Shortly after I returned home from my wedding in Costa Rica, I felt motivated to do something with all of the footage I had collected for the year leading up to our beautiful wedding in Costa Rica and the entire week of fun that we had in Central America. I wanted to make something that Keeley and I would always be able to look back at to remember this time in our lives and show to our kids one day!
This entire movie was shot on cell phone cameras and Go Pros! Coupled with my limited video editing skills, I put together a 40 minute movie that tells the story of the entire year leading up to our marriage and I think it’s pretty epic.
In the movie, you will go on a journey with us and all of our friends to around the world, surfing, skydiving, dodging volcanoes and eventually see the moment that changed our lives forever.
I hope that you like it as much as I do! Now enjoy, and let me know what you think! Thank you in advance for watching and for everyone who was a part of this and helped make this happen!
2014 has been tumultuous year for a lot of people including myself. There are so many problems in the world here and abroad that it can be hard to simply focus on the task(s) at hand. It is easy to get caught up in unproductive actions when you have idle time and no new prospects on the horizon. Low productivity and a lack of results can become a habit-forming sickness if you let it.
After life throws a couple proverbial kicks in the balls or as I like to say “shit sandwiches” at you, it can kill your confidence. In fact, you may have long streak of bad luck, or a shitty set of circumstances that has led you to the point of disparity. These “tests” are simply life experience that will allow you to build character, and although I would never wish bad things upon my fellow-man, shit happens and that’s life, so you are going to have to deal with it whether you like it or not.
So what to you do?
There are many ways to deal with shitty life circumstances, but really when you get right down two it, most people’s lives boil down to either of these scenarios:
1) Not enough money, too much time.
2) To much time, not enough money.
In my 30 years here on planet earth, I have seen and experienced a lot of people, places and things. Very little actually shocks or surprises me these days and that’s a good thing because I am not looking to be shocked or surprised. Instead, these days I’m looking for security, successful relationships and a long and vibrant life. When I have wound up in one or more of these scenarios over the years I would spin out really quick.
The best years I had making money were the years my personal relationships suffered the most, mainly because work came before everything else, and if there was work to be done, you weren’t important. This is no way to live unless you want to be a fat, bald, divorced rich guy who dates 22-year-olds in his late 40’s.
My worst years financially were the years that I grew the most as a human being. I found compassion and empathy for people who struggle that I never understood until I went through it. I made my best friends in life during those hard time and I believe it is due to the fact that when you have no material things to offer someone, then all you have to give is your friendship, loyalty and honor . To me those ideals are so much more important than money when it comes to who I associate with, and more importantly who I trust. It took me losing almost everything at 23 years old to realize it.
Finding the balance is always the hardest thing to do. I am a strict believer that those with the ability to reason (Homo Sapiens) have the hardest time living in a natural state. I’ll give you an example why:
Birds migrate to move from areas of low or decreasing resources to areas of high or increasing resources. The two primary resources being sought are food and nesting locations. If one of the birds had the ability to reason, he would negotiate renting a warm barn in the winter and find a way to store enough supplies to last him and his family the winter saving him and his family the burdensome task of flying several thousands of miles twice a year. The Birds brain does not allow for reasoning of this kind, in fact the bird couldn’t really even explain why it migrates, it just knows, as if nature set it up that way. If birds simply stopped migrating they would surely die by way of extreme weather and shortage of food.
You see, the ability to reason is a gift and a curse. If used properly and efficiently, a human can go on to live an extraordinary life but unfortunately this is not the case for most of us, and if you don’t believe me, take a stroll down your Facebook news feed and bask in sea of useless time wasting shit that gets posted on a daily basis. I know this because I have found myself getting sucked in to some stupid video and then next thing I know I lost an hour of my day looking at clip after clip of useless things that do not benefit my life in one way shape or form.
If the world was in perfect balance, there would no wars, no poor people, no suffering. On the flip side of that, If there were perfect balance you would not be allotted the opportunity to choose what type of life you want to live. In a basic sense, human nature as we know it is constant tug-o-war between what we really are, who we think we are, and what we want to become. Personally I find the most serenity in being comfortable and grateful for who I am now, and what I have now while always striving to better myself, and my situation. You can’t change the past, and you cannot tell the future so hope for the best but always plan for a worst case scenario situation.
