10 Things to Keep in Mind When It Comes to Getting in Shape

10 Things to Keep in Mind When It Comes to Getting in Shape

Within the past couple of weeks, I reached out to a few of my dear friends and readers just to reconnect and see how things are in their world.

There were many subjects discussed, and a frequent topic of correspondence was fitness, namely, what we’re all doing or not doing about our own. Since I’ve learned that so many of you are interested in the subject, I figured I’d take the answers I gave to different people’s questions and combine them into an easy list to share.

Here it is. 🙂

1. You can do it. 

You don’t need anyone’s permission or support. The only thing stopping you is yourself. You can decide right this very instant to make a positive change in your life, for yourself, and no one else. You don’t need a partner, or a trainer — if you see someone in a shape you’d like to be, ask them for pointers. (This applies to more than just diet and exercise.)

My journey into fitness started ten years ago. I was in a band with a guy who was in great physical shape, and I asked him if he would teach me how to exercise properly. He was happy to do so. Simple as that. It’s only hard in your mind (see #9), and it gets easier over time, through consistency.

2. Consistency is the key to success. 

There has to be some sort of physical activity every single day. It doesn’t always have to be cardio, or heavy lifting, but the body requires movement on a daily basis. The body wants to exert itself. Your body wants to exercise. You don’t. You have to honor your body’s request every 24 hours somehow.

How do I get my physical activity in? I do these exercises 25 minutes each: kettlebell workout and jump rope at home (Sundays and Wednesdays); jump rope at home and shoulder exercises at the gym (Mondays and Fridays); jump rope at home then train for 90 minutes at Ambrose Academy (Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays).

3. Sleep has to be the top priority. 

So much growth and recovery happens during sleep. And different ages require different amounts — i.e. a 3-month-old baby needs at least 12 hours a day, whereas a 35-year-old requires 7-8 hours at a minimum. By neglecting your sleep, you are impairing your ability to function in many ways beyond simply being “a little tired” — decision-making, emotional balance, qualitative results, interpersonal communication, and more are all impacted by lack of sleep.

I used to believe sleeping fewer hours and working longer hours was a badge of honor. I now know it’s a badge of ignorance. Sleep was the first commitment I made to myself: get seven hours of sleep minimum per night, no matter what. I also do my best to adhere to my circadian rhythm — I dim and turn off lights in the house once the sun goes down, stop looking at screens by 11:00pm, sleep in darkness, and wake at 7:00am daily. I feel refreshed and focused at the beginning of every day, and adhering to a consistent sleep schedule has radically changed my energy levels, along with the benefits of making better decisions, being more emotionally balanced, getting great results, and nurturing more relationships.

4. Diet is more important than exercise.

Consuming nothing but water for an hour after waking up; a 2:00pm caffeine curfew; staying away from sugar and grains as best as possible; eating organic, free-range, cage-free, grass-fed and -finished meats and dairy products; consuming fresh, organic vegetables and fruits; supplementing with important vitamins, oils, herbs, roots, and minerals; …these are my new ways of eating.

Input dictates output, and what we consume directly informs what we see in the mirror, far beyond anything exercise can accomplish alone. If you keep eating the same food as you begin your journey toward achieving your fitness goals, you’ll become frustrated when you see minimal results even though you exercise consistently. In fact, you may even appear to have gained weight, because in addition to the inflammation already in your body from eating inflammation-causing foods, you’re causing inflammation through exercise. What you eat, and when you eat it (see #6), is much more critical than how much you can bench press or squat, or how many calories you burn on the treadmill. Garbage in, garbage out.

5. Sugar is the enemy.

The first piece of trash most Americans need to take out? SUGAR. Fat is not the problem. Sugar is. It’s terrible for you, and it’s incredibly addictive — the same spots in the brain light up in sugar eaters as do cocaine users. And when sugar is combined with saturated fats, it wreaks havoc on the whole body, causing all sorts of fallout from cortisol-cycle deregulation to insulin production issues, storing excess fat, diseases, sleep problems, emotional imbalance, etc.

My guideline is no more than 25 grams of sugar in a day, if I even have sugar. Most days, I don’t. It’s tough, because I love sweets, and sugar is in a lot of things you wouldn’t expect. But bottom line, sugar screws with your mind and makes you fat. Eat healthy fats, stay away from sugar.

6. Intermittent fasting promotes quicker results.

If you want to get faster results, fast. Too many people think that “fasting” means “anorexia,” or “hunger strike.” Nothing could be further from the truth. I’m not saying go for days with nothing but water, though that is a good thing to do perhaps once a year to hit the body’s reset button, according to studies I’ve read. I’m talking about intermittent fasting: By shortening the time period within which you eat each day — that is, anywhere from a 9- to 12-hour window — you can kick your metabolism into high gear.

I get up at 7:00 each day and do my morning thing, then at 8:00 I sit down with my cup of coffee to work. If I eat breakfast, it’s at 10:30, and my dinner will be at 8:30, giving me a 10-hour window; if I’m not going to eat breakfast, I blend my coffee with a tablespoon each of butter, MCT oil, and grass-fed beef collagen protein powder, which gives me fuel and energy for 6-8 hours, and tricks the body into thinking I still haven’t eaten. I’ll have lunch somewhere around 2-3:30, and I don’t eat past 10:00pm, which gives me a 6 1/2- to 8-hour window, like hitting a turbo boost.

7. A jump rope is the best piece of fitness equipment.

“I’ve never seen a boxer who didn’t jump rope,” my mom once told me. I bought a jump rope the next day.

