Knocking Down Problems One Step at a Time

My Month Away:

It’s been almost a month since my last post already. There are many factors that came in to slow my work down during this time. Unnecessary stress overload at the docks, coming down with a bad cold, stress over certain job opportunities and so on. Notice the pattern there though? It all comes down to stress. The root of most everyone’s issues can come down to stress.

I have never been one to truly stress over anything. I have helped many with their own stress, lightening loads where I can, helping them find outlets and so on, but I myself have never experienced it. That being said, it puts a whole different perspective on what I would often tell others who were boggled down with that little bugger. I never truly understood why it was so difficult for them to press on through certain goals and plans. It’s very much a mental game, and after experiencing it for the first time like I recently had, I can see why others may struggle more.

First Step:

The first step is recognizing, of course, that it is indeed stress. Common symptoms can be mood change (I was a lot more angry and easily agitated), lack of energy (I didn’t want to do a lot really, hadn’t been to the gym much and just sort of lounged around everywhere), headaches, appetite change (I didn’t eat near as much), etc.

Symptoms can vary for everyone, but can generally be targeted to those listed. All of that adds up, weakening your immune system as well and making you more likely to get sick, such as the cold I have.

Correcting Your Course:

This is the area I would generally help people and try to guide them and tell them what could help alleviate stress. This is also the most difficult part, the part I never fully understood since I had never experienced its’ true difficulties. It took me some time to muster up the motivation to do anything, but over time it has improved.

General Recommendations:

  1. Work Out. This is always number one to me as it helps with so many things, to include stress alleviation.
  2. Check your diet. Truthfully, this should probably be number one. This happened to be one of the last things I actually looked at during this time. My issue was caffeine. For whatever reason over the past month and a half or so I became a caffeine fiend. I was drinking 4+ cups of coffee a day, with at least 2 of those being Death Wish Coffee, plus a fat burner which was pretty high in caffeine as well, plus a lot of tea. All the caffeine added up and my body finally crashed. I now hardly even touch coffee currently just to make sure everything comes back down to normal levels.
  3. Get Out! At one point, my mindset was “I just need a good day of rest being lazy at home..” That turned in to two days…two in to three and so on. Being locked up in your house for so long messes with you. This is why I encourage my wife to get out and even look for a part time job. We all need something to make us feel like we are doing something useful. If you can’t create that, sometimes it’s easier to pick up a part time job or go volunteer somewhere. The important thing is to get out and around nature and society.
  4. Meditate. When I was in high school, I was huge on meditation. I used to wake up extra early before school just to spend 30 minutes to an hour meditating. I believe that helped me a ton back then, as I never was easily agitated and never really worried about a thing. It’s hard to get in to for some people, and for me currently, it’s difficult to start up again. I have found that meditating in the steam room after my workout at the gym works pretty well. So, meditate, even if for only 5 minutes a day. It’s better than nothing!
  5. Pick up a hobby. Hobbies are awesome. They let you explore your creative side and have fun. Instead of splurging on a video game or movie and junk food, put that fun money towards a hobby. I wanted to get in to blacksmithing, so I built a forge. I now know that, due to the difficulties of coal, I want to build a gas forge, so I will eventually save for that. Hobbies can be virtually anything, from working on cars to gardening. Hell I want to have a nice garden one day, so I will pick it up eventually!
  6. Laugh. There is so much negativity, so many bad things going on in the world and the media and internet helps it spread like a wildfire, so much so that we forget to laugh once in a while. I have been on a laughing binge this past week or so. Everyone else in the house is watching their ghost stories and scary movies, and that’s fine. I typically would as well as October is my favorite month and Halloween my favorite holiday, but I need the entertainment. I will listen to a good comedian, watch a funny movie, read funny stories, or go out and mess around with friends. Whatever it is you gotta do, laugh. It is one of the best medicines out there!

