Astronaut Stuff

This is chapter 1 in my book, FEAR Itself.  To see and read the other chapters click on My Book at the top right of the menu.

Astronaut Stuff

For a large portion of my life I believed there were people that were born more gifted or talented, and that those were the people that became professional athletes, superstar singers, actors, top salespeople, top students, etc.  My parents, likely out of fear that I would neglect my studying, told me that I would never be a professional athlete.  I don’t know that they ever said those exact words, but the feeling I had was that it was like winning the lottery since there were sooo many people effectively trying out.  Growing up playing sports, I was never the best player on any team that I can recall, and so to think of being the best in the city or the best in the state at something was unfathomable.  Their mindset (and mine) was that the cards were already dealt so to speak.  I remember hearing the words “There is always someone better.  No matter how good you are at anything, there is always someone better.”  They did, however, indulge my dream of becoming an astronaut though, and after years of soaking up anything space, I was sent to space camp.  Lucky dog!

This was the fulfillment and in quick succession the death of a lifelong dream.  I had always wanted to go to space camp, but when I arrived I was quickly awakened to the fact that in this place, I was a dumb kid.  It was as if every kid there had won some science fair championship, and we were now at the national finals.  I, however, had only a styrofoam ball diorama of the solar system as credit to my name, and my dad had helped me with it.

Looking back, I wasn’t dumb; I simply lacked the knowledge that these other kids (who must have spent a lot of time reading) knew.  They were talking about things I still have yet to see appear on discovery channel due to the fact that the concepts were far too advanced for your average Joe watching the telly late night.  Suffice it to say: the experience was enough to convince me I was not “astronaut stuff.”

But, I did walk away knowing I had one thing those kids didn’t have.

I remember sitting in that classroom and the speaker asked for volunteers.  We all raised our hands, and he said, “No I need some volunteers.”  Some of us wanted to be picked really bad so we waved our hands and said pick me, pick me.  He nodded his head in recognition, closed his eyes, clasped his hands, leaned forward, and said again, “Ok, but you guys, I need some volunteers.”  Everyone raised their voices even more and began waving frantically.

I looked around.

At this point, it didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out something more was needed, so I stood up and began walking to the front of the room.  Everyone went silent.  They all sat there with looks of “oh no fair,” across their faces.  Everyone wondered if it was allowed.  They waited.  I walked.  He smiled.

I wasn’t to the front yet, and I remember being afraid other kids would jump out and run ahead of me.  At the time, it was surprising that they didn’t.  I reached the front, stood next to the leader, and turned around to face them.  Still they waited.

He needed to tell them again that he needed volunteers.  It had been plural the first two times, but everyone was just caught in a trance.  The others still believed he was just kind of accepting my audacity, but that it wasn’t the actual answer he wanted.  Once he said it a third time two other kids raced to the front.  But the one who stood up first was the winner.  That still makes me happy knowing it was the one who stood up first, not the one who cut in front to beat him.

Then the leader took out two candy bars.  He said, “In life you have to ACT to get what you want.  You have to be decisive.”  He then offered the other kid his choice of candy bar.  To this day I don’t know why he offered the other kid first since I had volunteered first, but perhaps he knew what would happen.

“Which one would you like?”
“Umm…”
“Too long,” and he turned to me.  “Which one would you like?”
“Nestle Crunch.”  Bam, immediate.
“You see?” he said to the class, and he handed it to me.

I was never so proud in my life.  Maybe I was smarter than they were in certain ways…
They all followed the rules.  They were conditioned to remain where they were put until authority gave them the right to take a course of action.  They waited for approval.  They were afraid to try something that might be wrong.  They chose safety when I chose taking a chance, standing up, and standing out.

Sometimes in life it’s hard not to believe you aren’t “astronaut stuff” (translate for your own dream).  That is to say it’s hard to believe you are – but I stand by the double negative because in this world that’s the way it happens.  You see people who are taller, stronger, or somehow run faster than you even though they look like a stick, finish the test faster than you, get higher marks, etc.  You are told you are not “astronaut stuff” constantly in so many ways, and it’s hard not to accept that.

