As far back as I can recall being uncomfortable always came to mind as something “bad.”

If my clothes felt uncomfortable, my mom would reassure me that it was because they were either too small or perhaps I was too big. When the weather was too hot or bitter cold, I was uncomfortable searching for ways to feel comfortable again. When classmates would poke fun at things physically wrong about me, I’d go home and look in the mirror and see all those flaws staring back at me in the face, again uncomfortable…

This made it easy for myself to draw the correlation between feeling “uncomfortable” and the idea that it should be prevented, hidden, and/or avoided at all costs.

Now I am in my mid twenties and I find myself going through reinvestigation, retracing my steps on things I made my way around in the dungeons of “discomfort.”

Foods that once left me in disgust are now given another chance, movies that once frightened me I laugh at, and places I never thought I’d visit are now pictures posted on my social media with my selfie somewhere in the mix.

Being able to find joy in the discomfort zone as I get older has helped me truly understand the feeling of being uncomfortable and the benefits that come with it. Stepping outside my comfort zone has helped me push through to new depths, realizing my true strength when going with the flow and trusting my instincts as I move along.

One cannot technically see into the future, but with a vision of what you want of yourself, anything can be accomplished. All it takes is that first step into the land of “discomfort.”

Break Out.

How I Book My Getaways

This blog is meant to share my process behind traveling, from booking my stay to planning each daily adventure. The trips I plan are usually chosen amongst varieties of flights and housing options given at great prices. In this blog I’ll give you insight on how I plan my trips and since “MotivatioNel Works” is meant for creative inspiration, I hope this will inspire you to try out my method in planning your next getaway!

Since booking the vacation is clearly not the best part, understand that choosing a qualitative flight and a unique travel destination for a great price will make your trip ten times more memorable.

To start off with the trip planning, I like to research the desired location I’d like to visit. Once the place is decided upon and thoroughly examined, I figure out when the best time to visit would be.

Having an idea of a date in mind while investigating prices will help a ton, since airline tickets fluctuate throughout the year. More than most, the spring and summer time bookings are usually the time when prices greatly inflate, although locations vary dramatically. The prices could change from endless factors like the day of the week you leave, the time you depart or arrive, how long you stay, when you come back, or even the airline or seat you choose.

Before I spend any kind of money, my process is to gather up as much information as I can about my desired location, explore all options before booking any reservations, not to mention guarantee the date range set up to work out and be available to book.

For Example:

Let’s say my desired location is Las Vegas, Nevada.

I start off by researching all I can about the best times to go to Las Vegas, the best areas to stay in Las Vegas, what to avoid in Las Vegas, Cool things to do in Las Vegas (I Usually Add In The Time I’m Going For More Specific Events), anything I can think of that will enhance my experience. I’ll also figure out when is a good time to take off work so I don’t miss too much while I’m gone.

After deciding upon a date,

I visit the site “”

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With Google Flight’s search engine, I would set up the flight information for the getaway where my flight would depart from any Chicago airport and arrive at the McCarran Airport in Las Vegas. Right after choosing the flight destinations, you’ll be asked what dates you wish to depart and return from the trip.

One of the cool features about Google Flights is that it allows you to scan through different dates, with the lowest ticket prices for each date attached, to see what date would be best for you. If the date you want is too expensive, Google Flights will also allow you to see prices for alternate destinations that are nearby. This is to see if somewhere close is cheaper than the direct route you are trying to take. So I choose the dates that are the lowest and match it up with the time I’m taking off work. It’ll then give me multiple airline choices with different times amongst the airline chosen. I like to choose an early time if I have the whole day off to get the full day where ever I’m going but if I am leaving after work then I choose the latest possible.

Before finalizing my airfare purchase, I’ll begin my research on finding a location to stay at. I prefer to figure this out BEFORE I make my airline purchase because you may be able to alter the days of your flight to find better deals on the location you want to stay at.

*For Example – Finding a bigger place on for a cheaper price only if you check in on a Sunday rather than when you originally planned to head over there that Saturday night.

