Active Life Choices Are The Key To Making Changes In Your Life

by Richard Furleigh

Conversations with different important people in my life combined with my own recent frustrations with not feeling like I’m creating as much as I want have led me to a deep reaffirmation of the following: anything you want to do has to start with an active choice.

When I say an active choice I do literally mean something that is an action (or lack thereof) in your life. Putting on your shoes and walking around the block, eating a carrot instead of chips, not buying that new game that just came out, putting pigment on that brush and applying it to the canvas. As long as it is something that physically moves you toward your final objective that is the crucial first step. It shows that it isn’t impossible to start, that accomplishing small tasks as part of the whole is do able, and even if it’s as small as going on that walk to start your diet you can point to it and say “I did that, and I can do this”

Recently I’ve been struggling with feeling like my time has constricted itself to the point that I have no time to be creative, to really create new content and art that I feel is important. So I’ve made two changes that I know will help me. First I’ve looked at other things that I have done this semester. I may not have made any “art” per say, //giphy.com/embed/RI6uwElqPErrq

A silly little thing I made, I call it “Penguin Execution”

but I have broadened my horizons with blogging, and making the couple videos for other classes. These are still very valuable skills to have in creative creation and framing that in that way has helped me feel a little better about it. Second I’ve decided that I will begin writing or editing a piece once a week for a minimum of 30 minutes without interruption, which means no cell phone! This is my actionable goal, and honestly I have to stick with it, just to get things down. I’ve told myself I’m not shooting for Shakespeare here, just getting words on the page is important because especially in the creative process sometimes you don’t know what you’re putting down is good until after it’s already there. I could also just write utter crap, but that could be the crap that spurs the golden thought, or the groundwork for a great scene after editing it. Honestly it doesn’t matter, just getting something done to progress my goal is the key to get things going.

When it comes to life and our choices it really does boil down to “if you always put in what you’ve always put in you’ll get in return what you’ve always gotten.” If you want to change something about your life then find one thing, it doesn’t even matter how small, and start there. Maybe you’re trying to write the next big movie script but can’t seem to get past character and world development. Cool, just writing even one line of dialogue a day is a start. The key here is to make a change that echoes across your life, to pull the trigger on something that is actionable to you.
So what is it that you have been putting off because it seems too daunting? What is that thing that you know you should do but just haven’t got around to it yet? Well, this is the time to do it. I’m not asking you to plan every tiny detail, but get a rough idea on where you want to go and start with one item. One task that will move you in the right direction. Once your done with that one, make another, and another, and…. But for now, just one, small, task, to finish is all you need. If someone needs a little advice, help them out, share this with them and offer to help them be accountable for their task. We can help each other grow and learn too. Until next time Pengminions!

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Importance of Getting Outside Your Comfort Zone

by Richard Furleigh

Wake up, drink coffee, shower, work, lunch, work, meeting, home. Routines breed comfort in your day to day life, and in some ways they can help regulate your life and help keep you on task. Simplicity in some aspects of your life (like Steve Jobs’s obsession with jeans and black turtlenecks) can help bring creativity to other aspects of your life, but venturing outside of that from time to time is vital to helping your mind stay agile and flexible.

If you’ve ever run across people who can never seem to change anything in their life there is a reason for that, and needless to say those people are often not the most inspired people in the world. In the tech world I see this all the time and essentially it boils down to voluntary ignorance. There is something new to learn or try yet somehow this inspires fear; this isn’t limited to any age, position, or anything else. Last week I wrote about a friends company who is making them do cold calls to drum up business. As a fortune 100 company this would be embarrassing for me to ask my employees to do. Yet those who are in charge at these stoic institutions refuse to use the same time that they are wasting with the antique to work on a new outreach and cultivation program that they could implement.

This serves as an example in the workplace but there are times in our personal lives we need to break out and do something different as well. It’s colloquial, but the phrase “if you aren’t moving forward you’re moving backward” does have a lot of weight to it. One of my professors is fond of saying that entropy will kill all systems that do not reinvent themselves. Now it’s not about reinventing the wheel every day, but simply finding new ways to work your mind so that you don’t find yourself completely stuck into patterns that will eventually sabotage you.

If you find yourself stuck in a loop here are a few really easy things that you can do to help break out of it:

  1. Dress completely different than your normal style: This may seem like a small thing but I know that how I’m dressed can affect my mood and how I feel about myself and can get you thinking a little differently.
  2. Go take a walk around in a park or space that you haven’t been before: The new surroundings may inspire
  3. Get food at that new place you’ve been meaning to try: A different experience may bring a fresh feeling to the rest of your day. Just don’t get the safe option for your meal.

