politics

Beliefs Pt. 1

Hey, you guys! Chuck here!

I had many successes in 2016! I’ll have many more successes in 2017! And I owe a lot of my success to my beliefs! I have great beliefs! Now, for the sake of this particular post, when I talk about beliefs, I’m not referring to whether or not you believe in reincarnation or the Quran or the Coronation of Our Lady as Queen of Heaven and Earth. Rather, I’m referring to the very simple beliefs we hold at a subconscious level. I’m talking about the beliefs that we hold so closely that we don’t even realize we believe them. In his excellent book Awaken The Giant Within , Tony Robbins defines a belief as a “feeling of certainty about something”. This is the definition I’ll be working with.

As Robbins says; “Beliefs have the power to create and the power to destroy”. What we believe effects us at a subconscious level and can drastically alter our behaviors. I’ll use my fear of bats as an example. When I see a bat I believe, at a very, very subconscious level, that I am in danger. My rational mind knows that I am not at all in danger. But, my subconscious mind, being utterly irrational, believes that I am in danger. This very simple and very closely held belief has an immediate effect on my behavior. I don’t know where that belief came from and, for the time being, I don’t seem to know how to correct it. But, it is there and its effects are overwhelming.

What beliefs could you be holding at a subconscious level that are effecting your behavior in an unhelpful way? These beliefs can be very simple and we are often completely oblivious to the fact that we believe them! For example, you may believe that you don’t deserve love. You may believe that your ultimate weight loss goal is unattainable. You may believe that you can never quit drinking or smoking. Those sort of beliefs would definitely result in unhelpful behavior patterns!

I can think of two incorrect beliefs I have held for most of my life which, when finally corrected, led me to make drastic, positive lifestyle changes!

The first belief is one that I’ve talked about quite a bit on this blog! For most of my adult life, I believed that I understood the universe! Now, I never for a second thought that I had it all figured out! I recognized that the universe possessed unfathomable complexity which I could never understand! But, I thought that I, and most of the intelligent and educated people I knew, had the gist of it! I knew that the universe was 14 billion years old, human beings appeared about 150,000 years ago, Socrates was the wisest man who ever lived, and you treat people how you would want to be treated. You know, the basics!

But then, back in June, I realized that a reality TV star was about to become the 45th President of the United States of America! Political commentators who I respect (Charles Krauthammer, Fareed Zakaria, George Will) all turned out to be embarrassingly wrong. I realized that not only did I not understand the universe, nobody did! This drastic change in a very simple belief resulted in very positive behavioral changes! I quit drinking, I began to eat healthy, and I began to seek out the secrets to energy and success! Just one simple belief can single-handedly determine the trajectory of your life! Oh wow!

In my next post I’ll discuss my second incorrect belief which, when corrected, led me to make drastic, positive lifestyle changes! And I’ll discuss what actions you can take to begin to correct your unhelpful beliefs! Until then, if you have any questions feel free to email me at my high-energy email address chuckishighenergy@gmail.com or leave a comment here or on Facebook or Twitter! I love hearing from you guys!

 

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Alcohol Hypnosis Pt. 1

Hey, you guys! Chuck here!

So, as I’ve said in previous posts, I am a 35 year old para-pro/street performer who is sharing with you the keys to success before I have yet to achieve my greatest success. I have had many successes! I’ve lost 153 pounds, I’ve quit drinking, I enjoy my work, and I make more money than I need to survive! I have had many successes! But, far greater successes await me! In this blog I am going to tell you my secrets to success and I am going to apply them in my own life and document my successes on this blog! Seeing my successes as they happen will make the lessons more effective!

As I’ve also mentioned in previous posts, when the reality TV star became the Republican nominee for the President of the United States of America, I recognized that I don’t understand any of this and that I need to be high-energy if I’m going to have success in a universe I don’t understand! He became officially nominated around mid-July, but we were aware of its inevitability by early June. That was when I made the conscious decision to pursue the secrets of energy and success! I determined that the first feat I needed to accomplish was to be alcohol-free! I recognized that as my number one priority! For the first couple months, I focused on nothing else but becoming alcohol-free!

