Texans hand their kids footballs because the sport changes lives. Every year thousands of students enter college who otherwise might not have been able to afford school, or received the attention required to prepare them academically. Sports are a pipeline for higher-education, and once on campus these athletes exist in the highest of castes. Whether these athletes retain the opportunity to play professionally or not, their life is declared as overwhelmingly meaningful.

Gamers on the other hand are seen as rebels at a loss. That image has changed with the rise of he $1B+ e-sports industry, which now offers the same life-changing-opportunities as legacy sports. But are these kids athletes? Can their practices really instill the same discipline learned on fields, courts, and mats? Is this just a fad or something that will alter the lives of its participants? Today’s episode is with Austin Espinoza, President of Longhorn Gaming, UT Austin’s e-sports program, and his path to do exactly that for the next generation of college students.

Joule Mtanos placed the barrel of his assault rifle into his mouth, pulled its trigger, and heard the “click” of a misfire. This episode is about a USMC veteran’s life after surviving suicide, how to stop your mind from spiraling deeper into depression, and the ways that everyone can use the worst moments to lift up others.

As always, let me know what you thought of this episode by reaching out to me here.

Elliott Blaufuss is a musician who has performed alongside Eric Hutchison, Philip Phillips, Gavin Degraw, and under his own brand opened for Kelley Clarkson. We talk about success in creative careers and how it’s not fame that determines the value of one’s creative contributions. 

Because every artist must define success in their career. And it should be on their terms; according to their vision. Otherwise, the metrics of the masses will make them believe that only fame declares who is “successful” at their craft. And while indie artists have never been more respected, or accessible to the public, for artists there is no replacement for fame – or the fortunes it brings. But this thinking is toxic. Because for musicians, podcasters, writers, designers, and any artist for that matter, it’s feast or famine. And few ever feast. 

So why labor for something that may never happen? 

And though we didn’t frame our conversation in this way, I retrospectively ask, what is the dollar amount of Beethoven’s fifth, or Israel Kaʻanoʻi Kamakawiwoʻole “Over the Rainbow”? Surely their contributions, among many other artists surpass all monetary values. So why then is that the number one concern of artists why they live? 

Elliott has chosen a different path. We talk about offers he’s turned down because, in his own words, the opportunities would complicate his love for music. Because to Elliott music is a gift; a thing to cherish. And if monetizing means souring, then sorry money, you got to go. 

This episode is full of philosophical meanderings about socializing through media, life on the road and the meaning of home, and living simply as a means to achieving contentment. I’m stoked that Elliott joined us for an episode of Resilient Us. 

You can hear is latest EP, “Blue”, here

As always, if you have a guest suggestion or show recommendations, let me know here

Dr. Jarrod Lewis-Peacock is a professor of Psychology at the University of Texas Austin. His research focuses on memory, attention, neural decoding, and neurofeedback. Additionally, he is the Principal Investigator at the LewPea Lab, a cognitive neuroscience lab which explores how automatic and controlled processes contribute to goal-directed behavior. He is most famous for stating that forgetting is crucial to a resilience and identity. 

On the topic of resilience, mental health is frequently included in any discussion on resilience. How one defines mental health is murky. There are the obvious avenues: ensure you are getting enough sleep, socializing frequently, etc. Dr. Jarrod Lewis-Peacock’s work argues that memory and forgetfulness should be considered just as much as any of these other characteristics. 

Forgetfulness seems like an odd trait for resilience. Understandable in the aftermath of trauma, otherwise memory appears to be the triumphal trait. After speaking with Dr. Lewis-Peacock the best analogy that comes to mind is that eating is to memorizing as forgetting is to fasting. Both play an integral role in balancing our somatic and neurological processes. 

Our conversation delved into the topics of brains as microprocessors, the effects that patient H.M had to the field of neuroscience, and how novel technologies impact the human capacity to remember. 

It was an absolute pleasure to have Dr. Lewis-Peacock on Resilient Us. Any student of his is fortunate to have his influence over their research. You can reach Dr. Lewis-Peacock and his team via his lab’s webpage, here

As always, please send any show feedback or guest requests to me! 

Thank you for listening. If you liked the show, please share it with a friend. 

Cassandra was having a total-body allergenic reaction. The cause was the object of her career. For years Cassandra worked as a makeup artist, dressing women for their lives finest occasions. Suddenly, the very things she used to make a living – to make herself and others feel more beautiful – was a threat to her health. 

Almost serendipitously Cassandra soon after discovered a brand called Beauty Counter. Soon after that, she uncovered the systemic horrors of the beauty industry. 

Products are produced with little to no health and safety oversight, which leads to ingredient lists that include the ever-mysterious “fragrance” to the known human carcinogen formaldehyde. In short, Cassandra faced a moral crossroads. 

Objective one was to rid herself of her increasingly worse allergic reactions. So, she tossed out every last piece of makeup she owned and started anew. She replaced her entire makeup kit with organic, clean, products. Objective one complete. 

