I’m a martial artist. I’ve been practicing self defense for the larger part of 15 years. So many martial arts schools I’ve seen aren’t teaching practical self defense, but they’re teaching sport.

If you don’t know how to protect yourself instinctively, your school isn’t doing a good job. This unfortunately is true of most martial arts schools I’ve seen today. I’ve been to schools where they teach no hands on practical technique.  I’ve been to schools where they teach 4-year-olds how to wiggle their leg 20 times over their heads without putting it down as a poor excuse for a kick. The worst offenders of all, and by far the most common, are the schools where they walk you through specific steps you need to do for every kind of attack under the sun.

“If someone kicks then punches twice, you do this!”

“If the bad guy jabs twice then throws a roundhouse punch, you need to do this!”

“Here, if your opponent kicks three times then swings his left arm at you at 3:00pm on a Tuesday, you do this!”

Related image

This is ridiculous isn’t it?

Real self defense should be instinctive. We shouldn’t train to do cool stuff that would never work in reality. We should train to protect ourselves automatically and instantly if the need arose.

If someone throws a rock at you, and in one-quarter of a second, you’ll get hit in the head, what are you thinking? Probably nothing. You don’t have time to think. You just have time to act. You’ll probably duck or try to dodge, or at the very least, you might raise your hands in front of your face and tense up your body. This stuff happens in an instant. If you force yourself to think about what to do in a situation like that, it’ll surely be too late.

You’ve probably played the “don’t blink” game at some point in your life. This is when someone throws their hand in front of your face without hitting you or blows at you and you try not to flinch. This is incredibly difficult to do at first, but the more you work on it, the easier it gets. We can actually overcome our natural reaction to something threatening.

Obviously that example is a very poor thing to train because you don’t want to sit there staring at a threat. But the fact is, we can train ourselves to overcome or develop a new habit.

That’s what martial arts should really be. Developing good habits.

You can’t develop a habit to take on 100,000 different attacks that could be coming at you. But you can develop a habit to react to threats in general. Our natural habit is to throw up our arms to cover ourselves and tense up. Why not train to change that habit in to throwing up our arms in an efficient way? Why not train to develop the habit of getting general threats out of our way and following up with a simple attack?

Even though I practice martial arts myself, in this way, I’d recommend something like boxing to the average person looking for self defense. Simplicity is best in self defense. Complexity takes time and time gets you hit. It’s far better to learn something simple and practical. Though if you get lucky and find a real martial arts school that teaches good habits, awesome.

The best thing you can do is to keep an eye out for complicated techniques or confusing exercises. Ask yourself “does this work?” and “will this work in any situation?” If you or your kid is  learning loads of things is class that isn’t actually practical, it’s probably not the school for you.

Advertisements
tea bags featured image

I take Green Tea extract at least a couple times a day. Green tea has all kinds of health benefits. Some people even call it the “healthiest beverage on the planet.” One of the biggest reasons people are attracted to green tea is because of its reported ability to fight off cancer. Green tea has powerful antioxidants in polyphenols like flavonoids and catechins. Green tea extract is an awesome way to get these antioxidants. A few types of Green tea extract out there has on the label something called Epigallocatechin Gallate or EGCG. That’s the antioxidant that is concentrated in green tea that is reported to do the most good. So definitely keep an eye out for a high volume of EGCG on the label.

Another awesome property of green tea is that it helps burn fat. That and the antioxidants are the reasons why I took green tea extract as a supplement. It seems to me this one is really true. While working out, I really felt like I lost fat much more efficiently when I was taking green tea. Green tea also may lower your risk of various diseases. It’s pretty good stuff!

One of the largest consumers of Green tea in the world is Japan, which also happens to also be one of the countries with the longest living people in the world!

Early on when I started taking green tea extract a couple times a day, I decided to take it first thing in the morning. Since it had a little natural caffeine in it, I figured it would give me a boost while helping me burn some fat before breakfast. I would typically eat a late breakfast, which would sometimes end up being an early lunch. When I took green tea extract before I ate, I noticed something weird.

About 30 minutes after I took green tea on an empty stomach, I would get a stomach ache, followed by a light feeling of nausea. I’d usually tough it out but I noticed it pretty consistently. I would ride my bike to work every day and I’d notice that if I was in a rush and rode particularly hard, the side effect would be a little worse. One day it hit me bad and I got very close to vomiting.

The dark side of green tea you might not hear about is that it has a pretty bad side effect if you take it wrong. Taking green tea on an empty stomach can cause dizziness, light headedness, nausea, and vomiting.

