Five Minutes at a Time

Whatever your New Years resolutions are this trick may help you keep them.

I’m terrible at organization. In fact when I was in second grade I can still remember my teacher, Mrs. Rasar, yelling at me in front of the entire class, because I couldn’t find my math homework that was crammed inside my extremely messy desk. I’m not ashamed to admit it that I did cry that day.

Fast forward to today and I still struggle with this issue but I’ve found a way to change this life-long aversion to organization five minutes at a time.

It’s definitely not rocket science and I’m sure I’m not the first to propose this. What I do is set a timer on my phone for five minutes and then I clean and organize whatever space I want to improve in that amount of time. During this time I’m fond of playing some music. Currently I’m playing Hank William III’s “Crazed Country Rebel” as I’m organizing my medical bills and insurance paperwork.

Tackling a big issue like getting organized can feel overwhelming. By setting a timer for only five minutes at a time I free myself of the anticipated dread of spending hours or even days tackling a problem.

What I’ve found is that after the five minutes are up I set the timer again for five more minutes. I keep doing this and before I know it I’ve got a bookshelf organized, or I’ve gone through a stack of old mail or I’ve finally completed a filing system to put my financial, medical and business paperwork in.

Procrastination destroys my initiative, saps my energy and makes me feel even more physically unwell than usual. Taking action even if it’s only for five minutes at a time is better than not taking any action. I feel a lot better when I am moving in the direction of my goals.

When I set a timer for only five minutes, I think to myself that I can do anything for five minutes. Then when I finally do get off the couch the magic of momentum kicks in and before I know it my room and my car are more cleaned and organized then they’ve been in decades.

Currently I’m rewatching the show “Frasier” from the beginning on Amazon Prime. In between each episode I set my phone timer for five minutes and see how much I can get done. Sometimes I just work for the five minutes and then start the next episode but more often then not I reset that five minute timer at least once or twice before I plop back down on the capuchin to watch the next episode

Today most folks are struggling to break old habits and build new ones, tackle great challenges or accomplish new feats. What I’ve found helpful in my quest to become a better human being is to break down whatever I want to accomplish into small increments of action that I can accomplish in five minutes at a time. It’s a non-stressful way for me to get motivated, build momentum and change lifelong habits by simply setting my phone timer for five minutes and getting to work.

Brad Miller

Fellow Human

Life is a lot like riding a bike

“When you are riding a bike you are constantly on the edge of falling. It’s the forward movement that keeps you from falling.”

Eric Olson from the documentary “Wormwood”.

Wormwood is a Netflix docuseries that delves into the true life conspiracy surrounding the death of Frank Olson, Eric Olson’s father.

Frank Olson was a biochemist who worked at Fort Detrick. He died in 1952 by falling or jumping from the window of a New York hotel. That at least was the official story

In 1974 reports exposed the out of control CIA and its atrocities. One of these atrocities was the murder of Frank Olson. Turns out he was dosed without his knowledge with LSD which led to his death. It’s still not clear whether he was pushed out the window or under the influence of a hallucination jumped from the window.

I didn’t expect to get such a profound snippet of wisdom from watching this series. For decades I’ve been interested in the historical struggle between the individual and the state. Constantly probing the veracity of the limitless conspiracy theories on the internet. And this is one always struck me as perfect example of what individuals do when they have unlimited power and unlimited secrecy. They do terrible things in the name of national security and use their power to try and cover it up.

So I went into this to gain knowledge about a specific true life conspiracy and came out with a beautiful metaphor for life.

The quote from Eric Olson is so powerful because I know that I feel the worst emotionally when I’m not moving forward in life. When I’m feeling the most depressed is when I feel like I’ve fallen. Take the term depression. That word illicit a picture of someone laying on the ground incapable of movement.

For Eric this epiphany occurred to him because his father used to ride him around on a bike and after his fathers death he found comfort in riding. For him it took years but he kept moving forward and exposed the truth about his fathers death despite the government’s continually attempts to cover it up.

