November 21, 2017, Posted by Josh Wight in Life, Simplicity 0 Comments

Read with your eyes closed

I know this sounds a bit like an excuse … and if you’ve been following TSMS for any length of time, you know how I feel about excuses .. but my intent is actually to provide a solution in this case.  I really do struggle to read.

The times I typically sit down to dive into a book – on an airplane, right before bed, right after work – I end up falling asleep a few pages in.

Enter Audiobooks and/or Podcasts.  Not only can I listen to them the normal times I would sit down and try to read, but I find they also help me maximize my potential learning time because I can listen to them when I normally COULDN’T sit down and read: while I’m walking through airports, doing some cardio on the treadmill, or when I’m getting ready in the morning. So give these audiobooks or podcasts a try the next time you sit down to “read” something:

 

Best Long-Form Self-Improvement Podcast

The Tim Ferriss Show

Best Short Form Podcast (quick interviews)

Tribe of Mentors (also by Tim Ferriss)

Best Podcast for Some Comedic Relief (where you might actually learn something too!)

The Joe Rogan Experience

Best Meathead Podcast

Joe DeFranco’s Industrial Strength Show

Best Overall Health and Fitness Podcast

The Model Health Show

Best Mix of Everything (funny, fitness, business, personal growth)

Business & Biceps

Best for Challenging Your Beliefs

Sam Harris: Waking Up

Best Meditative Practice Podcast

Tara Brach

Best Audiobook author (fiction)

Neil Gaiman

Check these out and let me know what you think!  Respond in the comments or via social media.

 

 

May 13, 2017, Posted by Josh Wight in Life, Simplicity 0 Comments

“Normal 10% of the Time” – Part 5 of 5

I’ve mentioned the 90/10 rule in the past, but it’s worth mentioning here again.  All my routines and schedules, diet and training planning, can get a bit neurotic.  For someone with a family, that’s not always fun.  Husbands need to indulge in chocolate and wine taste with their wives.

Dads need to play with their kids, eat ice cream, get popcorn and candy at the movie theater … Be NORMAL! … (at least) 10% of the time. Friday and Saturday nights tend to be the nights that we let our kids break from their weekly routines, so I typically do too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beer drinking happens.

Carb eating happens.

Dessert DEFINITELY happens.

Breakfast happens (sometimes)

Even skipping a workout to play at the park happens.

Work your ass off 90% of the time, but when it comes time to live a little, to let loose, do it.  And because it isn’t something you do all the time, the normal moments will mean even more to you!

Comment with your own strategies for staying normal while you are on the path to achieving your goals.

 

May 10, 2017, Posted by Josh Wight in Health & Fitness, Life, Simplicity 0 Comments

“Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite” – Part 4 of 5

If morning routines are like boot-up sequences, having a solid night time routine must be like avoiding holding down the power button on an old Windows computer.  Remember those days?  If you didn’t shut down the computer by going to the shut-down menu, but just held the power button down?  I’m pretty sure most people believed it might cause a ripple in the space/time continuum and we’d be sucked into an endless loop of repeating history … or you’d just lose all your data.

The latter is more likely what we are protecting by having a solid night routine.

I’ll be honest (I hate that phrase, because shouldn’t we just be honest ALL the time??).  I don’t have a night time routine.  Certainly not one that has intent or purpose.  So here’s what I’m working on making a part of my bedtime behavior:

  1. Limited/no screen time for 15-30 minutes.  Research suggests that limiting screen time not only helps us get to bed faster, but sleep better and deeper once we finally go to sleep.  I’ve recently bought a few paperback books … you know, those things with bindings and page numbers instead of progress percentage bars … and plan to pick away at those in the final minutes before bed.
  2. Daily review: it seems rather frivolous to spend all that time planning in the morning routine and hustling during the day if you aren’t going to look back at the end of the day and do an evaluation of your performance.  I’m confident this will help me stay on track towards my goals and see all of the positive achievements of the day that I might have missed.
  3. Sleep cocktail: I recently re-introduced alcohol to my nightly routine, and while I enjoy having a glass of wine or an Old Fashioned with my wife, I don’t nearly sleep as well as when I have my sleep cocktail.  I got this idea from Tim Ferriss who recommends the cocktail to people with insomnia, and the recipe is simple: Hot water, little bit of honey, and 2 tbsp of Apple Cider vinegar.  It’s warm, it’s soothing (especially for someone who talks for a living), and it makes me sleep like a baby.

Well, that’s it for now.  Off to bed … and that means no more screen time 🙂  Comment or email me with your own nighttime routine suggestions?

 

May 6, 2017, Posted by Josh Wight in Health & Fitness, Life, Simplicity 0 Comments

“Let’s eat” – Part 3 of 5

Let me start by saying this is not a post about how to eat healthy.  It’s not a promotion for a particular diet plan that will work for everyone.  It’s simply documentation of what I’m doing, how it’s working for ME, and where you can learn more about the plan.  Other diets or nutritional strategies will work for you.  I’ve had success with multiple different methods, myself.  Maybe, just maybe, what I’m doing now will give you some ideas or help you break through that plateau of yours!

