Category Archives: Motivation

Some motivation: You have to jump

Hey guys,

I haven’t posted anything motivational in a while, so I thought I’d share this video below from Steve Harvey.

I found this really inspiring, and I like how he kept it down to earth. For instance, in the video he says it’s not just about trying to be a big singer or something like that.

Instead, whether it’s baking pies, cutting grass, or something similarly simple, we have to find our passion. And we have to jump at some point.

I will say as an addendum to what he’s said — and as someone who has jumped and “scraped my knees,” as Steve Harvey terms it — that you could (and should) take many measures to avoid this pain prior to jumping.

For instance, you could (and should) stay at your job until you’ve saved enough money that you have a massive safety cushion. (I’d say a minimum of six months living expenses.)

You should also start your dream part-time while keeping your job, if at all possible. Grow slow, as those who are experienced say. (Most failures happen because we’re impatient and try to speed things up, so we borrow more or take foolish risks.)

Finally, you should also avoid re-inventing the wheel. Study other businesses and examples that have succeeded and failed. What did they do right? What did they do wrong? And obviously, you should do this prior to making your own attempt. (Remember, be patient.)

Keep the faith,

Stan R. Mitchell

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Some motivation: don’t wait to do well…

I was really impressed with this speech from Theodore Roosevelt, and wanted to share it. I think you’ll find it motivating and inspiring, whatever your present situation.

From an Address at San Bernardino, California, May 7, 1903

“You do not win in a big fight by any patent device. There is not any way by which you can turn your hand and conquer in a time of great trial. You have got to conquer as your fathers and grandfathers conquered before you. You have got to conquer as strong men have conquered in every struggle of history, and draw on whatever fund of courage, of resolution, of hardihood, of iron will that you have at your command, and you can conquer only if you draw on just those qualities.

“Another thing which you will remember very well, from ’61 to ’65, what my comrades here, the men who went into the great war and the men who went into the Spanish War or went to the Philippines will remember also, that there was a certain proportion of men who joined your ranks who for one reason or another fell by the wayside. There were different reasons—some for whom one simply felt an entirely respectful pity, who lacked the stamina to be able to stand the hard work, and it was mighty hard work. In the lesser war there was trouble that there was not in the big war, for there was not enough to go around. Among others the man would come around who wanted to be a hero right off, but did not want to do the other work of the moment. I recollect perfectly in my regiment, a young fellow joined, and on the second day he came to me and said: “Colonel, I came down here to fight for my country, and they are treating me like a serf, and making me dig kitchen sinks.” His Captain, who was a large man from New Mexico, explained to him that he would go right on and dig kitchen sinks; that that was what his business was at the moment, and that if he dug them well we would see to the hero business later. The man who did well in the army in those days was, as a rule, the man who did not wait to do well until something big occurred, but who did his duty just as his duty came, during the long marches, during the weary months of waiting in camp, did his duty just exactly as in the battle. He was the man on whom you relied, whom you trusted, whom you wanted to have with you in your troop, as your bunky, whatever it was, he was the man you wanted around.

“It is just exactly the same with citizenship. It was just exactly the same in the pioneer days. The pioneers, men and women, faced much such difficulty as the men of the Grand Army, and for you, the men of that generation, and your wives, there was the same hardship, the same endurance of grinding toil, the same years of effort that too often seemed fruitless, the same iron will, and the same ultimate triumph, and if we are to succeed we must show the same qualities that the men of the Grand Army showed, that the pioneers showed, that all men and all women have showed who were fit to be fathers and mothers in a vigorous State.

“I would plead with my countrymen to show not any special brilliancy, or special genius, but the ordinary humdrum commonplace qualities which in the aggregate spell success for the nation, and spell success for the individual. Remember that the chance to do the great heroic work may or may not come. If it does not come, then all that there can be to our credit is the faithful performance of every-day duty. That is all that most of us throughout our lives have the chance to do, and it is enough, because it is the beginning, because it means most for the Nation when done, and if the time for the showing of heroism does come you may guarantee that those who show it are most likely to be the people who have done their duty in average times as the occasion for doing the duty arose.”

So, what do you think? Anything strike a cord with you? (Hat tip, Art of Manliness.)

Keep the faith,

Stan R. Mitchell

About meStan R. Mitchell writes some of the most action-packed, fast-moving gunfighter novels around. Tired of slow-paced, investigative novels that take 50 pages to excite you? Look no further! Stan is the best-selling author of 5 novels in 3 different time periods. He’s also a prior infantry Marine with Combat Action Ribbon, and a former journalist who spent ten years in the newspaper business, learning how to hook the reader, cut out the filler, and just tell the story. In short, Stan is knowledgeable, he’s fast, and his books will blow you away. Don’t forget to subscribe for email alerts to keep up with his latest works.

