10 Things You Might Forget To Be Thankful For This Thanksgiving

10 Things You Might Forget To Be Thankful For This Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving
2016 has been one mofo crazy year. Not to mention that we still have the holidays to get through. I’m pretty sure we all agree that the everyday chaos makes it far too easy to get sucked into the negative and end up stressed out. STOP! All that mess is pointless. You’re alive! I’m alive! And considering every thought brings us to where are, we need to make sure we don’t forget to be thankful.

So as a reflection, here’s 10 things that we remind ourselves to be thankful for…

Health

Without your health you’ve got nothing going on. It’s easy to wake up and power through your day without stopping for a second to be thankful that you actually woke up. And that you’re healthy enough to race around like a maniac to get whatever you want to do today done. We need to pull the brakes on the bitching about things like having to go to work and be thankful that we’re able to be productive.

Freedom

You and I are living in a country where we literally can have and be whoever we damn well please as long as we work hard at it. Recognize the sheer number of opportunities you have and be thankful because it sure as heck isn’t like that everywhere in the world.

Freedom

Second Chances

We all screw up from time to time but thank God for second chances. Sometimes you give them and other times you get them. No matter what end you fall on, how frickin’ lucky are we to get a second stab at something? Think Robert Downey Jr., without second chances we wouldn’t have Iron Man.

Access to Information 

Never in history have we had so much information available to us. It’s in our pockets and at our fingertips whenever we want it. From earthquake warnings to how to get rid of an annoying cough, if used correctly the power of it to improve our lives is huge. We’re particularly thankful for innovators like Alexander G. Bell and Tim Berners-Lee for making it all happen.

Tim Berners-Lee

Thunderstorms

First of all, we need rain to grow our plants and trees and most importantly for our farmer’s crops. Secondly, thunderstorms create rainfall that gets rid of the pollution from the air. After it’s taken care of that, those raindrops flush the ground of accumulated waste and toxins. Thirdly, the trickle of raindrops and booming of thunder and lightning strikes makes us feel alive. Need more? It really makes you thankful for when the sunshine finally comes out. Who knew right? #thankful

Friends and Family

No doubt, through the ups and downs of life, without the support of our friends and family most of us would be SOL. Sure, we see them every day and sometimes they piss us off but relationships aren’t perfect. Be thankful that you have humans in your life who sometimes help guide you to the right path and stop you from making catastrophic mistakes. Be thankful you’ve got people to share meals, conversations and jokes with. Life would be so lonely without them.

Lonely

Humanity

Look at us, we’re just a bunch of ghosts wearing meat jackets, riding on a huge rock flying through space at a ridiculous speed. Yet, we all have this connection to one another. You can be sure that it doesn’t matter which corner of the earth you’re at, there’s somebody out there willing to help you. Are there bad apples? Sure, but we choose to believe and be thankful that most people are good. Stupid (sometimes) but good.

Awareness

Self-awareness is a powerful tool. Just stop and think about how thankful you should be for fresh starts and the opportunity to work on becoming a better human every day. Self-awareness lets our otherwise rat racing, ladder climbing, Netflix numbing tendencies be balanced with some perspective and sanity. Be thankful for self-awareness, it’s where it’s at.

Awareness

Failures

We’re not just taking about hard lessons. This one’s all about taking our failures and being thankful for the humbleness they pour on us. We’re down on our knees with gratitude for the experiences they create to make our lives worth living. Just like thunderstorms, they can hit you hard, but if you’re smart enough you’ll realize those crappy feelings don’t last. Ironically, those who don’t fail often have the hardest time getting back up when they do. On the flip side, the ones who get knocked out in the ring repeatedly develop a resistance that makes them unstoppable.

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7 Ways You’re Ruining Your Day and How to Start Getting More Out of It

7 Ways You’re Ruining Your Day and How to Start Getting More Out of It

If you’re checking in with good old Saint Peter at the Pearly Gates tomorrow could you honestly tell him that you made the most out of your life? Did you give it your all? Did you try to make every single day outstanding or were most them were ruined because some of stupid sh*t that you did? As G.I. Joe once said, “Knowing is half the battle” so we’re going to try to help you out by compiling a list of the 7 ways your ruining your day so that you can turn this ship around.

Ruining your day

Hitting snooze

Everyone hits the snooze button. No amount of sleep you get ever feels like enough. Why? There’s so many reasons but for most of us it’s because we choose to stay up watching Netflix, scrolling our Facebook feed and getting sucked into YouTube rather than going to bed at a decent time. But no matter how tempting it is to rest “just five more minutes” when you snooze you lose and fact is you’re doing more harm than good. Hitting snooze messes with your internal clock and confuses the heck out of your body. Now you’re more tired and it’s even harder to wake up. Next comes the bad mood and the stress of being late for work that ends up ruining your day.