The two sites I center my findings around are usually and Both of these sites usually help with finding the cheapest deals with unique options. I have a deeper love for because I feel that the idea of living in other people’s homes are more authentic and exhilarating. is a site where people that own buildings and have extra rooms and space available rent them out for a couple days or as many months as you’d like. is hotel based and does not tell you what location you will be booked with until after you make the purchase, not to mention hotel deposits and the tasteless layouts of hotel rooms. Although I still like because sometimes they offer cheaper deals for hotel rooms that can give you convenience with checking in unlike where sometimes you meet with strange people to get your room or own place. Not to mention has hotels that offer cool amenities like breakfast buffets, gyms and pools.

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Another cool thing about is the flexibility it provides with your budget. You have an option whether to share a private room in someone’s place or even rent out an entire house! Every location is different and offers multiple amenities alongside various prices. You can also rent locations that do not require an approval by the host, those are called “instant book.” Once you get enough written reviews on your profile from hosts, it will be easier to tap into those more exclusive deals that require an approval before any booking can be placed. If not, they may need a background check. also has convenient filters to keep your search within range of your budget and all the amenities that seem most important to you.

I, myself, like to search for locations that play central to everywhere I plan on going while I’m there. That way transportation isn’t as difficult or time consuming when it’s time to explore.

Once you find a great deal on the location and finalize the date for your round trip flight, then its time to research what you want to do during your stay!

I like to set up my day in advance with a bunch of options to check out. I give myself options because sometimes things are closed or the weather ruins it or even my mood doesn’t feel up to sticking to one specific plan. As I still play around with different things throughout the day, having that original layout for reference is usually something nice for me to start off with.

For finding out cool things to do where ever you head out to, make sure to check out apps like TripAdvisor, Like A Local, Yelp, Field Trip, Event Brite, and even Time To Enjoy to discover exciting new experiences while out exploring the world!

I appreciate you reading my process on trip planning; I hope this can help give you guidance on planning your next trip!








For some,
Traveling the world can seem expensive and dangerous!
For others,
It’s a life-learning experience.


Regardless of your perception behind traveling, there are certain things you pick up along the way from forcing yourself out of your comfort zone. When you take that vacation and step away from your everyday routine, not only are you releasing stress but you also gain wisdom along the way. With this blog I’ll talk about a couple of things that I picked up from traveling alone and how it’s changed my life.

1. Going With The Flow

Before going to New York City, I did a lot of research on the map of NYC and it’s five boroughs. I had lived in Downtown Chicago my freshman year of college, so I knew what wandering around a big city felt like. However, having said that I also knew how risky it could be, getting lost. So I made sure I knew exactly where I was going and the transportation I was taking to get where I wanted to go.
Upon my arrival to JFK airport, I took the AirTran to the Jamaica Station. I had been using my phone to direct myself to where my Airbnb was located so I jumped on the E line to travel up to Rego Park in Queens. A couple stops into my ride I decided to get off the train to check out this top rated pizzeria that apparently was only blocks away from the train station. As I exited the station, I entered the street trying to figure out the navigation system on my phone. I was not far from where I had to go but I just had to figure out what direction to walk in first. My phone’s reception must’ve been weak because it wasn’t picking up on where my current location was.
As I gave up on the assisted directions, I tried to figure out the map on my own. It didn’t seem too complex however I had to walk to the end of the intersection to make sure I knew what two streets I had been standing by. As soon as I walked over to the street signs I noticed my phone stopped reacting to what I was pressing, which shortly after, the phone froze and turned off. I knew it had been at 38% so I didn’t think it would turn off anytime soon. I had a portable charger but my charger port on the bottom of my phone had stopped working properly so I had to mess around with the cable in order for the phone to remain charging. Which meant that in order for my phone to charge I would need to stay still.
Since I kind of had an idea of the street I was looking for and where I currently was, I decided to just wing it and trust my instincts. As I struggled to put the pieces together in my head, I realized I did know my way to the pizzeria. Soon after, I made my way to the store front of the location. The place had a sign in front that read, “closed today till 5pm.” Although the Internet claimed they were open at 10am today, the closed restaurant proved otherwise.
As I looked around for a nearby restaurant, I realized I had been so excited to walk around South Queens, NY; that I had lost my feeling for hunger. I ran across a street sign that pointed me north and decided to continue walking with a positive instinct that I knew where I was going. Five miles later, I ended up in Rego Park!
I knew where I was because I came across this rocket ship and realized I was at the New York Hall of Science, which is in Rego Park. Along the way I came across a lunch buffet that had various food choices including pizza.

