Category Archives: life

Never Give Up


Once again I apologize for not updating my blog as frequently as I would like to. It really has been a crazy quarter for me so far. I have had a lot of things happen to me, some terrific…and some not so terrific. I wanted to sum up the past month of events and cover a very important topic: no matter the obstacle, no matter how impossible something looks, never give up.

Towards the end of March I received an e-mail from my school. It was a department-wide e-mail about a scholarship. It was called the Greenwood Integrity Scholarship. It is a scholarship, created by a local couple, given out to juniors in the department that would pay for their whole senior year. The winner didn’t need a 4.0 GPA,  have to be a certain race, or be left-handed to win it. All you had to do was write a five-page paper that answers the question: What makes you qualified for the 2012 Greenwood Integrity Scholarship?

            This scholarship had my name all over it. After the events of the past year this scholarship was perfect for me. The problem: the deadline was in a couple of days. Being a college student, writing a five-page paper on limited time isn’t a problem but it happened to be final exam week and spring break just was around the corner. Adding to the difficulty, I had to get three of my instructors to evaluate me. Initially, I thought about forgetting about it and just moving on with my life.

            Then something came over me. I have missed out on so many opportunities in my life simply because I was too scared to try. In the past year I actually took risks and they paid off. I left my dead-end job for a temporary position. Now I’m hired on permanently, making way more money than I was, and it’s the best job I’ve ever had. In the winter, I applied for a highly competitive summer internship despite barely making the deadline. I had to go there and hand off my application personally and in time I ended up getting the internship. After those two decisions that I made that completely changed my life for the better I’m about to take the lazy route now? This was simply something that I had to do. For myself.

            So I wrote the essay. It was like writing this blog. I told them all about the past year. How I am a completely changed man as a result of my experiences. In fact, I think if it wasn’t for the blog I couldn’t have written the easy. I wrote like I had nothing to lose and everything to gain, because really I did. The paper was the easy part. The hard part was running around the school getting evaluations from my professors and, more importantly, making sure they were sent in before the deadline. To make matters worse, one of my professors just got a job in Florida so he had to fax in my evaluation. I wasn’t sure if it was all going to work out. There were definitely times where I wanted to give up but I kept on going. Finally I got it done and turned it in hours before the deadline. I mean it when I say that I didn’t really care if I won the money or not. I was just happy that I made the extra effort despite the fact that it was final exam week and I wanted nothing more than to just kick back and get a head start to my spring break.

            A couple of weeks passed and then one day I received another e-mail. It was from the head of the department inviting me to the department awards ceremony. I was shocked. Could it be? Did I actually win it? I wasn’t sure. The winner was to be announced at the ceremony. Needless to say, it consumed my mind for the next couple of weeks.

            Finally the day had come. The awards ceremony was impressive. There had to be around 100 people in attendance. They announced all of the various award winners. They would come up receive their awards and sit back down. The ceremony lasted about two hours. The final event on the program was the announcement of the Greenwood Integrity Scholarship. By then I was incredibly nervous. The Greenwoods walked on stage. They were a wonderful couple. They explained the details of the scholarship and why they choose who they did. At last, the moment of truth had come and with the words “Andrew Mundhenk” my life changed forever. For the first time in my life, I had won an award. My senior year was paid for! I couldn’t believe it! They quoted highlights of my paper to the audience and I even received a standing ovation from the crowd. I was speechless. I didn’t know how to react. I just stood there. Nothing like this had ever happen to me. Even to this day I can’t get over it. To think that I was seconds away to placing that e-mail in the trash.

            This experience forever solidified my belief in being persistent and never giving up.  Don’t let anything or anyone get the way of bettering yourself, especially your own self. It’s easy to say, “There’s no chance I’ll win” or, “Write a five-page paper and get three professors to evaluate me? During the last week of school? That’s way too much work.” It’s easy to settle for instant gratification instead of putting in the extra effort. However it will be a lot easier to look back five years from now and know that I gave it my all rather than living with regret.

            Winning a scholarship with integrity in the name does not mean that I am a perfect person. I still have a long way to go and obviously I will never be perfect. I’m not trying to be. I’m not trying to boast my achievements on here. I wouldn’t have won it without the trails that I’ve been through in the past year and the support of my friends and family, especially the latter. I just hope that I can be an example of someone who takes up a challenge that may or may not pay off and put 100% effort into it. I have failed many times before. I’ve had numerous job and scholarship applications get shot down. I’m more than sure that I will have plenty more in the future. The important thing is that you remain persistent and never give up. Laziness has run amok in this culture and it’s easy to succumb to it. Just remember this: you only have one life. Do you want to spend your time living it or watching it?


