You’re Going to Die and that’s OK

Yea…  I said it.  You are going to die.  I am going to die. Everyone is going to die.  This is the ultimate guarantee that we all get once we pop into existence.  We are part of the mortal wheel and nothing you do will stop your inevitable last breath from being taken.  Not like Liam Neeson Taken where he will get it back for you.  Taken like the Bernie Madoff investment fraud scheme taken.  Sure, you can attempt to prolong the gift of life by living a healthy existence.

Eat whole foods, don’t smoke, exercise, stress less , laugh more, and be a good human to other humans.  Alas!  The death train will still arrive to whisk you away to the great beyond.  Some of us will be culled before we are ripe and old.  This is a sad fact of life as well.  You can do everything right and still be forced out of this world by shear bad luck or worse…. Karma?

Did this scare you?  Depress you?  Make you want to crawl into bed and simply wait for the inevitable?  It sure as hell shouldn’t.  This information should have the opposite effect.  Think about it.  If you knew the date and time of your impending doom, how many wonderful things would you try to experience before that appointment arrived?  We don’t think about these questions because we live under the guise that our lives will last forever and that we’re invincible.

This delusion causes us to put off getting in shape, learning a new skill, going on that big trip overseas, or simply spending time with friends or family.  We spend most of our time working.  We sit in self absorbed shells as we worry about what other people think of us.  We continuously hold back  and don’t accomplish everything we believe we’re meant to.  We are constantly frozen in fear and routinely let go of our aspirations for a simpler, less scary life.

outdoors

Scary things are really growth opportunities in disguise.

The point of all this is to show you, point blank, that life is way to short to spend it incredibly unhappy, out of shape, and unfulfilled.  Starting a fitness regimen is the perfect way to get started on a path to a more active and involved life experience.  When you create a solid body foundation, you become capable of enduring life on life’s terms and more world activities become available to you.  Start replacing all those junk meals with some whole foods, lean meats, and healthy fats (eat an avocado for God’s sake!)  The goal of life shouldn’t be to simply make it to old age but to be able to LIVE in your old age.  Bedridden is not an option for me, if I can help it!

Remember that you get out of life exactly what you put into it.  Life will invest in you if you invest in it.  Throw all your chips in and start making some changes that will shape the rest of your brief stay on this marvelous planet.  Try something new each week and do your best to get scared as much as possible!  Scary things are really growth opportunities in disguise.

Be yourself and enjoy the world around you.  Surround yourself with positive people and love unconditionally.  Be willing to be uncomfortable, shaken, and stirred.  There is so much more to life than just being afraid of death.  Treat each day as an opportunity to be the you that you are meant to be!  There is a line from the awesome animated movie Kung fu Panda that resonates with me all the time.  The wise old turtle master said, yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift.  That is why it is called the present.  When you live like that, your life is truly a magnificent journey.

Getting High on Fruits and Vegetables: Real Juice & Food

You want the juice? We GOT the juice!

juice1

What’s REAL Juice & Food?

 REAL Juice & Food emerged, because people in the community asked for it, and are continuing to support it. I, Taylor Norris, REAL Juice & Food Co-Creator, am committed to making healthy food and drinks more accessible and enjoyable in the Monroe area. I am very open to y’all’s feedback, preferences, wants, and needs in developing this brand.

Who am I?

I’m Taylor Norris, born and raised in Monroe, Louisiana. I am a holistic health coach, cleanse specialist, juice creator, raw foods chef, educator, writer, yogi, and light worker. I am currently studying at the largest nutrition school in the world, the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, to obtain certification as an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach.  You can view their Facebook page here:  Institute for Integrative Nutrition if you would like more information!

As a health coach, I guide and support clients along their health journeys by assisting them in balancing their primary foods – spirituality, career, relationships, and exercise – with their secondary food, the food that we eat. It’s wonderful, transformative, healing work. Interested in a consultation? Check out my website tayloranorris.com

How did I get into all this healthy stuff?

I grew up in Monroe, LA eating all the normal stuff. I was blessed with a momma who loves to cook, so many of my meals were prepared with fresh ingredients. That being said, I ate my fair share of pizza, ice cream, fried chicken, burgers, and French fries.

I initially got into juicing after transitioning to a vegan diet at age 22 while I was living in Johns Island, South Carolina. I was at an emotional and spiritual rock bottom, feeling depressed, hopeless, stuck, confused, and very pessimistic about life. I didn’t feel good in my body, and I had no idea how to care for it.