I’ve learned to go with the flow allowing me to see and experience more than I had planned out for myself. Fully embracing my journey.

2. Appreciation For The Moment

During my stay in Los Angeles, California I had a specific placed marked on my “To-Do List.” The Griffith Observatory is an interesting place where they have a Hubble telescope and an interactive museum in the basement of the observatory. Although they had me sold at Hubble telescope, I was also very interested in checking out Griffith Park. Griffith Park is a trail that runs alongside of the observatory and has various peaks where you can overlook the whole city. I took a Uber from my Airbnb around 4pm, since it was Sunday there was a lot of traffic driving up to the observatory, I had my driver drop me off at a location right before the traffic thickened. I walked up the remaining distance since I was moving at a faster rate than the cars.
Once I reached the parking lot for the Griffith observatory, I took a left and entered the trail for the park instead. With music and a warm breeze, the walk had been very peaceful. Several miles and hours later, I found myself on a peak above the city with nothing but silence and serenity. The sun slowly lowered as the city began to shine. Although the night brought the cold, I had stayed to enjoy the view. As I sat there fully appreciating the unbelievable scenery, I thought about what life would be like if I was able to appreciate more than just an incredible view.

I realized then the importance of trying to find the “incredible” in every moment, learning to appreciate it all.

3. In Tune With Myself

At first, I was scared to travel to new places by myself, venturing off to New York City or Los Angeles with the possibility of getting hurt or robbed, maybe even both. Remaining safe and chartering into new areas does not always run smoothly. You’ll stumble into bad neighborhoods and you will also find friendly ones as well. But learning to navigate through them is what it’s all about. This same concept can also be applied to life because you will experience both good and bad but being able to move through them and learn from it is what’s going to get you through it all with added strength. In every place I visited, I ran across times where I had choices to take a left or a right; to visit a certain location or to go somewhere else. I made decisions constantly that shaped my future but being honest and constantly communicating with myself helped me take the journey that was rightfully meant for me.
Although I am nowhere near finished with traveling alone. One necessary skill I have picked up along the way is learning to be in tune with myself. Constantly checking out different cities with no reason but to explore requires a strong desire to travel. Traveling alone is not for everyone and it is not your only choice to appreciate traveling; but if you do prefer it, then you have to understand that being in tune with your self can be the difference between having a memorable adventure or just having a mediocre time.
Learning to communicate with yourself will help you not only through traveling but also through life. From my experiences traveling I noticed I would talk to myself about how I felt or even funny instances that would make me laugh. From a shallow perspective, it would seem absurd that I do so but as I begin to fully understand why I do it, I notice it has helped me a lot in finding out who I am and also what I want.

Learning to be in tune with myself has helped me find comfort within and allowed me to grow to my full potential.

These lessons have helped shaped me into the person I am today. As I continue to journey to new places, these skills will reach new levels giving me more strength along the way. I am eager to see where my life takes me.

Lastly, I appreciate everyone reading along and I hope there is plenty of information to take from this blog!

Top 5 Motivational Videos

Let’s get straight to it!

My Top 5 Motivational Videos are hand selected based on what effectively impacted me the most from my experience of the video. Whether these motivational videos contained incredible visuals, compelling background audio, or both this list covers it all. I strongly urge anyone to utilize these 5 videos during hard times to feel a surge of motivation these videos possess. (If you have any time I also encourage you to leave a comment with any feedback at the bottom.)

Once again I thank everyone for taking the time out of your day to read my blogs. I appreciate you!

The Mind ~ Mateusz M

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 This video is definitely one of my favorite Mateusz video’s out there. I’ve seen a lot, believe me. I enjoyed this one from the hypnotizing voice that challenges you to search for that tiny light in your darkness.

Throughout the video I love how the speaker talks with a calm tone that starts to electrify you with inspiring words. The background music correlates with the voice because his tone becomes aggressive and the audio works its way toward a climax at the same time. What I took from this video was that we all dream about what we want in life and what we consider successful, but the video forces us to identify this unique dream of success and also help us take action towards our dream no matter the complexity of our path is.

Right when the speaker finishes, the music reaches its climax and dissipates rapidly; leaving you in silence. Everything seemed euphoric and dreamy, then before you realize it; the voice and audio quickly silence leaving you back in your quiet reality.

