June’s Challenge from the Monastic Ones

So a lot of you remember The Monastic Challenge from February. You know, that crazy month of vegan, sugar-free, caffeine-free, alcohol-free living that I put myself through with the help of my personal board of directors, The Braintrust. The month after that we came up with The Media Fast Challenge where we attempted to wean ourselves from the constant stream of information that is our lives in the digital age. I’ll admit I failed a little on that one, but it did help me develop better habits with my Internet use.

April and May we sort of fell off the face of the earth a little with each of us putting our full efforts into our secular lives. Kris finished his first e-book “The Hollywood Acting Guide,” Drew and Matt threw themselves into their Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training and I wrapped up an intense job search and began teaching two classes a week for the first time. Now that our lives have returned to a reasonable pace, we are proud to announce our challenge for the month of June. We really hope that you consider joining us for this one.

The challenge for the month of June is very simple:
Do at least one random act of kindness of day.

That’s it. Whatever you interpret that to be. Helping an old lady across the street, buying a homeless guy lunch, whatever. For accountability and motivation we will keep a log on our Facebook fan page. The act can be as big or small as you want. If there are multiple acts of kindness then that is even better.  It is our intention for this to be a way to bring awareness towards being more other-oriented while making small differences in the lives of those around us.

Best of luck in your efforts.

Mike ^_^

“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then just feed one.” – Mother Teresa

One Challenge Done, Now on to the Next

The Monastic Challenge is officially over. I made it 28 days with no meat, dairy products, alcohol, caffeine or sugar. I’ve lost around twenty pounds and I’m the lightest I’ve been since high school. Food tastes better than ever, my sleep is amazing, and my energy levels are great. I’ll likely keep a lot of these good habits for a while, I’m really glad my crazy friends put me up to this. Special kudos to Kris Sharma, who came up with The Monastic Challenge and our challenge for March.

For the month of March, we are going to have a different type of fast, one from media. Think of your day-to-day activities, just a constant parade of emails, phone calls, text messages, web sites, television, movies and video games. Most of us spend ninety percent of our time looking at illuminated rectangles.

Does any of this stuff actually improve the quality of our lives? Or does it just let us ignore the lacking parts of life? What would happen if we unplugged from the Matrix for a month? Well, we’re going to find out.

The Media Fast Challenge:
No television
No movies or DVDs
No texting – if someone texts you with a question, you need to call back with your answer. And you should let that person know you’re not texting that much.
No video games or silly games on your phone
Email is permitted TWICE A DAY maximum
No newspapers, magazines, news sites, blogs, Youtube, Hulu, etc. In fact, no web surfing all unless it’s to achieve a work-related task you’re doing THAT DAY. This means if you’re booking a trip to Vegas, you better have your credit card in your hand. And even with work related stuff, you should be limited to ONE HOUR MAXIMUM on the web.

This should work for everyone. If there are specific bullet points that are problematic, adjust it as needed. But keep asking yourself, “Is this really necessary?”

Mike ^_^

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” – Leo Tolstoy

A Test of Willpower

I’m a firm believer in mastermind groups. The concept of the mastermind group was formally introduced by Napoleon Hill in the early 1900’s in his timeless classic Think And Grow Rich. He wrote about the mastermind principle as “the coordination of knowledge and effort of two or more people, who work toward a definite purpose, in the spirit of harmony.” In a mastermind group, your peers give you feedback, help you brainstorm new possibilities, and set up accountability structures that keep you focused and on track. You create a community of supportive colleagues who brainstorm together to move the group to new heights.  Consider it your personal board of directors.

I have several groups that I lean upon to help me navigate life’s challenges. There’s the Lost Boyz, my group of childhood friends who have watched each other grow up over the past ten to twenty years. I have The Crew here at the Fisher College (you guys know who you are). And then there’s a little group that we like to call The Braintrust.

The Braintrust is a group of four friends living all over the country. We are actors, producers, businessmen, academics, professional fighters, yoga instructors, computer programmers, salesmen, and philosophers. Drew’s called us “the most diverse group of geniuses every created.” We share our lives with each other over Facebook and email, giving each other a little helping hand and some encouragement when necessary.

Kris Sharma is one of the members, a super talented actor, producer, comedian, and writer. He recently decided to try out veganism for a month and convinced us to join him. Then over a series of emails and texts, the stakes got higher and higher. No meat, eggs, or dairy. Then no alcohol. Then no caffeine. Then no sugar. Then no harmful thoughts toward others. So for the month of February I’m taking on “The Monastic Challenge” with Kris, Drew and Matt.

I’m pretty excited about it as I’ve wanted to try going vegan for a while now. Hopefully my body will hold up on a lower protein diet, I have some important intramural basketball games to play. Our Fisher College MBA team is 2-0 so far, and we’re looking to repeat as champions of the Graduate/Faculty league. Priorities my friend.

In more MBA related news, we’re packing up for Wake Forest this weekend to take a shot at winning $50,000 in the Wake Forest MBA Marketing Summit Case Competition. I’m going to Omaha to meet Warren Buffett on February 26 with a group of Fisher MBAs. And I’m really enjoying my winter quarter classes so far through week four. My personal favorite so far is Patricia West’s Integrated Marketing Communications class. She’s very passionate about the subject matter and the class really moves. With my background in advertising, it’s interesting to see some of the theory behind what we did in practice.

And by the way second years, we graduate in four months. Gasp.

Mike ^_^

“For me, insanity is super sanity. The normal is psychotic. Normal means lack of imagination, lack of creativity.” – Jean Dubuffett (famous 20th century French painter and sculptor)