In Pursuit of Awesome

In search of a not-so-normal life.

5 things soccer coaching taught me about life.

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My nine-month journey coaching soccer has been eye opening. Not only has working with children provided me with countless insights in to life, and the world around me. But learning the game, from the other side of the touchline has been very rewarding.

The skills you learn in sports as a child are valuable throughout your life. Whether it be teamwork, sharing with others, how to lose gracefully – and how to win even more gracefully. Being exposed to new situations and experiences, surrounded by different people in an ever-changing environment.

It’s safe to say that as time goes on, and as we stop playing organised sports we lost sight of some of these things. For some of us, they stay on like they are the most natural things in the world. If you’re like me and were blessed with some good coaches who were also role models, some of it will probably stick on with you for the rest of your life.

Being able to coach these things, like my role models did back in my childhood, has been great life experience for me – and something I feel all of us can benefit from.

So, here goes – the top five things I’ve learned from coaching soccer* this year:

#1 – Work as a team

‘Alone we can’t do much, together we can change the world’ – Bill Austin

The player who tries to play alone, the one who tries to take all the shots, make all the tackles, only dribbles and is completely unaware of the fact there are 10 other players on his team – rarely makes it very far.

They might score a few goals now and then, occasionally play the ball through an opponent’s legs and make the odd clearance at the back. But for the most part they end up tired, red faced and frustrated. The team they’re playing on usually loses as well.

The same goes for the real world. Trying to go it alone, doing it all yourself without asking for help or favours is the hardest route to follow. In the words of networking icon Keith Ferrazzi, ‘There is no such thing as a self made man’.

Everybody needs someone else to get to where they want to be. Whether it’s customers buying your products, your colleagues sharing your workload, your friends helping you find another job or getting the answers to some of your questions from that one person who knows.

Asking for help and using the people around you isn’t a sign of weakness; it’s the mark of someone who is good at what they do.

#2 – An assist is just as good as a goal

Goals are what we aim for in soccer; the more of them we have, the more chance we have of winning. That is, providing the other team hasn’t scored any at our end. But, without the build up to a goal, it probably wouldn’t happen.

The possession play, the passes, the short little dribbles, the runs off the ball. All of that builds up to an emphatic finish where the crowd jumps up out of their seats and screams and shouts. Or in my case, the parents mumble and do a little clap.

For the most part, unless it is an outrageous finish, the person who made the pass to set up the goal gets just as much – if not more- credit. Selflessness is something in soccer players that people look for, because as mentioned in #1, a one-man team gets nowhere.

Making ‘the pass’ outside of soccer is essentially, helping people. Taking yourself out of the equation and using the things you know, the connections you have and the tools you’ve acquired for the betterment of someone or something else.

Whatever you give out in to the world, has a way of coming back and finding you; and usually ten fold. It allows you to build lasting relationships and connect with people on a far deeper level than you would just grabbing a coffee and talking superficially. Help someone move house, put them in contact with your friend who is a publisher or just offer to support them in their upcoming cause. You’ll find as soon as you start doing this; the things in #1 come far, far easier.  

The world would be a far batter place if we all put as much emphasis on the assist as the goal.

#3 – Be on your toes

Soccer – and sports in general – aren’t always about what happens, but how you react to it. Do you keep low, keep your eye on the ball, stay goal side are you thinking ahead?

The player who stands on their heels and waits for things to happen, gets beaten nine times out of ten. They’re not the first to the goal, they get beaten to the ball and people turn and look at them as if to say ‘What the hell are you doing?’.

If you stand on your toes and have your feet in the right position, you are ready for anything. The time almost seems to go slower and you’ve got more room to get in to the right position. Whether it’s a ball coming at you from thirty feet in the air, an attacker that’s making an awesome through run or if you can break on to the ball and get ready to score.

