how to live an exceptional life

All the way up until in the year 1954, it was a common and widely propagated myth (created by sports writers) that a human being was physically incapable of running a 4 minute mile.
¹ "The reason the myth took hold was that four minutes was a nice round number which was slightly better (1.4 seconds) than the world record for nine years, longer than it probably otherwise would have been because of the effect of World War II in interrupting athletic progress in the combatant countries."
Then on May 6, 1954, during a meet between British AAA and Oxford University, Mr. Roger Banister finally broke the world record. He ran the mile in 3 minutes, 59.4 seconds, and achieved what others had claimed to be physically impossible.

Since that amazing feat in 1954, eighteen people have gone on to best that mile record, along with thousands of other people who have since been able to break the 4 minute mile.

Why am I telling you this story? Because this story changed how I live my life today.

You see, for the majority of my young adult life:

  • I believed that in order to have money and be happy, I had to get a "job".
  • I believed that it was a true sign of success to live a very high consumption lifestyle.
  • I believed that debt was a "normal" and necessary way of living.
  • I believed that exercise was a waste of time.
  • I believed that animal products were healthy.
  • I believed that I had no choice but to put up with negative and toxic relationships.
  • I believed that it was a good idea to party like there was no tomorrow.
  • I believed that driving a new car was a smart idea.
  • I believed that it was normal to get fatter as I got older.
  • I believed that prescription medications were the solution to a lot of our country's health problems.

Basically I believed in a lot of the same things that the vast majority of our society believed (and still believes) to be true, and that made me feel comfortable and accepted by everyone around me.

But beneath that superficial life that I was portraying to the outside world through overpriced apartments and expensive clothing and cars, I was a very unhappy person. I kept trying to fill my life in with all the things I thought I needed to get people to like me, but deep down I knew that this was really no way to live.

The Turning Point

Looking back, in many ways I was incredibly fortunate that the powers-that-be intervened and essentially forced me to make the necessary changes in my life that I had been unwilling to make on my own. Several of my formerly rock-solid belief systems had been abruptly taken away from me and I had to choose whether I wanted to sink or swim -- thankfully I chose to swim.

A lot of very tempting options presented themselves to me during that fragile phase of my life. For instance: When I was without transportation while living in Florida, I easily could have gone to one of those shady car lots that will let you finance a vehicle for zero down in exchange for an outrageously overpriced monthly payment -- but instead I chose to be "weird" and rode my bike to work instead.

There was no way of knowing it at the time, but when I made that decision to not do what everybody else would have done, something changed inside me. It was like an enormous stone had been thrown into the giant pond that was my life. That one decision had caused a new ripple in the way I made decisions, and it completely changed me.

More importantly though, that decision gave me the confidence to open my eyes and see the obvious flaws associated with following the crowd and doing what everybody else does.

The Payoff

Whenever I look at stories like these, they give me the inspiration and encouragement I need to pursue my own dreams without worrying that they might not come true. Thanks to people like Roger Bannister, I now believe that I can pursue and accomplish anything I set my mind to -- regardless of whether people believe it's possible or not.

Ever since I decided to live my life in this way, I have:

  • lost one hundred and thirty pounds.
  • quit smoking cigarettes on my own.
  • reaped the benefits of eating a vegetarian diet.
  • found my own unique blend of faith that resonates with my heart and soul.
  • met and married the most amazing woman in the world!
  • ran and biked thousands upon thousands of miles.
  • learned how to live from my heart.
  • learned how to accept (and be) myself, regardless of what other people think.
  • discovered happiness and fulfillment in my life and work.
  • learned to live comfortably below my means, free from the confines of debt.
  • learned self disciplined.
  • learned to take responsibility for my own health and not depend on health insurance or medicine to get me through life.
  • become an all around better human being.

Now when I look at the things I'm trying to accomplish in my life -- instead of searching high and low for made up rules or ancient excuses as to why something is impossible or why something can't be done (like most people do) -- I choose to search high and low for the people who have successfully done what I am trying to do, and I follow their lead. If I can't find anyone, then it's up to me to create the exception to that particular rule so that others can follow in my footsteps.