When I took green tea extract or drank it with a meal, I experienced no side effects whatsoever. More recently, I decided to throw caution to the wind and add green tea to a particularly hard workout. Everything was fine during the workout. I had great energy and I was pushing myself really hard. After my heart rate decreased and I got back out to my car, I immediately started feeling nauseous again. It was pretty silly of me to expect anything else. This time though I vomited right outside the car. Gross.

So take it from me, I do really recommend green tea or green tea extract for anyone looking to be healthy and fight off disease and lose fat. But do not take it on an empty stomach! Vomiting is a great way to lose energy, your appetite, and ruin your day.

Also, be sure to do appropriate research about all the supplements you take. Watch out for side effects and be responsible with your health!

My second protein supplement review is for Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard Whey. You can also check out my MP Whey Protein Supplement Review. There are a few things to look out for when purchasing a protein supplement. First, there are many different kinds of proteins. This protein comes from whey, which is derived from milk. Whey digests easily and quickly meaning it’s good to drink right after a workout so all that protein gets put to good use when protein synthesis is at it’s highest. Other proteins have different properties but I’ll only focus on whey for now.

There are also different kinds of whey protein you can purchase. If you notice the picture below, Optimum Nutrition’s protein powder supplement uses whey protein isolates as it’s primary source, along with some other kinds mixed in.

Aside from isolates, there is also whey concentrate and whey hydrolysate.

Whey concentrate and whey isolate are the two most common forms. The main difference is that isolates are more pure. Whenever milk is broken down to create whey, it’s not 100% protein. Whey concentrate is usually a little less protein per gram at about 80%. The good thing about concentrate is it’s usually cheaper. Whey isolate is usually around 92% protein and it’s a bit more expensive.

Hydrolyzed protein is protein that has further been broken down. All protein is made up of tiny chemicals called amino acids. When we ingest protein, our bodies break about the amino acids to use to repair our muscles. Hydrolyzing protein tears apart the little amino acids for us so it’s even easier to digest and quicker to move into our muscles. This of course is at the cost of price. Protein Hydrolysates are the most expensive kind of whey.

With all that out of the “whey,” on to the review.

3

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Double Rich Chocolate

My second and most recent protein I found was Optimum Nutrition brand. I’ve tried multiple flavors in this brand including Delicious Strawberry, Chocolate Milkshake, Double Rich Chocolate, and Peanut Butter Chocolate. my favorite probably being Double Rich Chocolate.

Taste 5/5

The taste of this stuff is usually top notch. I have been surprised at how much like a chocolate milkshake it tastes. I think the strawberry flavor got a tiny bit old as I was finishing the container. The peanut butter flavor was decent. The chocolate milkshake is better with water than milk. Milk oddly enough made it too milky. Double rich chocolate was the best and the flavor didn’t get old at all. I think I ended up going through two buckets of that flavor while I was working out in Japan.

Price 4/5

This stuff is pretty expensive. But it’s what you need to expect when it comes to a higher quality protein powder. The price is not outrageous and was the best price I could find for the quality it offers. The only reason I’m giving this a 4/5 is because $60 is a big chunk of change. Especially if you’re taking this at least a couple times daily and go through a five pound bucket in a month. I would recommend the larger bucket over the smaller one though if you work out and supplement regularly because you’re going to go through the whole thing anyway and it saves you a bit of money in the long run.

Mixing 4/5

This stuff mixes really well. I’ve gone through four buckets of the stuff and I’ve never had a problem mixing it into making a smooth shake. I’m giving it a 4/5 because occasionally I had to break up some chunks of powder.

Overall a fantastic product in my opinion. If you happen to have tried this one in addition to another protein powder you like even better, please let me know what that is and I’ll give it a try! For now I’m really satisfied with using Optimum Nutrition.

Keep in touch for more health and fitness information. Thanks for reading!

Starting a bit under a year ago while I was in Japan, I made it my goal to improve the shape of my body. I used to do basic body weight exercises but I never really made a routine out of it. I also tried to take protein powder once before but it tasted awful and I didn’t know how to use it anyway. Once I resolved to improve my body, I dove in to reading books about weight training, nutrition, supplements, and more. I wanted to get bigger. And I wanted to go about it in a serious and efficient way. I maybe didn’t want to be bodybuilder big, but just bigger. My whole life I’ve been known as “that tall skinny guy.” I wanted to fill out my height with some muscle.

