I want to reflect upon 2019 in a novel way by opening up a little bit. It’s been a rollercoaster of a year in a good way because I’ve been growing as an individual, my online presence, valuing my self worth and learning a ton about everything by living with my girlfriend. I’ve had a lot of trouble writing really open blog posts for the past year but I do really well on these yearly reflections so I’m going to follow the writing advice given by Sean McClure:
“Assume nobody in this generation will read your work. It keeps your writing authentic, maintains your focus on ideas that are timeless, and prevents the dullness that comes from trying to appease an audience.”
That statement really helped me to put this blog post up. I’ve been increasingly struggling with blogging openly for the past few years, trying to fruitlessly figure out what the people want to read, trying to figure out where to draw the line with what I should or should not say and overthinking what other people will think. So fuck all that noise. I will try to go back to my roots of not giving a shit and type things out pretending nobody will read this anyway to ease the mental pressure. (In the same line of thought, apparently when Mark Twain wrote his autobiography he had instructed that it was not to be released until he was dead so he could speak his mind frankly.)
The world is noisier than ever
Let’s face it. There’s too much shit going on. And most of it is bunk. Everything wants your attention. Everything on your phone wants your attention. And you’re connected to your phone like your head is to your neck. The social media sites are engineered to keep you coming back with the likes you get for making a post in return that gives you the nice hit of dopamine. The engagement you get from people commenting and praising you feels good as well, like as if you’re socializing IRL, but it’s overall still too isolated compared to in person human interactions.
We have access to too much information and most of it is noise. Noise that detracts you from your well being. Noise that detracts you from your lifes goals and missions. Noise that drowns the pure signal your mind would be easily aware of without it.
So what can we do? Well, we can meditate more often. And meditation doesn’t require anything special. Just do nothing. Don’t fiddle with anything. Don’t watch anything. Just do nothing for 10 minutes. I do this simple breathing meditation while standing in lines at stores. You’ll find that it’s actually hard to do nothing, ironically, but it’s really healthy to make that a habit. Also, the notifications should be turned off on most of your apps because they’re just going to distract you and your attention span has dwindled to that of a fly.
Something I read recently by Naval was extremely beautiful, he said:
- If you want to be rewarded, you have to be irreplaceable.
- If you want to be irreplaceable, you have to be unique.
- If you want to be unique, you have to be authentic.
- If you want to be authentic, stop listening to everyone and everything else.
- It’s drowning “you” out.
Facebook vs Instagram vs Twitter vs Tik Tok
I got that quote above from a tweet. When Twitter first came out I scoffed it off as a lame site that further promotes the dumbing down of society with its purposely limited characters that discourage depth, but there’s actually a lot of good stuff on there when you find the right people. Twitter turns out to be full of some really, really smart people but it takes time to curate such a list.
I used to hate on Instagram too, saying it was just Facebook with pictures and thus, surely more superficial, but it turns out to be a mixed bag. Well, there’s definitely a ton of superficiality on IG, and I hate the influencer trend because it’s simply the modern version of being a massive sell-out which is as far away from ingenuity as you can get. Oh and watching Instagram Stories have got to be the most mind-numbing and downright depressing activity ever to exist that surely makes me feel sad and destroys my ability to focus after just a few minutes of watching other peoples lives on hyperdrive. And with the amount of ads that are on IG, this is a fairly strong signal that IG has peaked and people will move onto another platform soon as it plateaus and dwindles.
Now the newest thing is Tik Tok and it seems to be the new hip thing all the young kids are pouring their creativity out onto since they’ve left Snapchat. I won’t be going on Tik Tok. I can’t spread myself that thin. My focus is YouTube, Blog Posts and Instagram, in that order.
I’ll just continue to be an old curmudgeon shaking his fist at social media sites even though I hypocritically use them as well to update the world on my latest content. So yes, follow me on Facebook and Instagram if you don’t already… However, if you want to stay up to date with my content without having to check my site or social media sites, make sure you’re part of my mailing list.
Speaking of mailing list… You may have noticed if you’ve joined my mailing list that you get an email every week updating you on my latest content or giving you a heads up on some discount or sale I’m running. This is all thanks to a friend who excels at marketing that I’ve hired to help me stay consistent on that front.
I don’t think I’ve ever hustled this much before. I’ve been hustling to make this online business sustainable as a full time job to support my dream of helping others which is partly driven by a fear of becoming another “failure to launch” millennial and I want to be able to support a family one day. I do not want to be a loser. And if I’m going to be successful by todays standards with ever increasing housing prices, I have to keep excelling at new levels to make myself stand out from the noise. Funny enough 2 years ago on my 34th birthday I made this video talking about how it was the first time I felt like an actual adult for some reason, and it was not even a month after that, where I got a girlfriend… who I now live with.
