A few years ago, a friend and I did the trust fall test with each other; the trust fall is the cliche symbol of true friendship. The problem is, I’m such a frail and skinny guy that I nearly dropped her onto the hard tile of my kitchen floor. It ended a lot better than it could have. Too bad this isn’t the sort of trust I’m talking about.

When it comes to trust, it is my honest opinion that I’ve never been harmed due to placing trust in others. Sure, there may have been times where my trust was taken for granted and I was wrong, but was I ever harmed? Probably not.

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I have several friends who I’m proud to say that together we have an amazing friendship. I met them when I was still growing and trying to figure out who I was and they really guided me on the right path.

They’re the friends who are incredibly different from everyone else I’ve ever come across and most likely more so than those I will eventually meet as well.

The ones I can sit with at a coffee shop and just talk about philosophy or passion. The ones with the heavenly bond, match made in Heaven. The ones I can be as crazy as I want and they’d still be there to smile with me. Where would I be today without them?

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Quite often, a physical injury has the potential to affect not only the victim of said injury, but those who know the individual as well. People may be miserable because the ones they love is hurt or maybe a family can’t afford to eat due to the decrease in income as the person can no longer work. Not often do people consider physical pain as something that can offer new, positive opportunities.

However, as luck may have it, injury can benefit more than just insurance companies. A friend of mine tore a ligament in his knee recently and it made me happier than I’ve been in a very long time.

Whoa, what did I just say? Am I really so sadistic as to claim that I am actually happy because a friend of mine is in pain? Am I that cruel?

As with everything, there is a story that goes along with all of this.

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Excuses Are the Devil

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I still cannot believe this past month. My life just took off and it has only been improving as tons of new opportunities and doors are flying open for me. All of this happened because I ran out of excuses for myself.

I wanted to start Self Stairway back in 2011 and I kept giving myself excuses. Maybe there would be too much research involved. Maybe it wouldn’t go anywhere and I would be wasting my time. Besides, I was a college student so I figured I’d have better things to do. Does any of this sound familiar to you or any situation that you’re in?

All of these excuses just kept coming until I convinced myself it wasn’t worth the risk of failure. I was a fool over one month ago.

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People look at me as if I were crazy when they tell me to be ready at a time like 10 in the morning, then they see me set my alarm for many hours before the scheduled time. They repeat very slowly, “10… You know I said 10, right?” I end up having to nod assuredly to make sure there is no communication barrier.

Little do they know, I intend to make the alarm even earlier than they saw me set.

Sure, there are plenty of people who wake up even earlier than 6, but remember many people absolutely dread mornings.

Even on days when I don’t have obligations like usual at 8 a.m., I still make the effort to wake up hours earlier prior to anything. Why do I do this and how do you learn to become a morning person?

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Why Change Helps You Grow

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Almost everyone fears change. Change is the devil. We all want consistency in our lives and we hold on for dear life to the familiar.

I am a strange person because I actually love change. I always see potential growth in change and I get excited. Although I’m sure if it were something tragic I’d change my tune, but as for now I’m sticking with it; my belief is that generally change is good.

Most people don’t want to leave their hometown or even go to a college away from their home. The familiar tempts them to stay and stick with the same people, habits, and environment. They make life-changing decisions based off their friends’ choices, they live in the same place to be with the same faces, and their growth stagnates most of the time as a result.

I knew I was going to leave home straight out of high school for a long time. Sure, I don’t necessarily have the answer as to why I chose Arizona out of all places when I had it great in California. The place doesn’t matter, but rather the change in scenery itself is what lit the spark in my excitement. Here are the reasons why I believe moving into change helps you grow.

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Ah, yes… Ernest Hemingway. Beloved author of classics such as “The Old Man and the Sea,” “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” and “The Sun Also Rises,” who also lived an amazing, adventure filled life that would be hard to describe in just a few sentences.

For example, on a fishing trip in 1931 he fired a submachine gun to ward off sharks that wanted nothing more than his catch of the day. During the entire ordeal he also shot both of his own legs, proving the man had his priorities in order.

Still not convinced that Hemingway was just the ultimate man’s man? He used to hunt for German U-boats, equipped with a submachine gun (again) and hand grenades. It’s never mentioned whether or not he found any, but let’s assume he did for the sake of his reputation.

The FBI also may have caught on to his crazy misadventures. It’s been reported that the bureau had an open file on Hemingway after World War II. They suspected Hemingway of having close ties with Cuba and there were rumors afloat that he shared friendship with Fidel Castro. Tragically, the FBI’s surveillance of him may have driven him to suicide.

Regardless of rumors and his crazy antics, he is indisputably one of the greatest writers ever. Hemingway is the paradigm of what a man strives to be. He was fearless, passionate, and just the right amount of insane (arguable.) His words were profound not only in literature, but through his core beliefs. Here are 10 wonderful life lessons from the great writer.

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I was sitting in the campus café with my friend as he recounted his mental checklist of what he is looking for in a woman; he listed qualifications for the ideal woman. The one person out of over 7 billion, the match made in Heaven just for him. I ridiculed his romanticism, but my beliefs don’t make it any less true for others looking for love.

He mentioned the protagonist Ted Mosby in “How I Met Your Mother,” a hopeless romantic who the audience knows eventually finds “the one” and falls in love. All I could think of was “500 Days of Summer,” with its much more realistically heartbreaking theme.

Perhaps I’m just cynical, but I think the idea of one out of 7 billion to be nonsense. I believe maybe there could be only one “type” that is out there for you, but statistically, there are probably thousands of this same type that would make you the happiest person on earth.

I think it’d sound silly, but maybe I can call these special types “the ones.”

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Einstein must have been very humble to believe he did not have a passion and a talent that was uncommon. Surely the man who was “passionately curious” had some sense of direction. Then again who really does?

I’ve pretty much never had any sort of direction in life or a feeling of passion. The question of “What do you want to do in the future?” always made me feel confronted. I felt as if I had to give some sort of satisfactory response to put the questioner at ease as well as my own doubts.

No one ever liked the fact that I didn’t know. I could sense their worry and sometimes pity. Oh God, poor child without direction. How was I supposed to really know? Life is complicated and scary; life’s complex. I can’t just find my passion. There’s no sign that is labeled “Passion” in nice clear font.

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Stoicism, my favorite philosophy, is what I believe to be the ultimate self-help ideology. It contains amazing techniques that can be practiced for exponential happiness.

The book that guided me through Stoicism and gave beautiful examples of its techniques was “A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy,” by William B. Irvine. I believe it’ll be great for you, the self-improvement seeking individual. Partly because Mr. Irvine does a wonderful job of modernizing Stoicism and debunking common misconceptions. Contrary to their dictionary definition, they are not emotionless individuals who wander around bored out of their mind like robots.

Irvine’s book got me through some rather dark times where I doubted myself and everyone else. It gave me a deeper understanding of life and provided insight into my own psyche; it rose me back up when I was at my darkest hours and shaped me into who I am today.

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