How To Deal With Uncomfortable Emotions And Reshape Your Identity

Jack Canfield once said, “Everything you want is on the other side of fear.”And he’s right. But I’m going to take it one step further.

Pain, discomfort, shock, boredom, impostor syndrome, awkwardness, fear, being wrong, failing, ignorance, looking stupid: your avoidance of these feelings is stopping you from a life beyond your wildest imagination.

These are the feelings that accompany a life of success. And yet, these are the very feelings you relentlessly avoid!

Interesting how that works, right?

Wealth, optimal health, incredible relationships, deep spiritual maturity are all available to you. But you have to pay the price to have these things. The primary obstacle in your way is how you feel about what you need to do to have these things.

Most people aren’t willing to feel difficult emotions on a regular basis. However, if you’re willing to disregard how you feel in the moment, you’ll have access to a world of opportunity unavailable to 99% of the population.

When you feel the fear and do it anyways, you get the satisfaction of living life on your terms. Instead of being a hostage to your emotions, you get to experience them more deeply.

Hilariously, once you break past the emotional blocks and just act, it’s never as bad as you think it will be.

Make the decision and act

Napoleon Hill said, “When your desires are strong enough, you will appear to possess superhuman powers to achieve.” Similarly, Tim Grover has said, “When you crave the end result, the hard work becomes irrelevant.”

Put most simply: when the why is strong enough, you’ll be willing to do anyhow. The clearer and bigger the why, the bolder the how. Hence, if you 10X your why, you’ll have insights about how to do things far more effectively than the norm. As Dan Sullivan has said, “When 10X is your measuring stick, you immediately see how you can bypass what everyone else is doing.”

If your dreams are big enough, you’ll have to do different things than you’ve been doing. Not all “hows” are created equal. You’ll have to do things you don’t feel in the moment like doing. You’ll resist the actions you need to take.

If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got. What got you here, won’t get you there.

If you want bold results, you need bold actions.

If you want it bad enough, your momentary feelings won’t stop you. How you feel right now is irrelevant. Of course it’s out of your comfort zone. Of course it may not feel good in the moment.

Said Tim Ferriss, “A person’s success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have.”

Are you willing to disregard your momentary feelings to achieve a particular results?

Start small.

Life is practice.

Every day is practice. Right now, you’re practicing; you’re experimenting.

Start with small stuff and work your way up.

For me, taking cold showers is great practice. Even after doing it for years, I still often experience a moment of resistance. But I feel the resistance and do it anyways. Within seconds, the resistance I was feeling is replaced with confidence and satisfaction.

Confidence is an effect, not a cause.

Identity is an effect, not a cause.

Your behaviors and your choices of environment shape you from the outside, in.

What you do alters how you see yourself and the world.

The more frequently you can confront and walk past emotional blocks, the more powerful of a person you will become. You’ll begin to believe in yourself, because you’ll have watched yourself act in a believable way.

You will ride some amazing emotional waves.

You’ll find yourself in situations and ask yourself, “How did I get here? How am I going to pull this off?”

But your confidence will grow.

Because your behaviors, and the situations you find yourself lead you to believe in yourself.

“Wow! I’m really doing this…” you’ll say to yourself.

Your beliefs and identity will change. They’ll follow your courageous behaviors.

You just need to walk past the emotional wall — the electrical fence — which paralyzes and imprisons 99% of people.

Because people remain imprisoned, they doubt themselves. They develop a victim mentality.

Their confidence crumbles.

Rather than building the life they want, the settle for the life they have.

Rather than living in an environment created by them, they live in an environment created for them.

If you want something different, you need to act different. It doesn’t matter how you feel in the moment.

If that life is different than what you have now, you can expect it will feel terrible. You haven’t yet adapted to your new life.

What do you expect?

Change is always an uncomfortable transition — until you develop a tolerance for change, uncertainty, and even fear.

Are you willing to go there?

How big is the emotional roller-coaster of life you’re going to ride? Small rises and dips? Or huge rises, drops, spins, and twists? Life is meant to be lived, emotions are meant to be felt and experienced. You get to design the roller-coaster.

Do you want the result bad enough that you’re willing to feel absurd, horrible,amazing, ridiculous, and stupid to get there?

Or, would you prefer feeling safe and regretful?

The choice is yours. But everything you want is available. And the more extreme the emotional shock you’re willing to walk through, the faster you’ll get the results you’re seeking.

Trust Yourself

There must come a point when you stop worrying yourself over the opinions of others. Even the opinions of your heroes.

Your work and ideas must eventually come completely and unapologetically through you.

