Kindness without expectation is the truest kind of kindness.

Zero Dean

Author | Photographer | CG Artist | Filmmaker

Remember this day

Remember this day

Remember this day

Remember this day as a fresh start. A new beginning. A clean slate. An optimistic look forward. Remember this day as a day of hope. A day of unlimited possibilities. A day of immeasurable potential. Remember this day as an occasion to learn. A day to improve. A day to get things right.

Remember this day as an opportunity to make a positive difference in someone’s life. A day to have a lasting positive impact on those you come in contact with. A day to lead by example.

Remember this day is a symbol. Because this day, this moment, and every moment that follows is an opportunity to not only be the type of person you want to be, but the type of person you want to be remembered as.

This day is not just a fresh start that comes but once a year, it comes every day — every moment you exist. This day is your life. And this day and all the days that follow are your legacy.

No one has more of an impact on this day and every day that follows in your life than you do. Make it a good one.

Originally published Jan 1, 2015


Remember this day

As one year ends and another begins…

As one year ends and another begins...

As one year ends and another begins, let us move forward with an open mind, an open heart, and enduring hope for the wondrous possibilities that lie before us.

But let us do so wisely and without blinders on.

Because although the year ahead may be great, it will not be without its challenges. We will be tested in ways we cannot foresee. But with every challenge comes an opportunity for us to demonstrate our strength, patience, tolerance, and resolve.

Every surprise that the coming year has in store for us is an opportunity to show that we’ve grown. That we’re stronger. And that we are ever bridging the gap between the person we are and the person we wish to be.

Let us remember that it is through the process of overcoming challenges that we develop strength. And that every time we face temptation, heartache, friction, or failure it is an opportunity for us to act in ways that we can be proud of.

No matter what life has in store for us, let this be a year of love, encouragement, and forgiveness — of others and ourselves.

Let it see us act bravely, boldly, and taking consistent action towards our goals. Let it see us correct our bad habits and add to our good ones — making us healthier, happier, and more capable of living the kind of life we desire. Let is see us push forward into the new year knowing that we are not only capable of handling every adversity that lies ahead, we can do so in a way that makes us better.

And because we know that life isn’t always easy, let us remember to not just be there for those that we know, but also for those that we don’t.

Happy New Year.

Zero Dean

Originally published: Dec 29, 2016

Happy New Year.

Wishes for the New Year

May the new year bring you an abundance of amazing opportunities, beautiful moments, and joyful experiences. May your positive actions & attitude inspire others.

May the new year bring you an abundance of amazing opportunities, beautiful moments, and joyful experiences. May your positive actions & attitude inspire others.

May you be brave enough to take on and overcome rewarding challenges. May you find yourself in high spirits & excellent health. May you love with all your heart and find peace in even the most turbulent of times.

May the love you give find its way back to you. And may you forever be filled with the hope & strength necessary to make your dreams a reality.

Zero Dean

Originally published on: Dec 30, 2013

Like this post? Be sure to see others from the New Year category.


May your coming days be filled with memorable moments…

May your coming days be filled with memorable moments...

May your coming days be filled with memorable moments and positive life experiences. May you find the strength and determination to overcome challenges and persevere through tough times. May you find pleasure in simple things and encounter love & joy in unexpected places. May you leave the world a better place for having been a part of it.

And may you not only have a great day, may you help make it great for those you encounter.

Originally published July 7, 2014


May your coming days be filled with memorable moments...

Dear Self, I am working on being a better person

Dear Self, I am working on being a better person

Dear Self,

I am working on being a better person.

Please let me be the type of person who I would respect & admire if I saw them in action. Let me greet each new day as another opportunity to get things right. Let me be open to thinking about things in ways I haven’t thought about them before. Let me find ways to make a positive difference in the world, no matter how small, and act upon them when I am able.

Let me be open to the challenge of change. Let me not shy away from things just because they are difficult. Let me face my fears and do things I would like to do even when they make me nervous. Let me be generous with what I have to give away. Let me remember to be grateful for every second that I get to make choices in my life and act upon them.

Let me make at least one person’s day brighter by having been a part of it. Let me accept my mistakes as learning experiences. Let me learn to love myself, flaws and all. Let me not care so much what others think. And let me be confident in my ability to succeed.

