From Student to Sensei: How 2017 Shaped Me Up to Rock 2018.

Last year I wrote a blog titled: “My top Experiences and lessons learned in 2016 (Written for Millennials)”.

This year, I’d like to share a similar piece, summarizing the most valuable experiences and realizations I’ve had over the last 12 months, not exclusively for

My goal is to be able to pass something of value to you. I write with the intention to exchange knowledge, give you actionable advice or share a story that could have profound positive impact.

The following collection of words will now attempt to do exactly that.

1.      Stop criticizing yourself for the way you get things done

Earlier this year, I met a student wrapping up a degree in accounting. When I met with him, he’d consistently reflect on how he wasn’t going to finish his degree in exactly four years.

I personally tend to beat myself up for not consistently going to the gym at 5am.

Two questions: Who cares? Why is it important?

Who cares if you go to the gym in the morning or afternoon? As long as you go and receive the benefit of working out at some point in the day, your objective is complete, is it not?

Same for the school example, I personally did not graduate on time and experienced the anxiety and insecurity that came with falling behind my peers, however, at the end of the day I still received a diploma and got a job.

When things don’t go as planned and we have to experience uncertainty, it can summon that little doubtful voice inside our head that damages your self-worth. Don’t let that happen, hear out that voice, listen to what is has to say and then tell it he/she is wrong. If you are in a car and you have a single destination, it doesn’t matter which road you take, perhaps you take a boat there, a plane, a car, or you walk, but as long as you get there, the path is irrelevant.

Stop beating yourself up about the way you achieve an accomplishment. Just achieve.

2. Strategically carve out time for self-reflection & personal development

How many friends do you hear say” “Ohh, I wanna travel to that country”

Or “I’m gonna move there in 6 months!” maybe, “I’m gonna quit my job!”

In my experience, most people who make these statements rarely do them. I think traveling is the most common commitment people fail to follow through with.

Did you know on average it only takes 7 clicks to buy a plane ticket? So we know it’s not difficult, but why do so many people fail to actually take that big trip they’ve been talking about?

Because they don’t take the time to actually make it happen.

This October, I wrote a blog called “Explore your life’s purpose with this simple exercise” and shared my “vision development” practice. This is when I take one hour each Wednesday evening between 6-7pm and focus on my vision.

But you don’t have to think about “your vision”, instead you could take 1 hour per week to plan out that vacation you’ve been talking about for the last 8 months, or you could do the research to figure out what you would need to save in order to buy that investment property.

The bottom line is nothing will happen unless you actually dedicate time, effort and energy towards it.

Think about it, you go to the gym to work out your body, you go to school and work to sharpen your mind, yet we do nothing with our own time to make our goals happen?

Why not? Dedicating an hour per week to what I wanted to accomplish most in life has been a game changer and although I still do not have my “million dollar idea” or understand the meaning of life, I have gained clarity on what brings me the most joy, and gotten to know the deeper version of myself.

I also booked two trips last week 🙂

3. Realize how little you need

This year I realized how little you need in order to be happy, at least for me personally. I’ve detached from so many material items and possession’s, becoming more free and liquid in the process. Here are a few examples:


When I first moved to Boston, I made a huge mistake…Living in a studio in the city for $2,890 per month.

After 5 months of that I made the best switch ever to a house with three roommates for $650 per month.

When I moved, I packed up all of my possessions and furniture in 5 boxes and 4 hours.

I also sold my car this year. As a result, I have no car payment, no fuel costs or insurance bill and I can put that money towards savings, traveling or other ventures.

  • Cosmetics:

This entire year I haven’t spent a penny on shampoo or conditioner. The only cosmetic products I use and purchase include: Tooth paste, tooth brush, floss, comb, razor, deodorant and hair gel.

After realizing I didn’t need shampoos, fragrances, lotions, crème’s or any fancy face wash, I also learned how many toxic chemicals are used to make these things. Read more about the carcinogens in your cosmetics from


I went from shopping at Whole Foods, to local markets where items are a third of the price. I stopped purchasing meats (more expensive than vegetables in my experience), processed foods, dairy and eggs as well.

