Everything You Fight Has Power Over you. Everything You Accept Doesn’t.
We continuously seek answers outside of ourselves. We look for them in self-help books, podcasts, seminars, mentors, and spiritual teachers. But continually looking outside ourselves for answers isn’t exactly a vote of confidence in the expression of our soul’s calling. Eventually, to find our answers, we must turn inward. But going inward requires us to brave the wilderness, explore uncharted territory, and in the words of my friend AJ Leon, not follow well-lit paths, but grab a machete and hack our own.
When we go inward, we can no longer avoid our pain. We have to confront it. But there’s a strange paradox to pain. The more we fight it, the more we empower it.
Everything you fight has power over you. Everything you accept loses its problem it never gets solved? But when you finally let it go, somehow it gets sorted out. A perfect example is dating. In his course on relationships, Mark Manson says one of the best ways to meet somebody is to find something better to do than trying to meet somebody.
When the longing, striving and pushing to get what you so desperately want finally come to an end you’re free. It’s only from that place of freedom and unapologetic, no-bullshit, self-expression that you can create what Jennifer Boykin calls your beautiful immortal work and live a meaningful life.
When we surrender to the circumstances we’ve been fighting, they lose all of their power over us. But we have to be careful not to confuse surrender with resignation or apathy. When we surrender, all of our actions come from a place of peace and abundance. When desperately we fight a circumstance, we do so with the frenetic energy of chaos and scarcity.
A few days ago I was in a meeting with my content strategist. We were looking at book sales for An Audience of One, and I saw that we’d sold roughly 50 copies over the course of the week. That wasn’t going to put me on any bestseller list, or make my publisher salivate. But it made me recognize the importance of playing the long game. It was my moment of surrender. With surrender, I found clarity. I asked him what small things we could do to move the needle, and all of the following ideas came to surface:
- Change the copy on the home page and feature someone’s Amazon review
- Create a new graphic with all the pictures readers had posted on Instagram and use it in our newsletter.
A focus on progress gives you power. A focus on perfection disempowers you. When we’re obsessed with perfection, we overlook progress and fail to appreciate our accomplishments.
If I were only satisfied when I sold 10,000 copies of my book, I would have completely disregarded and not appreciated the fact that I had crossed the threshold of my first 1000 copies.
It’s likely we can find everything we crave from some external source within ourselves. However, it requires inner work. We can’t order it on Amazon Prime and have it show up at our doorstep the day after tomorrow. The hedonic treadmill is necessary for economic sustainability. If everybody woke up one day and decided they were enough, had enough, and didn’t need to buy anything else, the economy would collapse.
When Things Don’t Go Your Way
Surrender doesn’t mean that you won’t ever be disappointed and that everything will go your way:
- Somebody will break your heart when you put it on the line . My sister had probably the most wise perspective on relationships I’d heard in ages. “Everybody is going to break up with you eventually until you meet the person you marry.”
- You might get fired from a job, but it could end up being the best thing that ever happened to you.
- A creative project might fail to live up to your expectations, but what you learn from it could be a profound personal growth experience.
If you choose to live a full-color, full contact, and fully self-expressed life, you’re going to have setbacks and disappointments. The only way to avoid disappointments is not to take any chances at all. That’s an incredibly limited way to live your life. As I said in An Audience of One, “Your circumstances can give you colors to paint with.” It’s all material.
Honor the Past
For most of us, when we think of a challenging experience from our past, whether it’s a relationship that didn’t work or a job that we got fired from, we focus on the negative and overlook the positive. We carry that energy with us into the future, and the future ends up looking like the past. But when we honor the past and take the most valuable lessons from it, and the power it has over us dissolves.
One of the exercises in a book I was reading was to write something great about every person who broke up with you. But you don’t just have to apply this to intimate relationships. It can be applied to just about anything. When you do that you see that often people give you many amazing gifts despite the pain they might have caused you. As Dani Shapiro wrote in Still Writing, the blessing is next to the wound.
- If weren’t for the bosses who fired me, I might not be an author today
- One girl I dated taught me how to cook, another to dress better, and so on. It didn’t work out. But it didn’t mean there wasn’t a positive gain from it either.
- A few weeks ago my business partner Brian Koehn and I decided it was time for us to part ways. But we both agreed ending our friendship would be a much higher cost than ending our partnership. He kept us from going out of business in 2014, helped turn our business around, and because he’s left it’s forced me to step into the role of CEO finally.
When you let go of the resentment you feel towards a person who hurt you and forgive them or make peace with a difficult experience from your past, it loses its power over your and more importantly over your future. When you accept your setbacks, they become an opportunity to turn endings into new beginnings.
As somebody who has dealt with cycles of depression, I’m hyper-aware of the fact that this is easier said than done, particularly when you’ve just come out the other side or are still braving the wilderness. Here are some things that I’ve found to be helpful to both honor and let go of the past.
- Gratitude: While gratitude doesn’t magically solve problems, it is a subtle energetic shift that can also begin to shift your mood. When you practice gratitude, you become aware of all the great things in your life you usually take for granted.
- Upgrade Your Environment: Nothing has a more profound impact on your behavior and your emotions than your environments. While you don’t have to burn everything from your past in a blazing inferno (although that can be fun), you want the environment to be representative of who you’re becoming, your next chapter, not your previous one. This alone can have a dramatic impact in making you feel better. My conversation with Jim Bunch goes into extensive detail about the role of environments.
- Go to Therapy: I think everyone should see a therapist at least once. A therapist is like a trainer, but for your brain instead of your body. They raise your awareness of patterns in your life. And they’re objective. You can tell them anything without any shame or fear of how you’ll be judged.
- Self Care: Do something nice for yourself to close a chapter of your life and start a new one. Upgrading your environment is a form of self-care. Exercise, travel and new hobbies can all be forms of self-care.
- Perspective: The other night I took a Lyft from Denver to Boulder. My driver was from Congo. He told me about the civil war, corruption, and poverty in Congo. Then I asked him about his work schedule. He drove for 10 hours each day or until he earned $200.00. It was 1 am when he dropped me off, and I asked him if I was his last ride of the day. He said that he planned to keep driving. When I heard his story, suddenly all the things I was feeling stressed about didn’t seem to matter all that much. Who would have guessed that my Lyft driver would become a spiritual teacher?