Over the years, I’ve tried different diet plans, but have always had very similar criteria:

  1. Sustainable: I don’t like flash/fad diets.  Any diet plan I choose needs to be a long-term solution for health.  I don’t just want something to follow for 6 weeks and then have to switch to something else when it’s “done.”
  2. Build Muscle: I love lifting and making Gainz, so I need to be able to build muscle efficiently on the plan.  Eg. Vegetarian and vegan diets are very healthy and sustainable in the long run, but are incredible inefficient when it comes to building muscle and keeping muscle (a problem as we age), due to their lack of complete proteins and protein in general.
  3. Burn fat: Fat loss is one of my primary goals, but this one is a bit simpler.  As long as caloric intake stays beneath energy output, I haven’t found any one diet to be any more effective than another in this area.
  4. Flexible: I need to be able to follow the diet at home, when traveling, when eating out, when vacationing, etc.  Specialty items that require rare foods get nixed immediately for this reason.

So, here’s what fits the above criteria FOR ME: Anabolic Fasting.  The best way to find out more about anabolic fasting is to Cory Gregory’s (the creator) website, but you can get a basic understanding on your own by watching this podcast interview he did with the Barbell Shrugged Podcast team.

Let me lay out the basics for you:

  1. The name comes from a combination of the “Anabolic Diet” and “Intermittent Fasting
  2. In short, the Anabolic Diet was a High Fat, Moderate Protein, Low Carb diet (virtually Ketonic), but with weekend carbohydrate loads (weekends were Low fat, Moderate protein, High Carb) to prepare dieters for their next week of training and rev up their metabolism.
  3. Intermittent Fasting can mean a number of things, but the most common approach to intermittent fasting is a 16/8 schedule, meaning you fast for 16 hours (7-8 of this happens during sleep) and eat in an 8-hour window.
  4. Cory Gregory* combined the 2, with a few twists, and you have Anabolic Fasting
    • 16/8 fasting & eating windows (Burn Fat)
    • High fat, moderate protein, low/no carb during the week, except for veggies (Burn Fat & Build Muscle)
    • Blunted carb spike every night – usually some fruit, with nuts or peanut butter to keep the insulin spike from the fruit low.  Helps tremendously in being energized for training and getting through the fasted portion without hunger the next day. (Sustainable & Build Muscle)
    • Weekend carb spikes/cheats.  The number of these depends on whether you are on the program for fat loss, maintenance, or muscle building (Fat Loss & Muscle Building)
    • No macro tracking! and the 2 meals eaten just need to have HUGE portions of veggies (if you think of portions in terms of a dinner plate, think HALF the plate), a meat source (fatty is ok/preferred), and a fat source like nuts or avocado.  (Sustainable & Flexible)

I can truly eat like this anywhere.  For most people, the 2 meals a day means that they actually only have to worry about having 1 meal away from home.  For me, someone who travels a ton, this just means that I need to find lunch and dinner joints that serve meat and vegetables.  How hard is that?  If they don’t have avocado or some good fatty dressing for a salad, I eat some nuts.  The Simple Man always likes a simple plan!

Check it out for yourself, or respond in the comments with some diet/nutrition tips that have helped you reach your goals.  Doesn’t matter what they are, but it’s quite possible that someone else has the same goal and your comment will be just what they need to achieve!

 

*I don’t intend this to be a marketing piece for his website, but I can say that the $9 a month I pay to be a member is the best $9 I spend on health and fitness every month – diet advice and planning, custom diet changes, training plans, 1on1 coaching, training and motivational videos, etc.

 

 

May 3, 2017, Posted by Josh Wight in Health & Fitness, Life 0 Comments

“Training for Life” Part 2 of 5

I’ve written extensively about my workout routines in the past on the blog, shared many of my PR videos on Facebook and Instagram, but plan to take a slightly different approach with Part 2 of this 5-part series on routines.  Instead of detailing my lifting schedule and telling you about my sets and reps, or how much cardio I do, I’ve broken down what I do each week into a template that, even if you don’t have the same specific training goals as me (hitting certain powerlifting numbers, reducing bodyfat percentage, etc.), you’ll be able to read this post and create a training plan of your own that will help you reach a goal I’d say most/all of us are aiming for: being better at LIFE!  For those of you still interested, here’s my template for “Training for Life.”

  1. Strength – This one might be a stretch for some people, but I believe it’s important enough to make it the #1 part of my Training for Life template.  I couldn’t agree more with Mark Bell’s Instagram post on this topic: “No one ever regretted getting stronger.”  The stronger you are, the less likely you are to get hurt doing something during your day.  Lifting groceries?  Strong people are better at it.  Picking up your kids and carrying them around?  Strong people are better at it.  Moving furniture or doing house projects?  You get the point.  Don’t fool yourself, no matter how many times you can dumbbell press 25lbs, you won’t get better at lifting 50 or 100lbs.  Lifting heavy weight requires training your muscles to better recruit muscle fibers and the only way to do that is by lifting heavy weight.
  • Solution: Follow the 3×3 or 5×5 rule – 3-5 times a week, lift something HEAVY 3-5 times for 3-5 sets.  
  • Side note: Now ladies (and some of you men), this doesn’t mean use the purple Richard Simmons dumbbells instead of the Pink Susanne Summers dumbbells for your jazzercise class!!  I mean F***ing HEAVY!  Like so heavy that once you’ve lifted it the 5th time, you couldn’t lift it again.  Red-in-the-face, breathing hard, straining HEAVY.  