This video is worth watching multiple times for a complete understanding.

When It Hurts – 2016 Motivation ~ Basquiat Picasso

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 “My Dreams Don’t Live Down There!” is a phrase that is used in this video which has impacted my focus in every way. The video begins with a scene of Matt Damon as a custodian from the movie, “Good Will Hunting”. Where he’s solving a problem that’s being displayed in a hallway of MIT.

As the beginning starts, the first audio clip talks about acknowledging who you surround yourself with. “If you run the hundred yard dash with people that can’t run as fast as you, yea you’ll win… hands down, you know that. But if you run with people much faster than you, you might come in last every time, but your time will be better.”

Understanding this phrase in the video helped me understand that being the best and doing your best are two different concepts that will play into who you become. As the visuals change from the movie scenes of Good Will Hunting, they begin to cast light on various athletes. Champion athletes known worldwide working behind the scenes, displaying a representation of successful results from pushing yourself beyond limits.

The video has multiple speakers and different audio quality with each one. However, it keeps you entertained listening to multiple people all having something valuable to bring forth.

You should definitely check this one out!

Be Tougher Than Your Life Is – 2016 Motivation ~ Basquiat Picasso

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This is another video by Basquiat Picasso. This video starts out with Giavanni Ruffin waking up early and thinking about his past obstacles with his professional football career.

While the audio in the background are from different speakers, some with poor quality; you can watch his daily regimen with the focus for himself to get better with his profession. Every day he wakes up and works to become better, meanwhile the speaker convinces you to stay out of your comfort zone and continue to raise the bar for yourself.

This video is an inspiring concoction that leaves you wanting to attack your goals head on. The cherry on top is placed with the video closing out with Kid Cudi talking about your belief and work ethic determining your success.

A video worth your time!

Motivation: When You Just Feel To Give Up ~ Ankit Pal

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 The fourth video is an hour long of inspiring excerpts from multiple motivational speakers. I put this on my list because once a week I like to put this on and go for an hour long run. Having this play in the background gives me the support I need to continue moving forward with motivated strength.

The video is mostly intended for people that are considering giving up. Usually while I jog, the joy of slowing down seems to be overwhelming. So this hour long wave of energy always helps fight that feeling off efficiently. There isn’t much visuals provided, since it’s really only one picture throughout the hour but once again the video was chosen mostly because of how great it can play as “background noise.”

The video you can listen to while you work!

Inspirational – How Great I am ~ mbm34

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 This last video has been viewed over 27 million times! With great visuals and excerpts of multiple different movies like Rocky, Pursuit of Happiness, Friday Night Lights, and more; you’re guaranteed to be left inspired after watching this video.

The intention of this video is for you to realize the importance of being confident.   They do a great job illustrating this belief by sampling and quoting past moguls. Their assurance in themselves played a major factor in the success they achieved. The video does a great way of breaking down the concept and proving to you that once you begin to believe in yourself, the universe will make way for you.

Empower yourself with this one!

**Videos not placed in specific order.


Thank you again for reading, I hope these videos do as much good as it did for me!

Stay Motivated!!

Losing Weight But Adding Value

Hey Readers,

I’d like to take the first couple sentences to show my appreciation for everyone visiting or even supporting my movement for “MotivatioNel Works.” Understand, every blog I publish is intended to “creatively inspire” you!

As my love for motivation continues to grow, I’ve realized how my weight loss played a major role in my motivational awakening. Over the past couple months; I’ve had plenty of people ask me for “The Secret” to dropping over 120 pounds alongside my diet plan attached with it.

As the hopeful helper I’ve always aimed to be. I claimed I would but then went back to paying attention solely to my goal. I would forget about jotting down what I ate everyday, what I stayed away from and how many times I worked out a week. As the email list piled up of friends and family asking for the info. I eventually would see them and feel totally embarrassed, having still not sent the email.


I then decided to begin blogging. Thinking of what to write for my next couple blogs. I sat at my desk blankly looking at my computer screen, a small digital note laid on top of my desktop reading, “Send Your Diet Plan!”

At that moment it dawned on me, why not write my next blog about “The Secret”. Everything I would write about in this new blog would be everything I did to lose weight alongside my diet plan.

So here it is,

My weight loss story alongside my diet plan weaved into a blog post. I hope this brings you as much enlightenment as it brought me in my journey.