Objective two was a bit more challenging. Should she change her client offerings to the same clean, organic products – effectively raising prices and losing business for a value add that wasn’t yet valued to her customer base? After much deliberation Cassandra chose to take on the industry. 

She changed her client’s offerings. And she did, for awhile, lose business. But she kept vlogging about the changes and people started following. It didn’t take long before Cassandra became a leading voice for change in the cosmetics industry. She now runs the best cosmetic-based podcast, Clean Beauty Podcast; sits as a judge on the Clean Beauty Awards, hosts clean beauty workshops across the country, and can be found at industry events nationwide. In addition, Cassandra is the co-founder of the Sustainable Project, which educates the public of the environmental impacts of the beauty industry. Recently, Cassandra successfully released Lash Binder – the safest and easiest artificial lash applicator. 

All this she’s done in pursuit of getting the United States to ban 1500+ known toxic and allergenic ingredients in U.S. cosmetics. Join her mission by visiting any one of her sights, following her podcast, and posting your content with #ban1500ingredients or #cleanbeautypodcast. 

As always, please let me know what you liked about the show here.

Julia Mitchell – alongside her husband Cody Spencer – manages ROAM Ranch , a regenerative landscape and ultimate outdoor Austin day trip.

ROAM Ranch was started by Katie and Taylor Collin as an extension of their first company, Epic Provisions (buy these snacks!). After Katie fell ill while trying to balance vegetarianism with exercise, she returned to consuming meat and decided the best way to do so was by creating a brand that ensured the meat she consumed was fed and treated in a manner most wholesome. 

ROAM Ranch extends this vision as becoming a single ecosystem where Bison roam alongside ducks, pigs, turkeys, and a whole host of other animals that keep this agro-ecological system in natural harmony. The results have been astounding. 

Plots where little to no grass grew, now dozens of varieties of grasses and cover crops flourish. In turn, the land is literally generating nutrition where none previously existed. Which gets to the crux of Julia’s argument: we have a soil problem

Bland fruit, colorless meat, these things are symptoms of a ground run dry. And if more ranches and farms could address the problem of their dying soil, nutrition would abound. As Julia points out, the nutritional value that our grandparents received from one pound of meat we get from two. For oranges, the ratio is 8:1. 

As ROAM Ranch continues to awaken a small part of Texas land, they want the public to witness their work. The diversity of offerings continues to expand, from regularly scheduled ranch tours, to in depth classes about soil, to a life-changing Thanksgiving experience where attendees get to partake in the process of prepping a Turkey from life to skinned, cleaned, and ready-to-eat. ROAM ranch is one of the greatest outdoor Austin day trips. And to those wanting to spend extra time there, the ranch offers overnight stays as well as Axis Deer hunting packages.

It goes without saying that if you live in the Austin area and want to call yourself a Texan, you must visit ROAM.

As always, let me know what you liked and what you’d like to hear, here.  

Elliott Weeks is the founder of Old Enfield Supply Co., an Austin fashion brand that reflects the city’s down-home, cosmopolitan, feel. 

As I put it, Old Enfield Supply Co. (OES) has a classic feel with a novel flavor; its aesthetic is as unique as it is ubiquitous. A nod to outdoor living, grounded in simple sensibilities. The result of which makes OES as much as a lifestyle brand as, say, Outdoor Voices – another Austin staple. 

What made Elliott’s transition into starting his own fashion company is unique because at the time when he first thought of the idea he didn’t know a thing about sewing, sourcing materials, or any part of product lifecycle. Well… he knew one: branding. Prior to his entrepreneurial journey into OES, Elliott worked as a social media manager for large tech companies in the central Texas region. Experience which undoubtedly helped him scale his brand so quickly.

But everything else Elliott had to teach himself. How to sew. Where to buy materials. How to setup a marketplace. The entire process was foreign. Though, thanks to his mother and grandmother, he was able to learn how to sew quicker than most. 

Elliott’s story is so inspiring to me because its impetus could have also been its end. It’s not too far-fetched to believe that there’s another universe where Elliott still lives on today saying, “I’d love to start a fashion brand, but I don’t know a thing about clothes.” He instead chose to align his abilities with his desires. 

You could blame that mindset on his time in the U.S. Marine Corps, you could blame it on the fact that he just couldn’t shake the idea from his head. Regardless of what you attribute his early success to, Elliott’s a-lack-of-skills-won’t-stop-me-from-trying attitude serves as an inspiration to us all who want to be somewhere that we currently don’t know how to get to. 

To purchase any of Elliott’s works head to Old Enfield Supply’s website or at the retailer I first found them, Huckberry.

As always, I hope you enjoy the show! Feel free to give us any feedback, or requests for the show here

And until next time, stay resilient. 

Paul Alkoby makes fitness look fun. Over the past few years he’s worked as a videographer and photographer for cross-functional fitness companies, including CrossFit and, most recently, The Tactical Games. One look at his work and you’ll catch yourself saying, “I wanna do that.” 

But how Paul got to this position was a winding road of uncertainty, filled with self-doubt, and fears of failure. 

