I’m Ryan Matlock. Here’s How I’m Breaking the Mold

I’m Ryan Matlock, and for years, I’ve had the “pleasure” of being asked the most common question asked of high schoolers, “Where are you going to college?”. For the same amount of time, I’ve replied with the same rehearsed and unpopular answer, “I’m not.”

Why I Work

Why did you decide to do Praxis?

Entering high school, I already knew that I wanted to be a video producer. I was a huge fan of the book, “Do Hard Things” by Alex and Brett Harris, a book that encouraged young adults to utilize their teen years preparing for their adulthood by doing hard things. They advocated taking the time most teens use goofing off and using it to build the skills you‘ll need in adulthood.

I did just that, and was in the midst of learning the ins and outs of writing and video production when I began to consider what my next steps would be. The image of a lengthy college career hung over my future like an ominous cloud. It was around this time that I attended a homeschool convention and found myself sitting in on a presentation by Zak Slayback on “The Alternative to College”. Zak spoke on the alternative of apprenticeships, the cons of college, and the option of Praxis. This was the first time someone told me that I didn’t have to go to college, that I could do something else with an equal or better result.

I immediately looked into the process and results of apprenticeships and was thoroughly impressed. I could achieve in one year and at a fraction of the cost what a college student might not even come close to? Yes, please.

In one sentence, what’s your philosophy of work?

“Don’t waste anyone else’s time and don’t waste your own time. ”

At one point I worked at Chick-Fil-A, and after only a few months working there I was promoted to Team Leader. Why? I guess you could say it’s just because I’m awesome like that, but here’s what I think.

From the moment I clocked in until the time I clocked out, I made sure that I was always providing value. I never wasted the time of the owner by slacking off on the job or pretending to work. There was always something to be done and I made sure I did it.

As a Christian, I believe I’ve been put on this earth to use my talents to serve others. I want to give to society all that I can, and no matter what you are doing, you owe it to others to provide value for the time your with them, and you owe it to yourself to use your time wisely.

Separating From the Crowd

What’s the one thing about you that no one knows?

I’m a content creator, and that means that I’m always putting myself out there for the internet to see whether it’s my YouTube channel, blog posts, or otherwise. What nobody knows though is that I have huge doubts about what I produce. There are times I genuinely don’t want to press the “upload” button for fear that what I’ve made isn’t funny, entertaining, or informative enough. But this shouldn’t come as a surprise, and I’ll talk about that in the next section:

  • What do you believe that nobody else believes?

Nobody knows what they’re doing. Some are just better at faking it than others.

Looking around, I think we all tend to believe that “everyone has got it together except me”. It’s just human nature.

Well, I don’t believe that. Nobody’s perfect and everyone has worries or doubts about how the future will play out (Even a super cool content creator like me). Knowing this isn’t a black hole of anguish, but a ray of hope. If there’s no set rules for what does and doesn’t work, you’re free to experiment. Figure out what helps you work best, what inspires you, what makes you feel alive and do it.

Getting Things Done

What projects are you working on right now?

Aside from my personal YouTube channel (which I’ve posted on semi-weekly for almost two years now) and Praxis deliverables, I’m working part time as a video producer for a few businesses.

Just two weeks ago, I was shipped a pallet with twenty or so boxes filled with kitchen cookware and various other items. This is because a month ago, I promoted my services to a kitchenware supplier that needed videos done showcasing their products. It’s been a great experience, and that kitchenware job is only one of many freelance opportunities I’m involved with.

I’ve also been working on launching a podcast with my friend Matthew Bird. We got to know each other through another podcast, but this one will be all ours. It’s called The Aux Cable, and is an advice podcast on everything. Literally everything. In attempting to answer absolutely ANY question we receive, our goal is to entertain and inform our listeners as much as we can. The podcast is set for release on September 28th.

How are you currently pushing yourself to get better?

One of the problems that I’ve always struggled with in any event is getting my routine organized and efficient. I always find a way, but the journey to get there is one of trial and error. As my daily requirements change, so must my workflow and prioritization of tasks. As I said earlier, you’ve got to find what works for you and do it, so my first attempt to improve myself involves always thinking about what I can do to make my day more efficient and productive.

The second is reading. I can not emphasize enough how important consistent reading is to growing yourself. Nobody has all the answers, but finding good writers who have good things to share will give you more of the answers. Right now, I’m reading “How to Win Friends and Influence People”, as well as going through Michael Hyatt’s blog when I have the spare time to do so. With every passage I read, I find new ways of thinking and ideals that I can apply to my own life to improve my character, outlook, and actions.

How I Work

What tools do you use to organize your work?

It may seem old fashioned, but I’ve found the best way to organize my tasks for the day is with a good old post-it note. One of the last things I do in a given day is decide what the most pressing tasks are for the next day. I then prioritize those and write on a sticky note the top 3–8 things that need to get done. This can be anything from, “Call John” to “Spend 4 hours video editing”.

I make sure to be reasonable about what I can accomplish in a given day. This way I won’t be discouraged if I don’t get everything done, and if I fail to finish everything, I can reflect to figure out what I could have done better.

How do you motivate yourself to be productive during bad days?

There are some days when you roll out of bed, hit the floor, break your lamp, and think, “Today is just going to be a bad day.”

The first thing I do in these situations is go on my morning run. While this won’t work for everyone, running has been shown to release endorphins in the brain that have a positive effect on your mood. This isn’t the main reason I run, though.

I run because whenever I do, I’m able to make it a little bit farther than I could the last time before my lungs revolt against me. The simple act of trying my hardest and getting better motivates me to do the same for the rest of the day. I think, “I got this far on my run, why stop pressing on now?”.

What books, podcasts, or other resources do you rely on to boost your inspiration?

For the longest time, my favorite creators have been two men by the name of Josh Taylor and Kevin McCreary. There’s a chance you’ve heard of the former, as he currently has over 400,000 subscribers on YouTube. These two content creators have remained my favorite over the years because of their sense of humor and their ability to always have something new to say.

These two creators made a podcast called “The Inner Tube” in which they answer listener questions about content creation. It’s an extremely well done podcast and they make it fun to listen to by sharing personal stories, including cultural references, and even the random inside joke now and then. It inspires me both because I’m always learning something new, and also because they are an example of how to make content both informative AND engaging, something I want to emulate in my work.

Words I Live By

What’s the most important advice you’ve received?

Jesus said it best when he said in Luke that the most important two commandments were to “Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, strength and mind”, and to “Love your neighbor as yourself”. Whether you believe in a creator or not, loving others is at the root of most success in life. In it’s purest form, love is putting aside your own desires and figuring out how to best serve others.

I mentioned I’d been reading “How To Win Friends and Influence People” lately. In one of the chapters, Dale Carnegie talks about how in order to get someone to do something, they have to want to do it. This often means finding a way to convince them of value in an action, or promising to provide said value.

Having the attitude of a servant will only help you in dealing with people and in business. Everyone enjoys being helped and served, so filling that need will not only put you a cut above the rest, but it will also train you to handle greater responsibility in the future.

In a world where everyone is out to help themselves; to become more wealthy, powerful, or famous, I seek to break that mold. To be the person who entertains, who informs, and who adds value to the lives of others not for personal gain, but because I genuinely want to serve.

To follow along on my adventure or learn more about my work, be sure to visit my blog or visit my YouTube channel.

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