My New Skates

I recently was given a pair of roller skates, and they’ve been hell on wheels. I did not ask for these skates, and they were skates I did not want. Still, they were given to me. Roller skating is terrifying. Just getting to stand up is a task, let alone moving around. They are uncomfortable and wear on the backs of my heels. After the first couple tries, I fall eight or ten times. I start to move in a direction and my knees lock up. I don’t know how to stop, and I hit the wall because I don’t quite know how to turn.

New skates forced upon me, I have lost my identity. I am sore and bleeding from falling, and a simple thing like walking is near impossible. I could give up on skating and live a life on the ground where things are comfortable and force myself to believe that I am the same person I was before I was given skates. But falling and being uncomfortable with skates is all part of the metamorphosis occurring and being on the ground and feeling comfortable slows the process down. If I don’t practice, I’ll continue to fall, and I’ll continue to bruise.

Learning a new skill is challenging enough, but a skill that you never planned on learning in the first place can be impossible. But hey, isn’t that just life? There are so many moments in our lives, in our business, in our work, where we are forced to go through growing pains. Plans we didn’t foresee, a shift in the marketplace, something completely out of our control. But it’s these moments where we truly find out what we’re made of. We can either sink or become flexible enough to embrace this change.

Right now, I wouldn’t call myself a skater, but I can skate. I’ve learned to at least go forward, and I can turn without freaking out, but don’t expect any alley-oops or figure-8’s. I’m just happy I’ve stopped falling for the most part. That’s impressive, considering a month ago, I was completely comfortable without skates in my life.

We are all given our roller skates in life. For some, it’s the loss of a loved one, and for others it’s as simple as a new co-worker we are on the fence about. It’s nothing new, it’s simply the deck we’ve all been dealt, and it’s important to remember you’re not being singled out. Everyone suffers in the beginning of a transition. Everyone. I’m here to tell you it’s okay.

We all cycle through denial, anger, sadness and acceptance many times when we are learning something new. Just experiencing these feelings will help the process go smoother with time. Sounds pretty passive, huh? Well, exactly. Growing and learning isn’t something you do, it’s something that happens to you. It’s frustrating I know, because I just want to be there, at the end, ready to conquer the world, but really the closest I’ll ever come to controlling the outcome is to just relax and trust the process.

So I’m going to keep practice skating. I still fall from time to time, but I keep getting back up. I still keep taking risks even when they seem doomed from the start, I still keep growing even when I think I’ve seen it all, and I still keep dreaming even it seems impossible. How I tackle a new challenge is what makes me special and right now at this very moment in time, I’m going to continue to skate because it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done.


The Video Guy has recently been forced to learn some new things, and while it wasn’t actually skating, it was still pretty painful as growing pains tend to be.  How do you embrace change – wanted or not? Comment below or email Andrew directly.

Take the Road Less Congested

It’s Thursday morning, and I’m running late for work. I scramble for my shoes, grab a banana for breakfast – don’t forget to feed the cat, oh, and remember to lock that door behind you! – I jump in my car and take off. So far so good: all the lights are green, nothing seems to be stopping me from making this the greatest late morning recovery in human history! Forget being on time, heck, I might be 10 minutes early at this rate! And then I follow the bend on to the interstate…and immediately step on my brakes.

Commuters during rush hour are estimated to spend 42 hours a year in traffic. If you have the same job for 5 years and don’t move, that’s just a little under 9 days of traffic congestion.

At this point, I realize I have two options:

  1. I can scream and honk my horn and damn the universe for having me suffer this miserable experience.
  2. I can treat traffic congestion as a perspective wake up.

The obvious lesson here is to always be prepared. Nowadays with cell phones and computers, there’s simply no excuse why I can’t just look up my workplace and find the fastest route. Often during rush hour, my phone tells me which side roads are faster at that time of day. Being prepared to identify and take the fastest route, even if it’s not the usual way, can lead to less stress about the little things in life, and subconsciously, I am more alert of my surroundings when I’m unfamiliar with the route. I notice a restaurant I’ve never seen before, a shop that looks really appealing, or maybe even a park I can take a walk in.