The list can go on. I can be more specific and more detailed and take people on a more personal level to help them with more specific guide lines. All too often though, that just makes things difficult. It gives you too many options, overloads your brain and you just want to sit and do nothing. Limit your choices and act on it for results.

Everyone hits hard points. What are your struggles right now? What’s been bothering you? What can you do to improve the situation? Where there’s a will, there is a way. Let’s get back on it!

Building a Forge

“Disclaimer: I am no expert, nor do I claim to be an expert on this subject matter. It is something I have always wanted to do. Being the nature of this post, I do NOT recommend building a forge if you are not ready to deal with temperatures exceeding 1000 degrees F. If you follow this guide, do so at your OWN RISK and please take all precautions to prevent injury. I am NOT responsible for any injury or damage done by following this. This is NOT my own forge, but one found by youtuber SwallowForge. I don’t take any credit for his work, and definitely recommend consulting his video guides for further instruction!”

Building a forge is something I have wanted to do for quite a while now. When I was just a young boy, reading fantasy novels and studying history in school, the blacksmith always caught my attention. Never being a man of much money, working hard and crafting fine weapons and armor for many different customers, the honest hard work was always intriguing. As I grew older I started to study the art in a little more detail, but never took it farther than that.

Kick back to about two years ago, my brother-in-law had brought the subject up. He had gotten in to the show Forged in Fire. Of course a show like that caught his interest in it, and being the builder kind of guy he is, he started talking about blacksmithing a LOT! But…it stayed at just that. Talking about it and no action.

Fast forward to a week ago. I was just hanging around, relaxing and being a bum, when all of a sudden some little spark in my brain went off. Right there in my head I just felt a giant urge to take a leap and build my first forge. I started doing a lot of research and came across this video. It’s a very cheap and simple forge, not meant to last long, but decent enough to get you started in the process and help you learn how a coal forge works. Needless to say, modifications can be done to it to improve and make it last longer, but that’s for another post.

For now, to keep things simple and finally start on a life long dream, I stuck to just the basics in the video. All in all, if you shop right and already have the majority of the tools, or someone you can borrow them from, you can build this forge for roughly 30$-40$ at max. It is SUPER cheap, not very safe, but highly effective. It took me a few days to complete for a couple reasons, though reality is it should take no more than an hour or two of hard, focused work.

0915161223A List of Supplies:

  • About 10ft of wood, cut to 4 sets of 1 foot and 2 sets of 3 feet.
  • 1 8 inch x 1 inch diameter non-galvanized steel pipe
  • 1 6 inch x 1 inch diameter non-galvanized steel pipe
  • 1 shut off valve at 1 inch diamater
  • 1 Electric Air Mattress Pump (Battery or Wired, I went with Wired.)
  • 2 10mm steel rods (I used rebar, don’t recommend it!)
  • 1 steel baking pan 14inx10inx2in (this will fit the frame best)
  • Lumpwood charcoal (highly important that you use charcoal and NOT coal.)
  • Wood chips/shavings
  • A bowl of any sort and a cotton rag
  • Screws/Nails/Hammers/Drill Bits for holes.
  • Coffee. Lots and lots of Death Wish Coffee!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • 0915161224c

That’s a bit better detailed of a list than the video gives you! It seems like a lot, but as soon as you start piecing it all together it really isn’t too bad. In fact, the most expensive part in the list was, to my surprise, the charcoal. So, let’s go over the process!

Getting Started:

First things first, PLEASE make sure to do this step. MEASURE EVERYTHING!! I started this project while my brain was over stimulated by a fat burner pill and coffee and decided to forgo the measuring. Not recommended at all! Fit one of your pipes against the short side of the steel pan, mark it. This will be where you cut a hole in the pan to fit the pipe through. Make sure to have a GOOD DRILL or this part will be long and painful. Get the best and largest drill bit you have and cut in to it. My drill died on me mid-way, so I improvised and used vise grips to pry it open. It didn’t come out pretty, but it functions and that’s all that matters!