A jump rope works your upper body, lower body, and core, and strengthens your skeletal and muscular system. It’s an aerobic exercise, so you’re getting cardio, and it increases your hand/eye/foot/ear coordination. It’s lightweight, portable, and can fit in most purses or shaving kits, so you can take it anywhere  (my last one went to Europe with me on tour). It’s safe, doesn’t break easily, and is simple to use, no instructions necessary. And it works, regardless of gender.

You don’t need a gym membership to start working out, or buy an expensive piece of equipment or a few dumbbells, or get a pricey Blu-Ray set, or hire a personal trainer. At first, just buy a jump rope. It’s the best. One final thought: Most runners run heel-toe, because running shoes are designed to absorb shock in the heel. That’s because we’re not meant to run on our heels, but on our toes. I’ve found that by jumping rope, I’m getting the cardio benefits of running without the knee pain, and I’m jumping on the pads of my feet, which is strengthening my knees (or so I think).

8. If it doesn’t work for you, it’s pure entertainment. 

Speaking of “or so I think,” that’s the real question — what is actually going to work for you? It depends. I’m not a doctor by any means, but I have intimate experience with my body (gross). Through trial and error and research and study, I’ve found what works and doesn’t work for me. This list is based on my personal experience.

You have to do the same for yourself. Don’t jump on every exercise or health food fad that comes around, but do look into what makes most sense to you and try it out. Does the Atkins diet work? Should you become a pescatarian? Should you do the butter coffee as I do? Perhaps. I don’t know. Take what you know, apply it to what you don’t know, and figure it out. It’s about whatever works for you, because as Sijo says, if it doesn’t work for you, it’s pure entertainment.

9. It’s a mental game. 

The folks who achieve their fitness goals do so by getting their minds right first. This isn’t just about positive self-talk — which is important, too — it’s about everything I’ve already listed above.

Knowing you can do it hits the brain’s delete button on the old program; being consistent reprograms the brain’s subconscious to run the new software you’re installing; getting a good night’s sleep improves the brain’s cognitive function; consuming the right foods promotes a healthy brain; staying away from sugar vastly reduces brain inflammation; fasting causes the brain to adapt and become more efficient; exercise improves memory and thinking skills.

And finally, if something isn’t working for you — a relationship, a job, a particular situation — it usually results in a certain amount of anxiety, however great or small, which can damage the amygdala, the part of the brain responsible for emotions, survival instincts, and memory.

Get the mental game right, and you’re halfway there before you lift a single weight. Find out what doesn’t work for you — don’t let the tooth rot; extract it.

10. The benefits exceed physical health. 

Beyond keeping your body healthy, it helps your sleep, sharpens your mind, and improves your sex life. Case closed.

That’s what works for me. What works for you??

P.S. Good news! Spotify finally got me my own Artist Page! 😀 You can follow me on Spotify here: https://open.spotify.com/artist/7Lx9QDuqrvKCyr1jr1Q324

P.P.S. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the books Fitness Confidential and The Bulletproof Diet, as they are two major influences on my views above.

———
Visit the archive: https://therealjohnkay.wordpress.com

Website: https://therealjohnkay.com
Music: https://johnkay.bandcamp.com
Podcast: Get After It w/ John Kay on iTunes
Twitter: @TheRealJohnKay
Instagram: @therealjohnkay
Facebook: /TheRealJohnKay

Let he who would move the world first move himself. — Socrates

Copyright © 2017 John Kay, All rights reserved.

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Accentuate the Positive, Eliminate the Negative

Accentuate the Positive, Eliminate the Negative

According to the last person who unsubscribed from my mailing list, I have a problem: I’m too negative.

I don’t normally follow up with those who unsubscribe, but this was an exception. This particular person is someone I met during my Koffin Kats days, a wonderful human being who is kind, generous, and supportive of my endeavors. They joined my mailing list just before my days with KK were over, and interacted with me regularly.

And then, just after I sent my last blog, they unsubscribed. So I had to reach out and ask why.

They informed me that “it all started back when you made a few comments on FB about your time/feelings towards/experiences with the Koffin Kats. I was really disappointed to read some of the disparaging things you wrote. I unfollowed you on FB at that time because I felt like it there was a lot of needless negativity there and I just didn’t want to see any more of it. You are totally entitled to your feelings, they are yours and therefore they ARE valid. I would never say otherwise. It just wasn’t something I was interested in seeing.

“More recently, your email/blog post about Nelson Ellis’s passing felt like a platform that you used to complain about sensing your own mortality. There was so much negativity in it. As well as the previous email regarding the band mates who abruptly severed ties with you.

“Please understand John, I’m not here to say that any of this was wrong on your part. You have an incredible way of expressing yourself, and you are entitled to your feelings and opinions. It’s not my place to say that any of it is ‘wrong’ or ‘not valid’ because they are your thoughts and opinions. You own that shit and no one can take your freedom of expression away. There’s just a LOT of negativity saturating these emails and I have a really hard time digesting it.

“I desperately need to be surrounded by uplifting things. Music, listening to my kid laughing at the crab in Moana for the THOUSANDTH time, stupid memes.. anything!!! And lately (because their frequency has picked up) your emails are more of a source of frustration. I know I could just NOT read them.. but I like knowing what’s been new with you and what you’ve been doing. I truly hope things are better with you than how they are often sounding.

“I sincerely hope you understand that I mean no ill towards you whatsoever. I’m just doing everything I can to keep my eyes fixed on the lighter side of life… cuz there’s a huge scary dark side to it all, and it’s suffocating…”

This hit me like a ton of bricks.

