Become A Beginner Again

On our journey of self-development, one of the best things we can do is to allow ourselves to try new things.

The problem comes when we don’t allow ourselves to be beginners at something new. I get it, it’s awkward. You have to try something your body and mind aren’t used to, and it clashes with our idea that we somehow should be perfect at everything.

We all remember the kid on the playground who wasn’t particularly good at tag and every time they got tagged, they immediately gave up instead of trying to improve.

When we don’t try new things, we don’t know if we could potentially be good at a new passion we didn’t know we had.

For example, a few years ago I started weightlifting. It was so incredibly awkward to lift the weights and move in between huge, bulky dudes to try and get my sets in. My form was a mess and I could barely lift anything heavy.

I wanted to quit all the time.

I was still deeply identified with the lacrosse player I had been all through high school. That sport is 80% speed and running instead of heavy weight lifting. Although lacrosse and weightlifting were both under the same umbrella of exercise, it took quite some time to get over my own ego and accept I was going to look awkward for awhile.

To be honest, few people cared about what I was doing in the gym, I just thought I looked a lot more awkward than I probably did. I made sure to ask the smartest trainers to coach me to make sure I was going to seriously mess myself up, and I decided to just practice as much as I could.

Although I learned that lesson a few years ago, I find myself constantly at battle with my own idea that I should be great all the time. Our society preaches the importance of mastery, but overlooks the even more important factor of practice.

The unfortunate part is that practice isn’t fun. We always look to the end result as what we desire instead of understanding that every master started as a beginner.

There are so many things I’m discovering about myself and what I like to do, but I have to get out of my own way and embrace the awkward, endless practice.

To experience life in all of its glory, it is essential we try everything our heart calls us to do.

Maybe you feel a calling to try writing a book.
Maybe you feel a calling to try a new sport.
Maybe you feel a calling to move to a new city.

You already know what you want to try, because when you see it you can’t get it out of your head. You think about it at night when you’re brushing your teeth, staring into the mirror wondering what life is about. You watch YouTube videos about it.

Being consumed with something new is not the problem, it’s only a problem when you don’t allow yourself the space to go toward it and see if it is something you want to incorporate into your life.

Challenge yourself this month by allowing yourself to be a kid again and embrace something new for once.

Allow the awkward feeling. Allow the stumbling. Pursue what you want. Become stronger.

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Welcome Your Struggles

Most of us are taught that life is better when we have less struggles, but I’ve learned over the past few years that embracing our struggles is important to living a fulfilling life.

I have found that the more we avoid our problems, the more we struggle when we encounter them.

There is a mental difference between:
“Oh no, not another problem.”
and
“Ah! A problem! Yes! Come here so I can solve you.”

It is within challenges where we meet our own weaknesses.

When I am meeting the weaker parts of myself I feel the tension between who I am and who I want to be.

When I feel myself wanting to quit, to throw in the towel, to abandon a project simply because it is getting harder, that is where I get to see my own faults.

The past few years have been testing me.

There always seems to be roadblocks and hurdles to what I’m trying to accomplish, and I know many people feel the same way about their lives, too. It feels like running uphill without ever hitting at least a plateau.

I thought at a certain point, life would get easier.

“When I moved here…”
“When I get this job…”
“When I graduated college…”
“When I started my own business…”

With each new venture, there always seems to be more hurdles, but with each hurdle I get to see where I have a chance to strengthen. I have another chance to prove to myself that I can do something I never thought possible.

I know who I want to be. I know what I want. If I quit, I won’t ever get to where I want to be. I’ll spend the rest of my life wondering “What if?”.

(In case you didn’t know, the “What if?” question is one of the mental layers of hell, so keep yourself as far away from that as possible.)

When you find yourself stuck, ask yourself if beating this hurdle will get you closer to where you want to be.

If the answer is no, then that’s up to you to keep going or not.

If the answer is yes, then prepare for war and go win.

50 Days Left in 2014

Mind blowing, right?

2014 went by faster than almost any other year before for me.

This is the point where most people start slowing down, relaxing, buying eggnog and pie… However, if there are still big goals left on your list there is no reason you should be slowing down at this point.

I was reviewing my year, as I commonly do, and I realized that I didn’t check off a few big things that I wanted to accomplish this year.

So, I won’t be slowing down. This will be a full-out race to the finish line.

In 50 days, anyone could:

– Lose weight
– Write a book
– Gain muscle
– Instill a new habit or 2
– Run a marathon
– Build the foundation for a business
– Build a chair by hand
– Read 30 books
– Learn to cook

You get the point. 50 days are a LOT of days left to accomplish almost anything in the world.

Get to it.

You Can’t Think Your Way Out of Being Stuck

Success is a delicate balance of thinking and action.

