We are not supposed to miss this moment. We see our lives as one long stroke of a paintbrush, but our life is not one singular entity. Our life is made up of years and months and weeks and days and hours and minutes and seconds and finally moments. This very moment you can find all the beauty and joy you ever wished to experience in life. If you want to paint a masterpiece of your life, begin by making this moment a masterpiece.
We are not supposed to miss this moment. When we are not conscious and not present to the moment as we tend to be a vast majority of the time, it seems as if our life is slipping away in front of us. Days go by, weeks even, and we have no connection to them. It as if we are outsiders watching our own truman show. Our lives and our time are distant creatures that we observe, but have no control over. As soon as we bring our attention, our focus, our highest priority to this very moment we obtain the power to decide our destinies. To have a say in our lives. To experience a taste of living, rather than see it vicariously. When our attention is in the moment, we matter infinitely more. We are defined by our moments of presence.

We are not supposed to miss this moment. All that we seek in life we can find right now, were we only to stop seeking. We seek riches, fame, success, love, happiness, appreciation. Why? Because we truly seek the feelings associated with these things. We seek the feelings of joy and importance we will have when we accomplish these things. Ironically, these feelings are our birthright. We are entitled to them and can enjoy them whenever we choose. We just have to stop seeking them and melt into the beauty of the present moment.

We are not supposed to miss this moment. How long is an eternity? Sometimes just a second. We lead wide shallow lives, never venturing into the depth of each moment. Never knowing what joy could be found in each activity that we do or do not do. When you are fully present, each moment is an eternity, each moment achieves depth, each moment becomes an end in itself rather than a means to an end. When each moment means so much, life becomes satisfying to the point that death is no longer worried about or feared because you are now living to the fullest. You are living a life’s worth of joy right now.

We are not supposed to miss this moment.


This is just something very personal that I write and re-read to myself when I find myself getting too caught up in the meaningless distractions of life which take me away from what is truly important, what is truly godlike in this world. The only thing that has meaning for us – this very moment.

What is Self Confidence?


What is self confidence? One of the most important lessons I’ve learned and am still learning, and mostly likely won’t stop until I am laid to rest. Self confidence isn’t self confidence. It is self acceptance. Accepting all the things that make you imperfect. It’s acknowledging you make mistakes, you are not a perfect 10, you will say and do the wrong things. You will fail and you will fall. Self confidence is when you accept that all this will happen.. And that you are ok with it.

When most people make a mistake – during an event, a social setting, or any activity they take part in – the inner voices usually begin. You begin to bully yourself incessantly, allowing your own mind to call you names and tell you things you would never allow another person to say to you. If a mistake happens, it is not good or bad. It just is. Only your mind exploding in thought afterward warps it from an event into something bad or worse, catastrophic. If you move on from it immediately and maybe learn from it, you can usually recover from near any mistake. However, as soon as your mind takes the reins, you have beaten yourself up to the point where there is no returning from the mistake. You are now everything you told yourself you were in your mind, even if you weren’t before.

As I become more confident and truly try to accept and love myself more, I see that voice emerging all the time, and sometimes it takes over my inner script, but sometimes I can accept that voice as well as whatever mistake I’ve made. I can tell myself that it’s ok. It’s ok to make a mistake or to fail or to let someone down. I tell myself that the most important thing is my inner peace and mental health, far more than any short term pleasure or learning I may receive from endless pondering of the mistake in that moment. I can lose the girl. I can fail at my job. I can get rejected if I open myself up. I can lose family, friends, passions. The only thing I can’t do is continue to bully myself any longer.

Once I am free from the pressure of being perfect and having to succeed at everything I do, I am free to focus on what is really important: having new experiences, enjoying life’s opportunities as they come up, and using my potential to be the best that I can be in anything I want to do.



“A bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking, because her trust is not on the branch but on it’s own wings. Always believe in yourself”

How Conor McGregor used the 48 Laws of Power to become the most powerful man in MMA


Conor McGregor. You may or may not watch MMA, but you sure as hell know who this guy is. Polarizing is an overused word to describe him, but it is 100% accurate in this case. Everyone has an opinion of Conor. You might love him and his trash talk, think he is invincible and the G.O.A.T., good for the sport of MMA, or simply admire his raw talent and skill. You might have the utmost hatred for his arrogance and disrespectful attitude, his ability to win and prove his trash talk correct, or simply think he is not as good as he claims. Either way, you have an opinion of this man and one thing is for certain – since Conor burst onto the scene, the UFC has definitely become “The McGregor Show”.