The truth is that any person possess the ability to spend their time being and doing productive things in life regardless of any one or multiple situations. You do not need to be rich to be happy, you need to understand what kind of life you want and then live it, that’s the key.
So if you are currently in a situation like I wrote about above, I have put together a little matrix that may help you understand how to find balance and make some sense out of what I am trying to convey.
As you can see from my highly complex academic chart, if you work too much and spend a lot of time doing shit you don’t like doing, then you are going to be unhappy. If you strive for a good to great balance between work and play, then you are going to be a much happier person. The perfect balance does not exist, so stop being a perfectionist and strive for something obtainable. Come on, it’s not f%*&^& rocket science!
Tips and Tricks
Here is what you can do when you have To much money and not enough time.
INVEST and SAVE. How do you think the top 2% did it. The easiest way to make money and spend less time working is by making your money work for you, so when it’s rolling in, get it while you can, but then invest and save it for the times in life when there is little or no money coming in.
Plan time for loved ones even when it’s going to cost you! Don’t make the mistake of sacrificing opportunities to build memories with friends and family chasing the dollar. My mentor Mike W. told me on his death-bed “Steve, I’m not dying in this bed thinking of all the missed opportunities in life where I could have made more money, instead I’m lying here in utter gratitude that my life allowed me the opportunity to spend a lot of time with the ones I loved and my livelihood allowed for us to have enough money to be happy.” I’ve never heard it better put than that.
Try to Automate the system, meaning same or more income, less of you needing to be at your “job”. Read the “4 Hour Work Week” by Timothy Ferris, it will lay some insight in how to go about this.
Continue to look for opportunities that will allow you to get more of your time back with the same or more amount of income, trust me, it’s very possible!
Now, lets talk about what to do when you are in the opposite side of the situation: To much time, not enough money.
Survival Mode, this means that because of the lack of income, you cannot be stupid with money. You need to make it last but do it so but keeping the quality of your life intact as much as possible.
Use this as an opportunity to work on yourself, your mind, your body and spirit. Go to the GYM, go do some Yoga, go SURFING, don’t waste the time playing video games or staring at Facebook for 6 hours a day. If you have some time, go use it to your advantage, and go do some of the things that your job never allowed you to do!
Look for work, and don’t be prideful. If it got bad enough for me, I would go dig ditches, get unemployment, and what ever I needed to sustain the quality of life that I have even if it meant doing work that I feel is below me or take government subsidies until I’m back up on my feet.
DO NOT GO IN TO DEBT! Never ever ever ever ever put things on credit or take out loans with out a solid plan of getting out of that debt. If you have to live on credit to sustain your lifestyle, than you are living beyond your means and you need to cut the fat, don’t be prideful, you can buy that new car next year when you get that job and can pay cash.
Don’t get depressed. It’s not the end of the world, opportunities find their way to people who are looking for them. Even a broken clock is right twice a day, and I am sure that you are not a broken clock, so don’t let the bad times get you down, just embrace them, accept it and move on diligently.
Enjoy the rest of the Week.
Happy Thursday, The weekend is almost here!!!!!!!!!!!!!
When I was 17, my mentor Mike Watson asked me to write a list of all the things I wanted in my life. Here is what I wrote
-Get my own place.
-Get a car.
-Get a girlfriend
-Get a job and be able to support myself with out the help of my family.
By the time I was 18 years old, I had gotten these things. I had a little apartment in South Los Angeles, bought a 95 Acura Integra for $5,000 and met a pretty girl that I was with. I was working at Guitar Center in Lawndale CA as sales rep which was a step up from my last job working the burrito line at Chipotle. I went back to my mentor and told him that I had gotten everything that I wrote down on my list. He told me to go make another list, but this time dream bigger.
My next list looked something like this.
-Go to Jr. College.
-Move in to a bigger place.
-Make enough money to where I have some left after bills at the end of the month.
-Get a truck!
-Start a business
When I turned 20, again I finished these things. I enrolled at El Camino Jr. College paid for by a scholarship I won in a persuasive speech contest. I found a nice little house in Lomita CA I moved in with a couple of friends and started my first business, a clothing company called All Else Failed Ind. He told me to keep going, that I can have whatever I wanted as long as I put it down on paper and was willing to work for it. (So I did, but I went big on this one)
-Make 100k or more per year
-Transfer into a UC/CSU school to finish my undergraduate degree.