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My fall story and how a few leaves inspired me to no end as a young boy

Hey guys!

Hope everyone is doing well!

I wanted to share a quick, personal story about my life, which I think might help inspire you, and which helped change the course of my life.

When I was a boy, I used to love to be in the woods. I loved to explore them and play in them with friends. But on one fall day about this time of year — probably about two weeks earlier — I was in the woods alone on a beautiful day and lost track of time.

And I was sitting there on a comfortable ledge, pretty high up on the side of a hill, just watching the woods. Back then, I could watch squirrels or chipmunks (or a deer if I was lucky) for hours without being bored, and that’s what I was searching for on that day.  

But there was nothing moving, even once I sat down and got quiet. It’s really rare that no animals are out moving, and as a matter of fact, it’s the only time I can recall it happening to me — and I’ve spent quite a bit of time in the woods.

But back to the story, on that day there was nothing moving. No squirrels. No chipmunks. No birds or crows that I can remember, though surely there were some.

Zero. Zilch. Nada.

On this day, I was alone in these wide-open woods. A young boy, sitting on a ledge, watching leaves fall to the ground. And as I sat there, I lost track of time. I was mesmerized by the woods before me, as leaf-after-leaf drifted down.

The entire time, I anxiously waited to see something spring or prance by, but nothing did, and in about a three-hour time period, I can’t tell you how many leaves I watched drift and descend to the ground. Literally thousands, if I had to guess.

Most of them were brown and scarcely discernible from those around them, and they fell fairly quickly and predictably. But every now and then, in my trance-like state, I noticed one that wasn’t brown. Sometimes a yellow one. Or perhaps a red one. Even a couple of purple ones.

These leaves that stood out instantly caught my (bored) eye, and I’d watch them descend while ignoring their brown peers that dropped around them.

And sometimes, a vivid red or yellow one would be shaped in just a way that allowed it to catch small wisps of wind and float sideways as they arced to the ground. Even rarer, sometimes one would be so perfectly aerodynamic that it’d glide far and almost lift up with small winds that bounced along the ground.

For hours I sat captivated by these leaves of all colors, and their varying flight paths and trajectories. But by the end, I could only recall a few that had fallen. Perhaps a couple dozen out of literally hundreds and hundreds that I had watched.

And as I came out of my almost meditative state, prompted by hunger and a stark reality I had stayed out too long, a shocking realization hit me: we are all leaves.

We all fall, our lives brief.

Mostly, we’re barely noticed. Certainly not remembered. 

But I had noticed some of those unique leaves that day. I had remembered their form and color, and the path they had taken. And it instantly hit me that I didn’t want to be a brown leave that fell straight down, same as every other leaf.

I wanted to be yellow or purple! I wanted to glide and float and lift with the wind! I wanted to land a hundred yards from the tree from which I fell, not right below it!

I wanted some young boy to see me and take note! To smile and remember me, and make his own mind up to be a little different and memorable.

And from that day — I was thirteen — I swore to myself I’d do all I could to maximize whatever potential I had. Up to that point, I did things to please my parents and others. But after that magical day in the woods, I did things for me. I felt called to move toward greatness, and the Marine Corps fit my picture of what a great, young man would aspire to at that time.

Later, I’d feel that same call to become a journalist. And still later, an entrepreneur who launched a newspaper. Finally, I’d grow courageous enough to attempt the impossible mountain of becoming a full-time author.

I share these words, this story of mine, because I feel confident that  there is at least one of you out there who harbors some dream, as well, and I hope my small story will help inspire you to pursue it as vigorously (and responsibly) as you can. (Additional motivation for those with just such a dream: Find true happiness: announce your dreams to the world today.)

But this post isn’t just meant for the dreamers who have some burning fire inside their soul.

It’s my very strong belief that all of us can be memorable, despite trying work and life demands. All of us can be red or purple, soaring through the sky like the wind.

A great example of this is one of the most remarkable men I ever crossed paths with. I first met him when I was working part-time at a completely depressing manufacturing plant while I was in college. I don’t remember his name now, much to my chagrin, but he was a jolly man from the inner city.

So many people quit at that plant within hours or days of being hired that you didn’t bother getting to know the new ones, especially those assigned to parts inspection where I worked. But this smiling man was assigned to our station and my buddy and I watched him with great interest on his first day. We wanted to see how fast he’d break — same as so many others before him.

But this man just smiled and sang to himself, and whistled away that first day. He did all this real low and to himself. Not a pest at all, like some of the singers and whistlers out there!