The answer is to change your getting out of bed habits and give them a purpose. Create small goals to wake up to like making your bed, brewing a fresh cup of coffee, or doing five minutes of meditation. These achievements make you feel accomplished and give you something to wake up for.

Eating junk

Junk food is everywhere. My funny theory is that “Behind every door, there is junk food”. Think about that for a second. Junk food out numbers healthy choices and the convenience of it makes it too tempting to pass up. Not to mention the giant marketing machine behind every brand of junk food out there. You know, the ones with the deceptive messages like, “low fat” or “only 100 calories”. So, you either believe you’re making the right choice or you just give in because who has time to stop long enough to make real food? This leaves you overloaded on sugars and refined carbs. Your blood sugar gets spiked only to have you crashing down soon after. Now you’re tired, sluggish and unproductive. You can’t think as clearly and your problem solving ability just goes to sh*t. And oh yeah, now you also feel fat and gross.

Check out this food guide and start making better food choices. Good rule of thumb is to eat when you’re hungry. Load up on eggs, lean proteins and those colorful things called vegetables. You know, meals and snacks that will power you up rather than crashing you and your blood sugar down.

Skipping a workout

It’s so easy in today’s society to think you’re too busy with everything else to set aside time for your own fitness routine. Work, family, chores all come before your “me time”. Habit and having a foundation and structure to your own personal fitness is important. You might start out with enough intention to hit the gym a few times a week but how long does that last? A day or two of laziness won’t kill you. But, go more than two weeks without working out and according to the Journal of Applied Physiology, you’ll significantly reduce your cardiovascular fitness, lean muscle mass, and insulin sensitivity.

All it takes is committing a bit of time to move. Find 20 minutes to get that blood flowing and up that heart beat up a couple of notches. Use your lunch hour to walk. Schedule a date with the gym after work. How you move isn’t as important as you actually just moving. If you’re a beginner, start slow but hit that sh*t daily. Make it a habit you can’t live without and say goodbye to ruining your days.

Ruining your day skipping workout

Overloading expectations

We tend to be over achievers and put way too much on our plate. We run off this crazed idea that more is better. So, we pile up our “to do” lists like we’re some kind of productivity superhero and when we fall short (because we’re human) we think we suck. It’s absolute sh*t for your self-esteem and there’s goes your productivity for the day.

We all have work we want to get done and things we need to accomplish. Just pick one thing and attack it. Work your ass off and when (and if) you get it done then it’s on to the next one.

Doing things you hate

There’s no winning your day when you limit your options and do things you hate. Fact is, you’re not happy while you’re doing it and getting it done does nothing for you. You cheat yourself out of the sense of achievement you feel when you finish something you’re invested in. Now your mood is trashed and that feeling like you’re wasting your life is ruining your day.

Here’s where you want to explore a few options. 1) Find someone to do it for you. 2) Find another way to do it that you at least like. 3) Sucker someone to work along with you so it’s at least bearable.

Bull dozing

If we’re honest with ourselves we can admit that we want too much. This leads us to becoming human bull dozers. It’s one thing to feel accomplished at the end of the day. It’s a whole other to bull doze the day away. This is when you go into robot mode and your blinders shut out everything else. The day ends and you haven’t had one real conversation with another human. This isn’t just ruining your day, it’s a wrecking ball to your life. A life that only has a finite amount of days to get the most out of.

Start to engage immediately. If you’re a complete A type schedule in breaks throughout your day and go find a reason to laugh, a rose to smell or a human to high five. If you work at home set your alarm every 2 hours and when it goes off call a friend or jump outside and take a walk around the block. Don’t just bull doze projects. Build up memories, good times and life experiences. Or else, what the heck is the point?

Ruining your day overwork

Running on autopilot

Routines at work and in life are double edged swords. On one hand, you’ve got a solid direction to follow. Great right? Wrong. Remember that other hand? The one where you’ve turned into a zombie and no longer spend time learning or living? Yeah, that hand sucks.

Snap out of it son! It’s time to balls up and start taking some risks. Get out of your comfort zone and create some challenges in your life. Make that brain of yours work and do something big and scary. Switch up your routines as much as possible. Ask for new exciting projects at work, find a new place to explore, speak up, get vulnerable and go make some new friends.

No go out and make the most out of every damn day!

