LIFE – How To Be Successful

How To Be Successful

Simple, though not always easy

Someone once emailed me to ask,

“What belief, behaviour, or habit has most improved your life? And what two things do you think makes people so successful?”

Bud, I don’t even have to give you two. I only need to give you one. (And actually, you know what? I’ll break that one into two just to humor you and really get down into it. See “how to get” it, below.)

It’s not planning. It’s not passion. It’s not introversion or extroversion. It’s not intelligence.

The number one thing is PERSEVERANCE / GRIT

Taking action, regardless of setbacks, rather than making excuses. Pushing through. Relentlessness. Work ethic — but even in the face of adversity. Hunger.

I read a shit-ton of biographies, autobiographies and memoirs, and one thing I’ve noticed across all of these amazing people? Their response to incredible challenges, situations where most people would fold — but they kept going.

The difference with successful people isn’t that they never experienced setbacks — it’s that they didn’t stop.

I know a lot of readers just skimmed this post for “the one thing” answer and a lot checked out after reading it, like: “yeah yeah yeah okay — I get it!” Which is adorably ironic, because they don’t. Many of us — myself included, often — don’t internalize what perseverance, grit and relentlessness means enough to harness it.

Perseverance is not surface-level.

If you think perseverance means making a show of productivity, or working half-heartedly, without alignment with a deep underlying goal, then you’re wrong.

Perseverance isn’t stand-alone. It’s always rooted in something stronger than itself.

In other words:

Grit and relentlessness may be the number one CAUSE of success, but they themselves are EFFECTS of something deeper.

How to get grit

The two things that make it up:

1.) Knowing with absolute specificity what you want.

2.) Wanting it more than you want anything else.

Get those two things, and the rest resolves itself. You won’t need plans, you won’t have to fall back on or recall your “passion.”

What “want” looks like

It means not having to be told what to do. It means ownership. Most of us slack on this — myself included.

As Tim Grover wrote in Relentless,

“Tell yourself what to do, and stop waiting for others to lay it all out.”

Desire is intrinsic and instinctive, not extrinsic or authority-based. It’s action and ownership over excuses.

It’s not thought. It’s not even emotion, really. It’s energy; certainty; flow.

How do you “know what you want?”

Fam, I don’t know what you want. I can’t tell you that, because I’m not you. You need to work out the details for yourself.

But: you just know. Engage and see where you lean. Whatever is authentic; whatever makes you energized; whatever gives you flow and certainty and power.

What “specificity” looks like

It either has metrics defined in the goal (lose 50 pounds) or parameters are defined by external systems (win a chess tournament.)

But “lose weight” is not a goal. “Start a business” is not a goal. “Be the best basketball player” is a goal, but “play a sport” is not. Be a top chef, yes, “learn to cook” no. “Find a hobby” is not a goal, and neither is “discover my passion.” If you think any of those are, your real goal is “figure out your shit.” And the solution isn’t to sit around daydreaming up a big plan, or “soul-searching,” because that quickly becomes navel-gazing. The solution is to chase what interests you.

What wanting it “more than anything else” looks like

Here’s what people don’t internalize:

Wanting it ‘more than anything else’ means: making sacrifices.

If you are truly “all-in” on one thing, you give up other things. So: what are you willing to sacrifice to get what you want?

This is why I have absolutely zero patience for people who claim to be “100% focused” on things like “finding a spouse by [x age]” — but then immediately cite a checklist of total bullshit.

Fam, no. It’s adorable to hold out for both when you have time. But as you get down to the wire, you have to decide: you either want someone within that timeframe — and you’ll relinquish your lame checklist, or you’re willing to hold out for perfection — and risk never finding them. You are always choosing one of these, whether you actively do so or not.

And it’s the same with any goal.

Perseverance is not inspiration or motivation or “feeling like it”

Serrriously fuck off with this shit.

I say this all the time, but:

‘Inspiration’ and ‘motivation’ are the greatest crocks of the universe.

Too many people think that successful people are more “motivated.” Dawg, I don’t even know what that means, but if you mean “relentless hunger,” then go get it — you have everything you need.

Anything who’s accomplished anything of value does it outside of the hours of feeling “motivated” to do so. Successful people do it regardless. I’m not saying you don’t get inspired — that’s wonderful, Susan — but inspiration is never what carries anyone to the goal line.