In 2012, I transitioned to a fully plant-based diet. I committed myself to living clean and sober, running and yoga, and began talking about my emotional problems with a wonderful therapist. At first, the results were fantastic. I lost all my excess weight, my skin cleared up, my mood improved, I was super energetic, and I felt more like myself than I had in over a decade.

But then, my life turned. At a higher level of consciousness and health, I could no longer tolerate my dysfunctional relationship and nonexistent career. A traumatic break-up and a rocky reunion with my family of origin compelled me to stuff my painful feelings. I had given up alcohol and drugs earlier in the year, so I refused to use those to cope. I turned to heavy vegan foods and was prescribed psychotropic meditation to medicate my pain.

Fortunately, I was able to step out of my misery enough to volunteer at a therapeutic horsemanship facility in Scottsdale, AZ. A man there made me a glass of fresh carrot and apple juice with his Jack LaLanne juicer. I was immediately hooked. The next day I went to Costco to buy a juicer, and began making juice just about every day.

I took my daily juicing habit to the next level after watching Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. It’s a highly inspirational documentary on Netflix about Joe Cross, an Australian man who was obese, lethargic, and suffering from a handful of chronic illnesses. Joe only consumed fresh fruit and vegetable juice for 30 days, while touring the West to learn about the public’s eating habits. He experienced a number of health miracles and disease reversals, and I wanted a piece of that too!

I had gained a ton of weight while emotional eating and wallowing in my own psych med coma, and I knew the juice cleanse would help me reset my unhealthy habits and detox all the drugs I had been on.

juice3

I did a 30-day juice cleanse in the summer of 2013 while working full-time as a lifeguard and camp counselor in Colorado. I was working out and running every day. I felt AMAZING and UNSTOPPABLE!

During the cleanse, I took it upon myself to learn how to eat properly once I finished the cleanse, because I wanted to retain all the amazing health benefits I had worked so hard for. I studied the work of Dr. Joel Fuhrman and other leading nutritional experts. I watched every health and food documentary I could get my eyes on.

The information I learned on my first cleanse helped set the foundation for learning to feed myself properly. I am constantly studying nutrition, holistic health, and experimenting on myself to find what works best for me. That means eating in a way that has been scientifically shown to prevent chronic illnesses and reverse the top killers of humankind, including cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s.

I’ve learned how to cleanse, and transform my habits so that the results stick and launch me into a whole new level of health and radiance!

I tweak my whole foods plant-based diet from time to time to adjust to changes in my body and my larger energetic context. I now eat a lowfat raw food diet, composed of fresh fruits and vegetables. I have never been more satisfied with a way of eating in my life! My cravings are pretty much nonexistent. I do crave okra and dark leafy greens sometimes, but there are no late night trips to the store to buy vegan ice cream, French fries, or chocolate. I have more energy than ever in my life!

I love juicing for y’all because that means there will be juice for me too, and it helps me stay on track in order to look and feel my very best so that I can be of service to the community.

I am committed to cultivating health, inspiration, and vitality in this town! Let’s transform together!

What’s in REAL Juice?

veggie1

Exclusively awesome ingredients, love, and high vibes! REAL Juice is made with fresh fruits and vegetables that are sourced from local, organic farmers as much as possible.

What do you mean by REAL?

REAL Juice is real in the sense that it’s only nature’s goodness packaged in such a way as to deliver you with the highest quality, real, living foods that the human body thrives on. This stands in contrast to the processed, engineered food-like substances that line the shelves of most grocery retailers and are served in many restaurants.

On a deeper level, this brand is about remembering who you are. Remembering and realizing your full, limitless, and infinite potential!

It’s about recognizing our inherent nature as spiritual beings. Embodying our innate capacity for empathy, that is, compassion for oneself, others, animals, and all beings. Accepting oneself, others, the world, and what is. And, loving God/the Universe/the Cosmos/one’s Higher Power, oneself, life, and all beings. Yeah, it’s pretty deep, but that’s how I roll.

Why organic?

I choose organic whenever possible to ensure the highest quality drink. Organic fruits and vegetables have been shown to be more nutritious and have greater enzyme activity, compared to conventional produce.