Just think about all the things that have been accomplished in this world that were once believed by the masses to be impossible, and how all it took was one or two individuals to change our world forever. What's stopping you from being the next Henry Ford or Roger Bannister or Steve Jobs? What myth or false belief might be holding you back from achieving your own dreams of becoming the person you ultimately want to be? What can you do today that will put you on the path towards being that person?

Nobody should have to settle for an average life. Whatever you want to do, if you believe in your heart you can do it, then you can do it. No matter what your dreams may be, my sincere hope is that you figure out what they are and let nothing stop you from achieving them.

You know, we only have this one life. So why not take full advantage of your creativity and your curiosity while you still have the chance? Strive to become the change that you want to see in this world -- and then don't stop until you do it!

Remember, it's only impossible until somebody else does it.

Much love,

Corey Barton

¹ Roger Bannister - Wikipedia

don't be afraid to be yourself

I had an interesting conversation with a friend the other day, and at one point something occurred to me that I had never really thought about before: A lot of people these days are living in fear of expressing their true selves.

As I began discussing the implications of this idea, I struggled to articulate how I went from being someone who was afraid of the truth, to being someone who embraced it with open arms.

I knew there were many times in my past where I had been absolutely terrified of what would happen if people discovered the truth about who I really was or how I truly felt inside.

Then I thought about how four years ago -- around the same time I began my journey to lose weight and get my life in order -- something happened that changed the trajectory of my life forever...

I let go of my fears!

  • Fear of judgement
  • Fear of failure
  • Fear of rejection
  • Fear of not fitting in
  • Fear of ridicule
  • Fear of death
  • Fear of being laughed at
  • Fear of abandonment

I knew that before I could move forward in my life, I was going to have to face the man in the mirror and accept who I was for better or for worse.

The first fear I tackled was the fear I had of being judged and/or made fun of. That was a relatively easy fear to overcome once I understood that some people are (and always will be) pricks, and that the only thing that truly matters was what I thought about myself.

Accepting that fact lead me to the profound conclusion that all of my fears existed only in MY MIND -- I was in control of them!

This simple idea was the key that ultimately freed me from my fears, and I finally began living a life filled with pure honesty and complete transparency. Unfortunately, when that happened, the world at large was not entirely eager to reciprocate...

What I discovered is that the majority of the people in our culture are living their lives just as I had been living before -- hiding from their fears and from the truth.

Now I'm not going to sit here and pretend that I have any clue as to what kind of junk you might personally be hiding from or have yet to deal with in your life. All I can tell you for sure is that when you do decide to finally own up to (and deal with) your problems, you will discover that they were not as big of a deal as you had previously made them out to be.

Whatever you are ashamed of, it will do you absolutely no good to bottle it up or pretend like it never happened. You are much better off accepting it as a part of your past that you are not particularly proud of -- and then move on.

When you do this you take away whatever power your junk might have held over you, and you can then be free to focus that power towards something beautiful, constructive and worthy of you.

I believe Dr. Seuss said it best...

"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter won't mind."

Deep down, people crave authentic relationships. People want friendships that truly matter! So talk with a friend, talk to your spouse, or maybe just talk to someone you trust. It really doesn't matter who, but you need to talk to somebody. No matter how stupid or frightening it may seem, you have to let your junk out. When you do, I promise you will feel better.

Don't waste your life forever trying to live up to the expectations of other people. Instead learn to love, embrace and be who you are!

Peace and love,

Corey Barton

10 simple ways to improve your life

Over the past few years I have read a lot of fantastic work regarding the different methods one can use in order to improve the quality of their life. More importantly though, I have experimented with them.

As a direct result, I have come up with a pretty neat array of different things that you can do today to help improve your own life.

Below is a list, in no particular order, of a few things that I have applied to my life that have had a positive impact on me personally. My advice to you is to not take my word for it, but to simply try these methods out for yourself and see if they might be helpful to you.