Thank you. — Me

Originally Published on: Jan 27, 2012


Prioritize your goals

Prioritize your goals

Prioritize your goals

Prioritize your goals

Prioritize your goals

There can be power in working towards goals without sharing them. But at the same time, if you don’t achieve a goal, it’s not very likely to be because you told someone you had it. You’re the one that needs to keep yourself honest, not other people.

Your goals should be important enough to you to achieve regardless of whether you tell people you have them or not.

Bad habits override new behaviors the moment one starts catering to their short-term comfort instead of being mindful of their long-term goals.

You won’t get what you want most by always rewarding yourself with what you want the moment you want it.

Old bad habits always override new set #goals whenever new goals aren’t prioritized clearly.

Who are you going to be this year?

Who are you going to be this year?
I’ve seen a lot of posts on social networks this morning basically saying “Good riddance to the last year!” and how it was a “crappy” year.

A crappy year?

While the past 365 days may have been challenging in many ways [I originally wrote this in 2012 and this statement has remained true for every year since — coincidence?], I think it’s important to remember that it is our attitude that helps dictate how we feel about what’s going on in our lives. And if we’re alive, with a roof over our heads, a meal to eat, and still able to make decisions in our lives, then we actually have it pretty good. A large number of people in the world don’t even have their basic needs taken care of — and our lives, no matter how difficult they may get at times, often beat the alternatives.

Life isn’t always easy — but it helps if you remember that obstacles in your path are there to test you and to help you grow. It is by overcoming obstacles that you develop new skills and new ways of handling what the rest of your life has in store for you. If you’d never had a problem in your life, you wouldn’t be very able to deal with — well LIFE, would you?

“Smooth seas don’t make skilled sailors.” — African Proverb

I don’t know (many) adults who still cry when they drop their ice-cream cones.

“Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.” — Zig Ziglar

Every year from the year we were born, our challenges change to reflect what’s going on in our lives (and the world). And they often increase in difficulty as we continue to evolve from one year to the next. Some things are within our control to change — other things are not — but what we always have control over is our attitude.

Many of the challenges we face in our teens are often not the same as when we are in our 20’s, 30’s and beyond. And while much of this can certainly be attributed to changes in our environment, careers & social status, at least some of it can be attributed to the life skills we’ve (hopefully) picked up along the way: Confidence, communication, organization, responsibility, and the ability to weather storms. We learn how to cope.

I think the movie Stepbrothers, which involves two 39-year-old “children” still living at home, highlights an issue with not having learned the skills necessary to push forward into the next phases of life…

Warning: Profanity

If you want to be the very best you can be, then realize that challenges and contrast are a good thing and an opportunity for growth. And it is how you choose to react to those challenges that allows you to build your character and become a stronger person. Challenges are always an opportunity to reveal who you really are.

You don’t have to let the little things get you down — you don’t even have to let the big things get you down. Others may still complain about how awful or unfair or difficult life is, but you don’t have to be like that. Rather than focus on your problems, you can focus on how you’re going to overcome those problems — and have confidence that you’ll be able to do so.

Yes, it can certainly help to have a friend to confide in, vent to, or discuss your burden(s) — but it also helps to focus on what you’re going to do to overcome those burdens.

Which would you rather listen to:

  • 1) a friend complain about how awful something in their life is or
  • 2) the same friend explain something they’re dealing with and how they’re going to overcome it.

In the case of 2, they may even admit that they don’t know what they’re going to do, but if they explain their issues and express the fact they know that they will somehow find a way through them, it changes the entire tone of the conversation.

It’s the difference between “This is hard and life sucks!” and “This is hard, but I will get through this.” is a big one.

See also: The problem with problems

Would you rather the attention you receive be from people expressing how they “feel sorry” for you or would you rather the attention you receive from people be how they respect your attitude and ability to cope with what you’re dealing with.

You can decide right now that no matter what the next year has in store for you, that you are up to the challenge of handling everything to the best of your ability — and in the most positive way possible.

“I think the thing to do is to enjoy the ride while you’re on it.” — Johnny Depp

Yes, mistakes will be made — as they almost always are anytime we encounter something new — but every mistake is also a learning experience. It is by developing the skills needed to overcome challenges that help us show who we really are.