Keep moving forward is the key to life. You don’t know what tomorrow may bring. For a nine year old boy in 1952 it brought the death of his beloved father and a subsequent lifetime of trying to figure out what truly happened that night. But he succeeded in uncovering the truth despite the efforts against him of the most powerful security state in the world.

Events can knock us off our bike like running into a bush or receiving life altering news, or we can simply stop peddling and fall off because of self doubt. That’s what really derails life. It steals our momentum and causes us to fall. Getting back up can seem impossible and it seems the very universe itself is against us.

Sometimes in those darkest moments if we are unable to get back up on the bike than we can walk the bike to get moving forward again.

It’s slow progress but it’s still progress. Then we get strong enough to mount the bike once aboard it forces us to pedal. When we get into the current of life it forces us to keep moving as well. Our own biological needs do this on the most basic of levels.

No matter how depressed you are your body forces you to move. You have to get up to get water, eat, and go the bathroom. Even when you feel like your not moving forward at all maybe you are more than you think by simply staying alive.

I often don’t know what the next should be and in those moments of indecision I lose forward momentum. If I continue vacillating about my next move I stop peddling all together and fall off the bike of life.

I’ve been knocked down hundreds of times off by the events of life. Since I was eleven I’ve been in and out of hospitals, had twenty abdominal surgeries and suffered over a hundred bowel obstructions. Each time I’m sick I fall hard off the bike of life. And each time I have to get back on it.

During recovery it’s so hard to keep pedaling. I’m physically tired and in chronic pain but if I don’t keep moving forward in the different areas of my life I know it’s always harder to get started moving again then to keep moving once I’ve gained some momentum.

Many times it feels like my actions don’t have the ability to change my life for the better and I want to stop pedaling because I think what the hell is the point?

But I feel emotionally terrible when I stop pedaling. I’ve learned the hard way that Taking some action is better than no action at all. Ill repeat to myself “some is better than none”.

I always feel better when I read or write, cook for someone else or take care of a bill I’ve had lying around for a little too long. I know it doesn’t sound like pedaling very hard but for me at the moment it’s the best I can muster and that’s enough to keep me from falling.

“Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better. What if they are a little coarse and you may get your coat soiled or torn? What if you do fail, and get fairly rolled in the dirt once or twice? Up again, you shall never be so afraid of a tumble.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Also watch Wormwood. Do your own research into the Illegal horrible atrocities that the people at the CIA have committed and how they basically got away with it. The State is inherently corrupt and to this day commits atrocities against people in American and abroad.

But don’t allow the corrupt nature of the State to prevent you from moving forward in your own life and pedaling as hard and as fast as you can. And if you fall for whatever reason you can always get back up.

Brad Miller

Fellow Human

Palm up or palm down?


How do you approach others? Is it with your palm up to offer something of value to them or with your palm down just to take? 

I can’t remember where I heard this first but it has really stuck with me. Everyone wants something and other people are the way to get that something. The question then is how  is the best way to get what they can offer. 

The way that I’ve found that’s works best is to approach others and the world with the palm up mentality, which is based on the idea of giving first before getting. Peaceful exchange that benefits both parties is the key to prosperity. And one person has to take the lead in this transaction. 

Benefits of giving first:

  • Reinforces the abundance mentality 
  • It is empowering 
  • Creates opportunities that otherwise wouldn’t exist 
  • Improves your ability to offer value to others 
  • Builds relationships
  • Creates a better world to live in 
  • Helps others get what they want 

Having a palm down mentality locks you in the position of always asking or conniving  for something because you are not providing value first. It creates anxiety, resentment and a feeling of entitlement. No one in this world owes you anything. 

Having a palm up mentality is a way to view everyone you meet as a person you can give to. This doesn’t mean making it rain with dollar bills on every stranger you run in to. It just means always be the one to extend the hand of friendship first,  to offer the smile first, and initiate contact with others. 

