Your Secret Bucket List

 

IMG_0655I bet you have two bucket lists.

I used to.

They’re usually labeled, “It Could Happen,” and “Only if I Can Find Where My Dog was Burried in the Backyard On the First Try.” Otherwise known as, “Not On Your Life.”

In the “It Could Happen” bucket, you have things like,

Ride in a hot air balloon

Get a promotion

Live long enough to see Episode IV

Make out with someone by graduation

Read ten books this year

These are things well within our grasp. Well, my high school self had a hard time finding people to make out with, but chances are, if you’re not me, you can make it happen.

These are things most people around you have accomplished and, as long as you don’t mistake an active volcano for a swimming pool, you’ll live long enough to carry out as well.

Now let’s peel the lid off that second bucket, shall we? It’s much darker inside than the first bucket-bucket-bucket. It’s also emptier-emptier-emptier. (See what I’m doing there? With my awesome demonstrative skills, I’m illustrating with lyrically-placed echoes that this bucket is also much larger.)

You shine your phone around (because no one uses flashlights anymore, and if you do, you should add getting an iPhone to your first bucket list), and here’s what we find:

Publish your songs on iTunes

Write a bestseller

Start a blog and get 20,000 followers

Win a gold medal

Start a business

The difference between this list and the first is pretty obvious. It’s likely you don’t know anyone who’s accomplished anything in your “Not On Your Life” bucket. Which means you’re on your own.

Do you think that stopped Cam Newton from putting his dreams in one smaller, more manageable, public bucket?

Do you honestly think J.K. Rowling kept her biggest hopes isolated from her more ‘achievable’ goals?

Did Adele attempt to hide her much bigger bucket list from everyone she knew?

I doubt it, too.

Stop separating your bigger dreams  from your smaller dreams (which are basically items on a to-to list). Because then you’re only focusing on what you think you can accomplish and those bigger dreams only get visited once in a purple moon. I’ve never seen a purple moon, so…

Don’t be ashamed of your dreams, either. There’s nothing wrong with having high hopes. Tell everyone you know. Who knows – they might be tremendous sources of encouragement. Or, they might ask you really difficult questions like my wife did when I told her I wanted to start my own publishing company.

In a way, that’s better than a blanket encourager. Her questions forced me to evaluate whether I can really do this or not.

So combine your to-do-list dreams with your larger dreams. Earning your airplane license should be in the same bucket as dying your hair blue.

No more secret goals. Make them real, make them public, make them happen.

Have you entered the Endever Writing Contest yet? Add that to your bucket list and win $150! Deadline is February 25th.

Happy Birthday Pixar!!

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February 3rd is better than Christmas.

It’s the day Pixar was born and thus, the world, and millions of lives were better for it. Today, Pixar Animation Studios is thirty years old.

Without further adieu, I present you thirty reasons I absolutely love Pixar:

1. The shorts. It’s their “Thank you” for coming to watch their movies. They make no profit off of these gems. (You’re welcome, Pixar!)

2. Their influence on (and, ultimately salvation of) Disney.

3. Their courage to be honest with everyone – even kids (Monsters, University anyone?). 

4. Toy Story. Toy Story 2. Toy Story 3. And probably Toy Story 4. 

5. Bob Parr and I would be best friends. We get each other. 

6. The Art Of books that accompany each feature film. 

7. The way Woody runs.

8. The hundreds of rewrites the entire Pixar staff endures in order to bring us the best movies possible. 

9. The crazy-intense originality of Ratatouille. 

10. Everything about Joy. 

11. The final playtime scene from Toy Story 3

12. The two Pixar books: The Pixar Touch by David A. Price and Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull.

13. The eye candy in Finding Nemo.

14. Pete Docter. 

15. Cowboys + Dinosaurs = very brave move. (Well done!) 

16. They’re not cartoons. Heck, oftentimes they’re the most mature movies out in theaters. 

17. Pixar movies tend to get better and better with each viewing. 

18. All the theories that haven’t been disproved. 

19. Julie Fowlis’ songs in Brave. 

20. Name more than five predictable moments in the entire Pixar canon; I dare you. 

21. The shock of who the bad guys turn out to be.

22. Every score by Michael Giacchino.

23. Presto!

24. I love crying. 

25. Bing Bong’s dolphin imitation. 

26. The commentary on every Pixar DVD. 

27. The fact that Pixar is my one reason to dress up and spend the money for a full-priced ticket for a night out (unless it’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens). 

