What’s your “Blessed Score”?

Calculate your current blessed rating out of a 100 point scale.

 

Point Values:

You’re reading this: 98.5 points 

(This factors in the fact that you are alive and have the means to access the internet and the wealth of information it provides.  We can further deduce that you have the means to feed yourself, access to clean drinking water, and have your other essentials covered.)

You are in love: 10 points

You have children: 10 points 

You have grandchildren: 10 points

You have great grand children: 10 points

You make a living doing what you love: 5 points

You’re debt free: 5 points

You purchased Apple stock before 2000 and still own it: 5 points

 

Now total your score:

98.5 – 100: Blessed

100 – 109.5: Really Blessed

110 – 119.5: Crazy Blessed

120 and over: Mega Blessed

I’m Really Blessed on my way to Mega Blessed and chances are you are too.

Give thanks for today and wish yourself and others well.

 

Thank You Everyone – But Seriously – I’m Just a Regular Guy

Dear Family, Friends, Strangers, Future Associates, and World Wide Web,

Earlier this week, I posted about my experiences running a Piggy Back Spartan Race with my sister Carden.  It was an extraordinary experience, taking a stand against muscular dystrophy and not letting it define what can and can’t be done physically.  That post, and some of the facebook photos, have gotten quite a bit of web traffic and social media attention, and for that I’m very grateful of the power of the web and sharing.  I’m also extremely thankful for those of you who have donated to our mission – we set out with a $500.00 goal and raised $690.00 – awesome stuff.  People I haven’t connected with in years are reconnecting and reaching out and that is a wonderful thing.  Simultaneously, I’m being flooded with personal emails, comments, and speaking face to face about how inspiring that story is, and for that I’m incredibly thankful and we feel the love and support from each of you.  So much adoration this week, it honestly feels like Carden and I can do no wrong in this moment.

cw-sw-spartanrace

So Here’s The Thing People…

I am a regular guy who does regular guy good things and regular guy bad things and I fail quite often, usually in a forward direction, or so I think.

The reason I’m sharing this is because I can see (ever so slightly now) how a ton of “overnight” attention can get into a person’s head and mess with their psyche.  I also don’t want to be portrayed as this super great brother guy who can do no wrong and has it all figured out.  Yes I love my sister, yes I struggle with the fact that she struggles every single day, yes we ran an extraordinary Spartan Race, but that doesn’t mean I’m this Golden Child either… I have tons of faults that I’m working on.  And personally, I don’t want to have any Kony 2012-ish meltdowns of my own – so I’m writing today with the intention of self inflicting some humility on myself and giving my audience some more honest truths about me.  I’m really nervous about sharing all of this, but I think that’s a good place to be.  Some people might even respond back to this and say, “Spencer – you shouldn’t share all of your faults, insecurities, and misbehaviors online because now people will perceive you as those things.”  To that I say, maybe they will, maybe they won’t…  I consider this as a step towards living my life with full transparency.  If I have nothing to hide, there’s nothing anyone can do or say to break me down or have against me.  This post is a test of strength, and most of the time those tests are uncomfortable and difficult – so here goes…

List of my Not So Perfect, Often Disgusting, Just a Regular Guy things I do:

I sometimes leave the seat up after I pee standing up… OK, most of the time I leave it up.

Sometimes when I pee standing up, it splashes everywhere – and sometimes I clean it up right then… but sometimes I don’t.

Usually I brush my teeth twice a day, sometimes it’s only once, there was a time in my life where it was less often than once a day admittedly…

I have really bad smelling farts and they reload often… particularly recently.  I think it’s because my nutrition and gut health hasn’t been top notch recently.

My feet smell after a long day of being in socks and that only gets worse if you throw a workout in the mix.

I drink alcohol, typically only on weekends – beer, wine, whiskey, tequila

This morning, I had Oreos for breakfast – that was before finally getting motivated to going to the store to buy eggs and bacon.  This is not completely out of the ordinary.

I will pick my nose, usually in the car or when I’m deep in thought at a computer.  Most of the time I don’t realize I’m doing it, but sometimes I do, but then I keep doing it anyway.  It’s super gross, but sometimes I eat those boogers too.

I used to have an addiction to pornography – the temptations are still there and I give in to the temptations occasionally and then feel bad about it afterwards like an AA person who slips up.