For lunch, breakfast and dinner I usually eat sautéed vegetables and a green smoothie. My food expense is about 60 dollars a week. You really don’t need to buy that ice cream or that pack of Oreo’s, put it back on the shelf and eat what you NEED not what you WANT.


Are there items in your room, office or work space that you’ve had for more than 10 years? Why are they still around, what are they doing for you?

  •  Some item’s I dumped this year include:
  •  A scholarship plaque from high school
  • My Bachelor’s Degree
  • High School year book
  • Shoes and clothing I haven’t worn in the last 60 days
  • Old artwork

Most people think I’m crazy for throwing away such items. But they were no longer serving me. My Bachelor’s degree is a sheet of paper, I am aware of its significance, but it does not define who I am and I do not need it. The most important thing I got from school was the collection of memories and friendships, that sheet of paper is just a sheet of paper.

Same goes for the other items, they were all reflections of my past self and similar to how a snake sheds its skin, people should embrace the ability to “shed the past” and rid themselves of possessions that no longer contribute to their life’s meaning.

4. Look for reasons to reach out & make introductions

To illustrate what I mean by this point, I’ll share a few stories about my first couple of months in Boston and how I went about meeting people.

One sunny afternoon, I was sitting at Jaho Coffee and Wine Bar on Washington Street in Boston and overheard 2 women speaking about jobs and internships.

I work a company that is always hiring and we also offer an internship. Naturally, after hearing what I had heard, I asked “What sort of opportunities are guys you looking for?” The two instantly shared what their ideal positions would be and I was able to offer one of them a relevant position at Gartner. Shortly after, we connected, talked for an hour and they both became friends I still speak with today.

Fast forward 1 month, I was at another coffee shop in Brighton MA, working on some side projects. While reading, I notice a guy sitting next to me reading a book called “Learned Optimism”, by Martin Seligman. I knew the book because I am a huge fan on Martin Seligman’s work on Positive Psychology.

Anyways, the second the man removed his head phones, I asked him how he had come across that book. He mentioned he was a big fan of Seligman and we began talking about our shared passion for positive psychology for the next hour. The following weekend we went out for dinner and he is also a great new friend I have in Boston.

The point of both stories is to demonstrate the benefit of taking action. If you want to make friends, bring people into your life, you have to examine ways you can reach out or make introductions. In each scenario I used some knowledge I had to make a relevant comment to each person and from there became friends.

5. Realize there is more to life than your job, money, collecting possessions and relaxing on the weekends.

Use your weekends to pursue your passions, research the things you care about most or create a plan for how you can quit your job and reach financial independence. That time you have off from work is precious and you should spend it wisely.

Your weekends should not be “a vacation from reality” or a “break from work”. Your life should consistently have something exciting taking place. How that excitement reaches your day is completely up to you. You are more than your profession, your title or whatever your resume says; don’t stress too hard about your job. If you make a mistake, have an argument with a superior or even have the worst sales year of your career, the point is…it’s only a job and should not affect your level of satisfaction with life.

Your money and your career are only “things”. They are not the “only things”.

I have friends that want a lot of material items, they spend thousands on watches, buy nice sports cars, but those purchases only offer momentary fulfillment until you long for something more.

I now spend the majority of my time outside of work planning out how I can automate a six figure income, so I can be financially free and spend 100% of my time on other passions I have in life.

My job, my pay check, and my possessions are significant, but they are all independent of my happiness and life purpose. They are only a part of my journey for the time being, helping me learn, develop and achieve milestones towards my ultimate calling.

Hopefully you’re able to take something away from this list and incorporate it into your life. Please share your thoughts if anything in particular stood out to you or you have a similar/different view.

I always welcome thoughtful conversation and healthy debate.

Best of luck to you in 2018.

Danilo Vuk Capric

Gain Clarity On Your Mission In Life By Asking Yourself This Question.

It’s funny, we put more candles on our birthday cake each year, but many people still tell me they’re not sure what their ultimate calling is.

I’m not talking about people exclusively in their twenties either. Some of the seasoned business executives I work with tell me they still haven’t figured it out. Sure their current job gives them some level of fulfillment, but most acknowledge there is something greater in life for them that they’d really like to spend their time on.