Elizabeth Gilbert called it “working like a mule.”

In his book Relentless, Tim Grover wrote, of the hard work required of excellence:

“I’m not telling you to love it. I’m telling you to crave the result so intensely that the work is irrelevant.”

He also wrote,

“You can read clever motivational slogans all day and still have no idea how to get where you want to be. Wanting something won’t get you anywhere. Trying to someone you’re not won’t get you anywhere. Waiting for someone or something to light your fire won’t get you anywhere.”

So what will, you ask? It’s like you didn’t even read, because the answer is:

  1. Knowing with absolute specificity what you want.
  2. Wanting it more than you want anything else.

And how do you know “what you want?” To reiterate:

It’s either screaming in your face, or others are. Sometimes it’s both, but you only need one.

Do the work — even when it’s hard

Be uncomfortable with the uncomfortable.

Keeping going when things get hard. Because they will.

And if you want it badly enough, you will.

What You Truly Believe About Yourself Determines Who You Become

“As a man thinketh, so he is. As he continues to think, so he remains.” -James Allen

Do you believe you’ll soon become 100% financially independent?

Do you believe you’ll never get divorced?

Are you positive you’ll ever travel the world?

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 rest of their life; what you believe today has real effects on tomorrow. Your income, success, health, and who you ultimately become are based entirely on what you believe will happen.

As Michael Jordan once said:

“You have to expect things of yourself before you cando them.”

If you believe you can can, odds are you probably will.

But the opposite is also true — if you know you can’t, you’re probably right.

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?

The problem is, most people don’t have powerful self-belief in themselves. Most people think this is about as good as it gets. For the most part, most people believe the best they can be is merely “good.”

Why? Because it’s easier to stay in mediocrity than undertake the difficult process of upgrading your belief system. It’s easier to relax in “good” instead of busting your ass towards greatness.

If you want to have an incredible, successful life, you need to begin believing success is the only possible option.

“One of the greatest turning points in my life occurred when I stopped casually waiting for success and started to approach it as a duty, obligation, and responsibility.” -Grant Cardone

It’s Easier to Stay Mediocre Than Evolve

“It is easier to be mediocre than it is to confront reality and quit.” -Seth Godin

It’s not that most people wake up every day and declare, “Today is going to suck!

Most people have tried to evolve in some way. The problem is, once they fail, they quickly give up and settle into their mediocrity. They tried improving, it didn’t go as planned, so they gave up.

It’s easier to stay mediocre than face the pain of attempting and failing.

Said motivational speaker Les Brown:

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

It’s easier to quit. It’s what most people do.

But here’s a secret most people stewing in mediocrity don’t realize:

It’s actually harder to live in mediocrity than work towards greatness.

Waking up every day knowing today is going to be average-at-best is exhausting. It’s depressing. It sucks all your energy out before you even get out the door.

It might seem easier to simply stay where you are; it’s not great, but why rock the boat, right?

Wrong. Remaining in mediocrity is more exhausting than working towards success. It takes energy either way — why not get what you want in the process?

“If you keep on living like the way you are now, you will continue to produce the same life you already have.” -Jim Rohn

Warren Wong on Unsplash

If You Want to Upgrade Your Life, Upgrade Your Mindset First

“If you want to have more success, you need to become more.” -Jim Rohn

If you want to upgrade every area of your life — your income, your health, your relationships, your potential — you must become more.

How do you become more?

By upgrading your mindset first.

Prolific author Napoleon Hill once wrote:

Success comes to those who are success-conscious.”

If you have a mindset that is always looking for success and improvement, you’ll find it.

I blogged for 4 years, and after 4 years I had accomplished…nothing. I had no followers, no views, and no income. Frankly, I eventually began believing I couldn’t succeed. I didn’t think my writing was good enough for the big leagues…and it wasn’t.

But last year, I finally got serious. I believed I was going to be one of the best writers on the Internet. As a result, I invested heavily in myself. My confidence grew. I built momentum, reinforcing my belief. After years of failed pitches, suddenly CNBC and Business Insider came to me. I’ve gained 20,000+ new email subscribers. I just signed a book deal!

“Your level of success will rarely exceed your level of personal development, because success is something you attract by the person you become.” -Hal Elrod

Strong belief attracts success.

