Stop Trying To Think Outside the [], Embrace It.

Stop Trying to Think Outside the [], Embrace It.

My whole life I’ve always been told to think outside the box, to be creative. Now, if you’re like me, you struggled with this. I could never force myself to think outside the box. Whatever that meant. So I labeled myself as a non-creative. I was strictly a logical, reasonable, analytical kid. I couldn’t think “outside of the box” to save my life.

Fast forward a few years and I started getting really motivated by the pursuit of entrepreneurship. The burning desire to solve problems and make the lives of others easier while simultaneously delving into my passions grew. It was appealing, to say the least.

But UH-OH, just one major problem. Don’t you have to be able to think outside of the box to solve problems nobody else can?

Maybe. Maybe not. That’s not the point.

After I became motivated to launch a career as an entrepreneur I became obsessed with innovative case studies. I listened to podcast after podcast, read book after book, biography after biography. I studied the science of entrepreneurship. I wanted to find the interlinks between all the great cases. At what point did real innovation happen? Oddly enough I found the answer.

I realized that in every case that true innovation struck (and at a rapid rate), the individual or team thought inside the box…well kinda. Let me explain.

Simply put, constraints are the birthplace of innovation.

Rapid innovation occurs when individuals are forced to innovate. When an individual has no money, no resources, no knowledge, no nothing…they are forced to pave a way. It is this mountain of restraint that conjures the will power necessary to elevate into innovation. Creativity can be forced. In fact, it almost always is. If there were no restraints, there would be no reason for someone to innovate. They could buy the solution that already exists, the one that’s allowed no restraints to exist in the first place.

These restraints are the box. In order to innovate and “think outside of the box”, you must embrace the restraints that are currently holding you back. The sooner you embrace the box you are in, the more clear your restraints become. The more clear your restraints, the easier it is to see around them.

To try and randomly jump outside of the box is painfully difficult for most. It is much easier to get out when you are forced out. Forced out by your constraints and your vision on the other side. So if you are an entrepreneurial minded individual ready to solve some problems, take a good look around. Get a clear picture of your surroundings and embrace the box that you’re in. It’s time to innovate.

The Power of Focus

The Power of Focus

Do you know when you have those days where you feel on top of the world? What about those days that you feel not so on top of the world? We all experience both. Life has its ups and downs and that’s what keeps it interesting.

Well, I have recently gone through one of those downs I just mentioned. This down was not external, rather completely internal. I conjured this negative spiral from deep within me and I became the victim of it. But I overcame it — there’s always an up after the down. The tension within me that I fell victim to could be categorized as self-doubt. I was constantly thinking I wasn’t doing enough, that I wasn’t smart enough, that I was all talk and no walk. I felt hollow and like a fake. But then I realized something. Whether I think I can do something or I think I can’t…I am right. You see…you are what you repeatedly do. If I repeatedly think negatively about myself, I will become a negative version of myself. The analogy that comes to mind is when you are driving. When you’re behind the wheel what do you do? You keep your eyes on the road… but why? Well, you need to see where you are going. But on a deeper level, you go where your eyes go. Have you ever noticed that when you look off to the side of the road your car starts slowly drifting in the same direction you are looking? Well, that’s because you go where your eyes go.

Now back to my point, which I haven’t made yet, so I will make it now.

You are in control of your future.

How do I know that? Well, it’s simple: you go where your focus is. If you stay laser-focused on a certain outcome, you will achieve that outcome eventually. If you don’t, maybe you tricked yourself into thinking you were looking in that specific direction but you weren’t, or maybe you didn’t keep a laser-focus and diverted your gaze in another direction every now and again.

So back to my self-doubt I mentioned earlier. Once I realized this key component of goal-setting, I realized that I must replace these negative thoughts with positive ones. Now that might seem like a “Duh” statement, but hear me out. The reason I replaced the negative thoughts with positive ones was not to psych myself out of self-pity. It wasn’t to lie to myself to make myself feel better and not actually grow. In reality, I replaced these thoughts to bring my attention back into focus. I had just diverted my gaze slightly, and doubt set in. Instead of being defeated by this doubt, I used it as a tool. I let the harsh reality that I haven’t achieved my goals yet catapult me back into the game with laser-focused vision. I didn’t lie to myself…I reminded myself. I reminded myself that I am capable, that I am worthy, that I can do it…because I said so. I determine my future by wielding the power of focus.