Only when you fully trust yourself and your ideas will you be able to create in a bold, honest, and beautiful manner.

No matter how “successful” you become, trusting yourself never gets easier. In fact, it only gets harder with more external noise and pressure. But you will never be happy with yourself or satisfied with your work if you don’t do what you truly felt inspired to do.

Your most honest work will always be your best work. More than likely, it will also be your most successful work.

 

How To Stop Letting Others Dictate Your Worth

How To Stop Letting Others Dictate Your Worth

What matters to an active man is to do the right thing; whether the right thing comes to pass should not bother him. — Goethe

Belisarius is one of the greatest yet unknown military generals in all of history. His name has been so obscured and forgotten by history that he makes the under appreciated General George Marshall seem positively famous. At least they named the Marshall Plan after George. As Rome’s highest ranking commander under the Byzantine emperor Justinian, Belisarius saved Western civilization on at least three occasions. As Rome collapsed and the seat of the empire moved to Constantinople, Belisarius was the only bright light in a dark time for Christianity.

He won brilliant victories at Dara, Carthage, Naples, Sic­ily, and Constantinople. He saved a cowardly Justinian from a riotous mob. He reclaimed far flung territories and recaptured Rome for the first time since it fell — all before he was 40.

His thanks? He was not given public triumphs. Instead, he was repeatedly placed under suspicion by the paranoid emperor he served. His victories and sacrifices were undone with bad politics. Later, he was relieved of command. His only remaining title was the deliberately humiliating “Commander of the Royal Stable.” Oh, and at the end of his illustrious career, Belisarius was stripped of his wealth, and according to the legendblinded, and forced to beg in the streets to survive.

Historians, scholars, and artists have lamented and argued about this treatment for centuries. Like all fair­ minded people, they’re outraged at the stupidity, the ungratefulness, and injustice that this great and unusual man was subjected to. The one person we don’t hear complaining about any of this? Not at the time, not at the end of his life, not even in private letters: Belisarius himself.

Ironically, as the head of the army he likely could have taken the throne on numerous occasions, though it appears he was never even tempted. While the Emperor Justinian fell prey to all the vices of absolute power — control, paranoia, selfishness, greed — we see none in Belisarius. Belisarius just did his job. He did it well. That was enough for him.

In life, there will be times when we do everything right, perhaps even perfectly. Yet the results will somehow be negative: failure, disrespect, jealousy, or even a resounding yawn from the world.

Depending on what motivates us, this response can be crushing. If ego holds sway, we’ll accept nothing less than full appreciation.

A dangerous attitude because when someone works on a project — whether it’s a book or a business or otherwise — at a certain point, that thing leaves their hands and enters the realm of the world. It is judged, received, and acted on by other people. It stops being something he controls and it depends on them.

Belisarius could win his battles. He could lead his men. He could determine his personal ethics. He could not control whether his work was appreciated or whether it aroused suspicion. He had no ability to control whether a powerful dictator would treat him well.

This reality rings essentially true for everyone in every kind of life. What was so special about Belisarius was that he accepted the bargain. Doing the right thing was enough. Serving his country, his God, and doing his duty faithfully was all that mattered. Any adversity could be endured and any rewards were considered extra.

Which is good, because not only was he often not rewarded for the good he did, he was punished for it. That seems galling at first. Indignation is the reaction we’d have if it happened to us or someone we know. What was his alternative? Should he have done the wrong thing instead?

We are all faced with this same challenge in the pursuit of our own goals: Will we work hard for something that can be taken away from us? Will we invest time and energy even if an outcome is not guaranteed? With the right motives we’re willing to proceed. With ego, we’re not.

It takes humility to admit that we have only minimal control over the rewards for our work and effort — other people’s validation, recognition, rewards.

Think of all the activists who will find that they can only advance their cause so far. The leaders who are assassinated before their work is done. The inventors whose ideas languish “ahead of their time.” According to society’s main metrics, these people were not rewarded for their work. Should they have not done it? Should they not be kind, not work hard, not produce, because there is a chance it wouldn’t be reciprocated? C’mon.

Yet in ego, every one of us has considered doing precisely that. Wanted to say: “Fuck ’em, they don’t appreciate me anyway.”

It’s far better (and more resilient) when doing good work is sufficient. In other words, the less attached we are to outcomes the better.

When fulfilling our own standards is what fills us with pride and self respect. When the effort — not the results, good or bad — is enough.

With ego, this is not nearly sufficient. No, we need to be recognized. We need to be compensated. Especially problematic is the fact that, often, we get that. We are praised, we are paid, and we start to assume that the two things always go together. The “expectation hangover” inevitably ensues.

