What I learned about happiness from the Chicago White Sox

If you’ve been following me the past couple months, you know that my beloved “cheat nights” have been non existent. On Monday night I ended a near two month streak of eating clean at the White Sox game…

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….there weren’t too many others with the same agenda as me.

Perhaps it was the low attendance. Maybe it was that I went to the game alone. Or maybe it was the fact that I didn’t drink as much as I normally do at baseball games (great money saver!) But I seemed to be keenly aware of things that I don’t typically notice at baseball games. All of them center around the thing I’m always searching for most: Happiness.

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Isn’t it interesting how much time and money we set aside for fun activities?

We easily drop a couple hundred dollars for a night of fun. Yet from what I noticed, it seemed a lot of people were paying lots of money just to be unhappy that night.

I noticed it from the gentleman sitting in front of me. These men had dugout seats and the rest of the row to themselves. Yet their conversation centered around their dislike of the pitcher,  previous years of White Sox mediocrity and heckling the struggling hitters.

I noticed it too on specific plays. At one point, the pitcher made a great grab on a ground ball, only to follow by making a fielding error. The fans groaned and quickly started to boo. The boos were followed by jeers and nasty comments that could easily be heard by the pitcher on the mound. Interesting, I thought – the fans who played lots of money to be there, were assumedly there to be happy, were furiously at this one play. (Which, by the way, didn’t end up affecting the score.)

And because I’m also #notperfect, I noticed it with myself. It was my first night deviating from my meal plan and I was trying very hard to enjoy it. So much so that I skipped my usual game time meal of hot dogs for some “Irish Nachos”….

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Only $9! Score! Wait….

….and was very disappointed when I didn’t get any nachos. I suppose to the average fan, these could have been more enjoyable. But for me, they weren’t what I wanted. All I could think was that I just spent $9 on food I didn’t even want. Fortunately I got hungry again later in the game…

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$13. Sometimes spending more is worth it. 

Regardless of whether you like baseball, hot dogs, or anything I just talked about, consider this: Our time is valuable. We spend lots of time working to earn money. Our fun nights should be fun. They should be enjoyable on our own terms. Not on the outcome of the game or the food we eat. Sometimes making happiness a priority means putting our egos aside to appreciate what we did to get ourselves there. Maybe enjoy the company around you. Or if you’re not having fun – take some time away from the event itself and walk around. Bring those friends with you! Or take some time for yourself.

I admittedly found myself cold and bored at one point that night. Even though I typically hate missing the game itself, I gave myself permission to go for a walk, appreciate that I was at a baseball game, and even try sitting in different sections of the ballpark since it was so empty.

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Now if this is a playoff game…..okay fine, that might be a different story. Maybe I’ll even write a different blog about it….

…in the mean time, let’s be happy.

Go get ‘em, friends.

3 Questions to Ask to Stop Yourself From Worrying

My name is Tony Rossi. And I’m a worry-holic.

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Must have been why they gave me the “Are you Robert Pattinson” scene during Waltzing Mechanics XI Edition of “El Stories”

I’m currently listening to the book, “The Big Leap” by Gay Hendrix. There’s a section where he talks about how we get addicted to worrying and how quickly we go into scenario of “The Universe will not function if I don’t worry about this. I realized I’m very good at worrying myself.

While I’m still working on this, I’ve been able to help some of my friends who are worry-holics themselves. Here are three questions I often ask:

1) What is the worst case scenario here?

Sometimes we find ourselves worrying without even wondering what the repercussions are! Try to figure out what those are now with this question. You may find you’re stressing about something very mundane that doesn’t deserve as much energy as you’re giving it.

Now let’s say this is a serious issue that needs to be address. What is the very worst thing that can happen? Is it as bad as you’re picturing it to be? Is the universe going to end? Is anyone going to die? Even with those situations where someone is depending on us for something we can no longer deliver on, the repercussions often aren’t as bad as we make them out to be in our heads – which sometimes is that worst case scenario J

2) Do I have any control over this?

Do you ever find you’re worrying about the following….

-Public transportation running late

-Traffic

-The weather

-Something bad happening in the world

We love to complain, stress over, and vent about those four topics. Sometimes we realize we have no control over them and think that worrying will help us somehow rectify the situation. As a worry-holic, I can tell you this doesn’t help. If anything, it will drain our mental batteries, cause us to break down, and swear a lot in our apartment. I’m sure my neighbors have plenty of nicknames for me…

I’m always hearing complaints and negativity around these things specifically. Keep in mind that if you choose to worry over them – chances are you can’t do anything about it. If you can – great! But if not? You’re wasting a lot of energy that’s going to drain you. And I’m guessing you want that.

