Purpose

Stop wasting your time trying to find the grand purpose of your life.

Trust me.

This was a problem I struggled with for years.

I felt like I was living a purposeless life.

I would bounce around aimlessly, never finding any inner peace contentment.

Here is a secret: your purpose is to live – to the best of your ability. To make the world a better place because you have lived in it. That is your purpose in life.

How you go about doing that is up to you. But the general overriding purpose of life is to improve the plant and the lives of those already in existence.

One way we can live our purpose is through delayed gratification or sometimes called deferred gratification. DG, as I will refer to it from here on out, is really nothing new in our society.

In fact, Stanford ran a study on DG a few decades before I was even born. The study, as a recall, was fairly simple and straightforward. The researchers gave kids a plate of candy. They told the kids they could eat the candy now, or wait for the researcher to return to earn additional candy.

What the study found was that kids who were able to wait were far more likely to become “successful” later on in their lives. Success, in this case, was measured by academic advancement, health, happiness later on. In essence, the kids were far less likely to experience social disorders, mental health conditions, and general behavior problems.

Now, can you wait to eat the damn candy? Or do you devour it as soon as the opportunity presents itself?

How you answered that question was really not the important, because the good news is, you can change this behavior if you choose to do so.

DG is a skill that can be developed. We can all learn to DG until a later date. We can learn to pass over the small rewards to keep an eye on the big prize.

This skill is developed through practice and discipline. Stop taking the easy road. Stop cheating yourself and lying your way through life.

Start living the hard life today.

Start doing the small things that you really do not feel like doing but you know you should.

Developing the ability to DG promote other skills such as patience, impulse control, self-control, and willpower, all of which are involved in self-regulation.

More importantly, self-regulation promotes the ability to adapt to a changing environment.

Delaying gratification puts you in control of your own life.

You become the master of your fate.

Delayed gratification is the exact opposite of immediate gratification.

Seeking immediate gratification is not always a bad thing, but this can come in many forms. Most evident is the I want it, I want it now mentality. Fight this urge.

Next time you have the urge to check your Instagram or Facebook for the 77th time today, don’t. Put your phone down and fight the urge.

Next time you have the urge to drink that beer after a long day, don’t.

Instead, wait until you are in control. Don’t be a slave to every desire your brain throws your way.

 

 

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I am

Know thyself.

We, as humans, are highly complex creatures.

We are so complex that most of us cannot even answer the question, who am I. 

What do you mean when you say I am? Are you the clothes you are wearing? Are you the name you were given at birth?

Spend a few minutes to get to know your true selves.

How do we do this?

Self Awareness

This is a somewhat popular phrase. What I mean by this is, get to know yourself. Take time to understand yourself. To note of how your body reacts to certain stimuli. Take note of how certain foods digest, how you feel after training. How you feel when you speak to people. And probably most importantly after all, how you feel when you are alone.

Being alone

There is something taboo about being alone. It can terrify us to our core. This fear is often highly evident in children.

Kids hate sleeping alone. They are afraid of the dark. So parents coddle them. Parents reassure them that there is no boogie man under the bed or lurking in the dark shadows of the closet.

Keep in mind, these are the same parents that tell these same kids that Santa sneaks into their home in the dark of the night. That the tooth fairy leaves money under their pillow. I fat bunny drops candy off. But don’t worry, there’s nothing under the bed. Tonight.

So mom and dad are there to reassure them and tuck them in for a good night sleep. Maybe they lay with them until they are both fast asleep.

But what happens when mom and dad are gone? Babysitters or even worse, older siblings are not there to offer the same support.

Back utter terror. Kids hate being alone.

This fear might subside with age. After all, it has to. No one wants to be that middle schooler that can’t attend the sleepover because they still sleep on their parent’s floor. So they bury the fear of being alone. At least for now.

Then off to school, we surround ourselves with friends, college brings more of the same with the introduction to opposite sex (or same sex) as the overnight company. Then comes marriage. Then life speeds by.