I decided to make becoming alcohol-free my number one priority because it struck me as my greatest hurdle! I had been a functioning alcoholic my entire adult life! The night I turned 21 I went out and bought a six-pack and that behavior had been habitual for thirteen years! I realized that I had no idea what it’s like to be an adult without alcohol! I had no idea how to socialize without alcohol! I had no idea how to have fun without alcohol! I had no idea how to unwind from my day and settle into a restful mode that would allow me to drift off into a peaceful night’s slumber without alcohol! Being alcohol-free would require me to basically relearn almost every aspect of my adult life!

When I told people of my desire to quit drinking, they always acted surprised. I never struck them as someone with a problem. Sure, they had their anecdotes about times when I got a little extra rowdy. But, I never seemed to have a problem. I never got violent. I never made any horrible decisions with irreparable consequences while drunk. I was a functional alcoholic. But, I no longer wanted to be merely functional. I wanted to be high-energy. I wanted to have many successes.

I recognized that there’s something unnatural about the way I (and many, many people in our society) think about alcohol. I have come to the conclusion that it is the result of some sort of hypnosis. I had been hypnotized by society and myself to think about alcohol in a certain way. Our obsession with alcohol is too irrational. We would not be this excited about a drug that makes us fat, depressed, and low-energy unless there was some sort of hypnosis going on. My addiction to alcohol was mental not physical. My brain needed to be rewired. In order to quit drinking I needed to change the way I define alcohol and myself. “Alcohol is a sedative! I’m high-energy” became the mantra that I would use to self-hypnotize.

Society tells us that alcohol is a social-lubricant! It makes white people dance! It’s liquid courage! Many different mantras. I gave myself a new mantra. And I had to repeat it to myself many times in order for my brain to accept it as reality. But, it does work! If you want to quit drinking, but you seem stuck, you can’t imagine your life without alcohol, just repeat this mantra; “Alcohol is a sedative. I’m high-energy!” It might take a while, though. It was a little over a month from the moment I purposed to quit drinking to the day I actually began my alcohol-free lifestyle. In my next post I’ll discuss what I did in that month to rewire my brain. In the meantime, if you have any questions or you have something you’d like to see me discuss on this blog, email me at my high-energy email address chuckishighenergy@gmail.com

 

What Do I Mean By “High-Energy”?

Hey, you guys! Chuck here!

I recently had one of my high-energy readers ask me what I mean when I say “high-energy”. We already know what high-energy feels like! We know that it feels really good to be high-energy! But, what does it mean to be high-energy?

When I was a religion student at Calvin College, I studied New Testament studies under the tutelage of an excellent New Testament scholar named David Crump. Professor Crump used to always tell us that words don’t have meanings, they have uses. This adage has always stuck with me. So before discussing what I mean by “high-energy”, allow me to talk a little bit about how I’m using the words “high-energy”.

I initially started using the words “high-energy” to motivate myself, to get myself psyched, and to cozy myself up to the possibility of choosing to be alcohol-free. I’ve always found the word “sober” so sobering. If I was going to be alcohol-free, I needed a word that was more exciting. I had seen the way a reality TV star had used the words “low-energy” to completely demolish a qualified and experienced traditional politician. I figured that if the words “low-energy” could be used to effectively bring someone down, maybe I could use the words “high-energy” to bring myself up. I began constantly telling myself that I was “high-energy”.  This idea of being “high-energy” was way more appealing to me than the idea of being “sober”.

My personal mantra became “alcohol is a sedative, I’m high-energy”. Instead of giving up a fun drug in order to become a sensible person, I was giving up a sedative in order to become a high-energy person. And then one day I was out busking on a street corner near Lake Michigan. A tourist stopped by to enjoy my high-energy music. They asked me if I ever performed in any of the bars in the area. I blurted out “I don’t play in bars! Alcohol is a sedative! I’m high-energy! I wanna perform out here in the sun for other high-energy people!”. His face immediately lit up! I realized in that moment that this phrase that I had used to motivate myself could also be used to motivate other people!