While making the most of a traffic scenario is one choice, perhaps I simply just need to reschedule my drive. I shouldn’t risk being late to work anyways, so maybe it’s probably time I suck it up and avoid traffic by leaving an hour earlier than usual. My work has flexible scheduling, so coming in early is never an issue. For some, work-flexibility is challenging. Could you leave early and spend that hour accomplishing hard-to-find-time-for goals you may have near or around your workplace? Need time to read that book? Interested in joining a gym? Need to do research on a job that understands the importance of flexible schedules? All of these you could make happen with an extra hour on hand.

Well, if you’ve stayed with me this far, it’s been about 4 minutes – and I’m still stuck in traffic. At this rate, being early has gone out the window and being on time is not looking so hot either. I need to accept the fact that I’m going to be late, but I also need to accept the fact that a change needs to be made not only in my work route but in my life route. I can’t keep accepting traffic and tardiness as an answer… or else I won’t be dealing with either for much longer.

Hypothetical job termination aside, it’s also important for my well-being: I don’t like traffic congestions, and I won’t accept traffic congestions. 42 hours a year is an incredible amount of time to be stuck next to semi-trucks sporting wheel spikes. I deserve better. So does everyone else in this jam. But it starts with us.

If we all choose to avoid normalcy and embrace change, even when it feels like a gamble, what’s possible? Reaching our destinations in a timely – and slightly self-improved – manner. It just might influence you to make changes elsewhere in your lifestyle.

And hey, if everyone chooses to find different routes, then some of us can maybe choose to use the interstate again!


The Video Guy hates traffic. Who doesn’t? This week, go along for the ride as he shares his advice on finding better routes – to work and in life. How do you deal with congestion? Comment below or email Andrew directly.

Using Words as Weapons

“The pen is mightier than the sword,” I heard, and throughout my life this always sounded stupid to me. While some intellectual fool is over in the corner writing angry letters, a crazy fool can just come up from behind and stab you! It wasn’t until I did some actual reading that I learned what the phrase actually meant. Throughout history, communication, words, and language have been much better tools for a society than war and violence.

As our world grows, so does our language. New words become part of the culture. Initialism words like LOL and OMG were such a hit in the text boom of the early 21st century, you can hear people say these phrases out loud.

The other day, a tourist asked me to take his photo. After viewing the picture, the tourist smiled and told me my work was dank! I felt bad and offered to take a better photo. Apparently, what I thought meant damp, musty, and overall unpleasant actually meant great. He thanked me and went on his way. Words and their meanings sometimes just have no rules.

Whether a conversation at the lunch table or when meeting a brand new customer, it’s important to choose the right words to get just the right point across. Words to describe what you do like stupendous, precise, proficient, and versatile are tremendous words that trump mediocre words like experienced, qualified, interesting, and talented. These dull words are not to be confused with ‘bad’ words, but they are overused. Anyone can describe themselves as awesome, but who among us thinks they’re essential, indispensable, or authoritative?

Extending your vocabulary means you’re choosing not to settle for the simple everydays of good, says, or thinks. Take a chance on words like marvelous, asserts, or ponder!  I’m not telling you to go out and start learning 10-dollar words like concupiscent, which means vigorously passionate or parsimonious. You can simply explain to someone who’s parsimonious that they’re just, well, cheap. But to pepper in a few 5-dollar words into your vocab like foible, pragmatic, and candor? You might cause the next person you talk with to raise their eyebrows.

Allowing yourself to expand your vocabulary can influence others to do the same. Challenge a friend, coworker, or family member to increase theirs as well by:

  • Picking up a book. The more engaged you are with reading, the more exposure you’ll have to uncharted words.
  • Googling words or downloading a dictionary app on your phone. Heard a word and not sure what it means? Challenge your ignorance. The sooner you learn what callipygian means, the sooner you will want to use it – maybe.
  • Playing a word game. Word games challenge you to think outside the box, and even help you discover the perfect word to win. Oxyphenbutazone will get you 1,778 points in Scrabble, just FYI.
  • Striking up conversations. Talk with everyone, not just your friends that speak your lingo. There’s language in all cultures, all backgrounds, all forms of life that are just waiting for you to adapt.

