2017 Lesson 2: Expand Your Horizons

2017 was an incredibly rewarding year. Why? I decided to go outside of my comfort zone on several occasions, and man am I glad I did. The one thing I did that really stretched me was a cross-country road trip from Cleveland to Boise and back. Driving cross-country was something I’ve always wanted to do, but never got around to because:
· “I don’t have the money”
· “I don’t have the time”
· “Where would I stay?”
· “I don’t know anyone”
· “I don’t know if my car can make it”
One day in March, I decided to say, “Fuck those fears. I’m doing this.” I reached out to several human resources associations, chambers of commerce, young professionals groups, leadership conferences, and nonprofits about speaking at upcoming events, not sure whether or not they’d throw my email in the SPAM folder or actually listen to what I had to say. Thankfully, out of the nearly 100 emails I sent, I got a few responses, but none of them could afford to cover my full travel expenses. Sure, I was offered a few hundred dollars, but driving over 4,000 miles was going to cost quite a bit of coin. Gas, lodging, tolls, and food on top of my usual bills without really getting a paycheck over two weeks was going to set me back financially, and though I was hesitant, I decided I would figure it out.

Holy shit am I glad I did.

Instead of focusing on why I wouldn’t be able to afford the time on the road, I shifted my focus to what I could do to make it happen and how rewarding of a trip it would be. I ended up booking three speaking engagements (Twin Falls, ID, Emmett, ID, and St. Louis, MO), none of whom could cover my expenses, but dammit I was going to get this done. As far as lodging, I ended up meeting some cool people online via CouchSurfing, a social networking community of people sharing their couches in exchange for meeting new people and hearing their stories – something I really value. My 2010 Honda Accord, Rachaeloaoeoioe (Pronounced “Rachel.” All of the extra vowels are silent), was exchanged for a brand new 2016 Accord, Schoaoeoioeron (Pronounced “Sharon.” Again, all of the extra vowels are silent), at only a small increase in my monthly car payment – definitely manageable. Now that I had destinations, knew where I was going to stay, with people I knew (through the internet), in a car I trusted not to explode on me, it was time to go.

I won’t bore you with the moment-by-moment details of the trip, but it was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I:
· Met new people and made new friends in Iowa City, Boulder, Twin Falls, Boise, St. Louis, and Indianapolis.
· Learned all kinds of new things from someone who travels to Jordan to teach English as a second language, an opera singer who would rather be the roots of the tree than the leaves (a valuable lesson), a psychology major who left the comfort of her 9-5 to open a hostel and meet travelers from around the world, a financial planner focused on expanding his network and providing support to entrepreneurs and “gamechangers” in Boise, a teacher with a new perspective on how to look at problem students, and a dude who really loves craft beer.
· Meditated miles away from other humans beneath a sky filled with stars in the deafening silence of the mountains of Idaho, and had a serendipitous shooting star experience confirming to myself spiritually that I was in the right place at the right time.
· Witnessed an event so funny and out-of-the-ordinary, it immediately inspired me to write a comedy sketch about it, did, and ended up shooting and releasing it last month: https://youtu.be/T9iJ-yMaIBs
· Gained an appreciation for how infinite life and the universe is and how insignificant our problems really are while driving through the sheer vastness of the mountains, plains, and desert of Idaho, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Nebraska, and Kansas.
· Booked a fully paid presentation based off of my presentation in Twin Falls and ensured a second trip cross-country next May.

…All of this because I chose to expand my horizons. The next time I start feeling fear when it comes to doing something new and risky, I’ll always remember what I felt before taking this trip. Now, the fears seem so insignificant compared to what I gained from choosing to expand my horizons. Because I made that choice, I expanded myself as a person when it comes to confidence, spirituality, and emotional strength, in ways I couldn’t imagine beforehand.

What risks are you afraid of taking? Is there something you want to do this year that you’ve been hesitant about? Take it from me, it’s way more worth it to say, “Fuck those fears, I’m doing this,” and then focus on what you can do to make it happen instead of what’s stopping you from doing it.

2018 Prediction #2: There won’t be a Babe 3

Sorry, Babe fans, but it’s been 20 years since Babe: Pig in the City and the demand just isn’t there. Sure there are underground cults worshipping the first two films and hoping that one day a reboot will resurface, but that little pig just doesn’t have the drawing power of a Jurassic Park, Star Wars, or – oh, for fuck’s sake – ANOTHER TRANSFORMERS MOVIE!?
Anyway, I’d bet all of my bacon that Babe isn’t making the comeback we all hoped. Sorry to smoke your sausage.