I’ve learned the hard way that waiting for the world to give you what you want doesn’t work. You have to actively engage with the world and make that first step. 

Value is the key to giving.  Discovering how you can deliver value to others makes life worth living. That is the essence of practicing the palm up mentality. 

Find a way in every conversation and every personal and business relationship you have to put into practice the palm up giving mentality. We can wait for others to give (you’ll be waiting a long time) or you can take the initiative and offer the other person value first. 

Commenting on blogs, liking posts, sharing articles and information to others is an easy way to put into practice this palm up mentality. How many blogs have you gained valueable knowledge from for free? That is a prime example  of giving before you receive. 

When you give to others often the return on that investment of time and attention is not immediate or apparent. This philosophy is not about the one to one return on giving, where you expect to automatically get what you want. 

In time the returns come in. The most immediate of these returns is that you feel better about yourself, you’re more calm, more focused on creating value and you improve your knowledge about how to navigate the world.  

The best way to begin integrating this idea into your life I’ve found is to practice it first with yourself. Self-improvement, eating better and sleeping more is a way to give yourself your time and attention and in turn your body will give you a strong capable vehicle to deliver value to the world in. 

The greatest gift you can offer the world is the best version of yourself.

Brad 

Instead of being “jelly” of the success of others use it as motivation 


“Never underestimate the power of envy and jealousy to destroy” Oliver Stone 

We all have heard throughout our lives not to be jealous or envious of the success of others. But rarely are we told how to change or eliminate these destructive feelings.

These are 7 steps I’ve found helpful to turn the power of the destructive green eyed monster into positive motivation. 

Here is what  I do when others in my life are achieving success. 

1. Be genuinely happy for their success. 

  •  Recognize that their success doesn’t preclude you from being successful
  • There isn’t a fixed amount of success in the world 
  • Another person’s success doesn’t limit your life 
  • Remember you want the people in your life to be happy and successful 

2. Compliment them on their successes.

  • Always be genuine – first rule of complimenting is to mean it
  • Tell them that you are proud of them for having a particular success 
  • Tell them why you think it’s amazing they accomplished something 
  • The more success you have in life the more you realize what it takes to achieve it

3. Inquire about it. 

  • Ask the person about their struggle, why they did it or how they accomplished it. 
  • Ask them about their mindset 
  • Ask them about their biggest challenge and their struggles they had to overcome
  • Every success story begins with struggle and continues in struggle 

4. Add what you admire about their success to help build your future story of self. 

  • By using this process you’ve now gained information that can help you achieve more success in your life
  • Use them as an example of someone who has figured out how to go from not having what they wanted to getting what they desired 
  • Incorporate elements of the mindset they’ve developed to achieved the success you admire into your own thought processes 

5. Look at the successes of your own life. 

  • Remember that you’ve already had plenty of successes in your own life
  • Have a list of these to call upon when the feelings of jealousy crop up 
  • Daily tracking of your small successes is also helpful in keeping at bay the feelings of jealousy 

6. Focus on what you truly want.  

  • You are not meant to be a copy of someone else 
  • Define your personal definition of success  
  • Write down what you want your future to be like 
  • Many times we feel jealousy toward the achievement of others because we’ve not figured out what we truly want

7. Take steps each day toward your goals

  • Jealousy can be an indicator that you’re not doing what you know you need to in order to get what you want 
  • Jealousy is a time waster and takes away from time you can spend on your own success 
  • Use the success of others as motivation for you to take action
  • Jealousy saps your energy and creates feelings of anxiety and resentment 

Be happy for the success of others around you. 

Be grateful you have successful people in your life. 

Let them know how much you admire their success. 

Learn from it. 

Clarify what you want to achieve. 

Take action based on information gleaned from your conversations with those who are successful to help you have more of what you want in life. 

The success of others can generate feelings of jealousy and envy or they can be an unending source of gratitude, admiration and motivation. The choice is yours.  

Brad 

Fellow Human