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In this episode, we get to speak with Jacob Levin. Jacob is a former infantry soldier and a wildland firefighter. He’s an amateur Muay Thai fighter, a passionate science fiction fan and a crossword puzzles fanatic has been a certified CrossFit instructor for over a decade. In 2018. He participated in fit opposite charity dedicated to helping veterans becoming fitness professionals. And now he is a certified veteran fitness operative. his motto is to strive to seek to find and not to yield. And this is taken from Tennyson’s poem, Ulysses. So he runs a company, Ulysses

And it is a cornerstone of his personal ethos. We met through Facebook, and we’ve been chatting back and forth and I really love what Jacob is doing with his life and with helping other people achieve their greatness. I am happy to bring him on to the podcast.

Our Guest

Jason Levin

Hacks to take away

  • Helping other people achieve their greatness.
  • You’re far along ahead from people who are not doing anything at all.
  • Fail or succeed, you still have more courage.
  • You’ve got to keep moving forward.
  • It’s important for people who are listening to know that. It’s not about going to the gym and crushing a 500 pound benchpress and a 700 pound deadlift and a 900 pound back squat.
  • Some people learn better in a non-academic environment.
  • You have to train your brain. You have to train your ability to handle stress.
Read Full Transcript

Junaid Ahmed 0:12
Thank you for tuning in to hacks and hobbies with your host Junaid were visited by our amazing guests coming from all walks of life to learn their story, their struggles and their journey on how they got to where they are today. So stick around.

In this episode, we get to speak with Jacob Levin. Jacob is a former infantry soldier and a wildland firefighter. He's an amateur Muay Thai fighter, a passionate science fiction fan and he crossword puzzles. fanatic has been a certified CrossFit instructor for over a decade. In 2018. He participated in fit opposite charity dedicated to helping veterans becoming fitness professionals. And now he is a certified veteran fitness operative. his motto is to strive to seek to find and not to yield. And this is taken from Tennyson's poem, Ulysses. So he runs a company, Ulysses And it is a cornerstone of his personal ethos. We met through Facebook, and we've been chatting back and forth and I really love what Jacob is doing with his life and with helping other people achieve their greatness. I am happy to bring him on to the podcast. Jacob, thank you so much for the time and coming out to the podcast.

Jacob Levin 1:58
Oh man, thank you for having me here. I'm really excited to be on our gas. Fantastic show you making the time for me.

Junaid Ahmed 2:07
Absolutely, sir. Absolutely. You know, when I find people that are doing absolutely everything they can to get ahead in business and get and just continue to do what they absolutely love to do, you know, I like to highlight them bring him onto the show, because, you know, my motto is to, you know, keep on going because when we stop is when, you know, the only reason is that you want to stop is when you can't really go forward and that's when you're dead. You know, and

Jacob Levin 2:42
yeah, I was just gonna say that's a very interesting

interesting point. I am I tell my clients that that if you think of failure and success as a as a graph as an xy axis, yeah, the only there's only one single point on that xy axis that's actually area. And that's when you stop moving. That's when nothing is happening. I call that you know, the 00 point.

Junaid Ahmed 3:11

Jacob Levin 3:13
Like everything else, no matter what. You're You're still building towards success because you're still actively doing something.

Junaid Ahmed 3:22
Exactly. Exactly. You know, it posts I shared the other day in it says, you know, no matter what, if you're creating content, if you're failing, if you're making mistakes, you're still a few steps ahead. You're far along ahead from people who are not doing anything at all.

Jacob Levin 3:44
You know, I actually saw that post image. Yeah. It really spoke to me on the day. I was kind of having a bad day. Yes. Yeah. And it also reminds me of Theodore Roosevelt had this great essay. speech about, you know, the credit goes not to the critic, but to the man in the arena. Exactly. And that's always really, really seemed important to me to remember that fail or succeed, you still have more courage

then everyone who did nothing.