Since I was in Japan, I had a couple of problems. Gyms are obscenely expensive and there weren’t any supplement stores anywhere around me. I did have a few local gyms nearby that I could pick from and I eventually bit the bullet and paid a whopping $70 a month fee once I found a place with free weights. Because of the Japanese diet, I also didn’t have access to much protein so I needed some supplements fast. The place I ended up ordering from was www.iherb.com by recommendation of some of my coworkers and friends. Though iHerb is in America, they ship free overseas with purchases over a certain price. I scoped out iHerb and it was a pretty good marketplace with everything I needed. While looking for a protein powder to stick with, the first one I tried was Muscle Pharm’s Cookies ‘n’ Cream whey protein flavor.

MusclePharm, Sport Series, Combat 100% Whey Protein, Cookies 'n' Cream, 5 lbs (2269 g)

MusclePharm, Sport Series, Combat 100% Whey Protein, Cookies ‘n’ Cream, 5 lbs (2269 g)

When I first tried it, I was blown away at how good it tasted! The last protein powder I remember trying was chocolate. I don’t remember the brand. I just remember making the mistake of buying it at Walmart. The old stuff was awful. I could only make it semi-tolerable by mixing it with so much milk, it would have been a better price to just buy the expensive stuff. Anyway, the Muscle Pharm stuff tasted great compared to what I had before! I had my first cup dreading the awful taste despite reviews to the contrary but I was pleasantly surprised. Not only did it taste good, but it was good with either milk or water! Powder that’s good with water is really what you should look for since milk adds unnecessary calories.

Price 3/5

The price was decent too. I bought it at around $50. It wasn’t super cheap, but I wanted to avoid cheaper low-tier poor quality protein powders. It wasn’t as pricey as other powders I ended up using either. $50 was fair for 5 pounds of whey.

Taste 3/5

While Muscle Pharm Cookies ‘n’ Cream whey protein tasted good at first, it didn’t last forever. Nearing the end of the container, it was pretty hard to get it down sometimes without mixing it with enough milk. So it did get old for me. In addition to that, I don’t think it’s a very high quality protein. During my research I read that one possible sign of a poor quality powder is that it doesn’t mix well with liquid. It didn’t mix well with water or milk without shaking for minutes upon minutes. Even after that, it still might not be mixed well. Drinking slimy clumps of protein isn’t very appealing.

Mixing 2/5

Aside from the taste that got old fast and the difficulty mixing, it worked. It filled the amount of protein I needed per day and I definitely got bigger in the time I used this supplement. There are better powders out there in my opinion, though. Ones where the taste didn’t turn on me and those same ones mixed far better. I’ll review those and other supplements I’ve used in the future.

Final Grade: C

You can look forward to that because if you’re in the same boat as me (as really everyone should be) and want to improve the shape of your body, I’ve used some stuff that works well! I’m also still experimenting with what works and how to efficiently improve my health, strength, and shape. Keep track of my posts by subscribing if you’re interested in coming along for the ride. Thanks for reading!

Negotiating is one of the most valuable skills I think a person can have. As a part of my foray into reading a book a week, I stumbled on a book called Cold Calling Techniques: That Really Work by Stephan Schiffman.

If you’ve ever been involved in sales, you may know what cold calling is. Cold calling is simply calling a potential customer in order to try to sell to them. This is a way of reaching out to new people to see if they’re interested in what you’re selling. But this isn’t only relevant to sales, but to business in general. And not only business, but strategies from this book can apply to negotiation on the phone in general or even face to face. The think I like about this book is that it’s practical. There are specific steps and scripts to follow. It’s awesome. Check the book out. I highly recommend it.

Anyway, the idea of cold calling seems specific to sales, but if you own a business or ever want to own a business, reaching out to new people and getting them to say yes is super valuable. Most people tend to believe that this isn’t a very effective way to get customers, but according to the author, most people do it wrong.

I’ll give a quick outline of many of the highlights from the book, but if you’re interested in this stuff, there’s a lot of awesome stuff in the book, so pick it up yourself!

Here’s what I learned!

What’s the number one reason why businesses fail? A lot of people will have many different answers to this. Lack of motivation, lack of interest in the product, bad advertising, poor website, bad management, etc.

Those may all be true. But the thing that contributes universally to the failure of any business is simply this: Lack of sales.

Lack of sales.

Obviously. Right? So in order to prevent the thing that will cause us to fail, we must sell more.

Another interesting question: If you’re in sales or have a business or even in your current workplace, you will have competitors. Who is your biggest competitor? You might want to say your coworkers. Or the other business down the street. Or you may even say that you are your greatest competitor.

Again, the author throws in a surprising, but obvious answer to the question. The status quo. “You’re up against the way your prospects are doing business right now.” If we understand how our prospects are doing business, the way things work and the way things currently are, we can be smart and overcome that to become successful.

Here are a few tips to putting yourself on your way to overcoming the status quo.