The mental method that I will explain is how I’ve learned to overcome many obstacles over the years from late night cravings. To not wanting to wake up after a full nights rest. My method went past cleaning up my diet and acquiring a workout regimen. It went further than casual runs every morning and also making it’s way through strength training, 5k’s, obstacle courses, and even hikes.

In order to begin…

I would first like for you to focus on mental change more than physical. What I mean is, change your thought process behind losing weight. Forget about the mirror, forget about who would like you more, forget about the cool activities you can do, and most importantly forget about the “Hot Bod!”

That’s not the focus here.

In order to acquire the vision that can set you in the right direction, we must first ask a few questions to understand the mind projecting it.

How do you feel about your physical-self right now?

What is an embarrassing issue you constantly have trouble with?

When you think of happiness, what comes to mind?

As you write/type/think your answers out, you can begin to understand a little more about your current starting point. Personally, I am an over achiever so I wrote it down and taped them to my fridge.

My Starting Point:

“- I felt extremely uncomfortable and frustrated.

– Everything that I wore showed how overweight I was and what I did required many breaks.

– My happiness is to live worry free and truly feel like I’m doing my best.”

Those 3 questions helped strengthen my vision. With this I was able to identify my weak state of mind, my painful moments and where I truly want to be. Weight loss will not bring you happiness like money will not solve your problems. The key is to find out what brings you pain and makes you weak. Use these two and grow from it like a rose grows from concrete displaying its true strength.

It’s important to find happiness within your new lifestyle because creating a getaway from your diet (cheat days, meals, or days off) means that you keep your happiness tucked away with your past. As humans, we always link ourselves back to what makes us happy no matter where we are. So packing away your painful past with happiness means that you will always take yourself back to your same past.

Lets keep our happiness with our new lifestyle and try to be as real with our selves as humanly possible. I’ve found myself more disciplined with my lifestyle as I slowly made alterations to my daily planner and diet over time.

This method helped me pick up the habit of becoming “comfortable being uncomfortable.

Here’s My Story…

I started my workout regimen three years ago at a Charter Fitness close to work. I hit the gym either before or after my shift as much as possible, going at least 3-5 times a week. I was intensely intrigued by strength training, so I pushed for big muscles and worked eagerly to feel the noticeable power.

Without changing my diet,

I began to drop weight only from working out. My starting weight was 286lbs. My workout routine involved full on strength training and ending with a little cardio (jog for 10 mins or stairs for 5 mins). This caused my weight to dwindle down by almost 10lbs a month. By the third month, I was cruising past the 250’s like an irrelevant highway exit.

Physically, I started to feel energetic; my mind became hungry for success and my vision had strengthened significantly.

I began to do research on effective dieting and workout routines. As I cringed through the diet journals (mostly because I’m picky with eating), I would always end up watching motivational videos to get me pumped. I had also read a book called “The Hero,” which talked about how to live your dream and how to believe in your journey whole-heartedly with a very powerful idea backing it called, “Law of Attraction.” All of this began to give great insight.

However, after months of weight loss from strength training, a time came where I peaked at 220lbs. I couldn’t lose any more weight. I had just gotten back from Puerto Rico where my father and I had visited family we had not seen in awhile. I also begun to work at a different barbershop upon my return from vacation. I began to join in on the barber’s lunch outings eating pizza, wings, or tacos; in due time I began to see an increase in my weight even though I would still workout. I had gone up to 235lbs and it had only been a couple months. I even started skipping trips to the gym because of the lack of motivation I had.

In December of 2015, my father had a massive stroke, which caused severe nerve and brain damage. As I lay beside my father on the hospital bed the second day being there, he cried out looking for help and I could only sit in torment tending to him helplessly. I had grew so angry with myself for letting this happen, I was frustrated at the fact that it happened, and I had also become fearful for not knowing any better.

The next couple week’s my visits at the hospital were a painful blur. I felt awful, emotionally unstable, and broken to say the least. One of my cousins came back from Puerto Rico a short while before and showed up for emotional support for my father.

She had not only lost a good amount of weight but also had a glow to her skin that displayed how healthy she had become.

As we all gave compliments and inquired how she managed to do it, her response was for us to watch a documentary called “Forks Over Knives.” The documentary explained how utilizing the plant-based diet could help reverse severe chronic illnesses and the importance your diet plays.