Junaid Ahmed 4:22
That's right. That's absolutely right. And, and that's what inspired me to start the podcast. You know, for the longest time I was like, Okay, I need to go back and start the podcast again. Because in 2012, myself, hmm, two of my cousin's, we started a podcast and we call it still brewing it because we keep thinking about these ideas and keep, basically, you know, talking about ideas day and night, and we're like, you know what, we are so much into technology, we're chatting. We have a ongoing group chat. That's probably as long as 12 years old, and wow. Alright, so we talked About almost everything and you know that we all have kids and we're in different times in our, you know, places in our lives. So that podcast lasted like four episodes. We did four weeks, which lasted four episodes. The time difference, just didn't work out, you know, I was in Colorado doing California. But then last year, I had just finished reading, crush it, and crushing it by Gary Vee, and he's like, you know, you don't overthink it. You just got to document the journey. And I just finished my beekeeping. And I was like, You know what, I'm just gonna start doing it. And for some funny reasons, a friend of mine had reached out and he's like, you know, I want to start my podcast. Let's do this. How can you help me out? So I was like, absolutely. So I started doing research and I discovered this app called anchor, where you can record your podcast right off of your phone. I was like, Really? Yes, sir. Right on your phone, you bust out the anchor, you know, download the anchor app, and you can start your own podcast

Jacob Levin 6:09
from working that up right now.

Junaid Ahmed 6:11
Yeah. So my first episode was recorded in my car driving home, on my headset on my phone. That's my first episode. I didn't even know what the name of the podcast was going to be. I was just like, you know what, I'm going to start talking about my beekeeping. And what's better to talk about then, you know, the queen bee. So it's really awesome. So that got me started. So when you have motion, when you take action, you know, you feel really good about what you're doing. And yes, you as a fitness expert, you know, can attest to that. Because when we are working out when we're doing physical activity, you have endorphins released in your brain that says, hey, do more of this.

Jacob Levin 6:55

Junaid Ahmed 6:57
Right. So yeah, man. It's it's, you've got to keep moving forward. You got to keep doing something.

Jacob Levin 7:06
Anything. Exactly anything. And I'm glad you said that I was just about to jump in there. Yeah, I think it's important for people who are listening to know that. It's not about going to the gym and crushing a 500 pound benchpress and a 700 pound deadlift and a 900 pound back squat. Yeah, unless that's like your wife's passion. Yeah. You know, we people get so overwhelmed when they look at starting a fitness routine in particular or starting a podcast. And they're like, God, I'm never gonna be as good as Jocko willing. Yeah.

And it's like, that's not the point.

Unknown Speaker 7:51
You know, you.

Jacob Levin 7:53
You get to make these small wins, just by doing something. Yeah, and the more we have these small victories add up in our lives. The more apt We are the more trained we are to take action to take grits. Yeah, because we've seen before that, you know, the benefits pile up.

Unknown Speaker 8:16
Oh, absolutely.

Jacob Levin 8:18
So I always tell people I don't care if you start by going and strolling on the treadmill for 30 minutes a day. You're still taking a huge step by giving yourself 30 minutes Yeah.

I I'm sorry if I sideline you know

Junaid Ahmed 8:37
you're perfectly under you're perfectly right on there. Man. This is this is exactly what this podcast is about is making you know taking the action, making it happen and getting results and the results could be good or bad because if you have bad results, you got the you know, when this when somebody said, you know I want to be I want to make the best movie. be out there. Best Documentary? Well, if you don't have 100 bad movies or 100 bad videos, you're not sure that point you got to have Bad's to get to the good you got to go to the through the trenches to that successful point. So absolutely men, right on right on the dot.

Jacob Levin 9:19
And you know, speaking as a professional in the fitness world, I look back at where I was as a coach five years ago. And it's mind blowing to me. How many mistakes I've made along the way? Yeah.

Yeah. Holy cow. I used to think that worked.

Mm hmm. And that's just, as you said, that's a part of the journey. That's what gives you the data. Yeah, it gives you the bandwidth to, to improve.

Junaid Ahmed 9:52
Exactly. Your brain cannot make that connection unless it has experience. And that's why there's tons of books you can read a ton of books. And then you can go not make those mistakes. But then you will, even after you've read all of the books in the world, you will still make mistakes because that is that is how our human mind works. It wants to learn from this actual mistakes and come up with its own judgments because we were all wired a little bit differently. And you You've just got to make those mistakes. To get to that next level.