If you’re on your toes and prepared for things, life goes a whole lot smoother. If you’re going to a job interview, research the company. If you’re meeting a new client or making a new connection, do a little Google search and see what makes them tick. . Of course, there are always those unexpected things that life throws at you – none of us can predict the future. But if you’re pursuing something, be ready for it to go wrong or for something out of the ordinary to happen – you won’t know what it is – but if you’re aware something could happen, you can get back on track quicker.

#4 – Be Positive

This fall I inherited a girls soccer team for a few weeks whilst their coach was away on business. The league we work with is one hundred percent amateur coaches, so they go walkabout from time to time. Their coach is of a good standard though and has coached to a high amateur level for a long time.

At one point mid-practice I told them to get a water break, and I have never seen a team look so astonished to be allowed water at any time in my life. It was almost as if everyone in Oliver Twists orphanage was allowed to stand up and go and get seconds. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but it was odd to see.

Then, game day came around. We were 1-0 down at half time and the team sat down in a circle in front of me – almost wincing like a dog who had just had it’s nose smacked – waiting to receive a stern talking to about what they were doing wrong. When I asked what they felt they were doing right, and that I was proud of everything that they were doing – they just needed to keep the ball more, they didn’t look quite sure how to react.
It turns out their coach – no matter how technical skilled he was – couldn’t get across to the kids. He’d tell them what they were winning out of luck and not skill, focus solely on what they were doing wrong and tear their game apart piece by piece. They didn’t like playing for him, and they were not motivated to do well – other than by their own desire to win.

Simply by praising them and believing in them, the team went on to play far better – according to them, ‘the best soccer we’ve played all season’. We eventually lost 3-2, but for a team of 9 players, who had never scored more than 1 goal in a game, that’s not too shabby.

The lesson in this is that being a positive person doesn’t just have an effect on you; it affects everyone else around you. People believe in what you’re doing, they want to be around you and you can make almost anybody’s day. You might even make someone believe in themself. Whether it’s giving a compliment, speaking positively about what they’re doing or just being an all round nice guy.

#5 –There are no perfect playing conditions

No matter what, it can never be perfect. It will either be too warm or too cold. Too windy or too dry. The pitch will be too muddy, too dry or too hard. The ball isn’t the ball you use at practice. Your cleats suddenly feel a little bit small or you forgot to have your 9:17am cup of coffee.

I’ve been to fields where I could belly slide in mud and take a shower under the goalposts; and I’ve played on AstroTurf that has melted to bottom of my cleats. There have been hailstorms, heat waves and humidity you could wade through. 

The perfect moment doesn’t exist. You just have to get up, put your kit on, do your thing and play your absolute best. Sometimes you’ll win, sometimes you’ll lose. But there is no perfect time to go on the field and play.

The same goes for you. There is no perfect moment for you to do what you want to do. There will always be something or someone in your way, an obstacle to face or a problem to overcome. You wont have enough money, the right amount of time or enough people behind you.

You just have to suit up, go out and get it done. Make the pitch, start your own business or start writing that novel. Get on stage and sing or start telling jokes.

Whatever it is that’s stopping you, forget about it. Go out and make a start. Even the smallest step can make the biggest difference.

Challenge: Find which one of these points resonates with you, and use it. Not tomorrow, not next week, but today. From the moment you click the ‘X’ in the top corner – that big red button that severs your tie from me – make it happen. Incorporate it, from that moment on.

JJ

*To my English readers, Soccer is football. Please don’t crucify me when I get home. Thanks. Love you.

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You can also follow JJ at @JJPT_59 or on instagram: JJPT_59.

Faceplant, it’s good for your health.

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‘Failure, what a bitch!’Me, at 17, when I didn’t get in to the Air Force the first time round. You can probably add a few more expletives between ‘what a’ and ‘bitch’ when I didn’t get in the second time around.

Failure is one of humanities greatest fears. Personally I think it is trumped only by two other fears. The first being Rejection. The second being the ever so common, ‘Does my bum look big in this?’ question. Scary for women, because, well their bum might look big. Equally as scary for men, because the wrong answer could mean the end of their relationship/marriage/life.

