Avoid Jealousy and Envy from Poisoning Your Life

How to Avoid Jealousy and Envy from Poisoning Your Life

Hint: don’t get stung by your own emotions

Don’t get stung by your own emotions — Pic by Tavis Beck

“To speak ill of others is a dishonest way of praising ourselves.” — Will Durant

“Mother, what is water?” — asked the baby fish

“Water is what you swim in. Water is what you’re mostly made of. It’s everywhere around you.” — the mother fish replied.

“But I can’t see it.” — said the baby.

Life’s most precious things are like water — they surround us, yet we don’t see them.

Do you see what you have? Or simply pay attention to what other people have, achieve or the recognition they get? That’s how envy and jealousy get into your life — rather than appreciating the water around you; they bring out the worst in you.

Jealousy and envy are related though are not the same — they are two different types of poison.

How envy and jealousy harm you

“Jealousy is no more than feeling alone against smiling enemies.” — Elizabeth Bowen

Envy and jealousy travel together but are different emotions — both are negative and can make you feel miserable and ruin your relationships.

Envy is a two-person relationship: I want what you have. Jealousy is a three-person triangle: I want the recognition you have from others.

When you wish you have your colleague’s office, that’s envy. When you feel threatened by how much your boss praises one of your colleague’s work, that’s jealousy.

Envy is resentment toward other because of their possessions or success. You idealize when you are envious. You don’t just want what they have; you want their stature too.

Jealousy is when a third person threatens a relationship — you are afraid to lose someone you love in the hands of other.

Jealousy is an anticipatory emotion as Ralph Hupka said. “Jealousy causes us to take precautionary measures. Should those fail and the partner has an affair, the new situation arouses anger, depression, and disappointment.” the Professor of Psychology at California State University added.

Jealousy and envy are natural instincts. However, you can manage how you react. Both emotions mask other feelings that can become lethal. They hide our insecurity, shame or need to possess — they feed our inner-critic making us feel worthless.

Envy is a reaction to lacking something; Jealousy is a reaction to the threat of losing something or someone.

A painful ancient symptom

Both jealousy and envy originate from the primitive fight-or-flight response. When you feel under attack, your brain triggers a warning signal.

Our tribal ancestors lived in fear of arousing the envy of the gods by their pride or good fortune. Hera’s envy for Aphrodite set off the Trojan War in Greek mythology.

Jealousy and envy are still the cause of most current conflicts both in the professional and personal world.

Envy drives to self-sabotage causing wars and others conflicts. It typically becomes a group phenomenon, and turns to hatred and assaults against others, as Frank J. Ninivaggi explains on Envy Theories.

We have a false sense of justice — our system emphasizes the equality of all. That’s a curious paradox: the sense that we deserve our fair share of things is at the root of envy.

Life is not fair. There will always be people with more talents, health, possessions or reputation than yourself. Entitlement doesn’t help — thinking that you deserve better makes you focus on the outcome rather than on the effort.

Jealousy originates from the prospect of failure; envy from actual ‘failure.’

To let go of these two negative emotions, we must thoroughly understand where those feelings come from. And stop seeing yourself as a failure.

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We create our own poison

“Envy is the religion of the mediocre. It comforts them, it soothes their worries, and finally, it rots their souls, allowing them to justify their meanness and their greed until they believe these to be virtues.” — Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Buddhism teaches us that whatever causes our suffering has its roots in the Three Poisons: Ignorance, Hate, and Greed.

Ignorance is the mother of all poisons. It’s the belief that things are fixed and permanent. When we see that someone is doing better than us, rather than focus on how we can improve, we get stuck on the current status.

That’s why comparisons are deceiving: there’s always people that are better and worse than us. When we compare, we see things as static. We look outside (what others have) rather than inside (what we can change).

We create our own poison and then drink it.

Ignorance is clinging to people, objects or emotions. We don’t want things to change. It’s the desire to protect our idealized status. The antidote to ignorance is wisdom — self-awareness can free yourself from poisonous emotions.

Hate arises from ignorance. We believe the world revolves around us. We want to stand out from the universe instead of seeing our connectedness to everything and everyone else. Our society is a system — when we disconnect from it, we start seeing everyone as a competitor or an enemy. Envy and jealousy are just defense mechanisms.

Greed is not just wanting more — it’s the fantasy that adding more stuff will provide personal gratification. Unfortunately, delusion creates a vicious cycle. Not only it frustrates us; we crave for more. Greed is also based on your need to protect your status — you believe that objects define who you are.

Attachment motivates envy and jealousy. You cling to things or relationships you don’t have — you want to be in control to feel more important.

Bertrand Russell said: “Beggars do not envy millionaires, though of course, they will envy other beggars who are more successful.”

We direct our envy at those whom we compare ourselves such as your co-workers, friends, relatives or neighbors.

Social Media has not only expanded the ‘beggars’ you compare to; it’s an accelerant that turns envy into a wildfire. A picture-perfect society is doing us no good by encouraging envy and fruitless comparisons.

So, how can you avoid this lethal poison?

The antidote for envy and jealousy

If ignorance is the mother of all poisons, then wisdom is the universal antidote. Being wise is appreciating the water around you.

Wisdom is listening to other points of view rather than discriminating; to carefully examine facts even if they contradict our beliefs; to be objective rather than biased, and to always be ready to change our beliefs when opposite facts are presented to us.

Wisdom is to directly see and understand for yourself — to keep an open mind rather than being closed-minded.

Certainty can cripple your wisdom, as I wrote here. Embracing a skeptical mindset will help you see life sharply. The path of just believing what you are told is easy. The path towards wisdom requires confidence, courage, adaptability, and patience.

The antidote for greed is generosity; the one for hate is loving kindness.

Letting go of your possessions and relationships requires wisdom too. You realized you don’t need to possess objects or people to be yourself. They can contribute to your joy, but your happiness does not depend on them.

Non-attachment doesn’t mean not caring — it means recognizing there was never something to cling to in the first place. You stop looking at what others have. You free yourself from owning or being owned.

How to overcome being poisoned

Person Standing on Hand Rails With Arms Wide Open Facing the Mountains and Clouds

“Don’t envy what people have, emulate what they did to have it.” — Tim Fargo

1. Increase your self-awareness

To know yourself is to accept yourself. Self-awareness requires observing and accepting who you are — not who you should or shouldn’t be. Reflect without judging yourself. Learn to be gentle and forgiving with yourself — you’ll stop needing possessions or relationships to feel greater.

Are you jealous? Are you always comparing yourself to others? Deep inside you might feel insecure, frightened, betrayed or threatened. That’s okay. Feedback will help you uncover blind spots so you can conquer them.