When we honor the past, we create an open space for the future. When we cling to the past, we’re likely to repeat it.
Honor What Could Be and Embrace Uncertainty
There are many things I thought would have happened in my life by the time I turned 40: marriage, family, etc. And they haven’t. For the first time in my life, I’m being forced to accept that kids might not be in my future. There are three potential scenarios for every life circumstance:
- The way we thought it would be
- The way it currently is
- The way it could be
When the way it currently is isn’t the way we thought it would be, we’re shut off to the possibility how it could be. We are effectively trying to turn the past into the present.
Honoring what could be means honoring uncertainty. And for most of us, uncertainty causes fear, anxiety, and a projection of worst case scenarios. But as Michelle Florendo said on a recent episode of Unmistakable Creative, what we overlook when it comes to uncertainty is the amazing things that could also happen.
The Divine Order of the Universe
If you’re feeling behind the eight ball and you’re thinking you should have the bestseller or the marriage, or why did that happen, or why’d you get fired, if you’re in a dark place, just take one grain of what I’m saying now. Just believe me for a nanosecond, that really, there is a divine order to things. Every single disappointment and I’ve had some significant ones. Every failure, every heartbreak, everything that I went after so, you know, vigorously that didn’t turn out, thank God. I was spared some kinds of destiny. I just have a deeper level of trust now. Doesn’t mean it’s easy all the time. Doesn’t mean I don’t want what I want.” — Danielle LaPorte
There seems to be divine order to the events of the universe:
- Every loss becomes an opening for a gain
- Every setback becomes an opportunity for a comeback
But embracing the divine order of the Universe requires faith in forces beyond our control. It’s difficult to see the good that will come from something terrible in the moment that it happens. It’s often something that we only recognize in retrospect :
- I thought not getting a job offer from Intuit after my summer internship and graduating into the great recession was the worst thing that could happen to me career-wise. But it turned out to be the catalyst for starting what eventually became the Unmistakable Creative Podcast.
- In 2013, I was laid off from a freelance writing gig. The woman I reported to said I was outgrowing the role. Shortly after that, I self-published The Art of Being Unmistakable, which became a Wall-Street Journal best-seller, and eventually led to a book deal to write An Audience of One: Reclaiming Creativity for Its Own Sake, and Unmistakable: Why Only is Better than Best.
Thanks to the divine order of the Universe, I was spared working at a job I probably would have hated, and spared writing about subjects I didn’t care
Surrender goes counter to nearly every one of our cultural instincts, in which we’re taught to, strive, hustle, grind, kick ass and take names. But when you surrender, the result is inspired action. It has a different kind of energy to it. What we know about energy is that like attracts like. Acting out of desperation results in more desperation. Acting out of inspiration results in more inspiration. The paradox of surrender is that it puts you in a position of power.
Nearly 1 in every 3 Americans has high blood pressure, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That’s around 75 million adults. Now that the definition of high blood pressure has recently changed, it’s estimated that up to half of all Americans will now have the condition.
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, greatly increases your risk of heart disease and stroke. They are, respectively, the first and fifth leading causes of death in the United States, according to the CDC.
Beyond medication, there are a number of things you can do to help lower your blood pressure. These include:
- eating a healthy diet
- maintaining a healthy weight
- avoiding alcohol
- reducing stress
- exercising regularly
- quitting smoking if you smoke
Yoga can actually help with three of these lifestyle changes: exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and stress reduction.
Be aware that some standing poses, back bends, and inversions should possibly be avoided if you have hypertension. Check with your doctor before starting yoga. Talk with your yoga instructor to be sure the specific poses in class are safe for you.
Gentle yoga practice
The following yoga practice is gentle and can be therapeutic for people living with high blood pressure. The routine is most comfortable when done on a yoga or exercise mat, preferably on a nonslip surface.
1. Bound Angle Pose
This seated pose is an excellent hip opener. It also stimulates circulation.
Muscles stretched: neck as well as the inner thighs and hips (adductors and gracilis)
Muscles worked: lower back
- Sit on your mat and bring the soles of your feet together in front of you, bending your knees as if you’re about to “butterfly” your legs.
- Bring your heels as close to your pelvis as you can, grabbing hold of your toes to gently help this motion.
- As you inhale, sit up tall on your sitting bones. Don’t tuck your pelvis here. That will crunch your lower spine.
- As you exhale, press your knees to the ground.
- Gently and while keeping your spine straight, begin to bend at the hips, taking your ribs toward your feet. If you have the flexibility, you can use your forearms and elbows to press on your knees. This motion should be gentle, not forceful.
- When you lower down as far as you can comfortably go without letting your spine start to curve, release any tension in your neck by dropping your chin. Stay here for 3 to 5 slow, even breaths.
2. Bridge Pose
While bigger backbends may need to be avoided for people with high blood pressure, this gentler pose provides many of the benefits of deeper backbends without the issues they can cause for people with the condition.
Muscles stretched: lower back and hip flexors
- From Bound Angle, release your feet and place them flat on the floor, knees bent, as you lie back on your mat. Your legs and feet should be parallel and approximately hip-width apart with your arms alongside your body.
- As you inhale, rock your pelvis so your stomach pulls in and your lower back gently presses against the floor. From there, in a fluid motion, lift your hips as you press into your feet.
- You can also press your hands and arms into the ground to help you balance and support the movement. However, the main work should come from your hamstrings, glutes, and abdominals. Keep your shoulder blades in contact with the floor at all times to avoid pressure on the neck.
- Hold the pose for a few breaths with your hips in a diagonal line from the chest, no higher. Avoid strain in the lower back by only raising the hips as high as the abdominals, hamstrings, and glutes can support the movement without arching your lower back.
- As you exhale, gently roll your spine back onto the ground one vertebrae at a time, from your upper back down.
- As you rest and prepare for the next bridge, be sure your spine is neutral. This means your lower back is slightly off the ground, respecting the natural curve of your lumbar spine.
- Do this 10 times with 10 slow, even breaths.
