Success Habits

Some Sunset with Trees
Some Random Sunset that has Nothing to do with this Post

I started reading Robert Ringer’s Million Dollar Habits this afternoon and just got inspired to make a list of success habits myself, before even reading any of his own. Only one came to mind at the time I started writing, which was to rise early. Then the rest of this list just sorta… rolled out onto the page. But I think they’re good habits that compound, especially if one is consistent over several days or weeks. I tried to be practical, with pragmatic advice that anyone can implement immediately (and I myself need to start implementing my own advice, for most of these).

I’ll just leave with a Robert Ringer quote from the intro to the book:

Put in metaphorical terms, success is not a grand-slam home run. Rather, it’s a matter of consistently hitting singles and doubles day in and day out. The individual who makes it to the top concentrates on staying at bat and avoiding the big mistake. Then, when that perfect pitch comes across the plate, he hits it out of the park.

(Just to re-iterate, this is a list that I made up, not from Million Dollar Habits.)

  1. Rise early. Wake up at 5 AM.
  2. Make your bed first thing every morning. It gets you started taking action and instills good habits.
  3. Some physical exercise, every day. Yoga, bodyweight exercise, walking or light jogging to start. Maybe some weight and/or resistance training.
  4. Eat healthy. The less animals, the better. The closer to nature, the better (including raw foods). Treat your body like a temple.
  5. Just say no. To intoxicants, toxic things. Cigarettes, alcohol, greasy/fried food.
  6. Clean environment. No toxic people or unhealthy thoughts. Healthy mind = healthy life. Healthy music too. Don’t hurt your eardrums.
  7. Learn every day. Read books, learn languages. Use audio courses, self-study from books, even YouTube courses. Just learn something.
  8. Get 6-7 hours of healthy sleep each night. Be consistent with sleep habits.
  9. Produce meaningful work, and try and contribute to society. (Grow a garden. Make music. Prepare healthy meals. Help old ladies cross the street. Get paid for some of it. Do some for free.)
  10. Stop trying to look cool. You know if you are. This includes music, clothing… social choices. Worry about achieving the goal, not appearances.
  11. Take care of yourself. This means caring about yourself, and loving yourself. How can you love others if you can’t even love yourself?
  12. Don’t make excuses or rationalize. About 99% of the time, the phrase “I don’t have time” really means “It’s not a priority”. You do have time — that’s why you wake up at 5 AM, right?

Tonight I ordered a plate of fries…

French Fries... a.k.a. "NastySticks"
French Fries… a.k.a. “NastySticks”

… and I didn’t eat any of them. I couldn’t do it.

Initially I just thought, “Oh, it’s just a little unhealthy, not a big deal. And I miss Western food, so I can afford to eat this junk, just for now, while I’m here in Asia.” (That’s a convenient rationalization.) Anyway, I ordered them. $60 NTD, around $2 USD for a plate of comfort.

Then I heard them dunking the fries in the oil. Heard the sizzle and pops of the hot grease doing… whatever it does to raw starch.

And that’s the moment that I realized, “… oh shit. I just ordered a plate of acrylamide. Cancer. Fuck. Shit. Damn. Ass. Hell. What do I do? I just ordered this, I can’t not eat it, not now! Plus, the manager might think I’m being rude, and I definitely want to save face, I mean, this is Asia.

Then another realization. What the heck am I thinking? I’m literally risking cancer just to save face? And with people that just happen to work in this southern Taiwan city that I’ll never see again in my life? Well, once I put it that way, it’s a really simple decision.

And I can’t eat acrylamide. I can’t risk getting cancer just in order to save face, that’s ridiculous. If I’d have eaten that nasty, oily, greasy plate of fries, I’d’ve felt like a hypocrite. I mean, I’ve been going around telling people how specific starches in potatoes, when subjected to high heat becomes acrylamide, which is linked to cancer. Plus, they’re just unhealthy as just about anything.

Whenever I think hard about what I really want to do in life, it usually comes back around to a couple of things: 1) Science & innovation, and 2) a healthy Raw-vegan lifestyle. How could I actually consider coaching people to better health when I myself eat crap like French Fries? It just didn’t sit well with me.