To increase your self-awareness, you need to look outside, not just inside as I wrote here. People who score high in self-awareness know themselves well and understand how others see them too.

2. Free yourself from poisonous comparisons

Become your own standard. Learn to appreciate yourself for who you are, not for what you possess or your achievements. Success is personal — happiness is defining success on your own terms.

Social pressure will only make you frustrated — it seeds envy for not having more or make you feel jealous if someone gets more recognition than you do. Compare yourself to who you were yesterday. Focus on your improvement, not others’. Comparing to other people is a lose-lose situation.

3. Prevent an outbreak

Normal jealousy happens early in a relationship; it can be improved by improving the self-esteem of affected partners. Honesty is critical to stop early symptoms before they produce a jealousy outbreak.

Keeping and maintaining trust is not easy — don’t confuse it with blind faith. Embrace trust as something fragile and imperfect, as I wrote here. Jealousy is about control; trust is about confidence and freedom.

You cannot avoid feeling jealous, but you can prevent it from getting worse and worse.

4. Emulate rather than envy

Looking at others for inspiration is not bad; the problem is trying to be like them. Medium Staff is full of articles on how Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, or Tony Robbins became successful and wealthy. That doesn’t mean you must follow their paths or aim for the same goals.

Reacting with emulation rather than envy is to open up to learn from others.

Each life is unique. Those who compare themselves to famous entrepreneurs end doing nothing. Choose your destination and take the learning route, not the shortcut. Copycats are boring; it’s better to be original as Leon Howrote here.

5. Feel the pain firsthand

Envy and jealousy are not just lethal for yourself. They can also harm those around you. Sometimes you need to take a little bit of your own poison to realize that.

Let others become your antidote.

If you are the jealous one, ask your partner to overplay her/ his jealous part for one or two weeks. Feeling the pain firsthand will help you realize the side-effects of your own behaviors.

If you suffer from envy, interact with people that have dramatically less or more than you have. Live one day with a total budget of two dollars. Volunteer one night to serve at a millionaire’s party. Compare both experiences to see what it says about you when you experience the extremes.


Life‘s most precious things are like water — they are around you waiting for you to pay attention and appreciate what you have.

Envy and jealousy are lethal poisons; it’s up to you to avoid being stung.

Why you shouldn’t share your goals

Originally published on JOTFORM.COM

The race to get the world’s first plane in the sky was a hard fought battle between The Wright Brothers and a lesser-known gentleman by the name of Samuel Pierpont Langley.

You will discover why you’ve never heard of the latter here shortly.

As you probably read somewhere inside that history textbook you were forced to lug around through elementary — The Wright Brothers were responsible for creating the first successful airplane. You remember how the story goes

“… it was a cold windy day on December 17th, 1903 in the Kill Devil Hills of North Carolina… Orville watched nervously as his brother Wilbur climbed inside the plane they had spent years perfecting… miraculously it flew for 59 seconds for a distance of 852 feet…”

While today “The Wright Brothers” is the first name that comes to anyone’s mind when they hear the word fly, once upon a time the pair were major underdogs.

In fact, during the race to the sky, most of America had its money on the man I mentioned earlier, Langley.

Hewas an extremely outspoken astronomer, physicist and aviation pioneer who was on a mission to make history. Langley’s high stature as the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution gave him both the credibility and hype he needed to get America on his side.

Not to mention, he was extremely well-backed by the War Department who contributed $50,000 to help him be the first to get a bird in the sky.

Long story short, despite all the hype, Langley’s flying machine ended up crashing and burning while The Wright Brother’s plane ended up soaring.

One party had the entire world, vast resources and plenty of moolah on his side, while the other just had a small bike shop and a passion to fly.

So, let me ask you this… can you guess why The Wright Brothers achieved their goal to take flight while Langley failed?

Early praise feels like you’ve already won.

The Wright Brothers victory over Langley came down to passion, intrinsic motivation (Langley was very status driven) and perhaps praise.

While Langley was sharing his ambitions with the world and being heavily praised for feats he had not yet achieved, The Wright Brothers were receiving little to no attention whatsoever.

Some experts argue that early praise can leave the individual receiving the praise feeling like he or she has already won… in turn causing them to beless likely to follow through with their goals.

For example, in Peter Gollwitzer’s research article, When Intentions Go Publiche raises this very question:

Are scientists more likely to write papers if they tell colleagues about their intentions or if they keep their intentions to themselves?

Gollwitzer and his team of researchers carried out a handful of studies, here is a brief excerpt from their findings:

“Other people’s taking notice of one’s identity-relevant intentions apparently engenders a premature sense of completeness regarding the identity goal.”

In English, what Gollwitzer found was that when individuals set a goal that is closely tied to their identity and then share their intentions with others, they are less likely to achieve the goal.

For example, if your goal is to start drinking more water and you tell your friends and family that you’re going to start drinking more water, this would probably have little to no impact on whether or not you actually drink more water.

Why? Because drinking more water isn’t something you hold close to your identity.

Onthe other hand, if your goal is to lose 40 lbs and drop 2–3 waist sizes, it might not be the best idea to post about it all over Facebook. Your appearance is something you very much so identify with. So, if you tell people you plan to lose weight and everyone tells you how awesome you are and how great you’re going to look, you might be less likely to lose the weight.

This finding is a bit counterintuitive, considering we were told by our teachers and coaches growing up to set our goals, share our goals, hold ourselves accountable.

But, the theory certainly holds some weight (pun very much intended), and is one that has been adopted by highly successful serial entrepreneurs like Derek Siversfounder of CD Baby.

Sivers gave a TED Talk on this very topic nearly a decade back. To prove his point, he asked the audience to imagine how they felt when they shared their goals with others:

“Imagine their congratulations and their high image of you. Doesn’t it feel good to say it out loud? Don’t you feel one step closer already? Like, it’s already becoming part of your identity?

Well, bad news. You should have kept your mouth shut. That good feeling makes you less likely to do it.”

Sivers goes on to explain that it’s this “warm feeling” that keeps us from battling on to actually achieve our goals.

When we openly share our goals, we experience a feeling of success that normally only takes place upon completion of the goal.

The result? We don’t ever actually pursue the goal.

Alternatives to sharing your goals.

I’ve recently shared 3 real-life business tactics to achieve your “big hairy goals”. But now, let’s talk about what can actually work when it comes to successfully reaching your goals.

For two counterintuitive yet effective approaches to this, we look to a philosophy called “fear-setting” and making an effort to surround yourself with competition.

Embrace fear-setting over goal-sharing.

Entrepreneur, angel investor and writer, Tim Ferriss, gave an incredible TED Talk where he discussed how fear-setting is instrumental in achieving one’s goals.

He recommends that instead of obsessively sharing your goals, you should come to terms with all the fears that are preventing you from achieving them.