Jacob Levin 10:28
I heard a term recently I really liked it was kinetic learning. Mm hmm. And the guy he was talking about, you know, some people learn better in a non academic environment. They learn by going out and interacting with the world with their hands. Yeah. And it struck me that like, Don't we all kind of learn really well that way? I mean, I have a pretty strong academic background. I graduated with honors with a degree in philosophy But the things that I've learned the most reinforce the things I learned in the classroom. I learned in basic training, or I learned on a fire in Idaho. Yeah. Or I learned sharpening a chainsaw.

You know, I, I got out and it did.

Yeah. It's amazing how many mistakes you can make sharpening the teeth of the chainsaw.

Junaid Ahmed 11:26

Unknown Speaker 11:28
And there was thought about sharpening much so. Oh, wow. Yeah, it's a task. Yeah.

Jacob Levin 11:37
You know, that's, I could talk for hours about the characters you meet in the fire world. But yeah, you know, you see this old guy who can just take a round file and sit down and in 10 minutes, he can make a chain look like it's brand new. Wow. And they've been doing it for, you know, 20 years. And then you get a rookie like me and in 10 It's I can take a chain that was brand new and ruin it.

Junaid Ahmed 12:04
That's, that's crazy. It definitely takes a time, right? You've gotta, you've got to learn from experience and build that muscle out because essentially, it's all it's all a muscle, right?

Jacob Levin 12:18
That's right, everything. Everything is a muscle. You have to train your brain. You have to train your ability to handle stress. Yeah. And, you know, not to become tougher, but to become more resilient to say, okay, that didn't work.

Unknown Speaker 12:34
You know, and to accept.

Junaid Ahmed 12:35

Jacob Levin 12:37
And I've learned I used to think that you had to be really tough. Mm hmm. But I've learned it's not about it's not about how mentally tough you are. It's about how mentally flexible you are. Yeah. And how mentally aware you are, you know, the ability to say, wow, this is really upsetting me right now. I should you know, I should give my Have a little bit of a stress.

Junaid Ahmed 13:02
Yeah. See, one thing I learned from a book I was reading is that you got to be compassionate towards yourself. And that's something we don't do. We're not compassionate to ourselves, we beat ourselves up, you know, mentally and and spiritual spiritually. It's crazy.

Jacob Levin 13:22
And you know, that has real physiological repercussions. Yeah. I mean, I, I'm a data driven guy. I meditate every day, not because I'm, you know, a long haired hit, but because it works.

Junaid Ahmed 13:36
Oh, yeah.

Jacob Levin 13:37
And, you know, I have a disease called psoriatic arthritis is an autoimmune disease. And one of my major triggers is stress. While I live in New York City. You know, it's one of the most stressful cities in the world just walking on the street. Yeah. So I had to learn coping mechanism real effective coping mechanism for stress. And what I noticed when I went through that journey was, I was able to control myself in the midst of a workout a lot better. Yeah. And I was able to recover from my workouts a lot more effectively. Because I was, I was utilizing the part of my nervous system, the sympathetic nervous system. It helps your body be more restorative. Yeah. And the more I focused on that, the more I focused on improving my ability to recover, the stronger I got.

Junaid Ahmed 14:38

Jacob Levin 14:40
And it was a complete 180 from my previous training, where I was just throwing myself into a brick wall. You know, everyday, eating the snot out of myself.

Junaid Ahmed 14:50

Jacob Levin 14:52
It's not always I found about going hard all the time. Like you said that compassion is is a very important part of it.

Junaid Ahmed 15:02
Yes. Yeah. So that yeah, it's been it's, that's, that's really, that's really where we're at, man. It's really where we're at. So tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got started and how you got into the business of being a trainer. I mean, you know, we know, we just learned that you are, you know, you were in the army. And yeah, in the army, you you're a firefighter, and you know, you like mootai. So, how did you arrive to this point?

Unknown Speaker 15:41

Jacob Levin 15:43
you know, just from those three points, you can probably imagine that it's been a bit of a winding road.