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5 Things to Stop Caring about Right Now

5 Things to Stop Caring about Right Now

 

Are you or is the one you love the hyper-caring type? You know, the person who loses sleep over their job interview or the big game? The person who tries to please and impress everyone under God green’s earth leaving nothing for themselves? Read them ‘5 things to stop caring about right now’, right now, because life is too precious to be a caring zombie.

not caring beat

The scary and uncertain future

Do you go to bed and lay there for hours projecting the terrible future? How’s that working out for you? Remember the time you built up so many butterflies in your stomach that you buckled on the actual performance? So many of us put ourselves in a “possibility purgatory” because we’re scared of the future.

Life is short. You’ll just have to embrace uncertainty like a long lost child. How about going after everything and tackling it to the ground? You only get one life and it’s YOUR life. Try to accept that life isn’t going to be smooth and sometimes you’re not going to get what you want or what you work so hard for. So what? No one is that lucky. Look at it this way, embracing uncertainty makes you brave and failure makes you stronger.

Your impact on others

We’re all social beings and it’s easy to let ourselves believe that people actually care about what we do and say. Ready for the hard truth? They rarely do unless you’re in their face or right next to them. That leaves the other 99% of the time for us to wastefully obsess about having some sort of impact on others.

Guess what? People generally devote all of their thoughts to themselves. It’s not a delighted feature of humanity but the fact is an average person exists in a “me” centered world. Most people are too consumed with thinking about what to have for dinner, whether there’s traffic on the way home or if they remembered to pay that overdue bill. Basically, they think a whole lot about things that affect them, and little to none about you.

It’s a helpful practice to remind yourself that everyone has better things to do than care about you, your mistakes and your purposes (gasp). The world rarely pays attention to you. Want to make impact on others? Start by doing big things.

not caring chocolate

Trying to please

You’re living the impossible dream. The great monk and poet John Lydgate once said “you can’t please all the people all of the time.”
So stop killing yourself trying to meet everyone’s expectations. Because guess what, even if you devote all your time making others happy it doesn’t change how they feel about you. They’ll just categorize you as the chump that will do anything to please them. People only change how they view you when they decide they want to. I’m all about building relationships with honest effort from both parties. Stop and look at all the “Yes” men and “Yes” women you’re surrounded by. Why are so few of them getting back what they give?

Take a step back, look at how you’re spending your time and energy and make sure the only person you’re aiming to please is you and those special few who really give a sh*t about you.

Popular opinion

The world is ruled by unnecessary ego. There are so many wannabe gurus out there in every corner of life. You can find them trolling forums on the internet, front and center on your Facebook feed, on a late night infomercial or even in the cubicle next to you. Dig a little deeper and you quickly realize that their all-important viewpoints are shaped largely by popular opinions.

If you Google any given topic on the internet, you’ll see the front page results are full of popular opinions. We’ve got massive marketing engines and popular news networks spending mad money to broadcast their opinions. The facts and scientific results are often buried below page 4 since they’re all serving their own agendas.

Personally, I don’t go seek advice from wannabe gurus with their popular opinions. I also recommend avoiding advice from someone who’s unsuccessful and or unhappy. Stop wasting your time. Instead, go and find yourself some kick ass mentors. Surround yourself with people who are already in a similar place to where you want to be. These people will challenge your ideas, offer you boat loads of constructive criticism and ultimately help you grow.

stop caring basic bitch

Being a basic bitch

I hate this term but you know what? It’s valid and you men can be basic bitches too.

I mean, like fall’s here! It’s time to shop for a super cute pair of overpriced UGG boots and stop at Starbucks for an equally overpriced Grande soy pumpkin spice latte. Like every other basic bitch on the block. It’s so much safer to sit in the “Comfort Zone” of conformity, while being accepted by your peers. You know, making sure that you don’t rock the boat.

But seriously, you’ve seen enough movies to realize that all your heroes are boat rockers. Here’s why. Your individuality is the one thing that is uniquely yours. It’s what makes you the person this world is waiting to know! Step away from the fray, drink coffee that doesn’t come in a green and white cup  and for the love of all things good and holy, do it right now.

This planet is overrun with people who care way too much about nonsense. Be different. Be a brave bold individual. We need more of you to drive the world engine and turn it to a better place. Start living you best life now.

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Break Out of These 5 Comfort Zone Traps and Be Passionate Once Again

Break Out of These 5 Comfort Zone Traps and Be Passionate Once Again

There’s nothing as beautiful as seeing the spark in a person’s eyes when they talk about something their passionate about. There’s nothing as depressing as the dull glaze in a person’s eyes when they lack the passion for life and are trapped in their comfort zone. They can keep their “safe spaces” and mediocre life, we want that magic and that freedom.

What we did here is to point out some traps that you may or may not already be in. We also tossed you some real tips that you can actually use to free your damn self and just be freakin’ fantastic.