To me, failure is one of life’s many inevitabilities. You will learn to walk, you will breathe in and out, you will have a friend on the same wavelength of a three year old and you will fail at something. (If you don’t know who the friend is, it might be you).

Honestly, I failed at almost all of the things I’ve tried to this date. Joining the Air Force, trying to play American Football for Great Britain, staying in higher education, managing money and having girlfriends. Pretty much all the things it’s possible to make a mess of, I have done.

And you know what? I’m proud of each and every one of these mistakes, these poor choices and these ‘failures’. They’ve made my life what it is today. They brought me here, sat in front of this computer, connecting with each and every one of you readers out there.

I can thank them all for opening doorways in to travel, to new connections, to changes in myself both professionally and personally. They taught me to re-evaluate, to learn what to do when there is a road block in the way and how to cope when everything you ever thought you wanted slips through your hands and stains your favourite shoes.

Anyone who makes a mistake should be proud of them, in the words of Benjamin Franklin, ‘I have never failed, I just found 10,000 ways that didn’t work’. Each one is a lesson, a blessing or an opportunity in disguise.

The fact that you are out there, failing and making mistakes. Scribbling on pieces of paper, drawing terrible art and writing pieces of absolute garbage that belong nowhere else but underneath a tin of soup in the trash can. It shows that you are actually doing something. Going out of your way to make yourself better. Making waves, creating inroads in the direction you wish to travel. After all, ‘The man who makes no mistakes is unlikely to make anything’ (– Paul Arden).

The people who tell you that you’ve failed. The ones who mock. Those who’s judgment of us clouds and suppresses our creativity. Those are the people who are doing nothing. Who have accepted themselves to be ‘failures’, who no longer have any ambition other than to be vampires who drain the life out of those who still dare to dream.

Screw them.

There are no statues erected to vampires. There is no place in history for critics. No hall of fame, no Superbowl rings or Nobel Prizes for the people who said that you couldn’t.

Do not be afraid of failure. All of the greats have done it. Michael Jordan didn’t make his high school basketball team, Bill Gates’ first company failed – so much so that the product he created didn’t even work – and Richard Branson invested in Virgin Cola, which, well, can you remember ever drinking it? I can’t.

So now go, go out and fail. Go and try something new, something different and something you’ve been meaning to do. Try it, make a mess of it and learn from it. You never know, you might not even end up failing after all.

‘Fail, Fail Hard. Fail Better’ – Samuel Beckett

Challenge: You can do either one of two things: Number One – Look back at the things you’ve tried and the things you sucked at the most. Think about what you learned, what you took from it and how it has affected you positively to get to where you are now. Then use it in your current or next venture. Number Two – Go and try something, and completely screw it up, on purpose*. Post your worst piece of art; your blog post you think is terrible or even just bake a cake for your friend. What you learn in failure, is arguably more valuable than that which you learn in success. Even, if it is just how to handle it.

JJ

*Sky-diving, Bungee Jumping, Wrestling Bears and telling your wife that, in fact, her bum does look big, are all things exempt from purposely screwing up on.

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You can also follow JJ at @JJPT_59 or on instagram: JJPT_59.

 

Half empty, or half full?

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How we look at things, is how we live them.

Back when I first started travelling, in the not too distant past, I never really went anywhere for a long period of time. Two weeks here, ten days there as weekend thrown in the midst of a month of heavy work.

My mum always used to say, ‘Two weeks is too long, One week isn’t long enough and seven days is just about right’. Considering she was usually paying for the tickets – back when my only form of travelling was family holidays – I used to adhere to that rule a lot.

So to me, going on a three-week holiday to my Dad’s house in Ireland was being away for a long time. A really long time.

By the time I was finally about to embark on a 9 weeklong trip to Australia – It was like I’d booked to go away for an eternity. I thought for sure I was going to be gone for so long that when I got back we’d have a new government, the currency would have changed and Bieber was finally retired from full time music. One can only hope, right?

When I got there, and for the weeks ensuing, it felt like I had a lifetime on my hands. Even when it got to four weeks left of the trip, I still had forever and a day to do whatever I wanted.