  • Reduce the sales cycle: Make appointments faster, call back tomorrow instead of in a week, follow up more quickly, etc.
  • Time is money. Don’t waste time on sales. Max of 3 sales calls (or less). If you spent too much effort pursuing one client, that’s valuable time you could have spent chasing entirely new clients.
  • Know your numbers. Know your conversions. Know your yes to no ratio.

Here are 5 very simple ways to double your income. Do these things and you’ll become more successful reaching people and getting them to say yes. It’s simple math.

5 ways to double your income:

  1. Double calls
  2. Get through twice as often
  3. Get twice the number of appointments
  4. Close twice the sales
  5. Generate double the dollars per sale

Selling is a numbers game. In order to sell more, we have to work harder in certain areas. Double any of the variables in the sales process and you double your sells. Check this out: Double two of those variables an you quadruple your sales.

If your income depends on how many people buy your product, and your process to get someone to buy your product looks like the following, it’s a simple math formula to determine how to increase profit.

Calls*GetThrough*Appointments*Close*Price=Profit

2Calls*GetThrough*Appointments*Close*Price=2Profit

Calls*2GetThrough*2Appointments*2Close*Price=6Profit

Does that make sense? What this means is, if you get through twice as often, get twice as many as appointments, and close twice as many offers, you get six times the profit. Wow!

That formula may not be exactly the same as whatever you do. This formula is what the author Stephan Schiffman does when he calls prospects. But let’s apply this to something totally mundane like washing dishes. It still holds true.

NumberOfDishes*WashingSpeed=DishesWashed

Imagine you have a dishwasher where you put in 20 dishes at a time. The dishwasher takes 30 minutes to finish. That’s 20 dishes in 30 minutes. Maybe you upgrade your dishwasher to a commercial sized one that can wash a load of dishes in 10 minutes. That effectively cuts the time washing by a third which triples the total number of dishes washed.

Enough math for now. When we’re calling someone with an offer and we want them to listen to us long enough to schedule an appointment (in the author’s case), or give us an email, give us a name, etc. Whatever we want them to do – These are the mechanics of those calls:

Cold Call Mechanics

  1. Get the persons attention in an open ended way that invites conversation – Gimmicky questions get gimmicky answers. Stupid questions get stupid answers. “Are you interested in (X)?” “No” / “Do you currently have (something related to X)?” “Yes/No (but remains open for conversation)” / Best way to get attention? “Good morning, Mrs. Jones.”
  2. Identify yourself and your company – give a mini commercial in your call and not only state who you’re with, but qualify it. “I’m with (X). We help (Y) with (Z).” Or “We’re the top (X) company in (Y) doing (Z).”
  3. Give the reason for your call – Recommended to specifically say “The reason I’m calling you today specifically is to set an appointment so I can (value statement).” Be clear with what you want. Don’t hide the reason for calling!!
  4. Make a questioning or qualifying statement – “I’m sure that you, Mrs. Jones, just like a lot of the other companies I work with, are interested in increasing your online sales.” (Silence – taken from ‘Negotiating like your life depended on it’)
  5. Set the appointment – “That’s great! Will you be free for a call Tuesday at 2:00?” This must be direct and brief.

Tip: Use a mirror!

Studies have shown that your body language reflects how you deal with people on the phone and therefore how they respond. Look at yourself in a mirror while you’re making a call. If you wouldn’t want to talk to you, neither do they.

Turning Around Common Responses

If someone hears that you want to sell them something, what do they normally say? If someone wants to sell you something, what is your first reaction? Here are four common responses and how to deal with them.

  1. “No thanks, I’m happy with what I have.” – “Other people we work with like (X) have said the exact same thing before they had a chance to see how what we do compliments (fits into, supports, etc) what they’re already doing. How about I set you up with an appointment to call Tuesday at 2:00?”
  2. “I’m not interested.” – “Well, Mrs. Jones, a lot of people had the same reaction you did when I first called – before they had a chance to see how what we do will benefit them.” Very similar answer to number 1.
  3. “I’m too busy.” – That’s fine! The goal isn’t a conversation, but an appointment. “That’s okay! The only reason I’m calling was to set up and appointment with you to discuss (value statement).” If they retort with a different answer, reply with the script already laid out. If they continue to press that they really are too busy, just say you’ll call back later. And really follow up!
  4. “Send me some literature.” – Most of the time, literature is ignored, even if they sincerely mean that they will look it over, consider it, and get back to you. Instead remember the main point is getting an appointment! “Can we just get together?” or “Can we just schedule a time to chat? How about Tuesday at 2:00?” Simple as that.

