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Emulate Your Ideals

This week, I want to dive into the concept of emulating our ideals and how the things we surround ourselves with shape who we are. Let’s talk about what has molded me into the person I am today.

First and foremost, gratitude. I mentioned it last week, and it’s a topic I’ll keep coming back to because it’s something I’m working on making a habit. A big shout-out of gratitude to my girlfriend, Carolyn. We’ve been through three years and some change, with a break in between, but we’re back stronger than ever. She’s been a constant force, pushing me to be conscious of my actions and ideals, and I’m extremely grateful for her influence on my life.

Now, let’s talk about the power of words. I’ve emphasized this before, and it’s a core theme in my book, “Words Fucking Matter.” It’s available on Amazon in various formats, and if you reach out to me on my website I can hook you up with a bulk order at a reduced price. The idea is simple – words have the power to shape our thoughts and actions, and I use my book as a business card to share my perspective with the world.

Reflecting on how I got here today, I want to touch on the concept that nothing is truly original. I was inspired by the book “Steal Like An Artist,” which advocates embracing influence, remixing ideas, and discovering your own path. I’ve applied this approach to my own life, drawing inspiration from successful individuals and learning from their journeys.

Looking back, I realize that my early life experiences – growing up in a two-parent household, spending summers on a farm, attending Catholic grade school, and later transitioning to public high school – all played a role in shaping who I am. After high school, I entered the workforce, surrounded myself with diverse influences at places like UPS, Best Buy, and Marco’s Pizza.

It wasn’t until I joined the army and underwent master resiliency training in 2014 that I truly grasped the extent of control, or rather, regulation, I had over myself. I learned that I am a product of what I allow into my life. My brother Tyler has a song that highlights the idea that we have control over the 10,000 doors we open out and the one door we open and allow influences in.

Speaking of influences, let’s talk about the power of choice in what we allow into our lives. I’ve adopted a “start, stop, continue” methodology for change. I stay away from certain social media platforms and news channels because I recognize how they can influence me in ways I don’t want. It’s crucial to be intentional about what we expose ourselves to.

One of my favorite quotes by Aristotle – whether he said it or not – is, “We are what we repeatedly do. Therefore, excellence is not an act but a habit.” I’ve found this to be true in my own life, from physical habits like fasting and going to the gym to mental habits like taking time to think and reflect during my morning commute.

I want to emphasize the importance of choosing our influences wisely. Elon Musk is someone I admire for his unapologetic stance on freedom of speech. In a recent incident, he boldly stated that he doesn’t need or want advertisers’ money if it compromises his freedom of speech. It’s a powerful reminder to prioritize our values over external pressures.

I’ve experienced the impact of external opinions firsthand during a challenging period in my military career. Facing unfounded accusations, I let others define my worth until I stumbled upon a life-changing video by Les Brown. He reminded me that people’s opinions of me are none of my business. This revelation empowered me to focus on my own journey and not be swayed by external judgments.

In conclusion, I challenge you to assess the influences in your life. Identify the “never” people – those who will never understand or support you – and stop listening to their negativity. Continue leaning into the supportive voices that always uplift you. And start seeking out influences that sometimes resonate with you, gradually building a network of positive inputs.

Remember, you have the power to shape your ideals, emulate the influences that inspire you, and ultimately, show up authentically in the world. Until next week, stay true to yourselves.

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Andy Weins

Andy Weins is a fourth-generation entrepreneur, Veteran of the U.S. Army, and speaker. Through consulting, teaching, podcasting, and writing, he is an enthusiastic supporter of Veterans, entrepreneurs, community engagement, individual empowerment, and the environment.

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