So who are you going to be?

Originally Published on: Jan 1, 2012

Ways to Make This Year Especially Awesome

Originally written for New Year’s Eve 2010, this list applies today — and every day — as much as it did when it was posted. 

Ways to make this year especially awesome.


Remember to smile. It costs nothing, it can be done in an instant, and it can make a difference in not only how you make others feel, but how you feel yourself.

Did you know your smile can be a predictor of how long you’ll live — and that a simple smile has a measurable effect on your overall well-being? See the video…

2. Appreciation

Think of those times people made a difference in your life — and remember to tell them. A person’s greatest emotional need is to feel appreciated. Take the time to express your appreciation to everyone who has ever helped improve the quality of your life — even if it was only for a moment and even (especially!) if it’s been a while since you’ve been in touch.

3. Thank you

Remember the last time someone thanked you for something and it stood out because you really felt like they meant it. When you say “Thank you”, take the time to say it like you mean it (because you do mean it).

4. You’re welcome

When people thank you to you, consider saying “You’re welcome” instead of “yup”. Think about how much more meaningful & sincere that sounds than “yup” or grunting.

5. Support

Remember how you felt the last time you felt like someone was really supportive of something you were doing or wanted to do. Be a source of encouragement. Help people move towards accomplishing their big ideas and the things that fill them with enthusiasm. Be a voice of support — even if their goals are nothing like your own. The world needs people with big ideas and people who “think different”.

6. Remember to remember

Remember how you felt the last time someone contacted you just to say something in their day reminded them of you in a positive way. Remember to do the same for others. People always appreciate knowing you were thinking of them in a good way and it shows that they make a difference in your life. You can make a significant difference in someone else’s life simply by telling them how they make a difference in yours.

7. Admiration

Remember how it felt the last time someone told you that they were proud of something you did. If you’re proud of someone, tell them. If you admire something about someone, take the time to communicate how you feel.

8. Praise

Remember the last time someone praised you for something specific and how it made you feel and how meaningful it became because of how they said it. When giving compliments or praising someone’s work,  be specific. Remember that praise tends to be much more meaningful & memorable when it has something specific attached to it.

9. Help

Remember the last time someone helped you accomplish something using a specific skill or talent they had. If you have a talent or personal strength, find a way to use it to help someone else accomplish something — look for opportunities to help. Helping others tends to be just as rewarding to the giver as it is to the recipient — just remember not to expect reciprocation from the person or people you help. Kindness is contagious and your good deeds tend to find a way to come back to you.

10. Focus on the good

Dwell on the good and focus on your personal achievements, no matter how small. A step forward is a step forward, no matter how small and it is worthy of recognition. Avoid comparison with others unless it truly motivates you. Remember how good it felt the last time you were able to check something off a list or to set a personal record.

11. Focus on what’s right

Remember every day is a new opportunity to “get it right”. Focus on what’s right in your life and the world. Share that with others. Look for opportunities to be a bearer of good news and optimism. Remember how you feel when someone shares good news with you or bad news. If you don’t like something, acknowledge it, but unless you are able and willing to change it, move on.

12. Be the change you wish to see

Remember, you cannot control the world, only yourself and your attitude and the things you have a direct effect on in your life. You can be the change you wish to see in the world. If the media is getting you down with bad news and negativity or making you bitter — stop paying attention to it. The world is just as an amazing place full of awesome opportunities as it always has been. In fact, we live in one of the most magical times in history. Look for the magic and good in things and share it.

13. Make a fun list

Remember all the fun things you’ve done in the last year? Imagine how many more fun things you might’ve done if you’d made a list. Think about more fun things you’d like to do in the next year make a list — and then check them off as you do them. Keep a journal of your progress. Include specific people in your activities — tell them what you’re up to. Keep adding to your list, keep checking it off. Find fun new things to do. See how many things you can check off by the end of the year.