So, all this went on in my head as I sat and stared at those crispy, oily, browned fried tuber sticks in front of me. They just looked… nasty. I broke one open, just looked at how the fibers fell apart. At how oily it was & how the whole thing had undergone some chemical reaction in that deep fryer that created some things which were really horrible for my body. I couldn’t eat them. So I just walked out of the restaurant.

It was a vegan restaurant, and I believe that’s a good thing for the world and for our health in general. But it wasn’t healthy vegan, and served one of the most unhealthy things imaginable. Honestly, now that I think about it, I’d rather be eating healthy baked salmon fillets than to eat those nastysticks. (Note: French fries shall forthwith be referred to as “NastySticks”). But I won’t do that, for ethical reasons.

That’s the thing with the raw vegan lifestyle — it’s mostly focused on health, and people who choose that diet and lifestyle seem to be a lot more educated about health and nutritional requirements than people who are just vegan, for whatever reasons.


Photo by Daniel Go

How to Start Every Day Awesomely

Sunrise Over Lake

Another 5-year-old post, but I believe the principle still applies. Routines like this also build discipline, one of my most important virtues.

The last 3 days have started awesomely for me because I follow the steps outlined below.

This is a modified version of “How You Should Start Every Day For The Rest Of Your Life!” by Gary Halbert.

I don’t recommend his steps for a couple of reasons. First, he recommends consuming dairy products, which are poisonous to humans. It’s just that most of us don’t know it yet. Second, he tells us to “scarf” down food a couple of times, and I don’t think “scarfing” is an appropriate way to eat anything unless you’re a dog.

How to start every day awesomely:

1. Set your alarm clock to go off 10 minutes earlier than usual.
2. The first thing, after you get up, is to immediately remake your bed.
3. Go to the kitchen, pour yourself a glass of water and drink it all.
4. Go to the bathroom, take care of “business,” brush your teeth, wash the sleep out of your face and eyes and brush and comb your hair.
5. Next, put on some exercise clothes, but no shoes.
6. Leave the house immediately and take a 20-minute barefoot walk.
7. As soon as you get back, start cooking some steel-cut oats (1/4 cup uncooked). Eat them with 1/4 cup raw almonds, 2 TBSP ground flax seeds and 1/2 cup raisins.
8. Take a shower.
9. Dress in fresh, crisp clothes and go about your day.

How to Do Anything at All in Life

The Urban Ninja

Note: I originally wrote this in July 2010, 5 years ago, but never posted it. Five years! That’s crazy. Obviously a lot has changed since then, and I wish that I’d posted this waaay back then. But the point I was trying to make still holds true, even more now, since it’s like I was writing for myself. My future self. It’s like a time machine, but in reverse. Crazy, man.

Last weekend at American Rendezvous 2k10, I met another participant named Ozzi Quintero from Hawaii (originally from Venezuela). This guy was probably the most hardcore guy at the event, is responsible for Hawaii Parkour (aka HIpk), and has some videos on youtube. I was quite impressed with Ozzi’s abilities, (one of which includes a handstand initiated from a standing position without kicking himself up). He’s also got a well-built physique.

In short, Ozzi is awesome. But he wasn’t born awesome, he had to work for it. He had to work his ass off to develop the stability, balance, physique, etc. that makes him a great traceur. He has been in the proverbial trenches, spending time in the weight room, performing exercises to develop balance, quadrupedal movement, etc., and the awesomeness shows through as a result.

I’d like to be like Ozzi, but I wasn’t born with his genetics, so I can’t. It’s too bad.

Oh, wait — yes, I too can be awesome. And I will.

You Can Do It

One thing I hate is to hear someone say “man I wish I were… (thinner, richer, whatever..er)”, or “I want _____ more than anything in the world”, and then do nothing at all about it, nothing to improve his/her situation.

That person is lying to everyone, and probably most importantly, lying to (him|her)self. The fact is, if you really want something, you’ll find a way to make it happen.