  1. Hypertrophy– I know this is a Bro-Science lifting buzzword, but it’s incredibly important if you are interested in being better at life.  As we age, it becomes harder and harder to maintain muscle mass.  Again, I know many of you (especially women) are thinking to yourselves, “I don’t care about muscle MASS” … but you should!  Check out this study from 2008 showing the relationship between muscle mass and mobility in the elderly population.  The take-away?  More lean muscle mass leads to less mobility issues/severity as we age.
  • Solution: 3-5 times a week lift moderately heavy weights in sets of 8-12.  Again, avoid those colored dumbbells.  You should feel like you can’t lift another rep after 8-12 reps.  This is a proven rep range to increase muscle mass.  I do this right after my strength work.
  • Side note: For you YOUNG people, this range will help you get BIG!  For the rest of us, including you WOMEN who “don’t want to look like a bodybuilder,” don’t worry.  YOU WON’T!!Women produce about 1/10th the amount of testosterone that a normal man produces, so getting BIG would be a bigger chore than you imagine (think training multiple times a day and eating 2-3x the amount of calories you are currently eating).  I rest assured most of you won’t be doing that.  Listen to world famous bodybuilder and trainer Dorian Yates talk about this topic here (fast forward to 1:16:00 – 1:19:00) 

  1. Conditioning– Don’t confuse conditioning with “Toning.”  Toning is BULLSH**! There. Is. No. Such. Thing. See the Dorian Yates link above if you want to argue this point.  You can make muscles stronger by training them to better recruit more muscle fibers (see Strength section) or you can make muscles larger (see hypertrophy section).  There isn’t a third option.  When people say they want to “Tone,” what they are really saying is that they want the layer of fat that covers their muscles to decrease and their muscle to increase so that you can see muscle definition through the skin.  Conditioning, then, serves 2 purposes: lose fat and create good cardiovascular health.
  • Solution: 3 or more times a week, do some cardiovascular (heart) conditioning.  If you are a fan of traditional steady state cardio, by all means, follow your Dr’s advice and trudge away on the treadmill or elliptical for 40 minutes at a pace that elevates your heart rate.  There is nothing wrong with this type of cardio, but loads of science is beginning to suggest that there MIGHT be a more efficient way to get the fat burning and cardiovascular benefits we need for longevity.  It’s called HIIT, or High Intensity Interval Training.  Here’s an article that explains it’s benefits AND gives some sample workouts.

  1. Mobility:  This one is simple, yet it’s the one I’m least fond of practicing.  We can have loads of muscle, limited fat, and be strong, and able to keep our heart rate elevated for extended periods, but if we can’t move (full-range of motion in the basic movement patterns), it’s all for naught.  I’m not a huge fan of mobility-for-mobility’s sake, though.  I prefer to approach mobility by making sure I can achieve appropriate and safe positions for heavy lifting.
  • Solution: Pushing away from your chest, Pushing vertically (above shoulders), Pulling towards your chest, Pulling vertically (from overhead to shoulders), Squatting (ass to grass), and lifting from the floor (deadlift) are the 6 primary movement patterns.  Mobility work should help people perform these movements appropriately and safely.  If you can’t squat ass-to-grass, work on hip and ankle mobility.  If you can’t bend down to pick something up without arching your back, work on your hip mobility and core/back stability.  If you can’t press something and hold it above straight above your head, work on shoulder mobility.  Etc. Etc. Check out Kelly Starrett’s Mobility WOD youtube channelfor some great tips. 

  1. General Movement & RecoveryThis is the first time that I’ve thrown this category into my training template, but I’m beginning to believe that it may be more crucial than any of the aforementioned items.  Without constant movement (walking, playing, standing, etc.) our bodies breakdown, our metabolism slows, and we become less mobile.  Without adequate recovery activities like meditation, walking, and other distressing activities, our bodies respond by stunting growth and releasing hormones that cause us to hold on to fat (survival mechanism), among other things.  In other words, without leisurely movement and recovery activities, all of our attempts to gain muscle and lose fat, get thwarted.
  • Solution: Every day, try to prioritize movement.  Stand more.  Walk more.  Take the stairs.  Your metabolism will respond to increases in non-stressful movement positively (see Dr. Jade Teta’s research on this subject at metaboliceffect.com).  Every day, especially after a stressful training stimulus, perform some form of recovery activity.  I choose meditation in the mornings, but will often sit in the sauna or hot tub after a workout.  My wife loves massages for this.  Whatever your poison, if you work hard, you need to recover hard.  Doing so blunts Cortisol production, telling the body that it’s not in survival mode (hold on to fat), but growth mode!

I know that’s a lot to process, so here it is in Simple Man form:

  1. Lift some HEAVY sh** 3-4 times a week
  2. After lifting heavy, lift moderately heavy weights in higher reps for the remainder of the workout
  3. Do some conditioning like 20-30 minute HIIT or 30-40 mins of cardio a few times a week.
  4. If you struggle to perform any lifts with full-range of motion, work on mobility that will help
  5. Recover as hard or harder than you workout.  Eg. Meditate daily (reduce cortisol) and take a leisurely walk.

Sound like a plan?

#getafterit

 

 

April 29, 2017, Posted by Josh Wight in Life, Simplicity 0 Comments

“Boot Up Sequence” Part 1 of 5

Welcome to part 1 of a 5 part series of blog posts about routines.  Not everyone is a routine junky like me, but I like to think that sharing my morning (part 1), workout (part 2), nutrition (part 3), bedtime (part 4), and weekend (part 5) routines I might be able to assist a reader or three in creating a new habit that inches them closer to their goals.  So, without further ado …

Part 1 ~

In an interview with the Huffington Post, Tim Ferris described morning routines as a “boot-up sequence”, much like computer, a program, or a robot.  Boot-up sequences are in place to ensure things run properly from the moment the device begins operating.  No one would be happy with a computer program or a robot that made mistakes or errors the first few times they were used, only reaching optimal performance and efficiency after 30 minutes to an hour … so why should we settle for that in our daily lives?  Having a solid morning routine sets the day up for success, helps us minimize failures,  and can leave us better prepared for the unexpected.

