Inspire

How Presence, Not Presents, Changed My Life

Often times, we are shrouded in our own thoughts and stuck with an inability to move forward. I’ve felt this at times and feel it’s especially present when writing or speaking when you seem to be at a loss for words. You consider many factors before you plot your next move thinking maybe I should change the tonality in my voice or maybe I should write in a more professional tone or you know what, maybe I should remain silent until someone else brings up another topic.

Self-doubt is not thinking you are lesser than people, but being stuck in what to do next, whether that’s personally, professionally, or socially. It’s what I attribute in part to the rise of our lives becoming more and more digital and online based. We see the flawless pictures others post and the rich and lavish lifestyles some adhere to and wonder what exactly we’re doing that’s so different than those individuals.

One step of realizing this is understanding your fixations. Just like tobacco and alcohol, addiction cannot be noted quickly by ones own self, but rather can be from others around you. The desire to take a puff or another swig is a tick. This doesn’t mean you’re addicted, but rather your mind is at ease when you’re able to partake in it. One of the ticks I realized I had was my phone. I am all about self-improvement but found my eyes straining just from the amount of time I spent on my phone. Our world is digital now and our focus is on the things that provide us a safety net from reality. It’s so easy to scroll through Instagram and then reach your last point and go to the next platform. The cyclical nature of this is calming because it doesn’t require thinking. Unfortunately, this is just as addictive as any of the things listed above. It’s a heightened sense of dopamine that injects into your mind providing happiness short term.

Now I won’t say stop looking at your phone or delete the apps that cause you to stare for hours on end because that’d be foolish. I want you to keep enjoying your life and everything you do. Rather, what I want for you is to be cognizant of when your fully invested and present in a situation. Oblivious to distraction or personal issues and being involved in what is actively going on around you.

Once I slowly started making this shift, I realized that being invested in the moment and fully submerging myself into every situation gave me a sense of a much more profound feeling of joy. I implore you to be present in every moment and although at first it can be taxing on yourself and exhausting to not look at your phone or fall victim to your tick, in the long run it will make friendships stronger, memories far fonder, and life a whole lot more interesting.

Wishing you all an amazing day and as always,

 

“There is no such things as strangers, just friends we’ve yet to meet.”

Brant

6 Ways to Grow Your Self-Confidence

 

What I’ve seen lately is that most entrepreneurs and business people were born with great genes that allow them to perform at the levels that they do — that confidence is a natural born skill and if you don’t have the right set of chromosomes, well sorry.. you’re shit out of luck.

I read these things and think how foolish they truly are. The names that you know today as moguls within their respective industry were undoubtedly born with talent and natural ability, but had to refine and focus on personal growth to really capture who they were as an individual. You think the Rock came out of the womb looking like a chiseled Greek warrior? No. You think Elon Musk successfully started every venture he pursued? No, he almost went bankrupt. You think Albert Einstein naturally just rolled into the theory of relativity? No, he spent years and years dedicating his life to his craft and finding new answers to growing problems.

That’s what I want to focus on this week. Self-confidence is not just a born with talent, but something you can improve week in and week out.

Here are my top tips for improving your personal self confidence:

  • Think of the most confident person you know. Could be a person that you’re close to, could be celebrity you may admire, or even could be a fictional character. Take a moment for yourself and think of someone that exudes confidence in their every action or seemingly does. Think about what they do that is impressive to you, is it their vocal tonality? Their stance? The way their words flow together? Just think about what exactly they do that gives them an aura of confidence. From here, what I want you to do is go into a place you frequent, could be a coffee shop, a library, or anywhere with people in public. I want you to think about that confident individual and test out one or two of the aspects I mentioned above. Emulate their confidence in place of yourself.

 

  • Fear can cripple you, so ask yourself “what’s really the worst that could happen?” Someone may snicker when you puff out your chest and deepen your voice by three octaves, but ultimately nothing bad will come from it. Even if you may think so.

 

  • Confident individuals stand CONFIDENTLY. Take your hands out of your pockets when you speak and strike a superman pose or speak with open palms. Many times, people view confidence as your ability to be eloquent in your speech or the way in which you present yourself. Do not hunch your shoulders over – push them back, look at a person when you are directly addressing them, and finally speak a level louder than you think is loud. Don’t yell, but pronunciate your every word with clarity.

 

  • Your past isn’t indicative of your future. Regardless of your past, you have the opportunity and ability to control your life’s destiny and purpose. Think long and hard about what you want your life to look like and then execute on actions that bring you to that point. Execute. Evaluate. Re-execute. Re-evaluate. Over and over.