When a plant is grown organically, it must defend itself from bugs and other harsh conditions (e.g. dryness, too much rain, etc.). The defense mechanisms the plant uses to survive are the very same mechanisms that fight cancer and other diseases in our bodies. We call these compounds antioxidants.

Organic produce is also free from insecticides, herbicides, synthetic fertilizers, and other chemicals. The herbicide Roundup is one of the most toxic substances you can put in your body. Concentrating a chemical like Roundup in a juice is extremely harmful.

Environmentally, organic farming is more natural and sustainable for planetary balance, harmony, and cooperation.\

As you all probably know, organic costs more at the store. It is unfortunate that organic farmers have to go to great lengths to obtain certification and are in no way assisted by subsidies and government bodies to provide their produce at a competitive cost.

From a long-term perspective, spending extra money to buy organic is worth it, when you consider the likelihood of spending thousands of dollars on health expenses later.

Why local?

 We’ve got an awesome Monroe Farmers Market with some awesome farmers! The majority of the produce is purchased from Ken and Kathryn Huff who grow all their food organically in Oak Grove. Additional melons have been coming from Charles Holley and Ms. White. Herbs are grown organically by Cindy Kennedy in the Garden District, and by other loving friends who donate or trade with me.

veggie2

It is extremely important to support local farmers. They are working their tails off to provide an amazing service to the community. They are kind people who are doing things the natural way, largely unsupported by corporate interests and government subsidies. We have the chance every time we buy food to vote with our dollars for what we would like to be available and affordable. I want local, fresh, organic produce at a low cost!! How about you?

Speaking of cost, the price is a lot better when buying seasonally and locally. I can get bags and bags of food and a car full of melons at the market. Spending the same amount of money at the grocery store on organic translates to a couple bags of food.

There are health benefits too! When we buy local produce we are also consuming local microorganisms that will help us thrive in our environment. Eating food from the Monroe area while living in the Monroe area will help protect us from pathogens, allergens, and other influences specific to this area. It will align our bodies with the natural rhythms of the environment and help shape our gut flora and microorganisms that are responsible for our immunity, digestion, and many other processes. These little guys and gals outnumber human cells 10 to 1. Are we human or are we bacteria? That’s another article entirely!

Eating food from California while in Monroe might help us out if we were to take a trip to California. This is essential for parts of the year, but right now we have more options. Go befriend local farmers, and you will receive more than you can imagine!

What about REAL Food?

Prepare for blast off! This party just got started. More yummy delicious creations are on the way. Be sure to check out my page on Facebook, REAL Food & Juice, to learn how to get your fix the healthy, happy way!

juice2

Wreck It Weekend WOD 7/29/16

In honor of Jason Bourne out in theaters, here is your assassin inspired weekend smash fest!  Brought to you by WOD-RX.

Wod-Rx1

 

The Bourne Identity:

Bourne-Identity

3 Rounds

30 Second High Knees

30 Jumping Jacks

25 Push ups

3 Rounds

1:00 Mountain Climbers

10 Burpees

25 Squats

3 Rounds

45 Second Wall Sits

30 Side to Side Jumps

1:00 Elbow Planks

 

The Bourne Supremacy:

bourne supremacy

3 Rounds

45 Second High Knees

45 Jumping Jacks

30 Push ups

3 Rounds

1:20 Mountain Climbers

12 Burpees

30 Squats

3 Rounds

1:00 Wall Sits

45 Side to Side Jumps

1:20 Elbow Planks

 

The Bourne Ultimatum:

bourne ultimatum

3 Rounds

60 Second High Knees

60 Jumping Jacks

35 Push ups

3 Rounds

1:40 Mountain Climbers

15 Burpees

35 Squats

3 Rounds

1:15 Second Wall Sits

60 Side to Side Jumps

1:30 Elbow Planks

Weekend Workout 7/22/16

Welcome to Cardio Blitz weekend that’s inspired by the new Star Trek: Beyond!  Get a good sweat, torch some fat, and feel good about yourself.  Brought to you by WOD-RX!