For example, let’s say your goal is to start your own business. Ferriss recommends that you write down all of your fears that are associated with starting a business.

These might include… “Losing all my money”… “Getting fired from my day job”… “Getting laughed at or judged if I fail”.

Once you write down these fears, you should then write down how you would go about preventing these fears (or mitigating the likelihood) of them actually happening.

For example, for the first fear “losing all my money”, your prevention might be… “I’m only going to invest $2,500 that way I can’t lose it all.”

Finally, after you have written down your preventions, you should then write down how you will repair what you fear from happening… if it actually ends up happening.

So, to repair losing the $2,500, you might write down, “Get a part time job as a bartender in addition to my day job until I make the $2,500 back.”

By concentrating on fear-setting over goal-sharing, it allows you to remove the fear that is keeping you from actually achieving your goals.

Surround yourself with competition.

In addition to fear-setting, it might also be a good idea to surround yourself with competition.

A healthy dose of competition can be good for your business, too. At JotForm, we love to use competition to our advantage with events like hackweeks to achieve our product release goals.

study published two years ago in the journal Preventive Medicine Reports, sheds some light on the impact that competition has on our goals.

The study put 800 undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Pennsylvania through an 11-week exercise program where each person was assigned to work out alone or in a team.

In addition, the teams were designed to be either supportive or competitive.

Bythe end of the study, researchers found that students involved in the competitive team programs were 90% more likely to attend their scheduled exercise sessions than any other group.

Not only is this number staggering, but it also proves that competition can create a higher level of commitment among people chasing down goals.

When you surround yourself with competition, it doesn’t mean that you have to share your goals with the competition. You don’t have to tell the other folks in the spin class, cross-fit training or pick-up basketball leagues that your goal is to lose 50 lbs.

But, by simply showing up and placing yourself in a competitive environment, you will be more likely to push harder and show up more often — two factors that can help your reach your goals.


The science behind achieving goals has always been an interesting topic.

While some entrepreneurs advocate the idea that you should never have a goal, I’ve recently explained why setting big goals can make you miserable.

Whether you decide to share your goals or not, what I’ve found out across 12 years of entrepreneurship is that you should craft your own path.

What works for others won’t always work for you. And what works for you today won’t always work tomorrow.

Unsuccessful People Focus On “The Gap.” Here’s What Successful People Focus On.


“The way to measure your progress is backward against where you started, not against your ideal.”

— Dan Sullivan, THE GAIN AND THE GAP


Key concepts to understand in this article that will be explored:

  • Your ideals and your goals are two separate things
  • Ideals are general and immeasurable
  • Ideals are constantly changing and moving as you change and move as a person
  • Your ideals should not be your benchmark for achievement
  • Instead, your ideals should be the source from which you create your specific, challenging, time-bound, and measurable goals
  • Moreover, your ideals are intended to produce positive emotions such as excitement and anticipation — but these emotions are not what you’re trying to replicate in the future (most people get this wrong and it creates a great deal of unhappiness)
  • The emotions you want in the future relative to this ideal are happiness, satisfaction, and confidence that come from achieving your goals
  • If you measure your current-self against your ideal, you’ll never be happy because there will always be a gap
  • If you measure your current-self against your previous-self — where you were when you set your goals (and even before) — you’ll experience happiness, satisfaction, and confidence
  • If your goals are not specific, they’ll be hard to measure (which is one reason you shouldn’t measure yourself against your ideals, because your ideals are general)
  • If you don’t have a specific measurement criteria, you won’t experience the joy of the progress you’ve made
  • Once you hit your goals and have taken the time to adequately measure where you are, you should set new ideals and re-experience the excitement, anticipation, and motivation that comes from pursuing new adventures and growth
  • If you’re not making progress, you can’t feel happy
  • If you don’t feel happy, your brain will be less adaptive and less effective toward future endeavors
  • If you’re not making progress, you can’t feel confident — because confidence is a byproduct of prior success
  • If you don’t regularly take the time to review your progress, you’ll never appreciate the small details, which will rob you of the experience and of all the benefits of gratitude
  • If you fail to appreciate where you are, you’re missing out on the benefits of mindfulness as well, which can lead you to pursuing the wrong goals and missing the small moments along the way
  • When you set and measure your goals in this unique way, you get the benefit of deeply experiencing all of the positive and energizing emotions that will allow you to become increasingly successful

With this foundation in place, we will further dial-down the process and also detail the science behind why this process is so brilliant.

Here’s the thing: most people have a negative relationship with goal-setting. There’s a lot of emotional baggage associated with the concept.

One group of people may believe they should be happy just the way they are. Another group is constantly striving for more and are never quite happy with what they’ve achieved.

Both of these approaches to goals are ineffective because neither can produce actual joy and happiness.

  • If you’re not growing and changing, you’re not happy. Research is clear that as people, we are happiest when we are improving. Self-acceptance is important, but self-acceptance is also intended to be a vehicle for positive growth, not for staying stagnant and justifying mediocrity. Moreover, you can’t have hope for the future if you don’t believe you can change. Trying to force yourself to remain the same stunts hope and happiness.
  • If you’re growing but constantly measuring where you are against your ideal, you’ll never get there. This will lead you to always feeling dissatisfied with yourself, which isn’t helpful to your future goals and it robs you of the joy of the distance you’ve made. When you rob yourself of the joy of measuring how far you’ve come, you don’t experience happiness, gratitude, or confidence. And when you don’t experience these, you actually set lower and less clear goals. Put simply, when you take the time to reflect and measure how far you’ve come, you’ll set clearer and more powerful goals, because those goals will be set from a place of confidence, happiness, and gratitude. They’ll also be set from a place of tangible measurement, not abstract idealization.

The Gap vs. The Gain: How Happy, Motivated, And Successful People Approach Their Goals

Your future growth and progress are now based in your understanding about the difference between the two ways in which you can measure yourself: against the ideal, which puts you in what I call “The Gap,” and against your starting point, which puts you in “The Gain,” appreciating all that you’ve accomplished.

When you’re in The Gap, you feel as though you haven’t accomplished anything at all. This is because even though you’ve moved forward, the ideal remains distant from you. The ideal is a moving target. It might even get bigger, leaving you worse off than where you started if you measure against it. You’ve also used up time and energy getting to where you are, so if you don’t measure the progress, you’ll feel like you’ve wasted that time and energy and have fallen even further behind.

But if you turn around and measure your progress against where you started, then you’re in The Gain, and you’ll experience a sense of having moved forward, of having achieved something, and you’ll be motivated to continue on to your next stage of growth.