 

  • The negative voices in your head need to be let go. We are far too often swarmed with inner negativity. Our minds associate what if questions to every scenario we get in and usually take a pessimistic view. Shift your mindset from what if to why not. Be conscious of the negativity and try your best to erase it with positivity and an open mindset for growth.

 

  • The experts in their respective fields are experts because they know the industry they are in back and forth. They’ve studied everything applicable and continue to research to improve. They ask others questions and take on feedback openly from others. The best in the world are overprepared and have studied endlessly to be where they are at. You cannot fear what you already know.

 

You are in the driver seat of your own life. It’s time for you to take what you want.

Let me know what you think in the comments below and share this to those who may need to read it.

Wishing you all the very best and as always,

 

“There is no such things as strangers, just friends we’ve yet to meet.”

Brant

How Overcoming Mental Barriers can be the Key to your Success

Fingerprints vary in size, shape, and form in every person — even identical twins don’t share a common fingerprint. I was thinking about this throughout my week in how we always learned that not one person is alike by their fingerprints. It intrigued me however, that it was limited to just fingerprints. Although fingerprints are a good indicator if differences, every individual is comprised of many different factors. Whether it be physically, intellectually, neurologically, or anything else we are all unique and different in our own way. This does not mean that we cannot share common threads with others, but it does mean that you need to look at yourself as an individual and not just a number within a crowd.

I bring this up because I’ve been working out regularly for the entirety of my summer. I read a quote by Socrates that has stuck with me and has pushed me into creating what I want physically from my body. It read, “It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.” My body is capable of far greater things than I can imagine it to possess, it just takes the proper training and dedication to get to that point.

I’m a huge fan of experimenting with my body and testing its limits both mentally and physically, but when it comes to the physical aspects of my body I am often dissatisfied with the lack of progress I show. I see superheroes chiseled from their jawline to their ankle and every move they make another muscle ripples within their body. I see friends with six packs and bulging arms worthy of being placed on greek god statues. It’s an uncomfortable position to be in… You want to emulate the looks of these men and women, but are stuck looking in a mirror with a reflection of a pale complexity with abs barely peaking through your skin.

This is where a lot of individuals just give up and kind of pout to themselves that they’d never attain a body like that or a specific ab count like the models. This is where the idea of 2<102 comes into play. Think of it like this, these individuals have committed to this lifestyle and eat, sleep, and breathe fitness. They have spent hours upon hours perfecting their craft and day after day tirelessly working in the gym. We want results and expect results within the first 2 days of eating well and exercising regularly, but forget the notion that those we aspire to be like have been doing it for 102 days.

It comes down to patience and perseverance. Are you willing to go 100 straight days of doing something you may not love? Are you willing to put forth the effort in the long term to get to where you want? This does not just apply to physical fitness, but also career and long-term goals. It’s so easy to say that someone was an overnight success or that genetically they’re more gifted than you are. But you have to know and understand that it’s an excuse you’re creating to give yourself leeway and take the blame off of yourself. It is a mental barrier that you forcibly put up to convince yourself you cannot.

We are a beautiful creation that can be worked on every day. I encourage you to hone your craft daily and perfect who you are. Define who you want to be and become it.

 

Wishing you all an amazing day and an even better weekend.

And as always,

“There is no such things as strangers, just friends we’ve yet to meet.”

Brant

How Taking a Break Can Create Personal Growth

It is easy to forget about caring for yourself when you have long term goals set in front of you.

However, it is difficult within the hustle and bustle of day to day life to find time for just yourself.

Not necessarily being alone, but rather doing or seeing those things you find happiness in. It can be something as grandiose as an exotic adventure that takes you halfway around the world or as simple as playing a board game with those you love.

Personally, I get stuck in the lofty goals I have for myself and don’t take the time to rejuvenate my inner energy. This is not only taxing on me in the short term, but also corrodes my long-term goals through not enjoying the moments that I am in.

This blog comes from an interesting situation for me personally. I am at an in between stage in my life in that I know ultimately where I want to end up, but have to find the path that I want to carve to get there. It’d be foolish of me to think that I’d have an smoothly paved asphalt road for me and that thorns and bushes wouldn’t be present throughout the entirety of my journey, but it doesn’t mean I shouldn’t enjoy the small flowers along the way.

I’ve had the pleasure of being home before moving and realized that although my lofty goals have not been achieved yet, the reality is that I can still hold massive empathy for the life I live. Yesterday it came down to having a bottle of wine with my parents and Kas and ending the evening with a game of Scrabble.

