Tuesday, June 21, 2016

How to Take Control of Your Life

One of the first things that stood out to me in this book Kon-Tiki was right smack at the beginning. 

"Some people believe in fate, others don't. I do, and I don't. It may seem at times as if invisible fingers move us about like puppets on strings. But for sure, we are not born to be dragged along. We can grab the strings ourselves and adjust our course at every crossroad, or take off at any little trail into the unknown."—Thor Heyerdahl

This isn't just a drawn out long soliloquy.  The important takeaway here revolves around the narrative fallacy. How we often fall victim to it. We wait and believe everything will work out. The problem is it won't. Not unless you do something about it.
We often wait too long and are ignorant to the importance of time.

Now I’m not against good faith. But I’m a believer in that every action has an equal an opposite reaction. Let's say if you have a history of dating the wrong people. After a date or relationship ends you are left disappointed, hurt and in pain. Guess what? It will continue until you change either your approach, where you find someone, or the type of people you date. Things won’t magically just work out. You need to experiment and put in the work.  And the reason we tend not to put in the work is because it cost us effort, a little pain. It’s not until the pain of suffering and disappointment is that much greater than the pain of changing that we take action. 

The same goes for money. The same goes for our health.

Have faith to know that if you work and put in the time then you did what you could to see change. Not many stick to it because of learned helplessness. Where after one failed attempt, you give up and say you tried everything and anything. As a result, this pain and discomfort is embedded in our mind and prevents us from trying anything new.

I'm not trying to sound negative, but if you aren’t willing to find out and do the necessary changes, you really don’t see it as a priority to see a change in results. You don’t deserve a different outcome. Why? No, it’s not because I’m being an ass about it. It’s because you haven’t earned it. I much rather live in a world where we earn things rather than spontaneously get things just because we feel entitled to it and it magically happens.

Just imagine if your doctor got into medical school just because he believed and felt entitled to it over someone who put in the hours and work. I would freak out! And you should too. 

When taking control of your life know the importance of time and be aware of falling victim to the narrative fallacy and learned helplessness. 

Don't be afraid of experimenting. 

Sometimes you just have to grab the bull by it's horns.

Take control.

Leave a comment below on how you or someone you know took back control of their life. 

My name is Romario Villanueva.  Entrepreneur & blogger. I'm a graduate from Rutgers University with several certifications from top schools through Coursera. I love all things business, psychology, and basketball. Feel free to reach out to me on Twitter or LinkedIn

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The Mental Struggle: Why you tend to not follow through on what's good for you


Have you ever wondered why we don’t tend to stick with things that we truly know better ourselves? We all know that eating vegetables, lean protein, and exercising all lead to a better quality of life. Yet, we still don’t do it with all the science and proof that is out there. 

How about when it comes to money? You and I know that saving our money is important. I mean even with all the financial advice out there saying that saving money allows us a sense of security for that rainy day and even having the possibility to invest the savings for that big opportunity…we still tend to squander it all. In fact, there are at times where the average savings of Americans is negative!

I’m sure you wondered why we tend to give the wrong people in relationships more opportunity than those who are better compatible with our personality. It doesn’t matter if it’s at a platonic or even romantic level. It’s true in either case. And as a result, we are left disappointed and wondering what happened?

Well, Jonathan Haidt author of The Happiness Hypothesis provides a possible answer to all these questions that affect you and me.

He goes on to explain that this notion of our mind acting in one best interest, in unity, isn’t really the way to go when talking about the brain. In fact, there seems to be two voices working against each other: The Old Brain Vs The New Brain or The Elephant and The Rider.

This constant struggle can be explained by this division in our brain.

When it comes to health, our old brains were built with famine in mind. It prevented us from starving. So when you see a piece of cake, your favorite Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream or a bag of potato chips your subconscious mind is saying eat, eat, and eat some more just in case you won’t come across food for a while. However, consciously we know that is hardly the truth in the modern western world. In fact, our health is at risk from over consumption rather than starvation which is evident with all the obesity today.

In relationships, our old brain focuses on genetics. When we see someone strong, attractive, beautiful or all of the above we think of someone healthy.  We think subconsciously of someone with good genes. The problem is, sometimes that person who we check “all of the above” in the physical portion might not necessarily be the best fit for us. Our new brain looks at compatibility and personality. You can see why there is this struggle in searching for companionship.

In terms of finances, our old brain does everything to avoid pain. So the simple act of saving now for later puts off that instant gratification that comes from spending now…even though we know it’s sometimes better to prepare ourselves for the worst. This act of saving creates some sense of work and pain which is why most people fail at it. 

What does this all mean?

At the end of the day, I think the message is don't beat yourself up. When you have goals in these areas of your life, try to find a balance. Understand that there is constant friction between your primitive mind and your logic. The focus should be on making incremental progress in your life.