[1]  Exercise.

I could talk to you all day about the benefits of exercising, but for the sake of time I will try to keep these brief and to the point.

Thirty minutes of exercise every day can work wonders in your life. To me, exercise is simply a fun and rewarding way to maintain and repay your body for being so wonderful to you. I've said this before, but it truly does not matter what kind of exercise you do. As long as you figure out a way to move your body for 30 minutes (1/48th of your entire day) every day, it will help you avoid weight gain and will also release chemicals into your bloodstream that will make you feel happier.

Exercise is always a win/win!

[2]  Spend a little time educating yourself about what you are putting in to your body.

Before I really got in to studying nutrition and raw foods, I was just like many of you: I believed a lot of the things that were told to me. I took comfort and felt comfortable with the little information I had about the food I was eating every day.

When I started to study nutrition on my own, I learned a lot of "new" and really useful things about food that were actually really easy to comprehend, I just never had bothered to take the time to learn them before. Most of what I read, I believed right away because it just made sense to me.

  • Milk actually draws calcium away from your bones because cow milk is acidic.
  • The older a food is, the less nutrients it has.
  • Cooking food (and heat in general), depletes vitamins and minerals in all foods.

The list can go on and on really. The point I am trying to make is that by taking a little time out of my life and dedicating it to teaching myself about different topics that were affecting my life, it yielded a lot of positive results.

Realistically, it only took about one book and two documentaries before I felt informed and comfortable with the decision to change my eating habits around to where it actually began to improve my body and mind.

If you would like some recommendations, you can email me and I would be more than happy to help you.

My hope though, is that I have encouraged you enough with my own positive results that you feel inspired to seek out some truth for yourself that is relevant to you in your life.

[3]  Drink Distilled Water.

In my quest to find truth in my own life, I have discovered a lot of not so great things about the stuff that is found in standard tap water these days, namely fluoride.

I'm not going to get into my beliefs about what you should be putting into your body, and I'm not going to sit here and pretend that I never drink tap water either - that's just silly.

But I can tell you that from what I have learned, distilled water is relatively inexpensive (0.87 cents per gallon) and is the cleanest water you can drink. I don't know about you, but I just really love putting good stuff into my body if I can help it.

[4]  Try going meatless just one day a week.

Meatless Mondays have become a pretty popular new trend that is sweeping the nation right now, and I'm all for it! Despite my own personal reservations about meat, I honestly believe that everyone can have fun and benefit from finding new and delicious dishes to eat that do not contain meat once a week.

I believe that the positive effects from not eating meat for just one day can, and likely will, trickle down into the rest of your week. Over time it will help you enjoy a much wider variety of foods.

Yet another win/win situation!

[5]  Eliminate debt and discover fun and creative ways to reduce your current spending.

I am by no means a rich man - at least not yet any way. One thing I can tell you is that even though I am not rich by traditional standards, I am wealthy.

I have learned from the error of my ways that debt is not a good idea, and that the money I work for is important enough to me that I want to spend it in the most wise way possible. What does that mean exactly? It means I have sought out information to educate myself on how to lower my bills and downgrade my expenses so that I have more freedom in my life to do what I want with the money I earn.

To me, wealth is related more to a state of mind than a number. I feel financially free now from debts and because of that I have less stress and less worry in my life. This creates a positive snowball affect that leaves me feeling free and fulfilled to do what I want with the money I have. It also affords me the freedom to pursue work that truly matters to me.

I encourage others to live in such a way that they no longer have to worry about money and can focus instead on joy, abundance and peace.

I would be happy to offer any advice I can to anyone who might be struggling and would like some assistance with getting on a track to winning with their finances.

[6]  Take time to discover work that plays to your strengths.

This kind of goes along with what I wrote in the previous step. The reason I feel this is so important is because when you are working in an area that plays to your strengths, you are far more likely to be excellent at it. By excelling at your work and loving what you do, you are also more likely to receive an increase in pay.