It calls to mind the encounter Alexander the Great and the famous Cynic philosopher Diogenes. Allegedly, Alexander approached Diogenes, who was lying down, enjoying the summer air, and stood over him and asked what he, the most powerful man in the world, might be able to do for this notoriously poor man. Diogenes could have asked for anything. What he requested was epic: “Stop blocking my sun.” Even two thousand years later we can feel exactly where in the solar plexus that must have hit Alexander, a man who always wanted to prove how important he was. As the author Robert Louis Stevenson later observed about this meeting, “It is a sore thing to have labored along and scaled arduous hilltops, and when all is done, find humanity indifferent to your achievement.”

Well, get ready for it. It will happen. Maybe your parents will never be impressed. Maybe your girlfriend won’t care. Maybe the investor won’t see the numbers. Maybe the audience won’t clap. But we have to be able to push through. We can’t let that be what motivates us.

Belisarius had one last run. He was found innocent of the charges and his honors restored — just in time to save the empire as a white haired old man.

Except no, life is not a fairy tale. He was again wrongly suspected of plotting against the emperor. In the famous Longfellow poem about our poor general, at the end of his life he is impoverished and disabled. Yet he concludes with great strength:

This, too, can bear; — I still Am Belisarius!

You will be unappreciated. You will be sabotaged. You will experience surprising failures. Your expectations will not be met. You will lose. You will fail.

How do you carry on then? How do you take pride in yourself and your work? John Wooden’s advice to his players says it: Change the definition of success. “Success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.” “Ambition,” Marcus Aurelius reminded himself, “means tying your well-being to what other people say or do . . . Sanity means tying it to your own actions.” Do your work. Do it well. Then “let go and let God.“ That’s all there needs to be.

Recognition and rewards — those are just extra. Rejection, that’s on them, not on us. John Kennedy Toole’s great book A Confederacy of Dunces was universally turned down by publishers, news that so broke his heart that he later committed suicide in his car on an empty road in Biloxi, Mississippi. After his death, his mother discovered the book, advocated on its behalf until it was published, and it eventually won the Pulitzer Prize.

Think about that for a second. What changed between those submissions? Nothing. The book was the same. It was equally great when Toole had it in manuscript form and had fought with editors about it as it was when the book was published, sold copies, and won awards. If only he could have realized this, it would have saved him so much heartbreak. He couldn’t, but from his painful example we can at least see how arbitrary many of the breaks in life are.

This is why we can’t let externals determine whether something was worth it or not. It’s on us.

The world is, after all, indifferent to what we humans “want.” If we persist in wanting, in needing, we are simply setting ourselves up for resentment or worse.

Doing the work is enough.

How to Experience Enormous Success Decades Before Anyone Else

How to have an old person’s wisdom in a young person’s body

“Young people are stupid. Old people are wise. Which do you want to be?” -Ryan Holiday

Most people are following a very conventional path right now.

They’re planning on doing things when everybody else does them. They’re getting the same kinds of jobs, dating the same kinds of people, and spending money on the same kinds of things.

Most people are triggered by the actions of others, not what they have decided within their own mind. They are reactionary, not intentional.

As a result, most people are broke, empty, and behind the game.

In the words of Neil Patel:

“It’s absurd that we would prioritize the hottest new device, the cool car, or trendy toy over owning that which makes us feel the most engaged and most alive.”

In every part of life, there is a conventional path and an unconventional path. Most people choose the former.

But this is exactly how you delay success. By taking the conventional road everyone else is taking, you ensure you’ll reach the destination as late as everybody else.

Here’s how to achieve enormous success faster than 99% percent of people.

There is No Such Thing as Time Management

“Most people have no clue what they are doing with their time but still complain that they don’t have enough.” -Grant Cardone

Most people have no idea how time actually works. They still believe in the “average timelines” for things, like how long it takes to buy a house, write a book, or retire.

They don’t understand time is relative; an hour for you is an eternity for a hyper-focused winner. Someone else could complete 1000x times more than you in the same amount of time.

There is no such thing as time management.

Most people think of time as an “either/or” construct. They fear time shortages, and believe there’s never enough time.

But there’s plenty of time when you use the time you’re given.

If you want to experience enormous success decades earlier than most people, then quit striving for a “balanced” life. The world’s most successful people understand there is an abundance of time, and cultivate their ability to maximize every second.

Once you understand the concept that you can move as fast as you want:

You can do anything you want, as fast as you want.

But most people will delay for years on unnecessary “conventional” paths.

There are no limits to time. You can accomplish your life’s goals in a few months (or weeks) of hyper-focused intensity.