— Dan Sullivan

Here are two definitions of “ideal”:

  • satisfying one’s conception of what is perfect; most suitable
  • existing only in the imagination; desirable or perfect but not likely to become a reality

Here are two definitions of “goal”:

  • the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result
  • a specific, measurable, and time-bound outcome or experience a person is seeking

Once you’ve made tangible progress on your goals, it’s important to measure, track, and report your progress. That progress should clearly be measured against where you were when you set your targets, not against some vague imagination.

Creating Your Vision And Experiencing The Excitement And Anticipation

“Some adults try not to engage in make-believe anymore because they think it’s childish, but I don’t think we ever really outgrow it. In fact, I think that make-believe is the basis for all our motivations in life.” — Dan Sullivan

Children are generally considered more imaginative and creative than adults. This isn’t actually true.

The ability to imagine and fantasize about the future never actually goes away. Some adults constrain themselves from indulging too deeply into their fantasies, because the positive emotions related to those fantasies are quickly shattered by the pain of their reality. Or, they’ve experienced the disappointment that comes from achieving goals and not feeling satisfied.

Indeed, people adapt quickly and if the target for happiness is always moving and in the future, it’s impossible to reach. Hence, those powerful and positive emotions end up being reframed in the memory as negative, which creates a negative association between goals and happiness in people. Thus, people stop setting goals and develop a personality of being comfortable where they are — and never truly happy.

Again, it doesn’t have to be this way. This process Dan Sullivan has created allows you the playfulness, the excitement, and the motivation involved in creating ideals and dreams for your future.

Lots of science has found play to be extremely important for productivity and creativity. As Greg McKeown explains“Very successful people see play as essential for creativity.”

In his TED talk, Stuart Brown said, “Play leads to brain plasticity, adaptability, and creativity… Nothing fires up the brain like play.” There is a burgeoning body of literature highlighting the extensive cognitive and social benefits of play, including:

Cognitive

  • Enhanced memory and focus
  • Improved language learning skills
  • Creative problem solving
  • Improved mathematics skills
  • Increased ability to self-regulate, an essential component of motivation and goal achievement

Social

  • Cooperation
  • Team work
  • Conflict resolution
  • Leadership skill development
  • Control of impulses and aggressive behavior

One of the core learning styles is “imagining,” and it’s something that few people allow themselves to do enough. Imagining and fantasizing are learned skills, which can also be like muscles that atrophy. If you don’t develop these muscles, you’ll lack the creativity and excitement of pursuing crazy dreams and ideals. You’ll “grow-up” as they say and settle for reality as society and the norms around you have deemed-it.

Instead of such a bleak and uninspiring existence, you want to spend a great deal of time fantasizing about your future. You want to dream big and dream creatively. You want it to be fun and playful. Set no boundaries on your ideals and what you imagine.

The more immersive you can get into what Dan Sullivan calls, “Make-believing,” which is creating a make-believe future or ideal, the better. You want to experience all of the excitement, anticipation, and motivation that comes out of that possible future. These emotions drive you forward. But again, they aren’t the emotions you’ll experience when you get to your intended goal.

Your future should be big, fun, and playful. In in Sullivan’s words, “Your future should always be bigger than your past.”

The more playful the imagining, and the more immersive, clear, and specific you get about that imagining, the more creative and powerful will be the goals that you set to strive for that ideal.

However, it’s important to realize a few things:

  • this ideal that you are forming is always changing
  • once you reach a destination, your ideals and fantasies will change
  • these dreams and ideals are the direction for guiding and creating tangible goals to move toward
  • if you constantly measure yourself against your ideals, you’ll be living in what Dan Sullivan calls, “The Gap,” which will create feelings of unhappiness and disatisfaction
  • instead of measuring yourself against your ideals, happiness and satisfaction come by measuring yourself against where you were when you formulated the ideals and set the tangible goals
  • when you measure yourself against where you were, you live in what Dan Sullivan calls, “The Gain,” which helps you realize and appreciate how far you’ve come

According to psychological research, the anticipation of an event is almost always more powerful than the event itself. Both positive and negative events are generally more emotionally-charged in your head than the actual experience ends up being.

Very quickly, we adapt to our new experience and the event itself is underwhelming compared to how we imagined it to be.

Because we adapt so quickly, it’s easy to take for granted where we currently are. Moreover, because our ideals and dreams are like a horizon which is constantly moving — we never reach our ideals. The horizon always moves, no matter where you are. It’s the direction, not the destination.

This is what creates feelings of unhappiness and dissatisfaction. We quickly adapt to where we currently are and our ideals are always out of reach. This is living in “The Gap.”

We mistakenly believe that our experience once we hit our goals should be the playful and exciting emotions we had when we were imagining the goal. This is not the case.

The playful and joyful experiences of imagining our dreams and ideals are not the experiences we are to have in the future. We have those experiences to draw us forward. Actually, when you expect these same emotions to be what you’ll experience when you get there, you downplay their importance. These emotions are both a means to an end, and an end in themselves.

They are a means to the end of allowing you to create highly specific goals which lead to growth and happiness. But they are an end in themselves because the playful anticipation and excitement of ideals is a beautiful part of life. Don’t downplay these emotions. Allow them to be what they are. You get to experience them again and again as you continue to expand your horizon and dreams.

Once you’ve developed that horizon, you then need to set tangible, measurable, challenging, and time-bound goals to move toward that horizon.

Set Measurable And Highly Specific Goals

“Specifics must be measured against specifics. Trying to measure a specific against a generality is not real measurement. Setting up a goal of making $10 million is specific, and you’ll feel successful once you’ve done that by measuring from there back to where you started. But if you have the imprecise goal of “being wealthy,” that’s a generality. You may never feel like you’ve achieved it, and even if you do feel as though you have, this feeling won’t last because it’s not grounded in specific reality. The goal — being wealthy — will continue to change and always seem out of reach.”— Dan Sullivan

If your goals are not specific and measurable, then you won’t be able to measure your progress. If you can’t clearly discern the progress you’re making:

  • you won’t know where you actually are
  • you won’t experience the joy, gratitude, and confidence of growth
  • if you don’t enjoy the the gratitude and confidence of growth, you won’t operate as well in the future and you won’t set bigger targets to strive for

Thus, when you don’t set clear targets and measure yourself against what you’ve gained, then you cheat yourself out of your past, present, and future.

  • you cheat yourself out of your past because you never take the time to appreciate and measure against it
  • you cheat yourself out of your present because without measurement, you never know where you truly are
  • you cheat yourself out of your future because without happiness, gratitude, and confidence, you won’t imagine and create more compelling ideals and goals

Psychological Benefits Of Measuring Your Progress Against Where You Were

According to the research of Harvard psychologist, Shawn Achor, happiness is the secret to success.