School taught us to analyze, to think, to dissect every single part of a problem to solve it.

Sure, there is a time and a place for thinking, but it must never take the place of action, and it must certainly never happen before we take action.

Our society is full of people buying countless self-help books, paying thousands of dollars for seminars, and everything else to somehow bring clarity, when the best way to bring clarity is to start getting your hands dirty.

We see this clearly in the fitness world: All of the fitness knowledge possible is already out there. If you want six pack abs, find a plan, print it out, follow the plan, boom: abs. Clearly, information isn’t the problem.

The problem is in the doing.

All of the knowledge in the world does not replace one night of hard work.

People think if they create this incredibly detailed plan, all the pieces will fall perfectly into place and success will just come in a neat little package at their doorstep.

The problem is that real life is messy. There are problems and pitfalls we could never plan for, and as soon as they come instead of adjusting we just burn all the plans to the ground. For some reason if it all doesn’t go according to plan we just quit.

This is where plans are dangerous. We can’t control the world but plans give us the illusion that we can.

As I read more and more books about Theodore Roosevelt, a man who accomplished more in his life than many of us could dream of, it is apparent to me that he rarely planned. He was a man of action. He did the job in front of him to the best of his ability and let the chips fall where they may afterwards.

I quoted this in my past post, but this quote is still relevant:

[A]t one period [I] began to believe that I had a future before me, and that it behooved me to be very far-sighted and scan each action carefully with a few to its possible effect on that future. This speedily made me useless to the public and an object of aversion to myself; and I then made up my mind that I would try not to think of the future at all, but would proceed on the assumption that each office I held would be the last I ever should hold, and I would confine myself to trying to do my work as well as possible while I held that office. I found that for me personally this was the only way in which I could either enjoy myself or render good service to the country, and I never afterwards deviated from this plan. – Theodore Roosevelt

Could you imagine a world where the job you’re doing is the last job you’ll ever have?

For a lot of people, that is a terrifying thought. We all have so many dreams and goals for the future that it is hard to imagine a world where they don’t exist.

However, all this day dreaming can distract us from the present. We’re so focused on our plans, hopes, and dreams that we forget to put all of our energy on the tasks in front of us. This creates a reality where we are giving a half-assed effort to everything around us and ultimately robs us of a better future.

Think about your average day. You’re probably on autopilot as you go through your usual work routine, day dreaming of a time when it will all be different and somehow “better”.

When you do this, you’re not excelling at the job in front of you. This can rob you of promotions, seeing a new solution, and doing the work that will get you recognized.

Are you day dreaming about publishing a novel, or are you actually working on it every day?
Are you day dreaming of being fit, or are you in the gym every day?
Are you day dreaming of starting a business or are you working on your side hustle every night?

Living the strenuous life means you’re working hard at all times. It means you’re looking at the tasks in front of your face and doing them to the best of your ability.

When you are constantly performing at your best, it will always be noticed by the people around you. It is hard to determine when a new opportunity will come, but by focusing on producing excellent work, it multiplies your opportunity for luck tenfold.

Today, look at the tasks around you. How can you give more of an effort? It does not matter whether the task is big or small, what matters is how much you put into it.

Give your full effort. Stop day dreaming. Do the job in front of you so well that you don’t even think about anything else.

 

Make Your Week HARDER (yeah you heard that right)

In our continual search for comfort, sometimes we create our own dungeons.

Too much comfort and too much ease can be our worst scenarios.

Nobody ever tells us about this dangerous trap. We think creating comfort and stability are good things.

The problem comes when you feel a longing in your heart for a new goal and you are too scared to rock the boat. At that moment, all of your safety and comfort becomes your worst enemy.

You’re stuck in a routine, habit, and place that you cannot easily escape from. You are addicted to the comforts around you.

Things are good, so we slow down our hustle. Our jobs are going well so we don’t give as much attention to our side hustle.

We have friends around us that don’t like it when we pursue something new. you’re going outside the mental box they have you in and most will do anything to keep you in that box. They are creatures of habit and comfort but you must be stronger than that.

You must break the chains of your comfort. You must get in touch with your rebellious, creative side.

Identifying your vices is a great first step. Make a list of all the things you do that don’t get you closer to your goals.

This week, I challenge you to go one full day without one of your crutches.

Some ideas are:
-Work in a different place than your regular shop.
-Turn off your phone after work.
-Don’t watch TV or play video games when you get home.
-Decide to go for an adventure this weekend.

Instead, work on your dream. Get uncomfortable. Scare yourself. Break free of mediocrity. Your life will be determined by the amount of things you finish and share with the world. No one is ever remembered for the dreams and goals they kept inside themselves.