14. Slow down

Lessons Learned from The Path Less Traveled by Zero DeanRemember that life is made up of meaningful moments — remember to slow down for and appreciate the ones that truly add value to your life. Take the time to slow down and savor moments. Your senses are an incredible gift — learn to use them actively & deliberately. Don’t just walk by flowers — stop and smell them. Take the time to feel sunshine on your face. Dance in a field. Get lost in the colors of a beautiful sunset. Take the time to truly taste your food.

15. Go and grow

Expand your personal territory. Go somewhere you haven’t been before — just to see what’s there, even if it’s in your own town or a shop or store you’ve never been in. Tell someone about the experience — or better yet, share the experience with someone you enjoy being with. Remember the last time you were able to reminisce with someone about an awesome or funny experience you shared together.

16. Learn something new

Pick something that sounds like fun and learn a new skill this year — even if it’s silly. Learn to say “I love you” or “Hello” in 12 languages. Learn to say the alphabet backwards. Learn to play the guitar, the piano, or the harmonica. Just pick something fun and do it.

17. Really listen

Remember the last time you felt like someone was really listening to what you had to say and taking the time to think it over before responding. Take the time to listen — be patient — stop thinking ahead of what you’re going to say next while a person is talking to you. Wait for them to finish and then respond accordingly. Communication is not a competition. Make it meaningful by truly listening.

18. Be a ripple of kindness

Remember the ripple effect of kindness (video below). Offer to help others — don’t wait to be asked. Get in tune with the needs of those around you. If you know someone is moving, ask if they could use a hand. If someone is trying to accomplish something, ask if there’s anything you can do. Imagine if someone did the same for you and how that would make you feel.

19. Use it

Your body is an incredible machine. Like most things, your body and your brain will begin to decay through neglect or lack of use. Look for opportunities to challenge yourself mentally and physically — even if it’s just sudoku and a walk around the block. No one ever looked back on their life and wished they’d spent more time watching TV or playing video games.

20. Relax & recharge

Remember to give yourself a break — life is not a race to the end. Pace yourself. Take time to rest & re-energize your body and your brain after periods of intense exertion.

21. Eat real food

Remember that while junk food is cheap and exceptionally easy to acquire — it isn’t real food — it’s full of artificial flavors and chemicals designed to trick your system into wanting more of the same, but without providing you with the nutrition your body truly needs. Real food makes you feel healthy and gives you energy. Look for foods with fewer ingredients, low sugar & no corn syrup. Remember your body is a machine — one that you want to last! Treat your body well and put good things into it and you will get good things out of it — and you’ll feel good about it, too.

22. Forget the shortcuts

Delay gratification (video). The best decisions in life are often those that require steady work and patience. We live in a world selling “instant gratification” — buy now, pay later. Take this pill, get this result (and these side effects, too). Remember that these shortcuts often lead to less than desirable results. Resolve to simply do the hard work now and it will pay off later.

23. Be who you want to be

Remember, you’re in charge of your life. Remember who you wanted to be before you may have been pressured into acting a particular way. You don’t have to be what the world may say you are — you can be the person you want to be. Don’t let the world pressure you into being less than you want to be. If you want to be considered a good friend, be a good friend. If you want to be considered generous, be generous. If you want to be considered patient, practice patience.

24. Unlock your awesomeness

Remember that you are stronger, smarter, and more capable than you think. Beware your own self-imposed limitations (video) and don’t be afraid to be amazing — you may surprise yourself.

25. Attract by giving

Remember: what you are comes to you (quote). If you want to attract love and kindness, be loving and kind. “You don’t attract what you want, you attract what you are.” — Wayne Dyer

26. Yes. Yes. Yes!

Say yes more. Saying yes more opens up a whole new world of opportunities — and opportunities multiply as they are seized. You may be surprised at how quickly your life can change when you start saying yes.

27. The gift

Remember that every day is a gift and every second we spend alive is a miracle (video). There are no ordinary moments and the only time we can count on is this moment. The future is never guaranteed. Life is now.

28. Everything happens for a reason

Remember that everyone who comes into your life has something to offer (video) and everything happens for a reason (video). We can learn something from every experience.

29. Attitude is everything

Remember that attitude is everything and that “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” – Shakespeare

Attitude is everything.

30. Never give up

Don’t ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever give up. Life will knock you down — you must remember to get back up (video). This is how winners are made (video).