Author - Ryan Nelson

“The Success Principles” & Kona Longboard Island Lager

“The Success Principles” by Jack Canfield was the first ever self-help book I read over 5 years ago when I was a senior in high school. To find out what sparked me to read this book check out my about me story in the “About” tab in the navigational panel above.

After reading this book I went on to read somewhere from 20-30 additional self-help books in those 5 years and I continue to read such books to this day. The “self-help” category of books I feel sometimes receives negativity. People may view these types of books as common sense, silly, overly optimistic, idealistic, and possibly even threatening. The phrase, “how dare someone tell me how to live my life,” comes to mind.

The fact of the matter is, is that some of the subjects in these books are common sense but rarely do people actually practice or take action on these subjects. Whereas, the are also many subjects people never thought of before that can end up being life changing.

“There is no problem you can have, that hasn’t already been solved and written about in a book.”
First of all, even if you aware of a certain principle, reading and learning more about how to incorporate it into your life can be a great reinforcer. Second, these books foster positivity and can help you perceive your life’s problem in a more positive light. Third, they are motivational! It is better than reading a depressing news story about terrorism or another mass murder. Finally, everyone faces obstacles and problems in life and in the word’s of Will Smith, “There is no problem you can have, that hasn’t already been solved and written about in a book.” These books have pretty much saved my life and in the process of reading so many of them I have seen the powerful effect that committing oneself to continual self-improvement has.

“The Success Principles” is actually a great starting point for someone starting their self-improvement journey. The book gives a good overlay of many great success principles for various different areas of life. There are great stories, motivating quotes in every chapter, and even exercises scattered throughout the entire book. I highly recommend this book to anyone! Below is a YouTube video I created awhile back showing some of the principles I benefited the most from.

Ahhh, now onto a much more relaxed topic. First, I will start by saying that I am a man of many interests and a connoisseur of many things, beer being one of them. However, what man doesn’t love beer! I love trying new beers and to date the best beer I have ever tasted was at a restaurant in Madison, Wisconsin. Unfortunately, I forget both the name of the restaurant and the beer! Horrible situation to be in when your favorite beer is on the line so in meantime I have been relentlessly searching for a beer that comes close in flavor.

kona_longboard_island_lagerThe beer I chose to pair with this book was the Kona Longboard Long Island Lager. Now, before I go any further I want to preface the following attempt at a beer review with a warning and that is if you came here for an honest, genuine beer review you have come to the wrong place. I don’t know how Andrew Zimmern from Bizarre Foods on the Travel channel does it, but I just don’t have the talent to verbally describe in eloquent words what the food and drinks I put in my mouth taste like. Although, I will definitely try and improve as I do more reviews.

For now, the Kona Longboard Long Island Lager was light, crisp, refreshing, and a beer I am thinking about buying a case of in the future. This is something I only say after beers I really like and just and F.Y.I, I am a fan of lighter beers especially various pale ales, wheat beers, and beers with citrus flavors.

Until next time, remember life is all about balance! After all that is what the #booksandbeers section is all about.

The Man Who Inspired Me the Most Throughout College

If I had to pick one motivational speaker as a favorite it would undoubtedly be Eric Thomas who is also know as “ET The Hip Hop Preacher.” I first stumbled upon Eric after watching his YouTube video called “Secrets to Success” which currently has almost 1.5 million views and is essentially his claim to motivational speaking fame.

Eric was by no means an instant success instead he has an incredible and inspiring life’s story. He is an african american who grew up on the streets of Detroit, Michigan and his father left him at a young age. Eric actually did not get the chance to meet his real father until later in life. Eric also dropped out of high school and was even homeless at one point. Despite all of these misfortunes he was able to turn his life around drastically. He went on to get his GED and then went on to college. The road ahead was still tough as in his words it took him “12 years to get a four year degree” which has become a popular phrase he states in his videos emphasizing the importance of persistence. He then figured since it took him so long to get his bachelor’s degree he might as well keep going and that he did. He went on to receive his master’s degree and then just within the past year he successfully completed his PhD.

Eric has an amazing story and if your interested in learning more about him I suggest reading his book, “The Secret to Success” and following him on YouTube at ET Hip Hop Preacher YouTube Channel.