We still never really face the demon under our bed. We never look the closet monster in the eye. We never face the fear of being alone. Thus we never truly get to know ourselves in this manner.

I challenge you to spend time alone. Completely alone. No phone, tablet, computer, book, or companion. No dog, cat, bird, or fish. Just you, and you. Start small, spend 60 minutes with yourself. After you master 60 minutes, bump it up to 90 minutes.

Listen to yourself. Get to know yourself. Set your own life in order. Take the time to work on yourself. Emphasis the qualities and habits you love about yourself and start working on demolishing the habits that bring you down.

How do we change bad habits? One at a time. Start today.

The Long Road

Doing what is right, is not the same as doing what it easy. In fact, I would say that to develop or harness any power in life – you most likely have to do the opposite of what you feel like doing.

It takes discipline to take the long road. Today, everyone is looking for a shortcut to greatness when there is no such thing. There is no easy road, there is no shortcut. Easy come easy go. If you take the easy roads in life you will end up in the same destination as everyone else.

Greatness is not an exit along the easy road. Greatness is a destination when you forge your own path.

It takes balls to forge your own path. Forging your own path sucks, especially when you can watch everyone else seemingly speed by on the easy path. The well-beaten trial.

Do not let this disrupt your progress.

Keep pushing forward on your own path.

There is no free lunch.

The Comfort zone

The comfort zone is where dreams go to die. This place is worse than the friend zone. Anything worthwhile in life is not achieved in your comfort zone. Seek to expand this zone on a daily basis. Constantly push yourself to do things that are outside of your normal area of operation. Consistently push the limits of your comfort zone, this making the zone bigger, and bigger with each passing day.

Work on becoming comfortable being uncomfortable.

  • Wake up early
  • Train when you don’t feel like it
  • Take cold showers
  • Skip a meal
  • Skip a coffee
  • Skip a beer
  • Go to bed late
  • Read
  • Sit in silence
  • Walk
  • Sing in public
  • Talk to strangers
  • Dance

These are all great ways to expand your comfort zone. Push yourself past that initial fear. When your body and mind are screaming don’t do it, do it anyways.

Nothing in nature stands still. We are either evolving through growth and reproduction, or we are regressing and slowly dying off. Nothing is stationary. Don’t fall victim to this safety in repetition trap.

Being safe does not mean avoiding all risks. It does not mean sheltering in place. It does not mean hiding in your house. Being safe means learning how to assess, handle, and mitigate risks.

Your comfort zone is killing you.

Triathletes often train in their comfort zone. They bike, run and swim. To lift something their own bodyweight and you’ll quickly see why their comfort zone is killing them. What happens when they need to climb that fence to escape a shooter, they need to drag their injuries friend to safety, the need to lift rubble off someone who is trapped below.

Ask a bodybuilder to run after someone who is fleeing the scene, ask them to swim away from a sinking boat, and again you will see first hand why your comfort zone is killing you.

Fuck your comfort zone. Live bold, live brave, and try new things.

Do whats uncomfortable now so when life hits you, you can at the very least hit back.

 

You do You

One of my clients recently asked me, how to deal with negative feedback and criticism. By negative feedback, I mean people basically just bashing you for no real reason other than the fact that they have the anonymity of the interweb to back them up.

My response his questions was basically, I do not care what other people think, say, or talk about me. It really doesn’t bother me what other people are doing because the actions I take are in support of my direct mission and internal values.

Anytime you put something out there for the public, especially if it is online like this blog, or social media, or YouTube, you will have both haters and supports. People will bash your material, and curse your name to no end. On the other side though, there will also be people who are eternally grateful for your stuff.

Some people are receptive and need to hear what you want to say. Actually, they want to hear what you have to say. And there will always be others that may need to head it, but don’t want to hear it.

Neither one is good nor bad. 

I love having people tell me my posts have helped them battle with depression, and fight through substance abuse disorders. But, that is not what I do this stuff. I write because I enjoy writing. I post because I enjoy posting. I don’t do it for outside circumstance. I am indifferent to how my audience receives my content. I do it for me. If it helps a few people along the way – good – great, I am glad. If it makes a few people mad, along the way – oh well. Don’t follow me then.