-Write a book
-Make an album (Im a musician)
-Buy a house
-Buy a nice Car
By age 23, I published my first book “The Rich Kid Syndrome.” I moved from Los Angeles to San Diego to buy my first home in Oceanside CA, and then transferred to CSU San Marcos after spending the summer of 2007 Studying abroad in Spain, Italy and France. This was also my first $100,000 year and I earned quite a bit more the following year with my little brokerage firm that started in Carlsbad. I was doing so well, I decided to buy and new BMW, and I bought it with Cash 🙂 I also finally completed my first full-length solo album entitled “The Midnight Songbook.”
As my 24th birthday passed, it seemed as if I could do anything. It was like every single year, I would just write a new list of things down that I wanted, and then I would get them. I felt unstoppable, and invincible. Then the year 2008 came and everything changed.
It only took about 6 months after the economy crashed to lose just about everything that I had worked for. Aside from the fact that I had lost all steams of income, I ended up being 160K in debt to boot.
Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, I broke up with the girlfriend of 2 years, my dad went to prison, my mentor Mike (pictured above) died from cancer, my best friend screwed me over and I was conned out of my last $10,000 by a person posing as a roommate of mine who stole my identity and flew the coop. That’s what I call a bad year. I was so beaten down by all the loss in and around my life that it was hard to get back up and keep going. In fact some days it was down right direly depressing and some very bad thoughts entered my mind.
I realized that even though I had some major setbacks, and life threw me a couple of shit sandwiches, I had 2 choices. 1)Quit and kill yourself 2) Eat the shit sandwiches and make a list of things you want (as it has always seem to work before). So after a long day of gathering my thoughts and some meditation at the beach, here is the list that I made.
-Publish my second book
-Find a new industry to work in
-Surround myself with better people.
-Climb out of the hole (meaning get out of debt)
So, I picked up the pieces of my life and got back to work. I was 24, in serious debt, couldn’t find a job that would pay me nearly anything I was making in the mortgage game and all my “friends” or at least the people who I thought were my friends seemed to disappear with the money, the girlfriend and the stuff. I literally just had to hit the reset button on my life and start over.
I got in to Multi-level marketing, first with a company called Mona-Vie and then eventually in a company called RevvNRG. I always thought MLM was a scam but saw a lot of people making money in it. I figured if some barley high-school educated bozo’s from the Utah could make a couple million bucks on the Network Marketing game, how hard could it be? So I jumped in with both feet.
It took me about 18 months before I saw my first $10,000 month. As it turns out, you really can make some money in MLM. The next 3 years of my life seemed as if I was getting back in to my groove. I was traveling around the country, building a huge organization, making great money again and speaking on stages around the world telling stories of success and rising back up once life had knocked me down. I graduated college, published my next book “The Young Entrepreneurs Guide to Life.”
I felt relieved in a lot of ways. I felt as if I had a handle on things, life threw me some curve balls but I learned how to bend and fold in the situations and survive. As I was nearing 28 Years old, I began to reach my peak again. Now that I had the money game on point it was time for me to start living again, for me, this meant lifestyle.
What do I mean by lifestyle? Well to me “life” encapsulates all the things a human being has to do to live. Meaning we need to eat sleep, make a living, have friends etc. “Style” is a manner of doing something, so when you put those two together what you have is how a human being goes about living. I’ve come to understand that living life can be done many ways. Some people live very safe, they like a 9-5 job with benefits and 2 weeks vacation. Some people don’t even get that choice, they feel stuck in their life due to circumstances. Example: The man who worked as a mechanic his whole life because that’s what his father did and grandfather father did before him or the idea that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Well, thats all bullshit at least to me it was.
So I picked up a few new hobbies, and got back in to someones that I had neglected due my crazy ass work schedule. Here is what it looked like.
So I finished, college, published my new book, completely changed the people I surrounded myself with and found myself 5 years in to a promising industry that was allowing my to travel the world, live my dreams and crawl out of the black hole that I had lived in. I wish i could end the story here, because then it would be a happy ending, but there was one more twist that was going to happen to me before I hit the age of 30. But I at least got my dream trip of traveling around South East Asia and Surfing in Bali twice before shit hit the fan again. (see below)
And then I got back to America. in fact it was Early May of 2013 when I arrived home from Bali for the second time that year to find out the master distributor of the Network Marketing company I was involved in was trying to do an end-run on the distributor base and secretly move them in to another company all together. When I caught him in the middle of it, I blew the whistle (get that full story here).