But no belief guarantees failure.

Richard Wiseman, a former street magician turned researcher and author, conducted a study with two groups — one group of people who thought of themselves as lucky, the other self-proclaimed they were “unlucky.”

For one study, Wiseman placed a $20 dollar bill on the street. The group that believed they were lucky spotted the bill almost every time; the “unlucky” group almost always ignored it and walked right past!

Success, in all its forms, isn’t something you seize so much as it is something that is attracted to you. The most effective, productive method of becoming a more successful person is believing you already are one.

Wrote best-selling motivational author Dr. David Schwartz:

“Belief, strong belief, triggers the mind to figure out ways and means how to.”

Most people don’t truly believe they can achieve greatness. They don’t believe they can actually live an extraordinary life.

As a result, this becomes true; they aren’t successful. They don’t attract opportunities. In fact, they actively miss them — even if it’s right at their feet!

But if you believe — truly believe — in your ability to succeed, you will. Your mind will figure out the means how.

“Whatever the conscious, reasoning mind of man believes’ the subconscious mind will accept and act upon.”

-Joseph Murphy, The Power of the Subconscious Mind

If You Always Let Others Think For You, You’ll Never Become Who You Want to Be

“Do not let others do your thinking for you.” -Joseph Murphy

The fact is, it’s easier to let others think for you.

It’s so convenient. If others are calling the shots, you bear none of the responsibility! If you try and fail, it’s not your fault — it’s theirs.

Grammy-award winning artist Kendrick Lamar once wrote, “I want the credit if I’m losing or I’m winning.” This is an uncommon mindset, one always found with highly successful people, and almost never found with unsuccessful individuals.

Most people aren’t willing to take full responsibility of their life; they might want the credit for the successes, but hate having to own up to the failures.

The result? Most people let others do their thinking for them.

This may save you from experiencing unpleasant responsibilities — admitting you haven’t made any progress after all this time while you could have, but didn’t — but you suffer far more in the long run.

When you are not your true self, that part of you begins acting out. As best-selling author David Kadavy wrote:

“When our true self doesn’t get a chance to follow its desires, it acts out in strange ways.”

The more you let others do your thinking for you, the farther you drift away from what you want.

Don’t let others do your thinking for you. It’s easier, more convenient, and hassle-free, but every day your future grows more boring and mediocre.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”

-Steve Jobs

Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash

Acting “As If” Becomes Acting As Is

“What you think, feel, and do is what you see, hear, and attract.” -James Altucher

There are powerful mental, physiological, and emotional shifts that happen when you begin believing you’re the best.

The only way you become a leading man is by treating yourself like a leading man and working your ass off,” wrote Arnold Schwarzenegger is his autobiography.

Author Darren Hardy put it this way: “Whatever you vividly imagine, ardently desire, sincerely believe, and enthusiastically act upon… must inevitably come to pass!

Tony Robbins once made the point that you get what you tolerate. If you tolerate mediocre, that’s exactly what you’ll get. If you act as if mediocrity is OK, then you’ll begin molding your beliefs to fit this reality.

But the opposite is true, too. If you act like the best, you’ll begin making choices and behaving in ways to make that a reality.

  • Why do you keep tolerating mediocrity?
  • Why do you keep believing you’re second-class?
  • When are you going to finally get serious?

The world’s top performers don’t tolerate anything below extraordinary. They are tireless in their quest for progression, learning, focusing, and growth. They become addicted to becoming better every day.

In the words of Darren Hardy:

“The key to becoming world-class in your endeavors is to build your performance around world-class routines.”

If you begin acting like the best, that’s what you’ll become.

Every day, your conscious mind takes orders from your belief system. Every choice you make, every word you say is based on these beliefs.

In his book, The Power of the Subconscious Mind, Joseph Murphy explained, “As you sow in your subconscious mind, so shall you reap in your body and environment.” What this means is simple: what you tell yourself is what you become.

If you act “as if” you are what you want to be — a professional athlete, a CEO of a $10M startup, a loving husband and father — you’ll eventually begin acting as these individuals actually act.

But if you continue to act in the ways you always have, you’ll never have anything more than what you already have.