Without words, your points aren’t made, your feelings aren’t expressed, and you are left defenseless against the tyranny of communication breakdowns. You hold the key to building up the words in your arsenal. Arm yourself with an open mind, a good book, and a variety of new words to use.


In this REMAN U article animation amalgam, The Video Guy advises viewers on the virtues of a vivacious vocabulary. And, you know, just the value of words and stuff. Comment below or email Andrew directly.

The Cure for a Project Hangover

I have been working on a project for nearly a year or so now, and it may take a year or two from now before I complete it. I constantly like to keep myself busy because I honestly hate it when a project is finished. I’m happy when a project is done for literally 10 minutes and then I’m left with the worst question I’ve ever asked myself: “Now what?”

We all have what we call “big projects” in our lives. Big can mean anything from working with a customer long-term to building a hot rod in your garage, to even more abstract projects like raising a child. I bring up raising a child because there’s a reason why some parents cry at their child’s graduation. You raised them to become an adult. They are officially their own person. You did it.  The project is finished. It’s extremely hard to let go of something you’ve worked so hard on, that you’ve devoted so much time and effort to complete.

Looking to find the next big project in your life? If I’ve completed one in the last few months or so, I do myself a favor and take a moment to debrief. I ask myself some honest and truthful questions:

  • What was the outcome of this specific project? 
  • Am I happy with the outcome?
  • What was the best/worst part of the project?
  • What have I learned from my mistakes?

Once answered, it’s time to think a little deeper and consider what I’ve learned from the answers:

  • Did I enjoy this project?
  • How can I capitalize on the success of this project?
  • What questions were left unanswered?
  • Is there another project that has been put on the back burner, that I must get back to?

Depending on the size of what I completed, these questions could take anywhere from 5 minutes to several months. It all depends on how meaningful the project was to me.

After finding some answers, I STILL don’t jump into the next big thing just yet. It’s time to focus on the big picture and that, of course, is me, myself and I. Let’s say that I just completed the project I mentioned earlier. I’m going ask many of the above questions, but I’m also going revise my resume because I will have a new perspective on my skill set and my aims as a professional. I will also reflect on who I am as a person. Did I change for better or for worse? Do I even want to continue down my project’s path or do I drastically want to shake things up?

For me, it’s natural to experience a bit of a “project hangover” after completing something big, but finding the perfect remedy to cure myself is critical. Feeling happy or depressed after a big project is extremely understandable. The things we do define us and losing them, whether by choice or design, is extremely hard. It’s why some of us find success to be impossible or worse, paralyzing.

The important thing to do, though, is to accept all the feelings, good or bad, and understand where they come from. Only then can you truly move forward and continue to complete your biggest project: your life.


Completing a big project can leave you on cloud nine – or at rock bottom. This week, the Video Guy shares how he reflects, accepts, and moves on from big projects. What cures do you use for your own project hangovers? Comment below or email Andrew directly. 

Goldilocks & the ’85 Bears

Imagine Goldilocks.

What did she do? Well, she broke into a house, but besides that, Goldilocks saw three bowls of porridge. She tried the first bowl and it was simply way too hot, so she moved to the second bowl which had been sitting there too long and found it was cold. Not quite done with committing theft, Goldilocks tried the third bowl of porridge, and it was just right as far as she was concerned.

This is the story behind a phenomenon aptly named The Goldilocks Rule that states that humans experience peak motivation when working on tasks that are right on the edge of their current abilities. Not too hard. Not too easy. Just right. If you ask me, Goldilocks is the type of person who will always find motivation.

Imagine for a minute that you’re a quarterback and your opponent is a bunch of literal babies in uniforms. While their uniforms are as cute as can be, their motor skills and formations are a bit lacking. If you and your team were to try to play a serious game against these actual babies, you would quickly become bored and find it super hard to stay motivated. Now replace those babies with the 1985 Chicago Bears, the hardest hitting professional football team of all time. This now becomes the opposite side of the spectrum and you find yourself un-motivated for a completely different reason. The game has become waaay too difficult.