As I watched in amazement, I could only think of how this diet could’ve prevented this whole situation with my pops. After the film, I talked it over with my sister and we decided to give the diet a try. As we cleared out our refrigerators, pantries, and cabinets, our focus began to narrow itself on exactly what we wanted.

We no longer wanted to do it for weight loss or for a “hot bod,” but more importantly for our health and to guarantee ourselves a better future. This gave our journey a purpose and was used for support like my family gave my father.

Within the first month, I became mentally empowered. I had begun to speak it into existence with constantly engaging myself in conversations with others about health and dieting. I began reading books about it, educating myself. Most importantly, acting upon these thoughts and making adjustments to keep myself moving forward into this new healthy lifestyle. I was ready for a change.

The next day I stocked my fridge with…

Apples, bananas, grapes, raisins, peanut butter, broccoli, Greek yogurt and lettuce. I made alterations like regular milk to almond milk, regular cheese to cheese with no lactose, white bread to wheat bread, juice and soda became only water, and fries became cut up potatoes.

I also made sure I had no meat in my kitchen!

***A brand named “Morningstar,” also made life easier with the substitution for meat. Their brand has meatless premade items(contains soy) like veggie nuggets, veggies burgers, veggie buffalo wings, veggie buffalo patties, and even veggie corndogs!

Most importantly I focused on what nutritional value my food held rather than what kind of food I was eating.

After the first month, my weight dropped back down to 220lbs! I started to feel a good rush of energy, motivation, and clarity. I found myself not only going to the gym 5 days a week but also working out twice a day or even whenever I was sitting around. I began to make my free time, a time to work out because of the focus I had acquired to becoming healthy.

Let’s Be Real!

Every now and then I’d have a cheat meal but it wasn’t becoming a necessity or a constant thought through out the month. I would really only cheat if I stumbled upon an opportunity to eat something that was worth slowing me down or would give me the motivation to go twice as hard with working out that same day!

By February, I had broken out of the 200’s and was feeling better than ever. My mind had been so engulfed by the physical challenges I pushed myself to do that it seemed that eating anything that was going to slow me down, drew me away from it. The idea of my father enduring these conditions mostly because of the way his diet had been showed me that dieting can also play that same role in helping you!

As dieting became a major role in my life. I hadn’t really paid much attention to the scale since I had felt better every passing day. It wasn’t until late April, out of curiosity I stepped on the scale and it read 185lbs.

I had lost over a hundred pounds from when I first started!

The feeling was euphoric; it felt better than anything I had ever endured before. I had accomplished something that not only took years of focus, but also that I did it for the bettering of my future. I had become so obsessed with my goal that I did not spend time to think about anything else (which was why I never got to the diet plan emails).

Much has manifested from this motivational awakening like the company MotivatioNel Works I have put together. The idea of this media company is to creatively inspire; however not only does it end up inspiring the audience, but the creators as well.

From spring to currently, my weight sits at 165lbs. The consistent progress I provide myself will be everlasting because my focus for good health will be needed for the rest of my life.

I may not spend as much time as I would like to inside a gym, but making sure I give myself at least an hour or two a day is fine by me. My diet still includes everything I mentioned above alongside the cheat meals, but my focus for a better self has become stronger than ever. I have the notion that everything can be conquered if you put in consistent hard work (even if its for an hour a day), great focus, and that you learn to identify your pain and weaknesses to grow from them.

Continue to remind yourself what currently makes you embarrassed, what troubles you, and most importantly what will make you happy. Continue to write these things down, or speak these things out loud and post them up where they’re visible. Learn to not only conquer your fears but also expose them for what they really are, just platforms that play as growing points.

This is why one must “Add Value,” because I want you to make pain and weakness count for something. Give them their worth because without darkness; we would never appreciate light.

Thank you for reading.

How My Life Changed After Reading “The Alchemist.”

FIRST AND FOREMOST, I am proud to say that this is my first blog on!

I appreciate everyone visiting and following along on my journey as I continue to do everything in my power to inspire greatness in people.

As the universe continues to unfold in my favor, I only hope that my blog posts bring you as much motivation and inspiration as it has given me. I hope you find something to take with you from my thoughts and return again very soon!