In a mad rush to try to save what was left of the company, I began negotiations to broker a buyout from another MLM company. In fact that is where I was last year on my 29th birthday. Even though we were able to get a deal done, it ultimately fell apart because as it turns out the owner of the company I was staying loyal to was scarred and greedy.
Fortunately, being down the “put all your eggs in to one basket” road before, I had some back up plans this time around. I had learned how to trade the FOREX market (read that story here) for some time and I had a little Tech-Start-up called Roommatefax.comthat I had been working on for a little time. Although I though I would have at least another year of residual income to count on from my network marketing ventures, I didn’t so I had to execute that back-up plans a little faster and take some side consulting work to make ends meet till I got them off the ground.
That brings us to the present, and as I cross the threshold into my thirties, I took some time to reflect, and these are the questions that kept repeating to me in my head.
-Have I lived honestly and had the best intentions?
-Did I take all the risks necessary to pursue success no matter the cost and safety?
-Would those (dead or alive) who came before me and made sacrifices for me so I could get ahead in life be proud of the man I have become?
-Will I be able to look my child in the eyes one day and proudly tell him or her about the choices I have made?
-If I were to die tomorrow, did I accomplish everything I set out to do? and when some of those things failed, did I see them through till the end and learn something from the experience?
-Have I lived with Honor, Integrity and loyalty?
-Was I a good son, brother, friend and human being?
I can honestly and confidently answer yes to all these questions, and that makes me grateful. I always thought by 30 years old, I’d have a million dollars and today I’m 30 and I don’t have a million dollars, in fact, I’m far from it, but what I do have is something that money can’t buy. What I have is something a lot of rich men spent their entire life chasing but could never seem to find. It’s the thing that most people live their whole life trying to find but it eludes them. What is it? Love. I’m surrounded by it and all the things that happened to me in my life were for a reason, they were to keep me safe from people, places and things, and sometimes from myself. I had lots of guardian angels that came in the form of people and circumstances.
I did my best to put Love out in the world, to give it when I could and try to keep the faith that it was there even when I couldn’t see it. I found hope, even when good people died or went to jail. I make hard amends to people I disliked, and let go of hatred for those I could justifiably hold resentments against. I found out what kind of man I was when life got hard, and saw what I was capable of when surrounded by the right people and situations. I learned to have a thick skin, be fearless and most importantly, not take life to seriously.
So all that’s left to do is make a new list. The list will probably have some things like get married, have kids etc. For me, it’s an open book. A big blank canvas waiting to be filled with life, love and memories. Fortunately, I’ve got quite a bit of experience now and I believe my best years are ahead. My 20’s were the minor leagues, and now its time for the major’s and I can’t wait to start playing!
Thanks for all the love and support! See you at the top!
As you may or may not know, I am somewhat of a political / media watch dog. If you are not sure what a media watch dog is, let me fill you in. The “Media Watchdog” is a person or organization guarding against illegal practices, unacceptable standards or inefficiency in the media, and the “Political Watchdog” is a body or person which watches something, especially government departments, or businesses, to see that regulations are being obeyed.
Usually, other self-proclaimed watchdogs like myself can be a little extreme. Like my main man conspiracy theorist Alex Jones of infowars.com.
Although Alex does make some valid points, he can go a little off the deep end from time to time as seen in the video. Then of course there is my favorite local activist/antagonist Mr. Mark Dice. Mark and I have done some activism together and I really like working with him. He is probably the most Punk-Rock political watch dog/activist that I have ever had a chance to know. He makes some ridiculously entertaining content showing just how brain-dead some people really are. Check out this video
So aside from some very animated personalities that are very clear on their agendas and absolutely serve a purpose in not only pushing the limits of, but reinforcing our 1st amendment right to free speech and press; where can we find some real news that speaks to our culture? This is a questions that I posed some years ago, and while I was in my undergrad program at CSUSM I did a very interesting research project on media outlets around the world to see just how fair and balanced our news outlets here in the states measured up to news outlets outside the country.
As it turned out, Al Jazeera, the Iraqi based news conglomerate headquartered in Qatar was gave the most fair and balanced report based on the criteria that I had set which by the way was non-biased, and compared all the major U.S. networks and others from around the world like the BBC, Australian and Russian news. In an even more surprising turn of events, out of the 25 media outlets I compared, the U.S. media outlets didn’t even break the top 10 out of 25 for being the most fair and balanced. There were communist countries and Theocracies that had more fair and balanced news than anything we were putting out. Sad? That doesn’t even begin to express how it made me feel.