Here’s my current boot-up sequence:

**5:30am – Alarm goes off (actually, it’s probably been going off for a while, oops!); Get out of bed and start coffee brewing.  If I have access a scale, I will also weigh myself and make notes in my Evernote Food/Fat Loss journal so that I can make any food and/or training adjustments.

5:30-5:45 – Mindful meditation: I typically use either a guided meditation by Tara Brach or a combination of a few different meditation/priming guides I’ve heard over the years.  For a few examples of those, check out Tony Robbins describing “Priming” and Lee Nadler explaining “SHERPA” meditation.

5:45 – 6:30am – Review emails, check social media, and create a plan for the day:  This normally involves setting reminders of things I want to accomplish during and/or after my work day.  I use the iOS Reminders app for this.

6:30 – 7am – Get ready for work.

** There are 2 exceptions to the 5:30am alarm: 1)Early AM training when I am traveling and 2)Blogging require a 5am or sometimes 4:30am alarm.  I typically insert the training or blogging right after the meditation, but all else stays the same.

As you can see, it’s nothing complex, but because it’s the same EVERY DAY, I always (there are frequent exceptions, of course … I am human!) reduce my stress (meditation), enjoy a guilty pleasure (social media), plan my day (reminders), and am better prepared to handle the day’s unexpected stresses (meditation).

What’s your boot-up sequence? and what does it help you achieve?

April 7, 2017, Posted by Josh Wight in Business, Life, Simplicity 0 Comments

Staying on or getting off track

Whelp, we are 1/4 of the way through 2017, but instead of forgetting about the goals we set for ourselves back at the beginning of the year, just like a business would, now is a great time to take a look back and see how well we are progressing (or not) towards our goals.  If you are on track, let’s keep it that way.  However, it’s quite possible some new goals have popped up or you are finding that some of the goals are taking a lower priority.  Either way, it’s time for the Q1 evaluation and I’m going to do mine here at www.thesimplemansays.com so you can see how my year is shaping up!

Back in January, I wrote a blog post (link here) that included the following goals.  I’ve listed the original goals in order and the statements in BOLD are my Q1 evaluation updates and plans (so just skip to those if you are in a rush ;)):

  • Home:
    1. Cook AT LEAST one meal every 2 weeks for my wife –
      • I started out strong with this one, but found rather quickly that it is actually MORE stressful for my wife when I cook while she is home.  Turns out what makes cooking so stressful for her is handling the childrens’ impatience at this time, so I’ve modified this goal a little bit.  New goal: Help Jessica plan meals early in the day and use the time she’s cooking to spend individual fun time with the kids.
    2. AT LEAST one time per month, coordinate a date night where I set up everything (dinner, movie, sitter, etc.)
      • I lean heavily on my wife for our at-home scheduling.  As a result, I’ve planned ZERO date days for us in the first quarter.  The lack of success with this goal doesn’t indicate it’s lack of importance, just a need for a different approach.  I am a voracious planner when I am on the road and my new plan is to spend some time each night on the road planning, coordinating, and scheduling. 
    3. Once a week, play a board game with each child (read a book to Evelyn – 1 yr)
      • Although it hasn’t been board games, I have been spending more quality time with the kids.  I decided to start coaching (assistant) my son’s baseball team, we’ve used good weather opportunities to jump on the trampoline, and even played Barbies with Claire.  SUCCESS!
    4. Once a week, take each child outside and do something of THEIR choosing.
      • Baseball outside, we’ve taken multiple family walks when Jess has been out of town, backyard fun.  SUCCESS!  Can’t wait for summer to do even more outside!
    5. Connect with 1 close friend or family member VIA PHONE or IN PERSON each week.
      • It might not be hhappening weekly any more, however I have found myself making a conscious mindset shift when it comes time to make social decisions.  Instead of opting for time to myself, I am more consistently choosing social interactions, talking on the phone, or connecting via social media.  The latter isn’t as personal as I’d like, but the attitude shift is positive.
  • GYM:
    1. Abs by May 1 – this means my diet needs to be on point 6 days a week (1 cheat day/meal).  Bye, bye bulking season.
      • Zero weight gain since Jan 1 and I am definitely getting leaner, but my diet has struggled with consistency, mainly trying to battle hunger and cravings.  After trying a few different approaches – I don’t like to call them diets because I’m not looking for a short term strategy, but one I can follow for years to come, the one I’ve settled on is Anabolic Fasting from corygfitness.com.  It’s a combination of Intermittent Fasting (which has always worked well for me) and the Anabolic Diet (high fat, moderate protein, low carb).  So far, I feel great, I’m not hungry or irritable, and the foods I get to eat SQUASH any cravings.  Changing date to June 1. 
    2. 2nd half of the year, focus on strength gains – If PRs for bench, deadlift, squat have decreased, shoot for reclaiming current PRs.  If strength stays steady, 500lb deadlift, 405 squat, 315 bench.
      • I haven’t retested PRs yet, but I have been hitting rep PRs in my training EVERY week … Even during my 1st half of the year fat loss phase.  I my be close to hitting all of these goals by the end of Q2 or Q3! 
    3. Lunge & cardio 3x per week.  Lift 3x per week.  Add 4th day of lifting after cut is over.
      • Currently lifting 4 days per week and just restarted lunging this week.  My legs feel like a BEAST!
  •  Work:
    1. Secure a development project.
      • Pitched my very first development project for a COMPLETELY NEW CLASS a few weeks ago!  More to come on this one in the future months.  
    2. Write for TSMS every day (1-2 posts per week)
      • If you are reading this, you know frequency has been at about 1 post a week (15 posts from Q1).  I’m beginning to feel that is enough for the long form content and am switching my focus to more social media (short form) content in the months to come.  
    3. Do projects for 1 new client.
      • Working towards this.  
    4. Look for 1 new business opportunity that brings value to people’s lives.
      • Nothing on my radar yet, but hoping to find it soon after this Q1 refocus!
  • NEW GOALS:
    1. Add dates – creating a sense of urgency with undoubtedly help me reach my goals faster.  I’m in the process of adding dates to all my goals.
    2. Meditation – I meditate frequently on the road, rarely ever at home.  Interestingly enough it should probably be the opposite.  I’m getting up earlier at home to accomplish this.
    3. Wake your a** up! (as @corygfitness would say – Time to start getting up early again.  Time to create enough time to better plan my days and accomplish my goals.  starting with 5am at home and 4:30am on the road.