It just hasn’t hit them yet.

Lately I’ve been low-key obsessing over what my life’s purpose is, what i’m on this planet to do and how I really like to spend my time.

The one question I keep asking myself to push the envelope on this topic is:

“What do I have to offer this world?”

Think about it.

From the day we were born we’ve been doing 2 things:

  1. Collecting information
  2. Learning behaviors and skills

As we get older, go through schooling and accumulate experience in life, we begin to fill up a metaphorical bag of valuable human capital.

Every one of us have this metaphorical bag and no two people have the same items inside their bag. That’s what makes each person’s bag valuable.

So ask yourself, what’s in YOUR bag?

What experiences do you have to share that could benefit others?

What do people ask you for advice on?

What are the top qualities you have?

Collect the answers to these questions and like puzzle pieces, see what you can create when you out them together.

But..but…i’m not creative. Like not creative at all. I can’t even draw a stick figure.

No one is asking you to create a sculpture or draw a pretty picture. All you need to do is brainstorm and think about the answer these questions and see what comes to mind.

You may try this several times and get frustrated by the lack of ideas that show up.

But that’s normal.

You don’t become a body builder after spending 1 hour in the gym and your life’s purpose won’t be clear after thinking about it for 5 minutes.

Like consistently going to the gym and seeing results over time; consistently think about the answers to questions like this and try putting them together. Similar to the muscles you’ll develop, you’ll gain more and more clarity on your purpose.

One thing is certain, doing nothing will fail to create anything. Doing something can create anything.

Will you do something or nothing?

If you enjoyed, please comment, share or like this post 🙂

-Danilo Vuk Capric


Explore Your Life’s Purpose With This Easy Exercise.

I’m very thankful for the new people who have entered my sphere of influence in 2017.

Many of them have exceptionally bright minds.

One of those bright minds happens to lie within the cranium of my dear friend Aaron Cort. Aaron was a very impressive individual right off the bat as he was 20 years old and creating his own company ( while finishing his Marketing degree. We even had the same morning routine, so there was a lot of common ground to stand on.

One of the gems Aaron dropped on me was the concept of carving out time to think about your vision. To explore your life mission and reflect on what brings you the greatest sense of purpose and fulfillment. He called it “Vision Development” and told me how he thinks about his vision on a weekly basis.

Since then, I’ve adopted the practice and spend the hours of 6pm-7pm EST every Wednesday in “Vision Development”.

The first thing I do in my vision Development time is meditate. I sit down in a comfortable position and for 10 minutes (at least), close my eyes, focusing all of my energy on the subject of my vision and purpose.

After the meditation, I grab my journal and jot down what came to mind during the meditation. Usually, the action of writing allows those fresh ideas to grow and become even more powerful as you fall into a state of flow, truly focused on your vision.

Think about the compounding effect of a practice like this. Every week you pick up where you left off and keep building, exploring and practicing. Until you get to a point of clarity where the actions you need to get started become clear.

Think about athletes for a second. They need to invest a lot of time into training in order to compete at a high level, right? The more time they spend training and working out, the stronger and faster they can become.

So naturally, the more time we invest in formulating our vision, the clearer it can get.

For me, this practice has provided the following:

  • A Main Idea
    • By having practiced this habit for 1.5 months (6 hours) I’ve gained clarity on the most important factor in my vision; which is to help people in some way or form.
    • Helping people is broad, so I focused on it more and through the exercise, I refined it to “supplying people with information to make positive change.”
  • A Road Map
    • understanding the big picture allows you to have the goal in mind. Once you have the goal, creation of a path to it is in your hands.
    • The current sessions I have are now about the road to my goal and exploring avenues for how I can attain it.
  • A Process to Follow
    • Our parents, teachers and mentors often ask us what we want to do in life. many of us say “I don’t know”. What they don’t ask is “what are you going to do to figure that out”? This is a practice you can adopt to start chipping away at that million dollar question.
    • It’s easy, repeatable and requires very little except for a chair and something to write in.


Let me be clear. This practice will not create a vision for you. What it will do is create an opportunity for your self to give this topic real attention and allow ideas to come to mind, that you can then explore further.

From there, the rest is in your hands.