Eric is my favorite motivational speaker because he is easy to relate too. He did not come from a privileged backgret1920x1080-1ound and therefore, in a way, he is a quintessential underdog. In his videos there is a strong undertone for an emphasis on motivating young people especially those that are in college which can be seen in the video below, which I would often watch during finals week. He even used to work at Michigan State University and has several videos on his YouTube channel of him delivering speeches to students there. Eric’s speaking style and his style in general are unique for a motivational figure. He is unlike any other which I am sure is a part of what contributed to his popularity. Eric stays true to his roots and always wears a flat brim hat when giving speeches regardless of his audience. When speaking he does not merely give you a list of steps or principles you should follow, instead he tells a story. The most impressive aspect of his speaking style is the emotion that he puts behind his words. When listening to his speeches I sometimes get goose bumps! Overall, if I had to summarize the message behind all of Eric’s videos it would be to work relentlessly hard at whatever you are trying to achieve and to never, ever give up.

Some of My Favorite Quotes by ET the Hip Hop Preacher

“When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you’ll be successful.”

“You will never ever be successful, until you turn your pain into greatness, until you allow your pain to push you from where you are to push you to where you need to be. Stop running from your pain and embrace your pain. Your pain is going to be a part of your prize, a part of your product. I challenge you to push yourself.”

“Forget about your past! Make the rest of your life, the best of your life.”

“If you can look up, you can get up.”

“Don’t cry to quit. Cry to keep going.”

“The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.”

“Without struggle there is no progress.”

Some of My Favorite Videos by ET the Hip Hop Preacher

7:35, I really like the analogy Eric uses here to explain what happens when you hold onto your past.

2:50, Another great analogy stating that you should be like an airplane that rises above bad weather – rise above your problems as well! It is so easy to get sucked into negative thinking patterns or just problems in general.

This video was a huge turning point for me in that it speaks volumes about the importance of perspective. Instead of looking at bad situations as just you having bad luck or having a terrible life, there is actually a lot of success and growth that can come from these negative situations and sometimes just mentally perceiving them as positive events instead of completely negative can make a world of a difference.

From 13:00 to 14:30 when I watched this in college I cried. Enough said. Watch the ending.

Great video on resiliency!


Amazing video for any college or graduate students. Eric gives a speech to students before the last few weeks of the semester. Very motivating for those about to finish up a semester!

I CAN. I WILL. I MUST. Great video for when your in that super tough situation and you feel like giving up.


My Journey into Medicine – “How I Got Here” – Part I

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How did I actually get here?

I honestly never really took the time to ask myself that question since having been accepted to medical school. I guess I kind of get stuck in that future oriented, goal seeking mentality where I don’t really give myself much time for reflection. It seems to always be about the next step and how I am going to accomplish the next goal at hand. In essence that is what the journey to becoming a doctor is like. It is like jumping through a series of hoops with each one being higher than the one before – there is always more that needs to be done. Through my four years of college as a pre-medical student that is pretty much what life has been like. Can it be exhausting at times? It certainly can be.

“A physician sits in the front row of the theatre of life”

Medicine is a hard road and I think a lot of people are left wondering if a career in medicine is really worth it. I know I have had my fair share of doubts along the way but ultimately I know that there is absolutely nothing else I can see myself doing. Despite what some may think there are so many things to love about medicine and I feel blessed to be able to pursue a career in this field. In fact, an 18th century philosopher once said that “a physician sits in the front row of the theatre of life.” That is a very powerful statement and in my experiences so far I feel that it is very true. Through my new website and blog I hope to chronicle my journey to becoming a doctor while shedding light on the joys of medicine and who knows, maybe I can inspire a few high school or freshman college students to put aside their doubts and embark on their own journey to becoming a doctor.

So without any further procrastination I would like to first reflect back on how I actually decided that I wanted to become a doctor. There are a lot of people that knew from a very young age that they wanted to become doctor and that was certainly not the case for me. My background is unique in that I didn’t realize I wanted to become a doctor until I started college. I had no one in my family that was a doctor and I actually had no one in my immediate family that was even in any type of medical field. My decision to become a doctor was truly my own which came about from my own ambitions and interests.