Well, there you have it.  My goals.  All laid out.  My progress.  My failures.  My changes.

Do this for yourself and #getafterit!

March 10, 2017, Posted by Josh Wight in Health & Fitness, Life, Simplicity 0 Comments

Don’t “go with your gut”, just GO!

I’m sure at some point in all of our lives someone has answered one of our questions (usually relating to whether or not we should take action) with the cliche phrase “Go with your gut.”  Here’s why that’s terrible advice:

  1. Watch the Simon Sinek video about the “Golden Circle” – The part of our brain responsible for “feelings” and the part responsible for processing “rational information” are 2 separate parts.
  2. The mind controls the body – Great minds have said this different ways.  “We become what we think about” ~ Earl Nightingale.  “You have power over your mind, not outside events” ~Marcus Aurelius.  In other words, I can make my body achieve and experience different things based on what I think about.
  3. But the body also controls the mind – Despite the former point, I can also change my thoughts by changing my body.  Try playing happy music and thinking sad thoughts, pay attention to your thoughts when you put on a smile/frown.  In addition, although we can’t completely control what thoughts pop into our heads, we can cue certain thoughts by changing the state of our body or our environment.

Why this is important: 

  1. Sometimes we wake up and don’t feel like sticking to our plan.  Our mind begins to think negatively and our bodies don’t  feel up to the task.  It’s our job to execute the plan anyway!  Change those feelings, start doing, and find out what you are really capable of!
  2. Sometimes our bodies tell us to give up.  By changing our thinking, we can push our bodies to do more that we ever thought capable!

 

**This post was inspired by my Skwaat workout today.  I woke up feeling tired and my body didn’t feel strong (mind/thoughts).  If you had asked me in the morning if it was a PR day, I would have laughed and said no, but I refused to let my mind control my body.   I contemplated skipping the gym altogether.  But, I abide by the rule NEVER SKIP LEG DAY, so I went to the gym anyway (body/action).  I started putting weight on the bar, kept putting weight on the bar (body/action), until I finally hit a REP PR – 280lb for 10 reps!  Body over Mind.

February 28, 2017, Posted by Josh Wight in Life 0 Comments

How to make a grown man cry

I’m prone to anxiety (because I like ORDER and life regularly prefers CHAOS).  I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a grown man who cries.  If you’ve never seen such a sight, here are 2 suggestions that could make any grown man cry:

  1.  By nature, I like things in order.  My email inbox is neatly organized.  Messages are flagged if they require attention.  The “unread” email number is frequently/always low or non existent.  To-do lists (even the long ones) get cleared daily.  Projects are planned in advance and turned in before deadlines.  Travel is always planned a month in advance.  Each day is planned out in order to accomplish work and personal goals.  All you have to do is take one of the above-mentioned away and it’s enough to make me anxious.  Get back from a 2 week work project working until exhaustion from 7am until 8:30pm at night, EVERY night, and ALL of these routines/habits cease to exist.  Intro what feels a bit like a nervous breakdown, washing dishes with a combination of sink water and tears.
  2. Watch Season 1, Episode 16 of “This is US” on NBC.com.

There’s no shame in crying.  It can be cathartic.  It just can’t be a way of feeling sorry for one’s self or stifling action.  It can, and should, prompt us to make changes to fix the tears.  One day later, my inbox is clear, my to-do lists are gone, I’m ahead again, and what felt like an insurmountable task is now in my rearview.  I’m back on track, back on schedule, and I’m making certain to take drives with the windows down and the music up (watch the episode, even if you don’t watch the show)!

Because life is short and tears can remind us to fix things while we still can. #simplemantools #takeitallin

February 19, 2017, Posted by Josh Wight in Business, Life, Simplicity 0 Comments

Interested is Interesting

This idea originally appeared in the blog post Out from under the shell (see below), but the events of the past week reminded me of it’s importance.  The gist of the previous post was that we, humans, whether we realize it or not, whether we do it naturally or not, NEED human connection.  When we connect with other human beings, we influence their lives, but the people we connect with also enrich our own lives.