3. Head-to-Knee Forward Bend
This is a therapeutic pose for high blood pressure. It may improve digestion and calm the brain, while it stretches the spine, shoulders, backs of the legs, and groin. Don’t be intimidated by how some people can place their foreheads on their legs. Even if you aren’t super flexible — most of us aren’t — this is a really beneficial pose.
- From Bridge, simply sit up on the mat, stretching your right leg out in front of you and pulling your left foot into the juncture between your right leg and your groin — much like Bound Angle but with one leg out straight — so your sole is against the opposite leg’s inner thigh.
- Press your left hand into the crease of your thigh and groin and your right hand into the ground as you inhale and sit up straight. Extending your spine, turn your torso just slightly, so your bellybutton is lined up with your right thigh.
- As you exhale, begin to fold forward from your groin, not your hips. As you do this, you can use a strap or towel around your foot and hold on to both ends. Or, if you prefer and it doesn’t compromise the bend or your spine, you can reach for your shin or your foot as you bend.
- Your elbows should be bending out to the side as you ease forward. You don’t want to pull yourself into the stretch, but rather keep your spine and neck long as you round your spine forward over your right leg.
- When you’ve reached a comfortable stretch of your hamstrings, calves, and back, pause for a moment. Inhale and feel your spine lengthen. Exhale and ease yourself forward again, deepening the stretch.
- Hold this for 3 more deep, even breaths. Gently sit upright, switch legs, and repeat on the other side.
Legs-Up-the-Wall is a passive and calming inversion pose. Because your heart and head are on level ground, this is a safer inversion option for people with high blood pressure. However, some yoga teachers say no inversion is safe for high blood pressure, so check with your doctor before adding this pose to your routine.
Muscles stretched: hamstrings and hips
- Place your mat perpendicular to a wall that’s on level ground. Sit parallel to the wall on your mat.
- Lie down with your feet on the ground, knees bent.
- Using your lower back and upper tailbone as your pivot point, pick up your feet and gently swing your torso so it’s perpendicular to the wall. Nestle your sitting bones up against the base of the wall.
- Once you’re comfortable, extend your legs up the wall. You may have to wiggle a little to get there. You can also place a cushion or folded blanket under your lower back if it feels better, but try not to go too high on that angle unless you’ve checked with your doctor first. Keep both shoulder blades in contact with the floor at all times to avoid pressure on your neck.
- Rest your arms next to you, palms up. Hang your hips heavy into the mat. You can stay here as long as you like, as a type of Savasana for your practice.
In general, exercise is a wonderful way to avoid and combat high blood pressure. But you should know which types of exercise are safe and which to avoid. Checking with your doctor and then trying this gentle, therapeutic, calming yoga routine is a great place to start.
10 Small Habits That Have A Huge Return On Life
Over the years, I’ve adopted many different “positive” habits.
To me, a habit is positive when it improves the quality of my life. A lot has been written about forming habits.
How hard is? How long does it take? What’s the best way to break habits? How do we adopt new habits?
My experience is that everyone can adopt any habit they want. There’s only one condition though: You need a good reason to make a change (I talk about that in-depth on this podcast episode).
And in 99% of cases, the reason to change comes from personal suffering, sadness, and hurt. At some point, you can’t stand your current behavior anymore.
Don’t worry about how you will change. Focus on what habits you want to form and why.
After one of my friends recently asked me about my current habits, I decided to share them here—with a brief explanation of what the habits are good for.
1. Do a full-body workout with weights 3 times a week
Strength training has several benefits. It protects bone health, muscle mass, keeps you lean, increases energy levels, and prevents injuries.
I’ve been lifting weights since I was 16. It’s the only habit on this list that I’ve been doing for that long. Like many people who lift weights, I started with split routines.
That means you work out different muscle during every session. With most routines, you’re training a specific muscle only one time per week. It turns out that muscles need more stress to become stronger.
Ideally, you want to train all your muscles, 3 times a week. That’s why I’ve been doing full body workouts. It’s simple, practical, and it works.
2. Set 3-4 daily priorities
This is one of the best productivity strategies there is. We all know that focus is what brings us results.
No focus? No results. So how do you focus? By limiting your options and tasks. Elimination is the key.
Be very clear about what you want to achieve every single day, week, and year.
Every day, work on 3-4 essential (and small) tasks that will bring you closer to your weekly and yearly goals.
3. Read 60 minutes a day
I get it, you’re too busy to read. Or maybe you just don’t like to read.
Well, you’re not getting off that easily.
Reading is essential for your cognition. But you already knew that. How about this? Reading will also turn you into a better thinker and writer.
“But I still don’t like to read.” Well, there are many things in life we don’t like, but we still do them. Instead of telling yourself you don’t like to read, learn to enjoy it by doing it every day.
And like magic, one day, you’ll love to read.
4. SLEEP 7-8 HOURS A DAY
I never sacrifice my sleep for anything. I recently canceled a meeting in the morning because I slept late. The night before, I was reading a good book that totally consumed me.
After reading, I started taking notes. And before I knew it, it was 2 am. I had to wake up at 7 am to make the meeting.
I canceled the meeting. I’m not going to sleep for 6 hours so I can make a meeting when I know that I’ll be tired the whole day.
Some people can perform well with 5 hours of sleep. But most of us need more. If you’re part of the latter group, make sure you get enough sleep. And be dead serious about it. If you’re not in a position to cancel meetings etc, sleep early.
5. Walk 30 minutes a day
If you can’t MAKE the time to go for a daily walk, you’re not in control of your life. I don’t even walk for the health benefits. Sure, walking keeps the body moving and is good for you.
But I go for a daily walk because it breaks the pattern of our mundane lives. Look, we can’t deny that life is routine. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
But when you walk outside, you’re forced to be one with the world. It heightens your senses. You can go alone or with someone else. You can have a good conversation. Or you can simply enjoy the surroundings.
6. Follow the intermittent fasting eating pattern
I don’t eat anything after my dinner. And I skip breakfast. That means I “fast” for 15-16 hours every day.
There are some health benefits associated with intermittent fasting. But we have to be careful with making claims.
The reason I like it is that it makes me feel and look better. Plus, I can eat whatever I want during the day without gaining any weight.