Wod-Rx1

 

The Uhura:

Zoë Saldana plays Uhura in Star Trek Beyond from Paramount Pictures, Skydance, Bad Robot, Sneaky Shark and Perfect Storm Entertainment

3 Rounds

50 Jumping Jacks

20 Jump Squats

10 Half Burpees

3 Rounds

10 Second Sprint

20 Lunges

20 Leap Frogs

3 Rounds

40 Side to Side Jumps

20 Bench Step Ups

50 Jump Ropes

 

The Spock: (This is Illogical) 

spock

3 Rounds

60 Jumping Jacks

25 Jump Squats

12 Half Burpees

3 Rounds

11 Second Sprint

25 Lunges

25 Leap Frogs

3 Rounds

60 Side to Side Jumps

30 Bench Step Ups

75 Jump Ropes

 

The Captain Kirk: (Pure Will)

kirk

3 Rounds

100 Jumping Jacks

30 Jump Squats

15 Half Burpees

3 Rounds

12 Second Sprint

30 Lunges

30 Leap Frogs

3 Rounds

80 Side to Side Jumps

40 Bench Step Ups

100 Jump Ropes

Slump City: Stuck in Our Own Misery

How often do we get amped up to make big changes and fix our flaws for good? How many times have we decided that we will break free of our bad habits and achieve the happiness of our dreams? The number, in my experience, is incalculable. Typically, I move strong, full speed ahead, for a week or two. My discipline is on point and nothing gets in the way of my well thought out plan of success. Then I give in to a banned temptation or I indulge one of my vices.

The mental twists return in full force and, before I know it, I am repeating the same errors that I recently repented against. I find myself searching over and over again for the strength to bypass my hardwired laziness, negative outlook, and deeply ingrained self-sabotaging behavior. Where did I go wrong?

Like most humans, I suffer from being too hard on myself. I also tend to bite off way more then I can chew when it comes to changing my behaviors. I make great progress then the weight of my challenge becomes too much for my will to bear and I buckle. Like concrete, one crack quickly leads to another fissure that ripples through the foundation. Once I give in to one vice, it becomes so much easier to allow another slip until I am right back at square one.

I was a “dry drunk”, as they say. I had to come to terms with my flawed thinking and make a decision to do something about it.

I call this “slump city”. I get to a state of stalemate. I know I need to get back on the horse but each day that goes by the horse gets taller and the saddle becomes harder to reach. I begin to loathe myself for giving in and the shame of my decisions keeps me grounded in misery. I want to achieve my dreams but I can’t bring my butt off the couch.

In order to break the cycle of shame, we must accept our current situation. We have to be completely honest with ourselves about what we want and what needs to be done to get there. Everyone makes mistakes and that is okay. It’s time to stop crying and rolling in our pain.  The cure is Action. The only way to complete a journey is to put our heads down, focus, and take a step forward. Each step builds on the one before until we look up and see our destination in sight.

Every time that I get depressed or stunted it is always because of inaction.  I let my outside circumstances take president over my spiritual serenity.  I get overwhelmed by my job, my house projects, my relationship, or my family issues.  This pushes me into a shock like state where I feel incapable of completing the tasks at hand.  It is so much easier to curl up in the bed, put on a t.v. show and pretend that my problems will melt away.  This always leads to a building of tension.  A rational person would prioritize the issues and work through them systematically like a “to-do” list or ask someone for a little help. Unfortunately, I am far from rational and I require a significant amount of emotional pain before I make a move.

I went through this slump for a few weeks this past month.  I didn’t want to post anything, workout, go to work, eat right, or deal with my problems.  I made excuses for each one of my crappy behaviors and it was absolutely miserable. My selfishness had caused me to neglect my responsibilities and obligations.  I was a “dry drunk”, as they say.  I had to come to terms with my flawed thinking and make a decision to do something about it.

The turning point is when I asked for help.  I prayed for guidance in my life, called someone with an objective opinion, and tried to help someone else like me.  I got out of my own skin and remembered how amazing my life is today compared to how it was two years ago.  Once I finally started doing the work required of me, my mental road blocks began to disintegrate.  Through action, I was able to combat fear, remorse, resentment, selfishness, dishonesty, and pain.

This can be true for anyone, even if you’re not an alcoholic or drug addict.  Don’t be too afraid or too proud to ask for help, from God or another human being, because we all need a hand fighting our demons.  Start taking some steps towards a better life by actually working through the plan that you have set.  Most importantly, be grateful for the life you have now and the opportunity you have been given to be the best you possible.  Live your life with love and fulfillment.  When you get into Slump City, remember stop sulking and start working.  You will be back to normal in no time!