This may be a simplified list, but it usually doesn’t take much to kick start your creativity and move past those blocks we construct in our heads.

My challenge for you is simple: do one out of the box thing this week. Go sing karaoke, drive the LONG way to work, something that is more than a little weird even. Just see where that decision takes you! If you have some fun with it, or have any other ideas for ways to break out, let us know! We’d love to hear about it in the comments. Until next time Pengminions!

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The Gym Isn’t the Only Way to Workout

~Kristen Furleigh

Don’t give up your dreams of being healthy and strong just because you can’t afford a gym membership. Money or lack thereof can have a negative impact on our ability to believe we can still achieve. When funds get tight one of the first things to go straight to a wish list is a gym membership, and with it our willingness to think beyond to what we will do in it’s place. The whole possibility of being fit seemingly vanishes but it does not have to.

There a plethora of tools out there you can utilize that won’t cost you money but can still give you the health benefits of having a gym membership; so don’t fret. You can make things happen if you are willing to do the slightly unconventional. Richard and I haven’t ever budgeted for a gym membership because we would rather put that money towards an experience or artistic materials which often don’t come cheap. We are still able make working out fun and beneficial for us.

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The great outdoors is a typically free resource available to you almost anywhere you live. Weather can be an obstacle here depending on where you live but for most of us we can suck it up when its a bit warmer or colder than our preferred state of comfort. Go for a run to get your cardio in and utilize the space in a park that has workout stations along the course. You can usually find out where your city parks are by visiting your city website or GoogleMaps works well too. Go scope them out to find out which one offers what you are looking for. We even saw an outdoor workout facility in San Francisco that looked like a crossfit gym!

Did you know that YouTube, besides offering music and cute cat videos, is also a hub for countless exercise videos? You can find workout videos for just about anything you can imagine. From Yoga to full length exercise classes to short, specific muscle focused instruction. If you get bored you can always switch it up with something else.

On the topic of video instruction, if you can rely on yourself to cancel, BeachBody offers free 30-day access to a large number of their programs that you can stream on just about any device. Just remember to schedule a reminder in your phone before your offer expires to avoid being charged! This can be great to get you started with an at home routine. If you are afraid you will forget the steps of the work out you can write them down to reference after your trial period.

If you can find a gym buddy! If you have a friend who has a gym at their apartment complex see if you can join them. Many don’t require a sign in so as long as you have the access code or card to get in you can use their equipment. We did this when my parents lived in an apartment complex that offered these amenities. Remember to always be respectful of others and the equipment in the gym.

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If you are in college or live in an active community be on the look out for free events. We were able to learn acroyoga by joining a club on campus. Summer is a great time to find free outdoor events where they offer instruction that gets you moving. Take advantage of these opportunities and write down what you learn so you can workout on your own.

Investing in yourself will always take time but it doesn’t always have to cost you money. What are some things you do to stay fit on a fitness budget of $0? We would love to try our hand at your approach. Leave your thoughts in the comments; we love to hear from you! Til next time Pengminions!

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Your morning coffee says more than you think

by Richard Furleigh

Think back to one of the last purchases you made, what were some of the reasons behind it? Was it a trendy piece of clothing that you got because it looked good, groceries you needed to stock up on, coffee at one of the many roastery options out there because you needed a pick me up? Think harder for a moment about why you  actually chose that particular item however and you may find that it has a little more to do with the influences of those around you than your own thoughts.

In exploring Living Creatively we repeatedly have to reexamine the reasons behind our choices, even the everyday answers to why we buy one product and not another at the store, or even what store we went to in the first place! Sometimes the reasons we make certain choices seems benign and inconsequential, but sometimes they are subversive and over time will hurt us more than we realize if not caught early on. Social influences on our purchase choices account for an astounding proportion of the reasoning for… Well…. Everything. Check out this article written by Dr. Ahmad Chaudhry talking briefly about the extent to which this is present.

Personally I will ask myself what is it I’m actually searching for in a product or service I can break it down and find the real reasons rather than allow how people may perceive me for my choices to affect me. When searching for a good quality mug for coffee and tea I came across the RTIC tumbler. Not as well known, but their stainless steel cups are identical to their much more expensive and popular cousin Yeti. The price difference for doing my research and choosing function over everything else saved me $28; for almost ¼ the cost of the Yeti my Earl Grey stays quite hot all day.

It can be choices as small as a $1 coffee at Mc. D’s vs $4 at Starbucks. The green mermaid has a certain status associated with her, but in more recent years McCafe drip coffees rank just as good or even better than Starbucks. So if you stop and ask yourself, if what you really want from your coffee is good taste then oddly enough you’d be better off going to McDonald’s for your daily dose of caffeine.