Being happy allows you to work more effectively. It allows you to embrace your experiences more fully. It allows you to be far more open to feedback. Happiness is a powerful way to create high performance. Even my 10-year old son is realizing this when he practices the piano. Unfortunately, it’s hard to be happy if you’re living in “The Gap.”

Not only will you be happier if you measure yourself against The Gain, you’ll be more confident. Research has shown, confidence is the byproduct of past-performance. So when you take the time to live in “The Gain,” your confidence can increase, which will allow you the ability to set bigger and more imaginative goals.

It will also give you the clarity to create better plans, which according to research will give you more hope and expectancy in your future that you’ll achieve those goals.

According to psychology’s Hope Theory, hope reflects your perceptions regarding your capacity to:

  • clearly conceptualize goals
  • develop the specific strategies to reach those goals (i.e., pathways thinking)
  • initiate and sustain the motivation for using those strategies (i.e., agency thinking)

Hope is a byproduct of confidence, which is a byproduct of past success. Thus, as you set clear and measurable goals, and measure your progress against the Gain, you’ll recognize the changes and progress you make. This will give you both confidence and hope — which will allow you to set bigger ideals and dreams in the future, and to make better plans and strategies for achieving those goals.

This is how you increase in your motivation overtime. According to According to one of the core theories of motivation — known as Expectancy Theory — motivation involves three components:

  • the value you place on your goal
  • your belief that specific behaviors will actually facilitate the outcomesyou desire
  • your belief in your own ability to successfully execute the behaviors requisite to achieving your goals

As your happiness, confidence, and hope increase, your motivation will increase. This motivation comes because you expect to achieve your goals and you highly value those goals. As you become more confidence as a person, you’ll stop setting goals that society has placed on you.

Your goals will come from inside and be uninhibited by the standards and expectations of those around you. Instead, you’ll purposefully surround yourself with better mentors, teachers, and collaborators, which will allow your dreams and ideals to expand far beyond what you could conjure-up on your own. Psychologists call this “The Transforming-Self,” and it’s the highest level of conscious evolution.

You’re constantly seeing yourself improve. You’re grateful and appreciate that progress. You spend just as much time soaking-in the Gains and you do imagining and indulging in the dreams. You then use your gains and the confidence you’ve built to get back to the playful and fantasizing process of imagining new ideals!

One other potent psychological benefit of measuring The Gain is gratitude, which has nearly unlimited benefits to well-being, happiness, and high performance. Gratitude may be the most important key to success. It has been called the mother of all virtues. According to Sullivan, “growth and gratitude” go hand-in-hand. Yet, those who only focus on The Gap rob themselves of much of the benefits of gratitude.

Gratitude journaling is a scientifically proven way to overcome several psychological challenges. The benefits are seemingly endless. Here are just a few:

  • Gratitude makes you happier
  • Gratitude makes other people like you
  • Gratitude makes you healthier
  • Gratitude boosts your career
  • Gratitude strengthens your emotions
  • Gratitude develops your personality
  • Gratitude makes you more optimistic
  • Gratitude reduces materialism
  • Gratitude increases spirituality
  • Gratitude makes you less self-centered
  • Gratitude increases your self-esteem
  • Gratitude improves your sleep
  • Gratitude keeps you away from the doctor by strengthening physiological functioning
  • Gratitude lets you live longer
  • Gratitude increases your energy levels
  • Gratitude makes you more likely to exercise
  • Gratitude helps you bounce back from challenges
  • Gratitude makes you feel good
  • Gratitude makes your memories happier (think of Pixar’s Inside Out)
  • Gratitude reduces feelings of envy
  • Gratitude helps you relax
  • Gratitude makes you friendlier
  • Gratitude helps your marriage
  • Gratitude makes you look good
  • Gratitude deepens your friendships
  • Gratitude makes you a more effective manager
  • Gratitude helps you network
  • Gratitude increases your goal achievement
  • Gratitude improves your decision making
  • Gratitude increases your productivity

It’s a beautiful process and it allows you to experience ALL of the powerful emotions along the way.

The Importance Of Keeping A Record Of Your Goals

If you’re achievement-oriented, you probably write down your goals and you probably achieve a great deal of them. However, it’s powerful and important to regularly go back and examine your previous goals.

Even if it was just the goals set for the previous 30 days. It’s insane how many of our targets we hit without appreciating it because our targets and ideals are continually moving.

I recently looked back at my goals from the previous 30 days and realized I’d achieved something I’ve wanted to accomplish for almost 4 years.

I hit a major milestone and didn’t even realize or appreciate it because my mind quickly moved to the next ideal. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing for setting new targets, but it also robs me of seeing how far I’ve come.

Moreover, when you immediately move from achievement to visualization without taking the time to regularly measure how far you’ve come — you rob yourself of the satisfaction, happiness, and CONFIDENCE of accomplishment.

Yes, all of these things can be subconscious — your happiness, satisfaction, and confidence. But you can compound the experience by making them conscious. By actually indulging in the moment and truly appreciating where you currently are vs. where you were when you set your goals. You then get all the benefits of the past, which allow you to create a more compelling future.

You’re Probably Living Your Dreams Right Now

When you measure yourself against “The Gain,” you often realize that you’re currently living your dreams right now. Where you are right now may be far beyond the ideals you had even one or two years ago. Yet, you’ve probably adapted to your current reality and are now striving for newer and bigger ideals.

But if you take the time to examine your previous goals, you often realize that your current reality is beyond the wildest dreams of your past. Indeed, your current reality has become your “new normal” even though it may have been completely unimaginable to your previous-self.

Wow!

The daily experiences you’re currently having are the IDEALS of your past-self just a few short years ago!

Appreciate that fact.

Allow that fact to create more confidence to set bigger and bigger ideals and clearer and more tangible goals!

This is a beautiful and rare process!

Enjoy it. Soak it up!

Why Most People Will Never Be Successful

Why Most People Will Never Be Successful

“Success” isn’t just having lots of money. Many people with lots of money have horribly unhappy and radically imbalanced lives.

Success is continuously improving who you are, how you live, how you serve,and how you relate.

So why won’t most people be successful?

Why don’t most people evolve?


The more evolved you become, the more elevated becomes your thinking, expectations, and standards.

Becoming evolved means:

  • You no longer major in minor things — As Jim Rohn said, “A lot of people don’t do well simply because they major in minor things.”
  • You are intentional about every moment of every day — even when that means being fully unplugged and present with your loved ones
  • You know that you become the product of what surrounds you
  • You know that every thing you put in your mind and body shapes the person you become — As Zig Ziglar said, “Your input determines your outlook. Your outlook determines your output, and your output determines your future.”
  • You realize that your behaviors shape your personality and identity — therefore you recognize that EVERY CHOICE YOU MAKE signals to yourself the type of person you are

Balancing The Few Essentials

The more successful you become — which is balancing the few essential things (spiritual, relational, financial, physical) in your life and removing everything else — the less you can justify low quality.