“If you want to get to the next level of whatever you’re doing, you must think and act in a wildly different way than you previously have been.” -Grant Cardone

In Conclusion

“You cannot see what you don’t look for, and you cannot look for what you don’t believe in.” -Darren Hardy

If you have more than 2 close friends, you’re part of the minority.

Over half of Americans are on track to retire with less than $10,000.

There are actually more Americans that are obese than simply overweight!

Why are so many people living in mediocrity? Why don’t people have the lives they want?

A fundamental reason is because they simply don’t believe their ideal life is even possible.

You cannot gain what you don’t look for. Whatever you believe about yourself becomes true. Your belief system is incredibly powerful — it determines how successful (or unsuccessful) you’ll ultimately become.

Your thoughts are the reason you are where you are right now. If you’re not where you want to be, ask yourself: how are my thoughts limiting me? What beliefs are holding me back?

If you want more, then start with upgrading your mindset. Because what you believe about yourself determines who you become.

Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Mood And Your Life (Stop Doing These)

Photo by Tina Rolf on Unsplash

12 Common Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Mood And Your Life (Stop Doing These)

I mean, come on … you deserve better than this.


“The saddest thing in life is wasted talent.” — A Bronx Tale

Self-sabotage is a helluva drug. You can’t get high from it, but it willbring you down. It’s generally an addiction we don’t recognize until it’s far too late — we lose a job, napalm a relationship, run into trouble with the law, find ourselves hospitalized, run out of Doctor Who episodes to binge-watch.

It’s a low-grade chronic illness that can, if you’re not careful, bloom into something more sinister: 18.1% of Americans have some kind of Anxiety Disorder. (I’m in that 18.1%.) 6.7% of Americans have had a major depressive episode. (I’m also in that 6.7%.) It can be very challenging to see the signs, get the appropriate diagnosis and treatment, and follow through. That’s not to say you’re at fault if you fall into one (or both) of those buckets — clinical anxiety and depression are often caused by something outside the locus of your control.

What’s vital, though, whether you battle clinical mental health challenges or you’re just not optimally satisfied with your life, or you’re just feeling blue or experiencing existential dread a bit more regularly and seriously than you’d like, is to do the following: Take ownership of your happiness. Or, as much ownership as you can. (You do not control your mood 100%, I cannot stress this enough.) You owe it to yourself to wrestle back command of how you think and how you feel. The world is shitty enough — you don’t need to help it along by compounding it with boneheaded life choices.

So, consider the following listicle (hell yeah, clickbait!) to be a quick checklist. A sort of “mood troubleshooter.” I’ve arranged these sabotaging patterns in order from easiest to most challenging to un-break, just like you would when diagnosing the causes of a broke-down vehicle or a busted laptop (you typically start with “turn the computer off, then turn it on again” as a first-line treatment for PC issues, and venture into more complex solutions from there).

The human brain is a machine. It requires diagnostics, maintenance and repairs. I’ll even walk you through what I do to keep myself feeling somewhat better than profoundly miserable. This is no substitute for qualified medical or psychiatric care, but treating these 12 common challenges may keep your brain out of the “shop” for a while. Let’s go.


1. You’re Not Drinking Enough Water

Feeling sluggish? Feeling a little down? Perhaps you should try water — the original miracle elixir. Dehydration has been shown to have negative impact on short-term memory and attentionmood, cognitive and motor skills. How much should you drink? Probably more than you currently are. Estimates range that between 43% — 75% of Americans don’t drink enough of it.

My solution: I have a 1.5L bottle that I fill with water — once in the morning, and once after lunch. That’s 3L, or roughly 12 glasses. That’s plenty, and more polite than hogging the drinking fountain for several minutes at a time.


2. You’re Surrounded By Clutter

Does your desk look like an Office Depot stock room? Does your place look like it’s been hit by an F4 Tornado? Does your car look like you’ve been on tour with a jam band for the summer? Guess what: It’s probably stressing you out. Clutter overwhelms us with visual stimuli, distracts us, causes us feelings of guilt and shame, makes it difficult to relax, and makes it hard for us to find what we need to satisfy our needs at any given point. (You know this if you’ve ever tried in vain to find your keys or remote.) Plus, you know … who’s going to want to come back to your place when it looks like you live in squalor.

My solution: I clean my condo for 20 minutes per day in the morning. I clean my desk every Friday before I leave for the weekend. I wash and clean my car for 20 minutes on Saturday mornings, and then I deep clean my condo for 50 minutes right after.