Fast forward 18 months to the present day, where I’m on my final four-week stint in America and it feels like I have absolutely no time left, at all. The grains of sand are passing through, the seconds are sprinting away and I’m on the verge of going home to cold, soaking, dull, boring, grey, England.

After having spent 9 months here, the last month feels like nothing at all. Like it’s just slipping away.

It’s been getting me depressed; ruining my mood and basically making me feel all around like crap. So, I had to do something about it. I had to flip what I was thinking.

Instead of thinking, ‘Crap, I’ve only got 4 weeks left, what a drag’ I had to change it. I needed to refocus. So I started to think, ‘I’ve still got a month left in LA? Amazing. Be right back, just heading out to do something awesome.’

Since then my mood has come back, I’m enjoying my work again and, although I’m still not overly excited to be heading home – I’m making the most of my time I still have here.

The lesson in this though is simple, like I stated at the top. ‘How we look at things, is how we live them’.

Our individual worlds are made up of the perceptions that we have. Whether it be the can’s and can’t of what we can do, the certain types of people who can do certain things and the rules we choose to live by.

Lets say for example that you have always been an IT Technician. You’ve spent the last 10 years of your life working in a small air-conditioned office, telling people to turn their computers on and off again. You know the coding for all of your companies systems and you can fix just about any problem. But, it’s boring. You hate it. You want out.

The first thing people are inclined to say is, ‘I want to go somewhere else, but I need to do a job in IT Still, it’s all I’ve ever done.’ You refer back to your perception that because it is all that you did do, it’s all that you can do.

You still have a capacity to learn, you could still retrain to a different profession. Your brain hasn’t only become a source of IT Knowledge for your peers. You could finally fulfil your dream of becoming a full time gardener. Or lawyer or go-go dancer or whatever it is. But because it’s ‘all you’ve ever done’, you’d rather go back and do the thing you hate than change your career path totally.

Another, more sombre approach comes from racism. The belief that ‘all’ of a certain race or religion act a certain way. That people are thieves, that they have 18 wives or that they’re ‘coming over here and taking all of our jobs’. These perceptions are wrong, but day-in day-out they affect how people approach life.

Changing the way you look at things, flipping it around and looking at the positives can make a whole new difference in your life. You have certain beliefs, limiting beliefs, which hold you back – that prevent you from being happy and in the moment.

Challenge: Find one perception or belief that is holding you back, and look at it in a new light. Instead of a countdown to a holiday, why not a list of things you can do with your time before? Don’t think you can draw? Get a piece of paper and start doodling. Then work on the bigger stuff, like career changes and stuff you ‘can’t afford’.

JJ

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The City.

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I actually took this photo, I’m Impressed.

Out in the distance it looked so small. The city that had been my life for the past 9 months. The vast, all encompassing entity that had housed me, fed me and given me countless insights in to life and myself felt incredibly distant. The skyline, no more than the size of my little finger anymore.

I couldn’t help but stare at it though, rom the top floor of the airport. There was no longer any way of me moving towards, no way to go outside and take one last breath of the crisp, foreign air.  The only direction I could move now, was away.

All I could do was look, longingly, through the window. Past the ghostly looking, distorted, hollow reflection of myself.

Hollow.

That’s probably the best way to describe how I felt.

Not because of what I had done, not because I had been there. But because it was over. I was leaving what, were at the time, the happiest days of my life behind.

The city – that to this day I still hold dear to my heart – wouldn’t ever know I was gone. I was just one less footprint on the pavement. Soon to be replaced with another arriving by bus or airplane. No matter how much I wanted it to, this city would never miss me like I would miss it. The high rises and skyscrapers were not looking back at me, feeling the same way.

In the moment though, most of the world was tuned out. I had my headphones on, listening to the music that would forever remind me of the trip. Songs that made me feel the sand between my toes, the satchel on my back and the sun beating down on my skin. The only contact to anyone on the outside was the occasional flicker of a silhouette passing by in the windows reflection.