The job required you to lift with your fingers these really heavy airbag cylinders, all of which were soaked in some kind of toxic who knows what. And if you were good, you’d do two per hand and work your way up to three or four or even five.

All the work was timed and each hour crawled by like a mini-lifetime. I kid you not, there was never a day (or even two-hour sprint until we could get a 15-min break) that I didn’t nearly quit.

Your fingers ached, the oil did weird stuff to your skin, and your clothes were ruined nearly every day. But Mr. Jolly New Man survived the first day, and left with a smile and almost a skip in his step — really remarkable given he was mid-fifties or early sixties, and the work was pretty grueling.

But day-after-day, it was the same. Mr. Jolly New Man came in as if he had the greatest job in the world, quickly volunteering for the worst parts of the job.

“Oh, it’s not too bad,” he’d say with a smile as he grabbed another crate to take the load off a weaker worker.

We soon learned he was poor, had no family, and rode the bus to work because he didn’t have a car. (And for my northern readers, let me assure you that in the South, you almost have to have a car. Public transportation practically doesn’t exist.)

Mr. Jolly New Man wouldn’t say much about where he lived, but it was my strong impression he lived in the projects. As we grew to be friends with him, we learned he’d never take any form of assistance. No ride home, even if the bus wouldn’t arrive for another hour. No ride down to the gas station for a snack after work, which was a mile away.

No, he’d rather walk it, even in a downpour.

My buddy and I were finishing up college, happily married, bright futures ahead of us, and at least thirty years younger, but I give you my word that this man was a 100x happier than us. (We were also, by the way, both spiritual and optimistic, happy people in our own right, but we sure didn’t measure up to him.)

Mr. Jolly New Man couldn’t work circles around us — we were both studs — but he held his own and surpassed us by miles with his attitude. We complained about having to be there and what better jobs were out there. He didn’t mind working late, even off the clock if it helped the boss. Or sweeping up afterward. Or tackling a couple more crates.

His attitude was unlike any attitude I’ve ever encountered, and I’ve met some go getters in my day.

Additionally, his countenance was not of this world, and his smile and laughter was infectious. Never has such an imperfect smile been so perfect. Or perhaps he’d forgotten his smile wasn’t perfect?

My buddy and I would try to talk news with him, but he’d ease his way out of the conversation. He didn’t want to talk politics, the economy, or a hundred other things that might kill that incredible attitude and smile of his.

Asked his thoughts on any of this, he’d usually smile real big and say, “Oh, I don’t know,” and pat you on the shoulder if his hands weren’t covered in grease.

Love just poured from the man, and surprisingly, though we learned he was Christian, he never talked about his views or pushed his religion.

He lived his religion, and it was one of the most beautiful sights to behold. A near modern-day Jesus who had no cares for money or security or any of the other things we all worry about so much.

To this day, I can say that few people have influenced me as much as this man. He wasn’t some decorated Marine. Not some kind of big-time author or famous person you hear so much about.

He was just a man who stood out, every single day of his life, like the yellow and purple leaves that floated down to the ground back when I was a boy.

I have told dozens of people about this man in the past twenty years, and I’ll bet every person that’s worked with him has done the same.

My point in this much too-long blogpost is that all of us can be like this man, striving to stand out more, to be more beautiful and memorable and inspiring.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that you just never know who’s watching, or how much you will shape their lives for years to come.

In closing, I hope this small story of my life has in some small way sparked yours. Feel free to share it, of course, if it has.

Keep the faith, and be more beautiful!

Stan R. Mitchell

About meStan R. Mitchell writes some of the most action-packed, fast-moving gunfighter novels around. Tired of slow-paced, investigative novels that take 50 pages to excite you? Look no further! Stan is the best-selling author of 5 novels in 3 different time periods. He’s also a prior infantry Marine with Combat Action Ribbon, and a former journalist who spent ten years in the newspaper business, learning how to hook the reader, cut out the filler, and just tell the story. In short, Stan is knowledgeable, he’s fast, and his books will blow you away. Don’t forget to subscribe for email alerts to keep up with his latest works.

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Four amazing suggestions from the book, ‘The 4-Hour Workweek’

Hey guys!

Hope everyone is having a great week and running laps around those around you! And if you’re not, pick up the pace some. It’ll pay off. And if you are, encourage someone who’s struggling!

Now, with those formalities out of the way, I thought I’d try something a little different with the blog from time to time. (And this beith one of those times!).

As my close friends know, I read a tremendous number of business books and self-help guides. I formed this habit after it proved a necessity back when I stupidly launched a company at the age of 27 and jumped in the deep end of the pool.

I soon found myself drowning from said deep end of the pool and looking for every angle and bit of help I could find.