I had always thought that I had no time for board games and childish endeavors like Scrabble, but quickly realized that this contributed to the reenergizing of what exactly I’m chasing and why I so vehemently want it.

Take some time for yourself, whether that be through watching sunsets, enjoying an episode of your favorite show, or just eating amazing food. Understand that you and I have very different ways of recouping and that not everyone is alike in that front. Some need time away, some need silence, some need to never stop working. It doesn’t matter exactly what you have to do to replenish your vigor, all that matters is that you do.

I encourage you all to find moments of tranquility and avenues that bring you sheer happiness.

Wishing you an awesome day and as always,

 

“There is no such things as strangers, just friends we’ve yet to meet.”

Brant

3 Aspects of Life That Have Changed Since Training My Brain

I am in a constant state of reinventing myself and wanting to become a better version of what I envision my future self may be. When studying memory and the ways in which you can better your memory, I’ve found fads that seemingly take too much time or inadvertently distract me from the goings on in my life. My desire to strengthen my mental aptitude stemmed from the understanding that mentally you can conquer anything you set your mind to. Although you may have physical impairments or deficiencies, your mind can still be taught to grow and strengthen itself.

With this in mind, I sought to find a way to improve both my cognitive thinking and my overall memory. I wanted to find something that was both simplistic in nature and not too time demanding.

Enter the Pythagoras Memory Technique.

This technique is most famously associated with Pythagoras; the creator of my favorite high school math formula, the Pythagorean Theorem. Outside of his vast geometric knowledge and study, he prided himself on the preservation of thought in what is now called memory. His study of memory took years and years of trials and tribulations and testing and re-testing, but luckily for you and me, I have the opportunity to put a life’s worth of work into a compact format.

Now into the good stuff..

The original application Pythagoras adopted was through a series of memory recollection immediately upon awakening. He sought to remember everything he did in the day before in a chronological order attempting to not miss anything. He quickly realized how much he forgot throughout his day and thus did this daily in attempts to strengthen his memory.

Enough about him however, let’s talk about me. I quickly realized that although I am a morning person, my mornings are rushed. I am either in a haze from my alarm going off or rushing to get out of bed to begin my day. So the idea of recollection in a hurry didn’t seem appealing to me. Rather, I adopted this process as I was falling asleep and/or preparing for bed.

My first three to five days that I began this process, I quickly realized I could barely even remember what I had eaten throughout the day much less conversations I held with others. I thought I was doomed with the little progress I had seen, but it was as if something clicked after my first week.

I quickly realized that I was looking forward to recapping my day as I prepped for bed and was becoming better and better at remembering many little aspects of my days. I noticed outside of the excitement that I had to recall my day, three really important things happened additionally.

  1. Deep Sleep. I kid you not it was like brain exhaustion that knocked me out within minutes and kept me asleep through the night.
  2. I noticed my short-term memory was vastly improved. My recollection of names of those who I had just met or retention of quick information was much faster in comparison to times past.
  3. I became aptly aware of my immediate surroundings and was more immersed in experiencing my own life than ever before. I noticed I began to look for ways in which to describe situations and picking up on subtleties that I could better recollect.

 

This has been one experiment that I’ve taken much pride in and I want you to share the same feelings I have when accomplishing something so small, but so important. Try this out and give it some time for success. Let me know how it goes and how your life improves!

 

Wishing you a wonderful day and as always

“There is no such things as strangers, just friends we’ve yet to meet.”

Brant

If Your Life Was a Book, Would Others Read It?

You are the protagonist of your own novel. The main character with ambitions, goals, and intertwined friendships that are unparalleled. Although you have character flaws and lapses of judgement, your book is written solely about you and the personal connections, friendships, and families you’ve accumulated or been born into.

Take a step back now, close your theoretical book and place it on the shelf in front of you. Instead of a shelf, you’re on a busy street in New York City and no one seems to grab at your book. Individuals pass by without even acknowledging you or your story.

This is sonder.

By definition, sonder is the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.

This is a sobering reality as to just how small you are. Your tendencies and normal day to day activities are only directly observed by yourself and those with which you come in communication with. More often than not, even those whom you come in communication with at work or passing by in traffic, have no idea about anything you’re facing. No clue on how your ambitions are fleeting as you sit behind your steering wheel. No idea that you still have desires to be an astronaut or a teacher or a firefighter.

I noticed this phenomenon as I’ve been in and out of airports for the past few months and the immediate tendency I exhibit in taking comfort in my cell phone. I deter from social situations because in my mind I want to lay low, but, it’s my excuse to find my bubble to stay safe in. Those that I know, those that know me, those that care about me and vice versa. I find safety and solitude in knowing what is going on around me rather than examining individuals whom I’ve never met nor will encounter ever again.