From the outside in, I must have looked like I was staring. Just a guy looking out of the window, devoid of all conscious thought. But on the inside, there was a highlight reel playing. The things I’d done, places I’d been.

The crystal clear waters, long breath-taking leaps off rocks and the mountainous valleys I’d surveyed from afar.  They all came flooding back to me, in what I can only imagine as the barrage you get before you die. The moment when your life flashes before your eyes.

There were no memories or pain, rejection or unhappiness. Just ones that will serve me well for the rest of my life, which nobody can ever take. That keep me warm on cold days, happy on sad ones and focused for the days yet to come.

The music on my iPod suddenly came to a stop. I’d been looking, lost, for what seemed only a few seconds but had actually been a whole albums worth. I was drawn, suddenly back to reality. Back to where my feet were, suddenly all too present.

I wiped a tear from my eye and accepted that the moment was over, that it was now time to press on with my journey home. I took two steps towards the window, kissed my hand and blew it out to the city.  I knew full well that I wasn’t going to be making any stops in Perth any time soon, so for me my final moment had to count. Goodbyes have always been one of the things I’ve struggled with most my whole entire life – I’ve always felt a send off should be fitting and emotional. Not concrete and shallow like most usually are.

Turning around to face the entrance to the terminal is when I knew. When it finally hit me. Although one chapter was closing, another, more exciting one was about to open. A fire in my belly had been ignited, and – for the foreseeable future at least – I was about to surrender myself to a life of traveling.

A life not dictated by ‘If’s’ and ‘Buts’, and not filled with ‘What if’s?’. But one full of ‘When?’ and ‘Where?’ and ‘Oh wells’.

Question: When did you discover your passion? When did what you’d like to do, become what you wanted to do? When did your dream become tangible?

If however, it’s not – don’t fret. In the words of Baz Luhrmann ‘The most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives, some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don’t.’

JJ

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5 ways to improve the world, right now.

We can all make the world a better place. We all have the power to do it and it can be done in the most simple of ways. Here are 5 things you can do right this second to make the world just that little bit more manageable for everyone:

#1 – Smile

Smiling just makes the world seem better, even if you’re convinced it’s not. It cures bad moods, it’s changes your perspective on things and it’s highly infectious to other people. Turn that frown upside down and smile.

#2 – Compliment Someone

Just downright go and make someones day. Tell them that their hair looks good, that their eyes twinkle in the moonlight or that their new workout regiment makes their booty look fabulous.

No-one has ever come home from a day at the office and complained that they’ve been complimented too much, ever, in the history of the world. Go ahead and do it, it could be the one thing that person wants to hear.

#3 – Help a stranger

This probably takes the most guts of all, but it outright the most rewarding for all parties involved.

Hold open a door, lift the heavy box, Pull over and help that old lady change her tyre, go out of your way to drop someone at home to save them the 45 minute walk, pay for someone’s bus fare because they’re stuck in the wrong city or if you want to go all the way you could even pay someones parking fine.

If Karma is real, you’re shooing to get some good feedback from the world in the future.

#4 – Surprise Someone

Surprises are a brilliant way of reminding someone you do think about them, and the look on their face is worth every single ounce of effort it takes.

Pick up some flowers for your partner on the way home from work, buy a box of chocolate, get the kids a new toy, decide against painting the garage this weekend and go and do something fun. Heck, even get the dog a new bag of treats and watch his tail wag furiously. You could turn someone’s day right around.

#5 – Be Yourself

Put the proverbial mask down. Step back from behind the cardboard cut out of the person you pretend to be and just be yourself. Be genuine act how you want to act, do what you want to do and feel how you want to feel. You may not be totally confident in being the real you, but the world would be a lot better place if we all managed to be completely genuine with one another.

Have a good weekend,

JJ

Acting Up.

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Downtown San Diego. Gas Lamp District. Sunday. 3:40pm. About 4 beers in.