28. The feeling of extreme anticipation for The Incredibles 2, to the point that I literally want to throw up and run naked around my high school track covered in petroleum jelly if it means getting to June 21, 2019 much quicker.  

29. The fact that my name is Andy Toy; I like to think I am the original owner of Woody and Buzz. 

30. That when you write posts like this, Pixar writes you back and thanks you. 

(This picture was taken several minutes after I received a letter from Pixar. See number 24 to know what I did for twenty minutes after receiving it and before this picture was taken.) 

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Have you submitted your short story for our writing contest yet? You can win $150. Give it a shot. Click here for the rules and guidelines and the link to submit. (Deadline is February 25) Any questions, email me at endeverpublishing@gmail.com or ask in the comments below.

Follow my publishing company’s new blog and find out in subsequent posts how Pixar has inspired me to start a business! Click here! 

 

I’m Remy (This Post May Cause You to Hate Me)

Remy

 

(Disclaimer: This post may tick you off and cause you to unfollow me. I ask that you don’t.) 

He knows what he wants and he goes for it.

Even though there are no real emotional scenes in Ratatouille, the film makes me tear up quite a bit when I watch it. Because it’s a movie about me.

I wish – like really, really wish – I could be like all the other people around me. I wish I can just be content eating trash and living the status quo. I wish I can just be happy with my day job, my lot in life, and everything else that’s been handed to me.

But I’m not.

I’m Remy.

I may not have aspirations of being the greatest chef in Paris, but I have goals of being the best damn writer in America. Cut me open and I bleed stories – the NEED to tell great, solid, impactful stories that can make the world a better place or change the way people think.

I can’t not write.

Problem is, I’m like Remy in another way.

(This is where the above disclaimer applies)

I’m done pretending to be perfect and awesome. Right now, I’m choosing my writing over my family. I’m not forsaking them. I’m making my highest priority my success.

Because if I’m successful, then they will benefit directly from that.

If I’m not successful, and I lose, then yes, I’ve lost a lot.

But it’s a risk I’m willing to take. I may not be here in five years, and I don’t want my family to know need. I want those royalty checks coming in for them long after I’m gone.

I try to explain it to my wife this way: “Let’s just go through a couple months of crap and grime and sludge to firmly establish myself as a successful writer rather than drag it out for year after endless year after endless year.”

I’m not saying I’m right. I’m probably wrong in this thinking. I’m not asking for advice or reprimands or counsel. I’m sharing this for those of you who also feel like the odd rat in the colony but are too afraid to do what it takes to do what you want.

I’m doing it. Are you?

My upcoming books: 

  1. Profit Over Patients – The true story of a patient advocate doctor who sued Big Insurance and won against all odds.
  2. These Great Affects – An emotionally-driven young adult novel about a girl who falls in love with a boy – after he dies.

Follow my Facebook Page for updates!

My New Year’s “REFUSELUTION”

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We’re all familiar with making New Year’s resolutions, and we’re even more familiar with breaking them by February 3rd. Let’s face it, most of the time New Year’s resolutions don’t work.

But what if you went into the new year with a different mindset?

Instead of making a New Year’s resolution, do what I’m doing and make a refuselution! 

What the heck is that? Glad you asked.

A resolution is the act of resolving to make a change to one’s life, usually targeting a specific goal and/or accomplishment.