3. You’re Not Getting Enough Sun

Humans are solar powered. Seasonal Affective Disorder is real, and it’s in the DSM-5. The sun provides valuable vitamin D that prevents it. Natural light increases serotonin and melatonin, which helps aid your circadian rhythm and increases the quality and quantity of your sleep. Plus, you could probably use a little color before you hit the beach this summer, Chad. And you don’t need a ton of natural light, either. 10–15 consecutive minutes will do just fine!

My solution: I live in Austin, Texas. It’s located a mere three highway interchanges down from the actual sun. So every morning, I go outside and get my sunlight in by … oh … let’s not spoil #4. (Most people I know just wake up and walk their dog. Or cat. Or llama. That’s enough.)


4. You’re Not Moving Enough

When you’re stressed and anxious and miserable, the last thing you want to do is walk into a room full of beautiful people, hit the row machine, and wheeze through 30 minutes on an elliptical while the Advocare crew lovingly cheers each other on at the TRX. I get it. I wrote about how hard that can be. That said, holy shit, is exercise a high-ROI way to supercharge your brain in both the short-term and long-term. Exercise has been shown to improve (deep breath here): memory, mood, inflammation, structural brain health, sleep, anxiety, stress, brain size, cognition, learning ability.

My solution: I have a really sick Spotify playlist with like 150 songs. Every morning, I put that shit on shuffle, run for five songs, turn around and walk back. Sometimes I’ll go to the gym on my way back, but let’s not get carried away.

(UPDATE: Here is that playlist.)


5. You’re Not Having Enough Fun

Social isolation is the express lane to things like agoraphobia, depression and alcoholism, pain, chronic fatigue and poor health. Somewhat unrelated: always keeping yourself on the straight and narrow causes ego depletion — the fancy term for sapping up all your willpower and discipline — which causes you to lose your self control later. And, finally, looking forward to something has been shown to improve mood and impulse control. All of these things can be treated with regularly-scheduled, metered doses of what the scientists like to call “fun.”

My solution: On Mondays of every week, I schedule dates — either friend-dates or more-than-friend-dates —for every Thursday evening and for Saturdays after I’m done with my chores. I try to hike or golf with a friend every Sunday morning. After any vacation I take, I immediately schedule another one to look forward to. I get that this shit isn’t workable for everyone. Also: if you can have (enthusiastically consensual) sex, you should — as often and as kinkily as possible.


6. You’re Not Eating Enough Plants

Look, your mom’s been telling you “eat your vegetables” since before kale and acai bowls became trendy. In addition to living longer and healthier lives, herbivores tend to suffer from less depression, anxiety and fatigue. They’re less sluggish, too, because they’re not consuming big-ass sugar-bomb, carb-bomb meals that divert energy to the GI tract, and away from your brain — where you could be using it to be productive for once in your goddamned life.

My solution: My breakfast, every morning, is juice. My dinner, every night (if I am eating alone), is a salad.

Sidenote: My baseline diet largely consists of: mushroom, squash, spinach, avocado, banana, lemon, blueberry, tomato, chia seed, hemp seed, black beans, chickpeas, almonds, pistachios, salmon, tuna, shrimp, scallop, feta, pecorino, olive oil, coconut oil, garlic, honey, basil, eggs, mint, cilantro, dill, rosemary, turmeric, salt, and pepper. You would be shocked how many combinations of foods and cuisines you can make with just those things.


7. You’re On Your Smartphone Too Much

The data is out. Our phones are making us miserable. All that time you spend scrolling your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds wondering why all your friends have beautiful kids and Nantucket vacations while you’re binge-eating pizza and bemoaning your stupid-ass coach’s decision to go for it on fourth-and-9? It’s lowering your life satisfaction. Unless you’re using each platform to truly connect one-on-one with people and build real-world friendships, they aren’t helping. Plus, the world’s a grease-fire right now, and engulfing yourself in negative news is making you mentally ill. Plus, your smartphone emits that dreaded blue light that disrupts your sleep patterns.

My solution: I deleted Facebook and Twitter from my phone. I also put away my phone after 10 on weeknights, unless I’m texting or talking to someone important. I also sometimes throw my phone into a lake or drop it from a balcony.