Videos that capture authentic flows are rare
It sucks when I’m working out at the beach and listening to music on my headphones that I really love, and the music makes me get into a flow that I otherwise would not have gone into, and I think, “Hey, I wish I could record what I’m doing right now and show others what just happened or what is happening.” Yet the moment you decide to do that and setup the phone to record a video… is when the music goes off and the magic is immediately lost. Even if the moment is replicated, it has lost that original spark and that’s too bad.
Importance of having a wind down hour
Best thing I changed recently to improve my sleep quality is to have a transition phase by not watching any screens (tv or phone) at least 30 minutes before sleep and to do only non-digital-things like writing a to do list for the next day, cleaning the clutter around the home, tidying up my desk, washing all the dishes and maybe finishing off by reading a book in bed. When my eyes start to get droopy, I will put the book away and sleep soundly.
Look at everything as a blessing in disguise
After returning from a vacation earlier this year, I was inspired and yearning to create content as soon as I could. But I came back home and my computer wouldn’t turn on which was very strange because I specifically unplugged my computer so that there won’t be any electrical issues if there was a thunderstorm while I was gone and yet, it still wouldn’t turn on.
I ended up painstakingly having to replace every single component until I figured out it was the motherboard. Luckily, I did not lose any files. (By the way, I use BackBlaze to back up my hard drives, in case you’re wondering what my backup system is for all my photos and videos.)
Now, I was really pissed off about the whole thing because by the time I got my computer up and running, I had lost a week of time with no new content, spent a bunch of money to fix it and I had lost that built up motivation to create content. What helped me was to realize that this was simply an opportunity to upgrade my computer. Now I have a much faster processor and video editing is much more efficient.
Here’s another example…
I went off to the local mountains scouting for the perfect spot to shoot a yoga video. I finally found a good spot, set everything up, got my mic on, started rolling and after 30 minutes of recording, I found out my camera didn’t record anything.
After all that effort, I felt annoyed and downtrodden. I remember thinking, “It was such a good take, too. And now sun is going down, it’s colder and I have nothing to show for it.” I was going to leave but then I said you know what, everything is setup and ready to go and I have enough battery power on the microphone and camera, so why not do it again. Maybe this is a blessing in disguise. Maybe I will do an even better session cause I practiced it already once. This kind of thinking has helped me to not kill myself many a times.
By the way, I released that video on Christmas Day as a gift to you all here:
The volatility as an entrepreneur plays a number on my head
As I mentioned earlier, this year I pushed more than ever to monetize my online presence so that I could continue creating blog posts and videos for free in a sustainable manner without having to constantly do gigs on the side to make ends meet.
It was a very good year in hindsight but throughout it, very difficult going through the motions. When my Smart Core Program came out in the summer, I got a flurry of sales on unprecedented levels and I was very happy. But that euphoria was very shortlived as the sales fell off a cliff as the summer came to an end. That volatility played a number on my head and got me feeling down.
Looking back at my numbers, it is clear this cycle happens every year. The fitness world is extremely seasonal and predictable. People simply stop working out in the fall when the weather gets colder and the days get shorter. Then come January, there’s a big spike in interest due to new-year-resolutioners, but this is ultimately a fake-out as resolutions lose their fervor and there isn’t a rekindling until the mid Spring when things start warming up. Summer is the only time when things are consistently poppin’ cause everyone is showing more skin cause it’s so hot out and they all want that beach-bod. Human nature is interesting like that. I workout year round, but even for me, it becomes harder to workout consistently in the winter, so I understand.
There were many times when I deep down wished I had a stable source of income and wondered what life would’ve been like if I had just stuck with the system like “normal” people and clocked in and out at a 9-5, getting a consistent paycheck, working for someone elses dream as opposed to mine in exchange for consistent, predictable income.
Luckily I am a very optimistic person overall and I try to see everything negative as a blessing in disguise. I also like the saying, “Your greatest weakness is the pathway to your strengths.” These downtimes and the eventual coming out of them, were the impetus that helped me create the mindful motivation series to help others battle depression.
It’s always darkest and coldest just before dawn.
I just want to reiterate this quote because it’s one of the few that kept me afloat when my mind was going to dark places and I felt like I was dying inside. Oftentimes when you feel like you’ve hit rock bottom mentally or spiritually, you have to remember that that’s most probably the bottom and things will only get better. Things always get better when you’re at your lowest point. Besides, after dawn is typically the most glorious sunrise you’ve ever seen.
Space and distance increases attraction.