It’s a strange reality observing that others have ambitions and goals and lives outside of what you are seeing. They travel and visit far off lands for vacations stemming from the same airport you leave from. When you acknowledge that others have individual motives and lives outside of your own, you quickly realize just how small you are. However, regardless of how small you are, you have the innate ability to impact others stories and become a part of their narrative just by being present.

Wishing you an amazing day and an even better weekend.

*Side note short video in the comments below that I love on Sonder

 

“There is no such things as strangers, just friends we’ve yet to meet.”

Brant A. Wickersham

The Subtle Difference Between Goals and Habits

When I was younger, I always insisted on writing my goals out. I want to achieve this by a certain date, accomplish this task within the hour, get to this level in my career. Write write write. Daily goals, yearly goals, goals I wanted to achieve later on, just always goals.

The issue that came from this was how I scheduled my time. I always tried to segment daily activities into hourly allotments that I never could fully achieve. I was asphyxiated by own devices. I disappointed myself when I could not meet deadlines and felt stressed that work was not calibrated to the way in which I had written it down. When I allotted 15 minutes for yoga and meditation and only could get 6 before having to take a phone call, my goal was changed and my mindset was disrupted.

This is where habits come into play. Habits form when repetition occurs. Constancy in day to day actions that become a natural tendency in one’s life. When altering my mindset to adapt into habits rather than vying for goals, I now could see that much more was able to be accomplished. It is an indefinite work in progress, but one I find extremely helpful when becoming more productive in my personal life and my business life.

An interesting aspect I found with habits is that when you break it down to its smallest level, you often work beyond that level. For example, I have created a habit of flossing at least one tooth a day. You might be saying, “Brant, you dumbass. Dentists recommend that you floss your teeth, not your tooth.” However, through creating the habit of flossing one tooth directly after I brush, I have inadvertently flossed all of my teeth after. You see as humans, once something is already present, we are more likely to complete it. I wouldn’t throw away my floss now just because of the fact that it’s already out. However, the habit of just flossing one tooth has actually lead to my increased oral hygiene.

Think of a process or a way in which you could apply this to your personal life, school life, or professional life and how quickly it could change your productivity.

 

Wishing you the very best. And as always…

“There is no such things as strangers, just friends we’ve yet to meet.”

Brant A. Wickersham

I Got Denied From My Dream Job

“We’ll contact you by Tuesday and inform you of the status of your application.”

I woke up Tuesday morning nervous, excited, apprehensive and just ready for the news that would encapsulate my future.

I fidgeted throughout the day on my phone anxiously refreshing my email and making sure the ringer for my cell was turned all the way up. Every hour seemed to carry on for longer than 60 minutes and every ding increased the desire to hear the results.

It’s funny though, throughout this lack of clarity, I feel as if my mind spoke to itself and I was very in sync with what the answer already would be. I didn’t want to believe it, but I knew in the back of my mind it was unlikely that I had nailed down the position. After four rounds of interviews, I wasn’t sharp. I had lost my touch and I knew going into the fourth round, I was vastly underprepared in comparison to past situations.

As every thought crossed through my head, my pocket vibrates.

 

*RING *RING

Brant, this is ____ from xyz company, how are you today? I just wanted to reach out and thank you for coming to our open house and interviewing with us here and giving us your time. We have opted to pursue other candidates for the job. I wish you the best of luck moving forward.

*CLICK

 

For the sake of this company, I want to exclude any and all names because I garnish great respect for them as a whole. I had run the scenario through my head about four hundred times too many, so I had already prepared my response to the call itself. At first it’d be the anger, then it’s the sadness, then it’s whatever else you can think of to counter the lack of an offer. However, none of that happened in my situation. I was at peace.

I am unapologetically me and stand true to who I am as an individual. I am not one to bend into company desires because I bring a specific skillset and personal culture that I know is true to who I am. Could I have done better in the interview? Absolutely. I walked out knowing exactly where I faulted and missed my cues. When looking at it from a macroscopic lens, however, I understood that I faulted because I did not bend my individual self to what they wanted from me. I faulted in underpreparing myself.