I began incorporating the words “high-energy” into everyday conversations, status updates, and stage banter. At first, I tried to do it subtly. But, if you know me very well, then you know that subtlety isn’t exactly my forte! After about a month of using the words “high-energy”, people began to say it back to me and I began to feel like I was onto something!

If you simply say the words “high-energy” you will already begin to feel more high-energy! Whenever I’m going for a run and I start to feel a little winded, I pump my fists in the air and start yelling “I’m high-energy”. It works! Don’t believe me? Just try it! Whenever I’m at work and those afternoon blahs start settling in, I run to the bathroom, look at myself in the mirror, pump my fists in the air, and say “I’m high-energy!”. It works! Don’t believe me? Just try it!

So basically, I use the words “high-energy” to motivate myself and the people around me! In the next post I’ll begin to discuss what I mean by “high-energy”! So, thanks for reading, and if you have any questions please email me at chuckishighenergy@gmail.com. This was my first post that was in response to a reader’s question and I would love to do more posts like this. So, if you have a question, don’t be shy, show some high-energy initiative!

A World Where Everyone Wears Chuck Taylors Pt. 2

Hey, you guys! Chuck here!

In my last post I discussed how 2016 was the best year of my life even though everyone else seemed to think it was pretty awful! I explained that this was due to the fact that I had rewired my brain to focus on more positive and useful things! I explained how what we focus on becomes our reality and I used this analogy; I wear Chuck Taylors, therefore I live in a world where everyone wears Chuck Taylors. I don’t literally live in a world where everyone wears Chuck Taylors, but because I wear Chuck Taylors my brain automatically focuses on people who do and creates for me a reality in which everyone wears Chuck Taylors. And just as my brain has been wired to focus on Chuck Taylors, I intentionally wired my brain to focus on positive and useful things.

At this point you may be thinking that maybe I just had a really good year. After all, I did quit drinking, I lost a lot of weight, and people gave me a lot of money! I had many successes! Maybe 2016 was the best year of my life because it objectively was! But, I would argue that 2016 could have just as easily been the worst year of my life if my brain had been wired to focus on negative and useless things!

I could have focused on the way the DNC robbed Bernie Sanders of his opportunity to be the President of the United States of America! That was definitely a bummer!

Back in June my impacted wisdom teeth had become infected to the point where I could no longer chew solid foods. It wouldn’t be until October that I was finally able to get them removed. That’s right! For four months I was unable to eat solid foods! My diet consisted of yogurt, oatmeal, smoothies, and tofu scrambles! I also suffered numerous, painful toothaches! And I often bit my cheeks when I talked!

And, when I did finally get my wisdom teeth removed, we discovered that my mild hemophilia wasn’t as mild as we had initially thought. When the bleeding didn’t stop, I had to be taken to the emergency room. I spent seven hours being poked with needles and pumped full of coagulants.

Bernie was robbed! No solid foods for four months! A seven hour trip to the ER! So many bad things in 2016! But, my brain had been wired to focus on positive and useful things! Each of these bad things became a learning opportunity. From Bernie, I learned that one high-energy person can change the hearts of millions of people! From my four months of not being able to eat solid foods, I learned that I’m capable of eating a much healthier diet than I had been my entire life! From my trip to the ER I learned that my hemophilia is something I should take seriously and I started wearing a medic-alert bracelet!

Rewire your brain to focus on positive and useful things and together we will have many successes in 2017! And if you have any questions or there’s something you would like to see me discuss on this blog, email me at my new high-energy email address chuckishighenerg@gmail.com

A World Where Everyone Wears Chuck Taylors!

Hey, you guys! Chuck here!

2016 was the best year of my life! I have had many successes! 2017 will be even better! I will have many more successes! But, how is it that I just had the best year of my life while the vast majority of people think it was totally awful? Many people have referred to 2016 as a dumpster fire! So why then did I love it so much?