Make yourself legendary.

The Gift of Rock Bottom

Failure is the best gift you can be given.

Of course, when you’re in it, it feels like hell. Every day, every moment, feels like a struggle and it seems like it won’t ever get better.

I can guarantee if you don’t learn from your failures, you’ll keep repeating the same ones, so take this gift of failure to learn the right lessons so you can move on.

When you’re at rock bottom, you have a chance to build your foundation even stronger. Failure is like a building that collapses because of a weak foundation: Fixing the foundation will give you the ability to build a bigger building.

If you don’t fix your foundation, you will always find yourself with a collapsed building.

So how do you fix your foundation?

Well, what caused the failure? Did you not work hard enough? Were you not honest? Were you blindsided?

You have to be completely honest in your evaluation of your failure. Even if you were completely blindsided, there were signs that it was going to happen whether you want to admit it or not. Honestly is the only way here.

Then, most importantly, how can you not make the same mistake in the future?

I’ve had countless failures in my life and many of them I repeated a few dozen times until I learned what I was doing wrong. It took being brutally honest and being vulnerable and sharing all kinds of doubts to get to the bottom of my repeated failure.

Be honest, learn from your failure, get stronger. It will hurt like hell, but you’ll thank me later.

Doing The Job That Needs To Be Done, A Lesson From Theodore Roosevelt

In our journey to success, sometimes we lose focus on the job right in front of us that needs to be done.

Theodore Roosevelt was always aware that he needed to focus on the job he was in instead of focusing on calculated moves to get him to the next position.

[A]t one period [I] began to believe that I had a future before me, and that it behooved me to be very far-sighted and scan each action carefully with a few to its possible effect on that future. This speedily made me useless to the public and an object of aversion to myself; and I then made up my mind that I would try not to think of the future at all, but would proceed on the assumption that each office I held would be the last I ever should hold, and I would confine myself to trying to do my work as well as possible while I held that office. I found that for me personally this was the only way in which I could either enjoy myself or render good service to the country, and I never afterwards deviated from this plan. – Theodore Roosevelt

Reading this quote from Theodore recently made me literally stop everything I was doing to think about this. Some of the best ways to deal with our problems today is to look at history.

I thought about how many jobs, relationships, internships, chances for growth, etc., that I have wasted by focusing solely on the future and not on the job and work in front of me. I had forgotten the great disconnect between doing the work that needs to be done to get to that future I was dreaming about.

Think of how great this world would be if people focused on doing the best they could in the position they had.

I would invite you to reflect and ask yourself if you are making the best of the situation you are in, or are you dreaming too much about how you want it to be?

The Habit of Hustling

Being able to live the life of your dreams is no small task.

And, unfortunately, most of us haven’t built up the stamina to carry out such a task, but if you really want it, you can make it happen.

With all of the modern-day advances in our lifestyles and technology, it is no wonder that our generation has no tolerance for hard work. We no longer have to wake up and work on the farm, child labor laws prevent most children from experiencing real work until they are halfway through their teenage years, and if we want food we don’t have to saddle up the horse and ride it into town.

Our ancestors would look at us and wonder what we do with all of our time once you remove those things, and I’m positive they would be upset with our answers.

Twitter, Facebook, video games, maybe one or two chores, tv, and a half-assed attempt at homework.

It’s no wonder we have a bunch of lost 20-year-olds who don’t know how to build a good life for themselves.

Success comes at the intersection of hard work and an opportunity. The opportunity may come, but if you haven’t put in the hours and hours of hard work beforehand then you won’t get it when it comes. Every single day you have to be preparing for your opportunity.

Hustling is not something you can turn on and off when you need it. It is a habit that is built through hard work and sweat equity. If you don’t have the life you have always dreamed of, you probably need to work on your hustling habit.

So, how do you do that?

The best tip to developing any habit is one from Jerry Seinfeld.

When he was a young comic, he got a calendar and would put a big red X over the days that he wrote, and your only goal is to make sure that you develop a long chain of red X’s.

Seems too simple? Some of the best secrets in the world can be that simple.

Think of one, maybe two, areas of your life that if you could get on track you would be infinitely happier. Maybe if you went to the gym and worked out so you can get a clear mind, or maybe your living space is a mess and being able to actually find things would improve your productivity. Once you have built that discipline, you can handle the bigger goals.

What is the first habit you are going to work on this month? Share in the comments below!

The Secret to Becoming Your Dream Self

“Why do people quit? Because they are not yet personally identified with who they have to be to get this thing.” -Elliott Hulse

This quote is going to define everything we are going to talk about this month: HABITS.

Habits are the foundation you create to get all of the things you want out of life.

Along with habits, it is important to get your mind around the idea of growth and letting go of the story you tell yourself.

