In the Blink of An Eye, Anything Can Happen

 

Written By: Maxwell Fayans

Estimated Read Time: 2-3 minutes

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Minutes Before Making A Sudden Save in Long Beach, NY

Yesterday my father and I attempted to save two drowning individuals in Long Beach, NY. We were walking down the boardwalk onto the beach and all of a sudden an individual ran up to us screaming that two guys needed help in the water. We immediately started running to the shore, jumped on our surfboards and paddled out to them past the jetty. There was a strong rip current due to a tropical storm and no lifeguards were on duty at the time. We were able to save one individual and I send my condolences to the family of the other individual. This really shocked me and I couldn’t believe what just happened. I want to warn every one of the major rip currents out there from the storm surges. It is a reminder that anything can happen in the blink of an eye.

The life lesson I learned was to be grateful for all that you have. You really do not know how much time you have left. I try to remind myself each morning what I am grateful for and to live my life to the fullest. Time is the only thing we don’t get back. It is easy to get caught up in focusing on things such as your income or what type of job you have. However, you have to remember to do the stuff that you love because you never know what may happen next.

Philosopher, Lucius Annaeus Seneca, stated, “It is not that we have a short space of time, but that we waste much of it. Life is long enough, and it has been given in sufficiently generous measure to allow the accomplishment of the very greatest things if the whole of it is well invested.”

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How Saying No Can Change Your Perspective

Written By: Maxwell Fayans

Estimated Read Time: 2-4 minutes

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Hiked to the summit of Buck Mountain (Lake George, NY)

“Well I’m turning my sights on the country; I sold everything that I own; Heading away from the bright lights; Looking for where the wind blows.” Wishbone Ash- Ballad of the Beacon Lyrics

Derek Sivers stated that if your answer is not hell yeah, then your answer should be no. I agree with this because you cannot please everyone. The person you should most please is yourself. It is important not to be so hard on yourself when you do say no. There are times when you need to stop and ask yourself, is this getting me closer to my goal? Are my priorities clear so I can move forward with the things that matter to me dearly? James Altucher stated, it is important to focus on saying no to the little things and saying yes to the big things.

Be in control of your day and remember that your schedule is most important. You will get emails from people asking you to do this or that. Majority of these are interruptions. By checking emails frequently and saying yes to each one, you realize that you are on their schedule, not your own. It takes away from your own creative time. You can get so caught up in other people’s tasks that you forget about your own goals and what makes you happy.

I was introduced to power of saying no when reading The 4-Hour Workweek. I started by only checking personal email after 12pm. The benefit of this, is that it allows you to focus on your personal goals and to do lists. This is when I am personally most productive.
I try to stay away from social media in the morning as well. I would recommend using the chrome extension, StayFocusd. This limits your time on select websites. I limit myself to 10 minutes a day on Facebook. I couldn’t believe how often I would click on Facebook without even realizing it. It was almost as if every time I turned on my laptop, I would have to check my news feed before I can move on. Most of my time on Facebook I was looking at what other people were doing and it made me jealous. By limiting social media, you can focus on yourself and your goals. I find that I have so much more time from this one fix and I am much happier.

Logging out from social media and technology every once in a while feels good. When my iPhone 5 was on its last leg, I realized I spent more time on my self because I was not answering all the texts, calls, notifications from everyone looking to ask me something. Eventually I had to get a new phone but it felt good for a change to be out of the loop. Let me know your experiences with saying no.

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More about Maxwell Fayans

My amazing book suggestions: The Maxwell Fayans Book Club

What Can Your Ego Do For You?

Written By: Maxwell Fayans

Estimated Read Time:3-5 minutes

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“The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams.” Oprah Winfrey

Yesterday, I listened to a chapter from Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday and I must say that this chapter really hit home. I find that sometimes I get lost in competition and continually try to “Keep Up With the Joneses.” Before you know it years fly by. As Peter Thiel stated, “Before getting swept up in the competitions that define so much of life, ask yourself whether you even want the prize on offer.” I learned a lot from this one chapter titled, What Is Important to You? and wanted to share this.