I don’t eat junk food. I stick to whole foods with high nutritional value. Also, my first meal contains a lot of unsaturated fat and protein. And finally, make sure you consume the calories your body needs to operate (2000 for women, 2500 for men, on average).
7. Be present
We’re so focused on our goals that we forget to enjoy the present moment. This is one of my biggest pitfalls.
I really need to remind myself EVERY SINGLE day that I should enjoy the now.
We’re always waiting until we achieve something. “I will be happy then.”
Nope, you won’t if you’re always stuck in the future. Find a trigger that brings you back to the present moment.
For example, I recently bought a new watch. During the same time, I was reading a lot about this spiritual stuff. Now, every time I look at my watch, I say, “What time is it? NOW.”
8. Practice kindness & love
We all treat our love like it’s a depletable resource. That’s false. Love is unlimited and never runs out. You can give it away as much as you like.
But your ego stops you from doing that. You always want something in return.
So give this a try. Realize that you have an unlimited resource. Give some of your love and kindness away every day. Don’t worry about keeping score. You have enough love anyway.
9. Journal or write 30 minutes a day
I need to get my thoughts in order every day. I do that by writing. That helps me to focus on what matters to me. That’s why I journal.
Even when I’m not writing articles, I sit down and journal—only for myself. I don’t write in my journal for others. Journaling is also an excellent tool to become a better thinker and person.
10. Save 30% of your income
If you can’t save 30%, save 10%. Saving is not so much about how much. It’s about how often.
You save by cutting out useless things you do daily or weekly. You don’t need to buy a latte every day. You also don’t need to buy “organic” cashew nuts for $10.
Save on the small things. They will turn into big lumps of cash in time. Especially if you invest that extra cash.
And that is also the secret to these 10 habits. They are all small. And the daily progress you make seems insignificant.
You will only see the return it has on your life over time. You must stick to these habits until your life gets better.
And when that happens, you’ll keep going—not because you have to, but because you want to.
Excellent topic on YOGA.
I began yoga at age 19 after a car accident caused some damage to the muscles around my scapula. After a year of physical therapy did nothing to resolve the muscle weakness, my mom suggested we try yoga. I reluctantly agreed.
Together, we attended private lessons, where the instructor worked with our unique bodies and structural weaknesses. Within a few weeks, I had built up enough muscle around the traumatized area to support its recovery. Quickly and unexpectedly, I fell in love with yoga.
I began attending classes several times per week, gradually deepening my stretches and building my strength. In 2014, I completed my 200-hour yoga teacher training, where I learned how to breath, modify poses, and assist others in doing the same.
What I love most about yoga is that the lessons learned on the mat can extend out to all areas of our lives. Here are 10 valuable…
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15 Typical Life Problems And How To Solve Them.
All of our problems are the same. This is the 156th time I’ve written this fact (for those of you counting).
Problems are forever and we can’t avoid them. You’ll wake up tomorrow and have problems for breakfast. You’ll jump on the train and read a problem in your email inbox.
You’ll get to the office and get a problem smack bang in your pretty face!
The typical problems we face can be solved.
Here are 15 typical life problems and how to solve them:
You didn’t reach your goal.
Just because you set a goal, doesn’t mean you’re going to get it. Many of life’s toughest goals take lots of attempts. Some of the goals I missed are:
• Dream careers
• Girls I wanted to date
• Saving enough money to build a school in Laos
• Reaching 100k followers on LinkedIn
People who talk about success and personal development (and even write for a site called Addicted2Success like me) also don’t reach their goals.
The best feeling about reaching a goal is the journey it took to get there. If all your goals were easy, then you’d feel nothing at the end of the process.
Take the goal you didn’t achieve and try a different approach. Doing the same thing over and over to achieve your goal is the definition of insanity.
Your heroes miss their goals too. What makes them stand out is that they don’t give up. The fun of goal-setting is knowing that you’ll fail.
Someone criticized you.
If you want to make a dent in this world, then the critics will come out of the closet. The bigger your aspirations are, the more you’ll be criticized.
The number of critics you have is in direct proportion to your success.
“I had an entire blog post written about me saying how stupid I was. It felt like crap on day one. By day seven I’d made peace with the criticism and kept writing”
You can’t please everybody that you meet in life.
When you speak on a stage, for example, 25% of people will like you, 25% won’t know who you are and 50% of people will think you’re an asshole even though you’ve probably done nothing wrong.
Critics are not all bad. You can learn things about yourself from them too. The solution is to learn from criticism, not be afraid of it.
Your career got messed up.
Whether you’re an entrepreneur or a happy-go-lucky office worker, your career is going to get messed up at some point.
The definition of business is this: Moving from one problem to another and making money in the meantime to fuel your mission. Business is really just problem-solving.
- Redundancy could right hook you in the face.
- The business you founded could go backwards and even bankrupt.
- Your career skills could become outdated.
- You could get fired for making a mistake.
Your career is going to get messed up. Things you can never predict in your career are going to happen.
See career challenges for what they are: an opportunity to try something different. If your career never got messed up, then you’d probably stay in your comfort-zone for your entire life and never try something different.
The solution is to see your career getting messed up as a chance to grow. Getting made redundant could be the one reality that makes you want to create your own startup.
Having a customer leave could decrease your workload and create space for clients who won’t drain your time and make you no money.
You have financial troubles.
That crazy little thing called money will let you down at some point.
“I’ve personally been rich and poor multiple times”
Upon reflection, the time I’ve been the happiest has been when I’ve had the least amount of money.
Countless studies have shown that money isn’t what your life’s about. As humans, we seek meaning, love and our own version of happiness.
Money won’t give you any of those human needs.
That doesn’t mean money doesn’t matter; it just means that it shouldn’t be your main focus or something you obsess over.
Lack of money is a gift. When you don’t have money, you become resourceful and creative at the same time.
Lack of money helps you decide on what matters and what doesn’t.
If things get really bad, then you’ll likely prioritize feeding your family over buying another useless car that will never make you happy. You’ll take joy in the simple things in life.
The solution to financial problems is to see them as a gift and choose a meaning for your life instead.
Our health has become a real problem. We wonder why we feel tired, sick and get headaches. We’ll all experience health challenges at some point in our life.