The city is bustling with people: NFL fans falling out of bars, roller skaters whizzing by and the oh so familiar sound of Japanese Tourists snapping their cameras.  Sun is shining and the sea breeze makes everything almost perfect.

I’m down here visiting for my cousins wedding; it’s the day after the big day and we’ve just left my extended family in Joltin’ Joes bar watching the second round of the Football games. Myself and two other cousins also visiting from England decide to take a stroll and find our way down to the promenade to look at the bay.

There’s one problem with our idea though; there are about four of the cities more prestigious hotels standing between us, and the prom. Now, we’re English and we’ve had a few beers, so walking around them is definitely not an option. So, we do the next best thing. We decide to pick a hotel and sneak through it on to the other side.

This isn’t Vegas. The hotels aren’t a mile wide and designed for you to get lost in for up to a week. This is San Diego, unless you’re a guest or renting a function room – they don’t want you there. Never mind walking through the hotel lobby, cutting through tables in two of their restaurants, waltzing through their members lounge, past their private pool – and out of the other side of the hotel, on to the promenade.

And, well, that’s what we did.

Okay, so we didn’t exactly pull of a bank heist. There will be no Ocean’s films based on what we did, and my long-standing dream of being played by Matt Damon in a motion picture is most likely not going to be fulfilled. But still, we shouldn’t have been there, we shouldn’t have done it, and we did it anyway.

The lesson in this tale though is not just in the fact we skirted through a hotel undetected, but it’s in what my cousin told me 2 minutes prior to us going in.

‘When you’re somewhere you feel you shouldn’t be, just act like you own the place.’

Or, to put it like the ‘Unofficial Goldman Sachs Guide to being a Man’ puts it;

Act like you’ve been there before.  It doesn’t matter if it’s in the end zone at the Super Bowl or on a private plane.’

The fact that we acted like we were supposed to be there, like we belonged, nobody asked us any questions or gave us a second glance. We were part of what was going on, and our presence was just a matter of course.

The same can be applied to a lot of situations we find ourselves in. Job interviews we feel completely under qualified for. On dates where you feel completely inferior to the gleaming beauty sat across from the table and when you’re writing a blog post you’re not sure that’ll be received just that well.

Act like you’ve done it all before. Like this is your day to day, your bread and butter. Even if it’s not.

The more comfortable you look and the more relaxed you feel, the smoother everything goes. The beauty is that the other person will ever be any the wiser.

Practice: Go and find something you feel completely out of place doing. Playing a new sport, pitching and idea to someone above your level at work or getting the phone number of the hottest person in the club. Go and do it, and act like you’ve done it a million times. You’ll be very surprised at the results you’ll get.

Or, if you’re feeling really ambitious you could take a leaf out of Karl Power’s book and walk in to the team photo of one of the worlds largest Soccer (football) teams; in a semi-final of one of the worlds biggest tournaments, on the field, right before kick off. As you do.

Movin’ on up.

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So this week has been a big move in my life – I finally shut down my Personal Training business. I hung up my boots, put my chalk away, chained up my Kettle Bells and sent out my last ever round of training programs.

This was a big decision for me. Over the past 2 to 3 years, all my dreams and aspirations centered on working with athletes. Becoming one of the worlds best personal trainers. Running my own gym by the time I was 30. 

I devoted a lot of time to becoming a good, solid personal trainer. I helped a lot of people – and it turn, without realizing it, those people helped me too – and I made an incredible group of friends whilst doing it.

There is a big chunk of me that is going to miss the crash of Olympic bars dropping. The smell of chalk as it floats off in to the air. And the oh-so delightful sound of women shouting ‘bastaaaaaaaaard’ to a gym full of people during a Deadlift session. But I’ve reached a point in my life where it was time to let go of it.

Why?

Because it wasn’t taking me towards where I wanted to be any longer.

The realm of Personal Training was becoming a step in the wrong direction. It wasn’t taking me towards my goals of being a writer or of being a traveller. It was taking time I could have spent writing and the energy I could have used seeing the world. No longer did it mark the road to success, but was leading me on a path to failure.