For me it all started with my passion for fitness and nutrition. I started working out at a very young age when I was only in the 4th grade. At that point I was only doing bodyweight exercises like pushups, pull-ups, and sit-ups but I took it very seriously. As I progressed on to middle school I then discovered the sport of bodybuilding which introduced me to this whole community of science and learning. There were all of these exercises that you could learn how to perform, you had to learn how the body worked, and you had to know what foods to eat. Through all of this I found myself marveling at the shear complexity of the human body. I was amazed by all of the chemical processes that occur within the body and how it has the ability to heal itself after a workout. I found myself always wanting to know more. I fell in love with the process of self improvement and I developed a thirst for additional knowledge that was unquenchable.

Even when I was in middle school I was quite the dreamer. I was always dreaming of what my life would be like in the future when I grew up and I really wanted to do something big with my life. I absolutely hated the idea of living a life of mediocrity. I figured if you are only going to get to go through life once you might as well make it great! I ended up spending a lot time planning out my future when I was younger. I would research different careers on the internet and brainstorm on paper to see if each career would be a fit for me. However, with my interest in the human body I was able to narrow my choices down to a career that was health related and involved helping others. I knew from the start that personal training or being an athletic trainer was something I did not want to do for the rest of my life. I viewed these careers as possible stepping stones to a larger goal. A big notion that guided my choices was the thought that I could not live with knowing that I could have went further in life. This idea is what eventually ruled out the possibility of becoming a nurse, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant.

As I progressed through high school I was narrowing my fields down to some of the main types of healthcare professionals such as pharmacist, physical therapist, and physician. Those were essentially the big three for me that I had to choose between. During my senior year in high school we had to do a senior research project where we had to pick a career that we thought we would like to pursue and then shadow someone in the field. I immediately chose pharmacy which I think at that time I was mainly drawn to because it guaranteed a six figure income after only six years of education after high school. This is a horrible reason to choose a career and for that matter after shadowing a pharmacist I definitely knew this was not what I wanted to do. The patient interaction was not on the level that I would like it, there was no detective work, and there were no procedures to be performed. I know some people love pharmacy but for me it was mundane. I did not like the idea of working behind a counter all day. I wanted to be out in the field working one-on-one with patients while attempting to alleviate them from their discomfort.

Then, I explored the possibility of becoming a physical therapist. Once I actually got into college I was heavily divided between physical therapy and medicine. During my freshman year in college I joined the medical interest club and that is when I was first introduced to the groundless negativity that sometimes surrounds medicine. After one of the medical interest club meetings an upper classman suggested I try working in a physical therapy office as a physical therapist aide for the upcoming summer. This student also happened to be very biased against medicine. When I told him I was contemplating going into medicine he said, “I do not see the point in becoming a doctor and I really do not think it is worth it.” Being an impressionable freshman college student I started to think maybe medicine was not a good career choice so later that year I ended up taking that summer job as a physical therapist aide.

The job itself was interesting and exciting at first. I got to work first hand with patients who were recovering from a wide range of injuries and surgeries. However, after I worked there for three months the whole idea of “rehabilitation” became very boring to me. It became very repetitive – shoulder injury, knee injury, lower back injury. It was the same thing over and over again. There was no mystery, no disease that needed to be diagnosed, and it was with this experience I was able to cross off yet another potential career. After starting my sophomore year in college it seemed as though the smoke had cleared and I knew from then on I wanted to become a doctor. From the start of college I kind of always knew I wanted to be a doctor but to be honest the idea was overwhelming and intimidating. It would be a long road ahead, there was extraordinary pressure to have to get all A’s, and then there was the dreaded MCAT. Despite of all the obstacles that would lie ahead I decided that come hell or high water I was going to become a doctor.

In Part 2 I will discuss what allowed me to put aside my fears and realize that becoming a doctor was worth it. I plan on discussing all of the opportunities that are available in medicine and I highly urge anyone considering a career in medicine to check back in for Part 2 so that maybe my experiences can help you cross off some potential careers from your own list.