A brief background on Conor McGregor. He is an extremely popular Irish MMA fighter with immense kickboxing skills, a larger than life personality, and a 20-2 record (His last loss was about 5 years ago). He is also the most powerful man in MMA at this moment. The only person comparable in this regard to him is a woman (Ronda Rousey). By this I don’t mean he is the best or most skilled fighter in the UFC. I quite literally mean he holds more power than any other fighter in the UFC.


Power is defined as: The capacity or ability to direct or influence the behavior of others or the course of events.

I just recently finished reading a Robert Greene classic and favorite of some of the most successful and powerful people on the planet, “The 48 Laws of Power”. This has my mind highly attuned to look for instances of people using power, consciously or unconsciously, and I find it everywhere. I observe myself making power moves sometimes without even noticing, simply by my experienced-guided intuition, and observe others attempting to exert power over the circumstances and people around them. Power controls everything around us and the people who understand and use it best are also the ones who hide it best. Conor McGregor is one of these people. I am not saying he has read the book, but I am also not saying he hasn’t. Whether or not he has is irrelevant, he applies the laws better than the majority of people in the world and definitely better than anyone else competing in professional MMA at the moment.


Now let’s delve into some of the laws he has mastered.

Law 6: Court Attention At All Cost

Conor McGregor understands that bad publicity is better than no publicity. This is probably the #1 attribute contributing to his power and one of his greatest talents. He understands that he serves a “master” (Dana White/UFC) and by courting attention better than anyone out there, he becomes more valuable to his master than any other fighter. He does this through spectacular trash talking, a scandalous and superhuman personality, and dominant, showy performances that keep his name in the limelight at all times. He breaks records for UFC gates and fills his master’s pockets with cash. In return he receives preferential treatment, premature title shots, and the ability to get away with insane amounts of disrespectful behavior.


Law 17: Keep Others In Suspended Terror: Cultivate An Air Of Unpredictability

Humans are creatures of control who try to predict and find patterns in everything and everyone around them. No one can predict what Conor McGregor will say or do next. He is talking trash one minute and being respectful the next. In the middle of a press conference, he will stand up and steal the champion’s (Aldo) title belt. Other fighters are unable to control and adapt to Conor’s chaotic personality and are constantly thrown off balance. This gets into their head and cultivates a literal attitude of terror.


Law 23: Concentrate Your Forces

Conor McGregor has decent grappling skills. He is not a one-dimensional fighter. He does, however, understand the art and power of concentrating his forces in one area. Conor does one thing really well and he sticks to it relentlessly. He moves forward constantly, putting immense pressure on his opponent, and relies on pinpoint accurate striking, seemingly unstoppable endurance, and an iron chin. When Chad Mendes did his best to disrupt this game plan through takedowns and lateral movement, Conor stayed relaxed and constantly moved toward what he was good at until he finished the fight.


Law 28: Enter Action With Boldness

The power of audacity and boldness has been proven throughout history over and over again. Conquistadores in Latin America burning their ships behind them. 6 unarmed German men capturing the entire capital city of Belgrade. Conor McGregor betting 3 million on his ability to put out Chad Mendes in the first 2 rounds of their fight. How can you lose when your entire financial freedom is at stake? This complete confidence and boldness in his ability to win his fight is reminiscent of Muhammad Ali and shakes every opponent that stands across the octagon from him.


Law 30: Make Your Accomplishments Seem Effortless

This is a favorite power tactic of mine and another UFC great: Anderson Silva. Him and Conor McGregor are both masters of this technique. They fight so completely relaxed and apparently distracted, taunting with disregard for their opponent that it seems they are not even trying at all. Even when Conor was getting elbowed in the face and cut open, he seemed unfazed, almost as if was still winning the fight. This fools everybody, including his opponent, into thinking that he is capable of much more. How much does it shake you when you are throwing your 100% effort at your opponent and he is yawning at you? You give 120% and exhaust yourself which was Chad’s exact mistake. In reality, both Conor and Anderson are trying their best at all times, they just understand the power of appearing effortless.