Another way to put it is, it’s like pressing the button on a launch missile and hoping the target gets bombed.

My problem with resolutions is that it leaves a lot of room for failure, because targets are easy to miss. You have a much higher chance of not getting the soccer ball in the goal because there’s so much open space around it.

But what if you said, “I refuse to let the ball land on the left side of the goal. Anything else is victory.” Much higher change of success. You’ve just raise the odds of winning from a mere 10% to a whopping 60%.

This year I’m not making the same resolution I’ve been making every year for the last decade and a half. I’ve always said, “I want to be a bestselling author.” Sure, I still want that, but I have to examine why I want that.

Well, I want to be self-employed. I want to make money for me doing what I love to do – not slave away at a mindless job making someone else money they didn’t earn (corporate America).

So while I am still going to strive with all of my heart to land on the New York Times bestseller list by December 31, 2016, I am open to any other way I can safely quit my day job and have more time to spend at home with my growing kids, make my own schedule, work my own hours, take a day off whenever I want, travel, and be happy doing what I’m doing.

My refuselution is simple: I refuse to be at my day job (or be obligated to any day job) by December 31, 2016.

See how that leaves a much wider area for success? Instead of bombing a certain target, I’m just having to avoid a certain spot. Instead of having to find the needle in the haystack, I just have to avoid the needle.

Instead of resolving to be a certain weight, refuse to reach a certain poundage. (“I refuse to hit 250 pounds all year.”)

Instead of resolving to watch less TV, refuse to allow yourself to be dependent on TV. (“I refuse to say no to activities and life in general because I’d rather watch my stupid shows.”)

Instead of resolving to be a better parent, refuse to yell at your kids so much. (“I refuse to be known as the guy who screams at my children.”)

Or instead of resolving to be happier, refuse to find your happiness and worth in others and chart your own course.

Making a refuselution leaves a lot of room for error and mistakes. But it also is sort of a map of a minefield and tells us where to avoid stepping. Everything else is fair game!

Share with me your refuselutions. What are you going to avoid next year? And refuse to not share this with your friends!

My upcoming books: 

  1. Profit Over Patients – The true story of a patient advocate doctor who sued Big Insurance and won against all odds.
  2. These Great Affects – An emotionally-driven young adult novel about a girl who falls in love with a boy – after he dies.

Follow my Facebook Page for updates!

Be Unique, Not a Jerk/Customer Etiquette: 10 Tips on How to Be a Good Customer

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I wrote this years back when I worked in retail. Remember, retail workers are people, too!

As you gear up for your holiday shopping spree, keep in mind that as soon as you step foot inside a store you cease to be an average law-abiding citizen and you instantly become a dreaded customer who is the cause of raised blood pressures amongst retail workers everywhere.

But you don’t have to be a loathsome customer. You can make the decision right now to be a customer who takes retail workers by surprise and actually walks in and out of the store with little or no lasting consequence to anyone. Below are ten tips to help you be that most coveted, invisible customer. Remember, it’s not because retail workers don’t like you as a person, they just don’t want to deal with you as a customer!

Customer Etiquette: 10 Tips on How to Be a Good Customer

 

1. If someone is wearing a nametag, don’t ask if they work there.

Do you ask Will Ferrell if he’s an actor? Do you ask a monkey if he’s an exhibit at the zoo?

2. Look for your product, not for a worker.

Sure, you might be in a hurry, but you’d be surprised how easy things are to find in many stores.  In fact, positions are held at corporate levels specifically designed to determine in-store placement of every product to help make your shopping experience as quick and easy as possible.

3. If you have to ask, at least know what you’re asking for.

Retail workers don’t want to shop with you and you shouldn’t expect them to. Don’t ask their opinion on what toy Johnny would like best. They’ve never seen Johnny, and they don’t care what you get him as long as you buy something. If you’re looking for a book, know the title and – equally important – the author. If you simply give the description of the cover, then know that when you’re laughing with somebody at your Christmas party, someone’s laughing at you at theirs.