But here’s the thing: you don’t see any of the actions – past or present – that brings these people to be better than you.  You only see the current result.  You really don’t know how much time people put into their practice.  I think of a kid I knew growing up, Brian Arnold.

Brian was good at soccer and basketball in 3rd grade.  He was good.  Brian rode the same bus as I did, and his house was a few stops before mine.  I remember one day a girl said, “Watch Brian.  I bet he’s gonna throw down his backpack and start shooting baskets.  He does that every day!  I don’t know how he never gets tired of it.  Every day he gets off the bus and starts shooting baskets before he even goes inside.”

I watched, and sure enough Brian threw his bag on the lawn and ran over to the basketball picked it up and started shooting.  He made every basket as the bus pulled away if my memory serves me correctly.  I started watching him each day to see if he’d shoot baskets like that, and pretty much every day he did.  It was remarkable.

In a few years, Brian became one of the best basketball players at our school.  He developed that skill over years of short practice every day.  He practiced outside of the team’s practice.  He probably put in twice the hours as everyone else with that basketball, and that is only on half an hour a day of practice.  Most kids just practiced during the season at the team practice.  He practiced every day all year round.  That is how you become a professional.  That is how you become elite at whatever it is you want to be.

 

What is in this book?

This book distills the things I’ve learned on my quest to become the best version of myself.  I’ve been on a mission to become a warrior.  A warrior defined as one who backs down from nothing in his attempt to reach his dreams.  No setback too big, no mountain too high.  A warrior believes anything is possible.  If it’s difficult for some reason, to a warrior, it’s an opportunity to see how well he can adapt or endure, an opportunity to test his strength, an opportunity to overcome, a victory to be remembered for future challenges.

Obstacles are Opportunities.

You will get the following out of reading this book:
Empowering Beliefs
Mental Strength
Mastery of Self
A Mental Toolbox to Cope with Negative Emotions
The Warrior Physical Fitness Plan
A Scientific Understanding of Happiness
An Efficient System and Lifestyle to maximize the 3 Forces of Power: Time, Money, and Energy

I hesitate to use the word power because it has almost a negative connotation since one who seeks power is sometimes thought a power monger.  One may say, “Oh I don’t want power; I am happy to be and let be.”  Agreed, power should be used to empower not exploit, but in order to be and let be you need a certain amount of power, capisce?  So with that understanding, there is no other substitute I feel is as fitting.  We’ll leave it at that.

At the heart of every hour I spent researching and experimenting to learn the information that I have poured into the pages of the book you now hold in your hands, was the drive to find the most efficient method to achieve the desired result.   How does it work?

In designing the system that you now hold in your hands, I went about my research with an intense curiosity of how things work together, how one thing impacts the other.  I wanted the best bang for my buck in all senses.

I wanted a simple system to follow, because the more complex the system, the more decisions one faces, and the more opportunities to bail and fail.  Follow through is everything.  I wanted to be able to program this system into my being so easily and so strongly that I could execute it on autopilot.  I didn’t want my program to take away from living but rather enable it.

Ok Specifically, What is in this book?

Parts 2 and 3, Fear Itself and On Failure, are essays on two of the most important aspects of the process: developing a winning mind.

In Part 2, Fear Itself, I cover the 9 basic fears that cause people to take the safe routes in life instead of the effective “difference maker” routes.  This book will help you develop a positive psychology around achieving your true potential.

In Part 3, On Failure, the idea of Failure is redefined. You will learn how to turn challenge, obstacles, stress, discomfort, pain, sadness, depression, and many other “tough” things into opportunities to demonstrate strength or build toughness.  Exercise is shown as a process to failure and failure as a process to strength and success.  You will be given a new viewpoint and scripting for your mind’s toolbox as it goes through future mental battles of quitting vs. failing.