Sometimes it helps realizing we worry because we care. We don’t want to hold others up. We don’t want to see ourselves in future pain. And we don’t want to see others in pain. Great! We’re awesome people! Now let’s keep being awesome by saving up that energy – we’re busy! We need it.

3) If the worst case scenario happens, will I be able to bounce back from this?

This is where I like to play the “Will this matter in five years?” game. Yes, if I’m late and I lose my job it would be very inconvenient. But will I find another one or find a solution to keep me from going homeless in the meantime?  Yes I will. In this case, stop worrying exactly about the HOW and focus on the fact that you WILL make it work.

Finally, when you DO catch yourself worrying again remember this: It’s okay. You’re okay. And you’re not worrying because you’re a bad person. You’re worrying because you’re human.

Which of these three resonate with you the most? I’d love to hear in the comments below.

Have a friend who worries? Send it their way and invite them to the blog!

 

 

Thanks for reading. Let’s be awesome this week.

Go get ’em.

The Bunny That Reminded Me To Stop Stressing

In 2009 I decided I was going to move to Chicago.

I was about to enter my senior year. During class the previous semester, a professor mentioned some cities around the country that are great for pursuing theatre. Chicago was one of them. Seeing that I had an aunt and uncle living in the city, plus always wanted to try living outside of New England, I decided to check it out.

I contacted my aunt and uncle and booked a flight.

This was seven years ago, so I don’t remember all the details. I do however remember the first night very well. The weather was nice, so I went for a walk with the two of them around their neighborhood. I specifically remember this because we saw a little guy cross our way…

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Actual bunny

Okay lied. That wasn’t the actual bunny…but it is AN actual bunny….

I wasn’t used to seeing bunnies randomly on the sidewalk. 21 year old Tony was thrilled. That trip, I decided I was moving to Chicago. (I suppose a couple of other things influenced my decision.)

It wasn’t an easy transition after the “I’m going to move!” honeymoon phase ended. I remember being scared about so many things: Would I have any friends? Would I get cast in anything? Will I be able to afford my rent? How do I even get an apartment? We’ll save Long story short, it all worked out. (A lot of credit goes to my family and other kind souls…we’ll save that for a future post 🙂 )

Fast forward seven years and two weeks:

I was taking a walk. It was another beautiful night. I usually don’t take walks at night, but I needed to get out of my apartment for a bit. I was stressed. I felt behind on my goals. I was about to enter hell week for my workout program (check #TonyDoesHell week for updates!) and wasn’t looking forward to it. And we won’t even get into the confidence issues I was having that night.

Then I saw a little guy. A little guy I hadn’t seen in seven years….

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Same actual bunny.

Okay I’m totally kidding. There’s no way it was the same one.

But I did see another bunny rabbit. And I thought back to my first day visiting Chicago and realized what I have been missing: I’ve overcame a lot to get to where I am. Now I’m living in my own apartment, paying my own bills, have an agent, and have auditioned for three different plays this month. In comparison to where I started, I realized this: I am successful.

It’s easy to get weighed down by everything that life does. I think it’s even easier to forget how far we’ve come and all the good things are happening because it’s so freaking simple to focus on the negatives.

I hope you’ll join me in continuing to seek the good things that are right in front of us. I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.

Let’s go get ‘em, friends.

Are you a critic like me?

Did I ever tell you guys I used to be a critic? I was a damn good one…

Despite my commitment to personal growth and development, I was very good at critiquing those that I could best learn from. This happened a lot in acting classes. When the teacher was talking, I could always find something I didn’t like about their tone of voice. Sometimes I didn’t like that they always laughed at things I didn’t find funny. Other times I’d get upset when a student asked a particular question or sounded over confident.

This also happened anytime I was listening to a training call or attending an event related to my job helping others with their health. I would get bothered when the person hosting the call continued to say something similar each week.  I found myself annoyed if the presenter didn’t take into consideration how long the day had been or how tired I was. (I could always find a reason even if I slept well…)

This especially happened anytime I watched a video that was supposed to help me with my personal growth. “Did that speaker really just fumble over that part?” “Oh sure, that’s easy for him to say now that he’s successful…” “Great, now he’s going to tell us all the reasons why we should buy something from him….”

It’s a shame I wasn’t getting paid to be a critic. I could have made a lot of money.

I’m embarrassed to admit that I was doing this silent critiquing up until very recently. Somehow and somewhere, in between all that reading and audio listening, a question popped into my head:

“Is this person actually trying to bother me? Or are they trying to help?”

(Someone tweet that….I always wanted a blog with a link for people to tweet my words of wisdom…)

More often than not, the people we get bothered by aren’t trying to hurt us. In all of the examples I just shared, most of these people were trying to help me. While I heard their words, I wasn’t actually absorbing the lesson as well as I could have because I was too busy critiquing and getting upset by mundane things.