For the past 2 years, I’ve been writing posts for thesimplemansays.com and readership/social media followers have been slowly increasing: 1 follower here, 1 new reader there.  However, it wasn’t until this week, during the launch of the all new F60 MINI Countryman, that I’ve seen such a dramatic increase in followers and readership.  I’ll admit, it was kind of depressing at first.  My first thought was, “sh**!  People are more interested in posts about cars than they are about TSMS blog posts.”

Then it hit me.  I’ve spent the entire week connecting or reconnecting with like-minded people in the MINI community:  Fans, enthusiast, advisors, employees.  The feedback from participants at the event has been outstanding! They are having an absolute blast at the event, partly because of how great the new car is, but mostly because of their experience connecting with the people running the event.

Connecting with all these people and interacting with them on social media has been a blast for me as well, but more importantly, it’s taught me a lesson about social media marketing and growing your brand:

Success isn’t always about the quality of your content (I like to think TSMS produces some good content), but the quality of your connections.  Find people you are interested in and interact with them.  Find groups and other businesses you are interested in and interact with them.  Not only will you have more fun, but they will reward you by being more interested in YOU.

As Dale Carnegie once said, “To be interesting, be interested.”

 

 

Out from under the shell

 

February 10, 2017, Posted by Josh Wight in Life, Simplicity 0 Comments

Inspiration by Accident

Can you even imagine what if would feel like to have a son and then watch him spend 87 days (and counting) in the hospital after birth?

I know I can’t.  Yet, that’s exactly what a dear friend of mine is going through right this moment.

We chatted for a half hour this morning on the phone (slowly working on my 2017 goal to better connect with people), and near the end of our conversation, TheSimpleManSays came up.  He mentioned it’s positive focus and commented that in the midst of this difficult time in his life, and with so much negativity on social media, just seeing and reading something positive (even if not applicable), helped take his mind off of all the angst and anxiety of his situation.

The point: Sometimes we direct our content towards certain people or groups — I’ve written posts where I imagined my audience were salespeople, pictured them as lifters or health food fanatics, or often as fellow stoics in search of a simpler life.  Yet, we can’t control who or what our actions and words impact.  As a result, we must ACT ACCORDINGLY.  

Be that positive example.

Look for the good in situations.   

Find the best in people.

Show gratitude.

Give freely.

Because you never know who is watching or how you might be able to positively impact their lives, even if by accident.  

February 7, 2017, Posted by Josh Wight in Life, Simplicity 0 Comments

Be Something Other than Boring

I start many of my classes off with an icebreaker for the participants and beyond the “boring stuff” like who you are, where you are from, and how long you’ve held down your job, I like to challenge them with a question:

What is something that makes you unique?

If you could only see their faces when I ask this, you’d think I had just challenged them to prove some impossible Quantum Mechanics theory.

But why?  How can people possibly be so boring that they can’t think of one thing that makes them unique?

People today lack passions or even hobbies.  They wake up just before they have to work, go to work, simply go through the motions at work, come home, and in the limited spare time between dinner and bed they watch Television (not a hobby), or peruse Facebook or some other favorite social media medium (not a hobby).

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Their eulogy will read something like this: “[Insert your name here if I just described you] was a good employee, who loved punching out more than punching in, spent his/her money frugally, and enjoyed sitting alone and interacting with acquaintances from a distance.”

Inspiring, no?

Don’t be that guy.  Don’t be that gal.

Be the grandmother who subscribed to Nintendo Power magazine and was better at Zelda than her grandchildren or who rings cowbells at EVERY baseball game.  Be the aunt who exposes her 4 year old nephew to The Whispers or Jermaine Jackson.  Play 4 square or shoot hoops with your kids.  Dress up with your little sister.  Nerd out over Star Wars and dress your kids up like Storm Troopers to go see the movie.  Wear mullet wigs to parties.  Convince your nephews to root for their father’s rival football team.  Take your sons hunting.  If your kid loves theater, get interested in theater.  Wear wild socks.  Be the “funny uncle” who’s always playing with the kids at family get-togethers.  Be the grandpa who teaches his kids how to shoot or proves that cowboy boots and brown polyester pants never go out of style.  Volunteer for an organization you love.  Be the cousin who’s obsessed with Obstacle Course Races, who lawyers by day and loves nature photography by night, or who works with special needs children.  Obsess over a sports team.  Compete in fishing tournaments. Be the husband who gives more than he asks for.  Be the wife who loves kids books or who loves reminiscing over old photo albums.

Be something (anything!) other than boring.

 

**Special thanks to all the family in my life who are anything but boring.  You know who you are.  I love you all.

February 3, 2017, Posted by Josh Wight in Life, Simplicity 0 Comments

Friends Day

In honor of “Friends Day” yesterday and in direct protest of the completely ridiculous video Facebook is circulating in celebration (click here for mine), I’d like you to challenge you today to think about your closest 5 friends.

You are wondering … Why 5?  What if I have more close friends?

Author, blogger, podcaster, human experimenter, Tim Ferriss has been quoted on multiple occasions saying “You are the average of the five people you most associate with.”

Ok, have you got them in your head now?  The 5 people you hold as your closest pals?

Now ask yourself this: Are these people helping me progress or holding me
back?

Before you get offended, stop reading the blog altogether, and accuse me of telling you to ditch your loser friends, remember the Ferriss quote.  “You are the AVERAGE …”  That means that it’s ok to have a few people in your cadre who aren’t driving you forward.  In fact, it’s important to have a few of those folks, because YOU are the one pushing THEM to be a better version of themselves.

The lesson here isn’t that you should be replacing your friends on a regular basis either.  Just be sure you are constantly trying to surround yourself with people who, as Tony Robbins says, “will force you to push yourself up a level.”