I thought that showing my warts and being honest about the hurdles on my path was the way to truly connect with others, but it seems to be driving people away.

The fact is…my life is great. Yes, I experience setbacks from time to time, but for the most part, everything is fine.

But in a strange way, I’ve always felt that I should play down how good things are, because they can end at any moment, be ruined by some unforeseen event or situation.

I haven’t written anything since receiving that email because I knew that the next thing I wrote would absolutely have to be about that email, and I’ve been scared to let it out.

Well, here it is. I’m afraid.

I’m afraid that when I mention something good that’s happening, it will end or be ruined somehow.

I’m afraid that if I communicate my vision for the next ten years, it won’t come to fruition.

I’m afraid to introduce the people on my team, lest they end up leaving.

I’m afraid to say how happy I am, because the pattern of my life is such that when I talk about something good, it ends.

I don’t want what’s happening in my life right now to end.

And I feel that if I speak publicly about the good things, then the evil part of the universe — It, if you will, dear friends and neighbors — will conspire to eradicate them all.

But I must, because my “negativity” is driving people away.

Fine.

(deep breath)

I have a great house in a wonderful neighborhood, with a backyard I can mow.

I have a beautiful woman in my life, and we have designs on getting a dog soon.

I have a growing family, and have begun to reconnect with family members I haven’t seen in years.

I have been training in Wing Chun Do for just over a year, and am a few months away from being an “advanced” student.

I’ve got two new songs in production, and one being mastered right now for public release.

I’ve got a great group of people learning, practicing, and rehearsing my music in order to perform and tour.

I have amazing fans all over the United States from Portland, Maine, to Los Angeles, California, who love my music and can’t wait for me to come to town and play for them.

I have a clear vision of where I want to be in ten years, and I am making the necessary sacrifices and taking the calculated risks to get there.

Guys and gals, I want you to know that if you’re still reading this, or any of my musings, I appreciate you. I get dozens of emails after sending these out, and though I don’t respond to all of them, I read every one. I love hearing from all of you, and staying up to date on your happenings.

Whatever your opinion of my music, writing, podcast, etc., I want to hear it — I’m not just creating for the sake of creation, I’m creating to make an impact on others, to improve people’s lives.

So if you feel my content is focused too much on the negative, say so. I’ll listen.

But I promise, from here on out, I will endeavor to “accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative,” as my mother always says.

Is that cool with YOU?

P.S. Downplaying my strengths has been a pattern of mine for as long as I can recall, and I had an epiphany regarding this subject in my latest podcast with Cody Hawken.

P.P.S. If you met me during my Koffin Kats days and want to know the REAL story of why I’m no longer in the group, message me privately.

P.P.P.S. Everything’s fine.
———
Visit the archive: https://therealjohnkay.wordpress.com

Website: https://therealjohnkay.com
Music: https://johnkay.bandcamp.com
Podcast: Get After It w/ John Kay on iTunes
Twitter: @TheRealJohnKay
Instagram: @therealjohnkay
Facebook: /TheRealJohnKay

Let he who would move the world first move himself. — Socrates

Copyright © 2017 John Kay, All rights reserved.

10 Reasons Your Uber or Lyft Driver Hates You (and 10 Pro Tips to Fix It)

10 Reasons Your Uber or Lyft Driver Hates You (and 10 Pro Tips to Fix It)

Ridesharing has become the preferred method of transportation for many people living in and around major cities, which has created the opportunity for others to become their own boss and earn a modest living by transporting those folks.

I’m proof: I’ve been driving for Uber (and Lyft) since December 2015, and have given over 2,200 rides in the metro Detroit area. Doing so has allowed me pay all of my household expenses, so that the money I earn with my musical endeavors can be used to further those efforts.

Because of ridesharing, I have total agency and autonomy over my time and energy, and in our current economy, I wouldn’t ask for anything more.

Overall, most of my riders are polite, grateful, and socially aware. And many of those same riders are knowledgable about how drivers earn, and what the pros and cons are when it comes to the gig.

But too many are not. This list is for them.

When it comes to fixing a problem, the first step is to become aware that a problem exists. By being aware of the key habits and behaviors that Uber and Lyft drivers loathe, and consciously avoiding them, anyone can be a 5-Star Rider.

Based on my personal experience of giving over 2,200 rides in the last two years, here are the top ten things riders are doing wrong which either annoys drivers or screws them out of our earning potential.


1. You make us wait. 

Uber and Lyft drivers are technically supposed to wait up to five minutes after arriving at the pickup destination. Riders and drivers are both aware of this.

But unless we arrive less than five minutes from the time you request the ride, why are we waiting?? I’ve had someone make me wait seven minutes for them to get into the car, after it took me 12 minutes to come pick them up. Their ride was three minutes long, and I made $2.88 for 22 minutes worth of my time.

You know the car is coming. You asked for it. You were told how long it would take to get there. There is a clock on your phone, and you are notified as soon as the vehicle arrives. Why aren’t you ready?

And if you have multiple stops, that’s fine, but we are only supposed to wait up to five minutes. Taking you to a restaurant to pick up your carry-out order? No problem. Taking you to a restaurant so you can place an order and wait for it to be prepared? Big problem.

Please be aware, we earn five times less for every minute of the trip than we do for every mile we drive. What do you think we’d rather be doing, driving or waiting??

PRO TIP: Don’t request a ride until five minutes before you are ready to walk out the door, and don’t make us wait more than five minutes anywhere.