When I’m not feeling motivated, I find that taking a break is the best thing ever instead of pounding my head against the desk trying to force motivation. I’ve noticed that bike rides are a cure-all for creativity. And thus, stepping away from work is very healthy to recharge and get inspiration again as opposed to trying to force things to get better. This also applies to relationships too. Being together with your significant other feels great but be together 24/7 and you will lose the spark that kept you together and you might even forget who you are and lose yourself. I even made a video of this:
On top of a To-Do-List, keeping a training log has been crucial
You know me, I’m all about to do lists as I’ve talked about them here, here and here. But lately I’ve also been keeping a training log meticulously and it’s fantastic. I’ve logged every workout for the past 16 months without fail. Anytime I feel like I had a shitty workout, all I need to do is look back at the log and realize how far I’ve come. Almost every single time, the shitty workouts precede the breakthroughs to new levels. It seems that you have to persevere through the bad to get to the great almost as if it’s a requirement to feel bad.
Now, there’s so much more I have to type about. Typing this blog post out has opened up my appetite for sharing a ton of topics. In the next one I’m going to do a deep dive and talk about the one move I’ve been strength training for nearly a year nonstop: the front lever. I’m in a good groove in everyway and I want to keep this momentum up. So keep revisiting my site and you’re going to find new stuff real soon, per usual! Leave a comment with your thoughts and let me know you exist if you read this! And kudos to you for making it this far. You have impeccable attention! Thanks and have a happy new year!
- Blog Posts of 2019 You Might Have Missed:
- Podcast Interview with Me
- 10 Tips to Not Gain Weight During the Holidays
- The Minimalistic Upper Body Training Program That’s Supremely Easy To Follow And Will Make You Super Strong
- How To Not Gain Weight During The Holidays
- Take Your Flexibility and Yoga Practice To The Next Level
- GymnasticBodies Project
- Antraniks Core Challenge Details
- How to Achieve Kip Extensions: an Advanced Core and Back Exercise!
- 5 Tips To Lose That Winter Weight Gain
- How to do Pike Pushups with Perfect Form and Setup
- Using the Pike Pushup to do a Handstand Pushup (Part 3, The Finale!)
- Using the Pike Pushup to do a Handstand Pushup (Part 2, The Results!)
- Using the Pike Pushup to be able to do a Handstand Pushup
- Are Diets for Weight Loss as Simple as Eating in a Caloric Deficit?
- YouTube Videos of 2019:
- Enrichment of carbs linked to appetite stimulation, obesity with a slice of corporatocracy.
- How to Strengthen Wrists for Pushups, Handstand, Planche, Gymnastics, Yoga (No equipment needed!)
- How to Strengthen Wrists for EVERYTHING (Part 2 of 2)
- Best Hip Flexor Stretch You Can Do Anywhere! (And Hamstrings!)
- Podcast with Antranik & Linor Oren (Singer and Teacher)
- Podcast Interview with Antranik by Nick McKeever
- Kip Extensions: An Advanced Core Exercise for Abs, Glutes, Upper Back, Front Lever, Pike Compression
- Front Lever and Back Lever Tips and Mistakes to Avoid!
- How to Be Productive, Fulfill Your Life Purpose, Start & Build Momentum, Prioritize To-Do Lists…
- Top 10 Things You MUST KNOW about the MUSCLE UP!
- Space Increases Attraction, Be 100% YOU in Relationships, Nature is Cyclical,Balance Work & Hobbies
- Alphabet Leg Raises for a Solid Core! Can You Pass 8 Letters!? 🤔
- How to Intensify Pushups (Chaturanga) to get MAD Strong in Yoga Class or Calisthenics
- MUST KNOW WAYS to Strengthen WRISTS in Yoga Class
- Top 5 Ways to MAXIMALLY Stretch Your HIP FLEXORS in Yoga Class
- Top Tips For Mad Hamstring Gains (Especially in Yoga Class)
- Build Extreme Active Hamstring Flexibility w/ Binds! -Bound Triangle & Bird of Paradise Progressions
- The Best Front Lever Tips, Drills and Progressions Beyond the Basic Tuck!
- Tutorial for Slow, Strict Bar Muscle up: The ONLY Exercise you NEED to ATTAIN IT! (No Kipping!)
- Muscle Up Like a Gymnast with the GLIDE KIP (Full Tutorial & Progressions)
- Glide Kip Mini Tutorial by Antranik
- Crow Pose Tutorial for Beginners with Antranik (Follow Along and Succeed!)
- CALISTHENICS WORKOUT & PLAY 💪 AT MUSCLE BEACH! 💪 Traveling Rings, Slackline, Bars and more!
- Practical Diet and Fitness Training Tips by Antranik (Fat Loss, Endurance, Consistency)
- How I Play With, Feed, Brush, Groom, and Trim My 16 Year Old Dog Medax
- Best Foam Roller to Buy!? In depth Review and Comparisons!
- Yoga for Posture with Antranik (20min class, All Levels, Beginner to Intermediate)