I stress all the time about money – how I don’t think I’m making enough or worried that I won’t have enough to live the lifestyle I want to live or support a family.

I’ve smoked marijuana, I inhaled it, and I still do in moderation.

I’ve never been in a fist fight and often wonder how I would do in one… that being said, I have been hit in the face by a punch – but I don’t remember how or why it happened… I was probably being a dick at the time which brings us to the next point…

I’ve been to jail 3 times – all three were misdemeanors, all three were alcohol related, all three were expunged.

I can be a jerk sometimes, usually unintentionally, and there are times when I feed into other people’s gossip or create gossip – I’m not proud of it and am getting better at putting out those unnecessary, destructive fires.

I have taken psychedelic drugs before – but haven’t done so in years.

I have taken a picture of my man parts before and sent it to someone full well knowing it will probably live somewhere on the internet forever.

I can get really angry, but most of the time keep a cool head and am good under pressure.

I get down on myself pretty easily and often because I constantly have high expectations for my accomplishments.

That’s all I can think of at the moment – there’s probably more – but for now, weight lifted.

Why did I just share all this?

Because you needed to know and it strengthens me to share it with you.  The truth is, I want to be an inspiration to others and educate masses of people along the way, and that mission is a journey… and it would be undeserved, irresponsible, and untrustworthy of me to just accept current and future adorations without sharing my faults that make me (and You) human.  So that’s where I’m currently at in my human process – I hope you see this post as an act of courage versus a chance to judge, ridicule, or start your own gossip cycle.  The things I’ve shared might close some doors, and I’m ok with that.  However, as God as my witness, I think the doors it will open will be doors I’m more interested in walking through.

Thank you for your support and your readership.  More great content coming to you soon.

-Spencer Wyckoff

25th Post – A Reflection of My Blogging Journey

Earlier today, I made my 25th blog post about how I Love Teaching – and it’s already been getting really nice traffic.  What is nice traffic you ask?!?  Well for a tiny phytoplankton in this giant internet ocean like myself, that looks like about 35-50 views – nothing earth shattering – but I’m loving the experience and the internal insights.  Writing is coming very naturally, and it’s really helping sort out my version of the human experience and organize my thoughts.  Sometimes it might look like ramblings – however some posts feel like the makings of some really quality content.  Usually, it’s just close family and friends finding it entertaining.  Whatever it is, it’s a good thing and this post is about reflecting on my last 25 blog posts, 3 personal transformations, and my favorite posts to date.

3 Transformations Since Starting to Blog:

      1. Two weeks ago, I began volunteering two nights a week to teach children, ages 13-18, how to code in HTML & CSS.  This has been tremendous, seeing kids light up about embedding a YouTube video or listing out their favorite foods and attaching pictures on a web page has really sparked some curiosities in a few youngsters that might grow into something great.  This has ignited a passion for educating people, and particularly youngsters that I want to seek out further.
      2. Started a Morning Routine that I’ve been consistent with 90% of mornings.  This one practice is BY FAR the most important key to my recent performance and productivity improvements.  Why report about a 90%? Because I’m human and want to emphasize how nobody is perfect, and there have been days I’ve woken up and not felt up to my hour-ish long routine.  The one thing I have noticed is this: The days where I don’t complete a morning routine are the days I’m typically least productive, which is a great thing to know about one’s self.
      3. Meditate for ~20min per day.  Doing this in the mornings helps me come alive and focus on the task of the day.  Doing it in the evening helps clear my mind of the day and prepare for a restful night sleep.  Overall, the benefits to my mood and mental stability have been phenomenal and I would recommend this practice to anyone who is setting aside even just 2-5min a day.

My Top 7 Favorite Posts Thus Far (in order):

why 7?…. why not…?