I held on to it for so long because it was safe. It was a fall back. It’s something I knew I could do, and could do well. I had clients who were set in stone and people who would train with me in a heartbeat.

But safe isn’t always better. Safe can make you stale, stagnant and boring.

Jumping off rocks in to the water isn’t safe. It’s basically throwing yourself off a cliff in to something you’re not sure of. How shallow is it? Are there any sharks or jellyfish? How do I get out? Why am I such a big baby and can’t bring myself to jump? But when you do it, it’s one of the most liberating feelings ever. And 99% of the time you come out on top.

That’s how it feels to let go of the past, to come out of the safe zone. Liberating.

It’s safe to say since I dropped my business I feel better. I have more energy, less worry and my creativity has gone through the roof. There are definitely things I need to think about, but I know that just like buses, another opportunity is just around the corner.

Challenge: Find Something you’re hanging on to, that you really feel you need to let go of and just do it. Let go of it. See how you feel. Worst comes to the worst, you just pick it back up again.

JJ

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Right here, right now.

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Pretend for a second that there is no endgame. No afterlife; no heaven, no hell. There is nothing after this. All we have is what is right here, right now. The only thing standing between us and the end is time.

how would you live your life?

Would you be more aggressive in the pursuit of things that you want? Would you make more time for those you love? Do you take more risks?

This is not a stand against people who believe in something bigger. Not at all. As long as what you believe in doesn’t impede on other people, feel think and believe whatever fits your life.

All I’m asking is you imagine that there isn’t something else. Once you’re gone, you’re gone. What changes?

For me, I started to realise that time is our most valuable asset. Everything we long to do involves time. We need it for the smallest of jobs and the most gruelling of tasks.

Making the most of my present, with a close eye on the future and very little focus on the past.

Are you using your time wisely? Is every step you take towards the fulfilment of yourself- Personally, socially or professionally?

Do you find yourself wasting time on things that don’t need your time? Like being angry at people, getting wound up, gossiping or tweeting about your friends exploding cat?

The one unified thing that we all share is time. And the downside is it’s the only currency you can’t bank, you can’t save it up.

Each and every day, the grains of sand are passing through the hour glass and we can’t flip it over and get them back.

Now, I’m aware this post has quite a sombre feel about it. Being reminded that there is an end isn’t something anybody quite enjoys. But that is not my focus; my focus is that the only time you are guaranteed is the time you have now. Right this second.

Make the most of it.

JJ

Be Scared.

 

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Be Scared.

Be scared to do what it is you want to do. Be scared to get in to a relationship. Be scared to go to a job interview. Be scared about writing that blog post. Be scared about sharing your feelings with someone, anyone. Be scared to travel. Be scared to make the first move. Be scared to dream. Be scared to take the first step.

Then, go ahead and do it anyway. Go to the job interview. Get in to that relationship. Share your feelings, have big dreams and take that first step.

You know why?

Because nothing you ever did that was ultimately worthwhile, ever felt safe before you did it.

Interviews, exams, traveling, talking to that incredibly attractive person at the gas station and asking for help. All of these things, and much, much more – they’re all scary as hell before you do them. But afterwards, they always work out in our favor.

We’re scared because we doubt ourselves. We don’t believe that what we want to do is possible. That we might get rejected, people might not like it/you/us/me – or that somebody else can, and probably is, doing it better.

Do you know what the difference between everyone else out there and you? You. You’re the difference. Nobody else has your thoughts, your mind, your vision, your dreams, your back story or your drive to succeed. No one else can see the world like you, through your eyes. 

Your comfort zone– the place where you do all the things that come naturally, that don’t take any thinking or involve any risks – is the place where all good souls are lost.  This is where your life at the moment is. If you want change, this is the place you’ll have to leave.

If I could have one call to arms it would be this; be scared, not afraid.

Being afraid means you’ve let the fear take hold, that you don’t want to push past it, that the first step is too much. Being scared is an instinct, it’s a tool of self protection – but it also gives you the power to do great things, more than you even realize.