How many health challenges we experience in our younger years will come down to food and exercise. The strategies for being healthy haven’t changed.
There’s no mystery around being healthy it’s just that we’ve become lazy.
Convenience powered by apps has overtaken our ability to do basic tasks and not binge watch Netflix every night.
Take ownership. Quit feeling sick and do something about it. Have some blood tests. Change your diet to be more plant-based.
Drink more water. Get your lazy ass to the gym 3 times a week for 30 minutes. Stand up from your desk every now and then so you’re not sitting for the whole day and messing your spine/neck up.
Whatever you do, take ownership of your health and quit being ignorant.
A relationship ended.
There’s less than 1% of people who met ‘The One,’ lived happily ever after, and never experience a breakup.
Even that 1% will have that relationship end at some point when either side passes away.
For the majority of us who don’t strike gold the first time around, we’re going to have to deal with breakups and the trials and tribulations of romance.
We’ll probably find ourselves in a toxic relationship for too long.
We’ll probably get cheated on at least once.
We’ll probably have our hearts smashed into a million pieces when we discover that someone ‘No longer loves us anymore.’
These are the realities of the human condition and our need to reproduce and keep our species alive.
Finding love is about understanding what love is not. You need relationships to end to find out what love really is. All breakups suck in the beginning until you grow and move on. Then, the solution to this problem is to find yourself.
Once you find yourself, the heart will be ready for love again. How you move forward from there is up to you.
You can try the good old fashion nightclub scene. You could go to Meetups. Or, you could start swiping left and right on a few dating apps.
“Have your heart broken just don’t let it stay that way”
You made a dick of yourself.
Geez, this one is an ugly truth for me.
I’ve made an ass of myself more times than I’ve had protein and veggies for dinner. Here’s a few just for laughs (and your entertainment).
• There was the time I tried to pretend I could be the Wolf of Wall Street and got laughed out of the interview due to not being able to explain derivatives
• There was the time I thought this girl liked me and tried to hug her while we were walking only to have her hate my guts
• There was the time I went out with friends and threw up on my friend’s couch after having a single shot of Tequila
• There was the time I did my first public speaking gig and messed up a speech about my own life which I’d rehearsed over 100 times
We could talk for days about how I’ve embarrassed myself over the years. We could even compare epic fails to see who’s are worse. This is not a game though.
We’re all going to go into situations with the best of intentions or all the experience in the world and still screw up.
Making a dick of yourself is a sign of courage. Courage is what is found in leaders and those who are doers.
Making a dick of yourself is an acceptance that you might fail in the short-term.
Those who fail in the short-term will eventually win in the long-term with practice.
“The opposite of making a dick of yourself is perfection.That’s a life where you think your shit doesn’t stink and you spend your entire day trying to impress everybody to eventually impress nobody”
Making an idiot of yourself is perfectly fine. What’s not fine is being perfect.
Someone messed your *shit* up.
Car, home or insert other material possession that doesn’t matter. None of these material things that got messed up are joining you in the afterlife.
You can’t bury the Bentley with you (although someone tried) so you can drive around with your great, great, great grandpa and do burnouts in the afterlife.
The stuff that is going to get messed up doesn’t matter.
What matters is that you don’t get messed up. What matters is that you take care of yourself so you can take care of others. Maybe when your junk gets messed up, you’ll realize that you didn’t need it in the first place.
You feel like your life has no meaning.
These moments where nothing makes sense is where you get to explore. We’re not born with a meaning for our life. Meaning comes from learning who we are and growing as a person.
The meaning for your life when you’re 19 will probably change from when you’re 51 and got three grown-up kids.
The quickest way to destroy your life is to believe that life has no meaning. A lack of meaning leads to depression, carelessness, drug taking and even crime at an extreme level.
If you feel like your life has no meaning, then it’s time to experiment. Standing still is not how you find the answer.
“Being intensely focused on one’s self only leads to more suffering”
A short-term solution to this problem is to experiment with helping those who have nothing. Spend time with people who’d kill to be in your position and get some perspective.
I’ve found in my life that the greatest meaning for your life is normally tied to finding something you’d be happy to do for free that helps others.
You feel like you can’t go on.
We’ve all had those days. Those deep and sometimes dark thoughts can lead to a place you’ve never visited.
Some failures in life hurt more than others. Some failures can’t be solved through a listicle post such as this one with a dose of inspiration.
If you truly feel like you can’t go on, then there’s another way.
Seek real help. These dark thoughts must be treated and sometimes the best medicine is to seek professional help through counseling, or for an extreme case, by calling Lifeline.
While I’ve never had suicidal thoughts personally, I have dealt with mental illness.
“There is a way to come out the other side, but you have to put aside your pride and seek help”
Please don’t become another victim of suicide by doing nothing.
Every day feels the same.
You wake up. You eat. You go to work. You eat. You come home. You eat. You go to bed.
Life can feel the same if you do nothing. It’s up to you to create variety and shape your habits into something more than a fixed schedule which makes you feel bored.
Days feel the same when there’s no purpose behind anything you’re doing.
You must find joy in the repetition. You do that by taking those reps and making them mean something. Add some variety in by breaking your comfort zone. Set a goal to do something wild during your day every so often.
• Travel to another country
• Talk to someone new
• Try learning a new skill
Even after trying something new, you have to get used to some level of repetition. Let that repetition become habits that serve something which can help others.
Your friends are screwing your life up.
Dump them. Divorce them. Delete their number.
Every relationship you have in your life is a choice. The people around us often hold us back. They fill our minds with limiting beliefs, stories and goals that give us no sense of meaning.
Friends can kill our dreams or make us believe something we never thought was possible.
Everyone deserves a second chance. Start by telling your toxic friends how you feel. Give them a chance to change with the new you.
If they refuse, take a break from them for a while. Ask yourself whether you want them in your life long-term.
‘Fitting in’ is what we’re taught to do. What I’d advise you to do is be you instead and that will attract the right people into your life.
You feel stressed.
77% of people in the US alone experience regular stress.
This young, previously blonde blogger has also recently learned about the effects of stress. I had a cortisol test and the doctor found the levels to be twice the normal range.