So what are your goals? Do you think you can reach them?

Whether You Think You Can or You Think You Can’t, You’re Right.

Just Focus.

How to Turn Your Dreams Into Reality

How to Turn Your Dreams Into Reality

We all have “crazy” dreams, you know, like the one that you are afraid to say out loud because people might scoff at it…yeah that one. Now, where does that fear come from? It comes from self-doubt. It comes from the intangibility of that dream through the lack of ability in you. But what if it didn’t have to be that way?

Now I’m not here to inflate your ego and tell you that you can do anything if you just set your mind to it, but I am here to tell you that you can get much much closer to your dreams than you think. For many people, dreams seem so distant because they lack in contextuality. Dreams are in another dimension, separated by a luminous void full of unknowns. Do you see the major problem with dreams? Well, it’s the fact that we call them dreams in the first place. To be a dream is to not be a reality, so how then can your dream ever be a reality if your focus constitutes it as something other than reality?

The key to making your dream a reality is to re-categorize your dream as your future in your head. To re-categorize it as a goal. The distinction is subtle, but it makes a huge difference in your brain. This is because once it is a goal, you can create actionable steps towards it. When your future is in terms of reality, the path to get there falls into reality.

Once you realize that your dreams are not dreams, but actionable goals that you can pursue, you can lay out the path to get there. To do this, get very specific. Ask every question that is related to getting you from where you are now to your desired reality. Questions like:

If I were to take action right now, what would I do? Where would I go? Who would I talk to? What tools what I need? Etc.

Get the idea? Just ask everything related to your actions.

Once you have done that, you will realize that you are now very overwhelmed. There are a plethora of questions that you don’t know the answer to and you know there are more questions that you haven’t even thought of yet. That’s okay. The point of this is to make you start thinking and get real about what you want to do.

The next step is to break it down. By breaking down your actions, you make the actions necessary to make your goal a reality more…well, actionable.

Example (vague course of action): I am going to go to the gym.

At first, this might seem like a very clear action, but in reality, it isn’t. It is way too vague. Because it is vague you can’t hold yourself accountable and you are less likely to follow through with the action. Your actions must be very small and specific. Think baby steps. By thinking very specifically and in smaller steps, you will form parameters that keep you in check, but you will also eliminate a lot of the anxiety that comes along with a daunting task.

Example (clear course of action):

I will pick up my keys at 7 a.m. on Tuesday.

I will walk to my car directly afterward.

I will drive to the gym on 31st street and arrive before 7:30 a.m.

Did you notice that the very first action is stupid easy? I mean how hard is it to pick up some keys? It is much less daunting than going to the gym.

The beautiful thing about this is that action begets more action. Once you have accomplished that stupid simple task, you are moving, and you find it much easier to crush the next stupid simple task. This is the beauty of getting specific. By getting specific, you get closer to your goals one step at a time with relative ease. It is all about your mindset and how you choose to see reality.

So what are your dreams? Stop calling them that.

What are your goals? Start asking questions.

What types of actions will lead you to your goals? Break them down and get specific.

Now go claim your future….one stupid easy task at a time.

Getting Lost In The Finite

Getting Lost In The Finite

Continuing the dive into the philosophical ideologies of Kierkegaard, this article in summation elaborates on one of the two possible traps many people fall into when they are on their path to self-discovery. One trap is to get lost in the infinite – An individual contemplates all paths that they can take over and over again allowing the fear of uncertainty to prohibit them from taking any path at all. They become trapped in their own minds, confined by the infinite. To learn more about “getting lost in the infinite,” read this blog post. The opposite trap, one that is even scarier in my opinion, is to get lost in the finite – An individual mindlessly follows a “predetermined” course of action, assuming there are no other options or paths to choose from. For illustrations of this trap, I will display this philosophy in that of an individual trying to decide what they should do with their life/what career they should take. This individual is named John.