Helpful hint: If you can’t read your child’s wish list, don’t expect anyone else to be able to. Confirm items in question with your child or just get them a spelling workbook for their stocking.

4. Don’t interrupt someone’s work to ask a question.

If a worker’s arms are full while balancing on the top step of a ladder, be considerate; don’t bother them with your question. Instead, if you find yourself approaching that dutiful worker, stop and ask yourself three things: 1) Will I look like a jerk for interrupting this person’s work? 2) Is there anyone else I can ask? 3) Have I exercised tip 3 on this list?

5. Be patient. Retail workers understand you have to shop. Please understand that they have to help everybody else.

Yes, yes, I know you’re a customer, but still, the world does not revolve around you, and despite that old slogan, you’re not always right. No one wants to see your impression of Scrooge. If you’re going to be pushy, impatient, or irreverent, then stay home and don’t come out until you can at show some Christmas cheer.

Helpful hint: If you’re showing signs of aggression or odious behavior, a cunning retail worker will recognize this and deliberately take their time with the customer ahead of you. Yes, just to tick you off even more.

6. Just because someone is wearing a nametag does not give you permission to call them by their name.

Retail workers do not choose to have their name displayed on their shirt; it’s company policy. Do not, I repeat, do not repeatedly use their name in a conversation or to get their attention lest they think you’re going to stalk them on Facebook. Despite what you’ve heard from so-called experts, it’s really the creepiest thing in the world and you will be resented for it. Only if the worker offers you their name are you permitted to address them by such.

7. Open your eyes. Read the signs. Follow the directions.

If you’re standing in the checkout line waiting to ask the cashier a customer service question, you are sorely misusing your time. But do the world of retail (and the customers behind you) a favor while you’re standing there. Look at all the large-print signs they put up just for you and consider for the next few minutes whether you should really yield to their directions. When the cashier doesn’t leave her register unattended to lead you to where you want to go, don’t throw a fit. Instead, reflect on the valuable lesson you learned about time management.

8. Cell phone usage… where do I start?

Other than advising customers to use their inside voice (no one wants to hear about your digestive disorders or how your boyfriend hates your cats), I’m just going to address one overlooked issue out of the plethora of misuses with this devise. You might be able to afford that fancy phone you’re showing off, but that retail worker you’re refusing to hang the phone up for is likely struggling through college or has been affected by the economy (hence, they’re working in retail). You don’t need to show your fancy gadgets off to them. Hang up the phone and speak to them as an equal human being.

Helpful Hint: Bluetooths make you look like you’re talking to yourself. Sensible people will mock you.

9. Put things back where you found them!

Retail workers are not maids. They have enough to do without cleaning up your messes (really, they do). Throw your trash away. If you can’t remember where you found an item, return to the general area, stare at the shelf and match the picture of the item in your hand with the item on the shelf. Don’t place it next to, or on top of it. Instead, place the product directly in front of the matching item. If you don’t know how to match pictures and put things back where you found them, then find a time machine, go back in time and repeat kindergarten.

10. If someone wishes you a Merry Christmas, don’t take them to court.

No one celebrates every holiday observed in December, so “happy holidays” is not an applicable greeting for anyone (plus, it just sounds like some sappy Hallmark special). If someone wishes you a happy Hanukkah and you don’t observe Hanukkah, don’t take offense – just feel free to wish them merriment and joy in the name of the particular festivity you represent.

Merry Christmas!

32-Years of Musings For My Kids

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I’m turning 32 today. When you have kids, you tend to reflect on your life with your kids in mind. So here are 32 musings I would like to pass on to them when the time’s right. 

