Far too many people define themselves by the things they own instead of by the things they do.
They have an iPad, but they can’t tell you their most recent career accomplishment.
They flash their new Nike’s all over the place, but they never even use them to run.
They walk around with the newest Android but never use it for anything except Instagram and texting.
I know I am guilty of these things too, we all are, but we must demand better from ourselves.
Most people have been conditioned to believe that if you buy nice things you are a person of value. Obviously, we are learning as time goes on that this is simply no longer true.
What we now see are these hollow human beings walking around trying to impress each other with the newest and latest gadget to come out on the market all while feeling empty and hollow on the inside.
They feel some temporary rush of excitement and then realize that none of these items will ever bring true fulfillment… and to top it off, most people charge their important things to their credit cards so not only do they feel worse about themselves, but now they have to pay more for the item than it was originally worth. Credit card debt doesn’t make anyone feel better about themselves, especially when it is used for things that don’t even make us fulfilled.
When I reflect on the most impressive people in my life, it sure isn’t the one with the nicest things. It is the people who are always there for me when I need them. The ones who go the extra mile in every avenue of their lives. The ones who have impeccable integrity. The ones who seem genuinely happy.
You don’t have to go and throw away everything you own, although minimalism has its benefits, but be a person so full of character and integrity that no one around you even notices the things you do or don’t have.
Be proud of your accomplishments. Don’t brag about them, let your work speak for itself instead.
This isn’t a video you should watch, this is a video you need to watch:
Okay, now that you have probably cried your eyes out (and if you haven’t, you might want to check your body for a pulse), let’s talk about this video and how this applies to living the strenuous life.
Keeping love in your life
Everyone hopes that they will have a legendary love in life, but what are you doing to make sure this happens? Forget fate and divine intervention and all those other excuses and let’s focus on you for a minute.
What’s the reality of so many relationships? So many people either don’t even attempt to get someone they could love, or they do find them, get lazy and let them slip away which ends in a loveless marriage or a nasty divorce where everyone is bitter.
Think about Danny and Annie for a minute. Every morning she would wake up to a little love note from him. Could you imagine doing this? What about the morning after a big fight… would you still write a little love note, or would you walk around being enraged the rest of the day, writing snotty social media updates, and texting your friends every detail about your fight?
Obviously I can’t comment on every single relationship out there, but who would ever leave someone who wrote them a love note every single day? I don’t know about you, but I sure wouldn’t.
Most relationships out there end because both people give up. I meet far too many people who are so bitter about their relationship or their marriage. Some people get married because they settle, and some people get married for all the wrong reasons such as money. Don’t let this be you.
If you have found someone special, don’t become a lazy bum and just expect them to always be there. There is nothing that says that someone has to stay with you. If you don’t feel like your partner is showing they care about you, step up to the plate and do some gestures first. Don’t get sucked into the endless bitter cycle of blaming the other person for not caring, while they probably do the same thing. Make the first move. If they love you at all, they will reciprocate.
And what if you’re single? Well if you’re single, what are you doing to become someone worth dating? Nobody ever likes to hear that because we have all been told we were all special since we were given gold stars in Kindergarten for every damn thing we did. If you’re single, are you keeping yourself fit, growing your career, developing a hobby, and working on your character? Or are you going out and drinking away your sorrows at the nearest bar? You never know when you could meet your soul mate. Don’t you want to bring a lot to the table when you meet them or are you going to be a worthless human being with nothing to show? Which is going to get their interest? Think about that for a minute.
Finding happiness without money
Danny and Annie weren’t the richest people ever. They didn’t have a Lamborghini, a huge house, they weren’t famous in their lives by any means, but they found happiness, and there aren’t too many people who can say that.
If you took money out of your relationship, would you still be happy? If not, you need to rethink your values if you have any interest in living the strenuous life. The strenuous life is about finding internal happiness and finding joy in life with or without money. Someone living the strenuous life knows that a gold watch doesn’t bring joy, it’s the pursuit of worthwhile efforts that can put you in the position to buy that watch that makes life meaningful.
Coming to reality
We all have to come to grips with our own mortality. I say it over and over, but one day, all of this will end for you. Don’t you want to go out in a flame instead of letting that flame inside of you die way before you are actually dead?
Danny didn’t become complacent in his relationship to Annie. He kept on loving her and finding ways to show it every single day. He didn’t just marry her and then expected her to be there every single day while going about his routine.
Even as he neared the end of his life, he was okay with dying. He didn’t sound like a man with a lot of regrets about the way he loved his wife and she sounded just as honored to have a love with him throughout all those years. He proudly lived the strenuous life and she did right along with him.
Don’t you want to be someone who stares death in the face and looks back and has the peace of mind that they wouldn’t change a damn thing?
I recently came across this post about a guy who admitted he blew his marriage. (Read it: here). He admits all the areas where he completely failed at keeping his marriage together. It was so incredibly brave of him to admit to his faults. That is a lot of raw honesty to put out on the internet! I’d suggest you take a look at it. If you’re in a relationship or married, it may be an eye-opener. If you’re single, make a note of this so you can have a legendary love and never lose it.
Because in the end, don’t we all just want to be like Danny and Annie?
“If you don’t get outside your comfort zone, you’ll spend forever wondering why you don’t have an interesting life.”
How does that make you feel? A little scared?
It should scare you, because this is what you’re looking at in life. We’re all stuck in our own comfort zones and within the walls of our own mental limitations.
I’ll bet that for the most part you are living the same exact life day in and day out. How does the routine of your daily grind make you feel?
For me, it drives me absolutely insane.
I want adventure. I want to explore. I want a legendary life, dammit!
Reminding myself constantly that getting outside of my comfort zone is the only way to get all of those things I want.
Anything great that has come into my life got there because I stepped outside of my comfort zone. I felt nervous and I went outside of what was my daily routine, and marvelous things came my way.
It’s never too late to change your life. It’s never too late to mix it up. Above all, it is never, ever too late to become the person you want to be.
So, ask yourself: Who do I want to be?
Follow me at @SLManifesto and tell me your answer!
Let’s flash forward a few years…
One day you’ll be old. We unfortunately cannot live forever, and everything you’re surrounded with, everything you know, will end.
When you’re near the end, what will you be thinking about? Will you be thinking of all the great success you’ve had, all the goals you’ve reached, all the people you’ve helped, and knowing that you lived your life to its maximum potential?
Or will you be sitting there filled with regrets, thinking about all the times you came up short, knowing that at some point you could have been great, but instead you chose to take the easy route?
No one can choose between the two for you. Only you can choose that for yourself.
Are you actively choosing every day to take the steps to make a legendary life? Or are you putting off your goals and dreams every day into this imaginary “some day”?
It starts with taking the smallest step possible every single day. Not until you get used to that can you take on the bigger steps. Don’t think you can just wake up one day and start writing a book and keep that spontaneous momentum going.
You have already spent however many years you have been around not pursuing your legendary life… accepting mediocre… accepting “good enough”…
It all starts with deciding you want better.
Decide today. Your life can’t wait.
2013 is going to be the best year for all of us yet! My goal for this blog over the next few months is to really focus on bringing you the best information about breaking out of your complacency and building your best life because here at the Strenuous Life don’t believe in settling.
I will be bringing you stories of others who have gone on to push the limits of what they thought was possible in their life and how you can apply these ideas to your own life so you can look back on 2013 and say “Wow that was the best year of my life!!!”
Let’s do this!
“Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.” -Theodore Roosevelt