The Goldilocks Rule can be applied every day. Whether it’s our hobbies or our jobs, our brains love to be challenged, but too challenging can be disheartening.

I left my job as a deli clerk because I wasn’t being challenged by slicing the same 30 types of meats all day. After leaving the deli, the opposite happened: I was hired to be a bank teller and lasted less than six months because it was too large of a challenge for me to handle the precise duties of a teller. Forced to find work again, I got a position at a record shop where my main duty was scanning the backs of CD’s and stocking them or tossing them in the trash. Again, I was stuck in a job where the tasks were far too easy, and, in truth, I wasn’t a very good employee. The new motivation and challenge for myself was to find a job in the field I went to school for: media and design.

I stayed motivated because it was the right kind of challenge for me. Each application and cover letter were challenging enough that I needed to learn and adapt, but my end goal always felt attainable. I did extensive research on what employers were looking for. I edited together a film reel, built a website portfolio, and watched tutorials on how to build my network. All of this led to my eventual hiring at my present job where my duties now include writing about motivation or creating silly videos with my co-workers for our brand… among other things. I’m constantly being challenged enough where expectations can be tough, but never out of reach and certainly never easy-peasy.

Goldilocks might have been a troubled young girl who was careless and didn’t realize that for every action, there is an equal or opposite reaction. You can also look at Goldilocks and see an individual who knew exactly what was achievable for her present level of development. You shouldn’t have to settle through life eating a stranger’s cold porridge, and you certainly don’t have to go through it trying to beat the ’85 Bears.

Find motivation that works for you. Know where you draw the line between too easy and too hard. And eventually, as you grow, what used to be impossible might not be as impossible as you thought.

 


The perfect job exists somewhere between being too challenging and too easy. It’s just right. The Video Guy had to test out the proverbial porridge of the world before finding his niche. What’s just the right amount of motivation for you? Comment below or email Andrew directly.

You’re Terrible at Achieving Goals (And Why That’s Okay)

 

It’s a new year. 2018. You’re filled with new hope for new beginnings, ready to tackle a brand-new set of goals. Then suddenly, a brick wall.

You dust off and review your 2017 goals:

  • Lose 15 lbs.
    • Unfortunately, you gained five.
  • Read 12 books.
    • But you only made it to two.
  • Learn Spanish?
    • Man, you didn’t even attempt that one…

For most of us, our New Years Resolutions are wonderful pipe dreams that are never fully tackled or worse yet, never attempted. I am a terrible goal-maker. In fact, the majority of us are terrible goal-makers and that, my friends, is a good thing.

I’ve always been told that I will learn more from my mistakes than from my successes, that failure is the best teacher. It teaches us how to know our limits, how to grow and how to make better decisions. Failure was the one that taught that eating 12 ghost pepper wings for a free T-shirt isn’t a good idea. Failure was the one that taught to read the WHOLE recipe before baking cookies. And failure is the one that helps me understand why I didn’t achieve all my goals in 2017.

Why didn’t I achieve my goals? There’s always the list of excuses (family, work, life in general…), but really it boils down to choice. I chose to prioritize certain things in my life over my goals. It’s the reason why workaholics are often successful in life, but make lousy parents or why awesome parents tend to struggle to start that side business they’ve always wanted because taking care of a family is a full-time job.

Failing to meet my goals because of certain excuses can actually help me determine more reachable goals and can for you, too.

  • Want to finish those books but never find the time?
    • Audio books on your way to work is an excellent way of experiencing authors. Or download a book on your phone and you can take the book wherever you go.
  • Trying to lose 15 lbs. but there’s no time for exercise or you get tired of a certain routine?
    • Use past failures to understand your pattern and maybe even eliminate the goal of 15 lbs. altogether. Instead, try a more obtainable goal such as limiting yourself to 2000 calories a day where you don’t necessarily have to give up the certain foods you crave but eat in moderation. Or try not eating pasta for a month and see what happens.

The point is to find a method that works for you. Get to know yourself better and understand why you keep failing at the things you do. No artist paints a perfect circle. They keep correcting the curve of the circle stroke after stroke until it feels like a circle for them.