2. You touch our radio/temperature controls. 

Part of the joy of driving for Uber/Lyft is having your own traveling office in which to work, and be able to listen to anything or nothing as you wish. I prefer to learn while I earn, so I listen to podcasts and take notes in between riders. It’s my way of maximizing my time.

So when you touch my cockpit controls without permission, it infuriates me.

How dare you?? You’re not in your car — you’re in MY car. And just because Lyft encourages riders to sit in the front doesn’t mean you have the right to fiddle with anything in the cockpit. It’s rude, and reeks of entitlement.

If the radio is too loud or you want to listen to something different, ask your driver to change it. If it’s too hot, or cold, or breezy…again, ask your driver to change it.

PRO TIP: Don’t touch the cockpit controls without permission. 


3. You cancel the trip when we are already on our way to pick you up, and then request again (sometimes via the other app). 

This is incredibly frustrating.

Many times this happens when we are on a freeway heading in one direction, and receive a request which causes us to take the next exit and turn around — riders assume that we’re going the wrong way and cancel after we’ve already exited the freeway and turned around. This is annoying.

OR, you’re simply seeing what the rates are, and you cancel the trip once you find out what it’s going to cost on one app, and then request a ride on the other app.

We know what you’re doing — you’re hedging your bets. Stop it.

Instead, make it easy on yourself and just stick with one app. I recommend Lyft because it is a much more altruistic rideshare platform; it’s better for riders and drivers, hands-down; and over time, even after tipping, using Lyft exclusively will save you money.

PRO TIP: Don’t hedge your bets — pick an app, request a ride, and stick with it. 


4. Your trip is less than a mile.

Understand: The base fare of your trip is mostly absorbed by the rideshare company — the driver makes around 51 cents per mile and 11 cents per minute (Uber), and does not get compensated for the drive to come pick you up.

So, if it takes us 10 minutes to get to you, and you make us wait 5 minutes for you to get in the vehicle, and your trip is less than a mile…we just made $2.88 (taxable) for close to 20 minutes of our time and gas and vehicle wear — a terrible return on investment for us in order to spare you a few extra minutes of exercise you’re probably not already getting.

Just because you can afford to take an Uber doesn’t always mean you should.

If you’re not disabled, why do you need me to drive you a half a mile? Did you forget your umbrella? Can your kids really not walk the short distance home from school? Is this a hey-look-at-me status thing, or a way you flex your dollar for yourself? Are you dying of exhaustion, or otherwise being set upon by the universe??

It’s not all about you — other people have much longer distances to travel, and you are making them late.

PRO TIP: If your trip is less than a mile…WALK. 


5. You eat in our vehicles. 

Yes, I know, people have been eating in cabs for forever.

But Uber and Lyft drivers don’t pick you up in a cab owned by some company who hoses them down every night after the proletariat abuses them. We pick you up in our everyday cars!

For those who pay their bills by driving their cars are their second home. I wouldn’t come into your home and open up whatever random food I brought with me and start eating it, not caring about crumbs getting on your floor, and leaving the wrapper under a chair. Don’t come into our cars and do the same.

I’m not saying don’t bring food into our vehicles. If you’re coming from the grocery store or a restaurant, and you’ve got your bags or leftovers, that’s fine. No sweat.

But to open your food and eat it in our car, especially without asking first?? What’s that about? You’re not going to die in our car from lack of food, so do you simply have no self-control or no respect for others? Either is gross.

PRO TIP: Eat your food at home. 


6. You don’t control your children.

Speaking of food being left in cars, part of the reason that happens is because parents are more involved with their mobile devices than they are their children. The kid is eating some snack or candy of some sort, and the parent is on social media, paying little to no attention to their child’s behavior.

I make a point to compliment my riders who are attentive, engaging parents with well-behaved kids, because I see it so rarely. And most of the time, if the kid is of speaking age, they will be attempting to engage the parent in conversation, but the parent only responds with a couple of words or a sentence, immersed in their technology.

Parents, I’m sure there are times when you just want your kid to be quiet so you can do your own thing. But I’ve seen this so often that I think it’s an epidemic that is happening across the country.

If I have to step in and tell a child to stop kicking my seat, or to not get their messy hands all over my car, then you are not fully present as a parent.

PRO TIP: Disengage with your mobile device and engage with your child; reign in their bad behavior — or we will.


7. You’re too drunk.

For the record, I love white women in their 20s — so much so that I’ve been living with one for the past two years!

But I’ve given over 2,200 rides to-date, and by a landslide, my most ungrateful, disrespectful, condescending, self-important, and socially unaware riders are white women in their 20s who are day drunk.

Ladies, I know you enjoy your Sunday Fundays. But please, don’t party so much that you don’t realize how drunk and annoying and rude you are.

The same goes for the guys and any other people who know they’re drunk but are still trying to play it cool. To borrow from the late George Carlin, “You’re not cool. You’re fuckin’ chilly.”

Please believe, I don’t mind picking up drunk people. I actually enjoy that part of the job; it makes me feel like a civil servant of sorts. And many of my riders have revoked or suspended licenses because of DUIs, so I appreciate the folks who decide to open their wallet instead of crashing their car. That’s a good look as a human being.

But if you’re so drunk that you’re experiencing short-term memory loss during our brief conversation, and acting like you’re on top of the world, it’s ugly.

I know you’re not that ugly when you’re sober. You’re better than that, people. have some respect for yourselves.

PRO TIP: Know — and mind — your alcohol limits, and above all, be respectful.


8. You have awful body odor.

One thing that separates Lyft from Uber is their stringent vetting process for their drivers.