How could you benefit from adopting a practice like this?

-Danilo Vuk Capric


How coffee inspired positive emotion within me.

This morning I was flipping through my journal and stumbled upon an older entry that was written this year on August 29th.

On this particular page was one of my most powerful memories.

Allow me to explain…

When I wrote that particular entry on August 29th it was one of the final days I had in my beautiful studio apartment in Downtown Boston. I was at my favorite coffee shop conveniently located about 30 steps across the street, Jaho coffee & wine bar. During those 5 months I lived downtown, I had spent a lot of time at Jaho doing the following:

-Drinking lots of coffee and espresso

-Meeting my very first friends in Boston

-Doing homework

-Taking girls out on first dates

-Reading in my spare time

Anyways, I ordered the usual Cinnamon Bliss coffee, one of their signature espresso drinks, made of Espresso, Cinnamon, Milk and Sugar. This drink is hands down the greatest caffeinated beverage I’ve experienced in my 25 years on the planet.

I was outdoors in the patio at the white tables on Washington Street, people watching. The sun made a soft appearance and began rising from behind the tall sky scrapers that surrounded me.

After about 3 minutes, my cinnamon bliss was placed on my table from one of the lovely Baristas.

I put down the book I was reading and held the cup in my hands. Its warmth brought a smile to my face.

The sun was now completely visible and caressed my face as I drew closer to take a sip.

Once the cinnamon bliss met my lips, I was consumed in an explosion of flavor. In other words, I was fully in cinnamon bliss. (Corny, I know)

I even closed my eyes for a second to fully experience the sensations of the moment. The sound of people walking and talking in the bustling city occupied the walls of my ears. In my sight was the bright sun, casting golden reflections on the buildings around me as birds zipped through the streets, looking for a quick snack.

The moment was so pleasant and filled me with positive emotion. Everything seemed to be just perfect, so I relished the feeling for as long as possible.

Taking in moments like these is something I learned how to do from Rick Hanson Ph.D.’s book, “Hardwiring Happiness”. The book teaches you an easy to follow method to transform positive experiences into permanent neural structures in the brain that you can call upon at any moment to combat negative feelings or just have an experience similar to the one I wrote about here.

By doing this over time, you can compile a positive memory bank, or arsenal, as I like to call it, of memories and experiences that you can call upon at any moment to help overcome negative thoughts, stress or anxiety.

It’s just a cup of coffee, but for me that memory is amongst the most powerful in my arsenal that continues to bring me joy to the point where I felt compelled to share it with the world.

How could you hardwire happiness into your life?



Thank you for reading! What feedback or questions do you have?

-Danilo Vuk Capric

My Top Experiences & Lessons Learned in 2016 (Written for Millenials)

2016 has been the best year of my life. I invested a lot of time into learning about myself and took the most action towards achieving what mattered most to me. This is the way I determine the success of … Continue reading

How a Group Of Cows Taught Me About Team Work

Holstein cows at pasture, grazing. Staffordshire.

It was an average Tuesday morning on my way to work when I saw a sight on the side of Highway 75 that made me question everything I knew about team work.

Let me tell you the story.

I woke up for work around 6:30 AM and brushed my teeth just like every morning. Next, I threw some gel in my hair, got dressed and headed to the kitchen to make breakfast. After eating my omelet I walked out of the door at 7:30 AM.

I took my normal route down 75 where I would then take exit 131 in order to make it to work by 8 AM. Normally I would see nothing too exciting on the highway, usually other cars, birds, trees and the occasional heard of cows here and there.

But on this morning the cows surprised me; that’s right, the cows stole the spotlight for the day.

Let me explain further. You see, the night before it had rained heavily (as it often does in Florida) and as a result I could see the fields in which the cows would usually roam were severely flooded. I imagined the cows wouldn’t like to sleep wet and was wondering what they do and where they go during times like this. My question was shortly answered as I cruised down 75 in my Honda Civic.

On my right hand side I saw the cows. What they did left me amazed.

Out of their entire roaming area which was covered by stagnant water, there was one small hill. It was almost like a little mountain; about 10 feet wide and 5 feet above the normal roaming grounds.