“When you have less time available for work, you have to make better choices about what to work on (and what not to).” -Tim Metz

Photo by Xan Griffin on Unsplash

You Can Absolutely Use Your Youth as an Excuse. But You Don’t Need To.

“The awakening to your own ignorance is the beginning of wisdom.” -Frank Crane

I have an old friend from college that I talk with every once in a while.

He makes a lot of money, but he’s broke. He wants to travel the world, and he finally has a chance to take some time off for the first time in years. But since he’s living paycheck-to-paycheck, he can’t afford to leave.

He can use his age as an excuse. Many young people do. “I’m only 26, I don’t really have things figured out yet.”

None of us did at 26. You can absolutely use that as an excuse, and lots of people would nod their heads in support.

But you don’t need to.

  • You can choose to become a 26-year old who is well ahead of her years.
  • You can choose to be a young person known for her wisdom and planning.
  • You can choose to be that 20-something that makes people think, “Wow. This guy has his shit together.”

No one will fault a kid for using training wheels.

But you can choose to take them off before most people do.

You can choose to be an old person in a young person’s body.

You can choose to not waste your time with silly time-wasters like everyone else.

And you will be glad you did.

“Why give to old age the privilege of wisdom? What would be thought of one who prided himself on possessing bracelets when had lost his arms in war?” -Yoritomo

Stop Playing By Everyone’s Rules — They Don’t Apply To You

“You cannot allow the actions of others to define your reality.” -Steven Pressfield

Society loves telling people exactly how to do things.

  • Go to a good college, and pick a good degree (not like English or Philosophy, there aren’t any jobs).
  • Get a good job at a good company.
  • Get a good mid-sized sedan (nothing older than 5 years).
  • Keep your head down for a few years until that promotion comes. Don’t rock the boat.
  • Stay here for years.

Most people follow this conventional path, even if it makes them wildly unhappy and miserable. They don’t realize taking the conventional path is delaying their success not by months, but by years.

Most people will waste unnecessary years on slow, conventional paths where the pace is dictated by someone else.

This is exactly how you delay success — by following the rules.

“Would you be as successful if you followed all the rules and always behaved and never took chances? No, you’d be just like everyone else, scared about failing and worried about being liked.” -Tim Grover

The rules don’t apply to you. You can be as successful as you want, as fast as you want.

We live in a society where technology makes everything possible. If you don’t know how to do something, there’s no excuse not to learn — there are hundreds of books, blogs, coaches, and training courses on every topic under the sun.

Most people follow everyone else’s rules. There’s comfort in the crowd; it’s safe, secure, with lots of people who will pat you on the back for staying.

But if you want to experience enormous success decades before anyone else, it’s time to leave the crowd.

Stop following the rules.

Once you stop letting others dictate your pace in life, you can go as fast and as far as you want.

“To get different results, you’re going to have to do things differently.” -Darren Hardy

Photo by Hannah Busing on Unsplash

If You Want Rapid Improvement, Prepare for Powerful Criticism

“The great achievements in this world are reserved for those willing to look like a fool in the eyes of society.” -Chad Grills

The majority doesn’t like deserters.

Once you decide you’re going to achieve massive success no matter what, and declare the rules don’t apply to you, get ready for powerful criticism.

Much of these criticisms come from those closest to you. Well-intentioned family and friends urge caution and to “play it safe.” You will be warned against the risks, the unknown, and what disasters might happen.

Most people can’t handle this new criticism. They operate out of fear, not hope and belief. So they go back to the conventional path, where success is delayed and the pace is slow.

In the words of Casey Neistat:

“Life shrinks and expands in direct proportion to your willingness to assume risks.”

Enormous success is reserved for those who are willing to look foolish in front of others.

As ancient Stoic philosopher Epictetus once remarked, “If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid.” You can’t be an enormous success without garnering enormous criticism.

That doesn’t matter. What matters is your growth, learning, and improvement. You’ve seen “the man behind the curtain;” you know the rules are made up and you can have whatever you want, as fast as you want.

You just need to leave the safety of the crowd.

If you want to experience enormous success decades before you ever thought possible, it’s time to start operating with a new mindset, with new rules.

You will be criticized for this thinking. People will warn you, insult you, coddle you, and urge you to not risk losing everything.

Don’t listen to the criticism. Because if you keep going, you’ll achieve far bigger success faster than you ever thought possible.

“Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. Don’t wish it were easier; wish you were better.” -Jim Rohn

The World’s Most Successful People Kept Knocking After Everyone Else Stopped

“Most people knock on the door of their dreams once, then run away before anyone has a chance to open the door. But if you keep knocking, persistently and endlessly, eventually the door will open.” -Les Brown

Consistency will make you feel like a loser.