  1. Be picky with what you watch. If nothing’s on, do something else.
  2. Wait tables. But get out fast. The experience will make you humble.
  3. Make friends with the quietest person in the room. They’re the ones who who typically have the most to say.
  4. Read at least one book a month.
  5. Always finish your homework as fast as you can. Then graduate early.
  6. Don’t ask for advice. You’ll get it anyway. Listen to it, but make your own decisions.
  7. Your best friend is not just a friend. He is a brother/she is a sister.
  8. Pursue what you want to do with every fiber of your being. People will tell you it’s impossible. That’s because they’re the ones who gave up.
  9. When you fall in love, fall hard. If it doesn’t work out, your parents will be here to catch you.
  10. But if it does work out, we’ll be here to support you.
  11. However, we won’t always be here. That’s why I’m telling you this now.
  12. Life sucks and the world is brutal. I have nothing to add here except that we’re all in this together.
  13. Sing as much as you can. In public if you’re good.
  14. Find your most favorite food in the world and make up every excuse to eat it.
  15. Don’t do drugs or get drunk. The aftermath isn’t worth it.
  16. Above all, stay away from porn. It’s the biggest thief on the planet.
  17. A thoughtful text goes a lot further than a Hallmark card. And it’s free.
  18. Discover your passion then work hard. Not the other way around.
  19. If you can’t find your passion, search hard by exploring the world.
  20. If you can’t explore the world, listen to the cries of people around you. You’ll probably find your passion there.
  21. If you’e the CEO of a company, or a boss, or a supervisor, take care of your employees first. Make them happy. This will make your job easier and the company better.
  22. If you work under any of those people, challenge them. But be nice about it. They have room to grow and you have ideas to share. If they don’t listen, it’s their loss. Find something better.
  23. Speak up. I have never seen a reason not to. But I’ve regretted every time I didn’t.
  24. You will never get a big break. Don’t ever expect it. That way, if it does come, you’ll be that much more surprised.
  25. Stay in shape so you have energy for your friends and family.
  26. Write/tweet/message every famous person you admire.
  27. Visit the great Northwest. Then Colorado. Then I dare you to chose what’s better. I still can’t decide.
  28. Always leave at least ten minutes early.
  29. Stay out of debt.
  30. Always ask yourself how you can make your life better. Then do it.
  31. To the world you will always be just a number. But to your dad you will always be Number 1.
  32. Try to avoid being cheesy. If you figure out how to do that, then teach me how.

How I’m Saving My Family

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When I tell people I’m on a diet, they’re usually like, “Huh? Really? You?”

I may not look like Buddha, and my Wii Fit may tell me I’m not obese, but there’s more to it than that.

For a long time, I’ve been an absolute butt head to my family. I’m working on a couple different books at once, I’m trying to survive in a competitive environment at work with looming changes ahead, trying to keep my two toddlers happy and marginally quiet… so I’ve been overly stressed. And stress breeds anger, and anger breeds an uptight and irritable father and husband.

Stressed Man With Baby Working From Home Using Laptop

I questioned why I had no energy to play with my kids. It couldn’t be work, because I sit at a desk all day. My writing career is about to take a turn for the better, but I looked at my lunch options, and realized I am a compulsive overeater.

On my lunch breaks I would go to get not one burger but two. Spicy chicken wings were a favorite. Shakes were a daily drink. I gained 20 pounds over the summer.

And my family was suffering because I was too stressed and tired to do anything. It was the careless calorie indulging and the major lack of exercise.

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Went on vacation recently and discovered, low and behold, my family is really a great group of people. My kids are well-meaning, and my wife is hilarious and a total hero for putting up with me and my moodiness.

Since I started my diet, I’m losing a tad over a pound a day. I’m determined.

I’ve cut my lunches down to half a sandwich and water. I’m running on my days off. And guess what! Everything I’ve heard is true, gosh darnit! I have more energy to play with the kids, to stay up later and talk to my wife, and I’m even gaining a splash more momentum on my book projects.

So that’s why I’m dieting. It’s to save my family. There are enough angry and stressed fathers out there, and I refuse to be one of them.

Follow my videos and dieting tips at #AndrewsAwesomeAutumn

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