Oh ya, and don’t forget to BE that person who pushes your friends to greater heights as well!

Happy Friends Day!

 

January 30, 2017, Posted by Josh Wight in Life 0 Comments

Anti-Social Media

(Social Media Anonymous Meeting)

Me:  Hi, my name is Josh.

Group: Hiiiiii, Josh.

Me:  I’m addicted to being negative on social media.

Admission of guilt: That used to be me.  If I could find a way to complain, express frustration, argue with someone, find depressing news, or just generally post something negative, I’d do it.  Not by intention, but in effect, I was turning my “social” outlet into an “anti”-social one.  Sure, people responded to the posts.  I got plenty of “Likes” (more likely meant by the user to be sympathy “dislikes”) and had countless conversations (more like bitch-fests) with other uses.  Yet, what I’ll never be able to tell is how many people decided to “hide” me from their feeds, unfriend me altogether, or simply avoid hanging out with me due to all the negativity.

Let’s be real for a second.

Scratch that, let’s be real from NOW ON!

NO ONE WANTS TO HANG OUT AND BE SOCIAL WITH A NEGATIVE PERSON.

Stop turning something social into a tool that gives people an excuse to avoid you!

Spread positivity.

Spread hope.

If you don’t like something in your life or in the world, spread the message of how you are working to change it.

Don’t post your failures.  Post your rise from the failure!

In the end, there will be a winner between the negative voices and the positive ones and the winning voices will gain control.  Negative voices will tear us apart.  Positive ones will bring us together.

WHO DO YOU WANT TO BE LEAD BY?

But more importantly …

WHO DO YOU WANT TO BE?

 

#connectwithsomeone

January 27, 2017, Posted by Josh Wight in Life 0 Comments

Don’t Read the News Today

TheSimpleManSays isn’t the only blog out there looking to try to help you keep things simple.  For another good, short daily read, check out Daily Stoic.  Easiest way to get their content is to follow them on FB or IG, but if you want a little deeper taste of what to expect, here is a snippet from their recent article “5 Stoic Exercises That Will Make You a Better Entrepreneur”:

“Don’t Read The News Today

Today you will be tempted—pressured even—to stay abreast of current events. To watch the news, to read a few articles, to check the stream of real-time events on Twitter. Resist this impulse.

Remember what Thoreau said: “To a philosopher, all news, as it is called, is gossip, and they who edit and read it are old women over tea.” Remember what Epictetus said, “If you wish to improve, be content to appear clueless or stupid in extraneous matters.”

Unless you’re a hedge-fund manager or a journalist, most of the breaking news out there is utterly irrelevant to your life (to say nothing of it being endlessly manipulative, exploitative and often incorrect). And considering all the things you could have been thinking about and doing instead, following it comes at a cost. A cost which is paid by you and your family and the world around you.

Don’t watch the news today. Focus on what’s in front of you. Exist solely in the present moment.”

#simplemantools

#simplemansaysquote

 

January 16, 2017, Posted by Josh Wight in Life 0 Comments

Smell the roses

Life is filled with obstacles.  Things that stop us in our tracks and force us to change.  Sometimes we change direction, while other times we must change our effort or determination.  Obstacles come in all shapes and sizes, but it’s not always the big ones we fret over the most.  Sometimes, a small obstacle (obstacle ‘size’ is relative to the experiencer) causes us to neglect the simple fact that beauty exists even in obstacles.  Maybe it’s more accurate to say that beauty exists especially in obstacles.

Obstacles force us to change our routines, challenge our comfort, and develop our grit.  We forget too quickly that thinking outside the box, challenging ourselves, and exhibiting determination is what enables us to grow as human beings.

The next time you are faced with an obstacle, don’t allow your first reaction to be a complaint.  See it as a challenge, get creative, be determined, and stop to smell the roses.  That’s the smell of growth!

#takeitallin

For a great book on this very topic, check out The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday.

January 13, 2017, Posted by Josh Wight in Business, Health & Fitness, Life, Simplicity 2 Comments

A look ahead

As I mentioned in a previous post, I make New Year’s resolutions of sorts, but they are typically pretty vague, quickly forgotten, and rarely (dare I say NEVER) written down.  I guess that makes them less like resolutions and more like current thoughts.  This year, though, I’m trying something new and since many of you may have likely done something similar to me or started a new resolution and given up already, I challenge you to do this with me!  Instead of just looking forward and thinking about what you want for 2017, let’s make some goals … TOGETHER.  We are going to write them down, look at them every day, change or modify them as needed, and maybe even add to them as the year progresses.  Regardless, we are going to set our sites on something and #getafterit.