Your finished product will look like this:

img_20160915_142258

Ignore the sweat drops, it was very humid, and I was on a strong fat burner! Also worth noting, please wear gloves, unless you literally want a lot of blood and sweat to go in to this project, we can just put a lot of sweat in to it by wearing gloves. I learned this the hard way when my drill died and I had to cut holes in the wood frame by hand.

Next, sorry, I didn’t get a chance to take pictures here (but if you follow the video shared, you will see exactly what I mean) you want to start making your measurements in the wood. Take the pipe out of the pan and line it up with one of the long pieces of wood. Mark the edges where the bars will hold the pan up. Make sure to keep it no more than 1 inch deep. I learned this the hard way, putting it too deep in the frame creates a large risk for the frame itself catching fire.

After you’ve made your measurements of where the holes for the steel rods will be, get a 10mm drill bit and drill the holes. Do this on BOTH pieces of the 3 feet wood! Then you can fit one of the 1 foot pieces to the end of it and use screws to put it in place. The end product will look something like this:

0916161030

Notice the other two pieces of 1 foot already in there. The back one is very important, as it will serve as the stand for your air supply. The middle is important IF your measurements are correct and your bars aren’t too low. It will be holding a cooling system soon enough. If you mess up measurements the way I did, you will see my workaround for that!

Alright, that is the most important part of the frame. Next, you’ll want to fit some legs. You can get that from scrap pallet wood. I used 2×4’s for my legs. I went with the same system as the video, 2 legs in the back, braced, and 1 leg in the front. It works out very well.

Do NOT over-complicate this. The idea is to get a cheap, quick forge put together to start using and learning how they work. I almost didn’t have this project finished because I started thinking too much. “Well, maybe if I use this instead of that. I’m just gonna look online real quick to see what they about…” and so on! Don’t! Just get this all together, I promise it will be worth it!

Final Product:

0917161406

0917161433

You want to be sure to wet the rag AND fill the bowl with water. This is to keep the pipe from becoming too hot and melting/burning other equipment. It seems silly, but it works. As you can also see, because of the pan I got (not paying attention and just wanting to put it together) I had to drill extra holes in it and put the bars through the pan rather than outside of it. This is also NOT recommended! The front bar near the air supply got red hot and is now bent downward. I will need to get another rebar, some extra pipe to extend the air flow more to the center and readjust so the heat is not as near to the bars. As you can also see in the last picture, the wood frame burned. It had actually caught fire once the temperature got really high! This is due to the bars being placed TOO LOW! So I can not stress enough how important it is to MEASURE EVERYTHING. Learn from my mistakes people! My next steps to make this forge last longer are to:

  • Add a steel plate to the bottom of the pan to reinforce it.
  • Line the inside of the pan with firebrick.
  • Put some firebrick along the sides of the frame to prevent burning more.

And that’s about it. All issues aside, it is a FULLY FUNCTIONAL forge, cheap, quick and easy to make! We had thrown a chunk of metal in to test it out and play with it. Needless to say we didn’t quite get it hot enough to reshape it completely, other than create a slight bend. That will be a project for another post soon enough though!

Well, that’s it. That’s the forge. It’s very simple, very cheap and quite effective as a learning tool. Please be careful if you decide to make one yourself. I’m not responsible for your decision to do so!

Until next time…

Getting Your Shit Together

Sometimes, when starting a project, your mind gets cloudy. Everything becomes disorganized and messy. This mess just builds up and suddenly…you quit.

Pull Yourself Together!

When things start becoming a mess you have two options:

You can leave it a mess and let it pile up to the point of no return, moving on to other opportunity.

Or…

Get your shit together and clean that mess up!

If you go with option one, chances are you will end up in the same spot eventually that made you leave your last project. If you can’t discipline yourself to keep things clean, you will have a hard time achieving your goals. Everyone hits these hard points. It’s all a part of the process, especially if you don’t have a mentor or guide to help you.