    1. My Morning Routine – It’s the one I link back to most and have edited the most, it’s my best work in progress.
    2. Oh Snap! That’s a Cold Shower! – Entrepreneur on Fire’s John Lee Dumas commented on this post and really inspired some great confidence about what I’m doing.
    3. 1 (More) Reason I Love my Mother – This has been, BY FAR the most visited post.  That’s because thanks to my mother’s Facebooking abilities, she was able to share it and attract nearly 900 unique visits to my site that day.  Even WordPress told me the post was, and I quote, “Blowing up.”
    4. Preparing to Ignite – This was the post right that inspired the morning routine.  I realized on this day that turning 30 was 1,282 days away and I wanted to transform.
    5. Just keep swinging, just keep swinging… – This post was a great personal reflection about overcoming the difficulties and frustrations of learning to code and the learning process in general.
    6. “I am Groot” – surprisingly, this post got me about 3 or 4 follows (like 30-40% of my followers at this time…)  It was a reaction to my experiences watching Guardians of the Galaxy and a metaphorical analysis of the Groot character.
    7. Group Therapy: Lessons from our 1st Group Project – We’ll round out the list with a reflection on what I learned from completing our first group project between back end, front end, and iOS developers.  It’s an honest post with some good takeaways.

Oh Snap! That’s a Cold Shower!

My great grandmother, Genevieve, God rest her soul, lived to the age of 96.  She was widowed during World War II and raised her son Toby Maxwell, my grandfather, by herself and was a very mentally strong woman.  I remember distinctly a moment when she pulled me aside and asked me the question, “Spencer, do you know what my secret to long life is?”  I must have been 13 years old at the time and politely responded, “Of course!”  She gazed directly into my eyes, paused for a moment and built up my suspense, and calmly stated, “Cold showers.”

Quick aside… I am a millennial born, American-raised male who enjoys the comforts of our the first world as much as anyone – my smart phone, laptop, pillow top mattress, etc.  So the thought of deliberately taking an uncomfortable cold shower was nonsense and was cast away for over 10 years… until 2 weeks ago.  I was in my normal morning routine, listening to Entrepreneur on Fire episode #848, where Ben Greenfield shared how he was fired up about cold showers.  When he was asked the question, “Why do you take cold showers?” he listed off 6 or 7 different physiological and psychological benefits to cold showers and he ended his statement by saying, “and because it makes you tougher.”

benefits_of_a_cold_shower

Sure, cold shower physiological benefits are great, but what really resonated with my soul was the “it makes you tougher” part – and not this Macho Man, WWE image of toughness, but specifically “Mental Toughness.”  Being able to overcome and conquer the variety of troubles life throws at you is a learned skill, and my personal goal is that of stoicism.  Stoicism, by definition, is the endurance of pain or hardship without a display of feelings and without complaint.  So in my path towards this goal – cold showers are being added to My Morning Routine.

My Cold Shower Approach:

So… I’m not all the way in on this yet, and don’t want to portray that I am.  My current approach is the first 50% of my shower is lukewarm (half hot, half cold) and then for the last 50%, I turn it to all cold.  I think this is a great start for the beginner looking to make a transition.  You can adapt it to be 90% lukewarm and finish the last 10 seconds of the shower all cold and get a similar effect.  Doing this is better than a cup of coffee in the morning, guaranteed.  I find I’m much more alert the rest of the morning and feel much more present in the moment.

The first time I turned to all cold, holy crap, I was screeching like a little girl, gasping for breath, body clinching, fighting the overwhelming sensations that were robbing me of all happy thoughts in the moment.  Now, after nearly 2 weeks of practice, I find myself accepting the coldness and almost welcoming it with much less body clinch.  You can do this, and it will get better.

Ok… so the panda represents me. The water represents the shower. And the panda’s facial expression represents my first time in a cold shower.

In time, I see myself fully committing to a 100% cold shower, but for now it’s still in the testing phase and I feel progress has been solid thus far.

Some extra inspiration:

One of my role models is Rich Froning – 4 time champion of the CrossFit Games, and he has an entertaining video of one of his workouts called “Mental Toughness.”  During “Mental Toughness”, he and a training buddy complete a workout, in the snow, that finishes with a swim in an icy cold pond – furthering demonstrating my point from above.

 

Positive Affirmations

I’ve added a new element to My Morning Routine – and it happens in the shower… Bow Chicka Bow Wow!

Actually it’s quite clean, it used to be that I’d blast my iPod classic 80gb with the 30 pin on the iHome original (remember those?) – typically to the sounds of Drake, Lil Wayne, and/or Shakira.