I was approved to drive for Uber in less than 48 hours by submitting my picture, driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance; it took Lyft almost a month to approve me to drive, during which time they sent a seasoned Lyft driver out to have me drive them around.

Lyft guarantees that your driver is friendly; speaks English; doesn’t drive like a jackass; and more than likely has a newer and/or nicer vehicle — with Uber, you never know who or what you’re going to get.

Another thing that Lyft guarantees riders is that their drivers do not have awful body odor. Unfortunately, the same guarantee doesn’t apply to riders.

I know, you can’t smell yourself. I get it. But before you request a ride, ask yourself, “When was the last time I bathed??” you may be surprised.

PRO TIP: Bathe regularly! (This should be obvious.)


9. You’re ungrateful. 

One benefit of using Lyft as a driver is that when we rate our riders, if we choose to give someone three stars or less, Lyft guarantees that we will never see that rider again. This comes in handy after an ungrateful — or smelly —rider exits our vehicles.

Most of my riders thank me at the end of their trip. The ones who don’t, I never care to see again.

Even if we didn’t have a conversation, a simple thank-you goes a long way. It means you are aware that you are a member of a civilized society which values being polite to one another and showing gratitude for services rendered.

Sure, you’re technically paying us, so you are technically the customer. I respect that.

But before you’re a customer, you’re a human being, just as I am, and as we all are. You should make your mother proud and act like one.

And if you’re not going to be nice in the way our culture and society has collectively agreed, then I choose to interpret your behavior as being self-important, self-absorbed, and therefore, false — you are lost inside yourself, and I am sorry for you.

PRO TIP: Even if it’s the only interaction you have with your driver, thank them at the end of the trip.


10. You don’t tip.

I saved the best for last…

During my first four months driving for Uber and Lyft, I rarely received a tip.

That may not shock you, but I couldn’t believe it, because for the most part, ridesharing has effectively replaced cabs.

Cabs take longer to come pick you up, they drive under the speed limit to exhaust as much money out of the fare as possible, you feel like you’re in a cop car, the driver isn’t always friendly, the car isn’t always clean…

But when you pay the cab driver, you tip them! Why not us??

I understand that part of the convenience of using a rideshare app is that you don’t have to carry cash on you, and that we are moving toward a cashless society. These are facts.

But here are two more facts: you are saving money and time by using ridesharing instead of a cab (or your own vehicle), and, generally, having a much better overall experience; and, Lyft allows you to tip in the app immediately following the trip (Uber will have this feature as of August).

The biggest reason that tips are so appreciated by drivers is that 10% of every dollar we earn goes toward vehicle maintenance and repairs. That doesn’t even include gasoline or oil changes, which — for whatever reason — many riders believe Uber or Lyft pays for. HAHA! (Yes, we can write these things off on our taxes, but that’s not the point here.)

Most puzzling to me is that I’ve had this exact conversation with riders, who agree with me in lock-step…and then don’t tip!! People are complicated.

Not having cash isn’t the issue. Tipping your driver is easy. You’re being cheap.

Don’t be cheap. You’re better than that.

PRO TIP: TIP YOUR DRIVER!!!


Bonus: The 5-Star Rider Cheat Sheet

Self-driving Uber and Lyft vehicles will be here before we know it. But until then, you have to rely on us.

Use the cheat sheet below to be a 5-Star Rider, and feel free to forward this to your friends and family because…someone you know probably does one or more of these things!


5-Star Rider Cheat Sheet

  1. Don’t request a ride until five minutes before you are ready to walk out the door, and don’t make us wait more than five minutes anywhere.
  2. Don’t touch the cockpit controls without permission.
  3. Don’t hedge your bets — pick an app, request a ride, and stick with it.
  4. If your trip is less than a mile…WALK.
  5. Eat your food at home.
  6. Disengage with your mobile device and engage with your child; reign in their bad behavior — or we will.
  7. Know — and mind — your alcohol limits, and above all, be respectful.
  8. Bathe regularly! (This should be obvious.)
  9. Even if it’s the only interaction you have with your driver, thank them at the end of the trip.
  10. TIP YOUR DRIVER!!!

 

#Uber #Lyft #rideshare

 

———
Visit the archive: https://therealjohnkay.wordpress.com

Website: https://therealjohnkay.com
Music: https://johnkay.bandcamp.com
Podcast: Get After It w/ John Kay on iTunes
Twitter: @TheRealJohnKay
Instagram: @therealjohnkay
Facebook: /TheRealJohnKay

Let he who would move the world first move himself. — Socrates

Copyright © 2017 John Kay, All rights reserved.

Nelsan Ellis Is Dead…Am I Next?

Nelsan Ellis Is Dead…Am I Next?

True Blood fans are mourning right now, and I’m worried about my heart.

My total True Blood viewing experience amounts to less than 10 minutes. It was too campy for me.

But I know who Nelsan Ellis is…er, was.

At least, by face. I don’t know of his work. He was always featured in the promos for the show, and I watch HBO for a few of its other original series. (No, not Game Of Thrones.)

So when I learned that he had died today from “complications with heart failure,” at 39 years old, I was taken aback.

Thirty-nine! For me, that’s less than three years away!

And I’ve been having these things recently, where my heart feels as though it beats a little faster for no reason at all, or a brief moment of lightness in my chest that I’ve never felt before.

It scares the hell out of me. This is the first I’ve mentioned it publicly to anyone.

We can’t see inside our bodies, and our inner workings and machinations are mostly on autopilot. (Imagine if you had to concentrate on breathing or digesting food.)