It’s because what you focus on becomes your reality! I always use this analogy with people; I wear Chuck Taylors, and therefore, I live in a world where everyone wears Chuck Taylors. What you focus on becomes your reality! Because I wear Chuck Taylors, my brain immediately focuses on everyone else who wears Chuck Taylors! There could be just as many people wearing Doc Martens, I would have no idea. It’s just not what my brain focuses on and what you focus on becomes your reality. Have you ever learned a new word and then suddenly everywhere you went you kept hearing that word? That is because your brain has started focusing on it and what you focus on becomes your reality! Have you ever bought a new car and then suddenly everywhere you go you see the same model of car? That is because your brain has started focusing on it and what you focus on becomes your reality!

The good news is that we can train our brains to focus on more positive and useful things. So, for a lot of people, 2016 was the year a lot of wonderful people died and the election was totally stupid. For me, 2016 was the year I finally quit drinking, I made a lot of money doing something fun, and I discovered a secret code in reality that allowed me to become high-energy, hardworking, and happier and healthier than I’ve ever been in my adult life! Now this isn’t the same as a willful ignorance of the problems that face us. Rather, it is a recognition that we have a lot of hard work ahead of us and I’m a lot more useful to the rest of you if I’m happy, healthy, and well-rested! Rewiring your brain to focus on happier things will not only benefit you, but those you serve!

So how can we get down to the business of rewiring our brains to focus on more positive and useful things? One way to do this is to start practicing gratitude. A discipline I’ve taken up is to make a list of ten things I’m grateful for every morning. These vary from day to day, but it usually looks something like this:

  1. I have a reliable vehicle!
  2. I make more money than I need to survive!
  3. I have a job I enjoy!
  4. I have lots of free time!
  5. I have delightful co-workers!
  6. I have a maintainable diet!
  7. I’m high-energy!
  8. I have had many successes!
  9. I’m hardworking!
  10. People give me a lot of money!

If you do this everyday you will  begin to rewire your brain to focus on more positive and useful things! It will also help you to see the little successes in your day to day life! And when you see the little successes than you can use them to build the foundation for your future successes! My successes of 2016 will serve as the foundation for my even greater successes in 2017! For example, I quit eating junk food in 2016! This success will serve as the foundation for the health and fitness successes I will have in 2017! I made a lot of money in 2016! In 2017 I will do a lot of cool stuff with that money!

So set aside a few minutes every morning to practice a little bit of gratitude and together we will have many successes in 2017! And if you have any questions or you have something you would like to see me talk about on this blog email me at my new high-energy email address chuckishighenergy@gmail.com!

Don’t Waste Time On Things You’ll Never Be That Good At Pt. 2

Hey, you guys! Chuck here!

In my last post I discussed how we shouldn’t waste too much time on things we’ll never be that good at. I argued that our time is much better spent focusing on our strengths and attempting to maximize results instead of trying to fix our weaknesses. One thing I’ve noticed that we’re not very good at is trying to figure out what other people are.

I was a very conservative Catholic in my early twenties and I was a student at Michigan State University. So I have very vivid memories of people calling Pope Benedict XVI a Nazi. This idea seems silly now. But, in 2005, the issue of whether or not Pope Benedict XVI is a Nazi was very much up for discussion. Just watch this clip of Robin Williams calling Pope Benedict XVI a Nazi, notice how his voice goes from silly to serious the moment he calls Pope Benedict XVI a Nazi. People are just not very good at figuring out who is and isn’t a Nazi. You’d think it would be obvious, but it totally isn’t.

This is kind of like how 500 years ago we weren’t very good at figuring out who was and wasn’t a witch. And 1500 years ago we weren’t very good at figuring out who was and wasn’t a Nestorian. In fact, most theologians now agree that Nestorius himself wasn’t even really a Nestorian. Kinda like how Calvin wasn’t really a Calvinist. Human beings are just really lousy at figuring out what other people are.

This doesn’t really surprise me too much, since I’m really bad at figuring out what I am. I can’t figure out if I’m a Democrat or Republican. I can’t figure out if I’m a libertarian or a socialist. And I can’t figure out if I’m a Catholic or a Buddhist. You’d think these things would all be really obvious, but they’re totally not!