This stress led to brain fog, tiredness and a lack of mental clarity. Stress is also caused by what you let into your life. Having options can be a bad thing.
“We don’t need more; we need less to destress”
• Declutter your home and office
• Say no to more meetings
• Say yes to invites from people that make you feel like saying “Hell Yes!”
• Buy less material things
• Have fewer people in your life
• Listen to one podcast instead of many
• Read fewer books instead of every one that’s recommended on a podcast
• Have less recurring subscriptions
• Invest and save more money so you can stress less about unexpected bills
• Take regular breaks (quarterly has worked for me)
A fear is standing in your way.
There are so many common fears — fear of spiders, flying, public speaking, dying, career change, heights and maybe even a fear of expressing yourself.
Fear is a concept of the mind. Nothing is scary or not scary. Our mind makes that choice for us and provides meaning to everything.
Fear can be overcome and that’s why we love stories of battling with fear. I’ve famously spoken about creating fear lists and then knocking them off one at a time.
Smash the fear into tiny little pieces. Don’t avoid it. Don’t let it stand in your way any longer. Make a decision to overcome each fear you have and you’ll be unstoppable by the end.
Don’t let nerves trick you into thinking you’re fearful. We all get nerves, but we can still keep moving forward with nerves — I’ve even learned to use nerves to my advantage by using them as an extra energy source.
Nerves tell me I’m on the right track.
I’ve overcome my fear of public speaking and my fear of flying — my fear of spiders remains, but I’m working on that one 🙂
Real fear can be overcome through deliberate practice.
Dealing with the concept of death.
Last but not least, the old chestnut of death. Death is the one life problem we all have in common and can’t solve. Sorry for the bad news.
Death is going to take us eventually and it will take people you love through your life too.
“The solution to dealing with death is not to overcome it but to accept it”
Death can be our greatest motivator if we let it. Once you understand what death means in all of its darkness, you’ll understand life.
You’ll see death, not as a problem but a fact. That fact will change the way you see everything going forward. For me, it took several near-death experiences (almost being murdered and a cancer scare) to see death for what it is.
Death is not an easy pill to swallow. No short blog post like this is going to give you all the answers you’re probably wanting to know.
The only way I see of dealing with the reality of death is to go out there and live the best damn life you can, while you can!
Use your life to do something that gives you meaning and then you’ll no longer see death as a problem when it comes upon you.
Peace, love and respect — thanks for reading.
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How to Consistently Accomplish 100x More Results With 1/10th Your Usual Effort
In the first 4.5 years of my writing, I accomplished practically nothing. After 54 months, I had 180 subscribers, I averaged 50ish views/day, with no income, no influence, and, frankly, no hope.
At the time, I was writing frantically and sporadically, posting several times a week for months on end. I was pitching guest posts to every single blog I could think of. I was reaching out to other bloggers, podcasters, authors (I once sent an actual letter to a best-selling author asking to connect — he sent an email saying thanks, but he was too busy).
I thought more action was the answer. So I doubled down on action, again and again — I was always doing “more.” But after 54 grueling months, “more” hadn’t helped.
But around year 5, I changed my beliefs. I began carrying myself as an elite writer. For the first time, I began to genuinely believe I had what it took. I shifted my focus from action to “mindset.”
The results? To name a few:
- 20,000+ new email subscribers in 6 months
- 200,000+ views/month average
- I was offered my first traditionally-published book deal
- I began making $1000’s of dollars in writing income from 2 new online courses
- I made friends with several other top-tier writers
Basically, I began seeing 10x, 100x, even 1000x growth in my endeavors; I literally started getting 100x more views. I saw a 1000% increase subscriber rate. I started making $1000’s of dollars/month where I had made…$40 in 4 years!
I realized action doesn’t matter if your beliefs are wrong. That’s like trying to sail a boat that’s still anchored to the harbor; you can thrash around all you want, but you’re not going anywhere.
This what Abraham Lincoln meant when he said:
“If I had 8 hours to chop down a tree, I would spend 6 of those hours sharpening my axe.”
If you want to succeed in your endeavors, you need to shift your frame of mind first.
If you want to achieve enormous, 100x, even 1000x times results (while only spending a tenth of the usual energy), here’s what you do.
What You Truly Believe About Yourself Determines What You Become
“As a man thinketh, so he is. As he continues to think, so he remains.” -James Allen, As a Man Thinketh
Most people miss this simple truth: what you believe determines what you become. You see what you look for; you attract what you are.
Most people don’t realize their beliefs determine the success or failure of the rest of their life. Your beliefs today have an enormous effect on the results of tomorrow.
If you believe you can can, odds are you probably will. You reap what you sow.
But the opposite is also true — if you know you can’t, you’re probably right. If you sow disbelief in yourself, no amount of action or effort will change your end result.
Bruce Lee put it this way: “One will never get any more than he thinks he can get.” What you truly, deeply believe is true about yourself and your future is most likely what will happen.
What do you believe?
As Michael Jordan once said:
“You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them.”
What you truly believe about yourself — your ability, income, relationships, self-worth, potential — is what you become. If you’re not seeing the results you want, the problem almost always lies in your beliefs about yourself.
Fortunately, 100x and even 1000x results don’t require 100x or 1000x effort. Small changes can lead to big results. You don’t need to get a PhD, run an Ironman, or change your entire diet to significantly upgrade your life. The answer is in the small things. Done consistently, small things become big.
Therefore, start upgrading your belief systems and neural pathways (more on that in a minute) by focusing on doing small things well.
“Small, seemingly inconsistent steps completed consistently over time will create a radical difference.” -Darren Hardy, former editor of SUCCESS Magazine
If You Don’t Change Your Beliefs First, More Action Won’t Help.
More action in the wrong frame of mind won’t help.
Action can help — I’m not saying it doesn’t. But action executed from a fundamentally flawed mindset can only reveal what you need to fix. You can’t have sustainable success with the wrong mindset; you’ll never have enough of what you’re seeking.
If you don’t change your limiting beliefs first, “more action” is like trying to paddle a boat with a kitchen spoon; you’re spending enormous getting virtually nowhere. Outward accomplishment is always preceded by mental creation; you must envision your future first before you can secure it.