And to get a view of what’s really going on, our only recourse is to go to our doctor and tell them what’s troubling us, and they put us through the system. “Try these pills for 30 days and report back to me,” “Still the same? Let’s up your dosage,” “Not helping? Maybe we should try this medication instead,” and so on.

Why can’t we just get in the damn MRI or CAT machine from the get-go???

I want to get scanned for EVERYTHING.

I want a brain scan, so I can see for myself what’s happening to it and correct any issues before they become truly problematic.

I want an MRI exam to find out what, if anything, is deteriorating in my body, whether bones or tendons, ligaments, organs…anything.

But I can’t. It doesn’t work like that.

Well, then again, maybe if you’re rich.

The rich can afford a la carte medical services. The poor have to jump through all of the hoops — and if the GOP has their way, 22 million of us won’t have any hoops to jump through.

To that point, have you ever seen the movie As Good As It Gets?? It’s one of my favorites. Since it came out twenty years ago, I’m not worried about spoiling it if you haven’t seen it…

Helen Hunt plays a waitressing single mom, Carol, with a son who has a unique medical condition which her “fucking HMO bastard pieces of shit” doctors can’t pin down.

Jack Nicholson is Melvin, a rich, ornery, anti-social, best-selling author who frequents Carol’s restaurant daily for breakfast, and will only sit in her section — Melvin has a debilitating case of OCD, and everything has to be exactly as he expects it.

When he arrives at the restaurant one day and discovers Carol isn’t at work because she has to take care of her kid, he panics, and pays a busboy $20 to give him her address.

The next day, Carol arrives at home to find a doctor there, played by the late Harold Ramis. Ramis tells her that his wife is Melvin’s publisher, and that he was told to take great care of Carol’s son because Carol is urgently needed back at work.

Ramis hands his assistant a blood vial, telling her he wants the results back today (TODAY!), and then asks Carol if her son’s doctors have performed certain standard tests. She says she asked them to, but was told “it’s not covered under my plan and it’s not necessary,” which amazes Ramis, and causes Carol to spew the above quote regarding her HMO.

Carol asks if there is someone she can reach in Ramis’s office once the test results come back, to which he responds, “Me. My home number is on this card.”

His home number! When’s the last time you called YOUR doctor at home??

Finally, Ramis assures Carol that her son is going to be feeling much better very soon. When she asks about the additional costs, Ramis replies that they’ll be considerable, but that Melvin wants to be billed.

The bottom line: All it took for a poor, single mother’s son to get well was a rich guy’s daily routine being disrupted, and his subsequent (selfish) generosity.

I have no idea if Nelsan Ellis was rich, and I don’t know if he was aware of any issues with his heart. I don’t know what his lifestyle was, whether he had a healthy diet or abused drugs or whatnot.

All I know is that I read the headline today, and knew he died too soon, from heart-related issues.

That is one of my biggest fears: dying sooner because I didn’t take care of myself.

I do my damnedest to eat healthy daily, exercise regularly, sleep the right amount, etc. Still, I know death will come at some point, as it will for all of us.

But I don’t want to die at 39, or even 69, as Harold Ramis did. I want to live forever, experiencing everything the universe has to offer.

Nelsan Ellis’s sudden death is a reminder that we never know when it will be our time, and that we need to take care of ourselves and each other, and make an impact in our short time.

May he rest in peace.

———
Visit the archive: https://therealjohnkay.wordpress.com

Website: https://therealjohnkay.com
Music: https://johnkay.bandcamp.com
Podcast: Get After It w/ John Kay on iTunes
Twitter: @TheRealJohnKay
Instagram: @therealjohnkay
Facebook: /TheRealJohnKay

Let he who would move the world first move himself. — Socrates

Copyright © 2017 John Kay, All rights reserved.

Take Out the Trash

Take Out the Trash

“Nothing’s changed.”

Those who are connected with me on Facebook see that phrase every day.

Each morning, I go to the On This Day app within Facebook (many others use the Timehop app) and look at my posts from previous years. I use it to assess my progress and foster a sense of gratitude first thing in the day.

When my old posts are still relevant, I comment with “Nothing’s changed.” Those types of posts are usually centered on my core values, my humor, the way I feel about my family, my ambitions and goals, my love for music — these have never changed.

But when my posts are irrelevant, I take out the trash.

I created my Facebook account in early 2009, and I’m the same person, but not the same personality I was eight — or even five — years ago. Plus, I’ve learned a lot about social media and privacy since first joining (God knows what’s still on my MySpace account).

For most of 2009-2012, I was drunk. Not just on alcohol, which I was, but also on my nascent audio engineering career and the success of my band at the time (Bat On Fire), along with the subsequent praise I was getting from my growing network of peers and colleagues at shows, on the radio, and especially on social media.

I got caught up in the idea of being a local celebrity: getting into all the good concerts for free, getting drinks bought for me, getting invited out to everything, being with women.

Because of my personal headtrash, my Facebook posts from 2009 to mid-2011 mostly revolved around my band; clients I was recording, mixing, or producing; partying; being an audio engineering blowhard; and “bad decisions” (getting laid).

The problem was I felt like I had power. It’s quite embarrassing to read some of the things I posted back then.

I was lost. That is not who I really am, or ever really was.

So, I get rid of it all. I delete the posts, or I remove myself from being tagged in them.

I don’t do this because I’m afraid a future employer will find it, or my girlfriend or family will think less of me if they see it (hell, they’ve known me this whole time).

I’m doing this because I don’t want to remember any of it. Certain episodes, events, and chapters in my past, in a way, disgust me. I want to forgive myself for being a douchebag, forget it, and move on.