How Not to Ruin Your Relationship: A Quick Guide for Couples and Fitness

There is a fine line between pushing each other towards a fitness goal and pushing each other towards the open arms of another lover.  Couple’s tend to struggle most when there is a gap in weight or physical fitness levels between the two partners.  All too often, couples find it incredibly frustrating to motivate one another in their quest for a healthier lifestyle.  We get angry, upset, jealous, sad, depressed, and discouraged by our partner’s insistence on health or our lack of progress.  We often feel inferior to our spouse, especially if he or she has made substantially more progress than us.

In turn, said spouse can find it difficult to convey their love, appreciation, affection, and encouragement without coming off as disappointed or demanding.  For the most part, we all want to be better for our significant other physically, mentally, and emotionally.  The physical part seems to be the hardest portion to nail down.  Our society places so much emphasis on our outside appearance that we, not only feel pressure from the outside world, but also from the person we love most in it.

burnsnaked

I have had my fair share of knock-down, drag out brawls with my girlfriend over the concept of health and fitness.  I have experienced the helplessness and frustration of attempting to instill my drive, motivation, and knowledge of physical fitness in her.  Often times, we have argued over exercises at the gym, fought over our meal choices, and thrown our fair share of metaphorical punches while setting goals for each other.  I would spend hours cultivating new ways to communicate my feelings and intentions, but I continually came up short.  Every plausible solution I attempted created more anger, resentment, and caused a breakdown of communication. I simply could not understand why she didn’t grasp how much I wanted to help or how hard I was working to make her fitness dreams a reality.  I blamed her for not understanding, for not wanting to follow directions, and for always battling me on the concepts that I knew to be true.  I imagined shaking sense into her and screaming at the top of my lungs, “JUST LISTEN TO ME!”

Obviously, this bared no fruit.  I had been approaching the problem with the wrong perspective and the wrong agenda.  I was attempting to force her to find “my fitness”.  I had forgotten the years of consistent training, countless hours spent on health research, and the many, many failures that helped me define my drive.  I also realized that I have a deep passion for how the body works and how best to shape it.  I wanted to fast track her fitness and clone myself in a matter of days.  I was coming off as brutish, disappointed, and impatient.  I had complete tunnel vision.

I was treating her as if she were a regular client not the love of my life.  My clients do not have a vested interest in my happiness.  They are trying to change their physical life to be better for their own motivations, not for my approval.  All my girlfriend wanted was to make me proud and feel good about herself.  Yet, there I was attempting to train her like she was any other person.

There is a particular strain that can be put on a relationship when it comes to physical health and appearance. We want to impress our lover with an amazing body. We yearn for his or her approval. We need to feel confident that we are the only thing that he or she is looking at. If, at any time, these desires and needs do not get fulfilled, we become self-loathing creatures. This sadness and sour attitude bleeds into our work, our social life, and our relationships like poison. It infects our conversations and mental attitudes. If left untreated, these feelings will calcify and become a part of our mentality. This has ruined more than a few relationships and I would be damned if I let it happen to mine.

I forced myself to refocus my messages and rethink my communication.  I observed that, often times, my words were misconstrued and digested by her brain the complete opposite way that I meant them.  If I asked, “Have you hit the gym yet?”, she was hearing, “Why haven’t you worked out already?  How can you be this lazy?  I thought you loved me?”  All I wanted to know is if she had already worked out so I can structure my afternoon.  This simple disconnect in communication is linked to her thoughts, feelings, and emotions towards me, as well as her own self-confidence and perceived fitness level.  She is effectively projecting her insecurities onto my words, which creates a poisonous potion of disaster.

This happens with all relationships all over the world.  Both parties are at fault but the responsibility rests on the partner wishing to instill change in the relationship and lifestyle.  We must alter our communication to avoid accidental offenses and breed an environment of encouragement.  We must set an example for our loved one, not stand on a pedestal and shout down directions from on high.  We are in this together and we must do our best to support one another through, not just fitness goals, but life in general.

ideal together

Here are some tips and tricks to help you convey support, affection, and motivation to your significant other, that can prevent having to change your relationship status on Facebook:

1. Never Force Anything:  If your partner doesn’t feel like working out today, don’t ever tell them that their progress will suffer or that they “need” to get some exercise.  This puts distance between the two of you and makes him or her feel like a failure.  It also makes you come off like a disappointed parent who is upset about a subpar test result.  Let them know it is ok to rest and that they are making great progress.  Suggest a couple’s walk instead.  If they still don’t bite, cook dinner together and let it go.