If you knew it was going to take writing 41 articles before anyone ever read your stuff, would you keep writing?

If you knew it would take going to the gym 41 times before you noticed any improvement, would you keep going?

Most people wouldn’t. The constant doubt and the never-ending failure are more than enough to destroy their motivation. This constant action with tiny results will make you feel like a loser.

But it’s the ones who keep going despite this feeling that reach enormous success.

I’ve been blogging for 5 years now.

Across 4 years of publishing hundreds of articles into cyber-oblivion, I had gained a mere 200 subscribers. Nobody read my stuff. Nobody cared.

But while all my “blogger” friends quit writing out of boredom, I kept going. I got serious. I became a student of the craft and stopped dicking around.

In the past 6 months, I’ve gained 14,000+ new email subscribers. I receive hundreds of thousands of views a month. I spoke with a book publisher this morning about writing my first book.

There’s only one explanation I can give:

I just kept knocking while everyone else quit.

Most people who attempt to seize their goals quit after a few unsuccessful tries. Then, they laugh at and make fun of those who never give up, even though they wish they hadn’t given up.

If you want incredible success this year, this month, and not years from now, you need to keep knocking on the door, incessantly. That’s how you achieve enormous success decades before most people — if they ever will.

Author Grant Cardone instructs his students to be “unreasonable in their actions,” making people think they’ve gone crazy with their level of commitment.

Consistency will make you feel silly. People will make fun of you, your efforts will seem futile, and you’ll wonder how much longer you’ll look like a fool in your efforts to succeed.

Be encouraged: feeling foolish is precisely the indicator you’re heading in the right direction. It means you’re following through. It means you’re being consistent.

It means you will absolutely reach your goal if you keep going, no matter what.

“Repetition can be boring or tedious — which is why so few people ever master anything.” -Hal Elrod

In Conclusion

“Life is long if you know how to use it.” -Seneca

You have all the time in the world, if you know how to utilize the time you’ve given.

Most people won’t ever be successful. Their version of success is always defined by others, and they never quite reach it. They spend years of toil and hard work on the conventional path that leads them places they don’t want to go.

If you want to achieve enormous success decades before anyone else, choose the unconventional path.

Remember: the rules are made up. They don’t apply to you. You can go as fast and as far as you want — no one can tell you otherwise.

Don’t make excuses. The most successful people in the world take full responsibility for everything — they don’t let their age, social class, where they grew up, or what people think of them affect anything. They just do what they need to do.

The more willing you are to take risks, attract criticism, and go your own way…

The faster your inevitable success will come.

If You’re Too Busy For These 5 Things: Your Life Is More Off-Course Than You Think

Despite turbulence and other conditions keeping airplanes off-course 90 percent of flight time, most flights arrive in the correct destination at the intended time.

The reason for this phenomenon is quite simple — through air traffic control and the inertial guidance system, pilots are constantly course correcting. When immediately addressed, these course corrections are not hard to manage. When these course corrections don’t regularly happen, catastrophe can result.

For example, in 1979, a passenger jet with 257 people on board left New Zealand for a sight seeing flight to Antarctica and back. However, the pilots were unaware that someone had altered the flight coordinates by a measly two degrees, putting them 28 miles east of where they assumed to be.

Approaching Antarctica, the pilots descended to give the passengers a view of the brilliant landscapes. Sadly, the incorrect coordinates had placed them directly in the path of the active volcano, Mount Erebus.

The snow on the volcano blended with the clouds above, deceiving the pilots into thinking they were flying above flat ground. When the instruments sounded a warning of the quickly rising ground, it was too late. The plane crashed into the volcano killing everyone on board.

An error of only a few degrees brought about an enormous tragedy.

Small things — if not corrected — become big things, always.

This flight is an analogy of our lives. Even seemingly inconsequential aspects of our lives can create ripples and waves of consequence — for better or worse.

How are you piloting your life?

What feedback are you receiving to correct your course?

How often do you check your guidance system? Do you even have a guidance system?

Where is your destination?

When are you going to get there?

Are you currently off-course? How long have you been off-course?

How would you know if you are on the right course?

How can you minimize the turbulence and other conditions distracting your path?

1. Organizing Your Life

I don’t think I’m alone in being slightly scattered and sloppy about certain areas of my life.

Life is busy.

It’s hard to keep everything organized and tidy. And maybe you don’t want to have an organized life. But moving forward will require far less energy if you remove the excessive baggage and tension. Everything in your life is energy. If you’re carrying too much — physical or emotional — your progress will be hampered.

