this:
You go to a park for the chance to ride the best, craziest, most unpredictable roller coaster in the entire history of the world. It’s constantly changing, for some people it’s a short 5 second ride, for others it’s longer adventure, but for everybody, the ride is finite. After some time, it’s over.

The great thing is, if you really want to, you can decide how the ride is. It can be full of barrel rolls, exhilarating twists and turns, or it can be a more tranquil ride with beautiful scenery and sounds. It’s up to you, if you want it to be.

This is life.

You can make it full of turns and loops, slow and steady, or, if you don’t proactively choose and instead worry about the ride… it can be a stressful, harrowing experience. It’s unpredictable, you don’t know what to expect. And at the end of the day, you only get to ride once.

So let’s follow our passions, let’s make this ride as full and exciting as it can be. Let’s make it full of curiosity, adventure, suspense, smiles, screams and laughs. Passion is the fire within; passion is what makes the hard work pay off; passion is excitement.

“Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” – Oprah Winfrey

What are you passionate about?
Do you make sure to include it in your life?
Do you cultivate passion… or are you ‘going through the motions’?

“Imagine if you will being on your death bed – And standing around your bed – the ghosts of the ideas, the dreams, the abilities, the talents given to you by life.

And that you for whatever reason, you never acted on those ideas, you never pursued that dream, you never used those talents, we never saw your leadership, you never used your voice, you never wrote that book.

And there they are standing around your bed looking at you with large angry eyes saying we came to you, and only you could have given us life! Now we must die with you forever.

The question is – if you die today what ideas, what dreams, what abilities, what talents, what gifts, would die with you? ” – Les Brown

What a powerful speech. I think it really makes one look inward and reflect. We’re all different, we have different gifts and dreams. Do you pursue yours? Do you give them life?

“There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” – Nelson Mandela

Let’s follow our passions and be passionate about what we do daily. Where does yours come from? What drives you; what inspires you?

“Nothing great in the world has ever been accomplished without passion.” – Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

Be Passionate.

Teams Win Games.

Posted by QuickMeUps

We’re each here to do the best we can. Sometimes it’s easy to feel like it’s Us vs. The World. While it may be the case that we have individual tests to pass, having support as we push forward can really help us succeed. Whether your team is your family, close friends, coworkers, or your partner, a good team helps us find a way to win.

Teams Win Games.

Arizona Cardinals pregame 2013.

A picture of the Arizona Cardinals in 2013. Photo: Jeffrey Beall

“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller

My favorite American Football team is the Arizona Cardinals. Yesterday they had a very close, hard fought battle, and emerged with an important win, bringing their record to 6-1 to start the season. The interesting thing is that this year’s team has suffered many injuries and a lot of adversity, but keeps winning regardless.

There has not been one individual player that you can clearly say has had the best season on the team, no clear MVP. Instead, they call themselves a “Band of Brothers” and fight for each other until the final whistle. It has been inspiring to watch each man sacrifice for his teammates. It has been a reminder.

“Team is what it takes.” – Bruce Arians, Head Coach, Arizona Cardinals.

This can apply to all of our lives.

It applies to the workplace. If co-workers are not worried about personal recognition, and instead choose to sacrifice and push as hard as they can for the good of the team, success is much more likely.

“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” – Henry Ford

It applies to our lives. Even if you have to make important decisions, and are alone in big moments, a team of support that you know will be there for you whether you do well or poorly, helps empower you to do your best. It helps give you purpose and a sense of “this is bigger than I am”.

Sometimes the most important part of the team are those who don’t step on the field. When you have a family that loves and supports you no matter what happens, it gives you the confidence and motivation to push as hard as you can. They may not physically be there in heat of the battle, but they help you prepare for those big moments, and are there when it’s over.

Do you have a team?
Do you have a support network? Do they help you succeed?
Are you there for your friends & family to help them succeed?

If you truly feel like you’re alone and don’t have support, maybe it’s time to look around. Maybe it’s time to form a team. Some people are born into a strong family team, while others join or build their own team. So if you have no team, maybe it’s time to build one.

Teammates support one another, teammates inspire one another, teammates sacrifice for the good of the team.

“I am a member of a team, and I rely on the team, I defer to it and sacrifice for it, because the team, not the individual, is the ultimate champion.” – Mia Hamm

Teams Win Games.

How Are You Doing?

Posted by QuickMeUps

This week I challenged you to have 5 Good Mornings.
How did you do? Were you able to have a good morning each day this week?

It’s fun to make goals, but it’s important to remember to check our progress. It allows us to celebrate victories, make changes when we’re not on track, and to learn from the goals we don’t reach.

“A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at.” – Bruce Lee

How about you?
How Are You Doing?

Torres del Paine National Park, Chile. Beautiful.

Nature is beautiful. Torres del Paine National Park, Chile. Photo: Miguel Vieira

I’m proud to say that I had 5 enjoyable mornings this week. With a good, positive, productive morning, it really does put you on track to have a great day.

What about other goals?
Do you remember to check in with yourself?