About a week ago, an old friend randomly sent me a text out the blue, “Are you ready for this wedding?!” As my mind shuffled through mental files of future reservations, his older brother’s wedding turned up swiftly. “Are you ready to nail this speech?!” I asked him in reply, showing recognition for the impact he played in the event and his brother’s life.

With his guaranteed response that closely reflected the determination he held, I had already begun to anticipate the carefully chosen words he would broadcast to the two kind hearted people and their families that upcoming Saturday.

“Let’s hang out this week and catch up before the wedding,” I added. As he agreed with the idea, we set up a time to meet the following day.

That next evening, we sat and talked about the class he teaches at UIC and about my business ventures I have tapped into these past couple months. In the middle of our conversation, he pulled away for a couple moments and returned with a small reddish orange book that looked to hold at max 200 pages inside. As he scribbled a couple words in the beginning of the book with a nearby pen, he pushed the book over to my side of the table all while still listening to the ending of my rant about “Asset Columns.”

After I finished talking, I politely thanked him for giving me the book. I observed the engravings on the front cover and felt the power it held in between my fingertips. The bottom read out the Brazilian author’s name, Paulo Coelho.

Two days and 200 pages later, I had awoken with a new outlook on life.

The Alchemist, for starters, is about a boy named Santiago that follows through on a journey that begins as a treasure hunt that he had dreamt up twice, but ends up becoming what would be his own “Personal Legend.” As he navigates his way through hardship, success, foreign territory, and his own neighborhood, he begins to understand the importance of learning from life experiences and growing from your own intuition.

The whole book is loaded with life lessons, starting with the story of Narcissus and the idea of recognizing what he possessed within. Narcissus may have originally seemed to be a story of vanity, but after much thought I think this was as a way of understanding the importance that Narcissus was concentrated on himself and his “Personal Legend.”

Through nature he saw the beauty he possessed, and at the same time he allowed nature to recognize it’s own beauty from his presence. It displayed the benefits of helping others while pursuing his own desires. If that doesn’t give you enough reason for following through with your own “Personal Legend,” than just remain patient because there’s more where that came from!

The next part on the list that the book covered was the story of happiness. This story was a bit astray from the idea of sticking to your journey but had become important nonetheless.

A boy is given a spoon with two drops of oil and told not to spill any of it as he walks through a huge mansion with multiple sections of entertainment. As the boy intensely focuses on keeping all the oil on his spoon, he doesn’t even pay attention to the beauty within the house. Once he returns to the owner of the mansion, the man questions the boy on all the beauties his mansion possesses. The boy shamefully admits to not paying attention to any of it since he had tried not to spill any oil.

He is then addressed to recheck out what he had missed. When the boy returns, he seems flabbergasted by everything he saw in the man’s home. When the man notices that the boy doesn’t have any oil left on his spoon, he then explains to the boy the idea of happiness. “The secret of happiness is to see all the marvels of the world, and never to forget the drops of oil on the spoon.”

As the book continued on, Santiago gave up his life of being a shepherd to chase after his “Personal Legend.” With a dream that he experienced twice, his trip to the pyramids of Egypt became the X on his treasure map. The boy works his way through African bars, bazaars, and the Sahara Desert. Not to mention, he meets a king, a gypsy, a thief, a business owner, and an Alchemist. All of these figures play important roles in his journey including the King of Salem who teaches the boy about omens (spiritual signs) and how to listen to them on his trip. I liked this part especially because it helped open his eyes to see things before they unfolded. Which ultimately helped him ready himself for the tragedies that lurked around the corner.

As you follow along with Santiago on his voyage, you pick up on spiritual habits that you yourself can apply to your own journey. My intuition has gained a new sense of strength after reading this book. The idea that “when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it” is mind blowing and should be spread throughout the world like a global wildfire.

The ending of the book holds a coincidental twist, which will leave you in awe. I am not a story spoiler so make sure you read it yourself to find out!

Although one important lesson I took from this book is the “faith” you have to have towards going after your own legend.

At some point in life you will feel like your goal is unreachable, but once that first step is taken.. “All of the universe will conspire in helping you to achieve it.”

This book has not only empowered my mind on the spiritual connection we humans have with the world, but it has also given me the strength I need to journey whole heartedly into my own dreams..

Thank you for listening!!


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