My name is Romario Villanueva.  Entrepreneur & blogger. I'm a graduate from Rutgers University with several certifications from top schools through Coursera. I love all things business, psychology, and basketball. Feel free to reach out to me on Twitter or LinkedIn

Monday, June 6, 2016

Approach The Truth


“Fighting fear doesn’t work. It just drags us in closer. One has to focus on what is real. On the truth. When in darkness, don’t fight it. You can’t win. Just find the nearest switch turn on the light.”— Kamal Ravikant

Though the books main purpose was to show everyone how to love yourself and transform their life. Kamal Ravikant also touches on something extremely important.

He begins, with something that deeply resonated with me.

This book is about the truth. 

It’s something that we all can relate to.

But what is the truth? 

In our lives we have ups and downs.

We lose and gain loved ones.
We stick and switch career paths in our life.
We read certain articles and disregard others.
We watch certain videos and never hit the play button on others.

Even though, we may not think of it consciously…or maybe we do?
We seek the truth.

From acquaintances, friends, and family, I’m often asked why do I read a lot about successful people?

Is it because they are vastly superior?
Is it because they are gifted?
Is it because they are unquestionably right?

My reply would be: They devoted their lives to an area of their expertise. They know more than me.

But, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are unquestionably right.

But they are closer to the truth.

You see, for me I think the truth is something you approach, but never quite get to.

Yes, there is a chance that many of our advanced theories, methods, and approaches may be wrong.

However likely that may be, it’s still closer to the truth.

The truth should revolve around an experiment.
There are no failed experiments.
Experiments are just testing different approaches to see what works best in your life.

I think most of our confusion, our frustration, and emotional imbalance revolve around this notion that we must find absolute answers.

It’s often evident with our questioning:
What is the best business I can do?
What is the best school I should go to?
What’s the best way to lose weight?
What’s the best diet?
What's the best way to approach someone?

This absolute answer approach is faulty. 

It’s not necessarily a bad thing that we want the truth. 

But when we approach the truth, we will naturally go against some discomfort (work) to finding it.

As a result, we often succumb to the questions above.

Don’t let fear get the best of you.


Approach the truth.

My name is Romario Villanueva.  Entrepreneur & blogger. I'm a graduate from Rutgers University with several certifications from top schools through Coursera. I love all things business, psychology, and basketball. Feel free to reach out to me on Twitter or LinkedIn

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

How To Learn To Manage Yourself


Most people think they know what they are good at. Sadly, that is furthest from the truth.
Our opinions can sometimes steer us in the wrong direction in life. 

It steered me in the wrong direction. 

Throughout my undergrad studies, I often had the mindset of getting into the medical field and studying biological sciences. 

At Emory University, I majored in Neuroscience Behavioral Biology.
At Rutgers University, I majored in Biology.

Naturally, I thought it was one of my strengths because I just believed it was.

In both cases at different schools, I took a heavy dose of science courses. Regardless of my efforts, I would still manage B’s in almost all my science courses even after putting more hours into studying than usual. 

I also felt my curiosity towards this field wane. 

Naturally, I’m not one to give up easily. But sometimes, it’s not about giving up. It’s about opportunity cost. Stubbornness can often backfire on us with time usually being sacrificed.

I eventually switched majors and went on to study psychology. Oddly enough, pretty much all my grades were A’s, effortlessly. 

And yes, the curiosity factor in psychology was always there. 

Despite the obvious signs, I went into the healthcare field with the intent of continuing in a career that focused heavily in biology after graduating. My stubbornness would not let go! I wanted to see if this field was truly for me.

I made strong patient relationships, met interesting co-workers and I worked my tail off.

However, it wasn’t for me. It wasn't my strength.

Needless to say, if I just performed this one thing my career picture could have been much clearer to me from the beginning.

If I just performed a feedback analysis throughout my studies, work and even life, the signs would have been so much clearer.

And part of performing a feedback analysis is knowing your strengths. Knowing your strengths is part of learning to manage yourself. 

The truth is, one can only perform and build off strength. 

The importance of this struggle is often seen in most young people in college and even after graduating. Most don't know their strengths and feel lost because they cannot build on what they do not know.

And as a result the question of “What should I do with my life” often arises. 

This wasn’t a problem in the past. 


Peter Drucker explains that most people were usually born into a position and work, where one usually followed the path of a parent.

However, in today’s world this isn’t the case.

People have choices. 

So do yourself a favor and gain some clarity in any aspect of your life by performing a feedback analysis.

Follow these 3 key steps to maximize managing yourself:
      1.      Put yourself where your strengths can produce results
      2.      Work on improving your strengths, not weaknesses.
      3.       Discover where your intellectual arrogance is causing disabling ignorance. 

It’s important to note that this is much bigger than a struggle in figuring out what your major at school is. It can relate to what type of business you want to start. It can relate to what type of partner you seek out in a relationship. It even relates to what makes you happy in life. 

Don’t rely on what you think you know. 

Learn to manage yourself.

My name is Romario Villanueva.  Entrepreneur & blogger. I'm a graduate from Rutgers University with several certifications from top schools through Coursera. I love all things business, psychology, and basketball. Feel free to reach out to me on Twitter or LinkedIn