- Name: Stephen Guise
- Height: 6’ when happy, 5’11” when sad
- Weight: 140 lbs. of muscle
- Class: Featherweight
- Education: B.S.B.A. Finance
- 2011 Nature Brawls: Pufferfish and American House Spider
- 2012 Living Locations: Indianapolis, North Carolina, Miami, Cleveland + Kauai
- 3 Normal Male Interests: Sports, Video Games, Girls
- 3 Absurd Passions: Archery, Deep Sea Life, Bingo
- Politics: No
- Why I Blog: I love personal development! I also love to write and come up with creative ways of conveying information. I want Deep Existence to be the most entertaining personal development blog, as well as the most insightful and useful.
Nine Quick Things About Me
- I’m extremely analytical and always thinking.
- I love investing – in stocks and options.
- I want to travel most of the world.
- Deep sea creatures absolutely fascinate me.
- I’ve had braces twice because I didn’t wear my retainer the first time. My parents paid the first time – I paid the second time. :-P
- I have uncanny aerobic endurance that comes from 12 years of competitive swimming and even more basketball.
- I like yoga despite my lack of flexibility.
- I’ve been hang gliding and considered becoming a HG pilot at one point (see picture). Hang gliding is really fun and interesting and you should try it.
- Laughter and humor are important to me. As such, my sense of humor often invades my otherwise serious posts like weeds in an untended garden, which is fine.
My first word was “bug.”
I grew up in Florida. I lived 30 minutes from the beach and thought it was a “normal” thing for people to visit the beach all the time (now I would sacrifice someone else’s small goat to be able to go to the beach every week). My childhood was… amazing.
For entertainment, I would play video games indoors or sports outside in the hot Florida sun on very flat terrain. My tan was immaculate and I would never burn (oh how things have changed!). I had several good neighborhood friends and good parents that made me eat healthy food sometimes.
I had a lot of freedom back then. Some parents made their kids do homework and get straight A’s. My parents were pretty laid back, for which I am thankful. I didn’t do much homework and got decent grades as I have always been a master test taker.
This trend continued in school as the less homework counted towards my grade, the better I did. I was a math champion – discovering mathematical tricks and shortcuts before I was supposed to have learned them. On the SATs we took (different from the one you’re thinking of probably), I scored in the 99th percentile every time, which was the highest possible score.
In second grade, my teacher was joking around and asked if any of us thought we could read faster than her…
I raised my hand.
She asked me to read a section of the book and I did as fast as I could. She later told my parents that I could indeed read faster than she could. I was placed in the “gifted” reading program. I didn’t really care either way, because education was not a concern of mine.
The Chain Begins
It turns out that sometimes our strongest passions are things that we are against. How many stories have you heard about a person being directly or indirectly affected by a disease and then starting a charity to fight it?
In some sense we are slaves to our own experience. I’m not going to be passionate about Polio because it has never affected me or anyone I know. What then, is my enemy in life? What have I tussled with that I vehemently oppose now?
Apathy, ignorance, and shallow thinking.
Because I could get away with it, and it was cooler to be a slacker than a nerd, I always gave 12% effort. It isn’t this that I particularly regret, but the fact that this philosophy spread harmfully to other areas of my life. These areas that suffered are now the areas I work on and promote to the world to varying degrees. Here are a few of those areas.
Reading Is FUNdamental
We were required to read in school, so naturally I made it my goal to read as little as possible. Even in college, I managed to get As and Bs without buying the textbook. In my final semester, I did not purchase any books. This anti-reading philosophy was mostly developed in my younger years, when school firmly established in my mind that reading was a boring chore.
Today, I wrestle with myself to read, because I love it, but I find myself avoiding it merely out of a well-established (bad) habit.
I have become obsessed with personal development. It is in stark contrast to my wasteful years of youth in which I did everything in my power to make myself dumb and ignorant. I actively tried not to learn. *smacks forehead*
I believe that with the right techniques, mindset, and consistent effort, we can change decade old habits and transform our lives into something better. I’ve already seen it in my own life, and I want to help others do it too. It seems that too many lives are determined by their upbringing and circumstances. I know that we have choice, and if we pick a direction and start running, our circumstances and environment will change, now or later.
I planned to settle for “a good job” for 20+ years of my life. But in my transformation, I scrapped that idea. Now I’m looking to make a living doing something fulfilling, even if it means less income. Happiness at 20k a year is better than misery at 100k a year.
The Mexican Fisherman story is one of my favorites because it communicates my view succinctly. It’s the story of a “poor” fisherman in Mexico and a Harvard businessman visiting on vacation. The fisherman fishes during the day for food and income, and drinks wine with his family and friends at night. The Harvard businessman knows how to grow and expand businesses.
The Harvard man tells the fisherman how he can catch more fish, expand his fishing business, and distribute the fish more efficiently to make a lot more money. After explaining the 20 year plan to build a massive business, he comes full circle when the fisherman asks what happens next. The Harvard man says retirement is next, and repeats the exact lifestyle that the “poor” fisherman already has.
The lesson: it doesn’t cost a lot of money to have a great life, no matter what our hyper-consumerist society says.
This is the colossal problem of much of the world.
We work our tails off in order to make a ton of money to buy things that don’t make us happy or fulfill us, and those spending habits require that we continue to work all the time, accumulating lethal amounts of stress. It’s a vicious cycle that leaves people wondering why life is so hard. Sometimes, life is hard because we choose it to be.
Another key development in my life has been minimalism. Every month that passes finds me with fewer physical possessions, and a little happier. The physical space things occupy is the least of the reasons for minimalism. No, the best reason to own less is mental freedom.
I don’t suppose many of you could pack up everything you own in 10 minutes. But what if you could? To me, that means that there is no restriction on when or where I can move. I don’t need to worry about logistics! I can say tomorrow, “I’m going to live in Hawaii for a year,” and it will be done with ease. To me, this is an incredible and rare power.
The point of minimalism is to simplify life in an increasingly complicated world. It’s the job of every company to convince you that their product will improve your life. Sometimes the product will, but many times, it isn’t worth it. We don’t need much to be happy – studies throughout history confirm this.
The Human Journey
In my life, and especially in the traveling I’ve done, I’ve come to understand that the journey is more valuable than the destination. If all we have are destinations, then we’re working 80 years for a year’s worth of reward. Thankfully, the experiences along the way to our dreams are the real treasures of life.
Personal development is the same way. You’ll fail sometimes to live the way you want, but each attempt will bring you closer and teach you. You’ll learn that your mindset can either rescue or ruin any situation.
Ben Franklin attempted to become perfect (for real). He picked out 13 virtues that encompassed perfection and set out to master them one at a time. After he completed his course, he admitted perfection was still far from his grasp, but he said that he was a much better man for trying.
Any amount of forward progress should be celebrated, even if you fall short of the goal.
My focus here is helping others on their journeys. My greatest gift that sets me apart is my ability to analyze the deeper thought patterns that shape our perspectives and control our lives (for better or worse). I find the root causes of issues that hold us back or discourage us from taking smart risks. I also have a sense of humor, so watch out for that.
That should give you a decent understanding of where I’m coming from and what I’m passionate about. If you want to read amazing articles, I heartily encourage you to get email updates. The best part of that deal is probably getting my digital book – Stress Management Redefined. Unlike most self-help books, this one is funny…on purpose. Who wants to destress with a boring book?
You can read its concisely crafted 38 pages in one sitting.
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