Junaid Ahmed 15:47

Jacob Levin 15:49
When I was about eight years old, I, my parents enrolled me in in Richmond program after school. And it was this guy named rage was teaching Olympic weightlifting to to us and to these elementary school students. Well, Ray Jones just happens to be one of the world's best Olympic weightlifting coaches. Well, that's not an exaggeration. He's coaching a young man now who owns I think just about every youth world record that can be held. Wow. And Ray was volunteering his time to teach this sport, but he was just incredibly passionate about it. And I worked with him for about three years. And he and I are still friends and I just saw him a few weeks ago. Yeah, he's one of the most dear people in my life, but he changed my life by teaching me when I was a little kid, yeah. And showing me not not just the sport of Olympic weightlifting, which is an incredible sport, but also like introducing me to the concept as I got older that you can change people's lives with these acts of kindness. Yes. You know, Ray Ray told me that and when I was in college, I discovered CrossFit. And I thought it was awesome. And I wanted and I was, you know, I weighed probably 120 pounds when I started going to this CrossFit gym. And I put on 20 pounds of muscle and I was, you know, I was really feeling great about myself. Yeah. And the owner of the gym came up to me one day and he said, hey, how would you feel about leaving the gym five days a week, if I give you a discount on your membership?

Unknown Speaker 17:47
And I said, I want to,

Jacob Levin 17:49
and a few weeks later, he said, hey, how do you feel about helping me coach this intro class? I said, Man, I can't believe you're asking like yeah Yeah, I'd love that. Yeah. And so I went and I got my first CrossFit level one in 2009 2008. And I didn't really do anything with it right away. I I graduated college, I moved to San Antonio, Texas. I was working in a bar while I waited for my Officer Candidate School application to go through. And then I went right into the army. And of course, you know, the army is all about physical fit. Yeah. Well, I, you know, I can't claim that I did too many cool things in the army because I got into a car wreck. About a year after I enlisted. And I damaged my spine. pretty severely. Yeah. And they, you know, two years after that I was finally medically discharged. But in those two years, I basically been working at desk despite the fact that I was an infantry officer. I couldn't really go do infantry. And, you know, it was it was a pretty tough period of my life. I wasn't able to be physical. I was in a lot of pain. Yeah. And when I left the army, I decided, you know what?

Unknown Speaker 19:16
I'm gonna, I'm gonna fix this.

Jacob Levin 19:20
And I moved to a town called Missoula, Montana. And I moved there specifically to work with a guy named Daniel Carney. And Dan owns a gym called CrossFit Missoula, but he's also certified massage therapists. Yeah. And what got my attention was that he went to the Greek Olympics, and I think 2004 when they were held in Athens, Greece, he went as an injury rehabilitation specialist. And so here's this guy who specializes in helping people recover. And he also owns a CrossFit gym, which is what I love to do in those days.

Junaid Ahmed 19:59

Jacob Levin 20:01
I said this is perfect.

So I moved to Montana. And a couple years later, I was running Spartan beasts, and that was 150 pounds. And I was working in Dan's gym as a trainer. He kind of mentored me and really, I have never worked with anyone who knew as much about the human body as Daniel hernia. Well, and, you know, I stayed with him at that gym for several years. And then I decided I wanted to go back to school and started going back to school and I said, you know, what I really want to do is, I want to I want to try my hand at wildland firefighting.

Junaid Ahmed 20:47

Jacob Levin 20:48
Because I was, I had kind of a chip on my shoulder. You know, I've been medically discharged from the army those years ago. And I wanted to know like, Can I still go out something. Yeah. I didn't really know how important this was to me until I gave it and it was, you know, a tough season of wildland firefighting. I, I was bouncing all around Idaho, I went to one large fire I went on three to week fours, or what we call fire rolls, three, two week rolls. Just a one, five. Yeah. And I've gotten to incredible shape. I mean, all I was doing was running and hiking every day. Yeah, yeah.

Unknown Speaker 21:37
But I also

Jacob Levin 21:40
got diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis.

And it turns out that hiking the mountains of Idaho while carrying a chainsaw and 20 and 40 pounds in your pack

is not the best thing for that medical conditions for that. Yeah.

So I had to, I had to kind of leave that behind. When I moved to New York City, and I got a job working in gyms, but I wasn't training people. Yeah, I was doing the back end, I was learning how a business runs, which is something I never knew before. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 22:17

Jacob Levin 22:18
so I founded Ulysses training, which is an online training program. Long story short, because I needed a way to still feel like I was helping

Unknown Speaker 22:29
people. Yeah.

Jacob Levin 22:32
You know, I, I know that I help people in my day job. I know that I do. But I really needed to like to feel like I was still connecting to my client, and training them helping. So this is really for me of a labor of love.

Unknown Speaker 22:49
That's beautiful.