Turning Negative Responses into Positive Outcomes

When someone gives you a negative response, you can turn it into getting a positive outcome. If a call goes on long enough and the prospect gathers enough information to believe that they don’t need your services, you can use many of the same responses from earlier.

Them: “Now that I’ve heard a little about what you do, it seems like we already are comfortable with what we have.”

You: “Actually, many other people/companies I’ve worked with had the same response before they see how what we do compliments what they’re already doing. We really should get together! How about…”

If the no persists, use the valuable phrase:

“I’m just curious…”

If you find an opportunity to allow the prospect to expand on what it is they do, you can use this question to open up a way to find something you really can add value to!

Them: “We already have a company who does digital marketing for us.”

You: “I’m just curious, what is it they do for you?”

Them: “1,2,3…”

You: “That’s great! Because a lot of other companies we work with do the exact same thing and we add on to that…”

Leaving Messages that get Results

The trick, it seems, to leaving messages that get results is not giving too much information in the message and letting out a hook in the form of a reference to get them to call you back.

There are two kinds of messages you can leave that work most effectively. One that references a company name, and one that references a person. “Hi, this is Cody with XYZ Company. My number is… I’m calling in reference to ABC Company. Looking forward to hearing from you!”

The idea here is to use the name of a company they already work with who you can supplement or give the name of a company you’ve previously worked with that they would be familiar with.

The second kind of message you can leave is in reference to a person. This one supposedly gets an incredibly high return-rate. Simply reference a person’s name in the message. “Hi, this is Cody with XYZ Company. My number is … I’m calling in reference to John Smith. Give me a call back when you’re available.”

If there is no company or person to reference, you can use a third kind of message, simply getting straight to the point of your call. “Hi, this is Cody with XYZ Company. My number is… The reason I’m calling is to set up an appointment. How’s Tuesday at 2:00?”

That’s all!

The Sales Process

  1. Opening
  2. Information Stage
  3. Presentation Stage
  4. Closing Stage

Steve says that the purpose of the first step, Opening, is merely to get to the next step. That’s really the purpose of each step. If step 4 isn’t successful, then step 3 wasn’t adequate. If step 2 isn’t allowed to begin, it’s likely due to a poor step 1.

Opening

This is just a brief, friendly, getting-to-know-you step. It has to come first. Here you develop a friendly attitude with each other and build rapport.

Information

The most important question to ask yourself in this phase is “Do I have enough information to make the right presentation? This phase should take up about 75% of the whole sales process. Steve says in this chapter “The key to successful selling is finding out what people do.” Aside from asking people what they need, in this phase, you need to ask them as much as possible to gather information about they they do. When you know what they do, you’ll know where you can come in and supply value.

Presentation

The presentation requires information to be gathered. This is where you fit your product or service into their needs.

Closing

Steve recommends the phrase, “Makes sense to me; what do you think?”  This is short, sweet, and to the point. It invites response in a friendly way and is a simple way to close the sale and get a yes or no.

Principles of Sales

  1. All steps lead to the next step
  2. The difference between success and failure is 72 hours
  3. All objections and responses can and should be anticipated
  4. Follow-through is an integral part of sales
  5. You must find out what the prospect does
  6. Prospects respond in kind
  7. It’s necessary to ask for the appointment

All of that is some of the stuff that stood out to me from the book Cold Calling Techniques: That Really Work. It was a surprisingly insightful read. If you got something out of this blog, go buy it yourself and learn some stuff! If you’ve read this, or if you have other calling strategies or negotiating strategies that are helpful in brief conversations, please comment below! I love to discuss and learn new things! Or if you picked something up from this blog yourself that you thought was interesting or intriguing, I’d love to know!

I recently watched a speech given at Aweseomeness fest in 2013 by Michael Ellsberg, author of The Education of Millionaires, columnist for Forbes, and entrepreneurship writer. Ellsberg’s speech, called “How to Connect with Powerful and Influential People” was fantastic and I absolutely recommend it. Often in the area of business it seems like successful people don’t want to share too much information about what contributes to their success. If I share information, there will be more competition and less success to go around. However, Ellsberg’s speech not only is immediately applicable and can contribute to every successful maneuver in your life here on out, but the most wonderful part about this speech is that the more people know about the method here, the more successful we all can be.
Here’s what I got out of it:

First, go ahead and watch the speech and draw your own conclusion, but come back and I’ll tell you what I got out of it.
Ellsberg’s speech highlights a very special concept that we all can make use of when interacting with people in business-related conversations, but really, and ideally, should be applied in every situation. That concept which Michael highlights is an attitude of giving.
His method is to enter a conversation not seeking to take from people – but to seek to give something to them. Not only is it far more ethical, but it’s far more effective. Entering a conversation with a mindset of taking is one sided and it highly unlikely to entice anyone to help you. But a mindset of giving is attractive. Entering a conversation and wanting to find a way to give something valuable to someone is at least helpful to them, and at most, makes them want to do something in return, create a valuable relationship that will be incredibly useful to the both of you, and open doors to even more relationships and resources in the future.
How cool is that?
The day after I saw Ellsburg’s speech I was sitting in a local cafe doing some work on my laptop and I overheard a man sitting at a table next to me talking who happened to be the owner of the cafe. I thought to myself how it would be so simple and beneficial for me to start a conversation with this guy. But initially the way my mind naturally bent was to how I could get him to do something for me. Then I gravitated toward thinking how impossible it would be for some Joe Schmoe to ask something of the owner of a business outright.
But I quickly caught myself. I don’t care about what this guy can give me. That should be the farthest thing from my mind. How selfish. My goal is just a conversation. Maybe I can offer him something. If anything, I’ll certainly gain insight into the life of an entrepreneur.
Well, I talked to him, following Michael Ellsberg’s method, merely involved in our conversation and sincerely interested in what the man was telling me.  It turns out he owned multiple industrial businesses all over the state and in other states as well. He’s also obviously connected with many more people as influential and more influential than himself.
He asked me what I do and I explained some of my skills. He said he son was in school for some of the same things. Aha, I thought! I can offer my advice or help for his son! In return maybe he can connect me with someone he knows who needs some help with something.
Now my relationship with him may go nowhere at all. Or it could lead to some value in the future. In this particular situation, I doubt it’ll actually go anywhere but I suppose we’ll see!
If nothing else, it was an excellent proof that the method works. To validate that for myself so soon after thinking about this change of heart in approaching conversation was very interesting. I’ll definitely continue to practice connecting with many more people that I meet and if they turn out to be powerful and influential or not, I make a valuable connection with another person that improves both of us.
I recently returned to America from living in Japan for 13 months. What a wonderful experience it was! Actually, having traveled to Japan and back is a large inspiration for starting this blog. You can bet I’ll be sharing more about my experience and teaching about how you can do it too in some of the posts to come. Being immersed in a totally different culture and practicing the customs and learning the language was such an eye-opening, valuable, and mind-opening experiences in my life. The decision to pause my life, take an extended vacation from my job, and eventually quit and become employed in Japan, was one of the most amazing decisions I’ve ever made in my life.
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/c0/Shukugawa_Park_in_spring.jpg/1280px-Shukugawa_Park_in_spring.jpg
One of the craziest things about me moving to Japan was that it was a decision I made just one month prior to moving. From the time I decided I wanted to commit to living abroad to moving into an apartment all took place within the period of one month.
The amazing thing about traveling or living abroad is anyone can do it. It’s astounding. What’s also astounding is the number of my peers dumbfounded as to how I dropped everything in my life to move there. By the way, I was 24 years old when I moved there and now I’m 25 years old. If I can do it, so can you. If you want to take an extended vacation to travel abroad, live abroad for a longer period, or just visit another country for the first time for a short visit, it’s all possible. And it’s not difficult at all to do.


Out of all of my peers I’ve spoken with about my trip, I hear far too often the lament that “I wish I could do that but…” or “I’ve always wanted to do that! But…” Even many older people I’ve encountered have given me the same lament.
There are many reasons for those objections like family and time. But the most common objection I get from 20-somethings is the cost. “It’s so expensive to travel to another country! I don’t have the money to spend on that!” Since that’s the primary concern of people around my age, I’d like to tackle the issue of cost.
Even if you have $0 in the bank, you can still quickly and easily scratch that itch for experiencing the world.
How?
To be honest, you’ll at least need a temporary source of income. Any source will do. if you do happen to have $0 in the bank and no job and living in your parents’ basement, you should stop playing video games and apply for a fast food job.
$1000 is all you need. With some patience and a bit of time searching, you can find a round-trip plane ticket for no more than $1000 to Japan. Other countries may be more or may be much less.
To this you may say, “Cody, $1000 is a TON of money! How am I supposed to save that much to waste on a trip? How am I supposed to leave my job like you did for an uncertain life in another country?”
First, if you think it’s a waste to travel, don’t go. Your mind clearly isn’t in the right place. To me, travel was an investment. Travel broadens the mind and gives valuable life experience that is unmatched. Long-term travel is even more valuable in my opinion in that it gives you exposure to an entirely new mindset in a different culture, whatever that culture is (even other western cultures are significantly different from America).
Here’s how to make $1000:
In America, let’s assume you’re making the lowest possible salary of $7.25.
How long would it take you to save up enough to travel across the world and back?
Let’s look at the numbers.
$1000/$7.25 per hour =137.9 hours
Let’s round that up to 138 hours. That number may seem intimidating at first. But how long is 138 hours in workdays?
138 hours/8 hour workdays = 17.25 days.
We’ll round that up to 18. That’s all it takes. 18 days is all you need to save up enough money to travel the world if you’re working the lowest-paying job in the country. You may say this isn’t realistic if you have bills or other payment obligations. Fair enough. Let’s assume you can only save 50% of the money you make. Then you need 36 days. Just over one month. One month is all you need to travel the world. Interestingly enough, buying your plane ticket one or two months in advance will give you all kinds of time to make that money back and more to spend wherever you choose to go.
Isn’t that wild?
For those of you who would love to travel and cost is the biggest fear getting in your way, that’s no excuse.
Depending on where you want to go and how long you want to stay, the numbers will change. I thought $1000 was a very fair number to not only get you to another country, but at least give you a few days to explore. Alternatively, it can definitely get you a plane trip there to your new job if that’s your avenue.
If your dream is to travel to another country, I hope this gets you one step closer to that dream. I really believe travel broadens the mind and is an investment in your character.
Good luck!