But, the lesson I learned in 2016 is that what I am doesn’t have any real effect on all of the most important things I’m going to do today! I don’t know if I’m a Democrat or a Republican. But, I know I’m going to do a forty-five minute core-blasting workout routine this morning! I don’t know if I’m a libertarian or a socialist. But, I know I’m gonna spend an hour a day practicing Spanish! I don’t know if I’m a Catholic or a Buddhist. But, I know I’m gonna eat oatmeal for breakfast. We can do so much useful stuff and still have no idea what we are!

I keep talking about how we don’t understand any of this but that’s okay because you don’t have to understand how the universe works in order to operate it. You don’t even have to understand yourself in order to operate yourself. I don’t understand why eating oatmeal makes me feel really high-energy all day long, but that doesn’t stop me from eating oatmeal and feeling high-energy all day long. I don’t understand why this song gets me pumped up, but that doesn’t stop me from listening to it and getting totally pumped up!

In 2017, lots of people are going to try to waste your time with useless discussions about what other people are or what you are. Don’t waste too much time on this! It’s something that human beings are inherently bad at! Eat oatmeal and exercise! Learn a new skill! Together we will have many successes in 2017! And if you have any questions or you have an idea for something you would like to see me write about on this blog, feel free to email me at my new high-energy email address chuckishighenergy@gmail.com!

Don’t Waste Time On Things You’ll Never Be That Good At

Hey, you guys! Chuck here!

In his excellent book The 4-Hour Workweek, Tim Ferris discusses emphasizing strengths and ignoring weaknesses. In the book he states that; “It is far more lucrative and fun to leverage your strengths instead of attempting to fix all the chinks in your armor. The choice is between multiplication of results using strengths or incremental improvement fixing weaknesses that will, at best, become mediocre. Focus on better use of your best weapons instead of constant repair.”

In short; don’t waste time on things you’ll never be that good at!

In the last two posts I’ve discussed how the lesson we were supposed to take away from 2016 is that none of us understand any of this. We especially don’t understand politics. We can kind of understand it at the local level. But, we don’t understand it at the state level. We don’t understand it at the national level. And we sure as heck don’t understand it at the global level! And yet, a significant chunk of our time is spent debating politics on social media! We are spending a lot of time doing something that we’ll never be that good at!

In 2016 all of the the experts demonstrated that even they don’t understand what’s going on! Just watch this video of Fareed Zakaria being completely wrong about stuff! Zakaria is one of our country’s most brilliant political thinkers and he was completely wrong about all sorts of stuff! If Zakaria doesn’t understand any of this, your chances aren’t very good at all! And yet, we waste uncountable hours debating politics on social media. We could be using this time to focus on things that we could possibly be good at someday! You could be learning a new language or a new instrument. You could be working to acquire any number of skills! You will never understand politics, but maybe you could be a pretty good ventriloquist! You have no idea if repealing Obamacare is a good idea or not, but you could one day be fluent in Arabic! Don’t waste your precious time on things you’ll never be that good at!

Many years ago I recognized that I lacked something most other guitarists’ have. I would watch other guitarists on stage and notice that they had a steadiness and control that I seemed to lack. I recognized that there were certain things I would never be able to do on guitar. So instead I focused on guitar techniques which were more accommodating to my unique hand situation. I focused on techniques which presented a fun challenge and stayed away from techniques which I found frustrating. I developed a style of playing which became the envy of many musicians who had mastered techniques of which I was envious! Last October my suspicions were confirmed when I was diagnosed with a tremor in my left hand! No amount of practice was going to make me good at those guitar techniques which frustrated me and it’s a good thing I didn’t waste too much time practicing those techniques! Sometimes frustration is our brain’s way of telling us that something is simply beyond our grasp!  If you don’t believe me, just watch this video of me performing a Hank Williams song! Look at all of the fancy chords I play! This is what happens when you recognize your weaknesses and focus on your strengths instead!

So don’t waste time on things you’ll never be that good at and together we will have many successes in 2017! And if you have any questions or you have an idea for something you would like to see me write about on this blog, feel free to email me at my new high-energy email address chuckishighenergy@gmail.com!