Jacob Levin 22:52
You know, it's kind of a long story.

Junaid Ahmed 22:54
No, it's really beautiful because what I hear from her you know, so you go back to you know, what you You and you, when you were eight years old, and then you had the you had access to one of the best trainers, you know, and weightlifting, I don't get it, give myself wrong. No, you're right. Right. So you had access to an amazing mentor. Right? So what I've been hearing you have access to these amazing mentors for three years at a time, right? He taught you and the compassion to teach you and the ability to just go pass being persevering. And then you know, you apply that same logic in that same mindset in everything else that you did. And then going back and working with somebody who is in physical therapy and who is a massage therapist and whose focuses on recovery of medical injuries or right so you work you got to work with him and his cross with Jim and then Having access to like, initially when you work at the gym, you know, the manager being like, Hey, would you like to help? So you had you had it lucky, you know? Yeah, absolutely matter of luck to have access to these people who believed in you, who saw the greatness in you and you know, extract that out of you because that's something that mentors are able to do. And are first and first and foremost mentors or parents of course and so I try to be that for my kids as much as I can. Right and but having a mentor dedicated to you, a coach dedicated to your physical fitness to your mental fitness to to your to spiritual fitness, it's all comes around to make making you a more whole person more whole individual that is designed to help you and help others Round you, like you said, you know, you still feel like that you want to help other people. So they are, you know, they're better physically and they're better mentally. And if your body is physically good, your mental your mentality is going to be automatically good because you feel good.

Jacob Levin 25:16
That's my hope. That's my firm belief. You know, I, I don't view physical fitness as an end, in and of itself. Yeah. I think that it's, it's what empowers you to do so many other things?

Junaid Ahmed 25:33
It does. Yeah.

Jacob Levin 25:34
Yeah. You know, when, when you're 60 years old, you're still going to be able to go hiking with your kids. Because I know you're going to stay in, you're going to be healthy. And you're going to feel great about you know, you're going to be running around with your grandkids someday. And that, that level of, of invite involvement in your own life, springs from being physical

Unknown Speaker 26:02

Jacob Levin 26:04
no these are these are critical thing. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 26:11
And I'll go ahead

Junaid Ahmed 26:13
elongates your life on how long you can live because it enriches it enriches your life. Yeah.

Jacob Levin 26:21
You know, I I personally don't believe that

that a life lived in misery is really

is all is all that great you know? Yeah, I feel terrible for for people who suffer from my condition in a more severe state and they just can't do things anymore.

Junaid Ahmed 26:44

Jacob Levin 26:45
You know to me that would just be and I'm sure it is for them it would be horrible and to think that I can help someone. Yeah, even if it's just giving them the motivation to get off the couch That is the ripple effects of them getting off the couch could be huge.

Junaid Ahmed 27:06

Unknown Speaker 27:08

Jacob Levin 27:09
I talk a lot about second and third order effects. We may not always see the ways in which we're influencing people's lives.

Unknown Speaker 27:17
Yeah, I

Jacob Levin 27:21
have a very good friend of mine used to talk all the time about this town in Cambodia, cm ri. He said, You know, I would love to go to see him. I would. That would be really cool, you know? And then he when he came back he was was amazing. And this is five years ago. Yeah.

Well, guess where I'm going in January.

And the reason I'm going there, yeah. Is because this guy talked about it all. And while I'm there, I'm going to be meeting with this guy who's a former Buddhist monk. He's an entrepreneur. Newer, he's written a book that's a best seller in Cambodia. Nice. And he and I are going to link up and we're going to talk business, we're gonna have a great time together. And that opportunity was given to me. Because this guy in my gym five years ago said he wanted to go visit samri.

Junaid Ahmed 28:19

Jacob Levin 28:20
You know, and I spoke to him about this just yesterday, Tony and I were on the phone and he said, you know, it's so crazy to me to think that you were actually paying attention to what I said.

Unknown Speaker 28:34
So of course, that was

Jacob Levin 28:35
man. Yeah. Like he. I don't think Tony realizes To this day, what an influence. He's been in my way.

And I think that's true of a lot of us. It is.

Junaid Ahmed 28:47
Yeah, absolutely. And, and sometimes you might be doubting yourself. But when you step out of your shell and you share the stories with people. They their lives are touched, even though we don't know about it.