An assortment of current goals that I have going:

Don’t get sick in 2014 still going strong. Very conscious effort to not get sick this year, have a few more months, gotta stay focused.

Get in better shape for summer – kind of a nebulous goal. My weight is fine but I want to turn fat into muscle. Would help to have a body fat % reading in order to make a good, concrete goal. Noted…

Move QMU to private hosting – well, I was supposed to do this before October, so I missed there. Still have it on list of things to do and am determined to do it before Quick Me Ups turns 1 year old in January, 2015.

Land new skate tricks – well spring has arrived here in S.America so it’s on to skate season. I have a “trick list” with about 20 or 30 tricks I want to achieve in the pretty-short-term.

Side note: is there a better feeling than making a list and then crossing things off?  Love it.

I also have some work goals, but those are a bit boring for here.

How about you?
How’s progress on any goals that you may have?
Were you able to have 5 good mornings this week?
(If not, there’s always next week 😀 )

“A goal is a dream with a deadline.” – Napoleon Hill

I’ve been a bit slow interacting here and posting new material but I very much appreciate each of you that reads, and absolutely love the comments. So thank you.

Also feel free to share any goals you may have – here, on facebook, with family, with friends, or even just writing it down in a journal. Sometimes just writing a goal out and sharing it with others, is enough to motivate us to double our efforts to achieve it.

Make sure to check in with yourself. Here are 4 steps to reevaluate your path.

People seem to like Good News Fridays so I’ll get another one up soon. New goal!

EDIT: WOW! Didn’t realize, but this is post 100!!  THANK YOU!!! 

Thanks all have an amazing day!

5 Good Mornings.

Posted by QuickMeUps

Hello and good morning.

Smile a bit – let’s make it a great day!

Let’s say good morning and have one… or five.
Let’s have a week full of good mornings…

Let’s have 5 Good Mornings!

Morning Sun Rays by Harald Hoyer via Quick Me Ups

Photo: ‘Morning Sun Rays’ by Harald Hoyer

“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.” – Marcus Aurelius

If we can wake up, get ready, and have a good morning – it can stay with us throughout the day. Sure, some event may happen, knocking us off of our path, but if we already have positive momentum built up, our good morning is more likely to become a good day.

“Be pleasant until ten o’clock in the morning and the rest of the day will take care of itself.” – Elbert Hubbard

An easy way to help us create a good morning is to have a nice morning ritual. If you wake up and you are always late, rushed, and stressed, chances are you won’t have a relaxing, good morning.

Waking up with a little extra time can be all the difference we need to have a more enjoyable morning.

Also, try to find someone that shares the “Hey there, Good Morning!” mentality. Someone you can say hi to and share a smile with. This can be your significant other, a taxi driver, cashier at Starbucks, concierge, or coworker(s). A little smile goes a long ways.

A little positivity goes a long ways to having a great day.

“First thing every morning before you arise say out loud, ‘I believe,’ three times.” – Ovid

I’m a big proponent of focusing on the present, the now, on the today. But this week I wanted to try something different and will be making a conscious effort to have 5 good mornings. Not just a great morning today, but tomorrow, the day after, day after that, and the following day.

I hope you can join me and making it a goal to have five good mornings this week. Best of luck!

Are there any strategies you employ to start your day off right? Anything that you’ve noticed that helps you create a good morning?

Best of luck and have a good morning…

And don’t forget to Just Smile!

You can do it!
Have 5 Good Mornings.

Saddle Up.

Posted by QuickMeUps

It’s the beginning of a new day and a new week. It’s time get ready and take off and accomplish our goals. It’s time to Saddle Up and gallop into the fray. Let’s Go!

Saddle Up.

Saddle Up, Vintage Cowboy Photo Colorized

Ready to go, Cowboy circa 1898-1905 colorized by Detroit Publishing Co.

“Before everything else, getting ready is the secret of success.” – Henry Ford

We’re part of a pretty new age of humanity: after thousands of years of depending on horses for rapid travel, we’ve moved on. We now have planes, trains and automobiles (and funny movies).

So the days of putting a saddle on your horse, and getting ready to for the trip, are over for most of us. While this may be true, we can still learn from the mentality.

Saddle Up is also a phrase that’s used in the military meaning to your pack on and get ready to march. Informally it means to get ready and prepared for your next adventure. Pack up your car, or get your backpack / briefcase ready, and get moving.

“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” – Zig Ziglar

One thing Saddle Up implies is to consciously get ready and get going. This also includes mental aspect of readiness, make sure you’ve crossed off all items on your list and are ready for the trip ahead.

It’s a good mentality to start your day with. Take a quick review of the current situation, make sure you’ve got what you need, and prepare for your journey. Expect some adversity and keep pushing forward even in the face of doubt.

“Courage is being scared to death – and saddling up anyway.” – John Wayne

So let’s Saddle Up today and ride forward into the day’s challenges, whatever they may be. Let’s start the day strong, start the week strong, and keep going.

“If all difficulties were known at the outset of a long journey, most of us would never start out at all.” – Dan Rather

Don’t fixate on the possible difficulties ahead, let’s just get ready and go!

Saddle Up.