My advice to many of you is this, you may miss out on the thing you want most, you may be disappointed in yourself and furious with the company, you may feel worthless because they didn’t pick you, but understand this, you have worth. You have a purpose. You have the ability to do things far greater than you can imagine. I am so thankful for the opportunity to hear no. I was far too spoiled for a long time in just hearing yes. It gave me a confidence that had to be broken down. It provided me with an opportunity to look at myself and redefine who I am as an individual and think of exactly who I wanted to be. I guarantee from this day forward, that company and any other that may say no, will bite their tongue when they see me next. It is not vengeance I seek, but it is knowing that I am just getting started in perfecting who I am. Although it’s not there yet, I am a proud work in progress and admit my faults. I know people most often share just their successes, but even men like me fail too.

“There is no such things as strangers, just friends we’ve yet to meet.”

Brant A. Wickersham

Why Emotion Is Okay

Vulnerability is often overlooked and ignored.

For longer than I can remember, I’ve heard that men are designed to be tough. From a purely genetic and physiological sense, it is easily understood. Men have higher levels of testosterone than women and can naturally build muscle at higher levels than women. The issue that I find in this statement, however, is not its association with muscle or the physical nature of being a man, but that it’s also been attached to the mental side of being a man.

It’s frowned upon to cry, frowned upon to be seen as weak, and on top of that, the least manly thing you can do is to always be that moody friend.

Naturally, we are susceptible to emotions, but men have been trained into thinking that emotion is not a factor to personal development. In reality, it is quite the opposite, but we just don’t think of it as an emotion, it just happens. The example I’m thinking of is sports. We track stats, follow our favorite teams, and obsess over people we likely have never met or spoken to. You share excitement with other fans when great plays happen, get nervous when there is only seconds left on the clock in the game, and cry tears of sorrow or joy upon an end result of a game. When thinking about how insane sports entertainment is, it blows my mind that men wearing tights throwing a ball around and smacking up on each other clicks something in the male brain that destroys the emotional gate.

What I want to share with you today is that emotion is a natural part of being human and should be constantly used when dealing with your life. Suppressing emotion does nothing but contort and twist your mind into whatever your thoughts perceive the situation as.

What I encourage for you all to do is to be emotional when you’ve been advised not to. Cry at amazing performances, love fearlessly and have your heart explode with happiness, be proud and excited of yourself when you nail an interview or question in class, but most importantly, be cognizant of your emotions and let them flow through you to better your life. When you can define your emotion rather than pondering what you’re feeling, you have the ability and opportunity to make massive change in yourself and those around you.

Thanks for checking in this week. I love each and every one of you that takes time out of your busy life to read my blogs. Means a hell of a lot. Looking forward to growing this incredible community and continuing to impact those in it. Have an amazing and blessed weekend!

 

“There is no such things as strangers, just friends we’ve yet to meet.”

Brant A. Wickersham

From Penthouse Living to Ground Floor Desk Attendant

 

My time spent at UF was nothing short of a fantasy.

Everything I could have possibly imagined or wanted had come true. Lifelong friendships, leadership roles within prominent campus organizations, working alongside student leaders and faculty alike creating a lasting impact in the local community, and being surrounded by individuals that challenged my intellect on a daily basis. When applying to positions, I simply got them; it was both a combination of personality traits and general likeability, luck, and a little bit of my whiteness.

I was on top of the world and still feel as if I am.

This dream state is quickly reversed when stepping out of Gainesville, however. I technically have a semester left due to an internship credit that is required by my college, but have began the process of job application and quickly realized the grand persona that I had created in Gainesville does not transmit to paper.

I could walk anywhere on campus or go in most classes and know at the very least one to two individuals every single time. In social situations, I garnished the respect of my peers and was cheered on at an appearance at any event.

How quickly this is overlooked in the eyes of an employer. Most employers just see another young white man that just graduated from college. They see experience and growth in multiple jobs and a leadership tract that just names off president of xyz or coordinator of this event. Even with descriptions included in both a resume and LinkedIn profile, they are often scanned over and overlooked. 4 years of efforts focused on specific organizations that harbor less than 10 seconds of an individuals attention.

I write this to talk about how disheartening it can be to be thrown back into the bottom of the heap and have to climb back up. The way in which I cope with this is to consistently remind myself of the impact that I have made and to think about what I want my life to look like. It is not the career that will define me, but rather me alone that will define how I am remembered.

Understand that this is a tumultuous process and leaves many stressed to a point of mental breakdowns, but can be countered with understanding that you have value and your purpose is not contingent on getting that one job or internship.

Wishing you a wonderful Friday and an even better weekend.

 

Get ready to move your hips — Song of the Week: DESPACITO

Check out my what I’ve been up to here: (IG)

 

“There is no such things as strangers, just friends we’ve yet to meet.”

Brant A. Wickersham