The Solution?

Start making a list of everything you have to do on a regular basis. That is the first step. I find that writing this down either on word or on another social forum helps a ton. I prefer the latter as it will give others the opportunity to help you organize that list, as well as them list their own issues to get together.

My Current List:

  • Gym At Least 4 to 5 times a week (MINIMUM)
  • Stick to checking emails only twice a day (to move down to once a day soon)
  • Write a new blog post every Tuesday and Thursday (Still working on that!)
  • Follow course on building subscriber list
  • Learn how to build more value for my readers
  • Read up on other blog authors to learn from them
  • Stay active on social media (much more difficult than I had expected!)
  • Work my day job at the Boat Club
  • Build my network
  • Keep clean diet
  • Spend time with my wife and dogs
  • Fishing with brother-in-law (We do this quite irregularly)

And to eventually add on…

  • Pick up my ol’ dusty guitar
  • Practice singing again
  • Get back on track to learning a new language
  • Learn to sail (Club is getting a sail boat here soon!)

As you can see, the list is pretty decent right now and is only growing ever more. As you can ALSO see, it is very messy! So, as I said, I write about it. I wrote about it in a social/fitness forum I am a member of, and I am writing it here as self help for you, my readers, and myself. I know my list, I know what is important and I know how I need to arrange this list in order to make it work.

We will talk about arranging this list in the next blog post though! For now, get your thoughts together, write down your regular daily/weekly activity just to see where you’re at. This first step will help clear up the clutter so much!

What about you? What advice can you offer to this list of mine? What questions do you have about organizing your days? Maybe you aren’t a list person, and that’s perfectly okay! What do you do to manage your daily life?

 

The Messy Desk That is The Online Viking

As you have noticed by now, I have taken a bit of a hiatus from posting here for a while now! This may seem terrible in theory, but there is a very good reason for my short disappearance, I promise.

I am going to just make a little breakdown list of events and what my next moves are from here. This article will be HIGHLY IMPORTANT to you fellow readers who are interested in getting in to online blogging/marketing. SO PAY ATTENTION!

  1. To start, I have been researching A LOT of new information to be applied to building a successful website. I have found very reliable resources that offer hand-in-hand assistance. Check out GetResponse.com and look for their 3 month e-course! (Disclaimer: No I am not an affiliate of their site and I do NOT get any reward or bonus for recommending people. It is a product I use and highly recommend AT LEAST for the sake of their e-course.)
  2. In the days past, I have taken the time to start cleaning up the site’s over all look, create a sign up form, email offer and Facebook page. Not a whole lot of time and work has gone in to the Facebook page just yet, but that is progress for a later day!
  3. I have written a short eBook to offer to everyone that subscribes to my site for free! This of course will be improved on and changed as seen fit at a later day. (Your opinions and ideas for guides you would like to see are extremely helpful here!)
  4. I have cut time down to spend only 2 to 3 hours a day working on this my site. This is to better organize my time to help others (to include my loyal readers here) and be accountable at my day job. As my following of the e-course at GetResponse.com continues, more and more work will be put in to posts here. You can expect to start seeing AT LEAST 1-2 posts a week!
  5. I will soon be working on a newsletter to send out to all subscribers in a weekly basis that will recap recent posts and offer advice/tips/tricks in a little snippet for your convenience and enjoyment.

These are of my TOP priority currently! I also only check emails twice a day, which will soon be cut down to once a day. As you can see my current work space/online desk is a MESS and I am doing my best to clean it up and organize the clutter to make life easier for all of us. The cleaner it is for me, the more organized it is for you and the quicker you can also jump in on running your online project without the clutter and mistakes I make for you!