Part 4, Find Your Archetype, will help you identify those who are exemplars of the type of person you aspire to become.  In addition to showing you an action-based system for contacting present real world examples, it shares a powerful method for learning and acquiring the talents of any person one chooses: Picasso, da Vinci, Einstein – all are available for selection as advisors in one’s Power Cabinet.

Andrew Carnegie commissioned Napoleon Hill to conduct a study of millionaires spanning greater than 25 years including such famous people as Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, William Jennings Bryant, Alexander Graham Bell, John D. Rockefeller, and FDR.  In fact, Hill served as an advisor to FDR and is credited with coining the phrase of the famous speech, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.”  Cool huh?

Part 5, Habitizing Productivity, provides you with both the ingredients and a simple recipe to follow in order to bring about change and success.

Part 6, Power Cycles, explains that by spending time, money, and energy we are exchanging these assets for something of greater value to us.  It provides insight on conceptualizing what and why something is purchased and how the power cycle is affected by this decision.  It denotes which items serve as tools to expand our power, and which serve as poisons or drains sapping our power away.

Part 7, Music Mixology, Music influences the emotions to a degree mere text or words can seldom achieve alone. It discusses the scientific effects of music on the brain, specifically how sound can shift the brain between any of the 4 types of brain waves: alpha, beta, delta, and theta.  Included within are playlists for motivating the mind before a challenge, calming before bed or after a trying situation, stimulating alertness for enhanced learning ability and memory before reading or studying, or energizing before and during exercise.

Part 8, The Warrior Manifesto, is an essay of inspiration.  What is your highest self, your greatest potential?  A call to arms, this book provokes each of us to examine who we are and who we could become.  It details the experiences and training to draw out the modern warrior in each of us.  Drawing a line in the sand and dares you to cross it.  Cultivate and manifest the warrior inside you.   It includes a diet and exercise plan based on the latest research in cardiovascular endurance development, weight loss, and muscle gain.

Part 9, Androidization, serves you on a silver platter the best apps of for productivity.  How much time do you spend checking email each day?
Where is your to do list?
Interested in tracking progress to your weight loss goal?
Curious to see what you’ve eaten over the last 3 weeks?

This guide will serve you the best tools for tracking your progress in the most common areas of self-improvement: Diet, Exercise, Organization, Money, and Time.

Part 10, The Elephant and the Rider – It is sometimes said the self can be viewed as two separate beings, each attempting at different times for control.  The rider sits atop the elephant and orders him about with his planning and goal setting, but often the elephant revolts and the rider’s plans are useless.

Captured in this piece is the actual dialogue of the mind’s struggle between the part of ourselves that makes plans (the rider) and the part of ourselves that acts (the elephant).  It shows an inner battle between the two and provides an agreement to gain the elephant’s cooperation once and for all.

Why This Book Covers So Many “Different” Things

WILLPOWER is a function of ENERGY.

Willpower is in effect an energy bar, and when you use your will to do something that you don’t feel like doing you deplete your ability to continue to make those decisions.  This energy bar is actually linked to your physical energy capacity.  So when you are tired or hungry you have less WILLPOWER.

The human body and mind are tied together; what you do to one affects the other.
Therefore, if we are to achieve right ACTION we must first maximize our ENERGY.

1. Mental Energy – aka WILLPOWER – the ability to say yes I can, yes I will, stand up, and ACT is maximized by physical energy, music, and ideas that enter your mind that you find inspirational.

2. Physical Energy is maximized through healthy behaviors – specifically what and when we eat or drink, if and how we exercise, and how and how much we sleep.

3. Mental Strength – aka BELIEF – the I Can Do Anything Mindset – is achieved by a experiencing a Breakthrough – an event that destroys a previous limit to what one BELIEVES is possible.  In other words, setting new PRs.