Before you evolve as a person:

  • You can reasonably spend time with just about anyone
  • You can eat just about anything put in front of you
  • You can justify having terrible evenings because you don’t have anything meaningful to wake-up for anyways

Before you evolve, you can reasonably spend time with just about anyone.

You can reasonably eat anything placed in front of you.

You can reasonably justify activities and behaviors that are, frankly, mediocre.

As Your Vision For Yourself Expands

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” — Wayne Dyer

As your vision for yourself expands, you realize you have to make certain adjustments. You need to cut-back on spending all of your money and time on crap and entertainment. You have to save more, and invest more in your education and your future.

The more successful you become:

  • The less you can justify low quality and the higher your standards become for yourself — As Tony Robbins said, “Remember in life we get what we tolerate! Where in your life is it time to draw the line in the sand and say no more! To yourself? To others?”
  • The more you value your time — and how that time is spent. When you’re at work, you’re 100% at work. When you’re at home, you’re 100% at home. You begin living in the “results-economy,” where you’re less worried about how long something takes you, and you’re more concerned about achieving the your desired results more effectively and efficiently.
  • Thus, no longer are you willing to work on a time clock.
  • Instead, you only work and get paid for what you results you produce.
  • You have skin in the game. And because you get paid for your results, you create environments that force you to get your desired results faster.
  • You apply the 80/20 rule. You only focus on those things that produce the best outcomes, and you ignore all else.
  • You get the best mentoring.
  • You work when your energy levels and brain-power are peaked, which for most people is during the first 3 hours of their day.
  • You figure out how to get 2X the results you’re currently getting in half the time.
  • You the re-invest that time you just saved into rest and recovery. You’re totally unplugged spending quality time with your friends and family.
  • You’re investing more and more into your self-improvement. You get to the point where 20% of your time is spent working, and the other 80% is spent either learning or resting. You’re sharpening your saw so that during your work hours, your rested, fresh, and powerful.
  • You’re continually upgraded your mindset, mentorships, skills, abilities, and income.

Your life and your identity are a product of your choices. Your personality doesn’t shape who you are. Your behaviors shape who you are.

The most powerful choices you can make is to put yourself into environments that force you to rise to new standards. Said historian Will Durant, “I think the ability of the average man could be doubled if it were demanded, if the situation demanded.”

You surround yourself with people who have higher standards than you do. Because you know that as a person, you are not a fixed and unchangeable entity.

Instead, you know that you are highly flexible and fluid. Your input shapes your mindset and worldview, which shapes your output. That output creates opportunities for the future.

As you continually improve your world around you — and as you consistently make better and better choices, your identity changes. Your environment changes. Your confidence and abilities change.

You begin taking on much bigger goals.

You begin recognizing and appreciating how far you’ve come.

You begin collaborating with brilliant people. You transform yourself over and over, all the while continually going deeper and deeper into your “why.”

How You Do Anything Is How You Do Everything

If your daily behaviors are consistently low quality, what do you expect your life’s output to be?

Every area of your life affects every other area of your life. Hence the saying, How you do anything is how you do everything. This is very high level thinking. It only makes sense for people who have removed everything from their lives they hate. To actually live this principle: your daily and normal life can only be filled with those things you highly value.

Your “new normal” needs to continually exceed your previous ideals and dreams.

When your days are filled with only those core essentials that mean the world to you — and you’re succeeding in those few areas — you absolutely will dominate in all areas of your life.

Because the only things in your life are the things you highly value. You’re intrinsically motivated by what you’re doing.

The stakes are very high for you. Because everything in your life matters. Your behavior is consequential in every area of your life. If you don’t show up, you get called out. Whether that’s at work with your partners or at home with your kids.

You’ve created an environment that expects you to be present. That expects you to show up. And you rise to that expectation. You rise to that expectation because your behavior is increasingly consistent with the person you intend to be.

Because your behavior is continually improving, your confidence continually improves. As your confidence improves, your expectation to continue to succeed continually improves. As your expectation to succeed improves, your ability to manifest your dreams and desires becomes powerful.

Even more powerfully though, you understand that you should expect everything yet attach to nothing. Regardless of the outcome, your security is internal. You expect the best, and that is generally what happens for you. When things start to fall apart, or when you fail, you let it go. You don’t over-attach to any outcomes, whether success or failure.

You are fluid and adaptive. You seek data through action, and then take that feedback and continually emerge into something new and better. Continually providing more value. Continually maintaining the beginner’s mind. Continually seeking feedback and openness.

You have no ego in this game.

You life is increasingly congruent.

You’re continuing to learn — which means you are becoming more effective at producing your desired results, and then replicating those results. Learning, after all, is a making a permanent change in how you see and operate in the world. If you can’t consistently produce better results, you’re not learning.

Getting information in your head is not learning. There must be a change in behavior, or else there is no true understanding. The difference between knowledge and wisdom is that wisdom is the proper application of knowledge.

Knowledge isn’t power — it’s potential power. Knowledge only becomes powerful when it’s properly applied and becomes wisdom, experience and understanding.

T.S. Elliot once asked, “Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?”

We now live in the information economy. Information is not scarce. Information has actually become one of the biggest distractions in our current environment.

Spending your time consuming information won’t set you apart in today’s environment. Filtering through the vast sea of noise and finding the right information, then properly and immediately apply that information to produce better results is how you set yourself apart in today’s word.

And not applying that information in a vacuum or echo-chamber. But applying it in the form of collaborations with different types of people — where the whole becomes different from the sum of its parts.

Are You Living Intentionally?

Saying “No” to great but irrelevant opportunities is hard.

Giving up bad habits is hard.

Changing your belief system and expanding your vision takes courage. It’s so easy to revert back to small and mediocre thinking.

However, as you come closer to living on a daily basis with your values and ideals, amazing things start to happen. You’ll feel happier. You’ll be more present with those you love. You’ll spend your time better. You’ll pursue bigger dreams and ambitions. You’ll be more resilient during challenges. You’ll live at a higher frequency. And everything around you will reflect that.

But to repeat Jim Rohn, “A lot of people don’t do well simply because they major in minor things.” Said another way, most people are caught in the thick of thin things.

Hence, most people won’t be successful. Most people won’t evolve and progress.

But you will. You know it, and you can feel it. You’ve already begun. And everyday, you’re taking one step closer.

Soon enough, you’ll fully commit to being who you know you can be. Once you pass that point of no return, nothing will stop you.

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.