Your frame of mind before you start an endeavor is vastly more important than the endeavor itself. This is the difference between an amateur and a professional; the beginner begins his or her task without much thought, but the elite professional first gets him or herself in the right frame of mind, then acts.
If, deep down, you don’t really have the belief of yourself, you’re practically guaranteed to fail. Mental creation always precedes physical accomplishment.
Internal belief precedes external achievement.
In college, I was a hopeless, heart-sick romantic. You could always find me pining over the next cute girl, getting swept in the intoxicating whirlwind of maybe-she’s-the-one without ever really working on myself. In the end, nothing worked; I hoped to find a long-term serious relationship, but only ended up heartbroken from toxic flings.
I didn’t “sharpen my axe” first, as Abraham Lincoln would have suggested. So in my senior year, I stopped focusing on girls and started focusing on myself — going to counseling, therapy, and prepared to graduate and enter my career.
That was the year my now-wife Kimi and I started dating. Ironically, I wasn’t looking for it — I was busy working on my beliefs and values. As a result, I achieved what I wanted: a committed relationship with an incredibly beautiful and amazing young woman.
If you don’t change your flawed core beliefs, more action and gritted teeth won’t help. If you’re not seeing the results you want, you probably need to change your frame of mind first.
“You got this far operating under one set of assumptions. Abandoning those assumptions and embracing a new, bigger set may be exactly what you need to to do get to the next level.” -Seth Godin
Not Being You Will Destroy You
“Personal incongruency is what causes so much of our pain.” –Tim Denning
If your actions aren’t aligned with your core beliefs and principles, you won’t get anywhere. If you do, any progress will always include feelings of frustration and emptiness.
Growing up, I constantly struggled with pornography. I was hooked, and it became a crutch for me whenever I felt any discomfort of any kind. I knew it was wrong, and as a Christian it went against my core beliefs. But I couldn’t stop. I didn’t stop.
No matter what results I achieved — win sports championships, nominated for high school “Big Man On Campus,” successfully get cute girls to date me — my actions (compulsive pornography consumption) were completely unaligned with my core beliefs. As a result, no amount of action or results satisfied me.
It wasn’t until my early 20’s that I went to counseling and therapy for the emotional chaos and devastation behind my obsessive addiction. After I started to resolve that, I began seeing results. My relationship with my now-wife upgraded tremendously. My self-confidence increased ten-fold. My writing career (and self-belief in my potential) took off and I was able to earn a full-time income.
Not being you will destroy you. If your actions keep falling outside your core beliefs and values, you’ll always end up frustrated and empty.
Create New Neural Pathways That Lead to an Upgraded Mindset
“The neural pathways you create become mindsets that tend to dictate how you think and what you visualize most easily.” -Kris Valloton, Best-Selling author
Many people have formed numerous well-worn ruts of negative thoughts in their mind that lead to negative, self-defeating conclusions. These are called neural pathways, and they’re strong; one neural scientist compared this process to dropping a hot steel ball bearing into a hunk of cheese.
This is why it’s so hard for people to change — these ruts are deep. Once they’re created, these pathways become familiar to us. And if there’s one thing we like, it’s comfort and familiarity.
This is why so many top-tier athletes, performers, entrepreneurs, actors, and leaders have experienced so much personal evolution and constant mindset upgrades. As the old saying goes, “what got you here won’t get you there.” In the words of Leonardo DeCaprio:
“Every next level of your life will demand a different you.”
What old beliefs have been holding you back?
What mental ruts are you sick of walking in?
What new beliefs do you need to start believing?
I’ve had to create lots of new neural pathways. I’ve made a lot of embarrassing mistakes in the past few years; some people get defensive and deny their mistakes, but my tendency is to begin intense self-hatred and self-loathing. It’s been difficult to create a new, better response.
But I’ve worked hard at it. The other day, I was cycling up a long, steep hill (those are great for thinking), and I just started saying the phrase to myself,
“It’s OK. It’s OK. It’s OK. I made a mistake, and that’s OK. People make mistakes, and that’s OK. I’m OK. it’s OK. I made a mistake, but that’s OK.”
It might sound silly and hokey to you. But I felt way better after. That’s because I was literally teaching myself to have a better response to a mistake than to hate myself. Tony Robbins has told similar stories of repeating truths to himself during physical exertion.
We all need new neural pathways. The truth is, you’re not a piece of shit. You’re not hopeless. You’re not a loser — even if that’s the same refrain you’ve been hearing for years.
Want better results? Then stop operating in mediocre frames of mind and develop new neural pathways that lead you towards truth and growth.
The idea of achieving 100x the results with 1/10th the effort might seem silly to you.
But I’ve seen it myself. I tried to change things for years — my writing, my addictions, my behavior, my relationship — and I mean I really tried. I worked my butt off.
But it wasn’t until I relaxed, took a step back, and reset my frame of mind. You know, it takes more energy to dwell in mediocrity than to start being successful. It’s exhausting to constantly be fighting off discouragement, fear, anxiety, and frustration all the time.
Instead of going virtually nowhere despite exerting massive energy, stop. Reset your frame of mind. Nurture your self-belief. Then go out and do it.
That’s how you get big results with a fraction of the effort.
You Might Not Actually Be Struggling With Depression
But you may be dealing with depression’s lesser known evil twin
“My depression is worse than ever.”
Sipping my Americano, I nod in response to my friend and then open and close my palm in a gesture to say “Tell me more.”
A few years earlier he went through a dark time when a drunk driver hit his motorcycle and he lost a leg. Not long after, his wife of two months filed for an annulment. We’ve often talked through his depression and lifelong struggle with it, but this time the situation was different. He’d recovered from the loss of his leg and was in a healthy spot with his new girlfriend.
“Well, my day begins early enough and I’m ready to tackle the things I need to. I have a break between clients most days, so I tell myself I’ll use the time to accomplish what I need to get done for work, my relationships, and life in general. Chores, bills, you know.” Trailing off he bites down on his breakfast taco, then wipes the edge of his mouth.