John is your average Joe and he was born and raised a middle-class citizen. John’s great-grandfather was a cobbler, and like his great-grandfather, his grandfather was too a cobbler. Unsurprisingly, his father decided to follow in their footsteps and become a cobbler as well. His whole family is a family of cobblers that respectfully value hard work. They live comfortably. Now, John is also from a small town and hasn’t really seen the world. He was raised practicing the craft of shoe-making, and as a result, John too believed that without a shadow-of-a-doubt that he would be a cobbler for the rest of his life, after all, that’s what his family does. No ifs, ands, or buts about it – John knew what he was born to do. In fact, he never questioned the possibility of doing anything different with his life.

John is lost in the finite.

John, like many, follows the well-beaten path instead of paving his own. The scariest part is that he is doing this subconsciously, so it is almost impossible for him to become aware that he is even lost in the finite in the first place. Like John, you too might think you were born to do something and never question the other infinite possibilities that are there for the taking. You too have the potential to do something totally radical with your life and truly make the most of it. Now, maybe John was truly born to be a cobbler, who knows? Not John, because he hasn’t taken the time to explore other options, to arouse other passions and develop other skill sets.

Why am I writing this?

I believe it is every person’s duty to themselves to think for themselves and wrestle with the freedom that every individual possesses. Freedom is beautiful but also a burden. The freedom of choice can become daunting to the individual, so to relieve that pressure, they subconsciously divert to a course of action that removes the necessity for them to think critically for themselves. This path of least resistance is also the path where you lose yourself as an individual. Once you give up the burden of freedom you are, in a sense, no longer your own free-thinking individual. In a certain light, you are now only a product of the system. And at that point, are you truly living? I argue that no, you aren’t. To truly live it is important to accept the “burden” of freedom, the “burden” of choice, and critically decide what you want to do with your life. By devoting energy to discovering what truly makes you come alive and choosing a career that aligns with your individual values and passions, you will, in turn, live a life of greater fulfillment.

So are you lost in the finite?

It’s time to get out, it is time to open your mind to the endless possibilities of what life has to offer and take action. Just try stuff, devote your time and energy to exploring your interests and passions with the mindset that anything is possible. I promise the devotion to true self-discovery is by far the most rewarding thing you will ever do.

Getting Lost In The Infinite

Getting Lost In The Infinite

Today I want to dig into the philosophy of Kierkegaard, specifically the burden of freedom every one of us carries. Kierkegaard coins the terms “Getting lost in the infinite” and “Getting lost in the finite.” I will be discussing the latter term in another blog post.

What does it mean to get lost in the infinite?

Well, I can attest that this dilemma is very real and very scary. I believe many of us get lost in the infinite. I will illustrate getting lost in the infinite with the task of finding your purpose or career in life. Every individual on their path to self-discovery carries the burden of trying to understand how they fit in. They must uncover their purpose and what makes them come alive. For many, this becomes an overwhelming task to accomplish because there are so many paths that an individual can choose from. There is an infinite number of possibilities that one can decide between and the result is one of two things.

1. An individual comes to the conclusion through experience and obtainment of knowledge that one path is clearly more fulfilling than all other paths.

2. An individual contemplates all paths that they can take over and over again allowing the fear of uncertainty to prohibit them from taking any path at all. They become trapped in their own minds, confined by the infinite.

The first choice is ideal, it carries with it a feeling of clarity and direction. The second choice carries doubt and anxiety. But why anxiety? The anxiety derives from the freedom that everyone carries with them. The freedom to choose and pave your own path in life is a daunting task. In this light, freedom can be seen as a burden. However, it is of paramount importance to overcome this burden to truly be your own self and create a truly fulfilling life as a human being. If this burden of freedom is not met with determination to overcome, the individual becomes part of the herd (society). Instead of thinking for themselves they follow the rule book that is handed to them, and at that point, they are no longer a distinctly separate thinking individual.

So are you lost in the infinite?

I know I was for quite a while, instead of taking action and doing something about my thoughts…I just sat around thinking in circles. The actions I did take were me just cooperating with societal standards, following the “tried-and-true” path.