One day when I was in Japan, I hopped on a train to take a short trip to Osaka to explore the city. I’d often see both adults and children often with English phrases on their clothes, some of which didn’t make much sense. The reason for that being because most Japanese people don’t understand English very well. It’s probably similar to how westerners often wear clothes, get tattoos, or otherwise display Kanji or other Asian characters. This might be a surprise, but whatever you think those Chinese characters say might not be what it actually says.

https://i1.wp.com/static3.uk.businessinsider.com/image/55d4b5f3dd08950a058b461c-1190-625/these-cameras-in-a-japanese-train-station-can-tell-if-youre-too-drunk-to-ride.jpg

So anyway, on this train I saw a little kid with his dad. The kid had a Nintendo DS and he and his dad were talking about Pokemon and they were passing the game system back and forth playing the game. The kid was wearing a cap with some English on it and I tried my best to discreetly stare at the kid’s cap to decipher what it said without looking too incredibly awkward. Surely it’s intimidating to notice a big bearded foreigner staring at your kid so I tried to be as subtle as possible. I had a bit of a hobby out of enjoying silly things that non-English speakers wear in English.

After a few subtle brief glances I initially made out that the boy’s hat said this:

You miss 100% of the shots you take.

Huh? I knew what it was actually supposed to say but I got a kick out of that phrase. I thought, “oh it’s just another funny example of crazy mistranslated English on clothing. How funny! Or how depressing!” Read More

I recently started trying to read much more than I typically do, and I’d highly recommend you do the same. I’ve got some numbers for you that you may find very interesting, then I’ll tell you about a great book I just read about how to start an incredibly successful business for under $100.

Check this out:

CEOs of Fortune 500 companies read an average of 1000 pages per month, which equates to about four to five books each month.

 

Wow.

If you can imagine CEOs from some of the most successful businesses in the world, you may imagine that they’re generally very busy guys and gals – and you’d be right. Yet they still find the time to read so much. The average American adult 18 years old and older reads 12 books a year. A YEAR. Ask yourselves if you’re above or below the mean. Compare that to the 48-60 books a year that CEOs apparently read. They’ve probably got 99% of us beat. Again, wow.

Here’s a chart for you:The Average (Mean) American Read 12 Books in the Past 12 Months

Now inherently, reading or not reading doesn’t mean anything. But if we look at those CEOs who average an incredible number of books a year, what’s the difference between them and us? Well the obvious difference is that they’re CEOs of Fortune 500 companies.

It would be silly to say that reading will make you successful. But maybe there’s a correlation there. It seems to me that at the very least, exposing yourself to valuable ideas from intelligent people could definitely contribute to success. Remember the often unfinished quote, “a Jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one.” The more you read, the more you learn. The more you learn, the more you can do.

One Book a Week

Last December, living in Japan, I had little access to any physical copies of books in English. That was rough. I love reading but I also love being able to feel a book in my hands and turn a page. But then at Christmas I received a mind-broadening gift that opened my eyes to the value of e-books. A Kindle. Thanks, Mom and Dad. After I got that thing, I tore through a book about every couple of weeks. That still isn’t much compared to the numbers from the F500 CEOs but it was far more than nothing, and far more than I read when I had to go to a book store back in the States.

