Enjoy Your Life By Recognizing What You’ve Already Accomplished…

Keven Undergaro, AfterBuzz TV’s creator and one of the most influential people in my (Phil Svitek) life, foretold a decade ago that one day, if I subscribed to what he calls the samurai lifestyle, I’d be amazed at what I’d accomplish. First off, the samurai lifestyle is really simple. It demands a focus on the craft and eliminating distractions that take away from your work. Secondly, he was absolutely right. I am truly amazed at all the wonderful opportunities and achievements I’ve been a part of in my professional career over the past 15 years. In this lesson, I want to highlight the importance of taking a moment to reflect back on past accomplishments. Too many times we’re go, go go! It makes us lose sight of why we are doing what we’re doing and it takes the joy out. Life is meant to be enjoyed. You can find happiness in anything. So discover how gratitude can help create momentum to move you forward to new objectives with a sense of passion and purpose! I’ll give you techniques of how to see the beauty in yourself and the world so you can enjoy life. Comment below with any thoughts, questions or opinions you may have for me or Juliet Vibert.

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Hello to you. If you’re new to the series, I’m Phil Svitek, AfterBuzz TV’s Chief Operating Officer. Normally I shoot these episodes at the AfterBuzz studio. This lesson I’m shooting elsewhere for three reasons. One, I wanted to try shooting directly onto my iPad using a video teleprompter app. I’ll provide a link to the app in the description if you’re interested in downloading it for yourself. The second reason I’m filming off site today is because since you last saw me, I turned 30. For many, including me, that’s a big milestone. And I wanted this video to be as raw and personal as I could make it to honor this milestone in my life. And even though AfterBuzz has been a place I call home, it’s generally very busy. After all, on average we produce over 100 shows a week to an audience of millions across the world in both video and audio formats. So I wanted a secluded place just for this episode so I can properly reflect and think. And thirdly, by shooting it in this way, it allows me for a quicker turnaround time since I won’t be editing this video as heavily as I normally do. Given the fact that I’m a day behind in posting this, I figured that quicker was better in this case.

Anyway, let’s begin.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve decided to make it a mission of mine to help you master mental fortitude in order to achieve your creative endeavors – no different than what I aspire to do with the AfterBuzz hosts I work with directly. Well, in order to accomplish this lofty goal, I too must master mental fortitude.

Part of doing so means taking a moment to step back and show gratitude to those that have helped you and of course appreciate everything you’ve managed to accomplish for yourself. Sure, there may be more you would have wanted to knock out by this point but don’t sweat. The good news is there’s still time. So don’t beat yourself up. Rather, be thankful for what you have done thus far. Chances are, it’s more than you might have imagined.

Keven Undergaro, AfterBuzz TV’s creator and one of the most influential people in my life, foretold a decade ago that one day, if I subscribed to what he calls the samurai lifestyle, I’d be amazed at what I’d accomplish. First off, the samurai lifestyle is really simple. It demands a focus on the craft and eliminating distractions that take away from your work. The samurai lifestyle sums up the spirit of the lessons I’ve been highlighting each week through my various firsthand examples from AfterBuzz. It’s about no hurry, no pause. It’s about practice making permanent. It’s about becoming more effective with your time. And so on. For further details, I recommend checking out the previous episodes where I explore these notions.

Secondly, he was absolutely right. I am truly amazed at all the wonderful opportunities and achievements I’ve been a part of in my professional career over the past 15 years. I started editing professional at the first Hospice in America, attended Emerson College where I had a chance to work with Friend’s executive producer Kevin Bright and filmmaker Robert Patton Spruill. From there I went on to edit and produce Keven’s movie Adventures of Serial Buddies which lead to the path I’m on at AfterBuzz TV. That’s of course a truncated version of everything, but by staying the course, another phrase of Keven’s, I’ve managed to build an impressive career for myself. The same can happen for you if you adopt that same mentality of staying the course and chip away at your dreams little by little, day by day, and don’t lose sight of your goals. Those of you who suffer from procrastination or resistance at certain points, don’t worry. I recently read an article that blew me away and I can’t wait to share what I learned from it next episode.