Here are some #simplemantools to help you get started if you’ve never done this before (like me!):

  1. Categorize your broader, long-term goals – Because I’ve never written them down, most of the goals I’ve set (if you can call it that) over the years have been pretty narrow.  Whatever I happen to be thinking about in that moment is what becomes a goal.  Some years it’s a business goal, other years it’s more personal, and years like last year it was something as specific as a goal in the gym.  Narrow goals aren’t bad, but our lives as a whole aren’t vary narrow.  It makes more sense, then, to set a variety of goals in different areas.  For an incredible example of this, check out this Business & Biceps podcast with fitness expert Cory Gregory.  Cory keeps things really simple with 3 categories: Home, Gym, Work, so we are going to start there.
  2. Be “broadly specific” – In other words, don’t just say things like “I want to be a better dad” or “do more special things for my wife.”  Here’s how mine break down:
    • Home:
      1. Cook AT LEAST one meal every 2 weeks for my wife.
      2. AT LEAST one time per month, coordinate a date night where I set up everything (dinner, movie, sitter, etc.)
      3. Once a week, play a board game with each child (read a book to Evelyn – 1 yr)
      4. Once a week, take each child outside and do something of THEIR choosing.
      5. Connect with 1 close friend or family member VIA PHONE or IN PERSON each week.
    • GYM:
      1. Abs by May 1 – this means my diet needs to be on point 6 days a week (1 cheat day/meal).  Bye, bye bulking season.
      2. 2nd half of the year, focus on strength gains – If PRs for bench, deadlift, squat have decreased, shoot for reclaiming current PRs.  If strength stays steady, 500lb deadlift, 405 squat, 315 bench.
      3. Lunge & cardio 3x per week.  Lift 3x per week.  Add 4th day of lifting after cut is over.
    • Work:
      1. Secure a development project.
      2. Write for TSMS every day (1-2 posts per week).
      3. Do projects for 1 new client.
      4. Look for 1 new business opportunity that brings value to people’s lives.
  3. Plan and review daily.
    • Looking at them in the morning will provide focus and a litmus test for your decisions throughout the day.  When faced with choices, ask yourself: “Will this decision help or hinder me from reaching one of my goals?”  Then ACT!!
    • By reviewing them at night, you get an opportunity to see whether you stayed on course, or veered.  Don’t get frustrated if you miss something or even forget about it for weeks or months.  Recognize it, re-focus, and get back to work!

Your turn!  Make your own goals with these #simplemantools and #getafterit

January 6, 2017, Posted by Josh Wight in Health & Fitness, Life, Simplicity 0 Comments

Same story, different lesson

 

As many of you know, I’ve developed a passion (some might call it an obsession) over the past few years for working out.  To be more specific, lifting weights.  For the most part, going to the gym isn’t torture for me.  It isn’t a chore.  Call me a glutton for punishment, but I genuinely enjoy the pain.  Well, not so much the pain, but what comes from pain.

But just like every other gym-rat or wannabe gym goer, there are days when I just don’t want to leave the house (hence why I built myself a garage gym – eliminate all possible excuses).  That is, until a new excuse popped up this morning.  It’s colder than a mother f**ker outside!

My garage isn’t insulated, there are no space-heaters in sight, and (I know the picture says 27 degrees, but that was about 3 hours after my workout) when the temp is in the low 20s outside, holding that barbel sends shooting pain through the fingers.  Not fun.  Painful.

Sometimes working out isn’t about how many reps, or sets, or even how much weight you move.  Some days you won’t set PRs.  But if every time you step into the gym or start a new project or try a new activity, and you push through that pain/discomfort/nervousness/anxiety/insecurity, you progress.

Every day, make progress #simplemantools #getafterit

October 26, 2016, Posted by Josh Wight in Business, Life 0 Comments

What are you worth?

a-worthThere will be times in life when someone tries to convince you that you are worth less.  Not worthless, but Worth Less.  It might be because they don’t understand your value, or possibly just because they are looking to try to get more for less.  Either way, know what you are worth.  Believe it.  Fight for it.  Then live up to the hype!

October 1, 2016, Posted by Josh Wight in Business, Life 0 Comments

Career advice: Does WHAT you do or HOW you do it bring happiness?

chicken-or-egg-cropped1-e14083893941561

I was reminded again this week of a phrase that I’ve heard many times throughout my life.  It’s a phrase that is uttered to nearly everyone, especially in the early parts of their career (especially those in careers they aren’t that thrilled about): “It doesn’t matter what you do.  What matters is HOW you do it.”

For years, I heard the advice, but it offered me no consolation.  I toiled away in a career I didn’t love, determined to keep telling myself that if I found something different to do, I’d be able to do my job HOW I was supposed to.   What was this “HOW” anyway?  Was it hard work?  Because I always did that.  Was it long hours?  I did that as well.  Did it mean putting up with frustration and achieving results?  Pretty sure I did plenty of that too.  I had it all wrong, and I didn’t really realize it until I received this email from a participant a few days ago.  *Names and brands have been removed, and I have added the BOLD sections to highlight key phrases.

“Josh,

Thank you for sharing the video, truly appreciate it.  I wanted you to know that the two days spent with you had a significant impact on me. It was not the course material etc. as I am very familiar with the content and techniques. Rather, your level of enthusiasm and passion for what you do had a profound impact on me. Several years back when I was running a large, multipoint … operation, I started consulting on the side because the results combined with the network I had created had opened some doors. I was on my way to doing what I was passionate about which was adding value to others while showing them how to derive greater satisfaction from their chosen profession.  For various reasons I got off track and have not found my way back to that place. You have inspired me to get back to who a really am and to pursue what truly makes me happy. I just wanted to say thank you.”

I thought about those phrases for a moment and realized that I’d been going about my own HOW search the wrong way.  For years, I waited for a job or a position or a career before starting to do things HOW I should have been doing them all along.  Consider this career advice for HOW you should do your job: What “truly makes us happy” as human beings is “adding value to others while showing them how to derive greater satisfaction”  in their own lives.  It doesn’t matter WHAT we do.  Be a janitor.  Dig ditches.  Sell Cars.  Fix things.  Invest money.  But do it with a “level of enthusiasm and passion” that can’t be missed by those around you and you will find fulfillment.   

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