My name is Josh Rivedal. I’m an activist, playwright, actor, theatre producer, and the 2030 U.S. Olympic Gold Medalist in Curling (that’s right, I’m calling it early). The newest hat I wear is that of an author. My new book is a memoir entitled The Gospel According to Josh: A 28-Year Gentile Bar Mitzvah which you can also find along with my writing on my blog, The BLOGospel According to Josh.

My journey of awakening and personal expansion

When I look back at my twenty-nine (and-a-half) years of existence, I see lots of little moments that led to big shifts. Some would call these memorable moments, signposts. For much of my life these little moments and big shifts were generally reactionary. I didn’t influence the significant happenings in my life until they were already in my face.

In 2009 and at the age of twenty-five I lost my father to suicide. At twenty-seven, unhappy with the state of my life—my acting and writing career was not where I wanted it to be, my longterm girlfriend had broken up with me, my personal relationships were nearly non-existent, and I was undergoing a terrible clinical depression—and I started contemplating suicide. Thankfully I reached out for help in the nick of time.

Recovering from clinical depression in the early half of 2011, I started to see things in a new light. Success was derived from the strength of my personal relationships instead of my career accomplishments. Because of that change, I started to have the greatest personal and career success of my life. I also began to understand that happiness, success, failure, frustration—each of these are a mindset and not a state of being. I can choose to be happy or frustrated, to call myself a success or failure. Each of these mindsets can be cultivated. I want to cultivate the good things and so I plant those seeds in my mind, water them, and pull out the weeds on a regular basis. This is a much more proactive approach to my life and is a much healthier way to live.

My Positive Life Changes

Realizing that everything happens for me, and not to me. It’s a simple shift in my mind. Stomping my feet and yelling that something is not fair isn’t helpful. If I choose to learn from the bad things that take place in my life, I have an opportunity to learn from them. I can use those bad things to become a better person. I can use my knowledge to help myself and others avoid the same pitfalls in the future—a much better spin on it than wallowing in negativity and self-inflicted despair.

Self care. I can work like a maniac, juggling five big projects at once and producing results in a short period of time. But at what cost? My mental health is important and it is not being taken care of if I’m working eighty five hours a week. Taking on less work means I can have richer friendships, I can go to the gym, I can cook for myself, I can date, and I can rest. Now, success is defined as functioning at a high level in my work while keeping it in balance with the rest of my life.

Learning to become detached from outcomes. This does NOT make for a bland emotional life. This simply means that I understand that there are many factors outside of my control that can contribute to my perceived success at a personal or professional goal. Learning more about the factors outside my control and appreciating them for what they are helps me refine my Jedi reflexes (don’t be hatin’ on Star Wars).

My Next Steps as an Evolving Being

Through book signings and online events I’m working on raising money for charitable organizations with my new book The Gospel According to Josh: A 28-Year Gentile Bar Mitzvah. These non-profits I’m working with involve mental health services, men’s health, child protective services, suicide prevention, entrepreneurship, and the arts. The second round of this fundraising plan includes bringing the one-man show version of The Gospel According to Josh Off-Broadway in New York City in May 2014 to help these charitable organizations even further.

I also wrote and am associate producing a new Spanish language Christmas musical Rescatando la Navidad opening in Miami in November 2013 and then going for a six city tour in Texas. This one is a comedy with a lot of heart and I can’t wait to bring it to some thirty thousand Hispanic American families at Christmastime. I envision it as becoming a new family Christmas tradition. Now and in the future I want to use the show to partner with charitable organizations as well to make sure children and families can have a happy and healthy holiday season.

Lastly I want to continue evolving as a human being through strong personal relationships, my relationship with myself, and I want to leave the world better than when I found it.

My Advice to Others

  • Give of yourself and do it often without keeping score.
  • Take some time to really stop and take care of yourself.
  • Find something you truly love and cultivate it and pursue it and work hard at it. It doesn’t have to be a job and it doesn’t have to be about money. But it has to push you out of your comfort zone. And it should force you to tell yourself to “stay the course” every now and then, even if the course is a little hazy.
  • Put the act of worrying away. Stop doing it. There is always a solution. Either you fix or find a solution to your problem, or you don’t. Worrying is wasted energy and inefficient. The longer you worry the longer it takes to adjust to what you need to do next.
  • Surround yourself with people who make you a better person.
  • Learn to communicate well—this means listening more than you speak. Oh, and while you’re listening you’re not thinking of what you’re going to say next.
  • Face your problems head on. Don’t avoid them. Live in the fear and uncertainty. The sooner you face your problems, the less heartache you will face.
  • There’s always hope, help, and a solution.