Let’s stick to the topic at hand, though, shall we? The reason I want to stick to this topic even though it might seem more beneficial to explore actual step by step, real world tactics versus what may seem as just a mental exercise is because this mental exercise is fundamentally important to your craft. You must enjoy what you’re doing otherwise what’s the point?

There’s plenty of examples out there of people who by many standards seem successful. They might have lots of money, lots of friends, fame, you name it. But inside they’re miserable and the worse part is they don’t know why.

For periods of time I used to be like that. Anger was a word that best described my mood during those portions of my life. My anger wasn’t directed at anyone in particular, although often times that’s how it manifested itself. By allowing myself moments of introspection I started to see that I had no real need or reason for anger. There was plenty to be happy about. And I’m sure there’s plenty for you to be happy about.

That may sound easy for me to say since I don’t know your life and the hardships that accompany it. But people such as Victor Frank, a Holocaust survivor, have written books on the idea that happiness, despite any circumstances, is a choice.

If for some reason it’s hard to recognize moments of success and beauty within yourself at this point then try to recognize it in others. This weekend, to celebrate my birthday, I went with most of the AfterBuzz staff to Lake Tahoe. It was a deliberate way on my part for all of us to unwind away from the city and get back to nature while also spending meaningful time together. And it was a great weekend. But something unexpected happened. I became inspired. That’s not the unexpected part. I knew I’d become inspired in some way by going to Lake Tahoe. What was surprising is who inspired me and from what. I was inspired by Jeff Graham and Juliet Vibert, who also helps me produce this show. Jeff ignited me because he had such a passion to test out one of my cameras so he could become familiar with it before he shot a feature film that he wrote. Seeing him play with the camera and ultimately put together a short film with us all was like watching a kid on Christmas morning. Juliet was no different. She’s been getting more and more into photography and seeing her take pictures of everyone was an absolute joy to see. They infected me with their passion which I want to carry on in my work and in turn inspire them during moments when they’re feeling sad or not as happy.

Practice this exercise of recognizing passion in others and value your own progress through life. It is a source of immeasurable strength.

Now skeptics might ask that how can you look at the world and see joy when there’s so much bad in the world like all the school shootings that keep happening in America. Or in the case of California right now we’re suffering from a major forest fire. Or perhaps on a personal level, I just saw many of my host friends lose their job at Clevver because their parent company shut down. And these are just a few examples. So how can one remain happy in a dark world? To answer that question, I always go back to Andy’s words from The Shawshank Redemption:

That’s right – hope. It can be a beautiful thing even though it’s not a strategy. Use it as a guide in tough times to propel you forward in your actions. Sure, the world may seem dark and cruel but remain hopeful of change. Don’t think it’ll come? Well then you don’t know human history. Look at how far we have advanced. Slavery was abolished. Women gained equal rights. Discrimination of all kinds is being abandoned. Sure, there’s remnants of all these in our society but we’re further along than we used to be. And we must remain hopeful that further change is possible because it is. As I mentioned though, it requires something of you. It requires you to do something. That something really could be anything. So do something!

There is an asterisk however. That asterisk is this. I am of the belief that in life we have two choices at any moment. To create or to destroy. If you are like I used to be where you’re clouded by anger and therefore without hope, then you will default to destruction. We see evidence of this through all the violence in the world. If you’re someone of high consciousness and understand basic rights and wrongs of humanity then your form of destruction will be self destruction. You won’t want to do wrong to the world so the only thing left is yourself, even if you’re not fully aware. But just because you’re not harming “the world” doesn’t mean it’s right. After all, you’re of this world, so if you’re destroying yourself then you are destroying the world. Choose instead to always create. Make it a conscious effort each and every time you can. You might not get it perfect but that’s okay. When you choose to create, you’re acting from a hopeful, optimistic, caring, compassionate and loving place deep within yourself. Give a part of yourself to the world and the world gives you something infinite back in return. That was the feeling I felt when I observed Jeff and Juliet this weekend. They were coming from a place of pure creation and it affected me deeply. What they’ll gain in return I can’t quantify at this time. But I do know I’m not the only one that loves being around them. Lots of people enjoy working with the two of them and that energy can only help propel them in their life as people will be attracted to help them with their passions.