Ego undermines greatness and can destroy us. However to know what you want in life is wisdom. We often lose site of our priorities in the rat race. It is this form of status anxiety, and envy that can become threatening. We fear that we are always missing out. We tell ourselves I would be happy if I had what the person next to me has. This could be a sports car, yacht or mansion. According to Alain de Botton, we tend to latch ourselves onto suggestions from others. The more accomplished you are, the more successful people you will be around. This might make you feel small because you are comparing yourself to them. We are not in a race to keep up with others because in their eyes success and happiness can be a whole lot different than yours. Put aside the competition and set the terms of your own life. Slow down and have a clear mind of the space you are in right now. Having the sense of your own path is key to a life of happiness. It is about being yourself and going where you set out to go. Make decisions for yourself, not anyone else. If you find yourself in competition and second guessing be sure to always come back to what is truly important to you.

By knowing what matters to you, you can start to say no to the many things people put on your plate. You will start to gain a quiet confidence in yourself. It takes courage to stop and stay focused on your purpose. But once you find what you are after, you may begin to feel true independence. Your ultimate responsibility is yourself. I am excited to hear your thoughts on this.

 

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5 Steps to Mindfulness: The Splatter Art Way

Written By: Maxwell Fayans

Estimated Read Time: 2-4 minutes

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The day the splatter art took place (GoPro shot).

Let what you do in the moment be the most important thing in your life. -Thich Nhat Hanh

Ever since I started meditating I found that mindfulness could be practiced throughout your day. Last summer, I decided to throw some paint on a canvas (also known as drip art or splatter art). This is similar to the pieces created by Jackson Pollock. I was fortunate enough to see his exhibit at MOMA in NYC and it was stunning. Here are the steps I took to create this piece.

The 5 Steps:

  1. Place tarp in your backyard and use flower pots to hold it down.
  2. Place canvas on the tarp (I got mine at Michaels).
  3. Get a few buckets of water to clean your paint brushes.
  4. Use different size brushes and of course paint.
  5. Grab a glob of paint using your brush and start throwing it on the canvas. Do not think of the result.

Having not painted in a long time, I was astonished by the result.

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Splatter Art-Maxwell Fayans

So How Does This Tie to Mindfulness?

I recently listened to the Tao Te Ching  and The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation. After listening to these books, a few quotes stood out to me and it reminded me of this great day when I created the above piece of art.

Splatter art requires no thinking. You simply take some paint and throw it. I did not follow any techniques. I did what ever I felt like at the present moment. I was not caught up in the details or looking to impress anyone with this piece of art. What ever happened, happened. I let it be just the way it is. What I learned was that I was painting to paint, not thinking about if it would look good hanging in my room. I was happy no matter the outcome which made the whole day amazing.

Here are the quotes that sparked me to write this piece and I try to live my life by them:

“He who rushes, does not go far.”

“He who tries to shine, dims his own light.”

“Don’t do stuff just to get it over with. Relax, slow down and enjoy it.”

“The most important time is now. The most important person is whom you are with right in front of you.”

Even if art is not your thing, sometimes all it takes is one piece to create a breakthrough. I look forward to hearing about the impact art has had on you.

 

Learn more about Maxwell Fayans here

For more book suggestions: Check out The Maxwell Fayans Book Club

 

 

How I Lost 15 lbs of Fat in 6 Weeks…While Never Feeling Hungry

Written by: Maxwell Fayans

Estimated Read Time: 6-8 minutes

After reading the Four Hour Body by Tim Ferriss, I was in for a challenge. I decided to go on my first diet. Thinking about this diet sounds difficult, but once I got in a routine, it became achievable. The diet is called the “Slow Carb Diet”. I wanted to share with you my version and what has worked for me.