“Anyway, I do none of it. I’ll sleep, or I’ll put on Netflix and zone out. Then I run late for appointments and I’m pissed at myself for not doing what I need to. At night it’s the same story — more Netflix and apathy. Then I begin to feel indifferent and hate myself that I feel so numb to my circumstances. From there, I spiral. It gets harder to get out of bed every day. I don’t go to the gym. I don’t practice my spiritual disciplines. I hate myself for it, but I also have little zest for life and I grow increasingly depressed, isolating myself from others and believing this is how it will be forever. I have no idea how to break out of it, and my pills don’t seem to help.”
Whistling low through my teeth, I slurp my drink once more then smile. “Well the good news is it’s not quite depression.”
The disbelief on my friend’s face is clear. He’s spent most of his life battling depression. But I hold up my hand before he can object: “You’re dealing with depression’s twin cousin. It’s called acedia.”
The Noonday Demon
Acedia (pronounced ah-SEED-e-uh) is an old term coined by monks who lived in the desert during the fourth century. Before the Seven Deadly Sins became known to the world, the early Desert Fathers had a list of “Eight Bad Thoughts.” One of the most severe thoughts was that of acedia, which the church eventually rolled up under the sin of “sloth” when the seven sins became commonplace.
One would think “lust” would be the one they hammered on given the religious leanings of the modern church, but it was considered one of the most minor “bad thoughts.” The monks viewed lust as a lower form of greed in that you desired something you didn’t have. Acedia was one of the most severe and deadly thoughts because of the despair and absolute disdain for life it produced in a human being. It’s a shame the word has been lost to ancient textbooks and is no longer used, because acedia’s connotations carry far more weight in today’s cultural environment.
I first learned the term when I read author Kathleen Norris’s book, Acedia & me: A Marriage, Monks, and a Writer’s Life. In the book she quotes a monk who states:
“The demon of acedia — also called the noonday demon — is the one that causes the most serious trouble of all…He makes it seem that the sun barely moves, if at all, and…he instills in the heart of the monk a hatred for the place, a hatred for his very life itself.”
Many of the desert monks found themselves in the same place as my friend. Work in the morning, but by noon, they despised the repetitive nature of chores or work. After some time in this condition, they felt little zeal for life. Prayer stopped, sleeping increased, and they felt numb. Eventually, they despised life itself as they spiraled into a dark hole.
This condition can even begin due to traumatic events in one’s life. Norris — no stranger to suffering and pain — tragically lost her husband, but instead of spiraling into depression, she found herself battling acedia. In an interviewregarding her struggle after her husbands death she explained:
“There were so many days when I woke up indifferent to everything, especially when my husband died…When he was alive, the care-giving had to be done so I couldn’t be indifferent. But I think one of the worst phases — and I don’t want to malign the show because it was kind of entertaining — was when I watched an entire season of America’s Next Top Model. In one sitting.”
Reading through the book, I nodded along and remembered times when I thought I’d been depressed only to discover I’d been battling its twin cousin. That old feeling of indifference and apathy leading to a numbness, only to spiral further out of control and despise being alive.
When I started researching depression for a book I was writing, our organization surveyed five hundred men and women. When we compiled their answers, many of them explained the exact symptoms of acedia. Because depression is complex and we use one word to lump several aspects together, the healing process can become confusing. It’s like the word “love” in effect. While I love my wife, I also love breakfast tacos. But I certainly don’t “love” the two the same way. That morning over coffee, I explained to my friend that due to the way depression and acedia intertwine, he could be dealing with both at the same time.
“The good news and bad news, however,” I told him, “is acedia is a condition you can fight, but fighting it can also be mundane and feel as if you’re getting nowhere.”
I’m willing to bet if I asked each person reading this, “What things are you constantly putting off and why don’t you want to do them?” everyone would have an answer. In our day-to-day lives vain repetition sounds terrible and we hate doing it. For instance, if I told you I needed you to stuff 2,000 envelopes with letters, then handwrite the names and different addresses on them, you’d say it was torture, right? We put off things like prayer though we’re certain it will enrich our spiritual life. We put off doing the dishes or laundry even though we know we need clean dishes to eat on and clothes to wear.
After I gave my friend a copy of the book Acedia & Me for him to read, he called me one evening to say, “MY GOD! IT’S LIKE I’M READING MY LIFE ON PAPER!” He found that even in his romantic relationships acedia had covertly snuck in. While finding romance and a significant other is often on the forefront of many young singles’ minds, here’s something most people forget about staying together “for better or for worse”: it can — at times — feel like going through the motions. That romantic infatuation or ooey gooey feeling you once had, with time, will morph into a love of the will. Funny enough, every marriage that has stood the test of time will confirm “love is a choice and action, not just a feeling.”
So here’s the good news. Combating acedia has simple steps that can help you act and combat the feelings of indifference, self-hate, apathy, and keep you from spiraling further. The bad news is that it begins by choosing to take part in little things that may seem repetitive, but make a big difference.
When HeartSupport surveyed our 500 respondents battling through depression, we asked a simple question: “What things have helped you cope and battle your depression?” Here’s what their answers revealed — most of the activities that helped were repetitive tasks that could be done daily or weekly. Things like serving within their community, writing, journaling, yoga, exercise, cleaning, or several other mundane or repetitive activities.
What the desert monks found in their battle with acedia was the same. They found joy after they had completed tasks at work even though sometimes the drudgery seemed insurmountable. By pushing through and praying — even in short bouts — they were glad they did. For everyone in this life, discipline often becomes the defining fire by which things like talent or goals become an actual ability. It is indifference and believing it will always be this way that keeps us stuck. You may be tempted to think, “this is just another way to call depression something else” but consider that there’s always been a power in naming things or knowing your enemy to fight them.
For instance, in his epic, The Name of the Wind, author Patrick Rothfuss has his main character learn the name of the wind to command the element which in turn transforms him into a legendary wizard. In Harry Potter, knowing Voldemort’s name — and that he was Harry’s true enemy — gave Harry the power to defeat the evil magician. Perhaps the most quoted example comes from Sun Tzu’s The Art of War in which he states:
“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”
If you don’t know what you’re fighting, then you can’t expect there to be progress. But if you do? There’s a good chance that some forward momentum, no matter how small, might be the crest of the tide that begins to break the chains.
So if your enemy’s name is acedia, then you know what to do.
Break the chains.