Dealing with adversity, dealing with supports, dealing with haters requires you to be indifferent to a certain extent. Obviously, I want to help people become stronger both mentally and physically. But that doesn’t mean that I would change who I am on the inside in order to help someone else. I am not going to change my ways to help someone else change theirs.

This is something that way too many coaches get stuck on. They think everyone should like their stuff. They want everyone to like their stuff. That will never happen. Not everyone will like you, and your material and not everyone should like you and your material.

Guess what? It’s okay that not everyone loves you. Coaching would be incredibly boring if everyone mindlessly followed you and wholeheartedly agreed with everything you did and said. This would hinder your growth as a coach, and more importantly your growth as a human.

I have a friend that makes artisanal knives, these things are beautifully handcrafted and hand forged knives. Are these tools made by coddling solid pieces of raw iron until they become knives? No. They are baked in fire and beat over and over and harder and harder and hotter and hotter until they become thick, strong, sharp, sturdy blades.

Be a blade.

5 Ways to not give a f**k

Learn to grow from adversity.

Keep in line with your mission and values.

Follow your bliss, not the latest fads.

Work on yourself first.

Accept others praise and criticism, and move on.

 

 

 

 

Be a L.E.A.D.E.R.

I recently came across an interesting definition of what it means to be a leader. In today’s society, we lack leaders. We have plenty of leadership, but we have no leaders.

Whats the difference you might ask? Just because someone is in a leadership role, does not make them a leader. Managers and supervisors are leadership. But that doesn’t mean they are leaders. Politicians are in a position of leadership, but we know without a doubt many, if not most, are not leaders. Money and fame can get you into a leadership role. However, true leaders are developed, not purchased.  Purchased leadership is fake news. Its a band-aid on a broken bone. These are the type of leaders who seize or inherent power. In Analytical psychology, these type of leaders would be known as tyrants.

If you want to grow as a human learn how to be a good leader. The world needs more leaders and less leadership.

Being a L.E.A.D.E.R.

Lead – Leaders should always lead from the front. This includes leading by example. Remember, someone is always watching. As a leader, if you cannot follow the rules and do the right thing than never expect your people too. As a leader, hold yourself to the highest standards possible. Never ask your people to do something you would not do yourself.

Establish – Leaders need to establish a specific standard, and uphold that standard to the best of their ability.  Leaders need to establish clear expectations, values, and missions for their people.

Advise – Leaders are coaches. They are advisors. A sign of a good leader is the ability to define what needs to be done, and assign the right people to the task. That’s it. All you have to do is give your people the GPS and the keys to the car. Leaders don’t need to stress and fret over how they get there. Advise what needs to get done, and when it has to be done, and then set back and let it get done. Leaders trust.

Demonstrate – Set the example. If you want your people to do something, then do it yourself. The same is true if you want your people to not do something. If this is the case, then you, as a leader, better not be doing it either. Leaders who impose rules on others only to break them themselves will never grow. They will never become the type of leader society is craving.

Execute – As a leader, it’s your job you execute the plan. You don’t have to execute each step yourself, but as a leader, you have to make sure that

  • The plan is in place
  • The plan is solid
  • The team has bought into the plan
  • The team has the tools needed to execute the plan
  • The team has the support needed to execute the plan
  • The plan is clearly defined, included missions goals, checkpoints, and outcomes

Resolve – Lastly, leaders resolve. The word resolve is Latin for solve. Leaders, solve problems. Leaders fix what is broken. Leaders take responsibility for their actions and the actions of their team.

Leaders, lead

Visualization hack CrossFitters

Article in a tweet: Focus your visualization efforts on things that have gone right for you in the past. They can be big wins or small victories. Remember and hold onto that winning feeling.

Visualization hack CrossFitters

For those of you who do not know, I am a CrossFit level one trainer, and a (soon to be) graduate psychology student. That being said, I have a unique approach to my training philosophy.