I think it is important to ask yourself “why am I doing what I am doing?” Are you mindlessly taking action or are you truly thinking for yourself? I think many of us will find that we have found ourselves to be dependent thinkers – a regurgitation of other’s thoughts. Why? Because the burden of freedom and the burden of choice was too overwhelming. Now, I’m not writing this to call people out per se, because I too fell into the trap of the infinite, you can do it almost subconsciously. It takes great effort to be your own thinking person. I am writing this for you to become aware of this fact, that you may very well be either lost in the infinite, not taking action because the thought of you choosing the wrong career path and potentially wasting years of your life is scary, or you are subconsciously being motivated to follow the paths of others because it is easier. Neither of these realities is optimal for living life to the fullest extent.

So how do you overcome the infinite while simultaneously being your own person?

One word: Action.

A great example is that of a donkey. One day a donkey stands between two necessities – food and water. However, the donkey can’t decide if he is more thirsty or more hungry. He stands there all day trying to choose which he should consume first, and as a result, he never drinks or eats anything. The anxiety of choice demobilized him and ultimately killed him.

Obviously, this is a silly example, but it illustrates the importance of action. If the donkey would have just taken action, he would have realized that he could walk over to the water first and then to the food, satisfying both needs with the action of prioritization.

The key to overcoming the infinite is to get over the fear of uncertainty of the results of your actions, make a list of potential career paths that seem somewhat interesting to you, prioritize them, and just take action. If the first action doesn’t result in fulfillment or if you are still curious to learn more, try the next thing, then the next thing. With every cycle, you will get closer to your desired career path. This same ideology overcomes the infinite in all cases, not just the career example.

So are you lost in the infinite?

Take Action.

The BIG Problem with Public Education and How To Fix It

I am currently a dual enrollment student at the University of West Florida who advocates for freedom, especially as it relates to the educational choices of an individual. Today I write to you to express the shortcomings of the public education system that I have fallen victim to personally, as well as a proposition of action for the betterment of the system. The issue at hand is the complete restriction of creative expression of a child when they are herded (like sheep) through a conveyor belt-like education. The pitfall is not in setting competitive standards for education, but it is the implementation of deciding what is “important” to learn in the first place.  Every individual is unique with their own desires, curiosities, and creative expressions. Who is to say that understanding mathematics is more important than learning how to paint? Who is to say that you are smart if you excel in STEM and not in poetry or vice-versa? Throughout my education, I have been force-fed academia that did not interest me, but I was told would benefit me. When I didn’t get an A on my calculus test I was looked down on, why? Because the current model of education tells me that I am supposed to get it. That, in order to succeed and be a “well-rounded” individual I must understand that the mitochondria are the powerhouse of the cell and that S/R = theta. Point being, as humans we should have the freedom to decide what is important to learn and what isn’t. As humans, we should be allowed to follow our curiosities instead of devoting the precious resource of time to memorization of content solely to pass the next exam in a subject that doesn’t fulfill us at all. For illustration, Education Secretary Arne Duncan has projected that 82% of all public schools are “failing.” This is because the system is measuring success and failure rates through standardized test scores. However, the tests themselves largely only test an individual’s memorization skills and test-taking abilities. Public education has become fixated on teaching for the score (i.e. ACT/SAT) rather than bringing out the natural intelligence of every child. Society as a whole has adopted the mindset that in order to be successful you need a formal education, but I argue that formal education is the worst course of action for any young individual to take.

To combat this curiosity stifling education I propose that either compulsory education laws be uplifted or that the current education model be completely dismantled and rebuilt for the modern age. Compulsory education laws make it illegal for a student to take education into their own hands and follow their curiosities, but as a human, it is their right to choose what they learn and how they learn. By uplifting a law that controls a child’s ability to play a part in formal education or not, is essential for allowing them to learn on their own accord. However, I deem that not necessary if the education system is reconstructed to equip an individual for the ever-advancing Gig economy – an economy in which specialization and personal branding are becoming more and more relevant. I advocate for actions to be taken for the advancement of more individualized learning that accommodates for the will of the learner, and only for the will of the learner. By allowing an individual to run into their curiosities, real education will take place, not memorization. But more than that, the genesis of a life-long learner will be forged. For an example course of action to make this a reality, think a publicized Montessori approach.

