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.