It’s not that the past is burdening me, or that I have closure issues — I’m putting as much goodness out into the world as possible, which I hope outweighs my past transgressions; I’m at peace, and karma works in wondrous ways.

The issue is my photographic memory.

When I see these old posts, my mind catapults me back in time to the circumstances surrounding the post, how I felt at the time, what my diet was like, what my belief system was caught up in, how ego-driven I was. The trash posts drum up old feelings of guilt and shame.

But again, these posts are accompanied by many other posts which are positive in nature and timeless in their value. They remain relevant to me and my life, and remind me that even though I made some bad decisions or behaved like a jerk from time to time, I’m still walking a righteous path.

I want to focus on the good, not the bad. In order to improve that focus, I take out the trash. Not just on social media, but in real life, too. Anything that takes away my focus from the present and moves me further away from my goals, I eliminate it.

My mom taught my brother and I from a very young age to accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative. Maybe it’s a testament to her that I do that exact thing every morning, first thing…

Nothing’s changed.

———

Visit the archive: https://therealjohnkay.wordpress.com
Email: blog@therealjohnkay.com

Music: https://johnkay.bandcamp.com
Podcast: Get After It w/ John Kay on iTunes
Twitter: @TheRealJohnKay
Instagram: @therealjohnkay
Facebook: /TheRealJohnKay

Let he who would move the world first move himself. — Socrates

Copyright © 2017 John Kay, all rights reserved.

I Can’t Make This Up

I Can’t Make This Up

http://a.co/7oX2pXb

I didn’t just read this book. I devoured it.

As a person with a certain level of ambition, I seek out the stories of those who “made it,” the ones who have gone on to become the best, or one of the best, in their field. The undeniable ones.

Kevin Hart is undeniable.

The man has sold out an NFL stadium, and his entire show is just him alone on stage with a single microphone, talking about his life. And people love it because he is hilarious.

Sure, he has a gift for being funny, but to be able to entertain over 50,000 people at once and succeed at it goes far beyond natural talent. It takes a team of people working together for the greater good, and it requires a certain set of core values to guide the team to make the right decisions along the way.

Persistence, patience, class, commitment, learning, passion-centered competitiveness, positivity, and discomfort; these are the eight qualities that Kevin Hart singles out as being the ingredients for his particular success recipe.

With any book I read, I have a highlighter in my hand. As I read, if something is relatable to my life or adds value to it, I highlight it. Once I finish the book, I type all of the highlighted passages into my computer and organize them to work for me. I do this to maintain a personal “commonplace book.”

From Ryan Holiday’s How and Why to Keep a Commonplace Book:

“Some of the greatest men and women in history have kept these books. Marcus Aurelius kept one — which more or less became the Meditations. Montaigne, who invented the essay, kept a handwritten compilation of sayings, maxims, and quotations from literature and history that he felt were important. Thomas Jefferson kept one. Napoleon kept one. Bill Gates keeps one.

“And if you still need a why, I’ll let this quote from Seneca answer it: ‘We should hunt out the helpful pieces of teaching and the spirited and noble-minded sayings which are capable of immediate practical application — not far-fetched or archaic expressions or extravagant metaphors and figures of speech — and learn them so well that words become works.”

After reading Kevin Hart’s words in his new book I Can’t Make This Up, co-written with one of my favorite authors — Neil Strauss — I got right to work.

The reason his story is so powerful is because it is happening right now.

This isn’t someone who waited until the end of their career to distill the secrets of their success and share their life lessons with the world. By the time most of the undeniable ones tell their stories, so many years have passed that the tools and techniques they used to succeed are no longer relevant to the era in which we live. They aren’t practical, but nostalgia.

The tools Kevin Hart used to build the foundation of his superstar career are available to most people today: our brains, our bodies, and the Internet, specifically social media.

I’m persistent — I’ve been in the game for over 25 years.

I practice patience — this one is the most difficult of all, but becoming easier.

I have class — ‘ello, Guv-nah!

I am committed to my goals.

I love to learn every day.

My competitiveness is passion-centered.

I accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative.

And I have become most adept at tolerating discomfort.

More than ever before in my life, I am ready to floor it down the highway of my dreams. I’ve spent the better part of the last two years learning how to live, how to build a foundation for a career as a creative artist, how to put a team together with the right people in the right seats, and how to execute and manage the process.

The wheels are in motion: I’ve got three podcasts in the hopper ready to be finalized for release, one song almost complete and two more coming thereafter, and my excitement is boiling over into my blog.

Plus, if you recall the judge I worked for as a journalist on her winning campaign, she reached out to me about co-authoring a book. Nothing is set in stone yet, but the opportunity is there.

And after a couple of minor setbacks, the band is rehearsing and moving forward together as a unit.

We’re putting our brains, our bodies, and the Internet to work.

The future looks bright!
———
Visit the archive: https://therealjohnkay.wordpress.com

Music: https://johnkay.bandcamp.com
Podcast: Get After It w/ John Kay on iTunes
Twitter: @TheRealJohnKay
Instagram: @therealjohnkay
Facebook: /TheRealJohnKay

Let he who would move the world first move himself. — Socrates

Be Aware, Opportunity Knocks

Be Aware, Opportunity Knocks

https://youtu.be/sfmQvc6tB1o

I don’t cry often, but I have sensitive spots, and this commercial hits a spot.

A creature — an idea — is born, “scary and messy and fragile”.  It walks the streets, receiving looks of disgust from passersby, its fur and tail matted with filth.  An outcast everywhere it goes, it seems it doesn’t have a home.  The creature appears quite sad.