Want to be thinner? Change your damn diet and start exercising. For me, becoming a vegan, getting serious about lifting weights and starting Parkour all at about the same time have completely changed my life. I’m not saying anyone should follow any particular diet or lifestyle, but eating McDonald’s, Sonic and even Subway (gasp!) ain’t gonna cut it if you’re fat and want to lose weight. In fact, you’ll probably have to stop eating out. Also, if you consume a lot of beer on weekends, that will have to go as well. It may seem like a drastic change, and indeed it is, but…

“No one will ever change until the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of change.”
— Jack Daniels

Want to be richer? Start researching how to be richer. Google it, click on some links. Follow links on those pages to other pages. Read the right books.

Wanna learn to play the guitar? Go to a music store, buy a basic guitar, and inquire about lessons. Even if the store doesn’t give lessons, they can point you to someone who can.

Or maybe you’d like to learn a new language? Take a look at Benny, he’s learned 7 and he’s still not finished. Go buy a book on your language of choice. Take classes at school/college/university. Ask a friend to help (nicely!). Check out the (free) resources on the net: check out livemocha.com or ielanguages.com.

But know that whatever it is you want to do, it’s not going to fall into your lap. Because…

“Nothing in this life that’s worth having comes easy.”
— Dr. Kelso

Make It Happen – Today

Much like Ozzi in the example above, you’ve got to put in the effort if you want to reach your goals. But if you really want to do it, you will. I promise. 😉

With the power of the internet, pretty much the entire knowledge of the world is at our fingertips. The old excuse “I don’t know how” is no longer valid.

So please, stop lying to me, everyone else, and above all, yourself. If you really want to do something, just go do it.

All the good things you want to do in your life have to be started in the next few hours, days or weeks. — Tom DeMarco

If you get nothing else out of this, please, take action on something today — whatever it is you want to do, no matter how big it is. Because if you don’t, you may never get around to it.

Stop merely living, start surviving. Go. Be. Do epic shit.

Photo by Tyson Cecka

The Living Light Culinary Arts Institute

Living Light logo

I never thought I’d actually fulfill the dream of going to culinary school, especially after adopting a vegan diet and lifestyle. But fast-forward to now and… here I am! I’m currently attending the Associate Chef and Instructor Training program at the Living Light Culinary Arts Institute in Fort Bragg, California.

It’s only been two weeks, but it’s been an amazing ride thus far. I’ve learned far more than I even thought possible, and still have two weeks left to go (one of which is dedicated to desserts!).

I’m even considering staying on another month to obtain the Raw Gourmet Chef certification and learn even more about recipe development, ethnic flavours, raw fusion, catering and even more about raw pastry arts.

It’s a very fast-paced, intense program which has kept my colleagues and me very busy for most of our entire time here. Yesterday was our first day off in two weeks! But it’s been a good busy-ness, and it should let up a lot after next week. Our group is also getting to know each other pretty well, and new friendships are being formed, which is always a good thing.

But enough talk, let’s get to the pictures!

My team and I made this Living Lasagna this week. Delicious and has the texture of real lasagna!
My team and I made this Living Lasagna this week. Delicious and has the texture of real lasagna!
Lemon tartlet that we made in class. We learned to style them especially for photography.
Lemon tartlet that we made in class. We learned to style them especially for photography.
Raw Dolmas with Zucchini Rice
Raw Dolmas with Zucchini Rice
I made these raw collard wraps at home
I made these raw collard wraps at home

And this one’s not exactly related to Living Light, but it is a part of my time here… my first king boletes ever!

I found my first king boletes  yesterday with some native Fort Braggians!
I found my first king boletes yesterday with some native Fort Braggians!

So that’s a short summary of what I’ve been doing for the past two weeks. It’s been difficult being without my wife, but it’s also the start of a time in my life which I’ll never forget. I’ll try and put up some pictures of my colleagues and I soon, if I can get around to it.

Hardly Raw – Day 20

I’m tired of writing/editing in HTML, so I’ll probably move to a markdown-based blogging software in the near future. Here is some of the food that I remembered to log. It’s hardly raw anymore, but at least I’m still eating some salads every day.