2017 Lesson 1: Follow the Creators

Another year has come and gone, and with it: lessons learned, friendships made, and successes achieved.
First of all, I want to wish everyone a Happy New Year and a congratulations for making it through 2017. Without all of you, I’d just be creating characters and screaming in different accents inside of a padded room, so I just want to say thank you for supporting my mission – because that’s what it is. David Horning has an agenda to inspire others to be more engaged, excited, and happy about the endless opportunities to serve other people and make the world a better place, all while referring to himself in the third person.
In the last year, I grew substantially, but I also regressed in some ways, which I don’t have a problem admitting. Imperfection goes hand-in-hand with being human, but the key to living a fulfilling life is growing from those missteps. When I sat down to write down the lessons I learned last year, I thought, “Oh this’ll be quick. I’ll jot down a few things, elaborate a bit, and post it.”
Those “few” things ended up being 22, so I decided it would be easier to split these lessons up into multiple posts after narrowing down 22 to 7.
Over the next week, I want to share the most important things that I learned this year that you too can use to make your 2018 better than your 2017, or as I say:

Make 2018 20Gr18

Cue groans.
I’ll also be posting some predictions for next year that I’m 100% positive will happen because I’m basically Nostradamus and you can bet on this stuff.

What I Learned #1: Listen to the creators

We live in a world where we are being bombarded by noise from all angles, especially with so much content being posted on social media at all hours of the day. According to Dr. Joseph Dispenza, our brains are absorbing 400 billion bits of information every second, but we’re only aware of 2,000 of those. Without you even knowing, your brain is picking and choosing what information you’re even aware of existing. Our brains don’t care which information is helping us or hurting us, it just filters out what it determines is useful based on where our conscious attention is going most often.
With the election of a controversial president, my social media feed was overflowing with articles, videos, and soundbytes calling him out for not exactly behaving like a leader. Considering my speaking presentations and most of my research are founded upon what makes a good leader, I spent too much time falling into the social media vortex and finding myself getting angrier and angrier. As the months wore on, I kept hearing the same complaints and criticisms and not seeing any actions being taken, so I decided to shift my focus.

Instead of focusing on information that lowers my happiness and diverts my attention from what I care about, I chose to unfollow and unsubscribe to many news sources and even friends who continued to post negative content without taking any meaningful action.

Because I was spending so much time focusing on what I didn’t want, my attention was drawn away from what I wanted. Over the second half of 2017, I began paying closer attention to the organizations and individuals leading the charge in revolutionizing education (Sir Ken Robinson, Peter Diamandis, The Learning Revolution Project) and renewable energy (Elon Musk, Tesla). TED Talks became a part of my routine, and I invested more time and energy in reading books to help grow myself, rather than getting sucked into the black hole that can be the internet. Instead of being pessimistic about the future, I started getting excited and am now energized by the information I consume instead of being drained by it.

What are you passionate about? What makes you angry? Now take the effort to learn who is focused on creating solutions to these problems and find a way to contribute, either by sharing the good news or by actually taking action and getting out into the community to do something about it. It’s one thing to draw attention to what we don’t want in the world, but to continue to draw attention to it over and over is doing a disservice to yourself and the people in your circle. Follow the creators and become a creator yourself – from personal experience, you’ll feel excited, energized, and ready to take on the world.

2018 Prediction #1: Donald Trump will not be pictured with a llama

I know this one is controversial, but I just don’t think it’s going to happen. A horse, cow, or chimpanzee? Sure. But llamas don’t equal ratings, and ratings are the most important part of being president.

Create Your Year

Happy New Year, everyone! It’s a brand new blog post for a brand new year! Enjoy =)

What does a year mean to you? A year in the past, some year in the future, or this year, each means to us what we decide for it to mean. The story we tell ourselves about our year and how it impacted, is impacting, or will impact us is really what determines our perception of that year, not the year itself. We’re all excellent storytellers in this way. Think of your favorite movie, play, or TV show. Each and every one of these stories has several stories contained within it. Individual characters each have a story they’re telling themselves about their lives and the situations they find themselves in. “I’m going to avenge the death of my father,” is the result of one character telling himself a story about loss, anger, and vengeance. It’s not the death of his father that inspire his actions, it’s the story he tells himself about the event. This story is different from the person who actually committed the murder: “He needs to be killed to keep me and my family safe.”

When we say, “F you, 2016,” and sit behind a computer, telling ourselves a story about how bad the year was for us, we miss out on the potential to tell a story centered around opportunity. When we look at past years, months, weeks, days, or moments, we can create something that grows us, rather than something that confines us to a singular choice. It all begins with the question: “In what ways was this experience an opportunity?” Which can very easily inspire follow-up questions such as, “What did I do well?” “What can I get better at?” “What are some things I learned that I can use, knowing what I now know?”

When we look at future years, it’s self-defeating to say, “I hope this is going to be a good year,” because the year itself has no control over how your year goes. That’s like blaming your ex-girlfriend’s apartment for the fact that she broke up with you while you were both inside of it. True, events are going to happen outside of our control, but it’s our response that determines what happens next, or whether it’s a “good” or “bad” year. For you to have a “good” year, what would have to happen? What does it look like? What goals would you have to achieve?