Comfort zone

Living life on repeat

Listen man, it’s 2016 and automation is coming. The robotic reform is coming. And if what you do with your life, at work and beyond, is on repeat then guess what? You’re the first batch to be replaced. Seriously, if all you do each day is go to work, make a sad ass attempt to contribute, sink hours into social media and wax poetic in your minds about your contributions to the world, there are two things you can bet on. Number one, you are not experiencing what life has to offer and number two, you’ll be replaced by a Roomba.

So, what can you do? You need to get out of the repetition and upgrade your shit. Rediscover your job and career with more hunger and passion. Learn new games to play with your kids, become good friends with someone who doesn’t look like you or have the same political views as yourself. Take off with your friends on trip when given the opportunity or heck, even just start with having some fun taking a new route to work or learning to cook rather living on takeout.

Giving too many f*ucks

Remember Kony 2012? It’s a perfect example of the vast amount of f*cks (and not to mention cash) that can easily be milked using a half-ass activism effort. Seriously, it turns out to be a big scam and Kony and his army remain at large. So, why am I saying that giving too many f*cks holds you in a comfort zone trap? It’s because when you give out f*cks left and right like you’re Oprah at Christmas, you trick yourself into a false fulfilment trap. It may make you feel like a big bad social justice warrior by just simply caring or thinking about some random cause that was sold to you, but man, don’t get stuck. The hard truth is it’s not going to improve your life or the life of others. And at the end of the day, you’ll be too drained and exhausted to develop any real experiences or personal growth.

So how do we break free? Mark Manson hits the nail on the head in this post where he explains “that f*cks have to be earned and then invested wisely.” Treat those f*cks like gold and stop giving them away like boxes of raisins on Halloween. Now, it’s not realistic to think you can shut off the way you react to things overnight. To quote some great guru, “it’s a process”. So what? Do what you can. Like how about caring about one less thing a day? Just pick something small, like being okay with it when that driver doesn’t thank you when you let them in your lane. Is it really something to waste one of your valuable f*cks on? No, it is not.

Comfort zone

Muzzling your voice

You’ve got to speak up, son. This may seem like a contradiction to what we just wrote but it isn’t. There’s nothing that will keep you trapped in your comfort zone like not speaking up. It’s healthy and important to let your thoughts brew and process, but too many of us overcook our perspective and viewpoints. Take that stuff off of the burner and serve it. Healthy communication is as important to relationships as fresh water is to plants. You need to water that shit on the regular.

If you’re somewhat of an introvert and tend to muzzle your voice, don’t go into panic mode just yet. No one is saying you have to jump in head first. Go back to those baby steps and start with yourself. Find a mirror and take a gander at that good looking mug of yours and tell yourself what you want to accomplish. Do it a hundred times a day if you have to. Eventually you’ll find yourself out of this trap and speaking up with the best of them.

Mistaking vulnerability as a weakness

If the word “uncomfortable” had a lunch buddy its name would be vulnerability. We all have this BS fear of appearing vulnerable and being viewed as a weakling. A good friend once said to me. “If you’re going through a tough time, don’t try to resolve everything on your own. You never know which of your friends has the skills or resources to solve your problem”. I really loved his advice and it has personally served me well.

The thought of stepping out of your comfort zone and admitting to the world and your peers that you’re not “perfect” and that you don’t have all your shit together isn’t easy, but it’s so liberating. Here’s a thought to catch, as Brene Brown says in this article, “vulnerability is the core, the heart, the center of meaningful human experiences,”. Meaning if you don’t face your fear you cheat yourself of getting out of the comfort zone trap we’re talking about. The long and short of it, you need to realize that you and your problems aren’t all that special. You need to balls up and start Daring frickin’ Greatly.

Comfort zone

Forgetting about option c

Hey man, you know that you’re not a computer right? Then why is that you’re living a binary life. I saved the trickiest comfort zone trap for last and that’s not coming up with option C. Whoa, what? Option C? Yes! This one is really easy to understand and solve. Contrary to what every jackass out there might have you believe there’s more than two options to all your decisions. We’re living in the age of information and yet most of ya’ll still get your arm twisted into choosing from just one of the couple of options already crafted for you. That’s some real bullshit and you know it. Think outside of the box, do your research, talk to people and do your best to come up with an alternate solution.

Here are some examples of having an option C for your consideration:
A) Hillary,                     B) Trump,                     C) Puppy (As in, screw all this BS, I’m getting me a Beagle)

A) Soda,                         B) Energy Drink,     C) Coffee (As in, I can do without the sugar and calories bro)

If you let yourself consider at least one extra option in all your decision making it may elevate you from your comfort zone faster than we can say 2016.