Law 43: Work On The Hearts And Minds Of Others

One of the most powerful laws in Robert Greene’s arsenal. Logic, coercion, facts, rationality. These things have no power over men. People cannot be convinced, persuaded, or forced into your influence. They must want to do what you want them to do. They must be seduced. Conor McGregor is an expert in this regard. He intensely appeals to people’s weakness – emotion. In the fans of the UFC, he stirs up anger and disgust with his cocky and disrespectful words. The result? People come in droves to watch him get humbled. He also stirs up plenty of admiration for his bravado and integrity. The result? People come in droves to watch him dominate his opponents. To his opponents? Conor does the same. An emotional man is easy to predict and defeat. If Mendes remained calm, he would have had a great chance of defeating Conor McGregor and earning UFC gold. Unfortunately for him, Conor got him right in the feels.


Conor McGregor is the most powerful man in the UFC and in the sport of MMA. He has mastered the laws of power and leverages them to disrupt and defeat his opponents, secure lucrative paydays, and keep his name in our minds at all times. I am sure he is completely conscious and deliberate with many of his power moves and that he also unconsciously is, through previous experience, making other of his power moves.

Robert Greene’s landmark book is a great read and, while it may seem abstract or inapplicable, it is important to recognize power so that we can use it if the situation comes up and arm ourselves against it when it is used toward us. The book has given me great perspective on power, especially in MMA, and how Conor McGregor has come so far, so fast. I could also delve into many transgressions of the 48 laws that other MMA fighters are making that is deducting from their power, but that is a post for another day.

And now, for the most important question? Aldo or McGregor. UFC 194. Who will win?

I believe if they had fought originally at UFC 189, McGregor was sufficiently in Aldo’s head with his power moves and games that he definitely would have emerged victorious. Now I believe Conor is not in Aldo’s head as much as he was previously. If Aldo can stay calm and in control, I believe he has a great chance of finishing Conor in the first 3 rounds. If Conor outlasts him to the later rounds, he has a better chance of finishing Aldo. My final prediction? Conor by TKO in the 4th round.



“The lion cannot protect himself from traps, and the fox cannot defend himself from wolves. One must therefore be a fox to recognize traps, and a lion to frighten wolves.”

The Four Obstacles to Following Our Dreams


This is the foreword to Paulo Coelho’s “The Alchemist”. This is my favorite fiction book and one of my favorite books of all time. In this foreword, he writes about the four obstacles that stop us from chasing after our destinies, our dreams and that ultimately stop us from achieving the lives we want and happiness. This is one of the most beautiful pieces of literature I have ever read and I remember the first time I read it, the feeling it gave me that I was on the right path. I hope you enjoy it and that you find your own meaning in these words.


“All I know is that, like Santiago the shepherd boy, we all need to be aware of our personal calling. What is a personal calling? It is God’s blessing, it is the path that God chose for you here on Earth. Whenever we do something that fills us with enthusiasm, we are following our legend. However, we don’t all have the courage to confront our own dream.


There are four obstacles. First: we are told from childhood onwards that everything we want to do is impossible. We grow up with this idea, and as the years accumulate, so too do the layers of prejudice, fear and guilt. There comes a time when our personal calling is so deeply buried in our soul as to be invisible. But it’s still there.

If we have the courage to disinter dream, we are then faced by the second obstacle: love. We know what we want to do, but are afraid of hurting those around us by abandoning everything in order to pursue their dream. We do not realize that love is just a further impetus, not something that will prevent them going forwards. We do not realize that those who genuinely wish us well want us to be happy and are prepared to accompany us on that journey.

Once we have accepted that love is a stimulus, we come up against the third obstacle: fear of the defeats we will meet on the path. We who fight for our dream, suffer far more when it doesn’t work out, because we cannot fall back on the old excuse: “Oh, well, I didn’t really want it anyway.” We do want it and know that we have staked everything on it and that the path of the personal calling is no easier than any other path, except that our whole heart is in this journey. Then, we warriors of light must be prepared to have patience in difficult times and to know that the Universe is conspiring in our favor, even though we may not understand how.

I ask myself: are defeats necessary?

Well, necessary or not, they happen. When we first begin fighting for our dream, we have no experience and make many mistakes. The secret of life, though, is to fall seven times and to get up eight times.

So, why is it so important to live our personal calling if we are only going to suffer more than other people?

Because, once we have overcome the defeats – and we always do – we are filled by a greater sense of euphoria and confidence. In the silence of our hearts, we know that we are proving ourselves worthy of the miracle of life. Each day, each hour, is part of the good fight. We start to live with enthusiasm and pleasure. Intense, unexpected suffering passes more quickly than suffering that is apparently bearable; the latter goes on for years and, without our noticing, eats away at our soul, until, one day, we are no longer able to free ourselves from the bitterness and it stays with us for the rest of our lives.