Now that I’m back in the States, I’m even more seriously focusing on studying and learning about business and entrepreneurship. I’m even committing myself to read one book a week and review it on my blog! So definitely follow for updates on that.

The $100 Startup

My most recent read was The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau. It was a very interesting book about how to quickly (very important), easily (usually), and cheaply (most importantly), create your own business. This is a startup.

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51qxnQ0xbDL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgI’ll cover briefly a few of the main topics in the book and what I think about them.

Many people want to create businesses themselves to achieve personal freedom. I’m definitely in that category. To own a successful business where I’m helping people on my own schedule would be a dream come true.

1. Value

To achieve that personal freedom with a business of your own, the first and most important thing that business needs to have is value to the consumer. What does that mean? A business above all else needs to help people. Helping people can look like anything. Going to a grocery store saves me the time and money of growing and producing my own food or traveling around to separate sellers to get everything I need. Fast food restaurants help me save time so I don’t have to cook the food I got at the grocery store.

Every business helps people. If it doesn’t do this job well, it surely won’t last long.

2. Do what you love! …If what you love is marketable.

Your business should be something that you enjoy doing. But that has to be qualified a bit. As Chris mentions in the book, he enjoys eating pizza, but no one will pay to watch him eating pizza. Sometimes not everything we love to do is a marketable idea – meaning people may not want to buy it. But in some situations, some of our loves may be able to transform into marketable skills. If you’re good at one thing, you’re probably good at something else too.

For example, some people enjoy playing video games. But who in their right minds would pay to watch someone play video games when they could play themselves? Well, you may know that YouTube and other sites now are full of kids and adults making money from doing just that. However, I would argue that they’re not selling the skill of playing video games. There are successful unskilled gamers and unsuccessful skilled gamers. I would argue that the successful video game players are successful because they have transformed their love of video games into the skill of entertaining people. It’s the good entertainers who get paid.

A less esoteric example could be a person who’s a whiz at using some product like Microsoft Excel, Evernote, Twitter, etc. You name it. An expert at the software may turn out to be a decent teacher. They could make a business of teaching others how to use the product they enjoy using.

Hopefully you have a few loves to pick from then consider how that can transform into a skill you can use to make money.

3. Just do it!

Once you have an idea and a way to give it to people, you have to put it into action.

This personally is a really difficult one for me. Starting one’s own business is inherently a risky thing. I don’t like taking risks if I don’t think I’m highly likely to succeed. That is, if almost everything is under my control and I can reasonably predict a successful outcome, I’m fine with it. But if not, I hate hate hate taking action.

It helps to know that being willing to go all in and take a big risk at a business is something that nearly every successful entrepreneur in history has done and come out on the other side, not unscathed, but ultimately victorious. Other peoples’ stories only do so much for me though. The saving grace of this for me is the fact that I’ve taken serious risks before and they’ve worked out to my favor. The most recent obvious risk I took was packing up my life and moving to Japan after a decision I made in just under a month. That was wildly risky. But it turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made in my life with one of the greatest pay-offs in the end.

To make a successful business ideas and a desire to help people are meaningless if you don’t take action. I’ll take my own advice to heart and keep pushing to start something myself.

If you created a startup or are interested in creating a startup, please let me know where you are in the process! How did you get started? What are your successes? What were your failures? What did you learn? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Hero's Journey Logo

I just got back from a year living in Japan. I had a blog there but blogging wasn’t a priority and I just couldn’t motivate myself to fit it into my schedule. But I’ve resolved to change that. I’m hunkering down to search for my next big adventure, whatever that is. So I made a new blog! Then I switched hosts and lost all my original data from a few days of blogging. Ouch. Then I switched hosts again because it wasn’t quite what I had in mind. I landed back where I started with the same hosting I had before leaving for Japan. The past couple weeks have been wild trying to get all of that situated. But I’m back and I’m committed.

Who is this guy? What can I look forward to from this blog?

You can expect to hear lots about travel because of my travel and living experience in Japan. Also you can expect to hear about language and my journey learning Japanese and learning about learning language and how to do it most efficiently. Business and entrepreneurship is another passion of mine. Tangentially, you can hear about marketing. Another subject I thoroughly enjoy is fitness and health. We can learn how to lose fat efficiently and in a short period of time (which I’ve had incredible success doing), how to gain muscle also efficiently and quickly (also incredible success), which foods to eat and which foods to avoid, and which diets work and which diets don’t, and we’ll talk about supplements. Other possible topics may include martial arts, breathing, efficiency, organization, and more. As you can see, I’m a real jack of all trades. Follow me to have these and some other awesome things to learn together. Thanks for reading! I’m looking forward to seeing you back.