Truths You Don’t Want To Hear But Must

19 Harsh Truths You Don’t Want To Hear But Must (You’ll Be 10 Times Better For It)

Image Credit: Young Pope

As a blogger, I cop a lot of heat for delivering the truth rather than sugar-coating it with Instagram selfies, perfect image filters and nice words. I’ve written about ditching your loser friends, giving up porn, being spat at by haters online and everything under the sun.

I’m not here to impress you; I’m here to give you the truth so you can grow. It’s not about me or some BS personal brand; it’s about how all of us can smash our goals using the truth and leave a legacy behind that will stop us from having regrets.

Here are the 19 harsh truths you must hear:


1. We all have the same problems.

My problems are the same as your problems. You might be dealing with some BS, but you’re not alone. That divorce, person that passed away, rejection letter you got or redundancy you were forced to take is happening to many other people, at exactly the same time.

Knowing your problems are all the same is how you stop yourself from getting stuck and feeling sorry for yourself. All your problems are simply a process that you have to deal with.

This process is part of the human experience and it’s what you were forced to sign up for when your parents decided to have sex and create you in the first place.


2. You don’t need experience — ever.

So many people in the workforce resist applying for their dream career because it says in the advertisement “5 years of X skill required with a proven track record.”

This line is part of every template for every job ad ever written.

This line is in the ad to stop time wasters and people that don’t have the killer instinct to see past the obstacle that’s been laid in front of them. If you give up on your career dream just because of one line, in one job ad, you’re probably not cut out to work for most companies.

Experience often leads to a fixed mindset that makes you think you know everything when you don’t.

Sometimes the best experience is no experience and a brilliant mindset.


3. We’re all going to have someone die on us — expect it.

I’ve lost many relatives in the last few years including my grandma who died at 104 because she stopped eating and decided she lived enough. On the day the doctors told me she didn’t have long to live, I was out of town.

I hurried back and went to see her. The doctors said to hurry up as she was close to death. I got there just in time to see her eyes still open. I held her hand and told her that I loved her very much. She squeezed my hand, closed her eyes and passed away shortly after. It’s like she was waiting for me the whole time.

All of us are going to lose someone, so enjoy the time you have with your family and friends. Don’t take a moment of it for granted and never leave people you care about on bad terms.

The last thing you want is someone to die on you having the relationship tarnished because of something stupid like a disagreement over money or a difference in beliefs.

“Death is guaranteed for all of us. It’s the only certainty we have and it’s the only motivation you should ever need”


4. Complaining is a F*cking waste of time.

It achieves nothing and is for cry babies who don’t want to face the harsh truth: we’re in control of everything that happens to us. Meaning: we’re in control of how we interpret all events.

Complaining is a disease that carries an antidote called “Freaking stop it, now, please.”

No one likes a complainer and it’s only making you get stuck in your head instead of charging forward towards your goals and doing something cool.


5. No one gives a hoot about your personal brand.

All these personal brand courses and “building a brand on LinkedIn” are ridiculous.

No one cares about your ego, how good you think you are or your company. All we care about is what’s in it for us. If you deliver something of value, then we will all like your stuff. There’s nothing else to it.

Your brand is just a perception based on the results you’ve proven in the past. Your brand is only as good as what you can teach us, give us or inspire us to do.

6. Other people’s opinions don’t matter.

Being bogged down by what other people think of you is crazy! Half the time, the people who are sharing these opinions are complete failures and are projecting their wants, needs, failures and desires onto you. They are hoping they can live vicariously through your life because their life sucks.

The only opinion that matters is yours. If you believe you can do the impossible, then you will.


7. You don’t need education or permission — they’re both optional.

A colleague asked me the other day if she should do a course in social media to get a job in the field. I told her “Screw that and build a presence online which will demonstrate your ability.”

I also told her “There’s a bunch of podcasts that you can listen to for free that don’t ever require you to do anything other than listening. Then all it comes down is picking the people who’ve already crushed it and following their strategies — seeing as they’re proven.”

You don’t need education to achieve your goals. You also don’t need anybody’s permission. If no one will hire you to build their website, then start your own company and generate business for yourself.

“Whatever you do, don’t waste time seeking approval. This habit comes out of overthinking, laziness or lack of execution”


8. You never want to have regrets.

There have been several studies conducted of what people dying think before they pass away. Uniformly, the vast majority have regrets about things they didn’t get to do.

When you realize that there are no barriers and you should just try everything that your heart desires (well maybe not drugs), you live a life of no regrets.

You experience life for the miracle that it is. If you like to travel then go do it. If you want a career in a certain field, then go do it. The strategies, resources, people, etc. will find their way into your life when you commit to taking action and not having regrets.


9. The human experience is full of suffering. Time to master it.

In some ways, you could describe our lives as torture. From day one, we’re going to suffer — guaranteed. On the other hand, suffering is only torture when you allow yourself to suffer.

When you see suffering as a necessity and you learn to use it to your advantage, that same suffering becomes fuel for your goals and dreams. All of a sudden, when suffering enters your life, you know what to do with it.

Suffering is part of the struggle which will help you do wonderful things in this world.


10. Quit wasting your time and throwing it down the toilet.

Pissing your time up against the wall doing useless activities rather than pursuing your passion(s) is the dumbest thing you can do. All of the things you want to achieve and haven’t yet can be done in the time you waste.

You think you don’t have time to write, make music, train for a sport but you do. You have just as much time as I do so why not use it to do the activities that will make you feel a sense of accomplishment?


11. Create value ahead of everything else.

That’s why I have no payment walls, masterminds or courses. When you create massive value for free, everything you need comes at you at 100 miles an hour.

The question is whether you’ll help other people get what they need so you can get what you need.

You’ll never have to worry about money again when you focus on creating the most value you can and growing through personal development.


12. Gratitude is a bloody superpower!

Ever since I started keeping a gratitude journal, I’ve learned to see so much good in the world. Even on days when I hit a major crisis, on the outskirts of that crisis is still so much good.

Gratitude is how you turn the balance of thoughts in your mind from negative to positive. This will never happen by default, so you have to make it a habit to deliberately be grateful every single day.


13. Hate to break it to you; money won’t make you happy.

I know what it’s like to have more money than you can spend. It means nothing. Sorry.

Deep down you know money won’t make you happy, yet you chase it because everyone else on the hamster wheel is doing the same.

The harsh truth is that meaning and purpose (which sound corny) are far more powerful than money will ever be.

We’re all chasing feelings, not money. You don’t want the money you want the feeling you get when you have it and buy stuff with it. Meaning and purpose give you even better feelings and they are free.

The most depressed I’ve ever been in my life is when I was rich in financial terms and poor in my own mind.

Everything changed when I found a purpose bigger than myself.

The exact same opportunity is available to you. Will you take it? Will you accept this harsh truth?