Vegetarians in general get a reputation for eating only salads, and I’m not sure why. But raw, leafy greens are a great source of tons of nutrients, like iron. I didn’t eat many during my first year of veganism. I’m convinced of the benefits of leafy greens, so I doubt I’ll quit eating them anytime soon. I really should start eating more raw beets.

update (2013-10-05): Umm… yeah, I’m done with this (daily reporting of nutrition/exercise stats). It stopped being fun after about the first 10 days or so. It was a nice experiment, and I’m glad that Brittany and I are still incorporating more raw foods into our diet. I feel a lot better, but again, that might just be in my head.

nutrition

  • English breakfast tea w/hemp mylk
  • 1 Brazil nut
  • oats
  • coffee
  • 1 large apple
  • hot pot
  • the standard mixed greens salad
  • Lady Grey tea w/4 ginger biscuits & some hemp mylk
  • creamy tomato soup
  • vegan red velvet cupcake
  • some kombucha

physical activity

None.

Mostly Raw – Day 19

nutrition

  • 1 Brazil nut
  • Irish breakfast tea w/splash of vanilla soy milk
  • rolled oats, flame raisins, coconut palm sugar, slivered blanched almonds, raw cacao nibs
  • coffee with a splash of vanilla soy milk
  • 1 large apple
  • mixed greens salad with vegan Parmesan cheeze and walnuts/pecans and some kind of vinaigrette
  • hot pot
  • Lady Grey tea with splash of vanilla soy milk and 4 ginger biscuits

physical activity

?

Mostly Raw – Day 18

nutrition

  • 1 Brazil nut
  • English breakfast tea w/splash of almond milk
  • rolled oats, flame raisins, coconut palm sugar, raw sprouted almonds, raw cacao nibs, raw hulled buckwheat
  • coffee with a splash of vanilla soy milk
  • 1 large banana
  • red and green seedless grapes (it was the only kind available)
  • some apple slices
  • mixed-greens salad with pecans and walnuts, milled flax seed, vegan Parmesan cheeze and some vinaigrette
  • 1 cup hot chocolate
  • too much nasty fried vegan food from a vegan restaurant
  • 1 Blue Moon Pumpkin Harvest beer
  • Lady Grey tea w/splash of soy milk

physical activity

None.

Mostly Raw – Day 17

nutrition

  • Irish breakfast tea w/splash of almond milk
  • kale, banana, blueberry & raspberry smoothie
  • 1 Brazil nut
  • vegan breakfast burrito w/Field Roast vegan sausage, tofu and Daiya pepperjack cheeze (and other cooked vegetables)
  • coffee with a splash of almond milk
  • cashew carrot ginger soup
  • mixed greens salad with
  • 1 cup of Yerba Mate
  • some Raw-Tella (this is a raw vegan version of Nutella that my wife made)
  • 1 cup hot chocolate
  • mixed-greens salad with pecans and walnuts, milled flax seed, vegan Parmesan cheeze and some vinaigrette
  • pear
  • mango
  • raw tomatoes
  • strawberry soy yogurtkale, banana, blueberry & raspberry smoothie

physical activity

Push-ups and stretches.

Mostly Raw – Day 16

My wife said I should go anorexic today, because I have to write too much for this.

nutrition

  • English breakfast tea w/splash of hazelnut & almond milk
  • kale, banana, blueberry, raspberry smoothie
  • 1 Brazil nut
  • vegan Rösti potatoes at Mint Tea restaurant
  • mint tea
  • coffee with mulling spices and a splash of soymilk
  • cashew carrot ginger soup
  • 1 large banana
  • some Raw-Tella (this is a raw vegan version of Nutella that my wife made)
  • 1 cup hot chocolate
  • 1 Blue Moon pumpkin harvest beer
  • mixed-greens salad with pecans, milled flax seed, vegan Parmesan cheeze and some vinaigrette
  • Lady Grey tea w/splash of almond milk
  • kale, banana smoothie
  • one medjool date
  • mango coconut yogurt

physical activity

None.