Can you spare some change?

In high school, I was the kid who didn’t like to read. When it came to text books I barely cracked them. Required readings, required cliff notes. In the world of fast paced video games, the thought of “To Kill a Mockingbird” sounded a dismal waste of time at best. This burden of disinterest continued through college, where I continued my path of destruction in the gaming world while disregarding the pile of overpriced textbooks gathering dust in the corner. Sorry about those insane book bills mom and dad, I promise I stopped buying them junior year. Fast forward to today. Since January 1, I’ve read (and listened) to 5 going on 6 books already. Did you catch that!? 5 BOOKS! You see I really had no intention of writing a blog on reading, the sentence itself sounds strange. Yet, one of my Facebook friends who was NOT posting about politics, asked his circle of influence what they were working on improving or removing about themselves.

Enter my good friend, Matt Walrath, of if you're scrolling through my phone contacts, “Shirtless McBuff Guy”. I feel as though I have to explain this and we can get back to the point. Matt was featured in Smith and Forge’s advertisement where a professional athlete dresses like an old man, goes to muscle beach, and challenges none other than Matt (who is a pretty convincing actor) to a ‘lift off’. Long story short, it went viral. I was chatting with Matt and he mentioned that one of the shared posts labeled him shirtless mcbuff guy, and the legend was born. Ill post the video right here, ladies keep your pants on. 

Ok, now thats out of the way. Matt wrote a post about his micro-habit of reading in 2016. He wrote a nice long post about ways to create positive habits, which you can find on his website linked below. He does a great job detailing the in's and out's of audible as well as good habits, which i prefer to call practices. Needless to say, I have been doing much of the same thing. I’ve referred many people to Audible which you can download here (PSA it's an affiliate link, i get 40 cents), and you get two free book. If you sign up on Amazon, I get nothing you still get two free books and there is no price difference, you would just be helping keeping this dream alive. Audible is a great way to get more reading/education with little sacrifice. Since Jan 1, I’ve listened to The Alchemist (again), Tao te Ching (for the 10824th time), Meditations by Marcus Aurelius and The Subtle Art of Not giving a Fuck. Supplement that with the old school paperbacks of Burmese days, and A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle and my book toll is 5 1/2 (need to finish A New Earth). In The Subtle Art of not Giving a Fu*k, there is a portion about another author who wrote 50+ novels in his life. When questioned of how he achieved it? He said, 'by vowing to write 200 words a day, no matter what.. Simply listening to a book in the car, in the kitchen, or while on your lunch break is surprisingly more enjoyable than music, especially for road trips. In fact, its also how I learned the majority of my spanish. A 10-15 minute daily podcast, Coffee Break Spanish (also available in other languages), gave me the basics for my South America travel. You can download that for free in the pod cast store. Moral of the story, you just need to start!

It’s not just reading that I have been integrating. I also make a point to watch/read ATLEAST one interview, tutorial, or short documentary about photography per day. I find if I can learn a few new skills or perspectives each week, then I'm doing my part to better my skills.

Putting in time.

Putting in time.

Me running around Africa in 2009 with my old camera.

Me running around Africa in 2009 with my old camera.

So I read more, learn more, and I also meditate more. Thanks to a beautiful little app called HeadSpace I get daily reminders for a guided 10 minute mediation. If you do nothing else in this post other than gawk at Matt's physique, I suggest you find time to download the free app. I think you will be surprised what you can learn about yourself in just 10 minutes (BIG thanks to Courtney Tripp for suggesting this app). At the end of the day, if you find yourself chomping at the bit, keep chomping. Continual small servings will eventually satisfy the beast. On that note, go check www.MattWalrath.com. Not only is it packed with nutritional information, but there are some stellar photos of his 38 pack. Not to mention a long list of great books to read and more photos of his 49 pack.

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second best time is now
— Chinese Proverb

Stay Wild

Joe