There were about 15-20 cows standing on it together. At the same time. Collectively, they resembled one massive cow standing on this platform to avoid the water. It reminded me of human assembly and how humans gather together in times of support and need. It was truly amazing to see them work together like this.

From adults to calf’s these cows came to the understanding that they did not want to stand in the water.

In addition to this understanding, the cows also had to physically get every other cow on this hill successfully. How they managed to do this and how long it took, we will never know, but they got it done.

The cows acted as one based on a mutual agreement. Everyone agreed, everyone acted in the best interest of the group and everyone stayed dry as a result.

Great, but don’t humans do this all the time? Isn’t this why C-Level executives spend a third of their day in meetings with their teams? Sure this is true but often when humans are on teams we have to deal with the issue of every team member putting in equal effort, don’t we? I can recall many school projects and even work assignments that everyone did not place the same level of importance on. This is an issue and led me to ask this questions:

Is the real issue not finding team members who work hard, but finding a goal that all team members actually care about?

Do we need to challenge ourselves and wonder, maybe our groups need to be comprised solely of people who want to do this, people who truly support this cause, have desires to reach this goal and wouldn’t tolerate anything but success?

What do you think?

In conclusion, the cows taught me that anything as a team is possible so long as every team member wants to achieve the end result and gives it the same level of importance. The cows served as an excellent example of how goals are achieved when all team members are on the same page and want the same results for the same benefit. Hopefully as humans we can take something away from this to make sure our teams continually reach success.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the content. Please like, share, & comment if you found the content valuable and worth sharing. 🙂


How Death Sparked Drastic Progression and Growth in my life 

When you glanced at your feed today and looked at this title, you probably though something like: “What?” “Is this guy serious?” “How could death (the polar opposite of progression and growth) spark progression and growth at all?


Allow me to explain, this is my story.It was September of 2012 when I was still a chemistry major in college (yea I know, big mistake). I was studying in my room when I received a phone call from a dear family friend. He asked me if I was okay and needed anything. Confused by his generosity and sensing by his voice that something was wrong I asked him what he was calling about.

He told me after calling his place of employment to check his schedule, (the same place my father worked) he received news that my father had passed away. My initial reaction was a laugh because I had just spoken to my father the day prior. My father also had no medical conditions and fairly great health throughout his life. He was the type of man that you would never find sick; in fact, I don’t believe he ever broke a bone or had any surgical procedures of any kind in his life time either.

The family friend assured me that he was not joking. I still didn’t believe him, but decided to call my sister just to make sure all was well.

The phone rang about three times, then my sister picks up. “Hello?” Her voice was calm, this instantly made me feel as though everything was okay; certainly if he was dead she would be hysterical, right?

Wrong. She admitted that Daddy was indeed dead and that she was on her way with our neighbors from the east coast of Florida to pick me up (I live about 2.5 hours away from them on the west coast of FL). 

I’ll never forget that moment. I had so many questions, what happened? Where is he? Where is Momma? What are we going to do? How did this happen?

“His body is at the hospital. Momma is Hysterical. I don’t know what we’re going to do Danilo, but I just can’t cry anymore” my sister said.

According to medical examiners he suffered from a massive heart attack that none of us saw coming.

So after moments of grief and explaining what had happened to my roommates, I emailed my professors at Florida Gulf Coast University to explain what had happened and that I would be missing classes for the remainder of the week.

That weekend was a tough one for sure. But one thing was certain, this life event would spark a flame within me that would burn so passionately and cause me to reach what I like to call my “personal version of success”.

So after that week at home I knew two things. I needed money and I needed a plan.

Addressing money, my father made a decent salary which was able to help support me in college. I would pay for all personal expenses but Dad helped with rent and school. This meant that I now had to supply myself with enough money to cover both expenses. Thank goodness my mother was able to cover car payment, insurance and my cell phone bill for the time being. But I also knew that upon graduating I would have to have a job set up so that I could immediately begin making real money to help my mother and fill in the shoes that were now void in my family. This is where the planning came in. I had to figure out what I wanted to do, where I wanted to do it and how I would make it happen. Thank goodness I still had 2 years left in college.