Be Scared.

JJ

Sticker Stories.

My laptop is quite possibly the most well travelled piece of equipment I own. Everywhere I’ve been, it’s been. Across oceans, seas, countries and states – all the way to different hotel rooms, coffee shops, hostel dining rooms and family housings.

It’s hard drive is filled mostly with photos of the places I’ve seen, the songs I’ve listened to on the way, the books I’ve read and the words I’ve written. There are even a few old personal training programs and MSN Messengers conversation screen shots for a little bit of nostalgia. Because you know, the best thing to do after school was sit on your laptop and talk to the people you’d spoken to literally 10 minutes ago – but this time finish every sentence with ‘lol’.

One of the most interesting features of my laptop though is not the software or the word documents. It’s what is on the casing that gets the most questions.  People in coffee shops constantly come up to me and ask me to explain what’s on the outside, and why in gods name a 6’5 21 year old has a picture of Pikachu emblazoned on it.

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At first glance it might not look like much, just a little sporadic decoration. But the stickers tell a story, about my life and where I’ve travelled. Cavemen had cave paintings, Native American’s had totem poles, the ancient Greeks has mosaics and tapestries and 21st Century James has crap stuck all over his MacBook.

‘Open Up a Little’ – This is a sticker from the Little Creatures brewery in Fremantle, Western Australia. Little Creatures was my favourite beer hands down when I was travelling in the southern hemisphere. To me though, it marks my first real journey away from home for any length of time. Prior to this I’d been around Europe with friends, but at the age of 19 I decided to pretty much cross the whole entire world with one friend. It was my first real taste of proper travel, which lit a fire in my belly that I don’t think will ever be extinguished.

Pikachu – Pokémon was my obsession as a child. I had the game boy games, the cards, the teddy bears, the DVD’s and the completely wasted youth. Pikachu always stood out to me from the TV show. The relationship between him and the main protagonist, Ash, really always stuck with me. Two best friends, together regardless of what ever happened – growing, learning and becoming stronger together. Growing up, that was something I always wanted. Most of all though, it reminds me be a big kid every once in a while, to indulge in video games and comic books and see the world through the eyes of a child.

Peace, Love and Dutch Bros. – Dutch Bros is a chain of coffee shops in the Pacific North Western region of America. The coffee is pretty nice and it has a very relaxed feel about it. I’d drive a little out of my way to get the coffee, and pay that little extra for it. I had an amazing family to stay with in Portland Oregon, and I made some great friends up there – ones that will probably stay with me long past my time in America ends. Oregon, though, wasn’t a place for me. It’s a long story for another time, but it’s not a place high on my list. Afterwards though, I went to Texas, which is a big highlight of my travels. This sticker reminds me that even in the worst moments, there is always something better coming your way – just hold on.

Batman – Did I ever tell you my ex-girlfriend took me on 8 dates, and then to see a Batman film? It went dinner, dinner, dinner, dinner, dinner, dinner, dinner, dinner, Batman! Terrible jokes aside, Batman is just someone I love. He’s the only real superhero I can get excitable about. To me he’s accessible, because he’s just a guy. A very, very rich guy with a lot of opportunities most people don’t have – but he’s still just a guy. He possess no super powers, everything he can do is just an extension of him. All the things he can do are because he’s made himself able to do them, he can’t just do them. He’s the epitome of strength, character and sheer force of will.

San Diego Chargers – For you non-NFL fans, that’s the big lightning bolt looking thing. They’re my favourite team in the whole entire world, whom I had the pleasure of finally getting to watch live yesterday. I’ve always supported sports teams, but I tend to drop in and out of interest. The Chargers though, I follow every single step of the way. It’s my chance to subscribe to something bigger, to be a part of something that I can share in with other people. Even if the thing that we’re sharing is how bad we usually are.

Hopefully my collection of stickers will keep growing, and the list of stories keeps getting bigger and bigger.

JJ