Jacob Levin 29:08
You know, that's absolutely true.

Another example, I love to tell stories like this. I recently reconnected with a friend of mine who I grew up with, and hadn't spoken to in quite some time. Yeah. And he, he sent me a Facebook message out of the blue one day and he said, You know, I'm a, I'm getting over cancer. And I've been reading your Facebook posts about health and fitness. And I just want you to know, it's really it's really powerful to me. It's really like pumping me up to get back out there and to get fit again. Yeah. And I'm not saying that, you know, my posts are going to change his life. But I didn't know he was reading them.

Junaid Ahmed 30:03

Jacob Levin 30:06
Yeah. And I didn't know anybody was you know, for a long time there I, I would post these things and I wouldn't get any comments or like, but that doesn't mean people aren't watching.

Junaid Ahmed 30:18
Yes. The key is to have that content out there. Because as soon as you thought it, and you set it and you put it out in the universe, the waves are in motion.

Unknown Speaker 30:32
That's right. Right. And I

Jacob Levin 30:35
yeah, I I really firmly believe that. If you put an idea out into the world, particularly now and we're so connected, yeah. It's gonna touch someone else who's gonna resonate with that idea. It's almost guaranteed. If you have 1000 friends on Facebook, somebody is going to like that.

And then who knows what could happen?

Junaid Ahmed 31:04
Exactly. But the key is to be doing something versus not doing. Yeah. So create content, right? create content or ask questions. People ask questions all the time. And that's, that's one of the best ways to get a conversation going.

Jacob Levin 31:24
Yeah, that's a that's a funny one for me. Um, I try to write these really in depth posts about health and fitness. And they get some pretty good engagement. Yeah. But then I post What are you listening to in the gym right now? And 35 comments later. You know, or 100 likes later. I'm like, What just happened?

Unknown Speaker 31:50

Junaid Ahmed 31:53
Exactly. Just the simplest thing ever.

Jacob Levin 31:58
Yeah. And people want Talk, they want to communicate with one another and share what's going on in their lives. Yeah. And I think there's a lot of value in simply facilitating.

Junaid Ahmed 32:09
Absolutely. And that's what when one of my group said that I'm in disguise, like, content is easy, you just gotta engage. You just gotta give people what they want. And just share what's in your heart or, you know, ask questions and, and I've been struggling, but I'm working on it. And I've got a I've got a ton of stuff to share. And, and this is one way that I'm doing it with the podcast. It's been helping me a lot because I get to learn about myself. I get to learn about your journey and get to learn about, you know, how we both connect and where our minds meet. And it's, it's been it's been an amazing journey for me.

Jacob Levin 32:57
In how many I'm just curious how many recordings did you do today for the podcast? 333 interview? Yeah, that's intense man. I wouldn't say you're struggling, I'd say you're really getting out there.

Junaid Ahmed 33:13
Well, yes, it's it's struggling in those in the fit in the sense that I'm not posting as many things or engaging as much. But I think, everybody for everything, there's a time and a place, I guess. Yeah, sure. And right. So from that perspective, I have an okay. You know, I have a following. But it's been it's been great connecting with people and connecting with, you know, like minded people, especially, because you can have 5000 friends. But if you're only talking to 100 of them, you know, what's the point of having the 5000 friends And apparently, there's some kind of Facebook algorithm that also checks Okay, you got 5000 fans, we're only two people liked your post? Well, maybe maybe your post is not that. Good. Okay, there's interesting I don't really care about that much. But again, right there's there's so many different things that's, that is happening. I'm talking about the deep conversations and getting there. There was a there was actually a movement that I can't remember for the life of me this was about two years ago. I remember reading a book and it you know, this person was like, you know, who, let's ask questions that will get people in the mindset. Like what would you do if tomorrow was alive last day of your life? And people start digging in like, Whoa where'd that

Unknown Speaker 34:57

Jacob Levin 35:00
That's a, I might put that out. Right? The Greek question. I want to know what people would say to that.

Junaid Ahmed 35:06
And it's like, wow, if, if tomorrow, I knew for sure that Tomorrow is my last day. What am I going to do right now? It's like mind blowing. And then you realize, you know, we go through life thinking, Okay, we'll do that next year. We'll do that next month. But the fact of the matter is, we have no point of certainty on how long our life is going to be.