8. You’re Drinking Too Much Booze

Drinking is dope AF. I love it. It’s a social lubricant, temporarily enhances joy in moderation, and is the liquid courage I need to play music shows without wondering why everyone’s staring at me so uncomfortably. It’s also fucking terrible for your brain if you do it too much. And, for a long time, I did. In addition to the potentially embarrassing things you do while drunk, the day after drinking you might find yourself with an inability to concentrate, depressed mood, disinterest in basic upkeep, impaired mental performance, impaired memory, verbal deficits and a shit-ton more that keeps you from humming on all cylinders.

My solution: If you’re going to drink, drink 2–3 servings of beer, wine or liquor max to avoid that hangover. When I stopped drinking my usual 10–15 drinks each night, my mood stabilized within one week, improved within three weeks, and I lost 35 pounds in seven weeks. I also remembered I left the oven on.


9. You’re Smoking Too Much

I don’t think I need to tell you how bad smoking is for your lungs. But what about your mind? Studies show smoking damages the brain, particularly in the areas of working memory and executive function — again, things that keep you from firing on all cylinders.

My solution: I’m addicted to mint-flavored nicotine lozenges. Whatever, Judgey McJudgeface, it’s still better than lung cancer.


10. You’re Not In The Flow State

You ever do something and lose track of time and sense of self? Like when you’re learning something, and that thing equally challenges and rewards you? That’s called Flow State, and getting there is the key to both mastery and bliss. It decreases stress and increases satisfaction, self-esteem and self-efficacy — and it’s effects don’t wear off until long after you stop doing whatever put you there.

My solution: I write every day. I golf or rock climb once a week. For you, try practicing new skills that stimulate your mind and body. Tetris works. So does Chess. So does skiing. So does salsa dancing. So does shelling. (Which, alright, Ethel.)


11. You’re Not Maintaining Your Brain

We put gas in our cars. We change the oil. We flush the transmission. We change the tires. We take the engine in for tune-ups. We treat our cars better than we treat our minds. Often, we won’t seek to optimize our mental health until someone else tells us to, or until someone leaves us, or until the pain is too great to bear, or until our life becomes a fucking Joy Division B-side. Don’t let it get to that point. An ounce of preventative maintenance is worth a pound of cure.

My solution: Weekly yoga (Sundays), weekly guided meditation (Headspace app and also at a zen temple), 13 consecutive weeks of therapy or life-coaching every year.


12. You’re Hanging Out With The Wrong People

Elle Kaplan is smart AF. I’m painfully average. So I’ll let her take it away from here: “Research has shown that … negative attitudes can also affect your intelligence and ability to think … negativity compromises the effectiveness of the neurons in the hippocampus — an important area of the brain responsible for reasoning and memory.”

In short: your negative, uncomfortable social circle is bringing your mood and cognition down. Who you chill with affects your level of chill.

My solution: I delete all my text messages weekly, so I have to actively choose who to continue communicating with. I purge my 20% of my Facebook friend list every three months and keep it around 500. I don’t make plans with anyone that doesn’t excite me. Every year, I pick 10 people I admire who I set out to get to know better, and then I do exactly that. (Sometimes they disappoint, but more often than not, they surprise and delight.) Also, treat your family like casual friends. (Shout-out to Jessica Wildfire for that gem.)


DoI do all these things above all the time? Hell nah, B. Like I said at the top, my mind is a neurotic mess. But I do most of these things most of the time, and that’s made a world of difference. I can make it through a work-day without napping or skipping a meeting. I can make it through a week without coming home to a pile of pizza boxes. I can head to the function and engage in conversations that don’t sound like the Nihilist Arby’s twitter. Sometimes that’s all we’re looking for — those small victories that help us feel a little happier, a little more stable, and a little less likely to rage at the next motherfucker who brings their checkbook to a supermarket express cash-out.

Life’s better than you think it is, and if you can gain mastery over your mind, you’ll be able to more fully appreciate the full scope of its beauty, possibility, and grand cosmic meaninglessness of being just specks of space dust on a space rock that’s too small for the universe to notice. Pursue your dreams, anyway. Eat Arby’s.

The Start-ups – Follow The Deepest Wisdom Within Your Heart  

How To Follow The Deepest Wisdom Within Your Heart

Soulful Living

“The heart has its own language. The heart knows a hundred thousand ways to speak.” — Rumi

Close your eyes for a moment.