Having disinterred our dream, having used the power of love to nurture it and spent many years living with the scars, we suddenly notice that what we always wanted is there, waiting for us, perhaps the very next day. Then comes the fourth obstacle: the fear of realizing the dream for which we fought all our lives.

Oscar Wilde said: ‘each man kills the thing he loves’. And it’s true. The mere possibility of getting what we want fills the soul of the ordinary person with guilt. We look around at all those who have failed to get what they want and feel that we do not deserve to get what we want either. We forget about all the obstacles we overcame, all the suffering we endured, all the things we had to give up in order to get this far. I have known a lot of people who, when their personal calling was within their grasp, went on to commit a series of stupid mistakes and never reached their goal – when it was only a step away.

This is the most dangerous of the obstacles because it has a kind of saintly aura about it: renouncing joy and conquest. But if you believe yourself worthy of the thing you fought so hard to get, then you become an instrument of God, you help the Soul of the World and you understand why you are here.”

The Four Horses – Which One Are You?


A quote taken from George Leonard’s “Mastery” which I have just finished reading. This is an awesome story so I am posting it now as a perfect accompaniment to my book summary yesterday.


“In his book Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, Zen master Shunryu Suzuki approaches the question of fast and slow learners in terms of horses. “In our scriptures, it is said that there are four kinds of horses: excellent ones, good ones, poor ones, and bad ones. The best horse will run slow and fast, right and left, at the driver’s will, before it sees the shadow of the whip; the second will run as well as the first one, just before the whip reaches its skin; the third one will run when it feels pain on its body; the fourth will run after the pain penetrates to the marrow of its bones. You can imagine how difficult it is for the fourth one to learn to run.

When we hear this story, almost all of us want to be the best horse. If it is impossible to be the best one, we want to be the second best.” But this is a mistake, Master Suzuki says. When you learn too easily, you’re tempted not to work hard, not to penetrate to the marrow of a practice.

“If you study calligraphy, you will find that those who are not so clver usually become the best calligraphers. Those who are very clever with their hands often encounter great difficulty after they have reached a certain stage. This is also true in art, and in life.” The best horse, according to Suzuki, may be the worst horse. And the worst horse can be the best, for if it perseveres, it will have learned whatever it is practicing all the way to the marrow of its bones.

Suzuki’s parable of the four horses has haunted me ever since I first heard it. For one thing, it poses a clear challenge for the person with exceptional talent: to achieve his or her full potential, this person will have to work just as diligently as those with less innate ability.


If I persevere and dedicate my efforts [at skills I’m not naturally good at], I’ll someday know this [skill] all the way to the marrow of my bones.”

Carrots, Eggs, and Coffee


Are you Carrots, Eggs, or Coffee?

I read this story online recently and was impressed by the metaphor and meaning found in such a simple tale. Hope you enjoy.


A daughter complained to her father about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved a new one arose. Her father, a chef, took her to the kitchen. He filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to a boil. In one he placed carrots, in the second he placed eggs, and the last he placed ground coffee beans. He let them sit and boil, without saying a word. The daughter sucked her teeth and impatiently waited, wondering what he was doing. In about twenty minutes he turned off the burners. He fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl.

He pulled the eggs out and placed them a bowl. Then he ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her he asked. “Darling, what do you see?” “Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” she replied. He brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. He then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, he asked her to sip the coffee. She smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. She humbly asked. “What does it mean Father?”

He explained that each of them had faced the same adversity, boiling water, but each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. But after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior. But after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water. “Which are you,” he asked his daughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?”


“Do I dare/Disturb the Universe?”

Motivation v. Discipline


We’ve all had that feeling before. It usually strikes late at night, after we have been lurking on the internet or talking to a friend or doing whatever we stay up doing. You suddenly have the desire to get your life together and go out to accomplish your dreams. You write down all your plans for the future and the actions you’re going to take. You might even get started right away, going for a run that very night. Sounds pretty legit, right?