In his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective PeopleStephen Covey explains that some things are important, and some things are urgent. Most people spend their life prioritizing urgent and “shallow” activity (e.g., answering emails, putting out proverbial fires, and just day-to-day stuff).

Very few people have organized their lives to prioritize almost exclusively important and “deep” activity (e.g., learning, health, relationships, travel, and goals).

No one cares about your success more than you do. If you’re not a meticulous accountant about the important details of your life, then you aren’t responsible enough to have what you say you want.

So how do you organize your life?

Environmental Energy

Is your living space cluttered and messy or simple and neat?

Do you keep stuff (like clothes) you no longer use?

If you have a car, is it clean or just another place to keep your clutter and garbage?

Does your environment facilitate the emotions you consistently want to experience?

Does your environment drain or improve your energy?

Financial Energy

Do you have unnecessary debt?

Do you know how many dollars you spend each month?

Do you know how many dollars you make each month?

Are you making as much money as you’d like to be?

What’s holding you back from creating more value in other people’s lives?

Most people don’t track their expenses. But if they did, they’d be shocked how much money they waste on stuff like eating out.

I’ll be honest, as a creative and right-brained person, administrative and logistical details bog me down. I procrastinate and avoid them. But this lackluster behavior is holding me back from the very goals I’m trying to accomplish.

Until I can hone in on my finances, I won’t have a healthier financial life, regardless of my income. Until I take complete responsibility of my finances,I’ll always be a slave to money.

And so will you.

Relational Energy

Are your relationships the most meaningful and enjoyable part of your life?

Do you spend enough time nurturing the relationships that really matter?

Do you maintain toxic relationships that no longer serve you?

Are you authentic and honest in your relationships?

Like money, most people’s relationships are not organized in a conscious manner. But with something so critical, we should take better stock of our relationships.

Health Energy

Do you eat with the end in mind?

Are you conscious of and in control of the foods you put in your body?

Does the food you eat improve or worsen the other areas of your life?

Does your body reflect your highest ideals?

Is your body as strong and fit as you want it to be?

Are you healthier now than you were three months ago?

Health is wealth. If you’re bed ridden, who cares how organized the other areas of your life are? It’s so easy to put our health on the side, such as foregoing sleep, over consuming stimulants, and making poor eating habits.

Little things become big things. And eventually everything catches up.

Spiritual Energy

Do you have a sense of purpose in life?

Have you come to terms with life and death in a way you resonate with?

How much power do you have in designing your future?

Death, it turns out, is not your greatest fear. Actually, your greatest fear is reaching death and having never truly lived.

When you organize your spiritual life, you become clear on what your life is about. You become clear on what you stand for, and how you want to spend each day. You develop conviction for what really matters to you, and what is a “distraction.”

No matter how well defined, everyone has a moral system governing their behavior. Most people believe in being honest and good people. But until you organize your spiritual life, you’ll experience internal conflict when acting contrary to your values and vision.

Time

How much of your time do you feel in complete control of?

Is your time being wasted on things you don’t intrinsically enjoy?

Are the activities you spend your time doing moving you toward your ideal future?

Are you spending most of your time furthering your own agenda or someone else’s?

What activities should you remove from your life?

How much time do you waste each day?

What would your ideal day look like?

What activities could you outsource or automate that take up your time?

Until you organize your time, it will disappear and move quickly. Before you know it, you’ll wonder where all the time went.

Once you organize your time, it will slow down. You’ll be able to live more presently. You’ll be able to experience time as you want to. You’ll control your time rather than the other way around.

Stop What You’re Doing and Get Organized

Getting organized and conscious of your present circumstances (e.g., your environment, finances, relationships, purpose, and time) puts you in a position to build toward the future you want.

The fastest way to move forward in life is not doing more. It starts with stopping the behaviors holding you back.

If you want to get in shape, you’ll make more progress by stopping your negative behaviors than starting good ones. So, before you start exercising, purge the junk food from your diet. Until you stop the damage, you’ll always be taking one step forward and one step backward.

Before you focus on making more money, reduce your spending. Detach yourself from needing more and become content with what you have. Until you do this, it doesn’t matter how much money you make. You’ll always spend what you have (or more).

This is a matter of stewardship. Rather than wanting more, more, more , it’s key to take proper care of what you currently have. Organize yourself. Dial it in. Your life is a garden. What good is planting if you don’t prepare the soil and remove the weeds?

Why do most people stay stuck? They never organize. They try adding more, or being more productive, or taking a different approach. So before you “hustle,” get organized.