These may seem inconsequential, but it is small actions and decisions that will in the end add up to bigger and better changes. Questioning the small things in your life will build up into strength that allows you to look deeply into your own life. Everything from relationships, to your job, to your own purpose, to as a man changing my own last name when I got married.

Have you begun to question some small things in life or have some tips on other ways to make those shifts happen? Let us know in the comments below and get out there to make some positive changes in your life today!

Living Life Creatively

Living Life Creatively
~Kristen Furleigh

Living life creatively to me is a lifestyle even more than that though it transforms into a way of being. It is finding ways to do things differently. My mind has always taken the “normal” and asked questions. Most important has been “Why?”. Why do we do the things that we do and do we have to do them that way. Just because something has been done a certain way forever does not mean we have to continue in the same manner.

Finding ways to create meaning in the things that we do is important. When curating our lives I believe that just because someone before you has done it one way does not mean that we have to do the same. We can create our own path. Just because there is a road that has been traveled many times and is “safe” does not mean that is the path we should take because what it means to us may not be the same as those before us. Sometimes you’ve got to, as cliche as it is, take the road less traveled. Something that is a bit uncertain. You never know the beauty and fulfillment that awaits when you are honest with yourself about your own life.

We have to make the decision to create our own lives, otherwise we end up existing without really living. It is critical to find and shape our own path, and to live our life in a way that is authentic to who we are and what we as individuals believe. We have to seek the truth and passion in our lives or else we end up simply taking up space in the world instead of actively contributing something positive to it. It is by no means an easy feat and takes dedication to searching, questioning, and doing. The execution can often be the hardest part because fear and doubt set in. It is scary to go into uncharted waters. Creativity leaves you vulnerable because what if someone doesn’t like it or agree with your “out of the ordinary” choice.

I implore you to go on that journey. Explore the world. Create art. Adventure outside your normal and try things different than what you know and is comfortable.

In business, in art, in life make the choice to do things a little differently and see how much you can open up your world and opportunities. Our experiences help guide us; be willing to give it, whatever it is, a TRY!

I’m excited to share with you some of our creative journey. I hope we can inspire you to join us!

We would love to hear about some of your experiences too. Share them with us in the comments below or in a message. Til next time Pengminions!

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Living Creatively and How I See It

Living Creatively and How I See It
by Richard Furleigh

Many people say they try to live creatively, to think differently, yet few people manage to actually achieve this. To me it is the culmination of questioning the reasoning behind why people choose to do things, to examine if there is a different or better way, and then actually following through. It seems more and more that the last part of that is the difference between those who live creatively, who make real change in this world, and those who simply talk about it.

Creative living is more than just life hacks, alternate lifestyles, or simply being an artist. It is utilizing the ability to tap into the creative process, to seeing things from new eyes and perspective, and to think at a higher level in order to help make better sense and navigate the world around us. It is about using information given, and when that isn’t enough reaching out to those who do know or teaching ourselves, in order to grow.

One of the most pertinent examples I can think of is the entire fact that Kristen and I enrolled into a Master’s level business program after getting a Bachelor’s in theatre. When people ask what I do I tell them I am a professional actor, who also happens to not want to be a starving artist. From many of my artistic friends I get quizzical looks and questions about my commitment to my craft; the starving artist lifestyle is so ingrained into the collective psyche of our community that people often don’t think about any other way to do it. I have made the bold decision to opt out of that life by getting a degree that will allow me to get a well paying job with health benefits and financial stability.

There is also another major component to being an actor that having a well paying position will allow me; the ability to self fund larger projects. Instead of waiting around for a role to come up I can simply put up a show myself. Don’t think there are enough quality scripts by women being shot? Find one and collaborate to produce it.Even the simple ability that when producing a project, to actually pay other artists for their time will be extremely fulfilling; the ability to help someone else be able to pay their bills with their craft will be indescribable.

There is also an element of creativity in the workplace that feeds into this very mindset. The actor’s ability to enter the mind of someone else to bring other issues to light, improvisation that allows us to ask “yes, and”, the ability to look beyond the obvious for the deeper meaning and purpose of the work. These are all invaluable team driven skills that are not taught in any management classes that I’m aware of.

I hope that in some small way Kristen and I can help empower you as well, this is truly my fervent wish. Find some grain of insight here that you can take back to both your work and personal lives and use it to build something better. If you do then stick around, subscribe, and check back soon as the Furleighs add more on our little perspective of the world.

Cheers!
Richard Furleigh