This is what we call motivation and as we all know too well, it does not last! The majority of people will wake up the following day, tired and in a slump, and postpone those goals they set so vigorously the night before. If we’re lucky, that burst of motivation might last longer, maybe a few days or even a couple of weeks. Soon enough, however, our motivation-fueled diesel engine runs out of gas and our train of progress comes to a screeching halt. Why won’t this feeling last longer? How can we accomplish anything if motivation is so temporary, so fleeting, so ephemeral? And worst of all, how do other people have seemingly endless motivation and can actually, consistently make progress on their goals? Maybe some people are just born that way, but you are destined to always fail because you weren’t?




I can describe this motivational dilemma we all face as humans so well, because I have been the biggest victim of it my entire life. This is not an “I” problem. This is a human problem. Motivation IS waning for all of us… Nobody is motivated all the time (if you meet the person, send them to me).




Stop depending on motivation. Motivation is a liar who will trick you over and over again and you will continuously fall for it’s games. You can’t rely on motivation to get your dreams. You have to rely on something else far more solid and dependable. Rely on discipline.

Discipline is motivation’s less charming cousin, but far more reliable and hard working. If motivation is a politician – speaking much, but accomplishing little – Discipline is a blue collar activist, working diligently behind the scenes to affect real change.


I've tried to start a blog before, when I was motivated to do so... Didn't work out. I only wrote when I felt like it, which was very few times. When I set out to start a blog with discipline, to write training logs everyday, about nearly every book I read , and as a creative outlet for my mind.. That is how my blog continues to stay alive and thrive (to my standards)

I’ve tried to start a blog before, when I was motivated to do so… Didn’t work out. I only wrote when I felt like it, which was very few times. When I set out to start a blog with discipline, to write training logs everyday, about nearly every book I read , and as a creative outlet for my mind.. That is how my blog continues to stay alive and thrive (to my standards). On the days I feel like writing, I write. On the days I don’t feel like writing, I write.


The problem with discipline is that he isn’t very trusting and it takes a while to become good friends with him. You have to force yourself to do things for him, at first, such as dragging your butt to the gym regardless of how you feel or refusing to eat that pint of Ben & Jerry’s regardless of how stressful your day was. Discipline is built through repetitive little actions, but before you know it, you have built a solid foundation with discipline that will serve you daily in your goals. Once your habits have been set, everyday it is easier and easier to go out and do what you must do, you may even start enjoying the grind.

Sure enough, once you have established your bond with discipline, motivation will still come knocking at your door and you can enjoy his company while he is there, but when he leaves, you won’t be left at his mercy anymore because you have the discipline to do what you must do, with or without motivation.



“Discipline is doing what you know needs to be done, even if you don’t want to do it”

Experiment With What You Put In Your Mouth.


The best way to come up with a way of eating that works for you is experimentation. Everyone is different and what I eat might be the best fuel for my body, but not the best for yours. Of course, clean, unprocessed foods are probably better for nearly everyone, so that is definitely the base that you should build your diet/eating lifestyle upon.

Some people just run better with more or less carbs and some people need to eat more fats. My little brother deals very well with fast acting carbs and can get away with eating more carbs such as oatmeal, cereal, and breads. He probably wouldn’t do too well with a huge amount of his calories coming from clean fats such as coconut oil, olive oil, clean fatty meats, and nuts. I definitely need a good amount of carbs to perform all the exercise I do, but I tend to feel better when I eat slower carbs (sweet potatoes, plantains, brown or wild rice) and, even with those, not excessively. I feel really good consuming a lot of fats from clean sources as well.


What my brother eats (he loves these kind of protein granolas - and I can't lie, they are pretty amazing tasting)

What my brother eats (he loves these kind of protein granolas – and I can’t lie, they are pretty amazing tasting)


What I eat (Plantains, eggs, and broccoli)

What I eat (Mashed plantains, eggs, and broccoli)


The only way I figured out the diet that works best for me (and I still haven’t really. I’ve just come closer to it) is through tons of experimenting with different ways of eating. I’ve tried nearly everything out there (not fad diets, just different nutrient breakdowns of clean foods). I’ve learned a lot and one of the biggest things people should watch out for is not to fall into the trap of believing that something should work for you and sticking to it when it clearly doesn’t. Stick to the facts of reality, observe yourself, and just because something works well in theory or for others doesn’t mean its your best option.

An example of this is that I really wanted to be the kind of person that can eat a lot of carbs and react well to them. I read that there are plenty of people that do this, especially athletes, and I decided I was one of those people. There is something to be said for trying to adapt reality to yourself, but sometimes you need to adapt yourself to reality. I simply did not feel as good from eating tons of carbs, specifically simple ones such as sugar and granola.


