2017: The year in review / by Benjamin Steele

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Blog #44

Although it seems I've taken a bit of a hiatus from writing on this blog, I thought it would be important to at least take the time to write a few paragraphs about this past year in order to not forget all that I've learned. After all, 2017 has been quite exceptional. 

In 2017 I...

  1. Met new people and further developed friendships that are sure to last many years.
  2. Learned much about myself spiritually and feel that I am a better Christian and person by consequence. 
  3. Resolved to care less about what others think, but rather to do what feels right.
  4. Sold my accessory brand Sir Wylde.
  5. Completed a challenging capstone project and graduated college. 
  6. Committed to joining the United States Marine Corps, for which I report on January 6th.
  7. Gained a better view into what is most important in life.
  8. Achieved new heights with personal heath and fitness. 

2017 has been a very important year. I've made some key life decisions that will largly influence who I will be in the future. I am grateful for all that has happened. 

 One of my favorite photos from 2017 taken while ocean fishing near Tillamook Oregon with family and friends. 

One of my favorite photos from 2017 taken while ocean fishing near Tillamook Oregon with family and friends. 

From 2017 I've learned...

  1. It's the people that you spend time with who largely determine who you are. As difficult as it may be, I need to be careful about who I surround myself with.
  2. A relationship with God is personal and mutual. When I pray, he listens. Additionally, I've learned that following certain positive religious values, such as those taught by Jesus Christ, bring happiness and peace. They help avoid heartache and mistakes. 
  3. Living life to impress others through achievements, social media, and recognition is simply a depressing way to live. I've learned to embrace who I really am without regard to what others may think or say about me. I believe that if I live in this way, I will be more successful and happier. 
  4. Entrepreneurship is challenging, but rewarding. I learned so many things from starting and selling my own brand that I cannot say enough about the experience. This previous blog I wrote describes the process well. Starting Sir Wylde was likely the best decision of my young professional life.
  5. I am the first to say that college has many flaws, but regardless I am grateful I finished my degree. College gave me the opportunity to meet many incredible people and to learn that good things can come from any situation. Also, during college I better learned what I want to achieve professionally as well as a great deal about myself. 
  6. I have a burning patriotism for the United States of America and believe it is the greatest Nation on earth. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve and look forward to all that I will learn while in the Marine Corps. I look forward to doing all I can to help and protect the men and women I will lead. 
  7. There are a very few things (if anything) that can fill life's void other than good friends and family, a meaningful life work, and inner spiritual peace. Money, clothing, cars, vacations, and other life luxuries can supplement happiness, but don't make a significant and lasting impact.
  8. Not everyone is blessed with a healthy and functional body and because I do have this blessing, I believe that it is essential to keep myself in as great of a condition as possible. This is something that I've believed for a long time, but it has been reinforced even more this past year. If life is God's greatest gift, why waste it on laziness and an unhealthy diet. 
 Destin Florida with my brother Matt. I'm grateful I took the opportunity to visit him while he was stations there with the Air Force. 

Destin Florida with my brother Matt. I'm grateful I took the opportunity to visit him while he was stations there with the Air Force. 

Some of my favorite things in 2017 (not necessarily released in 2017, but some favorites of the year)...

  1. Podcasts: specifically The Joe Rogan Experience and The Tim Ferriss Show. If I were to recommend an episode from each it would be episode #729 from Rogan featuring retired Navy SEAL Jocko Willink and a more recent episode titled "Sir Richard Branson - The Billionaire Maverick of the Virgin Empire" from Ferriss. Both podcasts can be streamed for free on the Apple Podcast App and are well worth the time. 
  2. 5:00 AM workouts with my Marine Candidate Squad with lots of burpees and pull-ups. 
  3. Music: "Nothing Else Matters" by Metallica, "Either Way" by Chris Stapleton, "Colder Weather" by Zac Brown Band, "Tompkins Square Park" by Mumford & Sons, "All I Want Is You" by U2, "Dreams" by Fleetwood Mac, and "Old Man" by Neil Young. 
  4. Getting back into playing music again myself through a guitar class offered by BYU. 
  5. Books: The Richest Man in Babylon by George Samuel Clason, American Sniper by Chris Kyle and Jim DeFelice, and With The Old Breed by E.B. Sledge.
  6. Chipotle, massive grilled chicken salads, and overnight oats.  
  7. Movies: The Big Short, Unforgiven, Manchester by the Sea, Dunkirk, The Place Beyond the Pines, and Shot Caller. 
  8. Television: Band of Brothers, The Pacific, Generation Kill, and of course Game of Thrones. 
 Went on a few enjoyable solo trips including this one where I visited all the National Parks in Utah. 

Went on a few enjoyable solo trips including this one where I visited all the National Parks in Utah. 

Life is full of lessons. I'm a firm believer that if we do our best and use all 168 hours in a week wisely, we will be able to learn the right lessons and live a fulfilling and meaningful life. After all, isn't that the ultimate goal?

Although I have put some thought to it, I've decided to wait to finalize my specific goals for 2018. This is primarily because I'm about to begin a very new lifestyle and schedule with the military. For now, I'm concentrated on getting through Officer Candidate School and then I will think about the next steps. I'm sure that many of my goals will relate to and build upon what I have learned this previous year. 

I like the following quote by Mother Teresa, "I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples."

It may seem difficult to "change the world", but I know that we can all make a positive impact in our own spheres of influence. By fully engaging ourselves in our families, friend groups, work places, or by improving personal well being, a greater impact can be made in this world. You never know what kind of difference you can make. 

Another quote I like, is by C.S. Lewis. He said, "Isn't if funny how day by day nothing changes but when you look back everything is different..."

I hope that I can live my day by day in a way that I can look back on my life with satisfaction.

Happy New Year and God bless,

Ben