I was able to go from 170 lbs to 155 lbs while losing 2 inches from my waist, 1 inch from my quad and 4 inches from my hips. Not only did I lose fat, but I have way more energy, feel satiated throughout the day and I’m sleeping better. A few weeks into the diet I began to notice how much carbs my friends and family eat. It makes up a majority of their meals. I do not have those urges to go after carbs like I used to and I am more aware of what I am eating.

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Here Are The Steps to Follow:

#1: Ease Yourself Into This
For the first week on this diet I started by exchanging my breakfast yogurt for eggs each morning. I give myself 15 minutes extra in the morning. The next step was eating my lunch sandwich with only one slice of bread and eventually no bread. Once primed, the final step was to go full force by week 2.

#2: Do Not Eat White Carbohydrates
This prohibits bread, pasta, pizza, pretzels, oatmeal, rice and cereal etc. The only time you are allowed to eat white carbohydrates is after a workout (weightlifting).

#3: Stick to These Foods for Each Meal (I recommend shopping at Trader Joe’s).

Proteins:
Egg Whites with One to Two Yolks
Grilled Chicken
Low Sodium Boars Head Turkey and Buffalo Chicken Cold Cuts
Skirt Steak
Seafood (Cod, Salmon, Tuna Fish, Shrimp)

Vegetables:
Spinach
Broccoli
Cauliflower
Green Beans
Kale
Eggplant
Zucchini

Legumes:
Lentils
Black Beans
Red Beans

Snacks:
Cashews
Flax Seed Peanut Butter
Carrots/Celery
Hummus

I eat as much as I like of the above foods until I am full. I tend to snack while I am studying at night. If I go out to eat for lunch or dinner I will go with steamed vegetables instead of fries and my protein being grilled chicken, steak or fish. For a quick meal, my favorite choice is Chipotle. For breakfast I either make an omelette, eat hard boiled eggs or use the Eggtastic with spinach and ketchup. Lunch and dinner have more options and can be seen in the pictures below.

I eat 3 meals per day and one snack:

Breakfast: 7:30 or 8am (important to eat breakfast within one hour of waking up and have 20 grams of protein in this meal)
Lunch: 1pm or 1:30pm
Dinner: 7:30pm or 8pm
Snack: 10pm

#4: Do not eat fruit
The only time I do eat fruit is after a workout and within 30 minutes. I eat California Raisins from Stop and Shop. Raisins are a fast acting carbohydrate and are good for muscle recovery. If the only thing in front of you at a party is a bowl of fruit, I would suggest a low glycemic fruit such as strawberries, blueberries and cherries.

#5: Do not eat dairy
Dairy spikes insulin levels which is why I avoid this. Only after a workout I will use mozzarella in my meals. I do avoid white/cream sauces and stick to red sauces like marinara.

#6: Do not drink calories
Upon waking up I drink ice water on my commute and iced coffee with 1 tbsp of half and half. I will also have 8oz of Diet Snapple per day with dinner.

#7: Take weekly measurements (Be consistent: I prefer Friday morning)
The 5 Measurements: Weight, Bicep, Quad Middle, Waist, Hips (I use Measuring tape)

#8: One Cheat Day Per Week
My cheat day is every Saturday. On this day I will eat anything I want and tend to go out to dinner. This is usually chocolate chip pancakes, angel hair pasta, pizza, vanilla ice cream, Hershey’s etc. Eating crap food one day per week can actually assist you in losing fat. This helps your thyroid to cope with an increased load of calories.

Other Tips: Cold Showers for Weight Loss
Being that it is the summer it has been easier to cope with cold showers. I start my shower with warm (not hot) water and then every 15-30 seconds I make it colder. By the time I am finished, the water is the coldest. I will stand under it for 10+ seconds and then shut it off and grab a towel immediately. Ease yourself into this. How does this help you to burn fat? Cold exposure can help to “activate” brown adipose tissue which generates heat and raises your metabolism. Additional benefit: your skin does not feel dry and tight after your shower, and it wakes you up better than coffee.

Learn more about Maxwell Fayans here

For more book suggestions: Check out Maxwell Fayans’ Book Club