I can not stress enough how much of a blessing GetResponse is with their program as it makes it so much easier for people with cluttered minds like mine get organized and running properly. Their course is actually what set my 2 hour daily schedule, typically done in the mornings (little late today, a drunken celebration of my Birthday was partaken in last night) to free up the rest of my time to better server everyone else. I will of course be posting little bits and pieces here and there that I learn from them to share with you. This will save you time, teach you what you can do to have a much nicer experience than I have and help us all grow together!

Well, I know today’s post is short but that’s it for now. Short, simple and to the point as we take this journey to Success and Freedom!

A Day in the Life

Today is an offbeat day. A little side track from the adventure. It’s a beautiful morning, as I’m sitting in my living room listening to the gentle rain and the crackling of the fireplace. It’s not often we get to light a log in there in this humid place. A cup of hot coffee is just icing on the cake.

I’m in the habit of drinking coffee black these days. It’s helped cut a lot of sugar out and I have found it quite enjoyable to taste the actual coffee as it is. It has made me grow to enjoy espressos more, as you must use freshly ground coffee beans for a good espresso. I am a major lover of coffee. I one day want to venture to roasting my own beans, at least once in my life to experience it.

Speaking of things I want to do, the fire reminds me of my desire to apprentice in blacksmithing. To be able to create knives and swords and even armor would be amazing. I love to create and I love to experience as many things as I possibly can. I like to consider myself a Jack of All Trades. I know the saying is typically known as “A Jack of All Trades, a Master of None.” But that has such a negative ring to it. I think it sounds much better as “A Jack of All Trades, a Master of Many.” And I think you’ll agree with me when I explain my thoughts behind it.

You see, in this day and age of technology, we have more than just masters of things. We have specialists and experts. A lot of people specialize in very specific areas. That’s fine and all, it really is. We need people to have specialized knowledge in specific areas. But they are limited to just that. To make it all run, flow and connect, you need an in between that can link it all together. That’s where people like myself come in. I am no expert or specialist in any specific area. I know enough in a lot of fields to be able to talk and understand what others are saying, and communicate that to others.

We all have our opinions, ideas, knowledge and experience to contribute and we all have some thing or other to contribute to society. I would love to be an expert in my field of choice, but reality is I love to experiment with too much. I am a tinkerer of sorts. I find that when you come to terms with what your expertise is in, life sort of falls in to place for you. You know exactly what you want and you have the confidence to ask for it, and you will receive it.

Today is a short writing, and I want to leave off with a list of my current goals and desires:

  • Achieve 10% Body Fat: I am currently sitting at about 24% Body Fat and this year I have focused so much more on fitness.
  • Compete in at least ONE Bodybuilding Competition next year: Moving to where I am now I have been introduced to many bodybuilders. They are great friends and very helpful. I admire their hard work and dedication.
  • Grow this blog to have a subscriber base of at least 100 people by the end of September: I find having specific goals in short periods are super important as they give you a guide to get where you want and encourage you to work hard towards that goal.
  • Venture in to online marketing: Yes, my sole goal is not just writing for my personal blog, but also to market online. eCommerce and selling tangible goods as well is a major goal. I will brand myself before the end of this year.
  • Connect with my subscribers and create a MasterMind Network: It works like this. I want to connect with those that subscribe to me. You are all important to me and you are my friends. A MasterMind Network is simple. It is a group of five or more people, all with specialized knowledge in different fields working together to create amazing things. When you have multiple people putting their thinking power together, AMAZING things happen! No one succeeds on their own. There is no way around it. You need others to help you grow, and I want to help you all grow as much as I want your help for me to grow. We work with and for each other and great things will happen for all of us, I promise!

This is but a small list of my current goals, but the most important to me at this time. These can and do get a lot more specific, but I won’t bother you with all the details. What I hope you take from this is understanding how important it is to speak your goals, hold yourself accountable and seek for help from others that have specialized knowledge in areas you want to succeed in, i.e.: me in bodybuilding connecting with and working with professional bodybuilders.

Now, go out my friends! Set Sail and Conquer!