What this means is that we must take on new challenging things to have breakthroughs and build mental strength, and that we must get our health in order for once – no matter what our burning desire, no matter what our quest.  We will be more effective at tackling the difficult barriers to success if we have more energy.

What Qualifies Me to Write This Book

What would qualify a person to write this book?
To recap, the goal of this book is to provide expertise on maximizing BELIEF, WILLPOWER, and ENERGY in order to achieve SUCCESS.

So, one would have to have developed a very strong belief in their ability to determine their results, be someone who has faced numerous setbacks and risen back up to conquer them, and have insight on the efficient use of time, money, food, exercise, and sleep as pathways to energy.

About Me
Not to toot my own horn or anything, but figured you’d ask sooner or later…

I graduated from the University of Michigan in Economics (go BLUE!) where I was captain of the boxing team.  While studying abroad in Cape Town, South Africa I ran from the Indian Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean and back.
Since graduation, I placed top 10 in the nation in sales at a company that out-recruits the US Army every year.  Air drop me anywhere in the country and within 3 months I’ll build a successful referral sales business from the ground up.  I can turn a profit of $10,000 in any 3-week period I choose – regardless of the territory, regardless of the economy.

I used the funds from these early successes in sales to improve myself.
I taught myself a form of speed reading and have spent the last 10 years researching the best ways to get things done.  I am licensed to sell financial investments, and I’ve tracked and categorized nearly every minute of my time and every dollar of my money using free web apps.  During this process I’ve researched dozens of apps to select the best ones for maximizing productivity.

DISCLAIMER: This book is not about sales tactics.
It is about the self.  It is about your beliefs and your ability to control your own thoughts and actions.  I will discuss sales, but it should be looked at as a one particular method of pushing the self and strengthening one’s beliefs.  I recommend you translate my lessons as examples of how you can go about expanding your sphere of influence with respect to your particular endeavor.

Sales is an art of many skills.  Sales and economics go hand in hand.  We salespeople have to be efficient because if we aren’t productive we don’t get paid.  We, unlike most professions, are incentivized to maximize the productivity of our time.  We are constantly thinking of ways to get more done with our hour.  That qualifies us to be time consultants.

We are paid to set and hit goals.  We are paid for thinking and believing big.  That qualifies us to be strength of mind consultants.  We are paid to speak.  We are paid to listen.  We are paid to understand, figure out, relate, motivate, and inspire.  Words are our art.

The week of July 10 – July 16, 2007, I sold over $10,000 of cutlery face-to-face with clients by setting appointments over the phone.  I conquered the self.  I mastered the power of my own will.  I didn’t let fear, laziness, or excuses beat me even once for 12 straight days.

“12 straight days?” you say, “Big deal.  I could do that.”  Good.  You are right on both accounts, but like most things, it isn’t as easy as it sounds.  For those 12 days I did exactly what I set out to do.  I thought big, I believed big, and I sold big.  The 29 people that bought from me in those 12 days spent an average of $545 each.  I outperformed the national average order of $180 by 300%.

I went on to place #8 in the nation for the year of 2007 out of thousands of representatives working only 7 months out of the year.  By October, I had increased my monthly average to as high as $749 per order with 66% of my appointments resulting in a sale.

 

Why this Book is an Act of Love

As an aspiring entrepreneur, I didn’t have anyone that could tell me: “Take these classes, get this degree, get this certification, get these initials after your name, get this license, then you will be a __________.”  I had to find and forge my own path, and this book is my attempt to share some of my trailblazing lessons with you because I want you to be successful in your quest.

Your life is a quest for some burning desire.  Maybe one you haven’t fully become aware of yet, and if that is the case for you, you are on the right track.  Keep reading.

My Life Aim
I want to make a visible difference in people’s lives.  I want to look back on my life and say I gave people an experience which helped them along in their quest.  So here’s to you!
May you never, ever, EVER give up!

Yours in success,
RJ DeLong


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