If you believe in your heart and soul that you were born to live a legendary life, you have to build your mind to handle such a mission. You have to see yourself of worthy of a legendary life.

That will take time.

Just practice wrapping your mind around the idea that you are a legendary person and building a legendary life around you is just a matter of expanding your mind. You have to let go of whatever self-limiting beliefs you have about yourself and your life.

As you practice that, you also must ask yourself the most important question of all:

Who do you have to become to get the life you want?

If part of your vision is to build an athletic body, what kind of new traits would you have to develop? Being mindful about your food. Someone who can commit to exercise multiple days of the week. Someone who is willing to stick it out no matter how long it takes.

How do you do that?

Well, each one of new traits you have to develop can be centered around habits.

Being mindful about your food = the habit of preparing your meals early.
Committing to multiple days during the week = create a habit of going to the gym.
Sticking it out = practicing your perseverance and creating a habit of reminding yourself why you want your goal.

This whole month I will be focusing on the topic of habits to make sure you can properly build the foundation for the rest of your life.

So, to get ready, get out a sheet of paper.

Write at the top why you want a legendary life.

Second, write down in detail the person you want to become and grow into.

Third, think of the traits that you would have to develop to reach this new goal.

Fourth, try to take each of those traits and turn them into a habit you need to create.

That’s your mission for today.

Also, feel free to sign up for my mailing list so you can get the free downloads to accompany this whole month’s worth of lessons into downloadable PDF’s you can fill out. Click here to sign up!

Stop Blaming the Internet

Quitting the internet…
Is this something that sounds fascinating to you? Do you read articles every single day about how the internet is making us all dumber?
Can you imagine what Theodore Roosevelt would say if someone complained to him that they can’t write a book / get in shape / have a meaningful relationship because of the internet?
He would probably kindly invite you into the boxing ring with him so he can knock the inner sissy out of you.
We see it all over the internet: People blaming the internet for all of their problems.
They blame the internet for not having meaningful relationships.
They blame the internet for not having the time to exercise.
They blame the internet for not being productive.
They blame the internet for not being successful.
And worst of all, they blame the internet for not being happy.
Paul Miller was one of these men. He thought quitting the internet would solve a lot of his problems. He felt what we all feel at times: completely overwhelmed by the amount of information coming into our lives.
So, he quit the internet for a year.
You’d think this would be awesome, right?
Well… It was for about a few months. He wrote a lot, he hung out with his friends in person, he was able to really enjoy life. Then reality hit in. He realized he actually felt more lonely and disconnected than ever. He realized that his problems had nothing to do with the internet, and they were more internal than that. When asked what he wanted to do once he was back online he said he “wanted to do things for other people.”
He came to the same conclusions that I try to demonstrate on this site:
1. Success in life is a lot more about what you are internally than external factors.
2. Life is less about ourselves and more about how we can help other people.
The internet does a beautiful job of distracting us from dealing with our biggest problem: ourselves. If you’re feeling lonely, pull up Facebook or watch some porn. If you are thinking about how you are in the wrong career, instead of dealing with that, pull up some funny YouTube videos. You can always distract yourself from dealing with real problems.
If you lack the discipline to study during college, the internet will only facilitate that. If you lack the discipline to focus on your work, there are countless internet sites to keep you amused. But here is the thing, even if you didn’t have the internet, you’d still find other ways to distract yourself. The internet is just the facilitator, not the root of the problem.
Personally, I love the internet, and as someone who is committed to living the strenuous life, I love that the internet points out my flaws.
Growing up with the internet in my household brought a lot of knowledge to my life, but I can tell you that when I look back, I don’t fondly remember times I was sitting in front of the computer for too many hours. Instead, I fondly look back on all the times I was hanging out with my friends and being ridiculous.
There is no doubt that spending as much time on the internet as I did in my teenage years helped me all these years later now that I have an online business, but there is no doubt I have wasted endless hours, maybe even years, online.
Looking back, I know that my problems had nothing to do with the internet itself. My problems were my own lack of discipline and not knowing when to turn the internet off and get back to real life.
Now, looking at my dedication to live the strenuous life, I notice when I am distracting myself from really thinking. If I find myself browsing aimlessly on websites, I try to sit and reflect on what I was thinking about before I started trying to distract myself. Usually it was something along the lines of my life and my purpose here, or something that actually requires deep thought and for me to reflect on my life.
My advice to anyone is to try and notice when you are distracting yourself and think to what you were thinking about before you distracted yourself. It was probably something uncomfortable to think about and I would recommend shutting your technology down for a few hours, get outside, and think deeply about the thing that made you uncomfortable in the first place.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the internet and how it has changed your life, so please leave a comment down below!