Now, look at this year, month, week, day, or moment and say, what can I do in this timeframe, knowing what I learned from the past to create what I want in the future? No matter what obstacles, roadblocks, or tragedies mar your path, an awareness of how to consciously take a step back, assess your past, future, and present to tell a more helpful story will help ensure your power over an arbitrary unit of time created by our ancestors to learn when to plant crops. Create your year. Create your day. Create your moments. Create your story. Create your life.

 

My Ultra-Super Realistic New Years’ Resolutions

Every New Year comes and goes with resolutions that go un-resolved, so this year, I’m making a concentrated effort to achieve some goals I have had for a long time. In order to hold myself accountable, I’m posting them on here so, at the end of the year, I can see how far I’ve come and so can you. Let’s start with the most realistic:

  1. Become President

A lot of crazy stuff happened in 2015, so I found myself saying, “That wouldn’t happen if I were president.” For example:

  • They found water on Mars. Earth is 75% water, why do we need to go all the way to Mars?
  • Bill Cosby came out with a new show where he sexually assaults a few dozen women. Ugh. Does everything have to be about either sex or violence anymore? Go back to playing the loving dad and pushing pudding products the whole family can enjoy.
  • People got really mad about the plain red cup at Starbucks but no one got mad about Toby Keith’s song about red cups. As president, double standards will become a thing of the past.
  • Why are we talking about ISIS when we could be talking about Ariana Grande licking donuts and saying “I hate America.” No one will hate America when I’m president!
  • When I typed “top news stories of 2015” into Google, the number 13 result was “top 10 penis stories of 2015.” People are searching for that? Not with me as president! They’ll be searching for “top 10 president David Horning stories of 2016,” but there will only be one: “President David Horning creates world peace.”

2016 will be the year in which David Horning becomes the 45th president of the United States and put the “us” back in USA.

*Note: after posting it has come to my attention that the president has to be 35. So I would like to announce my New Years’ Resolution to become president in the year 2024.

       2. Lose weight

I’m so self-conscious about my body in front of babies, so my goal is to get back to the weight I was born to be by the time summer rolls around: eight pounds and one ounce. I want to walk into the baby pool area and have all of the jealous toddlers ask me, “How’d you do it?” so I can respond, “It’s a secret formula.” (Hint: it’s formula)

3. Invest in Property and Make a Passive Income

The other day while I was driving, I passed a tree farm and got to thinking, “I could make a killing off of that.” This year, I’m going to take all of the money in my savings and make an investment that is going to pay dividends for years to come: I’m going to buy a forest and put a tree farm sign in front of it. Just bring your own chainsaw (or axe, if that’s what you prefer), pick out the tree you want, and put the money in the lockbox at the entrance. I’ll be drinking 21 year-old scotch while wearing a smoking jacket in my study in no time.

4. Read more

Do you know how many books there are in the universe? I only own about 200 books and I’ve read almost all of them, but if I want to read every book, I’ll probably have to read about 1,000 a day. I’m going to take a speed reading class and sit at the library for 24 hours reading until I know everything there is to know about the universe; ours and the Star Wars one. That way I can:

5. Win at Jeopardy

Alex Trebek will be left speechless as I waltz my eight pound self out of that studio with the biggest payout ever given. Survey says: this guy wants to be a millionaire and can come on down to buy all the vowels he wants.

6. Have a torrid affair with Kate Upton

Do you know what happens when you win at Jeopardy? You get models. Role models, Model Ts, and, most importantly, supermodels. Every time Kate Upton posts a photo on Instagram, I know she’s looking directly at me saying, “David, all you have to do is win Jeopardy and we can make sweet love all over the midwestern United States.” I’m really good at reading subliminal messages in Instagram posts. Just wait until she sees my post diet bod.

7. Travel the midwestern United States

You know what you don’t hear about very much? Davenport, Iowa; the first stop on my tour of the midwest with my beautiful supermodel girlfriend Kate Upton by my side. As we sit on the banks of the mighty Mississippi, sipping on whiskey and watching the bald eagles mate, she’ll turn to me and ask for my hand in marriage, because she’s, “Always wanted to marry a future president.” Sensing her ulterior motives, I’ll decline and toss her into the river where I’ll:

8. Save Kate Upton from drowning

9. Marry Oprah

Oprah loves books, right? Then who better to marry than the guy who has read every one of them? She’ll hear about my bravery in saving a drowning Kate Upton and be smitten with me as soon as she feels my baby body against hers. Love at first sight. Our wedding will be set atop Mount Rushmore where President Obama delivers the sermon; the first time a sitting president has presided over the wedding of a future president. My 2016 story will be one for the ages, that is, until 2024, when I become president.

10. Get over my fear of spiders

Because gross.

What are your resolutions?