This is the kind of stuff my body likes best - Coconut oil. eggs, avocados, and sweet potatoes

This is the kind of stuff my body likes best – eggs, avocados, and sweet potatoes

This is the kind of stuff my body likes best - Coconut oil. eggs, avocados, and sweet potatoes

This is the kind of stuff my body likes best – There are so many amazing uses for this jar of healthy lard


My latest experiment has been with a 100% clean, organic, grass fed, etc… diet. No cheat meals, no real processed foods (protein powder was probably the closest thing to processed), no dairy or gluten, and plenty of fruits and veggies. The only real difference between this diet and my regular one is that I removed cheat meals and was more strict about little things like making everything organic and restricting cheese or oatmeal.

My food intake consisted mostly of pastured organic chicken, wild fish, grass fed beef, sweet potatoes, brown rice, plantains, bananas, spinach, nuts, and pea/rice protein.


I eat a LOT of bananas

I eat a LOT of bananas


3 things I learned.

  1. The hardest part of a nutrition program is the initial 2 weeks. Afterwards cravings will still happen, but they come and go much quicker. The initial 2 weeks will be an exercise in willpower as your body shifts from being used to quick carbs and running on processed food to more normal sources of energy.
  2. If you are able to control your cheat meals and not gorge yourself when you have them, there is no real difference between a perfectly clean diet and a mostly clean diet. I lost a little bit more weight than usual, but nothing extraordinary at all. Calories in and out are obviously just as important to lose weight, even when eating clean food. It is just harder to overeat clean food and it won’t throw you off balance as much when you do. The only real difference is that big cheat meals make me feel a little off for a day or two as compared to not feeling this because I was not eating any cheat meals.
  3. I try to aim for a lifestyle, not a diet, and I know I want to eat ice cream again in my life so I would not ever do a 100% strict diet unless I have to for training or cutting weight. The key is sustainability. Long term results over short terms quick fixes.


What I expected to happen: I would turn into a ripped super saiyan with unlimited stores of energy and I would be so clear headed and positive no one could stand to talk to me.

What I expected to happen....

What I expected to happen….

What actually happened: My body and mind felt really good all the time which they normally do on my regular diet except for during big cheat meals. The little extra things like organic and grass fed didn’t make a noticeable impact.

What actually happened....

What actually happened….

What is my next move: Come back to a mostly clean diet with the occasional one or two cheat meals a week. Make sure I don’t gorge or eat excessively even when I cheat. I’m thinking about trying a high-testosterone diet (as if I need more of that). I’ll let you know how that goes.



“The secret to life is to prepare way ahead of time”

Travel Journal, The Introduction: Finding My Wings

“I flew around the world and tasted all of life’s pleasures before I could commit to my grand vision”

I will be writing a journal of my travels in Europe during the second half of 2014. This will kind of be like a late diary.. considering I was planning on keeping one during my travels, but that obviously didn’t happen. I would like some sort of remembrance and recording of what happened during those 4 months in Europe so I am going to write it down while my memory is still (somewhat) fresh.

I will be taking it one country at a time and include any pictures I took in the specific countries (which are not many, I’m not really a picture guy). They will probably be brief posts, including what I did in the country, people I connected well with, what I liked, what I didn’t like, and any specific observations I can make about the time I spent there.

A guideline I will try to observe:

  • No mentioning of sexual encounters or illicit/illegal activities (if either of those even happened ;) )


If you have any questions or comments about anything related to my travels, feel free to contact me through whichever method you would like or comment below and I will reply right away. I love to talk about my travels and I love to help people have similar experiences!

And so begins my Travel Journal.


This is actually the same poster I had on my wall and used to plan my trip

This is actually the same poster I had on my wall and used to plan my trip


The first topic I will explore is how my entire trip came to fruition.


The story begins late 2013. I had recently changed my major and was dedicating more and more time to MMA, but I was struggling to really complete my life the way I wanted it to. I had an idea of what I wanted in life, my goals, and the changes I had to implement in my life, but being surrounded by the same people, same environment, same expectations put enormous pressure on me to remain exactly that – the same. I can’t blame anyone or anything for that pressure because while some of it was definitely external, the defining majority was coming from an internal source. I couldn’t find the power inside of me to make the changes I needed to make in my life and I felt trapped.