If you’ve made it this far it’s obvious you want to get out of your comfort zone.  So, get up and go do something exciting, something surprising, something that scares the crap out you.  Go out there and LIVE because you know this won’t last forever.

Nice to meet you

We're Minh and Teresa and we love coffee

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How To Offer The Best Product Ever

How To Offer The Best Product Ever

A staggering 100 million businesses are launched annually, according to a GEM Global Report. With that information you can understand that the idea of having a unique product is one thing. The actual execution of creating that product and bringing it to the market is a whole other challenge.

How to offer the best product ever

(Image Courtesy of Flickr, Khánh Hmoong)

Like any good business great will tell you in order to meet the needs of the market you have to be able to fill a gap that currently exists. You must believe that you have a better offering than your competitors and you have to do the hard work to create a brand that brings the best of that offering to life.

We successfully identified “the gap” and figured out how to be the first supplier of 100% Vietnamese coffee to the United States.  It was common knowledge that we admired hard work and that the Vietnamese coffee roasting industry we would establish would employ some the hardest workers we knew.  To make the business model even more in line with our company beliefs, that coffee would be marketed to help hard working people in the Western world get stuff done.

Now the task was to actually find the bean that would fit the bill.

Before we first set out to find the best bean in Vietnam we knew that in order to find that bean we would have to know what else was out there.

And so with a round trip ticket in hand, a couple dozen TripAdvisor bookmarks on our Ipads and a thirst for purpose we mapped out all the best cafes in Saigon.

Now, if you’ve been to the capital city you’ll know this was no small feat. I mean cafes are to Saigon like the grains of sand are to the beaches of California.  Despite this we committed to the idea that no challenge was too big, especially when we had coffee as our go to research resource.

We narrowed down our points of caffeinated interest to specifically District 1, an area that has a population of 204,899 people and is located in the middle of the city. D1 is considered the financial center of Saigon and Vietnam and also happens to be known as the best spot for shopping in Vietnam with loads of shopping centers and fancy high end retailers.

With just over 2 weeks of dozens of early morning meetings with industry experts and suppliers to attend and late nights ahead of us we were sure that’d we’d be able to get a taste of the fuel we needed to help drive our own Project of Purpose.

We traveled the country and shook hands with some of the most noted players in the Vietnamese coffee game as well as some new players that were trying their hand in the market.  We discussed the ins and outs, the logistics, legalities and pragmatics of the proposal.

After our meetings we felt we were on the right track.  It was imperative to meet with the big guys but we didn’t stop there.  We knew how important the “little guys” were and how important it was to understand what the actual experience of drinking the coffee was.

How to offer the best product ever

We explored small mom and pop owned cafes that had no more than a few colorful child size tables and chairs outside to sip and enjoy the city scenes.  We took in the big 3 floor chain coffee shops that welcomed you with the most glorious blast of air conditioning. Not to mention trying the brews from the Vietnamese lady on the corner pouring drinks straight from her street cart.

It was much more of an experience than I ever thought it was going to be and we learned many things along the way.

Insights such as coffee is life in Vietnam. From morning to night the locals are drinking their hot and iced coffees as the rush of the scooters, taxis and people fly by.  It’s meant to be had in the morning, after breakfast, post lunch and most certainly after dinner.

There is not a corner you can turn without seeing a selection of cafes that are full of customers. Which means don’t be too hopeful if you hit up a café where there are no seats available because people don’t rush their coffee time.

And if you love a particular cup of coffee get your fill because unless you’re mapping out your every step you’ll probably never find the place again.

Most importantly we learned that coffee in Vietnam isn’t something that people drink to power through their day, it’s not just a daily habit and it certainly isn’t taken for granted.

Having coffee in Vietnam means that you’re sitting down to slow down your own perspective as the rest of world whizzes by.  It’s a time of day where you sit with others for hours at a time quite possibly not saying a single word but just observing the world around you.  It’s a tool to open the door to a solid session of self-reflection taking in all you can so that when you finally do rise from your chair you’re doing so having settled into your place in this world just a little more.

Did we find great coffee?  Absolutely, but far greater than that we discovered the “secret” to offering the best product possible.

We realized that in our quest for the perfect bean rather than getting caught up in nailing down the perfect “taste profile” what we should have been doing was taking notes from the Easterner’s lifestyle.

The coffee, no matter where we went was on point, that’s something the people of Vietnam have mastered.  But how, where, when and with whom you enjoy it has so much to do with how that cup of brew goes down.

And that’s a lesson that we’ll take refills on any day.

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