So for the next 5 or some odd years, Al Jazeera was my go-to network to get my daily dose of what was going on in the world. Although they were somewhat limited as to what was happening in America, I could at least get an idea of what was happening in the world around me with some amount of confidence that the information that was being given didn’t have some secret plot or agenda involved in it.
Then about 2 years ago, I rediscovered Vice media which was a little magazine publication out of Montreal founded in 1994 by Suroosh Alvi, Shane Smith, Gavin McInnes. I remember seeing publications of Vice magazine back in 2002 while I was attending the Magic International Trade Show in Las Vegas Nevada promoting my clothing company. The magazine back then seemed to appeal to a very sub-culture group of New York hipsters but upon further investigation, the articles seemed to speak to me in a way where they weren’t biased, they were just writing content in a way that really engaged my generation. In fact I remember thinking to myself “wow, if this could only reach main stream press, we might actually be on to some kind of cultural revolution in this country!” Then I put the mag into the the magazine holder next to old editions of Surfer and Thrasher and didn’t hear or see anything about Vice for years.
It made me a little sad because after everything I have seen and lived through over the past 10 years, I knew that the ideas that Shane Smith and Vice were putting out were way ahead of their time and that no one from the main stream media would even blink or think twice about giving these guys some love for investigative journalism or writing even though it was some of the most real, and thought provoking writing I had ever seen in any publication to date at that time.
Furthermore, knowing that “we” (meaning America politically, socially and psychologically) were on the brink of indoctrinating a generation (AKA the “Gen-Xers” and “Millennials” or “My generation”) of mindless media Zombies through use of consumerism, advertising and scare-tactics, I become more and more apathetic to the political process. This all came to a head in my last year of my undergraduate studies in college when I came to the realization that by going to and completing college only reinforced the ideas and ideologies I already believed and confirmed my biggest fear to be true.
What was that fear of mine? My fear was that college, a place that I was raised to believe was a market place of ideas where you could freely discuss any and all subjects turned out to be an outrageously expensive watered-down version of liberal pop-culture indoctrination with a blip of conservative ideas that were only entered in to the discussion so the institution could make the claim that they were being fair.
I went to college somewhat optimistic that would be able to find like-minded people who like me were fed-up with the bullshit, and ready to instate some kind of change, some how through activism, political awareness, or in the very least, entering alternative ideas in to the classroom. But what I found was that the same brain-dead zombies who weren’t in college were really not all that much different then my classmates at all. My college experience felt more like going to the DMV for a couple of years with the exception of a couple teachers who were my only light in that pop-culture media cesspool, and I am grateful they were there, because without them, it would have truly been a lost cause and waste of time and money.
When I found Vice again 2 years ago, I quickly realized that they had come a long way and that people were really starting to take notice. What changed in me? Nothing. What did Vice do differently to attract more people to it? Nothing. They stayed true to their core ideas which I must say is pretty fucking Punk-Rock considering every single media conglomerate in this country has been bought-up re-sold and watered down to 2 very singular ideas. 1) NBC, CNN, and MTV – They gay loving, super liberal, democrat blue team or 2) FOX, ABC, and ESPN The bread and circus, gay hating, gun-toting bush-loving AMERICA fuck-yea red team. There is no 3rd party, there is no middle any more, there is only Vice.
Here is a good example of the mentality behind Vice’s political views: In a March 2008 interview with The Guardian, Shane Smith (Vice Founder) was asked about the magazine’s political allegiances and he stated, “We’re not trying to say anything politically in a paradigmatic left/right way … We don’t do that because we don’t believe in either side. Are my politics Democrat or Republican? I think both are horrific. And it doesn’t matter anyway. Money runs America; money runs everywhere.”
This statement personified exactly how I felt. It spoke to me in a way even Al Jazeera couldn’t because even though they put out fair and balanced content, they are not here and they don’t pretend to understand the struggle of my generation. All that I ever wanted was to be told the truth. Stop lying to me and tell me the truth. It’s so comical because it seems like despite knowing that we are being lied to on a daily basis, no one seems to give a shit anymore. Russell Brand says it the best here in this interview on Newsnight with Jeremy Paxton on the BBC network.