Jacob Levin 35:36
That's absolutely true, man.

Junaid Ahmed 35:39
Like just just last week, last last month, October, right. Halloween, this family they were walking in their neighborhood on the sidewalk. And you know if it was a husband and wife and their their four year old son They're walking and do what they're basically going to their grandparents house to get in an accident. drunk driver hit him. The husband dies on the spot. And both hurt the kid and the wife. They're both hospitalized. And then within, you know, within the next few hours, they were both cons as well. Right? So just thinking about that, right, they are just gone. They're no longer in this world.

Unknown Speaker 36:39

Junaid Ahmed 36:39
yeah, you know, people say, Oh, why are you going to that country? You know, it's dangerous. You die. Like you don't know that. On the one you're gonna die. It's insane.

Jacob Levin 36:50
And you don't know. No.

This country can be pretty darn dangerous. Oh, yeah,

Junaid Ahmed 36:57

Jacob Levin 36:58
a drunk driver. Could swipe you right off the sidewalk, or a person looking at their cell phone. Or I don't know. I remember once seeing a tire boil off of semis, I was cruising down the highway. Yeah. And seeing that thing counts toward me. I thought, well,

Unknown Speaker 37:19
that's it then.

Junaid Ahmed 37:20
Yeah. Life is unpredictable. It's very unpredictable. So we got to take life, and we got to do everything that we can to make tomorrow a better place.

Jacob Levin 37:33
Then, you know, in engage as well.

I remember one of my earliest lessons in philosophy and I'm not sure that this was a guy telling me the person who dies with the most stories

Unknown Speaker 37:52

Jacob Levin 37:55
it if life is a contest.

Yeah, that's the way to win.

Junaid Ahmed 37:59
Absolutely. There's actually a book I was reading, and it says die empty. And that goes in directly with the point that you're mentioning. Hey, buddy, oh, my daughter's here. My 10 year old daughter, she wants to put on her socks on. Alright, so the book is called die empty. And he says, you know, the richest places in the world are the graveyards, where people died with their books and ideas and, you know, thoughts in their heads without executing. So live every day. So you're completely empty of ideas by the end of the day.

Jacob Levin 38:40
in martial arts, we say leave it all in the ring. Leave it all on the mat. Don't hold anything back.

Junaid Ahmed 38:46

Jacob Levin 38:48
We engage with the world around you, even if it makes you look a little silly sometimes.

Junaid Ahmed 38:53
Yeah. No, that's that's super, super true. Man, this was this was very different. I loved it, man. Oh, really good.

Jacob Levin 39:03
It's 45 minutes. Wow, Tom, I know I'm flew

Junaid Ahmed 39:05
by. But we do have some questions. You know for the end. Sure. That's my guess. What is one hobby that you wish you got into?

Jacob Levin 39:16
I wish I'd gotten into martial arts, huh?

Yeah, I only started one tie this year. I

I can't believe I hadn't been doing it all my life.

Junaid Ahmed 39:27
Yeah, it's it's amazing. Any type of martial arts or it's, it's amazing. I had the opportunity to train a little bit before I came to the states in jeet kune do when I was like 19 years old and I was like, Alright, when I come to the US, I'm gonna go find, you know, kickboxing, but I never got around to it. So I would love to go back to that. Yeah,

Jacob Levin 39:52
that's a Yeah, I actually studied, you know, years and years ago. Yeah.

But I I never really stuck with it when I was a kid. Yeah. Bruce

Junaid Ahmed 40:04
Lee Bruce Lee man, because legend

Jacob Levin 40:10
is a legend.

Junaid Ahmed 40:11
Yep, he is a legend. All right, next up, what is your favorite movie or TV show?

Unknown Speaker 40:18

Jacob Levin 40:19
So that's a tough question.

Right now, and I'm gonna caveat this by saying it changes almost by the hour.

But right now I'm going to go with Good Morning Vietnam.

Junaid Ahmed 40:40
That's a really good one.

Jacob Levin 40:42
Yeah, I'm a big Robin Williams fan. I think that was the one of the best movies he ever did.

Junaid Ahmed 40:47
Yeah. You know, when when I heard of him passing away, I was like, I wanna get to go watch all of his old movies. And I never really got around to but I really admired That guy he was he was something.

Jacob Levin 41:02
He had a heart like nobody else. Oh my god. Yeah.