Cue up “I Will Remember You” by Sarah McLachlan

 

However, through listening to the Entrepreneur on Fire podcast, one quality of highly successful people keeps showing its face… and they are known as Positive Affirmations.  You see fear and doubt plagues all of our lives in some respect, and positive affirmations can be used as a preventative, mental medication of sorts for overcoming these doubts and ASSURING yourself that you are a highly valuable and capable human being.  It is my belief, and the belief of many others, that this boost in self-confidence, early in the day, can have a dramatic, lasting, positive impact on the quality of your life and could give you the courage to take more risks you otherwise would be too doubtful of.  Basically I’m trying to level up and be more like Mega Man every day.


 

So! Here is a list of my current Positive Affirmations that I repeat to myself in the shower and you might find value in developing your own:

  • “You are loved by God.”
  • “You are bold and powerful beyond measure.”
  • “Today is a gift – give thanks.”
  • “You are love – share it with everyone.”
  • “You are resilient.”
  • “Overcoming fear and doubt is a daily practice that you’re becoming increasingly better at.”
  • “You can be an inspiration to others – will you be?”
  • “You are the present and your future is your creation.”
  • “Are you going to be excellent today?”

This is a working list – yet is serving me well for the current time.  You’ll notice there are also some questions added into the mix… The questions are there because everyday you have the power to choose who you are going to be – and asking the question allows yourself to give the answer you wish to give.

Do you have some Positive Affirmations or mantras that you live by?

please share!

Some Final Project Ideas

It’s 5:40 AM – I can’t sleep – and I’ve got IY Final Project Ideas flowing – here’s a list a potential candidates:

  • Hold Me (the app) – My girlfriend loves to be held and I admittedly do to.  There is something primal and nurturing about a good, strong, loving hold and it is a focus and priority in our relationship to reserve time each day to do so.  Every couple is different, but I imagine if more people knew about the secrets of a good hold, relationships around the world could be improved dramatically – and what’s not to love about that!  Not sure where this app could go but it came to mind.
every couple should enjoy a good hold
  • Morning Routine App – yes I’m on a total kick recently about a morning routine and I think an app that made a morning routine customizable and was built into your phone’s API would be pretty cool, I certainly would use it.  It could be community based where people could share their morning routines with eachother and get a sneak peek of how highly successful people operate.  Again, definitely brainstorm phase but I think it’s got some momentum and could provide some real value.

side note: I see there are some apps that do this already, however building my own could be the exercise – plus competition always improves a marketplace and empowers the consumer.

  • Countdown to 30 App – This is a play off my friend Evan’s 1K Day Change concept where he asked himself one day – “I wonder how many days until I’m 30?”  He realized, ON THAT DAY, it was exactly 1000 days away (KRAZY like GLUE riiiiight!?!)  and he has shifted his entire life towards seeking personal achievements and entrepreneurship by the time he’s 30 – an inspiring journey he is now over 100 days into.  The countdown to 30 app would be a goal management, priorities aligner, and accountability manager to those who are looking to cause huge, constructive change to their lives.  It can be applied to all facets of life career, fitness, nutrition, health, family, significant others, travel… whatever is important to you.  It could also evolve to be a Countdown to 40, 50…. 100 to account for more mature populations.
http://1kdaychange.com/
  • Intermediate Level JavaScript Practice Exercises – Seeing as I’m now just a month into learning a new language, I find myself like any other language learner – needing to stay focused on practicing the fundamentals.  I’ve heard this termed as VIRTUOSITY –   I’m no longer in the “fully green” stage of learning to code – I understand basic syntax, ground rules, concepts of OOP, and have done some pretty cool stuff already with API’s – but I feel like I need more reps in simple, intermediate JS exercises to really sharpen this new toolset… like math word problems from 5th grade – find the value of x type stuff, not just what is 2 + 2.  This is completely ambiguous at this point, however I feel most of the resources I find online are for strict beginners learning to code and teaching what is a variable, what is a string… I need that next step in the learning curve and I bet I’m not alone.  It would also be highly convenient to be able to do this practice on a mobile interface.

  •  My Event App – Are you in charge of planning a project or event?  Something simple like a child’s birthday party or simple house party?  This app could walk you through step by step if organization is not your thing and prompt you along the way.  Instead of you doing all the thinking, it has that logic built in and you just logically build your checklist step by step.  This is my least favorite idea thus far but makes a clean 5.

HOLY SMOKES YOU ACTUALLY MADE IT TO THE BOTTOM? I’M FLATTERED!  PLEASE DROP A LINE IF YOU’RE ENJOYING THIS CONTENT!   🙂