In order to create, you must recognize the goodness in the world and most importantly, in yourself. That is what moments of reflection allow you to do. That is what I allowed myself on this Lake Tahoe trip. I was able to look back at all the amazing things I accomplished. And you too can have that feeling.

As I recalled certain moments of my life, I also began to understand why I wasn’t able to accomplish some of the other things I did want to do by this stage in my life. I could pinpoint the instances of anger in my life and recognize that it was my fear of screwing up the world, which sounds like an insane thought and in many ways it is. Here’s what I mean by it though: for so long I looked at the world as a dark place that I just didn’t dare try to add to it. I didn’t want my actions to affect anything negatively. Now in hindsight, this ideal was never going to work because of course my actions, just like yours, have an affect. By distancing myself from the world, I was affecting myself in the worst of ways. Everything we do affects a part of the world and ourselves. This is a part of life I have come to learn and so the more you embrace that notion and aim to create with whatever you do, the better the world can be.

See I think part of why America is so divided is because most of us feel like everything’s so screwed up that we don’t want to mess it up further. But we have to step up. And that can be in whatever capacity that suits you. You don’t need to be a politician. If you’re a musician, then make the best music you can. If you’re a filmmaker, then make the best movies you can. And so on. The point is don’t shy away from what you love doing. Do what you love and do it to the best of your abilities. As Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see.”

You, like me, might be overwhelmed or feel like what could you possibly contribute that’s of value to the world. It was exactly this kind of thinking that prevented me for so long from starting this series. After all, the lessons I’m teaching I primarily learned from others and all I’m doing is re-contextualizing them in my own way. Well, the point of art is to be as honest and truthful as you can be. To offer your viewpoint of the world in hopes that it helps someone else. And that’s what I strive to do each week. As time goes by I’m sure I’ll learn more and be able to articulate my experiences and lessons learned to you in a more meaningful and impactful way. But most influential people started not knowing much and growing from there.

It was this sentiment that freed me and allowed me to begin this journey of mine in teaching you. You don’t need to solve world hunger or create peace in the Middle East. Just do what you can. That’s enough. Help others when you can. But mostly help yourself. It’s no coincidence that airlines tell passengers to put air masks on themselves before assisting others. You need to maintain optimal health and status yourself, first and foremost. Taking time, like I did, to pause at certain milestones, forces you to take stock of what you’ve managed in your life. Appreciate it. Because I’m sure you’ve done wonderful things.

The holidays are fast approaching. They offer a perfect opportunity to spend time with loved ones and look back at the year and what you’ve managed to knock out. Be proud and don’t be afraid to smile a little. It’s totally okay. And when you’re done, hold that smile and carry that feeling into your future work.

There you have it. That’s the lesson I learned when I turned 30. Summed up, just enjoy life. After all, it’s the only one you got.

However, before you click away, here’s a few more things. First I wanted to take this opportunity to thank everyone in my life who has ever helped me. I was blessed to have many great mentors who I’ll always cherish. Thank you to each of you as well as all my friends, my family members and people I have yet to meet. For those watching right now, a big influence in my life in the past few months has been a blend of stoicism and the teachings of Don Miguel Ruiz. I highly recommend exploring both to anyone. I of course will seek to parse out specifics for you each week as well. To help reinforce this lesson you can read the full transcript on my website. A link is provided. Please be sure to hit that like button if you enjoyed this episode and tell your friends and family about it. Leave a comment with your thoughts and opinions and what lessons you’d like to see me tackle next. The more specific you are with your questions, the better I can answer them. Also, you can support this show on patreon.com/philsvitek if it doesn’t burden you financially in any way. Every contribution is truly appreciated and helps defray the costs of putting on this show – which as you can imagine takes a lot of effort. To be notified when future episodes release, subscribe on Apple Podcast, YouTube, Facebook, Google Podcast, Spotify or whatever other platform is most convenient to you. Specific links are provided below. Lastly, if you’re interested in joining AfterBuzz TV as a host or as an intern, visit AfterBuzz TV’s contact page. A direct link is provided. Or of course you can Tweet @PhilSvitek or Instagram @BonjourJuliet. Thanks for watching. I’ll see you next week with another one of my life lessons. Bye!

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