By far, few things helped me more than reading business books and self-help guides. Clearly, in a perfect world, you should be smoking through about one self-help book every month or two. And as your primary (hopefully favorite) motivator, I should chew your ass some for not doing so! : )  

But I also know we live in the real world. You’ve got kids, obligations, and that one TV show you’re totally addicted to, so you’re probably not cranking thru that one book every other month. And frankly, some of you don’t even enjoy reading, so until Kim Kardashian or your Zombie show starts passing off some great advice, you might not be getting as much mental growth as you should! lol

Thus, this fantabulous (and free) blog post in your email box today. (Remember, you do get what you pay for, so proceed with caution!)

I thought I’d share today four really great ideas from the book, “The 4-Hour Workweek.” (I’m be posting about these books in random order, so don’t go reading into anything about why this one is first.)

The 4-Hour Workweek” is an incredible book that I’ve read probably three or four times. I was recently re-browsing through it — yes, I’m that big of a dork that I re-read my own self-help books; I’m aiming for the clouds, people, cut me some slack — and came across four really key things that stuck out from the book and are definitely worth sharing.

  1. “If everyone is defining a problem or solving it one way and the results are subpar, this is the time to ask, What if I did the opposite? Don’t follow a model that doesn’t work. If the recipe sucks, it doesn’t matter how good a cook you are.”
  2. “Our culture tends to reward personal sacrifice instead of personal productivity.” (This comment was about the point that we usually measure how many hours we work instead of how much we actually accomplish.)
  3. “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.” (This is just one of the many tips that hit home for me. I HATE editing, which is probably why this post has several errors. I’ve read book after book on editing, and I’ve gotten better, but I don’t enjoy it. About a year ago, I realized it’s far better to just pay to have the editing done. Some people actually live to edit!)
  4. “Ninety- nine percent of people in the world are convinced they are incapable of achieving great things, so they aim for the mediocre. The level of competition is thus fiercest for “realistic” goals, paradoxically making them the most time- and energy- consuming. It is easier to raise $1,000,000 than it is $100,000. It is easier to pick up the one perfect 10 in the bar than the five 8s. Having an unusually large goal is an adrenaline infusion that provides the endurance to overcome the inevitable trials and tribulations that go along with any goal. The fishing is best where the fewest go, and the collective insecurity of the world makes it easy for people to hit home runs while everyone else is aiming for base hits. There is just less competition for bigger goals.”

These are just four of the really great ideas in the book. I found the book to be a great read and it’s certainly helped me a lot. (Especially if you love to travel, the book has all kinds of ways to find more time to travel.)

I’m not really much of a person who loves to travel, but the book was a real motivator with tons of out-of-the-box ideas on how to get ahead.

And right now the book is only two freakin’ dollars on Amazon Kindle, which you can read on your desktop, so I highly encourage you to take a glance at its description and see if it’s something that interests you further.

Or you can watch your Zombie show and wait for me to share some tips from a new book probably next week. : )

Either way though, you better be running laps around those around you! That’s kind of a requirement for staying subscribed to this crazy site.

Keep the faith,

Stan R. Mitchell

P.S. Anyone else read the book? And if the four points from the book don’t make sense and could use further elaboration, just let me know and I’ll say more about them in the comments.

About me: I’m a full-time, action-fiction author with books similar to Vince Flynn, Stephen Hunter, and Tom Clancy. I’m also a prior infantry Marine with Combat Action Ribbon, and entrepreneur who spent nine years running a weekly newspaper that I started. Please consider subscribing for email alerts — I mostly post about things that either motivate or inspire you.

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What makes you enthusiastic about life?

What makes you enthusiastic about life?

It’s an interesting question. And it’s one Author Britt Skrabanek has been asking folks as part of a monthly series she’s been doing.

Last month, Britt asked me to take part and here’s my answer to “What makes you enthusiastic about life?”: The Life Enthusiast Chronicles with Stan.

And while you’re there, make sure you check out her books. Britt is a lovely writer and fantastic person! I’d love nothing more than if you bought one of her books (if it interests you), or if they don’t, file them away in your mind and tell a friend that might be interested in them.

Keep the faith,

Stan R. Mitchell

About me: I’m a full-time, action-fiction author with books similar to Vince Flynn, Stephen Hunter, and Tom Clancy. I’m also a prior infantry Marine with Combat Action Ribbon, and a guy who spent 10+ years writing every day in the newspaper business. Please consider subscribing for email alerts — I mostly post about things that either motivate or inspire you.

P.S. You should really consider buying this book: The Shaolin Workout: 28 Days to Transforming Your Body and Soul the Warrior’s Way. It’s absolutely changed my life for the better.

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Filed under Motivation, Stories about my life