This is a subject that I am currently dealing with right now, so I'm not going to pretend that I have it all figured out. What I have learned so far though, is that your strengths and weaknesses are probably not what you believe they are.

Based on what I have learned, your strengths are things you do that make you feel strong, which is a sharp contrast to the popular belief that your strengths are merely the things you are good at.

The best advice I can give you is to watch this thirty minute short film that was made by a well renowned author and motivational speaker named Marcus Buckingham. It has been incredibly helpful to me in my own journey to discover my strengths, perhaps it will help you too.

[7]  Read one non-fiction book a month that will help you grow as an individual.

Listen, I know that some of you out there are not very fond of reading non-fiction books. In fact, I even empathize and understand why you do not like them. Perhaps you think they are dull or that they just aren't exciting enough to match up to your fantastic fictional worlds you are accustomed to.

I get it. Truth be told I am not a fiction reader, but I can attest that I adore fictional films. Heck, I can recite every single Harry Potter movie almost word-for-word.

But the fact is that in order to really grow as individuals, we need to learn from people who have already been through what we are (about to be) going through. That's not to say that fiction doesn't have it's place. I have learned a lot from many fictional characters in my life. I have adopted their positive character traits and I feel they have improved my life and made me into a better person.

What I'm trying to say to you, is that in order to learn about the really important things like personal finance, weight management, diet & nutrition, personal hygiene, sexual reproduction, etc., you will absorb a great deal more from a non-fiction book than you ever will from reading a fictional book regarding the same subjects. Like I said before: We learn best when we can relate what we are learning to something real and tangible.

Listen, I want you to be able to do the things you love to do. But in order to do that, you need to learn how to expand your mind and educate yourself about these adult subjects that are relevant and important to you in your own life.

Whatever the case may be, I highly recommend you give this one a real shot. Reading non-fiction has been incredibly beneficial to me in my life, and I truly believe they will help you too.

[8]  Watch less television.

I read a statistic once that claimed that for every hour of television watched, your lifespan is shortened by twenty-two minutes.

I don't exactly know how they came up with that statistic, but what I can tell you is that from personal experience, watching less television is always a good thing.

Why? Because it gives you more time to do the things you really love to do: go outside, play music, read books, have conversations with people you love, exercise, draw, etc. Wouldn't you agree that pretty much anything is better than wasting an entire day sitting in front of the television screen?

Me personally, I try my best to limit myself to maybe one hour a day, and that is usually right before I go to bed at night.

[9]  Spend more time with friends and family.

This one might sound kind of obvious, but it's amazing to me how helpful it can be to remind myself to do this every now and again. Because let's face it, life gets busy. Before we know it we have become so engulfed in our own lives that close friends and family members fall by the wayside.

The reason I believe this is so important to remember, is because I have personally experienced what happens when I fail to maintain my relationships with the people I love and care about most. I realize now that it has a direct affect on my mood, my happiness and my sense of personal fulfillment.

I don't know about you, but when I go too long without connecting with a friend or family member, I get this nagging sense that something is missing in my life. Then this sort of emptiness and longing for human interaction hits me like a sack of bricks until I wake up and realize that it has been far to long since I saw them last.

I bring this up to highlight the simple fact that in my life, in order to be happy, I sometimes need to remind myself how important it is to spend more time with the people I love. All I'm suggesting is that maybe you might too.

[10]  Create!

The last one is rather easy but again, a lot of us get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of life that we develop a tendency to neglect our built-in desire to express our creativity.

Whether it be drawing, sculpting, writing or singing - set it in your weekly planner to spend at least one hour each week doing something that allows you to express your own unique abilities.

You'll be amazed how much fun and how much happiness that one hour will draw into your life.

Final Thoughts

I have come a long way from being a mopey eeyore, to truly feeling fulfilled and happy inside. Granted, I am by no stretch of the imagination "perfect", but I still strive each and every day to improve myself and find new ways to make the best out of my short time on this wonderful planet.

My hope is that you too will learn to develop new ways to squeeze as much joy and happiness out of life as you possibly can.

Take care.

~Corey Barton