Bring your awareness to your chest and place your attention on the feelings and sensations in that area.

While seated, continue to breathe and direct your focus on this region. You might encounter tingling feelings, images might flash across your mind — let them show up.

Now open your eyes.

Welcome to the resonance of the heart. You have embarked on the first step in experiencing your heart energy.

The voice of the heart is quiet and assuring, though it can be drowned out by the relentless mental dialogue at play in our mind.

The language of the heart is the call of the soul which echoes in a faint whisper.

Upon closer examination, we see the ego is dominant, relentless and ill-advised to help us navigate life. It is the cunning friend with honest intentions, spurring you towards insensitive acts of courage.

In comparison, the heart speaks in a clear and reassuring way to reinforce our personal success and soul’s transformation.

I am reminded of a delightful tale by the late Indian Jesuit priest and psychotherapist, Anthony de Mello:

“What must I do to attain holiness?” said a traveller.

“Follow your heart,” said the Master.

That seemed to please the traveller.

Before he left, however, the Master said to him in a whisper, “To follow your heart you are going to need a strong constitution.”

A strong constitution is required since the heart’s wisdom will often conflict the logic of the mind.

It is experienced as an emotion, a sensation or an inner experience, while the mind’s narrative is firm and resolute.

Soulful living is an invitation to live beyond the material world, rather than being led by our heart’s wisdom.

This is challenging because we are unfamiliar communicating with our heart, since our focus is fixed on left brain logic. It is the analysis and over-analysis which leads to paralysis of the body.

It is as simple and yet as involved as the message from author Gary Zukav who affirms in The Seat Of The Soul, “Feel your intentions in your heart. Feel not what your mind tells you, but what your heart tells you.”

Our addiction can lead us to react to external events while being insensitive to the call of our inner wisdom.

Connect With The Heart

“Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.” — Carl Jung

To experience the way of the heart, we must develop the capacity to listen.

This is challenging when our environment constantly summons our attention. We are exposed to fear-based news stories, products or services we don’t need or, worse still, a celebrity scandal that carries limited importance in our lives.

We don’t have to be drawn into this endless drama and can choose to be pulled by life’s circumstances or be led by the call of our spirit, which knows the way.

To know the language of the heart is the essence of love, the foundation of universal power.

Love is the highest order conferred to us at the moment of conception. Millions of people spend their entire life in search of their soulmate, while all along they seek to experience the essence of their soul.

“The human heart is a keenly sensitive area of feeling and knowing that is a portal to our deepest self. Heart wisdom is a blend of deep feeling and understanding,” states author John Prendergast PhD.

We must try to live from the heart, instead of a self-centred existence imposed by what is missing in our life.

This heart-based living I speak of is a return to wholeness. We never disconnect from this aspect of our being, aside from when we become distracted and lose our way.

Similarly, language is not confined to that learned and communicated through words.

It is conveyed through: intuition, sensations, feelings and an inner knowing. We must connect with this inner wisdom to know the entirety of our being.

Meditation and regular silence is valuable to connect with the heart because we lower the volume on the endless chatter that occupies the spaces between our thoughts.

For many, to retreat into silence means being alone with their thoughts, however disconcerting it may seem, rather than to realise their sacred nature.

The American spiritual teacher Adyashanti affirms, “Who would I be if I fell into the heart, not as some sort of ideal, not as something I imagine, but something that I actually allow to happen at the deepest level?”

The voice of the heart shows itself through feelings that connect you to your soul. When we honour these feelings and intentions they lead us back home where we yearn to be.

It was Hans Christian Andersen who said, “Where words fail music speaks.” This music lives in our heart and is discernible if we fall silent long enough to hear its message.

To be guided by your heart while using the logic of the mind is to unify mind and body, so that every thought and action emerges from intentional living.

“When we are willing to set aside the contents of an “overstuffed” mind and walk the trail unburdened, we’ll discover that it’s difficult not to hear what the heart wants to say,” states author Dennis Merritt Jones.

So as our attention deepens into our heart, we discover in that stillness our eternal soul calling us to be one again.

For as the Master knew all along: to follow your heart demands a firm constitution.

After all, the way of the heart will adopt everything the mind is unable to embrace.