Junaid Ahmed 41:06
And the last show that he did was really pretty awesome. Two crazy ones. I don't know if you ever signed no but that was really his his two season comedy show he did with Misha Sarah Michelle Gellar. And it was comedy, but it's it's it's it's typical, you know? Yeah. Typical Robin Williams. Williams. Yeah. knew how to sink a punch into their chair. Oh my god. Yeah, he did. He surely did. So, we know your favorite movie. What movie would you choose? If you got to play a character in it?

Unknown Speaker 41:49

Unknown Speaker 41:53
All right. Uh

Unknown Speaker 42:03
I mean,

Jacob Levin 42:06
I think I'm gonna have to go with with Star Wars if I get to choose the character.

Junaid Ahmed 42:11
Hell yeah.

Jacob Levin 42:12
Okay. All right. Yeah. Star Wars. Nice.

Junaid Ahmed 42:17
Can't wait for the list. The next one. Have you seen a DeLorean?

Jacob Levin 42:21
I've seen the first two episodes and I'm eagerly awaiting Episode Three. Really good.

Junaid Ahmed 42:27
I was like that. Is that really him? Cuz I was like, I wonder when what the time period that distinguish set up as right, right right like is this in the past or is this in the future? And they're like, really threw a curveball. With the second episode. I was like, Holy smokes.

Jacob Levin 42:48
Well, it isn't the future though, isn't it?

Junaid Ahmed 42:51
I don't know. I don't know if there's any visual reference in the past.

Jacob Levin 42:55
I Oh, God, you do you I don't want to say anything that for audience that might be a spoiler. But you think the his little sidekick is who you think it is?

Junaid Ahmed 43:07
I think so. There's there's no telling, but that's just my guessing.

Jacob Levin 43:14
Wow. Okay, that that puts a different spin on.

Unknown Speaker 43:19
I have to think about that a little bit.

Junaid Ahmed 43:22
Yeah, we can talk about it in the green room. Yeah. Next Next question. Who is your favorite superhero?

Unknown Speaker 43:30
Oh, Mmm hmm.

Unknown Speaker 43:40
favorite superhero?

Jacob Levin 43:44
You know, I think Daredevil.

Junaid Ahmed 43:46
Oh, he's a good one. Yeah,

Jacob Levin 43:50
I think I'm gonna go with Daredevil. You know, he gets he gets dirt under his nails, both in his day job. And as a superhero.

Junaid Ahmed 43:58
Oh yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. All right. Last question. If you are a board game, what would it be?

Unknown Speaker 44:07
board game?

Unknown Speaker 44:09

Unknown Speaker 44:16

Jacob Levin 44:22
I'm gonna go with

I'm gonna go with checkers.

I feel like I'm a pretty fast paced game was simple to understand. Okay,

Junaid Ahmed 44:38
checkers is a pretty fun game. Yeah.

Jacob Levin 44:41
It's not too complicated. Oh, you know, there's some depth to

Junaid Ahmed 44:44
it. There's a lot. Yeah, there's a lot of depth and for sure. Awesome, man. I love it. Love those answers. All right, where can my audience find you?

Jacob Levin 44:54
So they can follow me on Instagram at us CS training. UL y SSE s. All right. I also have a website www.cs And of course, I am on Facebook, as you will see this training.

Unknown Speaker 45:13

Junaid Ahmed 45:16
Well, my friend, this was a fun conversation. We talked in a lot of depth we learned about your journey, and getting here. And we know we got to talk about touch on a lot of cool points that can help anybody be motivated and move on to the next level and what they need to do to get there. Thank you so much.

Jacob Levin 45:42
Thank you. And, again, thank you for having so have a good day. YouTube

Junaid Ahmed 45:53
gratulations you made it to the end of the episode. Thanks so much for listening to our guests on this episode. Please send me an email at Junaid at hacks and hobbies calm to tell me what you love about our guest today you could find links mentioned in this episode of the hacks and hobbies comm website

Transcribed by

Junaid Ahmed has been a user experience designer for over 15 years. As a UX professional, he uses the user-centered design philosophy to come up with solutions. Trust the system, it works!

“People say that we only live once, but I believe in living every day!”

Junaid has been interviewing people from all walks of life on his podcast Hacks and Hobbies.