6 Winter Epiphanies


This winter has been a life changing experience for me. My internship, writing this blog, and reading many insightful books has really opened my eyes to a new light. I can’t believe how much I’ve changed in the past two months. Socially, I am completely different. I can approach people, maintain eye contact, and for the most part speak in an articulate manner without stuttering. My outlook on life has changed as well. I want to learn as much and accomplish as much as I possibly can with my life.

Here is a list of six epiphanies I’ve had this quarter that have changed my life.

The World Isn’t Going to Change Because You Want It To.

I’ve often walked through life thinking that I would do things different. I thought I would beat the system. That I could be shy and shallow and somehow gorgeous women would flock to me and start making out with no questions asked. I thought I could submit a couple of on-line resumes and get hired on the spot. I’m glad I found out sooner than later that the world doesn’t work that way. You get out of life what you put in it.  The world isn’t going to change. Learn to live with it or die a bitter human being.

Don’t Seek Outside Approval. No One Cares.

Last year I had a huge problem with this. Mostly because a lot of good things happened to me and I wasn’t really accustomed to having good thing happen to me. This was especially bad when I got my new job. I gloated about it on Facebook almost every other status update while my former coworkers where still stuck in misery. When I got a new car I mentioned it to almost everyone I met. The same thing happened with my internship. “Look at me I’m writing in the paper.” Soon everything became about me. Facebook in general was just bad for me. I used to write a ton of jokes on there. I would receive tons of likes from them. This positive feedback was feeding my ego. It pretty much dictated how my day was going to go. If I wasn’t getting complemented in the real world or liked in cyberspace I would get depressed. I know it sounds pretty pathetic but that’s the way it was. The truth is no one really cares about your achievements except maybe your close friends and family. Truthfully no one is envious about my used car, my retail job, or the articles I wrote. What’s the author’s name of the last news article you read? That’s what I thought. I’m not saying it’s bad to celebrate good things that happen to you just don’t go overboard with it. Self-improvement should be for your own happiness. You shouldn’t fuel your happiness off other people’s approval.

Get Over The Spotlight Effect.

Shy guys and gals this one is for you.  The spotlight effect is the tendency to believe that other people are paying closer attention to one’s appearance and behavior than they actually are. You wash your hands and you accidentally get water on your crouch. You then spend the next ten minutes pulling your shirt down in hopes no one will see.  It can be even worse than that. For example, I wanted to go shopping at a nice clothing store because I desired to change my wardrobe but all I had were my crappy clothes. I was scared to death to enter the store. I was afraid that people would laugh because I didn’t look like them. It really got to the point where everything I did, everything I said, every action I made people were watching me and judging me.

In short, stop thinking that people care because they really don’t. Do you care if someone spilled their coffee? Are you going to laugh at them? Do you care that the person next to you in class wore the same shirt twice in one week? Do you care about what other people at the mall are doing, saying, wearing? No and they don’t care about you either. You are an extra in their life as they are an extra in yours. Think about this the next time you’re in a public setting. It will help.

Don’t Give a F**k.

I cannot stress this enough. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of things you should give a f**k about. Just stop caring about the little insignificant things. Stop caring what people say/think about you and most importantly stop over-analyzing everything. If you want to say something don’t wait for it to pass through the Senate and the House in your brain. Just say it. If you sound stupid don’t worry about it. Chances are the person you were talking was so worried about what they were going to say they didn’t even hear you. Don’t dwell on the conversation later that night. Don’t let the small things ruin your day.

Be Yourself…..Seriously.

This message gets pelted into people’s heads on a daily basis that I think we’ve kind of ignored it but it’s so true. It’s a shame that many people never really realize this. People can see when you are being someone else. I have this weird problem whenever I watch a movie or a T.V. show I start acting like one of the characters. Why I have no idea. Maybe because I think they are cooler than me and if I act like them I will be cool. I will act like them, talk like them, have the same facial expressions, etc. This fails miserably every time I do it. When I act the way I want to everything is better. There are fake people everywhere. Life is too short to live someone else’s life (unless you’re an actor of course).