So naturally, the anxiety and negative emotions from this welled up inside of me and one day I woke up in the morning, in complete despair, with the worst panic attack I have ever suffered in my life and the only words I could hear in my head were “I can’t keep going on like this”. Sounds a little suicidal, but that was never really an option, it was more like an extreme call for action from my mind/soul. I probably have never felt so bad in my life as I did that morning.

That morning, there was no choice but to make a change and I did. I decided I had to go. I had to go somewhere, completely different, externally and internally. I made two resolutions that morning… that I was leaving the country to go backpacking on September 1st (about 9 months from that day) and I was going to have my first MMA fight before then. The MMA fight is a topic for another time, but I had already decided that I was making my trip on that fateful day.

Actually I just woke up one day and decided I didn't want to feel like that anymore or ever again so I changed just like that"

“Actually I just woke up one day and decided I didn’t want to feel like that anymore or ever again so I changed just like that”


That set up the incentive for me to go on my trip, but how did I actually accomplish it? My trip took many different forms during planning and ended up being nothing like I expected or planned, but one thing remained the same throughout all the plans – the need for money! I had time and motivation on my side, however. Nothing is as motivating as having a strict deadline in front of your eyes and I set out to make at least $6000 before I left. I got my first job outside of leadership positions on campus. I was working as a busser at Kobe Japanese Steakhouse, a very draining job, and still taking classes, working as an RA, and training MMA full time for a fight I was scheduled for in June. It could be the busiest, most time consumed period of my life, but I was in the process of living my dream and, looking back, it was one of the best times of my life.

Another stumbling block that I may have had if I hadn’t already decided I was going is the doubts and opinions of other people. I’d say people were split into three groups when I told them about my trip (and I didn’t tell many). One third of people flat out refused to believe that I was going, one third told me it was a terrible idea, and the other third told me it was amazing and they were jealous that they couldn’t do the same thing. My family, a very important part of my life, definitely fell into the first two groups at first. Their negative response was discouraging at times, but I tried to remember one thing – I am the only one that has to live my life. 

If I listened to people’s advice on how to live my life, I would have not accomplished half of what I have, I would be very disillusioned with life, and the worst part: those same people would have already forgotten what they had told me I should do, but I am the one that will never forget because I have to live with the consequences! Instead I listened to people’s advice and quietly discounted it as I continued to move forward with my plans for my life. As it turns out, those people in the first two groups of doubters and discouragers ended up slowly piling into the third group of people who encouraged me and told me how they envied me. This taught me a valuable lesson about listening to yourself, first and foremost.


“My first restaurant experience - bussing your tables after you eat some Hibachi”

“My first restaurant experience – bussing your tables after you eat some Hibachi”


4 months out from my trip, I wasn’t nearly at half of $6000. I realized I needed to light a fire under my ass and I went out and bought a ticket (for a great price) to Sweden on September 3rd. That did it. I was extremely resourceful and looked for multiple sources to make the money I needed for my trip. I stopped spending money on nearly anything and was as frugal as a college student could possibly be. I moved into my fraternity brother’s couch and was literally spending less than $300 a month in total expenses.


“I am a bloodhound for finding cheap plane tickets”

“I am a bloodhound for finding cheap plane tickets”

I am definitely going to write in the future about different ways to make the money you need to travel as I believe that the number one reason people do not travel is because they have false beliefs about how much money they will need and how much money they can save if they really want to.


Fast forward a few months… I won my first MMA fight and reached $6000+ in my bank account. I was riding the high all the way to the plane. I bought my supplies, put everything into my huge backpack, said a nervous goodbye to my friends and family, and got on the plane to Sweden. (And that is a story for the first page of my Travel Journal)!!!



Family on the day of departure


Friends on the day of departure


The final goodbye



We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time”

Stop Working So Hard! (Or How To Avoid Overtraining)


Overtraining! Who thought that hard work and pushing yourself could ever come back and bite you in the ass. Today I am going to give you my, scientifically unqualified, knowledge (from personal experience and research) on overtraining. And don’t stress it, most people never train enough to have to worry about this, but maybe this can help you!

