Hello! My name is Benjamin Solak, and I’m a senior in high school. I think I can have a positive effect on the world, and I think waiting until I’m older is a waste of time, so I’m starting now. This blog–The Next Level–focuses on the concepts that motivate me to work harder, work longer, and work better to eternally achieve that basic idea–achieve the next level.

So welcome to The Next Level: I hope you have a lovely time about it, and that you learn something too.  You are whole-heartedly encouraged to leave any thoughts, criticisms, interpretations, support, or expoundings in the comments–united we stand, and divided we fall. So again, welcome–this is The Next Level.


Walk The Walk

This blows my mind, let me tell you, it blows my mind.  I swear, I’m gonna say that phrase at least fifty more times before this post is over, because it just blows my mind.  We need to talk about walking the walk, because nobody does it!  Nobody takes the steps anymore, nobody goes through the necessary motions.  Everybody can talk the talk, and simply nobody walks the walk!  AND IT BLOWS MY MIND.

Okay, we’re gonna break it down into five sections.

Firstly, you’ve got the kids who literally could not care less.  They don’t have any regard for anything at all; they’re completely unplugged from every responsibility and are entirely unaware of the fact that their actions influence others.  These kids, and I call them kids for a reason, have not yet realized there is a walk to walk–they haven’t seen the path, they haven’t figured out that they have an obligation in life.  My main beef isn’t with them; they don’t need a post on ‘Walk the Walk’, they need a post on ‘The Walk’.  They do not know the walk, and they do not know the walking, either.

Next up, we’ve got the teens who are looking for the walk and can’t find it.  They’re walking, but without a path, without the walk, they’re simply wandering.  While ‘not all who wander are lost’, as my sister insists, they are aimlessly applying whatever they can muster, but without a goal, without a plan, without a walk, their efforts go to waste.  They wish to do well in life, but they don’t know what they want out of life, and thus it’s difficult for them to accomplish anything.  They do not know the walk, but they know the walking, and it’s more important to know the walking than it is the walk.  I appreciate the motivation of these folks.

Following logically, we have the converse:  teens who know what they want and don’t know how to get it.  This group is considerably smaller, for the process is defined by the goal (look here!), but it still is a group worthy of mention.  These are the teens who have their goals, their aspirations, their walk…but they haven’t yet found their ability to walk, their walking.  They wish to be something, to do something, but their choices and their circumstances make it incredibly difficult–not impossible–to start walking.  They know their walk, and know not their walking.

These three groups, in conjunction, bother me a tiny fraction of how much the fourth group BLOWS MY MIND.  Because the fourth group knows their walk, and knows their walking, and does nothing!  Are you kidding me?!  You got it planned out in front of you!  It’s literally right there, and you don’t walk the walk!  Like, I don’t understand how you can be in high school and get bad grades…how are you going to allow that to happen?  We all have our own capacities, I get that; I’m lucky enough, I’m blessed enough, that there are quizzes and tests for which I do not have to study.  But I don’t study only because I don’t have to take that walk!  I want good grades, and I get there without studying, I do.  For most people, they’ve got to study.  But if you want good grades, if you want to get an education, if you want to be intelligent, if you want to go to a good college, if you want a good career, then guess what?!  If studying is your walk, then dammit, WALK IT!!  Come on!

I don’t understand how you can be in high school and not get good grades, because everybody’s talking the talk.  Everybody in high school talks about how they’re going to succeed, but if your success travels through an education, if it travels, as most walks do, through college, then I don’t understand how you fail a quiz.  I don’t understand how you miss a homework.  I don’t understand how you can talk about making it into the college of your dreams, and then party the next weekend.  How…I don’t…you just…IT BLOWS MY MIND!  WALK THE WALK!  Are your convictions so ephemeral, your desires so fleeting, that you can’t walk the walk for a week?!  A day?!  I can’t tell you the number of high school students who want to get good grades, do not apply themselves, and are shocked by the disappointing results.

You just tried to get from here to there without moving!!  You didn’t walk! Gah!

I know I’m heated, I know I’m fired up, but this is important.  This is crunch time, this is put up or shut up, you know?  I don’t understand how you can want something, how you can know that you want something…and yet not walk the walk.  Everything we talk about, everything I’ve posted…it’s an effort to get you to walk the walk.  Anybody can talk, that’s a dedication to a goal, we talked about that (look here again!).  I need you to walk the walk.  Make it happen, cap’n!

…blows my mind…

Walk the walk. Please, in the name of all that is good and holy in the world, let’s go to work. Walk that walk.


Time Is A Commodity

Look, right now, I need you to give me five.

Take a five minute break, right?  You’re familiar with the concept: you’re working hard, you need a little rest, so you take five minutes to drink and eat and use the bathroom and take a breather, and then your nose goes right back to the grindstone.

I’m gonna flip it on you real quick.

I need you to take a five minute break from surfing the web and listening to music and idly flipping through some posts and some pages–take five and focus for me.  No, for real–close the tabs, hit pause, shut the door, and lock in for me. Children will ignore this, while men and women arise and go to work. I need five from you: five good minutes to read this page, cause it’s probably one of the more important things that’s gonna come at you today.  Clock starts now.

Time is a commodity.

A commodity is a raw material that can be sold, traded, and bartered; time is sold for success, time is traded for perfection, time is bartered for the next level. And what’s important for you to note, what I need you to catch, is the fact that other commodities–money and resources and abilities–those will vary from person to person. Warren Buffet has more money, more resources, and more abilities than you, and that won’t change today, and it probably won’t change tomorrow…but with time? With time that could change.


Because you, Warren Buffett, and the bum on the street will ALWAYS have 24 hours in a day–today, tomorrow, and until the day you die. 24 hours! You see, Warren Buffett can do more with his money, he can do more with his resources, he can do more with his abilities, but the only way he can ever do more with his time is if you allow him to.

Let’s look at it this way: when you wake up tomorrow morning, there will be someone, somewhere, who woke up 1 hour before you. Brother has a 60 minute head-start, no question. However, there will also be a guy who woke up an hour before him, and that guy? There will be someone else who woke up an hour before him, too. Time is a commodity baby, and you’re starting your day 3 hours down! You received a 24 hour paycheck, and you took 1/8th of that–1/8th?! Are you kidding me?!–and you just burned it. You received 100 dollars, you took $12.50, and straight threw it in the trash.

But flip that.

You just gave me five–tomorrow, give me ten. Kick the alarm 15 minutes back every week. Close the tabs and pause the music–you’re poisoning your time with distractions. Use an agenda (Passion Planner) and a to-do list (Todoist). Time is a commodity, man, time is precious! Protect it, cultivate it, optimize your usage and minimize your waste of it. Time neither depreciates nor inflates–never will its value fluctuate in your hands–24 hours will always be 1 day and 365 days will always be 1 year, and I need you to understand, even if you’ve got 60, 70 years ahead of you, all you have today is 24! There is no 60 and 70, no ‘I have more time later’, no no no that’s nonsense! You don’t spend all your money on a flat screen because later you’ll have cash for the rent, you handle that business first! Time is precious, man, it’s a commodity–you don’t buy your success with money, because you don’t have that yet; you don’t earn your success through resources, because they don’t exist; you don’t even reach greatness via your abilities, because like roses in the garden, they will wilt and die if you do not set aside time to water them, time to weed around them, and time to let them grow on their own. Greatness is a product of time given, time sacrificed, time surrendered for the sake of something even more valuable, even more precious! Give me your time!

Be brave now. Children will ignore this, while men and women arise and go to work. 10 minutes tomorrow, 15 minutes back. Next level baby–let’s get at it.