2. Plan And Invest In Your Future

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” — Chinese Proverb

Taking these foundational areas of life and organizing them is essential to creating your ideal future.

Very few people consciously plan and design their life. It’s actually startling how few Americans are investing in their future. Most Millennials are terrified of the stock market and long-term investing. Most Baby Boomers never developed the discipline to invest, but instead maintained an addiction to American consumption.

Even still, you have complete power over the details of your life the moment you decide you’re worthy of that power. That decision is manifest in tangible behaviors, like fixing or removing troubled relationships and saying “no” to activities that are nothing more than a waste of your time.

You get to decide right now.

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!” — Benjamin Franklin

Your vision should be based on your whynot so much your what.

Your why is your reason, your what is how that is manifest. And your “what” can happen in a ton of different ways. For example, my why is to help people get clarity on the life they want to live, and to help them achieve their goals as quickly as possible. My what could be blogging, parenting, being a student, going out to dinner, and several other things.

Too many people think creating a vision is about nailing down exactly whatthey want in the next 20 years. The problem with this mega long-term approach to goal setting is that it actually slows your potential.

Instead of having a pre-set plan of what he wants to do, Tim Ferriss executes on 3–6 month experiments that he’s currently excited about. He told Darren Hardy in an interview that he has no clue what the outcome of his experiments might be. So there’s no point in making long-term plans. He has no clue what doors will open up, and he wants to be open to the best possibilities.

But his why doesn’t change.

When you are proactively creating and collaborating with many different people, the whole becomes different and better than the sum of its parts. This is why you can’t plan for everything. Because at the highest level, you’ve transcended your need to have things exactly how you want them. You know that with the help of other people, you can do things 10X, 100X, or 1,000X bigger and better than you could ever conceive on your own.

Rather than expecting a particular outcome, you are completely confident that the best outcome will ensue. This is how you create and contribute beyond anything you could ever comprehend. Collaboration and synergy lead to new innovations and ultimately, human evolution. It’s how the old and outdated rules are redefined and replaced with new and better ones, thus changing the global environment.

Invest in Your Future

When you choose to forego momentary gratification in order to have an enhanced future, you are investing in your future. Most people fail to do this successfully.

Most people don’t purposefully invest in their finances, relationships, health, and time. But when you invest in yourself (and your future),you ensure your future present moments will continue to get richer and more enjoyable.

Thus, your life will continue getting better and more in line with your ideal vision.

3. Tracking Important Metrics

“When performance is measured, performance improves. When performance is measured and reported, the rate of improvement accelerates. ” — Thomas Monson

Getting organized and investing in your future are futile if you’re not tracking. In regards to the most important areas of your life, you need to be on top of what’s going on.

Tracking is difficult. If you’ve tried it before, chances are, you quit within a few days.

Research has repeatedly found that when behavior is tracked and evaluated, it improves drastically.

If you’re not tracking the key areas of your life, than you’re probably more off-course than you think. If you were to be honest with yourself, you’d be stunned how out-of-control things have become. As J.M. Barrie, author of Peter Pan, has said:

“The life of every man is a diary in which he means to write one story, and writes another; and his humblest hour is when he compares the volume as it is with what he vowed to make it.”

The cool part is, once you get organized, make a plan, and start tracking, desired change happens quickly.

Track the things that are closely related to your core priorities. As Jim Collins said in Good to Great, “If you have more than three priorities you have none.”

Your priorities reflect your why, and thus, your life should be build around your priorities. Not the other way around. Consequently, if you’re serious about improving upon the foundation of your life, track your priorities. For example:

  1. Your key relationships
  2. Your business and finances
  3. Self improvement (such as health or how you use your time)

You can track whatever priorities you have. But I can absolutely promise you that once you do, your conscious awareness of these things will increase. You’re ability to control these things will enhance. Your confidence will wax strong. And your life will become simpler.

You’ll be living a simple, yet organized and refined life. You’ll be responsible, which put another way is freedom.

4. Prayer and Meditation To Reduce Noise

“I have so much to do today that I’m going to need to spend three hours in prayer in order to be able to get it all done.” — Martin Luther

There’s a lot of emphasis on hustle these days.

Hustle, hustle, hustle.

But all the hustle in the wrong direction isn’t going to help you. Yes, by hustling you can fail often, fail fast, and fail forward. However, as Thomas Merton has said:

“People may spend their whole lives climbing the ladder of success only to find, once they reach the top, that the ladder is leaning against the wrong wall.”

This happens way too often. We get caught in the thick of thin thingsFar too late do we realize that in our mad rush, we were pursuing someone else’s goals instead of our own.