With that said, I do respect the arguments of compulsory education advocates as well as modern public education advocates.  Their belief that formal schooling is needed because it acts as a guiding hand for students who are unable to guide themselves is a valid point of benefit in certain scenarios. However, who is to say who knows better for that child? For the majority of individuals who just learn what they want, the practice of not holding back their curiosity results in a deep-rooted drive to learn more. The need for strategic systemized boxes of content does not exist because the practice of learning by living is much more effective. For example, when a child is interested in computers, if we allowed that child to play on computers all day long to the point where they questioned how the computer worked, they would then be exposed to programming. Then, if we allowed them to get consumed in programming instead of making them focus on other forms of content, they would learn how to program very quickly. Now, some might say, “Well that’s great, but the child doesn’t know how to do anything else.” I have two responses to that, one being that when the child learns that way, they are also learning how to read, write, do mathematics, and think critically in order to write an efficient block of code. Two is that the market demands coders. If you know how to code and you love it, you can get paid for it if you are good at it, and at that point who cares if you don’t know anything about biology?

Others argue that formal education is necessary for everyone to have an equal opportunity. When people argue that, they are referring to the resources that formal education gives students of all backgrounds. One way to work around the need for resources is by still supplying resources to kids, but by leveraging the technology of today to act as the catalyst for those resources. Beyond that, thanks to Google, YouTube, SkillShare, Udemy, Khan Academy, etc. knowledge is at the fingertips of any individual that wants to tap into it, for free. With the technology of today and the freedom to follow your curiosity, I truly believe that every individual can take control of their own education and learn what they need to learn to fulfill their passions while also developing marketable skills.

Become A Freelancer

Become A Freelancer

What Is A Freelancer?

If you are a freelancer, by definition you are working for different companies at different times rather than being permanently employed by one company. Freelancing can also pertain to work that adds value directly to consumers. In another light, every entrepreneur is a freelancer, but not every freelancer is an entrepreneur. Let’s unpack this:

  1. WHAT types of work constitute a freelancing approach?
  • copy-writing
  • graphic design
  • programming/web design
  • photography
  • accounting/bookkeeping
  • social media management
  • virtual assistance
  • teaching/advising
  • and the list goes on…..
  • and on…..

2. WHY should I become a freelancer?

  • You work when you want
  • Depending on the skill you are selling — you work where you want
  • You do what you want
  • There is a huge demand for freelancers
  • You decide how much you get paid
  • You choose who you work for: consumers, businesses, or both.
  • Statistics show that business owners are happier than their employee ( 9-5) counterparts.
  • and the list goes on….

3. Okay, so HOW do I become a freelancer?

Firstly, you must identify what your unique skill set is.

Are you good at marketing? Graphic Design? Photography?

(If you are young and don’t know what skill set you have that is marketable, listen to this podcast.)

Secondly, you must identify who your customer is.

Are you selling your services to a business that is outsourcing their work? Or are you selling your services directly to a consumer? Or both?

When you think about this, understand that there is a growing demand for freelancers, specifically within a business to business model. Companies are consistently increasing the amount of work that they outsource. Why? It is much cheaper to outsource work than it is to higher an employee. However, this hasn’t always been the case. Advancements in technology are the main catalyst for this growing ease of outsourcing work. The gig economy is growing rapidly and working with a team of other freelancers is becoming the norm.

Thirdly, you must establish yourself as a legal entity.

There is a lot that goes into this, deciding how to legally establish yourself is highly important for your plans in the future. Whether you establish yourself as an LLC, sole proprietorship, corporation, etc. is up to, but when thinking about why you would pick one over the others, ask yourself: How big do I want to grow this business? Do I want to go beyond self-employed and also be an employer? How could this decision affect the way I pay taxes? etc.

To find out more about the legalities of different business structures click here.

Fourthly, you must decide how much you are going to sell your services for.