The mind a muscle and needs to be trained as such. A lot of people fail to realize this and they put all of their efforts into training their bodies. For the naturally gifted and supernaturally athletic this might work out, for some time at least.

But for the rest of us, we need to focus on building our mental strength just as much as building our physical strength.

One way we can build this strength is through the use of visualization.  But how can we use visualization for unknown events? This is a question I get asked a lot, especially in the midst of the open.

Luckily, visualization methods can work regardless of the event being known or unknown beforehand.

In the military we all to often used the phrase, “you never rise to the occasion, you sink to your level of training. To me, what that means is how you prepare for any given circumstance is also how you react to any given circumstance.

So how do we visualization for the unknown? 

  • Focus on past wins

Just as with regular visualization, start with focusing on past wins. Remember, in detail the feeling you had after that event. Better yet, it does not even have to be a complete win, maybe you hit a personal best, or won a specific event, or wave. Maybe you inched out someone well ahead of your skill level.

In my first few years of racing BMX, I was pretty good when stacked up to others with a similar age and skill level. However, there was this one time when I remember beating a pro rider out of the start gate and into the first turn.

This to me was a huge win. Of course, I did not maintain my position and was quickly overtaken by the second turn, but to beat a pro at getting the holeshot. That felt damn good and that feeling was something I never have forgotten. Maybe he wasn’t trying for the holeshot, maybe his attention was on a section later on in the race. I don’t know, and frankly, I don’t care. I felt good about it and even though I did not win the (in fact, I don’t even remember the rest of the race), my confidence in my ability grew immensely.

Similarly, when I first started practicing Jiu-Jitsu my goal was often to just make it through a rolling session without getting submitted. Did it always happen? Hell no. I have tapped a lot more than I haven’t, but the few times I was able to maintain and make it from bell to bell left me feeling as if I won.

 

Building your Team

In the past, I have talked about how important it is to surround yourself with the right people. Today we are going to talk a little bit more about why that is important and what we can do about building our team.

I’ve always heard that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. This is probably truer than not if you actually sit down and think about it.

For example, think about your workplace, or your class. Some of these people are the people that you spend the most time with (whether under your own will or forced).

Now think about the lives these five people live. Their hobbies, their habits, their incomes, their lifestyles, their vocabulary, their mannerisms, and their actions.

Maybe you don’t even realize it, but these personality elements unconsciously wear off on you. I mean how could they not? After all, you are probably spending 8 hours a day with these people.

When I first went into the Coast Guard it became obvious that my circle of friends (or co-workers) (or more precisely, shipmates) were wearing off on me. I lived with these guys. Day in and day out. 24 hours a day for months on end.

I, subconsciously starting picking up and displaying many of their habits, both good and bad.  Looking back some years later, I problem picked up on ore bad than good.

As humans, we have an inborn tendency to try and fit in with the crowd or go with the flow of things. We are deathly afraid of standing out. This fear is probably hard-wired to our reptilian brain and could be traced back millions of years. Back then, our distance ancestors had to hunt and fight to survive, often times standing out meant death, or at least no food on the dinner plates that night.

Back then, blending in was beneficial. Becoming one with our surroundings meant or pray couldn’t differentiate between us, and nature. Blending in gave our early human ancestors the upper hand in surviving.

Now fast forward a few million years and we are still stuck with the notion we must blend in to survive. But now, we need to ask ourselves, who or what are we blending in with?  Are we blending in with the predators or the prey?

Surround yourself with people, places, dogs, and things that make you a better version of yourself. Surround yourself with people who bring out the best in you, the people that force you to grow in the right ways.

This is not a one-sided affair. You have to be your best self. You have to bring your best game to the pack. In the reptilian world, the weak are left behind to starve. Maybe if they’re lucky, they get to eat the scraps left behind by the pack. Lucky for you, your not the weak link. You my friend, are the apex.

Celebrate the wins of those in your team as they are wins of your win. Work diligently to build each other up.

Own it.