14. Be you and stop being an actor.

The right people will be attracted into your life when you quit being a Hollywood actor and pretending you don’t have problems and that life is like spending every day in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory licking lollipops and having Oompa Loompas serve you everything you could ever want.

The word “actor” is what I use to describe someone who’s not being vulnerable, authentic and real with everybody.

Telling people you’re not okay is fine. Asking for help is the greatest gift you can have in times of pain and suffering.

If you’re hiding the real you because you’re ashamed of who you are then know this: you can always become the person you’ve dreamt of being. It takes discipline, courage and a sense of fight to grow, adapt and admit when you’re wrong.

Accept where you are and move mountains to get where you know you can be in the future. We’re all capable of so much more than our current circumstances.


15. The only currency is time (Apologies crypto traders)

Quit trading time for money, distractions, toxic friends, bad habits and anything else you know is not serving what you stand for. Time is the one thing you can’t get more of. Time lets you work on those passions that send shivers down your spine.

Guard your time like you guard your life. Protect your time and spend it on things that will cause you to help others, live without regrets and be passionate.


16. Some people dream and others just execute. Do the later.

We’ve all got hopes and dreams but how many people do you know who actually do what they dream of. The answer is very few. That’s because dreaming is like an orgasm: it feels amazing.

“Dreaming has become a form of masturbation and it doesn’t lead to anything meaningful. Execution separates those people you deem to be successful from those people you deem to be mediocre, or worse yet, failures”

Execution is about not having all the answers and putting in the work. It’s spending five hours writing a blog post or doing a hundred laps of the running track to get your fitness level up.

We all want to become the best in our field but that will only happen if you experiment like crazy, learn, grow and continue executing.

You’ll gain the skills you need by executing and learning what doesn’t work. Please quit dreaming and start believing through executing.


17. Trying to meet society’s idea of success is a loser’s game.

What you see on the Internet as success is a lie. Success is whatever you make it and it varies to some degree for each and every person.

Most of what society thinks is success is built on outdated ideas.

For us millennials, our idea of success stems from our parents who value home ownership, cars, university and stuff that doesn’t align with who we are.

We have this inner conflict because we want to chase our own version of success, but then we lose society’s acceptance because we don’t fit the criteria of the majority.

Screw the majority. Following the herd is not how you become extraordinary: being you is.


18. Perfection doesn’t exist and never will.

Perfection is the belief that there’s some Havana where nothing goes wrong. Perfection ignores failure, mistakes, a growth mindset and an unrealistic view of reality.

“We’re all incredibly imperfect and that’s what makes us human and truly beautiful beyond what the eye can see. Perfection is a joke and that’s the harsh truth”


19. We’re all going to die. The End.

The clock is ticking amigo. Stop reading this article and use the time you have left to create a legacy that’s bigger than you could ever dream of. Inspire the world through your gifts, take care of your family and come to terms with the fact you’ll have to say goodbye one day.

Death is guaranteed for all of us. It’s the only certainty we have and it’s the only motivation you will ever need.

Originally posted on Addicted2Success.com


Call To Action

How To Be Happy When You’re Single

How To Be Happy When You’re Single

And not the spiteful kind of happy

Photo by Fernando Brasil on Unsplash

After I got my first serious girlfriend in college, I identified as a “relationship guy”.

I experienced a lot of discomfort with myself growing up and nothing made me quite as sick as having to take a hard look in the mirror.

Because of this reality, I dodged every opportunity to do a deep scrub of my identity and understand why I am the way I am. I was completely resigned and stuck in cruise control — never taking a breath to stop and consider what I really wanted for myself.

I had some strong suits going for me, but making myself happy sure wasn’t one of them.

I chalked it up to heredity, as my father had battled anger and depression throughout his life. Sometimes I used humor to bail me out, making a joke out of everything I possibly could — no matter how serious.

Nothing seemed to work, and I was tired of the futile attempts.

Once I met Jenny however, I experienced something different.

My job was now to make her happy, instead of myself happy.

“I can get into this,” I told myself.

I was finally off the hook, and I loved it. I got to shove that annoying necessity called self-love into a dark storage closet in my mind, never to be opened again.

What ensued thereafter however, was an exacerbated version of it.

Without a respectable level of self-awareness and regard for my emotional well-being, my ego stepped in its place.

I sabotaged my relationship with Jenny in lieu of attention I was getting externally. I couldn’t see what I had in front of me because my experience was filtered by a self-enhancing, wildly insecure view — as opposed to something real and authentic.

I flat-out missed all the love, care, and honor she showed for me. The next girl, same result. And the next girl, you guessed it, the same result.

The more things changed, the more they stayed the same.

When I finally bet my final poker chip (and lost), I couldn’t ignore what I did when I was a boy.

I couldn’t ignore that I was the common denominator.

I couldn’t ignore that no one else could make me happy unless I did first.

My mom would always share with me the famous Abraham Lincoln quote,

“You’re only as happy as you make up your mind to be.”

To which I would regularly respond with a roll of the eyes.

But this time, it persisted. I began looking closer at the quote and I started to really get the impact.

My unhappiness was a result of a lack of commitment. I was resigned. I wouldn’t pick a side. I’d straddle the fence. What I needed to do was make a decision to be happy.

The word decide comes from the word Latin decidere, which is composed from de- (off) and caedere (cut).

In other words, when you decide something, you cut off the alternative.

My alternative was my ego. My self-loathing. My insecurity. My deteriorating self-worth.

The other option was my authentic self. The one my parents created. The one I lived out as a child until I allowed someone else to convince me it wasn’t good enough.

While this seemed scarier, more risky, and less sure, it still felt better.

I wasn’t putting on a show for anyone. And it wasn’t even that I wasn’t putting on a show to spite anyone, either. I was just being me.

Perfectly, imperfect me.

Not a me that lives for others’ opinions but also not a me that blatantly disregards them just to feel more secure in himself.

A me that chooses freely to care for others, unyielding of the love I show for them. A me that doesn’t acknowledge what the suppressed status quo of human connection calls for. A me that just lives — for others and for himself.

That me is nothing but love. And I’ve finally allowed him to be free.

I’ve cleaned out all the closets so I now can allow anyone in my house — without the presence of resistance or concealment.

The empowerment I feel by owning my authentic self and living a life of truth has me genuinely excited — for what I may be able to create with the next person that comes my way or for what impact I may make on the world.

However it happens, it’s perfect. It may not be exactly how I want it to happen, but it will be how it’s meant to happen.

And regardless of society’s interpretations, pressure from friends and family, or that constantly chirping ego of mine, I’m okay with it.

As a matter of fact, I’m happy with it.

And I’m single.

So, yeah.

There ya go.