My immediate action was setting up a conversation with my manager at Cole Haan (my place of employment at the time. (Love their shoes by the way, go check them out!!) to discuss an interest in management. Which also meant discussing a pay raise (what I needed). The conversation went well and given that I had already been there for 2 years I ended up being a pretty good fit. So I was then able to pay for my own rent, utilities, credit card payments gas and food. But nothing else, I just had enough for the essentials, but thank God I had that.

Since I easily inherited stress from being broke with no extra money for myself or just for peace of mind at night, I decided to pick up another job in the mall I worked at. I would choose Brooks Brothers as my 2nd employer and used that money to get credit card bills down as well as be able to go out with my friends every once in a while.

The next part of my journey was not a part of the plan at all. I like to believe it was faith or perhaps a miracle. While working what seemed to be like an average day at Cole Haan, an equally average young gentleman came into the store and started to examine some of our leather British tan duffle bags. The bag he was considering was $400, so I approached the guy and started conversation.

Me: “It’s a beautiful bag, I’ve contemplated spending my entire pay check on it before.”

Customer: “It’s really nice, I have a trip I’m preparing for and this looks like the perfect weekend bag”

Me: “Funny, check the tag and you’ll see the name of the bag is actually the weekender.”

Customer: “Oh, that’s pretty funny”

From that conversation I would learn that he was an alumni of my college and a fellow marketing major (that’s what I stuck with after switching to chemistry). He then told me about the company he currently worked for and how they had an internship program he thought I’d be perfect for. He gave me his business card, purchased the bag and left the store.

His name was John and he had no idea that he had just given me the direction I needed which would dictate my future.

The company he worked for was called Gartner Inc. an IT research and advisory firm. It was a great company that paid its employees well and I knew if I could get into that company, I would be able to earn enough to support myself and help my family during this difficult time.

I followed up with John immediately but then had to ask myself…okay now what? How can I put my foot in the door here? How can I ensure that I get this job when I graduate? Mind you I was two years away from graduation at this point. The answer at the time was, “I have no idea”.

So I started where I could and decided to research the company. After reading the “about” section, I still had no clue what the company did nor did I locate any way to apply. So I did the next best thing, I directly called a recruiter.

That’s right, a 20 year old college kid called a recruiter of a company he knew nothing about and asked about a job that he wasn’t qualified for.

To this day, I am so glad I decided to do this.

It turned into a wonderful Q&A session all about Gartner with a woman named Liz. She was great and even told me about a Gartner open house that was happening in the following month, she told me I could learn more about the internship program and even meet the person who was in charge of recruiting for the internship!

Are you kidding me? This is exactly what I needed. A plan was being created without me even knowing it and it felt amazing.

So I attended the open house, met the internship coordinator and applied in January 2014. After 5 intense interviews later, I was told that I had been accepted as an Intern and would begin in June.

I was ecstatic. This is exactly what I wanted and knew that if I crushed it in this internship, I could land a full time job after graduation.

I worked my butt off and built a positive brand at the company. People knew me as the sharply dressed kid who could get meetings and sounded good on the phone. My managers gave me positive feedback after all of the tests we had undergone and I was certain that I was in a good position to get the job. But I never acted like it was secure, I knew that at any moment if I slipped up I would risk all of the work that I had done thus far and I wasn’t going to let that happen.

Fast forward to the end of the internship. I’m now at the career development office at Florida Gulf Coast University, meeting with the internship coordinator there to discuss the details of the internship. I had still not heard from Gartner on whether or not I received a job offer. Then in mid discussion on the job duties of the internship my phone rang. I stepped outside to take the call.

It was Natalie. The internship coordinator who I met at the open house one year prior. She told me she would like to have the pleasure of extending a full time job offer.

I almost dropped the phone. I started crying. I had accomplished my mission. I went from a troubled kid who had no idea how he would crawl out from a devastating death that gave the family financial woes, to someone who had just landed a full time job with a great company and be financially secure moving forward.

This is my story.

I honestly have no idea where I would be or what I would be doing if my father was still alive. I credit his death and the insurmountable stress and worry it caused which left me with no choice but to succeed or fail entirely.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the read. Please comment, like or share if you found the content valuable 🙂