It Isn’t About How You Fail. It’s About How You Respond Afterwards. 

“I’ve often said that man’s character is not judged after he celebrates a victory but by what he does when his back is against the wall.” -John Cena

This winter has changed me a lot but I can’t say that it would’ve happened if everything went according as planned. I hyped up this winter so much. I thought this would be the quarter that I would make new friends and my social life would finally balloon. I thought my friend and I would get back into lifting and I could make some gains. This didn’t happen. I continued to be the same shy guy I always was. I was really disappointed with my first few articles because I was too worried about my social anxiety and talking to sources rather than focusing on what they had to say. My friend was so swamped with schoolwork that I couldn’t go over to his place to life. It basically resulted in me spending five days out of my week at home, alone doing nothing. If it was former pre-2011 self I would’ve got depressed and spent the entire time video games. Instead I took advantage of my solitude. I started a blog. I started reading…a lot. I became a sponge absorbing all the information I could get. I worked on improving the quality of my articles. I started lifting at school and my house instead. Sure it wasn’t the same but it was better than not lifting at all. Now I’m stronger, smarter, and more inspired than ever. It may be hard but always try to make a positive out of something negative. Don’t give in to it.

In Conclusion…

I just wanted to say thank you for everyone that has read/commented/liked my blog. Writing this has helped me grow a lot. Mostly it has helped me enforce that I am practicing what I preach. I hope it has helped you as well. Good luck to all of you with your dreams and goals.


Worshipping Mediocrity


I don’t mean to offend anyone’s lifestyle or life choices with this post. This is a subject that I have felt adamant about for years and I really feel the need to express my opinion about the matter.

In many societies (especially the United States) there seems to be a dictionary definition for success.

Success- [noun] one who has graduated high school, gotten married, bought a house, reproduced, held a stable job, and if lucky retired in good health.

For a second let’s picture two guys both in their 40’s. Guy #1 is single, has no kids, and lives in an apartment. Guy #2 is married, has three kids, and a nice two-story house in the suburbs with a stable job. Which lifestyle does society frown on? Guy #1. People will talk about Guy #1 in a negative way. What’s wrong with him? Why hasn’t he gotten married yet? Is he gay? He’s such a creep. He needs to settle down. Meanwhile, Guy #2 gets the praise. He’s an engineer, has a wife, three kids, a golden retriever, a white picket fence. Man is he lucky to be living the American Dream.

Why is this sort of judgment ok? Who’s to say that Guy #1 isn’t happier than Guy #2? Perhaps Guy #2 is miserable because he settled for the life everyone told him to live instead of deciding for himself. What if I said Guy #2 went into engineering not because he wanted to but because of the pay and the job security? Who are we to judge whether a person is successful or not?

I don’t have a problem with this lifestyle. I just have a problem with it being the set guideline to follow to be successful. You must get married at X age before you’re the last one of your group of friends to be single. You must have a kid. You must get a mini-van. It seems as if some people simply live this life because they were told to live this way. Not only do we blindly go along with it. We worship it.

The problem is our defining moments in life are things are easily achievable. Think about some of the more important events we celebrate in life. Birthdays, getting married, and having a kid. These are events that the majority of the population can and will experience in their lifetime. What makes these events so special? The sad truth is anyone can get married. The real question is are you willing to put in the effort to maintain that marriage? The vast majority of the population is capable of reproduction. What the vast majority of the population can’t do is raise a child in a way that they will be able to maximize their potential? These are the events that I want to celebrate.

Life is so much more than just getting married and living your life through your kids. No one should limit their selves to these boundaries of success. This may be the American Dream to some but it is not my dream. To me this sounds more like a nightmare. I don’t want to live the same life that millions of people have lived before. I’ve already heard and seen that life through my parents. I’ve already watched that life on T.V. It’s like reading a book you already know the ending to.

Again the point of this was not to bash a person’s lifestyle. I realize that I might have come off hypocritical and started judging people’s lifestyles myself. Truthfully, most people are happy with a life like this and that’s great. There’s nothing wrong with it I just wanted to point out that there are other ways to have a “successful” life. Don’t set imaginary deadlines for when you’re supposed to get married. Don’t pick a career solely based on income and job security. Live the life you truly want and only then will you be successful.

“Excellence is a better teacher than mediocrity. The lessons of the ordinary are everywhere. Truly profound and original insights are to be found only in studying the exemplary.” – Warren G. Bennis