A great way to get started is to do your research and see what other people in your industry are charging. Beyond that, there are two distinct directions you can take:

  1. You can market your services at a lower than market average price — If you are just starting out, one tactic to compete with the larger fish is to undercut them. If you can provide the same results to clients that the bigger fish do at a lower price, clients are more willing to choose you. It’s more bang for their buck. However, after a certain amount of time, you will no longer want to sell your services at a low price. Why? Price is directly correlated to the perceived quality of your work. If you offer too low of prices, clients will not take you seriously.
  2. You can market your services above market price, showing clients you are the real deal with premium results. The result of this if you get customers is a higher pay-out as well as high credibility in the industry. The downside of this is that if you don’t have a large portfolio of work to back up the premium price, you will potentially lose a lot of customers who do not trust you. If you are planning on selling at a premium price, you must back that price up with premium results.

Fifthly, grow your portfolio.

Now it is time to get customers and get experience. Your goal is to build the largest body of work that shows your unique skill set. Your portfolio should be diverse and of high quality. As you grow your portfolio you are growing your network and slowly building a reputation in the industry. The first clients are the hardest to get, but once you get those your body of work can speak for you.

Lastly, market, market, market.

Marketing is one of those huge umbrella fields. There is a plethora of knowledge and work that goes into being a successful marketer. It is a skill set that every freelancer should grow in. Especially if you are a one-person business, strategic marketing is essential. Things to consider:

Every business has a website now. As a freelancer, this is extremely important to have. It is where people can find you and learn more about your business. Your website should be an expression of your creativity and taste. Its job is to represent your personal brand so devote a lot of time into making it look great. Things to include in your website:

  • About me page — this is the place to talk about the person behind the vision — why you do what you do and why you care. Share your origin story and connect with your potential clients on an emotional level.
  • Your Portfolio — show your body of work or at the very least talk about the work you have done.
  • Contact me page — allow interested clients to contact you to learn more about your company, your skill set, and hopefully land you a gig.
  • Home page — this is the place to share about your company. Company branding is extremely important and your company should be a representation of who you are. Things to add to your homepage include a greeting to your reader, your logo, testimonials/reviews of your work, your mission statement, etc.

SEO ( Search Engine Optimization ) — Just having a website isn’t going to cut it. You must strategically title your pages and all meta elements and so much more. Without strategic actions that allow your website to be visible to others, your potential clients will never know you exist. There is a lot and I mean a lot that goes into successful SEO, but a great way to learn more is by clicking here.

Get involved on social media. Don’t just share your work on your website, share your work on all social platforms and leverage the power of social media. Build a body of followers on social media, and those that are interested in your work can potentially be converted into paying customers.

Why am I writing this?

Entrepreneurship is near and dear to my heart and I have the greatest desire to help others step away from the 9–5 grind and do work that truly makes them excited to wake up every morning. The benefits of entrepreneurship and freelancing are tremendous and it is worth a shot for everyone take in my opinion. I am also writing this for the individuals that know they don’t want to go to college, they see it as a waste of their energy because they know that they can build a much better signal by creating a body of work as opposed to relying on a worthless third-party credential to do it for them. If you are college opt-out or drop-out, now is the time to take your life in your own hands and build something bigger than yourself and create value for others. Now is the time to do what you love and get paid to do it. If the idea of entrepreneurship is scary, well that’s because it is. It is hard, if it were easy everyone would do it. Freelancing, on the other hand, is a less daunting step into the realm of being self-employed. When you are a freelancer you don’t have to have an innovative idea, you can start a company that the market has already validated and you know you can be successful in if you put in the work. So put in the work and start living the life you’ve always wanted!

Here is a list of resources other than college that can help you learn and develop the skills that interest you:

  • Lambda School ( for the programmers ) — “Lambda School is a 9 month, immersive program that gives you the tools and training you need to launch your new career — from the comfort of your own home.”
  • Praxis — “The Degree is Dead. You Need Experience. We’ll help you find and build your skills, then put them to work in a startup apprenticeship.”
  • Sieo — “Sieo is a hybrid agency and business builder that focuses on helping companies start and grow. We are committed to helping entrepreneurs build their dreams at any stage of their journey.”
  • UnCollege ( Gap Year Program ) — “TAKE YOUR EDUCATION INTO YOUR OWN HANDS. Find resources for self-directed learning, dropping out of college, and hacking your education.”