And then a person puts their arm around the creature and guides it into the GE building, smiling and talking and laughing, the creature’s fur and tail becoming cleaner and prettier with each passing moment.

In the final scene, the creature, now clean and colorful, walks alone onto a stage in front of a large audience — they are giving a standing ovation.  The scene fades out as the creature steps behind a microphone to address the audience.

The tagline is “Yes, ideas are scary, and messy, and fragile…but under the proper care, they become something beautiful.”

Gets me every time.

The point is, we’ve all got something to say, and even the scariest and messiest and most fragile of us need love in order to become our best, to bring our ideas to fruition.

Everything and everyone contains a unique opportunity.

Back in June 2016, I read my local paper and saw a bunch of errors, so I found out who the publisher was and scheduled a meeting to discuss how I could assist in making their paper better.  This meeting led to me being hired to do some editing and also to rewrite a political ad.

Rewriting that ad was the experience which led to working with a candidate for Wayne County Third Circuit Court Judge.  I crafted a 14,000-word story about her life and career, and used it as the centerpiece of a grassroots social media mobilization, which, according to her social media marketing manager, was the crucial ingredient in her being elected to a seat on the bench.

When the judge and I first met, she asked me how I came to write political ads for the Redford Connection.  I explained to her that I looked at the paper, saw the errors, and instead of seeing a problem, I saw…

She finished the sentence for me, “You saw opportunity.”

She nailed it.  I heard opportunity knocking, and I opened the door.

It was an opportunity to help my community by assisting the local newspaper, which is run by two gentlemen who place great value on engagement, growth, humility, integrity, and a servant mentality.  They love the community of Redford, and they love its citizens.  They want to be the best they can be.

But the opportunity to help these gentlemen would never have been discovered if I wasn’t already in the habit of cultivating awareness.  If I wasn’t so focused on details, the little things that most others dismiss as unimportant in the grand scheme of life, I wouldn’t have noticed any errors to begin with.

The judge’s social media marketing manager was impressed with my skill set, and has since introduced me to several business owners in the hopes of engaging my talents to help them write their stories and create content which will add value for their customers and (ultimately) profits to their business.

I had a meeting yesterday with one of these business owners.  We spoke for less than an hour, then he shook my hand and told me that, from here on out, I am his go-to premium content creator.  This was after he asked what he could do to help me get further along my path, how I preferred to work, what my schedule is like, and what my rates are.

After that meeting, I went to the office of the publisher of the newspaper which started this journey, and discussed working together to transition the paper into a formidable source of Redford news, information, journalism, and community outreach, with a strong online presence via a website and social media.  I’m now formulating an overall strategy, and coordinating the team which will implement it.

None of these things would be possible, I would not know any of these people, if when I picked up the paper from my porch seven months ago I didn’t notice any errors, or saw the errors and threw the paper away, dismissing it as an amateur rag.  None of these opportunities would have come to be if I didn’t recognize an opportunity in the first place.

Understand: a heightened sense of awareness helps in all areas of life.

You need to be aware of the opportunities around you, especially if you are already somehow at a disadvantage.  Take advantage of all opportunities that are available to you, and don’t let anyone make you feel bad for doing so.

There may already be an opportunity that you know is right for you, an opportunity that completely aligns with your value system and who you are, and what you really want to do.  But that opportunity may challenge the beliefs of people who are close to you, people who you love, or who you associate with regularly.  They may say it’s too risky, or too difficult, or too expensive, or too selfish, or too different, too radical, too scary.

I’m telling you now, go get that opportunity.  Go take that opportunity and make it the best opportunity for you.

Be warned, some opportunities will present themselves to you that may seem like good opportunities, but in fact are not, and rob you of precious time and resources which would otherwise be used for better opportunities.  The key is to be aware of the path that you’re on and what values you hold within yourself, and adhere to those values, letting them guide your decision-making.  Let your experience and your values be your map and compass.

Remember: you are where you are today because of the decisions you made yesterday.  Likewise, tomorrow is the result of the decisions you make today.  Hold yourself accountable to making better decisions today, and you’ll wake up with a better tomorrow.

If someone whose values align with yours is willing to offer their help, take it.  If there’s a tool that will help you become more effective at your job, get it and use it.  If there’s a person who supports your endeavors, love that person and champion them.

A lot of people don’t answer when opportunity knocks.  A lot of people can’t recognize when opportunity knocks, or they’re not prepared when it does.  A lot of people are unaware of all of the opportunities available to them.  Knowing all of this puts you at an advantage.

So be prepared and be aware, because opportunity is always knocking.  You just have to know how to listen.

John Kay
blog@therealjohnkay.com

Music: johnkay.bandcamp.com
Twitter: @therealjohnkay
Instagram: @therealjohnkay
Facebook: /TheRealJohnKay

P.S. Episode 003 of my podcast Get After It!, with my guest Jim Doyon, is now live!  Jim is the founder and co-owner of InkAddict, a tattoo lifestyle apparel company, and he hates doing interviews, so I’m grateful to have the opportunity to share with you his insight and wisdom on life and business.  Click the link and get after it!  http://getafterit.libsyn.com/get-after-it-w-john-kay-003-jim-doyon

P.P.S.  I’m working on a new song, and plan to have the recording process wrapped up this week.  😀

P.P.P.S.  If you haven’t given me your feedback on my newest song, I’d love to hear it.  Feedback is the breakfast of champions, and based on what I’m being told, this may be my best song yet.  What do YOU think?  Check it out here, then let me know: https://johnkay.bandcamp.com/track/we-know-were-gonna-die