Don't be that guy

Don’t be that guy

First of all, overtraining can get very complicated if you get into the minute details. Keeping things simple, however, overtraining is simply your body not recovering properly from the amount of stress you are putting on it. This can be due to

  1. Poor nutrition, sleep, and recovery methods
  2. Too much volume (how much you exercise) and intensity for your workouts (how hard you exercise)
  3. Too much mental stress – your body treats all stress the same whether it comes from exercise or work, relationships, emotional issues, etc..
  4. A combination of all of the above (most likely)


People who are more prone to overtraining are those who have been on a long layoff (or never started at all) from exercise and decide to jump right into an intense exercise program, frequently being a program they used to be able to handle. Also people who are balancing a lot on their plate such as exercise, school, and relationships/social life coupled with poor sleep and nutrition habits.

Does this sound like someone you know? I pretty much just described a college student (at least one who exercises).

The reality of a college student's life...

The reality of a college student’s life…


Well, the best way to deal with overtraining is to never let yourself completely get there in the first place. We have to learn to recognize the signs of overtraining so we can stop it in its tracks.

Due to years of pushing my body to its limits and beyond, I am very attuned to every part of my body and all the processes going on inside of it. I have overtrained countless times and now I can tell when my body is approaching that state and I am pretty good at staying near the edge and not passing the line of overtraining or recovering quickly when I pass that line slightly. I have been able to pinpoint my personal signs of overtraining so I can usually (if I’m not stubborn) avoid it.


My signs of overtraining (yours may be different):

  • Stiff, inflexible muscles, especially my upper body
  • Irritability – little things get to me more
  • Continuous physical fatigue and mental cloudiness
  • Decreased desire to train or exercise
  • Either I get constant hunger pangs and an unstoppable desire to binge eat or I lose my appetite despite all the exercise I’ve been doing.
  • Either I am always restless and can’t sleep or I am always sleepy and oversleep 9+ hours regularly

Usually I do not experience all of these symptoms, only a few of them at a time. More and more symptoms start appearing as overtraining gets worse and worse and you get closer to that line or past it. If I do not catch it in time, I will continue to overtrain until I either get sick or get an injury (which both happen much, much easier when you are overtrained). If this happens (and it has to me so many times), you have to take much more time off and lose a lot of your gains. Also if you are overtraining for a while, even if you do not get sick or injured, your body will not make the improvements it should and may even regress because it is not recovering properly.


Can't break arms if I'm overtraining

Can’t break arms if I’m overtraining


If I starting noticing 3 or more of these symptoms, I instantly come up with a plan to stop overtraining in its tracks and recover as fast as possible, while still learning and improving. This plan usually involves

  1. Decreasing intensity as much as possible (Never do sprints or anything that pushes you to a similar level of intensity when you are near overtraining)
  2. Decreasing volume to a reasonable amount (I never do 2 a days when I am on the brink of overtraining)
  3. Increase caloric intake of healthy foods and avoid all unhealthy foods (I especially up my carb and protein intake)
  4. Increase the amount of daily sleep I am getting (at least 7-8 hours and I try to take a 30m nap during the day as well)
  5. Implement recovery methods (My personal favorites are meditation and deep breathing, contrast showers, epsom salt baths, and, very rarely, massages)


The first 4 are usually no brainers and should always be done in any overtraining situation. The fifth is kind of your emergency toolkit if you need to recover faster or have been overtraining for a little longer duration.

I try to always stay near the edge of overtraining, but never pass over that line. If I notice I am, I quickly take a step back. This ends up being a very productive cycle for me in which I push myself slightly past my limits, hit a wall, and recover quickly, coming back on a higher level then I was when I began (due to the principle of supercompensation, which is when your body recovers from a lot of training, it will have a rebound effect and you will be better than before).


This is a pretty good representation of how I try to structure my training

This is a pretty good representation of how I try to structure my training (The green line that is!)



Like I said earlier, most people should never have to worry about overtraining. If you do have to deal with overtraining once in a while, you are doing something right! If you have to deal with it a lot, you are doing something very wrong, check yourself! Its very good to push yourself to your limits and slightly beyond them, this is how your body and mind improve; It is also very important to allow yourself to recover as much as you have to and listen to your body.

I, myself, have been on the brink of overtraining since I pushed myself ridiculously hard and with tons of volume last week and I am listening to my body, deloading my volume of workouts slightly for a week (not even very much, just 2-3 less training sessions over a week), and increasing my food intake. I should be back to a higher volume again in a week and better than ever!

"You're working too hard bro, just take it easy"

“You’re working too hard bro, just take it easy”


“Self motivated people have a problem with going too far. Externally motivated people haven’t even started.”