A sales guy or gal masters their craft at hooking a customer after months of frustrated hang-ups. And if something in life (or work) doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Don’t let the fear of the embarrassment of failure keep you stuck to what you think is right versus what you know is, even if it means failing.

Without failure, I will cease to improve. From the moment I was an infant and tried to stick a triangle into the circle hole to yesterday when I went to China Buffet instead of having a salad, I am improving as a person ever so slightly. And the sooner you realize this for yourself, for when you feel you’ve hit rock bottom, the quicker you will succeed at achieving your goals. Embrace failure. It’s the best gift our imperfect universe has ever given us.


The Video Guy had big goals for 2017 – and failed at pretty much all of them. Has he given up on setting goals for the new year? No, failing is great, and from his colossal failures, new, practical goals emerge for 2018. How have your failures led to your success? Join the conversation with Andrew below or email him directly.

Because I’m Worth It (And So Are You)

L’Oreal personal care products have been around since 1909, and say what you want about them as a company or their products, they have had one of the most successful marketing campaigns based on 4 simple words: “Because you’re worth it.” You couldn’t ask for a more perfect slogan for personal hygiene products. Interpreted, it says, “You big dummy, of course, you deserve the best, why would you think otherwise?” We all want the best, but what is the best? Is my best the same as society’s? As yours? I’d venture to say no, and it’s the difference in opinion that makes all the difference in the world.

Every year I host an anti-Oscar party where a group of my film snob friends and I watch a film that would never have a chance at winning an Oscar. * We do this because beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If we don’t agree that The Artist (2011) deserves Best Picture then we are free to form our own opinions and free to think differently, argue, and offer our thoughts.

Thinking differently—outside the box, critically—is more than simply being contrary to popular thought, but making sure you have an informed opinion. Perhaps too often, we are easily trapped by the easy answer to why? “Because.” “I don’t know.” “I’ve always felt this way.”

But because I’m worth it and you’re worth it, we need a bit more. You can’t have a solution to a math problem without the work, so similarly, how can you have an opinion without reasons? And the remarkable thing about opinions is that they’re entirely your own. Recommendations and advice can create new and exciting opportunities especially when others fancy you an expert in a specific field. If you find yourself “I don’t know”ing, you need to dig in and understand who you are as an individual and what forms your thoughts, ideas, and opinions.

Choices in life are important and must not be taken lightly. If you tell someone your favorite pizza is pepperoni, bacon, and jalapeño, I encourage you to understand what it is about those toppings that appeal to you.** Pretend you were encountering a member of the anti-bacon-pizza lobby. How would you defend it?

I urge everyone who is reading this to find an hour (impossible, I know) to turn off the music, turn off the Netflix, and just lay/sit/stand in silence and see where your mind goes. See what crosses your mind and you’ll be amazed at what you might find. Maybe you’ll finally get the gumption to try a new hobby, maybe you’ll finally get that joke your co-worker told two days ago, or maybe you’ll learn something important about yourself.

Using this technique over the years, I learned that I enjoy making barn quilts, should probably lose weight and drink less, and even made big life choices such as choosing not to go back to school and instead turning my talents towards building a portfolio and learning on my own.

So, take some time to get to know yourself, because only then can you truly give meaningful advice to others. You don’t buy a vacuum from a salesman because you need a new vacuum. You buy it because he has convinced you he knows what he wants and likes in a vacuum, and you agree with his opinion that this vacuum has now become the best option.

With all this will come character and a thick skin for feedback from other strong-minded individuals who enjoy the challenge of a debate. Remember, it’s a jungle out there, and we all need to survive and have passion for life, because you, me, and everyone else is worth it.

 

**And so you all don’t have to ask, it’s because the spices of the pepperoni blend amazing with the extra spice of the jalapeño, and I’m just a sucker for bacon’s crispy pork fat. Put it all together on a thin crust and you have entered Crunchy Flavor Town.


In The Video Guy’s Reman U debut, he explains that he, you, and I are all worth it. We’re worth the time to know and share what’s on our minds. Join the conversation with Andrew below or email him directly.