But spending a large chuck of time in prayer and/or meditation does more than provide clarity to what you’re doing. These things open your mind up to possibilities you can’t get while busy.

For example, a few days ago I spent the entire morning praying, thinking deeply, listening to inspirational music, and writing in my journal. A few hours into this process, an idea came to me that is absolute gold.

I also got insights regarding important relationships during that time, which when those insights came in, I immediately sent out emails or texts to those people. Amazing collaborations and mentorships were the resultant outcome.

But there’s more.

Your thoughts are incredibly powerful. They actually govern not only you but those around you. Think about it, if you think positively about the people you’re around, their lives are better. This is why people “send positive energy” or pray for other people. It actually makes a difference.

Your thoughts create endless ripples — even waves — of consequence all around you.

While praying and/or meditating for a large portion of time, the level of your thoughts will elevate. And interesting things will begin happening. If you’re uncomfortable with the idea of miracles, you can think of it as luck.

Whatever you call it, when you spend large portions of time every day in deep reflection mode, luck strikes. Stuff happens that is completely outside of your control for your benefit.

For instance, during my deep dive into my mind and soul, one of my favorite authors came across my blog. He re-tweeted one of my articles and reached out to me. Now we’re friends. We’ve spent lots of time together. He’s helped me get a book contract. He’s even had me speak at one of his events!

If you’re skeptical of these ideas. Give it a try. Why do you think the majority of the world’s most successful have rituals such as these? There is a higher realm you can tap into that unlocks limitless possibilities.

The only thing holding you back from those things is your mind.

5. Move Toward Your Goals Every Single Day

How many days go by where you did nothing to move toward your big goals?

Probably too many.

Life is busy.

If you don’t purposefully carve time out every day to progress and improve, then without question, your time will get lost in the vacuum of our increasingly crowded lives. Before you know it, you’ll be old and withered, wondering where all that time went.

As Harold Hill has said: “You pile up enough tomorrows, and you’ll find you are left with nothing but a lot of empty yesterdays.”

After you’ve gotten yourself organized, made plans, started tracking, and gotten into the habit of prayer/meditation, taking action and hustling will be automatic. You’ll be focused on the right thing and in the right frame of mind to actually execute.

Its good practice to do these kind of things at the beginning of your day before your will power depletes.

If you don’t, it simply will not get done. By the end of your day, you’ll be exhausted. You’ll be fried. There will be a million reasons to just start tomorrow. And you will start tomorrow — which is never.

So your mantra becomes: The worst comes first. Do that thing you’ve been needing to do. Then do it again tomorrow.

If you take just one step toward your big goals every day, you’ll realize those goals weren’t really far away.

Conclusion

It’s really easy to get off course in life. Like airplanes, we constantly need to make course corrections.

But we can ensure we get where we want in life by organizing ourselves, planning for our future, tracking our progress, heightening our mindset, and hustling.

Do this long enough and you’ll be shocked.

Go!

Stop Saying, “It’s Hard” Because It’s Really Not

“It’s just so hard.”

I keep hearing people say this. About writing. About business. About marketing and sharing your work and creating art and everything that is good for us that we are scared to do.

No. It’s not hard. And I’m so sick of hearing smart, competent people say it is.

Here’s a list of things that are hard (in no particular order):

  • Childbirth is hard (I’ve been told).
  • Parenting is hard.
  • Dealing with loss and pain and injustice is hard.
  • Being born in another era or another country where you don’t have access to incredible opportunities to create change right where you are, that’s hard.
  • Fighting tyranny to create a better future for your grandchildren is hard.

But writing? Making things? Doing work that matters? No. That’s not hard. The path has been laid before you. The manuals have been written, the precedents set. The formulas are already there for you.

All you have to do is take the first step.

Here’s a list of things that are not hard:

  • It’s not hard to write 500 words a day.
  • It’s not hard to start a blog.
  • It’s not hard to Google your biggest struggles and find free answers on YouTube or Quora.
  • It’s not hard to create something new every day and share it with the world. It’s not even hard to start a business.
  • It’s not hard to take advantage of the millions of opportunities available to you right now.

Facing reality

Is it scary?

Sure.

Will there be failure?

You bet.

But is it hard?

No, I’m sorry. You can’t say that anymore.

We live in the most affluent era of history with the greatest advancements in technology the world has ever seen.

If you are reading this right now, you are privileged. Don’t waste that privilege by saying something absurd like “it’s hard.”

It’s never been easier to do work that matters, create the life you want, and change the world (albeit, perhaps in your own small way).

Telling yourself it’s hard isn’t helping you. It’s just another reason to stall.