Do you ever find yourself doing the same thing? If you do, consider the following:

This person really wants to help. This especially applies if it’s a teacher, instructor, or anyone in a field where their job is based on the success of others.

Let the anger go.  When you start to recognize that anger? Acknowledge it, then let it go. Try silently thanking the person in your head. They’re doing you a favor right now whether you like their tone or not.

Successful people care about helping others. The money they ask for is helping them create more materials and content to continue helping – not just so they can take a cruise. Also consider the very successful ones – the big guys like Tony Robbins, Darren Hardy, or Michael McCracken – don’t need more money. They could retire. They ask for money because they want to continue helping.

 

 

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Okay….Michael just had a second baby….maybe consider throwing in an extra dollar in the coffee jar next time you use the Keurig at Vagabond School of the Arts 

 

Do any of these thoughts resonate with you? I’d love to hear which ones in the comments below. (And I won’t even charge you 😉 )

Now, if this does happen with you a lot…don’t kick yourself. You’re not doing it because you’re a bad person. You’re doing it because you’re human. When we’re human, we have a tendency to mess up every now and then. Doesn’t make us bad people. And we can always change.

Let’s go get ‘em, friends.

 

 

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PS – Like the photo of me and Michael? It was taken by Gretchen Kelley from Gretchen Kelley Photography. She also did my headshots. I kind of like them. Check out her website if you’re looking for new ones yourself 🙂 

What eating clean for a month taught me about myself

Prior to this, I was having one or two cheat nights a week. Those of you who know me can verify that these cheat nights are no joke….

 

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I’ve been knowing to eat heaping portions of quesadillas….

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That’s two bags of mozzarella cheese and a bag of tortilla chips. Cheat nights involve consuming all contents. 

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I mean, when the Cubs are in the playoffs, tea just doesn’t seem appropriate…

I coach others with their health and fitness. I share with others how when you do a certain program and follow the nutrition plan, you’ll get results. Part of this coaching involves leading by example. And to be honest, I haven’t been doing a great with this. I’ve been doing programs combined with massive cheat nights. Not only was I not practicing what I was preaching, but I wasn’t able to see whether or not some of these programs actually worked for me.

When I started my latest program, I decided I was going to do better with nutrition. I hadn’t planned on going this long eating clean. Once  I made the decision to go to the theatre on pizza night and bring my shake, I was all in. I was going to finish this and finish strong.

Below are some pros and cons that happen when you decide to start eating clean:

 

The cons:

-You feel sad or left out anytime you pass restaurants or bars. (Even if you probably wouldn’t want to go there anyway that night.)

-You stare longingly at certain foods at the grocery store.

-You say no to a lot of free food and samples.

 

The pros:

-I’m saving a lot of money

-There’s a plethora of foods and meals I do enjoy that are very healthy

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Oatmeal and apples with cinnamon. Delish. 

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I have a pretty sweet healthy shake that I like to make nice and thick…

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I kind of like chicken….

-I have killer morning and evening routine that work great because I sleep better when I eat better

-I am digging my results so far

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This was after week four! (After picture is on the left….I’m still learning guys.)

The biggest takeaway has been what I mentioned earlier: I had no idea what to do for fun if food or drink wasn’t involved.

Cheat nights were how I enjoyed my downtime. Carbs, cheese, and alcohol were my go-to way of having a night off. (Even if the only other friend in my apartment was named Netflix. )

I’m a bit embarrassed by this. Yet I’m guessing I’m not alone in the category. I won’t lie – I still haven’t learned exactly what to do with my downtime. I’ve been working a lot on incorporating more fun and relaxation into my life. Eating clean has definitely limited my options.

 

So what next?

I’m still going! I have two and a half more weeks of my program. And then?

I’m cheating 🙂

This has been less of a “I should do this forever” thing and more of an “Okay, what can I learn from this?” experience.  I know I’ll have more cheat nights. I know I’ll indulge when I’m on vacation. But I also know (and this is really cool) that I’m more capable than I thought. Given that the longest I can remember going with clean eating was prior to this, I’ve learned a lot about myself.

But I haven’t mastered it. I’m still learning. Just know this: If I can do it, you can too. Learning that we’re capable of more than what we thought we could do is an awesome, awesome feeling.

And that’s how you start to become your most positive, healthy, and creative self.

Let’s go get ‘em.

 

Struggling to stick with healthier habits yourself? Looking for ways to incorporate new ones? Shoot me an email at tony.rossi@gmail.com and let’s see if I can help or offer any free tips!