Like many veterans, Paul felt disenchanted with his career choices after service. The options seemed bland; lacked existential purpose. So Paul returned overseas, this time as a private contractor. 

That, he realized, was not the answer for “what should I do next for my life.” 

But a newfound love was forming. While Paul was traveling a lot to fulfill his contracts he picked up a camera to help a gym he loved run their social media. He soon found himself wandering during free hours taking pictures of anything that looked remotely interesting. He was beginning to love the camera itself – adjusting shutter times, aperture, etc

So began his calling. 

As Paul started sharing his work more and more people reached out to him for his eyes to get on their projects. They wanted to see the world Paul saw the world. 

Naturally, Paul’s initial clients were in the fitness industry – where much of his work remains today. 

Through this journey, Paul has helped showcase incredible athletes and programs that are changing people’s lives. 

Among the topics of our conversation, Paul and I talk about 

  • Creativity as a means to achieving mental health 

  • Concerns over privacy in the digital age 

  • Overcoming imposter-syndrome 

  • What to do when you feel completely disconnected from your work 

  • + MUCH MUCH MORE! 

As always, let me know what you think of the show! And until next time, Stay Resilient.

At one point Jeff Sabins was the most blown-up United States Marine in service. Meaning, no Marine wearing a uniform faced as many IEDs as him. But we don’t talk about that in his story. Because Jeff sees himself as more than a warrior. He sees himself as a loving father of a child recovering from a brain tumor; and as an author who just finished his first book, The American Terrorist. 

After Jeff’s son was diagnose with a brain tumor, his life was dedicated to being beside his son. And soon, it was dedicated to being there for families undergoing the same. Soon after his son’s cancer went into remission he was later diagnosed with autism – which, as Jeff explains, is more common than not. The Sabin family dynamics forever changed. 

Along the way Jeff noticed that the difficulties of navigating the medical system felt unduly cumbersome and isolating. On a mission to ensure that no families had to endure similar difficulties without having a community, Jeff and his wife started fromtumor2autism.com. This platform instilled hope in the Sabin family, as well as the many others that visited the site. 

Along the way Jeff’s career in the Marines progressed. But the author inside him couldn’t quiet. This, he learned, by writing regularly for his site fromtumor2autism. So, as retirement from the military approached, Jeff put paper to pen, and just two weeks ago published his first book The American Terrorist

What I love most about Jeff’s story is that each chapter feels so isolated from the next. We could have talked the entire time about combat and his near-death experiences. We didn’t say a word about it. We could have only talked about the struggles that his family faced after his son was diagnosed with a brain tumor – it was just an opportunity for them to help others. And becoming a published author….while on active-duty… that’s literally unheard of. Jeff’s character inspires, moves, and stills; and it was an absolutely pleasure to host him on Resilient Us. 

Follow him on Instagram or Facebook to see his latest writings!

As always, let me know what you think of the show by reaching out to me here

 

Josh Boyer was forced to medically retire from the Air Force. His back had too many issues; it required too many surgeries. And after each operation, copious amounts of medications were prescribed. Medications that were supposed to help Josh. But soon the pills that eased his pain started transform his mind. The pain was supposed to go away after surgery. Instead, the pain only dissipated after heavy doses of medication. Surgery, after surgery, after surgery. 

Josh was addicted to opiates.  

For years he consumed them without reserve. He lived nearly a decade under an incoherent fog. Then, one day, he quit. Cold turkey. The withdrawals he underwent took him to the brink of death. Or perhaps the brink of life. 

While Josh’s opiate addiction started as a means to ease his physical pain, it caused far worse, harder to cure injuries of the mind. In sum, his back was never cured. At least, not through the surgeries that introduced him to the pills that nearly ruined his life. And while his search for physical relief led to existential despair, it was from this bottom that Josh built up a new life. 

While his withdraws were extreme – he had over half a dozen seizures during his first year of sobriety – the thought of living another day beholden to the pills was even more haunting. Josh didn’t want to steadily change his life. He wanted a completely new one. So, in tandem with his new physical habits Josh sought a spiritual wakening as well. 

This is the story of one man who’s life now inspires so many others to fight their addictions through discipline, self-awakening, and positive mindset. As his personal mantra goes, “𝑬𝒎𝒃𝒓𝒂𝒄𝒆 𝑽𝒖𝒍𝒏𝒆𝒓𝒂𝒃𝒊𝒍𝒊𝒕𝒚, 𝑬𝒙𝒖𝒅𝒆 𝑬𝒎𝒑𝒂𝒕𝒉𝒚, 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝑬𝒏𝒄𝒐𝒖𝒓𝒂𝒈𝒆 𝒐𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒓𝒔 𝒕𝒐 𝒅𝒐 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒔𝒂𝒎𝒆” 

 

Listen to the source:  Getting Real with Josh Boyer

Check out some of the books and authors that transformed Josh’s life. 

As always, let me know what you like about the podcast or who you’d like to hear on the show. Until next time, stay resilient.