2. Be Patient:  When we catch the fitness bug, we tend to shout from the roof tops and encourage everyone to jump on board the health boat.  That is all well and good but many people will not adopt your passion for weights or good food as quickly as you might like.  If your partner is a slow adapter, take your time!  Don’t push too hard or too fast.  Let him or her figure things out for themselves and grasp this new lifestyle at a pace that is comfortable.  Once your spouse sees progress or begins to feel better, he or she will naturally ramp up the volume.  Sit back and encourage, never push for performance or deadlines.

3. Let a Slip Slide:  There will be inevitable deviations from the path.  Your partner will veer off into sugar town or skip a few workouts in a row.  It’s going to happen.  Accept it and move on.  Don’t pout, give judgmental looks, or tell your lover that they’re falling off the wagon.  These life adjustments are hard and require a learned set of skills and mental toughness.  Not everyone is born with an ironclad will that helps to say no to cheese cake!  Let them have their cheat cake and workout break.  All you can do is be there for them when they wish to return and encourage their fitness voyage.

4. Set Couple Goals:  This can bring you both together and intertwine your fitness agendas.  Set a goal sheet for the week that has things like:  miles walked, workouts done, desserts skipped, or number of squats completed.  It can be anything that is measured in reps or distances but, keep the list simple, number oriented and, most of all, combined.  Do not set a column for your name and your partner’s, at least in the beginning.  When you each look at the goal list, you will see a combined total of work from both parties.  This will keep your spouse from feeling discouraged if he or she slacks on certain items.  If the two of you reach your target number have a reward set, such as: a couple’s dinner, back massage and pampering session, or small trip for the weekend.  Be creative and enjoy the work!

5. Love Unconditionally:  No matter if your spouse is failing to progress or quits entirely, love him or her.  You chose to be with this person for more than physical qualities.  A person is worth more than their weight.  Remember that the only thing you can truly do is be the best person you can be for your significant other.  The only control you have is over yourself and yourself alone.  You can’t make someone into something he or she isn’t.  You can only love that person for who he or she actually is.

Be Yourself

Be who you are no matter what.  It is a tiresome game to try and conform to everyone else’s preconceived notions of who you need to be or what you need to be doing with your life.  We are all different.  Each one of us has talents, abilities, interests, personalities, and ideas that can vary drastically from person to person.  It is okay to be different.  It is okay to be weird.  Embrace your own uniqueness and go forth into the world carving your own awesome path.
bffs

I worked for years to be the best pretender in the world.  I was chameleon that adapted my speech, attitude, and appearance to match whatever group I was with at the time.  I needed people to like me on a deeper level then I actually realized.  It was almost like the first drug I ever abused.  I sacrificed anything and everything I believed in for the approval of those around me.  I never had my own opinion, I was always agreeing with the majority, and never wanted to be on anyone’s bad side.  This was one of the most exhausting experiences of my life.  I spent all my time trying to be someone else that I lost myself in the process.

I finally realized, after many months of sobriety, that didn’t have to please everyone I came in to contact with.  I don’t have to give a shit what another person thinks about me.  As long as I work to do the next right thing, I can be myself without fear or apprehension.  The funny thing is that most people are too wrapped up in their own mess that they don’t have time to worry about liking me or not.  It is a selfish view to think everyone is constantly watching or judging me.  I love who I am today.  It is this love for myself that causes me to continually search for improvements.  I want to be the absolute best me that I can possibly be so that I may give the best of me back.

No days are perfect and I fall short most of the time.  Yet, it is my effort and intention that really matters.  If I perform the daily disciplines that will lead towards my success as best I can, then the results will take care of themselves.  Don’t ever compromise who you are for the sake of someone else’s opinion.  Each of us can be awesome and we possess amazing talents waiting to be contributed to society.  The only person you need to impress is yourself.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Work as hard as you can every day, be honest, follow through on your word, and help someone else.  These are undeniable principles and, if you practice them, quality people will naturally be drawn to you.  Be tireless in the pursuit of your dreams, passions, and interests.  Don’t take yourself too seriously and make time to enjoy the ride that is life.  As you work to better yourself and find the path that best fits your happiness, you will be amazed by how many people begin seeking out your approval.