“The first step is usually, I know who I am not. Process of elimination. Defining ourselves by what we are not is the first step that leads us to really knowing who we are.” — Matthew McConaughey

The author. Photo creds: r.schreibz

I was a real good kid— I did everything that my parents asked. Growing up, I got good grades, played in the school band, and even lectured at church.

I went to college, got two degrees, and graduated with honors.

Yet throughout this whole process, there was this underlying feeling that I was missing something; a feeling that I never really knew myself. It always seemed like I was going through the motions for someone else, while I put my own ambitions on the back burner.

I failed to realize that you have to please yourself before others.

It took…

“The Earth is what we all have in common.”

Photo Credit to my hiking buddy r.schreibz. It was taken at sunrise before we set out on the hike.

The locals warned us not to attempt it in one day; to get to the river, camp out, and make it a two-day trip.

Even the national park website warned against it. But as stubborn 20 something year-olds, we set out to prove them wrong.

This past week my backpacking buddy and I hiked the South Kaibab to Bright Angel Trail in the Grand Canyon. At 16.5 miles with almost a mile of elevation loss and gain, it was the most strenuous hike I’ve ever done and one I will not soon forget.

Below are the map and elevation of…

Implement these tips to produce better work in less time.

Photo by: Fionn Claydon on Unsplash

There is a subliminal epidemic going on right now and few realize it. The inability to focus isn’t just making us less productive, it’s contributing to the plethora of mental health issues plaguing society. In this day and age, the average attention span is a mere 8 seconds!

We all have the capacity to focus, it’s in our neural programming to focus solely on fleeing when a saber tooth tiger comes at us. But let’s face it, survival today as we know it, even with its stressors, is much easier than in prehistoric times.

Focus takes a lot of energy…

“The sky turns a deep band of blue with smaller bands of green, orange, and yellow cascading below. The night grows darker, the colors grow deeper and I feel ever more connected to the universe.”

Photo by Author’s friend Baja. Shot on iPhone

November, 2 years ago, my buddies and I set out on an epic journey in the Shenandoah mountains.

I had been to the mountain range twice before — once as a small child and another time with my once-girlfriend of college. Both times were beautiful. But never before had I experienced such an array of colors while under the effects of psychedelics perched upon a cliff overlooking the surrounding peaks at sunset. Never had I been so captured by the moment, so in tune with nature and my friends.

This is the story of my second experience with psilocybe cubensis…

Give up the pursuit of money for a life well-lived.

Photo by Samuel Clara on Unsplash

According to Merriam-Webster, a career is “a profession for which one trains and which is undertaken as a permanent calling.”

I am dreadfully fearful of careers.

I am afraid I’ll be stuck in one I despise for the rest of my life.

The majority of people’s days follow this pattern:

  • Wake up at 6 am
  • Go to jobs they dislike
  • Come home tired
  • Drown their woes with booze
  • Watch TV for a temporary escape
  • And press the repeat button the following day

I don’t want to join the majority.

No, I want to be the minority that defies the societal…

“Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet.”― Bob Marley

Photo by Farrinni on Unsplash

Living in an era where we’re constantly bombarded by bright lights and loud cars it’s easy to become desensitized.

Technology has not only made millennials the most socially awkward generation, but it’s also de-sensitized us to life’s simple pleasures — the smell of coffee brewing in the morning, the sound of rain pitter-pattering while falling asleep, or even the joy of breathing fresh air in our lungs.

It’s no wonder the USA continues to drop on in its ranking of overall happiness. We’ve become addicted to quick hits — caffeine, phone use, alcohol, anything that gets us feeling something. But…

Choose content creation as a career because you love doing it, not because you see it as an easy way to make money and gain free time.

Photo by Keith Pitts at keithmelissa.com; Instagram @keithmpitts, photo ft. on ConvertKit at Unsplash

I love reading other content creators' success stories. They give me hope that one day I’ll make enough money to quit my job and focus the totality of my efforts on writing.

The trouble with these posts is they highlight creators’ successes and achievements, but often don’t mention the journey that got them there.

This causes readers a bit of false hope. They start to believe, “if I just follow these 5 steps I’ll be making a decent living off my writing. I’ll be able to quit my job and my free time will go through the roof.” While it…

Each day you make the choice to either close or open your heart

Photo by Alex Block on Unsplash

Half a year ago I was tired. My head was numb from the 5 beers I had taken down to drown out the screaming I had heard at my hospital shift earlier that day.

My room was a wreck. My bed was disheveled and there were dishes scattered about the many empty beer cans stacked in lofty towers from previous nights. I looked in the dirty bathroom mirror with disgust. I was in a low place.

I’m not sure what caused me to change the next day. What I did upon waking up was a total anomaly:

I decided to…

Change your mindset to change your life

Photo by Md Mahdi on Unsplash

Each of us has an individual calling deep in our hearts. Some things make us feel empty and shallow, and others that fill our hearts with joy. I believe we should spend our time with the latter.

To heed our calling and accept life as our own, we must overcome barriers. These obstacles are not physical in nature, but products of the mind. Fixed beliefs and false promises we must surmount to live a life that we are proud of.

If you feel like you have a calling that is not yet being manifested, your mindset might be preventing you…

“Your mind is an excellent servant, but a horrible master.” — David Foster Wallace

Photo by Motoki Tonn on Unsplash

Humans are obsessed with ‘doing.’

Let’s face it — when we aren’t doing something, the voice in our heads drives us nuts. Thoughts and emotions reverberate in our heads like a never-ceasing bell toll. And they can be nearly impossible to shut off without the help of mind numbing substances.

It’s no wonder even on our days off we push ourselves to do. When our minds are unoccupied, they often start thinking about the past or the future. And these thoughts can make us anxious.

So, we continue ‘doing’ for the sake of keeping our minds occupied, but this can…

Jesse Pedersen

Helping people find happiness while exploring nature and spreading compassion; check out my music — Spotify @Jesse Pedersen; Instagram: @Jesse__Pedersen

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